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3-Dec-16 World View -- India's Narendra Modi threatens to divert water from Pakistan to India's farmers

India says that Modi's 'demonetization' program reduced Kashmir violence

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

India's Narendra Modi threatens to divert water from Pakistan to India's farmers


Indus River Valley (Reuters)
Indus River Valley (Reuters)

As tit-for-tat charges and insults between India and Pakistan continue to escalate, India's prime minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that India would abrogate the 56-year-old Indus Water Treaty and divert water currently flowing from India to Pakistan back to India's farmers.

Speaking to a rally in Punjab last week on Friday, Modi said:

"Under the Indus Water Treaty, India has the right over water of Satluj, Beas and Ravi rivers. It rightfully belongs to our farmers, but this water is not reaching the farmer's field, instead the water is flowing to Pakistan and eventually going to the sea. Governments came and went in Delhi, but farmers kept suffering as water continued to flow to Pakistan. Not any-more, I will ensure that farmers get what is rightfully theirs.

This water is neither being utilized by Pakistan nor does it come in Indian farmers destiny. I have set-up a task force. I'm committed to ensure that every single drop of water, which is rightfully ours, under the Indus Water Treaty, is brought to the farmers in Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, and other parts of the country. ...

There is no reason that we cannot use our rights (over our waters) and let our farmers suffer. I need your blessings in order to fulfill your requirements for watering your fields."

Sirajul Haq of the Islamist political party Jamaat-i-Islami responded:

"Yesterday, prime minister of India Narendra Modi sent a message to Pakistan that he would block our rivers. Today, standing here in Karachi, near the mausoleum of Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah I want to inform Modi that the line does not exist on his palm that says that he can do any such thing. Mr Modi, if you stop our water, we will stop your breathing."

Pakistan officials so far has been relatively restrained in responding to this threat, possibly viewing Modi's remarks as merely campaign rhetoric. They pointed out that the Indus Water Treaty was mediated by the World Bank in 1960, and has survived despite several wars between the two sides. Pakistan media reports have pointed out that Pakistan is already short of water, and that Modi's threat, if implemented, would deal a severe blow to Pakistan's farmers. The News (Pakistan) and Hindustan Times (11-Nov) and Pak Observer and Dawn (Pakistan)

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Dangerous tensions continue in Kashmir

Pakistan and India abandoned any pretense at cordial relations earlier this year after a January 2 there was a terrorist attack on an Indian air force base in Panthankot, Punjab, which India blamed on Pakistan. Pakistan accused India of staging the attack to defame Pakistan.

The name-calling became extremely vitriolic after a September 18 terrorist attack on India's Uri army base in Kashmir. Four militants, carrying guns and grenades, stormed an Indian army base in Uri in Kashmir. There was a five-hour firefight, and at least 17 soldiers were killed, as were the militants. This was the worst militant terrorist attack in Kashmir in years.

This comes as the violence in Kashmir continues to increase. In October, India relocated 10,000 people in India-controlled Kashmir away from the Line of Control (LoC) that separates the India and Pakistan regions of Kashmir, and last month Pakistan evacuated 8,000 people from Pakistan-controlled Kashmir away from the LoC. CNN (1-Oct) and CNN (16-Nov)

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India says that Modi's 'demonetization' program reduced Kashmir violence

On November 8, India's prime minister declared 500-1000 rupee notes worthless. This "demonetization" policy has, in many ways, been an economic disaster, causing hardship for many people who have been standing in lines at banks for hours at a time just to exchange the worthless notes for new notes. Many people have been unable to buy necessities like food, and some have been stranded far from home, unable to purchase train tickets.

According to India's defense minister Manohar Parrikar, the demonetization program has substantially reduced the amount of violence in Kashmir, by reducing incidents of stone-pelting. According to Parrikar:

"Earlier, there were rates: Rs 500 for stone pelting [on security forces in Kashmir] and Rs 1,000 for doing something else. PM has brought terror funding to zero. In the last few days after PM's daring move there hasn't been stone pelting on security forces. I congratulate PM for it."

It's believed that separatist activists were paying stone-pelters in counterfeit notes that had been printed in Pakistan. By making all 500-1000 rupee notes worthless, the counterfeit notes also became worthless.

If all this is true, then it would certainly count as a fairly spectacular success story, even if the reduction in stone-pelting only lasts a few months. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the violence in Kashmir is "organic" or "indigenous," in the sense that it's not directed by armies or generals, but is rising up from the people. The violence comes from various tribal and ethnic groups, not from an army or militia obeying the orders of a national commander.

As I described in a recent article, India's last two generational crisis wars were India's 1857 Rebellion, which pitted India's Hindus against the British colonialists, and the 1947 Partition war, which pitted Hindus and Muslims against each other, following the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan. As we described in that article, the 1857 war led naturally to violence between Hindus and Muslims decades later, and then to the 1947 war.

Now we're seeing that the 1947 war is leading, decades later, to new violence between Hindus and Muslims. Generational Dynamics predicts that we're seeing a kind of repeat of 1947, and that this increasing violence will lead to a new generational crisis war between Hindus and Muslims, and from there to full-scale war between Pakistan and India.

If Modi's demonetization program is really reducing the amount of stone-pelting, then it's a development that can almost be described as amazing. But from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, it's only temporary, in that can't stop the generational changes that are leading to a major new war between Pakistan and India. Times of India and Business Standard (India)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Dec-16 World View -- India's Narendra Modi threatens to divert water from Pakistan to India's farmers thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Dec-2016) Permanent Link
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2-Dec-16 World View -- Sunday's referendum in Italy threatens EU's stability

Referendum vote could affect stability of Italy's troubled banks

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Sunday's referendum in Italy threatens EU's stability


A demonstrator calls for a 'no' vote on Sunday (AFP)
A demonstrator calls for a 'no' vote on Sunday (AFP)

On Sunday, Italy will vote on a referendum which, according to prime minister Matteo Renzi, will change the constitution to make Italy more governable, and more able to cope with the future.

The referendum is important in its own right, but it became geopolitically significant in January when Renzi announced that he would resign if the referendum failed. Many analysts call this an act of hubris that was unnecessary and even disastrous, but it's been done. And now the consequences are that the referendum is less about constitutional reform, and more about whether Renzi should remain in office.

After the spectacular failure of polling organizations to predict the result of Britain's Brexit referendum or the American presidential election, no one knows whether or not to believe polls anymore. Nonetheless, many politicians are nervous, because the poll results show that the referendum is more likely to fail than to succeed.

If the referendum fails, and if Renzi keeps his promise and resigns, and if the remaining MPs in parliament cannot find a way to select a "caretaker" government that will keep things going -- if all of those things occur, then there will be new elections.

It's thought that the party most likely to benefit from new elections will be the left-wing populist Five Star Movement (M5S), led by Beppe Grillo, an Italian comedian, actor, and political activist. M5S received about one-quarter of the vote in the 2013 elections, has won some major mayoral elections since then, and has become increasingly popular. And Grillo and the Five Star politicians are "euroskeptic" and have said that they'll sponsor a new referendum on whether Italy should pull out of the eurozone, and possibly the European Union.

So, if there are new elections, and if the Five Star Movement and its euroskeptic allies come into power, and if they sponsor a new referendum, and if that new referendum is approved -- if all of those things occur, then the stability of the eurozone and the European Union will be at risk.

That's a lot of "if's" that have to happen. Nonetheless, Europe's politicians have been unnerved by a series of populist setbacks, the main ones being the Brexit referendum and the American election, and they're afraid that Sunday's referendum vote in Italy will be the next one. Spiegel (Germany) and Express (London) and The Local (Italy)

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Referendum vote could affect stability of Italy's troubled banks

There's a completely different scenario where a "no" vote on Sunday's referendum could threaten instability of the euro.

As we've been reporting, Italy's Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), founded in 1472, and the world's oldest operating bank, is close to collapse because it has $55.2 billion of bad loans on its book. Other Italian banks are in trouble as well, holding a total of about $383 billion in non-performing loans, about a third of the total in the entire eurozone.

MPS has been trying to avoid collapse by trying to convince investors to lend the bank another $5 billion, despite having burned through two previous large loans.

It's believed that a "no" vote on Sunday's referendum will create enough uncertainty that Italy's borrowing costs might rise significantly. In fact, anticipation of a "no" vote has caused investors to sell off Italian bonds, pushing yields (interest rates) up to 2%, compared to just 0.3% for German bunds.

If borrowing costs increase further, then investors could be far less interested in lending MPS the $5 billion it needs to avoid collapse, and this could have a domino effect that could catastrophically affect Italy's entire banking system. In the most likely scenario, Italy's government would have to bail out the banks with taxpayer money, but this is a violation of new rules set by the European Central Bank, forcing Italy out of the eurozone.

Not everyone is so pessimistic. In the optimistic scenario, it will turn out that poll results were erroneous because voters were ashamed to admit that they're voting "yes" on the referendum, just as they were ashamed to admit that they were voting for Brexit or Trump. The optimistic scenario also notes that the Wall Street stocks surged to new highs following Trumps' election. So in this scenario, Renzi remains in office, Italian stocks surge, MPS gets it bailout money from investors, and Italy muddles through for another year. CNN and Market Watch and Stratfor

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Dec-16 World View -- Sunday's referendum in Italy threatens EU's stability thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Dec-2016) Permanent Link
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1-Dec-16 World View -- Europeans wonder if Turkey will reopen the refugee floodgates

Mediterranean migrant traffic to Italy and Greece continues, despite cold weather

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Mediterranean migrant traffic to Italy and Greece continues, despite cold weather


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

About 171,000 migrants reached Italy after crossing the Mediterranean Sea so far this year, a new record. The previous record was 170,100 for all of 2014. The number arriving in Greece so far this year totals another 171,731, but this figure is well below the 2015 figure of 883,393, thanks to the EU-Turkey refugee deal.

More than three times as many migrants reached Italy this November as did so in the same month last year. On Monday alone, Italian and international rescuers reportedly pulled 1,400 people from the water to rescue them from drowning.

The EU-Turkey refugee deal has substantially reduced the number of migrants traveling from Turkey across the Aegean Sea to Greece. Those migrants are generally from war zones in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Most migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe are from African countries, according to the International Organization for Migration:

The process of Mediterranean migrant traffic has become an extremely efficient and cynical assembly line. People-smugglers launch overcrowded rubber boats from the Libyan coast, with absolutely no pretense that the rubber boats will reach Europe. The migrants are told to use their radios to call for help from European rescuers while they are still close to the Libyan coast. There is a high risk that the overcrowded rubber boats will sink or capsize before rescuers can find them. There have been 4,655 cases of deaths of missing at sea recorded in the Mediterranean so far this year, compared to 3,771 cases in the whole of 2015.

The cold weather is making the trip far more deadly. Nonetheless, more migrants are making the trip because they want to cross before winter, and because people-smugglers are telling migrants that the EU is going to close the Mediterranean Sea route. BBC and International Organization For Migration and International Business Times

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Europeans wonder if Turkey will reopen the refugee floodgates

The EU-Turkey refugee deal seems to be hanging by a thread. Last week's vote by the EU parliament to recommend ending negotiations for Turkey's membership in the EU has infuriated the Turks, especially president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said angrily, "Look, if you go further, the border gates will be opened. You should know that."

In fact, there are reports from Greece's intelligence unit that Erdogan has ordered that refugees be lined up along the Aegean Sea, ready to cross to Greece. The report indicates that as many as 3,000 refugees would cross every day, which would amount to about one million in a year.

Other reports indicate that some European nations are almost in a state of panic, and are making preparations. Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Croatia and Hungary are reportedly planning to build fences and barriers that would effectively divide Europe in two, and seal off most of the continent.

However, some analysts are doubting Erdogan would ever launch this "nuclear option." The threat of ending the EU-Turkey refugee deal is a huge piece of leverage for Turkey in negotiations on any subject, and once he abrogated the deal, he would lose his negotiating leverage and invite retaliation.

In the past I've suggested my own possible scenario, which I've never seen discussed in the media. Ending the EU-Turkey refugee deal isn't a binary on or off decision. For example, Erdogan could move some of his troops from the coast along the Aegean Sea to southeastern Turkey to meet the threat from the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Protection from PKK would be perfect cover for a decision that would permit a small to moderate increase in the refugee flow. This would serve notice to the EU that more troops could be moved away at any time, to increase the refugee flow some more. This would permit Turkey to retain its negotiating leverage, although the fact that it was cold-blooded extortion would still be perfectly obvious. Independent (London) and Pro Thema (Greece) (Trans) and Express (London) and Hurriyet (Ankara)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Dec-16 World View -- Europeans wonder if Turkey will reopen the refugee floodgates thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Dec-2016) Permanent Link
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30-Nov-16 World View -- Mahmoud Abbas, 81, reelected leader of Fatah/Palestinian Authority

Hopes again grow for Gaza-West Bank unity government

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Mahmoud Abbas, 81, reelected leader of Fatah/Palestinian Authority


Mohammed Dahlan
Mohammed Dahlan

The 81-year-old Mahmoud Abbas, who took over as leader of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in January 2005, after the death of Yassir Arafat, was overwhelming reelected as leader of Fatah/PA, which governs the West Bank, on Tuesday, after ruthlessly shutting out his principal opponent, 55-year-old Mohammed Dahlan, and Dahlan's supporters.

Abbas's victory isn't a surprise, but it wasn't the outcome that the so-call "Arab quartet" -- United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan -- had hoped for. Much of the Arab world has been waiting for Abbas to retire or die, so that a younger leader like Dahlan could replace him.

Abbas, born in 1935, is part of the old generation of survivors of the genocidal war between Jews and Arabs that followed the 1947 partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. When Yasser Arafat died in December 2004, Abbas was a natural choice to succeed him, because they were both war survivors and shared a common world view. But now the time is approaching for a successor and for a generational change.

The major aspirant is 55 year old Mohammed Dahlan. Dahlan grew up poor in a Gaza refugee camp, but as a top aide to Arafat became Gaza's strongman in the 1990s, jailing leaders of rival Hamas which was trying to derail Arafat’s negotiation with Israel through bombing and shooting attacks. Abbas and Dahlan used to be allies, but the 2008 war between Fatah and Hamas, that made Hamas the governing power in Gaza caused tension between them, until 2011 when Abbas expelled Dahlan completely from Fatah.

The population of the West Bank is badly split between supporters of Abbas and Dahlan. Abbas, as a survivor of the bloody 1947-48 war, has devoted much of his life to achieving some kind of political solution to the conflict with Israel -- namely the so-called "two-state solution" with Israel and Palestine existing side by side in peace -- a "solution" that can only be described as delusional.

Supporters of Dahlan are generally much more belligerent, and are ready to go to war with Israel. Dahlan and his supporters are in the generations that grew up after the 1947-48, and have no personal memory of its horrors, and so is not afraid to see that war repeated.

The youngest generations of Palestinians, as far as I can tell, are pretty much disgusted with all the Palestinian leadership. This is the so-called "Oslo generation," kids growing up after the 1993 Oslo accords that were supposed to bring peace to the Mideast, but in fact are perceived as having accomplished nothing. They see the so-called "Mideast peace process" as nothing more than a failed series of humiliations for Palestinians.

There has apparently been one change in the last year. In 2015, there was a spate of knife attacks on Israelis by 15-25 year old boys in the Oslo generation of Palestinians. Those knife attacks have not been in the news in a long time, and so apparently have run their course. Al-Monitor and Israel National News and Middle East Eye

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Hopes again grow for Gaza-West Bank unity government

Ever since Hamas's stunning victory of Fatah/Palestinian Authority in 2006, which permitted Hamas to eject Fatah from Gaza, the two governments have seemed to hate each other more than they hate Israel.

There have been several attempts to form a "unity government" between the two entities. The most recent attempt followed the 31-day Gaza war between Israel and Hamas, which Israel won. After the war, there was enormous pressure from Arab states for Hamas and Fatah to unify into a single government. The United Nations General Assembly had created the nation "Palestine" in 2012, but it didn't make sense to have a state of Palestine, if the Palestinians had two separate governments in conflict with each other.

They did form a unity government in June 2014, but it was unity in name only. They never did function as a single government, and Abbas dissolved it in June 2015 over a disagreement about money.

However, hopes have arisen again of a unity government, after Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal said in a speech earlier this month that a reconciliation should be tried:

"It is time we reconsider the organization [Fatah/PA]. ... In order to build our lives and political system on democratic foundations, we must be partners in shouldering responsibility and partners in the decision of war and peace. ...

The wager on the diplomatic movement on its own has been proven a failure. Let us agree on a national strategy and that everyone is with the [armed] resistance, which is a legitimate right that raises the cost of the occupation."

The last sentence affirms that Hamas expects to continuing using violence against Israel, to end Israel's "occupation" of land in the Mideast and Israel's existence.

There's good reason to doubt that the West Bank and Gaza Palestinian populations can ever be unified into a single government. The two Palestinian territories have been separated for several decades, and so the two cultures have grown in separate directions. Times of Israel (2-Nov) and Israel National News (26-Apr-2015)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Nov-16 World View -- Mahmoud Abbas, 81, reelected leader of Fatah/Palestinian Authority thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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29-Nov-16 World View -- UN: Burma (Myanmar) committing 'ethnic cleansing' of Rohingyas

Tens of thousands flee from northern Burma across border to China

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

UN: Burma (Myanmar) committing 'ethnic cleansing' of Rohingyas


Children recycle goods from the ruins of a market in a Rohingya village that was burned down two weeks ago (Reuters)
Children recycle goods from the ruins of a market in a Rohingya village that was burned down two weeks ago (Reuters)

As we've been reporting, Human Rights Watch has posted satellite images that show that villages of Rohingya Muslims are being systematically burned down. Myanmar officials are making the laughable claim that the Rohingyas are burning down their own homes to embarrass the government, but it's pretty widely believed that it's being done Myanmar soldiers and security forces.

Myanmar officials are refusing to allow any aid agencies, international investigative agencies or reporters to enter the area to determine who is burning down the villages. However, eyewitness reports have been coming out, and John McKissick, head of the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) in the Bangladeshi border town of Cox's Bazar says that Myanmar troops are "killing men, shooting them, slaughtering children, raping women, burning and looting houses, forcing these people to cross the river" into Bangladesh. Other UN officials are saying that the Myanmar government actions are "ethnic cleansing."

This is all completely believable in view of the history of the past few years. In 2012 and 2013, Buddhist monks in Burma have been leading genocidal attacks on Rohingyas, in violation of the precepts of the Buddhism religion. In one attack, large mobs with hundreds of Buddhists attacked Muslims with knives and sticks.

The attacks have been led by Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu and his "969 movement," where 969 is a historic Buddhist sign, referring to the nine qualities of Buddha, the six qualities of Buddha's teaching, and nine qualities of the Buddhist community. 969 is supposed to promote peace and happiness, although Wirathu's 969 movement is a vehicle promoting violence. And now the Burma's army is apparently taking over the movement with ethnic cleansing.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is a classic, historical act of genocidal extermination of one group targeting another. In this generational Crisis era, we're going to see more of these -- Hindu vs Muslim in Kashmir, Sunni vs Shia in the Mideast, reminiscent of Hutus vs Tutsis in 1994 Rwanda, Christian vs Jew in World War II or French vs English in the Hundred Years War, or Protestant vs Catholic in European wars of the past. AFP and The Hindu and Al Jazeera

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Bangladesh is blocking Rohingya refugees fleeing from Burma violence

Thousands of desperate Rohingyas from Burma's Rakhine state, threatened with ethnic cleansing by Burma's soldiers, have been fleeing into Bangladesh in the past two weeks, either walking across the border or by boat across the Bay of Bengal.

However, Bangladesh has ignored international appeals, and is refusing them entry, and has turned boatloads of refugees back, forcing them to return to Burma. Bangladesh's foreign ministry has confirmed that thousands of Rohingya have already sought refuge in the country, while thousands more are reportedly gathering on the border.

Those defending Bangladesh's policy point out that there are millions of Rohingyas living in Rakhine state, and if Bangladesh completely opened the border, then the surge of fleeing refugees would be overwhelming. VOA and BBC and Al Jazeera

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Tens of thousands flee from northern Burma across border to China

Burma has a completely separate problem with other ethnic groups in the north -- the Kachin Independence Army, the Ta’ang National Liberation Army, and Kokang’s Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army. As I recently reported, these groups are continuing decades' long fights with Burma's army, and tens of thousands of residents from the region are fleeing across the border into China to escape the violence.

China has put its army on high alert along the border, and is reinforcing its troops on the border with military trucks, tanks, heavy weapons and machine guns. China says that it is willing to play a "constructive role" in helping Myanmar resolve the problem, but no one knows whether that would mean that under some circumstances China's military would cross the border into Myanmar.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Burma is an extremely difficult country to analyze because there are so many different ethnic groups fighting with and against each other. Following World War II, Burma experienced a series of extremely bloody crisis civil wars that only climaxed in 1958 when the army took over power. There has been sporadic fighting among these groups in the decades since then, but nothing that has escalated into a major war. Of the 15 armed ethnic groups in Burma, only eight were willing to sign a peace agreement at a recent signing ceremony.

A major research project is needed for Burma. The objective would be to analyze all Burma's ethnic groups individually, and develop generational timelines for each of them. Any historian with knowledge or love of Burma will find this a rewarding project. Burma News International and CCTV (China) and VOA

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Nov-16 World View -- UN: Burma (Myanmar) committing 'ethnic cleansing' of Rohingyas thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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28-Nov-16 World View -- Iraq sending Shia militias to Mosul, directly violating promise to Turkey

The chaotic operation to liberate Mosul

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Iraq sending Shia militias to Mosul, directly violating promise to Turkey


Shia militia carrying Iranian billboard (Anadolu)
Shia militia carrying Iranian billboard (Anadolu)

Iraq's parliament on Saturday voted overwhelmingly to allow Iran-backed Shia militias to take part in the military operation to recapture Mosul from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

The vote was apparently 208 to zero. That's because all the Sunni lawmakers boycotted the vote in protest, while all the Shia lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favor. The parliament has 328 seats.

Mosul is a city of close to a million people, mostly Sunni Muslims. They're well aware that Shia militias are accused of atrocities committed against Sunni residents of towns that Shia militias have previously liberated from ISIS. According to a January report by Human Rights Watch:

"Members of Shia militias, who the Iraqi government has included among its state forces, abducted and killed scores of Sunni residents in a central Iraq town and demolished Sunni homes, stores, and mosques following January 11, 2016 bombings claimed by the extremist group Islamic State, also known as ISIS. None of those responsible have been brought to justice."

For this reason, Turkey has predicted a sectarian war if Shia militias are part of the force sent to liberate Mosul, and has demanded that the Iraqi army alone liberate Mosul, a condition to which Iraq has previously agreed. But now Iraq has apparently reneged on that commitment.

Mosul is a historically Sunni city and was part of the Ottoman empire, and any attempt to change is demographic composition would be a direct threat to Turkey's security. The concern is that the population would be diluted by Kurds or by Shia Muslims coming from Iran. Turkey would consider that to be a threat to its security. Middle East Monitor and AP and Human Rights Watch (31-Jan-2016) and NRT TV (Kurdish)

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The chaotic operation to liberate Mosul

BBC news reporter Richard Galpin last week drove to the front line in Mosul along with one of the Iraqi army's top generals Najim al-Jibouri. Here are some excerpts from his report:

"On the way there we saw that Shia militias, not the Iraqi army, were manning checkpoints in areas taken back from the IS militants.

The militias have a controversial history. Some have been accused in the past of committing atrocities against Sunni Muslims. Now they're an integral part of the offensive on Mosul, which is a majority Sunni Muslim city - although they have been told not to enter the city.

Also taking part in the offensive are Kurdish troops, the Peshmerga, who've also agreed to stay out of Mosul to avoid inflaming ethnic tensions. And then there are Christian militias and some Sunni tribesmen.

While this complex mix of vested interests is currently bonded by the common goal of destroying IS in Iraq, it could fracture once that goal is achieved. For now though the focus remains on regaining the momentum of the offensive as elite troops try to push forward towards the center of Mosul.

It is heavy going - the IS leadership has had two years to prepare for this battle. And it's widely believed to have former Iraqi army and intelligence officers in its ranks, with the skills and knowledge to exploit the advantage of defending a city of narrow streets and with as many as a million people still living there. So far they've been using a stream of suicide bombers along with well-trained snipers to pin down the Iraqi special forces pushing forward street by street.

The troops are taking a lot of casualties and there are reports they don't have the back-up they need from units of the regular army which have not yet moved inside the city.

It was never going to be easy to dislodge Islamic State from Mosul, but unless the militants suddenly collapse or cut and run, it looks like it is going to be a long, costly battle."

Iraq's government has been bragging that the Iraqi army is going to strike a blow that will defeat ISIS in Mosul very quickly. Galpin's point was that Iraq's government is wrong, and also that nobody knows what's going to happen, except that it will take a long time.

A web site reader posted the following comment with regard to the situation in Syria: "I like to think I'm well-read and a capable reader. I don't have a clue as to who's doing what to whom and with what friends. How I wish America could afford to ignore this rabid dog fight, but we best not. Trouble is, who has enough mental acuity to keep all these abbreviations and their cloud-of-dust punch-ups straight in their minds? I surely don't."

This is an interesting observation, because it illustrates what an early and confusing stage the Mideast war is at, before it's completely clear who is fighting whom. When you think of WW II, you think of huge armies and navies from Germany, Japan, Russia, Britain, the US, and so forth. But the Mideast wars haven't yet reached that state. You have small tribes and militias fighting each other in what might be called "mini-wars" -- whether in Syria, Iraq, Yemen or Libya. National governments are trying their best to stay out of these mini-wars, except to provide weapons or money. Iran and Saudi Arabia are on opposite sides of wars in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, but one cannot at this time say that Iran and Saudi Arabia are at war.

In this generational Crisis era, that situation can't last forever. New generations of nationalistic, xenophobic young men are growing up in tribes and villages all over the Mideast. They're fighting each other in these mini-wars, but the number and ferocity of the mini-wars is growing. At some point, the Saudis will do something that the Iranians believe requires retaliation, or vice-versa, or maybe it will start with Pakistan versus India, or China versus Vietnam.

So what's going to happen in Mosul? If the Shia militias enter Mosul, will they liberate the Sunni residents or will they commit atrocities again, as they have in the past? Will Turkey decide to intervene to protect its interests in Mosul and protect the Turkmen citizens? Will that draw in more Iranian forces?

The fact is that nobody has a clue what's going to happen. This is an "organic" situation where you have lots of tribal and ethnic groups. There are commanders directing each of the small groups, but there's nobody running the whole show. Nobody knows what's going to happen, because all these groups are increasingly nationalistic, and even they don't know what they're going to do.

The good news is that, for the time being, these mini-wars don't affect us (unless you have friends or family in the region). The bad news is that these mini-wars are going to coalesce and become larger, and other nations will be forced to choose which side they want to be on. And then there will be a full-scale Mideast war -- Sunni versus Shia, Arab versus Jew, and ethnic group versus ethnic group. BBC and Reuters

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Nov-16 World View -- Iraq sending Shia militias to Mosul, directly violating promise to Turkey thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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27-Nov-16 World View -- Egypt to send troops to Syria to aid Bashar al-Assad and Russia

Egypt rejects its former benefactor, Saudi Arabia, in favor of Russia and Iran

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Egypt to send troops to Syria to aid Bashar al-Assad and Russia


Russian-Egyptian joint military exercises in Egypt's desert, emphasizing hostage rescue, especially in urban settings (RT)
Russian-Egyptian joint military exercises in Egypt's desert, emphasizing hostage rescue, especially in urban settings (RT)

In a new Mideast realignment, Egypt's president Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi has said in an interview that that he's officially backing the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad.

The Mideast Sunni countries used to be allies of Bashar al-Assad, but turned against him when he unleashed his army and air force against peaceful protesters in 2011. Things really turned around in August 2011, when al-Assad launched a massive military assault on a large, peaceful Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia, filled with tens of thousands of women and children Palestinians. That massive assault turned Syria's civil war into the beginning of a regional sectarian war.

Shia forces from Iran and Lebanon's Hezbollah actively joined al-Assad to fight Sunni militias. Young Sunni jihadists from over 80 countries traveled to Syria to fight against al-Assad, and formed the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). Other Sunni forces, including those from Turkey and Saudi Arabia, turned against al-Assad, and began supporting "moderate" Syrian Sunni rebels, including the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

And it's exactly the rise of ISIS that apparently has motivated this realignment by al-Sisi. Egypt has been targeted by numerous terror attacks, especially in Sinai by the terror group called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM - Ansar Jerusalem - Champions of Jerusalem), which changed its name to Al Wilayat Sinai (Province of Sinai) when it changed its allegiance from al-Qaeda to ISIS in 2015.

According to al-Sisi:

"[Al-Assad's forces are] best positioned to combat terrorism and restore stability [in Syria]. Our priority is to support national armies, for example in Libya to exert control over Libya territory and deal with extremist elements. The same with Syria and Iraq."

Some analysts are suggesting that al-Sisi's statement of support is purely political, or only symbolic. But in fact reports indicate that al-Sisi is committed militarily as well. Several reports have indicated that al-Sisi has sent Egyptian helicopters and pilots to Syria to take part in the fighting, and that he plans to send a large deployment of Egyptian troops to Syria in January. Al-Sisi apparently believes that the best way for Egypt to fight ISIS in Egypt is to fight ISIS in Syria. Jerusalem Post and Middle East Monitor and Debka

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Egypt rejects its former benefactor, Saudi Arabia, in favor of Russia and Iran

Mohammed Morsi was elected president of Egypt in 2012, along with his Muslim Brotherhood government, and quickly assumed dictatorial powers. Qatar was a big supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, and provided a great deal of aid to Egypt when Morsi was in power. In July 2013 al-Sisi, then an army general, overthrew Morsi in a coup. That aid ended with the coup, and the slack was taken up by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait.

Saudi Arabia has tried to play a mediating role between Egypt on the one hand and Qatar and Turkey on the other hand, and has continued supplying aid. But with the fall in oil prices, Saudi's economy has been in trouble, and Egypt's economy has become desperate.

Russia has promised large investments in Egypt, and recently committed investing $11.6 billion to build up Egypt's Suez Canal industrial zone. In return, Egypt is allowing Russia to conduct joint Egyptian-Russian military drills on Egyptian territory. There have been reports that Egypt would permit a Russian airbase on Egyptian soil, but those reports have been denied.

I always like to use the phrase "forced to choose" when analyzing situations like this. Generational Dynamics predicts that the Mideast is heading for a major war pitting Sunnis against Shias, Israelis against Arabs, and different ethnic groups against each other. When Egypt is forced to choose whether to side with Iran or with Saudi Arabia in the war, which side will it choose?

The situation is completely unclear, because the choice will be made not by al-Sisi but by the Egyptian people. And the Egyptian people are deeply split between loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood and loyalty to a secular democracy. Al-Sisi is not as bad a genocidal monster and Bashar al-Assad, who has tortured, jailed, displaced or killed tens of millions of people, but he has tortured, jailed, displaced or killed tens of thousands of people, making the value of Egypt's secular democracy questionable. I do not believe that Egypt's people, when forced to choose, will choose Iran over Saudi Arabia, but I do consider it possible that there will be a split, and that part of the regional war will be a civil war among Egyptians, at least between the Egyptians in Cairo and the Bedouins in Sinai. Russia Today and ABNA (Shia) and Economist and Russia Today (19-Oct)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Nov-16 World View -- Egypt to send troops to Syria to aid Bashar al-Assad and Russia thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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26-Nov-16 World View -- Turkey, Syria, Kurds, ISIS converge on a major military confrontation in al-Bab

Syrian airstrike on Turkish forces threatens wider war

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey, Syria, Kurds, ISIS converging on a major military confrontation in al-Bab


Map showing forces converging on al-Bab in Syria (Yeni Safak)
Map showing forces converging on al-Bab in Syria (Yeni Safak)

In August, Turkey began "Operation Euphrates Shield," and became the first Nato member to invade Syria since the beginning of the war that began in 2011. Turkey has stated that there are two objectives -- to fight the so-called Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) and force them to move south, and to fight Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), and force them to move back east across the Euphrates River.

The main ground force in Operation Euphrates Shield is the Free Syrian Army (FSA), backed by Turkish supplies and air power. Turkey's next two objectives are to recapture the city of al-Bab from ISIS, and to recapture the city of Manbij from the YPG.

As FSA militias move south towards al-Bab, it seems that a major confrontation is developing. YPG forces are also moving towards al-Bab to capture al-Bab from ISIS.

If Turkey-backed FSA forces take control of al-Bab, then the FSA forces will be in a position to help break the siege in eastern Aleppo, a city that the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad want destroy, killing over 250,000 people, mostly innocent women and children. Al-Assad has received worldwide condemnation for regime actions in Aleppo as war crimes and crimes against humanity, so al-Assad does not want to be stopped by the Free Syrian Army.

At the same time, FSA forces plan to move east and recapture Manbij from the Kurds.

Turkey's Retired Lt. Gen. Ismail Hakki Pekin summarized the plans for the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK):

"Operation Euphrates Shield was necessary, especially for TSK-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters, to prevent the establishment of a corridor [by terrorist PYD] near Kobani and the Afrin region. However, the operation must expand further south toward Manbij. Foremost, the operation must continue toward al-Bab before it moves toward Manbij, in order to prevent the corridor from being established to the south."

Operation Euphrates Shield appears to have slowed down substantially near the al-Bab region. Retired military officer and security specialist Abdullah Agar said that it's supposed to slow down because it's proceeding with caution:

"It was already known that the operation would become more difficult as it deepened and moved farther south. Al-Bab is the major obstacle that we are facing today. … [The PYD and its armed wing the People's Protection Units] YPG, the PKK, Syria's Assad regime as well as the Shiite militias have diverging plans regarding al-Bab. While the YPG-PKK hastens efforts to connect the Afrin region with the area west of the Euphrates, it also tries to seize regions that were cleared of Daesh. The[Syrian] regime is trying to further enhance its influence over Aleppo and surrounding region at the same time."

Daily Sabah (Ankara) and AP and Rudaw (Kurdish)

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Syrian airstrike on Turkish forces threatens wider war

Air strikes killed four Turkish soldiers in the region around al-Bab on Thursday.

Thursday was November 24, the one-year anniversary of the day when Turkey's air force shot down a Russian jet along the Syria-Turkey border. This caused a major break in relations between the two countries, but there's been an uneasy reconciliation since Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologized.

Nonetheless, Erdogan suspected that Russia's president Vladimir Putin had ordered Thursday's airstrike in retaliation for last year's shootdown. Russia reassured Turkey that the airstrike was not carried out by them, and later notified Turkish officials that the attack was conducted by a Syrian air force Albatross plane.

The fact that a Syrian regime warplane attacked Turkish forces near al-Bab indicates the potential explosiveness of the situation. Any repeat of such an airstrike is almost certain to provoke Turkish retaliation on Syrian targets. Turkey has already threatened to retaliate for Thursday's strike, though the nature of that retaliation has not been specified.

Erdogan and Putin had a phone discussion over the incident. Little is known about what was said, except the usual vacuous statements issued by both sides. Erdogan reportedly told Putin that Turkey respected Syria's territorial integrity and that its military incursion showed its determination to fight militant groups. Putin reportedly said that the discussion on Syria was constructive and that both sides agreed to continue active dialogue to coordinate efforts against international terrorism. Blah, blah, blah. Undoubtedly, Turkey's invasion of Syria presents problems for Russia, who is the main sponsor of Bashar al-Assad.

According to Russian analyst Vladimir Sotnikov:

"What happened in northern Syria is highly dangerous, potentially for Russia too. President Erdogan is a violent and ambitious politician, sometimes acting on his emotions. If he decides that the strike on Turkish forces in Syria was not a mistake or a chance event, but a deliberate action by the Syrian command, he might take this as a challenge to himself. Then, as precedence dictates, it will be necessary to respond.

Such a response [in case Erdogan decides to use air forces] threatens to drag Turkey into war with Russia over who controls Syrian airspace."

Some Russian analysts are speculating that Bashar al-Assad ordered the airstrike on Turkish forces in order to provoke a war between Russia and Turkey. Hurriyet (Ankara) and Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Hurriyet and Kommersant (Moscow)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Nov-16 World View -- Turkey, Syria, Kurds, ISIS converge on a major military confrontation in al-Bab thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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25-Nov-16 World View -- Turkey furious at EU parliament's vote to end accession talks

Terrorist car bomb in southern Turkey kills two

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Terrorist car bomb in southern Turkey kills two


Aftermath of Thursday's car bombing in Adana in southern Turkey (AFP)
Aftermath of Thursday's car bombing in Adana in southern Turkey (AFP)

A terrorist car bomb attack on Thursday on a government building in the city of Adana in southern Turkey killed at least two people and wounded dozens of others. The bomber fled in another vehicle, but was captured after police opened fire on the vehicle.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack, but Turkey has suffered numerous terrorist attacks in the last year, perpetrated either by Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is recognized as a terror group by Turkey, the US and the EU or by the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

Turkey responded with air force warplanes that destroyed a number of PKK targets in southeastern Diyarbakir province in Turkey, the PKK stronghold. Turkey's military said that six PKK members were killed, and that Turkish soldiers seized weapons and explosive substances in a warehouse following the airstrikes.

In addition to being targeted by numerous terror attacks, Turkey was targeted by an attempted army coup with tanks and jet fighters on July 15 that left 246 people dead and more than 2,000 wounded.

The seeming endless bombings and other attacks on Turkey have increased nationalist feelings and increased the popularity of president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Middle East Eye and AP

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Turkey furious at EU parliament's vote to end accession talks

The European Union parliament on Thursday voted overwhelmingly to call for an end to EU's talks with Turkey to join the EU. The vote is non-binding, and may be ignored by the people in Brussels who are negotiating with Turkey.

Despite the symbolic nature of the vote, it has infuriated Turkish officials and people, who see a European Union not only unsympathetic to the coup attempt and repeated bloody terrorist attacks -- all of which they believe would be completely intolerable to Europeans if the same things occurred on EU soil -- but as even more sympathetic to the coup plotters and terrorists than to Turkey.

Despite the coup attempt and terrorist violence in Turkey, many Europeans have been appalled at the massive purge that Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been pursuing -- arresting around 150 journalists, detaining more than 2,300 judges and prosecutors, suspending or dismissing almost 130,000 public employees, and arresting Kurdish members of parliament, accusing them of supporting the PKK. And many people point to the fact that Erdogan shut down the country's largest news organization, Zaman Media, months before the coup attempt.

There has always been a fairly high level of mutual xenophobia between Europeans and Turkey, some of it dating back to the days of the Ottoman Empire. The negotiations for Turkey to join the European Union, which began over ten years ago, have only increased the mutual xenophobia, as the EU made set one condition after another that the Turks considered unreasonable.

Within the last few weeks, Erdogan has suggested that Turkey might reinstate the death penalty, which was lifted in 2003 as one of the EU's conditions. Reinstating the death penalty would certainly kill any chance of Turkey joining the EU, and Thursday's symbolic vote by the European parliament may be considered a warning shot.

The EU needs Turkey as an ally for many reasons. One reason is the EU-Turkey refugee deal, which has cut the number of Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan refugees entering the EU by around 90%. That deal is now hanging by a thread. Another reason is that the US and Nato need Turkey's Incirlik air base for air operations in Syria.

Long-time readers are aware that Generational Dynamics predicts that in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, the US will be allied with India, Russia and Iran, while China will be allied with Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim states, including Turkey. This prediction seemed fanciful when I wrote about ten years ago, but we've seen it come true step by step. The Barack Obama administration has been cozying up to Iran, and now the Donald Trump administration appears poised to cozy up to Russia. In the meantime, countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which used to be close allies, have become increasingly distant from and hostile to the US. So the trend lines continue to move in the direction of the ten-year-old prediction. Daily Sabah (Ankara) and VOA and Daily Sabah and Russia Today and Daily Sabah

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 25-Nov-16 World View -- Turkey furious at EU parliament's vote to end accession talks thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (25-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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24-Nov-16 World View -- How the First Thanksgiving led to American independence

The Pilgrims meet the Wampanoag Indians

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

The First Thanksgiving -- The Pilgrims meet the Wampanoag Indians


The First Thanksgiving
The First Thanksgiving

In the year 1600, throughout what is now the United States, it's estimated that there were some 2 million Indians within 600 tribes speaking 500 languages. What happened, starting at that time, was a "clash of civilizations" between European culture of the colonists and the indigenous culture of the Indians. These cultures were so different that haven't yet merged even today, inasmuch as many Indian tribes still live separately on reservations. It's ironic that the American "melting pot" has merged so many cultures, but has not yet entirely merged the preexisting Native American cultures.

As with all tribes and ethnic groups in all places around the world, there were undoubtedly many brutal wars among the 600 tribes of the time. If there had never been any colonists, then the Indian tribes would have fought wars of extermination with each other, and probably today there would be one major tribe that was running the entire country, with other smaller tribes marginalized and discriminated against, perhaps even in reservations.

In this story, we're going to focus on just one Indian tribes: The Wampanoag tribe that occupied what is now southeastern Massachusetts (where Plymouth Rock is).

There is some historical evidence that there was a major war among the Wampanoag tribe and the Narragansett tribe that occupied what is now Rhode Island, and the Mohawk tribe (part of the Iroquois) of upstate New York. This war occurred in the years preceding the colonists' arrival at Plymouth Rock, probably in the 1590s. The Wampanoag and the Narragansett tribes were particularly devastated and weakened by that conflict.

So, when the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in 1620, in the midst of the Wampanoag tribe during a generational Awakening era (like America in the 1960-70s), the Indians were still war-weary, and were quite friendly to the pilgrims. There were even some Indians who, astonishingly, spoke English because they had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery, but escaped in London. One of them, Squanto, helped the pilgrims learn to hunt, fish and survive.

The pilgrims, led by Governor William Bradford, and the Wampanoags, led by chief Massasoit, developed a warm relationship. In November 1621, after the successful corn harvest, they celebrated with a feast now remembered as "America's First Thanksgiving."

Thanksgiving has been celebrated annually since then, and in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday.

The fur trade with Britain and Europe

The Pilgrims were committed to have nothing to do with the English King and parliament. They had signed the Mayflower Compact, where they agreed that they would be governed by the will of the majority. They could provide for themselves, and they were friendly with the Indians.

This friendliness extended to trade. Before long, there was a mutually beneficial financial arrangement between the Indians and the colonists. The colonists acted as intermediaries through whom the Indians developed a thriving business selling furs and pelts to the English and European markets, and they used the considerable money they earned to purchase imported manufactured goods.

King Philip's war

By the 1660s, the Wampanoag tribal society had entered a generational Crisis era, and relationships between the colonists and the Indians began to deteriorate.

William Bradford had died in 1657, and Massasoit died in 1661. The personal ties between these leaders had vanished, and younger generations of colonists and Indians rose to power with personal friendships replaced by mutual xenophobia.

A generational Crisis era is usually accompanied by a major financial crisis -- that's certainly true in the world today. Things really began to turn sour in the 1660s because styles and fashions changed in England and in Europe. Suddenly, furs and pelts went out of style, and the major source of revenue for the Indians almost disappeared. This resulted in a financial crisis for the Indians, and for the colonists as well, since they were the intermediaries in sales to the Indians. Then and now, a financial crisis only feeds into and increases xenophobia, racism and nationalism, as different societies, races and nations blame each other for the financial crisis.

Massasoit was replaced as Wampanoag chief by his youngest son, Metacomet, who was nicknamed "King Philip" by the colonists. Relations between King Philip and the colonists worsened, and things came to a head in 1671, when King Philip himself was tried for a series of Indian hostilities, and required by the court to surrender all of his arms. He complied by surrendering only a portion of them.

Relations continued to deteriorate, and King Philip's War began in 1675, with Philip's attack on the colonists on Cape Cod. The war was extremely savage and engulfed the Indians and the colonists from Rhode Island to Maine. There were atrocities on both sides, and the war ended with King Philip's head displayed on stick. His wife and child were sold into slavery.

This was the most devastating war in American history on a percentage basis, with 800 of the 52,000 colonists killed. (It was devastating for the Indians as well.)

Aftermath of King Philip's War

After the devastating war, people began to ask: Why weren't English soldiers here to defend us?

That brings us back to the Mayflower Compact, signed in 1620, which guaranteed that local government would be independent of the English Crown. The colonists had thought they would build their new community without outside interference, with their own rules and their own self-government.

After the devastation of King Philip's war, they felt forced to acquiesce completely to English rule. All home rule was dissolved and Governors would be appointed from London. British troops would protect the colonists from the Indians and the French, and colonists would pay taxes to the Crown in return.

The Great Awakening of the 1730-40s

Anyone who was around during America's generational Awakening era of the 1960s and 1970s will recall the "televangelists" -- people like Herbert W. Armstrong, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, and dozens of others.

A similar thing happened in the 1730s-40s. Historians have named this period "The Great Awakening in American history," and in fact the phrase "generational Awakening era" was derived from this historical name.

Just as America's youthful Boomers were rebelling against their parents in the 1960s, the colonists' young generations in the 1730s were rebelling against everything English, including the Church of England, known as the Anglican Church in the colonies.

The issue of government by the English Crown was a divisive issue at that time. The older generations had ceded power to London in return for the protection of the English army. The younger generations rebelled against giving all this power to the Crown.

The Anglican Church never did have much success in establishing religious control in the colonies, as congregations of Puritans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Quakers and many other religions sprang up in the colonies from the beginning, and had to compete with one another for followers.

Starting in the 1730s, something brand new came about -- something we recognize today in the form of "televangelists." Various preachers went from city to city, telling thousands of rapt listeners that they would be punished for their sinfulness, but could be saved by the mercy of an all-powerful God. To take one example, John Wesley, born in 1703, created the Methodist religion, and traveled on horseback throughout the country for years, stopping along the way to preach three or four sermons each day.

The Great Awakening of the 1730s and 1740s was not just a religious revival; it was also an act of rebellion against the older generation that favored control by the British in return for protection. By rejecting the Anglican Church, the young colonists were symbolically rejecting British control.

The Revolutionary War -- 1772-1782

All the contradictions and compromises that were forced upon the colonists following the devastation of King Philip's War came to a head in the Revolutionary War. In particular, the taxes that England had levied against the colonies to pay for protection from the Indians and the French led to colonist demands for "No taxation without representation!", the catchphrase for pre-Revolutionary days.

By the 1760s, the British were moving to consolidate their control over America as a British colony. In particular, the Sugar Act and Currency Act of 1764 were imposed in order to prevent the colonies from trading with any foreign country except through England as an intermediary. The Stamp Act of 1765 was enacted to recover at least a fraction of the money England had to spend to maintain its military forces in the colonies.

These moves by England hardly seem unreasonable. The colonies were expensive children, and like a parent expecting his children to pay a little rent, England had a right to expect the colonists to pay for a portion of the cost of protecting them.

But the pressure for revolution had been building for a long time. The Stamp Act was particularly galling. All printed documents, including newspapers, broadsides and even legal documents, had to have a stamp affixed, with the cost of the stamp being paid to England.

An underground terrorist group called the Sons of Liberty was formed. This group used violence to terrorize Stamp Act agents and British traders in numerous towns. However, violence was rare: colonial opposition was designed to be non-violent. The colonies formed a "Stamp Act congress" to call for repeal. English imports were boycotted. The English sought to contain the problem and compromise. As a result, the Stamp Act was repealed by 1766.

However, England was still trying to find a way to collect revenue from the colonies without engendering riots, but they never succeeded. In 1767, England passed the Townshend Acts, imposing further taxes on goods imported to the colonies. Four more years of increasingly virulent protests forced England to repeal the taxes in 1771.

There's no question that England was doing everything it could to compromise and contain the situation. When occasional violence broke out, it was contained. In the most well-known incident, the 1770 Boston Massacre, where British soldiers fired into a crowd and killed five colonists, two of the soldiers were tried and convicted, and tensions were relieved again.

By 1771, all taxes had been repealed except a tax on importation of tea, and even that tax was often evaded. From a purely objective view, the colonists really had few major grievances at this time.

However, a financial crisis occurred in July 1772, when the English banking system suffered a major crash. Many colonial businesses were in debt to the English banks, and were suddenly unable to obtain further credit, forcing them to liquidate their inventories, thus ending their businesses.

In May 1773, The English Parliament passed a new Tea Act, and in December 1773, a group of Boston activists dumped 342 casks of English tea into Boston Harbor.

The Boston Tea Party can hardly be called a major act of violence. Tea was expensive, of course, but 342 casks of English tea shouldn't have been something to cause a war.

Nonetheless, the Boston Tea Party, has become world famous. It was so electrifying at the time that it surprised and shocked both the colonies and England. After that, one provocation after another on both sides finally led to war.

The furious English Parliament passed a series of "Coercive Acts" to dismantle the colonial Massachusetts government, close the port of Boston, and control the hostilities. This was tantamount to a declaration of war. With positions on both sides becoming increasingly hardened, war was not far off.

Hostilities actually began in April 1775, when the colonial minutemen attacked the British forces following the midnight ride of Paul Revere. The separation became official on July 4, 1776, when the Continental Congress endorsed the Declaration of Independence.

The war continued until November 30, 1782, when American and British representatives signed a peace agreement recognizing American independence.

Aftermath of the Revolutionary War

The end of the Revolutionary War didn't mean the end of the American crisis. There were still grave doubts as to whether the Union could survive. The colonies had formed a very weak Confederation, which left each former colony largely autonomous, adopting its own currencies, taxes, laws and rules. The economy suffered a major recession in 1786, resulting in severe acts of terrorism by bankrupt farmers and businessmen -- acts that couldn't be controlled since the terrorists could not be pursued across state lines because there was no federal army. The crisis did not end until 1790, after the Constitution was ratified and George Washington became president.

A generational crisis war is so horrific that the survivors, both the winners and losers, are willing to make compromises to make sure that nothing like it happens again. The survivors of King Philip's War had agreed to a compromise that allowed Britain to rule the colonies and collect taxes in return for the protection of the British army. That compromise became the issue that led to the next crisis war, the Revolutionary War.

The Revolutionary War was also resolved with a major compromise -- one that permitted slavery to exist in the South, though it was made illegal in the Northern states. The slavery compromise was necessary to create the nation in the first place. But it was also the seed that grew into the issue that almost destroyed the nation in the next generational crisis war -- the American Civil War.

Note: This material was adapted from Chapter 2 of my book, Generational Dynamics - Forecasting America's Destiny, which is available as a free PDF from my download page, http://generationaldynamics.com/download

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Nov-16 World View -- How the First Thanksgiving led to American independence thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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23-Nov-16 World View -- Cameroon: One person killed in English-speaking vs French-speaking civil unrest

Activists call for independence of English-speaking Cameroon

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Cameroon: One person killed in English-speaking vs French-speaking civil unrest


Protests in Bamenda on Monday (RFI)
Protests in Bamenda on Monday (RFI)

Reports indicate that there was at least one death on Monday in clashes between English-speaking (Anglophone) protesters and police, during protests of discrimination and marginalization by the French-speaking (Francophone) majority.

Thousands of Anglophone Cameroonians brought coffins to protests to the city of Bamenda, proclaiming that they were ready to die and be burned in their coffins. Security forces fired tear gas and live bullets to disperse the demonstrators. The amount of violence has been a surprise, causing some to worry of a government crackdown leading to genocide. The 1994 Rwanda genocide is in the minds of the Cameroon people, as it is in the minds of all Africans.

Monday's demonstrations were by Anglophone teachers who were protesting that the government was deploying Francophone teachers teach the French language in Anglophone areas of Cameroon.

The teachers' demonstrations followed demonstrations by Anglophone lawyers in Bamenda two weeks ago to protest that the legal and court systems are biased toward Francophones, with many laws passed without even being translated into English. That demonstration was dispersed by security forces using tear gas. Cameroon Concord and Radio France Internationale (RFI) and International Business Times (London)

Activists call for independence of English-speaking Cameroon


Cameroon, highlighting the English-speaking Southern Cameroons (Nebafuh)
Cameroon, highlighting the English-speaking Southern Cameroons (Nebafuh)

In the 15th century, Portuguese explorers named the area near the mouth of the Wouri River the Rio dos Camaroes (River of Prawns) after the abundant shrimp in the water. Over time the designation became Cameroon in English. This is the only instance where a country is named afer a crustacean.

During the "Scramble for Africa" in the late 1800s, Cameroon became a colony of Germany. However, during World War I, Britain and France forced Germany out of the territory, and created two regions, British Cameroon and French Cameroon.

The war for independence began in 1955 in French Cameroon. Independence was won in 1960, with the Republic of Cameroon.

In 1961 British Cameroon, under a referendum sponsored by the United Nations, was given the choice of joining either Nigeria or the Republic of Cameroon. There was a split with the Northern part of British Cameroon voting to join Nigeria, and the Southern part voting to join the French speaking Cameroon. Overall, the latter won the referendum. The former British Cameroon is now known as the "Southern Cameroons" region of Cameroon, and is home to about 3.2 million English-speaking people. This month's riots and demonstrations took place in Bamenda, a city of 500,000, and the largest city in Southern Cameroons.

During the generational Awakening era that followed, a separatist movement called the Cameroon Anglophone Movement began in 1984. The Southern Cameroons region is adjacent to the Biafra region of Nigeria, and some activists would like to join the two into an independent country. Of course, this is opposed by both the Cameroon and Nigeria governments. International Business Times (27-Feb-2016) and Jacob Crawfurd (Copenhagen) and Nebafuh (activist) and CIA World Factbook

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Nov-16 World View -- Cameroon: One person killed in English-speaking vs French-speaking civil unrest thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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22-Nov-16 World View -- China puts army on high alert along border with Burma (Myanmar)

Burma's army appears to be exterminating Rakhine State Rohingyas

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

China puts army on high alert along border with Burma (Myanmar)


Kachin soldiers in Burma praying
Kachin soldiers in Burma praying

In October of last year, the government of Myanmar (Burma) concluded a peace agreement with its armed ethnic groups that had been under negotiation since 2011. According to the government rhetoric, the agreement was "bringing hope" that the entire country would soon be "at peace."

However, of the 15 armed ethnic groups in Burma, only eight attended the lavish signing ceremony and signed the agreement. The others indicated that they wished to continue fighting Burma's army.

Now three of the non-signers have launched a series of violent attacks on military outposts and police stations across the northern part of the country. Hundreds of people have been forced to flee their homes, some crossing the border into China. The groups are:

The conflicts have resulted in a central part of the country dominated by the majority Burmese, surrounded by various ethnic minority populations who form the majority in their own areas. Most of Myanmar’s ethnic groups are now concentrated within particular regions corresponding more or less to the states named after the seven ethnic nationalities: Karen, Kachin, Mon, Arakanese, Karenni, Chin and Shan.

China's defense ministry issued a statement saying, "The Chinese army is on high alert and will take the necessary measures to safeguard the country's sovereignty and safety, as well as protect the lives and property of Chinese citizens living along the border."

China has not intervened in the Burma conflicts, but might do so if Chinese citizens, in either Burma or China, were threatened. There have at least nine deaths and dozens of wounded.

Following World War II, Burma experienced a series of extremely bloody crisis civil wars that only climaxed in 1958 when the army took over power. There has been sporadic fighting among these groups in the decades since then, but nothing that has escalated into a major war.

But now, 58 years after the climax of the last generational crisis war, Burma is entering a new generational Crisis era. 58 years is the point where the generations of survivors of the last crisis war lose enough of their power (through death or retirement) so that they can no longer influence events enough to prevent a new generational crisis war, and so a major new war could break out now or at any time in the future. South China Morning Post and International Business Times and Radio Free Asia

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Burma's army appears to be exterminating Rakhine State Rohingyas

As we recently reported, Burma's army is conducting a scorched earth attack on Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state. As of a week ago, over 430 buildings had been burned down. Now, Human Rights Watch has released new satellite photos showing that 1,000 homes have been burned down, almost all in Rohingya villages, many of which no longer exist. Dozens of people have been killed, and at least 300,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, with many fleeing into Bangladesh. Witnesses and alleged victims also accused soldiers of widespread rape.

Burma's government has completely closed off the entire region, refusing to allow reporters or investigators to see for themselves what has happened. Furthermore, the government is saying that thousands of Rohingyas have burned down their own homes. I must admit, Dear Reader, that hearing crap like this from government officials really infuriates me. But it's what we've come to expect from leaders like Bashar al-Assad, Vladimir Putin, Robert Mugabe, and Pierre Nkurunziza. AFP and BBC and Deutsche Welle

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Nov-16 World View -- China puts army on high alert along border with Burma (Myanmar) thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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21-Nov-16 World View -- Bizarre monkey attack triggers tribal war in Jabha in southern Libya

Tribal warfare in southern Libya could destabilize all of Libya

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Bizarre monkey attack triggers tribal war in Jabha in southern Libya


Map of Libya, showing regions occupied by different ethnic groups (Al-Araby)
Map of Libya, showing regions occupied by different ethnic groups (Al-Araby)

Clashes between two rival tribes in Sabha in southern Libya, killing dozens of people and wounding over 100, was triggered by a bizarre incident involving a monkey.

A monkey belonging a shopkeeper attacked a group of schoolgirls passing by, bit and scratched some, and pulled her headscarf off one girl's head. The shopkeeper was from the Gaddadfa tribe, which is the tribe of former Libyan dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi.

The schoolgirls are from the Awlad Suleiman tribe. After the incident, men from the Awlad Suleiman tribe killed the monkey and three people from the Gaddadfa tribe, the shopkeeper and his family according to some reports.

Fighting then escalated between the two tribes to involve tanks, mortars, shells and rockets, and has continued for several days. By Sunday there were still sporadic clashes.

During the 2011 Libyan war that resulted in the overthrow and death of Muammar al-Gaddafi, Sabha was the heart of al-Gaddafi's support base, which consisted mainly of the Gaddadfa tribe in Jabha and Sirte, as well as the Warfalla and Merghara tribes from other regions. Al-Araby and Information Nigeria

Tribal warfare in southern Libya could destabilize all of Libya

The region around Sabha is heavily populated by two Arab tribes, the Gaddadfa tribe and the Awlad Suleiman tribe. Also in the region are two non-Arab nomadic Berber ethnic minorities, the Tuareg and Tubu tribes, that are spread across Africa from Libya to the Algeria.

Muammar Gaddafi was successful in manipulating these tribes to his own advance, but since their disappearance there has been a power struggle, leading to frequent outbreaks of violence across Libya’s south. Groups are competing to control borders, strategic assets (such as energy infrastructure and roads), and the formal and informal economy.

The main tensions are between the Arab (Gaddadfa, Awlad Suleiman) and non-Arab (Tuareg, Tubu) tribes. The non-Arab tribes generally have much darker skin than the Arab tribes, and were discriminated against by the Arabs when al-Gaddafi was in power. Since his overthrow, and the end of many border controls, the non-Arab tribes have been moving into other areas, causing increased tensions with the Arab tribes, with clashes erupting among and between the Arab and non-Arab tribes.

The media have been focusing mainly on northern Libya, including cities like Tripoli and Benghazi. But a war among tribes in the south could quickly spread to the north, and even to other countries. Al-Araby (24-Nov-2015) and West Point Combating Terrorism Center (10-Dec-2014)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Nov-16 World View -- Bizarre monkey attack triggers tribal war in Jabha in southern Libya thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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20-Nov-16 World View -- Sri Lanka Sinhalese Buddhist monks accused of racist hate speech against Hindu Tamils

Sri Lanka says that '32 élite, well-educated Muslims' have joined ISIS in Syria

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Sri Lanka Sinhalese Buddhist monks accused of racist hate speech against Hindu Tamils


Image grab from video shows Buddhist monk using racist language to a Hindu Tamil civil servant, while policeman looks on and does nothing
Image grab from video shows Buddhist monk using racist language to a Hindu Tamil civil servant, while policeman looks on and does nothing

Sri Lanka's bloody generational crisis civil war between the market-dominant mostly Buddhist ethnic Sinhalese and the mostly Hindu ethnic Tamils ended in May 2009, and in the seven years since then, the country has been devoted to achieving reconciliation between the two ethnic groups.

So a number of people in both groups are alarmed at the sudden occurrences of racist hate speech by Buddhist monks against Tamils. One video that's gone viral shows a Buddhist monk using extreme racist expletives and abusive language to verbally assault and threaten a Tamil public servant, as a (presumably Sinhalese) uniformed police officer watched, without taking action.

In another incident, a Buddhist leader threatened a "bloodbath" in protest over the arrest of a self-proclaimed "Savior of the Sinhalese."

However, the racist attacks are apparently more ethnically than religiously motivated, as Christian Tamils are also being targeted, as well as Hindu Tamils and Muslim Tamils. More than 70 percent of Sri Lanka's 20 million people are Buddhists, about 13 percent are Hindu, while Muslims make up around 10 percent.

A joint civil society submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in August 2016 documented 132 incidents faced by Christians and 141 incidents against the Muslims, in a span of one year, since 2015. These incidents include attacks on places of religious worship, and minority religious communities being disrupted during times of worship and prayer. Even worse, no attempt has been made to prosecute the offenders.

According to Father S. J. Emmanuel, president of the Global Tamil Forum, the attacks are signs of increasing Sinhalese nationalism by Buddhist monks:

"While the Sri Lankan Constitution clearly guarantees all citizens the right to equality, non-discrimination and freedom of religion and religious worship, the number of attacks against religious and ethnic numerical minorities across Sri Lanka, by ethno-nationalist majoritarian groups, typically led by one or more Buddhist monks, remains unchecked. Civil society groups have consistently documented and reported such attacks to relevant authorities. However, charges have never been brought against the perpetrators, despite the conduct of these monks being in clear violation of hate-speech and anti-discrimination protections under Sri Lankan law."

Both Christian and Hindu Tamil groups have called on the government to bring to justice all those in violation of Sri Lanka’s anti-discrimination and hate-speech laws, including Buddhist monks. This is not very likely to happen.

Sri Lanka is in a generational Recovery era, following the end of the civil war. This is a period of austerity when rules and institutions are devised by the survivors of the civil war to make sure nothing like it ever happens again. These rules and institutions survive for several decades until the Unraveling era, when younger generations have come to power, and the generations that survived the war are no longer running things.

These racist attacks by Buddhist Sinhalese against Hindu and Christian Tamils are the first signs of what's to come in few years, when the first postwar generation comes of age, in the generational Awakening era. Sunday Leader (Colombo, Sri Lanka) and The Hindu (India) and The Island (Colombo)

Sri Lanka says that '32 élite, well-educated Muslims' have joined ISIS in Syria

Sri Lanka's justice minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe says that 32 Sri Lankan Muslim have traveled to Syria to join the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). According to Rajapakshe:

"All these (Muslims) are not from ordinary families. These people are from the families which are considered as well-educated and élite.

There is a greater fear among the public about ISIS. If somebody tries to spread extremism in this country, we will not allow for that from today. The law of this country is no different to Buddhist monks or ordinary people."

However, the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka (MCSL) strongly objected to this statement, saying that the referenced incidents occurred over a year ago:

"We strongly object to this misplaced statement. The facts given by the Minister were reported in the media more than a year ago when a Sri Lankan combatant died fighting with ISIS.

There have been no new reports of any others getting involved since this was reported last year.

It is believed that one family had gone to Syria to provide humanitarian support to the war wounded and refugees. Some of the men are alleged to have joined or forced to join the fighting forces of ISIS. The Muslim community, including the Muslim Council, Jamiathul Ulema and other organizations cooperated with the government in identifying the families to provide the necessary support for the intelligence agencies to investigate."

According to the MCSL, Sri Lanka is unlike other countries in that Sri Lanka Muslims have been condemning un-Islamic comments by Muslims, and there are no madrassas "indoctrinating its children with fundamentalism."

This is entirely believable, and a credible contrast to Muslims in northern Africa, the Mideast and southeast Asia. All of those countries are in generational Crisis eras, with their last generational crisis war having been World War II or earlier, and so the popular mood in those countries is highly nationalistic and xenophobic toward non-Muslims or even Muslims in other branches (i.e., Sunni versus Shia).

But Sri Lanka is in a generational Recovery era, having just gone through an extremely bloody civil war that encompassed Buddhists, Hindus and Christians as well as Muslims. The population is war weary and eager to apply "lessons learned" from the civil war, creating laws and institutions to guarantee that no such horror will ever happen again. There will always be exceptions, but for the time being, Muslims in Sri Lanka are not jihadists and are not supportive of jihadists, as they are in the other 80 or so countries that sent young men and women to Syria to fight the genocidal actions of Bashar al-Assad. As years and decades go by, and new generations come of age, this attitude will change, of course, but right now there are few people who want to thwart the country's attempt at reconciliation. Reuters and New Indian Express

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Nov-16 World View -- Sri Lanka Sinhalese Buddhist monks accused of racist hate speech against Hindu Tamils thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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19-Nov-16 World View -- Japan's troops in South Sudan become first test of new 'collective self-defense' policy

United Nations warns of mass atrocities in South Sudan

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Japan's troops in South Sudan become first test of new 'collective self-defense' policy


Japanese Self-Defense Force soldiers in South Sudan, wearing United Nations blue helmets (Diplomat)
Japanese Self-Defense Force soldiers in South Sudan, wearing United Nations blue helmets (Diplomat)

Japan has had peacekeeping troops from its Self-Defense Force (SDF) in South Sudan since 2012, but they were restricted to doing only one kind of thing -- rebuilding the country's infrastructure, such as roads and refugee camps. In particular, they were forbidden from taking part in any military operation of any kind, because Japan's pacifist constitution, written at the end of World War II, restricts military action to Japanese soil, and then only for self-defense from an invader.

Japan's prime minister Shinzo Abe has approved a change taking effect on November 20 that will deploy 350 SDF troops to South Sudan and allow them to engage in combat if they're attacked, or if other nations' peacekeepers are attacked.

This seems to be a relatively mild change in military orders, but in fact it's a major change in policy. Based on campaigning by Shinzo Abe, in 2015 Japan adopted new "collective self-defense" laws, partially departing from the pacifism in the constitution. The old self-defense clause of the constitution has been interpreted to permit military action only when Japan itself is being attacked, and only on Japanese soil. The new collective self-defense laws reinterpret the self-defense clause to include "collective self-defense," which would permit military action anywhere in the world under some circumstances when an ally (such as the United States) is attacked. I discussed the meaning of "collective self-defense" in detail in 2014 in "5-May-2014 World View -- Japan debates 'collective self-defense' to protect America and Japan".

The reinterpretation of the self-defense clause has been extremely divisive in Japan, and at the time it was passed it even resulted in some fists being thrown in the Diet (Japan's parliament). Abe said that the change was essential for the survival of Japan, while opponents say that approving the exercise of the right to collective self-defensive is a "slippery slope" that will keep expanding to permit additional non-defense military activity.

Opponents of the South Sudan deployment in Japan do indeed view the it as the first step on a slippery slope. According to an editorial in Japan Times:

"Possible use of weapons by the SDF troops in rescuing civilians under attack might trigger counterattacks by enemy forces, which could erupt into unexpected fighting. The chance of such developments cannot be ruled out in the extremely fluid security situation in South Sudan. The Abe administration may think that the new mandate, which will be given to the 350 Ground Self-Defense Force personnel to be dispatched there next month, will bring Japan’s peacekeeping mission closer to international standards. But the government should also be aware of, and be accountable for, what it could possibly entail."

Deutsche Welle and Japan Times and Asahi Shimbun (Tokyo) and The Diplomat

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United Nations warns of mass atrocities in South Sudan

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is warning of a “very real risk of mass atrocities” in South Sudan and that peacekeepers deployed in the country will not be able to stop such a bloodbath. According to Ban, "There is a very real risk of mass atrocities being committed in South Sudan, particularly following the sharp rise in hate speech and ethnic incitement in recent weeks."

The mass atrocities are occurring as a result of renewed ethnic fighting between the Dinka tribe of president Salva Kiir and the Nuer tribe, led by former vice president Riek Machar. Kiir and Machar signed a peace agreement last year in August, but it fell apart several months ago.

The last generational crisis war between the Dinka and Nuer tribes climaxed in 1991 with the "Bor Massacre," in which hundreds of thousands of Dinkas in the Bor community were starved, displaced or killed by invading Nuer militias led by Machar. Thus, South Sudan is in a generational Awakening era, and there are many survivors of the Bor Massacre from both sides who do not want to see anything so horrible happen again, and will do anything they can to prevent it. So an event similar to the Bor Massacre will not occur, and Ban's concern about a new full-scale civil war are not realistic.

What we're seeing in South Sudan is a familiar pattern that I've described many times in countries like Syria, Burundi, Thailand, and Zimbabwe, starting 5-15 years after the climax of a generational ethnic crisis war. The leadership in the country, which represents one ethnic tribe or group, decides that in order to prevent a new civil war, it's necessary to impose "security" by having the security forces commit atrocities against the other ethnic group. AFP

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Nov-16 World View -- Japan's troops in South Sudan become first test of new 'collective self-defense' policy thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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18-Nov-16 World View -- After Brexit and Trump, Italy's Five-Star-Movement may be the next surprise

Italy's Monte dei Paschi di Siena floats desperate rescue plan

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Italy's Monte dei Paschi di Siena floats desperate rescue plan


Matteo Renzi
Matteo Renzi

As we've been reporting, Italy's Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), founded in 1472, and the world's oldest operating bank, is close to collapse because it has $55.2 billion of bad loans on its book. These bad loans are so bad that it's estimated that selling these bad loans to a third party would only get 20% of face value.

Because of these bad loans, somebody is going to have to lose a lot of money. It's illegal under EU rules for Italy's government to use taxpayer money to bail out the bank, since that simply transfers the financial crisis from the bank to the whole country, which would lead to an Italian financial crisis similar to Greece's financial crisis that we've been reporting for years.

The other choice is for those who invested in the bank, by purchasing either stock shares in the bank or bonds issued by the bank, will lose a substantial part of their investments. This might be considered an ideal solution in some circumstances, but it's a disaster in the case of Italy, since many bonds have been sold to ordinary people as a kind of high-interest savings account for those saving for retirement.

MPS is looking for a deal to save the bank from collapse, and is under a kind of deadline. Italy is holding a government reform referendum on December 4, and prime minister Matteo Renzi has said he'd resign if the referendum fails, which polls indicate is likely. That would create government crisis that would spook investors involved in any deal to bail MPS out.

So MPS is floating a last minute deal bondholders (including financial investors and ordinary people) to offer bank stock to holders of $4.6 billion in bank bonds. It's a great deal until you learn that the market value of MPS's stock is just $740 million, which isn't going to go very far in paying off bondholders.

However, bank officials see another sign of hope: Qatar's sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, which reportedly holds $256 billion in assets, is said to be interested in investing in MPS. New Europe and Bloomberg and Market Mogul

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After Brexit and Trump, Italy's Five-Star-Movement may be the next surprise

European leaders were completely unprepared for the passage of the Brexit referendum and the election of Donald Trump, both the result of the rise of a younger generation demanding a change.

And now they're bracing for another jarring election result: The rejection by Italian voters on December 4 of a referendum to reform Italy's government. Prime minister Matteo Renzi claimed that the reform would make Italy's government more stable and efficient.

Renzi announced the referendum late last year when his personal popularity ratings were high, and he said that he would resign if the referendum didn't pass.

This promise probably made sense at the time, but has been disastrous in retrospect. Renzi's popularity has been falling, and the promise has energized his political opponents, particularly the left-wing populist Five Star Movement (M5S), led by Beppe Grillo, an Italian comedian, actor, and political activist. M5S received about one-quarter of the vote in the 2013 elections, has won some major mayoral elections since then, and has become increasingly popular.

Thanks to M5S's campaigning, it now appears more likely than not that the referendum will fail on December 4. Renzi has repeated his pledge that he would resign in that event. Structural problems that the referendum was supposed to fix will remain in place, and paralyze the government.

This would likely cause a loss in confidence in the government by financial investors, and possibly the collapse of the Monte dei Paschi di Siena bank, forcing the government to bail the bank out. This would be a violation of EU rules, and could force Italy to leave the eurozone, replacing the euro currency with its former national currency, the lira.

A lot of things have to happen before that scenario could unfold, and until recently it was thought impossible. But Brexit and the election of Donald Trump were also thought to be "impossible" until they happened, and now European leaders' nerves are rattled as they consider the possibility of a third major electoral shock in 2016. The Local - Italy and UPI and Economist and The Local - Italy

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Nov-16 World View -- After Brexit and Trump, Italy's Five-Star-Movement may be the next surprise thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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17-Nov-16 World View -- African nations furious over possible collapse of climate change agreement

The 'science' of climate change

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

African nations furious over possible collapse of climate change agreement


Banner from an Australian march against climate change
Banner from an Australian march against climate change

The surprise election victory of Donald Trump, who has called climate change "a hoax," has been an extremely unpleasant shock to African leaders attending a climate change conference in Marrakesh, Morocco. Prior to the election, they had hoped that the international climate change agreement would be a financial bonanza, and they angry now that they see all that money slipping away, and are concerned that the entire climate change effort may be near collapse.

A statement by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the Marrakesh conference on Wednesday urged a rapid scale-up in funding for climate change programs, especially to support developing countries. "Finance and investment hold the key to achieving low-emissions and resilient societies," he said.

Many leaders are urging that implementation of the climate change agreement be sped up so that as much as possible can be done while president Barack Obama is still in office.

World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, said that he's trying to mobilize as much as financing as possible."

"It is not just about trying to persuade donors and financiers to put up more money, although we are definitely trying to do that, but it also about creating the environment that crowds in a lot more financing. Even if we have the 100 billion dollars we are talking about, it is not nearly enough to reach our goals. ...

We are trying to find ways to improve the way the existing banking sector understands and considers the risks of climate smart investments."

Kenya's president Uhuru Kenyatta said that the developed countries have an obligation to provide plenty of money to developing countries like Kenya:

"We should aim to ensure achievement of the long-term global goal of stabilizing the global temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial levels, which gives hope to the most vulnerable countries and communities. ...

The process should also take into consideration the obligations of developed country Parties to provide additional, predictable and sustainable support in terms of finance, technology and capacity building to meet the adaptation and mitigation needs of the developing country Parties."

One thing that we've learned over the years is that giving free money to African countries is mostly a disaster. After decades of giving huge amounts of aid to African countries, the people are just as poor and the infrastructure is little changes. Money given to an African leader is used to buy weapons, or to build a new glittering presidential palace, or to be deposited in a foreign bank account. United Nations and Capital FM (Nairobi) and The Hindu

The 'science' of climate change

As I've written in the past:

I'm not aware of any evidence to support the belief that any money spent on the basis of an international climate change agreement would not be completely wasted. BBC

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 17-Nov-16 World View -- African nations furious over possible collapse of climate change agreement thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (17-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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16-Nov-16 World View -- Communal violence grows in Myanmar (Burma) between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims

Syria and Russia resume bombings of women and children in Aleppo

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Communal violence grows in Myanmar (Burma) between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims


Rohingya villages burned down by Burma's army (HRW)
Rohingya villages burned down by Burma's army (HRW)

Fears are growing that Burma's army is conducting a scorched earth attack on Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine state, in revenge for the killing of nine army border guards in October by 20 militants.

Those attacks are believed to be in revenge for massive rounds of Buddhist attacks on Rohingya Muslims in 2012, including murders, rapes, and burning down villages, and for plans announced earlier this year by the government to demolish 12 mosques and 35 madrasas (religious schools) in Rakhine State because they had been built without permission.

Now satellite images published by Human Rights Watch show that Rohingya Muslim villages are again being burned down, but this time by the army. They troops had been sent to the region to prevent further violence, but instead they're conducting further violence. Over 430 buildings have been burned down.

Burma's government is denying that the troops had anything to do with the violence, and suggested that the Rohingyas had burned down their own homes to embarrass the government, a claim that's considered laughable. Burma's government is adamantly refusing to allow reporters or investigators into the area to determine what really happened.

Violence grew over the weekend increased as soldiers killed dozens of Rohingyas, and forced hundreds from their homes into already overcrowded camps.

Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (Burma) had lived there for generations have been slaughtered and driven from their homes by Buddhists led by Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu. The Rohingyas, described by the United Nations as "the most persecuted ethnic group in the world," are not even recognized as Rohingyas by Burma's government, who refer to them as Bangladeshis.

Following the massive attacks on Rohingyas by Buddhists, led by Buddhist monks, we're seeing tit-for-tat increases of violence on both sides. With Myanmar in a generational Crisis era, this is the kind of violence that leads to civil war. Human Rights Watch and Radio Free Asia and Frontier Myanmar

Syria and Russia resume bombings of women and children in Aleppo

Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations envoy for Syria, there are 275,000 people living in east Aleppo, but only about 1,000 of them members of Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) which recently renamed itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) when it cut its ties to al-Qaeda.

But now the long-expected assault on east Aleppo is finally beginning, with the apparent objective of killing as many of the 275,000 people as possible. The new Russian naval war group, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, which has just arrived in at the coast of Syria, launched its first attacks today, sending warplanes and cruise missiles to east Aleppo, Homs and Idlib, while Syrian regime warplanes also pound Aleppo.

Syria's president Bashar al-Assad has been widely condemned in the West as a war criminal, using barrel bombs, Sarin gas, chlorine, ammonia, phosphorous, and other weapons on hospitals, schools and markets with no military objective except to kill as many innocent women and children as possible. Al-Assad continues in the delusional view that this will cause the residents to throw down their weapons and surrender, something that will never happen in Syria's generational Awakening era. AP and VOA

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Nov-16 World View -- Communal violence grows in Myanmar (Burma) between Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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15-Nov-16 World View -- Bulgaria and Moldova elect pro-Russian presidents, turning away from EU

Expect tensions to increase in Poland and Romania

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Bulgaria: Socialist pro-Russian Rumen Radev wins election as president


Presidents-elect: Rumen Radev (Bulgaria), and Igor Dodon (Moldova)
Presidents-elect: Rumen Radev (Bulgaria), and Igor Dodon (Moldova)

Bulgaria's prime minister resigned on Monday after it became clear that his party had lost badly in Sunday's presidential election. The pro-Moscow Socialist candidate Rumen Radev won an overwhelming 59.4% of the vote, compared to 36.2% for his center-right opponent.

Bulgaria is a member of the European Union, and is also a member of NATO, creating a potential political conflict with Russia. Radev has frequently stated his support to end the sanctions on Russia for invading and annexing Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, and this week he praised U.S. President-elect Donald Trump for "seeking more dialogue" with Russia's President Vladimir Putin.

Bulgaria is a mostly Orthodox Christian country in eastern Europe, on the border with Turkey. Like other east European countries, Bulgarian officials fear the consequences of the collapse of the EU-Turkey refugee deal, which would result in a massive new influx of refugees from Syria. As a result, Bulgaria is building a fence along its border with Turkey and Greece.

Bulgaria also has migrant troubles in the other direction. In 2014, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel is warning Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron that Britain might have to leave the European Union if Cameron insists on adopting quotas that would limit the number of migrant workers coming to Britain from eastern European countries, like Bulgaria, Poland and Romania. The irony is enormous. RFE/RL and EuroNews and Greek Reporter (11-Aug)

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Moldova: Socialist pro-Russian Igor Dodon wins highly polarizing presidential election

Socialist Party leader Igor Dodon won Moldova's presidential election on Sunday with 52.2% of the vote, after campaigning to pursue closer ties with Russia rather than the EU.

However, unlike the situation in Bulgaria, the opposing government is not resigning. The opposition leader Maia Sandu said that the elections were neither free nor fair. and accused opponents of using "dirty methods" against her.

Moldova's people are extremely polarized in the political conflict between the European Union and Russia. At the center of the conflict has been the secessionist and mainly Russian-speaking province of Transnistria (also called Trans-Dniester or Transdniester). Russia has thousands of troops stationed there, supposedly as peacekeepers. At the time of Russia's military invasion and annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula, the people of Transnistria, which is on Ukraine's border, were expressing the hope that Russia's military would annex Transnistria as well.

In fact, Dodon is apparently prepared to grant Transnistria a special status, short of full secession:

"For the first time in the recent seven years, all the pro-Moldova and pro-state forces have united for friendship with Russia, for neutrality, for our Orthodoxy, for the unity of the country in settling the Transnistria conflict. The first step has been made. ...

"My position remains unchanged," he continued. "We should grant a special status to Transnistria. ... I believe, the country’s federalization is the only solution."

On Monday, up to 3,000 mostly young Moldovans marched to the offices of the Central Election Committee in Chisinau, the country's capital city, shouting "Down with the Mafia!"

There are fears that a pro-Russian government in Chisinau will result in an expansion of Russian military forces in Moldova, and this would cause a hardening of relations with Ukraine and Romania, and indeed with the entire European Union. Al-Jazeera and Tass (Moscow) and RFE/RL

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Nov-16 World View -- Bulgaria and Moldova elect pro-Russian presidents, turning away from EU thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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14-Nov-16 World View -- Britain's National Health Service (NHS) forced to close emergency rooms

Syrian regime sending 'leave or die' text messages to Aleppo residents

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Britain's National Health Service (NHS) forced to close emergency rooms


A patient in Britain is moved from an ambulance to an Accident & Emergency department.  (Getty)
A patient in Britain is moved from an ambulance to an Accident & Emergency department. (Getty)

There have been plenty of recent stories about the financial collapse of Obamacare, and the astronomical increases in premiums -- something that I predicted would happen that day after it was announced in 2009, because it was a repeat of President Nixon's wage-price controls, which were supposed to lower the inflation rate from 4% to 2%, but instead increased it to 12%. The increases in Obamacare premiums are following the same pattern as Nixon's price controls, as I predicted. Obamacare is a true financial disaster.

However, it's been less reported that Britain's National Health Service (NHS) is also facing financial collapse.

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

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

New reports indicate that about half the hospitals will have bed cuts, and one-third will close their Accident & Emergency departments (known in America as Emergency Rooms). Many maternity units will also be targeted for closure.

The country has been split into 44 areas, with each told to produce proposals to balance the books and change the way care is delivered. The UK now has fewer beds for its population than almost any country in Europe. One quarter of hospital beds have been closed in the last decade, with 37,000 fewer general and acute beds now than in 2006/7, taking levels of hospital occupancy to a record high. Telegraph (London) and Guardian (London)

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Syrian regime sending 'leave or die' text messages to Aleppo residents

The long-expected mass slaughter of residents of east Aleppo by Russian and Syrian regime forces may finally be imminent, as the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad is sending text messages to east Aleppo residents telling them to leave the area within 24 hours.

The text messages say the following:

"To the armed people in the neighburhoods of east Aleppo, we are giving you 24 hours only to decide if you are leaving. Your leadership abroad is incapable of getting you out. Whoever wants to stay alive must drop his weapons and we will secure his safety. After the 24 hours is up we will implement a strategic attack using highly sophisticated weapons.

The opposition leadership that stays in hotels and castles enjoying a luxurious life doesn’t care about the poor Syrian citizens in east Aleppo. They are using you for their personal benefit. We are giving you, the sick and the wounded, 24 hours to exit if you want."

The use of text messages is a new tactic, as the regime has previously transmitted messages by dropping leaflets or using loudspeakers.

However, anti-government activists have told reporters that few people are actually reading the text messages, since there no electricity to charge mobile phones. Many believe that the text messages are no more than psychological warfare.

A new Russian naval war group, led by the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, has just arrived in at the coast of Syria, preparing for battle. East Aleppo has about 250,000 residents, already starving, mostly women and children, and the al-Assad regime has indicated that it wants to kill as many of them as possible. Al-Jazeera and Telegraph (London)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Nov-16 World View -- Britain's National Health Service (NHS) forced to close emergency rooms thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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13-Nov-16 World View -- Multiple terror bombings cross Pakistan and Afghanistan

14-year-old suicide bomber kills dozens in Sufi shrine in Pakistan

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Taliban attack on German consulate in Afghanistan kills six


German consulate in Mazar Hotel in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan destroyed by Taliban (Reuters)
German consulate in Mazar Hotel in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan destroyed by Taliban (Reuters)

A suicide car bomber rammed Germany's consulate in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing six civilians and wounding more than 120. The ensuing gun battle continued for around five hours. All German and Afghan employees of the consulate were unharmed. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said, "The attackers were fought off by the consulate's security personnel, Afghan security forces, and German, Georgian, Belgian and Latvian special forces stationed in the city as part of the Resolute Support mission." Mazar-i-Sharif is the provincial capital and one of the richest and most important cities in Afghanistan. Deutsche-Welle and AP

Afghan Taliban attack on Bagram base kills four Americans

A man wearing a suicide vest killed two U.S. service members and two U.S. contractors early Saturday inside Bagram military base, the largest NATO military base in Afghanistan. A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the attack, and said it had been planned for four months.

Bagram Airfield features several layers of security, including retinal scans. The attacker was one of the Afghan laborers working on the base. NBC News and Arab Times (Kuwait)

14-year-old suicide bomber kills dozens in Sufi shrine in Pakistan

At least 52 people were killed and over 100 wounded in a suicide bombing by a 14-year-old boy at a Sufi shrine about 760 km south of Quetta and 100 km north of Karachi in Pakistan's southwestern province Balochistan.

The bombing occurred just before sunset during a daily Sufi ritual trance-like dance or "dhamaal." Many people come each day just for the dance, including non-Muslims. At least 500 people had gathered on Saturday for the dance and for a picnic.

The so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) is claiming credit for the attack, giving rise to the speculation that the boy's parents have joined an ISIS-linked terror group in Pakistan. However, ISIS has the practice of claiming credit for terror attacks it's had nothing to do with, and that may be the case this time.

An attack occurred three weeks ago at a police training facility in Quetta, killing 61 people, mostly fresh police recruits. That attack was blamed on the Al Alami offshoot of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a terror group that has vowed to exterminate all Shias in Pakistan, and has carried out numerous terrorist actions targeting Shias and Sufis. LeJ is also thought to have links to ISIS, and it's possible that Saturday's attack was linked to LeJ.

In August, Jamaat ul-Ahrar (JuA, Assembly of Freedom) claimed responsibility for another terror attack at Quetta's Civil Hospital, killing at least 75 people. JuA has also declared allegiance to ISIS.

Last month's Quetta attack sent shock waves through Pakistan's society, as they continue their internal debates between "good and bad Taliban," and this new attack will intensify that debate. Express Tribune (Pakistan) and Press Trust of India (PTI) and Smithsonian Magazine on Sufi dance

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Nov-16 World View -- Multiple terror bombings cross Pakistan and Afghanistan thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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12-Nov-16 World View -- India's prime minister Narendra Modi declares 500-1000 rupee notes worthless

Many wives face hardship because their 'hidden cash' is now worthless

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Only 1% of people in India pay any income taxes at all


Man holding a wad of 500 rupee notes that have now become worthless paper (Reuters)
Man holding a wad of 500 rupee notes that have now become worthless paper (Reuters)

In May of this year, India's government released a report on tax compliance for the first time in decades. According to the report, only about 1% of India's population paid taxes on their earnings in 2013. By contrast, the figure is 45% in the United States.

Here are some reasons for this:

India Today (2-May) and International Business Times (6-Jun-2013) and CNBC

India's prime minister Narendra Modi declares 500-1000 rupee notes worthless

India's rupee currency fell sharply against the dollar this week, after prime minister Narendra Modi announced on Wednesday that all notes 500 rupee and 1000 rupee notes (equivalent to about $7.50 and $15.00, respectively) would immediately become worthless, in the sense that they are no longer "legal tender," and can no longer be used for commerce. New 500-1000 notes with additional security features will be issued "soon."

A person with 500-1000 rupee notes can deposit them in his bank account until December 31. However, anyone depositing more than 250,000 rupees will have to account for the money, and will be subject to tax, a 200% penalty, and prosecution.

The term "black money" refers to money that has not been declared to the income tax department. Someone who deposits a sack full of cash can expect to get notices from the income tax department demanding an explanation of where this money came from. The person will be subject to a full audit, and required to submit personal books of accounts. The income tax department will be conducting unannounced raids to look for assets like gold and property papers.

India's government hopes that this desperate measure will bring in several billion dollars in additional tax revenue.

Hopefully, someone in India's government will realize that this will work only once because of its surprise value, and that in the future people will figure out new ways to avoid paying taxes. India Times and International Business Times and New Delhi TV

Many wives face hardship because their 'hidden cash' is now worthless

Many people kept their cash for daily living in the form of 500-1000 rupee notes, and suddenly their cash was worthless.

People flooded the banking system on Thursday and Friday to obtain cash, but the banks were unprepared and ran out of cash, causing people to wait in line for a long as ten hours. Even worse, many rural areas of India have no banks at all. Commercial currency exchange businesses around the world immediately stopped accepting the 500-1000 notes, leaving Indian people stranded in foreign countries with no money.

Women in India are hardest hit by the new policy, according to the BBC Hindi correspondent Shivani Kohawk(?). She explained the problems that women in India have (my transcription):

"Basically, women in India have traditionally tried to save money by stealing from their husbands, and this is something I was told to do when I got married. My cousins have done it, my mother's done it. What they do is when the man comes back home, after a hard day's work, he's always carrying some cash, and they try and sneak out a couple of hundreds, and put them away, and that's their way of keeping money aside, for things they might want to do which they're not allowed to do, as part of the family remit, or buy extra presents for their close friends and family, or just even to tide over a rainy day.

And you will not believe it, but these sums can really really add up. And I think a lot of women now in India are wondering, oh my goodness, what should we do? How do we declare this so-called black money? That's one part of why Indian women would be holding on to cash.

There's also traditionally a culture of giving money as gifts, especially with weddings, close members of the family, instead of buying expensive presents would give you wads of cash, and the more affluent the relative, the bigger the sums of money, and as soon as the bride is done with all the wedding bonanza, she gets down to collecting her cash. And there she is, and obviously the more affluent the family, the bigger the sums. And again, this is her property. She holds onto it for her dear life. She doesn't give it to her husband.

The third thing that women do in India is called a Kitty Party. And what they do is - they get together and they pool in money. So you have a group of women, say, ten women, they all put 1000 rupees in, and at the end it there's ten thousands, and every month they'll meet, and one of them gets to take the 10,000 home."

She said that many women will be worried now that they have to deposit their "hidden money" into a bank. Special Broadcasting Service (Australia) and Canadian Broadcasting and International Business Times

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 12-Nov-16 World View -- India's prime minister Narendra Modi declares 500-1000 rupee notes worthless thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (12-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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11-Nov-16 World View -- Hundreds of Australian migrants to be resettled in the United States

As winter approaches, Syria's east Aleppo faces mass starvation

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Hundreds of Australian migrants to be resettled in the United States


Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea (AAP)
Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea (AAP)

Reports indicate that Australia and the United States are close to a deal where about 1,800 migrants from Australian detention centers in Pacific islands will be resettled in the United States.

There have been reports for months that Australia was working on a deal to resettle the migrants in an unnamed country. It now appears that the unnamed country is the United States, and the deal was held up pending the US presidential election, so that it would not affect the election results. Now that the election is over, the deal can be completed and implemented in the presidential lame duck period.

In past years, thousands of refugees from Asia have traveled by boat to Australia, often after paying huge sums to human traffickers, hoping to resettle there. Australia has dealt with the situation, starting in 2001, by setting up two "detention centers" on Pacific islands, one on Papua New Guinea's (PNG's) Manus Island, and one on the island nation of Nauru, under agreements reached with both countries. Australia intercepts the boat people while at sea, and redirects them to the detention centers. These two filthy, rat-infested detention centers have been enormously controversial, with numerous stories of beatings, torture, and sexual abuse at the detention centers. The detention centers were shut down in 2007, but reinstated when the number of refugees and asylum seekers surged again into the thousands.

The detention center policy has been extremely successful, in that the number of migrants reaching Australia has been sharply reduced. However, the policy has been widely condemned as cruel to people fleeing poverty and violence, and as a violation of international laws.

Immigration department chief Michael Pezzullo refused on Friday to confirm that a deal is pending, but said "We are working actively on those arrangements ... today we are closer than what we were yesterday." He also refused to discuss which countries are in negotiations with Australia, but some reports indicate that Canada may be in negotiations as well. Special Broadcasting Service (Australia) and Sydney Morning Herald

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As winter approaches, Syria's east Aleppo faces mass starvation

With the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad blocking food aid to east Aleppo, the UN aid agencies are will run out of food next week, and some 250,000 people will be facing mass starvation, with winter approaching.

Russia has been building for a massive military assault on east Aleppo, including more warplanes, and cruise missiles. Al Jazeera and BBC and VOA

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Nov-16 World View -- Hundreds of Australian migrants to be resettled in the United States thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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10-Nov-16 World View -- Donald Trump: The honeymoon calm before the storm

Is this the Apocalypse?

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Donald Trump victory signals a major increase in nationalism


Supporters and opponents of Donald Trump outside Trump Tower in Manhattan on Wednesday (Boston Globe)
Supporters and opponents of Donald Trump outside Trump Tower in Manhattan on Wednesday (Boston Globe)

Two weeks ago, I wrote Clinton e-mail media storm shows sudden change in public mood after FBI Director James B. Comey made a Friday afternoon announcement that he might re-open the Clinton e-mail case. Friday afternoon announcements, including many previous announcements about Benghazi and Clinton e-mail dumps, are almost always immediately forgotten, but this one created a media storm in the mainstream media, indicating a sudden change in public mood.

As I wrote at the time, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the media storm was much more important than whether Clinton was guilty or innocent, because it indicated that the public mood was changing. And that media storm was a harbinger of the Trump victory which was a surprise to almost every media source and almost every polling organization.

Now Donald Trump has to govern. He's very similar to Barack Obama in that neither has the vaguest clue what's going on in the world. And after eight years in office, Obama seems to know as little today about what's going on in the world as he did eight years ago.

It remains to be seen whether Donald Trump will be any better at learning what's going on in the world than Barack Obama. Boomers are generally less arrogant and more willing to listen to reason than Gen-Xers, so there's hope.

One thing that his staff might do is develop some expertise in generational theory. Generational Dynamics is a non-ideological methodology that does analyses using MIT's System Dynamics applied to changes in generations. Since 2003, the http://GenerationalDynamics.com web site contains thousands of articles with hundreds of predictions, all of which have turned out to be right. There is no web site, analyst, politician or journalist with a success record in correct analyses and forecasts that comes even close to the Generational Dynamics success.

If the staff of Donald Trump, or any other politician in the country or the world, wants to base policy on what's actually going on in the world, rather than on fatuous left-wing or right-wing ideologies that are almost always wrong, then they should develop an understanding of generational theory, and read the daily World View articles.

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Brexit referendum and US election illustrate dangers of predicting elections

As I've been writing for years, starting long before the current election, this is a generational Crisis era, and as in other Crisis eras, nationalism, racism and xenophobia have been increasing in countries around the world.

This trend illustrates why pollsters have been so wrong in both the Brexit referendum and the US elections. Pollsters were using models that date back to the 1990s, a generational Unraveling era when the Silent generation was still in charge, and knew the enormous dangers of nationalism, racism and xenophobia from having survived World War II. Polling organizations using 1990s models simply did not see the change in attitudes caused by the disappearance of the generations of survivors of World War II.

During the campaign, I was asked several times whether Generational Dynamics could predict the result of the election. The easy answer is that Chaos Theory proves that election results cannot be predicted, and any polling organization would agree.

For those who would like some additional technical details about this, I use a fairly simple test to determine whether or not something can be predicted.

When I want to decide whether something can or cannot be predicted, I use what I call "the butterfly test." You may have heard about the finding from Chaos Theory that a butterfly flapping its wings in China could start a chain reaction that might (or might not) cause a hurricane in North America. That's one reason why it's mathematically impossible to accurately predict the weather more than about two weeks in advance. No matter how advanced weather science becomes, whether forecasting will never be any better than it is now.

So I build on that concept. A butterfly flapping its wings in China could cause a hurricane in North America, and that could cause people to stay home, changing the outcome of an election. Since something as tiny as a butterfly flapping its wings could change the outcome of an election, there's no hope of predicting the outcome of an election. Or if you use polls to predict the results of an election, you likely have no better than a 50-50 or 55-45 chance of getting it right.

What generational theory does do is predict broad trends involving entire populations or entire generations. These trends can't be affected by a butterfly flapping its wings because there are too many people involved. People have free will, so you can't predict the actions of an individual or a small group of people, but you can predict many things about an entire population or an entire generation.

The honeymoon calm before the storm

Almost everyone I know hated this presidential campaign, as the two candidates at times seemed to be in a race to be more sickening and disgusting than the other. How low could the country go?

Pollster Frank Luntz, appearing on 60 Minutes last Sunday, has been conducting political focus groups for years, and he traces the growth in political vitriol as starting in the 2000 presidential election, when Al Gore won the popular vote, but George W. Bush became president after six weeks and a Supreme Court decision. According to Luntz:

"And in that six weeks, we came from being Democrats and Republicans to being outraged, to believing that the other side is trying to steal the election. And when the election was over, there was no coming together. There was no honeymoon. And from that point on, the goal has been to delegitimize. Not to respect and at least to listen to, but to delegitimize the opposition. And now today in 2016, hours from now, it will be tens of millions of people who will believe that the loser should have won, that the election was rigged, and that the winner is illegitimate. ...

I feel like I’m a child of a divorce. These two candidates, the way they fight, the way they yell at each other, the way they make it personal, it’s like having your parents get divorced, and you don’t want to live with either of them. And the judge sits there and says, “Pick one or the other.” And you say, “How about the jury? Can I-- can I go there?” It’s awful."

Luntz suggested that the "social media" is at fault. "There were people in that focus group who used language that if my mom was still alive and I said it, she would literally cut me out of the will. There’s no self-censoring. So we now say exactly what we feel. And, goddamn it, you’re gonna listen to me. And that’s really what it is right now. You’re gonna listen to me. I’m not gonna learn from you. You’re gonna listen to me."

Many people are hoping that the vitriolic attacks will end, now that the election is over, and that things can return to "normal." And when they say "normal," they mean the 1990s -- a generational Unraveling era. That's not going to happen.

The generational Crisis era ("Fourth Turning") officially began in 2003, 58 years after the end of World War II, as the last of the Silent generation retired. The vitriolic attacks on George Bush had begun a couple of years earlier, as Luntz described, but they've only become worse since then, and they've gone in both directions between Republicans and Democrats.

I titled this article "the honeymoon calm before the storm" as kind of a joke. New presidents are supposed to have a "honeymoon" that lasts 100 days or so into his new administration, but that was before the rise of Generation-X. Trump will be lucky if his "honeymoon" lasts the rest of this month.

This kind of chaotic storm always happens during a generational Crisis era. In the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt was deeply hated for many of his decisions. One of the worst was his decision to try to "pack" the Supreme Court by expanding it 15 judges, in order to get the court to stop declaring his favorite new laws unconstitutional. And you can imagine how vitriolic the attacks must have become when Roosevelt became the first US president to run for a third term.

The previous generational Crisis era saw the election in 1860 of Abraham Lincoln as president. This infuriated the Southern states, and led to the Civil War.

Many people are describing what's happening today as unique in American history. That's far from true. What's happening today happens in every country in every generational Crisis era. CBS 60 Minutes and History.com

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Is this the Apocalypse?

I heard several journalists on the BBC and RFI on Wednesday talk about the end of the world, the Apocalypse. There were several reasons why the world was going to end. One was because Trump was going to end climate change talks, and we're all going to freeze to death ... I mean, burn to death. And the other was because Trump was going to start a nuclear war, and start dropping nuclear bombs on everyone. Nobody mentioned the Apocalypse caused by an attack by China.

This talk of Apocalypse is silly, but it's also not far from the truth. President Roosevelt's term led to World War II, and President Lincoln's term led to the Civil War. That's what happens during a generational Crisis era, no matter who's president.

As I've been writing for years, the world is headed for a new world war, the Clash of Civilizations world war. The allies of the West will include Japan, India, Russia and Iran. The enemies will be China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries. This will be the greatest war in history. By the time it's over, every nuclear weapon in the world will have been used on someone. I estimate that the total deaths from nuclear war, ground war, famine and disease to be around 3-4 billion people, leaving around 4 billion people to rebuild the world.

And here's another little bit of irony. Assuming that this war begins during Donald Trump's term in office, and assuming that the United States survives the war, then Trump will become a national hero, with the stature of Roosevelt and Lincoln.

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Nov-16 World View -- Donald Trump: The honeymoon calm before the storm thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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9-Nov-16 World View -- EU's expected scathing report on Turkey may scuttle refugee deal

Austria says EU must prepare for collapse of Turkey migrant deal

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

EU's expected scathing report on Turkey may scuttle refugee deal


Hungary border protection (AP)
Hungary border protection (AP)

The European Commission on Tuesday will issue it annual report on Turkey's progress towards European Union membership, and the report is expected to be scathingly critical. According to media reports, it will criticize Turkey's crackdown on more than 110,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants who have been fired or jailed. About 35,000 have been jailed after being accused, often with no evidence, of supporting the July 15 aborted coup attempt or of being a supporter of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

It will also reference the threat by Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan to reinstate the death penalty. This alone will end talks for Turkey to join the European Union. It could also mean the end of visa liberalization plans that would permit Turkey's citizens to travel freely in Europe without a visa.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Jüncker said the following:

"I note with bitterness, I who am a friend of Turkey, that Turkey is distancing itself from Europe every day. ... All that the Turkish authorities are doing today leads me to believe that in the end Turkey does not want to ... meet European standards. ...

If tomorrow we refused visa liberalization for Turkey, the blame should not be put on Europe but on the Turkish authorities. Mr. Erdogan will have to explain to the Turks why they cannot travel freely across Europe like every other European, because he will be the one who has not fulfilled the conditions jointly agreed between Turkey and the European Union. ...

We need Turkey. But we cannot give up on our main principles."

In a speech on Sunday, Erdogan responded to accusations from the EU that he was becoming a dictator, and expressed contempt for the EU concern for human rights over the need to stop terrorism in Turkey:

"Europe has been on a course that is leading to its own demise.

Those who are willing to drown the rest of the world in blood to preserve the sense of security and peace inside their own borders move further from humanity each day."

Erdogan has ridiculed the EU for having a weak policy for refugees, when Turkey has taken in at least 2.7 million Syrian refugees and houses 270,000 in 26 provisional refugee camps with food, health and education services as well as psychological support, vocational education and social activities, and has spent 7 billion euros meeting their needs.

The EU-Turkey migrant deal has been dramatically successful, reducing the number of migrants traveling across the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece to around a few dozen per day, down from thousands per day last year. However, the terms of that deal require visa liberalization, visa-free travel for all Turkish citizens in Europe's Schengen Zone, as well as billions of dollars in aid to Syrian refugees in Turkey. Those terms were to be met by June of this year, but they have not yet taken place.

Now Jean-Claude Jüncker is suggesting that visa liberalization will not occur at all. Turkish officials have repeatedly said that without visa liberalization, the EU-Turkey deal would be canceled, suggesting that once more there would be thousands of Syrian refugees per day crossing from Turkey to Greece.

The words between EU and Turkish officials have been getting increasingly vitriolic, but so far they're just words. Wednesday's EU progress report on Turkey could change things to stoking more nationalism in Turkey, but so far there are no signs that Turkey is really about to cancel the deal. Euro News and Reuters

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Austria says EU must prepare for collapse of Turkey migrant deal

Austria will meet next with the central European nations of the Visegrad group - Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic - all of whom are opposed to the EU's migrant policy, to prepare for the collapse of the EU-Turkey migrant deal.

According to Hans Peter Doskozil, Austria's defense minister:

"I have always said that the EU-Turkey deal should only be a stop-gap measure until the EU is in the position to effectively protect its external borders and thereby stem the flow of migrants. The time to organize for that is ever closer."

Austria is calling for tougher border controls, and an end of aid to Turkey.

Austria's foreign minister Sebastian Kurz said that the EU must adopt a different policy:

"Over recent years Turkey has moved further and further away from the EU, but our policy has remained the same. That can’t work. What we need are clear consequences.

In Turkey, opposition figures are being arrested, journalists are being persecuted, officials are being fired if they think differently and the return of the death penalty is being talked about.

[Stopping the funds] is the logical consequence ... It is quite clear that this money will not flow if Turkey does not stick to its side of the deal."

Other EU leaders are becoming using increasingly vitriolic words towards Turkey. Luxembourg’s foreign minister Jean Asselborn referred to Turkey's dismissal of civil servants and firing of academics:

"To put it bluntly, these are methods that were used during the Nazi era and that’s a really, really bad development ... that the EU simply cannot accept."

As I've been writing for years, in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war, the US and the West will be allied with Japan, India, Russia and Iran, fighting against China, Pakistan, and the Sunni Muslim countries, including Turkey. Deutsche Welle and Hurriyet (Ankara) and EU Observer

Hungary's Viktor Orbán defeated in attempt to ban refugee quotas

Hungary's anti-immigrant prime minister Viktor Orbán suffered a setback on Tuesday when the the parliament rejected an anti-migrant bill in response to the European Union resettlement plan and a specific EU quota to allow a reported 1,294 refugees to relocate to Hungary.

The parliamentary rejection occurred because the MPs of the anti-immigrant Jobbik, which would have been expected to support the bill, abstained on the vote. Jobbik was objecting to a separate measure supported by Orbán that permitted any foreigner with $331,000 to settle in Hungary. According to Jobbik MP Marton Gyongyosi:

"We have said that of course we are against the resettlements to Hungary by Brussels and we are against migration quotas, but we are equally against migrants to Hungary who perhaps have €300,000 to spend. If you want to say 'No' to poor ones, you have to say 'No' to rich migrants."

This is Orbán's second recent setback. Orbán supported a divisive reference that was held on October 2 on the same subject. Of the 3.3 million people who voted, 98% supported the referendum. But the referendum failed anyway, according to Hungary's constitution, because only 40.4% of Hungary's voters voted, short of the required 50% threshold. Budapest Business Journal and CNN and BBC

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Nov-16 World View -- EU's expected scathing report on Turkey may scuttle refugee deal thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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8-Nov-16 World View -- China orders Hong Kong to disqualify anyone not taking 'sincere' loyalty oath to China

Advice on traveling to China

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

China orders Hong Kong to disqualify anyone not taking 'sincere' loyalty oath to China


A protester raises a yellow umbrella in front of a line of police officers in Hong Kong on Sunday
A protester raises a yellow umbrella in front of a line of police officers in Hong Kong on Sunday

Mainland China has preempted Hong Kong's courts by ordering Hong Kong to "reinterpret" its laws so that the two pro-democracy "localists" who changed the wording of their oath of office will not be able to enter the legislature by taking the oath again.

China suffered a stinging defeat when a September 4 election gave pro-democracy or "localist" candidates 27 out of 70 seats in the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo). Two of those elected, Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chun-hang, from "Youngspiration," went beyond "pro-democracy" to advocating full Hong Kong independence from China. When they took their oaths of office on October 12, they changed the wording of the official oath of office to express support for Hong Kong's independence. They also referred to China as "Chee-na," mimicking the derogatory Shina used by Japan during the second world war. The Hong Kong courts were asked to decide whether the two should be permitted to re-take their oaths, or be completely disqualified from entering LegCo.

On Monday, Beijing's National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee "reinterpreted" Hong Kong laws, essentially ordering the Hong Kong government to disqualify the two, and possibly others who have ever supported independence. The oath must be taken "sincerely and solemnly," and must "bear allegiance to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People' s Republic of China."

In addition, China may revive a long-dormant national security law that was dropped in the past. That law would provide legislation covering secession, subversion, theft of state secrets, and activities of foreign political organizations. Xinhua and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and Hong Kong Free Press and Bloomberg

Hong Kong police prepare for massive street protests

Police in Hong Kong used pepper spray on Sunday to disperse 8,000 to 10,000 demonstrators protesting against the expected decision by Beijing to "reinterpret" Hong Kong laws. Some of the demonstrators used umbrellas to protect themselves from the pepper spray, as they had done during the 2014 demonstrations that launched the "umbrella revolution."

Hong Kong is deploying some 2,000 police officers around the clock this week, in preparation for further protests.

Several commentators have pointed out that Hong Kong politics has become more confrontational. In the past, when institutions were led by survivors of the bloody Communist Revolution, protestors saw peaceful protest as the best way to bring about change.

However, as survivor generations have died off, and radical new generations have come of age, protestors are argument that peaceful protests have achieved nothing, and that more confrontational tactics are required.

One can easily see that this won't end well. Hong Kong is only going to become more radicalized, and Beijing is only going to become more anxious and nationalistic. The same is true in Taiwan, and even in Tibet and Xinjiang. At some point, the Chinese Communist Party in Beijing will decide that enough is enough. South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and BBC

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Advice on traveling to China

Are you planning a trip to China? A number of Holly pros offer the following advice:

Hollywood Reporter

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Nov-16 World View -- China orders Hong Kong to disqualify anyone not taking 'sincere' loyalty oath to China thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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7-Nov-16 World View -- US-backed Kurdish militias in Syria make surprise announcement of Raqqa operation

Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad a 'necessary evil'?

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

US-backed Kurdish militias in Syria make surprise announcement of Raqqa operation


Kurdish forces on Sunday preparing to liberate Raqqa (Rudaw)
Kurdish forces on Sunday preparing to liberate Raqqa (Rudaw)

The Kurdish US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Sunday announced the beginning of an operation to recapture Raqqa from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). Raqqa, a city of over 300,000 people, has served as the "capital city" for ISIS.

Different news reports of the operation are calling it by different, though similar names. The names I've seen so far are:

The announcement was a surprise, coming so soon after the beginning of the operation to recapture the city of Mosul in Iraq from ISIS. It's possible that the start of the operation was speeded up in order to give ISIS less time to prepare. However, both of the operations, in Raqqa and Mosul, are expected to take months, and to require bloody street to street fighting.

The announcement is also controversial because the principal fighters are Kurds, something that's opposed by Turkey and by many Arab Sunnis. The Kurds have treated Sunni Arabs harshly in other cities that the Kurds have liberated from ISIS, and have expelled many of the Sunnis, and Raqqa Sunnis are afraid that the same thing will happen to them. This is not an unreasonable fear. The Kurds are known to be trying to form an independent Kurdish state called "Rojava" in northern Syria and Iraq, along the border with Turkey, and so expelling Sunni Arabs from Raqqa would be consistent with this plan.

Turkey on the other hand has launched Operation Euphrates Shield on the other (western) side of the Euphrates River, allied with the Free Syrian Army, to recapture regions around Aleppo from ISIS, and also to block the Kurds from creating Rojava. Turkey is bitterly opposed to the use of Kurdish militias in Syria, since it considers them to be terrorists, allied with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group by the US and Europe, and has been conduction terrorist bombings in Turkey.

Turkey had wanted to participate in the liberation of Raqqa, and didn't want the Kurds to participate. The US had to choose between the two, and chose the Kurds. Haaretz (Israel) and Rudaw (Iraqi Kurdistan) and AP

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Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad a 'necessary evil'?

I've written frequently that Syria's Alawite/Shia president Bashar al-Assad is the worst genocidal leader so far in the 21st century, because of his war crimes and his apparent attempted extermination of the Alawite's historic enemies, the Syrian Sunnis. One web site reader says that al-Assad is a "necessary evil":

"I personally do not like Assad, John, I even wrote a very lengthy article about how the U.S. should interfere to end the war and depose his regime, but my views have since evolved. As evil as Bashar may be, he is a necessary evil to the region -- at least for now, especially in the wake of the massive geopolitical changes going on right now."

I understand your argument, but there are two problems with it.

First, why is he "necessary"? You're making an assumption that the region is better off with him there, committing genocide against Sunnis, than the region would be without him. How do you justify that assumption? Was Adolf Hitler a necessary evil for Germany when he perpetrated the Holocaust? Was Mao Zedong a necessary evil for China when he perpetrated the Great Leap Forward? Was Pol Pot a necessary evil for Cambodia when he perpetrated the Killing Fields? I don't think you can successfully make the argument you're trying to make.

Second, I think it's demonstrable, or very close to it, that the region would be better off without him. The civil war in Syria didn't spring from nowhere. It was caused when al-Assad unleashed his army and air force against peaceful protesters in 2011. Up to that point, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were friendly with al-Assad. Things really turned around in August 2011, when al-Assad launched a massive military assault on a large, peaceful Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia, filled with tens of thousands of women and children Palestinians. That's what led to the geopolitical disaster you're alluding to.

Since then, Sunnis have been fighting Shia/Alawite Assad on a sectarian basis. The Sunni groups fighting Assad can be split into rough categories:

Since 2011, The rise of Sunni groups fighting al-Assad has brought in countervailing sectarian forces from Iran and Russia. This has turned the Syrian "civil war" into a proxy war.

This is a generational Awakening era for Syria, like America in the 1960s when people were still living in the shadow of WW II and did not want another war. In Syria today, the war was begun by al-Assad in 2011 by attacking peaceful protesters, and is continuing today because of unceasing attacks by al-Assad, Russia, Hezbollah and Iran -- and even so, al-Assad's army is struggling for survival.

So I claim that it's demonstrable that if al-Assad were replaced by a technocrat, then the war would fizzle. Syria would once again get along with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The Syrians -- the FSA and al-Nusra -- would then unite and expel ISIS. This is what happened in Iraq during the "surge" in 2007, when the Iraqi Sunnis united and expelled foreign fighters from al-Qaeda in Iraq. Millions of people in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, Turkey, and even Europe could then return to their homes in Syria.

So I disagree with you. Al-Assad is not a "necessary evil." He's an extremely destructive evil. Bashar al-Assad is the first major genocidal leader of the 21st century, and the most evil leader so far in the 21st century.

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Nov-16 World View -- US-backed Kurdish militias in Syria make surprise announcement of Raqqa operation thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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6-Nov-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan eliminates more opposition in quest for power

Erdogan continues his war against Turkey's media

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey's Erdogan eliminates more opposition in quest for power


The editor and leading reporters of Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest and most respected newspaper, were arrested on Saturday (Hurriyet)
The editor and leading reporters of Cumhuriyet, Turkey's oldest and most respected newspaper, were arrested on Saturday (Hurriyet)

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan never ceases to astonish, as he arrests, fires, and otherwise eliminates anyone or anything that might stand in his way to increased powers that are appearing more and more dictatorial in nature.

On Friday, the leaders and several MPs of Turkey's Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) were arrested, allegedly for links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a terrorist group that has conducted terror attacks on targets within Turkey. Eliminating members of an opposing party from Parliament gives more power to Erdogan's own AKP (Justice and Development Party).

Hours later, a car bomb killed nine people in Diyarbakir in a largely Kurdish region in southeastern Turkey. Diyarbakir has been the site of other recent PKK terror attacks as well.

Erdogan's supporters would claim that by arresting pro-Kurdish MPs, Erdogan was increasing internal security in Turkey, and protecting Turkey from PKK attacks. Erdogan's opponents would claim that by arresting pro-Kurdish MPs, Erdogan is inflaming Kurdish anger at the government, and providing cover for PKK terrorists to perform more terror attacks.

Erdogan has been seeking additional powers for years, eliminating political opponents. He has favored a constitutional change that would further concentrate power in his hands.

Among the HDP politicians that Erdogan had arrested was the party leader Selahattin Demirtas, who has led the opposition to the constitutional change. Demirtas and other HDP politicians out of the Parliament, Erdogan can now move forward with the vote on the constitutional changes.

Erdogan has been eliminating his opposition for years, but the July 15 aborted coup has stoked nationalism among his AKP supporters enough that he can now get away with things that might have been more difficult a few months ago.

In the past week alone, Erdogan had 10,000 civil servants dismissed, bringing the total since July to 100,000. He's arrested mayors and conducted a war against the media.

Turkey is increasingly a badly polarized country, with Erdogan's supporters passionately supporting his massive post-coup purge, and his opponents fearing that Turkey is headed for a dictatorship under Erdogan. It's possible in a sense that they're both right, and it's also possible that Turkey is headed for a civil war. Yeni Safak (Ankara) and BBC and Washington Post and Cumhuriyet

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Erdogan continues his war against Turkey's media

Erdogan's war against the media began well before the July 15 coup.

In March, Erdogan ordered a government takeover of Turkey's most important opposition media, the Zaman media group, publishers of Turkey's largest newspaper Zaman, its English language version, Today's Zaman, plus the Cihan News Agency and Aksiyon magazine.

Zaman was owned by a political enemy of Erdogan, an exiled Muslim cleric Felhullah Gülen. They once were allies but in 1999 Erdogan accused Gülen of trying to overthrow the government Gülen fled to the United States in 1999, and has lived in Pennsylvania since then. Erdogan's government has declared Gülen to be a terrorist and has asked the US government for extradition, but has been refused.

Erdogan has had tens of thousands of civil servants, academics, politicians, and media personnel fired or arrested, accusing them without proof of being linked to either Gulen or the PKK.

During the last week, fifteen more media outlets were closed, bring the total since July to about 170. The government has also crippled internet social media sources, making them unusable in Turkey.

On Saturday, Erdogan had the editor and other staff members of Cumhuriyet newspaper arrested. Cumhuriyet is a special newspaper in Turkey's history. It was started on May 7, 1924, at the time of of Turkey's founding by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Ataturk declared Turkey to be a secular state, and Cumhuriyet has since then strictly followed the secularist line.

Since rising to power in the early 2000s, Erdogan has repeatedly violated Ataturk's policy of secularism, and has sought to make Turkey a Sunni Muslim Islamist state. Cumhuriyet has continued to strongly support secularism, and has been critical of both Erdogan, Gulen, and the PKK. For that reason, Erdogan's charges that Cumhuriyet has supported Gulen and the PKK are not considered credible. Hurriyet (Istanbul) and Cumhuriyet and Cumhuriyet and BBC

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Nov-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan eliminates more opposition in quest for power thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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5-Nov-16 World View -- Egypt fears more social unrest after sharp devaluation of currency

Egypt's government says that 'the luxury of delay is not available'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Egypt, in economic crisis, sharply devalues currency in order to get an IMF loan


People jostle with each other to get to the fuel nozzle on Friday in the hours before a scheduled 47% increase in the price of petrol (al-Ahram)
People jostle with each other to get to the fuel nozzle on Friday in the hours before a scheduled 47% increase in the price of petrol (al-Ahram)

In a step unprecedented for Egypt, in order to meet conditions for a $16 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Central Bank of Egypt announced on Thursday that its pound currency would be allowed to float in value against other currencies. Previously, the government pegged the currency at a fixed rate of 8.8 pounds per US dollar, but international foreign exchange (forex) traders were increasingly unwilling to pay a dollar for just 8.8 Egyptian pounds.

The "grey market" price was already at around 15-16 pounds per US dollar, so it's not surprising that when the currency was allowed to float, it quickly plummeted in a single day from 8.8 pounds per US dollar to a value of about 14.65 pounds per dollar. This meant that prices of imported goods will cost about 45% more than before the currency was floated.

The government also announced a 30-47% increase in subsidized fuel prices, as part of a plan to slash its total subsidy bill by 14%. The announcement was made about two hours before the price increase would take effect, resulting in long lines of cars hoping to fill up during those two hours.

Egypt's economy had been increasingly in crisis at the fixed exchange rate. US dollars were becoming increasingly scarce, and all imports had be purchased in Egyptian pounds, which exporters increasingly refused to accept. The result was that basic commodities like sugar and flour were almost completely unavailable. Egyptian citizens were becoming increasingly vocal in blaming the government for the shortages.

However, the shortages have now been replaced by prices that are 40-60% higher than before, so social unrest is only likely to increase. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and Reuters and NPR and Guardian (London, 25-Oct)

Egypt's government says that 'the luxury of delay is not available'

Ever since the Arab Spring and the fall of Egypt's dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011, Egypt's economy has been plagued by a series of disasters. There have been riots and jihadist terrorist attacks that have sharply cut Egypt's income from tourism.

When Mohamed Morsi became the first democratically elected leader of Egypt in its history, there was hope that things would settle down. However, Morsi turned out to be one of the stupidest leaders in Egypt's history, and proceeded to destroy one of Egypt's institutions after another in order to gain more power for himself and his Muslim Brotherhood government. This led to the army coup on July 3, 2013, led by then General Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi, who is now president of Egypt.

All this chaos once again resulted in harm to the tourist industry, but there was a more significant result. Qatar was a big supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, and provided a great deal of aid to Egypt when Morsi was in power. That aid ended with the coup, and the slack was taken up by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait. However, the collapse in the price of oil since then has meant reduced aid from these countries to Egypt.

During the last five years, Egypt's economy has continued to worsen, and the Egyptian currency was under attack by forex investors. Even so, Egypt's central bank continued to peg the pound at a fixed rate versus the US dollar. Finally, in July of this year, Tarek Amer, the governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, announced that Egypt's longstanding policy of defending the Egyptian pound against devaluation had been a "grave error," because it hadn't helped the economy, but instead had caused numerous problems, including shortages of dollars.

This announcement exacerbated the crisis, since it became clear that some kind of currency devaluation was coming, especially when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) appeared to demand it if the IMF were going to approve a loan to Egypt.

On Friday, Egypt's prime minster Sherif Ismail held a press conference and said:

"Yesterday was an important day in the history of the Egyptian economy, with the moves in foreign currency and petroleum prices. ... We’re taking important decisions, decisions that will revive the economy and take it forward. ...

The luxury of delay is not available. It may have been available in previous decades but today we cannot afford such painkillers."

There has been massive social unrest in Egypt in the last five years, since the beginning of the Arab Spring. The government has good reason to fear that there will be substantially more social unrest, as the currency devaluation causes higher prices to bite further into people's incomes. Al Ahram (Cairo) and Bloomberg and Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (Cairo, 3-Oct)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Nov-16 World View -- Egypt fears more social unrest after sharp devaluation of currency thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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4-Nov-16 World View -- Britain's Brexit plans in disarray after court requires parliamentary approval

Italy's Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world's oldest bank, appears close to collapse

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Britain's Brexit plans in disarray after court requires parliamentary approval


Anti-Brexit protestors on June 25 in London (Getty)
Anti-Brexit protestors on June 25 in London (Getty)

A shock court decision on Thursday threatens to significantly delay implementation of Brexit, the referendum mandate that Britain leave the European Union. Negotiations between the UK and the EU are scheduled to take two years, but that two-year period will not begin until Britain's prime minister Theresa May invokes "Article 50," which triggers the beginning of negotiations. May had previously announced that she planned to invoke Article 50 in March of next year.

However, Britain's High Court on Thursday ruled that Theresa May cannot invoke Article 50 on her own, without a vote in Britain's House of Commons and House of Lords.

The court ruling immediately raised hopes in some quarters that Brexit may therefore not take place at all, though analysts I heard seemed to doubt that the parliament would be willing to reverse a decision supported by popular vote in a referendum.

Nonetheless, the path to Brexit implementation is now in disarray because Parliament will be debating the terms of the Brexit plan. There are many major issues to be resolved in the negotiations with the EU -- whether Britain will be part of the European Common Market, whether Britain will have to continue accepting migrants, whether Brits will need visas to visit EU countries, and vice versa, how the land border between Northern Ireland (which is part of Britain) and the Republic of Ireland (which is an independent nation in the EU) will be managed, and so forth.

All of these issues require some sort of plan in advance of triggering Article 50, and May had hoped to keep that plan a secret until then. But a lot of people suspect that no such plan exists -- that May doesn't have a clue what positions to take on issues like the ones listed above. So with the Parliament debating these issues, May will be forced to take positions on the issues prior to March. EU leaders will watch these proceedings with a combination of amusement and horror.

Britain is deeply divided by Brexit, and that extends to the Parliament. Analysts are predicting that anti-Brexit MPs will use the debating opportunities to delay the invocation of Article 50 by up to a year.

May is appealing the decision to Britain's Supreme Court, which will hear the case in December and issue a ruling in the middle of January 2017. So expect the Brexit controversy to become extremely heated during the holiday season. Telegraph (London) and BBC

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Italy's Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world's oldest bank, appears close to collapse

A proposed 5 billion euro bailout of Italy's Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) by a consortium of other banks has been withdrawn, leading to the possibility that MPS will collapse by the end of the year.

Italy's largest bank is Banco Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS), founded in 1472, and the world's oldest operating bank. Its share of bad loans comes to $55.2 billion of bad loans on its books. These bad loans are so bad that it's estimated that selling these bad loans to a third party would only get 20% of face value, which means that MPS would require a bailout.

Investors are concerned that political pressure will force Italy's government to use taxpayer money to bail out MPS. When Greece used taxpayer money to bail out its banks, the result was that the financial crisis spread from the banks to the entire country, resulting in Greece's financial crisis, which is still unresolved. Italy's financial problems would be larger than Greece's. Italy also has a political issue: Prime minister Matteo Renzi has scheduled a referendum on a constitutional change for December 4, and he has promised to quit if he loses the vote.

According to a survey of 1,000 investors, Italy is now thought to be the country most likely to leave the eurozone this year, pushing Greece into second place. Reuters and Macedonia Online and The Street

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Nov-16 World View -- Britain's Brexit plans in disarray after court requires parliamentary approval thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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3-Nov-16 World View -- Hong Kong legislature in chaos, under threat of intervention by mainland China

Sudan follows Uganda, Namibia in cutting ties with North Korea

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Hong Kong legislature in chaos, under threat of intervention by mainland China


Newly elected lawmaker Baggio Leung is restrained by security while attempting to deliver his oath of office (AFP)
Newly elected lawmaker Baggio Leung is restrained by security while attempting to deliver his oath of office (AFP)

Hong Kong's legislative election on September 4 handed Beijing a stinging defeat, as pro-democracy or "localist" candidates won 27 out of 70 seats for the Legislative Council of Hong Kong (LegCo). There was little doubt at the time that this would substantially exacerbate the level of tension between Hong Kong and Beijing, and now, we're seeing the first results.

Hong Kong's LegCo has been in chaos for almost a month, thanks to two newly elected lawmakers, Yau Wai-ching and Sixtus Baggio Leung Chun-hang, from "Youngspiration" who have gone beyond "pro-democracy" to advocating full Hong Kong independence from China.

When they took their oaths of office on October 12, they changed the wording of the official oath of office to express support for Hong Kong's independence, and to describe China using a derogatory term. Their oaths were invalidated, and since then, pro-Beijing legislators have been staging walkouts and using other parliamentary tricks to keep them from being seated at all.

Anticipating trouble on Wednesday, the LegCo president moved the council's meeting from the main chamber to a conference room. The two localists responded by storming into the conference room and demanded to take their oaths of office and be seated. They were forcibly ejected by security personnel.

The two localists will appear in a Hong Kong court on Thursday, and there are a couple of outcomes that would be extremely controversial:

There is a growing reality with both Taiwan and Hong Kong. Mainland China's government in Hong Kong has been using a carrot and stick approach with both entities for years, hoping that the people would eventually fall in love with Beijing and want to be government by Beijing. This hope is extremely delusional, of course, but being delusional is China's only path other than full-scale invasions of both entities to bring them under control.

For both Hong Kong and Taiwan, the generations of survivors of World War II and Mao's Communist Revolution have taken steps to encourage unification with Beijing, or at least to avoid angering Beijing. But it's increasingly clear to everyone that younger generations are increasingly hostile to Beijing.

This means that there is no advantage to Beijing to waiting. Taiwan and Hong Kong will increasingly want independence. Furthermore, as we've seen with Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution and Taiwan's Sunflower Movement, independence movements in Taiwan and Hong Kong feed off of each other, and support each other, and may even have synergy with independence movements in Tibet (by Buddhists) or Xinjiang (by Uighurs). Beijing has already said that that it will violently crush anyone who even talks about "independence." This is a continually worsening situation that Beijing is certain to find increasingly dangerous, enough to trigger a violent reaction at some point. South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and BBC and Global Times (Beijing)

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Sudan follows Uganda, Namibia in cutting ties with North Korea

Under pressure from South Korea, Sudan has ended all military cooperation and diplomatic connections with North Korea. According to a statement posted by South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

"[Foreign Minister Ibrahim Ghandour of Sudan] mentioned that Sudan has completely cut off its military cooperation with North Korea, has no North Korean diplomatic missions in the country as well as no diplomatic missions of its own in the North, and has no plans for high-level exchanges. The Minister, calling nuclear weapons an obstacle to peace and security, stressed that Sudan is thoroughly implementing UN Security Council sanctions resolutions on North Korea."

Sudan is the third African country this year to declare that it would comply with UN sanctions against North Korea. Uganda announced in July that it would several military and security ties with North Korea, and this was followed by a decision of Namibia to oust two North Korean firms that were constructing an arms and munition factory in nation’s capital, Windhoek.

Other African countries are maintaining ties with North Korea. These include Angola, DR Congo, Zimbabwe, Burundi, and Equatorial Guinea -- also countries that are themselves targets of UN sanctions. N. Korea News and S. Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs and NK News (7/28)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Nov-16 World View -- Hong Kong legislature in chaos, under threat of intervention by mainland China thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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2-Nov-16 World View -- Protests across Morocco after horrific death of fishmonger in garbage truck

Wife of North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un has disappeared

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Wife of North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un has disappeared


Kim Jong-un and Ri Sol-ju in 2012
Kim Jong-un and Ri Sol-ju in 2012

After the pretty Ri Sol-ju married North Korea's child dictator Kim Jong-un in 2012, they were often seen together in tours of factories, hospitals and parks. But now Ri has not been seen in public since March 28, and there's speculation that something has happened to her.

There are several theories:

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Protests across Morocco after horrific death of fishmonger in garbage truck

Protests have continued across Morocco for a fourth day on Tuesday over the death of Mouhcine Fikri, a fishmonger, crushed by a garbage truck.

The story is this: It's apparently illegal to sell swordfish in Morocco at this time, but Fikri was selling swordfish anyway, after purchasing it at the port in the town of Al Hoceima in northern Morocco. A policeman confiscated his swordfish, reportedly worth about $11,000, and threw it into a garbage truck. Fikri jumped into the garbage truck to retrieve his fish, and he was crushed to death by the garbage truck. Some people who were present claim that the policeman told the garbage truck driver to crush him on purpose, though the police deny this.

The picture of Fikri being crushed went viral on social media, and triggered anti-government protests across the country. On Tuesday, the government announced the arrests of 11 people, in an attempt to stop the protests.

The "Arab Spring" has been roiling the Arab countries since 2011, when a new generation of Arabs came of age and began protesting across the entire Mideast.

The Arab Spring uprisings were triggered on December 17, 2010, when a street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi set fire to himself in Sidi Bouzid in central Tunisia, in protest of the police confiscation of his vegetable cart. After days of clashes between protesters and the police, long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee the country to exile in Saudi Arabia. By January 2011, the clashes had spread to Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Lebanon, launching the Arab Spring.

Morocco is a Muslim country, but it has largely escaped the chaos of the Arab Spring, mainly because it's historically been ethnically Berber rather than Arab, putting it on a slightly different generational timeline, despite some Arab-Berber intermarriage.

Some analysts are comparing the death of Moroccan fishmonger Mouhcine Fikri to the death of Tunisian street vendor Mohamed Bouazizi, and suggesting that Morocco might be about to undergo the same kind of chaos as the countries of the Arab Spring. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, one can safely predict that Morocco is headed for that chaos, but whether it's happening now or next year or the year after cannot be predicted.

Al Hoceima is in the Rif region of northern Morocco, with a population of about 55,000. The region was the heart of of the revolt against the Spanish colonists during the 1920s, and was the scene of a popular insurrection in 1958. Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Al Jazeera and Quartz and Telegramme.info

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Nov-16 World View -- Protests across Morocco after horrific death of fishmonger in garbage truck thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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1-Nov-16 World View -- France pulls out of Central African Republic as sectarian violence grows

Widespread dissatisfaction with UN peacekeeping force MINUSCA

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

France pulls out of Central African Republic as sectarian violence grows


French peacekeeping force in Central African Republic (AFP)
French peacekeeping force in Central African Republic (AFP)

France on Monday formally ended its peacekeeping mission in Central African Republic. Using an old trick to "just declare victory and go home," France hailed it as a success even though it's been pretty much a total failure, as violence in the country's civil war has continued in recent months and even surged.

The French mission, known as Sangaris, was launched in December 2013, and was supposed to last for six months, until a United Nations force could take over. The UN force is known as MINUSCA, which stands for Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic. The French force had 2,500 troops at its peak, and MINUSCA has about 12,000 troops.

The CAR sectarian war began in March 2013, when François Bozizé, the Christian former president of CAR, was ousted in a coup in March 2013 by Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, who became president and served until January 2014.

After Djotodia's coup took place in March 2013, Muslim Seleka militias began committing atrocities, particularly targeting the Christian constituencies of the deposed François Bozizé. In December 2013, French Foreign Legion peacekeeping troops arrived to disarm the Seleka militias.

The actions of the French troops backfired. When the Muslim Seleka troops were disarmed, the Christian anti-balaka militias "rushed into the vacuum," and began committing atrocities in 2014, for revenge against the Selekas. Since then, both Christians and Muslims have been committing atrocities, and it's become a full-scale generational crisis war. Thousands have been killed, and millions have been displaced.

As I've explained in the past, CAR's last generational crisis war was the 1928-1931 Kongo-Wara Rebellion ("War of the Hoe Handle"), which was a very long time ago, putting CAR today deep into a generational Crisis era, where a new crisis civil war has already started.

France's defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced the withdrawal of the French troops, saying that MINUSCA is now ready to take full responsibility for the peacekeeping operation.

A prominent CAR official, Anicet Georges Dologuele, said that Le Drian was wrong:

"Sangaris is pulling out far too early. Our security forces are not ready to take over. The UN forces are more and more overwhelmed."

Le Drian was unsympathetic:

"It's always too early. These responsibilities are above all your own."

There are still numerous armed groups fighting in CAR. The main ones are the Muslim former Seleka force, and the Christian "anti-Balaka" militias, a reference to the machetes used by the Selekas. There are also vigilante groups made up of nomadic, predominantly Muslim Fulani herders, as well as others specializing in highway robbery.

Both the French forces and the MINUSCA forces have mainly been doing their "peacekeeping" in the region around the country's capital city Bangui. But CAR is a huge country, and much of the country has not been affected by "peacekeeping" at all. Thus there continues to be fighting among armed groups across the country.

Since the armed militias are reported to fear the French forces more than the MINUSCA forces, there are concerns that the withdrawal of the French forces will trigger a major surge in new violence. France 24 and Deutsche Welle

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Widespread dissatisfaction with UN peacekeeping force MINUSCA

During the past 18 months, there have been scores of allegations of child rape and other sexual abuse by MINUSCA's peacekeepers, though French troops have faced similar accusations.

Roland Marchal, of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) in Paris, speaking on RFI, agreed that MINUSCA is not ready to take full responsibility for the peacekeeping operation, because they fail to act decisively, "they find an explanation not to move too quickly, not to move to the neighborhoods, and they procrastinate on making difficult decisions." He says that this sends a wrong message to the CAR population, who feel that MINUSCA is not doing its job. "The crisis is deep, it's structural, it's systemic, so you have to make radical decisions, to integrate more the countryside," and neither MINUSCA nor the government is willing to do that.

Marchal added that the French troops were not able to fulfill their mandate either, although they were there for three years. "Their mandate was to disarm armed groups, and have the country move to national reconciliation. But it became clear that disarming the armed groups would actually be a very hard task, and costly, and second, to undertake drastic reforms in car you need a legitimate government."

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is exactly what is to be expected, as I've been writing since 2013 when the crisis began. CAR is in a generational crisis war, and a generational crisis war does not end until there's an "explosive climax," something so horrific that both sides decide to stop fighting. This could be a real "explosion," such as the nuking of Japan that ended World War II, or it could be a massive act of genocide. Whatever it is, it must be so bad that it will be remembered for decades or even centuries, and will convince the survivors that it must "never again" be allowed to happen -- and it doesn't happen again, as long as the survivors are alive.

We're seeing the same kind of situation in Africa's other generational crisis war -- the Darfur war. It's a similar story. In 2007, the a UN Security Council resolution established the United Nations–African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), and provided peacekeeping troops to protect the Darfurians. Millions of people who were threatened with violence were moved from their villages to camps for refugees and IDPs (internally displaced persons) controlled by UNAMID. Today, there are still more than 3.1 million IDPs living in these refugee camps, and they are still suffering from hunger, thirst, and attacks from the militias that were attacking them ten years ago. Once again, the Darfur war will not end until there's a "explosive climax," a massive act of genocide that will convince all the survivors to stop fighting. Until then, the war goes on. RFI (Paris) and Al Jazeera

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Nov-16 World View -- France pulls out of Central African Republic as sectarian violence grows thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Nov-2016) Permanent Link
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31-Oct-16 World View -- Clinton e-mail media storm shows sudden change in public mood

Australia proposes lifetime settlement ban on illegal immigrants

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Australia proposes lifetime settlement ban on illegal immigrants


Anti-government protestors in Sydney demanding that Manus detention center be closed (Getty)
Anti-government protestors in Sydney demanding that Manus detention center be closed (Getty)

Australia's prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced plans to introduce legislation that will ban illegal immigrants who arrive by boat from ever being allowed into Australia again, even legally. The bill is intended to target human traffickers, since their potential customers will know that they will never have a chance of living in Australia. According to Turnbull, "These people smugglers are the worst criminals imaginable. They have a multibillion-dollar business. It is a battle of will. We have to be very determined to say no to their criminal plans."

They will have a lifetime ban of coming to Australia, even as a tourist or as the spouse of an Australian citizen. The only exception will be children brought illegally by boat by their parents.

The proposed law is retroactive to July 19, 2013, because that is when the former prime minister Kevin Rudd said: “As of today, asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia.” That means that the migrants currently imprisoned on Manus or Nauru will be forbidden from ever reaching Australia.

In past years, thousands of refugees from Asia have traveled by boat to Australia, often after paying huge sums to human traffickers, hoping to resettle there. Australia has dealt with the situation, starting in 2001, by setting up two "detention centers" on Pacific islands, one on Papua New Guinea's (PNG's) Manus Island, and one on the island nation of Nauru, under agreements reached with both countries. Australia intercepts the boat people while at sea, and redirects them to the detention centers. These two filthy, rat-infested detention centers have been enormously controversial, with numerous stories of beatings, torture, and sexual abuse at the detention centers. The detention centers were shut down in 2007, but reinstated when the number of refugees and asylum seekers surged again into the thousands.

The detention center policy has been extremely successful, in that the number of migrants reaching Australia has been sharply reduced. However, the policy has been widely condemned as cruel to people fleeing poverty and violence, and as a violation of international laws. The proposed law will receive substantial opposition during attempts to get it passed. Australian AP and Sydney Morning Herald

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Clinton e-mail media storm shows sudden change in public mood

Whenever there's a sudden change in public mood in any country, it's of interest to Generational Dynamics, because it's often a sign that generational pressures have been building, and the change in public mood is caused by the latest rise of a new generation.

Whatever the outcome of Friday's announcement by FBI Director James B. Comey potentially reopening the Clinton e-mail investigation, whether it helps or hurts Clinton or Trump, the unexpected media storm that followed the announcement is potentially significant.

My personal belief is that Comey made his announcement to cover his ass, for whatever reason. I also believe that he made the announcement on Friday afternoon expecting that, like almost all Friday afternoon announcements, it would be forgotten almost immediately. But that's not what happened. Instead of being forgotten, Comey's announcement is continuing to gain coverage in the mainstream media, which is a major surprise.

The standard is that massive criminal activity and corruption by politicians in Washington is simply ignored. As I've been writing for years, thousands of Gen-X bankers purposely created trillions of dollars worth of fraudulent subprime mortgage backed synthetic securities, and then sold them to investors, knowing that they're fraudulent, creating a massive financial crisis that made millions of people bankrupt and/or homeless. And yet, not a single one of them has ever been prosecuted, but instead they've gotten off by contributing a fraction of their fraudulent gains as contributions to the Obama administration. And in Congress, as Peter Schweizer showed in 2011 appearing on 60 Minutes, Congressmen and Senators of both parties are using inside information on secret lawmaking negotiations to line their pockets with huge profits in the stock markets. Ordinary people would go to jail for insider trading for this sleazy behavior, but Congress has conveniently exempted itself, allowing it to commit crimes and enrich themselves on a daily basis and get away with it.

The massive corruption and criminal activity in Washington is far greater than anything in my lifetime, much greater than ever occurred in Richard Nixon's administration. But today, the Washington standard is that criminal activities go unpunished. In the case of Hillary Clinton's e-mail activities, the mainstream media are so totally in the tank for Clinton, no longer even pretending to be unbiased journalists, that it's a shock to everyone that the stories around Comey's announcement are not only continuing, but growing.

The Republicans are gloating of course, because this is so unexpected. The Democrats are apoplectic with rage because they're suffering from a case of cognitive dissonance and are going through the five stages of grief, as all their fundamental beliefs about their right to commit criminal activity with impunity are suddenly being challenged.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, what's interesting here is not whether Clinton is guilty or innocent, but why there is a sudden change in public mood that might mean that her allegedly criminal activities might actually have consequences this time. It may actually be possible that after years of not caring about corruption and criminal activity in Washington, the public suddenly does care. If true, this change would be extremely significant.

That someone in Washington, and Clinton in particular, could possibly face this kind of hostile media scrutiny may represent a major change in public mood that will be seen in other ways in the months to come, no matter who becomes president. Washington Post and Leon Festinger - Cognitive Dissonance Theory

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 31-Oct-16 World View -- Clinton e-mail media storm shows sudden change in public mood thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (31-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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30-Oct-16 World View -- Confusion and chaos in Iraq mark the operation to free Mosul from ISIS

ISIS using tens of thousands of men, women and children as human shields in Mosul

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Shia militias in Iraq may or may not be attacking Tal Afar near Mosul


Kurdish Peshmerga forces fire a mortar towards ISIS positions near Mosul last week (Reuters)
Kurdish Peshmerga forces fire a mortar towards ISIS positions near Mosul last week (Reuters)

The Iran-backed Shia militias fighting in support of Iraq's army to liberate Mosul from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), claim that they're on a mission by themselves to recapture the nearby town of Tal Afar.

Ahmad al-Asadi, the spokesman for the Hashd al-Shaabi militia, or Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), said:

The front that has been tasked to the Hashd al-Shaabi is one of the most significant and most dangerous fronts in this operation.

[The PMF] are tasked with one of the widest areas, ranging from Qayyara in the west, Tal Afar in the north to the Mosul outskirts in the east and some areas on the Syrian-Iraqi border to the west."

Tal Afar is about 55 km (35 miles) northwest of Mosul, and al-Shaabi indicated that the goals was to cut off any option of retreat by ISIS into Syria, or to prevent any reinforcements from arriving from Syria.

As we've discussed previously, there has been a debate over whether to leave open the roads west of Mosul, so that ISIS fighters will take advantage of it and flee without a fight to ISIS headquarters in Raqqa in Syria.

The claims by Shia militia (PMF) spokesman Ahmad al-Asadi seems to support closing the corridor to the West.

On the other hand, the active involvement of Iran-backed Shia militias would seem to violate Iraqi government promises to Turkey that Shia forces would be limited in their activities, to prevent sectarian clashes.

But all of al-Asadi's claims are being disputed by Turkey's military, according to a report in Daily Sabah:

"As reports from various sources indicate that Shiite militia groups have launched an operation Saturday to capture predominantly Turkmen town of Tal Afar in northern Iraq from Daesh, Turkish military sources said that these groups are not near the town and reports are part of a psychological warfare attempt."

The report suggests that the operation to recapture Mosul is not going as well as planned, and the claims that the PMF are about to capture Tal Afar are an attempt to fool both the international commit and ISIS.

This report is consistent with suggestions in other reports that the Iraqi army's advance on Mosul is stalled, and that the Mosul offensive has virtually ground to a halt. AFP and Reuters and Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Debka

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ISIS using tens of thousands of men, women and children as human shields in Mosul

According to the United Nations Human Rights office, ISIS has abducted tens of thousands of men, women and children from areas around Mosul and are using them as "human shields." Describing it as "ISIS's depraved, cowardly strategy," they are being kept near military installations, to prevent the Iraqi army from advancing.

The UN says that the ISIS stronghold of Hamam al-Alil used to have a population of 23,000, but now has a population of 60,000, in order to slow an Iraqi army attack.

In addition, the UN is expressing "deep concern" at reports that some individuals in the areas south of Mosul have embarked on revenge killings and had vowed on television that there will be “eye for eye revenge” against those who sided with ISIS. United Nations and Hurriyet (Ankara)

Conflicts among ethnic groups lead to chaos in Mosul operation

Retired Army Gen. David H. Petraeus was once commander of the U.S.-led forces in Iraq, and he led the troop surge in 2007 that expelled Al-Qaeda in Iraq. So he completely understands the issues that the Iraqi army coalition is facing in its attempts to expel ISIS from Mosul.

According to Petraeus, the Mosul campaign is unfolding "in quite a methodical way," and is a "textbook example" of such an operation. But he points out that the chaotic nature of the operation is caused by ethnic differences in both the Iraqi security forces and the millions of civilians being liberated:

"The Iraqi security forces [are] this mix of Iraqi army, Iraqi police, Kurdish peshmerga, the Iraqi counter-terrorism service, the Iraqi air force, popular mobilization units — some Shia Arab from the south, some Sunni Arab from the tribes of Nineveh province. And the challenge is going to be, first of all, to keep all of them pulling in the same direction. ...

As we used to say when I was privileged to be the commander there, Nineveh province has the most diverse human terrain in all of Iraq – Sunni Arab majority to be sure, but also Shia Arabs, numerous Kurdish communities, and they are broken out into several different political parties.

There are Yazidis. There are Shabak. There are Christians. And there are Turkmen Shias, as well as Turkmen Sunnis, and this explains why President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan of Turkey has been so vocal about the fact that the Turkish forces needed to be on the outskirts of Mosul should take some part in this effort."

The situation in the Mosul operation is even worse, according to Israeli analyst Anshel Pfeffer:

"On the ground, however, totally separate battles are being fought out. The Iraqi Army, the Peshmerga, Shi’ite-Iraqi militias and United States Special Forces teams are all rival forces, albeit with a common enemy, for now. They are all fighting ISIS while pursuing very different agenda.

The Iraqi Army are not even allowed into the territory of the Kurdish Regional Government without special authorization, and the Peshmerga constantly complain of how almost all the new weapons supplied by the Americans have gone to Baghdad’s forces, with the Kurdish fighters receiving only scraps. ...

“The Americans don’t learn,” says one Peshmerga officer. “The Iraqi army will just run away, leaving their new American weapons to ISIS. Just as they did two years ago.”"

Petraeus and Pfeffer agree that all the different armies and militias have a common objective to eject ISIS, and they'll succeed. But with growing Kurdish nationalism and growing Turkish nationalism, it won't be long before the different armies are fighting each other. LA Times and Haaretz

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Oct-16 World View -- Confusion and chaos in Iraq mark the operation to free Mosul from ISIS thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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29-Oct-16 World View -- China's president Xi Jinping given dictatorial powers

China permits Philippines to fish in Scarborough Shoal

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

China's president Xi Jinping given dictatorial powers


Xi Jinping and wife, popular folk singer Peng Liyuan (Chinese Hour, 2012)
Xi Jinping and wife, popular folk singer Peng Liyuan (Chinese Hour, 2012)

China now has a need of a "strongman leader" or "Great Leader," the first since Mao Zedong, according to Chinese state media, so that China can again rise to greatness.

Apparently that wish has been granted by last week's four-day sixth plenum of the Central Committee, which issued a statement granting China's president Xi Jinping the role of "core of the leadership," giving Xi unchallenged personal authority in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Ever since taking office in 2012, Xi has led a breathtaking anti-corruption drive that has punished more than one million officials for such crimes as bribery and abuse of power. Xi's opponents claim that the anti-corruption campaign was really a purge of political rivals, which is certainly true, given that Xi is a politician.

According to professor David Zweig of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology professor, Xi has been making powerful enemies:

"The risk is that you will take power to yourself, undermine the power bases of the people beneath you. ...

Everyone in the Politburo has their networks, even in the Standing Committee of the Politburo, so if you give all the power to one guy you give him the power to push your people out and push his people through.

"Entrenched resistance was strong but if you really want to see China reform, you want to take some power away (from those) who protect their vested interests, like the state enterprises."

The contrast is to Xi's predecessor, Hu Jintao, who did not have the "core of the leadership" blessing, but instead was "first among equals," meaning that he had to rule by consensus. Xi has taken advantage of the anti-corruption drive to push his political enemies out and replace them with his acolytes, which means that he can rule in a dictatorial manner, without as much of a consensus.

As long-time readers know, Generational Dynamics predicts that China is headed for two wars -- an internal civil war, the first major civil war since the Communist revolution, and an external war, leading a world war with the United States, their first world war since World War II. These two wars are not inconsistent with each other, any more than the Communist Revolution and World War II were not inconsistent with each other. Xi can similarly expect to be fighting two wars -- an internal civil war and an external world war with the United States. South China Morning Post (Hong Kong) and Washington Post and SCMP (23-Oct) and BBC (24-Oct)

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China permits Philippines to fish in Scarborough Shoal

A week ago, Philippine president Rodrigo R. Duterte visited China and said "I announce my separation from the United States. Both in military... not maybe social, but economics also, America has lost. I will be dependent on you." This was after calling President Obama the "son of a whore."

Now China's president Xi Jinping has apparently waved his magic wand and granted a reward to Duterte -- China's warships have withdrawn from Scarborough Shoal, allowing Philippines fishermen to fish there for the first time since 2012.

Scarborough Shoal is an island off the coast of Manila and far from China's shores. Philippine fishermen fished there for centuries, until blocked by the Chinese.

In its July 12 ruling on the South China Sea, the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration eviscerated China's claims to the South China Sea, and said:

"[The Tribunal] FINDS that Scarborough Shoal has been a traditional fishing ground for fishermen of many nationalities and DECLARES that China has, through the operation of its official vessels at Scarborough Shoal from May 2012 onwards, unlawfully prevented fishermen from the Philippines from engaging in traditional fishing at Scarborough Shoal."

So China has rewarded the Philippines by granting to them rights that they were legally entitled to anyway.

Among the Philippine people, 54% have a favorable view of China, while 92% have a favorable view of the United States, so it won't be very long before Duterte is forced to make some policy change that will infuriate the Chinese, and the warships could come back quickly. To paraphrase an old saying, Duterte should remember this: "The Xi giveth, and the Xi taketh away." Manila Bulletin and Reuters and The Diplomat

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Oct-16 World View -- China's president Xi Jinping given dictatorial powers thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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28-Oct-16 World View -- Thousands of refugees hide from French police as Calais 'Jungle' refugee camp is demolished

Destruction of Calais camp called 'really dangerous' for children

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Thousands of refugees hide from French police as Calais 'Jungle' refugee camp is demolished


Calais 'Jungle' camp goes up in flames on Tuesday (AFP)
Calais 'Jungle' camp goes up in flames on Tuesday (AFP)

France has declared "Mission Accomplished!" after demolishing "The Jungle," the refugee camp in Calais, and bussing some 4,000 migrants to 280 reception centers across the country after being separated into different categories – single men, families, vulnerable people and unaccompanied minors.

According to Fabienne Buccio, a local official, "There are no more migrants in the camp. Our mission has been fulfilled."

However, not every tent or shanty was actually "demolished." A lot of them were burnt to the ground by the refugees themselves, apparently as a way of saying "goodbye."

And a more serious reason why the mission hasn't really been accomplished is that there were 7,000 to 10,000 refugees in the camp. That means that several thousand refugees have fled from the camp, and are hiding out in order to stay near Calais. Many have simply gone to another refugee camp in nearby Dunkirk. On top of that, new refugees are arriving every day.

The people in the camp are escaping war or poverty mostly from Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea and Syria. The reason that migrants have come to Calais in the first place is because it's near the Eurotunnel that connects France to Britain underneath the English Channel. Britain is a favorite destination because of liberal welfare and medical services policies, and because they prefer an English-speaking country. So having been desperate enough to have risked their lives for months to reach Calais, they are going to resist being bussed far away to another part of France. The Local (France) and Express (London) and France 24

Destruction of Calais camp called 'really dangerous' for children

Concerns are being raised for the welfare of unaccompanied children. Although many children were bussed to reception centers, it's believed that there are hundreds of unaccompanied children who were forced to flee on Tuesday and Wednesday during the demolition and fire.

Many children were unaccompanied because they had been sent from Syria or Afghanistan to try to reach family members in the UK, leading some activists to claim that Britain is responsible for these children. According to Robert Innes, the Anglican Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe: "They are gravely at risk. At a time when the UK is rightly spending millions on investigating historic child abuse, it is striking that there is a massive influx of traumatized children to Europe at risk of current abuse, and for whom we are not yet doing enough." Church Times and CNN

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Oct-16 World View -- Thousands of refugees hide from French police as Calais 'Jungle' refugee camp is demolished thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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27-Oct-16 World View -- Spain blocks Russia fleet refueling stop over planned bombing in Aleppo Syria

The Gambia follows Burundi and S. Africa in leaving the International Criminal Court

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Spain blocks Russia fleet refueling stop over planned bombing in Aleppo Syria


Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in the English Channel on Oct 21 (EPA)
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov in the English Channel on Oct 21 (EPA)

Spain on Wednesday asked for clarification on the intentions of a Russian fleet that was scheduled to dock for refueling in Spain's port of Ceuta between October 28 and November 2. Spain's foreign ministry issued this statement:

"Given the information which appeared on the possibility that these ships would participate in supporting military action in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the ministry of foreign affairs requested clarification from the embassy of the Russian Federation in Madrid."

Russian fleets had been refueling in Ceuta for years, but hostility is growing in Europe over the genocidal acts of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia, and most recently his plans to destroy the city of Aleppo, killing as many civilians as possible, possibly including as many as hundreds of thousands of women and children.

The Russian fleet, which includes an aircraft carrier, had put on a great show last week by traveling through the English Channel, instead of taking the usual route north of Scotland. It's destination is to be a port in Syria, and it's suspected that Russia plans to launch additional bombers from the fleet to take part in the Aleppo slaughter. This prompted Nato to put pressure on Spain to demand a clarification from Russia.

Russia responded to Spain's request for clarification by withdrawing its request to refuel in Ceuta. Gibraltar Chronicle and BBC

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The Gambia follows Burundi and S. Africa in leaving the International Criminal Court

First, two weeks ago, Burundi announced it was withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague. Then, two days ago, South Africa also announced its withdrawal.

On Wednesday, The Gambia became the third African country in quick succession to announce its withdrawal, calling it the "International Caucasian Court" because of its targeting of African countries.

Burundi and The Gambia have many similarities. Both are being led by presidents (Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia) who have been in power for years, and who are using violence, torture and mass slaughter of the opposition to stay in power. That's why both countries are leaving the ICC.

South Africa is in a different category. South Africa has been a democracy since 1994, when the first election was held following the end of apartheid. The African National Congress (ANC) political party has won every national election since then, but opposition political parties have increasingly been scoring victories in regional elections, to the point where ANC leaders fear they'll lose the next national election.

The current ANC leader Jacob Zuma is being widely criticized as corrupt and unaccountable, and is being blamed for ANC's losses in a recent election. The ANC is badly split, and Jacob Zuma's unilateral decision to withdraw South Africa from the ICC raises suspicions that he's about to take some steps similar t those taken by Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi and Yahya Jammeh of The Gambia to stay in power. Daily Maverick (South Africa) and BBC and Mail and Guardian (South Africa) and Sowetan Live

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Oct-16 World View -- Spain blocks Russia fleet refueling stop over planned bombing in Aleppo Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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26-Oct-16 World View -- Pakistan reels after 60 young police cadets killed in terror attack in Balochistan

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) may be getting revenge for police attack on leader

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Pakistan reels after 60 young police cadets killed in terror attack in Balochistan


Quetta attack
Quetta attack

At least 61 people, mostly fresh police recruits, were killed and 117 injured on Monday night in a terror attack on a Police Training cottage in Quetta, the capital of the province of Balochistan in Pakistan. The attack began with gunfire at 11 pm and continued for several hours, but most of the deaths were caused when one of the terrorists exploded his suicide vest. The attackers are thought to be Afghan Uzbeks. One of them was a 12-year-old boy.

The attack is being blamed on the Al Alami offshoot of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a terror group that has vowed to exterminate all Shias in Pakistan, and has carried out numerous terrorist actions targeting Shias. However, no Pakistan terror group has claimed credit. However, LeJ is also thought to have links to the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), and so ISIS has been putting out press releases claiming credit for the attack. ISIS seems anxious to take credit for every terror attack, whether they have anything to do with it or not.

Another possibility, though less likely, is that the terror attack is related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which over ten years will build a network of roads, railways and energy pipelines aiming to connect western Chinese cities to the sea port in Gwadar on the Indian Ocean. On Saturday, two Pakistan Coast Guard officers were gunned down in a region close to the Gwadar sea port, and there's a possibility, considered less likely, that Monday's terror attack was connected to the CPEC project.

Whoever the perpetrator, and whatever the motives, the attack is sending shock waves among the people of Pakistan, who are blaming the police and the government for the continuing stream of terror attacks. In past decades, Pakistan's government has supported Taliban terror groups who were attacking targets in India and Afghanistan, and now those terror groups are attacking targets in Pakistan itself. This new terror attack is certain to renew the "good terrorists versus bad terrorists" debate in Pakistan. Reuters and AFP and Reuters and Dunya News (Pakistan)

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Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) may be getting revenge for police attack on leader

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) is thought to be the perpetrator of Monday's attack on the police academy. Although the ethnicity of the victims has not been reported, the fact that it took place in Balochistan suggests that most of the cadets were Shias.

Lashkar-e-Janghvi has repeatedly stated that its goal is the extermination of all Shia Muslims in Pakistan, and has been methodically setting off bombs in order to achieve that goal. An LeJ statement issued in 2011 says:

"Our mission [in Pakistan] is the abolition of this impure sect and people, the Shias and the Shia Hazaras, from every city, every village, every nook and corner of Pakistan. Like in the past, [our] successful Jihad against the Hazaras in Pakistan and, in particular, in Quetta is ongoing and will continue. We will make Pakistan their graveyard-- their houses will be destroyed by bombs and suicide bombers. ... Jihad against the Shia Hazaras has now become our duty. ... We will rest only after hoisting the flag of true Islam on the land of the pure -- Pakistan."

However, there's an additional possible motivation for LeJ. LeJ's leader Malik Ishaq was killed while in a police convoy in July of last year. The police said that the convoy was attacked by 12-15 gunmen, and that Ishaq and his two sons were killed in the subsequent shootout, but LeJ has claimed that the gunfight was staged.

So it's possible that LeJ attacked the policy academy to get revenge for the killing of its Malik Ishaq. Dawn (Pakistan) and Al Jazeera

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Oct-16 World View -- Pakistan reels after 60 young police cadets killed in terror attack in Balochistan thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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25-Oct-16 World View -- Turkey's military intervention grows in Syria and Iraq

In Syria, Turkey attacks both Kurds and ISIS near Aleppo and Mosul

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

In Iraq, Turkey's artillery and possibly its jets are helping recapture Mosul from ISIS


Iraqi tribesmen protest the presence of Turkish troops in northern Iraq (Getty)
Iraqi tribesmen protest the presence of Turkish troops in northern Iraq (Getty)

There is a growing perception in Turkey that the Mideast borders, especially those of Syria and Iraq, are being redesigned, and Turkey wants to be sure to recover some of land lost in World War I.

In Iraq, Mosul is a historically Sunni city and was part of the Ottoman empire, and any attempt to change is demographic composition would be a direct threat to Turkey's security. The concern is that the population would be diluted by Kurds or by Shia Muslims coming from Iran.

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been in a war of words with Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who demanded that Turkey withdraw its troops and tanks from Iraq. Recently, Erdogan responded to al-Abadi:

"You are not my interlocutor. You are not at my level. You are not my equivalent. You are not of the same quality as me.

Your screaming and shouting in Iraq is of no importance to us. You should know that we will go our own way."

Turkey has for weeks been training Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq to fight the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) near Mosul. On Monday, Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Turkish artillery fire is being used to aid the Kurdish Peshmerga forces fighting ISIS, and four Turkish fighter jets are on standby to take part in air operations.

Al-Abadi has repeatedly said that Iraq does not want Turkey's help. Turkey continues to insist that it must take part in the recapture of Mosul from ISIS to protect its own interests. Iraq's fear is that Erdogan will get his wish, and that part of Iraq, especially the region around Mosul, will become part of Turkey. Reuters and Hurriyet (Ankara) and Al Jazeera and BBC

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In Syria, Turkey attacks both Kurds and ISIS near Aleppo

Turkey's military says that it struck dozens of ISIS and Kurdish YPG militia targets on Monday in northern Syria, about 35 miles from Aleppo, as part of Operation Euphrates Shield. Last week, strikes by Turkish warplanes killed 200 PKK/PYD 'terrorists' in northern Syria, according to the military.

Turkey said that the strikes were in the support of the Free Syrian Army, and were necessary to prevent the Kurds taking control of the entire region in northern Syria along the Turkish border, with the intention of creating a Kurdish state called Rojava. When Operation Euphrates Shield began three months ago, Erdogan said that stopping a Kurdish state would be a principal objective, along with liberating Syrian cities that had been captured by ISIS.

Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says that Turkey's involvement in Syria and Iraq is a thinly veiled attempt to take control of both Aleppo and Mosul.

Syria's military calls Turkey's action a "serious escalation," and a gross violation of Syria’s sovereignty.

Turkey's objectives are hardly secret, as Erdogan is pursuing the policies he's stated several times recently. What I'm waiting for is to see whether Turkey will try to break the siege of Aleppo being implemented by Syria's army in preparation for massive slaughter of Sunni civilians. That would bring Turkey into direct confrontation with Russia, just as the two countries have been cozying up to each other recently. Reuters and Anadolu (Ankara) and AP and Al Masdar News (Syria)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 25-Oct-16 World View -- Turkey's military intervention grows in Syria and Iraq thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (25-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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24-Oct-16 World View -- South Africa's withdrawal throws future of International Criminal Court into doubt

The fallacy of prosecuting war crimes

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

South Africa's withdrawal throws future of International Criminal Court into doubt


International Criminal Court in the Hague (Getty)
International Criminal Court in the Hague (Getty)

A week after Burundi announced it was withdrawing from the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, South Africa's president Jacob Zuma announced that it would do the same. In each case, the withdrawal becomes effective one year after the ICC receives notice.

South Africa's action was triggered by Burundi's withdrawal, and also because the ICC criticized Zuma's administration for failing to arrest Sudan's leader Omar al-Bashir when he visited Johannesburg for an African Union summit last year.

The ICC was set up in 2002 by the Rome Statute, which 123 countries have ratified, although the US is notably absent. Its purpose is to bring to justice those responsible for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes -- terms that are all defined in detail in the Rome Statute.

However, in its 16 year existence, it's only prosecuted African states. Since 2014, the African Union has urged member states not to co-operate with the ICC, accusing it of being racially biased against Africa. Uganda, Kenya and Namibia have also discussed withdrawing from the ICC.

For South Africa, the government is currently in chaos because of corruption accusations leveled at Jacob Zuma. Zuma's opposition Democratic Alliance is opposed to the decision, as described by James Selfe, a leading official:

"The Democratic Alliance is disgusted at this decision. We think it sends out an entirely incorrect message around our commitment to human rights and our abhorrence of human rights abuses and of genocide, and we believe that it would set back our foreign policy and the way in which South Africa is viewed in a very fundamental way.

We also believe that the decision itself has been taken in a way which is unconstitutional, unlawful. Accordingly, we will we will be lodging papers in the constitutional court on Monday morning seeking the court’s ruling seeking that it reviews and sets aside this decision by the South African government."

According to activist opposition leader Mosiuoa Lekota:

"This government continues to destroy all the good and hard work that the former Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki spent many years to build. Now everything has been thrown out of the window."

Pulling out of the ICC will expose our children to war crimes in South Africa without recourse to a higher court."

Selfe added that a decision to withdraw from the ICC would require a vote by the parliament. Times Live (South Africa) and VOA and BBC and Foreign Policy

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Is the ICC racially biased against Africans?

It's just an accident of history that the ICC appears to be biased against Africans. There have been war crimes trials against other nations, but they've taken place in other courts. The African nation whining about bias know this, but they're looking for an excuse to avoid being held responsible for their crimes, even though it's the victims of the crimes that really want to see the court trials take place.

There are trials targeting the Khmer Rouge for their alleged war crimes in Cambodia's "killing fields" war in the 1970s, but that trial is being held in the "Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia" (ECCC) in Angk Snuol, Cambodia.

There's a trial targeting Ratko Mladic for atrocities committed at the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in the Bosnian war, but that trial is being conducted in a special court called the "International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia" in The Hague.

There were trials in 1945 for Nazi war criminals, but they were held in special courts in Nuremberg, Germany. Japan's war crimes trials were held in 1946 in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East (IMTFE) in Tokyo.

So, taken as a whole, war crimes courts have certainly not specifically targeted Africa. Deutsche Welle and Human Rights Watch and Rome Statute creating the ICC

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The fallacy of prosecuting war crimes

Since World War II, this idea of prosecuting genocide and war crimes has been latched on to as a way to save the world. Ever since the Nuremberg trials of Nazi leaders, "Never again!" must have uttered by politicians thousands of times, referring to the Holocaust.

And yet the Nuremberg trials didn't prevent Mao Zedong from killing 45 million people in the Great Leap Forward genocide (1958-59); didn't prevent Pol Pot from killing 8 million people in the Cambodia Killing Fields genocide (1975-79); didn't prevent 800,000 people from being killed in the Rwanda genocide (1994); didn't prevent Robert Mugabe from committing the Operation Gukurahundi genocide in Zimbabwe (1984); and isn't preventing Bashar al-Assad from committing genocide in Syria today, with the help of war criminals Vladimir Putin of Russia and Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei of Iran. (Paragraph corrected, 25-Oct)

Shakespeare wrote in Venus and Adonis: "Were beauty under twenty locks kept fast, Yet love breaks through and picks them all at last," a couplet that's often summarized as "Love laughs at locksmiths." Just as love laughs at locksmiths, war crimes laugh at the ICC.

No one could seriously believe that Adolf Hitler would have cancelled the Holocaust out of fear of being prosecuted by some court. Or that Mao Zedong would have canceled the Great Leap Forward for a similar reason. The whole concept is absurd.

Love, sex and genocide are all part of the base human DNA. They do not respect skin color, geography, race or religion. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, they are part of every human's core makeup, and they are the way the world works, whether we like it or not.

So the politicians in South Africa and Burundi see Bashar al-Assad in a full-scale genocide in Syria, and they're asking, "Why the hell is the ICC picking on us Africans? Go pick on Bashar al-Assad, and just let us go on committing atrocities, torturing, mutilating and exterminating people we dislike, and stop bothering us about it." Shakespeare: Venus and Adonis

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Oct-16 World View -- South Africa's withdrawal throws future of International Criminal Court into doubt thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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23-Oct-16 World View -- Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte in comic dance with China

Philippines president Duterte apparently cedes Scarborough Shoal to China

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte in comic dance with China


Xi Jinping and Rodrigo Duterte meeting in Beijing last week (CNN)
Xi Jinping and Rodrigo Duterte meeting in Beijing last week (CNN)

Media headlines in the past couple of days have been saying things like "Duterte's flip-flop into bed with China is a disaster for the United States" and "While we watched the debate, the Philippines aligned with China."

The headlines are referring to the new Philippines president Rodrigo R. Duterte. He announced a cutoff of relations with the United States first by calling President Obama the "son of a whore." Then he visited Beijing, where he was given a red carpet welcome by China's president Xi Jinping, and made the following announcement to thunderous applause in the Great Hall of the People:

"Your honors, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States. Both in military... not maybe social, but economics also, America has lost. I will be dependent on you. ...

I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world — China, Philippines and Russia.

Americans are loud, sometimes rowdy. Their larynx is not adjusted to civility."

In a world where politicians are constantly making ridiculous statements, this isn't the most ridiculous recent statement (pretty much anything from Vladimir Putin is worse), but it's close.

For one thing, the Philippines does $24 billion in annual trade with the US. For another thing, the Philippines has a mutual defense treaty with the US which has been in force since 1951 where both countries pledge to come to each other’s defense in the event of an armed attack, and Duterte alone does not have the power to abrogate the treaty, nor would the Philippine people want him to. LA Times and Inquirer (Philippines)

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Duterte's statement generates backlash at home

As I've been writing for years, it's a core principle of Generational Dynamics that even in a dictatorship, major policies and events are determined by masses of people, entire generations of people, and not by politicians. Thus, Hitler was not the cause of WW II. What politicians say or do is irrelevant, except insofar as their actions reflect the attitudes of the people that they represent, and so politicians can neither cause nor prevent the great events of history.

And in this case, the will of the people is pretty evident from polls conducted by Pew Global research: Among the Philippine people, 54% have a favorable view of China, while 92% have a favorable view of the United States. A recent survey shows that 55% of Philippines people have "little trust" in China, while only 11% feel the same about the United States.

In fact, Philippine senators crossed party lines and warned Duterte to back down. According to the Senate minority leader:

"Any drastic shift in our foreign policy direction should be well-thought-out and not simply blurted out. It should be a product of deep study and wide discussion. Because of its far-reaching implications, it cannot be an announce now, study later thing.

Yes, our relations with the United States may not be perfect. But a country which has illegally built a great wall of sand in our seas is not, and far from, the epitome of a good friend either."

Other politicians called him a madman and delusional. Duterte's spokesman "clarified" Duterte's statement by saying that he just wanted to "separate the nation from dependence on the U.S. and the West and rebalance economic and military relations with Asian neighbors" like China, Japan and South Korea.

The Chinese people are skeptical as well. China's politicians and media have remained mostly silent about Duterte's comments, but people on social networks see it as a ploy to get investments and loans from China. Some likened his “separation” from the United States to a new social phenomenon in China in which people make use of fake divorces to get around restrictive regulations in order to obtain a second housing loan.

So Duterte's announcement present an interesting case study for Generational Dynamics. China and the Philippines will never be friends, because their respective populations hate each other. It's not the politicians who decide policies, but the people. Inquirer (Philippines) and Pew Global - Philippines - China and Pew Global - Philippines - US and International Business Times (Singapore)

Philippines president Duterte apparently cedes Scarborough Shoal to China

In his trip to China last week, Philippines president Rodrigo R. Duterte may have ceded Scarborough Shoal to China.

In its July 12 ruling on the South China Sea, the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration eviscerated China's claims to the South China Sea, and said:

"[The Tribunal] FINDS that Scarborough Shoal has been a traditional fishing ground for fishermen of many nationalities and DECLARES that China has, through the operation of its official vessels at Scarborough Shoal from May 2012 onwards, unlawfully prevented fishermen from the Philippines from engaging in traditional fishing at Scarborough Shoal."

China has been using its vast military power to build artificial islands and military bases in the South China Sea both in international waters and in waters that are part of other countries. In 2012, China forcibly invaded and annexed Scarborough Shoal, and used military threats to prevent Philippine fishermen from fishing there.

So when Duterte went to China to declare "separation" from the United States, many fishermen hoped that Duterte would regain access to Scarborough Shoal. But apparently Duterte didn't even try. When he was asked about it, he said: "We cannot win that ... Even if we get angry, we'll just be putting on airs. We can't beat China."

Later, Duterte said: "I leave it to them to, it’s one of the things I said that in the private talks which I cannot, but tingnan natin [let us see]. Let us see what develops in the days to come."

So Duterte really got nothing except promises. He got promises of loans and investments, and he apparently got a promise that China would allow the Philippines to do a little bit of fishing there.

We've seen the US administration concede one thing after another to Iran for the nuclear deal and to Russia for a farcical ceasefire in Aleppo Syria. Duterte is doing the same thing with Russia. For those of you who, like me, wondered for years how it was possible for Britain to appease Hitler, you're seeing it happen here. This is how the world works. Defense One and International Business Times (Singapore) and Philippine Star and CNN Philippines

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Oct-16 World View -- Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte in comic dance with China thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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22-Oct-16 World View -- France to demolish 'The Jungle' migrant camp in Calais

Italy struggles with the 'mini-Calais' refugee camp in Ventimiglia

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

France to demolish 'The Jungle' migrant camp in Calais


Aerial view of 'The Jungle' refugee camp in Calais France (CNN)
Aerial view of 'The Jungle' refugee camp in Calais France (CNN)

France has announced that it will begin on Monday demolishing the migrant camp in Calais known as "The Jungle." The 6,500 to 10,000 migrants living in the camp will be given two choices: Either to be deported back to their home countries, or to stay in some 300 temporary refugee centers across France, where they can apply for asylum. Children who can prove that they have relatives in Britain may be allowed to travel to their family members.

The people in the camp are escaping war or poverty mostly from Afghanistan, Sudan, Eritrea and Syria. The reason that migrants have come to Calais in the first place is because it's near the Eurotunnel that connects France to Britain underneath the English Channel. Britain is a favorite destination because of liberal welfare and medical services policies, and because they prefer an English-speaking country. Refugees risk their lives by attempting to jump onto trucks that are headed through the EuroTunnel.

Over the last three or four years, the refugee camp has become squalid, unsanitary and unsafe for most people, especially women and children. Attempts to move people out of the camp in the past have led to confrontations with police.

On Monday, sixty buses are scheduled to transport 3,000 migrants to alternate refugee centers in other parts of France. Activists are claiming that they've come this far because they're desperate to reach Britain, and they'll resist being forced to leave. Furthermore, activists say, they'll simply return to Calais as soon as they have a chance. Reuters and Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and CNN

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Italy struggles with the 'mini-Calais' refugee camp in Ventimiglia

Last week, Italian police with guns surrounded a small refrigerated van after a car chase, just before the van was going to cross the border into Italy. When they opened the back of the van, they were shocked to find 17 migrants in there. One passenger said he had paid 50 euros to a human trafficker to make the trick, and had feared suffocating inside the van.

The incident occurred in Ventimiglia, an Italian city on the border with France, opposite the French city of Menton. This area is often called "Mini-Calais" because every week hundreds of migrants try to cross the mountain passes and tunnels along the border either by foot or by hiding in vehicles. Those who succeed and are caught in France are sent back to Italy.

More than 24,000 refugees have been residing in Ventimiglia, where living conditions are getting steadily worse. That number is expected to increase, as more migrants arrive in Italy from North Africa. More than 145,000 have made the journey across the Mediterranean so far this year. EuroNews and Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Reuters

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Oct-16 World View -- France to demolish 'The Jungle' migrant camp in Calais thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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21-Oct-16 World View -- Aleppo bombings in 'humanitarian pause' as residents await Russia's death blow

Russia's warship fleet sails through English Channel to Syria

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Russia's warship fleet sails through English Channel to Syria


Ghostly image of bombed out Aleppo (CNN)
Ghostly image of bombed out Aleppo (CNN)

Russia's Northern Fleet, which Russian media describes as as “the most powerful Russian naval task force to sail in northern Europe since 2014," will pass through the English Channel on Friday on its way to the eastern Mediterranean. It's believed that it will be used to deliver a massive blow to the hundreds of thousands of residents of Aleppo in Syria.

The fleet includes the flagship aircraft carrier the Admiral Kuznetsov. It also includes a nuclear-powered battle cruiser, Pyotr Velikiy, and two Udaloy Class Destroyers. The Admiral Kuznetsov itself is capable of carrying 50 war planes.

Russia already has about 10 ships off Syria, which have fired cruise missiles at targets in Syria.

Some fears of war have been expressed in European media because Russia is sending such a large fleet through UK territorial waters. However, it seems pretty clear that the fleet will simply continue traveling south, to be used with the intended objective of killing as many of the residents of Aleppo as possible.

Britain's Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said,

"When these ships near our waters we will man-mark them every step of the way. We will be watching as part of our steadfast commitment to keep Britain safe."

British and Norwegian ships and Swedish reconnaissance aircraft will be monitoring the Russian fleet with a view to gaining as much intelligence as possible. BBC and CNN and Russia Today

Russia extends 'humanitarian pause' in Aleppo Syria

When I was in college, one of the other kids kept a large snake in a glass cube in his room. I asked how he fed the snake. He said that once a month he'd put a live mouse into the cube. After a few days, the snake would eat the mouse. He told me that "in the meantime, the mouse would be a nervous wreck, because he knew what was going to happen."

That must be how the hundreds of thousands of residents of Aleppo feel right now. Russia has extended its "humanitarian pause" on air strikes for an additional 24 hours, but everyone knows that once the "pause" ends, Russian and Syrian warplanes will resume their destruction of Aleppo, including hospitals and civilian neighborhoods, using barrel bombs, chemical weapons (chlorine gas), phosphorous bombs, cluster bombs and bunker bombs.

Russia has also announced that six corridors were opened for civilians who want to escape the impending slaughter.

This is presumably a use of another weapon of war by the Russians and Syrians -- trying to create a new flood of hundreds of thousands more refugees, to add to the millions who are already flooding into neighboring countries and Europe. At any rate, it's believed that only a few hundred refugees have left Aleppo, for fear that they would be easy targets if they attempted to flee.

Some analysts have suggested that the purpose of the announcement of the "six corridors" is to be able to claim that the hundreds of thousands of civilians left in Aleppo, including women and children, must be "terrorists," to be killed by Syrian and Russian warplanes.

However, there is a logical contradiction. Russian media is saying that the reason that civilians haven't been fleeing Aleppo through the six corridors is because the terrorist rebels are telling them that they'll be shot if they try to leave. This claim contradicts the claim that the only civilians left in Aleppo are "terrorists."

At any rate, the Russian and Syrian destruction of Aleppo is expected to resume on Friday afternoon. Within a few more days, it's expected to be followed even more massive destruction from the warplanes and cruise missiles delivered by the new Russian naval fleet headed for the eastern Mediterranean.

According to one analyst I heard, the plan is for the destruction of Aleppo to be complete on the day before the US presidential election. Washington Post and BBC and Russia Today

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Oct-16 World View -- Aleppo bombings in 'humanitarian pause' as residents await Russia's death blow thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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20-Oct-16 World View -- Unrealistic expectations surround the battle to recapture Mosul from ISIS

Turkey views Iraq and Syria through the lens of World War I and the Ottoman Empire

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Unrealistic expectations surround the battle to recapture Mosul from ISIS


Homes destroyed by ISIS east of Mosul (Reuters)
Homes destroyed by ISIS east of Mosul (Reuters)

With the Iraq army's great battle to recapture Mosul from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) under way since Monday, politicians and military leaders are issuing the confident statements that things are going well. The press has been reporting that the military operation is already "ahead of schedule," which presumably means that the schedule for the first day or two was specifically designed so that the army couldn't fail.

The Iraqi politicians and military leaders are claiming not only to be ahead of schedule, but also to have everyone's agreement on how the battle will go. Specifically, Turkey's troops will not take part at all, and when the final battles are being fought, then the Kurdish militias and the Iran-backed Shia militias will wait outside Mosul, and only the Iraqi army will enter Mosul. It sounds an awful lot like a fairy tale.

The Iraqi force of 30,000 soldiers will consist of many groups of participants -- the US-led coalition, Turkey, Sunni tribes, Kurds, Iran, and Shia militias. These participants all save defeating ISIS as an objective, but when the battle is over, they all want to have as much influence in Mosul and control over events as possible. To imagine that all these other participants will simply cede control to the Iraq army seems like a fantasy.

We've already had the following:

Maybe all will go as Iraqi leaders have planned -- the participants will do as they're told, the battle will be quick, and only the Iraqi army will enter Mosul. But there are powerful forces at play, and powerful constituents, and they won't be stopped by a simple agreement, especially when something goes wrong. Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Reuters and Dow Jones

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Turkey views Iraq and Syria through the lens of World War I and the Ottoman Empire

When the Ottoman Empire was defeated in World War I, troops from Greece, Armenia, France and Italy occupied Istanbul and partitioned much of the land previously controlled by the Ottomans. Turkey's War of Independence began in 1919, and continued until 1923, with Turkey's forces led by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the revered founder of modern Turkey.

In 1920, the Ottoman Parliament approved a document known as Misak-i Milli, or the Turkish National Oath, which laid out Turkey's conditions for achieving peace, including a demand that "The future of the territories inhabited by an Arab majority at the time of the signing of the Armistice of Mudros will be determined by a referendum." However, when peace was finally achieved by the Lausanne Peace Treaty in 1923, many of the demands of the Turkish National Oath were not met.

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has referred to the Turkish National Oath in his speeches. According to Turkish media, he sees the treaties that ended World War I as defining new national boundaries for the entire Mideast, and he sees the current wars in Syria and Iraq as a process of redrawing those boundaries for the first time in almost a century -- or as a plot by the West, the Kurds, Iran and other foreigners to divide up the Syria and Iraq among themselves.

Among the regions that Turkey was forced to give up in 1923 were parts of northern Syria and Iraq, including Mosul in Iraq and Manbij in Syria. Erdogan believes that if the Mideast boundaries are going to be redrawn, then Turkey must take part aggressively, or else be humiliated again as happened with the Lausanne Peace Treaty almost a century ago. Thus, in Erdogan's view, Turkey must take part in the Mosul operation, and Erdogan must eject Kurdish militias from northern Syria, where Turkey has been fighting Operation Euphrates Shield.

The Kurds are aware of this, of course, as they're trying to create their own state of Rojava in a region stretching from the Mediterranean to Iran in northern Syria and Iraq, along the border with Turkey. Erdogan has repeatedly said that anything like that would be intolerable.

Syria's president Bashar al-Assad is now governing only a small fraction of the original Syria, mockingly called "Alawite-istan," in the west. Al-Assad is planning destroy the city of Aleppo, killing as many of the 250,000 Sunni civilians living there are he can, using barrel bombs, cluster bombs, chlorine, phosphorous bombs and bunker bombs, as well as Russia's warplanes. Aleppo is currently under siege, with no food or supplies able to enter the city.

Turkey has vowed to attack the city of Manbij in northern Syria, to eject the Kurds and the last of the ISIS fighters.

As it turns out, Manbij is not far from Aleppo. Some analysts are suggesting that Turkey might try to break the siege on Aleppo.

Regular readers know that Generational Dynamics has been predicting a major Mideast war. We've mentioned several possible scenarios how such a war might begin. Possibilities include a war between Israelis and Arabs, a war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, or a war between India and Pakistan spreading to the Mideast. Each of these wars would create a scenario that leads to a full-scale Mideast war.

Now we must add another possible scenario. Turkey has become increasingly nationalist, especially since the July 15 attempted coup, and Turkey may end up fighting Iran, Iraq, the Kurds and al-Assad, attempting to recover the territory lost by the peace treaties that followed World War I. As in the other cases, this would create a scenario that leads to a full-scale Mideast war. Rudaw (Iraq-Kurds) and Yeni Safak (Ankara) and Kurdistan 24 and Hurriyet (Ankara)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Oct-16 World View -- Unrealistic expectations surround the battle to recapture Mosul from ISIS thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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19-Oct-16 World View -- Egypt turns to Iran for oil after Saudi relationship deteriorates over Syria

Egypt votes for two contradictory UN Security Council proposals on Syria

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Egypt votes for two contradictory UN Security Council proposals on Syria


From 2015: Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, left, walks with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Riyadh (Reuters)
From 2015: Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, left, walks with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Riyadh (Reuters)

The war in Syria, and particularly the targeting by Syria's president Bashar al-Assad of millions of innocent Sunni Arab civilians, has caused a split in the Arab community, particularly between Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This has led to Egypt's representative voting for two contradictory UN Security Council resolutions.

The regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad has been targeting millions of innocent Sunni women and children with barrel bombs, chemical weapons (chlorine gas), phosphorous bombs, cluster bombs and bunker bombs. Thousands of Sunni jihadists from dozens of countries around the world came to Syria to fight al-Assad, resulting in the creation of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). Al-Assad, backed by Russia, Hezbollah and Iran, has not only created ISIS, but he's caused millions of Syrians to flee their homes into neighboring countries, including over a million that have flooded into Europe, causing the biggest refugee crisis since the end of WW II. Al-Assad and the Russians have created the greatest geopolitical disaster so far this century.

Although several Western politicians have denounced al-Assad, Russia and Iran as war criminals and guilty of crimes against humanity, the UN Security Council has been powerless to do anything to stop al-Assad's war of extermination.

The farcical impotence of the UN Security Council has been evident for months, especially as al-Assad and the Russians have made it clear that they plan to destroy east Aleppo and kill as many of the 250,000 civilians as they can.

On October 8, France submitted a proposal to the UNSC for a no-fly zone over Aleppo to protect civilians. Russia vetoed this proposal, and then submitted its own proposal that all the "terrorists" be killed in Aleppo before a ceasefire can begin.

The farce reached new heights when the ambassador from Egypt supported both proposals. Egypt was joined by Russia, China, and Venezuela in its support for the Russian resolution. Egypt's ambassador Amr Abul Atta defended the two votes:

"Egypt backs all efforts aimed at stopping the Syrian people’s tragedy. It voted for both resolutions based on their content, not political bidding that has become a hindrance to the Security Council’s work.

Egypt voted for halting deliberate targeting of Syrian civilians, backing for humanitarian access and cessation of hostilities according to relevant Security Council resolutions."

Saudi Arabia severely criticized Egypt's vote supporting the Russian resolution. Saudi's ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi said:

"The Egyptian vote represents the Egyptian position and not the Arab one. It was painful to see that the Senegal and Malaysian positions were closer to the Arab consensus on Syria compared to that of an Arab representative."

Another Saudi official tweeted: "Sorry Egypt. But voting for the Russian draft resolution makes me doubt you are the mother of Arabs and the world." Daily News Egypt and Gulf News (Dubai) and Asharq Al-Awsat (London) and Egypt Independent

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Saudis retaliate against Egypt, which may turn to Iran for oil

Following Egypt's vote in the UN Security Council, the Saudi government-owned oil company Aramco suspended its oil deliveries to Egypt, possibly violating a five-year agreement.

Aramco is under a commercial contract to deliver 700,000 tonnes of refined oil products to Egypt at reduced prices. The $23 billion agreement was signed between Saudi Aramco and Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) during the visit of Saudi King Salman to Egypt last year.

Iran has offered Egypt refined oil products to replace the products that the Saudis will not deliver.

Relations between Egypt and the Gulf Arab states changed markedly after Egypt's army coup in 2013 that overthrew the democratically elected Mohammed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government. Both Qatar and Turkey are allied with the Muslim Brotherhood, and the coup turned both countries against Egypt. Qatar had been providing aid to the Morsi government, but that aid stopped, and Saudi Arabia stepped in to help Egypt.

Turkey has remained relentlessly hostile to Egypt's current president Abdel al-Fattah al-Sisi who, as an army general, led the coup that ousted Morsi. Saudi Arabia has attempted to play a mediating role between Egypt on the one hand and Turkey and Qatar on the other hand.

However, the Saudi mediating effort is apparently wearing thin, as the long-standing differences between the two countries have now become painfully public because of the UN Security Council vote.

However, long-time readers know that Generational Dynamics predicts that Russia, Iran and India will be allies of the West in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war against China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Muslim countries.

These new developments in the Mideast, along with Egypt's good relationship with Israel and its new relationship with Iran may appear to signal that Egypt will be allied the West. However, the situation is more complicated than first appears. As the Saudis themselves have been pointing out, their disagreement is with Egypt's government, not with Egypt's people. Egypt is badly split following the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, and this split will be carried into any major Mideast war or world war. MEMRI and Middle East Eye and Hellenic Shipping News and Middle East Eye

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Oct-16 World View -- Egypt turns to Iran for oil after Saudi relationship deteriorates over Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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18-Oct-16 World View -- Turkey and Iraq in dispute over Turkish participation in Mosul operation

ISIS may be given a chance to escape to Syria

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey and Iraq in dispute over Turkish participation in Mosul operation


Kurdish Peshmerga forces in operation to liberate Mosul on Monday (Anadolu)
Kurdish Peshmerga forces in operation to liberate Mosul on Monday (Anadolu)

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted on Monday that Turkey will take part in the operation to recapture Mosul from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh):

"They say Turkey should not take part in the operation. How can Turkey not take part in the operation when it shares a 350-kilometer border with Iraq and receives all the terror threats from there? We have brothers in Mosul, Arabs, Turkmens and Kurds. If you go further north, we have relatives."

Turkish troops have been operating since 2014 in the Bashiqa military base in northern Iraq near Mosul, along the border with Turkey. Turkey has an estimated 2,000 troops in Iraq, around 500 of them in Bashiqa training about 1,000-2,000 Sunni Iraqi militia fighters in preparation for the Mosul operation.

On Thursday of last week, Iraq's foreign ministry in Baghdad summoned the Turkish ambassador. Iraq said that the Turkish forces in Bashiqa were "occupying forces" and "should be immediately withdrawn." Turkey refused to withdraw, and was able to produce a video of a December 2014 video in which Iraq's prime minister Haider al-Abadi asked for "military, intelligence, arms and training support" from Turkey. Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Anadolu (Turkey) and Daily Sabah (Ankara)

Turkey views the Mosul operation as a security threat to Turkey

In Thursday's statement, Erdogan reaffirmed that Turkey will do what is necessary in Mosul, and will not take directions from Iraq's prime minister.

Turkish officials are saying that the Mosul operation is a threat to the security of Turkey for several reasons:

The concerns are real. The Mosul operation will be led by Iraq's army (the one that dropped their guns and fled for their lives as ISIS fighters approached Mosul in 2014). The Iraqi force of 30,000 soldiers will have other participants besides the Iraqi army -- the US-led coalition, Turkey, Sunni tribes, Kurds, Iran, and Shia militias. These participants have a common objective -- to recapture Mosul from ISIS. However, once the recapture is complete, these participants will all have different objectives. In particular, just as Turkey wants to retain its influence in Mosul, the other participants will also want to maximize their own influence.

So far, none of these conflicting objectives has influenced the first day of the military operation. But it's still possible that this situation will cause major problems down the road. CNN and Yeni Safak (Ankara) and Daily Sabah (Ankara) and BBC

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ISIS may be given a chance to escape to Syria

Among all the analyst opinions, there seems to be little doubt that the recapture of Mosul will succeed. There are a wide variety of opinions on how long it will take, how many civilians will be killed, how much of the city will be destroyed, how big the humanitarian disaster will be, and whether new terror groups will fill the vacuum when ISIS is gone. But analysts seem unanimous in believing that the Iraqi force of 30,000, backed by US-coalition airstrikes, will succeed in defeating the 3,000 to 4,500 ISIS militants in Mosul.

The loss of Mosul will be a huge symbolic loss for ISIS. It's the largest city that ISIS has captured -- even larger than Raqqa in Syria. Even more important, it's the city where ISIS leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi declared his "caliphate."

However, some analysts say that Iraq is hoping that ISIS will flee without fighting. Iraqi forces have been surrounding Mosul and blocking exits from the north, east and south, but they're leaving a corridor open to the west, hoping that ISIS fighters will take advantage of it and flee to ISIS headquarters in Raqqa in Syria.

According to one analyst, ISIS commanders are aware that they're going to lose the battle, and that many of their forces will be killed, so they may decide to withdraw their best fighters, and leave the newbies behind to fight and be killed.

Other analysts aren't so sure. One of them points out that ISIS fighters fleeing to the west will be easy targets for US airstrikes, and so ISIS commanders may feel they have no choice but to stand and fight. Washington Post and Business Insider (Australia) and Economist

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Oct-16 World View -- Turkey and Iraq in dispute over Turkish participation in Mosul operation thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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17-Oct-16 World View -- Iraq begins battle to recapture Mosul from ISIS

Sectarian violence may interfere with recapture of Mosul

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Iraq begins battle to recapture Mosul from ISIS


ISIS (Reuters)
ISIS (Reuters)

Iraq has announced that a major long-awaited battle has begun to recapture Mosul, the capital city of the province of Nineveh, from the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a televised statement early Monday:

"Our dearest people in Nineveh province, the victory bell has rung, and the operations to liberate Mosul have begun. I am announcing today the beginning of these heroic operations to liberate you from the brutality and terrorism of ISIS. God willing, we will meet soon on the ground of Mosul where we will all celebrate the liberation and your freedom."

The US State Department tweeted: "Godspeed to the heroic Iraqi forces, Kurdish #Peshmerga, and #Nineveh volunteers. We are proud to stand with you in this historic operation."

The US recently announced the deployment of 600 additional troops to aid in the battle, bringing the number of US personnel to more than 5,200.

On Sunday morning, Iraqi aircraft dropped thousands of leaflets over Mosul, advising residents how to protect themselves. The leaflets said, "The Mosul liberation operation is close and it is time to clean Iraq of Daesh (ISIS)," and advised residents "to avoid ISIS shelters, try to stay indoors and shut doors and windows."

Iraq's government is hoping for a quick victory and to avoid a humanitarian disaster. There are some 1.5 million people in Mosul, and Iraqi officials expect some 700,000 of them to flee Mosul. These people will have to be given a place to live and humanitarian aid.

ISIS captured Mosul in June 2014, when the Iraqi army dropped their weapons and fled, allowing ISIS to take the city almost without firing a shot. The loss of ISIS was a major catastrophe for Iraq, not only for the loss of the city, but also because ISIS took control of vast storehouses of American weapons, and also looted the banks of billions of dollars. CNN and Rudaw (Iraq-Kurdistan)

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Sectarian violence may interfere with recapture of Mosul

The Mosul operation is becoming as much a political battle as a military battle.

The main issue is the use of Shia militias backed by Iran. When ISIS attacked the city of Ramadi, the Iraq army initially fled from ISIS forces, as they did in Mosul. So for the recapture of Ramadi, Tikrit and Fallujah, Iraq army forces were accompanied by Shia militias. After the cities were recaptured, the pro-Iranian Shia forces committed sectarian violence against the Sunni residents of the cities.

Now many Sunni Muslims fear a repeat of that sectarian violence if Shia militias are permitted to participate in the military operation. This apparently is the expectation of the some of the Shia militias themselves. The leader of the pro-Iranian Ahl al-Haq militia Qais al-Khazali recently said that "the battle of Mosul is revenge for the killing of Hussein," referring to Hussein ibn Ali (or Husayn ibn Ali) who is considered to be a revered Shia saint who was killed in 680 at the Battle of Karbala, which was the seminal battle that resulted in the Sunni-Shia split.

For this reason, Sunni tribal leaders in Nineveh are demanding that Shia militias be kept out of Nineveh and Mosul. According to one tribal leader, "we are concerned and fear for what will happen after ISIS. The possibility of personal revenge makes people afraid."

According to officials in Turkey, numerous groups might participate in the operation: the U.S.-led coalition, Iraqi soldiers, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) peshmergas, Iranian forces, Shia forces, Turkey-backed local forces and even PKK terrorists. The US-led coalition could include forces from Britain, France, Australia and Denmark.

Turkey agrees that Shia militias should not be involved in the recapture of Mosul, and they add that the same is true of Kurdish militias. Defense Minister Fikri Isik warns about the use of both Shia and Kurdish militias, and also offers Turkey's help:

"If you try to clear Mosul [from jihadists] with Shiite militias, you may start new chaos and a mess that would last 100 years. We are talking about these with the U.S. What we observe so far is that what we have been saying is being taken into account. ...

Let us give support to you for an operation to be conducted with local groups of this region. If you are to clear Raqqa, don’t do it with the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] or PYD [Democratic Union Party] because they could cause bigger problems after Daesh goes from the city."

Turkey has three main concerns: first, a potential sectarian rift between Sunnis and Shias, second, a new refugee crisis, and third, creation of a vacuum that would other terror groups to grow.

However, Iraq is strongly opposed to Turkey's participation.

Some analysts are questioning whether Iraq's army can be successful in recapturing Mosul, unless it has the help of Shia, Kurdish and Turkish-backed forces. Hurriyet (Ankara) and Rudaw (Iraq - Kurds) and Daily Sabah (Ankara)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 17-Oct-16 World View -- Iraq begins battle to recapture Mosul from ISIS thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (17-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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16-Oct-16 World View -- Pakistan and India in farcical dispute over 'surgical strikes' in Kashmir

Farce continues, as Pakistan involves the German embassy

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Pakistan and India in farcical dispute over 'surgical strikes' in Kashmir


Indian army soldier on guard in Kashmir (Getty)
Indian army soldier on guard in Kashmir (Getty)

War turned into farce this past week, as Pakistan claims that India was lying when India said that it conducted military "surgical strikes" into Pakistani territory in Kashmir.

We recently reported a major change in policy by India's military -- that it would invade Pakistan's soil if necessary. ( "30-Sep-16 World View -- Pakistan expected to retaliate after India invades Pakistani soil in Kashmir")

The series of events was triggered by a major terrorist attack, blamed on Pakistan, on an Indian army base in Uri in Kashmir on September 18. There was a five-hour firefight, and at least 17 soldiers were killed, as were the militants. This was the worst militant terrorist attack in Kashmir in years. India promised retaliation for the Uri attack.

The retaliation came on September 29 in the form of a series of "targeted strikes" or "surgical strikes" by India's armed forces on militant targets across the Line of Control (LoC) into the region of Kashmir governed by Pakistan.

The attack on Pakistani soil infuriated Pakistan's public, resulting in calls for retaliation, even at risk of starting a war. Pakistan's Foreign Office issued a statement:

"We can assure India that any such aggression will not go unanswered or unpunished. Pakistan is ready to defend its people and territory from any Indian aggression or Indian state-sponsored terrorism on Pakistani soil. The valiant armed forces of Pakistan have given and will continue to give a befitting response to any aggression,” said the Foreign Office spokesman in a statement."

There is particular sensitivity in Pakistan over the question of whether the Army is protecting Pakistani soil, after the American commando operation that captured Osama bin Laden.

But apparently Pakistani government officials found a solution to the problem.

They have declared that the "surgical strikes" never occurred, that they were just a "bluff," and that they were announced by India's military in order to confuse and humiliate Pakistan by making it appear that the country could not defend its own soil. Some of Pakistan's media is even claiming that the Uri military base attack was a "false flag" operation by India's military to provoke anti-Pakistan nationalism in India.

Some Pakistani officials are calling the Indian military "delusional" for claiming that the strikes took place. BBC (30-Sep) and Daily Times (Pakistan) and The News (Pakistan, 30-Sep)

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Farce continues, as Pakistan involves the German embassy

Pakistan's claims that India fabricated the story about "surgical strikes" took an even more bizarre and farcical turn when Pakistan media began to claim that a highly placed Indian official had confessed that the surgical strike story was phony.

According to Pakistan media, the German foreign office in Berlin told diplomats at the Pakistan Embassy in Berlin about a meeting that took place between Germany diplomats and the Indian foreign secretary in New Delhi. At the New Delhi meeting, the Indian foreign secretary Subramaniam Jaishankar is quoted as saying:

"the Indian Foreign Secretary has categorically denied and said that there was no ‘surgical strike’ undertaken by Indian Army inside Azad Kashmir, Pakistan."

Pakistan media also quotes an unnamed high-level Indian government official saying that it was all a plot by India's governing BJP party, which is led by the prime minister Narendra Modi:

"With the so-called mantra of surgical strike, the BJP government wanted to achieve many objectives such as to prove to the world that Pakistan is a terror sponsoring state and India has the military muscle to put it under restrain, Kashmir's freedom movement is nothing more than Pakistan's sponsored terrorism, to satisfy its populations' demand of avenging Uri attack and to create an unrivaled political space ahead of UP's state elections."

However, a spokesman for the German embassy in New Delhi said that no such conversation with German diplomats ever took place. "The report in News International Pakistan is baseless and without any truth," according to the German embassy.

According to the India-based South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG), the surgical strikes have had the "unintended consequence" of stirring debate in Pakistan itself whether Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency should continue protecting and sponsoring terrorists who attack targets in India. The News (Pakistan) and Daily News and Analysis (India) and South Asia Analysis Group (SAAG - India)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Oct-16 World View -- Pakistan and India in farcical dispute over 'surgical strikes' in Kashmir thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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15-Oct-16 World View -- Scotland considers separation from England as 'Hard Brexit' looms

EU president Donald Tusk tells Britain: 'Hard Brexit or No Brexit'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

EU president Donald Tusk tells Britain: 'Hard Brexit or No Brexit'


Turnalt sheep farm at the bottom of a U-shaped glen in Argyll, Scotland
Turnalt sheep farm at the bottom of a U-shaped glen in Argyll, Scotland

The recent meteoric fall of the British pound sterling currency is just one of the reasons why concerns are growing about the fallout from the results of the June 23 Brexit referendum, which mandated that Britain leave the European Union. The pound has plunged 18% versus the dollar to its lowest level in 31 years. At the same time, many international businesses that previously have been using Britain as a gateway to Europe are now moving their operations from London to cities like Dublin, Frankfurt, Madrid and Warsaw.

The fall in the value of the pound means that the cost of imports like South African blueberries and Italian bathroom fixtures will be substantially higher. It could benefit exporters, who will get more money for their goods sold abroad, but since the UK imports much more than it exports, the economic news from Brexit suggests that there will be a substantial fall UK living standards.

During the Brexit campaign, the politicians make all kinds of moronic promises, such as we hear constantly from all politicians. One of those promises was that the UK would save 50 million pounds per day that was being sent to Brussels, and that that money could be used to bail out the crashing National Health Service.

Now a new report indicates that instead of saving 50 million pounds per week, the UK will be forced to pay to the EU an additional 350 million pounds per week, to cover shared EU liabilities, including unpaid debt and pension liabilities. This is being called a "Brexit divorce" bill.

More of the moronic promises had to do with Britain's relationship with the EU after Brexit. The pro-Brexit campaign had promised that the EU would be anxious to grant Britain the same access to Europe's single market that it had now, but without the requirement that Britain be subjected to control from Brussels. In particular, Britain would not have to accept Christian immigrants from Poland or Muslim immigrants from Syria and Afghanistan.

Since the vote, EU politicians said that there would no access to Europe's single market unless Britain accepts EU's four freedoms: freedom of movement for people, goods, capital and services. Britain would have to accept freedom of movement of people, along with the other three freedoms.

This was emphasized in a speech Thursday by European Commission president Donald Tusk:

"I do not need to remind you that the creation of the European Union was a response to a historic catastrophe. The source of this catastrophe was the questioning of those values and treating national egoisms, the use of violence and the unlimited right of the stronger to dictate conditions for the weaker as the norm.

As Stefan Zweig wrote in those days: "It is an iron law that those who will be caught up in the great movements determining the course of their times always fail to recognize them in their early stages." ...

Finally, let's move on to Brexit. ... Our task will be to protect the interests of the EU as a whole and the interests of each of the 27 member states. And also to stick unconditionally to the Treaty rules and fundamental values. By this I mean, inter alia, the conditions for access to the single market with all four freedoms. There will be no compromises in this regard.

When it comes to the essence of Brexit, it was largely defined in the UK during the referendum campaign. We all remember the promises, which cumulated in the demand to "take back control".

Namely the "liberation" from European jurisdiction, a "no" to the freedom of movement or further contributions to the EU budget. This approach has definitive consequences, both for the position of the UK government and for the whole process of negotiations. Regardless of magic spells, this means a de facto will to radically loosen relations with the EU, something that goes by the name of "Hard Brexit".

This scenario will in the first instance be painful for Britons. In fact, the words uttered by one of the leading campaigners for Brexit and proponents of the "cake philosophy" was pure illusion: that one can have the EU cake and eat it too. To all who believe in it, I propose a simple experiment. Buy a cake, eat it, and see if it is still there on the plate.

The brutal truth is that Brexit will be a loss for all of us. There will be no cakes on the table. For anyone. There will be only salt and vinegar. If you ask me if there is any alternative to this bad scenario, I would like to tell you that yes, there is.

And I think it is useless to speculate about "soft Brexit" because of all the reasons I've mentioned. These would be purely theoretical speculations. In my opinion, the only real alternative to a "Hard Brexit" is "no Brexit"."

Britain will remain part of the European Union for at least another 30 months. That's because Britain's new prime minister Theresa May has not yet invoked "Article 50," and has said she will do so in March of next year. Invoking Article 50 begins a two-year negotiation process for Britain to leave the EU. Donald Tusk is clearly suggesting that May not invoke Article 50 at all, a decision that would infuriate a large percentage of British (I mean English) voters. Guardian (London) and Independent (London) and International Business Times (London)

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Scotland considers new referendum to leave Britain and rejoin the EU

The Brexit referendum revealed that Britain's population is badly split, but not along the usual Labor-Conservative lines. Instead, it was split geographically (England and Wales were pro-Brexit, Scotland and Northern Ireland were anti-Brexit), and it was split by generation, with Millennials furious at Boomers for the vote.

On September 18, 2014, Scotland held a referendum on the question of whether Scotland should leave the UK and become an independent country. This would have dissolved the 1707 union between England and Scotland that came out of the War of the Spanish Succession. Voters rejected the referendum, with 55.3% voting no.

Many in Scotland are bitter that they are going to be forced to leave the European Union even though they voted 62% to stay. For that reason, Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has said that she will introduce a plan for a new Scottish independence referendum.

Scotland is one of the four nations of the United Kingdom, the other three being England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Of the 63 million people in the UK, England has 53 million, and Scotland has only 5 million.

Scotland is far less densely populated than England, which means that Scotland welcomes immigrants to fill jobs, causing some Scots to call the English "xenophobic." In her speech on Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon accused England of being undemocratic:

"They are using the result as cover for a hard Brexit for which they have no mandate - but which they are determined to impose, regardless of the ruinous consequences. Worse still, they intend to do all of this with no parliamentary authority. Virtually no scrutiny whatsoever. And to do it with complete disregard for Scotland's democratic voice. That is simply not acceptable."

Analysts consider it unlikely that Sturgeon will get her way. Polls show that the Scottish people still do not support separation from England. Even more important, few people believe that it would even be possible for Scotland to be in the European Union, and not in the United Kingdom. Reuters and International Business Times

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Oct-16 World View -- Scotland considers separation from England as 'Hard Brexit' looms thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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14-Oct-16 World View -- Thailand mourns as Massachusetts-born King Bhumibol Adulyadej dies

Today's musical entertainment: The March of the Siamese Children

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Thailand mourns as Massachusetts-born King Bhumibol Adulyadej dies


Thailand neighborhood with shrine to King Bhumibol (Reuters)
Thailand neighborhood with shrine to King Bhumibol (Reuters)

The 88 year old King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand has been in deteriorating health for several years, so his death could hardly have been completely unexpected. And yet, it's surprising that the news stories coming out of Bangkok on Thursday after his death are of a shocked nation in mourning.

King Bhumibol, also known as Rama IX, was born on December 5, 1927, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He's has been on the throne since 1946, for 70 years, and so for almost every resident of Thailand, he's been ever-present as the King of Thailand. At his death, he was the longest-ruling monarch in the world. That title now passes to Queen Elizabeth of Britain.

The other surprising thing is that, even in death, it's illegal to say almost anything critical of the royal family. This is the so-called "lèse-majesté" law which says that it's treason to insult the king. And people have been sent to jail for even minor criticisms. Countries around the world are advising any of their citizens visiting Thailand to avoid saying anything about the royal family or Thai politics at this time.

Bhumibol is revered today because he led the country through numerous crises, including several coups and military takeovers. Even today, Thailand is governed by a military junta that overthrew the democratically elected government in 2014, and Bhumibol's influence is viewed by many as keeping the excesses of the military under control. Still, the army junta has made draconian use of the lèse-majesté as a tool for jailing dissidents.

Thailand's last generational crisis war was Cambodia's "Killing Fields" war in 1975-79, in which Pol Pot's communist Khmer Rouge government killed almost ten million people in a massive genocide.

The Cambodian war spilled over into Thailand in the form of a communist rebellion that began in the 1960s. King Bhumibol became an essential figure in the fight against the communists, although his role became more controversial in the savage anti-leftist coup of 1976, in which dozens of students were brutally killed by the security forces and royal-backed militias, and thousands forced to flee to seek sanctuary with the Communist Party. Despite his brutality, most Thai people look back at that time as central to upholding the authority of the state throughout the country. The Nation (Bangkok) and BBC and Public Radio International and AFP and BT (London) and Guardian (London)

As unpopular crown prince becomes King, Thailand's stability is questioned

In yesterday's article, I discussed a pattern that many countries follow after a bloody generational crisis civil war between two ethnic groups. The civil war is so horrific that the survivors vow that it will never happen again. The first generation growing up after the civil war, and with no personal memory of its horrors, begin peacefully protesting. The country leader, often from ethnic group that "won" the civil war, stays in power and resists peaceful protesters with violence, using the excuse that he wants to prevent another ethnic civil war. This pattern is currently being followed in generational Awakening eras in Burundi, Syria, and South Sudan -- and in Thailand.

In Thailand, the two ethnic groups are the minority light-skinned "yellow shirt" élite, mostly of Chinese descent, known as Thai-Chinese, versus the much larger population of dark-skinned "red shirt" mostly indigenous ethnic Thais, known as Thai-Thais. The indigenous Thai-Thais make up a majority of the population, and so they have been winning elections, much to the horror of the Thai-Chinese elite.

This exactly the kind of situation that gives rise to the Awakening era pattern described above. In this case, the Thai army have sided with the Thai-Chinese, and there have been three coups in the last ten years. In 2014, the army finally gave up even trying to hold elections, and they took control of the government, essentially giving control to the Thai-Chinese. King Bhumibol was a powerful influence in the last few years, keeping the excesses of the ruling junta under control.

With Bhumibol's death, the next in line to be king is his 62-year-old son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn. Vajiralongkorn has been married and divorced three times, has seven children, is considered to be a partying playboy, is currently living with an airline stewardess, and is deeply unpopular. He's also thought to be aligned with the army, which will raise the anger of the large indigenous population.

With the loss of Bhumibol's calming influence, it's quite possible that we'll see Thailand move in the direction towards genocide that we've been seeing in Burundi and Syria, where the leader commits genocide against the other ethnic group in order to protect the people from another war like the last one. That hasn't started in Thailand yet, but it could happen, as some analysts are predicting that Thailand is headed for street protests, violent clashes, and other signs of increasing instability. LA Times and Economist (23-Jul) and International Business Times

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Today's musical entertainment: The March of the Siamese Children

The 1952 Rodgers and Hammerstein Broadway musical, "The King and I", was based on the 1946 book "Anna and the King of Siam" by Margaret Landon. The story takes place in 1862 Bangkok Siam (Thailand). A teacher from Britain, Anna Owen, arrives in Bangkok to tutor the family of King Mongkut. She regrets her decision to go until she is charmed by King Mongkut's children.

You must take three minutes off and watch "The March of the Siamese Children" from the 1956 movie "The King and I," starring Deborah Kerr and Yul Brynner.

YouTube - March of the Siamese Children

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Oct-16 World View -- Thailand mourns as Massachusetts-born King Bhumibol Adulyadej dies thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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13-Oct-16 World View -- Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza follows Syria's Bashar al-Assad on path to genocide

Burundi lawmakers vote to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC)

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

UN report on Burundi documents massive human rights violations


Burning barricades in Bujumbura, Burundi's capital city, last year (UN)
Burning barricades in Bujumbura, Burundi's capital city, last year (UN)

A United Nations reports on Burundi has documented human rights violations on a wide, systemic, massive scale by the government of president Pierre Nkurunziza.

The hundreds of documented violations include torture, sexual violence, arbitrary jailings, targeted assassinations and summary executions. The targets of this massive violence were mostly political opponents who opposed Nkurunziza's third term as president, in apparent violation of the constitution, which limits presidents to two terms. Nkurunziza claimed that his first term doesn't count because he was appointed by the parliament, rather than being directly elected.

Nkurunziza's decision to run for a third term in April of last year triggered street protests by young people. Nkurunziza's security forces confronted the peaceful protests with bullets, tear gas and water cannon, killing about ten people in four days of violence.

Burundi's last generational crisis war was the 1994 Rwanda genocide, which also involved Burundi, in which ethnic Hutus killed some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis in three months. Burundi is now in a generational Awakening era, and is following the pattern where the first generation to grow up after the war are now staging protests. Nkurunziza is an ethnic Hutu, and his massive torture and violence is targeting Tutsis.

During America's last generational Awakening era, in the 1960s when the first post-World War II generation came of age, there were student protests, but the government did not resort to torture, sexual violence, arbitrary jailings, targeted assassinations and summary executions to counter them. So, there is a wide spectrum of behaviors that a government can exhibit during the Awakening era that follows the end of a generational crisis war by about 15-20 years.

Syria is also in a generational Awakening era, and Syria's president Bashar al-Assad is on the most violent end of the spectrum. The Syrian civil war pitted Shia/Alawites against Sunni Muslims, and climaxed in 1982. Today, the Shia/Alawite al-Assad is targeting millions innocent Sunni women and children with barrel bombs, chemical weapons (chlorine gas), phosphorous bombs, cluster bombs and bunker bombs.

We've described a similar pattern, including Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka. The pattern is this: There is a bloody generational crisis civil war between two ethnic groups. The civil war is so horrific that the survivors vow that it will never happen again. The first generation growing up after the civil war, and with no personal memory of its horrors, begins peacefully protesting. The country leader, often from ethnic group that "won" the civil war, stays in power and resists peaceful protesters with violence, using the excuse that he wants to prevent another ethnic civil war.

Since the initial violence in Burundi began in April of last year, the violence has continued to worse. More than 500 people have died from extrajudicial killings, and at least 270,000 people have fled the country to Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and DRC. United Nations Human Rights and IRIN (United Nations) and All Africa

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Burundi lawmakers vote to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC)

The recent United Nations report accusing the Burundi regime of Pierre Nkurunziza of massive human rights violations has infuriated regime officials, and caused them to take several steps to isolate themselves and protect themselves from retribution for the human rights violations.

For a while last year, the African Union was discussing the possibility of sending in peacekeeping troops to protect civilians from violence, but that had to be abandoned when Nkurunziza said that the AU peacekeepers would be treated as an invading army. (Some analysts responded to this failure by calling it the "African disunion." Similarly, the UN failure to stop the genocide is Syria is sometimes called the "Disunited Nations.")

Last week, Nkurunziza barred three United Nations human rights experts from entering the country and declared them persona non grata. The three had been associated with the United Nations report.

Now on Wednesday, Burundi's legislature has voted to leave the International Criminal Court (ICC). One Burundi lawmaker said that "The ICC is a tool being used to try and change power," making the same sort of excuse that Syria's Bashar al-Assad uses when criticized for his war crimes. Burundi officials have expressed fear that they will be charged with crimes against humanity. They would be the first country ever to withdraw from the ICC.

The withdrawal from the ICC will take effect one year after the government formally notifies the United Nation of its intention. In the meantime, some politicians are asking the ICC to speed up the ongoing preliminary examination and bring charges within a year.

The violence in Burundi has not yet reached the full-scale genocidal slaughter that we're seeing from the al-Assad regime in Syria, but it's pretty clear that the Nkurunziza regime in Burundi is headed in the same direction. AFP and International Business Times and African Arguments

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Oct-16 World View -- Burundi's Pierre Nkurunziza follows Syria's Bashar al-Assad on path to genocide thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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12-Oct-16 World View -- Militants linked to Myanmar's Rohingyas kill border guards in revenge attack

Fears grow of new wave of Buddhist vs Rohingya communal violence

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Nine Myanmar (Burma) police killed in coordinated attacks on Bangladesh border posts


Rohingya family in Rakhine State in Myanmar (Burma)
Rohingya family in Rakhine State in Myanmar (Burma)

Nine Myanmar police were killed, with four others injured and one still missing, when some 20 militants conducted coordinated attacks on three border posts along the Bangladesh border. The attacks took place around 1:30 am on Sunday morning. The attackers were armed with swords and spears, as well as conventional firearms, and they made off with more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition and dozens of guns. Eight militants were killed, and two others were captured alive.

The attacks took place in Rakhine State, which was the site of mass communal ethnic violence by Buddhist Burmese against Muslims in the Rohingya ethnic group in 2012.

No one has claimed credit for the attacks, but it's believed the attacks were in revenge for the Buddhist attacks on Rohingya Muslims, and for plans announced last month by the government to demolish 12 mosques and 35 madrasas (religious schools) in Rakhine State because they had been built without permission.

Police are not making a statement on the identities of the captured militants, but police are saying that they're neither Myanmar nationals nor Rohingyas, but that they received help from Rohingyas. Myanmar Times and Dhaka (Bangladesh) Tribune and Anadolu (Turkey) and The News (Pakistan)

Fears grow of new wave of Buddhist vs Rohingya communal violence

There was a burst of violence of Buddhists attacking Muslims in June 2012, triggered by an alleged rape of a Buddhist Rakhine girl by Muslim Rohingyas.

In October of that year, there was a much worse wave of violence and massacres described as a genocidal "scorched earth attack" by Buddhists, killing dozens of Muslims, destroying 2000 homes, and forcing thousands of refugees into squalid refugee camps which already house hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas.

The Rohingya have a darker skin than Burmese, and they speak a Bengali dialect. They are, for all practical purposes, a stateless ethnic group, living on the Bangladesh-Burma border, but rejected by both countries. In fact, Burma refuses to identify the Rohingya as a unique ethnic group, preferring to call them Bengali, and referring to them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Burma is almost entirely a Buddhist state, including the Rakhine ethnic group that make up most of the population of Rakhine state.

Then in April 2013, 20 Muslim boys were taken from a madrassa, and hacked to death, their bodies soaked in petrol and set alight. This was part of a much larger wild, frenzied attack by Buddhists on Muslims that killed dozens and reduced an entire established community of 12,000 Muslims, including homes, shops and mosques, to ashes and rubble. Police watched and did nothing while thousands of people -- women, monks, young people -- cheered when someone was killed.

The level of hysteria was similar to Kristallnacht, November 9, 1938, when thousands of Germans cheered at seeing the the Nazis torch synagogues, vandalize Jewish homes, schools and businesses and kill Jews.

It's now feared that the Sunday's killing of the border guards Rohingya-linked militants will trigger another wave of mass slaughter of Muslims by Buddhists. According to Vijay Nambiar, UN envoy to Myanmar:

"At this delicate juncture, the local communities at all levels must refuse to be provoked by these incidents and their leaders must work actively to prevent incitement of animosity or mutual hatred between Buddhist and Muslim communities."

Myanmar authorities have sent troops into Rakhine State to prevent further violence. But the troops are also going to be hunting for any Rohingyas who might have been involved in Sunday's attack. Thus it's possible that the troops may not fail to prevent violence; they may trigger new violence. UN News Center and Radio Free Asia and Saudi Gazette

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 12-Oct-16 World View -- Militants linked to Myanmar's Rohingyas kill border guards in revenge attack thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (12-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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11-Oct-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan and Russia's Putin sign TurkStream gas pipeline deal

Turkey-Russia TurkStream deal based on pragmatism rather than reconciliation

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey's Erdogan and Russia's Putin sign TurkStream gas pipeline deal


Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday in Istanbul (Reuters)
Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday in Istanbul (Reuters)

Officials from Russia and Turkey signed an agreement on Monday for the Turkish Stream pipeline project, to build pipelines supplying Russian natural gas to Turkey and to western Europe. The agreement was signed in Istanbul, Turkey, during the World Energy Congress, during a ceremony attended by Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Also attending was Ilham Aliyev of president of Azerbaijan, since Azerbaijan will be taking part in the project.

The agreement is being viewed as the biggest sign so far that Turkey and Russia are overcoming their differences after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane in November 2015. Nonetheless, all the signs are that this was a deal of pragmatism, rather than any real warming of relations between the two leaders or the two countries.

Both countries have become internationally isolated because of sanctions. The West imposed sanctions on Russia after Russia invaded and annexed Ukraine's Crimea peninsula. Turkey became isolated when Russia imposed sanctions on Turkey because of the shootdown.

The relationship between Russia and Turkey became extremely vitriolic, but neither country did anything that might be called a "nuclear option." The sanctions that Russia imposed on Turkey -- food imports/exports, tourism restrictions, etc. -- hurt both economies, but were not sufficiently serious to be significant.

For Turkey, the "nuclear option" would have been to close the Turkish straits (Bosporus and Dardanelles channels), the waterways that connect the Black Sea to the Mediterranean Sea, to Russian ships that wish to travel between the two bodies of water. That never happened.

Russia could have canceled natural gas shipments to Turkey through the existing Blue Stream trans-Black Sea gas pipeline, but that never happened either.

Further plans on the new TurkStream gas pipeline project were canceled after the shootdown last year, as were plans for a Russian-built nuclear plant in Turkey. But with Monday's agreement, those plans are are all now being implemented. Sputnik News (Moscow) and VOA and Reuters

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Turkey-Russia TurkStream deal based on pragmatism rather than reconciliation

Both Turkey and Russia have had ailing economies recently. Signing the TurkStream deal on Monday will mean major economic benefits to both countries -- assuming that the pipelines are actually built.

Russia's existing pipelines run through Ukraine, a country whose relations with Russia are even worse than Turkey's. The TurkStream project would provide an alternate path for Russian gas to reach Europe. The TurkStream pipelines would bring infrastructure investment into Turkey, and would provide steady income in the form of transit fees of Russian gas through Turkey to Europe.

However, Turkey and Russia are still deeply divided over the war in Syria. It's hard to remember now, but before 2011, Erdogan, Putin and Syria's president Bashar al-Assad were all allies. Then the so-called "Arab Spring" began, and al-Assad began slaughtering peaceful protesters, as well as women and children in marketplaces and schools. In August 2011, when he launched a massive military assault on a large, peaceful Palestinian refugee camp in Latakia, filled with tens of thousands of women and children Palestinians, Turkey turned against al-Assad. At the same time, Putin, who has plenty of his own experience in slaughtering innocent women and children, became al-Assad's ally and protector. Those bitter differences between Erdogan and Putin still exist, and will not disappear as long as al-Assad is governing Syria.

Another bitter difference arises from the fact that Turkey has invaded northern Syria in Operation Euphrates Shield, in order to drive fighters from both Kurdish militias and and the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). Turkey has set up a "safe zone" in northern Syria for Syrians fleeing from al-Assad's violence. This means that Turkey's troops are expected to remain for some time.

On the Russian side, Russia is installing advanced surface-to-air missile systems. Since the jihadist groups do not have an air force, these missile systems are presumably meant for aircraft from Europe, the US, and especially Turkey.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, it's clear where this is going. As I've been writing for years, in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war, China, Pakistan and the Sunni Muslim countries will be on one side, and the West, India, Russia and Iran will be on the other side.

People often say that two countries won't go to war because it would be bad for business, and that's being said now about the Russia-Turkey business deal. But that's not how the world works. If two countries have high volumes of trade, then that just becomes another weapon of war, as one country imposes sanctions on the other. Hurriyet (Ankara) and Time

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Oct-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan and Russia's Putin sign TurkStream gas pipeline deal thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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10-Oct-16 World View -- Ethiopia declares extraordinary six-month state of emergency

Manufacture of Ivanka Trump's shoes will move from China to Ethiopia

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Ethiopia declares extraordinary six-month state of emergency


Irreecha festive on 2-October, prior to the deadly stampede (Reuters)
Irreecha festive on 2-October, prior to the deadly stampede (Reuters)

The declaration of a six-month state of emergency is a major development, as Ethiopia hasn't declared a state of emergency for decades. However, the government has been increasingly rattled by growing anti-government protests, especially among the marginalized Oromo ethnic group, which comprises 34% of Ethiopia's population, and among the Amhara ethnic group, which comprises another 27%.

The government is largely controlled by the ethnic Tigrays, who are a market and government dominant minority, comprising only 6% of the population. They are extremely authoritarian and have succeeded in marginalizing the other ethnic groups, and are said to have informants in villages throughout the country.

According to Ethiopian officials:

"The Council of Ministers has declared a state of emergency that will be effective as of Sunday evening so as to deal with anti-peace elements that have allied with foreign forces and are jeopardizing the peace and security of the country. ...

The state of emergency was declared following a thorough discussion by the Council of Ministers on the loss of lives and property damages occurring in the country.

We put our citizens' safety first. Besides, we want to put an end to the damage that is being carried out against infrastructure projects, education institutions, health centers, administration and justice buildings.

A state of emergency has been declared because the situation posed a threat against the people of the country.

The emergency will not breach basic human rights enshrined under the Ethiopian constitution and won't also effect diplomatic rights listed under the Vienna Convention.

The state of emergency will help restore peace and security shortly. It is also intended to smooth the progress of the efforts being made to resolve the problem peacefully."

The Ethiopian government is extremely authoritarian, and has always successfully met peaceful protests with arrests and violence. The government has not yet announced details of what the state of emergency will mean, but it's expected that the military will become even more in control, and may become even more violent. Fana Broadcasting (Ethiopia) and Deutsche Welle

Oromo protests grow after hundreds killed during Irreecha (thanksgiving) festival

The government considered the state of emergency to be necessary following violence at a peaceful protest last week. Dozens to hundreds of ethnic Oromo people were killed last Sunday (2-Oct) when security officials used teargas and gunshots to disperse protesters at the Oromos' annual Irreecha thanksgiving celebration in the town of Bishoftu. These actions triggered a stampede among the tens of thousands of people peacefully protesting against the government, resulting in the deaths.

The Oromos are the largest ethnic group in east Africa, and make up 34% of Ethiopia's population, where they are split approximately evenly between Christianity and Islam.

Most of them live in the Oromia region, which surrounds the capital city Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa is a major metropolis, and it has been growing and expanding. Last year, the government announced a plan to expand Addis Ababa into Oromo farmland, which triggered large scale protests. Massive protests in December 2015 caused the government to back down on the plan, but the protests have continued, because of deep poverty among the Oromos and what they see as marginalization.

In recent weeks, the protesters have become violent, and they attacked businesses, putting at risk the government-portrayed image that Ethiopia is the best place in Africa for business investments. This has caused the government to appear desperate to restore stability, so as not to scare away the foreign investors. AFP and BBC and IRIN News and African Arguments

Ethiopia's 'kebele' system imposes heavy government repression and control

The kebeles are the smallest unit of local government in Ethiopia, and exist throughout the entire country, in both rural and urban districts. When the USSR-dominated communist government, known as the Derg dictatorship, was in charge prior to 1991, they were used by the government to exert local control.

As I described recently in the Generational history of Ethiopia and Eritrea, Ethiopia's last generational crisis war occurred in 1991, when the Derg dictatorship was overthrown. The new constitution promised human rights for everyone. Theoretically, the kebeles were then to become a democrat way of devolving central government power to the local authorities.

An election in May 2005 threatened the power of the government dominant ethnic Tigrays, which are only 6% of the population. The kebeles became a powerful instrument for retaining power, according to Human Rights Watch in 2005:

"While originally intended to help implement the Derg’s ambitious rural development agenda and land reform program, the kebele system quickly evolved into a highly effective mechanism of control and repression. Kebele officials were expected to keep their communities under perpetual surveillance and to report any subversive activities to higher authorities. The kebeles were also used to disseminate government propaganda, implement government policies and maintain general order and discipline. When the EPRDF came to power it retained the kebele as the smallest unit of local government throughout Ethiopia and has continued to use the system to consolidate and extend the power of the ruling party.

In Oromia’s rural areas, kebele officials wield a great deal of power over the populations they govern. Most of the region’s rural population consists of subsistence farmers who depend upon kebele officials to provide them with a range of essential services and agricultural inputs. Perhaps most significantly, kebele officials distribute fertilizer to farmers throughout Oromia on credit and are responsible for collecting those debts when they come due. Farmers must also obtain letters from kebele officials verifying their identity and place of residence when they wish to access government services outside of their communities. Such letters are usually required, for example, in order to visit a doctor or send one’s children to secondary school in town."

Ethiopia is now in a generational Awakening era, and as I've described in Syria, Burundi, and other countries, these are times when anti-government protests only grow, and if the government is sufficiently paranoid, then these peaceful protests are met with increasing violence by government security forces. These protests are only going to increase, possibly sending Ethiopia into an increasing spiral of government violence.

Addis Standard (Addis Ababa, 9-Jun-2016) and Human Rights Watch (2005)

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Manufacture of Ivanka Trump's shoes will move from China to Ethiopia


Ivanka Trump's shoes will be manufactured in Ethiopia
Ivanka Trump's shoes will be manufactured in Ethiopia

The Huajian Group, a major Chinese shoe manufacturer, and the manufacturer of Ivanka Trump's shoes, is considering moving part of its manufacturing business from China to Ethiopia, to take advantage of workers who are paid lower wages.

This is not as fatuous a story as it appears to be. Donald Trump has criticized the number of manufacturing jobs that have moved from America to China, and the Chinese media are making a big deal of the fact that Ivanka's shoes may no longer be manufactured in China. Shanghaiist and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Oct-16 World View -- Ethiopia declares extraordinary six-month state of emergency thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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9-Oct-16 World View -- New Anti-India violence erupts in Kashmir after police kill 12-year-old boy

Indian media increasingly accepts the 'indigenous' nature of the Kashmir protests

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

New Anti-India violence erupts in Kashmir after police kill 12-year-old boy


Kashmiri Muslim women shout anti-India slogans in Srinagar on Saturday (EPA)
Kashmiri Muslim women shout anti-India slogans in Srinagar on Saturday (EPA)

Junaid Ahmad Akhoon, a 12-year-old boy, died early on Saturday after being "sprayed with pellets" by police pellet guns on Friday during anti-India protests. About 50 more people were injured during the Friday protests. Police said the boy was injured during clashes between protesters and security forces, but the local residents alleged that the boy was not involved in any protest.

The killing triggered new violent clashes on Saturday between thousands of protesters in Srinagar, the provincial capital city of Kashmir, and Indian troops, who fired warning shots and used tear gas and pellet guns. Intermittent clashes spread to different regions in Kashmir throughout the day. Curfews were re-imposed in several districts, after having been lifted for only a few days.

It's now been 92 days of almost continuous protests and riots since the July 8 killing by security forces of Burhan Wani, the leader of the Hizbul Mujahideen separatist group in Kashmir. Over 90 people have been killed and over 12,000 injured since the July 8 killing. Stone-throwing crowds are met with security forces spraying the crowds using pellet guns. Hundreds of people have been blinded by the pellets. International Business Times and Daily Kashmir Images

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Indian media increasingly accepts the 'indigenous' nature of the Kashmir protests

According to official government figures, 446 people were arrested in the last week. Close to 7000 people have been arrested in Jammu and Kashmir since July 8, while more than 450 people have been booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA), a 1978 law considered highly restrictive. In addition, police sources say that 1500 others are under detention without any charges, and their detention doesn’t reflect in the official records.

Judging from Indian media, numbers like these are driving increased acceptance of the view that the continuing protests and violence in Kashmir are not being caused by Pakistan, but are "indigenous" and "organic," meaning that it's coming from the people, rather than from the politicians.

One Kashmir government spokesman, Nayeem Akhtar, compared the situation today to protests that occurred in 2010, which were purely political:

"[We are finding] ourselves in an unprecedented situation. ...

There is a difference, lot of difference between 2010 and 2016. Like the local leadership apparently is not in control, the leadership has gone to 10 and 12 year old boys. Those who lead are driven by the street. In 2010, they could assert and bring it back. What we did (in 2010) is the role of opposition. I wish National Conference does the same but they have disappeared."

"National Conference" is a political party formed in 1947 with the objective of achieving Kashmiri independence from India through political means. Akhtar's point is that there is no longer political control of the protests, which are now being led by teenagers who weren't even around to protest in the past. It's this generational change that's caused a political protest to become a violent protest.

Parvez Imroz, a rights activist in Kashmir supporting the separatists, also emphasizes a generational change:

"The government doesn't really know what to do and how to control protests.

The state has become more vehement, firing bullets and pellets on unarmed people. But, despite all this use of force, people are organizing these protests well, which was not the case in the early 1990s. It was more of an emotional outburst back then. And many young people who are now on the streets have not seen the fear and terror that was instilled by the government forces in early 1990s.

Now that element of fear is gone. ...

The use of force against protesters is likely to continue. But one thing is certain - this uprising has given [a] new dimension to the resistance in Kashmir.

The young generation is really controlling things on the streets.

In [the] 1990s, and even till early 2000, some people from here would go and openly talk to the Indian government on behalf of people, but that can't happen now because people here have realized nothing comes out of these talks.

But it remains to be seen how young people leading the protests will organize themselves and lead the struggle in the times ahead."

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, this is how the world works. The 1947 Partition war between Muslims and Hindus was one of the bloodiest wars of the 20th century, so horrific that the survivors did everything they could to make sure that it never happens again. And the survivors were successful, as long as they were alive. But now they're pretty much all gone, and the young people rioting in Kashmir have no personal connection to the horrors of the Partition war, and they're ready, willing, anxious and able to risk having it happen again.

As I described in a recent article, India's last two generational crisis wars were India's 1857 Rebellion, which pitted India's Hindus against the British colonialists, and the 1947 Partition war, which pitted Hindus and Muslims against each other, following the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan. As we described in that article, the 1857 war led naturally to violence between Hindus and Muslims decades later, and then to the 1947 war.

Now we're seeing that the 1947 war is leading, decades later, to new violence between Hindus and Muslims. Generational Dynamics predicts that we're seeing a kind of repeat of 1947, and that this increasing violence will lead to a new generational crisis war between Hindus and Muslims, and from there to full-scale war between Pakistan and India. Indian Express and Kashmir Public Safety Act (1978) and Al-Jazeera (6-Sep)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Oct-16 World View -- New Anti-India violence erupts in Kashmir after police kill 12-year-old boy thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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8-Oct-16 World View -- Reader comments and questions on Syria, Russia, and Russian trolls

The future of the Mideast

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Russian Trolls


Russian trolls - Bruce Plante (Tulsa World, 11-Jun-2015)
Russian trolls - Bruce Plante (Tulsa World, 11-Jun-2015)

There have been a number of questions and comments about my recent articles on Russia's involvement in Syria.

TheLastPlainsman: "It appears, Mr. Xenakis, that you are still the target of Soviet, err, I mean, Russian, trolls. At least there aren't any China ones. Today, anyway."

Yes, Russia has hired hundreds of trolls to harass people like me. At one point last year, I was being attacked and harassed by three Russian trolls at the same time.

In a sense, the whole policy has backfired. Every journalist by now has become aware that they'll be attacked by Russian trolls if they write anything critical of Russia. So the result is that any person who actually believes what he's saying in defense of Bashar al-Assad or Vladimir Putin is automatically assumed to be a paid Russian troll. The Russians brought this on themselves.

Mickey Wasp: "It is clear from this completely fraudulent article he has penned that Mr. X is not above composing lies in order to further the nefarious agenda of the Zionist criminal enterprise known as Israel and Warmongers of Congress and the CIA.

Anyone who can write a line such as "After years promising to help end the violence in Syria, Russian and Syrian warplanes have been indiscriminately attacking civilian neighborhoods and hospitals with barrel bombs, chemical weapons (chlorine gas), phosphorous bombs, cluster bombs and bunker bombs. It does not take rocket science to see that Russia and Syria have no intention of ending the violence." is not fit to call themselves a journalist or researcher or columnist, instead they should be labelled as a disgusting black propagandist and seen as working for those who created the conflict in Syria."

All of these things that I listed -- attacking civilian neighborhoods and hospitals with barrel bombs, chemical weapons (chlorine gas), phosphorous bombs, cluster bombs and bunker bombs -- have been widely reported in mainstream media and by government organizations in America, Europe, the Mideast and the United Nations. The only people saying that it's all made up are Russian and Syrian officials, as well as the army of paid Russian trolls.

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Popularity of Bashar al-Assad

Scotster brightmoth: "Amid the demonization of the Syrian government and leadership and the skillful use of social media by anti-government activists. Influenced by both mainstream and this alternative media, most people in the West do not know that Bashar al-Assad remains popular with many Syrians. Nor do they realize that Assad won an election two years ago."

What the heck does that have to do with anything? Bashar al-Assad is being charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. What does it matter whether he won an election? Adolf Hitler won elections. Mao Zedong, Pol Pot and Josef Stalin were all very popular.

There's a very important point here. It's the popularity of genocidal leaders that makes the genocidal acts possible. An unpopular leader could never get away with trying to exterminate an entire religious or ethnic group, as Bashar al-Assad is trying to exterminate the Sunni Muslims. A genocidal leader has to be popular to get away with his depraved acts. So when you talk about al-Assad's popularity, my response is that of course he's popular, and has to be to get away with committing genocide.

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Russian shootdown of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

Mickey Wasp: "We are experiencing the same demonization of Syria’s al-Assad and Russia’s Putin that we witnessed before those other two wars on Saddam and Gaddafi. Every possible allegation is made against them, often based on dubious and deceitful “evidence,” but it goes unchallenged because to question the propaganda opens a person to charges of being an “apologist” or “stooge” or if they post on Xenakis articles, a Russia troll."

If it quacks like a duck, then it must be a duck. You claim that you're a Texas redneck, but you quack like a Russian troll.

There was a good example this last week of how Russian trolls work. A Dutch-led team announced the findings of a major investigation proving that Russians in eastern Ukraine in July 2014 shot down Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 passenger plane with a Russian Buk 9M38 missile that was transported by a Volvo truck from Russia, and then transported back to Russia after it had been used to shoot down the plane.

There are literally thousands of pieces of evidence, including intercepted phone calls, photos, analyzed and authenticated, videos, forensic examinations, witness statements, satellite images, and radar data. The amount of evidence is overwhelming.

But the Russian trolls have been out in force saying that all the photos are photoshopped, and all the evidence was faked. And the Washington Post reports that numerous reporters have been targeted by Russian government hackers. I've been targeted many times by both Russian and Chinese hackers. That's the game these Russian trolls play.

So when this Russian troll says that "every possible allegation is made against [al-Assad and Putin], often based on dubious and deceitful 'evidence,'" he's just being a good troll and saying the same things over and over despite overwhelming evidence. He should get an extra pay bonus from his trollmaster for being such a good troll.

Here's another point worth making. I believe the truth of everything that I write. I've written about 4,000 articles on my web site since 2003, and every word is based on extensive research and reporting. I have an archive of some 85,000 articles that I've copied and pasted, and I add a dozen or so articles to the archive every day. I have to be sure of every fact, because if I make a mistake, then I know that people will pound on me for it.

But that's not true of the Russian trolls. They know very well that Russians shot down the MH17 plane. They know very well that Bashar al-Assad is committing genocide. They know very well that Vladimir Putin is guilty of war crimes. But they're paid to lie, and they sell their souls every day to defend the greatest genocidal monsters of the 21st century so far.

Guardian (London) and Washington Post

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The future of the Mideast

Jasmine16: "President Assad wants to kill all Sunni Muslims? Come on. His wife is a Sunni. Many of his ministers and military officers are Sunnis. Many of his armed force officers are Sunnis. The majority of Syrian population prefer to live in government controlled areas. Even CIA and Qatar study reveal that 70% of Syrians-most of whom are (moderate) Sunnis, support him, while 20% are neutral, and only 10 % are against him. How on earth could the writer claims that the president wants " ... to massacre ... all Sunni Muslim civilians ...."?"

There is an extremely bloody historic fault line between Shia/ Alawites (like Bashar al-Assad) and Sunnis. It's pretty clear that al-Assad wants to kill a large segment of Syria's civilian population, possibly millions of people, on the other side of that historic fault line, but there's a problem of how to characterize those people -- what name should we give that group? Al-Assad just calls them all "terrorists," but obviously children in a school or women and children in a marketplace slaughtered by an al-Assad airstrike are not "terrorists" in any meaningful sense. So in view of the historic hatred between Alawites and Sunnis, I use the characterization "Sunni Muslims" as the most convenient way to describe the portion of the population that al-Assad wants to exterminate. It's possible that there's some kind of ethnic descriptor that could be used to make the characterization more precise, but I'm not aware of one.

TheLastConservative: "'In other words, it’s just more bizarre garbage coming out of the mouths of Russian officials.' Which is a lot like #*&$ coming out of the State Department isn't it? There are no good guys in this situation. We are obviously too incompetent and should get out of it. We've messed up enough as it is."

A lot of people feel that way. But a lot more people feel that America has a moral obligation to be policeman of the world, so it's unlikely that we'll get out of the situation.

TheLastPlainsman: "So now that confuses me- what is your prediction then with a US/Russia conflict but then us still being allied in the next world war? Is there any kind of timeline to consider?"

Russia's historic enemies are the Turks, the Mongols, and particularly the Crimean Tatars. Russia has absolutely no reason to start a war with the West, as many people fear.

As I've been writing for many years, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, Russia will be our ally in the coming Clash of Civilizations world war. Those who think that this is impossible should recall that the Soviet Union was our bitter enemy before and after World War II, but was our ally during World War II. Something like that will happen again. This prediction should make the Russian trolls very happy.

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Oct-16 World View -- Reader comments and questions on Syria, Russia, and Russian trolls thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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7-Oct-16 World View -- UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura predicts total destruction of Aleppo by Christmas

UN envoy Staffan de mistura asks al-Nusra fighters to leave Aleppo

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura asks al-Nusra fighters to leave Aleppo


Staffan de Mistura (Reuters)
Staffan de Mistura (Reuters)

Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations envoy for Syria, gave a passionate speech on Thursday, where practically begged both sides to stop the genocide going on in east Aleppo in Syria.

De Mistura's point was that there are over 275,000 people in east Aleppo, but only about a thousand of them are members of Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) which recently renamed itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) when it cut its ties to al-Qaeda.

De Mistura begged the al-Nusra fighters to leave the city, rather than to allow the destruction of Aleppo and the deaths of many of the 275,000 residents. Addressing himself directly to the al-Nusra fighters, de Mistura said:

"Can you please look at my eyes, and those of the Aleppo people. Of the 275,000 civilians that are there where you are, and confidently those 275,000 people that you're going to stay there, and that you remain there and keep hostage of your refusal to leave the city, because 1,000 of you are deciding on the destiny of 275,000 civilians. I would like you to reply to this question -- not to me, but to those 275,000 people -- and if you did decide to leave, in dignity, and with your weapons, to Idlib or anywhere you wanted to go, I personally am ready physically to accompany you."

It's a very dramatic offer, but the probability that it will be taken up is pretty close to zero. Even if 1,000 fighters left the city, Syria and Russia would claim that there were still more "terrorists." In the event that de Mistura played the part of a Pied Piper leading fighters out of Aleppo, it's even possible that Russian and Syrian warplanes would target him and kill him, and then say that it was Nato warplanes that killed him. Reuters and Asharq Al-Awsat

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Staffan de Mistura predicts total destruction of Aleppo by Christmas

Russia and Syria have repeatedly been accused of war crimes and genocide in recent days by United Nations officials, in reaction Russian and Syrian warplanes indiscriminately attacking civilian neighborhoods and hospitals with barrel bombs, chemical weapons (chlorine gas), phosphorous bombs, cluster bombs and bunker bombs,

UN envoy Staffan de Mistura renewed those accusations on Thursday by comparing the actions of Syria and Russia to the genocides at Srebrenica and Rwanda.

He said that, unless there's a "game changer," the city of Aleppo will by "totally destroyed" by Russia and Syria within 2 to 2 1/2 months, presumably killing most of the 275,000 residents, who are "civilians, not terrorists."

De Mistura said:

"There is only one thing that we are not ready to do - be passive, resignate ourselves to another Srebrenica, another Rwanda, which we are capable sadly today to recognize - written on that wall in front of us - unless something takes place.

That doesn't mean that we will not -- and we will -- put this into context of a political process, because it's clear anything we do is not only about Aleppo is going to be also part of a political process that we will relaunch, we need to relaunch, we need a political horizon, based on what happens in the Security Council.

Unless there is any major game changer that may change the equation, this cruel, constant use of military activities, bombing, fighting destruction in eastern Aleppo will continue. Let's be honest, there is nothing that tells us that it will not continue. ...

The bottom line is - in maximum 2 months, 2 1/2 months the city of eastern Aleppo at this rate may be totally destroyed. We're talking about old city in particular. And thousands of Syrians - civilians, not terrorists -- will be killed. And many of the wounded. And thousands and thousands of them may try to become refugees in order to escape from there.

This is what you, we, the world will be seeing when we will be trying to celebrate Christmas, or the end of the year, if this continues at this rate, unimpeded. Homs [Syrian city] multiplied by 50."

It's been very clear for a long time that the depraved psychopath Bashar al-Assad, the president of Syria, would very much like to see 275,000 residents of Aleppo killed, even though only all but a few thousand are innocent civilians. Syrian and Russian warplanes have been bombing hospitals, schools and civilian neighborhoods even in cities where al-Nusra was never present.

So de Mistura's passionate plea has no possibility whatsoever of making a difference.

At Friday's emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, Russia will undoubtedly say that there more than just a few thousand of the 275,000 residents are "terrorists." Russia may even claim that almost of the 275,000 residents are "terrorists." AFP and BBC

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Oct-16 World View -- UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura predicts total destruction of Aleppo by Christmas thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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6-Oct-16 World View -- Russia continues large air defense military buildup in Syria

Concerns about possible US-Russia military conflict continue to grow

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Russia continues large air defense military buildup in Syria


Russian S-300 air defense missile system (AP)
Russian S-300 air defense missile system (AP)

Russia announced in April that it had met its objectives in Syria, and its military was withdrawing. Then, as the army of the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad began collapsing again, Russia changed its mind. Russia's increasing military buildup in Syria indicates that it has no intention of withdrawing, and may even be treating Syria as a part or a protectorate of the Russian federation.

Russia's military on Tuesday announced that a battery of the S-300 air defense missile systems had been sent to Syria. This follows installation of a long-range S-400 missile defense system, and an array of other surface-to-air missiles. These have raised concerns among analysts, to which Russia's Defense Ministry responded: "I remind you that the S-300 is a purely defensive system and poses no threat to anyone. It’s not clear why the placement of S-300 in Syria has caused such a stir among our western colleagues."

No jihadist group has an air force, so the deployment of advanced air defense missile systems must be directed at someone else. There are several possibilities:

Military Times and AFP

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Concerns about possible US-Russia military conflict continue to grow

Many analysts are concerned that Russia's military buildup in Syria means that Russia and the United States are headed for a military conflict when the next American administration takes office in January. I wrote about these concerns several days ago.

However, long-time readers know that Generational Dynamics predicts that Russia, Iran and India will be allies of the West in the approaching Clash of Civilizations world war against China, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the Sunni Muslim countries.

Europe's last three generational crisis war all involved an invasion of Russia, but they were crisis wars for Europe, but non-crisis wars for Russia:

These were brutal wars for Russia, but a component of the war was that invading armies were defeated by the brutal Russian winter.

Russia's generational crisis wars were not fought with Europe. They were either internal rebellions, or they were fought with Turks and Mongols. Of particular importance were the Tatars, a tribe of Mongols that, under the leadership of Genghis Kahn, probably the greatest conqueror in the history of the world, they had defeated China in 1215, and then turned westward and conquered much of southern Russia by 1227. The Tatars in the Crimean Peninsula had intermingled with the central Asian Turks, and spoke a Turkic language. By the 1400s, they adopted Islam as their religion. It was in 1571 that the Crimean Tatars attacked and sacked Moscow, then ruled by Ivan the Terrible.

Russia under Catherine the Great fought a generational crisis war with the Ottoman Empire from 1762-83. Russia fought the Ottomans again under Tsar Nicholas I in the Crimean War in 1853-55. World War I was a generational crisis war for both Russia and Turkey, and it saw the destruction of both Tsarist Russia (Bolshevik Revolution) and Ottoman Turkey.

So Russia's great historical generational crisis wars have been not with the West, but with the Ottoman Turks, the Mongols, and the Crimean Tatars. And that's the way it's going to be in the next war as well.

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Oct-16 World View -- Russia continues large air defense military buildup in Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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5-Oct-16 World View -- Mongolia in economic crisis asks the IMF for a bailout

Mongolia signs new mining deal with Rio Tinto for future growth

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Mongolia in economic crisis asks the IMF for a bailout


Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi open-pit copper mine in South Gobi desert
Mongolia's Oyu Tolgoi open-pit copper mine in South Gobi desert

Mongolia is another story of wild spending when the times are good, resulting in huge debts when times are bad.

In 2011, Mongolia borrowed billions of dollars to invest in huge road and infrastructure projects. Now the country owes some $2 billion in public and private debt repayments in 2017 and early 2018, and is seeking a bailout from the International Monetary Fund. The country's tugrik currency has been falling sharply - more than 10% this year, causing the central bank to raise interest rates by 4.5% to 15%. (America's current Federal funds rate is between 0.25% and 0.5%. The eurozone, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland and Japan, have negative interest rates in some cases.)

The reason that Mongolia's economy appeared invincible in 2011 is because the country has huge reserves of copper, coal and gold. So far this year, the country has grown by 1.4%, down from 3% last year. But in 2011, the economy grew by an astronomical 17.5%, mainly thanks to foreign investments.

Mongolia's economy has suffered for two reasons. First, China has been Mongolia's major market for its copper, coal and gold, but China's economy has been slowing down, and so China has been importing less of these products than previously.

The second reason is the fall in commodity prices. The sharp plunge in the last two years of the price of oil has harmed in economies in countries including Russia, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Other commodities have fallen as well. In 2011, the price of copper was about $4.50 per pound; today it's around $2 per pound.

In August, the finance minister said the economy is in crisis and the government pitched a series of austerity measures and taxes that were later overturned by parliament. The government is now drafting an “Economic Stabilization Plan” which it hopes will restore its economy to stability. However, Generational Dynamics has been predicting for years that the existing global deflationary spiral would continue, and Mongolia will continue to be a part of that. Bloomberg and IntelliNews and CNN (23-Aug)

Mongolia signs new mining deal with Rio Tinto for future growth

Mongolia hopes to recover from its economic growth by taking advantage of its rich natural resources. In May of this year, Mongolia signed a contract with Australian mining giant Rio Tinto to invest $5.3 billion in the development of the Oyu Tolgoi underground copper and gold mine.

There's an existing Oyu Tolgoi open pit mine, which has been producing copper since 2013. The underground mine is expected to produce a considerably higher grade of copper.

The mine will work 365 days a year, with two 12-hour shifts. At the peak of construction, the underground workforce is expected to be more than 3,000 people, 95% of them Mongolian workers. First production from the underground mine is expected in 2020, with the mine producing at full capacity by around 2030.

However, 2030 is a long way off, and Mongolia has to make debt repayments now. Mining.com and Reuters and Rio Tinto

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Oct-16 World View -- Mongolia in economic crisis asks the IMF for a bailout thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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4-Oct-16 World View -- US cuts off talks with Russia, signaling turning point in Syria

Russia accuses US of sabotaging ceasefire and 'allying with terror'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

United States ends diplomatic talks with Russia over Syria


Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry on Sept 22 (EPA)
Sergei Lavrov and John Kerry on Sept 22 (EPA)

Monday's announcement by the U.S. State Department that it would end diplomatic talks with Russia over Syria is a watershed in the war in Syria because it ends a period of self-delusion by the Obama administration, while it signals the continuation of even worse self-delusion in Damascus Syria and Moscow Russia.

The State Dept. issued the following statement:

"The United States is suspending its participation in bilateral channels with Russia that were established to sustain the Cessation of Hostilities. This is not a decision that was taken lightly. The United States spared no effort in negotiating and attempting to implement an arrangement with Russia aimed at reducing violence, providing unhindered humanitarian access, and degrading terrorist organizations operating in Syria, including Daesh and al Qaeda in Syria.

Unfortunately, Russia failed to live up to its own commitments - including its obligations under international humanitarian law and UNSCR 2254 - and was also either unwilling or unable to ensure Syrian regime adherence to the arrangements to which Moscow agreed. Rather, Russia and the Syrian regime have chosen to pursue a military course, inconsistent with the Cessation of Hostilities, as demonstrated by their intensified attacks against civilian areas, targeting of critical infrastructure such as hospitals, and preventing humanitarian aid from reaching civilians in need, including through the September 19 attack on a humanitarian aid convoy."

The self-delusion in the Obama administration that is apparently now ending is the belief that by making one concession after another to the Russians, then the Russians would be reasonable.

After years promising to help end the violence in Syria, Russian and Syrian warplanes have been indiscriminately attacking civilian neighborhoods and hospitals with barrel bombs, chemical weapons (chlorine gas), phosphorous bombs, cluster bombs and bunker bombs, it's not rocket science to see that Russia and Syria have no intention of ending the violence.

The last straw for the Americans was the recent intentional attack by Syrian or Russian warplanes of a humanitarian aid convoy traveling to Aleppo, during a so-called "ceasefire." It was perfectly obvious that the Bashar al-Assad regime was never going to allow that humanitarian aid reach the victims of his bombings.

And yet, US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Lavrov played the game where Kerry would concede something, Lavrov would promise to be better, and then Russia would do the opposite of its commitments. Russia has consistently made fools of the Obama administration, so I have to conclude that even President Obama has some tolerance limits. Whatever policy in Syria President Obama can claim to have had is now widely believed to be a failure, especially after last week's leaked audio tape, in which John Kerry implicitly blamed President Obama for the failed policy in Syria.

So now it's a new day in Syria. The scales have been lifted from the eyes of US Administration officials. Analysts are going to say that this announcement gives total freedom to the Russians to continue their extermination of Syrian Sunnis. That's true, but they're been exercising total freedom all along. This announcement just makes it more apparent, and perhaps more dangerous. US State Dept and BBC and Washington Post

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Russia accuses US of sabotaging ceasefire and 'allying with terror'

Russia responded to the State Dept. announcement by accusing the US of sabotaging the Syria ceasefire, and of "[forging] an alliance with hardened terrorists" in order oust Bashar al-Assad.

According to a Foreign Ministry statement:

"[The US] has never exerted any real pressure on Jabhat Al-Nusra, done nothing for delineation to succeed and taken no action against its militants. ...

We are becoming more convinced that in a pursuit of a much desired regime change in Damascus, Washington is ready to ‘make a deal with the devil’ [and to] forge an alliance with hardened terrorists, dreaming of turning back the course of history."

Russia's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova added: "Why could Washington not deliver what it promised – to delineate between the terrorists [the Al-Nusra Front] and the so-called moderate opposition?"

I've listened to several Russian officials, including Sergei Lavrov and spokesman Dmitry Peskov, make this same demand, and I can't even figure out what it means.

There are over 200,000 people in east Aleppo, and probably a few thousand, or maybe even 10-20,000, of them are members of Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) which recently renamed itself Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (JFS) when it cut its ties to al-Qaeda.

So apparently the Russians are demanding that American troops go into Aleppo and figure out who belongs to al-Nusra and who doesn't, and then separate out the al-Nusra people and move them into a separate place so that the Syrian and Russian warplanes can kill them. In other words, it's just more bizarre garbage coming out of the mouths of Russian officials.

Bashar al-Assad's Shia/Alawite clan are historic enemies of the Sunni Muslims dating back centuries, and it's been clear for years that al-Assad has a highly emotional and highly self-delusional desire to exterminate the Sunni Muslims.

The intention of the Russians is clear from new reports that Russia is moving large squadrons of Sukhoi Su-24 and Su-34 fighter jets to the Humaymim Military Airfields in Syria. Russia claims that their purpose is to conduct air strikes against the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

Possibly even more ominous are reports that Russia is also deploying advanced SA-23 anti-missile systems to Syria. Since neither al-Nusra nor ISIS has an air force, we must presume that Russia is preparing for a possible military conflict with the United States. Russia Today and Russia Today and Almasdar News (Syria) and Fox News

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Oct-16 World View -- US cuts off talks with Russia, signaling turning point in Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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3-Oct-16 World View -- India and Pakistan threaten war over Indus River water rights

Terrorists attack another Indian army base in Kashmir

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Relations between India and Pakistan continue to deteriorate


Indus River Valley (Reuters)
Indus River Valley (Reuters)

It's becoming increasingly clear that something serious has changed in relations between Pakistan and India, as a result of repeated acts of violence in the Indian-controlled region of Kashmir. It's clear that each country, in a generational Crisis era, is on a trend line to become increasing nationalistic and belligerent towards the other, and it's also clear that these trend lines will continue on the same path until they result in war. From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, it's not a question of "if", but of "when," and with the rapid rise in nationalism on both sides, "when" may not be too far off.

Although relations between the two country leaders, Pakistan's president Nawaz Sharif and India's prime minister Narendra Modi, has never been warm, at least there were attempts to appear cordial. As recently as December of last year, Modi attended the wedding of Sharif's granddaughter in Lahore.

Then on January 2 there was a terrorist attack on an Indian air force base in Panthankot, Punjab. India investigated the terrorist attack and blamed Pakistan. Pakistan investigated the attack and said that India has staged the encounter to defame Pakistan. The India-Pakistan "peace dialog" was suspended indefinitely.

Tensions have really soared since July 8, when Burhan Wani, the leader of a separatist group in Kashmir, was killed by Indian police fire. Massive riots in Kashmir began the next day. Indian police responded with rubber bullets, leaving many protesters wounded or killed or blinded by the pellets. In a speech at the United Nations two weeks ago, Pakistan's prime minister Nawaz Sharif incited further violence in Kashmir by glorifying Burhan Wani and demanding independence for Indian-controlled Kashmir. India has accused Pakistan of actively supporting the riots.

As I've written several times in the past, it doesn't matter whether Pakistan is actively supporting the riots because, from the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the violence is "organic" or "indigenous," meaning that it comes from the people rather than from the politicians. India and Pakistan are returning to the massive violence of their last two generational crisis wars, India's 1857 Rebellion against Britain and the 1947 Partition war between Hindus and Muslims that following the partitioning of the Indian subcontinent into India and Pakistan.

On September 18, terrorists made a major attack on an Indian army base in Uri in Kashmir. There was a five-hour firefight, and at least 17 soldiers were killed, as were the militants. This was the worst militant terrorist attack in Kashmir in years.

Last week, India invaded Pakistani soil in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, with what Indian officials called a "surgical strike" on militants. This has infuriated the Pakistani population, and some kind of retaliation is expected. Pakistan Today and Outlook India and Indian Panorama

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India boycotts regional SAARC meeting in order to isolate Pakistan

At this point, both the Pakistani and Indian people are furious, and nationalist feelings are soaring on both sides. Because Indian officials are becoming increasingly aware that any military action might trigger a war between the two nuclear powers, Indian officials are looking for ways to strike at what it calls "the terrorist state" diplomatically.

Shortly after the terrorist attack on the Indian army base in Uri, but before India's "surgical strike" in retaliation, Indian officials made a decision to isolate Pakistan diplomatically.

Pakistan is scheduled on November 9-10 to host the 19th summit of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Pakistan's capital city Islamabad.

Indian officials decided to boycott the SAARC. Furthermore, India called the embassies of SAARC countries and demanded that they join the boycott. All the SAARC countries -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Maldives, and Nepal -- except Pakistan joined the boycott, forcing Pakistan to indefinitely postpone the meeting. The statements issued by these nations indicated how shocked they were by the Uri attack, and said that the time was "not conducive" to a summit meeting.

SAARC was founded in 1985 for development and advancement of the geopolitical region of South Asia, but has been largely ineffective, possibly because this region of the world holds 1/5th of the world population, but has 2/5th of the world’s poor, Indian Express and India.com and The Nation (Pakistan) and Express Tribune (Pakistan)

Terrorists attack another Indian army base in Kashmir

As of this writing on Sunday evening ET, a gun battle is continuing in the Kashmir Valley town of Baramulla where terrorists attacked an Army camp. This was four days after India had carried out "surgical strikes" against terrorist targets in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, and two weeks after a major attack on an Indian army base in Uri in Kashmir, killing at least 17 soldiers. Indian Express

India and Pakistan threaten war over Indus River water rights

The Indus Water Treaty (IWT) was signed by India and Pakistan in 1960, and has been considered one of the most diplomatic achievements in history, a model agreement for sharing water resources between two countries. There are several rivers flowing through the vast Indus River Basin, generally from India to Pakistan, and the agreement controls how much water can be used by each country.

The IWT has survived three wars between Pakistan and India, but now India's prime minister Narendra Modi is threatening to revoke the treaty, and cut off some of the water flowing from India to Pakistan.

If India cut off the flow of water to Pakistan, it would be a disaster for Pakistan. Ironically, it could also be a disaster for India, because the blocked water would flood the Indus Valley.

According to a Pakistan official, any Indian step for disrupting water flow would carry considerable risk of war and hostilities. "If India tries to violate the treaty, there will be a befitting reaction from Pakistan." The Hindu and The News (Pakistan) and India Times and Express Tribune (Pakistan) and Foreign Policy

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Oct-16 World View -- India and Pakistan threaten war over Indus River water rights thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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2-Oct-16 World View -- Concerns growing of a military showdown between US and Russia in Syria

Leaked John Kerry audio reveals bitter Obama administration disagreements

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Leaked John Kerry audio reveals bitter Obama administration disagreements


Maria Zakharova, Russia's hot Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, warns of 'tectonic shift' in Mideast
Maria Zakharova, Russia's hot Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, warns of 'tectonic shift' in Mideast

As Russia and Syria step up the ferocity of their war crimes, with warplanes dropping barrel bombs, chemical weapons (chlorine gas), phosphorous bombs, cluster bombs, and bunker bombs indiscriminately at civilian neighborhoods and hospitals in eastern Aleppo in Syria, a leaked audio released by the NY Times reveals US Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly expressing frustration that President Barack Obama had repeatedly refused to use any military force, when the opportunity was available, to stop the bloody carnage.

It's widely believed that a major opportunity was lost after Syria's president Bashar al-Assad used Sarin gas on his own people, in June 2013. Obama has previous set a "red line" that the US would take military action in this case, but he flip-flopped and allowed al-Assad to continue. The US military might have destroyed al-Assad's air force and blown up his runways, bringing an effective end to al-Assad's war crimes. Instead, the US simply relinquished Mideast hegemony to Syria and Russia. Syria and Russia have continued to use chemical weapons and increasingly destructive weapons on civilians. By withdrawing from the Mideast, and leaving a vacuum that Russia filled, it's thought that Obama permitted the greatest geopolitical and humanitarian disaster in decades to occur, and to worsen every day.

Only excerpts selected by the NY Times were released from the audio, but they included the following:

"I think you’re looking at three people, four people in the administration who have all argued for use of force, and I lost the argument. ... You have nobody more frustrated than we are."

The article doesn't mention who the other people are, but it's well-known that President Obama eschews anything beyond absolute minimal use of military force, no matter what the provocation.

It's also known that Kerry and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter have had harsh disagreements over Syria policy. A major disagreement surfaced just before the recent Syrian "ceasefire," when Kerry and the Russians had negotiated a bizarre plan that after the ceasefire ended the violence, then the US and Russia would cooperate on targeting "terrorists" in Syria. Carter was opposed to this plan, though Obama eventually OKed it. At any rate, the plan is moot now that the Syrians and Russians have taken advantage of the disastrous ceasefire to prepare for the massive bombing of Aleppo now taking place.

There are various conspiracy theories floating around about why Kerry's audio was leaked at this time. The most obvious one is that with the administration's Syria policy apparently headed for total disaster, Kerry leaked the audio to protect his own legacy at the expense of Obama's. Kerry may even still hope that the loons in Sweden will give him the Nobel Peace Prize when they announce it October 7. NY Times and VOA and NY Times (14-Sept)

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Concerns growing of a military showdown between US and Russia in Syria

The situation in Syria is proving to be both a geopolitical and humanitarian disaster of catastrophic proportions, but also a major embarrassment to President Obama, who is blamed by many people for unnecessarily allowing it to happen.

Now, in the last few months of the Obama administration, there are fears either that Obama might takes some military steps to salvage his own legacy in Syria, or that the administration that takes office in January will initiate some military action of its own.

There seems to be little doubt that the US military could overwhelm Russia's military in Syria, if the will were there to do it. However, Russia is warning that any US military campaign to oust the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad would have disastrous consequences for the region.

According to Maria Zakharova, spokesman for Russia's Foreign Ministry:

"If the US launches a direct aggression against Damascus and the Syrian Army, it would cause a terrible, tectonic shift not only in the country, but in the entire region.

[With no government in Damascus, there will be a power vacuum in Syria, which] so-called moderates, who are, in reality, not moderate at all but just terrorists of all flavors, would fill; and there will be no dealing with them,

And later it would be aggravated the way it happened in Iraq. We know that [Saddam Hussein’s] Iraqi Army became the basis of the Islamic State. Everything that both the [US-led] coalition and Russia are fighting now stems from it."

What I found most interesting about this statement is that it doesn't suggest in any way that US military action would be resisted by Russia, only that it would have tragic consequences.

The problem is that the US administration really has no way to proceed at this point. Having refused to use military force in the past, when stopping al-Assad might have been as simple as destroying his warplanes and bombing his runways, they've been living in a fantasy world that if they're nice to the Russians then the Russians will do as they ask. The current massive destruction of Aleppo shows not only that the administration was wrong, but also that they were made fools of.

And having been made fools of, the fear is now that the US, in either this administration or the next, will use military action in Syria far beyond what the US has done before.

The following is a personal observation. Russia declared several months ago that it had met its objectives in Syria, and that it was withdrawing. After only a few weeks, it was clear that al-Assad's army would collapse without Russian support, and so Russia had to reverse its decision to withdraw. The observation is that the overwhelming assault on east Aleppo almost seems to be an act of desperation, hoping that a quick victory in Aleppo will be a complete defeat for the opposition and end the war.

There are two errors in this reasoning. First, because of the large size of east Aleppo, with a population over 200,000, it's very unlikely that a quick victory is possible, and it's possible that any real victory is impossible.

The second error is the belief that if a victory occurs, it will end the war. As I've written several times in the past, the war in Syria is a generational Awakening era war. The rules are different for these wars than for Crisis era wars. If a generational crisis war occurs, then it will end in some kind of explosive climax, usually a massive genocide, that will shock everyone so much that the war really will end. This is what happened in World War II, for example, after the fall of Berlin and the nuking of Japanese cities.

But in an Awakening era war, even genocidal actions do not end the war more than temporarily. This is obviously true in Syria, which is now split into regions controlled, by Turkey, the Kurds, ISIS, and the "moderate" rebels, leaving only "Alawite-istan," a small region in western Syria, still controlled by al-Assad.

So if the observation is correct that the chaotic destruction of east Aleppo is an act of desperation by Syria and Russia, then we may see the Syria war end in a way that Russia does not like. Russia Today and VOA

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Oct-16 World View -- Concerns growing of a military showdown between US and Russia in Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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1-Oct-16 World View -- Iraq, ISIS and the West prepare for the Great Battle for Mosul to begin soon

UN says Mosul could be 'largest man-made disaster in many years'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

France's aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle begins assault on ISIS in Mosul


A Rafale fighter jet takes off from the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. (AFP)
A Rafale fighter jet takes off from the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. (AFP)

On Friday, 24 Dassault Rafale jet fighters operating from the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the eastern Mediterranean began striking targets belonging to the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh) in Mosul, the second largest city in Iraq (behind Baghdad). Each jet was reportedly armed with four 250kg laser-guided bombs, and one sortie was carried out roughly every three minutes.

According to a military spokesman, the airstrikes “have targeted military commanders, administration officials, foreign fighter facilitators, amirs, security commanders, communication leaders, and senior shura council leadership." The Charles de Gaulle is on its third mission since February 2015 in support of the US-led coalition fighting ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

France is stepping up its attacks on ISIS targets near Mosul in preparation for the Great Battle for Mosul, which officials from Iraq, Britain and France have all suggested could begin around mid-October.

The Pentagon is preparing by a new deployment of US forces to Iraq. The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that it was deploying 615 additional US soldiers to Iraq in preparation for the recapture of Mosul, bringing the number of US troops authorized for Iraq to over 5000.

ISIS is also preparing for battle. After ISIS first entered Mosul in June 2014, it boasted about the fact that it was removing all the concrete barriers that the Iraqi army had placed around Mosul because they were no longer needed. Now ISIS is moving the concrete barriers back into place.

ISIS is also digging a trench, measuring two meters in depth and width, on one side of the concrete barriers. This was inspired by the Battle of the Trench, in 627. Mohammed and his army were in Medina, and an alliance of Jews and tribes from Mecca attacked Medina. The attack failed because Mohammed's army dug a trench around Medina, which nullified the invader's cavalry.

The trenches that ISIS is building will not surround the entire city. The trenches supposedly connected to a network of secret tunnels ISIS is building to aid in fighting a guerrilla war inside the city.

There are some 1.8 million people in Mosul. Even if the Great Battle for Mosul begins in two or three weeks, as some officials are suggesting, it will not end quickly. Estimates are that it will not be over until mid or late 2017. France 24 and AFP and Long War Journal and The Hill

UN says Mosul could be 'largest man-made disaster in many years'

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Iraq director Bruno Geddo warned that up to one million people could need assistance. According to Geddo:

"Mosul has the potential to be one of the largest man made disasters for many, many years. More than a million could be displaced as a result of the forthcoming offensive.

We are planning for at least 700,000 who will be in need of assistance, shelter, food, water, everything that you need in a situation of humanitarian disaster."

The UN agency is hoping to have 11 camps finished by the end of the year with the capacity to hold 120,000 people, while Iraqi authorities expect to be able to house 150,000 more, he explained. Deutsche Welle and Al Bawaba

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Oct-16 World View -- Iraq, ISIS and the West prepare for the Great Battle for Mosul to begin soon thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Oct-2016) Permanent Link
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30-Sep-16 World View -- Pakistan expected to retaliate after India invades Pakistani soil in Kashmir

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Pakistan expected to retaliate after India invades Pakistani soil in Kashmir


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On Thursday, China's Defense Ministry spokesman said:

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Sep-16 World View -- Pakistan expected to retaliate after India invades Pakistani soil in Kashmir thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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29-Sep-16 World View -- Wells Fargo receives laughable 'punishment' for massive criminal fraud

Reasons given why no criminal prosecutions of bankers for criminal fraud

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Wells Fargo found to have defrauded millions of customers


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

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

Apparently the way it worked was as follows:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Reasons given why no criminal prosecutions of bankers for criminal fraud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Sep-16 World View -- Wells Fargo receives laughable 'punishment' for massive criminal fraud thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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28-Sep-16 World View -- As ISIS loses territory, it turns increasingly to terrorism

Pyrrhic victory over ISIS could create a 'terrorist diaspora'

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

ISIS losing territory in Iraq and Syria


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pyrrhic victory over ISIS could create a 'terrorist diaspora'

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Sep-16 World View -- As ISIS loses territory, it turns increasingly to terrorism thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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27-Sep-16 World View -- US, UK, UN officials accuse Syria and Russia of barbarism and war crimes

Comparisons of Syria civil war to Sri Lanka civil war

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Russian warplanes drop phosphorus bombs and bunker buster bombs on Aleppo


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

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

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

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

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

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

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Comparisons of Syria civil war to Sri Lanka civil war

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Guardian (London) and CNN and Russia Today

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Sep-16 World View -- US, UK, UN officials accuse Syria and Russia of barbarism and war crimes thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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26-Sep-16 World View -- Murder of Jordan writer exposes fault line between secularists and Muslim Brotherhood

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other tweets include the following:

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Sep-16 World View -- Murder of Jordan writer exposes fault line between secularists and Muslim Brotherhood thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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25-Sep-16 World View -- US will deport tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants surging toward California

Illinois Rep Luis V. Gutiérrez demands special status for Ecuadorians

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How Haitians travel to the United States

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

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

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Illinois Rep Luis V. Gutiérrez demands TPS status for Ecuadorians

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

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

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

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

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

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 25-Sep-16 World View -- US will deport tens of thousands of Haitian immigrants surging toward California thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (25-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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24-Sep-16 World View -- Syria's al-Assad goes for the kill, turning Aleppo and civilians to bloody rubble

Responses to reader comments

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Responses to reader comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

This simply doesn't make any sense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 24-Sep-16 World View -- Syria's al-Assad goes for the kill, turning Aleppo and civilians to bloody rubble thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (24-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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23-Sep-16 World View -- US and Turkey headed for collision in Syria

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 23-Sep-16 World View -- US and Turkey headed for collision in Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (23-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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22-Sep-16 World View -- Pakistan-India tensions again surge as Pakistan demands independence for Kashmir

Pakistan ejects Indian journalist from New York press conference

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pakistan ejects Indian journalist from New York press conference

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 22-Sep-16 World View -- Pakistan-India tensions again surge as Pakistan demands independence for Kashmir thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (22-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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21-Sep-16 World View -- US increasingly expresses total disgust with Syria regime for Bashar al-Assad's atrocities

Warplanes target and bomb humanitarian aid convoy near Aleppo in Syria

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Warplanes target and bomb humanitarian aid convoy near Aleppo in Syria


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

France's president François Hollande said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 21-Sep-16 World View -- US increasingly expresses total disgust with Syria regime for Bashar al-Assad's atrocities thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (21-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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20-Sep-16 World View -- Germany's Angela Merkel expresses regret after election loss in Berlin

Summit in Bratislava shows an EU in disarray

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Summit in Bratislava shows an EU in disarray

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Reuters and Gulf News

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 20-Sep-16 World View -- Germany's Angela Merkel expresses regret after election loss in Berlin thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (20-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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19-Sep-16 World View -- New terrorist attack in Kashmir threatens India-Pakistan retaliation

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

New terrorist attack in Kashmir threatens India-Pakistan retaliation


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

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

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

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

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

Pakistani officials responded:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Power continued by listing atrocities of the Syrian regime.

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 19-Sep-16 World View -- New terrorist attack in Kashmir threatens India-Pakistan retaliation thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (19-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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18-Sep-16 World View -- India and Pakistan in vitriolic accusations at the UN over Kashmir and Balochistan

Violence in India-controlled Kashmir grows as thousands defy curfew

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Violence in India-controlled Kashmir grows as thousands defy curfew


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 18-Sep-16 World View -- India and Pakistan in vitriolic accusations at the UN over Kashmir and Balochistan thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (18-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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17-Sep-16 World View -- Concerns grow about Tunisia's stability as economic protests escalate

Tunisia remains the #1 source of foreign fighters for ISIS

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Tunisia remains the #1 source of foreign fighters for ISIS


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Washington Times and Middle East Eye and Reuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Escalating economic protests across Tunisia threaten country's stability


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

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

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

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

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

France's new ambassador to Tunisia commits huge gaffe

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

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

One person in social media is quoted as saying:

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

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

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 17-Sep-16 World View -- Concerns grow about Tunisia's stability as economic protests escalate thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (17-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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16-Sep-16 World View -- Syria blocks humanitarian aid to Aleppo

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Syria blocks humanitarian aid to Aleppo


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 16-Sep-16 World View -- Syria blocks humanitarian aid to Aleppo thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (16-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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15-Sep-16 World View -- UK politicians debate the 2011 Libya intervention

Libya and Syria illustrate the intervention dilemma for policy makers

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

UK politicians debate the 2011 Libya intervention


UK Parliament buildings
UK Parliament buildings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Libya and Syria illustrate the intervention dilemma for policy makers

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 15-Sep-16 World View -- UK politicians debate the 2011 Libya intervention thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (15-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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14-Sep-16 World View -- Monday's EU summit to show that Europe 'not detached from reality' over migrants

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

According to Tusk:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Luxemburger Wort and Budapest Business Journal and Hungarian Free Press

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 14-Sep-16 World View -- Monday's EU summit to show that Europe 'not detached from reality' over migrants thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (14-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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13-Sep-16 World View -- As Syria ceasefire begins, Bashar al-Assad quickly rejects it

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 13-Sep-16 World View -- As Syria ceasefire begins, Bashar al-Assad quickly rejects it thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (13-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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12-Sep-16 World View -- South Korea announces 'Massive Punishment and Retaliation' and decapitation for N. Korea

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to a government official:

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 12-Sep-16 World View -- South Korea announces 'Massive Punishment and Retaliation' and decapitation for N. Korea thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (12-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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11-Sep-16 World View -- Syria's civilians fear worse violence from US-Russia 'ceasefire' agreement

Kyrgyzstan's World Nomad Games commemorate lifestyle of Genghis Khan

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Kyrgyzstan's World Nomad Games commemorate lifestyle of Genghis Khan


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Generational theory: Bashar al-Assad's miscalculation

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 11-Sep-16 World View -- Syria's civilians fear worse violence from US-Russia 'ceasefire' agreement thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (11-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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10-Sep-16 World View -- Turkey plans assault on Syria's Kurds, as US-Russia announce another peace deal

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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US and Russia once again announced a peace deal in Syria

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 10-Sep-16 World View -- Turkey plans assault on Syria's Kurds, as US-Russia announce another peace deal thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (10-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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9-Sep-16 World View -- Saudi Arabia makes a dangerous accusation - that Iranians are 'not Muslims'

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 9-Sep-16 World View -- Saudi Arabia makes a dangerous accusation - that Iranians are 'not Muslims' thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (9-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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8-Sep-16 World View -- Darfur in Sudan facing new genocide as refugees are expelled from camps

Generational history of the Darfur war

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Generational history of the Darfur war


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 8-Sep-16 World View -- Darfur in Sudan facing new genocide as refugees are expelled from camps thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (8-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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7-Sep-16 World View -- From 2013: The history of how Syria's Bashar al-Assad created ISIS

Syrian regime drops chlorine-laded barrel bomb on Aleppo market

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Syrian regime drops chlorine-laded barrel bomb on Aleppo market


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 7-Sep-16 World View -- From 2013: The history of how Syria's Bashar al-Assad created ISIS thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (7-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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6-Sep-16 World View -- Sharply polarized Hong Kong electorate hands Beijing a stinging setback

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Sharply polarized Hong Kong electorate hands Beijing a stinging setback


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Sep-16 World View -- Sharply polarized Hong Kong electorate hands Beijing a stinging setback thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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5-Sep-16 World View -- Anti-immigrant party in Germany hands Angela Merkel a stinging defeat

Migrants from Libya to Italy surge in the Mediterranean

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Migrants from Libya to Italy surge in the Mediterranean


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 5-Sep-16 World View -- Anti-immigrant party in Germany hands Angela Merkel a stinging defeat thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (5-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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4-Sep-16 World View -- Bashar al-Assad's Syrian army once again close to collapse

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Syrian rebels capture 14 villages near Hama in four days

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 4-Sep-16 World View -- Bashar al-Assad's Syrian army once again close to collapse thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (4-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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3-Sep-16 World View -- Japan and Russia may settle post-World War II Kuril Islands dispute

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

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At Friday's Vladivostok meeting, Abe said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 3-Sep-16 World View -- Japan and Russia may settle post-World War II Kuril Islands dispute thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (3-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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2-Sep-16 World View -- UK's 'junior doctors' call a devastating 5-day strike against the National Health Service

Obamacare in severe death spiral, as insurers bleed billions

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Obamacare in severe death spiral, as insurers bleed billions

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

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

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

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

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

Let's review how we got here.

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

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

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

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

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

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 2-Sep-16 World View -- UK's 'junior doctors' call a devastating 5-day strike against the National Health Service thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (2-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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1-Sep-16 World View -- Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China sign economic and military agreements

U.S. and India sign a landmark defense agreement

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

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


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

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

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

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

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

Saudi Arabia and China sign economic and military agreements

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan discuss economic and military ties

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

U.S. and India sign a landmark defense agreement

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

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

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

According to one military analyst:

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

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

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

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 1-Sep-16 World View -- Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China sign economic and military agreements thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (1-Sep-2016) Permanent Link
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31-Aug-16 World View -- Uzbekistan's dictator president Karimov suffers stroke, threatening Central Asia stability

Brief generational history of Uzbekistan

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Uzbekistan's dictator president Karimov suffers stroke, threatening Central Asia stability


Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan

All that's known with reasonable certainty is that Uzbekistan's 78-year-old ruthless, bloody dictator, Islam Karimov has been hospitalized with a cerebral hemorrhage. The reason that we think we know that last bit is because his younger daughter, Lola Karimova-Tillyaeva, said so on Instagram on Monday. The rumors are that Karimov has already died. Either way, it's not thought that he'll ever govern again.

Karimov became leader of Uzbekistan's Communist Party in the 1980s, the last decade of the Soviet Union. After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Uzbekistan became an independent country, and Karimov became president. He's been re-elected to office several times in elections that are widely believed to have been rigged.

Karimov has been one of the bloodiest and most brutal dictators in the world, massacring civilians and even boiling protesters alive. According to Human Rights Watch, "thousands are imprisoned on politically-motivated charges. Torture is endemic in the criminal justice system. Authorities continue to crack down on civil society activists, opposition members, and journalists." Possibly the bloodiest event in Karimov's tenure was the killing of hundreds of peaceful protesters in the Fergana valley in 2005.

These are, unfortunately, standard tactics for a dictator of a country in the decades following a generational crisis civil war. We see it every day in Syria, where Shia/Alawite Bashar al-Assad is conducting a genocidal holocaust against the losing ethnic group, the Sunnis. We see it all the time in Zimbabwe, where president Robert Mugabe, of the Shona tribe, has conducted a continuing holocaust against the losing tribe the Nbdele.

The reason that these bloody dictators do what they do is because they believe that it's necessary to prevent more tribal fighting and, even more important, it's necessary to prevent the dictator from being thrown out of office, giving power to the other tribe.

Karimov used more than just torture and atrocities to keep the country and the region stable. He had relations with all the powers -- the US, Russia, China, and the other Central Asian nations -- and was able to play them off one another.

Uzbekistan is right in the middle of Central Asia, and shares a border with all the other Central Asia states. Instability there would quickly spread to the entire region. One border that's of particular importance to Americans is the one with Afghanistan, where American troops are fighting the Taliban, and the Taliban are gaining strength. Besides the Taliban, one particularly potent al-Qaeda linked jihadist group is the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), who for the last decade have been considered the most formidable terrorist group in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The fragility of the region was illustrated on Tuesday by car bombing near the Chinese Embassy in Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, injuring three embassy personnel. No one has claimed responsibility, but the perpetrators might be Uighur separatists or the IMU or a terror group linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). It's not believed that the attack is related to Karimov's stroke, but it illustrates the growing threat of jihadist terrorism, especially since it's believed that several thousand Uzbeks have gone to Syria to fight Bashar al-Assad.

Thursday is Uzbekistan's independence day. In the past, Karimov has attended the celebrations and performed a traditional dance. Whether he's dead or still alive, it's not expected that he'll be doing his dance this time. We may get a sense of whether there is a solid line of succession or whether there'll be a succession battle that could spiral out of control. CNN and Atlantic Sentinel and Irish Times and Stratfor and Xinhua

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Brief generational history of Uzbekistan

The historic importance of Uzbekistan is well illustrated by how many conquering armies swept through. By about 400 BC, the Uzbekistan region was dominated by tribes of Persian descent and Greek descent, conquered by Alexander the Great. The region became critical for trade between China and the Roman Empire. In the 700s AD, only a few decades after the Prophet Mohammed, the armies of Islam invaded and took control. Around 1000 AD, a confederation of Turkish tribes known as the Ghazna conquered part of the region and established a state.

In the thirteenth century the Mongol leader Genghis Khan put together an alliance of Mongol and Turkic tribes in north central Asia, known as the Golden Horde, which embarked upon a conquest of much of Asia. One of the leaders of that alliance was Uzbek, a man who accepted Sunni Islam as his religion. The Moslem branch of the Golden Horde became known as the Uzbeks.

In the mid-1800s, the Russians invaded, with an ironic outcome. Russia had lost its supply of cotton from the southern United States because of the American Civil War, and the Russians wanted to establish a safe source of cotton, and so they developed a large cotton-producing agriculture in Uzbekistan.

World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 was an extremely bloody generational crisis war for Uzbekistan, fought between the Sunni Muslim Uzbeks and the Orthodox Christian Russians. This was Uzbekistan's last generational crisis war.

World War II thus occurred during a generational Awakening era for the Uzbeks. Thus the Uzbeks stayed out of the war, and in fact carried out a "humanitarian mission," according to Turkish history. Russia drafted thousands of Uzbek men to fight the Nazis, but the the country itself performed a humanitarian mission by sheltering hundreds of thousands of refugees from fascist occupied territories.

As part of Stalin's Soviet Union, Uzbekistan became a cotton powerhouse starting in the 1920s. In support of the cotton trade, millions of ethnic Russians began pouring into the country, especially into the fertile Fergana Valley (or Ferghana Valley), in the far eastern portion of the country.

The old Uzbek / Russian fault line became critical again, starting in the 1980s with the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. At that time, Uzbek militants began joining the Pashtuns in Afghanistan to fight the Soviets.

1991 was a pivotal year for the Fergana Valley. That was the year that the Soviet Union collapsed, resulting in the formation of Uzbekistan as an independent republic. It also resulted in a great deal of financial hardship for the Russians in the Fergana Valley. The result was the first signs of Islamic fundamentalism in Uzbekistan when some unemployed young Muslims seized the Communist Party headquarters in the city of Namangan in the Fergana Valley.

The leaders of this terrorist action, Tohir Yuldeshev and Juma Namangani, eventually made their way to Afghanistan in 1996, after the Taliban had taken control of the government. They joined Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and formed the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).

The IMU has been playing an important role in terrorist acts in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Karimov's bloody massacre of hundreds of peaceful protesters in 2005 was an attempt to prevent a violent takeover by Islamist IMU militants. Journal of Turkish Weekly and San José State University and Advantour

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 31-Aug-16 World View -- Uzbekistan's dictator president Karimov suffers stroke, threatening Central Asia stability thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (31-Aug-2016) Permanent Link
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30-Aug-16 World View -- China's 'thuggery' transforms Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement into independence movement

Hong Kong police prepare for election day riots from pro-independence activists

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Hong Kong's pro-democracy 'Umbrella Movement' is viewed as a failure


Umbrella Movement protest in Hong Kong, September 2015 (Reuters)
Umbrella Movement protest in Hong Kong, September 2015 (Reuters)

In the summer of 2014, tens of thousands of Hong Kong citizens, mostly college age, staged a series of pro-democracy protests, bring central Hong Kong to a standstill. These were the largest protests since Britain gave up its Hong Kong colony in 1997, returning it to Chinese sovereignty. It was also the worst and bloodiest police violence in Hong Kong since 1997.

The police attacked the protesters with tear gas, and the protesters defended themselves with umbrellas to protect themselves from the tear gas. The sight of bright yellow umbrellas became commonplace, and the protests have become known as the "Umbrella Revolution" or "Umbrella movement."

What sparked the Umbrella Movement was that Beijing reneged on its commitment to "one country, two systems." According to the agreement that China made with Britain in 1997, when Britain returned its Hong Kong colony to Chinese control, Beijing would pursue Communism and Socialism, while Hong Kong would retain its democracy, its capitalist system, and its way of life for at least 50 years, until 2047.

However, for the approaching 2017 elections, China is calling the elections "free," but is tightly controlling who will be permitted to run in the elections. The only candidates who will be permitted to be run have to be approved a "nominating committee" completely controlled by Beijing. So the effect is that the so-called "free" elections are rigged to guarantee that only candidates selected by Beijing can win the elections.

The Umbrella Movement is considered a complete failure, because nothing changed. China adamantly refused to make any changes to the 2017 election process, and so it's still absolutely guaranteed that the so-called "free" 2017 elections will be tightly controlled, and any candidate that wins the election is also guaranteed to be tightly controlled by Beijing.

According to 25-year-old Edward Leung Tin-kei, who took part in the Umbrella protests, "I was a peaceful protester. But what have we achieved? Nothing."

The Umbrella Movement was conducted by peaceful protesters who only wanted China to meet its commitment for free elections. The failure of the Umbrella Movement to accomplish anything has caused the radicalization of its leaders, to the point where for the first time they're demanding independence for Hong Kong. BBC and Hong Kong Free Press

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Beijing 'thuggery' motivates the rise of the independence movement

The failure of the Umbrella Movement caused its young generation leaders to reevaluate their motives and what risks they're willing to take to achieve their goals.

However, it was an event several months ago that really galvanized the rise of the independence movement. Several Hong Kong booksellers who had been selling pro-democracy books in their bookstores disappeared mysteriously in October of last year.

Although it was widely believed that Beijing had abducted them, there was no proof until June of this year, when 61-year-old Lam Wing-kee, one of the booksellers, suddenly surfaced in Hong Kong and held a press conference, saying that Chinese agents had abducted him. "They blindfolded me and put a cap on my head and basically bundled me up."

He gave a detailed description of what happened. He was arrested after crossing the border from Hong Kong into the southern mainland Chinese city of Shenzhen in October, and was kept in a 200 sq ft room for five months under guard. He was forced to sign a document admitting to crimes that he hadn't committed, and giving up his right to a lawyer or to speak to his family.

Eventually he confessed to his "crimes" on television, and then was released on bail. His press conference was a complete surprise to everyone. He said he had decided to speak out after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong to protest the booksellers’ disappearances. "Hongkongers will not bow down before brute force," Lam said.

Four other abducted booksellers are still in Chinese jails.

Lam Wing-kee's story lit a fuse among the former members of the Umbrella Movement, turning it into a full-fledged independence movement. According to one Hong Kong lawmaker:

"It’s now obvious to everyone that the so-called ‘one country, two systems’ promise is completely in tatters. We need to stand firm and stand tall and really fight back. ...

This is not just an ordinary detention. This is literally a kidnapping by Beijing authorities."

In July, the Hong Kong administration disqualified six potential candidates with pro-independence stances from running in the 2016 Legislative Council election.

Earlier this year, any talk of Hong Kong independence was completely unthinkable. But the disqualification action led, in early August, to the first pro-independence rally in Hong Kong history. Pro-independence activists are now referring to themselves as "localists." A poll last month showed that one in six Hongkongers supported independence.

25-year-old activist Edward Leung Tin-kei, whom we quoted earlier, has become a leader of the pro-independence movement. Speaking at the rally, he said:

"Hong Kong’s sovereignty doesn’t belong to Xi Jinping, the Communist Party, the Chinese or local governments – the sovereignty always belongs to us."

A 30-year-old mother of two, attending the rally with her children, said, "If Hong Kong doesn’t become independent, our next generation’s well-being will be hampered." AFP (16-June) and Guardian (London, 17-June) and Time (5-Aug) and Reuters (7/25)

Hong Kong debates the independence movement

The Beijing view of the independence movement is summarized by Chinese state media Global Times:

"From mainstream society in Hong Kong to Beijing, there is awareness that Hong Kong independence should not be given any credence. However, some political forces in Hong Kong have tried to make use of these calls to serve their own ends. Meanwhile, other dissenting sentiments may also expand by riding on the extreme independence wave. These have created room for the Hong Kong independence farce to grow.

The Hong Kong authorities have realized that it is time to set systematic restraints. The general public in Hong Kong has also acknowledged the harmful effects.

Such things as Hong Kong independence can by no means be tolerated in the mainland. But under the Hong Kong system, odd things are never a surprise. The West would like to see a farce, but its own farces may be more eye-catching."

So it's America's fault. Nothing new there.

Beijing is trying to crush the pro-independence movement by disqualifying candidates and by acting like Mafia gangsters, abducting booksellers of all people.

The Beijing politicians are just stupid as politicians in the west. They think that they will stop protests by college age students by abducting booksellers. Is Xi Jinping a total idiot? Do these Chinese officials have no sense of their own history? Do they think that Mao Zedong would have been stopped if Chiang Kai-shek had abducted some booksellers?

According to a Hong Kong columnist:

"Don’t worry. All this talk of independence by Hong Kong’s younger generation will fizzle out in time. Anyone who tells you that is either an idiot or takes you for one.

The independence movement has gained too much traction. Time will not derail it, nor temper the hostility many young people have towards mainland China. Compare it to a cancer if you like. It has spread from loony talk to universities, and now to secondary schools. ...

When so many believe fantasy can become reality, the worst thing you can do is to dismiss it as a passing folly

A political cause dies only when the reasons that spawned it no longer apply. But the reasons that lit the independence fire still remain. In fact, more have materialized, convincing young people that independence is a wall that can guard against mainland culture invading Hong Kong. You can’t blame them for thinking that way when they see booksellers being abducted, their peers being blocked as Legislative Council candidates for their political beliefs, and Beijing loyalists demanding a ban on independence talk in schools.

Yes, Hong Kong independence is fantasy, but when so many believe fantasy can become reality, the worst thing you can do is to dismiss it as a passing folly. Trying to choke it with tactics that go against Hong Kong’s values won’t work either."

As in America, this is a generational Crisis era for China. Just as young Americans are supporting loons like Bernie Sanders, young Hongkongers are going to support independence. The difference is that America has political freedoms and structures that permit the political energy to be diffused, while Chinese thugs use gangster tactics that only guarantee that the political energy will increase. We haven't seen the end of this issue. Global Times (Beijing, 8-Aug) and Hong Kong Free Press and South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

Hong Kong police prepare for election day riots from pro-independence activists

With the independence movement growing in Hong Kong, authorities fear protests and violence during the Legislative Council elections to be held on Sunday. Kowtowing to Beijing, the Hong Kong administration had disqualified six potential candidates from running, on the grounds that they may support Hong Kong independence from China.

As a result, Hong Kong police will be deployed in massive numbers on Sunday. Over 5,000 police officers will be stationed at police stations around the city to combat "possible unrest." According to officials:

"There is a risk of unrest [during the elections] because causing trouble is one of their propaganda campaigns to promote independence and reach their target. ...

About 40 officers [on the morning shift] will be sent out in case of any trouble in their police district. Another 30 detectives working in each of the stations will also be deployed in case of any major unrest."

In preparation, police have running training exercises, using dozens of mock protesters staging a sit-in. South China Morning Post (Hong Kong)

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 30-Aug-16 World View -- China's 'thuggery' transforms Hong Kong's Umbrella Movement into independence movement thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (30-Aug-2016) Permanent Link
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29-Aug-16 World View -- US forced to choose between two close allies, as Turks bomb Kurds in Syria

America may be forced to choose between Turkey and Kurds

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey's invasion of Syria continues, bombing Kurdish targets


Turkish military action starting Aug 24.  Objective is to prevent Kurdish forces (shown in yellow) from linking up western and eastern regions.  (Anadolu)
Turkish military action starting Aug 24. Objective is to prevent Kurdish forces (shown in yellow) from linking up western and eastern regions. (Anadolu)

Turkey continued execution of "Operation Euphrates Shield" on Sunday by striking at the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a Syrian Kurdish militia backed by the United States in its fight with the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). Airstrikes from Turkish warplanes killed at least 25 or more people near the city of Jarablus. Turkey claims that all those killed were Kurdish terrorists. Other reports claim that dozens of civilians were killed.

Besides striking at ISIS, a major objective of Turkey's invasion into Syria is to prevent further expansion of the region controlled by Syrian Kurds.

As the map above shows, the YPG now controls large regions of northern Syria, including an uninterrupted 400 km (250 mile) stretch of the Syrian-Turkish border from the eastern frontier with Iraq to the Euphrates river, and a pocket of territory in northwestern Syria. The Kurds want to gain control of the region in between, controlling a long strip of land, creating an independent Kurdish state called Rojava.

The Turkish military objective is to prevent the Kurds from doing this, and to force the YPG in the east to retreat back across the Euphrates River.

The Kurds have had some notable military successes recently. It was only a couple of weeks ago that the Syrian Kurds regained control of the city of Manbij from ISIS. ( "14-Aug-16 World View -- Wild celebrations in Manbij Syria, after major defeat for ISIS") Since then, the Kurds began advancing on Jarablus in the east, and on the city of Azaz in the west.

A major ISIS terror attack on a wedding in Gaziantep, a Turkish town near Jarablus, there was a major change in Turkish policy, which led to the military invasion of Syria. ( "22-Aug-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan announces a complete U-turn on Syria policy")

Operation Euphrates Shield has already prevent the Kurds from taking control of Jarablus, and the Turks have indicated that they intend to drive the Kurds out of Manbij, back across the Euphrates River. The Turks say that they will take control of a region up to 30 kilometers from the border with Turkey, and create a "safe zone" for civilians, under the control of the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

In a speech on Sunday, Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he considers ISIS and the YPG to be the same:

"These betrayers will be drowned in the blood they shed. ... Turkey has not and will not surrender to any terrorist organizations or terror methods. ... We know the same face is behind all of them [ISIS and YPG].

Turkey has no toleration for any terrorist organization activities within its borders and nearby. Our operations against the separatist organization [YPG] will continue without interruption."

Erdogan's remarks echo the statement on Friday by Turkey's prime minister Binali Yildirim: "We’ve declared all-out war against these terrorist groups." Anadolu (Ankara) and BBC

America may be forced to choose between Turkey and Kurds

Turkey's invasion of Syria so far consists of warplanes, tanks, artillery, and special forces, backed by an army of so-called "moderate" Syrian rebels known as the Free Syrian Army, or FSA. Turkey is targeting both ISIS and the Kurdish YPG.

The United States is an ally of Turkey, which is a member of Nato. The US is also an ally of the YPG, which has been the most effective force fighting ISIS. And the US has also supported the FSA, because they were fighting against the forces of the genocidal president of Syria, Bashar al-Assad.

The US has been "forced to choose" between Turkey and the Kurds. In a visit to Ankara on Wednesday, US vice president Joseph Biden said:

"We have made it absolutely clear that they [pro-Kurdish forces] must go back across the [Euphrates] River. They cannot and will not, under no circumstances, get American support if they do not keep that commitment."

A big question is whether the Kurds will "obey" Biden's mandate. The Kurds have a long history of feeling betrayed by the West, and with an independent state in sight, they may refuse to retreat.

Both Russia and Syria's al-Assad regime approve of the Turkish invasion of northern Syria, because it's the only thing preventing the Kurds from taking control of the entire northern region and declaring the independent Kurdish state of Rojava. Washington Post and Daily Sabah (Ankara) and BBC (23-Aug)

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(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 29-Aug-16 World View -- US forced to choose between two close allies, as Turks bomb Kurds in Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (29-Aug-2016) Permanent Link
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28-Aug-16 World View -- Increasing anger in Turkey threatens the EU-Turkey migrant deal

Greece makes contingency plans for 180,000 more migrants

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Hungary may build a second 'massive' fence to block migrants from Serbia


Refugees camped on the Serbian side of the border with Hungary (Balkan Insight)
Refugees camped on the Serbian side of the border with Hungary (Balkan Insight)

Hungary's prime minister Viktor Orbán announced that Hungary may erect a second fence along the border with Serbia, parallel to the existing fence. The existing 500 km fence was built hastily last year in September, in defiance of European Union criticisms. It's a four-meter-high razor wire fence that has slowed, but not stopped, the flow of migrants from Serbia. The new "massive" fence, if erected, will use "the most modern technology."

The new fence will be built if the EU-Turkey migrant deal collapses. Last year, about 400,000 migrants crossed into Hungary from Serbia. That's been reduced to 18,000 in 2016, because of the EU-Turkey deal, but it's expected that the massive flood of migrants would return if the deal collapsed.

Orbán announced other steps as well. Hungary will increase the number of border police by 3,000, to 47,000 from 44,000. According to Orbán, "Then if it does not work with nice words, we will have to stop them with force, and we will do so."

Hungary has already passed a law imposing a three-year prison sentence on those who cross its borders illegally.

The EU government in Brussels has announced a plan to allow a limited number of migrants to enter Europe, and then to resettle them in all 28 countries in the EU, according to a quota system. Orbán has scheduled a referendum for October 2 on whether to accept migrants for resettlement. Balkan Insight and Reuters and Russia Today

Greece makes contingency plans for 180,000 more migrants

If the EU-Turkey migrant deal collapses, then Greece can expect an additional 180,000 migrants and refugees from Turkey to reach Greece this year. Since Turkey's July 15 attempted coup, the number of migrants reaching Greece has gone from almost zero to about 100 per day. ( "18-Aug-16 World View -- Number of migrants reaching Greece surges since Turkey's attempted coup")

Greece has been working to upgrade its overcrowded refugee camps, which have been described as abysmal, where security is lax and mothers with babies are forced to sleep on the ground in makeshift tents. Conditions are particularly bad on the Greek islands in the Aegean Sea -- Lesvos, Chios and Samos -- with new migrants arriving every day, but unable to travel any further.

Greece has been building new refugee camps to reduce the overcrowding. It's estimated that there are about 50,000 refugees currently stranded in Greece. During the June 9 to July 30 period, 27,592 refugees and migrants went through the pre-registration process, with 57% of them being men and 43% women, plus thousands of children, both unaccompanied or with a parent. Greek Reporter

Increasing anger in Turkey threatens the EU-Turkey migrant deal

The issue of Syrian migrants in EU has rarely been in the news recently, so most people think that the problem is completely solved. Americans in particular have no clue what's going on in the world beyond Donald Trump's latest immigration plan or Hillary Clinton's latest e-mail explanation.

Nonetheless, there is a growing anger in Turkey that could lead to the collapse of the EU-Turkey migrant deal in September, as further negotiations proceed between the two parties. This anger was very evident several days ago, when US vice president Joseph Biden visited Ankara and was snubbed by obviously furious, stone-faced Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Much of Turkey's anger comes from a lack of support following the July 15 attempted coup combined with a series of horrific terror attacks perpetrated by both the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the so-called Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh). These coup threatened Turkey's entire government, and the terror attacks are much worse than anything that Europe has experienced, and yet from Turkey's point of view, EU officials have done nothing but criticize Turkey's attempts to recover from the coup attempt and terror attacks. Turkey also points out that the terror attacks are a threat to all of Europe, as well as Turkey.

With regard to the migrant deal itself, Turkey's view is that they've fulfilled their commitments, but the EU hasn't. In particular:

Turkey also points out that it has taken in at least 2.7 million Syrian refugees and houses 270,000 in 26 provisional refugee camps with food, health and education services as well as psychological support, vocational education and social activities, and has spent 7 billion euros meeting their needs.

For Europe, the main issue is human rights in Turkey. Even before the July 15 coup, Turkey had already shut down the country's main opposition media group. ( "6-Mar-16 World View -- Turkey's 'shameful day for free press' as government seizes Zaman media")

Since the coup, Erdogan has conducted a purge that can only be described as breathtaking, arresting thousands of soldiers and policy, and firing thousands more judges, teachers and clerics. In all, 58,000 people have been affected by the purge. ( "22-Jul-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan gives himself dictatorial powers, moving Turkey away from the West")

EU considers Erdogan's actions to be a major human rights violation, inconsistent with EU law, requiring remediation before the visa liberation can occur. However, even that reason doesn't excuse the 3 billion euros in aid that hasn't been paid.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu makes it clear that Turkey sees the agreement so far as completely one-sided:

"It cannot be that everything that is good for the E.U. is implemented by our side, but Turkey gets nothing in return.

I don’t want to talk about the worst-case scenario. But it’s clear that we either apply all treaties at the same time or we put them all aside."

Negotiations to overcome these differences will begin in September. If no agreement is reached by October, then Turkey could gradually increase the flow of migrants to Greece, and could also refuse to implement other parts of the EU-Turkey deal, such as the "readmission agreement," which would permit Europe to send migrants not granted asylum back to Turkey. Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Guardian (London) and Washington Post

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 28-Aug-16 World View -- Increasing anger in Turkey threatens the EU-Turkey migrant deal thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (28-Aug-2016) Permanent Link
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27-Aug-16 World View -- After 50 days of violence, unrest in India-controlled Kashmir is unabated

Turkey's PM declares 'all-out war' after new PKK truck bomb attack

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey's PM declares 'all-out war' after new PKK truck bomb attack


Aftermath of truck bomb explosion in southeastern Turkey on Friday (DHA)
Aftermath of truck bomb explosion in southeastern Turkey on Friday (DHA)

The terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) took credit for a new deadly car bomb attack that occurred on Friday in Cizre in southeastern Turkey. A suicide bomber rammed a truck full of explosives into a checkpoint near a police station, killing at least 11 police officers and wounding 78 other people.

In hostilities with the PKK in the last year, more than 600 Turkish security personnel and thousands of PKK militants have been killed. Some 40,000 people have been killed since the conflict started in 1984.

Turkey is in a state of chaotic turmoil verging on instability. In the last week alone, Turkey suffered a huge terror attack at a wedding in Gaziantep, perpetrated by the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), causing a major change in Turkey's policy. ( "22-Aug-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan announces a complete U-turn on Syria policy")

As we described yesterday, This U-turn has led to a major military invasion of northern Syria, around the town of Jarablus, attacking both ISIS and the Syrian Kurds.

So now, on Friday, there's a major new terror attack.

A furious prime minister Binali Yildirim declared "all-out war":

"No terrorist organization can enslave the Turkish Republic. We’ve declared all-out war against these terrorist groups. ...

Like the Veteran [founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk] said during the War of Independence: 'Either independence or death.'"

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, "This attack, which comes at a time when Turkey is engaged in an intense struggle against terrorist organizations both within and outside its borders, only serves to increase our determination as a country and a nation."

If you look at the trend, you can see that these repeated terror attacks, combined with the failed July 15 coup attempt, are making the country increasingly belligerent. Friday's terror attack comes just after an invasion of northern Syria, and now Yildirim is declaring "all-out war." We may find out in the next few days what that means. Hurriyet (Ankara) and AP

After 50 days of violence, unrest in India-controlled Kashmir is unabated

After 50 days of violence, curfews and lockdowns, the unrest in India-controlled Kashmir shows no signs of letting up. More than 60 people have been killed and more than 5,000 injured in clashes with security police since the protests began on July 9. Many of the injured have been blinded, as security police have been shooting pellet guns at protesters, often into protesters' eyes.

Indian-controlled Kashmir has a mostly Muslim-majority population, and new large anti-government protest marches were scheduled to begin after Friday prayers. India took a number of steps to prevent violence from occurring:

Although the marches didn't take place, there were numerous protests and clashes across the whole region.

The violence and protests show no signs of abating, and it appears to be spiraling into full-scale violence.

From the point of view of Generational Dynamics, the growth in violence appears more and more to be following a similar path to what happened in India's previous two generational crisis wars -- the 1857 Indian Rebellion and the 1947 Partition War. ( "9-Aug-16 World View -- Quetta Pakistan terror attack kills 75, while unrest grows in Kashmir")

The Pakistan reaction to the growing violence is to encourage the separatists and incite more violence. The India reaction to the growing violence is to deploy more forces and use bullet and pellet guns coupled with curfews and restrictions. If there is anything going on, in either Pakistan or India, that might be doing anything to ease the unrest in Kashmir, so that a major new war won't occur, I'm not aware of it. Tribune India and Al-Jazeera and Only Kashmir

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 27-Aug-16 World View -- After 50 days of violence, unrest in India-controlled Kashmir is unabated thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (27-Aug-2016) Permanent Link
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26-Aug-16 World View -- Turkey's 'Operation Euphrates Shield' turns into full-scale invasion of Syria

US turns on Syrian Kurds as they're attacked by Turkey

by John J. Xenakis

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

Turkey's 'Operation Euphrates Shield' turns into full-scale invasion of Syria


A soldier looks down on the town of Jarablus (al-Jazeera)
A soldier looks down on the town of Jarablus (al-Jazeera)

On Wednesday, Turkey began "Operation Euphrates Shield," and became the first Nato member to invade Syria since the beginning of the war that began in 2011. Turkish tanks, planes and special forces crossed the border into Syria. They were backed up by around 1,500 anti-Assad Syrian rebels called the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

We've been writing about Turkish plans in Syria for several days now, following the horrific terror attack, blamed on ISIS, of a wedding party in Gaziantep, in southeastern Turkey, triggering a furious demand for revenge. ( "22-Aug-16 World View -- Turkey's Erdogan announces a complete U-turn on Syria policy")

At first, the announced plan was for some kind of extended humanitarian intervention for the people of Jarablus, a town in Syria on the border with Turkey, who were under attack by the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh). It was assumed that the FSA would disgorge ISIS from Jarablus.

By the time the attack began on Wednesday, it became clear that it was a major invasion by Turkey's ground forces and air force, backed up by the FSA, and that Turkey's forces are going to stay. There are now multiple objectives:

The battle for Jarablus lasted 14 hours before the FSA announced on its Twitter account that they captured the city. Daily Sabah (Ankara) and Hurriyet (Ankara) and Al-Jazeera

US turns on Syrian Kurds as they're attacked by Turkey

Up until last week, the American military's primary ally in Syria to fight ISIS has been the Syrian Kurds. But in a dramatic turnaround this week, the American administration has turned on the Syrian Kurds, and is effectively allying themselves with the Turkish military against the Syrian Kurds.

During US Vice President Joseph Biden's visit to Turkey on Wednesday that we reported on yesterday, Biden said:

"We have made it absolutely clear that they [pro-Kurdish forces] must go back across the [Euphrates] River. They cannot and will not, under no circumstances, get American support if they do not keep that commitment."

Having been a major US ally in Syria, the Kurds cannot now consider this to be anything but a major American betrayal of the Kurds.

As we mentioned above, one of the objectives of Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield is to block the expansion of the area controlled by the Syrian Kurds. The Turkish forces are evidently doing much more, in that they're attacking Kurdish positions. The army shelled Kurdish forces south of Jarablus on Thursday.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that the Syrian Kurds regained control of the city of Manbij from ISIS. ( "14-Aug-16 World View -- Wild celebrations in Manbij Syria, after major defeat for ISIS")

But on Thursday, Turkish forces shelled Kurdish positions in Manbij. So a significant victory for the Kurds is now turning into a defeat at the hands of ISIS. This is sure to have repercussions later. Reuters and Hurriyet (Ankara) and AP

Debka: Israel in military action against ISIS in Egypt's Sinai

As long-time readers know, I like to reference Debka's subscriber-only newsletter (sent to me by a subscriber), which is written from Israel's point of view, because they have military and intelligence sources that provide valuable insights. However, it's not unusual for them to get things wrong.

So this week's edition has some startling claims: That Israel's military (IDF) is conducting an extensive military action against the ISIS affiliate in Egypt's northern Sinai, and that this has been going on since August 16.

The terror group is called Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis (ABM - Ansar Jerusalem - Champions of Jerusalem), which changed its name to Al Wilayat Sinai (Province of Sinai) when it changed its allegiance from al-Qaeda to the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

According to the Debka newsletter, the military action is closely coordinated with Egypt:

"For almost two days, F-15 and F-16 jets and a variety of drones pounded ISIS-Sinai bases and infrastructure in every part of the Egyptian peninsula in which the terrorists had struck camp.

Apache assault helicopters chased and picked off the jihadists as they fled the air strikes. And Israeli marine commandos, who landed from the Aqaba Gulf port of Eilat and from the Mediterranean via the Suez Canal, raided the ISIS networks embedded in Sinai's western coastal towns. They found the jihadists getting set to descend on the towns and ports of southern Egypt, as well as Jordan and Israel, and also planning to seize a ship vessel sailing in the Gulf of Aqaba, especially passenger liners for taking hostages.

The vast Israeli offensive - on a scale the IDF had never before undertaken against the Islamic State - was conceived, organized and synchronized down to the last detail with the Egyptian army's general command. It represented the apex of the covert Egyptian-Israeli military-cum-intelligence cooperation ongoing since last year for crushing Islamic terrorists in their lairs."

According to the Debka report, Israel is engaged in fighting ISIS in at least eight foreign countries: Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and Chad.

This is a description of a big operation. On the one hand, I can't find any other report on it. On the other hand, it's big enough so that it's hard to believe that Debka got it so wrong.

Still, if Debka got it wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. Also, if Debka got it right, that wouldn't be the first time either, and this story could be a big one. Debka subscriber-only newsletter

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 26-Aug-16 World View -- Turkey's 'Operation Euphrates Shield' turns into full-scale invasion of Syria thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (26-Aug-2016) Permanent Link
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