2016 – January





The Coming Saudi Crack-up?

Topping the kingdom’s list of woes is the economy. With its stubbornly high unemployment rate and growing wealth gap between the rich and poor, Saudi Arabia has long been the sick man of the Persian Gulf. Even though planners have been talking about economic diversification since the 1970s, the kingdom was actually more dependent on oil as of 2013 than 40 years earlier.

“Saudization” of the workforce is another mantra, yet the labor market remains polarized between a private sector dominated by foreign guest workers, mainly from South Asia, and a public sector filled with Saudi “sofa men” who spend their days lounging about in government offices.

Riyadh wishes that young people would take jobs in hotels, oil refineries and the like, but most prefer to wait for a high-paid government sinecure to open up – which is one reason why the jobless rate among young people is as high as 29 percent.

‘Saudi Arabia is in serious trouble, and they know it’

Week Eleven of the Russian Intervention in Syria: A Step Back from the Brink?

The USA announced that it was withdrawing 12 of its F-15s from Turkey, 6 F-15C and 6 F-15E. Now this might not look like much, but these are highly symbolic aircraft as they are the aircraft which were suspected of “covering” for the Turkish F-16s which shot down the Russian SU-24. The F-15Cs, in particular, are pure air-to-air fighters which could only have been directed at the Russian aircraft in Syria. Of course, the US declared that this was a normal rotation, that it has been an exercise, but the bottom line is here: while NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg had promised to reinforce the NATO presence in Turkey, the US just pulled out 12 of its top of the line aircraft. Compare that with the Russians who continued to increase their capabilities in Syria, especially their artillery (see here, here and here). Furthermore, there is this very interesting news item: “Erdogan’s Spin Machine Now Blames Su-24 Shoot-Down on Turkish Air Force Chief”. Read the full article, it appears that there is a trial balloon launched in the Turkish social media to blame the downing of the SU-24 on the Turkish Air Force Chief (nevermind that Erdogan publicly declared that he personally gave that order).

No Matter Who Becomes President Israel Wins
Saban and Adelson should register as foreign agents

So who is standing up for the interests of the American people? Nobody, apparently. Senator Ted Cruz has no less than 69 press releases on his web site pledging support for Israel. Jeb Bush has pledged to ban the pro-Palestinian Boycott Divest and Sanction (BDS) movement in the U.S. which most people would consider to be free speech. Every Republican candidate also continues to pander directly and personally to Benjamin Netanyahu, including Donald Trump who planned to drop in on Bibi but had to cancel the trip because of the reaction to his comments about Muslims. Trump had also caused somewhat of an uproar by telling a Jewish Republican audience in New York City that they wouldn’t support him because he didn’t need their money. Imagine the cheek of Trump to link Jews with money with buying influence! In any event, Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), determined that Trump’s comments were not anti-Semitism because they had been misinterpreted and I for one am relieved that we have a brave and enlightened organization like the ADL to keep us on our toes when it comes to potential hate speech.


4 Replies to “2016 – January”

  1. disappointing i know, but california needed the water. if fact, it needs plenty moron storms like that one.

    el nino, bring it on, yeah baby!

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