The #NYT posts this org chart of “How ISIS works”. How on earth the reporters from the Gray Lady managed to verify this data is beyond me given that #ISIS seems to decapitate most western journalist that they come into contact with. Yet the piece of information they seem to have left out is in the description of the Two Deputies to the Calph of ISIS, Abu Baka al-Baghdadi. Surely they should add this statement: “One of these two men will have to step into the Calph’s leadership shoes when, out of nowhere, a USAF RQ-1 / MQ-1 Predator drone helps him meet his maker.” On the plus side, it is unlikely that this statement will need to be changed about the deputy’s replacement!
Friday share prices of London’s oil companies operating in the Kurdish region
fall and US president stands in front of Marine One on White House lawn and
promises to bomb the crap out of the Islamic State ‘terrorists’ (surely they are
more than this now) before choppering to Cape Cod vacation. Poor intelligence is
cited as a reason for Obama’s lack of action against ISIS to date supporters say. Yet public media like the WSJ regularly plot military positions of warring parties in this soon to be failed nation-state. More evidence that military indecisiveness is what you get when you elect a ‘community organiser’ as Commander-in-Chief.
According to the Wiki, a ‘Troll’ in Internet slang, is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory messages. This tweet by the President of Azerbaijan must be the ultimate in ‘trolling’ (see how easy it is to turn slang nouns into verbs) and is also the first case I know where a sitting head of state has promised to go to war with another with terrifying consequences via social media. Unfortunately, the historic enmity between Azerbaijan and Armenia suits Russia's Putin little power game in this region rich in natural resources but war between these two countries can't be in the interests of anyone. On the bright side, from a diplomatic point of view at least we know where the Dude stands. Tell us what you really think Mr President!
On flight home in Iraqi airspace just north of Mosel over the newly proclaimed Islamic State. I snap a map photo as we keep south of Donetsk and the MH17 shootdown area. I am greeted in London with an FT front page questioning the safety of the Iraq route. But is flying over Iraq any LESS safe than flying near the beefed up naval base in Crimea? Last week’s news reports say the Kremlin is to spend even more to boost its military Black Sea presence. I’m only a landlubber army guy but on a map such investment seems silly when the Istanbul channel is a dangerous choke point. But Putin Rules!
In the 1990s an ex-army mate started to collate a database of global terrorist incidents in his garage. I always thought he was smart but a bit odd and this confirmed it. Ten years later he sold the data company he founded for $13M. I wish I was that Odd! As I consume the news output from the world’s media companies (#CNN, #BBC, #CNBC etc) I realise how narrow the news we get is and how right my mate was. In fact on a daily basis there are lots of violent ‘incidents’ that affect the world economy and we hear nothing of them if you only consume the diatribe of the popular 24 hour news channels.
It seems it’s game on for swapping terrorists for prisoners for any government after Obama's brilliantly botched Bergdahl-Taliban swap. After years of NOT negotiating with terrorists, at least the Yanks kept the swapped baddies to single digits (5). With 3 boys taken on the West Bank, the Israelis have a habit of exchanging 100s of detainees for one citizen. Should they all follow France’s lead and just pay millions in ransom instead? If you are a UK citizen watch out though. So far HMG has stuck to its guns - no talks with the bad boys and AQ and its followers are cropping up all over the Middle East and Africa. It's scorching out there!
The day after ISIS takes Mosul in Iraq, the UK's National Audit Office says the Coalition's plans to scale back the Army and increase reservists have "significant risks" to its operational abilities and that the decision was taken without "appropriate testing of feasibility". Just a week after the D-Day commemorations, ask yourself: will we ever learn that our armed forces are like puppies and 'not just for Christmas'. You have a standing army, navy and air force to protect the hospitals, schools and values that we hold dear. Investing in the Defence of the Realm comes first in this dangerous, dangerous world.
Concise Ballsy Thinking as the latest news rolls off the ticker tape. (Er, if you are under 20, Google it!)