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2019 Sep 20 - Israel & Saudi Arabia

20190920
Two big stories coming out of the middle east this week, a part of the world divided along multiple disagreements: islam vs judaism, Russia vs America, whether or not a star should have 5 or 6 points or whether you should just depict a weapon on your flag because nothing symbolises a modern peace-seeking nation better than a big shiny sword.

First to Israel where a tied election has led to a stalemate after Benjamin Netanyahu received slightly fewer votes than his opponent, Benny Gantz. Both would like to form a winning coalition with smaller parties but then I'd like to own a Lamborghini but tough, life doesn't work like that. Unless of course you live in Italy where I think a Lamborghini is the minimum bribe acceptable for selling out and going into a coalition. Alas the past 3 and a half thousand years or so have taught us that things are a bit more complicated in the promised land and they're likely facing another election. History is indeed interesting out there though, when the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah split apart there was no BBC Question time for the people to suffer through. When they Assyrians came through and promised to kill everyone they kept to their election promises. Although you look at beardy hamas-loving Jeremy Corbyn and maybe things aren't so different after all.

Let's talk about Saudi Arabia then. A massive oil processing facility was hit by a drone attack and subsequently celebrated by Iran, Houthi Rebels, as well as anyone who owns shares in BP or Royal Dutch Shell - because the two things to come out of the Middle East are "profits" and "prophets" How best then to respond to a drone attack? President offered up a nuclear strike (go big or go home) before adding "and there are options a lot less than that" The US coincidentally recently became the world's largest oil exporter so there's about a dozen strongly written conspiracies kicking around about what really happened. Fierce language too, not safe for work, it's not just the oil that's crude.
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2019 Jun 15 - Iran Oil Tanker Attack

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Perhaps Iran should change its name to Irate because there's trouble afoot in the Strait of Hormuz after 2 oil tankers were attacked this week although I've been out that part of the world and frankly I don't see how a fire could have burned the boat worse than the regular day to day weather.

Anyway, the US has been quick to call out Iran as the mastermind behind it all, which seems a missed opportunity. Call me old fashioned but I would have liked to see the US organise a heads of state summit ......

2019 Feb 23 - Shamima Begum

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This week has seen a lot of debate, by which I mean politicallyy correct attention seeking, over whether teenager Shamima Begum should be allowed to return to the UK, after spending years living in ISIS controlled territory and discovering that 'ISIS' rhymes with 'crisis' and that like those still holding onto Blackberry telephones, the jihadist extremists are very much on the losing side these days; the territory held has been reduced to just a couple of hundred square miles, approximately the ......

2018 Oct 20 - Jamal Khashoggi

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A couple of week's ago Saudi Arabian journalist and prominent critic of the government Jamal Khashoggi disappeared but this wasn't a magic show and he didn't suddenly reappear on the other side of a stage. It turned out that this was more like the magic trick where they cut someone in two or make them disappear and it was Saudi spies running the show so it was less Houdini and more Whodunnit and they've stayed quieter than the one in Penn & Teller that doesn't say anything.

There are two storie ......

2018 Jun 24 - Illegal migrants on the US Border

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Still lots of football going on out there with more passes than Diane Abbott on Mastermind. But elsewhere, this week saw the US involved in what was either described as mass human rights abuses on the Mexican border, or the culmination of decades of mismanagement when it comes to immigration. President Trump was keen to stress that this was actually the continuation of an Obama-era policy which only made the situation more confusing really, what would possess the president to actually embrace on ......

2018 May 12 - Syria + Iran

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More fun and games in Syria this week, Israel launched an air attack and left the sort of destruction you normally only see when the Daily Mail runs an article about binge drinking and British town centers on a Friday night. In response, Bashar Al-Assad, wanting to look like a strong military leader, no doubt quoted that famous line by Lt. Colonel Custer at the Battle of Little Bighorn, namely "where are all those darned tomahawks coming from?!"

So what's happening then? Well Syria is currently ......

2018 Apr 15 - Syria

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One of the problems with Syria is that we can either let President Assad remain in charge or we can force him out and let ISIS fill the power vacuum. It's like in the Star Wars prequels when Liam Neeson helped destroy that droid army but then he died and Jar-Jar Binks became a senator.

Maybe we could force Assad out and have an election in Syria, and the Russians definitely won't try to rig it with the hundreds of personal they have all over the country. If you've ever been to a carnival and wa ......

2017 Dec 10 - Brexit + Trump Names Jerusalem Israeli Capital

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Brexit news: don't look now but apparently it's going pretty well, for now at least, supposedly. People talk about politicians being out of touch but I always think that for those ministers involved in the Brexit process, getting stuff to happen must be a good analogy for us regular folks trying to get an old car to scrape through an MOT for one last time.

This past week actually started out looking quite bleak on the Brexit front, I'm sure Theresa May was imagining the upcoming news headlines ......

2017 Nov 11 - Trump, Asia & Saudi Arabia

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This week President Trump has been off on a long trip to the Far East in order to bolster trade relationships, come up with a plan about how to deal with North Korea and of course to make a number of barnstorming speeches about how "crooked Hilary Clinton" failed to win any electoral college votes in that part of the world. The last big trip the president made was to Saudi Arabia in order to, amongst other things, finalise a multi-billion dollar weapons contracts and that part of the world has b ......

2017 Jul 07 - Politics and Wimbledon

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This week has been fairly quiet in the UK, I guess most politicians have been too busy watching Wimbledon or submitting expenses. There have been ongoing questions about the Grenfell Tower fire and we’re not really going to know all the facts for years. We’ll likely have a public enquiry followed by demands for a second enquiry when some people disagree with the result, as with Brexit, and the press led by the BBC giving a free platform to all the conspiracy theorists.

But that’s life I s ......

2017 Apr 14 - Trump Attacks Syria

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Last week President Trump decided to try out his new toys by launching a strike at Syria to show Assad that he’s the boss. This week, Syria’s already fixed the holes in the runway, presumably using some kind of secret military technology that is unavailable to the pothole division at my local council. The problem with the Syrian conflict is that it’s essentially the Assad Regime vs ISIS so if you want to do anything, it means you really have to state which of those two sides you support. I ......

2017 Feb 03 - Trump Bans 7 Countries

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Last weekend things got pretty darn serious and President Trump decided to ban people travelling to America from Iran, Somalia and some other countries, essentially because they’re predominantly Muslim places. I suppose you could maybe try to find the positives: perhaps the US will formally recognise Palestine as a country [?] in order so that Trump can then presumably ban Palestinian people from travelling to the US.

Curiously, Saudi Arabia didn’t make the cut. It’s a brutal Islamic the ......