The Arab Spring, oil, arms and *sigh*, Donald Trump.

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**Disclaimer: All of the shit in this post is my own paranoid conjecture backed up by articles and resources available on the public domain. I pray none of it is true and that I am completely insane, in which case I will seek immediate psychiatric help.**

I was reading about the 2011 Arab Spring, the root cause of the Syrian conflict, some might argue. It’s amazing how many sources claim that the United States precipitated the uprisings in Libya and Egypt, that the CIA were involved in recruiting and funding partisans to break the regimes. Wikileaks claims to have reams of evidence supporting US ‘stirring’ of the Middle East tensions. It certainly makes sense given the unpredictability and stubbornness of many of the North African and Middle Eastern regimes. Supposition about the American government’s involvement in the creation of the Islamic State is also abundant, their roots traced back to al-Quaida who were funded and trained by both the CIA and the Saud’s in response to Cold War threats. Personally, I think the Islamic State were an undesirable side-effect to the Arab Spring but one cannot help but think that they were allowed to get into power in Iraq and Syria, maybe to further defame the name of Islam. Who knows for sure?

Let us assume for a moment that America DID have a hand in the execution of the 2011 Arab Spring and that its results were largely favourable (with the exception of Syria and Iran). We must assume, in this case that if the CIA did instigate uprisings in these Arab countries then they may also have assisted the Syrian uprising. If that is the case then they are responsible for the empowerment of ISIL.

It seems to me that the Arab Spring may have been a project to destabilise Russian authority over the Arab regions and weaken the Islamic Republic of Iran whilst at the same time shifting power in the Middle East to Saudi Arabia and strengthening Israel’s economic position. The killing of Gaddaffi was not welcomed by Russia nor the deposition of the Tunisian and Egyptian government whereas it was positively encouraged by the US. It would be fair to say that as Russia and Iran’s influence in the Arab states weakened, Saudi Arabia’s strengthened but to what extent it was complicit is unclear.

The whole world was affected by the Arab Spring with demonstrations in every continent. In the Middle East, the effect was remarkable with old entrenched regimes succumbing to revolution. To what degree the US armed the rebel factions is unknown but it is interesting to note where the uprisings succeeded and failed. In Saudi Arabia, a much quieter Arab revolt occurred and was quickly quashed by the ruling regime within a year. Numerous arrests and executions followed and the Saud’s tightened their grip on autocracy by issuing a fatwa that banned public demonstrations. In Israel, there were protests and attacks but nothing out of the ordinary for the region and uprisings were quietly subdued. Hamas did intensify attacks over 2012, as the Arab Spring intensified itself but inside Israel, the government remained firmly in control. Things flared up in Iran but were handled by the Islamic Republic and no change of regime occurred.

I don’t think the US realised the effect that the Arab Spring would have on global politics, in its entirety or if they did, their efforts have now been undermined by Donald Trump. Now they are entrenched in a domestic war against protesters and facing an intercontinental war with Syria and Russia not to mention the potential conflict in the South China Sea (Spratleys’/Paracels) and North Korea. Things haven’t worked out as planned. All because of Trump. The goal was to replace the leaders of the oil-rich states with American sympathisers who would become reliant upon the US for trade and military resources. At the same time, the nation of Saudi Arabia would consolidate its power in the Sunni Muslim community and Israel would benefit from dissent among the Arabs, more focused on repairing their infrastructure than attacking the Jews. Russia’s grip on the Arab states would weaken as power shifted to US-supported leaders of the Arab nations and Iran would feel the pinch of oppression as the regimes became more pro-American and anti-Shia.

Where does ISIS fit in? I don’t know. It’s one of two things: they are an anomaly, created out of opportunity and strengthened by the Arab Spring, another al-Queda. They were not supposed to be part of the problem, merely part of the resistance. Or…they were funded and backed deliberately to excuse the destruction of Syria and Iraq. If terrorists took over these countries then the UN could legitimately bomb the shit out of them. I mean, let’s face it; the real money is under the ground not above it. Anything above ground is negligible. If you want proof, look at Mosul and the state of Iraq.

Sniff, sniff…..want to know where the oil’s at? Click the link below to see the top locations of oil reserves and petroleum production in the world. Most countries can extract oil but not all have the capability to refine quickly in order to meet economic demand and therefore have to import refined petroleum. This example is seen in Venezuela which exports a lot of crude oil to the US and imports refined petroleum back from them. In fact, in 2015 it imported over 95% of its refined petroleum directly from the United States whilst exporting at least 73% in crude oil to the US. In fact, a recent news article highlighted that Venezuela was in a fuel crisis despite having the world’s largest reserves of oil. It simply does not have the necessary refinery capabilities to meet the demands of the economy and consequently outsources to the United States. Venezuela’s economy is overwhelmingly reliant on its exports of crude oil and the US are it’s biggest trading partner in this respect.

Where are the worlds largest oil reserves?

As for poor old Yemen, still fractured by civil war after the Arab Spring erupted is now being legitimately bombed by the Saud’s  in a proxy war (backed by the US and others) for no other reason than to oppress the Shia Houthis and put in place its own regime that will no doubt reflect Saudi Arabian values and settle the ancient dispute. Saudi Arabia, no friend to Iran is currently the second leading producer and exporter of crude oil in the world. The top spot goes to Russia. Yemen, although not the most oil rich land is a large exporter of both crude oil and petroleum gas and would be useful as a symbiotic tool for both the Saud’s and the US. As it stands, most of Yemen’s business is done in the Southeast Asian district, between China, Thailand and South Korea and it has no trade that I can see with Saudi Arabia concerning oil and associated byproducts despite being next-door. Trade with the US is heavily overshadowed by trade with China and company.

As for military exports, the US’s biggest customer is (surprisingly) South Korea then Israel, UAE and Saudi Arabia if we look at the period 2011-2015. I’m sure this is still the case in 2017. As for general funding and support, here’s an excerpt from a post on the CNN website:

“The State Department’s 2017 budget request includes approximately $5.7 billion for Foreign Military Financing.
In the proposed budget, the top five recipients of American foreign military financing will be Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.3 billion), Jordan ($350 million), Pakistan ($265 million), and Iraq ($150 million).”
The link above reveals how two primary Middle Eastern countries receive over 75% of the US foreign aid budget; Egypt and Israel.

Things were going well for America until Donald Trump came along. The Arab Spring shifted the axis of power in the Middle East and unfortunately, parts of Africa also became embroiled in their own uprisings but this is collateral damage and inconsequential to the United States in the bigger scheme of the Middle East. That’s where the real money is although interests may soon shift to South America.

I believe Russia saw an opportunity in Trump, an opportunity to balance power once again, maybe shift it against the US monumentally. With the assistance of China, North Korea and Iran, the stage is now set for the final act, the one that involves the US being discredited and made pariah, thrown out of the very League of Nations that it helped to forge, breaker of its own rules and charters. Religion is just a pretext, smoke and mirrors to divert the eye from the real drama. America couldn’t give a fuck whom it installs as the next leader of any given country, so long as they are compliant and on the payroll. Same with Russia, the matter of religious identity is moot compared to the loyalty of the regime. As always, it is the people that suffer.

Trump is definitely not America’s trump card. He is ruining the delicate balance, fibrillating the tense strings that have been woven across nations by the US. He is dragging America into an unnecessary two-fronted war and alienating the nation from its partners. On the domestic front, America has become a hotbed for sectarian prejudice and political intolerance, protests and marches becoming the norm.

I do believe that Donald Trump will commit an act that not only results in the suspension of America from the United Nations but threatens the very economic security of the nation. He will discredit the American land and you can be sure that Russia and China will be there to pick up the slack, to offer reassurances and become the new patriarchal figures of support to the Western world. Either that or they will force crippling sanctions onto the West in the hope of breaking America through shattering its infrastructure rather than bombing it. Technically, if Russia and China had enough support from the Middle East and South America, they could pretty much cater for the gap left by the United States although the land would have to be appropriated at some point in order to get at the Canadian oil reserves. Already, Trump is pissing off the South American’s and Venezuela holds the record for the largest known oil reserves, over fifty percent of its crude oil going to the United States. On the contrary, China and Russia are expanding interests in the region.

Trump has no respect for other nation’s leaders, for the customs and intricacies that mark each culture differently, giving them their individuality and nuance. I heard that he even forgot to put his hand to his heart when reciting the American national anthem

His misplaced self-pride in himself and his overzealous opinion of his country in the global scheme of things is ruining America’s reputation and it has worked hard to establish good relations with countries after decades of subjugation and interference. Say what you want about Hillary (there’s speculation that she had knowledge of the Arab Spring long before it happened), at least she might have recognized America’s precarious position and took steps to lead through diplomacy rather than brute force.

Does Donald Trump really think that Russia and China are not ready for war? For centuries, their countries have been stockpiling armaments and personnel, fighting proxy wars, defending against attack as well as instigating it.

The following links from the World Bank show the levels of expenditure per country on weaponry over the 2015 period, less than two years ago. If you access the links, you can also find out which countries are importing and exporting the most arms. No surprise which countries are at the top of the list for exportation of weapons, Russia and America followed by France, Germany and China. On the imports side, the Middle East, India and China are among the top importers of arms. Interestingly, Australia reveals itself to be just as worried about defence as it is third on the list of the top importers of arms. The country that spent the most of its GDP on defence in the 2015 period was the Sultanate of Oman which I happened to have visited during my father’s tenure at the British Airworks base. It is a very militarised country and it quashed the potential revolts of the Arab Spring successfully with cabinet changes and military superiority. Of course, Oman is closely involved with the English and the Americans and both have a military presence in the country. Saudi Arabia is second for overall GDP expenditure on defence and is also the top importer of arms during the same period. In fact, Russia and America have been getting pretty wealthy off the Arab states over the past decades and the EU hasn’t done too badly, either. Neither has China.

Check out world military expenditure by country

More stats on arms expenditure

By bringing America to war, Trump is emptying the coffers rather than filling them. Experts predict that the US GDP deficit will be around $504 billion this year, half a trillion dollars worth of debt. War will add to that deficit and public services will suffer as a result of the shortfall not to mention the protest and outcry it would cause across the United States. Estimates put the total cost of the Vietnam War to the US at over a trillion dollars in today’s money.

The following link gives a really good insight into the cost of wars to the United States over the centuries and is well worth a read. One must remember, back in the Vietnam War weapons cost a hell of a lot less than they do today.

The real financial cost of war to the US

Here’s an interesting thing; war makes countries poorer but it makes weapons manufacturers and defence contractors richer. Recently, after the Tomahawk missile strike on Syria by the US, Raytheon Inc. saw an increase in the company’s share price raising their profits by nearly $100 million. Donald Trump owns shares in Raytheon Inc and will receive a dividend as a result of the share price increase. The cost of each Tomahawk missile is around $800,000 and fifty-nine were fired making a total outlay for stock alone (not counting labour and other overheads) of over $47 million. Will Donald Trump sacrifice his dividend to make up the shortfall in the US defence budget? I doubt it very much and with those tax returns still to declare, Trump hasn’t exactly shed the greedy businessman persona to adopt the role of President. Personal gain is clearly more significant than economic stability in his world. I imagine that there were a variety of other deployment methods that could have been used by the US to strike Syria but as it was, the Tomahawks were used in abundance. Trump has also been accused of ‘bigging up’ the damage caused by the missile strike, therefore glorifying Raytheon’s product as a market leader and raising interest among the global community. As we know, America is one of the top two arms exporters in the world but private enterprise is very much different to running a country. One could argue that Raytheon, being an American company will now have higher taxes to pay and will compensate the economy for the $47 million shortfall in the defence budget but that won’t help in a time of war, when the US makes weapons to use rather than sell for profit. What is more likely is that the company directors will flee with their assets to a place that offers more economic stability. Trump can’t abandon-ship, he is the captain and must go down with the vessel but financially secure as he is, the fall will be cushioned.

Whilst we’re on the subject of weapons deployment, did Syria deploy chemicals weapons via aircraft upon its own people on April 4th? Professor Theodore Postol thinks not and his own take on the incident is quite interesting. Read the full article below which disputes the use of an aerial device completely:

Arguments against the chemical strike on Syria

Does America really need to bomb Syria, to taunt North Korea with the threat of war, a red rag to a bull? Are these developments something that the US planned and hoped for when it helped to get Trump elected? Individuals themselves may profit from a two-fronted war, defence companies particularly but the country as a whole suffers. Individuals seeing vast returns on stock options are unlikely to pump it straight back into the war-chest. Instead, taxes will increase and services will be cut.

But what if the rest of the world no longer wants to do business with an aggressive America, turning instead to China and Russia for its armament fulfilment? What if excporters of crude oil simply turn elsewhere for their refinery needs? Could that be a likely scenario? Depending on how Trump handles Syria dictates how the relationship with the Arab states will go. He doesn’t want to alienate the Arab’s as they are pivotal to the entire economical stability of the region and vital to America’s trade system. Neither would he want to piss of the South Americans and the Chinese who represent a good proportion of US trade.

The following link shows the top import and export partners for the US with regards to petroleum. Remember, Trump is building a wall across the Mexican-US border and deporting migrants. He is also threatening to destabilise the Middle East and alienate China. The link below summarises the economies of the world’s countries and is well worth playing around with, just to get an idea of whom is dependent on whom for resources and trade:

Petroleum imports from other countries to the US

If this wasn’t bad enough, check out the following link which shows just who are America’s top trading partners with regards to all products, both currently and historically.

US trading partners, the top fifteen

Here’s another interesting thing. I found out that, as of 2015 99% of Canada’s crude oil went to the United States. They are virtually Canada’s only customer, when you look at the scope of the supply ratios compared to what gets supplied directly to China, Spain and Cameroon. Canada is supremely oil-rich yet lags behind Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia for crude oil reserves which is why Trump ought to be careful about alienating these continents. Of course, despite taking 99% of Canada’s oil output, America still imports oil from Saudi, Venezuela, Mexico and other countries. Does this mean that America is simply extending trade to these countries or that it really needs the oil? Because if it really needs the oil then alienating South America and the Middle East is not a good strategy. Owning them is much more preferable but these chances have slipped away from America’s grasp thanks to Trump.

If the Arab Spring 2011 was a strategy to empower America then it is being rapidly undone by Donald Trump. The United Nations are already in a muddle as to whether Trump breached any humanitarian articles in the UN Charter.? The following link explains the purported treaty violations in much more detail:

Did Trump violate the UN Charter?

Discredit America, urge it into war (or simply allow it to organically happen with the will of Trump) and become the foundations for the world’s economy. That’s what I think the plan is here by Russia. The way that everything has fallen apart so quickly after Trump took office is far too coincidental to be anything other than a planned schedule.

Russia are the only country that agreed to help North Korea with its nuclear ambitions, strictly for peace and domestic power, might I add but really, when one is given such mass-destructive power can one really aver from creating weapons? Iran will soon be developing their own nuclear weapons, with or without UN approval because once the materials are there, the temptation to create a weapon is far too strong to deny. And why shouldn’t these countries create weapons, given that eight other countries have the privilege? So long as they don’t use them, there isn’t a problem because the last thing anybody wants is an irradiated, useless planet that cannot be utilised by any victors of war.

Is it fair to say that Russia might n? With Trump in charge, it’s a guarantee. He will incite tensions and put his hardware on Iran’s doorstep. Iran have already said that they will develop ICBM’s and now that have helped North Korea develop its nuclear program? They certainly provided reactors and materials, scientific support and the suchlike over the years. Could they have put the idea of building the nuclear hardware to the North Koreans, much as a devil might sit on one’s shoulder and whisper in temptation? Is the same thing going to happen in Ira they have nuclear capability, the prospect of them building a weapon is likely but once again, it doesn’t mean they are likely to use it against somebody. Iran knows full well what would happen if it bombed Israel, that not only would the ICBM be intercepted by the Arrow defence system and fail (probably blowing up over Arab territory and killing Muslims) but all supporters of the Jewish state will retaliate, including the United States and Russia, unified at last by something in which they both hold a common interest.

North Korea, however is in an extremely good position to nuke South Korea and this would have a very damaging effect on the Middle East and Southeast Asian markets. The US also trades with South Korea and they are America’s sixth largest import/export market. Destabilisation of the South Korean economy (ranked sixth in 2015 out of the world’s most complex economies) would be disastrous. South Korea are also a big player in the world’s arms import market. According to figures, South Korea were the US’s largest receiver of arms over the 2011-2015 period, accounting for a third of the total weapons sold on the international market by America over that period. Losing South Korea is not an option for the world to consider however a regime change would be welcomed by Russia, I feel if only to balance the arms race.

Trump is pissing off Texans in their majority with his hair-brained ‘Trump Wall’ with a vast portion of the Texan state opposing the wall and its implications for divisions in the communities as well as the local economy of Texas and the wider problems for Mexico . The ‘wall’ will cost $12 billion, according to Trump although the Democrats assure this will be closer to $70 billion. America will have to pay for the ‘wall’ because Mexico never will. South American leaders are not happy with Trump and if the wall is built and the policies put in place against immigration, all Latin American countries will feel the impact. The only way Trump will get Mexico to comply is by sanctioning the country economically and this bullying approach will likely be the next step. Needless to say, with South America so vital to the world’s petroleum markets, this hostility will provoke Latin America to seek assistance from Russia and China which they will gladly give, further consolidating Russia’s hold over the world markets.

Mark my words, America is being set up to look like the snot-nosed playground bully and Russia, the prefect will bring together those feeling oppressed and disoriented, taking away the bully’s power without even throwing a punch. I don’t think Russia or China will ever had to fire a shot in order to bring the United States to its knees. In fact, only America will be seen to be using bullying tactics and the reputation of this great nation will be one seen with condescending distaste as others turn away from the threat and seek solace with the maternal, diplomatic Russians.

Of course, with Trump in power he might just hit the self-destruct button as his ship begins to fill with saltwater and nuke the shit out of every country he perceives as a threat. With that in mind, one can only pray that somebody puts a bullet in his head before it gets any worse. I’m not really one for political assassination but this reminds me of the Stephen King novel, the Dead Zone and the antagonist Greg Stillson whom psychic Johnny Smith is compelled to kill in order to save America from nuclear war and a totalitarian regime. In the end, Stillson survives but disgraces himself to the extent that he loses public confidence and is never elected as President.

Well, in this reality Stillson (i.e. Trump) DID get elected and it’s no coincidence. Hell, he didn’t even have to offer free hot-dogs, he just convinced America that it was far more important than it really was, that it wasn’t an integral link in a global chain but a separate entity capable of existing autonomously, the top of the pyramid in ethics, economy and political power. Naturally, the Russians helped him out, or so I believe and now we all must face the consequences.

As a closing note, when Harry Truman dropped two nukes on Japan, the world reeled from the new destructive power owned by America. Nothing could compare to this device and it did put America in the strongest position it has ever been in its history but things change, weapons change and now the world and his wife has access to nuclear weapons. They are built, stockpiled, sold and shared across international economies. America no longer has exclusive access to the world’s most destructive weapon, apparently Russia’s thermonuclear device holds the record for maximum potency although I bet the Israeli’s have something even more powerful in their arsenal, closely kept under wraps even from their biggest supporters. Trust me, if I was the ‘only Jew in the village’ as the Israeli State is in the Middle East then I would have something very special in terms of defence and deterrent, something to equal the level of possible attack from collective states pledged against the Jews. America claims to leads the world in missile defence systems with its THAAD system but the Israeli’s Arrow project is disputed as a close contender.

The US has moved a THAAD system to the South Korean region in anticipation of a nuclear strike and Israel has already used the Arrow system to successfully intercept Syrian missiles although these were non-nuclear devices.

The THAAD system

ARROW, third generation

Better get digging that shelter folks because the UK’s system is a piece of shit compared to the US and Israel. Shit, even India has a better system than us but when we spend so little on our defence budget, is it any wonder?

 

 

 

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