Monday, April 20, 2015

Backgrounder About Yemen and the Middle East Reset

Guest post by Blogger PZ, Plank hold Member of The Skiff...

Yemen lurks in the back corner of news bureaus in America due to the sheer discomfort that the subject brings up for the talking heads of D.C. What is it about this remote, yet strategic corner of land at the south east corner of the Arabian peninsula that should captivate the reader's attentions?

Information Bullet # 1

Geography.  Like most things, geography will explain a lot to the observant. 

Yemen's position is astride the Strait of Mandeb (Bab al Mandeb), which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. Appropriately, this means “Gate of Tears” ( باب المندب) in Arabic .  A narrow passage about 20 miles wide, with small islands interspersed throughout, it hosts two internationally significant shipping channels.

Graphic courtesy of Iron Mike @ Rapid Republican Blog
Through this key and narrow choke point, trade flows to and from Europe. It is a major export route for petroleum to Europe, and finished value-added goods from Europe to all points in the East, as the primary shipping route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian ocean.

The British, French, Ottomans and Portuguese all vied for control of this strategic trade route over time. The basis for that conflict and struggle for control remains the same, although the players may change.

The Houthis have sought to reassure Egypt, over concerns this will have on shipping transiting through the Suez Canal, which Egypt controls and brings it billions of dollars in revenue.  However, should the Houthis lose control of the region, all such "assurances" are moot.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Rub Raw The Sores of Discontent ....

This is the first article written by The Skiff - a group of "analytical" professionals, who want to provide short, easily digestible wave tops of key geopolitical events for readers.

"The despair is there; now it's up to us to go in and rub raw the sores of discontent, galvanize them for radical social change. We'll give them a way to participate in the democratic process, a way to exercise their rights as citizens and strike back at the establishment that oppresses them, instead of giving in to apathy....We'll not only give them a cause, we'll make life goddamn exciting for them again -- life instead of existence. We'll turn them on. Saul Alinsky

Summer is looming for Baghdad, providing ample opportunity to "rub raw the sores of discontent" of the many factions fighting for control in the spreading mideast conflict.

Recent unverified news reports filed by the english speaking Arab press that Dae'sh (ISIS)  had taken control of the Baiji refinery and co-located power plant speaks to the nature of the asymmetrical battle being waged in a region Americans were assured by Obama had been pacified when he "declared victory" at a speech at Andrews Air Force base in 2010 and announced his decision to withdraw stabilization and occupation forces from Iraq.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

GREXIT watch: Greece establishes "Public Debt Truth Commission"

Greece's parliament voted to establish a "Public Debt Truth Committee" and conduct an examination and audit of the public debt, and the circumstances under which the former Greek government entered into the agreement.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

5 Myths about Greece the Banksters need you to believe

Greece's Prime Minister Alex Tsipras will be heading to Moscow tomorow, and the legacy media that is the de facto public relations wing of the IMF and World Bank are in overdrive to continue to advance the narrative that Greeks are irresponsible, indolent, the visit is an amateurish attempt to blackmail Germany, and further evidence that the Syriza government is out of its depth.

Those who continue to buy into the IMF propaganda without pause should consider these points, before they decide whether or not they want to continue to do the legacy media's work for them by reporting their key talking points almost verbatim in the comments section of every blog or media account of the current contretemps.

This should not be relied upon as a comprehensive list, but rather a starting point for your own investigation and research: