As President Barack Hussein Obama’s second inauguration transpires, I’m left to chuckle grimly at the scenarios I remember devising as prospective reactions by either the Muslim Brotherhood or Russia to commemorate the occasion. The former has ended up having to jostle with the Salafis and the United Arab Emirates because they’re pretty much the main Islamic factions left after Turkey and Iran’s separate cultural suicides. It might only be a matter of time before the upheavals inch into the other Sharia sheikhdoms, so they will likely need as many resources as they can gather to stay ahead. Even now, instability remains in the biggest country along the Sunni-Shiite fault line.:
Oilprice.com: John Daly: So Much for Desert Storm – Kuwait and Iraq Collaborate on Energy
Reuters: Iraq protester sets himself ablaze in anti-government rally
22 years ago, Saddam Hussein’s military units rolled into Kuwait, and in response, the United States and other countries mobilized en masse. The Kurds, Sunnis, and Shiites inside Iraq will be fortunate if Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani and Kuwait’s Emir Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah hold forth on this new deal to explore for oil in southern Iraq. It would appear that tensions between Iraq and Turkey led to the expulsion of the Turkish energy company originally slated to start this project, and this new self-immolation probably won’t help. It happened in Mosul during a round of protests by around 2,000 people, replicating Mohammed Bouazizi’s famous self-immolation in Tunisia a little over two years ago, thereby sparking the current upheavals. If any groups could attempt to incite more hostile Sunnis against the rest of the Shiite population, then by now, I’d place my bets on those Al-Qaeda operatives in Syria. Their brethren in North Africa might be poised to drive everyone else out around them, whether they’re standing in solidarity with each other or increasingly fighting over whatever grudges they’ve nurtured, so that as of this moment, gruesomely slow massacres could churn and creep over North Africa.:
New York Times: Jihadists’ Surge in North Africa Reveals Grim Side of Arab Spring
Washington Post WorldViews: Olga Khazan: Mali is about to have a refugee crisis
The area in question has been breaking down, and weapons dealers, drug cartels, and jihadists alike have waltzed in. Mokhtar Belmokhtar, the man behind that Amenas hostage crisis, has struck mainly at “targets of opportunity”, and with Muammar Gaddafi dead, every ethnic mercenary scattered across southern Libya has ended up scampering outward. They may be proclaiming that they’ll be willing and able to attack America and its allies, but at least for now, they’ve settled on building up their cash reserves through such things as smuggling. Of the people most vulnerable to these attacks, some have already sought to escape the imposition of Sharia, with 54,000 heading into Mauritania, about 39,000 into Burkina Faso, and 1,500 in Algeria. None of those countries are especially stable themselves, and the World Food Program suspended its program to distribute food because there wasn’t enough security. I could call Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb a group of thieves, but at this point, I figure that such a comparison insults thieves. The cartels southwest of my home state might not fare much better.:
Houston Chronicle: Zetas gang poses daunting threat to Mexico’s shale gas output
American Petroleum Institute: Bill Bush: IHS projects large future state benefits from shale revolution
The Zetas have their eyes trained on a few basins of shale gas near the Rio Grande, but already, some internal warfare, so to speak, has officials worried about greater bloodshed still. Two top bosses of the gang are attempting to fend off an upcoming challenge from a former underling, and Nuevo Laredo has been seeing banner after banner promising death to any who transgress against either faction involved. The shale basin on our side of the river has had more permits for drilling operations, presumably reinforcing revenue in the Lone Star State. The numbers look interesting.:
• Arkansas: $3.82 billion in total added value in 2012 vs. $6.88 billion in 2035; $109 million in 2012 corporate taxes vs. $193 million in 2035 corporate taxes
• Iowa: $853 million in total added value in 2012 vs. $1.8 billion in 2035; $21 million in 2012 corporate taxes vs. $41 million in 2035 corporate taxes
• North Dakota: $6.81 billion in total added value in 2012 vs. $6.6 billion in 2013; $193 million in 2012 corporate taxes vs. $105 million in 2035 corporate taxes
• Texas: $101.6 billion in total added value in 2012 vs. $125.7 billion in 2035; $3.18 billion in 2012 corporate taxes vs. $3.88 billion in 2035 corporate taxes
• Utah: $54.4 billion in total added value in 2012 vs. $67.05 billion in 2035; $158 million in 2012 corporate taxes vs. $291 million in 2035 corporate taxes
The sense that unconventional energy could start flowing across North America could have supporters of a certain pipeline readying their reports and awaiting decisions to implement the thing, and Russia looks set to be among the big losers. It may be all that Central Asia’s countries can do to attempt to build up their own markets.:
Jamestown Foundation: Richard Weitz: President Nazarbayev Announces Ambitious National Goals in Coming Decades
Jamestown Foundation: Pavel Baev: Militarism is a Poor Fit for Putin’s ‘Patriotic’ Kleptocracy
Kazakhstan wants to give foreign investors a chance to put their money in it, encourage the growth of small and medium businesses, develop its agriculture, and secure its water supplies. One might be inclined to give President Nursultan Nazarbayev some credit for declaring that he will do what he can to push back against any outside intrusions into his country’s traditions, presumably out of, say, Egypt or the Arabian Peninsula. Kazakh media outlets at a conference about Nazarbayev’s strategy welcomed it, and the country could be that much more advanced in becoming more visible on world maps, anyway, which can’t be much help to its bigger northern neighbor. There, President Vladimir Putin is facing an apparent loss of credibility with Gazprom over disputes in the European energy market, so he’s falling back to military preparation. A ballistic missile submarine was accepted into the Russian Navy several days ago… with some weaknesses still at work. The military commanders responsible for monitoring these submarines have yet to inform Putin of the flaws they spotted. Discontent is spreading inside Russia’s cities, and Russia’s military elite are left to use his militaristic rhetoric to mask their assets. I can only guess how slowly they’d mobilize if certain existential threats started rippling across Eurasia.:
New York Times: China Criticizes Clinton’s Remarks about Dispute with Japan over Islands
Irrawaddy: Lawi Weng: State Should Take Over Military Companies, Lawmaker Says
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, now preparing to step down from her position, opposes “any unilateral actions that would seek to undermine Japanese administration” of the Senkaku Islands, in a situation in which Chinese and Japanese fighter planes have both scrambled toward that island chain. Any Burmese military commanders more loyal to President Thein Sein might have to watch closely since the companies that signed contracts to manufacture their equipment could have additional skirmishes with China on the horizon, presumably among any new rebellions. Those military businesses have conducted land grabs and ended up destroying the land in question, making takeovers authorized by the new government, hopefully Thein Sein himself, necessary. As the pivot to East Asia moves forward, the countries in that region might not need to wait much longer to see how the United States’ presidential aspirations unfold.
Last edited by ccangelopearl1362; 21st January 2013 at 6:46 PM.
Babylon 5, Codename: Kids Next Door, 24, and now, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I am many things at once, and many people might have different opinions about little, old me. If freedom is my main idea, then harmony, individuality, and modernization are the three attributes I now sense and track. Those three attributes and that idea combined to make the United States of America a great global superpower and Pearlshipping and Wishfulshipping great Pokémon couples, and now, they've combined to make those four shows truly great television programs to me. I will enjoy enthusiastically supporting the Equestrian ponies' adventures for peace, for humankind, for the future.