ずくなしの冷や水

2020年01月04日

ソレイマニはアンドロイドを使っていた?

※ Elijah J. Magnier@ejmalrai氏の2020/1/3のツイート
#Iran #QassemSoleimani used his Mobil phone like any normal person

それで米軍がソレイマニの動向を把握できた。そうかもしれません。

ソレイマニのモバイルが軍の所有であっても、ソレイマニの使うモバイルの電話番号がわかれば、機器は特定できます。アンドロイドが一般に収集している個人情報をGoogleに提供させるだけでも多くの情報が得られますし、裏口がある機種ならそこから中に入って位置情報などを使えるようにすることもできます。

通話はもちろんチェックしています。

ソレイマニがイラクやシリアに行くときは、ほとんど秘密にはできないようです。それほどの国際的著名人。

ソレイマニは、米軍がそういうモバイルからの個人情報を使って暗殺を謀るとは考えていなかったのでしょう。普通の国はやらなくても、米国はやるのです。

個人情報だだ漏れの怖さについては、何度も書いてきましたが、こういうことに使われるのです。

あなたは、そんなVIPではない? わかりますけど、奴隷として捕まえて売り捌くには、お客の好みに応じた品揃えが必要なのです。別に高価な上玉でなくてよいという客もいますから。元気だけが取り柄なら、臓器取り出し用としても使えます。

あなたが強盗に狙われているなら、スマホから位置情報を取り出している誰かがいるかもしれないのです。そんな仕組みがあることは書きましたよね。
2019年11月21日 アンドロイドスマホで画面をロックしていても、ハッカーはカメラの画像を取り出し現在地を把握できた

どうぞ気を付けてください。まあ、これだけ何度も書いてもピンとこないようなら、もう無理ですね。個人情報をだだ漏れにし、好きなだけ電磁波に被ばくしてください。

ソレイマニですら、甘いところがあったわけですし。

・・・・・

米軍は、携帯電話の電波をとらえてその場所を攻撃するのは得意技で5年近く昔からやっています。
2015年11月13日 携帯電話の電波がドローンを誘導する?

ソレイマニの暗殺で米国は、米国人に危害を及ぼす恐れがあるから殺害したという言い訳をしていますが、こんな理屈が通るようなら、誰でも殺せます。沖縄や米軍基地の近くで基地反対闘争に参加している市民に対してこの理屈を使われない保証はない。

携帯電話やスマホをこのような目的に使うのに、裏口のない機種は使いにくい。中国の某企業のスマホシェアが急拡大して裏口のない機種が増えていることにいら立ちを強めた。この某企業に対する営業妨害のすさまじさはそのように考えると、理解できます。

逆に凶悪犯罪があったときは、事件が起きた時刻に現場付近にあった携帯・スマホを特定できれば容疑者を拾い出すことができるかもしれません。警察はやっている?
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 22:57| Comment(2) | 福島原発事故

ハグ hug の効用 日本のハグ問題早わかり

日本人の若い男性が中国の街角でフリーハグの立札をして立っている動画がありました。最初はだれもハグしてくれなかったけど、次第に寄ってくる人が増えました。

管理人も、この秋(2019年)息子をハグしました。

ハグしたのには経緯があります。その息子が最初に日本を離れた時、私は成田まで見送りに行きました。

いざ搭乗という段階で息子が私の二の腕を握ったのです。息子の女友達も一緒でしたし、握手するのもよそよそしいと思ってしませんでしたが、向こうも何があるかわからないという意識はあったんでしょうね。今生の別れになるかもしれない。実際に、福島第一原発事故が起きました。

このことがずーっと私の中でやり残したこととして残っていました。それで、就職で日本を離れる今回は、家の玄関先で写真を撮り、ハグして別れたのです。もう空港まで送るようなことはありません。

「サヨナラ 元気でな、好きなことをやれよ、親子の縁はもう気にしなくていいぞ」です。無言ですけど。

息子の身体は、骨が堅くて抱き心地は良くありませんでした。抱き方は、シリアのアサドがソチでプーチンと会った時に、プーチンをハグしたあんな感じです。


玄関前で息子がセルフィーで撮ったツーショットを見ると、私は全然寂しそうな顔をしていません。息子を送り出す心の用意は十二分に整っていました。

読者のお一人は、郷里に高齢の両親を見舞った際に、また来るから元気でいてね、と言いながらハグするのだそうです。

>「また帰るね!」とハグして別れます。

小学校で二人の女の子が暴漢か何かに怖い思いをした後、女性の担任は抱いてやったが、男性の担任は子供の身体に手を触れなかったようでした。

女性の担任に抱かれた女の子は、ショックを克服するのが早かったという
分析を読んだことがあります。

子供や年寄りには、ハグが効果ありますね。言葉よりよほど伝わる。

・・・・フリーハグのお誘いがありましたので、来年5月下旬、関東某所に出かけることにしました。

読者のお便りから

さて、数日前にハグの話が出ていましたね。
確かに日本はじめ多くのアジア諸国では、ハグの習慣がそもそもないのでそのハードルがとても高いですよね。

2011年に海外勤務を勝ち取って以降、退職後も含めて中南米諸国ドサ回りが始まりましたが、出会う時と別れる時の最低でも1人につき2回ハグをするのが当たり前の生活が続いています。初対面であってもです。

日本に帰ったとたん、これがなくなるのにはもはや違和感すら感じるレベルになりました。
ハグがない人生は、もはや人間らしくない無機質で無味乾燥なものではないかとすら思います。
そんな人生イヤですね。その点では、日本を出奔してよかったと思います。

ですから、ずくなしさんがご家族にハグをすることはとても良いことだと思います。
どうぞご家族にハグをしつつ穏やかな年末年始をお過ごしください。

もう1件、お便りから

私、イケメンや綺麗女子で拒否しない人には今でも平気でというか、
婆になってからは安心して、かなりのハグ魔だと思われます。

若いころは抵抗なくハグした末に、ストーカーされたり、強姦未遂が2回。
ハグしちゃいけない人にした結果です。
欧米と違って日本人は慣れないから勘違いが起こりやすいのではないでしょうか?
母に軽く見られるような行為をするからだとたいへん叱られました。
ところが婆になってからも年配男性で勘違い起こすことがあり、
若いイケメンは安心してハグできるけど年配者には気を付けています。
ずくなしさんが、そんなにハグが好きだったなら、機会があったら、ぜひ!

今どきの若いイケメンは、良い?と聞くと
はぁ…みたいな返事の子は無抵抗で抱かれ、
拒否しないくせに、手をだらんとして抱き返してきません(笑)
「ダメ!」とか言いつつ、口説きに負けてハグしてくれる子はちゃんと抱き返してくるのに。
しょうがねぇなぁ、ババァはとイケメンが思ってるのは解ってます。

・・・・・・

この記事は、年末年始に有用なものになりました。会うことが少ない近親や知人、いつ倒れるかわからない時代です。hugは愛情を示すものだと辞書にあります。性愛の行為とは限らない。

アサドがプーチンをハグしているとき、プーチンの手は軽く相手の背中に回されています。ぎゅっと抱きしめるか、軽く抱くか。それは両者の関係によって。アサドのハグは、言葉を超えるロシア国民に対す感謝の気持ちの表現です。

年配男性の勘違い!! 年配男性は誰からも相手にされなくなって寂しいから、ついつい舞い上がってしまうんでしょうね。 エロいことも平気でやるから油断しないようにしないと。

もうお一人から

ハグの大切さ、スキンシップの大切さ効果は、理屈を超えています。長い間福祉現場で働いていたので、ハグとスキンシップをした時の子供たちや、障害のある方達との心の交流は言葉になりません。自閉症の方たちも同じでした。また心傷ついた子供たちほど、ハグやスキンシップは大切でした。

2019年のハグ 1人に1回
2020年のハグ 5人に5回
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 22:20| Comment(5) | 社会・経済

トルコがリビア派兵を名目にテロリストをリビアに逃がす

2019/12/23トルコのハイレベル使節団がモスクワ訪問 イドリブ問題を協議するとエルドアンが明かしていましたが、協議の結果が出てきません。

いずれにしてもイドリブの攻防は大詰めです。現地のテロリストからは、俺たちを見殺しにするのかと猛烈な抗議がトルコに来ているはずです。ですが、トルコの要求はロシアが呑めない。トルコは、イドリブのテロリストを自国内に引き取れば難民問題以上の厄介なことになりますから、リビアに移すこと企んでいる?

やはりそうです。トルコの野党が派兵に反対の立場を明らかにしました。シリアで展開した恐ろしい絵がまた他の国で展開してほしくないと。

リビアでハフタールのグループがトルコの派兵方針に反発、トルコのドローンを撃墜。トルコは、国会承認前からリビアで活動しています。

RT2020/1/3
Libyan forces claim to have shot down Turkish plane after Haftar declares 'jihad' on Ankara
The Libyan National Army (LNA) said it shot down a Turkish drone over Tripoli, shortly after its leader General Khalifa Haftar called for a holy war against Turkey for supporting a rival government.

On Friday, the LNA said it had shot down a Turkish drone south of Tripoli, the seat of the Government of National Accord (GNA). One report identified it as a Bayraktar TB2 armed drone, downed after targeting a column of LNA vehicles.


RT2020/1/2
Turkish parliament backs govt plan to send troops to Libya in emergency session
The Turkish parliament has voted to approve a plan to send troops to support the UN-recognized government in Libya as it continues to fight forces loyal to a rival government in the eastern part of the country.

Lawmakers approved the motion, which grants a one-year mandate for the troop deployment, in an emergency session on Thursday.

The plan was opposed by Turkey's main opposition party, the Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP), which said sending troops could aggravate the situation and embroil Ankara in another conflict.

The CHP said Monday that it didn't want to see a situation similar to the crisis in Syria "unfold in yet another country."

The motion does not clarify how big the deployment would be or when troops would be sent, allowing for the government to decide on the details.

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said Wednesday that the deployment would likely start with military advisers, drones and special operations and that the "hope" would be that the military itself would not need to be involved.

Oktay said Turkey would not need to send troops if the rival government led by Gen Khalifa Haftar halted its offensive and had a "different attitude."

RT 30 Dec, 2019 16:27 GMT
Turkey’s main opposition party objects to sending troops to Libya

Turkey’s main opposition Republican Peoples’ Party (CHP) said on Monday it does not support the government’s plans to deploy troops to Libya, saying the move would embroil Ankara in another conflict.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the UN-supported government in Libya asked Ankara to send troops to help authorities in Tripoli defend the city from an offensive by eastern forces.

The Turkish government is expected to submit a motion to parliament on Monday allowing the deployment of Turkish forces to the conflict-torn country. A vote could take place as early as Thursday, AP said.

The CHP made it clear that its lawmakers would vote against the motion. “We don’t want this terrible picture that unfolded in Syria to unfold in yet another country,” Unal Cevikoz, the CHP’s deputy chairman, told reporters after a meeting with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

FARSNEWS
Turkish Forces Ready for Deployment in Libya
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Turkish Armed Forces are fully prepared for their possible deployment in Libya as required, the country's National Defense Ministry announced on Friday.

The Turkish military is ready to serve on order within and outside Turkey, Defense Ministry Spokeswoman Nadide Sebnem Aktop told reporters in the capital Ankara, Anadolu news agency reported.

On Thursday, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would lend support to the UN-recognized Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA), which is fighting Eastern military commander Khalifa Haftar who is based in the East of the country.

In late November, Ankara and the Tripoli-based GNA signed two separate agreements, one on military cooperation and another on maritime boundaries of the countries in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Following the military cooperation deal, Erdogan stated that Turkey might consider sending troops to Libya if the GNA made such a request.

Since the ouster of late leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, two seats of power have emerged in Libya: one in Eastern Libya supported mainly by Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, and the GNA in the capital Tripoli, which enjoys UN and international recognition.

Erdogan's communications director has also stated that Tripoli has asked for Ankara's military aid, stressing his country's commitment to agreements signed with the GNA.

In a series of tweets on Friday, Fahrettin Altun reiterated Turkey's support for Libya's "internationally recognized legitimate government" and urged "outside powers" to stop supporting "illegitimate groups" in the North African country.

※ mko@trappedsoldier氏の2019/12/27のツイート
トルコが支援するシリアのテロリストがリビアに配備される! 情報はGNAより。国連が承認し支援するトリポリ政権。国連とアルカイダのタッグ?

※ Ragıp Soylu@ragipsoylu氏の2019/12/27のツイート
BREAKING − Turkish-backed Syrian rebels will be deployed to Libya, according to a senior official from UN-backed Libyan govt - Bloomberg

毎日新聞2019年12月27日 09時58分(最終更新 12月27日 09時58分)
トルコ、リビアに部隊派遣へ 大統領表明 暫定政権側支援、戦闘拡大の恐れ 
 トルコのエルドアン大統領は26日、国家分裂状態のリビアのシラージュ暫定政権側を支援するため、現地にトルコ軍部隊を派遣する方針を表明した。来年1月8日か9日に国会の承認を受けた上で派兵する。暫定政権側と戦闘状態にある有力軍事組織「リビア国民軍(LNA)」との戦闘が拡大する恐れがある。

SPUTNIK2019/12/24
Turkish Parliament May Consider Use of Armed Forces in Libya - Erdogan's Representative
ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkish Parliament can consider and possibly agree to use the country's armed forces in Libya, following an agreement on military cooperation, Ibrahim Kalın, the press secretary of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said.

"The events in the world may demand such an approval [for the use of the military]. This is the prerogative of the parliament. But this decision might be taken depending on the circumstances, this might be training the troops or carrying out humanitarian missions. We will consider and take appropriate steps", Kalin told reporters.

Last week, the Turkish parliament ratified a memorandum on military cooperation signed with Libya in November. Earlier that week, the agreement was ratified by Tripoli-based Government of the National Accord (GNA). Under the agreement, Libya could, in theory, receive military aid from Ankara. Erdogan has mentioned the possibility of sending the Turkish military to Libya if Tripoli asks for it.

GNA head Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj accepted Turkey's offer. According to media reports, Turkey has already sent its armed forces, military advisers and equipment to Tripoli.

The situation in Libya escalated over the past weeks as LNA commander Khalifa Haftar announced an offensive on GNA-held Libyan capital of Tripoli. The city has already been a battleground of a similar attack in April, leaving hundreds of people killed and thousands more injured.

Libya has been living through a severe political crisis since a coup in 2011 that toppled former leader Muammar Gaddafi. The two rival administrations have practically turned the oil-rich country into a duopoly, with the LNA controlling the east and the GNA controlling the west, while the south has been recently attracting runaway terrorists from Syria and Iraq.

TASS2019/12/23
Erdogan promises to increase military support to Libya’s Government of National Accord
Turkish President also stressed that Ankara will stay committed to the memorandums with the Government of National Accord on military cooperation and delimitation of maritime borders
ANKARA, December 22. /TASS/. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday Ankara is ready to offer more military support to Libya’s Government of National Accord if need be.

"If it is necessary, we will increase the military aspect of our support to Libya," he said at a ceremony of setting afloat Turkey’s first Type 214 class submarine TCG Piri Reis at the Golcuk military wharf in northwestern Turkey.

Erdogan also stressed that Ankara will stay committed to the memorandums with the Government of National Accord on military cooperation and delimitation of maritime borders. "Turkey will not refuse from actions in Syria and will not roll back the memorandums with Libya. Memorandums of understanding with Libya comply with Turkey’s legislation and norms of international law. They are based on the maps drawn about ten years ago," he added.

Turkey and the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord signed a memorandum of understanding on November 28 in Istanbul. The document provides for military cooperation, including training of military personnel subordinate to the Tripoli government and strengthening of ties between the parties’ military. It also stipulates delimitation of maritime zones between the countries and provides for a possibility for Turkey’s exploratory activities in Libya’s exclusive economic zone. Libya’s parliament branded these agreements as illegitimate and called on the United Nations to revoke Sarraj’s international mandate. It also turned to the Arab League asking to use collective defense provisions to respond to the threat of aggression.

Currently, Libya has two supreme executive authorities, namely the internationally-recognized Tripoli-based Government of National Accord headed by Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, and the interim government of Abdullah al-Thani, seated in the east of the country, along with the elected parliament, which is supported by the Libyan National Army.

In early April, Field Marshal of the Libyan National Army Khalifa Haftar announced the launch of an offensive against Tripoli. Sarraj ordered all military units loyal to him to gear up to defend the capital. The armed confrontation has results in hundreds of human deaths and destruction of vital infrastructure facilities. Thousands had to flee their homes. On December 12, Haftar announced the launch of a win-the-war offensive against Tripoli.

FARSNEWS2019/12/22
Libyan National Army Says Ship with Turkish Crew on Board Detained Off Libyan Coast
TEHRAN (FNA)- The Libyan National Army (LNA) forces seized a ship with a Turkish crew off the Libyan coast, the LNA’s press service said on Sunday.

"A vessel under the flag of Grenada, with a team of Turkish citizens on board, was detained," the press service announced, according to Sputnik.

The news comes amid growing cooperation between Turkey and the UN-backed Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA). On Saturday, Turkey's parliament has ratified a memorandum on military cooperation signed with GNA in late November.

Earlier in December, LNA troops, led by Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, began what he described as the last battle for the Libyan capital. Tripoli has already witnessed a similar offensive in April resulting in heavy casualties.

After the ouster and assassination of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, the country was plunged into a brutal civil war. Today, Libya is divided between two centers of power − an elected parliament in the country's East, supported by the LNA, and the GNA in the West.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 09:21| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

All bets are off: Trump brings conflict with Iran to unprecedented level, just a step short of all-out war

RT2020/1/3
All bets are off: Trump brings conflict with Iran to unprecedented level, just a step short of all-out war
The assassination of a popular Iranian general in Baghdad is a game-changer in the conflict between Washington and Tehran, which had remained restricted to cloak-and-dagger shenanigans and proxy hostilities, analysts have told RT.

The Trump administration escalated its standoff with Iran to a whole new level on Friday by ordering a targeted assassination of Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s Quds Force. The Iranian general was blown up along with 11 other people, including a senior commander of an Iraqi militia backed by Tehran, when their motorcade was hit by US guided missiles just outside Baghdad International Airport.

The attack marks a dramatic and extremely dangerous change in US policies vis-à-vis Iran, Middle East-based journalist and writer Ali Rizk told RT.

Trump previously had resorted to what was termed as a ‘maximum pressure campaign’ .. based on economic sanctions trying to choke Iran economically. That policy appears to have failed… Now Trump has resorted to a new policy of targeted assassinations.

Washington claims it was justified in killing Soleimani because the Iranian general was planning attacks on American citizens. As the commander of the commando branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), he was directly involved in coordinating the activities of various militia groups in Iraq and Syria. The militias played an essential part in fighting against the terrorist group Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) in both countries, boosting Iranian regional influence and Soleimani’s personal popularity.

The American government, which formally designated the IRGC a terrorist organization amid last year’s growing hostility towards Iran, appears to see no difference between Soleimani and IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was killed in a US raid last October. But, with Soleimani being a senior figure and "part of a state apparatus," this was a dangerous delusion, Rizk believes, adding that the precedent in turn will put crosshairs on every US official.

Iran cannot let the attack simply slide and has already declared it an act of international terrorism. When Washington put the IRGC on its terrorist list, Tehran did the same for the US Central Command (CENTCOM), which seemed like a symbolic gesture at the time. But Iran could now feel justified in targeting any American service member in the Middle East, regardless of his or her rank.

“If [Iran] doesn’t retaliate, it will lose face, it will appear as a very weak player in the Middle East, which allows its senior officials to be assassinated,” said political analyst and filmmaker Andre Vltchek. “If it does retaliate, the US will reserve the right to even annihilate the country, as we saw in the past.”

Trump’s entire policy towards Iran was to put the screws on it without starting an actual shooting war, with the presumable goal of signing a deal better than the Obama-era nuclear multilateral agreement that he had scrapped in 2018. So far both countries have steered away from any direct military engagement, save for a few lost drones.

There were several incidents, such as attacks on oil tankers and Saudi Arabian refinery, which Washington blamed on the IRGC. Iranian militias in Syria also absorbed dozens of attacks, mainly by US ally Israel, which sees the presence of the Tehran-backed fighters there as a threat to its national security.

The killing of Soleimani is unlikely to get much support internationally, with the obvious exceptions of Israel and Saudi Arabia, Rizk said. Depending on how far Tehran goes to avenge its general, it may even leave Trump with little choice but to declare a full-scale war against Iran, an outcome that he tried to avoid but which some in his government, as well as others in Tel Aviv and Riyadh, have been dreaming about.

More importantly, it sets a dangerous precedent that other nations will be looking at, not least those that the US designates as rivals.“It was like a killing of the joint chief of staff of a country,” Rizk said. “America later on could say: we have the right to target Russian or Chinese military officials. It’s very important for a major power not to let this issue pass.”
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 09:16| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

6 killed in airstrike north of Baghdad targeting convoy carrying Shia militia leaders – report

RT2020/1/3
6 killed in airstrike north of Baghdad targeting convoy carrying Shia militia leaders – report
A convoy carrying high-profile members of the Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias, was hit by an airstrike while traveling in Baghdad, according to multiple reports.

The three-car convoy was struck in the northern outskirts of the Iraqi capital in the district of al-Taji, according to an Iraqi military source cited by Reuters. Six militiamen were reported killed in the attack, with three others critically injured. It remains unclear who carried out the strike.

An unconfirmed photo of the aftermath of the attack emerged on social media, showing three burning vehicles, two of them overturned.
posted by ZUKUNASHI at 08:33| Comment(0) | 国際・政治

2020年は容易ならざる年

RT2020/1/1
Woke on steroids, Brexit breakthrough & Iran on brink of war: 2020 predictions from RT contributors
2019 was a volatile year of fever-pitch politics, flamboyant rhetoric, culture wars and narrowly missed actual wars. By the looks of it, 2020 is set to crank it all up even further. Here are RT’s top predictions for the new year.

〇 Culture: More woke, more broke
Zachary Leeman, author of the novel ‘Nigh’ and journalist who covers art and culture:

Woke female Bond (‘No Time to Die’), unnecessary sequels (‘Bad Boys for Life,’ ‘The New Mutants’), reboots (‘Fantasy Island,’ ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’), remakes (‘Mulan,’ ‘Dolittle’), and an election for Donald Trump’s spot in the White House that is sure to further trigger already-triggered celebrities is what 2020 has to offer us, so the new year will kind of be like 2019, but on steroids.

With Hollywood continuing its politically correct effort to keep theaters empty while staying afloat with retooled works boasting brand names, woke mobs on social media will feel as empowered as ever to give some extra juice to cancel culture by targeting anyone who dares to speak an opinion not totally in line with the most progressive talking points out there. Plus, the presidential election will be pushing celebrity political rhetoric to a new level of annoying. Buckle in.

〇 Economy: The time of gold, bitcoin and neo-feudalism
Max Keiser, veteran business commentator, host of RT’s Keiser Report:

2020 is the year the USD loses its role as the global reserve currency. We will see a multipolar world of several dominant currencies with gold playing a central role and hitting new all-time highs against the dollar. Bitcoin will also hit new all-time highs as the so-called alt-coin market (BCH, XRP, ETH, BSV, etc.) falls from 32 percent dominance to less than five percent.

QE4 will be unleashed by the US Fed in 2020 and the world’s central banks will continue to gobble up toxic assets and overpriced equities by the trillion. Global central banks will soon hold more than 100 percent of the world’s GDP on their books in the form of illiquid, mis-priced ‘assets’ that can never be sold.

In 2020, easy money and the absence of the rule of law in financial markets will result in a 99 percent concentration of the world’s wealth being controlled by just a few thousand individuals as the global economy transitions to neo-feudalism.

〇 Arms race: A new generation of weapons unleashed
Scott Ritter, former US Marine Corps intelligence officer writing on international security and arms control and non-proliferation:

Russia and the US find themselves on the cusp of a new arms race that is as unnecessary as it is dangerous. The legacy of Cold War arms control agreements born of the previous arms race between the US and Soviet Union has been deconstructed by successive US presidential administrations, leaving only the Obama-era New START agreement in place. But this treaty, which places restrictions on the size and composition of Russian and US strategic nuclear forces, is scheduled to expire in early 2021.

President Trump has criticized the treaty as advantageous to Russia and has indicated he would rather negotiate a new treaty which also covers China’s strategic nuclear force. There isn’t time to negotiate a new treaty before the existing New START agreement expires, setting both the US and Russia on course to develop and deploy a new generation of strategic nuclear weapons without any controls or limitations.

〇 China: Hong Kong riots settled through incentives, not force
Benjamin Chiao, co-author with Nobel Laureate French economist Jean Tirole:

The Hong Kong riots will continue in 2020. The US will continue to give enough incentives to nurture the opposition forces so that Hong Kong can be used as a bargaining chip in US-China relations.

The intermediate goals for the rioters are to undermine the credibility of the pro-establishment camp and the government so that the pan-democratic party will win majority seats of the upcoming legislative council election and the chief executive election.

Even if Beijing fails to see the most desirable candidate elected, it will not march in the People’s Liberation Army, especially because not all protesters are rioters. In fact, Beijing could simply not appoint the elected candidate as a last resort. Beijing will also need to win back the hearts of all protesters by giving favorable policies in the Greater Bay Area. Hong Kong youngsters will find it too attractive to turn down such offers. The youngsters will have no choice as Hong Kong will continue into the second year of recession, the worst in recent decades. They will then find the people across the Shenzhen River are also blood and flesh, different from what the Western media depicts.

〇 Middle East: Iran on the brink of war
Darius Shahtahmasebi, legal and political analyst focused on US foreign policy in the Middle East, Asia and Pacific region:

Iran will be one of the most ominous theaters in the Middle East to keep an eye on in 2020. Just on December 29, the US struck five facilities in Iraq and Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia. While delivering the strikes, the US gave a stark warning that the superpower will take “additional action” necessary for self-defense and “deter further behavior from militia groups or from Iran.” Right until the end of 2019, the US continued to ramp up its maximum pressure campaign against Tehran through the use of its targeted sanctions regime and continues to deliver very elaborate threats against Iran. Furthermore, the possibility of a war between Israel and Iran becomes ever more real.

With Iran-hawks such as John Bolton out of the picture, it is unclear whether or not the US will launch a strike against Iran in 2020. As President Trump seeks to be re-elected in the new year, a hot war with Iran may be the last thing on his mind. However, the tit-for-tats and multiple accusations levied against Iran, namely that it has been targeting US forces and major allies in the region, will also raise the specter that 2020 is likely to result in a noteworthy conflict at some stage involving Iran. Be sure to keep an eye on developments in Iran as the new year ticks away.

〇 US: Failed impeachment & re-election give Trump free hand
Robert Bridge, American writer and journalist, author of the book ‘Midnight in the American Empire’:

Despite a soaring economy and low unemployment, 2020 will be a very challenging year for the American people. The never-ending effort on the part of the Democrats to impeach Donald Trump will continue into the spring, aggravating partisan tensions to boiling point. Meanwhile, yet another domestic scandal will erupt as the Republicans level charges against a number of former Obama officials connected to Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 missing email messages as well as spying on the Trump campaign.

Regarding the much-anticipated 2020 presidential elections, Hillary Clinton will be tempted to join the race as the field of Democratic contenders stands no chance of defeating the incumbent.

Nebojsa Malic, Serbian-American journalist, blogger and translator, senior writer at RT:

Facing a fractured Democrat field and the DNC preference for an establishment candidate, chances are that Trump will get re-elected thanks to the robust economy.

With his opposition thoroughly discredited, Trump would then have a free hand to write his own legacy, both at home and abroad. He might withdraw from Afghanistan, ending the longest US war ever, or make peace with North Korea. He could also start a war against Iran, egged on by Israel and Saudi Arabia – and facing no opposition from Democrats or the media. Expect hostility towards Russia and China to continue, too.

One major promise Trump has yet to deliver on is to “drain the swamp” in Washington, punishing those who targeted him in ‘Russiagate’ conspiracy. He may do that, or he may keep just tweeting about it. We’ll see what happens.

〇 Russia: Turning to Asia, wary of the West
Bryan MacDonald, Irish journalist based in Russia:

Russia’s pivot to Asia will continue. In 2018, the value of Russia-China trade passed $100 million. And that’s only going to grow. The new “Power of Siberia” pipeline, and a massive €11 billion ($12.4 billion) gas processing plant project in the Far East, will further drive it.

Relations with the EU depend on a) whether Angela Merkel lasts the year (and who replaces her if she doesn’t); and b) how determined Emmanuel Macron will be in pursuing his plans to bring Russia “back to Europe (sic).”

The almost complete silence of the EU when the US pulled out of the INF Treaty was bizarre, given that Western and Central Europe has so much to lose from any renewed arms race, as was the incredibly feeble German response to US sanctions on Nord Stream 2. Moscow sees the EU as a US vassal, unable to make its own foreign policy. And Berlin’s reaction will only confirm that belief.

Everyone will hope for peace in eastern Ukraine. Russia would like to improve relations with the EU, and put an end to (at least some) sanctions. But whether Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is strong enough, and able to resist US pressure, in order to deliver Kiev’s side of any bargain is a real unknown.

The Kremlin will probably try to keep the US at arm’s length, fully aware that the “Russia scare” will be used to discredit presidential candidates who threaten the interests of wealthy liberals who control the mainstream media there.

At home, barring some unexpected global shock, Russian economic growth should pick up. Watch the ruble this year. An under-reported story has been its rise in 2019 (especially against the euro). It may well make further gains.

〇 India: War of Indianness 2.0 & a possible surprise with China
Abhijit Majumder, senior Indian journalist who has been the editor of national dailies like Mid Day, Hindustan Times (Delhi and NCR editions) and Mail Today:

As nationalists push harder for their 2020 vision of India, the pushback from the old, ‘liberal’ Nehruvian establishment will be fiercer this year.

After passing the Citizenship Amendment Act to shelter persecuted minorities from Muslim-majority Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, the Narendra Modi government is now aiming for a more stringent and updated National Population Register and thereafter a nationwide National Register of Citizens. All this to weed out illegal immigrants mainly from Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Other widely anticipated political earthquakes next year are a two-child policy, and a Uniform Civil Code (which the Indian Constitution advises), dissolving any religion-based personal law.

Frosty India-China relations may spring a warm surprise in 2020, with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Modi designating it the ‘Year of India-China Cultural and People to People Exchanges.’

〇 EU: Learning to live without Britain
Neil Clark, journalist, writer, broadcaster and award-winning blogger:

One of the most cogent arguments for supporting Brexit, from a genuinely internationalist viewpoint, was that without Britain, the EU would go in a better direction, certainly in regards to its foreign policy. The UK, where neocon influence in the establishment remains very strong, even after Iraq and Libya, urged the EU to lift its arms embargo on Syrian ‘rebels’ and has also been the most hawkish of the major EU powers on sanctioning Russia. The downside of Brexit, from a Brussels perspective, is that the third largest net contributor to the EU budget is leaving, so that hole in the finances will have to be covered after the transition period ends. The EU faces a challenging year, but predictions of a total collapse are likely to be proven wrong again: the EU is simply too big to fail. Paradoxically, Brexit could help it in the medium- or long-term, especially if it leads to the economically suicidal sanctions on Russia (calculated to have cost the EU €30 billion ($33.7 billion) in October 2017) being substantially eased or lifted.

〇 UK: Buy British, build British, think British
George Galloway, former UK MP, TV and radio presenter, film-maker, writer and renowned orator:

I predict a big jump in the sale of union flags in Britain as post-Brexit our people begin to think British, buy British, build British! For years now, we have been regaled by EU fanatics with Project Fear. We’d run out of everything apparently from medicines (including those we invented) through cheese (cheddar anyone?) to people who pick our apples. Well, now we will have to pick our own fruit and grow more of our own food in this green and fertile land. I predict a surge in patriotic feelings and there is reason to be pleased about that. A self-sufficient country (like Russia) is something to be. The EU flag in any case never really caught on in Britain – except among Labour leadership contenders like Emily Thornberry who wore one to the Labour Party conference.
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