Tag Archives: Lebanon

Bits and Pieces – 20171112, Sunday

Commentary: A common theme that my wife and I discuss is the general we encounter incompetence on a daily basis. As an example, when we moved, our bank provided new cheques as requested but they coded them for a dormant and empty savings account. It came to my attention when the first cheque bounced. It cost me several hours and some momentary anxiety to fix the bank’s error, apologize to people that I had sent cheques to, pursue reimbursement of NSF fees both for myself and my vendors, etc. I left a bank official wondering how they issued cheques on an account that had no chequing privileges.

Bits and Pieces – 20171108, Wednesday

Commentary: I see little chance that the power struggle in the Saudi royal family will spill over into something larger. The parallel might be Turkey where Erdogan consolidated power to become a virtual dictator. Here is an article that has a different point of view although it is unsupported: Making Sense Of Saudi’s ‘Game Of Thobes’. And here are a couple of articles on the struggle, Saudi Arabia Is About To Confiscate $33 Billion From Four Of Its Richest People. Perhaps the last word is: Real Motive Behind Saudi Purge Emerges: $800 Billion In Confiscated Assets.

The Spread of Instability from Syria to Lebanon

Here is another of Stratfor’s capsule comment videos (5:39 minutes), this time on the Levant.

Flash Point: An Irony of Significance

One  of the things that motivated the creation of Flash Points was the apparently synchronicity between two or more sources on a single topic, often something new to us, in a very short period of time -usually within hours of each other. We have a new one of a geopolitical nature.

As background, Lebanon has been a non-functional state because external powers have either intentionally or unintentionally promoted sectarian violence that has kept it unstable. One of the dominant influences has been Syria via both its own military and proxy militias such as Hezbollah. It was startling today, then, to read this comment from Art Cashin in a KingWorld News interview:

This (Syria) could turn into a very ugly Lebanon, very quickly, and thereby destabilize the entire Middle-East.  And I don’t think protection against that is priced anywhere in these markets, with the possible exception of the premium price for oil.”

Within half an hour, we heard Robert Kaplan express a similar sentiment in: Stratfor: Debate Between George Friedman and Robert D. Kaplan on Forecasting.

If such were to transpire, we assume that Iran would be the exterior power that would seek to control Syria, but Turkey, Israel and the Saudis will compete for influence and control in a post-Assad political structure. At the same time, the US, Russia and China as the larger geopolitical powers will try and assert their interest. France will probably want to muck around in there too.


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