Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Cyber Attack

Posted: June 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

In a few months we have two major cyber attacks.

Those cyberattacks are provoked by normal criminals, not even terrorists or state adversaries and still cripple the net.

And this tools are simply some basic tools stolen by some hackers from the NSA.

It makes you wonder what would happen in a real cyber war.

Courtesy to Snowden we know that the US has planted a killswitch in the water and energy supplies of friendly countries like Germany, Japan and Austria (in case they decide to be not that friendly). If you do that to friends…imagine what you plant on Russian and Chinese systems. And what they do plant on our systems could be even more worrisome as now, with the internet of things, also your car, television, fridge can be exposed.

It is literally a killswitch “lights-out” scenario and probably the first things you will notice in a full war scenario.

What you can do about it? Quite a few survival things essential to give the government the time to restore services in a week.

-Keep some long conservation food (and water!) – I was in Italy when Chernobyl happened…the supermarkets ran out of food in circa 2 hours.

-Have some camping gear (gas camping stove, barbecues, lights, candles etc)

-Keep some cash (the ATM and banks will be some of the first targets)

-Keep at least 50% of fuel in the car (well, if it is internet-connected, get a bicycle)

If it last more than a week, you better leave the main cities. There are war games scenarios that show that the crippling of the water systems for a week will bring back cholera and other nasty illnesses.

You never know when if happens, but unfortunately it will be always more frequently.

 

A different Syrian war

Posted: June 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

Now that the Syrian anti-IS war is almost finished, the real war start to appear.

All the war in reality started due to two competing oil/gas pipelines. The Qatar/Saudi/Syria to Europe and the Iran/Iraq/Syria/Lebanon one.

The first one was devised to render Europe independent from the Russian gas supplies. (if you do not believe you can check that the Russian gas supplies pass via….Ukraine…and Russia is trying to diversity via…Turkey).

So now all is fitting for the real showdown USA vs Iran …logically involving all players, including Qatar and Israel.

You can see all the picture now. 

The major point is a place in Syria called Al Tanf, the midpoint Iran/Lebanon. 

As they say, above all fears. 

Canada is often used as “Australia forecast”.

Canada is very similar to Australia – both legally and as landscape and even…weather.

All people live towards the border (coastline for AU) with US, population is scarce and concentrated in big cities. The weather is harsh – freezing winter’s (hottest summers in Australia).

Also investment wise, Canada is focussed on Canadian shares (banks) and commodities and super expensive real estate.

In the last few years the US hedge funds made a killing shorting previously high flying Canadian blue chips.

The reasons why are different, but since May the US hedge funds seem to have turned their attention to Australia.

The importance of overseas diversification is becoming of utmost importance.

 

I like the Middle East it is really like a good book avere you cannot guess the end.

The current situation actually started with the shale gas  in the US that allowed the US to be more independent and less caring of the Middle East.

President Trump is simply accellerating something that would have happened anyway.

Trump visit to Saudi Arabia somehow emboldened the Saudis to take matter into their hands.

So they started the Qatar siege and became more active against Iran and warned Turkey to stay out of the Gulf.

The key piece of this chess play is Prince Salmon, the new young prince (Macchiavellian indeed) and future king of Saudi Arabia. 

 He is considered the mastermind behind the Yemen war and the founder of the Vision 2030 plan for Saudi Arabia.

Vision 2030 in very short words is using the cash from oil to remodernize Saudi Arabia and pushing it towards an IT mastermind role.

So he is the one who pushed for the Aramco IPO (he wants it in US to be liked by Trump, other losing factions in London as they are scared of the potential legal issues in US (terror laws)).

In light of this he pushed heavy investment in high tech and a new friendship with Israel (very advanced in IT ).

On the other side is very aggressive and impredictable and a fierce enemy of Iran.

His Vision 2030 is very interesting,  but Iran could have another vision. Or maybe is just a ploy to raise the spectre of a Saudi/Iran war and oil prices, after having flushed out the oil speculators in the current sell off. He needs good money for the Aramco IPO.

As I say a great book with real consequences. 

China enters the MSCI

Posted: June 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

Finally Chinese shares have been admitted to the MSCI Indexes.

A good outcome, but more symbolic than anything else, at the moment.

At 0.73%% of the index initially it will bring in USD10bn in a USD6.8Trillion market (drop in the ocean) in 2018. Over the next 5 years USD210BN.

The inclusion will be done in two parts may and August 2018.

But the road is clear as, at the end, the inclusion will be 5% (and Chinese related shares will be 40% of the MSCI EM).

Chinese related stock are now 18.1% and will become 28.55% by August 2018.

Geopolitical stress points

Posted: June 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

There are now three main geopolitical stress points.

North Korea: the death of Otto Warmbier complicates the issue. President Trump acknowledged that China tried, but could not convince North Korea. As the main secret service point to the development of ballistic missiles capable to reach the US is approximately 18 month away, the latest date for a real decision on a military attack is 12 months.

Syria: the US shot down another drone (this time Iranian made). This is putting pressure on President Putin (already down in the polls).

This is a big issue.

Not reacting makes him look weak (and you cannot look weak in Russia).

His allies (Syria and Iran) could start questioning his real support – does the famous red line really exist – or not?

Even more, do the famous anti aircraft Russian missile (S300 and S400) really work against the last generation of US fighter jet – or they are a kind paper-tiger?

If it responds, are we getting close to a US/Russia confrontation?

Saudi/Iran: Iran has accused Saudi Arabia to be behind the IS attack on the Iranian parliament and Saudi apparently have captured a Iranian vessel with spies ready to blow up some Saudi’s gas infrastructure.

 

The US and the Middle East

Posted: June 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

The 14th June has been an important date. President Trump delegated the Middle Eastern wars to General Mattis.

In Obama times all the war decisions were taken by bureaucrats, now they are taken by warriors.

This means less wars, but more brutal (a more civilian deaths as you cannot fight an enemy that hides within civilians without killing civilians).

General Mattis knows the power and the limits of the US and that cannot take against all at one.

He has a hit list, that follows as

  1. Afghanistan (so not to lose 15 years of gains)
  2. Iraq (get rid of IS and limit the Iranian influence)
  3. Syria (contain Iran/Syria…but avoid escalation)
  4. Yemen (support the Saudi, eliminate Al Qaeda) and end the war under UN rules)
  5. Somalia (eliminate Al Qaeda)
  6. Target Iran

A lot to do. This tell you that, notwithstanding the new Syrian issues, the US is not escalating the Syrian battleground.

It is a good plan, but I don’t think that Iran will wait to be number 6.