July seems to be so generous this year because in one week Greece saved its behind, Iran struck a deal with the “Greater Devil”, New horizons sent us live pictures of Pluto and Bastian Schweinsteiger became a red devil (this last piece of info can be a source of conflict though!).

If anything, the Greek and Iranian deals are purely business driven. Make no mistake, no party involved in any of both deals struck a “yes” purely because of goodwill or good citizenship. A Greek exit from the EU would have signaled the beginning of the union’s end and would have opened the door for other less convinced members to leave the group (Britain comes right on top of my head) and the domino would have rolled and although France and Germany seem somewhat eager to trim off the extra fat, deep down they knew that they had to keep Greece tucked in.  Perhaps the biggest catalyst for the Greek deal came from Russia; it was more than enough for President Putin to hint in one of his press conferences that a Greek exit meant more currency freedom for the country and meant that they were acquitted from all agricultural quota agreements with the EU to make all members eager to solve the situation. Last year’s EU’s sanctions against Russia have hurt both the EU’s and Russia’s economies and Putin might have seen in an independent Greece a possible ally especially that Russia lost important agricultural suppliers in Europe.

On the surface, one might think that Putin was dealt a hand, but the truth is that comrade Putin was a winner because he was smart enough not to slide in the Greek mud while successfully pushing the troubled EU further deep inside.

On the other hand, Putin’s real trophy was the Iranian nuclear deal; and I’m not talking in the political terms but rather in the economic terms. You see, Iran has tons of cash stacked in banks all over the world and years of sanctions have created a very thirsty economy that is ripe to use these funds in attracting investors and in investing heavily in the country. On the other hand, all the global economy is suffering and they are all in dire need for new markets and new money sources. These were the exact reasons that forced USA to restore diplomatic relationships and of course business with CUBA and they were also the reason here. Even France, the biggest ever opponent of the deal was the first country to announce that French companies might still get a chance to invest in Iran despite France’s official stand on the deal and French foreign minister Laurent Fabius has already announced that he will be visiting Iran next week (wait a minute dude, did you consult with your Israeli friends before taking such a hasty decision?). It’s very strange how the slight notion of money and profit can make one turn against their closest allies – just like the current situation of France and Israel.

But before everyone starts drooling over the Iranian pie, take a minute to remember that this is Iran – the country which until recently has been considered the heart of axis of evil and was named all sorts of names and remember that they are not known to be forgetful, so if anything then the biggest chunk will go to their staunch ally – yes you guessed it, it’s comrade Putin again. Russia has already announced that there will be deals that involve planes and if the sanctions are lifted then this will definitely mean both civilian and military planes. In addition, the country that has been for the longest time ever suffering from oil shortages will be able to fulfill its needs both in production and consumption with all the ramifications that will come from such a thing.

Iran might not really replace the EU in terms of trade size with Russia but Putin will definitely benefit the most especially that Iran has high agricultural production which Russia can definitely benefit of. On the other hand, Poor Obama has worn himself out to get that deal done and it so far seems that the Americans will not benefit financially whatsoever despite Obama’s relentless offers to market the deal in USA as a means to prevent war and promote peace, not unless Iran decides to lure them in even more.

A few years ago, Britain released the Lockerbie bomber who was Iranian; the official reason back then was humanitarian – the man was supposedly suffering from terminal cancer. The real reason though was to allow BP to strike a deal in Iran and that was what happened exactly. In 2015, the same is going to happen and nuclear Iran will be allowed to become so in return for financial benefits that the whole world desperately needs.

A lot can be said about diplomacy, about peace, about war and negotiations; a lot has been said about these in the last few weeks but the truth is it was all purely business; the country that until recently represented radicalism and extremism has become the world’s sweet heart and Israel which also until recently was Europe’s and America’s protégée has been shoved aside because it is not economically interesting anymore. For after all, and as one of my MBA finance professors used to frequently say: “It is not unethical, it is just business.”


ISIS as an Economic Threat

In the popular US Tv show called “The Mentalist” there’s a serial killer called “Red John” who’s famous for marking his crime scenes  with a red smiley face but that’s not what we’re here to talk about; a few days ago the Christian Minorities in Mosul, Iraq woke up to find their front doors marked in red. Ironically the red marking on the houses was the letter “”ن which is the Arabic letter for N which stands for Nazareens – the naming that ISIS members give to Christians in the region. Put that letter in a circle and it will somewhat look like our fellow’s funny face. Christians were not the only ones marked for death in Mosul, the Shiites in that region and other minorities faced the same fate.

Ever since ISIS’s star started to shine amidst the Syrian revolution they have been in a rapid expansion. Of all the so called “opposition” factions (they are referred to as “so called” because we have lost count of how many of them are there now) ISIS seemed to be the most organized add to that they are the most brutal and the most feared amongst all the guerrillas there. And unlike the others, they seemed to have a vision, mission and mostly a strategy; they targeted key points in the Syrian landscape, forged for resources and mostly spread fear with their brutal and beyond the extreme methods. Their tactical strategies helped them attain keypoints in the Syrian landscape including oil refineries – a strategic resource in any war.

After a series of setbacks in Syria they shifted their strategy to Iraq; a location where they had more fertile soil due to the policies of the ruling regime and as a result of years of sectarian tensions and just like the US invasion to Baghdad in 2003, Mosul fell in their hands with no resistance at all. The bounty was massive and it ranged from piles of cash money in banks to a huge supply of very advanced US weapons that were proctored to the Iraqi Army (or should I call this army Casper since it keeps disappearing?) that astonishingly vanished into thin air when word of the invasion came in. some statistics put their current fortune at $2 billion dollars – try to let this sink in for a moment!

After securing territory in Iraq and starting to perform their regular “cleansing” techniques in order to clean out all opposition and spread fear, they shifted towards Lebanon in a short stint where they tried to take over a border town in the farthest Northern Bekaa point with the Syrian borders. Their invasion lasted only a few days where they were forced to retreat back into Syria since they were not able to face the Lebanese army. But had they managed to conquer the town “A’arsal” and spread inside Lebanon their main target would have been the water resources for that country in addition to its seaports on the Mediterranean – an important focal point to help them have access to Europe. They previously tried to do so in Syria but back then Russia proved to them and to the whole world for that matter that they are willing to go to a world war but not let Syria or most specifically the Syrian shores fall in the hands of any opposing faction. Not to mention that in the last 2 years there have been important information and findings about massive amounts of oil in Lebanon mostly off of its shores.

So what will happen here is that the combined reserves of those 3 countries will exceed those of the current second biggest oil producer globally and the largest producer regionally which Saudi Arabia, they will also have access to the Mediterranean Sea through the Lebanese and Syrian shores which will give them ease of access to Europe and to USA. Having oil and gas as key commodities might represent Europe’s opportunity to get out of Russia’s grip and they can use the water resources to trade with the water thirsty gulf nations.

Forget about religion, minorities, women, children, senior citizens and human rights for that matter and focus on dollars here because this is the key point and it is another proof that war is the key for propelling economy forward. European Countries and the USA have no shame at all when dealing with blood diamond coming from the civil war–plagued-African continent nor they have any problem doing business with many of the tyrant regimes there so why should it be any different in this case? Tomorrow they will claim that ISIS prevailed because people allowed it to and that they are loved and popular in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. They will forget all the displaced people, they murdered victims and that atrocities committed and say that since this is what the people there want, we don’t have any problem in acknowledging that state and having diplomatic and business relationships with them.  But it is Saudi Arabia who has to be scared from that and the kingdom should go all-in to face this threat. At almost 10 million barrels a day, the oil rich kingdom’s economy revolves around that commodity only; take that from them and their economy will instantly collapse since all other economical sector are not as significant. Saudi Arabia should not under any circumstance accept that all those reserves fall in the hands of 1 regime that has proven over and over again that they have no ethical boundaries in what they do. They will lose a major European market, will be forced to lower their prices and maybe lose a competitive advantage against the USA

In short, ISIS is not a threat to Christianity or any other religious groups as much as it is a threat to oil rich countries. Building an empire on such a stretch will give them the upper hand and will surely make it easier for oil thirsty nations to go to one source instead of searching in many places. ISIS has shown over and over again that they have no interest in fighting with the Israeli regime – a fact that will make USA comfortable and it will encourage them more and more to go deeper in business with ISIS as long as they keep their little ally on the Mediterranean alone.

In the recent days, ISIS brutality in Iraq reached new heights with them emptying Mosul from all its Christians not to mention the casualties and then they moved to surrounding the Azydian minorities located in the Sinjar mountain area. Slaughtering 500 innocent and defenseless civilians sent a resounding message to the whole world; yet it was only when ISIS reached the borders of Kurdistan and threatened “US interests” in IRAQ that Mr. Obama ordered airstrikes against them. Yet another proof that the world is not moved by humanity but by money and interests. The airstrikes proved successful and ISIS was not able to reach Erbil although they managed to spread fear in the whole state and caused millions of dollars in economic losses. We still have to find out yet whether those airstrikes will be continued to totally destroy ISIS or they were just meant to draw borderlines for them.

As I was finishing that blog, I got a flash news that the UN council has voted to cut off all financial support to ISIS and Al Nusra, wait, what? Come again? Is this a confession? Are they admitting that they were the ones that created that monster? If the UN was designed to protect the world from agressors, tyrants, crazy dictators and war criminals well then who is going to protect the UN from itself?

I strongly believe that human nature is mostly controlled by 2 factors: greed and fear and it seems that ISIS greed has shown how far they can go. They seem to be confident about the success of their plan and their clients are already there. Rumor has it that Secretary of the State Hilary Clinton admits in her new memoirs “Hard Choices” that the USA is behind the creation of ISIS to fulfill exactly the purposes stated above; one small advice to the creators of Taliban and Al Qaeda in the 80’s “what goes around, comes around” maybe you would like to ask your troops in Afghanistan about that.