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Outsider Views - Never Losing Hope

: On the Last Few Days....
It has been quite a week around our World. Iraq saw an audacious attack by the Al Qaeda Affiliated Islamic State of America to the City of Samara that was quickly crushed by the Iraqi Army. If left unanswered, it would have further tore Iraq Apart.

Beyond Iraq, there is Afghanistan. Abdullah Abdullah, the front runner to take over Karzai, survived an assassination attempt:

This happened in the heart of Kabul that continues to underscore the reach of the Taliban as the US draws down its' presence. But there was also at least one reasonably decent news on Ukraine:

On the eve of the D-Day remembrance, Francois Hollande of France played host to a number of World Leaders. He actually had two dinners with Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama. Reports reviewed by the team also reflects that apparenlty Putin and Obama have also talked. But what was ever so hopeful was that the new President-Elect of Ukraine and Putin talked and agreed to talk some more.

This also crossed the wires:

The courageous kids did just great. There are also major developments beyond this, though. Egypt has invited Iranian President Rouhani to attend Sisi's Inauguration. Is this a sign of somewhat reasonable relations to come?

Never a dull moment..that's for sure....


: Staying ever hopeful
As we bid farewell to May 2014, this was gratifying to observe:

The people of Egypt had the courage to express their sense of dissatisfaction after 2 years of represssion as Sisi engineered his way to the top. He has promised the World, though--and one wonders if he's able to deliver.

It was also of interest to assess President Obama's new vision on Foreign Policy that he delivered at West Point. He tried to inject a sense of realism into the new realities while seeking to underscore that the United States will continue to play a preeminent role in World Affairs. This is as he also announced a total drawdown by 2016 and how he underscored the fact that it will be up to the Afghans. It will be curious to see how the new President of Afghanistan will deal with the issues. Karzai, in the meantime, is having a great time making the rounds as he attended Indian Prime Minister Modi's inauguration.

Another pivotal player has been Iran--a particular focus here in "Outsiders". Iran is continuing on-going discussions with the P5 1 folks at the technical level and The Foreign Minister continues to be ever so optimistic. It is nice to be optimistic--however the proof will be in the agreement. This is as some facebook users were sentenced to a combined 128 years in Prison. As such, the struggle to transform Iran seems to be as slow as ever.

Europe, also, has undergone a profound political Earthquake as the Eurospectics swept the elections. The National Front in France won 24 seats in the European Parliament. The UK Independence Party scored similar victories throughout the UK. It was quite a scene to see an estimated 4,000 French Students as they urged France to "wake up". Hopefully the people of Europe will wake up in realizing that they are better off together than apart as their broken economies are finally beginning to mend after a very tough and challenging five years as exemplified by a recent report on Spain by the IMF.

Beyond the Continent, there is the continued insurrection in Ukraine. It was extremely shocking to read accounts of a Ukrainian Helicopter being shot down by Rebels that saw 14 soldiers--including a well-regarded General--killed. The new President-Elect of the country has vowed to crush the "bandits" of the East. The road ahead will be long and hard.

It is not easy to be inspired and encouraged as one assesses the World as May 2014 enters the dustbin of history. But, there is little choice but to stay hopeful and inspired:


: Briefly :-)
Q1 2014 is coming to an end. The first day of spring has begun and with it the possiblities at hand.

We here at "outsider views' decided to break the silence temporarily to briefly reflect upon a very challenging World which has been before us especially over the past few weeks. Whether it was the disappearance of Flight MH370, the Russian takeover of Crimea and the on-going challenges around the World, such events has given leaders around the World sleepless nights. As we continued the planning process, we have continued to assess the situation in Afghanistan. It was with a sense of shock and horror as the attack of the Serena Hotel in Kabul occurred which resulted in the killing a Young Afghan Family. A 40-year reporter for Agence France Press,, his wife and two of his children were shot at point blank range. It is absolutely horrific beyond words which underscores the plight of Afghanistan as it finally says goodbye to the Karzai years

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: Oh well

As we assess the World this week here for Outsiders, I nearly fell out of my chair in laughter. Field Marshall Al-Sisi, the Egyptian Military Ruler, has declared his intentions to run for President. I nearly fell out of my chair in laughter at how the World somehow was amazed. The Egyptian Elite has played its' hand brilliantly as Journalists are muzzled, the ordinary man and woman on the Street is suffering while the top 1% gets ever so powerful. The case of the Al Jazeera Staff being detained is just one example. We have worked to add our humble voice for the Al Jazeera Staff to be released while on twitter using the hashtag (#FreeAJStaff

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2013: Quite a Year

December 22nd 2013 04:52
: A Retrospective On Our World...and Gearing Up 4 2014
Celebrating the Holidays
Never Losing Hope

It has been quite a year of war, famine,continued economic and environmental calamity as every region of the World has had its' share of challenges

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: Will we have the courage to face up?
9/11 is Patriots Day in the United States. It is a day to remember those souls who lost their lives during that horrific day. I remember that day as if it was yesterday. America has continued to pay a very very heavy price for all the wars it has fought since 2001:

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: Never a Dull Moment
The past 10 days has been, yet again, quite challenging around our World.

I begin this retrospective with some good news. John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, has been able to bring the Palestinians and Israelis back to the negotiating table. We have been here before, though. I am not sure what will be different this time. However, the fact that they are talking is something in fact that should be celebrated. Hopefully it is not talking about talking. What is clear is that both sides are severly hampered by their own internal political challenges as exemplified by Hamas in Gaza and the settler community in Israel

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: A Lot of Minefields to Navigate thru....
I begin this edition of "World Watch" with the Middle East. The Great War for the soul of the Middle East continues onward.

The tragedy that is the Islamic Republic in Iran continues with no apparent end in sight. One of the children of the Revolution, Hashemi Rafsanjani, has been devoured by the Revolution. At the age of 78, he decided to file an application to run for President again. His application was rejected by the Guardian Council on the grounds of being "too old" and being implicated in the so-called "putsh of 1388"--basically having been supportive of the Green Movement. I had written extensively being hopeful that somehow his continued clout back in 2009 would somehow change things in Iran. But, his children were imprisoned, he was gradually stripped of his existing authorities and his control of the Islamic Azad University of Iran was stripped away from him. He said he won't challenge the determination of the Guardian Council and has called for unity. What is tragic is that the current bunch of characters that has been approved are a joke. What is further tragic is that out of a country of 70 Million, only 7 people have been approved--the seven who have all been functionaries in the regime whose only loyalty is basically to Khameini, the leader of the Revoulution (known in the West as the Supreme Leader). What is fascinating to watch, though, is to see which of the so-called candidates will prevail. Whatever happens, Khameini will continue to have the final say on all matters of State and the defacto dictatorship and control by the Revolutionary Guards will continue with no end in sight. In the meantime, security measures have been stepped up as Iran seems to be on the path to cut itself from the Worldwide Web--just like the North Koreans. There were also reports of a cyber attack by the Iranians against US Energy assets. The Iranians have denied it--but it gave fuel to the folks over at the Fox News Network in the United States to have a field day about all kinds of conspiracy theories. It must be noted that the US spearheaded a Cyber attack on the Iranian Nuclear Program that ultimately has led to Iran ultimately deciding to take itself out of the Worldwide web

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: Accepting Change...and Being Upbeat...The Key....
The World over the past 10 days has continued to be on the edge ever more. Syria continues to burn, Mexicans continue to die in a pointless Drug War, Bangladeshi Workers perished as they tried to make a living, Europe's economic malaise became worst while wild fires in Southern California threatened 4,000 homes as it consumed 43 square kilometers .

I begin with Syria. Syria has been hit by Israeli Bombs. I just saw the latest from Chinese Central Television where reporting reflects 4 Israeli hits over the past 48 hours. What is clear is that Israel has made a clear decision to intervene. The decision to intervene has to do with the fact that Hezbollah, the Lebanese Party with a very strong military wing, has decided to intervene in Lebanon on the side of Bashar Al Assad. Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah Leader, has said that it is to protect the Shia Population. I have seen reports that they have deployed in Damascus as well to protect the Shia shrine of Zinab, a grand daughter of the Prophet and a shia shrine

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Afghanistan: What Now?

February 26th 2012 18:33
: Will Afghans ever get a break?
The past number of weeks has seen an Afghanistan that, in my view, has gone from bad to worst. It began with a very, very disturbing report on the BBC about Afghan Children dying of Cold and all the Minister in charge could do was to apologize.

Beyond the daily trials of ordinary Afghans, there is of course the War. The War continues to rage on. The burning of the Koran by NATO troops added fuel to the raging fire. The NATO commander, the US Secretary of Defense and the President all issued swift apologies and promised investigations. But demonstrations have continued on

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: Is there room for Hope?

Over the past three weeks, I have been thinking about the year that has passed. 2011 has been quite a year. The pace of change and the actions have been nothing less than spectacular. When the final history is written, 2011 will be remembered as very much a transformational year in many ways

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2011: The Year In Review (The Launch)

December 4th 2011 22:13
: A Year 4 the History Books
It has been quite a year!!!!

I have been trying to to catch my breath as I launch the "Year-In-Review" here and now. Between the Arab Spring, changes in Africa and Russia, the continued challenges of Climate Change, the US Political Scene, the continued economic calamity, The "occupy" Movement, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Iran, Syria, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, Europe's Economic Meltdown, the Media and continued technological transformations--I view it as nothing less than Breathtaking

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: Now What?
Ex-President Rabbani has been assassinated in Kabul. He was the Chairman of the High Peace Council that was supposed to be the vehicle for Peace that Karzai was pursuing. Karzai has cut short his visit to the UN to return to Kabul.

From the reports I have reviewed, Rabbani lived in the same neighborhood that was the subject of the bold attack last week targeting the Kabul Diplomatic Quarter. When a senior guy like Rabbani is killed--who's next? The fiction of a Taliban withering way seems to be a fiction as the days goes by

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: When will the suffering end?
Although I had not written about Afghanistan and Pakistan in a while, the war continues to rage on and the suffering of the average man and woman on main street continues on with no apparent end in sight.

I have been a constant critic of the Afghan War. As I write this, over 100,000 US and NATO troops continue to fight on. One of those brave souls was my own cousin who is a US Army Major. Two days after he left Afghanistan, the base he was at was attacked by the Taliban. I saw his wife's posting on Facebook when she thanked the Almighty that he had left. We were all thankful too. Many died that day, though. I note this because this is a War that has impacted all in a major way--a war that seems to have no end

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