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Alternative facts on Gaza mass graves

The Jerusalem Post has published a story stating that independent analysis by Sky News has debunked Hamas claims that IDF soldiers played a role in the killing and mass burial of bodies unearthed near the Nasser Medical Complex in Gaza. The only issue is that the Jerusalem Post story bears almost no relation to the findings of the Sky News source on which it is based. If anything, it presents evidence to the contrary. Hamas has also said very little regarding the mass graves.

New hostage deal proposed by Israel

The Times of Israel reports that Israel said it would drop the demand that Hamas release 40 hostages as part of a Gaza truce deal and that it will reassess its planned operations in Rafah. Later, the same journal released a headline initial mentioning a deal involving 20 hostages, then it became 33. The local Israeli press are all over the place in the past 48-72 hours.

Hamas changes it's tune on two-state solution

Hamas has signaled it is open to considering the deal. A senior Hamas leader has also announced that the group is willing to lay down its arms if an independent Palestinian state is established along the 1967 borders. Nevertheless, this is a notable shift from the official position of Hamas since its founding. Unofficially, Hamas was always open to a two-state solution.

Iran-backed groups in Iraq unsure on whether to resume attacks

According to ISW, Iranian-backed Iraqi militias appear divided on whether to resume attacks targeting US forces. The report cites sources in the Emirati journal The National News in relation to Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq. Iran has more assets in Iraq which can potentially blow up than the SoftBank Vision Fund.

RAND Corp on Iran-Israel confrontation

Raphael Cohen at the RAND Corporation has published an article concluding that an open war between Iran and Israel may be impossible to avert unless the US and Europe can pressure Iran to reduce support for regional proxies and start negotiating on its nuclear program. Think tanks are great at prescribing what the other side must do to satisfy their needs, but not so much at what they are willing to give up in return for a deal, otherwise known as diplomacy.

In any case, the RAND Corporation is unlikely to have much influence on D.C. circles that decide US policies towards Iran. It's predominately a battle between young smart well-educated pragmatists and Bush-era Neocons who are desperately searching for a very unique red cow to show up so they can start building the Third Temple in Jerusalem.

Meanwhile, the theocrats in Iran talk of 72 virgins in heaven as a reward for martyrdom, up from 40 previously, to reflect the higher inflation the economy is currently experiencing. We won't waste any time fact-checking on whether-or-not it was always 72.

The whole things is so nuts that I can't wait till living on Mars becomes a real possibility.

UK still talking a big game

Sir John Sawers, the former head of the UK's Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), was on a talk show recently saying the UK has to be ready to step in when the regime in Iran collapses, which he believes will eventually happen one day. Perhaps he knows something we don't; let's hope he's right.

From Tehran's point of view… if Sawers was still in his former post, he would have briefed five Prime Ministers (PMs) in the past six years, most likely soon to be six PMs in as many years. During the same period, a UK intelligence asset was caught and—sadly later—executed. Another most likely got busted and was broadcast on prime-time state TV while literally digging up dirt on the opposition under diplomatic cover. If true, hats off to him for at least not putting others at risk for this mission.

Let's not get into the recent participation, or lack thereof, in NATO exercises by the Royal Navy. Or, the failed Trident nuclear missile test launch. According to press reports, it was something out of a Road Runner cartoon.

Delusional or deceptive?

The real question is whether Sawers truly believes what he says, or is merely acting loyal to his nation by helping to project great power to keep up team morale? The same way we wouldn't write such a candid assessment to a wider audience. It matters because from the perspective of outsiders looking in, it raises the chances of a miscalculation by one side or the other. At present, the mad man strategy might be the best form of deterrence against Western adversaries.

Outplay rather than outbluff the opposition

As far as China, Russia, and Iran go, the strategy appears to be one of staying focused on outplaying the opponents, instead of trying to outbluff them, all along knowing that the West can ill afford another set of forever wars or a global financial crisis.

Google & Microsoft shares rally in after-markets

Enough talking about our problem child on the East Coast. On the West Coast of the US, both Alphabet (Google) and Microsoft jumped in after-hours trading by beating earnings expectations. A perfect move that fits like a glove for anyone hedging a credit bond portfolio with short US equities. It's a pity there isn't some form of instant shock therapy to penalize bad policy decisions like in financial markets.

Soon time for de-dollarization theme to reemerge

Treasuries down and dollar down makes the conditions for another wave of de-dollarization stories, but not until 90% of the move has already occured. It's a problem when the financial reporters lead the analysts, including the independent ones. Something along the lines of China and Middle East investors boycotting US Treasuries to protest against the Gaza and Ukraine wars would sell well.

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Israel-Hamas | Iran | UK | RAND | Big Tech

Time to move to Mars and escape the lunatics who rule Earth