Moon of Alabama Brecht quote

Monthly Archives

December 06, 2023

U.S. Is Withholding Aid To Push Ukraine Towards Negotiations With Russia

Yesterday, at 9:46 local time, Strana published (machine translation):

Volodymyr Zelensky to address US senators via video link today - The Washington Post

Today, President Volodymyr Zelensky will address US senators via video link with a request to approve financial assistance to Ukraine. ...

Twelve hours later, at 21:43 local time, this piece came out:

"Something's happened." Zelensky canceled his speech to US senators at the last moment

President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky canceled his speech to lawmakers scheduled for today at the last moment. This was announced by the head of the Democratic majority in the US Senate, Chuck Schumer.

"By the way, Zelensky was not able to join our briefing at 15:00 (22:00 Kiev time) – something happened at the last minute," Schumer said.

Well, yes, something had happened:

Ukraine Aid Falters in Senate as Republicans Insist on Border Restrictions

President Biden’s urgent push to replenish Ukraine’s war chest and send aid to Israel is on the brink of collapse in the Senate, where Republicans are prepared on Wednesday to block the funding unless Democrats agree to add strict measures to clamp down on migration at the U.S. border with Mexico.

A classified briefing with administration officials called to shore up support devolved into a partisan screaming match on Tuesday afternoon, with Republicans angrily accusing Democrats of trying to steamroller over their demands for a border crackdown.

It would have been easy for the Democrats to commit a few billions for border security. But Biden wants to end the war in Ukraine. Starving it of money is the easiest way to push it towards negotiations.

All this was planned by the Pentagon think tank RAND which, early this year, published a study about how to end the war in Ukraine:

Avoiding a Long War - U.S. Policy and the Trajectory of the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

(A 2019 study by RAND, Extending Russia - Competing from Advantageous Ground, had recommended to openly arm Ukraine to keep Russia busy. It has been the basis of U.S. Ukraine policy ever since.)

But in early 2023 RAND had turned a corner and argued that a prolonged war in Ukraine will be too costly for the U.S. to sustain:

Cont. reading: U.S. Is Withholding Aid To Push Ukraine Towards Negotiations With Russia

Posted by b at 11:32 UTC | Comments (202)

Bombing Gaza

At times it is so outrageous that even a major western news-agency can't help but to state the truth.


Posted by b at 9:12 UTC | Comments (128)

December 05, 2023

Who Is Really Behind The Mass Slaughter In Gaza?

Who is really behind the Israeli mass slaughter of the people of Gaza?

Here is the answer to that question:

Israel’s dependence on the United States was stated bluntly by retired IDF Maj. General Yitzhak Brick in an interview earlier this week.

“All of our missiles, the ammunition, the precision-guided bombs, all the airplanes and bombs, it’s all from the U.S. The minute they turn off the tap, you can’t keep fighting. You have no capability. … Everyone understands that we can’t fight this war without the United States. Period.”


Posted by b at 8:00 UTC | Comments (267)

The War In Ukraine Is Done

The Washington Post has produced a long, two part piece, about the failed 'counter-offensive' in Ukraine. It dispenses equal blame on the U.S. and British planning of the whole mess and the Ukrainian execution of it.

The bullet points from the first part:

Miscalculations, divisions marked offensive planning by U.S., Ukraine (archived)

Key elements that shaped the counteroffensive and the initial outcome include:
  • Ukrainian, U.S. and British military officers held eight major tabletop war games to build a campaign plan. But Washington miscalculated the extent to which Ukraine’s forces could be transformed into a Western-style fighting force in a short period — especially without giving Kyiv air power integral to modern militaries.
  • U.S. and Ukrainian officials sharply disagreed at times over strategy, tactics and timing. The Pentagon wanted the assault to begin in mid-April to prevent Russia from continuing to strengthen its lines. The Ukrainians hesitated, insisting they weren’t ready without additional weapons and training.
  • U.S. military officials were confident that a mechanized frontal attack on Russian lines was feasible with the troops and weapons that Ukraine had. The simulations concluded that Kyiv’s forces, in the best case, could reach the Sea of Azov and cut off Russian troops in the south in 60 to 90 days.
  • The United States advocated a focused assault along that southern axis, but Ukraine’s leadership believed its forces had to attack at three distinct points along the 600-mile front, southward toward both Melitopol and Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov and east toward the embattled city of Bakhmut.
  • The U.S. intelligence community had a more downbeat view than the U.S. military, assessing that the offensive had only a 50-50 chance of success given the stout, multilayered defenses Russia had built up over the winter and spring.
  • Many in Ukraine and the West underestimated Russia’s ability to rebound from battlefield disasters and exploit its perennial strengths: manpower, mines and a willingness to sacrifice lives on a scale that few other countries can countenance.
  • As the expected launch of the offensive approached, Ukrainian military officials feared they would suffer catastrophic losses — while American officials believed the toll would ultimately be higher without a decisive assault.

And from the second part:

Cont. reading: The War In Ukraine Is Done

Posted by b at 7:09 UTC | Comments (267)

December 04, 2023

Right Before Hamas Attacked Someone Shorted Israeli Stocks And Funds

The Israeli Haaretz headlines:

Did Hamas Make Billions Betting Against Israeli Shares Before October 7 Massacre?
Giant gambles against Israel on the markets in Tel Aviv and Wall Street days before Hamas’ attack made billions. Somebody seems to have known about the plan in advance

The story is unfortunately pay-walled and I have yet to find an archive version of it. An archived version is now available.

We know that Batteridge's law of headlines says:

Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.

It was thereby not Hamas which profited from unusual short positions but likely someone else.

The Haaretz story is based on a very recent study by two law professors with experience in market regulations from New York University and Columbia University.

A PDF file of the study, Trading on Terror?, is available at the Haaretz site.

Its abstract says:

Recent scholarship shows that informed traders increasingly disguise trades in economically linked securities such as exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Linking that work to longstanding literature on financial markets’ reactions to military conflict, we document a significant spike in short selling in the principal Israeli-company ETF days before the October 7 Hamas attack. The short selling that day far exceeded the short selling that occurred during numerous other periods of crisis, including the recession following the financial crisis, the 2014 Israel-Gaza war, and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Similarly, we identify increases in short selling before the attack in dozens of Israeli companies traded in Tel Aviv. For one Israeli company alone, 4.43 million new shares sold short over the September 14 to October 5 period yielded profits (or approximates avoided losses) of 3.2 billion NIS on that additional short selling. Although we see no aggregate increase in shorting of Israeli companies on U.S. exchanges, we do identify a sharp and unusual increase, just before the attacks, in trading in risky short-dated options on these companies expiring just after the attacks.

We identify similar patterns in the Israeli ETF at times when it was reported that Hamas was planning to execute a similar attack as in October. Our findings suggest that traders informed about the coming attacks profited from these tragic events, and consistent with prior literature we show that trading of this kind occurs in gaps in U.S. and international enforcement of legal prohibitions on informed trading. We contribute to the growing literature on trading related to geopolitical events and offer suggestions for policymakers concerned about profitable trading on the basis of information about coming military conflict.

3.2 billion New Israeli Shekel are about $800+ million. And, as I understand it, those only were the profits from a small part of the whole operation.

I am not qualified sufficiently to judge the study but the quoted sources and data seem reasonable.

EIS is an exchange-traded fund that tracks Israeli shares in New York. The spike in shorts volume of EIS was indeed hefty.


The short options were only for a very limited period. At least some would have expired on October 13.

So it definitely looks as if on Monday, October 2, someone was sure enough on that soon something 'bad' would happen to Israel. That someone had enough market knowledge and money to take the risk of a false alarm in exchange for a huge potential profit.

Who that person or group was is for anyone to guess.

Posted by b at 15:42 UTC | Comments (116)

December 03, 2023

Palestine Open Thread 2023-293

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Palestine.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 14:12 UTC | Comments (302)

Ukraine Open Thread 2023-292

Only for news & views directly related to the war in Ukraine.

The current open thread for other issues is here.

Please stick to the topic. Contribute facts. Do not attack other commentators.

Posted by b at 14:11 UTC | Comments (161)

The MoA Week In Review - OT 2023-291

Last week's post on Moon of Alabama:




Other issues:

Cont. reading: The MoA Week In Review - OT 2023-291

Posted by b at 14:09 UTC | Comments (153)

December 02, 2023

Israel Plans For Long War And The Expulsion Of People From Gaza

There are several new report on how the Zionist want to continue their killing spree in Gaza (and beyond it).

Israel Planning for Gaza War To Last Over a Year - Antiwar

The Financial Times reported speaking with sources who said that Israel plans to wage war on Gaza for over a year. In a little less than two months, Israel has killed at least 15,000 people, damaged 100,000 buildings, displaced 1.7 million Palestinians, and destroyed most of Gaza’s medical facilities.

On Friday, FT reported sources said Israel was preparing for a multi-phase conflict in Gaza that will last at least a year. “This will be a very long war…We’re currently not near halfway to achieving our objectives,” said one person familiar with the Israeli war plans.

According to the sources, Israel’s goals include “killing the three top Hamas leaders — Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Marwan Issa — while securing a decisive military victory against the group’s 24 battalions and underground tunnel network and destroying its governing capability in Gaza.”
The first phase of the war, an intense bombing campaign and ground invasion, is expected to last well into 2024. One source said the first phase of the war is about 40% complete. “Gaza City isn’t finished yet, nor fully conquered. It’s probably 40% done,” the person explained. “For the north as a whole, it will probably require another two weeks to a month.”

The second phase will be an operation with fewer military operations aimed at stabilizing Gaza. While the sources told FT that the second phase is projected to continue until late 2024, Israeli officials say they cannot predict a firm endpoint to the conflict.

A long war means that Israel will lose more and more international support.

The trend will become even stronger when Israel starts to kill all 'Hamas people' across the world.

Cont. reading: Israel Plans For Long War And The Expulsion Of People From Gaza

Posted by b at 14:16 UTC | Comments (314)

December 01, 2023

Ukraine Finally Starts To Build Defense Lines

After wasting ten-thousands of men in hopeless battles the Ukrainian comedian has finally acknowledged that his army's performative 'counter-attacks' and hold-to-the-last-man defenses have made no sense.

Politco's Dreamer of the year finally calls for building defensive lines:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called for a faster buildup of major defensive lines amid Kyiv’s stalled counteroffensive and concerns that Russia could attempt to take more territory.

Zelenskiy urged greater speed and efficiency in building defenses in a video statement on Telegram after a meeting with key military and security officials Tuesday evening. He encouraged local communities to pitch in and pledged to make money available for the effort.

“Our country will definitely have enough mines and concrete,” he said. He didn’t provide details on where the fortifications would be built or how extensive they might be.

It took the Russian army several months and lots of money to build its extensive defense lines in the southeast of Ukraine.

Zelenski has neither the time nor the money to build solid lines but he wants many of them (machine translation):

According to Zelensky, he held a meeting on fortification in all major directions – first of all on Avdiivka and Maryinsky, as well as on Kupyansk and on the Kupyansk – Liman line, in Zaporozhye and Kherson regions.

In addition, fortifications will be built along the entire border with Russia and Belarus.

"We will work with our partners to strengthen our defensive lines," the president added.

Earlier, Zelensky already spoke about a "special" meeting of the Stavka, where they discussed strengthening the fortification.

Comments Strana (machine translation):

This is quite a landmark statement. It sounds like an announcement of the construction of large-scale defensive lines-similar to the one that Russia has built in the south.

And more broadly, this can be interpreted as a transition to a defensive strategy, which began to be talked about more and more often after the counteroffensive of the Armed Forces of Ukraine actually stopped, and the Russians themselves switched to large-scale attacks.

But officially, the authorities do not talk about the transition to defense, and the main thesis remains that the APU is preparing to attack, and there is no deadlock (which even the commander-in-chief Valery Zaluzhny wrote about) at the front.

Zelenski called for private companies to build the new fortifications. In the context of Ukraine that means more corruption - lots of it - as government officials will ask for kick backs for any contract they may sign. Previous attempts of privately build defense lines had ditches that were too shallow and of little utility. Some concrete was poured but in the wrong places and shapes.

There were reasons why Ukraine failed last summer to overcome the Russian defense lines. It lacked the artillery support, air-superiority and sheer mass that is required to achieve that. But Russia has all of that - an enormous amount of heavy siege artillery (200 mm and beyond), a ridiculous superiority in the number of unmanned drones and manned fighter planes and lots of new contract soldiers. Any lines the Ukrainians can build will be overcome by superior Russian forces.

Yes, passing Ukrainian minefields will be difficult. But there are ways and means to do such.

Thanks to its previous lunatic attempts the Ukrainian army has lost too many men to hold each and every line. And while the Ukrainian army will have to defend everywhere, the Russia one can choose the one or two local fronts where it wants to breach the defense lines to pass through them.

What is planned now is too little too late to save Ukraine.

Posted by b at 14:13 UTC | Comments (272)