Author Archives: Omar

Omar

About Omar

I graduated from the University of Cambridge in economics. My special interests were social choice theory and monetary theory. I am a postgraduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies with a doctorate in monetary economics 1984. I left academic studies to work in the financial sector for a number of years (CEO Moseley Securities), and then to manage companies in the industrial sector in the Middle-East (CEO Egyptian Cotton Company). My work in the Middle-East led to a change of path to politics in that area since 2000. Since 2012 I have written articles on politics for current affairs journals, under my own name and under pseudonyms. My area of special academic interest is the idea of instrumental rationality, its use in the development of economic and social theories, especially neoliberal constructions, and the impact of these theories on our political life, on which subject I am writing a book. Parts of the book are appearing in various academic journals, beginning with Max Weber Studies vol. 16 (2).

The Economics of the Colonial Cringe

Following on James Fallows famous article The Economics of the Colonial Cringe‘, Nathan Robinson calls for the death of The Economist quoting Fallows’ famous line …. American intellectuals hold a disproportionate amount of respect for The Economist’s judgment and reporting, even though the magazine is produced by imperious 20-something Oxbridge graduates who generally know little about the subjects on which they so confidently opine’.

He writes ‘…. thanks to its reflexive belief in the superiority of free markets, it is an unreliable guide to the subjects on which it reports. Because its writers will bend the truth in order to defend capitalism, you can’t actually trust what you read in The Economist. And since journalism you can’t trust is worthless, The Economist is worthless.’ Read Robinson’s article here.

I think a group of economists should club together and launch a class-action suit for contravening trading standards to strip the magazine of its name. It would be better renamed ‘The Bullingdon Bollox (sic.)’

Macron’s arrival was intended to save the EURO. But let’s review why money isn’t understood

Macron, backed by the German liberal empire, has taken over France to save the Euro by imposing austerity and changing French labour laws (whether he can do that remains to be seen). In 2013 we were reminded by Victoria Chick at a Positive Money conference that the Quantity Theory of Money as revived by Friedman’s ‘… monetarism’ was the basis of the construction of Euro,… and this determines the way the ECB is doomed to function’. ‘Can’t be very good then can it?…’, added Chick as an aside.

But it’s the way bankers ‘see’ money – as a ‘quantity’, or ‘commodity’, or ‘balance’ if you like, which requires debt deflation (austerity) to increase the value of money assets, wilfully forgetting that it is – in double entry bookkeeping terms – at the same time a debt, and that it is in the interest of debtors to inflate. Brexiting Britain is in fact going in that direction by intentionally devaluing sterling. But, going back to basics, money is almost always in origin a debt (or loan) which the debtor (or borrower) recycles through  the banking system via the ‘deposits’ of other recipients and suppliers, to provide the wealth of the financial system.

Hyperinflation is bad, like anything extreme is bad. Even Keynes (in 1919 in The Economic Consequences of the Peace) told us that monetary depreciation is a sure ‘means of overturning the existing basis of society’. Monetary depreciation happens if inflation gets out of control. But central banks continually push out the shibboleth that inflation is an unambiguous cost, borne equally by all members of society, and they see their role as minimising (rather than optimising) this cost. However, it is clear that on balance moderate inflation is good and creates wealth, where deflation and austerity merely maintains wealth that has already been created.

That’s the problem that France and the Southern belt of European countries face as financial neo-colonies of Germany.

Respect Mohamed Morsi’s human rights

 

Dr. Mohamed Morsi, the President of Egypt, who is being detained without clear charge, is forbidden from seeing his wife, children, grandchildren and lawyers. It must be clear that this injustice is not permissible. Both his human rights and his prisoners’ rights must be respected in accordance with international conventions.

د.محمد مرسي الرئيس المعزول ممنوع من رؤية زوجته وأولاده وأحفاده ومحاميه، ونؤكد أن هذا ظلم ولايجوز، فيجب احترام حقوق الإنسان وحقوق السجين طبقا للمواثيق العالمية

 

Seeking the founts of extremism

Peter Maas [who went to Harvard-Westlake School] writes:

‘Where do America’s far-right leaders come from? [Julia] Hahn and [Alex] Marlow [editor-in-chief of Breitbart], who grew up 5 miles apart [and both went to Harvard-Westlake School pictured above], are clues to an intriguing fact of political epidemiology. A surprising number of alt-right leaders come from a single wealthy liberal enclave: the west side of Los Angeles.

Andrew Breitbart, who founded the site that bears his name, was raised in Brentwood, at the center of the west side, and was living there when he died in 2012. [Steve] Bannon, before becoming famous as the chairman of Breitbart and then Trump’s ideologue, was a Hollywood producer who sent his daughters to a private school in Brentwood. Stephen Miller, the 31-year-old presidential adviser who has been wildly provocative on immigration issues, was raised in neighboring Santa Monica, also known as the People’s Republic of Santa Monica because of its liberal politics. Read full article here.

Grinding towards peace in the Middle East

As I wrote in February the Middle Eastern powers (Russia, Turkey, and Iran) are setting the terms for Middle Eastern peace at Astana, with the US, the effective cause of the calamities over the past thirty years, acting as an observer.

Today’s meetings between Lavrov and Tillerson will provide the formal US agreement over 4 safe zones. This is important because obviously the US have forces on the ground in Syria (N.B. the cautious US statement at the end of video ref. Iran).

Vital to all of this has been Turkey’s containment of the Syrian rebels, who have been deeply troubled (it seems like the US) by the fact that Iran is a co-guarantor. Although this led Mohamed Alloush to leave the negotiating table, he is now back, Turkey having convinced his followers that Iran’s role here is vital for the very reason that it is distrusted by them. It is a learning curve for the rebels.

The four safe zones to be established in Syria will be closed for flights by US-led coalition warplanesREAD MORE: https://on.rt.com/8arn

Posted by RT Play on Friday, 5 May 2017

In the midst of the bloodshed in Sinai – a corner of peace

Not far away from this ancient olive grove, fighters whose families were displaced from northern Sinai towns on the Israeli border razed to the ground, assaulted St Catherine’s Monastery. This happened only two weeks ago. It was supposedly an attack by “ISIS” and so justification for continued burning, looting, raping and killing by Egyptian militias now specially formed by junta leader Sisi for the purpose. The Egyptian army itself has lost the appetite for the level of destruction meted on the Sinai tribes. But like the Yemeni tribes, the people of Sinai have even greater appetite for resistance than their psychopathic aggressors.

Germany once again profiting from creating divisions it pretends it wants to heal, this time in Egypt

Egyptians have become used to pictures of Sisi in the embrace of the Coptic Church ever since the June 30 2013 jamboree in Tahrir Square and the 3rd July coup it immediately led to. As the blood flowed, torture, political imprisonment, disappearances and outright extra-judicial killings mushroomed, the Coptic clergy stood firm behind the tyrant.

Many Copts have stood aghast not only at this, but over the fact that their clergy never demanded accountability from Sisi over the Supreme Military Council’s obvious direction of the massacre by the Egyptian army of demonstrating Christians at Maspero on October 9 2011. Furthermore no challenge has been forthcoming over the release from prison of ex-interior minister Habib over pretty overwhelming evidence that he was behind the 23 January 2011 Alexandria Church Bombings.

Merkel, a fervent supporter of the Egyptian junta, visiting Egypt to finalise a contract on behalf of Siemens for three power stations and for ThyssenKrupp for several 209/1400 attack submarines, makes a rhetorical demand it seems for Muslims in Egypt to ‘… support persecuted Christians’. More recent bombings in Coptic Churches in Alexandria and Tanta are blamed on ISIS, which fits in well with Sisi’s self-proclaimed mandate on the ‘war on terror’. Little evidence is provided for the accusation and little time is spent pondering on the simple fact that even a jaded Coptic population is not in a hurry to lay the blame at the door of their Muslim counterparts for the atrocities.

Now the Catholic Pope is visiting Sisi to stand shoulder to shoulder with a Coptic clergy largely believed by the Egyptian population to be a tacit collaborator with the bloody Egyptian régime in this game of charades. Meeting with al-Azhar is a meaningless gesture as this religious body has zero independence from the state, and currently zero credibility with Muslims on the ground. Is the Vatican being paid to visit Egypt and make these absurd gestures? Is this a reboot of its collaboration with the Germanic neoliberal hegemon, when it backed Franco Tujman’s ZNG neo-Ustashi blackshirts in their attacks on the Serbs living in Croatia in 1991, which started the Yugoslav Civil War? Is this Pope not aware that as yet Sisi has not properly accounted for the torture and summary execution of Italian PhD student Giulio Regeni by his thugs? Of course he is.

 

Assad and the crimes at Khan Sheikhun

Assad’s crimes divide polite society. He must be enjoying it. The report by the French Intelligence services – if correct – would not only confirm Assad as the perpetrator of the Khan Sheikhun chemical attack, but would lend yet further credence to the catastrophic errors of naysayers on Assad’s role in the Ghouta chemical massacre such as Seymour Hersh and Robert Parry (the latter doubled down on Khan Sheikhun), while vindicating the view of Muhammad Idrees Ahmad that the editors of the London Review of Books were negligent in their duty in publishing Hersh’s article, and that Hersh was spectacularly obtuse in proceeding with evidence from a single intelligence source among the Western intelligence services to write his article.

The new evidence is furthermore a huge embarrassment for Putin, who has admitted to Erdoğan that he would like a solution to the Damascus problem and that he ‘… is not Assad’s lawyer’. It must be said that Russia refuses to accept the evidence in the reports on the basis that the samples tested by French authorities could have been obtained anywhere, and of course, there is always a margin of doubt. It is pushing out the meme that it has “irrefutable proof” that the Khan Sheikhun attack was a “provocation”, without supplying any evidence.  This is the same face saving ploy Russia used in the case of the downed jet which “hadn’t strayed into Turkish territory”, when it said the black box was broken and couldn’t yield any information. Human Rights Watch, however, maintain that Assad’s forces not only used chemical weapons at Khan Sheikhun, but is actually using them systematically even at the present time, with evidence of this in at least four other locations. A BBC report even provides some evidence as continuing chemical weapons manufacture at three different sites (see map above).

The argument ran after Khan Sheikhun that Assad ‘had no reason to commit such an atrocity’ in view of the fact that the war was going his way and that it would cause a reaction from the West. David Morrison’s argument that ‘Assad didn’t do it’ – or indeed do Ghouta – is firmly based on this presupposition (the reference there to Hersh suffers from the problems outlined above). But these kinds of arguments display a lack of experience as to how Middle Eastern despots actually function and how they are used to promulgate fear among their populations. Watching Ali al-Dhafiri’s (Arabic) interview on al-Jazeera with Abdel-Halim Khaddam, Assad’s minister of foreign affairs until 2005, could be an education in this respect. See Part 1 (which starts with Hafez al-Assad), and Part 2

To read the actual forensic report from the French government see here, and to see the annex click here

 

The Clash – الإشتباك

The year is 2013, the army has just unseated Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood, and pro-army and pro-MB factions clash on the streets. A reporter and photographer are arrested and thrown into the back of a police van, which is the sole camera setting; soon, other demonstrators from both sides are chucked in – along with, in one particularly chaotic scene, a lenient cop. They are crowded in there for hours in the boiling heat with no water and a plastic bottle to pee in. Through the grille-meshed window they get glimpses of the turmoil on the city streets.

At first, it looks like a no-budget movie with about a dozen people shot in a single location, but the director, Mohamed Diab, stages some spectacular riot scenes outside, which are all the more staggering for intruding on this enclosed space so unexpectedly.

The movie stunningly replicates that sense of inside and outside that must be felt by witnesses to any historic moment: the private debate, the enclosed conflict, and the theatre of confrontation unfolding beyond. What a dynamic piece of cinema.

The German incitement to hatred, the Turkish Referendum and the political realities of European neoliberalism

This centre spread in the BILD newspaper led the German, Austrian and Dutch media onslaught telling Turkish voters to vote NO in their referendum on constitutional change (in both German and Turkish). A YES vote would see a separation of legislative and executive powers in Turkish governance, both currently in the gift of the Prime Minister’s Office, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would thus consolidate his presidency. BILD, owned by the media giant Axel Springer, is the largest circulation newspaper anywhere outside East Asia.

The question has to be asked why this newspaper told Turkish voters that the founder of their new Republic, Mustafa Kemal “Atatürk” (pictured) would have voted NO in this referendum. Read full article here. A short version is also available on openDemocracy here.