«Il propano è un idrocarburo alifatico di formula CH3CH2CH3 appartenente alla serie degli alcani lineari saturi. A temperatura ambiente ed a pressione atmosferica standard (1 atm a 20-25 °C) il composto appare come un gas incolore ed inodore, che può essere tuttavia facilmente liquefatto per compressione. ….
Il propano è presente in natura come componente del gas naturale e del petrolio grezzo, da cui viene estratto per distillazione frazionata, ed è inoltre il costituente principale del gas di petrolio liquefatto (GPL), miscela idrocarburica comunemente ottenuta dal petrolio largamente utilizzata come combustibile. ….
Il propano è un idrocarburo alifatico di formula CH3CH2CH3 appartenente alla serie degli alcani lineari saturi. A temperatura ambiente ed a pressione atmosferica standard (1 atm a 20-25 °C) il composto appare come un gas incolore ed inodore, che può essere tuttavia facilmente liquefatto per compressione. ….
Il propano è presente in natura come componente del gas naturale e del petrolio grezzo, da cui viene estratto per distillazione frazionata, ed è inoltre il costituente principale del gas di petrolio liquefatto (GPL), miscela idrocarburica comunemente ottenuta dal petrolio largamente utilizzata come combustibile.
Il propano trova svariati impieghi in molteplici ambiti, sia puro che in miscela, tendenzialmente con altri idrocarburi. Viene principalmente utilizzato come combustibile, come mezzo refrigerante (identificato dal codice R290) e come carburante in miscela con altre sostanze, prime tra tutte il butano. Oltre al suo utilizzo come carburante e refrigerante, il composto trova impiego a livello industriale anche come solvente, come propellente e come intermedio di reazione nelle sintesi organiche» [Fonte]
«Con il termine butano ci si riferisce ad un qualunque alcano avente formula bruta C4H10 o per antonomasia all’isomero lineare, chiamato più propriamente n-butano o ad una qualunque miscela dei due isomeri strutturali (n-butano e isobutano) corrispondenti a tale formula.
Il butano si ottiene per distillazione frazionata dal petrolio e dal gas naturale. ….
A temperatura e pressione ambiente è un gas incolore ma meno inodore del propano, essendo tuttavia molto facile da liquefare (avendo una temperatura di liquefazione prossima a 0 °C) ….
Avendo un elevato potere calorifico, viene usato generalmente sotto forma di GPL (miscelato con propano e pentano) come carburante per automobili e come combustibile, sia per usi domestici che industriali, nonché per alimentare fornelli e lampade da campeggio.
Identificato dalla sigla R600, trova impiego anche come fluido refrigerante in sostituzione dei freon.» [Fonte]
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Il GPL, Gas di Petrolio Liquefatto, è una miscela di idrocarburi, principalmente propano e butano.
I principali vantaggi del GPL si individuano nella sua versatilità che ne consente l’utilizzo per riscaldare e raffrescare gli ambienti, cuocere cibi produrre energia e far funzionare apparecchiature industriali; nel suo alto potere calorifico che consente di avere grandi quantità di energia a fronte di limitate quantità di prodotto; nelle suo basso impatto ambientale, nella possibilità di essere stoccato in spazi ridotti e trasportato ovunque, anche dove non arriva la rete del metano.
Singapore — Saudi Aramco on Sunday set its March contract price for propane at $430/mt, down $75/mt from February, and the butane CP at $480/mt, $65/mt lower month on month.
The March propane and butane CPs were well within traders’ expectations.
Traders had expected the March propane CP to be set between $420/mt and $450/mt, and the butane CP to be between $460/mt and $500/mt.
The propane and butane CPs recorded the second month on month fall in March, after a fall in the February CP snapped four consecutive months of gains.
Aramco had set the propane CP for March 2019 at $490/mt and butane at $520/mt, S&P Global Platts data showed.
Aramco’s CPs , which set the price of propane and butane lifted from the Saudi ports of Yanbu, Ras Tanura and Ju’aymah under term supply contracts, are closely watched by the market as they tend to set a base level for pricing for most markets east of Suez.
Israele presenta da diverse decine di anni un quadro politico ove due fazioni rivali che raccolgono un consenso virtualmente identico. Si formano a fatica i governi, e questi hanno una maggioranza di uno o poco più deputati. Nell’ultimo anno tre consecutive votazioni hanno dato risultati inconcludenti.
«Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz received an official mandate on Monday to try to form Israel’s next government, and called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join him in a unity administration»
«In a sharp blow to Netanyahu, who had declared victory in a March 2 election, 61 of parliament’s 120 legislators voiced support for Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party»
«But Gantz’s backers include opposing forces – the Joint List of Arab parties, and the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu faction led by former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman – that complicate efforts to form a viable government without wider support»
«I give you my word, I will do all in my ability to establish within a few days as broad and patriotic a government as possible»
«The time has come for an end to empty words, …. It’s time to set aside our swords and unite our tribes and defeat hatred»
Come la maggior parte degli stati europei, Israele è una ulteriore prova di quanto il sistema elettorale proporzionale sia del tutto inadeguato a garantire la possibilità di un governo stabile.
Non solo, ma a ben pensarci è anche la negazione di ogni principio democratico.
Ci spieghiamo meglio.
Per essere nazioni democratiche, nelle elezioni le formazioni politiche devono enunciare con chiarezza il loro programma, sulla cui base gli Elettori daranno il voto. Ma con il sistema elettorale proporzionale quasi invariabilmente i partiti sono obbligati a formare, dopo le elezioni, coalizioni che ne snaturano i programmi e che, se chiarite prima del voto, avrebbero potuto alienarlo. In altri termini, l’Elettore vota una delega in bianco, e questo genera di fatto una oligarchia non eletta. Sistema comodo per le élite, ma antidemocratico nell’essenza.
Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz received an official mandate on Monday to try to form Israel’s next government, and called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to join him in a unity administration.
In a sharp blow to Netanyahu, who had declared victory in a March 2 election, 61 of parliament’s 120 legislators voiced support for Gantz, leader of the centrist Blue and White party, in consultations with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Sunday.
At a televised ceremony, Rivlin gave Gantz 28 days, with the option of a two-week extension, to assemble a ruling coalition.
But Gantz’s backers include opposing forces – the Joint List of Arab parties, and the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu faction led by former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman – that complicate efforts to form a viable government without wider support.
Netanyahu and Lieberman have proposed a six-month “national emergency government” grouping Blue and White and the prime minister’s right-wing Likud party, to confront the coronavirus crisis.
“I give you my word, I will do all in my ability to establish within a few days as broad and patriotic a government as possible,” Gantz said at the nomination ceremony, without going into details.
Israel has held three inconclusive elections in less than a year, and Netanyahu faces a criminal indictment on corruption charges, which he denies.
Gantz, who in failed coalition negotiations with Netanyahu after a national ballot in September insisted on serving first as prime minister in a “rotating” leadership arrangement, called on his rival to agree to a unity deal now.
“The time has come for an end to empty words,” Gantz said at the ceremony. “It’s time to set aside our swords and unite our tribes and defeat hatred.”
After having instructed Aramco to boost production to unseen levels, Saudi Arabia now plans to boost oil exports in May to a record 10 million barrels per day, causing oil prices to fall once again.
In order to achieve this level of exports, the Kingdom is trying to reduce its domestic consumption, which it expects to replace with natural gas from the Fadhili gas plant.
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Ministry issued a statement on Tuesday claiming that “Saudi Arabia will utilize the gas produced from the Fadhili gas plant to compensate for around 250,000 barrels a day of domestic oil consumption, which will enable the Kingdom to increase its crude exports during the coming few months to exceed 10 million barrels a day,”.
Saudi Arabia may struggle to free up more crude oil for exports in the next couple of months as power consumption is set to increase during the hottest months of the year in the country (May to September). According to the EIA, in 2018, Saudi Arabia reported burning an average of 0.4 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil for power generation, the lowest amount since at least 2009.
In the meantime, natural gas consumption has been rising steadily since 2009, and is expected to rise this decade.
Riyadh has made a 180-degree turn in the last two weeks, after its proposal to deepen the OPEC+ output cut deal by 1.5 million bpd got rejected by Moscow, which despite the gloomy demand picture in oil markets saw no reason to make additional production cuts.
Saudi Arabia’s decision to flood an already woefully oversupplied market has effectively started an oil price war in which Riyadh is aiming to squeeze any competition out of core markets such as Europe and Asia. The Kingdom followed up on its threat to flood the markets with oil by chartering as many as 31 supertankers to ship the extra crude.
In the last couple of days, Aramco has offered their Arab Light and Arab Heavy blends for between $25 and $28 dollar per barrel in Europe, and today’s announcement to increase exports to 10 million bpd could send prices even lower.
This scorched earth tactic from Saudi Arabia is quite surprising, given the fact that the Kingdom has consistently overcomplied with its OPEC+ production quota, which saw its total crude exports fall below 7 million barrels per day in January/February.
As the pain for oil exporters continues to increase, it is unlikely that Saudi Arabia nor Russia will unilaterally take action to once again cut production, as neither of them will want to be seen to have lost the oil price war.
Bob McNally, former energy advisor for President George W. Bush and founder of Rapidan Group was quoted by CNBC as saying that “National prestige is involved here, honor is involved and political power is involved. And political leaders will suffer costs in a war if they believe they are pursuing a greater and more important aim,”.
With none of the parties planning to return to the negotiating table, what is next for oil?
Most likely, prices are set to fall further until most high-cost producers are squeezed out of the market, or at least until either Riyadh or Moscow can claim some sort of victory by inflicting sufficient damage to opponents.
In the short term, this will likely mean that both Saudi Arabia and Russia and even the UAE will continue to flood the market, or even talk them down in case they cannot free up more oil for exports and that oil prices will fall into the lower $20s, or below.
In its second price forecast in less than two weeks, investment bank Goldman Sachs slashed its price outlook for WTI to just $22 per barrel in Q2, while cutting its outlook for Brent oil to just $20 per barrel.
Goldman cited the combination of the Covid-19 oil demand shock and the price war as the reason for its lower forecast. The bank also believes that oil is likely to stay lower for longer as it will take a long time for inventories to come down again.
«The United Arab Emirates will turn on the Arab world’s first nuclear power plant in just a few months.»
«UAE regulators said on Monday they had given the green light to start loading nuclear fuel at the Barakah power plant»
«Abu Dhabi Crown Prince hailed it as a “new chapter in our journey for the development of peaceful nuclear energy,”»
«A December report Dorfman wrote for the NCG said the four plants under construction in the UAE are being built without emergency containment features that are required in Europe»
«a region that relies on desalination plants for the majority of its drinking water»
«Mark Hibbs, a senior associate at the Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Program, said, that the UAE’s record of complete transparency and ratification of all IAEA recommendations meant “there is no risk of proliferation.”»
«Saudi Arabia is currently assessing bids from various countries to build two large power reactors and has ambitions for 16 smaller ones.»
«With Russia’s help, Egypt is building a power station with four reactors on the Mediterranean coast»
«Turkey — which hosts US nuclear weapons — started working with Russia to start construction on a power plant in 2018, with three more scheduled to be completed by 2026»
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Precisiamo subito che l’Unione Europea ha il dente avvelenato con i paesi arabi che per progettare e costruire le loro centrali atomiche non si sono rivolti alle loro ditte, bensì a quelle russe e di altre nazioni.
Molti sono i motivi.
Sono decenni che in Europa non si costruiscono più centrali atomiche, per cui il passato know-how è svanito. Poi l’Unione impone una serie massacrante di criteri di sicurezza, del tutto spropositati. Infine avrebbe voluto mantenerne il controllo ed avrebbe voluto che la controparte si fosse convertita all’ideologia liberal socialista.
Il ‘no, grazie‘ degli arabi era una risposta quasi di obbligo.
Al contrario, i russi stanno continuando ad esportare impianti nucleari allo stato dell’arte e commensurati alle esigenze dei committenti.
– Il primo consiste nel poter disporre di un impianto che generi energia elettrica a costi bassi e slegato dagli andamenti dei prezzi degli idrocarburi.
– Il secondo verte invece un aspetto tipico locoregionale. Tutto il Medio Oriente vive in una perenne crisi idrica: lì la disponibilità di acqua, potabile e per irrigazione, è drammaticamente bassa. Questi impianti atomici sono finalizzati ad alimentare desalinizzatori, che hanno grandi consumi energetici, ma sono l’unica soluzione al momento possibile.
The United Arab Emirates will turn on the Arab world’s first nuclear power plant in just a few months. In the charged atmosphere of the Persian Gulf, what are the risks?
When UAE regulators said on Monday they had given the green light to start loading nuclear fuel at the Barakah power plant — the Arab world’s first — the announcement raised concerns.
While Abu Dhabi Crown Prince hailed it as a “new chapter in our journey for the development of peaceful nuclear energy,” tensions have been high in the Persian Gulf after the long-simmering issue of Iran’s nuclear program recently contributed to bringing it to the brink of open war with the US.
In the wider region, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey also have nuclear programs with varying ambitions.”It’s the wrong reactor, in the wrong place, at the wrong time,” said Paul Dorfman, a senior researcher at the international expert body Nuclear Consulting Group (NCG).
“It’s not safe enough … it wouldn’t be allowed to be built in Europe, and the Gulf region is militarily volatile, as we’ve seen with the attack on Saudi oil,” Dorfman said referring to the 2019 drone and missile attacks that knocked out half of the world’s top oil exporter’s production.
A December report Dorfman wrote for the NCG said the four plants under construction in the UAE are being built without emergency containment features that are required in Europe. Cracks had also been previously found in two of the concrete structures housing the reactors.
The threat of attacks on the Barakah plant was first hinted at when Yemeni rebels claimed to have fired a missile at the site while it was under construction in 2017. The report also highlighted the potential for accident or sabotage as nuclear fuel and waste is transported through the unstable Strait of Hormuz, an added source of worry in a region that relies on desalination plants for the majority of its drinking water.
While the UAE has signed non-proliferation treaties and ratified International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) agreements, including a full inspection regime, there is still the risk it could share its knowledge with others not bound by similar deals, Dorfman said.
‘A model for nuclear newcomers’
But Mark Hibbs, a senior associate at the Carnegie’s Nuclear Policy Program, said, that the UAE’s record of complete transparency and ratification of all IAEA recommendations meant “there is no risk of proliferation.”
“The UAE wants to polish its apples and acquire a reputation as a country that is reliable, not proliferating or threatening. They don’t really have any ambition to get involved in sensitive nuclear activities and there’s no reason for them to change that.”
The Nuclear Threat Initiative, a Washington-based non-governmental organization focused on reducing the risk and spread of nuclear weapons, reported in 2018 that the UAE is “often referred to as a model for nuclear newcomers.”
Abu Dhabi hopes its program will raise its profile as a regional leader, diversifying its economy away from fossil fuels and adding the technological and engineering feat of nuclear power generation to its commercial successes.
As it stands, without the UAE pursuing enrichment and reprocessing, and assuming proper implementation of the most up-to-date IAEA safeguards, “there’s little risk of a military dimension to the UAE’s program,” Tom Plant, the director of proliferation and nuclear policy at the UK defense think tank Royal United Services Institute said.
“If those features start to drop away then the risk rises; and, either way, the development of a civil fuel cycle does help to build skills that have potential utility on the military side, albeit in the much longer term,” Plant said.
Difficult nuclear neighbors
But as a rising regional military force involved in conflicts in Libya and Yemen and a standing dispute with Qatar, notwithstanding Iran, the UAE is located in a neighborhood of growing nuclear aspirations.
Saudi Arabia is currently assessing bids from various countries to build two large power reactors and has ambitions for 16 smaller ones. That would bring considerable nuclear knowledge into the country, though progress has been slow.
Despite declarations its program would be peaceful, Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman announced in September the kingdom planned to enrich its own uranium. De facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman had warned in 2018 that if Iran developed a bomb, “we will follow suit as soon as possible.” In 2003 a leaked report revealed Riyadh had considered different strategies to obtain a nuclear weapon.
With Russia’s help, Egypt is building a power station with four reactors on the Mediterranean coast. The IAEA had reported discrepancies in Egyptian experiments in 2005 and discovered of of highly enriched uranium at a research facility in 2009, but the investigations have come to nothing, Egypt has signed but not ratified the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) and has not signed updates to the agreement.
Turkey — which hosts US nuclear weapons — started working with Russia to start construction on a power plant in 2018, with three more scheduled to be completed by 2026. In September, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at breaking his country’s commitments to the NPT when he said it was unacceptable that Turkey’s neighbors had nuclear weapons when Turkey couldn’t.
In that context, while the “standard risk” of nuclear weapons is already high, the danger of warlike groups attacking nuclear facilities or nuclear transports could be considered greater, Dorfman said.
“In a politically and militarily tense region, further nuclear proliferation would inevitably increase the risk,” he said.
«The Pantsir-S1 air defence missile/gun system is designed for air defence of small military, (including mobile), administrative and industrial installations and areas against enemy aircraft, helicopters, cruise missiles and precision guided weapons. It is also used to reinforce the Air Defence groupings when repelling massive air attacks.
The Pantsir-S1 has the following main features:
– combined missile/gun armament;
– immune radar/optical fire control system, consisting of a target tracking and missile guidance radar and a thermal imager for target tracking and missile direction finding;
– engagement of 4 targets at once;
– automatic target engagement mode;
– firing surface-to-air missiles (SAM) in radar mode;
– autonomous operation with an automatic target engagement cycle, from target acquisition to engagement;
– use of the combat vehicle as part of a battery in different combat operation modes;
– engagement of a target by the missile and gun armament from a stationary position and on the move;
– modular design of the combat vehicle allowing the development of its different versions.
Come la maggior parte degli armamenti russi, anche il Pantsir-S1 è un gioiellino di meccanica di precisione con un’elettronica allo stato dell’arte, ed il tutto prodotto a costi incredibilmente bassi. Nel suo depliant, Rosoboronexport contempla anche ampi sconti su ordinativi consistenti: nessun esercito sarebbe mai resistere alla tentazione di dotarsi di un simile armamento.
«The Pantsir-S1 (SA-22 Greyhound NATO code name) is an air defense missile-gun system designed to protect vital small-size and big military areas, industrial targets and land forces units and reinforced the air defense units responsible for the protection of troops and military installations against precision-guided air attack from low and extremely low altitudes. The mobile version of the Pantsir-S1 system includes a combat vehicle ( up to six vehicles in a battery), surface-to-air guided missiles, 30 mm rounds, a transporter-loader vehicle (one per two combat vehicles), maintenance and training facilities. The Pantsir-S1 is designed by the KBP Instrument Design Bureau of Tula, Russia, and is manufactured by the Ulyanovsk Mechanical Plant, Ulyanovsk, Russia. It has the reporting code name NATO, SA-22 Greyhound. The Pantsir-S1 was unveiled for the first time to the public during the MAKS Air Show in Zhukosvsky near Moscow in 1995. In May 2000, the United Arab Emirates ordered 50 96K6 Pantsir-S1 systems, mounted on MAN SX 45 8×8 wheeled vehicles. The order was worth $734m. The first batch was delivered in November 2004. However, a new radar was requested by the UAE and first deliveries of the completed system took place in 2007. Syria has placed an order for 50 Pantsir-S1 systems. Deliveries began in June 2008. Jordan has also placed an order for an undisclosed number of systems. The first 10 Pantsir S1 (SA-22 Greyhound) antiaircraft surface-to-air missile systems entered service with the Russian Air Force the 18 March 2010. On January 18, 2020, it was announced the purchase of six Pantsir-S1 by Serbia ….
The armament of Pantsir-S1 consists of twelve 57E6 surface-to-air guided missiles and two 2A38M30-millimetre automatic guns developed from the two-barreled 30mm GSh-30 gun. It is provided with a multi-range radar capable of detecting aerial targets with an effective surface of dispersion of up to 2-3 square meters at a distance of more than 30 kilometers and track them down from a distance of over 24 kilometers. ….
The armament of Pantsir-S1 consists of twelve 57E6 surface-to-air guided missiles and two 2A38M30-millimetre automatic guns developed from the two-barreled 30mm GSh-30 gun. It is provided with a multi-range radar capable of detecting aerial targets with an effective surface of dispersion of up to 2-3 square meters at a distance of more than 30 kilometers and track them down from a distance of over 24 kilometers.
Design and protection
Pantsir-S1 carries up to twelve 57E6 or 57E6-E two-stage solid fuel radio-command-guided surface-to-air missiles in sealed ready-to-launch containers. Missiles are arranged into two six-tube groups on the turret. The missile has a bi-caliber body in tandem configuration. The first stage is a booster, providing rapid acceleration within the first 2 seconds of flight after it is separated from the sustainer-stage. The sustainer is the highly agile part of the missile and contains the high explosive multiple continuous rods and fragmentation warhead, contact and proximity fuses as also radio transponder and laser responder to be localized for guidance. The missile is not fitted with seeker to keep target engagement costs low. Instead, high-precision target and missile tracking is provided via the systems multiband sensor system and guidance data is submitted via radio link for up to four missiles in flight. Missiles can be fired in at up to four targets but also salvos of two missiles at one target. The missile is believed to have a hit probability of 70-95% and have a 15 year storage lifetime in its sealed containers. Pantsir-S1 combat vehicles can fire missiles on the move.»
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Le solite malelingue, i malignassi di turno, avevano messo lì che questi sistemi non sarebbero poi stati così performanti come reclamizzato: in parole povere, non sarebbero stati in grado di svolgere i compiti loro destinati.
A prezzi così bassi sarebbe stato ‘impossibile’ produrre un sistema d’arma funzionante.
La tentazione di metterli alla prova era effettivamente troppo grande.
MOSCOW, February 10. /TASS/. Two drone attacks on Russia’ airbase at Syria’s Hmeymin were repelled by the base’s Pantsyr missile defense system in the evening on February 9. No one was hurt, Major General Yuri Borenkov, chief of the Russian Center for Reconciliation of the Opposing Parties in Syria, said on Monday.
“The first attack from the northeastern direction was repelled the Panstyr-S missiles at a distance of two kilometers from the airbase. An aerial target approaching the base from the northwestern direction (from the Mediterranean) in the second attack was downed at a distance of six kilometers of from the base,” he said. “No one was hurt. No material damage was done.”
According to Borenkov, the attack was staged after dark on February 9. Now, the base is operating in routinely.
On behalf of the Russian reconciliation center, the Russian general called on militants’ commanders to stop provocations and embark on a path of peaceful settlement in the areas under their control.
The Russian reconciliation center continues to fulfill assigned tasks after the completion of the military campaign in Syria. The center’s officers regularly travel around the country’s liberated areas to assess the humanitarian situation. The main efforts of the Russian military are now focused on assistance to the refugees returning to their homes and evacuation of civilians from de-escalation zones.
«Da Teheran il corpo delle Guardie Rivoluzionarie Iraniane ha annunciato come “la feroce vendetta” per l’uccisione del generale Soleimani è iniziata e ha affermato che l’operazione iniziale si è conclusa con successo e che la base di al-Asad, contro cui sarebbero stati lanciati almeno 35 missili, “è stata completamente distrutta”.»
L’Iran ha lanciato l’operazione ‘Soleimani Martire’ sferrando un attacco missilistico in Iraq contro due basi che ospitano le truppe americane e quelle della coalizione, tra cui militari italiani. Una pioggia di cruise e di missili balistici a corto raggio partita dal territorio iraniano e che si è abbattuta contro la base di al-Asad e contro quella di Erbil, come prima rappresaglia per l’uccisione del generale Qassem Soleimani da parte degli Usa.
Secondo la tv di Stato iraniana, ci sarebbe stata anche una seconda ondata di attacchi. Al momento non si hanno notizie di vittime, feriti o danni. Il personale del contingente militare italiano ad Erbil si è radunato in un’area di sicurezza – secondo quanto appreso dall’ANSA – e gli uomini si sarebbero rifugiati in appositi bunker. Risultano tutti illesi.
Il Pentagono, in una nota, ha affermato che dopo aver messo al corrente dei fatti il presidente americano Donald Trump sta ancora valutando le conseguenze dell’offensiva. Intanto a Washington si è riunito il consiglio per la sicurezza nazionale alla presenza del segretario di Stato Mike Pompeo e del numero uno del Pentagono Mark Esper.
Da Teheran il corpo delle Guardie Rivoluzionarie Iraniane ha annunciato come “la feroce vendetta” per l’uccisione del generale Soleimani è iniziata e ha affermato che l’operazione iniziale si è conclusa con successo e che la base di al-Asad, contro cui sarebbero stati lanciati almeno 35 missili, “è stata completamente distrutta”.
L’Iran minaccia quindi “azioni ancor più devastanti” se gli Usa dovessero decidere di rispondere. “Se l’Iran dovesse essere attaccato sul suo territorio – avvertono le Guardie Rivoluzionarie – Dubai, Haifa e Tel Aviv verranno colpite in un terzo round di attacchi da parte dell’Iran”. Intanto volano le quotazioni del petrolio, balzato del 3,4% a 65 dollari, e dell’oro, a quota 1.600 dollari l’oncia ai massimi dal 2013.
Per quanti abbiano assorbito la mentalità occidentale, comprendere i problemi dell’Arabia Saudita è operazione ai limiti della fattibilità. Usualmente si cerca di inquadrare gli arabi usando le categorie mentali occidentali, che nei loro confronti non solo non hanno valore, ma sono anche fuorvianti.
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Il primo problema è la comprensione del retaggio storico arabo. Nato come popolo organizzato agli inizi del seicento, ossia millequattrocento anni or sono, ha avuto il suo apice tra il settecento e l’ottocento: ma era uno splendore amministrativo e militare. Molti dei grandi autori dell’epoca usavano la lingua araba come noi adesso usiamo l’inglese, ma non erano arabi, così come noi non siamo inglesi. Buona quota di questi autori era cristiana oppure ebrea.
Un secondo problema è l’indirizzo culturale arabo. Hanno sviluppato una scuola giuridica di tutto rispetto e di grande interesse, che meriterebbe di essere meglio conosciuta in occidente. Non hanno invece sviluppato né tanto meno importato la logica, che alla fine divenne in occidente il substrato su cui edificare ciò che adesso intendiamo per ‘scienza’. È un procedimento mentale che richiede generazioni per essere metabolizzato ed interiorizzato. Un Newton non nasce come un fungo: è sicuramente una persona geniale, ma è pur sempre figlia del proprio tempo.
Un terzo problema inerisce la concezione della schiavitù, espressamente prevista dal Corano. Mentre il mondo latino vede la schiavitù come una condizione quasi esclusivamente economica, per cui lo schiavo può riscattarsi e, in quel momento, può diventare cittadino a tutto gli effetti, tranne alcune limitazioni iniziali, nel mondo greco lo schiavo, δούλος, era il prigioniero di guerra che, essendosi arreso, aveva abiurato la sua condizione umana, tramutandosi in una cosa. Anche se liberato, non godeva di diritti civili e doveva sempre appoggiarsi ad un tutore, spesso digerito peggio del padrone. Orbene, Maometto nel Corano ha recepito il concetto greco della schiavitù, cui è deputato il lavoro manuale.
Così, nei secoli, gli arabi sono diventati ottimi mercanti, del tutto refrattari al concetto occidentale di manifattore. Il lavoro manuale è roba servile.
Un quarto problema è la religione islamica ed ancor di più il come essa sia vissuta. In ogni caso, gli arabi hanno da millequattrocento anni i sunniti nel loro nordovest e li sciiti nel loro nordest, essendo loro wahhabiti. Sono quattordici secoli che appena possono si sgozzano vicendevolmente. È questa una situazione esacerbante, irredimibile. Hanno la mentalità degli assediati.
Un quinto problema resta davvero ostico alle menti occidentali. L’Arabia Saudita è un coacervo di tribù ove quella saudita ha al momento il sopravento, obbligata quindi a gestire la politica interna con pugno di acciaio. Se la Tribù Saud prospera felice e ricca, le altre languono nella miseria o, quanto meno, in uno stato di mera sopravvivenza: questo è l’unco mezzo per dominarle. Ma diventando lo stato sempre più complesso, i Saud non hanno figli a sufficienza per ricoprire tutte le alte cariche burocratiche e, soprattutto, i ranghi militari. Nessun saudita sano di mente metterebbe nelle mani delle tribù avverse un qualsiasi tipo di armamento.
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Se si riuscisse a comprendere codeste problematiche, o almeno a capire che esse esistono per gli arabi sauditi, tutto diventa immediatamente lineare e semplice.
Lo studio che alleghiamo soffre del fatto che l’autrice è profondamente occidentalizzata, e quindi impossibilitata a cogliere l’essenza.
Ignora quasi totalmente il problema tribale e religioso, e si illude che gli arabi la pensino come gli occidentali.
Un esempio per tutti.
«There will have to be transparency and accountability for how the taxpayers’ money is spent, for taxation without representation is tyranny»
Chiunque abbia anche solo i primi rudimenti dell’arabo classico, quello medievale, sa che non esiste un vocabolo che identifichi il concetto di ‘tirannia‘, oppure quello di ‘libertà‘, oppure ancora quello di ‘democrazia‘.
Ma i vocaboli sono la espressione di un pensato: è impossibile dare un termine ad un pensiero inesistente. Un greco antico non avrebbe saputo cosa farsene di un termine quale ‘radio‘, oppure ‘buco nero‘.
Dobbiamo al terzo califfo ʿUthmān b. ʿAffān l’aver disposto la prima versione scritta del Corano. Come di abitudine all’epoca, tranne la prima, tutte le sure furono ordinate in base al numero di caratteri contenuti in ciascuna.
A ciò consegue che la lettura dl Corano da inizio a fine è di impossibile comprensione. Non a caso, le versioni coraniche ad uso professionale riportano anche la numerazione storica. Se letto in questa maniera, dalla sura più antica a quella più recente, il testo diventa immediatamente comprensibile e ben chiaro.
Per dirla in modo elegante, se molti autori avessero seguito codesta semplice procedura non avrebbero scritto le bestialità che spesso si leggono nei loro trattati.
MBS’s Vision 2030 will not alleviate poverty among Saudis and its austerity plan could lead to upheaval.
Growing up in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, I was acutely aware that Saudi society was divided along class lines. There was the royal family and the super-rich, the middle class and the poor masses – all strictly segregated socially and culturally.
Like many other Saudi cities, Jeddah, where I lived and worked as a journalist between 2005 and 2010, was divided in two: the northern part of the city was reserved for royalty and upper middle-class families, while the southern part was where migrant workers, undocumented migrants and poor and middle-class Saudis lived.
Not being a member of the wealthy class, I too lived in the southern neighbourhoods.
Every morning, on my way to the office of the daily al-Madina newspaper, where I worked, I would pass by a street vendor, Om Mohammed, a widow and a mother of five. The death of her husband, the main breadwinner of the family, had forced her to start selling second-hand clothes on the street in order to make ends meet. Two of her sons had had to drop out of school because she could not afford to support their education. While public schools are free in the kingdom, the state does not cover additional costs for students, including school materials and food.
She herself had not received a proper education and was semi-illiterate, which made it difficult for her to go through the heavily bureaucratic process of applying for financial aid from the Ministry of Labour and Social Development. Another hurdle was that such payments could only be made into a bank account, which she could not open because she did not have the money for the minimum deposit required to open one. In Saudi Arabia some 7 million citizens do not have bank accounts, almost 60 percent of whom are women.
Om Mohammed lived in the Kilo 6 slum which had no proper sewage system or running water and flooded every time it rained. She, like her neighbours, was reduced to carrying water from the ablution fountains of the nearby mosques, to drink and wash with.
Om Mohammed is one of millions of Saudis stuck in a vicious circle of poverty on the peripheries of cities whom the world rarely sees or hears about.
Although the government rarely releases statistics, it is estimated that around 20 percent or more of the 34 million Saudi citizens live in poverty. Many of them are women or members of female-headed households.
For decades, successive Saudi governments have done little to alleviate the suffering of their country’s poor. They have been reluctant to openly talk about their existence because recognising poverty necessitates recognising income inequality and the unfair distribution of wealth in the oil-rich country.
Under King Salman and the reform project of his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the situation is no different. Vision 2030 not only is unlikely to help uplift the poor, but the austerity measures it comes with are likely to push parts of the middle class into poverty.
Addressing poverty with charity
Throughout Saudi history, charity has been the central approach to addressing the issue of poverty. Being a Muslim country and the custodian of the two holy mosques, Saudi Arabia obliges every individual and corporation to donate 2.5 percent of their wealth to the government as part of the Islamic system of zakat. The government, in turn, is supposed to distribute it to poor families.
Needless to say, this approach was never successful in addressing the root causes of poverty in the kingdom.
In 2002, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who at that time was crown prince, paid a visit to the poor neighbourhood of al-Shemaysi in Riyadh. The move was unprecedented for a royal and marked the beginning of various initiatives by the state to address poverty.
After he became king in 2005, Abdullah created the National Poverty Reduction Strategy and the Supplementary Support Programmes which started to distribute monthly and one-time payments to poor families through the labour ministry. It was this programme that Om Mohammed was hoping to access but could not because of its bureaucratic hurdles.
Despite King Abdullah’s efforts, poverty persisted. In 2013, amid the Arab Spring, Saudi Arabia had its own public self-immolation incident. Mohammed al-Huraisi, a watermelon seller, set himself on fire after he was told he did not have permission to sell his produce at a street corner of a poor neighbourhood in Riyadh.
According to a 2017 UN report, the anti-poverty measures taken by the Saudi government over the past decade were “inefficient, unsustainable, poorly coordinated and, above all, unsuccessful in providing comprehensive social protection to those most in need”.
At the same time, the Saudi authorities continued to ignore the problem and keep public attention away from it. Saudi officials would avoid using the word “poor” in public statements and substitute it for vulnerable or needy persons or low-income families.
They would also clamp down on those publicly criticising the government for not taking adequate action. In 2011, bloggers Firas Buqna and Hussam al-Darwish were arrested for posting a video documenting the tough living conditions in al-Jaradiyaa, a poor neighbourhood of Riyadh.
In 2014, the government played down a report by Sami bin Abdul Aziz Al-Damigh, a professor at King Saud University in Riyadh, on the poverty problem in the kingdom. Al-Damigh proposed setting a poverty line for the country, which the government rejected.
When King Salman came to power in 2015, the Saudi economy was going through the shock of a major oil price slump. In a matter of months, the oil price had gone done from $100 to $50 per barrel, cutting in half oil export profits, which accounted for about 87 percent of Saudi budget revenues.
The kingdom needed to take major austerity measures and the king decided to empower his son, Mohammed bin Salman (also known as MBS) to spearhead them. In 2016, the then deputy crown prince announced Vision 2030, a reform project based on a report produced by the controversial US-based consulting company McKinsey.
Vision 2030 is supposed to transform Saudi Arabia by weaning it off oil. It proposes ambitious steps to diversify its economy by growing the private sector and scaling down the public one. The main pillar of the project is the privatisation of Aramco, the Saudi state oil company, which has garnered much attention internationally.
But the less-publicised economic initiatives include privatising important public service institutions, like hospitals and schools, slashing public sector employment and increasing taxation. Currently two-thirds of employed Saudis work for the state; under Vision 2030, it is supposed to go down to 20 percent.
Soon after the project was announced, MBS started to implement some of its harshest provisions. In September 2016, the government announced pay cuts for public sector employees. In 2017, it released a timetable for decreasing subsidies for fuel, natural gas, electricity and water over the next few years. In 2018, the government introduced a value-added tax of 5 percent on most goods and services.
These economic decisions sent prices of basic commodities, including fuel, soaring, which not only hit hard the Saudi poor, but also affected middle classes, who have been dependent for generations on state largesse. All of a sudden, middle-income households found themselves unable to pay for housing and their basic necessities. This caused a wave of public anger and capital flight; many Saudis decided not only to transfer money out of the country but also to emigrate.
In 2016, the government estimated that as many as one million Saudis had left the country to seek livelihoods abroad in a short period of time. The crackdown on dissent that the government unleashed under the guidance of MBS further worsened the situation.
MBS’s anti-poverty measures
Despite purporting to transform Saudi Arabia, Vision 2030 does not mention in any significant way the issue of poverty in Saudi Arabia. Among its many different programmes, there are only two which seem to focus to some extent on socio-economic ills.
The National Transformation Program (NTP) has a number of declared goals, including “increase the percentage of residential areas, including peripheral areas, covered by health service from 78% to 88%” and “increase the percentage of population with access to water services from 87% to 92%”. The Housing Program aims to “increase the percentage of home ownership among Saudi citizens to 60%”.
But, needless to say, none of these measures can alleviate the structural causes of poverty in Saudi Arabia. And as Saudi economist Ihsan Bu Haliqa pointed out in 2016 after the unveiling of Vision 2030, “there is an urgent need to restructure the social safety net” in Saudi Arabia which should have happened before the reduction of public spending on subsidies.
Because it did not, there was no buffer to protect lower-income households when cuts in public spending were implemented that could muffle the reaction of the public. Growing dissatisfaction and the risk of social unrest forced MBS to roll back some of his plans, bring back bonus payments for public sector employees and introducing a new Citizen Account Program disbursing money to families in need.
These direct cash transfers may help some families cope with the sudden rise in prices of basic commodities and rent, but it will not help pull them out of poverty or provide them with financial security in the long-term.
Charity did not alleviate Saudi Arabia’s poverty problem in the past and it won’t now, either. These stop-gap measures do not address structural inequality. They may defuse tension in the short term but will not stave off the storm that is coming. The World Bank itself has warned that the country faces a “looming poverty problem“.
Examples in other countries abound of how neoliberal policies, privatisation of public services and austerity measures worsen structural poverty and lead to social upheaval. Even if Saudi Arabia manages to achieve economic growth under Vision 2030, this would not alleviate the socio-economic problems the majority of Saudis (the poor and the middle classes) face. We already know that the idea of wealth “trickling down” to the poorer layers of society without major wealth distribution policies does not work.
As lawyer Yahya al-Shahrani has pointed out, if the government really wanted to protect the poor, it would have taxed the rich instead of imposing a flat tax on everyone and cutting subsidies.
We have to remember that Vision 2030 is implemented in a society rife with patronage networks and by a state that does not have proper separation of powers. This means that wealth will not necessarily change hands with privatisation and the privileged few at the top of the Saudi society will continue to disproportionately benefit from the economic transformation.
And as Bu Haliqa has mentioned, in the absence of labour protections, pushing more Saudis to the private sector would expose them to even more exploitation and abuse. Private companies already pay on average 60 percent less than public ones for the same job.
What Vision 2030 envisions is dismantling the Saudi “rentier” state. While in theory, this may be a positive step, in practice, it undermines the basis of the unwritten social contract between the Saudi population and the house of Saud. Loyalty to the ruling family has been predicated on redistribution of the country’s oil wealth.
If this contract has to change and wealth has to be extracted from the population through taxation, then political and social reforms will also have to be undertaken. There will have to be transparency and accountability for how the taxpayers’ money is spent, for taxation without representation is tyranny.
That of course is not part of Vision 2030, which is why any criticism of its provisions has been met with repression. Saudi economist Essam al-Zamil and Al-Watan columnist Saleh al-Shehi, among many others, have already been imprisoned for their public criticism of the plan. In fact, anyone who has dared express anything but praise for the crown prince has been pressured, jailed or exiled.
For now, repression and monetary handouts might work to suppress public anger but they will not do away with it.
And there are already cracks showing. The Saudi middle class, which has long been a supporter of the political status quo, is increasingly dissatisfied. The austerity measures could impact significantly its political orientations, and lead to political and economic unrest. One form this dissatisfaction is taking is the increasing number of Saudis fleeing the country and some of them are already starting to organise politically in exile.
If Vision 2030 is not revised to address major socio-economic ills and poverty, inequality and injustice will continue to grow and Saudi Arabia will likely face major political instability in the future.
Helicopter Destroyers-(DDH). La chiamano ‘cacciatorpediniere portaelicotteri’, ma a tutti gli effetti è una portaerei leggera pesantemente armata.
«Japan, a US ally, is launching its own operation rather than join a US-led mission to protect shipping in Gulf region.
Japan will send a warship and patrol planes to protect Japanese ships in the Middle East as the situation in the region, from which it sources nearly 90 percent of its crude oil imports, remains volatile, a document approved by the cabinet showed on Friday»
«Under the plan, a helicopter-equipped destroyer and two P-3C patrol planes will be dispatched for information-gathering aimed at ensuring safe passage for Japanese vessels through the region»
«Under the plan, a helicopter-equipped destroyer and two P-3C patrol planes will be dispatched for information-gathering aimed at ensuring safe passage for Japanese vessels through the region»
«If there are any emergencies, a special order would be issued by the Japanese defence minister to allow the forces to use weapons to protect ships in danger»
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Il mondo civile sta iniziando a perdere ogni pazienza residua.
Le importanti rotte commerciali sono vitali per le industrie ed i commerci di tutti i paesi.
Ma sono anche troppo importanti per delegarne ad infidi terzi la difesa.
Come tutti i popoli orientali, i giapponesi sono molto pazienti, ma quando sono in ballo i loro interessi essenziali diventano anche delle belve.
Era dalla fine della guerra mondiale che in Giappone non si sentivano parole come queste:
«a special order would be issued by the Japanese defence minister to allow the forces to use weapons to protect ships in danger».
Le armi sono l’ultima ratio: il permesso al loro uso è segno evidente che la misura sia colma.
A nessuno sfugge il fatto che l’unica risposta possibile ad un attacco missilistico contro delle navi sia il fuoco di controbatteria sulle postazioni a terra donde sia partito l’attacco. Con tutte le logiche conseguenze.
Japan, a US ally, is launching its own operation rather than join a US-led mission to protect shipping in Gulf region.
Japan will send a warship and patrol planes to protect Japanese ships in the Middle East as the situation in the region, from which it sources nearly 90 percent of its crude oil imports, remains volatile, a document approved by the cabinet showed on Friday.
Under the plan, a helicopter-equipped destroyer and two P-3C patrol planes will be dispatched for information-gathering aimed at ensuring safe passage for Japanese vessels through the region.
If there are any emergencies, a special order would be issued by the Japanese defence minister to allow the forces to use weapons to protect ships in danger.
Friction between Iran and the United States has increased since last year, when US President Donald Trump pulled the US out of a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed sanctions on it, crippling its economy.
In May and June, there were several attacks on international merchant vessels, including the Japanese-owned tanker Kokuka Courageous, in the region, which the US blamed on Iran.
Tehran denies the accusations.
Japan, a US ally that has maintained friendly ties with Iran, has opted to launch its own operation rather than join a US-led mission to protect shipping in the region.
Last week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe briefed visiting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tokyo’s plan to send naval forces to the Gulf.
The planned operation is set to cover high seas in the Gulf of Oman, the northern Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Aden, but not the Strait of Hormuz, the cabinet-approved document showed.
The Japanese government aims to start the operation of the patrol planes next month, while the destroyer will likely begin activities in the region in February, a defence ministry official said.
A European operation to ensure safe shipping in the Gulf will also get underway next month when a French warship starts patrolling there.
The situation is tense in Northern Syria after President Trump ordered U.S. troops into a shock withdrawal to facilitate a Turkish incursion across the border. The move abandons Kurdish fighters who bore the brunt of the long fight against ISIS. Ankara has threatened to attack Kurdish militias along the border on numerous occasions and it considers the YPG a terrorist organization.
Turkey’s offensive marks the end of an arrangement which saw soldiers from both countries carrying out joint patrols along the border which kept Kurdish and Turkish forces apart. This push from Turkey sets up a potential clash with the Syrian army as both forces advance into the Kurdish-controlled area. The following map is based on Liveuamap data published by the German newspaper Handelsblatt, and shows the current situation in Syria, focusing on which territory is controlled by which faction.