World View: Kofi Annan Resigns in Failure as Syria Envoy

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
  • Kofi Annan resigns in failure as Syria envoy
  • Investors and banksters disappointed again, this time by ECB
  • The 'mini flash crash' software bug will be expensive
  • China restricts Ramadan fasting for Uighurs in Xinjiang province

Kofi Annan resigns in failure as Syria envoy

Kofi Annan
Kofi Annan

A bitter and angry Kofi Annan resigned his role on Thursday as special peace envoy to Syria for the United Nations and the Arab League. He'll continue as envoy until the end of August, when his mandate expires. He said he could no longer do the job, blaming his decision on what he described as Syrian government intransigence, on increasing militancy by Syrian rebels and on finger-pointing and name-calling by members of the United Nations Security Council. The finger-pointing and name-calling continued after Annan's announcement, as Russian and Western diplomats blamed each other for the failure of the Annan mission. Day Press News (Syria)

When the Kofi Annan "peace plan" was announced in March, I called it "farcical", and time has shown that criticism to be an understatement. As I've suggested several times in the past, the "peace plan" has actually made things worse, because it provided a fig leaf behind which the Bashar al-Assad regime could hide while it was slaughtering and exterminating innocent civilians, and behind which the Russians could hide as they provided support for the al-Assad regime to conduct its extermination program.

Having said that, I'm surprised that Annan resigned. Syria is in a generational Awakening era, and so the fears that this civil war will spiral out of control are completely unfounded. Just as the Iraq "civil war" had to collapse in an Awakening era, the Syria war has to collapse. It's not possible to predict which side will be declared the "winner" once the war collapses, but right now the trends appear to indicate that al-Assad's regime will collapse with the war. This conclusion is supported by the fact that 2/3 of the population are Sunnis, while al-Assad's Alewite sect is a small minority. I had expected that when the war collapsed, Annan would then declare that he had brought peace to Syria, but now that he's resigned, he may not be able to make that claim.

Investors and banksters disappointed again, this time by ECB

On Wednesday, traders and banksters were disappointed that U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke didn't announce a big new quantitative easing program, with lots of new "printed" money to pay their 7-digit salaries and bonuses. On Thursday, they were disappointed again, this time by European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi, who failed to announce a European quantitative easing program that where the ECB would purchase toxic bonds issued by Spain and Italy. Last week, Draghi announced that the ECB would do "whatever it takes to preserve the euro." On Thursday, he said "The euro is irreversible." However, instead of announcing a big new liquidity program for traders and banksters, he merely announced "guidance" for measures that might be taken in September. It's worth remembering that the ECB initiated its LTRO program last December, pouring 1.1 trillion euros into Europe's banking system. It kept bond yields (interest rates) down, but they popped up again as soon as the program ended in March. The banks were supposed to lend all that money to businesses to hire employees, but people and businesses have been badly burned in the last decade, and will remain cautious for the rest of their lives, like the survivors of the Great Depression. As for now, Europe is on vacation till the end of August. Spiegel

The 'mini flash crash' software bug will be expensive

The "mini flash crash" that occurred on Wednesday was caused by a bug in the trading software of Knight Capital Group, as we reported yesterday. The bug caused the company to send numerous erroneous orders in 140 stocks listed on the NY Stock Exchange. The errors will cost the company $440 million, and may throw the company into bankruptcy. AP

It's been very interesting to me to see the generational parallels between the computer industry and the financial industry. As a Senior Software Engineer, I've seen some of the same contempt for rigorous development and testing practices in some younger Gen-X programmers as the contempt for rigorous financial practices that I've reported on in Gen-X financial engineers. (From 2008: "Boomers and Gen-Xers: Dumbing down IT") I saw an interview on Thursday morning with Knight Capital CEO Thomas Joyce, where he indicated that inadequate software testing had led to the software bug making it into production. Based on my personal experiences of the last ten years, I can well believe that some of the younger programmers decided not to test the software simply because some Boomer had told them that they should. So it cost the company $440 million. I'll be following this situation, as the technical details of the mini flash crash leak out in the next few weeks.

China restricts Ramadan fasting for Uighurs in Xinjiang province

In a policy that's certain to infuriate the nine million mostly Muslim ethnic Uighurs living in China's north west Xinjiang province, China has banned Muslim officials and students from fasting during Ramada or even to attend mosques. The government statement urged party leaders to bring "gifts" of food to local village leaders to ensure that they were eating during Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and strive to be more pious and charitable, and banning fasting strikes at the heart of a very important Muslim ritual. AFP


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