World View: Kofi Annan Resigns in Failure as Syria Envoy

World View: Kofi Annan Resigns in Failure as Syria Envoy

This morning’s key headlines from

  • 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 specialpeace envoy to Syria for the United Nations and the Arab League.He’ll continue as envoy until the end of August, when his mandateexpires. He said he could no longer do the job, blaming his decisionon what he described as Syrian government intransigence, on increasingmilitancy by Syrian rebels and on finger-pointing and name-calling bymembers of the United Nations Security Council. The finger-pointingand name-calling continued after Annan’s announcement, as Russian andWestern diplomats blamed each other for the failure of the Annanmission. Day Press News (Syria)

When the Kofi Annan “peace plan” was announced in March, I called itshown that criticism to be an understatement. As I’ve suggestedseveral times in the past, the “peace plan” has actually made thingsworse, because it provided a fig leaf behind which the Bashar al-Assadregime could hide while it was slaughtering and exterminating innocentcivilians, and behind which the Russians could hide as they providedsupport for the al-Assad regime to conduct its extermination program.

Having said that, I’m surprised that Annan resigned. Syria is in agenerational Awakening era, and so the fears that this civil war willspiral out of control are completely unfounded. Just as the Iraqcollapse. It’s not possible to predict which side will be declaredthe “winner” once the war collapses, but right now the trends appearto indicate that al-Assad’s regime will collapse with the war. Thisconclusion is supported by the fact that 2/3 of the population areSunnis, while al-Assad’s Alewite sect is a small minority. I hadexpected that when the war collapsed, Annan would then declare that hehad brought peace to Syria, but now that he’s resigned, he may not beable 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 newquantitative easing program, with lots of new “printed” money to paytheir 7-digit salaries and bonuses. On Thursday, they weredisappointed again, this time by European Central Bank (ECB) presidentMario Draghi, who failed to announce a European quantitative easingprogram that where the ECB would purchase toxic bonds issued by Spainand Italy. Last week, Draghi announced that the ECB would doeuro is irreversible.” However, instead of announcing a big newliquidity program for traders and banksters, he merely announcedremembering that the ECB initiated its LTRO program last December,pouring 1.1 trillion euros into Europe’s banking system. It kept bondyields (interest rates) down, but they popped up again as soon as theprogram ended in March. The banks were supposed to lend all thatmoney to businesses to hire employees, but people and businesses havebeen badly burned in the last decade, and will remain cautious for therest of their lives, like the survivors of the Great Depression. Asfor 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 bugin the trading software of Knight Capital Group, as we reported yesterday. The bug caused thecompany to send numerous erroneous orders in 140 stocks listed on theNY Stock Exchange. The errors will cost the company $440 million, andmay throw the company into bankruptcy. AP

It’s been very interesting to me to see the generational parallelsbetween the computer industry and the financial industry. As a SeniorSoftware Engineer, I’ve seen some of the same contempt for rigorousdevelopment and testing practices in some younger Gen-X programmers asthe contempt for rigorous financial practices that I’ve reported on inGen-X financial engineers. (From 2008: “Boomers and Gen-Xers: Dumbing down IT”) I saw aninterview on Thursday morning with Knight Capital CEO Thomas Joyce,where he indicated that inadequate software testing had led to thesoftware bug making it into production. Based on my personalexperiences of the last ten years, I can well believe that some of theyounger programmers decided not to test the software simply becausesome Boomer had told them that they should. So it cost the company$440 million. I’ll be following this situation, as the technicaldetails 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 Muslimethnic Uighurs living in China’s north west Xinjiang province, Chinahas banned Muslim officials and students from fasting during Ramada oreven to attend mosques. The government statement urged party leadersto bring “gifts” of food to local village leaders to ensure that theywere eating during Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn todusk and strive to be more pious and charitable, and banning fastingstrikes at the heart of a very important Muslim ritual. AFP

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