Ah yes! It’s one of the mission levels in the video game World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft is made by a company which used to employ Steve Bannon ON – now senior adviser to… President Trump. Probably just a co-incidence.
This week the game became very serious. The American President responded to provocations by North Korea by warning Pyongyang it faced ‘Fire and Fury’ if it continues on its missile trajectory. Following the criticism for his inflammatory world of war type language he did something which appears to come naturally to him. He doubled down saying actually his words weren’t ‘tough enough’.
This was followed up with a warning that North Korea should be ‘very nervous’. Well, why not? The rest of the world is.
But we’re not there. A preemptive strike by the US does not look imminent. A ‘pin prick’ punishment attack would risk speaking full scale war – so if the Americans go – they’ll go full in. For that to happen they probably need to move another aircraft carrier group into the region, put some extra bombers on the US Pacific territory of Guam, and at the least move the families of U.S. Embassy staff out of the South Korean capital – Seoul. This isn’t happening. Yet. However, given the President’s language, another provocation could see preparations for action.
Kim Jong-Un’s generals have outlined a plan to fire 4 medium range rockets over Japan, and land them in the sea near Guam. If that happens – I think we will see movement. It’s an explosive situation. Each side has a box of matches. The decision to strike one lies in the hands of Donald Trump, and Kim Jong-Un.
In a week which saw state of the art missile rattling, we also saw terrorist warfare at improvised street level. The target – French troops patrolling in Paris. The weapon – a BMW. It mowed down 6 soldiers seriously injuring 3. The car was then stopped by police on a motorway and the driver, an Algerian resident in Paris, was shot and wounded.
So, another day – another attack. The 8th against the French security forces since January 2015. That’s when thousands of troops were deployed on the streets for Operation Sentinelle in the wake of the terrorist attack against the staff of the magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket. The operation is unpopular with both the top brass and the rank and file who say they didn’t join the army to see the Champs-Elysees.
That’s one of the reasons why President Macron is determined to end France’s State of Emergency in November. The threat level will remain at critical, but Macron says new counter terrorism laws going through Parliament will be enough to replace the State of Emergency measures.
Tied up with all this is the continuing Migrant/Refugee crisis. Several terror attacks in Europe have come from people taking advantage of the crisis to enter the continent under the radar. The European public know that their leaders don’t have a clue as to who is arriving – this in turn affects the politics, and laws, in each European country.
This week sunbathers in Spain were stunned by the sight of a dinghy packed with dozens of African migrants landing on a beach. Two other dinghies were picked up in the Strait of Gibraltar. It’s thought the vessels are coming from Morocco.
This is an increasingly popular route. Officials say 8,000 migrants arrived in Spain in the first 5 months of this year, compared with around 2,400 for the whole of 2016. However, Italy remains the main point of arrival with 100,000 people so far this year. An agreement between Italy and Libya has reduced the numbers this month – but the more difficult it becomes to reach Europe from Libya – the more people will attempt other routes – such that to Italy.
Europe’s heart is slowly hardening – but few people could help but be moved by what happened off the coast of Yemen. Smugglers forced about 300 migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia overboard as they approached the coast. At least 50 died, dozens more are missing.
Finally, the Lebanese Army said it has completed all preparations for the coming battle with ISIS on the Lebanese/Syrian frontier. About 3,000 troops have been deployed – they are facing up to 400 ISIS fighters thought to be inside Lebanon, and several hundred more just across the border. The Government wants to end a years-long threat SIS has posed to villages and towns in Lebanon. The assault will be supported by the Lebanese Shia militia Hezbollah. The Syrian Army will also play a role but Beirut says it will not be coordinating with Damascus on this but it will have the ‘training and support’ of American Special Forces’. It’s going to be a hard fight. On Monday ISIS demonstrated its firepower – launching 7 Grad missiles towards the town of Al Qaa and there are fears of ISIS activating sleeper cells in Lebanon.
That’s what may be coming – this was the Week that Was.