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Satchu's Rich Wrap-Up
Monday 25th of October 2021

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[REGIME CHANGE] There is no training – that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it's the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. @ptj_official
World Of Finance

There is no training – classroom or otherwise.. that can prepare for trading the last third of a move, whether it's the end of a bull market or the end of a bear market. 

There's typically no logic to it; irrationality reigns supreme, and no class can teach what to do during that brief, volatile reign.

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Black swan, golden sunrise @Astrid_Tontson
World Of Finance

For the denouement to happen we need to return to March 2020

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Ecclesiastes 1:2-11 2 Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher

Vanity[a] of vanities, says the Preacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.
The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens[b] to the place where it rises.
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.
There is no remembrance of former things, nor will there be any remembrance
of later things[d] yet to be
among those who come after.

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"...for in their heart of hearts the people knew it was a mirage, they just didn't care. @coloradotravis

Such is the nature of bacchanalian frenzy:  there is no reason, there is no tomorrow, the sole focus - the essential, all-encompassing need -  is to prolong the mad and glorious now."

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The Lotos-eaters

"Courage!" he said, and pointed toward the land, "This mounting wave will roll us shoreward soon." 

In the afternoon they came unto a land In which it seemed always afternoon.
All round the coast the languid air did swoon, Breathing like one that hath a weary dream.
Then some one said, "We will return no more"; 

And all at once they sang, "Our island home Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam."

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Biden says United States would come to Taiwan's defense @ReutersWorld
Law & Politics

The United States would come to Taiwan's defense and has a commitment to defend the island China claims as its own, U.S. President Joe Biden said on Thursday, though the White House said later there was no change in policy towards the island.

"Yes, we have a commitment to do that," Biden said at a CNN town hall when asked if the United States would come to the defense of Taiwan, which has complained of mounting military and political pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese sovereignty.
While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long followed a policy of "strategic ambiguity" on whether it would intervene militarily to protect Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack.
In August, a Biden administration official said U.S. policy on Taiwan had not changed after the president appeared to suggest the United States would defend the island if it were attacked.
A White House spokesperson said Biden at his town hall was not announcing any change in U.S. policy and "there is no change in our policy", but declined further comment when asked if Biden had misspoken.
"The U.S. defense relationship with Taiwan is guided by the Taiwan Relations Act. We will uphold our commitment under the Act, we will continue to support Taiwan's self-defense, and we will continue to oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo," the spokesperson said.
Taiwan's presidential office, responding to Biden's remarks, said their position remains the same, which is it will neither give in to pressure nor "rashly advance" when it gets support.
Taiwan will show a firm determination to defend itself, presidential office spokesperson Xavier Chang said in a statement, noting also the Biden administration's continued concrete actions to show its "rock-solid" support for Taiwan.
Biden said people should not worry about Washington's military strength because "China, Russia and the rest of the world knows we're the most powerful military in the history of the world,"
"What you do have to worry about is whether or not they're going to engage in activities that would put them in a position where they may make a serious mistake," Biden said.
"I don't want a cold war with China. I just want China to understand that we're not going to step back, that we're not going to change any of our views."
Military tensions between Taiwan and China are at their worst in more than 40 years, Taiwan's Defense Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng said this month, adding that China will be capable of mounting a "full-scale" invasion by 2025. 
Taiwan says it is an independent country and will defend its freedoms and democracy.
China says Taiwan is the most sensitive and important issue in its ties with the United States and has denounced what it calls "collusion" between Washington and Taipei.
Speaking to reporters earlier on Thursday, China's United Nations Ambassador Zhang Jun said they are pursuing "peaceful reunification" with Taiwan and responding to "separatist attempts" by its ruling Democratic Progressive Party.
"We are not the troublemaker. On the contrary, some countries - the U.S. in particular - is taking dangerous actions, leading the situation in Taiwan Strait into a dangerous direction," he said.
"I think at this moment what we should call is that the United States to stop such practice. Dragging Taiwan into a war definitely is in nobody's interest. I don't see that the United States will gain anything from that."

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''Strategic Ambiguity'' no more.
Law & Politics

Biden says 'yes' US would defend Taiwan against China

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Facebook’s demons will follow it into the metaverse @FT @henrymance
World Of Finance

Let’s suppose you go to a cosmetic surgeon. The surgeon is young, cheap and keen and, along with some good work, disfigures you. You complain, and he tries a few fixes. 

Then he says he’s apologised enough. He’s moved on. He no longer considers himself a cosmetic surgeon: he’s exploring new challenges. Could he interest you in a heart transplant?

This is basically what is happening at Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg’s behemoth has horribly disfigured parts of our public sphere. But it is moving on. 

It wants to be known less for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, and more for the “metaverse” — the mix of internet, virtual reality and augmented reality that could create a much more immersive digital experience. 

According to tech website The Verge, Facebook will make clear its reincarnation this month by unveiling a new corporate name.

A new name! Maybe Zuckerberg is the only adult on earth who saw rapper Kanye West legally become Ye, and thought, “Mmm, cool guy.” 

Will Facebook now follow asset manager Standard Life Aberdeen, delete all its vowels, and end up as fcbk? 

Will it create an anodyne parent, like Google’s Alphabet? A rebrand is a world of possibility. 

If Facebook wants a conventional name, I gather Standard Oil is available. Indeed, officially, there’s no one called The Mafia. That would certainly silence the critics.

A rebrand won’t fix Facebook. Oh no, The Disaster Formerly Known As Facebook will go on making mistakes, because it hasn’t learnt from the last lot.

Documents released by a former Facebook product manager, Frances Haugen, restate the myriad missteps. Facebook wanted to engage adults, but the most engaging posts were often divisive, or extremist nonsense. 

It wanted to engage children at younger ages, but many teenage girls said that Instagram damaged their mental health. In private, the company has built a system that has shielded high-profile users from some or all of its rules.

While all this was private, Facebook obfuscated. When it became public, the company acted as deftly as a triple-jumping elephant. 

It complained that a “curated selection out of millions of documents . . . can in no way be used to draw fair conclusions”. Erm, guys, wait till you hear how your own News Feed works.

Facebook made $33bn in pre-tax profit last year from products that may undermine our democratic stability and mental health. 

Still, its executives seem flabbergasted that people expect them to question the basic belief that more online connections are good, that algorithms can satisfactorily govern those connections, and that AI can mostly sort out the bad stuff.

The company is controlled by a man who admires Emperor Augustus and posts videos of himself spear-throwing and hydrofoiling. 

Zuckerberg is long on enthusiasm for the metaverse, and almost silent on the risks. 

You will, Facebook hopes, become less attached to people who you live near and more attached to those who you only meet online. We don’t know what will go wrong, but we know it could be quite a lot.

Beer companies now accept that some people are too young to drink, some meals are better without alcohol, and regulators often have a point. 

Facebook makes a delicious but toxic product, not unlike beer. But it bristles at even modest constraints. 

This week the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority fined it £50m for breaching an order relating to its acquisition of a GIF database. 

The regulator said: “Given the multiple warnings it gave Facebook . . . Facebook’s failure to comply was deliberate.”

The metaverse promises extraordinary parallel realities, perhaps even including one in which Facebook is well run. But for now, what the company needs is not a new name and a new mission; it’s a new culture.

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26 MAR 18 :: @Facebook
World Of Finance

“We just put information into the bloodstream to the internet and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again over time to watch it take shape. And so this stuff infiltrates the online community and expands but with no branding – so it’s unattributable, untraceable.”
“It’s no use fighting elections on the facts; it’s all about emotions.”
“So the candidate is the puppet?” the undercover reporter asked. “Always,” replied Nix.

Traditional media has been disrupted and the insurgents can broadcast live and over the top from feeding the hot-house conspiracy frenzy on line (‘’a constant state of destabilised perception’’), timely and judicious doses of Wikileaks leaks which drained Hillary’s bona fides and her turn-out and motivated Trump’s, what we have witnessed is something remarkable and noteworthy.

In an extraordinary boomerang, The US’ adversaries have turned social media on its head and used it as a ‘’Trojan Horse’’ via psychographic profiling and micro-targeting at a mass scale.
The fundamental challenge for Facebook is this: It has represented itself as an ‘’Infomediary’’ 

An infomediary works as a personal agent on behalf of consumers to help them take control over information gathered about them. 

The concept of the infomediary was first suggested by John Hagel III in the book Net Worth.
However, Facebook has been hawking this information as if it were an intermediary. 

This is its ‘’trust gap’’. That gap is set to widen further. Facebook is facing an existentialist crisis.

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The far-fetched pavilions At the Dubai expo, no one is eager to talk about reality @TheEconomist
Emerging Markets

The setting is dramatic. Visitors passing from the harsh midday sun to the dim interior are met with slogans. “We believe that every human is part of the collective conscience,” reads a message on the walls of the Syrian pavilion at the Dubai expo. 

Why the Syrian government has spent years dropping bombs on many of those humans is not explained.
The $7bn fair is the first “World Expo” in the Middle East. Like much else in the United Arab Emirates (uae), which wants to attract visitors to revive its economy, the expo strives to gloss over politics. Exhibitors are able to present Panglossian visions of themselves to investors and tourists.
Many of the pavilions, intentionally or not, capture something about a country’s character. 

America puts guests on a moving walkway for an earnest civics lesson.

China greets them with a video from Xi Jinping.

Visitors to the British one spend most of their time in an orderly queue.
For countries in the region, there is much to gloss over. Lebanon’s pavilion feels like a tourism ad, with large monitors showing glamour shots of the country. Such an exhibit would be impossible in Lebanon itself, where the power went out for 24 hours earlier this month. 

Some countries have yet to showcase anything. Libya’s is almost empty, with walls that smell of fresh paint and a television playing cartoons. Iraq missed the opening, too.
Egypt is a popular stop. There are a few nods to the past: hieroglyphs and a replica of King Tut’s coffin. Much of it, though, is given over to portraying Egypt as an economic powerhouse, an image at odds with its sluggish private firms. 

On a giant video screen, a woman in pharaonic garb talks about industrial zones being built along the Suez canal. 

If Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi is Egypt’s new pharaoh, a fish farm near Suez is apparently his Karnak temple.
No one acknowledges politics, not even occupied Palestine, which allows visitors to touch a piece of Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock and smell soap made in Nablus. 

Instead, many countries want to do business. At Iran’s unfinished pavilion, where one door leads to a construction site, space is given over to a sort of bazaar, with companies hawking ceramic tiles and carpets.
Back at the Syrian stall there are booths for firms selling cables and olive oil, and one for Cham Holding, a conglomerate under American and European sanctions. 

Another space is lined with 1,500 wood panels that were posted to Syrians around the world with instructions to draw their hopes. Some are painted with the regime’s flag, or Bashar al-Assad’s face. 

Organisers insist they tried to reach a representative sample of the now-sprawling diaspora. 

Yet none seems to have sent wishes for a less brutal government or accountability for a war that killed hundreds of thousands of their fellow citizens. 

A neon sign nearby declares, “What you see isn’t all there is”—an apt slogan for the whole expo. ■

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.@WHO Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 - 19 October 2021

Globally, the numbers of weekly COVID-19 cases and deaths has stabilized this week, with over 2.7 million cases and over 46 000 new deaths, a 4% and 2% decrease respectively, representing similar numbers as those reported last week’s.

With the exception of the European region, which for the third consecutive week reported an increase in new COVID-19 cases (7% increase as compared with the previous week), all the other regions reported a decline. 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

United States of America (582 707 new cases; 11% decrease), 

United Kingdom (283 756 new cases; 14% increase)

Russian Federation (217 322 new cases; 15% increase)

Turkey (213 981 new cases; similar to the number reported in the previous week) 

India (114 244 new cases; 18% decrease).


We turn higher now 

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COVID-19 infections are still rising in 49 countries. @ReutersGraphics

18 countries are still near the peak of their infection curve

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What happens next depends not only on vaccination, but also on how the virus might mutate. @derspiegel

"This virus keeps surprising us," agrees Mary Bushman, a mathematician and population biologist at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. 

"No one expected such large jumps in contagiousness.”

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“No matter how the official narrative of this turns out," it seemed to Heidi

Thomas Pynchon in Bleeding Edge “No matter how the official narrative of this turns out," it seemed to Heidi, "these are the places we should be looking, not in newspapers or television but at the margins, graffiti, uncontrolled utterances, bad dreamers who sleep in public and scream in their sleep.”

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01-MAR-2020 :: The Origin of the #CoronaVirus #COVID19

 “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers.”

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What evidence is that, @NIH ? @ydeigin

NIH: "The scientific evidence to date indicates that the virus is likely the result of viral evolution in nature, potentially jumping directly to humans or through an unidentified intermediary animal host."

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04-JAN-2021 :: Today only the Paid for Propagandists and Virologists will argue that there is a ''zoonotic'' origin for COVID19.

Today only the Paid for Propagandists and Virologists and WHO will argue that there is a ''zoonotic'' origin for COVID19.
It is remarkable that the Propaganda is still being propagated more than a year later.
Those who have chosen to propagate this narrative are above the radar and in plain sight and need to be called to account.
The Utter Failure to call these 5th columnists to Account is the clearest Signal that there is no external threat because it is already on the inside.

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German virologist Alexander Kekulé: "My discomfort with the possibility that it could also have been a laboratory accident has actually increased.. now I read in Peter Daszak's application that he wanted to do just that." @TheSeeker268

"It's like this: You don't have a smoking gun, but you have a letter from the gardener who wrote that I will now take the following pistol, load the following ammunition and then shoot the master..Then the master of the house lies dead on the ground, shot with that exact caliber"

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In Major Shift, @NIH Admits Funding Risky Virus Research in Wuhan @VanityFair

Gilles Demaneuf, told Vanity Fair, “I cannot be sure that [COVID-19 originated from] a research-related accident or infection from a sampling trip. But I am 100% sure there was a massive cover-up.”

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In 1929, President Herbert Hoover assured the country that things were already “back to normal,” Liaquat Ahamed writes in Lords of Finance
World Of Finance

Just weeks after the stock market crashed in 1929, President Herbert Hoover assured the country that things were already “back to normal,” Liaquat Ahamed writes in Lords of Finance 
Five months later, in March 1930, Hoover said the worst would be over “during the next 60 days.”
When that period ended, he said, “We have passed the worst.”
Eventually, Ahamed writes, “when the facts refused to obey Hoover’s forecasts, he started to make them up.”
Government agencies were pressed to issue false data. Officials resigned rather than do so, including the chief of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
And we all know how that turned out: The Great Depression.

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"Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers... It will purge the rottenness out of the system."
World Of Finance

Mellon doctrine Territory. Mellon believed that economic recessions, such as those that had occurred in 1873 and 1907, were a necessary part of the business cycle because they purged the economy. 

In his memoirs, Hoover wrote that Mellon advised him to “liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmers, liquidate real estate. Purge the rottenness out of the system. High costs of living and high living will come down. ... enterprising people will pick up the wrecks from less competent people.”

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Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
World Currencies

Euro 1.1658
Dollar Index 93.517
Japan Yen 113.64
Swiss Franc 0.9152
Pound 1.3782
Aussie 0.7487
India Rupee 75.067
South Korea Won 1168.70
Brazil Real 5.6504
Egypt Pound 15.7019
South Africa Rand 14.7877

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Lira Drops to Record After Erdogan’s Threat Against Envoys @markets
Emerging Markets

Turkey’s lira fell to a record as the country’s latest diplomatic spat gave traders another reason to sell the struggling currency.
The lira weakened as much as 1.6% in early Asian trading amid thin liquidity, touching a new low for a third straight day. 

It stood 1.5% lower at 9.7552 per dollar at 11:33 p.m. in Istanbul

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African Region .@WHO regional overviews Epidemiological week 4-10 October 2021

African Region
Since mid-July, the African Region has shown a constant decline in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, with over 33 000 new cases and over 1200 new deaths reported last week, a 32% and a 34% decrease respectively as compared to the previous week. 

While the majority of countries (35/49; 71%) reported a decrease in new weekly cases, seven countries reported an increase, with Chad (by 54%) reporting the greatest increase. 

The highest numbers of new cases were reported from 

Ethiopia (6061 new cases; 5.3 new cases per 100 000; a 15% decrease)

South Africa (5884 new cases; 9.9 new cases per 100 000; a 39% decrease)

Cameroon (3096 new cases; 11.7 new cases per 100 000; a 55% decrease).
Concerning new weekly deaths, 75% of countries in the Region reported a decline whereas there was a marked increase observed in Senegal (by 125%) and Mali (by 100%). 

The highest numbers of new deaths were reported from 

South Africa (539 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 28% decrease)

Ethiopia (275 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 10% decrease)

Cameroon (58 new deaths; <1 new death per 100 000; a 36% decrease).

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Sudan Officials Detained, Communication Lines Cut in Apparent Military Coup @bpolitics @AP

Military forces detained at least five senior Sudanese government figures on Monday, officials said, as the country's main pro-democracy group called on people to take to the streets to counter an apparent military coup.
The Sudanese Professionals’ Association, a group leading demands for a transition to democracy, also said there were internet and phone signal outages across the country.

A possible takeover by the military would be a major setback for Sudan, which has grappled with a transition to democracy since long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir was toppled by mass protests.
Monday's arrests come after weeks of rising tensions between Sudan’s civilian and military leaders. 

A failed coup attempt in September fractured the country along old lines, pitting more-conservative Islamists who want a military government against those who toppled al-Bashir more than two years ago in mass protests. 

In recent days, both camps have taken to the street in demonstrations.
The arrests of the five government figures were confirmed by two officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The whereabouts of Hamdok were not immediately clear, amid media reports that security forces were stationed outside his home in Khartoum

Photos circulating online showed men in uniform standing in the dark, allegedly near his home.

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10-JUN-2019 :: The "zeitgeist" of the Revolution in Khartoum was intoxicating

As I watched events unfold it felt like Sudan was a portal into a whole new normal.

And now we have two visions of the Future. One vision played out on our screens, the protestors could have been our wives, children. 

The other vision is that of MBS, MBZ and Al-Sisi and its red in tooth and claw. 

Hugh Masekela said ‘’I want to be there when the people start to turn it around.’’ Sudan is a Masekela pivot moment.

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Ethiopia: What Next? @RUSI_org

Mired in a conflict that began in late 2020 between the federal government and insurgent forces in Tigray, Ethiopia faces a number of possible scenarios.
On 29 September, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs head warned of looming famine in Ethiopia’s Tigray becoming a ‘stain on our conscience’. 

The Ethiopian government responded quickly, expelling seven UN humanitarian staff from the country in advance of the swearing in of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on 4 October.
Violent conflict erupted between Ethiopia’s federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in November 2020. 

What was originally a political fight between the TPLF and the federal government has now shifted to a full-fledged civil war. 

The conflict has spread geographically, including Amhara and Afar regional states, and drawn in neighbours and coalition partners. 

Thousands have already died and millions have been displaced, with reports of atrocities against Tigrayan civilians, around 5.2 million of whom currently require humanitarian assistance while more than 400,000 people already face famine-like conditions. 

This month has seen a resumption of hostilities between federal forces, the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) and the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF), with attacks mounted by land and by air, including raids on Tigray’s capital Mekelle with reported civilian casualties.
How did it come to this? But, more importantly, where might Ethiopia head next?
The Road to Conflict
Close observers of Ethiopian politics cite irreconcilable visions of power distribution among political elites as the key problem. 

A unitary camp has long seen Ethiopia’s ‘ethno-federal’ constitution as flawed and sought a more centralised system. 

In contrast, for federalists (read TPLF and like-minded ethno-nationalist groups), the constitution needs only to be respected to ensure peace and prosperity.
Prime Minister Abiy harnessed discontentment among the federalists to win power in 2018. He then switched sides, offering a more centralised vision for the country’s development under the banner of a new Prosperity Party. 

The unitary camp he joined faced trenchant opposition from two key groups: the TPLF and opposition figures from Oromia. 

From 2018 onwards, key figures in the Oromo opposition were jailed or co-opted. Attention then turned to the TPLF, who were successfully ousted from power in 2018. 

A three-way blame-game developed between the federal government, Amhara state government and TPLF. 

The TPLF's leaders retreated to Mekelle, the capital of Tigray regional state. 

And so began a phony war, with the federal government and TPLF exchanging harsh words while making quiet preparations for the armed conflict that erupted in November 2020.
It now seems clear that Abiy’s faction within the federal government had agreed with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and key figures within Amhara regional state to eliminate the TPLF as a political force. 

Doing so would allow Amhara regional leaders to gain control of disputed border land while weakening the rival TPLF and what they stand for – the federal system. 

President Isaias sees the TPLF as a threat to his undisputed power within the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front and has long sought to regain disputed land in Tigray state lost to Ethiopia during the Ethio-Eritrean war in 1998–2000. 

For Abiy, the objective will be to consolidate power and remove a key blocker of centralisation.
The State of Play
At the present time, the conflict parties are fervently building coalitions. In response to their surprise military defeat in Tigray, the federal government and allies have sought to contain, weaken and delegitimise the TDF. 

A blockade of Tigray is underway, denying humanitarian assistance and basic services to the population. 

Forces have also been posted along the routes to Sudan and Djibouti, which the TDF could plausibly look to seize in order to unlock cross-border supply routes.
Ethiopia's political terrain is marked by seemingly irreconcilable divisions, and the mood is vengeful
Meanwhile, federal spokespeople and supportive media are portraying the TDF as an anti-Ethiopian force bent on dismantling the country in concert with foreign powers

The US, Egypt and Sudan are cited, though two usual suspects – Eritrea and Somalia – are notably absent from the list. 

At the same time, the government is trying to widen its domestic coalition beyond Amhara. 

‘Loyalist’ regional states have been asked for recruits to backfill for the broken ENDF. Though the numbers and quality of recruits are doubtful, the leadership of several states have responded.
For their part, the TDF now control all but parts of western and northern Tigray while occupying parts of Afar and Amhara states. 

Amhara towns such as Alamata, Qobo, Woldia and Lalibela are currently under TDF control, while major administrative towns such as Bahirdar, Gondar and Dessie are threatened.

 All could be used as bargaining chips for the departure of Amhara or Eritrean forces from Tigrayan territory. 

More recently, they brokered an understanding with longstanding insurgents from Oromia, the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA), as well as smaller insurgency groups from Afar, Agaw, Benishangul, Gambella, Qimant and Sidama. 

All have now announced their support for the TDF forces and joined the TDF-OLA coalition, though the military utility of these broad alliances has yet to be tested.
The country is at a political impasse, stuck midway through a failing transition that the prime minister spearheaded. 

Regardless of the recent parliamentary election, the questions facing the country are not being processed by its political institutions. The political terrain is marked by seemingly irreconcilable divisions, and the mood is vengeful. 

The conflict between Tigray and the federal government, which has an increasingly existential feel to it, is a manifestation of a decades-long ailment within the body politic. 

This is true from the TDF, who now see themselves as fighting for the survival of Tegaru, to Amhara elites who have banked on a quasi-religious nationalism to shore up support, to the Eritrean and Ethiopian federal leadership whose fate likely hinges on the outcome of this conflict. 

Insurgent groups – the TDF and OLA, in particular – want accountability for crimes committed and seem to feel they are within reach of victory. 

For the first time, most Tigrayans are in favour of secession, unrealistic as that may be. In this context, proposals for dialogue and consultations are not realistic.
At the same time, the situation is unsustainable. The country is facing a steep economic decline and a forex crisis. 

Moody’s credit agency has downgraded Ethiopia’s rating to Caa2, reflecting increased default risks. 

The country’s appeal for debt cancellation to the G20 Common Framework for debt restructuring was also rejected, meaning that debt repayments must continue and further loans are unlikely. 

With rising inflation, many household goods are now out of reach for ordinary Ethiopians, and areas affected by conflict are seeing growing hunger.
At least four possible scenarios present themselves.
Scenario 1: TDF-OLA Coalition Wins
Tigrayan forces are embattled but clearly well-led, motivated and enjoying broad popular support. 

They amassed military equipment during the early stages of the conflict and faced an unwieldy coalition of demotivated ENDF, Amhara (peasant) militias and EDF conscripts. 

To break the current impasse, however, the TDF must exploit their new alliance with insurgent groups, particularly the OLA, and divide their opponents militarily and politically. 

If the TDF does not receive outside assistance to break the federal blockade, OLA growth and battlefield engagement will be the key factor in the coming months.
In a post-war scenario where the balance of societal forces remains finely balanced, the TDF-OLA coalition might attempt to resuscitate the current constitution under their leadership. 

This ‘make-do-and-mend’ EPRDF 2.0 scenario would be unstable. It would be vulnerable to accusations that the TPLF remained the (corrupt) power behind the throne. 

In the event of a sweeping TDF-OLA victory, a much looser confederal constitution can be imagined, satisfying the appetite of many groups for greater self-determination but posing new questions about unity. 

In either case, economic and political liberalisation would be unlikely as the victorious party guarded carefully against counter-revolution.
Scenario 2: Stalemate
If the TDF-OLA alliance cannot achieve a breakthrough, the most likely medium-term scenario is a stalemate. This is more likely than capitulation in the face of internal pressure. 

The human toll of this scenario would be enormous, first within a Tigray state remaining under blockage and experiencing large-scale famine, but also in neighbouring territories feeling the effects of war and gradually elsewhere. 

Directing ever more resources towards war, the economy would continue to decline, and the cost of living would rise to punishing levels. Unrest would grow, first in territories like Oromia and Amhara due to hunger, but later elsewhere until Addis faced multiple insurgencies.
The country could fragment slowly in the form of ‘Somalisation’, as component states and peoples no longer recognise the political centre and forge new relationships to deal with economic and security challenges
Stalemate will ultimately be a recipe for gradual state failure. Abiy’s coalition could quickly come apart, as could the wider political settlement as the country’s composite territories begin to look to one another and to their neighbours rather than the centre.
Scenario 3: Government Victory
Federal forces are currently too weak to achieve outright military victory. Provided Amhara elites remain supportive, however, they can source adequate manpower to continue a war of attrition against the TDF. 

Victory might then be possible if grinding hardship diminishes popular support for the war within Tigray. 

The Ethiopian leadership would need to withstand a degree of international condemnation and targeted sanctions, and ride out the current difficulties with forex, which have exacerbated a halt to aid payments and loans from the IMF and World Bank. 

History suggests this is possible, at least for the medium term. International condemnation will also be far from universal – a number of African governments will remain supportive, acquiescent, while diplomatic if not material support could be forthcoming from the likes of Turkey, Iran, Russia or China.
The cost associated with this victory would, however, be considerable. Blockade and ultimately starvation of Tigray could be maintained through even stronger nationalist and xenophobic rhetoric. It would also require further repression of dissent. 

There would be an ever-growing risk of the ruling coalition fracturing in the face of economic and security difficulties, including unemployment, inflation and criminality. 

The damage to state capacity, legitimacy and acceptance by peripheries of the central government could be fatal, setting a slow form of state collapse in train.
Scenario 4: Forced Peace
A fourth possibility is that the international community might force a peace deal upon the parties. 

The region has seen strong external leadership on peace agreements in Kenya, Sudan and South Sudan. 

But even a ceasefire and talks would require the TPLF and federal leadership to feel they are trapped in a hurting stalemate. 

Tigray would require an end to the economic and humanitarian blockade, a key prop of Addis’ strategy against them to make this palatable. 

A deal would provide the parties with time to regroup, which could become attractive at a later point. 

In the short term it seems unlikely. The parties are too divided and committed to military solutions. 

No foreign power seems willing to invest political capital in brokering negotiations and the federal government has so far proved resistant to diplomatic overtures.
Where Next?
Of the above scenarios, a TDF-OLA coalition win seems more likely than an outright government victory or a forced peace, at least for the coming year. 

A forced peace would be the least disruptive option, allowing deferment of seemingly insoluble challenges and a cooling of heads. 

Moreover, it could provide an off-ramp for a defeated but defiant Abiy who could exit somewhat gracefully, leaving questions of accountability open.
But continued stalemate and protracted conflict is also likely. It could be the worst scenario for the millions now facing hunger and destitution, whether in Tigray, Amhara or Afar regions. 

It is also the route most likely to damage the Ethiopian state to the point of failure. Formal dissolution of Ethiopia is unlikely anytime soon. 

The bar is set very high both for recognising secession and for redrawing of state boundaries. The country could, however, fragment slowly in the form of ‘Somalisation’, as component states and peoples no longer recognise the political centre and forge new relationships to deal with economic and security challenges. 

This would open a conundrum for parts of the country that have contestable boundaries or numerous ethnic groups or autonomous entities. 

It might also throw up new and unwanted surprises, not least the relationship to neighbours such as Somalia or the boundaries for Amhara and Oromia and even Eritrea, the country that in many ways is at the heart of Ethiopia’s difficulties.

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Had Issayas anticipated the failure of the ENDF and co offensive and kept his forces intact for a future battle in Eritrea? @rene_renelefort

All reports converge that ENDF & its allies have suffered a rout on the Amhara front. We hear nothing about the Wolkait front, & in particular about EDF. Had Issayas anticipated the failure of the ENDF and co offensive and kept his forces intact for a future battle in Eritrea?

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9-JUL-2021 :: The Contagion will surely boomerang as far as Asmara and destabilise the Horn of Africa for the forseeable future.

The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst Are full of passionate intensity.

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The crime scene at the heart of Africa Insurgency, secessionism and banditry threaten Nigeria @TheEconomist

Africa’s biggest nation faces its biggest test since its civil war 50 years ago

Little more than six decades ago, as Nigeria was nearing independence, even those who were soon to govern Africa’s largest country had their doubts about whether it would hold together. 

British colonists had drawn a border around land that was home to more than 250 ethnic groups. Obafemi Awolowo, a politician of that era, evoked Metternich, fretting that “Nigeria is not a nation. It is a mere geographical expression.”
The early years of independence seemed to prove him right. Coup followed coup. Ethnic pogroms helped spark a civil war that cost 1m lives, as the south-eastern region calling itself Biafra tried to break away and was ruthlessly crushed

Military rule was the norm until 1999. Despite this inauspicious start, Nigeria is now a powerhouse. Home to one in six sub-Saharan Africans, it is the continent’s most boisterous democracy. 

Its economy, the largest, generates a quarter of Africa’s gdp

Nollywood makes more titles than any other country’s film industry bar Bollywood. Three of sub-Saharan Africa’s four fintech “unicorns” (startups valued at more than $1bn) are Nigerian.

Why, then, do most young Nigerians want to emigrate? One reason is that they are scared. Jihadists are carving out a caliphate in the north-east; gangs of kidnappers are terrorising the north-west; the fire of Biafran secessionism has been rekindled in the oil-rich south-east. 

The violence threatens not just Nigeria’s 200m people, but also the stability of the entire region that surrounds them.

Readers who do not follow Nigeria closely may ask: what’s new? Nigeria has been corrupt and turbulent for decades. 

What has changed of late, though, is that jihadism, organised crime and political violence have grown so intense and widespread that most of the country is sliding towards ungovernability

In the first nine months of 2021 almost 8,000 people were directly killed in various conflicts. Hundreds of thousands more have perished because of hunger and disease caused by fighting. More than 2m have fled their homes.
The jihadist threat in the north-east has metastasised. A few years ago, an area the size of Belgium was controlled by Boko Haram, a group of zealots notorious for enslaving young girls. 

Now, Boko Haram is being supplanted by an affiliate of Islamic State that is equally brutal but more competent, and so a bigger danger to Nigeria. 

In the south-east, demagogues are stirring up ethnic grievances and feeding the delusion that one group, the Igbos, can walk off with all the country’s oil, the source of about half of government revenues. 

President Muhammadu Buhari has hinted that Biafran separatism will be dealt with as ruthlessly now as it was half a century ago.
Meanwhile, across wide swathes of Nigeria, a collapse in security and state authority has allowed criminal gangs to run wild. 

In the first nine months of this year some 2,200 people were kidnapped for ransom, more than double the roughly 1,000 abducted in 2020. Perhaps a million children are missing school for fear that they will be snatched.

Two factors help explain Nigeria’s increasing instability: a sick economy and a bumbling government. 

Slow growth and two recessions have made Nigerians poorer, on average, each year since oil prices fell in 2015. 

Before covid-19, fully 40% of them were below Nigeria’s extremely low poverty line of about $1 a day. If Nigeria’s 36 states were stand-alone countries, more than one-third would be categorised by the World Bank as “low-income” (less than $1,045 a head)

Poverty combined with stagnation tends to increase the risk of civil conflict.

Economic troubles are compounded by a government that is inept and heavy-handed. 

Mr Buhari, who was elected in 2015, turned an oil shock into a recession by propping up the naira and barring many imports in the hope this would spur domestic production. 

Instead he sent annual food inflation soaring above 20%. He has failed to curb corruption, which breeds resentment. 

Many Nigerians are furious that they see so little benefit from the country’s billions of petrodollars, much of which their rulers have squandered or stolen. 

Many politicians blame rival ethnic or religious groups, claiming they have taken more than their fair share. This wins votes, but makes Nigeria a tinderbox.
When violence erupts, the government does nothing or cracks heads almost indiscriminately. 

Nigeria’s army is mighty on paper. But many of its soldiers are “ghosts” who exist only on the payroll, and much of its equipment is stolen and sold to insurgents

The army is also stretched thin, having been deployed to all of Nigeria’s states. 

The police are understaffed, demoralised and poorly trained. Many supplement their low pay by robbing the public they have sworn to protect.
To stop the slide towards lawlessness, Nigeria’s government should make its own forces obey the law. Soldiers and police who murder or torture should be prosecuted. That no one has been held accountable for the slaughter of perhaps 15 peaceful demonstrators against police abuses in Lagos last year is a scandal

The secret police should stop ignoring court orders to release people who are being held illegally. 

This would not just be morally right, but also practical: young men who see or experience state brutality are more likely to join extremist groups.
Things don’t have to fall apart
Second, Nigeria needs to beef up its police. Niger state, for instance, has just 4,000 officers to protect 24m people. 

Local cops would be better at stopping kidnappings and solving crimes than the current federal force, which is often sent charging from one trouble spot to another. 

Money could come from cutting wasteful spending by the armed forces on jet fighters, which are not much use for guarding schools. 

Britain and America, which help train Nigeria’s army, could also train detectives. Better policing could let the army withdraw from areas where it is pouring fuel on secessionist fires.
The biggest barrier to restoring security is not a lack of ideas, nor of resources. It is the complacency of Nigeria’s cosseted political elite—safe in their guarded compounds and the well-defended capital. 

Without urgent action, Nigeria may slip into a downward spiral from which it will struggle to emerge. ■

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Turning to Africa

Democracy has been shredded.
We are getting closer and closer to the Virilian Tipping Point
“The revolutionary contingent attains its ideal form not in the place of production, but in the street''
Political leadership in most cases completely gerontocratic will use violence to cling onto Power but any Early Warning System would be warning a Tsunami is coming

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Designed for purpose up and coming Strip Malls are decimating Traditional Malls. @LMudachi
Retail & Manufacturing

The combination of convenience, ease of access and a well thought out ecosystem of tenants is changing the real estate landscape in Kilimani, Kileleshwa, Lavington & Westlands. 

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by Aly Khan Satchu (www.rich.co.ke)
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October 2021

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