16 thoughts on “Sandpit

  1. The structural change for the Australian economy that should boost labour productivity, and therefore wage growth, lies in eliminating long commuting times to work. The fatigue of sitting in traffic jams/overcrowded trains/or waiting for buses that arrive at your stop already full must be lowering labour productivity at both the margin and in totality. The changes to TPP and the stagnation apparent in MPP seem to be structural not cyclical. Incentives to live closer to places of work do not seem to be working. Perhaps a larger scale attempt to make working from home more viable, may be one of the answers to this weakness in labour productivity growth.

  2. Does anyone out there teach old-fashioned cooperative game theory out there? In Shapley value terms what is the “power” of the various groups in the Senate in the sense of their ability to determine vote winning coalitions? I do it myself but I know the arithmetic is tedious. If I still taught I would probably assign it to students as an exercise.

    The current mix seems to be:

    LNP perhaps 34 or 35 seats.
    Labor+Labor/Greens 36 seats.

    Others are up to 6 seats of which:

    3 are One Nation + Cory.
    2 are centrists in the Xenophon mold.
    1 the wildcard J. Lambie.

    Obviously the minor groupings have huge power given the closeness of numbers of the two major groupings.

    The Shapley value stuff I agree is not that informative in the sense that the minor groups have strong major party allegiances. This is probably why the Senate has functioned more smoothly than would be expected in the past.

    But the crazy small parties have a hell of a lot of power in the diminished cross benches.

  3. I appologize, I have learned my lesson. No longer will I speak of enlightening SACrifices made by the light of a campfire. I will now speak of tickeling and saffron. Saffron is the world’s most expensive spice. It is also a really really tasty and colorful good addition to rice. Tickeling and saffron are the true boddisattava methods to bring accountabilty to the irresponsible and show our contempt for the current politcal (and leagueal) system. Love or Luv I does not matter how you spell it. Real progressives want to heap it one to the plates of those who defend the stateus quo (or woe?).
    If it were up to me, in the future I will show my love for those who have behaved in a treachorous manner by tickeling them. And I will allow them to feast. And I will feed them saffron, lots and lots of saffron. It is only by stuffing them with saffron, (and maybe a bit of salt) that I can transform leaders of the western part of the world in to the type of leaders that they need to become.
    Now since I aappologized so nicely and sincerely I think that my comments to Svante about the rate of Arctic Ice melt over the last three years should be put back in place. That is highly relevent because that is a process that will lead to the end of the state of Israel way way faster than any fake Iranian plan to bring the state of Isreal to an end.

  4. Isn’t the proper name for a Sandpit a bunker? That is the name for on of those traps on a golf course near the greens, right? Well the information that I am about to relay might be off course. But in the end the information might end up near the flag.
    The story begins on the night of the 8th of January 1945 in Harlem the Neterlands. An infamous Nazi collaborator by the name of Inpector Ploeg is on his way home when he is ambushed and killed by a couple in a park near his home.
    The Germans extract vengance and execute around 20 civilians in retaliation for this assassination. Among the victims are the members of the Steenwijk family whose house happened to be nearest to where the body of Ploeg was found after he was shot.
    But one member of the Steenwijk family survived, a nine year old boy named Anton. Anton survived because a German soldier did not do what he was supposed to do. For years I had thought that this soldier had actually disobeyed orders. But I know realize that was not quite right. The Gestapo agent that had questioned the family immediately after the assassination actually said take them away, or maybe it was get them out of here. In any case with out asking for clarification the soldiers leading the parents placed them with the hostages. The soldier leading Anton put Anton in his truck and then took him to a nearby police station.
    That was crucially important because Anton was placed in a cell with Johanna Schaft before she was executed. Johanna was one of the most famous communist underground resistence fighters in the country. When she heard Anton’s story she questioned him further about the events that had occured in front of his house. Anton recalled that she said, even though there would be “repercussions” that bastard had to die because his knowledge could lead to the deaths of many good people.
    On the surface such a comment reveals nothing of importance. But when the timing and circumstances of the remark are considered the remark reveals a rare shadow imp. If you look straight at this imp it disappears. It can only be seen out of the corner of your eye.
    By the middle of January 1945 part of the Netherlands had already been liberated. For the rest the exact end was uncertian but the timming could only be a matter of days, weeks at most. Under such circumstances any knowledge that Ploeg had would not be very useful in a war that was about to come to an end. It would be extremely useful in the war that was about to start.
    What Ploeg obviously knew was who were crucial assets of the communist resistance inside both the Nazi and the National beauracracy. He had to know this because it was his job as a double agent to lead any investigations that the Nazis were conducting away from the communists assets and towards non communists assets.
    Sadly the communists leadership was in a bind. Despite the enourmous risks that Ploeg took for the party it was clear by the fall of 1944 that it would not be the Red Army that would be liberating the Netherlands and presenting Ploeg with the Red Banner that he had earned by being a target for multiple sides in the war. No he would be a lose end. He would certianly be facing execution or a long prison stay after the war……….unless he traded the only thing he had that would be of any value to those who wanted his head on a platter. It was a painful but obvious choice. Ploeg would have to die at the hands of his own mates to be able to protect the holy grail, figuratively speaking of course, that was in his possession.
    His life was the wax used to seal the sacred knowledge of that time in to a water tight compartment until this knowledge could be used again in a future generation. But Ploeg did not willing make this sacrice.
    In fact he had been lead to believe that a plan had been worked out to clandestinely get him and his family to the city of Kiel where they would have been picked up by a Soviet Submarine off the coast and be brought to the USSR.
    Would a man like Ploeg have volunteered for such an ending had he been presented with the consequences of an alternative ending? Are there any men anywhere who would volunteer to trash their reputation for all of eternity to serve the cause that they have dedicated their life too? Was Judas the one man in all of history who has willing made such a choice? Did Judas really exist?
    Has the death of Ploeg profoundly influenced recent events? Perhaps more so than all but a few can imagine.

  5. Just the facts Curt, and less non apologies please.

    Fact free comment by Curt:
    “my comments to Svante about the rate of Arctic Ice melt over the last three years should be put back in place”

    No. They shouldn’t be.

    Factual comment :
    “Lead author and CPOM Director Professor Andy Shepherd explained: “In parts of Antarctica the ice sheet has thinned by extraordinary amounts, and so we set out to show how much was due to changes in climate and how much was due to weather.”

    “To do this, the team compared the measured surface height change to the simulated changes in snowfall, and where the discrepancy was greater they attributed its origin to glacier imbalance.

    “They found that fluctuations in snowfall tend to drive small changes in height over large areas for a few years at a time, but the most pronounced changes in ice thickness are signals of glacier imbalance that have persisted for decades.

    “Professor Shepherd added: “Knowing how much snow has fallen has really helped us to detect the underlying change in glacier ice within the satellite record. We can see clearly now that a wave of thinning has spread rapidly across some of Antarctica’s most vulnerable glaciers, and their losses are driving up sea levels around the planet.

    “Altogether, ice losses from East and West Antarctica have contributed 4.6 mm to global sea level rise since 1992.”


    It is easy when you don’t try so hard Curt.

  6. I think that my comments to Svante about the rate of Arctic Ice melt over the last three years should be put back in place. That is highly relevent because that is a process that will lead to the end of the state of Israel way way faster than any fake Iranian plan to bring the state of Isreal to an end.

    Curt, I doubt you have seen my comments on other climate related blogs… yet here we are stuck in the amber of the moment (Vonnegut).

    Google returns for Svante are “About 44,900,000 results (0.48 seconds)”.
    Google returns for “Svante” are “About 7,200,000 results (0.51 seconds)”

    The frequency in use of the name “Svante” has risen ~300% in the last twenty years, and I for one don’t wonder Why that is.

    Twenty years and more ago Vonnegut said humans were always going to miss the (greenhouse) bus. So true.


    BUT it’s worse than that!


    Responding to Abrupt Climate Change with Guy R. McPherson
    “The recent and near-future rises in temperature are occurring and will occur at least three orders of magnitude faster than the worst of all prior Mass Extinctions. Habitat for human animals is disappearing throughout the world, and abrupt climate change has barely begun … Lies my culture told me: Human Superiority; Infinite Growth; More is Better; Monetise Food, Water, Air; Think Positive (as) Hope Is Unimpeachably Good; Endemic Racism; Endemic Misogyny; Endemic Monetary Disparity – We have these myths that have been promulgated in this culture to the extent that almost everybody believes them now…”

    So it goes.

  7. A psychiatrist once advised me, after a brief intervention with someone exibiting psychosis in the unit, NOT to ENGAGE with them.

    The patient constantly replied to others briefly and compactly, concisely and crisply yet tersely, sometimes with a laconic, pithy manner. Then a rant exhibiting morbid and psychopathic tendencies. Then back to laconic with amusing asides.

    The psychiatitist was rather curt and said “If this does turn into mania, which it sounds like it already has, don’t engage with patients, as mania is a freight train and will mow you down no matter how reasonable and sane you are.”

    I agreed with my learned colleague. And acted wisely from then on.

    With no further engagement from medical staff and most others in the unit, the patient spiralled into mania, as their own freight train of thoughts continued to mow down their own psyche

    After we filled in the paperwork, the chlorpromazine hydrochloride worked a treat. Intramuscular injection 8 hourly first day – aqueous solution, chlorpromazine hydrochloride, 25 mg; ascorbic acid, 2 mg; sodium bisulfite, 1 mg; sodium chloride, 6 mg; sodium sulfite, 1 mg.

    Oral after 7 days.

    Pharmaceuticals are necessary sometimes.

  8. KT2
    A rule I have found useful is this: I ask myself whether I am getting anything out of reading somebody’s comments. When I feel I have enough evidence to confirm that I’m not, I stop reading that person’s comments.
    I make no particular effort to restrain myself from responding to comments I have read, but once I’ve stopped reading a particular person’s comments, the problem no longer arises. I find this system works well for me.

  9. OK I should win a 2nd Nobel Peace Prize for what I am about to suggest. No of course I have not won a Nobel Peace Prize yet. But I should have. For what I can not remember anymore. But I am sure that there was something that I already should have won it for.
    So the problem that I was considering is how does a country like Sudan or Algeria transition to a new government when there is a dispute about the legitimacy of the different sides involved in a power struggle. I supose that one could say that this might also apply to Venezuela. But I think that in the power one side that headed by President Maduro is completely legitimate and the other side head by the self appointed interem President is completely illegitimate. But I digress.
    So my solution for chosing an interim goverment would be to try to get highly qualified people in to the ruling council, or central committee, if one prefers to call it that, that are not closely connected to either the current government or the opposition. Now many of the people will come from positions that are part of the government. But these posiitons will not be what is usually refered to in the English speaking world as cabinet level positions. They are positions in which must have demonstrated a significant amount of skill to obtain but not neccissarily require that one be close pals with a dictator to get.
    Therefore I would propose that the interim Government begin with a council or committee that would have unlimited power to hire and fire people in the government for the purpose of building trust among the entire population of a country, or close to the entire population. This committee would be limited to a 2 year term in office. After the two years is over the country in question should vote on a new Constitution. Also the members of the original committee will be replaced by new members following the same pattern to serve only until rulers can be chosen based upon the rules laid out in the constitution if the proposed constitution passes the referendum. If the constitution does not pass these new council members will have a 2 year term to bring a new constitution up for a vote.
    This is how I would chose the members of the ad hoc national council, or central committee.
    One university president. If it is a small country it would simple be the largest university in the country.
    If it is a large country then the president will be chosen by a lottery.
    One chief executive of a large hospital. Again if it is a small country it will simply be the largest in the country. If it is a large country then again by lottery.
    One engineering proffessor. The Proffessor should be either a structural, mechanical, or an electrical engineer to be chosen by lottery.
    The head of a large TV station or radio station. It can be public or private. To be chosen by lottery.
    The leader of the homicide dectives division of a large police department.
    A member of the nation’s military in the rank of Colonel to be chosen by lottery
    A labor Union leader.
    Some nation’s may not have labor unions because they were outlawed by right wing governments or because they were deemed as unneccessary by left wing governments.
    If that is the case then as an alternative I would suggest the head of the nation’s largest national park.
    A second alternative would be the head of a large airport or seaport.
    One could also add the two alternaives to make a larger council or committee.
    This council or committee would have dictatorial powers while in office. But I think that it would be unfair to call them absolutist leaders. First of all their individual power is checked by the other members of the council. Second of all their terms in office are limited and they lose their immunity when that term expires. It would also be unfair to call this interim period undemocrtic as the conditions for democracy have to be first of all established if there is to be a democracy establshed by the new constitution.
    The prerequisits for voting in the initial Constitutional Referendum need to be quite minimal. Probally along the lines of all citizens over the age of 18 who have not been ruled mentally retarded or insane,
    and can pass a reading a writing test. ( Yes I am of course aware that such tests were used in Jim Crow days to keep blacks from registering to vote. But the authorities did that by cheating on grading the responses.)
    I myself would not vote for any constitution that makes the prerequisits to vote in future elections very broad. Most countries have examintions that students have to pass to be able to attent a college or university. As a minimum I would propose that such a test must be passed to the level of being allowed to attend higher education. It would not be unreasonable to set the bar even higher. Also I would not support any consitution that allowed secret ballots. If we are going to have voting all people have to stand behind their votes not just those in a parliment.
    It is sad that we live in a world in which way to many people who identify themselves as progressives really have no idea of what a true progressive agenda is.
    Hmmmm I wonder what the typical reader of Marxmail, if there is one, would think of my comment, especially the last paragraph.

  10. Now since I do not speak Arabic perjaps there is a regualr normal Chinese reader who does speak Arabic well enough to do an official translation that can then be used to send these reccommendations to some troubled parts of the world.

  11. I wonder if the ADANI mine goes ahead, maybe Adani will eventually sell it to China?

  12. Curt Kastens says July 1, 2019 at 9:25 am https://johnquiggin.com/2019/06/26/freedom-of-contract-or-freedom-of-speech/comment-page-4/#comment-211950

    “I think that the US decided way back in 2003 that it was going to Russia, China, Iran Venezuela, and North Korea at some point in the mid term future.”

    Yoda and the Jedis after embedding RMA were onto that by the early 1990s zeroing in for possibly something big about the mid 2020s. Doubtless they were more onto it from the early noughties after the administration largely ignored their work on the strategic military implications of global heating.

    A little background:

    Yoda is dead. Is he? No, impossible. Long live Yoda! The force be with him. ¯\_(?)_/¯

    https ://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Marshall_(foreign_policy_strategist)
    https ://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Andrew_Marshall_Acolytes_/_Jedi_Knights
    https ://www.thenation.com/article/man-ona/ (1999)
    https ://dailycaller.com/2011/07/11/meet-andrew-marshall-the-unknown-but-immensely-influential-figure-behind-american-national-security-strategy/
    https ://www.thenation.com/article/man-ona/
    https ://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/01/the-pentagons-long-war/
    https ://www.longwarjournal.org/
    https ://www.rferl.org/a/fighting-the-long-war/27075499.html
    https ://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-gerson-combating-the-islamic-state-is-a-resumption-of-the-long-war/2014/09/08/5686f4b4-377f-11e4-9c9f-ebb47272e40e_story.html?utm_term=.81d7f6813c5c
    https ://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/us-model-for-a-future-war-fans-tensions-with-china-and-inside-pentagon/2012/08/01/gJQAC6F8PX_story.html?utm_term=.209c6d5a877b

    Unfolding the Future of the Long War Motivations, Prospects, and Implications for the U.S. Army (2008)
    https ://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG738.html
    https ://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/monographs/2008/RAND_MG738.pdf [1.6MB, 230pp]
    (document search term results: Iran 95; Venezuela 7; Russia 8; China 11; North Korea 8)

    Table S.1 Short Description of the Eight Trajectories Discussed in This Report (Summary xvii)

    7 Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict
    Widespread violence between Shia and Sunni groups, resulting
    in deep fault lines between Shia and Sunni communities
    throughout the Muslim world. As a result, the U.S. is led to
    concentrate, in the short term, on shoring up the traditional
    Sunni regimes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Pakistan as a way of
    containing Iranian power and influence in the Middle East and
    Persian Gulf.

    Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict (Summary xxiii)
    If the United States attempts to exploit the conflict to avoid having to
    confront a united Islamic world (possibly a very unwise strategy), then
    there will be little role for the Army. The exception would be the FID
    missions to train host nation security forces with the possible insertion
    of advisers, but this might be handled by other agencies. The United
    States may also seek to end the conflict through peacekeeping operations.
    Here there would be a substantial role for the Army.
    A third option would be to take sides in the conflict, possibly supporting
    authoritative Sunni governments against a continuingly hostile
    Iran. The level of U.S. involvement would dictate the type of operations
    requirement by the Army, which might, at the higher end, require
    the Army to provide troop lift, logistical support, and other types of
    aid, or direct involvement in the conflict, which may look partly like
    an insurgency and partly like conventional war. At the latter level, the
    U.S. Army would call upon rapid precision strike systems and would
    have to balance aggressive operations with an IO campaign.

    Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict (pp 84…89)
    The “Sustained Sunni-Shia Conflict” trajectory posits that the combination
    of memories of the intensive sectarian violence in Iraq during 2006–07 and
    the emergence of a largely Shiite regime in that country produces deep fault
    lines between Shia and Sunni communities throughout the Muslim world.
    These fault lines are manifested by an upsurge in political instability
    and violent conflict in those Middle Eastern and South Asian
    countries that contain mixed Sunni-Shiite populations.
    …In Saudi Arabia, Shiites have long faced restrictions on their celebration
    of religious festivals and have often been forbidden to construct new
    mosques. Schools in Shiite areas are run by Sunni administrators and
    teach students that Shiism is illegitimate. Finally, the establishment
    Sunni clerics in Saudi Arabia relentlessly attack Shiism in the press,
    referring to Shiites as apostates or worse. This systematic discrimination
    has created a deep resentment toward the government in many
    Shiite communities that can easily be ignited into street violence given
    the right political spark…

    Unfolding the Future of the Long War (p96)

    Seven Strategies for the Long War
    Our list includes seven strategies for the United States: Divide and
    Rule, Shrink the Swamp, Inside Out, State-Centric, Contain and
    React, Ink Blot, and Underlying Causes. It is important for the reader
    to remember that these are pure options; in the real world these strategies
    will probably not be mutually exclusive, and actual U.S. strategy
    for the long war will almost certainly turn out to be some kind of
    hybrid approach. In fact, the strategies in general are likely to change
    as administrations and Congresses change.
    Nonetheless, descriptions of the pure strategies can be instructive
    for force planners…

    Unfolding the Future of the Long War (p126)
    There are four transnational ideologies that currently have this
    potential. In South America, there is neo-Bolivarism, mainly espoused
    by Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez and also finding traction in
    Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia. Neo-Bolivarism is a populist ideology
    that is explicitly anti-American but has not in practice generated
    violence against American targets.
    In South Asia there is Maoism,
    which has fueled violence in Nepal, Bangladesh, and parts of India.
    Maoist groups are mainly concerned with local social and political
    issues, though many advocate armed struggle…

    Unfolding the Future of the Long War (p128)
    …The ideologies we have noted—neo-Bolivarism, Maoism, Salafijihadism,
    and militant Shiism—generally profess an anti-globalization
    stance. Globalization is an evil within their conception of reality…

    Table 6.1
    Existence of the Seven Long War Strategies (Across the Top) in the Eight Trajectories

    The Use of Civilizational Conflict When Describing the Long War
    The topic of civilizational conflict, both globally and within specific
    regions of the world, is often used when discussing current events in
    the Middle East and describing the long war. Samuel Huntington’s
    1993 article, originally published in Foreign Affairs, describes his post–
    Cold War view of the world that revolves around cultural clashes rather
    than ideological tensions:

    Relating Long War Strategies to Grand Strategies Grand Strategies
    An important consideration for the use and implications of the various
    long war strategies shown above is how these different strategies could
    fit into a larger grand strategy that the U.S. military might have to
    accommodate. For the purposes of this report, we use the term “grand
    strategy” to be the integrating guidance for the use of DIME means
    to pursue a state’s ultimate objectives in an international system.1 The
    descriptions of these grand strategies relate to overall foreign policies
    adopted throughout history within the United States, with a focus more
    on the military implications of those policies. The distinction between
    foreign policies and grand strategies has been discussed elsewhere…


    Offshore Balancing
    This is the first of the two classical realist options. It holds that the
    United States would seek to preserve rough balances of power in the
    two or three most critical regions of the world (e.g., Europe, the Persian
    Gulf, Northeast Asia) by using standoff measures (aircraft carriers,
    long-range air power), arms sales, and loose alliance structures to
    support status quo states against aspiring hegemons. Certain regional
    allies would be used as proxies in the long war. The Nixon Doctrine of
    the early 1970s is a good analogue to this option.

    Selective Engagement.
    This is another realist option. It is more ambitious than offshore balancing.
    Here the United States elects to become deeply engaged in the
    critical regions chosen in the option above. This engagement includes
    the forward positioning of significant ground and air forces and the
    formation of tight alliance structures.

    Cooperative Security

    Pursue Primacy
    This is the strategy of preventing any conceivable peer competitor from
    rising anywhere in the world. It also aims to project American power
    throughout all regions of the world with the assertive use of military
    and diplomatic power and the enforcement of free trade agreements.
    This is essentially a Pax Americana strategy.

    Primacy Plus
    This is a strategy of pursuing primacy and having a declared policy of
    military preemption against any perceived threat to the United States,
    from terrorist groups to rogue states to potential near peer competitors.
    Accompanying the preemption policy would be an effort to impose
    Western democracy throughout the world.

    Consistency Among Long War Strategies and Grand Strategies
    Each of the pure long war strategies described above can be more or
    less compatible with each of the grand strategies. That is, since the long
    war is only part of the U.S. national strategy, any long war strategy
    pertaining to U.S. actions will need to be in line with or at least not
    in conflict with any particular overall policy doctrine set forth at the
    national level. For the purposes of this section, we do not provide any
    rigorous analysis of consistency; rather, we look on the surface and note
    that some grand strategies are “consistent,” others are “somewhat consistent,”
    and still others “not consistent.”…

    Table D.1
    Compatibility of U.S. Grand Strategies (in the Rows) and Potential Long War Strategies (in the Columns)

    Location of Oil and Natural Gas Resources
    In the near future, and throughout the timeline considered by this
    project, the economies of the industrialized states will continue to rely
    heavily on oil, thus making it a strategically important resource. The
    United States, as well as other industrialized states, therefore has an
    interest in maintaining stability and good relations with countries that
    produce oil. Much of this oil is, and will continue to be, produced in
    the Middle East and the former Soviet Republics. The United States
    and other states therefore have motive for maintaining stability in and
    good relations with Middle Eastern states…


    Demographic Trends and Factors
    Demographic trends and factors—including low fertility rates in
    Europe, migrant and refugee flows from the Middle East, an increase
    in the percentage of youth in Middle Eastern countries, the changing
    ethnic and sectarian composition of some regions of the Middle East,
    natural resource constraints, and the spread of radical Islam—will play
    a important role in the long war as it unfolds…

    European Demographics
    One of the more important demographic trends affecting the long war
    lies not in the Middle East, but in Europe. Virtually all of America’s key
    NATO allies have low fertility rates, stagnant or declining total populations,
    and rapidly growing numbers of elderly citizens.Great Britain’s
    fertility rate1 is 1.7, France’s is 1.9, and Germany’s is a stunningly low
    1.3. Germany’s current population of 82 million will decline to 75
    million in 2050.3 These low fertility profiles in Europe may affect U.S.
    allies’ ability and willingness to deploy military forces alongside those
    of the United States in expeditionary operations in the long war.

    Migrant and refugee flows also impact the stability of the Middle East.
    Some of the flows originating in the Middle East move into Europe and
    East Asia, where they have security implications as well…

    Sectarian Composition
    Ethnic/sectarian composition is also a major demographic issue in parts
    of the Middle East. Israel and the Palestinian Territories is a particular
    case. Palestinian fertility rates are higher than Jewish ones and, absent
    any major new migration of Jews into Israel from other countries, the
    demographic balance between Israel and the Palestinians will shift in
    favor of the Palestinians over time…

    Radicalization Spreading
    The flow of former guest workers in the Persian Gulf countries back to
    their home states of the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and
    Pakistan is not well understood. There is some anecdotal evidence that
    small percentages of these returning guest workers embraced radical
    Islam during their time in the Persian Gulf and are eager to spread
    violent jihad in their home countries once they get settled and have the
    time to establish networks of like-minded individuals…

    Water in the Middle East
    Fresh water shortages in the Middle East are one particular example
    of natural resource constraints that, in conjunction with demographic
    changes, may be important into the future and eventually shape the
    long war. Increasing populations and the effects of creeping desertification
    are reducing per capita water availability to dangerously low levels
    in Iran, Egypt, the West Bank, and the whole of the Arabian Peninsula.
    Sustainable development is difficult to accomplish when water
    scarcity exists. Water shortages raise the prospect that water might be
    used as a weapon in future conflicts…

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