Tag Archive for 'Middle East'


The Daily Event reports from the Davos Conference.


Robert Polet, Gucci Group CEO, an AK 47 to his head, pleaded for help.

“Please, please help me find my children,” he cried as soldiers pinned him to the muddy floor of a refugee camp.

In a moment of high psychodrama, pampered executives learned what it’s like to be one of the 32.9 million displaced persons who live in squalid, brutalized conditions around the world.

The simulation, presented by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in coordination with the Crossroads Foundation and the Global Risk Forum, a Davos non-profit, was meant to heighten executive sensitivity to the problems of the oppressed. Polet, who was called Mustafa in the play, flinched as an actress stepped on a make-believe land mine and was stretchered away, gushing stage blood.

“What a humbling experience to feel so defenseless,” Polet told the Wall St. Journal and agreed enthusiastically when UN High Commissioner Antonio Guterres said that the lesson of the exercise was: “We should have the same level of determination in saving lives as saving banks.”

But then someone in the audience shouted:

“This is the height of hypocrisy!”

Suddenly, the stage was invaded by a young woman leading a group of South Asian children.

“This man is responsible for the poverty and oppression of thousands of workers,” she shouted.

The woman identified herself as Leah Schikdkraut, Labor Rights specialist with the Anarcho-Feminist Coalition.

“As the head of Unilever, this man employed 25,000 child laborers, ages 6 to 11, in the cotton seed operations of his Indian branch, Hindustan Lever,” she shouted. “Hindustan Lever factories in Nepal, Mumbai and Pakistan were targeted for unfair labor practices and false police charges against workers.”

Guards tried to evict her, but she waved an official invitation in their faces. “Polet now heads a company which hides its Made in China and India labels in the folds of its thousand dollar garments,” she shouted. As Davos officials debated what to do she swung an Yves St. Laurent sweater, with embroidery by Lesage over her head.

“The rhinestones are falling off, ” a designer screamed in anguish.

“This sweater cost $23,155,” Schildkraut shouted. “Do you know how many displaced people we could feed…?”

Schildkraut was quickly surrounded by Swiss Guards. Brandishing a bottle of wine she held them at bay.

“After attending a three course gourmet dinner to discuss world hunger, these men will go to a Classic Claret wine tasting hosted by Janis Robinson, wine columnist for the Financial Times,” she said.

“Be careful for God’s sake, that’s a Latour 1952,” a sommelier pleaded.

“Do you know how much medicine we could purchase with the price of this bottle?” Schildkraut shouted.

Outside, reporters asked Schildkraut how she had managed to wangle an invite to this exclusive session. She reddened and hesitated for a moment.

“I sold myself as a sex slave to Eliot Shpritzer, a real estate mogul from New York,” she said. “The price was his invitation.”

” I, too, wanted to know what it’s like to be exploited and degraded…”


Executives played the “blame game” at Davos and the US was the loser.

Chinese Premier Wen Jia Bao blamed China’s sudden slowdown on US’s “macroeconomic failures and “underregulated economy.” He threatened to stop buying US T-bills, but was then seen offstage with his head in his hands, moaning: “What am I going to do with all that money?”

Russian President Putin blamed social unrest, the price of oil, the dispute with the Ukraine and the watery borscht on the US. He then raised eyebrows when he blamed an anti-government demonstration in Vladivostock on “Communist agitators.”

Finally, the Americans had enough. When asked how American bankers could be so “stupid,” Morgan Stanley Asia Chairman Stephen Roach fired back: “How could the regulators have been so stupid? How could the borrowers have been so stupid? How could everyone have been so stupid?”

Outside, the dispute continued.

“You were stupid to give mortgages to people who couldn’t pay,” a Chinese official shouted.

“You were stupid to buy the mortgage securities of the people who couldn’t pay,” an American banker replied.

“You were stupid to sell insurance on the mortgage securities of people who couldn’t pay,” a Swiss broker accused.

“You were stupid to trade swaps on the insurance on mortgage securities of people who couldn’t pay,” the American parried.

“You hit a mulligan into a sand trap,” a Japanese CFA snorted.

“You served toxic blowfish testicles and seven people died,” the American shot back. “How stupid is that?”


Feb. 2…Turkish sources today accused Washington Post columnist David Ignatius of being an “Armenian agitator” who deliberately snubbed and humiliated Prime Minister Erdogan at a debate on the Middle East last week.

Ignatius, an Armenian-American, has written of the world’s failure to acknowledge the massacre of a million Armenians by the Turkish Army in 1915. Sources claimed he had been planted on the panel to humiliate Erdogan. That it was all part of a plot to get Jewish legislators to vote for a Congressional resolution condemning the genocidal attacks

The debate began with four participants–Erdogan, Israeli President Shimon Peres, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Arab League Secretary Amr Moussa– ritually repeating familiar positions.

There were yawns. Heads bobbed in and out of wakefulness as:

Erdogan spoke of a “humanitarian crisis” and expressed annoyance that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert had been in Turkey four days before the Israeli invasion of Gaza and had given no indication of what was to come.

Moon asked for $613 billion and said the Israeli attack was “disproportionate.”

Moussa said the Israelis were enforcing a “military occupation” and demanded a peace agreement by the end of 2009.

Peres protested that Israel “did not want to shoot anybody,” and asked “why did they fire rockets? What did they want?” Then concluded by saying it was all Iran’s fault.

At that point a Pakistani delegate’s stomach grumbled so loudly that several Indian IT executives thought there was a terror attack and caused a panic. Ignatius, responding to urgent messages in his earphones, said the debate had gone overtime and that the audience was “anxious to go to dinner.” But Erdogan grabbed his sleeve and demanded a chance to rebut. He accused Peres of speaking loudly to hide a “guilty conscience.” Apologetically, Ignatius cut off Erdogan in mid-tirade. Claiming that people were “late for dinner”, he closed the session. Erdogan invoked the Sixth Commandment (Thou Shall Not Kill) and left the stage to enthusiastic applause and a fraternal handshake from Moussa, vowing never to return to Davos “because you didn’t let me speak.”

Event host Klaus Schwab mounted the podium and thanked the participants as the audience stampeded to the buffet.

Later, sources confirmed that the diplomatic and military cooperation between Turkey and Israel would continue. Turkey was set to receive a shipment of Israeli- made UAV’s and modernized tanks to be used in its ongoing war against Kurdish nationalists.

Ignatius would not comment, but a spokesperson for the Washington Post said he had been instructed to end the debate when Deutsche Bank analyst Horst von Grepps fainted from hunger and had to be given a glucose IV.



GREENPOINT, Bklyn, Nov.7…Toasts and cheers resounded at Golubchik’s tavern last night as Obama euphoria kept the party floating two days after the historic election.

“To change,” people shouted, raising their glasses.

“To peace.”

This was too much for Ivan Yopsvoyomatsky, recent immigrant from Pinsk and senior scholar at the Greezhnizihd Think Tank.


Rising quickly from a stool he had occupied for two days, blood rushing to an unfamiliar location–his head–he faced the crowd with fine Slavic disdain.

“You pathetic puppets of Capitalism,” he sputtered. “Peace is when the ruling class has its foot on your neck and its hand in your pocket. Twenty-eight years with Reagan, Bush the Father, your precious Clinton and Bush, the Simple Son was peace…The Russians got rich, the Chinese richer with American corporate help and against the interests of American workers and consumers…Now that Obama has been elected get ready for total war.”

A waitress pushed a plate of piroshki across the bar. “Eat something Ivan…”

Yopsvoyomatsky sent it flying. “I haven’t finished my salad yet,” he said, dipping a cucumber in a glass of Popov vodka.

There was muttering in the cowed crowd. Finally, they pushed a young blonde in Uggies and a tight leather skirt forward for a timid challenge.

“But the world has welcomed Obama,” she said, cringing.

Yopsvoyomatsky leered and beckoned. “My dear you are victim of noble blowjob… I mean global snowjob. World leaders are quaking in their boots…”

“Bloggers in China went crazy,” someone hollered from in back. “One guy said this proved that America was a great Democracy and China was a one party oppressive dictatorship.”

Doorak,” Yopsvoyomasky boomed. “How do you think Hu Jintao felt when he read that? With China wheezing from pollution, puking from poisoned food, factories closing from financial crisis, people oppressed from internet crackdown, does he need proof that America is closest thing to real proletarian power?” He stroked the blonde under her chin. “I promise you, dooshenkya in party meetings they are talking about one thing only: how can we defeat this upstart Obama?

“But they are a great economic power, aren’t they?” the blonde asked, gaining confidence.

Yopsvoyomatsky smiled indulgently. “From slave labor, my dear. They make your underwear cheaper. Later we will see if your panties were made in Guangdong. But now you must understand that when Obama calls for tougher environmental and labor regulations they see their costs going up and their competitiveness coming down. When he promises to award tax breaks to companies that keep jobs in the US they say the dirty word: protectionism. They know that US market powers their economies. Without help from Bush and American financial interests to keep their yen low and their labor costs lower they will go broke…”

” Obama restored the American image in Europe,” a young man with a German accent said.

“You mean old, decadent, zero population growth Europe?” Yopsvoyomatsky sneered. “How many black faces in English House of Commons? Mostly flushed, overfed, flatulent whites enjoying their squeals of indignation while country’s business is done by MI6…French don’t allow headscarves in public schools…Turks are second-class citizens in Germany, even after three generations in residence. Do you think they want mixed race underclass to embrace electoral politics…?”

Several people finished their drinks and slipped out onto the rainy streets.

“Bush brought us to the brink with Russia,” a voice piped up. “They must be happy to see Obama…”

“Melancholic is closest Russians come to happy,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “Russians follow Stalinist doctrine of probe with bayonet. Medvedev, latest in long line of metrically challenged rulers, climbs up on two Moscow phone books so he can see over lectern and makes hollow threat to put Iskander missiles in Kalingrad to counter US missile defense. Iskanders have range of 175 miles when they are working. They might land in a barnyard in Poland and kill a few chickens…”

“Russia must be dealt with,” a pale man young man said in a quavering voice said and ducked behind a pillar as Yopsvoyomatsky loomed over him.

“Russia is a gas station with a broken pump,” he roared. “A tavern with drunks snoring through frozen snot. Their market has lost 50% in value. The oligarchs, who grease their corrupt machine are broke. They have to kill a journalist a week just to stay in power…”

Sighing heavily, more people shrugged into their coats and left.

“Obama will bring peace to the Middle East,” a swarthy young man shouted angrily.

“Peace can only be made by people who are fighting each other,” Yopsvoyomatsky countered.

“People in the Middle-East have great hope for Obama.”

“Not Iranian daily Jamhou-ye Eslami,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “They say: The most that black man can do is replace staff and change ceremony…He will never change capitalist, Zionist, racist structure of American regime.

Saudi daily Al Wotan says: There is no difference between McCain and Obama. Both mean to achieve America’s chief goal which is to rule for a hundred years…”

“But Bush favored Israel and that got us nowhere.”

“Nowhere is obviously where they want to be,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “Jordan and Egypt do not want Palestinian theocracy funded by Iran on their borders. Lebanese do not want more power to Hezbollah allies. Anyway, Obama will be busy with economic crisis. Israelis and Palestinians will have to sit on back burner for years. They might do something sensational like a war of a terror attack to refocus the world’s attention…”

Most of the revelers had slunk away, leaving a few brooding in their cups. One man paused at the door.

“So there is no hope,” he said

“When does hope last more than a day?” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “The power of the status quo will be arrayed against Obama…Maybe he will prevail…”

He looked around the empty room with satisfaction. “Looks like the party is over,” he said to the blonde. “Want a cucumber?”


GREENPOINT, Bklyn, July 18…Iranian President Ahamadinejad says “we will wipe Israel off the face of the earth.” Israeli Prime Minister Olmert responds: “The Iranian threat must be stopped by all possible means.”

Is nuclear war imminent?

“No way, ” says Efraim Durg. “It’s not personal, it’s business. They’re all working together.”

Durg, the nominee of the Gambler’s Rights Party, has come under severe criticism for not taking a position on the Middle East.

“Well at least I’m not flip-flopping,” he joked at a fundraiser held at Golubchiks Tavern last night. The audience, in no mood for Durg’s trademark frivolity, booed and stamped.

“The Middle East is a threat to world peace,” someone shouted.

This awakened Igor Yopsvoyomatsky, a recent immigrant from Pinsk, who had been snoozing in a dark corner. He leapt to his feet, crying:

“Middle East is gigantic three card monte game organized by sheiks, oligarchs and hedge fund manipulators.”

Yopsvoyomatsky, recently appointed foreign policy adviser to the Durg campaign, unfurled a spread sheet, knocking over a short beer and a bowl of bar nuts.

“I have graph showing direct correlation between oil prices and so-called threats in Middle East and other so-called hot spots,” he said. “You can clearly see how big powers manipulate price of oil.”

A bespectacled young man objected: ” Not true. The oil futures market responds to political developments.”

Yopsvoyomatsky gave him a look of withering disdain. “You believe in free markets, puny daytrader? Markets and politics are controlled by same people. International incidents are staged to affect oil prices.”

Yopsvoyomatsky,a former senior analyst at the Gryzneezihd Institute, pointed to a wet spot on the spreadsheet. “This shows pattern of events carefully arranged by major players to correlate with settlement dates of contracts, short and long positions…” He staggered, a triumphant look in his bleary eyes. “We can track fat cats’ every move…”

Durg helped Yopsvoyomatsky to a bar stool and took over. “You can see how the price of oil shot up when Iran threatened Israel.”

“Everybody unwound their position in orderly fashion,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “Fancy words for got out with big profit.”

“Then the price went down as Condoleeza Rice restrained Israel.”

“Everybody purchased cheap,”Yopsvoyomatsky said.

“Then the price spiked when Israel went on maneuvers in the Mediterranean.”

“Prices up again,”Yopsvoyomatsky said. He swiped the young man’s Sam Adams off the table and drained his date’s Cosmopolitan in one gulp. “Did you meet puny daytrader on E-Harmony?” he asked the young woman.

“Ahamadinejad assures the world that there will be no war between Iran and Israel,” Durg continued.

Yopsvoyomatsky twisted the young man’s tie. “What happens now, daytrader?”

“Prices go down,” the young man said in a strangled voice.

Yopsvoyomatsky lurched to the bar and tore off a piece of the spreadsheet. “This is case study of Nigeria,” he said. “You have billions invested in oil futures. One hundred thousand chump change euros buys you ten cigarette boats. They speed 85 miles into the Gulf of Guinea into Royal Dutch Shell Bonga field. They shoot a few times, but cannot penetrate fortified platform. No harm done, but Shell shuts down. Price goes up. You make big money. The next day Nigerian militants declare truce. They will not sabotage oil pipelines, they say,” He raised a swizzle stick like a baton. “What happens?”

“Price goes down,” the audience responded.

“And then you buy…”

Yopsvoyomatsky crumpled the soggy spreadsheet and threw it across the room in disgust. “Iran fires five mobile missiles with possible nuclear warheads that can reach Israel.” He raised his swizzle stick.

“Price goes up,” the audience shouted as one.

“Next day blogger reveals that it was really a peddler shooting off sparklers from a felafel stand.”


Durg pushed Yopsvoyomatsky aside, sending him careening into the crowd.

“Let’s stop worrying about the Middle East and deal with the important issues,” he said. “Legalize marijuana. Put a casino on every corner and let the rest of the world take care of itself.”

Meanwhile, Yopsvoyomatsky was pouring his heart out to the daytrader’s date.

“I went on E Harmony, but nobody matched my profile. Do you think it is plot?”