Is The Play For Iran's Nukes The Endgame Of Ongoing MENA Violence?

Tyler Durden's picture

While the majority of the world was in a sleepy mood courtesy of closed core capital markets, events in Syria were anything but. From Reuters: "Syrian security forces killed almost 90 protesters on Friday, rights activists said, the bloodiest day in a month of escalating pro-democracy demonstrations against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad." Yet while many are quick to dismiss "yet another MENA revolution", Emad Mostaque, MENA strategist at UK's Religare Capital Markets begs to differ. "The market implications of a breakdown in Syria would be profound, but likely not be felt immediately as it doesn’t tick the boxes for proximity (such as Bahrain) or oil production (such as Libya). Iran’s influence would be curtailed, as would support for Hezbollah and Hamas." But the mittelspiel does not end there, and will likely have even greater consequences on Israel: "A third intifada between Israel and Palestine is already likely following a series of rather unpleasant attacks from both sides and a Syrian breakdown would heighten the chances of an Israeli attack on Lebanon, particularly given the success thus far of their new Iron Dome anti-ballistic system (even stops mortars)... A conflict like this would raise the chances of a follow up attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, particularly if Hezbollah’s retaliatory rocket capabilities were neutered." So it appears that the old bogeyman from the summer of 2010, Iran's nuclear power - the source of so much Stuxnet (of unknown origin( consternation, is about to come back front and center all over again. And when one factors in the ubiquitous presence of CIA operatives (flipflops on the ground) in the region (always disclosed well after the fact) one wonders just how staged this latest "revolution" truly is.

Full note from Emad Mostaque of Religãre Capital Markets

1. The situation in Syria has deteriorated rapidly with protests spreading from the poorer classes, thirsty after a four year drought in Deraa and elsewhere, toward the middle class. President Bashar’s improved performance in his April 16th speech and suspension of the emergency law have not slowed the momentum of the protests, with no real move toward addressing the key issue of the concentration of wealth amongst a privileged elite and lack of political freedom. Indeed, the government stance that lifting the emergency rule should remove the need for additional protests seems to be missing the mark.
The security forces control Syria and have a largely minority makeup in contrast to the Sunni majority. This has been the primary mechanism for Alawite control through the Baath party, with an implicit agreement with the prominent merchant families for rule in return for economic favours. With the Syrian economy already suffering from food inflation, the current drop in tourism and FDI will start to hit the pocket books of this group, weakening their support.
In addition, foreign influence is likely to increase. While it is easy to mock the comments of the government, directly out of Qaddafi’s book, of blaming the deaths on Salafist groups (membership of the Muslim brotherhood is still punishable by death), there may be some grain of truth in this, particularly as armed forces fatalities increase. There has been a clear move toward sectarianism in the region to negate the increasing Iranian influence highlighted in past notes. While stability of the Alawite regime in Syria was previously beneficial for almost all groups, this dynamic has now changed somewhat, with a Sunni leadership preferable to some, particularly as the alternative ruling structure is unlikely to be Islamist or extreme..
Assad believed that his credentials as a reformer and member of the resistance bloc would inure him from the protests seen elsewhere and allow him time for reform. This has been reiterated in his comments and actions, but it is clear that public belief is waning. An escalation in the violence will only make things worse and a repeat of the siege of Hama, where 20,000 died, scaring off past protests, is unlikely in today’s connected world. Broad-based populist reform and ceding of power by the regime will be difficult to enact given their delicate position atop the pyramid and the opposition of party hardliners, but one possible avenue may be for Assad to reassert his popular support by having a free Presidential election. Given the cult of personality in Syria and lack of alternatives, he would win a mandate and time to push through some of the reforms he has claimed to wish for, while taking the heat out of the protests and halt the rise of the opposition.
The market implications of a breakdown in Syria would be profound, but likely not be felt immediately as it doesn’t tick the boxes for proximity (such as Bahrain) or oil production (such as Libya). Iran’s influence would be curtailed, as would support for Hezbollah and Hamas.  Indeed, at the end of March we saw weapons from Iran to Syria via cargo plane seized by the Turkish authorities.
A third intifada between Israel and Palestine is already likely following a series of rather unpleasant attacks from both sides and a Syrian breakdown would heighten the chances of an Israeli attack on Lebanon, particularly given the success thus far of their new Iron Dome anti-ballistic system (even stops mortars). The current sorry state of affairs in Lebanese politics would also contribute to this as the increasing sectarian split could easily lead to a replay of 2006 when Israeli bombs conveniently stopped where the Christian areas started. A conflict like this would raise the chances of a follow up attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, particularly if Hezbollah’s retaliatory rocket capabilities were neutered. Aside from this, there might be some read across to Turkey should the Kurds in the north push for independence. Kurdish activists in Turkey have been raising their voices recently, with a death in the last few days of protests.

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Bay of Pigs's picture

Things appear to be deteriorating rapidly.

Dominos Bitchez.

hardcleareye's picture

STOP... go back and read the replies to your previous comment.  Your making an ass of yourself!!!

j0nx's picture

Your making an ass out of yourself. Nothing ironic about that sentence...

Long-John-Silver's picture

* Junks you without prejudice -Bitch-

NotApplicable's picture

Those who cannot remember history are condemned to repeat it.
You've now been added to the list of those who would save ZH from itself.

So... you gonna junk Tyler too?

CH1's picture

That's the way things are done here - just accept it.

Bay of Pigs's picture


You can always skip on by comments you don't like. And the reason you don't "get it", is that you miss the spirit of comradarie some of us have for this wonderful place. We call ourselves "bitches", "biotches", "bitchez", etc...

If that offends you, you can always leave. And feel free to junk away anytime you want. Free speech is alive and well here on ZH.


Gashole's picture

No it's not.  I have had a post on this thread deleted.

Confuchius's picture


You have two problems: Your name is misspelled and your avatar is - - is - - apalling.

jm's picture

On the contrary, that is one fine avatar.  I can almost see it waving in the breeze under a bright sun.  Plus, his comments are a breath of fresh air.

Pandas make great avatars too, but you probably shouldn't harp on others' spelling.


Gashole's picture

To Confuchius:

Kish mir in tuchas.

Tail Dogging The Wag's picture

"Investors need to diversify, they need to own some real estate, they need to own some farmland, they need to own some equities, some cash, and some precious metals..."   Marc Faber —Investment analyst

Got real estate and farmland outside your home country?

cossack55's picture

The "big Three" indicators of what is going to happen to any nation on the planet:

1. Do they have oil

2. Do they have gold

3. Do they have a "connected" Central Bank

One might also throw in geographic access to shipping lanes.

Year of The Long Knives

Breaker's picture

Do not forget: Would success of the insurgents annoy or please Iran? If Iran would be unhappy with insurgent success, the insurgents will not receive any US support, verbal or otherwise. If Iran would like the insurgents to succeed, the US will demand the government step down and if they are lucky, bomb the regime.

The only exception to that rule so far is Bahrain, where Iran would have loved to see the regime fall. I suspect large amounts of Saudi oil overweighed the "suck up to Iran" rule this administration has followed to date.

A Man without Qualities's picture

Please cite specific examples of this "suck up to Iran" rule, and no, the fact the US hasn't bombed or invaded the country does not count...

Breaker's picture

1. When Iranian students were rising up against the Mullahs, they got nary a word of support from the Obamanator. Nor did they get guns and ammunition on the sly. Zero and his minions have tolerated slaughter and jailing of Iranian citizens on a much larger scale tha Ghadaffi.

2. Iran was cheerleading when Zero insisted that Mubarak step down. Wonder Why? Part of the why is that zero's old buddies, Ayers and Dorhn, had spent some time in Egypt fomenting a rebellion. Taking out the country principally responsible for the fact that Israel has been mostly at peace with it's neighbors (except the Pali's) seems right up their alley as Zero's official envoys to start a revolution.

3. Syria is ripe to fall. It is an Iranian lackey that forces Lebanon to serve as an Iranian base against Israel. No word from Zero that Assad must step down. I hear crickets chirping as I wait for Zero to call for the Sunni majority to replace the Shia Bath party there. Still chirping.

4. Iran is cheering on the Libyan freedom fighters who will probably turn Libya into another Afghanistan, fun loving stays for terrorists in training or on the lam.

As I noted earlier, Bahrain is the sole counterexample to my hypothesis. That is pretty easily explained by the US need to keep the Saudi's pumping oil and it was Saudi troops in Bahrain.

Summary, Zero is consciously and forcefullly representing Iran's interests in he middle east.

I dont belong here's picture

Nonsense. These are staged revolts, with the goal of bringing the price of oil to over 200 a barrel. TPTF couldn't give a rat's ass what Iran thinks of the people involved. Its the CIA and the Muslim Brotherhood for the most part anyway. Every single monarchy and current political group in MENA is going to fall. Saudi Arabia will be last.

natureoftheexperiment's picture

The U.S finally moving ahead with "Grand Area" goals/unquestionable power. 

mick_richfield's picture

4. Do they have nuclear weapons.

Popo's picture

And how many smaller wars will break out and be completely ignored because they don't have any of the above?

For instance:



Kickaha's picture

Back in 1970 or so, I took a poli-sci course taught by a professor (well, actually taught by an Indian grad student with a heavy accent nobody could understand) which thought itself revolutionary as being empirical-based rather than theoretical.  The prof had compiled a list of about 97 wars which had occurred worldwide since the Korean conflict, then reviewed them with an eye to which of maybe 57 different factors were present, and then looked for correlations in the data.

It was cool, because we got to play with punchcards and terminals hooked to the campus mainframe.

But I had never heard of about 92 of those wars.

falak pema's picture

what is war to locals is a non event to foreigners...In this hyper media age! American Idol is more important than a civil war in Sri US audiences. Its been the case for 70 years!

Urban Redneck's picture

There is also a disputed offshore boundary between Thailand and Cambodia, which ironically is entirely about oil, but neither side would be supplying the oil produced to the US or EU regardless of how the boundary is drawn and the JDA is finally drafted.

hugovanderbubble's picture


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nah's picture

will there be anti royalists, communists, nazis, vietnamize style pragmatic nationalism, or glen beck voodoo when there be no more revolutionary love story

A Man without Qualities's picture

There's a religious conflict brewing in the region, with the Salafi groups led by Saudi, aiming to strike a fatal blow to the Shia bases in Syria and Iran.  Bahrain is a Sunni leadership with a Shia majority - Syria is the other way round, so these are proxy wars as a precursor the coming conflict between Saudi and Iran.  The deal with the devil has Saudi and Israel willing to work together to defeat their enemy in Iran.   

Of course, part of the motivation for the House of Saud is to pander to the extremists in order to distract from the discontent within the country for the inequality and generally worsening living standards.

It is going to get very ugly and oil in Dollars is going to go much higher unless the US uses whatever influence it has left to try and calm the situation.

Instant Karma's picture

I find it difficult to believe that anything good is going to come out of a bunch of twenty something year old arab guys running around the desert with AK 47s and driving pick up trucks loaded with machine guns and rocket launchers yelling Allah Akbar. Looks more like a vision from Mad Max or some horrific post-apocalyptic world.

Moe Howard's picture

The good part is they are running around over there toting AK 47s and driving pick p trucks loaded with machine guns and rocket launchers yelling Allah Akbar and being killed. Not here.

Long-John-Silver's picture

Who could afford to drive around in a pickup in the USA?

falak pema's picture

Trumpists who blow their hornblower...not their horn...

mick_richfield's picture

Furthermore, my Lord Exchequer, and in spite of well-know Continental Leanings to the contrary, I find it difficult to credit that any Good shall come of Bands of young Colonials, styling themselves "American" to avoid the more apt description of Ruffian and even Traitor, hiding in the Forests like Savages and only coming forth to commit Mayhem and Murder upon the duly appointed Representatives of their Rightful Sovereign.

I can assure you with Confidence that the Exploits of such Ragamuffin Youths shall be quickly extinguished, and soon forgotten.

I remain, as ever, your most faithful Servant, Thom. Hutchinson on this 23 Apr. anno domini 1775 ~

Kickaha's picture

I cannot help but also comment that, on a macro basis, there is an oversupply of young arabic men, due to some of those Muslim tenets regarding the role of women.

Places where life is cheap tend to have a lot more armed conflict.

falak pema's picture

what they need is a harem of emancipated women..not horizontal moving tents...

smlbizman's picture

after learning of the most logical reasons of the "revolution" in libya, one cannot help but find themselves rooting for momar.... 

Long-John-Silver's picture

Better the controllable despot via a bombing run on his tent than suicidal jihadists that want to die.

par4's picture wonders how staged the latest 'revolution' is...? Sure are a lot of dead protesters for a 'staged' revolution. That seems to be taking 'method' acting to the ultimate extreme.

granolageek's picture

>> sleepy mood courtesy of closed core capital markets<<


Sheesh. That's all that matters in life eh? Words fail.


N57Mike's picture

Entire situaton, especially Libya, reminiscent of Spanish civil war, pre WW2, worlld powers taking sides & testing out the hardware of war.


velobabe's picture

i have NO idea, what to think that is!

lindaamick's picture

Jobs are scarce in the US.  Bullets, bombs and other perishables are

great revenue generators for the remaining manufacturing in the US.

War is the only manufacturing industry in the US that is growing.

Moe Howard's picture

I would think melting copper wires and pennies for recycling would be a growing manufacturing industry in the US. Not that I would avocate starting a smelter. But if you did, only use non-US pennies. Destroying US currency by melting is a Federal Crime.

Long-John-Silver's picture

The federal government is committing criminal acts on it's citizens. It has wiped it's ass with the constitution. I care not about the criminal enterprise known as our government.