Iraq

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Frontrunning: September 19





  • Scots spurn independence in historic vote but demand new powers (Reuters)
  • Salmond’s Journey as Scotland’s Leader Ends Short of Destination (BBG)
  • European Stocks Rally to 6 1/2-Year High on Scottish Vote (BBG)
  • Jack Ma Planning Personal Roadshow With Clinton to Immelt (BBG)
  • Some consumers say Apple is losing its 'cool' factor (Reuters)
  • Gold IPhones at $3,600 as China Delay Fuels Black Market (BBG)
  • This Man's Job: Make Bill Gates Richer (WSJ)
  • Mom-and-Dad Banks Step Up Aid to First-Time Home Buyers (BBG)
  • France says it launches first air strikes in Iraq (Reuters)
 
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Scottish "No" Vote Pushes S&P To New Record High; Cable, Yen Roundtrip On Quad-Witching Alibaba Day





So much for any Scottish referendum vote "surprise": the people came, they voted, and they decided to stay in the 307-year-old union by a far wider margin, some 55% to 45%, than most polls had forecast, even as 3.6 million votes, a record 85% turnout, expressed their opinion. The gloating began shortly thereafter, first and foremost by David Cameron who said "There can be no disputes, no re-runs, we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people." Queen Elizabeth II, who is at her Scottish castle in Balmoral, is expected to make a rare comment on Friday. But while a No vote was where the smart betting money was ahead of the vote anyway, and is thus hardly a surprise, the most curious thing overnight was the complete roundtrip of cable, which was bought on the rumor and then sold off on the news, roundtripping by nearly 200 pips.

 
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"We Are About To Arm Some Rebels And Drone Some More Folks" - Obama Statement On Passage Of Syrian Strategy





Moments ago, the Senate passed a $1 trillion government-funding bill that according to the Hill, also gave the president new authority to battle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.  The legislation, which has now been approved by both chambers of Congress, now heads to the White House for Obama?s signature.  While the stopgap bill will prevent a government shutdown on Oct. 1, the vote will be remembered for a controversial provision that allows Obama to start a new training program for rebel fighters in Syria.  In other words, not only will Obama arm some folks, he will also drone some other folks, the same folks he was arming a year ago.

 
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Australia Stunned After ISIS Plan To "Publicly Behead Random Person In Sydney" Foiled





First, led by a "British-speaking" murderer, ISIS released beheading videos of US journalists. Then ISIS releases video of a British journalist hostage 'news' report to expose "the truth," and now, Australian police have raided hundreds of homes foiling a direct ISIS provocation to publicly behead a random citizen in Sydney. As Reuters reports, more than 800 police were involved in the pre-dawn security operation in Sydney and Brisbane, which was described as the largest in Australian history. A 22-year-old Sydney man was arrest, after links were found to top ISIS recruiter Mohammad Baryalei that PM Abbot stated were "clearly designed to shock and horrify, perhaps terrify" the community.

 
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ISIS Posts Video Of British Hostage To "Dispel Manipulated Truths" Of The Western Media





In an unusual turn of events, ISIS has released a 'news' video - absent gruesome beheadings and threats - that features ISIS captive UK report John Cantlie explaining, calmly, how "there are two sides to the story," in Iraq and Syria and attempting to "dispel the manipulated truths" of the Western media... "think you're getting the whole picture.. as history repeats itself yet again."

 
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Dollar, Futures Resume Ramp On Both Hawkish And Dovish Yellen Announcement





Yesterday's market reaction to Yellen's commentary was curious: there was none, because when all was said and done the S&P and DJIA traded precisely where they traded just before the show began.  Which, of course, was unacceptable, because one way or another the hawkish for the USD - the USDJPY just traded at the highest since 2008 - statement and conference had to be promptly interpreted for the algos as dovish for stocks - Futures are again just why of record highs - if not so much for the Fed-hated bonds, and sure enough, European equities traded in the green from the get-go even as RanSquawk notes, "there has been no major fundamental catalyst behind the spike higher seen in the morning, although do note that the move comes in the backdrop of the positive close on Wall Street which saw the S&P 500 (+0.13%) touch record highs before paring a large portion of the gains." In other words, the upside volatility in the intraday move is now a bullish catalyst, closing print notwithstanding. And what did US equity futures do? Why they followed Europe higher, with the ES now +8, on what is "explained" as a European move to intraday US futures previously. That, ladies and gentlemen, means we may have finally achieved perpetual motion, because all that would take to send the market higher is... for the market to go higher, etc, ad inf.

 
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Thanks To "Title 50", US Boots Are Already On The Ground





"When are actual boots-on-the-ground, not Presidential promise-breaking boots-on-the-ground?" ... when, as The Washington Post reports, those 'boots' are protected by 'legal alchemy' called Title 50... simply put, as Ignatius concludes, "U.S. boots are already on the ground, and more are coming. The question is whether Obama will decide to say so publicly, or remain in his preferred role as covert commander in chief."

 
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ISIS Releases New Video, Warns "Fighting Has Just Begun"





The Islamic State/ISIS/ISIL has released its initial 'rebuff' propaganda response to President Obama's declaration of war against the 'non-islamic' terrorist organization. The brief video entitled "Flames of War" is shot like a blockbuster-movie-style trailer and threatens US troops and the White House. As Politico reports, the militant terror group vows that the “fighting has just begun” in the minute-long video, which features clips of American military forces under fire and a wounded U.S. soldier being taken from the battlefield. The video concludes as the words "Flames of War" flash on the screen, followed by "Fighting has just begun" and ends ominously: "Coming Soon." Even more concerning perhaps is al-Qaeda branches calling for all jihadists to unite against the common threat from a US-led coalition.

 
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Frontrunning: September 17





  • -0.07%: Germany Secures Record Low Funding Cost at Bond Auction (WSJ)
  • Pentagon Sees Possible Role for U.S. Ground Forces Against Islamic State Militants (WSJ)
  • China Joins ECB in Adding Stimulus as Fed Scales Back (BBG)
  • Stealthy or Normal? Analysts Diverge on PBOC’s Action (BBG)
  • Sony Forecasts Massive $2B Loss as Smartphones Lag (AP)
  • Islamic State campaign tests Obama's commitment to Mideast allies (Reuters)
  • Brent Crude Rebounds as Libya’s Sharara Oilfield Shut (BBG)
  • Market calm over Scottish vote at odds with disaster warnings (Reuters)
 
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Futures Unchanged Hours Ahead Of Janet Yellen, As Chinese Liquidity Lifts All Global Boats





It has been a story of central banks, as overnight Asian stocks reversed nearly two weeks of consecutive declines - the longest stretch since 2001 - and closed higher as the same catalysts that drove US equities higher buoyed the global tide: a combination of Chinese liquidity injection (for the paltry amount of just under $90 billion; "paltry" considering Chinese banks create over $1 trillion in inside money/loans every quarter) and Hilsenrath leaking that despite all the "recovery" rhetoric, the Fed will not be turning hawkish and there will be no change in the Fed language today (perhaps not on the redline but Yellen's news conference at 2:30pm will certainly be interesting), pushed risk higher, if not benefiting US equities much which remains largely unchanged.

 
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U.S. Targets Islamic State's Lucrative Oil Smuggling Operations





Smuggled oil could be a pivotal issue for the U.S. as it seeks to destroy IS. The militant group sells oil at a reduced price – perhaps around $25 per barrel. At first, it sold the oil to middlemen, who moved the oil to Iran, Syria, Jordan and Turkey. But as IS’ operations grew, they forced out the middlemen, beat back other militant groups, and are now providing security to their own convoys of oil tanker trucks heading out of their territory to market. Air strikes may succeed in destroying vehicles and other military equipment under IS control, but cutting off the flow of money – specifically from oil smuggling – will likely go further in weakening the Islamic State.

 
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President Obama Explains Why He Is Sending 10x More Troops To Fight Ebola Than ISIS - Live Feed





As we discussed earlier, President Obama is sending 3,000 US combat troops into Ebola-fighting danger in West Africa (almost 10 times the number of non-combat troops being sent to Iraq and Syria to fight that other epidemic - ISIS). Speaking from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, we wonder if the President will stick to the line that the USA is "safe" (despite scientists predicting a 20% chance of infection here by year-end), that it is contained (despite scientists proclaiming this unprecedented and out of control), and why is the CDC telling US health-workers "now is the time to prepare."

 
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Preparing For All Out Iraq War: Joint Chiefs Of Staff Back US Troops In Combat "If Necessary"





Who could have seen this coming? In yet another example of untruthiness, it appears, according to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee this morning, President Obama would back U.S. advisers accompanying Iraqi troops in battle to combat Islamic State militants if necessary. For now, Dempsey noted, Iraqi security forces are "doing fine," but as Republican, Sen. Jim Inhofe noted, "it is foolhardy for the Obama administration to tie its hands and so firmly rule out the possibility of special operators on the ground." Following Hagel's remarks that the fight will "not be an easy or a brief effort," Dempsey said if it doesn’t succeed, he would not rule out advising Obama to use U.S. ground forces.

 
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Frontrunning: September 16





  • Thank you market Chief Risk Officer Bernanke/Yellen: Calpers to Exit Hedge Funds, Divest $4 Billion Stake (BBG)
  • World stocks hit one-month low, caution ahead of Fed (Reuters)
  • U.S. Efforts to Build Coalition Against Islamic State in Iraq, Syria Are Hampered by Sectarian Divide (WSJ)
  • Time to throw away some more good money: Sears Borrows $400 Million From Lampert’s ESL Investments (BBG)
  • Wildfires rage in California drought, hundreds forced to flee (Reuters)
  • United Offers $100,000 Buyouts to Flight Attendants (BBG)
  • Biggest Banks Said to Overhaul FX Trading After Scandals (BBG)
  • You mean you have to pay? Administration threatens to cut off ObamaCare subsidies to 360,000 (The Hill)
  • RBS Said to Dismiss Most of Team Overseeing Central Europe Debt (BBG) they will be hired by the ECB
 
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Petrodollar Panic: EU Officials Admit Buying Oil From ISIS





We recently explained how ISIS remains so well funded but what was unclear was who exactly what purchasing their 'recently-provisioned' oil reserves? The assumption being some desperate third-world nation or some scheming offshore hedge-fund arbitrageur; however, as Sott.net reports, a senior European Union official has revealed that some EU member states have purchased oil from ISIL Takfiri militants despite their rhetoric against the group. The official declined to disclose any names but Turkey remains a front-runner (having already shunned President Obama) and potentially France (after their recent anti-Petrodollar comments).

 
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