As ISIS unleashed various escalatingly grotesque execution videos over the past few months, one thing has been constant - the image of a masked man, dressed in black (with a British accent). The world has come to know ISIS apparent chief executioner as 'Jihadi John' but today, as WaPo reports, he has been identified - his real name, according to friends and others familiar with his case, is Mohammed Emwazi, a Briton from a well-to-do family who grew up in West London and graduated from college with a degree in computer programming. Not exactly the dis-enfranchised under-employed sad terrorist that the US state department suggests ISIS supportes are...
Futures Rebound On Collapse In Greek Negotiations, After Europe's Largest Derivatives Exchange BreaksSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/17/2015 06:43 -0500
There was a brief period this morning when market prices were almost determined by non-central banks. Almost. Because shortly before the European market open, a technical failure on the Eurex exchange prevented trading in euro-area bond futures the day after Greek debt talks collapsed. And sure enough, after initially seeing significant downward pressure, which nobody could capitalize on of course courtesy of the broken Eurex, risk both in Europe and the US has since rebounded courtesy of the ECB, SNB and BIS, led by the EURUSD (because a Grexit threat which according to Commerzbank has been raised from 25% to 50% is bullish for the artificial currency), which is now at the level last seen just before yesterday's negotiations broke down, and US futures are about to go green.
From here, the question is whether the current uptick is any more than a bout of short-covering which is doomed to relapse and print new lows once the overstretch inherent in an almost uninterrupted 60% plunge is worked off, or whether some more meaningful recovery can be staged. We still have our doubts about the latter outlook and would watch for behaviour near the 2009 low and the old range high (or in terms of the most heavily weighted of the constituents, crude oil, whether it will hold above first $40/bbl then $35). If not, we face the possibility of a reversion to the mean/mode of that 1974-2005 band at a level loosely corresponding to $20/bbl oil.
"Isolated, sanctioned, oil-crushed, 'economy is dying', warmonger" Russia...
The dominoes are beginning to fall. The initial spark in 2008 has triggered a series of unyielding responses by those in power, but further emergencies and unintended consequences juxtapose, connect and accelerate a chain reaction that will become uncontainable once a tipping point is reached. The fabric of society is tearing at points of extreme vulnerability, with depression, violence and war on the foreseeable horizon. Mr. President, the shadow of crisis has not passed. The looming shadow of crisis grows ever larger and darker by the day as this Crisis enters the most dangerous phase, where the existing social order will be swept away in a torrent of carnage and ferocious struggle. We are not a chosen people. We are not immune from dire outcomes.
Since the anti-austerity Syriza party's victory in Greece's recent general election, the “Greek problem" is again preoccupying markets and policymakers throughout Europe. Some fear a return to the uncertainty of 2012, when many thought that a Greek default and exit from the eurozone were imminent.
Following the disgusting images of a Jordanian pilot being burned (allegedly) burned alive by ISIS yesterday, the US coalition against the terrorists appears to be faltering. As The NY Times reports, The United Arab Emirates, a crucial Arab ally in the American-led coalition against the Islamic State, suspended airstrikes against the Sunni extremist group in December, citing fears for its pilots’ safety. The UAE made it clear its pilots will not return to the fight until the Pentagon improve its search-and-rescue efforts, shifting the base of support from Kuwait to Iraq, after foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, "let [Barabara Leaf] have it over this," the new American ambassador, why Central Command, in his country’s view, had not put proper assets in northern Iraq for rescuing downed pilots.
As reported earlier, several hours ago Saudi Arabia announced that its 91-year-old King Abdullah had passed away, in the process setting off what may be a fascinating, and problematic, Saudi succession fight which impacts everything from oil, to markets to geopolitics, especially in the aftermath of the dramatic political coup in neighboring Yemen. As a reminder, it is Saudi Arabia whose insistence on not cutting oil production with the intent of hobbling the US shale industry has led to the splinter of OPEC, and to a Brent price south of $50. Which is why today's event and its implications will be analyzed under a microscope by everyone: from politicians to energy traders. Here, courtesy of Ecstrat's Emad Mostaque, is an initial take at succession, the likely impact on oil, then the Saudi market & currency and finally regional politics.
Greece's bailout program is not working. After receiving hundreds of billions of Euros in new loans to stave off a sovereign default, Greeks are on the verge of electing a new government that may throw Eurozone politics into turmoil. How things will play out in Greece and abroad is anybody’s guess. But it is important to consider the factors which have contributed to the current state of affairs.
World Leaders Demand "Central Bank Of Oil"; IMF Warns Price Drop Is Permanent; OPEC Expects "Rebound To Normal Soon"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 01/21/2015 10:17 -0500
Because nothing says 'stability' like a Central Bank in charge of things, the smartest richest men in the world have proclaimed in Davos this week that "we need a central bank of oil, like the central bank in financial world." As long as they are not Swiss, of course. Oil has been volatile today amid these calls for stability after Saudi Aramco comments on cutting projects (supply) sent prices higher, and was then talked back by the CEO bringing prices lower. Oman - the largest non-OPEC Middle East oil producer - blasted that "we have created volatility," noting it was having a "really difficult time," and that's "bad for business," demanding OPEC slow production. But it was The IMF that sparked the greatest concerns as it warned oil producers to treat this oil price drop as permanent noting that they expect these economies to lose $300 billion. only to be contradicted by OPEC's al-Badri who noted "oil prices will rebound back to normal soon."
Oh the irony. You just have to laugh when you see this closed, autocratic regime scramble to build a neo-feudal wall in order to protect itself from radical terrorists of its own creation. Instead of building this Medieval monstrosity, you’d think the Saudis might want to figure out who amongst them had funded ISIS in the first place, but that would make too much sense.
For Sale To The Highest Bidder – How Middle Eastern Governments Are Buying Off The US Political ProcessSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/13/2015 23:15 -0500
The quaint notion that the U.S. political system remotely resembles either a Republic or a Democracy should have been abandoned long ago. Any lingering illusions were surely extinguished last year, when an academic study empirically proved that the USA is nothing more than a corrupt oligarchy...
Despite Saudi prince bin Talal's explanations of the imbalances between supply and demand being the prime driver of lower oil prices, we thought a look at just where that over-supply is coming from might provide some context into the 'shale oil war'. As the following chart shows, since the start of 2014, rig counts in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and UAE have surged (just as they did in the mid-2000s). As of this week, US rig counts are now at 14 month lows as it appears clear that the core OPEC producers are intent on drowning the shale oil industry in excess supply.
"We’ve read a lot of silly articles since oil prices started falling about how U.S. shale plays can break-even at whatever the latest, lowest price of oil happens to be. Doesn’t anyone realize that the investment banks that do the research behind these articles have a vested interest in making people believe that the companies they’ve put billions of dollars into won’t go broke because prices have fallen? This is total propaganda."
Remember when shortly after ISIS' stunning and rapid ascent to power it was revealed that a key reason for the terrorist organization's blistering success were the M-1 Abrams tanks, armored transport trucks, Howitzers and countless Humvees made in the US, sold to Iraq and subsequently captured by ISIS? It appears that the US has decided to restock ISIS, if only indirectly. As Matthew Aid's Strategypage.com discloses, the US is now selling a whopping 170 M-1 tanks to Iraq in order to restock the 40 lost to ISIS last summer, and then some. And since ISIS will promptly recapture a substantial portion of this latest batch, the US now appears to have found a fully covert, backdoor ISIS-restocking supply channel: one where Iraq pays to US military contrators (using US taxpayer aid money) such as General Dynamics, and subsequently the inventory mysteriosuly finds its way to barbaian, headcutting terrorists.