- Yes: Support Builds in Congress for U.S. Strike Against Syria (WSJ)
- No: Boehner backs Obama on Syria, but House leaning toward ‘no’ (The Hill)
- U.S. Congress fight over Syria pits establishment versus upstarts (Reuters)
- Wednesday humor: Japan’s Abe Says Fukushima Will Be Resolved Before 2020 Olympics (BBG)
- Bank of Japan to Consider Further Easing if Sales Tax Hike Goes Ahead (Reuters)
- S&P accuses U.S. Justice Department of filing $5 billion lawsuit against it in "retaliation" for the company's downgrade of America's debt in 2011 (WSJ)
- German Candidates Spar Over Records (WSJ)
- Emerging Nations Save $2.9 Trillion Reserves in Rout (BBG)
- Split Congress Mulls Denial of Military Force Request (BBG)
- Sharp Fall in Overseas Investment By Chinese Firms (WSJ)
- Jorge Lemann: He Is...the World's Most Interesting Billionaire (BusinessWeek)
- Why Amazon Is on a Warehouse Building Spree (BW)
It was just yesterday, when we reported on the build up of Russian naval forces in the Meditteranean, in this case two new marine-carrying amphibious assault ships, that we made a simple forecast: "Our prediction: the next ship to be dispatched in direction Syria will be the missile cruiser Moskva, the "flag ship of the Black Sea fleet" and more of its affiliated warships... That, and a whole lot of submarines." We were right.
RUSSIA SENDS MISSILE CRUISER MOSKVA TO EAST MEDITERRANEAN: IFX
RUSSIA SENDS DESTROYER, FRIGATE TO EAST MEDITERRANEAN: IFX
The deployment is, more than anything, symbolic. It means Russia will no longer take US military build up in the region on the sidelines. Because while the Mediterranean build up is inevitable (and can be tracked here), the next step will be the arrival of Russian air and land-based support in Syria. Oh, and China. Let's not forget China.
Today's morning summary is a carbon copy of yesterday's. Some things happened, China continues to make up data to fit its current policy outlook, things in Europe continue to go bump in the night ever louder as we approach the German election despite reflexive diffusion indices - this time Service PMIs - desperately signalling a surge in confidence, Italy has just reminded everyone it is a big political basket case as Berlusconi is said to consider withdrawing his support for the Letta government and calling for elections this year, and so on, but it is still all about Syria. Last night the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has agreed on a resolution on using military force against Syria. The resolution would limit the duration of any US military action in Syria to 60 days, with a 30-day extension possible if Obama determines it is necessary to meet the goals of the resolution. In other words, a "surgical strike" lasting a minimum of 90 days, and then with indefinite additional extensions tacked on. Yet judging by the modest drop in crude and gold, the market may need more than just fighting words at this point to push to th next level of risk aversion.
Moments ago a powerful 6.5 quake struck the Izu Islands, 400 miles south of Tokyo, strong enough to be felt among the taller buildings of the Japanese capital. Luckily, there was no tsunami or any destructive aftermath, at least none publicly announced. None was needed, because the great earthquake of March 2011 and subsequent tsunami and nuclear catastrophe at Fukushima continue to do enough damage. Sadly, it is the gift that keeps on giving... gamma rays. Not to mention constant news of the deterioration from the disaster zone, now that the world's attention has once again refocused on the fallout zone which for over two years both the Japanese government and TEPCO lied was under control. It wasn't. And now that the lies are catching up with reality, the "shocking" facts are hitting fast and furious. To wit: it was only this past Saturday when we reported that the radiation levels at Fukushima had hit a post-explosion record of 1,800 millisieverts/hour. Today, three short days later we get an update, and a stunning deterioration of over 20%. Reuters reports, citing the Nuclear Regulation Authority, that readings just above the ground near a set of tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant showed the radiation had risen as high as 2,200 millisieverts (mSv). Both levels would be enough to kill an unprotected person within hours.
Now that the All Time High (ATH) in the S&P is a distant memory (at least until the Syrian war becomes a widespread conflict involving all global powers and the US suddenly has to issue, and monetize, a few extra trillion) there are those momentum chasers who have an itch to BTFATH. To all of them we have a message: don't despair, and merely set your sights a little lower, on the globe that is, to Venezuela where the local stock market keeps crushing every upside resistance level and hitting new all time highs day after day after day, resulting in a YTD return of nearly 200%!
Gold, silver and brent oil rose and European stocks declined after reports of missile launches in the Mediterranean. Russian radar detected two ballistic "objects" that were fired towards the Syrian coastline from the central part of the sea.
- Mediterranean 'Ballistic Targets' Were Part of Israeli Test – Defense Ministry (RIA)
- Microsoft to Buy Nokia’s Devices Unit for $7.2 Billion (BBG)
- Long-Term Jobless Left Out of Recovery (WSJ)
- Swiss banks apologize for assisting tax cheats (Reuters)
- As Obama pushes to punish Syria, lawmakers fear deep U.S. involvement (Reuters)
- India Looking to Expand Rupee-Payment System (WSJ)
- Citigroup Dialing Back Its 'Alternative' Holdings (WSJ)
- Libya Seeks New Solutions to Oil Crisis (WSJ)
- Lenovo Chief Yang Shares Bonus With Workers a Second Year (BBG)
Russian Defense Ministry Reports Two "Ballistic Targets" Launched In Mediterranean, Israel Says Was "Missile Test"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/03/2013 06:34 -0400
Update from AFP: Mediterranean missile launches were US-Israel drill: Israel media
Moments ago Russian RIA news agency reported that Russia’s Defense Ministry said, citing its ballistic missile early warning system, that the launch of two "ballistic targets" has been detected in the Mediterranean, "The launch was detected at 10:16 Moscow time (06:16 GMT) by a radar in the southern Russian city of Armavir, a Defense Ministry spokesman said. The targets’ trajectories ran from the central to the eastern Mediterranean, the spokesman said. A diplomatic source in the Syrian capital, Damascus, told RIA Novosti that the targets fell into the sea. The Russian Embassy in Damascus said it did not have any information about the launch, and the streets and residents of the Syrian capital appeared calm, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported. Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported the launch to President Vladimir Putin, the spokesman told Russian journalists. The Defense Ministry's press service was not immediately available for further comment."
First it was "contained." Then we found out there was a "small leak." Then, after numerous media reports confirmed it, Japan admitted there was "a big leak," which only became bigger with time. Then the severity level of Fukushima was raised from level 1 to level 3, the highest since the March 2011 disaster. And now it is many leaks. According to AP, "Japan's top nuclear regulator raised safety concerns Monday about hastily built storage tanks and their foundations at the damaged Fukushima Dai-Ichi power plant after signs of new leaks of radioactive water. The latest leak was found over the weekend in a connecting pipe. The plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., said it suspects there may also have been leaks from three storage tanks because elevated radioactivity was detected near them. The levels were not considered deadly." Oh so it was not the 1.8 sieverts/hour reported over the weekend? Maybe in the case the honorable Prime Minister can take a big swig from the supposedly undeadly water.
While the US pro-strike coalition is crumbling following last week's UK vote that dealt a humiliating blow to PM Cameron, followed by NATO, and most recently by Germany announcing it would not take part in a military action against Syria, it was time for a lonely voice of support for Obama's delayed "surgical strike" request to the global community which Syria promptly called a "historic American defeat." It came from France where a senior government Socialist and chief of the foreign affair committee, Elisabeth Guigou, announced the government should not bow to calls from opposition figures to have lawmakers vote on whether to take military action in Syria.
- Tables turn: Syria asks the United Nations to stop U.S. strike (Reuters)
- More tables: Putin sees chance to turn tables on Obama at G20 (Reuters)
- Obama’s Decision Stirs Doubts About America’s Resolve (BBG)
- Kerry says US tests prove sarin used in Syria attacks (FT) - is this based on more YouTube or Vine this time?
- Italy Coalition Reels as Berlusconi Threatens to Sink Letta (BBG)
- Steinbrueck’s Jabs Fail to Knock Out Merkel in Election Debate (BBG)
- India's crisis within a crisis; finance minister fights on two fronts (Reuters)
- Ikea signals slower expansion (FT)
- US spied on Brazil, Mexico presidents (AFP) - since it spies on its people, is this a surprise?
- What's the Difference Between U.S., Chinese Corruption? (BBG)
- First Strut Default Jolts High-Yield Market: South Africa Credit (BBG)
- Vodafone, Verizon Agree on $130 Billion Deal (BBG)
Nimitz Rerouted To Syria As More Destroyers Arrive; Syrians Mock Obama; Saudis Drum Up Support For Syrian StrikesSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/01/2013 21:07 -0400
While it is unknown is the US is suddenly focusing more on non-Cyprus based air support in the aftermath of the Cypriot decision to prohibit the launch of air strikes from its territory (just in time following a Russian agreement to restructure Cyprus debt), what is known, according to Reuters, is that while broad popular opinion is that the war drums are beating far more quietly following Obama's Saturday punt to Congress (a decision which can certainly still go either way), the US has decided to reroute CVN-68 USS Nimitz, and other ships in its strike group including four destroyers, in direction west toward the Red Sea "to help support a limited U.S. strike on Syria, if needed, defense officials said on Sunday."
Someone wants to get the United States into a war with Syria very, very badly. Cui bono is an old Latin phrase that is still commonly used, and it roughly means "to whose benefit?" The key to figuring out who is really behind the push for war is to look at who will benefit from that war. If a full-blown war erupts between the United States and Syria, it will not be good for the United States, it will not be good for Israel, it will not be good for Syria, it will not be good for Iran and it will not be good for Hezbollah. The party that stands to benefit the most is Saudi Arabia, and they won't even be doing any of the fighting.
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) August 31, 2013
WWhile there may have been a verbal attempt by the Obama administration to diffuse Syrian tensions in the aftermath of Thursday's shocker out of the House of Commons, the action on the ground so far is hardly conciliatory. Or rather water, because a sixth US warship has now anchored in proximity to Syria, joining the recently arrived fifth destroyer USS Stout, which joined the warships already "breathing down Assad's neck." From AP: "Five U.S. Navy destroyers - the USS Gravely, USS Mahan, USS Barry, the USS Stout and USS Ramage - are in the eastern Mediterranean Sea waiting for the order to launch. And the USS San Antonio, an amphibious assault ship has now joined them. The USS San Antonio, which is carrying helicopters and can carry up to 800 Marines, has no cruise missiles, so it is not expected to participate in the attack. Instead, the ship's long-planned transit across the Mediterranean was interrupted so that it could remain in the area to help if needed." So in addition to a cruise missile based force, the US is now bringing in the marines? The justification that they are there "just in case" seems a little shallow in context.