The slaughterhouse that Iraq has become in the past week is the stuff that nightmares are made of. And this is just the beginning. Here's why...
Because when it comes down to it (as we explained here), all that matters is the resources...
In Escalating War Of Words, Saudi Arabia Fires Back At Iraq, Warns Of Civil War, Opposes Foreign InterventionSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/18/2014 08:44 -0400
Moments ago Saudi Arabia fired back at Iraq's "harsh words" and warned that Iraq faced the threat of full-scale civil war with grave consequences for the wider region and, in a message to arch rival Iran, warned against outside powers intervening in the conflict. "This grave situation that is storming Iraq carries with it the signs of civil war whose implications for the region we cannot fathom," Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told a gathering of Arab and Muslim leaders in Jeddah. He urged nations racked by violence to meet the "legitimate demands of the people and to achieve national reconciliation (without) foreign interference or outside agendas". It was unclear if "foreign interference" includes the US as well, or just limited to Iran.
Shortly after the US revealed that, in addition to aircraft carriers and amphibious assault ships it was also sending a few hundred "special forces" on the ground in Iraq, contrary to what Obama had stated previously, Washington made quite clear it wants Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to embrace Sunni politicians as a condition of U.S. support to fight a lightning advance by forces from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Then something unexpected happened: Iraq's Shi'ite rulers defied Western calls on Tuesday to reach out to Sunnis to defuse the uprising in the north of the country, declaring a boycott of Iraq's main Sunni political bloc and accusing Sunni power Saudi Arabia of promoting "genocide."
The world is a very complicated place, and the Middle East is a particularly difficult region to try to get your head around. Between decades of colonialism, gigantic oil reserves, governments that are essentially feudal kingdoms, and the never-ending and always shifting Western government propaganda that often changes the targets of demonization on a whim, it’s no wonder people are so confused. The following provides a perspective based on what we have seen so far, and more importantly, ask readers to ask their own set of questions. What is happening is very bad, and it is the direct result of the idiotic children calling the foreign policy shots in Washington D.C. Ever since 9/11, everything about the status quo’s decision making has been irrational and dangerous.
The situation in Iraq is serious, and is probably going to get worse before it gets better. The potential for this recent action to morph into a regional conflict is very high. That means that oil could go a lot higher, and if it does, we can expect the odds of a global economic recession and an attendant financial crisis to go up considerably from here. Before we dive into what's actually happening over there right now, we need to begin with a longer and deeper historical context of the region, which is essential to understanding pretty much everything in the Middle East. The western press likes to report on things as if they suddenly occur for no discernible reason, context-free and unconnected to our actions and activities over there. But the story of the Middle East is a story of intense external meddling -- especially by the US, recently.
"In retrospect, the spark might seem as ominous as a financial crash, as ordinary as a national election, or as trivial as a Tea Party. The catalyst will unfold according to a basic Crisis dynamic that underlies all of these scenarios: An initial spark will trigger a chain reaction of unyielding responses and further emergencies. The core elements of these scenarios (debt, civic decay, global disorder) will matter more than the details, which the catalyst will juxtapose and connect in some unknowable way. At home and abroad, these events will reflect the tearing of the civic fabric at points of extreme vulnerability – problem areas where America will have neglected, denied, or delayed needed action.” - The Fourth Turning - Strauss & Howe – 1997
For the moment, it is hard to see how anything can be salvaged in Iraq. You can be sure that Obama will be blamed both for pulling out in 2011 and then not going back to war, to protect our two trillion dollar previous investment. We have to imagine that distrust for civilian control of the US military by a corps of rising officers will reach never-before-seen depths. It may not be expressed right away, but the knock-on effects of political breakdown in the Middle East could go long and far in upsetting US politics. The defeat of Eric Cantor is just the beginning of what could be the unraveling of the federal system.
As human beings, we are remarkably poor at predicting our future selves. We know that our personalities, preferences and values have certainly changed in the past, but, as ConvergEx's Nick Colas explains, we tend to dramatically underestimate what changes might be in store on these fronts in the future. That’s the upshot of a recent bit of research by Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert, and it helps explain how we process decisions as varied as whether to get a tattoo or how we invest financial capital. Stasis is our default setting when it comes to considering our futures, and that lack of imagination seems to inform how much we can predict about how other people and systems will change as well. The most important takeaway: no matter how much you think your life will remain the same, you are almost certainly wrong. And the same goes for capital markets.
Now that 25 year old math PhD HFT programmers have finally figured out what this thing called Iraq is, and why headlines around it should factor into algo trading signals, here, for their benefit is a summary of the latest events in Iraq, and also for everyone else confused why crude is back to levels not seen since last summer.
Much has been made about the role that hydraulic fracturing – or fracking -- has played in revolutionizing the energy landscape, unlocking vast new reserves of oil trapped in shale rock. This “tight oil” is pouring into the global pool of oil supplies at a crucial time, preventing oil prices from spiking in an age of high demand and geopolitical turmoil. But the world still relies overwhelmingly on conventional oil production from existing fields, many of which are in decline. The Middle East has dominated the world of oil for half a century and as the list below shows, it remains king. Here are the top five most important oil fields in the world.
How The West Spies On The Middle East: The Location Of The GCHQ's Top Secret Internet Spy Base RevealedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/04/2014 21:44 -0400
Until yesterday, a piece of the global spying puzzle was missing: not because it did not exist, but because certain of Snowden's preferred outlets had refused to reveal it. That piece, as Duncan Campbell of The Register (incidentally Campbell has been breaking exclusives for more than three decades: he was the first journalist to reveal the existence of GCHQ in 1976) revealed yesterday, is the GCHQ's (and thus indirectly the NSA's) top secret middle eastern Internet spy base located in Seeb, Oman (officially known as Oman Comms Link Site 1), smack in the middle of the middle east, located southwest of the Straits of Hormuz, and in close proximity to America's closest petroleum-exporting "friends": Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Now that all the scapegoats have been terminated, it is time for Saudi Arabia to pull a GM (where so far the new/old CEO is still in her position), and reveal just how serious the problem truly is. Moments ago AP reported that according to the latest Saudi data a whopping 282 deaths have been confirmed as a result of 688 infections: a fatality rate of 40%! Circa says that Saudi Arabia's Health Ministry reported on June 3 that "after reviewing its records, it discovered 113 confirmed cases of MERS not previously included in nationwide totals. The discovery brings the country's total cases to 688; the death toll was raised to 282 from 190." It just "discovered" that today? Was the previous number of fatalities calculated using a wrong ISM seasonal adjustment factor?
With the NSA already reigning supreme when it comes to the capture of virtually every form of instantaneous electronic communication and interchange, aka the "flow" of data, there is one final threshold that the US superspy agency needed to cross before the biggest brother of all would have full control over not only the flow of information, but its stock too: a photographic database of virtually everyone. And courtesy of not only programs like Facebook, but also its access to government photographic data, the NSA is focusing on just that. As the NYT reports, the agency is "harvesting huge numbers of images of people from communications that it intercepts through its global surveillance operations for use in sophisticated facial recognition programs, according to top-secret documents... The agency intercepts “millions of images per day” — including about 55,000 “facial recognition quality images” — which translate into “tremendous untapped potential,”
They say that gold is a geopolitical metal. Gold is real money with no counterparty risk and, furthermore, an excellent wealth preserver in time and space. Like fiat currencies (dollar, euro, yen, Yuan etc.), gold’s price is also influenced by political events, especially those having an international impact. Alan Greenspan, ex-chairman of the Federal Reserve, said that gold is money “in extremis”. This is why gold is part of most central banks’ reserves. It is the only reserve that is not debt and that cannot be devalued by inflation, contrary to fiat currencies.