As we asked (rhetorically, of course) over 3 months ago, why has the little nation of Qatar spent 3 billion dollars to support the rebels in Syria? Could it be because Qatar is the largest exporter of liquid natural gas in the world and Assad won't let them build a natural gas pipeline through Syria? Of course. Qatar wants to install a puppet regime in Syria that will allow them to build a pipeline which will enable them to sell lots and lots of natural gas to Europe. If the U.S. is successful in getting rid of the Assad regime, it will be good for either the Saudis or Qatar (and possibly for both), and it will be really bad for Russia. This is a strategic geopolitical conflict about natural resources, religion and money, and it really has nothing to do with chemical weapons at all...
And like that, the first step to all out war has been taken:
- SENATE PANEL AUTHORIZES LIMITED U.S. MILITARY STRIKE IN SYRIA
Vote breakdown: 10 Yes; 7 No; 1 Present. The measure includes new language saying U.S. policy is to "change the momentum on the battlefield in Syria" in way that brings about negotiated settlement of conflict, leading to a democratic govt in Syria. In other words: a pro-Qatari/Saudi coalition government that will permit the passage of natgas pipelines under Syria, through Turkey and into Europe, breaking Gazpromia's marginal energy monopoly over the broke continent.
With the value of the rupee plunging to new lows, the current account deficit at an all-time high and inflation running at nearly a ten-percent annual clip, India is in serious economic trouble. Indeed many are beginning to wonder whether the country is edging toward a replay of the events in the summer of 1991. Back then, an acute balance of payments crisis forced New Delhi into the indignity of pawning its gold reserves in order to secure desperately needed international financing. At a small public event the other week, Duvvuri Subbarao, the outgoing head of the central bank conceded that policymakers rarely learn from their mistakes: "...in matters of economics and finance, history repeats itself, not because it is an inherent trait of history, but because we don’t learn from history and let the repeat occur."
1:1 In the beginning, Ben Bernanke hath said, let there be liquidity.
1:6 And so each among them sayeth the following benediction: “May the Fed bless you and keep you; may the Fed extend its balance sheet to shine upon you; and may the Fed lift up asset prices and protect you from harm”
The conclusions I have come to are somewhat threatening in the short term, but even more disconcerting in the intermediate term, as the developing image is exposing a crystal clear picture of the ominous resource wars looming directly ahead. Equally dismaying, are the "honorable distinguished gentlemen" presiding over this Middle East mayhem, which are showing themselves to be either grossly incompetent cretins or dangerous duplicitous megalomaniacs
U.S. President Barack Obama is evidently not getting the multinational coalition his administration was expecting to share the burden of a limited strike operation against Syria. The British parliament has voted against a military intervention, and NATO has said it would not participate in a U.S.-led mission. The United States can either unilaterally fire a symbolic but ineffective shot to demonstrate action for the sake of action, wage a highly unpopular multi-month air-land attack alone or abandon the military campaign altogether.
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.
They are falling like flies... following the British vote not to join Obama in his latest crusade, it s now NATO's turn as Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen tells Dutch TV2 that "NATO will have no role in any military action in Syria." Of course, there's still the French; and as Rasmussen notes, should any retaliatory action take place to endanger NATO member Turkey then the situation may well change. Quoted as urging a political resolution rather than military, and supportive of the UN inspectors, Rasmussen added "A sustainable solution is a political solution. But an international reaction is necessary."
It seems clear that it is not "if" but "when" an attack takes place and as the following world-cloud confirms; the US "know"... as the strategy "better to ask for forgiveness than permission?" And that with the Russia meeting due next week, and a UN inspector report that appears pointless now that we have social media, that the attack will occur sooner rather than later...
As we showed mere days ago, it appears the truth of who the real puppet-master in the Middle-East is becoming plainer to see. The incredibly frank discussion between Saudi's spy-chief Prince Bandar and Russia's Putin exposed a much deeper plot is afoot and the following details from the actual people on the ground in the chemically-attacked region of Syria suggest Obama is playing right into the Saudi's plan. While Obama is 'certain' that the chemical attacks took place on al-Assad's orders, as MPN reports, "from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack."
The UK may be out, but Saudi Arabia isn't taking any chances. Moments ago, Reuters reported that the regime which as we reported is behind the entire conflict in Syria (hint: nat gas) has raised its level of military alertness in anticipation of a possible Western strike in Syria, sources familiar with the matter said on Friday. Saudi Arabia's defense readiness, their version of DefCon, has been raised to "two" from "five", a Saudi military source who declined to be named told Reuters. "One" is the highest level of alert. "It is a must, no one knows what will happen," he said. And so all those who thought there would be no war and sold off gold and crude, are suddenly caught short. More curious is why Saudi is leaking this information to the media: another provocation, and an attempt to accelerate a conflict which is rapidly fizzling? Remember: for Saudi Arabia "no war" is the worst possible outcome. If so, expect more mysterious "chemical attacks" in the coming hours and days to cement the Western resolve to blow up Assad.
Moments ago the UK House of Commons, in a razor thin vote, rejected the Cameron proposal for military action in Syria with a vote 285 to 272. Cameron promptly said he would respect the will of the House of Commons and UK Defense Secretary Phillip Hammond confirmed there would be no UK military intervention in Syria. Incidentally, this may have been the best outcome for an already humiliated British premier who will avoid being dragged into an unpopular war having both sided with his greatest ally, the US, and also relented and listened to the voice of the people. More importantly, the "people" in the UK actually had a voice, which is more than can so far be said about developments in the US. And speaking of the US, the NYT reports that even as the Syrian war "option" is slowly being shut out for staunch US allies (except for France of course), that Obama is "willing to move ahead with a limited military strike on Syria even while allies like Britain are debating whether to join the effort [ZH: and have now voted against it] and without an endorsement from the United Nations Security Council" citing senior administration officials.
The current external environment and consequence of past policies are limiting options for EM nations (most specifically Indonesia and India). Citi believes the best they can do now is to smooth the (inevitable) macro adjustment (weaker FX, higher risk premiums, slower growth) through improved policy credibility (to curb volatility and overshooting) and find offsets to portfolio flows to ease the pressure. The 4 choices of various rocks and hard places do not hold much hope for anything but further FX devaluation. As Citi's Matt King points out, what goes up (in terms of Emerging Market central bank FX reserves) risks coming back down with a thud... and in case you were wondering why India, Turkey, and Indonesia were the most-hammered...
Astute investor, Jim Rogers has warned overnight in an interview with Tara Joseph of Reuters that "oil and gold will go much, much higher" due to "market panic" regarding Syria and the coming end of free money... "when this artificial sea of liquidity ends we're gonna see panic in a lot of markets, including in the US, including in West developed markets."
If SocGen is right in its just released oil price forecast in a "Syrian war world", then the global economy is about to undergo an apoplectic shock the likes of which have not been seen since the summer of 2008, when Lehman brothers had to be taken under to generate the deflationary shock sending crude from $130 to $30 in the matter of days. The French bank's forecast in a nutshell: "Base case scenario: $125 for Brent. We believe that in the coming days, Brent could gain another $5-10, surging to $120-$125, either in anticipation of the attack or in reaction to the headlines that an attack had started. In our base case, we assume an attack begins in the next week. Upside scenario: $150 for Brent If the regional spill over results in a significant supply disruption in Iraq or elsewhere (from 0.5 – 2.0 Mb/d), Brent could spike briefly to $150." And if indeed 2008 is coming back with a vengeance, the next question is who will be this year's unlucky Lehman Brothers?