Talks are already underway of suspending the Schengen agreement and implementing border and capital controls. The Schengen agreement and freedom across borders was at the very basis of the Eurozone. And now the political elite want to suspend this?
Turkey raised its reported gold holdings by another 2% in the month of May. Turkey’s gold holding rose by 5.7 tonnes in May to total 245 tonnes, International Monetary Fund data showed, making it the latest in a string of countries to increase gold bullion reserves this year. Turkey has allowed banks to hold more of their reserves in gold to provide extra liquidity. The central bank this month raised the proportion of reserve requirements that can be held in foreign exchange to 50 percent from 45 percent, while the limit for gold was increased to 25 percent from 20 percent. The changes will add as much as $2.2 billion to gold reserves. Gold accounts for about 9.1 percent of Russia’s total reserves, 5.1 percent of Ukraine’s and 15 percent of Kazakhstan’s, according to the World Gold Council. That compares with more than 70 percent for the U.S. and Germany, the biggest bullion holders, according to Bloomberg figures. Kazakhstan plans to raise the amount of gold it holds as part of its reserves to 20 percent, Bisengaly Tadzhiyakov, deputy chairman of the country’s central bank, said earlier this month.
- On the continuing fraud that is Liebor: Libor Guardians Said to Resist Changes to Broken Rate (Bloomberg)
- Bank bailout to spark firesale of corporate Spain (Reuters) with Goldman and China just waiting
- EU Could Rewrite Eurozone Budgets (FT) but it won't because Germany will just say Nein again
- Congress Said to Delay Automatic Budget Cuts Until March (Bloomberg)
- China Says June Trade Improving in Sign Slowdown Stabilizing (Bloomberg)
- Biggest U.S. Banks Curb Loans as Regional Firms Fill Gap (Bloomberg)
- New York Fed Sells $4bn in Mortgage Debt (FT)
- Julian Assange’s fall from the heavens (Reuters)
- Wheeler to Lead N.Z. Central Bank as Kiwi Hits Exports: Economy (Bloomberg)
- Japan Lower House Passes Sales Tax Bill as Vote Divides DPJ (Bloomberg)
The NATO system — set up to oppose the Warsaw Pact system, which no longer exists — functions the same way — rather than dissipating risk, it allows for the magnification of international tensions into full-on regional and global wars. In the late 20th century the threat of nuclear war proved a highly-effective deterrent which limited the potential for all-out-war between the great powers, offsetting much of the risk of the hyper-fragile treaty system. Yet the potential for magnifying small regional problems into bigger wars will continue to exist for as long as NATO and similar organisations prevail. We do not know exactly what arrangements Syria has with Russia and China — there is no formal defensive pact in place (although there is one between Syria and Iran) though it is fair to assume that Russia will be keen to maintain its Syrian naval assets, a view which is supported by the fact Russia heavily subsidises the Syrian military, and has blocked all the UN-led efforts toward intervention in Syria. After the Cold War, the Warsaw Pact was allowed to disintegrate. Until NATO is similarly allowed to disintegrate, the threat of magnification will remain large. Could a border skirmish between Syria and Turkey trigger a regional or even global war? Under the status quo, anything is possible.
Turkey Claims Syria Fired On Second Turkish Jet, Says "Act Won't Go Unpunished", Has Invoked NATO Articles 4 And 5Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/25/2012 12:17 -0500
At this point even those who have never heard of the Gulf of Tonkin know where this is headed:
- SYRIAN ACT 'WON'T GO UNPUNISHED,' TURKEY'S ARINC SAYS
- SYRIAN ACT 'HOSTILE,' 'COLD-BLOODED,' ARINC SAYS
- SYRIA SHOT DOWN TURKISH JET WITHOUT WARNING, NULAND SAYS
- TURKEY INVOKED ARTICLES 4 & 5 FOR NATO MEETING, ARINC SAYS
- TURKEY TO PROCEED AGAINST SYRIA USING LEGAL RIGHTS, ARINC SAYS
- TURKISH JET SHOT DOWN IN INTERNATIONAL AIRSPACE, ARINC SAYS
- TURKISH JET 'MISTAKENLY' ENTERED SYRIAN AIRSPACE, ARINC SAYS
- TURKISH JET WAS IN SYRIAN AIRSPACE ONLY 5 MINUTES, ARINC SAYS
Just the tip, eh?
Update 2: CLINTON: SYRIAN DOWNING OF TURKISH JET 'BRAZEN, UNACCEPTABLE. Just as we expected.
Update: All 28 NATO Allies will meet Tuesday following Turkey's request under article 4 of the Washington Treaty
And so the escalation-cum-provocation-cum false flag is complete. There was a time when shooting down a foreign jet over one's territory was considered self-defense. But not when the one doing the defending is perpetual media bogeyman Syria, which "unnamed sources say" kills hundreds, nay thousands of its own people daily, usually in round, soundbitey numbers. Of course, the other side to the story is irrelevant: the Western-led media is never known to fabricate stories that suit the status quo's power and military industrial complex interests. All that is relevant is for the west, aka NATO, aka Hillary Clinton to get an angle to push for provocation. She just got it. As we suspected on Friday, there was much more than met the eye with the Syrian take down of a Turkey F-4 jet. Remember what we said on Friday: "The only question remains whether Syria's act was offensive or defensive. Naturally, its version is one of self-defense. Turkey obviously will claim it was in its right to be wherever the plane may be, and will say this was an act of provocation. Then NATO, read Hillary Clinton, will promptly step in, and make this a case in which Turkey was in its right and that Syria committed an act of aggression. From there, things will just escalate, and can potentially deteriorate to a far more troubling scale, because as we reminded earlier, Syria has recently become a major symbol for NATO vs the Russia-China axis." And sure enough, just out from CNN: "Turkey declares jet shoot-down a 'hostile' act."
In a move not too surprising to those who have followed the Egyptian presidential election, the candidate who is now president of the country one year after its "liberation" is the Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Mursi (for an extended interview with Mursi delineating his views read this ), who has won with over 13 million, or 51.73% of the votes. This means that at least superficially the Egyptian military is being pulled back from power, and instead the Islamist forces will be in control. How this ultimately impacts the region, and especially Egyptian neighbor Israel, remains to be seen, although a major Islamist power ascending in control of a formerly secular nation will hardly be very beneficial to Israel, especially in the long-run even if the just elected president has pro-western beliefs.
It seems pretty clear that the Syrians know the consequences of their actions. NATO (including deluded US hawks who are happy to ignore the disastrous consequences of the drug war on the US border while talking up more intervention in the middle east) and the NATO-backed Syrian opposition has been looking for any excuse to get stuck into a new interventionist mission. We know that the NATO-backed opposition were prepared to try and get a British journalist killed in a false flag operation in order to trigger a Western intervention. So why did Russia-armed Syria do it? And why (given the age of F-4 aircraft, it could easily have crashed of its own accord giving the Syrians a lot of plausible deniability) are they not at least denying that they shot it down? Is it possible that the wider Eurasian anti-American coalition led by the Russians and the Chinese are confident that NATO will not intervene out of fear of triggering a wider war? After all the Russian naval base has been a great obstacle to NATO intervention. Libya didn’t have any Russian bases, and it took far less internal violence for NATO to intervene there.
The "Syrianna" story from this afternoon, which many were quick to label as merely a lot of diplomatic hot air and rhetoric, just turned uglier, after Syria not only did not officially apologize as Turkey PM Erdogan implied had happened previously for the shot down Turkish F-4 fighter jet, but instead turned the tables on Turkey, and gave itself an out for what is now a definitive military action. From Reuters:
The Syrian military said it shot down a Turkish military aircraft "over Syrian territorial waters" on Friday.
"Our air defences confronted a target that penetrated our air space over our territorial waters pre-afternoon on Friday and shot it down. It turned out to be a Turkish military plane," a statement by the military circulated on state media said.
The only question remains whether Syria's act was offensive or defensive. Naturally, its version is one of self-defense. Turkey obviously will claim it was in its right to be wherever the plane may be, and will say this was an act of provocation. Then NATO, read Hillary Clinton, will promptly step in, and make this a case in which Turkey was in its right and that Syria committed an act of aggression. From there, things will just escalate, and can potentially deteriorate to a far more troubling scale, because as we reminded earlier, Syria has recently become a major symbol for NATO vs the Russia-China axis.
Update: they are making it up as they go along:
TURKISH PM SAYS HAS NO FIRM INFORMATION ON ANY APOLOGY FROM SYRIA, WILL MAKE FURTHER STATEMENT AFTER SECURITY MEETING
TURKISH PM SAYS CANNOT SAY WHETHER TURKISH WARPLANE SHOT DOWN OR CRASHED, NO NEWS ON PILOTS - TURKISH TV
Looks like everyone is trying to position appropriately.
Update from Al Jazeera: Turkish PM says cannot say whether Turkish warplane shot down or crashed, no news on pilots.
Just when the geopolitical tensions in the middle east appeared to be abating, and Brent was on a gentle glideslope to whatever price will greenlight the NEW QE now that fears of an Iran war have been very much silenced, things change. Reuters reports that Syria shot down a Turkish warplane on Friday, according to Lebanon's al-Manar television reported, "risking a new crisis between Middle Eastern neighbours already at bitter odds over a 16-month-old revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad." "Syrian security sources confirmed to a Manar correspondent in Damascus that Syrian defence forces shot down the Turkish fighter jet," the Hezbollah-owned channel said." Here is the rub: Turkey is a NATO member, and by definition the alliance will have to come to Turkey's aid if requested. Syria, however is not just any country as has been made quite clear over the past several months of UN impotence: it is a critical staging ground for both Russia (which has a very critical regional naval base in the city of Tartus) and China, and according to the Jerusalem Post, the three countries are in preparation to conduct the "largest ever" war game. As such Syria, already gripped by fierce local fighting, where just like in Egypt and Libya the presence of US-based flipflop on the ground can be smelt from across the Atlantic, is merely a symbol. The real implication is how far can little escalations push until finally the showdown begins, with NATO on one side and Russia and China on the other?
"Unlike other financial instruments, gold doesn't produce interest. But given its symbolic presence and usefulness as a safe haven in times of crisis, the BOK needs to buy more. We may do so this year," he said.
Gold dipped today despite Wall Street hopes that the US Fed will embark on more QE. As we have said for some time QE3, or a new term for electronic and paper money creation, is a certainty and this will lead to inflation hedging and safe haven demand for gold.
Gold took a tumble for the first time in 7 sessions in Asia as Antonis Samaras, leader of the Greece's New Democracy Party (pro-bailout) was victorious. Today, Samaras plans to form a coalition with other parties backing the bailout – meaning that Greece’s future in the euro is secure – for now. Gold’s dip in Asia was thought to be due to profit taking and increased risk appetite after the Greek election. However, this increase in risk appetite has been quite short lived with Spanish and Italian 10 year bonds again coming under pressure resulting in record Spanish yields over 7.13% and Italian 10 year over 6% again. Initial gains in equity markets have subsided and the lessening of risk appetite is seeing gold supported. Greece’s exit from the Eurozone is no longer a short term risk however it remains a real risk as does the risk of financial contagion in the Eurozone due to insolvent banks in Spain, Italy and France.
Coming into the weekend, most were focusing on key events coming out of Greece and France, possibly Egypt, but nobody expected that Saudi Arabia would be thrown into the fray. That just happened, however, following news that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud has died in Geneva, according to Saudi state television, citing a royal court statement. The news has sent Saudi shares sliding, because now 89-year-old King Abdullah must nominate a new heir for the second time in nine months. And the last thing the middle-east region needs, not to mention the world's biggest oil producer, needs is more geopolitical uncertainty.