Geopolitical Risk Is Back As Libya And Israel Make Headlines

Tyler Durden's picture

As if the global liquidity crunch was not bad enough (as we enter a vacation sleepy week, the key report on Monday will be the ECB's bond purchase update for last week - we estimate another E30 billion in secondary market monetizations, in addition to how many banks pulled dollars from the ECB in the 7 day liquidity providing operation on Wednesday as occurred first last week), geopolitical risk is back after headlines from both Libya and Israel indicate that the Levant region is on the verge of systemic instability once again. The first two stories put Israel smack in the middle of the Middle East action. First is Egypt, which earlier "said Saturday it would withdraw its ambassador from Israel, insisting the killing of five Egyptian security personnel while Israeli forces pursued gunmen across the border was a breach of its 1979 peace treaty with the Jewish state." Complicating matters is the announcement out of Iran, via AP, that "two American men arrested more than two years ago while hiking along the Iraq-Iran border have been sentenced to eight years in prison on charges that include espionage, state TV reported Saturday, a sharp blow to hopes their release was imminent. The announcement seemed to send a hard-line message from Iran's judiciary — which answers directly to the ruling clerics — weeks after the country's foreign minister suggested that the trial of Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal could clear the way for their freedom. It also was likely to raise speculation about Iran using the Americans as political bargaining chips and could bring added tensions to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's expected visit to New York next month." The cherry on top is late news out of Libya that the local rebel movement may be making headway (since denied by the government) in taking over Tripoli. Net result will be even more instability in the crude market which has been expected to drop courtesy of the recent spike in deflationary expectations. Alas, when geopolitics enters the equation, the only certain thing is a surge in uncertainty. That this will likely not benefit global equity markets goes without question.

Here is Reuters on the latest in the snafu between Israel and Egypt - a development that will certainly not hurt the political standing of the Muslim Brotherhood:

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel regretted the Egyptian deaths, which followed attacks in its border area that had killed eight people and sparked the most serious crisis in ties with Egypt since Hosni Mubarak's overthrow in February.


"We hope that the ambassador will not be recalled," said Yigal Palmor, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman. "He's still here."


Egypt's Foreign Ministry later called in the Israeli charge d'affairs, delivered a protest and demanded a joint investigation into the deaths, the state MENA news agency said.


It said the Israeli diplomat told Egyptian officials he had been asked by his government to read Barak's statement at the Foreign Ministry. The agency said the charge d'affairs was summoned because the Israeli ambassador was not in Cairo.


The Egyptian cabinet decision followed a crisis meeting attended by army generals and intelligence chief Murad Muwafi.


Egypt "lays on Israel the political and legal responsibility for this incident, which constitutes a breach of the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel," the cabinet said in an official statement posted on its website.


"The cabinet committee has decided to withdraw the Egyptian ambassador in Israel until the result of investigations by the Israeli authorities is provided and an apology from the Israeli leadership over the hasty and regrettable statements about Egypt is given," the cabinet statement said.

As for Libya, reports are very much conflicting: per CNN.

Libyan rebels have taken their fight inside Tripoli, home to embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi, a rebel spokesman said late Saturday.


"The revolution from inside Tripoli has officially started (Saturday) evening in many parts ... of Tripoli, and is expected to spread to all of Tripoli," said Jumma Ibrahim, a rebel spokesman from the western mountain region around Zintan.


But speaking a short time later, just before midnight in Tripoli, government spokesman Musa Ibrahim insisted that all is safe and well. He said that the Libyan capital remains under government control.


Heavy clashes broke out Saturday night in at least one Tripoli neighborhood, marked by intense gunfire, explosions and people screaming as they ran through the street, a resident told CNN.


Gunfire and explosions have become normal occurrences in Tripoli, but CNN personnel on the ground for weeks report that the fighting appeared to be among the most intense yet.

In the meantime, Reuters refutes the rebel position:

Small groups of armed rebels infiltrated the Libyan capital but have been dealt with and the city is safe, a spokesman for Muammar Gaddafi's government said on Saturday.


The spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim, said on state television that among the rebels arrested were Algerians, Tunisians and Egyptians.


Heavy gunfire broke out late on Saturday in Tripoli, which is encircled by rebel forces, and residents said anti-Gaddafi protesters were in the streets in several districts.

However events pan out, that this is happening 24 hours before FX markets open once again, just as the US is on the verge of another bear market, and many expect yet another major announcement out of the Fed w/r/t FX swap lines to sooth European liquidity concerns, this is hardly the upside case bulls were expecting.

As for the bears case, here is the latest positioning of US naval assets globally, courtesy of Stratfor. And please- nobody note that the US now has two aircraft carriers in the South China sea following the recent surge in jawboning between the two nations, even as Biden is currently in China . This is purely coincidental, even though Joe Biden is currently in China, reassuring the country "that the US is solvent."

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Ahmeexnal's picture

Libya's gold has been shipped out already. NATO thugs will never get their hands on that gold.

Nice try JPig. Better luck next time.

Hey Blythe, Buggo Chavez called. He wants his gold back. Beeyotch!

Spirit Of Truth's picture

The proper hedge may be guns, butter, and getting right with God.  

Appearances are deceiving in Mideast geopolitics.  Most think the Egyptian uprising was spontaneous, yet somehow, on Jan 23rd,  the Iranians announced that naval vessels would head for the Mediterranean Sea for the first time since the '79 revolution 2 DAYS BEFORE the Egyptian uprising began.  The Iranian warships passed through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean a week after Mubarak was deposed in a major provocation vis-a-vis Israel.  It's widely believed that Mubarak would never have allowed those Iranian warships to pass through the Suez Canal, so how did the Iranians know the Egyptian ruler would be out of their way beforehand?

The Spirit Of Truth Blog: Why do you fail to heed me?

slewie the pi-rat's picture

"It's widely believed that Mubarak would never have allowed those Iranian warships to pass through the Suez Canal..."

really, 0 spirit?  are ya sure it wasn't widely believed that ISRAEL wouldn't let them go thru the canal?  or the US?  and on what grounds would they or anyone deny this?  why was it "allowed" to happen?  oh, yes, mubarak wasn't there to stop it, thaaaat's riiiiight!  when exactly, did mubarak ever say that iran or anybody else couldn't come thru the canal?  huh?


or stink?

now whether the egyptian "uprising" was this-or-that is another question, entirely, it would seem.  but i'm not positive how you know what mubarak thought about this?  apparently, you have "figured this out" but to me it seems maybe you are over-emphasizing egypt's "power" over the canal while de-emphasizing israel's "power" at the time in the area.  and, no mention of the US, for some reason

if you want to think that this would not have happened if mubarak had still been in power, i certainly wouldn't want to try to change your thinking

you seem to have a LOT invested in this, 0 spirit of truth;  why would any sane person dare to challenge your opinion?

howzabout something that proves that you are right?  a statement from mubarak, any time in the last 5 years, for example.  or in january.  or february. before he was deposed and it was "safe" for iran to do this, ok?

and, if it was such a horrible, horrible thing, b/c it was awful, awful iran, then why didn't somebody stop this?  oh, thaaaat's riiiight...mubarak was no longer around to take care of iran for everybody

okey dokey, if you say so.  after all, you are the spirit of truth.  just look at your name, and your picture, and blog name.  must be true, eh?

hey, i'm from missouri.  show me just a wee bit more here, ok, 0 spirit?  thanks in advance!

JW n FL's picture

YA'LL Better Leave Slewie ALONE!!

He will gun You Down!!


BandGap's picture

Ass clown. Egypt runs the canal, how the fuck is anyone but Egypt supposed to block Iran's move? Egypt has not allowed an Iranian warship the use of the canal in over 30 years, that much is known.

You make statements and then fail to provide links, but hey, you throw rocks too.  I guess it's one opinion vs. another. What have you figured out, genius?

Spastica Rex's picture

An Israel thread. Popcorn in hand.

mess nonster's picture

Everyone studiously avoiding the subject...

Michael's picture

Except Ron Paul. He indicated in an interview for the forth time the other day, Israel has 300 nukes.

Asked if he would step in to help Israel if Iran attacked them with a nuke, Dr Paul said No, doesn't think Iranians are suicidal, and doesn't think they want their country wiped off the map in a counterattack.  He also said Israel has 300 nukes and can take care of themselves.

This is the main reason Paul is being snubbed by the Jewish owned MSM.


Mister Minsk's picture

Maybe someone should audit Dimona.

Jack Napier's picture

Yet the controlled opposition media on Comedy Central is always sure to point out how Dr. Paul is snubbed by the 'mass media' even though that's what they are. Nevermind that his wife and daughters are in the masonic order. He still has your best interests at heart, now go back to sleep.

Hephasteus's picture

Oh look. It's one of thoese double reverse brilliant mind fuckers. Get a fucking job and get a fucking life.

indygo55's picture

Ummm,,, Freemasons are men only.

natty light's picture

Haha maybe they are Eastern Star, or Job's Daughters.

sun tzu's picture

Don't expect the stus quo fuckheads to tell the truth

GeoffreyT's picture

Not so, indygo55 - although I hesitate to get too flamey because it depends critically on what you mean by 'Freemason'.

I'm a member of five masonic orders that are men-only, two that are mixed, and a few others that make no mention of gender (but to the best of my knowledge have never had a female member or candidate).

If you mean the Blue Lodge old-men's-clubs, then yes, those are men only. But beyond that, all bets are off - especially outside the US system (all the interesting stuff happens otuside the US - atheist lodges, anarchist lodges, anti-Catholic lodges, Jooze-only lodges... fun and games beyond the wildest speculation of the tut-tutters).


Expect Us. Fraternally (lol)

Michael's picture

GeoffreyT, I just don't get why all those people love playing Dungeons & Dragons so much?

vast-dom's picture

hey douchbag stop with your anti-semitic vitriol. 


and ron paul stated he doesn't care if Iran gets nukes which is NUTS!


go back to the KKK forum!

dogbreath's picture

even with nukes iran is a rhesus monkey in a world of steroid injecting 800 pound gorrilas

JOYFUL's picture


you own dat forum...have done since Pike brought BnaiBrith sponsored Masonic shit mainstream circa 1870's

Why would informed folk go there?  

your assumption of goy stupidity is....

stale dated. we slow...but we do learn...

as for y-all- "tricks" just keep gettin harder to find!?!

Michael's picture

New campaign slogan;

Go fuck yourself, I'm voting for Ron Paul.

joak's picture

Ron Paul is the only one having guts. How long until he is accused of "antisemitism" ? BTW I also suspect Tyler too, what is he suggesting ? That Israel did anything wrong ? How the chosen people could do that ? You are all antisemitic !!!!

Rick64's picture

When facts show Israel in a negative light then it equals ani-semitism it doesn't matter if its true or not. This has been one of their major defense mechanisms.

Michael's picture

Always playing the victim rent seekers. This documentary tells you everything about it you need to know.

True Stories-Defamation


Judge Holden's picture

It is pretty suspicious that this whole thing went down right as Israelis are in full scale revolt against their own government.

CClarity's picture

I suppose the French influence on NATO could be intending to distract from unfolding banking crisis in France.  Italians too, for that matter. 

FalseConsciousness's picture

AT THE beginning of the week, Binyamin Netanyahu was desperately looking for a way out of an escalating internal crisis. The social protest movement was gathering momentum and posing a growing danger to his government.

The struggle was going on, but the protest had already made a huge difference. The whole content of the public discourse had changed beyond recognition.

Social ideas were taking over, pushing aside the hackneyed talk about “security”. TV talk show panels, previously full of used generals, were now packed with social workers and professors of economics. One of the consequences was that women were also much more prominent.

And then it happened. A small extremist Islamist group in the Gaza Strip sent a detachment into the Egyptian Sinai desert, from where it easily crossed the undefended Israeli border and created havoc. Several fighters (or terrorists, depends who is talking) succeeded in killing eight Israeli soldiers and civilians, before some of them were killed. Another four of their comrades were killed on the Egyptian side of the border. The aim seems to have been to capture another Israeli soldier, to strengthen the case for a prisoner exchange on their terms.

In a jiffy, the economics professors vanished from the TV screens, and their place was taken by the old gang of exes – ex-generals, ex-secret-service chiefs, ex-policemen, all male, of course, accompanied by their entourage of obsequious military correspondents and far-right politicians.

With a sigh of relief, Netanyahu returned to his usual stance. Here he was, surrounded by generals, the he-man, the resolute fighter, the Defender of Israel.

* * *

IT WAS, for him and his government, an incredible stroke of luck.

JR's picture

It happens too much, that Israel has a border dispute just when it needs evidence of unrest to oppose a Palestinian State. It’s getting just a little bit too convenient, just a little too hard to believe…  I think Counterpunch, however, overdramatized how the civil protests have been overshadowed by the military events. The civil protests are definitely still on the front burner, IMO.

Randy Kruger's picture

Off with the over-complicated conspiracy theories.  Israel doesn't need to fabricate incidents, nor does it need to prove anything to any nitwits out there.  As a matter of fact, if Israelis were as "civilized" as some of their degenerate neighbors, they would have settled Judea and Samaria a long time ago and kicked all the Arabs into Jordan and Syria.  The fact that it didn't is not a sign of weakness but of a pluralistic society.  Many an Arab gets confused over this.

Ron Paul is right in a sense that Israel has puchased insurance against loose opportunists such as Hitler was, or Ahmedinajad is.   Iran will not want to commit suicide, nor will anyone else.  It is also insured from any consequences of any toothless vitriol that it pouring upon it, for noone in this world can now conceivably kill Jews without having to face very dire consequences. 


redcorona's picture

+1 for excellent hasbara.  You guys can spin ANYTHING.

I Told YOU So's picture

at Kruger: what a fucking moronic convolute piece of shit writing, 

slewie the pi-rat's picture

very popular post, f_c!  here's uri's "bio" from the article you pasted:  Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and peace activist with Gush Shalom. He is a contributor to CounterPunch's book The Politics of Anti-Semitism.

here is the blurb on the book:  The Politics of Anti-Semitism, edited by Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, confronts how the slur of "anti-semite" has been used to intimidate critics of Israel's abuse of Palestinians. It includes essays by Uri Avnery, Edward Said, Michael Neumann and Bill and Kathy Christison and more.

we could write our own book about how "anti-semite" is used on zH to intimidate anyone who criticizes israel about almost anything!  i've heard that in france, it is illegal to be "anti-semitic" in speech;  a crime!  i don't know if that is true or just a zH "rumor" 

do you?

Oh regional Indian's picture

Denying the Hollow-cost is punishable with strict prison time, poor to no legal representation (due to the nature of evidence you MAY present in your defense of such a claim) in Germany/France and many other "Free" nations.

Eli was not a Weisel but a weasal and Anne Frank was a fantasy figment of some jewish propagandists imagination.

Here is a good example. The british revisionist historian, portly fellow, I forget his name has been fighting this battle for over a decade at least (how long I've known about it), I think his name is David Irwing?

unnyways, yes. Bad news all around.

Vivek (ORI)

GeoffreyT's picture

@slewie - I can confirm from personal experience that there is a crime in France (two actually) called 'negationnisme' and 'anti-semitisme'; I was investigated for both (they're a twofer if you say antyhing remotely doubting the Holocaust) following a post in which I said that it was tyrannical to have laws criminalising opinions of any sort and that if the political class promulgates a law declaring some or other field of inquiry off-limits, I will always be on the other side of the barricades.

Then my passport was 'lost', and I was put into the delightful concentration camp at Lyon (the 'centre de retention administrative') for visa infringement (not having a passport... lol).

I was there for two weeks and then flown back to Straya at the expense of the Frog taxpayer, with 4 Frog pigs accompanying me to Bangkok - total cost, roughly 1 year of their retirement income.

Funnily enough, if I wanted to turn around and go straight back the same day, I could have - there was no 'interdiction du territoire'.


And here's a link to the offending post (hint: don't mention Yakov Wilkomerski's false Holocaust narrative in France, unless you're defending it).


The bit that got me in trouble is the following few paras:

"The imprisonment of this Toben fellow for challenging politically-mandated facts, should serve as a reminder to everybody that the "law" is nothing more than the codification of the opinions of a bunch of corrupt politicians, backed up by the threat of violent force (the state-sanctioned armed goons who get all twitchy if their families are threatened, but whose job is to rip families apart on some politician's say-so – usually for something that involves no harm to anybody). And let's ignore the historical irony… Moses leads a campaign of pillage and genocide from Egypt all the way to the Levant, and thirty centuries later folks who think of his story as their cultural foundation myth, are cryng foul about mass killings.

As I've said many times, I have no idea whether or not the Kraut government (another pack of politicians) had a policy of systematic annihilation of some or other set of whackballs who believed in a 3000-year old fairy tale of genocide, ethnic cleansing and rapine (and whose political leadership had declared war on Germany in 1933).

For the sake of argument, let's say it actually did happen. 

Well, apart from the bits that have been shown to be bullshit, like the 'riveting first person account' of Jacob Wilkomerski… and the 'I was raised by wolves' of the latest fraud, and the 'soap from human fat' rubbish, and the 'electrified floor that completely evaporated a thousand people at a time' fiction, and the people who apparently survived being gassed six times, and the ethnically-coloured smoke from crematorium chimneys.

We can't be expected to believe those – and it's hard to imagine that there  could be legal sanctions for pointing out that they are bullshit. We will likewise overlook the photos that were retouched to add smoke, and we will forget about the absolutely scary fuel requirements to cremate all the evidence. We will accept that the Germans chose the most inefficient means of annihilation imaginable (so 'German efficiency' goes in the bin as a myth, alongside 'US military dominance' and 'French culinary supremacy'). 

Now think about this: questioning any of those things would currently be illegal under French, German, British, Australian law, had they not already been exposed as fabrications. What does that mean forother parts of the narrative that have yet to be properly investigated?

But let's say that everything that has not yet been shown to be bullshit, did in fact happen. 

So what? It proves that a government that gained power through a perfectly normal democratic process, can and will do heinous things to self-declared internal enemies. Few people recall that nasty old Adolf rose to power by forming a coalition with another party after an election.  People forget that every action of the German government was legal under German law at the time (this is now the 'Bush/Ashcroft/Rumsfeld,/Kissinger/Cheney defence').

So politicians routinely kill people, and try to provide themselves with legal cover to do so – where's the surprise? 

And when politicians kill people they are too gutless to actually get their hands dirty, so they use goon squads. Again – where's the news?"


DOT's picture

How dare you challenge the supremacy of French Cuisine !

Randy Kruger's picture

You don't know what you're talking about.  Eating MSM bullshit, selectively it seems,  as it suits your biases.

Judge Holden's picture

Yes, governments never amplify foreign threats to distract from domestic failures (eye-roll).

pesamystik's picture

A cross border tit for tat hardly equates with any real risk. What is Egypt really going to do? Nothing short of cutting Natural Gas.

Plus, Gaddafi being taken out probably reduces risk in the short-term. As long as the West controls the rebels and gets Libya's oil, then in the long-term it will also reduce risk. 

I personally feel that going in Libya was ridiculous, and completely unconstitutional. But the rules don't apply, only power does.

I wouldn't be surprised if we decided to blow up Syria next.

Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez's picture

Yes, and Saudi Arabia will be the last.  Got oil?!

macholatte's picture

As long as the West controls the rebels and gets Libya's oil,

Don't bet on that outcome. The West has a great track record of wasting massive amounts of resources and people liberating third world deadbeats and getting nothing but grief in return. Case in point: Kuwait. What did that cost the USA and what did we get back?  The so called rebels are Muslim fanatics, uncontrollable and unpredictable and in the pocket of Iran (See Egypt). So it's going to be a really big surprise when they give America and the EU the finger after they take over. Another loser. 

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.
Douglas Adams

As I have said for many years throughout this land, we're borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian Gulf to burn it in ways that destroy the future of human civilization. Every bit of that has to change.
Al Gore

China gets their oil from Libya. Why isn't China involved? They're going out spending billions of dollars a day on trying to take over the world economically. And we're spending billions and billions and billions of dollars on policing the world. Why isn't China involved with Libya? That - we don't get oil from Libya, China does.
Donald Trump


snowball777's picture

Libya's oil exports by country:

US: 3%

UK: 4%

Greece: 5%

Spain: 10%

Germany: 10%

China: 11%

Other: 14%

France: 15%

Italy: 28%

Or put another way:

Zooropa: 72%

China: 11%

Other: 17%

Or put another way:

Western world: 89%

China: 11%


Yet another reason that fucking retarded, multiply-bankrupt asshat with a bad toupee should STFU and stick to fondling stupid girls at Miss Dumbass USA "Pageants".

sitenine's picture

You would expect Donald Trump to be right?

The Douglas Adams quote is spot on though.

snowball777's picture

Agreed on Adams. No, I wouldn't expect anyone who refers to himself in the 3rd person to be right about much, but I wouldn't expect someone to quote such an assclown either.

JW n FL's picture


The reasonable man adapts himself to the world:

the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself.

Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.


A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.


George Bernard Shaw


Martyrdom is the only way in which a man can become famous without ability.


George Bernard Shaw



You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'



George Bernard Shaw




falak pema's picture

Arms and the MAn...oH Raina! 

The guy got a Nobel and an Oscar and founded the Fabians and the London school of Economics. Some cultural iconoclast. definitely leftist and latch onto your theme of "why not?"... another trailblazer, antarctic navigator, called his boat 'Le Pourquoi-Pas'.

great minds...

Bob's picture

I grimaced at the thought when I saw the headline, but that was funny!