"Food lines are part of our daily existence," exclaims one member of the Venezuelan public, as people line up for hours outside state-owned supermarkets to buy regulated staple goods, or, as Bloomberg reports, pay three times as much from street hawkers. However, on the other side of the fence in Southern Caracas, President Maduro's "21st Century Socialism" looks a little different as Bloomberg notes 100s of brand new (admittedly Chinese) cars await new owners following the Defense Minister's pledge to purchase 20,000 autos for the armed forces. Simply put, in order to maintain the appearance of utopia, Maduro ensures military personnel don't have to contend with the economic chaos in the rest of the country.
Judging from the plunge in stocks and the Ruble and along with proclamations that Russia is "isolated" (when it is clearly not), The West's sanctions appear to be achieving their goals (propaganda-wise). However, Martin Armstrong warns "politicians just keep making the same mistakes over and over again," as he explains, to the people of Russia, "sanctions only make Putin stronger for they allow him to point to the West as the evil empire."
- This is why the locals are furious at the US: U.S-led raids hit grain silos in Syria, kill workers (Reuters) explaining this
- Billions Fly Out the Door at Pimco: About $10 Billion Is Withdrawn After Departure of Gross (WSJ)
- Pimco’s Ivascyn Takes on Gross With Unconstrained Fund (BBG)
- Revealed - the Troika threats to bankrupt Ireland (The Independent)
- Private Bad Debt Build-Up Casts Shadow on Greek Rebound (BBG)
- Fed Questions Bank Maneuver to Reduce Hedge Funds' Dividend Taxes (WSJ)
- Yuan-Euro Direct Trading Begins Tomorrow as China Promotes Usage (BBG)
- Geneva Report warns record debt and slow growth point to crisis (FT)
- Greenberg Team to Grill Bernanke, Geithner on AIG Bailout (BBG)... sadly only metaphorically
With the help of a few former Soviet neighbors, Iran is set to revitalize their crude oil exports after the profound effect of past sanctions. Not only has Russia offered to provide goods and services in return for Iranian oil, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have proposed reinstating oil swap deals. With limited access to international finance, oil, and insurance markets, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said, “Iran may be losing as much as $50 billion to $60 billion overall in potential energy investments [annually].” These sanctions come after prolonged failure of UN nuclear negotiation talks with Iran. Russia, an active member of those talks, often tries to capitalize on its role to proffer access to RosAtom into the Iranian nuclear industry. Originally under the guise of preventing the weaponization of spent Iranian fuel cells, Russia now seeks to offer their services in return for Iranian oil.
Confused as to the USA's strategy to defeat ISIS? Have no fear, Secretary of State John Kerry has penned an Op-Ed primer for the man in the street to comprehend why it is necessary for America to confront this "profound and unique threat to the entire world." As Kerry begins, "let's be clear about we're doing — and what we’re not doing..."
For those to whom the recent US campaign against Syria seems a deja vu of last summer's "near-war" attempt to ouster its president Bashar al-Assad, which was stopped in the last minute due to some very forceful Russian intervention and the near breakout of war in the Mediterranean between US and Russian navies, it is because they are. And as a reminder, just like last year, the biggest wildcard in this, and that, direct intervention into sovereign Syrian territory, or as some would call it invasion or even war, was not the US but Saudi Arabia - recall from August of 2013 - "Meet Saudi Arabia's Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War." Bin Sultan was officially let go shortly after the 2013 campaign to replace Syria's leadership with a more "amenable" regime failed if not unofficially (see below), but Saudi ambitions over Syria remained. That much is revealed by the WSJ today in a piece exposing the backdoor dealings that the US conducted with Saudi Arabia to get the "green light" to launch its airstrikes against ISIS, or rather, parts of Iraq and Syria."The process gave the Saudis leverage to extract a fresh U.S. commitment to beef up training for rebels fighting Mr. Assad, whose demise the Saudis still see as a top priority."
New Boogeyman Has ALREADY Been Debunked
President Obama’s neo-Cold War is not about ideology or respect for borders. It is about money and global power. The current battle over control of gateway nations - strategic locations in which private firms can establish the equivalent of financial boots-on-the-ground - is being waged in the Middle East and Ukraine under the auspices of freedom and western capitalism (er, “democracy”). In these global gateways, private banks can infiltrate resource-rich locales fortified by political will, public aid and military support to garner lucrative market advantages. ISIS poses a threat to global gateway control that transcends any human casualties. That’s why Congress decided to authorize funds to fight ISIS despite the risk. The common thread of today’s global gateway nations appears to be oil.
After the end of the cold war, the United States dominated world affairs for nearly twenty years. However, the situation of a unipolar world has changed since the financial crisis of 2008 to a now multipolar world that includes China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa. These powers are influencing and manipulating the conflict zones we have today to their advantage. By analysing and dissecting the issues concerning the major conflict zones on our world map, as well as illustrating the parties involved, this article will explain what political and strategic interests are at play and how the development in major hotspots shape the big picture. This will identify the geopolitical forces that affect the European continent and what future concerns and worries await us.
What Iraq Thinks: "It Is Obvious To Everyone That ISIS Is A Creation Of The United States And Israel"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/22/2014 14:54 -0400
Ever since the stunningly rapid arrival of ISIS on the global scene, there has been speculation that this spin-off of Al-Qaeda, itself a "terrorist" organization if not created by the CIA then certainly funded by Langley courtesy of Operation Cyclone in its "freedom fighter" stage, has had the implicit or explicit backing of either the US or Israel intelligence service. Nowhere is such speculation more vocal than in the one country that has suffered the most from ISIS: Iraq, or rather what is left of the country now that it is split into southern Iraq, the Islamic State, and a Kurdish region that quietly sells crude to unknown buyers at blue light special prices. To the Iraq locals there is no mystery: “It is obvious to everyone that the Islamic State is a creation of the United States and Israel” says Omar al-Jabouri, 31, a Sunni Muslim from a predominantly Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad. His view echoes what a vast number of his peers think.
- Quid pro quo Clarice: Iran seeks give and take on Islamic State militants, nuclear program (Reuters)
- Alibaba’s Banks Said to Boost IPO Size to Record $25 Billion (BBG)
- European Stocks Fall Amid China Concern as Tesco Slides (BBG)
- Tesco Suspends Executives, Probes Error That Triggers New Profit Warning (WSJ)
- Kurds say they have halted Islamic State advance on Syrian town (Reuters)
- Because luck and managing money is genetic: Financial Elite's Offspring Start Their Own Hedge Funds (WSJ)
- Islamic State Onslaught Spurs Mass Exodus of Syrian Kurds (BBG)
- Rockefellers, Heirs to an Oil Fortune, Will Divest Charity From Fossil Fuels (NYT)
Since China fired its first 'official' shot across the Petrodollar bow a year ago, there has been an increasing groundswell of de-dollarization across the world's energy trade (despite Washington's exclamations of 'isolated' non-dollar transactors). The rise of the PetroYuan has not been far from our headlines in the last year, with China increasingly leveraging its rise as an economic power and as the most important incremental market for hydrocarbon exporters, in the Persian Gulf and the former Soviet Union, to circumscribe dollar dominance in global energy - with potentially profound ramifications for America’s strategic position. And now, as AP reports, for the first time in history, China has docked a Navy Destroyer in the Southern Iranian port of Bandar-Abbas - right across the Straits of Hormuz from 'US stronghold-for-now' Bahrain and UAE.
A day after US ambassador to The UN Samantha Powers stated, "we will not do the airstrikes alone if the president decides to do the airstrikes," and Russia warned, "bombing Syria without the cooperation of Damascus can have destructive practical consequences on the humanitarian situation in Syria," it appears President Obama's grand strategy to combat IS via a 'broad coalition' of allies is flailing. While the WSJ reports, The Pentagon is preparing war plans in Syria that would include an intensive initial wave of strikes against Islamic State targets, Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier explained today that providing air support or sending ground troops to fight Islamic State is "out of the question for us." For now, it appears, the only nation involved in the 'broad coalition' is France. Why? Because as we said yesterday, this is merely over fears of more BNPs. "A key component of this would be allied participation," said a U.S. official; does '1' ally count?
Since it is almost impossible to win against guerrillas by only attacking from the air, "boots on the ground", as The Pentagon and military have advised, are needed to effectively fight IS. Obama and the American people - as a result of the Afghanistan and Iraq debacles — vehemently veto that idea. However, inserting U.S. military personnel for fighting or training locals likely would be also be counterproductive and would once again paint a big, red bulls-eye on the United States. The best option is for the U.S. government to do nothing.