Iran

"Who's Allied With Whom?" Putin & The Saudi Caravan

In principle, there could not be a more spectacular game-changer-in-waiting. A royal Saudi caravan offering tribute, in the form of incense, gold and myrrh (or higher oil prices)? No one knows, yet, how this will play out in the New Great Game in Eurasia, of which a major spin-off is Cold War 2.0 between the US and Russia. Putin and King Salman – very discreetly — had been in touch over the phone for weeks. The King’s son invited Putin to Riyadh. Accepted. Putin invited the King to Moscow. Accepted. But is this real life? Or smoke and mirrors? Who's allied with whom?

Paul Craig Roberts: "Washington Is Impotent To Prevent Armageddon"

The West is impotent to prevent Armageddon. It is up to Russia and China, and as Washington has framed the dilemma, Armageddon can only be prevented by Russia and China accepting vassal status. This is not going to happen. Why would any self-respecting people submit to the corrupt West? The hope is that Washington will cause its European vassals to rebel by pushing them too hard into conflict with Russia. If European politicians were to break from Washington’s hegemony and instead represent European interests, Washington would be deprived of cover for its war crimes. The breakdown of the neoconservative unipower model would then be apparent even to Washington, and the world would become a safer and better place.

Frontrunning: June 19

  • Greek PM optimistic on debt deal as banks bleed (Reuters)
  • Greek central bank chief says banking system stable (Kathimerini)
  • ECB Said to Confer on Emergency Greek Aid Amid Cash Flight (BBG)
  • More tax "avoidance": Citigroup to shift European retail banking HQ to Dublin (Reuters)
  • Florist's tip led police to Charleston shooting suspect (USAToday)
  • Asian shares edge higher on Fed caution, China sell-off intensifies (Reuters)
  • Toyota in damage control mode after American exec arrested (Reuters)
  • Venezuela Oil Loans Go Awry for China (WSJ)

George Soros Warns Washington To "Mend Relations With China" Or Face World War 3

"Both the US and China have a vital interest in reaching an understanding because the alternative is so unpalatable," Soros wrote in an article for the New York Review of Books, with the danger imminent if Chinese economic reforms fail forcing President Xi Jinping to "foster some external conflicts to keep the country united and maintain himself in power." These "conflicts" would present themselves in the form of a Sino-Russo alliance which could draw the entire world into war.

Frontrunning: June 18

  • WSJ urges Fed to blow uberest of all bubbles: Memo to Fed: Let the Economy Overheat (WSJ)
  • Gunman at large after killing nine at black South Carolina church (Reuters)
  • Nine Dead in Charleston Shooting Labeled a 'Hate Crime' (BBG)
  • Hong Kong Votes Down Beijing-Backed Election Plan (WSJ)
  • Greece Has Already Cost Investors $897 Billion This Year (BBG)
  • Merkel Maintains Tough Stance on Greece as Deadline Looms (WSJ)
  • Small U.S. frackers face extinction amid drilling drought (Reuters)
  • Brian Williams to Stay at NBC, but Lester Holt Will Be Anchor (WSJ)

Biggest Glut In Recorded Crude-Oil History Taking Shape

The world is on the brink of the longest-lasting oil glut in at least three decades and OPEC’s quest for market share makes it almost unavoidable. Oil supply has exceeded demand globally for the past five quarters, already the most enduring glut since the 1997 Asian economic crisis, International Energy Agency data show. But as WolfStreet.com's Wolf Richter warns, if Iran and world powers reach an accord on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by their June 30 deadline, we’ll be watching the most magnificent oil glut ever building up into next year.

Don't Believe The Hype On U.S. Shale Growth

Rig counts went into free-fall after it became clear that OPEC was not interested in propping up the price of oil for the benefit of rapidly expanding shale oil producers. While that approach hurt OPEC’s income in the short term, it also immediately impacted rig counts in the shale oil fields. But - and here is the narrative - shale oil producers continue to make gains in production even as rig counts have been slashed because they are becoming more and more efficient.

The "Global Macro Investor" - An Interview With Raoul Pal

"We have a problem with this, and that is central bank hubris. They now think that they are omnipotent, because, essentially the government has said we are going to pass over all control of the economy to the central banks, they say to everybody else including financial market participants that “you don’t know, you don’t understand, we have our models and they are right”. And that kind of hubristic approach is when you sow the seeds of your own destruction."

The Index Of Evil: Who's The Bad Guy Now?

It’s easy to see evil in dead people. Stalin... Hitler... Pol Pot... people who tortured and killed just to feel good. The jaws of Hell must open especially wide to let them in. But who should go to the devil today?

American Dreaming - From G1 To Bilderberg

What’s the connection between the G7 summit in Germany, President Putin’s visit to Italy, the Bilderberg club meeting in Austria, and the TTIP – the US-EU free trade deal – negotiations in Washington?

Pope Pissed After Feds Force FATCA Down Vatican City Bankers' Throats

While Pope Francis has called for an end of "the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy," The Vatican City has been forced into sharing information with the US. Despite the oft-quoted Book of Proverbs prose that "[T]he borrower becomes the lender's slave," in the case of the world's largest borrower - the US government - it still acts like everyone’s master, including dictating the most ridiculous terms on financial agreements like this.

Report From Russian Cybersecurity Firm Links Israel To Nuclear Talk Spy Virus

Moscow-based cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab has released a detailed report that outlines how spyware (which some suggest originated in Israel) was used to infiltrate the hotels that hosted the Iran nuclear negotiations. From the report: "Earlier this year, during a security sweep, Kaspersky Lab detected a cyber intrusion affecting several of its internal systems. Following this finding, we launched a large-scale investigation, which led to the discovery of a new malware platform. Notably, some of the new 2014-2015 infections are linked to the P5+1 events and venues related to the negotiations with Iran about a nuclear deal."