Turkey's "200 Tons Of Secret Gold" Trade With Iran: The Biggest, Most Bizarre Money Laundering Scheme Ever?Submitted by Tyler Durden on 06/25/2014 22:18 -0400
While Ben Bernanke once said that "gold is not money", it appears China, Dubai, and most especially Turkey and Iran would disagree. On the heels of the "Petrogold" wars we discussed previously, a leaked report of a secret plot to 'juice' Turkey's trade balance exposes gold at the heart of "one of the most complex illicit finance schemes [prosecutors] have seen."
Against a background of having lost control of all western border crossings, Iraqi officials are concerned that ISIS fighters are advancing on the Haditha Dam, the second-largest in Iraq. With militants pouring in from the north, the northeast and the northwest, The NY Times reports, army officers told employees to stay inside and to be prepared to open the dam’s floodgates if ordered to do so. "This will lead to the flooding of the town and villages and will harm you also," warned one worried employee but this would not be the first time that the Iraqi government and ISIS have engaged in dam warfare, as the closure of the Falluja dam earlier in the year starved areas downstream in the provinces of Najaf and Diwaniya of water needed for crops. The situation is growing more grave as Maliki rejected calls for a caretaker government and has forced Iran's hand to help. Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia noted "the Iranians are playing in a big way in Iraq."
"According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's reference scenario, domestic oil production is going to peak at 14.6 million barrels a day in 2019 and then drop to 12.7 million barrels a day in 2040. Given the 2013 consumption level of 18.9 million barrels of crude a day, the U.S. will never be a net oil exporter under this scenario,... The U.S. crude producers need the flexibility of exporting oil or selling it domestically. As for the political dreams of making the U.S. a major oil exporting power, or even of energy independence backed by the shale boom, they are just that -- dreams."
Here are the most notable news updates from overnight events in Iraq.
The S&P500 has now gone 47 days without a gain or loss of more than 1% - a feat unmatched since 1995, according to AP. Overnight markets are having a weaker session across the board (except the US of course). Even the Nikkei is trading with a weak tone (-0.7%) seemingly unimpressed by the Third Arrow reform announcements from Prime Minister Abe yesterday (and considering in Japan the market is entirely dictated by the BOJ, perhaps they could have at least coordinated a "happy" reception of the revised Abe plan). Either that or they have largely been priced in following the sizable rally in Japanese stocks over the past month or so. Abe outlined about a dozen reforms yesterday including changes to the GPIF investment allocations and a reduction in the corporate tax rate to below 30% from the current level of 35%+. Separately, the Hang Seng Index (-0.06%) and the Shanghai Composite (-0.41%) 98closed lower as traders cited dilutive IPOs as a concern for future equity gains.
What is really going on in Iraq?
The annual human trafficking report has just been published by the US State Department in the Trafficking in Persons (TiP) report.
- The Kerry Konfusion Kontinues: Kerry urges Kurds to save Iraq from collapse (Reuters)
- Abe Unveils Japan’s New Growth Strategy (WSJ)
- Because the recovery: Avon to Cut 600 Jobs as CEO McCoy Seeks to Trim Expenses (BBG)
- Iraqi Parties Pressure Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to Step Down (WSJ)
- Ukraine Rebels Call Cease-Fire to Match Government Truce (BBG)
- IRS accused of obstruction over lost emails in Tea Party affair (Reuters)
- IRS chief scorched as 'liar' (WND)
- Big Investors Missed Stock Rally (WSJ)
- U.K. Jury Finds Coulson Guilty of Conspiracy to Intercept Phone Voice-Mail Messages (WSJ)
- HSBC to halve countries served by private bank, sells assets (Reuters)
- Bond Market Has $900 Billion Mom-and-Pop Problem When Rates Rise (BBG)
Energy security is not synonymous with energy independence.
Iraq Update: Air Force Runs Out Of Missiles, ISIS Controls The Border; Shiite Clerics Threaten US TroopsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/22/2014 19:07 -0400
Now that the Iraq proxy war scene is set, and as we reported on Friday, Prime Minister Maliki has become a pawn in yet another middle-east war between the west and the petrodollar (with both Saudi Arabia and the US making it clear Maliki has to go) and Russia (with Putin expressing his full support for the prime minister), events will likely unfold at an even faster pace. Sure enough, even this otherwise quiet weekend, in which the world is supposed to put wars on the backburner and focus on the world cup, is chock-full of Iraq news upates. Let's begin.
Until this moment, mocking the administration's imploding foreign policy was largely a domestic issue, for the simple reason that foreigners were too busy annexing Crimea, taking over Kurdish oil fields, or repelling US-trained, if divided Al-Qaeda militants to spare time to troll the first lady. That changed this past week when none other than the Al-Qaeda extremist spinoff which in recent weeks has overrun half of Iraq, ISIS, and which as we reported managed to "confiscate" an unknown number of US-made Black Hawk helicopters and Humvees, decided to use the same outlet, Twitter, to not only mock Michelle Obama, but US foreign policy in Iraq. According to Al Arabiya, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made a mockery of the U.S. first lady Michelle Obama through series of tweets accompanied by the hashtag: #bringbackourhumvee.
Any better ideas?
Russia Reignites The Proxy War: Putin Offers "Complete Support" To Iraq Prime Minister Scorned By ObamaSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 06/20/2014 20:50 -0400
The Kremlin said in a statement that al-Maliki informed Putin on Friday about his government’s steps to combat the “terrorist groups in the north of the country.” It added that the insurgency threatens security of the entire region. Putin confirmed Russia’s “full support for the Iraqi government’s action to quickly free the territory of the republic from terrorists,” the Kremlin said, adding that Putin and al-Maliki also discussed bilateral cooperation. Putin’s expression of support for the embattled Iraqi prime minister comes as al-Maliki’s rivals have mounted a campaign to force him out of office, with some angling for support from Western backers and regional heavyweights.
Yesterday, Ha-Joon Chang exposed the shortest economics textbook ever. Today the Cambridge University Economics professor uncovers everything you didn't know about economics (in 13 simple points)...
While President Obama proclaimed "it is not the place for the United States to choose Iraq’s leaders," it appears that Iraq's current prime minister Maliki's days are numbered. At least three people, who like Mr. Maliki are all members of the Shiite majority, have emerged as possible candidates to take over, but as NY Times makes clear, they face an uphill battle as any prospective successor must convince Iraq’s Sunni Muslims and its ethnic Kurds that he can hold Iraq together, as well as vanquish a Sunni-led insurgency. The Sunnis are adamant that change is needed, "we will not allow a third term for the prime minister; they must change him if they want things to calm down," but it is the statement from the top Shiite cleric that it is time for a new government that likely put the final nail in Maliki's coffin. The only problem... his replacements are far from angelic reformers.