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Thread: Eurasia Topics

  1. #376
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    Yes, China's lead in exporting deadly viruses has grown exponentially.

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    US uneasy as Iraq gets new prime minister


    Posted on February 5, 2020 by M. K. BHADRAKUMAR
    US uneasy as Iraq gets new prime minister



    Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Tawfiq Allawi (L) receives appointment decree from President Barham Salih (R), Baghdad, February 1, 2020

    "In happier times, Washington and Tehran might well have zeroed in on Mohammed Tawfik Allawi as their consensus candidate for the post of Iraq’s prime minister.

    Why not? He was opposed to Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship — although, unlike most Shia politicians who fled from Saddam’s tyranny, he never lived in Iran but chose UK.

    However, unlike his famous (notorious) cousin Iyad Allawi who also lived in exile in the UK and whom the US handpicked to head the first government during its occupation (2004-2005), Mohammed Allawi didn’t work for the western intelligence.

    Even detractors dare not say that he ever was on Tehran’s payroll. In fact, he wasn’t — unlike another famous relative Ahmed Chalabi.

    Yet, although part of Iraqi Shia aristocracy, he was sensible enough as an aspiring Iraqi politician to have good rapport with Iran.

    Mohammed Allawi is said to be deeply religious and yet is secular-minded. He twice resigned from former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s cabinet protesting against the latter’s “sectarian agenda and political interference”.
    There is no conceivable reason why the US cannot be happy that Iran has failed at this crucial juncture in regional politics to insert an ‘yes man’ as the head of the new government in Baghdad.

    But prioritising Iraq’s stability more than anything else, Tehran welcomed Mohammed Allawai’s appointment. On the contrary, even after five days since President Barham Salih gave him the appointment letter, Washington is holding back.

    American think tankers wired into the US establishment have run down Mohammed Allawi as a mere frontman of Moqtada Al Sadr’s Sairoon coalition and its rival, the Fatah alliance led by Hadi Al Amiri. They anticipate that he is doomed to fail.

    The heart of the matter is that there is much angst in the American mind that Mohammed Allawi, once confirmed as prime minister by the Iraqi parliament, may not only restructure US-Iraqi relations, but eventually take the winds out of the sails of the so-called protests whom Washington and its regional allies have inserted since October into the Iraqi body polity as an extra-constitutional centre.

    Today, the US’ capacity to influence the Iraqi political elite — a vast unwieldy network of politicians, Shia political parties, security forces, militias, and religious figures that make up Iraq’s muhasasa (sectarian power-sharing) political system — stands much diminished. Clawing its way back up the greasy pole is difficult.

    Thus, the protest movement in Iraq, which is now entering its fourth month, has come to be the principal instrument for Washington (and its Saudi and Emirati allies) to surreptiously advance the broader geopolitical confrontation with Iran that is being played out within the country.

    The Iraqi protest movement bears striking similarity with Hong Kong’s, which too had brought the local government down on its knees. In Iraq too, it is a remarkably young movement made up almost entirely of adolescents or youth below the age of 25 and a significant female participation.

    The movement has an inchoate programme that keeps mutating — ranging from electoral reforms to eradication of corruption — amidst the artistic graffiti, rap videos, and citizen journalism as modes of political activism and civic engagement.
    The Iraqi protest movement too has no unified leadership and yet through its abstract calls for the removal of the current political elite it has worked to insert itself as a factor in the decision-making over the prime minister’s nomination. Some hidden forces are evidently pulling the strings from behind, as in Hong Kong.

    The outgoing Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi bitterly complained in the Iraqi parliament on January 5 that in two telephone conversations, the US President Donald Trump had threatened him with precisely such protests to overthrow him if he didn’t comply with US demands.


    POTUS allegedly threatened to position US marine snipers “atop the highest buildings,” who will target and kill protesters and security forces alike in an attempt to pressure the Prime Minister.

    Therefore, it is hugely significant that the Iraqi protestors have rejected Mohammed Allawi’s appointment. Iraq is now at a political impasse. In essence, Washington will do everything in its power to prevent the new government from settling in.

    In Hong Kong, the turmoil began subsiding once the US-China trade deal was signed. In Iraq, everything depends on there-negotiation of the terms of engagement with the US. The amorphous nature of the protest movement means that it may meet with sudden death as well.

    The Trump administration hopes to salvage relations with Baghdad and smother the Iraqi demand for American troop withdrawal. The top US commander in the Middle East Gen. Frank McKenzie visited Baghdad on Tuesday to set the ball rolling.

    In a longer perspective, US hopes that the Sadrists could be exploited as a powerful driver of placing the Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Force (PMF) structure under real controls of the government.

    But there’s a caveat. As a seasoned American analyst puts it, “Moqtada also believes he has a role to play as a ‘guide’ focused on ‘social justice’… While unlikely to be a ruler in the mould of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Moqtada is also unlikely to be a ‘quietist’ cleric in the style of Sistani. Something in-between is more likely, raising parallels with Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah. This is not a comparison that should reassure (Washington).”

    In fact, on Tuesday, Sadr supporters took control of the iconic Tahir Square building in Baghdad and evicted the protestors ensconced there.

    The bottom line is that although the level of emotion in the Sadrist discourse about American forces in Iraq is no more acute as it used to be a decade ago, it still remains a deeply held conviction of the movement, from Moqtada himself to the militant cadres, that the presence of foreign military forces should not become a proforma reality of Iraqi life.
    "

    https://indianpunchline.com/us-uneasy-as-iraq-gets-new-prime-minister/

    Mohammed Allawi appointed new Iraq PM, protesters reject him

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/02/iraq-president-appoints-mohammed-allawi-pm-state-tv-200201150554113.html

    Sadr supporters take iconic Tahrir Square building

    https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/...094913131.html
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  3. #378
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    The Multipolar Alliance Induces Rumpelstiltskin’s Self-Destruction

    Matthew Ehret

    March 4, 2020

    Eurasia Topics-ehret-1-930x520-jpg


    "There are several versions of the old German folk tale of Rumpelstiltskin. The story begins with greedy king who is told by a foolish old miller that a young girl (the miller’s daughter) had the ability to spin hay into gold. When the poor girl is locked into a tower with bales of straw, a loom and orders to transform it all into gold under threat of death, a magical imp appears out of thin air and they reach an agreement: He will use his magic to spin the hay into gold on the condition that the girl gives the imp her first born child. The greedy king is pleased with the wealth that appeared from thin air, and the daughter’s neck is saved. Sadly the day eventually arrives for her to give up a child, and the imp in sadistic glee responds to her pleading tears by giving her three chances annul the contract. All she has to do is guess his name. To make a long story short, his name is discovered and Rumpelstiltskin literally tears himself to pieces in a fit of mad rage.

    I think this story exemplifies the self-cannibalization of the deep state over the past several years quite nicely.

    It appeared for quite some time that the oligarchy managing the world’s financial system and military-intelligence community from above was able to do magic. If they wanted a nation overthrown, or a troublesome elected official killed, a mere snap of the fingers was all it took. Gold from straw? They could do that too! Just look at the mass of $1.5 quadrillion dollars of derivatives claims which appeared as though out of thin air in the mere space of 30 years! Seriously, back in 1990, these fictitious assets (forms of bets on insurance on securitized debts) amounted to little more than $2 trillion and 10 years before that, had barely any existence whatsoever. NOW… they amount to over twenty times the world’s GDP! How was this possible when the real economy (agro-industrial/infrastructure capital which supports real life) was permitted to atrophy during that same space of time? Magic!

    Such are the powers of today’s Rumpelstiltskin.

    There were no shortage of idiot kings in our modern story either. A cleptocracy rose to prominence in the west in a scale unseen in human history. Billionaire speculators, hedge fund managers and other useless nouveau rich devoid of any actual productive skill rose to positions of power and prestige under this new system of globalization and used their wealth and influence to become enforces of the system that gave them their money and status. The Bloombergs of this world were more than happy to unquestioningly accept the idea that they “earned” their billions, and happily became thugs and mini tyrants for the machine. It was all magic… mixed with a good dose of arrogance of course.

    But then one day, the magic stopped working.

    The banking system started rupturing and the magic wands had to be used more often. More bailouts, more overnight repo loans for bankrupt speculators (today clocking in at $100 billion/night), more money printing out of thin air and more debt to carry over till next quarter with no thought of paying it off. Soon after the straw stopped turning into gold, the god-like powers of regime change also stopped working. Libya worked fine of course when it was magically thrown back into the stone age joining Iraq and Afghanistan… but Ukraine was harder, and Syria followed by Venezuela were harder still. Why did the magic formula stop working?

    The answer in short: Russia and China both guessed the name.

    Once the name was said aloud, the empire was increasingly exposed for all to see as the bluff masquerading as a God which it always was. Calling the name of the empire was like a spiritual ointment for many who feared the unknown, un-nameable creatures of the dark shadows. Like any shadow confronted with the light, this imp ceased to exert the influence it wished to hold onto the minds and hearts of its victims… and the image of omnipotence it worked so hard to project onto the world turned out to be just that… a projection and nothing more.


    President Putin demonstrated how it is possible with one tenth of the expenses of the US military to destroy ISIS in Syria by the simple application of an intention to actually do it. This intention was always absent from the minds of western geopoliticians who actually preferred to have a growing network of terrorists spread across the Middle East and Africa. Terrorists not only destabilized troublesome nation states as a form of asymmetric warfare, but also provided a convenient excuse to bomb governments targeted for regime change.

    China followed suit by investing massively into the development sector- just as the west had done for years- but with one very big difference: INTENTION. China animated its investments into Africa, Asia, the Middle East and beyond with the intention to actually create prosperity, infrastructure and economic independence in those countries receiving loans. They didn’t use this with magic, but simply by ensuring their money would be invested into genuine nation building projects disconnected from any usurious conditionalities.

    With the important ingredient of intention to actually end terrorism, hunger, disease and poverty infused into global policy-making by Russia and China, the Rumpelstilskins lost more of their power. The empire always relied on the illusion of noble ends but never the substance or means to carry them out. This substance is located entirely in the domain of intention.

    In the west, the shadow creature was given a name (deep state), and with that name, an identity, and modus operandi was identified.


    With that identification, a resistance began to organically emerge as nations found the courage to take a stand- preferring to work with honest partners like Russia, China and the Belt and Road Initiative rather than cling onto the Titanic of the sinking western system.

    Within America, Rumpelstiltskin spasmed in rage and moved in desperation to defend himself when a leader surprisingly came to power extolling friendly relations with Russia and China. This was done first with the sloppy manufacture of Russia-Gate and then the sloppier manufacture of Ukraine-gate… but that also didn’t work. Whether it took the form of left wing socialists or capitalist orange nationalists, the magic once used to easily destroy such troublesome expressions of patriotism in America stopped working as fast as had their bailout powers, or regime change hocus pocus.


    When you watch today’s democratic primary debates and laugh at the fanatic sloppiness of Rumpelstiltskin’s left wing champions cannibalize each other (and themselves) in the process, or as you listen to right wing Rumpelstilskins froth in rage at China’s tyrannical Belt and Road Initiative “empire”, keep in mind that the game, as they say, is really up. The name has been called out, the imp is busy tearing himself to pieces and to the surprise of many who had lost all hope just a few years ago, this story may actually have a happy ending after all.


    The Multipolar Alliance Induces Rumpelstiltskin’s Self-Destruction — Strategic Culture
    Last edited by OhOh; 05-03-2020 at 11:50 AM.
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  4. #379
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    Trump tiptoeing toward energy market management


    "On Monday, the US President Donald Trump literally bit the bullet by telephoning Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss the state of the energy markets, which are at a crisis point not seen in history. As of last weekend, global oil prices collapsed by over 50 percent and are the lowest seen in almost twenty years.

    A defining moment has come. Starting April 1, OPEC+ countries (OPEC plus Russia) are at liberty to pump as much oil as they please. The increased oil volumes are sure to flood the oil market. Saudi Arabia has talked of offering 12.3 million barrels per day to the market.

    The combination of a massive supply overhang and a significant demand shock at the same time has created an unprecedented situation in the oil market history. It threatens to have a multiplier effect on the deep recession in the world economy due to the coronavirus and the consequent lockdowns in large swathes of China and the industrial world.

    For the US, the oil market bust could mean that over half of its shale industry, which has been charioting the country’s newfound oil superpower status, may go bankrupt. Breakeven price for US shale industry ranges from $40-50 per barrel — and prices have plummeted to around $20.

    A similar crisis had arisen in 2014-2016 period but shale industry survived through a combination of pushing costs lower and retrenching — and bouncing back with higher profits once the crisis was over. However, this time around, shale drillers were already facing substantial hurdles with cash flow problems and maturing debt and the dramatic fall in income simply drives them bankrupt. Again, whereas the problem earlier was one of fall in oil prices, today it is also combining with the biggest demand slump in the history of oil.

    The US shale sector is getting completely killed and tens of billions of dollars in equity could get wiped out. 13 US senators wrote to the Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman earlier this month urging halt to efforts to boost production and lower prices. They threatened to take action against Saudi Arabia if the “economic warfare” continued.

    Sen. Ted Cruz from Texas told CNBC on Monday: “The Saudis are hoping to drive out of business American producers, and in particular shale producers, largely in the Permian Basin in Texas and in North Dakota. That behaviour is wrong, and I think it is taking advantage of a country that is a friend… If they don’t change their course, their relationship with the United States is going to change very fundamentally.”

    However, the Saudis are not backing down from the oil price war for market share and are planning another increase in its oil exports starting in May. A prominent Saudi establishment commentator Bernard Haykel wrote recently that Riyadh’s decision reflects a broader and more fundamental strategic shift led by the Crown Prince. To quote Haykel, “He (Crown Prince) has embarked on a policy of capturing market share rather than trying to set the price.”

    Indeed, the warning bells are ringing already for the shale industry. Tens of thousands of roughnecks are getting laid off. The Oil Price magazine forecasts that layoffs in the US oil industry could be as high as 200,000 jobs.

    The Brookings Institution anticipates in a study that the Midland-Odessa region of West Texas, where Occidental Petroleum and Parsley Energy have dominated, could be decimated. A top oil executive, Dan Eberhart, CEO of Denver-based Canary has been quoted as saying, “There’s definitely blood in the water. The weakest oil and gas companies, oilfield service companies and banks with heavy energy exposure might submerge beneath the waves before the end of the cycle never to surface again.”

    The ripple effect is staggering. When the fracking companies go bankrupt and cannot repay debts, the credit market and the banks face a crisis, which in turn threatens the whole system of oil stock exchange.

    Simply put, Saudi Arabia and Russia have dealt a lethal blow to the decade-old American fracking industry, which they have seen as a mortal enemy. The crux of the matter is that they are independently fighting the US and are determined to take the price war forward to conclusively finish off the American encroachment into their market share. (See my blog Oil price war is more about market share)

    Recently, the chairman of Russia’s state-owned Rosneft, Igor Sechin, who is a longstanding associate of President Vladimir Putin, stated bluntly that as soon as US shale leaves the market, prices will rebound and could reach $60 a barrel.

    The bottom line is that for President Trump, the political costs are exceedingly high. For one thing, his boast that the US has become the most significant player in global oil markets is coming unstuck and his agenda to secure “energy dominance” on the back of a shale boom is exposed as a pipedream.

    More importantly, Trump’s trademark policy of weaponisation of sanctions against Iran, Venezuela and Russian oil industry and its flagship Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project to grab these countries’ market shares is running into headwinds.


    Russia is moving in quickly to turn the “oil war” also into a war for natural gas market share in Europe. Russia has watched with unease the arrival of shale gas on European shores that could potentially erode its commanding position as the single largest supplier of natural gas to Europe. The US has been touting the LNG sales to Europe as “freedom gas”, which helps European countries to reduce their high level of dependence on Russian supplies.

    The US sanctions against Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project, which connects Russian fields with Germany and northern Europe and was nearing completion, is a case in point. The sanctions targets Russia’s Gazprom from expanding and consolidating its towering presence in Europe’s energy market. Unsurprisingly, Moscow is in an unforgiving mood.

    Following Trump’s phone call to Putin, the White House said the Russian and US leaders “agreed on the importance of stability in global energy markets.” The US Department of Energy Spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes hyped it up further and told TASS, “[US Energy] Secretary Brouillette will discuss with his Russian counterpart, Minister Novak, ways the world’s largest producers can address volatility in the global oil markets during this unprecedented period of turmoil.”

    But the Kremlin readout merely said, “They (Trump and Putin) exchanged views on the current state of the global oil market and agreed that Russian and American energy ministers should hold consultations on this topic.”

    The big question is whether Trump’s phone call to Putin signifies Washington’s first step in a historic move to cooperate with Moscow in energy market management. Objectively speaking, the oil crisis needs a joined-up international response, and, arguably, the solution lies in looking beyond OPEC (and OPEC+) at a wider coalition — OPEC++ that includes the US. In principle, Saudi Arabia and Russia would favour the idea that the high-cost producers outside the OPEC+ group must finally share the burden of balancing the oil market.

    Given the fact that Trump is vying for re-election this year and a significant portion of his supporters are engaged in shale oil and gas production, he may bite the bullet — at least, as a one-off, time-limited bite. "

    https://indianpunchline.com/trump-ti...et-management/
    Last edited by OhOh; Today at 12:52 AM.
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  5. #380
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    Looks like Saudi have put the shits up Putin.


    MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin says he supports cutting oil production by about 10 million barrels a day to shore up falling prices.

    Putin Suggests Sizable Oil Production Cut as Prices Fall - The New York Times

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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    https://indianpunchline.com/trump-ti...et-management/
    Why do you place so much faith in a blog? Seriously.



    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    Looks like Saudi have put the shits up Putin.
    And Putin's oligarch friends are giving him stick for their deteriorating income. Have to keep raping mother Russia somehow
    Quote Originally Posted by Chico View Post
    Upto until the 70's Australians referred to themselves as Pom's.
    Quote Originally Posted by Chico View Post
    Just asking the supposed teacher if he is a teacher,as anything more than ten syllables and he's fucked.

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