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  “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil”

Alan Greenspan

War-for-oil, or more precisely, power projection to preserve the petrodollar, is realpolitik.

Per capita energy usage in the United States is the highest among all nations of the world. The USA consumes 25% of would energy resources while having only 5% of the population. Approximately half of the energy used in the US is electrical energy  generated by coal-fired power plants. The other part is oil that is mainly imported.

Securing uninterruptable supply of oil became the key task of the USA foreign policy since president Carter. The second important goal is maintaining  dollar as the world primary reserve currency, and, especially, the main currency you can buy oil with.  That includes maintaining the stability of client Arab regimes, such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Oil Wars

Recently the USA waged several "oil wars" (Iraq war, Libya war, Syria war, attempt of "color revolution" in Russia) with the most brutal being the Iraq war. The two main messages from the war in Iraq are:

Manipulating the facts became the norm for the Bush administration, which invaded Iraq on what we know now (and the administration almost certainly knew then) were utterly false pretenses. Thanks to these lies, Americans, including our soldiers and civilians serving in Iraq, were killed or injured.  Links to the 9/11 attacks and the claim that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, two of the ever-evolving reasons for getting into the war were blatantly false from the very beginning.  They were fabricated to achieve specific goals.  Engaging in mass deception in order to justify official policy both degrades the society, so the war has had a detrimental effect on the USA, as a society. It just has shown that elites now are audacious enough to throw out even attempt to present their actions as legitimate of serving national goals. Of course, by far, it is ordinary Iraqis who have suffered the most.

We know now beyond any doubt that Iraq was not involved in 9/11 and had no weapons of mass destruction. But as Paul Pillar, a former senior CIA analyst with the Iraqi portfolio, wrote on March 14,

 “Intelligence did not drive the decision to invade Iraq – not by a long shot, despite the aggressive use by the Bush administration of cherry-picked fragments of intelligence reporting in its public sales campaign for the war.”

Indeed, this was a war for oil from the very beginning, and any little lie would have worked.

It is very fortuitous for all those politicians, policy makers, and bureaucrats with Iraqi blood on their hands — Republicans and Democrats both — that the only courtroom they’ve been shuffled into is the court of public opinion, where most received light sentences. Bush II actually was reelected for the second term.

Indeed, the Iraq war boosters are still a fixture on our television screens.

Sure, there are pundits and reporters who admit they wrongly supported the war, but their regrets are usually reserved for their blind faith in the war planners and their own lack of inquisitiveness. For example, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius confessed in a March 21 column that Iraq was one of “the biggest strategic errors in Modern American history.” But the thrust of his own mea culpa was that he did not write enough “on the overriding question of whether the war made sense,” which would have allowed him to see that the U.S was not strong enough nor flexible enough to succeed.

Rarely do pundits apologize for the horrendous Iraqi losses inflicted by the war: more than a million deaths and millions more wounded with varying lifelong disabilities, including thousands of tortured prisoners, with an estimated 16,000 of them still unaccounted for. Twenty-eight percent of Iraqi children suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and 2.8 million people are still internally displaced or living as refugees outside the country. Add to that the complete destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure outside oil sector, as well as its transportation, education, and medical institutions. Don’t forget the countless people suffering from trauma and depression, sectarian war with daily killings, terrifying birth defects from toxic pollution, and a brain drain that has left the country illiterate.

Not since the American Civil War has the U.S citizenry had to endure such horrors. Yet discussion of these repercussions is noticeably absent as we still struggle to understand the scope of the Iraq war and what all of its lies have wrought.

Let us start with a sincere apology to the Iraqi people for the crimes the U.S. government has committed. A long-range plan for restitution is a second step. Empires decline due to moral decay from within. Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, our nation is looking at the moral abyss. If lies have delivered us to this place, then only the truth will begin our journey back.

From Foreign Policy in Focus

The Real Reason for the Iraq War VICE United Kingdom

Because it was marked "confidential" on each page, the oil industry stooge couldn't believe the US State Department had given me a complete copy of their secret plans for the oil fields of Iraq.

Actually, the State Department had done no such thing. But my line of bullshit had been so well-practiced and the set-up on my mark had so thoroughly established my fake identity, that I almost began to believe my own lies.

I closed in. I said I wanted to make sure she and I were working from the same State Department draft. Could she tell me the official name, date and number of pages? She did.

Bingo! I'd just beaten the Military-Petroleum Complex in a lying contest, so I had a right to be chuffed.

After phoning numbers from California to Kazakhstan to trick my mark, my next calls were to the State Department and Pentagon. Now that I had the specs on the scheme for Iraq's oil – that State and Defense Department swore, in writing, did not exist – I told them I'd appreciate their handing over a copy (no expurgations, please) or there would be a very embarrassing story on BBC Newsnight.

Within days, our chief of investigations, Ms Badpenny, delivered to my shack in the woods outside New York a 323-page, three-volume programme for Iraq's oil crafted by George Bush's State Department and petroleum insiders meeting secretly in Houston, Texas.

I cracked open the pile of paper – and I was blown away.

Like most lefty journalists, I assumed that George Bush and Tony Blair invaded Iraq to buy up its oil fields, cheap and at gun-point, and cart off the oil. We thought we knew the neo-cons true casus belli: Blood for oil.

But the truth in the Options for Iraqi Oil Industry was worse than "Blood for Oil". Much, much worse.

The key was in the flow chart on page 15, Iraq Oil Regime Timeline & Scenario Analysis:

"...A single state-owned company ...enhances a government's relationship with OPEC."

Gas wars

EuroMaidan can be considered to be a proxy "gas war" when the USA hides behind Ukraine far right  to fight Russia and EU.  See

Asia Times Online China News, China Business News, Taiwan and Hong Kong News and Business.

Well, there is a plan BRICS - or so the BRICS nations would like to think, at least. And when the BRICS do act in this spirit on the global stage, they quickly conjure up a curious mix of fear, hysteria, and pugnaciousness in the Washington establishment.

Take Christopher Hill as an example. The former assistant secretary of state for East Asia and US ambassador to Iraq is now an advisor with the Albright Stonebridge Group, a consulting firm deeply connected to the White House and the State Department. When Russia was down and out, Hill used to dream of a hegemonic American "new world order". Now that the ungrateful Russians have spurned what "the West has been offering" - that is, "special status with NATO, a privileged relationship with the European Union, and partnership in international diplomatic endeavors" - they are, in his view, busy trying to revive the Soviet empire. Translation: if you're not our vassals, you're against us. Welcome to Cold War 2.0.

The Pentagon has its own version of this directed not so much at Russia as at China, which, its think tank on future warfare claims, is already at war with Washington in a number of ways. So if it's not apocalypse now, it's Armageddon tomorrow. And it goes without saying that whatever's going wrong, as the Obama administration very publicly "pivots" to Asia and the American media fills with talk about a revival of Cold War-era "containment policy" in the Pacific, it's all China's fault.

Embedded in the mad dash toward Cold War 2.0 are some ludicrous facts-on-the-ground: the US government, with $17.5 trillion in national debt and counting, is contemplating a financial showdown with Russia, the largest global energy producer and a major nuclear power, just as it's also promoting an economically unsustainable military encirclement of its largest creditor, China.

Russia runs a sizeable trade surplus. Humongous Chinese banks will have no trouble helping Russian banks out if Western funds dry up. In terms of inter-BRICS cooperation, few projects beat a $30 billion oil pipeline in the planning stages that will stretch from Russia to India via Northwest China.

Chinese companies are already eagerly discussing the possibility of taking part in the creation of a transport corridor from Russia into Crimea, as well as an airport, shipyard, and liquid natural gas terminal there. And there's another "thermonuclear" gambit in the making: the birth of a natural gas equivalent to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries that would include Russia, Iran, and reportedly disgruntled US ally Qatar.

The (unstated) BRICS long-term plan involves the creation of an alternative economic system featuring a basket of gold-backed currencies that would bypass the present America-centric global financial system. (No wonder Russia and China are amassing as much gold as they can.) The euro - a sound currency backed by large liquid bond markets and huge gold reserves - would be welcomed in as well.

It's no secret in Hong Kong that the Bank of China has been using a parallel SWIFT network to conduct every kind of trade with Tehran, which is under a heavy US sanctions regime. With Washington wielding Visa and MasterCard as weapons in a growing Cold War-style economic campaign against Russia, Moscow is about to implement an alternative payment and credit card system not controlled by Western finance.

An even easier route would be to adopt the Chinese Union Pay system, whose operations have already overtaken American Express in global volume.

 

Why Energy is Central to the Economy

BC, January 22, 2015 at 6:44 pm
Economics is politics. Politics is war by other means. War is the business of empire (hegemony). War is good business for imperialists.

Therefore, economics is the intellectual and political rationalization for the business objectives of imperial expansionism, expropriation, and co-optation of client-states’ elites by means of state violence when necessary, which is more often than not when resources become increasingly scarce and the hegemonic frontiers of expansionism are threatened.

Yet, most Americans do not yet perceive the US as an empire (successor to the British Empire), not surprisingly, which would necessarily require the inference that empires peak, decline, and eventually collapse, and we have been in relative decline since the 1970s-80s, which most of the working-class bottom 90% would have to concede were they honest with themselves and their fellows. And, no, McConnell, Romney, Rubio, Paul, et al., care not about the working-class bottom 90% but themselves and those deep-pocketed Republicans who cut the largest campaign finance checks.

But one suspects that the 80-90% of the population who were slaves during the Greek city-state dominance and later Roman Empire neither perceived themselves living in the context of imperial decline and incipient collapse, as their daily life experience was preoccupied with acquiescing to their imperial masters’ demands and the imperative to survive and thereafter subsist within their circumstances, if they/we’re luck . . ., or not.

Same as it ever was . . .

Coilin MacLochlainn, January 22, 2015 at 8:19 pm

Malthus was not wrong, he was right. The reason for that is, the Earth is finite and has limited resources. The human population has reached 7 billion. If it continues to grow, or even if it doesn’t, it will exceed the ability of the Earth’s remaining land base to support us.

In fact, it already has. Several of the Earth’s planetary limits have already been exceeded and we are cannibalising what remains of the Earth’s surviving natural resources just to keep going. What I mean is, we are using up the very resources that we rely on as a species to survive into the future. And at the same time, we are making it impossible for much of the rest of life on Earth to survive, which is why so many species are going extinct now and most will be wiped out before we are done.

For those of us living in the developed world, it is hard to picture this, because we are living off the exploitation of resources and labour in less well off countries.

There are also glaring examples of excessive exploitation in the developed world. For example, in California, which leads the world in the production of almonds, walnuts and pistachio nuts, there is not enough surface water available to supply the industry and so nut farmers are irrigating their crops using underground water. With the ongoing drought in California, the underground aquifer is not being recharged, so it won’t be long before the nut farmers run out of water and the industry goes bust. It will go bust and it will also leave the aquifer dry, with no possibility of refilling with water while the drought lasts, which could be for years or forever.

Jan Steinman, January 22, 2015 at 6:26 pm

“Capital is embodied energy.”

Are you talking about physical capital, such as factories, machines, and such?

A lot of very smart people seem to think “capital” is little bits of coloured paper, or even invisible magnetic bits on a spinning disk. But I think that’s where the second half of your essay (debt) comes into play.

It would be nice to have some simple term-of-art to distinguish between the two forms of “capital.” I agree that physical plant is capital. It may even be that, pre-Bretton Woods, money was an adequate symbol for capital. But it seems to me that there is way more money around than there is physical capital these days.

garand555, January 21, 2015 at 5:24 pm

Economics is a pseudo-science, at least the way it is practiced.

... ... ...

InAlaska, January 21, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Economists endorsed the idea of globalism after it became apparent that without it, national economies could no longer grow. Globalization is going to kill us because it removes from local control the basic production of necessities. Speaking of economics, here is part of a post on The Automatic Earth from yesterday concerning the Davos crowd and the World Economic Forum:

“When it comes to basic necessities, to food, water and shelter, we shouldn’t strive to compete with other economies. That is not good for us, or for our peers in those other economies; it’s good only for those who skim off the top. The larger and more globalized the top, the more there is to skim off. All the ‘reform’ is geared towards making our economies ever more dependent on the global economy. And that is not in our best interest.

It’s not all just even about money, it’s about our security, and independence. Everybody likes the idea of being independent, but at the same time few realize that globalization is the exact opposite of independence. Global trade is fine, as long as it’s limited to things we don’t need to survive, but it’s not fine if and when it takes away the ability of a community or a society to provide for itself.

Protectionism has acquired a really bad reputation, as if it’s inherently evil to try and protect your community from being gutted by economic ideas and systems it has no defense against, or to make sure it can generate and provide for its own basics at all times. But that’s just propaganda too.

If our societies are not designed and constructed to provide for themselves, they’ll end up with no choice but to go to war with each other. Along the same lines, if our societies don’t have strict laws in place that guarantee we can’t and won’t destroy the natural resources of the land we live on comes with, we’ll also end up going to war with each other.

We’re not going to solve the Gordian knot of the entire global economy and all the hubris and propaganda the present leading politicians, businessmen and ‘reporters’ bring to the table. And we probably shouldn’t want to. Our brains did not develop to do things on a global scale. The clowns will blow themselves up sooner or later. We should focus on what we can do, meanwhile, in our immediate surroundings.

And it’s pretty easy from there, really. The economic problems we have are mostly artificial. They have been induced by the broken economic model the Davos crowd, the central bankers and you know who else would have us believe is the one and only, and that they are busy fixing for our sake and greater glory. But they care only about their own glory.”

Gail Tverberg, January 22, 2015 at 8:38 pm

On the other hand, without the growth that was obtained from globalization, the financial system would have collapsed earlier. So in some sense, we are better off, even if it is not sustainable.

The US started hollowing out its manufacturing not too long after the oil problems of the 1970s. Japan came first in globalization, before the other Eastern countries.

InAlaska, January 21, 2015 at 7:24 pm

Liquid Assets,

Economists run the Federal Reserve Bank and all the central banks in the world. How has their “straight thinking” worked out? Has the world ever been in such a fiscal mess before? How have all of those over-educated PhDs in Economics done better than an Actuary could do?

Economics is the dismal “science” in part because it is predicated on the assumption that their can be infinite inputs into the system. Before you insult Gail and suggest she get a “real education,” consider that this whole edifice of “Economics” and endless growth is based on and within a finite world.

escravaisaurabr, January 22, 2015 at 7:33 am
InAlaska,

Two perceptive posts you wrote. Thank you.

I would like to add this post. I think most of you will appreciate. I sure love this post….

By falak pema

Economics is a means to achieve an end, like language.

So linguists are capable of understanding the logic of communication for DECISION MAKING; whether it be in words and intellectual concepts or in numbers/statistics and algorithms.

The issue here is that perfect markets like perfect speech do not exist for themselves in society, except for the “initiated”, but have a different function as a VEHICLE for body politic; which defines the AIMS and uses the means, all the means : of language as of images and of statistics and mathematical constructs.

So the thesis of the Mises/Hayek type Shamans that Economia is the “be-all” of society is just wrong. No more than the works of Shakespeare or Hugo, or of Picasso etc.

They do not define politics and power in society. They may influence it but they don’t define it’s objectives.

Linguists like economists can add substance to a political construct that defines the power play in civilization. And in that respect markets are just a means and their perfection as important as a perfect face on the screen.

All imagery or conceptual work in life is virtual.

It becomes real when it faces the real world of power and its continual balancing act; facts and irreversible acts that define our future as they have our past.

Chomsky is more relevant today to society than Mises.

The first analyses real political acts and consequences the other confines himself to theoretical pontification about the real economy looked at through the lens which keeps referring to the mantra of perfect markets.

Not saying markets are not important just saying they are not ALL important.

For the Mises theory to become reality we would have to live in a perfect “anarchy” state without government. The last time they wanted the state to “shrivel away” it was called the “ultimate step of communism” and it parented Stalinism. So…you have to know what you wish for in the REAL world.

History says you are wrong. You keep harping about a system that has gone off the cliff twice because of market forces being spiraled into Vesuvian eruption under irrational exuberance and greed and thanks to lack of Government regulation : in 1929 and 2008.

You are into DEEP denial of historical FACTS.

The historical thread shows us neo-feudal oligarchs are just as destructive of wealth creation as are statist hegemonists.

The only realistic solution is to balance state power and private oligarchy power and make sure NEITHER is in dominant position by having transparent control of public and private spending and by ensuring due diligence and SANCTIONS.

Today we have a Mussolinian economy of crony collusion between statists and oligarchs. We have the worst of both worlds.

We need good state governance and non monopolistic private sector innovative investment, compatible with “general good”, that does not run us off the cliff in mad speculation nor poison the planet.

The GDP should be run on an equitable basis between both power structures.

Whether this divide is 30/70 or 50/50 between private and public and how its used and how its controlled and monitored is the role of the Republic. And it should be debated and then voted and then executed in a legal framework which is NOT CORRUPT.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-24/you-cant-run-economy-spreadsheets#comment-5138074


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[Aug 15, 2018] Deciphering The New Caspian Agreemen

Aug 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Viktor Katona via Oilprice.com,

It took more than 20 years for littoral states of the Caspian Sea to reach an agreement that would lay the legal foundations for the full utilization of the region's resources. The Fifth Caspian Summit in Aktau, Kazakhstan, brought the long-sought breakthrough after leaders of Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Iran signed the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea – a remarkable feat considering that heretofore, barring bilateral deals, the Caspian has been governed by an obsolete 1940 convention between the Soviet Union (of which four current littoral states were a part) and Iran.

As the current Convention incorporates a plethora of tradeoffs between countries, let's look at them in greater detail so as to grasp the implications of the deal.

The Convention stipulates that relations between littoral states shall be based on principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity, equality among members, non-use of threat of force (it was only 17 years ago that Azerbaijan and Iran almost started a full-blown naval war over contested fields) and non-intervention.

The military-related clauses of the document can be considered a net diplomatic success for the Russian Federation as it prohibits the physical presence of any third-party armed forces, along with banning the provision of a member state's territory to acts of aggression against any other littoral state. Since Russia is by far the most power nation in terms of both general military clout and military presence around the Caspian, this will placate Russian fears about any potential US (or other) encroachment in the area.

Then there's energy... Although the Convention establishes a general legal framework for territorial disputes to be solved, it refrains from any particularities. Therefore prolonged negotiations are to be expected with regard to many disputed oilfields, stemming predominantly from Irani and Azerbaijani claims . Iran advocated throughout the entire negotiation process an egalitarian approach to delimiting the seabed (each nation would get 20% of the coast), running counter the other countries' aspirations. The things is that when Russia concluded its seabed delimitation agreements with Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan in 2001 and 2003, respectively, the parties split their parts using the median line. Point 8.1. effectively keeps the delimitation task in the hands of relevant governments, thereby providing a very modest boost to the demarcation of the Southern Caspian (the Northern part is fully delimited).

There are two main territorial conflicts to be settled – the Irani-Azerbaijani and the Azerbaijani-Turkmen disputes. The row between Baku and Teheran revolves around the Araz-Alov-Sharg field (discovered in 1985-1987 by Soviet geologists), the reserves of which are estimated at 300 million tons of oil and 395 BCm of natural gas. Even though the field is only 90 kilometers away from Baku and should seemingly be under Azerbaijan's grip, if one is to draw a straight line from the Azerbaijani-Irani border most of the field ought to be allotted to Iran (the median would keep most of it in Azerbaijan). As those old enough to remember the 2001 naval ship hostilities would attest, it does matter at what angle the final line is drawn.

The Serdar/Kapaz field (estimated to contain 50 million tons of oil) is the bone of contention between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. Considered to be an extension of Azerbaijan's main oil-producing unit, the Azeri-Chirag-Guneshli field, Baku sees it as an indispensable element in its quest to mitigate decreasing oil output numbers. Geographically, Serdar/Kapaz is closer to Turkmenistan, yet here too Azerbaijan might come out the ultimate winner. The Apsheron peninsula stretches out some 60km into the Caspian Sea, in effect extending Azerbaijan's geographical reach. Absent previous demarcation agreements between Baku and Ashgabat, the settlement will once again boil down to getting the angles right, as in the case of Araz-Alov-Sharg. However, it must be said that a resolution might come about as a by-product of new gas endeavors.

Clause 14, dealing with laying subsea pipelines and cables, is the one most coveted by energy analysts , since it has the potential to significantly alter Europe's gas supply options.

According to point 14.2., all parties have the right to construct subsea pipelines given that they comply with environmental standards (which are particularly strict in the Caspian Sea). With no further caveat included, some analysts might be tempted to think that Russia will inevitably use the "environmental protection" card when trying to stop the construction of the Trans-Caspian pipeline (TCP) from Turkmenistan, a pipeline it spent many years to halt . Under current circumstances, when US-Russian relations falling ever deeper into an insurmountable ditch, Moscow's decision to allow for the construction of the mightily Washington-backed TCP to take place might be perceived as a massive omission.

Since the Turkmen gas is unlikely to find demand in Azerbaijan or Turkey, it would need to take the whole route via the South Caucasus Pipeline, TANAP and TAP. Merely the transportation tariffs from these pipelines would render any transportation economically unviable unless European gas prices rise substantially to levels above $300/MCm. Moreover, the estimated cost of building the subsea TCP of $2 billion is a disabling burden for either Türkmengaz or SOCAR. Thus, allowing the construction of Trans Caspian gas pipelines might be a brilliant ruse from the Russians – cognizant of all the deficiencies above, they can wield it as a sign of good will in their never-ending negotiations with the European the economics for supplying gas to Europe via the Southern Gas Corridor are far from being Union.

This being said, there are natural impediments to see the TCP implemented anytime soon. Azerbaijan might be interested in getting transit fees for Turkmen natural gas, yet it lacks the required infrastructure to include the above volumes in its traditional conduit via Turkey.

All in all, the Caspian convention is a good basis for further negotiations, even though it falls short of being an all-encompassing legal framework. Territorial disputes will most likely remain frozen for quite some time and no new gas pipeline projects will see the light of day unless market conditions change.

[Aug 15, 2018] Imperial brainwashing works very well: Many US citizents were willing to kill 2 million Iranian civilians to save 20,000 U.S. soldiers.

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star says: August 6, 2018 at 1:28 pm

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3wxWNAM8Cso?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

https://www.vox.com/the-big-idea/2018/8/6/17655256/hiroshima-anniversary-73-nuclear-weapons-proliferation-arms-control

Like Like Reply

  1. Patient Observer says: August 6, 2018 at 1:46 pm Public opinion polling suggests that many Americans would not think twice if there were a great many casualties against evildoers. For example, a 2017 survey found that 60 percent of Americans would support a nuclear attack on Iran that would kill 20 million civilians, to prevent an invasion that might kill 20,000 American soldiers.

    Yup, exceptional people of an exceptional nation.

    Like Like Reply

    1. Northern Star says: August 6, 2018 at 2:22 pm Yes the psychos were planning mass murder a decade ago under Bush.

      https://original.antiwar.com/jorge-hirsch/2006/07/06/nuking-iran-is-not-off-the-table/

      https://original.antiwar.com/jorge-hirsch/2006/10/16/nuclear-strike-on-iran-is-still-on-the-agenda/

      A more detailed analysis of some of the background material relating to your comment:
      https://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/ISEC_a_00284

      "We were not surprised by the finding that most Americans place a higher
      value on the life of an American soldier than the life of a foreign noncombatant.
      What was surprising, however, was the radical extent of that preference.
      Our experiments suggest that the majority of Americans find a 1:100 risk ratio
      to be morally acceptable. They were willing to kill 2 million Iranian civilians to
      save 20,000 U.S. soldiers. One respondent who approved of the conventional
      air strike that killed 100,000 Iranian civilians candidly expressed even more extreme
      preferences regarding proportionality and risk ratios, while displacing
      U.S. responsibility for the attack onto the Iranian people: "I would sacrifice
      1 million enemies versus 1 of our military. Their choice, their death."

[Aug 15, 2018] China's retaliation will hit America's energy industry particularly hard

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

But the state of American 'journalism' is such that the media must portray America as winning, and will not acknowledge catastrophe until major damage has already been done, because it is patriotic to report on American success.

Patient Observer August 6, 2018 at 12:22 pm

FYI
Officials from three leading US groups that support increased exports of US LNG separately addressed concerns on Aug. 3 over the Chinese Ministry of Commerce's announcement that tariffs ranging 5-25% will be imposed on US LNG.

"China's retaliation will hit America's energy industry particularly hard," said American Petroleum Institute Vice-Pres. for Regulatory and Economic Policy Kyle Isakower. "American oil and gas already hit by US tariffs on industrial products and specialty steel essential to our industry will now be faced with Chinese tariffs on critical US exports, affecting American jobs that rely directly and indirectly on the energy industry."

https://www.ogj.com/articles/2018/08/us-groups-express-concerns-about-china-plans-to-impose-lng-tariffs.html?cmpid=enl_ogj_ogj_daily_update_2018-08-06&pwhid=893d521578abd67c7c1f2e0a59badfa53c05bf4701daba6f7a15095c797ff1cfb5e197eb4a367ebf6d74c0bead3e4836e2e5763a138164741673f9a08d508cc3&eid=397564233&bid=2197384

[Aug 15, 2018] Mark Chapman

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

August 5, 2018 at 7:17 pm Oh, look; Ukraine already is down to about half the gas in storage that it will need for winter. Turning to the west certainly made it 'energy-independent' at least to the extent that the west must 'lend' it money to buy gas which is reverse-flowed from eastern-European countries so that all the Russian is squeezed out of it, and it becomes European freedom gas. Nice work if you can get it, and since Ukraine will not be able to pay it back, it becomes a gift! Why worry, as long as Uncle Sugar is paying the bills?

https://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSL5N1US27X

Speaking of gas, once-bitten-twice-shy Bulgaria is eager to get a piece of the action, signifying up front its willingness to tap into Turkish Stream for transit to Europe.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-6023431/Bulgaria-expands-pipeline-Turkey-bid-Russian-gas.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490

And that's another route through Ukraine which is pretty likely to go dry next year.

[Aug 15, 2018] US production of natural gas for export might well be a wishful thinking

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 1, 2018 at 9:14 am

There seems to be a tremendously broad American – and western – assumption that US production is going to 'soar' and continue to ramp ever upward. Is it? Bear in mind that the USA's own consumption of natural gas is growing steadily, at least partly based on this assumption that natural-gas bounty will just continue to increase. What if it doesn't? Then America will have refashioned itself as another huge natural-gas market which has insufficient domestic supply to sustain itself.

[Aug 15, 2018] Dezinformation from Euractive intended to block North Stream II

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al August 6, 2018 at 12:55 pm

Two pieces by Euractive with Neuters, though curiously no byline or attribution is given . Why so shy?

BS1: Friendship no more: How Russian gas is a problem for Germany
https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/friendship-no-more-how-russian-gas-is-a-problem-for-germany/

####

The headline is pure tabloid and not supported in the body of the article apart from 'opinions' by certain people or through use of qualifiers. This is not journalism . Only further proof in my opinion that Euractiv has become part of the EU's unofficial channels of hybrid warfare . Euractiv/Neuters has also expanded in to the Balkans to provide 'services' in Croatia/Serbia etc. which just so happens to coincide with all the shrill headlines about Russia 'influencing the Balkans' – which are of course BS. Just look at the map. Short of Macedonia (not for long) and Serbia, they are all NATO states . Russia only helps states who want to help themselves (Syria/Serbia – more or less).

Not a shred of proof, nay evidence, that Germany is shifting away from NordStream II. FAKE NUDES!

bs2 with Neuters & crAP: https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/russia-used-lessons-from-georgia-war-in-ukraine-conflict/
https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/russia-used-lessons-from-georgia-war-in-ukraine-conflict/

Languages: Slovak

Ten years ago, in August 2008, Russia and Georgia went to war over South Ossetia, a small separatist Georgian region which Moscow would later controversially recognise as independent, in the face of international criticism.

Ten years later, Moscow has still not softened its position towards its neighbours and its rift with the West has only deepened.

Russia launched armed action against Georgia to come to the rescue of South Ossetia, a small pro-Russian separatist region where Tbilisi had begun a military operation. The Russian army rapidly outnumbered the Georgian forces and threatened to take the country's capital.

A peace treaty was finally hammered out by then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy that led to the withdrawal of Russian forces. But Moscow recognised as independent the breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, where it has stationed a large military presence ever since.

Russia demonstrated its military might over the five days and showed its readiness to defend – by force, if necessary – its interests in the region it considers its sphere of influence .
####

Well shove that in your pipe and smoke it!

Yet again, no attribution, no name. It smacks of a thinktank piece peddled through their Slovak branch.

But this is how things work in the West. No-on is ordered on pain of death to produce certain items, but is is made very clear that it is in their interests to do so, from without & from within, but remember kids, it is voluntary ! Neither self-censorship exists. Those in positions of influence may convince themselves, but for the rest of the great unwashed, no so much. We've already seen the system fail and produce not only BREXIT, but other referendums contrary to EU dogma. The evidence is all around us and plain to see, but still the structures persist in the same old ways, which only bodes ill. Apparently they still think the sheeple are too stupid to notice let alone act.

[Aug 15, 2018] Countermove in Caspian see: no NATO allowed

Notable quotes:
"... It looks as if Zuckerman's 'nightmare situation' has come about. I don't know that these were ever proven reserves, and in fact I have the impression that the supposed energy bounty of the Caspian did not turn out quite as imagined, but Washington once thought – not long ago, either – that it was imperative America controlled the Caspian region because it was about 'America's energy security'. Which is another way of saying 'America must have control over and access to every oil-producing region on the planet.' ..."
"... Richardson was correct, though, that Russia 'does not share America's values'. In fact, Americans do not share America's values, in the sense that most Americans by far would not support the actions of the Saudi military in Yemen, the clever false-flag operations of the White Helmets in Syria, the deliberate destabilization of Venezuela, regime-change operations to the right and left in order to obtain governments who will facilitate American commercial and political control, and many other things that official America considers just important tools in the American Global Dominance Toolbox. ..."
"... Washington has long nurtured the dream of being Europe's primary, if not only, energy supplier, and owning the Caspian (had the reserves expectations played out) would have brought them closer to their dream. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

yalensis August 13, 2018 at 2:06 am

Apologies if somebody already posted, the legal partitioning of the Caspian Sea is finally complete and constitutes good news for Russia:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-says-deal-to-settle-status-of-caspian-sea-reached-a8486311.html

yalensis August 13, 2018 at 2:10 am
The other backstory being that NATO wanted to stick its nose in the Caspian Sea, but has been pushed out. Not sure exactly what the pretext was. I have a piece in VZGLIAD that explains the whole thing, but I haven't worked through it yet, will probably do a piece on my own blog in the near future. But I have a couple of other projects in the queue first.
Mark Chapman August 13, 2018 at 8:39 am
Dick Cheney, among others, was convinced that the Caspian Basin holds massive deposits of oil and gas and is strategically significant for that reason.

http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/issue46/articles/real_reasons_quotes.htm

"Central Asian resources may revert back to the control of Russia or to a Russian led alliance. This would be a nightmare situation. We had better wake up to the dangers or one day the certainties on which we base our prosperity will be certainties no more. The potential prize in oil and gas riches in the Caspian sea, valued up to $4 trillion, would give Russia both wealth and strategic dominance. The potential economic rewards of Caspian energy will draw in their train Western military forces to protect our investment if necessary."

Mortimer Zuckerman
Editor, U.S. News and World Report

"This is about America's energy security. Its also about preventing strategic inroads by those who don't share our values. We are trying to move these newly independent countries toward the West. We would like to see them reliant on Western commercial and political interests. We've made a substantial political investment in the Caspian and it's important that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right."

Bill Richardson
Then-U.S. Secretary Energy (1998-2000)

It looks as if Zuckerman's 'nightmare situation' has come about. I don't know that these were ever proven reserves, and in fact I have the impression that the supposed energy bounty of the Caspian did not turn out quite as imagined, but Washington once thought – not long ago, either – that it was imperative America controlled the Caspian region because it was about 'America's energy security'. Which is another way of saying 'America must have control over and access to every oil-producing region on the planet.'

Richardson was correct, though, that Russia 'does not share America's values'. In fact, Americans do not share America's values, in the sense that most Americans by far would not support the actions of the Saudi military in Yemen, the clever false-flag operations of the White Helmets in Syria, the deliberate destabilization of Venezuela, regime-change operations to the right and left in order to obtain governments who will facilitate American commercial and political control, and many other things that official America considers just important tools in the American Global Dominance Toolbox.

Washington has long nurtured the dream of being Europe's primary, if not only, energy supplier, and owning the Caspian (had the reserves expectations played out) would have brought them closer to their dream. A pipeline network would have carried Caspian oil and gas to Europe. Agreement among the Caspian nations was most definitely not in American interests, and if you dig you will probably find American interventions to prevent that from coming about.

[Aug 13, 2018] The Real Reason Why Trump Cancelled The Iran Deal by Eric Zuesse

This is ,of course, hypothesis by Eric Zuesse, and the idea that the USA elite decided to abandon EU elite is somewhat questionable, but some of his consideration are interesting...
Notable quotes:
"... Yeah, its the defense contractors. It has nothing to do with the zillions of cars that clog every fucking freeway in this country every morning and every evening, 7 days a week. Its not the assholes cruising around in monster trucks alone, just to show off their stupid trucks. It has nothing to do with the the zillions of jets screaming through the skies carry all those fat assholes to meetings all over the world for no reason. It has nothing to do with the billions of barrels of oil that come to the US on tankers as long as city blocks filled constantly day and night. ..."
Aug 12, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
45 SHARES Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The following is entirely from open online sources that I have been finding to be trustworthy on these matters in the past. These sources will be linked-to here; none of this information is secret, even though some details in my resulting analysis of it will be entirely new.

It explains how and why the bottom-line difference between Donald Trump and Barack Obama, regarding US national security policies, turns out to be their different respective estimations of the biggest danger threatening the maintenance of the US dollar as the world's leading or reserve currency. This has been the overriding foreign-policy concern for both Presidents .

Obama placed as being the top threat to the dollar, a breakaway of the EU (America's largest market both for exports and for imports) from alliance with the United States. He was internationally a Europhile. Trump, however, places as being the top threat to the dollar, a breakaway of Saudi Arabia and of the other Gulf Arab oil monarchies from the U.S. Trump is internationally a Sunni-phile: specifically a protector of fundamentalist Sunni monarchs -- but especially of the Sauds themselves -- and they hate Shia and especially the main Shia nation, Iran .

Here's how that change, to Saudi Arabia as being America's main ally, has happened -- actually it's a culmination of decades. Trump is merely the latest part of that process of change. Here is from the US State Department's official historian , regarding this history:

By the 1960s, a surplus of US dollars caused by foreign aid, military spending, and foreign investment threatened this system [the FDR-established 1944 Bretton Woods gold-based US dollar as the world's reserve currency ], as the United States did not have enough gold to cover the volume of dollars in worldwide circulation at the rate of $35 per ounce; as a result, the dollar was overvalued. Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson adopted a series of measures to support the dollar and sustain Bretton Woods: foreign investment disincentives; restrictions on foreign lending; efforts to stem the official outflow of dollars; international monetary reform; and cooperation with other countries. Nothing worked. Meanwhile, traders in foreign exchange markets, believing that the dollar's overvaluation would one day compel the US government to devalue it, proved increasingly inclined to sell dollars. This resulted in periodic runs on the dollar.

It was just such a run on the dollar, along with mounting evidence that the overvalued dollar was undermining the nation's foreign trading position, which prompted President Richard M. Nixon to act, on August 13, 1971 [to end the convertibility of dollars to gold].

When Nixon ended the gold-basis of the dollar and then in 1974 secretly switched to the current oil-basis, this transformation of the dollar's backing, from gold to oil, was intended to enable the debt-financing (as opposed to the tax-financing, which is less acceptable to voters) of whatever military expenditure would be necessary in order to satisfy the profit-needs of Lockheed Corporation and of the other US manufacturers whose only markets are the US Government and its allied governments, as well as of US extractive industries such as oil and mining firms, which rely heavily upon access to foreign natural resources, as well as of Wall Street and its need for selling debt and keeping interest-rates down (and stock-prices -- and therefore aristocrats' wealth -- high and rtising).

This 1974 secret agreement between Nixon and King Saud lasts to the present day, and has worked well for both aristocracies. It met the needs of the very same "military-industrial complex" (the big US Government contractors) that the prior Republican President, Dwight Eisenhower, had warned might take control of US foreign policies. As Bloomberg's Andrea Wong on 30 May 2016 explained the Nixon system that replaced the FDR system, "The basic framework was strikingly simple. The US would buy oil from Saudi Arabia and provide the kingdom military aid and equipment. In return, the Saudis would plow billions of their petrodollar revenue back into Treasuries and finance America's spending."

This new system didn't only supply a constant flow of Saudi tax-money to the US Government; it supplied a constant flow of new sales-orders and profits to the military firms that were increasingly coming to control the US Government -- for the benefit of both aristocracies: the Sauds, and America's billionaires.

That was near the end of the FDR-produced 37-year period of US democratic leadership of the world, the era that had started at Bretton Woods in 1944. It came crashing to an end not in 1974 (which was step two after the 1971 step one had ended the 1944 system) but on the day when Ronald Reagan entered the White House in 1981. The shockingly sudden ascent, from that moment on, of US federal Government debt (to be paid-off by future generations instead of by current taxpayers) is shown, right here, in a graph of "US Federal Debt as Percent of GDP, 1940-2015" , where you can see that the debt had peaked above 90% of GDP late in WW II between 1944-1948 , and then plunged during Bretton Woods, but in 1981 it started ascending yet again, until reaching that WW II peak for a second time, as it has been ever since 2010 , when Obama bailed-out the mega-banks and their mega-clients, but didn't bail out the American public, whose finances had been destroyed by those banksters' frauds, which Obama refused to prosecute; and, so, economic inequality in America got even more extreme after the 2008 George W. Bush crash, instead of less extreme afterward (as had always happened in the past).

Above 90% debt/GDP during and immediately following WW II was sound policy, but America's going again above 90% since 2010 has reflected simply an aristocratic heist of America, for only the aristocracy's benefit -- all of the benefits going only to the super-rich.

Another, and more-current US graph shows that, as of the first quarter of 2018, this percentage (debt/GDP) is, yet again, back now to its previous all-time record high of 105-120%%, which had been reached only in 1945-1947 (when it was justified by the war).

Currently, companies such as Lockheed Martin are thriving as they had done during WW II, but the sheer corruption in America's military spending is this time the reason , no World War (yet); so, this time, America is spending like in an all-out-war situation, even before the Congress has issued any declaration of war at all. Everybody except the American public knows that the intense corruptness of the US military is the reason for this restoration of astronomical 'defense' spending, even during peace-time. A major poll even showed that 'defense' spending was the only spending by the federal Government which Americans in 2017 wanted increased; they wanted all other federal spending to be reduced (though there was actually vastly more corruption in military spending than in any other type -- the public have simply been hoodwinked).

But can the US Government's extreme misallocation of wealth, from the public to the insiders, continue without turning this country into a much bigger version of today's Greece? More and more people around the world are worrying about that. Of course, Greece didn't have the world's reserve currency, but what would happen to the net worths of America's billionaires if billionaires worldwide were to lose faith in the dollar? Consequently, there's intensified Presidential worrying about how much longer foreign investors will continue to trust the oil-based dollar.

America's political class now have two competing ideas to deal with this danger , Obama's versus Trump's, both being about how to preserve the dollar in a way that best serves the needs of 'defense' contractors, extractive firms, and Wall Street. Obama chose Europe (America's largest market) as America's chief ally (he was Euro-centric against Russia); Trump chose the owner of Saudi Arabia (he's Saudi-Israeli centric against Iran) -- that's the world's largest weapons-purchaser, as well as the world's largest producer of oil (as well as the largest lobbies) .

The Saudi King owns Saudi Arabia, including the world's largest and most valuable oil company, Aramco, whose oil is the "sweetest" -- the least expensive to extract and refine -- and is also the most abundant, in all of the world, and so he can sell petroleum at a profit even when his competitors cannot. Oil-prices that are so low as to cause economic losses for other oil companies, can still be generating profits -- albeit lowered ones -- for King Saud; and this is the reason why his decisions determine how much the global oil-spigot will be turned on, and how low the global oil-price will be, at any given time. He controls the value of the US dollar. He controls it far more directly, and far more effectively, than the EU can. It would be like, under the old FDR-era Bretton Woods system, controlling the exchange-rates of the dollar, by raising or lowering the amount of gold produced. But this is liquid gold, and King Saud determines its price.

Furthermore, King Saud also leads the Gulf Cooperation Council of all other Arab oil monarchs, such as those who own UAE -- all of them are likewise US allies and major weapons-buyers.

In an extraordinarily fine recent article by Pepe Escobar at Asia Times, "Oil and gas geopolitics: no shelter from the storm" , he quotes from his not-for-attribution interviews with "EU diplomats," and reports:

After the Trump administration's unilateral pull-out from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), European Union diplomats in Brussels, off the record, and still in shock, admit that they blundered by not "configuring the eurozone as distinct and separate to the dollar hegemony". Now they may be made to pay the price of their impotence via their "outlawed" trade with Iran.

As admitted, never on the record, by experts in Brussels; the EU has got to reevaluate its strategic alliance with an essentially energy independent US, as "we are risking all our energy resources over their Halford Mackinder geopolitical analysis that they must break up [the alliance between] Russia and China."

That's a direct reference to the late Mackinder epigone Zbigniew "Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski, who died dreaming of turning China against Russia.

In Brussels, there's increased recognition that US pressure on Iran, Russia and China is out of geopolitical fear the entire Eurasian land mass, organized as a super-trading bloc via the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), [and] the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), is slipping away from Washington's influence.

This analysis gets closer to how the three key nodes of 21st century Eurasia integration -- Russia, China and Iran -- have identified the key issue; both the euro and the yuan must bypass the petrodollar, the ideal means, as the Chinese stress, to "end the oscillation between strong and weak dollar cycles, which has been so profitable for US financial institutions, but lethal to emerging markets."

It's also no secret among Persian Gulf traders that in the -- hopefully unlikely -- event of a US-Saudi-Israeli war in Southwest Asia against Iran, a real scenario war-gamed by the Pentagon would be "the destruction of oil wells in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council]. The Strait of Hormuz does not have to be blocked, as destroying the oil wells would be far more effective."

And what the potential loss of over 20% of the world's oil supply would mean is terrifying; the implosion, with unforeseen consequences, of the quadrillion derivatives pyramid, and consequentially [consequently] of the entire Western financial casino superstructure.

In other words: it's not the 'threat' that perhaps, some day, Iran will have nuclear warheads, that is actually driving Trump's concern here (despite what Israel's concerns are about that matter), but instead, it is his concerns about Iran's missiles, which constitute the delivery-system for any Iranian warheads: that their flight-range be short enough so that the Sauds will be outside their range . (The main way Iran intends to respond to an invasion backed by the US, is to attack Saudi Arabia -- Iran's leaders know that the US Government is more dependent upon the Sauds than upon Israel -- so, Iran's top targets would be Saudi capital Riyadh, and also the Ghawar oil field, which holds over half of Saudi oil. If US bases have been used in the invasion, then all US bases in the Middle East are also be within the range of Iran's missiles and therefore would also probably be targeted.)

Obama's deal with Iran had focused solely upon preventing Iran from developing nuclear warheads -- which Obama perhaps thought (mistakenly) would dampen Israel's (and its billionaire US financial backers') ardor for the US to conquer Iran. Israel had publicly said that their concern was Iran's possibility to become a nuclear power like Israel became; those possible future warheads were supposed to be the issue; but, apparently, that wasn't actually the issue which really drove Israel. Obama seems to have thought that it was, but it wasn't, actually. Israel, like the Sauds, want Iran conquered. Simple. The nuclear matter was more an excuse than an explanation.

With Trump now in the White House, overwhelmingly by money from the Israel lobbies (proxies also for the Sauds) -- and with no equivalently organized Jewish opposition to the pro -Israel lobbies (and so in the United States, for a person to be anti-Israel is viewed as being anti-Semitic, which is not at all true, but Israel's lies say it's true and many Americans unfortunately believe it) -- Trump has not only the Sauds and their allies requiring him to be against Iran and its allies, but he has also got this pressure coming from Israel: both the Big-Oil and the Jewish lobbies drive him. Unlike Obama, who wasn't as indebted to the Jewish lobbies, Trump needs to walk the plank for both the Sauds and Israel.

In other words: Trump aims to keep the dollar as the reserve currency by suppressing not only China but also the two main competitors of King Saud: Iran and Russia. That's why America's main 'enemies' now are those three countries and their respective allies.

Obama was likewise targeting them, but in a different priority-order , with Russia being the main one (thus Obama's takeover of Ukraine in February 2014 turning it against Russia, next door ); and that difference was due to Obama's desire to be favorably viewed by the residents in America's biggest export and import market, the EU, and so his bringing another member (Ukraine) into the EU (which still hasn't yet been culminated).

Trump is instead building on his alliance with King Saud and the other GCC monarchs, a group who can more directly cooperate to control the value of the US dollar than the EU can. Furthermore, both conservative (including Orthodox) Jews in the United States, and also white evangelical Protestants in the US, are strongly supportive of Israel, which likewise sides with the Arab oil monarchs against Iran and its allies. Trump needs these people's votes.

Trump also sides with the Sauds against Canada. That's a matter which the theorists who assert that Israel controls the US, instead of that the Sauds (allied with America's and Israel's billionaires) control the US, ignore; they ignore whatever doesn't fit their theory. Of course, a lot doesn't fit their theory (which equates "Jews" with "Israelis" and alleges that "they" control the world), but people whose prejudices are that deep-seated, can't be reached by any facts which contradict their self-defining prejudice. Since it defines themselves, it's a part of them, and they can never deny it, because to do so would be to deny who and what they are, and they refuse to change that. The Sauds control the dollar; Israel does not, but Israel does the lobbying, and both the Sauds and Israel want Iran destroyed. Trump gets this pressure not only from the billionaires but from his voters.

And, of course, Democratic Party billionaires push the narrative that Russia controls America. It used to be the Republican Joseph R. McCarthy's accusation, that the "commies" had "infiltrated" , especially at the State Department . So: Trump kicked out Russia's diplomats, to satisfy those neocons -- the neoconservatives of all Parties and persuasions, both conservative and liberal.

To satisfy the Sauds, despite the EU, Trump has dumped the Iran deal . And he did it also to satisfy Israel, the main US lobbyists for the Sauds. (Americans are far more sympathetic to Jews than to Arabs; the Sauds are aware of this; Israel handles their front-office.) For Trump, the Sauds are higher priority than Europe; even Israel (who are an expense instead of a moneybag for the US Government) are higher priority than Europe. Both the Sauds and Israel together are vastly higher. And the Sauds alone are higher priority for Trump than are even Canada and Europe combined . Under Trump, anything will be done in order to keep the Sauds and their proxy-lobbyists (Israel) 'on America's side'.

Consequently, Trump's political base is mainly against Iran and for Israel, but Obama's was mainly against Russia and for the EU. Obama's Democratic Party still are controlled by the same billionaires as before; and, so, Democrats continue demonizing Russia, and are trying to make as impossible as they can, any rapprochement with Russia -- and, therefore, they smear Trump for anything he might try to do along those lines.

Both Obama and Trump have been aiming to extend America's aristocracy's dominance around the world, but they employ different strategies toward that politically bipartisan American-aristocratic objective: the US Government's global control, for the benefit of the US aristocracy, at everyone else's expense. Obama and Trump were placed into the White House by different groups of US billionaires, and each nominee serves his/her respective sponsors , no public anywhere -- not even their voters' welfare.

An analogous example is that, whereas Fox News, Forbes, National Review, The Weekly Standard, American Spectator, Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Breitbart News, InfoWars, Reuters, and AP , are propagandists for the Republican Party ; NPR, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, Mother Jones, The Atlantic, The New Republic, New Yorker, New York Magazine, New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Huffington Post, The Daily Beast , and Salon , are propagandists for the Democratic Party ; but, they all draw their chief sponsors from the same small list of donors who are America's billionaires, since these few people control the top advertisers, investors, and charities, and thus control nearly all of the nation's propaganda. The same people who control the Government control the public; but, America isn't a one-Party dictatorship. America is, instead, a multi-Party dictatorship . And this is how it functions.

Trump cancelled the Iran deal because a different group of billionaires are now in control of the White House, and of the rest of the US Government. Trump's group demonize especially Iran; Obama's group demonize especially Russia. That's it, short. That's America's aristocratic tug-of-war; but both sides of it are for invasion, and for war. Thus, we're in the condition of 'permanent war for permanent peace' -- to satisfy the military contractors and the billionaires who control them. Any US President who would resist that, would invite assassination; but, perhaps in Trump's case, impeachment, or other removal-from-office, would be likelier. In any case, the sponsors need to be satisfied -- or else -- and Trump knows this.

Trump is doing what he thinks he has to be doing, for his own safety. He's just a figurehead for a different faction of the US aristocracy , than Obama was. He's doing what he thinks he needs to be doing, for his survival. Political leadership is an extremely dangerous business. Trump is playing a slightly different game of it than Obama did, because he represents a different faction than Obama did. These two factions of the US aristocracy are also now battling each other for political control over Europe .

caconhma -> MoreSun • Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:57 Permalink

The article is correct:

The Bottom Line

Trump and its policies have no chance to succeed neither inside nor outside the USA. The USA has less than 3-5 years to maintain the present status quo.

PitBullsRule -> PitBullsRule • Sun, 08/12/2018 - 23:40 Permalink

Yeah, its the defense contractors. It has nothing to do with the zillions of cars that clog every fucking freeway in this country every morning and every evening, 7 days a week. Its not the assholes cruising around in monster trucks alone, just to show off their stupid trucks. It has nothing to do with the the zillions of jets screaming through the skies carry all those fat assholes to meetings all over the world for no reason. It has nothing to do with the billions of barrels of oil that come to the US on tankers as long as city blocks filled constantly day and night.

Its not that, its Lockheed selling them airplanes. Thats how the sand niggers got so much US money, Lockheed.

What a fucking conspiratorial ass-swipe this guy is.

NiggaPleeze -> wet_nurse Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:02 Permalink

Eric Zeusse ranks in popularity right along the Gatestone Institute - though Eric may just be ignorant and opinionated whilst Gatestone is an affirmative disinformation propaganda organ, both are equally annoying to read. I just came for the comments :).

JSBach1 -> NiggaPleeze Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:38 Permalink

+1. Eric Zuesse is part-and-parcel of the agenda that the Gatestone Institute espouses.

Eric Zuesse's real agenda can be revealed by his position on 9/11 (see second link below). He also blames Obama for everything (he shifts the blame away from Israel onto any other party which could be blamed due to either direct or indirect ties)

Here is Eric Zuesse in his own words:

Notice the absence of Israel/Zionism

Historic New Harpers Article Exposes Who Controls America
Posted on December 17, 2015 by Eric Zuesse.

"The fundamentalist-Sunni royal family of the Sauds have bought the highest levels of the U.S. government in order to control U.S. foreign policies, especially the ongoing wars to take down the governments of Iraq, Libya, Syria, and ultimately (they hope) of Russia itself, which latter nation has allied itself instead with Shia countries. The controlling entities behind American foreign policies since at least the late 1970s have been the Saud family and the Sauds' subordinate Arabic aristocracies, which are the ones in Qatar (the al-Thanis), Kuwait (the al-Sabahs), Turkey (the Turkish Erdoğans, a new royalty), and UAE (its six royal families: the main one, the al-Nahyans in Abu Dhabi; the other five: the al-Maktoums in Dubai, al-Qasimis in Sharjah, al-Nuaimis in Ajman, al-Mualla Ums in Quwain, and al-Sharqis in Fujairah). Other Saudi-dominated nations -- though they're not oil-rich (more like Turkey in this regard) -- are Pakistan and Afghanistan."

". But, perhaps, one can safely say that the alliance between the U.S. aristocracy and the royal Sauds, is emerging as a global dictatorship, a dictatorial type of world government. Because, clearly: those two aristocraciues have been, to a large extent, ruling the world together, for several decades now. From their perspective, jihadists are themselves a weapon, not merely a political nuisance.

This is a more realistic explanation of America's decades-long catastrophic failures to make significant progress in eliminating even a single one of the numerous jihadist groups around the world: that's how things have been planned to be. It's not just 'intelligence errors' or 'not being tough enough.' Those 'explanations' are just cover-stories, propaganda, PR from the aristocrats. It's skillful 'crowd control': keeping the people in their 'proper' places."

http://washingtonsblog.com/2015/12/historic-new-harpers-article-exposes

9/11: Israel Didn't Do It; The Plan Was Co-Led by U.S. & Saud Governments
By Eric Zuesse

March 15, 2018

"9/11 was a well-planned operation, whatever it was. Substantial money paid for it, but little if any of that came from either Iran or Israel. It all came from fundamentalist-Sunnis.

And, if all of the money was fundamentalist-Sunni, then the only non-Sunni people who could have been involved in planning the operation would have been George W. Bush and his friends

The problem certainly isn't Jews nor Muslims. The problem is the aristocracy, which controls Saudi Arabia, and the aristocracy which controls Israel, and the aristocracy which controls America. The victim is the public, and the victimizer is the aristocracy. It's not just 9/11."

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/48957.htm

Obama's Nazis
Posted on August 17, 2014 by Eric Zuesse.

(Zuesse's obsession with the word nazis or Nazis)

"What Obama has done and is doing in Ukraine is historic, like what Adolf Hitler did, and like what Slobodan Milosevic* did, and like other racist fascists have done; and he, and we Americans (if we as a nation continue accepting this), will be remembered for it, like they and their countries were. Evil on this scale cannot be forgotten. No matter how solidly the American "news" media hide this history, it is already solidly documented for the history books. Obama will be remembered as the worst President in U.S. history, just as the racist-fascist or 'nazi' leaders of other countries are."

http://washingtonsblog.com/2014/08/obamas-nazis.html

Jewish Billionaire Finances Ukraine's Aydar SS Nazi Troops
Posted on April 7, 2015 by Eric Zuesse.

"The hyper-nationalist Ukrainian-Israeli billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky, a friend of the Obama White House and employer of Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden, is a major donor to far-right Ukrainian causes. He sides with the followers of Stepan Bandera, the pro-Nazi Ukrainian leader whom Hitler ditched when Bandera made clear that he wanted Ukraine to be nazi but independent of Germany's Nazi Party. Briefly, Bandera's #2 in command, Yaroslav Stetsko, led nazi Ukraine, and approved the slaughter of thousands of Jews there."

http://washingtonsblog.com/2015/04/jewish-billionaire-finances-ukraines

"Zuesse is pushing Zionist lies. One of the links in the article goes to a Reuters story, "Exclusive – Over 100 Russian soldiers killed in single Ukraine battle – Russian rights activists," that claims to get its info from the "Russian presidential human rights council."

If you want to read more lies by Zuesse, go to this "AMAZON" link to read reviews of his book, "Iraq War: The Truth," in which Zuesse claims that GW Bush invaded Iraq to thank Jesus for his alcohol and drug addiction cure and to neuter the International Criminal Court???

There is one comment lavishing praise on Zuesse's book about the Iraq War by David Swanson, another Zionist tool and BS artist, who's been outed in the past by the blog, "American Everyman."

https://careandwashingofthebrain.blogspot.com/2014/09/stay-away-from-wh

http://beforeitsnews.com/survival/2015/01/i-expect-my-apology-from-wash

Winston Churchill -> wet_nurse Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:06 Permalink

A total one, although his mention of MacKinder was only bright spot.

The US has been using the Heartland strategy since before the occupation of Afghanistan, which

was in response to the Taliban approving oil pipelines from Iran to China thru the Kush.The real reason

for the everlasting war there.With the defection of Pakistan to the SCO, the only option is take out Iran

and Turkey now that Syria is lost.Its not even a matter of which faction of billionaires controls empire

policy, its pure geography.You build the alliances around that geography,not the other way around.

The Great Game was played for 200 years over this same ground,only the players have changed.

Hence both the Turkey and Iran situation now, the empire wants control of both,but will probably get neither.

The last roll of the dice.

Hyjinx Sun, 08/12/2018 - 23:42 Permalink

What is this rambling unfocused BS? Just because Trump thought the Iran deal was shitty doesn't mean he works for the Saudis.

OverTheHedge -> My Days Are Ge Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:20 Permalink

See how fast the internet warriors are to claim the article is rubbish, and not reflecting reality. No argument to back up their propaganda, but that's not important. Must be depressing running the Sunday evening shift in the cubicle farm; all the boys in their neatly pressed uniforms, clicking away to keep us safe from democracy. Well done lads, another day keeping the evil Russians /Iranians at bay.

I actually find it interesting to see what shakes the foundations, and this article seems to be something that they don't like, so probably worth a re-read just to get all the nuances. Of course, the author suggesting that it is not Jews running America will get short shrift from some commenters, but it is certainly interesting to have pointed out, finally, that Israel is a net drain, and Saudi Arabia an enormous gain for the US. We always say to follow the money, and whilst Israel is good profit for the MIC, Saudi Arabia IS the petrodollar system - mustn't forget that. No oil in Saudi Arabia, no petrodollar. I wonder how long they have left until it's all gone? That would probably be the over-riding factor in deciding war with Iran.

Joe A Mon, 08/13/2018 - 00:55 Permalink

I always wondered why the EU did nit make bigger efforts to replace the petrodollar with the petroeuro but nobody wants to end up as Ghadaffi or Saddam Hussein who threatened to do just that. Iran has also repeatedly threaten to that. Also Putin has recently said that Russia wants to move away from the petrodollar. He must know that that is dangerous for one's health so there must be some sort of alliance against the dollar being formed.

hugin-o-munin Mon, 08/13/2018 - 01:15 Permalink

Well written article that sums it up nicely:

The United States is in a state of constant war with the entire world.

[Aug 08, 2018] America's About To Unleash Its NOPEC 'Superweapon' Against The Russians Saudis

Aug 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,

The US Congress has revived the so-called "NOPEC" bill for countering OPEC and OPEC+.

Officially called the " No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act ", NOPEC is the definition of so-called "lawfare" because it enables the US to extra-territorially impose its domestic legislation on others by giving the government the right to sue OPEC and OPEC+ countries like Russia because of their coordinated efforts to control oil prices.

Lawsuits, however, are unenforceable , which is why the targeted states' refusal to abide by the US courts' likely predetermined judgement against them will probably be used to trigger sanctions under the worst-case scenario, with this chain of events being catalyzed in order to achieve several strategic objectives.

The first is that the US wants to break up the Russian-Saudi axis that forms the core of OPEC+, which leads to the second goal of then unravelling the entire OPEC structure and heralding in the free market liberalization of the global energy industry.

This is decisively to the US' advantage as it seeks to become an energy-exporting superpower, but it must neutralize its competition as much as possible before this happens, ergo the declaration of economic-hybrid war through NOPEC. How it would work in practice is that the US could threaten primary sanctions against the state companies involved in implementing OPEC and OPEC+ agreements, after which these could then be selectively expanded to secondary sanctions against other parties who continue to do business with them.

The purpose behind this approach is to intimidate the US' European vassals into complying with its demands so as to make as much of the continent as possible a captive market of America's energy exporters, which explains why Trump also wants to scrap LNG export licenses to the EU .

If successful, this could further erode Europe's shrinking strategic independence and also inflict long-term economic damage on the US' energy rivals that could then be exploited for political purposes. At the same time, America's recently unveiled " Power Africa " initiative to invest $175 billion in gas projects there could eventually see US companies in the emerging energy frontiers of Tanzania , Mozambique , and elsewhere become important suppliers to their country's Chinese rival, which could make Beijing's access to energy even more dependent on American goodwill than ever before.

If looked at as the opening salvo of a global energy war being waged in parallel with the trade one as opposed to being dismissed as the populist piece of legislation that it's being portrayed as by the media, NOPEC can be seen as the strategic superweapon that it actually is, with its ultimate effectiveness being dependent of course on whether it's properly wielded by American decision makers.

It's too earlier to call it a game-changer because it hasn't even been promulgated yet, but in the event that it ever is, then it might go down in history as the most impactful energy-related development since OPEC, LNG, and fracking.

bshirley1968 -> HilteryTrumpkin Mon, 08/06/2018 - 14:47 Permalink

No way US can manipulate oil trade at this point without hurting themselves or helping their "enemies". Cause and effect, just think it through.

The world needs energy, Russia has energy...and a real surplus for sale. The US is a net energy consumer with no surplus. China needs energy in a big way. Trying to cut off Russian and Iranian oil and trying to blow up the Chinese economy are acts of war. The West realizes there is no way they can survive in their current status of moar with that kind of competition out there. The BRICST now constitute $17 trillion in combined GDP. They have the energy sources (Russia and Iran), they have the manufacturing base (China), they have the agricultural base (Russia, Brazil, South Africa), and they have plenty of customers.....even outside the BRICST union. That is a formidable competitive force to face when you are an economy structured on infinite growth on a finite planet......that you control less and less of each year.

[Aug 07, 2018] Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics by Rob Urie

Notable quotes:
"... The Great Satin (sic) ..."
"... Source: gulfbusiness.com ..."
"... Chart: Demonization of Russia centers on competition for oil and gas revenues. Pipelines to deliver oil and gas from the Middle East to Europe run through North Africa (Libya) and Syria and / or Turkey. These pipelines are substantially controlled by Western interests with imperial / colonial ties to the U.S., Britain and 'developed' Europe. Russian oil and gas did run through Ukraine, which is now negotiating to join NATO, or otherwise hits a NATO wall before entering Europe. ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org

The indictments are a major political story, but not for the reasons given in mainstream press coverage. Once Mr. Mueller's indictment is understood to charge the exploitation of existing social tensions (read it and decide for yourself), the FBI, which Mr. Mueller directed from 2001 – 2013, is precisely the wrong entity to be rendering judgment. The FBI has been America's political police since its founding in 1908. Early on former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover led legally dubious mass arrests of American dissidents. He practically invented the slander of conflating legitimate dissent with foreign agency. This is the institutional backdrop from which Mr. Mueller proceeds.

In the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s the FBI's targets included the civil rights movement, the antiwar movement, the American Indian Movement (AIM), the Black Panther Party and any other political organization Mr. Hoover deemed a threat. The secret (hidden) FBI program COINTELPRO was intended to subvert political outcomes outside of allegations of criminal wrongdoing and with no regard for the lives of its targets . Throughout its history the FBI has sided with the powerful against the powerless to maintain an unjust social order.

Robert Mueller became FBI Director only days before the attacks of September 11, 2001. One of his first acts as Director was to arrest 1,000 persons without any evidence of criminal wrongdoing. None of those arrested were ever charged in association with the attacks. The frame in which the FBI acted -- to maintain political stability threatened by 'external' forces, was ultimately chosen by the George W. Bush administration to justify its aggressive war against Iraq.

It is the FBI's legacy of conflating dissent with being an agent of a foreign power that Mr. Mueller's indictment most insidiously perpetuates. Russians are 'sowing discord,' and they are using Americans to do so, goes the allegation. Black Lives Matter and Bernie Sanders are listed in the indictment as roadblocks to the unfettered ascension of Hillary Clinton to the presidency. Russians are sowing discord, therefore discord is both suspect in itself and evidence of being a foreign agent.

The posture of simple reporting at work in the indictment -- that it isn't the FBI's fault that the Russians (allegedly) inserted themselves into the electoral process, runs against the history of the FBI's political role, the tilt used to craft criminal charges and the facts put forward versus those put to the side. Given the political agendas of the other agencies that the FBI joined through the charges, they are most certainly but a small piece of a larger story.

In the aftermath of the indictments it's easy to forget that the Pentagon created the internet , that the NSA has its tentacles in all of its major chokepoints, that the CIA has been heavily involved in funding and 'using' social media toward its own ends and that the FBI is only reputable in the present because of Americans' near-heroic ignorance of history. The claim that the Russian operation was sophisticated because it had corporate form and function is countered by the fact that it was, by the various agencies' own claims, ineffectual in changing the outcome of the election.

I Have a List

While Robert Mueller was busy charging never-to-be-tried Russians with past crimes, Dan Coats, the Director of National Intelligence, declared that future Russian meddling has already cast a shadow over the integrity of the 2018 election. Why the Pentagon that created the internet, the NSA that has its tentacles in all of its major chokepoints, the CIA that has been heavily involved in funding and 'using' social media toward its own ends and the FBI that just landed such a glorious victory of good over evil would be quivering puddles when it comes to precluding said meddling is a question that needs to be asked.

The political frame being put forward is that only these agencies know if particular elections and candidates have been tainted by meddling, therefore we need to trust them to tell us which candidates were legitimately elected and which weren't. As generous as this offer seems, wouldn't the creation of free and fair elections be a more direct route to achieving this end? Put differently, who among those making the offer, whether personally or as functionaries of their respective agencies, has a demonstrated history of supporting democratic institutions?

The 2016 election was apparently a test case for posing these agencies as the meddling police. By getting the bourgeois electocracy -- liberal Democrats, to agree that the loathsome Trump is illegitimate, future candidates will be vetted by the CIA, NSA and FBI with impunity. It's apparently only the pre-'discord, ' the social angst that the decade of the Great Recession left as its residual, that shifts this generous offer from the deterministic to the realm of the probable. The social conditions that led to the Great Recession and its aftermath are entirely home grown.

More broadly, how do the government agencies and people that spent the better part of the last century undermining democracy at home and abroad intend to stop 'Russian meddling?' If the FBI couldn't disentangle home grown 'discord' from that allegedly exploited and exacerbated by the Russians, isn't the likely intention to edit out all discord? And if fake news is a problem in need of addressing, wouldn't the New York Times and the Washington Post have been shut down years ago?

The Great Satin (sic)

While Russia is the villain of the day, week and year due to alleged election 'meddling,' the process of demonization that Russia has undergone has shown little variation from (alleged) villain to villain. It is thanks to cable news and the 'newspaper of record' that the true villainy of Vladimir Putin, Muammar Gadhafi, Saddam Hussein, Nicolas Maduro and the political leadership of Iran has been revealed. In the face of such monsters, questions of motivation are moot. Why wouldn't Mr. Putin 'sow discord?'

The question as yet unasked, and therefore unanswered is: is there something besides base villainy that brought these national leaders, and the nations they lead, into the crosshairs of America's fair and wise leadership? This question might forever go unanswered were it not for the secret list from which their names were apparently drawn. No, not that secret list. This one is publicly available -- hiding in plain sight, as it were. It is the list of proven oil reserves by country (below). This is no doubt unduly reductive -- evil is as evil does, but read on.

The question of how such a list could divide so evenly between heroes and villains I leave to the philosophers. On second thought, no I won't. The heroes are allies of a small cadre of America's political and economic elite who have made themselves fabulously rich through the alliances. The villains have oil, gas, pipelines and other resources that this elite wants. Reductive, yes. But this simple list certainly appears to explain American foreign policy over the last half-century quite well.

Source: gulfbusiness.com

It's almost as if America's love for humanity, as demonstrated through humanitarian interventions, is determined by imperial competition for natural resources -- in this case oil and gas. Amongst these countries, only one (Canada) is 'democratic' in the American sense of being run by a small cadre of plutocrats who use the state to further their own interests. Two -- Iraq and Libya, were recently reduced to rubble (for the sake of humanity) by the U.S. Nigeria is being 'brought' under the control of AFRICOM. What remains are various and sundry petro-states plus Venezuela and Russia.

Following the untimely death of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, the horrible tyrant kept in office via free and fair elections , who used Venezuela's petro-dollars to feed, clothe and educate his people and was in the process of creating a regional Left alliance to counter American abuse of power, the CIA joined with local plutocrats to overthrow his successor, Nicolas Maduro. The goal: to 'liberate' Venezuela's oil revenues in their own pockets. At the moment Mr. Maduro is down the list of villains, not nearly the stature of a 'new Hitler' like Vladimir Putin. But where he ends up will depend on how successfully the CIA (with Robert Mueller's help) can drum up a war against nuclear armed Russia.

What separates Russia from the other heroes and villains on the list is its history as a competing empire as well as the manner in which Russian oil and gas is distributed. Geography placed it closer to the population centers of Europe than to Southeastern China where Chinese economic development has been concentrated. This makes Europe a 'natural' market for Russian oil and gas.

The former Soviet state of Ukraine did stand between, or rather under, Russian pipelines and Europe until Hillary Clinton had her lieutenants engineer a coup there in 2014. In contrast to the 'new Hitler' of Mr. Putin (or was that Trump?) Mrs. Clinton and her comrades demonstrated a preference for the old Hitler in the form of Ukrainian fascists who were the ideological descendants of 'authentic' WWII Nazis. But rest assured, not all of the U.S.'s allies in this affair were ideological Nazis .

Chart: Demonization of Russia centers on competition for oil and gas revenues. Pipelines to deliver oil and gas from the Middle East to Europe run through North Africa (Libya) and Syria and / or Turkey. These pipelines are substantially controlled by Western interests with imperial / colonial ties to the U.S., Britain and 'developed' Europe. Russian oil and gas did run through Ukraine, which is now negotiating to join NATO, or otherwise hits a NATO wall before entering Europe.

In contrast to the alternative hypotheses given in the American press, NATO, the geopolitical extension of the U.S. military in Europe, admits that the U.S. engineered coup in Ukraine was 'about' oil geopolitics with Russia. The American storyline that Crimea was seized by Russia ignores that the Russian navy has had a Black Sea port in Crimea for decades. How amenable, precisely, might Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and his friends be if Russia seized a major U.S. naval port given their generous offer to take over the U.S. electoral system because of a few Russian trolls?

Although Russia is toward the bottom of the top ten countries in terms of oil reserves, it faces a problem of distribution that the others don't. Imperial ties and recent military incursions have left the distribution of oil and gas from the Middle East to Europe largely under Western control. Syria, Turkey and North Africa are necessary to moving this oil and gas through pipelines to Europe. That Syria, Libya and Turkey are now, or recently have been, militarily contested adds credence to the contention that the 'international community's' heroes and villains are largely determined by whose hands their oil and gas resources are currently in.

Democratic Party loyalists who see Putin, Maduro et al as the problem first need to answer for the candidate they put forward in 2016. Hillary Clinton led the carnage in Libya that murdered 30,000 – 50,000 innocents for Western oil and gas interests. Russia didn't force the U.S. into its calamitous invasion of Iraq. Russia didn't take Americans' jobs, houses and pensions in the Great Recession. Russia didn't reward Wall Street for causing it. Democrats need to take responsibility for their failed candidates and their failed Party.

Part of the point in relating oil reserves to American foreign entanglements is that the countries and leaders involved are incidental. Vladimir Putin certainly seems smarter than the American leadership. But this has no bearing on whether or not his leadership of Russia is broadly socially beneficial. The only possible resolution of climate crisis requires both Russia and the U.S. to greatly reduce their use of fossil fuels. Reports have it that Mr. Putin has no interest in doing so. And once the marketing chatter is set to the side, neither do the Americans.

By placing themselves as arbiters of the electoral process, the Director of National Intelligence and the heads of the CIA, NSA and FBI can effectively control it. Is it accidental that the candidate of liberal Democrats in the 2016 election was the insiders' -- the intelligence agencies' and military contractors,' candidate as well? Implied is that these agencies and contractors are now 'liberal.' Good luck with that program if you value peace and prosperity.

There are lots of ways to create free and fair elections if that is the goal. Use paper ballots that are counted in public, automatically register all eligible voters, make election days national holidays and eliminate 'private' funding of electoral campaigns. But why make elections free and fair when fanciful nonsense about 'meddling' will convince the liberal class to deliver power to grey corpses in the CIA, NSA and FBI for the benefit of a tiny cabal of stupendously rich plutocrats. Who says America isn't already great?

[Aug 06, 2018] America's About To Unleash Its NOPEC 'Superweapon' Against The Russians Saudis

Aug 06, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Andrew Korybko via Oriental Review,

The US Congress has revived the so-called "NOPEC" bill for countering OPEC and OPEC+.

Officially called the " No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act ", NOPEC is the definition of so-called "lawfare" because it enables the US to extra-territorially impose its domestic legislation on others by giving the government the right to sue OPEC and OPEC+ countries like Russia because of their coordinated efforts to control oil prices.

Lawsuits, however, are unenforceable , which is why the targeted states' refusal to abide by the US courts' likely predetermined judgement against them will probably be used to trigger sanctions under the worst-case scenario, with this chain of events being catalyzed in order to achieve several strategic objectives.

The first is that the US wants to break up the Russian-Saudi axis that forms the core of OPEC+, which leads to the second goal of then unravelling the entire OPEC structure and heralding in the free market liberalization of the global energy industry.

This is decisively to the US' advantage as it seeks to become an energy-exporting superpower, but it must neutralize its competition as much as possible before this happens, ergo the declaration of economic-hybrid war through NOPEC. How it would work in practice is that the US could threaten primary sanctions against the state companies involved in implementing OPEC and OPEC+ agreements, after which these could then be selectively expanded to secondary sanctions against other parties who continue to do business with them.

The purpose behind this approach is to intimidate the US' European vassals into complying with its demands so as to make as much of the continent as possible a captive market of America's energy exporters, which explains why Trump also wants to scrap LNG export licenses to the EU .

If successful, this could further erode Europe's shrinking strategic independence and also inflict long-term economic damage on the US' energy rivals that could then be exploited for political purposes. At the same time, America's recently unveiled " Power Africa " initiative to invest $175 billion in gas projects there could eventually see US companies in the emerging energy frontiers of Tanzania , Mozambique , and elsewhere become important suppliers to their country's Chinese rival, which could make Beijing's access to energy even more dependent on American goodwill than ever before.

If looked at as the opening salvo of a global energy war being waged in parallel with the trade one as opposed to being dismissed as the populist piece of legislation that it's being portrayed as by the media, NOPEC can be seen as the strategic superweapon that it actually is, with its ultimate effectiveness being dependent of course on whether it's properly wielded by American decision makers.

It's too earlier to call it a game-changer because it hasn't even been promulgated yet, but in the event that it ever is, then it might go down in history as the most impactful energy-related development since OPEC, LNG, and fracking.

[Jul 29, 2018] Russia, the West, and Recent Geoeconomics in Europe's Gas Wars by Gordon M. Hahn

The USA can't compete on price and volume. But dir to dvassal status of EU can still force "diversification"
Notable quotes:
"... As a result, Europeans are deciding to stick with the Russians while finding new options in the east, such as Turkey and Azerbaijan. This is creating competition if not tensions in present and potential gas transit countries in southeastern and eastern Europe, for example. ..."
Jul 29, 2018 | gordonhahn.com

Russia has advanced forward in something of a tactical and potential strategic victory in the Russo-Western gas war. This is a three-party war, with the US, EU, and Russia each promoting separate interests. It is one sphere where a united West has failed to 'isolate Russia.' The US seeks move in on the European energy market with LNG supplies and replace Russian pipeline-delivered natural gas supplies to Europe. Washington is using the risks of dependence on Russian gas and Russia's 'bad behavior' as leverage in attempting to convince Europeans to reject Russia's Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Russia is said to be unreliable and prone to shut off gas supplies to Europe.

Due to past Russian-Ukrainian gas crises, the Ukrainian crisis, and general Russian-Western tensions, Europe has decided on a gas diversification policy in which each EU member should have at least three sources of natural gas supply. One additional option that could facilitate this diversification policy is US liquified natural gas (LNG), but the US is still unable to supply enough LNG to offset Russian gas supplies that might be rejected by Europe. In the process, Washington is looking less like a 'team West' player and more like a solely self-interested power maximizer in European eyes and therefore no more reliable than Moscow. As a result, Europeans are deciding to stick with the Russians while finding new options in the east, such as Turkey and Azerbaijan. This is creating competition if not tensions in present and potential gas transit countries in southeastern and eastern Europe, for example.

The Battle Over Re-Sale: No Victors

One recent battle was largely inconclusive, but if a victor has to be designated it may be Moscow. In May, the European Commssion concluded a settlement with Russia's Gazprom in May ending a seven-year anti-trust dispute. In return for the EU dropping billions of dollars in penalty fees, GazProm agreed to end limitations on the use of gas purchased by EU members, allow them to re-sell the gas. Some EU members, such as Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia have re-sold or wanted to re-sell gas. Moscow frowned, for example, on Slovakia's resale of natural gas to Ukraine at cheaper prices than Moscow sought to charge Kiev. The agreement will also restrict Moscow's ability to charge different countries different prices. So EU members in central and eastern Europe can get a price close to that paid by Germany and appeal to an arbitration court in case of a dispute. The agreement guarantees Russia's presence on the European gas market at a time when the latter's reliance on the former has peaked.

The Northern Front: Nord Stream 2

At the same time, the battle over Russia' Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline has heated up. When it comes on line in 2019, the 759-mile pipeline will carry GazProm natural gas along the bed of the Baltic Sea to Germany and double the supply Nord Stream pipeline's current annual capacity of 55 billion cubic meters (bcm). The Trump administration has threatened yet more sanctions on third-party companies, this time with those that work on the pipeline. The US sanctions threat is an attempt to promote American LNG interests as well as to protect Ukrainian interests, though it contradicts the view that Ukraine should eschew its dependence on Russian gas.

US officials have been hammering home to Europeans the 'Russian threat' in tandem with the risk of reliance on Russian gas may pose, which will increase with Nord tream 2, but to no avail. Public opinion is not working in the US favor, with Germans trusting Moscow more than Washington, despite all the crimes laid at the Kremlin's door by the West. A recent ZDF Television opinion survey found that only 14 percent of Germans regard the U.S. as a reliable partner, while 36 percent view Russia as reliable ( www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-17/trump-s-global-disruption-pushes-merkel-closer-to-putin-s-orbit ). Thus, notwithstanding Ukraine, Syria and alleged chemical attacks, Russiagate, and the Skrypals, GazProm's supplies to Europe have risen to hold nearly 40 percent of its gas market, growing last year by 8.1 percent last year to a record level of 193.9 billion cubic metres (bcm).

Nevertheless, with the EU decision, the U.S., Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania and others have stepped up their pressure on Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and other western Eureopean EU members to abandon the Nord Stream 2 project. Germans and other western Europeans are unlikely to give up the short-term gain of energy security for the US LNG given the higher price and unproven nature of Washington's numerous allegations against the Kremlin. German officials say they still have no proof from 10 Downing on Russia's culpability for the Skrypal poisoning so loudly trumpeted by British PM Theresa May.

One motivation for the Russians in building Nord Stream 2 is to obviate the need to transport gas through Ukraine, which will hurt Ukraine's own energy supply – given Ukrainian skimming -- and overall economy beyond the present non-sale of Russian gas to Ukraine. Another Russian motivation is to avert the unreliable Ukrainians, who have failed to make payments according to contract in the past causing Russian gas cutoffs to Ukraine and thus Europe with the resulting crises blamed solely on Moscow. The Trump sanctions threat has put Germany and the other Nord Stream 2 supporting countries between a rock and a hard place, between Russia and the US. Therefore, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while supporting Nord Stream 2, has called for guarantees from Russia that Ukraine will remain a gas transit country. Ukraine's current contract with Russia ends in 2019 at the very time Nord Stream 2 is to go on line and the EU has urged re-starting EU-mediated negotiatons now in order to avoid another gas crisis. Putin agreed to do this at his meeting with Germany's merkel in late May. Nord Stream 2 significantly strengthens Putin's hand in any such talks.

The Southern Front: Turkish Stream, SGC and the Azeri and Bulgarian Factors

Russia is strengtheining its position on the European gas war's southern front by building the Turkish Stream (TS) gas pipeline to Europe. TS consists of a sea and a land leg. The former runs under the Black Sea from Russia to Turkey and is built, with Russo-Turkish talks on the land leg ongoing.

Russia's Turkish Stream is being challenged by the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) backed by Western powers, including the EU (along with Turkey and Azerbaijan), which sees the SGC as a means of diversifying from dependence on Russia. Not just Turkey, but Azerbaijan is emerging as a major player on the EU gas market, with a shift in policy accenting gas supplies to Europe as well as oil supplies as in the past. The SGC consists of three components: an expanded South Caucasus Pipeline and the to be constructed Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline (TANAP) and Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP). TANAP is 51 percent Azerbaijani owned, 37 percent Turkish, and 12 percent belonging to British Petroleum. The SGC will carry Azerbaijani gas through Turkey to Europe and will be able to supply up to one-third of the gas consumed by Bulgaria, Greece and Italy ( https://en.trend.az/business/energy/2910573.html ). However, the source of the gas supplying the pipeline demonstrates the limits of Western attempts to isolate Russia (and Iran). Azerbaijan's Shah-Deniz gas field is co-owned by British Petroleum (29 percent), Turkey's Turkish Petroleum (19 percent), Azerbaijan's SOCAR (17 percent), Malaysia's Petronas (15 percent), Russia's LukOil (10 percent), and Iran's NICO (10 percent). Moreover, Russia's LukOil is negotiating with SOCAR a stake in Azerbaijan's second-largest gas field, Umid-Babek, which also includes Britain's Nobel Upstream ( https://newsbase.com/topstories/lukoil-talks-join-umid-babek-project?utm_campaign=466286_GERD%2031%20May%202018&utm_medium=email&utm_source=NewsBase%20LTD&dm_i=4NTN,9ZSE,2Q5R2D,13DVS,1 ).

Again the Ukrainian issue is part of the picture here, as a good portion of GasProm supplies to Bulgaria go through Ukraine. Turkish Stream can replace at least some of that supply should Moscow decide to entirely avert Ukraine's pipeline system. It is of interest that no one in the West has offered to include in any of these projects or attempted to fashion a pipeline or pipeline extension that could link up with the Ukrainian network.

During Bulgarian President Rumen Radev's late may visit to Moscow, Putin reported to Radev that during his meetings with Turkish President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, the latter said he would pose no oppsotion to extending the Turkish Stream gas pipeline to Bulgaria. In response, Radev seemed to suggest making Bulgaria a "a gas redistribution center, a hub" for the Turkish Stream's supplies further into Europe ( http://kremlin.ru/events/president/news/57608 ). Moreover, one gets the impression that Bulgaria is wary more about its dependence on Turkey and Ankara's new offensive energy policy in Europe than on Russia and might help Moscow detour Ukraine. In 2015, Erdogan declared a major policy initiative of making Turkey a, if not the major energy transit hub for supplies heading from the east to Europe. Russia's annexation of Crimea could help Russia in its talks both with Erdogan over the Turkish Stream and pose the threat of undermining the SGC. It may also help Putin deal with Merkel, Kiev and the EU over the Ukraine pipeline system's future role. Bulgarian President Radev also said in Moscow that Sofia supports building a direct gas pipeline under the Black Sea to bring Russian gas to Bulgaria ( https://echo.msk.ru/news/2206394-echo.html ). The Bulgarian option could be used by Putin to threaten Erdogan with reducing the Turkish Stream's supplies or abandoning it altogether in favor of a Black Sea Russian-Bulgarian Stream and to reduce Russia's dependence on Ukraine as well.

... ... ...

[Jul 27, 2018] Transformed Gas Markets Fuel US-Russian Rivalry, But Europe Plays Key Role Too by Morena Skalamera

US wants to leverage his dominance in Europe into gas market. That's can work as long as gas is plentiful. As soon as it became a scarcity the situation will radically change.
May 30, 2018 | www.russiamatters.org
This month, the Wall Street Journal reported that U.S. President Donald Trump has been pressuring Germany to drop its support for a major new Russian gas pipeline if Europe wants to avoid a trade war with Washington, while a senior U.S. diplomat warned that the project could be hit with U.S. sanctions; Russian President Vladimir Putin responded defiantly . This development, sadly, fuels the further politicization of the European gas market -- a space that, in many ways, has reflected the triumphs of a depoliticized, pro-market technocracy, which has managed to stimulate competition and lower prices irrespective of changing political trends. Just last year, Trump called on European countries to buy American liquefied natural gas, or LNG, which, for now, remains more expensive than Russia's pipeline gas. Certainly, the U.S. has much to gain on the global gas market, which has changed drastically over the past decade, as America rapidly transformed from an importer to an exporter. Europe's gas market, meanwhile, has much to gain from additional supply. But Trump's approach, especially if the latest reports are true, both alienates Western European partners and feeds into a sensationalist, simplistic portrayal of the new U.S. role's effect on Russia -- as a zero-sum game, in which these new, plentiful U.S. gas supplies serve as an antidote to Russia's "gas dominance" in Europe and hence to Moscow's political leverage.

In fact, even if Russia remains Europe's dominant gas supplier in the coming years -- as is likely -- it now has to play by EU rules and vie hard for market share, ultimately benefiting European consumers. America's gas boom has catalyzed this thriving competition, but an equally important factor has been a massive, long-term investment in infrastructure and regulation by Brussels. These EU efforts have done a great deal to weaken Moscow's geopolitical "gas power," which has never been uniform across the continent. Today, gas is a prized commodity but not a major weapon in East-West relations: Russia's gas leverage cannot harm the West, and neither does competition with U.S. gas pose a major threat to Russia as a state or, for now, to its gas behemoth, Gazprom. Moreover, in the near to medium term, Russian and U.S. gas companies may face many challenges in common : Both will be competing against new, price-lowering producers and grappling with ever "greener" regulations on the European market, while also trying to profit from Asia's thirst for energy.

[Jul 27, 2018] 3rd Russian LNG shipment to USA to arrive 26th July

Jul 27, 2018 | community.oilprice.com

Simon Hauser said:

How cheap could Russia produce to compete with growing US LNG exports?

Gazprom needs price around 4 $ per mmbtu in Europe to be profitable. Today in Europe are close to 8 $. US LNG long term imho need about 8 to 9 $ per mbbtu.

[Jul 25, 2018] Also, they will be buying vast amounts of LNG!

Jul 25, 2018 | twitter.com

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) Twitter

Donald J. Trump ‏ Verified account @ realDonaldTrump 1h 1 hour ago

European Union representatives told me that they would start buying soybeans from our great farmers immediately. Also, they will be buying vast amounts of LNG!

[Jul 19, 2018] Proposed Law Would Allow U.S. to Sue OPEC for Manipulating Oil Market

Jul 19, 2018 | foreignpolicy.com

S 2929 text

perated by high gasoline prices just ahead of the U.S. midterm elections, lawmakers in Congress are trying to make it easier for the United States to sue OPEC. And unlike previous failed efforts to go after the oil-exporting cartel, this time Congress will find a sympathetic ear in the White House.

The bipartisan No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, or NOPEC bill, would tweak U.S. antitrust law to explicitly ban just the kind of collusive behavior that OPEC was created to engage in. The bill, a carbon copy of previous legislation, makes illegal any activity to restrain the production of oil or gas or set oil and gas prices and knocks away two legal defenses that in the past have shielded OPEC from U.S. antitrust measures.

[Jul 19, 2018] Iran in 1953: How an Oil Cartel Operation Became a Job for the CIA

Jul 19, 2018 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Extracted from: The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworld By Peter Dale Scott

The international lawyers of Wall Street did not hide from each other their shared belief that they understood better than Washington the requirements for running the world. As John Foster Dulles wrote in the 1930s to a British colleague,

The word "cartel" has here assumed the stigma of a bogeyman which the politicians are constantly attacking. The fact of the matter is that most of these politicians are highly insular and nationalistic and because the political organization of the world has under such influence been so backward, business people who have had to cope realistically with international problems have had to find ways for getting through and around stupid political barriers. 44

This same mentality also explains why Allen Dulles as an OSS officer in 1945 simply evaded orders from Washington forbidding him to negotiate with SS General Karl Wolff about a conditional surrender of German forces in Italy – an important breach of Roosevelt's agreement with Stalin at Yalta for unconditional surrender, a breach that is regarded by many as helping lead to the Cold War. 45 And it explains why Allen, as CIA Director in 1957, dealt summarily with Eisenhower's reluctance to authorize more than occasional U-2 overflights of the USSR, by secretly approving a plan with Britain's MI-6 whereby U-2 flights could be authorized instead by the UK Prime Minister Macmillan. 46

This mentality exhibited itself in 1952, when Truman's Justice Department sought to break up the cartel agreements whereby Standard Oil of New Jersey (now Exxon) and four other oil majors controlled global oil distribution. (The other four were Standard Oil Company of New York, Standard Oil of California or Socony, Gulf Oil, and Texaco; together with Royal Dutch Shell and Anglo-Iranian, they comprised the so-called Seven Sisters of the cartel.) Faced with a government order to hand over relevant documents, Exxon's lawyer Arthur Dean at Sullivan and Cromwell, where Foster was senior partner, refused: "If it were not for the question of national security, we would be perfectly willing to face either a criminal or a civil suit. But this is the kind of information the Kremlin would love to get its hands on." 47

At this time the oil cartel was working closely with the British Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC, later BP) to prevent AIOC's nationalization by Iran's Premier Mossadeq, by instituting, in May 1951, a successful boycott of Iranian oil exports.

In May 1951 the AIOC secured the backing of the other oil majors, who had every interest in discouraging nationalisation.... None of the large companies would touch Iranian oil; despite one or two picturesque episodes the boycott held. 48

As a result Iranian oil production fell from 241 million barrels in 1950 to 10.6 million barrels in 1952.

This was accomplished by denying Iran the ability to export its crude oil. At that time, the Seven Sisters controlled almost 99% of the crude oil tankers in the world for such export, and even more importantly, the markets to which it was going. 49

But Truman declined, despite a direct personal appeal from Churchill, to have the CIA participate in efforts to overthrow Mossadeq, and instead dispatched Averell Harriman to Tehran in a failed effort to negotiate a peaceful resolution of Mossadeq's differences with London. 50

All this changed with the election of Eisenhower in November 1952, followed by the appointment of the Dulles brothers to be Secretary of State and head of CIA. The Justice Department's criminal complaint against the oil cartel was swiftly replaced by a civil suit, from which the oil cartel eventually emerged unscathed. 51

Eisenhower, an open friend of the oil industry changed the charges from criminal to civil and transferred responsibility of the case from the Department of Justice to the Department of State – the first time in history that an antitrust case was handed to State for prosecution. Seeing as how the Secretary of State was John Foster Dulles and the defense counsel for the oil cartel was Dulles' former law firm (Sullivan and Cromwell), the case was soon as good as dead. 52

Thereafter

Cooperative control of the world market by the major oil companies remained in effect, with varying degrees of success, until the oil embargo of 1973-74. That the cooperation was more than tacit can be seen by the fact that antitrust regulations were specifically set aside a number of times during the 1950-1973 period, allowing the major companies to negotiate as a group with various Mideastern countries, and after its inception [in 1960], with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries or OPEC. 53

Also in November 1952 CIA officials began planning to involve CIA in the efforts of MI6 and the oil companies in Iran 54 -- although its notorious Operation TP/AJAX to overthrow Mossadeq was not finally approved by Eisenhower until July 22, 1953. 55

The events of 1953 strengthened the role of the oil cartel as a structural component of the American deep state, drawing on its powerful connections to both Wall Street and the CIA. 56 (Another such component was the Arabian-American Oil Company or ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia, which increased oil production in 1951-53 to offset the loss of oil from Iran. Until it was fully nationalized in 1980, ARAMCO maintained undercover CIA personnel like William Eddy among its top advisors.) 57 The five American oil majors in particular were also strengthened by the success of AJAX, as Anglo-Iranian (renamed BP) was henceforth forced to share 40 percent of the oil from its Iran refinery with them.

Nearly all recent accounts of Mossadeq's overthrow treat it as a covert intelligence operation, with the oil cartel (when mentioned at all) playing a subservient role. However the chronology, and above all the belated approval from Eisenhower, suggest that it was CIA that came belatedly in 1953 to assist an earlier oil cartel operation, rather than vice versa. In terms of the deep state, the oil cartel or deep state initiated in 1951 a process that the American public state only authorized two years later. Yet the inevitable bias in academic or archival historiography, working only with those primary sources that are publicly available, is to think of the Mossadeq tragedy as simply a "CIA coup."

[Jul 18, 2018] The United States and the Russian Federation would seem to be natural allies

Jul 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Oil as a tool of geopolitics

Peter AU 1 , Jul 17, 2018 4:23:41 PM | 112
VK
I posted the sequence of events used to create the petro dollar back in the 2018-33 thread.
Will post them again here as this thread concerns Kissinger.
More specifics can be added to this planned sequence of events, this just the basics.
...........
In the late 1960s, US found oil at Prudhoe bay and by 1970 it was a proved crude oil reserve.
Due to environmental and other legal challenges, construction of the pipeline was held up.

In late 1972 the US Secretary of the Interior declares the trans-Alaska pipeline to be in the US national interest

1973-74. OPEC oil embargo due to US backing of Israel pushes oil prices up in an initial rise.

1973 (OPEC oil embargo) The Trans-Alaska pipeline Authorization Act legislation is quickly pushed through. Signed by Nixon on November 16 1973. This blocked all further challenges allowing construction to begin. pdf

Late 1973 Nixon along with Saudi Arabia create the petro dollar beginning in 1974.

The trans-Alaska pipeline is pushed through to meet a deadline, no costs spared, first oil delivered through the pipeline 28th July 1977, extra pumps then installed and pipeline running at full capacity by 1980. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Construction_of_the_Trans-Alaska_Pipeline_System

1979-80 the price of oil skyrockets due to the Iranian revolution. The US is now the global economic hegemon as all countries now need US dollars to purchase oil.

Historical crude oil price chart https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/65661/111554736.48/0_118d4e_344fb37_orig
..................


I have read that Kissinger withheld information from both Nixon and Israel, but have not followed that line of research.
Here is a piece from an official Kissinger biography. You can see here he was working both sides.

https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/people/kissinger-henry-a
Kissinger entered the State Department just two weeks before Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel. The October War of 1973 played a major role in shaping Kissinger's tenure as Secretary. First, he worked to ensure Israel received an airlift of U.S. military supplies. This airlift helped Israel turn the war in Israel's favor, and it also led members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to initiate an oil embargo against the United States. After the implementation of a United Nation's sponsored ceasefire, Kissinger began a series of "shuttle diplomacy" missions, in which he traveled between various Middle East capitals to reach disengagement agreements between the enemy combatants. These efforts produced an agreement in January 1974 between Egypt and Israel and in May 1974 between Syria and Israel. Additionally, Kissinger's efforts contributed to OPEC's decision to lift the embargo.

[Jul 18, 2018] Syria and geopolitics of oil

Jul 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Jul 17, 2018 6:46:40 PM | 141

Daniel,

It is noticeable that Trump's US attack any Syrian forces coming too close to US occupied zones of al Tanf and Dier Ezzor. Also Trumps takeover of the Deir Ezzor oilfields where US forces simply set up bases or forward posts in the ISIS occupied area.

Under Trump, US has set up a number of new bases in Syria. On the other hand, no concern about Afrin and Manbij. The Deir Ezzor area is Arab tribes and this and al Hasakah (Kurd/Arab?) is the top end of the Persian Gulf/Mesopotamia oil field.

US now controls al Hasakah and half of Deir Ezzor province. The have been ongoing efforts by the US under Trump to take Al Bukamal. US has a base just south of Al Bukamal in Iraq. US bases are now thick throughout Mesopotamia, with more being built.

Also a new base being installed in Kuwait.

The US controls the Arab shore of the Persian gulf, it now has many bases in Iraq and Syria. The only thing missing is the oil rich strip of Iran running alongside the Persian gulf and Mesopotamia.

[Jul 16, 2018] Big Oil s has a long history of compromising national security for profit

Notable quotes:
"... How different is it really from the past 70+ years (since that 45' meeting between FDR and the then ruler of KSA), and especially since the "oil shocks" of the 1970's ? The Trumpians are little more direct and crude in their wording, but that is really the only difference I see. ..."
"... Putin's announcement after Turkey's shooting down of a Russian jet that Turkey has been systematically facilitating ISIS oil sales illustrates how the terror-entity has become a figleaf to justify military action. ..."
"... As INSURGEintelligence has previously reported, there is significant evidence that high-level elements of Turkish government and intelligence agencies have covertly sponsored Islamist terrorist groups in Syria, including ISIS, and that this has involved permitting black market oil sales. ..."
"... Why, however, did Vladimir Putin wait until the murder of a Russian pilot before announcing Russia's possession of intelligence on Turkish state-sponsorship of ISIS? ..."
"... There can be little doubt that Putin had previously been more interested in protecting Russian relations with Turkey as an emerging gas transshipment hub to Europe, under which he and Erdogan planned to build the multibillion Russia-Turkey gas pipeline, Turkish Stream  --  now suspended after the recent diplomatic furore. ..."
"... It has become increasingly clear that the US-led coalition strategy is aimed primarily at containment of the group's territorial ambitions within Syria. ..."
"... In this context, as Russia and Iran consolidate their hold on Syria through the Assad regime  --  staking the claim to Syria's untapped resources in the Mediterranean  --  the acceleration of Western military action offers both a carrot and a stick: the carrot aims to threaten the Assad regime into a political accommodation that capitulates to Western regional energy designs; the stick aims to replace him with a more compliant entity comprised of rebel forces backed by Western allies, the Gulf states and Turkey, whilst containing the most virulent faction, ISIS. ..."
Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 | Jul 2, 2018 1:17:16 AM | 28

The Saudi's. Interesting watching them agree to whatever Trump wants. The most recent one was Trump telling them to raise oil output. The Saudi's now are very pro zionist and will back them against the Sunni Palestinians no matter what. If Trumps tells them to pay for a US war or occupation they pay. If they are told to by lots of useless junk from the US MIC, they buy it and manage to pull a twisted smile when Trump turns the screws about billions being peanuts.

Seems very much like KSA is now an expendable asset for the US, and their only chance of survival is a lot of 'yes sir, how high sir'.

Philippe , Jul 2, 2018 2:01:24 AM | 30

@ Peter AU 1 | Jul 2, 2018 1:17:16 AM | 28

How different is it really from the past 70+ years (since that 45' meeting between FDR and the then ruler of KSA), and especially since the "oil shocks" of the 1970's ? The Trumpians are little more direct and crude in their wording, but that is really the only difference I see.

Posted by: Peter L. | Jul 1, 2018 11:21:17 PM | 23

Look no further than the first sentence of the text you quote. It has been documented a few times, including in the Intercept, that there were some very serious money flows towards a certain foundation run by the family of the named person. Money flows that originated in the Gulf. Money flows that were related to what happened in Libia.

Daniel , Jul 2, 2018 2:30:17 AM | 32
Peter AU1, KSA has been a client state of the US ever since FDR muscled in on Great Britain's deal in 1845.
somebody , Jul 2, 2018 10:52:45 AM | 43
That would have something to do with Big Oil's long history of compromising national security for profit

Russia effectively dried up oil deliveries by ISIS from Syria and Iraq via Turkey .

This here is Nafez Ahmeed on what went on when splitting up Syria was considered feasible.

Putin's announcement after Turkey's shooting down of a Russian jet that Turkey has been systematically facilitating ISIS oil sales illustrates how the terror-entity has become a figleaf to justify military action.

As INSURGEintelligence has previously reported, there is significant evidence that high-level elements of Turkish government and intelligence agencies have covertly sponsored Islamist terrorist groups in Syria, including ISIS, and that this has involved permitting black market oil sales.

Why, however, did Vladimir Putin wait until the murder of a Russian pilot before announcing Russia's possession of intelligence on Turkish state-sponsorship of ISIS?

There can be little doubt that Putin had previously been more interested in protecting Russian relations with Turkey as an emerging gas transshipment hub to Europe, under which he and Erdogan planned to build the multibillion Russia-Turkey gas pipeline, Turkish Stream  --  now suspended after the recent diplomatic furore.

US, British and French military operations have been similarly inconsistent, inexplicably failing to shut down ISIS supply lines through Turkey, failing to bomb critical ISIS oil infrastructure including vast convoys of trucks transporting black market oil, and refusing to arm the most effective and secular Kurdish ground forces combating ISIS.

It has become increasingly clear that the US-led coalition strategy is aimed primarily at containment of the group's territorial ambitions within Syria.

....

As Russia expands its military presence in the region in the name of fighting ISIS, the US, Britain and France are now scrambling to ensure they retain a military foothold in Syria  --  an effort to position themselves to make the most of a post-conflict environment. As the US Geological Survey Minerals Yearbook put it:

"Most of the international investors who pulled out of Syria following the deterioration of the safety and security situation throughout the country are expected to remain so until the military and political conflicts are resolved."

In this context, as Russia and Iran consolidate their hold on Syria through the Assad regime  --  staking the claim to Syria's untapped resources in the Mediterranean  --  the acceleration of Western military action offers both a carrot and a stick: the carrot aims to threaten the Assad regime into a political accommodation that capitulates to Western regional energy designs; the stick aims to replace him with a more compliant entity comprised of rebel forces backed by Western allies, the Gulf states and Turkey, whilst containing the most virulent faction, ISIS.

[Jul 16, 2018] Trump Is Right - NATO Is Obsolete, and if Europe Wants to Fight Imaginary Enemies, It Should Pay Its Own Way

Jul 16, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Hysteria is at fever pitch. After the NATO summit in Brussels, the definitive Decline of the West has been declared a done deal as President Trump gets ready to meet President Putin in Helsinki.

It was Trump himself who stipulated that he wants to talk to Putin behind closed doors, face-to-face, without any aides and, in theory, spontaneously, after the preparatory meeting between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was canceled. The summit will take place at the early 19 th century Presidential Palace in Helsinki, a former residence of Russian emperors.

As a preamble to Helsinki, Trump's spectacular NATO blitzkrieg was a show for the ages; assorted "leaders" in Brussels simply didn't know what hit them. Trump didn't even bother to arrive on time for morning sessions dealing with the possible accession of Ukraine and Georgia. Diplomats confirmed to Asia Times that after Trump's stinging "pay up or else" tirade, Ukraine and Georgia were asked to leave the room because what would be discussed was strictly an internal NATO issue.

Previewing the summit, Eurocrats indulged in interminable carping about "illiberalism" taking over, from Viktor Orban in Hungary to Sultan Erdogan in Turkey, as well as mourning the "destruction of European unity" (yes, it's always Putin's fault). Trump though would have none of it. The US President conflates the EU with NATO, interpreting the EU as a rival, just like China, but much weaker. As for the US "deal" with NATO, just like NAFTA, that's a bad deal.

NATO is 'obsolete'

Trump is correct that without the US, NATO is "obsolete" – as in non-existent. So essentially what he did in Brussels laid bare the case for NATO as a protection racket, with Washington fully entitled to up the stakes for the "protection".

But "protection" against what?

Since the dismemberment of Yugoslavia, when NATO was repositioned in its new role as humanitarian imperialist global Robocop, the alliance's record is absolutely dismal.

That features miserably losing an endless war in Afghanistan against a bunch of Pashtun warriors armed with Kalashnikov replicas; turning functional Libya into a militia wasteland and headquarters for Europe-bound refugees; and having the NATO-Gulf Cooperation Council lose its bet on a galaxy of jihadis and crypto-jihadis in Syria spun as "moderate rebels".

NATO has launched a new training, non-combat mission in Iraq; 15 years after Shock and Awe, Sunnis, Shi'ites, Yazidis and even Kurdish factions are not impressed.

Then there's the NATO Readiness Initiative; the capacity of deploying 30 battalions, 30 battleships and 30 aircraft squadrons within 30 days (or less) by 2020. If not to wreak selected havoc across the Global South, this initiative is supposedly set up to deter "Russian aggression".

So after dabbling with the Global War on Terror, NATO is essentially back to the original "threat"; the imminent Russian invasion of Western Europe – a ludicrous notion if there ever was one. The final statement in Brussels spells it out, with special emphasis on item 6 and item 7.

The combined GDP of all NATO members is 12 times that of Russia. And NATO's defense spending is six times larger than Russia's. Contrary to non-stop Polish and Baltic hysteria, Russia does not need to "invade" anything; what worries the Kremlin, in the long term, is the well being of ethnic Russians living in former Soviet republics.

Russia can't be both threat and an energy partner

Then there's Europe's energy policy – and that's a completely different story.

Trump has described the Nord Stream 2 pipeline as "inappropriate", but his claim that Germany gets 70% of its energy (via natural gas imports) from Russia may be easily debunked. Germany gets at best 9% of its energy from Russia. In terms of Germany's sources of energy , only 20% is natural gas. And less than 40% of natural gas in Germany comes from Russia. Germany is fast transitioning towards wind, solar, biomass and hydro energy, which made up 41% of the total in 2018. And the target is 50% by 2030.

Yet Trump does have a sterling point when, stressing that "Germany is a rich country", he wants to know why America should "protect you against Russia" when energy deals are on the table. "Explain that! It can't be explained!" as he reportedly said to Nato Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday.

In the end, of course, it's all about business. What Trump is really aiming at is for Germany to import US shale gas, three times more expensive than pipeline-delivered Russian gas.

The energy angle is directly linked to the never-ending 2% defense spending soap opera. Germany currently spends 1.2% of GDP on NATO. by 2024, it's supposed to reach at best 1.5%. And that's it. The majority of German voters, in fact, want US troops out .

So Trump's demand for 4% of GDP on defense spending for all NATO members will never fly. The sales pitch should be seen for what it is: a tentative "invitation" for an increased EU and NATO shopping spree on US military hardware.

In a nutshell, the key factor remains that Trump's Brussels blitzkrieg did make his case. Russia cannot be a "threat" and a reliable energy partner at the same time. As much as NATO poodles may be terrified of "Russian aggression", the facts spell out they won't put their money where their rhetorical hysteria is.

Foreign ministers attend a working dinner during the NATO Summit in Brussels on July 11, 2018. They gathered to discuss Russia, Iraq and their mission in Afghanistan. Photo: AFP/ pool/ Yves Herman

Are you listening now?

"Russian aggression" should be one of the top items discussed in Helsinki. In the – remote – possibility that Trump will strike a deal with Putin, NATO's absurd raison d'etre would be even more exposed.

That's not the US "deep-state" agenda, of course, thus the 24/7 demonization of the summit even before it happens. Moreover, for Trump, the transactional gambling man's Make-America-Great-Again point of view, the ideal outcome would always be to get even more European weapons deals for the US industrial-military-intelligence complex.

Terrified by Trump, diplomats in Brussels over these past few days have conveyed to Asia Times fears about the end of NATO, the end of the World Trade Organization, even the end of the EU. But the fact remains that Europe is absolutely peripheral to the Big Picture.

In Losing Military Supremacy , his latest, groundbreaking book, crack Russian military-naval analyst Andrei Martyanov deconstructs in detail how, "the United States faces two nuclear and industrial superpowers, one of which fields a world-class armed forces. If the military-political, as opposed to merely economic, alliance between Russia and China is ever formalized – this will spell the final doom for the United States as a global power."

The US deep state (its influential bureaucrats) may be wallowing in perpetual denial, but Trump – after many a closed-door meeting with Henry Kissinger – may have understood the suicidal "strategy" of Washington simultaneously antagonizing Russia and China.

Putin's landmark March 1 speech , as Martyanov stresses, was an effort to "coerce America's elites, if not into peace, at least into some form of sanity, given that they are currently completely detached from the geopolitical, military and economic realities of the newly emerging power configurations of the world". These elites may not be listening, but Trump seems to indicate he is.

As for the NATO poodles, all they can do is watch.

[Jul 15, 2018] Global Energy Dominance is now part of the US National security Strategy

Putin/Russia is also the only entity that can prevent Trump's US from simply walking in and taking over the rich energy hub (Mafia style) to the south of Eurasia.
Notable quotes:
"... Global Energy Dominance is now part of the US National security Strategy. Although not labeled as global, when reading through the energy dominance section of the NSS, it can clearly been seen to be global. This is not just about sell oil produced in the US. ..."
"... Trump is going for the Achilles heel of Eurasia - energy. Rather than a creative accounting scam that simply racks up huge amounts of debt, Trump is looking for a monopoly or near monopoly business to take over and rake in the profits. ..."
"... Russia supply energy to Eurasia from the North. The opening for the Trump mob is in the south. The meet with Putin may well be to sound out the possibilities of forming a cartel. ..."
"... Yes, it absolutely is. But this is not a new "Trump policy." Certainly Zbiginew Brzezenski laid this out quite clearly in his 1997 book, "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives." It's really all in there, just as you're now identifying. If you can't take the time to read it, please consider at least reading some book reviews. As I've noted before, Ziggy apparently didn't foresee Putin rising to power and restoring the Russian state, which threw the proverbial monkey wrench into the globalists' plans, but really, US foreign policy has continued to follow his plans otherwise. ..."
Jul 15, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 , Jul 14, 2018 4:55:33 PM | 101

The latest article at the Saker site by Rostislav Ishchenko - Trump's Geopolitical Cruise - I think is the best take on Trump's and his backers mindset. Worth a read and covers what I think was the cause of the split in the US elite.

The petro dollar, kicking off in the late 70s was a piece of creative accounting to give unlimited credit. This should have been ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union, but greed got the better of most. Trump and the people backing him could see that this was now in its terminal stages and US close to collapse itself.

Rostislav Ishchenko, like many thinks that Trump is pulling the US back to a form of isolation from the world, but I don't think this is the case.

Global Energy Dominance is now part of the US National security Strategy. Although not labeled as global, when reading through the energy dominance section of the NSS, it can clearly been seen to be global. This is not just about sell oil produced in the US.

Trump is going for the Achilles heel of Eurasia - energy. Rather than a creative accounting scam that simply racks up huge amounts of debt, Trump is looking for a monopoly or near monopoly business to take over and rake in the profits.

Russia supply energy to Eurasia from the North. The opening for the Trump mob is in the south. The meet with Putin may well be to sound out the possibilities of forming a cartel.

Putin/Russia is also the only entity that can prevent Trump's US from simply walking in and taking over the rich energy hub (Mafia style) to the south of Eurasia.

Daniel , Jul 14, 2018 5:35:42 PM | 104

Peter @101

"Global Energy Dominance is now part of the US National security Strategy."

Yes, it absolutely is. But this is not a new "Trump policy." Certainly Zbiginew Brzezenski laid this out quite clearly in his 1997 book, "The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives." It's really all in there, just as you're now identifying. If you can't take the time to read it, please consider at least reading some book reviews. As I've noted before, Ziggy apparently didn't foresee Putin rising to power and restoring the Russian state, which threw the proverbial monkey wrench into the globalists' plans, but really, US foreign policy has continued to follow his plans otherwise.

Kissinger has written much the same, though I don't recall in which books/articles. This page from the US Navy seems a fine reading list, designed as it appears to indoctrinate officers in AZ Empire geopolitics.

http://www.navy.mil/ah_online/CNO-ReadingProgram/partnernetwork.html#!

IMO, the US took the lead in the Empire's Global Energy Dominance quest when FDR met with King Saud on Great Bitter Lake in the Suez Canal in 1945 (swinging by after the final post-war world planning meeting with Churchill and Stalin at Yalta). This was when the US largely replaced Great Britain in primacy over Asian/Middle Eastern energy dominance.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 14, 2018 5:42:51 PM | 105
Daniel, I will read through the Grand Chessboard again.
Peter AU 1 , Jul 14, 2018 5:49:29 PM | 106
US setting up more bases. A base in Iraq, and a large airfreight logistics base in Kuwait.
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201807141066354147-new-us-bases-iraq/

The US is in the Persian Gulf to stay. Trumps face face meet with Putin will be so Trump can try and gauge what Putin will do - if he will run any blocking moves, his reaction to a fait accompli ect. Most likely a few more face to face meetings before any move on Iran.

Daniel , Jul 14, 2018 6:52:45 PM | 108
Peter, thanks for pointing out the new and unwanted US base in Iraq. I just read that the US was building the world's largest Embassy Compound in "Iraqi Kurdistan." I wonder it they're the same thing?

In a quick web search, failing to find an answer, I noticed that besides the "Green Zone" compound we built in Baghdad at the start of the current military occupation, the record holder was the US Embassy Compound in Pakistan.

James and I have discoursed here a bit on the history of US military occupations since WW II. Boils down to the US has never removed its military from any country it's occupied with the exception of Vietnam.

veritas semper vincit @103 linked blogpost notes that the US has 40,000 troops still occupying Germany. His (I presume) post is quite entertaining considering the severe seriousness of the topic.

Dis is a nice little country ya gotz heyah. Id be a shame if sumpin' bad was ta happen to it.

[Jul 15, 2018] Russia studying possible oil-for-goods deal with Iran - Novak

Jul 15, 2018 | uk.reuters.com

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Friday that a deal under which Russia would provide goods to Iran in exchange for oil is still possible.

Russia is studying all legal issues related to the possible deal, he said.

[Jul 14, 2018] Today orange fatty called out Germany for being captive to Russia.

The USA is "captive" of Canada (to use the terminology of trump), but don't seem to have much appreciation or respect for their position.
Jul 14, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Hickory

x Ignored says: 07/11/2018 at 11:20 am
Looks like OPEC 14 peaked two years. Can they beat it?, perhaps by a small amount in a world without chaos.

Today orange fatty called out Germany for being captive to Russia. I'm pretty sure he was referring to German dependence on imported fossil energy from Russia.

As of 2015 Germany net energy imports are 64% of total [USA 12% for comparison]. If this means 'captive', then perhaps we should acknowledge that 11 of our top 13 trading partners are highly dependent on imported energy from either Russia or the big OPEC producers.

'Captives' so to speak. Better get used to that idea, and learn how to get along with others. Only Canada and Mexico aren't 'captives', but we don't look to good at being friends with them either.

[Jul 13, 2018] Trump, like the innocent child in the tale of the naked emperor, has stated the obvious truth that the elite and the experts have refused steadfastly for years to publicly acknowledge. Way to go Trump. You hit a home run.

Notable quotes:
"... Trump seems to enjoy antagonizing the Europeans one way or the other. As to NATO, Trump made the same complaints during his campaign while calling it "obsolete." Sometimes it sounds like he would rather have the US out of NATO. One theory I have is that he is limited in what he can do so he works around TPTBs to get closer to his goals. So he antagonizes and threatens Europe on NATO. The same goes for Syria. He talked about wanting to pull out but kept being drawn back in by the usual suspects. So he's pulled monetary support in certain cases and refused to dig the US in any deeper than it is. And it will be interesting to see what happens with his upcoming meeting with Putin considering how much he had to backtrack on his talk of better relations during his campaign. Those who've wanted him to join the "hate Russia" team may get frustrated. ..."
"... Within this new "mulit-polar" world, only Russia is cutting its military budge. And they still seem to have at least one of the most effective conventional war-fighting capability, and their next generation nuclear deterrence looks nothing short of awesome. They have pipelines to build, and like China, long-term economic contracts to sign. ..."
"... I'm no fan of Angela, but she/Germany have been trying to tamp down this AZ Empire New Cold War against Russia since at least 2013. When she, Putin, Yanukovych (elected President of Ukraine) and the leaders of the Maidan protests got together and signed an agreement in which Yanukovych acquiesced to essentially all of the "peaceful, pro-democracy protesters'" demands, it was the Asst. Secretary of the US State (Vickie Nuland) who said, "F*ck the EU" "We can midwife this thing" and even appointed the new PM "Yats is the guy." ..."
"... The US can't keep funding your crappy little joke of a disintegrating "European Union" for ever. Sooner or later you'll have to put on big-boy pants. ..."
"... USA govt's assessment of China and Russia as "revisionist" should be understood as a determination to remain the hegemonic power. Thus, we have Cold War II. From that perspective, European objections to more "defense" spending are considered naive (or worse) as Europe's fate is views as tied to that of the Empire. ..."
"... I think European elites are much more likely to side with USA than European people. If the Trump's talk with Putin doesn't go well, we are likely to see increased scaremongering to rectify public opinion. ..."
"... Chaos can make doing business harder, but that can also increase profits. As the posters said in the '60s, "War Is Not Good For Children And Other Living Things." But it's great for the psychopaths. ..."
"... Here is an article that explains the relationship between Russian pipelines, USA sanctions on Russia, MH17, Crimea, and Syria. It is an excellent background to comprehend Trump's accusations about Germany's purchase of gas from Russia. Patrick Armstrong and Pat Lang seem to think that Trump is about to cut NATO support, reduce/eliminate sanctions against Russia, and redirect relations with Israel, but I am not persuaded. https://www.unz.com/article/why-was-malaysian-airlines-flight-mh17-shot-down/ by Kees van der Pijl He also wrote a book on this topic. ..."
"... Everything the US does works to undermine its old power in the new world. We see this continually. Trump is an accelerator. But whether any of this is intentional and actually desired by a part of US vested interests, is still an open question. ..."
"... Nevertheless, as we watch, we see every action of the US working to cement the bonds of its opposition in the rest of the world. From the Escobar article linked by karlof1 above, we see the pressure on the Middle East to reject the US and turn for safety to the Eurasian institutions of commerce, finance and national security. The same thing is happening to Europe. ..."
"... he equation as it stands now is this: A muscle-bound USA + an anaemic Europe "deterring" a Russian Federation that has no intention of invading. ..."
"... Since Russia is no threat either way then there is no need - none whatsoever - for the Europeans to increase their military expenditure to "defend themselves" against a non-existent Russian threat. ..."
"... Indeed, the only reason the Europeans would feel that they might have to prepare to "defend themselves" would be because that muscle-bound US military is now outside the tent pissing in, not inside the tent pissing out. ..."
"... Since whenever, America has been the proxy front for the current instantiation of empire with the core of control being ongoing private finance with global tools like BIS, IMF, World Bank, etc. Since WWII and even before the goal of empire is to have all of the world under its control. Since the engine of empire is a supra-national matrix of private finance control, the enemy becomes any nations who do not want to be impregnated with the Western model of private Central Bank, an oligarchy , inheritance, private property, etc. ..."
"... The empire model of growth through wars and boom/bust expansion has reached its "logical" limits and the the existential question has become, blow everything all up or agree to a multipolar world. I think that the elite hope Trump's bluster will make it so they do not have to answer that existential question.....yet ..."
"... If Trump's fake argument gambit was intended to inspire people inside and outside the EU to think outside the box then it seems to have worked. ..."
"... I LUV how Trump stomped on all those preaning European elite scumbags. ..."
"... Agree with Patrick. It is surprising to still see so much animosity towards a president who has done more to combat the absurdity of NATO and globalism than I can remember any other President doing. The ball is in the EU elites court, now. Put up or shut up and I believe it makes no difference to Trump. We are about to find out who is REALLY to blame for marching lockstep with the current of hypercentralization (globalism): the Trump admin or the EU elitez. ..."
"... The US has been manipulating NATO ever since it was formed. Most NATO officials are vetted by the US. Trump is an idiot, like the bulk of US politicians. ..."
"... Trump's "reasoning" makes sense in an infantile sort of way, but there's more too it than meets the eye, is there not? Trump doesn't just want to Europe to "pay their fair share" for NATO, which we all know is code for buying more US mil.gear but also to buy their LNG from US too. It's like NATO is some sort of grotesque, evil franchise where the franchisees can only buy goods/services from that single source, even though it's crap & inordinately expensive, and even if you can get it cheaper elsewhere, i.e Russia. ..."
"... Wow! You don't feel that Trump has, by his mere existence and by winning the presidency, been given a platform of which to decry the myriad injustices of globalization and to utter things unspeakable by any Prez in the last fifty years? ..."
"... Europe has an arms industry of their own. I doubt European countries invest their money into US stuff - they buy their own. Most of the money does not go into weapons anyway, but personel and administration. Germany contributes to the maintenance and infrastructure of US bases, but those bases are business, too. This is not Saudi Arabia buying protection. The real news is that Trump has started a trade war negotiating by tantrum. ..."
Jul 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

kgw , Jul 11, 2018 7:37:47 PM | 35

You are agreeing with an idiot, no matter what...Europe has nothing to worry about with regards to Russia. Unless they threaten Russia. 'Love this exchange at breakfast;

You'd have to be an idiot not to agree with Trump here.


Curtis , Jul 11, 2018 7:42:06 PM | 36

Trump seems to enjoy antagonizing the Europeans one way or the other. As to NATO, Trump made the same complaints during his campaign while calling it "obsolete." Sometimes it sounds like he would rather have the US out of NATO. One theory I have is that he is limited in what he can do so he works around TPTBs to get closer to his goals. So he antagonizes and threatens Europe on NATO. The same goes for Syria. He talked about wanting to pull out but kept being drawn back in by the usual suspects. So he's pulled monetary support in certain cases and refused to dig the US in any deeper than it is. And it will be interesting to see what happens with his upcoming meeting with Putin considering how much he had to backtrack on his talk of better relations during his campaign. Those who've wanted him to join the "hate Russia" team may get frustrated.

Will he take direct action on any of these things? I doubt it. The indirect route seems to go in the right direction.

Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 7:50:36 PM | 38
karlof!. Good to "see" you back. The following is specifically to you, but it does continue from your first comment. [I couldn't get some links to embed, sorry]

My best short term hope is that all this war-blustering is just to convince we commoners to bend over so the military/industrial contractors can make lots of gelt. The Global War OF Terror has been terrific for their bank accounts, but with SAA and the MoD of the RF beating the snot out of terrorists wherever they go to such an extent that the Pentagon is considering ISIS essentially defeated.

Besides, the really "big ticket products" are things like aircraft carriers, "upgraded" nuclear weapons, 5th Generation fighters, etc. etc. etc., that are harder to excuse when their targets are guys in sandals with AK47s and IEDs. That could be why the 2018 National Defense Strategy plan has shifted from fighting "terrorism" back to " the long-term, strategic competition between nations." https://www.defense.gov/Portals/1/Documents/pubs/2018-National-Defense-Strategy-Summary.pdf

Same with our "adversary" across the big pond in China. Just the other day, the CPC warned of "China's army infiltrated by 'peace disease' requiring a major new "defense posture" just like the US and NATO.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2153579/chinas-army-infiltrated-peace-disease-after-years

China's Central Military Commission specified that much of this "posturing" will be "military reforms are aimed at expanding its military might from the traditional focus on land territories to maritime influence to protect the nation's strategic interests in a new era. "

Within this new "mulit-polar" world, only Russia is cutting its military budge. And they still seem to have at least one of the most effective conventional war-fighting capability, and their next generation nuclear deterrence looks nothing short of awesome. They have pipelines to build, and like China, long-term economic contracts to sign.

Patrick Armstrong , Jul 11, 2018 7:52:25 PM | 39
No dear b, for once I think you've got it wrong. I see Trump asking three question for all of which there is one answer.
1. Angela. You tell us that NATO ought to concentrate on the Russian threat. If Russia is a threat, why are you buying gas from it?
2. Angela, You tell us that Russia is a reliable energy supplier. If Russia is a reliable supplier, why are you telling us it's a threat?
3. Angela. I hope you're not saying Russia is a threat and its gas is cheap but the USA will save us.

The answer to all 3 questions is: we're out of here, defend yourselves. It's Trump cutting the Gordian Knot of obligations.

Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 7:54:11 PM | 40
Aarrgghh! Besides some continuity problems when I recut and pasted the above since the links weren't working, I also left out the following completely.

That could be why, even though the US 2018 Nuclear Posture Review observes we are changing from: "For decades, the United States led the world in efforts to reduce the role and number of nuclear weapons." To " the current, pragmatic assessment of the threats we face and the uncertainties regarding the future security environment." Which conveniently can use up, or more likely go over budget on former President CareBear's additional $10 Billion in nuclear weapons development over the succeeding 10 years.

https://media.defense.gov/2018/Feb/02/2001872886/-1/-1/1/2018-NUCLEAR-POSTURE-REVIEW-FINAL-REPORT.PDF

Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 8:12:45 PM | 42
Patrick Armstrong @38.

I'm no fan of Angela, but she/Germany have been trying to tamp down this AZ Empire New Cold War against Russia since at least 2013. When she, Putin, Yanukovych (elected President of Ukraine) and the leaders of the Maidan protests got together and signed an agreement in which Yanukovych acquiesced to essentially all of the "peaceful, pro-democracy protesters'" demands, it was the Asst. Secretary of the US State (Vickie Nuland) who said, "F*ck the EU" "We can midwife this thing" and even appointed the new PM "Yats is the guy."

She was then an active participant in the Minsk Agreement to end the "anti-terrorism action" Which our gal Vickie shredded publicly the next day because the AZ Empire thought the Uki-Nazis would finish off those Muscovite, Colorado hicks and (can I post the Ukie terms for Jews?) in the east like they'd done in the south.

Then, Angela was involved in the Minsk II cease-fire/road to peace (when the Uki-Nazis were being driven out of the east, and were about to lose Mariupol).

I know there are others in addition to b here who know this stuff better than I. Isn't this about right?

Piotr Berman , Jul 11, 2018 8:19:07 PM | 43
"It is extremely hypocritical for Poland to lobby against Nord Stream when it significantly contributes to Poland's energy security."

There are other explanations that could be better documented, like stupidity and insanity. BTW, Poland has big pollution problem, and a major part is that many older multifamily buildings and new single family building has polluting heating with coal furnaces and stoves. Natural gas does not generate pollutants except for CO2 which is not affecting health, plus it uses less than half of carbon than coal.

On the other note, merely to get enough gas for internal needs, Poland could get enough through Belorus. But if you need to add re-export to Ukraine, that is not enough. So Poles can pride themselves of not being as stupid and insane as their southeastern neighbors.

james , Jul 11, 2018 8:24:21 PM | 44
publius tacitus at sst take on this..
james , Jul 11, 2018 8:26:42 PM | 45
@41 daniel.. patrick has quite a good handle on this topic... https://patrickarmstrong.ca/
financial matters , Jul 11, 2018 8:27:15 PM | 46
Patrick Armstrong@38

Well stated. There are many gordian knots. The BIS should be dissolved ""Responsible fiscal practice requires a government to fill spending gaps left by fluctuations in non-government spending patterns. In that way, the government takes responsibility for maintaining full employment. What the Troika did in Greece was the exemplar of irresponsible fiscal practice.""

Tannenhouser , Jul 11, 2018 8:28:19 PM | 47
I really really like the way you include a 'solution' to a global problem in this analysis b. To many times we just speak to the choir and rarely are solutions presented regardless where they lie on the possible/probable line. Did I mention I really like this SA. Thanks.
Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 8:28:38 PM | 48
karlof1 @7. In graph 1, of actual dollar expenditure, NATO spending was going down until 2012, then it started to rise again, and has been a net increase every year since 2015.

In graph 4, per nation spending relative to GDP went up from 2014 to 2017 in almost all member states notably, except the US and UK, but even then, US went from 3.58% to slightly over 3.5% and UK from 2.14% to a touch over 2.1%, so both are above the 2% "minimum."

Graphs 5, 6, 7 all show actual dollar expenditures dropping from 1010 to 2014, but then increasing every year since then.

Perhaps I misunderstood your point. But it sure looks like NATO spending has been rising since this "New Cold War" really kicked into gear in 3024/2015.

Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 8:54:30 PM | 49
Pft @ 27

"One big reason they deposed the Shah who was planning to go big with nuclear power with orders for about 20 French and /or German reactors"

Another hat in the ring for CIA/MI6/Mossad helping to install the Islamic part of the Iranian Revolution? WooHoo!

"China basically has a monopoly on these metals"

Yes. Bear in mind though that "discovered" after the US invasion/occupation is that Afghanistan has perhaps the world's largest reserves of lithium. And the "Democratic Republic" of Congo also has much rare earth wealth. As in fact do other parts of central Africa. Hence, the AZ Empire's new "AfriCom" military classification and the reinstallation of French Colonialism.

I'm not so up on this whole tariff thing. Hasn't Germany had substantial tariffs on automobiles for years now? Do those tariffs apply to other EU states?

Peter AU 1 , Jul 11, 2018 9:02:50 PM | 50
Daniel
I have read in the past that Afghan is very rich in a number of minerals and China was looking at development there as part of it road belt intuitive. Going by the state Afghanistan is in I can't see the US extracting minerals there. US squatting in Afghanistan may be simply to deny Chinese access to the mineral deposits.
/div
/div
Chipnik , Jul 11, 2018 9:07:45 PM | 52
10

If NS2 goes online and EU goes dark to Qatar, especially if Iran corks Qatar with a South pipeline, the Middle East economies will collapse into chaos, and nobody will be buying either US guns or butter.

US'own economy is going down the crapper with No Taxes for the Rich running an $800B Deficit, and private Fed Bank ratcheting up $50B at a gulp in interest-only Debt financing ...forever. Collapse of MediCare and MediCaid will bleed even more out of the retsil economy, which will increase the Deficit, into a National Debt death spiral, and collapse of the public pensiin systems.

If you project MIC arms spendung and Fed interest-only bleed out, Trump's illegal 25% Fed VAT sales tax (aka 'tariffs) and EU/RU/CH counter-tariffs, all US health and human services will be insolvent by 2025.

When that happens, and could happen much sooner, the world we knew in 20C will be inverted, upended, chaos, albeit, only chaos for the Lower Classes, Workers and Private Pensioners/401Ks. The Deep Purple Mil.Gov UniParty will...uhh...find a way!

gda , Jul 11, 2018 9:10:23 PM | 53
@kgw
"You are agreeing with an idiot, no matter what...Europe has nothing to worry about with regards to Russia. Unless they threaten Russia."

Well shit or get off the pot why don't you - "idiot" Trump is calling your bluff - stop freeloading off a (by your assessment) non-existent threat, or he'll stop it for you. Can't have it both ways. The US can't keep funding your crappy little joke of a disintegrating "European Union" for ever. Sooner or later you'll have to put on big-boy pants.

Methinks this guy has a good take on this. "Trump, like the innocent child in the tale of the naked emperor, has stated the obvious truth that the elite and the experts have refused steadfastly for years to publicly acknowledge. Way to go Trump. You hit a home run."
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/07/nato-a-naked-emperor-by-publius-tacitus.html/

Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 9:23:02 PM | 54
James, @44. I largely agree with (and have called for) Patrick's recommendations for what Ukraine should do now. I don't see anything in there that contravenes what I wrote about Germany's role in the AZ Empire's coup and resulting war, though.

Do you remember those events, or should I dig out citations? I was following it pretty closely from mid/late 2013 until it quieted down in 2015. Since then, I just pick up articles here and there.

like, did you see that Israel is providing assault rifles and ammo to the Azov Battalion (the naziest of the neo-nazis)? And then, of course, the Zoo-nazis whine about a couple of Jewish journalists reporting on it.

Chipnik , Jul 11, 2018 9:23:59 PM | 55
34

When you'd have to be an idiot to agree with Trump ($1 TRILLION MIC arms profiteering slash National Police State slash MIC Indefinite Detention Gulags), but now you'd have to be an idiot NOT to agree with Trump (drag EU into the funeral pyre)m then you know it must be the Red Army v Blue Army media spewfest and the National Novitiate in November is near. Rahhh.

E pluribus now get back to work. Your 2Q ONE TRILLION Deep Purple State tithe-tibute is due in 3 more days, ONE TRILKION that you and your hiers will never see again.

Jackrabbit , Jul 11, 2018 9:29:23 PM | 56
USA govt's assessment of China and Russia as "revisionist" should be understood as a determination to remain the hegemonic power. Thus, we have Cold War II. From that perspective, European objections to more "defense" spending are considered naive (or worse) as Europe's fate is views as tied to that of the Empire.

I think European elites are much more likely to side with USA than European people. If the Trump's talk with Putin doesn't go well, we are likely to see increased scaremongering to rectify public opinion.

Daniel , Jul 11, 2018 9:31:41 PM | 57
Peter AU 1 @49

Well, the opium is sure getting out ok. ;-)

Not to mention those same rare earth metals are getting out of DRC despite millions of murderous deaths and disease.

And the oil started flowing out of Libya before Gaddafi was even lynched. Oil's been flowing out of "Kurdish" Iraq into Israel come hell or high water. And of course, ISIL was shipping Syrian oil through Turkey and Jordan (if not Israel) throughout.

Chaos can make doing business harder, but that can also increase profits. As the posters said in the '60s, "War Is Not Good For Children And Other Living Things." But it's great for the psychopaths.

Guerrero , Jul 11, 2018 9:35:30 PM | 58
Trump's native approach I suspect may be something like that of fellow-New Yorker and great American chess player Bobby Fischer who famously said: "Try something!"
Jackrabbit , Jul 11, 2018 9:46:02 PM | 60
Daniel @41

That sounds about right. I would only add that Minsk Accord is another example of a non-agreement. Ukraine never signed yet Russia is accused of not implementing this non-agreement whenever people feel the need for some more Russia-bashing.

mauisurfer , Jul 11, 2018 10:31:07 PM | 61
Here is an article that explains the relationship between Russian pipelines, USA sanctions on Russia, MH17, Crimea, and Syria. It is an excellent background to comprehend Trump's accusations about Germany's purchase of gas from Russia. Patrick Armstrong and Pat Lang seem to think that Trump is about to cut NATO support, reduce/eliminate sanctions against Russia, and redirect relations with Israel, but I am not persuaded. https://www.unz.com/article/why-was-malaysian-airlines-flight-mh17-shot-down/ by Kees van der Pijl He also wrote a book on this topic.
Guerrero , Jul 11, 2018 10:40:00 PM | 62
I'm not so up on this whole tariff thing.

Trump follows the footsprints of the post-USA Civil War Republican Party policy. From Chapter 1 of The Politicos 1865-1896 by Matthew Josephson (published in 1938)

"The new industrialist and financial class and the farmers of the North emerged the greatest gainers by far among the mixed coalition of classes which fought to win the social revolution underlying the War Between the States. But no less triumphant and dominent was the war party itself, the youthful organization of professional politicians and officeholders known as the Republican Party. A minority party in 1860, and victor in a three-cornered electoral contest, it knew during the war the intoxication of unchallenged power and fortune beyond calculation, leaving it in command of all the offices of the Federal Government!"

From Beard, Contemporary American History, p.91

It had the management of the gigantic war finances, through which it attached to itself the interests ... of the great capitalists and bankers throughout the North. It raised revenues by a high tariff which placed thousands of manufacturers under debt to it and linked their fortunes also with its fate ... Railway financiers and promoters of all kinds had to turn to it for privileges and protection...

mauisurfer , Jul 11, 2018 10:48:49 PM | 63
jackrabbit@59
surprised to hear you say Ukraine did not sign MinskII. On the contrary, I read that it was signed by LD Kuchma, Second President of Ukraine. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Signatories

The document was signed by:[23]

Swiss diplomat and OSCE representative Heidi Tagliavini
Former president of Ukraine and Ukrainian representative Leonid Kuchma
Russian Ambassador to Ukraine and Russian representative Mikhail Zurabov
Separatist's leaders Alexander Zakharchenko and Igor Plotnitsky
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minsk_II#Signatories

All-night negotiations on Wednesday ended with the signing of the Declaration of Minsk in support of the "Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements" by Angela Merkel of Germany, Francois Hollande of France, Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Vladimir Putin of Russia and release of the full agreement. The talks, according to some reports, almost collapsed near the end as Ukraine and rebel leaders balked at signing.
https://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2015/02/13/putin-comes-out-on-top-in-new-minsk-agreement/#21ffe18f4ede

Guerrero , Jul 11, 2018 11:34:57 PM | 64
From Chapter 1 of The Politicos 1865-1896 by Matthew Josephson (published in 1938):

"The prosecution of the war against rebellion had been associated with a protective tariff levied against a hated England. which profited and sought to profit further from our disaster. With the close of the war, a cry arose from the Northeastern region that high tariffs were needed to pay the war debt. and an outburst of high Protectionism followed in 1866."

V , Jul 11, 2018 11:44:37 PM | 65
# 20

Trump is factually correct; but it doesn't make him right.

Grieved , Jul 11, 2018 11:51:06 PM | 66
Everything the US does works to undermine its old power in the new world. We see this continually. Trump is an accelerator. But whether any of this is intentional and actually desired by a part of US vested interests, is still an open question.

Nevertheless, as we watch, we see every action of the US working to cement the bonds of its opposition in the rest of the world. From the Escobar article linked by karlof1 above, we see the pressure on the Middle East to reject the US and turn for safety to the Eurasian institutions of commerce, finance and national security. The same thing is happening to Europe.

Some days I think that Trump was a brilliantly inspired choice of some deep state players to further their agenda of fragmenting the old arrangements to allow new alignments to come into place - to modernize the elite control of the world. But most days I just don't know. What can one say about a force this magisterial and still this enigmatic?

I was talking with a friend today about Trump. She said she sees his approach as quite typical of US business style. You come out with the big stick, knowing it will get chopped in half by the time you get to agreement. But at least you end up with half a stick. Gotta start big. You don't ask, you don't get.

This style worked perfectly with North Korea, which was a standout among the nations of the world, in my opinion, for understanding superbly well how Trump played the game, and played it right back. The result was a meeting of equals, where something could actually get done. But NK worked hard to develop the bargaining chip to put on the table too. Words without substance don't work.

I'm not seeing many other countries responding with this same kind of exaggerated bravado - it is a very US way of doing business. Most countries are simply working to go around the US. Europe seems to be doing the same thing, simply rejecting and turning away. But the European countries could certainly create bargaining chips if they wanted to play the Trump game of negotiation. I truly suspect his style is something they're still getting to grips with. Perhaps they should call Kim for pointers.

I think ultimately we are seeing two things at work, and in tandem: the natural style of Trump, and the very real and unstoppable current of history. Whether either force is aware of the other, I can't say. Like the success or failure of the French Revolution, it's too soon to tell.

dh , Jul 11, 2018 11:56:34 PM | 67
@65 Good summary. I think the Europeans simply don't know what to make of him. The look on Stoltenberg's face said it all. They just don't know how to respond to someone so direct. Maybe Putin is the only one who can talk his language....but not in public.
karlof1 , Jul 11, 2018 11:57:58 PM | 68
Daniel--

China's taking a page from Mahan regarding sea power. NATO graphs: I mentioned Obama ordered an increase in spending and the chart shows the compliance. The ups and downs correlate well with wars and major recessions.

james , Jul 12, 2018 12:07:22 AM | 69
@53 daniel... what you said earlier - i think much the same way... i would be curious to know more of how patrick armstrong sees all that, but i think it is much the same as us too.. those links @53 reflect how messed up ukraine is at present.. having a failed state on your doorstep doesn't sound like fun and that works both ways for europe and russia.. i guess that was the usa ( and israels?) plan... screw up countries so they don't function properly, so you have to spend a lot of imf money to fix them.. works for wall st, lol..
Yeah, Right , Jul 12, 2018 12:07:56 AM | 70
@38 "The answer to all 3 questions is: we're out of here, defend yourselves"

Patrick, I'm confused: they are meant to defend themselves against whom, exactly? T he equation as it stands now is this: A muscle-bound USA + an anaemic Europe "deterring" a Russian Federation that has no intention of invading.

Remove the muscle-bound Americans from the equation and this is what remains: An anaemic Europe "deterring" a Russian Federation that has no intention of invading.

Since Russia is no threat either way then there is no need - none whatsoever - for the Europeans to increase their military expenditure to "defend themselves" against a non-existent Russian threat.

Indeed, the only reason the Europeans would feel that they might have to prepare to "defend themselves" would be because that muscle-bound US military is now outside the tent pissing in, not inside the tent pissing out.

dh , Jul 12, 2018 12:17:13 AM | 71
@68 Maybe they thought Ukraine would join the EU at some point but Crimea was the prize. The plan was to turn Crimea into a NATO base. Putin spoiled everything.
Jackrabbit , Jul 12, 2018 12:19:28 AM | 72
mauisurfer @62

Wikipedia also says (as part Leonid Kuchma's bio):

Since July 2014, Kuchma has been Ukraine's representative at the semi-official peace talks regarding the ongoing War in Donbass.
Why are they "semi-official"? Because Ukraine would not talk to the rebels directly. They believe that the rebels are sponsored by Russia so the dispute is between Russia and Ukraine. They would not talk to the rebels as that might convey legitimacy to the rebels. That's why the Trialteral Contact Group was set up. The signers of Minsk II (Russia, Germany, France, Kuchma/Ukraine) are merely "guarantors" of an agreement between Ukraine and the Donbas rebels - neither of which has actually signed.

Kuchma "represents" Ukraine but can't bind Ukraine. Although Poroschenko attended some of the talks, he never signed the agreement.

Minsk and Minsk II have reduced conflict somewhat but Ukraine has dragged its feet every step of the way. For example: they were slow to pull back heavy artillery as called for under the accord, then they wouldn't pass laws that were necessary for other provisions of the accord.

Recently, Ukraine has passed a law that essentially negates Minsk/Minsk II and treats the rebels as terrorists (as Ukraine has always claimed them to be) .

The Minsk accords outlined a detailed procedure through which Donetsk and Luhansk would receive "special status," hold internationally-recognized elections, and then negotiate their reintegration into Ukraine directly with Kiev, including basic constitutional reforms to federalize the country. No substantive steps have ever been undertaken by either side to implement these terms, and the new "Donbass Integration Law" now makes clear that Kiev expects the country to be re-united on its terms alone, though probably not anytime soon.

Ukrainian lawmakers, who overwhelmingly passed the bill on Jan. 19, argue that it simply normalizes a situation that has long existed but was clouded by misleading jargon and official fealty to the non-functioning Minsk accords .

Poroschenko signed the bill into law in February 2018.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 12, 2018 12:22:41 AM | 73
@dh "Maybe Putin is the only one who can talk his language"

Going by what Putin said of Trump after their 2 1/2 hour meeting in Vietnam, it seems more likely Trump talks in Putin's language when meeting actual leaders. Same would go for his meeting with KJU, and I would guess Xi.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 12, 2018 12:25:05 AM | 74
Within the US west, there would be no one Trump could meet as a leader and equal. They are all hired help.
psychohistorian , Jul 12, 2018 12:52:59 AM | 75
@ Grieved with his observations

Since whenever, America has been the proxy front for the current instantiation of empire with the core of control being ongoing private finance with global tools like BIS, IMF, World Bank, etc. Since WWII and even before the goal of empire is to have all of the world under its control. Since the engine of empire is a supra-national matrix of private finance control, the enemy becomes any nations who do not want to be impregnated with the Western model of private Central Bank, an oligarchy , inheritance, private property, etc.

The empire model of growth through wars and boom/bust expansion has reached its "logical" limits and the the existential question has become, blow everything all up or agree to a multipolar world. I think that the elite hope Trump's bluster will make it so they do not have to answer that existential question.....yet

The EU has always been a bastard child with little chance of growing up because there was no finance core agreements to manage the national variations within. I am surprised it has lasted as long as it has given the historical tension between the nations. The US has similar social tensions but our structure has homoginized the economy enough that we haven't imploded...yet

The key to this process which I believe is being managed by the elite is at what point are the big decisions made and by whom. Given the accelerated nature of the managed deconstruction, I suspect the elite believe they will retain their mystique of power long enough to not lose grip on private finance running the Western world. The EU countries will have to come to terms with their oligarchs and determine what path forward works for all of eurasia. I don't see the current leadership of any EU countries as having the public's best interest in mind or action.

Are we seeing Western plutocracy fail of its own "weight"? Perhaps so.....nice

Hoarsewhisperer , Jul 12, 2018 1:03:22 AM | 76
If Trump's fake argument gambit was intended to inspire people inside and outside the EU to think outside the box then it seems to have worked.
Fernando Arauxo , Jul 12, 2018 1:05:36 AM | 77
I LUV how Trump stomped on all those preaning European elite scumbags. He's my hero for pooping all over their little pride parade. Tell em like it is Donald they call you stupid and all those other useless names. Your stinking GENIUS. MORE and an ENCORE!!!!
NemesisCalling , Jul 12, 2018 1:25:27 AM | 78
@39 Patrick

Agree with Patrick. It is surprising to still see so much animosity towards a president who has done more to combat the absurdity of NATO and globalism than I can remember any other President doing. The ball is in the EU elites court, now. Put up or shut up and I believe it makes no difference to Trump. We are about to find out who is REALLY to blame for marching lockstep with the current of hypercentralization (globalism): the Trump admin or the EU elitez.

Sorry for the break in the Trump-bashing. Let's all get back to that good ol' America-hatin' catharsis.

Den Lille Abe , Jul 12, 2018 1:55:52 AM | 79
So nothing is really new, sigh!

Since the start of the 70ties I have heard exactly the same tune from the US and the blathering idiot in charge now has not changed the tune; ever since have I had to listen to this "The Russians are coming" tune, with the rhetoric getting ever more shrill and false, 1989 brought a brief and marvelous, albeit very short pause to this tune, and for a few years the US Kleptocracy was happy plundering the former USSR. When Russia resisted the plunder i. e. Putin was elected, the tune started over again from where it was paused, disregarding the fact that Russia does not in any way compare to the former USSR.

N, noooe , it is still "The Russians are coming" playing, but with a new beat, pepped up, but same substance. But we are not listening anymore, the disgraceful actions and evil behavior of The United States of Mordor, have come into the open (The internet, appreciate it, we will not for long have it in its present form), even the most daft of us quietly starts wondering.

Well I am not daft, and the questioning ended 4 decades ago, The US must be resisted. Our politicians here on the continent must wake up and reject US imperialism and militarism, and devise our own defenses if deemed necessary, many European nations are not at the living standards we enjoy in Scandinavia, surely the money were better spent on that.

If the Poles and Baltic's want American troops on their soil, withdraw EU spending, we do not need their insane sabre rattling. (Especially the Poles are vile, they forget that when Hitler invaded, they had been a fascist dictatorship for years).

V , Jul 12, 2018 2:36:38 AM | 80
Den Lille Abe # 79
N, noooe , it is still "The Russians are coming" playing, but with a new beat, pepped up, but same substance.

Two things; a total lack of imagination combined with a failure to apply intelligence; the I.Q. kind.

Pft , Jul 12, 2018 2:54:07 AM | 81
Nemesisiscalling@78

What exactly has Trump done to combat the absurdity of globalization and NATO besides talk? While he stopped TPP and TIPP he is negotiating similar agreements bilaterally. Also his Personal Empire benefits from globalization.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/28/five-ways-donald-trump-benefits-from-the-globalization-he-says-he-hates/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.daf25165315b

US only contributes 1% of their defense budget to NATO's direct costs so pulling out of NATO would make hardly a dent in the budget except to increase costs to relocate all the personnel and hardware. Those bases are invaluableHis calling for NATO countries to increase defense spending benefits US and Israeli companies who make up the military and security industrial complex and wont do squat to lower the defense budget

kgw , Jul 12, 2018 3:05:25 AM | 82

Born and raised in Southern California, been here 70 years... The US has been manipulating NATO ever since it was formed. Most NATO officials are vetted by the US. Trump is an idiot, like the bulk of US politicians.

@kgw
"You are agreeing with an idiot, no matter what...Europe has nothing to worry about with regards to Russia. Unless they threaten Russia."

Well shit or get off the pot why don't you - "idiot" Trump is calling your bluff - stop freeloading off a (by your assessment) non-existent threat, or he'll stop it for you. Can't have it both ways. The US can't keep funding your crappy little joke of a disintegrating "European Union" for ever. Sooner or later you'll have to put on big-boy pants. Methinks this guy has a good take on this.

"Trump, like the innocent child in the tale of the naked emperor, has stated the obvious truth that the elite and the experts have refused steadfastly for years to publicly acknowledge. Way to go Trump. You hit a home run."
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/07/nato-a-naked-emperor-by-publius-tacitus.html/

rcentros , Jul 12, 2018 4:42:16 AM | 83
You're assuming Europe's leaders aren't bought and paid for by Wall Bank Street Banksters. The system is rigged. I wouldn't doubt that they go into lapdog mode and bow to blowhard Trump.
somebody , Jul 12, 2018 5:58:30 AM | 84
83 Trump has just offically blown up NATO.

This was worked out before - there will be a " European Defense Union " including Britain.

Mrs Merkel emphasised that the German armed forces would remain commanded by parliament and not the government, and "would not take part in every mission".

This is theater.

somebody , Jul 12, 2018 6:18:14 AM | 85
add to 84

This here is a clear description of the issues involved . Of course, in the rivalry between the US and Russia, Europe's interest is best served playing the two off each other united. It is no surprise both - the US and Russia - have a strategic interest to split Europe. You don't believe Russia doing this, too? This here is from Greece . No, their government is not anti-Russian.

Macedonia is expecting an invitation at the NATO summit in Brussels this week to join following its landmark deal with Greece whereby it will change its name to the Republic of North Macedonia. Moscow strongly opposes NATO expansion.

...

The Greek diplomatic source told Reuters Athens would expel two diplomats and bar two other Russians from entering the country due to concerns that they were involved in rallies in Greece against the deal with Macedonia and that they had attempted to offer money to Greek state officials.

Becoming a "neutral" military force would end this type of nonsense. Trump acting like mafia is another strong incentive.

ralphieboy , Jul 12, 2018 6:20:14 AM | 86
@AH #37:

"The U.S. military is the biggest socialist organization of the world. It is egalitarian and its citizens, i.e. the soldiers, are extremely well cared for. It runs its own healthcare system through the Veterans Health Administration."

A wonderful conclusion b.

Does anyone know of any in-depth economic analysis of the U.S. military as a state welfare system for its members, as well as the impact of aggregate military spending on the general purchasing power of citizens within the society at large?

And US military spending is also an enormous job-creation and wealth-redistribution program in the form of defense contractors spread all over the nation, where they are especially vital for areas with weak employment.

The US winds up with a lot of projects it does not need because Congresspeople are not about to kill a program that employs thousands in their districts.

Zanon , Jul 12, 2018 6:43:32 AM | 87
Why should Germany spend 4% on its military? Didnt see that coming from this blog. Are germany facing an enemy? If not, its a waste of more money. All this useless money could be spend to actually strenghten the welfare state. Something that actually matters and are much needed. So which enemy is Germany facing? Either Trump is right that Russia is a threat to Germany or hes not. What is it?
V , Jul 12, 2018 6:54:14 AM | 88
#87
So which enemy is Germany facing?

The U.S., of course...

Zanon , Jul 12, 2018 7:18:45 AM | 89
This is absurd, Nato leader kick out EU leader during talks with Trump...
https://www.rt.com/usa/432844-trump-nato-leave-congress/
somebody , Jul 12, 2018 7:31:37 AM | 91
Posted by: ralphieboy | Jul 12, 2018 6:20:14 AM | 86

Therefore Trump needs NATO more than Europe needs NATO. How else defend the defense spending?

Senate votes to support NATO ahead of Trump summit

The nonbinding motion, which came as the Senate voted to reconcile its version of the annual defense policy bill with that of the House, expresses the Senate's support for NATO and calls on negotiators to reaffirm the U.S. commitment to it. The 97-2 vote in the Senate comes as Trump heads to Brussels.

That is bi-partisanship.

Zanon , Jul 12, 2018 7:34:27 AM | 92
Lol watching Trump asking questions, pretty only fanatical eastern-European journalists pretty much urging war with Russia,
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gb9Snz6ivdY
Mark2 , Jul 12, 2018 7:34:59 AM | 93
The last time they debated a missing 21 trillion defense money at the pentagon, they got a cruse missile through the door! Figure that out! 911
somebody , Jul 12, 2018 8:12:36 AM | 95
It looks like Germany caved on the Iran deal

Helaba is a state bank.

xLemming , Jul 12, 2018 8:27:20 AM | 96
@21 gda

Trump's "reasoning" makes sense in an infantile sort of way, but there's more too it than meets the eye, is there not? Trump doesn't just want to Europe to "pay their fair share" for NATO, which we all know is code for buying more US mil.gear but also to buy their LNG from US too. It's like NATO is some sort of grotesque, evil franchise where the franchisees can only buy goods/services from that single source, even though it's crap & inordinately expensive, and even if you can get it cheaper elsewhere, i.e Russia.

I would love to see those fence-sitting NATO countries tell the US "sure, we'll increase our mil. spending, but after what we saw in Syria, we'll be buying our gear from Russia" (more bang for the buck too!) - that would be game, set & match right there!

LeaNder , Jul 12, 2018 8:33:38 AM | 97
I think you are wrong, Bernard. It will sell well in Europe too. To what extend were the themes of the Brexit campaign based on Germany as the slave master of Europe, to exaggerate slightly? It will also sell well in the US.
NemesisCalling , Jul 12, 2018 8:40:01 AM | 98
@81 pft

Wow! You don't feel that Trump has, by his mere existence and by winning the presidency, been given a platform of which to decry the myriad injustices of globalization and to utter things unspeakable by any Prez in the last fifty years?

I don't think you've been paying attention. The proof is in the pudding but what will be the benefit of raising the spectre of doubt over bad deals like NATO, the current iteration of world trade, and for animosity towards Russia? Evidently, it ain't worth shit to predictable TDS-sufferers that hang around here.

Circe , Jul 12, 2018 9:01:34 AM | 99
So much for those who projected that Trump's demands for an increase in the defense spending of other members and his scolding of Germany would lead to a weaker Nato! Nato members just caved to Trump and are increasing their spending and Trump is touting that Nato is stronger and everyone's doing the kumbaya.

When I say that Trump is establishment on steroids; it's an understatement. Trump is doing the kissy, kissy with Putin because the plan is to pull Russia away from collaborating with China. Zionist oligarchs are in league with Trump and Russia will eventually be under their complete control.

@98 You just don't get it. Trump is fascist establishment. Trump is separating kids from their mothers. Who does that??? He's a sick sadist.

somebody , Jul 12, 2018 9:14:59 AM | 100
Posted by: xLemming | Jul 12, 2018 8:27:20 AM | 96

Europe has an arms industry of their own. I doubt European countries invest their money into US stuff - they buy their own. Most of the money does not go into weapons anyway, but personel and administration. Germany contributes to the maintenance and infrastructure of US bases, but those bases are business, too. This is not Saudi Arabia buying protection. The real news is that Trump has started a trade war negotiating by tantrum.

[Jul 13, 2018] Trump's False Arguments about Russian gas will not sell well in Europe

But Trump has a great point: if you claim that Russia is ready to invade you, why you are buying gas from potential occupier?
Notable quotes:
"... Russia is a near neighbor to Germany. Commerce between relatively close countries is the normal course of events, so what is Trump suggesting, a 1970's style energy embargo on Russia? Depriving Russia the opportunity all trade with her neighbors 'because we said so' is no better than a blockade. ..."
Jul 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Donald Trump, the 'America First' salesman, came to Brussels today to demand more tribute to the empire. He wants Europe to buy more U.S. made weapons and to use U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG). But his arguments are all wrong. The people in Europe are not impressed by them and they will reject his appeals.

His first talk in Brussels was a profoundly wrong bashing of Germany to push it into buying very expensive LNG from U.S. fracking producers. Trump, Putin's puppet according to the 'resistance', used the Russian bogeyman to set the scene:

Well, I have to say, I think it's very sad when Germany makes a massive oil and gas deal with Russia, where you're supposed to be guarding against Russia, and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia.
...
So we're protect you against Russia, but they're paying billions of dollars to Russia, and I think that's very inappropriate. And the former Chancellor of Germany is the head of the pipeline company that's supplying the gas. Ultimately, Germany will have almost 70 percent of their country controlled by Russia with natural gas.

So you tell me, is that appropriate? I mean, I've been complaining about this from the time I got in. It should have never been allowed to have happened. But Germany is totally controlled by Russia , because they will be getting from 60 to 70 percent of their energy from Russia and a new pipeline.
...
Now, if you look at it, Germany is a captive of Russia because they supply. They got rid of their coal plants. They got rid of their nuclear. They're getting so much of the oil and gas from Russia.
...
I think trade is wonderful. I think energy is a whole different story. I think energy is a much different story than normal trade. And you have a country like Poland that won't accept the gas . You take a look at some of the countries -- they won't accept it, because they don't want to be captive to Russia. But Germany, as far as I'm concerned, is captive to Russia, because it's getting so much of its energy from Russia. So we're supposed to protect Germany, but they're getting their energy from Russia. Explain that. And it can't be explained -- you know that.

Trump was talking about the Nordstream II pipeline which will supply Germany and other European countries with natural gas from Russia.


bigger

Nord Stream I has been operating for a while. Nord Stream II is currently being build by private Austrian and German companies.

Cont. reading:

Posted by b at 02:50 PM | Comments (161)

bevin , Jul 11, 2018 3:41:00 PM | 3

It is indeed hard to believe that western european governments would agree to what Christopher Black calls a "US shakedown". Except that they have been doing so since 1949.

It is important to remember that the US Embassy exerts at least as much influence on the government as Parliament does. And that Parliaments are full of agents of the the US empire, in some cases they are actually on the payroll, many more are either US educated, marinated in the imperialist ideology or in the service of corporations which know that the Empire is the final guarantor of their survival and capable of crushing them with ease.

That having been said, things are changing, The imperialists cling to power only by exerting the most extraordinary, and unsustainable, pressure. An example of which is the ludicrously over-wrought campaign against the left in the UK being waged by the Israeli Embassy, with the assistance of the entire MSM.

B's arguments are correct but it will take a mobilised and politically conscious public opinion to impose them on governments full of people who see themselves as Washington's servants and expect to be rewarded one day for being loyal to the US and for betraying their countrymen and, of course, women.

SomeGuy , Jul 11, 2018 3:41:41 PM | 4

The question is if Europe will truly continue to bark and bite at the deep state or if this is all just for show and they'll eventually capitulate. I'm worried that this is nothing more than political theatre. I'm not expecting much from the Europeans. But we'll see.
karlof1 , Jul 11, 2018 6:45:07 PM | 25
Europe buying LNG from the US just makes no sense at all. Aside from the cost, LNG is difficult to transport and work with; the whole idea is just nuts, especially considering the quantities involved. In addition, Russian gas is plentiful and cheap, so to expect Europe not to use it is also nuts.

Could it be that Trump fully understands this and the hidden agenda is to get out of NATO and bring home the troops?

jack Leavitt | Jul 11, 2018 3:53:59 PM | 5

An Act of War against Russia

Russia is a near neighbor to Germany. Commerce between relatively close countries is the normal course of events, so what is Trump suggesting, a 1970's style energy embargo on Russia? Depriving Russia the opportunity all trade with her neighbors 'because we said so' is no better than a blockade.

One of these days, my country is going to get a taste of, 'no soup for you' and we will be screaming like stuck pigs.

Yes, I am obsessed w/Sean Hannity

It's his earnest, self-righteous, mind numbingly idiotic voice, I'm hypnotized. Ollie North was on his show and they were going on about 'Iran's' saber rattling by threatening to close the Straits of Hormuz. Sean rattled off how the EU would wake up and it would be the end of Iran's belligerence.

He neglected to mention that this 'threat' is only coming after our act of war by actively trying to cut off all of Iran's oil exports which is no better than a naval blockade.

Posted by: Christian Chuba | Jul 11, 2018 4:25:37 PM | 6

Much can be gleaned from this NATO Defence Expenditure pdf with special attention given to graphs 5, 6 & 7. Since the dissolution of the USSR, military spending as share of GDP by EU & Canada decreased about 50% as shown in Graph 5. It should also be noted that the demand made by the Outlaw US Empire for EU NATO members to increase their wastage of monies on military equipment began with Obama in 2015, with compliance noted by the graphs in 2016. When Obama gave his orders, very little squawking was heard from EU/Canada governments, although it was quite different from the public. Of course, EU/Canada are caught in a trap of their own design--Russia's quite obviously not the "aggressive" nation that must be defended against using all necessary means as promoted by Russophobic Media Propaganda as they all trade and benefit from commercial interactions; thus, bean counters see NATO as a wastage of vital, finite monies that ought to be spent on productive endeavors advancing the human condition. In national legislatures: "Russia's a growing threat to humanity!!--BUT--No, I'm voting against any increase in military spending as there's no need for it."

European members of NATO don't need such an organization. If they were to join the Russian and Chinese enterprises to unite Eurasia into a common economic zone, then the need for NATO would become indefensible. And their finally becoming independent of the Outlaw US Empire's diktats would provide the impetus required to finally solve the status of Palestine and reaffirmation of the paramountcy of International Law as a greatly expanded Multipolar Order would be established. The United Nations might actually begin to function as designed.

Is Trump trying to push NATO apart by injecting it with a dose of American Chaos? Force EU/Canada to declare their independence from the Outlaw US Empire for numerous reasons? All of which would force the contraction of the Overseas element of the Empire and install an actual defense policy, not one aiming to control the world? Is this Trump's way to force a Neocon retreat?

Meanwhile, China charms Arabia "Under the radar,..., the eighth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF), established in 2004, sailed on in Beijing, hosted by President Xi Jinping." Please note the article's citing of new demands made to Iraq by the Outlaw US Empire, which has their roots in Trump's appraisal of the situation.

karlof1 | Jul 11, 2018 4:36:16 PM | 8

I'd say this is why you do not mix a military alliance with politics. Nor allow federal presidents to command and represent an army. Trump's retarded bullshit aside the USA shouldn't be holding committee meetings with allies without an war. An alliance shouldn't be considered active during peacetime. An ally is a figment of political imagination until military necessity requires it in actuality. Historically and currently a military alliance is treated as a contract for warmongering against an outnumbered enemy while at peace or at war. Which is why honorable people (currently very few) eschew alliances or non-aggression agreements until they become a defensive requirement. If President Trump want's to crash NATO with no survivor's, more power to him.

Posted by: anon | Jul 11, 2018 4:44:41 PM | 9

How could a deal like nordstream happen anyway? Are puppets now allowed to make high-level strategic contracts on their own?

Posted by: radiator | Jul 11, 2018 6:10:23 PM | 18

We should also recognize that to some degree Trump is posturing before meeting Putin.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jul 11, 2018 6:15:11 PM | 19

The bright side of Trump bullying is revealing NATO astronomical hypocrisy as they join psychotic delusions about Russian menace they refuse to put money where their mouth is and shamelessly disclose their vassal status begging for American military support for free.

All that knowing well that there is no threat from Russia that cannot be eliminated simply by good neighborly relation with Russia not by spending $billions on otherwise useless fraudulent US MIC junk.

Is that nor reverse psychology that is in play here, put up or shut up, let me make deal with Russia so you do not have to spend on military rediculous sums to match your delusional rhetorics about Russian threat.

Trump is s gambling man, wants to make money for US MIC on anti Russian lies or make money for US industry on Russia peace and cooperation truths.

Posted by: Kalen | Jul 11, 2018 6:31:42 PM | 20

Love this exchange at breakfast;

"Stoltenberg: [ ] I think that two World Wars and the Cold War taught us that we are stronger together than apart.

Trump: But how can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the person you want protection against or from the group that you want protection?

Stoltenberg: Because we understand that when we stand together, also in dealing with Russia, we are stronger. I think what we have seen is that --

Trump: No, you're just making Russia richer. You're not dealing with Russia. You're making Russia richer."

You'd have to be an idiot not to agree with Trump here.

Posted by: gda | Jul 11, 2018 6:34:15 PM | 21

A notable difference between the way Trump treats the likes of Putin, Xi, and Kim Jong Un - all leaders in their own right - to the way he treats the EU poodles. Zero respect for the poodles.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 11, 2018 6:40:20 PM | 22

"... The big advantage for Germany is that (Nordstream I and Nordstream II] pipelines do not run through any other country ..."

That's because idiot EU / NATO countries like Denmark, who would gladly accept having the pipelines pass through their land and maritime territories (and the transit fees that go with them) if Russian gas were not flowing through them, prefer to support the Nazi whacko Banderites ruling Ukraine who whine that all Russian gas should transit Ukrainian territory in deteriorating pipelines. So Denmark and others refuse to host any part of the pipelines at all.

When Gazprom starts sending all gas through Nordstream I and II and pipelines through the Black Sea, completely bypassing Ukraine, then that country will be close to bankruptcy. Denmark and everyone else in the EU and NATO had better be ready to rescue the Banderites.

Posted by: Jen | Jul 11, 2018 6:43:45 PM | 23

Der Speigel 's fact-checking article of Trump's assertions provides some interesting facts, all in German, which I used Yandex to translate. To counterargue Trump's most pointed assertion that Germany's a captive of Russia, the author provides this rebuke: "Russland ist auf den Abnehmer Deutschland angewiesen. Die Deutschen benötigten die Russen vor allem als Lieferanten für Erdgas." (Russia is dependent on the customer Germany. The Germans needed the Russians mainly as suppliers of natural gas.) Overall: "Für Russland ist Deutschland als Handelspartner wichtiger als andersherum. Von allen deutschen Importen kamen 2017 nur drei Prozent aus Russland - und lediglich zwei Prozent der Exporte gehen in Putins Reich. Für die Russen war die Bundesrepublik mit einem Anteil von 8,6 Prozent ihres gesamten Außenhandels der zweitwichtigste Partner hinter China. Und mehr als zwei Drittel der russischen Exporte nach Deutschland waren Erdgas, Öl und Steinkohle." (For Russia, Germany is more important as a trading partner than elsewhere. Of all German imports, only three percent came from Russia in 2017 - and only two percent of exports go to Putin's Reich. For the Russians, Germany was the second most important Partner behind China, accounting for 8.6 percent of its total foreign trade. And more than two-thirds of Russian exports to Germany were natural gas, Oil and coal.)

Clearly, the total trade turnover between Russia and Germany represents just a small fraction of their totals, and both nations would likely find a replacement if a total embargo was to ensue.

Pft , Jul 11, 2018 7:03:43 PM | 28
The US began pressuring countries to forego nuclear power to support the Petro Dollar in 1978. One big reason they deposed the Shah who was planning to go big with nuclear power with orders for about 20 French and /or German reactors

The TMI accident was likely a false flag run by the newly established FEMA.

If the restrictions on recycling nuclear fuel rods were eliminated there would not be a disposal problem.

Germanys decision to phase out nuclear makes US happy. Germany will only accept Nord Stream 2 if it does not bypass Ukraine. This also makes US happy although they would prefer no Nord Stream 2. As said up thread this is as much about posturing before the Putin meeting and gaining leverage.

A bit O/T but it appears rare metals needed by US military and tech industries are on the list of products subject to tarrifs. China basically has a monopoly on these metals so the only short term purpose is to drive up prices for weapons and tech gadgets which get passed onto the taxpayer/consumer. In effect the tarrifs are just another revenue source to finance tax cuts to corporations and the rich.

Longer term of course the tarrifs make mining some of these metals in the US more feasible, at some cost to the environment , seeing as EPA has been gutted. But for that to happen the tarrifs need to be more or less a permanent thing. Its not like they dont have tarrifs on food and clothes from China. Just expanding the revenue base. The middle class takes the hit in the end, whats left of it anyways

Den Lille Abe , Jul 11, 2018 7:12:41 PM | 29
Trump as a used car salesman does not make much sense either. In fact I don't think he can spell to sense. It telling that he is impervious to the mood in both NATO and the EU.

His middle name should be clueless. He is truly clueless, he will not get an increase in defense expenditure, it would be political self goal (Hello Engeland, no not football, that's more like clueless) for any major political party to demand that, the electorate across Europe are firmly against it. Ohh and who cares about Perfidious Albion, they are not part of Europe anymore, they are some Islands with bad weather in the North Sea.

Seabird sanctuary ?

Europe hopefully comes to its senses and casts of the American yoke, and fashion its own defences, based on ITS needs.

BTW: F the Poles and the Baltics!

dh , Jul 11, 2018 7:37:45 PM | 34
thanks b.. informative and interesting comments from everyone too.. thanks..

trump is a hard guy to read in some respects... he is like a blunt object on the one hand, but he might have some alternative purpose in mind, which would include the meet with trump in 5 days..

if he wants to get rid of nato, i think he is going about it the right way.. i can't see why he would though as that wouldn't benefit the mil complex...i can't see the purpose of nato either way and perhaps it would be best if the poodles let go of having the usa as it's leader in the 21st century.. consider a different approach... i am not sure what canada and other western type poodles can do with all this..

@7 karlof1.. thanks for the pepe link... i just don't see the approach - bullying - taken by the usa to iraq, as working out.. i am listing the demands for others to see firsthand..
"
1. 30% of all the oil in Iraq should be American-controlled – and it's up to the US do what it wants with it.

2. Washington must have full access and control of Iraqi banks.

3. All business and trade with Iran must cease right now.

4. The Hashd al-Shaabi, known as People Mobilization Units (PMUs), instrumental in the victorious fight against Daesh (Islamic State),

must be immediately disbanded."

the usa takes this approach based on weakness, not strength... in fact - if one was to read trumps comments on the surface here - it is the same thing that b has highlighted in this post.. again - the usa is not working from a place of strength.. it is like a wild animal in the last phase of it's life - not good..

Posted by: james | Jul 11, 2018 7:21:18 PM | 30

Lost in the story is fact it is not new supply of natural gas to Europe. It is new pipe lines including two others with the sole intent of bypassing Ukraine. Presently near all Russian natural gas passes through Ukraine on its way to Western Europe and particularly .. Germany. The Ukraine regime has been reaping the benefit of transmission fees and stealing billions of cubic meters of gas, on which they also charged transmission fees. This was the basis behind a recent dispute panel finding in favor of Ukraine and the gas theft. The Americans and willing European Poodles would very much like to keep the gas flowing through Naziville where they would maintain a strangle hold. Gazprom, the principle Russian supplier, more or less said f**K you and formed consortiums to build new pipe lines

Posted by: ger | Jul 11, 2018 7:23:58 PM | 33

@32 So if Germany gets gas through Nordstream they are 'controlled by Russia' but if they get it via Ukraine they aren't. Seems Nordstream would be good insurance against Ukrainian meddling. Cheaper too, a very sound business strategy that Trump should appreciate.

[Jul 11, 2018] Why Trump's Iran Isolation Plan May Backfire by Ron Paul

Notable quotes:
"... President Trump's demand last week that OPEC "reduce prices now" or US military protection of OPEC countries may not continue almost sounded desperate. But if anything, Trump's bluntness is refreshing: if, as he suggests, the purpose of the US military – with a yearly total budget of a trillion dollars – is to protect OPEC members in exchange for "cheap oil," how cheap is that oil? ..."
"... Exactly how traditional 'US Mideast policies' benefit the average American however remains a mystery. Many of these questionable policies are never critically examined in the open – at least not the big ones involving that 'special relationship' with you-know-who. Never. ..."
"... Iran's crime? That nation's alleged 'sponsorship of terrorism' in support of the Palestinian struggle against Zionist occupation, as well as other anti-Zionist resistance movements in Lebanon, Syria and beyond. ..."
"... Yet it is Israel that is foremost occupying power in that region and it is Israel that is the expanding nuclear power. Meanwhile, the Zionist-lead BDS campaign against Iran is nothing less than a full-blown economic war. At the same time, Israel benefits from unconditional and continuous US subsidies. ..."
"... In no small way, Israel sees its mission to dominate the region and expand its borders as a religious duty. Destiny. This puts Israel in a class by itself. And unlike its neighbors (including Iran) Israel has nuclear WMD. ..."
Jul 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

President Trump is finding that his threats and heated rhetoric do not always have the effect he wishes. As his Administration warns countries to stop buying Iranian oil by November or risk punishment by the United States, a nervous international oil market is pushing prices ever higher, threatening the economic prosperity he claims credit for. President Trump's response has been to demand that OPEC boost its oil production by two million barrels per day to calm markets and bring prices down.

Perhaps no one told him that Iran was a founding member of OPEC?

When President Trump Tweeted last week that Saudi Arabia agreed to begin pumping additional oil to make up for the removal of Iran from the international markets, the Saudis very quickly corrected him, saying that while they could increase capacity if needed, no promise to do so had been made.

The truth is, if the rest of the world followed Trump's demands and returned to sanctions and boycotting Iranian oil, some 2.7 million barrels per day currently supplied by Iran would be very difficult to make up elsewhere. Venezuela, which has enormous reserves but is also suffering under, among other problems, crippling US sanctions, is shrinking out of the world oil market.

Iraq has not recovered its oil production capacity since its "liberation" by the US in 2003 and the al-Qaeda and ISIS insurgencies that followed it.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that "a complete shutdown of Iranian sales could push oil prices above $120 a barrel if Saudi Arabia can't keep up." Would that crash the US economy? Perhaps. Is Trump willing to risk it?

President Trump's demand last week that OPEC "reduce prices now" or US military protection of OPEC countries may not continue almost sounded desperate. But if anything, Trump's bluntness is refreshing: if, as he suggests, the purpose of the US military – with a yearly total budget of a trillion dollars – is to protect OPEC members in exchange for "cheap oil," how cheap is that oil?

At the end, China, Russia, and others are not only unlikely to follow Trump's demands that Iran again be isolated: they in fact stand to benefit from Trump's bellicosity toward Iran. One Chinese refiner has just announced that it would cancel orders of US crude and instead turn to Iran for supplies. How many others might follow and what might it mean?

Ironically, President Trump's "get tough" approach to Iran may end up benefitting Washington's named adversaries Russia and China – perhaps even Iran. The wisest approach is unfortunately the least likely at this point: back off from regime change, back off from war-footing, back off from sanctions. Trump may eventually find that the cost of ignoring this advice may be higher than he imagined.

Vidi , July 10, 2018 at 6:05 am GMT

Trump may eventually find that the cost of ignoring [the advice to back off from Iran] may be higher than he imagined.

Perhaps he's counting on not being President by then. Another case of IBGYBG (I'll be gone, you'll be gone), an attitude that seems to be infecting bankers, Wall Street, and the rest of the U.S. élite lately. A cataclysm is coming, and they can see it.

mark green , July 10, 2018 at 7:01 am GMT
Why is Zio-America treating Iran with such hostility?

Iran and Israel are locked in a vicious cold war. Their animosities date back to mythical antiquity. One alleged episode is even celebrated in the Jewish celebration of 'Purim'.

Take a look at the breathtaking insight that Gilad Atzmon has to offer about Purim:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2007/03/03/from-esther-to-aipac/

In any case, Iran and Israel's antipathies for one another shouldn't concern superpower America. Except that it does.

Like American television, Washington happens to be Israeli-held territory. Haven't you heard?

This is why Zio-Washington invariably sides with Israel in all of its disputes, even when 1) Israel is the aggressor, 2) even when Israel is slaughtering powerless civilians who are protesting their subjugation, and 3) even when US interests are not at stake or even in play. And this uniform deference from Washington is thoroughly bipartisan. It is 'business as usual'. It's basically unanimous. Both Parties. No dissent.

Many just call it 'US Mideast policy'. Ironclad. 'Unshakable'. But don't laugh or smirk. Doing so might be seen as 'anti-Semitic'.

Exactly how traditional 'US Mideast policies' benefit the average American however remains a mystery. Many of these questionable policies are never critically examined in the open – at least not the big ones involving that 'special relationship' with you-know-who. Never.

These rigid policies help explain how Crypto-Israelis in America – using Washington as their proxy – have successfully brought the US into Israel's cold war against Iran.

Zionist operatives have not only orchestrated the decades-long freeze of billions of dollars in Iranian assets that belong to the Iranian people, but they have launched a global (and crypto-Zionist) 'Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions' campaign against the relatively peaceful nation of Iran.

Iran's crime? That nation's alleged 'sponsorship of terrorism' in support of the Palestinian struggle against Zionist occupation, as well as other anti-Zionist resistance movements in Lebanon, Syria and beyond.

Yet it is Israel that is foremost occupying power in that region and it is Israel that is the expanding nuclear power. Meanwhile, the Zionist-lead BDS campaign against Iran is nothing less than a full-blown economic war. At the same time, Israel benefits from unconditional and continuous US subsidies.

Politicians who dare question this phenomena – or who wander off the Zionist plantation in Washington – tend to disappear. Rapidly. Journalists, too.

In no small way, Israel sees its mission to dominate the region and expand its borders as a religious duty. Destiny. This puts Israel in a class by itself. And unlike its neighbors (including Iran) Israel has nuclear WMD.

Due to Israeli influence here, Americans are not only actively supporting various Zionist war efforts, but they are also paying billions more for their gasoline since Zionists have managed to prohibit the purchase Iranian oil throughout the West. These economic 'choices' are what Americans unwittingly make – even though the 'average Joe' remains totally unaware of them.

Indeed, even though Iran wants to be a trading partner with America and bring its oil onto the world market, Zio-Washington says 'NO!' US consumers be damned. The Iranian people be damned.

This is not the first time that US economic interests have taken a back seat to Israel's. Please recall the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, Zio-Washington's intervention on behalf of Israel during that conflict, the ensuing Arab oil embargo, and the disastrous recession that followed.

But Zio-America never turned it back on Israel, even though American citizens never had the opportunity to determine their allies or policies one way or another. US support of Israel is mandatory. It's been this way since LBJ.

Today, Israel is maneuvering Zio-Washington to do to Iran what it did to Iraq, Libya and Syria; namely, spread destabilization and impose 'creative destruction' upon all nations that pose any long-term threat to the Zionist State.

[Jul 09, 2018] Why Was Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 Shot Down, by Kees van der Pijl

Notable quotes:
"... Flight MH17, Ukraine and the New Cold War. Prism of Disaster ..."
"... Today, Western imperialism projects its global power, as far as capital is concerned, primarily from the perspective of speculative, financial asset investment. Long gone are the days of class and international compromise forced upon it after World War Two. Instead, the predatory instincts of dominant financial capital require forcibly opening up all states for commodification and exploitation. Given the global spread of product and commodity chains, the continued flow of profits to the West cannot be taken for granted as long as effective state sovereignty elsewhere persists. For the liberal, Anglophone heartland of capital, 'defence' is therefore not merely, or even primarily, a matter of upholding the territorial integrity of the states constituting it, but keeping open the arterial system of the global economy and maintaining the centrality of the West. Regime change is a logical corollary, and from this perspective we must view the coup in Ukraine in February 2014 and all ensuing events, including the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17. ..."
"... Defence Planning Guidance for Fiscal 1994-'99 ..."
"... Self-Determination in the New World Order ..."
"... The Grand Chessboard ..."
"... Russia under Yeltsin had effectively surrendered its sovereignty to transnational capital and the West and as a result was left a social and economic disaster zone. ..."
"... The Anglo-American invasion of Iraq on a false pretext made abundantly clear that the West was abandoning the rules of the post-war international order. 'Democracy promotion' intended to prevent national sovereignty from being mobilised against Western global governance, was now made a priority. The 'Rose Revolution' in Georgia in 2003 and the 'Orange Revolution' a year later in Ukraine, marked the lengths to which the United States was willing to go. ..."
"... To ensure that countries incorporated into the US-NATO sphere of influence, really became neoliberal client states, Pascual and Krasner devised a strategy for preventive intervention with a rulebook listing the measures by which 'market democracy' was to be established. Ukraine was a key target and battleground, because by now, Russia was beginning to contest Western forward pressure. ..."
"... The economic mismanagement and infighting of the different oligarchic clans in Ukraine led to payment arrears and repeated shutdowns of the gas supply from Russia, and Gazprom, the state-owned Russian gas company, early on began to look for ways to bypass the Ukrainian grid. ..."
"... Patriot of Ukraine ..."
"... if the Ukrainians lose control of the narrative ..."
"... If Russia takes Ukraine, Belarus will join the Eurasian Union, and, presto, the Soviet Union (in another name) will be back. ..."
"... Far easier to [hold] the line now, in Ukraine than elsewhere, later ..."
"... weekend of 13 to 14 April, CIA Director John Brennan was in the Ukrainian capital. ..."
"... Anti-Terrorist Operation ..."
"... Parubiy sent out a Twitter message on the 15th that veterans of the Maidan uprising were poised to join the fight. ..."
"... The downing of MH17 on 17 July changed all that. As I said above, who did it and how remains obscure, although there are several pursued by people familiar with local circumstances, or revealed by insiders who know who which military assets were operating that day -- but all that remains inconclusive. The official reports by the Dutch Safety Board and the JIT may be conveniently dismissed although the DSB rightly pointed at the questionable decision by Kiev to allow civilian planes to fly over a war zone. However, irrespective of the actual perpetrator, and whether it was an intentional act or an accident, there is no doubt about the West's intent to exploit the event to the maximum. ..."
"... 'without MH17 it would have been pretty difficult to find sufficient support for the increased sanctions on the Russian economy' ..."
"... Even at the time of the Kiev coup, commentators wondered to what extent shale gas from the US might be used to offset Russian deliveries. LNG facilities planned in Florida and Maryland were projected to serve the European market at Gazprom's expense, a prospect meanwhile far more realistic. ..."
"... The downing of Flight MH17 also definitively sealed the fate of South Stream. Russian banks financing the project, led by Gazprombank, were hit by new sanctions, so that the necessary capital could no longer be raised internationally. ..."
"... Since the F-16 that shot down the Russian jet was part of a pro-NATO unit based at Inçirlik airbase that took part in the coup attempt, the incident over Syria would appear to fit in a framework that may also have decided the fate of Flight MH17: a provocation to throw relations with Russia into disarray, but we don't know for sure. ..."
"... whether managed or violent ..."
"... cover the scenarios from changes of leadership within the current structures, to the emergence of a group ready to pursue structural reform in some sort of accountable dialogue with the Russian population, to regime collapse ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Russia Project Strategy ..."
"... In the current global conjuncture, even the tentative contender coalition combining the Eurasian Union, the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, constitutes an acute danger to a capitalist West in crisis. Whether the United States and NATO would therefore also be willing to take even greater risks than they are doing now is a prospect too frightening to contemplate. However, it must be confronted, or the fate of the 298 people on Flight MH17 may become that of humanity at large. ..."
Jul 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

Four years ago, on 17 July 2014, in the midst of a civil war raging in eastern Ukraine, Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 was destroyed with all 298 passengers and crew. On 25 May last, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) entrusted with the criminal investigation of the downing and composed of the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and paradoxically, given its possible involvement, Ukraine, presented its second progress report. Like the first report in September 2016, it took the form of a press conference, with video animations supporting the investigation's findings. This time there was even less to report; the main conclusion was that elements from the Russian 53rd Buk missile brigade were the culprits, a claim already made by the London-based investigative group Bellingcat two years before. In February 2016 that assertion had still been dismissed as unfit for evidence by the Dutch chief prosecutor on the JIT, Fred Westerbeke, in a letter to victims' relatives. How can it possibly have become the core component of the case for the prosecution two years and two months later?

The JIT press conference was immediately followed by a formal declaration on the part of the Dutch and Australian governments that held Russia responsible. However, JIT member Malaysia dissociated itself from the accusation, whilst Belgium has remained silent. The obviously over-hasty conclusion, on the heels of the alleged Skripal nerve gas incident in Salisbury and the likewise contested Syrian government gas attack on jihadist positions in Douma, all point in the same direction: Putin's Russia must be kept under fire and there is no time to wait for a court verdict.

ORDER IT NOW

In my book Flight MH17, Ukraine and the New Cold War. Prism of Disaster (Manchester University Press), I have refrained from entering the slippery terrain of making claims about who pulled the trigger, intentionally or by accident, in the late afternoon of 17 July, or even which type of weapon was used. For the downing of the Malaysian plane has become part of a propaganda war that was already heating up prior to the catastrophe. Instead the book is about what we do know about the events surrounding it, in the preceding months, weeks, and days, indeed even on the day itself. Subsequent events have only underlined that it is this context that lends meaning to the tragedy.

Refocusing US Supremacy After the Soviet Collapse

Today, Western imperialism projects its global power, as far as capital is concerned, primarily from the perspective of speculative, financial asset investment. Long gone are the days of class and international compromise forced upon it after World War Two. Instead, the predatory instincts of dominant financial capital require forcibly opening up all states for commodification and exploitation. Given the global spread of product and commodity chains, the continued flow of profits to the West cannot be taken for granted as long as effective state sovereignty elsewhere persists. For the liberal, Anglophone heartland of capital, 'defence' is therefore not merely, or even primarily, a matter of upholding the territorial integrity of the states constituting it, but keeping open the arterial system of the global economy and maintaining the centrality of the West. Regime change is a logical corollary, and from this perspective we must view the coup in Ukraine in February 2014 and all ensuing events, including the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17.

Right from the Soviet collapse in 1991, the US global perspective was articulated in several new strategic doctrines. The first and perhaps foundational one is the Wolfowitz Doctrine, named after Paul Wolfowitz, undersecretary of defence in the Bush Sr. administration, who commissioned a Defence Planning Guidance for Fiscal 1994-'99 (DPG) of 1992. It proclaims the United States the world's sole superpower, which must remain ahead of all possible contenders in arms technology and never again accept military parity, as with the USSR during the Cold War. The newly self-confident European Union, too, was obliquely warned that the US alone would handle global policing.

Additional doctrines, specifying on which grounds armed US intervention might be undertaken and justified, added elements such as humanitarian intervention (a Carnegie Endowment report of 1992, Self-Determination in the New World Order ); it was applied in Yugoslavia and again in Libya. Next, the'War on Terror', originally floated at Israeli Likud/US Neocon conferences between 1979 and 1984, was revived after the collapse of the USSR as the 'Clash of Civilizations' by Cold War strategist Samuel Huntington; Afghanistan and Iraq stand as monuments of the application of this doctrine. Finally, Zbigniew Brzezinski's The Grand Chessboard of 1997 specifically dealt with reorganising the former USSR, including Ukraine.

Through the different episodes, NATO was transformed into a global policing structure serving the interests of Atlantic capital. 'Out of area operations', unthinkable in the Yalta epoch, were first tried out against the Bosnian Serbs in the mid-1990s. The enlargement of the alliance into the former Soviet bloc, which began around that time too, was obviously motivated to prevent European departures from US tutelage, hence its bold forward surge. Already in 1994, Ukraine became the first former Soviet republic to join the Partnership for Peace, the newly created waiting room for NATO membership. To quell Russian concerns about the advancing West, the NATO-Russia Founding Act of 1997 laid down that no nuclear weapons and permanent troop deployments would take place in new member states. Yet Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova not long afterwards joined a low-key organisation of former Soviet republics (after the initials, GUAM), another oblique link up with NATO.

Mobilising Georgia and Ukraine against Resurgent Russia

Russia under Yeltsin had effectively surrendered its sovereignty to transnational capital and the West and as a result was left a social and economic disaster zone. Under his successor, Vladimir Putin, the country began to mutate back to a society led by a directive state, assisted by rising oil prices. After the United States unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 and announced a missile defence system deployed in the CzechRepublic, Poland, and Rumania, Russia shifted to a more robust international position. The Anglo-American invasion of Iraq on a false pretext made abundantly clear that the West was abandoning the rules of the post-war international order. 'Democracy promotion' intended to prevent national sovereignty from being mobilised against Western global governance, was now made a priority. The 'Rose Revolution' in Georgia in 2003 and the 'Orange Revolution' a year later in Ukraine, marked the lengths to which the United States was willing to go.

Yet even a colour revolution means little if there is no accompanying make-over of the fundamental state/society relation. Hence, the incoming policy planning director at the US State Department, Stanford professor Stephen Krasner, and Carlos Pascual, former US ambassador in Kiev, developed a comprehensive regime change doctrine in 2004. This would prove a key element in the subsequent Ukraine intervention. To ensure that countries incorporated into the US-NATO sphere of influence, really became neoliberal client states, Pascual and Krasner devised a strategy for preventive intervention with a rulebook listing the measures by which 'market democracy' was to be established. Ukraine was a key target and battleground, because by now, Russia was beginning to contest Western forward pressure.

At the Munich Security Conference in January 2007, Putin reminded his audience of the promises made to Gorbachev in 1991 not to expand the Atlantic alliance and warned that further attempts at enlargement (the Baltic states having been included in 2004) would imply great risks. Yet NATO and the EU were inexorably pressing forward. At the Bucharest NATO summit in April 2008 the Americans made the offer of NATO membership to Georgia and Ukraine, only to have the offer vetoed by Germany and France. Possibly to force the issue, the pro-Western president brought to power by the Rose Revolution in Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, armed and encouraged by the US and Israel, later that year embarked on a military adventure to recapture the breakaway province of South Ossetia. It ended in a complete debacle, as a Russian army stood ready in North Ossetia to deal the invaders a major, if very costly, blow. This, then, was what Richard Sakwa calls, 'the war to stop NATO enlargement'. From now on, every post-Soviet republic tempted to join the Atlantic alliance would have to reckon with Russian protection for groups resisting such integration, irrespective of whether it concerned actual Russians or any other of the almost two hundred nationalities of the former USSR.

The EU-Russian Energy Equation and Ukraine

The gas from Russia that feeds Europe today was discovered back in the 1960s; the Friendship oil pipeline was built in 1964 and the Soyuz, Urengoi and Yamal pipelines followed after West Germany started purchasing Soviet gas. The link-up culminated in 1980 with the contract for a gas pipeline from Urengoi in north Siberia to Bavaria, signed by a heavy-industry consortium headed by Deutsche Bank.

After the collapse of the USSR, Russian gas had to pass through the pipeline grid of independent Ukraine, which in the meantime had become the prey of rival clans of oligarchs. For most of them, gas was the key source of rapid enrichment -- directly, as in the case of subsequent prime minister Yuliya Timoshenko, 'the Gas Princess', or indirectly, by supplying steel pipes for gas transport, as in the case of president Leonid Kuchma's son-in-law, Victor Pinchuk, the 'Pipeline King'. The economic mismanagement and infighting of the different oligarchic clans in Ukraine led to payment arrears and repeated shutdowns of the gas supply from Russia, and Gazprom, the state-owned Russian gas company, early on began to look for ways to bypass the Ukrainian grid.

After Putin had come to power, he disciplined the Russian oligarchs as part of the restoration of state sovereignty. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the energy oligarch and richest of all Russian billionaires at the time, at the time was buying support in the Duma to build a trans-Siberian pipeline to China; whilst negotiating with ExxonMobil and Chevron about US participation in his Yukos concern, which he planned to merge with Sibneft into the world's largest oil company. In 2005 he was convicted to a long prison sentence. Yukos was brought back into the Russian patrimony via a proxy construction involving state-owned Rosneft and Gazprom, as part of broader subordination of the economy to the state.

Gazprom meanwhile began building alliances to avoid future disruption of supplies via Ukraine and secure its European market. In 2005 it agreed with the outgoing government of Gerhard Schröder to build a pipeline across the Baltic directly to Germany, 'Nord Stream', with a consortium of German companies. Schröder was made the chairman of the board of the joint venture, Achimgaz, and two years later, a South Stream pipeline across the Black Sea to Bulgaria was contracted with ENI of Italy. It was to be extended into south-eastern Europe as far as Austria. In this way Gazprom and the Russian state were outmanoeuvring various EU projects for pipelines aimed at by-passing Russia. Indeed it was the EU's plan to use a Nabucco pipeline across Turkey to connect to the Caspian energy reserves that prompted the $40 billion South Stream project. Romano Prodi, prime minister of Italy, who first discussed South Stream with Putin in late 2006, was offered the chairmanship, which he declined, perhaps in the knowledge the project would become highly contested.

The Eurasian connection by now posed a direct threat to the cohesion of the enlarged Atlantic bloc. Besides Nord Stream and South Stream, Gazprom's collaboration with NIOC of Iran and a joint venture with ENI in Libya set all alarm bells ringing in Washington. Already in May 2006, a few months after the gas shutdown to Ukraine, the US Senate unanimously adopted a resolution calling on NATO to protect the energy security of its members and have it develop a diversification strategy away from Russia. Senator Richard Lugar in a much-noted speech prior to the NATO summit in Riga, Latvia, in November 2006, argued in favour of designating the manipulation of the energy supply as a 'weapon' that can activate Article 5 of the NATO treaty (common defence).

In a report to the European Parliament in 2008, the director of the EurasianPolicyCenter of the Hudson Institute in the US recommended that the EU should assist in liberalising and modernising the Ukrainian grid instead of supporting South Stream. Tension in the Black Sea area, her report noted candidly, might serve the purpose of blocking that pipeline altogether. However, after the 2010 election of president Victor Yanukovych, the front man of the powerful eastern and southern oligarchs, the lease of Russia's Crimean naval base at Sebastopol, home of its Black Sea fleet, had been extended to 2042, so the prospects for stirring up unrest there were mitigated by Moscow's enduring naval preponderance.

Regime Change in Kiev

One aspect of the resurgence of a sovereign Russia was the plan for a Eurasian economic union to rebuild relations with former Soviet republics (Ukraine obtained observer status early on). The EU's Eastern Partnership was a direct response. It was offered to former Soviet republics in 2008, in a gesture that signalled that Europe now effectively acted as a subcontractor to the larger anti-Russian design drafted in Washington. Concretely, the EU offered Ukraine and other former Soviet republics an Association Agreement that also included provisions for the country's alignment on NATO security policy, besides a neoliberal make-over in the spirit of the Krasner-Pascual doctrine. The envisaged reforms would be devastating for the country's existing power structure, not least for the Donbass oligarchs whose front man was Yanukovych. Their heavy industry assets would be swept away by EU competition, the country turned into an agricultural supplier, and Russian gas cut off.

Hence, when both the EU and Russia sought to win over Yanukovych to join their respective blocs and Brussels ruled out the triangular arrangement by which the Ukrainian president had hoped to postpone the choice, he could not but step back from signing the EU Association Agreement in November 2013 and accept a Russian counteroffer. By then, 'Europe' had become a code word for an end to oligarchic rapaciousness, in which Yanukovych and his sons had become involved as well. The president's decision triggered mass demonstrations and occupations, which this time included an armed insurrection by Ukrainian ultra-nationalists in the historically anti-Russian west of the country. It created the space for actual fascists to hijack the protests and prepare a coup. By their use of deadly force at the Maidan central square (ascribed by the coup plotters and in the West to the riot police), the Ukrainian ultras demonstrated they were ready to kill their own compatriots to achieve their aims.

To prevent the situation from getting out of hand completely, the foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland flew to Kiev on 20 February 2014. However, whilst they negotiated a deal with Yanukovych and the opposition, the US and other NATO ambassadors met with Andriy Parubiy, the co-founder of the fascist party of Ukraine and former head of its militia, Patriot of Ukraine . Parubiy, today the speaker of the Kiev parliament, was in command of the armed gangs at the Maidan; two days later these took power in the capital, installing a government of Ukrainian nationalist stripe, selected by US diplomats. Parubiy was appointed secretary of the National Security and Defence Council (NSDC), a key post overseeing all military and intelligence operations, which he continued to hold until three weeks after the downing of MH17. With the Russian-Ukrainian half of the country effectively disenfranchised, the coup was responded to by the secession of Crimea and an armed insurrection in the Donbass. Stirrings of revolt in Odessa and Mariupol would be suppressed with deadly violence, in which Parubiy and other far right figures were directly involved.

Confronting the BRICS in Ukraine

From late March onwards the war party in the United States and NATO began to elaborate a strategy that would make Ukraine the testing ground for a trial of strength with Russia and China. The secession of Crimea and its re-incorporation into the Russian Federation was exploited to evoke the spectre of an impending Russian invasion on several fronts. General Philip Breedlove, commander of US Eucom (European Command, one of nine regional US military commands spanning the globe) and NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe (Saceur), coordinated the Western position with General Wesley Clark, a former NATO Saceur at the time of the Yugoslavia wars. Clark was already advising Kiev forces in eastern Ukraine before the Donbass had actually risen in revolt. On 12April he asked Breedlove whether the NATO commander could not arrange a statement blaming Moscow for the violence because ' if the Ukrainians lose control of the narrative , the Russians will see it as an open door'. Clark then elaborated on the general geopolitical situation, giving further insights into why the war party in the US believed that Ukraine was to be 'held' and chosen as a battle ground to confront Russia and China. No time was wasted on market democracy here. Claiming that 'Putin has read US inaction in Georgia and Syria as US "weakness",' Clark went on to explain that

China is watching closely. China will have four aircraft carriers and airspace dominance in the Western Pacific within 5 years, if current trends continue. And if we let Ukraine slide away, it definitely raises the risks of conflict in the Pacific. For, China will ask, would the US then assert itself for Japan, Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, the South China Sea? If Russia takes Ukraine, Belarus will join the Eurasian Union, and, presto, the Soviet Union (in another name) will be back. Neither the Baltics nor the Balkans will easily resist the political disruptions empowered by a resurgent Russia. And what good is a NATO "security guarantee" against internal subversion? And then the US will face a much stronger Russia, a crumbling NATO, and [a] major challenge in the Western Pacific. Far easier to [hold] the line now, in Ukraine than elsewhere, later .

On the weekend of 13 to 14 April, CIA Director John Brennan was in the Ukrainian capital. The Anti-Terrorist Operation (ATO, so called because the use of military force within the country is only warranted under that label) began right after Brennan's visit; Parubiy sent out a Twitter message on the 15th that veterans of the Maidan uprising were poised to join the fight. Since NATO had earlier implored Yanukovych not to use force against (armed) demonstrators, Moscow now asked the alliance to restrain the coup leaders in turn. But according to foreign minister Lavrov, the answer they got was that 'NATO would ask them to use force proportionately'.

In fact even the oligarch, Petro Poroshenko, elected president on 25 May 2014 to provide a veneer of legitimacy to the coup regime, proved unable to restrain the hardliners. On 30 June, following a four-hour NSDC meeting with Parubiy, interior minister Avakov, and others whose armed followers were demonstrating outside, Poroshenko declared that the ceasefire would be lifted and a new offensive launched. Three days later NATO naval manoeuvres in the Black Sea commenced with US participation and with electronic warfare a key component. On the ground, Kiev's forces made rapid progress, apparently drawing a ring around the large rebel city of Donetsk. NATO had its own concerns: an upcoming summit in Wales in September was expected to capitalise on the trope of a 'Russian invasion', vital after the Afghanistan debacle, and dovetailing with the emerging contest with the BRICS bloc.

The BRICS, coined first as a banker's gimmick, were never more than a loose collection of '(re-) emerging economies', but from Washington's perspective, sovereign entities not submitting to neoliberal global governance are unacceptable. So when on 16 July, the BRICS heads of state, hosted by the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff (removed by a rightwing conspiracy in May 2016), signed the statute establishing a New Development Bank, or BRICS bank, as a direct challenge to the US and Western-dominated World Bank and IMF, the US imposed new sanctions on Russia over Ukraine, specifically targeting the energy link with the EU. The creation of an equivalent of the World Bank with a capital of $100 billion with a reserve currency pool of the same size (an equivalent of the IMF), laid the groundwork of a contender pole in the global political economy challenging the West's austerity regime frontally -- or so it seemed at the time.

Still in Brazil before flying back to Moscow, Russian president Putin on the fringes of the football world cup finals also agreed with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to pursue a comprehensive Land for gas deal. Its tentative provisions included normalising the status of Crimea in exchange for a massive economic rehabilitation plan and a gas price rebate for Ukraine. However, a special European Council meeting convened on the 16th could not reach agreement on whether the EU should follow the American lead this time, since countries with export interests to Russia and dependent on its gas, were balking. Instead, the Council stressed the EU's commitment 'to pursue trilateral talks on the conditions of gas supply from the Russian Federation to Ukraine' in order to 'safeguard the security of supply and transit of natural gas through Ukraine.'

The Downing of Flight MH17 and South Stream

The downing of MH17 on 17 July changed all that. As I said above, who did it and how remains obscure, although there are several pursued by people familiar with local circumstances, or revealed by insiders who know who which military assets were operating that day -- but all that remains inconclusive. The official reports by the Dutch Safety Board and the JIT may be conveniently dismissed although the DSB rightly pointed at the questionable decision by Kiev to allow civilian planes to fly over a war zone. However, irrespective of the actual perpetrator, and whether it was an intentional act or an accident, there is no doubt about the West's intent to exploit the event to the maximum.

Former secretary of state and then-presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton in a TV interview on the 18th called for making 'Russia pay the price' once its culpability had been established. Her to-do list for the EU included, one, 'toughen sanctions'; two, find alternatives to Gazprom, and third, 'do more in concert with us to support the Ukrainians'. The 'Land for gas' negotiations were shelved and on the 22nd Europe dropped the remaining hesitations when it underwrote the US sanctions targeting Russia's role as an energy supplier. As Mark Leonard, founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, noted in a newspaper interview a year later, 'without MH17 it would have been pretty difficult to find sufficient support for the increased sanctions on the Russian economy' .

In 2009 the EU had introduced a new energy policy, dubbed a 'Third Energy Package'. It does not permit gas to be transported to the EU by the company producing it, effectively forcing Gazprom to sell even the gas piped through the Ukrainian grid to other companies before it could enter the EU. Nord Stream had still been exempted from EU competition rules, but the projected South Stream was not, never mind that most contracts with Gazprom had been signed before the Third Energy Package came into force. Even at the time of the Kiev coup, commentators wondered to what extent shale gas from the US might be used to offset Russian deliveries. LNG facilities planned in Florida and Maryland were projected to serve the European market at Gazprom's expense, a prospect meanwhile far more realistic.

The Crimean secession and incorporation into the Russian Federation obviously played its own role here. Crimea is a historically Russian region; having been assigned to Ukraine by a whim of Soviet party leader Khrushchev in 1954, it never reconciled itself to being part of an independent Ukraine. After the nationalist coup in late February, the status of the Russian naval base in Sebastopol was in the balance. In 1991, the Black Sea had been a Soviet/bloc inland sea, with one NATO country (Turkey) bordering it. Now there were two more NATO/EU countries and two pro-Western, aspiring NATO members on its littoral. So when one week after the coup, three former Ukrainian Presidents, Kravchuk, Kuchma, and Yushchenko, called on the coup government in Kiev to cancel the agreement under which the lease of Sebastopol, home to the Russian Black Sea fleet, had been extended to 2042, the question of who would be able to project naval power over the Black Sea became acute. The question now was whether Russia would be able to provide cover for a large-scale project such as South Stream, or not.

South Stream itself came into the firing line directly. The European Parliament, which never raised the issue of why the February agreement with Yanukovych the EU brokered had been sidelined by the coup, on 17 April 2014 adopted a non-binding resolution opposing the South Stream gas pipeline and recommended a search for alternative sources of gas. On 28 April, the United States imposed a ban on business transactions within its territory on seven Russian officials, including Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the Russian state oil company, as well as Gennady Timchenko, whose Volga Group controls Stroytransgaz, the company entrusted with building the Bulgarian section of South Stream. Nevertheless the Bulgarian parliament approved South Stream two weeks after the reincorporation of Crimea, circumventing the EU's anti-trust legislation by renaming the pipeline a 'sea-land connection'.The European Commission then instructed Bulgaria to stop work on South Stream and proceeded to cut off tens of millions of much-needed regional development funds, whilst the US ambassador warned Bulgarian companies against working with Timchenko. A final visit of US Senators John McCain and Ron Johnson, in combination with other punitive measures then led to the cancellation in early June. As Eric Draitser commented at the time, 'South Stream has become one of the primary battlegrounds in the economic war that the West is waging against Russia'.

The downing of Flight MH17 also definitively sealed the fate of South Stream. Russian banks financing the project, led by Gazprombank, were hit by new sanctions, so that the necessary capital could no longer be raised internationally. Putin earlier had hinted at moving the transit of gas for the EU to non-European countries; in August, it was reported there was a Plan B in the works to export via Turkey. On 1 December 2014, during a state visit to Ankara, the Russian president announced that in light of Western sanctions and the refusal of construction permits in the EU, South Stream would be replaced by a 'Turkish Stream' pipeline, besides the existing Blue Stream link. However, in November 2015, a Turkish F-16 shot down a Russian fighter jet over northern Syria, throwing relations between Moscow and Ankara into a deep crisis and entailing the cancellation of Turkish Stream. This was only overcome after the July 2016 coup attempt against Erdoğan, in which Russia sided with the Turkish president, possibly even warning him in advance. Since the F-16 that shot down the Russian jet was part of a pro-NATO unit based at Inçirlik airbase that took part in the coup attempt, the incident over Syria would appear to fit in a framework that may also have decided the fate of Flight MH17: a provocation to throw relations with Russia into disarray, but we don't know for sure.

Regime Change in Moscow?

The MH17 disaster occurred in the context of a deep crisis, in which capitalist discipline as imposed from its historic epicentre in the West, has become primarily predatory, relying to an ever-greater extent on violence. Speculative financial operations in combination with the 'War on Terror' have spread economic risk and repression at home, war and regime change abroad. Human survival itself has been turned into a global gamble played out over the head of the affected populations for private gain. The West, led by the effectively bankrupt United States, increasingly relies on force to sabotage the formation of any alternative, something its own social formation can no longer bring forth. Even the most promising, potentially revolutionary IT and media developments coming out of Silicon Valley have been mortgaged by a planetary project of communications surveillance to safeguard US imperial positions.

Back in the 1980s, when it launched the second Cold War, the Reagan administration intended to destabilise the Soviet bloc and bring about regime change in Moscow. This is also the aim of the current, new Cold War. A 2015 Chatham House report, 'The Russian Challenge', discusses this in some detail. Although it concedes that the West cannot have an interest in Russia sliding into complete anarchy, neither should the Putin presidency be protected 'against change, whether managed or violent '. Therefore, 'whether Putin was ousted by an internal coup, by illness or by popular unrest , it would nevertheless be sensible for the West to give further thought to how it might deal with the consequences of regime change in Russia.'

Effective communication with the Russian people and the defence of human values beforehand would be essential for Western credibility Planning for the future ought, lastly, to cover the scenarios from changes of leadership within the current structures, to the emergence of a group ready to pursue structural reform in some sort of accountable dialogue with the Russian population, to regime collapse .

The president of the National Endowment for Democracy, Carl Gershman, in a piece for the Washington Post in October 2016 suggested launching a new, sustained anti-Putin campaign, for which the contract killing of the journalist, Anna Politkovskaya, ten years earlier, might be used as a vignette.

For such a campaign, George Soros' Open Society Foundation can be trusted to have elaborated the 'civil society'/colour revolution scenarios, whilst identifying the groups that might be mobilised for their execution. The OSF plan of action for 2014-17, titled Russia Project Strategy , identifies Russian intellectuals active in Western academic and opinion networks, the Russian gay movement, and others as potential levers for civil society protest against the conservative bloc in power in Moscow. From the OSF documents hacked by the CyberBerkut collective, Alexei Navalny's Anti-Corruption Foundation emerges as the key beneficiary, and discussion portals and liberal media such as Echo of Moscow radio station, RBK news agency, and the newspaper Vedomosti, as the preferred channels to disseminate content.

There is no need to repeat that all this is part a powerful offensive to derail the loose contender bloc around China and Russia, which had constituted itself in the face of Western aggressiveness and crisis. The seizure of power in Ukraine as well as the secession of Crimea and the civil war in the east, which has meanwhile cost the lives of more than 13,000 people and displaced a million, as well as economic warfare against Russia by the US and the EU, have brought the danger of a large European war several steps closer. Whether the actual downing of Flight MH17 was an intentional, premeditated act or an accident, whether it involved a jet attack, an anti-aircraft missile, or both, ultimately cannot be established with certainty. Yet both the NATO war party and the coup regime in Kiev, which on many occasions has demonstrated that its ultra-nationalist and fascist antecedents are very much alive, would have been perfectly capable of such an act and had the means for it. Most importantly, they had the motive. Those in power in Kiev had several times already attempted to draw Moscow into the civil war, directly and through a NATO intervention. If this indeed was their aim, it would also have served the Atlantic bloc's determined and long-standing commitment to force continental Europe into an antagonistic relation with Russia.

In the current global conjuncture, even the tentative contender coalition combining the Eurasian Union, the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, constitutes an acute danger to a capitalist West in crisis. Whether the United States and NATO would therefore also be willing to take even greater risks than they are doing now is a prospect too frightening to contemplate. However, it must be confronted, or the fate of the 298 people on Flight MH17 may become that of humanity at large.

Kees van der Pijl is a Fellow, Centre for Global Political Economy and Professor Emeritus of the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex.

[Jul 09, 2018] Chinese Refiner Halts US Oil Purchases, May Use Iran Oil Instead

Jul 08, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
With the US and China contemplating their next moves in what is now officially a trade war, a parallel narrative is developing in the world of energy where Asian oil refiners are racing to secure crude supplies in anticipation of an escalating trade war between the US and China, even as Trump demands all US allies cut Iran oil exports to zero by November 4 following sanctions aimed at shutting the country out of oil markets.

Concerned that the situation will deteriorate before it gets better, Asian refiners are moving swiftly to secure supplies with South Korea leading the way. Under pressure from Washington, Seoul has already halted all orders of Iranian oil, according to sources, even as it braces from spillover effects from the U.S.-China tit-for-tat on trade.

"As South Korea's economy heavily relies on trade, it won't be good for South Korea if the global economic slowdown happens because of a trade dispute between U.S and China," said Lee Dal-seok, senior researcher at the Korea Energy Economic Institute (KEEI).

Meanwhile, Chinese state media has unleashed a full-on propaganda blitzkrieg , slamming Trump's government as a "gang of hoodlums", with officials vowing retaliation, while the chairman of Sinochem just become China's official leader of the anti-Trump resistance, quoting Michelle Obama's famous slogan " when they go low, we go high. " Standing in the line of fire are U.S. crude supplies to China, which have surged from virtually zero before 2017 to 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in July.

Representing a modest 5% of China's overall crude imports, these supplies are worth $1 billion a month at current prices - a figure that seems certain to fall should a duty be implemented . While U.S. crude oil is not on the list of 545 products the Chinese government has said it would immediately retaliate with in response to American duties, China has threatened a 25% duty on imports of U.S. crude which is listed as a U.S. product that will receive an import tariff at an unspecified later date.

And amid an escalating tit-for-tat war between Trump and Xi in which neither leader is even remotely close to crying uncle, industry participants expect the tariff to be levied, a move which would make future purchases of US oil uneconomical for Chinese importers.

"The Chinese have to do the tit-for-tat, they have to retaliate ," said John Driscoll, director of consultancy JTD Energy, adding that cutting U.S. crude imports was a means "of retaliating (against) the U.S. in a very substantial way".

In an alarming sign for Washington, and a welcome development for Iran, some locals have decided not to see which way the dice may fall.

According to Japan Times , in a harbinger of what's to come, an executive from China's Dongming Petrochemical Group, an independent refiner from Shandong province, said his refinery had already cancelled U.S. crude orders .

"We expect the Chinese government to impose tariffs on (U.S.) crude," the unnamed executive said. " We will switch to either Middle East or West African supplies ," he said.

Driscoll said China may even replace American oil with crude from Iran. " They (Chinese importers) are not going to be intimidated, or swayed by U.S. sanctions."

Oil consultancy FGE agrees, noting that China is unlikely to heed President Trump's warning to stop buying oil from Iran. While as much as 2.3 million barrels a day of crude from the Persian Gulf state at risk per Trump's sanctions, the White House has yet to get responses from China, while India or Turkey have already hinted they would defy Trump and keep importing Iranian oil. Together three three nations make up about 60 percent of the Persian Gulf state's exports.

... ... ...

beemasters -> divingengineer Sun, 07/08/2018 - 19:50 Permalink

"Meanwhile, Chinese state media has unleashed a full-on propaganda blitzkrieg, slamming Trump's government as a "gang of hoodlums""

And how's that a propaganda?
Oh, Trump was just following Bibi's order on Iran issue. Got it.

DingleBarryObummer -> 2banana Sun, 07/08/2018 - 20:11 Permalink

Did you even READ the article?

Yes it looks like he did.

Under pressure from Washington, Seoul has already halted all orders of Iranian oil, according to sources, even as it braces from spillover effects from the U.S.-China tit-for-tat on trade.

[Jul 06, 2018] Saudi amount on infill drilling almost guarantee a sharp decline

Jul 06, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Mushalik x Ignored says: 07/04/2018 at 9:08 am

This is about Trump's tweet to Saudi Arabia

5/7/2018
Saudi Arabia was supposed to pump almost 14 mb/d in 2018
http://crudeoilpeak.info/saudi-arabia-was-supposed-to-pump-almost-14-mbd-in-2018

Guym x Ignored says: 07/04/2018 at 9:38 am
Expecting SA to help supply the World's needs is perhaps going off the deep end. It's their bread and butter for years to come. As years pass, they become more aware that those years are limited. This is not the 1970's, it's 2018. They will supply what is profitable for them, and wasting it early, doesn't sound real smart, does it? If we offered them massive support to develop their nuclear capabilities, it would probably entice them. Or, jump out of the pot, and into the frying pan. Iran May have more capacity for new oil.
eduard flopinescu x Ignored says: 07/04/2018 at 9:58 am
This graph shows that it was supposed to peak in 2018
http://crudeoilpeak.info/wp-content/uploads/Saudi-Arabia_oil-production_1970-2030_IEA-actual.jpg
Kolbeinh x Ignored says: 07/04/2018 at 12:12 pm
If I have understood this correctly. When most of their fields are mature, the option they have is to invest (almost overbuild) in facilities foremost to treat and inject the steadily higher volume of water to keep oil production steady and at the same time overinvest in infill drilling to keep the volume rising. All this to sustain or even increase oil output from mature fields, so that the oil price can stay low. And then there is the extra gain in extra barrels to consider as a result of the investments that adds to ultimate recovery at each field. The gain from extra barrels could make up for a mediocre return on investment in some cases and a questionable one in other cases. Given a relatively low oil price assumption.

Why would they do that? Keeping the facilities as they are for mature fields, accepting only small investments where they are highly profitable, limiting infill drilling to the best locations, let the oil production fall and hope for prices to rise would be a superior solution for them, would it not? Why rush investments in mature oil fields?

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 07/04/2018 at 12:23 pm
When most of their fields are mature, the option they have is to invest (almost overbuild) in facilities foremost to treat and inject the steadily higher volume of water to keep oil production steady and at the same time overinvest in infill drilling to keep the volume rising. All this to sustain or even increase oil output from mature fields,

Well no, it does not usually increase production, it just drastically reduces the decline rate. For instance, a very mature field may have a natural decline rate of 6 to 8% per year. With infill drilling of horizontal wells along the top of the reservoir, they may reduce that decline rate to 2% per year.

so that the oil price can stay low.

No, that's not why they are doing it. They are doing it to maintain their annual production. Some do increase production but with oil from new fields. These new fields, however, will have a much lower URR and will start to decline after only a few years. All the giant and supergiant field have already been discovered.

Kolbeinh x Ignored says: 07/04/2018 at 12:48 pm
Ok, thanks!

The "so that the oil price can stay low" was a well hidden irony from my part. But you have a point, they want to keep their long term customers supplied, not losing face in OPEC and their long term allies happy. They stretch to keep everyone happy.

[Jul 06, 2018] The possibility of Seneca cliff: Russia is certainly being creamed. The massive infill is visible from satellites and they haven't found/opened anything new of size

Jul 06, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

ProPoly 07/04/2018 at 10:28 am

More money now.

Russia is certainly being creamed. The massive infill is visible from satellites and they haven't found/opened anything new of size, yet have outlasted what everyone (including them) calculated would be the start of their decline.

Russia needs the oil revenue badly. But is their ultimate decline going to look like China? Very likely.

Hightrekker 07/04/2018 at 2:20 pm
Only Russia has more resources, a much smaller population, imports little, and is better educated.

Plus (not a given), global warming will ring some benefit. China doesn't have a chance (if one is biologist looking at it).

[Jul 06, 2018] While Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told Platts recently that "maximum sustainable production" was 12 million b/d, industry experts believe Saudi Arabia will struggle to pump more than 1 million b/d of additional output.

Jul 06, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News x Ignored says: 07/05/2018 at 2:42 pm

2018-07-05 (Platts) While Saudi Aramco CEO Amin Nasser told Platts recently that "maximum sustainable production" was 12 million b/d, industry experts believe Saudi Arabia will struggle to pump more than 1 million b/d of additional output.

Platts Analytics says even if Saudi Arabia produces close to 11 million b/d it would be running its system at stress levels.
https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/latest-news/oil/070518-factbox-anatomy-of-saudi-arabias-crude-oil-capabilities ?
OPEC June oil production (Platts) https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DhWBRxDXcAAlaqq.jpg

Guym x Ignored says: 07/05/2018 at 3:18 pm
Yeah, I think that is pretty much what Ron and George have been saying. It is why all these drops in production, and projected production that will not get out of the ground has to cause demand to exceed supply within the next year by a substantial amount. Throw in Iran's sabre rattling over the Homez, and oil prices should be through the roof. That it is not, is mainly complacency built up over the past four years from the inventory overage. As Scarlet O'Hara said, "After all tomorrow is another day".

[Jul 06, 2018] The Aramco IPO may never happen.

Jul 06, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

dclonghorn x Ignored says: 07/05/2018 at 1:27 pm

MSNBC announced that the Aramco IPO may never happen. MSNBC didn't say why, however I suppose those reserves that the Saudis have touted for so long could be very difficult to have verified based on SEC rules. I think that much of the last two years of prep for their IPO has been shopping for a exchange that would allow them to get their stock issued without drastically revising their prior reserve disclosures.

You can also look at this development as an indication that the above discussed "rock" may have already dropped.

[Jul 06, 2018] Iran Threatens To Close the Strait of Hormuz naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... On the Psychology of Military Incompetence ..."
Jul 06, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2018 at 2:13 am

I think that the potential threat of what happens if there is a hot war are more extensive than just having the Strait of Hormuz being closed. If you look at that map you can see that Saudi Arabia is just across the Strait. And as luck would have it, Saudi Arabia's oil fields are mostly in the east which means that they are within close missile range of Iran. Nice oil fields you have there Saudi Arabia. Shame if something happened to it. The United Arab Emirates are also within missile range as well. If both countries think that Patriot batteries will protect them then they must have been disillusioned to find that those Patriots couldn't even defend against wonky Houthi missiles.
Then there is the fact that Iran shares a border with Pakistan and Afghanistan. Remember how the CIA shipped all those anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) and ManPads to the Syrian Jihadists via countries like Saudi Arabia? Be a real shame if captured stock got passed on to the Taliban via all those borders and started targeted US/Coalition forces in Afghanistan. Just these two possibilities show how Iran has a whole range of options to use if it came to a military confrontation. And it should be remembered. If a US/Coalition could not successfully occupy Iraq with a population of 37 million, then how can Iran with a population of 80 million be occupied?
Another factor is that even if a US/Coalition managed to somehow suppress all those missiles the Iranians are using to guard those Straits, you would never be sure that you got them all. Who really want to risk their oil tankers going down those Straits and wanting to risk that bottleneck beig turned into a flaming sea? The trouble there is no way that there would be a quick campaign possible with everybody home by Christmas. This has the potential of still being fought during the 2020 US elections and I do not think that the US establishment wants to risk that one. What they do want is to strangle Iran economically and turn the place into one of grinding poverty but if pushed too far may go the Sampson option.

jCandlish , July 5, 2018 at 3:31 am

Mines.

The straight could be mined, and probably already is.

Colonel Smithers , July 5, 2018 at 4:30 am

Thank you.

Local kids could also be trained to fire rockets across the water. The straits are not straight and cut into Iran, so there's a good vantage point for Iran.

Steve H. , July 5, 2018 at 7:28 am

> probably already is.
>> China is still officially stating that it will not end its Iranian oil imports and operations.

China's investment of billions into the deep port of Gwadar should not be discounted. While China has ceded the ocean surface to the US navy, the wei qi way is to surround and not engage directly. By now the Gulf of Oman should be a sensory organ for information critical to Iran, and passive systems are much harder to detect & destroy.

We're now three years out from Qiao Liang saying China "thinks that Washington will not fight Beijing for the next ten years". China doesn't want the fight (and I mean high explosives, not 'fighting for') yet, but they've been preparing. And let us not forget the rooster tails on the American fleet fleeing the Persian Gulf in October 2015 when Russia launched cruise missiles at Syria. That was three months after the 'One Belt, One Road' speech.

While the Saud's are working out their family disputes they cannot afford to have the petrodollar disabled. But the US is materially capable of weathering energy disruptions better than the EU, which would become even more dependent on Russia. Long term, the petrodollar is gone and climate migrations are coming, so the when of Fortess America could depend on relative and not absolute 'cui bono, ciu malo'.

tldr: the fight is inevitable, there's more than two in the ring, and there's no referee.

rd , July 5, 2018 at 12:04 pm

I doubt if it is mined at this time, but mines would be a logical way to quickly shut the Strait down. A couple of small fast ships dropping mines at night could shut it down very quickly. They could drop mines along the far shore which would force ships towards the Iran side where they would be vulnerable to shore-based anti-ship missiles.

BTW, the standing NATO minesweeping group is three ships (two Lithuanian and one British). Historically minesweeping is one of the roles carried out by other countries that the US is currently working hard to alienate. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standing_NATO_Mine_Countermeasures_Group_1

The US Navy has minesweeping ships stationed in Bahrain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avenger-class_mine_countermeasures_ship

Mine sweeping ships generally are not heavily armored to avoid magnetic and acoustic signatures that can trigger mines. So they can struggle in contested waters and would be very vulnerable to anti-ship missiles.

"Rouhani, considered by European politicians to be a reformist, appears to be showing a hardline streak that is nearer the strategy of the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. "

Everybody becomes a hardliner when faced with an existential threat, which Trump's threats are now creating for Iran.

Antifa , July 5, 2018 at 12:59 pm

There's no need to sink any oil tankers to stop all oil shipping. Those tankers don't sail without full insurance for the cargo, and no maritime insurer will back shipping through the Strait of Hormuz while the Iranians are on the warpath. Hence, no oil tanker.

rd , July 5, 2018 at 2:03 pm

That is why a few mines would be very effective. All oil shipping would cease immediately. Because mines can be redeployed very easily, including by air or fishing boats, insurers would probably not be assuaged by naval assurances that mines have been swept.

Lambert Strether , July 5, 2018 at 3:31 pm

"What's mined is minded, and what's yours is negotiable."

Bill Smith , July 5, 2018 at 5:22 pm

In the 1980's when the Iranians mined the Straits the tankers still moved. What was the insurance deal then? Did it the US pick it up for that part of the trip?

Redlife 2017 , July 5, 2018 at 4:11 am

"If a US/Coalition could not successfully occupy Iraq with a population of 37 million, then how can Iran with a population of 80 million be occupied?"

Iran is also mostly Persian. Yes, there are Arabs, Armenians, Baluchis, etc., but the vast majority are Persian and are proud to be Persian. Unlike Iraq, where you have a country with 3 groups you can play off each other.

I visited Iran over 5 years ago and was able to speak to some regular Iranians (English is not uncommon amongst men and women). They will fight to the last man, woman, and child if anyone came into their country. And that's what the secular ones who hate their government say.

Every town has lamppost flags showing the pictures of all the young men who died in the Iran-Iraq War. It was humbling to see the generational devastation wrought on that country. Even the youth view that war as a world war, since people from over 25 countries were found to be fighting on the Iraq side ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Iraq_War – Remember the Soviet Union was ALSO on Iraq's side!). They faced destruction and survived. They view themselves as an ancient, sophisticated people as well as the greatest survivors in the world (all with good reason as they are an amazing people with a rubbish government).

I do not see this ending well if the US thinks they can put the Iranians into a corner and get compliance. It is an amazingly ahistorical understanding of the geopolitics of Iran. These are the people we should be allying with not Saudi Arabia. But this is the same group who think blundering into Iraq or Syria was a good idea, so I really can't be surprised.

Colonel Smithers , July 5, 2018 at 4:27 am

Thank you, Kev.

Just to add that the people living above the main Saudi oil fields, Eastern Province, are mainly Shiites. Shiites are also to be found in the south along the ill defined border with Yemen. Both communities are disaffected and have been for decades, although the BBC, which advertises its "unparalled global expertise" (sic) between news bulletins and other programmes, reckons the Arab Spring caused the restiveness in Saudi Arabia.

This said, the Saudis and their Pakistani poodles can foment (Sunni) Arab and Baluch disorder in Khuzestan and Sistan / Iranian Baluchistan.

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2018 at 4:51 am

Oh my. I forgot all about the Shiites of the Eastern Provinces. Thanks for correcting that omission.

ex-PFC Chuck , July 5, 2018 at 7:53 am

And Bahrain is also predominantly Shiite, although ruthlessly ruled by Sunnis. And they're restive Shiites at that.

Clive , July 5, 2018 at 7:27 am

I always wonder to myself when, on the BBC News Channel, they pan across the alleged newsroom in New Broadcasting House and you see all those desks -- rows upon rows of them -- where people are sat, or, occasionally, get up and have a wander around, what the heck are they doing there? It can't be producing news reports because you see the same half a dozen so-called news "stories" stripped endlessly across the schedule throughout the day.

Every so often we get "business" news, which is someone from a spread betting company piffling on about some rot or other then "a look at the markets", not, unfortunately, a view of Covenant Garden or something, that would be more interesting, but rather some mysterious figures from world indices and forex rates splayed across the screen like some inscrutable hieroglyphs.

Then a bit of sport, with a dash of added jingoism.

Finally, some rally round the flag update on "the forces" with some top brass on the poop deck of an aircraft carrier looking for an F35 ("F35 coming real soon"). Maybe Sophie Rayworth in a tank.

Or alternatively it's Jenny Hill from Berlin with something about sausages and Merkel with stock footage of people drinking beer from unfeasibly large glasses wraps it all up apart from a sky diving granny then the weather.

Is it some kind of comedy, I ask at this point ?

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2018 at 8:08 am

It could be worse. We all could work in one of these places. It would not matter how great a story you found, it would all have to get through the editors who report directly to their owners like with the Murdoch press. The stuff you talk about is just the stuff that gets the editorial nod i.e. pure pap.
Some of the stuff that I have seen on Australian TV, however, is nothing less than out and out propaganda. I watch some of this stuff and I compare it with what I read on this site or what a commentator chips in with and I wonder what these newsreaders actually are thinking as they read some of these stories. Probably their steady pay packets.

Clive , July 5, 2018 at 8:20 am

I briefly watched ABC a couple of months ago. I thought I'd tuned into The War Channel. How on earth did that happen?

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2018 at 8:58 am

I wish to god I knew. I have seen this creeping in the past decade or more. I suspect that a lot of bad practices are imported from overseas. There are international conferences for conservative political parties so you would have American Republicans, British Conservatives, Australian Coalition, etc. all mixing together and swapping idea and techniques. They even work together when there is an election in their country.
Just the other day I heard one Coalition member describe another as a "patriot" which you NEVER hear in Oz. Kinda like a Republican describing another Republican as a good Communist. You just never hear it. We even have an ex-Prime Minister that sounds like he could be a good buddy to Mark Rubio running around trying to blow up his own party (currently in power) saying that we should build as many coal power stations as possible because climate change is not real.
Historically our governments have been ruled by pragmatism and past US governments have labelled us as "socialist" due to adopting such things as single-payer health. The past few years I am noting more and more ideologues going into politics who want to drag the country into their way of thinking whether it is to pick fights with China (our major trade partner) or send the Australian military to the ends of the earth as if they were Mercenaries-r-us. The times they are a changing.

ambrit , July 5, 2018 at 10:48 am

It all reminds me of C S Lewis' description of H -- as a giant bureaucracy. "The Screwtape Letters" were written at the end of WW-2 and still come across as 'fresh.'

upstater , July 5, 2018 at 9:41 am

Supposedly the KSA funded development of the Pakistani bomb. There probably is some agreement to hand some over (if it hasn't already been done) for "existential threats" This could turn very bad very fast.

PlutoniumKun , July 5, 2018 at 5:02 am

Iran has lots of options. Their Navy wouldn't last very long in a hot war but they have lots of asymetric options. They have reverse engineered Russian torpedoes and these could be launched from land or from mini-subs in shallow waters (where they are far harder to detect), making life very difficult for opponents, let alone tankers. They can strike the UAE and much of Saudi Arabia using a wide variety of ballistic missiles. To prevent this, the US would have to strike Iranian territory, and this would cause a massive escalation. In almost any scenario, the Straits would be shut down for many months, and this would be catastrophic for the world economy. Asia would come off worse as they are most dependent on LNG and oil from that region.

As you say, the great 'unsaid' is the Taliban. If Iran decided it was in their interest to supply them with a few dozen trained operators with a few thousand anti-tank missiles and manpads, then its goodbye Kabul.

Felix_47 , July 5, 2018 at 11:02 am

The Iranians hate the Taliban and Al Quaeda and ISIS a lot more than we do since we are on Saudi Arabia's side. They also seem to follow their principles. Don't forget our allies and proxies in Syria are the headcutters and madmen ..all Sunnis ..although our government does not want to admit it. They would be a lot smarter to trigger a Shiite uprising in Saudi Arabia and shut the country down. The Shiites in Saudi are downtrodden and abused.

Synoia , July 5, 2018 at 12:20 pm

One tanker sunk would eliminate the carriage of oil.

The maritime insurers would not insure the tankers in a war zone.

I believe the insurance term is "Force Majeure"

Bill Smith , July 5, 2018 at 5:42 pm

What is the pipeline capacity to get around the straits? Much there?

Synoia , July 5, 2018 at 9:18 pm

What pipeline? There are pipeline from Iraq to the Mediterranean coast. I don't believe there are any from Saudi Arabia to the Mediterranean.

One has to remember:

Mechanical Engineers build weapons
Civil Engineers build Targets

To escalate a carrier sinking to nuclear war is, I believe a lose/lose proposition. Let say the Iranians sunk a carrier and the US Nuked Tehran.

The Iranians would not be in a forgiving mood at that point, and it would do little to remove the somewhat irritated Iranians along the northern side of the Persian Gulf. The irritated Iranians would initiate incidents over the impact of irradiated Iranians.

The US could nuke the Iranian Coast along the Persian Gulf, but, the gulf is not wide, and the result would be poor prospects for the US allies on the South side of the Gulf. In addition one does not know if nuking Shea would provoke a Sunni backlash against "the infidels, the Christian US."

One could argue that Christians and Nukes cannot be mentioned in the same sentence.

Ape , July 5, 2018 at 6:02 am

If you want to successfully occupy a society, they must believe you are willing and capable of genocide.

JIm Thomson , July 5, 2018 at 11:25 am

The Prologue of Robert Baer's "Sleeping With the Devil" outlines a potential scenario of a Shiite attack on the eastern Saudi oil fields. The sub-title is The Doomsday Scenario.
The book is about the US-Saudi relationship by a retired CIA officer. A very good read and part of trying to understand this entire mess.

TimmyB , July 5, 2018 at 3:12 pm

Exactly right. Logic dictates that if Iran is attacked, Iranian missiles will soon thereafter attempt to destroy all of the oil producing capacity selling to Europe, Japan and the US within range of its missiles. This means ships, oil fields, pipeline, ect. Oil prices would skyrocket, plunging the US, Japan and Europe into a deep economic downturn.

Why people ignore the outcome you provided is beyond me. If I were Iran, I'd do the same if Israel attacked too.

Bill Smith , July 5, 2018 at 5:56 pm

Your guess is that nobody will attack the Iranians after they attack the shipping to close the straits?

In the 1987 Iran attacked about 91 ships in the Gulf. The oil still flowed. On April 18, 1988 the US attacked and severely damaged a number of Iranian ships and bases. After that things started winding down. Then on July 3, 1988 the US shot down that Iranian airliner. Then things really quieted down.

What are the differences now? Iran: ballistic missiles and subs?

kimyo , July 5, 2018 at 3:45 am

which general should be put in charge of the u.s. military response to iran's threat?

the one who won the war in afghanistan? iraq? vietnam? syria?

surely we have somebody who is up to the task? a 'best of the best', 'with honors' kinda guy?

Antifa , July 5, 2018 at 8:17 am

There's Lt. General Riper, who played the Iranian side in the 2002 Millennium Challenge war games, "killing" 20,000 Navy personnel and "sinking" 16 American warships on the first day, so he knows better than to even start such a bottlenecked battle.

There's always General Farnsworth, the great grandson of Colonel Armstrong Custer. Farnsworth has worked for two decades in the Purchasing & Planning wing of the Pentagon -- three levels below daylight -- but his confidence in an immediate American victory Over There is indubitable.

Colonel Smithers , July 5, 2018 at 10:07 am

Thank you.

Custer's spawn? Super!

In similar vein, MI5's Eliza Manningham Buller is a descendant of Redvers Buller, British commander in the second Boer War, but much more of a realist and moderate.

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2018 at 10:48 am

Redvers Buller? Seriously? I have read a lot about his role in the Zulu War of 1879. Intriguing character being hard-fighting and hard-drinking and yet refused to wear his 1860 China medal on the grounds that it was an unnecessary war. And a descendant of his is head of MI5?

blennylips , July 5, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Here's a little character sketch of Redvers Buller, from " On the Psychology of Military Incompetence ", by Norman Dixon:

The leading character was the commander-in-chief, General Sir Redvers Buller. According to a contemporary description there could be no finer choice for our South African adventure: 'There is no stronger commander in the British Army than this remote, almost grimly resolute, completely independent, utterly fearless, steadfast and vigorous man. Big-boned, square-jawed, strong-minded, strong-headed Smartness sagacity administrative capacity He was born to be a soldier of the very best English type, needless to say the best type of all.
Unfortunately this assessment was at variance with the facts in all but two particulars. Firstly, he was indeed big. Secondly, though sadly lacking in moral courage, he was undoubtedly brave when it came to physical danger. In this respect, as in many others, he was not unlike Raglan of the Crimean War, and indeed some other commanders of subsequent years.
Of Sir 'Reverse' Buller, as he came to be known by his troops, Rayne Kruger writes: 'At the risk of marring [the] contemporary description it should be mentioned that his big bones were particularly well covered, especially in the region of the stomach, and that his square jaw was not especially apparent above a double chin. He had entered the army with no disadvantage, his mother being a Howard and niece of the Duke of Norfolk, and he was very wealthy, which was fortunate in view of his preference for a diet of ample good food and champagne.

Such examples of the Peter Principle, wherein people are raised to their own level of inefficiency, was never better illustrated than in the case of Sir Redvers Buller, who has been described as 'a superb major, a mediocre colonel and an abysmal general'. In this case, high-level military incompetence must be laid at the door of heroic leadership, for this was the quality which eventually put him where he could do the most damage to his own side.

The Rev Kev , July 5, 2018 at 9:07 am

I think that we found our best of the best-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXRi28W-ENY

Synoia , July 5, 2018 at 9:22 pm

Eggzactly

Expat , July 5, 2018 at 5:38 am

The US response will be that this unprovoked aggression is an act of war, etc. This ignores our own unprovoked act of aggression, the embargo.
In case any has forgotten, those dastardly Imperialist Japanese launched an "unprovoked" attack on Pearl Harbor because the US put Japan under an embargo.
Embargoes themselves are not acts of war, but blockades are. But this is all technical blather. The US is attempting to strangle Iran. Iran will attempt to strangle the Gulf Arabs and the US. If Iran starts firing missiles or blockading the straits, the US will attack Iran. Iran will in turn launch attacks on the Gulf states. This could drive oil over $200, perhaps higher.
If Iran were clever, they would institute some sort of quarantine or inspection in their territorial waters. Indeed, they should claim jurisdiction over the entire strait in the interest of international security (they could certainly find some US document somewhere and just change the names). Then they could stop every ship going in and out and spend a week or so inspecting each one for contraband, disease, etc. This would not be an act of war but would certainly provoke the US into striking first anyway.

vlade , July 5, 2018 at 6:38 am

Iran has already extended its territorial waters to 12 miles, as did Oman. Given that the strait is 29 miles at the narrowest, and that to deal with the amount of shipping, pretty much all of it passes through either Omani or Iranian territorial waters. Technically, Iran/Oman has right to stop any non "innocent" (read unarmed) shipping trough it territorial waters. Not sure what is Omani relationship with the US/Saudis at the moment, wasn't paying much attention to the Gulf.

Colonel Smithers , July 5, 2018 at 10:04 am

Thank you, Vlade.

The Omanis would stay out.

The variation of Islam practiced there is very different to Saudi Wahhabism.

Also, many foreigners there, not just Muslims, have Omani nationality.

Bill Smith , July 5, 2018 at 7:48 pm

Sounds like there are 4 miles in the center? The marked shipping lanes are all on the Oman side of the half way point.

JohnnySacks , July 5, 2018 at 9:35 am

Once the US decides to strike first, we're going to be on our own. The Saudis will be completely useless as they always were, understandably not wanting to be cannon fodder for US interests. And with most of Europe and Asia relying on gulf oil, our 'coalition of the willing' is going to be a bit shy of members.
But $200 a barrel and the US a solid producer? Seems to be some win-win money to be made for both Raytheon and Exxon-Mobil.

Felix_47 , July 5, 2018 at 11:04 am

No Saudi just like no rich American will give his life for his country .in the military. Life is just too good for them .why fight in the desert when you can cool it at a cafe in Munich ..why are all the Syrian men of fighting age in Munich and Hamburg? They don't want to fight for their country.

sierra7 , July 5, 2018 at 5:32 pm

Isn't that what the Kuwaiti leaders did during the "First Persian Gulf War"? They fled to Monaco .

EoinW , July 5, 2018 at 7:45 am

Considering the restraint Iran has shown regarding Israeli attacks in Syria, it's safe to assume they want to avoid war at all cost. Don't expect any acts of aggression from them. Talk of closing the strait is trying to see if there is any spark of independence left in Europe's political elite. Unfortunately the Europeans only care about money – what they get personally from the US to run their countries and what their corporations get from doing business with America. There just isn't enough business between Iran and Europe to offset that. Now the more unreasonable Washington becomes the more uncomfortable its allies become, however they will still hold their noses and answer the call to duty. I'm afraid Iran's courting Europe will produce little to help them. Luckily China and Russia, even Turkey and India, are far more important.

The nice thing for Iran's hardliners – assuming the MSM narrative that they are nasty terrorists always looking to cause trouble – is that they don't need to take aggressive action to start a war. They've got America/Israel and that's the cause of every war in the 21st century. That pairing will decide if and when there is to be a war. Russia and China might have the ability to provoke caution but Iran doesn't.

Do not expect any actions from the Iranians to provoke a war. It's a war they cannot win and they know it. it's also a war they can't lose but the price they could pay by surviving might be really horrific. I'm not sure they'd close the strait even in a shooting war because that would risk further escalation. The moment America starts bombing Iran the law of diminishing return kicks in. The US will be looking for any excuse to go nuclear. Therefore I doubt Iranian resistance will be more than defensive. Hopefully Russia is providing them with air defences to be able to shoot down some US planes. Just lay low and ride out the storm. That's been the philosophy of US/Israeli opponents in the Middle East this decade. It's why the Russians take so much crap and keep turning the other cheek. They understand that either they lose such a war or, if they are winning they risk the US going nuclear. Iran can't win a war with America. Iran, however, can inflict unacceptable casualties but then they run the same risk of Washington going nuclear in retaliation. In Asian capitals you have rational players who understand that a nuclear war must be avoided if possible. Thus they avoid any aggressive actions which they fear could lead to such a war. The problem humanity has is that we're not sure if there are any rational players in Washington or Tel Aviv.

Kilgore Trout , July 5, 2018 at 9:53 am

"The problem humanity has is that we're not sure if there are any rational players in Washington or Tel Aviv."
+1
Given our belief in being an "exceptional nation" hasn't this been humanity's problem since the end of WW2?

Synoia , July 5, 2018 at 9:23 pm

hasn't this been humanity's problem since the end of WW2?

No. Ask the Indians.

Ignacio , July 5, 2018 at 8:01 am

Will the sanctions pull Iran enough to such an escalation? Would other countries (apart from Turkey) thing that this is troubling enough to risk US sanctions and disobey? There has been an escalation in language between the UE and US regarding Iran sanctions but it is still too soon to know what will be the EU position. We migth know after tomorrow's meeting in Vienna. I don't know what could happen but be sure the US is running out of "natural allies" by stepping up too much it's support for Saudi Arab. Trump is inaugurating a new era and it doesn't look pretty.

Tom Stone , July 5, 2018 at 9:20 am

Always bet on stupid.

Edward , July 5, 2018 at 9:38 am

Iran is now working with Russia. I wonder what discussions are occurring between these countries on this subject?

Bobby Gladd , July 5, 2018 at 12:22 pm

I have a relation who is a Marine Corps Major and Osprey pilot. His take on a serious major military conflict: "We are SO not ready."

blennylips , July 5, 2018 at 4:17 pm

Snafu agrees, in spades:

The Army might be in trouble but the Marine Corps WILL BE IN A HURT LOCKER FROM HELL if its ever called on to face Russian forces if they follow thru with published planning.

https://www.snafu-solomon.com/2018/07/dr-phillip-karber-on-russian-way-of-war.html

Bill Smith , July 5, 2018 at 7:55 pm

Lots of hype there – The Russians had a plan to invade the Ukraine! Shocking! Only 1 plan?

[Jul 06, 2018] Trump's Iran Gambit Won't Pay Off by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Notable quotes:
"... Offshore Technology ..."
"... * Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich ..."
Mar 07, 2018 | www.opednews.com
By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

It is as clear as day that President Trump is obsessed with regime change in Iran. What is not made clear is how much his gambit is damaging to Americans and American interests.

Without cause or justification, Mr. Trump pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), striking a hard blow to America's European allies – and its own credibility. Moreover, he threatened European countries with secondary sanctions should they continue to trade with Iran.

To top it all, in his latest move, he has called for all Iranian oil exports to be cut off by November. Or in practical terms, he is imposing an economic blockade on Iran. This is a similar scenario that was played out by the British in 1951 against Iran and Dr. Mossadegh – who was later overthrown in the 1953 British-US coup. But today, the IR of Iran is not the Iran of 1953, and the brunt of American demands and actions will not be borne by Iran alone.

Demanding that no country purchase oil from Iran is in fact an economic blockade. It is an illegitimate use of power to force a sovereign nation to surrender. It must be made clear however, that it is not just Iran that is the target here. The Trump administration's demands arean offensiveexercise of extraterritorial authority with no regard for sovereign equality between states. All states involved in trade with Iran will either have to cower to his demands or be punished.

But there is more than state sovereignty and indignation that is involved. These actions will have a dire effect on the economy of allies, and they will hit Americans in the wallet – hard. If Mr. Trump is giving a November deadline, he hopes to postpone the impact this will have on the November elections. He wants total rule over America before totally bankrupting it.

To fully appreciate how Mr. Trump intends to make 'America great again' where his policy regarding Iranian oil is concerned, one must take a look at some numbers and empirical evidence.

The oil strikes leading up to the toppling of Iran's Shah were felt around the world. During the 1978-79 revolution, Iranian oil production dropped 3.8 million barrels per day for 3 months. Although outside production increased by 1.8 million barrels to make up for the loss, the net loss to the world was 150 million barrels of oil. However, the compounding results of the production loss were significant around the globe.

Many Americans may recall the lines at the fuel pumps, but that was just what met the eyes. The increase in oil prices impacted farming, production, transportation of goods and services, and so on. At that time, China, currently the second biggest oil consumer behind America, was a net exporter of oil. The loss to U.S. economy was estimated at many billions of dollars in 1979 and 1980 (Deese and Nye 308-309) [i] .

Read also: When Netanyahu slept at the Kushners - media tales of Trump's Jewish confidants

More recent studies show that Iranian oil has a major impact on the U.S. economy even though America does not import a single barrel of oil from Iran. In 2008, economists Dean DeRosa and Gary Hufbauer presented a paper in which they claimed that if the United States lifted sanctions on Iran, the world price of oil could fall by 10 percent which would translate into an annual savings of $38-76 billion for the United States [ii] .

But sanctions alone were not responsible for oil price hikes in 2008 and beyond. In July 2008, oil had reached a peak of $142.05/bbl (see chart HERE ). This price hike came on the heels of some important events. In May, President Bush sent a ' warning message' to Iran on the same day that additional aircraft carriers with guided-missile destroyers were sent to the Persian Gulf.

In June of the same year, the New York Times reported that: "Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran's nuclear facilities."

In July, then presidential candidate Barak Obama asked for tougher sanctions to be imposed on Iran.

It was not until September 2008 when President Bush declined to help Israel attack Iran that oil prices started to relax. They hit a low of just over $53 /bbl in December 2008.

Oil prices continued to rise again under Obama's sanctions and reached well past the $100 mark. The prices climbed down once again during the JCPOA negotiations reaching an all time low of $30.24/bbl in January 2016 – after the signing of the JCPOA.

Today, oil prices stands at $74.30/bbl. A fact not lost on any American who has filled up his/her gas tank lately– and paid for groceries. The deadline for Iran oil cut off is yet months away, but the impact has started.

Given that other countries may step in to compensate for some of the Iranian oil loss, other factors which effect prices must be considered – the most important of which is the security of the Strait of Hormuz. As mentioned previously, the British oil blockade scenario of 1951 will have far different consequences in 2018 should America impose an economic blockade or oil embargo.

Read also: 'Infamous liar': Iran blasts Netanyahu for claims Tehran had nuclear weapons program

In the 1950's, Iran did not have the military might to retaliate to the oil embargo and the naval blockade was aimed at crushing the economy in order to bring about regime change. This economic blockade, should it be allowed to happen, would crush the economy of much of the world.

As it stands, 35% of seaborne oil goes through the Strait of Hormuz 85% of which goes to Asian markets. As the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has stated: "The blockage of the Strait of Hormuz, even temporarily, could lead to substantial increases in total energy costs."Today, Iran not only has the military might to block the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation, but it also has the legal right.

The 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) stipulates that vessels can exercise the right of innocent passage, and coastal states should not impede their passage. Under UNCLOS framework of international law, a coastal state can block ships from entering its territorial waters if the passage of the ships harms "peace, good order or security" of said state, as the passage of such ships would no longer be deemed "innocent" [iii] . Saudi Arabia and the UAE export oil through Iran's territorial waters. Should they help America choke Iran's economy, their passage is not deemed 'innocent'.

Even if Iran simply chooses to merely delay the passage of tankers by exercising its right to inspect every hostile oil tanker that passes through the Strait of Hormuz, such inspections and subsequent delays would contribute to higher oil prices.

No doubt, the Iranian navy is no match for the formidable US navy. However, the shallow, narrow waters of Hormuz do not allow for the maneuvering of US battleships. The very presence of warships can lead to incidents. At its narrowest point, the Strait of Hormuz is 21 miles wide – hardly wide enough for a naval battle to take place and allow the passage of oil tankers at the same time. In recent years (2012), the USS Porter, a US navy destroyer, collided with an oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz. The collision left a big whole in the navy destroyer.

American officials and oil companies have attempted to assuage the concern of over oil shortages by stating that America is one of the top oil producers. Some fact checking is in order.

According to EIA's latest available data, America's total exports in 2018 (thousands of barrels/month) was 7,730 bblin April. The same governmental body stated that total imports for the same month was 310,295. According to the EIA: "In 2017, the United States producedabout 15.4 million barrels of petroleum per day (MMb/d), and it consumed about 19.9 MMb/d. Imports from other countries help to supply demand for petroleum." (Click HERE for explanation of imports and exports).

Read also: After Greece and Cyprus, they prepare to attack Italy

These facts do not stop the spread of such news. As recently as June 4, 2018, Offshore Technology announced America is marching toward being the biggest oil producer. Important factors to bear in mind are that 1. America is the largest oil consumer and continues to have a deficit, and 2. Shale oil production is up thanks to higher oil prices.

While environmentalists objected to shale oil production, oil companies halted the extraction of oil when prices dropped. Anything above $50/bbl makes shale oil production feasible – which also makes it more expensive of the consumer. Although Mr. Trump and his administration have no regard for the environment, many states and countries have banned shale oil production (see LINK for list as of December 2017).

So the American people (and much of the rest of the world) is left with a stark choice. Either cave in to Mr. Trump's demands, accept loss of business, pay much higher oil prices at the pump and for consumer goods, prepare for a potential war, and sacrifice the environment – especially water, and mortgage the future of the earth more than we already have, or, don't heed Trump's demands – even if means a short term loss.

Either way, messing with Iran's oil exports is not an alternative that the world can afford. It may well be that Mr. Trumpis beholden to Mr. Netanyahu. He may well feel comfortable enough to subject the American people – and their allies to financial hardship; but the question is will Americans and the rest of the world sacrifice themselves at the Trump-Netanyahu altar?

* Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy.

[Jul 03, 2018] The squealing and consternation coming from the UK indicates that the empire changed course as for neoliberal globalization, and the UK is left out

The USA elite might now want abandoning of GATT and even WTO as it does not like the results. That single fraud on the west has had catastrophically perverse consequences for the coterie of killer's future and all because the designers of GATT had never thought outside the square of economics and failed utterly to grasp the gift of scientific and manufacturing politics.
Notable quotes:
"... The US still depends heavily on oil importation -- it is not "independent" in any manner whatsoever. Here's the most current data while this chart shows importation history since 1980. ..."
"... the only time a biological or economic entity can become energy independent is upon its death when it no longer requires energy for its existence. ..."
"... A big part of the US move into the middle east post WWII was that they needed a strategic reserve for time of war and also they could see US consumption growing far larger than US production. ..."
"... The USA of WAR may have oil independence, but it is temporary. The race is on for release from oil dependency and China intends to win in my view. It is setting ambitious targets to move to electric vehicles and mass transit. That will give it a technology dominance, and perhaps a resource dominance in the EV sphere. We are in the decade of major corporate struggles and defensive maneuverings around China investments in key EV sectors. ..."
"... In ten to twenty years' time the energy story could well be significantly different. The USA and its coterie of killers are still fighting yesterday's war, yesterday's hatred of all things Russian, yesterday's energy monopoly. ..."
"... I don't believe that the USA of WAR has changed or even intends to change the way they play their 'game'. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade set the trajectory for technology transfer, fabrication skills transfer, growth of academic and scientific achievement in 'other' countries (China, Russia etc). Their thoughts in the GATT deal were trade = economics = oligarchy = good. ..."
"... That single fraud on the west has had catastrophically perverse consequences for the coterie of killer's future and all because the designers of GATT had never thought outside the square of economics and failed utterly to grasp the gift of scientific and manufacturing politics. ..."
"... Canada and the gulf monarchies are the only countries with large reserves that are not hostile as yet to the US. As the US no longer is totally reliant on imports to meet its consumption, Saudi's, Bahrain and co are now expendable assets. ..."
Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 | Jun 29, 2018 5:51:08 PM | 32

Peter AU 1 @28--

The US still depends heavily on oil importation -- it is not "independent" in any manner whatsoever. Here's the most current data while this chart shows importation history since 1980.

As I've said before, the only time a biological or economic entity can become energy independent is upon its death when it no longer requires energy for its existence.

Peter AU 1 , Jun 29, 2018 6:11:54 PM | 33

karlof1 32

What I am looking at are strategic reserves, not how much oil is currently produced. With shale it now has those reserves and shale oil I think is now at the point where production could quickly ramp up to full self sufficiency if required. Even if the US were producing as much oil as they consumed, they would still be importing crude and exporting refined products.

A big part of the US move into the middle east post WWII was that they needed a strategic reserve for time of war and also they could see US consumption growing far larger than US production.

uncle tungsten , Jun 29, 2018 9:25:02 PM | 41
@Peter AU 1 #28 Thank you for that stimulating post. I just have to respond. And thanks to b and all the commenters here, it is my daily goto post.

The USA of WAR may have oil independence, but it is temporary. The race is on for release from oil dependency and China intends to win in my view. It is setting ambitious targets to move to electric vehicles and mass transit. That will give it a technology dominance, and perhaps a resource dominance in the EV sphere. We are in the decade of major corporate struggles and defensive maneuverings around China investments in key EV sectors.

In ten to twenty years' time the energy story could well be significantly different. The USA and its coterie of killers are still fighting yesterday's war, yesterday's hatred of all things Russian, yesterday's energy monopoly.

I don't believe that the USA of WAR has changed or even intends to change the way they play their 'game'. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade set the trajectory for technology transfer, fabrication skills transfer, growth of academic and scientific achievement in 'other' countries (China, Russia etc). Their thoughts in the GATT deal were trade = economics = oligarchy = good.

That single fraud on the west has had catastrophically perverse consequences for the coterie of killer's future and all because the designers of GATT had never thought outside the square of economics and failed utterly to grasp the gift of scientific and manufacturing politics.

By gross ignorance and foolish under-investment, the USA of WAR and its coterie of killers have eaten their future at their people's expense.

Peter AU 1 , Jun 29, 2018 9:25:04 PM | 42
karlof1 32

This is the chart for US exports of crude and petroleum products.
https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=MTTEXUS2&f=M

Peter AU 1 , Jun 30, 2018 4:07:22 AM | 65
61

Light sweet vs heavy sour. Light means it contains a lot of diesel/petrol. Sweet means low sulphur. Many oils are heavy sour. Canada sand. the stuff they get from that is thick bitumen with high sulpher. The sulpher needs to be removed and the bitumen broken down into light fuels like diesel and petrol.

Canada and the gulf monarchies are the only countries with large reserves that are not hostile as yet to the US. As the US no longer is totally reliant on imports to meet its consumption, Saudi's, Bahrain and co are now expendable assets.

The great game for the US now is control or denial. Access to oil as a strategically critical resource is no longer a factor for the US.

Peter AU 1 , Jun 30, 2018 4:30:22 AM | 67
"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." Karl Rove.

The squealing and consternation coming from the UK indicates that the empire has changed course and the UK is left sitting on its own shit pile.

[Jul 03, 2018] No one actually has to act against US shale - it s something of a pretender in the real oil world anyway, and this has long been commented upon

Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Jul 1, 2018 11:31:44 PM | 30

@24 Peter AU 1

I encourage you to give the Escobar article a second reading. I just did to make sure I knew what it was saying. I think karlof1 is making the right points from it.

The collaboration between Saudia Arabia and Russia is a very small part of the article, and no one disputes that this collaboration is occurring. Russia may even be part of OPEC soon, if it chooses. The relationship works against the US but it's not specifically made for this reason. Read Adam Garrie's take on this to see that the moves into OPEC by Russia in recent years are clearly from its own interest as a hugely major supplier, and that Saudi Arabia needs Russia: The New Russia-Saudi Partnership Has Riyadh's US Ally Over a Barrel

I just skimmed it a third time and I don't see Escobar saying anywhere that the Saudi-Russia relationship is to kill US shale. He does say that both Russia and Iran are interested in countering it. I think the point here is that all serious oil producers with profitable reserves take alarm at the US shale oil because it's hard to say that it's a real commodity with an inbuilt profitability. It's a short-term entry into the market that can serve to disrupt the market temporarily, but it has no staying power. I suspect most nations would prefer it simply not intrude.

No one actually has to act against US shale - it's something of a pretender in the real oil world anyway, and this has long been commented upon. Escobar's point that the US shale is largely a myth is not a new concept. At best the reserve will deplete within 15 years, and that's at best - along the way it will destroy the US potable water table. And its intrinsic value is far from clear, since the entire industry is dubiously financed using relatively free Federal Reserve money. As Escobar points out, many call $100 per barrel the profit threshold for shale - that's a ludicrously high bar for profitability in the oil world.

Much of Escobar's article was about the relationship between Russia and Iran, and it served also as a very good primer in world oil and petro-currency numbers. I found it pretty sound.

In fact, I recommend it to those who may be interested: How the Iran sanctions drama intersects with OPEC-plus

[Jul 03, 2018] Clearly the reason for the Trump-Putin summit should be obvious to all by now

Notable quotes:
"... You don't need to give use Northstream 2. We will build it ourselves. ..."
"... Nordstream II only blocking party is Denmark, and they can and will bypass it at some price, if need be. ..."
"... Almost all of the countries that Nord Stream 2 passes through have signed on to its construction. The only holdout is Denmark. In response Gazprom has said it will reroute the pipeline through international waters. There is nothing the US can do about that and Denmark can say goodbye to its share of transit fees. ..."
"... A lot of that sort of crap was being pumped out by trolls and regulars alike a few weeks back on Putin, Nutty and SW Syria. Putin had done a deal and was giving SW Syria to nutty cetra cetra. Like Putin and Xi, Iran and others are too stupid to realize they have to work together against US attacks. ..."
"... Russia has to defend Iran. There is no chance that Putin will sell it to Trump. Once again we see the dreaded "US can do anything" disease arising. In fact US options are limited and evaporating. ..."
"... The most likely outcome of the 'summit'is a renewal or strengthening of old agreements on arms control and much high sounding chatter: in geopolitics the die is cast. ..."
Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Julian , Jul 1, 2018 1:02:37 PM | 4

Clearly the reason for the Trump-Putin summit should be obvious to all by now

Trump to Putin: We will give you Syria & NordStream II. And in return all we ask is that you stand aside from Iran.

What will Putin do?

And what about the Ukrainian Elections coming up???

Surely Putin has to demand more to stand aside from Iran. Crimea for starters.

PutinToTrump , Jul 1, 2018 1:32:09 PM | 6

We already have Syria and the Crimea.
You don't need to give use Northstream 2. We will build it ourselves.
Šabaniri , Jul 1, 2018 2:02:23 PM | 7
@4, Syria is not Trump's to give. They already lost it.

Nordstream II only blocking party is Denmark, and they can and will bypass it at some price, if need be.

So - Trump has nothing and you think he will be given head of a Russian neigboor, SCO ally, fellow Empire target?
No way.

Yonatan , Jul 1, 2018 4:33:10 PM | 11
Julian @4

Almost all of the countries that Nord Stream 2 passes through have signed on to its construction. The only holdout is Denmark. In response Gazprom has said it will reroute the pipeline through international waters. There is nothing the US can do about that and Denmark can say goodbye to its share of transit fees.

Also Crimea is non-negotiable for Russia. It is Russian territory irrespective of what happens.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 1, 2018 11:14:41 PM | 27
Julian 26

A lot of that sort of crap was being pumped out by trolls and regulars alike a few weeks back on Putin, Nutty and SW Syria. Putin had done a deal and was giving SW Syria to nutty cetra cetra. Like Putin and Xi, Iran and others are too stupid to realize they have to work together against US attacks.

bevin , Jul 1, 2018 11:22:39 PM | 28
Russia has to defend Iran. There is no chance that Putin will sell it to Trump. Once again we see the dreaded "US can do anything" disease arising. In fact US options are limited and evaporating.

Incidentally it is very easy and probably wise to promise the US, in June, not to buy oil in November. It costs nothing and fits into bazaar bargaining strategies.

The most likely outcome of the 'summit'is a renewal or strengthening of old agreements on arms control and much high sounding chatter: in geopolitics the die is cast.

[Jul 03, 2018] Oil will continue to flow from Iran, there simply isn't a significant supply stemming from the Saudi-Russia alliance or US shale to fill the gap

Notable quotes:
"... The Iranians will lose marketspace, sure, but the inevitable increase of the price of oil will somewhat soften the blow. And anything over $100 per barrel, along with a stronger dollar, is proven to be detrimental to energy importing countries. It will be painful to keep the economy rolling. ..."
Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

never mind , Jul 1, 2018 4:46:05 PM | 12

Oil will continue to flow from Iran, there simply isn't a significant supply stemming from the Saudi-Russia alliance or US shale to fill the gap.

The Iranians will lose marketspace, sure, but the inevitable increase of the price of oil will somewhat soften the blow. And anything over $100 per barrel, along with a stronger dollar, is proven to be detrimental to energy importing countries. It will be painful to keep the economy rolling.

And when there's less appetite for oil; the price of oil crashes resulting in another big financial crash (due to bad dept) followed by another round of austerity measures which spells political turmoil in a number of countries. And the landscape gradually changes.

Because we've been there before.

Likklemore , Jul 1, 2018 6:05:34 PM | 16

So Trump asked the Saudis to pump 2 million more barrels per day to offset Iranian exports?

Daffy!. Saudis do not have a spare barrel, let alone 2 million. Ask Simmons. Oh wait, he has been offed:


LONDON(Reuters) - The leader of Saudi Arabia has assured U.S. President Donald Trump that the Kingdom can raise oil production if needed and the country has 2 million barrels per day of spare capacity that could be deployed to help cool down oil prices to compensate for falling output in Venezuela and Iran.

In a tweet on Saturday, Trump said Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase output by up to this amount, although a subsequent statement from the White House rowed back on this assertion.

Either way, the kingdom, OPEC's biggest member, can barely raise output by 1 million bpd to 11 million bpd and even that would be difficult, according to industry analysts who forecast a further oil price rally due to a lack of new supply.

Below are comments from some leading OPEC analysts:

[ED: one of several cited below]

"The Saudis do not have 2 million bpd of spare capacity as it would imply production of 12 million bpd. They can likely produce a maximum of 11 million and even that will be running their system at stress levels," said Ross.

He added that with a potential output fall of up to 1.5 million bpd in Iran and further outages in Venezuela and Libya, the world could be short of 2 million bpd of oil output without an increase in Saudi output by the end of the year."

[.]

Reuters

Get ready to shell out at the pump.

Peter AU 1 , Jul 1, 2018 8:50:52 PM | 20
Pepe declares US shale to be a myth, but then says KSA and Russia have teamed up to fight. Us production figures also left out. Disappointing piece from Pepe, especially this glaring contradiction where KSA and Russia has to team up to fight what he calls a myth.
karlof1 , Jul 1, 2018 9:13:17 PM | 22
Pepe's referring to the assumed longevity of shale which is proven to be a gross lie. I can provide documentation about that but it will have to wait until I have more time to work.
Peter AU 1 , Jul 1, 2018 9:22:31 PM | 24
karlof1
Ok so according to Pepe Russia and KSA are joining forces to fight this gross lie.
either shale is a real and major threat, or Russia and KSA are not joining forces. That is the glaring contradiction in Pepes piece. the other option is that both Russia and KSA both of which have some knowledge of oil are mistaken about US shale.
Julian , Jul 1, 2018 10:59:24 PM | 26
Re: Posted by: PutinToTrump | Jul 1, 2018 1:32:09 PM | 6
Re: Posted by: Šabaniri | Jul 1, 2018 2:02:23 PM | 7
Re:

Already have Syria? Not really. Heard of the SDF occupying the North-Eastern third of Syria. If Trump & Putin can't come to an agreement on Iran what's the bet Trump decides to pump money, weapons and US troops into North-Eastern Syria to fully support the Kurds?

NordStream II? Sure, it will be built, but Trump can sanction Germany and German industry - ie automakers - heavily if he so wishes. He might do. He can blame NordStream II. He's certainly been talking about it.

There are certainly ways and means Trump can create huge trouble for Germany/Russia in regards to NordStream II even if it is built.

Crimea? Yeah, Russia has it but it is also used as the bludgeon to impose sanctions on Russia. Perhaps recognising Crimea as part of Russia and dropping all sanctions on Russia will be offered to Putin in return for Russia staying out of any conflict regarding Iran in 2019.

I'd hardly say Trump has nothing to bargain.

Besides, why would Putin select Medvedev as Prime Minister again despite Medvedev being obviously a Euro-Atlanticist?

I'd also add - who do you think Russia fears in the future decades.

Is it a decaying Europe/EU who nevertheless can buy lots of Russian goods including oil & gas obviously?

Or do Russia fear a rising China that always has one eye on the Russian Far East as a possible place for expansion to take care of their oil & gas & mineral needs?

I suspect - and you can look to the history of Russia/China relations for this - that Russia retains a more existential fear of China than anyone else.

Russia always clearly seeks to balance Europe/EU/US/Atlantic against China and others.

Where does Iran fit in all this? If Iran is taken out who benefits? Doesn't Iran being taken out strengthen Russia's hand vis-a-vis China in terms of oil & gas? I'd say it does. Certainly. Without Iranian oil & gas China becomes more dependent on who? RUSSIA!

So I bet Russian thought would tend to say to China. Look, we are not going to put ourselves on the line to defend Iran. But hey, if you want to do that we'll support you doing so, afterall, Iran is of a more of a vital strategic interest to you than us.

We defended Syria, we can't defend anyone and you can't expect us to defend everyone. If you want a country to retain its independence you have to step up to the plate every now and then rather than just relying on the Russian military.

And look - we defended Syria - what did you do in Syria's defence?

Just to finish this comment.

In case you haven't noticed the US has put a date of November 4 on stopping the export/import of Iranian oil. Which is? It is 2 days before the November 6 Mid-Terms...

It's a clear set-up for 2019.

My prediction.

There will be military action against Iran in the first half of 2019.

I suspect March-April-May being the most likely.

At that time you also have Brexit, European Elections (dominated by populists), Ukrainian Presidential Elections, South African Elections, Indian Elections... It's a big few months.

My advice? Buy oil & gas in the second half of this year - it's value is likely to skyrocket in 2019.

What will Iran's response be? I'd say if you are in any of Saudi Gulf Coast, UAE (Dubai & Abu Dhabi), Kuwait or Bahrain - get out before New Year's!!!

Julian , Jul 1, 2018 11:34:55 PM | 31
Re: Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jul 1, 2018 11:14:41 PM | 27

I'm not judging one way or another on what Putin will necessarily do, but clearly Trump's gambit is to wean Iran off Russian support.

Will it work? Who knows. But Iran clearly has less strategic importance to Russia than Syria.

Let me ask you a question. Do you think Russia prefers Iranian-Qatari oil & gas pipelines through Iraq-Syria-Turkey to Europe or would Russia prefer Saudi-UAE-Qatari oil & gas pipelines to Europe??

Answer: Neither of course.

Bob , Jul 1, 2018 11:53:00 PM | 32
Any effort to understand US foreign policy from actual US interests is a futile exercise in frustration. US foreign policy is driven by two things:

1. The interests of international financiers (heavily Jewish)
2. The Israeli government.

At consideration for actual US interests is secondary if such things considered at all. That should be obvious enough to everyone by now.

The one thing that Russia and/or China could do that would do more to avoid another major power war, is to loudly, clearly and publicly inform the Israelis (the people as well as the government) that any attack upon Russia, China, or their forces by the US or NATO will be treated as a direct attack upon Russia/China by the state of Israel and the Jewish people and these will be utterly destroyed in the first salvo of the Russian/Chinese response.

The second thing that could/should be done, is for Russia to implement a covert campaign of targeted assassinations of Jewish figures who are actively engaged in efforts to undermine Russian interests. This would include people like Sheldon Adelson, Haim Saban, key players in international finance, etc. No Jew anywhere in the world should feel that they are beyond the reach of Russian retaliation. This is precisely how the Israelis conduct their foreign policy and Russians should not shirk from engaging fire with fire.

Alexander P , Jul 2, 2018 2:09:24 AM | 33
@Julian
I think you underestimate the long term benefit of a stable and prosperous Iran in the greater Eurasian gambit (Infrastructure Node, stability for the region) vs the short term gains Russia may achieve from a destroyed and fractured Iran that is in disarray. Russia doesn't just export energy after all. Exploding oil prices will end up hurting consumer nations, which in turn affects the global economy and by extension oil producers, there is always a delayed feedback loop.

Just because someone competes with you in the energy realm doesn't automatically mean you want that actor weak or destroyed. If that was the case, then why does Russia maintain good relationships with Azerbaijan, a direct competitor to Russian Gas? Similarly Central Asian countries are competitors in the gas market for China, yet Russia would never allow these to be subverted by radical Islamists without acting.

[Jul 03, 2018] Oil is energy and energy means power to those that control it

Notable quotes:
"... As always, profits "trump" humanity. ..."
"... The great power game is why there is continuity of government policy in the 'US west' no matter who is elected. Within the great power game democracy in the west is meaningless. ..."
"... If the US is changing how it plays the game, then the Brit players may be getting desperate. They are now small players but unlike the US do not have an oil reserve. ..."
"... This may be the reason the Brits have ramped up the propaganda to the ridiculous and also why they have attempted to take down Trump. ..."
Jul 03, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU 1 | Jun 29, 2018 4:14:35 PM | 24

Loot is only a side benefit for post WWII wars and no doubt before. Oil is energy and energy means power to those that control it. UK, French, US have fucked the MENA region over simple for control of the oil.

Working to prevent communism, socialism, democracy and pan Arab movements which are all a threat to FUKUS control of MENA, and then pulling the same dirty tricks on each other. Russia has its own all and through the Soviet era seems to have only dabbled in the region.

China needs to import energy and so the great power game of controlling or denying access to energy continues.

ben , Jun 29, 2018 4:15:18 PM | 25

karlof1 @ 3 said"Criminality mostly driven by Greed."

james @ 5 said: "trump isn't much different or he would be addressing this too..."

Two bottom line truths, that are apparent...

As always, profits "trump" humanity. How to change that mindset? I for one, don't know, but, the so called "religious" among us, should ask themselves that same question. IMO, religion is, as practiced, mostly crowd control..

Peter AU 1 , Jun 29, 2018 5:16:04 PM | 28
The great power game is why there is continuity of government policy in the 'US west' no matter who is elected. Within the great power game democracy in the west is meaningless.

with USA's new found oil independence, the direction they take may change from the last 70 years or so.

Another recent change is the rise of current Russia and their vision of a multi polar world, also the rise of China.

If the US is changing how it plays the game, then the Brit players may be getting desperate. They are now small players but unlike the US do not have an oil reserve.

This may be the reason the Brits have ramped up the propaganda to the ridiculous and also why they have attempted to take down Trump.

[Jun 28, 2018] Well, Iran sanctions explains why oil prices are up right now.

Jun 28, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 10:19 am

2018-06-26 (Rudaw) When US sanctions were placed on Iran in 2012, the four Asian countries were given a waiver, requiring them to reduce their business with Iran by 20 percent each six months rather than halt trade immediately.

The Asian oil buyers are less likely to receive a similar waiver from the Trump administration Iran may need to resort to a bartering system to continue selling its oil. Under the 2012 US sanctions, India imported $10.5 billion worth of goods, mainly crude oil, and exported commodities worth $2.4 billion.

The barter system will be inefficient, as Iran's oil sales are greater than the value of what it imports from these countries. It also cannot use the currencies of these countries for international business transactions.
http://www.rudaw.net/english/business/250620181

Energy News x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 10:29 am
2018-06-26 (Bloomberg) U.S. presses allies to cut Iran oil imports to *zero* by November
* U.S. isn't granting waivers on Iranian oil imports ban
(State Department Official)

added link https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-26/u-s-is-said-to-press-allies-to-end-iran-oil-imports-by-nov-4

Kolbeinh x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 10:49 am
Well, maybe that explains why oil prices are up right now.
Hightrekker x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 10:59 am
"The global economy looks like the Titanic right now. The iceberg is the incoming oil price spike and the complacent investment community won't even know what hits them. "
-Baby Domer
Guym x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 7:13 am
So, an important question for this board is, could we have reached peak oil production this year? The Permian will increase substantially into 2020. However, that will be partially offset by the Venezuelan drop. Add in other declines, and the drop could easily offset any US production. At some point, OPEC will see that extra production will never meet demand, and not just waste what they have.
Eulenspiegel x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 7:28 am
It depends totally on political scenarios, not technical and not financial.

There's still a lot of growth potential to offset the declines:
– Permian
– Other US shales to a degree
– Kanada with it's vast heavy oil ressources
– Venezuela
– Russia
– Iraq
– Iran
– SA (nobody knows), at least they can call to their spare capacity
– Kuwait
– UAE
-Brasil

That's 10 locations, some are politically knocked out ( Ven, Iran partly) from growth.

The more important thing for world economy is: How long can they support the consumption growth, additional to the decline of all other countries.

I think peak oil is somewhat more melodramatic: When Ghawar finally dries up, we have reached peak oil. It will dry fast, due to all these horizontal tapping keeping the oil flowing until the last feed of oil column. And replacing these 5 mb/d will require an additional fully developed Permian – something not in sight at the moment.

Energy News x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 2:17 am
Libya's Tripoli-based NOC Says Exports from Benghazi-based NOC in the east are "illegal"

2018-05-26 BENGHAZI, Libya/TUNIS (Reuters) – Eastern Libyan commander Khalifa Haftar's forces have handed control of oil ports to a National Oil Corporation (NOC) based in the east, a spokesman said on Monday, a move the internationally recognized NOC in Tripoli dismissed as illegal.
If implemented, the transfer of control would create uncertainty for buyers of Libyan oil who normally go through NOC Tripoli.
In comments later confirmed to Reuters, Ahmed Mismari, spokesman of Haftar's Libya National Army (LNA), said on television that no tanker would be allowed to dock at eastern ports without permission from an NOC entity based in the main eastern city, Benghazi.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-libya-oil/east-libyan-forces-say-oil-ports-handed-to-eastern-based-noc-idUSKBN1JL2DQ
Tripoli-based NOC https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DgkrEMeXUAADLGS.jpg

Kolbeinh x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 4:22 am
Some kind of summary with some details from Libya (from comments section in HFIR article above – Game Over – Oil Prices Are Going Higher).

Nigeria and Libya are also becoming disruption hotspots. Three of Nigeria's main crude streams (Forcados, Bonny Light and Qua Iboe) are either halted or severely disrupted, but violence in Libya grabbed the recent headlines. Militias led by Ibrahim al Jathran, former head of the local Petroleum Facilities Guard, attacked and briefly seized the 0.35 mb/d Es Sider and 0.22 mb/d Ras Lanuf terminals from Khalifa Haftar's Libyan National Army (LNA). Although the LNA are back in control, Libyan oil output has collapsed from 0.95 mb/d to around 0.55-0.60 mb/d because of the fighting and NOC has declared force majeure at the two ports (along with apparently unrelated technical issues undermining production at AGOCO-run fields in the east).
After around 10 days of fighting, the extent of the damage at the two terminals remains unclear. There is currently no information about the status of Es Sider, which exported around 0.30 mb/d in the previous three months. The destruction of two storage tanks at Ras Lanuf, which was exporting around 0.10 mb/d before the clashes, has reduced storage capacity from 0.95 mb to 0.55 mb. Seven tanks at the terminal had already been damaged in previous clashes and the destruction of another two leaves only four tanks capable of operating. Once the fighting is over (and there is a considerable risk of further clashes over the next few weeks), it will take several days to evaluate the status of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf. This would be followed by emergency repairs, which could take a week or two, with export capacity recovering only gradually. Consequently, we expect output to remain at 0.55-0.60 mb/d until early/mid-July, even as NOC studies options to bypass Ras Lanuf and possibly divert exports to the Zueitina terminals.

In conclusion: Libya is good for no more than 0.8 Mb/d, but likely less than that in 2018.

Kolbeinh x Ignored says: 06/26/2018 at 5:02 am
Regarding the Iran discussion.

The debate seems to be around what effect the risk of secondary sanctions from US government for international companies will have. Some argue that the US allies and their companies will not pick a fight over this with the US right now. In either case, it certainly is not good for the Iranian economy which contracted after the last round of sanctions and boomed when they were lifted afterwards. Also the Iranians want western equipment and competence to develop their oil and gas fields (some of their oilfields are somewhat complicated to develop), and it is not certain Lukoil and russian service companies can be a good enough replacement.

There are some hurdles with switching customers for large oil volumes. Tanker freight and insurance services now done by western companies afraid of sanctions will have to be replaced or the obstacles overcome somehow. But I agree with you that China, while also having a futures market trading in yuan, will look to Iran when shortage arrives. However the perception of shortage has still not arrived in oil markets today. Some reduction of export from Iran is likely both initially and for some time further. Hard to say how much, some argue that it takes 6-12 months to see the full effects of US sanctions. And once sanctions now are in place, even if it was untimely given the supply situation in the oil market, it will not be practical and too confusing as a political move to see them lifted soon (less than 1 year).

[Jun 27, 2018] jilles dykstra

Jun 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

Antony C. Sutton, ´Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution', 1974 New Rochelle, N.Y.
describes how Wall Street supported bolsjewism in order to prevent that German, suppose also Dutch and other, trade, with Russia was resumed.
WII and the aftermath created the Atlantic alliance.

Just yesterday Pieter Hoekstra, USA ambassador in the Netherlands, stated that Russia should be punished for MH17 by more sanctions, no new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

What he did not say that this implies our buying of USA gas, 20% more expensive. The MH17 show, in my opinion is run like the Sept 11 show. Or even the holocaust show, constant reminders.

The USA fear about Russia and the EU member states seems to be twofold:

Beckow , June 5, 2018 at 2:28 pm GMT

more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the USA into an economic backwater

Precisely. US could eventually (20-30 years from now) turn into a country similar to many Latin American countries: rich in resources, demographically messy and ungovernable, weak infrastructure, but above all remote and quasi-provincial.

The 'Atlanticist' project is meant to forestall the provincial Latin American future. Washington does have some tools: dollar domination, military force, Hollywood, technology. But none of those are necessarily sustainable without also actively messing up Euro-Russia-China economic convergence. It might require a war to delay the inevitable slow descend into a backwater across the Atlantic.

[Jun 27, 2018] Iranian condensate will most likely replace US condensate to China as much as possible.

Jun 27, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Kolbeinh x Ignored says: 06/27/2018 at 4:57 am

From the Bloomberg article: "The U.S. plans to speak with the governments of Turkey, India and China, all of which import Iranian oil, about finding other supplies."

Iranian condensate will most likely replace US condensate to China as much as possible. China is the key to if/when this harsh "embargo" of Iran will ease. They have the strength to stand up against the US and then others will follow suit (e.g. India). A barter system (goods vs. goods trade) or payment in yuan could probably be a good enough way to avoid american banking sanctions. But if China wants to stand up against US at this point is uncertain. If this strangling of Iran is highly successful, it is hard to see the rewards. A high oil price that will be the tipping point for the global economy in the wrong direction or indirectly (hopefully not directly – who needs another war now?) overthrow the Iranian government and thus the creation of new political problems in the country; a repeat of the Iraq experience almost. I almost forgot that there is the nuclear issue there as well, maybe that is also a driver

  1. Boomer II 06/26/2018 at 10:16 pm Reply

[Jun 27, 2018] Unnamed "Senior State Department Official" says the USA "expects all countries to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero or face US sanctions

Jun 27, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

jayc | Jun 26, 2018 7:25:46 PM | 17

Unnamed "Senior State Department Official" says the USA "expects all countries to reduce their Iranian oil imports to zero or face US sanctions."

https://www.cnn.com/2018/06/26/politics/us-iran-oil-imports/index.html

"We have a lot of diplomatic muscle memory for urging, cajoling, negotiating with our partners to reduce their investments to zero," the official added.

(This official infers that EU countries will soon capitulate to US demands, but does he believe that, say, India will agree to this? The CNN reporters don't ask.)

[Jun 21, 2018] Spare capacity of Saudis might be just oil in storage as they can't increase production much without adverse affects

Jun 14, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

TechGuy , 06/14/2018 at 4:29 pm

"I think not, it's a lot cheaper to add a few more production wells than to add a couple of million barrels of high pressure water injection capacity (topsides facilities and the wells needed to inject it"

Water injection isn't the problem, its water cut. The don't need to inject more if they keep the water cut stable. In order to keep the water cut, they have to perodically drill new wells to keep the wells in contact with the Oil column. Over time the Water column push up on the Oil column (ie Oil floats on Water). All the CapEx/Opex goes into drilling to keep in the Oil Column Zone as well as add new wells to tap oil trapped in pockets. As the Oil column continues to shrink and and as the water column become increasing contact with the cap rock its going to required more and more drilling to maintain production.

My guess well know when SA starts running into problems when we start to see the rig count increase and the production dropping over a period of a couple of years.

"The drilling of new oil wells is to maintain current production, not to increase it"

SA cannot increase Oil production much. They are working on extracting the remaining cream (oil column) floating on a see of water. Increasing production would just increase the water cut and also increase trapped oil that would later be more costly to extract. The only way SA can increase production is to tap new fields or increase drilling for oil trapped in pockets. But at some point these options will vanish over time as it will be increasing more difficult to squeeze more oil out, like trying to squeeze trapped toothpaste out of a depleted toothpaste tube.

Michael B , 06/14/2018 at 5:32 pm
But this can't be right because it makes so much sense that I understand it.
George Kaplan , 06/14/2018 at 11:41 pm
I didn't say water injection was the problem I said it was the limit to increasing production. It is. Water cut is the problem that leads to decline unless they keep drilling new wells.

Two ways that increasing water cut is a problem are: 1) you have to inject more water for the same amount of oil, which they don't have, 2) you have to treat more produced water, which they don't have capacity for. Exactly what I said above. The third is that it reduces overall well flow and, more so, oil flow; but that is easily got round if it easy to drill new wells, as is the case for Saudi, even the offshore fields, which are shallow. That also solves the first two problems because the individual field and overall country water cuts are held steady.

The limits on surface facilities are much more expensive and long term (5 years at least) to get round, but it could be done, therefore it is wrong to say that the only way to increase production is to tap new fields.

(ps – I worked on water flood oil fields, including some minor studies for Saudi, for at least 15 years through my career, the water is a bigger influence on the design and operation than the oil.)

Eulenspiegel , 06/15/2018 at 3:36 am
That all together sounds like it's completely senseless to keep some spare capacity for fields like this.

This capacity will cost billions, hold back for not much. A big oil storage is better there for satisfying demand peaks or temporary supply losses.

Reserve capacity is cheap to have when you are in primary recovery of a conventional (giant) field.

The only illusion of reserve capacity would be in fields with tertiary recovery would be to postpone maintainance for a few months to get that 5% more production.

Did I understand it right?

George Kaplan , 06/15/2018 at 5:37 am
Some spare is always needed, just to maintain production during maintenance or unplanned outages. Sparing doesn't postpone maintenance, it means maintenance can be done without taking the plant offline, or at least not for too long, so you get maximum returns on your investment (when plants are taken down for major turn arounds it is to do work on items for which there are no online spares).

Depending on the maturity of the field there is also always different amount of sparage in the different project components – e.g. the wells, compression, power generation, oil processing, export capacity, water injection, water processing – the limit is the component with the least amount of sparage.

In Saudi also, at least for the heavy fields, they have been known to rest them completely for a time, this allows the water contact to settle out and avoid excessive coning, which provides a much better sweep of the oil and higher recoveries (I don't think any where else has that luxury).

So when someone says "we have spare capacity" it can mean almost anything from 2×100% pumps on a particular duty to an entirely unused, ready for action oil field.

From a modern capitalist approach with everything just-in-time and the next quarterly statement being all important then excess sparing wouldn't please the shareholders, but Saudi designed facilities with 50 year life times, so it might be different.

From looking at their recent production profiles, which seem to go up when they report a new start-up and then decline, and stock draws, which have been consistent since January 2016, I find it hard to believe they have a large amount of "real" spare capacity – i.e. that's easy to bring on line and that doesn't alter any of the performance of the fields over the long term or compromise planned maintenance schedules – but I can't say for sure. And, as I've said, the limit to expanding production (that means beyond just using up the spare) is almost certainly with the surface facilities for water, so it's likely that is also the part with the least spare capacity.

Dennis Coyne , 06/15/2018 at 10:25 am
Thanks George.

It sounds like you believe they might be able to maintain a plateau of 10 Mb/d for many years, if they just drill more wells as needed. Though I may not be understanding correctly.

George Kaplan , 06/15/2018 at 12:33 pm
There's the big question. Once the horizontal wells are at the top of the reservoir then you can't drill any more and once the water contact hits them, even with intelligent completions, then the decline will be fast (but even that is relative, huge fields take longer to decline than small ones). There was a report in the Oil Drum some time ago that indicated that a lot of Ghawar wells were near the limit but nothing much seems to have happened since to indicate this turned into a problem, but then Saudi has a lot of other fields. On some of their offshore fields they are replacing all the wellheads to add ESPs, that usually means they have run out of new well options. Their rig count is declining, but maybe jus because they are drilling much more productive MRC wells.

It's the difference between the size of the tank and the size of the tap (or for water injection more like the size of the vent that lets air in to stop the tank collapsing under suction). Might only know what's going on well after the fact.

Dennis Coyne , 06/17/2018 at 9:27 am
Indeed there is much that we do not know about KSA.

[Jun 21, 2018] China's Oil Trade Retaliation Is Iran's Gain by Tom Luongo

Jun 21, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

China's Oil Trade Retaliation Is Iran's Gain

by Tyler Durden Wed, 06/20/2018 - 23:05 13 SHARES Authored by Tom Luongo,

I've told you that once you start down the Trade War path forever it will dominate your destiny.

Well here we are. Trump slaps big tariffs on aluminum and steel in a bid to leverage Gary Cohn's ICE Wall plan to control the metals and oils futures markets . I'm not sure how much of this stuff I believe but it is clear that the futures price for most strategically important commodities are divorced from the real world.

Alistair Crooke also noted the importance of Trump's 'energy dominance' policy recently , which I suggest strongly you read.

But today's edition of "As the Trade War Churns" is about China and their willingness to shift their energy purchases away from U.S. producers. Irina Slav at Oilprice.com has the good bits.

The latest escalation in the tariff exchange, however, is a little bit different than all the others so far. It's different because it came after Beijing said it intends to slap tariffs on U.S. oil, gas, and coal imports.

China's was a retaliatory move to impose tariffs on US$50 billion worth of U.S. goods, which followed Trump's earlier announcement that another US$50 billion in goods would be subjected to a 25-percent tariff starting July 6.

It's unclear as to what form this will take but there's also this report from the New York Times which talks about the China/U.S. energy trade.

Things could get worse if the United States and China ratchet up their actions [counter-tariffs] . Mr. Trump has already promised more tariffs in response to China's retaliation. China, in turn, is likely to back away from an agreement to buy $70 billion worth of American agricultural and energy products -- a deal that was conditional on the United States lifting its threat of tariffs.

"China's proportionate and targeted tariffs on U.S. imports are meant to send a strong signal that it will not capitulate to U.S. demands," said Eswar Prasad, a professor of international trade at Cornell University. "It will be challenging for both sides to find a way to de-escalate these tensions."

But as Ms. Slav points out, China has enjoyed taking advantage of the glut of U.S. oil as shale drillers flood the market with cheap oil. The West Texas Intermediate/Brent Spread has widened out to more than $10 at times.

By slapping counter tariffs on U.S. oil, that would more than overcome the current WTI/Brent spread and send Chinese refiners looking for new markets.

Hey, do you know whose oil is sold at a discount to Brent on a regular basis?

Iran's. That's whose.

And you know what else? Iran is selling tons, literally, of its oil via the new Shanghai petroyuan futures market.

Now, these aren't exact substitutes, because the Shanghai contract is for medium-sour crude and West Texas shale oil is generally light-sweet but the point remains that the incentives would now exist for Chinese buyers to shift their buying away from the U.S. and towards producers offering substitutes at better prices.

This undermines and undercuts Trump's 'energy dominance' plans while also strengthening Iran's ability to withstand new U.S. sanctions by creating more customers for its oil.

Trade wars always escalate. They are no different than any other government policy restricting trade. The market response is to always respond to new incentives. Capital always flows to where it is treated best.

It doesn't matter if its domestic farm subsidies 'protecting' farmers from the business cycle or domestic metals producers getting protection via tariffs.

By raising the price above the market it shifts capital and investment away from those protected industries or producers and towards either innovation or foreign suppliers.

Trump obviously never read anything from Mises, Rothbard or Hayek at Wharton. Because if he did he would have come across the idea that every government intervention requires an ever-greater one to 'fix' the problems created by the first intervention.

The net result is that if there is a market for Iran's oil, which there most certainly is, then humans will find a way to buy it. If Trump tries to raise the price too high then it will have other knock-on effects of a less-efficient oil and gas market which will create worse problems in the future for everyone, especially the very Americans he thinks he's defending.

* * *

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[Jun 20, 2018] Best Russian oil is going to china; Europe gets only whatg is left

Jun 20, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

alimbiquated x Ignored says: 06/18/2018 at 6:30 pm

Anyone careto comment on the quality of Russianoil?

http://uawire.org/europe-cuts-back-on-russian-oil-purchases-by-20-due-to-poor-quality

Watcher x Ignored says: 06/18/2018 at 9:39 pm
read deep into the article -- the best oil goes to China. Europe gets only what is left. Haven't needed it, but the North Sea is dying. Iran is the next supplier but if sanctions eliminate them, Russian oil of whatever quality will be the only choice.

Or Europe could ignore sanctions, if they have the courage.

[Jun 20, 2018] The only four countries that have any ability to increase production -- Russia, Saudis, UAE and Kuwait

Jun 20, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Don, 06/20/2018 at 11:16 am

I wanted to make a comment about the OPEC(and Russia) meeting coming up and a possible production increase. The speculation going around is that OPEC and Russia might increase production up to 1.80 mbpd. The minimum production increase would be around 500kbpd. What is the most likely production increase based on past production?

The only four countries that have any ability to increase production are

1) Russia: Current production 10.9mbpd. High production 11.3mbpd Difference -400kbpd
2) Saudi Arabia: Current production 10.0mbpd. High production 10.6mbpd Difference -600kbpd
3) UAE: Current production 2.9mbpd. High production 3.10mbpd Difference -200kbpd
4) Kuwait: Current production 2.70mbpd. High production 2.8mbpd Difference -100kbpd

The high watermark in production for these countries happened from Mid 2016 to Mid 2017. Currently these four countries are producing about 1.3mbpd below their all-time high production limits. Ask yourself what is the likelihood that these four countries will increase production to all-time highs and potentially surpass their highs which would be required to increase production to 1.80mbpd? When OPEC did announce production cuts at the end of 2016 many believe they had increased production to unsustainable levels to give each country a higher quota from the production cuts. The guys a Core Labs believed they had to cut because it would have threaten the long term integrality of their fields.

My guess is that the most OPEC and Russia can bring back for a sustainable period is about half of the 1.30mbpd they reduced from their production highs .maybe about 600kbpd

[Jun 18, 2018] China blindsides US with new energy tariffs threat by Jim W. Dean

Notable quotes:
"... According to US Energy Department figures, China imports approximately 363,000 barrels of US crude oil daily. The country also imports about 200,000 barrels a day of other petroleum products including propane. ..."
Jun 18, 2018 | www.veteranstoday.com
Just as China topped the list of nations buying US oil, Beijing – retaliating to unilateral Trump economic threats – sent jitters through energy markets on Friday by threatening new tariffs on natural gas, crude oil and many other energy products.

On Friday, Beijing threatened to impose tariffs on US energy products in response to $50 billion in tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump. Such tariffs would inhibit Chinese refiners from buying US crude imports, potentially crashing US energy markets and hitting the fossil fuel industry where it hurts the most: in shareholder approval.

"This is a big deal. China is essentially the largest customer for US crude now, and so for crude it's an issue, let alone when you involve [refined] products, too. This is obviously a big development," Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData, told Reuters.

According to US Energy Department figures, China imports approximately 363,000 barrels of US crude oil daily. The country also imports about 200,000 barrels a day of other petroleum products including propane.

The US energy industry has seen its profits boosted by fracking in domestic shale fields, which produce some 10.9 million barrels of oil per day.

The US is also exporting a record 2 million barrels per day, and encouraging countries like China to import more US energy products instead of those from Iran, after Trump recently withdrew from the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) 2015 nuclear arms deal with Tehran.

China is currently the largest buyer of Iranian oil as well, purchasing some 650,000 barrels daily during the first quarter of 2018.

According to Bernadette Johnson with the Denver, Colorado, energy consultancy Drilling info, tariffs will increase prices for other petroleum products including propane and liquefied natural gas.

"The constant back-and-forth about the tariffs creates a lot of market uncertainty that makes it harder to sell cargoes or sign long-term [trade] deals," Johnson noted, cited by Reuters.

In late March, the White House slapped trade sanctions on China, the world's second largest economy, including limitations in the investment sector as well as tariffs on $60 billion worth of products.

Citing "fairness" considerations, Trump referred to the car market, stating that China charged a tariff ten times higher on US cars than the US did on the few Chinese cars sold in the US.

Separately, in a bid to deliver on campaign promises, Trump announced his intention to impose a 25-percent tariff on steel imports and a 10-percent tariff on aluminum imports from an array of US allies, including the EU, Mexico and Canada. Those nations -- longtime allies to the US -- have promised retaliatory economic measures.

Trump has also reportedly mulled placing a 25-percent import tax on European cars, something that would significantly affect the highly-profitable US market for expensive German automobiles.

[Jun 05, 2018] The USA fear about Russia and the EU member states seems to be twofold: (1) more trade with Russia makes subjugation of Russia impossible; (2) more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the USA into an economic backwater

Notable quotes:
"... Just yesterday Pieter Hoekstra, USA ambassador in the Netherlands, stated that Russia should be punished for MH17 by more sanctions, no new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. What he did not say that this implies our buying of USA gas, 20% more expensive. The MH17 show, in my opinion is run like the Sept 11 show. Or even the holocaust show, constant reminders. ..."
"... The USA fear about Russia and the EU member states seems to be twofold: (1) more trade with Russia makes subjugation of Russia impossible; (2) more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the USA into an economic backwater ..."
Jun 05, 2018 | www.unz.com

jilles dykstra , June 5, 2018 at 7:42 am GMT

Antony C. Sutton, ´Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution', 1974 New Rochelle, N.Y. describes how Wall Street supported bolshevism in order to prevent that German, suppose also Dutch and other, trade, with Russia was resumed.

WWII and the aftermath created the Atlantic alliance.

Just yesterday Pieter Hoekstra, USA ambassador in the Netherlands, stated that Russia should be punished for MH17 by more sanctions, no new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. What he did not say that this implies our buying of USA gas, 20% more expensive. The MH17 show, in my opinion is run like the Sept 11 show. Or even the holocaust show, constant reminders.

The USA fear about Russia and the EU member states seems to be twofold: (1) more trade with Russia makes subjugation of Russia impossible; (2) more trade with Russia, and the railway connections with China, threaten to turn the USA into an economic backwater

[Jun 05, 2018] With MBS supposedly dead, how will Saudi will change their oil policy? How much longer will the Saudi and international press be able to remain silent on this?

Notable quotes:
"... My own hunch is that these reports may well be true. How long can the Saudis (and the Western media) conceal what has happened? ..."
"... Second, I believe the trip by our Secretary of State was in response to the incident of April 21st. My hunch is the Crown Prince was gravely wounded and later perished at a Military Hospital. ..."
"... Third, the night of the incident a twitter user named CivMilAir tracked the Royal Medevac jet leaving the airport near the gunfire and documented the airplane turning off its transponder. There was speculation concerning whether or not it was the Crown Prince that night on that thread. There was even push back from other twitter users based in Saudi Arabia. Even one demanding to know how this twitter user obtained this information. ..."
"... Fifth, the outrage at the German Government and the reports from German businesses that the door to trade has been slammed shut this past month. I attribute this to the one and only exile prince from the Royal family, Saudi Prince Khaled Bin Farhan. living in Europe. He was granted asylum by Germany. There were 3 other exiles but they have been tricked or kidnapped back to Saudi Arabia. This Prince was advocating for the removal of the Crown Prince as recently as March 23, 2018. ..."
"... Sixth, I noticed this week in the news that Crown Prince "MBS" has consolidated his control further this week by taking operational control of the construction and cyber security industries in the country. 35% of the Bin Laden group was basically stolen. I watched an interview of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal after his release from detention and he was clearly shaken. He was playing a confidence game where everything would go back to normal and mention how the Bin Laden group was back working on his projects. Then this? 35% gone overnight. Cyber security crack down or internet crackdown coming in Saudi Arabia? ..."
"... Seventh, there is no way that MBS approved the recent arrest of the feminist. Not after his carefully cultured PR campaign in the United States. ..."
"... Eight, where's Waldo? ..."
"... Here is my speculation. Al-Qaeda will be the cover story. Crown Prince MBS was killed by members of the Royal Family and other powerful individuals he made enemies with in his short rule. ..."
"... The Royal family members who supported MBS are furious at Germany for the above stated reasons and lashing out in all directions. Threatening to invade Qatar if Russia provides them the S-400. I believe even President Trump's bizarre threat to put huge tariffs on German luxury automobiles because the German public doesn't want to buy crappy American cars like the Chevy Impala is his frustration over one of his essential architects on the plan to change regime's in Iran being eliminated. ..."
"... A lot of torture and indiscriminate arrest is going on at this very moment in Saudi Arabia. The family appears split and trust lost. Time will tell. ..."
"... It would appear that there's no one in charge in SA at the moment. One can now expect a period of confusion, and lots of infighting between various factions trying to assert dominance, or just survive. ..."
"... Considering MbS's policies, I think his exit is better for the Middle East. His tilt of SA policy towards the US and Israel is likely to be reversed. ..."
"... All you need to know is that Mr. Media Roadshow decided overnight to shun video cameras, and not come out for Pompeo. The guy is dead as a door knob. He made way too many enemies during the forced corporate retreat he hosted at the Ritz. ..."
"... myself , i think the attack succeed in wounding and ultimately kill the prince , otherwise why no public appearance at all ? ( if i recall , muslim have to be buried no more than 24 hours after death so that's why i assume he was wounded at first and the medical team failed to keep him alive) ..."
"... In Assad's interview with RT he pointed out that the "opposition" first attacked Syria's air defenses at the beginning of the "civil war". Hillary wanted a "no-fly zone" over Syria. All that's missing is Victoria Nuland. ..."
"... The playground version: The neocons and Netanyahu think they're playing Trump, who in turn thinks he's use them. MbS wanted to be one of the cool kids and tried to get in on the action and might have gotten himself dead in the process. ..."
Jun 05, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

FB Ali , a day ago

Re Saudi Arabia: I have previously referred to reports regarding the death of the Saudi Crown Prince, MbS, as a result of the AQ attack on his palace on April 21. Now, pictures are circulating of his funeral.

There is so far no official announcement, but that means nothing.

My own hunch is that these reports may well be true. How long can the Saudis (and the Western media) conceal what has happened?

Pat Lang Mod -> FB Ali , a day ago
If he was killed in the April 21 incident that would explain why the women activists have now been targeted.
FB Ali -> Pat Lang , a day ago
Agree. There is also the report that he was not at the Graduation Ceremony of the King Abdul Aziz Military College on May 19. (As Defence Minister, he would have been expected to attend).
Harlan Easley -> FB Ali , 17 hours ago
I have been following the story. A few things. Yes, I have seen the pictures of the funeral and his actual corpse prepared for burial under #mbs at twitter. The pictures are not the best. The size of the corpse and the nose and receding hairline along with the cheekbones and body size could definitely be MBS along with the eyes.

Second, I believe the trip by our Secretary of State was in response to the incident of April 21st. My hunch is the Crown Prince was gravely wounded and later perished at a Military Hospital.

Third, the night of the incident a twitter user named CivMilAir tracked the Royal Medevac jet leaving the airport near the gunfire and documented the airplane turning off its transponder. There was speculation concerning whether or not it was the Crown Prince that night on that thread. There was even push back from other twitter users based in Saudi Arabia. Even one demanding to know how this twitter user obtained this information.

Fourth, the recent trip of the Lebanon Prime Minister being called to Saudi Arabia when his schedule indicated no such trip.

Fifth, the outrage at the German Government and the reports from German businesses that the door to trade has been slammed shut this past month. I attribute this to the one and only exile prince from the Royal family, Saudi Prince Khaled Bin Farhan. living in Europe. He was granted asylum by Germany. There were 3 other exiles but they have been tricked or kidnapped back to Saudi Arabia. This Prince was advocating for the removal of the Crown Prince as recently as March 23, 2018.

https://www.middleeastmonit...

And he asserted that he receives emails and other forms of communications from disaffected family members and the security services desiring for a change to be made.

Sixth, I noticed this week in the news that Crown Prince "MBS" has consolidated his control further this week by taking operational control of the construction and cyber security industries in the country. 35% of the Bin Laden group was basically stolen. I watched an interview of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal after his release from detention and he was clearly shaken. He was playing a confidence game where everything would go back to normal and mention how the Bin Laden group was back working on his projects. Then this? 35% gone overnight. Cyber security crack down or internet crackdown coming in Saudi Arabia?

Seventh, there is no way that MBS approved the recent arrest of the feminist. Not after his carefully cultured PR campaign in the United States.

Eight, where's Waldo?

Finally, here is what I find so fascinating. The KIng of Saudi Arabia is reported to have dementia. Unfortunately, I have a great deal of experience with this dreadful disease. My stepfather. 16 years. There is no King in charge of Saudi Arabia. In fact, if MBS was killed like I believe there is no legitimate line to the next ruler. Survival of the Fittest.

Here is my speculation. Al-Qaeda will be the cover story. Crown Prince MBS was killed by members of the Royal Family and other powerful individuals he made enemies with in his short rule.

The Royal family members who supported MBS are furious at Germany for the above stated reasons and lashing out in all directions. Threatening to invade Qatar if Russia provides them the S-400. I believe even President Trump's bizarre threat to put huge tariffs on German luxury automobiles because the German public doesn't want to buy crappy American cars like the Chevy Impala is his frustration over one of his essential architects on the plan to change regime's in Iran being eliminated.

A lot of torture and indiscriminate arrest is going on at this very moment in Saudi Arabia. The family appears split and trust lost. Time will tell.

FB Ali -> Harlan Easley , 2 hours ago
Thank you for that excellent rundown of events. I tend to agree with your "speculation".

It would appear that there's no one in charge in SA at the moment. One can now expect a period of confusion, and lots of infighting between various factions trying to assert dominance, or just survive.

Considering MbS's policies, I think his exit is better for the Middle East. His tilt of SA policy towards the US and Israel is likely to be reversed.

Vicky SD -> Harlan Easley , 4 hours ago
All you need to know is that Mr. Media Roadshow decided overnight to shun video cameras, and not come out for Pompeo. The guy is dead as a door knob. He made way too many enemies during the forced corporate retreat he hosted at the Ritz.
EEngineer -> FB Ali , 17 hours ago
This is news to me. How big do you think the resulting power struggle would be if MbS was killed or incapacitated? I can envision outcomes that range from 2nd page news all the way up to Archduke Ferdinand grade but I don't have any feel for the probabilities.

If true, would it cause you to see the events of the last month in the region in a different light?

disqus_f5ibuyVBnZ -> FB Ali , 4 hours ago
Brigadier,

With MBS dead, how will Saudi react to MBS's previous Israel's right to exist scenario, along with Jerusalem being declared Israel's capital and the embassy move by DT?

How much longer will the Saudi and international press be able to remain silent on this?

Who do you think will now ascend the Saudi throne as heir apparent?

J.

SurfaceBook -> FB Ali , 8 hours ago
FB Ali , sir , it is so hard to get info in the AQ Attack that allegedly mortally wound MBS.. as for the shooting reported as a wayward drone , i recall this video (anyone can confirm the skyline if this is saudi city near palace ?) , the gunfire last for long time , far too long to be guards firing on a drone.

myself , i think the attack succeed in wounding and ultimately kill the prince , otherwise why no public appearance at all ? ( if i recall , muslim have to be buried no more than 24 hours after death so that's why i assume he was wounded at first and the medical team failed to keep him alive)

do you think this is the 'blowback' from the massive shakedown that the prince did to his seniors ?

Play Hide
Bill Herschel , 18 hours ago
Has DT done a single thing that has helped Israel? I would say no. In Assad's interview with RT he pointed out that the "opposition" first attacked Syria's air defenses at the beginning of the "civil war". Hillary wanted a "no-fly zone" over Syria. All that's missing is Victoria Nuland.

Your post vividly depicts how isolated Israel has become. I reiterate DT has done nothing to help Israel and everything to harm it. One is permitted to ask what's going on.

EEngineer -> Bill Herschel , 3 hours ago
The playground version: The neocons and Netanyahu think they're playing Trump, who in turn thinks he's use them. MbS wanted to be one of the cool kids and tried to get in on the action and might have gotten himself dead in the process.

All the while Putin and the SCO crew wait and play for time as they tangle each other up into an ever larger mess of their own making hoping to avoid, or minimize, whatever conflict is necessary to get them all to accept the coming multi-polar world order.

Perhaps in the future when they make a movie about this period it will be called "A Deal Too Far".

/sarcasm

Pat Lang Mod -> Bill Herschel , 6 hours ago
The Israelis are quite pleased with him, but then, it is true tht they are short sighted fools.

[May 31, 2018] Is Saudi Arabia's 32-Year-Old Crown Prince Dead? by Sissi Cao

May be he was just wounded and recovering. To hide the death is tricky politically and usually is not done for that long.
Notable quotes:
"... Last week, the Iranian newspaper Kayhan ..."
May 25, 2018 | observer.com

Also "However, a week after the coup speculations, the Crown Prince, along with Saudi King Salman, was seen at the opening ceremony of a huge entertainment resort Qiddiya – an ambitious multi-billion dollar project that is expected to include a Six Flags theme park, water parks, motor sports, cultural events and vacation homes." Sputnik International

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the 32-year-old media-savvy leader of the oil kingdom, has been unnaturally quiet recently, so much so that some in the Middle East media couldn't help but wonder if he is dead.

Bin Salman hasn't been seen in the public eye since his meeting with the Spanish royal family in on April 12. On April 21, heavy gunfire was heard near a royal palace in Riyadh, the kingdom's capital. Although Saudi Arabia's state news agency claimed it was a security force shooting down a toy drone that had gotten too close to the royal property, some wondered if the gunfire was in fact a coup led by Saudi royals trying to topple King Salman, Bin Salman's father.

Some of Saudi Arabia's enemies were pretty sure.

Last week, the Iranian newspaper Kayhan reported that the Crown Prince was hit by two bullets during the attack and may actually be dead, citing "a secret service report sent to the senior officials of an unnamed Arab state."

"There is plenty of evidence to suggest that the absence of nearly 30 days of Muhammad bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, is due to an incident which is being hidden from the public," the daily paper claimed.

To add credence to the speculation, Kayhan pointed out that Bin Salman was not seen on camera when the new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Riyadh in late April, while his father, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir were photographed.

[May 29, 2018] There's No Getting Around Iranian Sanctions by Irina Slav

Notable quotes:
"... By Irina Slav, a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry. Originally published at OilPrice ..."
May 29, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

By Irina Slav, a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry. Originally published at OilPrice

"I personally think none of us will be able to get around it," Vitol's chief executive Ian Taylor said last week, commenting on the effects that renewed U.S. sanctions against Iran will have on the oil industry.

The sanctions, to go into effect later in the year, have already started to bite. French Total, for one, announced earlier this month it will suspend all work on the South Pars gas field unless it receives a waiver from the U.S. Treasury Department -- something rather unlikely to happen. The French company has a lot of business in the United States and cannot afford to lose its access to the U.S. financial system. So, unless the EU strikes back at Washington and somehow manages to snag a waiver for its largest oil company, Total will be pulling out of Iran.

Other supermajors have not dared enter the country, so there will be no other pullouts of producers, but related industries will be affected, too, in the absence of a strong EU reaction to the sanctions. For example, Boeing and Airbus will both have their licenses for doing business in Iran revoked, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said , which will cost them some US$40 billion -- the combined value of contracts that the two aircraft makers had won in Iran.

Tanker owners are also taking the cautious approach. They are watching the situation closely, anticipating Europe's move, but acknowledging that the reinstatement could have "significant ramifications" for the maritime transport industry, as per the International Group of PI & Clubs, which insures 90 percent of the global tanker fleet.

Everyone is waiting for Europe to make its move even as European companies in Iran are beginning to prepare their exit from the country. Everyone remembers the previous sanctions, apparently, and they don't want to be caught off guard. But the signals from Europe are for now positive for these companies, of which there are more than a hundred .

Earlier this month, an adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron said that Europe's response to the thread of U.S. sanctions on Iran will be "an important test of sovereignty." Indeed, unlike the last time there were sanctions against Iran, the European Union did all it could to save the nuclear deal and has signaled it will continue to uphold it.

While some doubt there is a lot the EU can do against U.S. sanctions, there is one 1996 law dubbed a blocking statute that will ban European companies from complying with U.S. sanctions, which would put companies such as Total between a rock and a hard place.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said two weeks ago the commission will amend the statute to include the U.S. sanctions again Iran and that the amendments should be completed before the first round of sanctions kicks in in early August.

Many observers believe that if the sanctions are only limited to the U.S. and no other signatory to the nuclear deal joins them, the effect will be limited as well. As McKinsey analyst Elif Kutsal told Rigzone, "Market fundamentals are not expected to change structurally given that Iran doesn't export crude oil or refined products to the U.S. and exports go mainly to Europe (20 percent) and Asia Pacific (80 percent). Therefore, if the sanctions are only limited to the United States, then this could cause short-term volatility in prices until a new/revised agreement framework is put in place."

And this is where Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei scored a goal: He demanded that the European Union provide guarantees it will continue to buy Iranian crude. If it doesn't, he said, Iran will restart its nuclear program. Now, if this happens, the EU will not have much choice but to join the sanctions, and then hundreds of thousands of barrels of Iranian crude could be cut off from global markets.

However, even this will result in only a temporary decline in supplies, according to Kutsal, and others that believe that Asian imports from Iran will offset the effect from the U.S. sanctions. According to this camp, the only thing that can unleash the full effect of sanctions is the UN joining the sanction push against Iran.

[May 29, 2018] The Saudi Lobby s Scheme to Destroy the Iran Deal by By William D. Hartung and Ben Freeman

May 23, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

They gave Obama their tepid approval, then poured millions into a three-year campaign to kill it -- and won.

By William D. Hartung and Ben Freeman • Benjamin Netanyahu's April 30 presentation accusing Iran of lying about its nuclear program was clearly aimed at a Western audience, and at one man in particular -- Donald Trump. Trump was already inclined to violate and exit the multi-party deal to block Iran's path to a nuclear weapon, but Netanyahu's presentation offered a timely addition to the administration's rhetorical arsenal. His PowerPoint performance, filled with misleading assertions and stale information dressed up as new revelations, was referenced by Trump as part of the justification for abandoning the nuclear deal.

While this garnered headlines, another U.S. ally -- Saudi Arabia -- had been orchestrating a quieter but equally effective lobbying and public relations push to dismantle the deal. The Saudis' arguments were used just as much, if not more, by Trump in justifying his decision for the U.S. to walk away from a carefully crafted agreement that even some of his own military leaders had acknowledged was working.

The Saudi lobby's push began long before the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was formally announced on July 14, 2015. In fact, Saudi lobbyists had been working behind the scenes in the U.S. for years to ensure that the Kingdom's concerns were incorporated into any deal Washington would agree to with Iran -- if there was to be a deal at all.

In total, the Christian Science Monitor found that Saudi Arabia spent $11 million dollars on Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA)-registered firms in 2015, and "much of this spending relates to Iran." They were also assembling former policymakers like Senator Norm Coleman, whose FARA disclosure mentions his work on "limiting Iranian nuclear capability." More recently, Coleman penned an op-ed in The Hill applauding Trump for leaving the deal without disclosing that he was being paid by the Saudi government.

Despite their strong opposition to any deal with Iran, however, many of the Saudis' concerns were ultimately addressed by the JCPOA, specifically their demands that "snapback" provisions be incorporated to quickly reinstitute sanctions if Iran violated the agreement and that inspectors have access to military and other suspect sites. Above all, the Saudis wanted an assurance that the deal would prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. The agreement provided this and President Obama guaranteed it. This led to what many had thought impossible -- Saudi Arabia supporting the Iran deal . Obama sealed the grudging support of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States in a May 2015 meeting at Camp David where he offered "reassurances" that the deal would not jeopardize their security, underscored by a promise to sell them even more weaponry.

But Saudi support for the deal was tepid and ephemeral at best. While publicly supporting it, the Saudis and their lobbyists in D.C. were quietly working to undermine it. Their arguments largely centered on two points: that the funds freed up by the deal would underwrite Iran's continued support for terrorist groups, and that the deal would do nothing to halt Iran's ballistic missile program.

While more than two dozen D.C. lobbying and public relations firms working for Saudi interests have registered under FARA since the U.S. agreed to the Iran deal, none has been more aggressively pushing these anti-Iran talking points than the MSLGroup (which acquired long-serving Saudi client Qorvis Communications in 2014). The MSLGroup, which has been paid more than $6 million dollars by the Saudis just since the U.S. agreed to the Iran deal, has distributed a variety of "informational materials" (formerly called propaganda ) on each of these topics, including a five-page fact sheet on " Iranian Aggression in Yemen ," and a press release on Iran being the " biggest state sponsor of terrorism ," among many others. And of course, the MSLGroup wasn't alone in spreading anti-Iran propaganda on behalf of the Saudi regime. For example, as recently as March 2018, the Glover Park Group distributed information on Iran's "region," and Hogan Lovells distributed " facts about the Houthis and Iran ," with a section on Iran's ballistic missiles.

With these talking points in hand, the Saudis saw an opportunity in the election of the neophyte Donald Trump to up the ante on Iran, and they invested heavily in courting him. Their efforts paid off handsomely as Trump made his first overseas visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, initially supported them in their spat with Qatar (until he learned the U.S. has a rather large military base in Qatar), kept U.S. military support and bombs flowing for a Saudi-led campaign in Yemen that has cost more than 10,000 civilians their lives, and agreed to sell them billions of dollars in additional U.S. weaponry of all sorts, from more munitions to a costly missile defense system. But Saudi Arabia still wanted more -- they wanted the U.S. out of the Iran deal.

While Saudi Arabia's most unlikely ally in this cause, Israel, took a very outspoken approach to move the president, which culminated in Netanyahu's misleading presentation, the Saudis used their well-financed lobbying machine to disseminate their message into the D.C. bloodstream. Their primary talking points found their way to the president's ears and became routine features of his justification for abandoning the deal. The White House statement justifying leaving the Iran deal is littered with Saudi lobby talking points, including that "The JCPOA failed to deal with the threat of Iran's missile program," and Iran "continues to fund terrorist proxies In Yemen, the regime has escalated the conflict and used the Houthis as a proxy to attack other nations." The president's remarks on the day he announced that the U.S. was abandoning the deal are also rife with language that could easily have been lifted from a Saudi-financed "fact sheet." In fact, Trump's second sentence, "the Iranian regime is the leading state sponsor of terrorism," is nearly verbatim off of an anti-Iran talking point distributed by the MSLGroup.

Why did the Saudis want the U.S. to abandon the Iran deal? A New York Times analysis identified what is probably the primary reason -- a fear that the deal would be the first step towards a U.S. rapprochement with Iran that would undermine the Saudi regime's power in the region in general and its campaign against Iran in particular. "Exiting the deal, with or without a plan, is fine with the Saudis," the Times wrote. "They see the accord as a dangerous distraction from the real problem of confronting Iran around the region -- a problem that Saudi Arabia believes will be solved only by leadership change in Iran."

Former State Department official Jeremy Shapiro underscored this point when he noted that the Saudis and their Gulf allies "believe they are in this existential conflict with the Iranian regime, and nuclear weapons are a small part of that conflict . If the deal opened an avenue for better relations between the United States and Iran, that would be a disaster for the Saudis," he said. "They need to ensure a motivation for American pressure against Iran that will last even after this administration."

One disquieting outcome of the trashing of the Iran nuclear deal is that Saudi Arabia has threatened to acquire a nuclear weapon of its own if the end of the agreement leads Iran to revive its program. This is not the first time Saudi leaders have made such threats. Just after Trump announced the U.S. would be leaving the deal, the Saudi foreign minister said that if Iran now builds a nuclear weapon his country "will do everything we can" to follow suit. So on top of its implications for increased conventional conflict in the region, the end of U.S. participation in the Iran deal could spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East -- an outcome that would have been far less likely if U.S. participation in the Iran deal had been maintained.

The potential for a Mideast nuclear arms race is yet another example of the disastrous consequences of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reckless foreign policy, which includes everything from his regime's brutal, counterproductive intervention in Yemen, to the Saudi-led effort to impose a blockade on Qatar, to its promotion of regime change in Iran -- preferably carried out by the United States.

In the wake of the U.S. pullout from the Iran deal, we can expect the Saudi lobby, working in concert with administration allies ranging from Jared Kushner to newly appointed national security advisor John Bolton, to double down in its efforts to promote these ill-advised, dangerous directions for U.S. foreign policy in the region. Countering Riyadh's blatant influence peddling should be part of an expanded effort to distance the United States from its increasingly risky, counterproductive relationship with Saudi Arabia. If Mohammed bin Salman's aggressive policies -- and Saudi advocacy for them in Washington -- continue, Riyadh is one "friend" the United States should consider doing without.

William D. Hartung is the director of the Arms and Security Project at the Center for International Policy, and Ben Freeman directs the Center's Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative.

[May 27, 2018] Russia And Turkey Reach Deal On Southern Stream Gas Pipeline, Infuriate Washington Zero Hedge

May 27, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Russia And Turkey Reach Deal On "Southern Stream" Gas Pipeline, Infuriate Washington

by Tyler Durden Sun, 05/27/2018 - 11:00 26 SHARES

One and a half years after Russia and Turkey signed a deal to build the strategic "Turkish Stream" gas pipeline in October 2016 , putting an end to a highly contentious period in Russia-Turkish relation which in late 2015 hit rock bottom after the NATO-member state shot down a Russian jet over Syria, on Saturday Russian state energy giant Gazprom and the Turkish government reached a deal on the construction of the land-based part of the Turkish Stream branch that will bring Russian gas to European consumers.

According to Reuters , the two counterparts signed a protocol that would allow the construction, which was stalled by a legal rift over gas prices, to go forward. Gazprom and Turkey's state-owned BOTAS agreed on the terms and conditions of the project, Gazprom said in a statement , adding that the deal "allows to move to practical steps for the implementation of the project." The actual construction would be carried out by a joint venture called TurkAkim Gaz Tasima which will be owned by Gazprom and BOTAS in equal shares, Gazprom said.

Earlier on Saturday, Turkish president Erdogan said that Gazprom and BOTAS resolved a long-running legal dispute over import prices in 2015-2016, and as a result Turkey would gain $1 billion as part of the gas-price settlement reached with Gazprom, in which Turkey and the Russian natgas giant agreed on a 10.25% price discount for gas supplied by Russia in 2015 and 2016.

"We agreed on a 10.25% reduction in the price of natural gas in 2015-2016," Erdogan announced while speaking at a rally on Saturday. "We got our discount. We get about $ 1 billion worth of our rights before the election," the Turkish President said, as cited by Anadolu Agency.

BOTAS had refused to approve the building of the land-based part of the pipeline until the import price issue was resolved. Until now, it only permitted Gazprom to construct the undersea part of the line. The construction is currently underway.

Russia and Turkey officially agreed on the project, which consists of two branches, in October 2016. The first branch will deliver gas to Turkish consumers, while the second one will bring it to the countries in southern and south-western Europe. The European leg is expected to decrease Russia's dependence on transit through Ukraine. Each of the lines has a maximum capacity of 15.75 billion cubic meters a year.

Gazprom finished the construction of the deep-water part of the first line of the Turkish Stream in April. The first Russian gas could start flowing through both legs of the Turkish Stream by December 2019.

The greenlighting of the Turkish Stream project is sure to infuriate the US which previously announced it was considering sanctions of European firms that would participate in the Nothern Stream Russian gas pipeline.

President Trump went as far as to threaten Angela Merkel two weeks ago , telling her to either drop the Russian gas pipeline or the trade war with the US was set to begin.

How Europe reacts to US threats involving the Northern Stream and, soon, the Turkish Stream, will determine whether Europe will once again find itself a subservient vassal state to US military and energy lobbying powers, or if Brussels will side with Putin in this growing conflict, resulting in an unprecedented breach within the so-called " democratic west. "

[May 27, 2018] Turning on Russia by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

Notable quotes:
"... By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould ..."
"... Copyright © 2018 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved. This article first appeared on Invisible History. ..."
"... Coming Next, Part 2: The post WWII global strategy of the neocons has been shaped chiefly by Russophobia against the Soviet Union and now Russia ..."
"... * Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story , Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice . Visit their websites at invisiblehistory and grailwerk .com ..."
May 27, 2018 | www.defenddemocracy.press

Turning on Russia 11/05/2018

In this first of a two-part series, Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould trace the origins of the neoconservative targeting of Russia.

By Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould
April 29.2018

The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel last September reported that, "Stanley Fischer, the 73–year-old vice chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, is familiar with the decline of the world's rich. He spent his childhood and youth in the British protectorate of Rhodesia before going to London in the early 1960s for his university studies. There, he experienced first-hand the unravelling of the British Empire Now an American citizen, Fischer is currently witnessing another major power taking its leave of the world stage the United States is losing its status as a global hegemonic power, he said recently. The U.S. political system could take the world in a very dangerous direction "

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the creation of the so called Wolfowitz Doctrine in 1992 during the administration of George Herbert Walker Bush, the United States claimed the mantle of the world's first and only. Unipower with the intention of crushing any nation or system that would oppose it in the future. The New World Order, foreseen just a few short years ago, becomes more disorderly by the day, made worse by varying degrees of incompetence and greed emanating from Berlin, London, Paris and Washington.

As a further sign of the ongoing seismic shocks rocking America's claim to leadership, by the time Fischer's interview appeared in the online version of the Der Spiegel , he had already announced his resignation as vice chair of the Federal Reserve -- eight months ahead of schedule. If anyone knows about the decline and fall of empires it is the "globalist" and former Bank of Israel president, Stanley Fischer. Not only did he experience the unravelling of the British Empire as a young student in London, he directly assisted in the wholesale dismantling of the Soviet Empire during the 1990s.

As an admitted product of the British Empire and point man for its long term imperial aims, that makes Fischer not just empire's Angel of Death, but its rag and bone man.

Alongside a handful of Harvard economists led by Jonathan Hay, Larry Summers, Andrei Shleifer, and Jeffry Sachs, in the "Harvard Project," plus Anatoly Chubais, the chief Russian economic adviser, Fischer helped throw 100 million Russians into poverty overnight – privatizing, or as some would say piratizing – the Russian economy. Yet, Americans never got the real story because a slanted anti-Russia narrative covered the true nature of the robbery from beginning to end.

As described by public policy scholar and anthropologist Janine R. Wedel in her 2009 book Shadow Elite: "Presented in the West as a fight between enlightenment Reformers trying to move the economy forward through privatization, and retrograde Luddites who opposed them, this story misrepresented the facts. The idea or goal of privatization was not controversial, even among communists the Russian Supreme Soviet, a communist body, passed two laws laying the groundwork for privatization. Opposition to privatization was rooted not in the idea itself but in the particular privatization program that was implemented, the opaque way in which it was put into place, and the use of executive authority to bypass the parliament."

Intentionally set up to fail for Russia and the Russian people under the cover of a false narrative, she continues "The outcome rendered privatization 'a de facto fraud,' as one economist put it, and the parliamentary committee that had judged the Chubais scheme to 'offer fertile ground for criminal activity' was proven right."

If Fischer, a man who helped bring about a de facto criminal-privatization-fraud to post-empire Russia says the U.S. is on a dangerous course, the time has arrived for post-empire Americans to ask what role he played in putting the U.S. on that dangerous course. Little known to Americans is the blunt force trauma Fischer and the "prestigious" Harvard Project delivered to Russia under the leadership of Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. According to The American Conservative's James Carden "As the Center for Economic and Policy Research noted back in 2011 'the IMF's intervention in Russia during Fischer's tenure led to one of the worst losses in output in history, in the absence of war or natural disaster.' Indeed, one Russian observer compared the economic and social consequences of the IMF's intervention to what one would see in the aftermath of a medium-level nuclear attack."

Neither do most Americans know that it was President Jimmy Carter's national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1970s grand plan for the conquest of the Eurasian heartland that boomeranged to terrorize Europe and America in the 21 st century. Brzezinski spent much of his life undermining the Communist Soviet Union and then spent the rest of it worrying about its resurgence as a Czarist empire under Vladimir Putin. It might be unfair to say that hating Russia was his only obsession. But a common inside joke during his tenure as the President's top national security officer was that he couldn't find Nicaragua on a map.

If anyone provided the blueprint for the United States to rule in a unipolar world following the Soviet Union's collapse it was Brzezinski. And if anyone could be said to represent the debt driven financial system that fueled America's post-Vietnam Imperialism, it's Fischer. His departure should have sent a chill down every neoconservative's spine. Their dream of a New World Order has once again ground to a halt at the gates of Moscow.

Whenever the epitaph for the abbreviated American century is written it will be sure to feature the iconic role the neoconservatives played in hastening its demise. From the chaos created by Vietnam they set to work restructuring American politics, finance and foreign policy to their own purposes. Dominated at the beginning by Zionists and Trotskyists, but directed by the Anglo/American establishment and their intelligence elites, the neoconservatives' goal, working with their Chicago School neoliberal partners, was to deconstruct the nation-state through cultural co-optation and financial subversion and to project American power abroad. So far they have been overwhelmingly successful to the detriment of much of the world.

From the end of the Second World War through the 1980s the focus of this pursuit was on the Soviet Union, but since the Soviet collapse in 1991, their focus has been on dismantling any and all opposition to their global dominion.

Pentagon Capitalism

Shady finance, imperial misadventures and neoconservatism go hand in hand. The CIA's founders saw themselves as partners in this enterprise and the defense industry welcomed them with open arms. McGill University economist R.T. Naylor, author of 1987's Hot Money and the Politics of Debt , described how "Pentagon Capitalism" had made the Vietnam War possible by selling the Pentagon's debt to the rest of the world.

"In effect, the US Marines had replaced Meyer Lansky's couriers , and the European central banks arranged the 'loan-back,'" Naylor writes. "When the mechanism was explained to the late [neoconservative] Herman Kahn – lifeguard of the era's chief 'think tank' and a man who popularized the notion it was possible to emerge smiling from a global conflagration – he reacted with visible delight. Kahn exclaimed excitedly, 'We've pulled off the biggest ripoff in history! We've run rings around the British Empire.'" In addition to their core of ex-Trotskyist intellectuals early neoconservatives could count among their ranks such establishment figures as James Burnham, father of the Cold War Paul Nitze, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson, Jeane Kirkpatrick and Brzezinski himself.

From the beginning of their entry into the American political mainstream in the 1970s it was known that their emergence could imperil democracy in America and yet Washington's more moderate gatekeepers allowed them in without much of a fight.

Peter Steinfels' 1979 classic The Neoconservatives: The men who are changing America's politics begins with these fateful words. "THE PREMISES OF THIS BOOK are simple. First, that a distinct and powerful political outlook has recently emerged in the United States. Second, that this outlook, preoccupied with certain aspects of American life and blind or complacent towards others, justifies a politics which, should it prevail, threatens to attenuate and diminish the promise of American democracy."

But long before Steinfels' 1979 account, the neoconservative's agenda of inserting their own interests ahead of America's was well underway, attenuating U.S. democracy, undermining détente and angering America's NATO partners that supported it. According to the distinguished State Department Soviet specialist Raymond Garthoff, détente had been under attack by right-wing and military-industrial forces ( led by Senator "Scoop" Jackson ) from its inception. But America's ownership of that policy underwent a shift following U.S. intervention on behalf of Israel during the 1973 October war. Garthoff writes in his detailed volume on American-Soviet relations Détente and Confrontation , "To the allies the threat [to Israel] did not come from the Soviet Union, but from unwise actions by the United States, taken unilaterally and without consultation. The airlift [of arms] had been bad enough. The U.S. military alert of its forces in Europe was too much."

In addition to the crippling Arab oil embargo that followed, the crisis of confidence in U.S. decision-making nearly produced a mutiny within NATO. Garthoff continues, "The United States had used the alert to convert an Arab-Israeli conflict, into which the United States had plunged, into a matter of East-West confrontation. Then it had used that tension as an excuse to demand that Europe subordinate its own policies to a manipulative American diplomatic gamble over which they had no control and to which they had not even been privy, all in the name of alliance unity."

In the end the U.S. found common cause with its Cold War Soviet enemy by imposing a cease-fire accepted by both Egypt and Israel thereby confirming the usefulness of détente. But as related by Garthoff this success triggered an even greater effort by Israel's "politically significant supporters" in the U.S. to begin opposing any cooperation with the Soviet Union, at all.

Garthoff writes, "The United States had pressed Israel into doing precisely what the Soviet Union (as well as the United States) had wanted: to halt its advance short of complete encirclement of the Egyptian Third Army east of Suez Thus they [Israel's politically significant supporters] saw the convergence of American-Soviet interests and effective cooperation in imposing a cease-fire as a harbinger of greater future cooperation by the two superpowers in working toward a resolution of the Israeli-Arab-Palestinian problem."

Copyright © 2018 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved. This article first appeared on Invisible History.

Coming Next, Part 2: The post WWII global strategy of the neocons has been shaped chiefly by Russophobia against the Soviet Union and now Russia

* Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History: Afghanistan's Untold Story , Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice . Visit their websites at invisiblehistory and grailwerk .com

Published at consortiumnews.com

[May 23, 2018] https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-qatari-fm-says-building-good-relations-with-visiting-u-s-jews-1.5785713

May 23, 2018 | www.haaretz.com

Qatar's foreign minister reacted publicly on Thursday to the recent wave of visits by leaders of U.S. Jewish organizations to his country at the invitation of the ruling Emir.


It seems the Qataris have figured out the best way to influence American foreign policy is to appeal to the real power brokers in the U.S..

The Sinister Reason Behind Qatar's Wooing of the Jews
https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-the-sinister-reason-behind-qatar-s-wooing-of-the-jews-1.5804517

Doha wants to influence D.C. elites. But rather than targeting Congress or the media, they're lavishly, and disproportionately, focusing on right-wing, pro-Israel Jews


One demand which the Qataris immediately acceded to was the suppression of the al Jezeera expose on the jewish lobby in American politics.

Israel Lobby Pressures Qatar to Kill Al Jazeera Documentary
https://www.richardsilverstein.com/2018/02/08/israel-lobby-pressures-qatar-kill-al-jazeera-documentary/

Two extraordinary events have come together to place Al Jazeera in a vise-like squeeze that may result in the death of a major TV documentary expose about the power and operations of the Israel Lobby in the U.S. The same investigative team ... created the remarkable four-part film, The Lobby, about the UK Israel Lobby.

and
The new documentary follows a similar script. Al Jazeera recruited someone to infiltrate various Lobby organizations based in Washington...

and
...Haaretz published a story acknowledging that almost all of these American Jewish supplicants came to Qatar for one very special reason (there may have been others, but this one was key). They wanted the Al Jazeera documentary killed. They knew if it was aired it would make them look as shabby, venal, and crude as the UK series did.

Posted by: pantaraxia | May 22, 2018 11:03:42 AM | 6

[May 23, 2018] the unbalanced evolution of homo sapiens What happens when a country decides to decouple itself from the US-Saudi axis of evil

May 23, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

What happens when a country decides to decouple itself from the US/Saudi axis of evil globinfo freexchange
T he role of Qatar and Saudi Arabia in the Middle East chaos is quite well known . Recall that in a letter of the Podesta email series, John Podesta admitted that both Qatar and Saudi Arabia we re helping ISIS. Podesta also mentioned that the US should exercise pressure to these countries in order to stop doing it: " ... we need to use our diplomatic and more traditional intelligence assets to bring pressure on the governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which are providing clandestine financial and logistic support to ISIL and other radical Sunni groups in the region. "
Of course Hillary Clinton wouldn't do anything about this problem too, as in another letter of the Podesta email series, it was revealed that Bill Clinton was receiving "expensive gifts" from the Qataris!
As reported by Antimedia , in 2009 Qatar proposed a pipeline to run through Syria and Turkey to export Saudi gas. Assad rejected the proposal and instead formed an agreement with Iran and Iraq to construct a pipeline to the European market that would cut Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar out of the route entirely. Since, Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia have been staunch backers of the opposition seeking to topple Assad. Collectively, they have invested billions of dollars, lent weapons, encouraged the spread of fanatical ideology, and helped smuggle fighters across their borders.
The Iran-Iraq pipeline will strengthen Iranian influence in the region and undermine their rival, Saudi Arabia -- the other main OPEC producer. Given the ability to transport gas to Europe without going through Washington's allies, Iran will hold the upper-hand and will be able to negotiate agreements that exclude the U.S. dollar completely.
Yet, less than a year ago, a crisis erupted between 'unholy' allies, apparently because Qatar has chosen to change camp and proceed into a deeper approach with Iran.
As reported by Guardian , Saudi Arabia and its allies have issued a threatening 13-point ultimatum to Qatar as the price for lifting a two-week trade and diplomatic embargo of the country, in a marked escalation of the Gulf's worst diplomatic dispute in decades. The onerous list of demands includes stipulations that Doha close the broadcaster al-Jazeera, drastically scale back cooperation with Iran , remove Turkish troops from Qatar's soil, end contact with groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and submit to monthly external compliance checks. Qatar has been given 10 days to comply with the demands or face unspecified consequences.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/qj7RXa9bXPM


Then, apparently, Rex Tillerson tried to persuade Qatar to stay in the unholy alliance and move away from Iran a day after wrapping up discussions with the king of Saudi Arabia and other officials from Arab countries lined up against Qatar.
We can tell now that Qatar has not changed stance and chosen to continue its approach with the winning alliance in the Syrian battlefield. We have the first signs showing that the US empire and its allies in the Middle East will move against Qatar, beginning with a typical first step: propaganda war.
A Pentagon "propagandist," who previously headed a company that was paid half a billion dollars to produce fake terrorist videos in Iraq, was hired by a Dubai based company to create a film accusing Qatar of links to terrorism , the Bureau of Investigative Journalism has revealed.
Charles Andreae, the CEO of Andreae & Associates which was contracted to produce the film, used to work for PR firm Bell Pottinger, the UK PR firm that was payed $540 million dollars to create fake terrorist videos in Iraq.
The firm was employed to produce the anti-Qatari film amidst a diplomatic row in which the Saudi and UAE governments cut ties with Doha, which it accused of supporting terrorism. Qatar has strongly denied the accusation and accused its neighbours of fabricating stories. US intelligence agencies have since confirmed that the UAE orchestrated the hacking of Qatari government news and social media sites to justify its unprecedented attack against Qatar.
According to the Bureau, Andreae was given over $500,000 to produce a six-part film linking Qatar with global terrorism. The film, entitled "Qatar: A Dangerous Alliance," features a number of neo-conservative pundits making the UAE and Saudi case against Qatar in a 37-minute video.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/UeUMmpYZJtQ


Washington's double standards and hypocrisy are quite evident in this case too. After this crisis between allies erupted, a number of US officials immediately launched a series of statements through which they depicted Qatar as the sole supporter of terrorist groups in the Middle East. Again, Saudi Arabia, the most authoritarian regime in the region and probably the biggest supporter of jihadist extremists, was miraculously vanished from their radar and, naturally, the radar of the Western corporate media.
In case Qatar will not compromise and keep walking the path towards decoupling itself from the US/Saudi axis of evil, the next steps will be a new series of upgraded, Iranian-type sanctions, or even a military invasion as the last option. The only thing that can save Qatar for now is the fact that it hosts the largest US military base in the Middle East .

[May 20, 2018] Saudi Crown Prince Absent from Cadets Graduation Ceremony

May 20, 2018 | en.farsnews.com

The Saudi defense ministry announced in a statement on Sunday that Riyadh ruler Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdolaziz has attended the ceremony instead of bin Salman.

The statement declined to comment on the reason of bin Salman's absence while naturally the defense minister should participate in such ceremonies.

[May 20, 2018] Daily Arab Intel Says Saudi Crown Prince Likely Killed in Coup

He didn't appear for any of the Ramadan events either, which is very odd."
Notable quotes:
"... A growing number of videos surfaced the media at the time displaying that a heavy gunfire erupted around King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's palace in the capital, Riyadh. ..."
"... Witnesses and residents of the neighborhoods near the palace said a coup was underway, adding that the soldiers attacking the palace were guided by footage and intel they were receiving from a drone flying over the palace. ..."
"... Saudi opposition members claimed that "a senior ground force officer has led a raid on the palace to kill the king and the crown prince". ..."
"... Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has witnessed a series of radical political changes over the past year as Mohammed bin Salman ousted his cousin as crown prince and jailed well-known princes in an anti-corruption purge. ..."
"... Moreover, bin Salman oversees social and economic reforms that have been censured by several powerful Wahhabi clerics. ..."
"... Notably, bin Salman made no media appearance during the April 28 visit of the newly-appointed US State Secretary Mike Pompeo to Riyadh, his first foreign trip as the top US diplomat. ..."
"... During his stay in Riyadh, Saudi media outlets published images of Pompeo's meetings with King Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir. ..."
May 20, 2018 | en.reseauinternational.net

According to the Persian-language newspaper, Keyhan, a secret service report sent to the senior officials of an unnamed Arab state disclosed that bin Salman has been hit by two bullets during the April 21 attack on his palace, adding that he might well be dead as he has never appeared in the public ever since.

Heavy gunfire was heard near the Saudi King's palace in Riyadh Saudi Arabia on April 21, while King Salman was taken to a US bunker at an airbase in the city.

A growing number of videos surfaced the media at the time displaying that a heavy gunfire erupted around King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's palace in the capital, Riyadh.

Reports said the king and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were evacuated to a bunker at an airbase in the city that is under the protection of the US troops.

While Saudi officials and media were quiet over the incident, there were contradicting reports over the incident. Witnesses and residents of the neighborhoods near the palace said a coup was underway, adding that the soldiers attacking the palace were guided by footage and intel they were receiving from a drone flying over the palace.

Saudi opposition members claimed that "a senior ground force officer has led a raid on the palace to kill the king and the crown prince".

Videos also showed that a growing number of armored vehicles were deployed around the palace. 'Bin Salman's special guard' then took charge of security in the capital. Riyadh's sky was then closed to all civil and military flights as military helicopters from 'Bin Salman's special guard' were flying over the palace.

Bin Salman was a man who previously often appeared before the media but his 27-day absence since the gunfire in Riyadh has raised questions about his health.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, has witnessed a series of radical political changes over the past year as Mohammed bin Salman ousted his cousin as crown prince and jailed well-known princes in an anti-corruption purge.

Moreover, bin Salman oversees social and economic reforms that have been censured by several powerful Wahhabi clerics.

Saudi Arabia is also embroiled in a long running conflict in its Southern neighbor Yemen, dubbed by the United Nations as the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Notably, bin Salman made no media appearance during the April 28 visit of the newly-appointed US State Secretary Mike Pompeo to Riyadh, his first foreign trip as the top US diplomat.

During his stay in Riyadh, Saudi media outlets published images of Pompeo's meetings with King Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.

This is while the state-run outlets used to publish images of meetings in Riyadh between bin Salman and former US secretary of state Rex Tillerson.

A few days after the April 21 incident, Saudi media published footage and images of bin Salman meeting several Saudi and foreign officials. But the date of the meetings could not be verified, so the release of the videos could be aimed at dispelling rumors about bin Salman's conditions.

It is not clear if bin Salman's disappearance is due to reasons such as him feeling threatened or being injured in the incident.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13970227000578

[May 20, 2018] Saudi political instability can further raise oil prices

May 17, 2018 | www.dailysabah.com
It has been almost a month since Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman made a public appearance, triggering questions whether the April 21 incidents at the Royal Palace had a role in his disappearance.

Several reports claimed that the security incident in April, what Saudi officials said was a result of a recreational drone flying near the king's palace in Riyadh, was indeed a palace coup attempt. Saudi Prince Salman was allegedly injured during the attempt, according to reports, mostly coming from Iran.

As a man who enjoys the public and media's eye, Salman's absence caught attention especially after he was not seen on camera during U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's first visit to Riyadh in late April.

The 32-year-old leader ousted his older cousin as crown prince last summer in a palace coup and then jailed senior royals as part of an anti-corruption sweep. Prominent clerics have also been detained in an apparent bid to silence dissent.

Those moves have helped Prince Mohammed consolidate his position in a country where power had been shared among senior princes for decades and religious figures exercised significant influence on policy.

But they have also fueled speculation about a possible backlash against the crown prince, who remains popular with Saudi Arabia's burgeoning youth population

[May 20, 2018] Germany responds to USA's ultimatum about Nord Stream 2 project

May 20, 2018 | www.veteranstoday.com

https://us-u.openx.net/w/1.0/pd?plm=6&ph=2857f3e0-a998-4d70-b5c1-b19a3d6766a1

"The US is looking for sales markets. We can understand this, and we are prepared to take effort to ensure this gas reaches Germany easier. Presently, however, it remains much more expensive than the gas delivered via the pipeline," the minister told ARD.

In addition, if the US does not change its tactics of behaviour and continues thinking only of its economic interests, then Europe will act similarly, the minister added.

Earlier, Us officials said that the United Stats may impose sanctions on the companies involved in the implementation of the Nord Stream 2 project. US Assistant Secretary of State Sandra Oudkirk said that Washington could consider retaliatory measures within the framework of Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. She explained the US position as follows: the construction of the gas pipeline will strengthen Europe's dependence on the Russian natural gas.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany regards the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as a safe economic project for Europe.

Nord Stream is an offshore natural gas pipeline from Vyborg in the Russian Federation to Greifswald in Germany that is owned and operated by Nord Stream AG. The project includes two parallel lines. The first line was laid by May 2011 and was inaugurated on 8 November 2011. The second line was laid in 2011-2012 and was inaugurated on 8 October 2012. At 1,222 kilometres (759 mi) in length, it is the longest sub-sea pipeline in the world, surpassing the Langeled pipeline. It has an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres (1.9 trillion cubic feet), but its capacity is planned to be doubled to 110 billion cubic metres (3.9 trillion cubic feet) by 2019, by laying two additional lines.

Source: Pravda Report

[May 20, 2018] Brussels Rises in Revolt Against Washington a Turning Point in the US-European Relationship

May 20, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

Sandra Oudkirk, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Energy, has just threatened to sanction the Europeans if they continue with the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project to bring gas in from Russia across the Baltic Sea. That country is also seen by the US as an adversary and its approach is by and large the same – to issue orders for Europe to adopt a confrontational policy, doing as it is told without asking too many questions.

Iran and Nord Stream 2 unite Moscow and Brussels in their opposition to this diktat. On May 17, Iran signed a provisional free-trade-zone agreement with a Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) that seeks to increase the current levels of trade valued at $2.7 billion. The deal lowers or abolishes customs duties. It also establishes a three-year process for reaching a permanent trade agreement. If Iran becomes a member of the group, it would expand its economic horizons beyond the Middle Eastern region. So, Europe and Russia are in the same boat, both holding talks with Iran on economic cooperation.

[May 13, 2018] Possibility of a new war in Middle East the shoot the oil prices to $200 frighten Germany

Notable quotes:
"... Several years ago Putin made a speech at the UN in favor of upholding International Law I thought at the time this "diplomatic statesmanship" was going to be Putin's way of bring Russia back into equal power with the Europeans and the US. Some have wondered and been asking about Putin not being as aggressive as he could be in defending Syria and Iran. Putin's holding off on tough talk/action could be amassing more power in the end. Putin comes off as the voice of sanity..exactly what the Europeans want to hear and see. ..."
May 13, 2018 | www.unz.com

renfro , May 12, 2018 at 6:05 am GMT

Several years ago Putin made a speech at the UN in favor of upholding International Law I thought at the time this "diplomatic statesmanship" was going to be Putin's way of bring Russia back into equal power with the Europeans and the US. Some have wondered and been asking about Putin not being as aggressive as he could be in defending Syria and Iran. Putin's holding off on tough talk/action could be amassing more power in the end. Putin comes off as the voice of sanity..exactly what the Europeans want to hear and see.

As Europe turns away from the US they turn to Putin.

If anyone remembers all the Jew rags making fun of "old Europe" during the Iraq war run up and urging that the US break with them as outdated relics no longer needed in the new modern age -- this is what it was all about -- separating the US from its traditional allies who were not as subservient to Israel as the US. So .now we are down to the Jew plan Europe and sanity vr the US Orange Clown and his allies of midget Nazi Israel, Saudi and the UAE.

http://theduran.com/germany-begs-russia-to-pick-up-the-torch-that-us-has-dropped/

Germany begs Russia to pick up the torch that US has dropped

"Germany's Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, who has a history of expressing anti Russian rhetoric relevant to Russia's presence in Syria as well as an alleged cyber attack on the German Foreign Ministry which Maas says that he 'has to assume stemmed from Russia', has turned an about face. He has traveled, for the first time, to Moscow to discuss international diplomacy, the Iran nuclear deal, peace talks on Ukraine, and Syria.

Maas met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, where he encouraged Russia to leverage its influence with Iran to help spur the Middle Eastern state in remaining committed to the nuclear deal, which Trump abandoned earlier in the week.

Germany's Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, who has a history of expressing anti Russian rhetoric relevant to Russia's presence in Syria as well as an alleged cyber attack on the German Foreign Ministry which Maas says that he 'has to assume stemmed from Russia', has turned an about face. He has traveled, for the first time, to Moscow to discuss international diplomacy, the Iran nuclear deal, peace talks on Ukraine, and Syria.

Maas met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, where he encouraged Russia to leverage its influence with Iran to help spur the Middle Eastern state in remaining committed to the nuclear deal, which Trump abandoned earlier in the week.

Maas then declared that Germany was interested in bringing back the peace talks on the Ukraine, together with other European partners. Maas also pointed out that the Syrian conflict can't be settled without Russia, before contributing a wreath to the tomb of the unknown soldier, which is a dedication to Russian soliders who died fighting the Germans in WW2.

Deutsche Welle reports:

Germany's top diplomat Heiko Maas and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov both called for the nuclear deal with Iran to be upheld on Thursday, during Maas' first official visit to Russia. The appeal marks a rare moment of unity between Moscow and Berlin just days after US walked out on the 2015 accord.

In Moscow, Maas urged Russia to influence Tehran and make it stick to the deal, which aims to limit Iran's alleged pursuit of nuclear weapons. The German foreign minister also said he was seeking details from the US on its plans for future sanctions against Iran
US President Donald Trump has shrugged off pressure from allies to keep the deal in place and called the accord "defective at its core." However, leaders of the UK, France, and Germany all contacted Iranian President Hasan Rouhani in the attempt to salvage the accord.

Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel called Rouhani on Thursday to reaffirm Germany's commitment to the deal "as long as Iran continues to fulfil its obligations," said Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert. Merkel also said she was ready to negotiate about Iran's ballistic missiles and involvement in Syria and Yemen.

Angela Merkel is also set to visit Russia next week.

Visiting Moscow on Thursday, Germany's top diplomat Maas suggested reviving the peace talks between Germany, France, Ukraine and Russia on the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Lavrov responded by saying Russia was "ready to consider" this offer.

Maas also called for "honest dialogue" with Moscow and for Russia to be included in global diplomacy, despite its differences with Berlin. Maas admitted that the conflict in Syria "cannot be solved without Russia."

The German diplomat also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, which is dedicated to the Soviet soldiers killed during World War II.

Also in a bid to get Russia to assume a leadership position relative to preserving the nuclear deal, and by extension, the European economy, Merkel got on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin, where he mutually voiced his concern over Trump's action, and where Merkel also came forward about the situation in Syria.

TASS reports:

BERLIN, May 11. /TASS/. Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier has confirmed that he will visit Moscow at the beginning of the next week, he said in an interview with German radio station Deutschlandfunk released on Friday.

"I will follow my colleague [German Foreign Minister Heiko] Maas, who attended negotiations in Moscow yesterday. I will be there on Monday and Tuesday, and Chancellor [Angela Merkel will visit Sochi -- TASS] during the week," Altmaier said.

continued,,,,,,

[May 04, 2018] In their March 15 letter, 39 US senators called on the Treasury and State Departments to utilize all the sanction tools at their disposal to fight the Nord Stream 2 project to bring cheap Russian gas to Europe.

May 04, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

In their March 15 letter , 39 US senators called on the Treasury and State Departments to utilize all the sanction tools at their disposal to fight the Nord Stream 2 project to bring cheap Russian gas to Europe. On March 29, US Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman told Russia's RBK TV that he cannot rule out the possibility that Russian assets in America could be seized over the Skripal case. If Washington goes that far, it will be pure highway robbery. And the response will not be long in coming. That interview took place right after the British parliament had announced an investigation into some money-laundering schemes allegedly associated with Russia. The UK government has unveiled its "Fusion Doctrine" to counter what it's calling Russian propaganda.

The US policy of making Europeans bow to pressure has been largely successful. The leading European powers -- the UK, Germany and France – -- are pushing to force the EU to impose new sanctions on Iran, in order to persuade the US not to pull out from the Iran nuclear deal. This is a last-minute attempt to keep the agreement in effect, as it is widely expected that President Trump will not certify it in May. Europeans may bow to American pressure in a bid to appease Washington, but Russia is also a party to the agreement, which cannot be scuttled without Moscow's consent. Adding additional conditions will violate the terms of the deal. It won't be supported internationally. If new Iran sanctions are introduced unilaterally by the West, the issue will become a bone of contention that will further worsen relations with Moscow.

[Apr 20, 2018] How about the West which has been trying to build a gas pipeline through Syria into Turkey to supply Europe with gas and break Russia's monopoly of European gas supplies.

Notable quotes:
"... How about the West which has been trying to build a gas pipeline through Syria into Turkey to supply Europe with gas and break Russia's monopoly of European gas supplies. Don't believe me read the Doha agreement where the west recognised the Syrian rebels, this pipeline was a pre requisite for that recognition. ..."
"... And why would Assad who is winning the war do the one thing that would give America and other western countries the chance to get involved because of outrageous moral indignation. Assad and Outing really aren't that stupid. ..."
Apr 20, 2018 | discussion.theguardian.com

dumbwaiter -> Kevin Watson , 13 Apr 2018 15:31

How about the West which has been trying to build a gas pipeline through Syria into Turkey to supply Europe with gas and break Russia's monopoly of European gas supplies. Don't believe me read the Doha agreement where the west recognised the Syrian rebels, this pipeline was a pre requisite for that recognition.

Israel? which is not happy with Iran and Lebanon having a presence in Syria, worried that America was withdrawing.

AlQaeda or the Syrian Rebels, many are both who are losing the war and this is a last desperate attempt to drag in America and the west?

You've also got Turkey and the Kurds (the Kurds were abandoned by the West after they had fulfilled their useful purpose), both also players in the region but I can't see a motive here.

And why would Assad who is winning the war do the one thing that would give America and other western countries the chance to get involved because of outrageous moral indignation. Assad and Outing really aren't that stupid.

Any or all of the above could be the true motivation. I am no fan of Assad, Putin, or Trump or May (or the Blair clone Macron) but the question you have to ask yourself is who gains from this? And is. this in the interests of a resolution to a conflict, to your safety or is it something else?

[Apr 18, 2018] Russia retaliate Our Response to US Sanctions Will Be Precise And Painful

Apr 18, 2018 | community.oilprice.com

luckysoul777

Report post " What exactly do we get from Russian that we couldn't do without? " <== The willingness to ally with the U.S. vs the Chinese.

There is no denial of what Russia has done in the last few years, and it's wrong! However, what is entirely missing from the western media is the U.S. ambassador to the USSR, Jack Matlock, and George Kennan have been warning the American political elites since the 90's, prior to Putin was even known and in politics, that the American foreign policy is steering us straight into confrontations with Russia! It's not if but when it will happen REGARDLESS OF who is in Kremlin! Nobody cared to heed because we were indulging ourselves as the sole superpower in the world.

Neither has the American media reported even our old friend, Gorbachev, is praising Putin and has harsh words for the U.S. In a nutshell, the Russians don't like to be treated as a nobody country, ie. with decisions of world affairs already made and shoved at their face, and they can either put up or shut up! However, that is exactly how Washington has conducted business with Russia until the crisis in Ukraine in 2014. Would the American public put up with a revolution led by a Russian politician in Mexico City or Ottawa, even though it's Mexican or Canadians self-determination? Then what makes us think the Russians would tolerate John McCain leading an anti-Russian revolution in Kiev, even if it's Ukrainian self-determination? Don't forget the U.S. directly invaded Grenada when they were exercising their self-determination to ally with the USSR!

This is not about defending Russia. The Russians can take care of that themselves. Rather, can the U.S. afford to have Russia and China solidify their alliance again? It's already happening unless we can adopt a sensible Russian policy to turn it around. Who would you rather ally with? Someone (like the U.S.) who expects you to be a subordinate vs another (like China) who is willing to treat you as an equal?

One can certainly argue how it is possible to ally with a country like Russia, who sponsors dictators, meddles in our elections and tramples on other nation's self-determination. If you are willing to be honest with yourself, just Google it. There is not one thing we accuse of the Russians that our politicians are not doing it overseas, by MULTIPLE magnitude! The biggest gripe the Russians have toward the U.S. is "are you preaching democracy or hypocrisy?" Yes, one sin doesn't justify another, but why our politicians can't uphold this principle when they are committing treacheries overseas?

[Apr 16, 2018] I suggest that Russia act as marginal producer and refuse to sell oil, gas or raw petroleum products for less than double the price of other suppliers.

Apr 15, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

honestann Sun, 04/15/2018 - 21:58 Permalink

I suggest that Russia act as "marginal producer" and refuse to sell oil, gas or raw petroleum products for less than double the price of other suppliers.

All of a sudden... thing will change.

After the treatment Russia has gotten for the past year or more, they are more than justified to adopt this policy.

[Apr 16, 2018] In late March, the U.S. State Department warned European corporations that they will likely face penalties if they participate in the construction of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, on the grounds that the project undermines energy security in Europe

Apr 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

spyware-free -> Pernicious Gol Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

What's going on?
Read this:
"In late March, the U.S. State Department warned European corporations that they will likely face penalties if they participate in the construction of Russia's Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, on the grounds that "the project undermines energy security in Europe"

The Nord Stream 2 project and the denial of pipelines through Syria territory is what's eating at the zio-cons. This is power politics and Russia / China are too much of a threat.

Chupacabra-322 -> spyware-free Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:43 Permalink

@ spy,

March, 14, 2017:

The Russian central bank opened its first overseas office in Beijing on March 14, marking a step forward in forging a Beijing-Moscow alliance to bypass the US dollar in the global monetary system, and to phase-in a gold-backed standard of trade.

Apr 3 2017 - Europe approves Nordstream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany

April 6 2017 - need to attack Syria.

Coincidentally, with a new government a gas pipelin can be run from Qatar to Europe and cut-off Russian gas revenue.

Nord Stream 2 Project Gets Green Light From EU

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201704031052232006-nord-stream-eu-gas-pip ...

*Three Mediterranean EU countries and Israel agreed on Monday to continue pursuing the development of a gas pipeline ... EU countries and Israel ... April 3, 2017 ...*

EU, Israel agree to develop Eastern Mediterranean gas pipeline

https://www.rt.com/business/383410-eu-israel-mediterranean-gas-pipeline/

The Optics of the Inter National Geo Political Crises would suggest that The Criminal Oligarch Cabal Bankster Intelligence Deep State Crime Syndicate are going "All In."

Brace YourSelves.....

spyware-free -> Chupacabra-322 Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:52 Permalink

The petroyuan project is the key. It will smash the petrodollar zio-world. Saddam Hussien thought of doing that in the 80's by consolidating Arab oil into a basket of currencies backed by gold. The problem for him was he was a disposable puppet and not able to defend that project. China and Russia are a different matter. It's driving the zios batty.

Chupacabra-322 -> spyware-free Sun, 04/15/2018 - 18:43 Permalink

And, the Yuan is now in the IMF basket of SDR's. Ultimately, the Petro Dollar will meet its demise & it will be decided by which is the cleanest, dirtiest shirt to put on among the SDR's.

[Apr 15, 2018] Russia gas for Europe as a political tool of the USA to pressure Russia via its EU vassals

Notable quotes:
"... I think the only that would really cause the Russians serious economic hardship at this point would be a total EU embargo on Russian oil/natgas. That, of course, would cause the rest of Europe a fair amount of hardship, too, as they would then have to pay 3 or 4 times as much for frack-gas from the US. ..."
Apr 15, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

RaisingMac , 9 hours ago

I think the only that would really cause the Russians serious economic hardship at this point would be a total EU embargo on Russian oil/natgas. That, of course, would cause the rest of Europe a fair amount of hardship, too, as they would then have to pay 3 or 4 times as much for frack-gas from the US.
Tony -> RaisingMac , 7 hours ago
Of course, oil/gas being fungible, the EU in such an eventuality would buy higher priced gas/oil from us or someone and the Russians would just end up selling to other entities. Whatever we sell to Europe is fuel we can't sell to others and it's not like our export market is infinitely expandable. The EU has a huge need for natural gas which it mostly gets from Russia via pipeline. Even if the US had that much surplus capacity, it would take years to come up with the means to export that much LNG..

[Apr 11, 2018] I think that the read target of attack in Syria is the Nord Stream II pipeline.

Apr 11, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hagios | Apr 11, 2018 8:50:17 AM | 58 I think that the read target here is the Nord Stream II pipeline. They're currently unwilling to cancel it out of economic considerations, but they think that they could get away with cancelling it if NATO attacks Syria and Russia responds with "unprovoked aggression." NATO's attack IMO will be just large enough that Russia has to respond, then Trump and co. will cease further military action and continue with economic warfare.

Posted by: Timothy

[Apr 04, 2018] Russian Gas Transit Via Ukraine Set For Major Slump

Apr 04, 2018 | oilprice.com

Transit of Russian natural gas via Ukraine will be reduced to just about 10-12 billion cubic meters annually after the completion of two new pipelines -- Turkish Stream and Nord Stream 2. That's what Gazprom's chief executive Alexei Miller told a Russian TV channel yesterday, confirming Kiev's fears that Nord Stream 2 will deprive it of a lot of income in the form of transit fees.

The significance of the new figure can easily be seen when compared with the transit quantities for last month: Gazprom sent 8.1 billion cubic meters of gas via Russia's eastern neighbor in March, a 21.3-percent increase on the year. In other words, when Turkish Stream and Nord Stream 2 are ready, Ukraine will receive something like a 12th of its current annual gas transit revenues from Gazprom.

This is reason enough for Kiev to be so vocally against Nord Steam 2, but unfortunately for Ukraine, Germany is just as vocally supportive of the project, of which it will be the biggest beneficiary. The expanded Nord Stream pipeline will have a capacity of 110 billion cubic meters annually.

Still, Miller said, not all transit via Ukraine will be suspended. "We are not saying we will stop entire transit via Ukraine, since there are neighboring countries that border Ukraine on the side of Europe. Naturally, supplies to these European countries will continue via Ukraine."

While the news is bad for Ukraine, it makes sense for Russia as European countries eagerly seek alternatives to Russian gas, including the "neighboring countries that border Ukraine," notably Poland. Yet Germany is by far Gazprom's biggest client in Europe and Russian gas is the cheapest for Europe's largest economy, hence the support for a project seen as controversial by the European Commission.

Turkish Stream, for its part, will send Russian gas to the European part of Turkey up to the border with Greece, to supply gas to southeastern Europe. Its capacity is much smaller than Nord Stream's, but still larger than the future transit via Ukraine, at 15.75 billion cubic meters of gas.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

[Mar 31, 2018] British elite started to worry about possible toxic fall out from Skripal

Russian elite already views May's government as bandits, who staged this despicable provocation. So stakes for British elite are very high.
And the way May government tried to capitalize on this "poisoning" is really like going "all in". May clearly went what French call "va bank". Reckless statement of Johnson, who is a very weak diplomat, but no fool, if a clear testament that they expect to prevail with pretty weak cards. With ultimate reliance on power of the USA to secure favorable outcome.
Looks more and more that this is a part of Russiagate, or color revolution against Trump, however you want to call the effort: the collusion between the intelligence heads of the Obama administration with British intelligence to oust President Trump.
The Russian Foreign Ministry is now openly pointing the possibility of a UK intelligence involvement. That sheds a very bad light on EU vassals who without any questioning and with any proof immediately fell into line behind Theresa May.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry even said this was a tool used by the Europeans and the United States to try to get unity at a point when they were completely disunified. And this is the old geopolitical game, that in order to create unity you create a war, and then everybody has to fall into line before attacking Iran.
Compare with Ron Paul views on this incident: www.youtube.com
Notable quotes:
"... The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, in a speech late on Wednesday waxed lyrical about how the Skripal episode represented a turning point in the west's approach to Russia, but his officials are aware that this mood can easily dissipate as other considerations, such as commerce, energy security or the Middle East come into play. ..."
"... The UK will try to push for further measures against Russia at the June meeting of the EU heads of state. If it is ambitious, it may may challenge German support for Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline from Russia that could put European energy demand at the mercy of Moscow. ..."
Mar 31, 2018 | www.theguardian.com

That does not mean the crisis will necessarily end there, or that the crisis is contained.

Russia, whose standing among the international community is badly damaged, is determined to do go further to clear its name, or at least throw up enough chaff so that a chunk of western public opinion doubts the British intelligence service's account of Skripal's poisoning. Moscow has already suggested a meeting on Monday of the executive of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to have "an honest conversation" about the poisoning.

The OPCW is studying samples – provided by the UK – of the novichok nerve agent allegedly used, but does not have the ability to judge the identity of the person that placed the agent by the door of Skripal's house . But the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, is determined to put the UK on the defensive and has already claimed that "if our western partners dodge the meeting then it will be further evidence that every thing that is happened is a provocation".

Russia has also responded to the apparent recovery of Yulia Skripal, who was poisoned alongside her father. She may be able to provide insights into how the poisoning occurred, or even reveal whether she knows of some other motive by some other non-state actor.

The British intelligence services will be debriefing her as soon as her health permits. It would clearly be a huge embarrassment for the UK government if it emerged she believed the Russian state was not involved.

As it is, the UK government is aware that some allied leaders, despite the public show of solidarity, face skeptical voters at home who are either against a confrontation with Vladimir Putin, or expect more convincing proof to be provided.

The UK foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, in a speech late on Wednesday waxed lyrical about how the Skripal episode represented a turning point in the west's approach to Russia, but his officials are aware that this mood can easily dissipate as other considerations, such as commerce, energy security or the Middle East come into play.

The UK will try to push for further measures against Russia at the June meeting of the EU heads of state. If it is ambitious, it may may challenge German support for Nord Stream 2, the gas pipeline from Russia that could put European energy demand at the mercy of Moscow.

... ... ...

[Mar 29, 2018] "The objectives of these US actions as the labelling of China as a "strategic competitor" suggests, is it to halt China's technological progress altogether

China's rise has made the US fear the loss of its role as the sole superpower. And the neoliberal elite fights back. That replays on a new level rift of the USSR and China in the past.
Mar 29, 2018 | www.ft.com

Martin Wolf : How China can avoid a trade war with the US

... the plan to impose 25 per cent tariffs on $60bn of (as yet, unspecified) Chinese exports to the US shows the aggression of Mr Trump's trade agenda. The proposed tariffs are just one of several actions aimed at China's technology-related policies. These include a case against China at the World Trade Organization and a plan to impose new restrictions on its investments in US technology companies.

The objectives of these US actions are unclear. Is it merely to halt alleged misbehaviour, such as forced transfers -- or outright theft -- of intellectual property? Or, as the labelling of China as a "strategic competitor" suggests, is it to halt China's technological progress altogether -- an aim that is unachievable and certainly non-negotiable. Mr Trump also emphasised the need for China to slash its US bilateral trade surplus by $100bn. Indeed, his rhetoric implies that trade should balance with each partner. This aim is, once again, neither achievable nor negotiable.

...A still more pessimistic view is that trade discussions will break down in a cycle of retaliation, perhaps as part of broader hostilities.

[Mar 22, 2018] If Europe continues to buy Russian gas -- that will be bad news for US. The US, however, may yet succeed in sabotaging Nord Stream II and thus, in a long run, kill European industrial competitiveness thus opening European market for US products.

Mar 22, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

SmoothieX12 -> JPB ... 22 March 2018 at 09:02 AM

... ... ...

I am not a fan of LNG. If I was a Euro there is no way I would allow LNG in, whether from Sabetta in Russia or from Sabine Pass in the US.

Being fan or no fan of specific type of energy hardly factors into economic reality of Europe and coercing it into buying American LNG. If Europe continues to buy Russian gas -- that will be bad news for US. The US, however, may yet succeed in sabotaging Nord Stream II and thus, in a long run, kill European industrial competitiveness thus opening European market for US products. At least that is the plan. Here is a small taste of what is at stake.

http://www.unz.com/article/the-russo-chinese-alliance-revisited/

Since this article publication two major things happened:

1. China released White Paper on North Sea Route calling it a strategic interest of PRC;
2. Putin gave his March 1st speech.

[Mar 22, 2018] Russian gas supplies to Europe must be verboten, in US mind, or at least pushed back.

Mar 22, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

JPB , 21 March 2018 at 11:15 AM

Turkish press is reporting that 'TurkStream' , the pipeline to bring natural gas from Russia to Turkey, is now 80% complete and to be in operation by later this year. It is expected to deliver close to 16 billion cubic meters per year from Gazprom to Turkish gas distribution networks. A second phase scheduled for next year will reportedly deliver an equal amount to Greece and other points in southern Europe.

This is in addition to the existing 'BlueStream' pipeline from Russia to Turkey, operational since 2005, that also has a 16 billion cubic meter per year throughput.

Why the Western concern about NordStream pipeline but none about TurkStream? Are there no sanction problems for the Swiss company working with GazProm? Plus I wonder if this is one of the reasons why Russia has lately become paranoid regarding US Navy FON operations in the Black Sea?

SmoothieX12 -> JPB... , 21 March 2018 at 03:57 PM
Why the Western concern about NordStream pipeline but none about TurkStream? Are there no sanction problems for the Swiss company working with GazProm? Plus I wonder if this is one of the reasons why Russia has lately become paranoid regarding US Navy FON operations in the Black Sea?

The main concern has the name Sabetta--it is the port and a hub to a largest Liquid Natural Gas operation, which also happened to be (in relative terms) next to Europe's LNG ports. I usually don't do this but I apologize, here is a link to my blog's piece on that:

http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2018/02/a-rather-gassy-business.html

LNG is precisely a commodity which is counted by US as a major component in possibly (and most likely not very probable) US re-industrialization. For that, the US has to sell her LNG to Europe. This implies removing Russian LNG from the EU market which dwarfs that of Turkey and some South European nations. Germany, France, UK, Holland among others are the prize here. Russian LNG must be verboten, in US mind, or at least pushed back. As per FON--it has nothing to do with FON but has everything to do with:

1. Flag demonstration--that is presence and Fleet In Being.
2. Signals collection from Sevastopol, Novorossyisk and, in general, all Russia's Southern Military District emitters.

[Mar 21, 2018] Germany's Pivot From Russian Gas Will Be Costly

Pure propaganda. Comments are interesting, though
Notable quotes:
"... When I read: "As X becomes increasingly aggressive, even reckless geopolitically," frankly Russia was not the first country that came to mind. ..."
Mar 21, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Yves here. I trust readers will be able to filter out the new Cold War assumptions in the piece to focus on the price of Germany's plans. Does anyone have an informed take on how significant the broader economic impact might be?

By Tim Daiss, an oil markets analyst, journalist and author working out of the Asia-Pacific region for 12 years who has covered oil, energy markets and geopolitics for Forbes, Platts, Interfax, NewsBase, Rigzone, and the UK-based Independent (newspaper) as well as providing energy markets analysis for subscription newsletters. Originally published at OilPrice

More problems are mounting for Russia's oil and gas sector. This time it's coming from Germany, which until recently usually gave Russia's energy sector more lead way than the U.S. or other allies.

But now it seems that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has also had enough. On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Merkel's government is seeking to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry in Germany basically from scratch to reduce the nation's dependence on supplies arriving by pipeline from Russia and Norway.

Merkel backs "all initiatives supporting further diversification of gas supply -- whether from different regions or means of transporting gas," said German Economy and Energy Ministry spokeswoman Beate Baron.

The move comes as natural gas resources from the UK and the Netherlands are depleting, and Germany is forced to rely more on Russian gas. Merkel's newly formed coalition has a "coalition contract" that among other policies sets out energy agenda including LNG for the next four years, the Bloomberg reported added.

Germany, for its part, is Europe's largest gas consumer. In 2015, the country consumed 7.2 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) of natural gas, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. According to the German energy research group, AG Energiebilanzen, imports account for about 90 percent of Germany's total natural gas supply, while most imports come from three countries: Russia (40 percent of total imports in 2015), Norway (21 percent) and the Netherlands (29 percent).

Moreover, German companies are participating in Russia's controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline, an expansion of an existing route for gas to flow from Russia to Europe under the Baltic Sea. The U.S., Poland and others have recently condemned the pipeline as a threat to European security.

As Russia becomes increasingly aggressive, even reckless geopolitically, the security threat to not only the EU but to Germany is apparent, causing the country of some 83 million people to do an abrupt energy policy about face.

Germany's LNG pivot also comes as a geopolitical storm between the U.K. and Russia intensifies over an alleged Moscow-orchestrated nerve-agent attack on British soil against what the BBC called a double spy and his daughter.

British Prime Minister Theresa May retaliated last week by expelling Russian diplomats and seeking alternatives to Russian gas, including LNG produced at its new Arctic plant, the Yamal LNG export project. Addressing the UN Security Council last week, the U.K.'s deputy UN ambassador, Jonathan Allen, accused Russia of breaking its obligations under the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The U.S. for its part also condemned the nerve agent attack. U.S. ambassador Nikki Haley said that Washington stood in "absolute solidarity" with Britain, citing the "special relationship" between the two countries and saying that Washington would "always be there" for the UK.

Germany's Abrupt LNG Pivot

However, until recently many in Germany accused the U.S., notably President Trump, of using U.S.-sourced LNG as a geopolitical weapon to challenge Russia's decades' old dominance of European gas markets -- an accusation that played perfectly into the hands of Russian energy companies and even Vladimir Putin.

When Trump singed fresh sanctions against Russia's energy sector in August, Uniper -- a German utility and one of Europe's largest energy firms -- said the new sanctions were an American economic move as much as a political one.

"The core reason (for the sanctions) is strategic economic interests, meaning the targeted dominance of the US in energy markets," Uniper CEO Klaus Schaefer told journalists shortly after Trump signed the sanctions bill. Uniper is one of five companies that have invested in Nord Stream 2.

Brigitte Zypries, Germany's economy minister, claimed last year that the sanctions violated international law and said that the EU should take action against the U.S. "Of course we don't want a trade war. But it is important the European Commission now looks into countermeasures," she said. "The Americans can't punish German companies because they have business interests in another country."

Cost Factors Could Impede Pivot

However, any Germany pivot to LNG away from Russian gas will come at a cost. Shipping LNG by one of several suppliers, including Qatar, the U.S. or Angola to name a few, is simply more expensive than Russian piped gas. While Russia already has an extensive pipeline network in place, LNG is more expensive when transportation, liquefaction and regasification costs are added.

Using a Henry Hub gas price of $2.85/MMBtu as a base, Russian energy giant Gazprom recently estimated that adding processing and transportation costs, the price in Europe would reach $6/MMBtu -- a steep markup.

Henry Hub gas prices are currently trading at $2.657/MMBtu. Over the last 52-week period U.S. gas has traded between $2.64/MMBtu and $3.82/MMBtu.

Russian gas sells for around $5/MMBtu in European markets. Moreover, Russian gas exporter Gazprom is also moving away from oil-indexation for gas prices to a European gas hub indexation, which will allow additional price savings and unfortunately for Germany -- an incentive to stick with Russian gas, even if it's geopolitically distasteful.

Meanwhile, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said yesterday that Russia is Europe's most flexibly and reliable source of energy that is needed.



Self Affine , , March 21, 2018 at 10:13 am

Its a long long way from a political announcement to an industrial reality. Also, the quote:

Merkel backs "all initiatives supporting further diversification of gas supply" is telling.

Germany does not want to be caught out in a Russia/US energy squeeze while its pursuing an alternative energy path. Nor does Merkel want to overtly pick sides.

Plus if you will note, given the momentum of current German/Russian energy initiatives, I rather doubt that this "announcement" will have a lot of traction in the near future.

The Oilprice site, although very informative is somewhat shrill from day to day (everything is a BIG DEAL).

PlutoniumKun , , March 21, 2018 at 11:22 am

Yes, its a telling quote -- it can basically be paraphrased as 'if someone is willing to pay for these facilities, we would be happy to hear that'. There are quite a few stalled projects for LNG terminals in Europe -- but they are expensive and even the promise of cheap US LNG won't unlock them so long as Russia can supply relatively cheap gas. If European governments want more LNG terminals for security reasons then they'll have to pay for them. Thats not likely to happen, there are far more pressing infrastructural needs.

third time lucky , , March 21, 2018 at 11:39 am

Nimby too. Locating an LNG terminal will be a neat trick to pull off in current fractured political environment.

Watt4Bob , , March 21, 2018 at 10:24 am

Where to begin?

Is anyone considering the possibility that the US's ability to deliver LNG may not exist for long enough to pay the cost of building the infrastructure necessary to use it?

Is anyone factoring in the damage to our environment, including our fresh water when calculating the cost of poking Russia in the eye?

At first glance, this whole play appears short-sighted, at least, probably foolish.

Of course the big oil companies have never gone unrewarded for their fealty to the whims of the MIC, even when any objective analysis finds massive foolishness.

Harry , , March 21, 2018 at 11:23 am

Dont worry, Novatek already delivered a shipment of LNG from the Yamal peninsular to the UK.

I would bet that Nord Stream will not eliminate the need to export across the Ukraine. Undersea pipelines dont have great capacity. But additional marginal pipeline capacity does reduce the bargaining power of the Ukraine. Im sure LNG capacity does the same.

Synoia , , March 21, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Undersea pipelines have as much capacity as the diameter of the pipe.

They have a big enemy.. Anchors.

Scott , , March 21, 2018 at 1:16 pm

And some of that LNG was later exported to Boston.

https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060076897

jsn , , March 21, 2018 at 12:24 pm

We're deep into our malinvestment phase where uneconomic industries are being sustained with monetary policy to prop up an unsustainable status quo.

The question is whether the left can coordinate collective action before the right can start WW3. It will be real events somewhere that cause real change: financialized capitalism with its own hand on the money spigot of fiat money is, with reference to itself, a perpetual motion machine.

It will either be a force of life, or thermodynamics that finally overthrow this machine. The stresses for dramatic external political events are building everywhere.

Watt4Bob , , March 21, 2018 at 2:11 pm

You see what I see.

Nathanael , , March 21, 2018 at 2:47 pm

You're correct about the malinvestment phase.

However, this is where market capitalism excels. As long as there is enough money in the hands of the average person (a major issue), the average person will install solar panels and batteries and heat pumps and buy an EV and say "to hell with you" to the oil, gas, and coal industries.

jsn , , March 21, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Less money is going to those average folks, but local EV is hopeful. Tons of money goes to supporting facking, which in the absence of QE and the spigot of free money for (mal)investors, would not be economical.

LNG ports to receive a fuel with what is approaching negative EROEI are pure mal-investment.

MMT was used to incentivize net positive public goods by Mariner Eccles making the US the richest nation in the world. We're now seeing the global financial cabal use the same tool to despoil real wealth, monetizing it along with trust wherever it can find either. It is an epic of short-termism that will ultimately destroy the money itself by liquidating the real productive social and economic constellations that support it.

Jeff , , March 21, 2018 at 10:37 am

I read the statement as that Germany is looking for a replacement of its Dutch and Norwegian gas sources. As Germany does not want to depend for 100% of its gas from Russia, they do need to look for alternatives.
It is just smart policy not to depend from a single source, for whatever purpose.

PlutoniumKun , , March 21, 2018 at 11:20 am

Dutch and Norwegian gas reserves are in long term decline , so its likely that Russian gas will become a higher proportion of supply in the medium to longer term.

Ignacio , , March 21, 2018 at 10:50 am

Two keys for natural gas markets:

i) the cost of transport is very high and there is a linear relationship between distance and transport costs

ii) both the client and the supplier would like stable long-term contracts to secure investments and supply.

There is always interdependence if you want durable supply.

Constructing some LNG facilities, besides the cost factors mentioned above won't reduce such interdependence by much given that Russia provides 40% of current consumption. Also, Russia migth seek providing NG to fast growing asian markets. I think that Germany is trying to diversify just because Norway, Netherlands, and its own production are declining. I also think that this means that fracking gas in Europe is not seen as an alternative.

I wouldn't say that Germany will "pivot" from russian gas, that is giving too much weigth to potential LNG supplies.

Ignacio , , March 21, 2018 at 10:58 am

I forgot to mention the second pipeline through the baltics. I think Merkel announcement didn't say anything about it. That is also telling

PlutoniumKun , , March 21, 2018 at 11:29 am

Another point is that if the issue is security, it would most likely be more cost effective to build up a buffer in underground storage facilities than building new LNG terminals.

The Rev Kev , , March 21, 2018 at 10:50 am

I could be that Germany is buckling under the pressure of attacks as the US is threatening to sanction European firms involved in the Russian/EU Nord Stream 2 project ( https://www.rt.com/business/421900-us-sanctions-nord-stream-companies/ ) which if true, would mean that the EU would have to ask the permission of Washington in dealings with any countries not to Washington's liking.
The Poles have already built a LNG gas delivery terminal so you would think that Germany would just pipe it in from there unless Germany wanted to build their own terminal so that they would not have to pay Poland any fees as Poland is one of the counties opposing Nord Stream 2.

Poland has already received at least one LNP shipment from the US but the price of the delivery is a state secret apparently.

The Russians could always turn around and sell their cheaper gas to China so no big loss to them. Thing is, it will take a decade to build a fleet of tankers to carry the gas that Germany needs annually as these ships would just be going back and forth like clockwork. Who pays for that? Germany would also need years just to build the LNP port facility to receive these shipments. I believe too that the US export terminal is in the Gulf so tough luck if a hurricane shut down that terminal at any time. Remember, this winter the Russians had to ship two tankers of gas to the US because of shortages so how reliable could a US supply be?

Add up the costs of building the port facility, a fleet of tankers and the infrastructure to deal with it all, then top up with the gas not only being more expensive than the Russian gas but also less reliable and the Germans will have to take a knife to their budget to pay for it all. Trump would have a fit if it was their defense budget so that means the social budget. Good luck with that. One last factor of which I have even less knowledge of is the US gas supply. I believe that it comes from shale deposits aka fracking but I know that these wells deplete rapidly so if true, would suggest that US gas as a supply source may be self limiting over time. I don't think that the economics work out here for Germany somehow.

Julia Versau , , March 21, 2018 at 10:51 am

When I read: "As X becomes increasingly aggressive, even reckless geopolitically," frankly Russia was not the first country that came to mind.

Ignacio , , March 21, 2018 at 11:02 am

I thought exactly the same. What is the author talking about?

kgw , , March 21, 2018 at 10:51 am

Pure propaganda likely written by the Christians-In-Action. Germany , kill itself? Not likely. Astronomical costs.

nervos belli , , March 21, 2018 at 10:52 am

It's not a pivot. The only important thing is North Stream 2: if the US or the transatlantic lobby manages to kill that, then there is a pivot. Otherwise, it's business as usual.

North sea gas is drying up, however we get 40-50% of our gas from there https://www.wingas.com/fileadmin/Wingas/content/05_Rohstoff_Erdgas/woher-bezieht-europa-erdgas-aufkommen_infografik.png

So unless one wants to be ~90% dependent on russian gas, there has to be some alternatives to keep the russians honest. Only realistic way is LNG. So Germany has to build the infrastructure for it to have a credible bargaining position. The marketshare of russian gas will increase over the next few years in any way.

Self Affine , , March 21, 2018 at 10:57 am

Also, I would like to add that the German Press isn't treating this like some sort of revelation.

As everywhere else, if a politician wants to get a little patriotic push on their side, they hold a speech touting "energy independence". Germany is no different in that regard and Merkel needs to appear a bit more nationalistic right now.

Current headlines are all about social issues like immigration, Facebook data breaches, internal politics, etc. No one is obsessing about LNG facilities or things like Brexit.

rd , , March 21, 2018 at 11:14 am

LNG ports on the Mediterranean also make sense as ships could traverse the Suez Canal or the the Atlantic to get there.

visitor , , March 21, 2018 at 3:08 pm

There are major offshore gas fields in the Mediterranean -- on the coast of Cyprus and all the way offshore from Syria to Egypt. Their exploitation is still largely pending resolution of local crises (Turkey vs EU re Cyprus, Israel vs Palestine and Lebanon, in Syria because of war). Once those fields come on line, the need for special-purpose ports to bring in LNG from afar to Europe no longer makes much economic sense.

Besides, Algeria continues to provide gas (and oil) to the EU.

Louis Fyne , , March 21, 2018 at 12:56 pm

nuclear fission. germany already buys a lot of french nuke electricity. might as well cut out the middleman.

not holding my breath. never going to happen though. as even bringing up nuclear fission is third rail of environmentalism

PlutoniumKun , , March 21, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Germany is a major shareholder in the EPR reactor, but isn't building any because its proven far too expensive, much more expensive than domestic renewables.

Its untrue to say that Germany buys a lot of French nuclear energy, imports from France are minor at a net of around 4 terawatt hours a year, similar to the amount of wind energy Germany buys from Denmark. Its dwarfed by the huge renewable sector in Germany which produces over 200 TWh per annum . Germany is actually a net exporter of energy to France in most summers as the inland nuclear plants often go off-line due to water shortages.

James McFadden , , March 21, 2018 at 12:58 pm

"Germany's LNG pivot also comes as a geopolitical storm between the U.K. and Russia intensifies over an alleged Moscow-orchestrated nerve-agent attack on British soil against what the BBC called a double spy and his daughter."

When one thinks about the geopolitical repercussions of this nerve gas attack on $$ for USA LNG, the control of energy supplies to the EU by the USA and its middle east puppets, the quickly identified fingerprint and emotionally charged finger pointing, a complex technical topic to which the general public has general knowledge and therefore must rely on "authorities", the high level of media attention for a relatively minor character, and the ongoing attempts to vilify and isolate Russia -- one has to wonder if this is just another CIA false flag event similar to Iraq WMDs and the Syrian chemical weapons attacks -- another false flag that will eventually fall apart after it has served its purpose. Examined in the light of past and ongoing CIA atrocities (Renditions and torture in Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, droning, MKULTRA, Operation Mongoose, Phoenix Program, Iran-Contra, numerous assassinations and coups -- just to name a few), it seems quite in line with what I would expect from this criminal organization. Not that we can really know the truth at this time, but those who dutifully believe the corporate media on this topic might want to open a skeptical eye. There are likely cover stories within cover stories -- much like cover stories one finds in the Wormwood documentary.

Tobin Paz , , March 21, 2018 at 2:24 pm

This news along with Trudeau's support for Kinder Morgan Canada's Trans Mountain oil/tar sands pipeline expansion should make it clear that the Paris Accords were a cruel joke on humanity. We will keep extracting every single last drop of recoverable oil until we run out of energy to continue or we nuke ourselves.

Nathanael , , March 21, 2018 at 2:45 pm

So, it's easy enough for Germany to pivot away from gas *if* they switch to heating with electricity. However, Merkel refuses to push this. Because Merkel.

[Mar 19, 2018] It might well be that Nordstream 2, the gas pipeline from Russia to Northern Europe is the target

Mar 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

CanSpeccy , Website Next New Comment March 19, 2018 at 8:50 pm GMT

@for-the-record

More likely that Nordstream 2, the gas pipeline from Russia to Northern Europe is the target.

Senators Push to Stop Russia's Nord Stream II Natural Gas Pipeline .

The Senators' argument is that dependence on Russian gas undermines European security.

Whereas to the Russians, it is obvious that the Americans wish to replace cheap Rusian piped gas with expensive liquefied American gas, which is a bi-product of fracking for oil and currently in surplus. Some frackers in Canada are even having to pay someone to take their gas.

Surprisingly, no one has yet pointed out that Russia could deliver Novichok to the whole of Europe via Nordstream 2.

[Mar 18, 2018] The Skripal anti-Russia hysteria effort is just another step in the US/CIA campaign to interfere with North Streat II

Notable quotes:
"... This is a European energy issue. From the start. The US either wants to be the middle-man or cut Russia off from it entirely. No other options have been tabled or would be acceptable to Washington. Remember the Trump quote "Why don't we just take their oil and gas?" ..."
"... Look at the opposition gaining speed against Nord Stream II. And also look, the UK and all of Europe may be in for some cold summers and winters now, it's a trend they cannot ignore as it gets colder for longer periods, this trend isn't relaxing with the stratosphere doing some flips and turns and sending "The Beast From The East" towards the once Great Britain. ..."
Mar 18, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

chet380 | Mar 17, 2018 4:14:40 PM | 6

The Skripal anti-Russia hysteria effort is just another step in the US/CIA campaign to interfere with the Russian hosting of the World Cup -- the next step will be to attempt to have the qualifying European countries boycott the event ... remember, to them, every Russian loss is an American win.

However, I will go on record to predict that the US will have its Ukrainian neo-Nazi vassals mount a major attack on the Donbass within week of the beginning of the World Cup tournament.

Gravatomic | Mar 17, 2018 4:28:35 PM | 12

@chet380 | Mar 17, 2018 4:14:40 PM | 6

I agree the World Cup is on the agenda, but this effort is multi-pronged, like Octi-putin, they will want to boycott it and you will see all sorts of FIFA related articles in the coming months, corruption and so on. It's all predictable.

This is a European energy issue. From the start. The US either wants to be the middle-man or cut Russia off from it entirely. No other options have been tabled or would be acceptable to Washington. Remember the Trump quote "Why don't we just take their oil and gas?"

Look at the opposition gaining speed against Nord Stream II. And also look, the UK and all of Europe may be in for some cold summers and winters now, it's a trend they cannot ignore as it gets colder for longer periods, this trend isn't relaxing with the stratosphere doing some flips and turns and sending "The Beast From The East" towards the once Great Britain.

[Mar 16, 2018] Skripal murder also is about bankrupting Russia and trying to get European nations to turn the Russian gas tap off

Mar 16, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com


FBaggins -> Bud Dry Fri, 03/16/2018 - 20:10 Permalink

It is about bankrupting Russia and also trying to get European nations to turn the Russian gas tap off, and so Europe will have to resort to buying gas through Western controlled natural gas resources, liquid gas shipments, and a proposed Qatar-Turkey pipeline through Syria. Once most Western people discover the actual history of our wars and what ruthless, unconscionable bastards our Western power brokers actually are, they will automatically want to support Russia.

FoggyWorld -> 7thGenMO Fri, 03/16/2018 - 19:02 Permalink

This is the May-Johnson excuse for not going through with Brexit. Now they will say they need their partner in the EU to protect them. Good luck with that one.

Savvy -> 7thGenMO Fri, 03/16/2018 - 19:52 Permalink

I wouldn't write NATO off just yet. Rothschild bought Naftogaz which has an office in Egypt. Igor Kolomoisky has some interesting ties also the temporary occupation of Crimea by Russia. And who is Genie Energy?

[Mar 15, 2018] Another aspect of the British Operation Skripal provocation might be the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany

Notable quotes:
"... Another background to the British provocation might be the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Construction is to start now and once it is finished Ukraine can´t blackmail Europe anymore by holding up gas delivery. Poland, the Baltics, the US and of course Ukraine are violently opposed to Nord Stream 2. ..."
Mar 15, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Tom 15 March 2018 at 06:51 AM

...The British noise about the alleged nerve gas agent is then nothing more but another attempt to force Washingtons´s hand to increase hostility towards Russia.

Interestingly enough today Germany´s defense minister who is a close confident of Merkel echoed the outrage about the alleged nerve gas attack but called for a "UN investigation". That is she didn´t endorse the British claim.

Another background to the British provocation might be the Nord Stream gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. Construction is to start now and once it is finished Ukraine can´t blackmail Europe anymore by holding up gas delivery. Poland, the Baltics, the US and of course Ukraine are violently opposed to Nord Stream 2.


[Mar 13, 2018] China replaced the USA in russianenergy market

Mar 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

likklemore | Mar 13, 2018 7:48:34 PM | 69

@ Ian 64.

Sanctions on Russia are being ignored. China is investing its US Trillions. Under US imposed sanctions, ExxonMobil withdrew and China said "Thank You" and took the partnership.

Chinese state-controlled Huarong Asset Management has bought a 36.2 percent stake in the unit of CEFC China Energy through which CEFC is acquiring a $9.1 billion stake in Russian oil giant Rosneft.

According to CEFC filings seen by Reuters, Huarong has bought the stake in CEFC in two tranches, one in December and one in February. Huarong is controlled by China's Ministry of Finance.

In September, CEFC Energy announced plans to acquire 14.16 percent of Rosneft shares from Glencore and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

"The final structure of Rosneft's shareholders has been formed," Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin told Rossiya 24 television.

As part of a long-term agreement, Rosneft and CEFC Energy inked a deal on crude oil deliveries in 2017. According to the agreement, the Russian oil major will supply CEFC with 60.8 million tons of oil annually until 2023.

The agreement covers the development of exploration and production projects in Siberia. The two companies plan to cooperate in refining, petrochemicals and crude trading.

https://www.rt.com/business/421021-china-cefc-rosneft-purchase/

Betcha Rex is so so sorry he went to D.C.

[Mar 09, 2018] Ukraine begins seizure of Russian energy giant Gazprom's assets, citing Stockholm court decision -- RT Business News

Notable quotes:
"... "Under the current circumstances, the Ukrainian cabinet initiates action aimed at recovering [a] penalty from Gazprom," ..."
"... "very politically motivated." ..."
Mar 09, 2018 | www.rt.com

The Ukrainian authorities have started the seizure of assets belonging to the Russian gas giant Gazprom, citing its alleged non-compliance with the decision of the Stockholm arbitration court. "Under the current circumstances, the Ukrainian cabinet initiates action aimed at recovering [a] penalty from Gazprom," the Ukrainian government's press service said in a statement published on its official website. It also claimed that the move was conducted in compliance with the decision of the Stockholm court and involves collecting a fine from the Russian company over its alleged violation of Ukrainian anti-monopoly legislation. Read more FILE PHOTO: A man prepares firewood at the village © Konstantin Chernichkin Ukraine is overpaying for European gas & wants Russia to foot the bill

The Swedish arbitration body initially ruled on the three-year dispute between Gazprom and the Ukrainian energy company, Naftogaz, back in December 2017. The policy of the court prevents it from even acknowledging that it's mediating a case, which makes it impossible to obtain its own account of the final ruling. Both energy companies, which have opposing takes on the outcome, initially claimed victory in the case.

In late February, the same court ordered Gazprom to compensate Naftogaz $4.6 billion for what the latter sees as lost profit from the transit of Russian gas to Europe.

The legal battle between the two energy companies in the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce had rumbled on since June 2014. Gazprom's claims related to fines for insufficient withdrawal and use of gas by the Ukrainian side, in accordance with a 'take-or-pay' rule. The Russian gas giant also demanded payment of a debt for gas delivered to Ukraine between May and June 2014.

Naftogaz pushed for a retroactive change in the price of gas, the reimbursement of overpayments and the repeal of a ban on reselling Russian gas. The court eventually satisfied some of the Ukrainian company's demands, in particular by setting a minimum amount of gas that Naftogaz must buy from Gazprom annually (from 2018) at a volume that was 10 times lower than in the original contract. At the same time, it also obliged Gazprom to pay for the transit of the Russian gas through the Ukrainian territory between 2009 and 2017 even though the gas was not, in fact, transited over that period.

The Head of Gazprom, Alexei Miller, then called the court's decision "asymmetric" and "very politically motivated." The court justified its decision by referring to a difficult economic situation in Ukraine.

[Mar 04, 2018] Ukraine Freezes After Russia Halts Gas Deliveries

Notable quotes:
"... Bullshit. The Ukrainians have been on a pay before delivery tariff from Russia for years. They have chosen war over trade. They currently prefer to spend what income they get that survives oligarch looting on trying to kill the East Ukrainians (currenly 6.9% of GDP). ..."
Mar 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Sat, 03/03/2018 - 21:13 Last week, Russia's state-run gas giant and quasi-monopolist when it comes to European natgas supplies, Gazprom, announced it would not restart shipments of natural gas to Ukraine's Naftogaz starting March 1 after the two sides failed to reach an agreement, Gazprom deputy chairman, Alexander Medvedev, told journalists.

Russian gas deliveries to Ukraine were supposed to restart on Thursday following a foreign court ruling aimed at ending years of disputes between Kiev and Moscow, including two halts to Russian gas supplies to Europe through Ukraine. But Gazprom unexpectedly refused to resume deliveries, returning the prepayment for supplies made by Kiev, claiming amendments to a contract had not been completed.

The decision came as the sides reportedly failed to extend a supplemental agreement to the current gas contract, RT reported.

"So far, the supplemental agreement to the operating contract with Naftogaz has not been approved, and that is a compulsory condition for launching the shipments," Medvedev said. "So, we have to recover the amount paid by the company in full. And it is obvious that the shipments in March won't start."

In response, Ukraine's state monopoly said that Gazprom had failed to deliver prepaid gas. Naftogaz is reportedly planning to claim damages for supply failure from the Russian energy major.

And while the long-running dispute may, but likely won't, be resolved in court, Ukraine has suddenly found itself without heat and on Friday urged schools to close and factories to cut production, while residents shivered as the country strained to save on gas supplies.

The decision coincided with freezing temperatures all over Ukraine, and the government called on Friday for measures to reduce consumption.

" Starting today, we recommended ... to stop the work of kindergartens, schools and universities ," Ukraine energy minister Igor Nasalyk told lawmakers , while urging Ukrainian companies to adjust their operations to save gas, while power companies were ordered to switch to fuel oil where possible.

Nasalyk said these savings measures would be in effect until Tuesday, when temperatures are expected to rise.

* * *

Meanwhile, on Friday, Gazprom director Alexei Miller said that the company would immediately turn to the Stockholm arbitration court to break its contract with the Ukrainian operator Naftogaz, Russian news agencies reported. A ruling by the same court last year was meant to halt disputes over gas prices and shipments, which had often been a proxy for political disputes between Moscow and Kiev. The court set a price and ordered Kiev to resume purchases it had cancelled following the breakout in "proxy" violence between the two nations in 2014.

Also on Friday, Naftogaz said that Gazprom had not only refused to resume deliveries meant for it, but lowered the pressure in gas pipelines by 20 percent and minimized sales to other customers. In a statement, Naftogaz said that Gazprom was trying to portray Ukraine in a negative light and suggest that it was willing either to let its own population freeze or make it out to be "an unreliable transit company that takes the gas away" from European countries.

In response, Reuters reported today that Gazprom said there had so far been no impact on supplies through its pipelines to Europe, despite the sharp escalation in tensions with the key transit nation.

Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak told European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcofic in a phone conversation that gas transit would not be at risk until Gazprom and Naftogaz fully terminated their agreement.

"Minister Novak assured that the gas transit from Russia to Europe is under no threat. The transit remains as reliable as in the past," the ministry said.

* * *

Kiev and Moscow have a history of clashing over prices and obligations under contracts for the delivery of Russian gas to Ukraine as well as transit to Europe. The standoff in the winter of 2006 triggered supply disruptions, with Russia accusing Ukraine of stealing gas intended for the European market.

The gas giants are currently involved in a long-standing litigation over the terms of the current delivery contract. Ukraine's lawyers are struggling for annulment of the so-called take-or-pay provision that obliges Kiev to purchase a minimum annual quantity of gas. Earlier this week, Naftogaz claimed it had won a $2.56 billion victory in another round of its legal battle with Gazprom.


philipat -> stizazz Sat, 03/03/2018 - 19:06 Permalink

Karma can be a bitch Ukraine. Still, I'm sure your friends in Washington will immediately provide you with an endless supply of free LNG? Call Vicky.

Incidentally, to the author, your map is incorrect (i'm sure that was just an error like Goolag's deletion of Themtube sites). Crimea is no longer a part of Ukraine after 95%+ of its population excercised their right to self-determination after the Maidan coup.

Joe Trader -> IH8OBAMA Sun, 03/04/2018 - 01:43 Permalink

I'm the resident Joe of ZH.

Ukraine's already connected to Poland's LNG port. And by the way, days at sea for a ship with Qatari LNG is the same as a saudi tanker hauling oil to the U.S.

COSMOS -> Joe Trader Sun, 03/04/2018 - 02:09 Permalink

Ukraine is in a total meltdown, forget about Venezuela which at least has energy stores. Ukraine has to import most of its energy. Donbass has all the coal. Putin is a genius, he is starving Ukraine of energy. There will be mass unrest in the country. Expect a government friendly to Russia to come back into play. The only thing that can prevent this is if Europe and the USA are willing to pay for Ukraine's energy needs.

Where otherwise will Ukraine get the hard currency. Well for a while it will get it by selling off its farmland and its women. In ww2 you could buy a woman with a package of pantyhose, an MRE, or a pack of cigarettes. Now you will be able to buy them again the same way and with a lump of coal.

Right now the streets of Kiev are policed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNy8XVuBSDE

Joe Trader -> COSMOS Sun, 03/04/2018 - 04:16 Permalink

It's western countries' loss for not granting asylum to all those hot Ukrainian women

land_of_the_few -> Joe Trader Sun, 03/04/2018 - 06:14 Permalink

They already have visa-free travel to the EU and are leaving en masse as fast as they can to the EU and Russia.

Many are perfectly normal working age women, with normal qualifications, they are not all poledancers as you seem to think.

Most do language courses and marry EU citizens so they don't have to go back.

HowdyDoody -> Joe Trader Sun, 03/04/2018 - 07:47 Permalink

"Ukraine Freezes After Russia Halts Gas Deliveries"

Bullshit. The Ukrainians have been on a pay before delivery tariff from Russia for years. They have chosen war over trade. They currently prefer to spend what income they get that survives oligarch looting on trying to kill the East Ukrainians (currenly 6.9% of GDP).

On March 1, Ukraine closed all schools, colleges and universities to conserve energy. Following a Stockholm arbitration court decision on March 1, Gazprom has started the process of cancelling the contracts for supply of gas to and through Ukraine. They are at liberty to purchase it at market rates ($600 per 100 cubic metersversus the subsidised $300 from Russia) from the Europeans.

researchfix -> HowdyDoody Sun, 03/04/2018 - 09:04 Permalink

Price doesn´t matter. Important is not to pay the invoices. That´s chapter 1 of UKie business.

Does anybody believe there will be payment to Europe for gas? Of course the EU will lie about that, and sweep it under the rug.

Justin Case -> pluto the dog Sat, 03/03/2018 - 23:12 Permalink

Joe Biden's son, Hunter, was hired by a Ukraine company, Burisma Holdings Limited, promoting energy independence from Moscow. So hows it goin Hunter?? Too busy fooling around with his late brother's widow. No time for Ukraine. Murica can help fund some gas, if they can throw away a couple billion for the coup, c'mon Guys, Porky is yoar Bro.

COSMOS -> Justin Case Sun, 03/04/2018 - 02:17 Permalink

Most likely he was fooling around with her before his brother died. Some of his nieces and nephews may be his kids. The Bidens are a microcosm of the perverse behavior in DC.

land_of_the_few -> Justin Case Sun, 03/04/2018 - 06:19 Permalink

"Kathleen Biden accused estranged husband Hunter of reckless spending on 'drugs, prostitutes, and an $80,000 diamond' in divorce docs - days before his affair with widowed sister-in-law Hallie was revealed"

" Kathleen claims Hunter spends money on 'drugs, alcohol, prostitutes, strip clubs and gifts for women with whom he had sexual relations' in her new motion "

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4276134/Kathleen-Biden-divorce-

swmnguy -> uhland62 Sat, 03/03/2018 - 19:38 Permalink

I live in Minneapolis. The weather here isn't too different from much of Ukraine. For early March we're having a very warm day, nearly 50 F. But next week we get back to more seasonal highs around freezing, with maybe 6" of slushy snow on Monday.

I really like it when my heat works. I do have a wood-burning fireplace but if I have to use it for heat we've got a lot of problems all at once. Ukraine is a great example of what always happens when Nazis get in charge. Everything goes to hell in a handbasket, quickly.

HenryHall -> litemine Sun, 03/04/2018 - 12:26 Permalink

>> Ukraine may have to declare war.

They already did declare war on Russia. Their problem was that Russia did not believe they were serious, thought they were joking.

BlindMonkey -> robertocarlos Sat, 03/03/2018 - 20:41 Permalink

The fools just might do that to keep the riots out of the government buildings in Kiev. Russia doesn't want the basket case either so who knows what the war would look like. Kiev is totally screwed either way this goes.

keep the basta -> BlindMonkey Sat, 03/03/2018 - 22:46 Permalink

No Russia knows that any dealings with Kiev or ukr companies are disastrous. Russia acts very carefully within the law. Hence immediate return of first gas payement since 2014, so not legally bound. Hence Gasprom requiring a signed contract under mutually agreed conditions which they did not get.

Already Ukraine is say there is a 20 percent drop off in pressure on transit gas thru. ukr. Russia says not, it is gas pressure as usual.

Looks like Ukraine is stealing 20percent of transit gas immediately.

[Feb 20, 2018] For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia

Highly recommended!
This post summaries several "alternative" views that many suspect, but can't express as clearly as here.
Feb 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Palloy | Feb 20, 2018 8:52:02 PM | 34

@4 "For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia."

Ever since US Crude Oil peaked its production in 1970, the US has known that at some point the oil majors would have their profitability damaged, "assets" downgraded, and borrowing capacity destroyed. At this point their shares would become worthless and they would become bankrupt. The contagion from this would spread to transport businesses, plastics manufacture, herbicides and pesticide production and a total collapse of Industrial Civilisation.

In anticipation of increasing Crude Oil imports, Nixon stopped the convertibility of Dollars into Gold, thus making the Dollar entirely fiat, allowing them to print as much of the currency as they needed.

They also began a system of obscuring oil production data, involving the DoE's EIA and the OECD's IEA, by inventing an ever-increasing category of Undiscovered Oilfields in their predictions, and combining Crude Oil and Condensate (from gas fields) into one category (C+C) as if they were the same thing. As well the support of the ethanol-from-corn industry began, even though it was uneconomic. The Global Warming problem had to be debunked, despite its sound scientific basis. Energy-intensive manufacturing work was off-shored to cheap labour+energy countries, and Just-in-Time delivery systems were honed.

In 2004 the price of Crude Oil rose from $28 /barrel up to $143 /b in mid-2008. This demonstrated that there is a limit to how much business can pay for oil (around $100 /b). Fracking became marginally economic at these prices, but the frackers never made a profit as over-production meant prices fell to about $60 /b. The Government encourages this destructive industry despite the fact it doesn't make any money, because the alternative is the end of Industrial Civilisation.

Eventually though, there must come a time when there is not enough oil to power all the cars and trucks, bulldozers, farm tractors, airplanes and ships, as well as manufacture all the wind turbines and solar panels and electric vehicles, as well as the upgraded transmission grid. At that point, the game will be up, and it will be time for WW3. So we need to line up some really big enemies, and develop lots of reasons to hate them.

Thus you see the demonisation of Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela for reasons that don't make sense from a normal perspective.

[Feb 19, 2018] Poland opposes Nord Stream 2 - plans to build own pipeline - Fort Russ

Feb 19, 2018 | www.fort-russ.com

The Polish leadership intends to implement a project of its own with the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline - in face of the "Nord Stream - 2". This is reported by the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung .

The Polish party "Law and Justice" decided to revive the Baltic Pipe project and connect to the Norwegian gas network. According to press releases, at the end of last year the Polish state oil and gas company PGNiG reserved the capacity of the gas pipeline for 15 years, at a cost of two billion dollars. It is assumed that the Polish project with an annual capacity of 10 billion cubic meters per year will begin to function in 2022, but the final decision on this project will be taken later in 2018.

Poland actively opposes the construction of the Russian "Nord Stream - 2". Earlier, the Polish Prime Minister called on the US leadership to extend American sanctions for the implementation of this project. In addition, he said that European companies involved in the construction of the gas pipeline should be fined.

Germany has rebuffed such statements, stating that the project guarantees energy security for Europe.

Nord Stream -2 is a project worth 9.5 billion euros, which involves the construction of two lines of pipeline across the Baltic Sea from the coast of Russia to Germany. The total capacity will be 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

[Feb 16, 2018] The big news is the Russian offer to the Saudi authorities to invest directly in the upcoming Aramco initial public offering

Feb 16, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Mild-ly -Facetious , February 16, 2018 at 5:42 pm

F Y I :> Putin prefers Aramco to Trump's sword dance

Hardly 10 months after honoring the visiting US president, the Saudis are open to a Russian-Chinese consortium investing in the upcoming Aramco IPO

By M.K. BHADRAKUMAR
FEBRUARY 16, 2018

[extract]

In the slideshow that is Middle Eastern politics, the series of still images seldom add up to make an enduring narrative. And the probability is high that when an indelible image appears, it might go unnoticed -- such as Russia and Saudi Arabia wrapping up huge energy deals on Wednesday underscoring a new narrative in regional and international security.

The ebb and flow of events in Syria -- Turkey's campaign in Afrin and its threat to administer an "Ottoman slap" to the United States, and the shooting down of an Israeli F-16 jet -- hogged the attention. But something of far greater importance was unfolding in Riyadh, as Saudi and Russian officials met to seal major deals marking a historic challenge to the US dominance in the Persian Gulf region.

The big news is the Russian offer to the Saudi authorities to invest directly in the upcoming Aramco initial public offering -- and the Saudis acknowledging the offer. Even bigger news, surely, is that Moscow is putting together a Russian-Chinese consortium of joint investment funds plus several major Russian banks to be part of the Aramco IPO.

Chinese state oil companies were interested in becoming cornerstone investors in the IPO, but the participation of a Russia-China joint investment fund takes matters to an entirely different realm. Clearly, the Chinese side is willing to hand over tens of billions of dollars.

Yet the Aramco IPO was a prime motive for US President Donald Trump to choose Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip. The Saudi hosts extended the ultimate honor to Trump -- a ceremonial sword dance outside the Murabba Palace in Riyadh. Hardly 10 months later, they are open to a Russian-Chinese consortium investing in the Aramco IPO.

Riyadh plans to sell 5% of Saudi Aramco in what is billed as the largest IPO in world history. In the Saudi estimation, Aramco is worth US$2 trillion; a 5% stake sale could fetch as much as $100 billion. The IPO is a crucial segment of Vision 2030, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's ambitious plan to diversify the kingdom's economy.

MORE : http://www.atimes.com/article/putin-prefers-aramco-trumps-sword-dance/

[Feb 14, 2018] UKRAINE'S NADRA YUZIVSKA AND SHELL ENTERED INTO SHALE GAS PRODUCTION PSA

Jan 24, 2013 | oilmarket-magazine.com

A production sharing agreement (PSA) between Royal Dutch Shell and Ukraine's Nadra Yuzivska for the development of Yuzivske shale gas deposits located in Ukraine's Kharkiv and Donetsk regions was signed in Davos on 24 January 2013 through the mediation of Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and Netherlands prime minister Mark Rutte. The agreement was inked by Ukraine's energy and coal industry minister Eduard Stavitsky and Royal Dutch Shell CEO Peter Voser.

Prior to the signing ceremony Yanukovych told journalists that Ukraine would benefit from the agreement since it would allow attracting investments, which Ukraine could use to increase the domestic natural gas production thus creating jobs, raising the level of the country's economy as well as increasing the budget revenues and providing funds for social needs.

On 23 January Ukraine's cabinet of ministers approved a draft PSA between Shell Exploration and Production Ukraine Investments B.V. and Nadra Yuzivska for Yuzivske shale gas field (7,886m2 acreage) development.

Yuzivske field prognostic resources are estimated at 2-4trln m3 of gas, which can be a viable alternative for costly natural gas volumes Ukraine imports form Russia. In the meanwhile US Energy Information Agency (EIA) estimates Ukraine's shale gas potential at 1.2trln m3 in this way making the country's shale gas reserves the 4th largest in Europe after Poland, France and Norway. Totally consuming some 60bn m3 of natural gas annually, Ukraine has to import 40bn m3 of natural gas from Russia priced $430 per 1,000 m3 based on the terms of agreements inked in 2009.

Ukraine's prime minister Mykola Azarov stated earlier that Yuzivske field commercial development over the span of a decade could give Ukraine an additional 8-10bn m3 of gas annually.

As Eduard Stavitsky put it in Davos, Ukraine could possibly meet its domestic natural gas demand in full in about 5 years of shale gas production cooperation with Shell. "According to Shell's optimistic scenario about 20bn m3 of gas could be extracted annually; according to the pessimistic one, at the very least 7-8bn m3. If the top forecasts were fulfilled, we would tackle the gas shortfall problem in Ukraine or might even go into surplus", Stavitsky was quoted as saying. He stated earlier that Shell saw investments under the deal of at least $10bn under the most likely scenario and possibly as much as $50bn.

OILMARKET Info
In May 2012 Shell was chosen the successful bidder for 7,800km2 Yuzivske acreage (Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, Ukraine) development with projected reserves estimated at 4.054trln m3 of gas of various categories. The project calls for raising at least $20mn (UAH1.6bn) in investments for the geological study phase, and $3.75bn (UAH30bn) for the industrial production phase. The agreement envisages stage-by-stage exploration, development and hydrocarbons production. Both companies (Shell and Nadro Yuzivske) will hold a 50% participation stake, with Shell chosen the project operator responsible for carrying out works under the terms of agreement.

According to Shell press service, the mentioned PSA was signed for 50 years period. The initial geological study phase at Yuzivske field implies 2D and 3D seismics as well as 15 well drilling, which is expected to enable effective exploration and assessments of hydrocarbon deposits potential especially that of natural gas trapped in compacted sandstone. Yuzivske field development will be implemented in line with the highest international HSE standards. In this way Shell is to carry out comprehensive possible environmental, social and public health impact assessment of the project prior to launch.

[Jan 30, 2018] Iraqi Oil Minister confident that an oil export capacity of five million barrels per day will be realized by the end of 2018

Jan 30, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News: 01/29/2018 at 7:22 am

2018-01-29 Chatham House Events – Iraqi Oil Minister confident that an oil export capacity of five million barrels per day will be realized by the end of 2018 – a "landmark in the oil industry"

Current Iraqi oil reserves of 153 billion barrels due to reach 175 billion in the coming years, says oil minister Luaibi at Annual MENA (Middle East & North Africa) Energy conference

Iraq's oil minister Luaibi said the country seeks to ramp up refining capacity and reduce imports of refined products :"I am determined that Iraq will become a product exporter instead of product importer".

https://twitter.com/CH_Events

[Jan 28, 2018] The United States sees the planned Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany as a threat to Europe's energy security

Notable quotes:
"... "The top American diplomat said his country is ready to help Poland continue to diversify its fuel supplies, including through the sale of U.S. liquefied natural gas, to reduce its dependence on Russia" ..."
Jan 28, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

nonsense factory | Jan 27, 2018 7:24:00 PM | 14

Tillerson apes Hillary Clinton PR lines on Russia:<