Energy Geopolitics

News

Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism

Economics of Peak Energy

Recommended Links

Limits to Growth Globalization and Peak Energy USA Hegemony and Decline
Russia oil production MSM propagated myth about Saudis defending market share Iran return to western oil markets fearmongering Deflation of the USA shale oil bubble All wars are bankers wars New American Militarism American Exceptionalism
Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Who’s Turning Syria’s Civil War Into a Jihad? The Role of Pro-Israel forces in US Iran Policy How Oil Exporters Reach Financial Collapse Financial Humor Humor Etc
 
  “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


Top Visited
Switchboard
Latest
Past week
Past month

NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

[Apr 22, 2019] C>urrent Neo-McCarthyism hysteria as a smoke screen of the UK and the USA intent to dominate European geopolitics and weaken Russia and Germany

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... North Stream is a problem as the goal is to economically weaken Russia, tie the EU to the USA via energy supplies and support our new client state -- Ukraine. ..."
"... But this is also related to attempts to prevent/weaken the alliance of Russia and China. As geopolitical consequences of this alliance for the USA-led neoliberal empire are very bad ..."
Jul 24, 2018 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , July 24, 2018 12:23 am

@run75441 July 23, 2018 2:02 pm

Best bet is for Russia to want to trade with the US and Europe. The gas pipeline will not be enough leverage on Germany as it provides 9% of their needs.

Yes. And that's against the USA interests (or more correctly the US-led neoliberal empire interests). North Stream is a problem as the goal is to economically weaken Russia, tie the EU to the USA via energy supplies and support our new client state -- Ukraine.

As you know, nothing was proven yet in Russiagate (and DNC hacks looks more and more like a false flag operation, especially this Guccifer 2.0 personality ), but sanctions were already imposed. And when the US government speaks "Russia" in most cases they mean "China+Russia" ;-). Russia is just a weaker link in this alliance and, as such, it is attacked first. Russiagate is just yet another pretext after MH17, Magnitsky and such.

To me the current Anti-Russian hysteria is mainly a smokescreen to hide attempt to cement cracks in the façade of the USA neoliberal society that Trump election revealed (including apparent legitimization of ruling neoliberal elite represented by Hillary).

And a desperate attempt to unite the society using (false) war propaganda which requires demonization of the "enemy of the people" and neo-McCarthyism.

But this is also related to attempts to prevent/weaken the alliance of Russia and China. As geopolitical consequences of this alliance for the USA-led neoliberal empire are very bad (for example, military alliance means the end of the USA global military domination; energy alliance means that is now impossible to impose a blockade on China energy supplies from Middle East even if Iran is occupied)

In this sense the recent descent into a prolonged fit of vintage Cold War jingoistic paranoia is quite understandable. While, at the same time, totally abhorrent. My feeling is that unless Russia folds, which is unlikely, the side effects/externalities of this posture can be very bad for the USA. In any case, the alliance of Russia and China which Obama administration policies forged spells troubles to the global neoliberal empire dominated by the USA.

Trump rejection of existing forms of neoliberal globalization is one sign that this process already started and some politicians already are trying to catch the wind and adapt to a "new brave world" by using preemptive adjustments.

Which is why all this Trump-Putin summit hysteria is about.

Neither hard, nor soft neoliberals want any adjustments. They are ready to fight for the US-led neoliberal empire till the last American (excluding, of course, themselves and their families)

[Apr 18, 2019] What will happen once Nord Stream II is finished? Where is Europe heading next, especially in its relationship with the USA and Russia?

Apr 18, 2019 | thesaker.is

The Saker: What will happen once Nord Stream II is finished? Where is Europe heading next, especially in its relationship with the USA and Russia?

Dmitry Orlov: The new pipelines under the Baltic and the Black Sea will be completed, along with the second LNG installation at Sabetta, and Russia will go on supplying natural gas to Europe and Asia. I suspect that the fracking extravaganza in the US is entering its end game and that the dream of large-scale LNG exports to Europe will never materialize.

The nations of Europe will gradually realize that its relationship with Russia is mostly beneficial while its relationship with the US is mostly harmful, and will make certain adjustments. The Ukraine, its natural gas pipeline system decrepit and beyond repair, will continue to import natural gas from Europe, only now the methane molecules will actually flow to it from the west rather from the east.

[Apr 16, 2019] The incompetent, the corrupt, the treacherous -- not just walking free, but with reputations intact, fat bank balances, and flourishing careers. Now they re angling for war with Iran.

Highly recommended!
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Return of the Just April 14, 2019 at 10:46 am

You're right. I see people like Robert Kagan's opinions being respectfully asked on foreign affairs, John Bolton and Elliott Abrams being hired to direct our foreign policy.

The incompetent, the corrupt, the treacherous -- not just walking free, but with reputations intact, fat bank balances, and flourishing careers. Now they're angling for war with Iran.

It's preposterous and sickening. And it can't be allowed to stand, so you can't just stand off and say you're "wrecked". Keep fighting, as you're doing. I will fight it until I can't fight anymore.

Ken Zaretzke , says: April 14, 2019 at 3:38 pm
Fact-bedeviled JohnT: “McCain was a problem for this nation? Sweet Jesus! There quite simply is no rational adult on the planet who buys that nonsense.”

McCain had close ties to the military-industrial complex. He was a backer of post-Cold War NATO. He was a neoconservative darling. He never heard of a dictator that he didn’t want to depose with boots on the ground, with the possible exception of various Saudi dictators (the oil-weaponry-torture nexus). He promoted pseudo-accountability of government in campaign finance but blocked accountability for the Pentagon and State Department when he co-chaired the United States Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs with John Kerry.

And, perhaps partly because of the head trauma and/or emotional wounds he suffered at the hands of Chinese-backed Commies, it’s plausible to think he was regarded by the willy-nilly plotters of the deep state as a manipulable, and thus useful, conduit of domestic subversion via the bogus Steele dossier.

Unfortunately, the episode that most defines McCain’s life is the very last one–his being a pawn of M-16 in the the deep state’s years-long attempt to derail the presidency of Donald Trump.

Joe Dokes , says: April 14, 2019 at 11:55 pm
Measuring success means determining goals. The goals of most wars is to enrich the people in charge. So, by this metric, the war was a success. The rest of it is just props and propaganda.
Andrew Stergiou , says: April 15, 2019 at 5:11 am
“Pyrrhic Victory” look it up the Roman Empire Won but lost if the US is invaded and the government does not defend it I would like to start my own defense: But the knee jerk politics that stirs America’s cannon fodder citizens is a painful reminder of a history of jingoist lies where at times some left and right agree at least for a short moment before the rich and powerful push their weight to have their way.

If All politics is relative Right wingers are the the left of what? Nuclear destruction? or Slavery?

Peter Smith , says: April 15, 2019 at 5:13 am
My goodness! I am also a veteran, but of the Vietnam war, and my father was a career officer from 1939-1961 as a paratrooper first, and later as an intelligence officer. He argued vigorously against our Vietnam involvement, and was cashiered for his intellectual honesty. A combat veteran’s views are meaningless when the political winds are blowing.

Simply put, we have killed thousands of our kids in service of the colonial empires left to us by the British and the French after WWII. More practice at incompetent strategies and tactics does not make us more competent–it merely extends the blunders and pain; viz the French for two CENTURIES against the Britsh during the battles over Normandy while the Planagenet kings worked to hold their viking-won inheritance.

At least then, kings risked their own lives. Generals fight because the LIKE it…a lot. Prior failures are only practice to the, regardless of the cost in lives of the kids we tried to raise well, and who were slaughtered for no gain.

We don’t need the empire, and we certainly shouldn’t fight for the corrupt businessmen who have profited from the never-ending conflicts. Let’s spend those trillions at home, so long as we also police our government to keep both Democrat and Republican politicians from feathering their own nests. Term limits and prosecutions will help us, but only if we are vigilant. Wars distract our attention while corruption is rampant at home.

Fayez Abedaziz , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:25 am
Thanks, I appreciate this article.
I’ll make two points, my own opinion:
it’s the same story as Vietnam, the bull about how the politicians or anti-war demonstrators tied the military ‘hand,’ blah, blah.
Nonsense. Invading a nation and slaughtering people in their towns, houses…gee…what’s wrong with that, eh?
The average American has a primitive mind when it comes to such matters.
Second point I have, is that both Bushes, Clinton, Obama, Hillary and Trump should be dragged to a world court, given a fair trial and locked up for life with hard labor… oh, and Cheney too,for all those families, in half a dozen nations, especially the children overseas that suffered/died from these creeps.
And, the families of dead or maimed American troops should be apologized to and compensation paid by several million dollars to each.
The people I named above make me sick, because I have feelings and a conscience. Can you dig?
kingdomofgodflag.info , says: April 12, 2019 at 8:19 am
Though there is a worldly justification for killing to obtain or maintain freedoms, there is no Christian justification for it. Which suggests that Christians who die while doing it, die in vain.

America’s wars are prosecuted by a military that includes Christians. They seldom question the killing their country orders them to do, as though the will of the government is that of the will of God. Is that a safe assumption for them to make? German Christian soldiers made that assumption regarding their government in 1939. Who was there to tell them otherwise? The Church failed, including the chaplains. (The Southern Baptist Convention declared the invasion of Iraq a just war in 2003.) These wars need to be assessed by Just War criteria. Christian soldiers need to know when to exercise selective conscientious objection, for it is better to go to prison than to kill without God’s approval. If Just War theory is irrelevant, the default response is Christian Pacifism.

Mark Thomason , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:43 am
“has gone un-investigated, unheard of, or unpunished.”

The one guy who did tell us has just been arrested for doing exactly that.

The arrest is cheered by those who fantasize about Russiagate, but it is expressly FOR telling us about these things.

Stephen J. , says: April 12, 2019 at 10:51 am
“Iraq Wrecked” a lot of innocent people. Millions are dead, cities reduced to rubble, homes and businesses destroyed and it was all a damned lie. And the perpetrators are Free.
Now there is sectarian violence too, where once there was a semblance of harmony amongst various denominations. See article link below.

“Are The Christians Slaughtered in The Middle East Victims of the Actions of Western War Criminals and Their Terrorist Supporting NATO ‘Allies’”?

http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/04/are-christians-slaughtered-in-middle.html

the the , says: April 12, 2019 at 11:53 am
We are a globalist open borders and mass immigration nation. We stand for nothing. To serve in this nation’s military is very stupid. You aren’t defending anything. You are just a tool of globalism. Again, we don’t secure our borders. That’s a very big give away to what’s going on.
the the , says: April 12, 2019 at 11:57 am
If our nation’s military really was an American military concerned with our security we would have secured our border after 9/11, reduced all immigration, deported ALL muslims, and that’s it. Just secure the borders and expel Muslims! That’s all we needed to do.

Instead we killed so many people and imported many many more Muslims! And we call this compassion. Its insane.

Kouros , says: April 12, 2019 at 12:02 pm
Maybe if Talibans get back in power they will destroy the opium. You know, like they did when they were first in power…. It seems that wherever Americans get involved, drugs follow…
JohnT , says: April 12, 2019 at 2:03 pm
“Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.” In Eisenhower’s televised farewell address January 17, 1961.
Rational thought would lead one to believe such words from a fellow with his credentials would have had a useful effect. But it didn’t. In point of fact, in the likes of Eric Prince and his supporters the notion of war as a profit center is quite literally a family affair.
Ken Zaretzke , says: April 12, 2019 at 2:10 pm
The military-industrial complex couldn’t accomplish this all by its lonesome self. The deep state was doing its thing. The two things overlap but aren’t the same. The deep state is not only or mainly about business profits, but about power. Power in the world means empire, which requires a military-industrial complex but is not reducible to it.

We now have a rare opportunity to unveil the workings of the deep state, but it will require a special counsel, and a lengthy written report, on the doings in the 2016 election of the FBI (Comey, Strzok, et. al.), and collaterally the CIA and DIA (Brennan and Clapper). Also the British government (M-16), John McCain, and maybe Bush and Obama judges on the FISA courts.

[Apr 07, 2019] The Ultimate Pivot Saudi Betrayal Of The Petrodollar

Apr 07, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Saudi Arabia has gone nuclear, threatening the petrodollar . Or has it?

The report from Zerohedge via Reuters that Saudi Arabia is angry with the U.S. for considering a bill exposing OPEC to U.S. antitrust law is a trial balloon.

The chances of the U.S. bill known as NOPEC coming into force are slim and Saudi Arabia would be unlikely to follow through, but the fact Riyadh is considering such a drastic step is a sign of the kingdom's annoyance about potential U.S. legal challenges to OPEC.

If these things are so unlikely then why make the threat public? There are a number of reasons.

First, one must remember that the Saudis are hemorrhaging money. Their primary budget deficit in 2018 was around 7% of GDP. Since the 2014 crash in oil prices it has gone from almost zero sovereign debt to $180 billion in debt to finance its spending, or around 22% of GDP.

2019's budget will be even bigger as it tries to deficit spend its way to growth. It's needs for a higher oil price are built into their primary budget not their production costs, which are some of the lowest in the world.

Second, the Saudis finally opened up t he books on Saudi-Aramco this week. And it revealed the giant is far more profitable than thought. It has is eye on acquiring stakes in some of the biggest oil and gas projects out there these past couple of years. It's floating its first public bond to buy a stake in SABIC to get into the mid and downstream petroleum markets.

Third, the Saudis budget deficit is tied directly to its having pegged the Riyal to the U.S. dollar which leaves them at the mercy of the dollar price of oil. It doesn't have the flexibility of Russia who free-floated the ruble back in late 2014 to pay local expenses in devalued local currency when oil prices drop.

This is why the Saudis are struggling financially and why Aramco is looking to use its financial might to finally begin making friends and influencing people around the world.

So, a threat to de-couple Saudi oil sales from the dollar is a threat a long time coming. I've been talking about this day since I started this blog and for years previous when I wrote for Newsmax.


MalteseFalcon , 5 minutes ago link

China is now the largest consumer of SA oil, so the clock is ticking on the petrodollar.

Aramco is super profitable. The oil scam of the last 45 years has fucked the West in the a$$.

D-plorable , 35 minutes ago link

"A decade of ZIRP has created a massive synthetic short position in the dollar in the form of emerging market corporate and real estate debt.

But after that? And after that synthetic short pushes the dollar much higher and the price of oil into the floor?"

Honrst question to the economics gurus on ZH:

How does a short position on the dollar push the price higher?

steverino999 , 36 minutes ago link

Saudis should flip Trump the bird and start selling their oil in yuan or euro, and buy weapons from Russia. America's stranglehold over global economics is coming to an end, all because of Donald Trump.

yerfej , 13 minutes ago link

Yes this has to be true and of course nothing before trump had anything to do with anything it is all a mirage.

carman , 48 minutes ago link

"Rome" is burning, and that's just what it deserves. Decades of endless wars and it's "clipping" of the currency, will end with collapse. Many of its citizens can't raise $400. for an emergency but they can have their Netflix and Prime subscriptions to pay for. Hey, War Inc. is reaching its end.

roadhazard , 1 hour ago link

The Saudis are trapped. They have All US military equipment and have to have US hands to operate their air force and who knows what else. Plus they have too many skeletons that the US can hurt them with.

ThomasEdmonds , 1 hour ago link

"Peace for Israel" would include outside businesses or investors sticking to BDS actions. Other than the United States and Europe, natural law would suggest no of law should instruct any counterparty as to what Israel entity one should or should not engage in commerce.

In another time it was called free market capitalism.

Israeli lobbies shouldn't be able to squelch the First Amendment by requiring public servants to sign agreements not to condemn Israel-related foreign policy or domestic decisions.

Boing_Snap , 2 hours ago link

The empire of paper currency and oil supported by bankers and their wars is coming to an end.

Fracking is a desperate attempt at keeping internal oil production going, it's akin to burning the roof shingles of your house to keep warm. The costs to get the oil outweigh the usefulness of the endeavor, the only ones benefiting are the bankers loaning the money to the frackers.

Rome did the same it self destructed, and rotted internally, meanwhile the cost of empire drained resources and the vassals began to act in their own self-interests. The Khazarian bankers remained the host drained, and they began to leech the new fledgling empires.

https://www.historynet.com/why-rome-fell.htm

frankthecrank , 2 hours ago link

Where do you see bankers in that history? Rome devalued its own gold coins by mixing tin in with it. The soldiers felt cheated. Meanwhile, Rome allowed mass migration to Rome and southern Italy prompting real Romans to move to Gaul (northern Italy was "Cisalpine Gaul"). Rome wasn't even the capitol when it was sacked--Ravenna was. Get your history straight. Real Romans were not willing to fight for city that wasn't their own anymore.

So too, what will bring down the US is mass migration from the third world--just what the Comintern wanted 90 years ago.

Keter , 2 hours ago link

The US petrodollar reserve currency status has been a disaster for middle class Americans much to their ignorance. It has allowed the financial-political cabal elite to enrich themselves at the expense of deficit and debt expansion while impoverishing the middle class and bringing in replacement labor serfs. Time to rip this band-aid off and the American middle class to reclaim their country, that will probably ultimately lead to revolution.

Pro_sanity , 2 hours ago link

It must, I do wonder if violence can be avoided?

sanctificado , 2 hours ago link

Suure, blame Saudi Arabia for the "betrayal". But of course overlook the fact that the US Congress passed a law that put 9/11 squarely on SA's shoulder when Israhell is the one that did 9/11 .

Keter , 2 hours ago link

Operation Northwoods redux; the Mossad may have had a big role, but it could not have been pulled off without complete acquiescence from the DIA. It is all part of the long game. {See Donald Rumsfield handling empty gurney on Pentagon grounds}

Milton Keynes , 2 hours ago link

" Second, the Saudis finally opened up t he books on Saudi-Aramco this week. And it revealed the giant is far more profitable than thought. "

I would place about as much credibility in the Aramco books as I would in Bernie Madoff's books.

Aramco pumps oil, that's about all we really know for sure. Given the intertwining with the saudi state, it's not a conventional oil company in any manner, it's much more a PDVSA then a StatOil.

To Hell In A Handbasket , 2 hours ago link

Buys oil how? You fuckers have been printing paper and buying resources with it. You guys simply lack the ability to extrapolate, because if you did, the current lifestyle of the USSA, without dollar world reserve status and the petrodollar perk, is utterly ******* horrendous.

Never will the axiom "I never knew how good I had it, until it was gone" be more apt, when the USSA faces her date with reality. $22 trillion in debt, world reserve currency, petrodollar, Wall Street a cesspit of financial fraud, no adverse market reaction to continuous money printing and has the audacity to complain trade deficits and OPEC? lol

Death to the USSA cannot come soon enough. A parasite nation of resource theives and the world knows it.

Pro_sanity , 2 hours ago link

Sorry here comes an ad hominem, the Saudi's are emblematic of all Arabs: cowards.

cashback , 2 hours ago link

What a motherfuckin degenerated bastard.

Palestinians with stones and sticks against F-35's and M-16's kick the balls of Jews and have been doing so for the past 100 years.

Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and everywhere the Anglo-Zionists have waged war, Arabs have put on a resistance that left the aggressors astonishing.

And for the fact: Arabs created the biggest empire known to men in the matter of 80 years that was almost 3 times bigger then the mighty Rome.

White snowniggers like Pro-sanity **** their pants by what Arabs have done.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 3 hours ago link

why is it not reported that through Citigroup, the Saudis hold a large financial interest in shale production?

[Apr 06, 2019] Of course the Saudis are laughing at Trump. The world is laughing at Trump. He is an ignorant baffoon.

Apr 06, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

vonfleck, 04/05/2019 at 4:53 pm

All quiet on the saudian front…

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/energy/416992-saudi-aramco-reveals-sharp-output-drop-at-worlds-largest-oil-field

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 04/06/2019 at 12:24 pm

Trump Declares War on OPEC, Saudis Laugh as Oil Price Surges

Donald Trump is ramping up his attack on oil prices as US crude hit a 5-month high today. While up to now the US president has been focused on denouncing high energy costs via Twitter, it appears he now is looking to do more than merely bash OPEC online. As CNBC reported, the US wants to ensure "dominance" in this sector through a blockbuster executive order designed to boost pipeline infrastructure. In reality, Trump walks a dangerous tightrope when it comes to crude.

Of course the Saudis are laughing at Trump. The world is laughing at Trump. He is an ignorant baffoon.

likbez says: 04/06/2019 at 7:59 pm

Of course the Saudis are laughing at Trump. The world is laughing at Trump. He is an ignorant baffoon.

May be ignorant bully, not only (or so much) baffoon ? He practices what is called “gangster capitalism” on international arena for some time. Totally ignores international law. Does not even use a fig leaf as previous administrations. Trump is “Full Spectrum Dominance” in action 😉

In view of the Saudi role of the guarantor of the “dollar as the reserve currency” system his behavior might well be a reckless move, which totally contradicts Trump’s behavior in Khashoggi case. Kind of direct pressure is Soprano style: “Do what I want, or…”

If Saudi stop selling oil for dollars that will be a very bad news for the USA. Hopefully they can’t do this being a Washington vassal, but to insult a vassal is not the best diplomacy, anyway.

Why Trump can’t understand that oil is limited and higher prices might well be the best strategy as they helps to find alternatives, develop infrastructure (for example for EV passenger cars) and prepare to inevitable shortages, or even the Seneca Cliff in oil supply.

Why he wants to propel/sustain the US stock market at any cost?

Low oil prices can help to kick the neoliberal can down the road, but they can’t save the USA from the “secular stagnation” and might not be able to save the USA from the recession too because consumption is low: credit card debt reached 0.87 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2018 On other words the bottom 80% of the USA population might well be debt slaves of the US banks.

On March 25, 2019 yields curve inverted the first time since mid 2007: The yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury note dipped below the yield on the 3-month paper.

In other words secular stagnation is the result of the crisis of neoliberalism both as the ideology and as the social system dominant in the world. Neoliberalism entered “zombie” stage in 2008 and it continues to exist (and even counterattack, as in Argentina and Brazil) only due to the fact that there is no acceptable alternative and the return to the New Deal capitalism (which many wish) is difficult or impossible because management now is allied with the capital owners, not with workers (as was temporary the case after the Great Depression; that alliance ended in 70th).

I just do not understand if Trump is on drags such as amphetamine, see rumors at https://heavy.com/news/2016/10/donald-trump-drugs-drug-use-sniffing-sniffles-cocaine-clinton-debate-test ; BTW captagon was/is a favorite drag of ISIS headchoppers which allowed them to demonstrate the level of toughness in fight and self-sacrifice they did, as it switches off the instinct of self-preservation enhancing the person’s ability to do dangerous things. ( https://www.vox.com/world/2015/11/20/9769264/captagon-isis-drug ).

Or he is a “naturally stupid” bully, who does not care to learn diplomatic etiquette and some elements of diplomacy, while on the job.

In both cases he is a real embarrassment for the nation, is not he?

While I do not support Russiagate witch hunt, his behavior really raises questions about fitness for the office.

Also Bush II style (as in Iraq WDM fiasco ) bunch of crazy warmongers, neocons that control Trump administration foreign policy (Haley in the past, Pompeo, Bolton now ) is not what his voters expected based on his election promises.

In a sense, he proved to be Republican Obama, another master of “bait and switch” maneuver.

Looks like we are living during what Chinese call “interesting times”, aren’t we ?

[Apr 06, 2019] Saudi News Saudi Aramco reveals sharp output drop at world's largest oil field - ArabianBusiness.com

Apr 06, 2019 | www.arabianbusiness.com

Ghawar in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest conventional oil field, can produce a lot less than almost anyone believed It was a state secret and the source of a kingdom's riches. It was so important that US military planners once debated how to seize it by force. For oil traders, it was a source of endless speculation.

Now the market finally knows: Ghawar in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest conventional oil field, can produce a lot less than almost anyone believed.

When Saudi Aramco on Monday published its first ever profit figures since its nationalization nearly 40 years ago, it also lifted the veil of secrecy around its mega oil fields. The company's bond prospectus revealed that Ghawar is able to pump a maximum of 3.8 million barrels a day - well below the more than 5 million that had become conventional wisdom in the market.

"As Saudi's largest field, a surprisingly low production capacity figure from Ghawar is the stand-out of the report," said Virendra Chauhan, head of upstream at consultant Energy Aspects Ltd. in Singapore.

... ... ...

[Apr 05, 2019] Petrodollar Panic Saudis Threaten To Dump USD-Oil Trades Over OPEC Anti-Trust Bill

Apr 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Three year ago - almost to the day - Saudi Arabia rattled its first sabre towards the United States, with an implicit threat to dump US Treasuries over Congress' decision to allow the Saudis to be held responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

In a stunning report at the time by the NYTimes , Saudi Arabia told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars' worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Then, six months ago , the Saudis once again threatened to weaponize their wealth as the biggest importer of arms from America in the world.

You will find more infographics at Statista

And now , Reuters reports, citing three unidentified people familiar with Saudi energy policy, Saudi Arabia is threatening to drop the dollar as its main currency in selling its oil if the U.S. passes a bill that exposes OPEC members to U.S. antitrust lawsuits .

While the death of the petrodollar has long been predicted (as the petroyuan gathers momentum), this is the most direct threat yet to the USDollar's exorbitant privilege...

"The Saudis know they have the dollar as the nuclear option," one of the sources familiar with the matter said.

"The Saudis say: let the Americans pass NOPEC and it would be the U.S. economy that would fall apart," another source said.

Riyadh reportedly communicated the threat to senior U.S. energy officials , one person briefed on Saudi oil policy told Reuters

As Reuters details, NOPEC, or the No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act, was first introduced in 2000 and aims to remove sovereign immunity from U.S. antitrust law, paving the way for OPEC states to be sued for curbing output in a bid to raise oil prices.

While the bill has never made it into law despite numerous attempts, the legislation has gained momentum since U.S. President Donald Trump came to office. Trump said he backed NOPEC in a book published in 2011 before he was elected, though he not has not voiced support for NOPEC as president.

Trump has instead stressed the importance of U.S-Saudi relations, including sales of U.S. military equipment, even after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year.

A move by Saudi Arabia to ditch the dollar would resonate well with big non-OPEC oil producers such as Russia as well as major consumers China and the European Union, which have been calling for moves to diversify global trade away from the dollar to dilute U.S. influence over the world economy.

Russia, which is subject to U.S. sanctions, has tried to sell oil in euros and China's yuan but the proportion of its sales in those currencies is not significant.

Venezuela and Iran, which are also under U.S. sanctions, sell most of their oil in other currencies but they have done little to challenge the dollar's hegemony in the oil market.

However, if a long-standing U.S. ally such as Saudi Arabia joined the club of non-dollar oil sellers it would be a far more significant move likely to gain traction within the industry.

Perhaps this explains why Russia has been dumping dollars in favors of gold in recent months ...

And why China suddenly admitted to increased gold reserves...

And why there has been a spike in yuan buying by reserve managers last year, as the IMF pointed out in a recent report.

So the next time you hear an analyst on CNBC categorically dismiss the notion that the loss of the dollar's reserve currency status isn't something that markets should take seriously (even as several credible voices have warned that it should be), you'd do well to remember this chart.

Nothing lasts forever.

[Apr 01, 2019] Trump Is Bullying OPEC Again. He Might Get His Way

Apr 01, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

Oil just had its best quarter in about a decade. Naturally, President Donald Trump is complaining. Donald J. Trump ‏ Verified account @ realDonaldTrump Mar 28

Very important that OPEC increase the flow of Oil. World Markets are fragile, price of Oil getting too high. Thank you!

The real target of this tweet is unmistakably Saudi Arabia, the one OPEC member with enough idle capacity to make a difference to the producer group's output. It's also the one over which the U.S. has the most leverage.

Straightforward economic considerations would see Saudi Arabia dismiss the request out of hand, but political calculations make its choice more difficult.

OPEC production fell by around 1.5 million barrels a day between December and February, and probably dropped further in March. Saudi Arabia made by far the biggest voluntary reduction . It contributed almost two thirds of the group's total output cut as measured against individual baselines in February, and made deeper cuts than it had promised it would implement each month this year.

[Mar 30, 2019] The US desperately needs Venezuelan oil

Highly recommended!
Mar 30, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

dh-mtl , Mar 30, 2019 5:00:04 PM | link

The U.S. desperately needs Venezuelan oil.

They lost control of Saudi Arabia, after trying to take down MBS and then betraying him by unexpectedly allowing waivers on Iranian oil in November.

The U.S. cannot take down Iran without Venezuelan oil. What is worse, right now they don't have access to enough heavy oil to meet their own needs.

Controlling the world oil trade is central to Trump's strategy for the U.S. to continue its empire. Without Venezuelan oil, the U.S. is a bit player in the energy markets, and will remain so.

Having Russia block the U.S. in Venezuela adds insult to injury. After Crimea and Syria, now Venezuela, Russia exposes the U.S. as a loud mouthed-bully without the capacity to back up its threats, a 'toothless tiger', an 'emperor without clothes'.

If the U.S. cannot dislodge Russia from Venezuela, its days as 'global hegemon' are finished. For this reason the U.S. will continue escalating the situation with ever-riskier actions, until it succeeds or breaks.

In the same manor, if Russia backs off, its resistance to the U.S. is finished. And the U.S. will eventually move to destroy Russia, like it has been actively trying to do for the past 30 years. Russia cannot and will not back off.

Venezuela thus becomes the stage where the final act in the clash of empires plays out. Will the world become a multi-polar world, in which the U.S. becomes a relatively isolated and insignificant pole? Or will the world become more fully dominated by a brutal, erratic hegemon?

All options are on the table. For both sides!

[Mar 18, 2019] The U.S. Shouldn t Seek New Ideological Confrontations Abroad by Daniel Larison

This MIC prostitute Karan, like his wife Nuland are un-reformable. They just earn their living ing by warmongering. And they will screem like pigs if they are deprived from those money, and do not care one bit how many people will be killed as the result of their policies.
There is no war that those neocon chickenhawks do not like. It's their family racket.
Notable quotes:
"... Kagan's preferred foreign policy requires that there is some global "ideological confrontation" for the U.S. to be engaged in. If there isn't one, it has to be invented. ..."
"... Kagan isn't all that interested in details or accuracy. Those are "beside the point." ..."
"... Kagan doesn't make it explicit in this essay, but his larger goal in all of this is to advocate for a more confrontational foreign policy mobilized against the authoritarian enemies that he has described. He hints at this when he disparages contemporary "realists" ..."
"... realists, non-interventionists, and progressives that see no compelling reason for the U.S. to engage in destructive rivalries with major authoritarian powers in their own backyards. Except for a lame, overused comparison to the 1930s, Kagan doesn't even try to explain why we are wrong to think this. Kagan assumes that such destructive rivalries are both necessary and desirable, and this essay is the latest part of his effort to lay the groundwork for the ideological justification for those rivalries. ..."
"... A recent WSJ article (03/11/19) titled "Russian Gas Plan Divides U.S., Allies" with the subtitle "Washington fears undersea project would make Germany too reliant on Moscow" tells the tale of what the real reasons for America to demonize Russia and Putin. The U.S. leaders fear that the German-Russian pipeline project, Nord Stream 2, will make Europe reliant on Russian energy instead of Europe purchasing it energy from the United States. What gives the U.S. the right to stop one nation from doing commerce with other nations? The answer is "Greed." ..."
"... Kagan is and will until the bitter end defend American hegemony and the ideological mantle will be used as a cover ..."
"... People also forget that US is not a democracy, but a managed Republic, and according to all indicators, it is not even that liberal ..."
"... The fallout from the actions of these "interventionists" is millions are dead in a number of countries. Millions are refugees and thousands of soldiers are dead or maimed. More facts on these war criminals at link below. https://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-facts-on-crimes-of-war-criminals.html ..."
"... This Kagan family, with Robert now the lead figure, has done a great deal towards furthering conflicts and violence in the world. It is long past time that they be put in their place, whatever that is, but it will not happen because their Zionist mindset is very well funded. ..."
"... "The U.S. has spent the last twenty years fighting wars that Kagan and other like-minded interventionists advocated for and endorsed. We shouldn't make the same mistake again when the stakes are even higher." We ought to do more than that. He should be muzzled and sent to live in a cave somewhere to repent the consequences of the terrible damage he and other incompetents have done to America. That people like this still have access to the media is almost beyond belief. ..."
Mar 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Brookings Senior Fellow and author Robert Kagan in March 2018. (Brookings Institution/Paul Morigi) Robert Kagan warns us about global authoritarianism:

Of all the geopolitical transformations confronting the liberal democratic world these days, the one for which we are least prepared is the ideological and strategic resurgence of authoritarianism. We are not used to thinking of authoritarianism as a distinct worldview that offers a real alternative to liberalism.

We are not used to thinking of authoritarianism as a distinct worldview because it isn't one. All authoritarian states share certain things in common, and they may see some of the same things as threats, but there isn't a single worldview that all authoritarian governments subscribe to. There is no one ideology that binds them together. Most of them are nationalistic to one degree or another, but because of that they usually have competing and opposing goals. Treating all authoritarian regimes as part of the same global threat lumps illiberal and majoritarian democracies together with kleptocracies, communist dictatorships, and absolute monarchies. That exaggerates the danger that these regimes pose, and it tries to invent a Cold War-like division between rival camps that doesn't really exist. If the U.S. treats these states as if they are all in league with one another, it will tend to drive together states that would otherwise remain at odds and keep each other at arm's length.

Kagan's preferred foreign policy requires that there is some global "ideological confrontation" for the U.S. to be engaged in. If there isn't one, it has to be invented. His account of the history of the 20th century shows how determined he is to see international politics in terms of grand ideological battles even when there wasn't one. He takes seriously the idea that WWI is one of these struggles: "But for those who fought it, on both sides, it was very much a war between liberalism and authoritarianism." Kagan makes the mistake of treating wartime propaganda descriptions of the war as the real motivation for the war, and he relies on stereotypes of the nations on the other side of the war as well. The world's largest colonial empires were not fighting for "the liberties of Europe" and they certainly weren't fighting for the rights of small nations, as wartime British propaganda would have it, and that became abundantly clear in the post-war settlement. It was primarily a war among empires for supremacy in Europe, and the surviving Allied empires consolidated their hold on their own colonial possessions and gained more. To the extent that Americans genuinely believed that joining the war had something to do with vindicating the cause of democracy, they were quickly disabused of that notion when they saw the fruits of the vindictive settlement that their allies imposed on the losing side.

Kagan admits that there are many differences of regime type that he is trying to collapse into one group:

We have become lost in endless categorizations, viewing each type of non-liberal government as unique and unrelated to the others -- the illiberal democracy, the "liberal" or "liberalizing" autocracy, the "competitive" and "hybrid" authoritarianism. These different categories certainly describe the myriad ways non-liberal societies may be governed. But in the most fundamental way, all of this is beside the point.

In other words, Kagan isn't all that interested in details or accuracy. Those are "beside the point." What matters is dividing up the world into two opposing camps: "Nations are either liberal, meaning that there are permanent institutions and unchanging norms that protect the "unalienable" rights of individuals against all who would infringe on those rights, whether the state or the majority; or they are not liberal." The criteria for qualifying as a liberal nation are extremely demanding. What institutions can honestly be called "permanent" and what norms are ever truly "unchanging"? Judged against this extreme and unreasonable standard, there won't ever be many nations that qualify as liberal, including quite a few that we would normally consider liberal democracies in good standing. That makes it a lot easier for Kagan to exaggerate the power of "resurgent authoritarianism."

Kagan doesn't make it explicit in this essay, but his larger goal in all of this is to advocate for a more confrontational foreign policy mobilized against the authoritarian enemies that he has described. He hints at this when he disparages contemporary "realists" whom he doesn't name or cite:

Just as during the 1930s, when realists such as Robert Taft assured Americans that their lives would be undisturbed by the collapse of democracy in Europe and the triumph of authoritarianism in Asia, so we have realists today insisting that we pull back from confronting the great authoritarian powers rising in Eurasia.

To be much more accurate, there are realists, non-interventionists, and progressives that see no compelling reason for the U.S. to engage in destructive rivalries with major authoritarian powers in their own backyards. Except for a lame, overused comparison to the 1930s, Kagan doesn't even try to explain why we are wrong to think this. Kagan assumes that such destructive rivalries are both necessary and desirable, and this essay is the latest part of his effort to lay the groundwork for the ideological justification for those rivalries.

Kagan's analysis suffers from the problem of mirror-imaging that always plagues ideologues. He assumes that everyone sees the world in starkly ideological categories just as he does, and he thinks that other actors are just as determined to export their ideology as he is. His entire worldview depends on linking great power competition with larger ideological causes, and for almost thirty years there has been no such "ideological confrontation" for Kagan to theorize about. Despite Kagan's insistence to the contrary, there still isn't. He wants the U.S. to take a more confrontational approach to dealing with Russia and China, and in order to sell that today he has to dress it up as something more than the destructive and costly pursuit of hegemony that he has been pushing for decades. The U.S. has spent the last twenty years fighting wars that Kagan and other like-minded interventionists advocated for and endorsed. We shouldn't make the same mistake again when the stakes are even higher.


Minnesota Mary March 17, 2019 at 1:56 pm

A recent WSJ article (03/11/19) titled "Russian Gas Plan Divides U.S., Allies" with the subtitle "Washington fears undersea project would make Germany too reliant on Moscow" tells the tale of what the real reasons for America to demonize Russia and Putin. The U.S. leaders fear that the German-Russian pipeline project, Nord Stream 2, will make Europe reliant on Russian energy instead of Europe purchasing it energy from the United States. What gives the U.S. the right to stop one nation from doing commerce with other nations? The answer is "Greed."

All wars are predicated on lies, and all wars are fought for economic reasons and not the so called humanitarian reasons that are fed to the people.

Kouros , says: March 17, 2019 at 3:41 pm
Always insightful indeed: Kagan is and will until the bitter end defend American hegemony and the ideological mantle will be used as a cover (Mel Gibson screaming "Freedom!" in Bravehart; killing the babies and stealing the incubators!).

People also forget that US is not a democracy, but a managed Republic, and according to all indicators, it is not even that liberal

So better save this post because you are still young and in 30 years from now you will be able to re-post it and just change a couple of names

JR , says: March 17, 2019 at 3:57 pm
Ironically he seems in the same (lack of) weight class (intellectually) as Pompeo.
Stephen J. , says: March 17, 2019 at 5:22 pm
You write:

"The U.S. has spent the last twenty years fighting wars that Kagan and other like-minded interventionists advocated for and endorsed."

--

Right on the mark. The fallout from the actions of these "interventionists" is millions are dead in a number of countries. Millions are refugees and thousands of soldiers are dead or maimed. More facts on these war criminals at link below.
https://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-facts-on-crimes-of-war-criminals.html

Taras 77 , says: March 17, 2019 at 7:15 pm
Thanks much for this, Mr Larison.

Anytime, anywhere, anyone comes out and destroys kagan's Zionist globalist babble as you have done, it is a very commendable exercise for the good of mankind and America.

This Kagan family, with Robert now the lead figure, has done a great deal towards furthering conflicts and violence in the world. It is long past time that they be put in their place, whatever that is, but it will not happen because their Zionist mindset is very well funded.

Your article does a public service.

prolegomenon to any future foreign policy , says: March 18, 2019 at 2:27 am
"The U.S. has spent the last twenty years fighting wars that Kagan and other like-minded interventionists advocated for and endorsed. We shouldn't make the same mistake again when the stakes are even higher."

We ought to do more than that. He should be muzzled and sent to live in a cave somewhere to repent the consequences of the terrible damage he and other incompetents have done to America. That people like this still have access to the media is almost beyond belief.

[Mar 16, 2019] Perhaps the level of Saudi oil production was unsustainable and they are really glad to officially have an excuse to cut back on production.

Mar 16, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson

x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 6:22 am
.Saudi Arabia
Quota 10,311
.Feb. Production 10,087
.Difference -224

Saudi Arabia produced 224,000 barrels per day less than their quota. Did not anyone notice this and wonder why? The rest of OPEC was 179,000 barrels per day over their quota. Iraq was the largest violator being 121,000 bpd over their quota.

Also, Saudi Arabia was the absolute driving force behind these quota cuts implemented in January.

Baggen x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 7:24 am
Noticed, and you could argue that they are showing the way and taking the larger part of the burden since they want to be so nice to the rest of the opec members ;-).

Or perhaps the level they have been producing at is unsustainable and they are really glad to officially have an excuse to cut back on production.

Your take?

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 03/15/2019 at 8:11 am
Or perhaps the level they have been producing at is unsustainable and they are really glad to officially have an excuse to cut back on production.

You nailed it. That's my take exactly.

[Mar 13, 2019] Protests sparked when Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, warned German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia that they could be hit with American economic sanctions

Notable quotes:
"... Everything I understand about German behavior in regards to 3rd parties is totally in lockstep with the US - never mind that Germany has been occupied by the US since WW2 - so why not a scheme to build more Russian dependency on the West? ..."
"... The people who destroyed the USSR are still in power; their whole existence depends on whoring out Russia to the West because that is all they have ever done. They can't not stop because to stop would be an act of self-annihilation. Russian elites, at least a large faction of them, desperately want back into the clubhouse, if they cant get in they will find something else to do until the moment the clubhouse door is opened to them again, and then they will fall all over themselves to get in. ..."
Mar 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Only a few weeks ago, German politicians and media were up in arms protesting to the Trump administration for interfering in Berlin's internal affairs. There were even outraged complaints that Washington was seeking "regime change" against Chancellor Angela Merkel's government.

Those protests were sparked when Richard Grenell, the US ambassador to Germany, warned German companies involved in the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia that they could be hit with American economic sanctions if they go ahead with the Baltic seabed project.

Earlier, Grenell provoked fury among Berlin's political establishment when he openly gave his backing to opposition party Alternative for Germany. That led to consternation and denunciations of Washington's perceived backing for regime change in Berlin. They were public calls for Grenell to be expelled over his apparent breach of diplomatic protocols.

Now, however, Germany is shamelessly kowtowing to an even more outrageous American regime-change plot against Venezuela.

... ... ...

Perhaps this policy of appeasement is also motivated by Berlin's concern to spare the Nord Stream 2 project from American sanctions. When NS2 is completed later this year, it is reckoned to double the capacity of natural gas consumption by Germany from Russia. That will be crucial for Germany's economic growth.

Another factor is possible blackmail of Berlin by Washington. Recall the earth-shattering revelations made by American whistleblower Edward Snowden a few years back when he disclosed that US intelligence agencies were tapping the personal phone communications of Chancellor Merkel and other senior Berlin politicians. Recall, too, how the German state remarkably acquiesced over what should have been seen as a devastating infringement by Washington.

The weird lack of action by Berlin over that huge violation of its sovereignty by the Americans makes one wonder if the US spies uncovered a treasure trove of blackmail material on German politicians.

Berlin's pathetic kowtowing to Washington's interference in Venezuela begs an ulterior explanation. No self-respecting government could be so hypocritical and duplicitous.

Whatever Berlin may calculate to gain from its unscrupulous bending over for Washington, one thing seems clear, as Russian envoy Nebenzia warned: "One day you are next" for American hegemonic shafting.


Cast Iron Skillet , 6 hours ago link

Well, Merkel is doing a good job of protecting Germany's interests by opposing the U.S. regarding North Stream 2.

The German stand on Venezuela is disappointing, but they might be figuring no skin off their back, since Venezuela is not in Europe, so might as well appease cheeto head.

ComradePuff , 7 hours ago link

I am personally suspicious of Nord Stream 2 and think Russia is making a HUGE mistake. Everything I understand about German behavior in regards to 3rd parties is totally in lockstep with the US - never mind that Germany has been occupied by the US since WW2 - so why not a scheme to build more Russian dependency on the West? The Russians are fools to have built this pipeline - they should be moving away from Europe, not foolishly trying to sew themselves onto it as an appendage. This will come back to bite them on the ***, mark my words.

And this, in a nutshell, is why Russia is always taking one step forward and two back. The people who destroyed the USSR are still in power; their whole existence depends on whoring out Russia to the West because that is all they have ever done. They can't not stop because to stop would be an act of self-annihilation. Russian elites, at least a large faction of them, desperately want back into the clubhouse, if they cant get in they will find something else to do until the moment the clubhouse door is opened to them again, and then they will fall all over themselves to get in.

[Mar 04, 2019] The USA pressure Germany to abandon North Stream II

Mar 04, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Warren March 2, 2019 at 12:53 pm

The Duran

Published on 1 Mar 2019

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 185.

The Duran's Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the Munich Security Conference, and Angela Merkel's stunning defiance of Mike Pence, after the United States Vice President urged Germany to cease its economic activities with Russia and China, starting with Nord Stream 2 and the deepening energy links to Russia.

See: Merkel Draws the Line Against Trump

https://tomluongo.me/2019/02/21/merkel-draws-the-line-against-trump/

[Mar 02, 2019] Saudi Arabia Oil Exports To U.S. Nosedive

Mar 02, 2019 | oilprice.com

OilPrice.com

Saudi Arabia's crude oil exports to U.S. are falling sharply, with shipments so far this month at just 1.6 million barrels, according to data compiled by Bloomberg , versus 5.75 million barrels a year ago.

For the whole of January, Saudi Arabia exported just 2.69 million barrels of crude to the United States. The decline follows Saudi Arabia's decision to cut its crude oil production -- primarily heavy crude grades -- by more than it agreed to at the December OPEC+ meeting as it seeks higher oil prices.

One analyst told Bloomberg oil exports from the Kingdom to U.S. refiners could even fall to zero but that was unlikely to happen.

"We could see Saudi oil imports declining to zero into the U.S. Gulf Coast," Andy Lipow from Lipow Oil Associates said. "OPEC and non-OPEC members feel prices are too low, and they will do what it takes to put the market back in balance."

[Mar 01, 2019] The next point is that the world is not running out of oil yet, but potential oil reserves are not under western control (most potential reserves are in Africa, Middle East, Ex USSR countries and the Arctic). And that makes for an unstable political future between the west and the rest of the world

Globalization was fueled by cheap oil. end of cheap oil means the end of globalization.
It looks like people started to notice the "gangster capitalism" nature of Trump administration.
If also raises the speculation that the end of "cheap oil" might signify the end of neoliberalism as a social system. At least the "classic" version. Whether Trump inspired the evolution of neoliberalism into "national neoliberalism" improves the survival chances of this social system remains to be seen.
Notable quotes:
"... The whole "political play" going on now seems to be Trump pressuring Saudi Arabia (and OPEC) for the assumable extensive spare capacity that they have. But the problem is, the reality is high oil prices were needed to avoid a deficit in the whole scheme of things. I still guess reality will be hard late 2019/20 as has always been my prediction. ..."
"... To avoid blackmail when it comes to oil the future; sooner or later there is going to be a transition to natural gas (for some decades) and renewable in the West and Asia first. That is how the story goes in my view. The transition to renewable is most likely not going to be smooth, but hurt someone (some part of the population and some countries maybe). Interesting future energy and other resources (e.g lithium, cobalt, nickel and rare magnet ingredients needed for batteries) are going to be even more in focus than today I guess. ..."
Mar 01, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

kolbeinh says: 03/01/2019 at 5:58 pm

I think there are a lot of people that need a delusion check. Because a surplus of oil is advocated by "western trustable sources" against the natural investment circle of the oil industry does not automatically mean that the market balance is under control; it is in fact never going to work.

The whole "political play" going on now seems to be Trump pressuring Saudi Arabia (and OPEC) for the assumable extensive spare capacity that they have. But the problem is, the reality is high oil prices were needed to avoid a deficit in the whole scheme of things. I still guess reality will be hard late 2019/20 as has always been my prediction.

It is difficult to change my mind about the oil market; after all it is not supersonic speed in this mature market. The digitalisation of data gathering (seismic and reservoir control) together with horizontal wells represent probably huge gains and I would guess alone can explain why for example Russia has been doing so well the last decade.

The next point is that the world is not running out of oil yet, but potential oil reserves are not under western control (most potential reserves are in Africa, Middle East, Ex USSR countries and the Arctic). And that makes for an unstable political future between the west and the rest of the world.

To avoid blackmail when it comes to oil the future; sooner or later there is going to be a transition to natural gas (for some decades) and renewable in the West and Asia first. That is how the story goes in my view. The transition to renewable is most likely not going to be smooth, but hurt someone (some part of the population and some countries maybe). Interesting future energy and other resources (e.g lithium, cobalt, nickel and rare magnet ingredients needed for batteries) are going to be even more in focus than today I guess.

[Feb 26, 2019] Ain Dar, Shedgum, and Uthmaniyah are all in decline and likely in steep decline. Hawiyah and Haradh likely have not yet peaked. However, it is production from Khurais and Manifa and Shaybah that is keeping the decline in Saudi production from becoming obvious

Feb 26, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 3:23 pm

My understanding is that there are proved undeveloped reserves, those require new wells.

Dennis, I need to know just how you arrived at this understanding? It is my understanding that these are infill wells. The word "infill" implies developed, not undeveloped.

infill drilling Bold mine.

1. n. [Enhanced Oil Recovery]
The addition of wells in a field that decreases average well spacing. This practice both accelerates expected recovery and increases estimated ultimate recovery in heterogeneous reservoirs by improving the continuity between injectors and producers. As well spacing is decreased, the shifting well patterns alter the formation-fluid flow paths and increase sweep to areas where greater hydrocarbon saturations exist.

Infill drilling does increase the ultimate recovery as it gets gaps near the top of the reservoir that otherwise might be missed. But mostly it just pulls the oil out faster. That is most of the oil recovered by infill drilling is not oil that would otherwise be missed.

There are no longer any undeveloped fields in Saudi Arabia. These wells are in the very well developed Ghawar, and I assume the field to the west is Khurais. Both fields are not just developed, but overly developed. They have been doing infill drilling in Ghawar for almost two decades. I assume these new Ghawar wells will be in the very southern two fields.

Survivalist x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 12:23 pm
From what I understand it was also stated by Schlumberger that they are in-fill (infill?) wells Just sticking more straws in an almost empty bucket. It seems to me that that will bring forward future production(to sustain a plateau) and the eventual decline rate in the future will necessarily be steeper, like a bell curve vs a Seneca Cliff type curve.

I would suggest infill drilling is a good indicator of what KSA feels it's oil development priorities are. One could make an assumption about why they feel that way. I assume it's because they don't have anything better to do with the drilling rigs.

Baggen x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 12:32 pm
Yes it was stated they were infill wells and i dont know if it was a slip but from memory MD? Also said purpose was to mitigate decline rates.
islandboy x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 9:54 am
Ron, what is your opinion on Saudi Arabia? A I have said here before, I think that the Ghawar could water out at any time, reducing Saudi output by somewhere in the region of 3 mbpd in short order. It could happen tomorrow, next week, next year, who (outside of Aramco) knows?
Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 10:40 am
Islandboy, Ghawar is not one field, it is five fields. From north to south there is Ain Dar, Shedgum, Uthmaniyah, Hawiyah and Haradh. Ghawar was developed from north to south.

Ghawar Oil Field

Ghawar is currently estimated to account for about six percent of the world's total daily crude oil output. The field's production peaked at 5.7million barrels per day in 1981 and later slipped below the five million mark. The development of the southern Hawiyah and Haradh areas during 1994 and 1996, however, raised the production to five million barrels per day again.

Ain Dar, Shedgum, and Uthmaniyah are all in decline and likely in steep decline. Hawiyah and Haradh likely have not yet peaked. However, it is production from Khurais and Manifa and Shaybah that is keeping the decline in Saudi production from becoming obvious. All other fields, other than the bottom two Ghawar fields, and these three latest developed fields, are in steep decline.

Khurais and Manifa were in mothballs for decades. Then they were brought on line, at great expense, to counter the decline in all the other super-giant fields. But the decline in these old super-giants is getting steeper.

[Feb 26, 2019] EIA's Data for World and Non-OPEC Oil Production " Peak Oil Barrel

Feb 26, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

nikbez x Ignored says: 02/25/2019 at 11:40 pm

Ron,

> It is very likely that Russia+ Canada will peak within the next two years.

I agree that Russia is close to its peak. But, at the same time, Russia has a huge Arctic territory with a very low density of population (due to harsh conditions), which probably is not explored that well. Also with their gas reserves, they might be able to increase the condensate production considerably, repeating the USA path.

The other possibility is Russia sliding in chaos after Putin retirement, as there is no any politician of equal caliber able to pick up the helm among the current elite. And there will be "external helpers" like after Brezhnev's death who will try to get some comprador at the top. Also, the leadership change historically is a huge problem in Russia.

See https://www.quora.com/What-will-happen-after-Vladimir-Putin-steps-down-or-passes-away . This Igor Markov sounds like a typical neoliberal propagandist salivating to plunder Russia the second time as Harvard mafia did in the past, but the problem does exist.

Russia is a kind of 'A riddle wrapped up in an enigma.' Everybody wrote Russia off in late 90th. It is difficult to make predictions about Russia.

If I remember correctly, Fernando Leanme used to work at Russia in the past, and he might share his thoughts about this issue.

What is interesting is that due to the use of natural gas in transport, Russia does not consume that much oil internally, which makes an important difference with KSA.

Fernando Leanme x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 7:26 am
Increasing Russia's Arctic production is feasible, but this will take many years, and I don't think it can offset decline to make much of a difference. Yamal has huge gas condensate reservoirs located under the Cenomanian, but they need many more wells. I believe they can produce 1 mmbopd of condensate, but that would take 15 to 20 years.

I believe Putin is smart enough to set up a successful replacement, and the Russian elite will also be keen on a smooth transition because they think they are under attack (yes, they are convinced the USA, Germany, France and others are very keen on making them submit).

Opritov Alexander x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 4:25 pm
1.Russians are not very happy with Putin
2. Most Russians will support him in any circumstances. This is a principle. Otherwise, chaos.
3.95% Rosiyan has a negative attitude towards liberals, as well as to "democratic values" (this is a declaration that has no common with reality)
4.Most Russians dissatisfied with property inequality that appeared in the last 25 years
5. The greatest dissatisfaction is the destruction of industry. The lack of productive labor. (We live with the income of hydrocarbons, the country-gas station). The consequence of globalism.
ProPoly x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 8:52 am
Russia would have declined by now without huge, fracking like CapEx in existing fields. This was from one year ago.

https://www.worldoil.com/news/2017/12/19/rosneft-board-agrees-on-samotlor-development-program

>>>
During 2016-2017 Rosneft and the Russian government have been elaborating in details additional options for the development of unique Samotlor field. As a result a joint decision was made for an investment incentive in the form of an annual mineral extraction tax reduction of RUB 35 billion during 10 years.

The Board has confirmed the Company's obligations to drill over 2,400 wells during 2018-2027 that would provide additional output in the amount of more than 50 mtoe. The extended Samotlor development program would result in an increase of tax liabilities to budgets of all administrative levels to RUB 1.7 trln. The investment incentives should give new momentum to the development of one of the largest fields in the country and bring significant multiplicative effect for Russian economy.
<<<

2,400 wells in a decade is 240 a year. This article is discussing just Samotlor.

A conventional field drilling a well more often than once every two days. Quite a bit more than that I imagine in the good time of the year with the swings in Siberian weather conditions.

That's nuts. It's also going to shark fin at some point.

Baggen x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 10:32 am
Interesting, Schlumberger said during q&a in their q3 they they had a contract for 400 wells 2019-2021 for the saudis, it was ghawar and one neighbouring field to the west that i cant remember name of that all 400 wells were going into. They were also quite honest about its purpose that it was to mitigate declines.

So that makes it pretty much exactly 50% of the russian drill rate per day in samotlor you mention abowe.

I asked in previous thread why that many wells were needed if we are to believe saudis 200gb+ of world class reserves remaining. In my opinion i didn't get any answer to that question.

Watcher x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 1:26 pm
Somebody way up above said because Russia uses natgas for transport they don't consume much oil.

Gas consumption growth last year was 1.3% Oil consumption growth was 1%.

Russian car sales grew 18% last year after a double digit gain the previous year. Lada dominates their sales, and as best I can see they are all petrol fueled. Hyundai and Kia are a substantial presence as well, but I see no evidence in general of natgas dominating transport.

American model sales seem at best obscure. It's Lada, Hyundai, Kia, BMW, VW.

ProPoly x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 2:52 pm
The statement about Russia using natural gas heavily for transport is simply inaccurate. Russia "only" consumes 3.2 million barrels per day of oil. But that's more because the country does not have anywhere near the continent-wide car infrastructure and other wealthy sprawl the United States built out.
Watcher x Ignored says: 02/26/2019 at 3:36 pm
Russia per capita oil consumption is 0.0229 barrels/person/day. This is about 1/3 US consumption rate. It's higher than most countries.

[Feb 22, 2019] Saudi crude oil closing stocks fell again by 2.84 million barrels to nearly 10-years low of 205.38.

Feb 22, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News x Ignored says: 02/18/2019 at 7:32 am

Saudi crude oil closing stocks fell again by 2.84 million barrels to nearly 10-years low of 205.38.
JODI's own chart: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dzr_iVGWoAEVkm7.png
Oilytics chart https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DzsB3kIWsAArlyG.jpg
Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 02/18/2019 at 8:01 am
Why on earth would Saudi stocks be falling at such a rate? If Saudi is concerned about low oil prices, they do not need to cut production, they only need to cut exports.

Saudi has 266 billion barrels of oil in the ground, and in the dead of winter, their lowest crude burn season, their stocks are falling? Something just don't add up here.

Greenbub x Ignored says: 02/18/2019 at 5:31 pm
Giovanni Staunovo
🛢
‏ @staunovo

Saudi Crude Exports Slump to 6.2M B/D in 1H February: Kpler
Shipments tumble by 1.34m b/d in 1H February, compared with same period in January, consultant says in report.
BBG #OOTT

Jeff x Ignored says: 02/18/2019 at 8:38 am
Are there any (public) estimates of how much SA produce vs. draw from inventory to cover their exports or are all these charts based on their own reported figures?

There are several issues with the reported numbers that appears odd to me.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 02/18/2019 at 8:50 am
I found, back when I was reporting JODI data, that for OPEC, they used the "direct communication" data rather than the "secondary sources" data for their OPEC production data. But that was several years ago.
Energy News x Ignored says: 02/18/2019 at 9:02 am
It's just their own reported figures. I know that the secondary sources quoted in OPEC MOMR use tanker tracking and reported refinery runs to check OPEC production but beyond that I don't know.
Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 02/18/2019 at 6:46 pm
Robert Rapier's newest article

Discussion Of Saudi Arabia's Oil Reserves Provokes Some Emotional Responses

I find his logic impeccable.

In summary, while I have not proven that Saudi has 270 billion barrels of proved oil reserves, I think the evidence points in that direction. And if you accept a much lower number, you essentially accept that there is a vast conspiracy involved in hiding the real numbers.

An old post by me, maybe I got the idea from Robert Rapier. I hadn't realized he had written something on this at the time. (If so I apologize to Mr. Rapier for the lack of citation.)

http://peakoilbarrel.com/us-oil-reserve-growth-2/

dclonghorn x Ignored says: 02/18/2019 at 9:46 pm
I don't find Mr. Rapier's logic even close to impeccable.

Mr Rapier does not address a number of issues which concern Saudi reserves in his article. For instance, KSA reserves are known to consist mostly of a relatively small number of giant fields, as compared to the USA which has a much larger geographic area, many small fields and perhaps close to a million wells drilled.

In KSA most of its oil resources are concentrated in about a fifth of its 830,000 square mile geographic area. It has conducted a systematic and thorough search using seismic, drilling and other tools to explore for other resources. I believe their best undeveloped findings have been deeper gas in the known oily areas. The Shaybah oil field, said to be the last of the elephants, was discovered in 1968. Remote and relatively expensive, it was not developed until 1998. Likewise, the development of Ghawar also proceeded slowly, with the last southern parts not being developed until around 2000.

The manner in which the country's resources have been developed has not been addressed. In the USA every promoter with access to OPM has drilled, including many wells of questionable economics. Would the LTO currently developing here be brought on at all, or very slowly anywhere else? Is LTO really economic at today's prices?

In KSA the government owned oil company has systematically developed their resources, and by most accounts they have been thorough, methodical, and have used cutting edge technology. In the early 2000's they combined advanced seismic, drilling, and completion technologies to create multi-lateral super wells which have been used to develop Shaybah as well as to rejuvenate many older worn out fields such as Abqaiq. These super wells have allowed KSA to maintain its massive production but when these traps have been depleted there is not likely to be an encore.

The nature of the giant Saudi fields is different from the USA. Ghawar has been described as the perfect trap. With high perm and porosity KSA expects to produce a large percentage of original oil in place. The old reserve reports Rapier referenced also expected to recover high percentages of original oil. Technology has certainly increased the amount of oil KSA will recover but I believe they are looking at increasing recovery by a few, maybe up to 10 percentage points in each field. Their best result, is pulling forward production with their super wells, not creating recoverable oil from resources such as shale which were previously considered uneconomic.

Rig counts in KSA were around 10 for much of the 90's. They have increased sharply since with the push to maintain their production around 10 million bpd. Current levels of around 130 rigs seem needed to maintain 10, not 25.

Of course, the underlying problem comparing USA reserves with KSA is the geology, and I am not a geologist, but my understanding is that the persian gulf area is unique and not comparable to USA.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 02/19/2019 at 7:06 am
Thanks dclonghorn. I find your logic impeccable.
shallow sand x Ignored says: 02/19/2019 at 8:19 am
Good post dc.

EIA used to publish stats regarding number of US oil wells, gas wells and average TD per well.

I guess there are over one million active oil/gas wells in US, including Alaska and GOM. There are over 100K "shale wells already and US is adding 10K +/- per year.

Schlumberger had a graphic awhile back comparing the drilling intensity of the US to both Russian and the Middle East. Was an eye opener.

dclonghorn x Ignored says: 02/19/2019 at 10:37 am
Thanks for the kind comments Ron and Shallow.

After reviewing recent comments, I see an additional area to address, that of the D&M reserve review. As one who used to do audits, I can tell you that auditors rely heavily on management to present them with a basis for their opinion. Auditors cannot review everything, and most are familiar with some of the noted failures such as Enron and Billie Sol Estes.

One of the old standard auditor jokes goes like this.

A prospective client interviews three firms and asks each the same question: What is 2 plus 2.
First firm answer is : We pride ourselves on our expertise, the answer is 4. They do not get the job.
Second firm: We would like to research this question and provide you with a suitable answer. No job.
Third firm: What did you have in mind? Job!

A bigger question is why would KSA want to overstate its reserves. At its face value, the answer is they would not, lower reserves should lead to higher prices realized from their oil. I don't think it is that simple. The Saudi regime is an oppressive dictatorship that oddly relies on extensive welfare type payments to maintain power. They do have a national interest in overstating their reserves, its sort of an Emperor's new clothes thing.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 02/18/2019 at 10:51 pm
And if you accept a much lower number, you essentially accept that there is a vast conspiracy involved in hiding the real numbers.

That sentence is total nonsense. In 1980 ARAMCO suggested that quotas would be allocated on the amount of proven reserves each country has. That is, the greater their proven reserves, the higher their quota would be. Within the next few years, every OPEC nation started increasing their "proven reserves" with a pencil. And their reserves just kept growing and growing and growing. They never did allocate quotas based on proven reserves, but that did not deter any of them from continually increasing their numbers.

But it is just downright silly to suggest that there is a conspiracy to hide their true reserves. Of course their true reserves, like those of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and the UAE are closely garded secret while their published reserves are published everywhere. But no conspiracy is needed to keep their true reserves a secret. All they have to do is deny all other published numbers. Besides, most OPEC officials really believe those numbers. It is not really hard to believe something you really desire to believe.

I find it astonishing that you Dennis, or Robert, thinks a conspiracy is needed to claim those absurded numbers. No, no, no. It's just a gross exaggeration, nothing more. A gross exaggeration does not require a conspiracy and it is just absurd to claim it does.

Tony Eriksen x Ignored says: 02/19/2019 at 2:44 am
Until Saudi oil reserves are independently audited their remaining crude oil reserves cannot be verified.
This is recent audit but until the entire audit is released, maybe in an IPO prospectus, there remains uncertainty.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-01-09/saudis-raise-oil-reserves-estimate-ahead-of-aramco-s-planned-ipo
http://tradearabia.com/news/OGN_349583.html

Saudi Arabia published the first audit of its vast oil reserves since it nationalized its energy industry about 40 years ago, saying its reserves total 268.5 billion, slightly more than the 266.3 billion figure that the government published previously.

The audit, conducted by Dallas-based consultant DeGolyer & MacNaughton Corp., is the first since Riyadh fully nationalized Saudi Aramco between 1976 and 1980, and it comes as the kingdom tries to generate interest in Aramco ahead of a potential initial public offering.

"This certification underscores why every barrel we produce is the most profitable in the world, and why we believe Saudi Aramco is the world's most valuable company and indeed the world's most important," Saudi Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said in a statement posted on the state news agency's website.

Tony Eriksen x Ignored says: 02/19/2019 at 3:04 am
This is a link from DeGolyer & MacNaughton about their audit on Saudi oil reserves. There is no field by field split of the reserves or the quality – heavy, light, sweet etc
Feb 12, 2019
https://www.demac.com/dm-confirms-independent-assessment-of-reserves-in-saudi-arabia-for-the-saudi-arabian-oil-company/
DeGolyer and MacNaughton is pleased to acknowledge the recent completion of the first contemporary independent assessment of reserves in Saudi Arabia for the Saudi Arabian Oil Company. The study encompassed a highly detailed independent analysis of a massive dataset and onsite review. More than 60 geophysicists, petrophysicists, geologists, simulation engineers, reserves engineering specialists, and economists were involved in the 30-month effort.
In 1943, one of our founders, Everette DeGolyer, surveyed the Middle East and Persian Gulf area as part of the war effort. Mr. DeGolyer was quoted at the time as declaring, "The oil in this region is the greatest single prize in all history." At the time of this survey, Mr. DeGolyer's estimates and predictions that the Middle East would become the center of the world's oil production were considered by some to be massive exaggerations, but his work has since been found to be quite conservative. DeGolyer and MacNaughton's work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia continues Mr. DeGolyer's legacy of knowledge and integrity, and the firm remains at the forefront of the petroleum consulting services industry.

Below is a compilation of article links where you can find further information regarding our most recent work in Saudi Arabia. At this time, DeGolyer and MacNaughton will make no further comments on this extensive project.

This link had some more detail
https://www.reuters.com/article/saudi-oil-reserves/update-3-saudi-arabia-announces-rise-in-oil-reserves-after-external-audit-idUSL8N1Z93WO
The consultant evaluated 54 major oil reservoirs operated by Aramco, out of 368 in its portfolio. In DeGolyer's view, these contained 213.1 billion barrels of proved oil reserves, compared to 210.9 billion as estimated internally by Aramco.

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 02/19/2019 at 8:46 am
Thanks Tony.
Watcher x Ignored says: 02/20/2019 at 3:15 am
More than 60 geophysicists, petrophysicists, geologists, simulation engineers, reserves engineering specialists, and economists were involved in the 30-month effort.

That's a lot of doods. Who funded it?

Dennis Coyne x Ignored says: 02/21/2019 at 9:54 am
Watcher,

All audits are paid for, so I guess that means we cannot believe any of them.

A reputable firm does not lie when they make these evaluations, they make their best estimate as their reputation for honesty is the core of their business.

Watcher x Ignored says: 02/21/2019 at 12:22 pm
Of course.

Just like tobacco danger audits funded by the tobacco industry were entirely credible because the analyzing firms had to be so very careful about their reputation.

I also recall the brain cancer/cellphone linkage study was funded by Motorola and challenging it on that basis never really got traction.

Eulenspiegel x Ignored says: 02/21/2019 at 3:33 am
The fishy things are the more side themes:

Why do they want to produce from the neutral zone – not really necessary the next 50 years with that reserves?

Why do they produce the expensive off shore fields? They could wait for a few decades more before spending this money.

Normally, a tapped giant field produces for 50-60 years – so with an original 4-500 GB ressources(this survey + everything they produced already) they should have capacity for up to 20 or 25 mb / day. They have erverything tapped they have, not some giant fields untapped as reserve.

Russia produces 11 mb/day from reserves of round about 100GB.

dclonghorn x Ignored says: 02/21/2019 at 2:07 pm
Good points Eulen.
Baggen x Ignored says: 02/21/2019 at 3:22 pm
Exactly, why would you develop more expensive and complicated offshore if you have "unlimited" resources left in cheap and easily accessible already developed areas?

Dont they need that money to pave the streets with gold, balance the budget, keep people happy? What king or politician would make that desicion? Lets develop the more expensive stuff we dont need so i have less money to throw around.. makes sense?

Schlumberger mentioned in their q3 in the q&a they had contact for drilling 400 infill wells for saudi during the next 3 years think starting year was 2019. Why is that needed if these unlimited reserves are there?

Or should we look at it the different way, 400 new holes unlocks these reserves or perhaps even more future reserves?

[Feb 22, 2019] The Saudis have had 270B barrels of oil since the 80s even though they've been producing 3-4B/yr. An independent audit found, miraculously, that they still have 270B barrels of oil.

Feb 22, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Stephen Hren: 02/21/2019 at 9:37 am

The Saudis have had 270B barrels of oil since the 80s even though they've been producing 3-4B/yr. An independent audit found, miraculously, that they still have 270B barrels of oil. As a small business owner I can tell you that my books can be audited and deemed in good order, and the auditor will never have gone back in the warehouse to see if there is actually any of the stock that I have listed in the books. The Saudis will have 270B barrels of oil, until, one day, they have none.
Eulenspiegel: 02/21/2019 at 10:38 am
It's the 270 GB that implies they are lying – how much is unknown.

Reserve growth and production never is hand in hand – it would be slowly decrease to 200 during the 90s, increase to 300 with higher oil prices for reclassifying marginal fields or introduction of new recovery technic, and reducing again.

Or a bump up with the discovery of a new field (this is always good for propaganda reasons).

Instead it was constant 270 over almost 40 years – not believable. And the audit was too near at this 270 – a 300 or a 250 would have been more believable.

So we still know nothing yet – perhaps it's 150, perhaps even 300.

[Feb 22, 2019] My calculations of Saudi reserves came to around 70-74 bb of remaining reserves

Feb 22, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 02/21/2019 at 2:52 pm

Mamdouh G Salameh's Response to Robert Rapier's article

Jeffrey J. Brown
9:35 AM

From Oilprice.com (Dr Mamdouh G Salameh):

In a paper titled:"Saudi Proven Crude Oil Reserves: The Myth & the Reality Revisited" I gave at the 10th IAEE European Energy Conference in Vienna, 7-10 September 2009, I reached the conclusion that Saudi proven crude oil reserves actually range from 90-125 billion barrels (bb) and not the 264 bb the Saudis were claiming then. That was 2009.

However, there has recently been claims that an independent audit has put Aramco's Oil Reserves at $270 billion Barrels". It transpired that the audit was neither independent nor unbiased since some of the companies that conducted the audit (DeGolyer, MacNaughton, and Baker Hughes' Gaffney, Cline, and Associates) have or have had service contracts with Saudi Aramco, so it can't truly be classified as an independent audit.

Still, I decided to make a new estimate of Saudi proven reserves by adding Saudi production since the discovery of oil in 1938 till now (for which we have figures) and then deducting them from Saudi claimed proven reserves along with an annual depletion rate of Saudi aging fields averaging 5%-7% for the same period. My calculations came to around 70-74 bb of remaining reserves compared with the figure in 2009 allowing for production since 2009.

The fact that Saudi Arabia's proven reserves remained virtually constant year after year despite sizeable annual production and a lack of major new discoveries since 1965 is due to the Saudis increasing the oil recovery factor (R/F) and the oil initially in place (OIIP) to offset the annual production. The Saudis have been declaring an R/F of 52% or even higher when the global average is 34%-35%. They have also increased the OIIP from 700 bb to 900 bb on the basis of Saudi Aramco projecting new discoveries which are yet to be discovered.

Venezuela does have the world's largest proven reserves estimated at 303 bb and growing. However, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) estimates that there may be more than 513 bb of extra-heavy crude oil and bitumen deposits in Venezuela's Orinoco belt region. The fact that the bulk of the reserves consists of extra-heavy oil doesn't detract from the fact that they are proven and have been refined in Venezuela's own refineries in Texas and sold in the United States as gasoline and diesel. Moreover, it is virtually no different from Canada's tar sand oil.

Your argument that the rise of oil prices to triple digits has made Venezuela's extra heavy oil economical to produce applies also to Canada's tar sand oil and US shale oil (though shale oil is light).

Your argument that Saudi barrels were deemed to be economical to produce even before oil prices spiked is a valid one but it misses the point about reserves. Irrespective of whether crude oil reserves consist of light or medium or heavy or extra-heavy crude, once they are proven they are all categorized as oil reserves. Of course, cost of production is a very important factor in the economics of oil and the profitability of production. In this regard, the production of Venezuela's extra-heavy oil at current prices is not different from an economic point of view from US shale oil production or Canadian tar sand oil production.

Finally, the claimed audit about Saudi reserves smacks of a blatant attempt by Saudi Aramco abetted by foreign oil companies which are beneficiaries of Saudi Aramco largess to resurrect the IPO of Saudi Aramco. The IPO is dead and buried. We now know that the withdrawal of the IPO was because of risk of American litigation related to the 9/11 destruction of the World Trade Centre in New York and question marks about the true size of Saudi proven oil reserves. However, when Saudi King Salman called off the IPO, he justified his decision by saying that he didn't want to expose Saudi Aramco's finances or reserves to be scrutiny. His words speak volumes about Saudi reserves.

Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

Two other articles:

What is the Real Size of the Saudi Oil Reserves? (Pt 1/2)
http://blog.gorozen.com/blog/what-is-the-real-size-of-the-saudi-oil-reserves-pt-1/2

What is the Real Size of the Saudi Oil Reserves? (Pt 2/2)
http://blog.gorozen.com/blog/what-is-the-real-size-of-the-saudi-oil-reserves-pt-2/2

My comments:

The data suggest that on a net exports basis, after subtracting out rising domestic liquids consumption, Saudi Arabia has been supply constrained since 2005.

Their net exports of total petroleum liquids (BP data base) increased from 7.1 million bpd in 2002 to 8.7 million bpd in 2005, but their net exports have been below the 2005 level for 12 straight years, through 2017, averaging only 7.9 million bpd for 2006 to 2017 inclusive.

Note the large increase in Saudi net exports from 2002 to 2005 as annual Brent crude oil prices approximately doubled from $25 in 2002 to $55 in 2005.

However, as annual Brent crude oil prices doubled again, from $55 in 2005 to $110 for 2011 to 2013 inclusive, Saudi net exports averaged only 8.0 million bpd during this three year period of triple digit oil prices, versus 8.7 million bpd in 2005.

Regards,

Jeffrey Brown

[Feb 15, 2019] Saudi Aramco halted oil output this week at Safaniyah, the world's largest offshore oilfield

Notable quotes:
"... The unplanned shutdown takes out another 1 million barrels a day of heavy oil from the market, Alex Schindelar, executive editor of content & strategy at Energy Intelligence Group tweeted Thursday, adding that the heavy crude oil market was already tight because of the OPEC output cuts and U.S. sanctions on both Iran and Venezuela. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Greenbub x Ignored says: 02/14/2019 at 6:06 pm

Saudi Aramco halts oil output at the world's largest offshore oilfield: report

Saudi Aramco halted oil output this week at Safaniyah, the world's largest offshore oilfield, Energy Intelligence reported Thursday, citing sources familiar with the matter, according to a tweet from Amena Bakr, senior correspondent at the news and research service provider. Further information was only available through subscription-based Energy Intelligence.

The potential impact on oil prices depends on how long output at the oilfield is down, said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group.

"The thinking is that the field produces heavy crude, and the world is short of that [type of] oil."

The unplanned shutdown takes out another 1 million barrels a day of heavy oil from the market, Alex Schindelar, executive editor of content & strategy at Energy Intelligence Group tweeted Thursday, adding that the heavy crude oil market was already tight because of the OPEC output cuts and U.S. sanctions on both Iran and Venezuela.

In electronic trading, March WTI oil CLH9, +1.06% was at $54.51 a barrel, after settling at $54.41 on the New York mercantile Exchange.

~Marketwatch

[Feb 15, 2019] True KSA reserves are very likely somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 billion barrels.

Feb 15, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 02/14/2019 at 4:37 pm

I had to google the link, but it was not hard to find.

How Much Oil Does Saudi Arabia Really Have?

Okay, you will have to read the article to see how Robert arrived at his conclusion. But his conclusion is:

So, I have no good reason to doubt Saudi Arabia's official numbers. They probably do have 270 billion barrels of proved oil reserves.

I find his logic horribly flawed. Robert compares Saudi's growing reserve estimates with those of the USA.

First, the US Securities and Exchange Commission have the strictest oil reporting laws in the world, or did have in 1982. Also, better technology has greatly improved reserve estimates. And third, the advent of shale oil has dramatically added to US reserve estimates.

Saudi has no laws that govern their reserve reporting estimates.

From Wikipedia, US Oil Reserves: Proven oil reserves in the United States were 36.4 billion barrels (5.79×109 m3) of crude oil as of the end of 2014, excluding the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The 2014 reserves represent the largest US proven reserves since 1972, and a 90% increase in proved reserves since 2008.

Robert says US reserves are 50 billion barrels. I don't know where he gets that number but it really doesn't matter. Oil production, along with reserve estimates, are growing in the US for one reason and one reason only, the advent of shale oil. Reserve estimates before 2008 were based on conventional oil. Onshore conventional oil production in the USA is in steep decline.

Robert Rapier is brillant oil man, but a brilliant downstream oil man. Refineries are his forte. He should know better than the shit he produced in that article.

100 percent of Saudi Arabia's reserves are based on conventional oil. Their true reserves are very likely somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 billion barrels.

[Feb 07, 2019] Saudi Arabia cuts oil output by about 400,000 bpd in January sources

Feb 07, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

DUBAI/LONDON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, cut its crude output in January by about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd), two OPEC sources said, as the kingdom follows through on its pledge to reduce production to prevent a supply glut.

Riyadh told OPEC that the kingdom pumped 10.24 million bpd in January, the sources said. That's down from 10.643 million bpd in December, representing a cut that was 70,000 bpd deeper than targeted under the OPEC-led pact to balance the market and support prices.

The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Russia and other non-OPEC producers - an alliance known as OPEC+ - agreed in December to reduce supply by 1.2 million bpd from Jan. 1.

The agreement stipulated that Saudi Arabia should cut output to 10.311 million bpd, but energy minister Khalid al-Falih has said it will exceed the required reduction to demonstrate its commitment.

[Feb 05, 2019] Venezuelan Oil Exports Plunge On 'Harsher' Sanctions

So Trump imposed sanction on the USA too. Of he hopes that Strategic petroleum reserve will compensate for shortages... If Venezuela color revolution develops into Libya scenario, which they could oil output can be suppressed for years to come. In other words Trump really has chances to became Republican Obama.
OilPrice.com

The Wall Street Journal reported oil storage is "filling up" in Venezuela because of a lack of buyers.

Related: Wood Mac: Venezuela's Oil Output To Fall Below 1 Million Bpd

Moreover, not only are the effects of the sanctions more far-reaching, but also more immediate than first thought. At first, the U.S. seemed to exempt shipments that were underway, outlining a sort of phased approach that would allow a handful of American refiners to gradually unwind their oil purchase from Venezuela. The phased approach, which was supposed to be extended into April, would help "to minimize any immediate disruptions," U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin said in late January.

But that now does not appear to be what is unfolding. PDVSA has demanded upfront payment, likely because it fears not being paid at all or having the revenues steered to the opposition. Indeed, the U.S. effort to steer PDVSA and its revenues into the hands of the U.S.-backed opposition leader Juan Gauidó appears to be a decisive turning point.

Oil tankers linked to Chevron, Lukoil and Respsol are delayed, redirected or sitting offshore because of lack of payment. The WSJ says that several of those tankers had recently sent oil to Corpus Christi, Texas, but are now anchored off the coast of Maracaibo sitting idle. "This is an absolute disaster," Luis Hernández, a Venezuelan oil union leader, told the WSJ. "There's almost no way to move the oil."

Unable to sell any oil, Maduro's regime could quickly run out of cash. The result could be a humanitarian catastrophe, a merciless and destructive objective that the Trump administration seems to have in mind. The U.S. government is essentially betting that by driving the country into the ground, the military and the people will turn on Maduro. It could yet turn out that way, but it could also deepen the misery and exact an unspeakable toll on the Venezuelan population, the very people the Trump administration says it is trying to help.

In the meantime, oil exports are likely heading into a freefall. The WSJ says that labor problems, including "mass defections of workers" are accelerating declines. PDVSA could soon run out of refined fuel.

Officials with knowledge of the situation told the WSJ that Venezuela's oil production has likely already fallen well below 1 million barrels per day (mb/d), down more than 10 percent – at least – from December levels.

Related: OPEC's Oil Princes Are Fighting For Survival

Wood Mackenzie estimates that production probably stands a little bit higher at about 1.1 mb/d, but that it could soon fall to 900,000 bpd.

... ... ...

That would push up oil prices significantly. But the U.S. government has blown past the point of no return, leaving it with no other options except to escalate. That means that Venezuela is set to lose a lot more oil than analysts thought only two weeks ago .

[Feb 05, 2019] Interesting to note that a part of Trump's beat-down of the Venezuela little people is the ban on the 120,000 b/d of dilutent last week. That will completely shut down Venezuella exports

Will loss of Vezuellian oil exports to the USA be compensated from the USA strategic reserve? Who will compensate this oil? Canada ? Or Trump administration decoded that temporary rise of oil prices is OK in view of more strategic goal ?
Notable quotes:
"... As for Venezuela's over-reliance on oil exports to support its economy, this is the result of past government policies before Chavez came to power. The US treated Venezuela as a petrol station and pro-US governments in the country turned it into a petrol station. ..."
Feb 05, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

PavewayIV , Feb 3, 2019 8:33:23 PM | link

Bart Hansen@20 - Oil production costs are complex, secret and mostly lies. With that caveat, Venezuela was thought to have about $10 - $15 production costs on average. That includes their light and medium crude, and zero investment in repair of their distribution networks.

Well over half of Venezuela's reserves are Orinco extra-heavy, sour crude. Essentially tar sands, but buried 500m - 1500m deep that require solvent or steam extraction. So (guess) maybe $30-range/bbl for production. Those tar sand oils produced are so heavy that they need pre-processing and dilution before they can be refined or exported. Naphtha or other refined products are used as dilutent and cost maybe $55/bbl today, but were around $75/bbl last October.

U.S. refineries were pretty much the only ones paying cash for their 500,000 b/d of Venezuelan crude. Trump's sanctions not only ban those imports, but also ban the 120,000 b/d of naphtha and other dilutents we sold them.

Interesting to note that part of Trump's beat-down of the Venezuela little people is a ban on the 120,000 b/d of dilutent last week. That will completely shut down their exports. They could find another source of naphtha, but that source will be looking for $6.6 million a day hard cash for it.

Maduro needs to sell Venezuela's gold to buy naphtha to export oil for ANY revenue. The $2.5 billion the Bank of England can't find and won't deliver is meant to hasten the food riots and CIA-orchestrated coup. But Mercy Corps is setting up concentration camps on the Colombian border and we're delivering food aid, so the U.S. is really the hero, here. God bless America! Obey, or die.

Jen , Feb 3, 2019 7:21:08 PM | link
Red Ryder @ 30: Venezuela's economy is as much ruined by US economic sanctions against the country and (at US behest) Saudi Arabia's flooding of the global oil market that sent oil prices down in order to crash the economies of other countries like Iran and Russia that were presumed to be dependent on oil exports, as by mismanagement or poor leadership on Chavez or Maduro's part.

On top of that, major food importers and producers (several of which are owned by companies or individuals hostile to Chavez and Maduro) have been withholding food from supermarkets to manipulate prices and goad the public into demonstrating against the government.

As for Venezuela's over-reliance on oil exports to support its economy, this is the result of past government policies before Chavez came to power. The US treated Venezuela as a petrol station and pro-US governments in the country turned it into a petrol station.

Chavez did try to encourage local food production and carried out some land redistribution to achieve this. But his efforts did not succeed because importing food was cheaper than producing it locally and farm-workers apparently preferred jobs in the oil industry that paid better and were more secure.

I do not know how the collectives were organised, whether they had some independent decision-making abilities or not, or whether they were organised from top down rather than bottom up, so I can't say whether their organisational structures and the internal culture those encouraged worked against them.

[Feb 04, 2019] The REAL Reason The U.S. Wants Regime Change in Venezuela.

Feb 04, 2019 | www.unz.com

Agent76 , says: February 3, 2019 at 7:29 pm GMT

Feb 2, 2019 The REAL Reason The U.S. Wants Regime Change in Venezuela. The U.S. and its allies have decided to throw their weight behind yet another coup attempt in Venezuela. As usual, they claim that their objectives are democracy and freedom. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Feb 3, 2019 Venezuela's Oil Enough for World's 30 Year Energy Needs

The long bankrupt fiat financial system is pushing the Deep State to target Venezuela for the latter's natural resources that dwarfs that of its satellite province Saudi Arabia.

https://geopolitics.co/2019/02/03/venezuelas-oil-enough-for-worlds-30-year-energy-needs/

[Feb 03, 2019] As US Freezes, This Is Where Europeans Can't Afford To Heat Their Homes

Feb 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

radbug , 2 hours ago link

How come Poland's at 6% & Lithuania is at 29%? Don't they both import American LNG? And how come Estonia is at 3%? Sounds like the Estonians import Russian gas. Bulgaria's at 37%. Now what were the assurances John McCain gave Sofia regarding alternative gas options to Southstream? Please spell them out for me again, I'm pretty slow, you know!

Banjo , 2 hours ago link

Where is Ukraine since the friendly western backed guys moved in?

Probably less than 1% now that but you're off Putin and Russia and the. US had your back.

Moribundus , 7 hours ago link

Bulgarians are happi like that so they rejected South Stream. They jumped into american trap, idiots.

Mustahattu , 7 hours ago link

There's many stupid countries in Europe falling into the US LNG trap. The americunts are laughing.

zeroboris , 7 hours ago link

They also rejected a nuclear power plant, which Russians were building for them, after a call from American embassy. They're hopeless.

IronForge , 8 hours ago link

What is so ridiculously ClusterFrack-Failed about this, is that BGR nixed a CNG Pipeline Deal with RUS under pressure from the EU_EXECUTIVES.

Instead of Jobs and Transit Fee Income, BGR will have to stand in line and pay more for CNG since TRK picked up the Pipeline. The Southeastern EUROZONE are STILL going to Import that same RUS_CNG.

The Stupidity and RUSSIA_HATE have no bounds...

10LBS_SHIT_5LB_BAG , 8 hours ago link

Among member states , the largest share of people who could not afford to properly heat their home was recorded in Bulgaria at 36.5 percent.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Stream

South Stream was a pipeline project to transport natural gas of the Russian Federation through the Black Sea to Bulgaria and through Serbia , Hungary and Slovenia further to Austria .

The project created controversy due to non-compliance with European Union competition and energy legislation, in particular the Third Energy Package , which stipulates the separation of companies' generation and sale operations from their transmission networks.

It was seen as rival to the Nabucco pipeline project. Construction of the Russian onshore facilities for the pipeline started in December 2012. The project was cancelled by Russia in December 2014 following obstacles from Bulgaria and the EU, the 2014 Crimean crisis , and the imposition of European sanctions on Russia. The project has been replaced by proposals of Turkish Stream and Tesla pipeline .

I wonder if they ever regretted that decision?

Volkodav , 7 hours ago link

Decision was Bulgarian govt, not the people.

Most Euro leaders are compromised.

Since the govt has crawled back beg Russia,

as strength shifts East.

[Feb 03, 2019] Venezuellla as a patch to ailing US frakers

Notable quotes:
"... US need for heavy oil is also due to declines in conventional oil production. Fracking "oil" ( high in condensates) has been used to mask the peak (real) oil declines and also has a lower energy content/barrel and must be blended with heavy oil for the refineries to process it. Thus, "Prices of heavier U.S. grades like Mars Sour, an offshore medium U.S. crude, and Heavy Louisiana Sweet crude have risen as buyers scramble for supply". ..."
"... Mars currently trades at a premium to U.S. crude at $58.19 vs $53.69 for West Texas Intermediate (WTI)". Currently, the US also imports 500,000 barrels of Venezuelan crude a day to meet refinery blending requirements. ..."
"... All other shale fracking regions than the Permian have peaked or are in decline as shown by http://aheadoftheherd.com/Newsletter/2018/Shale-is-dead-long-live-conventional-oil.pdf ..."
Feb 03, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Krollchem , Feb 2, 2019 7:24:19 PM | link

Update on comment Krollchem@176

This article by Nafeez Ahmed connects the dots that have led to the Venezuela's current political and economic crisis. The factors include:
(1) predatory global capitalism (see Michael Hudson's work);
(2) government mismanagement e.g. price controls;
(3) corruption at all levels (insiders);
(4) droughts (El-Nino), especially in 2015 and tied to lower hydroelectric electricity production;
(5) oil price flux;
(6) US destabilization efforts;
(7) privatization of oil resources;
(8) low Energy Return on (energy) Invested (EROI);
(9) US use of (corporate socialism) subsidized oil prices as a weapon to punish real oil producers
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Warning-Signs-Flash-For-US-Shale.html
(10) Energy waste by gas flaring, which is also common in the US.
https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/venezuelas-collapse-is-a-window-into-how-the-oil-age-will-unravel-f80aadff7786
https://www.texastribune.org/2019/01/24/report-oil-producers-flaring-more-natural-gas-texas-reported/

He neglects other factors such as:
(1) poor soil management practices;
(2) demographics such as some 3 million Columbian citizens fleeing the Fascist Columbian military attacks and putting extra stress on the social programs;
(3) Increasing US needs for Venezuela heavy crude to blend with the light fractions coming from fracking operations (e.g. Eagle Ford light "oil" condensates;
(4) US military need for War to support funding levels (e.g. Smidley Butler's "war is a racket";
(5) batshit crazy neocon and neoliberal ideology and world domination.

The EROI issue is worse that many consider. See Gail Tverberg article "How the Peak Oil Story Could Be "Close," But Not Quite Right". The article points out that wellhead costs do not capture the downstream costs of production and tax capture that bust further reduce the EROI.
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/01/peak-oil-story-close-not-quite-right.html

US need for heavy oil is also due to declines in conventional oil production. Fracking "oil" ( high in condensates) has been used to mask the peak (real) oil declines and also has a lower energy content/barrel and must be blended with heavy oil for the refineries to process it. Thus, "Prices of heavier U.S. grades like Mars Sour, an offshore medium U.S. crude, and Heavy Louisiana Sweet crude have risen as buyers scramble for supply".

Mars currently trades at a premium to U.S. crude at $58.19 vs $53.69 for West Texas Intermediate (WTI)". Currently, the US also imports 500,000 barrels of Venezuelan crude a day to meet refinery blending requirements.
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-venezuela-politics-usa-oil/venezuelan-oil-exports-to-u-s-still-a-primary-source-of-cash-idUKKCN1PJ2D1
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-10-17/permian-drillers-are-said-to-sell-new-lighter-crude-oil-grade
https://btuanalytics.com/quality-matters-api-gravities-of-major-us-fields/
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Gasoline-Overproduction-Leads-To-Negative-Margins.html

All other shale fracking regions than the Permian have peaked or are in decline as shown by http://aheadoftheherd.com/Newsletter/2018/Shale-is-dead-long-live-conventional-oil.pdf

Added to this EROI problem is that the new US energy production hope from the Permian basin is beset with water shortages. https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Is-The-Permian-Bull-Run-Coming-To-An-End.html

The economics of the US fracking light oil condensates industry is much worse when you consider the offloading of pollution costs (drinking water), health effects, wear and tear of highways from trucking the oil, water and fracking sands (one pound/barrel), climate change from massive methane flaring, volatile organic compounds (VOC) release and earthquake damage from deep injection of the water cut fluids.

[Feb 03, 2019] I guess when you really can't compete because you subsidize the military and FIRE sectors and don't invest in your society, you resort to government interference in the market or "regime change", and then criticize anyone for doing the same thing. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Feb 03, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Steve , , February 1, 2019 at 10:24 am

Its interesting that in Asia, the USG also says it wants to help build infrastructure for LNG use (as an element of its anti China strategy) but then also wants Asian nations like Vietnam to buy American LNG (to reduce America's trade deficits, etc.) once the infrastructure is in place.

Except it would be economically stupid for anyone in Asia to buy more expensive US LNG, when adequate supplies of LNG at lower costs are available from nations like Australia, Malaysia and Indonesia and of course Qatar.

I guess when you really can't compete because you subsidize the military and FIRE sectors and don't invest in your society, you resort to government interference in the market or "regime change", and then criticize anyone for doing the same thing. Hypocrisy at its finest.

Oregoncharles , , February 1, 2019 at 2:07 pm

" it has offered to sell high-priced LNG from the United States (via port facilities that do not yet exist in anywhere near the volume required)." -- facilities that are themselves dangerous and highly controversial. Oregon is in the midst of one of those controversies, trying to stop construction of an LNG export "facility" at Coos Bay, a scenic but impoverished port on the southern Oregon coast. It would come with a pipeline across the state, which is also highly unwelcome. LNG facilities are a fuel-air bomb waiting to happen, if it should leak -- the Oregon coast is subject to Magnitude 9 subduction quakes and tsunamis. The project would also involve massive dredging that would threaten the local seafood industry. And gas pipelines are subject to their own threats, doubly so in earthquake country. Maybe they can be built uncontested in Europe -- but I doubt it.

[Feb 02, 2019] Looks like the USA want to create conditions for Russi nuking its best gas customer

Feb 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Son of Captain Nemo , 1 hour ago link

Everything you wanted to know about scuttling an INF Treaty but were afraid to ask ( https://www.rt.com/business/450123-nord-stream-2-ready/ )

Cause when it gets completed without sabotage along the way... Those LNG delivery projects will see lots and lots of $USD heading home "FOR GOOD"!...

Which means "other arrangements" will be necessary in order to make certain that another "hostage" crisis ( https://southfront.org/u-s-opted-to-leave-inf-few-years-ago-spent-this-time-developing-forbidden-missiles/ ) "doesn't go to waste"!!!

[Jan 31, 2019] Venezuela color revolution plot thickens

Notable quotes:
"... UN should be probing Washington and allies for regime-change crimes Identical condemnations from the US and allies and the synchronicity show that Venezuela is being targeted for regime change in a concerted plot led by Washington. ..."
"... It is so disappointing that Americans yet to come to realization that this criminal Jewish Mafia does not standing at the end of the old republic. He is DEEPLY involved, but his STYLE is different. He kills and terrorize the same as Regan, Carter, Clinton, Bush, Obama who have killed millions of people. His sanction is the KILLING MACHINE to topple governments TO STEAL THEIR RESOURCES FOR THE DUMMIES. I have NO respect for the liars who are trying to paint a criminal as someone 'standing against' the deep state. TRUMP IS PART OF THE DEEP STATE, ONLY DUMMIES DO NOT GET IT. ..."
"... No matter the situation in Venezuela, whatever the US government and media are saying is just hostile propaganda as they couldn't give a rat's ass about the people living there. The Libyan people were doing well out of their oil, as were the Iraqis, living in reasonable wealth and security, and look at them now after the US decided to meddle in their affairs. Now after all that, even if something the US government says may be true, why believe it? How many times do you need to be fooled to stop being a fool? ..."
"... The nuttiest member of the Trump administration is UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Her latest neo-nazi stunt was to join protestors last week calling for the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Venezuela. She grabbed a megaphone at a tiny New York rally and told the few "protesters" (organized by our CIA) to say the USA is working to overthrow their President. This was so bizarre that our corporate media refused to report it. ..."
"... Why does everyone make Trump out to be a victim, poor ol Trump, he's being screwed by all those people he himself appointed, poor ol persecuted Trump. Sounds like our Jewish friends with all the victimization BS. ..."
"... By now Trump must be near bat shit crazy. Imagine hundreds of vampires descending on every exposed artery and vein. Does he have a chance in 2020? Not with the people who are around him today ..."
"... Regardless of what the MSM reports, the population is fed-up with all the malarkey, and the same old faces. ..."
"... If he can he should issue an executive order allowing important items like immigration to go directly to public referendum, by passing congress. We're tired of idiots with personal grudges holding our President hostage. Stern times calls for sterner measures. ..."
"... Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington's elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization. ..."
Jan 28, 2019 | www.unz.com

Agent76 says: January 30, 2019 at 7:21 pm GMT 100 Words Jan 24, 2019 Catastrophic Consequences What's Really Happening in Venezuela

In this video, we give you the latest breaking news on the current situation in Venezuela with Maduro, the election, and Trump's response.

UN should be probing Washington and allies for regime-change crimes Identical condemnations from the US and allies and the synchronicity show that Venezuela is being targeted for regime change in a concerted plot led by Washington.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50989.htm


AnonFromTN , says: January 30, 2019 at 7:58 pm GMT

@Sergey Krieger Negotiations are not necessarily a sign of weakness. However, Maduro should negotiate with the puppet masters, not with the puppet. I don't think that killing that pathetic Guaido is a good strategy: you don't want to make a martyr out of nonentity.
WorkingClass , says: January 30, 2019 at 8:02 pm GMT
And, in effect, I wish for the success of Juan Guaido in his struggle with Maduro, and I support American diplomatic and economic pressure on Maduro to step down. After all, Venezuela is in our back yard with huge oil reserves.

FUCK YOU! Venezuela is not "our" back yard. And the oil does not belong to "us".

anonymous [204] Disclaimer , says: January 30, 2019 at 8:31 pm GMT
[Donald Trump, for all that and for his various faults and miscues, is in reality the only thing standing in the way of the end of the old republic. ]

It is so disappointing that Americans yet to come to realization that this criminal Jewish Mafia does not standing at the end of the old republic. He is DEEPLY involved, but his STYLE is different. He kills and terrorize the same as Regan, Carter, Clinton, Bush, Obama who have killed millions of people. His sanction is the KILLING MACHINE to topple governments TO STEAL THEIR RESOURCES FOR THE DUMMIES. I have NO respect for the liars who are trying to paint a criminal as someone 'standing against' the deep state. TRUMP IS PART OF THE DEEP STATE, ONLY DUMMIES DO NOT GET IT.

The ignorant Jewish mafia 'president' IS MORE DANGEROUS because he like his 'advisors' is totally ILLITERATE. It is a family business dummies.

Are dummies going to hold petty people like Bolton who lie to get money from MEK to buy a new suit and new shoes, is responsible for the policy of the Trump regime where he wages WARS, economic sanction, to starve children to surrender? Then NO ONE Trusts you. MEK people are not more than 20, but are funded by the US colony, Saudi Arabia where MBS transfers money to the Jewish mafia family funding US wars.

Maduro has EVERY SINGLE RIGHT to arrest Juan Guiado, a gigolo who is taking orders from a US and an illiterate 'president', where its dark history known to every living creature on earth. US has massacred millions of people in all continents including Latin America.

Maduro has every single right to arrest him and put on trail and execute him as a traitor and an enemy of the state. How many years the people in Venezuela should suffer for the US 'regime change' and its crimes against humanity in Venezuela to STEAL ITS RESOURCES.

onebornfree , says: Website January 30, 2019 at 9:15 pm GMT
"So let me get this straight: The Russians brought America to its knees with a few facebook ads, but Uncle Sam's concerted and ongoing efforts to overthrow governments around the world and interfere with elections is perfectly fine? Because democracy? Riiiiiiight." :

https://www.corbettreport.com/election-interference-is-ok-when-uncle-sam-does-it-propagandawatch/

Regards, onebornfree

anonymous [204] Disclaimer , says: January 30, 2019 at 9:34 pm GMT
[The last Venezuelan Presidential election was a joke. ]

YOU ARE A JOKE ZIONIST IDIOT.

The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela's Coup Leader

[Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington's elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization.]

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-making-of-juan-guaido-how-the-us-regime-change-laboratory-created-venezuelas-coup-leader/5666971

Illiterate Jewish Mafia 'president' must be kicked out of the office. Hands of Israel is all over the SELECTION.

The ignorant 'president' is MORE DANGEROUS THANT OTHER CRIMINAL US REGIMES because on top of being a criminal, he is ILLITERATE as well.

[In 2009, the Generation 2007 youth activists staged their most provocative demonstration yet, dropping their pants on public roads and aping the outrageous guerrilla theater tactics outlined by Gene Sharp in his regime change manuals.This far-right group "gathered funds from a variety of US government sources, which allowed it to gain notoriety quickly as the hardline wing of opposition street movements," according to academic George Ciccariello-Maher's book, "Building the Commune."

That year, Guaidó exposed himself to the public in another way, founding a political party to capture the anti-Chavez energy his Generation 2007 had cultivated.]

Guaido's behind towards washington criminal elite

map , says: January 30, 2019 at 9:36 pm GMT
@By-tor See, this is the typical lie. Socialism fails, so the socialist blames the outside wrecker for causing the problem. If Moscow freezes, then it is because of the wreckers. If Moscow starves, then it is because of the wreckers.

If Venezuela collapses, then it is because of "sanctions," not the failure of the new socialist economy.

America has the right to lock anyone out of its economy that it wants, for whatever reasons. This should not matter because that nation can still trade with the rest of the world, like China. Venezuela could get everything it wants by simply selling oil to China in exchange for goods. The problem is, there is not enough oil production to do so and other nations are reluctant to replace American investment for fear of losing their assets as well.

Think about how wrong-headed the Chavez policy has been. If the Venezuelans have problems with their local ruling class and want to get rid of them fine do so. But, why go after the American oil company? The Americans don't care who rules Venezuela as long as their contracts are honored. Chavez could have then been a true socialist an allocate a greater dividend to Venezuelans that was previously being hoarded by the ruling class an arrangement similar to what Alaskans have with American oil companies.

But no there was an immediate seizure of assets because the only purpose of socialism is to make the socialist leaders rich. And Chavez and Maduro became very rich indeed.

Hibernian , says: January 30, 2019 at 9:48 pm GMT
@WorkingClass No other nation is in our back yard. They are near neighbors.
Sergey Krieger , says: January 30, 2019 at 10:02 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN I would happily martyr gorbachov , Yeltsin and all their gang. I think everybody would have been far better of then. Same is applied to the puppet. Nikolai II was martyred and things got a lot better. What is important is winning and final outcome, while making some martyrs in the process.
RVBlake , says: January 30, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
@Harold Smith Trump's personnel picks are mind-boggling. I cannot see how he disapproves Eliot Abrams for deputy SoS with one breath, then blandly allows Pompeo to appoint him an envoy to a trouble-spot. Bolton, Pompeo, Goldberg et al.
El Dato , says: January 30, 2019 at 10:11 pm GMT
@Sean

NEOCON America does not want Russian bombers in South America.

Real America doesn't give a f*ck. Bombers are so last century, might as well put up machine-gun equipped Union Pacific Big Boys to make it marginally more steampunk and become a real danger for the USA.

EliteCommInc. , says: January 30, 2019 at 10:33 pm GMT
@Tyrion 2 There is not a single complaint here that did not exist before the election or before Pres Chavez.

There are poor management leaders all over the globe. That';s their business. Hey we have some right here in the US I take it your solution is a military coup or better yet a coup fostered by the EU or the OAS, or maybe ASEAN or SDG . . .

jack daniels , says: January 30, 2019 at 10:40 pm GMT
It would be nice if someone simply asked Trump why it is he originally wanted to get along with Russia and pull out of the middle east and generally opposed the "neoconservative" approach and now seems to be hiring neocons and doing what they want. Is he trying to placate Sheldon Adelson and Adelson's lackeys, or what? I don't know of his being asked about this directly.
APilgrim , says: January 30, 2019 at 10:49 pm GMT
Is President Nicolas Maduro stealing the strategic gold reserves of Venezuela?

'Venezuela Has 20 Tons of Gold Ready to Ship. Address Unknown', Patricia Laya and Andrew Rosati, Bloomberg, January 30, 2019, https://finance.yahoo.com/news/venezuela-20-tons-gold-ready-004013962.html

Venezuelan lawmaker Jose Guerra dropped a bombshell on Twitter Tuesday: The Russian Boeing 777 that had landed in Caracas the day before was there to spirit away 20 tons of gold from the vaults of the country's central bank. Guerra is a former central bank economist who remains in touch with old colleagues there. A person with direct knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News Tuesday that 20 tons of gold have been set aside in the central bank for loading. Worth some $840 million, the gold represents about 20 percent of its holdings of the metal in Venezuela.

Commentator Mike , says: January 30, 2019 at 11:01 pm GMT
@map

No matter the situation in Venezuela, whatever the US government and media are saying is just hostile propaganda as they couldn't give a rat's ass about the people living there. The Libyan people were doing well out of their oil, as were the Iraqis, living in reasonable wealth and security, and look at them now after the US decided to meddle in their affairs. Now after all that, even if something the US government says may be true, why believe it? How many times do you need to be fooled to stop being a fool?

Tyrion 2 , says: January 30, 2019 at 11:02 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc.

No, Chavez had popular legitimacy. Maduro has nothing but force to keep himself in power now. Yes, there's easy definition for the above but Chavismo is decrepit.

Pressure for a reasonable Presidential election is based on that.

peterAUS , says: January 30, 2019 at 11:12 pm GMT
@RVBlake

A guy on ZH explained it well, I guess:

  1. The opposition hates me. I can do no right.
  2. The Trumptards blindly support me. I can do no wrong.
  3. There are not enough independent thinkers to make a difference as the two main sides bitterly fight each other over every minute, meaningless issue.
  4. I can pretty much do as I please without consequence ..like pay off all my buddies and pander to the jews/globalist/elites.
    I'd add: and by doing the last, I could cut a deal with the real TPTBs as to for what happens after I leave White House.
Hibernian , says: January 30, 2019 at 11:21 pm GMT
@Tyrion 2

Chavez had popular support . He felt the need to intimidate opponents from the beginning. Like Bill Bellicheck and Tom Brady feeling the need to cheat.

Pft , says: January 30, 2019 at 11:32 pm GMT
@APilgrim

Makes sense. They owe a big chunk of money to Russia and a payment of 100 million is coming due. Russia gets security for future payments while it holds their gold in a safe place. They may ship the rest to China if they are smart

renfro , says: January 30, 2019 at 11:41 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer

The nuttiest member of the Trump administration is UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Her latest neo-nazi stunt was to join protestors last week calling for the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Venezuela. She grabbed a megaphone at a tiny New York rally and told the few "protesters" (organized by our CIA) to say the USA is working to overthrow their President. This was so bizarre that our corporate media refused to report it.

She's being paid no doubt by the usual suspects. She is personally 1 million in debt and has signed with a Speakers agency to give speeches for 200,000 a pop.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV)

"Haley is currently quoting $200,000 and the use of a private jet for domestic speaking engagements, according to CNBC
In October 2018, when Haley resigned, she said, she would be taking a "step up" into the private sector after leaving the U.N. According to a public financial disclosure report based on 2017 data, at the rate quoted for her engagements, just a handful would pay down more than $1 million in outstanding debt that was accrued during her 14 years

renfro , says: January 30, 2019 at 11:43 pm GMT
@peterAUS

3. There are not enough independent thinkers to make a difference as the two main sides bitterly fight each other over every minute, meaningless issue.

Well that is true.

renfro , says: January 30, 2019 at 11:59 pm GMT
Well people you need to explore this move to take over Venezuela in the context of what having that oil control will mean for the US and Israel in the increasingly likely event we blow up Iran and up end the ME for Israel.

Despite Trump selling off half of our US oil reserves last year .. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-oil-reserve/u-s-sells-11-million-barrels-of-oil-from-reserve-to-exxon-five-other-firms-idUSKCN1LG2WT ..the US doesn't currently, at present anyway, need to control Venezuela's oil .

So what could happen that might make control of oil rich Venezuela necessary? Why has Venezuela become a Bolton and Abrams project? Why is Netanyahu putting himself into the Venezuela crisis ?

We, otoh, would need all the oil we could get if we blew up the ME, specifically Iran, figuratively or literally. The US signed a MOU with Israel in 1973 obligating us to supply Israel with oil ( and ship it to them) if they couldn't secure any for themselves.

Z-man , says: January 31, 2019 at 12:11 am GMT
@Hibernian I hate those two guys so much, and the owner Kraft also. I'm hoping for a helmet to helmet collision for Brady early in the second quarter with his bell ringing for the rest of the game. (Evil grin)
Z-man , says: January 31, 2019 at 12:14 am GMT
@renfro I have nothing but ill will for that mutt Haley.
By-tor , says: January 31, 2019 at 12:41 am GMT
@Tyrion 2 Yes, the int'l monitors said the elections were fair as Maduro received over 60% of the vote. You think the 'deplorables' of venezuela elected the known US-Wall Street neo-liberal puppet Guaido? No, the US Tape Worm groomed this twerp, all-the-while his backers and paymasters in the American neo-Liberal ruling class claim Russian meddling in the 2016 US elections. The shamelessness and hypocrisy is astounding.
EliteCommInc. , says: January 31, 2019 at 12:47 am GMT
@Tyrion 2 Pres Hugo Chavez's admin was very controversial. And the conditions you speak of have plagued Venezuela even before Pres Chavez came to government.

This really is none of our affair. We don't have a mandate to go about the planet tossing out whoever we think is crazy. He is not a threat to the US. There's no indication that he intends to harm US businesses.

Their polity means their polity. You'll have to do better than he's crazy, mean, a despot, etc. That's for them to resolve.

Johnny Walker Read , says: January 31, 2019 at 12:50 am GMT
@Commentator Mike Seems some will never learn the definition of insanity, especially the NeoCons who have been running America for far too long. I recommend John Perkins "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" for the less informed among us here today. Maybe at some point they will get a clue.
redmudhooch , says: January 31, 2019 at 1:30 am GMT

I heartily dislike and find despicable the socialist government of Maduro, just as I did Hugo Chavez when he was in power. I have some good friends there, one of whom was a student of mine when I taught in Argentina many years ago, and he and his family resolutely oppose Maduro. Those socialist leaders in Caracas are tin-pot dictator wannabees who have wrecked the economy of that once wealthy country; and they have ridden roughshod over the constitutional rights of the citizens. My hope has been that the people of Venezuela, perhaps supported by elements in the army, would take action to rid the country of those tyrants.

Hard to take this guy seriously when he spouts Fox News level propaganda.

Why does everyone make Trump out to be a victim, poor ol Trump, he's being screwed by all those people he himself appointed, poor ol persecuted Trump. Sounds like our Jewish friends with all the victimization BS.

Its clear that voting no longer works folks, this is an undemocratic and illegitimate "government" we have here. We let them get away with killing JFK, RFK, MLK, Vietnam, we let them get away with 9/11, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Syria. They've made a mess in Africa. All the refugees into Europe, all the refugees from Latin America that have already come from CIA crimes, more will come.
We wouldn't need a wall if Wall St would stop with their BS down there!

You can't just blame Jews, yes there are lots of Jews in Corporate America, bu t not all of them are, and there are lots of Jews who speak out against this. We were doing this long before Israel came into existence. You can't just blame everything one one group, I think Israel/Zionist are responsible for a lot of BS, but you can't exclude CIA, Wall St, Corporations, Banks, The MIC either. Its not just one group, its all of them. They're all evil, they're imperialists and they're all capitalists. I think Israel is just a capitalist creation, nothing to do with Jews, just a foothold in he middle east for Wall St to have a base to control the oil and gas there, they didn't create Israel until they dicovered how much oil was there, and realized how much control over the world it would give them to control it. Those people moving to Israel are being played, just like the "Christian Zionists" here are, its a cult. Most "Jews" are atheists anyhow, and it seems any ol greedy white guy can claim to be a Jew. So how do you solve a "Jewish Problem" if anybody can claim to be a Jew? I think solving the capitalist problem would be a little easier to enforce.

All of the shills can scream about communists, socialists and marxists all they want. Capitalism is the problem always has been always will be. Its a murderous, immoral, unsustainable system that encourages greed, it is a system who's driving force is maximizing profits, and as such the State controlled or aligned with Corporations is the most advanced form of capitalism because it is the most profitable. They're raping the shit out of us, taking our money to fund their wars, so they can make more money while paying little to no taxes at all. Everything, everyone here complains about is caused by CAPITALISM, but nobody dares say it, they've been programmed since birth to think that way.

We should nationalize our oil and gas, instead of letting foreigners come in and steal it, again paying little or no taxes on it, then selling the oil they took from our country back to us. Russia and Venezuela do it, Libya did it, Iraq did it, and they used the money for the people of the country, they didn't let the capitalists plunder their wealth like the traitors running our country. We're AT LEAST $21 trillion in the hole now from this wonderful system of ours, don't you think we should try something else? Duh!

It is the love of money, the same thing the Bible warned us about. Imperialism/globalism is the latest stage of capitalism, that is what all of this is about, follow the money. Just muh opinion

Regime Change and Capitalism
https://dissidentvoice.org/2018/07/regime-change-and-capitalism/

bluedog , says: January 31, 2019 at 1:36 am GMT
@Tyrion 2 From the people fool not by the C.I.A. declaring that well we like the other fellow best for president,after all using the logic you fail to have Hillary could have said call me madam president and leave the orange clown out in the dark,stupid,stupid people
RobinG , says: January 31, 2019 at 2:10 am GMT
@anonymous

"And, in effect, I wish for the success of Juan Guaido in his struggle with Maduro, and I support American diplomatic and economic pressure on Maduro to step down. After all, Venezuela is in our back yard with huge oil reserves."

OMG, Cathey really said that. Is he always such a shit? He certainly has Venezuela completely wrong.

The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela's Coup Leader https://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/29/the-making-of-juan-guaido-how-the-us-regime-change-laboratory-created-venezuelas-coup-leader/

Larry Wilkerson on the special meeting of the Security Council

Many Countries at UN Oppose Trump Interference in Venezuela

Sergey Krieger , says: January 31, 2019 at 2:15 am GMT
@AnonFromTN This phylosophical questions should not led to no actions. Modern Russia is actually in much better position now than it was in 1913. True. There is never final. Sorry for wrong words choice. Dialectics.
RobinG , says: January 31, 2019 at 2:20 am GMT
@AnonFromTN Tyrion and Sean are both sicko Zio-trolls.
Asagirian , says: January 31, 2019 at 2:25 am GMT
Why not just install the Deep State as president for life? It'd be more honest.
EliteCommInc. , says: January 31, 2019 at 2:38 am GMT
@Wizard of Oz The scenario you describe is an accurate. And requires me to make judgments about a dynamic I am unfamiliar with -- no bite. Several sides to this tale and I have heard and seen it before.

I may however make a call.

In 2017 2/3 of the states in the region chose not to interfere. They have not changed their minds on intervention.

ohh by the way I did ask and here's the familial response:

https://brewminate.com/venezuelans-want-maduro-out-but-oppose-military-intervention-to-remove-him/

EliteCommInc. , says: January 31, 2019 at 2:47 am GMT
@Wizard of Oz https://www.thequint.com/news/world/venezuelans-want-prez-maduro-out-but-oppose-foreign-intervention

https://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/29/venezuelans-oppose-intervention-us-sanctions-poll/

https://www.thecanary.co/global/world-news/2019/01/29/new-poll-shows-venezuelans-overwhelmingly-oppose-military-intervention-and-us-sanctions/

Just to be fair:

https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/venezuelans-multinational-intervention-president-nicolas-maduro-economic-situation/2018/09/17/id/882143/

But reading the data sets makes it clear that what they want is some humanitarian relief. B y and large I have the family telling me to mind my own business, but they would like a meal, some medicine and some water.

Asking helps figuring out what to do.

the grand wazoo , says: January 31, 2019 at 2:59 am GMT
By now Trump must be near bat shit crazy. Imagine hundreds of vampires descending on every exposed artery and vein. Does he have a chance in 2020? Not with the people who are around him today.

Regardless of what the MSM reports, the population is fed-up with all the malarkey, and the same old faces.

In Trump's remaining 2 years he must throw off the parasites, bring in real men, and go to work on infrastructure, health care, and real jobs. He has to out the naysayers, the creeps and the war mongers. Throw Bolton from the train, and divorce Netanyahu and Israel. Appeal directly to the public.

If he can he should issue an executive order allowing important items like immigration to go directly to public referendum, by passing congress. We're tired of idiots with personal grudges holding our President hostage. Stern times calls for sterner measures.

AnonFromTN , says: January 31, 2019 at 3:08 am GMT
@RobinG That would be an easy, almost optimistic explanation: some people are venal enough to say or write anything for money. Pessimistic explanation is that some people who can read and write are nonetheless dumb or brainwashed enough to sincerely believe the BS they are writing.
Anonymous [362] Disclaimer , says: January 31, 2019 at 4:19 am GMT
@therevolutionwas

Can you define what capitalism is ? Once that idea is refined, finessed, and compared to multiple color changes of capitalism, it becomes easier who to fit in the plastic infinitely expandable box of ideas of capitalism starting with the chartered company to patient laws to companies making military hardwares paid by tax payers to tax cut by government to seizure of foreign asset by US-UK to protection of the US business by military forces to selling military gadgets to the countries owned by families like Saudi royals Gulf monarchs and to the African ( American installed ) dictators to printing money .

tac , says: January 31, 2019 at 4:58 am GMT
A great article I posted in another thread few days ago dives deep into who Juan Guaido is and his past grooming for the past 10+ years:

Juan Guaidó is the product of a decade-long project overseen by Washington's elite regime change trainers. While posing as a champion of democracy, he has spent years at the forefront of a violent campaign of destabilization.

https://grayzoneproject.com/2019/01/29/the-making-of-juan-guaido-how-the-us-regime-change-laboratory-created-venezuelas-coup-leader/

Here is another:

A great documentary on the 2002 coup d'etat of Chavez: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised, Chavez, The 2002 Coup

[Jan 31, 2019] Supposedly trump is been wanting to attack Venezuela for a while

Jan 31, 2019 | www.unz.com

Harold Smith , says: January 30, 2019 at 5:43 pm GMT

@AnonFromTN

"Whoever believed that Trump will drain the swamp must feel disappointed."

The thing is, Trump just didn't fail to drain the swamp, he "took the ball and ran with it." Apparently he's an enthusiastic imperialist who gets off on the illegitimate use of military force. (His attack on the Shayrat airbase in Syria should end any debate about that).

Supposedly he's been wanting to attack Venezuela for a while:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jul/04/trump-suggested-invading-venezuela-report

Most recently, even Lindsey Graham (of all people) had to talk Trump out of invading Venezuela:

https://www.msn.com/en-xl/latinamerica/top-stories/graham-trump-considered-military-action-in-venezuela/ar-BBSQx31

I can understand Trump's die-hard supporters' argument that Trump is being coerced into doing evil things (although I don't agree with it), but how can they explain Trump's apparent enthusiasm?

The only explanation that makes sense to me is that Trump's anti-war/anti-interventionist tweets from 2013 were insincere and his whole presidential campaign was a brazen fraud.

Edit: I just saw your comment #71; so you apparently see it the same way I do.

Tyrion 2 , says: January 30, 2019 at 5:44 pm GMT
@By-tor Maduro is just Venezuelan Mugabe. Has it really come to this? That people on Unz will support any random lunatic as long as he mouths off about America or Israel every now and again?

Oh, but the sanctions! Proper economic sanctions were only very recently applied. The Venezuelan economy was already utterly wrecked by their joke of a government.

Liken the US not trading with Venezuela to a medieval siege if you like, but I suggest you read up on medieval sieges first. Hint: they weren't merely a government run boycott.

Herald , says: January 30, 2019 at 5:45 pm GMT
@follyofwar The Empire has been overreaching for years and it's now well past time it had its grimy grabbing hands chopped off.
Jotham Tiarks , says: January 30, 2019 at 5:47 pm GMT
@anonymous I fully agree with everything you said I was about to post a comment and then saw yours saying exactly what i was wanting to say!
Ilyana_Rozumova , says: January 30, 2019 at 6:06 pm GMT
@DieselChadron OMG (Oh my God) Globalists Made a mistake.
onebornfree , says: Website January 30, 2019 at 6:07 pm GMT
@onebornfree Some all to rare common sense – a writer who understands that both big government Trump and the big government "opposition" to Trump are not, never were , and never will be, "the answer":

"The Real Problem Is The Politicization Of Everything"

" While on the market and in radically decentralized systems, disagreements and polarization are not a problem, centralized political decision-making has in its nature that only one view can prevail. Suddenly, who is in the White House or whether regulation X or Y is passed does matter a great deal, and those with a different opinion than you on it may seem like actual enemies. Within voluntary settings, one can live with people that one disagrees with. All parties curate a way of life that works while living in peace with others.

To regain civility in human interactions and finally treat other human beings as human beings again, we would do well to get politics out of human affairs."

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-01-30/real-problem-politicization-everything

Very well said.

Regards,onebornfree

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: January 30, 2019 at 6:11 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN Or four the fracking was only Fata Morgana,
Carlton Meyer , says: Website January 30, 2019 at 6:13 pm GMT
For those who think this coup attempt was sudden, here is something from my blog:

Oct 9, 2018 – Ambassador Supports Coup

Few Americans know that our nation imposed harsh economic sanctions on Venezuela because the Neocons want to overthrow its democratic government. They hate that oil rich Venezuela insists on controlling its oil production rather than allowing big American corporations to run things. Almost three years ago, Neocon puppet Barack Obama declared a national emergency to impose sanctions by designating Venezuela an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to national security, and Trump continued sanctions.

The nuttiest member of the Trump administration is UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Her latest neo-nazi stunt was to join protestors last week calling for the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Venezuela. She grabbed a megaphone at a tiny New York rally and told the few "protesters" (organized by our CIA) to say the USA is working to overthrow their President. This was so bizarre that our corporate media refused to report it. Jimmy Dore assembled this great video of CNN presenting their expert calling the President of Venezuela paranoid for saying the USA wants to overthrow his government. A few hours later, a different CNN report documented recent efforts by the USA to overthrow his government!

AnonFromTN , says: January 30, 2019 at 6:16 pm GMT
@Tyrion 2 This is not about Maduro, or Guaido, who is likely an even bigger shit, as he clearly serves foreign masters. Don't you think it should be up to the people of Venezuela to change their president? The US meddling is against every rule of behavior of countries towards other countries. How would you feel if Burkina Faso told you who should be the president of the US? That's exactly how every Venezuelan who has dignity feels, regardless of their opinion of Maduro and his coterie.
bluedog , says: January 30, 2019 at 6:31 pm GMT
@Mr McKenna What did you expect,before the oath was out of his mouth he was busy cutting taxes for the 1%,for Trump is the swamp .
By-tor , says: January 30, 2019 at 6:35 pm GMT
@Tyrion 2 The US has been plotting against Venezuela since the last Wall Street puppet Pres. Rafael Caldera was defeated by Chavez and ownership of oil assets returned to Venezuela thereby cutting out anf angering the NYC-London predatory globalist cabal. Trump's hitmen are now preventing the Venezuelan state from accessing credit and from withdrawing its own money and gold foolishly deposited in US and London banks. The Venezuelan corporate elite act against the general population. You do not fully understand the situation.
peterAUS , says: January 30, 2019 at 6:37 pm GMT
@Johnny Rottenborough

Ethnonationalist stuff is ridiculous, it's stupid on the face of it, it's ridiculous, I've said it from day one. Ethnonationalism is a dead end, it's for losers. Economic nationalism and civic nationalism bind you together as citizens, regardless of your race, regardless of your ethnicity, regardless of your religion

Interesting.

Ah, well .maybe some other time.
If ever.

Johnny Rottenborough , says: Website January 30, 2019 at 6:38 pm GMT
@Digital Samizdat Digital Samizdat -- As civic nationalism is no kind of nationalism and presents no obstacle to race replacement, I imagine Jewry will be happy with it. Jewry will also be happy that Bannon the race realist ('It's been almost a Camp of the Saints-type invasion into Central and then Western and Northern Europe') has been successfully neutered.

[Jan 31, 2019] Venezuela, the Deep State, and Subversion of the Trump Presidency by Boyd D. Cathey

Notable quotes:
"... In February 2017, it was reported that Abrams was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson 's first pick for Deputy Secretary of State , but that Tillerson was subsequently overruled by Trump. Trump aides were supportive of Abrams , but Trump opposed him because of Abrams' opposition during the campaign. ..."
"... On January 25, 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appointed Abrams as the United States' Special Envoy to Venezuela ." ..."
"... diplomatic and economic ..."
Jan 31, 2019 | www.unz.com

There he was, right there on the stage to the right side of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who was briefing the press on America's position concerning the recent coup in Venezuela. I rubbed my eyes -- was I seeing what I thought I was seeing?

It was Elliot Abrams. What was HE doing there? After all, back in February 2017, after then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had pushed for his nomination as Deputy Secretary of State, it was President Trump himself who had vetoed his appointment.

Here is how the anodyne account in Wikipedia describes it:

In February 2017, it was reported that Abrams was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson 's first pick for Deputy Secretary of State , but that Tillerson was subsequently overruled by Trump. Trump aides were supportive of Abrams , but Trump opposed him because of Abrams' opposition during the campaign. [emphasis mine]

Abrams during the 2016 campaign had been a NeverTrumper who vigorously opposed Donald Trump and who had strongly attacked the future president's "Make America Great Again," America First foreign policy proposals.

Abrams, a zealous Neoconservative and ardent globalist was -- and is -- one of those foreign policy "experts" who has never seen a conflict in a faraway country, in a desert or jungle, where he did not want to insert American troops, especially if such an intervention would support Israeli policy. He was deeply enmeshed in earlier American interventionist miscues and blunders in the Middle East, even incurring charges of malfeasance.

Apparently, President Trump either did not know that or perhaps did not remember Abrams's activities or stout opposition. In any case, back in 2017 it took an intervention by a well-placed friend with Washington connections who provided that information directly to Laura Ingraham who then, in turn, placed it on the president's desk And Abrams' selection was effectively stopped, torpedoed by Donald Trump.

But here now was Abrams on stage with the Secretary of State.

What was that all about?

Again, I went to Wikipedia, and once again, I quote from that source: " On January 25, 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appointed Abrams as the United States' Special Envoy to Venezuela ."

Despite President Trump's resolute veto back in February 2017, Abrams was back, this time as a Special Envoy, right smack in the department that President Trump had forbade him to serve in. Did the president know? Had he signed off on this specially-created appointment? After all, the very title "Special Envoy on Venezuela" seems something dreamed up bureaucratically by the policy wonks at State, or maybe by Mike Pompeo.

Then there was the widely reported news, accompanied by a convenient camera shot of National Security Adviser John Bolton's note pad (which may or may not have been engineered by him), with the scribble: "5,000 troops to Colombia."

What gives here?

Last week suddenly there was a coup d'etat in Venezuela, with the head of the national assembly, Juan Guiado, proclaiming himself as the country's new and rightful president, and the theoretical deposition of then-current President Nicolas Maduro. And we were told that this action was totally "spontaneous" and an "act of the Venezuelan people for democracy," and that the United States had had nothing to do with it.

If you believe that, I have an oil well in my backyard that I am quite willing to sell to you for a few million, or maybe a bit less.

Of course, the United States and our overseas intelligence services were involved.

Let me clarify: like most observers who have kept up with the situation in oil-rich Venezuela, I heartily dislike and find despicable the socialist government of Maduro, just as I did Hugo Chavez when he was in power. I have some good friends there, one of whom was a student of mine when I taught in Argentina many years ago, and he and his family resolutely oppose Maduro. Those socialist leaders in Caracas are tin-pot dictator wannabees who have wrecked the economy of that once wealthy country; and they have ridden roughshod over the constitutional rights of the citizens. My hope has been that the people of Venezuela, perhaps supported by elements in the army, would take action to rid the country of those tyrants.

And, in effect, I wish for the success of Juan Guaido in his struggle with Maduro, and I support American diplomatic and economic pressure on Maduro to step down. After all, Venezuela is in our back yard with huge oil reserves.

But potentially sending American troops -- as many as 5,000 -- to fight in a country which is made up largely of jungle and impassible mountains, appears just one more instance, one more example, of the xenophobic internationalism of men like Bolton and the now state department official, Abrams, who believe American boots on the ground is the answer to every international situation. Experience over the past four decades should indicate the obvious folly of such policies for all but the historically blind and ideologically corrupt.

While we complain that the Russians and Chinese have propped up the Maduro government and invested deeply in Venezuela, a country within our "sphere of influence" in the Western Hemisphere (per the "Monroe Doctrine") -- we have done the very same thing, even more egregiously in regions like Ukraine that were integrally part of historical Russia, and in Crimea, which was never really part of Ukraine (only for about half a century) but historically and ethnically Russian. Did we not solemnly pledge to Mikhail Gorbachev, under George H. W. Bush, that if the old Soviet Union would dissolve and let its some fourteen socialist "republics" go their own way, leave the Russian Federation, that we, in turn, would not advance NATO up to the borders of Russia? And then we did the exact opposite almost immediately go back on our word and move our troops and advisers right up to the borders of post-1991 Russia?

From mid-2015 on I was a strong supporter of Donald Trump, and, in many ways, I still am. In effect, he may be the only thing that stands in the way of a total and complete recouping of power by the Deep State, the only slight glimmer of light -- that immovable force who stands up at times to the power-elites and who has perhaps given us a few years of respite as the managerial class zealously attempts to repair the breach he -- and we -- inflicted on it in 2016.

My major complaint, what I have seen as a kind of Achilles' Heel in the Trump presidency, has always been in personnel, those whom the president has surrounded himself with. And my criticism is measured and prudential, in the sense that I also understand what happens -- and what did happen -- when a billionaire businessman, a kind of bull-in-the-china shop (exactly what was needed), comes to Washington and lacks experience with the utterly amoral and oleaginous and obsequious political class that has dominated and continues to dominate our government, both Democrats and, most certainly, Republicans.

The wife of a very dear friend of thirty-five years served in a fairly high post during the Reagan administration. Before her untimely death a few years ago, she recounted to me in stark detail how the minions and acolytes of George H. W. Bush managed to surround President Reagan and subvert large portions of the stated Reagan Agenda. Reagan put his vice-president effectively in charge of White House personnel: and, as they say, that was it, the Reagan Revolution was essentially over.

In 2016 a number of friends and I created something called "Scholars for Trump." Composed mostly of academics, research professors, and accomplished professionals, and headed by Dr. Walter Block, Professor of Economics at Loyola-New Orleans, and Dr. Paul Gottfried, Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, in Pennsylvania, we attempted to gather real professed believers in the stated Trump agenda. We received scant mention (mostly negative) in the so-called "conservative" press, who proceeded to smear us as "ultra-right wingers" and "paleo-conservatives." And, suddenly, there appeared another pro-Trump list, and that one composed largely of the same kinds of professionals, but many if not most of whom had not supported Donald Trump and his agenda during the primary campaigns.

What was certain was that many of the amoral time-servers and power elitists had decided that it was time for them to attach themselves to Trump, time for them to insinuate themselves into positions of power once again, no matter their distaste and scorn for that brash billionaire upstart from New York.

Remember the (in)famous interview that the President-elect had with Mitt Romney who desperately wanted to be Secretary of State? Recall the others also interviewed -- some of whom we remembered as Donald Trump's opponents in the campaign -- who came hat-in-hand to Trump Tower looking for lucrative positions and the opportunity once again to populate an administration and direct policy? And, yes, work from within to counteract the stated Trump agenda?

It would be too facile to blame the president completely: after all, the professional policy wonks, the touted experts in those along-the-Potomac institutes and foundations, were there already in place. And, indeed, there was a need politically, as best as possible, to bring together the GOP if anything were to get through Congress. (As we have seen, under Paul Ryan practically none of the Trump Agenda was enacted, and Ryan at every moment pushed open borders.)

Our contacts did try; we did have a few associates close to the president. A few -- but only a few -- of our real Trump Agenda supporters managed to climb aboard. But in the long run we were no match for the machinations of the power elites and GOP establishment. And we discovered that the president's major strength -- not being a Washington Insider -- was also his major weakness, and that everything depended on his instincts, and that somehow if the discredited globalists and power-hungry Neoconservatives (who did not give Trump the time of day before his election) were to go too far, maybe, hopefully, he would react.

And he has, on occasion done just that, as perhaps in the case of Syria, and maybe even in Afghanistan, and in a few other situations. But each time he has had to pass the gauntlet of "advisers" whom he has allowed to be in place who vigorously argue against (and undercut) the policies they are supposed to implement.

Donald Trump, for all that and for his various faults and miscues, is in reality the only thing standing in the way of the end of the old republic. The fact that he is so violently and unreservedly hated by the elites, by the media, by academia, and by Hollywood must tell us something. In effect, however, it not just the president they hate, not even his rough-edged personality -- it is what he represents, that in 2016 he opened a crack, albeit small, into a world of Deep State putrefaction, a window into sheer Evil, and the resulting falling away of the mask of those "body snatchers" who had for so long exuded confidence that their subversion and control was inevitable and just round the corner.

President Trump will never be forgiven for that. And, so, as much as I become frustrated with some of the self-inflicted wounds, some of the actions which appear at times to go flagrantly against his agenda, as much as I become heartsick when I see the faces of Elliot Abrams -- and Mitt Romney -- in positions where they can continue their chipping away at that agenda, despite all that, I continue to pray that his better instincts will reign and that he will look beyond such men, and just maybe learn that what you see first in Washington is usually not what you'll get.


Taras77 , says: January 29, 2019 at 10:02 pm GMT

Abrams did it for me!

I cannot imagine a more evil person to be allowed back into govt than this man, who is more evil than he looks.

It is over, in my mind, with the trump admin; nothing has been done about the long list of crimes committed by the obama gang during the election and after. Nothing has been done about seth rich, I would add michael hastings, and the long list of clinton "suicides" and the clinton crimes. the list is endless with no progress.

The dimos in doj, fbi, etc have completely out-manuevered trump and he really has no junk yard dog to protect him-guliani is a joke, even if he is sober as he claims to be.

Big sigh, depressing.

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: January 30, 2019 at 12:24 am GMT
Scholars? For Trump? Still?

Linh Dinh on this website (June 12, 2016) predicted both the election outcome and its meaninglessness. He had by then, of course, been blackballed by Scholars, Inc., and is now helping to run a recycling operation back in Vietnam. But he has emerged as one of the top Unz columnists, most of his Heritage American attackers who couldn't see past their DNA having slunk away.

Conversely, go read the comment thread under Mr. Buchanan's latest. People who used to fall for the "we/us/our" conflation of their country and Uncle Sam are waking up, due largely to the President in whom you still place your scholarly hope. We may not be scholars, but we understand that the blood of people in places like Iraq, Libya, Syria, and soon enough Venezuela is on the hands of those who endorse the warmongering imperialism of Exceptionalia. Your scholarly enabling, such as:

"And, in effect, I wish for the success of Juan Guaido in his struggle with Maduro, and I support American diplomatic and economic pressure on Maduro to step down. After all, Venezuela is in our back yard with huge oil reserves."

is naive at best. As a scholar, did you support the "economic pressure" rationalized by Secretary of State Albright that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, many of them children?

Those of you who still expect the Unz readership to give two sh ** s about Donald Trump or anyone else in the Washington Puppet Show are fast losing your relevance around here.

Ma Laoshi , says: January 30, 2019 at 1:09 am GMT
Yup, Personnel is Policy; always has been. The scale of it all really precludes the kind of benefit-of-the-doubt explanation the author struggles to formulate. It's not that Trump tried to do the right thing but some war-hawks, jews, and Wall-Street shysters got through regardless. Those were the only people that needed apply because Trump wasn't considering anybody else. One simply has to conclude that the people that currently surround him are indeed "his kind of people". And let's not forget that after a crash course in the realities of government he replaced Tillerson and notorious torturer McMaster because they were not hawkish, not pro-Israel, enough .

What evidence is there that your definition of "doing the right thing" coincides with Trump's anyway. Yes he made some non-interventionist noises during the campaign, but that was mostly during the primary before he'd kissed Adelson's ring in exchange for the shekels. But he was also "a very militaristic guy" who was all for "taking the oil" and who nonstop hated on Iran. Face it, it was just the Obama playbook: throw an incoherent mishmash to the proles in the hope that they remember only those parts they liked.

Isn't Trump's CV rather more illuminating on who he is than his campaign rhetoric: casino operator and pro-wrestling MC. He gets off on playing the rubes.

peterAUS , says: January 30, 2019 at 1:31 am GMT
Excellent, and timely article.

From mid-2015 on I was a strong supporter of Donald Trump, and, in many ways, I still am. In effect, he may be the only thing that stands in the way of a total and complete recouping of power by the Deep State

Donald Trump, for all that and for his various faults and miscues, is in reality the only thing standing in the way of the end of the old republic.

.despite all that, I continue to pray that his better instincts will reign and that he will look beyond such men, and just maybe learn that what you see first in Washington is usually not what you'll get.

Scholar, a? Man, you ..Anyway.

Impressive.

Carlton Meyer , says: Website January 30, 2019 at 5:43 am GMT
The US military has kept some 3000 soldiers in Columbia for years. Maybe that has grown to 5000, but Bolton's yellow pad note was a simple trick to fool simpletons. Invading Venezuela would require at least 50,000 US troops.

Americans are quick to denounce socialists, especially those in the US military who thrive in a socialist US military. Most Americans do not realize that their police, firefighters, schools, most universities, roads, water, and electricity are products of socialism. If you have an emergency in the USA, you dial 9-11 for socialists to help you. Everyone thinks that is great!

From my blog:

Jan 27, 2019 – A Clumsy Slow Coup

Corporate America media has not reported basic facts about the attempted takeover of Venezuela. The Deep State has tried to overthrow the popular, elected government of Venezuela for a decade as it gradually nationalized its oil production. Several coup attempts failed so the USA imposed sanctions to punish the people for voting wrong. Sanctions caused shortages and inflation but the elected government remains in power.

In the past, the USA conducted coups by bribing Generals to conduct a quick military takeover, and always denied participation. The Trump administration gave up on deception and began a clumsy, slow coup. I suspect Trump's new CIA appointed attorney general told Trump that he had the power to appoint foreign presidents, so last week he openly appointed a new president for Venezuela. The Venezuelan army openly backs the existing president so nothing changed. The UN did not recognize Trump's puppet president nor did any other major world power. These facts do not appear in our corporate media, although the internet provides reality via a Paul Craig Roberts article. (posted at unz.com)

Trump has now ordered other nations to send payments for oil purchases to a bank account controlled by his new president. This infuriates foreign governments because they know oil shipments will stop if they fail to pay the legitimate government of Venezuela, and oil prices will rise worldwide as they scramble to buy oil elsewhere. Meanwhile, a massive humanitarian and refugee crisis is building as the result of this economic embargo.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: January 30, 2019 at 6:09 am GMT
I do not know how the fracking is going in the winter. I have read somewhere, that yields from fracking are going down. also that fracking companies are moving down to Texas.Also I do not know the state of strategic reserves, But I definitely suspect that moves in Venezuela were planed long before. so I have to presume that this is all about price of oil.
Trump quite a while ago, quite eagerly said something about moving on Venezuela.
Trump can be easily triggered by any economic subject by which US gains. But I do suspect that in this case it could be economic necessity. (What would be a real shame.)
follyofwar , says: January 30, 2019 at 4:04 pm GMT
@Taras77 I agree Taras. Although I much enjoyed reading Boyd Cathey's essay, sadly, I think he remains too optimistic. With the D's back in charge of the House, and the R's impotent in the Senate, (McConnell as majority leader is a joke), Trump's stated agenda is all over. He got nothing in his first two years besides the traditional GOP tax cut for the rich. And he waited far too long to get serious about the wall. Yes, Koch-man Paul Ryan opposed it, but surely Trump could have tried harder to get enough R votes to override him. His only option now, unless Pelosi budges a little, would be to declare a National Emergency on Feb 15. There is no way he could shut down the government again. Let's see how that goes.

However I disagree with Realist's comment. With Trump being attacked viciously on all sides, I don't understand how anyone could think he is part of the Deep State. I think Victor Davis Hanson got it right when he called Trump a "Tragic Hero."

AnonFromTN , says: January 30, 2019 at 4:20 pm GMT
Whoever believed that Trump will drain the swamp must feel disappointed. The US foreign policy is run by the swamp now, like it always was. The US uses full range of classical gangster tactics against Venezuela: blackmail, theft of assets, threats, etc. The US tries to instigate yet another "color revolution" to bring yet another puppet to power in yet another country. The only difference is, Maduro resists. But that's the difference in the victim country, not in DC.

[Jan 31, 2019] Venezuella and the price of oil

Jan 31, 2019 | www.unz.com

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: January 30, 2019 at 6:09 am GMT

I do not know how the fracking is going in the winter. I have read somewhere, that yields from fracking are going down. also that fracking companies are moving down to Texas.Also I do not know the state of strategic reserves, But I definitely suspect that moves in Venezuela were planed long before. so I have to presume that this is all about price of oil.
Trump quite a while ago, quite eagerly said something about moving on Venezuela.
Trump can be easily triggered by any economic subject by which US gains. But I do suspect that in this case it could be economic necessity. (What would be a real shame.)
Alfred , says: January 30, 2019 at 9:14 am GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova It is not clear whether you are saying that Trump is trying to raise or lower oil prices.

If he wants to lower oil prices then why is he making it difficult for Iran to sell its oil?

If he wants to raise oil prices then why does he want the big US oil companies in Venezuela to sort out that country's oil business and raise exports?

I suspect he, and those around him, have no idea what they want to achieve. They are simply trying to demonstrate their "power" and ability to change regimes. To give the Monroe Doctrine a bit of oxygen. To scare the European vassals.

Realist , says: January 30, 2019 at 10:39 am GMT

Venezuela, the Deep State, and Subversion of the Trump Presidency

You're being rolled. Trump is part of the Deep State. Otherwise explain Bolton, Pompeo, Abrams and all the other dickheads Trump has hired.

Realist , says: January 30, 2019 at 10:44 am GMT
@Taras77 Correct, Trump is a member of the Deep State. Trump's election and big talk is a charade. It is hard to believe anyone would not see Trump as a chimera after all his bullshit.
Realist , says: January 30, 2019 at 10:53 am GMT

After all, Venezuela is in our back yard with huge oil reserves.

There it is .the reason the US is involved in Venezuelain politics .we want their oil.

renfro , says: January 30, 2019 at 7:29 am GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova

Also I do not know the state of strategic reserves, But I definitely suspect that moves in Venezuela were planed long before

Trump is doing the same thing he did in his businesses ..using 'other people's money.assests' to cover his ass.
Now picture this ..sanctions on Iran, sanctions on Russia, sanctions on Venezuela + rising US interest rates + a slowing economy + half of US oil reserves sold to cover government spending.
Hope people get use to riding a bike when this perfect storm hits.

WH Proposes Selling Half the U.S. Strategic Oil Reserve
https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-proposes-selling-half-the-us-strategic-oil-reserve
President Trump's proposal to slim down the national debt includes a plan to sell off about half of America's emergency oil stockpile -- made up of 687.7 million

And sold

U.S. sells 11 million barrels of oil from reserve to Exxon, five other firmshttps://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-oil-reserve/u-s-sells-11-million-barrels-of-oil-from-reserve-to-exxon-five-other-firms-idUSKCN1LG2WT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Six companies, including ExxonMobil Corp, bought a total of 11 million barrels of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, a Department of Energy document showed on Friday, in a sale timed to take place ahead of U.S. sanctions on Iran that are expected to remove oil from the global market.
Sale of the oil from the reserve was mandated by previous laws to fund the federal government and to fund a drug program, but the Trump administration took the earliest available time to sell the crude under the law.
The sale's timing "would appear to reflect President Donald Trump's concern regarding oil market tightness associated with the reinstatement of Iran oil sanctions," analysts at ClearView Energy Partners said after the sale was announced on August 20.

Any wonder they want to control Venezuela oil?

Amon , says: January 30, 2019 at 12:07 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer A slight correction is needed here. The UK, Germany, Israel and France has signed onto this.

Just as all four of them were more than willing to help smash Libya to dust so they could steal their oil fields and all that gold Gaddafi had hoarded up for his independent gold back African currency.

Truly, Venezuela will be a Libya 2.0.

Honesty , says: January 30, 2019 at 1:17 pm GMT
I think what is happening in Venezuela is not an isolated event. It is connected to a broad "connect the dots" South American strategy. The other dots are:

1) Bolsonaro's election victory.
2) Changes in structural relationship with Argentina, Chile, Colombia.
3) Cuba isolation.
4) Bolivia isolation.
5) And finally the recent unexpected dam collapse in Brazil, followed by IDF's offer to fly in hundreds of soldiers to help.

S America is about to become the next Middle East (Syria). Weapons proliferation. War profiting. Mass scale disruption. Already a profound refugee crisis. And all the traditional war hawks there – with IDF leading the charge.

Harold Smith , says: January 30, 2019 at 1:28 pm GMT

"And, in effect, I wish for the success of Juan Guaido in his struggle with Maduro, and I support American diplomatic and economic pressure on Maduro to step down. After all, Venezuela is in our back yard with huge oil reserves."

So in effect, you wish for the success of the globalists in their relentless struggle with the concept of national sovereignty and the rule of law, and you support American imperialist efforts to overthrow yet another democratically elected government, no matter how many people have to die in the process. After all, the victim country is relatively close and its huge oil reserves make for a reasonable pretext.

jacques sheete , says: January 30, 2019 at 2:23 pm GMT

Venezuela, the Deep State, and Subversion of the Trump Presidency

Also on UR, link to,

Bolton: We're Taking Venezuela's Oil
Yesterday, Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton made the US position clear in a FoxNews interview: Washington will overthrow the Venezuelan
RON PAUL LIBERTY REPORT

nsa , says: January 30, 2019 at 3:12 pm GMT
@Johnny Rico "How many barrels a day does Venezuela pump?"
Something like 50,000 barrels per day. And pumped is perhaps the wrong word more like mined. Venezuelan oil is locked up in surface tar sands along the Orinoco River and of very low quality, rich in metals such as vanadium which catalyze sulfur into sulfuric acid rotting out engines and turbines if not cleaned up. It is actually sold as a emulsion with about 25% water to get the stuff to flow. The Canadian tar sands now produce something like 500,000 barrels per day. Try driving through the Alberta tar sands to see mommie earth ravaged without conscience and birds murdered en masse landing on their vast polluted effluent ponds but then the loathsome colonial denizens of our Canadian satrap to the north don't care as long as we let them have a couple of hockey teams and legal pot.
AnonFromTN , says: January 30, 2019 at 4:20 pm GMT
Whoever believed that Trump will drain the swamp must feel disappointed. The US foreign policy is run by the swamp now, like it always was. The US uses full range of classical gangster tactics against Venezuela: blackmail, theft of assets, threats, etc. The US tries to instigate yet another "color revolution" to bring yet another puppet to power in yet another country. The only difference is, Maduro resists. But that's the difference in the victim country, not in DC.
By-tor , says: January 30, 2019 at 4:28 pm GMT
@Tyrion 2 Venezuela is under US sanctions that substitute for a medieval siege, and Venezuela's comprador ruling class are Wall Street loyalists, not nationalists. The US is trying to starve the population of Venezuela and economically ruin them wherein a US puppet gov't will enable predatory Americans to buy coveted resources on the cheap. This usurpation of int'l law and criminality was pulled off by Obama-Nuland-Soros in Ukraine in 2014. The majority of Venezuelan 'deplorables' who are bearing the brunt of US sanctions know well what Uncle Sham's man-on-the-ground Guaido is up to, and have, hopefully, organized and armed themselves with rifles to defend their lives and property from invaders.
follyofwar , says: January 30, 2019 at 4:30 pm GMT
@Amon It's possible that Venezuela will be another Libya. But I question whether the US Imperialists could get away with weeks of saturation bombing on a country in the same hemisphere, just to its south. I find it hard to believe that the rest of South America would take this lying down. Then there's the presence of Russia and China, who both have substantial investments in the country. Will they just sit on their hands too?

With its jungles and mountains, any US invasion would be more like Vietnam, I think. This could be, and I hope it is, a Bridge Too Far for the Empire. Empires always eventually overreach.

Rags , says: January 30, 2019 at 4:36 pm GMT
But, bbbuuuttt, I thought we were gonna be energy independent and export oil all over the globe. What need have we of some heavy crude in Venezuela if this forecast is at hand? Just hedging the BS ya know.
Sergey Krieger , says: January 30, 2019 at 4:44 pm GMT
Maduro and Chavez are as socialist as I am capitalism fan. They are indeed populist dictators and regime is still capitalistic. They just rely upon lumpens and military to hold onto power. Things wound not change for the better and probably for worse if coup succeeds though. Now, it is neither USA nor author's business to interfere into other countries affairs as Americans quite obviously only make things worse and what if when USA finally kicks the bucket as United country others start interfering in USA affairs ? I actually see it coming considering demographic and cultural realities on the ground in USA. Once $usd is gone as reserve currency the process as Gorbachiv stated would start.
republic , says: January 30, 2019 at 4:46 pm GMT

Last week suddenly there was a coup d'etat in Venezuela,

actually the use of the term coup d'etat is incorrect. A coup occurs when the military disposes the government and replaces it with a military government.

This has not yet occurred. It has not yet been successful, what is actually happening is the beginning of a civil war, the outcome which is not clear.

The situation bears a certain similarity with the beginning of the Syrian civil War.

If it follows the Ukrainian scenario like what took place in 2014, then I would expect some type of situation where foreign mercenaries are employed to create divisions in the population, like firing on the opposition supporters. It is highly likely that some sort of false flag incident will be use to fire up the situation.

If the military were to revolt and replace it with civilian rule it would be called a pronunciamiento

AnonFromTN , says: January 30, 2019 at 5:16 pm GMT
Trump just congratulated self-proclaimed US puppet Guaido in Venezuela. So, he can no longer pretend to be an innocent bystander: he showed himself to be a willing participant in the criminal activities of the swamp.

Three notes on the bright side. One, the Empire is getting ever more reckless, no longer bothers even with fig leaves. That looks like an overreach typical of empires in their death throws. Two, Maduro, despite his obvious failings, appears to be prepared to defend his country against banditry. So, maybe he is not just a piece of shit, like Yanuk in Ukraine. We'll see soon enough. Three, Erdogan, who the same gangsters tried to overthrow not too long ago, remembers that and voiced his support of Maduro in no uncertain terms, despite Turkey being a NATO member.

[Jan 22, 2019] Saudi trick before the cut in 2019

Notable quotes:
"... That works out to be 320,000 barrels per day. Saudi production increased by 384,000 barrels per day during November. So Saudi's November increase was mostly just emptying their storage tanks. ..."
Jan 22, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News says: 01/21/2019 at 8:03 am

2019-01-21 (JODI Data) Saudi Arabia crude oil inventories declined by -9.6 million barrels in November
Chart on Twitter https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dxb2106X0AEVusm.jpg
Ron Patterson says: 01/21/2019 at 8:27 am

That works out to be 320,000 barrels per day. Saudi production increased by 384,000 barrels per day during November. So Saudi's November increase was mostly just emptying their storage tanks.

And from looking at your chart, it looks like the 135,000 barrel per day increase in October was from the same source.

Saudi cuts start from a base of 10,633,000 barrels per day. That is almost their exact production in October. And your chart shows Saudi inventories had been dropping for months. Saudi had obviously been preparing to "cut" production from a level of production they reached by emptying their storage tanks.

[Jan 14, 2019] Chinese crude oil imports are up almost ten percent in one year

Jan 14, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Energy News x Ignored says: 01/14/2019 at 6:22 am

Chinese crude oil imports up +9.9% higher in full year 2018 compared to FY 2017.
The month of December up +29.9% higher than Dec 2017

2019-01-14 OilyticsData
Another big crude import number from China (2nd consecutive month of imports above 10 MMB/D). Low oil prices and startup of mega refineries such as RongSheng and Hengli is helping to keep these numbers near record levels.(Source; GAC China)
Chart https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Dw3fk2GXcAUZ_Vu.jpg
Oilytics https://twitter.com/OilyticsData

[Jan 14, 2019] US Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who just sent a letter to both Uniper and BASF to stop work on the Nordstream 2 pipeline or else face further U.S. sanctions

Notable quotes:
"... Good article. It accurately spells it out about the contempt and disrespect that America has of other countries, and the coercive tactics that America often applies to them. ..."
"... It really goes back to what Marine corps Major General Smedley Butler once reflected on, in 1933, about the U.S.,. He said: "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism". Apparently, that is how other countries see us operating as too. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

For another example I turn to U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, who just sent a letter to both Uniper and BASF to stop work on the Nordstream 2 pipeline or else face further U.S. sanctions.

The Bild report raised the ire of some German politicians in Berlin. Fabio De Masi, a top Left Party MP, demanded that the government reprimand Grenell, saying : "The US Ambassador seems to make an impression that he is a viceroy of the Washington emperor.

This is the real face of Trumpian diplomacy. Stop acting in your own best interest or we'll bankrupt you.

The situation at this point is pretty clear. While our military strength is formidable it is not, however, a blank check to enforce political edicts anymore.

In a world where U.S. prosperity is dependent on the prosperity of the entire world, threatening financial ruin is just as much of a bluff as threatening physical ruin.

And we're seeing that bluff being called a lot. Country after country are now simply showing U.S. strongmen like Pompeo, Bolton, Mattis and even Trump himself, the door and there is little to no real response from them.

He–Mene Mox Mox , 47 minutes ago link

Good article. It accurately spells it out about the contempt and disrespect that America has of other countries, and the coercive tactics that America often applies to them.

It really goes back to what Marine corps Major General Smedley Butler once reflected on, in 1933, about the U.S.,. He said: "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism". Apparently, that is how other countries see us operating as too.

[Jan 07, 2019] Saudi Oil Production Cuts May Stoke Oil Prices, Spur Trump Tweets by Julian Lee

All graphics and images removed...
Notable quotes:
"... It makes sense for Saudi Arabia to focus its cuts on sales to the U.S., the only country that publishes detailed weekly data on oil imports and inventory levels -- traders watch the reports closely. This means the reductions will be evident more quickly than would similar cuts to other destinations, so a drop in American imports should have a much more immediate impact on price expectations. ..."
www.marketwatch.com

There's already less Saudi crude oil getting loaded for export.

The list of things that President Donald Trump criticizes in his tweets varies from one day to the next. He may soon have to direct his ire to oil prices and the actions of his ally, Saudi Arabia, once again.

The desert kingdom is already making good on its promise to slash supply, and the initial evidence suggests that the biggest cut is being made in deliveries to the U.S. On top of that, the price it charges American buyers of its crude has been raised to near record levels for cargoes to be shipped in February. That could be bad news for a president who just celebrated falling gas prices.

The OPEC+ group of countries met in December and, after Russia took the reins , eventually agreed to cut supplies by 1.2 million barrels a day from January. For Saudi Arabia, that meant cutting production to just over 10.3 million, but it pledged to go further -- oil minister Khalid Al-Falih told reporters and analysts that it would be slashed to 10.2 million barrels a day in January.

The first job was to unwind the output surge made in November that had helped to deliver the price drop hailed by Trump. That was done last month. Saudi production in December was back below the October baseline used for its (and most other countries') promised cuts.

Saudi Cuts

Saudi crude production was cut to 10.65 million barrels a day in December from a record 11.07 million in November

That couldn't have been what Trump wanted, given what he tweeted the day before OPEC began its meeting in Vienna -- at the time, crude prices were in the midst of their worst quarterly decline in four years.

Bloomberg's tracking of crude exports from Saudi Arabia indicates that the biggest drop in flows from the kingdom was in the volume heading for the U.S. Shipments to ports on the Atlantic, Gulf and West coasts fell by nearly 60 percent between November and December to just over 350,000 barrels a day. That's the lowest since Bloomberg started tracking these flows in January 2017.

Cutting Shipments

The flow of Saudi crude heading to the U.S. slumped last month, as the kingdom slashed output

The size of the drop isn't set in stone -- a small number of ships signaling that they are heading for the Suez Canal or Singapore could eventually go to the U.S. Even so, a decline in Saudi crude shipments to American ports should start to show up in lower deliveries after about six weeks. By mid-February, U.S. imports of the kingdom's oil could fall to the lowest in more than 30 years, according to data from the Department of Energy. The last time the flow from Saudi to the U.S. fell below half a million barrels a day was in the mid-1980s, after the kingdom slashed its production by 80 percent over four years in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to prop up oil prices.

Slowing The Flow

Imports of Saudi crude into the U.S. could soon fall to their lowest in more than 30 years

It's not just this volume decline that is going to rile Trump. The price of that oil isn't going to make him happy either.

Saudi Arabia sets its crude prices a month in advance of it being loaded at its export terminals, so it has just published its price list for February. In common with other producers, it does not set an outright price, but rather a differential to regional benchmarks for each export grade and each market area.

Price differentials for U.S. buyers have been going up since August and for most grades are now close to record levels. Saudi heavy crude, which is the closest alternative to dwindling supplies from Venezuela and Mexico, is the most expensive it's been since 2009 in relative terms.

Price Rises

Saudi crude prices for U.S. buyers have risen to near record levels against the regional benchmark

It makes sense for Saudi Arabia to focus its cuts on sales to the U.S., the only country that publishes detailed weekly data on oil imports and inventory levels -- traders watch the reports closely. This means the reductions will be evident more quickly than would similar cuts to other destinations, so a drop in American imports should have a much more immediate impact on price expectations.

There is no reason to doubt that Al-Falih will do what he said in Vienna. It was only after slashing exports to the U.S. in July 2017 that oil prices really began to recover, and Saudi Arabia will be hoping for a similar impact this time, too. But don't be surprised if that also unleashes angry tweets from the U.S. president.

Julian Lee is an oil strategist for Bloomberg First Word. Previously he worked as a senior analyst at the Centre for Global Energy Studies.

[Jan 03, 2019] The Mediterranean Pipeline Wars Are Heating Up by Viktor Katona

It remain to be seen if the deposit of gat discovered justify the construction of the pipeline.
Jan 03, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Viktor Katona via Oilprice.com,

Things have been quite active in the Eastern Mediterranean lately, with Israel, Cyprus and Greece pushing forward for the realization of the EastMed pipeline, a new gas conduit destined to diversify Europe's natural gas sources and find a long-term reliable market outlet for all the recent Mediterranean gas discoveries. The three sides have reached an agreement in late November (roughly a year after signing the MoU) to lay the pipeline, the estimated cost of which hovers around $7 billion (roughly the same as rival TurkStream's construction cost). Yet behind the brave facade, it is still very early to talk about EastMed as a viable and profitable project as it faces an uphill battle with traditionally difficult Levantine geopolitics, as well as field geology.

The EastMed gas pipeline is expected to start some 170 kilometers off the southern coast of Cyprus and reach Otranto on the Puglian coast of Italy via the island of Crete and the Greek mainland. Since most of its subsea section is projected to be laid at depths of 3-3.5 kilometer, in case it is built it would become the deepest subsea gas pipeline, most probably the longest, too, with an estimated length of 1900km. The countries involved proceed from the premise that the pipeline's throughput capacity would be 20 BCM per year (706 BCf), although previous estimates were within the 12-16 BCm per year interval. According to Yuval Steinitz, the Israeli Energy Minister, the stakeholders would need a year to iron out all the remaining administrative issues and 4-5 years to build the pipeline, meaning it could come onstream not before 2025.


SpanishGoop , 3 hours ago link

The EastMed gas pipeline is expected to start some 170 kilometers off the southern coast of Cyprus and reach Otranto on the Puglian coast of Italy via the island of Crete and the Greek mainland.

Cyprus,Crete,Greece, Italy....

Yes, very stable EU supply line going through the most stable countries in the EU.

Samual Vimes , 3 hours ago link

Yeah, I'm having trouble with the sub sea depth numbers too, despite the route cuts the conflicts to a half a dozen from an infinite number.

Intuitively, shipping LNG offers comparable delivery price albeit at lower volumes,and can be done off shore.

Even here in bucolic Pensyltucky, delivery of natty to market is limited by a lack of piping infrastructure, limiting the gas boom. It gives the tree huggers time to throttle the business. Figuring that the political climate and costs are going to get better with time passing is foolish.

Also considered is price, still cheap, cheap, cheap.

Our local natty supplier just applied for, and received a price reduction, effective next fall.

Heavenstorm , 3 hours ago link

Zzzzzz, nothing to do with US, let the EU slave fight over them.

kellys_eye , 3 hours ago link

The only thing gas pipelines mean to the average person is that there will be a war over them. Again.

buzzsaw99 , 3 hours ago link

Since most of its subsea section is projected to be laid at depths of 3-3.5 kilometer, in case it is built it would become the deepest subsea gas pipeline, most probably the longest, too...

oh yeah bitchez. nothing could possibly go wrong with that plan. /s

Pandelis , 2 hours ago link

(((PIPELINES))) wars ... lol

none has even discovered the goods yet ... and we are told we have to go to war about building some (((PIPELINES))) on something to be discovered in the future ... if ever ....

as Abba Waterloo song said the history books on the shelf just keeps repeating itself ... that is why is not that difficult to see through the BS ...

World War I we are told was over some archiduke being killed by some extremist ...as a result 1/3 of the Serb nation was killed ...

[Jan 02, 2019] Viable Opposition How the U.S. Senate is Instigating a Hot War With Russia

Notable quotes:
"... Senate Resolution on December 19, 2019 which calls for "a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and urging the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline ..."
"... Calling for a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and urging the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. ..."
Jan 02, 2019 | viableopposition.blogspot.com

Senator Ron Johnson (R- Wis) and Richard Durban (D-Ill) and 39 of their colleagues introduced a Senate Resolution on December 19, 2019 which calls for "a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and urging the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline" as shown here :

Here is a list of co-sponsors of the resolution:

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Ok.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation; and Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).
Here is the resolution (currently unnumbered) in its entirety:

Calling for a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and urging the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

... ... ...

... ... ...

(9) applauds and concurs with the European 2 Parliament's December 12, 2018, resolution condemning Russian aggression in the Kerch Strait and
the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, calling for the pipeline's cancellation due to its threat to European energy security, and calling on the Russian Federation to
7 guarantee freedom of navigation in the Kerch Strait;

and

(10) urges the President to continue working with Congress and our allies to ensure the appropriate policies to deter the Russian Federation from further aggression.

Anonymous December 26, 2018 at 4:47 PM

Fortunately, these two neocons can make all the proclamations they want but without President Trump's support it's all just words; neocon virtue signalling. And of course President Trump won't support what they're doing because he campaigned on and governs as an anti-war president.

Ron Johnson is a Bushie neocon who actively supported the neocon ¡Jebe! (Please Clap) Bush while Durbin is a Hillary Clinton neocon who actively supported that drunken, corrupt, warmongering shrew.

Thank all that's holy that we have a genuine anti-war POTUS in office and not either of those two neocons, both of whom were utterly in the pockets of defense contractors.

Unknown January 1, 2019 at 10:02 PM

Thanks for your research on relevant naval law. The Ukrainian vessel is reported to have violated the ongoing protocol by failing to take on a Russian pilot as it transited the strait and an important bridge could potentially have been attacked by those vessels. This was a provocation by Ukraine that seems to have its desired effect on the U.S. Senate. For essential background on the Ukrainian civil war, I recommend reading Stephen F. Cohen's article in the Nation in 2014, titled "Kiev's atrocities and the Silence of the Hawks." https://www.thenation.com/article/kievs-atrocities-and-silence-hawks/

[Jan 02, 2019] The demonization of Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela might be connected with oil depletion

Notable quotes:
"... 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. ..."
Jan 02, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Palloy , Feb 20, 2018 8:52:02 PM | link

@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.

Ger , Feb 21, 2018 7:52:44 AM | link
Dan @ 4

It is partially tied direct to the economy of the warmongers as trillions of dollars of new cold war slop is laying on the ground awaiting the MICC hogs. American hegemony is primarily about stealing the natural resources of helpless countries. Now in control of all the weak ones, it is time to move to the really big prize: The massive resources of Russia. They (US and their European Lackeys) thought this was a slam dunk when Yeltsin, in his drunken stupors, was literally giving Russia to invading capitalist. Enter Putin, stopped the looting .........connect the dots.

[Dec 29, 2018] Why Russia Isn't Worried About Lower Oil Prices

The big unknown is whether the USA entering the recession or not?
Dec 29, 2018 | oilprice.com

Russia is not as desperate for higher oil prices as is Saudi Arabia. There are a few reasons for this. One of the key reasons is that the Russian currency is flexible, so it weakens when oil prices fall. That cushions the blow during a downturn, allowing Russian oil companies to pay expenses in weaker rubles while still taking in U.S. dollars for oil sales. Second, tax payments for Russian oil companies are structured in such a way that their tax burden is lighter with lower oil prices.

Saudi Arabia needs oil prices at roughly $84 per barrel for its budget to breakeven.

... ... ...

Igor Sechin, the head of Russia's state-owned Rosneft, said that oil prices "should have stabilized, because everyone was supposed to be scared" by the enormous OPEC+ production cuts. "But nobody was scared," he said, according to Bloomberg. He blamed the Federal Reserve's rate tightening for injecting volatility into the oil market, because traders have sold off speculative positions in the face of higher interest rates.

...

Novak offered the market some assurances that the OPEC+ coalition would step in to stabilize the market if the situation deteriorates, suggesting that OPEC+ has the ability to call an extraordinary meeting. He told reporters on Thursday that the market still faces a lot of unknowns. "All these uncertainties, which are now on the market: how China will behave, how India will behave... trade wars and unpredictability on the part of the U.S. administration... those are defining factors for price volatility," Novak said.

Nevertheless, Novak predicted the 1.2 mb/d cuts announced in Vienna would be sufficient.

Some analysts echo Novak's sentiment that, despite the current panic in the market, the cuts should be sufficient. "We are looking at oil prices heading towards $70 to $80 quite a recovery in 2019. That's really predicated on the thought that first of all, OPEC still is here. And I think that the market is underestimating that they are going to cut supply by 1.2 mb/d," Dominic Schnider of UBS Wealth Management told CNBC . "And demand looks healthy so we might find ourselves into 2019 in a situation where the market is actually tight."

[Dec 24, 2018] Don't ,forget John Bolton's late October visit to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia where he pragmatically refined US priorities for each country including the indication for sanction waving in respect of South Stream energy.

Dec 24, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Lincolnite , a day ago

Don't ,forget John Bolton's late October visit to Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia where he pragmatically refined US priorities for each country including the indication for sanction waving in respect of South Stream energy. Bolton's tour followed on from a visit to Moscow. DJT had a 50 minute private meeting with Erdogan at the G20 followed by a further extended phone call on the 14th December and the final call on the 21st immediately prior to the Policy announcement. This marks considered policy and unfortunately for the Rojave Kurds their interest were found wanting in the balance. There will be complementary side deals involving Iran, Assad, Putin and Netanyahu. There then remains Idlib.
https://www.dailysabah.com/...
https://www.tccb.gov.tr/en/...
https://www.tccb.gov.tr/en/...

[Dec 22, 2018] Crude refusal China shuns U.S. oil despite trade war truce

Dec 22, 2018 | finance.yahoo.com

Chinese refineries that used to purchase U.S. oil regularly said they had not resumed buying due to uncertainty over the outlook for trade relations between Washington and Beijing, as well as rising freight costs and poor profit-margins for refining in the region.

Costs for shipping U.S. crude to Asia on a supertanker are triple those for Middle eastern oil, data on Refinitiv Eikon showed.

A senior official with a state oil refinery said his plant had stopped buying U.S. oil from October and had not booked any cargoes for delivery in the first quarter.

"Because of the great policy uncertainty earlier on, plants have actually readjusted back to using alternatives to U.S. oil ... they just widened our supply options," he said.

He added that his plant had shifted to replacements such as North Sea Forties crude, Australian condensate and oil from Russia.

"Maybe teapots will take some cargoes, but the volume will be very limited," said a second Chinese oil executive, referring to independent refiners. The sources declined to be named because of company policy.

A sharp souring in Asian benchmark refining margins has also curbed overall demand for crude in recent months, sources said.

Despite the impasse on U.S. crude purchases, China's crude imports could top a record 45 million tonnes (10.6 million barrels per day) in December from all regions, said Refinitiv senior oil analyst Mark Tay.

Russia is set to remain the biggest supplier at 7 million tonnes in December, with Saudi Arabia second at 5.7-6.7 million tonnes, he said.

19 hours ago This is an economic/political tight rope for both countries. China is the largest auto market in the world with numerous manufacturers located inside its borders. Apple sales will disappoint inside China after Meng's arrest over Iran sanctions (Huawei is a world heavy weight in terms of sales), and this has already begun inside China due to national pride. Canada has already seen one trade agreement postponed over her detention. US firm on the main have already issued orders to not have key employees travel to their Chinese plants unless absolutely necessary for fear of retaliation. Brussels is actively working on a plan to bypass US Iranian sanctions, which are deeply unpopular in Europe.
The key to this solution might be in automotive. Oil is possibly on the endangered bargaining list. Russia is a key trading partner (for years) with China and, along with Saudi Arabia and Iran (or even without Iran) will be able to supply their needs. Our agricultural sector, particularly in soybeans, has been hit hard, forcing the US govt. into farm subsidies. Brazil just recorded a record harvest in soybeans. The US could counter with lifting Meng from arrest in return for an agricultural break, but those negotiations won't make the mainstream news. Personally, I think her arrest was a very ill-thought move on the part of law enforcement, as the benefits don't even begin to outweigh the massive retaliation to US firms operating inside their borders. It is almost akin to arresting Tim Cook of Apple or Apple's CFO. You don't kill a bug with a sledge hammer.

[Dec 19, 2018] Trump's Iran Policy Has Already Failed by Daniel Larison

Dec 19, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

December 17, 208, 2:42 PM

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?app_id=347697165243043&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2Fr%2Fj-GHT1gpo6-.js%3Fversion%3D43%23cb%3Df64680387c7c77%26domain%3Dwww.theamericanconservative.com%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.theamericanconservative.com%252Ff537f7994198f1%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=0&font=lucida%20grande&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com%2Flarison%2Ftrumps-iran-policy-has-already-failed%2F&layout=button_count&locale=en_US&sdk=joey&send=true&show_faces=false&width=125

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets/tweet_button.d30011b0f5ce05b98f24b01d3331b3c1.en.html#dnt=false&id=twitter-widget-1&lang=en&original_referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com%2Flarison%2Ftrumps-iran-policy-has-already-failed%2F&related=amconmag&size=m&text=Trump%E2%80%99s%20Iran%20Policy%20Has%20Already%20Failed%20%7C%20The%20American%20Conservative&time=1545208054724&type=share&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com%2Flarison%2Ftrumps-iran-policy-has-already-failed%2F&via=amconmag

https://apis.google.com/se/0/_/+1/fastbutton?usegapi=1&size=medium&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com%2Flarison%2Ftrumps-iran-policy-has-already-failed%2F&gsrc=3p&ic=1&jsh=m%3B%2F_%2Fscs%2Fapps-static%2F_%2Fjs%2Fk%3Doz.gapi.en_US.MO5vxMCzvvQ.O%2Fam%3DQQ%2Frt%3Dj%2Fd%3D1%2Frs%3DAGLTcCPq335D5ksg3qOXO4x5vCykSDofgA%2Fm%3D__features__#_methods=onPlusOne%2C_ready%2C_close%2C_open%2C_resizeMe%2C_renderstart%2Concircled%2Cdrefresh%2Cerefresh&id=I0_1545208054245&_gfid=I0_1545208054245&parent=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&pfname=&rpctoken=62766058

Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com , European External Action Service/Flickr Reimposed sanctions on Iran are cruel and unnecessary, and they are also ineffective :

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday said US sanctions will have no impact on the policies of the Islamic republic at home or abroad.

"It is obvious that we are facing pressure by the US sanctions. But will that lead to a change in policy? I can assure you it won't," Zarif told the Doha Forum policy conference in Qatar.

"If there is an art we have perfected in Iran and can teach to others for a price, it is the art of evading sanctions," he added.

Sanctions typically fail to change regime behavior, and they are even more likely to fail if there is no practical way for the targeted regime to get out from under sanctions short of surrender. The more importance that a regime places on the policies that the outside government wants to change, the greater the likelihood of failure will be. When the outside government's goals threaten the regime's security or even its very survival, there is no question of making a deal.

Because the Trump administration is pursuing regime change in all but name, there is no chance that Iran will yield to U.S. pressure. The administration's demands are so ambitious and excessive that no self-respecting state could agree to them without giving up its sovereignty and independence. It should be clear by now that pressure and coercion inspire defiance and intransigence. If the U.S. wants to see changes in Iranian international behavior, it would need to provide assurances and incentives that make taking that risk worth their while. Since this administration has made a point of reneging on commitments already made to Iran, there are no assurances that it could make that the Iranian government could trust, and the administration is allergic to offering any incentives to its negotiating partners for fear of appearing "weak."

[Dec 13, 2018] Multipolar World Order In The Making Qatar Dumps OPEC

Dec 13, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Besides that, Saudi Arabia requires the organization to maintain a high level of oil production due to pressure coming from Washington to achieve a very low cost per barrel of oil. The US energy strategy targets Iranian and Russian revenue from oil exports, but it also aims to give the US a speedy economic boost. Trump often talks about the price of oil falling as his personal victory. The US imports about 10 million barrels of oil a day, which is why Trump wrongly believes that a decrease in the cost per barrel could favor a boost to the US economy. The economic reality shows a strong correlation between the price of oil and the financial growth of a country, with low prices of crude oil often synonymous of a slowing down in the economy.

It must be remembered that to keep oil prices high, OPEC countries are required to maintain a high rate of production, doubling the damage to themselves. Firstly, they take less income than expected and, secondly, they deplete their oil reserves to favor the strategy imposed by Saudi Arabia on OPEC to please the White House. It is clearly a strategy that for a country like Qatar (and perhaps Venezuela and Iran in the near future) makes little sense, given the diplomatic and commercial rupture with Riyadh stemming from tensions between the Gulf countries.

In contrast, the OPEC+ organization, which also includes other countries like the Russian Federation, Mexico and Kazakhstan, seems to now to determine oil and its cost per barrel. At the moment, OPEC and Russia have agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day, contradicting Trump's desire for high oil output.

With this last choice Qatar sends a clear signal to the region and to traditional allies, moving to the side of OPEC+ and bringing its interests closer in line with those of the Russian Federation and its all-encompassing oil and gas strategy, two sectors in which Qatar and Russia dominate market share.

In addition, Russia and Qatar's global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey (a future energy hub connecting east and west as well as north and south) and Venezuela. In this sense, the meeting between Maduro and Erdogan seems to be a prelude to further reorganization of OPEC and its members.


LetThemEatRand , 9 hours ago link

It's crazy to think of all of the natural gas burned off by the world's oil producers. I think of those oil platforms that have a huge burning flame on top. This is the kind of **** that reminds us that the people who control the world care not for the people who live here. Can't make a buck from it? ******* burn it.

The Dreadnought , 8 hours ago link

Right fuckin' A

Koba the Dread , 7 hours ago link

Consider though that those oil producers are only in it for the money; it's not an avocation with them. I imagine if there was a way to salvage the natural gas, it would be done. Mo Muny would dictate it.

Ms No , 9 hours ago link

This could be the beggining of a level 5 popcorn event. It started a year or two ago and when I saw it everybody laughed. Well look at it now. Saudi wants to defect. They have had nothing but problems with the House of Sodomy for quite some time now.

I wonder what Mossad and the CIA are planning.

serotonindumptruck , 8 hours ago link

A False Flag operation to block the Strait of Hormuz?

Brazen Heist II , 8 hours ago link

They are planning on removing Salman junior if he doesn't stop embarrassing their sorry asses

Ms No , 9 hours ago link

If this leads to war in the Persian Gulf Edgar Cayce called it. The empire will burn that place down before losing it. They may fail but something is going to go down.

Are the Sauds still full heartedly pushing the Zionist mission in Yemen?

"...submissive allies as Saudi Arabia"

Is that what they call it now?

jmarioneaux , 9 hours ago link

I feel something big is coming with Iran.

PeaceForWorld , 6 hours ago link

As an Iranian-American I have been waiting for something big to happen with Iran. I am really tired of waiting. I hope that Iran will grow some balls and fight the coalition. I know that there are 80 million lives in danger, including my mom going back to Iran for a short term. But this has been like a long torture and unending nightmare.

TeraByte , 9 hours ago link

There is no multipolarity yet, but a bipolar hype of the world dominance run by US and its vassals. An awakening will be harsh, when these realize their emperor goes naked.

[Dec 09, 2018] Pompeo is a Deep State Israel-firster with a nasty neocon agenda

Trump lost control of foreign policy, when he appointed Pompeo. US voters might elect Hillary with the same effect on foreign policy as Pompeo.
Notable quotes:
"... It is to Trump's disgrace that he chose Pompeo and the abominable Bolton. At least Trump admits the ME invasions are really about Israel. ..."
"... Energy dominance, lebensraum for Israel and destroying the current Iran are all objectives that fit into one neat package. Those plans look to be coming apart at the moment so it remains to be seen how fanatical Trump is on Israel and MAGA. MAGA as US was at the collapse of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... As for pulling out of the Middle East Bibi must have had a good laugh. Remember when he said he wanted out of Syria. My money is on the US to be in Yemen before too long to protect them from the Saudis (humanitarian) and Iranian backed Houthis, while in reality it will be to secure the enormous oil fields in the North. ..."
"... The importance of oil is not to supply US markets its to deny it to enemies and control oil prices in order to feed international finance/IMF. ..."
Nov 30, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

jim slim | Nov 29, 2018 4:04:44 AM | 24

Pompeo is a Deep State Israel-firster with a nasty neocon agenda. It is to Trump's disgrace that he chose Pompeo and the abominable Bolton. At least Trump admits the ME invasions are really about Israel.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 28, 2018 9:44:50 PM | link

Pompeo is a Deep State Israel-firster with a nasty neocon agenda. It is to Trump's disgrace that he chose Pompeo and the abominable Bolton. At least Trump admits the ME invasions are really about Israel.

Trump, Israel and the Sawdi's. US no longer needs middle east oil for strategic supply. Trump is doing away with the petro-dollar as that scam has run its course and maintenance is higher than returns. Saudi and other middle east oil is required for global energy dominance.

Energy dominance, lebensraum for Israel and destroying the current Iran are all objectives that fit into one neat package. Those plans look to be coming apart at the moment so it remains to be seen how fanatical Trump is on Israel and MAGA. MAGA as US was at the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Pft , Nov 29, 2018 1:15:05 AM | link

As for pulling out of the Middle East Bibi must have had a good laugh. Remember when he said he wanted out of Syria. My money is on the US to be in Yemen before too long to protect them from the Saudis (humanitarian) and Iranian backed Houthis, while in reality it will be to secure the enormous oil fields in the North.

Perhaps this was what the Khashoggi trap was all about. The importance of oil is not to supply US markets its to deny it to enemies and control oil prices in order to feed international finance/IMF.

[Dec 09, 2018] Wannabe Zionists (Bolton) has been trying hard to show his loyalty to the Jewish State

Notable quotes:
"... Trump won't fire his son-in-law, so if Jared doesn't have the decency to resign on his own, he may well be responsible for Trump's downfall in addition to his own. Trump's silly daughter, Ivanka, needs to go to. ..."
"... Time for Bolton to send for the clairvoyant Theresa May who has managed to accuse Russia, and Mr. Putin personally, in the Skripals' poisoning n the absence of any evidence ..."
Nov 20, 2018 | www.unz.com

annamaria, November 13, 2018 at 6:43 pm GMT

@Z-man The "wannabe Zionists (Bolton)" has been trying hard to show his loyalty to the Jewish State.

The latest tragicomic attempt by the mustached "person of easy morals": "John Bolton Says "No Evidence" Implicating Crown Prince On Khashoggi Kill Tape" https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-11-13/john-bolton-says-no-evidence-implicating-crown-prince-khashoggi-kill-tape

Comment section (David Wooten): "According to the crown prince himself, Trump's [Jewish] son-in-law gave him a secret list of his enemies -- the ones like Al Aweed who were tortured and shaken down for cash. Khashoggi might even have been on that list.

One or more of the tortured ones likely tipped off Erdogan, which is why Turkey only needed to enter the consulate, retrieve the recorded audio device they planted, and walk out with the evidence. Turkey also has evidence that puts MbS' personal doctor and other staff arriving in Turkey at convenient times to do the job -- and probably more. Khashoggi was anything but a nice person but Trump cannot say that or he'll likely be accused of involvement in his murder.

Dissociation is made far more difficult by the fact that Jared is a long time friend of Netanyahu who, like Jared, has befriended MbS .

Trump won't fire his son-in-law, so if Jared doesn't have the decency to resign on his own, he may well be responsible for Trump's downfall in addition to his own. Trump's silly daughter, Ivanka, needs to go to.

Were it not for the Khashoggi affair, fewer Republican seats would have been lost in the election."

-- Time for Bolton to send for the clairvoyant Theresa May who has managed to accuse Russia, and Mr. Putin personally, in the Skripals' poisoning n the absence of any evidence .

These people -- Bolton, May, Gavin Williamson and likes -- are a cross of the ever-eager whores and petty brainless thieves. To expose themselves as the willing participants in the ZUSA-conducted farce requires a complete lack of integrity.

Of course, there is no way to indict the journalist's murderers since the principal murderer is a personal friend of Netanyahu and Jared.

Jump, Justice, jump, as high as ordered by the "chosen."

By the way, why do we hear nothing about Seth Rich who was murdered in the most surveilled city of the US?

Z-man , says: November 13, 2018 at 7:21 pm GMT
@annamaria A 1st grader can see that MbS was behind the murder of Kashoggi.

Trump won't fire his son-in-law, so if Jared doesn't have the decency to resign on his own, he may well be responsible for Trump's downfall in addition to his own. Trump's silly daughter, Ivanka, needs to go to.

I've been hoping for this since they moved to Washington with 'big daddy'.

annamaria , says: November 14, 2018 at 12:49 pm GMT
@Anon " crappy bedtime reading the woolyheadedness "

Hey, Anon[436], is this how your parents have been treating you? My condolences.

If you feel that you succeeded with your "see, a squirrel" tactics of taking attention from the zionists' dirty and amoral attempts at coverup of the murder of the journalists Khashoggi, which was accomplished on the orders of the clown prince (the dear friend of Bibi & Jared), you are for a disappointment.

One more time for you, Anon[436]: the firm evidence of MbS involvement in the murder of Khashoggi contrasts with no evidence of the alleged poisoning of Skripals by Russian government.

The zionists have been showing an amazing tolerance towards the clown prince the murderer because zionists need the clown prince for the implementation of Oded Yinon Plan for Eretz Israel.

The stinky Skripals' affair involves harsh economic actions imposed on the RF in the absence of any evidence , as compared to no sanctions in response to the actual murder of Khashoggi, which involved MbS according to the available evidence . Thanks to the zionists friendship with the clown prince, the firm evidence of Khashoggi murder is of no importance. What else could be expected from the "most moral" Bibi & Kushner and the treasonous Bolton.

Z-man , says: November 14, 2018 at 1:58 pm GMT
@annamaria

The stinky Skripals' affair involves harsh economic actions imposed on the RF in the absence of any evidence, as compared to no sanctions in response to the actual murder of Khashoggi, which involved MbS according to the available evidence. Thanks to the zionists friendship with the clown prince, the firm evidence of Khashoggi murder is of no importance. What else could be expected from the "most moral" Bibi & Kushner and the treasonous Bolton.

Bears repeating.

[Dec 08, 2018] Iran nuclear deal Trump s oil gamble comes at just the wrong time by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard

This article is from May 2018 but it read as if it was written yesterday.
Notable quotes:
"... He estimates that sanctions will cut Iran's exports by up to 500,000 barrels a day later this year. "It could well be much more in 2019," he said. ..."
Dec 08, 2018 | smh.com.au

"U.S. political pressure is clearly a dominant factor at this OPEC meeting, limiting the scope of Saudi actions to rebalance the market," said Gary Ross, chief executive of Black Gold Investors and a veteran OPEC watcher. channelnewsasia.com 10 May 2018

Donald Trump could hardly have chosen a more treacherous economic moment to tear up the "decaying and rotten deal" with Iran. The world crude market is already tightening very fast. Joint production curbs by Opec and Russia have cleared the four-year glut of oil. There is no longer an ample safety buffer against supply shocks. The geopolitical "premium" on prices has returned. Tensions run high:

The Maduro regime in Venezuela is entering its last agonies, and the country's oil industry is imploding. North America has run into an infrastructure crunch. There are not yet enough pipelines to keep pace with shale oil output from the Permian Basin of west Texas, and it is much the same story in the Alberta tar sands. The prospect of losing several hundred thousand barrels a day of Iranian oil exports would not have mattered much a year ago. It certainly matters now.

World leaders respond to President Trump's move to reimpose economic sanctions on Iran while pulling the United States out of the international agreement aimed at stopping Tehran from obtaining a nuclear bomb.

Oil price shock is looming

It is the confluence of simmering political crises in so many places that has driven Brent crude to $US77 a barrel, up 60 per cent since last June. "We believe an oil price shock is looming as early as 2019 as several elements combine to form a 'perfect storm'," said Westbeck Capital. It predicts $US100 crude in short order, with $US150 coming into sight as the world faces a crunch all too reminiscent of July 2008. The fund warns that the investment collapse since 2014 is about to deliver its sting. Declining fields are not being replaced. Output from conventional projects has until now been rising but will fall precipitously by 1.5 million barrels a day next year. By then global spare capacity will be down to a lethally thin 1 per cent. US shale cannot plug the gap. "The mantra after 2014 of lower for longer has lulled oil analysts into a torpor," Westbeck said. Needless to say, a spike to $US150 would precipitate a global recession.

The US might hope to weather such a traumatic episode now that it is the world's biggest oil producer but it would be fatal for oil-starved Europe. Such a scenario would test the unreformed euro to destruction. Britain, France and Germany may earnestly wish to preserve the Iran deal but they can do little against US financial hegemony and the ferocity of "secondary sanctions". The US measures cover shipping, insurance, and the gamut of financial and logistical support for Iran's oil industry.
In the end, there are infinitely greater matters at stake than barrels of oil.
Any European or Asian company that falls foul of this will be shut out of the US capital markets and dollarised international payments system. The EU has talked of beefing up the 1996 Blocking Regulation used to shield European companies from extraterritorial US sanctions against Libya. But this is just bluster. No European company with operations in the US would dare flout the US Treasury. "A choice for corporate Europe between the US and Iran is unequivocally going to fall the way of the US," said Richard Robinson from Ashburton Global Energy Fund.

Rise in oil prices turns malign

He said Europe will have to slash its imports from Iran by 60 per cent because groups such as ENI or Total will refuse to ship the oil, whatever the strategic policy of the EU purports to be. This dooms the nuclear deal (JCPOA) since Iran will not abide by the terms if the EU cannot deliver on its rhetoric, let alone come through with the $US200 billion ($251 billion) of foreign investment coveted by Tehran.

David Fyfe from oil traders Gunvor said we do not yet have enough details from Washington to judge how quickly companies will have to act. He estimates that sanctions will cut Iran's exports by up to 500,000 barrels a day later this year. "It could well be much more in 2019," he said.

Late last year it was still possible to view rising oil prices as benign, the result of a booming world economy. This year it has turned malign. Global growth has rolled over. The broad IHS index of raw materials has been falling since February.

Europe's catch-up spurt fizzled out in the first quarter. Japan's GDP probably contracted. The higher oil price is itself part of the cause.

$US500 billion extra 'tax'

Even at current levels, it acts as an extra $US500 billion "tax" this year for consumers in Asia, Europe and America. Not all of the windfall enjoyed by the petro-powers is recycled quickly back into global spending.

One cause of the slowdown is the credit squeeze in China, which is ineluctably feeding through into the real economy with a delay. Proxy indicators suggest that true growth has fallen below 5 per cent.

My own view is that monetary tightening by the US Federal Reserve - and declining stimulus from the European Central Bank - is doing more damage than widely presumed.

Higher US interest rates are pushing up borrowing costs for much of the world. Three-month dollar Libor rates used to price $US9 trillion of global contracts have risen 76 basis points since January.

The Fed is shrinking its balance sheet, draining international dollar liquidity at a quickening pace. If the Fed is not careful, it will tip the US economy into a stall.

Ominously, we are seeing the first signs of a US dollar rally, tantamount to a "short squeeze" on Turkey, Argentina and Indonesia, among other emerging market debtors.

Toxic combination

The combination of a slowing economy and an oil supply shock is toxic, even if the "energy intensity" of world GDP is now half the level of 30 years ago.

Opec and Russia can of course lift their output cap at any time, though that alone will not restore the full 1.8m barrels a day of original curbs. Venezuela is now in unstoppable free-fall.

The Saudis have pledged to uphold the "stability of oil markets" and to help "mitigate the impact of any potential supply shortages". Kuwait and Abu Dhabi could add a little. Yet cyclical forces may be moving even beyond their control.

In the end, there are infinitely greater matters at stake than barrels of oil. Trump is throwing US power behind Saudi Arabia in the epic Sunni-Shia battle for dominance over the Middle East, and behind Israel in its separate battle with Iran.

What can go wrong?

Both conflicts are on a hair trigger. Israel attacked an Iranian air base in Syria last month and killed seven revolutionary guards. This is a dangerous escalation from proxy conflict to direct hostilities. The JCPOA nuclear deal may be all that restrains the Iranian side from lashing out.

Saudi Arabia's impetuous young leader Mohammad bin Salman is itching to settle the score of all scores with Iran, the Iranian revolutionary guard are in turn itching to launch a one-year dash for nuclear weapons, and Trump is itching for regime change. What can go wrong?

The Daily Telegraph, London

[Nov 29, 2018] If The Saudi s Oil No Longer Matters Why Is Trump Still Supporting Them

Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Wall Street journal ..."
"... Everyone knows it's the US presence in the Middle East which creates terrorists, both as proxies of and in resistance to the US imperial presence (and often one and then the other). So reading Orwellian language, Pompeo is saying the US wants to maximize Islamic terrorism in order to provide a pretext for creeping totalitarianism at home and abroad. ..."
"... The real reason is to maintain the petrodollar system, but there seems to be a conspiracy of silence never to mention it among both supporters and opponents of Trump. ..."
"... everyone knows why the usa is in the middle east.. to support the war industry, which is heavily tied to the financial industry.. up is down and down is up.. that is why the usa is great friends with ksa and israel and a sworn enemy of iran... what they don't say is they are a sworn enemy of humanity and the thought that the world can continue with their ongoing madness... ..."
"... The importance of oil is not to supply US markets its to deny it to enemies and control oil prices in order to feed international finance/IMF ..."
Nov 29, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Russ , Nov 28, 2018 3:28:31 PM | link

Why are U.S. troops in the Middle East?

In an interview with the Washington Post U.S. President Donald Trump gives an answer :

Trump also floated the idea of removing U.S. troops from the Middle East, citing the lower price of oil as a reason to withdraw.

"Now, are we going to stay in that part of the world? One reason to is Israel ," Trump said. "Oil is becoming less and less of a reason because we're producing more oil now than we've ever produced. So, you know, all of a sudden it gets to a point where you don't have to stay there."

It is only Israel, it is no longer the oil, says Trump. But the nuclear armed Israel does not need U.S. troops for its protection.

And if it is no longer the oil, why is the U.S. defending the Saudis?

Trump's Secretary of State Mike Pompeo disagrees with his boss. In a Wall Street journal op-ed today he claims that The U.S.-Saudi Partnership Is Vital because it includes much more then oil:

[D]egrading U.S.-Saudi ties would be a grave mistake for the national security of the U.S. and its allies.

The kingdom is a powerful force for stability in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia is working to secure Iraq's fragile democracy and keep Baghdad tethered to the West's interests, not Tehran's. Riyadh is helping manage the flood of refugees fleeing Syria's civil war by working with host countries, cooperating closely with Egypt, and establishing stronger ties with Israel. Saudi Arabia has also contributed millions of dollars to the U.S.-led effort to fight Islamic State and other terrorist organizations. Saudi oil production and economic stability are keys to regional prosperity and global energy security.

Where and when please has Saudi Arabia "managed the flood of refugees fleeing Syria's civil war". Was that when it emptied its jails of violent criminals and sent them to wage jihad against the Syrian people? That indeed 'managed' to push millions to flee from their homes.

Saudi Arabia might be many things but "a powerful force for stability" it is not. Just ask 18 million Yemenis who, after years of Saudi bombardment, are near to death for lack of food .

Pompeo's work for the Saudi dictator continued today with a Senate briefing on Yemen. The Senators will soon vote on a resolution to end the U.S. support for the war. In his prepared remarks Pompeo wrote:

The suffering in Yemen grieves me, but if the United States of America was not involved in Yemen, it would be a hell of a lot worse.

What could be worse than a famine that threatens two third of the population?

If the U.S. and Britain would not support the Saudis and Emirates the war would end within a day or two. The Saudi and UAE planes are maintained by U.S. and British specialists. The Saudis still seek 102 more U.S. military personal to take care of their planes. It would be easy for the U.S. to stop such recruiting of its veterans.

It is the U.S. that holds up an already watered down UN Security Council resolution that calls for a ceasefire in Yemen:

The reason for the delay continues to be a White House worry about angering Saudi Arabia, which strongly opposes the resolution, multiple sources say. CNN reported earlier this month that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, "threw a fit" when presented with an early draft of the document, leading to a delay and further discussions among Western allies on the matter.

We recently wrote that pandering to the Saudis and keeping Muhammad bin Salman in place will hurt Trump's Middle East policies . The piece noted that Trump asked the Saudis for many things, but found that:

There is really nothing in Trump's list on which the Saudis consistently followed through. His alliance with MbS brought him no gain and a lot of trouble.

Trump protected MbS from the consequences of murdering Jamal Khashoggi. He hoped to gain leverage with that. But that is not how MbS sees it. He now knows that Trump will not confront him no matter what he does. If MbS "threws a fit" over a UN Security Council resolution, the U.S. will drop it. When he launches his next 'adventure', the U.S. will again cover his back. Is this the way a super power is supposed to handle a client state?

If Trump's instincts really tell him that U.S. troops should be removed from the Middle East and Afghanistan, something I doubt, he should follow them. Support for the Saudi war on Yemen will not help to achieve that. Pandering to MbS is not MAGA.

Posted by b on November 28, 2018 at 03:12 PM | Permalink

Comments Pompeo: "Saudi Arabia has also contributed millions of dollars to the U.S.-led effort to fight Islamic State and other terrorist organizations."

Everyone knows it's the US presence in the Middle East which creates terrorists, both as proxies of and in resistance to the US imperial presence (and often one and then the other). So reading Orwellian language, Pompeo is saying the US wants to maximize Islamic terrorism in order to provide a pretext for creeping totalitarianism at home and abroad.


lysias , Nov 28, 2018 3:35:15 PM | link

The real reason is to maintain the petrodollar system, but there seems to be a conspiracy of silence never to mention it among both supporters and opponents of Trump.
Ross , Nov 28, 2018 3:41:42 PM | link
There is really nothing in Trump's list on which the Saudis consistently followed through. His alliance with MbS brought him no gain and a lot of trouble.

He did get to fondle the orb - although fuck knows what weirdness was really going on there.

james , Nov 28, 2018 3:47:06 PM | link
thanks b... pompeo is a very bad liar... in fact - everything he says is about exactly the opposite, but bottom line is he is a bad liar as he is thoroughly unconvincing..

everyone knows why the usa is in the middle east.. to support the war industry, which is heavily tied to the financial industry.. up is down and down is up.. that is why the usa is great friends with ksa and israel and a sworn enemy of iran... what they don't say is they are a sworn enemy of humanity and the thought that the world can continue with their ongoing madness...

oh, but don't forget to vote, LOLOL.... no wonder so many are strung out on drugs, and the pharma industry... opening up to the msm is opening oneself up to the world george orwell described many years ago...

uncle tungsten , Nov 28, 2018 3:49:24 PM | link
Take a wafer or two of silicon and just add water. The oil obsession has been eclipsed and within 20 years will be in absolute disarray. The warmongers will invent new excuses.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Lk3elu3zf4

karlof1 , Nov 28, 2018 4:33:18 PM | link
A hypothetical: No extraordinary amounts of hydrocarbons exist under Southwest Asian ground; just an essential amount for domestic consumption; in that case, would Zionistan exist where it's currently located and would either Saudi Arabia, Iraq and/or Iran have any significance aside from being consumers of Outlaw US Empire goods? Would the Balfour Declaration and the Sykes/Picot Secret Treaty have been made? If the Orinoco Oil Belt didn't exist, would Venezuela's government be continually targeted for Imperial control? If there was no Brazilian offshore oil, would the Regime Change effort have been made there? Here the hypotheticals end and a few basic yet important questions follow.

Previous to the 20th Century, why were Hawaii and Samoa wrested from their native residents and annexed to Empire? In what way did the lowly family farmers spread across 19th Century United States further the growth of its Empire and contribute to the above named annexations? What was the unspoken message sent to US elites contained within Frederic Jackson Turner's 1893 Frontier Thesis ? Why is the dominant language of North America English, not French or Spanish?

None of these are rhetorical. All second paragraph questions I asked of my history students. And all have a bearing on b's fundamental question.

A. Person , Nov 28, 2018 5:20:13 PM | link
b says, "And it its no longer the oil, why is the U.S. defending the Saudis?"

The US has a vital interest in protecting the narrative of 9/11. The Saudis supplied the patsies. Mossad and dual-citizen neocons were the architects of the event. Hence, the US must avoid a nasty divorce from the Saudis. The Saudis are in a perfect blackmailing position.

Tobin Paz , Nov 28, 2018 5:50:19 PM | link
Maybe Trump is unaware, but the fracking boom is a bubble made possible by near zero interest rates:

U.S. SHALE OIL INDUSTRY: Catastrophic Failure Ahead

Of course, most Americans have no idea that the U.S. Shale Oil Industry is nothing more than a Ponzi Scheme because of the mainstream media's inability to report FACT from FICTION. However, they don't deserve all of the blame as the shale energy industry has done an excellent job hiding the financial distress from the public and investors by the use of highly technical jargon and BS.

Oil is the untold story of modern history.

NOBTS , Nov 28, 2018 6:08:53 PM | link
S.A. is a thinly disguised US military base, hence the "strategic importance" and the relevance of the new Viceroy's previous experience as a Four Star General. It's doubtful that any of the skilled personnel in the SA Air Force are other than former US/Nato. A few princes might fancy themselves to be daring fighter pilots. In case of a Anglo-Zio war with Iran SA would be the most forward US aircraft carrier. The Empire is sustained by its presumed military might and prizes nothing more than its strategically situated bases. Saud would like to capture Yemen's oil fields, but the primary purpose of the air war is probably training. That of course is more despicably cynical than mere conquest and genocide.
Pft , Nov 28, 2018 6:08:56 PM | link
Trump is the ultimate deceiver/liar. Great actor reading from a script. The heel in the Fake wrestling otherwise known as US politics. It almost sounds as if he is calling for an end of anymore significant price drops now that he has got Powell on board to limit interest rate hikes. After all if you are the worlds biggest producer you dont want prices too low. These markets are all manipulated. I cant imagine how much insider trading is going on. If you look at the oil prices, they started dropping in October with Iran sanctions looming (before it was announced irans shipments to its 8 biggest buyers would be exempt) and at the height of the Khashoggi event where sanctions were threatened and Saudi was making threats of their own. In a real free market prices increase amidst supply uncertainty.

Regardless of what he says he wants and gets now, he is already planning a reversal. Thats how the big boys win, they know whats coming and when the con the smaller fish to swim one way they are lined up with a big mouth wide open. Controlled chaos and confusion. For every winner there must be a loser and the losers assets/money are food for the Gods of Money and War

As for pulling out of the Middle East Bibi must have had a good laugh. My money is on the US to be in Yemen to protect them from the Saudis (humanitarian) and Iranian backed Houthis while in reality we will be there to secure the enormous oil fields in the North. Perhaps this was what the Khashoggi trap was all about. The importance of oil is not to supply US markets its to deny it to enemies and control oil prices in order to feed international finance/IMF

psychohistorian , Nov 28, 2018 6:35:06 PM | link
@ Pft who wrote: "The importance of oil is not to supply US markets its to deny it to enemies and control oil prices in order to feed international finance/IMF"

BINGO!!! Those that control finance control most/all of everything else.

Augustin L , Nov 28, 2018 6:37:43 PM | link

Saudi Arabia literally owns close to 8% of the United States economy through various financial instruments. Their public investment funds and dark pools own large chunks from various strategic firms resting at the apex of western power such as Blackstone. Trump and Pompeo would be stupid to cut off their nose to spite their face... It's all about the petrodollar, uncle sam will ride and die with saudi barbaria. If push comes to shove and the saudis decide to untether themselves from the Empire, their sand kingdom will probably be partitioned.
Pnyx , Nov 28, 2018 7:02:31 PM | link
The oil certainly still plays an important role, the u.s. cannot maintain the current frack oil output for long. For Tronald's term in office it will suffice, but hardly longer. (The frack gas supplies are much more substantial.)

Personal interests certainly also play a role, and finally one should not make u.s. foreign policy more rational than it is. Much is also done because of traditions and personal convictions. Often they got it completely wrong and the result was a complete failure.

Likklemore , Nov 28, 2018 7:07:15 PM | link
Let us watch what Trump does with this or if the resolution makes it to daylight:

Senate advances Yemen resolution in rebuke to Trump

The Senate issued a sharp rebuke Wednesday to President Trump, easily advancing a resolution that would end U.S. military support for the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen's civil war despite a White House effort to quash the bill.

The administration launched an eleventh-hour lobbying frenzy to try to head off momentum for the resolution, dispatching Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Capitol Hill in the morning and issuing a veto threat less than an hour before the vote started.

But lawmakers advanced the resolution, 63-37, even as the administration vowed to stand by Saudi Arabia following outcry over the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"There's been a lot of rhetoric that's come from the White House and from the State Department on this issue," said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. "The rhetoric that I've heard and the broadcasts that we've made around the world as to who we are have been way out of balance as it relates to American interests and American values." [/]
LINK TheHill

But Mattis says there is no smoking gun to tie the Clown Thug-Prince to Kashoggi's killing.
TheHill

And Lyias @ 2 is a bingo. Always follow the fiat.

Soon, without any announcements, if they wish to maintain selling oil to China, KSA will follow Qatar. It will be priced in Yuan...especially given the escalating U.S. trade war with China.

2019 holds interesting times. Order a truckload of popcorn.

Midwest For Truth , Nov 28, 2018 7:29:46 PM | link
You would have to have your head buried in the sand to not see that the Saudi "Kings" are crypto-Zionistas. Carl Sagan once said, "One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we've been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We're no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It's simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back." And Mark Twain also wrote "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."
karlof1 , Nov 28, 2018 7:59:31 PM | link
Gee, not one taker amongst all these intelligent folk. From last to first: 1588's Protestant Wind allowed Elizabeth and her cronies to literally keep their heads as Nature helped Drake defeat the Spanish Armada; otherwise, there would be no British Empire root to the USA, thus no USA and no future Outlaw US Empire, the British Isles becoming a Hapsburg Imperial Property, and a completely different historical lineage, perhaps sans World Wars and atomic weapons.

Turner's message was with the Frontier closed the "safety valve" of continental expansion defusing political tensions based on economic inequalities had ceased to be of benefit and future policy would need to deal with that issue thus removing the Fear Factor from the natives to immigrants, and from wide-open spaces to the inner cities. Whipsawing business cycles driving urban labor's unrest, populist People's Party politics, and McKinley's 1901 assassination further drove his points home.

Nationwide, family farmers demanded Federal government help to create additional markets for their produce to generate price inflation so they could remain solvent and keep their homesteads, which translated into the need to conduct international commerce via the seas which required coaling stations--Hawaii and Samoa, amongst others--and a Blue Water Navy that eventually led to Alfred T. Mahan's doctrine of Imperial Control of the Oceans still in use today.

As with Gengis Khan's death in 1227 that stopped the Mongol expansion to the English Channel that changed the course of European history, and what was seen as the Protestant Wind being Divine Intervention, global history has several similar inflection points turning the tide from one path to another. We don't know yet if the Outlaw US Empire's reliance on Saudi is such, but we can see it turning from being a great positive to an equally potential great negative for the Empire--humanity as a whole, IMO, will benefit greatly from an implosion and the relationship becoming a Great Negative helping to strip what remains of the Emperor's Clothing from his torso so that nations and their citizens can deter the oncoming financialized economic suicide caused by massive debt and climate chaos.

Vico's circle is about to intersect with Hegel's dialectic and generate a new temporal phase in human history. Although many will find it hard to tell, the current direction points to a difficult change to a more positive course for humanity as a whole, but it's also possible that disaster could strike with humanity's total or near extinction being the outcome--good arguments can be made for either outcome, which ought to unsettle everyone: Yes, the times are that tenuous. But then, I'm merely a lonely historian aware of a great many things, including the pitfall inherent in trying to predict future events.

robjira , Nov 28, 2018 8:08:58 PM | link
"The suffering in Yemen grieves me, but if the United States of America was not involved in Yemen, it would be a hell of a lot worse." And I'll bet Pompeo said that with a straight face, too. lmfao

And as for "...keep[ing] Baghdad tethered to the West's interests and not Tehran's," I'm guessing the "secretary" would have us all agree "yeah, fk Iraqi sovereignty anyway. Besides, it's not like they share a border with Iran, or anything. Oh, wait..."

p.s. Many thanks for all you have contributed to collective knowledge, b; I will be contacting you about making a contribution by snail mail (I hate PayPal, too).

imo , Nov 28, 2018 8:25:35 PM | link
"... a powerful force for stability in the Middle East."

"Instability" more like it.

Paid for military coup in Egypt. Funding anti-Syrian terrorists. Ongoing tensions with Iran. Zip-all for the Palestinians. WTF in Yemen. Wahhabi crazy sh_t (via Mosque building) across Asia. Head and hand chopping Friday specials the norm -- especially of their South-Asian slave classes. Ok, so females can now drive cars -- woohoo. A family run business venture manipulating the global oil trade and supporting US-petro-$ hegemony recently out of goat herding and each new generation 'initiated' in some Houston secret society toe-touching shower and soap ceremonies before placement in the ruling hierarchy back home. But enough; they being Semites makes it an offence to criticize in some 'free' democratic world domains.

karlof1 , Nov 28, 2018 8:52:24 PM | link
Likklemore @14--

Instead of the "rebuke to Trump" meme circulating around, I found this statement to be more accurate:

"'Cutting off military aid to Saudi Arabia is the right choice for Yemen, the right choice for our national security, and the right choice for upholding the Constitution,' Paul Kawika Martin, senior director for policy and political affairs at Peace Action, declared in a statement. ' Three years ago, the notion of Congress voting to cut off military support for Saudi Arabia would have been politically laughable .'" [My Emphasis]

In other words, advancing Peace with Obama as POTUS wasn't going to happen, so this vote ought to be seen as an attack on Obama's legacy as it's his policy that's being reconsidered and hopefully discontinued.

Peter AU 1 , Nov 28, 2018 9:44:50 PM | link
Trump, Israel and the Sawdi's. US no longer needs middle east oil for strategic supply. Trump is doing away with the petro-dollar as that scam has run its course and maintenance is higher than returns. Saudi and other middle east oil is required for global energy dominance.

Energy dominance, lebensraum for Israel and destroying the current Iran are all objectives that fit into one neat package.

Those plans look to be coming apart at the moment so it remains to be seen how fanatical Trump is on Israel and MAGA. MAGA as US was at the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Pft , Nov 29, 2018 1:15:05 AM | link
As for pulling out of the Middle East Bibi must have had a good laugh. Remember when he said he wanted out of Syria. My money is on the US to be in Yemen before too long to protect them from the Saudis (humanitarian) and Iranian backed Houthis, while in reality it will be to secure the enormous oil fields in the North. Perhaps this was what the Khashoggi trap was all about.

The importance of oil is not to supply US markets its to deny it to enemies and control oil prices in order to feed international finance/IMF .

james , Nov 29, 2018 1:57:51 AM | link
@16 karlof1.. thanks for a broader historical perspective which you are able to bring to moa.. i enjoy reading your comments.. i don't have answers to ALL your questions earlier.. i have answers for some of them... you want to make it easy on us uneducated folks and give us less questions, like b did in his post here, lol.... cheers james
b , Nov 29, 2018 2:33:04 AM | link
This came faster than assumed:

Yemen war: US Senate advances measure to end support for Saudi forces

The US Senate has advanced a measure to withdraw American support for a Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

In a blow to President Donald Trump, senators voted 63-37 to take forward a motion on ending US support.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis had urged Senators not to back the motion, saying it would worsen the situation in Yemen.

...

The vote in the Senate means further debate on US support for Saudi Arabia is expected next week.

However, correspondents say that even if the Senate ultimately passes the bipartisan resolution it has little chance of being approved by the outgoing House of Representatives.

That is quite a slap for the Trump administration. It will have little consequences in the short term (or for Yemen) but it sets a new direction in foreign polices towards the Saudis.
jim slim , Nov 29, 2018 4:04:44 AM | link
Pompeo is a Deep State Israel-firster with a nasty neocon agenda. It is to Trump's disgrace that he chose Pompeo and the abominable Bolton. At least Trump admits the ME invasions are really about Israel.
mina , Nov 29, 2018 4:14:20 AM | link
duterte...idris deby...so many democrats visiting Netanyahu lately!!
Rhisiart Gwilym , Nov 29, 2018 4:49:48 AM | link
@Uncle Tungsten, 5:

Take a look at some of the - informed - comments below the vid to which you linked. Then think again about an 'all electric civilisation within a few years'. Yes, and Father Christmas will be providing everything that everyone in the world needs for a NAmerican/European standard of living within the same time frame. Er - not.

'Renewables' are not going to save hitech industrial 'civilisation' from The Long Descent/Catabolic Collapse (qv). Apart from any other consideration - and there are some other equally intractable ones - there is no - repeat NO - 'renewable' energy system which doesn't rely crucially on energy subsidies from the fossil-hydrocarbon fuels, both to build it and to maintain it. They're not stand-alone, self-bootstrapping technologies. Nor is there any realistic prospect that they ever will be. Fully renewable-power hitech industrial civilisation is a non-deliverable mirage which is just drawing us ever further into the desert of irreversible peak-energy/peak-everythig-else.

Rancid , Nov 29, 2018 5:58:26 AM | link
@16 karlof1. I also find your historical references very interesting. We do indeed seem to be at a very low point in the material cycle, it will reverse in due course as is its want, hopefully we will live to see a positive change in humanity.
Russ , Nov 29, 2018 7:24:10 AM | link
John 28

For example we know Tesla didn't succeed in splitting the planet in half, the way techno-psychotics fantasize. As for that silly link, how typical of techno-wingnuts to respond to prosaic physical facts with fantasies. Anything to prop up faith in the technocratic-fundamentalist religion. Meanwhile "electrical civilization" has always meant and will always mean fracking and coal, until the whole fossil-fueled extreme energy nightmare is over.

Given the proven fact that the extreme energy civilization has done nothing but embark upon a campaign to completely destroy humanity and the Earth (like in your Tesla fantasy), why would a non-psychopath want to prop it up anyway?

bob sykes , Nov 29, 2018 7:37:37 AM | link
It is still the oil, even for the US. The Persian Gulf supplies 20% of world consumption, and Western Europe gets 40% of its oil from OPEC countries, most of that from the Gulf. Even the US still imports 10% of its total consumption.
y , Nov 29, 2018 7:47:36 AM | link
Peter AU 1 | Nov 28, 2018 9:44:50 PM | 20
b | Nov 29, 2018 2:33:04 AM | 23
USD as a world reserve currency could be one factor between the important ones. With non US support the saud land could crash under neighbours pressure, that caos may be not welcomed.
Guerrero , Nov 29, 2018 10:16:10 AM | link
Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 28, 2018 7:59:31 PM | 16

"Vico's circle is about to intersect with Hegel's dialectic and generate a new temporal phase in human history. Although many will find it hard to tell, the current direction points to a difficult change to a more positive course for humanity as a whole..."

Yes!

Humble people around where I live have mentioned that time is speeding up its velocity; there seems to be a spiritual (evolutionary)/physical interface effect or something...

Tolstoy, in the long theory-of-history exposition at the end of War and Peace, challenges 'the great man' of History idea, spreading in his time, at the dawning of the so-called: European Romantic period of Beethoven, Goerte and Wagner, when the unique person was glorified in the name of art, truth, whatever (eventually this bubble burst too, in the 20th C. and IMO because of too much fervent worship in the Cult of the Temple of the Money God. Dostoyevki's great Crime and Punishment is all about this issue.)

Tolstoy tries to describe a scientifically-determined historical process, dissing the 'great man of History' thesis. He was thinking of Napoleon Bonaparte of course, the run-away upstart repulican, anathema to the established order. Tolstoy describes it in the opening scene of the novel: a fascinating parlor-room conversation between a "liberal" woman of good-birth in the elite circles of society and a military captain at the party.

...only tenuously relevant to karlofi1's great post touching upon the Theory of History as such; thanks.

Now as to the question: ¿Why is Trump supporting Saudi Arabia? Let me think about that...

[Nov 25, 2018] A Gamechanger In European Gas Markets by Irina Slav

Notable quotes:
"... "The 10 Bcm/year into Europe is not a game-changer from a volume point of view, but it is a game-changer from a new source of product into mainland Europe perspective and it can be expanded." ..."
"... Meanwhile, however, Russia and Turkey are building another pipeline, Turkish Stream, that will supply gas to Turkey and Eastern Europe, as well as possibly Hungary. The two recently marked the completion of its subsea section. Turkish Stream will have two lines, each able to carry up to 15.75 billion cubic meters. One will supply the Turkish market and the other European countries. ..."
"... In this context, the Southern Gas Corridor seems to have more of a political rather than practical significance for the time being , giving Europe the confidence that it could at some future point import a lot more Caspian gas because the infrastructure is there. ..."
Nov 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Irina Slav via Oilprice.com,

The Southern Gas Corridor on which the European Union is pinning most of its hopes for natural gas supply diversification away from Russia is coming along nicely and will not just be on schedule, but it will come with a price tag that is US$5-billion lower than the original budget , BP's vice president in charge of the project told S&P Global Platts this week.

"Often these kinds of mega-projects fall behind schedule. But the way the projects have maintained the schedule has meant that your traditional overspend, or utilization of contingency, has not occurred," Joseph Murphy said, adding that savings had been the top priority for the supermajor.

The Southern Gas Corridor will carry natural gas from the Azeri Shah Deniz 2 field in the Caspian Sea to Europe via a network of three pipelines : the Georgia South Caucasus Pipeline, which was recently expanded and can carry 23 billion cubic meters of gas; the TANAP pipeline via Turkey, with a peak capacity of 31 billion cubic meters annually; and the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, or TAP, which will link with TANAP at the Turkish-Greek border and carry 10 billion cubic meters of gas annually to Italy.

TANAP was commissioned in July this year and the first phase of TAP is expected to be completed in two years, so Europe will hopefully have more non-Russian gas at the start of the new decade. But not that much, at least initially: TANAP will operate at an initial capacity of 16 billion cubic meters annually, of which 6 billion cubic meters will be supplied to Turkey and the remainder will go to Europe. In the context of total natural gas demand of 564 billion cubic meters in 2020, according to a forecast from the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies released earlier this year, this is not a lot.

Yet at some point the TANAP will reach its full capacity and hopefully by that time, TAP will be completed. Surprisingly, it was the branch to Italy that proved the most challenging, and BP's Murphy acknowledged that. While Turkey built TANAP on time to the surprise of the project operator, TAP has been struggling because of legal issues and uncertainty after the new Italian government entered office earlier this year.

At the time, the government of Giuseppe Conte said the pipeline was pointless but, said Murphy, since then he has accepted the benefits the infrastructure would offer, such as transit fees. And yet local opposition in southern Italy remains strong but BP still sees first deliveries of gas through Italy in 2020.

The BP executive admitted that at first the Southern Gas Corridor wouldn't make a splash.

"The 10 Bcm/year into Europe is not a game-changer from a volume point of view, but it is a game-changer from a new source of product into mainland Europe perspective and it can be expanded."

Meanwhile, however, Russia and Turkey are building another pipeline, Turkish Stream, that will supply gas to Turkey and Eastern Europe, as well as possibly Hungary. The two recently marked the completion of its subsea section. Turkish Stream will have two lines, each able to carry up to 15.75 billion cubic meters. One will supply the Turkish market and the other European countries.

In this context, the Southern Gas Corridor seems to have more of a political rather than practical significance for the time being , giving Europe the confidence that it could at some future point import a lot more Caspian gas because the infrastructure is there.

[Nov 24, 2018] Forget Nordstream 2, Turkstream Is The Prize by Tom Luongo,

Comments while mostly naive, are indicative for the part of the US society that elected Trump and that Trump betrayed.
But the fact that gas went not to Europe, but to Turkey is pretty indicative. And even larger volume with go to China. At some point Europe might lose part or all Russia gas supply as Russian gas reserved are not infinite. That the perspective EU leaders are afraid of.
US shale gas is OK as long as the USA is supplied from Canada, Russia and other places as well. Some quantity can be exported. But the USA can't be a large and stable gas supplier to Europe as shale gas is capital intensive and sweet spots are limited.
Notable quotes:
"... Some worthy observations, especially with all the US "Think Tanks." But I would include the number of non-Jewish elites who have banded together with the Jewish elite and who have greatly aided in eating out the very heart of America. ..."
"... History also shows that ANY smaller entity (Israel) that depends on a larger entity (America) for its survival becomes a failed entity in the long run. Just saying. ..."
"... The American Empire is all cost and no benefit to the great majority of Americans. The MIC and that's it. Politicians on the right wave the flag and politicians on the left describe a politically correct future. All on our dime. ..."
Nov 24, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Tom Luongo,

While the Trump Administration still thinks it can play enough games to derail the Nordstream 2 pipeline via sanctions and threats, the impotence of its position geopolitically was on display the other day as the final pipe of the first train of the Turkstream pipeline entered the waters of the Black Sea.

The pipe was sanctioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who shared a public stage and held bilateral talks afterwards. I think it is important for everyone to watch the response to Putin's speech in its entirety. Because it highlights just how far Russian/Turkish relations have come since the November 24th, 2015 incident where Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 over Syria.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TkFR25SArYM

When you contrast this event with the strained and uninspired interactions between Erdogan and President Trump you realize that the world is moving forward despite the seeming power of the United States to derail events.

And Turkey is the key player in the region, geographically, culturally and politically. Erdogan and Putin know this. And they also know that Turkey being the transit corridor of energy for Eastern Europe opens those countries up to economic and political power they haven't enjoyed in a long time.

The first train of Turkstream will serve Turkey directly. Over the next couple of years the second train will be built which will serve as a jumping off point for bringing gas to Eastern and Southern Europe.

Countries like Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Greece, Serbia and Slovakia are lining up for access to Turkstream's energy. This, again, is in stark contrast to the insanely expensive Southern Transport Corridor (STC) pipeline set to bring one-third the amount of gas to Italy at five times the initial cost .

Turkstream will bring 15.75 bcm annually to Turkey and the second train that same amount to Europe. The TAP – Trans Adriatic Pipeline -- will bring just 10 bcm annually and won't do so before 2020, a project more than six years in the making.

Political Realities

The real story behind Turkstream, however, is, despite Putin's protestations to the contrary, political. No project of this size is purely economic, even if it makes immense economic sense. If that were the case then the STC wouldn't exist because it makes zero economic sense but some, if not much, political sense.

No, this pipeline along with the other major energy projects between Russia and Turkey have massive long-term political implications for the Middle East. Erdogan wants to re-take control of the Islamic world from the Saudis.

This is why they have the Saudis on a residual-poison-type drip feed of information relating to the death of Jamal Khashoggi to extract maximal value from the situation as Erdogan plays the U.S. deep state against the Trump/Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) alliance.

The U.S. deep state wants Trump weakened and MbS removed from power. Trump needs MbS to advance his plans for securing Israel's future and prolong the dollar's long-term health. Erdogan is using this rift to extract concessions left and right while continuing to do whatever he wants to do vis a vis Syria, Iran and his growing partnership with Russia.

Erdogan is in a position now to drive a very hard bargain over U.S. involvement in Syria, which neither faction in the U.S. government (Trump and the deep state) wants to give up on.

By controlling the oil fields in the eastern part of Syria and blocking the roads leading from Iraq the U.S. is playing a game it can't win because ultimately the Kurds will either have to be betrayed by the U.S. to keep Erdogan happy or cut a deal with the Syrian government for their future alienating the U.S.

This has been the ultimate end-game of the occupation of eastern Syria for months now and time is on both Putin's and Erdogan's side. Because the U.S. can't pressure Turkey to stop growing closer to Russia and Iran.

Eventually the U.S. troops in Syria will be nothing more than an albatross around Trump's neck politically and he'll have to announce a pull out, which will be popular back home helping his re-election campaign for 2020.

The big loser in this is Israel who is now having to circle the wagons politically since Putin put the screws to Benjamin Netanyahu for his part in the deaths of 15 Russian airmen back in September by closing the Syrian airspace and allowing mostly free movement of materiel to Lebanon.

Netanyahu, as I talked about last week, is now in a very precarious position after Israel was forced to sue for peace thanks to the unprecedentedly strong response by the Palestinians in Gaza.

Elijah Magnier commented recently that it this was the net result of Trump's unconditional support of Israel which united the Arab resistance rather than dividing and conquering it.

But the US establishment decided to distance itself from the Palestinian cause and embraced unconditionally the Israeli apartheid policy towards Palestine: the US supports Israel blindly. It has recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, suspended financial aid to UN institutions supporting Palestinian refugees (schools, medical care, homes), and rejected the right of return of Palestinians. All this has pushed various Palestinian groups, including the Palestinian Authority, to acknowledge that any negotiation with Israel is useless and that also the US can no longer be considered a reliable partner. Moreover, the failed regime-change in Syria and the humiliating conditions place on Arab financial support were in a way the last straws that convinced Hamas to change its position, giving up on the Oslo agreement and joining the Axis of the Resistance.

Project Netanyahu, as Alistair Crooke termed it , was predicated on keeping the support of the Palestinians split with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority at odds and then grinding out the resistance in Gaza over time.

Trump's plans also involved the formation of the so-called "Arab NATO" the summit for which has been put off until next year thanks to Erdogan's deft handling of the Saudi hit on Khashoggi. There are still a number of issues outstanding -- the financial blockade of Qatar, the war in Yemen, etc. -- that need to be resolved as well before any of this is even remotely possible.

At this point that plan has failed and the clash with Israel last week proved it is unworkable without tacit approval of Turkey who is gunning for the Saudis as the leaders of the Sunni world.

Show me the Money

But, more importantly, over time, a Turkey that can ween itself off the U.S. dollar over the next decade is a Turkey that can survive politically the upheaval to the post-WWII institutional order coming over the next few years.

Remember, all of this is happening against the backdrop of a U.S. and European political order that is failing to maintain the confidence of the people it governs.

The road to dollar independence will be long and hard but it will be possible. Russia is the model for this having successfully removed the dollar from a great deal of its trade and is now reaping the benefits of that stability.

And projects like Turkstream and the soon to be completed Power of Siberia Pipeline to China will see the gas from both trade without the dollar as the intermediary.

If you don't think this de-dollarization of the Russian economy is happening or significant, take one look at the Russian ruble versus the price of Brent crude in recent weeks. We've had another historic collapse in oil prices and yet the ruble versus the dollar hasn't really moved at all.

The upward move from earlier this year in the ruble (not shown) came from disruptions in the Aluminum market and the threat of further sanctions. But, as the U.S. puts the screws even tighter to Russia's finances by forcing the price of oil down, the effect on the ruble has been minimal.

With today's move Brent is off nearly $30 from its October high ( a massive 35% drop in prices) just seven weeks ago and the Ruble hasn't budged. The Bank of Russia hasn't been in there propping up its price. Normally this would send the ruble into a tailspin but it hasn't.

The other so-called 'commodity currencies' like the Canadian and Australian dollars have been hit hard but not the ruble.

Set the Way Back Machine to 2014 when oil prices cratered and you'll see a ruble in free fall which culminated in a massive blow-off top that required a fundamental shift in both fiscal and monetary policy for Russia.

This had to do with the massive dollar-denominated debt of its, you guessed it, oil and gas sector. Today that is not a point of leverage.

Today lower oil prices will be a forward headwind for Russian oil companies but a boon to the Russian economy that won't experience massive inflation thanks to the ruble being sold to cover U.S. dollar liabilities.

Those days are over.

And so too will those days come for Turkey which is now in the process of doing what Russia did in 2015, divest itself of future dollar obligations while diversifying the currencies it trades in.

Stability, transparency and solvency are the things that increase the demand for a currency as not only a medium of exchange but also as a reserve asset. Russia announced the latest figures of bilateral trade with China bypassing the dollar and RT had a very interesting quote from Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev.

No one currency should dominate the market, because this makes all of us dependent on the economic situation in the country that issues this reserve currency, even when we are talking about a strong economy such as the United States," Medvedev said.

He added that US sanctions have pushed Moscow and Beijing to think about the use of their domestic currencies in settlements, something that "we should have done ten years ago."

" Trading for rubles is our absolute priority, which, by the way, should eventually turn the ruble from a convertible currency into a reserve currency, " the Russian prime minister said.

That is the first statement by a major Russian figure about seeing the ruble rise to reserve status, but it's something that many, like myself, have speculated about for years now.

Tying together major economies like Turkey, Iran, China and eventually the EU via energy projects which settle the trade in local currencies is the big threat to the current political and economic program of the U.S. It is something the EU will only embrace reluctantly.

It is something the U.S. will oppose vehemently.

And it is something that no one will stop if it makes sense for the people on each side of the transaction. This is why Turkstream and Nordstream 2 are such important projects they change the entire dynamic of the flow of global capital.

* * *

Join my Patreon if you like asking tough questions.


RioGrandeImports , 21 seconds ago link

Oil and commodity markets were used as a finishing move on the Soviet system. The book, "The Oil Card: Global Economic Warfare in the 21st Century" by James R. Norman details the use of oil futures as a geopolitical tool. Pipelines change the calculus quite a bit.

Jack Oliver , 3 hours ago link

De - Dollarisation is sweeping the world !!

Soros funded 'migration' to Europe has also failed and created a massive cultural and economic burden on Europe.

The Soros/Rothschild plan to destroy Middle Eastern countries and displace the people was - of course - motivated by the Rothschilds 'bread and butter ' - OIL ( the worlds largest traded commodity ) !!

... ... ...

Fantome , 4 hours ago link

...Where ever they go, they [neoliberals] get organised, identify the institutions/establishments/courts to infiltrate and then use that influence to -

* Hijack the economy.

* Corrupt the society.

As the current trend shows, the nexus of the international economic activity is shifting east. Turkey is not making a mistake aligning itself with the goals of Russia, Iran and China. Although there is still a huge debt of the previous deeds that has to be paid.

... ... ...

Rubicon727 , 1 hour ago link

"Half of the US billionaires are Jews while only being less then 3% of the population. And it doesn't stop there. They work collectively to hijack the institutions critical for the operations of the democracy."

Some worthy observations, especially with all the US "Think Tanks." But I would include the number of non-Jewish elites who have banded together with the Jewish elite and who have greatly aided in eating out the very heart of America.

Joiningupthedots , 4 hours ago link

I read on here previously some dimwit comment about "America prints a bill for 2 cents while other countries have to earn a dollars worth of equity to buy it and we can do this forever" kind of thing. Not if other countries don't supply the demand you can't :)

History also shows that ANY smaller entity (Israel) that depends on a larger entity (America) for its survival becomes a failed entity in the long run. Just saying.

Consuelo , 4 hours ago link

I think you could quite reasonably replace the term 'depends on a larger entity', with a term that better describes a (smaller) ' parasite ' on a (larger) host...

DEDA CVETKO , 4 hours ago link

US Guvmint to the World: My way or the highway. The World to the US Guvmint: HIGHWAY!!!!!

scraping_by , 2 hours ago link

From your lips to God's ear. The American Empire is all cost and no benefit to the great majority of Americans. The MIC and that's it. Politicians on the right wave the flag and politicians on the left describe a politically correct future. All on our dime.

CatInTheHat , 4 hours ago link

Israhell is losing its status via Putins peaceful diplomacy and trade with ME countries who are not onboard with the Yinon plan. This is why RUSSIAGATE, led by dual Israhelli democrats in Congress. There is always a foreign policy issue attached to their demonizing of other countries. This is also why the UK just sent UK soldiers to Ukraine declaring war on Russia for "invading Ukraine" and not telling parliament or the UK people.

UK/US blind support for Israhell will get us all killed.

adonisdemilo , 4 hours ago link

We do know that UK soldiers have been sent to the Ukraine. We also know that, according to elements in the Government and the Civil Service, Russia invaded and annexed the Ukraine, which is just another reason to not trust the Government--any Government.

max_is_leering , 2 hours ago link

it's Crimea by the way, and it wasn't annexed... Crimeans voted to re-unite with Russia after they saw the NAZI hell breaking loose in Ukieville

IronForge , 4 hours ago link

WRONG!!!!! NordStream Eins und Zwei are the Prizes, because DEU, Scandinavia, CHE, and FRA will Benefit. TRK Wins 2nd Prize with TRKStream and SouthStream Pipelines. Losers are BGR and EU_PARAGOV, since BGR went from Prime Partner to Trickledown Transiteer.

The Terrible Sweal , 4 hours ago link

The US has ripped open its own ballsack through arrogance and beligerence.

Bingo Hammer , 1 hour ago link

Actually it was a little country in the ME that owns the US that ripped open the US ballsack

opport.knocks , 4 hours ago link

The other so-called 'commodity currencies' like the Canadian and Australian dollars have been hit hard but not the ruble.

The Canadian dollar is only down $0.025 from its October 1st high, and still has not touched the June low.

https://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=CAD&to=USD&view=1Y

DEDA CVETKO , 5 hours ago link

Ultimately, along with Nordstream and Turkstream, there will also be a Polarstream (leading to UK and Iceland) and Southstream (which was already begun but temporarily suspended after Obama threatened Bulgaria via Angela Merkel).

And, oh...I am sure there will also be a Ukrostream (also known as Mainstream) unfortunately the Ukronazi government of Ukrainistan doesn't know this just yet. They will find out in due course, I am sure.

JohninMK , 3 hours ago link

Well, that's some confused comments.

First PolarStream is highly unlikely both because laying it would be extremely difficult and expensive and because Iceland has no need for gas as it is sitting on thermal reserves and the UK won't deal with Russia.

You are correct on SouthStream.

As to UkroStream (I assume you mean Ukraine) it is already in existence and has been for 50 plus years. Given the bad history between the parties the Russians will want to stop that route asap, hence the timing of NordStream 2 and TurkStream. So in the future UkroSream is going to end, not start.

raalon , 4 hours ago link

The US and Israel are the threats to world Peace. Just how many countries has Russia attacked lately

21st.century , 5 hours ago link

long-term political implications for the Middle East. Erdogan wants to re-take control of the Islamic world from the Saudis.

SA still has control of the Hajj -- religious tourism - command by the Magic Book that even Turkish mohammadist must complete. +/- 18% of SA GDP-- and SA isn't sharing any of that loot.

Ticip is required to go and throw rocks at the black orb -- and do the Muslim Hokey Pokey along with all the rest.. oh, and pay the SA kings for the privilege !

the war's are about religious tourism

Mr. Kwikky , 5 hours ago link

..What about "The Grand Chessboard", Zbigniew hello where are you? /s

InsaneBane , 5 hours ago link

..Rotting in hell /s

Winston Churchill , 5 hours ago link

Zbigniew plagarized MacKinder, who plagarized someone else. The playbook is that old.

JohninMK , 3 hours ago link

The new 3D Grand Chessboard is being played very quietly out of Moscow.

The article is a wee bit deceptive. Whilst this was indeed the last bit of under sea pipe they were celebrating, it should be pointed out the stunning speed that they achieved, about a mile a day some to a depth of over 1000 feet, quite an achievement on land, let alone at sea. This is quite interesting, especially the map

https://www.rt.com/business/444344-russia-turkish-stream-opening/

Also, as its landfall in Turkey is west of the Bosphorus, that is west of Istanbul, maybe that 'for Turkish use' is a cover for its primary purpose, supplying the Balkans as well as Turkey from January 2020.

Note the significance of the start to pump date, December 2019, the same as NordStream 2. What else happens then? Oh yes, the gas transit contract with Ukraine ends. The combination of these two new pipelines to a very great extent replace that agreement. Even though politically everyone is saying Ukraine ($4B p.a. transit fees) should be protected.

Take another look at the map, note that it takes a dogleg south to Turkey. If at that point it had gone straight ahead it would have gone to Bulgaria as SouthStream. But the US and its EU vassal stopped that. Maybe the second pipeline the Russians are now discussing will resurrect that route.

[Nov 24, 2018] The assassination, and evidence of MbS' ordering of it, might be used as leverage to achieve various objectives that MbS wasn't on board with (a resolution of the Yemen situation? Oil pricing? toning down jihadi support in the MENA? )

Notable quotes:
"... Snowden accuses Israeli cybersecurity firm of enabling Khashoggi murder ..."
"... You would not consider as viable the hypothesis that Trump is using the assassination, and evidence of MbS' ordering of it, as leverage to achieve various objectives that MbS wasn't on board with (a resolution of the Yemen situation? Oil pricing? toning down jihadi support in the MENA? Other?). ..."
Nov 24, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Snowden accuses Israeli cybersecurity firm of enabling Khashoggi murder: Play Hide

Vicky SD , 11 hours ago

What do people make of the fact that it seems Khashoggi apparently was recently married, the picture of him with his supposed fiancée was clearly photoshopped (used the same photo from his WaPo profile), and his family has indicated they knew nothing of this new fiancée?

It also seems interesting how the US has a tape of MBS ordering his silencing when we apparently knew little at the outset. Seems this turd is starting to stink a bit.

Pat Lang Mod -> Vicky SD , 11 hours ago
Automated SIGINT collection produces such volumes of material based on standing targets that it often takes a while to sift through it. MBS's phone would be such a target. In any event Trump doesn't want to hear it.
Eric Newhill -> Pat Lang , 9 hours ago
Sir,

You would not consider as viable the hypothesis that Trump is using the assassination, and evidence of MbS' ordering of it, as leverage to achieve various objectives that MbS wasn't on board with (a resolution of the Yemen situation? Oil pricing? toning down jihadi support in the MENA? Other?).

Pat Lang Mod -> Eric Newhill , 8 hours ago
It's viable but I don't think Trump is that subtle.

[Nov 24, 2018] Oil and commodity markets were used as a finishing move on the Soviet system.

Nov 24, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

RioGrandeImports, 21 seconds ago link

Oil and commodity markets were used as a finishing move on the Soviet system. The book, "The Oil Card: Global Economic Warfare in the 21st Century" by James R. Norman details the use of oil futures as a geopolitical tool. Pipelines change the calculus quite a bit.

[Nov 22, 2018] CIA officials are signaling Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must be replaced

Nov 20, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Warren November 20, 2018 at 10:23 am

https://youtu.be/JBQZIJGmwPc

TheRealNews
Published on 20 Nov 2018
CIA officials are signaling Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman must be replaced. Is this all about the killing of Jamal Khashoggi? Professor Asad AbuKhalil says there are other political reasons.

Mark Chapman November 20, 2018 at 5:03 pm

Fear not! I heard on the news on my way home that Trump has decided Saudi Arabia will not be punished for the killing of Khahsoggi with termination of current arms contracts. The Donald reasons that if that happens, the KSA will just buy its weapons elsewhere. And nobody in the military-industrial complex wants that. I am very confident Justin Trudeau will interpret that as a signal that Canada likewise should not cut off its nose to spite its face, and so Canada will not 'punish' its good friend, either. Therefore, Saudi Arabia will experience no punishment whatsoever for its admitted murder of an inconvenient American journalist. There are limits to western indignation, after all. So the west will content itself with revoking the KSA's invitation to the Spring Strawberry Social, and double down on its insistence that Crimea is Ukraine and must be returned to Kiev's control, and the west will never accept its 'annexation'. Never, never, never. There are some issues on which the west has spine to spare. So if you want a noisy western journalist removed, slip the Saudis a few bucks, and they can probably make it happen with no recriminations.
kirill November 20, 2018 at 5:23 pm
The recognition of Crimea as part of Ukraine by Washington and its minions is totally worthless. It is not based on law and justice, it is based on self-interest (as in the USA had big plans to acquire Crimea and build a massive naval base there). The use of the word annexation is propaganda drivel.

Ukraine annexed Crimea in 1991 and the ICJ has ruled that local ethnic majorities have a right to self determination. If independence is good enough for Kosovo, it is good enough for Crimea. No amount of special pleading by Washington and its bootlicks about Kosovo being "special" has any merit.

et Al November 21, 2018 at 9:38 am
I'm afraid you are wrong about the ICJ Kirill. The ICJ dodged the actual issue. They ruled that making a declaration of independence is not against international law, not whether anyone/whatever/blah blah blah actually has the right to independence. Possibly because they did not want to cross Pandora's Rubicon Box

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Court_of_Justice_advisory_opinion_on_Kosovo%27s_declaration_of_independence

the adoption of the declaration of independence of the 17 February 2008 did not violate general international law because international law contains no 'prohibition on declarations of independence

####

Some call it 'unique', others call it a precedent , therefore 'not unique'. If the West argues that the ICJ said it was ok, then it is also ok for Crimea to declare independence. Or, if they claim that Crimea is not independent, that Kosovo cannot be either, hence, as you point out the use of the word ' annexation ' and other creative circumlocutions to avoid mentioning that secession was first and the clear comparison with Kosovo which would not serve them well at all.

https://nyujilp.org/icj-rules-on-kosovo-independence/

The Inter­na­tion­al Court of Jus­tice today held that inter­na­tion­al law did not pro­hib­it Kosovo's dec­la­ra­tion of inde­pen­dence, while side­step­ping the larg­er issue of Kosovo's state­hood

####

But, this is not the first time the West has decided what international law is for itself when back in 1991 the European Council ministers themselves appointed the Badinter Commission to give it a legal figleaf for recognizing the administrative borders of Yugoslavia as international. I've posted this link before, but once more with feeling:

How the Badinter Commission on Yugoslavia laid the roots for Crimea's secession from Ukraine
http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/europpblog/2015/02/20/how-the-badinter-commission-on-yugoslavia-laid-the-roots-for-crimeas-secession-from-ukraine/

kirill November 21, 2018 at 10:51 am
Thanks for the clarification. But it is all a house of cards. Given that empires and countries have continually fissioned into pieces through the whole of relevant history, the notion of "territorial integrity" is bogus and a corollary of "might makes right". As long as the country can suppress secessionists it has territorial integrity, when it becomes too weak everything falls apart. There is no international law. And if ware to assume a common law regime that is not maintained by legislatures, then secession is fully legal if the local majority wants it hard enough.
et Al November 21, 2018 at 12:17 pm
We know it is nothing but the Law of the Jungle. It's just that the fancy dress shop has expanded and has a lot more more costumes on offer to its clients.
Mark Chapman November 21, 2018 at 7:01 pm
Quite so; however, as I have frequently pointed out before – notably here –

https://marknesop.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/radoslaw-sikorski-is-a-handsome-urbane-well-educated-twat-the-ignominious-collapse-of-british-journalism/

when the west trots out its I-never-said that-exactly smokescreen, it is helpful to read what various western countries wrote as legal opinions, and the arguments they used to support their reasoning. Where Kosovo is concerned, a classic is the Polish opinion, written by (or more likely for) its then-Foreign Minister, Radek Sikorski. He wrote, in part;

" a state is commonly defined as a community which consists of a territory and a population subject to an organized political authority; that such a state is characterized by sovereignty the existence of the state is a question of fact, the effects of recognition by other states are purely declaratory. A declaration of independence is merely an act that confirms these factual circumstances, and it may be difficult to assess such an act in purely legal terms."

Legal opinions are usually replete with bafflegab to confuse the easily-bored and the pressed-for-time readers. But Mr. Sikorski made what he must have believed was a very convincing case that a sovereign state-within-a-state is characterized by an ethnic population, a pre-existing degree of autonomy (so that the entity demonstrates the capability to function autonomously), and its own functioning institutions such as banks and infrastructure.

Which of those is not descriptive of Crimea? It was even called "The Autonomous Republic of Crimea", for Christ's sake. Sikorski doubtless had an inkling that the Kosovo precedent might come back to bite NATO, and so tried to duck a justification which might read like a precedent, but it was unavoidable.

[Nov 22, 2018] America had a net export capacity of 5 bcm in 2017 because it imported about 87 bcm from Canada

Nov 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

kirill November 14, 2018 at 6:35 am

These American fucktards actually think they can replace Russian gas supply to the EU. With what you utter void heads? America had a net export capacity of 5 bcm in 2017 because it imported about 87 bcm from Canada. When you fuckwad, douchebags get 150 bcm export capacity, then start yapping. Until then, STFU.

Of course, it is clear to anyone with a functional brain that the US is totally dishonest on claiming to want to supply the EU. In fact, it wants to saddle the EU with onerous LNG contracts to third parties (e.g. Qatar) who can currently and for the near term supply the volumes of LNG needed. At the same time the US damages the Asian tigers by increasing LNG prices.

It is time for all the US bootlicks (Japan, the EU) to tell Uncle Scumbag to shove himself in his own ass. The US is not even pretending to treat these countries with respect.

[Nov 22, 2018] US warns Hungary and neighbours against Turkish Stream

Nov 22, 2018 | www.euractiv.com

The US has repeatedly taken position against Nord Stream 2, a Russia-sponsored pipeline planned to bring gas to Germany under the Baltic Sea. But this time Washington warned against another such pipeline, bringing Russian gas under the Black Sea.

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry called on Hungary and its neighbors to reject Russian gas pipelines which Washington says are being used to cement Moscow's grip on central and eastern Europe.

Energy diversification would be crucial for the region, as Russia has used energy as a weapon in the past, he said, as quoted by Reuters.

"Russia is using a pipeline project Nord stream 2 and a multi-line Turkish stream to try to solidify its control over the security and the stability of Central and eastern Europe," Perry added during a visit to Budapest.

Last July, Hungary signed a deal with Russia's Gazprom to link the country with the Turkish Stream pipeline by end-2019.

true 14/11/2018 at 09:46

Rick Perry is a salesman. He wants us Europeans to buy USA gas. Which is why he is against North Stream 2 and Turkish Stream. Not because Russia may use gas to blackmail Europe -- unlike the USA, which blackmails Europe to sanction Iran and Russia –. No, he just wants us to buy America.

Despite the fact that gas produced in the USA is far more expensive than Russia's. Well, what can you expect from a minister in the government of a tycoon? What else can you expect from today's USA?

[Nov 22, 2018] Swiss court has ordered all Nord Stream partners to not make any payments to Gazprom, instead to pay all monies owed to Gazprom to Swedish bailiffs

Nov 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman November 15, 2018 at 1:09 pm

One way or another, Gazprom is going to have to pay Ukraine $2.6 Billion, so they might as well just do it and have it over with. Of course the Ukies will prance and jump up and down in the streets and yell 'Slava Ukrainy' – and hasten off to prepare new lawsuits in search of more money from the Russian state. But a Swiss court has ordered all Nord Stream partners to not make any payments to Gazprom, instead to pay all monies owed to Gazprom to Swedish bailiffs, who will redistribute it to Ukraine until they recover all their money.

https://www.naturalgasworld.com/ns2-in-trouble-gazprom-hopeful-65959

[Nov 21, 2018] Who Says Economic Sanctions Work by Scott Ritter

Looks like the recent oil price drop was engineered like in 2014 by the USA adminsitration...
" Concerns that strict sanctioning of Iranian oil would result in a spike in global oil prices prompted Trump to grant waivers to eight of Iran's largest purchasers of oil, creating a situation where Iran's oil-based income will increase following the implementation of sanctions. The bottom line is that the current round of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran will not achieve anything. "
Notable quotes:
"... With Iran, the issue of nuclear non-proliferation was an additional justification for sanctions. Here, disarmament concerns eventually trumped regime change desires, to the extent that when the U.S. was confronted by the reality that sanctions would not achieve the change in behavior desired by Tehran, and the cost of war with Iran being prohibitively high, both politically and militarily, it capitulated. It agreed to lift the sanctions in exchange for Iran agreeing to enhanced monitoring of a nuclear program that was fundamentally unaltered by the resulting agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action, or JCPOA. ..."
"... When Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, he did so in an environment that was radically different than the one that was in play when President Barack Obama embraced that agreement in July 2015. Today, the U.S. stands alone in implementing sanctions, while Iran enjoys the support of the rest of the world (support that will continue so long as Iran complies with the provisions set forth in the JCPOA.) Moreover, Iran is working with its new-found partners in Europe, Russia, and China to develop work-arounds to the U.S. sanctions. ..."
"... The coalition of support that the U.S. has assembled to confront Iran, built around Israel and Saudi Arabia, is not as solid as had been hoped -- Israel is tied down in Gaza, while Saudi Arabia struggles in Yemen, and is reeling from the fallout surrounding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi ..."
Nov 21, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The imposition of new, more stringent sanctions targeting Iranian oil sales by the Trump administration has once again raised the question: is this even a viable policy?

The Council on Foreign Relations defines sanctions as "a lower-cost, lower-risk, middle course of action between diplomacy and war." In short, sanctions do not represent policy per se, but rather the absence of policy, little more than a stop-gap measure to be used while other options are considered and/or developed.

Not surprising, sanctions have rarely -- if ever -- succeeded in obtaining their desired results. The poster child for successful sanctions as a vehicle for change -- divestment in South Africa during the 1980s in opposition to the Apartheid regime -- is in reality a red herring. The South Africa sanctions were in fact counterproductive , in so far as they prompted even harsher policies from the South African government. The demise of Apartheid came about largely because the Soviet Union collapsed, meaning the South African government was no longer needed in the fight against communism.

Another myth that has arisen around sanctions is their utility in addressing nonproliferation issues. Since 1994, the U.S. has promulgated non-proliferation sanctions under the guise of executive orders signed by the president or statutes passed by Congress. But there is no evidence that sanctions implemented under these authorities have meaningfully altered the behaviors that they target. Better known are the various sanctions regimes authorized under UN Security Council resolutions backed by the United States, specifically those targeting Iraq, North Korea, and Iran.

The Iraq sanctions were, by intent, a stop-gap measure implemented four days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and intended to buy time until a military response could be authorized, organized, and executed. The nature of the Iraq sanctions regime was fundamentally altered after Operation Desert Storm, when the objective transitioned away from the liberation of Kuwait, which was achieved by force of arms, to the elimination of weapons of mass destruction, which was never the intent of the sanctions to begin with. The potential for sanctions to alter Iraqi behavior was real -- Iraq had made the lifting of sanctions its top priority, and thanks to aggressive UN weapons inspections, was effectively disarmed by 1995.

This potential, however, was never realized in large part to the unspoken yet very real policy on part of the U.S. that sanctions would not be lifted on Iraq, regardless of its level of disarmament, until which time its president, Saddam Hussein, was removed from power. Since the sanctions were not designed, intended, or capable of achieving regime change, their very existence became a policy trap -- as the sanctions crumbled due to a lack of support and enforcement, the U.S. was compelled to either back away from its regime change policy, which was politically impossible, or seek regime change through military engagement. In short, American sanctions policy vis-à-vis Iraq was one of the major causal factors behind the 2003 decision to invade Iraq.

One of the flawed lessons that emerged from the Iraq sanctions experience was that sanctions could contribute to regime change, in so far as they weakened the targeted nation to the point that a military option became attractive. This is a fundamentally flawed conclusion, however, predicated on the mistaken belief that Iraq's military weakness was the direct byproduct of sanctions. Iraq's military weakness was because its military had been effectively destroyed during the 1991 Gulf War. Sanctions contributed significantly to Iraq being unable to reconstitute a meaningful military capability, but they were not the cause of the underlying systemic problems that led to the rapid defeat of the Iraqi military in 2003.

The "success" of the Iraq sanctions regime helped guide U.S. policy regarding North Korea in the 1990s and 2000s. Stringent sanctions, backed by Security Council resolutions, were implemented to curtail North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and ballistic missile delivery systems. Simple cause-effect analysis shows the impotence of this effort -- North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile capability continued unabated, culminating in nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching U.S. soil being tested and deployed. The notion that sanctions could undermine the legitimacy of the North Korean regime and facilitate its collapse was not matched by reality. If anything, support for the regime grew as it demonstrated its willingness to stand up to the U.S. and proceed with its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

The Victims of Iran Sanctions Iran Deserves Credit for the Ruin of ISIS

The Trump administration labors under the fiction that it was the U.S. policy of "maximum pressure" through sanctions that compelled North Korea to agree to denuclearization. The reality, however, is that it is North Korea, backed by China and Russia, that has dictated the timing of the diplomatic breakthrough with the U.S. ( the so-called "Peace Olympics" ), and the pace of associated disarmament. Moreover, North Korea's insistence that any denuclearization be conducted parallel to the lifting of economic sanctions demonstrates that it is in full control of its policy, and that the promise of the lifting of economic sanctions has not, to date, prompted any change in Pyongyang's stance. While President Donald Trump maintains that the U.S. will not budge from its position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea disarms, the fact of the matter is that the sanctions regime is already collapsing, with China opening its border, Russia selling gasoline and oil, and South Korea engaged in discussions about potential unification.

The U.S. has lost control of the process, if indeed it was ever in control. It is doubtful that the rest of the world will allow the progress made to date with North Korea to be undone, leaving the U.S. increasingly isolated. Insisting on the maintenance of a sanctions regime that has proven ineffective and counterproductive is not sustainable policy. As with Iraq, U.S. sanctions have proven to be the problem, not the solution. Unlike Iraq, North Korea maintains a robust military capability, fundamentally altering the stakes involved in any military solution the U.S. might consider as an alternative -- in short, there is no military solution. One can expect the U.S. to alter its position on sanctions before North Korea budges on denuclearization.

Iran represents a far more complex, and dangerous, problem set. The United States has maintained sanctions against Iran that date back to the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew the Shah, and the seizure of the U.S. embassy and resultant holding of its staff hostage for 444 days. The U.S. policy vis-à-vis Iran has been one where the demise of the ruling theocracy has been a real, if unstated, objective, and every sanctions regime implemented since that time has had that outcome in mind. This is the reverse of the Iraqi case, where regime change was an afterthought to sanctions. With Iran, the issue of nuclear non-proliferation was an additional justification for sanctions. Here, disarmament concerns eventually trumped regime change desires, to the extent that when the U.S. was confronted by the reality that sanctions would not achieve the change in behavior desired by Tehran, and the cost of war with Iran being prohibitively high, both politically and militarily, it capitulated. It agreed to lift the sanctions in exchange for Iran agreeing to enhanced monitoring of a nuclear program that was fundamentally unaltered by the resulting agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Program of Action, or JCPOA.

When Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, he did so in an environment that was radically different than the one that was in play when President Barack Obama embraced that agreement in July 2015. Today, the U.S. stands alone in implementing sanctions, while Iran enjoys the support of the rest of the world (support that will continue so long as Iran complies with the provisions set forth in the JCPOA.) Moreover, Iran is working with its new-found partners in Europe, Russia, and China to develop work-arounds to the U.S. sanctions.

The coalition of support that the U.S. has assembled to confront Iran, built around Israel and Saudi Arabia, is not as solid as had been hoped -- Israel is tied down in Gaza, while Saudi Arabia struggles in Yemen, and is reeling from the fallout surrounding the murder of Jamal Khashoggi .

Concerns that strict sanctioning of Iranian oil would result in a spike in global oil prices prompted Trump to grant waivers to eight of Iran's largest purchasers of oil, creating a situation where Iran's oil-based income will increase following the implementation of sanctions. The bottom line is that the current round of U.S. sanctions targeting Iran will not achieve anything.

For the meantime, Iran will avoid confrontation, operating on the hope that it will be able to cobble an effective counter to U.S. sanctions. However, unlike Iraq, Iran has a very capable military. Unlike Korea, however, this military is not equipped with a nuclear deterrent.

If history has taught us anything, it is that the U.S. tends to default to military intervention when sanctions have failed to achieve the policy goal of regime change. Trump, operating as he is under the influence of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, is not immune to this trap. The question is whether Iran can defeat the sanctions through workarounds before they become too crippling and the regime is forced to lash out in its own defense. This is one race where the world would do well to bet on Iran, because the consequences of failure are dire.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of Dealbreaker: Donald Trump and the Unmaking of the Iran Nuclear Deal (2018) by Clarity Press.

[Nov 19, 2018] We now learn that the person in the U.S. National Security Council who put al-Qahtani on the list was fired: Kirsten Fontenrose, the National Security Council official in charge of U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia, resigned

Notable quotes:
"... Moon of Alabama ..."
"... The Nation ..."
"... The Treasury declaration blamed MbS advisor Saud al-Qahtani as mastermind behind the Khashoggi murder, while the Saudis carefully avoided that. We now learn that the person in the U.S. National Security Council who put al-Qahtani on the list was fired : ..."
"... Fontenrose had played a key role in the administration's decision about which Saudis to sanction in response to Khashoggi's killing, these people said. ..."
"... I suspect that MbS tried, via Trump's son-in-law Kushner, to save al-Qahtani (and himself). Trump clearly wanted to do that, but Fontenrose blew the plan by pushing for al-Qahtani to be sanctioned. The CIA also sabotaged the planned exculpation of MbS by 'leaking' its judgment about MbS' personal responsibility to the press. ( WaPo published the CIA conclusion in Arabic , another point the Saudis will hate.) ..."
Nov 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Last week's posts on Moon of Alabama :

We were first to point out that the NYT's characterization of an old North Korean missile site as "deception" was pure nonsense. Newsweek , 38north.org , NKNews.org , The Nation and others now also condemned the neo-conned NYT propaganda.

The war let to the loss of Netanyahoo's majority in the Knesset. He is now trying to stall new elections in which he could lose his job.

Trump's Middle East policy is in total disarray. Nothing is working as planned. Netanyahoo will probebaly fall. Saudi Arabia will not make nice with Qatar. There will be no Arab NATO or anti-Iran alliance. MbS is despised but will stay on the job. Yemen is starving. The U.S. is at odds with Turkey over support for the Kurds. Trumps knows and hates this :

The adviser who talks to Trump said: "If the president had his way, he would stay entirely out of the Middle East and all of the problems."

The piece was the first to point out the difference between the Saudi investigation, which put blame on Major General Ahmed al-Asiri, and the names on the U.S. sanction list published at the same time. The Treasury declaration blamed MbS advisor Saud al-Qahtani as mastermind behind the Khashoggi murder, while the Saudis carefully avoided that. We now learn that the person in the U.S. National Security Council who put al-Qahtani on the list was fired :

On Friday evening, Kirsten Fontenrose, the National Security Council official in charge of U.S. policy toward Saudi Arabia, resigned, administration officials said. The circumstances of her departure weren't clear. But Fontenrose had previously been placed on administrative leave, according to people familiar with the matter.

Fontenrose had played a key role in the administration's decision about which Saudis to sanction in response to Khashoggi's killing, these people said.

I suspect that MbS tried, via Trump's son-in-law Kushner, to save al-Qahtani (and himself). Trump clearly wanted to do that, but Fontenrose blew the plan by pushing for al-Qahtani to be sanctioned. The CIA also sabotaged the planned exculpation of MbS by 'leaking' its judgment about MbS' personal responsibility to the press. ( WaPo published the CIA conclusion in Arabic , another point the Saudis will hate.) Trump is furious that the CIA (again) sabotaged his policy:

Asked about reports that the CIA had assessed involvement by Mohammed, the president said: "They haven't assessed anything yet. It's too early."

[Nov 17, 2018] OPEC Plus Putin's move to control energy market with Saudi partnership (Video)

Nov 17, 2018 | theduran.com

The Express UK reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia's 'long-term relationship' will not only survive, but grow, regardless of geopolitical turmoil and internal Saudi scandal as the energy interests between both nations bind them together.

... ... ...

But IHS Market vice chairman Daniel Yergin said the decision was unlikely to jeopardise the relationship between the two allies.

The Saudis have faced significant international criticism in the wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Speaking to CNBC, Mr Yergin made it clear that Moscow and Riyadh would continue to be closely aligned irrespective of external factors.

He explained: "I think it's intended to be a long-term relationship and it started off about oil prices but you see it taking on other dimensions, for instance, Saudi investment in Russian LNG (liquefied natural gas) and Russian investment in Saudi Arabia.

"I think this is a strategic relationship because it's useful to both countries."

Saudi Arabia and Russia are close, especially as a result of their pact in late 2016, along with other OPEC and non-OPEC producers, to curb output by 1.8 million barrels per day in order to prevent prices dropping too far – but oil markets have changed since then, largely as a result.

The US criticised OPEC, which Saudi Arabia is the nominal leader of, after prices rose.

Markets have fluctuated in recent weeks as a result of fears over a possible drop in supply, as a result of US sanctions on Iran, and an oversupply, as a result of increased production by Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US, which have seen prices fall by about 20 percent since early October.

Saudi Arabia has pumped 10.7 million barrels per day in October, while the figure for Russia and the US was 11.4 million barrels in each case.

Mr Yergin said: "It's the big three, it's Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US, this is a different configuration in the oil market than the traditional OPEC-non-OPEC one and so the world is having to adjust."

BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley told CNBC: "The OPEC-plus agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russia and coalition is a lot stronger than people speculate.

"I think Russia doesn't have the ability to turn on and off big fields which can happen in the Middle East.

"But I fully expect there to be coordination to try to keep the oil price within a certain fairway."

Markets rallied by two percent on Monday off the back of the Saudi decision to cut production , which it justified by citing uncertain global oil growth and associated oil demand next year.

It also suggested waivers granted on US sanctions imposed on Iran which have been granted to several countries including China and Japan was a reason not to fear a decline in supply.

Also talking to CNBC, Russia's Oil Minister Alexander Novak indicated a difference of opinion between Russia and the Saudis, saying it was too soon to cut production, highlighting a lot of volatility in the oil market.

He added: "If such a decision is necessary for the market and all the countries are in agreement, I think that Russia will undoubtedly play a part in this.

"But it's early to talk about this now, we need to look at this question very carefully."

[Nov 16, 2018] Oil, Power, and War A Dark History by Matthieu Auzanneau

Notable quotes:
"... Finally, unlike Yergin and other historians of the oil industry, Auzanneau frames his tale of petroleum as a life cycle, with germination followed by spring, summer, and autumn. There is a beginning and a flourishing, but there is also an end. This framing is extremely helpful, given the fact that the world is no longer in the spring or summer of the oil era. We take petroleum for granted, but it's time to start imagining a world, and daily life, without it. ..."
Nov 16, 2018 | www.amazon.com

Similarly, the real story of oil is of fortunes lost, betrayal, war, espionage, and intrigue. In the end, inevitably, the story of oil is a story of depletion. Petroleum is a nonrenewable resource, a precious substance that took tens of millions of years to form and that is gone in a comparative instant as we extract and burn it. For many decades, oil-hungry explorers, using ever-improving technology', have been searching for ever-deteriorating prospects as the low- hanging fin its of planet Earth's primordial oil bounty gradually dwindle. Oil wells have been shut in, oil fields exhausted, and oil companies bankrupted by the simple, inexorable reality of depletion.

It is impossible to understand the political and economic history of the past 150 years without taking account of a central character in the drama -- oil, the magical wealth-generating substance, a product of ancient sunlight and tens of millions of years of slow geological processes, whose tragic fate is to be dug up and combusted once and for all. leaving renewed poverty in its wake. With Oil, Power, and War, Matthieu Auzanneau has produced what I believe is the new definitive work on oil and its historic significance, supplanting even Daniel Yergin's renowned The Prize, for reasons I'll describe below.

The importance of oil's role in shaping the modern world cannot be overstated. Prior to the advent of fossil fuels, firewood was humanity's main fuel. But forests could be cut to the last tree (many were), and wood was bulky. Coal offered some economic advantages over wood. But it was oil -- liquid and therefore easier to transport; more energy-dense; and simpler to store -- that turbocharged the modern industrial age following the development of the first commercial wells around the year 1860.

John D. Rockefeller's cutthroat, monopolist business model shaped the early industry, which was devoted mostly to the production of kerosene for lamp oil (gasoline was then considered a waste product and often discarded into streams or rivers). But roughly forty years later, when Henry Ford developed the automobile assembly line, demand for black gold was suddenly as explosive as gasoline itself.

Speaking of explosions, the role of petroleum in the two World Wars and the armament industry' in general deserves not just a footnote in history books but serious and detailed treatment such as it receives in this worthy volume. Herein we learn how Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany literally ran out of gas while the Allies rode to victory in planes, ships, and tanks burning refined US crude. Berlin could be cut off from supplies in Baku or North Africa, and Tokyo's tanker route from Borneo could be blockaded -- but no one could interrupt the American war machine's access to Texas tea.

In the pages that follow, we learn about the origin of the decades-long US alliance with Saudi Arabia, the development of OPEC, the triumph of the petrodollar, and the reasons for both the Algerian independence movement and the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Auzanneau traces the postwar growth of the global economy and the development of consumerism, globalization, and car culture. He recounts how the population explosion and the Green Revolution in agriculture reshaped demographics and politics globally -- and explains why both depended on petroleum. We learn why Nixon cut the US dollar's tether to the gold standard just a year after US oil production started to decline, and how the American economy began to rely increasingly on debt. The story of oil takes ever more fascinating turns -- with the fall of the Soviet Union after its oil production hit a snag; with soaring petroleum prices in 2008 coinciding with the onset of the global financial crisis; and with wars in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen erupting as global conventional oil output flatlined.

As I alluded to above, comparisons will inevitably be drawn between Oil, Power, and War and Daniel Yergin's Pulitzer-winning "The Prize", published in 1990. It may be helpful therefore to point out four of the most significant ways this work differs from Yergin's celebrated tour de force.

The most obvious difference between the two books is simply one of time frame. The Prize's narrative stops in the 1980s, while Oil, Power, and War also covers the following critical decades, which encompass the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the first Gulf War, 9/11, the US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, the global financial crisis of 2008. and major shifts within the petroleum industry as it relies ever less on conventional crude and ever more on unconventional resources such as bitumen (Canada's oil sands), tight oil (also called shale oil), and deepwater oil.

Finally, unlike Yergin and other historians of the oil industry, Auzanneau frames his tale of petroleum as a life cycle, with germination followed by spring, summer, and autumn. There is a beginning and a flourishing, but there is also an end. This framing is extremely helpful, given the fact that the world is no longer in the spring or summer of the oil era. We take petroleum for granted, but it's time to start imagining a world, and daily life, without it.

Taken together, these distinctions indeed make Oil, Power, and War the definitive work on the history of oil -- no small achievement, but a judgment well earned.

Over the past decade, worrisome signs of global oil depletion have been obscured by the unabashed enthusiasm of energy analysts regarding growing production in the United States from low-porosity source rocks. Termed "light tight oil," this new resource has been unleashed through application of the technologies of hydrofracturing (tracking) and horizontal drilling.

US liquid fuels production has now surpassed its previous peak in 1970, and well-regarded agencies such as the Energy Information Administration are forecasting continued tight oil abundance through mid-century.

Auzanneau titles his discussion of this phenomenon (in chapter 30), "Nonconventional Petroleum to the Rescue?" -- and frames it as a question for good reason: Skeptics of tight oil hyperoptimism point out that most production so far has been unprofitable. The industry has managed to stay in the game only due to low interest rates (most companies are heavily in debt) and investor hype. Since source rocks lack permeability, individual oil wells deplete very quickly -- with production in each well declining on the order of 70 percent to 90 percent in the first three years. That means that relentless, expensive drilling is needed in order to release the oil that's there. Thus the tight oil industry can be profitable only if oil prices are very high -- high enough, perhaps, to hobble the economy -- and if drilling is concentrated in the small core areas within each of the productive regions. But these "sweet spots" are being exhausted rapidly. Further, with tight oil the energy returned on the energy invested in drilling and completion is far less than was the case with American petroleum in its heyday.

It takes energy to fell a tree, drill an oil well, or manufacture a solar panel. We depend on the energy payback from those activities to run society. In the miraculous years of the late twentieth century, oil delivered an averaged 50:1 energy payback. It was this, more than anything else, that made rapid economic growth possible, especially for the nations that were home to the world's largest oil reserves and extraction companies. As the world relies ever less on conventional oil and ever more on tight oil, bitumen, and deepwater oil, the overall energy payback of the oil industry is declining rapidly. And this erosion of energy return is reflected in higher overall levels of debt in the oil industry and lower overall financial profitability.

Meanwhile the industry is spending ever less on exploration -- for two reasons. First, there is less money available for that purpose, due to declining financial profitability; second, there seems comparatively little oil left to be found: Recent years have seen new oil discoveries dwindle to the lowest level since the 1940s. The world is not about to run out of oil. But the industry that drove society in the twentieth century to the heights of human economic and technological progress is failing in the twenty-first century.

Today some analysts speak of "peak oil demand." The assumption behind the phrase is that electric cars will soon reduce our need for oil, even as abundance of supply is assured by fracking. But the world is still highly dependent on crude oil. We have installed increasing numbers of solar panels and wind turbines, but the transition to renewable is going far too slowly either to avert catastrophic climate change or to fully replace petroleum before depletion forces an economic crisis. While we may soon see more electric cars on the road, trucking, shipping, and aviation will be much harder to electrify. We haven't really learned yet how to make the industrial world work without oil. The simple reality is that the best days of the oil business, and the oil-fueled industrial way of life, are behind us. And we are not ready for what comes next.

[Nov 14, 2018] Installing an Arabic speaking Arab American general as the new ambassador to the kingdom sounds like the Borg is becoming concerned with kingdom stability when changes come.

Nov 14, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Kooshy , 11 hours ago

Colonel Salam , what do you think of retired general Abizad becoming new US' ambassador to KSA. To me installing an Arabic speaking Arab American general as the new ambassador to the kingdom sounds like the Borg is becoming concerned with kingdom' stability when changes come. They probably don't want to repeat the mistake of keeping Sullivan during IRI. So sorry for OT.
Pat Lang Mod -> Kooshy , 6 hours ago
Abizaid is a good man but he is Lebanese American and the Saudis will try to buy him off and if that doesn't work will undermine him. I wish him luck.

[Nov 14, 2018] Oil, Power, and War A Dark History by Matthieu Auzanneau

Notable quotes:
Oil, Power, and War is a story of the dreams and hubris that spawned an era of economic chaos, climate change, war, and terrorism -- as well as an eloquent framing from which to consider our options as our primary source of power, in many ways irreplacable, grows ever more constrained.
Nov 14, 2018 | www.barnesandnoble.com

In this sweeping, unabashed history of oil, Matthieu Auzanneau takes a fresh, thought-provoking look at the way oil interests have commandeered politics and economies, changed cultures, disrupted power balances across the globe, and spawned wars. He upends commonly held assumptions about key political and financial events of the past 150 years, and he sheds light on what our oil-constrained and eventually post-oil future might look like.

Oil, Power, and War follows the oil industry from its heyday when the first oil wells were drilled to the quest for new sources as old ones dried up. It traces the rise of the Seven Sisters and other oil cartels and exposes oil's key role in the crises that have shaped our times: two world wars, the Cold War, the Great Depression, Bretton Woods, the 2008 financial crash, oil shocks, wars in the Middle East, the race for Africa's oil riches, and more. And it defines the oil-born trends shaping our current moment, such as the jockeying for access to Russia's vast oil resources, the search for extreme substitutes for declining conventional oil, the rise of terrorism, and the changing nature of economic growth.

We meet a long line of characters from John D. Rockefeller to Dick Cheney and Rex Tillerson, and hear lesser-known stories like how New York City taxes were once funneled directly to banks run by oil barons. We see how oil and power, once they became inextricably linked, drove actions of major figures like Churchill, Roosevelt, Stalin, Hitler, Kissinger, and the Bushes. We also learn the fascinating backstory sparked by lesser-known but key personalities such as Calouste Gulbenkian, Abdullah al-Tariki, and Marion King Hubbert, the once-silenced oil industry expert who warned his colleagues that oil production was facing its peak.

Oil, Power, and War is a story of the dreams and hubris that spawned an era of economic chaos, climate change, war, and terrorism -- as well as an eloquent framing from which to consider our options as our primary source of power, in many ways irreplacable, grows ever more constrained.

The book has been translated from the highly acclaimed French title, Or Noir .

[Nov 12, 2018] Saudi royals internal fight looks probably like the Austrians in 1913 arguing about who their next Habsburg Ruler is going to be

Nov 12, 2018 | peakoilbarrel.com

Survivalist says: 11/03/2018 at 12:13 am

To put it mildly, I'm not an expert on where to find info Ghawar. Perhaps brighter minds will chime in.
http://peakoilbarrel.com/closer-look-saudi-arabia/
http://crudeoilpeak.info/category/saudi-arabia

My guess is that much of KSA will look a lot like the shabby end of Yemen before too long. This will perhaps strand some assets. Once the House of Saud fragments further among competing clans/factions (Faisal, Sudairi, Abdullah, Bin Sultans) things will hasten. Collapse is preceded by intra-elite rivalry over a shrinking pie, so to speak.
Caspian Report has a nice set on KSA if you look for them. Here's one-
https://youtu.be/9tHwvZ9XDLU
And another-
https://youtu.be/hh8isVX3H9w

Hightrekker once commented something quite apt, along the lines of~ 'And all this is probably like the Austrians in 1913 arguing about who their next Habsburg Ruler is going to be'.

From what I understand there are 4000 Saudi princes (a suspiciously round number, so likely an approximate). It all should make for a very bloody affair. Hopefully Iran will do the right thing and kick 'em while they're down.

  1. Mushalik 10/31/2018 at 8:25 pm
    Saudi Update October 2018
    http://crudeoilpeak.info/saudi-update-october-2018

[Nov 11, 2018] Trump's Iran Policy Cannot Succeed Without Allies The National Interest by James Clapper & Thomas Pickering

Highly recommended!
It's interesting that Clapper is against abandoned by Trump Iran deal.
Tramp administration is acting more like Israeli marionette here, because while there a strategic advantage in crushing the Iranian regime for the USA and making a county another Us vassal in the middle East, the cost for the country might be way to high (especially if we count in the cost of additional antagonizing Russia and China). Trump might jump into the second Afghanistan, which would really brake the back of US military -- crushing Iran military is one thing, but occupying such a county is a very costly task. And that might well doom Israel in the long run as settlers policies now created really antagonized, unrecognizable minority with a high birth rate.
Vanishing one-by-one of partners are given due to collapse of neoliberalism as an ideology. Nobody believes that neoliberalism is the future, like many believed in 80th and early 90th. This looks more and more like a repetion of the path of the USSR after 1945, when communist ideology was discredited and communist elite slowly fossilized. In 46 years from its victory in WWII the USSR was dissolved. The same might happen with the USA in 50 years after winning the Cold War.
Notable quotes:
"... a vanishing one by one of American partners who were previously supportive of U.S. leadership in curbing Iran, particularly its nuclear program. ..."
"... The United States risks losing the cooperation of historic and proven allies in the pursuit of other U.S. national security interests around the world, far beyond Iran. ..."
Nov 09, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

Only well calibrated multilateral political, economic and diplomatic pressure brought to bear on Iran with many and diverse partners will produce the results we seek.

"Then there were none" was Agatha Christie's most memorable mystery about a house party in which each guest was killed off one by one. Donald Trump's policy toward Iran has resulted in much the same: a vanishing one by one of American partners who were previously supportive of U.S. leadership in curbing Iran, particularly its nuclear program.

Dozens of states, painstakingly cultivated over decades of American leadership in blocking Iran's nuclear capability, are now simply gone. One of America's three remaining allies on these issues, Saudi Arabia, has become a central player in American strategy throughout the Middle East region. But the Saudis, because of the Jamal Khashoggi killing and other reasons, may have cut itself out of the action. The United Arab Emirates, so close to the Saudis, may also fall away.

Such paucity of international support has left the Trump administration dangerously isolated. "America First" should not mean America alone. The United States risks losing the cooperation of historic and proven allies in the pursuit of other U.S. national security interests around the world, far beyond Iran.

... ... ...

European allies share many of our concerns about Iran's regional activities, but they strongly oppose U.S. reinstitution of secondary sanctions against them. They see the Trump administration's new sanctions as a violation of the nuclear agreement and UN Security Council resolutions and as undermining efforts to influence Iranian behavior. The new sanctions and those applied on November 5 only sap European interest in cooperating to stop Iran.

... ... ...

The United States cannot provoke regime change in Iran any more than it has successfully in other nations in the region. And, drawing on strategies used to topple governments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States should be wary of launching or trying to spur a military invasion of Iran.

Lt. Gen. James Clapper (USAF, ret.) is the former Director of National Intelligence. Thomas R. Pickering is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Russia and India.

[Nov 10, 2018] Russian State-Owned Bank VTB Funded Rosneft Stake Sale To Qatari Fund

Notable quotes:
"... Later, it emerged that QIA and Glencore planned to sell the majority of the stake they had acquired in Rosneft to China's energy conglomerate CEFC, but the deal fell through after Beijing set its sights on CEFC and launched an investigation that saw the removal of its chief executive. The investigation was reportedly part of a wide crackdown on illicit business practices on the part of private Chinese companies favored by Beijing. ..."
Nov 10, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Irina Slav via Oilprice.com,

Russian VTB, a state-owned bank, funded a significant portion of the Qatar Investment Authority's acquisition of a stake in oil giant Rosneft , Reuters reports , quoting nine unnamed sources familiar with the deal.

VTB, however, has denied to Reuters taking any part in the deal.

"VTB has not issued and is not planning to issue a loan to QIA to finance the acquisition," the bank said in response for a request for comment.

The Reuters sources, however, claim VTB provided a US$6 billion loan to the Qatar sovereign wealth fund that teamed up with Swiss Glencore to acquire 19.5 percent in Rosneft last year. Reuters cites data regarding VTB's activity issued by the Russian central bank that shows VTB lent US$6.7 billion (434 billion rubles) to unnamed foreign entities and the loan followed another loan of US$5.20 billion (350 billion rubles) from the same central bank.

The news first made headlines in December, taking markets by surprise, as Rosneft's partial privatization was expected by most to be limited to Russian investors. The price tag on the stake was around US$11.57 billion (692 billion rubles), of which Glencore agreed to contribute US$324 million. The remainder was forked over by the Qatar Investment Authority, as well as non-recourse bank financing.

Russia's budget received about US$10.55 billion ( 710.8 billion rubles ) from the deal, including US$ 270 million (18 billion rubles) in extra dividends. Rosneft, for its part, got an indirect stake in Glencore of 0.54 percent.

Later, it emerged that QIA and Glencore planned to sell the majority of the stake they had acquired in Rosneft to China's energy conglomerate CEFC, but the deal fell through after Beijing set its sights on CEFC and launched an investigation that saw the removal of its chief executive. The investigation was reportedly part of a wide crackdown on illicit business practices on the part of private Chinese companies favored by Beijing.

solidtare , 30 minutes ago link

Took z/h almost 2 years, and of course from a tertiary source - Reuters

John Helmer nailed this scam 2 years ago, and got hammered for it

[Nov 09, 2018] Russia will see oil only is euro by Yoel Minkof

Nov 09, 2018 | seekingalpha.com

Seeking protection against possible new U.S. sanctions, Russian energy majors are heaping pressure on Western oil buyers to use euros instead of dollars for payments, as well as penalty clauses in contracts.

Russia supplies over 10% of global oil, so severe sanctions could affect crude prices.

Global oil majors further rely on Russia to feed their refineries, especially in Europe and Asia, so they cannot just walk away from annual contract negotiations.

[Nov 07, 2018] Why oil prices fall when Iran production also falls?

That suggest oil price manipilation...
The event remind preparation to Iraq war.
Also if administration really wants war, Iran is not Ieaq and will fight more efficiently, while the US army despite technological supreiority is demoralized. nobody believe into the the building of global neoliberal empire any longer.
Notable quotes:
"... The administration's policy seems sure to fail on its own terms, and it is also the wrong thing to do. ..."
"... If a foreign power waged an economic war against your country, would you be likely to respond to that foreign coercion by effectively taking their side against your own government? Of course not. The idea that Iranians will do the work of their country's enemies by rising up and toppling the regime has always been far-fetched, but it is particularly absurd to think that Iranians would do this after they have just seen their economy be destroyed by the actions of a foreign government. ..."
"... People normally do not respond to economic hardship and diminishing prospects by risking their lives by starting a rebellion against the state. ..."
"... Making Iranians poorer and more miserable isn't going to encourage them to be more politically active, much less rebellious, but will instead force them to focus on getting by. That is likely to depress turnout at future elections, and that is more likely to be good news for hard-line candidates in the years to come. ..."
"... Iran hawks typically don't understand the country that they obsess over, so perhaps it is not surprising that they haven't thought any of this through, but their most glaring failure is not taking into account the importance of nationalism. ..."
Nov 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Originally from: The Futility of Trump's Iran Policy By Daniel Larison November 6, 2018, 10:54 AMThe administration's policy seems sure to fail on its own terms, and it is also the wrong thing to do.

The Trump administration's plan to throttle the Iranian economy is as poorly-conceived as it is cruel:

"For ordinary people, sanctions mean unemployment, sanctions mean becoming poor, sanctions mean the scarcity of medicine, the rising price of dollar," said Akbar Shamsodini, an Iranian businessman in the oil and gas sector who lost his job six months ago as European companies started to pull out of Iran in fear of US sanctions.

" By imposing these sanctions, they want to force Iranians to rise up in revolt against their government but in practice, they will only make them flee their country [bold mine-DL]," he said, adding that ironically it would be Europe that would have to bear the burden of such a mass migration.

"We're being squashed here as an Iranian youth who studied here, worked here, the only thing I'm thinking about now is how to flee my country and go to Europe."

If a foreign power waged an economic war against your country, would you be likely to respond to that foreign coercion by effectively taking their side against your own government? Of course not. The idea that Iranians will do the work of their country's enemies by rising up and toppling the regime has always been far-fetched, but it is particularly absurd to think that Iranians would do this after they have just seen their economy be destroyed by the actions of a foreign government.

People normally do not respond to economic hardship and diminishing prospects by risking their lives by starting a rebellion against the state. As Mr. Shamsodini says above, it is much more likely that they will leave to find a way to make a living elsewhere. All that strangling Iran's economy will manage to do is push young and ambitious Iranians to go abroad while inflicting cruel collective punishment on everyone that remains behind. Making Iranians poorer and more miserable isn't going to encourage them to be more politically active, much less rebellious, but will instead force them to focus on getting by. That is likely to depress turnout at future elections, and that is more likely to be good news for hard-line candidates in the years to come.

Iran hawks typically don't understand the country that they obsess over, so perhaps it is not surprising that they haven't thought any of this through, but their most glaring failure is not taking into account the importance of nationalism. When a foreign power tries dictating terms to another nation on pain of economic punishment, this is bound to provoke resentment and resistance. Like any other self-respecting nation, Iranians aren't going to accept being told what to do by a foreign government, and they are much more likely to band together in solidarity rather than start an uprising against their own government. The stronger the nationalist tradition there is in a country, the more likely it is that the reaction to foreign threats will be one of defiance and unity. It simply makes no sense to think that the U.S. can pressure a proud nation to capitulate like this.

The administration's policy seems sure to fail on its own terms, and it is also the wrong thing to do. President Washington exhorted his countrymen in his Farewell Address : "Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all." The administration's Iran policy represents the total rejection of that advice. If the U.S. followed Washington's recommendations, it would not be abrogating an agreement that it had just negotiated a few years earlier, and it would not be punishing an entire country for the wrongs of a few. Instead, the U.S. would have built on the success of the earlier negotiations and would have sought to reestablish normal relations with them.

Sid Finster November 6, 2018 at 11:56 am

The Administration's Iran policy is identical to the Iraq policy from 1990 – 2003, in that is it is designed to provide an excuse for a war.

[Nov 06, 2018] The economic sanctions on Iran will be much tighter, beyond what they were, before the nuclear agreement was signed. "Hit them in their pockets", Netanyahu advised Trump: "if you hit them in their pockets, they will choke; and when they choke, they will throw out the ayatollahs"".

Nov 06, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

mauisurfer , Nov 5, 2018 1:07:05 PM | link

Alastair Crooke (former UK dip and MI6) knows more about ME than any other white man. He describes how Jared Kushner became Trump's stovepipe of disinformation on behalf of Netanyahu and MBS.

The economic sanctions on Iran will be much tighter, beyond what they were, before the nuclear agreement was signed. "Hit them in their pockets", Netanyahu advised Trump: "if you hit them in their pockets, they will choke; and when they choke, they will throw out the ayatollahs"".

This was another bit of 'stovepiped' advice passed directly to the US President. His officials might have warned him that it was fantasy. There is no example of sanctions alone having toppled a state; and whilst the US can use its claim of judicial hegemony as an enforcement mechanism, the US has effectively isolated itself in sanctioning Iran: Europe wants no further insecurity. It wants no more refugees heading to Europe.

real full article here

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/11/05/unraveling-netanyahu-project-for-middle-east.html

[Nov 05, 2018] Will US Sanctions Sway Iran to Enter Oil Deal with Russia

Nov 05, 2018 | russia-insider.com

However, the primary problem would not even be the doubtful profitability, but rather logistics. Iran's oil fields are in the south. To reach Russia, the oil would have to make its way to Caspian ports in the north. Iran has no main pipelines connecting its southern oil fields with northern ports. These ports do have the infrastructure for oil, but they were built to receive oil from swap deals with Kazakhstan, Russia and Azerbaijan. They were never meant to export oil.

Consequently, before any exports could begin, Moscow and Tehran would have to invest in creating the necessary storage and loading infrastructure at the Iranian ports. Iran would also need to upgrade its transport infrastructure to deliver oil from the south to the Caspian seashore -- that would also present a challenge.

Finally, Russia and Iran would have to substantially increase their tanker fleets in the landlocked Caspian Sea to exchange large quantities of oil, as the local geography does not allow for the use of large tankers. In this situation, a planned railroad connection between Russia and Iran via Azerbaijan could increase the volume of oil moved from Iran to Russia, but this project has not been completed.

Under these circumstances, Russian officials are demonstrating far greater interest in resuming the so-called oil-for-products program, under which Russia would broker Iranian oil abroad in exchange for Iran buying Russian industrial machinery and providing investment opportunities to Moscow.

Russia and Iran have discussed an oil-for-products initiative for years. Initially, it was supposed to help Tehran evade the oil trade embargo imposed by the United States, European Union (EU) and their partners. When those sanctions were lifted as part of the 2015 nuclear deal, the initiative was expected to compensate for Iran's lack of financial reserves, which kept Tehran from paying for imports of Russian equipment in hard currency. However, after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and began reimposing sanctions, the oil-for-products deal again gained importance as a way to evade sanctions.

In November 2017, Moscow received 1 million barrels from Iran as payment for railroad equipment imported from Russia, and arrangements were in the works for Russia to buy an additional 5 million tons of oil in 2018. Indeed, in January and February there were reports of some oil dispatches transferred from Iran to Russian companies. Yet, by March, they stopped . Moscow still plans to revive the deal in 2019, though it might never happen.

On the one hand, Russia has had problems finding buyers for Iranian oil. Concerned about the US sanctions, potential clients refused to purchase it. On the other hand, Iran's main hopes for sanctions relief are more connected to the EU than Russia. There is a strong belief in Tehran that Europeans will be able to offset the negative influence of US economic pressure on Iran. The EU wants to salvage as much of the nuclear deal as possible. Yet the strength of Tehran's belief is hard to explain: Large EU companies have already pulled out of Iran. The EU officials Al-Monitor interviewed openly said that Tehran should not expect a lot from Brussels.

Though Russian and Iranian officials have an on-again, off-again marriage of convenience, Iran's general public and its elite strongly oppose any substantial deals with Moscow. Russia is not trusted or welcomed by Iranians and the countries have a long history of differences . A well-informed and respected Iranian expert on Tehran's foreign policy told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity that a Russian oil-for-products initiative would be difficult to implement.

"A large part of Iranian society believes that giving our oil to Russia -- especially at the discounted prices -- is no better than agreeing to Trump's demands," he said.

[Nov 05, 2018] New Iran Sanctions Risk Long-Term US Isolation

Nov 05, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Patrick Lawrence via ConsortiumNews.com,

The U.S. is going for the jugular with new Iran sanctions intended to punish those who trade with Teheran. But the U.S. may have a fight on its hands in a possible post- WWII turning-point...

The next step in the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran has begun, with the most severe sanctions being re-imposed on the Islamic Republic. Crucially, they apply not only to Iran but to anyone who continues to do business with it.

It's not yet clear how disruptive this move will be. While the U.S. intention is to isolate Iran, it is the U.S. that could wind up being more isolated. It depends on the rest of the world's reaction, and especially Europe's.

The issue is so fraught that disputes over how to apply the new sanctions have even divided Trump administration officials.

The administration is going for the jugular this time. It wants to force Iranian exports of oil and petrochemical products down to as close to zero as possible. As the measures are now written, they also exclude Iran from the global interbank system known as SWIFT.

It is hard to say which of these sanctions is more severe. Iran's oil exports have already started falling. They peaked at 2.7 million barrels a day last May -- just before Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the six-nation accord governing Iran's nuclear programs. By early September oil exports were averaging a million barrels a day less .

In August the U.S. barred Iran's purchases of U.S.-dollar denominated American and foreign company aircraft and auto parts. Since then the Iranian rial has crashed to record lows and inflation has risen above 30 percent.

Revoking Iran's SWIFT privileges will effectively cut the nation out of the dollar-denominated global economy. But there are moves afoot, especially by China and Russia, to move away from a dollar-based economy.

The SWIFT issue has caused i nfighting in the administration between Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser who is among the most vigorous Iran hawks in the White House. Mnuchin might win a temporary delay or exclusions for a few Iranian financial institutions, but probably not much more.

On Sunday, the second round of sanctions kicked in since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Obama administration-backed, nuclear agreement, which lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for stringent controls on its nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly certified that the deal is working and the other signatories -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia have not pulled out and have resumed trading with Iran. China and Russia have already said they will ignore American threats to sanction it for continuing economic relations with Iran. The key question is what will America's European allies do?

Europeans React

Europe has been unsettled since Trump withdrew in May from the nuclear accord. The European Union is developing a trading mechanism to get around U.S. sanctions. Known as a Special Purpose Vehicle , it would allow European companies to use a barter system similar to how Western Europe traded with the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Juncker: Wants Euro-denominated trading

EU officials have also been lobbying to preserve Iran's access to global interbank operations by excluding the revocation of SWIFT privileges from Trump's list of sanctions. They count Mnuchin,who is eager to preserve U.S. influence in the global trading system, among their allies. Some European officials, including Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, propose making the euro a global trading currency to compete with the dollar.

Except for Charles de Gaulle briefly pulling France out of NATO in 1967 and Germany and France voting on the UN Security Council against the U.S. invading Iraq in 2003, European nations have been subordinate to the U.S. since the end of the Second World War.

The big European oil companies, unwilling to risk the threat of U.S. sanctions, have already signaled they intend to ignore the EU's new trade mechanism. Total SA, the French petroleum company and one of Europe's biggest, pulled out of its Iran operations several months ago.

Earlier this month a U.S. official confidently predicted there would be little demand among European corporations for the proposed barter mechanism.

Whether Europe succeeds in efforts to defy the U.S. on Iran is nearly beside the point from a long-term perspective. Trans-Atlantic damage has already been done. A rift that began to widen during the Obama administration seems about to get wider still.

Asia Reacts

Asian nations are also exhibiting resistance to the impending U.S. sanctions. It is unlikely they could absorb all the exports Iran will lose after Nov. 4, but they could make a significant difference. China, India, and South Korea are the first, second, and third-largest importers of Iranian crude; Japan is sixth. Asian nations may also try to work around the U.S. sanctions regime after Nov. 4.

India is considering purchases of Iranian crude via a barter system or denominating transactions in rupees. China, having already said it would ignore the U.S. threat, would like nothing better than to expand yuan-denominated oil trading, and this is not a hard call: It is in a protracted trade war with the U.S., and an oil-futures market launched in Shanghai last spring already claims roughly 14 percent of the global market for "front-month" futures -- contracts covering shipments closest to delivery.

Trump: Unwittingly playing with U.S. long-term future

As with most of the Trump administration's foreign policies, we won't know how the new sanctions will work until they are introduced. There could be waivers for nations such as India; Japan is on record asking for one. The E.U.'s Special Purpose Vehicle could prove at least a modest success at best, but this remains uncertain. Nobody is sure who will win the administration's internal argument over SWIFT.

Long-term Consequences for the U.S.

The de-dollarization of the global economy is gradually gathering momentum. The orthodox wisdom in the markets has long been that competition with the dollar from other currencies will eventually prove a reality, but it will not be one to arrive in our lifetimes. But with European and Asian reactions to the imminent sanctions against Iran it could come sooner than previously thought.

The coalescing of emerging powers into a non-Western alliance -- most significantly China, Russia, India, and Iran -- starts to look like another medium-term reality. This is driven by practical rather than ideological considerations, and the U.S. could not do more to encourage this if it tried. When Washington withdrew from the Iran accord, Moscow and Beijing immediately pledged to support Tehran by staying with its terms.If the U.S. meets significant resistance, especially from its allies, it could be a turning-point in post-Word War II U.S. dominance.

Supposedly Intended for New Talks

All this is intended to force Iran back to the negotiating table for a rewrite of what Trump often calls "the worst deal ever." Tehran has made it clear countless times it has no intention of reopening the pact, given that it has consistently adhered to its terms and that the other signatories to the deal are still abiding by it.

The U.S. may be drastically overplaying its hand and could pay the price with additional international isolation that has worsened since Trump took office.

Washington has been on a sanctions binge for years. Those about to take effect seem recklessly broad. This time, the U.S. risks lasting alienation even from those allies that have traditionally been its closest.

[Nov 03, 2018] NatGasDude

Nov 03, 2018 | community.oilprice.com

+ 45 DR Members + 45 28 posts Posted Wednesday at 03:48 AM

On ‎10‎/‎18‎/‎2018 at 11:38 PM, Jan van Eck said: The problem that Qatar faces is one of population and geography. Qatar is dominantly Sunni, but not the really severe branch that envelops KSA. And it sits next door to Bahrain, which is apparently about 70% Shia. Qatar also juts way out into the Gulf, and is thus a convenient sea-land bridge from Iran. Were Iran to go for a land invasion of KSA, then crossing into Qatar with landing craft, or seizing a Qatari airport, is logical. To prevent this, the USA has built a major air base in Qatar, specifically to cut off this route. That big US base is a natural (and juicy) target for Iran should a shooting war break out, and the USA join in against Iran (and that would be logical).

Meanwhile Qatar has this bizarre and unfathomable dysfunctional relationship with MbS, and a very difficult relationship with Bahrain, which has cut off diplomatic relations and sent the Qatari diplomats packing, in 2017. Now Iran is under sanctions, which is stressing their cash receipts. Iran pushes back, against their ideological and religious rivals and enemies the Sunnis, by threatening to either invade or to sink tankers with gas coming out of Qatar. The problem for gas LNG tankers is that the stuff is kept docile by bringing the temp down to minus 176 degrees. If you whack an LNG tanker with a torpedo and breach the container spheres, easy enough to do, then that ship is likely to blow up; one little spark and all that gas will be a salient lesson for all the others.

The deterrent effect of this will be that nobody will dare to tempt fate by sending in an LNG tanker. So Iran can shut down LNG traffic without firing a shot, all they have to do is go crazy and start threatening. Iran has these subs that can go sit on the bottom of the Gulf and pop up to launch a torpedo, and everyone knows it. That is one heck of a deterrent.

Meanwhile you have Europe now heavily dependent on gas. Either the Europeans continue to genuflect to the Russians, which some Europeans at least find unpalatable, or they have to find an alternative source. That is likely going to be the USA. I predict that the aggressions of the Russians, and the problems of Qatar in any real ability to fill long-term contracts, and the threat of force-majeure hovering in the background, brings Europe to buy US LNG.

Qatar delivered 80 million tons last year, as number 1 LNG exporter by a long shot. Australia trailed behind at 56 million, followed by Malaysia 26M, Nigeria 21M, Indonesia 16M, USA 13M, Algeria 12M.

Qatar was responsible for 17M tons exported to EU, followed by Algeria at 10.4M. US Liquefaction capacity is estimated to match the whole Middle East by 2025 with Calcasieu, LA at 4 bcf/day, Brownsville, TX at 3.6 bcf/day; Plaquemines at 3.4 bcf/day; and Nikiski Alaska at 2.6 Bcf/day for the Asian market.

BP has its new 'Partnership Fleet', Shell is chartering heavily and owns a large fleet as well. Gaslog has over 25 modern large capacity vessels on the water, and the order book for 2019-2020 deliveries is extensive, and they will be available for US to EU transport (Tellurian and Cheniere have already chartered Gaslog ships for their exclusive use)

The catch here is that Russia is delivering 10.8 million tons per year via Yamal, and their upcoming Arctic 2LNG that will be on the ice in the Arctic circle adding even more to that production. They have a fleet delivering year round of Teekay and Dynagas ice breaker LNG carriers, and their primary clients have been Belgium, France and Spain during their debut ice breaking season. They are centrally located to maximize deliveries to Asia and Europe.

I doubt that Russia will cut off Europe after spending all that money to secure liquefaction and transport capabilities in the Arctic, but who knows. They are geared up to deliver to Asia, but could only do so in the Summer months, or during the Winter months with the assistance of a Nuclear Icebreaker to lead the ships.

Honestly, I hope that Germany completes the Hamburg LNG Terminal quickly and begins buying US LNG so that we can diversify from our usual Mexico, S Korea, Japan, Spain, Portugal, Chile, Egypt, Jordan clientele. Germany consumed over 90 million CBM of natural gas last year (controversial because they stopped 'officially' disclosing the numbers after 2016, these are OECD estimates from the IEA), and are getting close to Japan's 120 million CBM.

Qatar/Iran tensions could be the perfect storm for a US to EU energy boom.

[Nov 01, 2018] If the Khashoggi Affair was planned as a warning to Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, then the US knew exactly what was going to happen in the consulate. It was coupled with an immediate and orchestrated MSM reaction that was curiously detailed, and delivered at high volume.

Notable quotes:
"... The key point from my POV was the immediate MSM blanket coverage with every detail explained. No investigation, research, doubts or questions. ..."
"... The US MSM is a propaganda tool and they were pre-prepared, so some US deep state group knew that Bin Salman's bodyguard was heading to the consulate and what they planned to do there (and maybe even set them up to do it). ..."
Nov 01, 2018 | www.unz.com

Miro23 says: October 30, 2018 at 5:45 am GMT 600 Words

The Saudis also support the system of petrodollars, which basically requires nearly all international purchases of petroleum to be paid in dollars. Petrodollars in turn enable the United States to print money for which there is no backing knowing that there will always be international demand for dollars to buy oil.

I would emphasize this aspect, except that MbS doesn't so much support the PetroDollar as the PetroYuan, and this is more than troubling for the US since the PetroDollar is essential to the dollar's world reserve currency status.

Many American economists have expressed alarm at Saudi Arabia's willingness to borrow in Chinese yuan, as Riyadh's decision could cause other oil-exporting countries to abandon the U.S. dollar in favor of the "petro-yuan." A marked decline in the use of the U.S. dollar as the preferred credit-issuing currency by oil-producing countries would greatly weaken the U.S. dollar's long-term viability as a global reserve currency.

As the United States views its alliance with Saudi Arabia as the lynchpin of its Middle East strategy, Washington will likely react strongly if Riyadh uses its influence within OPEC to strengthen the Chinese yuan. As Saudi Arabia remains dependent on U.S. arms sales to pursue its geopolitical objectives in the Middle East and counter Iran, intense U.S. pressure would likely cause Riyadh to distance itself from Beijing, limiting economic integration between the two countries.

https://thediplomat.com/2018/02/the-risks-of-the-china-saudi-arabia-partnership/

It is no coincidence that these statements from the Crown Prince come days after the official launch of China's Petroyuan. As every historical trend indicates, the world's most powerful economy dictates which currency will be used in most international transactions. This continues to be the case with the US in respect of Dollar, but as China gets set to fully overtake the US as the world's leading economy, the Dollar will inevitably be replaced by the Yuan.

China's issuing of oil futures contracts in Petroyuan is the clearest indication yet that China is keen to make its presence as the world's largest energy consumer known and that it would clearly prefer to purchase oil from countries like Saudi Arabia in its own currency in the future, quite possibly in the near future.

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince appears to understand this trajectory in the global energy markets and furthermore, he realises that in order to be able to leverage the tremendous amount of US pressure that will come down on Riaydh in order to force Saudi Arbia to avoid the Petroyuan, Riyadh will need to embrace other potential partners, including China.

More than anything else, the Petroyuan will have an ability to transform Saudi Arabia by limiting its negative international characteristics that Muhammad bin Salman himself described. As a pseudo-satellite state of the US during the Cold War, Muhammad bin Salman admitted that his country's relationship to the US was that of subservience. China does not make political let alone geopolitical demands of its partners, but China is nevertheless keen to foster de-escalations in tensions among all its partners based on the win-win principles of peace through prosperity as articulated on a regular basis by President Xi Jinping.

Thus one could see China's policies of political non-interference rub off on a potential future Saudi partner, in the inverse way that the US policies of ultra-interventionism are often forced upon its partners. Thus, whatever ideological views Muhammad bin Salman does or does not have, he clearly knows where the wind is blowing: in the direction of China.

https://astutenews.com/2018/03/29/saudi-crown-prince-muhammad-bin-salman-blames-america-for-spread-of-wahhabism-as-petro-yuan-beckons/

If the Khashoggi Affair was planned as a warning to Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, then the US knew exactly what was going to happen in the consulate. It was coupled with an immediate and orchestrated MSM reaction that was curiously detailed, and delivered at high volume.

chris , says: October 30, 2018 at 11:02 am GMT

Yeah, the US will never get rid of the Saudi regime but will always be dangling the sword right above their necks, and not just figuratively.

Besides the tangible benefits of the 'strategic' control of oil resources, which the US believes it needs to control in order to dominate Western Europe and its Asian allies, the Saudis also function as the CIA's private slush fund for off-the-books operations like Iran-Contra and many others which surface in the news from time to time. Thus, the CIA controls such vast sums through the Saudis as to make their budgets effectively limitless.

During his triumphant tour of the US earlier this year, the Saudi King said something which I found shocking and incredibly revealing in the way the story dropped like a stone making absolutely no ripples anywhere in the MSM, nor in the alternative media for that matter.

When asked about Saudi funding of Wahhabism around the world, he said that 'the allies (presumably US and UK) had 'asked' the Saudis to 'use their resources' to create the Madrassas and Wahhabi centers to prevent prevent inroads in Muslim countries by the Soviets (a premise which is very questionable in the ME context after the fall of Nasser).

Now that seems to be the story of the century because it reveals the operating method of the CIA wrt the Saudis. And even though MBS was trying to only reveal the distant roots of the system they put in place, there is absolutely no logical reason why any part of this system would have been subsequently dismantled; 911 notwithstanding. The continuing US/Israeli support for and generous use of jihadis in Libya, Syria, etc. only reinforces this point.

This is ultimately the greatest impediment to anything changing the status quo.

virgile , says: Website October 30, 2018 at 12:02 pm GMT
If the consulate was bugged , the Turks must have known the plan to abduct kashooggi.
They let it happen, and now that the abduction turned into a murder, they are accomplice.
Miro23 , says: October 30, 2018 at 12:06 pm GMT
@Mark James

US knew exactly what was going to happen in the consulate.

I doubt the US knew "exactly", but they likely knew something bad (a kidnapping perhaps?) was a strong probability. Alas I wish Khashoggi had been warned. Too it seems very odd he was willing to set foot in a Saudi embassy anywhere? Maybe Director Haspel can explain.

Supposedly Khashoggi's smart phone picked it all up and filmed his own murder ??

More likely the room was prepared, and Khashoggi was following US instructions/assurances in going there. The key point from my POV was the immediate MSM blanket coverage with every detail explained. No investigation, research, doubts or questions.

The US MSM is a propaganda tool and they were pre-prepared, so some US deep state group knew that Bin Salman's bodyguard was heading to the consulate and what they planned to do there (and maybe even set them up to do it).

One question is whether the Halloween show was aimed at removing Bin Salman or just getting him back in line.

Amanda , says: October 30, 2018 at 1:58 pm GMT
Sibel Edmonds has been following this story from Turkey (she speaks Turkish) and posting her thoughts and findings on twitter. She seems to think this is about some kind of soft coup (get rid of MBS b/c getting too cozy with Russia/China, Euroasia). Sibel also says Khashoggi was actually in Istanbul working with some kind of Soros NGO, maybe for future Color Revolution/Arab Spring in the Middle East.

Sibel Edmonds @sibeledmonds As Predicted (OnRecord) One Of 3 Objectives in #Scripted #Khashoggi Case: Get #Trump- Replace BS #RussiaGate with #SaudiGate. (Screenshot Coming In Reply)- – "Khashoggi fiancee hits at Trump response, warns of 'money' influence"

Sibel Edmonds‏ @sibeledmonds Oct 27
Very Important #Khashoggi Continued: #Khashoggi Relocated To #Turkey To Be a Part of a Business-ThinkTank-NGO. He set up a business here. He opened Bank Accounts. He bought a house/expansive Flat. He traveled to #London from #Istanbul paid handsomely by #Neoliberal #DeepState

AnonFromTN , says: October 30, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
Jamal Khashoggi did not die for nothing. His murder was part of the plot to push current de-facto ruler of the Saudi royal crime family aside.

On the moral side, considering who Khashoggi was, one can only say "serves him right". However, all the other players involved, the Saudis, Israel, Turkey, and the US, are by no means morally superior to him. His murder and essential non-reaction by others are useful, as these events unmasked the hypocrites, who are showing their true colors even as we speak.

Mike P , says: October 30, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
UK Was Aware of Saudi Plot Against Khashoggi Weeks in Advance: Report
ChuckOrloski , says: October 30, 2018 at 7:12 pm GMT
@SolontoCroesus Hi again, S2C,

Should have added that the Kashoggi murder & extremely strange aftermath, dulled US political response, smacks of a scene from the film "V for Vendetta."

Thanks!

JLK , says: October 30, 2018 at 7:41 pm GMT
If I were the Saudis, I'd watch my wallet.
Anon [159] Disclaimer , says: October 31, 2018 at 1:46 am GMT
"There is every indication that the U.S. is not in fact seeking to punish the Saudis for their alleged role in Khashoggi's apparent murder but instead to punish them for reneging on this $15 billion deal to U.S. weapons giant Lockheed Martin, which manufactures the THAAD system.

S-400 gamechanger. / Saudi Plan to Purchase Russian S-400:

https://www.mintpressnews.com/angered-by-saudi-plan-to-purchase-russian-s-400-trump-admin-exploiting-khashoggi-disappearance-to-force-saudis-to-buy-american/250717/

Miro23 , says: October 31, 2018 at 3:41 am GMT
@Colin Wright Thanks for the link. Now we can see that Empire had previously turned against MbS, and that the scripted Khashoggi affair conveniently arrived on cue – with MbS getting the full MSM treatment.

In other words the deep state knew exactly what was going to happen in the consulate that day, set it up and recorded it themselves (nothing to do with Khashoggi's smart phone).

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-saudi-dissident-prince-flies-home-tackle-mbs-succession-58983364

Prince Ahmad bin Abdulaziz, the younger brother of King Salman, has returned to Saudi Arabia after a prolonged absence in London, to mount a challenge to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman or find someone who can.

The source said that the prince returned "after discussion with US and UK officials", who assured him they would not let him be harmed and encouraged him to play the role of usurper.

Meanwhile, in Washington disquiet grows.

Writing in the New York Times, former national security advisor to the Obama administration and US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice said: "Looking ahead, Washington must act to mitigate the risks to our own interests. We should not rupture our important relationship with the kingdom, but we must make clear it cannot be business as usual so long as Prince Mohammed continues to wield unlimited power.

"It should be United States policy, in conjunction with our allies, to sideline the crown prince in order to increase pressure on the royal family to find a steadier replacement," she added.

Erebus , says: October 31, 2018 at 5:36 am GMT
@Miro23 The mainstream narrative has had "Psyop" written all over it from the first. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that Khashoggi is still alive and languishing in an undisclosed location with only the Skripals for company.
ChuckOrloski , says: October 31, 2018 at 2:44 pm GMT
@Bill Jones An interesting bullet-sentence, Bill Jones said to me: "The strange and dulled aftermath in the US is, I believe, because the lesson was not really meant for US audiences."

Greetings, Bill!

Lessons on dramatic world events are cunningly spun to insouciant & government-trusting Americans. The weird Jamal Kashoggi murder is an excellent example among hundreds to choose from!

Fyi, along with FDR administration's cooperation, Zionists helped gin-up war fervor in order to get the US into World War 2. Such deception resulted in unnecessarily sending-off another round of American "doughboys" into world war.

Fyr, as recovered from America's Memory Hole Knowledge Disposal / Sewer System," below is a great Pat Buchanan article titled, "Who forged it?"

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article4065.htm

[Oct 27, 2018] The EU Russia China Plan to Avert Iran Oil Sanctions by F. William Engdahl

Notable quotes:
"... The fact that the US dollar remains the overwhelming dominant currency for international trade and financial transactions gives Washington extraordinary power over banks and companies in the rest of the world. That's the financial equivalent of a neutron bomb. That might be about to change, though it's by no means a done deal yet. ..."
"... German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Handelsblatt, a leading German business daily, "Europe should not allow the U.S. to act over our heads and at our expense. For that reason, it's essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels that are independent of the US, creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent SWIFT system ." ..."
"... In addition to the recent statements from the German Foreign Minister, France is discussing expanding the Iran SPV to create a means of insulating the EU economies from illegal extraterritorial sanctions like the secondary sanctions that punish EU companies doing business in Iran by preventing them from using the dollar or doing business in the USA. ..."
"... F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook." https://journal-neo.org/2018/10/23/the-eu-russia-china-plan-to-avert-iran-oil-sanctions/ ..."
Oct 27, 2018 | journal-neo.org

It may well be that the unilateral wrecking ball politics of the Trump Administration are bringing about a result just opposite from that intended. Washington's decision to abandon the Iran nuclear agreement and impose severe sanctions on companies trading Iran oil as of 4 November, is creating new channels of cooperation between the EU, Russia, China and Iran and potentially others. The recent declaration by Brussels officials of creation of an unspecified Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to legally avoid US dollar oil trade and thereby US sanctions, might potentially spell the beginning of the end of the Dollar System domination of the world economy.

According to reports from the last bilateral German-Iran talks in Teheran on October 17, the mechanisms of a so-called Special Purpose Vehicle that would allow Iran to continue to earn from its oil exports, will begin implementation in the next days. At end of September EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini confirmed plans to create such an independent trade channel, noting, "no sovereign country or organization can accept that somebody else decides with whom you are allowed to do trade with ."

The SPV plan is reportedly modelled on the Soviet barter system used during the cold war to avert US trade sanctions, where Iran oil would be in some manner exchanged for goods without money. The SPV agreement would reportedly involve the European Union, Iran, China and Russia.

According to various reports out of the EU the new SPV plan involves a sophisticated barter system that can avoid US Treasury sanctions. As an example, Iran could ship crude oil to a French firm, accrue credit via the SPV, much like a bank. That could then be used to pay an Italian manufacturer for goods shipped the other way, without any funds traversing through Iranian hands or the normal banking system.A multinational European state-backed financial intermediary would be set up to handle deals with companies interested in Iran transactions and with Iranian counter-parties. Any transactions would not be transparent to the US, and would involve euros and sterling rather than dollars.

It's an extraordinary response to what Washington has called a policy of all-out financial war against Iran, that includes threats to sanction European central banks and the Brussels-based SWIFT interbank payments network if they maintain ties to Iran after November 4. In the post-1945 relations between Western Europe and Washington such aggressive measures have not been seen before.It's forcing some major rethinking from leading EU policy circles.

New Banking Architecture

The background to the mysterious initiative was presented in June in a report titled, Europe, Iran and Economic Sovereignty: New Banking Architecture in Response to US Sanctions. The report was authored by Iranian economist Esfandyar Batmanghelidj and Axel Hellman, a Policy Fellow at the European Leadership Network (ELN), a London-based policy think tank .

The report proposes its new architecture should have two key elements. First it will be based on "gateway banks" designated to act as intermediaries between Iranian and EU commercial banks tied to the Special Purpose Vehicle. The second element is that it would be overseen by an EU-Office of Foreign Asset Controls or EU-OFAC, modeled on the same at the US Treasury, but used for facilitating legal EU-Iran trade, not for blocking it. Their proposed EU-OFAC among other functions would undertake creating certification mechanisms for due diligence on the companies doing such trade and "strengthen EU legal protections for entities engaged in Iran trade and investment ."

The SPV reportedly is based on this plan using designated Gateway Banks, banks in the EU unaffected by Washington "secondary sanctions," as they do not do business in the US and focus on business with Iran. They might include select state-owned German Landesbanks, certain Swiss private banks such as the Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank (EIH), a European bank established specifically to engage in trade finance with Iran. In addition, select Iran banks with offices in the EU could be brought in.

Whatever the final result, it is clear that the bellicose actions of the Trump Administration against trade with Iran is forcing major countries into cooperation that ultimately could spell the demise of the dollar hegemony that has allowed a debt-bloated US Government to finance a de facto global tyranny at the expense of others.

EU-Russia-China

During the recent UN General Assembly in New York, Federica Mogherini said the SPV was designed to facilitate payments related to Iran's exports – including oil –so long as the firms involved were carrying out legitimate business under EU law. China and Russia are also involved in the SPV. Potentially Turkey, India and other countries could later join.

Immediately, as expected, Washington has reacted. At the UN US Secretary of State and former CIA head Mike Pompeo declared to an Iran opposition meeting that he was "disturbed and indeed deeply disappointed" by the EU plan. Notably he said ""This is one of the of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional and global peace and security." Presumably the Washington plan for economic war against Iranis designed to foster regional and global peace and security?

Non-US SWIFT?

One of the most brutal weapons in the US Treasury financial warfare battery is the ability to force the Brussels-based SWIFT private interbank clearing system to cut Iran off from using it. That was done with devastating effect in 2012 when Washington pressured the EU to get SWIFT compliance, a grave precedent that sent alarm bells off around the world.

The fact that the US dollar remains the overwhelming dominant currency for international trade and financial transactions gives Washington extraordinary power over banks and companies in the rest of the world. That's the financial equivalent of a neutron bomb. That might be about to change, though it's by no means a done deal yet.

In 2015 China unveiled its CIPS or China International Payments System. CIPS was originally viewed as a future China-based alternative to SWIFT. It would offer clearing and settlement services for its participants in cross-border RMB payments and trade. Unfortunately, a Chinese stock market crisis forced Beijing to downscale their plans, though a skeleton of infrastructure is there.

In another area, since late 2017 Russia and China have discussed possible linking their bilateral payments systems bypassing the dollar. China's Unionpay system and Russia's domestic payment system, known as Karta Mir, would be linked directly .

More recently leading EU policy circles have echoed such ideas, unprecedented in the post-1944 era. In August, referring to the unilateral US actions to block oil and other trade with Iran, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told Handelsblatt, a leading German business daily, "Europe should not allow the U.S. to act over our heads and at our expense. For that reason, it's essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels that are independent of the US, creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent SWIFT system ."

A Crack in the Dollar Edifice

How far the EU is willing to defy Washington on the issue of trade with Iran is not yet clear. Most probably Washington via NSA and other means can uncover the trades of the EU-Iran-Russia-China SPV.

In addition to the recent statements from the German Foreign Minister, France is discussing expanding the Iran SPV to create a means of insulating the EU economies from illegal extraterritorial sanctions like the secondary sanctions that punish EU companies doing business in Iran by preventing them from using the dollar or doing business in the USA. French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Agnes Von der Muhll, stated that in addition to enabling companies to continue to trade with Iran, that the SPV would, "create an economic sovereignty tool for the European Union beyond this one case. It is therefore a long-term plan that will protect European companies in the future from the effect of illegal extraterritorial sanctions ."

If this will be the case with the emerging EU Special Purpose Vehicle, it will create a gaping crack in the dollar edifice. Referring to the SPV and its implications, Jarrett Blanc, former Obama State Department official involved in negotiating the Iran nuclear agreement noted that, "The payment mechanism move opens the door to a longer-term degradation of US sanctions power."

At present the EU has displayed effusive rhetoric and loud grumbling against unilateral US economic warfare and extraterritorial imposition of sanctions such as those against Russia. Their resolve to potently move to create a genuine alternative to date has been absent. So too is the case so far in other respects for China and Russia. Will the incredibly crass US sanctions war on Iran finally spell the beginning of the end of the dollar domination of the world economy it has held since Bretton Woods in 1945?

My own feeling is that unless the SPV in whatever form utilizes the remarkable technological advantages of certain of the blockchain or ledger technologies similar to the US-based XRP or Ripple, that would enable routing payments across borders in a secure and almost instantaneous way globally, it won't amount to much. It's not that European IT programmers lack the expertise to develop such, and certainly not the Russians. After all one of the leading blockchain companies was created by a Russian-born Canadian named Vitalik Buterin. The Russian Duma is working on new legislation regarding digital currencies, though the Bank of Russia still seems staunchly opposed. The Peoples' Bank of China is rapidly developing and testing a national cryptocurrency, ChinaCoin. Blockchain technologies are widely misunderstood, even in government circles such as the Russian Central Bank that ought to see it is far more than a new "South Sea bubble." The ability of a state-supervised payments system to move value across borders, totally encrypted and secure is the only plausible short-term answer to unilateral sanctions and financial wars until a more civilized order among nations is possible.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine "New Eastern Outlook."
https://journal-neo.org/2018/10/23/the-eu-russia-china-plan-to-avert-iran-oil-sanctions/

[Oct 25, 2018] Europe's Gas Game Just Took A Wild Twist

Oct 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tim Daiss via Oilprice.com,

Despite the almost unprecedented divisive nature of Donald J. Trump's presidency, he is chalking up some impressive foreign policy victories, including finally bringing Beijing to task over its decades long unfair trade practices, stealing of intellectual property rights, and rampant mercantilism that has given its state-run companies unfair trade advantages and as a result seen Western funds transform China to an emerging world power alongside the U.S.

Now, it looks as if Trump's recent tirade against America's European allies over its geopolitically troubling reliance on Russian gas supply may also be bearing fruit. On Tuesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that earlier this month German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered government support to efforts to open up Germany to U.S. gas, in what the report called "a key concession to President Trump as he tries to loosen Russia's grip on Europe's largest energy market."

German concession

Over breakfast earlier this month, Merkel told a small group of German lawmakers that the government had made a decision to co-finance the construction of a $576 million liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in northern Germany, people familiar with the development said.

The project had been postponed for at least a decade due to lack of government support, according to reports, but is now being thrust to the center of European-U.S. geopolitics. Though media outlets will mostly spin the development, this is nonetheless a geopolitical and diplomatic win for Trump who lambasted Germany in June over its Nordstream 2 pipeline deal with Russia.

In a televised meeting with reporters and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg before a NATO summit in Brussels, Trump said at the time it was "very inappropriate" that the U.S. was paying for European defense against Russia while Germany, the biggest European economy, was supporting gas deals with Moscow.

Both the tone and openness of Trumps' remarks brought scathing rebukes both at home and among EU allies, including most media outlets. However, at the end of the day, it appears that the president made a fair assessment of the situation. Russia, for its part, vehemently denies any nefarious motives over its gas supply contacts with its European customers, though Moscow's actions in the past dictate otherwise.

Moscow also claims that the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline is a purely commercial venture. The $11 billion gas pipeline will stretch some 759 miles (1,222 km), running on the bed of the Baltic Sea from Russian gas fields to Germany, bypassing existing land routes over Ukraine, Poland and Belarus. It would double the existing Nord Stream pipeline's current annual capacity of 55 bcm and is expected to become operational by the end of next year.

Russia, who stands the most to lose not only in terms of regional hegemony, but economically as well, if Germany pushes through with plans to now build as many as three LNG terminals, always points out that Russian pipeline gas is cheaper and will remain cheaper for decades compared to U.S. LNG imports.

While that assessment is correct, what Moscow is missing, or at least not admitting, is a necessary German acquiescence to Washington. Not only does the EU's largest economy need to stay out of Trump's anti-trade cross hairs, it still needs American leadership in both NATO and in Europe as well.

Russian advantages

Without U.S. leadership in Europe, a vacuum would open that Moscow would try to fill, most likely by more gas supply agreements. However, Russia's gas monopoly in both Germany and in Europe will largely remain intact for several reasons.

First, Russian energy giant Gazprom, which has control over Russia's network of pipelines to Europe, supplies close to 40 percent of Europe's gas needs.

Second, Russia's gas exports to Europe rose 8.1 percent last year to a record level of 193.9 bcm, even amid concerns over Russia's cyber espionage allegations, and its activities in Syria, the Ukraine and other places.

Moreover, Russian gas is indeed as cheap as the country claims and will remain that way for decades. Using a Henry Hub gas price of $2.85/MMBtu as a base, Gazprom recently estimated that adding processing and transportation costs, the price of U.S.-sourced LNG in Europe would reach $6/MMBtu or higher – a steep markup.

Henry Hub gas prices are currently trading at $3.151/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 and could even trade at lower prices in the future as Gazprom removes the commodity's oil price indexation.

[Oct 23, 2018] Bezos blog (Washington Post) does not love Saudi Arabia. Who knew?

It looks like CIA turned on MBS and want to replace him.
Oct 23, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"The Saudis say they are countering Iran, which backs the Houthis. But the Houthis are an indigenous group with legitimate grievances, and the war has only enhanced Iranian influence . As has been obvious for some time, the only solution is a negotiated settlement. But the Saudis have done their best to sabotage a U.N.-led peace process. Talks planned for Geneva in September failed when Saudi leaders would not grant safe travel guarantees to Houthi leaders." Bezos' editorial board at WaPo

---------------

Beneath the largely specious argument that Saudi Arabia has the US by the cojones economically lies the true factor that has caused the two countries to be glued together.

This factor is the Israeli success in convincing the US government, and more importantly, the American people, that Iran is a deadly enemy, a menace to the entire world, a reincarnation of Nazi Germany, and that Saudi Arabia, a country dedicated to medieval methods of operation, is an indispensable ally in a struggle to save the world from Iran. The successful effort to convince us of the reality of the Iranian menace reflects the previous successful campaign to convince us all that Iraq was also Nazi Germany come again.

The Iran information operation was probably conceived at the Moshe Dayan Center or some other Israeli think tank. and then passed on in the form of learned papers and conferences to the Foreign Ministry, the Mossad and the IDF. After adoption as government policy the Foreign ministry and Zionist organizations closely linked to media ownership in the US and Europe were tasked for dissemination of the propaganda themes involved. This has been a brilliantly executed plan. The obvious fact that Iran is not presently a threat to the US has had little effect in countering this propaganda achievement.

Last Saturday morning, the Philadelphia based commentator Michael Smerconish openly asked on his popular talk show why it is that US policy favors the Sunni Muslims over the Shia. i.e., Saudi Arabia over Iran. To hear that was for me a first. This was an obvious defiance of the received wisdom of the age. I can only hope that the man does not lose his show.

It is a great irony that the barbaric murder of a personally rather unpleasant but defiant exiled journalist has caused re-examination of the basis and wisdom of giving strategic protection to a family run dictatorship. pl

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/this-is-the-first-step-to-recalibrating-us-saudi-relations/2018/10/22/fb9eb598-d61f-11e8-a10f-b51546b10756_story.html?utm_term=.f3a1169429e7

Posted at 09:32 AM in Current Affairs , Media , Middle East , Saudi Arabia | Permalink | 3 Comment


TTG , 3 hours ago

Erdogan called the Khashoggi murder brutal and premeditated, but did not reveal any damning audio or video evidence. Elijah Magnier surmises Erdogan extracted a heavy payment from both the Saudis and the Americans in exchange for his relative silence. We shall see if the economic pressure on Turkey dissipates in the coming days and weeks.

It appears the central pillar of the Borg creed, so eloquently and precisely described here by Colonel Lang, will survive this bout of heretical thinking. Will journalists and other members of the press be able to keep challenging the Borg? With Trump so thoroughly assimilated into the Borg, will the "resistance" keep the issue of Saudi perfidy alive? I have my doubts. The Israeli information operations machine is a juggernaut. Few have the stamina and will to resist it. But it is a fight worth fighting.

Onslaw , 5 hours ago
Too little, too late to derail this Zioconned merdias campaign. Soon enough kashoggi will be forgotten and the looney toons will be back in force...
jnewman , 6 hours ago
There are some interesting threads to chew on in this:
https://off-guardian.org/20...

[Oct 23, 2018] The overplayed drama of Mr. Khashoggi assassination is going to be used by the American Oil Cartel to control the Saudis Oil output

Disaster capitalism in action ???
Notable quotes:
"... It's quite unusual to see such unanimous anti-Saudi reactions from the American political class for the assassination of Mr. Khashoggi – who was just a part-time journalist living in U.S – he was not even an American citizen ..."
"... Oil which is extracted by Fracking method that requires high Oil price above $70 to remain competitive in the global Oil market – by simultaneously sanctioning Iran, Venezuela, and the potential sanction of Saudi Arabia from exporting its Oil, the Trump Administration not only reduces the Global Oil supply which will certainly lead to the rise of Oil price, but also it lowers demand for the US Dollar-Greenback in the global oil market which could lead to subtle but steady devaluation of the US dollar. ..."
"... And perhaps that's what Trump Administration was really aiming for all along; a significant decline of the US Dollar Index and the rise of price of Oil which certainly pleases the American Oil Cartel, though at the expense of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – all of which are under some form of U.S sanctions. ..."
"... However gruesome, Mr. Khashoggi's assassination is going to be used by the Trump Administration to help the American Oil Cartel by controlling the Saudi Oil output, hence, to raise the price of Oil and to lower demand for US dollar which is the currency of the global Oil trade. ..."
Oct 23, 2018 | www.unz.com

Alistair , says: October 20, 2018 at 5:24 pm GMT

The overplayed drama of Mr. Khashoggi assassination is going to be used by the American Oil Cartel to control the Saudis Oil output.

It's quite unusual to see such unanimous anti-Saudi reactions from the American political class for the assassination of Mr. Khashoggi – who was just a part-time journalist living in U.S – he was not even an American citizen , so, it's quite unusual because the same political class remained muted about the Saudis involvement with ISIS, the bombing and starvation of civilians in Yemen and destruction of Syria, and of course the Saudis involvement in 9/11 terrorist attack in which 3000 American citizens have perished in New York, in the heart of America.

So, we must be a bit skeptical about the motive of the American Political Class, as this again could be just about the OIL Business, but this time around the objective is to help the American Oil producers as opposed to Oil consumers – with 13.8% of the global daily Oil production, the US has lately become the world top producer of Crude Oil, albeit, an expensive Oil which is extracted by Fracking method that requires high Oil price above $70 to remain competitive in the global Oil market – by simultaneously sanctioning Iran, Venezuela, and the potential sanction of Saudi Arabia from exporting its Oil, the Trump Administration not only reduces the Global Oil supply which will certainly lead to the rise of Oil price, but also it lowers demand for the US Dollar-Greenback in the global oil market which could lead to subtle but steady devaluation of the US dollar.

And perhaps that's what Trump Administration was really aiming for all along; a significant decline of the US Dollar Index and the rise of price of Oil which certainly pleases the American Oil Cartel, though at the expense of Iran, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela – all of which are under some form of U.S sanctions.

However gruesome, Mr. Khashoggi's assassination is going to be used by the Trump Administration to help the American Oil Cartel by controlling the Saudi Oil output, hence, to raise the price of Oil and to lower demand for US dollar which is the currency of the global Oil trade.

jilles dykstra , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:39 am GMT
@Alistair History has its weird twists.
Early in WWII FDR was reported that USA oil would be depleted in thirty years time.
So FDR sent Harold L Ickes to Saudi Arabia,where at the end of 1944 the country was made the USA's main oil supplier.
FDR entertained the then Saud in early 1945 on the cruiser Quincy, laying in the Bitter Lakes near the Suez Canal.
This Saud and his entourage had never seen a ship before, in any case had never been on board such a ship.

In his last speech to Congress, seated, FDR did not follow what had been written for him, but remarked 'that ten minutes with Saud taught him more about zionism than hundreds of letters of USA rabbi's.
These words do not seem to be in the official record, but one of the speech writers, Sherwood, quotes them in his book.
Robert E. Sherwood, 'Roosevelt und Hopkins', 1950, Hamburg (Roosevelt and Hopkins, New York, 1948)
If FDR also said to Congress that he would limit jewish migration to Palestine, do not now remember, but the intention existed.
A few weeks later FDR died, Sherwood comments on on some curious aspects of FDR's death, such as that the body was cremated in or near Warm Springs, and that the USA people were never informed that the coffin going from Warm Springs to Washington just contained an urn with ashes.

At present the USA does not seem to need Saudi oil.
If this causes the asserted cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel ?

Alfred , says: October 21, 2018 at 7:53 am GMT
@Harris Chandler Now it has made alliances with Israel and between them the tail wags the dog

The Saudi Royal family and the governments of Israel have always been in cahoots. They both despise and fear secular governments that are not under their own control in the Middle East. Witness the fear and dread of both of them of president Nasser in the 1960′s, for example.

[Oct 22, 2018] The man who runs such a country with largest world oil reserves is a strategic Western concern. It is important that he is pro-Western and did not try to rock the neoliberal boat

Removing Saudi's contribution of @8.5Mbbls/day from the global oil market would be a blow that Western countries might not survive.
Looks like somebody in the West want MBS out.
Notable quotes:
"... be honest -- this all seems a bit too convenient for Erdogan, and at a too convenient time. ..."
"... at the moment I cannot believe someone has so much luck like Erdogan has. He stands to gain in the short term, in the long term, tactically and (geo)strategically. From just a stroke of luck, that came to his country. That came to him, for which he didn't even need to get out of his chair? ..."
"... Maybe we're asking the wrong questions. Are factions within the CIA at work, setting up elaborate plans with the ambitious Erdogan to get rid of Trump and MbS, for the sake of what... strategically increasingly important depleting oil fields? ... a better position to strangle Iran? ..."
"... Erdogan doesn't want a Kurdistan martyr in Khasshogi either. He wants to totally controlled-dissent ..."
"... This total psyop, and every piece of 'evidence' in it, is coming from Ankara Intel operatives! ..."
"... Hey, they had two weeks of preparation. You can make a full length Blair Witchcraft in two weeks. ..."
"... Cui bono? Erdogan, Iran Oil transit and EU/RU weapons systems dea