With Libya arguably taken down for that rabble-rouser talk of backing an African gold-back currency, several readers have noted that leave only a couple of countries not hooked up to the corporate life support system: Central banks. Since those two countries are Syria and Iran, goes water cooler talk here, neither country has much prospect of peace any time soon. Since today we enter the “game-changer” window over the coming couple of weeks (plus or minus 3-days) things could get interesting really quick so if warranted, we will post weekend updates as events dictate.
As of Thursday, we had Israel’s prime minister demanding the US step up to military action should economic/oil sanctions against Iran fail to bring desired results, which near as we can figure would mean regime change.
What’s pretty obvious is that Israel has been holding back while political (and sizeable lobbying efforts) have been aimed at getting US backing while running the clock: Iran’s elections are wrapping up today and it’s the hard religious types on one side and the nationalista/hardliners on the other, although reports (such as this one) are hoping that the fervent nationalistas led by president Ahmadinejad are better held in check by more reasonable mullahs.
Unfortunately, that may not be the case: Ahmadinejad has being front and center positioning his backers as simultaneously defending the faith, facing down the West, and building for the future with nuclear power. His recent trip to Venezuela to visit Hugo Chavez was as much about form as substance, though we’d note testosterone does well in desert/dry climates.
A thoughtful story off Kashmir Watch mentions while discussing “Dangerous consequences of Attacking Iran” the idea that a combination of likely reprisal attacks around the Gulf, Russian and Chinese backing of Tehran, and setting up another “Crusaders versus us” program for Muslim extremist marketing, is not in the world’s best interests.
During all this, we wonder if the voting is being done with machines, and if so, is there backdoor code like there was….oh, we don’t need to go there, I suppose. Results should be in later today, or over the weekend, and as goes the outcome, so too will go Israel’s timing, more’n likely.
A sideshow, which has the potential to flare up around the Suez, and possibly drive Egyptians into the open arms of the Muslim Brotherhood is the pickle the US finds itself in over the recent crackdown by Egypt on US “activists” (on Western payrolls) now awaiting trial on various charges. 43-people is a decent sized bargaining chip.
The move – analogous to “Check!” in chess, is that the US spends about $1.3 billion a year in military aid (a lot of FMS/foreign military sales we’d reckon) to Egypt as an annual down payment on friendship. If we cut off military sales over this arrest business, that would cut off a few noses to spite face in the military-industrial complex here. A sort of “Damned if you do, broke if you don’t” arrangement. Check.
While we contemplate how many SS-N-22 Sunburn missiles it would take to close the Strait of Hormuz, or to use Western shipping to block the entrances to the Suez Canal, we have just scant attention left to focus on Syria.
Israel is about to test the advanced Arrow 3 system. Designed to counter Iranian missiles, the story notes.
And over in that part of the world, just a bit north of the massive Leviathan gas field find off Israel but which presumably extends into waters off Lebanon and possibly Syria, we have the Brit’s prime minister doing a Blair-clone immitation of a “day of reckoning” for the Syrian regime.
The West is up again the clock on this one as we go into the weekend: As president Assad’s forces mop up in Homs, and despite the Russians pulling some of their support, once the fighting simmers down – no doubt at a high body count – the West will lose its excuse to push NATO into an international intervention, which without key support of China and Russia at the UN, would be obviously a Western/corporate move.
I’m scratching that emerging solar panel on the top of my head wondering “What’s in it for the US and West?“ Obviously, there would be fat resupply contracts to replace flow-off armaments, but what else?
My bet is that the Leviathan gas field may be only the first of several mega-finds of natural gas in the region. My spider-sense is that satellite work may have identified similar formations more to the north and east of Cypress. Although that’s highly speculative, the West doesn’t deploy billions in hardware and military might on a whim. So it all this to pressure Turkey back into Western arms (sorry for the pun) or is there something more to it? Clock’s running and we should know soon enough.
Oh yes, the US Navy has only 30% of the fleet underway and only three carriers plus five assault ships out as of this morning. Looks like if the ME blows up, the administration really has been trying not to be sucked into the maelstrom.
Market players won’t admit to outright cowardice while smoking in the powder locker. Instead we will see headlines like “US Stock future lower as Spain will miss targets.”
We all know Spain will miss and Israel won’t, but Spain makes a better scapegoat talk than the Middle East among bulls.
New Revelations on 9/11
Remember how linguistically we’re supposed to be seeing a lot of secrets revealed in here? Well, this morning’s dose comes from “CIA Asset Susan Lindauer, who on this video here - 10-years after – explains what she knows about 9/11. Interesting hour and a half, but the short version is her view is that there was both controlled demolition and hijackings… She was held without trial five-years without trial which would make even Allende types envious. And yes the Iraq War as about money….
Naturally, when tensions are up in the Middle East, so are energy prices, even if there are millions of barrels parked in oil tankers. This chart from the Energy Information Administration sums up the move nicely:
A reported explosion on a Saudi oil pipeline is being denied, so oil chilled to (just) $108 and change.
Triple A’s fuel gauge report shows average national premium prices are up to $4.02 – notice how Thursday on to Monday, prices go up a few cents? That’s why we top off on Tuesdays…
Good CNBC report here on how “For shippers, 2012 is a Year of Crisis: Dry Bulk Operator.“
Gloomberg Bloomberg has the Baltic Dry Index back to 763 when I last looked…and the Dow futures down.
But seriously, the Dow is bound to break one way, or the other, sooner or later. The market has been trading around these levels (12,942 in the premarket) for almost a month now and sometime or other, it’s gotta let loose and move.
We’ll pay particular attention to the last couple of hours today…and we might run up to Oklahoma to compare chart notes with Robin Landry this weekend. If I do, we may have a rare Sunday update for Peoplenomics subscribers…
Oil and Money Mix
Maybe water and money don’t, especially in the Persian Gulf, but when it comes down to what will mix with oil, our Canadian news analyst friend has certain ideas about things:
“Dear Mr. Ure,
I was mystified a few days ago when MSM ran pictures of the crippled Costa Allegra taken by a puzzling source, Indian Air Force aircraft. Tonight I read that members of an Italian naval team from the Italian-flagged oil tanker Enrica Lexie were arrested following the alleged shooting deaths of two Indian fishermen on February 15. The tanker, purportedly enroute from Singapore to Fujairah was detained by Indian authorities in Kochi. By coincidence, one of the tanker insurers also covered Costa Concordia. Diplomacy and money appear to be defusing the situation.
Here is an interesting Reuters piece on Iranian oil trans-shipped to China via Singapore with mention of a connection to Western oil interests. “
In the meantime, we’re willing to buy “coincidence” on two Costa ships (the Allegra and Concordia) but a third time would be the charm which would push us into conspiratorial realms.
Most of the leaders of Europe are signing onto a pledge to work together to solve the New World Order prototype, the EU, from financial meltdown. Two countries, England and the Czech Republic, have not drunk the Kool-Aid on this one.
Requiem for a….
There seem to be two classes of readers of this site: One side is conspiracy theory types who wonder if the death of Andrew Breitbart a day before the rumored release date of Obama college videos isn’t a little suspicious.
The rest figuring it was the Wheel of Karma rolling.
O: Speaking of Which
As we told you to expect in Thursday’s column, Maricopa County Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s Cold Case Posse came back with an expected report: Yep, reason to suspect the Obama birth certificate is a forgery.
But seems like nothing is simple: There’s a federal grand jury supposedly looking into Joe’s alleged abuse of power and racial profiling and charges that sex crimes weren’t adequately investigated. Why, what a coinkydink.
So we’ll have readers to form up in two lines here: Birthers on the right, Obamacutors on the left. We won’t be counting noses…that just wouldn’t be PC would it?
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