Plato Oil as Hubert Peak in condition of rising oil prices

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Plato Oil is the moment in time when, on a global scale, the maximum rate of oil production (per year) is reached. The moment after which oil production, by nature, must decline at the same price level and the same volume can only be achieved only at higher price level. Since Earth is a closed system, next to this production event, there must be an equal demand event: Peak Oil Consumption. As higher price level tent to put economy in recession Peak oil consumption is achievable only on relative low (say below $100 per ballel price levels).  

Peak can be achieved at different time for each country on the earth that produces oil. Some some of which are already   beyond peak oil production That leads to the assumption the world as a whole soon reaches if not reached the plato oil production and from this point absolute number can only slowly decline. On consumption side while some countries like China and Arab countries (as well as other countries with rapidly growing population) still experience significant growth in oil consumption, some countries are already well beyond Peak Oil Consumption by now. That's probably true for several European countries with very low population growth.

See also Hubbert peak theory

April 27, 2016 | OilPrice.com

An extensive new scientific analysis published in Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy & Environment says that proved conventional oil reserves as detailed in industry sources are likely "overstated" by half.

According to standard sources like the Oil & Gas Journal, BP's Annual Statistical Review of World Energy, and the US Energy Information Administration, the world contains 1.7 trillion barrels of proved conventional reserves.

However, according to the new study by Professor Michael Jefferson of the ESCP Europe Business School, a former chief economist at oil major Royal Dutch/Shell Group, this official figure which has helped justify massive investments in new exploration and development, is almost double the real size of world reserves.

Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIRES) is a series of high-quality peer-reviewed publications which runs authoritative reviews of the literature across relevant academic disciplines.

According to Professor Michael Jefferson, who spent nearly 20 years at Shell in various senior roles from head of planning in Europe to director of oil supply and trading, "the five major Middle East oil exporters altered the basis of their definition of 'proved' conventional oil reserves from a 90 percent probability down to a 50 percent probability from 1984. The result has been an apparent (but not real) increase in their 'proved' conventional oil reserves of some 435 billion barrels."

Global reserves have been further inflated, he wrote in his study, by adding reserve figures from Venezuelan heavy oil and Canadian tar sands – despite the fact that they are "more difficult and costly to extract" and generally of "poorer quality" than conventional oil. This has brought up global reserve estimates by a further 440 billion barrels.

Jefferson's conclusion is stark: "Put bluntly, the standard claim that the world has proved conventional oil reserves of nearly 1.7 trillion barrels is overstated by about 875 billion barrels. Thus, despite the fall in crude oil prices from a new peak in June, 2014, after that of July, 2008, the 'peak oil' issue remains with us."

The study referred to here is: Overview A global energy assessment,

See also: Where did all the oil go? The peak is back

 


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[Jul 20, 2021] Problems with labor in oil sector are real

Jul 20, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 07/19/2021 at 10:33 pm

Rasputin.

We have owned rigs. We could never keep an operator around long enough to make it worthwhile. We had a double drum and a single drum. Mud pump. Power swivel. Power tongs on both. Testing truck. The whole enchilada.

We sold them all to a man who had worked for someone else and then went out on his own. We gave him a good deal, and he did a lot of work for us. He still does work for us, but he can't find help that will stay.

We also owned a tank truck. Sold it also. It is currently parked, the man we sold it to cannot find a driver. He is a one horse tank truck driver. He turns down work all the time. We had to shut down a lease we haul water on for a few days when he got COVID. Thankfully he recovered.

All of us around here just cannot quite believe what is going on with the oilfield labor force. It is a perfect storm.

Meanwhile, most recently we paid $5.63 per foot for 2 3/8" steel tubing, which was under $3 a year ago. We priced a 115 fiberglass tank for $6,800, would have been $3,900 a year ago.

We had a couple wells down for a few weeks because we could neither get new nor rewound motors for them.

The man who owns the backhoes, trackhoes and cranes that does contract work for us is in his 70's and has great grandkids. He works in the field daily beside his son and grandson.

One of the last rig hands we had broke into our shop last winter. He got out of jail after a few weeks and immediately got a job in a local factory. Hope he stays clean. He was a good hand when he was, and had learned to operate a single drum also.

The prosecutor in our county announced the first six months of 2021 that 162 felony cases had been filed in our small county, that in 2019 the total for the year was 204 felonies, and that 33 of the 34 jail inmates were addicted to meth.

We do have one pumper now under 50. The rest are from 51 to 63. REPLY INGRAHAMMARK7 IGNORED 07/20/2021 at 1:34 am

How much land do you have left? At one well per section how many can you drill and how long it takes? That's when your business wraps up. REPLY RASPUTIN IGNORED 07/20/2021 at 2:40 am

Holy Moly SS

I guess the days of vertical doing things in house are gone. That labor mess is unreal. However, here in nowhere USA it is hard to find good help but you can usually find help. I was so surprised at some of the job turnover even during peak covid when some businesses were restricted and some essential. How are people living that have no jobs? Over the years I hired relatives that never got it, didn't stay sober and didn't see the long term upside. Maybe it's all about today for the younger generation.

Over the past year and a half I've been following your posts including labor issues. Were they so dreadful before covid and helicopter money? It might appear to the uninformed that training rig help. pumpers and the like is easy, but it's not. One small oops for man is one huge oops for you.

Perhaps, as we move away from the false narrative that you must have a college degree to get a good or high paying job, things will improve in the trades and the oilfield.

About 20 years ago I was visiting with a substantial independent stimulation company that was having labor issues. The head honcho lamented that they had already poached all of the young guys that grew up on farms and knew machinery, getting up early and how to work. Having known a few guys and what they earned they most likely didn't point their kids at basket weaving degrees.

Sure wish I had an answer for you. Personally, I'm shrinking down to a few wells close to the house/shop/yard, one of which I could walk to for daily exercise. However, I'll run my equipment myself as long as possible.

The best to you. REPLY SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 07/20/2021 at 5:53 am

Rasputin.

The number of basically "homeless" people living here in my part of very rural USA is startling. People aren't generally sleeping in the parks. They have duffle bags and backpacks and crash place to place.

We have the tremendous labor shortage, yet the public defender and conflicts public defender have over 400 clients combined. This in a county of a little less than 20K people. That right there is the labor force for a decent sized factory around here.

To qualify for the PD you must have income below 125% of federal poverty guidelines, which is very low. During the height of COVID, nothing got done with their cases because the PD's couldn't get ahold of them. Few have cell phones that are permanent (track phones) and few have permanent addresses. The jail is full so there aren't a lot of warrants being issued for the lower level crimes. So people haven't been showing up for their court cases for months/ over a year. Our county is going to send close to 100 people to prison this year, almost all for meth delivery. This is the situation all over rural USA. People who live here and aren't in the court system are oblivious to it until they get broken into or robbed (or have an addicted relative, which many do).

The primary reason for the labor shortage here is a combination of young people moving to larger towns/cities, a very large percentage of the working age population being addicted to meth (which is now being cut with heroin, fentanyl, etc) and the significant benefits that have been paid to not work. I hate to think of how many billions of borrowed money stimulus our future generations are now indebted with that went directly into the pockets of the foreign drug cartels.

As for the oilfield, add to that the hard work, not the greatest pay in the world at the bottom end (rig hands) the need to find people who can work unsupervised outdoors, and the young people being told the industry is dead and a job in that field will soon be gone. Finally, a ton of "old timers" simply retired during COVID.

Our country has no idea how dependent we are on labor from Mexico and Central America that keeps us alive. The only farm workers are Hispanic. However, most don't want to work in the oilfield either, it seems. We just harvested green beans, and all the crew were Hispanic. The same will be the case here shortly as we harvest watermelons and cabbage. If Trump were successful and closed the borders and sent everyone back, we would starve.

The largest oil company here shut in everything it owned when oil went negative. Unfortunately for them they laid off a lot of people. Many of their wells are still idle.

Maybe we are an outlier. But I doubt it. A decent amount people at the lower end of the labor force seem to have decided they aren't going to work, and offering a lot more $$ won't bring them back. Maybe they will come back when the government benefits end.

Even the prisons can't find employees. They pay $70K+ plus great benefits. Mentally difficult work though. Also, can't have a criminal record and cannot use drugs, even pot.

Keep in mind a large percentage of the USA population now smokes or ingests pot. That doesn't work well in a lot of industries where sobriety is mandatory.

The gas station I fill up at is offering a $300 signing bonus which is paid after 30 days of no unexcused absences. $13 and hour to start at the cash register. They can't find people to take that.

I'm rambling now, and I'll stop.

Surely there are some shale basin people reading this. Could any of you comment about whether there is a labor shortage in your shale basin? If there isn't, maybe we could persuade a few of them to come to our neck of the woods and work on the simple, shallow wells. Not a lot of traveling, no weekends unless you pump, and work is daytime only. KANSAS OIL IGNORED 07/20/2021 at 9:10 am

Shallow Sand –

I echo all of your sentiments. We are a small operator in Kansas, producing about 300 bbl/day in 13 various counties. We have approximately 50-60 bbl/day offline pushing 3 weeks. We're talking 8/8ths approximately $75,000 in revenue. Pre-Covid you could count on getting a pulling unit sometimes next day if you had a mechanical failure. Now it's 3-4 weeks. $20/hour for green rig hands evidently isn't enough to move the needle, whether it's because the work is too difficult, or it's easier to keep cashing the government checks. And by my count we are in a similar situation with oil field pumpers. We have 13 of them. 2 are 50s, and the rest are all over 60. I'm in my early 40s and my field superintendent is 56. He loves to work and will probably do so until he's 70-75. When he checks out will probably be when I check out. REPLY SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 07/20/2021 at 9:55 am

Kansas Oil.

Great to hear from you.

Thanks for confirming what we are experiencing.

The big question is whether this is also going on in the shale basins, primarily Permian. If it is, don't see how USA production grows much.

I drive across Kansas on both I 70 and the South Route through Wichita to the OK panhandle quite a bit. Always keep my eyes open for whether pumping units are moving or not.

I worry about whether the huge feed lots, hog facilities and packing plants out there can find enough help. People have no clue how much of the USA is fed from the TX, OK panhandles on up through Western KS and NE.

Hang in there!

[Jul 03, 2021] Plato oil: Russia edition

Jun 30, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

POLLUX IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 5:46 am

Russia plans to cut oil exports from its Western ports by 22% in July vs June – schedule

"On a daily basis, loadings will decline by 22% in July compared to the current month, Reuters calculations showed." REPLY POLLUX IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 1:37 pm

Russia struggles to raise oil output despite price rally -sources

"Russian oil production has declined so far in June from average levels in May despite a price rally in oil market and OPEC+ output cuts easing, two sources familiar with the data told Reuters on Monday.

Russia's compliance with the OPEC+ oil output deal was at close to 100% in May, which means the state is about to exceed its target in June.

Two industry sources said that lower output levels may be due to technical issues some Russian oil producers are experiencing with output at older oilfields." RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 2:38 pm

Yes, they are definitely experiencing issues with their older oilfields, it's called depletion. But that decline is only 33,000 bpd or .3%. But your post above that one says exports in the third quarter will decline by 22%. What gives there?

Their decline in May was 23,000 bpd. OVI IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 3:25 pm

Ron

I just checked the Russia site and they have revised up their original May estimate. It is one week later than the original. Production is now down 9,000 b/d. RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 4:50 pm

Yeah, they revised it up by 14,000 pbd. A pittance. Now they are down only 9,000 bpd instead of 23,000. Nothing to get excited about. Basically, they were flat in May. JEAN-FRANÇOIS FLEURY IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 4:09 pm

"Russia plans to decrease oil loadings from its Western ports to 6.22 million tonnes for July compared to 7.75 million tonnes planned for loading in June, the preliminary schedule showed." 7,75 x 10^6 – 6,62 x 10^6 = 1130000 t. 1130000×7,3/30 = 274966 b/d. Therefore, these decrease of oil export suggests a decrease of production of 274966 b/d. Precedently, it was announced that oil exports of Russia would decrease of 7,2 % for the period July-September or a decrease of 308222 b/d. Therefore, it's coherent. https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/markets/story/Russias_quarterly_crude_oil_exports_to_drop_72_schedule-TR20210617nL5N2NY2IQX8/?fbclid=IwAR0ZjvwzjVS427CbUAzTL1vJfqog7R8CDwaJAvI3uUdaw_0z5S5l_57SGFY I notice that it concerns the "Western ports", therefore the exports toward EU and USA. Well, EU is also the main customer of Russia with 59% of the oil exports of Russia. RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 4:59 pm

Western Syberia is where all the very old supergiant fields are. They produce 60% of Russian crude oil. Or at least they used to. LIGHTSOUT IGNORED 06/29/2021 at 2:11 am

Ron
If one of the West Siberian giants is rolling over in the same way as Daquing did, things could get very interesting very quickly. RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/29/2021 at 7:24 am

Four of Russia's five giant fields are in Western Siberia. The fifth is in the Urals, on the European side. All five have been creamed with infill horizontal drilling for almost 20 years. All five are on the verge of a steep decline. Obviously, one and possibly more have already hit that point.

This linked article below is 18 months old but there is a chart here that shows where Russia's oil is coming from. Notice only a tiny part is coming from Eastern Siberia, the hope for Russia's oil future. Those hopes are fading fast.

The Worrying Truth About Russia's Oil Industry EULENSPIEGEL IGNORED 06/29/2021 at 6:32 am

As I have written a few months ago: When you reduce output voluntarily for a longer time, all the nickel nursers from accounting and controlling will cut you any investing in over capacity you can't use at the moment. That works like this in any industry.

So you have to drill these additional infills and extensions after the cut is liftet. And this will take time, while fighting against the ever lasting decline.

[Jul 03, 2021] Plato oil, Abu Dabi edition

Jul 03, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

POLLUX IGNORED 06/28/2021 at 5:42 am

Adnoc imposes deeper cuts to September crude exports

"Abu Dhabi's state-owned Adnoc has informed customers that it will implement cuts of around 15pc to client nominations of all its crude exports loading in September, even as the Opec+ coalition considers further relaxing production quotas.

It was unclear why Adnoc is deepening reductions for its September-loading term crude exports, with the decision coming ahead of the next meeting of Opec+ ministers scheduled for 1 July when the group is expected to decide on its production strategy for at least one month"

[Jun 26, 2021] I think we are heading for the confirmation of peak oil sometime between mid 2022 and late 2023

Jun 23, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

OVI IGNORED 06/19/2021 at 8:01 pm

Ron

Enjoy a fourth. I wonder how much production will drop due to Claudette.

I think we are heading for the confirmation of peak oil sometime between mid 2022 and late 2023. REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/19/2021 at 8:16 pm

What do you mean by confirmation? Do you mean they will confirm that the peak was 2018-2019? If so, I cannot agree. No, there will be deniers all the way down. There is something about the human psyche that just cannot accept reality... MATT MUSHALIK IGNORED 06/19/2021 at 8:57 pm

Thanks for continuing to monitor crude oil production. As of now, we are back to 2005 levels!

I have been looking at BP

17/6/2021
BP peak oil (UK decline, asset sales and decommissioning part 2)
https://crudeoilpeak.info/bp-peak-oil-uk-decline-asset-sales-and-decommissioning-part-2

30/4/2021
BP peak oil (UK decline, asset sales and decommissioning part 1)
https://crudeoilpeak.info/bp-peak-oil-uk-decline-asset-sales-and-decommissioning-part-1

Many problems we see are now worse than in any peak oil scenario, especially in the airline industry. So I have been looking at the numbers and found:

22/5/2021
China-Australia passenger traffic has peaked 2018-19 before Covid
https://crudeoilpeak.info/china-australia-passenger-traffic-has-peaked-2018-19-before-covid

It is also generally assumed that electric vehicles will take over.

But in Australia power generation is insufficient to support any number of EVs which would be relevant to reduce oil demand:

14/6/2021
NSW power spot price spikes May 2021 become regular (part 2)
https://crudeoilpeak.info/nsw-power-spot-price-spikes-may-2021-become-regular-part-2

7/6/2021
NSW power spot price spikes May 2021 become regular (part 1)
https://crudeoilpeak.info/nsw-power-spot-price-spikes-may-2021-become-regular-part-1

[Jun 22, 2021] Possibility of Seneca cliff are increasing

Jun 22, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

OVI IGNORED 06/17/2021 at 10:03 am

Ron

The chart is old and was published in 2016 by Wood Mackenzie and there is no data for 2016. It also leaves out the discovery of Ghawar in 1948, first bar/spike. I have not seen any updates since then. Not sure if Guyana had been discovered in 2016. The original is attached.

REPLY SCHINZY IGNORED 06/18/2021 at 5:57 am

Here is Rystad's discovery graph 2013-2019 including gas. 2019 was better than 2016-2018 in terms of BOE, but it was a bit gassy:

REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/17/2021 at 6:00 am

Is the energy transition just a fad??? Irina Slav at Oil Price.com says it is.

Energy Transition Fad Will Send Oil Sky High

Ironically, the wave of ESG investing in global energy markets may lead to much higher oil prices as a serious lack of capital expenditure on new fossil fuels dries up just as demand for crude continues to grow

Pressure from investors, tighter emissions regulation from governments, and public protests against their business have become more or less the new normal for oil companies. What the world -- or at least the most affluent parts of it -- seem to want from the oil industry is to stop being the oil industry.

Many investors are buying into this pressure. ESG investing is all the rage, and sustainable ETFs are popping up like mushrooms after a rain. But some investors are taking a different approach. They are betting on oil. Because what many in the pressure camp seem to underestimate is the fact that the supply of oil is not the only element of the oil equation.

"Imagine Shell decided to stop selling petrol and diesel today," the supermajor's CEO Ben van Beurden wrote in a LinkedIn post earlier this month. "This would certainly cut Shell's carbon emissions. But it would not help the world one bit. Demand for fuel would not change. People would fill up their cars and delivery trucks at other service stations."

Van Beurden was commenting on a Dutch court's ruling that environmentalists hailed as a landmark decision, ordering Shell to reduce its emissions footprint by 45 percent from 2019 levels by 2030.

[Jun 13, 2021] Another scenario doe Seneca cliff is that some exporting nations realize they will need this oil as the world stares into a scarcity of oil. They might say: "Shit, why are we selling this stuff when we will desperately need it for ourselves in a few years?"

Jun 13, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/13/2021 at 2:44 pm

Another scenario is that some exporting nations realize they will need this oil as the world stares into a scarcity of oil. They might say: "Shit, why are we selling this stuff when we will desperately need it for ourselves in a few years?" And as they cut back, or stop exporting altogether, the problem gets a lot worse, and prices spike even higher. REPLY DOUG LEIGHTON IGNORED 06/13/2021 at 3:34 pm

L.O.L. The decision concerning the proportion of a domestic resource that should be preserved for domestic needs, and how much to export, is interesting. China's REE deposits come to mind. Also, the impact of the immediate use of a resource versus a lower level of exploitation over time might come into play in some (perhaps unrealistic) scenarios as well. Not many examples of countries that have exhaustible natural resources saving some for future generations I'm aware of; probably would result in an unwelcome war or another ugly result!

[Jun 12, 2021] Jet Fuel Demand Poised For A 30% Surge During Summer

Jun 12, 2021 | oilprice.com

John Kilduff of Again Capital has predicted Brent to hit $80 a barrel and WTI to trade between $75 and $80 in the summer, thanks to robust gasoline demand. Brent is currently trading at $71.63 per barrel, while WTI is changing hands at $69.13.

[Jun 12, 2021] Annual Reserve Revisions Part III- Larger Independents Peak Oil Barrel

Jun 11, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

HHH IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 4:57 am

On 05/07/21 the US 10year chart formed a hammer candlestick on daily chart within a consolidation pattern. Which suggested higher yields coming. Well little over a month later price broke below the bottom of that candlestick which suggest that the bond market doesn't believe the inflation we have seen is here to stay. Yield headed lower.

The inflation we have had seems to be supply side due to covid. If inflation is at peak which bond market is suggesting. Oil price might not have much more room to run higher. And I'd take it a step further and say price inflation due to a weaker dollar is starting to real hurt places like China and they are going to act by tightening monetary policy. You think this would be positive for the yuan and push the dollar even lower. But when you tightening monetary policy credit contracts and economic activity contracts.

I do expect oil price to rollover and head back to $50-$55 might happen from a slightly higher price from here because of lag time between when bond market signals rollover in inflation back into deflation and when prices start reacting to this. REPLY EULENSPIEGEL IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 10:07 am

This isn't your history bond market.

Inflation doesn't really matters, what only matters is the one big question: "How much bonds does the one market member with unlimited funds buy?".

And the time the FED was able to rise more than .25% is in the rear mirror "" when they hike now, inflation or not, all these zombie companies and zombie banks will fail and no lawyer in the world will be able to clean up the chaos after all these insolvency filings.

They have to talk the way out of this inflation. They have to talk until it stops, or longer. They can't hike. They can perhaps hike again when most of the debt is inflated away "" a period with 10+% inflation and 1% bond interrest.

And yes, they can buy litterally any bond dumped onto the market "" shown this in March last year when they stopped the corona crash in an action of one week.

I think most non-investment-banks are zombies at the moment, and more than 20% of all companies. They all will fail in less than 1 year when we would have realistic interrest rates. On the dirty end, this would mean 10%+ for all this junk out there "" even mighty EXXON will be downgraded to B fast.

In old times the FED rates would be more than 5% now with these inflation numbers. Nobody can pay this these days.

And now in the USA "" look for how much social justice and social security laws you'll get. The FED has to provide cover for all of them.

We in Europe will do this, too. New green deal, new CO2 taxes, better social security "" the ECB already has said they will swallow everything dumped on the market.

So, oil 100$ the next years "" but some kind of strange dollars buying less then they used to.

Just my 2 cents. REPLY D COYNE IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 7:58 am

From

https://longforecast.com/oil-price-today-forecast-2017-2018-2019-2020-2021-brent-wti

better resolution at link above, a very different oil price forecast from HHH. Over $100/bo for Brent by the end of 2021.

REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 8:28 am

This is nonsense. They have Brent crude oil prices peaking, so far, in March 2025 at $164.11. And they have WTI peaking the same month at $132.55, $32.56 lower. There is no way the spread could be that large. Also, they have natural gas prices dropping over the same period. Just who the hell are these "Longforcast.com" people?

REPLY KLEIBER IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 11:35 am

Disregard anything with "forecast" in the title. They don't have a time machine, and extrapolation is a horrible metric with dynamic markets as complex as the energy ones.

Might as well show me the tea leaves or goat entrails and tell me the price on 11 June 2027. REPLY SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 3:58 pm

Dennis Gartman is still considered a commodities expert.

He infamously said in 2016 that WTI would never be above $44 again in his lifetime. He is still alive last I knew.

Since I have owned working interests in oil wells (1997) I have sold oil for a low of $8 and a high of $140 per barrel. 6/14 oil sold for $99.25 per barrel. 4/20 oil sold for $15.40 per barrel.

Predicting oil prices is impossible.

About the only oil price prediction I have had right so far is that if Biden won, oil prices would rebound. Of course, we can argue about why that is, and if there is even any connection.

There are still no drilling rigs running in the field we operate in. There are still hundreds of production wells shut in. There are still less than 10 workover rigs running in our field. The largest operator still has a help wanted sign up in front of its office. We finally found one summer worker, he is still in high school, but thankfully covered by our workers comp. He cannot drive our trucks, and is limited to painting, mowing, weed control, digging with a shovel, cleaning the shops and pump houses and other tasks like those. That's ok, because we need that, but not being able to drive is a pain. But auto ins won't allow anyone under 21 to be covered. REPLY IRON MIKE IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 11:53 am

Yea Ron i agree with Kleiber, I wouldn't take anything on that site too seriously. REPLY OVI IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 1:34 pm

The IEA is now starting to sound warnings about supply. Last week they were telling the oil companies to stop exploring and to move toward a renewable energy future.

IEA: OPEC needs to increase supply to keep global oil markets adequately supplied

In its monthly oil report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that global oil demand is set to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, rising by 5.4 million bpd in 2021 and by a further 3.1 million bpd next year. The OECD accounts for 1.3 million bpd of 2022 growth while non-OECD countries contribute 1.8 million bpd. Jet and kerosene demand will see the largest increase ( 1.5 million bpd year-on-year), followed by gasoline ( 660 000 bpd year-on-year) and gasoil/diesel ( 520 000 bpd year-on-year).

World oil supply is expected to grow at a faster rate in 2022, with the US driving gains of 1.6 million bpd from producers outside the OPEC alliance. That leaves room for OPEC to boost crude oil production by 1.4 million bpd above its July 2021-March 2022 target to meet demand growth. In 2021, oil output from non-OPEC is set to rise 710 000 bpd, while total oil supply from OPEC could increase by 800 000 bpd if the bloc sticks with its existing policy.

https://www.iea.org/reports/oil-market-report-june-2021

https://www.oilfieldtechnology.com/special-reports/11062021/iea-opec-needs-to-increase-supply-to-keep-global-oil-markets-adequately-supplied/ REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 06/11/2021 at 2:09 pm

(IEA) has said that global oil demand is set to return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022, rising by 5.4 million bpd in 2021 and by a further 3.1 million bpd next year.

That comes to about 500,000 barrels per day monthly increase, every month until the end of 2022. I really don't believe that is going to happen. No doubt most nations can increase production somewhat, but returning to pre-pandemic levels will be a herculean task for most of them.

[Jun 07, 2021] Rossneft CEO Sechin said that the world was facing an acute oil shortage in the long-term due to underinvestment amid a drive for alternative energy, while demand for oil continued to rise

Jun 07, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

OVI IGNORED 06/06/2021 at 8:40 pm

WTI Punched a $70 ticket sometime after 6:00 PM EST, June 6, 2021. The last time this happened was Oct 16, 2018, $71.92 before falling below $70 the next day.

HICKORY IGNORED 06/06/2021 at 10:59 pm

"Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil major Rosneft (ROSN.MM), said on Saturday the world was facing an acute oil shortage in the long-term due to underinvestment amid a drive for alternative energy, while demand for oil continued to rise."

Indeed.

[Jun 07, 2021] Exxon Exits Oil Exploration Prospect in Ghana After Seismic Work - Bloomberg

Jun 07, 2021 | www.bloomberg.com

Exxon Mobil Corp. is pulling out of a deep-water oil prospect in Ghana just two years after the west African nation ratified an exploration and production agreement with the U.S. oil titan.

The company relinquished the entirety of its stake in the Deepwater Cape Three Points block and resigned as its operator after fulfilling its contractual obligations during the initial exploration period, according to a letter to Ghana's government seen by Bloomberg and people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the information isn't public.

[Jun 07, 2021] BP Sees Global Crude Oil Demand to Last, CEO Bernard Looney Says - Bloomberg

Jun 07, 2021 | www.bloomberg.com

Energy giant BP Plc sees a strong recovery in global crude demand and expects it to last for some time, with U.S. shale production being kept in check, according to Chief Executive Officer Bernard Looney.

"There is a lot of evidence that suggests that demand will be strong, and the shale seems to be remaining disciplined," Looney told Bloomberg News in St. Petersburg, Russia. "I think that the situation we're in at the moment could last like this for a while."

[Jun 03, 2021] Climate activists scored a major victory with a Dutch court ruling requiring Shell to drastically cut emissions, which in effect means cutting oil and gas output

Jun 03, 2021 | www.reuters.com

Defeats in the courtroom and boardroom mean Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) , ExxonMobil (XOM.N) and Chevron (CVX.N) are all under pressure to cut carbon emissions faster. That's good news for the likes of Saudi Arabia's national oil company Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) , Abu Dhabi National Oil Co, and Russia's Gazprom (GAZP.MM) and Rosneft (ROSN.MM) .

It means more business for them and the Saudi-led Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

"Oil and gas demand is far from peaking and supplies will be needed, but international oil companies will not be allowed to invest in this environment, meaning national oil companies have to step in," said Amrita Sen from consultancy Energy Aspects.

... ... ...

Climate activists scored a major victory with a Dutch court ruling requiring Shell to drastically cut emissions, which in effect means cutting oil and gas output. The company will appeal.

The same day, the top two U.S. oil companies, Exxon Mobil and Chevron, both lost battles with shareholders who accused them of dragging their feet on climate change.

...Western oil majors control around 15% of global output, while OPEC and Russia have a share of around 40 percent. That share has been relatively stable in recent decades as rising demand was met with new producers like smaller private U.S. shale firms, which face similar climate-related pressures.

...Despite pressure from activists, investors and banks to cut emissions, Western oil majors are also tasked with maintaining high dividends amid heavy debts. Dividends from oil companies represent significant contributions to pension funds.

[May 30, 2021] US March Oil Production Rebounds Strongly From Winter Storm Low

May 30, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

RON PATTERSON IGNORED OVI IGNORED 05/30/2021 at 9:16 am

Ron

Great find.

For me that article was behind a paywall. Yahoo has it here.

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/news/time-different-outside-opec-oil-040000053.html

05/30/2021 at 7:49 am

Well, I'm not one to say "I told you so", but I did, didn't I. 🙂 Bold mine.

This Time Is Different: Outside OPEC+, Oil Growth Stalls

"This time is different" may be the most dangerous words in business: billions of dollars have been lost betting that history won't repeat itself. And yet now, in the oil world, it looks like this time really will be.

For the first time in decades, oil companies aren't rushing to increase production to chase rising oil prices as Brent crude approaches $70. Even in the Permian, the prolific shale basin at the center of the U.S. energy boom, drillers are resisting their traditional boom-and-bust cycle of spending.

The oil industry is on the ropes, constrained by Wall Street investors demanding that companies spend less on drilling and instead return more money to shareholders, and climate change activists pushing against fossil fuels. Exxon Mobil Corp. is paradigmatic of the trend, after its humiliating defeat at the hands of a tiny activist elbowing itself onto the board.

And what they don't realize is that the two largest producers in OPEC+, Russia and Saudi Arabia, are on the ropes also. Russia has admitted it but Saudi is still trying to deny the fact.

[May 30, 2021] This Time Is Different- Outside OPEC+, Oil Growth Stalls by Javier Blas

May 30, 2021 | finance.yahoo.com

"This time is different" may be the most dangerous words in business: billions of dollars have been lost betting that history won't repeat itself. And yet now, in the oil world, it looks like this time really will be.

For the first time in decades, oil companies aren't rushing to increase production to chase rising oil prices as Brent crude approaches $70. Even in the Permian, the prolific shale basin at the center of the U.S. energy boom, drillers are resisting their traditional boom-and-bust cycle of spending.

The oil industry is on the ropes, constrained by Wall Street investors demanding that companies spend less on drilling and instead return more money to shareholders, and climate change activists pushing against fossil fuels. Exxon Mobil Corp. is paradigmatic of the trend, after its humiliating defeat at the hands of a tiny activist elbowing itself onto the board.

The dramatic events in the industry last week only add to what is emerging as an opportunity for the producers of OPEC+, giving the coalition led by Saudi Arabia and Russia more room for maneuver to bring back their own production. As non-OPEC output fails to rebound as fast as many expected -- or feared based on past experience -- the cartel is likely to continue adding more supply when it meets on June 1.

'Criminalization'

Shareholders are asking Exxon to drill less and focus on returning money to investors. "They have been throwing money down the drill hole like crazy," Christopher Ailman, chief investment officer for CalSTRS. "We really saw that company just heading down the hole, not surviving into the future, unless they change and adapt. And now they have to."

Exxon is unlikely to be alone. Royal Dutch Shell Plc lost a landmark legal battle last week when a Dutch court told it to cut emissions significantly by 2030 -- something that would require less oil production. Many in the industry fear a wave of lawsuits elsewhere, with western oil majors more immediate targets than the state-owned oil companies that make up much of OPEC production.

"We see a shift from stigmatization toward criminalization of investing in higher oil production," said Bob McNally, president of consultant Rapidan Energy Group and a former White House official.

While it's true that non-OPEC+ output is creeping back from the crash of 2020 -- and the ultra-depressed levels of April and May last year -- it's far from a full recovery. Overall, non-OPEC+ output will grow this year by 620,000 barrels a day, less than half the 1.3 million barrels a day it fell in 2020. The supply growth forecast through the rest of this year "comes nowhere close to matching" the expected increase in demand, according to the International Energy Agency.

Beyond 2021, oil output is likely to rise in a handful of nations, including the U.S., Brazil, Canada and new oil-producer Guyana. But production will decline elsewhere, from the U.K. to Colombia, Malaysia and Argentina.

As non-OPEC+ production increases less than global oil demand, the cartel will be in control of the market, executives and traders said. It's a major break with the past, when oil companies responded to higher prices by rushing to invest again, boosting non-OPEC output and leaving the ministers led by Saudi Arabia's Abdulaziz bin Salman with a much more difficult balancing act.

Drilling Down

So far, the lack of non-OPEC+ oil production growth isn't registering much in the market. After all, the coronavirus pandemic continues to constrain global oil demand. It may be more noticeable later this year and into 2022 . By then, vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 are likely to be bearing fruit, and the world will need more oil. The expected return of Iran into the market will provide some of that, but there will likely be a need for more.

When that happens, it will be largely up to OPEC to plug the gap. One signal of how the recovery will be different this time is the U.S. drilling count: It is gradually increasing, but the recovery is slower than it was after the last big oil price crash in 2008-09. Shale companies are sticking to their commitment to return more money to shareholders via dividends. While before the pandemic shale companies re-used 70-90% of their cash flow into further drilling, they are now keeping that metric at around 50%.

The result is that U.S. crude production has flat-lined at around 11 million barrels a day since July 2020. Outside the U.S. and Canada, the outlook is even more somber: at the end of April, the ex-North America oil rig count stood at 523, lower than it was a year ago, and nearly 40% below the same month two years earlier, according to data from Baker Hughes Co.

When Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz predicted earlier this year that "'drill, baby, drill' is gone for ever," it sounded like a bold call. As ministers meet this week, they may dare to hope he's right.

More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

[May 15, 2021] Which organization OPEC or IEA has the most credibility?

May 15, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 05/14/2021 at 7:23 am

The OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report said the world oil supply fell by 150,000 barrels per day in April.

World oil supply
Preliminary data indicates that global liquids production in April decreased by 0.15 mb/d to average
93.06 mb/d compared with the previous month, and was lower by 6.45 mb/d y-o-y.

While the IEA Oil Market Report – May 2021 sais the world oil supply rose by 330,000 barrels per day.

World oil supply rose 330 kb/d to 93.4 mb/d in April and will increase further in May as the OPEC+ alliance continues to ease output cuts. Based on the current agreement, global oil production is set to grow by 3.8 mb/d from April to December. For 2021 as a whole, world oil production expands by 1.4 mb/d year-on-year versus a collapse of 6.6 mb/d in 2020. Canada leads non-OPEC+ with growth of 340 kb/d while the US is set to contract by a further 160 kb/d.

That's a difference of just under half a million barrels per day, (480,000 bpd). That's a huge difference. Which one should we believe? Which organization has the most credibility?

[May 12, 2021] The Energy Crisis That No One Is Talking About - OilPrice.com

May 12, 2021 | oilprice.com

GAIL TVERBERG

Gail Tverberg is a writer and speaker about energy issues. She is especially known for her work with financial issues associated with peak oil. Prior

More Info SHARE Facebook Twitter Linkedin Reddit PREMIUM CONTENT Russia Withdraws Troops From The Ukrainian Border Why The Outlook For Oil Prices Shifted This Week Fighting Continues In Yemen Amid Secret Ceasefire Talks U.S. Natural Gas Production Poised To Soar By Gail Tverberg - May 06, 2021, 5:00 PM CDT Trade Oil Futures Now

We live in a world of half-truth where words are very carefully chosen. Companies hire public relations firms to give just the right "spin" to what they are saying. CEO make statements that suggest that everything is going well. Newspapers would like their advertisers to be happy. Still is at the limit of Moore's law and fither shriking of dier is impossible due to physical limits. One of the key challenges of CPU engineering is the design of transistors gates. As device dimension shrinks, controlling the current flow in the thin channel becomes more difficult. So callled 8mn process (not that this is a marketing not technological term) is possible and now used in production, 5mn is problematic but used for example by Apple in A14 CPU ( iPhone 12) / According to some sources, the A14 processor has the transistor density of 134 million transistors per mm2. 3mn is probably the current technological limit (TSMC is on track for production first 3 nm chips at the end of 2022 Anton Shilov, Anandtech April 26, 2021 ). It is unclear, if 2mn process will be technologically viable or not. So the only way for CPU manufactures to increase the processing power of CPUs is to increase the number of cores.

I We live in a finite world; we are rapidly approaching limits of many kinds. Which creates problem, in some ways, somewhat similar to the world of the 1920s.

[May 11, 2021] January Non-OPEC Oil Production Climbs Again

May 11, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

HHH IGNORED 05/09/2021 at 9:35 am

Yields on the US 10 year formed a bullish hammer within consolidation on Friday. Suggests that yields are headed to 2% or above. It suggests that the move higher is now. Higher yields will lead to stronger dollar. Might be the beginning of where price inflation becomes a drag on economy as yields rise on debt. And as long as price inflation continues yields will rise.

Might put a cap on oil price in near future. Maybe we get another $5-$15 rise in oil price before credit blows up due to rise in yields.

As the cost of credit rises due to price inflation. If you borrowed money at rock bottom interest rates and you now have to rollover debt at a higher interest rate that is a problem for corporate USA.

Anyone that doesn't believe that there will be a huge price to pay for the policy response of Covid-19 is kidding themselves.

Even just on a relative basis. When you expand monetary and fiscal policy by that much in one year. Things tighten on a relative basis as what comes next in the years after is less support.

[Apr 24, 2021] Gold The Coming Oil Shortage Part I - ZeroHedge

Apr 24, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

The important part for future production is that we make a clear distinction between those three supply sources (counting OPEC and the + states as one source). There are very different reasons for why production is down from each source and more importantly, what the long term prospects are.

In the second part of this report, we will discuss the prospects of each source in detail and show that the pandemic, and the ensuing price crash, have accelerate a process where global production will hardly be able to grow. At the same time, demand will not peak as quickly as people believe. This has the potential for a massive supply shortfall in the medium term.


smellmyfingers 2 hours ago

The only real shortage we have is truth.

We're all being fed a huge steaming pile of BS on everything. Oil build/draw. Crypto currencies based upon what? Fiat money, paper.

All these lying politicians and banksters just jockeying for positions to steal as much as they can as they push the human family to genocide.

wick7 38 minutes ago

Either way oil is going over the Seneca cliff and then Mad max here we come.

wick7 35 minutes ago

Every oil well that has ever existed has followed a bell curve. Pretending oil is infinite is like believing in a flat earth.

Galtmandu 1 hour ago (Edited)

This is some weak sauce analysis on the relationship between gold and energy prices. Here is a summary:

Energy prices and gold prices tend to correlate.

I have simplified,

Galtmandu

PS, your model is basically, interest rate policy, fed reserves of gold supply, and inflation - not groundbreaking stuff. You have created an algorithm that uses these three inputs to overlay on gold prices. Simple stuff. In fact, a basic polynomial exercise gets you your best fit.

Now, predict the movements of fed gold reserves, inflation, and interest rate policy. You can't. Therefore, your model has no predictive capability beyond your opinion. Otherwise, you would be spending your days sipping umbrella drinks.

If I seem aggressive about this stuff its because I hate this kind of faux-analytical b@llsh&t that is just sales propaganda.

Thrashed10 2 hours ago

I'm sitting mostly in cash right now. I do have a little exposure to oil. And food.

The oil market is so manipulated. Probably a smart move long term. But I have to trade so my kids get ice cream. I already know my trade for Monday if I feel motivated. I trade commodities and industrials. The boring stuff that is not sexy.

hanekhw 1 hour ago

Oil prices linked to the worthless dollar won't continue and this Administration is working hard to make our dollars even more worthless.

[Mar 28, 2021] RON PATTERSON

Mar 28, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 10:22 am

The 12 nation group might not see annual C plus C output increases of 1400 kbo/d in the future, but it will take time for the rate of increase to fall to 455 kbo/d (where a plateau in World output would occur) especially if oil prices rise to $80/bo or more.

No, it will not take time. Why would you think production would graduallly fall off? Yes, decline slops are usually gradual as well as increasing slopes. But the change from increase to plateau or increase to decline is seldom, if ever gradual. USA+Saudi+Russia has already plateaued. Their decline is very likely to be sudden, well, it has actually already happened.

However, in the two charts below, I have used your method of stopping the chart just before the Covid induced decline. The charts speak for themselves.

REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 10:26 am

The second chart. The rest of the world is in serious decline.

[Mar 28, 2021] Unless investment increases, I don't expect extraction rates to achieve 2018 levels soon.

Mar 28, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

SCHINZY IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 2:26 am

I think it instructive to recall oil and gas investment history. Unregulated oil and gas markets have always yielded boom bust cycles. There was a bust cycle from 1986 to 2000. A boom cycle started in 2001 with investment in oil and gas rising on average 11% per year to $780 billion in 2014 (this was from a Kopits talk in 2014, but the link I have no longer works).

There is a lag between increased or decreased investment and the response in extraction rates. The lag is longer offshore than onshore. For example, in spite of the investment boom from 2001 to 2014, extraction rates were stagnant between 2005 and 2010.

A bust began in 2015 with investment dropping 25% in 2015 and a further 20% in 2016. The drop was more pronounced offshore than onshore. Investment stayed essentially flat through 2019. Extraction rates continued to climb through 2018 but were flat in 2019.

The IEA began warning in 2016 that investment was not sufficient to meet demand in the early 2020s. In their 2019 WEO they stated that $650 to $750 billion was needed annually to attain 106 mb/d in 2030. I am assuming this sum referred to oil AND gas investment. In 2019 oil and gas investment was $483 billion. In 2020 it was $313 billion (close to 2009 levels).

As Dennis noted in response to my comment above, the relationship between a drop in investment and the corresponding drop in supply is not linear. But unless investment increases, I don't expect extraction rates to achieve 2018 levels soon. REPLY SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 6:08 am

Ovi. I appreciate your posts. Thanks.

Schinzy. Look at what the integrated oil companies are forecasting. BP, RDS and TOT are shrinking production. CVX and XOM are greatly reducing CAPEX. So is COP, the largest independent. So is PXD, one of the largest shale players. Of course, these companies can change strategy quickly, likely next year if any do.

For the first time I can recall, the government of the United States is not supportive of it increasing production. Contrary to popular belief, this matters.

To keep a lid on oil prices, on the supply side, either the USA needs to keep adding barrels or some other country that does not benefit as a whole from high oil prices will need to step up. The CAPEX currently isn't budgeted to do that.

Of course, decreased demand due to the continued spikes in COVID cases will continue to put a lid on demand. Hopefully by fall this won't be much of an issue, not for oils sake, but for public health sake.

The other demand side lids I see could be Western EV adoption offsetting developing world oil demand growth. Worried here about both the needed upgrades to the grids, plus the lack of rare earth metals. The other could be another big economic issue. Don't want that, but seems economy issues are also going to be with us given the high debt levels. The stimulus in response to COVID isn't cheap. REPLY SCHINZY IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 7:41 am

All very true Shallow. I suspect these companies are reducing CAPEX because of increasing debt. The more conservative CAPEX spending seems to be helping their share prices. SHALLOW SAND IGNORED 03/28/2021 at 7:55 am

Schinzy.

IHS Markit doesn't see US CAPEX spending at the 2018-19 levels returning until 2024-25. Probably too far out in the future to be accurate. However, it's 2021 forecast is for lower CAPEX in all years since 2010 except for 2020.

I will add another big player to my list above, EOG also lowered CAPEX guidance for 2021 from where it had been pre-pandemic. Will seek to hold production flat in 2021.

[Mar 28, 2021] Looks like the world's three greatest oil producers(The USA, Saudi Arabia, and Russia), have peaked

Mar 28, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

OVI IGNORED 03/25/2021 at 5:47 pm

Dennis

Here is the C Plus C chart to to December 2022. In the original chart in the post above, I only took it out to March 2021.

The March STEO report along with the International Energy Statistics are used to make the projection. It projects that world crude production December 2022 will be 81,759 kb/d, 2,735 kb/d lower than November 2018

REPLY RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/25/2021 at 6:44 pm

Ovi, thanks for a great chart. And even this, 2,735 kb/d below the previous peak, I think is overly optimistic.

I think, at least two of the world's three greatest oil producers have peaked, (The USA, Saudi Arabia, and Russia), have peaked, and the rest of the world has clearly peaked, there is no way we can possibly surpass that 2018 peak. Actually, I think all three have peaked. I was just being conservative.

World less USA, Saudi Arabia, and Russia peaked in 2017. All three peaked, yearly average, in 2019. Of course you can argue that this is just the peak "so far". But I do not believe any of the three will ever surpass their 2019 yearly average peak.

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 8:57 am

Dennis, you wrote: Below I use the trend in the ratio of World C plus C to World petroleum liquids from Jan 2017 to Dec 2019 to estimate World C+C from Jan 2021 to Dec 2022.

Okay, you use past trend lines to estimate future production. Well, I guess there is also how the EIA does it and the IEA does it. I just don't have confidence in that type of analysis.

Above I have charted past World oil production less the USA, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. There is clearly a trend there. Do you think this trend will continue?

World C+C production in 2018 averaged 82,897,000 barrels per day. In 2019 that average was 82,306,000 barrels per day. I have little doubt that future world oil production can come close to those averages. But I would bet my SS check that the 2018 peak will never be surpassed. (I like annual averages but if you like centered 12-month averages, then go with that.)

At any rate here are four possible sources for a surge in World oil production:

1. THE USA
2. Russia
3. Saudi Arabia
4. The World less USA, Russia, and Saudi Arabia

If World oil production is yet to peak, which one, or ones, of these four sources, will it come from? RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 12:00 pm

I believe I have seen reports that suggest a plateau near the recent 12 month peak output can be maintained for 5 to 10 years.

No Dennis, you have not seen that. I posted that myself some time ago. Russia stated that they hoped to hold production at about 11.2 million barrels per day for the next four years, 2021 through 2024. I have since lost the link but it was posted right here on this list. However, I think that was wishful thinking on Russia's part. I don't think they will hold that level, ever again.

The drop in World minus KSA, US, and Russia C plus C output since 2018 has mostly been due to a combination of lower oil prices and OPEC reducing output to try to bring oil prices back up,

I am not talking about the drop since 2018, I am talking about the peak and decline before 2018. The peak month in my chart above was November of 2016 at 52,206,000. The peak 12-month average was September of 2017 at 51,161,000 barrels per day. At that point, in September of 2017, the World less USA, Russia, and Saudi produced 63% of all World production. 63% of World oil production peaked in September of 2017.

While World oil production was peaking in 2018, due to increased production by the USA, Saudi, and Russia, the World less these big three was declining to 50,737,000 barrels per day, the average for 2018. A decline of almost half a million barrels per day.

Dennis, regardless of what happens in Canada, Brazil, and Norway over the next 5 to 10 years, the World less the big three peaked in 2016 monthly and 2017 annually. Any increase in World production must come from one or more of the big three. HOLE IN HEAD IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 1:22 pm

Dennis , your post on the last thread .
"I stand by my estimate, in 2020 World C plus C output dropped by 5.5 Mbo/d due to a lack of oil demand and the resulting drop in oil prices from the 2019 annual average, so a 10 Mbo/d increase from the 2020 level (annual average) of C plus C output requires a return to the 2019 average level (roughly 82.3 Mb/d) requiring a 5.6 Mbo/d increase and then a further 4.4 Mbo/d increase in output to reach 87 Mbo/d.

If World demand for C plus C warrants such an increase by 2028, I believe it can be produced, and yes the model accounts for depletion, which has been ongoing since the first barrel of oil was produced. The basis for the estimate is likely World resources of 3400 Gb of C plus C (this includes the 1428 Gb of crude plus condensate that was produced from 1860 to 2020), remaining resources (this includes conventional and unconventional C plus C) are about 1972 Gb (this includes future discoveries and reserve growth).

It is possible less will be produced due to lack of demand, if a rapid transition to non-fossil fuel energy sources occurs, I hope that is the case, but I am skeptical"
Well, 2020 production came in at an average of 75.93 mbpd . Decline rate was 7.5% compared to 2019. How will you achieve additional 10 mbpd by 2028 ? Ron is correct . Igor Sechin boss at Rosneft confirms what Ron has stated , shale party is over , KSA is going to cut domestic consumption by 1mbpd so that it can export that oil . Sorry, Brazil , Norway ,Tom Dick and Harry are in no position to cover this lag in production .In the future decline rates will increase as horizontal wells reach their limits of extraction . You must rethink your models with the new facts . Your statement "If World demand for C plus C warrants such an increase by 2028, I believe it can be produced " does not hold water . Your belief or mine is irrelevant . Geology prevails . RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/27/2021 at 8:55 am

OPEC has been holding back production since 2017 in order to get oil prices up, how much different nations produce depends on their cost of production relative to price,

I don't see any evidence to support that statement. Average OPEC production in 2018 was only 170,000 barrels per day below the average for 2017. If they were holding back, they weren't doing a very good job of it. I think they were producing flat out all three years, 2016 through 2018.

Average 2016 – 31,701 (Peak)
Average 2017 – 31,507
Average 2018 – 31,336 RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/27/2021 at 4:49 pm

I remembered incorrectly, OPEC likely started cutting back on output in the middle of 2016 to get oil prices higher,

You remember very incorrectly. OPEC, in the last months of 2016 was emptying their storage tanks in order to produce as much oil as they could. They would set their quotas on the amount produced in November and December of 2016, so they were making heroic attempts to produce every barrel possible in order to get a higher quota. (November 2016 was the OPEC all-time peak. And in my opinion, will remain so forever.)

They started cutting in January of 2017. But by June everyone was cheating and they were all, by July 2017, producing flat out.

Why does OPEC exist?

OPEC was formally constituted in January 1961 by five countries: Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Venezuela. They existed then for the sole reason of trying to drive oil prices higher. They would like to do that today but squabbling among members has made them somewhat of a joke. They are a disorganized bunch of buffoons. Yes, they have dramatically cut production during the pandemic. But so has everyone else in the world. The bottom dropped out of demand so everyone cut production trying to save money.

A decline in output for the World has occurred since 2018 because oil prices dropped due to oversupply of oil relative to demand.

Okay, but what about 2017 and 2018? OPEC could not keep their members in line and by June of 2017 everyone was again producing flat out, causing that oversupply. And their cut was a pittance anyway, not enough to make much difference. For most of 2017 and all of 2018, every OPEC member was producing every barrel they could. (With the exception of Iran and Venezuela of course, but that is another story for another thread.)

Just look at the chart Dennis, that is just so damn obvious it cannot be denied.


RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/27/2021 at 6:04 pm

For OPEC minus Iran, Libya, and Venezuela the centered 12 month average peak was 26759 kbo/d in January 2019.

Okay, you need to update your nations here. Libya is already back, producing at maximum possible capacity for the last 4 months. Venezuela will never be back, not in the next decade anyway, long after peak oil is history. That leaves only Iran. Iran, if sanctions were lifted today, could possibly increase production by approximately 1.6 million barrels per day in the next six months or so. That would not be nearly enough to make up for the natural decline in OPEC, especially Saudi Arabia, since the peak in 2016.

Iran is the only nation on earth that can possibly increase production in any significant amount. So you should only deal with Iran when talking about possible OPEC production increases.

Dennis, OPEC has done nothing but basically tread water since 2005. Why do you think they will now save the world?

(In the chart below 2021 is only two months, January and February.


RON PATTERSON IGNORED 03/27/2021 at 8:42 pm

OPEC does not produce at maximum output, except when fighting for quotas.

Dennis, OPEC is not an oil company, they are a cartel. The only ones that increased when battling for quota were Saudi, the UAE, and Kuwait. The rest just produced flat out all the time. Check the charts.

Yes, they were all producing flat out most of the time. Only in a few instances did they actually cut production. Of course, the pandemic hit everyone. But as you can see by the yearly chart I posted their total share of the market has shrunk dramatically since 2005.

Dennis, OPEC peaked in 2016. Saudi Arabia is in decline. End of story. ALIMBIQUATED IGNORED 03/27/2021 at 7:47 am

Ron,
Good point about past trends lines being a dubious predictor of future trends. This is testable too. In this case three years of past data was used to predict the future.

If there is 40 years of data, you could run the algorithm on 35 three-year data sets and check the accuracy of the prediction. That would give you some idea of how likely the latest prediction is to be accurate.

My guess is that the accuracy is fairly low, but checking would reveal the truth. POLLUX IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 3:30 am

In November, Saudi Arabia's domestic crude stockpiles fell to 17-year low:
"Saudi Arabia's domestic crude stockpiles fell by 1.2 million barrels in November to 143.43 million barrels, the lowest since November 2003." ( source )

This trend continues and in January, stockpiles fell to 137.207 million barrels:
"The country's domestic refinery crude throughput rose to 2.343 million bpd while crude stocks fell to 137.207 million barrels in January." ( source ) HOLE IN HEAD IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 11:19 am

We will apply sanctions and abuse you but please give us your oil .
https://www.rt.com/business/519108-us-import-record-oil-russia/
Also Saudi facility is under drone attack as per Saudi govt .
https://www.spa.gov.sa/viewfullstory.php?lang=en&newsid=2207999#2207999 HOLE IN HEAD IGNORED 03/26/2021 at 2:32 pm

In an article Steven Kopits wrote "In its February Short Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the EIA forecasts this month's world oil consumption at 96.7 million barrels per day (mbpd). The oil supply, however, is much lower, only 93.6 mbpd, with the difference of 3.1 mbpd of necessity being drawn from crude oil and refined product inventories. This is a shortfall of 3.5% "
Is he correct ? if yes ,then are we in trouble ?

[Mar 19, 2021] Fossil fuels are the basis of industrial civilization. Thier disapperiance portends our extinction as a species. We might as well accept as the fact that as soon as the Western civilization experience Seneca cliff it will be severaly damaged

Mar 19, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

norecovery , Mar 19 2021 0:05 utc | 42

One more observation from my seat in the gallery: FOSSIL ENERGY is the basis of industrial civilization, and our complete dependence on it portends our extinction as a species. We might as well accept the fact that we are done.

[Mar 01, 2021] Art Berman on Twitter

Mar 01, 2021 | twitter.com

In the past decade, capital employed in Exxon's upstream business has risen by a third -- and...production fell 17% & proved reserves by 39%.

"In the past decade, capital employed in Exxon's upstream business has risen by a third -- and...production fell 17% & proved reserves by 39%. This...has trashed Exxon's return on capital." https:// bloomberg.com/opinion/articl es/2021-02-25/exxon-reserves-debooking-of-6-billion-barrels-matters?sref=866aH6XX #OOTT #oilandgas #oil #WTI #CrudeOil #fintwit #OPEC #Commodities

[Feb 28, 2021] Possible end of "plato oil": Increase in countries that shtill have unpapped reserves now is unable to make up for the decline of production of the rest of the world

Feb 28, 2021 | peakoilbarrel.com

The natural annual deline from exiting wells is around 800 kb/d/yr.

Originally from: US December Oil Production Drops – Peak Oil Barrel

RON PATTERSON IGNORED 02/27/2021 at 5:25 pm

Dennis, I must disagree with your assessment. OPEC peaked in 2016. Yes, Iran can come back and increase production by about 1.5 million barrels per day. But that still will not make up for the decline in the rest of OPEC. No need to mention Venezuela, they may come back around 2030 or so, long after the peak has passed.

Russia said they had peaked in early 2020. I see no reason to think they were lying.

That leaves Brazil, Norway, and Canada. They all three may increase production but nothing spectacular. Not nearly enough to make up for the rest of the world in decline. REPLY STEPHEN HREN IGNORED 02/27/2021 at 5:58 pm

I'm inclined to agree with Ron. So much investment deferred because of 2014 and 2020 price crashes. LTO can come back quickly if the price stays consistently high (a big if) but it won't be enough to save the day. Investors are expecting cash from LTO these days, not production increases. I imagine most other countries are just coasting after the turmoil of the last year. Also still plenty of wildcards in the collapse department over the next 5-10 years: Iraq, Nigeria, Libya, etc. WATCHER IGNORED 02/28/2021 at 1:12 am

Factions in the administration are on record as wanting sharply higher oil prices. Seems difficult to see how this would get through the Senate, but it is a green priority. RON PATTERSON IGNORED 02/28/2021 at 8:48 am

Does Occidental know what they are talking about? They are saying that the investors are just not there for a massive increase in production. And they are one of the two largest producers in the Permian Basin.

U.S. Oil Production Has Already Passed Its Peak, Occidental Says Bold Mine
By Kevin Crowley
October 14, 2020, 1:49 PM CDT

America's oil production will never again reach the record 13 million barrels a day set earlier this year, just before the pandemic devastated global demand, according to Occidental Petroleum Corp.

"It's just going to be too difficult to replace the 2 million barrels a day of production that we've lost, and then to further grow beyond that," Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub said Wednesday at the Energy Intelligence Forum. "Over the next three to four years there's going to be moderate restoration of production, but not at high growth."

Occidental is one of the biggest producers in the U.S. shale industry, which added wells at such a rate prior to the spread of Covid-19 that the country became the world's top crude producer, overtaking Saudi Arabia and Russia, ushering in an era that President Donald Trump called "American energy dominance."

U.S. oil production is stuck below it's pre-pandemic high
Shale's debt-fueled expansion came to a juddering halt due to lower gasoline demand and oil prices, but also because of Wall Street's increasing reluctance to fund growth at any cost. Shale operators are increasingly prioritizing cash flow and returns to investors over production growth.

Occidental, which vies with Chevron Corp. to be the biggest producer in the Permian Basin, has been forced to throttle back capital spending, lower growth targets and cut its dividend in a bid to save cash during the downturn. Its finances were already severely challenged by the debt taken on through its $37 billion purchase of rival Anadarko Petroleum Corp. last year.

Hollub said global consumption stands at about 94 billion barrels a day, and it will take a Covid-19 vaccine before it returns to 100 million barrels. Due to cutbacks around the world, supply and demand for oil will likely balance again by the end of 2021, she said.

Unlike some of her European peers, Hollub sees strong long-term demand for oil. "I expect we'll get to peak supply before we get to peak demand," she said. HICKORY IGNORED 02/28/2021 at 11:31 am

"Unlike some of her European peers, Hollub sees strong long-term demand for oil. "I expect we'll get to peak supply before we get to peak demand," she said."

Thanks Ron.
I wonder if she is referring to the balance in the USA, or the world.

It will be a horse-race finish for the whole decade- "and here comes Demand up the backstretch " RON PATTERSON IGNORED 02/28/2021 at 11:26 am

Figure this one out. The EIA's AEO2021 In the past they have always given scenarios based on "Low Price" and "High Price". But now it is "Low Supply" and "High Supply".

They are not making a prediction, they are just saying: "Here is what low supply looks like", and "Here is what high supply looks like". Hell, we already knew that.

Anyway, it is all about tight oil. Everything depends on tight oil. Occidental says tight oil has peaked. But the EIA is taking no chances. They are saying in effect: "Here is what it looks like if tight oil has peaked and here is what it looks like if it has not."

REPLY

[Nov 06, 2020] Did the Iraq War Cause the Great Recession?'

Highly recommended!
Iran war might be too much for the US economy
Apr 07, 2013 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile ,

April 7, 2013 at 12:46 am
Western hypocrisy revealed 10 years after the event in today's Independent: "Tony Blair and Iraq: The damning evidence" . And they go on and on about those wicked, evil Russians and their tyrannical leader causing death and destruction Syria by their "support" of the Assad government whilst the West arms the "freedom fighters" there.

[Nov 06, 2020] USA Hegemony and Decline

Mar 01, 2010 | www.eurasia-rivista.org

Issue 3/2010 of the review of Geopolitics "Eurasia", entitled USA: HEGEMONY AND DECLINE , has been released. This 288-page volume contains 24 articles about the USA, a still-hegemonic power in decline, on the scene of the transition from unipolarism to the new multipolarist order. Here follows a list and a short synthesis of each article.

Tiberio Graziani, USA, Turkey and the crisis of the western system

After history put an end to the unipolar moment, the western system led by USA seems to have entered an irreversible crisis. The economic and financial downfall and the loss of a secure pillar of the western geopolitical scene like Turkey mark the end of the US driving force. The USA, today, have to take an epochal decision: either shelving the project of world supremacy, which means sharing decision-making regarding international politics and economics with other global actors, or insist on their supremacy plan and even risk their survival as nation. One or the other will be motivated by the relationships that will be built, on the middle and long term, between the lobbies which are conditioning American foreign policy and by the evolution of the multipolarist process.

T. Graziani is managing editor of "Eurasia".

Fabio Falchi, The mirror of knowledge. Giorgio Colli and Eurasianism

This essay aims to show, also through a short exposition of Giorgio Colli's theoretical philosophy, not only that he has the merit, thanks to his talent of "pondering philologist", to have caught the deep relation between mysticism and logic in the "Greek knowledge", but above all that the way he is interpreting the thought of the "pre-Socratic" – an interpretation characterized by several and meaningful references to the Indian philosophy – is extremely important for the Eurasianism, if it's true that "Eurasia" is in the first place a "spiritual concept". In this perspective, it's not important that Colli cannot be defined an "Eurasiatist" or the fact that probably he himself had refused to define himself this way. What matters is the path pointed out by his philosophical speech, so that it's possible to leave behind obsolete and "incapacitating" dichotomies.

F. Falchi is a contributor to "Eurasia".

Phil Kelly, Geopolitics of the United States

The scope of this essay is to identify the different and typical elements of the traditional US geopolitics. In its path is reflected on the most relevant spatial characteristics in order to delineate the traditional aspects of North American geopolitics, rather than focusing on current international affairs; in spite of this, it comes to conclusion with some observations about the present American and global geopolitics.

P. Kelly is teaching at the University of Emporia (Texas, USA) and member of the Scientific Committee of "Eurasia".

Daniele Scalea, How an "empire" has risen (and how it will crumble soon)

Today's United States, in origin, were an united group of colonies of a small underdeveloped island; nevertheless, in a few centuries, they have become the first and the only world superpower. In this essay are retraced the geopolitical and strategic reasons that led to the rise of the original thirteen colonies, to their independence and expansion in North America; the rise of the USA and their informal empire are analyzed and how the passage from isolationism to hegemonism, that was not ineluctable, is leading them to lose it.

D. Scalea is editor of "Eurasia".

F. William Engdahl, The USA's geopolitical position today

At the end of the first decade of the 21th century it's time to locate the United States in the political, economic and above all geopolitical world context. It's clear to every impartial observer that the emerging giant, proclaimed in 1941 by Henry Luce, "the Time-Life" publisher, as the dawn of the "American Century", is today, in 2010, a nation and a power whose foundations themselves crumble. In this short essay are analyzed the particular nature of this disintegration and its implications.

F.W. Engdahl is associate director of "Global Research" and member of the Scientific Committee of "Eurasia".

Fabio Mini, Projects and debts

The Americans are no more able to recognize their deficiencies and vulnerabilities: they act as if they still controlled the entire world, when in reality they have lost great part of their autonomy relating to multinationals which control the economy and to national or transnational bodies they are indebted to. To the debt financing must be added the political debts, acquired to nations which are not secure thanks to the US politics of force: Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Palestine, Somalia, Rwanda and even Europe. This essay explains how power is the destroying drug of the USA, and how the "New American Century" has come to an end before coming to life.

F. Mini is a retired Lieutenant General of the Italian Army, he led the KFOR and the NATO's Command Allied Forces Southern Europe".

Eleonora Peruccacci, The evolution of USA-Russia relationships after the downfall of the bipolar system

The idea – to which Keohane already drew attention – that power is now based on the influence of ideas, on using cleverly skills like persuasion and cooptation, on the ability to manipulate mass communication as well, rather than on the traditional attributes of military force and wealth, is useful for the analysis of this essay, in which it is tried to comprehend how, after the end of the bipolar system, the relationships between the two ex world superpowers, USA and Russia, developed and changed, going through the stages of 4 treaties on nuclear disarmament.

E. Peruccacci, MA in International Relations, contributes to "Eurasia".

Spartaco Alfredo Puttini, China, the sea and the United States: the Sino-American naval antagonism

The development of a modern military fleet in the People's Republic of China has given rise to serious concerns in Washington and adds an element of tension to their relations. On the horizon beckons the danger of a naval antagonism between the two giants that could represent one of the more serious and meaningful elements for the international order of the 21th century. In this essay is talked about the Chinese willingness to develop marine force, about the stages of the fleet modernization, about the importance that Sino-American naval antagonism can assume in the near future.

S.A. Puttini, MA in History.

Chiara Felli, A miracle for Obama's "new beginning"

Israeli-American relations seem to be at a crossroads again: new negotiations in order to achieve the much desired peace in Near East hold the balance of power. In Washington, the atmosphere is tense, in contemplation of twelve months of negotiations the danger of a possible immediate bankruptcy outcome is reduced but concerns about the current state of the international comparison raise. Will the USA be finally able to play on their strong position as influential mediators? Does Israeli regional isolation risk worsening following the blind pursuit of nationalistic strategies? Are we really close to the "great compromise" and to the calm after a decade-long storm?

C. Felli, MA in International relations, contributes to "Eurasia".

Francesco Brunello Zanitti, American Neoconservatism and Israeli Neo-revisionism: a comparison

The G.W Bush Jr. Presidency has been strongly influenced by a political movement, commonly known as Neoconservatism, which started at the beginning of the '60s and was already significant during the Ronald Reagan Presidency. The neoconservatives have inspired in particular the recent North American politics in the Near East. The last decade, concerning Israeli politics, has been characterized by the strengthening of the right-wing party, the Likud, which, since its origins, has been not prone to any form of compromise with the Arab world. This essay offers a comparison between American Neoconservatism and Israeli Neo-revisionism, identifying various similarities.

F.Brunello Zanitti, MA in History of society and contemporary culture.

Julien Mercille, The fight against drugs in Afghanistan: a critical interpretation

This article offers a critical interpretation of the "fight against drugs" waged by the United States in Afghanistan since 2001, in contrast to the conventional view proposed by some of the most representative authors. While the conventional interpretation takes for granted that the US are leading a fight in Afghanistan against drugs in order to reduce their consumption in the West and to weaken the Taliban, who are closely linked to narcotics traffic, in this article it's argued that in fact there are few signs from Washington of a real and concrete struggle against drugs . The rhetoric of the fight against drugs is largely motivated by the need to justify military intervention in Afghanistan and the fight against insurgent groups opposing to American hegemony in the region, rather than by a genuine concern about drugs themselves.

J. Mercille is Professor at the National University of Ireland.

Matías Magnasco, Geopolitics of the United States in the Southern Cone

The South American region is nowadays a geostrategic scenario of great importance and will grow in importance in the future because of the race for raw materials (oil, gas and drinking-water) and the rise of Brazil as a regional and world power. South America must look with concern to US withdrawal from those difficult regions, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, and from those where Russia and China have virtually overcome their influence, because this reopens the possibility of looking back at their "backyard" and their "mare nostrum" ( the Caribbean Sea).

M. Magnasco is Director of the Argentine Centre of International Studies.

Jean-Claude Paye, The euro crisis and the transatlantic market

The offensive against the euro, implemented by the financial markets during the months of April and May 2010, is not simply an episode in the economic war between the two continents. It is indeed the symptom of a geopolitical change.

The American initiative aimed to weaken the EU was led with the participation of European institutions themselves, that sacrificed euro in order to recover the Greek debt. This convergence confirms the choice of both protagonists which was already made to integrate the EU into a great future transatlantic market.

J.-C. Paye is a sociologist and essayist.

Ivan Marino, "Nabucco" versus "South Stream"

The US-backed Nabucco pipeline is a choice which sprang from political and economic reasons, and, in substance, aims to avoid the Russian territory and consequently to contrast the interests of Moscow; but the choice of "Nabucco" may be dangerous for the same energy safety of European Union.

Italy's choice of supporting the "South Stream" has a strategic and objective value. The essay evaluates the strategic importance of this option on the long-term in the dialogue between EU and Russia.

I. Marino coordinates the Observatory on the Constitutional Political System of the Russian Federation.

Fabrizio Di Ernesto, US and NATO bases in Europe

More than 60 years after the end of World War II, Europe struggles to regain its political and military autonomy. This is mainly due to the forced occupation set on by USA through NATO, the military alliance started in 1949 and that with the passing of time has become the real armed wing of the Pentagon. During the years of the Cold War Washington justified this presence with the need of defending its interests against possible attacks of the Red Army and of the Warsaw Pact. Now that this pretext is becoming ever more anachronistic, the White House continues to support the need for this forced militarization hiding behind the scarecrow represented by Islamic terrorism. This presence also leads to various problems, summarized in this essay.

F. Di Ernesto is a journalist and essayist.

Stefano Vernole, The strange story of the "International Money Orders"

According to some sources, during the first months of 1992 the U.S. government developed a sophisticated financial-economics operation, using US taxpayers' funds, for secret aims. The money, nominally allocated for a "humanitarian" operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, would have been mainly used to finance Bill Clinton's election campaign and to pay debts acquired by the Saudi financier Adnan Kashoggi to the procurement office of the JNA (Yugoslav People's Army), but later it was put back in circulation to be used in the most various financial-economics operations.

S. Vernole is editor of "Eurasia".

Tomislav Sunic, In Yaweh we trust: the "divine" US foreign policy

The North American aspiration to "guarantee the democracy in the world " is above all originated by the biblical message. Whatever many European critics of US may say, US military interventions have never had as their sole purpose economic imperialism, rather the desire to spread the U.S. democracy all over the world. Anyone who dares to defy the US military, incurs the risk of being declared out of humankind, or at least of being branded as terrorist. Once someone is declared a terrorist or out of the human race, it's possible to dispose of a person or of a nation at one's pleasure. The ideological element in the history of US foreign policy is described in this essay, a revised version of a chapter, named after it, of the book Homo Americanus: Child of the Postmodern Age (2007).

T. Sunic was Croatian diplomat and University Professor in the USA.

Kees van der Pijl, Transatlantic ideology and neoliberal capitalism

In this essay we deal with three issues: the first concerns the origins of western ideology, an ideology marked by possessive individualism, free enterprise and intensive nature exploitation and that, with zeal of protestant missionary, claims universal validity for these principles. After that, we observe how neo-liberalism has emerged as the most radical western ideology and allowed capitalism to become a machine scam into which the world economy of the last thirty years has been drawn and that just now has suffered a setback.

Finally, some lines of development are drawn, through which Ukraine, and perhaps Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and others, could break with the present strategy of slavish adaptation to the neoliberal economy, which has damaged them so much, and stop to absorb the western ideology so different from their traditions, to implement a common strategy that combines their unique experience with the form of a multinational State and with elements of planned economy, whose strengths and weaknesses they know better than anybody else.

K. van der Pijl is Professor at the University of Sussex.

Paolo Bargiacchi, Is international law really law? A critique to John Bolton's negationism

In the US the (minority) idea that the international law does not exist and the (most common) one that customary international rules only bind States that accept them find a common root in the improper comparison between International context (and International law) and internal context (Internal law). This comparison, in turn, is direct consequence of the Austinian positivism, that, not catching the autonomy of the political and juridical international context compared to the domestic one, mistakenly uses logics, methodologies and categories of internal law to analyze the international law. An example of this modus procedendi comes from J. Bolton, who wonders if "Is There Really "Law" in International Affairs?" and concludes that "International law is not law". In this essay a general-theoretical and empirical critique of his thesis is developed.

P. Bargiacchi is Professor at the University Kore of Enna.

Alessandro Lattanzio, US nuclear forces

U.S. strategic forces, that since 1990 are no longer the backbone of US Army, a role now appertaining to the force projection (aircraft carrier, airborne troops and marine divisions, tactical air force) have undergone a significant downsizing in quality and above all quantities. But this reduction has been sold successfully at the table of international negotiations about nuclear disarmament. With the recent ratification of the START II Treaty, US strategic forces are kept on 500 ICBMs single-warheads, 14 SSBNs each carrying 24 SLBMs, and finally 96 strategic bombers. The budget deficit, the cost of Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the priorities for other programs, including the so-called theatre ballistic missile (THAAD), and the US financial-economic crisis will probably stop the last modernization programs of the U.S. strategic arsenal.

A. Lattanzio is editor of "Eurasia".

Claudio Mutti, Pietro Nenni against the Atlantic Pact

Interjecting into the parliamentary debate in accordance to the Italian democracy rules for enter the NATO, the secretary of the PSI (Italian Socialist Party) pointed put how the inclusion of Italy among the countries bordering the Atlantic was a violation of the basic elements of geography and history. He also contested the political justifications of this accession: partnering with the American superpower, Italy, which "compared to the US is like San Marino compared to Europe", instead of securing her independence would have further reduced her sovereignty, already harshly limited by the international treaties imposed by the winners of the Second World War.

C. Mutti is editor of "Eurasia".

Erika Morucci, 1991-2003: rehearsal of a superpower

In the twenty years since the first Gulf War to the present, different administrations came one after the other at the White House, giving different directions to American foreign policy. Apart from that, these were crucial years of a new historical course, that after the Cold War has opened up a reality whose facets were hidden for a long time and was fed by the iron curtain that divided the world. For the US widened its perspectives: they behaved as if they knew they can reach for primacy, pushing it to the manic search for global power. The multipolarity on the international scene has strongly emerged with the presence of other actors, including Russian, Chinese, European, and so the perspective is now to defend their lead and not lead the world.

E. Morucci, MA in International Relations.

Antonio Grego, Interview with Robert Pelo

Roberto Pelo is the director of the Moscow office of Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE) and coordinator of the ICE office-network in Russia, Armenia, Belarus and Turkmenistan.

Antonio Grego, Interview with Livio Filippo Colasanto

Livio Filippo Colasanto is the first Director-General of RusEnergosbyt-Enel.

[Sep 28, 2020] May Non-OPEC Oil Production drops to 2013 levels by Ovi

Images deleted: see the original for images
Sep 28, 2020 | peakoilbarrel.com

A post by Ovi on peakoilbarrel

Below are a number of oil (C + C ) production charts for Non-OPEC countries created from data provided by the EIA's International Energy Statistics and updated to May 2020. Information from other sources such as the OPEC and country specific sites is used to provide a short term outlook for future output and direction.

Non-OPEC production dropped slowly from a high of 52,638 kb/d in December 2019 to 52,396 kb/d in March 2020. In April that changed when we saw the first big drop in output from the Non-OPEC countries associated with Covid and with the drop in world oil prices. May output collapsed to 45,340 kb/d, which is close to the production level in September 2013.

The projection to September (red square) was made using the September STEO report. It projects that after the low of 45,350 kb/d in May, production will increase by close to 3,500 kb/d to just under 49,000 kb/d in September.

Above are listed the worldʼs 15th largest Non-OPEC producers. They produced 83.6% of the Non-OPEC output in May. On a YoY basis, Non-OPEC production was down by 5,011 kb/d. On a MoM basis, production was down by 5,282 kb/d. World oil production was down by 11,418 kb/d, MoM and 10,318 kb/d YoY.

May saw a drop in output to 2,765 kb/d but rebounded in June to 3,013 kb/d according to this source . Maintenance and extensive turnarounds planned between September and November could shave around 200,000 b/d from Brazil's output.

The EIA shows Canadian production was down in May by 658 kb/d by 248 kb/d to 3,694 kb/d. The CER data is higher because it includes NGPLs in their estimates and is close to 6% of total output.

Canadian oil exports by rail to the US fell from a high of 411,991 b/d in February to a new low of 48,820 kb/d in June.

April 156,242 kb/d May 58,048 kb/d June 48,820 kb/d

At the same time, according to this source , "The Trans Mountain pipeline carried a record-breaking amount of oil to British Columbia from Alberta in August, despite persistent price and demand woes gripping the energy sector as the COVID-19 pandemic drags on".

"We have been full every day during the COVID period. Demand for the pipeline has not softened at all," he told The Globe and Mail in an interview Tuesday.

Chinaʼs production peaked in June-15 at 4,408 kb/d and has been in a steady decline up to September 2018 where it reached an output low of 3,694 kb/d. According to this source, Chinaʼs August production increased by 2.6% over last August. Output increased by 59 kb/d to 3,899 kb/d (Red square). However August's output is still slightly lower than the June 2019 output of 3,918 kb/d even though Chinese oil companies have increased their spending to reduce the decline rate.

Kazakhstan production hit a new output high in February, 1,976 kb/d. For May, production dropped by 203 kb/d to 1,738 kb/d. OPEC expects their output to drop by an average 15 kb/d this year.

Mexicoʼs production decreased in May by 85 kb/d to 1,686 kb/d, according to the EIA. Data from Pemex shows that production dropped to 1,647 kb/d in July (red square). Under the OPEC + Declaration of Cooperation, Mexico committed to reduce output by 100 kb/d in May. Their target was almost met.

The EIA reported that Norway's May production was 1,775 kb/d, a decrease of 14 kb/d from April.

According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, "average daily liquids production in July was: 1 739 000 barrels of oil, 296 000 barrels of NGL and 27 000 barrels of condensate. (Red lines)

On 29 April 2020, the Government decided to implement a cut in Norwegian oil production. The production figures for oil in July include this cut of 134 000 barrels per day in the second half of 2020."

In other words, if Norway hadn't made their commitment to reduce production, May's oil output would have been (1,739 + 134) 1,873 kb/d. This output level would have been very close to some earlier highs.

According to the Russian Ministry of energy, Russian production increased by 479 kb/d in August to 9,860 kb/d. July was revised up by 11 kb/d from 9,371 kb/d to 9,382 kb/d.

UKʼs production decreased by 63 kb/d in May to 1,004 kb/d. According to OPEC, crude production is expected to increase to 1,010 kb/d in June (Red square).

June's production rebounded from May's low by adding 420 kb/d according to the the EIA's August report. May's output was revised up by 15 kb/d in the EIA's September report.

US and Permian oil rigs decreased by 1 to 179 and 121 respectively in the week of September 18. As a percentage, Permian oil rigs represented 67.5% of the total for the week of Aug 21.

According to the September DPR, the 121 rigs operating in the Permian in September will be sufficient to raise production in September by 42 kb/d to 4,150 kb/d.

While WTI has remained close to $40/bbbl, there has been essentially no change in drilling activity since the week of July 17 in the US. There were 180 oil rigs in operation that week vs 179 for the week of September 18.

These five countries complete the list of Non-OPEC countries with annual production between 500 kb/d and 1,000 kb/d. All five are in overall decline. Their combined May production was 3,263 kb/d down 232 kb/d from April's output of 3,495 kb/d. Azerbaijan, Indonesia and India appear to be in a slow steady decline phase. Columbia's production began to drop in March as Brent prices began to drop.

According to Colombia's minister of energy, Maria Fernanda Suarez, ANH president Armando Zamora said if Brent oil prices hit around $35 a barrel national oil output could average around 850,000 barrels a day, down from a previous forecast of 900,000 barrels.

Guyana is a new oil producing country that started production in December 2019. According to this s ource , production was supposed to reach 120 kb/d by June. However gas re-injection issues have delayed its planned production rise. Output in June is expected to be close to 80 kb/d (red square). This new source for oil will offset some of the decline in other countries, which currently is close to 400 kb/d/yr.

NON OPEC W/O US PRODUCTION

This chart shows that oil production in Non-OPEC countries has only increased by 541 kb/d from December 2014 t0 December 2019. It is an indication that these countries as a whole are approaching an output plateau. April is the first month in which the large production drop associated with CV-19 and the plunge in oil prices shows up in this chart. In May 0utput from these countries dropped by 3,293 kb/d to 35,348 kb/d.

Using information from the September STEO, output from the Non OPEC countries W/O the US, is expected to rebound to 37,054 kb/d in September (red square). Looking further out to October 2021, output is predicted to reach 39,692 kb/d. (Blue graph). Note that the October 2021 high is currently expected to be 143 kb/d lower than the December 2019 peak. The 143 kb/d difference is probably well within the margin of error in making these projections.

World Oil Production

World oil production in May decreased by 11,417 kb/d to 71,374 kb/d. This chart also projects world production out to October 2020. It uses the September STEO along with the International Energy Statistics to make the projection. It projects that world production will recover by close to 5,000 kb/d in October 20202 to 76,019 kb/d.

This chart presents world oil production without the US. Note that the November 2016 peak is two years prior to all the worldʼs peak shown in the previous chart. May production was 61,372 kb/d, a decrease of 9,429 kb/d from April.

Using the STEO and the EIA international Energy Statistics, output for September is projected to be 63,768 kb/d, an increase of 2,396 kb/d higher than May.

[Sep 18, 2020] Saudi Prince Abdulaziz Warns Oil Short Sellers- -We Will Never Leave This Market Unattended

Paper oil sellers essentially dictate prices to real producers. So they are looting producers. That's hurt the process of replacement of old wells with new ones (and shale oil well live just several years, with only first two the most procductive) and as "paper oil" is Wall Street fiction, and at some point paper oil market might collapse and oil prices go to stratosphere.
Sep 18, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

As the price of oil begins to falter, Saudi Arabia has stepped up its rhetoric, even going as far as to warn short sellers not to bet against the price of the commodity.

Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman gave "clear hints" on Thursday that there could be a change of direction in production policy forthcoming as the price of oil continues its slide, according to Bloomberg .

He said Thursday: "We will never leave this market unattended. I want the guys in the trading floors to be as jumpy as possible. I'm going to make sure whoever gambles on this market will be ouching like hell."

At the same time, Brent was falling below $40 per barrel and the market continues to show signs of waning demand. OPEC and its allies said they would be "proactive and preemptive" in addressing the diminishing price, recommending "participating counties take further necessary measures".

Abdulaziz started a meeting on Thursday with what Bloomberg called a "forceful condemnation" of members who are pumping out too much supply. His ire may have been directed to UAE Energy Minister Suhail al Mazrouei, who attended the meeting. The UAE has been "one of the worst quota breakers" in OPEC+, only making 10% of its pledged cuts for August.

Abdulaziz said: "Using tactics to over-produce and hide non-compliance have been tried many times in the past, and always end in failure. They achieve nothing and bring harm to our reputation and credibility."

"Attempts to outsmart the market will not succeed and are counterproductive when we have the eyes, and the technology, of the world upon us," Prince Abdulaziz continued.

UAE was overproducing by about 520,000 barrels per day in August and the country will try to make additional cuts in October and November to make up for past month shortcomings.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

Countries like Iraq and Nigeria have implemented more than 100% of their required cuts, helping give OPEC and Abdulaziz credibility.

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Harry Tchilinguirian, head of commodities strategy at BNP Paribas SA, concluded: "You have to hand it to Prince Abdulaziz. Since he became Saudi oil minister, the kingdom has kept OPEC+ in line through his diplomatic and compelling powers of influence."


y_arrow Fabelhaft , 3 hours ago

If that were true, the energy world would be a lot better off. Producers want to contract; consumers, probably even China, like the market price. For it can be manipulated easier by consumers than by suppliers; because consumers control the intl banks and capitalist rules. Unless China is kept from the market table , then it might accept contracting. Tough racket, this sanctioning stuff is getting to be, eh?

[May 20, 2020] A huge fleet of 117 tankers is bringing super cheap crude to China

May 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

vot tak , says: Show Comment May 20, 2020 at 5:01 am GMT

A huge fleet of 117 tankers is bringing super cheap crude to China

https://www.rt.com/business/488927-china-buys-super-cheap-oil/

"At present, a total of 117 very large crude carriers (VLCCs) -- each capable of shipping 2 million barrels of oil -- are traveling to China for unloading at its ports between the middle of May and the middle of August. If those supertankers transport standard-size crude oil cargoes, it could mean that China expects at least 230 million barrels of oil over the next three months, according to Bloomberg. The fleet en route to China could be the largest number of supertankers traveling to the world's top oil importer at one time, ever, Bloomberg News' Firat Kayakiran says.

Many of the crude oil cargoes are likely to have been bought in April, when prices were lower than the current price and when WTI Crude futures even dipped into negative territory for a day.

Last month, emerging from the coronavirus lockdown, China's oil refiners were already buying ultra-cheap spot cargoes from Alaska, Canada, and Brazil, taking advantage of the deep discounts at which many crude grades were being offered to China with non-existent demand elsewhere. ( https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Chinese-Bargain-Hunters-Are-Stucking-Up-On-Ultra-Cheap-Crude-Oil.html )

China was also estimated to have doubled the fill rate at its strategic and commercial inventories in Q1 2020, taking advantage of the low oil prices and somewhat supporting the oil market amid crashing demand by diverting more imports to storage, rather than outright slashing crude imports.

China's crude oil imports jumped in April to about 9.84 million barrels per day as demand for fuels began to rebound and local refiners started to ramp up crude processing, according to Chinese customs data cited by Reuters."

Well, now we know who was taking advantage of those pindo negative oil price sales ;-D

The Chinese are at the advantage here, not being neocon/likud bottom rungers. The desperation of zionazia is expressed in choosing the neocon lowlife to run things in the western colonies. Yes, their extremism provides the initiative in getting extreme capitalist policies through and continues the push to the extreme far right in the zionazi-gay colonies. But it is at the cost of intelligent long term strategy. Short term imaginary gain at the cost of real gain. The fast food, face feeding, bum bandit approach. The quick fixers.

[Apr 23, 2020] What an Oil ETF Has to Do With Plunging Oil Prices

Apr 23, 2020 | www.bloomberg.com

The oil market is in disarray, a result of a coronavirus-led collapse in demand, surplus supply following a price war and a shortage of storage. Yet there have been plenty of people willing to bet on a rebound in basement-level crude prices, and for many retail investors the vehicle of choice has been an exchange-traded fund. However, those wagers via the biggest American ETF -– the U.S. Oil Fund, or USO -– have contributed to market mayhem and helped push crude prices below zero.

1. What did the fund do?

It grew so huge so quickly that it became a sizable player in the market for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for crude. Investors piled in during March and April, convinced that oil prices that had been falling -- pushed down by a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia that boosted production just as demand was slashed by pandemic-driven lockdowns -- would eventually recover once economies reopened. At different stages, the fund held about a quarter of all May and June contracts for WTI.

2. What's the problem?

Unlike shares that can be held as long as an investor chooses, oil futures have finite terms and are agreements to buy or sell a physical product. The May futures contract, for example, expired on April 21. Any holder who had not sold by then would need to take delivery of the oil -- 1,000 U.S. barrels, or 42,000 gallons, for each contract.

3. Where does USO come in?

As a favored investment vehicle for many bullish speculators , the number of shares in the fund ballooned from 145 million at the end of February to more than 1.4 billion by mid-April. Its outsized portion of the WTI market -– on paper -- came at a time when demand for physical oil was cratering and storage space was becoming harder and more expensive to find.

4. What does that have to do with the price plunge?

For years, USO was mandated to invest in the most-active WTI contract and to roll it over to the following contract. (Rolling over means selling it and, often simultaneously, buying the following month's contract.) The flood of money into May contracts earlier had pushed oil prices up; as USO sold its May futures as part of the rollover and bought June and July contracts, prices fell for May and rose for the following months, opening an unusually wide spread. Only a handful of traders remained in the May contract on Monday, when prices plunged well below zero .

5. What's the worry now?

With USO holding a significant level of June contracts, there are concerns that prices will go negative again and that the whole process might repeat -- or might be worse, if the April 20th debacle scares off more investors. To try to mitigate the prospect, USO, which lost 37% of its value in the first three weeks of April, has moved to allocate some holdings to contracts expiring later in the year, since those prices tend to be less volatile. But the fund is adding to pressure on oil prices in other ways.


6. How is that?

https://buy.tinypass.com/checkout/template/show?displayMode=inline&containerSelector=.inline-newsletter&templateId=OTK9NE7VLZ7E&offerId=fakeOfferId&showCloseButton=false&trackingId=%7Bjcx%7DH4sIAAAAAAAAAFWQXU_CMBSG_0uvKWm7fnKHyHAoCony4V3tuq1xbHMdYGL873ZENDQnTXqe8755e76AdikYgeQuvvVxUrVzMACNzu3a2VPSE4IIgohCQvqiuL-l5LBkq-0mmdX5ZDfRYzSH5M2ITGQWY0GJxlFGLUc2jbh8E5gpEoztZ2NbZytjz9bTLZ7coqWKX15uruj005pD5-rqPIYlksxLVIQc4RCf0o666P1DHvfvLGcpq8v6Sj82f2Jf1Kdnu29K3dnZckmTRfS0iNEMR0FRaH9hYNS1BzsA3e_7LH56vlePU7F-eBVT8M_WunW66vqR6lCWA2D0vtEur_ylcXTenTk4wusFRgIiCZUg8EgTv9ssHucn8epWRQPDN6MIccqyTEqDjRIpyhQzUrIUc5KGBK4JllwOsVJDgvhQytA8eNuOc1t1gaUn0wftSjDCTAquOBL0-wc_ZnWZ5gEAAA&experienceId=EX1CD0P9FUUB&tbc=%7Bjzx%7Dt_3qvTkEkvt3AGEeiiNNgAAU00osQjCe0eF96F_9vcluNhIruyJ5U_hxmYIoR_aQC3rHe7849TeV2Z2AEouDIc2XbqmfsITfbdl6zvDN4VT5RP0yLhL9h60mm8w09XJtjylU0Z664w9lha1BgkmqDg&iframeId=offer-0-ScnYD&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bloomberg.com%2Fnews%2Farticles%2F2020-04-22%2Fwhat-an-oil-etf-has-to-do-with-plunging-oil-prices-quicktake%3Fsrnd%3Dpremium&parentDualScreenLeft=1536&parentDualScreenTop=0&parentWidth=1536&parentHeight=762&parentOuterHeight=864&aid=IHFDsFInrJ&contentSection=content-article&pageViewId=2020-04-22-22-41-22-886-l5QXWIGogCYCaA0J-2bc7f7fe11742a13f4e60ed368b71592&visitId=v-2020-04-22-22-37-08-972-v4IsYWMNJw7ZiQhp-808330645ff88c1c97d0f95c885d162d&userProvider=publisher_user_ref&userToken=&customCookies=%7B%7D&hasLoginRequiredCallback=false&width=170&_qh=46cb607e8b

There was so much demand for USO that it exhausted the number of shares it was allowed to issue and, on April 20, asked regulators for permission to register an additional 4 billion, more than double the existing number. Until the new shares are cleared for issuance, the ETF will not purchase more futures contracts, according to analysts, potentially adding to pressure on crude prices. Without new oil contracts, the fund will also become untethered from the prices it's supposed to track.

7. Anything else?


ETF prices are kept in sync with the value of their holdings, their so-called NAV (net-asset value), through the creation and redemption of shares. So-called "authorized participants" for instance sell an ETF when it's rising and buy the underlying security to pocket a quick profit, keeping the fund's price and NAV in lockstep in the process. However, with the authorized participants no longer able to create shares, that's disrupted demand for the underlying contracts.

8. How about other ETFs?

USO is hardly the only exchange-traded fund to be hammered by the swings in oil futures; the effects were felt around the globe. The Samsung S&P GSCI Crude Oil ER Futures ETF, whose holdings of the derivatives slumped 26% on Tuesday to $378 million , saw its traded units lose half their value for a time Wednesday. Closing down 46% at HK $1.79 , the ETF had its biggest drop and lowest finish since trading began in May 2016. Credit Suisse Group AG told investors in a leveraged exchange-traded note that tracks the price of oil they probably won't get any money back after the value of the note dropped below zero.

The Reference Shelf

[Apr 22, 2020] What an Oil ETF Has to Do With Plunging Oil Prices

Apr 22, 2020 | www.bloomberg.com

The oil market is in disarray, a result of a coronavirus-led collapse in demand, surplus supply following a price war and a shortage of storage. Yet there have been plenty of people willing to bet on a rebound in basement-level crude prices, and for many retail investors the vehicle of choice has been an exchange-traded fund. However, those wagers via the biggest American ETF -– the U.S. Oil Fund, or USO -– have contributed to market mayhem and helped push crude prices below zero.

1. What did the fund do?

It grew so huge so quickly that it became a sizable player in the market for West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark for crude. Investors piled in during March and April, convinced that oil prices that had been falling -- pushed down by a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia that boosted production just as demand was slashed by pandemic-driven lockdowns -- would eventually recover once economies reopened. At different stages, the fund held about a quarter of all May and June contracts for WTI.

2. What's the problem?

Unlike shares that can be held as long as an investor chooses, oil futures have finite terms and are agreements to buy or sell a physical product. The May futures contract, for example, expired on April 21. Any holder who had not sold by then would need to take delivery of the oil -- 1,000 U.S. barrels, or 42,000 gallons, for each contract.

3. Where does USO come in?

As a favored investment vehicle for many bullish speculators , the number of shares in the fund ballooned from 145 million at the end of February to more than 1.4 billion by mid-April. Its outsized portion of the WTI market -– on paper -- came at a time when demand for physical oil was cratering and storage space was becoming harder and more expensive to find.

4. What does that have to do with the price plunge?

For years, USO was mandated to invest in the most-active WTI contract and to roll it over to the following contract. (Rolling over means selling it and, often simultaneously, buying the following month's contract.) The flood of money into May contracts earlier had pushed oil prices up; as USO sold its May futures as part of the rollover and bought June and July contracts, prices fell for May and rose for the following months, opening an unusually wide spread. Only a handful of traders remained in the May contract on Monday, when prices plunged well below zero .

5. What's the worry now?

With USO holding a significant level of June contracts, there are concerns that prices will go negative again and that the whole process might repeat -- or might be worse, if the April 20th debacle scares off more investors. To try to mitigate the prospect, USO, which lost 37% of its value in the first three weeks of April, has moved to allocate some holdings to contracts expiring later in the year, since those prices tend to be less volatile. But the fund is adding to pressure on oil prices in other ways.


6. How is that?

https://buy.tinypass.com/checkout/template/show?displayMode=inline&containerSelector=.inline-newsletter&templateId=OTK9NE7VLZ7E&offerId=fakeOfferId&showCloseButton=false&trackingId=%7Bjcx%7DH4sIAAAAAAAAAFWQXU_CMBSG_0uvKWm7fnKHyHAoCony4V3tuq1xbHMdYGL873ZENDQnTXqe8755e76AdikYgeQuvvVxUrVzMACNzu3a2VPSE4IIgohCQvqiuL-l5LBkq-0mmdX5ZDfRYzSH5M2ITGQWY0GJxlFGLUc2jbh8E5gpEoztZ2NbZytjz9bTLZ7coqWKX15uruj005pD5-rqPIYlksxLVIQc4RCf0o666P1DHvfvLGcpq8v6Sj82f2Jf1Kdnu29K3dnZckmTRfS0iNEMR0FRaH9hYNS1BzsA3e_7LH56vlePU7F-eBVT8M_WunW66vqR6lCWA2D0vtEur_ylcXTenTk4wusFRgIiCZUg8EgTv9ssHucn8epWRQPDN6MIccqyTEqDjRIpyhQzUrIUc5KGBK4JllwOsVJDgvhQytA8eNuOc1t1gaUn0wftSjDCTAquOBL0-wc_ZnWZ5gEAAA&experienceId=EX1CD0P9FUUB&tbc=%7Bjzx%7Dt_3qvTkEkvt3AGEeiiNNgAAU00osQjCe0eF96F_9vcluNhIruyJ5U_hxmYIoR_aQC3rHe7849TeV2Z2AEouDIc2XbqmfsITfbdl6zvDN4VT5RP0yLhL9h60mm8w09XJtjylU0Z664w9lha1BgkmqDg&iframeId=offer-0-ScnYD&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bloomberg.com%2Fnews%2Farticles%2F2020-04-22%2Fwhat-an-oil-etf-has-to-do-with-plunging-oil-prices-quicktake%3Fsrnd%3Dpremium&parentDualScreenLeft=1536&parentDualScreenTop=0&parentWidth=1536&parentHeight=762&parentOuterHeight=864&aid=IHFDsFInrJ&contentSection=content-article&pageViewId=2020-04-22-22-41-22-886-l5QXWIGogCYCaA0J-2bc7f7fe11742a13f4e60ed368b71592&visitId=v-2020-04-22-22-37-08-972-v4IsYWMNJw7ZiQhp-808330645ff88c1c97d0f95c885d162d&userProvider=publisher_user_ref&userToken=&customCookies=%7B%7D&hasLoginRequiredCallback=false&width=170&_qh=46cb607e8b

There was so much demand for USO that it exhausted the number of shares it was allowed to issue and, on April 20, asked regulators for permission to register an additional 4 billion, more than double the existing number. Until the new shares are cleared for issuance, the ETF will not purchase more futures contracts, according to analysts, potentially adding to pressure on crude prices. Without new oil contracts, the fund will also become untethered from the prices it's supposed to track.

7. Anything else?


ETF prices are kept in sync with the value of their holdings, their so-called NAV (net-asset value), through the creation and redemption of shares. So-called "authorized participants" for instance sell an ETF when it's rising and buy the underlying security to pocket a quick profit, keeping the fund's price and NAV in lockstep in the process. However, with the authorized participants no longer able to create shares, that's disrupted demand for the underlying contracts.

8. How about other ETFs?

USO is hardly the only exchange-traded fund to be hammered by the swings in oil futures; the effects were felt around the globe. The Samsung S&P GSCI Crude Oil ER Futures ETF, whose holdings of the derivatives slumped 26% on Tuesday to $378 million , saw its traded units lose half their value for a time Wednesday. Closing down 46% at HK $1.79 , the ETF had its biggest drop and lowest finish since trading began in May 2016. Credit Suisse Group AG told investors in a leveraged exchange-traded note that tracks the price of oil they probably won't get any money back after the value of the note dropped below zero.

The Reference Shelf

[Apr 22, 2020] Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the fall in prices for WTI oil futures is due to the actions of speculators.

Apr 22, 2020 | vz.ru

Energy Minister Alexander Novak said that the fall in prices for WTI oil futures is due to the actions of speculators.

"Yesterday's collapse of oil quotes of the us WTI brand occurred due to the sale of futures for delivery in may at the end of trading on paper (after April 20, the may futures are not traded on the exchange), the lack of demand for additional oil supplies in may and the likelihood of overstocking storage facilities. This caused a speculative fall of the financial instrument to negative values, " he said, according to TASS.

The head of the energy Ministry urged "not to dramatize the situation". According to him, it is important to understand that this is "a paper market, not a trade in physical oil," RIA Novosti reports.

The Minister also noted that the pressure on the oil market will continue until the start of the OPEC+ agreement in may, after which the reduction of oil production by countries outside the agreement and the easing of restrictions will begin.

"The oil market is currently in an extremely volatile state due to a sharp drop in demand associated with measures to counter the spread of coronavirus, with the gradual overstocking of storage facilities and the uncertainty of the timing of the global economic recovery. Pressure on the market will continue until the OPEC + agreement begins in may, reducing production by countries outside the agreement and easing restrictive measures, " he said.

Novak assured that OPEC+ countries are closely monitoring the situation in the oil market and have all the capabilities to respond.

"But don't dramatize the situation. It is important to understand that this is a paper market, that is, trading in derivative financial instruments, and not physical oil. Quotes for June Brent and WTI futures are significantly higher, although they are also subject to volatility due to the General negative mood in the market," Novak added.

The price of WTI oil for delivery in may ended Monday's main trading on the NYMEX on negative values, falling to minus 37.63 dollars. The decrease was 300%. Before that, the quotes reached minus 40.32 dollars per barrel. Later, the price of may WTI futures returned to positive values, rising by 160% to $ 2.21 per barrel.

The price of a barrel of oil on the morning of April 21 was trading at $ 21.41.

[Feb 16, 2020] Africa's largest oil nation could see production drop 35%

Feb 16, 2020 | www.rt.com

Africa's largest oil producer could see oil production fall by 35 percent as low oil prices and regulatory uncertainty threaten to prompt oil majors to postpone final investment decisions. OPEC member Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and it pumped 1.776 million barrels of oil per day (bpd) in January 2020, according to OPEC's secondary sources in its monthly report published this week. Adding condensate production, Nigeria's total oil output exceeds 2 million bpd.

However, three deepwater projects offshore Nigeria, operated by oil majors Exxon, Shell, and Total, could see their start-up dates delayed by two to four years to the late 2020s, according to the research WoodMac shared with Reuters ahead of publishing it on Friday.

Also on rt.com Russia to bring back to life Nigeria's major steel plant project, abandoned for decades

The regulatory changes in Nigeria's oil industry and the still pending final approval of a petroleum bill - after two decades of delays and wrangling - act as deterrents to the oil majors' investment decisions, according to Wood Mackenzie.

Moreover, the three deepwater projects - which could add a combined 300,000 bpd to Nigeria's production - are not profitable at current oil prices with Brent Crude below $60 a barrel, the consultancy noted.

Just this week, Nigeria assured foreign oil investors that the country is open to business and can guarantee high returns on investment, the country's President Muhammadu Buhari told an energy conference on Monday.

Nigeria is set to finally pass a new bill regulating the petroleum industry by the middle of this year, after nearly two decades of delays, the country's Minister of Petroleum Timipre Sylva said at the same event.

Also on rt.com Africa to become 'land of opportunity' if US & China strike trade deal – Bank of America

Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said at the conference that "We are, more than ever before, committed to working with stakeholders to increase our crude oil production from 2.3 million bbl per day to 3 million bbl per day."

The recent amendment to the Deep Offshore Act will improve financial stability and investor confidence, NNPC's head said.

This article was originally published on Oilprice.com

[Feb 09, 2020] OPEC has almost 80% of World oil reserves

Notable quotes:
"... that every nation produces what oil they can produce. Production must have some relation to reserves. ..."
"... The normal R/P ratio is around 20. That doesn't mean a nation with an R/P ratio of 20 will run out of oil in 20 years. Because as their production declines, their R/P ratio will still hold at about 20 because they are producing less oil therefore their reserves will go further. So an R/P ratio of about 20 is the norm for normal size conventional fields. ..."
"... For giant and supergiant fields the R/P ratio would be greater and for smaller fields, as well as shale fields, the R/P ratio would be smaller. ..."
"... Using OPEC's reserves data for both OPEC and Non-OPEC, OPEC has an R/P of 109 while Non-OPEC has an R/P ratio of about 12. That OPEC number is absurd beyond belief. ..."
"... If we exclude the heavy oil then OPEC's share is close to the 70% I suggested. How does this square its share of the production numbers for the world. This was my original question. I would like to read what the thoughts of other posters are on this as well. ..."
Dec 21, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

What is the explanation that Non-OPEC produces more than OPEC, but OPEC has 70% of world reserves?

Although this might have been the case in the early history of oil production, I would think that this should not be the case near the peak. If I recall correctly, Campbell thought that OPEC's stated reserves are actually the estimated values produced by the government for each OPEC country?


Ron Patterson 12/12/2019 at 11:08 pm

No, no, no, OPEC has almost 80% of World oil reserves: OPEC Share of World Oil Reserves, 2018

Well, 79.4% to be exact Some people really believe that unbelievable crap. Well hell, there are still people who believe the earth is flat and that the sun revolves around the earth. So why should we be surprised? Some people will believe anything.

I would like to think that most people on this list know that OPEC quoted reserves is pure bullshit.

Hey, we have a president who lies every time he tweets. And sometimes he tweets 200 times a day. And perhaps 45% of the nation believes him. The capacity of humans to believe the absurd is unbounded.

Anyway if IEA and EIA projections are made on the basis of OPEC claimed reserves, we have a serious problem.

Ron Patterson 12/13/2019 at 2:15 pm
Well, I have always stated, on this blog as well as The Oil Drum, that every nation produces what oil they can produce. Production must have some relation to reserves.

The normal R/P ratio is around 20. That doesn't mean a nation with an R/P ratio of 20 will run out of oil in 20 years. Because as their production declines, their R/P ratio will still hold at about 20 because they are producing less oil therefore their reserves will go further. So an R/P ratio of about 20 is the norm for normal size conventional fields.

For giant and supergiant fields the R/P ratio would be greater and for smaller fields, as well as shale fields, the R/P ratio would be smaller.

If a giant or supergiant field is nearing the end of its life, but infill drilling, creaming the top of the reservoir, this will throw a monkey wrench into their R/P ratio. While in its prime, the field may have had an R/P ration of 40 or even greater, its R/P ratio while being creamed will be much smaller, less than 20.

Using OPEC's reserves data for both OPEC and Non-OPEC, OPEC has an R/P of 109 while Non-OPEC has an R/P ratio of about 12. That OPEC number is absurd beyond belief.

Seppo Korpela 12/15/2019 at 5:55 pm
Ron,

According to Hubbert methodology, at the peak production the number of years to exhaust the reserve is N = 2/a in which "a" is the intrinsic growth rate

dQ/dt=a Q (1-Q/Q_0)

From Laherrere's reports for world peak, this is between 0.04 and 0.05. This means that the R/P ratio is between 40 and 50 at the peak. Thus if we say that 1/2 of the reserves are left at the peak and we take Laherre's URR = 2500, this gives R/P=1250/35=36 years. These are ball park figures, but suggest that R/P ~ 20 is low. These numbers are for the entire world and for example for North Sea at its peak Hubbert's analysis gave a = 0.12, so R/P=2/0.12=16.6, and this illustrates the fact that smaller fields are closer to your number R/P=20.

If we exclude the heavy oil then OPEC's share is close to the 70% I suggested. How does this square its share of the production numbers for the world. This was my original question. I would like to read what the thoughts of other posters are on this as well.

[Feb 09, 2020] The Oil War by Jean-Pierre Séréni

Notable quotes:
"... The Iraq war was about oil. Recently declassified US government documents confirm this ( 1 ), however much US president George W Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and their ally, the British prime minister Tony Blair, denied it at the time. ..."
Mar 06, 2013 | www.zcommunications.org

Source: Le Monde Diplomatique

The Iraq war was about oil. Recently declassified US government documents confirm this ( 1 ), however much US president George W Bush, vice-president Dick Cheney, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld and their ally, the British prime minister Tony Blair, denied it at the time.

When Bush moved into the White House in January 2001, he faced the familiar problem of the imbalance between oil supply and demand. Supply was unable to keep up with demand, which was increasing rapidly because of the growth of emerging economies such as China and India. The only possible solution lay in the Gulf, where the giant oil-producing countries of Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq, and the lesser producing states of Kuwait and Abu Dhabi, commanded 60% of the world's reserves.

For financial or political reasons, production growth was slow. In Saudi Arabia, the ultra-rich ruling families of the Al-Saud, the Al-Sabah and the Zayed Al-Nayan were content with a comfortable level of income, given their small populations, and preferred to leave their oil underground. Iran and Iraq hold around 25% of the world's hydrocarbon reserves and could have filled the gap, but were subject to sanctions -- imposed solely by the US on Iran, internationally on Iraq -- that deprived them of essential oil equipment and services. Washington saw them as rogue states and was unwilling to end the sanctions.

How could the US get more oil from the Gulf without endangering its supremacy in the region? Influential US neoconservatives, led by Paul Wolfowitz, who had gone over to uninhibited imperialism after the fall of the Soviet Union, thought they had found a solution. They had never understood George Bush senior's decision not to overthrow Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf war in 1991. An open letter to President Bill Clinton, inspired by the Statement of Principles of the Project for the New American Century, a non-profit organisation founded by William Kristol and Robert Kagan, had called for a regime change in Iraq as early as 1998: Saddam must be ousted and big US oil companies must gain access to Iraq. Several signatories to the Statement of Principles became members of the new Republican administration in 2001.

In 2002, one of them, Douglas Feith, a lawyer who was undersecretary of defense to Rumsfeld, supervised the work of experts planning the future of Iraq's oil industry. His first decision was to entrust its management after the expected US victory to Kellog, Brown & Root, a subsidiary of US oil giant Halliburton, of which Cheney had been chairman and CEO. Feith's plan, formulated at the start of 2003, was to keep Iraq's oil production at its current level of 2,840 mbpd (million barrels per day), to avoid a collapse that would cause chaos in the world market.

Privatising oil

Experts were divided on the privatisation of the Iraqi oil industry. The Iraqi government had excluded foreign companies and successfully managed the sector itself since 1972. By 2003, despite wars with Iran (1980-88) and in Kuwait (1990-91) and more than 15 years of sanctions, Iraq had managed to equal the record production levels achieved in 1979-1980.

The experts had a choice -- bring back the concession regime that had operated before nationalisation in 1972, or sell shares in the Iraqi National Oil Company (INOC) on the Russian model, issuing transferrable vouchers to the Iraqi population. In Russia, this approach had very quickly led to the oil sector falling into the hands of a few super-rich oligarchs.

Bush approved the plan drawn up by the Pentagon and State Department in January 2003. The much-decorated retired lieutenant general Jay Gardner, was appointed director of the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance, the military administration set up to govern post-Saddam Iraq. Out of his depth, he stuck to short-term measures and avoided choosing between the options put forward by his technical advisers.

Reassuring the oil giants

The international oil companies were not idle. Lee Raymond, CEO of America's biggest oil company ExxonMobil, was an old friend of Dick Cheney. But where the politicians were daring, he was cautious. The project was a tempting opportunity to replenish the company's reserves, which had been stagnant for several years, but Raymond had doubts: would Bush really be able to assure conditions that would allow the company to operate safely in Iraq? Nobody at ExxonMobil was willing to die for oil. (Its well-paid engineers do not dream of life in a blockhouse in Iraq.) The company would also have to be sure of its legal position: what would contracts signed by a de facto authority be worth when it would be investing billions of dollars that would take years to recover?

In the UK, BP was anxious to secure its own share of the spoils. As early as 2002 the company had confided in the UK Department of Trade and Industry its fears that the US might give away too much to French, Russian and Chinese oil companies in return for their governments agreeing not to use their veto at the UN Security Council ( 2 ). In February 2003 those fears were removed: France's president Jacques Chirac vetoed a resolution put forward by the US, and the third Iraq war began without UN backing. There was no longer any question of respecting the agreements Saddam had signed with Total and other companies (which had never been put into practice because of sanctions).

To reassure the British and US oil giants, the US government appointed to the management team Gary Vogler of ExxonMobil and Philip J Carrol of Shell. They were replaced in October 2003 by Rob McKee of ConocoPhilips and Terry Adams of BP. The idea was to counter the dominance of the Pentagon, and the influential neocon approach (which faced opposition from within the administration). The neocon ideologues, still on the scene, had bizarre ideas: they wanted to build a pipeline to transport Iraq's crude oil to Israel, dismantle OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) and even use "liberated" Iraq as a guinea pig for a new oil business model to be applied to all of the Middle East. The engineers and businessmen, whose priorities were profits and results, were more down-to-earth.

In any event, the invasion had a devastating impact on Iraq's oil production, less because of the bombing by the US air force than because of the widespread looting of government agencies, schools, universities, archives, libraries, banks, hospitals, museums and state-owned enterprises. Drilling rigs were dismantled for the copper parts they were believed to contain. The looting continued from March to May 2003. Only a third of the damage to the oil industry was caused during the invasion; the rest happened after the fighting was over, despite the presence of the RIO Task Force and the US Corps of Engineers with its 500 contractors, specially prepared and trained to protect oil installations. Saddam's supporters were prevented from blowing up the oil wells by the speed of the invasion, but the saboteurs set to work in June 2003.

Iraq's one real asset

The only buildings protected were the gigantic oil ministry, where 15,000 civil servants managed 22 subsidiaries of the Iraq National Oil Company. The State Oil Marketing Organisation and the infrastructure were abandoned. The occupiers regarded the oil under the ground as Iraq's one real asset. They were not interested in installations or personnel. The oil ministry was only saved at the last minute because it housed geological and seismic data on Iraq's 80 known deposits, estimated to contain 115bn barrels of crude oil. The rest could always be replaced with more modern US-made equipment and the knowhow of the international oil companies, made indispensible by the sabotage.

Thamir Abbas Ghadban, director-general of planning at the oil ministry, turned up at the office three days after the invasion was over, and, in the absence of a minister for oil (since Iraq had no government), was appointed second in command under Micheal Mobbs, a neocon who enjoyed the confidence of the Pentagon. Paul Bremer, the US proconsul who headed Iraq's provisional government from May 2003 to June 2004, presided over the worst 12 months in the oil sector in 70 years. Production fell by 1 mbpd -- more than $13bn of lost income.

The oil installations, watched over by 3,500 underequipped guards, suffered 140 sabotage attacks between May 2003 and September 2004, estimated to have caused $7bn of damage. "There was widespread looting," said Ghadban. "Equipment was stolen and in most cases the buildings were set on fire." The Daura refinery, near Baghdad, only received oil intermittently, because of damage to the pipeline network. "We had to let all the oil in the damaged sections of the pipeline burn before we could repair them." Yet the refinery continued to operate, no mean achievement considering that the workers were no longer being paid.

The senior management of the national oil company also suffered. Until 1952 almost all senior managers of the Iraq Petroleum Company (IPC) were foreigners, who occupied villas in gated and guarded compounds while the local workforce lived in shantytowns. In 1952 tension between Iraq and Muhammad Mossadegh's Iran led the IPC to review its relations with Baghdad, and a clause of the new treaty concerned the training of Iraqi managers. By 1972, 75% of the thousand skilled jobs were filled by Iraqis, which helped to ensure the success of the IPC's nationalisation. The new Iraq National Oil Company gained control of the oilfields and production reached unprecedented levels.

Purge of the Ba'ath

After the invasion, the US purged Ba'athist elements from INOC's management. Simply belonging to the Ba'ath, Iraq's single political party, which had been in power since 1968, was grounds for dismissal, compulsory retirement or worse. Seventeen of INOC's 24 directors were forced out, along with several hundred engineers, who had kept production high through wars and foreign sanctions. The founding fathers of INOC were ousted by the Deba'athification Commission, led by former exiles including Iraq's prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, who replaced them with his own supporters, as incompetent as they were partisan.

Rob McKee, who succeeded Philip J Carrol as oil adviser to the US proconsul, observed in autumn 2003: "The people themselves are patently unqualified and are apparently being placed in the ministry for religious, political or personal reasons... the people who nursed the industry through Saddam's years and who brought it back to life after the liberation, as well as many trained professionals, are all systematically being pushed to the sidelines" ( 3 ).

This purge opened the door to advisers, mostly from the US, who bombarded the oil ministry with notes, circulars and reports directly inspired by the practices of the international oil industry, without much concern for their applicability to Iraq.

The drafting of Iraq's new constitution and an oil law provided an opportunity to change the rules. Washington had decided in advance to do away with the centralised state, partly because of its crimes against the Kurds under Saddam and partly because centralisation favours totalitarianism. The new federal, or even confederal, regime was decentralised to the point of being de-structured. A two-thirds majority in one of the three provinces allows opposition to veto central government decisions.

Baghdad-Irbil rivalry

Only Kurdistan had the means and the motivation to do so. Where oil was concerned, power was effectively divided between Baghdad and Irbil, seat of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which imposed its own interpretation of the constitution: deposits already being exploited would remain under federal government control, but new licenses would be granted by the provincial governments. A fierce dispute arose between the two capitals, partly because the KRG granted licenses to foreign oil companies under far more favourable conditions than those offered by Baghdad.

The quarrel related to the production sharing agreements. The usual practice is for foreign companies that provide financial backing to get a share of the oil produced, which can be very significant in the first few years. This was the formula US politicians and oil companies wanted to impose. They were unable to do so.

Iraq's parliament, so often criticised in other matters, opposed this system; it was supported by public opinion, which had not forgotten the former IPC. Tariq Shafiq, founding father of the INOC, explained to the US Congress the technical reasons for the refusal ( 4 ). Iraq's oil deposits were known and mapped out. There was therefore little risk to foreign companies: there would be no prospecting costs and exploitation costs would be among the lowest in the world. From 2008 onwards, Baghdad started offering major oil companies far less attractive contracts -- $2/barrel for the bigger oilfields, and no rights to the deposits.

ExxonMobil, BP, Shell, Total, and Russian, Chinese, Angolan, Pakistani and Turkish oil companies nevertheless rushed to accept, hoping that things would turn to their advantage. Newsweek (24 May 2010) claimed Iraq had the potential to become "the next Saudi Arabia." But although production is up (over 3 mbpd in 2012), the oil companies are irritated by the conditions imposed on them: investment costs are high, profits are mediocre and the oil still underground is not counted as part of their reserves, which affects their share price.

ExxonMobil and Total disregarded the federal government edict that threatened to strip rights from oil companies that signed production-sharing agreements relating to oilfields in Kurdistan. Worse, ExxonMobil sold its services contract relating to Iraq's largest oilfield, West Qurna, where it had been due to invest $50bn and double the country's current production. Baghdad is now under pressure: if it continues to refuse the conditions requested by the foreign oil companies, it will lose out to Irbil, even if Kurdistan's deposits are only a third of the size of those in the south. Meanwhile, Turkey has done nothing to improve its relations with Iraq by offering to build a direct pipeline from Kurdistan to the Mediterranean. Without the war, would the oil companies have been able to make the Iraqis and Kurds compete? One thing is certain: the US is far from achieving its goals in the oil sector, and in this sense the war was a failure.

Alan Greenspan, who as chairman of the US Federal Reserve from 1987 to 2006 was well placed to understand the importance of oil, came up with the best summary of the conflict: "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil" ( 5 ).

[Feb 09, 2020] Myths, Lies and Oil Wars (9783981326369) F. William Engdahl Books

Feb 09, 2020 | www.amazon.com

J. Montz , October 29, 2012

Engdahl is Concise, Relevant, & Thought-provoking

"Myths, Lies, and Oil Wars" by William F. Engdahl is a must read for anyone struggling to make sense of U.S. foreign policy. Why are U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why did NATO take out Gaddafi? Why are we going after Iran and Syria? Is there a grand strategy? Was the "Arab Spring" uprisings really grassroots revolutions or just a second round of color revolutions?

"Control the food and you control the people. Control the oil and you control the nations" is a statement that has been attributed to Henry Kissinger. The premise of the book is summed up by the latter part of Kissinger's statement, the control of oil or more generally the control of energy.

Engdahl maintains that the geopolitical events we have been witnessing is part of the Pentagon's "Full Spectrum Dominance" plan. A cornerstone of the plan is the control of oil at the source. Much of the world's proven oilfields are in the Middle East. For the next two decades the Mideast oilfields is expected to provide Asia with most of its oil.

Engdahl begins laying out the history of conflicts over oil and provides insightful revelations into conflicts that benefited the Oil majors by reducing the world supply of oil. Case in point the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980's. The oil exports from these two nations was drastically reduced during wartime leading to higher prices.

Another example Engdahl lists is the fact that David Rockefeller lobbied the Carter Administration to allow the Shah of Iran into the U.S. for medical treatment knowing that it would cause a crisis with the Ayatollah Khomeini's Iranian government and how Rockefeller's Bank was able to benefit after the U.S. froze the assets of Iran.

Other topics covered include:

The "Peak Oil Fraud" and the pseudo-science of its creator King Hubbert.

The fact that in Russia the Abiotic theory of oil formation is accepted as the leading theory for the last fifty years resulting in Russian Geoligist finding oil in places that western dogma says it shouldn't be.

The rapid rise of China is a source of much concern in Washington. The economic rise of China must be contained and in no way can Russia and China be allowed to join forces. Many tacticians have emphasized the importance of not allowing the rise of a unified Eurasian power. A Eurasian power would be in a position to challenge the dominance of the Anglo-American Empire.

According to the info the Engdahl provides China's weakness is its lack of oil. Engdahl illustrates how the Pentagon has been encircling Russia and China and the events we are seeing is Washington's attempt to knock China out of Africa where China was making steady inroads signing economic alliances with African nations that the Anglo-Americans were exploiting.

Engdahl makes the case that the Iraq war was about control of the oil at the source.

The invasion of Afghanistan was about a controlling Caspian sea oil and gas.

Engdahl offers an explanation for NATO alliances with the former Soviet States of Ukraine and Georgia.

What really was behind the Russian invasion of Georgia? The consequences for Russia.

The establishment of joint ventures between U.S. oil companies and former state run oil enterprises in Kazakhstan, and Azerbaijan.

Why did the U.S. move Afghani Mujahideen into Chechnya and start a proxy war along a vital Russian pipeline?

Engdahl provides the information needed to connect the "dots" of seemingly unrelated conflicts to form a vivid picture of the "New World Order" being assembled in the 21st Century.

I highly recommend this book along with all of Engdahl's other works. Engdahl wrote two other books that are especially pertinent to "Myths, Lies, and Oil Wars"

The first is "A Century of War, Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order" which I consider as a prequel to "Myths, Lies, and Oil Wars"

The second is "Full Spectrum Dominance, Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order" which describes the encircling of Russia, the color revolutions, and much more.

These three books together will surely enlighten the lay person to the machinations of the U.S. Empire. Another point I should mention is, Engdahl's works are concise and thoughtful hitting on the important points while remaining entertaining and not overwhelming the reader with a thousand plus page tome.

A Century of War: : Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order
Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order

[Feb 09, 2020] The Real Reason for the Iraq War

Notable quotes:
"... 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 ..."
"... 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." ..."
Feb 09, 2020 | www.vice.com

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."

[Feb 09, 2020] Who's Turning Syria's Civil War Into a Jihad? by Philip Giraldi

The West, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia all have their own angles in the conflict -- but Salafism and anarchy may be the big winners.
Feb 28, 2013 | www.theamericanconservative.com
The tale of what is going on in Syria reads something like this: an insurgency active since March 2011 has been funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and allowed to operate out of Turkey with the sometimes active, but more often passive, connivance of a number of Western powers, including Britain, France, Germany, and the United States. The intention was to overthrow the admittedly dictatorial Bashar al-Assad quickly and replace him with a more representative government composed largely of Syrians-in-exile drawn from the expat communities in Europe and the United States. The largely ad hoc political organization that was the counterpart to the Free Syrian Army ultimately evolved into the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (Syrian National Coalition) in November 2012, somewhat reminiscent of Ahmad Chalabi and the ill-starred Iraqi National Congress. As in the lead-up to regime change in Iraq, the exiles successfully exploited anti-Syrian sentiment among leading politicians in Washington and Europe while skillfully manipulating the media narrative to suggest that the al-Assad regime was engaging in widespread atrocities and threatening to destabilize its neighbors, most notably Lebanon. As in the case of Iraq, Syria's possession of weapons of mass destruction was introduced into the indictment of al-Assad and cited as a regional threat.

If there was a model for what was planned for Syria it must have been the invasion of Iraq in 2003 or possibly the United Nations-endorsed armed intervention in Libya in 2010 , both of which intended to replace dictatorial regimes with Western-style governments that would at least provide a simulacrum of accountable popular rule. But the planners must have anticipated a better outcome.

Both Libya and Iraq have become more destabilized than they were under their autocrats, a fact that appears to have escaped everyone's notice. It did not take long for the wheels to fall off the bus in Syria as well. As in Iraq, the Syrian exiles had no real constituency within their homeland, which meant that the already somewhat organized resistance to al-Assad, consisting of the well-established Muslim Brotherhood and associated groups, came to the fore. Al-Assad, who somewhat credibly has described the rebels as terrorists supported by foreign governments, did not throw in the towel and leave.

The Turkish people, meanwhile, began to turn sour on a war which seemed endless, was creating a huge refugee and security problem as Kurdish terrorists mixed in with the refugees, and was increasingly taking on the shape of a new jihad as foreign volunteers began to assume responsibility for most of the fighting.

The proposed alternative government of the Syrian National Coalition was quickly recognized by Washington and the Europeans, primarily because it promised some kind of democratic and pluralistic future for Syria and control over the disparate and sometimes radical elements in the Free Syrian Army. The supporters of the rebellion in the West were willing to hold their collective noses and endorse the enterprise even though it was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists rather than by Western-educated liberals and other secularists. But the painstakingly arrived at distribution of power provided no real solution as the Coalition had no authority over most of the actual rebel combatants and little ability to enforce standards on the cadres who were fighting the Syrian Army in Aleppo and Damascus. Emphasizing its political divisions and also its essential powerlessness, on January 21, 2013 the Coalition was unable to agree on who might be part of a transitional government to run the areas controlled by the insurgents, largely because the Muslim Brotherhood was unwilling to cede authority to other groups. Since that time it has failed to agree on possible conditions for initiating peace negotiations with the al-Assad government.

There will be plenty of finger-pointing in Washington and in the European chanceries over what went wrong, but one issue that will probably not be confronted directly is the competing objectives of the various supporters of the insurgents, which should have been visible right from the beginning. The U.S. and the Europeans clearly envisioned some kind of humanitarian intervention which would lead to a new, more representative government, but that was not the goal of Turkey, which sought a pliable replacement regime that would clamp down on the activities of groups like the separatist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), Ankara's primary geopolitical security concern.

Perhaps even more important, people in Washington should have also been asking why Saudi Arabia and Qatar wanted to overthrow al-Assad and what kind of government they had in mind to replace him . Saudi Arabia's rival as regional hegemon, Iran, is viewed in Riyadh as ascendant due to the rise to power of a friendly Shia regime in Iraq as a result of the American invasion and regime change. This has permitted the development of a geographically contiguous Arab bloc closely tied to Tehran and its regional interests, running through Iraq, across Syria, and connecting with Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. To break up that de facto coalition, the Saudis, who see Syria as the weak link in the chain, have sought to replace Assad's Alawite-led government with a Sunni regime. But there is also a second agenda. Because the ruling minority Alawites are considered to be heretics similar to Shi'ites, a change in religious orientation would be necessary, with the Saudis serving as protectors of the Sunni majority. The Riyadh-backed Sunni regime would of course be expected to conform with the particularly Saudi view of proper religious deportment -- the extremely conservative Wahhabism that prevails in the Kingdom, which is closer to the views of the more radical insurgents while hostile to the secularists. It would also make the country's significant numbers of Christians, Alawites, Shi'ites, and Kurds potential victims of the arrangement.

All of which means that the Saudis and their allies Qatar believe in change in Syria, but on their own terms, and they actually oppose enabling a populist or democratic evolution. In fact, Riyadh has been actively engaged regionally in doing what it can to contain the unrest resulting from the Arab Spring so that the populism does not become untidy and spill over into Saudi Arabia itself. This has meant that from the beginning Saudi and Qatari objectives in Syria have differed from the goals of either Turkey or the Western powers, which should have been seen as a recipe for disaster.

And it gets even more complicated. In spite of their tendency to support religious groups rather than secular ones, Saudi Arabia and its ally Qatar view the Muslim Brotherhood's "political Islam" as one of the divisive elements that has destabilized countries like Egypt, unleashing forces that could ultimately threaten the Saudis and Qataris themselves. As a result, working through their surrogates in Lebanon and in Turkey as well as in Jordan, they have systematically and deliberately starved most of the Free Syrian Army of money and weapons, instead diverting their assistance to the militant Jabhat al-Nusra, a Salafist group alleged to have links to al-Qaeda. Al-Nusra is generally regarded as the most effective insurgent group when it comes to fighting, but it advocates a strict Sunni religious state as part of a worldwide Caliphate under Sharia law when the fighting is concluded. It has also become a magnet for the foreign jihadis who have been drawn into the rebellion, an issue that has raised concerns in Washington because of the likelihood that any successor regime to al-Assad could easily be dominated by a well-armed and disciplined Salafist minority.

Ironically, the Saudis are acutely aware that aid to groups like al-Nusra could easily blowback and feed a new wave of jihadi-led violence -- with al-Nusra playing a similar role to that of al-Qaeda after it cut its teeth in Afghanistan -- but they are unfortunately locked into their own rhetoric regarding what is necessary to take down al-Assad and break the coalition of Arab states aligned with Iran. What it means for the other players in the tragedy is that Syria is de facto in a bloody civil war that is approaching stalemate, while the United States and Europeans have no good options and the Turks are increasingly playing damage control. If there is a solution to the conflict it is not readily discernible, and it is now doubtful whether some kind of resolution by force could be imposed even if Washington and the Europeans were inclined to do so, which they are not.

Syria is in danger of ceasing to exist as a nation-state. Its collapse could inspire a new global jihad and provoke violence throughout the Middle East, while its chemical weapons could easily fall into dangerous hands. Well-armed bands of the most radical of the insurgents taking the lead in the conflict without any political direction or control cannot be what anyone envisioned two years ago, but that is what has emerged, with the United States again looking on like a helpless giant.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

collin says:

February 28, 2013 at 8:47 am

I coming to sad conclusion that the Syria civil war is following the steps of the Lebanon civil war and turning into a Spaghetti (Italian) Western. What we have now a whole bunch of warring sides with guns that are fight until everybody is too exhausted to continue fighting.

Sean Gillhoolley says:

February 28, 2013 at 9:09 am

The problem with taking a hands-off approach to Syria is that we have no say in how things turn out. I am not so sure that we should care one way or another how it turns out. We dont do business with them, I doubt many of our people travel there for vacation, and they are not a direct threat to us. We can have an opinion, but shouldnt get too worked up over the outcome.

EliteCommInc. says:

February 28, 2013 at 9:26 am

If this article is accurate, this Admin. justified the case for the Iraq and Afghanistan Invasions.

Regime change

And it is folly. So we assist via the back door to overthrow President Assad and replace his government with those who have not lived the country for ten to twenty years.

Hmmm . . . I think I have seen this game plan before.

John Thacker says:

February 28, 2013 at 12:38 pm

This article makes the Syrian civil war sound most like the Afghanistan revolt followed by civil war against the Soviets after their invasion.

Of course, there limited US attention after the Soviets left meant that Saudi, Iranian, and Pakistani backed militias fought against one another. Instead of being exhausted, the ultimate winner decided that they still hated the USA.

Thomas O. Meehan says:

February 28, 2013 at 12:41 pm

The parallel that falls to mind is the Spanish Civil War in which various powers were willing to fight right down to the last Spaniard. Spain emerged from that civil war with a stable, non-interventionist regime under Franco but I doubt Syria will be so lucky.

As to "It has also become a magnet for the foreign jihadis who have been drawn into the rebellion, an issue that has raised concerns in Washington because of the likelihood that any successor regime to al-Assad could easily be dominated by a well-armed and disciplined Salafist minority." I can only say that this is an excellent opportunity for the West to discretely fund some vermin control. The more of these jihadis Assad kills the better off we all are. We should remember that our defeat of Communist subversion in the Europe of 1946-7 was made easier by the fact that so many leftist trouble makers were buried in Spain in 1936-8.

One mystery remains. Why on earth are the neo-cons agitating for war with Assad? Surely Israel is better off with the relatively ineffective Assad regime than they would be under what would follow.

spite says:

February 28, 2013 at 12:49 pm

"Syria is in danger of ceasing to exist as a nation-state". That is the problem right there, Syria never was a nation state, no different than Yugoslavia which could only be kept together by a Tito, so is the case with the Assads.

If this author could go beyond his PC thinking, this simple fact would easily explain why Syria is facing such an intractable problem.

James Canning says:

February 28, 2013 at 1:34 pm

I feared the unrest in Syria would lead to a vicious civil war in which irreplaceable historical and archaeological treasures are destroyed.

I thought the Saudis were promoting civil war in order to weaken Iran, due in part to Iran's reckless decision to treble production of uranium enriched to 20 percent.

I also thought "the West" blundered in Libya by making a negotiated resolution of the unrest more difficult. Same blunder has taken place with Syria.

James Canning says:

February 28, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Thomas O. Meehan – - Neocon warmongers want to hurt Iran, and they see the overthrow of Assad as achieving this object.

Jim Evans says:

February 28, 2013 at 2:01 pm

What is the percentage of foreign fighters? I hear various percentages thrown about, some over 50%.

The Assad government conducted a constitutional referendum and parliamentary elections, as well (but that is studiously ignored by western press).

Syria, in its current makeup, is an obstacle to western power & control. Humanitarian concerns have little to do with it.

In 2007, Seymour Hersh had a New Yorker article, The Redirection, where U. S. government plans for the destabilization of Syria was reported.

And, as reported by the present author, Mr. Giraldi, the United States has been significantly involved in facilitating weapons into Syria. What has happened presently is much like what Hersh reported was planned to happen in his 2007 New Yorker article.

But obviously it didn't go according to plan.

Some analysts submit the United States is the spider in the center of the web, the prime mover, as far as Syria goes. Would Saudi Arabia act against a strong U. S. objection?

Syria is potentially also a stepping stone to Iran.

Israel is fine with balkanized neighbors who are weak (maybe a little more land can be taken down the road).

There is no doubt the fighters use terrorist tactics of indiscriminate large scale bombing, summary execution, and infastructure destruction (including religous and historical sites).

The U. S. vetoed a U. N. Security Council resolution submitted by Russia condemning last week's Damascus bombing where over 50 died and hundreds were wounded. The U. S. wanted a condemnation focusing on Assad with passing reference to the Damascus bombing (subsequently the al-Nusra front claimed responsibility for the bombing).

So, implicitly, the U. S. government is condoning terrorist acts of al Quaeda linked terror groups who are on the state department terrorist watch list.

The U. S. government is condoning large-scale terrorism in Syria, plain and simple. It's immoral. Is that what the U. S. has come to?

It would be easy to turn off the weapons and terrorist supply into Syria, but it would take political will to change the inertia and an implicit aknowledgement of failure.

That acknowledgement of failure might be the biggest political stumbling block of all.

Joe the Plutocrat says:

February 28, 2013 at 2:09 pm

very much a 'devil you know vs. devil you don't' with the understanding that we pretty much 'know' both devils; we just don't 'know' what Syria (or Iraq, Libyia, etc.) would be like with the latter. that said; I think the real question is not so much is it wise to back rebels; which inevitably invites or at the very least encourages/nurtures jihadists? rather; is it possible to anticipate the "jihad card" and somehow use it to serve our interests? even if "our interests" are best served by, as Michael Corleone observed (to Frank Pantangeli re: a turf war in NYC); " do(ing) nothing ". the truth is; many of these revolutions (Arab Spring movements, more than Iraq) are as genuine as the 13 colonies revolting against King George. at this point in our history; you would think we'd be pretty good at "playing" others, when the sad fact is; we seem to be the ones being played. no doubt the neocon enablers of the military-insustrial complex certainly act to server their interests, which is probably a good place to look for an answer.

niccolo and donkey says:

February 28, 2013 at 3:28 pm

The great debate that I've been having for years with friends on and offline is whether American foreign policy planners and officials are idealists or are actively assisting certain types of Sunni Islamist forces to fill the vacuum when secularist regimes are toppled (or being attacked, as in Syria's case).

We've seen the exodus of Christian communities and the rise of Sunni extremists in every one of these countries either invaded by the USA or that have been part of this "Arab Spring".

What do you guys think?

niccolo and donkey says:

February 28, 2013 at 3:32 pm

Thomas O. Meehan asks:

"One mystery remains. Why on earth are the neo-cons agitating for war with Assad? Surely Israel is better off with the relatively ineffective Assad regime than they would be under what would follow."

Israel was actually one of the last to get onside with regime change in Syria, long after the French, British and the GCC got the ball rolling. Many in Israel prefer Assad as "the devil you know", but the plus side of a removal of the Ba'athist regime is that the route from Iran to Hezbollah is cut off, leaving them isolated and surrounded by the IDF and Sunni Islamist forces in Syria, with Sunni proxies in Lebanon itself.

I guess that the Israelis did the calculus and figured that a degrading of Hezbollah supply routes is a livable option.

No Sunni forces have been able to challenge the IDF in decades, but Hezbollah gave them a bloody nose and their entire foreign policy environment is clouded by Iran, Hezbollah's sponsor.

Rossbach says:

February 28, 2013 at 8:01 pm

By what authority does the Washington regime use our nation's money and prestige (what remains of it) to meddle in the internal affairs of Syria or any other country? This government is tottering on the edge of bankruptcy and does not even have control its own borders; and it's trying to bring "stability" to a country halfway around the world. Incredible imbecility!

Scott McConnell says:

February 28, 2013 at 8:20 pm

Really the most comprehensive short analysis I've seen anywhere. Hard to believe though that it's passing out of Turkey's hands; it seems to me in terms of proximity, interest, toughness, Ankara should be the strongest actor.

H. Zigy says:

February 28, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Syria's war is one of the most irrational and thus criminal Westren wars. Assad is way closer to an ideal/practical government than any future State would be. Assad government includes all factions of society, allows market, controls radicals and is less corrupt and more representative than US allies.

Wesley says:

February 28, 2013 at 9:23 pm

"Well-armed bands of the most radical of the insurgents taking the lead in the conflict without any political direction or control cannot be what anyone envisioned two years ago, but that is what has emerged, with the United States again looking on like a helpless giant."

Well this is partly the result of Obama's policy of passivity and timidity in Syria. The CIA director, the Secretary of State, the Defense Secretary, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs all pushed and supported a plan to train and arm moderate, pro-Western rebel groups in Syria. But Obama unfortunately was too risk-averse and too worried about domestic politics to approve the plan. Obama's policy carries at least as many risks as the alternative does. At least the Obama administration has now decided to send non-lethal aid to the armed rebel groups. Maybe weapons will come next. But with Kerry and Hagel at State and Defense, I'm not holding my breath.

EliteCommInc. says:

February 28, 2013 at 10:34 pm

I don't think it is possible to segregate out the jihadists. Better to have the iissue resolved amongst themselves minus a US foot print

Escher says:

February 28, 2013 at 11:09 pm

The US is less dependent on middle Eastern oil than in the past, and this dependence will reduce further thanks to fracking and shale oil. As long as the navy has a secure base in Doha from which to control the Straits of Hormuz, the strategic interests of the country are secure.

Fran Macadam says:

March 1, 2013 at 1:28 am

One, it isn't "terrorism" when it's done by "our" sons of bitches. "Ours" is an increasingly loose definition.

Chaos serves the purpose of weakening rivals for the politically focused, and driving up war equipment profits for the financially focused. There are no humanitarian considerations among either of those groups who make policy in our name.

James Canning says:

March 1, 2013 at 12:51 pm

niccolo and donkey – - And let's remember that Turkey very nearly brokered a peace deal between Israel and Syria in 2008.

James Canning says:

March 1, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Jim Evans – - Didn't Obama intend to improve US relations with Syria, when he entered the White House?

Roarke's Drift says:

March 1, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Scott McConnell wrote "Ankara should be the strongest actor"

Yes, Phil thinks Turkey is "playing damage control", but its military strength, self-interest and 500 mile shared border shuts down nearly all arguments as to who should (and will) take the lead in handling this among the various candidate state actors.

God knows we could use a break from contemplating disasters resulting from our own blundering meddling.

TGGP says:

March 2, 2013 at 12:38 am

Kurds are an ethnic group, rather than a religious one (though the majority happen to be Sunni). I don't see how they are clear losers if the Saudis are more influential. Maybe the variety of Sunni Islam they prefer isn't Wahabbist, and in that case you should have made that explicit.

PeaceAndProsperity says:

March 2, 2013 at 9:29 am

I appreciate Mr. Giraldi's invaluable contribution to shedding some true light on the war against Syria, especially in early stages of the conflict where his reporting on the influx of terrorists and weapons through Turkey and on their training there stood out from the deluge of vicious hypocritical, lying and outrageous war propaganda in the Western and GCC media.

But it is beyond me why Mr.Giraldi is leaving out form his analysis two crucial issues:

1) the pivotal change in regional energy security puzzle related to the world largest South PARS gas field shared by Iran and Qatar discovered in 2007

2) the collapse of the oil-backed Petro-dollar also sustain mainly by the the US quest for full spectrum global dominance since the end of the Soviet Union.

You cannot understand the whole picture without these two factors. To learn more read Thierry Meyssan et. al. at VoltairNet and Christof Lehmann et. al at NSNBC.me. Also Veterans Today is very informative with broad spectrum of perspectives on global and domestic issues.

[Feb 09, 2020] The only message our children will take away from the war in Iraq is that if you repeat a boldfaced lie enough, it will someday become accepted truth

Notable quotes:
"... The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... 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 ..."
Feb 28, 2013 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The only message our children will take away from the war in Iraq is that if you repeat a boldfaced lie enough, it will someday become accepted truth. And as a corollary, saving face is much more important than admitting a mistake, no matter how destructive the outcome.

Unfortunately for our children, manipulating the truth 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 convinced Saddam Hussein was linked to the 9/11 attacks and had weapons of mass destruction, two of the ever-evolving reasons for getting into the war. Many still believe this. Engaging in mass deception in order to justify official policy both degrades and endangers democracy. But 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 in search of a justification 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.

Indeed, the Iraq war boosters are still a fixture on our television screens. Dan Senor , who served as a spokesman for the U.S occupation authorities and willfully misrepresented events on the ground during that time, is a regular commentator on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," a veritable roundtable of Washington establishment punditry. Kenneth Pollack, a longtime Brookings fellow and CIA analyst who wrote the 2002 book The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq (which is barely mentioned today on the Brookings website), is a familiar face on the commentary circuit and among think tank salons. Ex-Generals David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal, who each left their most recent posts in disgrace, are raking in thousands of dollars for speeches, lectures, and consulting work.

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 upheaval of the Iraqi economy, as well as its transportation, education, and medical institutions. Don't forget the countless people suffering from trauma and depression, sectarian strife, 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.

This has been cross-posted with permission from Foreign Policy in Focus .

[Jan 12, 2020] The petrodollar is the way in which the US gets the rest of the world to fund its wars

Notable quotes:
"... Economic growth is more about financialising goods and services that were previously free or are/were social goods. There is no real growth; just taxing the living. ..."
"... So, in my view, the only restraint on destroying Iran is capability, is the cost and the risk of retaliation (not just from Iran) - not the destruction of Iran's capital - better for Iran's capital to be destroyed than for Iran to be independent or a competitor. ..."
Jan 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

ADKC , Jan 12 2020 2:10 utc | 359

vk @334

My comment @342 should have read: "The petrodollar is the way in which the US gets the rest of the world to fund its wars,"

---------

Your comment about capitalist accumulation doesn't hold (as a motivator for the US) when we have a capitalist monopolist situation. Rate of profit is not about growth (of real goods); it is about reducing competition and scarcity. When you are the monopolist you can charge what you like but profit becomes meaningless - the monopolist power comes from the control of resources - the monopolistic capitalist becomes a ruler/monarch. You no longer need ever-increasing customers so you can dispense with them if you so chose (by reducing the population). One bottle of water is far more valuable and a lot less trouble to produce that 100 millions bottles of water. There is no point in AI to provide for the needs of "the many"; AI becomes a means to dispense with "the many" altogether.

Economic growth is more about financialising goods and services that were previously free or are/were social goods. There is no real growth; just taxing the living.

So, in my view, the only restraint on destroying Iran is capability, is the cost and the risk of retaliation (not just from Iran) - not the destruction of Iran's capital - better for Iran's capital to be destroyed than for Iran to be independent or a competitor.

[Jan 12, 2020] Luongo Fears "An Abyss Of Losses" As Iraq Becomes MidEast Battleground

Highly recommended!
Jan 12, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog,

The future of the U.S.'s involvement in the Middle East is in Iraq. The exchange of hostilities between the U.S. and Iran occurred wholly on Iraqi soil and it has become the site on which that war will continue.

Israel continues to up the ante on Iran, following President Trump's lead by bombing Shia militias stationed near the Al Bukumai border crossing between Syria and Iraq.

The U.S. and Israel are determined this border crossing remains closed and have demonstrated just how far they are willing to go to prevent the free flow of goods and people across this border.

The regional allies of Iran are to be kept weak, divided and constantly under harassment.

Iraq is the battleground because the U.S. lost in Syria. Despite the presence of U.S. troops squatting on Syrian oil fields in Deir Ezzor province or the troops sitting in the desert protecting the Syrian border with Jordan, the Russians, Hezbollah and the Iranian Quds forces continue to reclaim territory previously lost to the Syrian government.

Now with Turkey redeploying its pet Salafist head-choppers from Idlib to Libya to fight General Haftar's forces there to legitimize its claim to eastern Mediterannean gas deposits, the restoration of Syria's territorial integrity west of the Euphrates River is nearly complete.

The defenders of Syria can soon transition into the rebuilders thereof, if allowed. And they didn't do this alone, they had a silent partner in China the entire time.

And, if I look at this situation honestly, it was China stepping out from behind the shadows into the light that is your inciting incident for this chapter in Iraq's story.

China moving in to sign a $10.1 billion deal with the Iraqi government to begin the reconstruction of its ruined oil and gas industry in exchange for oil is of vital importance.

It doubles China's investment in Iraq while denying the U.S. that money and influence.

This happened after a massive $53 billion deal between Exxon-Mobil and Petrochina was put on hold after the incident involving Iran shooting down a U.S. Global Hawk drone in June.

With the U.S balking over the Exxon/Petrochina big deal, Iraqi Prime Minster Adel Abdul Mahdi signed the new one with China in October. Mahdi brought up the circumstances surrounding that in Iraqi parliaments during the session in which it passed the resolution recommending removal of all foreign forces from Iraq.

Did Trump openly threaten Mahdi over this deal as I covered in my podcast on this? Did the U.S. gin up protests in Baghdad, amplifying unrest over growing Iranian influence in the country?

And, if not, were these threats simply implied or carried by a minion (Pompeo, Esper, a diplomat)? Because the U.S.'s history of regime change operations is well documented. Well understood color revolution tactics used successfully in places like Ukraine , where snipers were deployed to shoot protesters and police alike to foment violence between them at the opportune time were on display in Baghdad.

Mahdi openly accused Trump of threatening him, but that sounds more like Mahdi using the current impeachment script to invoke the sinister side of Trump and sell his case.

It's not that I don't think Trump capable of that kind of threat, I just don't think he's stupid enough to voice it on an open call. Donald Trump is capable of many impulsive things, openly threatening to remove an elected Prime Minister on a recorded line is not one of them.

Mahdi has been under the U.S.'s fire since he came to power in late 2018. He was the man who refused Trump during Trump's impromptu Christmas visit to Iraq in 2018 , refusing to be summoned to a clandestine meeting at the U.S. embassy rather than Trump visit him as a head of state, an equal.

He was the man who declared the Iraqi air space closed after Israeli air attacks on Popular Mobilization Force (PMF) positions in September.

And he's the person, at the same time, being asked by Trump to act as a mediator between Saudi Arabia and Iran in peace talks for Yemen.

So, the more we look at this situation the more it is clear that Abdul Madhi, the first Iraqi prime minister since the 2003 U.S. invasion push for more Iraqi sovereignty, is emerging as the pivotal figure in what led up to the attack on General Soleimani and what comes after Iran's subsequent retaliation.

It's clear that Trump doesn't want to fight a war with Iran in Iran. He wants them to acquiesce to his unreasonable demands and begin negotiating a new nuclear deal which definitively stops the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon, and as P atrick Henningsen at 21st Century Wire thinks ,

Trump now wants a new deal which features a prohibition on Iran's medium range missiles , and after events this week, it's obvious why. Wednesday's missile strike by Iran demonstrates that the US can no longer operate in the region so long as Iran has the ability to extend its own deterrence envelope westwards to Syria, Israel, and southwards to the Arabian Peninsula, and that includes all US military installations located within that radius.

Iraq doesn't want to be that battlefield. And Iran sent the message with those two missile strikes that the U.S. presence in Iraq is unsustainable and that any thought of retreating to the autonomous Kurdish region around the air base at Erbil is also a non-starter.

The big question, after this attack, is whether U.S. air defenses around the Ain al Assad airbase west of Ramadi were active or not. If they were then Trump's standing down after the air strikes signals what Patrick suggests, a new Middle East in the making.

If they were not turned on then the next question is why? To allow Iran to save face after Trump screwed up murdering Soleimani?

I'm not capable of believing such Q-tard drivel at this point. It's far more likely that the spectre of Russian electronics warfare and radar evasion is lurking in the subtext of this story and the U.S. truly now finds itself after a second example of Iranian missile technology in a nascent 360 degree war in the region.

It means that Iran's threats against the cities of Haifa and Dubai were real.

In short, it means the future of the U.S. presence in Iraq now measures in months not years.

Because both China and Russia stand to gain ground with a newly-united Shi'ite Iraqi population. Mahdi is now courting Russia to sell him S-300 missile defense systems to allow him to enforce his demands about Iraqi airspace.

Moqtada al-Sadr is mobilizing his Madhi Army to oust the U.S. from Iraq. Iraq is key to the U.S. presence in the region. Without Iraq the U.S. position in Syria is unsustainable.

If the U.S. tries to retreat to Kurdish territory and push again for Masoud Barzani and his Peshmerga forces to declare independence Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will go ballistic.

And you can expect him to make good on his threat to close the Incerlik airbase, another critical logistical juncture for U.S. force projection in the region.

But it all starts with Mahdi's and Iraq's moves in the coming weeks. But, with Trump rightly backing down from escalating things further and not following through on his outlandish threats against Iran, it may be we're nearing the end of this intractable standoff.

Back in June I told you that Iran had the ability to fight asymmetrically against the U.S., not through direct military confrontation but through the after-effects of a brief, yet violent period of war in which all U.S., Israeli and Arab assets in the Middle East come under fire from all directions.

It sent this same message then that by attacking oil tankers it could make the transport of oil untenable and not insurable. We got a taste of it back then and Trump, then, backed down.

And the resultant upheaval in the financial markets creating an abyss of losses, cross-asset defaults, bank failures and government collapses.

Trump has no real option now but to negotiate while Iraq puts domestic pressure on him to leave and Russia/China come in to provide critical economic and military support to assist Mahdi rally his country back towards some semblance of sovereignty

* * *

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MalteseFalcon , 3 minutes ago link

OK kids,

Play time is over.

China needs Iraqi oil to build the BRI.

Last one into Africom is a rotten egg!!!!

daveeemc2 , 14 minutes ago link

This is the most delicious of irony

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

The american imperial style of intervention is dead.

China debt trap model of belt and road is the path forward.

They will win hearts and minds, and not a single shot fired.

USA gets debt from paying war machine and killed and maimed soldiers whose personal psychiatry will haunt them for an entire lifetime.

In the end, Americans get nothing but debt and risk their own soverignty as a population ages and infrastructure crumbles....kinda like now.

MalteseFalcon , 1 minute ago link

The last 30 years of American foreign policy has been an unmitigated disaster.

yerfej , 26 minutes ago link

How about "what is the goal?" There is none of course. The assholes in the Washington/MIC just need war to keep them relevant. What if the US were to closed down all those wars and foreign bases? THEN the taxpayer could demand some accounting for the trillions that are wasted on complete CRAP. There are too many old leftovers from the cold war who seem to think there is benefit to fighting wars in shithole places just because those wars are the only ones going on right now. The stupidity of the ****** in the US military/MIC/Washington is beyond belief. JUST LEAVE you ******* idiots.

Rusticus2.0 , 22 minutes ago link

Your comment should have been directed at Trump, the commander in chief.

I guess that's still a bridge too far, but sooner than later you're going to have to cross it.

BobEore , 29 minutes ago link

Excellent Smithers, excellent:

Sometimes, in treading thru the opaque, sandstorm o ******** swept wastes of the ' desert of the really real '...

one must rely upon a marking... some kind of guidepost, however tenuous, to show you to be still... on the trail, not lost in the vast haunted reaches of post-reality. And you know, Tommy is that sort of guide; the sort of guy who you take to the fairgrounds, set him up with the 'THROW THE BALL THRU THE HOOP... GUARANTEED PRIZE TO SCOOP' kiosk...

and he misses every time. Just by watching Tom run through his paces here... zeroing in on the exact WRONG interpretation of events ... every dawg gone time... one resets their compass to tru course and relaxes into the flow agin! Thanks Tom! Let's break down ... the Schlitzy shopping list of sloppy errors:

Israel continues to up the ante on Iran, f ollowing President Trump's lead by bombing Shia militias stationed near the Al Bukumai border crossing between Syria and Iraq. Urusalem.. and its pathetically obedient dogsbody USSA ... are busy setting up RIMFISTAN Tom.. you really need to start expanding your reading list; On both sides of that border you mention .. they will be running - and guarding - pipeline running to the mothership. Shia miitias and that project just don't mix. Nobody gives a frying fluck bout your imaginary 'land bridge to the Med'... except you and the gomers. And you and they aren't ANYWHERES near to here.

  • Abdul Madhi, the first Iraqi prime minister since the 2003 U.S. invasion push for more Iraqi sovereignty, is emerging as the pivotal figure in what led up to the attack on General Soleimani and what comes after Iran's subsequent retaliation.
  • Ok... this is getting completely embarrassing. The man is a 'caretaker' Tom... that's similar to a 'janitor' - he's on the way out. If you really think thats' being pivotal... I'm gonna suggest that you've 'pivoted' on one of your goats too many times.

Look, Tom... I did sincerely undertake to hold your arm, and guide you through this to a happier place. But you... are underwater my man. And that's quite an accomplishment, since we be traveling through the deserts of the really real. You've enumerated a list of things which has helped me to understand just how completely distorted is the picture of the situation here in mudded east.. is... in the minds of the myriad victims of your alt-media madness. And I thank you for that. But its time we part company.

These whirring klaidescope glasses I put on, in order to help me see how you see things, have given me a bit of a headache. Time to return to seeing the world... as it really works!

simpson seers , 14 minutes ago link

says the yankee chicken ******......

Fireman , 32 minutes ago link

Like Ukraine, everything the anglozionazi empire of **** smear$...turns to ****.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVMbCTWRcSs

https://theduran.com/ukranian-whistleblower-reveals-mh-17-tragedy-was-orchestrated-by-poroshenko-and-british-secret-service/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=wR1NFI6TBH0

BGO , 39 minutes ago link

The whole *target and destroy* Iran (and Iraq) clusterfuck has always been about creating new profit scenarios, profit theaters, for the MIC.

If the US govt was suddenly forced to stop making and selling **** designed to kill people... if the govt were forced to stopping selling **** to other people so they can kill people... if the govt were forced to stop stockpiling **** designed to kill people just so other people would stop building and stockpiling **** designed to kill people... first the US then the world would collapse... everyone would finally see... the US is a nation of people that allows itself to be propped up by the worst sort of people... an infinitesimally small group of gangsters who legally make insane amounts of money... by creating in perpetuity... forever new scenarios that allow them to kill other people.

Jesus ******* Christ ZeroHedge software ******* sucks.

Fireman , 40 minutes ago link

Understanding why Agent Orange is a meat puppet.

The following has been known to cure T.D.S.

https://www.bitchute.com/video/NJF06yjvdErM/

Wantoknow , 44 minutes ago link

Why has Trump no real option? What do you believe are the limits of Trump's options that assure he must negotiate? Perhaps all out war is not yet possible politically in the US, but public sentiment has been manipulated before. Why not now?

One must not yet reject the idea that the road to Moscow and Beijing does not run through Iran. Throwing the US out of the Middle East would be a grievous failure for the deep state which has demonstrated itself to be absolutely ruthless. It is hard to believe the US will leave without a much more serious war forcing the issue.

So far Trump has appeared artless and that may continue but that artlessness may well bring a day when Trump will not back down.

Fireman , 39 minutes ago link

Why has Trump no real option?

Ask the towel girls at Maralago and Jeffrey Pedovore.

Rusticus2.0 , 49 minutes ago link

The motivation behind Trump pulling out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action wasn't because, after careful analytical study of the plan, he decided it was a bad deal. It was because Israel demanded it as it didn't fit into their best interests and, as with the refreezing of relationships with Cuba, it was a easier way to undo Obama policy rather than tackling Obamacare. Hardly sound judgement.

The war will continue in Iraq as the Shia majority mobilize against an occupying force that has been asked to leave, but refuse. What will quickly become apparent is that this war is about to become far more multifaceted with Iraqi and Iranian proxies targeting American interests across numerous fronts.

Trump is the head of a business empire; Downsizing is not a strategy that he's ever employed; His business history is a case study in go big or go bust.

not-me---it-was-the-dog , 32 minutes ago link

so it will work like this....

trump's zionist overlords have demanded he destroy iran.

as a simple lackey, he agreed, but he does need political cover to do so.

thus the equating of any attack or threat of attack by any group of any political persuasion as originating from iran.

any resistance by the shia in iraq will be considered as being directed from iran, thus an attack on iran is warranted.

any resistance by the currect governement of iraq will be considered as being directed from iran, thus an attack on iran is warranted.

any resistance by the sunni in iraq will be considered subversion by iran, or a false flag by iran, thus an attack on iran is warranted.

trump's refusal to follow the SOFA agreement, and heed the call of the democratic government we claim to have gone in to install, is specifically designed to lead to more violence, which in turn can be blamed on iran's "malign" influence, which gives the entity lackeys cover to spread more democracy.

MIGA!

Brazen Heist II , 55 minutes ago link

America is a nation of imbeciles. They have meddled in Iraq since the 1980s and still can't subdue the place to their content.

Dey hate us for our freedumbs!

Ghost who Walks , 54 minutes ago link

I'm more positive that Iraq can resolve its issues without starting a Global War.

The information shared by the Iraqi Prime Minister goes part way to awakening the population as to what is happening and why.

Once more information starts to leak out (and it will from those individuals who want to avoid extinction) the broad mass of the global population can take action to protect themselves from the psychopaths.

new game , 1 hour ago link

This is what empires in decline do. Hubris...

meanwhile China rises with Strategic economic investment.

And the econ hitmen aren't done yet...

moar war...

Arising , 1 hour ago link

China moving in to sign a $10.1 billion deal with the Iraqi government to begin the reconstruction of its ruined oil and gas industry in exchange for oil is of vital importance.

Come on Tom, you should know better than that: the U.S will destroy any agreements between China and the people of Iraq.

The oil will continue to be stolen and sent to Occupied Palestine to administer and the people of Iraq will be in constant revolt, protest mode and subjugation- but they will never know they are being manipulated by the thieving zionists in D.C and Tel aviv.

Ms No , 1 hour ago link

Agreed. It will take nothing short of a miracle to stop this. Time isnt on their side though so they better get on it. They will do something big to get it going.

RoyalDraco , 14 minutes ago link

This isn't "humanity." Few people are psychopathic killers. It is being run by a small cliche of Satanists who are well on their way to enslaving humanity in a dystopia even George Orwell could not imagine. They control most of the levers of power and influence and have done so for centuries.

Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

- Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring's testimony before the Nuremberg tribunal on crimes against humanity

[Jan 11, 2020] America's Other Dark Legacy In Iraq by Joy Gordon

Mar 25, 2013 | fpif.org
coalition-provisional-authority-cpa-iraq-oil-looting-contracts-corruptWhen the United States, the United Kingdom, and the "coalition of the willing" attacked Iraq in March 2003, millions protested around the world. But the war of "shock and awe" was just the beginning. The subsequent occupation of Iraq by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority bankrupted the country and left its infrastructure in shambles.

It's not just a question of security. Although the breathtaking violence that attended Iraq's descent into sectarian nightmare has been well documented in many retrospectives on the 10-year-old war, what's often overlooked is that by far more mundane standards, the United States did a spectacularly poor job of governing Iraq.

It's not that Iraq was flourishing before the occupation. From 1990 to 2003, the UN Security Council imposed economic sanctions on Iraq that were the harshest in the history of global governance. But along with the sanctions, at least, came an elaborate system of oversight and accountability that drew in the Security Council, nine UN agencies, and General Secretary himself.

The system was certainly imperfect, and the effects of the sanctions on the Iraqi people were devastating. But when the United States arrived, all semblance of international oversight vanished.

Under enormous pressure from Washington, in May 2003 the Security Council formally recognized the occupation of Iraq by the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Resolution 1483. Among other things, this resolution gave the CPA complete control over all of Iraq's assets.

At the same time, the Council removed all the forms of monitoring and accountability that had been in place: there would be no reports on the humanitarian situation by UN agencies, and there would be no committee of the Security Council charged with monitoring the occupation. There would be a limited audit of funds, after they were spent, but no one from the UN would directly oversee oil sales. And no humanitarian agencies would ensure that Iraqi funds were being spent in ways that benefitted the country.

Humanitarian concerns

In January 2003, the UN prepared a working plan anticipating the impact of a possible war. Even with only "medium impact" from the invasion, the UN expected that humanitarian conditions would be severely compromised.

Because the Iraqi population was so heavily reliant on the government's food distribution system (a consequence of international sanctions), the UN anticipated that overthrowing the Iraqi regime would also undermine food security. And because the population already suffered from extensive malnutrition, this disruption would be quite lethal, putting 30 percent of Iraqi children under five at risk of death. The UN noted that if water and sewage treatment plants were damaged in the war, or if the electrical system could not operate, Iraqis would lose access to potable water, which would likely precipitate epidemics of water-borne diseases. And if electricity, transportation, and medical equipment were compromised, then the medical system would be unable to respond effectively to these epidemics.

During the occupation, much of this came to pass. A June 2003 UN report noted that the postwar water and sewage systems for Baghdad and other central and southern governorates were "in crisis." In Baghdad alone, the report estimated that 40 percent of the city's water distribution network was damaged, leading to a loss of up to half of the city's potable water through leaks and breaks in the system. And direr still, the UN reported that neither of Baghdad's two sewage treatment plants was functional, leading to a massive discharge of raw sewage into the Tigris River.

The food situation was similar. The UN found that farming had collapsed due to "widespread insecurity and looting, the complete collapse of ministries and state agencies -- the sole providers of essential farming inputs and services -- together with significant damages to power supplies."

Likewise, the health system deteriorated dramatically. Less than 50 percent of the Iraqi population had access to medical care, due in part to the dangers associated with travel. Additionally, the report estimated that 75 percent of all health-care institutions were affected by the looting and chaos that occurred in the aftermath of the war. As of June 2003, the health system as a whole was functioning at 30-50 percent of its pre-war capacity. The impact was immediate. By early summer, acute malnutrition rates had doubled, dysentery was widespread, and little medical care was available. In August, when a power outage blacked out New York, the joke going around Baghdad was "I hope they're not waiting for the Americans to fix it."

The CPA gave responsibility for humanitarian relief to the U.S. military -- not to agencies with experience in humanitarian crises -- and marginalized the UN's humanitarian relief agencies. Over the 14-month course of the CPA's administration, the humanitarian crisis worsened. Preventable diseases like dysentery and typhoid ran rampant. Malnutrition worsened, claiming the lives of ever more infants, mothers, and young children. All told, there was an estimated 100,000 "excess deaths" during the invasion and occupation -- well above and beyond the mortality rate under Saddam Hussein, even under international sanctions.

The CPA's priorities were clear. After the invasion, during the widespread looting and robbery, occupation authorities did little to protect water and sewage treatment plants, or even pediatric hospitals. By contrast, they provided immediate protection for the oil ministry offices, hired a U.S. company to put out oil field fires, and immediately provided protection for the oil fields as well.

Corruption

In addition, the U.S.-led CPA was deeply corrupt. Much of Iraq's revenues, from oil sales or other sources, went to contracts with U.S. companies. Of contracts for more than $5 million, 74 percent went to U.S. companies, with most of the remainder going to U.S. allies. Only 2 percent went to Iraqi companies.

Over the course of the occupation, huge amounts of money simply disappeared. Kellogg, Brown, and Root (KBR), a subsidiary of Halliburton, received over 60 percent of all contracts paid for with Iraqi funds, although it was repeatedly criticized by auditors for issues of honesty and competence. In the last six weeks of the occupation, the United States shipped $5 billion of Iraqi funds, in cash, into the country, to be spent before the Iraqi-led government took over. Auditor reports indicated that Iraqi funds were systematically looted by the CPA officials: "One contractor received a $2 million payment in a duffel bag stuffed with shrink-wrapped bundles of currency," read one report . "One official was given $6.75 million in cash, and was ordered to spend it one week before the interim Iraqi government took control of Iraqi funds."

U.S. officials were apparently unconcerned about the gross abuses of the funds with which they were entrusted. In one instance, the CPA transferred some $8.8 billion of Iraqi money without any documentation as to how the funds were spent. When questioned about how the money was spent, Admiral David Oliver, the principal deputy for financial matters in the CPA, replied that he had "no idea" and didn't think it was particularly important. "Billions of dollars of their money?" he asked his interlocutor. "What difference does it make?"

In the end, none of this should be terribly surprising -- the corruption, the indifference to human needs, the singular concern with controlling Iraq's oil wealth. It was obvious from the moment that the Security Council, under enormous pressure from the United State, passed Resolution 1483.

By systematically removing nearly every form of oversight from their self-imposed administration of Iraq, the United States and its allies laid the foundation for the looting of an entire nation's wealth, abetted by their own wanton indifference to the needs and rights of Iraqis. Ten years after the start of the war, the CPA's disastrous governance of Iraq stands alongside the country's horrifying descent into violence as a dark legacy in its own right.

[Jan 11, 2020] Commentary: Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System

Jan 11, 2020 | aspousa.org

ASPO-USA | January 6, 2013

Commentary: Why Peak Oil Threatens the International Monetary System

(Note: Commentaries do not necessarily represent the position of ASPO-USA. )

By Erik Townsend

Introduction

Having spent the last several years of my life engineering investment strategies to profit from the inevitability of Peak Oil, I've become obsessed with understanding the ramifications of radically different energy supply dynamics on the global economy. There are many facets to this, some obvious and some not so obvious. So when ASPO-USA Executive Director Jan Mueller approached me at the end of this year's conference in Austin and asked for an article discussing the less obvious economic impacts of Peak Oil, I knew instantly that the topic should be the threat Peak Oil poses to the International Monetary System (IMS). This connection is critically important, but far from obvious.

I assure you that this story is very much about Peak Oil, but please bear with me, as I'll need to start by reviewing what the IMS is and how it came about in the first place. Then I'll explain the role energy has already played in shaping the present-day IMS, and finally, I'll tie this back to Peak Oil by explaining why rising energy prices could very well be the catalyst that will cause the present system to fail.

What is the International Monetary System?

At the end of World War II, many countries were literally lying in ruin, and needed to be rebuilt. It was clear that international trade would be very important going forward, but how would it work? World leaders recognized the need to architect a new monetary system that would facilitate international trade and allow the world to rebuild itself following the most devastating war in world history.

A global currency was out of the question because the many countries of the world valued their sovereignty, and wanted to continue to issue their own domestic currencies. In order for international trade to flourish, a system was needed to allow trade between dozens of different nations, each with its own currency.

A convention was organized by the United Nations for the purpose of bringing world leaders together to architect this new International Monetary System . The meetings were held in July, 1944 at the Mt. Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, and were attended by 730 delegates representing all 44 allied nations. The official name for the event was the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference , but it would forever be remembered as The Bretton Woods Conference .

To this day, the system designed in those meetings remains the basis for all international trade, and is known as the Bretton Woods System. The system has evolved quite a bit since its inception, but its core principles remain the basis for all international trade. I'm going to focus this article on the parts of the system which I believe are now at risk of radical change, with Peak Oil the most likely catalyst to bring about that change. Readers seeking a deeper understanding of the system itself should refer to the Further Reading section at the end of this article.

Why is an International Monetary System needed?

It simply wouldn't be practical for all countries to sell their export products to other countries in their own currencies. If one had to pay for wine from France in French Francs (there was no Euro currency in 1944), and then pay to import a BMW automobile in German Marks, then pay for copper produced in Chile in Pesos, each country would face an overwhelming burden just maintaining reserve deposits of all the various world currencies. The system of trade would be very inefficient. For centuries, this problem has been solved by using a single standard currency for all international trade.

Because a standard-currency system dictates that each nation's central bank will need to maintain a reserve supply of the standard currency in order to facilitate international trade, the standard currency is known as the reserve currency . At various times in history, the Greek Drachma, the Roman Denari, and the Islamic Dinar have served as de-facto reserve currencies. Prior to World War II, the English Pound Sterling was the international reserve currency.

Throughout history, reserve currencies came into and out of use through happenstance. The Bretton Woods conference marked the first time that a global reserve currency was established by formal treaty between cooperating nations. The currency chosen was, of course, the U.S. Dollar.

How does the IMS work?

The core of the system was the U.S. Dollar serving as the standard currency for international trade. To assure other nations of the dollar's value, the U.S. Treasury would guarantee that other nations could convert their U.S. dollars into gold bullion at a fixed exchange rate of $35/oz. Other nations would then "peg" their currencies to the U.S. dollar at a fixed rate of exchange. Each nation's central bank would be responsible for "defending" the official exchange rate to the U.S. dollar by offering to buy or sell any amount of currency bid or offered at that price. This meant each nation would need to keep a healthy reserve of U.S. dollars on hand to service the needs of domestic businesses wishing to convert money between the local currency and the U.S. dollar.

By design, the effect of the system was that each national currency was indirectly redeemable for gold. This was true because each nation's central bank guaranteed convertibility of its own currency to U.S. dollars at some fixed rate of exchange, and the U.S. Treasury guaranteed convertibility of U.S. dollars to gold at a fixed rate of $35/oz. So long as all of the governments involved kept their promises, each nation's domestic currency would be as good as gold, because it was ultimately convertible to gold. United States President Richard Nixon would break the most central promise of the entire system (U.S. dollar convertibility for gold) on August 15, 1971. I'll come back to that event later in this article.

Triffin's Dilemma

In 1959, three years after M. King Hubbert's now-famous Peak Oil predictions, economist Robert Triffin would make equally prescient predictions about the sustainability of the "new" IMS, which was then only 15 years old. Sadly, Triffin's predictions, like Hubbert's, would be ignored by the mainstream.

The whole reason for choosing the U.S. dollar as the global reserve currency was that without a doubt, the U.S.was the world's strongest credit in 1944. To assure confidence in the system, the strongest, most creditworthy currency on earth was chosen to serve as the standard unit of account for global trade. To eliminate any question about the value of the dollar, the system was designed so that any international holder of U.S. dollars could convert those dollars to gold bullion at a pre-determined fixed rate of exchange. Dollars were literally as good as gold.

Making the USD the world's reserve currency created an enormous international demand for more dollars to meet each nation's need to hold a reserve of dollars. The USA was happy to oblige by printing up more greenbacks. This provided sufficient dollars for other nations to hold as foreign exchange reserves, while at the same time allowing the U.S.to spend beyond its means without facing the same repercussions that would occur were it not the world's reserve currency issuer.

Triffin observed that if you choose a currency because it's a strong credit, and then give the issuing nation a financial incentive to borrow and print money recklessly without penalty, eventually that currency won't be the strongest credit any more! This paradox came to be known as Triffin's Dilemma.

Specifically, Triffin predicted that as issuer of the international reserve currency, the USA would be prone to over consumption, over-indebtedness, and tend toward military adventurism. Unfortunately, the U.S. Government would prove Triffin right on all three counts.

Triffin correctly predicted that the USA would eventually be forced off the gold standard. The international demand for U.S. dollars would allow the USA to create more dollars than it otherwise could have without bringing on domestic inflation. When a country creates too much of its own currency and that money stays in the country, supply-demand dynamics kick in and too much money chasing too few goods and services results in higher prices. But when a country can export its currency to other nations who have an artificial need to hold large amounts of that currency in reserve, the issuing country can create far more money than it otherwise could have, without causing a tidal wave of domestic inflation.

Nixon proves Triffin right

By 1970, the U.S.had drastically over-spent on the Vietnam War, and the number of dollars in circulation far outnumbered the amount of gold actually backing them. Other nations recognized that there wasn't enough gold in Fort Knox for the U.S.to back all the dollars in circulation, and wisely began to exchange their excess USDs for gold. Before long, something akin to a run on the bullion bank had begun, and it became clear that the USA could not honor the $35 conversion price indefinitely.

On August 15, 1971, President Nixon did exactly what Triffin predicted more than a decade earlier: he declared force majeure , and defaulted unilaterally on theUSA's promise to honor gold conversion at $35/oz, as prescribed by the Bretton Woods accord.

Of course Nixon was not about to admit that the reason this was happening was that the U.S. Government had abused its status as reserve currency issuer and recklessly spent beyond its means. Instead, he blamed "speculators", and announced that the United Stateswould suspend temporarily the convertibility of the Dollar into gold. Forty-two years later, the word temporarily has taken on new meaning.

Exorbitant Privilege

With the whole world conducting international trade in U.S. dollars, nations with large export markets wound up with a big pile of U.S. dollars (payments for the goods they exported). The most obvious course of action for the foreign companies who received all those dollars as payment for their exported products would be to exchange the dollars on the international market, converting them into their own domestic currencies. What may not be obvious at first glance is that there would be catastrophic unintended consequences if they actually did that.

If all the manufacturing companies in Japan or China converted their dollar revenues back into local currency, the act of selling dollars and buying their domestic currencies would cause their own currencies to appreciate markedly against the dollar. The same holds true for oil exporting countries. If they converted all their dollar revenues back into their own currencies, doing so would make their currencies more expensive against the dollar. That would make their exports less attractive because, being priced in dollars, they would fetch lower and lower prices after being converted back into the exporting nation's domestic currency.

The solution for the exporting nations was for their central banks to allow commercial exporters to convert their dollars for newly issued domestic currency. The central banks of exporting nations would wind up with a huge surplus of U.S. dollars they needed to invest somewhere without converting them to another currency . The obvious place to invest them was into U.S. Government Bonds.

This is the mechanism through which the reserve currency status of the dollar creates artificial demand for U.S. dollar-denominated treasury debt. That artificial demand allows the United States government to borrow money from foreigners in its own currency, something most nations cannot do at all. What's more, this artificial demand for U.S. Treasury debt allows the USA to borrow and spend far more borrowed foreign money than it would otherwise be able to, were it not the world's reserve currency issuer. The reason is that, if not for the artificial need to hold dollar reserves, foreign lenders would be much less inclined to purchase U.S. debt, and would therefore demand much higher interest rates. Similarly, the more that international trade has grown as a result of globalization, the more the United States' exorbitant privilege has grown.

Have you ever wondered why China, Japan, and the oil exporting nations have such enormous U.S. Treasury bond holdings, despite the fact that they hardly pay any interest these days? The reason is definitely not because those nations think 1.6% interest on a 10-year unsecured loan to a nation known to have a reckless spending habit is a good investment. It's because they have little other choice. The more their own economies rely on exports priced in dollars, the more they need to keep their own currencies attractively priced relative to the U.S. dollar in order for their exports to remain competitive on the international market. To achieve that outcome, they must hold large reserves denominated in U.S. dollars. That's why China and Japan – major export economies – are the biggest foreign holders of U.S. debt.

The net effect of this system is that the USA gets to borrow money from foreigners at artificially low interest rates. Moreover, the USA can become over-indebted without the usual consequences of increasing borrowing cost and declining creditworthiness. Other nations have little choice but to maintain a large reserve supply of dollars as the international trade currency. But the U.S. has no need to maintain large reserves of other nations' currencies, because those currencies are not used in international trade.

By the mid-1960s, this phenomenon became known as exorbitant privilege : That phrase refers to the ability of the USA to go into debt virtually for free, denominated in its own currency, when no other nation enjoys such a privilege. The phrase exorbitant privilege is often attributed to French President Charles de Gaulle, although it was actually his finance minister, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, who coined the phrase.

What's important to understand here is that the whole reason the U.S. can get away with running trillion-dollar budget deficits without the bond market revolting (a la Greece) is because of exorbitant privilege. And that privilege is a direct consequence of the U.S. dollar serving as the world's reserve currency. If international trade were not conducted in dollars, exporting nations (both manufacturers and oil exporters) would no longer need to hold large reserves of U.S. dollars.

Put another way, when the U.S. dollar loses its reserve currency status, the U.S.will lose its exorbitant privilege of spending beyond its means on easy credit. The U.S. Treasury bond market will most likely crash, and borrowing costs will skyrocket. Those increased borrowing costs will further exacerbate the fiscal deficit. Can you say self-reinforcing vicious cycle?

But wait Wasn't Gold convertibility the whole basis of the system?

If the whole point of the Bretton Woods system was to guarantee that all the currencies of the world were "as good as gold" because they were convertible to U.S. dollars, which in turn were promised to be convertible into gold And then President Nixon broke that promise in 1971 Wouldn't that suggest that the whole system should have blown up in reaction to Nixon slamming the gold window shut in August of '71?

Actually, it almost did. But miraculously, the system has held together for the last 42 years, despite the fact that the most fundamental promise upon which the system was based no longer holds true. To be sure, the Arabs were not happy about Nixon's action, and they complained loudly at the time, rhetorically asking why they should continue to accept dollars for their oil, if those dollars were not backed by anything, and might just become worthless paper. After all, if U.S. dollars were no longer convertible into gold, what value did they really have to foreigners? The slamming of the gold window by President Nixon in 1971 was not the only cause of the Arab oil embargo, but it was certainly a major influence.

What's holding the IMS together?

Why didn't the rest of the world abandon the dollar as the global reserve currency in reaction to the USA unilaterally reneging on gold convertibility in 1971? In my opinion, the best answer is simply "Because there was no clear alternative". And to be sure, the unmatched power of the U.S.military had a lot to do with eliminating what might otherwise have been attractive alternatives for other nations.

U.S. diplomats made it clear to Arab leaders that they wanted the Arabs to continue pricing their oil in dollars. Not just for U.S.customers, but for the entire world. Indeed, U.S. leaders at the time understood all too well just how much benefit the USA derives from exorbitant privilege , and they weren't about to give it up.

After a few years of tense negotiations including the infamous oil embargo, the so-called petro-dollar business cycle was born. The Arabs would only accept dollars for their oil, and they would re-invest most of their profits in U.S. Treasury debt. In exchange for this concession, they would come under the protectorate of the U.S. military. Some might even go so far as to say that the U.S. government used the infamous Mafia tactic of making the Arabs an "offer they couldn't refuse" – forcing oil producing nations to make financial concessions in exchange for "protection".

With the Arabs now strongly incented to continue pricing the world's most important commodity in U.S. dollars, the Bretton Woods system lived on. No longer constrained by the threat of a run on its bullion reserves, the U.S. kicked its already-entrenched practice of borrowing and spending beyond its means into high gear. For the past 42 years, the entire world has continued to conduct virtually all international trade in Dollars. This has forced China,Japan, and the oil exporting nations to buy and hold an enormous amount of U.S. Treasury debt. Exorbitant privilege is the key economic factor that allows the U.S.to run trillion dollar fiscal deficits without crashing the Treasury bond market. So far.

There's a limit to how long this can last

But how long can this continue? The U.S.debt-to-GDP ratio now exceeds 100%, and the U.S.has literally doubled its national debt in the last 6 years alone. It stands to reason that eventually, other nations will lose faith in the dollar and start conducting business in some other currency. In fact, that's already started to happen, and it's perhaps the most important, under-reported economic news story in all of history.

Some examples China and Brazil are now conducting international trade in their own currencies, as are Russia and China. Turkey and Iran are trading oil for gold, bypassing the dollar as a reserve currency. In that case,U.S.sanctions are a big part of the reason Iran can't sell its oil in dollars. But I wonder if President Obama considered the undermining effect on exorbitant privilege when he imposed those sanctions. I fear that the present U.S. government doesn't understand the importance of the dollar's reserve currency role nearly as well as our leaders did in the 1970s.

The Biggest Risk We Face is a U.S. Bond and Currency Crisis

To be sure, Peak Oil in general represents a monumental risk to humanity because it's literally impossible to feed all 7+ billion people on the planet without abundant energy to run our farming equipment and distribution infrastructure. But the risks stemming directly from declining energy production are not the most imposing, in my view.

Decline rates will be gradual at first, and it will be possible, even if unpopular, to curtail unnecessary energy consumption and give priority to life-sustaining uses for the available supply of liquid fuels. In my opinion, the greatest risks posed by Peak Oil are the consequential risks. These include resource wars between nations, hoarding of scarce resources, and so forth. Chief among these consequential risks is the possibility that the Peak Oil energy crisis will be the catalyst to cause a global financial system meltdown. In my opinion, the USA losing its reserve currency status is likely to be at the heart of such a meltdown.

A good rule of thumb is that if something is unsustainable and cannot continue forever, it will not continue forever. The present incarnation of the IMS, which affords the United States the exorbitant privilege of borrowing a seemingly limitless amount of its own currency from foreigners in order to finance its reckless habit of spending beyond its means with trillion-dollar fiscal deficits, is a perfect example of an unsustainable system that cannot continue forever.

But the bigger the ship, the longer it takes to change course. The IMS is the biggest financial ship in the sea, and miraculously, it has remained afloat for 42 years after the most fundamental justification for its existence (dollar-gold convertibility) was eliminated. How long do we have before the inevitable happens, and what will be the catalyst(s) to bring about fundamental change? Those are the key questions.

In my opinion, the greatest risk to global economic stability is a sovereign debt crisis destroying the value of the world's reserve currency. In other words, a crash of the U.S. Treasury Bond market. I believe that the loss of reserve currency status is the most likely catalyst to bring about such a crisis.

The fact that the United States' borrowing and spending habits are unsustainable has been a topic of public discussion for decades. Older readers will recall billionaire Ross Perot exclaiming in his deep Texas accent, "A national debt of five trillion dollars is simply not sustainable!" during his 1992 Presidential campaign. Mr. Perot was right when he said that 20 years ago, but the national debt has since more than tripled . The big crisis has yet to occur. How is this possible? I believe the answer is that because the U.S. dollar is the world's reserve currency and is perceived by institutional investors around the globe to be the world's safest currency, it enjoys a certain degree of immunity derived from widespread complacency.

But that immunity cannot last forever. The loss of reserve currency status will be the forcing function that begins a self-reinforcing vicious cycle that brings about a U.S. bond and currency crisis. While many analysts have opined that the USA cannot go on borrowing and spending forever, relatively few have made the connection to loss of reserve currency status as the forcing function to bring about a crisis.

We're already seeing small leaks in the ship's hull. China openly promoting the idea that the yuan should be asserted as an alternative global reserve currency would have been unthinkable a decade ago, but is happening today. Major international trade deals (such as China and Brazil) not being denominated in U.S. dollars would have been unthinkable a decade ago, but are happening today.

So we're already seeing signs that the dollar's exclusive claim on reserve currency status will be challenged. Remember, when the dollar loses reserve currency status, the U.S.loses exorbitant privilege. The deficit spending party will be over, and interest rates will explode to the upside. But to predict that this will happen right now simply because the system is unsustainable would be unwise. After all, by one important measure the system stopped making sense 42 years ago, but has somehow persisted nonetheless. The key question becomes, what will be the catalyst or proximal trigger that causes the USD to lose reserve currency status, igniting a U.S. Treasury Bond crisis?

Elevated Risk

It's critical to understand that the USA is presently in a very precarious fiscal situation. The national debt has more than doubled in the last 10 years, but so far, there don't seem to have been any horrific consequences. Could it be that all this talk about the national debt isn't such a big deal after all?

The critical point to understand is that while the national debt has more than doubled, the U.S. Government's cost of borrowing hasn't increased at all. The reason is that interest rates are less than half what they were 10 years ago. Half the interest on twice as much principal equals the same monthly payment, so to speak. This is exactly the same trap that subprime mortgage borrowers fell into. First, money is borrowed at an artificially low interest rate. But eventually, the interest rate increases, and the cost of borrowing skyrockets. The USA is already running an unprecedented and unsustainable $1 trillion+ annual budget deficit. All it would take to double the already unsustainable deficit is for interest rates to rise to their historical norms.

This all comes back to exorbitant privilege. The only reason interest rates are so low is that the Federal Reserve is intentionally suppressing them to unprecedented low levels in an attempt to combat deflation and resuscitate the economy. The only reason the Fed has the ability to do this is that foreign lenders have an artificial need to hold dollar reserves because the USD is the global reserve currency. They would never accept such low interest rates otherwise. Loss of reserve currency status means loss of exorbitant privilege, and that in turn means the Fed would lose control of interest rates. The Fed might respond by printing even more dollars out of thin air to buy treasury bonds, but in absence of reserve currency status, doing that would cause a collapse of the dollar's value against other currencies, making all the imported goods we now depend on unaffordable.

In summary, the U.S. Government has repeated the exact same mistake that got all those subprime mortgage borrowers into so much trouble. They are borrowing more money than they can afford to pay back, depending solely on "teaser rates" that won't last. The U.S. Government's average maturity of outstanding treasury debt is now barely more than 5 years. This is analogous to cash-out refinancing a 30-year fixed mortgage, replacing it with a much higher principal balance in a 3-year ARM that offers an initial teaser rate. At first, you get to borrow way more money for the same monthly payment. But eventually the rate is adjusted, and the borrower is unable to make the higher payments.

The Janszen Scenario

When it comes to evaluating the risk of a U.S. sovereign debt and currency crisis, most mainstream economists dismiss the possibility out of hand, citing the brilliant wisdom that "the authorities would never let such a thing happen". These are the same people who were steadfastly convinced that housing prices would never crash in the United States because they never had before, and that Peak Oil is a myth because the shale gas boom solves everything (provided you don't actually do the math).

At the opposite extreme are the bloggers on the Internet whom I refer to as the Hyperinflation Doom Squad. Their narrative generally goes something like this: Suddenly, when you least expect it, foreigners will wise up and realize that the U.S. national debt cannot be repaid in real terms, and then there will be a panic that results in a crash of the U.S. Treasury market, hyperinflation of the U.S. dollar, and declaration of martial law. This group almost always cites the hyperinflations of Zimbabwe and Argentina as "proof" of what's going to happen in the USA any day now, but never so much as acknowledges the profound differences in circumstances between the USA and those countries. These folks deserve a little credit for having the right basic idea, but their analysis of what could actually happen simply isn't credible when examined in detail.

Little-known economist Eric Janszen stands out as an exception. Janszen is the only credible macroeconomic analyst I'm aware of who realistically acknowledges just how real and serious the threat of a U.S.sovereign debt crisis truly is. But his analysis of that risk is based on credible, level-headed thinking complemented by solid references to legitimate economic theory such as Triffin's Dilemma. Unlike the Doom Squad, Janszen does not rely on specious comparisons of the USA to small, systemically insignificant countries whose past financial crises have little in common with the situation the USA faces. Instead, Janszen offers refreshingly sound, well constructed arguments. Many of the concepts discussed in this article reflect Janszen's work.

Janszen also happens to be the same guy who coined the phrase Peak Cheap Oil back in 2006, drawing an important distinction between the geological phenomenon of Hubbert's Peak and the economic phenomenon which begins well before the actual peak, due to increasing marginal cost of production resulting from ever-increasing extraction technology complexity.

"But there's no sign of inflation " (Hint: It's coming)

Janszen has put quite a bit of work into modeling what a U.S.bond and currency crisis would look like. He initially called this KaPoom Theory , because history shows that brief periods of marked deflation (the 'Ka') usually precede epic inflations (the 'Poom'). He recently renamed this body of work The Janszen Scenario . Briefly summarized, Janszen's view is that the U.S. has reached the point where excessive borrowing and fiscal irresponsibility will eventually cause a catastrophic currency and bond crisis. He believes that all that's needed at this point is a proximal trigger , or catalyst, to bring about such an outcome. He thinks there are several potential triggers that could bring such a crisis about, and chief among the possibilities is the next Peak Cheap Oil price spike.

How Peak Oil could cause a Bond and Currency Crisis

There are several ways that an oil price spike could trigger a U.S.bond and currency crisis. Energy is an input cost to almost everything else in the economy, so higher oil prices are very inflationary. The Fed would be hard pressed to continue denying the adverse consequences of quantitative easing in a high inflation environment, and that alone could be the spark that leads to higher treasury yields. The resulting higher cost of borrowing to finance the national debt and fiscal deficit would be devastating to the United States.

A self-reinforcing vicious cycle could easily begin in reaction to oil price-induced inflation alone. But we must also consider how an oil price shock could lead to loss of USD reserve currency status, and therefore, loss of U.S.exorbitant privilege. In the 1970s, the USA represented 80% of the global oil market. Today we represent 20%, and demand growth is projected to come primarily from emerging economies. In other words, the rationale for oil producers to keep pricing their product in dollars has seriously deteriorated since the '70s. The more the global price of oil goes up, the more the U.S. will source oil from Canadian tar sands and other non-OPEC sources. That means less and less incentive for the OPEC nations to continue pricing their oil in dollars for all their non-U.S. customers.

Iran and Turkey have already begun transacting oil sales in gold rather than dollars. What if the other oil exporting nations wake up one morning and conclude "Hey, why are we selling our oil for dollars that might some day not be worth anything more than the paper they're printed on?" Oil represents a huge percentage of international trade, so if oil stopped trading in dollars, that alone would be reason for most nations to reduce the very large dollar reserves they now hold. They would start selling their U.S. treasury bonds, and that could start the vicious cycle of higher interest rates and exploding borrowing costs for the U.S. Government. The precise details are hard to predict. The point is, the system is already precarious and vulnerable, and an oil price shock could easily detonate the time bomb that's already been ticking away for more than two decades.

What if U.S. Energy Independence claims were true?

There's another angle here. Peak Oil just might be the catalyst to cause the loss of U.S. exorbitant privilege, even without an oil price shock.

Astute students of Peak Oil already know better than to believe the recently-popularized political rhetoric claiming that the USA will soon achieve energy independence, thanks to the shale oil and gas boom. To be sure, the Bakken, Eagle Ford, and various other U.S. oil and gas plays are a big deal. The most optimistic forecasts I've seen show these plays collectively ramping up to as much as 4.8 million barrels per day of production, which is equivalent to about ½ of Saudi Arabia's current production.

But the infamous "wedge of hope" chart from the EIA projects production declines from existing global resources of 60 million barrels per day by 2030. By the most optimistic projections, all the exciting new plays in the U.S. will replace less than 5 million barrels per day. Where the other 55 million barrels per day will come from remains a mystery! And of course the politicians never bother to mention such minor details when they make predictions of energy independence.

But let's just pretend for a moment that hyperbole is reality, and that the USA will achieve energy-independence in just a few years' time. Now consider the consequences to the IMS. The oil-exporting nations would lose the USA as their primary export customer, and would no longer have an incentive to price their oil in dollars, or to maintain large dollar reserves. They would start selling off their U.S. treasury bonds, and pricing their oil in something other than dollars. Large oil importers like China and Japan would stop paying for oil in dollars, and would no longer need to maintain present levels of U.S. dollar reserves. So they too would start selling U.S. treasury bonds, pushing up U.S. interest rates in the process. Once again, we have the ingredients for a self-reinforcing vicious cycle of increasing U.S. interest rates causing U.S. Government borrowing costs to skyrocket.

Without the artificial demand for treasury debt created by exorbitant privilege, the U.S. would be unable to finance its federal budget deficit. The Federal Reserve might respond with even more money printing to monetize all the government's borrowing needs, but without the international demand that results from the dollar's reserve currency status, the dollar would crash in value relative to other currencies as a result of excessive monetization by the Fed. The resulting loss of principal value would cause even more international holders of U.S. Treasury debt to panic and sell their holdings. Once again, a self-reinforcing vicious cycle would develop, with consequences for the United States so catastrophic that the 2008 event would pale in contrast.

Rambo to the Rescue?

Let's not forget that the USA enjoys virtually unchallenged global military hegemony. China is working hard to build out its "blue water navy", including strategic ballistic missile nuclear submarine capability. But the USA is still top dog on the global power stage, and if the USA was willing to use its nuclear weapons, it could easily defeat any country on earth, except perhaps China and Russia.

While the use of nuclear weapons in an offensive capacity might seem unthinkable today, the USA has yet to endure significant economic hardship. $15/gallon gasoline from the next Peak Cheap Oil price shock coupled with 15% treasury yields and a government operating in crisis mode just to hold off systemic financial collapse in the face of rampant inflation would change the mood considerably.

All the USA has to do in order to secure an unlimited supply of $50/bbl imported oil is to threaten to nuke any country refusing to sell oil to the U.S. for that price. Unthinkable today, but in times of national crisis, morals are often the first thing to be forgotten. We like to tell ourselves that we would never allow economic hardship to cause us to lose our morals. But just look at the YouTube videos of riots at Wal-Mart over nothing more than contention over a limited supply of boxer shorts marked down 20% for Black Friday. What we'll do in a true crisis that threatens our very way of life is anyone's guess.

If faced with the choice between a Soviet-style economic collapse and abusing its military power, the USA just might resort to tactics previously thought unimaginable. Exactly what those tactics might be and how it would play out are unknowable. The point is, this is a very complex problem, and a wide array of factors including military capability will play a role in determining the ultimate outcome.

I certainly don't mean to predict such an apocalyptic outcome. All I'm really trying to say is that the military hegemony of the USA will almost certainly play into the equation. Even if there is no actual military conflict, the ability of the U.S. to defeat almost any opponent will play into the negotiations, if nothing else.

Conclusions

The current incarnation of the International Monetary System, in which the USA enjoys the exorbitant privilege of borrowing practically for free, and is therefore able to pursue reckless fiscal policy with immunity from the adverse consequences that non-reserve currency issuing nations would experience by doing so, cannot continue indefinitely. Therefore, it will not continue indefinitely. How and when it will end is hard to say, especially considering the fact that it's already persisted for 42 years after it stopped making sense. The system will continue to operate until some catalyst or trigger event brings about catastrophic change.

The next Peak Cheap Oil price spike is not the only possible catalyst to bring about a U.S. bond and currency crisis, but it's the most likely candidate I'm aware of. I don't believe that U.S. energy independence is possible, but if it were, the end of oil imports from the Middle East would also be the catalyst to end exorbitant privilege and bring about a U.S.bond and currency crisis. To summarize, the music hasn't stopped quite yet, but when it does, this will end very, very badly. I'm pretty sure we're on the last song, but I don't know how long it has left to play.

Further Reading

Time Magazine's overview of the Bretton Woods system at http://www.time.com/time/business/article/0,8599,1852254,00.html offers an excellent discussion which anyone can understand.

For those seeking a more detailed discussion, Iowa State University's Professor E. Kwan Choi offers excellent course notes on the subject at http://www2.econ.iastate.edu/classes/econ355/choi/bre.htm .

Wikipedia also offers articles on both the Bretton Woods system and the actual conference held there in 1944.

Erik Townsend is a hedge fund manager based in Hong Kong.

[Jan 10, 2020] Who controls the Iraq oil and occupies Iraq. It is still the USA

Jan 10, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

juliania , Jan 8 2020 19:35 utc | 212

First, thank you b for presenting the 'knowns' as you always do, succinctly and with your usual clarity. "Iran's missile launch...calls...bluff." That is what it did do, and effectively.

It should be very clear to all which country defines its own terms and which does not.

Some are pointing to the red flag for confirmation as to who has 'won' this challenge. Not necessary. A simple comparison of statements before and after, the witness of Iran's solidarity in the face of atrocity, and now, I think we simply watch and wait.

I will take from Michael Hudson's piece at the Saker site what will be a clear sign, and that will be who controls the oil? Someone did say on a previous thread that an oilfield near one of the bases attacked has been relinquished. And for those wondering about 'minimal damage' it ought to be pointed out that the airfields in question are on Iraq soil, and the less harm to them the better if Iraq is to be able to recover its assets. So too for Syria - it should not be forgotten that the problem that was arising was with the protection of terrorists on the Syria/Iraq border, and the boast that the US had control over the oil fields in that vicinity.

Also, dominion over the air space is crucial. As I understand it, that is now free of US planes and drones. How far that extends would be very important to all those who have shuddered at the sound of approaching engines for weddings and funerals these many years. What a sorry legacy this empire has left! And, may it have left it!

[Jan 10, 2020] The Saker interviews Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Looks like Iran is Catch22 for the USA: it can destroy it, but only at the cost of losing empire and dollar hegemony...
Notable quotes:
"... The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire. In effect, foreign countries are beginning to respond to the United States what the ten tribes of Israel said when they withdrew from the southern kingdom of Judah, whose king Rehoboam refused to lighten his demands (1 Kings 12). They echoed the cry of Sheba son of Bikri a generation earlier: "Look after your own house, O David!" The message is: What do other countries have to gain by remaining in the US unipolar neoliberalized world, as compared to using their own wealth to build up their own economies? It's an age-old problem. ..."
"... The dollar will still play a role in US trade and investment, but it will be as just another currency, held at arms length until it finally gives up its domineering attempt to strip other countries' wealth for itself. However, its demise may not be a pretty sight. ..."
"... Conflict in the ME has traditionally almost always been about oil [and of course Israel]. This situation is different. It is only partially about oil and Israel, but OVERWHHEMINGLY it is about the BRI. ..."
"... The salient factor as I see it is the Oil for Technology initiative that Iraq signed with China shortly before it slid into this current mess. ..."
"... This was a mechanism whereby China would buy Iraq oil and these funds would be used directly to fund infrastructure and self-sufficiency initiatives and technologies that would help to drag Iraq out of the complete disaster that the US war had created in this country. A key part of this would be that China would also make extra loans available at the same time to speed up this development. ..."
"... "Iraq's Finance Ministry that the country had started exporting 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in October as part of the 20-year oil-for-infrastructure deal agreed between the two countries." ..."
"... "For Iraq and Iran, China's plans are particularly far-reaching, OilPrice.com has been told by a senior oil industry figure who works closely with Iran's Petroleum Ministry and Iraq's Oil Ministry. China will begin with the oil and gas sector and work outwards from that central point. In addition to being granted huge reductions on buying Iranian oil and gas, China is to be given the opportunity to build factories in both Iran and Iraq – and build-out infrastructure, such as railways – overseen by its own management staff from Chinese companies. These are to have the same operational structure and assembly lines as those in China, so that they fit seamlessly into various Chinese companies' assembly lines' process for whatever product a particular company is manufacturing, whilst also being able to use the still-cheap labour available in both Iraq and Iraq." ..."
"... Hudson is so good. He's massively superior to most so called military analysts and alternative bloggers on the net. He can clearly see the over arching picture and how the military is used to protect and project it. The idea that the US is going to leave the middle east until they are forced to is so blind as to be ridiculous. ..."
"... I'd never thought of that "stationary aircraft carrier" comparison between Israel and the British, very apt. ..."
"... Trump et al assassinated someone who was on a diplomatic mission. This action was so far removed from acceptable behavior that it must have been considered to be "by any means and at all costs". ..."
"... This article, published by Strategic Culture, features a translation of Mahdi's speech to the Iraqi parliament in which he states that Trump threatened him with assassination and the US admitted to killing hundreds of demonstrators using Navy SEAL snipers. ..."
"... This description provided by Mr Hudson is no Moore than the financial basis behind the Cebrowski doctrine instituted on 9/11. https://www.voltairenet.org/article ..."
"... "The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire." ..."
"... The US govt. have long since paid off most every European politician. Thusly, Europe, as separate nations that should be remain still under the yolk of the US Financial/Political/Military power. ..."
"... In any event, it is the same today. Energy underlies, not only the military but, all of world civilization. Oil and gas are overwhelmingly the source of energy for the modern world. Without it, civilization collapses. Thus, he who controls oil (and gas) controls the world. ..."
"... the link between the US $$$ and Saudi Oil, is the absolute means of the American Dollar to reign complete. This payment system FEEDS both the US Military, but WALL STREET, hedge funds, the US/EU oligarchs – to name just a few entities. ..."
Jan 09, 2020 | thesaker.is

[this interview was made for the Unz Review ]

Introduction: After posting Michael Hudson's article " America Escalates its "Democratic" Oil War in the Near East " on the blog, I decided to ask Michael to reply to a few follow-up questions. Michael very kindly agreed. Please see our exchange below.

The Saker

-- -- -

The Saker: Trump has been accused of not thinking forward, of not having a long-term strategy regarding the consequences of assassinating General Suleimani. Does the United States in fact have a strategy in the Near East, or is it only ad hoc?

Michael Hudson: Of course American strategists will deny that the recent actions do not reflect a deliberate strategy, because their long-term strategy is so aggressive and exploitative that it would even strike the American public as being immoral and offensive if they came right out and said it.

President Trump is just the taxicab driver, taking the passengers he has accepted – Pompeo, Bolton and the Iran-derangement syndrome neocons – wherever they tell him they want to be driven. They want to pull a heist, and he's being used as the getaway driver (fully accepting his role). Their plan is to hold onto the main source of their international revenue: Saudi Arabia and the surrounding Near Eastern oil-export surpluses and money. They see the US losing its ability to exploit Russia and China, and look to keep Europe under its control by monopolizing key sectors so that it has the power to use sanctions to squeeze countries that resist turning over control of their economies and natural rentier monopolies to US buyers. In short, US strategists would like to do to Europe and the Near East just what they did to Russia under Yeltsin: turn over public infrastructure, natural resources and the banking system to U.S. owners, relying on US dollar credit to fund their domestic government spending and private investment.

This is basically a resource grab. Suleimani was in the same position as Chile's Allende, Libya's Qaddafi, Iraq's Saddam. The motto is that of Stalin: "No person, no problem."

The Saker: Your answer raises a question about Israel: In your recent article you only mention Israel twice, and these are only passing comments. Furthermore, you also clearly say the US Oil lobby as much more crucial than the Israel Lobby, so here is my follow-up question to you: On what basis have you come to this conclusion and how powerful do you believe the Israel Lobby to be compared to, say, the Oil lobby or the US Military-Industrial Complex? To what degree do their interests coincide and to what degree to they differ?

Michael Hudson: I wrote my article to explain the most basic concerns of U.S. international diplomacy: the balance of payments (dollarizing the global economy, basing foreign central bank savings on loans to the U.S. Treasury to finance the military spending mainly responsible for the international and domestic budget deficit), oil (and the enormous revenue produced by the international oil trade), and recruitment of foreign fighters (given the impossibility of drafting domestic U.S. soldiers in sufficient numbers). From the time these concerns became critical to today, Israel was viewed as a U.S. military base and supporter, but the U.S. policy was formulated independently of Israel.

I remember one day in 1973 or '74 I was traveling with my Hudson Institute colleague Uzi Arad (later a head of Mossad and advisor to Netanyahu) to Asia, stopping off in San Francisco. At a quasi-party, a U.S. general came up to Uzi and clapped him on the shoulder and said, "You're our landed aircraft carrier in the Near East," and expressed his friendship.

Uzi was rather embarrassed. But that's how the U.S. military thought of Israel back then. By that time the three planks of U.S. foreign policy strategy that I outlined were already firmly in place.

Of course Netanyahu has applauded U.S. moves to break up Syria, and Trump's assassination choice. But the move is a U.S. move, and it's the U.S. that is acting on behalf of the dollar standard, oil power and mobilizing Saudi Arabia's Wahabi army.

Israel fits into the U.S.-structured global diplomacy much like Turkey does. They and other countries act opportunistically within the context set by U.S. diplomacy to pursue their own policies. Obviously Israel wants to secure the Golan Heights; hence its opposition to Syria, and also its fight with Lebanon; hence, its opposition to Iran as the backer of Assad and Hezbollah. This dovetails with US policy.

But when it comes to the global and U.S. domestic response, it's the United States that is the determining active force. And its concern rests above all with protecting its cash cow of Saudi Arabia, as well as working with the Saudi jihadis to destabilize governments whose foreign policy is independent of U.S. direction – from Syria to Russia (Wahabis in Chechnya) to China (Wahabis in the western Uighur region). The Saudis provide the underpinning for U.S. dollarization (by recycling their oil revenues into U.S. financial investments and arms purchases), and also by providing and organizing the ISIS terrorists and coordinating their destruction with U.S. objectives. Both the Oil lobby and the Military-Industrial Complex obtain huge economic benefits from the Saudis.

Therefore, to focus one-sidedly on Israel is a distraction away from what the US-centered international order really is all about.

The Saker: In your recent article you wrote: " The assassination was intended to escalate America's presence in Iraq to keep control the region's oil reserves ." Others believe that the goal was precisely the opposite, to get a pretext to remove the US forces from both Iraq and Syria. What are your grounds to believe that your hypothesis is the most likely one?

Michael Hudson: Why would killing Suleimani help remove the U.S. presence? He was the leader of the fight against ISIS, especially in Syria. US policy was to continue using ISIS to permanently destabilize Syria and Iraq so as to prevent a Shi'ite crescent reaching from Iran to Lebanon – which incidentally would serve as part of China's Belt and Road initiative. So it killed Suleimani to prevent the peace negotiation. He was killed because he had been invited by Iraq's government to help mediate a rapprochement between Iran and Saudi Arabia. That was what the United States feared most of all, because it effectively would prevent its control of the region and Trump's drive to seize Iraqi and Syrian oil.

So using the usual Orwellian doublethink, Suleimani was accused of being a terrorist, and assassinated under the U.S. 2002 military Authorization Bill giving the President to move without Congressional approval against Al Qaeda. Trump used it to protect Al Qaeda's terrorist ISIS offshoots.

Given my three planks of U.S. diplomacy described above, the United States must remain in the Near East to hold onto Saudi Arabia and try to make Iraq and Syria client states equally subservient to U.S. balance-of-payments and oil policy.

Certainly the Saudis must realize that as the buttress of U.S. aggression and terrorism in the Near East, their country (and oil reserves) are the most obvious target to speed the parting guest. I suspect that this is why they are seeking a rapprochement with Iran. And I think it is destined to come about, at least to provide breathing room and remove the threat. The Iranian missiles to Iraq were a demonstration of how easy it would be to aim them at Saudi oil fields. What then would be Aramco's stock market valuation?

The Saker: In your article you wrote: " The major deficit in the U.S. balance of payments has long been military spending abroad. The entire payments deficit, beginning with the Korean War in 1950-51 and extending through the Vietnam War of the 1960s, was responsible for forcing the dollar off gold in 1971. The problem facing America's military strategists was how to continue supporting the 800 U.S. military bases around the world and allied troop support without losing America's financial leverage. " I want to ask a basic, really primitive question in this regard: how cares about the balance of payments as long as 1) the US continues to print money 2) most of the world will still want dollars. Does that not give the US an essentially "infinite" budget? What is the flaw in this logic?

Michael Hudson: The U.S. Treasury can create dollars to spend at home, and the Fed can increase the banking system's ability to create dollar credit and pay debts denominated in US dollars. But they cannot create foreign currency to pay other countries, unless they willingly accept dollars ad infinitum – and that entails bearing the costs of financing the U.S. balance-of-payments deficit, getting only IOUs in exchange for real resources that they sell to U.S. buyers.

This is the situation that arose half a century ago. The United States could print dollars in 1971, but it could not print gold.

In the 1920s, Germany's Reichsbank could print deutsche marks – trillions of them. When it came to pay Germany's foreign reparations debt, all it could do was to throw these D-marks onto the foreign exchange market. That crashed the currency's exchange rate, forcing up the price of imports proportionally and causing the German hyperinflation.

The question is, how many surplus dollars do foreign governments want to hold. Supporting the dollar standard ends up supporting U.S. foreign diplomacy and military policy. For the first time since World War II, the most rapidly growing parts of the world are seeking to de-dollarize their economies by reducing reliance on U.S. exports, U.S. investment, and U.S. bank loans. This move is creating an alternative to the dollar, likely to replace it with groups of other currencies and assets in national financial reserves.

The Saker: In the same article you also write: " So maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending. " We often hear people say that the dollar is about to tank and that as soon as that happens, then the US economy (and, according to some, the EU economy too) will collapse. In the intelligence community there is something called tracking the "indicators and warnings". My question to you is: what are the economic "indicators and warnings" of a possible (probable?) collapse of the US dollar followed by a collapse of the financial markets most tied to the Dollar? What shall people like myself (I am an economic ignoramus) keep an eye on and look for?

Michael Hudson: What is most likely is a slow decline, largely from debt deflation and cutbacks in social spending, in the Eurozone and US economies. Of course, the decline will force the more highly debt-leveraged companies to miss their bond payments and drive them into insolvency. That is the fate of Thatcherized economies. But it will be long and painfully drawn out, largely because there is little left-wing socialist alternative to neoliberalism at present.

Trump's protectionist policies and sanctions are forcing other countries to become self-reliant and independent of US suppliers, from farm crops to airplanes and military arms, against the US threat of a cutoff or sanctions against repairs, spare parts and servicing. Sanctioning Russian agriculture has helped it become a major crop exporter, and to become much more independent in vegetables, dairy and cheese products. The US has little to offer industrially, especially given the fact that its IT communications are stuffed with US spyware.

Europe therefore is facing increasing pressure from its business sector to choose the non-US economic alliance that is growing more rapidly and offers a more profitable investment market and more secure trade supplier. Countries will turn as much as possible (diplomatically as well as financially and economically) to non-US suppliers because the United States is not reliable, and because it is being shrunk by the neoliberal policies supported by Trump and the Democrats alike. A byproduct probably will be a continued move toward gold as an alternative do the dollar in settling balance-of-payments deficits.

The Saker: Finally, my last question: which country out there do you see as the most capable foe of the current US-imposed international political and economic world order? whom do you believe that US Deep State and the Neocons fear most? China? Russia? Iran? some other country? How would you compare them and on the basis of what criteria?

Michael Hudson: The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution. He is uniting the world in a move toward multi-centrism much more than any ostensibly anti-American could have done. And he is doing it all in the name of American patriotism and nationalism – the ultimate Orwellian rhetorical wrapping!

Trump has driven Russia and China together with the other members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), including Iran as observer. His demand that NATO join in US oil grabs and its supportive terrorism in the Near East and military confrontation with Russia in Ukraine and elsewhere probably will lead to European "Ami go home" demonstrations against NATO and America's threat of World War III.

No single country can counter the U.S. unipolar world order. It takes a critical mass of countries. This already is taking place among the countries that you list above. They are simply acting in their own common interest, using their own mutual currencies for trade and investment. The effect is an alternative multilateral currency and trading area.

The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire. In effect, foreign countries are beginning to respond to the United States what the ten tribes of Israel said when they withdrew from the southern kingdom of Judah, whose king Rehoboam refused to lighten his demands (1 Kings 12). They echoed the cry of Sheba son of Bikri a generation earlier: "Look after your own house, O David!" The message is: What do other countries have to gain by remaining in the US unipolar neoliberalized world, as compared to using their own wealth to build up their own economies? It's an age-old problem.

The dollar will still play a role in US trade and investment, but it will be as just another currency, held at arms length until it finally gives up its domineering attempt to strip other countries' wealth for itself. However, its demise may not be a pretty sight.

The Saker: I thank you very much for your time and answers! ­


Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:19 pm EST/EDT

What a truly superb interview!

Another one that absolutely stands for me out is the below link to a recent interview of Hussein Askary.

As I wrote a few days ago IMO this too is a wonderful insight into the utterly complicated dynamics of the tinderbox that the situation in Iran and Iraq has become.

Conflict in the ME has traditionally almost always been about oil [and of course Israel]. This situation is different. It is only partially about oil and Israel, but OVERWHHEMINGLY it is about the BRI.

The salient factor as I see it is the Oil for Technology initiative that Iraq signed with China shortly before it slid into this current mess.

This was a mechanism whereby China would buy Iraq oil and these funds would be used directly to fund infrastructure and self-sufficiency initiatives and technologies that would help to drag Iraq out of the complete disaster that the US war had created in this country. A key part of this would be that China would also make extra loans available at the same time to speed up this development.

In essence, this would enable the direct and efficient linking of Iraq into the BRI project. Going forward the economic gains and the political stability that could come out of this would be a completely new paradigm in the recovery of Iraq both economically and politically. Iraq is essential for a major part of the dynamics of the BRI because of its strategic location and the fact that it could form a major hub in the overall network.

It absolutely goes without saying that the AAA would do everything the could to wreck this plan. This is their playbook and is exactly what they have done. The moronic and extraordinarily impulsive Trump subsequently was easily duped into being a willing and idiotic accomplice in this plan.

The positive in all of this is that this whole scheme will backfire spectacularly for the perpetrators and will more than likely now speed up the whole process in getting Iraq back on track and working towards stability and prosperity.

Please don't anyone try to claim that Trump is part of any grand plan nothing could be further from the truth he is nothing more than a bludgeoning imbecile foundering around, lashing out impulsively indiscriminately. He is completely oblivious and ignorant as to the real picture.

I urge everyone involved in this Saker site to put aside an hour and to listen very carefully to Askary's insights. This is extremely important and could bring more clarity to understanding the situation than just about everything else you have read put together. There is hope, and Askary highlights the huge stakes that both Russia and China have in the region.

This is a no brainer. This is the time for both Russia and China to act and to decisively. They must cooperate in assisting both Iraq and Iran to extract themselves from the current quagmire the one that the vicious Hegemon so cruelly and thoughtlessly tossed them into.

Cheers from the south seas
Col

And the link to the Askary interview: . https://youtu.be/UD1hWq6KD44

Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:22 pm EST/EDT
Also interesting is what Simon Watkins reports in his recent article entitled "Is Iraq About To Become A Chinese Client State?"

To quote from the article:

"Iraq's Finance Ministry that the country had started exporting 100,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil to China in October as part of the 20-year oil-for-infrastructure deal agreed between the two countries."

and

"For Iraq and Iran, China's plans are particularly far-reaching, OilPrice.com has been told by a senior oil industry figure who works closely with Iran's Petroleum Ministry and Iraq's Oil Ministry. China will begin with the oil and gas sector and work outwards from that central point. In addition to being granted huge reductions on buying Iranian oil and gas, China is to be given the opportunity to build factories in both Iran and Iraq – and build-out infrastructure, such as railways – overseen by its own management staff from Chinese companies. These are to have the same operational structure and assembly lines as those in China, so that they fit seamlessly into various Chinese companies' assembly lines' process for whatever product a particular company is manufacturing, whilst also being able to use the still-cheap labour available in both Iraq and Iraq."

and

"The second key announcement in this vein made last week from Iraq was that the Oil Ministry has completed the pre-qualifying process for companies interested in participating in the Iraqi-Jordanian oil pipeline project. The U$5 billion pipeline is aimed at carrying oil produced from the Rumaila oilfield in Iraq's Basra Governorate to the Jordanian port of Aqaba, with the first phase of the project comprising the installation of a 700-kilometre-long pipeline with a capacity of 2.25 million bpd within the Iraqi territories (Rumaila-Haditha). The second phase includes installing a 900-kilometre pipeline in Jordan between Haditha and Aqaba with a capacity of 1 million bpd. Iraq's Oil Minister – for the time being, at least – Thamir Ghadhban added that the Ministry has formed a team to prepare legal contracts, address financial issues and oversee technical standards for implementing the project, and that May will be the final month in which offers for the project from the qualified companies will be accepted and that the winners will be announced before the end of this year. Around 150,000 barrels of the oil from Iraq would be used for Jordan's domestic needs, whilst the remainder would be exported through Aqaba to various destinations, generating about US$3 billion a year in revenues to Jordan, with the rest going to Iraq. Given that the contractors will be expected to front-load all of the financing for the projects associated with this pipeline, Baghdad expects that such tender offers will be dominated by Chinese and Russian companies, according to the Iran and Iraq source."

Cheers
Col

And the link https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/Is-Iraq-About-To-Become-A-Chinese-Client-State.html#

Anonymouse on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:20 pm EST/EDT
Hudson is so good. He's massively superior to most so called military analysts and alternative bloggers on the net. He can clearly see the over arching picture and how the military is used to protect and project it. The idea that the US is going to leave the middle east until they are forced to is so blind as to be ridiculous.

They will not sacrifice the (free) oil until booted out by a coalition of Arab countries threatening to over run them and that is why the dollar hegemonys death will be slow, long and drawn out and they will do anything, any dirty trick in the book, to prevent Arab/Persian unity. Unlike many peoples obsession with Israel and how important they feel themselves to be I think Hudson is correct again. They are the middle eastern version of the British – a stationary aircraft carrier who will allow themselves to be used and abused whilst living under the illusion they are major players. They aren't. They're bit part players in decline, subservient to the great dollar and oil pyramid scheme that keeps America afloat. If you want to beat America you have to understand the big scheme, that and the utter insanity that backs it up. It is that insanity of the leites, the inability to allow themselves to be 'beaten' that will keep nuclear exchange as a real possibility over the next 10 to 15 years. Unification is the only thing that can stop it and trying to unite so many disparate countries (as the Russians are trying to do despite multiple provocations) is where the future lies and why it will take so long. It is truly breath taking in such a horrific way, as Hudson mentions, that to allow the world to see its 'masters of the universe' pogram to be revealed:

"Of course American strategists will deny that the recent actions do not reflect a deliberate strategy, because their long-term strategy is so aggressive and exploitative that it would even strike the American public as being immoral and offensive if they came right out and said it."

Would be to allow it to be undermined at home and abroad. God help us all.

Little Black Duck on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:01 pm EST/EDT
They're bit part players in decline, subservient to the great dollar and oil pyramid scheme that keeps America afloat.

So who owns the dollar? And who owns the oil companies?

Osori on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:06 pm EST/EDT
I'd never thought of that "stationary aircraft carrier" comparison between Israel and the British, very apt.
Zachary Smith on January 09, 2020 , · at 9:53 pm EST/EDT
Clever would be a better word. Looking at my world globe, I see Italy, Greece, and Turkey on that end of the Mediterranean. Turkey has been in NATO since 1952. Crete and Cyprus are also right there. Doesn't Hudson own a globe or regional map?

That a US Admiral would be gushing about the Apartheid state 7 years after the attempted destruction of the USS Liberty is painful to consider. I'd like to disbelieve the story, but it's quite likely there were a number of high-ranking ***holes in a Naval Uniform.

44360 on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:34 pm EST/EDT
The world situation reminds us of the timeless fable by Aesop of The North Wind and the Sun.

Trump et al assassinated someone who was on a diplomatic mission. This action was so far removed from acceptable behavior that it must have been considered to be "by any means and at all costs".

Perhaps the most potent weapon Iran or anyone else has at this critical juncture, is not missiles, but diplomacy.

Ahmed on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:37 pm EST/EDT
"Therefore, to focus one-sidedly on Israel is a distraction away from what the US-centered international order really is all about."

Thank you for saying this sir. In the US and around the world many people become obsessively fixated in seeing a "jew" or zionist behind every bush. Now the Zionists are certinly an evil, blood thirsty bunch, and certainly deserve the scorn of the world, but i feel its a cop out sometimes. A person from the US has a hard time stomaching the actions of their country, so they just hoist all the unpleasentries on to the zionists. They put it all on zionisim, and completly fail to mention imperialism. I always switced back and forth on the topic my self. But i cant see how a beachead like the zionist state, a stationary carrier, can be bigger than the empire itself. Just look at the major leaders in the resistance groups, the US was always seen as the ultimate obstruction, while israel was seen as a regional obstruction. Like sayyed hassan nasrallah said in his recent speech about the martyrs, that if the US is kicked out, the Israelis might just run away with out even fighting. I hate it when people say "we are in the middle east for israel" when it can easily be said that "israel is still in the mid east because of the US." If the US seized to exist today, israel would fall rather quickly. If israel fell today the US would still continue being an imperalist, bloodthirsty entity.

Azorka1861 on January 09, 2020 , · at 5:57 pm EST/EDT
The Deeper Story behind the Assassination of Soleimani

This article, published by Strategic Culture, features a translation of Mahdi's speech to the Iraqi parliament in which he states that Trump threatened him with assassination and the US admitted to killing hundreds of demonstrators using Navy SEAL snipers.

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2020/01/08/vital-the-deeper-story-behind-the-assassination-of-soleimani/

..

Nils on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:05 pm EST/EDT
This description provided by Mr Hudson is no Moore than the financial basis behind the Cebrowski doctrine instituted on 9/11. https://www.voltairenet.org/article

I wish the Saker had asked Mr Hudson about some crucial recent events to get his opinion with regards to US foreign policy. Specifically, how does the emergence of cryptocurrency relate to dollar finance and the US grand strategy? A helpful tool for the hegemon or the emergence of a new currency that prevents unlimited currency printing? Finally, what is global warming and the associated carbon credit system? The next planned model of continuing global domination and balance of payments? Or true organic attempt at fair energy production and management?

Much thanks for this interview, Saker

Col...'the farmer from NZ' on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:26 pm EST/EDT
With all due respect, these are huge questions in themselves and perhaps could to be addressed in separate interviews. IMO it doesn't always work that well to try to cover too much ground in just one giant leap.

Regards
Col

Mike from Jersey on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:26 pm EST/EDT
I have never understood the Cebrowski doctrine. How does the destruction of Middle Eastern state structures allow the US to control Middle East Oil? The level of chaos generated by such an act would seem to prevent anyone from controlled the oil.
Outlaw Historian on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:48 pm EST/EDT
Dr. Hudson often appears on RT's "Keiser Report" where he covers many contemporary topics with its host Max Keiser. Many of the shows transcripts are available at Hudson's website . Indeed, after the two Saker items, you'll find three programs on the first page. Using the search function at his site, you'll find the two articles he's written that deal with bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, although I think he's been more specific in the TV interviews.

As for this Q&A, its an A+. Hudson's 100% correct to playdown the Zionist influence given the longstanding nature of the Outlaw US Empire's methods that began well before the rise of the Zionist Lobby, which in reality is a recycling of aid dollars back to Congress in the form of bribes.

RR on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:59 pm EST/EDT
Nils: Good Article. The spirit of Nihilism.
Quote from Neocon Michael Ladeen.

"Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence -- our existence, not our politics -- threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission."

Frank on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:27 pm EST/EDT
@NILS As far as crypto currency goes it is a brilliant idea in concept. But since during the Bush years we have been shown multiple times, who actually owns [and therefore controls] the internet. Many times now we have also been informed that through the monitoring capability's of our defense agency's, they are recording every key stroke. IMO, with the flip of a switch, we can shut down the internet. At the very least, that would stop us from being able to trade in crypto, but they have e-files on each of us. They know our passwords, or can easily access them. That does not give me confidence in e=currency during a teotwawki situation.
Anonymous on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:34 pm EST/EDT
A truly superb interview, thanks Michael Hudson.
David on January 09, 2020 , · at 6:39 pm EST/EDT
One thing that troubles me about the petrodollar thesis is that ANNUAL trade in oil is about 2 trillion DAILY trade in $US is 4 trillion. I can well believe the US thinks oil is the bedrock if dollar hegemony but is it? I see no alternative to US dollar hegemony.
Mike from Jersey on January 09, 2020 , · at 7:17 pm EST/EDT
Excellent article.

The lines that really got my attention were these:

"The leading country breaking up US hegemony obviously is the United States itself. That is Trump's major contribution The United States is now turning on the screws demanding that other countries sacrifice their growth in order to finance the U.S. unipolar empire."

That is so completely true. I have wondered why – to date – there had not been more movement by Europe away from the United States. But while reading the article the following occurred to me. Maybe Europe is awaiting the next U.S. election. Maybe they hope that a new president (someone like Biden) might allow Europe to keep more of the "spoils."

If that is true, then a re-election of Trump will probably send Europe fleeing for the exits. The Europeans will be cutting deals with Russia and China like the store is on fire.

Rubicon on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:22 pm EST/EDT
The critical player in forming the EU WAS/IS the US financial Elites. Yes, they had many ultra powerful Europeans, especially Germany, but it was the US who initiated the EU.

Purpose? For the US Financial Powerhouses & US politicians to "take Europe captive." Notice the similarities: the EU has its Central Bank who communicates with the private Banksters of the FED. Much austerity has ensued, especially in Southern nations: Greece, Italy, etc. Purpose: to smash unions, worker's pay, eliminate unions, and basically allowing US/EU Financial capital to buy out Italy, most of Greece, and a goodly section of Spain and Portugal.

The US govt. have long since paid off most every European politician. Thusly, Europe, as separate nations that should be remain still under the yolk of the US Financial/Political/Military power.

Craig Mouldey on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:19 pm EST/EDT
I have a hard time wrapping my head around this but it sounds like he is saying that the U.S. has a payment deficit problem which is solved by stealing the world's oil supplies. To do this they must have a powerful, expensive military. But it is primarily this military which is the main cause of the balance deficit. So it is an eternally fuelled problem and solution. If I understand this, what it actually means is that we all live on a plantation as slaves and everything that is happening is for the benefit of the few wealthy billionaires. And they intend to turn the entire world into their plantation of slaves. They may even let you live for a while longer.
Mike from Jersey on January 09, 2020 , · at 9:25 pm EST/EDT
Actually, oil underlies everything.

I didn't know this until I read a history of World War I.

As you know, World War One was irresolvable, murderous, bloody trench warfare. People would charge out of the trenches trying to overrun enemy positions only to be cutdown by the super weapon of the day – the machine gun. It was an unending bloody stalemate until the development of the tank. Tanks were immune to machine gun fire coming from the trenches and could overrun enemy positions. In the aftermath of that war, it became apparently that mechanization had become crucial to military supremacy. In turn, fuel was crucial to mechanization. Accordingly, in the Sykes Picot agreement France and Britain divided a large amount of Middle Eastern oil between themselves in order to assure military dominance. (The United States had plenty of their own oil at that time.)

In any event, it is the same today. Energy underlies, not only the military but, all of world civilization. Oil and gas are overwhelmingly the source of energy for the modern world. Without it, civilization collapses. Thus, he who controls oil (and gas) controls the world.

That is one third of the story. The second third is this.

Up till 1971, the United States dollar was the most trusted currency in the world. The dollar was backed by gold and lots and lots of it. Dollars were in fact redeemable in gold. However, due to Vietnam War, the United States started running huge balance of payments deficits. Other countries – most notably France under De Gaulle – started cashing in dollars in exchange for that gold. Gold started flooding out of the United States. At that point Nixon took the United States off of the gold standard. Basically stating that the dollar was no longer backed by gold and dollars could not be redeemed for gold. That caused an international payments problem. People would no longer accept dollars as payment since the dollar was not backed up by anything. The American economy was in big trouble since they were running deficits and people would no longer take dollars on faith.

To fix the problem, Henry Kissinger convinced the Saudis to agree to only accept dollars in payment for oil – no matter who was the buyer. That meant that nations throughout the world now needed dollars in order to pay for their energy needs. Due to this, the dollars was once again the most important currency in the world since – as noted above – energy underlies everything in modern industrial cultures. Additionally, since dollars were now needed throughout the world, it became common to make all trades for any product in highly valued dollars. Everyone needed dollars for every thing, oil or not.

At that point, the United States could go on printing dollars and spending them since a growing world economy needed more and more dollars to buy oil as well as to trade everything else.

That leads to the third part of the story. In order to convince the Saudis to accept only dollars in payments for oil (and to have the Saudis strong arm other oil producers to do the same) Kissinger promised to protect the brutal Saudi regime's hold on power against a restive citizenry and also to protect the Saudi's against other nations. Additionally, Kissinger made an implicit threat that if the Saudi's did not agree, the US would come in and just take their oil. The Saudis agreed.

Thus, the three keys to dominance in the modern world are thus: oil, dollars and the military.

Thus, Hudson ties in the three threads in his interview above. Oil, Dollars, Military. That is what holds the empire together.

Rubicon on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:26 pm EST/EDT
Thank you for thinking through this. Yes, the link between the US $$$ and Saudi Oil, is the absolute means of the American Dollar to reign complete. This payment system FEEDS both the US Military, but WALL STREET, hedge funds, the US/EU oligarchs – to name just a few entities.
Stanislaw Janowicz on January 09, 2020 , · at 8:58 pm EST/EDT
I should make one note only to this. That "no man, no problem" was Stalin's motto is a myth. He never said that. It was invented by a writer Alexei Rybnikov and inserted in his book "The Children of Arbat".
Greg Horrall on January 09, 2020 , · at 9:42 pm EST/EDT
Wow! Absolutely beautiful summation of the ultimate causes that got us where we are and, if left intact, will get us to where we're going!

So, the dreamer says: If only we could throw-off our us-vs-them BS political-economic ideology & religious doctrine-faith issues, put them into live-and-let-live mode, and see that we are all just humans fighting over this oil resource to which our modern economy (way of life) is addicted, then we might be able to hammer out some new rules for interacting, for running an earth-resource sustainable and fair global economy We do at least have the technology to leave behind our oil addiction, but the political-economic will still is lacking. How much more of the current insanity must we have before we get that will? Will we get it before it's too late?

Only if we, a sufficient majority from the lowest economic classes to the top elites and throughout all nations, are able to psychologically-spiritually internalize the two principles of Common Humanity and Spaceship Earth soon enough, will we stop our current slide off the cliff into modern economic collapse and avert all the pain and suffering that's already now with us and that will intensify.

The realist says we're not going to stop that slide and it's the only way we're going to learn, if we are indeed ever going to learn.

Ann Watson on January 09, 2020 , · at 10:42 pm EST/EDT
So now we know why Michael Hudson avoids the Israel involvment – Like Pepe.
Лишний Человек on January 09, 2020 , · at 11:02 pm EST/EDT
Thank you for this excellent interview. You ask the kind of questions that we would all like to ask. It's regrettable that Chalmers Johnson isn't still alive. I believe that you and he would have a lot in common.

Naxos has produced an incredible, unabridged cd audiobook of Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. One of Gibbon's observations really resonates today: "Assassination is the last resource of cowards". Thanks again.

[Jan 09, 2020] A War on Iran Would be Different From Iraq, and Far, Far Worse by Zoltan Grossman

All maps has been removed. See the original for full article with maps
Notable quotes:
"... Ever since the 1979 Iranian Revolution and seizure of hostages in the U.S. Embassy, Washington has sought to topple the Shi'a revolutionary government in Tehran. That moment was when the demonization of Muslims replaced anti-Communism as the main selling point for military interventions. U.S., Israeli, and Saudi threats have also encouraged a siege mentality among Iranian leaders, who repeatedly used them as a rationale for limiting internal dissent. ..."
"... The nightmare scenario of a regional war has been played out in Central Command strategic planning since the 1980s. The regional blocs have been oversimplified in the western media as merely a Shi'a vs. Sunni rivalry, but Iran has also supported Sunni forces, such as Hamas in Palestine. What is at stake in the Middle East is usually about oil and state power, not simply about religion. ..."
"... Benjamin Netanyahu and Mohammad Bin Salman have been itching for the U.S. to launch strikes against Iran for some time, ostensibly over the nuclear program, but actually to roll back the Tehran-led regional alliance. Trump's tilt toward Russia has been welcomed by Israel and Saudi Arabia, as he tries to "decouple" Moscow from Tehran , in order to make Iran more vulnerable. ..."
"... Part of the neocon agenda for occupying Iraq was to have a staging area for regime change in Iran, but that is clearly no longer possible. Ground forces invading Iran from Kuwait would have to pass through a slice of Iraqi territory. An invasion from Afghanistan or Pakistan would be untenable because of on-going Islamist insurgencies (even though Iran has tended to back the U.S. against the Taliban and ISIS). The U.S. has not built bases to the north in Azerbaijan or Turkmenistan, but Trump's recent tilt toward Turkey may be partly to put more pressure on Iran's northwestern border . ..."
"... Watch for the U.S. stoking ethnic divisions in the diverse country, where ethnic minorities form about 40 percent of the population. The most dangerous sign would be encouraging a rebellion in the Arab province of Khuzestan, called "Ahwaz" by its Arab inhabitants. ..."
"... Back in 2005 I wrote about the possibility that the U.S. would use such an uprising as an excuse to occupy Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province (next to southern Iraq), with the "humanitarian" rationale of protecting its ethnic Arab population from "ethnic cleansing." Like back then, Tehran's repression of Ahwazi Arab protests and insurgent attacks have recently been increasing, and the possibility again exists of the U.S. exploiting their legitimate grievances for its own interests. ..."
"... My color map makes it clear that the ethnic Ahwazi Arab province of Khuzestan, which Saddam Hussein invaded at the start of the Iran-Iraq War, contains Iran's largest oil reserves (actually about 85% of Iran's oil). In a 2008 New Yorker article, journalist Seymour Hersh exposed CIA assistance to Ahwazi Arab and other ethnic insurgents , later advocated by John Bolton , and a CIA analysis declassified in 2013 referred to Khuzestan as " Iran's Achilles Tendon ." ..."
"... Whether Trump carries out an air war or a ground war, attacking Iran would be far more disastrous than attacking Iraq. It would destroy any chance of political reforms in Iran or Iraq, and rally even Iranian and Iraqi reformers around their governments. Iranian military forces and Revolutionary Guards could counterattack, block oil lanes in the Strait of Hormuz, or melt into an insurgency far deeper and longer than in Iraq. ..."
"... Trump's War would be a self-fulfilling prophecy, because it could stimulate the terrorism and nuclear weapons programs it claims to oppose. ..."
"... The American public has developed a healthy " Iraq Syndrome " that abhors endless wars, much as the "Vietnam Syndrome" temporarily scaled back U.S. military interventions. Even though Iran is very different from Iraq, that strong public sentiment previously prevented both Obama and Trump from attacking Iran. If that sentiment can again be mobilized into an organized antiwar movement in the coming weeks, it can be even more effective. ..."
Jan 08, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

Since President Trump's assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, widespread alarm has centered on whether he is again dragging us into another war like Iraq, to detract from his impeachment. The bad news is that the situation is even more potentially disastrous.

As a political-cultural geographer who has long studied the history of U.S. military interventions , I'm alarmed that his action could set into motion a regional conflagration, the violent break-up of Iran into ethnic enclaves, and a death toll that would make the Iraq War look like a warm-up exercise. The good news is that Americans can and have stood in the way of such a war, and we can do so again.

...Iran has always been more geographically pivotal than Iraq, in land area, population, and economics. It was one of the few countries that retained independence through the colonial era, and one of the only Third World societies to successfully reject Western corporate domination.

Ever since the 1979 Iranian Revolution and seizure of hostages in the U.S. Embassy, Washington has sought to topple the Shi'a revolutionary government in Tehran. That moment was when the demonization of Muslims replaced anti-Communism as the main selling point for military interventions. U.S., Israeli, and Saudi threats have also encouraged a siege mentality among Iranian leaders, who repeatedly used them as a rationale for limiting internal dissent.

The U.S. has already been at war with Iran, during the Iran-Iraq War. In 1987-88, the U.S. Navy actively sided with Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran , by escorting tankers carrying Iraqi oil, attacking Iranian boats and oil rigs, and "accidentally" shooting down an Iranian civilian jetliner. A war with Iran is not a hypothetical possibility, but a continuation of a long-simmering conflict.

Geopolitical Scenarios

Trump's actions may lead to a full-blown World War I-style regional war in the Middle East, between two blocs that have emerged in the past decade. On one side are the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, most Gulf states (UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman), Syrian Sunni insurgents, and southern Yemen. On the other side are Russia, Iran, Syria, Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, and Houthi rebels in northern Yemen.

Every major war has been preceded by early rumblings, such as in Morocco before World War I, or in Spain, Ethiopia, and China before World War II. The horrific civil wars in Syria and Yemen -- as well as conflicts in Iraq, Lebanon, and Bahrain -- have partly served as proxy wars (with local origins) between these two emerging blocs. We may now be living in August 1914, when similar alliances propelled Europe to World War I, also sparked by an assassination.

The nightmare scenario of a regional war has been played out in Central Command strategic planning since the 1980s. The regional blocs have been oversimplified in the western media as merely a Shi'a vs. Sunni rivalry, but Iran has also supported Sunni forces, such as Hamas in Palestine. What is at stake in the Middle East is usually about oil and state power, not simply about religion.

... ... ...

What's Next?

The Houthi-claimed attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure, attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, direct exchange of missiles between Iranian forces in Syria and Israeli forces in the occupied Golan Heights, the U.S. bombing of Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria, and a short siege of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad have all taken place since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, but their origins are far more complex and local than the Washington-Tehran rivalry.

This conflict could quickly mushroom out of control, such as in confrontations over islands contested by Iran and the Gulf states, as well as U.S. military brinkmanship with Iranian vessels in the Straits of Hormuz, and with Russian and Iranian forces in Syria. Juan Cole has pointed out that even in the Iran-Iraq War, neither side attacked oil refineries because they knew they were vulnerable to a counterattack, but the assassination of an Iranian general is also unprecedented.

Benjamin Netanyahu and Mohammad Bin Salman have been itching for the U.S. to launch strikes against Iran for some time, ostensibly over the nuclear program, but actually to roll back the Tehran-led regional alliance. Trump's tilt toward Russia has been welcomed by Israel and Saudi Arabia, as he tries to "decouple" Moscow from Tehran , in order to make Iran more vulnerable.

It's possible that Trump is building up war fever as a set-up, in order that he can later reverse it and portray himself as a peace candidate. But if he does spark a war, he will use it to the hilt to question the loyalty of anyone who opposes it, and many congressional Democrats would probably rally around the flag.

Even if Iran reacts militarily to the assassination, Mayor DeBlasio's hysterical warning of terrorist retaliation in New York is utter B.S. In four decades of conflict, Iran has never sponsored an attack within the U.S., even as the U.S. has attacked its allies in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, and directly attacked its own forces in the Gulf. Only Sunni terrorists (also opposed by Iran) have attacked targets inside the U.S.

Ground War or Air War?

Unlike Iraq, the U.S. has limited options to invade Iran. One of the most important differences between Iran and Iraq is in their physical geography. Iraq has largely flat terrain, and so has been repeatedly invaded by foreign armies. Iran has natural defensive barriers in the Zagros and Elburz mountain ranges, and a political advantage in having complex neighbors that may not be willing to host invading forces.

Part of the neocon agenda for occupying Iraq was to have a staging area for regime change in Iran, but that is clearly no longer possible. Ground forces invading Iran from Kuwait would have to pass through a slice of Iraqi territory. An invasion from Afghanistan or Pakistan would be untenable because of on-going Islamist insurgencies (even though Iran has tended to back the U.S. against the Taliban and ISIS). The U.S. has not built bases to the north in Azerbaijan or Turkmenistan, but Trump's recent tilt toward Turkey may be partly to put more pressure on Iran's northwestern border .

Trump also is aware that U.S. civilians and even the military will be wary of another Middle East war. Like President Obama in 2013, Trump pulled the Pentagon back from strikes against Iran and Syria earlier in 2019, understanding (at least before his impeachment) that voters would not want another war. In a recent Pew Center poll , 62 percent of civilians and 64 percent of veterans say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting. A recent Military Times poll shows that half of active-duty military personnel are unhappy with Trump, and Bernie Sanders actually leads in donations from them.

These limited options means that a U.S. ground invasion of Iran is very unlikely, so there would not be a repeat of the 2003 Iraq invasion, followed by an occupation of the entire country. At least in its initial stages, a war on Iran would be largely an air war of bombs, missiles, and drones, launched by the Navy and Air Force, with minimal "boots on the ground."

That's why it may be dangerous for the antiwar movement to warn that an Iran War would be a repeat of the Iraq War, with massive U.S. casualties and a legacy of combat injuries and PTSD. During the Vietnam War, facing huge protests because of bodybags coming home, President Nixon switched from a ground war to an air war, reducing U.S. troop casualties, but vastly increasing civilian casualties.

President Bush employed a similar strategy in the 1991 Gulf War, sanitizing air strikes on Iraq as a detached video game. Clinton's 1999 air war on Serbia and Obama's 2011 air war on Libya were the first time in human history that a one side in a major war had zero deaths by enemy fire. Trump has inherited these technological tactics of imperial impunity. If the antiwar movement mainly emphasizes the possibilities of U.S. military casualties, it only plays into the Pentagon's hands and reinforces high-tech warfare that claims even more civilian lives.

Playing the Ethnic Card

But there is one scenario that I fear could lead to a ground invasion of Iran. Watch for the U.S. stoking ethnic divisions in the diverse country, where ethnic minorities form about 40 percent of the population. The most dangerous sign would be encouraging a rebellion in the Arab province of Khuzestan, called "Ahwaz" by its Arab inhabitants.

Back in 2005 I wrote about the possibility that the U.S. would use such an uprising as an excuse to occupy Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan province (next to southern Iraq), with the "humanitarian" rationale of protecting its ethnic Arab population from "ethnic cleansing." Like back then, Tehran's repression of Ahwazi Arab protests and insurgent attacks have recently been increasing, and the possibility again exists of the U.S. exploiting their legitimate grievances for its own interests.

My color map makes it clear that the ethnic Ahwazi Arab province of Khuzestan, which Saddam Hussein invaded at the start of the Iran-Iraq War, contains Iran's largest oil reserves (actually about 85% of Iran's oil). In a 2008 New Yorker article, journalist Seymour Hersh exposed CIA assistance to Ahwazi Arab and other ethnic insurgents , later advocated by John Bolton , and a CIA analysis declassified in 2013 referred to Khuzestan as " Iran's Achilles Tendon ."

The U.S. and Saudis may feel that in this " Khuzestan Gambit ," they could land Marines and paratroopers on western Khuzestan's flat terrain, and hold its massive oil fields hostage for concessions from Tehran, without having to push through mountainous barriers and occupy the rest of Iran.

Like Saddam in 1980, they may be deluded that that Ahwazi Arabs will welcome them in Khuzestan, much as they thought that Iraqi Shi'as would welcome foreign occupiers in 2003. Backing an Arab secessionist movement could easily set into motion the violent "Balkanization" of Iran, which would make Yugoslavia pale in comparison, and even tear apart neighboring countries.

Even if ethnic grievances are legitimate, the timing of western interest in their grievances coincides too neatly with the larger desire to pressure and isolate Iran. Washington has a long history of championing the rights of ethnic minorities against its enemies (such as in Vietnam, Laos, Nicaragua, and Syria), then abandoning or selling out the minority when it is no longer strategically useful. We love 'em, we use 'em, and then we dump 'em.

Fighting the Last War

Whether Trump carries out an air war or a ground war, attacking Iran would be far more disastrous than attacking Iraq. It would destroy any chance of political reforms in Iran or Iraq, and rally even Iranian and Iraqi reformers around their governments. Iranian military forces and Revolutionary Guards could counterattack, block oil lanes in the Strait of Hormuz, or melt into an insurgency far deeper and longer than in Iraq.

Trump's War would be a self-fulfilling prophecy, because it could stimulate the terrorism and nuclear weapons programs it claims to oppose.

The American public has developed a healthy " Iraq Syndrome " that abhors endless wars, much as the "Vietnam Syndrome" temporarily scaled back U.S. military interventions. Even though Iran is very different from Iraq, that strong public sentiment previously prevented both Obama and Trump from attacking Iran. If that sentiment can again be mobilized into an organized antiwar movement in the coming weeks, it can be even more effective.

But to be effective, the movement has to focus on the horrendous effects of such a war on Iranian civilians, not only on U.S. troops. And it should understand that this war may unfold in unpredictable ways that differ from previous invasions. Just as "generals always fight the last war," antiwar movements will lose if they merely fight against the last war. Join the debate on Facebook

More articles by: Zoltan Grossman

Zoltan Grossman is a professor of Geography and Native Studies at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, who has been a warm body in peace, justice, and environmental movements for the past 35 years. His website is http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz and email is grossmaz@evergreen.edu

[Jan 09, 2020] Michael Hudson the American military agenda

Jan 09, 2020 | michael-hudson.com

is always about the dollar's supremacy as defacto reserve currency for the world in order to control the world. Which China, Russia, Syria, Venezuela, Bolivia, and others are/were trying to escape from . He writes:

Conclusion:

First came the 9/11 attack (Sept 2001).

In the wake of this, Congress passed the 2002 Authorization Act. This authorized the President to move against Al Qaeda.

Fast forward to today: Suleimani and Iran were fighting AGANST Al Qaeda and its offshoot, ISIS/Daesh. Saudi Arabia had asked Suleimani (with U.S. approval) to help negotiate a peace, whereby the Saudi's would stop backing ISIS. It was an official mission invited by Iraq to negotiate peace between Saudi Arabia, Iran and Iraq.

This infuriated the United States, which wanted a permanent warfare there as an excuse to occupy Iraq and prevent a Shi'ite Crescent linking Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, which incidentally would serve as part of China's Belt and Road initiative. So it killed Suleimani to prevent the peace negotiation.

The implication is that the US wants a PERMANENT occupation of Iraq, which is needed to secure the US grab of Iraq's oil and Syria's oil, as well as to prevent any non-U.S. oil transit.

The question is, how to get the world's politicians – U.S., European and Asians – to see how America's all-or-nothing policy is threatening new waves of war, refugees, extreme weather and the disruption of the oil trade in the Strait of Hormuz. Ultimately, the aim is to ensure neoliberal dollarization is imposed on all countries to subsidize US imperial hegemony.

It is a sign of how little power exists in the United Nations that no countries are calling for a new Nurenberg-style war crimes trial following the assassination, no threat to withdraw from NATO or even to avoid holding reserves in the form of money lent to the U.S. Treasury to fund America's military budget.

Posted by: Kali | Jan 9 2020 18:18 utc | 22

[Jan 09, 2020] Opposing War With Iran: Three Reasons by Anthony DiMaggio

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... War will allow Trump to claim the mantle of "national" wartime leader, while diverting attention away from his impeachment trial. And in light of the intensification of belligerent rhetoric from this administration, war appears to be increasingly likely. ..."
"... The American people have a moral responsibility to question not only Trump's motives, but to consider the humanitarian disaster that inevitably accompanies war. ..."
"... is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University. He holds a PhD in political communication, and is the author of the newly released: The Politics of Persuasion: Economic Policy and Media Bias in the Modern Era (Paperback, 2018), and Selling War, Selling Hope: Presidential Rhetoric, the News Media , and U.S. Foreign Policy After 9/11 (Paperback: 2016). He can be reached at: anthonydimaggio612@gmail.com ..."
Jan 09, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The U.S. stands at the precipice of war. President Trump's rhetorical efforts to sell himself as the "anti-war" president have been exposed as a fraud via his assault on Iran. Most Orwellian of all is Trump's claim that the assassination of Iranian General Qassam Soleimani was necessary to avert war, following the New Year's Eve attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad. In reality the U.S. hit on Soleimani represents a criminal escalation of the conflict between these two countries. The general's assassination was rightly seen as an act of war , so the claim that the strike is a step toward peace is absurd on its face. We should be perfectly clear about the fundamental threat to peace posed by the Trump administration. Iran has already promised "harsh retaliation" following the assassination, and announced it is pulling out of the 2015 multi-national agreement prohibiting the nation from developing nuclear weapons. Trump's escalation has dramatically increased the threat of all-out war. Recognizing this threat, I sketch out an argument here based on my initial thoughts of this conflict, providing three reasons for why Americans need to oppose war.

#1: No Agreement about an Iranian Threat

Soleimani was the head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – the Quds Force – a clandestine military intelligence organization that specializes in paramilitary-style operations throughout the Middle East, and which is described as seeking to further Iranian political influence throughout the region. Trump celebrated the assassination as necessary to bringing Soleimani's "reign of terror" to an end. The strike, he claimed, was vital after the U.S. caught Iran "in the act" of planning "imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and military personnel."

But Trump's justification for war comes from a country with a long history of distorting and fabricating evidence of an Iranian threat. American leaders have disingenuously and propagandistically portrayed Iran as on the brink of developing nuclear weapons for decades. Presidents Bush and Obama were both rebuked, however, by domestic intelligence and international weapons inspectors , which failed to uncover evidence that Iran was developing these weapons, or that it was a threat to the U.S.

Outside of previous exaggerations, evidence is emerging that the Trump administration and the intelligence community are not of one mind regarding Iran's alleged threat. Shortly after Soleimani's assassination, the Department of Homeland Security declared there was "no specific, credible threat" from Iran within U.S. borders. And U.S. military officials disagree regarding Trump's military escalation. As the New York Times reports :

"In the chaotic days leading to the death of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, Iran's most powerful commander, top American military officials put the option of killing him -- which they viewed as the most extreme response to recent Iranian-led violence in Iraq -- on the menu they presented to President Trump. They didn't think he would take it. In the wars waged since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Pentagon officials have often offered improbable options to presidents to make other possibilities appear more palatable."

"Top pentagon officials," the Times reports , "were stunned" by the President's order. Furthermore, the paper reported that "the intelligence" supposedly confirming Iranian plans to attack U.S. diplomats was "thin," in the words of at least one U.S. military official who was privy to the administration's deliberations. According to that source , there is no evidence of an "imminent" attack in the foreseeable future against American targets outside U.S. borders.

U.S. leaders have always obscured facts, distorted intelligence, and fabricated information to stoke public fears and build support for war. So it should come as no surprise that this president is politicizing intelligence. He certainly has reason to – in order to draw attention away from his Senate impeachment trial, and considering Trump's increasingly desperate efforts to demonstrate that he is a serious President, not a tin-pot authoritarian who ignores the rule of law, while shamelessly coercing and extorting foreign leaders in pursuit of domestic electoral advantage.

Independent of the corruption charges against Trump, it is unwise for Americans to take the President at his word, considering the blatant lies employed in the post-9/11 era to justify war in the Middle East. Not so long ago the American public was sold a bill of goods regarding Iraq's alleged WMDs and ties to terrorism. Neither of those claims was remotely true, and Americans were left footing the bill for a war that cost trillions , based on the lies of an opportunistic president who was dead-set on exploiting public fears of terrorism in a time of crisis. The Bush administration sold war based on intelligence they knew was fraudulent, manipulating the nation into on a decade-long war that led to the murder of more than 1 million Iraqis and more than 5,000 American servicemen, resulting in a failed Iraqi state, and paving the way for the rise of ISIS. All of this is to say that the risks of beginning another war in the Middle East are incredibly high, and Americans would do well to seriously consider the consequences of entering a war based (yet again) on questionable intelligence.

#2: The "War on Terrorism" as a Red Herring

U.S. leaders have long used the rhetoric of terrorism to justify war. But this strategy represents a serious distortion of reality, via the conflation of terrorism – understood as premeditated acts of violence to intimidate civilians – with acts of war. Trump fed into this misrepresentation when he described Soleimani's "reign of terror" as encompassing not only the alleged targeting of U.S. diplomats, but attacks on "U.S. military personnel." The effort to link the deaths of U.S. soldiers in wartime to terrorism echoes the State Department's 2019 statement , which designated Iran's Quds Force a "terrorist" organization, citing its responsibility "for the deaths of at least 603 American service members in Iraq" from "2003 to 2011" via its support for Iraqi militias that were engaging in attacks on U.S. forces.

As propaganda goes, the attempt to link these acts of war to "terrorism" is quite perverse. U.S. military personnel killed in Iraq were participating in a criminal, illegal occupation, which was widely condemned by the international community. The U.S. war in Iraq was a crime of aggression under the Nuremberg Charter, and it violated the United Nations Charter's prohibition on the use of force, which is only allowed via Security Council authorization (which the U.S. did not have), or in the case of military acts undertaken in self-defense against an ongoing attack (Iraq was not at war with the U.S. prior to the 2003 invasion). Contrary to Trump's and the State Department's propaganda, there are no grounds to classify the deaths of military personnel in an illegal war as terrorism. Instead, one could argue that domestic Iraqi political actors (of which Iraqi militias are included, regardless of their ties to Iran) were within their legal rights under international law to engage in acts of self-defense against American troops acting on behalf of a belligerent foreign power, which was conducting an illegal occupation.

#3: More War = Further Destabilization of the Middle East

The largest takeaway from recent events should be to recognize the tremendous danger that escalation of war poses to the U.S. and the region. The legacy of U.S. militarism in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, is one of death, destruction, and instability. Every major war involving the U.S. has produced humanitarian devastation and mass destruction, while fueling instability and terrorism. With the 1979 Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan, U.S. support for Mujahedeen radicals led to the breakdown of social order, and the rise of the radical Taliban regime, which housed al Qaeda fundamentalists in the years prior to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. The 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan contributed to the further deterioration of Afghan society, and was accompanied by the return of the Taliban, ensuing in a civil war that has persisted over the last two decades.

With Iraq, the U.S. invasion produced a massive security vacuum following the collapse of the Iraqi government, which made possible the rise of al Qaeda in Iraq. The U.S. fueled numerous civil wars, in Iraq during the 2000s and Syria in the 2010s, creating mass instability, and giving rise to ISIS, which became a mini-state of its own operating across both countries. And then there was the 2011 U.S.-NATO supported rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi, which not only resulted in the dictator's overthrow, but in the rise of another ISIS affiliate within Libya's border. Even Obama, the biggest cheerleader for the war, subsequently admitted the intervention was his "worst mistake," due to the civil war that emerged after Gaddafi's overthrow, which opened the door for the rise of ISIS.

All of these conflicts have one thing in common. They brought tremendous devastation to the countries under assault, via scorched-earth military campaigns, which left death, misery, and destruction in their wake. The U.S. is adept at destroying countries, but shows little interest in, or ability to reconstruct them. These wars provided fertile ground for Islamist radicals, who took advantage of the resulting chaos and instability.

The primary lesson of the "War on Terror" should be clear to rationally minded observers: U.S. wars breed not only instability, but desperation, as the people victimized by war become increasingly tolerant of domestic extremist movements. Repressive states are widely reviled by the people they subjugate. But the only thing worse than a dictatorship is no order at all, when societies collapse into civil war, anarchy, and genocide. The story of ISIS's rise is one of citizens suffering under war and instability, and becoming increasingly tolerant of extremist political actors, so long as they are able to provide order in times of crisis. This point is consistently neglected in U.S. political and media discourse – a sign of how propagandistic "debates" over war have become, nearly 20 years into the U.S. "War on Terrorism."

Where Do We Go From Here?

Trump followed up the Soleimani assassination with a Twitter announcement that the U.S. has "targeted" 52 additional "Iranian sites," which will be attacked "if Iran strikes any Americans or American assets." There's no reason in light of recent events to chalk this announcement up to typical Trump-Twitter bluster. This President is desperate to begin a war with Iran, as Trump has courted confrontation with the Islamic republic since the early days of his presidency.

War will allow Trump to claim the mantle of "national" wartime leader, while diverting attention away from his impeachment trial. And in light of the intensification of belligerent rhetoric from this administration, war appears to be increasingly likely.

The American people have a moral responsibility to question not only Trump's motives, but to consider the humanitarian disaster that inevitably accompanies war. War with Iran will only make the Middle East more unstable, further fueling anti-American radicalism, and increasing the terror threat to the U.S. This conclusion isn't based on speculation, but on two decades of experience with a "War on Terror" that's done little but destroy nations and increase terror threats. The American people can reduce the dangers of war by protesting Trump's latest provocation, and by pressuring Congress to pass legislation condemning any future attack on Iran as a violation of national and international law.

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More articles by: Anthony DiMaggio

Anthony DiMaggio is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lehigh University. He holds a PhD in political communication, and is the author of the newly released: The Politics of Persuasion: Economic Policy and Media Bias in the Modern Era (Paperback, 2018), and Selling War, Selling Hope: Presidential Rhetoric, the News Media , and U.S. Foreign Policy After 9/11 (Paperback: 2016). He can be reached at: anthonydimaggio612@gmail.com

[Jan 08, 2020] Iran nationalized it's oil production in 1979

Jan 08, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

@Situational Lefty

Since 1979 the oil has flowed through the government of Russia.

Iran nationalized it's oil production in 1979 and Russia had nothing to do with this.

The era of nationalized oil, 1979–present
...
Following the Revolution, the NIOC took control of Iran's petroleum industry and canceled Iran's international oil agreements. In 1980 the exploration, production, sale, and export of oil were delegated to the Ministry of Petroleum. Initially Iran's post-revolutionary oil policy was based on foreign currency requirements and the long-term preservation of the natural resource. Following the Iran–Iraq War, however, this policy was replaced by a more aggressive approach: maximizing exports and accelerating economic growth. From 1979 until 1998, Iran did not sign any oil agreements with foreign oil companies.
...
In the early 2000s, leading international oil firms from China, France, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Spain, and the United Kingdom had agreements to develop Iran's oil and gas fields. In 2004 China signed a major agreement to buy oil and gas from Iran, as well as to develop Iran's Yadavaran oil field. The value of this contract was estimated at US$150 billion to US$200 billion over 25 years.[5][30] In 2009, China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) signed a deal with the National Iranian Oil Company whereby the former took ownership of a 70% stake upon promising to pay 90 percent of the development costs for the South Azadegan oil field, with the project needing investment of up to $2.5 billion. Earlier that year, CNPC also won a $2 billion deal to develop the first phase of the North Azadegan oilfield.[31]
...

US sanctions have pushed Iran firmly into the welcoming arms of both Russia and China. It's another burgeoning love affair - a ménage à trois? The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

Russia And Iran Sign Flurry Of Energy Deals, What's Next?
Nov 10, 2016

Russia & Iran sign oil-for-goods trade agreement
25 May, 2017

Despite U.S. sanctions, Iran sees oil lifeline from Russia, China and India
August 24, 2018

Iran did get a lot of help from Russia with arms sales and working on their nuclear reactors since 1979

[Jan 08, 2020] Either the assassination was a drive-by on the way out, or Trump's war cabinet doesn't plan on having to leave Iraq.

Jan 08, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Trump has from the beginning of his presidential campaign appealed to the worst and most fascistic elements in American political life. At a time when the US has no credible peer military rival, he added hundreds of billions of dollars to the Pentagon budget, and the pudgy old chicken hawk lionized war criminals. Up until now, however, Trump shrewdly calculated that his base was tired of wasting blood and treasure on fruitless Middle Eastern wars, and he avoided taking more than symbolic steps. He dropped a big missile on Afghanistan once, and fired some Tomahawk Cruise missiles at Syria. But he drew back from the brink of more extensive military engagements.

Now, by murdering Qasem Soleimani , the head of the Jerusalem (Qods) Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Trump has brought the United States to the brink of war with Iran. Mind you, Iran's leadership is too shrewd to rush to the battlements at this moment, and will be prepared to play the long game. My guess is that they will encourage their allies among Iraqi Shiites to get up a massive protest at the US embassy and at bases housing US troops.

They will be aided in this task of mobilizing Iraqis by the simultaneous US assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis , the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Forces. Al-Muhandis is a senior military figure in the Iraqi armed forces, not just a civilian militia figure. Moreover, the Kata'ib Hizbullah that he headed is part of a strong political bloc, al-Fath, which has 48 members in parliament and forms a key coalition partner for the current, caretaker prime minister, Adil Abdulmahdi. Parliament won't easily be able to let this outrage pass.

The US officer corps is confident that the American troops at the embassy and elsewhere in Baghdad are sufficient to fight off any militia invasion. I'm not sure they have taken into account the possibility of tens of thousands of civilian protesters invading the embassy, who can't simply be taken out and shot.

Trump may be counting on the unpopularity among the youth protesters in downtown Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriya and other cities of Soleimani and of al-Muhandis to blunt the Iraqi reaction to the murders. The thousands of youth protesters cheered on hearing the news of their deaths, since they were accused of plotting a violent repression of the rallies demanding an end to corruption.

Iraq, however, is a big, complex society, and there are enormous numbers of Iraqi Shiites who support the Popular Mobilization Forces and who view them as the forces that saved Iraq from the peril of the ISIL (ISIS) terrorist organization. The Shiite hard liners would not need all Iraqis to back them in confronting the American presence, only a few hundred thousand for direct crowd action.

You also have to wonder whether Trump and his coterie aren't planning a coup in Iraq. In the absence of a coup, the Iraqi parliament will almost certainly be forced, after this violation of Iraqi national sovereignty, to vote to expel American troops. This is foreseeable. So either the assassination was a drive-by on the way out, or Trump's war cabinet doesn't plan on having to leave Iraq.

Although Trump justified the murder of Soleimani by calling him a terrorist, that is nonsense in the terms of international law. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps is the equivalent of the US National Guard. What Trump did is the equivalent of some foreign country declaring the US military a terrorist organization (some have) and then assassinating General Joseph L. Lengyel, the 28th Chief of the National Guard Bureau (God forbid and may he have a long healthy life).

[Jan 07, 2020] Trump's Biggest Gamble Yet May Set the Entire Middle East Alight by Martin Jay

It's all about the level of geopolitical control of oil-rich regions. In other words Carter doctrine.
Notable quotes:
"... Don't expect any American journalists to remind viewers that one of Soleimani's achievements was not only to command the entire Iraqi army's campaign against ISIS, but also to do that in cooperation with U.S. forces. ..."
"... Trump doesn't really read. Or even take solace from history. If he did, he would know that many U.S. presidents actually lost the vote at the crucial moment, because of their bungling in the Middle East and, in particular, in Iran. President Reagan for example won the White House in November 1980 after the failed rescue mission of U.S. hostages in April of that year in Iran went spectacularly wrong which gave a "landslide" victory to the former B-movie actor from Hollywood ..."
"... Trump's strike does ring of a president, struggling with an impeachment campaign gaining momentum, who may feel has nothing to lose other than to repeat history, which has doomed him, like Carter or Reagan (who never survived Iran-Contra). ..."
"... But his reckless folly in the Middle East is also a test of how far relations with the U.S. and the rest of the world can go, before something breaks. The assassination of the Iranian general could drive a huge divide between the U.S. and the EU in the next term, if Trump can secure re-election as it will be Europe which pays the real price when the region boils over. ..."
Jan 05, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org
I personally do not think that the strike was a typically capricious move by Trump. I am more inclined to believe that it has been in the works for a long time and his advisers might well have offered it to him as a preferable retaliation option against the Iranian downing of a U.S. drone in June of last year – where Trump floundered and finally held back from launching a conventional military attack on Iranian forces, through fear of civilians being killed, or so he claims.

What we are witnessing is unprecedented in the region. It has caught everyone off guard, even the democrats in the U.S., who can barely believe the stupidity of the move, which arguably, is a measured one. Trump believes that he can come out the winner of a pseudo war – or a proxy one – in the region, even though the Iranians have demonstrated that they easily have the capability of shutting down Saudi Arabia's oil exports with a relatively minor salvo of ordinance.

In fact, Saudi Arabia might well, in my view, be part of this latest move. Much has been made of the petulant twitter goading of Tehran's Supreme leader to Trump directly, which may well have pushed him over a line. But in reality, there is something much deeper and nefarious at play which may well be the true basis of why the decision was taken for the assassination: to destroy any possibilities of Iran and Saudi Arabia patching up their differences and continuing in dialogue, to avoid further tensions.

There is ample evidence to show that since the oilfield attacks carried out by Iran, Saudi crown prince Mohamed bin Salman has softened his stance on Iran and was looking at ways, through intermediaries, to build a working relation. It was early days and progress was slow.

But the Soleimani hit will blow that idea right out of the water. In one fell swoop, the strike galvanises and polarises an anti-Iran front from Saudi Arabia and Israel, which, whilst doing wonders for U.S. arms procurement will cause more tension in the region as it places countries like Qatar, UAE, Turkey and Oman in a really awkward spot with regards to how it should continue to work with Tehran. It may well put back the Qatar blockade to its earlier position as 'rogue state' in the region, prompting it to possibly even go rogue and get more involved in the battle to take Tripoli (supporting Turkish forces, obviously, who are with the UN-recognised government).

In fact, there is an entire gamut of consequences to the move, beyond merely Iran seeking to take revenge against America's allies in the region. It is less about a declaration of war against Iran but more a declaration of anti-peace towards the entire Arab world, which was starting to unfold in the last six months since Trump stepped back from the region and stood down from a retaliation strike against Iran in the Straits of Hormuz. Trump is gambling that he can sustain Saudi Arabia's oil being disrupted and even body bags of U.S. soldiers in Syria and Iraq in return for a fresh wave of popularity from people too ignorant to understand or wish to comprehend the nuances of the Middle East and how so many U.S. presidents use the pretext of a war, or heightened tensions, as part of their chest-beating, shallow popularity campaign.

Don't expect any American journalists to remind viewers that one of Soleimani's achievements was not only to command the entire Iraqi army's campaign against ISIS, but also to do that in cooperation with U.S. forces.

Trump doesn't really read. Or even take solace from history. If he did, he would know that many U.S. presidents actually lost the vote at the crucial moment, because of their bungling in the Middle East and, in particular, in Iran. President Reagan for example won the White House in November 1980 after the failed rescue mission of U.S. hostages in April of that year in Iran went spectacularly wrong which gave a "landslide" victory to the former B-movie actor from Hollywood .

Reagan, in turn, carried on the great tradition of Middle East histrionics by his notably 'mad dog' Libya campaign, which ran concurrent to two devastating attacks on U.S. soldiers and embassy staff in Lebanon, while two different CIA teams worked against each other in trying to secure the release of U.S. hostages in Beirut – while all along he was selling illegal arms to the Iranians and using the cash to fund Contras in Nicaragua.

Trump's strike does ring of a president, struggling with an impeachment campaign gaining momentum, who may feel has nothing to lose other than to repeat history, which has doomed him, like Carter or Reagan (who never survived Iran-Contra).

But his reckless folly in the Middle East is also a test of how far relations with the U.S. and the rest of the world can go, before something breaks. The assassination of the Iranian general could drive a huge divide between the U.S. and the EU in the next term, if Trump can secure re-election as it will be Europe which pays the real price when the region boils over.

Martin Jay is an award -winning freelance journalist and political commentator

[Jan 07, 2020] The Middle East Strategic "Balance" Shredded -- Strategic Culture

Jan 07, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

In fact, the strategic balance – though sorely tested – had been hanging together. Just to be clear: Iran and Israel both had been keeping – just – within the parameters of unspoken 'red lines' – despite the inflated rhetoric. And both were practicing 'strategic patience'. So the strategic balance seemed more or less sustainable: until its upending with the assassination of Qasem Soleimani and the head of the PMU, Al-Muhandis, ordered by Trump.

Israel has not – despite its lurid language – been landing strategic blows on Iran in Syria. It has not been killing Iranians there (apart from seven killed at T4 airport in eastern Syria last year). It did not target the head of the Iranian air force, some ten days ago, as some reports have suggested (he was not even in Iraq at the time). Most of the Israeli air attacks have been on depots in the early hours, when no personnel were present. It has been a campaign more of a regular, small slicing away at Iranian logistics. It was not strategic damage.

And Iran, after sending clear 'messages' to Gulf States of its willingness to inflict pain on parties to its economic siege, plainly had been calibrating this push-back carefully; Iran still had its eye to global diplomacy (to wit: the joint Iranian naval exercises with Russia and China in the Persian Gulf) – whilst countering politically, America's 'new' tactic of inciting 'colour' protests across Lebanon and Iraq (and trying to bust Syria financially, by stealing its energy revenues).

Here is the point: The US was no longer content with mere sanctions on Iran. It has been covertly escalating across the board: orchestrating protests in Iraq, in Lebanon, and in Iran itself; mounting a major cyber offensive on Iran; and a 'messaging' operation aimed at turning genuine popular frustration with regional mis-governance and corruption, into a weapon aimed at weakening revolutionary Iran.

The US was having some success with turning protest messaging against Iran – until, that is – its killing and wounding of so many Iraqi security force members last week (Ketaib Hizbullah is a part of Iraq's armed forces).

Escalation of maximum-pressure was one thing (Iran was confident of weathering that); but assassinating such a senior official on his state duties, was quite something else. We have not observed a state assassinating a most senior official of another state before.

And the manner of its doing, was unprecedented too. Soleimani was officially visiting Iraq. He arrived openly as a VIP guest from Syria, and was met on the tarmac by an equally senior Iraqi official, Al-Muhandis, who was assassinated also, (together with seven others). It was all open. General Soleimani regularly used his mobile phone as he argued that as a senior state official, if he were to be assassinated by another state, it would only be as an act of war.

This act, performed at the international airport of Baghdad, constitutes not just the sundering of red lines, but a humiliation inflicted on Iraq – its government and people. It will upend Iraq's strategic positioning. The erstwhile Iraqi attempt at balancing between Washington and Iran will be swept away by Trump's hubristic trampling on the country's sovereignty. It may well mark the beginning of the end of the US presence in Iraq (and therefore Syria, too), and ultimately, of America's footprint in the Middle East.

Trump may earn easy plaudits now for his "We're America, Bitch!", as one senior White House official defined the Trump foreign policy doctrine; but the doubts – and unforeseen consequences soon may come home to roost.

Why did he do it? If no one really wanted 'war', why did Trump escalate and smash up all the crockery? He has had an easy run (so far) towards re-election, so why play the always unpredictable 'wild card' of a yet another Mid-East conflict?

Was it that he wanted to show 'no Benghazi'; no US embassy siege 'on my watch' – unlike Obama's handling of that situation? Was he persuaded that these assassinations would play well to his constituency (Israeli and Evangelical)? Or was he offered this option baldly by the Netanyahu faction in Washington? Maybe.

Some in Israel are worried about a three or four front war reaching Israel. Senior Israeli officials recently have been speculating about the likelihood of regional conflict occurring within the coming months. Israel's PM however, is fighting for his political life, and has requested immunity from prosecution on three indictments – pleading that this was his legal right, and that it was needed for him to "continue to lead Israel" for the sake of its future. Effectively, Netanyahu has nothing to lose from escalating tensions with Iran -- but much to gain.

Opposition Israeli political and military leaders have warned that the PM needs 'war' with Iran -- effectively to underscore the country's 'need' for his continued leadership. And for technical reasons in the Israeli parliament, his plea is unlikely to be settled before the March general elections. Netanyahu thus may still have some time to wind up the case for his continued tenure of the premiership.

One prime factor in the Israeli caution towards Iran rests not so much on the waywardness of Netanyahu, but on the inconstancy of President Trump: Can it be guaranteed that the US will back Israel unreservedly -- were it to again to become enmeshed in a Mid-East war? The Israeli and Gulf answer seemingly is 'no'. The import of this assessment is significant. Trump now is seen by some in Israel – and by some insiders in Washington – as a threat to Israel's future security vis à vis Iran. Was Trump aware of this? Was this act a gamble to guarantee no slippage in that vital constituency in the lead up to the US elections? We do not know.

So we arrive at three final questions: How far will Iran absorb this new escalation? Will Iran confine its retaliation to within Iraq? Or will the US cross another 'red line' by striking inside Iran itself, in any subsequent tit for tat?

Is it deliberate (or is it political autism) that makes Secretary Pompeo term all the Iraqi Hash'd a-Sha'abi forces – whether or not part of official Iraqi forces – as "Iran-led"? The term seems to be used as a laissez-passer to attack all the many Hash'd a-Sha'abi units on the grounds that, being "Iran-linked", they therefore count as 'terrorist forces'. This formulation gives rise to the false sequitur that all other Iraqis would somehow approve of the killings. This would be laughable, if it were not so serious. The Hash'd forces led the war against ISIS and are esteemed by the vast majority of Iraqis. And Soleimani was on the ground at the front line, with those Iraqi forces.

These forces are not Iranian 'proxies'. They are Iraqi nationalists who share a common Shi'a identity with their co-religionists in Iran, and across the region. They share a common zeitgeist, they see politics similarly, but they are no puppets (we write from direct experience).

But what this formulation does do is to invite a widening conflict: Many Iraqis will be outraged by the US attacks on fellow Iraqis and will revenge them. Pompeo (falsely) will then blame Iran. Is that Pompeo's purpose: casus belli?

But where is the off-ramp? Iran will respond Is this affair simply set to escalate from limited military exchanges and from thence, to escalate until what? We understand that this was not addressed in Washington before the President's decision was made. There are no real US channels of communication (other than low level) with Iran; nor is there a plan for the next days. Nor an obvious exit. Is Trump relying on gut instinct again?

[Jan 07, 2020] A Terrorist Attack Against Eurasian Integration

Jan 07, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

A Terrorist Attack Against Eurasian Integration? by Tyler Durden Tue, 01/07/2020 - 00:05 0 SHARES

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

The murder of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad, in the early hours of January 3 by US forces, only highlights the extent to which US strategy in the Middle East has failed. It is likely to provoke reactions that do not benefit US interests in the region.

To understand the significance of this event, it is necessary to quickly reconstruct the developments in Iraq. The US has occupied Iraq for 17 years, following its invasion of the country in 2003. During this time, Baghdad and Tehran have re-established ties by sustaining an important dialogue on post-war reconstruction as well as by acknowledging the importance of the Shia population in Iraq.

Within two decades, Iraq and Iran have gone from declaring war with each other to cooperating on the so-called Shia Crescent, favoring cooperation and the commercial and military development of the quartet composed of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Such ties, following recent victories over international terrorism, have been further consolidated, leading to current and planned overland connections between this quartet.

Local movements and organizations have been calling for US troops to leave Iraqi territory with increasing vigor and force in recent months. Washington has accused Tehran of inciting associated protests.

At the same time, groups of dubious origin, that have sought to equate the Iranian presence with the American one, have been calling for the withdrawal of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) that are linked to Iran from Iraq. The protests from such groups appear to be sponsored and funded by Saudi Arabia.

With mutual accusations flying around, the US hit a pro-Iranian faction known as Kataib Hezbollah on December 29. This episode sparked a series of reactions in Iraq that ended up enveloping the US embassy in Baghdad, which was besieged for days by demonstrators angry about ongoing airstrikes by US forces.

The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, blamed this volatile situation on Iran, warning that Tehran would be held responsible for any escalation of the situation involving the embassy.

In the early hours of January 3, 2020, another tangle was added to the Gordian Knot that is the Middle East. Qasem Soleimani was assassinated when his convoy was attacked by a drone near Baghdad International Airport. The most effective opponents of ISIS and Wahabi jihadism in general was thus eliminated by the US in a terrorist act carried out in foreign country in a civilian area (near Baghdad International Airport). The champagne would have no doubt been flowing immediately upon receiving this news in the US Congress, the Israeli Knesset, Riyadh royal palace and in Idlib among al Nusra and al Qaeda militants.

It remains to be seen what the reasons were behind Trump's decision to okay the assasination of such an influential and important leader. Certainly the need to to demonstrate to his base (and his Israeli and Saudi financiers) plays into his anti-Iranian crusade. But there are other reasons that better explain Trump's actions that are more related to the influence of the US in the region; the geopolitical chess game in the Middle East transcends any single leader or any drone attack.

In Syria, for example, the situation is extremely favorable to the government in Damascus, with it only being a matter of time before the country is again under the control of the central government. General Soleimani and Iran have played a central role in ridding the country of the scourge of terrorism, a scourge directed and financed by the US and her regional allies.

In Iraq , the political situation is less favorable to the US now than it was back in 2006. Whatever progress in relations between Baghdad and Tehran has also been due to General Soleimani, who, together with the PMUs and the Iraqi army, freed the country from ISIS (which was created and nurtured by Western and Saudi intelligence, as revealed by Wikileaks).

It would seem that the US sanctions against Iran have not really had the intended effect, instead only serving to consolidate the country's stance against imperialism. The US, as a result, is experiencing a crisis in the region, effectively being driven out of the Middle East, rather than leaving intentionally.

In this extraordinary and unprecedented situation, the Russians and Chinese are offering themselves variously as military, political and economic guarantors of the emerging Eurasian mega-project (the recent naval exercises between Beijing, Moscow and Tehran serving as a tangible example of this commitment). Naturally, it is in their interests to avoid any extended regional conflict that may only serve to throw a monkey wrench into their vast Eurasian mega-project.

Putin and Xi Jinping face tough days ahead, trying to council Iran in avoiding an excessive response that would give Washington the perfect excuse for a war against Iran.

The prospects of a region without terrorism, with a reinvigorated Shia Crescent, led by Iran at the regional level and accompanied by China and Russia at the economic (Belt and Road Initiative) and military level, offer little hope to Riyadh, Tel Aviv and Washington of being able to influence events in the region and this is likely going to be the top argument that Putin and Xi Jinping will use to try to deter any Iranian overt response.

Deciding to kill the leader of the Quds Force in Iraq proves only one thing: that the options available to Trump and his regional allies are rapidly shrinking, and that the regional trends over the next decade appear irreversible. Their only hope is for Tehran and her allies to lash out at the latest provocation, thereby justifying the regional war that would only serve to benefit Washington by slowing down regional unification under Iranian leadership.

We must remember that whenever the US finds itself in a situation where it cannot control a country or a region, its tendency is to create chaos and ultimately destroy it.

By killing General Soleimani, the US hopes to wreak havoc in the region so as to slow down or altogether scupper any prospect of integration. Fortunately, China, Russia and Iran are well aware that any conflict would not be in any of their own interests.

No drone-launched missiles will be enough to save the US from decades of foreign-policy errors and their associated horrors; nor will they be enough to extinguish the memory of a hero's tireless struggle against imperialism and terrorism.

[Jan 07, 2020] Either the assassination was a drive-by on the way out, or Trump's war cabinet doesn't plan on having to leave Iraq.

Jan 07, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Trump has from the beginning of his presidential campaign appealed to the worst and most fascistic elements in American political life. At a time when the US has no credible peer military rival, he added hundreds of billions of dollars to the Pentagon budget, and the pudgy old chicken hawk lionized war criminals. Up until now, however, Trump shrewdly calculated that his base was tired of wasting blood and treasure on fruitless Middle Eastern wars, and he avoided taking more than symbolic steps. He dropped a big missile on Afghanistan once, and fired some Tomahawk Cruise missiles at Syria. But he drew back from the brink of more extensive military engagements.

Now, by murdering Qasem Soleimani , the head of the Jerusalem (Qods) Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, Trump has brought the United States to the brink of war with Iran. Mind you, Iran's leadership is too shrewd to rush to the battlements at this moment, and will be prepared to play the long game. My guess is that they will encourage their allies among Iraqi Shiites to get up a massive protest at the US embassy and at bases housing US troops.

They will be aided in this task of mobilizing Iraqis by the simultaneous US assassination of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis , the deputy head of the Popular Mobilization Forces. Al-Muhandis is a senior military figure in the Iraqi armed forces, not just a civilian militia figure. Moreover, the Kata'ib Hizbullah that he headed is part of a strong political bloc, al-Fath, which has 48 members in parliament and forms a key coalition partner for the current, caretaker prime minister, Adil Abdulmahdi. Parliament won't easily be able to let this outrage pass.

The US officer corps is confident that the American troops at the embassy and elsewhere in Baghdad are sufficient to fight off any militia invasion. I'm not sure they have taken into account the possibility of tens of thousands of civilian protesters invading the embassy, who can't simply be taken out and shot.

Trump may be counting on the unpopularity among the youth protesters in downtown Baghdad, Basra, Nasiriya and other cities of Soleimani and of al-Muhandis to blunt the Iraqi reaction to the murders. The thousands of youth protesters cheered on hearing the news of their deaths, since they were accused of plotting a violent repression of the rallies demanding an end to corruption.

Iraq, however, is a big, complex society, and there are enormous numbers of Iraqi Shiites who support the Popular Mobilization Forces and who view them as the forces that saved Iraq from the peril of the ISIL (ISIS) terrorist organization. The Shiite hard liners would not need all Iraqis to back them in confronting the American presence, only a few hundred thousand for direct crowd action.

You also have to wonder whether Trump and his coterie aren't planning a coup in Iraq. In the absence of a coup, the Iraqi parliament will almost certainly be forced, after this violation of Iraqi national sovereignty, to vote to expel American troops. This is foreseeable. So either the assassination was a drive-by on the way out, or Trump's war cabinet doesn't plan on having to leave Iraq.

[Jan 06, 2020] America Escalates its "Democratic" Oil War in the Near East by Michael Hudson

Jan 06, 2020 | www.unz.com

The mainstream media are carefully sidestepping the method behind America's seeming madness in assassinating Islamic Revolutionary Guard general Qassim Suleimani to start the New Year. The logic behind the assassination this was a long-standing application of U.S. global policy, not just a personality quirk of Donald Trump's impulsive action. His assassination of Iranian military leader Suleimani was indeed a unilateral act of war in violation of international law, but it was a logical step in a long-standing U.S. strategy. It was explicitly authorized by the Senate in the funding bill for the Pentagon that it passed last year.

The assassination was intended to escalate America's presence in Iraq to keep control the region's oil reserves, and to back Saudi Arabia's Wahabi troops (Isis, Al Quaeda in Iraq, Al Nusra and other divisions of what are actually America's foreign legion) to support U.S. control o Near Eastern oil as a buttress o the U.S. dollar. That remains the key to understanding this policy, and why it is in the process of escalating, not dying down.

I sat in on discussions of this policy as it was formulated nearly fifty years ago when I worked at the Hudson Institute and attended meetings at the White House, met with generals at various armed forces think tanks and with diplomats at the United Nations. My role was as a balance-of-payments economist having specialized for a decade at Chase Manhattan, Arthur Andersen and oil companies in the oil industry and military spending. These were two of the three main dynamic of American foreign policy and diplomacy. (The third concern was how to wage war in a democracy where voters rejected the draft in the wake of the Vietnam War.)

The media and public discussion have diverted attention from this strategy by floundering speculation that President Trump did it, except to counter the (non-)threat of impeachment with a wag-the-dog attack, or to back Israeli lebensraum drives, or simply to surrender the White House to neocon hate-Iran syndrome. The actual context for the neocon's action was the balance of payments, and the role of oil and energy as a long-term lever of American diplomacy.

The balance of payments dimension

The major deficit in the U.S. balance of payments has long been military spending abroad. The entire payments deficit, beginning with the Korean War in 1950-51 and extending through the Vietnam War of the 1960s, was responsible for forcing the dollar off gold in 1971. The problem facing America's military strategists was how to continue supporting the 800 U.S. military bases around the world and allied troop support without losing America's financial leverage.

The solution turned out to be to replace gold with U.S. Treasury securities (IOUs) as the basis of foreign central bank reserves. After 1971, foreign central banks had little option for what to do with their continuing dollar inflows except to recycle them to the U.S. economy by buying U.S. Treasury securities. The effect of U.S. foreign military spending thus did not undercut the dollar's exchange rate, and did not even force the Treasury and Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to attract foreign exchange to offset the dollar outflows on military account. In fact, U.S. foreign military spending helped finance the domestic U.S. federal budget deficit.

Saudi Arabia and other Near Eastern OPEC countries quickly became a buttress of the dollar. After these countries quadrupled the price of oil (in retaliation for the United States quadrupling the price of its grain exports, a mainstay of the U.S. trade balance), U.S. banks were swamped with an inflow of much foreign deposits – which were lent out to Third World countries in an explosion of bad loans that blew up in 1972 with Mexico's insolvency, and destroyed Third World government credit for a decade, forcing it into dependence on the United States via the IMF and World Bank).

To top matters, of course, what Saudi Arabia does not save in dollarized assets with its oil-export earnings is spent on buying hundreds of billion of dollars of U.S. arms exports. This locks them into dependence on U.S. supply o replacement parts and repairs, and enables the United States to turn off Saudi military hardware at any point of time, in the event that the Saudis may try to act independently of U.S. foreign policy.

So maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending. Foreign countries to not have to pay the Pentagon directly for this spending. They simply finance the U.S. Treasury and U.S. banking system.

Fear of this development was a major reason why the United States moved against Libya, whose foreign reserves were held in gold, not dollars, an which was urging other African countries to follow suit in order to free themselves from "Dollar Diplomacy." Hillary and Obama invaded, grabbed their gold supplies (we still have no idea who ended up with these billions of dollars worth of gold) and destroyed Libya's government, its public education system, its public infrastructure and other non-neoliberal policies.

The great threat to this is dedollarization as China, Russia and other countries seek to avoid recycling dollars. Without the dollar's function as the vehicle for world saving – in effect, without the Pentagon's role in creating the Treasury debt that is the vehicle for world central bank reserves – the U.S. would find itself constrained militarily and hence diplomatically constrained, as it was under the gold exchange standard.

That is the same strategy that the U.S. has followed in Syria and Iraq. Iran was threatening this dollarization strategy and its buttress in U.S. oil diplomacy.

The oil industry as buttress of the U.S. balance of payments and foreign diplomacy

ORDER IT NOW

The trade balance is buttressed by oil and farm surpluses. Oil is the key, because it is imported by U.S. companies at almost no balance-of-payments cost (the payments end up in the oil industry's head offices here as profits and payments to management), while profits on U.S. oil company sales to other countries are remitted to the United States (via offshore tax-avoidance centers, mainly Liberia and Panama for many years). And as noted above, OPEC countries have been told to keep their official reserves in the form of U.S. securities (stocks and bonds as well as Treasury IOUs, but not direct purchase of U.S. companies being deemed economically important). Financially, OPEC countries are client slates of the Dollar Area.

America's attempt to maintain this buttress explains U.S. opposition to any foreign government steps to reverse global warming and the extreme weather caused by the world's U.S.-sponsored dependence on oil. Any such moves by Europe and other countries would reduce dependence on U.S. oil sales, and hence on U.S. ability to control the global oil spigot as a means of control and coercion, are viewed as hostile acts.

Oil also explains U.S. opposition to Russian oil exports via Nordstream. U.S. strategists want to treat energy as a U.S. national monopoly. Other countries can benefit in the way that Saudi Arabia has done – by sending their surpluses to the U.S. economy – but not to support their own economic growth and diplomacy. Control of oil thus implies support for continued global warming as an inherent part of U.S. strategy.

How a "democratic" nation can wage international war and terrorism

The Vietnam War showed that modern democracies cannot field armies for any major military conflict, because this would require a draft of its citizens. That would lead any government attempting such a draft to be voted out of power. And without troops, it is not possible to invade a country to take it over.

The corollary of this perception is that democracies have only two choices when it comes to military strategy: They can only wage airpower, bombing opponents; or they can create a foreign legion, that is, hire mercenaries or back foreign governments that provide this military service.

Here once again Saudi Arabia plays a critical role, through its control of Wahabi Sunnis turned into terrorist jihadis willing to sabotage, bomb, assassinate, blow up and otherwise fight any target designated as an enemy of "Islam," the euphemism for Saudi Arabia acting as U.S. client state. (Religion really is not the key; I know of no ISIS or similar Wahabi attack on Israeli targets.) The United States needs the Saudis to supply or finance Wahabi crazies. So in addition to playing a key role in the U.S. balance of payments by recycling its oil-export earnings are into U.S. stocks, bonds and other investments, Saudi Arabia provides manpower by supporting the Wahabi members of America's foreign legion, ISIS and Al-Nusra/Al-Qaeda. Terrorism has become the "democratic" mode of today U.S. military policy.

What makes America's oil war in the Near East "democratic" is that this is the only kind of war a democracy can fight – an air war, followed by a vicious terrorist army that makes up for the fact that no democracy can field its own army in today's world. The corollary is that, terrorism has become the "democratic" mode of warfare.

From the U.S. vantage point, what is a "democracy"? In today's Orwellian vocabulary, it means any country supporting U.S. foreign policy. Bolivia and Honduras have become "democracies" since their coups, along with Brazil. Chile under Pinochet was a Chicago-style free market democracy. So was Iran under the Shah, and Russia under Yeltsin – but not since it elected Vladimir Putin president, any more than is China under President Xi.

The antonym to "democracy" is "terrorist." That simply means a nation willing to fight to become independent from U.S. neoliberal democracy. It does not include America's proxy armies.

Iran's role as U.S. nemesis

What stands in the way of U.S. dollarization, oil and military strategy? Obviously, Russia and China have been targeted as long-term strategic enemies for seeking their own independent economic policies and diplomacy. But next to them, Iran has been in America's gun sights for nearly seventy years.

America's hatred of Iran is starts with its attempt to control its own oil production, exports and earnings. It goes back to 1953, when Mossadegh was overthrown because he wanted domestic sovereignty over Anglo-Persian oil. The CIA-MI6 coup replaced him with the pliant Shah, who imposed a police state to prevent Iranian independence from U.S. policy. The only physical places free from the police were the mosques. That made the Islamic Republic the path of least resistance to overthrowing the Shah and re-asserting Iranian sovereignty.

The United States came to terms with OPEC oil independence by 1974, but the antagonism toward Iran extends to demographic and religious considerations. Iranian support its Shi'ite population an those of Iraq and other countries – emphasizing support for the poor and for quasi-socialist policies instead of neoliberalism – has made it the main religious rival to Saudi Arabia's Sunni sectarianism and its role as America's Wahabi foreign legion.

America opposed General Suleimani above all because he was fighting against ISIS and other U.S.-backed terrorists in their attempt to break up Syria and replace Assad's regime with a set of U.S.-compliant local leaders – the old British "divide and conquer" ploy. On occasion, Suleimani had cooperated with U.S. troops in fighting ISIS groups that got "out of line" meaning the U.S. party line. But every indication is that he was in Iraq to work with that government seeking to regain control of the oil fields that President Trump has bragged so loudly about grabbing.

ORDER IT NOW

Already in early 2018, President Trump asked Iraq to reimburse America for the cost of "saving its democracy" by bombing the remainder of Saddam's economy. The reimbursement was to take the form of Iraqi Oil. More recently, in 2019, President Trump asked, why not simply grab Iraqi oil. The giant oil field has become the prize of the Bush-Cheney post 9-11 Oil War. "'It was a very run-of-the-mill, low-key, meeting in general," a source who was in the room told Axios.' And then right at the end, Trump says something to the effect of, he gets a little smirk on his face and he says, 'So what are we going to do about the oil?'" [1] https://www.axios.com/trump-to-iraqi-pm-how-about-th....html. The article adds: "In the March meeting, the Iraqi prime minister replied, 'What do you mean?' according to the source in the room. And Trump's like, 'Well, we did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil.'"

Trump's idea that America should "get something" out of its military expenditure in destroying the Iraqi and Syrian economies simply reflects U.S. policy.

In late October, 2019, The New York Times reported that: "In recent days, Mr. Trump has settled on Syria's oil reserves as a new rationale for appearing to reverse course and deploy hundreds of additional troops to the war-ravaged country. He has declared that the United States has "secured" oil fields in the country's chaotic northeast and suggested that the seizure of the country's main natural resource justifies America further extending its military presence there. 'We have taken it and secured it,' Mr. Trump said of Syria's oil during remarks at the White House on Sunday, after announcing the killing of the Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi." [2] Michael Crowly, "'Keep the Oil': Trump Revives Charged Slogan for new Syria Troop Mission," The New York Times , October 26, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/26/us/politics/trump...s.html . The article adds: "'I said keep the oil,' Mr. Trump recounted. 'If they are going into Iraq, keep the oil. They never did. They never did.'" A CIA official reminded the journalist that taking Iraq's oil was a Trump campaign pledge.

That explains the invasion of Iraq for oil in 2003, and again this year, as President Trump has said: "Why don't we simply take their oil?" It also explains the Obama-Hillary attack on Libya – not only for its oil, but for its investing its foreign reserves in gold instead of recycling its oil surplus revenue to the U.S. Treasury – and of course, for promoting a secular socialist state.

It explains why U.S. neocons feared Suleimani's plan to help Iraq assert control of its oil and withstand the terrorist attacks supported by U.S. and Saudi's on Iraq. That is what made his assassination an immediate drive.

American politicians have discredited themselves by starting off their condemnation of Trump by saying, as Elizabeth Warren did, how "bad" a person Suleimani was, how he had killed U.S. troops by masterminding the Iraqi defense of roadside bombing and other policies trying to repel the U.S. invasion to grab its oil. She was simply parroting the U.S. media's depiction of Suleimani as a monster, diverting attention from the policy issue that explains why he was assassinated now .

The counter-strategy to U.S. oil, and dollar and global-warming diplomacy

This strategy will continue, until foreign countries reject it. If Europe and other regions fail to do so, they will suffer the consequences of this U.S. strategy in the form of a rising U.S.-sponsored war via terrorism, the flow of refugees, and accelerated global warming and extreme weather.

Russia, China and its allies already have been leading the way to dedollarization as a means to contain the balance-of-payments buttress of U.S. global military policy. But everyone now is speculating over what Iran's response should be.

The pretense – or more accurately, the diversion – by the U.S. news media over the weekend has been to depict the United States as being under imminent attack. Mayor de Blasio has positioned policemen at conspicuous key intersections to let us know how imminent Iranian terrorism is – as if it were Iran, not Saudi Arabia that mounted 9/11, and as if Iran in fact has taken any forceful action against the United States. The media and talking heads on television have saturated the air waves with warnings of Islamic terrorism. Television anchors are suggesting just where the attacks are most likely to occur.

The message is that the assassination of General Soleimani was to protect us. As Donald Trump and various military spokesmen have said, he had killed Americans – and now they must be planning an enormous attack that will injure and kill many more innocent Americans. That stance has become America's posture in the world: weak and threatened, requiring a strong defense – in the form of a strong offense.

But what is Iran's actual interest? If it is indeed to undercut U.S. dollar and oil strategy, the first policy must be to get U.S. military forces out of the Near East, including U.S. occupation of its oil fields. It turns out that President Trump's rash act has acted as a catalyst, bringing about just the opposite of what he wanted. On January 5 the Iraqi parliament met to insist that the United States leave. General Suleimani was an invited guest, not an Iranian invader. It is U.S. troops that are in Iraq in violation of international law. If they leave, Trump and the neocons lose control of oil – and also of their ability to interfere with Iranian-Iraqi-Syrian-Lebanese mutual defense.

Beyond Iraq looms Saudi Arabia. It has become the Great Satan, the supporter of Wahabi extremism, the terrorist legion of U.S. mercenary armies fighting to maintain control of Near Eastern oil and foreign exchange reserves, the cause of the great exodus of refugees to Turkey, Europe and wherever else it can flee from the arms and money provided by the U.S. backers of Isis, Al Qaeda in Iraq and their allied Saudi Wahabi legions.

The logical ideal, in principle, would be to destroy Saudi power. That power lies in its oil fields. They already have fallen under attack by modest Yemeni bombs. If U.S. neocons seriously threaten Iran, its response would be the wholesale bombing and destruction of Saudi oil fields, along with those of Kuwait and allied Near Eastern oil sheikhdoms. It would end the Saudi support for Wahabi terrorists, as well as for the U.S. dollar.

Such an act no doubt would be coordinated with a call for the Palestinian and other foreign workers in Saudi Arabia to rise up and drive out the monarchy and its thousands of family retainers.

ORDER IT NOW

Beyond Saudi Arabia, Iran and other advocates of a multilateral diplomatic break with U.S. neoliberal and neocon unilateralism should bring pressure on Europe to withdraw from NATO, inasmuch as that organization functions mainly as a U.S.-centric military tool of American dollar and oil diplomacy and hence opposing the climate change and military confrontation policies that threaten to make Europe part of the U.S. maelstrom.

Finally, what can U.S. anti-war opponents do to resist the neocon attempt to destroy any part of the world that resists U.S. neoliberal autocracy? This has been the most disappointing response over the weekend. They are flailing. It has not been helpful for Warren, Buttigieg and others to accuse Trump of acting rashly without thinking through the consequences of his actions. That approach shies away from recognizing that his action did indeed have a rationale -- do draw a line in the sand, to say that yes, America WILL go to war, will fight Iran, will do anything at all to defend its control of Near Eastern oil and to dictate OPEC central bank policy, to defend its ISIS legions as if any opposition to this policy is an attack on the United States itself.

I can understand the emotional response or yet new calls for impeachment of Donald Trump. But that is an obvious non-starter, partly because it has been so obviously a partisan move by the Democratic Party. More important is the false and self-serving accusation that President Trump has overstepped his constitutional limit by committing an act of war against Iran by assassinating Soleimani.

Congress endorsed Trump's assassination and is fully as guilty as he is for having approved the Pentagon's budget with the Senate's removal of the amendment to the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act that Bernie Sanders, Tom Udall and Ro Khanna inserted an amendment in the House of Representatives version, explicitly not authorizing the Pentagon to wage war against Iran or assassinate its officials. When this budget was sent to the Senate, the White House and Pentagon (a.k.a. the military-industrial complex and neoconservatives) removed that constraint. That was a red flag announcing that the Pentagon and White House did indeed intend to wage war against Iran and/or assassinate its officials. Congress lacked the courage to argue this point at the forefront of public discussion.

Behind all this is the Saudi-inspired 9/11 act taking away Congress's sole power to wage war – its 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, pulled out of the drawer ostensibly against Al Qaeda but actually the first step in America's long support of the very group that was responsible for 9/11, the Saudi airplane hijackers.

The question is, how to get the world's politicians – U.S., European and Asians – to see how America's all-or-nothing policy is threatening new waves of war, refugees, disruption of the oil trade in the Strait of Hormuz, and ultimately global warming and neoliberal dollarization imposed on all countries. It is a sign of how little power exists in the United Nations that no countries are calling for a new Nurenberg-style war crimes trial, no threat to withdraw from NATO or even to avoid holding reserves in the form of money lent to the U.S. Treasury to fund America's military budget.

Notes

[1] https://www.axios.com/trump-to-iraqi-pm-how-about-that-oil-1a31cbfa-f20c-4767-8d18-d518ed9a6543.html. The article adds: "In the March meeting, the Iraqi prime minister replied, 'What do you mean?' according to the source in the room. And Trump's like, 'Well, we did a lot, we did a lot over there, we spent trillions over there, and a lot of people have been talking about the oil.'"

[2] Michael Crowly, "'Keep the Oil': Trump Revives Charged Slogan for new Syria Troop Mission," The New York Times , October 26, 2019. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/26/us/politics/trump-syria-oil-fields.html . The article adds: "'I said keep the oil,' Mr. Trump recounted. 'If they are going into Iraq, keep the oil. They never did. They never did.'"


Toxik , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 2:22 am GMT

very enlightening. there's always an economic purpose for US foreign policy. Obviously for the 1%
IvyMike , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 2:24 am GMT
Reads like the rantings of a paranoid conspiracy theorist whack job. Except it's mostly correct and true.
Haxo Angmark , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:17 am GMT
"accelerated global warming". That's a brazen hardLeft lie.

and the central dynamic isn't oil per se; it's the petrodollar.

By forcing the Middle East (and other) oil producers at gunpoint

to accept dollars and only dollars for the oil, ZOG-ruled 'Murka

creates sufficient international demand for the dollar by non-producers to prevent

its debt-drowned/dollar-monetized domestic Ponzi'conomy from

going to hyperinflationary collapse. That's why both Iraq and Libya were attacked.

And Iran is now in the crosshairs

because it sells oil for anything but dollars.

NoseytheDuke , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:22 am GMT

as if it were Iran, not Saudi Arabia that mounted 9/11,

Saudi Arabia mounted 9/11? LOL. As if Michael Hudson is much too smart and well connected to not know that this is bullshit, so why write it? Oh wait, there's more

Behind all this is the Saudi-inspired 9/11 act taking away Congress's sole power to wage war – its 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force, pulled out of the drawer ostensibly against Al Qaeda but actually the first step in America's long support of the very group that was responsible for 9/11, the Saudi airplane hijackers.

This article appears to be a bullshit banquet. I shall have to reassess my thoughts on Hudson. If you aren't part of the solution you're part of the problem.

Biff , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:33 am GMT

So maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending.

The main reason for the U.S. military is dollar protection. Idealogical wars(for Israel) don't get very far without the money.

Fear of this development was a major reason why the United States moved against Libya, whose foreign reserves were held in gold, not dollars , an which was urging other African countries to follow suit in order to free themselves from "Dollar Diplomacy." Hillary and Obama invaded, grabbed their gold supplies (we still have no idea who ended up with these billions of dollars worth of gold) and destroyed Libya's government, its public education system, its public infrastructure and other non-neoliberal policies.

I still don't know why the Libyan war doesn't get the attention it should like Iraq's WMD? The lie of "We were trying to protect brown people in the middle east/north Africa" still stands with most Americans.

BTW, brilliant article by Mr. Hudson.

Weston Waroda , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:10 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke If Hudson got some minor detail wrong, it ultimately isn't that important as we are all struggling to see through a glass darkly to find the truth in the daily deluge of lies. None of us have connected all of the dots perfectly, though Hudson has connected more than most, more than you or I. And there are layers of narrative about September 11, 2001. The idea that it was Saudi-inspired may not be the deepest level of the story, but neither is it entirely false. And the Saudis provided the manpower for the attacks on the Twin Towers, just as they are providing the boots on the ground, the Wahabi crazies, e.g., ISIS, Al-Qaeda, Al-Nusra and others, used by the US/Israeli interests as a proxy army to take out Assad. This is Hudson's larger point.

Hudson gives us a panoramic economic view of the reasons that neoliberal policies have of necessity become militarized (from the Empire's point of view), why for instance the attempt to take out Assad had to be made. It is all about maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency and keeping a steady income stream flowing into the US Treasury, to fund the Empire's wars as well as domestic expenditures. He also explains why this is a war that the US ultimately will not win. Michael Hudson is to be lauded for his laying out the big picture in clear, economic terms. Not only is he not a part of the problem (although you might be, my trollish friend) he is a national treasure and his writing should be read and discussed by all Americans.

Carlton Meyer , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:11 am GMT
The USA now faces two big problems. Iraqis want American troops out and most Americans agree. Now the spinmasters (like Trump) must explain why American troops must stay. The US military now faces a tough logistics problem. Bases in Iraq are supplied via trucks driven by local Iraqis. Most drivers will refuse to work in sympathy with protestors or fear of them. Resupply by airlift is not practical, so thousands more American troops will be needed as drivers who will be vulnerable to attack.
mrtmbrnmn , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:56 am GMT
Once again, as usual, Michael Hudson comes up aces in his analysis. He gets it. It is always about the Benjamins! As for the Trumptard, our cowardly, compromised, corrupt Congress Critters should fugeddibout their farcical trumped up "impeachment" and any ridiculous "trial" in the Senate. It is high time to bring back the Nuremberg Trials. The bloated, bloviating, narcisisstic, ignorant boob and war criminal is ready for his closeup! The same goes for the enablers, whisperers and political ventriloquists who manipulate the dummy.
restless94110 , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:58 am GMT
Great analysis with the exception of the bits about the climate warming hoax. One of these days–not long now–this fakery will be completely exposed, and then, a lot of people–including most certainly Mr. Hudson–will have a lot of egg on their faces. We can only pray for the decline of Saudi Arabia, the ending of NATO, the de-dollarization of the world, the withdrawal of all US military from the ME (and most of the rest of the world), and the final debunking of man-made global warming.

May all of these come quickly now.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:01 am GMT
I just do not think that this article is hitting the nail on the head.
And not only that. There are many other factors.
renfro , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:42 am GMT

America's hatred of Iran is starts with its attempt to control its own oil production, exports and earnings. It goes back to 1953, when Mossadegh was overthrown because he wanted domestic sovereignty over Anglo-Persian oil.

It was the British who wanted Mossadegh overthrown because of their profits in the Anglo Iranian Oil Co.. The US was suckered in by the threat of Iran going communist.

1952: Mosaddeq Nationalization of Iran's Oil Industry Leads to CoupEdit event

Iranian President Mohammad Mosaddeq moves to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in order to ensure that more oil profits remain in Iran. His efforts to democratize Iran had already earned him being named Time Magazine's Man of the Year for 1951. After he nationalizes it, Mosaddeq realizes that Britain may want to overthrow his government, so he closes the British Embassy and sends all British civilians, including its intelligence operatives, out of the country.

Britain finds itself with no way to stage the coup it desires, so it approaches the American intelligence community for help. Their first approach results in abject failure when Harry Truman throws the British representatives out of his office, stating that "We don't overthrow governments; the United States has never done this before, and we're not going to start now."

After Eisenhower is elected in November 1952, the British have a much more receptive audience, and plans for overthrowing Mosaddeq are produced. The British intelligence operative who presents the idea to the Eisenhower administration later will write in his memoirs, "If I ask the Americans to overthrow Mosaddeq in order to rescue a British oil company, they are not going to respond. This is not an argument that's going to cut much mustard in Washington. I've got to have a different argument. I'm going to tell the Americans that Mosaddeq is leading Iran towards Communism." This argument wins over the Eisenhower administration, who promptly decides to organize a coup in Iran.
(see August 19, 1953). [STEPHEN KINZER, 7/29/2003]

Entity Tags: Dwight Eisenhower, Harry S. Truman, Muhammad Mosaddeq

Timeline Tags: US confrontation with Iran, US-Iran (1952-1953

nsa , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:43 am GMT
The evolutionary purpose of the human animal is to remove the carbon from the earth's crust and return it to the atmosphere ..all the while the abundant cheap energy allowing overpopulation, eventually overshoot, and then extinction. The carbon build up in the atmosphere will then usher in a new golden age of plant life .eventually returning the carbon to the earth's crust and starting the animal-plant rotation cycle anew. It's almost poetic ..your houseplant's genes will outlive yours.
Smith , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:47 am GMT
Every war America wages in the ME is in protection of Israel.
Alfred , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 7:06 am GMT
as if it were Iran, not Saudi Arabia that mounted 9/11

Just keep repeating this nonsense enough times and maybe we will believe that it was not Israel and the Deep State.

What "Global Warming"?

The Region From 50-70°S Has Cooled Since The 1980s As North Atlantic SSTs Have Cooled 1°C Since 2004

The fraud is monumental:

285 Papers 70s Cooling

BeenThereDunnit , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 7:23 am GMT
Writing such an article without any consideration of the Zionist dimension is quite a feat. Probably it was done on purpose to muddy the waters. Admit to some part of the story to try and bury another one.

CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming) is a lie. To the extent that the world is warming, it is mostly because of natural causes.

The Saudis and others are not American clients. They function in unison and synergeticaly with other globalist elites. They play the role that is assigned to them, but the same can be said about all other factions of these elites. These different factions are clients of each other, so to speak. There is a hierarchy; we know who sits at the top. It's neither the Saudis nor any Anglo-Saxons walking around and making noises in beltway circles.

Still, the guy is an economist purporting financial knowledge. (OTOH, he is evidently not rich.) He may care to comment on the present situation in connection with the Fed's repo bailout and its 90% monetization of US treasury debt.

Ghali , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 8:38 am GMT
America's war of terror is not about "oil"; it is about Israel. The ongoing US war in the Middle East is pushed and promoted by the Israeli regime, the Zionist media (owned by Jews), and wealthy Jews on behalf of Israel.
The US does not need to control the oil. It is already in control of most of it, in Suadi Arbia, Qatar Kuwait, UAE, etc. The so-called "US war for oil" is an old and rusty thesis fabricated by Zionist Jews and designed to deflect attention away from Israel.
anonymous [145] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 8:40 am GMT
It's true that the US grip is slipping and it has been acting here and there to douse the fires that pop up. However, as things become harder to manage-not like the old days-the question becomes how radical will the US become in trying to hold on? It's a nuclear power with all sorts of military hardware that can inflict a huge amount of damage and death. How far will it be willing to go to avoid being dislodged? Would it go nuclear? The US may become a very dangerous country indeed as it throws whatever it has to keep it's position. Scary times ahead.
whattheduck , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 8:42 am GMT
Fantastic Article! The wars are always bankers wars. Follow the money

I got into understanding the financial sector roughly 10 years ago from various economists (Michael included). I've been telling my friends the same thing for a very long time. The fiat money system is what has enabled all the wrong in the world i.e. exponential money printing, exponential population growth. With exponential population growth you have the requirement for food, shelter, water (all natural finite resources).

This can't go forever as it is not sustainable.

Ilya G Poimandres , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 9:02 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke

If you aren't part of the solution you're part of the problem.

Western logic – law of non contradiction, law of excluded middle. A real poison! Better the catuskoti.

PetrOldSack , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 9:32 am GMT
Bravo, Michael, that was meant as to the one step further. You are the outsider – insider with balls today. The key strategy of what holds up the US is the toxic pollution in thin air.

Putin, Xi, alternatively, second row Germany – France's elites are up for the next move. Unilateralism is over.

Rational and logic dictates pulling in global population counts, migrations, resources, the long term species survival into the accounting. No US matter, a global essentiality to which should live up local policies. There are myriad variables as to the outcome, what is predictable, is that a status quo on today's terms has come apart. Change is upon the power paradigms.

Pertinent a-n-d relevant piece!

gotmituns , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 9:41 am GMT
Nothing New here, these type of things go back to our Yangtze Patrol in China for Standard Oil and our Marines kicking butt in the Caribbean and Central America for United Fruit in the 1920s and before.
Fluesterwitz , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 10:13 am GMT
@Toxik Good to see an analysis that goes beyond the usual Trump Derangement- and Israel!- Syndromes. Then again, for individual actors individual motivations (" wag-the-dog attack, or to back Israeli lebensraum drives, or simply to surrender the White House to neocon hate-Iran syndrome.") reasonably play primary, co-equal or supporting roles. It is almost as if people can have a number of intersecting motivations and loyalties.

Eta: spelling

Cowboy , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 10:16 am GMT
Michael Hudson is an idiot, albeit a useful one. Or possibly he is crypto. In either case instead of naming the jew, he rants about global warming and anti-semite conspiracies concerning jewish lebensraum.

In order to seize Iraqi, Libyan or Syrian oil in general it is wise to leave the infrastructure intact so production can immediately be resumed. In all of Wesley Clark's 7 countries in 5 years the oil production was decimated.

Why destroy the oil infrastructure? Because the primary goal was not oil, but destruction of society, culture, economy, and ultimately genocide and Palestinian style ethnic cleansing. Hudson simply cannot point out the obvious racial supremacist motivations of his judeo-masonic communist masters.

One theory behind the assassination is that both victims had become theats to their respective Iraqi and Iranian leadership, and that both Iran and Iraq were in on the hit. Amadinijad is a crypto-jew and Iran is chock full of Masonic architecture.

[MORE]

https://www.youtube.com/embed/te3aFLuUZm0?feature=oembed

PetrOldSack , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 10:20 am GMT
@Biff

I still don't know why the Libyan war doesn't get the attention it should

The move or not into Lybia by Erdogan is pertinent as to Libia and it's greater realm these days. It is part of the bargaining as to how Putin and Xi now are part of global decision making. If Erdogan moves, the top layer of decision making globally can be confirmed bi-polar . As in coordinated decision making and the nexus into the potential to impose coordinated policies that the US " and you cannot do anything about it" cannot deflect.

The impotence of it all no player brings something new to the table, the global masses are in for more suppression (veganism?). Quality populations, managed proportional quotas, migrations based on quality of life, global asset management, honest accounting, are into the mist of the generational future.

nokangaroos , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 10:41 am GMT
At first glance they seem to have found the perpetuum mobile:

Monopoly extorted petrodollar can be invested in furthering the monopoly.

At second, it´s a Ponzi (surprise).

-"[] the Prince who relies on mercenaries will never be safe; (for) they are braggarts among friends and cowards among the enemy."

– Forcing others to undercut you at any cost hollows out the domestic economy,
IOW the "outsourcings" are an inevitable consequence.
When they did it to Germany it caused the Great Depression (that much was "unintended").
This time?

What this translates to is the stakes keep getting higher, the returns diminishing,
and even with good will – and I rate (not J. Ed) Hoover as the last one with that claim –
there is no halfway palatable way out.
Even if the Orange Golem wanted to do the "right" thing (fat chance), he couldn´t;
not with 23T funded debt, ~260T unfunded liabilities (to include pensions) and nothing to export anyone would want.

There´s nothing we can do either – just watch it crash and burn.

eah , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 10:41 am GMT
I wish there was a LOL option for entire articles.

Leftists never back up claims that US wars are for oil with any facts. For example, they can never point to oil industry lobbyists lobbying for war. But we do see a huge crossover with Jewish Zionist ideologues and those that actively plan and promote war policy.

-- Mike P's Juice Squeeze (@MikePsJuice) January 5, 2020

link

Leftists never back up claims that US wars are for oil with any facts. For example, they can never point to oil industry lobbyists lobbying for war. But we do see a huge crossover with Jewish Zionist ideologues and those that actively plan and promote war policy .

Been_there_done_that , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 10:45 am GMT
Another mixed bag; some interesting points made here, yet accompanied by nonsensical premises or statements, such as:

" reverse global warming and the extreme weather caused by the world's U.S.-sponsored dependence on oil."

and

" the very group that was responsible for 9/11, the Saudi airplane hijackers."

I have come across this phenomenon numerous times already; experts providing valid but controversial information in their field of expertise, who feel a need for then embedding self-negating passages alongside it, as a trade-off; for instance also with gratuitously contrived references to allegedly faked moon landings, or Hollywood's fantastical holocaust narrative. This is a very similar tactic to that of "poisoning the well".

The "Poisoning the Well" Fallacy (Wikipedia)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poisoning_the_well

However, on a site like this, one would expect to receive more "pure play" (unadulterated) intelligence.

The_seventh_shape , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:11 am GMT
@whattheduck Follow the money and you find Sheldon Adelson, Bernard Marcus, and Paul Singer, Trump's biggest donors. Their concern is not with oil or keeping the dollar as the reserve currency.
NoseytheDuke , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:14 am GMT
@Weston Waroda Obscuring the real perpetrators of 9/11 is not a minor detail whether done intentionally or by accident. Anything and everything that even appears to give credence to the official bullshit narrative about who really did 9/11 is harmful to the nation and the entire world. Exposing the 9/11 perps is the most powerful key that is capable of unlocking the grip on the throat and regaining the reins of the USA. He could have written, "as if were Iran that mounted 9/11" without including, "not Saudi Arabia". The Devil, as always, is in the details.

And then you wrote the following utter nonsense, "And the Saudis provided the manpower for the attacks on the Twin Towers". Read more, comment less.

FB , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:26 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke

This article appears to be a bullshit banquet. I shall have to reassess my thoughts on Hudson.

That's very very far from the truth the article is in fact extremely enlightening as to the mechanics of US imperialism by way of petrodollar hegemony the Giant Ponzi Scheme inner workings laid bare

It's too bad you are monomaniacally fixated on one single issue that you cannot appreciate good knowledge that doesn't pander to your hot button

I naturally don't agree with the silly notion about the Saudi 'hijackers' nor do I agree with the equally silly conclusion that global warming is definitely caused by burning hydrocarbons, rather than much more powerful natural mechanisms and cycles that have been around for eons

Prof Hudson may or may not be on board with these sentiments also, but he chooses his battles carefully as one probably must in order to be taken seriously by a wider and more mainstream [brainwashed] audience

Consider for a moment that all of his authoritative explanations about the economic dimension of our current scam system would be immediately dismissed by the pinheads that control our narratives, as the ravings of a climate denier and 911 truther what good would that do ?

nokangaroos , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:28 am GMT
@nokangaroos As for Israel, this is not elective either not even for "Eretz Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates".

It´s about the water, plain and simple. The groundwater they have been using since independence is fossil (ice age), not replenished and good as gone; as is the Jordan river.
They are already stealing water from the Palestinians, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, and it isn´t anywhere near enough.
They MUST have Southern Lebanon and the Bekaa, or it´s game over.

And who is in the way of that? Well Hassan Nasrallah and his merry company!
Ergo, Iran must go. What´s so hard to understand?

(Like "the greatest army in the world" "the most moral army in the world" should take to wearing pink tutus, methinks)

So there also is no hope for peace from this side.

Stephen Paul Foster , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:36 am GMT
@restless94110 "Great analysis with the exception of the bits about the climate warming hoax. "plus, "calling for a new Nurenberg-style [sic] war crimes trial." Nuremberg was a farce, show-trial to give Stalin cover for grabbing eastern and central Europe. For the U.S. to be in the dock in a "new Nuremberg-style war crimes trial," it's people and cities will have to have been bombed to smithereens and its women raped by the victor-armies. Whose armies will have pulled that off?

And, what's with all the typos in this piece?

John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:44 am GMT
@NoseytheDuke

Saudi Arabia mounted 9/11? LOL. As if Michael Hudson is much too smart and well connected to not know that this is bullshit, so why write it?

You're the one who's full of shit, pal.

In 2016, several US Senators called on then President Obama to release 28 pages of official 9/11 report that they claim reveal aspects of Saudi state involvement in the attacks. That is to say, intelligence agencies of the United States government officially acknowledge this fact. So, yes, it is technically correct to say, "Saudi Arabia mounted 9/11." And this is before we get to the Dancing Israelis, which, again, is not a conspiracy theory, but an officially acknowledged reality.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-911-classified-report-steve-kroft/

Herald , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 11:55 am GMT
@Weston Waroda Hudson gets some things right, but he shoots himself in the foot with his "Saudi inspired 9/11" reference. This is a major flaw and to describe it as minor is simply wrong or worse.

The only role played by the Saudis was that of patsy and in doing so they gave just a slither of cover to the actual perpetrators. Such cover, as it was, has long since been blown out of the water. That people can still repeat the Saudis did it line is quite ridiculous, national treasures or not.

We've known for aeons that the US approach to the rest of the world is about oil and its role in keeping the intrinsically valueless dollar afloat. Hudson isn't needed for that and his article reeks of sophisticated damage limitation, concentrating as it does on the reasons why the US does the disgusting things it does.

Right now it is much more relevant to dwell on the unjustifiable brutality, immorality and illegality of the US in its dealings with the rest of the world.

FB , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 12:02 pm GMT
@BeenThereDunnit

He may care to comment on the present situation in connection with the Fed's repo bailout and its 90% monetization of US treasury debt.

Yes, I too would be interested in hearing a coherent analysis on the extraordinary money printing going on now I understand it's up to half a trillion in a single month it sounds like somebody is trying to plug a massive leak in the dam a la the little Dutch boy

Is the deluge coming ?

I also think you dismiss the professor's article based on minor quibbles I don't agree with man-made climate change either, but it doesn't take away from the meat of the article, which is a lot of excellent insight into the inner workings of the imperialist money machine

John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 12:10 pm GMT
@eah This is not a mutually exclusive thing. Why can't it be both a war for Zionism and a war for oil? It's absolutely both! There is no reason to believe that the Zionist lobby and the petrodollar don't exist together in one unholy marriage.
John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 12:14 pm GMT
@Herald

The only role played by the Saudis was that of patsy and in doing so they gave just a slither of cover to the actual perpetrators.

This is such a bunch of CRAP! It boggles my mind to see some of you folks saying this kind of falsity.

Even mainstream publications like Foreign Policy magazine and Slate contradict this nonsense.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/07/18/what-we-know-about-saudi-arabias-role-in-911/

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2016/04/saudi-arabia-and-the-28-classified-pages-of-congress-9-11-report.html

Patsy? At absolute minimum, Saudi Arabia was a financial supporter of the attacks. Patsy is not the word for that, buddy!

BuelahMan , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 12:54 pm GMT
Oil War?

Hudson knows better but won't say it.

It is Eretz Israel's war.

9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 12:58 pm GMT
Michael Hudson fails the "9/11 litmus test " by making statements such as "the Saudi-inspired
9/11 act " and implying several times in his essay that the Saudis did 9/11.
Washedup , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:06 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke This one hurts. My man Hudson proves here he is an active disinformation agent. As you note, he is too smart to be a dupe. Starting to think that he and PCR are advanced limited hangout. Their role is to shunt us towards the next prepared phase of the globalist script, which is the collapse of the west and its bogus "salvation" by the "multipolar" NWO led by Russia and China. They want us to beg for this next turn of the screw. They want us to beg for Putin and Xi to "liberate" us. Create problem, offer solution. What they have coming down the pipeline two iterations from now is worse than we can imagine.
Exile , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:11 pm GMT
Oil and economics are part of the equation governing U.S. ME policy, but so are Israeli geopolitics, religion and culture. Making economics the sole focus oversimplifies and over-reduces the holistic reality of our grossly misdirected, hijacked foreign policy.

The synthetic American Second Founding ethos of civic nationalism along with the synthetic mythos of "Judeo-Christianity" are a major element of why America sides with Israel and not the Arabs, Persians or other regional powers. The Jewish-exacerbated and inflamed cultural enmity that Westerners feel toward Muslims, in large part due to mass immigration championed by Jews and false-flag terror from the Dancing Shlomos on 9/11 to ISIS today, is the other side of this pincer movement of cultural and political influence.

The author isn't wrong, but he's an economist. When all you have is a hammer

eah , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:21 pm GMT
@John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan The United States is now the largest global crude oil producer

Canada also has very significant unexploited oil (and natural gas) reserves:

Technically Recoverable Shale Oil and Shale Gas Resources -- Canada

Although the shale resource estimates presented in this report will likely change over time as additional information becomes available, it is evident that shale resources that were until recently not included in technically recoverable resources constitute a substantial share of overall global technically recoverable oil and natural gas resources .

Canada has a series of large hydrocarbon basins with thick, organic-rich shales that are assessed by this resource study.

The claim that the US has an urgent need to secure oil supplies in the Middle East is not really supported by the evidence vis-a-vis oil production and reserves.

Anon [398] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:30 pm GMT
Reminder the same people who want you to fight Iran also want you to live in a pod and eat bugs. Even in the best case where you actually manage to get back alive, minus a limb or three, what awaits you is a glorified drawer and maggot patties
9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
@9/11 Inside job However , Michael Hudson does write of " Saudi Arabia's Wahabi troops (Isis, Al Qaeda in Iraq , Al
Nusra) and other divisions of what are actually America's foreign legion " .
Sparkon , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:47 pm GMT
@John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan B ush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Myers, Rice, Card, Fleischer, Giuliani are Americans, not Saudi Arabians.

"The TV was obviously on."

-- Pres. George W. Bush

But it wasn't. There was no live TV coverage of the first WTC attack.

Pres. Bush lied about his initial knowledge of the 9/11 attacks, presumably to give them more time to succeed. ABC News reported that Bush had been informed about the first WTC attack even before he left his resort hotel that morning.

You are free to think, however, that it was the Saudis who paid for the glue on Bush's chair in that Florida classroom on 9/11. Maybe they even paid Ari Fleischer to hold up that sign for Bush while the WTC was burning:

DON'T SAY ANYTHING YET

Why was his Press Secretary telling President Bush to keep his mouth shut for the time being? How did Fleischer even know what Card had whispered in Bush's ear unless he was in on the plot?

All the talk about the Israelis, Jews, or the Saudis -- and now the dead Iranian general Soleimani -- being responsible for 9/11, but nobody wants to talk about the Americans who were on duty that day, all of whom dropped the ball in one way or another, starting with Pres. Bush, who sat in his chair rather than taking immediate action to defend the United States against ongoing terrorist attacks.

Allowing an enemy or false flag attack to succeed is treason.

9/11 was the treasonous event that opened up this entire ugly can of worms in the Middle East, and elsewhere, Mr. Gettysburg Partisan.

Jake , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:49 pm GMT
@Toxik That is true. Just like the Brit WASP Empire. It was always about more money for the 1 to 5%, and if the white trash – the vast, vast majority of the natives of the British Isles – got hammered over and over, so be it.
ivegotrythm , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:50 pm GMT
@John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan It is not some of the folks who say that 9/11 is an Israeli false flag, it is all of the folks except for the Israeli trolls. (And there are a lot of those!)
Jake , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:51 pm GMT
@9/11 Inside job The Saudis did do it, along with the Israelis and the Yank Deep State, with full knowledge of the UK Deep State.

The CIA, the Mossad, and the Saudi General Intelligence Presidency were all founded and trained by British secret service.

Jake , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 1:54 pm GMT
@John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan It is indeed both. Worship of Mammon and worshipful adoration of the Chosen Race.

Anglo-Zionist Empire.

Wizard of Oz , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 2:19 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke In the course of several threads Ron Unz has referred to the Twin Towers coming down at free fall speed into their own footprints as key evidence against the official story. My recollection is that you have said much the same. Correct?

So I ask what you make of this link provided by LK, one of the chosen for elephant stamps,

https://www.ae911truth.org/evidence/faqs/353-faq-12-what-is-ae911truth-s-assessment-of-the-directed-energy-weapon-dew-hypothesis

and this extract from it

"FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, performed the first technical review of what brought down the Twin Towers and WTC 7. Even in its report, FEMA acknowledges (inconveniently for the official story, which cannot account for this fine destruction of the Twin Towers) that roughly 90% of the Twin Towers' mass fell outside their footprints. Indeed, the entire plaza was covered with steel pieces and assemblies. Some of the structural steel was thrown as far away as the Winter Gardens -- 600 feet"

You clearly care a great deal about 9/11 truth, and Ron's language is that of one convinced that the official story is wrong in ways that matter so I seek to know whether you are given pause and reason to doubt your own certainties by that evidence by the 3000.

Real Unemployment Rate , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 2:26 pm GMT
Economic hit man Hudson reminds us of how many people Chase Manhattan killed in Vietnam
but somehow claims he doesn't know how the US stole Gaddafi's 44 tons of gold.

The poverty draft works in the US because we let the poor fight the wars for the rich and corporations. Tell me who started the Iraq war, the Mullahs in Iran or the Mullahs in DC?

Hudson works the alternative media to disable dissent. The Democrats and Republicans will send internet dissenters to psychiatric hospitals if they complain too much on the internet. The Iran war really means that everyone needs to go along with the party line or get banned – total agreement between right wingers and left wingers.

Desert Fox , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 2:26 pm GMT
The wars in the mideast are not for oil, they are for Israel and Israels greater Israel agenda, and since zionists control the FED and IRS the wars for Israel, which were instigated the last time by the joint Israeli and ZUS attack on WTC and blamed on the Arabs to give the ZUS the excuse to destroy the mideast for Israel.
DanFromCT , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 2:27 pm GMT
@Fluesterwitz Perceptive as many of Dr Hudson's remarks are, the article is itself a wag-the-dog story inasmuch as, were it not for US support for Israel, oil production in the ME would have remained under Western control at low prices indefinitely.

It is not the case that oil prices quadrupled in early '74 because of the US quadrupling the cost of wheat, which, if I recall correctly, had mainly to do with crop shortages in the USSR, as f.o.b. USGulf prices were bid up dramatically from around $1.65 a bushel to nearly $7, and not by the US government or its proxies, but by grain traders. The price of oil quadrupled independently and because of the US yet again backing of Israel in its wars of aggression against the Arab nations.

There's also Dr Hudson's conspicuous misdirection about 9/11, blaming it on the absurd, fairytale narrative for childish minds about nineteen Arabs who couldn't handle a Cessna 150 magically flying jetliners into buildings magically exempted from the laws of physics during 9/11, making it clear he takes readers here for morons. There are several dozen lines of relevant and substantial evidence overwhelmingly disproving the official narrative and implicating Israel. If anything, Dr Hudson's participation in these elaborate efforts at concealing the truth about 9/11 provide powerful evidence that he's a disinformation agent poisoning the well by cognitive infiltration of sites opposing the ME wars.

We don't blame everyday Jews for any of this any more than we blame Italians for crimes of the Mafia, so let's not hear hateful lies that we want these wars ended because we're the haters.

GMC , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 2:42 pm GMT
@John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan I agree JB – Its a multi faceted MOnkey F that has as many end games, as the number of Think tanks – " Thinking of every angle in the quest for Rule." Nokangaroo has it down with water – also. The US isn't just happy owning the America's – they want Europe too, as they play the strong arm game for Israel. Whereas Russia , seems like it just wants Russia , the Slavs, and wishes to trade its goods in mostly – Peace. Wanna be -Israel wants the whole Mid East and the natural resources to itself and China wants a whole lot of the Worlds natural resources through trade and loans that can't be paid back, or it seems to be. They are all the NWO players, but they have different ideas on – Splitting the booty.
YetAnotherAnon , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 3:03 pm GMT
@Haxo Angmark Tend to agree and I can see Mr Hudson's logic, which explains why the US wants to control (by allies or proxies) Middle East oil despite being self-sufficient – but if that was the only reason, why aren't they flattening wind farms and solar plants all over the world? I assume the Danes don't pay for their offshore electricity in dollars.

I'm aware though that oil is still pretty unique in that it's the most portable form of energy. No one is going to build a battery-powered aircraft carrier.

Maybe it's 50/50 between 'defending Israel' by attacking any functioning unfriendly ME state and keeping the petrodollar, which would explain the attack on Libya, surely no threat to Israel.

Old and grumpy , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 3:12 pm GMT
Two little quibbles. Climate has always been changing. The desire to fill banks and government coffers for essentially the air you breathe is what is new.

The second thing is the Democrats are not anti war. Think of the two parties as participants in a scripted WWE wrestling match. To make matters worse most anti war groups have financially back by a non profit, who is backed by more non profits. Wouldn't be that surprising is end of the donor road leads to the likes of the Atlantic Council and its members. We're living in a matrix.

Onebornfree , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 3:13 pm GMT
M. Hudson says : "The assassination was intended to escalate America's presence in Iraq to keep control the region's oil reserves,"

Well, that's one "expert" opinion. Here's another :

" ..More than 13 years after Saddam's last hurrah on a Baghdad gallows, the US still has upwards of 30,000 troops and contractors in the immediate vicinity of the Persian Gulf. But why?

..it should be obvious by now that it's not the oil, either. At the moment the US is producing nearly 13 million barrels per day and is the world's leading oil producer – well ahead of Saudi Arabia and Russia; and is now actually a net exporter of crude for the first time in three-quarters of a century.

Besides, the Fifth Fleet has never been the solution to oil security. The cure for high prices is high prices – as the great US shale oil and Canadian heavy oil booms so cogently demonstrate, among others.

And the route to global oil industry stability is peaceful commerce because virtually every regime – regardless of politics and ideology – needs all the oil revenue it can muster to fund its own rule and keep its population reasonably pacified.

Surely, there is no better case for the latter than that of Iran itself – with an economy burdened by decades of war, sanctions and mis-rule and an 80-million population that aspires to a western standard of living.

So left to its own devices, Tehran would produce 5 million barrels per day from its abundant reserves. That's barely one-tenth of its present meager output, which is owing to Washington's vicious sanctions against any and all customers for its oil and potential investors in modernizing and expanding it production capacity "

From: "How the Donald Assassinated America First":
https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/01/david-stockman/the-donald-is-now-america-firsts-own-assassin/

Regards, onebornfree

flashlight joe , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 3:21 pm GMT
@BuelahMan It is with some trepidation that I enter into this discussion.

But my take is the article was about the reason for the recent assassination, not the reason for the invasion of SW Asia, the Middle East, SE Europe, and N Africa, which began in 1978, BTW.

The article did contain a few throw-away lines which were contentious and not necessary for his point.

All in all, I thought it was great. Thanks Michael.

Onebornfree , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 3:28 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz Wizard of Oz says : ""FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, performed the first technical review of what brought down the Twin Towers and WTC 7. Even in its report, FEMA acknowledges (inconveniently for the official story, which cannot account for this fine destruction of the Twin Towers) that roughly 90% of the Twin Towers' mass fell outside their footprints"

Riddle me this: why in god's name would you believe anything that FEMA, or, for that matter, any other government agency [e.g. N.I.S.T.] says did or did not happen on 9/11?

Do you also believe anything Trump/ Pompeo etc. are claiming as reasons for the [alleged] assassination?

Regards, onebornfree

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 3:29 pm GMT
@John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan This is true, it seems unlikely these wars are purely for the benfit of Zionism and Israel, granted they are a major component but there are also Gentile interests here.

The only difference is that these wars benefit Israel as a whole, its people and all. They only serve to beenfit a small handful of Gentiles though and the rest of us goyim are seeing nothing but losses, this is why there is often a tendency to place the blame solely on the Jews and push the Gentiles aside as simply shabbos goyim , these Gentiles are actually benefiting but at the expense of their own people.

sarz , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 3:30 pm GMT
Michael Hudson has a lot to say about economics. I wish he would stick to that. I can't believe that anyone with his IQ and interest in politics could be so deluded about 9/11. It's almost like running into a field-theorist who happens to be a flat-earther.
Agent76 , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 3:42 pm GMT
*All Wars Are Bankers' Wars* By Michael Rivero

I know many people have a great deal of difficulty comprehending just how many wars are started for no other purpose than to force private central banks onto nations, so let me share a few examples, so that you understand why the US Government is mired in so many wars against so many foreign nations. There is ample precedent for this.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/5hfEBupAeo4?feature=oembed

The Creature From Jekyll Island (by G. Edward Griffin)

A Second Look at the Federal Reserve

https://www.youtube.com/embed/lu_VqX6J93k?feature=oembed

Bankers Hate Peace: All Wars Are Bankers' Wars

In the beginning of World War I, Woodrow Wilson had adopted initially a policy of neutrality. But the Morgan Bank, which was the most powerful bank at the time, and which wound up funding over 75 percent of the financing for the allied forces during World War I pushed Wilson out of neutrality sooner than he might have done, because of their desire to be involved on one side of the war.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/bankers-hate-peace-all-wars-are-bankers-wars/5438849

Justsaying , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 3:43 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer Trump has already threatened Iraqis with crippling sanctions if they insist American forces leave Iraq. And in a bizarre twist to this blackmail, Iraq will be forced to "compensate" the Americans for their "investment". Any sane individual would think it is Iraq that's owed compensation after a criminal war based on lies destroyed a once prosperous and secular country. The American criminal gangster protection racket is about to go full throttle.
fool's paradise , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 3:44 pm GMT
@ Ron Unz: When I want to forward this article, or other articles on this site, and i click on email–nothing happens. Two days ago, and years before, I'd click on email, give my name, email, type in Capcha, and get a notice, Mail Sent. Now, nothing.
bjondo , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 3:53 pm GMT
@John Burns, Gettysburg Partisan 28 blank pages to be filled with whatever is needed
and for bonus, empty threats.

Would one of those several senators be Bob "Mr Israel" Graham?

5ds

bjondo , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:06 pm GMT
@Agent76 How many of those bankers are Jew?

Majority of recent wars Libya to Ukraine for Israel.

Libya was aggression against Syria.
Stealing gold, murdering Gaddafi, disrupting African development a bonus.

Neocons/Jew, are the planners, pushers, cheerleaders, justifiers.

S. Arabia needs only few weapons to control internal.

Most of the weapons purchased helps make up for freebies to Israel,
supports weapons mfgs, and in place for US/Israel to use.

Yinon/Mossad always.

5ds

nokangaroos , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:10 pm GMT
@YetAnotherAnon It has been argued that Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi´s "Great Man-Made River" (a 40-year irrigation project) was of no minor concern, as the Jews could have sat on their produce until it hatched
ivegotrythm , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:12 pm GMT
@Weston Waroda Shame on you! Saying Mr Silverstein is a Saudi, and not the deepest level. Next you will be denying the Holocaust!
Robert Dolan , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:21 pm GMT
Has nothing to do with oil and to claim this is an obvious attempt to divert attention away from Israel.

ALL aggression in the ME is because of Israel, to weaken the enemies of Israel, to "secure the realm" for Israel.

"The Israel Lobby" debunked the war for oil claims long ago.

Iran has been in the crosshairs for many years and it's because of ISRAEL.

ivegotrythm , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:21 pm GMT
@DanFromCT That he is, at heart, disinformation wrapped in some information, like dog poison wrapped in meat, can be the only plausible explanation.
buzzwar , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:29 pm GMT
The reason behind the oil increase has nothing to do with the US (undocumented) quadrupling of the price of its grain exports. It is rather linked to the blind (like today) support of ZioAmerica and the West for Israel in the 1973 war. After the oil price quadrupling, the OAPEC countries threatened that they would cut their production an additional 5 per cent per month, 'until Israeli withdrawal is completed from the whole Arab territories occupied in June 1967 and "the legal rights of the Palestinian people are restored".
The 1973 oil shock was not a shock for everyone. While it had a devastating impact on world industrial growth, it brought enormous benefits to major US and European banks and above all it was a godsend for oil majors, the so-called seven sisters.These oil companies were able to invest in the north sea oil fields only when the oil price quadrupled.
In early 1973, the bilderberg group discussed an imminent "400 per cent future rise in OPEC's price". At bilderberg they knew beforehand the oil price was going to be quadrupled.
ivegotrythm , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:30 pm GMT
@Wizard of Oz 'Cause when you blow up a four hundred meter high building you can't get it to fall exactly in its own footprint, no matter how hard you try. The firemen were told "another plane is coming" as the order to get out when they finished evacuating the employees from buildings which were already 60% vacant. (And the buildings had been vacant for some time which is why Silverstein bought them on the cheap, and why they were sold, essentially for scrap.)
Sean , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:34 pm GMT

Without the dollar's function as the vehicle for world saving – in effect, without the Pentagon's role in creating the Treasury debt that is the vehicle for world central bank reserves – the U.S. would find itself constrained militarily and hence diplomatically constrained, as it was under the gold exchange standard.

Fascinating as it always is with this author, I wish Professor Hudson had enlarged on the block quoted snippet above, or given a link to where he had explained it thoroughly for those of us less quick on the uptake. He obviously has a great deal of knowledge about these things and the promise of unique insights motivates me to concentrate. I could be quite negative if I held him to the fire for the absolute truth of everything he has written in the piece, but such dogmatism would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Most of what Prof, Hudson says is basically correct if you pull back from the detailed allegations he makes. My criticisms would be he does have a tendency to write as if conscious intention is at work in the way America acts, and the elite thus understands all the implications of what they are doing. If one is looking at international politics the debt can be important, but in the final analysis (loans to Germany and its debts before WW2 were from losing WW1) some nation states view others as a potential threat to be neutralised.

Moreover, countries like Saudi Arabia and Iran, or rather the Persian and Arabs, have a very long history of enmity. Both are heavily dependant on oil prices for their ability to keep funding proxy wars. Saudi Arabia tried to put the frackers of the United States Of America–now the world's largest exporter of petroleum–out of business and failed. It would be silly to say the low interest rates in the US were intended to stop the fighting in Syria, but they might have had that effect. Bethany McLean says fracking is afloat on a tsunami of free money that cannot last.

[MORE]

https://www.resilience.org/stories/2019-02-04/venezuelas-collapse-is-a-window-into-how-the-oil-age-will-unravel/
The shift can be best understood through the concept of Energy Return on Investment (EROI), pioneered principally by the State University of New York environmental scientist Professor Charles Hall, a ratio which measures how much energy is used to extract a particular quantity of energy from any resource. Hall has shown that as we are consuming ever larger quantities of energy, we are using more and more energy to do so, leaving less 'surplus energy' at the end to underpin social and economic activity. As the surplus energy available to sustain economic growth is squeezed, in real terms the biophysical capacity of the economy to continue buying the very oil being produced reduces leading the market price to collapse.

That in turn renders the most expensive unconventional oil and gas projects potentially unprofitable, unless they can find ways to cover their losses through external subsidies of some kind, such as government grants or extended lines of credit.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/MJ5utsDHP1U?start=1126&feature=oembed

My understanding of ME geopolitics is that Britain created states to separate (gerrymander) the Arab masses from the oil wealth of the region. Hence Kuwait ect. In 1953 a threadbare Britain told America that without the income from Iranian Oil the financial status of the UK would be desperate. The US, which had originally opposed a coup, went along with and funded one. America then deciding that Iran could be Uncle Sam;s cop on the ME beat gave the Shah so much weaponry that the Arab nations became extremely alarmed. The Shah's second (first was half German) wife told a story about how when she went to tell their cook what she wanted for dinner her would turn his eyes away because she was wearing a bikini. He also secretly prayed. It was a very religious country and yet the Shah's father had banned the veil in 1936.

Saudi Arabia gave 40 billion dollars to Saddam's Iraq to fight the Iran Iraq war against the Islamic regime in Tehran. After a good start Saddam's army was halted and then turned back by the Iranians ruthless use of their relatively huge population of young men as cannon fodder. The debts Saddam incurred fighting against the Persians gave him a grudge against the family dictatorship oil wealthy countries and that was a major reason he invaded Kuwait. If Iraq has so much oil of its own, then why would Saddam have needed to invade a tiny neighbour?

On loan guarantees and the settlements issue Bush sent the Lobby packing with a flick of his eyebrow and brought Israel to Madrid only having to give Israel revocation of UN Resolution 3379 (Zionism is racism). All great stuff. It started the process that led to the Camp David 2000 Summit and Barak making an offer for a final settlement that was if very hard to accept for the Palestinian side, still a serious offer that they might have taken and successfully built on.

Bush the Elder and Scowcroft saw the problem of a US army in Iraq, so the just evicted Saddam from Kuwait, but the US army in Saudi Arabia they did not seem to worry about even though it would have to be there as long as Saddam ran Iraq, and the 1979 Grand Mosque seizure showed there was a strong dislike of the Saud regime's westernisation. Bush the Elder sent the Lobby packing with a flick of his eyebrow and brought Israel to Madrid only having to give Israel revocation of UN Resolution 3379. Down the line there was the Camp David 2000 Summit and Barak making an offer for a final settlement that was serious.

The Saudi ambassador at the time of 9/11 lobbied hard for an invasion to overthrow Saddam. American strategists regard Saudi Arabia as a the richest prize in the world and a client state so they had to invade Iraq and neutralize it as a threat Saudi Arabia in order to be able to withdraw their army (that had been there since Saddam had been kicked out of Kuwait, but left in power in Iraq) from Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden's main complaint and the cause of domestic unrest in Saudi Arabia was disgust with the Saud regime's decision to allow the U.S. military into the country in 1990 to deter an attack by Saddam Hussein. To retain Saudi Arabia within the US's orbit, it was necessary to overthrow Saddam. Yes Iraq has oil, but not that much. As already mentioned the Middle East was drawn up so the oil is where the Arab masses cannot get at it without an invasion of another country.

nsa , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:35 pm GMT
Recently, researchers and academics have revisited the attack on the USS Liberty and have uncovered credible evidence that the vicious murderous onslaught was a false flag perpetrated by Iranian jets disguised with the markings of America's best friend in a diabolical attempt to drive a wedge between bosom buddies and shatter all of judeo-christian civilization. Furthermore, very credible witnesses who can't be named at this time to insure their safety overheard the swarthy men with rifles on the grassy knoll overlooking Dealy Plaza speaking Farzi back in 1963. What more evidence could anyone possibly need as to exactly who is threatening world peace and stability? As to 9/11, everyone knows it was perpetrated by those sneaky Iranians impersonating Saudis and then trying to promote the event as an inside job perpetrated by our best friend and ally.
Mefobills , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:41 pm GMT
@Washedup

This one hurts. My man Hudson proves here he is an active disinformation agent.

No, he cannot touch the third rail! Hudson is a balance of payments specialist, and he knows full well how the Petrodollar system works. He has exposed it.

He did good work on Panama papers episode. It is up to us to carefully parse what Hudson is saying, and the fact that we have to do this implies just how dangerous ZOG has become.

The Saudi's are PART OF ZOG. I have had to repeat this ad-nauseum. You can follow the money. MI6 abets Saudi Coup at the behest of oil interests e.g. BP/Shell. Compliant Saudi Kingdom is installed and later America takes over security guarantees via 73 Kissinger agreement. The Petrodollar/Tbill economy is born – Hudson has explicitly described this mechanism, it is up to you to peer through the veil. Super Imperialism is his first work on this balance of payment charade that forms our world.

Wahabbism is part of the construct as it enshrines Saudi Kingdom as the leader of Islam (their brand) and Mecca. Zion/Globo-homo is actually State Sponsored Usury, and their real god is Moloch and Mammon.

I get it that people are tired of the Saudi's did 911, when instead it was a matrix of ZOG, including Mossad and Sayanim in America along with "international globo-homo interests, including the deep-state."

The common denominator is that all of these players are tethered to international federal reserves notes (international corporate banking), or finance capital that won WW2.

If the globo-homo cabal can maneuver the polity to win WW2, then it can maneuver to have Hudson disappeared/executed or however you want to put it.

Hudson is very smart, and is using code language for us to follow, while still exposing the truth of things. The Saudi's did 911 wink wink nudge nudge.

It would be nice if we could get the truth in one sitting without having to sift through BS, but that is not the way the world works today.

With regards to PCR, he pretty much has larger stones than Hudson, and does not couch his language as carefully. PCR will call out the Jew and his usury and you know these two men talk to each other.

Hudson knows full well what is going on. What do you think his important career would look like if he named the Jew?

Jus' Sayin'... , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:45 pm GMT
Michael Hudson, with whom I often disagree, provides an excellent analysis of one reason behind Suleimani's assassination, the USA establishment's determination to effectively control the world's energy no matter what the cost,

Unfortunately Hudson fails to consider the role of Israel. The Israelis cannot establish the local regional hegemony they want as long as Iran, a traditional regional power, is a functioning nation. Israel is desperate to destroy Iran. Therefore, Israel's traitorous, Zionist fifth-column in the USA will do everything in its power to encourage and defend any politician who promotes aggression against Iran and to attack any politician who stands against this insanely immoral and counterproductive policy. Zionist's in this country currently have a stranglehold on the USA's policy in North Africa, the Levant, the Near East. And Southwest Asia. I don't see how this can change unless the people of the United States are brutally forced to deal with the consequences of this policy and finally become aware of the espionage and lobbying groups responsible for it.

plantman , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:50 pm GMT
Wow. I am usually a big fan of Hudson's but this analysis is just an effort to conceal the truth. While it's true that "dollar hegemony" and and the 'control of oil' factor large in washington's geopolitical considerations, those considerations could have been adequately addressed by simply observing the "nuke's deal" which would have allowed Iran to sell oil and gas to Europe in dollars, as was intended.

So why did Trump blow up the deal???

He blew it up for the same reason he made Jerusalem the capital of Israel, and the same reason why he gave Israel the green light to settle the west Bank. He blew up the nukes deal because that is what is main deep-pocket constituents wanted him to do and because he believes that his best path to greater personal power is by placating his zionist constituents. This is the choice Trump has made. and he is one false flag away from realizing his dream of nearly absolute power.

Hudson's article is a diversion from the ugly truth that is unfolding before our eyes

Mefobills , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 4:53 pm GMT
If people want to know about money and the maneuverings of the cabal, then E Michael Jones serves that role.

Jones has decided to name the Jew, and of course they are doing their best to demonetize and demonize him.

Hudson won't go there -- get over it. Others have also complained about Hudson in this regards. If you look very carefully you can see that Hudson is not being disingenuous.. he is not a disinfo agent, he is dropping clues.

People like PCR and myself can still admire the man and we can also admit Hudson is not as much of an Alpha male as we are.

The world is made up of different kinds of people, including some men who are more girly, reticent and careful.

Agent76 , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:00 pm GMT
@bjondo I have no idea I have an open mind and just look at facts not religion or place of birth.

December 2, 2018 Bush Family Links to Nazi Germany: "A Famous American Family" Made its Fortune from the Nazis

The Bush family links to Nazi Germany's war economy were first brought to light at the Nuremberg trials in the testimony of Nazi Germany's steel magnate Fritz Thyssen.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-bush-familys-links-to-nazi-germany-a-famous-american-family-made-its-fortune-from-the-nazis/5512243

Jan 2, 2012 Bush & Rockefeller family's funded NAZI war effort and laundered NAZI money

IG Farban which is the German company that held the patent for Zyklon B was being funded by Rockefeller owned Standard Oil. Union Banking Corp whose Director and Vice president was Prescott Bush (father of George) was money laundering for the Nazis and after the war ended its assets were seized for trading with the enemy.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/OcGI4wccesw?feature=oembed

JamesinNM , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:05 pm GMT
@IvyMike Pray for Christ's return and the destruction of all evil.
Mefobills , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:12 pm GMT
@nsa

Recently, researchers and academics have revisited the attack on the USS Liberty and have uncovered credible evidence that the vicious murderous onslaught was a false flag perpetrated by Iranian jets disguised with the markings of America's best friend in a diabolical attempt to drive a wedge between bosom buddies and shatter all of judeo-christian civilization.

LoL.

It was Israeli Jets, and sneaky Mossad wanted U.S. to bomb Egypt, so "greater Israel" the Zion project could come into effect. LBJ was in on the charade. By this point in history, the U.S. was fully infiltrated at the highest levels.

Through deception do war -- is that what you are doing, being deceptive? The Iranians have never been our enemy.

Also, there is no such thing as JUDEO-CHRISTIANITY. That is a made up term so Jews can dupe Christian Goyim. It takes lots of usury to fund deception of this magnitude.

The New TESTAMENT supersedes the old. Christian doctrine of super-session IS OPERATIVE, and means that any sect emphasizing old testament is a Judaiser, and hence should be shunned.

If you catch yourself saying the words Judeo-Christianity, then do a face-palm and realize you have been hoaxed and are repeating deception.

Happy Tapir , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:14 pm GMT
@plantman To me it seems the US and it's lackeys are continually and repeatedly provoking Iran by committing actions which are acts of war or merit strong retaliation, which could cascade and escalate into causes of war. This recent assassination is similar to the hijacking of Iranian oil tankers earlier this year. This pattern has been present and escalating in intensity since immediately after the Iraq war. There was a partial hiatus under Obama because he personally disliked the zionists so much. We will be at war with Iran sooner or later, just as with Iraq, if republicans keep the White House.

Hudson is obviously avoiding talking about the Zionist angle, probably for his own security -- I'll wager he doesn't have tenure yet. He talks about the OPEC embargo of the 70s without mentioning Israel. It's openly known that this was in retaliation for western support of Israel during the Yom Kippur war. There's no way he could be that uninformed.

Onebornfree , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:17 pm GMT
@sarz Sara says: "Michael Hudson has a lot to say about economics. I wish he would stick to that. I can't believe that anyone with his IQ and interest in politics could be so deluded about 9/11"

Well, if it's any consolation, his "government knows best", grandiose economic "theories"are no less delusional than his. 9/11 theories

Regards,onebornfree

anonymous [217] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:29 pm GMT
This essay provides a glimpse of the satanic levels of Greed and Psychopathy of the whitrash civilisation (previously it was the British, and now the baton is with the AmeriKKKans). This spiritually and morally cursed cesspool's "success" in this world has been predicated on such unabashed Evil. Surely it will not be worth it as they will find themselves writhing in a Fiery torment, soon enough.

I think what this world desperately needs is whitey "genocide." The quotes signify the fact that since I am a true monotheist, I can never ever condone that level of bloodshed. So, what is required is reducing the number of whiteys in the world, so as to curtail their demonic Evil.

Something like this;

https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2018/10/sperm-counts-continue-to-fall/572794/

Wally , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:31 pm GMT
@Cowboy Excellent points. Not so sure about Free Masons though.

– And recall that most of the big oil field drilling / management contracts went to Russia, China, & Europe after the US / Israel invasions, not the US.

– Zionists love guys like Hudson who all too conveniently attempts to deflect attention away from Israel.

US oil companies make about six cents off a single gallon of gasoline, on the other hand there's US Big Government, taxes per gallon :


That's before federal taxes of ca. 20 cents per single gallon

– It's Big Government, not Big Oil.

anon [345] Disclaimer , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:49 pm GMT
Hudson needs to update his spiel. The US is now a net exporter of petroleum.

It no longer has a massive balance of payments deficit in that area, but does run a large negative trade balance with China.

Rev. Spooner , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:51 pm GMT
@Ilyana_Rozumova I think for you to understand, you got to put your brains to use or put your head on a working blacksmiths anvil without warning.
Desert Fox , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:53 pm GMT
@Mefobills Agree, read these books, Blood in the Water by Joan Mellen and Remember the Liberty by Phillip Nelson, can be had on amazon.com .
ADundee , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 5:56 pm GMT
@Weston Waroda Indeed
Krollchem , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:02 pm GMT
@eah No disrespect, but the EIA report is not entirely correct.

First, While the US is a large producer of hydrocarbons this is not the same as oil. For example, the Permian Basin produces about 98% condensates which must be blended with overseas oil the produce products in US oil refineries. As a result the US must import heavy oil, such as Urals heavy for blending purposes. See the Peak Prosperity website for details.

Second, globalism is not just about ownership of products but also about the control of their rates of production and the control of the transport routes. America is trying to selectively stop production and if this fails stop transport from those countries that are not part of the US$/Zionist economy.

Third, technically recoverable oil is not the same as economically recoverable oil. As the Our Finite World website points out, recoverable oil is limited by what the population can pay for it or products produced or delivered using that oil. Remember the strong correlation between energy use and GDP.

Fourth, Production of primarily condensates and gas from most fracking operations is overall an economic loss for most investors and poses external economic and environmental costs not factored into the cost/benefit analysis of the corporations.

Fifth, the EIA and US DOE are greatly overestimating the lifetime of the fracking boom which will start declining in the 2022-2025 time-frame.

I will admit that the US needs to export excess natural gas (Freedom gas) from the fracking operations. Currently, the Permian producers have to pay for the gas to be taken away or flare it at a rate of about 3bcm/year. The dramatic 100% drop in the price of natural gas in Western Europe has derailed the grand plan for LNG export, or at least caused the countries that entered into long term contracts, such as Poland and Ukraine, for delivery to pay much more for gas than those that rely on pipeline transported gas.

Currently, natural gas sells for $146/100 cm. In contrast, Cheniere gas prices are 115% of Henry Hub price + liquefaction fee of around $3 per million British thermal units (mmBtu). This corresponds to as LNG price of about $320/1000cm. To compete against Russian and Norge natural gas the US government is indirectly subsidizing those countries receiving "Freedom Gas" via foreign aid to take the gas!

Mefobills , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:07 pm GMT
Decoding Hudson:

The solution turned out to be to replace gold with U.S. Treasury securities (IOUs) as the basis of foreign central bank reserves. After 1971, foreign central banks had little option for what to do with their continuing dollar inflows except to recycle them to the U.S. economy by buying U.S. Treasury securities.

Correct Nixon goes off of international trading gold standard in 1971. This forces dollar accumulation in central banks to recycle back to the U.S. to buy TBills (debt). Foreign economies can no longer buy gold to balance international trade.

Saudi Arabia and other Near Eastern OPEC countries quickly became a buttress of the dollar. After these countries quadrupled the price of oil (in retaliation for the United States quadrupling the price of its grain exports, a mainstay of the U.S. trade balance),

Yes, wheat and soybeans both jumped up in price in 1971.
https://www.macrotrends.net/2531/soybean-prices-historical-chart-data

Also, OPEC took over pricing of oil from TRC (TEXAS).

https://www.winton.com/longer-view/price-history-oil

In 1971, OPEC negotiated a higher posted price and a 55% minimum profit share in the Tehran Agreement. But the dollar's falling purchasing power after the 1971 Nixon shock had already put a big strain on the Agreement's fixed posted prices. US support for Israel during the October 1973 Yom Kippur War was the final straw. A resulting embargo lasted until March 1974, but after it was removed low and stable posted prices failed to return.

U.S. banks were swamped with an inflow of much foreign deposits – which were lent out to Third World countries in an explosion of bad loans that blew up in 1972 with Mexico's insolvency, and destroyed Third World government credit for a decade, forcing it into dependence on the United States via the IMF and World Bank).

Foreign deposits of surplus dollars were flowing into "private banks' and these private banks then agitated to have Mexico redefined as "emerging market" instead of third world. This then allowed predatory "international" loans to go forth. See Perkins, Confessions of an Economic Hitman. Part of Mexinvasion of Mestizo's into the U.S. can be tracked to this event. Our finance class is an internal enemy and a parasite.

(Never allow your debt to be denominated in a foreign currency – this is an Iron Law of Economics, not taught in Skools.)

To top matters, of course, what Saudi Arabia does not save in dollarized assets with its oil-export earnings is spent on buying hundreds of billion of dollars of U.S. arms exports. This locks them into dependence on U.S. supply o replacement parts and repairs, and enables the United States to turn off Saudi military hardware at any point of time, in the event that the Saudis may try to act independently of U.S. foreign policy.

The Saudis are not going against their MI6 masters, and besides are dependent on foreign technology to extract their oil, and get said oil to dollarized markets. By the time Kissinger shows up in 1973, the pattern is already in place. The oil shock in 1974 is due to Kissinger Saudi 1973 agreement, which legitimated OPEC cartel (monopoly). The 1973 Agreement codified the petrodollar Tbill economy that MIC and "liberalism" globo-homo now depends on.

So maintaining the dollar as the reserve currency became a mainstay of U.S. military spending. Foreign countries to not have to pay the Pentagon directly for this spending. They simply finance the U.S. Treasury and U.S. banking system.

Returning petrodollars fund some 800 U.S. overseas military bases. The return path is through purchasing of TBills, and then said TBills are held in offshore accounts. Dollars then spin out of TBill and spent to enter into dollarized economies worldwide. This is a form of inflation tax on the world. When U.S. deficit spends new TBills, then they find returning petrodollars dollars, or said TBill can be monetized by the FED (which has been happening in recent years.) U.S. government then spends new deficit dollars on MIC. Saudi also recycles dollars through CIA to buy from MIC. Is it any wonder that China and Russia are working diligently to de-dollarize their trading affairs?

That is the same strategy that the U.S. has followed in Syria and Iraq. Iran was threatening this dollarization strategy and its buttress in U.S. oil diplomacy.

Iran is part of Russia/China axis that is de-dollarizing and hence is threatening globo homo deep state finance capitalism (ZOG). Iran is in the way of Greater Zion, and is central to Belt and Road, and will not bow down to Globo Homo.

The U.S. is on the wrong side of history, especially after it got brain infected and parasitized in 1912 by the (((usual suspects))).

Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:11 pm GMT
@Real Unemployment Rate

The poverty draft works in the US because we let the poor fight the wars for the rich and corporations. Tell me who started the Iraq war, the Mullahs in Iran or the Mullahs in DC?

More accurate question would be

The poverty draft works in the US because we let the poor fight the wars for the rich and corporations. Tell me who started the Iraq war, the Mullahs in Iran or the Rabbis in DC ?

Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:27 pm GMT
@Haxo Angmark

That's a brazen hardLeft lie . and the central dynamic isn't oil per se; it's the petrodollar.

1) It's not a hard Left lie, it's a globalist lie. It is the justification for further de-industralization of the "bad 1st world" who do "all the polluting" and ship it to the 3rd world where peoople are paid slave wages.
2) If you control the oil, you control the currency/petrodollar.
I do agree that it is indirect, but at the end of the day, it's the same thing. Iraq was invaded because its oil was primarily going to the EU, and Saddam wanted Euros for it, not US dollars.
More than a decade ago, Iran opened its oil bourse. It was prepared to take any currency for oil sales. It has, in fact, taken gold from India as payment.
Venezuela's Bolivarian Revolution was to trade oil for a different product. Doctors from Cuba, beef and other foodstuffs from Brazil and Argentina, for example.
All of the above are examples of de-dollarization, and will never be tollerated. They all link to another facet of the program: all opponents are the new Hitler. In some respects, this is correct. The German economy was turned around using its version of Lincoln's greenbacks and trading commodity for commodity, often raw material for manufactured goods. The (((banks))) were nowhere in that equation, therefore, Hitler had to be demonized, just as Israel began demonizing Saddam in the early 1980s with the fictitious Saddam's WMD, before a nuclear reactor was even commissioned. It's all about currency control, or as the vile Congresswoman Omar would put it "the Benjamins".

CanSpeccy , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:35 pm GMT
@BeenThereDunnit

CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming) is a lie.

No, it's not a lie, it's a hypothesis.

To quote the UN International Panel on Climate Change, Third Report, Chapter 14, Section 14.2.2.2, (2001):

In climate research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.

So yes, it might happen. But in any case, all that extra carbon dioxide risks making people even more stupid than they might otherwise be.

Fuerchtegott , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:41 pm GMT
Considering progressive diversity, did he kill Americans?
Weren't it really Iraqi?
The power of magic dirt believe is strong.
Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:43 pm GMT
@NoseytheDuke I suspect that Prof. Hudson is exaggerating on it being Saudi inspired, however, there is more than a break even chance they were involved. What you, and others are missing is the reference to legislation. I am acquainted with a lawyer who worked for the city at the tome of 9/11. When the Patriot Act came out of nowhere to be passed less than 3 months after 9/11, a controversial city by-law had been proposed. I casually asked, how long it took to produce a draft by-law, and the response was, typically 4-6 months, as the proposed by-law had to be cross referenced with all other by-laws to ensure that it neither conflicted with, nor used terms that would cause confusion in interpretation of the by-law or any court decision.
So, if it takes 4-6 months for a city by-law, how long do you think it might take to cross-reference the Patriot Act and/or the Authorization for Use of Military Force legislation to check against the Constitution, all other laws, and all court rulings that would touch on the matter? Hence, the author's "pulled out of the drawer ostensibly against Al Qaeda ", which is the whole point of his article – the fix is in.
Mefobills , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:48 pm GMT
@Onebornfree

Well, if it's any consolation, his "government knows best", grandiose economic "theories"are no less delusional than his. 9/11 theories

There goes the Lol-bertarian one born free-dumb again.

If you ignore gravity, you fall down and bump your head.

Human relations are NOT PURELY TWO WAY. This is as axiomatic as gravity. You have to make pretend to be a lolbertarian, and only little girls and the deluded make pretend about things.

The plain fact of the matter is that human relations include three parties. When you get into trouble, you will be one of the first to go whining to a sheriff, or some authority (the king) to help.

Civilization is impossible without an honest third party interlocutor. Did I say IMPOSSIBLE.

How this third party interlocutor is controlled or placed into our governing hierarchy is an entirely different subject.

Everybody's eyes should focus on good government, not some sort of lolbertarian fantasy of a world with only two way relations and some sort of nebulous laughable "human action," or making gold as a god.

Hudson is doing a good job of showing how the god of money, MOLOCH has infested the mind of man, and has become our "king."

It will actually take some sort of facism or king to overcome the democrap/finance capital construct which lolbertarans make excuses for. Dupes.

Cowboy , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:51 pm GMT
@Wally Don't forget BLM land grabs in Nevada and Oregon, and the Soleimani style assassination of Levoy Finicum.

Here is a recent comment I made that b blocked at MofA:

Now we need for Trump to assassinate Lavrov in Berlin and create another Russian martyr that would cause Germany to end the SOFA and throw the US occupation out after 75 years!

These latest revelations that Soleimani had been invited on behalf of the USA to Bahgdad shows how deprave the USA has become. The latest Douma "chemical weapons" revelations and the following Trump cruise missile retaliation illustrates how entire chains of fake action/retaliation chains are created. I think we have to assume that the entire Katayusha rocket attack and the "dead contractor" are fake/staged. The retaliation bombing was true, but its justification was faked. The attack on the US Embassy was clearly staged by US agents provocatuer who were allowed into the green zone.

These plausibly deniable war provocations have an long history. In Germany's case in 1939 it was Polish atrocities like Bromberg .

Germany, like Iraq, still has a constitution crafted by the usual suspects during occupation. Iraq, like Germany, will never get rid of the Yankee parasites without a fight.

Since then, and upon further consideration, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Italy and most of the planet would love to expel the US occupation and free themselves. Many would do well to completely destroy their old Judeo-Masonic constitutions and write something free of talmudic mind control.

Tim Kelly and Joe Atwill have a recent podcast where they discuss the occupation of Japan by 33 degree Douglas MacAuthur. It turns out that MacAurthur hired a 22 year old jewess to write the Feminist Civil Rights clauses into the still valid occupation constitution. The demographic collapse of Japan, Germany and all the occupied countries was a deliberate multi-generational conspiracy, just like the one against Iran.

Curmudgeon , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 6:56 pm GMT
@Smith Indirectly. All wars are economic wars, only the bankers, and what they own, benefits. The Rothschilds are the kings of banking, and bankrollers/owners of Israel. The Greater Israel/Rothschild project is to control all of the oil in the ME. Ignore all of the "tribes of Israel" and "historic homeland" nonsense. It's about wealth and power.
https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/israel/greater-israel-maps.htm
CanSpeccy , says: Website Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 7:06 pm GMT
@FB Hudson's account of the way the US Empire funds its occupation of the world is correct. The World accepts newly printed US dollars -- ink money as it is sometimes known, in exchange for oil and other goods and assets, and then hands those dollars back to the US Fed in exchange for bonds yielding a below-inflation rate of interest.

What, depending on you point of view, is a nice side benefit of this arrangement is that corporations, their share holders and other financially astute investors get to borrow money (directly or indirectly) at what are near zero or even below zero real interest rates. In that circumstance, naturally, an ever increasing proportion of all wealth accumulates in the hands the great corporations, investors, and others astute enough to understand and take advantage of the ongoing scam.

Overall, one would not object too much to American global hegemony, even an American hegemony funded by the debasement of currency, destruction of savings, and the obscene wealth of the plutocratic few, provided that said hegemony was exercised in the interests of the people of what the US used to call "The Free World."

But clearly American hegemonists don't give a damn for the American people, let alone the people of the tributary nations. On the contrary, they seem intent on destroying not only the peoples of subject nations but their own people too, both culturally and literally, racial genocide being effected by a combination of repressed fertility and mass replacement immigration.

eah , says: Show Comment January 6, 2020 at 7:06 pm GMT
@Krollchem I'm aware there are different kinds/grades of crude.

Third, technically recoverable oil is not the same as economically recoverable oil.

Yes, the lives of young men are so much cheaper, right? -- I guess that's where the term "cannon fodder" comes from -- anyway, technically vs economically can also be seen as a matter of national energy policy , like e.g. the strategic petroleum reserve -- does the US really need to spend more on its military than all other countries combined?

Simple question: what is the proximate cause of the tension with Iran? -- answer: it's Iran's nuclear program, specifically the allegation they intend to produce weapons grade enriched uranium (or plutonium) and then make a bomb -- another question: how is this a threat to the US, a nation with > 10k nuclear weapons, and more importantly, the means to deliver them ? -- answer: it's not -- Israel sees it as a threat -- and re that, I'll say what I've said before: if MAD (mutually assured destruction) was good enough for the US and the USSR during the Cold War, it's good enough for the Jews and Iranians today -- it's time to out Israel as a nuclear power .

The US has no urgent need for Middle East oil; that's not what this is about.

Trump is deranged and dangerous.

Current Commenter

[Nov 15, 2019] Political islam is not the angloamerican's problem, it's their creation (as in they made it into a problem). It serves their interest in keeping the oil rich Middle Eastern countries divided among tribal and sectarian lines and ruled by backward cryptotheocratic despotic dynasties.

Nov 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Lurk , Nov 14 2019 20:21 utc | 129

@ Gerhard | Nov 14 2019 18:21 utc | 118

Islam is not the angloamerican's problem, it's their creation (as in they made it into a problem). It serves their interest in keeping the oil rich Middle Eastern countries divided among tribal and sectarian lines and ruled by backward cryptotheocratic despotic dynasties. The fundamentalist extremist jihadists can be sicked on Europe, Southern Russia and Western China, to upset society when required by strategic interests.

You totally disregard my objection that there is no need for the Russians to become aggressive towards (the rest of) Europe. Good trade relations are their best interest. If and when Europe would socially and economically collapse, they would rather keep the problems out, instead of getting sucked in themselves.

[Nov 11, 2019] flankerbandit

Nov 11, 2019 | jetguyone.home.blog

| Nov 11 2019 18:39 utc | 144

[Nov 04, 2019] President Assad has an interesting perspective on occupation

Nov 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

BM , Nov 3 2019 19:09 utc | 34

... ... ..

I agree with you 100% on Trump and Syrian oil. It is smoke and mirrors forced by the resistance of the Elites. I think Trump knows - and accepts - that grabbing to oil is not viable and that the US will be forced eventually to relinquish it, but it would be domestically too difficult to do so at the moment.


james , Nov 3 2019 19:35 utc | 35

@29 bevin... thanks also.. that was well articulated and i agree with your overview...
james , Nov 3 2019 19:40 utc | 36
just in... i wonder what the upshot of this will be?

US military convoy comes under fire of Turkey-backed militants in Syria, no casualties – Russian Defense Ministry

i wonder if they're turkish or usa arms that were given these goons? the usa is being attacked by weapons that gave to the friendly moderate headchoppers? the irony is rich if so...

john , Nov 3 2019 19:51 utc | 37
flankerbandit says:

And as soon as the SDF fighters make that final break from the US...then it's game over...it is really inevitable...the die is already cast...

yeah, perhaps. President Assad has an interesting perspective on occupation ...a much more profound and apparently longer view (from a recent interview )

Journalist: returning to politics, and to the United States, in particular, President Donald Trump announced his intention to keep a limited number of his troops in Syria while redeploying some of them on the Jordanian borders and on the borders of the Israeli enemy, while some of them will protect the oil fields. What is your position in this regard, and how will the Syrian state respond to this illegitimate presence

President Assad: Regardless of these statements, the reality is that the Americans are occupiers, whether they are in the east, the north or the south, the result is the same. Once again, we should not be concerned with his statements, but rather deal with the reality. When we are finished with the areas according to our military priorities and we reach an area in which the Americans are present, I am not going to indulge in heroics and say that we will send the army to face the Americans. We are talking about a super power. Do we have the capabilities to do that? I believe that this is clear for us as Syrians. Do we choose resistance? If there is resistance, the fate of the Americans will be similar to their fate in Iraq. But the concept of resistance needs a popular state of mind that is the opposite of being agents and proxies, a patriotic popular state which carries out acts of resistance. The natural role of the state in this case is to provide all the necessary conditions and necessary support to any popular resistance against the occupier. If we put to one side the colonial and commercial American mentality which promotes the colonization of certain areas for money, oil and other resources, we must not forget that the main agents which brought the Americans, the Turks and others to this region are Syrians acting as agents of foreigners – Syrian traitors. Dealing with all the other cases is just dealing with the symptoms, while we should be addressing the causes. We should be dealing with those Syrians and try to reformulate the patriotic state of the Syrian society – to restore patriotism, restore the unity of opinion and ensure that there are no Syrian traitors. To ensure that all Syrians are patriots, and that treason is no longer a matter of opinion, a mere difference over a political issue. We should all be united against occupation. When we reach this state, I assure you that the Americans will leave on their own accord because they will have no opportunity to remain in Syria; although America is a superpower, it will not be able to remain in Syria. This is something we saw in Lebanon at a certain point and in Iraq at a later stage. I think this is the right solution

William Gruff , Nov 3 2019 20:13 utc | 39
I think Trump has been being loud and blunt about America taking Syria's oil precisely because he knows that it is neither legal nor viable. If he can establish the narrative that all it is now about is oil then the US will be forced to do as Trump has wanted all along and leave Syria.

Reverse psychology.

The role the American President is supposed to be playing for the empire right now is pushing the narrative of a need for more humanitarian murder and downplaying/dismissing any suggestion that the US is in Syria for any reason other than pure altruism. Trump outright stating that the US is going to take the oil is utterly destroying the only narratives that the US can use to stay in Syria.

That is much more clever than I had ever given Trump credit for being.

/div> " Impeachment Theater , Main November 03, 2019 The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2019-64

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama were fewer than usual as your host was a bit under the weather.

This from WaPo is ridiculous:

> [Lt.Col. Vindman] told lawmakers that he was deeply troubled by what he interpreted as an attempt by the president to subvert U.S. foreign policy and an improper attempt to coerce a foreign government into investigating a U.S. citizen. <

That the WaPo scribe lets it stand without pointing out that, constitutionally, the president sets foreign policies is even worse. An earlier NYT piece about an NSC staffer who Trump likes and had asked about the Ukraine had a similar bad construct :

> Any involvement by Mr. Patel in Ukraine issues would signal another attempt by Mr. Trump's political loyalists to go around American policymakers to shape policy toward Kiev. <

Other issues:

A good overview of how the conflict in Syria developed:
Russia Isn't Getting the Recognition It Deserves on Syria - Scott Ritter, Truthdig
US Needs To Occupy Syria Because Of Kurds Or Iran Or Chemical Weapons Or Oil Or Whatever - Caitlin Johnstone

Former U.S. supplied proxy forces kill other former U.S. supplied proxy forces with U.S. supplied weapons (video):

Cᴀʟɪʙʀᴇ Oʙsᴄᴜʀᴀ @CalibreObscura - 8:24 PM · Nov 2, 2019
TFSA hitting a YPG/SDF vehicle (Humvee?) with a likely originally US-supplied BGM-71 TOW ATGM.
video

Russiagate: Growing Indicators of Brennan's CIA Trump Task Force - Larry Johnson, SST
Ukrainegate: Some interesting backstories on John Brennan in this Kiriakou and Matt Taibbi talk. Kiriakou thinks that the 'whistleblower complaint' is a part of the CIA plot against Trump:
CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou on Impeachment, "Assets," and the Espionage Act | Useful Idiots (vid)

Last week Germany won an important battle against the U.S.:
Denmark grants permit for construction of Nord Stream 2 pipeline in its waters - Tass
Europe's gas alliance with Russia is a match made in heaven - M. K. BHADRAKUMAR, Indian Punchline

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on November 3, 2019 at 14:18 UTC | Permalink

" Impeachment Theater | Main November 03, 2019 The MoA Week In Review - Open Thread 2019-64

Last week's posts at Moon of Alabama were fewer than usual as your host was a bit under the weather.

This from WaPo is ridiculous:

> [Lt.Col. Vindman] told lawmakers that he was deeply troubled by what he interpreted as an attempt by the president to subvert U.S. foreign policy and an improper attempt to coerce a foreign government into investigating a U.S. citizen. <

That the WaPo scribe lets it stand without pointing out that, constitutionally, the president sets foreign policies is even worse. An earlier NYT piece about an NSC staffer who Trump likes and had asked about the Ukraine had a similar bad construct :

> Any involvement by Mr. Patel in Ukraine issues would signal another attempt by Mr. Trump's political loyalists to go around American policymakers to shape policy toward Kiev. <

Other issues:

A good overview of how the conflict in Syria developed:
Russia Isn't Getting the Recognition It Deserves on Syria - Scott Ritter, Truthdig
US Needs To Occupy Syria Because Of Kurds Or Iran Or Chemical Weapons Or Oil Or Whatever - Caitlin Johnstone

Former U.S. supplied proxy forces kill other former U.S. supplied proxy forces with U.S. supplied weapons (video):

Cᴀʟɪʙʀᴇ Oʙsᴄᴜʀᴀ @CalibreObscura - 8:24 PM · Nov 2, 2019
TFSA hitting a YPG/SDF vehicle (Humvee?) with a likely originally US-supplied BGM-71 TOW ATGM.
video

Russiagate: Growing Indicators of Brennan's CIA Trump Task Force - Larry Johnson, SST
Ukrainegate: Some interesting backstories on John Brennan in this Kiriakou and Matt Taibbi talk. Kiriakou thinks that the 'whistleblower complaint' is a part of the CIA plot against Trump:
CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou on Impeachment, "Assets," and the Espionage Act | Useful Idiots (vid)

Last week Germany won an important battle against the U.S.:
Denmark grants permit for construction of Nord Stream 2 pipeline in its waters - Tass
Europe's gas alliance with Russia is a match made in heaven - M. K. BHADRAKUMAR, Indian Punchline

Use as open thread ...

Posted by b on November 3, 2019 at 14:18 UTC | Permalink

div
jo6pac , Nov 3 2019 14:45 utc | 1
It was a weird week sadly it is only going to get weirder. Have safe Sunday all and thanks b for your time to get the truth out.
Peter AU1 , Nov 3 2019 15:05 utc | 2
From Caitlin Johnstone's piece...
"We were told that the US must intervene in Syria because the Syrian government was massacring its people. We were told that the US must intervene in Syria in order to promote freedom and democracy in the Middle East. We were told that the US must intervene in Syria because Assad used chemical weapons. We were told that the US must occupy Syria to fight ISIS. We were told that the US must continue to occupy Syria to counter Iranian influence. We were told the US must continue to occupy Syria to protect the Kurds. Now the US must continue to occupy Syria because of oil."

US is in Syria for Israel. Keeping the Syrian oil now is about covering the cost of US long term occupation of the Syrian border for Israel.
Now to see if Trump can come out of the Iraq color revolution holding Iraq's oil. Whatever the outcome in Iraq, the current operation against it has prevented Iraq making any noises about what US is doing in Syria and US access of border crossings into Syria.

Jackrabbit , Nov 3 2019 15:07 utc | 3
Later this week:

Iran warned months ago it would take further action to free itself from JCPOA restrictions if Europe was not going to stand up to USA bullying and that is supposed to happen later this week. That would likely mean the initiation of the "snap back" process to reimpose UN sanctions.

We should see some sort of resolution of the Israeli election. Netanyahu's former Defense Minister is the key decision-maker. Will he bend the knee or force a third election?

!!

Walter , Nov 3 2019 15:23 utc | 4
I might be willing to explore how democracy is being endangered (by endorsing anything) if I could find any example of democracy beyond a ham-radio club or boy scout patrol.

The deep state, and every state shallow deep or in-between, "limits" democracy... This is the essence of all states. And this limitation means that the "democracy" is essentially a fraud, a deception, a ringer, a method of "perception management" - a way of making the mark believe in the con.

I don't mind this reality, it's normal and probably a good thing (think about it).

But I do object to the implications, such as, inter alia, that democracy exists in reality on any significant scale, and that it's desirable - and worst of all, that's it's not a costume - wizard of oz time boys and girls?

You bet... Now go watch the magic show and stop thinking...

vk , Nov 3 2019 15:29 utc | 5
Saudi Arabia's Aramco officially kick-starts IPO procedure

Newer estimates bet on USD 1.7 trn -- much less than the earlier ones. The process will be slow ("very cautious") and it's not disclosed if they will be negotiated at the LSE or Wall Street.

The capitalists bet on China capitulating to a "capitalist reform" and opening up its precious productive chains and financial sector to open exploitation by Western capital. It didn't happen and now they will sack Saudi wealth. Saudi Arabia will have to "take one for the team"; as a sweetener, they will probably receive nuclear energy technology from the Americans (a technology which, as we already know, can be adapted to develop nuclear weapons).

Peter AU1 , Nov 3 2019 15:32 utc | 6
US now controlling the oil field at Rumailan.

https://twitter.com/search?q=syria%20oil%20Rumailan&src=typd
https://twitter.com/search?q=syria%20oil%20Rumailan&src=typd

A report here dated Sep 23 on US setting up bases to control the oil.
Provides some detail on bases.
https://www.memri.org/reports/syrian-opposition-website-provides-details-locations-us-bases-northern-syria

Jackrabbit , Nov 3 2019 15:37 utc | 7
Peter AU1 @2

This notion of USA profiting from the oil is a smokescreen. It seems much more likely that the oil will be used by, any profits received by, whatever local Syrian organization USA approves of.

Notice that CJ doesn't cite Israel among the many reasons for USA to stay - despite Trump's having done so (he did!). And, while she attacks USA's evil intentions, she's careful not to support Assad ( "I'm not an Assadist -- he's a Caitlinist" ).

I notice this principally because CJ has also sought to elevate Max Blumenthal to a "dissident journalist" on par with Assange via imagery and the formulation: "first they came for Assange ... then they came for Blumenthal" .

CJ MUST KNOW that Max B. was a champion of the effort to oust Assad even when he clearly should've know that it was US-Israeli-Saudi proxy war.

CJ MUST KNOW that Max's 2-day suspiciously-arranged imprisonment is nothing like what Assange has experienced.

CJ MUST KNOW that Assange and Clinton are mortal enemies (not an exaggeration as Assange is slowly killed) .

CJ MUST KNOW that Max's father is a long-time Clinton operative.

!!

Walter , Nov 3 2019 15:47 utc | 8
I see Joshua Landis' twitter says "In 2012, Erdogan asked al Assad to put Muslim Brothers into his Cabinet. When al Assad refused, the former minister said, Erdogan made clear that he would back all efforts to remove the president and replace him with Islamists."

"Turkey May Have Stepped Into Its Own 'Endless War' in Syria"

Ok... and now an entirely unrelated coincidence...Cosmic disaster: Massive fire ravages astronomy center in Turkish capital (VIDEO)

Nothing to see, move along.

Jackrabbit , Nov 3 2019 15:54 utc | 9
Also worthy of note is Pat Lang's censorship of a comment that made about how bogus Russiagate and Ukrainegate are.

Both the Left and the Right love the partisan food fight that distracts and entertains the masses. LOL.

But it wasn't enough to simply delete the comment, he felt it necessary to smear me, first as a bitter old pensioner, then as a marxist: A rule about comments and commenters .

!!

Jackrabbit , Nov 3 2019 15:55 utc | 10
comment that I made
Noirette , Nov 3 2019 16:11 utc | 11
Gabbard. I read the OFF act today. Compared to AOC's Green New Deal, my take.

AOC is more mainstream than TG., third-wayer USA style, supports Sanders (OK.. in the pol landscape..) and is more influential / accepted in the establishment. Gabbard far better, on anti-war and other.

A brief look at climate + energy.

Both are pie-in-the sky and 'claim' meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources.

AOC p.7.. TG similar.

Both propose an aim of "zero carbon emissions" or "net zero carbon" by 2035. (not the same thing of course, but much is confused...)

AOC includes very sweeping societal aims (green jobs etc.), international collab, education, and even:

ensuring a commercial environment where every businessperson is free from unfair competition and domination by domestic or international monopolies

Heh! in the US?

..but is prudent in its language, the phrase as much as technologically feasible is used v. often. Ex.

working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is techno- logically feasible ..

AOC promotes removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere aka,'new' carbon capture tech (p. 9.)

*Vs.* TG, the language is clear, the position hard and logically consistent, a "zero carbon economy, using only renewable generation by 2035", > all electric, as nuclear power is also verboten.

/ -- How and where the electric energy is produced, stored, delivered to the end user, is not addressed by either bills. Both are against nuclear. These are pol. discourses, and not based on any analysis of 'energy' -- /

TG OFF act is more sympathetic imho in the sense that it details impacts on poor communities and that these must be adressed, reversed. Many of the points in it are excellent (but only tangentially linked to energy policy.. or climate..), she wants to stop / reverse harm, vs. AOC who touts fantastico green jobs.

refs in 2.

Noirette , Nov 3 2019 16:14 utc | 12
tulsi on climate change

https://www.tulsigabbard.org/tulsi-gabbard-on-climate-change

OFF act ("off fossil fuels") - link is to US gov site

https://bit.ly/2PLxK5J

green new deal AOC

wiki (some history etc.)

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

link is to US gov site

https://bit.ly/2WE6Uhf

Peter AU1 , Nov 3 2019 16:22 utc | 13
Jackrabbit "And, while she attacks USA's evil intentions, she's careful not to support Assad ("I'm not an Assadist -- he's a Caitlinist")."

This seems common amongst those that identify as green or progressive and not just on Syria and Assad. Assange was similar.
Not long back, I was reading the twitter accounts of a few young and foolish journalists that believed the crap put out by the likes of bellingcrap, so went to Syria to report on the 'revolution'. They ended up featuring in snuff movies but their twitter accounts are still open.

vk , Nov 3 2019 16:43 utc | 14
Apud Michael Roberts blog's facebook:
Robert Reich:
Thanks to Trump's trade wars, US farm bankruptcies in Sept. soared to 24% -- highest level since 2011. Nearly 40% of projected farm profit this year will come from trade aid, disaster assistance, & federal subsidies. Farm aid has now cost more than double the 2009 auto bailout.
james , Nov 3 2019 16:44 utc | 15
thanks b! it's always interesting and thought provoking..

regarding the M. K. BHADRAKUMAR article on nord 2, it seems to me that the coming together of russia and europe is only a matter of time.. as much as the usa would like to impede this, i can't see them being successful.. fact is russia is a part of europe! trying to keep them separate can't work.. new world order...

@7 jackrabbit.. i think where you and i differ is in that you will take a shred of truth - a molehill - and make a mountain out of it.. that's what it looks like with the cj analysis.. i have to say it seems you do the same with the deep state too.. sure there is some truth to what you say, but i think your conclusions are wrong mostly because who make a mountain out of a mole hill.. but regardless, i still appreciate how attached you are to your mountains - but i just don't see it like you..

@12 noirette... thanks for sharing your perspective on all that! it seems to me AOC has been given the fast track hard sell in the msm, where as TG has been given the cold shoulder... someone is really preening AOC for future exploitation as i see it.. i could be wrong.. i have said this before as well..

Likklemore , Nov 3 2019 17:04 utc | 16
Forgetful Biden gave an interview with the WSJ. He speaks for Israel. The same Israel's plan of some 45 years ago: break up the surrounding countries into warring statelets and we can live and steal in peace; piece by piece.

Biden Compares Trump's Syrian Oil Theft Policy to 'Giant 300-Foot Daesh Recruiting Poster

[.] Leaving troops behind like [Trump's] doing now – he says that what he wants to do is we're going to occupy the oil fields and we're going to take 'em. That's like a giant 300-foot recruiting poster for ISIS," Biden said, speaking to the Wall Street Journal.[.]

"Russia's position in the region has just been strengthened. [Syrian President Bashar] Assad's position has been strengthened. Iran now has a pathway all the way to Syria and even to Lebanon. If I'm the Israelis I'm not going to be very happy about that. So the whole thing has been turned upside down and we're in there alone now, basically," the former vice president said.[.]

Timber Sycamore

During his tenure as Barack Obama's vice president, Biden was a key supporter of sending US arms to the militants fighting against Damascus. He was involved in the Central Intelligence Agency's classified weapons supply and training programme, known as Timber Sycamore, which equipped and trained thousands of fighters between 2012 and 2017, when it was closed down by the Trump administration.

Those lapel flag pins with the stars and stripes should be replaced by the blue and white star of David flag pins because it is what it is.

Clueless Joe , Nov 3 2019 17:05 utc | 17
Western/Central Europe coming to terms with Russia and settling down for good relations between neighbours should've been the obvious path back in 1990. I mean, they did it between UK-France and Germany after 1945, it was only logical that they would do the same with Russia - I mean, there's less bad blood between them, overall. Of course, countries like Poland wouldn't be as enthusiastic, for obvious reasons, so it would've been better to come to a common understanding before the former Soviet bloc joined EU, and definitely way better to set up some spheres of influence before the Ukraine mess.

Jackrabbit: Pat Lang can be quite the old thin-skinned "Commies - bad" curmudgeon, which is at best frustrating. On the other hand, I always have a kick at seeing him campaigning for the dissolution of CIA and FBI, like in his latest post. I get that he's also arguing from an efficiency point of view, and I'd agree with him about the efficiency gains, even if I'd be more interested by the mere fact that US agencies would greatly reduced their fucking-up with the rest of the world, if these agencies were gone for good. Heck, I could live with a USA with more efficient agencies this way, since it would still mean them having to get rid of their Full Spectrum Dominance and Global Hegemon wet-dream, and instead focusing on fighting against clear and present danger and genuine threats against the US as a country, not as a global economic and political empire. Heck, I'd be already relieved if not glad if the US went back to Monroe doctrine and were to submit to a reverse-Monroe (as in the US stops messing with the Old World once and for all and doesn't interfer with any country outside the Americas).

dh , Nov 3 2019 17:06 utc | 18
@14 US farmers appreciate the $28bn aid package and most of them probably still like Trump. Aid like that would be called socialism if any other country did it.
Jackrabbit , Nov 3 2019 17:08 utc | 19
Peter AU 1

It struck me how careful she was about not being viewed as supporting Assad ... while the elevation of Max B. to be the equal of Assange is just an unimportant detail?

MANY journalists that have suffered much worse than Max B. They don't get elevated to being the equal of Assange. A few of them:

There's the woman who reported about ISIS (I think she was Turkish) who was killed.

There's Hitchens.

There's the woman who just reported on the paper trail of weapons purchased for the Syrian "rebels". She's from Bulgeria, I think.

There's Khashoggi.


Assange's struggle is for ALL journalists. It's offensive when used to elevate ONE journalist. Especially, I might add, THIS journalist who 1) has a deep and abiding connection to Assange's Deep State adversaries and 2) has previously demonstrated his willingness to act in a way that furthers Deep State goals.

!!

Sasha , Nov 3 2019 17:11 utc | 20
@Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 3 2019 15:54 utc | 9

Regarding that post by Pat Lang so derogatory in image illustrating, and following mockery he made of pensioners who receive their well deserved pension check, I wonder what this man who during life long benefitted from such a socialist system like the USAF to enjoy a labour life fixed job , from recruiting to retirement ( whose only requirement was fullfill orders...) and limitless access to free of charge education, which allowed him once retired at such privileged ( with respect the rest of working masses ) young age, be able to profit in the private sector from the knowledge and experience he gained in the public duty, has against public pensions, being himself beneficciary of one ( at least I have not notice he has refused it...and I fear it is not meager...) along with a free of charge full coverage social health system financed by Us taxpayers including those who he makes mockery of.

For the few I know him, he is still angry about the few taxes he has to pay under Trump rule feeling that some of what he pays could go to this pensioners....Of course, like every selfish far-right wing in the military, forgetting that it was those pensioners through their taxes who payed for their education and salary while in the military.

The more I know the man, I have nowhere to catch him from, and it is not only hiss patent arrogance and bigotry, nad hatred for everything which could sound social, it is the absolute lack of solidarity with other human beings ( including those who contributed to what he is...) except those who form his own close circle, unit, or his own, recently reached, upper class.

To me it smells of a new rich all that way from Virginia to here...Un asco!

Honestly, I can not see that astounding value some here find in his site, unless the astounding value to extend the Trump presidency for 4 years more...
Has he pronounced himself about the already recognized stealing of Syrian oil recently? No, there they are he and that Larry Johnson focussed in what more matters ( for them...) the shenanigans on fake theater ( and they both know it, because of insiders of the IC..)of the bipartisan mafiosi system which they beneffit from.

Peter AU1 , Nov 3 2019 17:13 utc | 21
Bhadrakumar "The amazing part has been the dogged resistance by Germany to the US pressure tactic to abandon Nord Stream 2."

Think Deutsche Bank, Volkswagen plus the rest of the crap US has been pulling to keep Germany down.
German business had to rebel against this at some point.

Trailer Trash , Nov 3 2019 17:13 utc | 22
working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is techno- logically feasible ..

Someone needs to get out of their ivory tower once in a while. No diesel, no food. It's as simple as that, unless farmers return to the days of huge crowds of cheap migrant workers and millions of horses to pull small-scale equipment. I don't see many windmill and solar promoters signing up to hoe cotton by hand. I wonder if all those horses would be allowed because of horse farts. Maybe someone can invent a horse and cow fart collector.

Some of the first farm tractors were huge steam powered beasts. If steam tractors burned wood pellets, would that be acceptable?. How big a battery it would take to operate a 300 Hp tractor for 12 or more hours per day - as big as a house?

Well the good news is there is no actual evidence the sky is falling (Correlation is not Causation). Man-made global warming is like "democracy" and "freedom". If any of these actually existed, would the propaganda machines have to tell us a hundred times a day, every day? In the end, reality has a tendency to shred fanciful plans and it doesn't care what anybody believes.

psychohistorian , Nov 3 2019 17:50 utc | 23
@ Hoarsewhisperer who wrote at the end of the last Open Thread
"
I can't shake off the suspicion that cosmology is more about beating around the bush and obfuscation than about fact-finding - especially the more recent Dark Matter trope...
"

I have only had one college course in Astronomy but I found a sure fire way to stop the cosmologists in their tracks is to posit that Dark Energy and Dark Matter are not just "out there" but just as much part of us as well...and where are the studies about that stuff in us?

pretzelattack , Nov 3 2019 17:54 utc | 24
another climate change denier troll? the science isn't based on a "propaganda machine". you know what is? the fossil fuel company funded propaganda campaign that pretends the science is based on correlation.
Schmoe , Nov 3 2019 18:05 utc | 25
dh @18

" US farmers appreciate the $28bn aid package and most of them probably still like Trump. Aid like that would be called socialism if any other country did it."
- And aid like that would be called socialism by farmers if it went to people with dark complexions who live in large cities.

Sasha , Nov 3 2019 18:05 utc | 26
@Posted by: Trailer Trash | Nov 3 2019 17:13 utc | 22

Not to mention that all the allegedly "ecologic" measures which have been promoted so far result equally if not more polluting than the existing ones. As a sample, this article about the pollution which will come from solar pannels and electric cars batteries and their costs of production and elimination who will push the carbon footpirnt to stratospheric levels.

REALLY want to help Mother Nature? Don't drive electric cars, ignore paper bags & forget about organic food

The new "ecocapitalism" is a new form of oblying the working masses to change car more often that they will be able to aforrd due the frozen wages and increasing of prices, and pay more for basic goods like electricity and water, plus adding taxes that will be difficult to justify in a coming environment of recession and economic crisis. This is only the new niche of gainings some "smart" people of always have found to continue increasing their tax of profit.

Economist: Greta Thunberg's 'dream world' could cause "a human tragedy

erik , Nov 3 2019 18:05 utc | 27
@pretzelattack
So, if one asks questions : 1) Is the climate actually changing (warming), rather than going through a temporary cycle as in the thirties?
2) If there is a climate change is it totally due to human activities, or only partially, or is it due to natural factors?
3) If the climate changes, ie warms by a degree or two centigrade, is that change a catastrophic event or is it benign and requiring
minor adaptations by humans?
Does that make one a troll in your estimation?
Donnie , Nov 3 2019 18:34 utc | 28
Likklemore @16

Joe "I am a Zionist" Biden has never made any bones about who and what he is. And all of his adult children are married into the Tribe.

bevin , Nov 3 2019 18:37 utc | 29
These remarks about climate change are a reminder that, as a society, we have lost our ability to reason together. The discussion is poisoned, largely, by vested interests-including the fossil fuel industry- using enormous amounts of money to prevent us from reaching conclusions based upon the objective measurement of empirical data and taking action accordingly.
Instead of reason "the market" rules: the market buys scientists and publicists, controls presses and dominates the media. In Congress or Parliament it owns majorities.
My guess is that climate change is real and represents a real threat but that ought not to be a licence for every demagogue and chancer to impose 'solutions' through government or public pressure. The future of humanity is too important a subject to be left to liars and narcissists to play with; it is a matter for serious, considered, unpolluted discussion at every level. In such discussion idiots will be revealed as such, loudmouths discovered to be empty and irresponsible and the weight of truth, revealed in masses of observations testable and available for examination, will lead to popular decision making on a matter too important to be left to others.
Jackrabbit , Nov 3 2019 18:43 utc | 30
In this report, we get some actual reporting:
Journalist Max Blumenthal Arrested, Hit With Political Prosecution Related To Venezuela Reporting

Unlike Greyzone reporting, here we are given specific information about Max's arrest, including the identify the person who made the charge, the statement that they made, and the alleged existence of video evidence.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

And now thegreyzone.com is out with a follow-up to their reporting last week. Aaron Maté interviews Max B.

Here we get more reason to be skeptical as Max B. declares that it's an "obvious case of political persecution" then evades the question of whether he was a reporter or activist when the incident occurred !!!

Max B.: It's highly unusual, the whole thing is highly unusual, it's an obvious case of political persecution and it should be a source of outrage but of course we've heard nothing from the press ngo's. I guess Press Freedom Track, I just saw them say that uh, I wasn't involved in reporting at the time so I was .. um .. so I don't count; they said something like that on twitter in a response to Margret Kimberly. So it's revealing to see the response but it's also encouraging to see the really organic grassroots solidarity that I'm getting.

Aaron Mate: Well, you were involved in reporting at the time, broadly, 'cause you were covering that protest; at the time, specifically, of the incident, you were around when some food was being delivered inside, right?

Max B.: Well, all I can say is that I'm completely innocent, the charges are fake, they're phony ...

The shadowproof reporting and this dodge from Max B. suggests to me that Max B. had decided to help outside activists to deliver food to the activists inside. Thus, he had joined the activists and was no longer acting as a reporter !

And Max B. admits that he was treated like all other prisoners :

Max B.: The second component [the first being the arrest] of how I was treated - that's how poor people in Washington D.C and across America are typically treated in the criminal justice system. People were ALL denied phone calls, they were shackled for long periods. We were held in cages in extremely cold temperatures for long periods ...

Persecution? Nah, just another day in the US criminal justice system.

Even if the charges against him are false, it's not clear that this is really a matter of press freedom.

!!

flankerbandit , Nov 3 2019 18:43 utc | 31
Peter...re the reason for US troops staying Syria...

I think the Al Tanf presence is for Israel's benefit...

But in northeast Syria I think another dynamic is at play...I think Trump really wanted to get out completely and I think he still does...but he simply has not had the power to pull this off...

The entire 'foreign policy' establishment plus their media servants went totally berserk and Trump had to walk back at least some of his plan...

I don't think Syria's oil has much to do with it...Trump simply latched onto that [quick improvisation there] to justify his reversal to his own base that is feeling frustrated that their hero can't even fulfill one of his major promises...

As for the establishment's idea for Syria, I think it has more to do with the Kurds...they are howling about 'betraying' the Kurds...but really it is about USING the Kurds for their own dream of partitioning Syria...

They just can't let go of that...even as the taillights get dimmer and dimmer in the distance...these people are not big on reality...

Plus, they do see a situation with the Kurds that they can exploit...some among the Kurds, like their military commander Mazloum Abdi are totally devoted to the US and will play a willing spoiler role in the northeast if given half a chance...

If this opportunity to continue at some level with the Kurds was not there, the US military command would not go along with a harebrained scheme like staying in a region of Syria that is now more or less controlled by the Syrian government...the shrunken US footprint means you are isolated and really quite meaningless...

So the situation is still in flux...but here's the thing...the Kurdish political leadership is a little smarter than people like Mazloum...they see that they have already lost huge swaths of their heartland to Turkey...not just in the latest incursion, but also Afrin before that and Euphrates Shield etc...

They realize they will lose everything if they do not start playing ball...with Russia especially, the only honest broker in Syria...

So today we have a report that a joint SDF-Russian 'coordination and operations center' has been established in northern Raqqa province...

Notably, the SAA isn't included in this...probably at the insistence of the SDF, which like I said is still not on board with reconciling with the SAA...although we note that in the periphery of the Turkish 'Peace Spring' incursion zone the SDF fighters are fighting alongside the SAA to repel Turkish-backed militants...

SAA has now also moved heavy weapons to the vicinity of the Ras al Ayn border town which is in Turkish hands...

So the dynamics of the fighting are already forcing the SDF to throw in their lot with the SAA...at some point the break will come and the shrinking US influence in the area is not going to be worth anything tangible to the SDF fighters...

We see also that the US has now evacuated its biggest base with the longest airfield... Sarrin...

That's where that huge convoy of empty trucks headed to...

So the situation on the ground does not bode well for some kind of continuing partnership between the SDF and the remaining US forces...especially as the SAA consolidates its control over the areas in which it has already entered...

So the way I see it, this is a desperate Hail Mary from the die-harders in the regime-change business...they are grasping at straws, literally...the US footprint has already shrunk so dramatically, and the SAA footprint taken its place that there is no going back...

For now the US still have some support among the SDF fighters, as exemplified by that Mazloum character...but as things progress neither the Kurd population in general, nor the Arabs in the area are going to continue partnering with the US...for the simple reason that the US has nothing to offer them...

And as soon as the SDF fighters make that final break from the US...then it's game over...it is really inevitable...the die is already cast...

BM , Nov 3 2019 18:49 utc | 32
That the WaPo scribe lets it stand without pointing out that, constitutionally, the president sets foreign policies is even worse. An earlier NYT piece about an NSC staffer who Trump likes and had asked about the Ukraine had a similar bad construct

As Rumsfeld once claimed, "We create our own reality". However there is nothing real about that so-called reality. More accurate would be "We create our own fantasy, are deluded by it, and cling desperately to our belief in the reality of it".

james , Nov 3 2019 18:54 utc | 33
@31 flankerbandit.. good overview.. i tend to see it in a similar manner.. thanks!

i got a kick out of one of the commenters on that southfront link -

"Latest News: Even though Vladimir Putin has promised to withdraw all Russian troops from the US, Russian forces still does not want to leave the US completely, arguing that it wants to secure oil fields in Texas from ISIS supported by Canada and Mexico, while helping Indians and Indian Democratic Forces (IDF) who did not want to rejoin the US government and refused an offer to dissolve the IDF and join the US army. Although initially Russian troops stopped their support for the IDF.
Wait, there seems to be something wrong with this news! :)"

BM , Nov 3 2019 19:09 utc | 34
These remarks about climate change are a reminder that, as a society, we have lost our ability to reason together. The discussion is poisoned, largely, by vested interests-including the fossil fuel industry- using enormous amounts of money to prevent us from reaching conclusions based upon the objective measurement of empirical data and taking action accordingly.
Posted by: bevin | Nov 3 2019 18:37 utc | 29

Thanks for your well articulated remarks, Bevin. Climate-change science is not something that can be researched by every Tom Dick and Harry in their kitchen, but, well, some people still think they can. As a very wise person once remarked: The fool who thinks he is wise is a fool indeed; but the fool who knows he is a fool, to that extent at least is wise.


Posted by: flankerbandit | Nov 3 2019 18:43 utc | 31

I agree with you 100% on Trump and Syrian oil. It is smoke and mirrors forced by the resistance of the Elites. I think Trump knows - and accepts - that grabbing to oil is not viable and that the US will be forced eventually to relinquish it, but it would be domestically too difficult to do so at the moment.

james , Nov 3 2019 19:35 utc | 35
@29 bevin... thanks also.. that was well articulated and i agree with your overview...
james , Nov 3 2019 19:40 utc | 36
just in... i wonder what the upshot of this will be?

US military convoy comes under fire of Turkey-backed militants in Syria, no casualties – Russian Defense Ministry

i wonder if they're turkish or usa arms that were given these goons? the usa is being attacked by weapons that gave to the friendly moderate headchoppers? the irony is rich if so...

john , Nov 3 2019 19:51 utc | 37
flankerbandit says:

And as soon as the SDF fighters make that final break from the US...then it's game over...it is really inevitable...the die is already cast...

yeah, perhaps. President Assad has an interesting perspective on occupation ...a much more profound and apparently longer view (from a recent interview )

Journalist: returning to politics, and to the United States, in particular, President Donald Trump announced his intention to keep a limited number of his troops in Syria while redeploying some of them on the Jordanian borders and on the borders of the Israeli enemy, while some of them will protect the oil fields. What is your position in this regard, and how will the Syrian state respond to this illegitimate presence

President Assad: Regardless of these statements, the reality is that the Americans are occupiers, whether they are in the east, the north or the south, the result is the same. Once again, we should not be concerned with his statements, but rather deal with the reality. When we are finished with the areas according to our military priorities and we reach an area in which the Americans are present, I am not going to indulge in heroics and say that we will send the army to face the Americans. We are talking about a super power. Do we have the capabilities to do that? I believe that this is clear for us as Syrians. Do we choose resistance? If there is resistance, the fate of the Americans will be similar to their fate in Iraq. But the concept of resistance needs a popular state of mind that is the opposite of being agents and proxies, a patriotic popular state which carries out acts of resistance. The natural role of the state in this case is to provide all the necessary conditions and necessary support to any popular resistance against the occupier. If we put to one side the colonial and commercial American mentality which promotes the colonization of certain areas for money, oil and other resources, we must not forget that the main agents which brought the Americans, the Turks and others to this region are Syrians acting as agents of foreigners – Syrian traitors. Dealing with all the other cases is just dealing with the symptoms, while we should be addressing the causes. We should be dealing with those Syrians and try to reformulate the patriotic state of the Syrian society – to restore patriotism, restore the unity of opinion and ensure that there are no Syrian traitors. To ensure that all Syrians are patriots, and that treason is no longer a matter of opinion, a mere difference over a political issue. We should all be united against occupation. When we reach this state, I assure you that the Americans will leave on their own accord because they will have no opportunity to remain in Syria; although America is a superpower, it will not be able to remain in Syria. This is something we saw in Lebanon at a certain point and in Iraq at a later stage. I think this is the right solution

Trailer Trash , Nov 3 2019 19:55 utc | 38
>Does that make one a troll in your estimation?
> Posted by: erik | Nov 3 2019 18:05 utc | 27

As in any religion, questions are not allowed. The constant shouting about oil company anti-"The Sky Is Falling" campaigns is particularly silly. I have never seen a single ad or even a spokesman on TV or radio saying man-made global warming isn't real. Not this year. Not last year. Not ever. Global warming promoters have a giant podium and use it all day every day to shout that they have no voice and drown out everyone else. It's not a good look.

I am no fan of oil companies. I very much resent that people who happen to live on top of the oil are exposed to sometimes awful conditions. There's no need to make a mess, and not cleaning up after oneself, harming people in the process, is unforgivable. That's something oil company managers should have learned in kindergarten.

Currently there is no way to replace petroleum in many applications. People burning whale oil lamps while watching whale populations decline knew they needed a better way, but would have had no way to predict that better way would be petroleum. Funding basic research might find a better way. Building more useless low-density intermittent windmills won't move anybody off petroleum, except in a few unique situations.

William Gruff , Nov 3 2019 20:13 utc | 39
I think Trump has been being loud and blunt about America taking Syria's oil precisely because he knows that it is neither legal nor viable. If he can establish the narrative that all it is now about is oil then the US will be forced to do as Trump has wanted all along and leave Syria.

Reverse psychology.

The role the American President is supposed to be playing for the empire right now is pushing the narrative of a need for more humanitarian murder and downplaying/dismissing any suggestion that the US is in Syria for any reason other than pure altruism. Trump outright stating that the US is going to take the oil is utterly destroying the only narratives that the US can use to stay in Syria.

That is much more clever than I had ever given Trump credit for being.

Trailer Trash , Nov 3 2019 20:16 utc | 40
>the weight of truth, revealed in masses of observations
> testable and available for examination, will lead to popular
> decision making on a matter too important to be left to others.
> Posted by: bevin | Nov 3 2019 18:37 utc | 29

Yes, actual observations, please, instead of models that don't work. The paleo record seems to show that temperatures rise before CO2 increases. The modern record shows no correlation, as in the recent multiyear "pause" in warming while CO2 was steady increasing.

Claims that global warming causes every kind of unpleasant weather are silly. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, more snow, less snow, it's all caused by an increase in a trace molecule. If the weather is unpleasant, it's "carbon". If the weather is good, there's no comment. That's not very scientific.

ptb , Nov 3 2019 20:18 utc | 41
regarding "securing syrian oil" - I'd say it was always more about blocking a possible Iraq-Syria pipeline, which would give Iraq and potentially Iran a route to the Mediterranean without either Saudi Arabia or Turkey or perhaps a Kurdistan being in the way.
Peter AU1 , Nov 3 2019 20:33 utc | 42
flankerbandit
I have tossed this around myself when thinking about what is happening.
"I don't think Syria's oil has much to do with it...Trump simply latched onto that [quick improvisation there] to justify his reversal to his own base that is feeling frustrated that their hero can't even fulfill one of his major promises..."

Ending endless wars, expensive wars, bring the troops home, vs extra US military spending, vetoing the congress resolution to pull out of the Yemen war, then there is the US deep state aspect. And then Trumps past statements on the countries US has attacked.
Easy enough to pass off as as a person no deeper than his twitter persona for the seeming inconsistencies.
Trump is overturning the norms or what developed as norms in the post WWII era. One of those norms is that the US must try to give an appearance of moral leadership of the world. Thinking outside the box of the post WWII era, a strategy can be seen in what Trump is doing.

When it comes to foreign policy, Trumps focus is on oil and Israel. China ties in with the focus on oil. Russia may well block what I believe to be Trump's strategy in the middle east and if they do, I may never know for sure if I am right or wrong about the Trump admins intentions.
But at the moment, I have to take it that Trump's moves are based around 'energy dominance' and that includes owning other countries oil.

karlof1 , Nov 3 2019 20:33 utc | 43
bevin @29--

What you posit echoes what Climatologist Michael Mann wrote in Climate Wars .

In Assad's recent interview, on the Outlaw US Empire's illegal occupation and theft of Syrian property, he's willing to be patient and take care of those areas Syria and its allies can return to the national fold. Russia, Iran and Assad are all on the same page and of the same mind when it comes to dealing with the illegal occupation, which they know is untenable in the long run. In fact, it actually serves an excellent purpose in providing the impetus for nations to dedollarize and beware of accepting any sort of aid it offers--this is particularly important in Africa and Latin America. Monthly like clockwork, Lavrov or another top Russian official calls for the Outlaw US Empire to remove its illegally deployed troops, which reminds the world of what the Outlaw US Empire is and its aims being opposite of its rhetoric--Truth is far more potent than propaganda.

[Nov 03, 2019] How Controlling Syria s Oil Serves Washington s Strategic Objectives by Nauman Sadiq

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Washington's basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus. ..."
Nov 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Nauman Sadiq,

Before the evacuation of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria to western Iraq, the Pentagon had 2,000 US forces in Syria. After the drawdown of US troops at Erdogan's insistence in order for Ankara to mount a ground offensive in northern Syria, the US has still deployed 1,000 troops, mainly in oil-rich eastern Deir al-Zor province and at al-Tanf military base.

Al-Tanf military base is strategically located in southeastern Syria on the border between Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and it straddles on a critically important Damascus-Baghdad highway, which serves as a lifeline for Damascus. Washington has illegally occupied 55-kilometer area around al-Tanf since 2016, and several hundred US Marines have trained several Syrian militant groups there.

It's worth noting that rather than fighting the Islamic State, the purpose of continued presence of the US forces at al-Tanf military base is to address Israel's concerns regarding the expansion of Iran's influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Regarding the oil- and natural gas-rich Deir al-Zor governorate, it's worth pointing out that Syria used to produce modest quantities of oil for domestic needs before the war – roughly 400,000 barrels per day, which isn't much compared to tens of millions barrels daily oil production in the Gulf states.

Although Donald Trump crowed in a characteristic blunt manner in a tweet after the withdrawal of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria that Washington had deployed forces in eastern Syria where there was oil, the purpose of exercising control over Syria's oil is neither to smuggle oil out of Syria nor to deny the valuable source of revenue to the Islamic State.

There is no denying the fact that the remnants of the Islamic State militants are still found in Syria and Iraq but its emirate has been completely dismantled in the region and its leadership is on the run. So much so that the fugitive caliph of the terrorist organization was killed in the bastion of a rival jihadist outfit, al-Nusra Front in Idlib, hundreds of kilometers away from the Islamic State strongholds in eastern Syria.

Much like the "scorched earth" battle strategy of medieval warlords – as in the case of the Islamic State which early in the year burned crops of local farmers while retreating from its former strongholds in eastern Syria – Washington's basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus.

After the devastation caused by eight years of proxy war, the Syrian government is in dire need of tens of billions dollars international assistance to rebuild the country. Not only is Washington hampering efforts to provide international aid to the hapless country, it is in fact squatting over Syria's own resources with the help of its only ally in the region, the Kurds.

Although Donald Trump claimed credit for expropriating Syria's oil wealth, it bears mentioning that "scorched earth" policy is not a business strategy, it is the institutional logic of the deep state. President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington's national security establishment.

Regarding Washington's interest in propping up the Gulf's autocrats and fighting their wars in regional conflicts, it bears mentioning that in April 2016, the Saudi foreign minister threatened that the Saudi kingdom would sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets if the US Congress passed a bill that would allow Americans to sue the Saudi government in the United States courts for its role in the September 11, 2001 terror attack – though the bill was eventually passed, Saudi authorities have not been held accountable; even though 15 out of 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Moreover, $750 billion is only the Saudi investment in the United States, if we add its investment in Western Europe and the investments of UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in the Western economies, the sum total would amount to trillions of dollars of Gulf's investments in North America and Western Europe.

Furthermore, in order to bring home the significance of the Persian Gulf's oil in the energy-starved industrialized world, here are a few stats from the OPEC data: Saudi Arabia has the world's largest proven crude oil reserves of 265 billion barrels and its daily oil production exceeds 10 million barrels; Iran and Iraq, each, has 150 billion barrels reserves and has the capacity to produce 5 million barrels per day, each; while UAE and Kuwait, each, has 100 billion barrels reserves and produces 3 million barrels per day, each; thus, all the littoral states of the Persian Gulf, together, hold 788 billion barrels, more than half of world's 1477 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

No wonder then, 36,000 United States troops have currently been deployed in their numerous military bases and aircraft carriers in the oil-rich Persian Gulf in accordance with the Carter Doctrine of 1980, which states: "Let our position be absolutely clear: an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

Additionally, regarding the Western defense production industry's sales of arms to the Gulf Arab States, a report authored by William Hartung of the US-based Center for International Policy found that the Obama administration had offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, military equipment and training during its eight-year tenure.

Similarly, the top items in Trump's agenda for his maiden visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017 were: firstly, he threw his weight behind the idea of the Saudi-led "Arab NATO" to counter Iran's influence in the region; and secondly, he announced an unprecedented arms package for Saudi Arabia. The package included between $98 billion and $128 billion in arms sales.

Therefore, keeping the economic dependence of the Western countries on the Gulf Arab States in mind, during the times of global recession when most of manufacturing has been outsourced to China, it is not surprising that when the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia decided to provide training and arms to the Islamic jihadists in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Obama administration was left with no other choice but to toe the destructive policy of its regional Middle Eastern allies, despite the sectarian nature of the proxy war and its attendant consequences of breeding a new generation of Islamic jihadists who would become a long-term security risk not only to the Middle East but to the Western countries, as well.

Similarly, when King Abdullah's successor King Salman decided, on the whim of the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, to invade Yemen in March 2015, once again the Obama administration had to yield to the dictates of Saudi Arabia and UAE by fully coordinating the Gulf-led military campaign in Yemen not only by providing intelligence, planning and logistical support but also by selling billions of dollars' worth of arms and ammunition to the Gulf Arab States during the conflict.

In this reciprocal relationship, the US provides security to the ruling families of the Gulf Arab states by providing weapons and troops; and in return, the Gulf's petro-sheikhs contribute substantial investments to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars to the Western economies.

Regarding the Pax Americana which is the reality of the contemporary neocolonial order, according to a January 2017 infographic by the New York Times, 210,000 US military personnel were stationed all over the world, including 79,000 in Europe, 45,000 in Japan, 28,500 in South Korea and 36,000 in the Middle East.

Although Donald Trump keeps complaining that NATO must share the cost of deployment of US troops, particularly in Europe where 47,000 American troops are stationed in Germany since the end of the Second World War, 15,000 in Italy and 8,000 in the United Kingdom, fact of the matter is that the cost is already shared between Washington and host countries.

Roughly, European countries pay one-third of the cost for maintaining US military bases in Europe whereas Washington chips in the remaining two-third. In the Far Eastern countries, 75% of the cost for the deployment of American troops is shared by Japan and the remaining 25% by Washington, and in South Korea, 40% cost is shared by the host country and the US contributes the remaining 60%.

Whereas the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar – pay two-third of the cost for maintaining 36,000 US troops in the Persian Gulf where more than half of world's proven oil reserves are located and Washington contributes the remaining one-third.

* * *

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.


ipsprez , 8 minutes ago link

I am always amazed (and amused) at how much smarter "journalists" are than POTUS. If ONLY Mr. Trump would read more and listen to those who OBVIOUSLY are sooo much smarter!!!! Maybe then he wouldn't be cowed and bullied by Erdogan, Xi, Jung-on, Trudeau (OK so maybe that one was too far fetched) to name a few. Please note the sarcasm. Do I really need to go in to the success after success Mr. Trump's foreign policy has enjoyed? Come on Man.

OLD-Pipe , 19 minutes ago link

What a load of BOLOCKS...The ONLY, I mean The Real and True Reason for American Armored presence is one thing,,,,,,,Ready for IT ? ? ? To Steal as much OIL as Possible, AND convert the Booty into Currency, Diamonds or some other intrinsically valuable commodity, Millions of Dollars at a Time......17 Years of Shadows and Ghost Trucks and Tankers Loading and Off-Loading the Black Gold...this is what its all about......M-O-N-E-Y....... Say It With Me.... Mon-nee, Money Money Mo_on_ne_e_ey, ......

Blue Steel 309 , 5 minutes ago link

This is about Israel, not oil.

ombon , 58 minutes ago link

From the sale of US oil in Syria receive 30 million. dollars per month. Image losses are immeasurably greater. The United States put the United States as a robbery bandit. This is American democracy. The longer the troops are in Syria, the more countries will switch to settlements in national currencies.

Pandelis , 28 minutes ago link

yeah well these are mafia guys...

uhland62 , 50 minutes ago link

"Our interests", "strategic interests" is always about money, just a euphemism so it doesn't look as greedy as it is. Another euphemism is "security' ,meaning war preparations.

BobEore , 1 hour ago link

...The military power of the USA put directly in the service of "the original TM" PIRATE STATE. U are the man Norm! But wait... now things get a little hazy... in the classic... 'alt0media fake storyline' fashion!

"President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington's national security establishment."

Awww! Poor "DUmb as Rocks Donnie" done been fooled agin!

...In the USA... the military men are stirring at last... having been made all too aware that their putative 'boss' has been operating on behalf of foreign powers ever since being [s]elected, that the State Dept of the once Great Republic has been in active cahoots with the jihadis ...

and that those who were sent over there to fight against the headchoppers discovered that the only straight shooters in the whole mess turned out to be the Kurds who AGENT FRIMpf THREW UNDER THE BUS ON INSTRUCTIONS FROM JIHADI HQ!

... ... ...

[Nov 02, 2019] Assad Calls Trump Best US President Ever For Transparency Of Real US Motives

Nov 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Arguably some of the most significant events since the eight-year long war's start have played out in Syria with rapid pace over just the last month alone, including Turkey's military incursion in the north, the US pullback from the border and into Syria's oil fields, the Kurdish-led SDF&# deal making with Damascus, and the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. All of this is why a televised interview with Presiden39;st Bashar Assad was highly anticipated at the end of this week.

Assad's commentary on the latest White House policy to "secure the oil" in Syria, for which US troops have already been redeployed to some of the largest oil fields in the Deir Ezzor region, was the biggest pressing question. The Syrian president's response was unexpected and is now driving headlines, given what he said directly about Trump, calling him the "best American president" ever – because he's the "most transparent."

"When it comes to Trump you may ask me a question and I'll give you an answer which might seem strange. I tell you he's the best American president," Assad said, according to a translation provided by NBC.

"Why? Not because his policies are good, but because he is the most transparent president," Assad continued.

"All American presidents commit crimes and end up taking the Nobel Prize and appear as a defender of human rights and the 'unique' and 'brilliant' American or Western principles. But all they are is a group of criminals who only represent the interests of the American lobbies of large corporations in weapons, oil and others," he added.

"Trump speaks with the transparency to say 'We want the oil'." Assad's unique approach to an 'enemy' head of state which has just ordered the seizure of Syrian national resources also comes after in prior years the US president called Assad "our enemy" and an "animal."

Trump tweeted in April 2018 after a new chemical attack allegation had surfaced: "If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!"

A number of mainstream outlets commenting on Assad's interview falsely presented it as "praise" of Trump or that Assad thinks "highly" of him; however, it appears the Syrian leader was merely presenting Trump's policy statements from a 'realist' perspective , contrasting them from the misleading 'humanitarian' motives typical of Washington's rhetoric about itself.

That is, Damascus sees US actions in the Middle East as motivated fundamentally by naked imperial ambition, a constant prior theme of Assad's speeches , across administrations, whether US leadership dresses it up as 'democracy promotion' or in humanitarian terms characteristic of liberal interventionism. As Assad described, Trump seems to skip dressing up his rhetoric in moralistic idealism altogether, content to just unapologetically admit the ugly reality of US foreign policy.


indaknow , 4 minutes ago link

Most President's thought you had to plot coups. Regime changes, color revolutions. Long convoluted wars with many deaths and collateral damage.

Trump says **** that. We're just taking the oil. Brilliant

Chupacabra-322 , 18 minutes ago link

To fund their Black Ops to destabilize Sovereign Countries & rape, murder, pillage & steal their natural resources. And, install their Puppet leaders.

Wash, rinse & repeat.

ExPat2018 , 22 minutes ago link

I see Americans keep calling Assad and Putin a ''dictator'' Hey, jackasses, they were ELECTED in elections far less corrupt than what you have in the USSA

Guentzburgh , 54 minutes ago link

Transparently Assad is a moron, the oil belongs to the kurds snake.

beemasters , 52 minutes ago link

Not anymore... Russian Military Releases Satellite Images Confirming US Smuggling of Syrian Oil
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201910261077154752-russian-military-releases-satellite-images-confirming-us-smuggling-of-syrian-oil/

yerfej , 1 hour ago link

Securing oil from those you don't want to have it is different than "stealing" the oil. Face it the oil means nothing to any large western economy.

Dzerzhhinsky , 33 minutes ago link

Face it the oil means nothing to any large western economy.

The one thing all capitalists have in common is they all want more money, it's never enough.

You commies will never understand the deep in your gut need to take every penny from every child.

Fiscal Reality , 1 hour ago link

Pelosi, Schiff, Cankels, Schumer, The MSM all sriek in unison "TRUMP IS ASSAD'S PAWN. IMPEACH HIM!!!"

beemasters , 1 hour ago link

the "best American president" ever – because he's the "most transparent."

Very much so. When he says something, it's definitely the opposite that he would be doing. You can't get more transparent than that.

NorwegianPawn , 1 hour ago link

Assad is a very eloquent speaker. Witty, sharp and always calm when speaking with decadent press. Of course the MSM understood what he DID mean, but they cannot help themselves, but parse anything to try hurting Trump.

Just don't believe a word the media says.

Son of Captain Nemo , 1 hour ago link

Mr. Assad's got that pitch correctly...

As a matter of fact he used "real motives" when he should have used the words "maniacal" and "desperate"...

Case in point... https://southfront.org/western-europe-archdiocese-officially-reunited-with-russian-orthodox-church/

If true. It means the Vatican (the oldest most important money there is) like Saudi Arabia and the UAE sure do seem to care about stuff like purchasing power in their "portfolios" and a "store of value"?...

I see lots of EU participants taking their money to Moscow as well with that Arctic bonanza that says "come hither" if you want your money to be worth something!!!

To Hell In A Handbasket , 1 hour ago link

It's always been about oil. Spreading Freedumb, Dumbocracy and Western values, is PR spiel. The reality is, the West are scammers, plunderers and outright thieves. Forget the billions Shell Oil, is holding for the Biafran people/region in Nigeria, which it won't give to either the Bianfran states in the east, nor the Nigerian government, dating back to the secessionist state of Biafra/Nigerian civil war 1967-70. The west are nothing more than gang-bangers, but on the world stage.

If people think its just oil we steal, then you are mad. What the UK did in reneging on 1500 Chieftain tanks and armoured personnel vehicles, with Iran which they paid for up-front and fucked Iran over in the UK courts over interest payments over 40 years. Are stories that simply do not make the news.

Yet the department for trade and industry is scratching its head, wondering why their are so few takers for a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK, where the honest UK courts have the final say? lol

truthseeker47 , 1 hour ago link

Too bad it is political suicide for an American president to try to establish communication with Assad. He seems like a pretty practical guy and who knows, it might be possible to work out a peaceful settlement with him.

TheLastMan , 1 hour ago link

economic warfare on the syrian civlian population through illegal confiscation of vital civilian economic assets, and as conducted in venezeula, is called ________________

Meximus , 1 hour ago link

That is not a compliment for Trompas .

Assad is saying where before the UKK was a masked thief, with Trompas and his egotism alias exceptionalism, has not bothered withthe mask. He is still a murderer and thief.

Obi-jonKenobi , 2 hours ago link

Now Assad has some idea why Trump is so popular with his base, they love him for not being politically correct, for "telling it like it is". He's like the wolf looking at the sheep and telling them he's going to eat them and the sheep cheering because he's not being a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Unfortunately in the case of Trump's sheeple, they don't even have a clue they're going to be eaten, the Trumptards all think he's going to eat someone else like the "deep state" or the "dumbocrats". Meanwhile he's chewing away at their health care, their export markets, piling up record deficits, handing the tax gold to the rich and corporations while they get the shaft, taking away program after program that aided students, the poor, and the elderly, appointing lobbyists to dismantle or corrupt departments they used to lobby against, and in general destroying the international good will that it's taken decades to build.

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

[Oct 29, 2019] Russian Defense Minister Publishes Evidence Of US Oil Smuggling From Syria by Saker

Images removed...
Oct 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

10/29/2019

Via The Saker blog,

Translated by Leo, bold and italics added for emphasis.

Source: https://ria.ru/20191026/1560247607.html

MOSCOW, October 26, 2019 – RIA Novosti – The Russian Ministry of Defense has published satellite intelligence images , showing American oil smuggling from Syria.

Image 1: Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic as of October 26, 2019.

According to the ministry, the photos confirm that "Syrian oil, both before and after the routing defeat of the Islamic State terrorists in land beyond the Euphrates river , under the reliable protection by US military servicemen, oil was actively being extracted and then the fuel trucks were massively being sent for processing outside of Syria."

Image 2: Daman oil gathering station, Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 42 km east of Deir ez-Zor, August 23, 2019.

Here, in a picture of the Daman oil gathering station (42 kilometers east of the Deir-ez-Zor province), taken on August 23, a large amount of trucks were spotted. "There were 90 automotive vehicles, including 23 fuel trucks," the caption to the image said.

In addition, on September 5, there were 25 vehicles in the Al-Hasakah province, including 22 fuel trucks. Three days later, on September 8, in the vicinity of Der Ez-Zor, 36 more vehicles were recorded (32 of them were fuel trucks). On the same day, 41 vehicles, including 34 fuel trucks, were in the Mayadin onshore area.

Image 3: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Al-Hasakah province, 8 km west of Al-Shaddadi, September 5, 2019.

As the official representative of the Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov noted, the Americans are extracting oil in Syria with the help of equipment, bypassing their own sanctions.

Igor Konashenkov:

"Under the protection of American military servicemen and employees of American PMCs, fuel trucks from the oil fields of Eastern Syria are smuggling to other states. In the event of any attack on such a caravan, special operations forces and US military aircraft are immediately called in to protect it," he said.

According to Konashenkov, the US-controlled company Sadcab , established under the so-called Autonomous Administration of Eastern Syria , is engaged in the export of oil, and the income of smuggling goes to the personal accounts of US PMCs and special forces.

The Major General added that as of right now, a barrel of smuggled Syrian oil is valued at $38, therefore the monthly revenue of US governmental agencies exceeds $30 million.

Image 4: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 10 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.

"For such a continuous financial flow, free from control and taxes of the American government, the leadership of the Pentagon and Langley will be ready to guard and defend oil fields in Syria from the mythical 'hidden IS cells' endlessly," he said.

According to Konashenkov, Washington, by holding oil fields in eastern Syria, is engaged in international state banditry.

Image 5: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 14 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.

The reason for this activity, he believes, "lies far from the ideals of freedom proclaimed by Washington and their slogans on the fight against terrorism."

Igor Konashenkov:

"Neither in international law, nor in American legislation itself – there is not and cannot be a single legal task for the American troops to protect and defend the hydrocarbon deposits of Syria from Syria itself and its own people, " the representative of the Defense Ministry concluded.

A day earlier, the Pentagon's head, Mark Esper declared that the United States is studying the situation in the Deir ez-Zor region and intends to strengthen its positions there in the near future "to ensure the safety of oil fields."


Sirdirkfan , 5 minutes ago link

The Ruskies are mad - Trump is stopping them from taking the oil, it belongs to the Kurds for their revenue and if US wants to help them have it so what....US is staying to secure those oilfields against ISIS taking it again!

If everyone listened to the President when he talks there wouldn't be any spin that anyone could get away with.

Arising , 7 minutes ago link

Trump's The Art of the Steal - New chapter just added

Fish Gone Bad , 15 minutes ago link

War is used to take resources from people who can not protect it adequately.

punjabiraj , 15 minutes ago link

The oil is on Kurdish land. This part of Syria is just a small sector of Kurdish territory that has been stolen from them by dividing it between four "countries", each of which has oil. This is why the territory was stolen and why the Kurds have become the world's best fighters.

Putin brokered a deal to stop Turkey wiping the Kurds by having their fighting force assimilate with the Syrian military and required Russian observers access to ensure the Turks keep their word and not invade to wipe all the Kurd civilians in order to also take their Syrian oil.

So the corrupt US generals get caught in the act. Their senators and reps on the payroll are going to need some more of that fairy tale PR for POTUS to read to us at bedtime.

If we are to believe that this is to protect the oil fields then the oil revenue should be going to Syria, even though the Kurds are on the land. Follow the money to find the truth because there is no one you can trust on this stage.

Bernard_2011 , 15 minutes ago link

America is not stealing Syria's oil, they are "protecting it".

haruspicio , 22 minutes ago link

MSM are simply not covering this story. Or the other story about the supposed gas attack at Douma where evidence was adulterated and/or ignored completely under US pressure.

Expect the same from MH17.

WTF is going on with our leaders and corporate MSM....can no one in a leadership position distinguish between lies and the truth? Or fantasy and reality? Where are the 'journalists' who will stand up and tell the truth in MSM? They no longer exist.

Chain Man , 25 minutes ago link

18 wheel fuel trucks around here hold 10K gal. 50 truck loads 500K of un processed oil if it's true? I though they just got there. but no telling who might steal under those conditions.

Bernard_2011 , 25 minutes ago link

If the caliphate is 100% eliminated as Trump likes to say, then what does Trump need to "protect" the oil fields from?

It's like he's just parroting whatever BS the deep state is telling him to say.

NiggaPleeze , 24 minutes ago link

The Orange Satan is the Deep State. Or, a product of it.

Orange Satan is protecting the oil from Syrians. It rightly belongs to the Globalists, not the local peasants!

Roger Casement , 27 minutes ago link

That was August. this is now. The Russians must have really wanted that oil to finance their occupation. Trump is preventing ISIS from using the oil as their piggy bank.

You're welcome.

jjames , 26 minutes ago link

no, trump is trying to starve the syrian people.

OliverAnd , 25 minutes ago link

The irony of course is that from the same oil fields the Turks were doing the exact same in cooperation with ISIS and now the US is doing it alone.

NiggaPleeze , 23 minutes ago link

Russians really want Syria to have their own soil. But the Globalist Orange Satan is stealing it to finance his Globalist Evil Empire.

After all, nothing spells Globalism like a Global Empire.

OliverAnd , 29 minutes ago link

Wasn't Erdogan doing the same not too long ago? Shortly after Erdogan became close friends with Putin. Does this mean Trump and Putin will become close friends as well? Or is this simply a common practice between two people who undeservingly place relatives in government positions? First Turkey hands over Al Baghdadi (he received medical treatment in Southern Turkey in a private clinic owned by Erdogan's daughter guarded by MIT agents) so that they can continue to commit genocide against Kurds in Turkey and Syria... and now the US is stealing Syrian oil like how the Turks initially were doing. What a mess and a disappointment. Hopefully Erdogan visits DC and unleashes his security guards beating any person freely walking the streets while Trump smiles and describes him as a great leader.

Joe A , 29 minutes ago link

War is a racket.

Manipuflation , 31 minutes ago link

So be it Ed Harley. What you're asking for has a powerful price .

IronForge , 31 minutes ago link

Since when did PLUNDERING OTHER NATION-STATES become included in the Serviceman's Oath or the Officer's Oath of Office?

expatch , 32 minutes ago link

Watch in coming weeks as the tanker convoys are proven to be rogue operations from an out of control CIA / Cabal network. Trump removed the troops, and now Russia is shining a light on it.

KuriousKat , 27 minutes ago link

No coincidence another article on ZH brung attention to the Ukrainian wareehouse arsos..12 in 2 yrs..2017-2018 where stored munition were carted away...not to fight rebels n Donbass but sold to Islamic groups in Syria..it was one of Bidens pals..one keeps the wars going while the others steal siphon of resources..whatever isn't nailed down..I've never seen anything like this..Democrats are truly CRIME INC

KuriousKat , 34 minutes ago link

w/o that oil..Syria can never reconstruct itself..Usually in a War or ,after that is, the victors help rebuild..what we see is pillaging and salting the earth and walk away.. as the Romans did to enemies like Carthage..it will resemble Libya ...a shambles

sbin , 39 minutes ago link

Simple destroy every tanker truck not authorized by Syrian government.

Remember the giant line of ISIS trucks going to Turkey US couldn't find but Russia had no problem destroying.

Some "jahhadi" should use those TOW missles and MAN pads to deal with foreign invaders.

Demologos , 45 minutes ago link

So the smuggling is protected by air cover and special forces? Light up the fields using some scud missiles. I'm sure Iran or Iraq have a few they could lend Syria. Can't sell it if its burning.

Guderian , 51 minutes ago link

Brits and Americans have pillaged, as any other empire, wherever they conquered.

After WW1 the 'Allies' robbed Germany of all foreign currency and its entire gold. This triggering hyperinflation and mega crisis.

During WW2 central bank gold was pillaged from countries that were 'liberated' across Europe.

In more recent history, the gold of Iraq, Ukraine and Libya was flown to Fort Knox.

All well documented.

This is common practice by empires. Just please stop pretending you were the good guys , spreading freedom and democracy, because that's really a mockery and the disgusting part of your invasions.

Dzerzhhinsky , 33 minutes ago link

During WW2 central bank gold was pillaged from countries that were 'liberated'.

Exactly, that's where the US got its 8,000 tons of gold. Before WWII, the US had 2000 tons of gold, after WWII it had 8,000 tons. Even today the US always steals the gold of the countries it "liberates"

Minamoto , 1 hour ago link

The USA reduced to common thievery...! How pathetic can a country become?

San Pedro , 26 minutes ago link

...and don't forget the billions and billion and billons the oooobama gave Iran in the fake "Iran Nuke Deal"!!

punjabiraj , 56 minutes ago link

This is a breach of our official secrets laws. This is none of the American peoples business like everything else we do in the deep state.

Any more articles like this and you will all be sharing a cell in solitary like we do with the whistle blowers and their anti-satanic consciences.

All devil worshipers say Aye.

gvtlinux , 1 hour ago link

Help me understand why the USA would want to smuggle oil from Syria. When the USA has more oil than all of the middleast.

Now I can see why Russia would blame the USA if smuggling Oil from Syria. Russia needs that oil really bad. So to get the USA away from the Syrian oil fields they would of course create a reason for the rest of the world that the USA is Dishonerable and must not be trusted with Syrian oil. It is just too obvious to me, what Russia is trying to accomplish.

Demologos , 58 minutes ago link

Huh? The US is stealing the oil to deprive the Syrian people energy they need to rebuild the country we destroyed. This is collective punishment of Syrians because they won't overthrow Assad.

Collective punishment is a crime against humanity according to international law. There's your impeachable offense. But don't worry, that kind of crime is ok with Shifty Schiff and the rest of the Israel ***-kissers in Congress.

God above wins , 48 minutes ago link

Most people in the US still erroneously think our gov has good intentions. At least Trump showed us the real intention of staying in Syria.

Omen IV , 40 minutes ago link

The US is NOT stealing the oil - the American Military have become PIRATES - no different than Somali Red Sea Pirates or looters in Newark stealing diapers and TV's

they probably do it in Black Face !

what a miserable excuse for a country

nuerocaster , 18 minutes ago link

No taxes, regulations, royalties. The muscle is already on payroll.

KekistanisUnite , 1 hour ago link

This is nothing new. We've been stealing oil from dozens of countries for the past 75 years since WWII. The only difference is that Trump is being blatant about it which in a way is weirdly refreshing.

spoonful , 1 hour ago link

Like Janis Joplin once sang - Get it While You Can https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ju9yFA1S7K8

[Aug 22, 2019] Trump energy policy is sanctions, regime change and more regime change

Aug 22, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Longtimber x Ignored says: 08/17/2019 at 8:35 am

It appears that the US (25% of global oil consumption/waste?) has but 3 choices. 1. Become Trading partners with Russia and Iran. 2. Get serious on Energy Transition execution. 3. War, Terror and more regime change 4. Deploy the Alan Parsons Project.
https://youtu.be/Ei_GZnrr1nw?t=23
What say You?
Rob H x Ignored says: 08/17/2019 at 8:51 am
Usually 1 and 3 are combined in the resource rich country aren't they? Then it goes wrong some way down the road when the new regime 'turn', and things get worse than before
Tom x Ignored says: 08/17/2019 at 11:26 am
3. seems to fit the history. I don't blame anyone not patient enough to scroll down to the bottom.

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

Watcher x Ignored says: 08/17/2019 at 11:03 am
Oh for God's sake.

Here you go, chew on this. The day there are the initial 2 mile long lines at gasoline stations, not just in the US but all over the world . . . that day we will still see announcements of record oil production globally.

This is species killing stuff. Wall Street popular saying . . . no one rings a bell at the top. Well, no one is going to give you any warning whatsoever that oil scarcity deaths start that month. You will know nothing of it. You will be told it is all from some temporary factor that will soon be fixed.

So if you see something now that looks like a warning sign, it's probably not legit.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 08/17/2019 at 6:58 pm
Perhaps. OPEC is producing at 2011 levels. The world is kept at bay from peak oil only by US shale production. And US shale production is on shaky legs, just trying to stay ahead of the red queen.

I just don't see this blind optimism that US shale will continue upward for the next 5 to 6 years.

I well remember when it was said that: "When Saudi Arabia peaks, the world peaks". That was just not correct. But now it is obvious that when the US of A peaks, the world peaks.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 08/17/2019 at 7:54 pm
Dennis, OPEC produced more oil per day in 2005 than they are producing today. OPEC peaked in 2016. End of story.

OPEC will not save the world from peak oil.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 08/18/2019 at 7:31 am
. Thats 3 to 4 mbod without question.

Sanctions are not affecting Venezuela's oil production. It is collapsing for another reason. And it will take them a decade or more to recover when they finally settle their economic problems.

But there will always be political problems. They are likely to get worse, not better.

Peak oil will be when the most oil is produced, not what could be produced if there were no political problems anywhere in the world.

hole in head x Ignored says: 08/18/2019 at 12:09 pm
Opec will not save the world and neither will USA . The problem is that all the increase in the last few years is from shale or LTO ,call it what you will . Problem is that this is mostly + 45 API so poor in middle distillates . In reality peak oil is when the^ black goo^ peaks . NGL's ,NGPL,s ,bio fuels, LTO and the term ^all liquids^ are used as a fig leaf to hide the real peak of the ^black goo ^ . We are past peak as far as the ^black goo^ is concerned .
Watcher x Ignored says: 08/18/2019 at 1:02 pm
The nature of the liquid is a big deal.

The bigger deal is this believing of numbers that come from people with agendas.

You're not going to get any warning. No one has any incentive to give anyone correct data.

Han Neumann x Ignored says: 08/18/2019 at 3:06 pm
"The problem is that all the increase in the last few years is from shale or LTO ,call it what you will . Problem is that this is mostly + 45 API so poor in middle distillates . "

In 2005 (!) on Bloomberg tv channel someone said, in other words, that the most valuable oil to make kerosene of is increasingly difficult to get. I guess that kerosene is a middle distillate.
The shale oil boom might last for many decades, for what it is worth

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 08/18/2019 at 4:16 pm
The shale oil boom might last for many decades, for what it is worth.

Shale production may continue for a decade, or a bit longer, but not decades. However, that is not the point. The point is, how long can shale continue to increase production.

The legacy decline for shale varies between 5% and 6% per month! The EIA's Drilling Productivity Report says US Shale production will increase by 85,000 barrels per day in September. Probably not, but that is not the point. To get an increase of 85,000 barrels per day, they had to have new well production of 649,000 barrels per day. That is because they had 564,000 barrels per day of legacy decline. For every one barrel per day of increased production, they had to produce 7.64 barrels per day of new oil because they had 6.64 barrels per day of legacy decline.

The more they produce the more they have to produce just to stay even.

Frugal x Ignored says: 08/18/2019 at 5:29 pm
For every one barrel per day of increased production, they had to produce 7.64 barrels per day of new oil.

This is the key point regarding shale oil production. The higher the production, the more new production is needed to increase production. It's essentially an exponential function. Shale oil production will not increase for much longer because it's not physically possible to drill/frack at a sustained exponential rate.

This is the key

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 08/18/2019 at 6:19 pm
Frugal, damn, why is that so hard for some people to understand?
Eulenspiegel x Ignored says: 08/19/2019 at 3:52 am
I don't see this exponential problem in shale.

Shale production is not oil production, it's mining.

You need 3 drilling teams, 4 fracking teams and get over long time a constant production. When you want to increase (say you have enough acres, as enough ore in a iron mine) you hire 2 new teams, as in mining employing a new excavator and conveyor belts.

So, like in a mine, when you fire a team production drops almost immediately.

The big ones (XON) in the Permian do Shale oil mining exactly like this – they have own drilling and fracking team, working constantly.

The same thing as mining is when you have to drill your b-class acres. As in a mine when the ore veins run out in thickness.

So either close your mine, hire more teams to maintain production or life with decreasing production at constant costs when the qulity is declining.

I've left out technical progress. This is just a cost reducer (need less drilling / fracking teams to do the same output).

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 08/19/2019 at 7:59 am
Eulenspiegel, your mining example is not a good comparison at all. That is because new mines don't decline in production by 6% per month.

Here is the exponential function of shale oil. They must produce new oil at the decline rate just to stay even. Growth in production is only accomplished if they produce more oil than declined that month.

But if they do produce more oil than the decline rate, then the decline will be even higher the next month. That is, if they had to produce 649,000 barrels of new oil in September to grow production by 85,000 barrels, then to grow oil by a like amount in October, they will have to produce more than 649,000 barrels. The more they increase production each month, then the more they will have to produce the next month just to stay even.

When production increases, the monthly loss through legacy decline also increases. Therefore just producing the same increase as they did last month will not do. They must always continue to increase by more than they did last month just to stay even.

Entropy x Ignored says: 08/19/2019 at 8:43 am
As always: The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function
Eulenspiegel x Ignored says: 08/19/2019 at 10:55 am
Ron, in my opinion it is a better model than conventional oil.

In conventional oil, you can pump 20 years after drilling. For 50 you'll have to do more things like water flooding etc. So increasing production is just drilling a few more holes (and install the additional infrastructure).

In mining, you have a decline rate of 100% / day.
You send a team in, they mine 100 tons of ore in their shift, move out and production after their shift is 0.

When you want more ore, you have to send in a team next day again.

Having 1 minint team gives you constant ore / day. Firing them gives you sudden production of 0.

So with LTO you send a fracking team in to create 1 well, produce oil for a few months (I'm exaggerating) and then you have 0 production again.

So you have to send in the team again. And again.

If you use 1 team drillling constantly new holes. you'll have nearly constant production (after the first ramp up time of overlaying declining productions, in reality a few years).

Increasing production means more teams constantly drilling new holes (as in mining: drill hole, fill with explosives, boom, carry away ore, repeat).

The big question for the peak shale oil is here: How many drilling/fracking teams can be payed and supplied with anything they need for working efficient. It's not just hiring teams.

To employ more teams they need more road capacity, sand capacity, water transport, take away pipelines, more stuff you know better than me.

As in deep mining: The elevator capacity / tunnel train capacity limits the maximum possible production. For increasing production, you have to increase everything, and then hire new teams.

So the question is: How much money do they invest to stretch all these capacities.

ProPoly x Ignored says: 08/20/2019 at 12:35 pm
Well the world's conventional oil production certainly peaked a while ago. Even if one treats Venezuela and Canada as conventional because their production was usually in forecasts, the USA fracking has to be considered a separate thing. The industry cycle is different, the grade produced is different, the economics are "different." The tail is *very* different as without new drilling the entire patch would disappear in less than three years. Blap, gone to stripper wells.
HuntingtonBeach x Ignored says: 08/17/2019 at 9:26 pm
Not so fast Ron

This is the age of Trump. I know for us simpletons it makes sense the average would be production. I'm not sure how Trump would do it, but I'll bet the tangerine could make 2019 peak the best ever. A world depression followed by war.

Ron Patterson x Ignored says: 08/18/2019 at 12:30 pm
No, but OPEC + Russia + Canada, about 58% of world oil production, is down 667,000 barrels per day, April to July. I doubt that the other 42% of world oil production is up anywhere near that amount.

The 2019 7 month average for OPEC + Russia + Canada is 1,629,000 barrels per day below their 2018 average.

I have posted that chart up top, just below OPEC+ Russia.

[Aug 22, 2019] I'm astonished that completions are continuing almost regardless of the oil price but they have been.

Aug 22, 2019 | peakoilbarrel.com

Sean x Ignored says: 08/19/2019 at 6:26 pm

So to summarise, Denis assumes completions will continue in Permian at a steady rate while Guym/ Ron assume a drop in completions.

I'm astonished that completions are continuing almost regardless of the oil price but they have been.

Is there a tipping point where oil companies suspend/ reduce drilling in the Permian until it is profitable again?

I guess only time will resolve that question.

My guess is that some companies will review their q3 operations, possibly seriously affecting production growth but what do i know?

[Aug 21, 2019] WTI Slides After Crude Inventories Drawdown Less Than Hoped

Paper oil and speculation dominate the market. After Iran oil was taken off the market the prices were just stable to lwo. Amazing.
Trump administration doubles its efforts to capture Venezuela for a reason.
Aug 21, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

yogibear , 1 hour ago link

What Joke!!

Every day the opposite is reported.

More than expected one, next day less.

Trump wants cheap oil, so short the crap out of it.

Edward Morbius , 1 hour ago link

He wants cheap oil AND a weak dollar! Genius!

akrainer , 2 hours ago link

Every week we watch these invenstory draws/builds and every week the commentariat is out to explain how they drive the price fluctuations. Except there's -80% correlation between oil price and USD Index. Implying that events that have nothing to do with these blessed draws/builds have much greater pull on price changes... More here: " Failure of price forecasting: the unit of account conundrum "

Sunny2 , 2 hours ago link

................................................

kavabanga , 2 hours ago link

It looks like an accumulation at the time crude oil wti.
After the price will cross any border of the triangle with powerful candle we can open BUY/SELL entry. Potential profit will be in 3...5 times bigger than risk.

Element , 2 hours ago link

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way -- in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only. - Charles Dickens

Sardonicus , 2 hours ago link

Well, Duh!

Nobody is driving campers anymore

[Aug 18, 2019] China's Ultimate Play For Global Oil Market Control by Yossef Bodansky

Notable quotes:
"... It is bizarre that Qatar was the one country/sheikdom in the Gulf that openly stood by Iran ..."
"... Shale is already deeply unprofitable and always has been. Big-dollar investors like pension funds have continued funding it due to (a) hype and (b) lack of alternative putative sources of return, but it's finally starting to sink in that shale has no future. ..."
Aug 18, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Lambert here: "Both MBS and MBZ consider the last-minute cancellation of the US retaliatory strike [for Iran shooting down a US drone] a personal affront and humiliation because Trump did not accept and follow their positions and demands for action. Both MBS and MBZ are now convinced that not only the US demonstrated weakness and lack of resolve, but that Pres. Trump was personally not committed to fighting Iran on behalf of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf sheikhdoms." Oh, let's you and him fight!

By Yossef Bodansky, Director of Research at the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA) and Senior Editor of Defense & Foreign Affairs publications (including the Global Information System: GIS), was, for more than a decade, the Director of the US House of Representatives Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. Originally published at OilPrice.com .

All attention is focused on the twists-and-turns of the very noisy US-Iran dispute in the Persian Gulf, but all the while the People's Republic of China (PRC) is rapidly and quietly consolidating a dominant presence in the area with the active support of Russia.

Beijing, as a result, is fast acquiring immense influence over related key dynamics such as the price of oil in the world market and the relevance of the petrodollar. The PRC and the Russians are capitalizing on both the growing fears of Iran and the growing mistrust of the US. Hence, the US is already the main loser of the PRC's gambit.

The dramatic PRC success can be attributed to the confluence of two major trends:

(1) The quality and relevance of what Beijing can offer to both Iran and the Saudi-Gulf States camp; and

(2) The decision of key Arab leaders -- most notably Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin 'Abd al-'Aziz al Sa'ud (aka MBS) and his close ally, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan (aka MBZ) -- to downgrade their traditional close ties with the US, and reach out to Beijing to provide a substitute strategic umbrella.

Hence, the PRC offer to oversee and guarantee the establishment of a regional collective security regime -- itself based on the Russian proposals and ideas first raised in late July 2019 -- is now getting considerable positive attention from both shores of the Persian Gulf. Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, and Oman appear to be becoming convinced that the PRC could be the key to the long-term stability and prosperity in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula.

Iran is also considering the expansion of security cooperation with Russia as an added umbrella against potential US retaliation.

Overall, according to sources in these areas, the US was increasingly perceived as an unpredictable, disruptive element.

The profound change in the attitude of the Saudi and Emirati ruling families, who for decades have considered themselves pliant protégés of the US, took long to evolve. However, once formulated and adopted, the new policies have been implemented swiftly.

The main driving issue is the realization by both MBS and MBZ that, irrespective of the reassuring rhetoric of US Pres. Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, their bitter nemesis -- Qatar -- is far more important to the US than the rest of the conservative Arab monarchies and sheikhdoms of the GCC. The last straw came in early July 2019 in the aftermath of the visit of the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, to Washington, DC. Sheikh Tamim received an extravagant reception from both Pres. Trump in person and official Washington. Trump lavished praises on Qatar and the Emir , and emphasized the US renewed commitment "to further advancing the high-level strategic cooperation between our two countries".

There are good reasons for the US preference of Qatar.

The Al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar is by far the most important US base in the entire greater Middle East. Qatar is mediating between the US and several nemeses, including Afghanistan, Iran, and Turkey. Qatar is providing "humanitarian cash" to HAMAS in the Gaza Strip, thus buying quiet time for Israel. Qatar has given generous "political shelter" to numerous leaders, seniors, and commanders of questionable entities the US would like to protect but would never acknowledge this (including anti-Russia Chechens and other Caucasians, and anti-China Uighurs). Related: Gibraltar Releases Iranian Tanker

Qatari Intelligence is funding and otherwise supporting the various jihadist entities which serve as proxies of the CIA and M?T ( Milli ?stihbarat Te?kilat?: the Turkish National Intelligence Organization) in the greater Middle East (mainly Syria, Iraq, Libya, Jordan, Yemen) and Central Asia (mainly Afghanistan-Pakistan, China's Xinjiang and Russia's Caucasus and the Turkic peoples of eastern Siberia).

On top of this, Qatar is purchasing billions of dollars' worth of US-made weapons; and paying cash on-time (unlike the habitually late Saudis who now cannot afford to pay what they've already promised).

Moreover, the Middle East is awash with rumors that Qatari businessmen saved the financial empire of the Kushner family by investing at least half-a-billion dollars in the 666 5th Avenue project in New York. The rumors are very specific in that the investment was made for political reasons on instruction of the Emir . In the conspiracies-driven Arab Middle East, such rumors are believed and serve as a viable motive for the policies of the Trump White House: an ulterior motive the Saudis and Gulfies cannot challenge.


haydar khan , August 18, 2019 at 9:13 am

"They discussed coordination of forthcoming regional crises and diplomatic initiatives. They agreed that the current dynamic vis-à-vis the US could lead to either a US capitulation and withdrawal, or to a major escalation all over the greater Middle East. Soleimani believed the latter option was more likely. Therefore, Soleimani and Zarif discussed how to better utilize the Russian and PRC umbrella to not only shield Iran against US onslaught, but to also convince the Arab states to stay out of the fighting."

A lot of focus on the Arabs but only a brief mention of the Israelis. I suspect this is why Soleimani believes escalation is likely: the Israelis are the main driving force pushing the U.S. take out Iran. My question: How tight is Adelson and Netanyahu's grip on the strange orange man?

Anarcissie , August 18, 2019 at 10:20 am

'How tight is Adelson and Netanyahu's grip on the strange orange man?'

I think the refusal to retaliate against Iran for shooting down a drone has already given an answer to this question. If my guess is correct then we can expect a new outbreak of the wars between the Deep State and the various populist factions now gaining ground. It seems the folk are tired of the burdens of empire in spite of being propagandized by their betters day and night. Better watch out for another major terrorist attack, I suppose.

Schmoe , August 18, 2019 at 10:38 am

It is bizarre that Qatar was the one country/sheikdom in the Gulf that openly stood by Iran, if only because of the idiotic Saudi attempted embargo of it, while at the same time Qatari funded mercenaries in Syria fought Iranian backed Hezbollah forces there.

As bizarre as Russia sending S-400s to Turkey last month and Turkish-allied militants shelling a Russian observation post in Syria yesterday. Also, maybe Qatar's importance to the US is its regional support for Iran.

China's largest oil company backed out of a large Venezuelan crude purchase last week and it will be interesting to see if they continue to violate US sanctions on Iran.

Elrond Hubbard , August 18, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Shale is already deeply unprofitable and always has been. Big-dollar investors like pension funds have continued funding it due to (a) hype and (b) lack of alternative putative sources of return, but it's finally starting to sink in that shale has no future.

If the bubble doesn't pop by itself, a Chinese end-run would likely do so, thereby ratcheting the stakes up in the Middle East that much higher. Then we're back to Soleimani's "latter option".

John k , August 18, 2019 at 12:42 pm

Different take from MOA, particularly re Russians stationed in Iran which none may call bases. None of this in msm but of course, because this is news the contradiscts official narrative. Msm is reporting Iran oil trans shipped between tankers to bust sanctions but if China takes large, say 2 million b/d, can't be hid what will us do?

Probably not much if in China ships. More tariffs?

[Jul 22, 2019]