Iran To Sail Warships Into The Atlantic, Pushing Near US Waters

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The new Iranian destroyer Sahand sails in Persian Gulf waters, Iranian Army via AP

 

At a moment a US aircraft carrier group led by the USS Stennis is stationed in the Persian Gulf, putting Iran’s military on edge, the Iranian navy has announced plans to deploy warships to the Atlantic starting in March, in a clear attempt to increase the operating range of its forces and extend into the United States’ backyard.

A top Iranian naval commander told the the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Friday, “The Atlantic Ocean is far and the operation of the Iranian naval flotilla might take five months,” and also identified that among the deployed vessels will be its Sahand destroyer, touted as Iran’s latest domestic built stealth destroyer. Continue reading

Russia sending nuclear-capable bombers to Venezuelan island

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Two Russian Tu-160 supersonic bombers at Venezuela’s Maiquetia International Airport. / AFP / Getty Images

 

In one of the largest Russian military deployments to the region since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Moscow has sent supersonic bombers to one of Venezuela’s islands in the Caribbean Sea.

Russian military Col. Eduard Rodyukov said the move by President Vladimir Putin was in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to scrap nuclear treaties. Continue reading

Moscow To Set Up Military Base In Caribbean

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“According to military envoys, Russian authorities have made a decision (and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro did not object) to deploy strategic aircraft to one of Venezuela’s islands in the Caribbean Sea, which has a naval base and a military airfield. Ten years ago, Russian experts and Armed Forces commanders had already visited the island of La Orchila, located 200 kilometers northeast of Caracas. Venezuelan laws prohibit the setup of military bases in the country, but a temporary deployment of warplanes is possible,” reported Russian state news agency TASS. Continue reading

Russia Places Its ‘White Swan’ Strategic Bombers in Venezuela

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(Photo Credit: Vadim Savitsky/Russian Defense Ministry)

 

The tensions between Moscow and Washington continue to escalate.

Two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers, dubbed the “white swan,” was part of a fleet of aircraft that arrived at the Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maichetia, Venezuela, today after a flight of more than 6,200 miles. Continue reading

The Biggest Threat To Dollar Dominance

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Russian oil exporters are pressuring Western commodity traders to pay for Russian crude in euros and not dollars as Washington prepares more sanctions for the 2014 annexation of Crimea by Moscow, Reuters reported last week, citing as many as seven industry sources.

While it may have come as a surprise to the traders, who, Reuters said, were not too happy about it, the Russian companies’ move was to be expected as the Trump administration pursues a foreign policy where sanctions feature prominently. This approach, however, could undermine the dominance of the U.S. dollar as the global oil trade currency. Continue reading

Russia And China Prepare To Ditch Dollar In Bilateral Trade

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In a time when many nations have gone public with their intention to ditch the dollar in part or in whole, in bilateral trade with non-US counterparts, either to prevent the US from having “veto power” of commerce courtesy of SWIFT or simply in response to Trump’s “America First” doctrine, attention has long focused on Russia and China – the two natural adversaries to the US – to see if and when they would accelerate plans for de-dollarization. Continue reading

Venezuela Ditches US Dollar, Will Use Euros For International Trade

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Venezuela has just taken the next step in its quest to “free” itself from the tyranny of US dollar hegemony. One year after the country said it would stop accepting US dollars as payment for its (ever shrinking) oil exports (saying the country’s state-run oil company would accept payment in yuan instead), Venezuelan Vice President for Economy Tareck El Aissami said Tuesday that Venezuela will officially purge the dollar from its exchange market in favor of euros. Continue reading

FBI Chief Says Threats From Drones to U.S. ‘Steadily Escalating’

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FBI Director Christopher Wray, testifies before a Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing on “Threats to the Homeland” at the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on Oct. 10, 2018. REUTERS/Alex Wroblewski

 

WASHINGTON—FBI director Christopher Wray told a U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday that the threat from drones “is steadily escalating” even as Congress gives agencies new tools to address threats.

Wray told the Senate Homeland Security committee that the FBI assesses that “given their retail availability, lack of verified identification requirement to procure, general ease of use, and prior use overseas, (drones) will be used to facilitate an attack in the United States against a vulnerable target, such as a mass gathering.” Continue reading

‘Man-made crisis’: Venezuelan hell destabilizes region

Venezuelan refugees line up for food donations at Simon Bolivar Square in Boa Vista, Brazil. / Andre Coelho / Bloomberg

 

UNITED NATIONS — It didn’t have to be this way. An oil rich, economically prosperous middle class country, once a stable Latin American democracy, is disintegrating into a socialist dystopia plagued by hunger, corruption, hyper-inflation and churning political unrest.

While petroleum remains Venezuela’s major export, now tragically it’s the people too who are fleeing this twice California sized country. Continue reading

A New Era Of Geopolitical Risk In Global Oil Markets

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Amid never ending talk and speculation over how many more barrels of Iranian oil will be removed from global markets once sanctions slated to hit Iran’s oil production on November 6 take effect, some are claiming that geopolitical factors have driven the market just as much as supply fundamentals.

At Russia Energy Week in Moscow last week, both Saudi and Russian energy ministers said they see rising geopolitical risk as driving the recent oil price increase at a time when there is sufficient supply in the market. Of course, the notion of sufficient supply will be tested soon, as will both Saudi Arabia’s and OPEC’s spare production capacity will be called on to maintain this supply. Continue reading

Iran Sanctions Are Damaging The Dollar

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Painful sanctions on Iran have demonstrated the long reach of the U.S. Treasury, forcing much of the globe to fall in line and cut oil imports from Iran despite widespread disagreement over the policy. Yet, we are only in the first few chapters of what may ultimately be a long story that ends with the erosion of the power of the U.S. dollar.

The role of the greenback in the international financial system is the reason why the U.S. can prevent much of the world from buying oil from Iran. Oil is traded in dollars, and so much of international commerce is based in dollars. In fact, as much as 88 percent of all foreign exchange trades involve the greenback. Continue reading

The Tectonic Plates of Geopolitics Are Starting to Shift

The United States is currently waging economic warfare against one tenth of the world’s countries with cumulative population of nearly 2 billion people and combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $15 trillion.

These include Russia, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo, North Korea and others on which Washington has imposed sanctions over the years, but also countries like China, Pakistan and Turkey which are not under full sanctions but rather targets of other punitive economic measures.

In addition, thousands of individuals from scores of countries are included in the Treasury Department’s list of Specially Designated Nationals who are effectively blocked from the U.S.-dominated global financial system. Many of those designated are either part of or closely linked to their countries’ leadership…

But in recent months it seems that America’s unwavering commitment to fight all of the world’s scourges has brought all those governments and the wealthy individuals who support them to a critical mass, joining forces to create a parallel financial system which would be out of reach of America’s long arm. Should they succeed, the impact on America’s global posture would be transformational.

– From the recent article: The Anti-Dollar Awakening Could Be Ruder and Sooner Than Most Economists Predict

The peak of American empire has already come and gone, a reality not yet widely appreciated due to the continued dominance of the global financial system by the U.S. dollar, still the world’s preeminent reserve currency. U.S. leaders have always used the USD as a weapon, but it’s only in recent years that geopolitical rivals and long-standing allies alike have started to come to an increasingly vocal understanding that the unipolar role played by the U.S. in the world’s centralized financial system is well past its expiration date. Continue reading

America Is Not Ready for Exploding Drones

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Venezolana de Television via AP

 

An apparent assassination attempt in Venezuela shows how technology is moving faster than governments can counter it.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was intoning something about economic renewal, flanked by his wife and a handful of high officials, in a country gripped by poverty, starvation, and shortages. Then, in a moment broadcast live on television that has since gone viral, his wife’s face changed. For an instant she seemed to duck as she reached for the official next to her; Maduro glanced up with apparent concern. The camera panned to the National Guardsmen in formation on the street before him as dozens suddenly started running. According to the government and witnesses, they had seen explosions in the sky. Continue reading

Questions surround claims of drone assassination attempt on Venezuela’s Maduro

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Screen grab from video shows security detail shielding President Nicolas Maduro after what was reported by the Venezuelan government as a drone attack assassination attempt.

 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is likely to use what he said was an attempt on his life to purge his socialist government of disloyal officials and further restrict liberties, an analyst said.

Maduro’s government said the president survived an assassination attempt on Aug. 4, claiming explosions heard during a military event that was broadcast on live TV were drone attacks.

Three officials who spoke on condition of anonymity say the incident was actually a gas tank explosion inside a nearby apartment building, The Associated Press reported. Continue reading

Maduro admits failure: ‘No more whining . . . We need to make Venezuela’ (great again)

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During a speech in which the power went out while he was on live television, Venezuela’s socialist president admitted his economic model has “failed.”

“The production models we’ve tried so far have failed and the responsibility is ours, mine and yours,” President Nicolas Maduro told his ruling PSUV party congress on July 30. Continue reading