Tensions are rising between Egypt and Ethiopia over the latter’s Grand Renaissance Dam. Continue reading
On Friday the diplomatic split between Qatar and an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia deepened as 18 Qataris were placed on a terrorism blacklist and Turkey committed troops, warships and planes to defend their ally.
(DUBAI/DOHA) The developments intensified a confrontation between tiny-but-wealthy Qatar and a group of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt that accuse it of fomenting instability. The dispute has created a major diplomatic test for the United States, which is close allies of the countries on both sides.
In an apparent escalation of the crisis, staff at Al Jazeera, Qatar’s influential satellite television news channel which often infuriates the rulers of the Arab world, said on Thursday its computer systems were under cyber attack. Continue reading
Traditional rivals, Saudi Arabia and Iran, continue to fight to prove their supremacy in OPEC. Neither gives up an opportunity to hurt the other, whenever and wherever they can, and oil seems to be their favourite playground.
With Saudi Arabia scuttling any chances of a production freeze in Doha in April, Iran has followed suit by thwarting attempts by Saudi Arabia to introduce a production ceiling on OPEC production in Thursday’s meeting held in Vienna.
Iran, which is close to its pre-sanction levels of production, had earlier agreed to discuss being part of any production freeze after it reached its desired output. However, in yesterday’s meeting, Iran refused to adhere to any production ceiling, which led to OPEC abandoning the idea. Continue reading
Turkey signed a formal agreement with Qatar on 28 April to form a joint military base in the Gulf country.
The Qatari base will become Turkey’s first foreign military base in the Gulf, with the agreement being signed in Doha by Turkish defence minister Ismet Yilmaz and his Qatari counterpart Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah. Continue reading
There are a lot of conflicting forces expected to impact currency markets this week. The first was the meeting of oil-producing nations in Doha that analysts believe ended in failure. Beforehand, there was talk of a production cut that would have supported oil prices. Instead, there was no agreement and oil prices fell immediately. If oil weakness holds, the dollar should strengthen reflexively. Amazingly, however, that may not be the largest story of the week.
There is a rumor that China is planning to move on the dollar on the 19th, supported by Russia. There have been similar rumors with date-certain outcomes that came and went without incident. This one could be similar. Continue reading
As was mentioned in a previous post, Russian intervention could be the Obama administration’s excuse to avoid responsibility and leave the Middle East. The consequences of allowing Russia to fill the vacuum are tremendous. It will pave the way for Iran to dominate the entire region, serve as an abandonment of Israel. It will be completely surrounded with no one to turn to other than Germany.
Once it became clear that Moscow and Tehran had jointly planned the incursion in Syria with Russia promising full air support and Iran pledging ground troops from Hezbollah, its various Shiite militias, and the IRGC, we immediately suggested that Iraq was next on the agenda after the Assad regime is restored.
For those unfamiliar with the situation on the ground, we encourage you to read “Who Really Controls Iraq? Inside Iran’s Powerful Proxy Armies,” in which we outline the extent to which Tehran effectively controls both the Iraqi military and the politicians in Baghdad. Continue reading
Any weakening of Russian support for Mr. Assad could be one of the first signs that the recent tumult in the oil market is having an impact on global statecraft. Saudi officials have said publicly that the price of oil reflects only global supply and demand, and they have insisted that Saudi Arabia will not let geopolitics drive its economic agenda. But they believe that there could be ancillary diplomatic benefits to the country’s current strategy of allowing oil prices to stay low — including a chance to negotiate an exit for Mr. Assad.
That’s a quote from a New York Times article that ran in February of this year.
At the time, we pointed to the piece as evidence that yet another conspiracy “theory” has become conspiracy “fact” as it effectively served to validate (to the extent The New York Times is validation) the thesis that at the end of the day, this is all about energy. Continue reading
As each day passes by with the proxy war over Damascus, it’s looking like this could be the time and how Bible prophecy Isaiah 17:1 is to be fulfilled — that’s to say, slowly reduced to rubble through world powers making their moves in a high stakes game of chess. Although we’re likely heading in that direction, only time will tell. Until then, keep your eyes on the proxy war.
While the US has certainly made some epic strategic blunders in Syria that raise serious questions about just how “intelligent” US intelligence actually is, there’s little doubt that if one were to look behind all of the media parroting, the Pentagon and Langley understand all too well what’s going on in the Middle East.
That is, the significance of the Russia-Iran “nexus” in Syria isn’t lost on anyone in the US military and you can bet there have been quite a few high level discussions over the past 72 hours about the best way to counter Moscow and Tehran’s powerplay before it spills over into Iraq and ends up degrading Washington’s influence in Baghdad. Continue reading
President Obama is not the only actor with a red line on Syria. China, Russia and Iran also have their own red line on Damascus.
CNN on 12 November reported Obama administration is suddenly focused on removing Assad as the core of its anti-ISIS strategy, once again submitting to Turkey and Arab Gulf states that enabled ISIS to begin with, and are actually contributing very little to the anti-ISIS efforts to be dictating such orders to Washington.
Moreover, these demands are harmful to US security interests—redefining US anti-ISIS mission to one of anti-Assad mission—and thereby potentially drawing in Eurasian powers of China, Russia and Iran into open military conflict against the US. Continue reading
WASHINGTON: The US military has failed to prepare a realistic “plan B” if political turmoil forces the closure of a vital naval base in Bahrain, a naval officer argues in a report released Monday.
“Surprisingly, military leaders have no ‘Plan B’ if strategic access in Bahrain is jeopardized,” McDaniel wrote, in a paper published by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. Continue reading