New Rumblings In The Horn Of Africa Over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam

Tensions are rising between Egypt and Ethiopia over the latter’s Grand Renaissance Dam. Continue reading

Qatar Saudi Terror Row Deepens as Turkey Commits Troops

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan poses with commandos following a fast-breaking iftar dinner at the 1. Commando Brigade in Kayseri, Turkey, June 8, 2017. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

 

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

Inside the Combined Air and Space Operations Center

BERLIN/DAMASCUS/WASHINGTON (Own report) – The German Bundeswehr’s concrete role in the widely criticized air attacks carried out by the anti-IS coalition and its members has not become clear, even after the coalition’s air strikes on Syrian government forces near Deir al-Zor. The Bundeswehr is supporting air strikes on IS/DAESH not only by furnishing in-flight refueling – already more than 1,100 times – but also by supplying intelligence information. This information is passed on to all coalition members through the “information space” in the anti-IS coalition’s Combined Air and Space Operations Center at the Al Udeid Air Base (Qatar), where several Bundeswehr officers are stationed. Observers assume that some of this intelligence, for example, can be used also by Turkey to prepare its operations against Kurdish units in Northern Syria. It is not clear, whether this data has played a role also in preparing attacks, resulting in civilian casualties, such as the anti-IS coalition’s air strikes on Manbij in mid-July, wherein more than 100 people were killed. Last June, the Bundeswehr declared that it had already evaluated more than 11,000 reconnaissance photos and passed them on to its allies fighting the war against IS.

Continue reading

Does Iran Have The Upper Hand In OPEC Oil War

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 opens military base in Qatar

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

The Coming Week Could Be Critical for the Dollar

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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

Russia Takes Over The Mid-East: Moscow Gets Green Light For Strikes In Iraq, Sets Up Alliance With Jordan

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.

 

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The Kremlin’s alliance with Jordan plays right into that dynamic as the Moscow-Tehran nexus is literally encircling Riyadh, Doha, and the UAE…

 

 

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

Saudi Fears Over Emerging Russia-Iran Energy Nexus

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

Saudis Mull Launch Of Regional War As Russia Pounds Targets In Syria For Fourth Day

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

By removing Assad, Obama may be declaring war on China

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

U.S. has no ‘plan B’ for Bahrain naval base: officer

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.

The Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain is the most US important maritime base in the Middle East but senior officers have become complacent about its future, Commander Richard McDaniel asserts.

“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