Vital Oil Shipping Lane Becomes Target In Yemen’s Civil War

 

Yemen’s strategic Red Sea port, through which some 4 million barrels of oil flow daily to Middle Eastern markets, is becoming a focal point in the proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and China is the only power with the economic deal-making leverage to keep this from becoming much more than a proxy battle.

The Red Sea port, near the Bab al-Mandab strait, is currently controlled by Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthis, and whoever maintains control of it has a strategic advantage. This port is a pathway connection the Middle East (where the world’s largest proven oil reserves are) and Sub-Saharan Africa (a region expected to see a four-fold increase in energy demand by 2040), making it a coveted geopolitical prize for regional powers, but a livelihood-destroying burden for Yemen’s residents. Continue reading

‘If Erdogan Starts Confronting Moscow It Will Bury Turkey’

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C-L) and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C-R) enter a hall to start their meeting with Russian and Turkish entrepreneurs in Konstantinovsky Palace outside Saint Petersburg on August 9, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin (C-L) and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan (C-R) enter a hall to start their meeting with Russian and Turkish entrepreneurs in Konstantinovsky Palace outside Saint Petersburg on August 9, 2016 [© AFP 2017/ ALEXANDER NEMENOV]

Ahead of the upcoming meeting between Presidents Putin and Erdogan, which is set to start later on Friday in Moscow, political analysts from both countries have indicated certain hidden hazards which might hinder the negotiations.

Earlier on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that President Putin, among others, plans to discuss the conflict settlement process in Syria and Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov’s assassination in talks with Erdogan. Continue reading

China Boosting Nuclear Capabilities, Narrowing Gap With US, Russia

“The DF-5’s strengths are obvious. This is a powerful liquid-fuel missile which weighs 183 tons. Its energy potential is so great that it [led to China] creating a family of space launch vehicles based [upon this missile]. It is capable of delivering a powerful front section with ten warheads and the means of overcoming ballistic missile defenses to the US,” Vasily Kashin said.

 

China is likely to change the rules of the game in the Asian-Pacific region: in the coming years Beijing may narrow the gap with the US in terms of strategic nuclear capabilities, Russian military expert Vasily Kashin told Sputnik, referring to Beijing’s flight test of advanced DF-5C intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

There appear to be more and more reasons to expect China to make a spectacular breakthrough in the field of nuclear weapons development, Russian military expert Vasily Kashin told Sputnik, adding that this could lead to radical changes in the ongoing geopolitical game over Asia-Pacific.

On January 31 Bill Gertz, a senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon, reported that Beijing had flight tested “a new variant of a long-range missile with 10 warheads,” dubbing it a “dramatic shift in Beijing’s strategic nuclear posture.” Continue reading

Putin’s Russia in biggest Arctic military push since Soviet fall

Atomic icebreakers Russia and Yamal are seen moored at Atomflot (Rosatomflot), the operator of Russia’s nuclear icebreaker fleet, base in the Arctic port of Murmansk, Russia December 22, 2011. Picture taken December 22, 2011. REUTERS/Andrei Pronin

 

MURMANSK, Russia (Reuters) – The nuclear icebreaker Lenin, the pride and joy of the Soviet Union’s Arctic great game, lies at perpetual anchor in the frigid water here. A relic of the Cold War, it is now a museum.

But nearly three decades after the Lenin was taken out of service to be turned into a visitor attraction, Russia is again on the march in the Arctic and building new nuclear icebreakers.

It is part of a push to firm Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States, and Norway as well as newcomer China. Continue reading

Turkey, ‘Axis of Gold’ and the End of US Dollar Hegemony

 

Introduction

With a ‘Hard Brexit’ looking more likely and Trump’s inauguration this week, 2017 is well and truly under way.

What we expect the year to hold is probably not even half of what it really will. But from what we know, the upcoming French and German elections, referendums, geopolitical crises, steps towards reverse globalisation and a third of global government debt yielding negative interest rates, governments are already prompting central banks and investors to turn to the one asset that has survived millennia of financial and monetary crises.

One that is highly liquid and convertible into other currencies – gold. Continue reading

Japanese Troops Deploy to South Sudan Risking First Overseas Conflict Since World War 2

The re-miliarization of Japan has been on my radar and caused me much concern in recent years. I’ve covered the topic on several occasions, with the most recent example published over the summer in the post, Japanese Government Shifts Further Toward Authoritarianism and Militarism. Here are the first few paragraphs:

One of the most discomforting aspects of Neil Howe and William Strauss’ seminal work on generational cycles, The Fourth Turning (1997), is the fact that as far as American history is concerned, they all climax and end with massive wars. Continue reading

Russia can only survive as a global Eurasian bridge

Russian President Vladimir Putin has every reason to be proud of himself. He is a master of high geopolitical games. Moscow’s influence is more widespread than ever, possibly even greater than at the height of the Cold War, when Moscow was the capital of the Soviet Empire and vying with Washington for global dominance.

In the American presidential campaign, for the first time ever, a candidate openly quoted Putin as a model to follow, while in past decades, Russia, in its Soviet incarnation, was just the great enemy against which the United States should prepare to fight. Continue reading

Ireland “Especially Exposed” To “International Shocks” Warns Central Bank

Ireland remains especially exposed to another financial shock because of the extremely high levels of public and private debt, the open nature of the economy, and Brexit, Irish Central Bank Governor Philip Lane has warned in a pre-budget letter to Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan.

“Ireland is especially exposed due to the legacy of high public and private debt levels, the sensitivity of small, highly-open economies to international shocks and Brexit-related vulnerabilities,” Ireland’s Central Bank Governor said.

The letter was covered in the Irish Independent, Irish Times and Irish Examiner. This is something we covered in our interview with Max Keiser last week – see here. Continue reading

The New Russian Empire

Russian President Vladimir Putin / AP

 

Russia’s annexation of Crimea in early March 2014 and subsequent confrontational policies in the Middle East and parts of Europe have spawned myriad debates assessing Vladimir Putin’s ambitions and their implications for global security. Many of these discussions conclude that Russia seeks little more than a revival of Soviet-era influence in the near abroad–that is, nations bordering Russia. Continue reading

Putin, Erdogan have a deal on Syria

Consider this to be a critical wounding of NATO. The straw that breaks the camel’s back will be Turkey leaving, which likely is only a matter of time. Putin has successfully and brilliantly driven a wedge between the Western powers. Russia has the most to gain while the United States has the most to lose.

 

After Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg, Ankara says the next administration in Syria should be inclusive and secular so that everyone can live with their beliefs. This is as close as Turkey has ever come to accept that Assad has a legitimate role to play.

It is the ‘morning-after’ that needs to be watched when a crucial summit meeting takes place. And, as details become available, it emerges that the meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan at St. Petersburg on August 9 has been exceptionally productive.

Neither side showed interest in labeling the qualitatively new level of relationship in hackneyed terms, but then, it doesn’t matter whether one calls it ‘alliance’, ‘quasi-alliance’ or ‘entente’. What matters is that a profoundly meaningful relationship is commencing. Continue reading

#LoudonClear: Trevor interviews Jeff Nyquist on Russia influence

Audio interview available via source link or directly here: https://www.spreaker.com/embed/player/standard?episode_id=9131416&autoplay=false

 

This week, Trevor interviews Jeffrey R. Nyquist, geopolitical expert and author of “Origins of the Fourth World War: And the Coming Wars of Mass Destruction.” This particularly frightening episode of LoudonClear delves into what happened to the communists after the cold war, the Russian propaganda machine and Donald Trump’s Russian ties. Continue reading

War With Russia Looms, Says Former NATO General in New Book

https://i1.wp.com/s.newsweek.com/sites/www.newsweek.com/files/styles/full/public/2016/08/01/0801russiawar01.jpg

Russian warships sail past exploding anti-missile ordnance during a rehearsal for the Navy Day parade in the far eastern port of Vladivostok, Russia, July 30. Yuri Maltsev/Reuters

 

The first female president of the United States faces her first major international conflict: Seeking to consolidate the Slavic nations of Eastern Europe, Russia has seized the three Baltic states—Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia—all members of NATO. That requires a response beyond just a caustic tweet or sharply worded press release. For the first time since the Cuban missile crisis, there is serious talk of nuclear war. Continue reading

DNC leak: Russia better at information war now than during Cold War

If you want to see how Russian propaganda and information warfare works against America today, look no further than the following previous post:

WAR 2020: Russia’s Information Aggression

 

Russia’s hacking and exploitation of emails from the Democratic National Committee has created an unprecedented situation for the US election this year.

The goal of distributing internal DNC emails is not only to create disorder within the party, as has happened after WikiLeaks published embarrassing internal documents that led to the resignation of DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The emails and other information can be used to shape broader views of the US political system among American voters and in the wider world, as a form of information war waged by Russia towards the West. Continue reading

IMF boss Christine Lagarde calls turn away from globalisation world’s top challenge

In today’s world up is down, down is up, left is right and right is left. Retaining national sovereignty is now an offense to those who want to destroy it.

 

The risk of countries turning their back on global co-operation is the biggest challenge facing the world, as low growth and rising inequality fuel the rise of populism, said IMF managing director Christine Lagarde.

“It did not take the Brexit vote to understand that low growth, rising inequality, and a lack of jobs have combined with social and geopolitical concerns to fuel the rise of populism and inward-looking forces,” Ms Lagarde said in the text of a speech on Thursday at the Centre for Global Development in Washington. Continue reading

U.S. Legitimizes Iranian Presence And Activity In Iraq

https://i2.wp.com/www.memri.org/image/28851.jpg

Armed Iranian and Iraqi soldiers in Iraq (Facebook.com/Iran.Military, June 27, 2016)

 

In June 28, 2016 remarks at the Aspen Ideas Festival in Colorado, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was asked whether Iran’s influence in Iraq was “more helpful or more harmful.” He replied: “Look, we have challenges with Iran as everybody knows, and we’re working on those challenges. But I can tell you that Iran in Iraq has been, in certain ways, helpful, and they clearly are focused on ISIL-Daesh, and so we have a common interest, actually.”[1]

This statement grants U.S. legitimacy to Iran’s military presence and activity on Iraqi soil, based on the claim that Iran and the U.S. have shared interests in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) and that “Iran is a helpful” element. Additionally, Kerry claims that Iran’s focus in Iraq is the war against ISIS. Continue reading