The World Is Creeping Toward De-Dollarization

The issue of when a global reserve currency begins or ends is not an exact science. There are no press releases announcing it, and neither are there big international conferences that end with the signing of treaties and a photo shoot. Nevertheless we can say with confidence that the reign of every world reserve currency has to come to and end at some point in time. During a changeover from one global currency to another, gold (and to a lesser extent silver) has always played a decisive role. Central banks and governments have long been aware that the dollar has a sell-by date as a reserve currency. But it has taken until now for the subject to be discussed openly. The fact that the issue has been on the radar of a powerful bank like JP Morgan for at least five years, should give one pause. Questions regarding the global reserve currency are not exactly discussed on CNBC every day. Most mainstream economists avoid the topic like the plague. The issue is too politically charged. However, that doesn’t make it any less important for investors to look for answers. On the contrary. The following questions need to be asked: What indications are there that the world is turning its back on the US dollar? And what are the clues that gold’s role could be strengthened in a new system? Continue reading

Syria is a ‘Laboratory’ for the Air War of the Future

A boom operator, assigned to the 340th Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron, prepares to refuel an aircraft from a KC-135 Stratotanker above Southwest Asia, July 20, 2017.

 

US airmen are rapidly developing and remixing new technologies and techniques in the fight against ISIS, but sometimes you can’t beat the tried and true.

ISIS doesn’t have an Air Force, but the Syrian skies are nevertheless a rapidly evolving “laboratory” for air warfare, said U.S. military leaders, who described how the U.S. is fusing cyber attacks with real bombs and using open-source intelligence to find and strike targets.

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Australia Takes On Qatar For Top LNG Producer Status

LNG

 

Australia this week moved a step closer to becoming a real problem for Qatar on the LNG market, after the second floating production, storage, and offloading vessel for the Ichthys gas field reached its destination.

The Ichthys Venturer joins the Ichthys Explorer at the field operated by Japan’s Inpex, with the first LNG shipment from the field scheduled for next spring.

The Venturer has a capacity of 1.12 million barrels of gas condensate and will process, stabilize, and store condensate it will receive from the other FPSO, and then load it on tankers. Continue reading

The Saudi Power Balance Is On A Knife-Edge

 

The sweltering heat of Saudi Arabian summer will feel like a cool breeze compared to the geopolitical fire that could soon take over the country if ongoing internal power struggles destabilize the Kingdom’s Royal Family and national security in the coming weeks.

After his successful elevation to Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has been appointed by King Salman to be in charge during his holiday to Morocco. The King’s holiday comes at a time of relative instability in the Kingdom, as the effects of the removal of former Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef at the end of the Ramadan period continue to linger. Continue reading

State Dept. in ‘Open War’ With White House

See also: Report: Tillerson Tells Friends He’ll Be Lucky to Last a Year at State Department

 

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson / Getty Images

 

The State Department under Secretary Rex Tillerson has been locked in a growing power struggle with the White House that has angered officials in the West Wing and sparked claims that the Trump administration’s top diplomatic organ is now in “open war” with the White House on a range of critical issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, Iran, the crisis with Qatar, and other matters, according to multiple sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the situation.

The State Department is said to be in a state of “massive dysfunction,” with top officials working under Tillerson ignoring White House directives on critical staffing issues and key policy matters, according to multiple sources, including administration allies who are said to be increasingly frustrated with what is perceived as the White House’s inability to control its own federal agencies.

The tensions have fueled an outstanding power battle between the West Wing and State Department that has handicapped the administration and resulted in scores of open positions failing to be filled with Trump confidantes. This has allowed former Obama administration appointees still at the State Department to continue running the show and formulating policy, where they have increasingly clashed with the White House’s own agenda.

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Turkey Sends 200 Cargo Planes to Qatar Amid Gulf States Diplomatic Row

© AP Photo/ Doha News

 

Turkey sent 200 cargo aircraft, loaded with goods worth more that $20 billion to Qatar, subjected to an economic blockade by the Gulf countries since early June due to its alleged terror support, Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said Tuesday.

“Turkey is not helping [Qatar], it exports the goods, which had been already paid for. We have possibly made ever largest operation on goods delivery by 200 planes,” Zeybekci told the local TRT television channel, adding that the supplied goods were worth over $20 billion.

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At This Stage, The Trump Administration Consents To Iran’s Regional Expansion, Exchanges Messages Seeking An Understanding With Iran; Qatar Crisis, Escalation Of Conflict Between Iran And Its Axis And Saudi-Sunni Camp Are Outcome Of U.S.’s Incoherent Dual Policy

Introduction

Recently, there have been significant developments in the conflict/rivalry between, on the one hand, Saudi Arabia and the Sunni axis that it established, and on the other hand Iran and the resistance axis. These developments concern not only the forces in the region but also the U.S. and Russia. Both these camps are vying for support from the U.S., which at this stage is striving for understandings and negotiations with Iran and, according to Iranian sources, is already conducting secret contacts with it; this is happening as the U.S. is, for now, coming to terms with Iran’s expansion in the region. These developments are impacting the reshaping of the Middle East as well as the power relations among the leading elements within it. The current Qatar crisis is a new manifestation of the generational geo-political Sunni-Shi’ite Saudi-Iranian struggle, and is the outcome of the policy of a U.S. administration in which two political camps are discernible. One is that of President Trump and his close advisors, who support Saudi Arabia and the Sunni axis, and the other is that of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who are showing sympathy for Qatar and acting to preserve the pro-Iran status quo of the Obama era. Continue reading

New Crown Prince Mohammed seen taking a harder line on Iran

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

 

In elevating his son Prince Mohammed to next in line to the throne, Saudi King Salman approved a strategic realignment with the U.S. under Donald Trump and handed sweeping new powers to the 31-year-old who has been highly critical of regional rival Iran.

The decision by King Salman to promote his son to crown prince and consolidate his power was endorsed by 31 of 34 members of the Allegiance Council, made up of senior members of the ruling Al Saud family, Reuters reported on June 21. Continue reading

Iran, China Conduct Joint Naval Drills

Last summer, when the Syrian conflict was near its peak under the Obama administration, China unexpectedly warned it was ready to enter the proxy war when in a stunning announcement, Xinhua reported that Beijing was prepared to side with Syria and Russia, against the US-led alliance, and that Xi and Assad had agreed that the Chinese military will have closer ties with Syria and provide humanitarian aid to the civil war torn nation.

A high-ranking People’s Liberation Army officer also said that the training of Syrian personnel by Chinese instructors has also been discussed: the Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, Guan Youfei, arrived in Damascus on Tuesday for talks with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij, Xinhua added. Guan said China had consistently played a positive role in pushing for a political resolution in Syria. “China and Syria’s militaries have a traditionally friendly relationship, and China’s military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Syria’s military,” Xinhua quoted Guan. Continue reading

Germany, Austria vs. US Senate: America and Europe on Collision Course

 

Germany and Austria have lashed out against US Senate for approving a legislation tightening sanctions on Russia. The bill has a provision that enables the United States to impose sanctions on European firms involved in financing Russian energy export pipelines to Europe. European companies could be fined for breaching US law. In a joint statement, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern accused the US of threatening European economic interests, describing it as an illegal attempt to boost US gas exports. The United States recently started shipping liquefied natural gas to Poland and has ambitions to cultivate other European customers.

The bill says the US government «should prioritize the export of United States energy resources in order to create American jobs, help United States allies and partners, and strengthen United States foreign policy». But the European foreign chiefs believe that «Europe’s energy supply is Europe’s business, not that of the United States of America». Gabriel and Kern said they «can’t accept» proposed US sanctions targeting European energy companies as part of measures against Russia.

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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

It’s A “Geopolitical Earthquake”: A Stunned World Responds After Saudi Alliance Cuts All Ties With Qatar

 

Virtually nobody saw it coming.

Late on Sunday night, the Saudi-led alliance of Gulf Arab states, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain including Egypt, shocked the world when they announced they had severed ties and closed borders with one of the Gulf’s wealthiest, if smallest, neighbors Qatar, a (now former) member of the Gulf Cooperation Council in what we called a “geopolitical earthquake” and what Bloomberg dubbed an unprecedented move designed to punish one of the region’s financial superpowers for its ties with Iran and Islamist groups in the region.” Continue reading

Increasing Power at the Gulf

BERLIN/KUWAIT CITY (Own report) – Berlin is considering deploying German fighter jets in Kuwait to systematically expand its foothold in this Middle East Emirate. It is not yet clear, whether the Bundeswehr’s Tornados, currently participating in the anti-IS war, will be removed from Incirlik Air Base or where they may otherwise be stationed. The Kingdom of Jordan or the British colony on Cyprus (Akrotiri and Dhekelia) may be alternatives. Kuwait is also an option, given the fact that the German government has been intensifying its cooperation with the Emirate for quite some time – not only economically but also with arms deliveries. Increasing the German military presence in Kuwait would raise German-Kuwaiti relations to new heights. The Bundeswehr would also gain another foothold directly at the Persian Gulf. So far, particularly the US, British and French armed forces have a presence in that region. Continue reading

Iran Renews Destructive Cyber Attacks on Saudi Arabia

AP

Tehran strategy seeks takeover of oil-rich U.S. ally

After a four-year hiatus, Iran recently resumed destructive cyber attacks against Saudi Arabia in what U.S. officials say is part of a long-term strategy by Tehran to take over the oil-rich kingdom and regional U.S. ally.

Late last month, the Saudi government warned in a notice to telecommunications companies that an Iranian-origin malicious software called Shamoon had resurfaced in cyber attacks against some 15 Saudi organizations, including government networks. Continue reading

Iran: If US imposes war, Israel, Gulf states will be destroyed

Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan. (YouTube screen capture)

 

Iranian defense minister says Mideast worried about conflict risks with Trump, amid president-elect’s vow to dismantle ‘disastrous’ nuclear deal

The election of Donald Trump has led to unease in the Middle East over threats to peace in the region and any war would lead to the destruction of Israel and the Gulf states, Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan warned Sunday.

His remarks came as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier Sunday that he would work with Trump to dismantle the nuclear agreement with Iran, signed last year over Israel’s fierce criticism of the pact. Continue reading