Friday, April 29, 2016

The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm | By: Pepe Escobar

In this Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, file photo, an oil pump stands as the Saudi Hawks Aerobatic Team of the Royal Saudi Air Force performs during the Bahrain International Airshow in Sakhir, Bahrain

The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm

© AP Photo/ Hasan Jamali, File
COLUMNISTS
Pepe Escobar

Major turbulence seems to be the name of the game in 2016. Yet the current turbulence may be interpreted as the calm before the next, devastating geopolitical/financial storm. Let’s review the current state of play via the dilemmas afflicting the House of Saud, the EU and BRICS members Russia, Brazil and China.

Oil and the House of Saud
Not many people are familiar with the Baltic Dry Index. Yet the Index is key to track commodity demand. Two months ago, it was trading to all-time lows. Since then, it has increased over 130%. Precious metals prices have all moved higher in virtually all currencies. Why is this important? Because it tells us that faith in fiat currencies – the US dollar especially — is sharply declining.
The Baltic Index rise portends a rise in oil demand in Asia – especially China. Falling supply and rising demand for oil will likely drive up the price of the barrel of oil in the second half of 2016.
That does not mean that the House of Saud will win back the trust of both the US and Russia. Deep sources keep confirming that as far as Washington and Moscow are concerned, the House of Saud is expendable. Both are really energy independent (should the US want to be). Powerful Washington factions blatantly accuse Riyadh of “terror” – well, it’s way more complicated – while Moscow regards the House of Saud as following US orders to destroy Russia in an oil price war. 
Ailing – on the way to dementia — King Salman and young Warrior Prince Mohammed would be finished if those famous 28 pages about 9/11 were released and the Saudi connection is incontrovertible. What next? Regime change. A CIA coup. A “trusted” Saudi military CIA asset elevated to power. 
What’s left for the House of Saud is to play for time. High up in Riyadh the feeling is that relations with Washington won’t improve while Obama is president; the next president — whether Hillary or The Donald – will be a much better deal. So Plan A for now is to keep posing as essential to Washington in the “war on terra”; that means King Salman falling back on Mohammed bin Nayef, the Crown Prince, way more adept at it than the Warrior Prince, the conductor of the disastrous war on Yemen.  
In parallel, Turkey’s Sultan Erdogan keeps advancing his play to take over oil in Iraqi Kurdistan, eventually diverting the whole supply to make Turkey energy independent – and thus a regional superpower.
Moreover, in Pipelineistan terms, Erdogan absolutely also needs the Qatar gas pipeline through Saudi Arabia and Syria to gain energy independence from Russia. That also happens to be a major US goal. And that also portends perennial trouble for the Syria peace process.
Erdogan already has the German superpower at his feet in the shape of a groveling, begging Chancellor Merkel. Were Turkey on its way to become an energy power, Merkel would prostrate herself on that Ankara palace golden ground non-stop. The CIA intimates as much, when it analyzes how Turkey will keep “expanding its influence” in Iraq through the militias they support, at the expense of Iraq's security and political unity.
Andrew Bacevich’s America’s War for the Greater Middle East examines how Washington ruled that “military preponderance” across the Middle East should be the strategic objective in a war against the USSR — that was when Dr. Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski reigned as geopolitical supremo. This was always supposed to be an endless war – now encompassing the “Greater Middle East” the neocons are so fond of.
Russia, Brazil and Hybrid War 
Russia's largest commodity exchange is actively courting international oil traders to join its emerging futures market. The goals are crystal clear; to disconnect the price-setting mechanism from the Brent oil benchmark and, crucially, to move away from the petrodollar. That also happens to be a key condition imposed by Beijing to the House of Saud for continuing to buy their oil.
It’s easy to forget that it was only 20 years ago that Moscow wanted to join the West as Christians, and was treated like trash. Russia was perceived in the Beltway to be weak under Yeltsin, who let in looters who ate up Russia as locusts, collapsing Russia’s GDP by 40% as they drew out natural resources, absconding with at least a trillion US dollars.
Now Exceptionalistan keeps updating every trick in the book to destroy or at least undermine Russia with Maidan in Ukraine, an oil price war, attacks on the ruble, Syrian pipelines. Hybrid, unconventional warfare rules – and these will only get nastier. The BRICS as a whole are under siege. The Brazilian color revolution, set up as a soft regime change process, is just the first stage in a new, sophisticated Hybrid War strategy bound to be studied in academia for decades.
As oil demand soars and supply contracts, Hybrid War practitioners across the spectrum will have to create a recession to keep the chaos going. A possible scenario is to let the embattled Italian banking system go down; that’s the next frontier in the EU. 
Walking Dead Europe, meanwhile, subcontracted and/or externalized a policy of refugee repression, thus unleashing the largest mass deportation since WWII, complete with camps financed by EU taxpayers and managed by the Great Democrat Erdogan. The missing link is now in the open; everything is proceeding under control of NATO-linked think tanks.
A private security guard stands outside the building where Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm is based, in Panama City, on April 5, 2016
© AFP 2016/ RODRIGO ARANGUA
As appalling as it may be, this is hardly new. It was already inbuilt in agreements that the EU imposes on African nations, “upgrading” their status to border Cerberuses. That’s the key mission of the Frontex agency, which is progressively delocalizing the external borders of the EU – to the east and to the south – to better repel migrants. Not a dot connected to NATO’s neo-imperial wars of choice, of course.
No wonder Noam Chomsky has noted that support for formal democracy in the West is dwindling, because they are not real democracies. All major decisions affecting the EU are taken by unelected eurocrats in Brussels. In a groundbreaking book published in Spain, Mercado-Estado-Carcel en la Democracia Neoliberal Espanola (Anthropos), Daniel Jimenez, doctor in Juridical Sociology at the University of Zaragoza, details how the new institutional local order is about de-democratization, denationalization and dependency; NATO, IMF, World Bank, the Paris club, BCE, the European Commission, the Fed, they are part of a global web of institutions, private but self-described as public or public but managed by private interests (such as the Fed). Michael Hudson, among others, has detailed how the EU never developed sustained mechanisms of transfer of capital from the wealthier economies towards poorer members.
I’m a mess without my China fix 
Sophisticated Hybrid War-derived techniques may have been deployed full blast against Russia and Brazil. But against China, everything fizzles. 
Exceptionalistan’s spin is that China is not as economically secure as it seems. So global public opinion is bombarded by the usual litany of “convulsions in its financial markets”, “investor risk aversion”, “volatility”, or an inevitable crash. 
Nonsense. The leadership in Beijing has its strategic imperatives fully delineated in the latest Five-Year-Plan. It will pump whatever amount of credit into the system whenever it takes. It won’t depreciate the yuan – no matter how loud Washington/New York complain.
A yuan devaluation would sink an array of Chinese firms loaded up on US dollar debt. Moreover, Beijing is tweaking its system, a carefully calibrated transition from an export-driven model to one geared toward consumption by the internal market. A strong yuan preserves the purchasing power of tens of millions of members of the New Chinese Middle Class – all of them upwardly mobile, and all of them asset owners.
According to the US Treasury, only about $1.2 trillion in liquid securities is in Chinese hands. And that will keep diminishing, fast – as China keeps buying gold. And to top it off, China has already turned its economy around. That brings us back to that dramatic increase in the Baltic Index. Oil prices are rising. And China is buying the whole lot.
Beijing is advancing on all fronts; spreading influence/commercial deals all across Eurasia, which the New Silk Roads will shape into a mass emporium; modernizing its military; buying strategic foreign assets; building up global trust in the yuan as a stable reserve currency; allowing Chinese elites to diversify their enormous wealth by buying foreign assets, from vineyards in Bordeaux to the odd football giant, such as AC Milan.
No wonder the astonishing spread of Chinese economic power has left assorted Exceptionalists – from neocons to neoliberalcons — totally deranged. Washington has absolutely nothing to offer to nations across Asia, Africa and Latin America – to the whole Global South for that matter. They have all seen how Beijing is not in the market demanding Mob-style compound interest on sovereign debt; “support” for neo-imperial moves by NATO or the UN; one more extra-territorial hub for the US Empire of Bases; or total domination of their central banks.
On the other hand, they have seen what Washington does offer; endless war; the progressive smashing of the nation state; democracy blasted to smithereens; and technocratic governance by the 0.00001%.
Yet all this is just the calm before the storm. The Empire is already striking back. There’s serious blood on the tracks ahead.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.


Read more: http://sputniknews.com/columnists/20160429/1038822230/saudi-arabia-oil-prices-russia.html#ixzz47EfGvagM

DAN launched the second site for the citizens of Odessa and Bessarabia to the Head of the DNI

★ DAN launched the second site for the citizens of Odessa and Bessarabia to the Head of the DNI

APRIL 29, 2016 14:41


Logo for watermark
Donetsk, April 29 — DAN. Donetsk news Agency launched the second site for sending questions citizens of Donetsk Chapter DND Alexander Zakharchenko.
In order to use it, you just need to click on the special banner on the website GIVEN. Page odessa-ask.ru will also continue to work, as soon as there will be reflected the most powerful in the history of the Agency DDos-attack.
According to experts, if necessary, you can run an additional number of sites, to install additional protection, while "proponents of hacker attacks do not understand the meaninglessness of their actions".
We remind you that your question Zakharchenko can be set only once. We emphasize to provide personal information, including full name, telephone number and e-mail is not required or desirable. They are not collected and are not stored anywhere.
On the morning of 4 may on the website of the Donetsk news Agency will be published the first answers Zakharchenko. Chapter DND again will be connected by a straight line at 13:00 and within half an hour will answer questions in real time.
We will remind that on April 20 Zakharchenko held an online conference with Kharkiv region. Then the participants sent a total of 2831 question. On the eve of the straight line, the SBU has created fake web page, through which it planned to calculate the "Pro-Russian" Ukrainian citizens. However, success is not crowned, because the Ukrainians immediately saw the forgery. Day in a straight line at the website GIVEN there were three DDos attacks, but to prevent the exercise they also failed.

Opinion: Verbal slugfest at NATO-Russia meeting...DW's Barbara Wesel writes

RUSSIA

Opinion: Verbal slugfest at NATO-Russia meeting

Moscow may present the reconvening of the NATO-Russia Council as a political victory of sorts. The Kremlin must decide whether it is worth maintaining the cooperation, DW's Barbara Wesel writes.
Nato Russland-Rat - Logo
It was a "serious and frank exchange," the secretary-general of NATO said after the meeting. In the language of diplomacy, that means that the sides were close to a fight. The Russian ambassador had struck an icy tone, claiming that the relationship between NATO and Russia is very bad - that the sides have no positive agenda and no mutual interests. NATO has supposedly switched from partnership mode to deterrent. This is Moscow's interpretation of its place on the international stage following Russia's interventions in Ukraine, Crimea and Syria.
The cooperation was shelved almost two years ago, following Russia's annexation of Crimea. The reconvening serves as a barometer. The aim is to re-establish dialogue, at least at a minimal level, and to create some transparency and predictability. Another aim is to avoid "misunderstandings". This is a friendly term for recent military provocations by Russian fighter jets against NATO aircraft and ships in the Baltic Sea. Vladimir Putin seems to be having fun playing with fire.
Porträt - Barbara Wesel
DW's Barbara Wesel
Putin used the meeting in Brussels as a Wailing Wall: With great indignation, he accused NATO of unlawfully expanding in Eastern Europe. The increased deployment of troops there, however, was ordered at the request of the Baltic States and Poland, who feel threatened - by Russia. Again, the reason for this is the annexation of Crimea. This little detail is regularly omitted in Russia's propaganda campaigns.
The NATO-Russia Council has just provided Putin with another forum for heaping insults on the United States and Europe. At the same time, however, NATO is capable of sending a warning or two to Moscow. Perhaps a ritual exchange of insults can relax the relationship.
The German government is especially keen on reviving the NATO-Russia Council. However, it is a conversation with a partner who holds his hands firmly over his ears. Putin does not want to listen, and only wants to recite his own arguments loudly. The West, in turn, should remind him that he was the one who terminated the partnership again. The invasion of Crimea, support for the eastern Ukrainian rebels, the undermining of the Minsk Agreement and activities in Syria show where and how the Kremlin leader wants to enforce his power. And because he gives no insight into his strategies and ultimate goals, one hopes in vain for transparency and reliability.
Diplomats believe that meaningless conversation is worthwhile because you can always make use of the situation in an emergency. As such, it seems like a good idea to keep the NATO-Russia Council alive. On the other hand, Russia threatens to make it a mere propaganda vehicle: NATO should not be manipulated indefinitely. It must always make it clear that a minimum level of listening and cooperation is necessary so that such discussions do not degenerate into an absurd attempt at dialogue among the deaf and dumb.
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Who in the hell Destroyed the Hospital in Aleppo ?

Aleppo, Syria: the attack on the hospital was, apparently, not a Mistake

Destroyed the hospital in AleppoFor A Large View
DPA
Who the hell Destroyed this hospital in Aleppo ?
At least 30 people have been killed in these air attacks on a hospital in Aleppo. The United States is asking if the Syrian army is responsible, and then demands for Russia, to punish the Regime if it is so.

Are we suppose to believe the ground residue of the explosive ordinance is completely untraceable? That sure looks like a missile casing in the picture above.

Are we to believe nobody has any satellite Data over an area known to be a war zone where the two largest militaries of the world are heavily entrenched? 

Then the useless UN calls for some more bullshit talks in Geneva. One view of the escalating fighting in Syria, is that a new peace initiative incited by U.S. President Barack Obama by sending 250 more troopers in is suspect, and then there's the Russian head of state Vladimir Putin who has claimed to have withdrawn troops. The current peace process is barely alive, said the Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura.

In the morning, in spite of the existing truce, dozens of people with air attacks on a hospital in Aleppo have been killed. Emergency workers at the scene reported at least 30 dead and 50 injured. Who is responsible for the bombings remains unclear.

The destruction of the hospital in Aleppo could hardly have been an error , said de Mistura. Only when the continuing attacks in Aleppo and other places stop receiving western weapons and support, is their any possibility of a date for the continuation of the Geneva Syrian Crisis talks. In a childish Protest, the representatives of the Opposition left the talks at the end of last week.

So The United States condemns the attacks on the hospital but bares no evidence of who or why the attacks were carried out.

Also, In light of the US presidential elections comming up, US Secretary of state John Kerry said he sees everything as a deliberate attack on the rebel held medical establishments. He repeated his call on Russia, to do anything it can to prevent the Syrian Regime on holding the ceasefire until after the election.


The dimwitted spokesman of the US state Department, John Kirby, stated that Washington should just make the Syrian government forces responsible for the attack. We condemn the bombing as a "reprehensible" and appeal once more to the government in Damascus to do everything to calm the Situation in the country, he said.

The Opposition spokesman accused the Regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its ally Russia for the attack. And lastly, a representative of the Syrian military denied this according to their state news Agency Sana, however, the claim that the aircraft used was the Syrian governments, has been used in the bombing was never presented as fact. The defense Ministry in Moscow rejected the Agency Interfax, according to any participation.
The attacks on hospitals and health care facilities have developed according to analysts, to a tactic of war in Syria. In an attack in February on a minimum of five hospitals and two schools claimed almost 50 people came to UN-life.


TEHRAN (FNA)- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov condemned the United States’ latest deployment of soldiers to the Northern part of Syria, stating that this is a clear violation of Syria’s sovereignty.
The top Russian diplomat stressed that recent deployment of the US forces to the Northern battlefields of the crisis-hit Syria is a big mistake and will deteriorate the situation.

Also, a Syrian foreign ministry official on Thursday called the entry of 150 US troops into Syrian territory as a flagrant instance of trespassing and completely illegal.

“We received with deep concern the reports that 150 US servicemen have arrived in Rmeilan area,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry official said.

The official expressed Syria’s strong condemnation of the move, rejecting it as a “blatant act of aggression that constitutes a dangerous intervention and a gross violation of the Syrian sovereignty.”
“This intervention is rejected and illegitimate as it has happened without the Syrian government’s approval,” the official said, reiterating that this move transgresses against the international laws and conventions as it amounts to a “direct attack” that violates the Syrian territory.

While stressing its total rejection of this act of aggression, Syria calls on the international community to take all necessary measures to stop it, the ministry official noted.

The statement by the Syrian Foreign ministry came as 150 US servicemen arrived Wednesday in Syrian Rmeilan airport that is under the control of the Kurdish forces.

Earlier this week, US President Barack Obama made public the plan to send an extra 250 special operations forces to Syria within weeks to support local militia in the fight against ISIL.

The Deployment has been amounted to a sharp increase in number of American troops in Syria, as since last October, the United Sates has had only 50 US troops deployed in Syria. Washington insists the military presence in Syria is to help local militia in fight against the ISIL.

ISIL is among terrorist groups listed by the UN, and vast but diminishing territories in Syria and neighboring Iraq have been occupied by the terrorist group.

French protested Yesterday

French protested Yesterday


Russia has achieved a small tactical victory when the French Parliament voted for the lifting of sanctions against Russia. The fruits of the work with the eurosceptics and the European right-wing parties give certain results. First, a referendum in the Netherlands, and now the French have noted. Another issue is that these successes are at this stage purely tactical, as the referendum in the Netherlands and the decision of the French Parliament have a recommendatory character and can be ignored. So actually happened in both cases. On the referendum in the Netherlands eventually decided not to pay attention to, and in the case of a decision of the French Parliament, stated that the decision on the extension of sanctions this summer, this move will not be affected. References to democracy and free expression here is certainly in favor of the poor, when required, in Europe democracy lay with the device.

On the other hand, these tactical successes in the Netherlands and France give Russia reason to hope that if not now, then in the future when the eurosceptics and right-wingers will get to power through elections, this internal European Fronda will actualize the issue of lifting the sanctions in a practical way. At this stage, in key EU countries the authorities are political groups tightly linked with the Euro-Atlantic structures and Russia's influence was mainly limited to intra-European opposition, which on the one hand is not enough to affect the General course of the European Union are following in the Wake of Washington, and on the other hand, shows the growing desire of the European establishment to weaken the American leash. In General, if what this story shows is the continuing confusion and vacillation within the EU, which essentially became a hostage to us-Russian conflict.

In the meantime, deputies staged representations in Parliament against the foreign policy of Hollande, in the streets of Paris, clashes continued Parisians with the police for reasons of internal discontent with the policies of Hollande. The reasons are the same - labor reform Hollande that is with high probability at the next elections the right will help to return to power. It is worth noting that in addition to the Paris protests continued in other cities in France - Nantes, Dijon, Grenoble, etc.