In Latest Liquidity Flood; ECB Hands Out A Record €1.3 Trillion In Negative Yielding TLTRO-III Loans


18-06-20 06:29:00,

Lost in the noise of the near-infinite liquidity tsunami earlier today the ECB announced the results of the latest TLTRO-III auction: in it €1.3 trillion was taken up by 742 banks, a take-up which Goldman called “significant”, with demand driven by i) replacing existing facilities which were maturing (we estimate €760 bn); ii) net new take-up (€550 bn).

Furthermore, as Goldman notes, it is also apparent that the generous financial terms of this facility (-1% for Year 1, -0.5% for Years 2-3), with fixed rate/full allotment, more than offseting any associated stigma. All in, this auction was important from the perspective of overall financial stability, and, on the margin, supportive of bank revenue. The next auction, on the same terms, is on September 24, with subsequent auctions running quarterly until March 2021.

As a reminder, the main benefit to bond markets is the TLTRO “carry trade”, where banks are expected to use the cheap ECB loans – which pay the borrower to take out a loan – to buy higher yielding assets such as short-dated Italian government bonds.

German 10-year government bond yields were unchanged at -0.42%. Italian 10-year yields were also unchanged at 1.37%.

Courtesy of Goldman, here are the four key takeaways from today’s TLTRO:

1. Volume is very high at €1.3 trn. With this take-up, banks are

  • replacing c.€760 bn (GSe) of weekly LTRO / TLTRO-II and
  • adding some €550 bn of net liquidity.

The replacement of existing facilities consists of two main parts:

  • the weekly LTRO, designed in March as a bridge between emergency liquidity measures and today’s auction; our expectation therefore was that the entirety of this legacy facility would be rolled into today’s auction;
  • and the portion of TLTRO-2 maturing later this month (June 24).

Given improved terms (-1% for YR1 until June 2021, and -0.5% for YR2-3 if lending benchmarks criteria are met) starting with this auction, banks were expected to repay some outstanding TLTRO-II early to refinance at cheaper rates. Taken together, this still leaves some €550bn of net new take-up.

2. Usage is broad = stigma is not there.

 » Lees verder

Latest American Criminality a Serious Threat to World Peace | New Eastern Outlook


10-01-20 09:59:00,


The world became a measurably more dangerous place last week with the United States murder of Iranian Major General Qassem Saleimani and at least eight other prominent individuals including the SMU leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhardis.

Since the murder an increasing number of facts have emerged that cast particular insight into the conduct of the United States political leadership. These revelations will have a significant impact on the way in which the United States is viewed, not only in the Middle
East, but throughout the wider world.

The first fact to emerge in the aftermath of Saleimani’s killing was that he was on a diplomatic mission (in fact travelling on a diplomatic passport) with the knowledge and presumed approval of the United States.

Saleimani was carrying documents that represented what might be termed tentative peace overtures from the Saudi Arabian government to the government of Iran. This of itself was a startling fact. Suspicion, distrust and animosity between Saudi Arabia and Iran has its origins
in the often bitter conflict between the two major sectors of the Islamic faith, Sunni and Shia, of which Saudi Arabia and Iran were respectively two of the principal antagonists.

Saudi Arabia has also been the principal Arab supporter of the United States, and has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on US military equipment. The disastrous Saudi attack on Yemen suggests that the money was not well spent. Despite boastful claims by Trump about
the alleged superiority of United States weaponry, a myth exploded in President Putin’s address to the Russian Parliament in March 2018, the Saudis have been singularly unsuccessful in overcoming the desperately poor Yemeni people and their successful resistance despite being heavily outgunned.

One possible reason for the Saudis apparent change of attitude toward Iran is that they have been conned, at massive expense, by United States claims of military supremacy.

It is also highly likely that the Saudis have finally come to accept that the Americans do not have the least interest in Saudi Arabia per se. The sole United States motivation is to retain control of the oil fields.

Further proof of this has been United States conduct in both Syria and Iraq. There is absolutely no foundation in international law for the United States military presence (and that of its tame acolyte Australia) or the British and French presence in Syria.

 » Lees verder

The Latest Numbers Tell Us That The Global Economic Slowdown Is Accelerating Dramatically


25-09-19 09:19:00,

Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog,

Economists are already predicting “the world’s lowest growth in a decade”, but it is beginning to look like what we will be facing will be much worse than that. 

In recent days, numbers have been coming in from all over the planet that are absolutely abysmal.  The “global economic slowdown” is rapidly transitioning into a new global economic crisis, and central banks seem powerless to stop what is happening.  They have already pushed interest rates to the floor (actually below the floor in many cases), and over the past decade they have absolutely flooded the global economy with new money.  But despite all of this unprecedented intervention, economic conditions are deteriorating at a pace that is breathtaking.

Let’s start by taking a look at what is happening in India.  According to CNN, vehicle sales in India fell a whopping 31 percent in July…

Just two years ago, India’s huge car market was booming and global players were rushing to invest. Now it’s been slammed into reverse.

Sales of passenger vehicles plunged 31% in July, according to figures released by the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) on Tuesday. It’s the ninth straight month of declines and the sharpest one-month drop in more than 18 years, SIAM Director General Vishnu Mathur told CNN Business.

Those are numbers you would expect to see if we were in the middle of a full-blown economic depression, and it is being projected that this downturn “could result in a million people being laid off”

The slump has prompted companies to slash over 330,000 jobs through the closing of car dealerships and cutbacks at component manufacturers, Mathur said, citing data from industry associations that govern those two sectors.

The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India warned in a statement last month that its “crisis-like situation” could result in a million people being laid off.

A million jobs is very serious.

And we are talking about just one industry in one country.

How many jobs will ultimately be lost all over the world in the months ahead?

 » Lees verder

The Latest Victim in the Crucifixion of Julian Assange


25-08-19 12:31:00,

The case of Ola Bini, a Swedish data privacy activist and associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has been shrouded in mystery since his arrest in Quito, Ecuador, on April 11. He was detained on the same day Assange was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in the United Kingdom, inevitably raising questions about whether Bini was being held because of his connection with Assange and whether the United States was involved in the case in some form.

Bini, who initially wasn’t charged with a crime, was accused of being involved in a leak of documents that revealed that Ecuador’s right-wing president, Lenin Moreno, had several offshore bank accounts. Bini was released after two months in an Ecuadorian prison under terrible conditions but is still fighting to maintain his freedom. He was eventually charged by Ecuadorian authorities with “alleged participation in the crime of assault on the integrity of computer systems and attempts to destabilize the country,” though the evidence to support the accusations is dubious at best.

Speaking with Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer, Danny O’Brien discusses why Bini’s case is so important to follow, despite a general lack of media interest in his arrest. O’Brien, director of strategy at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, went to Ecuador to visit Bini on behalf of the EFF in order to learn more about the case and advocate for the Swedish activist’s rights.

“Journalists, lawyers, human rights lawyers, human rights defenders, sort of viewed broadly, are often the canaries in the coal mines in authoritarian or veering-authoritarian regimes,” O’Brien tells Scheer in the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence.” “I think many governments recognize that if you can either … silence, or just intimidate and chill, the key journalists or the prominent public defenders, then you have a huge sort of multiplier leverage effect on opposition groups, or groups fighting for justice in those countries.

“In the last few years,” O’Brien continues, “I think that governments around the world have recognized that technologists also fall into this category, or particular kinds of technologists.”

Scheer, whose most recent book “They Know Everything About You” is about mass data collection, highlights the threat activists like Bini pose to the powers that be at a time when big data translates to a mechanism for widespread control.

 » Lees verder

The Latest UN Horror Show: Christian Refugees Ignored


06-08-19 07:19:00,

Authored by Uzay Bulut via The Gatestone Institute,

  • Jordan is supposed to be their transit country; they are seeking resettlement to other countries via the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Australian Special Humanitarian Program.

  • The registration with the UNHCR gives them the protective status of refugee as they await resettlement. Yet, the process of resettlement takes at minimum several months and sometimes even years due to the growing refugee backlog….. “The majority of those stuck in limbo have been waiting more than two years—some since the rise of ISIS in 2014,” according to the report.

  • “Since January, the process has become even slower and more difficult. The UNHCR has not even granted newcomers refugee status since. They just give them an appointment date, then they cancel the date and give them a new one. So we all keep waiting.” — Lorance Yousuf Kazqeea, a Christian originally from Baghdad, has been an asylum seeker in Jordan with his wife and two children since September 2017; to Gatestone Institute.

  • “You can contact the local UNHCR office in your country and demand answers – why Iraqi Christians have been waiting for resettlement for years and why the West continuously rejects them.” — Juliana Taimoorazy, founding president of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, which has been active in Jordan since 2015; to Gatestone Institute.

Since the 2014 invasion and genocide by the Islamic State (ISIS) in Iraq, at least 16,000 Assyrian Christians from Iraq have become refugees in Jordan. Most are still suffering economically and psychologically there, under extremely difficult circumstances.

These Assyrian Christians are in Jordan on a temporary basis with plans to emigrate to a third country. However, as they have not been given official work permits by the Jordanian government, they largely rely on their savings, remittances sent by relatives abroad or aid from charity organizations and churches. Jordan is supposed to be their transit country; they are seeking resettlement in other countries via the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Australian Special Humanitarian Program.

Pictured: The Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan.

 » Lees verder

What The Latest Secret Government File Tells Us About The West’s Middle East Policy


22-07-19 08:00:00,

Authored by Mark Curtis via,

The British government is refusing to release a 1941 file on Palestine, as it might “undermine the security” of Britain and its citizens. Why would a 78-year-old document be seen as so sensitive in 2019?

One plausible reason is that it could embarrass the British government in its relations with Israel and Iraq, and may concern a long but hidden theme in British foreign policy: creating false pretexts for military intervention.

The Colonial Office document, at the National Archives in London, was uncovered by journalist Tom Suarez and concerns the “activities of the Grand Mufti [Haj Amin al-Husseini] of Jerusalem” in 1940-41.

After the assassination of Lewis Andrews, British district commissioner for Galilee, in September 1937, the British Government dismissed al-Husseini from his post as president of the Supreme Muslim Council and decided to arrest all members of the Arab Higher Committee, including Husseini.

He took refuge in the Noble Sanctuary (al-Haram al-Sharif), fled to Jaffa and then Lebanon, and ended up in Iraq, where he played a role in the Iraqi national anti-British movement.

He spent the Second World War moving between Berlin and Rome and took part in the propaganda war against Britain and France through Arabic radio broadcasts.

A plan ‘to clip the mufti’s wings’

In April 1941, nationalist army officers known as the Golden Square staged a coup in Iraq, overthrowing the pro-British regime, and signalled they were prepared to work with German and Italian intelligence. In response, the British embarked on a military campaign and eventually crushed the coup leaders two months later.

But Suarez discovered in the files that the British were already wanting such a “military occupation of Iraq” by November 1940 – well before the Golden Square coup gave them a pretext for doing so.

The reason was that Britain wanted to end “the mufti’s intrigues with the Italians”. One file notes: “We may be able to clip the mufti’s wings when we can get a new government in Iraq. FO [Foreign Office] are working on this.” Suarez notes that a prominent thread in the British archive is: “How to effect a British coup without further alienating ‘the Arab world’ in the midst of the war,

 » Lees verder

The Donald’s Latest Iranian Caper – Sh*t-Faced Stupidity – Original


27-06-19 01:36:00,

This is just wanton shit-faced stupidity. We are referring to the Trump Administration’s escalation of sanctions on Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei and its foreign minister, and then the Donald’s tweet-storm of bluster, threats and implicit redlines when they didn’t take too kindly to this latest act of aggression by Washington.

That last point can’t be emphasized enough. Iran is zero threat to the American homeland and has never engaged in any hostile action on U.S soil or even threatened the same.

To the contrary, Washington’s massive naval and military arsenal in the middle east is essentially the occupational force of a naked aggressor that has created mayhem through the Persian Gulf and middle eastern region for the past three decades; and has done so in pursuit of the will-o-wisp of oil security and the neocon agenda of demonizing and isolating the Iranian regime.

But as we have demonstrated previously, the best cure for high oil prices is the global market, not the Fifth Fleet. And the demonization of the Iranian regime is based on lies and propaganda ginned up by the Bibi Netanyahu branch of the War Party (that has falsely made Iran an “existential” threat in order to win elections in Israel).

Stated differently, the American people have no dog in the political hunts of Washington’s so-called allies in the region; and will be no worse for the wear economically if Washington were to dispense with its idiotic economic warfare against Iran’s 4 million barrel per day oil industry and allow all exporters in the region to produce and sell every single barrel they can economically extract.

Viewed in the proper context, Iran’s response to the new sanctions and intensified efforts to destroy their economy was readily warranted:

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani called the new sanctions “outrageous and stupid.” Mr. Khamenei, while the political leader of Iran, also is one of the world’s leading authorities for Shia Muslims.

“Would any administration with a bit of wisdom [sanction] the highest authority of a country? And not only a political authority, a religious, social, spiritual one, and not the leader of Iran only, the leader of the Islamic revolution all over the world?” Mr. Rouhani said in a speech broadcast on state television.

 » Lees verder

Latest Attempt to Prosecute President Assad at ICC. Criminalisation of “International Justice” – Global Research


30-05-19 11:50:00,

In March 2019 two law firms filed cases at the ICC against Syria’s President Bashar Al Assad and unnamed members of the Syrian government. Toby Cadman of Guernica Chambers and Rodney Dixon of Temple Garden Chambers were the protagonists in this latest attempt to criminalise the Syrian President and government. 

These law firms are basing their case upon the testimony of 28 “refugees” from Syria who claim they were “forced” to flee to Jordan during the war that has been waged against Syria by a collective of interventionist mafia states that form the U.S coalition, determined to achieve regime change in Syria.

Syria is not a signatory to the ICC in the Hague but precedent was set by the ICC when a preliminary investigation was opened into military leaders of Myanmar for alleged crimes against humanity involving deportation of Rohingya people. Refugees fled to Bangladesh which is party to the Rome statute that established the ICC, as is Jordan where more than 1 million Syrian refugees now reside. Guernica Chambers and Rodney Dixon are clearly hoping that the Rohingya precedent will open up the legal avenue for their case.

Both legal firms are claiming the intended deportation of Syrian civilians by the Syrian government as part of their cases.

However, even some members of the legal profession, have already remarked upon possible holes in the case being presented by both legal entities.

Kevin John Heller is Associate Professor of Public International Law at Amsterdam University. According to Heller, there is a vital element of the Syrian situation that distinguishes it from the Myanmar situation. Heller argues that in Myanmar, it is evident that the government “intended to drive the Rohingya into Bangladesh” while in Syria it is not evident that the Syrian government intended (in the legal sense) that their civilians end up in other countries. Heller points out that without sufficient evidence,  the Syrian government may only be accused of “forcible transfer” but not “deportation”. “Forcible transfer” falls outside the ICC’s jurisdiction because it takes place uniquely on Syrian territory.

This is not the first time that Guernica Chambers (GC) have attempted such a legal attack against the Syrian government. In March 2017, the Madrid offices of GC tried to bring a case against eight members of the Syrian security and intelligence services.

 » Lees verder

What You Need to Know About the Latest WhatsApp Vulnerability


17-05-19 04:14:00,

By Eva Galperin

If you are one of WhatsApp’s billion-plus users, you may have read that on Monday the company announced that it had found a vulnerability. This vulnerability allowed an attacker to remotely upload malicious code onto a phone by sending packets of data that look like phone calls from a number not in your contacts list. These repeated calls then cause WhatsApp to crash. This is a particularly scary vulnerability because the does not require that the user pick up the phone, click a link, enter their login credentials, or interact in any way.

Fortunately, the company fixed the vulnerability on the server side over the weekend and rolled out a patch for the client side on Monday.

What does that mean for you? First and foremost, it means today is a good day to make sure that you are running the latest version of WhatsApp. Until you update your software, your phone may still be vulnerable to this exploit.

Are you likely to have been targeted by this exploit? Facebook (which owns WhatsApp) has not indicated that they know how many people have been targeted by this vulnerability, but they have attributed its use to an Israeli security company, NSO Group, which has long claimed to be able to install its software by sending a single text message. The exploit market pays top-dollar for “zero-click install” vulnerabilities in the latest versions of popular applications. It is not so remarkable that such capabilities exist, but it is remarkable that WhatsApp’s security team found and patched the vulnerability.

Declare Your Independence!
Profit outside the rigged system! Protect yourself from tyranny and economic collapse. Learn to live free and spread peace!

Counter Markets Newsletter – Trends & Strategies for Maximum Freedom

 » Lees verder

Latest EU-China Summits | New Eastern Outlook


25-04-19 06:20:00,


On 9 April, the scheduled (21st) EU-China Summit took place in Brussels. We would like to remind our readers, that this meeting was preceded by the visit to Europe by China’s President Xi Jinping, who most likely agreed on the programme for the upcoming summit during his negotiations with the leaders of Germany, France, Italy and the EU.

PRC’s delegation to Brussels was headed by Premier Li Keqiang, and that of the EU by the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, respectively.

One’s attention is first drawn to the fact that the period between the current summit and the one preceding it, which took place in Beijing in July 2018, is relatively short. We would also like to reiterate that although, from the onset, the aforementioned meetings were meant to be staged on a yearly basis, the year 2019 has just begun, so why the need to rush?

After all, the 20th anniversary EU-China Summit took place last year, and it ended with the signing of a comprehensive Joint Statement. The document includes all the significant achievements reached in the course of bilateral ties since they were established in 1975. It also highlighted the fact that the two sides shared similar views on pressing global issues and agreed on actions to resolve them. Examples of these challenges include North Korean and Iranian nuclear programs, the situation in the Middle East and Afghanistan, and problems associated with climate change.

The statement “flung” at their US counterparts by the EU-Chinese side said that the two parties were “strongly committed to fostering an open world economy, improving trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, resisting protectionism and unilateralism…”.

In all likelihood, this phrase contains the answer to the aforementioned question, as these words refer to the source of Beijing’s and Brussels’ concerns, i.e. the radically new stance taken by the leading world power (the United States) on the global stage. China as well as the EU aim to oppose progression of all the trends associated with policies of Donald Trump’s administration.

Incidentally, in the months that followed July 2018, the U.S. relationships with the PRC and the EU only worsened (and not only from an economic perspective,

 » Lees verder

Venezuela’s Latest Nightmare: Crude Oil In The Tap Water


14-03-19 08:25:00,

Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via,

Ordinary people in Venezuela are bearing the brunt of the ongoing power struggle in the country and last week’s blackout.

While the power outage in the country which holds the world’s largest oil reserves has shut down oil production and processing operations as well as the main oil export terminal, the blackout has caused massive shortages of running water.

Residents in the town of San Diego in the Carabobo state woke up to see black stuff running from their taps on Wednesday in what appeared to be water contaminated with crude oil.

Local journalist Heberlizeth González posted a video on Twitter, showing that water in the area is not suitable for consumption, and saying that the situation is “terrible” and there are districts without water service for two months.

#13Mar La situación por falta de agua en San Diego es terrible. Hay sectores que llevan más de 2 meses sin el servicio, igual que otras zonas de Valencia y Los Guayos.

Esta mañana llegó el agua a San Diego así 👇🏽 Nada apta para el consumo @Hidrocentro2011 @rafaellacava10

— Heberlizeth González (@Heberlizeth) March 13, 2019

Without power, the utilities have not been able to pump water to the homes.

Other residents in the town of San Diego also took to Twitter to complain about the contaminated water running from their taps, Daily Mail reports.

Sky News chief correspondent in Caracas, Stuart Ramsey, reports that people in Venezuela are desperate to find water and that the capital doesn’t have power yet to pump the water. There have been many reports that people, including children, have gotten very ill from contaminated water or food, Ramsey reports.

The Venezuelan National Assembly, dominated by the opposition, has declared a state of alarm over the blackout that the Maduro government blamed on a U.S. cyber-attack and that plunged the struggling country into darkness and chaos for five days.

The Venezuelan government said on Tuesday that some electricity has returned in some areas, 

 » Lees verder

Latest Excellent Coverage of Venezuela Crisis from Russian TV (Video)


08-03-19 02:09:00,

54 min ago | 1700 words 201

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The neocon coup attempt underway in Venezuela seems to be flailing, and like magic, it has disappeared from American headlines.

Well thank goodness for Russian TV, they are all over this story with exclusive access, top-notch reporters, and a worldview that is pleasantly not dictated by Jewish neocons, who who run all the main American networks.

Video 1

Video 2

Transcript of video 1:

The country is calm. The storm is neither over nor coming. The hypocritical operation to ship the American humanitarian aid across the Colombian border, undertaken by the usurper Guaido last week, has failed. The protests have calmed down. The attempt to stage a coup has failed. However, the tension at the Colombian border isn’t going down.

Anton Lyadov with the latest news from Venezuela.

The instigators from across the border have just set an already burned truck on fire that was carrying humanitarian aid. The Venezuelan police have managed to push them back. The provocateurs have scattered around the forest. We can hear them trying to throw rocks from there, shouting their slogans. Instead of tank tops and masks covering their faces, they now have gas masks, helmets, and shields. The Venezuelan officers are carrying away this makeshift ladder that the protesters used to climb on the bridge. A chaotic hail of stones. Primitive, but it’s still a strategy. The demonstrators are setting a tire on fire to hide behind the smoke screen.

The front rank carries the shields and the rear rank attacks from behind them throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails. These things were confiscated by the Venezuelan military and police. Previously, the provocateurs from across the border used to only throw rocks but now, they’re using makeshift slings such as this one. They shoot these glass balls. We’ve talked with several soldiers who got hit, it’s actually pretty painful. They claim that a strike to the temple will kill a person.

Several people are shooting simultaneously: The man behind the right shield and the man in the red shirt in the middle. The tension at the bridges connecting the two countries isn’t decreasing.

 » Lees verder

Latest Political Goings-on in Japan | New Eastern Outlook


26-12-18 09:55:00,


In recent months, Japan has borne witness to a series of various important events occurring with a greater frequency. And as they become increasingly staggered, processes within the nation’s political life begin to speed up as a result.

We could refer, for instance, to the issue (discussed on numerous occasions in the New Eastern Outlook) of relocating the US base, Futenma, in Okinawa. This situation has not been diffused, and instead it will, in all likelihood, transform from a relatively local conflict between the central government and the prefecture’s administration into one of national importance.

The problem of increasing labor shortages (stemming from long-standing issues of lower birth rates and an ageing population) also seems significant, and the government plans on resolving it by using migrant workers.

These and other issues have become subjects of lively debates at political forums, in administrative bodies and the National Diet. This war of words among supporters of various political factions will probably only intensify as the date, scheduled for July 2019, to re-elect half the members of the upper house in the House of Councillors approaches.

Since the last time we broached the topic of moving the Futenma base, several events have transpired that demonstrate the situation is really not ready for a resolution. And this, seemingly, is what the Japanese Central Government as well as the US military command (for now in the observer’s role) had been hoping for.

The new Governor of Okinawa, Denny Tamaki, supported by the Prefectural Assembly, has been increasingly active in trying to resolve this issue. Once his invitation, extended to US senators, to visit Okinawa was declined, he then went to the United States in the middle of December.

In the USA., Denny Tamaki proposed an initiative to stage three-way negotiations (i.e. in the format the US administration – Japanese government – Governor of Okinawa Prefecture) on revising the plans to relocate the Futenma base from Ginowan to the scarcely populated Henoko Bay area, also located on the Okinawa Island. Second-tier officials from the US Department of State met with the Governor and informed him that Washington was inclined to honor the agreements, reached on this issue with Tokyo.

 » Lees verder

Washington’s Latest Myths, Lies and Oil Wars | New Eastern Outlook

Washington’s Latest Myths, Lies and Oil Wars | New Eastern Outlook

07-07-18 06:41:00,


As American motorists complain of rising gasoline prices, the Trump Administration and the oil and banking interests behind it are smiling on their way to the proverbial bank. If we look at seeming disparate events in Iran, in Venezuela and now in Libya it becomes clear there is a coherent strategy to promote disruption in key oil flows to the immediate advantage of US oil domination.

A decade ago the idea that the United States could displace Saudi Arabia or the Russian Federation as the world’s largest oil producer was considered unthinkable. Today it is clearly a foreign policy priority of the Trump Administration and the major Wall Street banks financing US shale oil production. The strategy is geopolitical and ultimately aims to weaken Russia, Iran and the other independent world oil producing powers like Venezuela.

If we look at several recent events that have dramatically impacted global oil prices a clear pattern emerges not of free market forces but of geopolitical manipulation, above all by Washington. The cases of Iran, of Venezuela and most recently of Libya make the case clear that Washington is determined to push an oil price high enough to again make economical investment in its developed shale oil industry.

Iran not about nuclear but oil

The obvious point about the Trump administration unilateral rejection of the Iran nuclear agreement, an agreement that was to have enabled Iran to be free from Western economic sanctions and open the way for billions of dollars of foreign investments, above all in her oil and gas industry, is the fact that it had nothing to do with Iran’s nuclear plans per se. It has immediately to do with an excuse to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran oil sales and oil and gas development.

Ignoring UN IAEA reports finding Iran compliant with the nuclear agreement, the Trump Administration in May unilaterally announced a de facto end to the agreement to the protests of EU, Russia and China signatories. On November 4, barring an unlikely Iran capitulation to Washington demands, severe new sanctions targeting mainly Iran oil exports will come into force. Washington is linking its actions to Iran’s agreeing to withdraw support for Shi’ite forces in Yemen and Assad in Syria.

 » Lees verder