Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia vows new Islamic alliance ‘will wipe terrorists from the earth’

New Arabian anti-terrorism alliance

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince vowed to “pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the earth” as officials from 40 Muslim countries gathered in the first meeting of an Islamic counter-terrorism alliance.

“In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries… with no coordination” among national authorities, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Saudi defense minister, said in his keynote address to the gathering in Riyadh.

“This ends today, with this alliance.”

The summit is the first meeting of defense ministers and other senior officials from the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition, which officially counts 41 countries and identifies as a “pan-Islamic unified front” against violent extremism.

The alliance was announced in 2015 under the auspices of Prince Mohammed, whose rapid ascent since his appointment as heir to the throne in June has shaken the political scene across the region.  Sunday’s meeting comes as several military coalitions, including key Saudi ally the United States, battle to push the Islamic State group from its last remaining bastions in Iraq and Syria.

The alliance groups are largely, although not exclusively, in Sunni-majority or Sunni-ruled countries, and exclude Saudi Arabia’s arch-rival, Shiite-dominated Iran, as well as Syria and Iraq, whose leaders have close ties to Tehran.

Sunday’s meeting coincides with an escalation in tensions between Riyadh and Tehran, particularly over wars in Syria and Yemen and the political structure of multi-confessional Lebanon.  Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of supporting armed groups across the Middle East, including Lebanon’s Shiite Hezbollah and Yemen’s Huthi rebels.

“The pillar of this coalition is inclusion,” said Saudi General Abdulelah al-Saleh, the alliance’s acting secretary general, playing down the exclusion of the three countries.  “Our common enemy is terrorism, not any religion, sect or race.”

The alliance meeting in Riyadh brings together Muslim or Muslim-majority nations including Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Uganda, Somalia, Mauritania, Lebanon, Libya, Yemen and Turkey.  Retired Pakistani general Raheel Sharif, who has been appointed commander-in-chief, insisted that the coalition was not against any religion or state.

The alliance aims to “mobilize and coordinate the use of resources, facilitate the exchange of information and help member countries build their own counter-terrorism capacity,” Sharif said.

While the alliance officially includes Qatar, which is the target of a six-month boycott led by Saudi Arabia, organizers in Riyadh said no Qatari officials were present at the meeting.  Qatar’s flag was also absent.  Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain abruptly cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar in June, accusing the emirate of being too close to Iran and supporting Islamist extremism.  Qatar denies the allegations.

Egypt, which sent a military official and not its defense minister to Sunday’s meeting, is reeling from a Friday attack on a mosque that killed more than 300 people during prayer time.

While ISIS has not claimed responsibility, Egyptian authorities say the organization is the main suspect as the mosque is associated with followers of the mystical Sufi branch of Sunni Islam, whom ISIS has branded heretics.

Prince Mohammed said Friday’s “painful event” was a reminder of the “danger of both terrorism and extremism”.  “Beyond the killing of innocent people and the spread of hatred, terrorism and extremism distort the image of our religion,” he said.

Since his sudden appointment as crown prince, Prince Mohammed has moved to consolidate power, announcing crackdowns on both terrorism and corruption.

 

[From an article published by Agence France Presse]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

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Evidence that the oil glut is really just beginning

First it was the Saudis; then Russia announced another month of record oil production.

And now it is Iraq’s turn. According to the state-run Oil Marketing Co., Iraq increased crude output to a record level in March, ahead of the long-awaited April 17 meeting in Qatar where OPEC members and other producers may or may not (they won’t) agree to cap production to curb a global glut.

As Bloomberg reports, crude output in OPEC’s second-biggest producer rose to 4.55 million barrels a day last month from 4.46 million barrels in February, while exports increased to 3.81 million barrels a day in March from 3.23 million the previous month, the company, known as Somo, said in an e-mailed statement. The 500,000 barrel increase in monthly barrels has made up almost entirely for the 600,000 barrel decline in US shale output.

Ahead of the Doha meeting, Iraq – which is clearly pumping at full power – supports an agreement reached in February between Saudi Arabia, Russia, Venezuela and Qatar to cap output at January levels. Well maybe: this is what the Iraqi Oil Ministry Spokesman Asim Jihad said on March 23, without confirming if the country agrees to freeze its own production.

Iraq’s unprecedented oil production has been duly documented here.  Recall just on Friday we showed a line of oil tankers caught in a traffic jam near the Iraqi port of Basra, causing delays in loading. The culprit is high oil production in Iraq. The port at Basra is struggling to load up all the oil tankers fast enough, forcing some to sit and wait. Iraq exported about 3.26 million barrels per day (mb/d) in March from its southern coast, which is up from just 2.5 mb/d in 2010.

Charles0704A_0

Furthermore, we already know that Iran and Libya have refused to cap output putting any Doha agreement in jeopardy because as the Saudis made all too clear two weeks ago, they won’t limit their own production without Iran joining, but for now the market has hope.

Just like Iran, Iraq is boosting output and exports after decades of economic sanctions and war. The country pumped a then-record 4.43 million barrels a day in January, the International Energy Agency said in a report published last month. Iraq holds the world’s fifth-biggest crude oil reserves. Iran on the other hand, has said it won’t limit production until it reaches the roughly 4+ million barrell output it had before US sanctions crippled its production.

As Bloomberg reminds us, Iraq’s Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi suspended his participation in the cabinet last month, citing disarray in government ministries. Nizar Saleem Numan, who was nominated to replace him, withdrew his candidacy earlier this month, citing a lack of agreement over the make-up of the proposed cabinet.

In short: any attempts to rein in Iraq’s oil production will face an uphill climb.

As for Iran, the WSJ warns that the the upshot from the country’s slow return to peak output is that it may have given false comfort to the rebounding oil market. “Some analysts think that the amount of Iranian crude stored on supertankers has even increased. Betting that those barrels won’t show up at a refinery soon or that Iran will willingly cut short its return to the oil market would be naive.”

For Kuwait and the U.A.E., the goals are even higher. Kuwait plans to raise production capacity by 5 percent from 3 million barrels a day by the third quarter, and to reach 4 million barrels by 2020. Abu Dhabi means to lift production capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day by 2017 from about 3 million.For Saudi Arabia the expansion is as much about gas as oil. The number of rigs drilling for gas there has jumped from about 20 in early 2013 to 60 last month, as the country tries to develop its own resources to support a growing petrochemicals industry and free up oil for export.

The first part of Saudi Arabia’s “market share” strategy saw it refuse to continue cutting output to prop up high-cost producers elsewhere. As a result, U.S. production has fallen by about 600,000 barrels a day from its recent peak and other high-cost areas are following.The Saudis may not have announced part two of the strategy yet, but it’s well underway.

But what may be most concerning for oil bulls, especially in a world in which demand refuses to pick up to “balance” the massively oversupplied market, is another Bloomberg report that in what would be the second phase of the kingdom’s strategy to defend its market share against rival producers (most visibly U.S. shale), Gulf states are planning to raise output capacity to fill the hole left by the lack of investment in new projects elsewhere.

The details:

The number of rigs drilling for oil in three Arab countries has more than doubled since 2010.

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All three saw drilling reach at least 20-year records in 2015 and activity remains close to that peak. An expansion at Saudi Arabia’s Shaybah field should add 250,000 barrels a day as early as June, while the Khurais field could contribute another 300,000 barrels by the end of 2017. State-owned Saudi Aramco says this will let it ease pumping from older fields yet maintain a production capacity of more than 12 million barrels per day, 2 million barrels above its current rate.

For Kuwait and the U.A.E., the goals are even higher.

Kuwait plans to raise production capacity by 5 percent from 3 million barrels a day by the third quarter, and to reach 4 million barrels by 2020. Abu Dhabi means to lift production capacity to 3.5 million barrels a day by 2017 from about 3 million.

So in an environment in which not only the Saudis but Kuwait and the UAW are all planning to unleash millions more barrels of oil, the market somehow believes that next Sunday OPEC will agree – and actually comply – with a production freeze? Some folks may be stupid enough to believe that, but we hope any carbon-based traders can see the writing on the wall.

 

[Reprinted in David Stockman’s Contra Corner]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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“ISIS is not an existential threat” but “we will destroy it” anyway…more nonsense from our non-leader

ObamaIn the wake of the horrible bombings in Brussels, Barack Obama is insisting that there is no need to change our approach in the fight against ISIS.  He believes that Islamic terror is not a fundamental threat to our way of life, and he wants all of us to be convinced that the way that he is handling ISIS right now is just fine.  Well, in this article you are going to learn some very shocking things about Obama and ISIS that are likely to make you very angry.  It turns out that our allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey have been arming, funding and aiding ISIS and other radical jihadist groups such as the al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda in Syria), and Obama has known about it all along.  The goal was to take down the Assad regime in Syria, and the American people were never supposed to find out the truth.

Earlier today, Barack Obama told reporters that ISIS is not “an existential threat to us” during a news conference down in Argentina.  You can see video of him making these remarks right here.  But at the same time, he is promising “to continue to go after” ISIS until they are “finally destroyed”

The United States will “continue to go after ISIL aggressively until it’s removed from Syria and from Iraq and finally destroyed,” Obama said, using another name for ISIS.

“The world has to be united against terrorism,” Obama said, adding that “that’s a top priority of ours.” He added that “we can and we will” defeat terrorism.

So what precisely is Obama actually doing to pursue this “top priority”?

We are told that the U.S. military is bombing ISIS targets, but in all the months that this has been happening, U.S. aircraft never targeted the endless convoys of ISIS oil trucks that were transporting stolen oil into Turkey.  It has been estimated that ISIS sold 800 million dollars worth of oil in Turkey, and Obama knew about it the entire time.

Why didn’t Obama say anything about this or do anything to stop it?

When the Russians came in, they showed satellite evidence of what was happening to the entire world and they immediately began bombing those oil convoys into oblivion.

But why hadn’t the U.S. already done that?

Massive convoys of oil trucks that stretched as far as the eye could see would go back and forth over the Turkish border completely unmolested and Obama did nothing.

In fact, if the Russians had not come in and bombed the living daylights out of those convoys it would still be happening.

This should be the biggest Obama scandal of them all, and yet nobody is talking about it.  Sometimes I think that I must be going crazy because what Obama did was so obviously wrong and yet nobody wants to touch this.  For much more on all of this, please see my previous article entitled “The Biggest Obama Scandal? He Knows That Turkey Is Buying Oil From ISIS And He Is Doing Nothing To Stop It“.

In addition, Obama knows that both Saudi Arabia and Turkey continue to provide advanced weaponry to ISIS and the al-Nusra Front.

He also knows that ISIS fighters use Turkey as a home base, and that when they are injured fighting in Syria they hop back over the border where they are treated at hospitals inside Turkish territory.

But have you heard Obama say anything about these things?

Has he done anything to stop any of this from happening?

No.

The reason why Obama hasn’t done or said anything is because ISIS and the other radical jihadist groups were supposed to win in Syria.  Once they had overthrown Assad, then the U.S., the Saudis and the Turks were going to come in and set up a Sunni puppet government.  Of course Russian intervention has completely changed the game, and so now the Sunni militants are losing.  That is why Saudi Arabia and Turkey are in such a panic about what is going on in Syria right now.

And we are also learning that western intelligence agencies had advance knowledge of the attacks in Brussels.  The following comes from a Haaretz report

The Belgian security services, as well as other Western intelligence agencies, had advance and precise intelligence warnings regarding the terrorist attacks in Belgium on Tuesday, Haaretz has learned.

The security services knew, with a high degree of certainty, that attacks were planned in the very near future for the airport and, apparently, for the subway as well.

Despite the advance warning, the intelligence and security preparedness in Brussels, where most of the European Union agencies are located, was limited in its scope and insufficient for the severity and immediacy of the alert.

So what are we to make of this?

Was this terror attack allowed to happen?

Could it be possible that someone out there helped make it happen?

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want to minimize the threat of Islamic terror one bit.  I just wonder sometimes which side our government is actually on.

And ISIS is warning of more attacks in the near future.  In fact, they are telling us that what is coming “will be more devastating and bitter”…

ISIS Statement

Even if we were somehow able to completely wipe out ISIS, the threat of Islamic terror would be far from over.

All over the planet, radical Islam is on the rise.  These jihadists have a fanatical hatred for Christians and for Jews, and their ultimate goal is world conquest.

And an act of terror does not have to result in mass casualties.

Examples of what I am talking about are all over the place.  Earlier today, I came across a Christian Post article that talked about how two radical Muslims hacked a 68-year-old Christian convert to death with machetes in the nation of Bangladesh…

Unidentified attackers hacked a Christian convert to death this week in northern Bangladesh in the latest attack in the Muslim-majority country.

The incident occurred Tuesday morning in the northern city of Kurigram, where 68-year-old Hossain Ali was hacked to death by two assailants wielding machetes.

Tobarak Ullah, the police chief of Kurigram, told the AFP that the militants were able to carry out the heinous crime by using distractions and a getaway vehicle.

Many in the western world may dismiss a story like this because it was the death of only one man.

But what happens when these radical jihadists start getting their hands on bigger weapons?

Former president Ronald Reagan once made the following statement…

“I don’t think you can overstate the importance that the rise of Islamic fundamentalism will have to the rest of the world in the century ahead-especially if, as seems possible, its most fanatical elements get their hands on nuclear and chemical weapons and the means to deliver them against their enemies.”

The use of a single chemical, biological or nuclear weapon in a major western city would set off panic on a scale that would be unlike anything we have ever seen before.

Even something as basic as sarin gas could accomplish what I am talking about.  Sarin gas has been used in both Syria and Iraq in the past, and it is exceedingly deadly.  The following comes from the Huffington Post

Inhaled or absorbed through the skin, the gas kills by crippling the respiratory center of the central nervous system and paralyzes the muscles around the lungs.

The combination results in death by suffocation, and sarin can contaminate food or water supplies, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which notes that antidotes exist.

“Sarin is 26 times more deadly than cyanide gas. Just a pinprick-sized droplet will kill a human,” according to the World Health Organization.

Of course there are other chemical weapons that are many, many times more lethal than sarin gas, and it is inevitable that terrorists will get their hands on biological and nuclear weapons at some point as well.

Yes, terror organizations such as ISIS most definitely do represent “an existential threat” to our way of life.

 

[by Michael Snyder, writing for THE ECONOMIC COLLAPSE BLOG]

 

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  While our non-leader is dilly-dallying, dithering, and non-leading, the people who are not a threat are doing all they can to prove they are exactly that. Now that you’ve seen what a non-leader is, America, you will have the chance in a few months to put a leader in the White House again. (And the candidate named Clinton is NOT the one we’re referring to.)

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

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World War III ready to begin: 350,000 soldiers in Saudi Arabia stand ready to invade Syria

350,000 soldiers, 20,000 tanks, 2,450 warplanes and 460 military helicopters are massing in northern Saudi Arabia for a military exercise that is being called “Northern Thunder”.  According to the official announcement, forces are being contributed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Sudan, Kuwait, Morocco, Pakistan, Tunisia, Oman, Qatar, Malaysia and several other nations.  This exercise will reportedly last for 18 days, and during that time the airspace over northern Saudi Arabia will be closed to air traffic.  This will be the largest military exercise in the history of the region, and it comes amid rumors that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are preparing for a massive ground invasion of Syria.

If you were going to gather forces for an invasion, this is precisely how you would do it.  Governments never come out and publicly admit that forces are moving into position for an invasion ahead of time, so “military exercises” are a common excuse that gets used for this sort of thing.

If these exercises are actually being used as an excuse to mass forces near the northern Saudi border, then we should expect an invasion to begin within the next couple of weeks.  If it happens, we should expect to see the Saudi coalition storm through western Iraq and into Syria from the south, and it is likely that Turkey will come in from the north.

The goal would be to take out the Assad regime before Russia, Iran and Hezbollah could react.  For the past couple of years, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies have been funding the Sunni insurgency in Syria, and they were counting on those insurgents to be able to take down the Assad regime by themselves.

You see, the truth is that ISIS was never supposed to lose in Syria.  Saudi Arabia and her allies have been funneling massive amounts of money to ISIS, and hundreds of millions of dollars of ISIS oil has been shipped into Turkey where it is sold to the rest of the world.

The major Sunni nations wanted ISIS and the other Sunni insurgent groups to take down Assad.  In the aftermath, Saudi Arabia and her allies intended to transform Syria into a full-blown Sunni nation.

But then Russia, Iran and Hezbollah stepped forward to assist the Assad regime.  Russian air support completely turned the tide of the war, and now the Sunni insurgents are on the brink of losing.

Aleppo was once the largest city in Syria, and Sunni insurgents have controlled it since 2012.  But now relentless Russian airstrikes have made it possible for Syrian, Iranian and Hezbollah ground forces to surround the city, and it is about to fall back into the hands of the Syrian government.

If this happens, the war will essentially be over.

Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies have invested massive amounts of time, money and effort into overthrowing Assad, and they aren’t about to walk away now.

If the war was to end right at this moment, a weakened Assad regime would remain in power, and Iran and Hezbollah would be the dominant powers in the country for years to come.  And once Assad died, it would be inevitable that Iran and Hezbollah would attempt to transform Syria into a full-blown Shiite nation.  This is something that Saudi Arabia and Turkey want to avoid at all costs.

So they are actually considering what was once absolutely unthinkable – a massive ground invasion of Syria.

But if Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies go in, they run the risk of a full-blown war with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah.  Just consider some of the comments that we have seen in recent days

Reacting to a potential troop deployment, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said Saturday, “Let no one think they can attack Syria or violate its sovereignty because I assure you any aggressor will return to their country in a wooden coffin.”

Pavel Krasheninnikov, a deputy of Russia’s State Duma, has warned Saudi Arabia that any military ground operation in Syria without Damascus’ consent would amount to a declaration of war, Press TV reported.

We could literally be looking at the spark that sets off World War 3.  I can’t believe that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are actually considering this.

And if it does happen, you can rest assured that Barack Obama gave them the green light to go in.

Unfortunately, it sounds like the decision may have already been made.  Just consider what Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is saying

“If we have such a strategy, then Turkey and Saudi Arabia may launch a ground operation,” he added, fueling concerns that a foreign troop invasion may soon further complicate the already turbulent situation in the war-torn country.

Earlier, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE voiced their readiness to contribute troops for a ground operation in Syria on the condition that the US would lead the intervention. Damascus and its key regional ally, Iran, warned that such a foreign force would face strong resistance.

And in addition to all of the forces massing in northern Saudi Arabia, the London Independent is reporting that the Saudis have sent troops and aircraft to a military base in Turkey…

Saudi Arabia is sending troops and fighter jets to Turkey’s Incirlik military base ahead of a possible ground invasion of Syria.

The Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, confirmed the deployment in a statement to the Yeni Şafak newspaper on Saturday, days before a temporary ceasefire is due to come into force.

There are reports that Saudi officials are saying that the decision to send in ground troops is “irreversible”, and Reuters is reporting that the Syrian government claims that some Turkish troops have already entered the country…

The Syrian government says Turkish forces were believed to be among 100 gunmen it said entered Syria on Saturday accompanied by 12 pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, in an ongoing supply operation to insurgents fighting Damascus.

“The operation of supplying ammunition and weapons is continuing via the Bab al-Salama crossing to the Syrian area of Azaz,” the Syrian foreign ministry said in a letter to the U.N. Security Council published by state news agency SANA.

Of course the Turkish government is not going to confirm that report, but what we do know is that Turkey is shelling Kurdish forces on the Syrian side of the border.  The funny thing is that these Kurdish forces are actually being supported and supplied by the U.S. government.

So the Turks are not supposed to be doing this, but according to Reuters they have been doing it for two days in a row anyway…

The Turkish army shelled positions held by Kurdish-backed militia in northern Syria for a second day on Sunday, killing two fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

Turkey on Saturday demanded the powerful Syrian Kurdish YPG militia withdraw from areas that it had captured in the northern Aleppo region in recent days from insurgents in Syria, including the Menagh air base. The shelling has targeted those areas.

The hostility between Turkey and the Kurds goes back a long, long way.  The Syrian Kurds are not threatening Turkey in any way right now, but Turkey is using the instability in the region as an excuse to lob artillery shells at a hated enemy.  It is an act of naked aggression that the Obama administration should be loudly denouncing.

In addition, it is being reported that Syrian government forces have also been getting shelled by the Turkish military

Anatolia news agency reported that the Turkish military hit Syrian government forces on Saturday, adding that the shelling had been in response to fire inflicted on a Turkish military guard post in Turkey’s southern Hatay region.

Turkish artillery targeted Syrian forces again late on Saturday, according to a military source quoted by RIA Novosti. The attack targeted the town of Deir Jamal in the Aleppo Governorate.

Needless to say, the Russians are quite alarmed by all of this.

In fact, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is warning about what could happen if things spiral out of control

In the wake of Saudi Arabia’s proposal to send in ground troops on Thursday, the Russian Prime Minister claimed the move could spark a new world war.

“A ground operation draws everyone taking part in it into a war,” he told the Handelsblatt newspaper.

“The Americans and our Arab partners must consider whether or not they want a permanent war.”

If Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies launch an invasion and make a mad dash to take out the Assad regime in Damascus, the Russians will inevitably respond.

And if tactical nuclear weapons are necessary to keep the invading forces out of Damascus, the Russians will not be shy about using them.

I don’t know if I have ever seen a scenario which was more likely to initiate World War 3 than the one that we are watching unfold right now.

So what has the mainstream media been saying about all of this?

Incredibly, they have been almost entirely silent.  When he went looking for news about these events, James Bailey could find almost nothing on either Fox News or CNN…

I just visited the home page for Foxnews.com and found not one single mention of the insane events now unfolding in the Middle East. I could not believe it, so I used my Find tool to search for Syria and Saudi Arabia. Not one mention!

Of course that could change at any moment, but nothing there when I checked. Their stories were all about the meaningless Presidential election, which has already been decided regardless of what we think about it, and other stories about entertainment, sports, Congressional political theater, etc.

So I went to CNN and found just about the same thing with one news story about the Syrian cease fire, but when I read it there was no mention of any of the big events that have developed this week. This is truly an amazing media blackout!

But Fox News does have space to run headlines like these…

Spanish man skipped work for 6 years, still got paid

48 people rescued from stuck tram cars at New Hampshire ski resort

Lovelorn elephant takes out his rage on more than a dozen cars

And CNN apparently thinks that these news stories are more important than the potential beginning of World War 3…

Kanye West drops album, says he’s $53 million in debt

Dutch cops train eagles to hunt drones

Teen hands out 900 flowers to girls at school

If Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies are going to conduct an invasion of Syria, the most likely time for this to happen will be by the end of this month during these military exercises.

If we can get to March 1st and no invasion has happened yet, perhaps we can breathe a little sigh of relief.

But if it does happen, and the Russians and the Iranians decide to shoot back, it really could be the start of World War 3.

 

[by Michael Snyder, writing for The Economic Collapse Blog]

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

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A few thoughts on Islam at the start of a new year…

“Our experience has been that Islam creates dark habitations of cultural cruelty and that Christianity brings the light for an abundant life to cultures. We want to do all we can to educate people about the advantages that faith in God’s Word will bring. We want people to have faith to see Christian culture established in societies that have been Islamic for the last eleven centuries or more.

“Why? It is because Christianity has positive effects on societies and paves the way for advancement in every meaningful aspect of life. There is a residual blessing effect with faith in Christ that lives on for centuries, whether or not citizens are active in church participation.

“Islam has no blessed residual effects. Once Islam thoroughly grips a nation, it has paralyzing effects. This smothers creativity in the arts, medicine, science, business, technology, education, and in harmonious human relationships.

“Wars and adverse economic or climatic conditions are not viable excuses. Countless other nations have gone through all these and more, and have picked up where they left off and continued to make advancements. Not so with Islamic stronghold nations. In many ways they have gone backward rather than forward. Were it not for the technological innovations, creativity, and medical advancements adopted from Christianized countries, the Muslim nations would still be sitting in the dust of 7th century Arab culture.

“Islam’s quenching powers have been easily verified comparing France, Germany, Italy, and Spain on the one hand with Egypt, Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia on the other. The areas of specific comparison were in average household income, literacy rates, male life expectancy, and infant mortality rates per thousand live births. Here is what the comparison showed (using the 2013 World Almanac):  On average, household incomes were 230% higher in the Christian nations. The literacy rate was 15.5% higher. The men of Christian nations live 7.2 years longer. And infants born in the above Muslim nations have a mortality rate that is 750% higher than in the Christian nations. The superiority of life in these Christian nations was astonishing!”

 

A converted Muslim, now a Christian, has offered the following testimony:

“The first time I was arrested for questioning it was because of what I had written on a sign board saying “Jesus is Lord.” While being questioned my captors just started beating and kicking me, trying to inflict as much pain as they possibly could. I soon discovered that my own father had come to join the police in punishing me. I remained in my faith and was not scared of them. The more they beat me, the stronger my resolve became to grow in my faith. There are many other young people now working with me to help reach Muslims with the truth of the Bible.”

 

Another testimony: 

“Not long ago I was caught with 85 copies of the New Testament in my bag. The Iranian police handcuffed me and put me in their car headed directly to the horrible Evin Prison. [Located in Tehran, Iran.] I was frightened because I was on probation, having a long arrest record for Christian activities. I had already spent two years in prison. My name on the police records states ‘Employed by Jesus.’ I was more frightened now because of the evidence of 85 New Testaments.

“From the moment I was tossed into the police car I started praying. I was sure if I went to the prison again, I would never come out alive. I have lived with miracles and believe in them strongly. Sitting in the police car I only said to Jesus that I have done nothing but serve You. Help me. Please do not let me die.

“The word ‘die’ was hardly out of my mouth when the policeman told his driver to pull over so he could purchase something for him. Then I heard the voice of the Iranian policeman turning his face to me and saying, ‘You’re dumb, why are you carrying 85 Bibles in one bag?’ I could not believe what I was hearing. His voice had a different tone from the voices I had heard previously in prison cursing Christians. Then I looked in his eyes. There was something different in his eyes. He was putting the few Bibles he had taken out of my bag back into it. He said, ‘Okay, now quickly, get out of this car. Right now!’ I said, ‘Are you one of us?’ He said, ‘Yes, I believe in Him, too.’ I reached out to touch his hand and literally cried. I said, ‘What will you tell the driver?’ He only said, ‘Go, quickly!’ The next thing I knew, I was in the street running to get a taxi and get as far away as I could. I felt a longing to be somewhere to worship and to thank God for the miracle that had just happened. We are so thankful for the believers who are working in governmental positions and who can be a blessing when one is sorely needed.”

 

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  Because of the constant oppression and persecution endured by Christians in Islamic countries, we cannot provide any more details about the source of the above report. We trust our readers will understand.

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

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Brent oil hits 11-year low as global supply balloons…

Free gas?

Brent oil cratered to its lowest price in more than 11 years on Monday, as demand for heating oil slumped on warmer-than-normal temperatures and traders tested for a bottom.

U.S. crude remained above its 2009 low and settled up a penny a barrel as traders squared positions ahead of the January contract’s expiration. The February contract declined and analysts expect stockpiles to build again this week, signaling further oversupply in already glutted market.

Concerns about swelling global crude supply and slow demand sparked by economic weakness in China have been recurring themes during this year’s rout. Analysts said the market was still testing for a bottom.

“The key in finding the bottom of the market comes in a tightening of the supply side,” said Gene McGillian, senior analyst at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.

OPEC and Russia will keep producing at high volumes, increasing pressure on U.S. producers to throttle back production, he said.

“I think we’re getting ready for another round of capex cuts in North America,” he said.

Heating oil futures weighed down the crude complex, hitting a new July 2004 low warmer-than-expected temperatures have hit seasonal demand.

“The market is waiting for the next announcement,” said Tyche Capital Advisors senior research analyst John Macaluso. “The equity markets are waiting on crude oil, and crude oil is waiting for a bounce before shorts will come back into the market.”

Crude short-sellers will be reluctant to return before U.S. crude recovers to $35.50, he said.

Global oil production is running close to record highs. With more barrels poised to enter the market from nations such as Iran and Libya, the price of crude is set for its largest monthly percentage decline in seven years.

Brent’s premium over U.S. crude narrowed further after President Barack Obama signed a law on Friday that will lift a 40-year ban on U.S. crude oil exports.

U.S. crude futures settled up 1 cent at $34.74 a barrel in the last day of trading on the January contract, before declining slightly in post-settlement trading.

Brent futures were down 53 cents at $36.35, falling as much as 2 percent during the session to a low of $36.04, their weakest since July 2004.

Brent has dropped nearly 19 percent this month, its steepest fall since the collapse of failed U.S. bank Lehman Brothers in October 2008.

While consumers have enjoyed lower fuel prices, the world’s richest oil exporters have been forced to revalue their currencies, sell off assets and even issue debt for the first time in years as they struggle to repair their finances.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, shows no signs of wavering from its year-old policy of compensating for lower prices with higher production, even though its poorer members are suffering.

Oil market liquidity usually evaporates ahead of the holiday period, meaning that intra-day price moves can become exaggerated. The expiration of the front-month WTI contract on Monday may further exacerbate such activity.

 

[REUTERS]

 

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  We are now seeing some market analysts speculate that oil will continue to fall in price even to below the $30 level.

 

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

 

 

 

 

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For Russia, there is only one way out of its current dilemma. It must increase the price of oil. And the only way to do that is to destabilize Saudi Arabia…

Russia has been in the throes of a financial crisis since Saudi Arabia began driving down oil prices last fall,” writes John Robb of Global Guerillas. “Until the Russians reverse this economic assault, Russia will remain weak and vulnerable.”

To be specific, Bloomberg, reports that the ruble has fallen 40% in the past year, inflation is expected to run at 17% in 2015 and GDP will contract by 4.5%. Ouch.

“Of course,” Robb continues, “Putin does have one way out. He needs to increase the price of oil. But how? There’s only one way to accomplish this quickly and easily: destabilize Saudi Arabia.”

That’s where “the fifth domain of war” comes in. Recall our own Byron King coined that term in early 2013. The traditional four domains of war are land, air, sea and space. But those would all be too overt for Russia to use to destabilize Saudi Arabia. The fifth domain, which refers to digital battlespace, is a much savvier choice.

“Russia has three great exports,” explains Robb, “oil, natural gas and criminal hacking.” It’s the latter, he suggests, that could easily cripple the Saudis. He gives four nuanced reasons why:

  1. The Saudi’s defense system is an easily penetrated patchwork.
  2. The workers who man the Saudi defense system are opportunists who could be easily bribed.
  3. The government’s reign is dependent upon command and control. Cut off the connection between the rulers and the army and the population will be able to revolt.

If you’ll continue indulging Robb’s hypothetical, here’s how his destabilization scenario might unfold thereafter. ISIS would dismantle Saudi Arabia’s northern border’s defense grid, including communication and surveillance systems. Then, a few thousand fighters would blitzkrieg the country, swiftly moving south and disrupting crude production.

Oil prices would then shoot to the moon. At the same time, says Robb, “Russian hackers, ISIS and the Russian government all make billions from the increase in the price of oil (both by going long on oil in the market and through the direct sales of product they produce).”

“Some people would argue that this deal isn’t possible,” concludes Robb. “They point out that Russia is at war with jihadis like we are, which means they would never cut a deal with ISIS.

“My response? That’s not a real problem considering the upside opportunity here. Russia is more than willing to cut deals with its enemies if it yields a big advantage. The infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviets and the Nazis is a great example of this.”

When you consider that the U.S. openly supported ISIS in their fight against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, does Russia covertly supporting them in order to save its bacon seem far-fetched?

[from Daily Reckoning.com]

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As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis
normal@usa1usa.com
612.239.0970

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