MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘oil’

Biden Goes Begging: To Offer Saudis Bombs For Oil

Posted by M. C. on July 12, 2022

President Biden’s trip next week to a Saudi Arabia, that not long ago he referred to as a “pariah state,” demonstrates just how desperate his Administration is to save the sinking ship of the US economy. Officials are now floating the idea of approving “offensive” weapons to the Saudis as Biden prepares to grovel for more oil. Also today: Iran sending drones to Russia? Really Jake? Finally: Congress adds a few billion to Biden’s military funding request. Business as usual for the Beltway bandits. Apply NOW to be a 2022 Ron Paul Scholar: http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/…

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Luongo: Breaking The Empire Means Breaking With The Saudis | ZeroHedge

Posted by M. C. on September 5, 2021

The Saudis, however, for their part have learned the lessons well what happens when you get into a price war with Russia. You lose. So, instead of fighting Russia for market share, they’ve decided to coordinate production for the big win-win for everyone while the U.S. continues to grapple with the reality that its empire is not only crumbling, but being actively dismantled from within.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/luongo-breaking-empire-means-breaking-saudis

Tyler Durden's Photoby Tyler Durden

Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, ‘n Guns blog,

For more than fifty years the Saudis have helped prop up U.S. foreign policy by exporting their oil to the world and taking only dollars in return.

Their currency, the Riyal, has been pegged to the U.S. dollar since then Secretary of State under President Nixon, Henry Kissinger, brokered that deal that built the so-called petrodollar system.

Now, in the intervening decades the petrodollar has been a buzzword thrown around by many, including myself, to explain the architecture of the U.S.’s imperial ambitions. In many ways, it has served a crucial part of that, at times. But, it was most needed during the early years of the dollar reserve standard, helping to legitimize this new currency regime and provide a market for U.S. debt around the world to replace gold.

After that it was just one aspect of a much bigger game built on the ever-expanding Ponzi scheme of fake funny money. In reality, the eurodollar shadow banking system is just a lot bigger than the petrodollar.

That said, I don’t discount it completely, as I understand this is real money changing hands for real goods, rather than the vast quantities of dollars out there supporting an increasingly creaky financialized system. Real trade matters and what currency that trade occurs in, also matters.

The U.S. closely defended the petrodollar famously going to war with any country that dared to offer oil on international markets in any currency other than the dollar, c.f. Iraq under Saddam Hussein. But, times change and so do the structure of capital markets.

So, when evaluating the health of the petrodollar system and its importance today it’s important to realize that the oil market is far more fragmented in payment terms than its been since the early 1970’s.

As a system, the petrodollar was always going to die a death of a thousand cuts. To my reckoning the first inklings of this began in late 2012 after President Obama finally used the financial nuclear weapon, expulsion from the SWIFT payment system, on Iran for pretty much no reason.

Earlier this year I wrote a piece describing why in negotiations you never go nuclear and how Obama made the biggest strategic blunder, possibly in U.S. history, by first threatening the Swiss over bank secrecy and then Iran.

The fact that the Obama administration politicized SWIFT when it did ended an era of international finance. The world financial system ended any illusions it had over who was in charge and who dictated what terms.

The problem with that is once you go there, there’s no going back, which was {Jim} Sinclair’s point over a decade ago.

Threatening Switzerland with SWIFT expulsion wasn’t a sign of strength, however, it was a sign of weakness. Only weak people bully their friends into submission. It showed that the U.S. had no leverage over than the Swiss other than SWIFT, a clear sign of desperation.

And that’s what the U.S. did when it pushed the big red ‘history eraser’ button.

The Swiss knuckled under. Its vaunted banking privacy is now a part of history.

Iran, however, in 2012, facing a similar threat from Obama, didn’t knuckle under and forced Obama to make good on his threat. Once you uncork the nuclear weapon you can’t threaten with lesser weapons, they have no sway. This is a lesson Donald Trump would learn the hard way since 2018.

Iran bucked the petrodollar to sell its oil by making a goods-for-oil swap arrangement with India. Iran was laughed at by U.S. foreign policy wonks at the time. Then we found out that Turkey was laundering oil sales for Iran through its banks using gold.

Its currency, the Rial, since then has been under constant attack by the U.S., most viciously under President Trump who sought to do what Obama couldn’t do, drive Iran’s oil exports to zero. The goal was regime change.

I chronicled this in detail, over these past four years, saying explicitly that the strategy was stupid and short-sighted. It didn’t work. It couldn’t work.

Iran’s resistance to Trump’s bullying only further entrenched the existing power structures there and hardened the Iranian people to become more disagreeable, more disdainful of America and, likely, Americans.

All it did was force Iran to develop alternate plans and find new markets. Those alternatives meant courting better relations with China, Russia and Turkey, which the U.S. tried hard to sabotage. As long as Iran was as good as its word, supplying oil and acting as a reliable partner in diplomacy, eventually deals would come to them.

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Is a “Climate Lockdown” on the horizon? – OffGuardian

Posted by M. C. on June 12, 2021

The whole article is not an argument, so much as an ultimatum. A gun held to the public’s collective head. “Obviously we don’t want to lock you up inside your homes, force you to eat processed soy cubes and take away your cars,” they’re telling us, “but we might have to, if you don’t take our advice.”

Will there be “climate lockdowns” in the future? I wouldn’t be surprised. But right now – rather than being seriously mooted – they are fulfilling a different role. A frightening hypothetical – A threat used to bully the public into accepting the hardline globalist reforms that make up the “great reset”.

https://off-guardian.org/2021/06/10/is-a-climate-lockdown-on-the-horizon/

Kit Knightly

If and when the powers-that-be decide to move on from their pandemic narrative, lockdowns won’t be going anywhere. Instead it looks like they’ll be rebranded as “climate lockdowns”, and either enforced or simply held threateningly over the public’s head.

At least, according to an article written by an employee of the WHO, and published by a mega-coporate think-tank.

Let’s dive right in.

The report’s author and backers

The report, titled “Avoiding a climate lockdown”, was written by Mariana Mazzucato, a professor of economics at University College London, and head of something called the Council on the Economics of Health for All, a division of the World Health Organization.

It was first published in October 2020 by Project Syndicate, a non-profit media organization that is (predictably) funded through grants from the Open society Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many, many others.

After that, it was picked up and republished by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which describes itself as “a global, CEO-led organization of over 200 leading businesses working together to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world.”.

The WBCSD’s membership is essentially every major company in the world, including Chevron, BP, Bayer, Walmart, Google and Microsoft. Over 200 members totalling well over 8 TRILLION dollars in annual revenue.

In short: an economist who works for the WHO has written a report concerning “climate lockdowns”, which has been published by both a Gates+Soros backed NGO AND a group representing almost every bank, oil company and tech giant on the planet.

Whatever it says, it clearly has the approval of the people who run the world.

What does it say?

The text of the report itself is actually quite craftily constructed. It doesn’t outright argue for climate lockdowns, but instead discusses ways “we” can prevent them.

As COVID-19 spread […] governments introduced lockdowns in order to prevent a public-health emergency from spinning out of control. In the near future, the world may need to resort to lockdowns again – this time to tackle a climate emergency […] To avoid such a scenario, we must overhaul our economic structures and do capitalism differently.

This cleverly creates a veneer of arguing against them, whilst actually pushing the a priori assumptions that any so-called “climate lockdowns” would a) be necessary and b) be effective. Neither of which has ever been established.

Another thing the report assumes is some kind of causal link between the environment and the “pandemic”:

COVID-19 is itself a consequence of environmental degradation

I wrote an article, back in April, exploring the media’s persistent attempts to link the Covid19 “pandemic” with climate change. Everybody from the Guardian to the Harvard School of Public Health is taking the same position – “The root cause of pandemics [is] the destruction of nature”:

The razing of forests and hunting of wildlife is increasingly bringing animals and the microbes they harbour into contact with people and livestock.

There is never any scientific evidence cited to support this position. Rather, it is a fact-free scare-line used to try and force a mental connection in the public, between visceral self-preservation (fear of disease) and concern for the environment. It is as transparent as it is weak.

“Climate Lockdowns”

So, what exactly is a “climate lockdown”? And what would it entail?

The author is pretty clear:

Under a “climate lockdown,” governments would limit private-vehicle use, ban consumption of red meat, and impose extreme energy-saving measures, while fossil-fuel companies would have to stop drilling.

There you have it. A “climate lockdown” means no more red meat, the government setting limits on how and when people use their private vehicles and further (unspecified) “extreme energy-saving measures”. It would likely include previously suggested bans on air travel, too.

All in all, it is potentially far more strict than the “public health policy” we’ve all endured for the last year.

As for forcing fossil fuel companies to stop drilling, that is drenched in the sort of ignorance of practicality that only exists in the academic world. Supposing we can switch to entirely rely on renewables for energy, we still wouldn’t be able to stop drilling for fossil fuels.

Oil isn’t just used as fuel, it’s also needed to lubricate engines and manufacture chemicals and plastics. Plastics used in the manufacture of wind turbines and solar panels, for example.

Coal isn’t just needed for power stations, but also to make steel. Steel which is vital to pretty much everything humans do in the modern world.

It reminds me of a Victoria Wood sketch from the 1980s, where an upper-middle class woman remarks, upon meeting a coal miner, “I suppose we don’t really need coal, now we’ve got electricity.”

A lot of post-fossil utopian ideas are sold this way, to people who are comfortably removed from the way the world actually works. This mirrors the supposed “recovery” the environment experienced during lockdown, a mythic creation selling a silver lining of house arrest to people who think that because they’re having their annual budget meetings over Zoom, somehow China stopped manufacturing 900 million tonnes of steel a year, and the US military doesn’t produce more pollution than 140 different countries combined.

The question, really, is why would an NGO backed by – among others – Shell, BP and Chevron, possibly want to suggest a ban on drilling for fossil fuel? But that’s a discussion for another time.

Avoiding a “Climate Lockdown”

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America Has Come Full Circle in the Middle East – Defense One

Posted by M. C. on February 1, 2020

In US interventionist foreign policy circles this is considered progress.

Eisenhower hastily convened a meeting with his top national-security advisers on the day of the Iraqi king’s downfall. John Foster Dulles, a consummate Cold Warrior and the U.S. secretary of state at the time, argued that a failure to heed Chamoun’s call would signal to the Soviets that the United States wasn’t ready to take risks for its allies, and would thus mean “the decline and indeed the elimination of our influence—from Indonesia to Morocco.”

More than half a century later, the future of the United States’ military presence in the Middle East is once again up for discussion, as Iraq calls on the U.S. to end its roughly 5,000-strong troop presence in the country and Trump struggles to remove American forces from Syria and Afghanistan as well. U.S. politicians are now grappling with the possibility of a post-American period in the region.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2020/01/america-has-come-full-circle-middle-east/162655/?oref=d-river

“We are opening a Pandora’s Box,” Dwight Eisenhower warned when he ordered the first U.S. combat mission in the region. Little did he know how right he would be.

In 1958, U.S. leaders stood at the threshold of an American era in the Middle East, conflicted about whether it was worth the trouble to usher in.

A year earlier, in the context of the emergent Cold War and fading British and French power in the region, Dwight Eisenhower had articulated and received congressional approval for what became known as the Eisenhower doctrine. The United States had for the first time staked out national interests in the Middle East—oil, U.S. bases and allies, Soviet containment—and declared that it was prepared to defend them with military force.

Sixty-two years before President Donald Trump dispatched a drone to Baghdad to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, this is how American combat missions in the post–World War II Middle East began.

Eisenhower felt compelled to issue his doctrine following a showdown over the nationalization of the Suez Canal by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser, an Arab nationalist whom U.S. officials perceived as allied with the Soviet Union. The U.S. president had pledged to honor requests for American military assistance by countries facing aggression from proponents of “international communism.”

That U.S. commitment was tested when insurrectionist Iraqi army officers executed their country’s last king, the Western-friendly Faisal II, in Baghdad in the summer of 1958. Camille Chamoun, the Christian leader of Lebanon and an opponent of Nasser, asked for American aid against the backdrop of the coup in Iraq and looming civil war in his own country. (The revolution in Iraq had little connection to Nasser, but the U.S. didn’t initially grasp that.) In keeping with the grand domino theorizing of that period, U.S. officials worried that if they didn’t act decisively, U.S. partners such as Lebanon and Jordan would be next to fall to Nasserite nationalism and, by extension, Soviet communism.

Eisenhower hastily convened a meeting with his top national-security advisers on the day of the Iraqi king’s downfall. John Foster Dulles, a consummate Cold Warrior and the U.S. secretary of state at the time, argued that a failure to heed Chamoun’s call would signal to the Soviets that the United States wasn’t ready to take risks for its allies, and would thus mean “the decline and indeed the elimination of our influence—from Indonesia to Morocco.” In a calculation that has been turned on its head today, the president maintained that “to lose this area by inaction would be far worse than the loss in China, because of the strategic position and resources of the Middle East.” His team insisted that the U.S. was on sound footing to intercede militarily in another country’s civil war, because Lebanon’s president had invited them in, a poignant point to read today as Iraqi officials seek to kick the U.S. military out of the country in retaliation forSoleimani’s killing. As for intervening in Iraq as well, Eisenhower, a celebrated World War II general who was typically cautious about taking military action, dismissed the notion as unworkable. In an illustration of just how new all this was to Americans, Eisenhower’s speech announcing the operation included a geography lesson, noting that Lebanon was “a small country, a little less than the size of Connecticut” and that Iraq was “nearby.” He was also mindful of the risks. “I realize we are opening a Pandora’s Box here,” a jumpy Eisenhower told Britain’s equally nervous prime minister on the eve of deploying the Marines to Lebanon.

The episode and its aftermath are essential to understanding how the United States went from being deeply apprehensive about getting involved militarily in the Middle East to conducting more military interventions there than in any other region in the world. The trajectory of U.S. involvement is one of American leaders gradually putting stock in their ability to achieve their objectives through discrete military action and then investing everything in costly military misadventures, to the point that we’ve come full circle: The American public and its leaders are profoundly ambivalent about even limited and critical missions, such as the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Even in 1958, now-familiar patterns of military intervention in the Middle East were evident. Though he advocated for a troop deployment to Lebanon, for example, Dulles warned that the United States was entering a situation in which “it will be easy to get ourselves involved, and very hard to get out.” Then, as now, military inaction was equated with the United States renouncing its interests in the region. “We must act [in Lebanon], or get out of the Middle East entirely,” Eisenhower told his aides, presenting a stark choice that Trump is surely acquainted with. Then, as now, the White House debated whether it needed congressional authorization for its combat operations. Then, as now, U.S. leaders offered the public misleading justifications for their use of force; Eisenhower greatly inflated the situation in Lebanon to be about avoiding another world war by refusing to appease the Soviet Union, when it mostly had to do with internal Lebanese politics.

Despite Eisenhower’s soaring rhetoric, the actual U.S. objective was narrow in scope: to prop up a friendly government. And that goal was achieved with surprising ease. Dulles had predicted that the military intervention would generate blowback, such as an oil crisis as Egypt and its ally Syria retaliated against commercial infrastructure, or “a wave of anti-Western feeling in the Arab world.” Yet when hundreds of U.S. marines came ashore in Beirut on July 15, 1958—backed up by three aircraft carriers and dozens of warships in the Mediterranean Sea, plus the threat of the U.S. deploying nuclear weapons from Germany—they were greeted merely by sunbathers and vendors on the beach. U.S. diplomats soon negotiated a political settlement that eased Chamoun out of power. American forces, eventually numbering in the thousands, left the country in October after suffering only one fatality, from sniper fire, during the three-month deployment. They got in easily, they stabilized the situation, and they got out easily.

More than half a century later, the future of the United States’ military presence in the Middle East is once again up for discussion, as Iraq calls on the U.S. to end its roughly 5,000-strong troop presence in the country and Trump struggles to remove American forces from Syria and Afghanistan as well. U.S. politicians are now grappling with the possibility of a post-American period in the region.

Though Eisenhower and his advisers couldn’t have known it at the time, their swift, successful operation would prove the exception rather than the rule. “Subsequent American combat missions in the Middle East would not be so lucky or so cost-free,” Bruce Riedel, a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, has written. “The wars in Iraq have now seemingly become endless.”

In the years following the campaign in Lebanon, Iran underwent an Islamic revolution, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, and violent Sunni Islamist movements rose up—all seismic developments that encouraged the United States to double down on its investments in the Middle East. By the ’80s, Washington had created a combatant command for the greater region and unveiled the Carter doctrine to defend Persian Gulf partners. The U.S. came to view Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq as its top threat after the Soviet Union collapsed, and George H. W. Bush’s carefully calibrated multinational military operations to reverse Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait arguably represented the height of U.S. military competence in the Middle East.

In the space of a decade and two Bush presidencies, however, the United States veered into a major debacle in Iraq. James Jeffrey, now Trump’s special representative for Syria, noted in a 2016 study that after the September 11 attacks, George W. Bush decided not to manage the challenges to U.S. interests in the region, as his predecessors had done for the past three decades, but to try to eliminate those challenges altogether. Through its post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan and especially Iraq, the Bush administration attempted not only to root out hostile regimes but also to fundamentally remake the region in a manner consistent with U.S. interests and values.

Bush, of course, failed in spectacular fashion to achieve that transformation. Barack Obama, who ran for president in part to remedy those failures, mostly maintained America’s security architecture in the region and sought (largely unsuccessfully) to overhaul America’s role in the Middle East without resorting to military force. Trump, by contrast, has been willing to use limited military force, but has also demonstrated little interest in effecting any change in the region beyond retiring the United States as a security guarantor. Ultimately, he wants out.

And even if Trump doesn’t get his way entirely, he will undoubtedly seize on additional opportunities to reduce the American military presence in the Middle East, as fed-up Americans and progressive presidential candidates push in the same direction. When Eisenhower elected to open that “Pandora’s Box” back in 1958, his justification was that it would be “disastrous” if “we don’t.” Perhaps nothing signals the coming post-American era in the Middle East more than the fact that so many U.S. leaders these days fear the disastrous consequences of leaving the box open.

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Suez Crisis | Middle East [1956] | Britannica.com

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How the US Wages War to Prop up the Dollar | Mises Institute

Posted by M. C. on January 13, 2020

America’s hatred of Iran starts with its attempt to control its own oil production, exports and earnings. It goes back to 1953, when Mossadegh was overthrown because he wanted domestic sovereignty over Anglo-Persian oil.

https://mises.org/power-market/how-us-wages-war-prop-dollar

Ryan McMaken

At Counterpunch, Michael Hudson has penned an important article that outlines the important connections between US foreign policy, oil, and the US dollar.

In short, US foreign policy is geared very much toward controlling oil resources as part of a larger strategy to prop up the US dollar. Hudson writes:

The assassination was intended to escalate America’s presence in Iraq to keep control of the region’s oil reserves, and to back Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi troops (Isis, Al Quaeda in Iraq, Al Nusra and other divisions of what are actually America’s foreign legion) to support U.S. control of Near Eastern oil as a buttress of the U.S. dollar. That remains the key to understanding this policy, and why it is in the process of escalating, not dying down.

The actual context for the neocon’s action was the balance of payments, and the role of oil and energy as a long-term lever of American diplomacy.

Basically, the US’s propensity for driving up massive budget deficits has created a need for immense amounts of deficit spending. This can be handled through selling lots of government debt, or through monetizing the debt. But what if there isn’t enough global demand for US debt? That would mean the US would have to pay more interest on its debt. Or, the US could monetize the debt through the central bank. But that might cause the value of the dollar to crash. So, the US regime realized that it must find ways to prevent the glut of dollars and debt from actually destroying the value of the dollar. Fortunately for the regime, this can be partly managed, it turns out, through foreign policy. Hudson continues:

The solution [to the problem of maintaining the demand for dollars] turned out to be to replace gold with U.S. Treasury securities (IOUs) as the basis of foreign central bank reserves. After 1971, foreign central banks had little option for what to do with their continuing dollar inflows except to recycle them to the U.S. economy by buying U.S. Treasury securities. The effect of U.S. foreign military spending thus did not undercut the dollar’s exchange rate, and did not even force the Treasury and Federal Reserve to raise interest rates to attract foreign exchange to offset the dollar outflows on military account. In fact, U.S. foreign military spending helped finance the domestic U.S. federal budget deficit.

An important piece of this strategy has been a continued alliance with Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia maintains the world’s largest capacity for oil production, and it was the largest single producer of crude for most of the period from the mid-1970s to 2018, when the US surpassed both Saudi Arabia and Russia.

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Syria’s Bashar al-Assad Reflects on Civil War, Oil, Terrorism and America in Rare Interview – Sputnik International

Posted by M. C. on November 12, 2019

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201911111077273037-syrias-bashar-al-assad-reflects-on-civil-war-oil-terrorism-and-america-in-rare-interview/

Having endured a deadly, drawn-out civil war which is gradually drawing to a close, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is facing the daunting task of reuniting and reconstructing a devastated nation, filling in the power vacuum in newly-liberated parts of the country and overcoming a Western-imposed economic blockade.

The Presidential Palace in Damascus overlooks the Syrian capital, but the most troubled parts of the war-ravaged country are out of sight.

The future of those lands, as well as the broader question of how to solve the ongoing political imbroglio and rebuild Syria, are on Bashar al-Assad’s mind as he speaks in his first interview to foreign media in over a year.

The president talks to RT’s Afshin Rattansi about the origins of the conflict that engulfed his country and the role of Western governments in it, and gives his take on the recent and future developments in Syria and elsewhere.

On the interview embargo

Bashar al-Assad, who turned 54 in September, last gave an interview to a foreign news outlet in June 2018. He says he had stopped speaking to Western media completely because of their hunt for a “scoop”, but feels now that “public opinion in the world, and especially in the West, has been shifting during the past few years”.

“They know that their officials have told them so many lies about what’s going on in the region, in the Middle East, in Syria, in Yemen,” he says of the Western public. “They know there is a lie, but they don’t know the truth; so, I think, it’s time to talk about this truth.”…

On chemical attacks

As the fighting intensified, a series of alleged chemical attacks occurred in opposition-held areas in 2013. Damascus and Moscow both suggested that the March attack in Khan al-Assal was a false flag operation by the opposition-aligned militias, which blamed the government in turn.

When UN investigators arrived on the ground to investigate the incident, their visit coincided with an even larger-scale sarin attack in Ghouta on 21 August, which reportedly led to hundreds of casualties. The United States was quick to accuse the Syrian government and was on the brink of a military intervention, averted only when Damascus agreed to surrender all of its chemical weapons…

On the US’ role in terrorist insurgence

The president reiterates a widespread assumption that those terror groups emerged as a direct consequence of the CIA arming the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s as a counterbalance to the Soviet Union.

He says of the American policy: “They invaded Afghanistan, they got nothing. They invaded Iraq, they got nothing, and they started to invade other countries but in different ways.

“The problem with the Unites States now is that they fight a survival war from their point of view because they are losing their hegemony…

On the ‘looting’ of Syria’s oil

During the war, terrorists have captured large swathes of oil-rich territories in northeast Syria; they have since been ousted from there by US-backed Kurdish militias which apparently continue extracting and smuggling out Syria’s oil.

US President Donald Trump has made it clear in recent weeks that “securing” Syria’s oil (i.e. keeping it in the hands of Kurds and away from the Damascus government) is his major priority in Syria. Moscow has recently exposed Washington’s efforts to keep the oil fields under its military control, describing them as “banditry.”…

On Turkey’s invasion

Fighting is still going on in some parts of the country, particularly in the rebel-held north-west province of Idlib and in the north-east, where Turkey recently launched an offensive against Kurdish fighters who it designates as terrorists.

It drove the Syrian Democratic Forces – a Kurdish-led alliance of militias that includes Arab groups – to seek protection from Damascus, whose forces have moved into the areas vacated by American troops and Kurds.

Al-Assad views the Turkish encroachment as a violation of Syria’s sovereignty but refuses to lay the blame on the Turks altogether.

“The Turkish people are our neighbours, and we have a common history, and we cannot make them the enemy,” he says. “The enemy is Erdogan and his policy and his coteries. So, being against those [terrorist] groups in Turkey and in Syria does not mean that we see eye to eye in another aspect, especially after he invaded Syria, publicly and formally.”

On the Kurdish deal

Al-Assad, now probably in a much stronger military position than ever in the past nine years, has ruled out a power-sharing agreement with Kurds. He says the deal with the SDF is intended for the Syrian government to restore “full sovereignty” over the previously Kurdish-held territories and pull the Kurds from the Turkey border in order to “remove the pretext for the Turks to invade Syria.”

He adds he has also invited Kurds to join the government forces; some heeded the call and some did not…

On attacks by Israel

Tel Aviv, which is at loggerheads with Damascus over the Golan Heights, has on many occasions bombed targets in Syria throughout the war that it believes are signs of Iran’s military presence in the country.

Asked if Israel provides a direct support to terrorists, al-Assad says: “Every time the Syrian army advanced against those Al-Nusra terrorists in the south, Israel used to bombard our troops, and whenever we advance somewhere else in Syria, their airplanes started committing air strikes against our army.”

In his opinion, this indicates that there was a “correlation” between the operations of Israel’s army and Syria-based terrorists.

On Iranian tanker arrest

Al-Assad took a back seat over the summer when headlines from the Middle East were mostly dominated by Iran’s stand-off with the US and the UK.

Syria was indirectly implicated in a spat between Tehran and London over a tanker seized by the Royal Marines off Gibraltar on suspicion of shipping Iranian oil to Syria in violation of EU sanctions.

The president strikes a tone similar to that of his allies in Iran, calling Britain’s actions an act of “piracy.” He suggested that the UK “wanted to affect the people in Syria” in “the last-ditch attempt” to turn them against his government…

On rebuilding Syria

Cornered by Syrian troops and Russian airstrikes, the Idlib terrorists are posed to surrender sooner or later. And however preoccupied President al-Assad may be with the restive province, a transition from war to peace will be needed next.

That transition is complicated by international sanctions, but al-Assad is adamant that Syria will be able to overcome it – with a little help from its friends.

“We have the human resources enough to build our country,” the president reassures, “so I would not worry about this embargo, but definitely, the friendly countries like China, Russia and Iran, will have priority in this rebuilding.”

When asked whether the EU member states would be allowed to participate, he answeres flatly: “Every country which stood against Syria will not have a chance to be part of this reconstruction.”

What about Britain?

“Definitely not.”

*Daesh is a terror group banned by Russia, the US, and numerous other states.

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Yah, MORE OIL! That’s what I want, MORE OIL!

 

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“We Want To Keep The Oil” | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on October 26, 2019

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/we-want-keep-oil

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“Well you may throw your rock and hide your hand,
workin’ in the dark against your fellow man.
But as sure as God made black and white
what’s down in the dark will be brought to the light.”

~ Johnny Cash/traditional, ‘God’s Gonna Cut You Down’

The Grayzone has an excellent new article out titled “US troops are staying in Syria to ‘keep the oil’ — and have already killed hundreds over it” detailing the many ways the Trump administration has openly admitted that it is keeping US troops in Syria to control the nation’s oil fields so that the Syrian government can’t use it to fund reconstruction efforts.

“We’ve secured the oil, and therefore a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said in a recent press conference.

“And we’re going to be protecting it. And we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”

“We want to keep the oil,” Trump said in a cabinet meeting a few days earlier.

“Maybe we’ll have one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly.”

“A purpose of those [US] forces, working with the SDF, is to deny access to those oil fields by ISIS and others who may benefit from revenues that could be earned,” said Defense Secretary Mark Esper.

As Grayzone’s Ben Norton accurately explains, “and others” necessarily means the Syrian government; preventing Assad from accessing Syrian oil is standing US military policy.

And that of course is the real reason US armed forces constantly remain in Syria despite all the empty babble about ending wars and bringing home the troops: it’s about control over a nation in a key geostrategic location which refuses to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire. Controlling its material wealth is an ideal way to do this.

Whenever I write about oil as a primary motive for US imperialism, I always get a bunch of right-wingers objecting that that makes no sense because the US has plenty of oil, and that it’s really about freedom and democracy or communism or Zionism or pedovore cults or Illuminati or whatever. What they miss, in their squirming attempts to avoid cognitive dissonance, is that it’s not about having and consuming oil, it’s about controlling oil. Control what governments can and cannot access crucial resources, and you can control which governments thrive and which ones don’t.

As Trump said, “We’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.” In no other international power dynamic would this be considered a rational thing for anyone to say. The idea of another nation invading Texas and seizing control of its oil fields and then Xi Jinping or whomever saying “We’re controlling their oil and we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future” is unthinkable, but a US president can just come right out and say this about a weaker nation and it won’t even be front-page news.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Donald Trump is the most honest US president of all time. By that I don’t mean that he’s an honest person; he of course lies constantly. I simply mean that while his predecessors have always made sure to dress their imperialist military campaigns up as benevolent humanitarian intercessions, Trump just stands there out in the open like “Yeah we grabbed their oil and it’s ours now, blow me.” There was once a time when claiming a war was really about oil got you branded a conspiracy theorist. Now the US president just outright says it.

And this is really the only reason establishment power structures dislike Trump. They don’t feel directly threatened by him, they just dislike the way he’s always saying the quiet part out loud. Status quo power has a vested interest in keeping a smiling mask on things and preventing people from thinking too hard about what’s really going on in the world, and Trump keeps ripping off that mask by telling everyone what he’s doing in plain English.

Revolution (the real kind, the kind that actually changes things) is ultimately a fight against psychological compartmentalization on a mass scale. Compartmentalization is a tool people use to avoid the psychological discomfort (aka cognitive dissonance) that would otherwise be experienced by trying to hold on to two conflicting positions at one time, like, for example, seeing yourself as a good person and simultaneously giving your government your tacit permission to murder strangers on the other side of the world in your name.

Establishment power works to prevent people from looking directly at the ugly aspects of the empire, like the horrific nature of what war is and how much their country spreads it, or the fact that so many have so little while a few others have so very much, or the reason their government doesn’t seem to operate the way they were taught in school. The empire has a vested interest in keeping these things in the dark, while the clear-eyed rebel is always trying to drag them kicking and screaming into the light. This is why truth-tellers and whistleblowers are always made public enemy number one by our rulers.

The true rebel fights to enlighten things, the empire fights to endarken them. This is the struggle from the largest power structures in our world, right down to our own inner lives as individual human beings. This is why I talk so much about the importance of inner work; it’s all one struggle, from the evil secrets hidden behind thick walls of government opacity all the way down to the parts of ourselves we try not to look at. Your efforts to become a more consciously integral and less compartmentalized human being are just as important as your efforts to expose the puppet strings to the audience.

As November 2020 draws nearer the screams to shut up and stop pointing at the truth are going to get louder and louder for political dissidents in America, even louder than the “shut up and fall in line” admonishments that Bernie-or-Busters received constantly in 2016. This will only be the voice of the empire yelling “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” It will only be those who are still plugged into the imperial narrative matrix transforming into a bunch of Agent Smiths and telling you to stop saying things which cause them cognitive dissonance.

But, for someone who has signed the truth-at-all-costs contract within themselves, this simply won’t be an option. Our desire to bring what’s dark into the light will overcome any pressure to keep things endarkened, whether it be in ourselves, in our relationships, in our society, in our government, or in our world. Followed through with in a deep and integral way, it changes the way we think, it changes the way we experience our own consciousness, it alters our behavior, it ruins our experience of news media and Hollywood blockbusters, it ends our marriages, it breaks up longstanding friendships and forges new ones, and it makes the deceptions of the powerful utterly intolerable. Truth come what may means truth come what may, and it’s a lifetime commitment.

We wouldn’t have it any other way.

*  *  *

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Tomgram: Michael Klare, It’s Always the Oil | TomDispatch

Posted by M. C. on July 12, 2019

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176584/tomgram%3A_michael_klare%2C_it%27s_always_the_oil/#more

Michael Klare

What more did you need to know once Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, claimed by the Taliban, was Iranian-inspired or plotted, one “in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests”? In other words, behind the Sunni extremist insurgents the U.S. has been fighting in Afghanistan since October 2001 lurks the regime of the Shiite fundamentalists in Tehran that many in Washington have been eager to fight since at least the spring of 2003 (when, coincidentally enough, the Bush administration was insisting that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime had significant ties to al-Qaeda).

It couldn’t have made more sense once you thought about it. I don’t mean Pompeo’s claim itself, which was little short of idiotic, but what lurked behind it.  I mean the knowledge that, only a week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress had passed an authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, that allowed the president (and any future president, as it turned out) “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

In other words, almost 18 years later, as Pompeo knows, if you can link any country or group you’re eager to go to war with to al-Qaeda, no matter how confected the connection, you can promptly claim authorization to do your damnedest to them. How convenient, then, should you be in the mood to make war on Iran, if that country just happens to be responsible for terror attacks linked to the Taliban (which once did harbor al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden). Why, you wouldn’t even need to ask Congress for permission to pursue your war of choice. And keep in mind that, recently, Congress — or a crew of corrupted, degraded Republican senators — simply couldn’t muster the votes or the will to deny President Trump the power to make war on Iran without its approval.

Let me hasten to add that the supposed link to al-Qaeda isn’t the only thing the Trump administration has conjured up to ensure that it will be free to do whatever it pleases when it comes to Iran. It’s found various other inventive ways to justify future military actions there without congressional approval. Pompeo and crew have, in that sense, been clever indeed. As TomDispatch regular Michael Klare, author of the upcoming book All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change, points out today, there’s only one word largely missing from their discussions of the increasingly edgy situation in the Persian Gulf, the most obvious word of all. But read him yourself if you want to understand just how, when it comes to Iran and that missing word — to steal a phrase from the late, great Jonathan Schell — the fate of the Earth is at stake. Tom

The Missing Three-Letter Word in the Iran Crisis
Oil’s Enduring Sway in U.S. Policy in the Middle East
By Michael T. Klare

It’s always the oil. While President Trump was hobnobbing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 summit in Japan, brushing off a recent U.N. report about the prince’s role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Asia and the Middle East, pleading with foreign leaders to support “Sentinel.” The aim of that administration plan: to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. Both Trump and Pompeo insisted that their efforts were driven by concern over Iranian misbehavior in the region and the need to ensure the safety of maritime commerce. Neither, however, mentioned one inconvenient three-letter word — O-I-L — that lay behind their Iranian maneuvering (as it has impelled every other American incursion in the Middle East since World War II)….

Be seeing you

Sold: Oil Rack - Ampol with six bottles, reproduction sign ...

 

 

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Terrorism for Profit – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on August 13, 2017

http://original.antiwar.com/robert-koehler/2017/08/11/terrorism-for-profit/

This is what war is all about.

At a recent, well-publicized meeting with his generals, Trump “lamented that China is making money off of Afghanistan’s estimated $1 trillion in rare minerals while American troops are fighting the war,” according to NBC News. “Trump expressed frustration that his advisers tasked with figuring out how the US can help American businesses get rights to those minerals were moving too slowly, one official said. …

“The focus on the minerals was reminiscent of Trump’s comments early into his presidency when he lamented that the US didn’t take Iraq’s oil when the majority of forces departed the country in 2011.”

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1983 CIA Doc Reveals Plot – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on April 12, 2017

https://lewrockwell.com/2017/04/tyler-durden/1983-cia-doc-reveals-plot/

Prophetically foreshadowing the current crisis (and apparent action plan), leaked CIA documents from the reign of Bashar al-Assad’s father in the 1980s show a Washington Deep State plan coalescing to “bring real muscle to bear against Syria,” toppling its leader (in favor of one amenable to US demands) , severing ties with Russia (its primary arms dealer), and paving the way for an oil and gas pipeline of Washington’s choosing.
Same old story…Oil. Same old partner…Saudi Arabia money men for Washington, oil companies and the 9/11 hijackers.

Be seeing you

phoca_thumb_l_tcobb34

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