Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Surge Of Refugees Head To Jordan And Israel, Europe's Crisis Accelerating, Another Push For Cashless Society

In new Syrian exodus, some 50,000 refugees head to Jordanian, Israeli borders

Syria’s refugee crisis in the north is now repeating itself in the south, with tens of thousands of destitute women, children and elderly people fleeing their homes – not this time from beleaguered Aleppo to the Turkish border, but from the southern region of Daraa towards the Jordanian and Israeli borders.
Unlike the broad coverage of the refugee crisis on the Syrian-Turkish border, the refugee exodus from the south has received scant media attention – even from Israeli correspondents.

With the intensification of attacks in southern Syria, about 50,000 refugees are now streaming toward Jordan and another 20,000 making tracks from Israel’s Golan border at Quneitra. 

Russian air strikes resumed against the rebels holding the northern part of Daraa, tens of thousands of civilians are on the move from the South. About 15,000 to 20,000 have reached the Jordanian border, and more than 30,000 are believed heading that way; while another 20,000 refugees may be making for the Golan town of Quneitra on the Israeli border.

Military sources monitoring the situation report that the exodus was first touched off by the fall of Alaman, 3 km north of Daraa in the last few days to Syrian and Hizballah forces. They next cut off parts of Highway 5 from Daraa to Damascus. The rebels were left with only one remaining escape route, the road to the Jordanian border, but that too is under heavy fire, forcing the refugees to go round through rough country.

Jordan has followed the Turkish policy towards the tens of thousands of refugees massing on its border  A single crossing is operating at Ramtha, but refugees are not allowed to pass through.
The Israeli government has not yet issued any statements of policy with regard to the Syrian refugees heading for the Golan.

According to German newspaper Die Welt, the violence toward ethnic minorities, religious minorities and women continues to skyrocket across German asylum centres. Muslim men tear up Bibles and assault Christians, sexually abuse women and children, and beat up homosexuals. The news has led to calls from human rights campaigners to say enough is enough.

 The petition, organised by the Central Oriental Christians, asked the City of Stuttgart to, “please accommodate the displaced Christians in Stuttgart-Neugereut and keep them from further distress and persecution to which they are exposed in a decentralised accommodation.”

Martin Lessenthin, CEO of the International Society for Human Rights also commented on the systematic persecutions of Christians all across German asylum homes. He said it was common to see both Christians and Yazidis subject to torment and beatings and while it is not desirable to accommodate migrants separately, it may be inevitable for the safety of the minorities.

Separation of migrants has been a policy when it comes to extremely vulnerable minorities. Yazidi girls who were used as sex slaves by the Islamic State are housed in secret locations in Germany so as not to attract unwanted attention from migrants sympathetic to the Islamic State or Muslims who view them as nothing more than sexual objects. A purported 1,100 of these women live in various special shelters across Germany.
One victim of sexual abuse is said to have been only eight years old at the time of her abuse by ISIS. Another girl had to be treated by specialist burn victim doctors because the constant sexual torment drove her to try and light herself on fire in a failed attempt at suicide.

Breitbart London has reported on migrant violence within asylum homes with cases of Christians, homosexuals and others being beaten in asylum centres across Germany, reports of asylum centres as breeding grounds for extremism, and even young children being brutally raped by fellow migrants.

Of course the integration effort isn’t going smoothly at all. A wave of sexual assaults blamed on men “of Arab origin” swept the bloc on New Year’s Eve and since then, a rising tide of nationalism threatens to destabilize the entire region and thrust the likes of Germany, Sweden, and Finland into social upheaval.
To understand just how acute the problem is, consider the following chart from The Washington Post which shows how many more asylum seekers fled to Europe from January 1 through February 7 of this year compared to the number arriving from January 1 to February 28 of 2015.

And if you think it's bad now, just wait until the weather warms up. 
As one unnamed German official told Reuters last month, "Europe has until March, the summer maybe, for a solution. Then Schengen goes down the drain."
We're going to need bigger fences...

For the first time in a long time I feel concerned and worried about the prospect of war.  The reaction of Saudi Arabia to the Russian intervention in Syria has always been the wild card in the shifting geopolitical power base in the Middle East.  Turkey and Israel, along with Saudi Arabia are the three countries with the most to lose because of a strong alliance between Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, and Russia.

These three traditional American allies have been accustomed to Western support in regards to their own specific regional goals and ambitions.  This support has been so staunch and counterproductive to regional stability that the growing comfort and alliance between Iran and the US should be both confusing and worrisome to Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

On the one hand the US is making agreements with Iran and lifting sanction while on the other hand it is indirectly supporting Saudi Arabia’s and Turkey’s proxy war against Syria. A war which Iran, along with the support of Russia and Hezbollah, are resisting and countering with massive aerial and ground support.
This contradiction is suggestive of another and more complex strategy which may be unfolding in the Middle East.  A strategy which is beginning to look familiar.
Once Iraq invaded Kuwait the Western press mobilized and a massive propaganda campaign against Saddam Hussein commenced.  The once American ally was isolated on the world stage and suffered one of the worst military defeats in the history of warfare.
The interesting parallels between 1990 Iraq and 2016 Saudi Arabia are unlikely to be coincidental.  Both have militaries which were built with American equipment and support.  Both were used by American interests to counter Iranian regional ambitions.  Both supported the sale of their domestically produced crude exports in US dollars.

In support of this conclusion we find the recent statement of Iranian Armed Forces’ Chief of Staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, who stated:

“US Defense Secretary [Ashton Carter] is supporting and provoking the House of Saud to march to the war [in Syria]. This is an indication that he is at a loss.  It also proves beyond any doubt that they have failed.”

Are we to assume that the US strategy in the Middle East is at a standstill?  I seriously doubt that and America’s agreements with Iran would support something else being afoot.  America may be misleading Saudi Arabia down the same road as it led Saddam Hussein in the buildup to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. Except this time the aerial bombardment will come from Russian forces and the mop up crew will consist of Iranian and Hezbollah forces.

Saudi Arabia and Turkey are both pushed into a corner over the shifting power base in the Middle East. The paranoia and desperation, like Saddam in 1990, could very well cause both countries to commit to the very act of aggression which will lead to their ultimate demise and removal from a position of influence within the region.

To think that the US would enter into a major war against Russia over Saudi Arabia is fraught with mindlessness and madness.  The more probable strategy is the overthrow of the House of Saud, or at least a complete restructuring of the countries place within the Middle East.
Will Saudi Arabia take the bait and invade Syria?  I think we may know that answer sooner rather than later. 

With central bankers losing credibility left and right, and failing outright to boost the "wealth effect" no matter what they throw at it, the next big question is when will central planners around the world unveil the cashless society which is a necessary and sufficient condition to a regime of global NIRP. 
And while in recent days we have seen op-eds by both Bloomberg and FT urging the banning of cash, the most disturbing development we have seen yet in the push for a cashless society has come from the following slide in a Morgan Stanley presentation, one in which the bank's head of EMEA equity research Huw van Steenis, pointed out the following...

One of the most surprising comments this year came from a closed session on fintech where I sat next to someone in policy circles who argued that we should move quickly to a cashless economy so that we could introduce negative rates well below 1% – as they were concerned that Larry Summers' secular stagnation was indeed playing out and we would be stuck with negative rates for a decade in EuropeThey felt below (1.5)% depositors would start to hoard notes, leading to yet further complexities for monetary policy.

Consider this the latest, and loudest, warning on the road to digital fiat serfdom.

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