Monday, June 18, 2012

In The News: Greece, Egypt And Syria

The elections in Egypt and the ramifications to the EU and updates on Syria dominate the news today:

The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Mursy said on Monday after his group declared him winner in a presidential race that he would be a president for all Egyptians and said he would not "seek revenge or settle scores."

Mursy was speaking at a news conference after the Brotherhood declared he had won 52.5 percent of the vote compared to the 47.5 percent secured by his rival, ex-military man Ahmed Shafiq, with almost all votes counted. Shafiq's campaign challenged the result.

But shortly before the final result the generals who have run the country since the overthrow of Mubarak issued new rules in a constitutional declaration outlining the president's powers that made clear real power remains with the army.

Islamist candidate Mohammed Morsi declared victory Monday in Egypt's first free presidential election since Hosni Mubarak's ouster 16 months ago. But the military council that has ruled since the uprising issued an interim constitution just as polls were closing that gave the generals sweeping authority to maintain their grip on power and subordinate the nominal head of state

If Morsi's victory is confirmed in the official result, it would be the first victory of an Islamist as head of state in the stunning wave of pro-democracy uprisings that swept the Middle East the past year. But the military's last minute power grab sharpens the possibility of confrontation and more of the turmoil that has beset Egypt since Mubarak's overthrow.

Just a few days before the presidential runoff on Saturday and Sunday, the military granted itself broad new powers to arrest civilians and a court packed with judges appointed by Mubarak dissolved the parliament freely elected after the uprising, which was dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood challenged the military's power grab, saying Sunday it did not recognize the dissolution of parliament. It also rejected the military's right to issue an interim constitution and oversee the drafting of a new one.

That set up a potential power struggle over spheres of authority between Egypt's two strongest forces - the military and the Brotherhood.

"The next phase is more difficult. We must all unite against the oppressive rule of the military council," one of its founders, Ahmed Maher, said.

Still, the Brotherhood has no power to force recognition of the parliament-created constituent assembly, which already seems discounted after parliament's dissolution and is likely to be formally disbanded by a pending court ruling. Lawmakers are literally locked out of parliament, which is ringed by troops.

The prospect that the generals will still hold most power even after their nominal handover of authority to civilians cast a gloomy pall over the presidential runoff, leaving many feeling the vote was essentially meaningless.

"It is as if the revolution never happened," Ayat Maher, a 28-year-old mother of three who voted for Morsi in Cairo's central Abdeen district. "The same people are running the country. The same oppression and the same sense of enslavement. They still hold the keys to everything."

Debka's analysis makes the most sense in terms of what to expect:

DEBKAfile’s sources report that the council will not go directly up against the Muslim Brotherhood, although it was often accused of plotting its overthrow. What the generals are doing is maneuvering for a foothold from which to bargain for a portion of rule. Reluctant to give up the reins of government, they are nonetheless aware that Morsi may not only prove to be the chosen president of millions of Egyptians, but enjoys quiet backing from the Obama administration.

US president Barack Obama’s goal from the outset of the Tahrir Square revolution early last year was to get the Muslim Brotherhood installed in government through the ballot box. He sees this as the grand vindication of the vision he unveiled at Cairo University on June 4, 2009 in a speech reaching out to world Muslims.

Yes, the same Brotherhood who would like to destroy Israel. Give that some thought.

Israel, it must be said, finds itself in a strategic pits deeper than ever before as it faces the Islamist revolution overtaking Egypt. While promising Israel every possible security perk, Obama has relentlessly pursued a policy of accommodation with revolutionary Islam, both Shiite – through a nuclear deal with Iran after it progressed beyond the point of no return for building a bomb – and the Sunnis, by collaborating with the Muslim Brotherhood and its branches.

However, every Obama success in promoting Muslim power drops Israel further down the strategic scale in the face of its empowered foes.

Meanwhile, the impact on Israel and the border with Egypt continues to present a problem:

A firefight that left three people dead erupted along the Israel-Egypt border on Monday, just two days after Sinai-based terrorists fired two medium-range missile into southern Israel.

On Saturday, forces operating out of the Egyptian-controlled Sinai Peninsula fired two medium-range Grad missiles at targets in southern Israel.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that the attacks from Sinai must be curbed.

"Whoever is elected, we expect him to take responsibility for all of Egypt's international commitments, including the peace treaty with Israel and the security arrangements within Sinai, and to put a quick end to these attacks," Barak told reporters following Monday's attack.

The situation in Greece is also somewhat unclear:

Greece’s two traditional political rivals are in a race to forge a coalition as the state’s cash dwindles, bank deposits flee and Europe demands renewed austerity pledges before releasing more emergency aid.

New Democracy won 129 seats in the 300-seat parliament, according to Interior Ministry projections with 99 percent of the vote counted. Pasok, which has alternated in power with New Democracy over the past four decades, won 33 seats, enough for the two of them to forge a coalition that backs the creditors’ austerity demands.

Syriza matched its second-place ranking of last month by stepping up demands to abandon the fiscal-tightening program.

Political leaders in Europe insist Greece enact spending cuts promised in return for 240 billion euros ($305 billion) in rescue packages since 2010 while holding out the possibility of granting extra time to meet targets for narrowing the budget deficit.

“We will continue to stand by Greece,” European Union President Herman Van Rompuy said in a statement following the vote. The Group of Seven industrialized nations said in a statement that it’s in “all our interests for Greece to remain in the euro area while respecting its commitments.”

The election results from Greece are in and the pro-bailout forces have won, but just barely. It is being projected that the pro-bailout New Democracy party will have about 130 seats in the 300 seat parliament, and Pasok (another pro-bailout party) will have about 33 seats. Those two parties have alternated ruling Greece for decades, and it looks like they are going to form a coalition government which will keep Greece in the euro.

Right now the ingredients for a "perfect storm" are developing in Europe. Government spending is being slashed all across the continent, ECB monetary policy is very tight, new regulations and deteriorating economic conditions are causing major banks to cut back on lending and there is panic in the air.

Unless something dramatic changes, things are going to continue to get worse.

Yes, the Greek election results mean that Greece will stay in the euro - at least for now.

The bottom line? Europe needs a strong leader to lead them out of this mess.

The situation in Europe is very grim.

Greece is going to need bailouts for as far as the eye can see.

Spain is almost certainly going to need a huge bailout.

Italy is almost certainly going to need a huge bailout.

Ireland and Portugal look like they are going to need more money.

France is increasingly looking vulnerable, and Francois Hollande appears to have no real solutions up his sleeve.

As I have said so many times before, watch Europe.

Every few weeks there are headlines that declare that "Europe has been saved" but things just keep getting worse.

Euro Crisis Far From Over

Back to Syria and that evolving situation:

A number of warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet are prepared to go to Syria, the Russian General Staff told Itar-Tass on Friday.

“The Mediterranean Sea is a zone of the Black Sea Fleet responsibility. Hence, warships may go there in the case it is necessary to protect the Russian logistics base in Tartous, Syria,” it said.

“Several warships of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, including large landing ships with marines aboard, are fully prepared to go on the voyage,” he said.

Tartous is the only Russian naval base outside of the former Soviet territory – this is the logistics center serving Russian ships on missions in the Mediterranean Sea. The base opened in 1971 under an agreement with the Syrian government.

Ships carrying Russian commandos may soon sail to Syria to escort strongman Bashar Assad to safety from the country where a rebellion against him is growing fiercer.

The Interfax news agency said Monday that two Russian navy ships are to sail to Syria to protect Russian citizens and its naval base there. This would be the first time since the current rebellion in Syria began that Russia is sending extra troops to its base in Syria.

Cited by the Associated Press, Interfax quoted an unidentified Russian navy official as saying that the Nikolai Filchenkov and Caesar Kunikov amphibious assault vessels will be heading to the Syrian port of Tartus.

The Russian official mentioned nothing about evacuating Assad, but said the ships will carry an unspecified number of marines to protect Russians in Syria and evacuate materials from Tartus if necessary.

In The U.S. And The World:

Frances Fox Piven, co-architect of a strategy to overload the U.S. welfare system to precipitate a transformative economic crisis, was an early builder of the socialist-leaning New Party.

The now-defunct controversial third party is coming under increased scrutiny after new information further indicates Obama was a New Party member.

Piven, together with her late husband, activist and fellow Columbia professor Richard Cloward, developed the Cloward-Piven strategy, which called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system.

The duo’s stated goal was to agitate a financial crisis that would collapse the U.S economy and replace it with a national system with “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty.”

Do you laugh or cry at this next article?

World powers began two days of talks with Iran on Monday to try to end a decade-long stand-off over Tehran's nuclear program and avert the threat of a new war in the Middle East.

Experts and diplomats say a breakthrough is unlikely, with Iran expected to demand recognition of its right to enrich uranium for what it says is a purely peaceful nuclear program.

The sides are no closer to agreement despite two rounds of negotiations since diplomacy over Iran's atomic program resumed in April after a 15-month hiatus.

Israel has threatened to bomb Iran if no solution to the dispute is found, oil markets are nervous over the prospect of intensifying regional tensions and the frail world economy can ill afford a further increase in oil prices.

The most important news of the day may be found in the article below:

For the past few weeks, U.S. indications and warnings have picked up Israeli long-range strike practice and refueling

In addition to long-range strike practice runs, sources say there also has been a recall of “key personnel” and further movement of U.S.-supplied anti-ballistic Patriot missiles.

The Israelis also have been doing intelligence collection flights, as well as early warning practice, which has been under way for more than a month.

Such a report comes on the heels of other recent indications and warnings about Israeli war preparations.

Those preparations include arming and fueling Israel’s nuclear-capable Jericho II missiles and the deployment of covert intelligence ships near Iran for intelligence-gathering and surveillance.

In addition, Israel is preparing its own German-supplied electric submarines which are capable of firing a nuclear-tipped cruise missile. Israel has three such submarines and hopes to receive a fourth almost any time.

This suggests that Israel may put greater reliance on “stand-off” warfare when it comes to any military strike against Iran. Such a strategy includes the use of missiles and drones while using almost all military aircraft to protect the immediate home front.


Ally said...

Good morning Scott and all! As you know, I'm all about the earthchanges as a sign so.....there is a pretty big typhoon (currently a 4 bordering on a class 5) that is getting ready to direct hit Tokyo and Fukushima. I have to do all my research on this tiny telephone and cant import links so if there are any Japanese readers please keep us uodated. And please all, pray for the people of Japan!

Anonymous said...

I didnt know that about the typhoon...wonder if it is expected to further damage fukushima?

Anonymous said...

I didnt' know that either. Scary stuff if its going to effect fukushima again. Don't think it can take another blow of any kind.

Anonymous said...

Super Typhoon Guchol forecasted to strike Japan at about 18:00 GMT on 19 June – cutting a path through the heart of Tokyo

Doesn't look good..

Scott said...

I don't know what happened on that note above....Gotta stop posting comments from my phone :)

Anonymous said...

We've been watching submarines sail out to sea from Haifa bay on meneuvers every day for a while now.
With Russian fleet heading for Syria, it looks like a set up for a regional fire-storm.

Nathan said...

Its Typhoon Guphal and its barely registering a "tropical storm" .

nathan said...

Whoops mistyped it ? It is Guchol but still the same . No threat at all :)

Caver said...

This little tid bit was buried in the body of the article....

"...Those preparations include arming and fueling Israel’s nuclear-capable Jericho II missiles..."

Those are their land based nuclear missiles and the ones to be used for Operation Sampson.

Did someone just twist the knob on the stove. It are getting warm.

Thanks for the heads-up on the Japanese storm. I hadn't seen anything about it.

Welcome to our Anon friend from Israel. Please keep us informed on what you're seeing and hearing over there.

Anonymous said...

Stocks are STILL in bull mode. there
is a CHANCE of a dow rally right
up to 13,000 or higher. If so,
and stocks make new highs above
13, 339.....bulls will no doubt
take back control for a LONG LONG

It is UNLIKELY that this market will
be able to accomplish that, but
ir regardless the subject MUST be
dealt with.

Bears need to show PROOF that they
are still breathing, I have my
doubts. BUT I WOULD NOT BUY this
market, far from it.

Dow down 25, BUT the rest of the
market was, silver, transports, nasdaq, all up !!!!

One thing I noticed is that BULLS
are getting aggressive. VIX and
other violatility measures were all
down, indicating BIG optimism.

Stephen >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>