Saturday, November 1, 2014

In The News:

IAEA Head: Iran Dodging Questions On Nuclear Weapons

Iranian officials repeatedly declined to answer inquiries regarding suspicions that the regime had attempted to develop nuclear weapons components, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the organization monitoring the Islamic Republic’s atomic program, said Friday.

Speaking in Washington, Yukiya Amano said Iran did not comply with its obligations to provide information on “possible military dimensions” of its nuclear program, the New York Times reported. Amano added that despite the fact that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had promised to address the issue, talks between the agency and Tehran have not progressed.

Global powers wrestling to hammer out a ground-breaking deal with Iran to curb its nuclear ambitions are moving complex talks into high gear with a “critical” three weeks left for reaching an accord.

The main players — US Secretary of State John Kerry, his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif and outgoing EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton — will crisscross the globe ahead of the November 24 deadline seeking to narrow the gaps.

In the Golan Heights border area, a strange reality has emerged: Israel and local Syrian opposition groups are cooperating in order to manage the humanitarian situation. And all the while, al-Nusra Front fighters, theoretically affiliated with al-Qaeda, are in the background. This organization, mostly Syrian, was born with the Islamic State, and split off after a personal fight between two leaders.

This is an area that is mostly controlled by the al-Nusra Front. That means that the good news for Israel from Syria is that, for now at least, the Sunni terror groups are focusing their efforts on Bashar Assad and Hezbollah. The bad news is that this is only temporary. The al-Nusra Front is creating a real stronghold on the Syrian Golan Heights, and despite what the media believes, it is no less dangerous or extreme than Islamic State, just different in its methods of operation. It is these practices that make it in many ways more dangerous for Israel in the long run.

Daraa, the poorest province in Syria, not far from the Israeli border, has become the center of activity for al-Nusra. One can see how different its practices are compared to IS in places like Raqaa. While the latter captures an area and immediately imposes on the local population prohibitions and punishments, including executions, al-Nusra is more user-friendly. In other words, it tries to enlist the local population by running a Dawa network, in a manner reminiscent of its rival, the Muslim Brotherhood: The organization provides food to the poor, arranges a longer school day, and of course provides plenty of religion classes, during which al-Nusra members will try to explain in a friendly manner why it would be better for the females to hide their faces with a veil.

At the other end of Syria, in the northeast, IS’s progress continues. It is slower because of the international coalition’s operations, forcing the organization to change its methods in order to survive. Still, IS continues to expand overall, especially on the ideological level. In areas that IS takes, it tries to present an alternative government, though one more violent and frightening than the al-Nusra Front for the locals.

Meanwhile, President Bashar Assad sits in between and controls what is left of Syria, the pockets on which he focuses his effort to survive.

In many ways, the Syrian president is holding on thanks to the fact that he has given up the dream of ruling the entire country once more. Now he realizes that in order to stay alive, he must base and cement his rule in Damascus, Aleppo, and Latakia, with no choice but to watch as the rest of Syria splits apart.

I am going to express fear. Fear that the chances of some sort of dangerous and misguided d├ętente with Iran are high, and that they increase if Republicans capture the Senate and improve their majority in the House. Fear that the worse things get for Obama at home, the better the odds that he will hand the keys of the Middle East to Ayatollah Khamenei.

Fear that Obama sees an Iran deal not just as health care reform for the second term, but as his version of George W. Bush’s surge: a Hail Mary pass thrown in the fourth quarter in a long-shot attempt to salvage a legacy…

Obama’s betting that Khamenei can be trusted — for the next two years, at least, after which O will be out of office and making sure that Iran sticks to its agreement will be someone else’s problem. That difference stems from the point Steve Hayes makes in the clip below, which is elementary to anyone who’s followed the saga of Iran nuke negotiations: The top priority for Obama and the EU isn’t disarming Iran, it’s finding a way to avoid war. Bush’s priorities with Saddam were the opposite.

No one, including the GOP’s hawkiest hawks, thinks a war to oust Iran’s regime is in the offing, and many experts have scoffed for years at the possibility of doing significant, irreversible damage to Iran’s enrichment facilities from the air when they’re already so far along. And if there was a window to smash Iran’s program with airstrikes, that window is now closed — thanks to Barack Obama, by his own team’s admission.

Top military leaders in the Pentagon and in the field are growing increasingly frustrated by the tight constraints the White House has placed on the plans to fight ISIS and train a new Syrian rebel army.
As the American-led battle against ISIS stretches into its fourth month, the generals and Pentagon officials leading the air campaign and preparing to train Syrian rebels are working under strict White House orders to keep the war contained within policy limits. The National Security Council has given precise instructions on which rebels can be engaged, who can be trained, and what exactly those fighters will do when they return to Syria. Most of the rebels to be trained by the U.S. will never be sent to fight against ISIS.
Making matters worse, military officers and civilian Pentagon leaders tell The Daily Beast, is the ISIS war’s decision-making process, run by National Security Advisor Susan Rice. It’s been manic and obsessed with the tiniest of details. Officials talk of sudden and frequent meetings of the National Security Council and the so-called “Principals Committee” of top defense, intelligence, and foreign policy officials (an NSC and three PCs in one week this month); a barrage of questions from the NSC to the agencies that create mountains of paperwork for overworked staffers; and NSC insistence on deciding minor issues even at the operational level.
In this telling, the biggest problem is Susan Rice, who has no experience at all in military operations, and not much more in counterterrorism before moving to a position within the Obama administration that didn’t require Senate confirmation. Her main accomplishment prior to this was mouthing the talking points provided to her after the Benghazi attack, apparently with little curiosity as to whether they were accurate, in place of Hillary Clinton on Sunday talk shows in the immediate aftermath. How that qualifies her to run a military operation is something of a mystery. Shouldn’t that be handled by Chuck Hagel, who is the actual Secretary of Defense?

Regardless of who’s in charge, the policy is failing. The Washington Post reports that the airstrikes are not only having little impact on ISIS militarily, they’re not slowing down recruitment either:

More than 1,000 foreign fighters are streaming into Syria each month, a rate that has so far been unchanged by airstrikes against the Islamic State and efforts by other countries to stem the flow of departures, according to U.S. intelligence and counterterrorism officials.
The magnitude of the ongoing migration suggests that the U.S.-led air campaign has neither deterred significant numbers of militants from traveling to the region nor triggered such outrage that even more are flocking to the fight because of American intervention.
“The flow of fighters making their way to Syria remains constant, so the overall number continues to rise,” a U.S. intelligence official said. U.S. officials cautioned, however, that there is a lag in the intelligence being examined by the CIA and other spy agencies, meaning it could be weeks before a change becomes apparent.

So what’s the news?
The Chinese government announced that the renminbi will become directly convertible with the Singapore dollar... effective immediately.

It’s clear this deal has been in the works for a while, and it’s another major step towards the continued internationalization of the renminbi and unseating of the dollar as the world’s dominant reserve currency.
For decades the renminbi has been a tightly controlled currency. It’s only been in the last few years that the Chinese government started loosening those controls, primarily in response to the obvious need for a dollar competitor.
The entire world is screaming for an alternative to the dollar and the US government.

Since the end of World War II, the US has been in the driver seat. The Fed essentially sets global monetary policy. Foreign banks are forced to rely on the US banking system. Nearly every nation on earth must hold US dollars and buy US government debt just to be able to trade with one another.
These were sacred privileges entrusted to the US government. And they have been abused time and time again.

The US government spies on its allies. It uses its banking system as a weapon to threaten foreign companies. It fines foreign banks billions of dollars for doing business with countries it doesn’t like.

They discredit themselves by continuing toindebt future generations and failing to make tough fiscal decisions.

And the Fed has printed so much money that major foreign institutions are left with no choice but to seek an alternative. Enough is enough.

China is taking the lead in providing the world with another option. And they’re not exactly doing this under cover of darkness. These moves have been widely telegraphed, at least to anyone paying attention.
For the last few years the Chinese government has entered into new ‘swap agreements’ at blazing speed, allowing other nations’ central banks and governments to hold the renminbi in reserve.

They’ve concluded direct trade arrangements (notably with Russia) to settle oil and gas deals in renminbi.
This summer we saw the establishment of a Chinese-led supranational bank intended to compete directly with the IMF.
Just last week the British government issued a new government bond denominated in renminbi.
And now this– direct convertibility between China and the #1 financial center in Asia, making it possible for ANYONE to trade and hold renminbi through Singapore.
It’s so obvious where this train is headed.

But again, this story is hardly covered in the Western press. They’re living in a dream world where King Dollar still reigns and the US is the only superpower in the world.
Nonsense. It’s imperative to stop listening to the propaganda and start paying attention to facts:

These are all objective facts which point to the same conclusion: this current dollar/debt-based system is on the way out.
It’s not going to happen overnight, but we’re already seeing a slow and orderly exit. And we can see the rest of this trend unfolding years in advance.
Ignoring this could be very hazardous to your financial well-being. And while the Western media might be totally clueless, there are plenty of options for forward-thinking individuals.

Also see:

No comments: