U.S. Officials Fear Saudi Collapse If New Prince Fails
The House of Saud reigns based on an agreement between the Saud, and the Wahhabi clerics. The Wahhabi beliefs are the genesis for ISIS.
More below the fold.
Bahraini court suspends the main political opposition party - FT.com
Bahrain like all of the Sunni gulf states needs a revolution. Could I point to the most important document in modern political history? The Declaration of Independence. Simply follow the form, and then steel yourselves for the fight. The US Constitution with Amendments from prior to 1900 is also brilliant, but it will need a few alterations. Be very careful with post 1900 Amendments.
Please advise if you would like input. Enjoy your republic!
With Iran-Backed Conversions, Shiites Gain Ground in Africa
. . . as it spreads, we will need to remain aloof, yet ready to help the Shiite maneuver the battle towards the full, unfettered reformation of both Sunni, and Shiite factions of Islam. The goal is ultimately a renaissance, and enlightenment of Islam, of the type Protestantism brought to Christianity.
Saudi Shift Brings Uncertainty on Oil
. . . they will lose their shirts on these trades, there is no support for the price of oil, demand is weak, supply strong, and no evidence anything will change that for a long time.
"'In the Southern Persian Gulf, oil is becoming a political commodity, more than an economic commodity,” he said, though he lamented that shift. “OPEC is in a difficult situation.”
In his first remarks as minister, Mr. Falih on Sunday said in a news release that the country would “remain committed to maintaining our role in international energy markets and strengthening our position as the world’s most reliable supplier of energy.'"
Right, like we have been saying, oil is a political tool being used by both Iran, and the House of Saud in the existential war between the Shia, and the Sunni. Saudi cannot stop or slow production to support price unless it can verify Iran and the Shia oil producers will as well. This is desperation selling to keep the price low, and limit Iran's income, while making desperate changes to the Saudi economy in an attempt to create gold from straw.
Good luck on that.
The oil traders are as yet unwilling to believe that the House of Saud is actually willing to let the price tank. And so they continue to bid up the price on any minor problem, or supply bauble. But the metrics do not support pricing in this range without the House of Saud restricting the supply. Something the House of Saud has specifically said it will not do.
Someone is going to get burned. Heh!
This Saudi millennial just cemented his position as one of the most powerful people in the world
. . . camel?
The rule is simple, anything which cannot go on forever will stop. And the most egregious Human Rights violator in the world cannot go on for ever. The House of Saud will fall, it is only a matter of time. The existential struggle between the Sunni and the Shia for control of Islam is coming to a head. Oil prices have tanked, and there is no evidence that demand will recover over the long term sufficiently to exceed current supply. There is excellent evidence that current supply will increase either through new finds, fracking old wells to renew output, or natural gas to liquids programs. The price of the end products of refined oil is likely to fall, and remain low. There is no evidence crude oil prices can seriously rebound in such a market.
The House of Saud will try to ride this down by selling part of ARAMCO, and cutting the subsidies it pays to those living in Saudi Arabia, but this will be ephemeral. The oil in Saudi Arabia is in the East, the Shia parts of the country. One can already see the outcome. The dilettante Arabs mincing about as the House weakens, only to watch as the much more serious Shia Persians, and Arabs of the East take the oil fields.
Couldn't happen to a more horrible bunch of Human Rights violators!
“OPEC is Dead”
. . . the House of Saud must pump oil, or it will die. Of course, OPEC is dead.
"Times have changed, though, and the country’s new man-behind-the-throne—the 31 year old deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman—has little interest in ceding Saudi market share in pursuit of higher prices while the rest of OPEC gets a free ride."
Exactly. The House of Saud cannot afford to build Iran's coffers by cutting revenue. With Iran sans sanctions, The House of Saud is in dire straits for Iran already has an integrated economy, while Saud has an economy limited to oil alone. If allowed, Iran will use its oil revenue to build its integrated economy. This is the reason we are only now seeing the House of Saud pay attention to its non-oil economy, intent on selling off a portion of ARAMCO to fund a $2 trillion attempt to see if it can get the Arabs to actually go to work. Good luck with that. The reason they did not do it before? They do not think it is possible; they are desperate!
The Islamic Reformation is coming, Iran will anchor the Shia, The House of Saud will Anchor the Sunni, the outcome should be the sublimation of Salafism/Wahhabism into a reformed Islam more in tune with the Enlightened West. And optimistically, this will trigger an Islamic Enlightenment.
To do this the House of Saud, and its alliance with Wahhabism must fall. It's Game of Thrones with consequences!
Please, please, please let these idiots in the House of Saud execute this harebrained scheme to sell 750 billion in US assets!
Saudis threaten to sell $750 billion US assets if Congress passes bill that would let 9/11 victims sue Saudi Arabia
Cut the House of Saud loose, and let them swing. They are the enemy within Islam, and the real sponsors of Islamic fundamentalism/terrorism.
Let the victims of 9/1 sue the House of Saud directly, nay, build a superhighway to help the victims sue the House of Saud.
Only Obama can screw this up, and with his track record, I suspect that there is a better than 50/50 chance he will.
The House of Saud needs the security of US assets more than the US needs their money. We will be fine regardless of what Saud does. They, however, are in a world of hurt, fighting a losing battle with Iran, and faced with an economy nearly completely dependent upon oil, which is ready to plumb new lows.
Now that we have the threat in hand, we should summarily cut off any further military assistance, and access to any further military hardware, including supplies for repairs, and any US training. On the State Department side we should highly limit and any further visas both in duration (no more than 2 weeks) and in number (a few hundred per year max). The House of Saud is a cancerous evil, and massive human rights violator, we need to deal with them seriously.
The hegemon must address threats quickly, and forcefully.
Opec’s days as economic force are ‘over’ - FT.com
. . . but the Yergin seems to misunderstand why.
"Opec’s economic power is broken, says the unofficial historian of the oil industry, who has argued that the association of oil exporting countries has become irretrievably divided and is unable to reverse the current slump in crude prices.
Daniel Yergin, whose Pulitzer-prize winning book The Prize provides a comprehensive history of oil and power, said he believes the association’s economic prowess has been undone by its inability to agree on how to stop the oil crisis.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr Yergin, who is also vice-chairman of data provider IHS, said the recent disagreements among Opec members have revealed how weak the organization now is.
Mr Yergin said: “The era of Opec as a decisive force in the world economy is over. It is clearly a very divided organization.”
Mr Bergen’s book, first published in 1990, dedicates several chapters to the rise and domination of Opec, the 13-member organisation that has caused sharp swings in the oil price by restricting or raising supplies since it was set up in 1960.
But the 69-year-old argues the current oil slump has exposed the organization’s inability to act in a unified way."
Ok, correct as far as it goes, but it does not go anywhere near far enough.
The reason for the lack of unity is the existential war between the Shia, represented by Iran, and the Sunni, represented by the House of Saud.
"Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s powerful deputy crown prince, said earlier this month a deal would only happen if Iran also signed up.
But Iran wants to increase its output after sanctions were lifted in January as part of a nuclear deal with world powers.
Mr Yergin said he did not think a freeze was possible until Iran clarified how much it could export. As for Saudi Arabia, Mr Yergin said it was thinking differently about oil.
“I remember when the operating code was: save the oil for our grandchildren. Now the grandchildren are in charge and they are looking at it in a very different way,” he said.
“They are not looking at it as precious resource . . . but rather asking how do you monetize it?'"
Right Saudi wants to tie up Iran so it has no money to fight this existential war. Iran will have none of it, and so will pump oil, in order to build its more integrated economy back from the recent sanctions, and seek to fight proxy wars in the meantime. Saudi has very little economy outside of oil, and what it has, is nearly completely reliant on oil money transfers from the House of Saud.
It is not that the House of Saud is thinking differently about oil, it is thinking about an existential war, and it needs as much oil money as possible to ward off economic unrest from its people, and fight expensive proxy wars. Remember in this fight the House of Saud is the banker to the Sunni proxy wars, while the Iranians are not, they train, and provide some arms assistance but do not do the majority of the bankrolling.
The reason the House of Saud recently left Yemen, is to cut the costs of the proxy war there. The House of Saud is deeply concerned, and panic is just setting in.
OPEC's days as oil hegemon are over. Not because "Kids these days!" But because Iran wishes to reduce the kingdom. Optimistically, this will be the warfare at the beginning of the Islamic Reformation, which will lead to an Islamic Enlightenment. But lets not get ahead of ourselves.
Al-Saud is our enemy. The Shia, represented by Iran are the only real hope today for an Islamic Reformation. We need to make this work. We need to trade with Iran, and promote the full reintegration of Iran with the world economy. This will allow Iran to pressure the House of Saud, and allow Iranian businesses, and the people of Iran to build relations with America, and the West. Only this will result in the diminishment of the Iranian hardliners, and the ultimate democratization, and free marketization of Iran. Something the world needs dearly.
Let's do it!
Does Obama Have This Right?
. . . has Friedman ever been right?
"Sulaimaniya, Iraq — As one could see from President Obama’s recent interview in The Atlantic, he pretty much hates all the Middle East’s leaders including those of Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Iran and the Palestinians.
Obama’s primary goal seems to be to get out of office being able to say that he had shrunk America’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, prevented our involvement on the ground in Syria and Libya, and taught Americans the limits of our ability to fix things we don’t understand, in countries whose leaders we don’t trust, whose fates do not impact us as much as they once did.
After all, the president indicated, more Americans are killed each year slipping in bathtubs or running into deer with their cars than by any terrorists, so we need to stop wanting to invade the Middle East in response to every threat.
That all sounds great on paper, until a terrorist attack like the one Tuesday in Brussels comes to our shores. Does the president have this right?"
No! We know this because Friedman goes on to say, "Visiting here in northern Iraq, in Kurdistan, and talking to a lot of Iraqis leaves one thinking Obama is not entirely wrong."
"But sitting here also makes you wonder if Obama hasn’t gotten so obsessed with defending his hand’s-off approach to Syria that he underestimates both the dangers of his passivity and the opportunity for U.S. power to tilt this region our way — without having to invade anywhere. Initially, I thought Obama made the right call on Syria. But today the millions of refugees driven out of Syria — plus the economic migrants now flooding out of Africa through Libya after the utterly botched Obama-NATO operation there — is destabilizing the European Union."
This does not require any wondering, the EU is a mess because of the Libyan fiasco, and the Syrian fiasco. All of the Middle East, and all of the Northern third of Africa are under stress, and turmoil because of these failings. Now Europe more generally is caught in the conflagration.
"Kurdistan and Tunisia are just what we dreamed of: self-generated democracies that could be a model for others in the region to follow. But they need help. Unfortunately, Obama seems so obsessed with not being George W. Bush in the Middle East that he has stopped thinking about how to be Barack Obama here — how to leave a unique legacy and secure a foothold for democracy … without invading."
One of these, Tunisia is a Bush legacy, the other should have been, but Bush failed to take the correct action and allow the division of Iraq into pieces. This would have resulted in at least a tripartite separation between the Kurds, the Shia, and the Sunni. Instead, Bush retained the incompetent colonial boundary. This was an appeasement of Turkey.
The disasters spilling from Obama's actions, and failures dwarf the problems we saw from the Bush failure vis-a-vis the Kurds. While Obama has had 7 years to correct these problems, he has done nothing constructive, to the contrary he has acted foolishly, expanding the problem to North Africa, and Europe. Atta boy, Barack!
UN touts federalism ahead of Syria talks | News | DW.COM | 11.03.2016
"The Saudi-backed HNC has dismissed the "idea of federalism" in Syria, calling it a prelude to partition. But the Syrian government, Moscow and the Kurdish PYD believe it could be key to ending the war."
After the invasion, the great failure of the Bush reactivation of the Iraq war was to keep the nation intact over the objections of the people of Iraq. The people should have been allowed to either keep the nation intact, or partition as they desired. The Bush administration kowtowed to Turkey and kept the nation intact. This was to keep the Iraqi Kurds from creating a greater Kurdistan bordering Turkey, and Syria. Turkey believed, likely correctly, that the Turkish Kurds would have split off to join greater Kurdistan.
Declaration of Independence - Text Transcript
This was once a great document, which was studied by American students. It is simple, clear, and understandable. But it is obviously no longer studied, at least by those running the US. The Kurds in all three nations, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey had valid reason to separate under the concepts embedded in the United States Declaration of Independence, and form their own, new nation. We should have assisted them in this noble quest.
The result would have been a much more stable Iraq likely fractured along the lines of a Shia Iraq, a Kurdish Iraq, and a Sunni Iraq.
We now have the opportunity to not make this same mistake twice. We need to forcefully stand for the position that the people of Syria should make this determination on their own.
It is long past time for We the People, to stand up to our government on these simple matters of choice. The Cold War is long over and these long calcified carbuncles of bad policy should be excised. We need to be the Champion of republican governance, free markets, and reformed religion, we know, here at the End of History, these things work.