Friday, January 18, 2019

One Port, Two Worlds: China Seeks Dominance in Athens Harbor

A Chinese executive with shipping company Cosco has helped transform part of Athen's Port of Piraeus into a success story. The multinational firm now has a controversial plan to acquire the whole facility and put it on track to join the ranks of Hamburg and Rotterdam. One could argue that China's...

Saudis Face Defeat in Yemen and Instability at Home

“The interventions of US imperialism, with the direct collaboration of the Saudi monarchy, have plunged the entire Middle East into chaos and bloodshed—from the destruction of Iraq, to the transformation of Libya into a militia-ravaged “failed state,” to the ongoing carnage inflicted upon Syria … This predatory imperialist offensive threatens...

Japan, Sticking With U.S., Says It Won’t Join China-Led Bank

TOKYO — Japanese leaders indicated on Tuesday that their nation would not become a founding member of a new Chinese-led Asian development bank but instead remain loyal to the United States, which has urged its allies to refrain from joining. The officials cited concerns about the management of the new...

IMF’s Executive Board Completes Review of SDR Basket, Includes Chinese Renminbi

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the regular five-yearly review of the basket of currencies that make up the Special Drawing Right (SDR). A key focus of the Board review was whether the Chinese renminbi (RMB) met the existing criteria to be included in...

The U.S. Military’s Battlefield of Tomorrow

Years ago, Chalmers Johnson took a term of CIA tradecraft, “blowback,” and put it into our language. Originally, it was meant to describe CIA operations so secret that, when they blew back on this country, Americans would be incapable of tracing the connection or grasping that the U.S. had anything to do with...

EU Urges Feasibility Study for Importing Israeli Natural Gas

(Bloomberg) -- The European Union signaled interest in a possible pipeline to import Israeli offshore natural gas via Cyprus and Greece, highlighting the EU’s efforts to reduce reliance on Russia. Top EU officials said the Eastern Mediterranean initiative, which Israel, Greece and Cyprus are promoting, merits a feasibility study. The...

Lockheed Martin, Boeing Rally Around Saudi Arabia, Wave Off Humanitarian Concerns

Representatives from two major defense contractors whose advanced weaponry is being used in the Saudi Arabia-led bombing campaign that has killed scores of civilians in Yemen were quick to defend the human rights record of the Persian Gulf kingdom in a panel discussion held last week in Washington, D.C. Ronald...

Cyber chief: Efforts to deter attacks against the U.S. are not working

The government’s efforts to deter computer attacks against the United States are not working and it is time to consider boosting the military’s cyber-offensive capability, the head of U.S. Cyber Command told Congress on Thursday. “We’re at a tipping point,” said Adm. Michael S. Rogers, who also directs the National...

Why Iraqi-Saudi ties are backsliding yet again

Iraq is facing a new crisis with Saudi Arabia as a result of their differing points of view regarding regional issues, most notably those related to Lebanon-based Hezbollah, which was recently classified by the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as a terrorist organization. The crisis started March...

House Approves USA Freedom Act, Extending And Revising The Patriot Act

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to approve a measure that would, among other things, end the mass collection of Americans' phone data. The USA Freedom Act extends many parts of the 2001 USA Patriot Act, which expires June 1. The measure's fate in the Senate is less likely. The surveillance issue...

Obama, Republicans push anti-China trade pact

Both the US Senate and House of Representatives have begun action on legislation to grant President Obama Trade Promotion Authority, also known as “fast-track” authority, which would enable the US government to finalize the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade agreement with 11 other countries in Asia and the Americas. The Senate...

Saudi Arabia Adds Half a Bakken to Crude Market in a Month

Saudi Arabia boosted crude production to the highest in three decades in March, with a surge equal to half the daily output of the Bakken formation in North Dakota. The kingdom increased daily crude output by 658,800 barrels in March to an average of 10.294 million, according to data the...

Russia Rebounds, Despite Sanctions

Sanctions meant to punish Russia for snatching Crimea from Ukraine one year ago were supposed to hurt Russian business. And they did. Russian stocks, bonds and commodities had the worst performance in 2014 of those in any emerging market. That was then. Now the picture is changing, with investors starting...

US govt bans Intel from selling chips to China’s supercomputer boffins

Xeon, Xeon Phi processors slapped on trade block list. The US government has blocked Intel from shipping high-end Xeon processors to China's supercomputer builders – and other American chip giants are banned, too. Intel confirmed to The Register last night it was refused permission to sell the chips to the Middle Kingdom's defense...

Mystery Behind Dropping Oil Prices Solved – Concerted Manipulation

Who’s surprised? Various stories had been invented by media houses across the Western world in an attempt to explain why oil prices have conveniently fallen, just in time to pressure Russia, Venezuela and Iran, and all while covert political subversion, attempts to sell all-out-war and other measures have completely...

Meet Executive Order 12333: The Reagan rule that lets the NSA spy on Americans

In March I received a call from the White House counsel’s office regarding a speech I had prepared for my boss at the State Department. The speech was about the impact that the disclosure of National Security Agency surveillance practices would have on U.S. Internet freedom policies. The draft...

Chinese stratagems and Syrian buffer zone for Turkey-Qatar pipeline

Erdogan's latest feat in beguiling US/NATO to back his demands regarding Syria is a masterpiece. Employing a familiar Chinese stratagem of 瞒天过海 (mán tiān guò hǎi) often associated with Emperor Liu Bei’s (161-230 AD) military strategist Zhuge Liang in the Three Kingdoms period, in one fell swoop of offering access to...

U.S. secretly backed Syrian opposition groups, cables released by WikiLeaks show

The State Department has secretly financed Syrian political opposition groups and related projects, including a satellite TV channel that beams anti-government programming into the country, according to previously undisclosed diplomatic cables. The London-based satellite channel, Barada TV, began broadcasting in April 2009 but has ramped up operations to cover the...

U.S. Foreign Arms Deals Increased Nearly $10 Billion in 2014

WASHINGTON — Foreign arms sales by the United States jumped by almost $10 billion in 2014, about 35 percent, even as the global weapons market remained flat and competition among suppliers increased, a new congressional study has found. American weapons receipts rose to $36.2 billion in 2014 from $26.7 billion...

Pentagon Announces New Strategy for Cyberwarfare

SAN FRANCISCO — The Pentagon on Thursday took a major step designed to instill a measure of fear in potential cyberadversaries, releasing a new strategy that for the first time explicitly discusses the circumstances under which cyberweapons could be used against an attacker, and naming the countries it says...

Europe and the Politics of Russian Gas

The recent announcement of a lucrative new gas contract between Hungary and Russia is certainly beneficial to both countries. Perhaps more significant however, is the fact that Russian energy supplies, and the political conflict between Europe and Russia, is drawing dividing lines all over the map. By allowing Washington...

Ruble Strong: Russian Currency No Longer Reacts to Oil Prices, Foreign Debt

The ruble has grown by 13 percent since the beginning of the year, and has found a new point of balance as it no longer reacts to falling oil prices or foreign debt payments, Russia's Finance Minister said. The ruble no longer reacts to the oil price, the fall of...

U.S. Military Should Stay Home: America, Not Iran, Is Biggest Threat To Mideast Stability

The Obama administration’s decision to negotiate with Tehran triggered near hysteria among U.S. politicians and pundits who advocate perpetual war in the Middle East. One complaint is that the talks were not broad enough. They did not address Iran’s malign intervention throughout the Middle East. These critics denounced Tehran’s imperial...

Argentina and Russia Ink $5B Worth of Energy Deals

President Cristina Fernandez says Argentina and Russia are “partners in energy.” Russia and Argentina agreed Thursday to consider stamping out the use of the U.S. dollar for bilateral trade, along with a slew of other high level deals. “We have agreed to carry out comprehensive consultations on the question of using...

In Talks With Merkel, Putin Calls for Improving Relations With Europe

MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin used a visit on Sunday by the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to call for a return to normal relations with Europe, brushing aside the widespread boycott by Western leaders of the huge Victory Day parade on Red Square a day earlier. “We do face...

The Iran Deal and Its Consequences

Mixing shrewd diplomacy with defiance of U.N. resolutions, Iran has turned the negotiation on its head. The announced framework for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program has the potential to generate a seminal national debate. Advocates exult over the nuclear constraints it would impose on Iran. Critics question the verifiability...

Australia Caught in Middle of US-China Power Tussle

Canberra could struggle to balance its interests as tensions rise over the AIIB and TPP. Tensions between the United States and China over the Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) are the next embodiment of a hard and soft power battle for economic and political dominance in the Asia-Pacific, and...

US Army report calls for ‘military support’ of Israeli energy grab

US military strategists are contemplating the threat of war to redraw the Middle East’s energy architecture around Israel. A new report by the US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute emphasises the need for “US security and military support” to its key allies in the Eastern Mediterranean, particularly Israel, over...

Your Money at War Everywhere

Fifteen to 20 years ago, a canny friend of mine assured me that I would know I was in a different world when the Europeans said no to Washington. I’ve been waiting all this time and last week it seemed as if the moment had finally arrived. Germany, France,...

Is Turkey The Real ISIS?

The Syrian crisis has just seen a drastic escalation in the potential for what could essentially turn into World War 3 with the Turkish military’s downing of a Russian jet over Syria under the guise of protecting Turkish airspace. The Turks have argued that the Russian jet violated Turkish airspace,...

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