Monday, August 19, 2019

Islamic State Weapons in Iraq and Syria

Analysis of weapons and ammunition captured from Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria. This dispatch outlines preliminary findings from an examination of weapons and ammunition captured from Islamic State (IS) forces in Iraq and Syria between mid-June 2014 and early August 2014. IS forces have been operating in Northern Syria...

Why Nordstream 2 risks failure

The Nordstream 2 gas pipeline that Gazprom and a number of major European energy companies, have agreed to build, faces formidable political, legal and economic obstacles that may make the project undeliverable, writes Alan Riley, professor at City Law School in London and nonresident Senior Fellow with the Atlantic...

The U.S. Spent a Half Billion on Mining in Afghanistan With Limited Progress

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction has labelled yet another project in danger of failing. This time its U.S. plans to develop the country’s oil, gas and minerals industries. The United States has spent nearly half a billion dollars and five years developing Afghanistan's oil, gas and minerals industries...

New FBI release on Clinton email probe refers to Shadow Government

A new trove of interview summaries and notes from the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails lays out a series of allegations that could prove fodder for future attacks on the Democratic presidential nominee. The 100 pages, released Monday morning, include claims that Clinton "blatantly" disregarded protocol. Other claims include...

U.S. Defense Contractors Tell Investors Russian Threat Is Great for Business

The escalating anti-Russian rhetoric in the U.S. presidential campaign comes in the midst of a major push by military contractors to position Moscow as a potent enemy that must be countered with a drastic increase in military spending by NATO countries. Weapon makers have told investors that they are relying on tensions...

Saving Syria: Assessing Options for Regime Change

Syria is trapped on a crumbling precipice, and however it might fall will entail significant risks for the United States and for the Syrian people. The brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad is employing its loyal military forces and sectarian thugs to crush the opposition and reassert its tyranny. Even if...

India Acts East

Washington’s pivot to Asia gets all the attention, but India's pivot east will redefine regional politics. Washington’s Asia rebalance, first articulated by President Barack Obama in a 2011 speech to Australia’s parliament, has received ample attention. India’s envisioned pivot to Asia has garnered far less. Nonetheless, India’s planned pivot is freighted with significance for the country’s economic prospects,...

Services Trade in Focus as TISA, TTIP, RCEP Aim for 2016 Conclusion

Services trade governance could see some significant developments in the coming year, as various major trade initiatives confirmed separately last month that they hope to reach conclusion in 2016. In recent weeks, negotiators for three major pacts – the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership...

United States Made Corruption in Afghanistan Pervasive and Entrenched

Afghanistan has long been a corrupt place. The United States has nothing to make it better. In fact, it’s made it worse, according to new findings released Wednesday by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction. In its first “Lessons Learned” report, the watchdog agency concluded that the American presence...

What Drives Crude Oil Prices?

An analysis of 7 factors that influence oil markets, with chart data updated monthly and quarterly Crude oil production by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is an important factor that affects oil prices. This organization seeks to actively manage oil production in its member countries by setting...

U.S. Military Is Building a $100 Million Drone Base in Africa

From high above, Agadez almost blends into the cocoa-colored wasteland that surrounds it. Only when you descend farther can you make out a city that curves around an airfield before fading into the desert. Once a nexus for camel caravans hauling tea and salt across the Sahara, Agadez is now a West African paradise for people smugglers and...

Eric Holder’s Longtime Excuse for Not Prosecuting Banks Just Crashed and Burned

Eric Holder has long insisted that he tried really hard when he was attorney general to make criminal cases against big banks in the wake of the 2007 financial crisis. His excuse, which he made again just last month, was that Justice Department prosecutors didn’t have enough evidence to...

U.S. Forces in Europe Told Deterring Russia Is Highest Priority

The American military's European Command (EUCOM) published an updated strategy document on Wednesday embracing the organization's objective to deter possible Russian aggression against Europe as its highest priority. In a statement published on EUCOM's website, the command declared 2015 to be one of its busiest years since the end of...

Turkey’s Next Military Coup

How Empowering the Generals Could Backfire. Before Turkey took an authoritarian turn under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, many thought that the former head of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) would go down in history as the leader who finally tamed Turkey's military and resolved the country’s decades-long conflict with...

Washington’s Honeymoon in Cam Ranh Bay

Chinese bellicosity in the disputed waters of the South China Sea has brought the United States back to a strategic port and created enough misery to unite the former foes. “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows,” the jester Trinculo proclaims in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Shipwrecked on a mysterious...

The good, bad, and the ugly of pending congressional surveillance bills

Heat is on: Bulk phone metadata collection program Snowden exposed expires June 1. On June 1 the legal authority enabling the National Security Agency's bulk telephone metadata collection program expires. The expiration date of Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act comes two years after NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed...

Adam Smith Was Right about Corporate CEOs Incentives absent Effective Regulation

Our different views prove that hindsight is often myopic. Larry White’s take is that Clintonian regulations perverted private incentives. The boom and bust happened in a system with ... extensive legal restrictions on financial intermediation. Nor have we had banking and financial deregulation since ... 1999. (One can’t explain an unusual...

IMF Cuts Global Growth Forecasts on Brexit, Warns of Risks to Outlook

Brexit causes ‘substantial’ increase in economic, political, institutional uncertainty Global forecast for 2017 cut by 0.1 percentage point, to 3.4 percent If not for Brexit, global forecast would have been slightly higher The International Monetary Fund cut its forecasts for global economic growth this year and next as the unexpected U.K. vote...

The Untouchables: Why it’s getting harder to stop multinational corporations

Chachengwa had been growing maize and cotton here her whole life. Every year, she took out loans for seeds and fertilizer, and then paid them back with her harvest. Since she lost her husband, she had relied on her two daughters and eight grandchildren to help tend her 75-acre plot.

How NATO-linked Think Tanks Control EU Refugee Policy

A flood of uncontrolled war refugees from Syria, Libya, Tunisia and other Islamic countries destabilized by Washington’s ‘Arab Spring’ Color Revolutions, has created the greatest social dislocation across the EU from Germany to Sweden to Croatia since the end of World War II. By now it has become clear...

Sleepwalking into a big war

The major powers are planning for war and claim that’s the best way to defend against war. Will this mutual hawkishness lead to armed conflict? As the US presidential race approaches its climax and European officials ponder the implications of the UK’s Brexit vote, public discussion of security affairs is...

Russia Breaking Wall Street Oil Price Monopoly

Russia has just taken significant steps that will break the present Wall Street oil price monopoly, at least for a huge part of the world oil market. The move is part of a longer-term strategy of decoupling Russia’s economy and especially its very significant export of oil, from the...

Pentagon steps up private-sector cyber exchanges

The Defense Department is stepping up an exchange program to bring private-sector IT experts into the Pentagon and send military personnel into the corporate world, said Defense Department CIO Terry Halvorsen. A program that has brought Cisco to the Pentagon to share its expertise on routers will expand to include...

America’s Allies Are Funding ISIS

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), now threatening Baghdad, was funded for years by wealthy donors in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, three U.S. allies that have dual agendas in the war on terror. The extremist group that is threatening the existence of the Iraqi state was built...

Hillary Clinton Picks TPP and Fracking Advocate To Set Up Her White House

Two big issues dogged Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary: the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement (TPP) and fracking. She had a long history of supporting both. Under fire from Bernie Sanders, she came out against the TPP and took a more critical position on fracking. But critics wondered if this was...

New Leak Exposes EU Plan For Military Engagement In Libya

According to the operation's commander, it's a question of when, not if, the EU will enter Libya. The European Union is planning an extension of its military operation against human traffickers, known as Sophia, which could eventually include sending ground troops to war-torn Libya. According to a confidential document shared...

The Million Dollar Dissident: NSO Group’s iPhone Zero-Days used against a UAE Human Rights...

Today Apple released security updates for Desktop Safari and Mac OS X. These updates patch the Trident vulnerabilities that identified in this report for desktop users. The Trident vulnerabilities used by NSO could have been weaponized against users of non iOS devices, including OSX. We encourage all Apple users to install...

Chilcot Report: Tony Blair Told George W. Bush, If We Win Quickly, Everyone Will...

The Chilcot report, the U.K.’s official inquiry into its participation in the Iraq War, has finally been released after seven years of investigation. Its executive summary certainly makes former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who led the British push for war, look terrible. According to the report, Blair made statements about Iraq’s nonexistent chemical, biological, and...

U.S. and EU Sanctions Are Punishing Ordinary Syrians and Crippling Aid Work, U.N. Report...

Internal United Nations assessments obtained by The Intercept reveal that U.S. and European sanctions are punishing ordinary Syrians and crippling aid work during the largest humanitarian emergency since World War II. The sanctions and war have destabilized every sector of Syria’s economy, transforming a once self-sufficient country into an aid-dependent...

LNG Buyers Gaining Increasing Leverage over Sellers in Coming Years

The growing oversupply in LNG export capacity has weighed on prices for the key market in Asia, pushing spot prices down by about two-thirds in less than two years. Excess supplies will likely kill off an array of LNG export terminals that have not yet moved forward with final...

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