Syria – Cui bono Part 2 – Qatar, Saudi, Russia and Gas

Our leaders would like you to believe that what is going on in Syria is simple – a bad man has gassed innocent victims and it is up to good people to punish him (take out his air defenses), prevent him from ever doing it again (regime change) and serve notice to other bad men (Iran) that doing really bad things (to be defined as and when) to people we like is verboten. In Simple World, the emphasis is on ‘what happened’.  As if why things happen is unimportant or too obvious to be concerned about. It’s ‘watch the birdie’ politics. Please look right here – only here. Something pops out, you’re surprised, there’s a flash and we all enjoy the memories.

Or you can ask ‘Why?’ But asking ‘why’ confuses the simplicity.

A Partial analysis

Some of the questions I think any analysis of what is going on in Syria has to answer:  Why is France so keen to get involved in Syria?  Why are both Qatar and Saudi supplying and supporting the ‘rebels’ in Syria? Given that the ‘rebels’ which both Qatar and Saudi are funding are largely Jabhat al- Nusra who are seen as affilated with al-Qaeda, why are the US and the West happy to allow this?

My analysis involves Qatar, Saudi and gas.

Qatar

Qatar and Saudi are rivals.  Saudi is the old hegemonic Arab power allied to the West’s old hegemonic power, the USA.  Qatar is a rising power, thoroughly fed up with being held down, as they see it, by Saudi. I first wrote about their rivalry in Qatar’s rising importance and power, back in Feb. 2011, in which I pointed out that while both Qatar and Saudi are Wahabi and  ’Wahabism’ is considered a very orthodox strand of Islam, Qatar, by comparison to Saudi is quite moderate, even liberal in a limited sense. For example Qatar funds Al Jezeera. Al Jezeera is much freer ro report on Arab affairs than any Middle Eastern state broadcaster, except that it refrains from reporting negatively on any Qatari affairs. The very existence of Al Jazeera tells you that Qatar is looking outwards and wishes to project political influence abroad.

Gas

The root of their rivalry is economic. Saudi is oil. Qatar is gas. For some time Qatar has wanted to be able to expand its gas supply to Europe, for  which it needs a pipeline. In 2009 Qatar proposed building a pipeline across Saudi to link in to the Nabucco pipeline which runs through Turkey into Europe. Qatar, already in 2009, the world’s largest exporter of LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) had just finished doubling its production capacity  from the world’s largest gas field, North Field, and wished to export to Europe. Saudi said no.

That left Qatar looking towards the already existing Arab Pipeline which supplies Egyptian gas to Jordan, Lebanon and SYRIA.

Qatar suggested extending this pipe across Syria to Kilis in Turkey. In 2006 Syria had in fact signed an agreement and the Russian company Stroytransgaz had got the construction contract. Suggesting that in 2006 at least, the Russians were OK with Egyptian gas coming to Turkey. But in 2009 the agreement was annulled. I can’t help but wonder if Russia felt Egyptian gas to supply Turkey – which relies on gas imports – was one thing, but the prospect in 2009 of Qatar joining the party to export huge quantities of gas to Europe was quite another. Russia is the major supplier of gas to Europe and as Syria’s main protector in a position to tell Syria yes or no. I think Russia had a word with Assad and suddenly Qatar was again blocked.

 Politics

Qatar can’t hope to change Saudi’s mind or its regime, but Syria?  In 2009 perhaps that too seemed remote, but then along came the Arab Spring. And Qatar had not been idle. While Saudi has been visibly and publically cool to the popular calls for political change, greater freedoms and democracy, Qatar has been very busy placing itself as the champion of change. But not just any old change.

As The National newspaper of  Abu Dhabi put it in an article in May 2012,

Qatar’s ties with the Muslim Brotherhood affect entire region

The alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood and Qatar is becoming a noticeable factor in the reshaping of the Middle East. There are several striking aspects to this evolving and deepening relationship…There are strong indications of media help, political training and financial support.

The article details how Qatar has trained, promoted and funded numerous influential Muslim Brotherhood figures many of whom have been prominent in the Arab Spring’s calls for change in their own countries.  It is worth noting that as a formal organization the Muslim Brotherhood does not exist in Qatar because the Qatar branch dissolved itself. It is thus very like Al Jazeera in that it is active in every other Muslim country but refrains from agitating in Qatar.

That Qatar’s growing regional influence is seen as a direct challenge to Saudi is clear in an article in Al Monitor, (which calls itself the Pulse of the Middle East),

Qatar Encroaches on Saudi Influence
In Yemen

It is worth noting that Al Monitor was founded by a Syrian born American millionare Jamal Daniel, who now lives in Texas and has close ties to former US Presidents, George Bush Sr and George W Bush. Al Monitor is liked and quoted by many mainstrean American media outlets.

According to the Al Monitor article,

Qatar’s role in Yemen can be likened to breathing air. Its effects are visible without it being palpable. Yet, it sometimes gains exceptional prominence such as when Qatar funded the establishment of a Yemeni television station affiliated with one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s factions in Yemen: the Yemen Youth Channel.

In keeping with Al Monitor’s political leanings towards the America and Saudi axis, the article warns,

…Qatar succeeded in penetrating Yemeni political affairs, disregarding all previously established rules of political action there, and giving itself the ability to greatly and dangerously affect Yemeni and Saudi affairs.

Qatar has been a major funder and supporter of The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) not only in Yemen but in all the uprisings across North Africa from Tunis, to Libya and Egypt. In Libya the Muslim Brotherhood was fairly small and not, at first, in the van of the revolution. But once Qatari money began to flow the MB’s influence has grown. Much to the concern of the US and Europe. In Egypt, Qatar has backed the Muslim Brotherhood from the start and was instrumental in their electoral organization and victory. A victory which did not please the Americans or the Saudis.

Qatar has helped make the Muslim Brotherhood a powerful force for change across the Arab world, which in return has given Qatar huge influence and real power to rival Saudi’s. Saudi has not been happy with that and the US has not been enrirely comfortable with the Muslim nature of the change envisioned by the MB. This, as the Al Monitor piece puts it, has led to,

…obvious differences in opinion it had with Riyadh concerning the current events in Egypt, which led to the Muslim Brotherhood’s overthrow.

An interesting sentence you have to admit.

The Arab Spring has been a gift to Qatar. As the Muslim Brotherhood has made its power felt in every uprising, so Qatar now has influence in every country. And unlike Saudi it is largely seen as a progressive power. Of course there is opposition to its power from those who say it is meddling. As Middle East Online reports, Anti Qatar groups have sprung up in most of the countries I have mentioned. I strongly suspect the US and Saudi have been frantically funding and building those anti-Qatar groups. They are still small but expect to hear more about them in our press. The legend being put about is, ‘Never Mind the Muslim Brotherhood connection,  Qatar is too closely aligned with the US and Israel.’

Let’s now combine the politics with the gas.  Qatar has worked to become a power in its region. Which is great, but Foreign Policy tends to need more immmediate and tangible goals, not just getting nice nation of the year award.

Gas and Politics

Libya has untapped gas reserves, possibly very large ones. Qatar was a  financer of the uprising and of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood. Egypt has gas and the Arab pipeline. Qatar was and is a major funder and supporter of the Egyptian MB. The Arab pipeline was built and supervised largely  by Egyptian construction companies largely owned and controlled by the Egyptian army. In Egypt the real business of the army is business.  It is Egypt’s largest and most powerful business conglomerate. Qatar would like the MB in power but also needs the friendship and cooperation of the army. It will be interesting to see what compromise can be reached. Qatar will surely be pushing for one, even as the US pushes against it.

So Qatar has now got major influence across its region, on the side of the vocal and ascendant forces for change and can offer those forces something valuable. Qatar is rich and has gas it wants to sell. Egypt would profit from helping Qatar to shift it. In fact anyone aligned with Qatar could profit.

Which brings us to Syria.

Assad, possibly with Russian persuasion has said ‘no’ to Qatar’s pipeline connection to Turkey and from there onwards to Europe. It’s easy to see why Russia would object. Russia’s Gazprom makes lots of money and Russia itself wields enormous power over Europe because so many European nations rely on its gas. I’ll come back to Europe and its gas needs in part three.

To make matters worse just after Assad’s government refused the Qatar/Turkey plan (which Turkey was very keen on), as The Guardian reported,

Assad pursued negotiations for an alternative $10 billion pipeline plan with Iran, across Iraq to Syria, that would also potentially allow Iran to supply gas to Europe from its South Pars field shared with Qatar. The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the project was signed in July 2012  [My emphasis]

This was a deal almost designed to start a war. It scuppers Qatar’s hopes. So cue Qatari interest in removing Assad. The deal would give Iran a direct line to Europe to sell its own gas. Cue American anger at Iran (axis of Evil) getting a crowbar of energy needs between America and Europe which would torpedo America’s ‘isolate and destroy Iran’ policy. And finally, since the outlet for this ‘Islamic’ pipeline was supposed to be in Lebanon NOT Turkey, cue Turkey to split with Assad who until that time it had been supporting. So now you have Turkey agitating for war and for removing Assad.

If nothing were done about Assad, his Russian allies and their decision, Qatar would be stymied while Russia for its part would have ensured that any gas coming in to Europe, not belonging to them, was coming from one of its allies which also happens to be the major thorn in the side of America’s neo con hawks.

So time for a revolution. Which requires Assad to show his true evil..ness. Cue chemical attacks.  As I said in part one it could be someone from Assad’s side using chemicals but it makes very little sense. Assad gains nothing and potentially loses everything.

Supporting Syria’s rebels

So what does all this mean for Syria? As far as I can see it means half a dozen countries have huge and conflicting financial and political interest in trying to make sure whoever is governing Syria in a year’s time is pro their particular needs. Whatever else, Simple World it is not.

Russia wants Assad to stay. Qatar would like him replaced with  a pro-Qatar pipeline government. While Saudi doesn’t really like democratic rebels of any stripe, but if Assad does go, they do NOT want Qatar to run the show and thus are trying to ensure an anti pipeline government. I do not believe anyone is primarily moved by humanitarian interests, or particularly concerned with the fate of Syrian civilians, nor particularly outraged about the use of gas. None of the countries in the region shouted loudly when Iraq used gas.

Qatar was the first country to ‘champion’ the uprising and has been the major funder of rebel forces in Syria from the start. According to the FT quoted by Zerohedge,

The tiny gas-rich state of Qatar has spent as much as $3bn over the past two years supporting the rebellion in Syria, far exceeding any other government,…

Three billion dollars buys a lot of influence and can create quite a network of support. I think Saudi woke up to this idea a few months ago and recently started to buy its own influence. As the FT notes, Qatar

 …is now being nudged aside by Saudi Arabia as the prime source of arms to rebels.

The Saudis will obviously want a post Assad government to be anti the Qatar pipeline. What is emerging in Syria is what we had in Lebanon – a boiling pot of conflicting and shifting allegeance. What we can be sure of is that in Syria the ‘rebels’ are not one group and not fighting shoulder to shoulder for the same outcome. We know already there are  ordinary Syrians who have taken up arms,  plus a large Muslim Brotherhood and  then of course foreign Islamists radicals, the largest group of whom are known as Jabhat al-Nusrah which is affiliated with al-Qaeda.

A vivid example of the real nature of the West’s mythic ‘rebels’ was apparent in a story run by MintPress News a week ago, about who might have supplied the chemical weapons that killed so many people in the attacks last week.

“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.

Abu Abdel-Moneim lives in Ghouta, so he is a Syrian. But who had supplied the weapons his son was asked to carry?

Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”  [My emphasis]

Now we have Saudi paid ‘rebels’ who are calling the shots because they are the ones who have the weapons. Are they all rebels together in one happy, peace seeking opposition?

“They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K.’ “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”

“When Saudi Prince Bandar [Saudi Arabia's Intelligence Chief] gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.

A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta named ‘J’ agreed. “Jabhat al-Nusra militants do not cooperate with other rebels, except with fighting on the ground. They do not share secret information. They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.

“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” ‘J’ said.

Even if you chose to believe the story itself is fabricated I think the picture it paints of the real nature of the ‘rebels’ is accurate. The ‘rebels’ are divided against each other serving different paymasters intent on quite different outcomes. Regime change will rid Syria of one unpleasant man only to open the door for a whole group of similarly unpleasant men.

That is my partial analysis of the interests of Russia, Qatar and Saudi.  In part three I will wrap it up by looking at what Europe, the USA and Israel hope to get out of Syria.


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39 Responses to Syria – Cui bono Part 2 – Qatar, Saudi, Russia and Gas

  1. The Dork of Cork. September 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

    With respect I don’t think Qatar is a true political entity.

    Look – this all goes back to the Corn laws / free trade debate of the 19th century.

    What we are witnessing is the banking / corporate system desperately wanting to scale up so as to maximize profits.

    “The landlords claimed that manufacturers like Cobden wanted cheap food so they could reduce wages and thus maximise their profits, an opinion shared by the socialist Chartists. Karl Marx[9] said: “The campaign for the abolition of the Corn Laws had begun and the workers’ help was needed. The advocates of repeal therefore promised, not only a Big Loaf (which was to be doubled in size) but also the passing of the Ten Hours Bill” (i.e. to reduce working hours).”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_Laws

    The history of the UK is a sometimes uneasy peace between the landed aristocracy and the banks which have now formed a sort of symbiotic union………….not much primary production happens in the UK now……much of its primary inputs have until recently come from Qatar LNG ships.

    This uneasy peace is based on the banks inflating the aristocracies asset prices via external physical surplus goods and energy flowing into the UK rather then the lands domestic primary and basic secondary production.

    The absurdity of primary goods coming from the other side of the world is becoming apparent ………..this is not pepper we are trading over such vast distances……..the system cannot scale up any further……..if it does the disaster will be put off for a decade or so with even bigger consequences down this spice road.

    The fragility of the present trade system is simply beyond anything humans have designed before.

    • Golem XIV September 6, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

      Hello Dork,

      Could it not be that your analysis and mine are complimentary rather than one being right and the other wrong? Why does your cup break when it falls to the floor. The ultimate cause is the mass of the earth creating a gravity field. The more proximal cause is that you were startled and dropped it.

      As for Qatar not being a ‘true’ political entity. I’m not sure what to make of that. Qatar thinks its a political entitiy and seems to me to engage in political acts at the level of the state.

      Anyway, always good to hear your take on things.

      • The Dork of Cork. September 6, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

        Proxy state you mean.

        • Hawkeye September 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

          DoC

          Golem’s article indicates that they are not aligned with the US/UK/Saudi nexus. They also appear at loggerheads to the Iran/Russia axis (and by implication China too).

          So who are are you implying they are a proxy for? Is there another major axis at play (certainly Europe has most to gain from Qatar resources being plumbed in). Or are the two big players more duplicitous than first appears?

          • The Dork of Cork. September 6, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

            @Hawkeye
            I am no expert on Qatar affairs but given the structure of the economy and society they must be even more primitive then the local Irish elite.

            Their wealth and power is based in a even more extreme fashion on external banking assets.
            They have no control over a domestic economy as it does not exist.(primary goods are exported)
            Try to get away from country memes for a second.
            The banks have created a global system where countries do not trade between each others hinterland……. in the case of Qatar the actual hinterland itself is taken up and shipped elsewhere.
            These fluid oil / gas based spice systems are very different from even more static coal based energy / industrial /political systems.

            This (100year ?) gross displacement of economic activity has never before happened in world history.
            Countries which depend on the spice are not true countries as primary power resides in the global ether.
            As long as this situation continues the guild navigators hold all the power and therefore can control events beyond normal temporal power structures.
            The spice must flow………..

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_fzSc_i0Tc

          • Hawkeye September 10, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

            DoC

            Indeed, the spice must flow.

            After all, there are no nations, no peoples, no Russians, no arabs etc. only the one system of systems. AKA the corporate cosmology:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kb26LaVuOBk

            It’s the natural order of things today….

  2. The Dork of Cork. September 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    You know you are close to the breakdown event when the basic data goes black.

    This happened to the IEA website in early 2013 and now British trade stats….

    Remember goods such as silver have gone black in 2013 and now this…….

    UK trade July 2013 Stat Bulletin

    “Due to unforeseen operational issues, the geographical data have been temporarily removed
    from this release. The data will be reinstated as soon as we are satisfied that the issue has been
    resolved and the quality of our statistics assured. The ONS apologises for any inconvenience
    caused.”

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_326339.pdf

  3. INCUBUS September 6, 2013 at 12:18 pm #

    Excellent analysis- In terms of the House of Saud, if they aim to block both the Qatari and the Iran-Iraq-Syria pipelines, then surely they are acting bilaterally in the interests of both the Russians and the Israeli-American Neocon strategy to balkanise the ME, in line with both the Project for the New American Century and the Yinon Plan?

    Incidentally, the Israelis have granted permission for a Dick Cheney-linked company to start drilling for oil on the occupied Golan Heights (just when you thought things were complicated enough)-

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/israel-has-granted-oil-exploration-rights-inside-syria-in-the-occupied-golan-heights/5346959

    Also the geo-political implications of water shortages come into play, with the Red Sea diminishing at an alarming rate, Turkey stands to gain the disputed Hatay province should Syria dissolve as a state, thus ensuring control of the flow of water from the River Orontes, negating previous agreements with Assad over the Tigris and Euphrates, and enabling it to export more water to Israel…

    To be sure, the unprecedented drought in Syria between 2006 and 2010 drove 1.5 million destitute farmers moved to the suburbs of Damascus and other cities, driving food prices higher and fuelling the dissent that led to the rebellion among the Syrian people- now being richly exploited by governments, corporations and their mercenaries both in and out of uniform.

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-08-31/edit-page/41619761_1_syrian-security-forces-climate-change-syrian-regime

  4. The Dork of Cork. September 6, 2013 at 12:40 pm #

    Whats this about ? legal minds anyone ?

    Debating in the commons now……….

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0014/cbill_2013-20140014_en_2.htm#l1g1

    Old Daily telegraph article about the mother load of coal buried deep below the Firth of Forth,
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/5966969/A-sustainable-future-for-coal.html

  5. The Dork of Cork. September 6, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Here is how the global banking system works since the days of Cromwell or perhaps as far back as the sacking of Constantinople by the Franks to the benefit of the Venetians.

    Torch lands and extract their surplus energy and goods capacity to consume…….transfer this surplus energy to the financial center or slave plantations serving the financial center based in some host country.
    Surplus labour can be used in either slave plantations (17th Irish slaves in the west Indies for example) or transferred closer to the hub of financial operations so that the local (19th centruy English )labour cannot benefit from the surplus.

    Local cultural destruction & loss cohesion in both the external conduit country and host country is at the very heart of this as you do not want a Icelandic situation on your hands.

    What makes 21st century England very different from 19th century England & southern Scotland is that the energy density per person is now declining.

    In all of the British isles (that includes Ireland) you have a huge mass of foreign born nationals of child bearing age that have been thrown into the debt vortex so as to increase the owners yield on their assets.
    These may typically be more dynamic (have a willingness or ability to work more efficiently then the local resident population) for at least a few generations until they too must be replaced.

    But the average life support per person is decreasing over time.

    See figure 3 for the difference in the age profile between the UK born and non UK born.

    This is causing a population explosion in the British Isles when the energy density is decreasing.
    Something quite similar but slightly different happened to the local Irish population in the first half of the 19th century.
    And we know what happened after that……..

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/census/2011-census/detailed-characteristics-for-local-authorities-in-england-and-wales/sty-nationality-and-country-of-birth.html

    Just to refreash : A large section of the local Irish population after the Napoleonic Wars became persons of no value.
    As the system defines us through our economic value (we are assets in a banking system) these people could be safely disposed off without much economic loss.

  6. allcoppedout September 7, 2013 at 1:50 am #

    Qatar might be very easy to destabilize – only a quarter of the population is Qatari. The GCC (Gulf Cooperation Countries) royalty like poncing about being statesmen. They are all hated, but usually dole out enough money to retain fealty. Repression is barbaric and a good proportion of the people hate the West.

    On the gas, it seems European gas exists in the area and could be on line by the time of a pipeline from Qatar, so that adds another interest and the UK might not want the pipeline because of our LPG supplies.

    Qatar would be a military walkover with built-in peacekeepers (Pakistani cops). False flagging them should be no problem, or perhaps the whole region

    I’m with Dork on the role of finance in all this. Oil and gas prices are being kept high and we have always paid way too much. Look forward to part three.

  7. John G September 7, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    The Emir of Qatar was replaced a few weeks ago, David. Same family but apparently more pliant to Saudi US influence.

    • Golem XIV September 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

      Interesting. Thanks for letting me know.

      My guess is the US will try to offer Russia the only deal I think US, Saudi and Qatar can agree on, which is leave Assad in place but after some face saving action on the US’s part and contrition and on Assad’s part, plus some oncrease in parliamentary powers and a promise to not build any pipeline, neither Qatar’s nor Iran’s.

      To this end the US has just granted Europe a temporary exemption from the Iran oil embargo.

      Only problem is Russia has no great reason to agree. Anyway, just a thought.

      Thanks again.

      • Dana September 7, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

        Interesting thoughts about Russia’s regional interests.

        Though why would Russia be such a keen supporter of the Syrian government and, by extension, at the very least, demonstrating a lack of objection to the IIS pipeline project, if it was so eager to maintain a monopoly on gas sales to Europe?

        Russia is diversifying at high speed, these days, energywise, having just signed a preliminary agreement for an eastward-bound natural gas pipeline network to China.

        My sense is that the Russian government is increasingly wary of its own dependence on gas exports to Europe [think of the contrived kerfuffle with Ukraine, a few years ago], income from which a dangerously large part of the Russian government depends.

        What if Russia were just bloody tired of the US / Nato countries’ expansionist warrior alliance and finds it in its every interest to support Syria, in order to keep these relentless schemers out of Iran and the Caucasus – Russia’s back yard – in favor of freer potential for regional unification and self-defense.

        Despite US / Nato countries’ propaganda efforts, Russia and China are being given any number of new incentives and opportunities to block western global domination, potentially leaving the ‘west’ little alternative than to tend to its increasingly bloody financialized nose.

      • Ole Guy September 7, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

        Golem

        Some still not getting this if looked at as a strategic level. Syria will not allow other gas pipeline to be constructed in their country to Europe. The largest gas fields In the world have been discovered in the region. Exxon happens to be one to the primary companies to drill. Gazprom has basically a monopoly on the natural gas market.

        Syria and Russia invested 3 billion in the construction of the pipelines and do not want to lose the strangle hold on the EU. Gazprom trades in other country’s currencies. The Greenback is not the primary currency in these deals after this administration screwed with the SWIFT system. I THINK BASED ON MY OWN RESEARCH THAT THIS WAS A GRAVE ERROR ON THIS ADMINISTRATION’S BEHALF. This opened a huge window for other currencies to be exchanged. These agreements cut the USA out.

        This move in my opinion has nothing to do with the so-called nerve agent attacks and has everything to do with the USA re-establishing the reserve currency status after a huge mistake. I think the pipeline will indeed be damaged in one of the attacks. This is conjecture of course.

        Dork nice to see you again. I used to read your comments on ZH. What happened?

        I think the world is tired of the USA FED de-valuing the dollar. I would not even want to imagine what would happen if we were not the reserve currency. Although I am prepared if it happens. I invest in tangible assets and land.

        • The Dork of Cork. September 8, 2013 at 2:29 am #

          Zero hedge got too dumb , even for me…………

          Something happened to Zero hedge me thinks ………or perhaps something happened to me……..

          The greatest mystery of our time is Ireland…….I am a stranger in a strange land……the land and people have been monetized to the point of absurdity.

          The greatest shock to my younger existence is the conformity of Irish life……..the rebel projection of paddy is a illusion.
          But looking back nothing has changed.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDu9asjWWCY

        • Golem XIV September 8, 2013 at 1:23 pm #

          Ole Guy,

          I agree about the paramount importance of which currency the gas will be traded in. And I agree about the reserve currency angle.

          Part three being worked on now.

          • Ole Guy September 8, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

            Golem you have some very good writing and critical thinking skills. I enjoy your writing. Sometimes financial people discuss finances without looking at the military strategic picture. Some here may call this old man crazy but I think personally the dollar reserve status died the day the world and most of our allies told the USA to take a hike as they were going to continue to buy Iran oil and trade in their own currencies to get it.

            @Dork Honestly a lot of sites these days have gone crazy Dork. My son is headed to Ireland next May. He loves your beers. So he is going to visit some of the breweries.

            The craziness to me is the division of the right or left paradigm dork.

      • Al Kover(t) September 17, 2013 at 1:59 am #

        Last week Sec. of State Kerry said during a hearing in front of the Congressional Arms committee that “Assad’s troops” would secure the chemical weapons sites in Syria after a “limited strike with consequence.” A Congressman, not to be flummoxed by this apparently (?) ridiculous statement, said words to the effect that how could that be the case when the US’s ostensible strategy was to get rid of Assad. This same Congressman, or one of his Republican colleagues, expressed the dismay of “national security interests” at the cost of laying off military personnel in the US because of the “sequestration” (cost-cutting measures to reduce the US deficit). In short, the US’s security, according to the Congressmen, was at stake NOT in Syria but at home. This goes to show what a smoke screen was being put up by the Obama administration in the person of Kerry so that these crackers in Congress can appease their constituents when in fact Blackwater, Fluor et al. could very well employ some, at least, of these military personnel as so-called contractors (the mercenaries in other words). Thus lip service was paid to the claptrap from many Republicans and Tea Party-ers that there must be a downsizing of “big” government. This hearing was quite a show paying homage to the mantra, “the American public is sick and tired of war.”

  8. steviefinn September 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    On the lighter side:

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/poll-majority-of-americans-approve-of-sending-cong,33752/

  9. allcoppedout September 7, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    That’s a good one Steve. I’m afraid I’m in the gloom of thoughts some deeper warlord stuff is going on. I would certainly vote to send politicians to Syria.

    Could someone be interested in a wider war? Along the lines of the notions of reasons to re-arm Germany as a buffer against the USSR. Syria as a Sunni base against the Persian problem, manipulating McJihad one step further?

    • steviefinn September 8, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

      allcoppedout

      I wouldn’t put anything past them, they are walking corruption. I found this on Beppe Grillo’s blog. I think the author is over optimistic in terms of a World of joy, as there would unfortunately be a long queue to replace them :

      I’m often told that my presence produces a certain serenity. I should say right way that it is not “a gift from heaven”, but rather a distillate of countless messages of profound existential unease that in this days I receive from many people . States and Governments produce mud and despair? Well,We must turn that into clear water and serenity. The prestigious filters necessary to achieve this transformation are: solidarity, the conscience of the true vastness and beauty of the planet, and the awareness of an abundance of goods produced, which are often largely wasted. Perhaps it is because of this serenity of mine that Gualtiero, a former university professor , resident for the last fifteen years under the first arch of “Ponte dell’Angelo” (Angel Bridge), has decided to gift me his friendship and converse with me, after seven years of silence. A bum? No, a gentle and mild man who changed life after realizing that university facilities, he said, are a real scam in relation to the greatness of the Human Being. As the great Russian painter of icons Andrei Rubliev, who in 1400, after having walked the Russian lands and having witnessed countless atrocities of the Power on powerless victims, after finding endless injustices against the poor, he decided to stop painting icons and, just like Gualtiero, to stop speaking. Lately Gualtiero, who taught art history at the university, voiced his intention to abandon Italy. He warned me several times that before leaving for other lands, he would send me a letter that was very important for him, and on which he has thought long and hard. Well just yesterday I received that letter, which I read and reread. It is not a message for me, in fact he doesn’t even mention me, just as it happens in eternal friendships. I rushed with my scooter to “Ponte dell’Angelo”, but there was no trace of the Gualtiero’s small blue tent. I will miss you, dear friend. The only thing I can do to honor you is to publish on my Diary your letter in its entirety. A letter, of which I admire the passion, while rejecting some parts, particularly those regarding the hateful love and the curses, which you have developed in the course of your life against the Power. Silvano Agosti

      Letter to the masters of the world, by Gualtiero Meek Warrior

      My poor and desperate friends,
      I do not know or who you are or where you live. But I am certain that each one of you, current owners of the world, is at the forefront in the spectral scale of unhappiness and emptiness which, for your specific responsibility, currently invades our beautiful planet. Who decides regularly the fate of the whole world are, they say, a few hundred individuals. Some even argue that those who truly have the greatest decision-making power over all of humanity are no more than thirty. It is certainly no thanks to you that we will find out who you are and how you are. You, who leave traces everywhere, and yet you are impossible to identify. The miserable idea of existence that characterizes you, however, can be seen by observing the multitude servants you have, those who in the Governments, who manage the States with a political system unable to take account and to understand the immense value of every human being.
      According to you, you posses the inalienable right of power of life and death over a few billion people, who are subservient to excruciating working condition or to the uncertainty of a clouded future, a future which you tactically make more and more obscure. The act of love, the only act of love that I may grant upon you, is to curse you. Curse you for the millions of people whom you have killed in wars, for the billions of human beings to whom you have denied the chance to live, by offering them miserable, laborious and convoluted lives, instead of giving them the chance to enjoy the serene and simple joy of life. I curse you with all the love that my life has granted me, for the one billion children who have killed in the past 50 years, I curse you hoping that the intensity of my love will make you miraculously dissolve, wherever you are.
      Your clean clothes drip of an ocean of blood, and of the obtuse defense of privileges uttered by intellectuals that you bought. This creates a huge void, transforming you into beings even more unhappy than those who you oppress. I did not write this letter thinking that you will receive it, surely none of you will ever read it. I conceived it, with the help of the human being that is in me, with the intent of giving your unaware servants the ability to choose. At your service there are, in fact, two kinds of slaves: the guilty servants, and the unsuspecting servants. Your most ruthless servants are those you put in charge of States, the powerful political and military hierarchies, sometimes occult, that control the social system and its potential for deception and existential fraud, and that are able every day to exercise on the whole humanity. The unaware servants are billions of people, who are forced to refer to their fierce oppressors as Honorable, Excellency, Your Eminence, President etc. but in their hearts, without even deciding it, cover you with the immense wave of their contempt. They are all subjugated by precarious existences, and you take away eighty per cent of the resources, using them for the defense and the preservation of your own privileges.
      Do not think that my curses are mine alone, most of your servants, without even knowing it, curse you every moment, from the holding tanks in which you have imprisons them: jails, military uniforms, mafias, chains of economies that impose with violence, because they are devoid of creativity and intelligence. That is why I imagine you being desperate, tormented by not knowing the origin of your discomfort, because the immense wave of curses that billions of oppressed people send you every day, reach you in moments of extreme loneliness, when, on the verge of sleep, finally meet the slaying vacuum, after having dismissed a prostitute for $100,000; or when you are thinking of the children who pretend to love you, and with whom you have never played, committed as you were to wage wars and commit genocides.
      Think, if only for a brief moment, the world were to wake up without you. Think of a planet inhabited by joy. Perhaps you, too, Masters of the world, in the face of a huge and incessant party, would come out of your golden caves, disguised as real beings, and there you would willingly mingle with everyone else, to discover in you the immense value of the Human Being, compared to which the role of the absolute masters of the world would merely be a shabby, torturing parody. Maybe a miracle will finally happen, capable of burying in the darkness of History your abject roles of omnipotence. Gualtiero http://www.silvanoagosti.it

  10. bill40 September 8, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    Golem,

    This is why I stay out of foreign affairs but I’ll have a go at a summary from an economics point of view. There are only three players USA, China and Russia and proxies. Trying to figure out whose side the proxies are on is problematic because of splits within them. I agree with the poster above it is very much about which currency is traded in and about preserving scarcity.

    The Americans want to benefit from their fracking bonanza whilst the rest of the world continue paying through the nose. Oil and gas are traded in dollars because America has a very large army that says so. the interest of China is very much currency driven too and they are Americas largest creditor.

    Gross simplification I know but I’d need a book otherwise. I can’t even finish a blog article.

  11. richard in norway September 8, 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    I think aside from the reserve currency issue which is a biggie, there is also a peak oil management angle. I haven’t got it totally thought out yet but the oil companies and high placed govt officials know that the oil is running out(at least the cheap stuff) the oil companies want to delay the change over to non oil energy as long as possible, the govt officials know there isn’t enough time to do the change over without causing significant upheaval, the answer for both of them is to find the price sweet spot that conserves supplies keeps prices stable and is not so high that it encourages a dash for renewables. To this end the price is being deliberately manipulated upwards at the moment by wars and sanctions the aim is a stable price of around 110 dollars a barrel(thats probably the sweet spot) allowing the price to go lower would be a disaster because it would increase demand making supplies run out sooner and lead to a massive sudden price hike and sudden frequent price hikes would start a dash for renewables, I’m guessing that these war torn countries will be patched up when the supply is no longer adequate to maintain a 110 price and that sanctions will be lifted gradually so as to keep prices in that sweet spot as long as possible. Like I say I haven’t got it figured out yet but this has been a thought growing in my mind for a while. But maybe I’m crediting TPTB with to much foresight and organisation

  12. Just me September 8, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    We may be hearing something more about this, soon!.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2013-04-29/728-trillion-presenting-bank-biggest-derivative-exposure-world-hint-not-jpmorgan

  13. neretva September 8, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    “So cue Qatari interest in removing Assad.”

    Qatar just like Zionist’s entity are not sovereign states per se, i.e. they have no own political will, therefore any narrative based on this assumption is wrong. Secondly, this article is going along with effort, in the media, that both sides are trying water down U.S. administration’s “effort” to attack Syria. In a word, the whole thing is in state of “Damage Control”, there will be no assault on Syria. Also, we can see “how AIPAC, Israel, KSA are making decisive influence on the U.S. foreign policy”, and this is very, very far from the truth.

    “Our leaders would like you to believe that what is going on in Syria is simple..” now, this depends how one would like to call whole affair, or an events around us. It also depends of education, perception and so on. People with reasonable and impartial historical and socio-political background will call this: aggression caused by (Western) imperialism/facism, which exactly what it is. Neoliberal age is followed by neoliberal language. Just like in the past colonialism and enslavement of Terra Nullis is called La Mission Civilisatrice, now it process is called “Democracy” and “Human Right” newest phrase is “Moral Obscenity” “High Moral Ground” or something like that.

    Oil and Gas are maybe part of this savage aggression against Syria, but not the only reason. Syria is not part of the Washington Consensus and it is not liberalized its market is its entirety, just partly. Of course, Party of God – Hezbollah and Iran, or Axis of Resistance along with the Russian interest in the region is the chief reason for this mayhem.

  14. allcoppedout September 9, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    I’ve seen quite a lot of Grillo. Bright guy and something of a glimmer of hope. Indeed, I would put nothing beyond the powers that be. My guess is they want a big war of some kind to avoid the TBTFs failing. The original plan was the Iran-Iraq War, but they didn’t manage to extend that much beyond battlefield horror. It remains hard to see what outcome they want, other than persisting and higher levels of turmoil – and end in-itself. Maybe we’ll see some more ‘inspired’ false-flag events -attacks on US ships, Israel – something for our governments to tell us ‘we told you so’ through. India is being financially attacked, perhaps to draw them into something. If it really is this crazy it doesn’t bear thinking about.

    Anyone who wants a trip inside of mad senior officers’ minds could look at this:
    http://www.jstor.org/stable/25102290

    It’s old and the total lunacy of false history. More or less the ideology of something like NCIS, though not as subtle. A few of these barkers behind the scenes wanting to purge us of the sins of luxury won’t help! The strategy wonk perspective can be found here:
    http://csis.org/files/publication/120221_Iran_Gulf_MilBal_ConvAsym.pdf – there are dozens of reports, all written in terms of Persian perfidy. They explain nothing.

  15. neretva September 9, 2013 at 3:27 am #

    “It remains hard to see what outcome they want, ….”

    They want a situation such as “Afganistanization”, “Somalization”, “Iraqization” and so on, of Syria.

    “They make a desert and call it peace”, that is what they want. They are modern Crusaders, in full sense of that word and full with religious fervor and zeal.

  16. John Souter September 9, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    There are around elven different factions in Syria, with differing and different affiliations and alliances and all compounded by internal and the external aspirations of their neighbours and those of the global conglomerates.

    David’s theory on the role of Qatar is interesting but merely a minor collateral factor. that apart there are three major factors all of which encourage if not sustain the quagmire of the Middle East.

    The first is religion, which, since probably time immemorial, has claimed to have the answer to everything, but as time has proved, has the solution to nothing.

    The second is the shuffle of Empires and the hegemony of world order. The empire of America is dying and is now costing more than its worth, while China and Russia are manoeuvring to be the main contenders.

    But it’s the third who are the real contenders. They neither care nor consider nations, boundaries nor peoples. Their only permanent interests are assets and profits. In all three of the countries mentioned, and probably a lot more, they have bought the rights to control whatever political process is supposedly in power. For a pittance they have bought the no cost, no responsibility options.

    • Roger September 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      Yes John for a few pieces of silver in the hands of the worthy politicians its the rest of us that pay the very high price and the ultimate price is paid by oppressed people in far away lands.

  17. allcoppedout September 10, 2013 at 1:08 am #

    My daughter spent the last 7 years in Israel and came back to a university job here a few months ago in a Middle east project. She expects Israel to both attempt expansion and be attacked.

    The CW angle looks well-blown with the offer to give them up to international control – though that will still leave room to claim the usual inscrutable non-cooperating Arabs ploy. Factions in Iran will probably send reinforcements on US climb-down. Bahrain, Saudi, Yemen, Oman and Qatar have revolutionary movements(though oppression is well-organised) that might rise with Persian help. The Congress vote is unlikely to be the last of all this.

    My guess on the real strategy is that it concerns keeping the world non-modern for exploitation by a small super-elite surrounded by 15% beneficiaries – not unlike, say, Bahrain. We seem to have given up on their military action lies, but the grip of their economic control fraud seems less exposed to the point of public rejection.

  18. Buck Turgidson September 16, 2013 at 4:56 am #

    What ever happens in Syria, a year from now they will (for whatever reason) be unable to allow the flow of gas. Just look at the exports of oil from Libya, they are tanking as I write. Without some stability everything in the region will grind to a halt………that’s good for Russia.

    You need boots on the ground to keep the energy flowing. No chance of that happening.

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