Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Today's Links

Today's quote:  “The whole of Mosul collapsed today. We’ve fled our homes and neighborhoods, and we’re looking for God’s mercy. We are waiting to die.” Mahmoud Al Taie, resident of Mosul, WSJ






1---Bank of America Shocker: New Commercial Loan Plunge Is Largest Since Lehman, zero hedge


It is here that Bank of America reveals the startling truth:
The number of new commercial loans made by BAC has declined notably over the first half of the year. Measured as an indexed level to cycle peak (which was December 2005), the data show that the recent drop was the largest since the recovery began.


Oops. If this is accurate then not only is the Fed fabricating loan data outright, it is massively misrepresenting the general direction of loan creation altogether. In fact, if loans are contracting, when one adds the decline in reserve "asset" creation, then banks are set for a world of pain come October when QE is set to end!


2--Fed  Prepares to Maintain Record Balance Sheet for Years, Bloomberg


3---Al-Qaeda Offshoot Threatens Iraq Oil Site Near Mosul , Bloomberg


Fighters from a breakaway al-Qaeda group are in position to seize Iraqi energy infrastructure after taking control of Mosul in a strike that highlights Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s weakening grip on the country.

A day after guerrillas drove police and soldiers from the nation’s second-biggest city, there were conflicting reports on the situation in Baiji, north of Baghdad and home to Iraq’s biggest refinery. While police said they were providing heavy security around the town, Jabbar Yawer, a spokesman for ethnic Kurdish armed forces in Erbil, said militants had seized Baiji district, including refineries...


Iraq produced 3.3 million barrels of oil a day in May, making it the second-largest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries after Saudi Arabia. An estimated 17 percent of the country’s oil reserves are in the north, including the giant Kirkuk oil field, according to data from the Energy Information Administration.


“Taking over Mosul will likely halt investment in oil and gas in that area,” Paul Sullivan, a Middle East specialist at Georgetown University in Washington, said in e-mailed comments. “Who wants to drop hundreds of millions or billions in a place where ISIL could attack at any moment?”
Still, Iraq’s oil export volumes may not be materially impacted, as there’s no immediate threat to security in the southern provinces that account for the majority of reserves, according to Eurasia Group.


4---The Fall of Mosul, wsj


A strategic disaster assisted by Obama's withdrawal from Iraq.


So much for al Qaeda being on a path to defeat, as President Obama used to be fond of boasting. On Tuesday fighters for the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, an al Qaeda affiliate known as ISIS, seized total control of the northern city of Mosul—with nearly two million people—after four days of fighting. Thousands of civilians have fled for their lives, including the governor of Nineveh province, who spoke of the "massive collapse" of the Iraqi army. This could also describe the state of U.S. policy in Iraq....


we and the world are facing this reality: A civil war in Iraq and the birth of a terrorist haven that has the confidence, and is fast acquiring the means, to raise a banner for a new generation of jihadists, both in Iraq and beyond


5--"On a Roll"--Iraq crisis: Militants attack Tikrit after taking Mosul, BBC-


ISIS in Iraq


  • The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) has 3,000 to 5,000 fighters, and grew out of an al-Qaeda-linked organisation in Iraq
  • ISIS has exploited the standoff between the Iraqi government and the minority Sunni Arab community, which complains that Shia PM Nouri Maliki is monopolising power
  • It has already taken over Ramadi and Falluja, but taking over Mosul is a far greater feat than anything the movement has achieved so far, and will send shockwaves throughout the region
  • The organisation is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - an obscure figure regarded as a battlefield commander and tactician. He was once the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, one of the groups that later became ISIS.
6---What If the Fed Has Created a Bubble?, el erian


7---US firm hired to save Fukushima from 400k tons of radioactive water, RT


8---CODE RED: Iraqi PM asks for state of emergency after insurgents take Mosul, al Jazeera


9--​US arms flow into Syria could create Somali-style warlords – rebel leader, RT


The wanton arming of Syrian rebels by the United States undermines Washington’s allies in the country’s civil war and could lead to a warlord system similar to that of Somalia in years to come, a Free Syrian Army leader has warned.
Brigadier General Abdelilah Al-Bashir – who led opposition forces of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) before becoming chief-of-staff of the FSA’s Supreme Military Council (SMC) in February – told Reuters that Washington has avoided the SMC in routing weapons straight to various rebel groups often out of the FSA’s control.


"The Americans are leading the distribution of weapons on the northern front and in the southern front. We demand that we be responsible," said Bashir, who defected from Syrian military in 2012.
"Providing support to individual battalions could turn the commanders of these battalions into warlords and they will be difficult to control in future," he added. "This could turn Syria into Afghanistan or Somalia."
His comments track closely with those of former UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who recently likened the situation in Syria to those countries and said he was afraid there could be “warlords all over the place.”


In response to Bashir, the US State Department said that military aid is given to "moderate, vetted groups...in coordination with" the SMC.
While US supplies offered to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government are officially called “non-lethal” – as in radios and trucks – US officials have acknowledged that small arms and anti-tank missiles are included.


10--State of emergency: ISIS militants overrun Iraq city of 1.8mn, free 2,500 prisoners, RT


11---Radicals capture Iraqs biggest refinery, RT
http://rt.com/news/165340-turkish-consulate-mosul-qaeda/


Earlier, ISIS boasted the capture of Iraq’s biggest oil refinery north of the city of Baiji, claiming it had “seized it without a shot.” The oil refinery, located less than 180km (110 miles) from Mosul was one of the strategic objects secured by the US-led forces in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and thoroughly searched for “weapons of mass destruction.” No chemical agents were ever found there....


On Monday night, fighters from Al-Qaeda splinter group ISIS stormed provincial government headquarters armed with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns.
“The city of Mosul is outside the control of the state and at the mercy of the militants,” an Interior Ministry official told AFP on Monday. It is now the second city to fall under control of Islamist fighters since the beginning of this year. In January militants seized the city of Fallujah, displacing over 70,000 people.


Eyewitness accounts describe the scenes of chaos on the streets of Iraq’s second-largest city as thousands of people fled for their lives. A number of reports say that militants are freeing detainees from police stations, while AL RAI Chief International Correspondent Elijah J Magnier tweeted that the ISIS had freed over 2,000 inmates from a “counter terrorism prison.”


Hundreds of thousands of people are believed to have fled Mosul and the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh, which the jihadists have largely taken under control. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) placed the number of refugees at 500,000.
Those fleeing the region included demoralized Iraqi troops, who chaotically left their positions, dropping uniforms, weapons, munitions and military hardware.


12---"We got him! Uh, No we don't."---Colin Freeman on the jihadist behind the takeover of Mosul and Tikrit - and how America let him go:
Quote The FBI “most wanted” mugshot shows a tough, swarthy figure, his hair in a jailbird crew-cut. The $10 million price on his head, meanwhile, suggests that whoever released him from US custody four years ago may now be regretting it.
Taken during his years as a detainee at the US-run Camp Bucca in southern Iraq, this is the only known photograph of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the new leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq and Syria. But while he may lack the photogenic qualities of his hero, Osama bin Laden, he is fast becoming the new poster-boy for the global jihadist movement.
Well-organised and utterly ruthless, the ex-preacher is the driving force behind al-Qaeda’s resurgence throughout Syria and Iraq, putting it at the forefront of the war to topple President Bashar al-Assad and starting a fresh campaign of mayhem against the Western-backed government in Baghdad.


13---Hitler's plan to starve Leningrad, wsws


The war of extermination in the East was also intended to ensure that the Wehrmacht and German population were adequately supplied with food, in order for Germany to win the war against Britain. This food was to come from Russia and Ukraine.


The “Master Plan East” was based on the military strategy and experiences of German imperialism in the First World War. Even then, Ukraine was to be brought under German control as the “breadbasket of Europe.” Like the military strategy against France, however, the one in the East failed. Enormous supply shortages led to mass starvation in the German Empire: approximately 800,000 people starved to death in Germany between 1914 and 1918. The widespread poverty and hunger were among the main driving forces of the German November Revolution of 1918/19, which was thwarted only by the betrayal of social democracy.


The Nazis wanted to avoid such a situation at all costs. Hermann Göring, commander of the German Air Force in World War II, played a major role in the decision of autumn 1941 not to conquer Leningrad, but to besiege it and starve it out. “If someone is to starve, it won’t be a German,” he declared.
The sieges of Leningrad and Moscow, as well as other major cities like Kiev, Kharkov and Sevastopol in Ukraine, were an integral part of this strategy. But nowhere was the blockade enforced so mercilessly as at Leningrad. Hitler himself said that the city was to be razed to the ground. There was no place for Leningrad, with its three-million-strong population, in the plans for “Germanised Russia


14---Al Qaeda offshoot ISIS captures Mosul from Iraqi government forces, wsws


The collapse of government forces, said to number 60,000 in the region, before several hundred insurgents is a humiliation for the central government, exposing its extreme weakness and placing a question mark over its continued existence. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has presided over a sectarian Shia government that has alienated Sunni tribal leaders by removing leading Sunnis from office and otherwise marginalizing them.


Coming just two and a half years after the withdrawal of the last of a US occupation force that at its peak numbered over 157,000—deployed in a war sold to the US public as a struggle against terrorism—the fall of Mosul to Al Qaeda-linked guerrillas also constitutes a searing indictment of the criminal character of US policy in the region.


With the takeover of the west bank and center of Mosul, a mostly Sunni city of 1.8 million people 220 miles north of Baghdad, ISIS controls a large swath of territory stretching from the eastern outskirts of Aleppo in Syria to Fallujah and part of Ramadi in Iraq’s western Anbar Province, to large parts of Nineveh Province and its capital, Mosul.
ISIS’ goal is to establish an Islamic caliphate comprising the two countries...


The Wall Street Journal quoted Mahmoud Al Taie, a dentist, saying, “The whole of Mosul collapsed today. We’ve fled our homes and neighborhoods, and we’re looking for God’s mercy. We are waiting to die.”


Reuters cited Amina Ibrahim, who was leaving the city with her children. She said, “Mosul is now like hell. It’s in flames and death is everywhere.” Her husband had been killed last year in a bombing. The news agency cited one of its reporters as seeing “the bodies of soldiers and policemen, some mutilated, littering the streets.”


The UN estimates that 8,868 people were killed in Iraq in 2013, the worst death toll since the height of the sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007. The UN mission in Iraq reported that May was the deadliest month so far this year, with 799 Iraqis killed in violence, including 603 civilians. The past few days, in addition to the fighting in Mosul, have seen ISIS attacks in a number of cities and a wave of sectarian bombings in Baghdad and elsewhere. On Tuesday, bombs exploded near a funeral procession in Baquba, 30 miles northeast of Baghdad, killing at least 20 people....


The Wall Street Journal quoted Mahmoud Al Taie, a dentist, saying, “The whole of Mosul collapsed today. We’ve fled our homes and neighborhoods, and we’re looking for God’s mercy. We are waiting to die.”
Reuters cited Amina Ibrahim, who was leaving the city with her children. She said, “Mosul is now like hell. It’s in flames and death is everywhere.” Her husband had been killed last year in a bombing. The news agency cited one of its reporters as seeing “the bodies of soldiers and policemen, some mutilated, littering the streets.”


The UN estimates that 8,868 people were killed in Iraq in 2013, the worst death toll since the height of the sectarian fighting in 2006 and 2007. The UN mission in Iraq reported that May was the deadliest month so far this year, with 799 Iraqis killed in violence, including 603 civilians. The past few days, in addition to the fighting in Mosul, have seen ISIS attacks in a number of cities and a wave of sectarian bombings in Baghdad and elsewhere. On Tuesday, bombs exploded near a funeral procession in Baquba, 30 miles northeast of Baghdad, killing at least 20 people....


US imperialism is entirely responsible for the catastrophe engulfing Iraq, including the rise of forces such as ISIS. The American invasion and nearly decade-long occupation killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, wounded countless more, turned millions into refugees and destroyed the economic and social infrastructure of the country

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