Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Today's links

Today's quote:

US imperialism has been the principal instigator of sectarianism in the region, from its divide-and-conquer strategy in the war and occupation in Iraq, to the fomenting of sectarian civil war to topple Assad in Syria. Its cynical support for Sunni Islamist insurgents in Syria, while backing a Shiite sectarian regime across the border in Iraq to suppress these very same forces, has brought the entire Middle East to what a United Nations panel on Syria warned Tuesday was the “cusp of a regional war.” Bill Van Auken, World Socialist Web Site

, “The truth is that we destroyed the institutions of authority in Iraq without having the foggiest idea what would come next.”  London mayor Boris Johnson

1--An idea whose time has come: Dump the dollar and stop the wars! Russia pushes "anti-war coalition" to stop US' aggression.  zero hedge

Putin's advisor proposes the creation of a "broad anti-dollar alliance" of countries willing and able to drop the dollar from their international trade. Members of the alliance would also refrain from keeping the currency reserves in dollar-denominated instruments. Glazyev advocates treating positions in dollar-denominated instruments like holdings of junk securities and believes that regulators should require full collateralization of such holdings. An anti-dollar coalition would be the first step for the creation of an anti-war coalition that can help stop the US' aggression.
Unsurprisingly, Sergey Glazyev believes that the main role in the creation of such a political coalition is to be played by the European business community because America's attempts to ignite a war in Europe and a cold war against Russia are threatening the interests of big European business

Glazyev who published an article in Russian Argumenty Nedeli, in which he outlined a plan for "undermining the economic strength of the US" in order to force Washington to stop the civil war in Ukraine. Glazyev believes that the only way of making the US give up its plans on starting a new cold war is to crash the dollar system.

As summarized by VoR, in his article, published by Argumenty Nedeli, Putin's economic aide and the mastermind behind the Eurasian Economic Union, argues that Washington is trying to provoke a Russian military intervention in Ukraine, using the junta in Kiev as bait. If fulfilled, the plan will give Washington a number of important benefits. Firstly, it will allow the US to introduce new sanctions against Russia, writing off Moscow's portfolio of US Treasury bills. More important is that a new wave of sanctions will create a situation in which Russian companies won't be able to service their debts to European banks.

According to Glazyev, the so-called "third phase" of sanctions against Russia will be a tremendous cost for the European Union. The total estimated losses will be higher than 1 trillion euros. Such losses will severely hurt the European economy, making the US the sole "safe haven" in the world. Harsh sanctions against Russia will also displace Gazprom from the European energy market, leaving it wide open for the much more expensive LNG from the US.

2---356 killed while UN looks on in silence: UN: 356 killed, incl 257 civilians, in E. Ukraine military campaign, RT

3---Cold blooded murder, RT

4---Baghdad slams Saudi Arabia for ‘encouraging genocide’ in Iraq, RT
The Iraqi government says that it holds Saudi Arabia “responsible” for the current crisis and has blamed Riyadh for encouraging “genocide” in the country through the backing of Sunni militants.

“We hold them [Saudi Arabia] responsible for supporting these groups financially and morally, and for the outcome of that - which includes crimes that may qualify as genocide: the spilling of Iraqi blood, the destruction of Iraqi state institutions and historic and religious sites,” the Shiite-led cabinet said in a statement issued by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office.

Comments from Riyadh this week "indicate siding with terrorism."

5---The BoJ's balance sheet is about to go parabolic, sober look
The Bank of Japan's balance sheet continues to expand at a fairly constant pace. Relative to the size of the GDP, this is already the largest QE program in the world. Yet some analysts believe that the BoJ will accelerate securities purchases later this year 

Credit Suisse for example projects that Japan's inflation rate has peaked and is about to begin declining. ...The reason many researchers believe Japan's inflation may have peaked has to do with the yen.

As discussed earlier (see post), a great deal of the recent inflation improvements in Japan was the result of weaker yen, which declined sharply in 2013. But more recently the yen has been range-bound (and in fact strengthening against the euro), which will halt a great deal of the price increases we saw earlier. The inflation rate is therefore expected to begin declining.

6---Housing Hit the Wall of Wall Street in May , Testosterone Pit

7--The "magic of the market" drives up health care costs, krugman

The American health care system is by far the most privatized, most market-oriented system in the advanced world; it’s also far and away the most expensive, without any sign of getting anything for all that money.
If you are committed to the view that the magic of the market solves all problems, this is disturbing – so it must not be true. Bring on the zombies!

8--Insiders reveal real US aims in redrawing map of ME: Greater Syria", oil price

Here’s why the threat goes beyond Iraq and Syria.
In English-language news reports, there are at least two ways in which the group is referred to: Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL.
In Arabic, of course, neither words – “Syria” or “Levant” -- are used; instead, the word “Sham” is used. The closest translation of that into English is “Greater Syria.”
Many in the West are fooled by the use of the word “Syria,” and may fail to see the real dimensions of the threat because they think of Syria in the modern geographic sense. But that word, in Arabic, is “Souriya.”

Most Middle Easterners, when they hear, “Sham,” or “As-Sham,” know it refers to Greater Syria.
What’s the difference?
Modern Syria is bordered by Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan and Israel to the south and Lebanon to the west.
“Greater Syria” incorporates most of the territories of each.
“This is what "Syria" means in the mind of Middle Easterners, says Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, and author of the respected blog

“If we can teach people that so many Arabs still think of Syria as Greater Syria, they will begin to understand the extent to which Sykes-Picot remains challenged in the region,” said Landis.
Sykes-Picot, of course refers to the secret agreement drawn up by two British and French diplomats -- Sir Mark Sykes and Francois George-Picot -- at the end of Word War I dividing the spoils of the Ottoman Empires between Britain and France by drawing straight lines in the sand.
To this day, many Arabs refuse to accept that division and think of “Syria” as “Greater Syria.” Some go so far as to include the Arab countries of North Africa – which from the Nile to the Euphrates forms ‘the Fertile Crescent,” the symbol of many Muslim countries from Tunisia to Turkey. And some even go as far as including the island of Cyprus, saying it represents the star next to the crescent.
Given that, anyone who thinks ISIS will stop with Iraq is delusional.

9---What's a little debt among friends?: Chinese companies have racked up $14.2 trillion in debt—more than any other country on the planet, Quartz

10---Steve Forbes tells Washington Post readers to ‘thank the billionaires’; op-ed backfires spectacularly, marketwatch

(Very funny)  Well, there’s nothing I like more than having one of our gluttonous plutocratic overlords, one whose fortune is based on inherited wealth, instruct us riff-raff on how thankful we should be for the scraps they throw us. I mean, if we weren’t hungry we just wouldn’t appreciate it as much.” — AlexOldTown

“It is insulting that Forbes thinks the rest of us are too stupid to do simple capitalist math. Billionaires take a disproportionate share of the wealth, throw back a token amount at charity, and then want us to “Thank” them for their generosity.” — 1230slim
“We’ve tried this ‘trickle down’ bs for decades now. It’s failing us. Make the roots stronger, trickle up. The only way to do it where everyone wins.” — GodEmperorLeto

“Yeah right, but not creating jobs. The essential element of capitalism involves a selfish disregard of everyone around them. Until you find a way of taking out selfishness it will always be a flawed system.” — Bigtrain

“While I am sometimes grateful to philanthropists like Gates I have real problems with this overall approach. I think we can do better for our planet than waiting around to see what side of bed the uber-rich got out of this morning. To me there is something obscene about individuals amassing wealth on the scale that gives them the power to dictate what needs get served while others do not. I get a whiff of paternalism that I don’t much like.” — Pumped

11---401ks are a sham, salon

12---How billionaires are fixing philanthropy, Steve Forbes
The comments are priceless. Enjoy.

13---What’s Behind the Default Rate on Student Loans?, st Louis Fed
(Uhm, how about no good paying jobs??)

14--Oh yeah, US policy DID promote sectarianism, wsws

US imperialism has been the principal instigator of sectarianism in the region, from its divide-and-conquer strategy in the war and occupation in Iraq, to the fomenting of sectarian civil war to topple Assad in Syria. Its cynical support for Sunni Islamist insurgents in Syria, while backing a Shiite sectarian regime across the border in Iraq to suppress these very same forces, has brought the entire Middle East to what a United Nations panel on Syria warned Tuesday was the “cusp of a regional war.”

This assessment was borne out Monday in Maliki’s bitter denunciation of Saudi Arabia and other US allies among the Persian Gulf monarchies for funding and supporting the ISIS.
On the other hand, the former Qatari ambassador to the US, Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad al-Khalifa, a prominent member of the ruling family in Qatar, the home of the US Central Command, warned on his twitter account that “Any intervention in Iraq by the west to prop up criminal Malki in Iraq will be seen by the whole Sunni Arabs and Muslims as war against them.”

Khalifa went on to state, “It is wise for the west to stay clear of Iraq by not intervening unless they can help force Malki out of power and keep Iran out of Iraq.”....

The Obama administration has repeatedly touted as its greatest foreign policy achievement the final withdrawal of US troops from Iraq in December 2011. The pullout was conducted on the timetable set by the previous administration of George W. Bush and finalized only because of Washington’s failure to secure a status of forces agreement guaranteeing US troops immunity from prosecution for war crimes. Now, two and a half years later, a civil war that stems wholly from US imperialism’s destruction of Iraqi society and its interventions elsewhere in the Middle East is prompting it to send troops back in and contemplate fresh violence against the shattered country

In an apparent response to the pressure from Washington, Maliki appeared Tuesday beside a Sunni politician, Usama al-Nujaifi, who was speaker of the Iraqi parliament before it was dissolved recently, and the former prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jafaari, in a call for national unity and for “defending the state and protecting its sovereignty and dignity.” Iraqi observers recalled that a similar statement was issued during the sectarian bloodbath of 2006, with no discernible effect.

Behind all of the hysteria generated about the ISIS establishing a terrorist base in Iraq, the reality is that the relatively small number of radical Islamists have been able to advance across the so-called Sunni triangle of northwestern Iraq only because they have been joined by a popular Sunni insurgency, led in many cases by former officers in the Iraqi army that was disbanded by Washington after it toppled the Baathist regime of Saddam Hussein. The insurgency is driven by bitter resentment over the systematic exclusion of Iraq’s Sunni population from political power and the use of the security forces to violently suppress peaceful protests.

This policy has been pursued by Maliki since he was first installed as prime minister under the US occupation in 2006 and then re-elected in 2010, thanks in large measure to the Obama administration’s pressure to deny the office to the largely secular Iraqi National Movement, which gained the most votes.

Now there are signs that the Obama administration may be maneuvering to push Maliki aside and bring in a new US puppet ruler. Asked Monday whether US Secretary of State John Kerry believed that Maliki should not be the country’s prime minister, a State Department spokeswoman said, “He leaves it in the hands of the Iraqi people, so we’ll see what happens.”

15---The crisis of American capitalism and the war against Iraq, archive, wsws
By David North
21 March 2003

16--NYT editorial  

Footnotes MOA  The story of gulf sponsorship of ISIS is getting more attention. It was even mentioned in today's lead  NYT editorial: "Turkey, for instance, should shut its border to militants and to materiel flowing into Syria and Iraq. And Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other gulf states need to stop financing (directly or indirectly) ISIS, which began as an Al Qaeda affiliate, and other extremist groups."


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