An interesting report on the official accounts for war-related spending in the U. S. is available here: Which is, of course, a massive under-estimate of the full cost of 2001-2017 wars to the U. S. taxpayers. It is worth remembering that war-related expenditures are outside discretionary budgetary allocations (follow links here: And you can read more here: The problem, as I repeatedly pointed out, is that no one can tell us what exactly – aside from misery, failed states, collapsed economies, piles of dead bodies etc – did these expenditures achieve, or for that matter what did all the adventurous entanglements the U. S. got into in recent year deliver? In Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen and Syria, in Pakistan and Sudan, in Ukraine, in Somalia and Egypt. The sole bright spot on the U. S. ‘policy horizon’ is Kurdistan. But the problem is, the U. S. has been quietly undermining its main ally in the Syria-Iraq-Turkey sub-region in recent years. In South China Seas, Beijing is fully running the show, as multi-billion U. S. hardware bobbles up and down the waves to no effect. In North Korea, a villain with a bucket of uranium is in charge, and Iran is standing strong. In its historical backyard of Latin America, the U. S. is now confronting growing Chinese influence, while losing allies.
This post was published at True Economics on Tuesday, December 26, 2017.
Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com, As we roll into 2018, analysts and investors are more optimistic that the oil market will further tighten next year and support higher oil prices, but rising U. S. shale production will likely cap any significant price gains. On the demand side, expectations are that global economic growth will support solid oil demand growth. On the supply side, Venezuela’s dire situation, possible new sanctions on Iran, and increased tension in the Middle East mostly with the Saudi-Iran issues and the Iraq-Kurdistan standoff may take more barrels off the market than OPEC and friends plan, and send geopolitical jitters through the oil market.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 22, 2017.
Authored by Alex Gorka via The Strategic Culture Foundation, Boris Johnson arrives in Moscow today to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov the next day – the first visit to Russia by a British foreign minister in five years. International security issues are to top the agenda, including North Korea, Iran and regional stability in the Middle East as well as security for the 2018 World Cup soccer tournament in Russia. This time the bilateral relationship is at the lowest ebb due to the differences over Ukraine, Syria, and the allegations of Moscow’s meddling in the politics of various European countries. UK Prime Minister Theresa May has dramatically escalated attacks on Russia recently, accusing it of malign influence and hostile intentions. Mr. Johnson gave an interview to the Sunday Times as he prepares for the trip to Moscow, in which he said that ‘Russia has not been so hostile to the UK or to Western interests since the end of the Cold War.’ According to him, ‘In the Crimea, capturing a part of sovereign, besides, European territory from someone else’s country and holding it for the first time since 1945.’
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 21, 2017.
In the annals of Russian-American relations, it is difficult to recall a precedent for the Kremlin leader calling his White House counterpart to convey his personal gratitude and appreciation for the profound contribution made by the US’ Central Intelligence Agency and its director to Russian national security. The great irony is that the incumbent Kremlin boss is a former KGB officer. Vladimir Putin never ceases to surprise. The Kremlin readout of Putin’s phone call to US President Donald Trump on Sunday should be an eye-opener to anyone who bought the US propaganda that Putin is a demon preparing to devour the West – or Russian propaganda that encourages an impression to be formed among the nave and the gullible that the world is carved into two neat halves, namely the good and the evil. Countries like Turkey, Iran and Egypt – and Venezuela and North Korea – should take particular note that the world situation and the emerging international order are a lot more complicated than some among them would like to think. What prompted Putin to make such an extraordinary move? For a start, the Kremlin senses that the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the US election last November is meandering aimlessly and may have to be wound up sooner rather than later. That being the case, a future is conceivable in which the tidal wave of Russophobia in the US recedes, leaving behind much devastation and debris but also the opportunity to begin rehabilitation and reconstruction. Most certainly, Putin understood the great symbolism and meaning behind the gesture by the CIA to pass on crucial intelligence relating to the security of his hometown, the city of his heart’s desires, and the pride of all Russian people.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 20, 2017.
It’s been a little over three weeks since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) called the Supreme Leader of Iran ‘the new Hitler of the Middle East’, escalating the war of words and ultimately launching the next leg up in the infowar between both countries. And now the Saudi media, building on that rhetoric, just published a powerful short 3D-animated film depicting the Saudi military invading and conquering Iran. *** Al-Riyadh newspaper on Friday said the video called ‘Saudi Deterrent Force’- was created by ‘young people from Saudi Arabia’, which it ‘depicts reality and the prestige of the Saudi Armed Forces’ invading Iran by air, land, and sea.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 17, 2017.
Authored by Tom Luongo, Iran is joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). By early next year, February by this account, Iran will join the five founding members of the Union and open the door for Turkey to do so later in 2018. Between this and the end of the war in Syria, it’s not hard to declare the Brzezinski Doctrine of U. S.-led Central Asian chaos as gasping its last breaths. Iran finally joining the EAEU is a response to a number of factors, the most important of which is the continued belligerence by the U. S. Expanded economic sanctions on Iran and the EAEU’s leader Russia has created the need for greater coordination of economic and foreign policy objectives between them. And it is creating the new realities in the region that will reshape the word for the next hundred years. The Nuclear Gambit In the dying days of the Obama administration it looked like the goal was to placate Iran to stop its pivot towards Russia and China. I believe that was the driving force behind Obama’s negotiating the controversial nuclear deal. In effect, Obama tried to trade unfreezing Iran’s hundreds of billions in assets held in Western banks for Iran to ignore our atomization of Syria and the creation of a complete mess there.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 15, 2017.
Authored by Tom Luongo, Last week, Venezuela announced it would develop a national cryptocurrency backed by its oil reserves, the Petro. Now there is a report that Russia is considering the same thing. Iran will likely follow suit. As of right now this is just a rumor, but it makes some sense. So, let’s treat this rumor as fact for the sake of argument and see where it leads us. The U. S. continues to sanction and threaten all of these countries for daring to challenge the global status quo. There is no denying this. And so much of what we see in the geopolitical headlines are knock-on effects of this challenge. The Geopolitical ‘Why’ From the Middle East to North Korea, the Dutch changing their laws to block Nordstream 2 to the Saudis breaking off relations with Qatar, everything you read about in the news is a move on the geopolitical ‘Go’ board.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 12, 2017.
Is the US really a superower or just the biggest collection of stupidity on the planet? Syria – ISIS Is Defeated – The U. S. Is Next In Line Washington has already lost the Syrian war once. Now it is about to lose it a second time. A few days ago the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, declared a ‘complete victory’ in Syria: ‘Two hours ago, the (Russian) defense minister reported to me that the operations on the eastern and western banks of the Euphrates have been completed with the total rout of the terrorists.’ The Iranian commander of the forces which support the Syrian and Iraqi governments sent a note to the U. S. to let Washington know that any remaining U. S. forces in Syria will be fought down: ‘The commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp Brigadier General Haj Qassem Soleimani sent a verbal letter, via Russia, to the head of the US forces commander in Syria, advising him to pull out all US forces to the last soldier ‘or the doors of hell will open up.’’ ‘My message to the US military command: when the battle against ISIS (the Islamic State group) will end, no American soldier will be tolerated in Syria. I advise you to leave by your own will or you will be forced to it.’
A new report from the Institute for Science and International Security has found that 49 countries violated sanctions on North Korea to varying degrees between March 2014 and September 2017. 13 governments including Cuba, Egypt, Iran and Syria were involved in military violations, which as Statista’s Martin Armstrong notes, includes either receiving military training from North Korea or being involved in the import and export of military equipment.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 10, 2017.
The global outrage against Trump’s unilateral decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital continued for a second day, and overnight the Muslim world was swept by a wave of deadly protests as millions protested Trump’s announcement in a “day of rage“. As reported earlier, a man was killed and hundreds injured in clashes in the West Bank, while US flags were burned at mass rallies in Iran, Pakistan and elsewhere.
According to Reuters, over 200 people were injured on Friday as violent protests in Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza went into a second day. Israeli security forces employed tear gas, rubber bullets and even live ammo to disperse the demonstrators.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 8, 2017.
Dear Readers, support your website Michel Chossudovsky, a distinguished professor in Canada, directs the Centre for Research on Globalization and the website Global Research, a font of important information unavailable from the presstitute Western media. In this article he tells us that if we do not focus on peace instead of war, we are all going to die: Professor Chossudovsky makes an important point, made to me some years ago by my colleague Zbigniew Brzezinski and recently by former Secretary of Defense William Perry (see:). Professor Chossudovsky reminds us to ‘bear in mind that mistakes are often what determine the course of world history.’ A US attack on North Korea would be a mistake that could precipitate a nuclear war. There is no doubt that Chossudovsky is correct. Additionally, the continued demonization of Russia, China, and Iran could precipitate a nuclear war. In other words, we are surrounded by very real threats created by Washington that receive no attention from Western governments and the presstitute media. As I wrote on December 5, we are ‘walking into Armageddon.’ Professor Chossudovsky has amassed a huge amount of information that makes clear the vast difference between the level-headed era of JFK/Khrushchev and the insanity of the post-Reagan era of the re-start of hostilities for the sake of the power and profit of the US military/security complex and the neoconservatives’ ideology of US world hegemony.
In a decision bound to have far-reaching effects, President Trump announced that the United States would be recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Furthermore, he also stated his intentions of placing an American embassy in the city. The Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has already weighed in on this, and said that such a move by President Trump would not be tolerated. It is difficult to address such an issue in a non-didactic manner that blends theological implications, but there is more at stake here than this being a theological debate, or simply a conflict between Christianity, Muslims, or Judaism, or an ‘end of days’ issue. Politics is statecraft and stagecraft, and this decision has infuriated the Iranians and will potentially provoke them into activity: the invasion of Iran has been desired for three administrations. Obama intended to overthrow Assad in Syria for many reasons: to ingratiate himself to the House of Saud (as the Saudi Arabians hate Assad), to control Northwestern Syria and run a natural gas pipeline through it from Qatar to Europe, and to secure a foothold with which to invade Iran. The Russians have had other plans: Gazprom was the target regarding the Qatar natural gas pipeline, and the Russians reacted by bombing ISIS (an Obama creation) and securing Syria for Assad.
This post was published at shtfplan on December 7th, 2017.
A retired Central Intelligence Agency Agent, who is reported to be working with Blackwater founder Erik Prince, has allegedly claimed that it was National Security Advisor H. R. McMaster (You know him as an Islamic apologist in our government) worked alongside the National Security Agency (NSA) to surveil Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump, Steve Bannon and others, according to a report that’s come out this week. The report came from The Intercept, and in that report, it was revealed that the Trump administration is ‘considering a set of proposals developed by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer – with assistance from Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal – to provide CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the White House with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official U. S. intelligence agencies, according to several current and former U. S. intelligence officials and others familiar with the proposals. The sources say the plans have been pitched to the White House as a means of countering ‘deep state’ enemies in the intelligence community seeking to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency.’
By virtue of its military might, the United States has the unique ability to quickly – and credibly – place its most intractable adversaries under existential threat. Command over the world’s most powerful military gives a country options, and the option of regime change can be a tempting one for Washington as it tries to work through some of its more maddening foreign policy dilemmas. A government living under the constant, lurking threat of decapitation does not particularly enjoy stewing in its own paranoia over what social fissures its enemies can exploit, which allies they can turn and what chain of events could finally push the United States into action. That’s why a nuclear deterrent is such an alluring prospect: What better way to kill your adversaries’ fantasy of regime change than to stand with them as near-equals on a nuclear plane? This is North Korea’s rationale as the country closes in on demonstrating that it has a fully functional nuclear weapon and delivery arsenal. But Washington’s nuclear dilemma doesn’t end with Pyongyang. Whether Tehran attempts to return to its treacherous path toward nuclear armament rests in large part on just how seriously the White House entertains and attempts to execute a policy of regime change.
Submitted by South Front More details have emerged concerning the reported December 3rd firing of a cruise missile by Yemeni Houthi rebels toward a nuclear power plant under construction in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The cruise missile has been identified as a ‘Soumar’ missile, an Iranian-modified version of the Soviet-made Kh-55 cruise missile. With an operational range of 2500 km, the Kh-55s are equipped with guidance systems that allow them to maintain an altitude lower than 110 meters from the ground, thereby avoiding radar detection. Local Yemeni sources confirmed that the cruise missile did not hit the target, having crashed in the northern Yemeni province of al-Jawf. The UAE stated that it possesses an air defense system capable of dealing with any threat of any type or kind, adding that the nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi was well-protected, state news agency WAM reported on its Twitter account. The crash reasons are still unclear, but most likely it was a technical failure.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.
Here is data showing how @ABC News crashed the market on fake news. This is real. This matters. pic.twitter.com/AaGKVlTYEO — Benny (@bennyjohnson) December 2, 2017
Despite the fact that trust in the mainstream media is at an all-time low, reports from the media can still have major international repercussions – even when they are false. In fact, in just 24 hours, false media stories caused financial stocks to crash and led to an airstrike that could have provoked a war. Former U. S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to FBI agents about his conversations with the Russian ambassador. ABC’s original report claimed that Donald Trump ordered Flynn to contact Russian officials during the 2016 election when he was still a candidate. However, Trump actually ordered Flynn to contact the officials after he became president-elect. The original claim was made by ABC News Investigative Reporter Brian Ross, who said he was quoting an anonymous source. This method was used by the mainstream media throughout the election to push exaggerated claims with no evidence. While ABC brushed off the mistake as nothing more than issuing a simple correction to one of their reports, the allegations from their ‘anonymous source’ had serious repercussions. Ross made the claim during a ‘Special Report’ from ABC News at 11 a.m. on Friday. Within minutes of the report, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 350 points.
GRAPHIC content Images of what seems to be former President of #Yemen Ali Abdullah Saleh dead . pic.twitter.com/6HEgVbOrZI — Ahmad Algohbary (@AhmadAlgohbary) December 4, 2017
After years of fighting, the capital of Yemen, Sanaa, has reportedly fallen under control of Houthi rebel fighters, according to media citing the Interior Ministry. The Iran-backed group has allegedly retaken the city after killing former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, whose death was just confirmed by a party official. Al Arabiya quoted a source in Saleh’s General Peoples Congress as saying he was killed by sniper bullets. A Houthi video distributed on social media showed what appeared to be Saleh’s body, clad in grey clothes and being carried out on a red blanket. The side of his head bore a deep wound.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.
Fighters from Yemen’s Houthi rebel movement have blown up the house of ex-President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the centre of the capital Sanaa, residents reported, as Saleh’s current whereabouts remained unknown, Reuters reported. The attack came a day after Saleh said he was ready for a “new page” in ties with the Saudi-led coalition. Saleh’s loyalists had lost ground on the sixth day of heavy urban combat with the Iran-aligned Houthis, his former allies in nearly three years of war with a Saudi-led military coalition. On Monday, the Houthis made gains against forces supporting the former president. According to witness reports in local media, there was intense fighting overnight, with explosions rocking the city into Monday morning. The alliance between the Houthi rebels and former Saleh recently seemed to be on the verge of a split, after on Sunday, the former leader of the war-torn country formally renounced his alliance with the Houthis, pulling a “Hariri.” Saleh pledged to step up his fight with the Iranian-backed group, having re-aligned his forces with Saudi Arabia. In an earlier televised speech, Saleh said that he made the decision to cease fighting in the country, having asked Riyadh to stop attacks on Yemen in exchange for his support.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 4, 2017.
Two days after Israel reportedly destroyed an alleged Iranian airbase in the city of al-Qiswa near Damascus in Syria, Yemen’s Houthi rebels claimed they fired a cruise missile toward the $20 bilion Barakh nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi in the UAE (which is still under construction) which “successfully hit its target”, the group’s television service said on its website Sunday, however without providing evidence. The launch was in retaliation for the closing of sea and air ports, it said without offering evidence or providing further details. The statement quoted a Houthi leader who warned against continuing the blockade, ‘affirming Yemenis’ right to take sensitive steps.’ ‘The missile force announces the launching of a winged cruise missile … toward the al-Barakah nuclear reactor in Abu Dhabi,’ the website said. It gave no further details. The claim comes as the United Arab Emirates, which is part of the Saudi-led coalition, celebrates its National Day.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 3, 2017.