Iran Tells Israel it is Ready to Abandon Syria in Covert Meetings

Rumors are swirling the Arab media that an Israeli delegation met with their Iranian counterparts in Amman, using Jordan as a go between.  First of all, the idea they are talking at all is truly astounding, but what was discussed is even more surprising.

Elaph, the Saudi owned news site was the first to break the story.

Middle East Eye summarizes the Arabic language story as follows:

Iran reportedly pledged to stay out of fighting in southwest Syria between Syrian forces and rebel groups while Israel said it will not intervene in battles near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights or the Israel-Jordan border so long as Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militias are not involved.

For the negotiations, Iran’s ambassador to Jordan, Mostafa Moslehzadeh, stayed in a hotel room with Iranian security personnel next door to a room of senior Israeli security officials, including the deputy head of Mossad, Elaph reported.

Jordanian officials served as mediator, shuttling messages between the two rooms, according to the report.

Apparently, the two sides did come to some agreement of terms. Middle East eye continues:

One participant told Elaph that the Iranians “arrived at a quick agreement” that its forces would not intervene in fighting near the Golan Heights and the Israel-Jordan border, surprising the Israeli representatives.

Assuming all of this is true, it would signal a major concession by Iran. In a sense Tehran can be seen as capitualting in the face of an unprecedented offensive by Israel. Given the fact that Israel has been tacitly backed by Russia over the last few months, while the IAF has essentially wiped out Iran’s IRGC holdings in southwest Syria seems to have made an impression on Tehran.

Sources indicate that the next stage in the offensive involves the IAF attacking Iranian targets closer to Iraq. Given Russia’s belief that Iran has overstayed its welcome in Syria, then there is no reason to believe the IAF would not have the same degree of free movement it already enjoys in Syria.

Iran Appears to be on the Retreat

Iran’s economy is about to take a serious hit from Trump’s JCPOA decertification. It is also losing its inevitable control over Iraq to a neutral player in Sadr, and its move towards Israel has only bought it destruction.  Does this mean we have seen the last of Iran?  Not at all.  The Ayatollah’s understand they need to shift focus. So rather than Iran doing the heavy lifting, the job of attacking Israel falls to Hezbollah.

Iran will attempt to focus its energies on holding onto its control of the Shiite areas in Iraq as it seeks to dominate the Persian Gulf.

Netanyahu is Making the Case for Trump to Leave the Iranian Nuclear Deal

Below is just one American show Prime Minister Netanyahu joined to press his case for the USA to leave the heavily flawed Iranian nuclear agreement, officially known as the JCPOA.

Will this work?  Most likely President Trump has already decided to leave the deal and is actually coordinating with Netanyahu.  The Prime Minister has a far more positive profile than Trump does and can make the case succinctly.  Of course no one knows what Trump will decide on May 12th, but it increasingly appears to be likely he will leave it.

Trump Admin To Grant Iran Missiles Capable of Destroying Israel

Administration insiders, congressional official outraged over concession

The Trump administration is poised to legitimize Iran’s ballistic missile program, granting the Islamic Republic the ability to produce and test a series of missiles capable of striking Israel, according to those familiar with U.S. concessions during ongoing talks over the future of the landmark Iran nuclear deal.

After weeks of pressure from European countries, senior Trump administration officials handling the talks are said to have conceded to a demand that Iran only restrict ballistic missile activity to its longer range missiles, leaving untouched its mammoth arsenal of short-range and medium-range missiles that could easily hit Israel and other Middle Eastern nations.

The concession, which comes after months of wrangling over the future of the nuclear deal ahead of a May deadline, has roiled congressional officials and administration insiders who have been pressuring the White House to stand firm against these European demands.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a vocal opponent of the nuclear deal who has been advocating in favor of tough new restrictions on Iran, told the Free Beacon that the fixes proposed by the Europeans and supposedly endorsed by the Trump administration do not go nearly far enough in addressing Iran’s contested missile program.

“Obama’s Iran nuclear deal was fatally flawed from the beginning,” Cruz told the Free Beacon.”The deal required reckless international concessions and incentivized the international community to turn a blind eye to Iranian bad behavior. These proposed European ‘fixes’ don’t address the missiles Iran would actually build, the inspection problems that would actually arise, or the eventual sunsets as they would actually occur. They would only constrain the Iranians from doing things they never would have done. President Trump should reject these empty promises and withdraw America from this disastrous deal.”

In addition to the relaxed restrictions of Iran’s missile program, European leaders and Iran deal supporters are urging the president to accept a basket of so-called fixes to the deal that Iran deal experts and administration insiders say falls far short of President Trump’s original demands. This reversal in the negotiating position of the United States could result in Trump deciding to wholly abandon the nuclear deal.

French president Emmanuel Macron, in town this week for his first official meeting with Trump at the White House, is expected to pressure the president to remain in the deal and give in to European demands that Iran be permitted to engage in multimillion-dollar business deals across the region.

European officials have echoed these concessions, including the relaxation of restrictions on Iran’s missile program, for weeks, worrying administration insiders that Trump may cave despite his tough rhetoric.

European officials, on a recent trip to Washington, D.C., are said to have attended a dinner party where they met with former Obama administration officials and Iran deal supporters to figure out ways to preserve the accord and not give in to Trump’s demands, according to sources familiar with the ongoing talks.

“When political directors [from European allied countries] came to town, they huddled with the deal’s supporters, another sign they’re just looking to preserve the JCPOA,” said one veteran foreign policy adviser apprised of the situation.

There also has been little change in the U.S. negotiating team and its stance since former secretary of state Rex Tillerson was fired by Trump for failing to carry out his hardline stance on reforming the Iran deal, sources said.

U.S. officials confirmed to the Free Beacon in recent weeks that the negotiating team has not changed personnel since Tillerson’s exit, a disclosure that opponents of the deal have found troubling.

“The Tillerson-McMaster negotiating team is carrying water for the Europeans,” said one administration insider with knowledge of the nuclear talks, referring to H.R. McMaster, the recently fired national security adviser who also was viewed as going along with European concessions on Iran’s nuclear program.

“They have nothing real to show after months of negotiations,” the source said. “The idea that they are even close to ‘fixing’ the JCPOA is farcical.”

Among the sticking points in these talks are efforts to fully restrict Iran’s ballistic missile program, which has been endorsed by many in Congress, as well as by Trump.

Rather than focus on the totality of Iran’s program, U.S. and European officials are choosing to focus only on Iran’s long-range stockpile. Officials are pushing for a cap on Iran’s missiles that would keep them below a range of around 1,240 miles.

This distance is the same one embraced by Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei when he issued a 2017 edict on the country’s missile program.

A State Department official confirmed to the Free Beacon that Iran’s long-range capabilities are currently up for discussion. The official would not comment specifically on whether distances would be capped in line with the ayatollah’s demand.

“We have discussed the areas the president identified in January where he wants to see improvements—including ensuring Iran never comes close to developing a nuclear weapon and addressing our concerns with the sunset dates, taking strong action if Iran refuses IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspections, and preventing Iran from developing or testing a long-range ballistic missile,” the official said.

The Trump administration maintains the United States will walk away from the deal if negotiations fail to produce an acceptable agreement by May.

“This is a last chance,” the official said. “In the absence of a commitment from our European allies to work with us to fix the deal’s flaws, the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal. And if at any time the president judges that agreement is not within reach, the United States will withdraw from the deal immediately.”

Recent moves to align the United States more closely with Iran’s position has roiled White House allies and congressional officials, as well as hawks in the Jewish community who believed Trump would finally crackdown on Iran’s repeated threats to destroy the Jewish state.

“I honestly don’t know how the president can sell Israel down the river like that,” said one Jewish official who routinely engaged with the White House on Iran issues. “It’s bad enough they’re trying to deal with missile threats to their north alone. Now Iran gets a green light to perfect missiles that will one day constitute an existential threat to Israel’s existence?”

Richard Goldberg, a former top aide to Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) who currently advises the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Free Beacon that the only acceptable fix to Iran’s missile program is a complete blanket ban.

“A true fix on missiles should align with the Roskam-Cheney bill in the House—total snapback of all sanctions if Iran develops or tests any nuclear capable ballistic missile, period,” Goldberg said, referring to current legislation that would fully outlaw Iran’s missile program. “That’s the gold standard. That’s what the Security Council calls for. Otherwise you’re just negotiating a bad missile deal to supplement a bad nuclear deal.”

Josh Block, a longtime foreign policy professional who serves as the CEO and president of The Israel Project, told the Free Beacon that by only focusing on Iran’s long-range missile capability, the Trump administration is leaving Israel open to attack.

“We know that the mullah regime already has the capability to strike targets up to 1,240 miles from Iran’s borders—a range sufficient to hit the State of Israel, our Arab allies across the region, every U.S. military installation and American soldier in the region, and even parts of Europe,” said Block, a former Clinton administration official.

“Iran’s new ballistic missile cap offer is a total sham—one cooked-up by Iran’s allies in Russia, who are already supporting Tehran and Assad’s violent war to dominate the Middle East—designed to fool President Trump, with the support of greedy Europeans who care more about making money,” Block said.

Originally Published in the Washington Free Beacon.

Israel Must Brace for Impact

The “smart” missiles have now been fired into Syria and according to the Pentagon they were successful.  For all of Trump’s bellicose rhetoric, the operation to degrade Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities took a few short hours on Saturday.  On the surface of it, Trump accomplished his goal of destroying Assad’s ability to harm civilians using chemical weapons while not getting involved enough to draw Russia into a direct confrontation.

Of course, on the ground things are far different.  Within a few hours of the missile barrage, unidentified aircraft struck an Iranian base in Aleppo, Syria.  Most sources suggest this was an Israeli attack. Iran and Russia have already pledged to respond to the US attack, which will most likely take the form of attacking an American proxy rather than the US itself.  Stability was never an adjective to describe Syria, but whatever semblance of order there was it had not completely vanished until now.

Despite Bibi Netanyahu’s public support for the US attack on Syria, Israel has little need or desire for an American attack which will end up causing the Jewish state serous damage. Russia’s response will be calculating and not come right away. Putin has held Iran and Hezbollah back from attacking Israel. This has seemingly changed after Trump’s attack on Syria.

Although Israel has the free reign to do what is necessary, Russian involvement may neutralize some of its capabilities when dealing with an Iranian/Hezbollah advance into the Golan or the Galilee. While Russia is no America and Iran’s traditional military has taken a backseat to its ballistic missile program, both would be a formidable force for the Israeli military to defend against.

Trump’s attack on Syria, while forceful was merely a quick carrying out of a hit and run strategy that may have unknown consequences on geopolitical structures in the Middle East and the broader region.

Trump’s day of reckoning for Syria has come and gone, but Israel’s standing in relation to Russia has now deteriorated placing its populace in direct danger.

Israel must now brace for full impact as it is the number one target for Russia and Iran’s retaliation against America.



Is Mueller colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood’s 9/11 backers?

There hasn’t been a sudden explosion of paranoia and fear about Russia like this since Sputnik.

In the ‘12 election debates, Obama had breezily dismissed Romney’s suggestion that Russia was the leading geopolitical threat. “You said Russia. Not al Qaeda. You said Russia,” he sneered. “And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

Obama was nearly right.

Russia is a serious geopolitical threat, but despite Putin’s imperial ambitions and the malicious actions of a regime run by former KGB operatives, it falls far behind the threat posed by the People’s Republic of China. The Cold War is over and Russia lost. That may be of small comfort to Ukraine or Georgia, and the other former subject nations of the Soviet Union that it threatens, but it’s no real threat to us.

China isn’t our leading geopolitical foe either.

Obama mentioned Al Qaeda in his attack on Romney. The Islamic terrorist group was already largely irrelevant. But the terror kingdom behind it is more dangerously relevant than ever.

According to the intelligence community, Abdullah bin Khalid al-Thani, a member of the Qatari royal family, its former interior minister and minister of Islamic affairs, was an Al Qaeda sympathizer who had harbored Khalid Sheikh Muhammad. When the FBI arrived in Qatar to arrest him, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks was transported away on a special Qatari government jet with blacked out windows.

And there have been suspicions over the years that Qataris played a larger role in 9/11.

But Qatar these days is far more of a threat than it was on 9/11. Its close ties to terror have made it a pariah nation in the region even as its support for Islamic theocracy crosses all factional lines.

It’s the main patron of the Muslim Brotherhood, an international Jihadist network, and has close ties to Iran. It spreads terrorist propaganda through Al Jazeera while subverting friendly governments. It seeks to influence American policy through think tanks like Brookings while spying on Americans.

Russia’s backing for the Shiite axis in Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen has been destabilizing, but not nearly as destabilizing as Qatar’s backing for the Islamist militias that wrecked Syria, Yemen, Libya, Egypt and much of the region. Qatar’s Iranian allies may be the final winners of the Arab Spring’s humanitarian catastrophe, but it was Qatari propaganda and weapons that kickstarted the region’s unholy wars.

While Qatar’s Al Jazeera terror network undermined governments, the terror kingdom shipped massive amounts of weapons to its Islamic terrorist allies. The Obama administration colluded with Qatar’s arms shipments to terrorists by instructing NATO forces not to interdict these shipments which later ended up in the hands of Jihadists in Libya and Mali. Qatar bought weapons from the genocidal Muslim Brotherhood regime in Sudan, whose leader is wanted by the ICC for crimes against humanity, and shipped them to Jihadists in Syria through the terror state of Turkey.

Secretary of State John Kerry even winked at Qatar’s funding of Hamas, another genocidal Muslim Brotherhood regime. This is the sort of serious collusion that we should be discussing.

But while Qatar funds terrorists, its massive propaganda operation also attempts to influence Americans. The terror kingdom acquired Current TV from Al Gore for $500 million. But the terror network failed to attract viewers. Al Jazeera America was sued for fraud by Gore, and its female and Jewish employees began coming forward with accusations of sexism and anti-Semitism.

But while Al Jazeera America failed, Al Jazeera remains the world’s most influential hostile state propaganda service, far more so than Russia’s RT. And it hasn’t given up on influencing Americans.

Al Jazeera recently boasted of having sent in an operative to secretly record pro-Israel activists. The terror network dispatched letters to pro-Israel groups and it’s believed by some that their existence is being used to pressure figures in the Jewish community into playing along with Qatar’s public relations effort. If Russia were similarly spying on and blackmailing Americans, there would be outrage.

Unfortunately, Qatar has burrowed deeply into the media and the political infrastructure of the left.

Al Jazeera is not the only vector for Qatari propaganda. The Brookings Institution, one of the most influential think tanks in the country, is subservient to Qatar. “[T]there was a no-go zone when it came to criticizing the Qatari government,” a Brookings Doha Center fellow revealed.

And then there’s The Intercept. The pro-terror site funded by a Persian billionaire has become notorious for its distribution of Qatari propaganda. The site, whose leading figure is Hamas apologist Glenn Greenwald, is a perfect forum for publishing smears, innuendo and even hacked documents. The Intercept frequently features attacks on the UAE, a Qatari rival, and Americans friendly to it, such as Jared Kushner, so that its contents appears to curiously echo those of Qatar’s PR and Al Jazeera.

Qatar’s influence operations took an ominous turn when Elliott Broidy, a top Trump donor, had his emails hacked by individuals he alleges were Qatari agents. The leaked emails play into Qatar’s conflict with the UAE. The emails have predictably popped up on Al Jazeera and Broidy had previously been targeted by The Intercept for a panel at which Steve Bannon had criticized Qatar.

“We have reason to believe this hack was sponsored and carried out by registered and unregistered agents of Qatar seeking to punish Mr Broidy for his strong opposition to state-sponsored terrorism,” Broidy’s spokesman said.

These two incidents of alleged Qatari espionage against Americans in order to influence our foreign policy raise serious questions. Yet the same media that obsessively searches for Russian bots on Reddit and Facebook seems entirely disinterested in discussing the subject. Skeptics of Russian influence have been told to put country ahead of party, but when will the left finally put country ahead of Qatar?

Perversely, instead of investigating the role of Qatar in influencing American elections, Mueller is reportedly taking the Qatari propaganda at face value and directing his investigation accordingly.

President Trump has been critical of Qatar. If Mueller uses Qatari opposition research to undermine a sitting president on behalf of a terror state, he will actually doing what Trump has been accused of.

Mueller had been accused of covering for the Muslim Brotherhood’s activities in America before. But now he risks being guilty of colluding with the Brotherhood’s Qatari backers to bring down an anti-Qatari president for the terror state that shielded the mastermind of the September 11 attacks.

There could be no greater act of treason than that.

Qatar’s domestic influence operation is far deeper and more dangerous than anything waged by Russia. Al Jazeera is infinitely more sophisticated than RT. The influence enjoyed by Qatar through Brookings has no Russian parallel. Its narrative on Yemen, Libya, Gaza, Burma and Egypt is the only story you will see in the media. The media in the United States hardly ever runs stories critical of Qatar anymore.

But if the latest allegations are true, Qatar’s terror backing and fake news operations have been supplemented by a domestic spying and blackmail operation against Americans.

And that cannot be tolerated.

Qatar is tiny compared to Russia. It’s a slave state of 200,000 masters and large numbers of foreign workers, many of them worked to death and treated little better than slaves. But yet it’s enormously wealthy and beneath its façade of moderation, it seeks to export Islamic supremacism around the world.

When we talk about Al Qaeda or Hamas, when you hear about the Arab Spring or the civil war in Yemen, when mention is made of the illegal invasion of Libya, the fighting in Syria, the real topic is Qatar.

Americans who collude with Russia should be held accountable. So should those who collude with Qatar.

And often they are one and the same.

Qatar, like Russia, is an ally of Iran. Like Russia, it arms and trains Islamic terror groups, seeks to undermine America, Israel and the West, and represents a major geopolitical threat.

Islamic terrorism is our leading geopolitical enemy. Its distribution and diversity makes it more difficult to pin down than the linkage between Communism and the Soviet Union. But the closest thing to the USSR of Islamic terror today is Qatar. When Democrats demand to know what Republicans are ready to do about Russia, Republicans should ask them what they are willing to do about Qatar?

Originally published on FrontPageMag.


Trump, Iran, and the Time for Regime Change

Donald Trump tweeted the following concerning the wave of anti-regime protests sweeping Iran:

What started out as a series of economic protests in select cities in Iran has turned into the largest wave of anti-regime protests in Iran since the failed Green Movement. Despite the show of force by the regime protests keep growing threatening to spiral out of control.

Unlike the Green Movement, which many blame Obama for not backing at the same time he backed the Arab Spring, Donald Trump has gone out and warned Iran.  Does this mean he will step in.  Absolutely not, but what is clear is that his vocal support maybe key in helping to further destablize what is seen as a brutal theocratic regime.

With Iran on the move across the Middle East, the regime has pumped billions of dollars into bolstering its proxies while many of its citizens suffer from economic woes.

For this revolution to succeed, it cannot be seen as a Western inspired uprising, but rather homegrown in nature. So far that seems to be the case. While the IRCG and the security forces are brutal, the populace must hang in there for this to have long term consequences for the Ayatollahs and their supporters.  With internal divisions growing in Iran, it is clear that this may take off.

Yet, if the Iranian regime believes this uprising threatens its very existance, war may be the regime’s only way out.

Trump-Putin Deal on Syria May Bring War Closer With Israel

While the agreement concerning Syria made between Trump and Putin in Vietnam has been touted by almost everyone as the beginning of closure to the Syrian Civil War, it may have achieved little more than a huge win for the Russian-Iranian-Syrian axis.

The joint statement  between the US and Russia says the following:

President Trump and President Putin confirmed the importance of de-escalation areas as an interim step to reduce violence in Syria, enforce ceasefire agreements, facilitate unhindered humanitarian access, and set the conditions for the ultimate political solution to the conflict. They reviewed progress on the ceasefire in southwest Syria that was finalized the last time the two Presidents met in Hamburg, Germany on July 7, 2017. The two presidents, today, welcomed the Memorandum of Principles concluded in Amman, Jordan, on November 8, 2017, between the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States of America. This Memorandum reinforces the success of the ceasefire initiative, to include the reduction, and ultimate elimination of foreign forces and foreign fighters from the area to ensure a more sustainable peace. Monitoring this ceasefire arrangement will continue to take place through the Amman Monitoring Center, with participation by expert teams from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Russian Federation, and the United States.

It is worth pointing out that although one of the deconfliction zones buttresses Israel’s Golan Heights, they are not mentioned as one of the parties that will observe whether or not the deconfliction mechanism is working. Furthermore, Syrian and Russian troops can move freely within the deconfliction zones, which are about 20km in width. Outside the deconfliction zones Iranian and Hezbollah troops can move with ease.

Essentially, the arrangement ensures a return of the Syrian regime now overtly backed by Russia to Israel’s border, while giving Iran and Hezbollah a free pass to build up their presence outside the deconfliction zone. The arrangement, while sounding good on paper, actually encourages conflict between Israel and Iran/Hezbollah.

With Israel and the Sunni alliance beginning to push back against the growing Iranian threat, any weakening of their position against Iran will seemingly not be tolerated.  An Iranian/Hezbollah force allowed to build up their presence 20km from Israel will most likely not be tolerated.

Beyond Negotiations

Israel has taken a more passive route when it has come to the American-Russian agreements on the deconfliction zones, but this strategy has clearly failed. What is left is for the Israeli government to take a proactive policy in destroying Iranian and Hezbollah forces that are busy preparing to attack Israel.

Israel will only be taken seriously when it acts on its own.  Until then, the Trump-Putin agreement has created a military nightmare for Israel that brings the region closer to war, not farther away.

Who Is Trying to Stall the Greater Jerusalem Bill?

0As of late last week, the cabinet was scheduled to discuss and push forward the landmark Greater Jerusalem Bill this week. Yet, last night Prime Minister Netanyahu unexpectedly took the bill off the table citing the need to consult with America first.

The Prime Minister said the following: “We are in contact with the Americans; the Americans turned to us seeking to understand the essence of the Law. As we have cooperated with them so far, it is worthwhile talking with them and coordinating them. We are working to promote and develop settlement rather than to promote other considerations.”

However, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz insisted the bill we brought up today.

“This is a historic law that will guarantee the Jewish majority in Jerusalem and strengthen our hold on the city.”

Despite the Prime Minister’s rhetoric, the Americans do not seem phased by the bill, which begs the question of who really is behind the stalling of the Greater Jerusalem Bill?

Bibi Netanyahu has long derided sudden changes in the status quo.  He like manageable situations and although he is not particularly against the Greater Jerusalem Bill his in ability to carve a new paradigm under the Trump administration is increasingly leaving him behind his own Likud Colleagues and other right-wing parties.  Netanyahu’s insistence to clear the move by the Americans is another sign of his disconnect with the fast pace of actual change on the ground.  Israelis have by and large moved beyond the conflict with the “Palestinians” and by doing so understand the need to create a new bottom up approach that includes safeguarding Jerusalem and the Jewish communities throughout Judea and Samaria.

Now where is this more clear than the new Labor leader Avi Gabbai’s courting of the right-wing by stating “I will not remove communities in Judea and Samaria.”

So Does Bibi Want to Annex or Not? 

The Prime Minister has been very clear for 15 years that he views the solution to the Israel-“Palestinian” dispute within the guise of Lichtenstein or Luxembourg.  This would essentially mean a Palestinian State in area A and B, but with no real need to have an army since its security is given over to Israel. It would seem that for Bibi, one can have overlapping sovereignties within the same land similar to certain areas of Europe since the final agreement would leave “Palestine” confederated to Israel.

This is ultimately why the Prime Minister relishes the status quo. Yet, reactions by the ultra-orthodox over Shabbat desecration and Jewish Home’s response to the lack of movement over the Greater Jerusalem bill as well as a bill cancelling disengagement may force Bibi to break the status quo in order to stave off new elections.

Throwing his coalition issues back at Trump may work in the short-term, but Israel needs to move forward in annexing municipalities in order to properly administer the Jewish population in and around Jerusalem will not go away. The future is catching up with Netanyahu and his inability to part with the status quo maybe his undoing.


With the Petrodollar Dying Can a US – Japan Alliance Slow a Rising China?

Massive changes in world alliances are occurring now, with the rapid decline of the petrodollar. This decline is led by China’s drive to move the Middle East into their sphere of influence. This past week, Reuters hinted at the petrodollar’s inevitable demise with an articletitled ‘The waning power of the petrodollar’.

Russia – Saudi Arabia Relations

Saudi Arabia is the cornerstone of the petrodollar system. The ‘blossoming friendship’ between Russia and Saudi Arabia is another direct threat to this arrangement. Saudi Arabia agreed to cut crude oil shipments to its customers in August by more than 600,000 barrels per day and will meet with Russia, among other nations, on July 24 to discuss compliance. According to a Moscow Times report, Saudi Arabia agreed to an arms deal valued at $3.5 billion with Russia.  They will also consider investing in a LNG plant currently being built by Russia.

But, to replace a global reserve currency, currently the US dollar, an alternative system must be implemented to replace the existing one.

New US Stance on China

By fixating on the theme of ‘Russia – Trump collusion’ charges, commentators in the US miss the reality that China is clearly the bigger (if not biggest) threat to US hegemony. While both Russia and China are two of the top three military powers in the world, the size of the Chinese economy (approximately ten times the size of Russia’s) gives China a substantially greater ability to inflict severe harm to the US economy than Russia. As forecast last November, instead of selling out US strategic assets to China, the Trump administration, to its credit, has implemented a more nationalistic approach to benefit its own citizens and not its personal interests. A Bloomberg report partly confirms this, as Chinese ‘cross-border purchases plunged 67 percent during the first four months of this year’ due to ‘tighter capital controls and increasingly wary counterparties’. This reflects a clear contrast to a prior administration that approved the sale of sensitive US missile technology to China. Interestingly, related entities, like a foundation, haven’t been (as of today) criminally prosecuted since witnesses strangely commit suicide before they were scheduled to testify. Also, the Trump administration is focused on potential Chinese spying. Guo Wengui, a Chinese dissident residing in the US, has claimed that China has ‘at least 25,000 Chinese intelligence officers and more than 15,000 recruited agents conducting espionage operations in the US’.

China’s Solution

China is moving towards implementing some type of gold backed currency or trade note to minimize the role of the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Russia’s largest bank has just this week begun trading physical gold on the Shanghai Gold Exchange. Since virtually all business and consumer transactions today are done digitally, the viability of a gold standard remains in question. The days of going to your local store and buying an item for a gram of gold are long gone. China’s central bank (PBOC) has developed its own digital currency and there have been rumors that China will roll out a cryptocurrency backed by gold. Several firms have already introduced a gold-backed cryptocurrency.

Japan’s Plan

With the world’s third largest economy, Japan maintains its place as a key participant to stunt Chinese ascendance. The Japanese central bank has bought stocks at unfathomable proportions as they now own at least ‘71 percent of all shares in Japan-listed ETFs’. Japan has officially moved to a policy of ‘unlimited money printing’ according to Forbes. While central bank manipulation can prolong unsound economic policy, there is no dispute that Japan’s massive debt load (approximately 234% debt-to-GDP ratio) can never be paid back.  So, before the Japanese Yen begins its inevitable decline on the path towards hyperinflation (like Venezuela or Zimbabwe), Japan must transition to an alternative system. Since they have negligible natural resources and a military force incapable of invading countries for profit, Japan appears to have settled on Bitcoin as their solution. On July 1, the consumption tax on the sale of Bitcoin was officially eliminated and over 260,000 retail stores are now poised to accept Bitcoin via a specialized application.

A fundamental appeal of cryptocurrencies (and blockchain technology) is its decentralized nature and its empowerment of individuals to bypass the central banking system of control. Japan has moved to the forefront of the break with central bank authority. The nature of China’s government, which censors the Internet and restricts free speech, cannot be expected to yield control to the individual in lieu of the state.

China’s Overreach

There may be some signs that more nations are wary of China’s ambitions. Last month, China attacked India and destroyed two Indian bunkers. After it flew six warplanes over the Miyako Strait between two southern Japanese islands in a military exercise, China dryly told Japan to ‘get used to it’. The US, India and Japan have aligned against this Chinese threat with recent naval exercises.


Perhaps, more nations will align with a renewed US led by President Trump who has worked to destroy the US deep state and who vowed at his inauguration to ‘seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world’ and ‘not seek to impose our way of life on anyone’ versus an increasingly imperialist China. Unfortunately, according to US military intelligence, defense cooperation and economic ties between Russia and China is slowly expanding. However unlikely, it would be most beneficial for US interests to drive a wedge between the Chinese-Russian alliance to forestall this progress.

The potential transition from the US as the world’s only superpower to something else will be a historic moment. It will inevitably arouse concern from countries historically allied with the US. These counties could take the advice of Philippines President Duterte who speaking on behalf of his own country said ‘We cannot forever be the little brown brothers of America. … We have to develop, we have to grow and become the big brother of our own people’.

Originally Published on News with Chai

Syrian Ceasefire Crumbles on Second Day as Regime and Iranian Allies Attack Rebels

Reports are streaming in that Syrian regime forces and its Iranian allies have already started violating the truce brokered between Trump and Putin at the G20 summit last week.  This would mean the much vaunted truce lasted all of 24 hours.

and again:

The fighting continued near Daraa and the Sweida, two areas covered by the ceasefire.  Below is a map of showing areas of control as the the ceasefire went into place.

With the ceasefire beginning to unravel even before the first Russian troops show up to monitor it, the question is how long before the Trump administration and Moscow decide to try to reorganize for another try. The regime and Iran will not stop while the wind is at their backs. They were closing in on capturing Daraa before the agreement and if they do now they will split two of the rebel areas in half and stand on the border of Jordan just a few kilometers from the Southern Golan.

Did Putin Outmaneuver Trump?

Despite Trump’s glowing victory speech after the agreement he “brokered” at the G20, it appears to be Putin that played the President Trump.  Afterall, Putin knew full well that Syria and Iran would not rest until they at least took all of Daraa if not more.  He also knew that his airforce was no longer needed to achieve Daraa’s conquest.

The question remains, will Trump admit he was out played? Or will he continue to spread the false notion that there is actually a ceasefire, when in fact there was none.  The faster the Trump administration realizes that no deal can be made with the regime, Iran, or even their Russian backers, the faster he can stave off total defeat.