Look at the plethora of problems in my list of 2020 economic predictions, which are so severe and so likely to get even worse that it’s more difficult to imagine they won’t get worse than to believe they will. Some are so bad that just a few of them would plunge us into an abyss of social and financial catastrophes.
Here are my economic predictions for the remainder of 2020
This list of economic predictions is not hard to come up with. It is, however, the fact that it is so easy to predict these things this year that makes this year’s list so important.
By Willis Eschenbach [Note updates at the end] – Re-Blogged From WUWT
Since the earliest days of the current pandemic, Italy has been the scary member of the family that you absolutely don’t want to emulate, the one cousin that gets into really bad trouble. The Italians have the highest rate of deaths from the COVID-19 coronavirus, and their numbers continue to climb. Here’s the situation today.
Figure 1. Deaths from the COVID-19 coronavirus expressed as deaths per ten million of the country population. Percentages of the total population are shown at the right in blue. All countries are aligned at the date of their first reported death. Most recent daily chart and charts of previous days are available by going here and scrolling down.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Tuesday alerted Americans to begin preparing for the spread of coronavirus in the United States after infections surfaced in several more countries.
The announcement signaled a change in tone for the Atlanta-based U.S. health agency, which had largely been focused on efforts to stop the virus from entering the country and quarantining individuals traveling from China.
Almost immediately after the United States killed Iran’s top military general Qassim Suleimani, the Middle Eastern nation vowed to carry out “crushing revenge” for the slaying.
By Associated Press – Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlines
‘Trump and his administration will know that they lost the region and will lose the elections…’
() The U.S. military presence in the Middle East was thrown into jeopardy Sunday, as Iraq‘s parliament voted to expel U.S. troops from their country while the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group said the U.S. military across the region “will pay the price” for killing a top Iranian general.
Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said that U.S. bases, warships and soldiers in the Middle East were all fair targets after the U.S. drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the architect of many of Iran’s regional military campaigns in recent years.
By Associated Pres – Re-Blogged From Liberty Headlines
Security forces make no effort to stop the protesters…
Trump tweeted Tuesday that “Iran killed an American contractor, wounding many.” Trump says, “We strongly responded, and always will. Now Iran is orchestrating an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Iraq. They will be held fully responsible. In addition, we expect Iraq to use its forces to protect the Embassy, and so notified!
Trump tweeted from his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is in the midst of two-week plus vacation. He’s been largely out of sight and the tweet marked his first comment on the weekend U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria.
By Parisa Hafezi, et al of Reuters – Re-Blogged From IJR
Saudi Arabia said it would produce evidence on Wednesday linking regional rival Tehran to an unprecedented attack on its oil industry that Washington believes originated from Iran in a dangerous escalation of Middle East frictions.
But Tehran again denied involvement in the Sept. 14 attacks on oil plants, including the world’s biggest crude processing facility, that initially knocked out half of Saudi production.
In this interview with Maurice Jackson of Proven and Probable, Jayant Bhandari presents his world view and discusses how it meshes with investment in the precious metals markets.
Maurice Jackson: Joining us for a conversation is Jayant Bhandari, the founder of the world-renowned Capitalism and Morality seminar, and a highly sought-out advisor to institutional investors. Mr. Bhandari, welcome to the show, sir.
Jayant Bhandari: Thank you very much for having me, Maurice.
By Frances Coppota – Re-Blogged From Forbes
Europe has found a way of circumventing U.S. sanctions on Iran. The governments of France, Germany and the United Kingdom have developed a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to enable European businesses to maintain non-dollar trade with Iran without breaking U.S. sanctions. That SPV, known as INSTEX, is now up and running.
The three governments announced the successful implementation of INSTEX at a meeting of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on June 28, 2019. The meeting was chaired on behalf of the EU by the Secretary General of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Helga Schmid, and was attended by representatives of China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Iran.
US leaders are demanding the rest of the world recognize economic sanctions and stop buying Iranian oil. The U.K., Germany, France, Russia, China, and India are among the nations who don’t fully support the sanctions and would rather not pay higher prices for oil elsewhere.
American officials more and more often resort to delivering ultimatums, both to adversaries and allies alike. Nations that do not follow orders stand to lose access to the US financial system and could face trade sanctions of their own. That is a serious threat.
The huge majority of international trading is underpinned by US. banks and the dollar. Other currencies and banking systems cannot offer the same level of liquidity and convenience.
I have had a rough time for the last few weeks coming up with commentary that has anything new to say. It seems that we are bombarded day after day with talk of trade wars, tariffs and counter-tariffs.
Just today, April retail and industrial production numbers came out in China and in the USA. To say the least, the numbers were uninspiring at best.
In the USA retail sales for April contracted 0.2%. Much of the weakness was in auto sales because taking the auto numbers out there was a .1% gain in April. Electronics and building materials also fell. US industrial production, which has been stagnant all year, was not expected to grow in April either. It still surprised on the downside contracting 0.5%. That is the largest monthly drop since May of 2018.
Durable consumer goods dropped 0.8%. What caught my eye, however, was production decreased for business equipment, construction supplies and business supplies. This appears to confirm that 500,000 less people are actually working today than were at the beginning of 2019 even though we have “full employment”. What a joke that is! The only reason production wasn’t hurt worse was an increase in defense and space equipment materials.
Re-Blogged From iPatriot
[This article contains very controversial information. If you are offended easily, continue to another article. -Bob
The ]internet provides everything you’d want to know about courtships, weddings, married life, but few of them include the instructions on wife-beating. There is a brief but enlightening film, produced by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) and posted on Jihad Watch, of a Muslim sociologist who demonstrates the “proper” wife-beating technique. Of course, the sociologist assures his audience that Islam is merciful, and that the man, the head of the household, should not have to beat his wife every day, and to do so lightly, never to hit her face or head, bruise, break bones or cause blood to flow (m10:12, Reliance of the Traveller, A Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law – ROTT). But the cautionary statement rings hollow when the wife’s bruises will never be seen because she must be covered from head to toe. And, should she become inured to the discipline’s sameness, there are other means of control and punishment available to him, all sanctioned by The Religion of Peace.
By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax
The United States is expected to designate Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps a foreign terrorist organization, three U.S. officials told Reuters, marking the first time Washington has formally labeled another country’s military a terrorist group.
The decision, which critics warn could open U.S. military and intelligence officials to similar actions by unfriendly governments abroad, is expected to be announced by the U.S. State Department, perhaps as early as Monday, the officials said. It has been rumored for years.
The Pentagon declined comment and referred queries to the State Department. The State Department and White House also declined to comment.
By Associated Press – Re-Blogged From Newsmax
President Donald Trump said Thursday that it’s time for the United States to recognize Israel’s control over the disputed Golan Heights, an announcement that signals a shift in U.S. policy and comes ahead of the Israeli prime minister’s planned visit next week to the White House.
The administration has been considering recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan, which Israel captured from Syria in 1967. Last week, in its annual human rights report, the State Department dropped the phrase “Israeli-occupied” from the Golan Heights section, instead calling it “Israeli-controlled.”
“After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” Trump tweeted.
By Michael Snyder _Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost
The winds of war are blowing once again, and it isn’t going to take much to spark a major conflict in the Middle East. This week is the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the civil war in Syria, and after the nightmare that the people of Syria have been through, you would think that the Assad regime would be eager for peace. But instead, Assad appears to be ready to go for broke. If Syria can spark a Middle East war that results in the complete destruction of Israel, Assad would be remembered as a hero in the Islamic world forever. Instead of a legacy of civil war and crushing poverty, Assad’s legacy would be one of wartime leader that brought total victory over Syria’s most hated enemy. But of course, such a conflict would be a huge risk because if it went badly the city of Damascus would be completely flattened and the nation of Syria as we know it today would be entirely destroyed. And considering how overwhelmingly powerful the Israeli military is, it would seem to be a very foolish risk to take. Unfortunately, Assad does not appear to be thinking rationally. On Thursday, Syria officially threatened “to attack Israel unless it withdraws from the Golan Heights”. The following comes from the Jerusalem Post…
By Daniel Greenfield – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost
Islamic terrorists are a “tiny minority of extremists”. That’s the message we’ve been hearing ever since 9/11. They’re only a handful of “guys in a cave” or a few “lone wolves” radicalized over the internet.
How tiny is that tiny minority?
According to a study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, there are 230,000 Jihadists.
Brought to You by www.SEPP.org, The Science and Environmental Policy Project
By Ken Haapala, President
Quote of the Week: “I have observed that not the man who hopes when others despair, but the man who despairs when others hope, is admired by a large class of persons as a sage.” ― John Stuart Mill [H/t Matt Ridley]
USGCRP Prophecies: On November 23, the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) released the second volume of its two-part series on human caused global warming. The first volume. the “Climate Science Special Report (CSSR)” supposedly discussed the physical science but was largely confined to projections from poorly tested global climate models and physical events unrelated to increasing carbon dioxide. The current release came in time for the upcoming 24th Conference of Parties (COP-24) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Katowice Poland. According to official announcements, this conference will additionally include “the 14th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP) and the third part of the first session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 1-3)” – international bureaucratic science at its best.
By Thomson Reuters – Re-Blogged From Newsmax
OPEC is struggling to add barrels to the market after agreeing in June to increase output, an internal document seen by Reuters showed, as an increase in Saudi Arabia was offset by declines in Iran, Venezuela and Angola.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies agreed in June to boost supply as U.S. President Donald Trump urged producers to offset losses caused by sanctions on Iran and to dampen rising prices.
By Pat Buchanan – Re-Blogged From Newsmax
Was Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and then his body cut up with a bone saw and flown to Riyadh in Gulfstream jets owned by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?
So contend the Turks, who have video from the consulate, photos of 15 Saudi agents who flew into Istanbul that day, Oct. 2, and the identity numbers of the planes.
By Rick Mills – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle
Donald Trump will go down in history for many things, including a justice department investigation into US-Russian collusion in the 2016 election, a guilty verdict for his former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, and a guilty plea by his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, in relation to hush-money payments to women in violation of campaign finance laws. Then there was the Access Hollywood tape, the ban on Muslims, the implicit condoning of neo-Nazis, the plans to build a border wall to keep out illegal Mexicans, the separation of immigrant children from their parents (though some say that law was drafted under Obama), and Trump’s ban on global abortion funding to please the pro-life portion of his base. Could Trump’s legacy though be something few had ever predicted: The beginning of the end of the dollar?
By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From GoldMoney
Introduction And Summary
It is now possible to pencil in how the next credit crisis is likely to develop. At its centre is an overvalued dollar over-owned by foreigners, puffed up on speculative flows driven by interest rate differentials. These must be urgently corrected by the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan if the distortion is to be prevented from becoming much worse.
The problem is compounded because the next crisis is likely to be triggered by this normalisation. It can be expected to commence in the coming months, even by the year-end. When flows into the dollar subside and reverse, bond yields can be expected to rise sharply in all the major currencies. There will also be a number of other unhelpful factors, particularly rising commodity prices, the timing of the Trump stimulus and trade tariffs pushing up price inflation. Coupled with a declining dollar, price inflation and therefore interest rates are bound to rise significantly.
Re-Blogged From Stratfor
The Big Picture
The distance between Turkey and the United States has been growing as each pursues security and economic imperatives at the expense of the other. In our annual forecast, Stratfor mentioned that U.S. rival Russia would use its “deepening ties to widen Turkey’s rifts with NATO and with the European Union,” just one of many stressors taxing the U.S.-Turkey relationship.
On Aug. 1, the United States sanctioned two Turkish government ministers in response to what Washington views as the “unjust and unfair” detention of Andrew Brunson, an evangelical pastor who has lived and worked in Turkey for two decades. Turkey’s government has promised to retaliate.
How Did Turkey and the United States Get Here?
The sanctions on Turkish government officials because of Brunson’s detention represent the culmination of increasing tension between Ankara and Washington. For months, they have disagreed over issues as wide ranging as Turkey’s demands for the extradition of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, Turkey’s relationship with Russia and its threats to the NATO alliance, Turkey’s history of flouting Iran sanctions, conflicting U.S.-Turkish policies in Syria and more.
What Do These Sanctions Mean for Turkey’s Economy?
The economic sanctions themselves are largely symbolic — they only affect the two ministers’ personal finances — but their imposition is just one of many external factors wreaking havoc on its economy and contributing to the further depreciation of its currency, the lira. And Turkey has a history of exacerbating domestic economic strains with its foreign policy decisions.
The sanctions on Turkish government officials because of Brunson’s detention represent the culmination of increasing tension between Ankara and Washington.
In part because of the country’s flagging economy, there has been an unusual coalescing of its many feuding political parties. Now that Washington has implemented sanctions, all the parties can join together to blame the United States for Turkey’s economic woes.
What Do the Sanctions Mean for American Businesses in Turkey?
Turkey’s legal system, its recently expanded counterterrorism laws and the current hypernationalist political atmosphere give Ankara license to crack down on anything that it deems a security threat. There is a strong possibility of increased harassment of U.S. travelers and businesses, as well as a disruption of business operations for companies with U.S. ties.
What Are the Foreign Policy Implications?
The United States and Turkey maintain the largest and second-largest militaries in NATO, respectively. A serious rift between them would result in disruptions and confusion within the NATO alliance. This would be a boon for Russia, which would welcome a less cohesive NATO. Moscow could use the potential disruptions — especially in the Black Sea — as an opportunity to break down Turkey’s traditional role as NATO’s southeastern flank against Russia. The Kremlin may also decide to shift more of its forces to its western military region to face off against NATO in Eastern Europe.
The United States is also traditionally the largest arms exporter to Turkey, so damaged relations between the two could drive Ankara toward alternative suppliers. And given the two countries’ interconnectedness in a number of defense industry areas, a U.S. cancellation of arms deals with Turkey (seen in the U.S. threat to cancel F-35 fighter shipments to Ankara) could result in significant short-term defense disruptions that would affect the many countries involved in the F-35 program.
A serious rift between the Turkey and the United States would result in disruptions and confusion in the NATO alliance as a whole. This would be a boon for Russia, which would welcome a less cohesive NATO.
Furthermore, a schism could damage U.S. interests in the Middle East. The harm would be particularly evident in northern Syria and northern Iraq, where Turkey could be even more proactive in undermining the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as well as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party and its allies in northern Iraq. This approach would clash with U.S. efforts to emphasize the defeat of violent extremist groups like the Islamic State by maintaining a stable SDF presence in Syria and a stable environment in northern Iraq. The United States could also potentially lose access to its air base in Incirlik, Turkey, though it has enough alternative basing rights in the Mediterranean and the Gulf region to mitigate such a loss.
One final negative implication for U.S. policy in the Middle East could involve Turkey’s refusing to enforce U.S. economic sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. Some of those penalties will be reapplied on Aug. 6 and Nov. 4. Turkey is likely weighing two competing imperatives. It needs to protect its fragile economy, which could not withstand additional external shocks from more U.S. sanctions. But it also could choose to trade with Iran in order to poke a hole in U.S. efforts to limit Iran’s economic activity. For this type of retaliation, Turkey would need to rely more on its fair-weather relationship with the European Union, which is currently in a fairly positive place.
Re-Blogged From Stratfor
- Iran’s strategy to get the European Union and other economic partners to push back against unilateral U.S. sanctions will fail.
- As sanctions hit Iran’s economy, the country will eventually have to resume negotiations with the United States, but it will try to wait until President Donald Trump leaves office.
- In the meantime, Tehran will consider restarting its nuclear program as leverage in talks with the United States to keep other more important issues off the table.
(ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)
By Mike Gleason – Re-Bloggd From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com
Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in Gerald Celente, publisher of the renowned Trends Journal. Mr. Celente is perhaps the most well-known trends forecaster in the world, and it’s always great to have him on with us. Gerald, thanks for taking the time again today, and welcome back.
Gerald Celente: Thanks for having me on.
Mike Gleason: Well, Gerald, the potential for a trade war is the hot topic in the financial press these days. Around here, the question is what escalating concerns over trade might mean for the precious metals markets, and we would like to get your thoughts on that. But first, please give us your take on the President’s trade policy in general. Some people think the U.S. has been a major beneficiary of trade. We’ve been able to import real goods and services in exchange for increasingly worthless dollars. Others hate what so-called globalization has done to U.S. manufacturing and think Trump is delivering a long overdue warning shot to nations who have taken advantage of the U.S. So, where do you stand on all this?
Re-Blogged From Stratfor
Table of Contents
(ALY SONG-POL/JOHANNES EISELE/HULTON ARCHIVE/MLADEN ANTONOV/TIMOTHY A. CLARY/ABID KATIB/KATJA BUCHHOLZ/DAVID MCNEW/ATTA KENARE/FOverview
China Remains in the U.S. Crosshairs. The United States will impose tariffs, sanctions and blocks on investment and research in a bid to frustrate China’s development of strategic technologies. China not only has the tools to manage the economic blow, but will also accelerate efforts to lessen its reliance on foreign-sourced technological components.
Trade Battles Fall Short of a Full-Fledged War. Trade frictions will remain high this quarter as the White House continues on an economic warpath in the name of national security. U.S. tariffs will invite countermeasures from trading partners targeting U.S. agricultural and industrial goods. As Congress attempts to reclaim trade authority, the White House will refrain from escalating these trade battles into an all-out trade war.
By Onan Coca – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost
The Iranian regime shouts, “Death to Israel!” In response, Israel shouts, “Life! To the Iranian people!”
While the world may hate Israel, the people of Israel continue to prove that their nation is a force for good in this chaotic world.
The most recent example that proves this point is Israel’s gracious offer to the Iranian people.
- The United States is restructuring its global military footprint, reallocating its resources and shifting its strategic focus to better compete against China and Russia.
- To achieve this, the United States will be compelled to prioritize its commitments in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.
- However, enduring U.S. commitments elsewhere and emerging global flashpoints will sidetrack Washington’s attention and resources.
(MATEJ DIVIZNA/Getty Images)
Re-Blogged From Stratfor
- As the United States pressures Russia with sanctions, Moscow will use a mix of options to counter the penalties in the short term, including diplomatic negotiations and financial support for threatened businesses.
- In the long term, Russia will continue deploying a strategy to insulate its people and businesses, leading Moscow to increasingly move away from the West and toward the East.
- While Moscow may make tactical concessions to protect its economic interests, U.S. sanctions ultimately will be ineffective in compelling Russia to strategically shift its foreign policy, meaning the Russia-West standoff is here to stay.
- An unusual set of circumstances is enabling Israel to scale up attacks against Iran in Syria and risk a broader confrontation in the process.
- As Israel raises the stakes in its conflict with Iran, it will look to lock in U.S. security commitments in the region for the long haul.
- The White House’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal is a long-shot bet on regime change at odds with U.S. attempts to reduce its military burden in the region.
- Russia’s bark is often worse than its bite, but it will retain the clout to narrow the scope of U.S. and Israeli ambitions against Iran.
By John Rubino – Re-Blogged From Dollar Collapse
Here’s a new indicator for you: It seems that the difference between the price of oil here and abroad is a measure of tightness in the market, with a rising spread indicating higher prices in the future, with all the inflationary pressures that that implies. From today’s Wall Street Journal:
By Clint Siegner – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com
Practically nobody enters the foreign exchange markets looking to buy and hold. Currency trading is generally a short-term game, and there isn’t much regard for analysis of the longer-term fundamentals.
That much is evident given the ongoing rally in the Federal Reserve Note dollar, despite its outlook being downright grim.
By James Puplava – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com
The summer driving season is just around the corner and this year motorists are facing steeper prices for fuel, up from an average of $2.19 a gallon in 2016 to $2.87 today. By this summer, analysts are projecting gas prices to top $3 a gallon on average for the first time in 10 years.
BY John Rubino – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com
For most Americans the geopolitical/financial crises of the 1970s happened so long ago that they’re about as relevant as the Revolutionary War or the Reformation.
But for seasoned citizens who were around back then and paying attention, the similarities to today are becoming both eerie and scary. Consider:
President Donald Trump put Iran back in the penalty box on Tuesday — but the impact on the oil market could be determined by how China responds.
China, a voracious consumer of oil, holds great sway because it’s Iran’s biggest customer. Almost one-third of Iranian oil shipments this year have gone to China, according to energy research firm Genscape.
By Daniel Greenfield – Re-Blogged From Freedom Outpost
It’s really not that complicated.
But President Trump’s Syria strikes have reopened the debate over what defines his foreign policy. Is he an interventionist or an isolationist? Foreign policy experts claim that he’s making it up as he goes along.
By Mike Savage – Re-Blogged From http://www.Gold-Eagle.com
After many starts and stops over the past few years, the Chinese oil exchange launched on March 26, 2018 as I have been reporting for the past few weeks. This is a big deal. It appears to be a direct competitor to the US dollar in, right now, just oil but it could expand to many other materials- particularly in Eastern Europe and Asia where their one belt one road initiative is taking place. (the largest infrastructure plan the world has ever seen being overseen by China)
Basically, oil is now trading in Shanghai for Yuan rather than the US dollar. In addition, anyone who doesn’t want to hold Yuan can trade the Yuan for gold in either Shanghai or Hong Kong.
Re-Blogged From Stratfor
The shift from a premodern farming society to a modern industrialized society, for example, hinged on the increased participation of women in the workforce. Many nations today, such as Japan, face demographic decline or economic stagnation. And in order to maintain growth, these countries are being forced to combat the legal and social barriers that have kept women out of the workforce. Even in regions such as the Middle East and North Africa, where women have explicitly been prevented from participating in public life, governments are hoping to encourage growth by embracing reform efforts that incorporate women into their economies.
(ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
By Alasdair Macleod – Re-Blogged From http://www.Silver-Phoenix500.com
An overt trade war has commenced. President Trump has fired the starting gun, setting in motion an election promise, part of his Make America Great Again undertaking. It is a blow squarely aimed against China, costing China some trade perhaps, but basically a loser’s last roll of the dice.
The back story appears to be far deeper than some relatively minor tariffs on steel and aluminium would suggest. It comes after a prolonged period of shadow-boxing between America in the blue corner and Russia and China in the red. To pursue the boxing analogy, China and Russia have been soaking up America’s punches on the basis America would simply tire herself out. It has been a replay of Muhammed Ali’s dope-on-a-rope strategy in the rumble-in-the-jungle, with America cast as George Foreman.
Re-Blogged From Stratfor
- With labor markets in the Middle East and North Africa swamped due to a baby boom, countries in the region will continue to face the acute challenge of massive youth unemployment.
- Though each state struggles with its own circumstances, most countries will face daunting hurdles as they try to build strong private sectors.
- Even if these states do foster more robust private sectors, they may not be able to mitigate the economic hardship when it hits their citizens, due to the uncontrollable nature of the free market.
(HAIDAR HAMDANI/AFP/Getty Images)
Re-Blogged From Stratfor
- The Syrian civil war is heading in a new direction.
- As various operations in Afrin, Idlib and Damascus play out, the front lines of the Syrian civil war will become more static.
- Despite a decrease in major offensives, the presence of so many foreign powers with intersecting interests heightens the risk of violence.
(NAZEER AL-KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
By Matthew Bey – Re-Blogged From Stratfor
Almost four decades after the toppling of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a revolutionary ideology continues to underpin the Iranian state. As the years have passed, the relevance of its governing philosophy risks being lost on the country’s younger generations, and the internal and external challenges to its government continue to mount. The recent spate of demonstrations that quickly spread across the country highlighted one of the revolutionary state’s largest shortcomings: It is a 40-year-old revolution that has not arrived at a sustainable economic model.
Re-Blogged From Stratfor
- Some of the grievances behind the recent wave of protests in Iran, such as disappointment with the nuclear deal and low oil prices, will remain beyond the government’s power to change.
- Unstable food prices, decreasing purchasing power and high rates of unemployment and underemployment will continue to pose problems for everyday citizens across the country.
- The sensitive reform measures necessary to overhaul subsidy systems, labor laws and business contracts, which are as much political as they are economic, will probably set off more unrest in the future.
By Michael Georgy – Re-Blogged From Reuters
Iranian protesters attacked police stations late into the night on Monday, news agency and social media reports said, as security forces struggled to contain the boldest challenge to the clerical leadership since unrest in 2009.
Videos on social media showed an intense clash in the central town of Qahderijan between security forces and protesters who were trying to occupy a police station, which was partially set ablaze. There were unconfirmed reports of several casualties among demonstrators.
In the western city of Kermanshah, protesters set fire to a traffic police post, but no one was hurt in the incident, Mehr news agency said.
Re-Blogged From Stratfor
Russia’s growing prominence in the Middle East was on full display Dec. 11 when Vladimir Putin visited three key Middle Eastern countries in one day. The Russian president followed a surprise trip to Syria with a quick stop in Egypt before ending his day’s travels in Turkey. He met with his presidential counterparts in all three countries, and the economic deals, military agreements and political settlements he discussed highlighted Russia’s role in the region. While Russia has its own reasons for bolstering its relationships with Syria, Egypt and Turkey, it also benefits from being visible where its regional rival, the United States, is not.
By Ken Haapala, President,The Science and Environmental Policy Project
Brought to You by www.SEPP.org
Quote of the Week.“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” – Mark Twain [H/t WUWT]
Number of the Week: $56.60
Warming and Cooling? S. Fred Singer, our founder and newly elected Chairman Emeritus, is busily working on an interesting question: can carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, cause a cooling as well as a warming? The answer is YES, depending on subsidiary conditions.