Turkey Says Syria Attack Plans Complete

By Reuters – Re-Blogged From IJR

Turkey said on Tuesday it had completed preparations for a military operation in northeast Syria after the United States began pulling back troops, opening the way for a Turkish attack on Kurdish-led forces long allied to Washington.

But U.S. President Donald Trump warned he would “obliterate” the NATO ally’s economy if it took action in Syria that he considered “off limits” following his decision on Sunday to pull 50 American special forces troops from the border region.

The U.S. move will leave its Kurdish-led partner forces in Syria vulnerable to an incursion by the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), which brands them terrorists because of their links to Kurdish militants who have waged a long insurgency in Turkey.

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Slowdown Confirmed

By Mike Savage – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

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.

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Is Turkey The Snowflake That Unleashes The European Banking System Avalanche?

By Mark O’Byrne – Re-Blogged From Gold Eagle

Turkey Is Not Contained

By Michael Pento – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

During my last appearance on CNBC, before I was banned several years ago, I warned that the removal of massive and unprecedented monetary stimuli from global central banks would have to be done in a coordinated fashion. Otherwise, there would be the very real risk of currency and debt crises around the world.

However, coordination among central banks is not what is happening. The Fed is miles ahead in its reversal of monetary stimulus, as it has already raised rates seven times; with two more 25bps rate hikes in the pipeline scheduled for later this year. It has also avowed to sell off two trillion dollars’ worth of debt off its balance sheet–while the rest of the world’s central banks are far behind in this monetary tightening course. This has led to a significant increase in the value of the US dollar.

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Trade War To Continue, Global Debt Default And Higher Interest Rates Unavoidable

By Mike Gleason – Re-Blogged From Silver Phoenix

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome back Michael Pento, president and founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies, and author of the book The Coming Bond Market Collapse: How to Survive the Demise of the U.S. Debt Market. Michael is a well-known money manager and a fantastic market commentator, and it’s always great to have him here on the Money Metals podcast.

Well, Michael, you have recently written about why current problems in Turkey are definitely worth paying attention to. There are some similarities with the Asian crisis of the late 1990s which had ripple effects around the globe. The entire developing world is drowning in dollar denominated debt. If there are defaults, lenders in the first world, including major banks in Europe and the United States will have a real problem. Now, there have been a number of brief panics in recent years over the potential for default in places like Greece, Italy, Argentina. Officials seemed to have been able to kick the can and avoid a full-blown crisis, but one of these days people are going to be surprised and find out the reckoning for all the borrowing and debt has finally arrived. Turkey’s economy dwarfs that of Greece, so what do you make of the current events there, Michael? How serious are things really?

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Turkey’s Detention of Pastor Andrew Brunson Prompts U.S. Sanctions. What’s At Stake?

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.

 

See 2018 Annual Forecast

See Middle East and North Africa section of the 2018 Annual Forecast

What Happened?

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.

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