Posts Tagged ‘Central’

Central banks prepare for turmoil after Greek vote – Reuters

June 15th, 2012 Comments off

Central banks prepare for turmoil after Greek vote
* Central banks ready to combat Greek market storm * ECB hints at rate cut * Britain to flood system with cash * Greek leftist says bailout deal will be dead by Monday By Eva Kuehnen and Sven Egenter FRANKFURT/LONDON, June 15 (Reuters) – Central banks
Stocks Rise on Signs of Central Bank SupportNew York Times
How shock waves will hit US if Greece drops euroThe Associated Press
David Cameron holds video call with European leaders over financial
Wall Street Journal
all 818 news articles »

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Saudi diplomat found with bullet in chest in Bangladesh

March 6th, 2012 Comments off

Collapse of the Assad Regime: ‘THE Defection that rocked Damascus!’

January 7th, 2012 Comments off

… days numbered after the ‘defection’ of “First Auditing Inspector Of the Central Bureau of Finances & Auditing of the Auditing Central Agency of Finances”

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US Official: "On Syria, the Russians are `tone deaf’, & the Iranian are scared s—less.”"

December 15th, 2011 Comments off
All the talk about the unrestrained Israelis boils down to this maneuver! MEPGS, Excerpts;
With Congress on the verge of passing legislation that will, in effect, produce a secondary boycott against Iran’s Central Bank (“CBI”), it now seems clear that the US is finally prepared to implement the one major non-military action,  “The big sanction’ has always been the CBI,” says one Administration insider.  “The questions that remain are how it is implemented and, of course, whether it will work.”

            As passed by the Senate 100-0, it would prohibit commercial banks after 60 days and central or state run banks after 180 days from doing business with the CBI, unless they are willing to forego all transactions with US banks.  “It’s a simple `us’ or `them’” explains one Congressional source.  This is the case particularly for countries like Japan and South Korea which represent about 25% of Iran’s oil market [Iran exports about 2 million barrels per day) and use the CBI for most transactions.  Also hard hit will be European countries, notably Greece, Spain and Italy account of an equivalent amount of Iranian exports; while China comes in next at about 20%.

            For all these countries, the Congressional action represents potential significant economic hardship.  It will have no direct impact on the US, since direct Iranian oil imports have been banned here for years.  But these other countries, some, like Greece, have only recently begun buying Iranian oil – at a discount — as Teheran has scrambled to find new buyers.  Moreover, all trade with Iran will be effectively halted as nations decide whether it is more important to maintain corresponding accounts with US banks or continuing to do business with Iran.

            Central to the success of this US effort is the ability of the international oil market to make up for the loss of Iranian crude.  Thoughts immediately turn to Saudi Arabia, which has excess capacity.  But all crude is not the same and the kind of crude provided by Iran may not be easily replaced by Saudi Arabia, nor for that matter, as some argue, by the return of Libyan oil to the market and the ramping up of Iraqi crude.  Perhaps even more important is the political calculus for Saudi Arabia.  As one Administration insider put it somewhat rhetorically this week, “Are the Saudis prepared for this kind of confrontation with Iran?”   An answer was provided by one European diplomat,  “The Saudis are in the right place.  The real question is whether the Administration is, as well.  The Saudis will act only if they believe they have the full backing of the US.” Other diplomatic critics insist that only the US can, as one said this week,  “… `put the fear of God’ into the Iranians.”  As this diplomat explains, “As the US invasion of Iraq caused Iran to put its nuclear weaponization program on hold in 2003, now the US must force the leadership in Teheran to fear for its own future.” The reasoning here is that with the sanctioning of the CBI, the US, if it pursues the issue vigorously (a big “if” for many observers), it will represent a big shift in economic and psychological warfare against Iran.  If additional proof of this “game changing” approach is necessary, one need only look at the reaction of the Treasury Department to the legislation.  Long in the forefront of the battle to enforce various economic sanctions against Iran, Treasury Secretary Geithner and his team fought against this legislation.  They warned that US friends and allies, not to mention the fragile international economy could hurt more than Iran by sanctioning the CBI.  For example, some major purchasers such as China, will simply employ banks that do not work with the US to deal with the CBI (Plus it is not in China’s interest to become increasingly dependent on Saudi Arabia, a US ally, for a grater share of its oil supply). Proponents of the legislation retort that whatever the imagined negative consequences of oil disruption resulting from Iranian crude being effectively reduced in the international market, pale in comparison to the effects of military action taken by Israel or perhaps, less likely the US…. … “What is the Administration waiting for?” asks one well-placed diplomat.

            Besides the above mentioned political caution, it could well be that the Administration has its hands full dealing with crises across the Middle East.  Syria continues to slip into civil war, note US officials.  Although the consensus continues that Bashar al- Assad’ s regime is doomed, few argue with one official’s assessment that The old guard will not crack.”  Meanwhile, Assad continues to get backing from Russia and Iran.  Russian diplomatic support is key to blocking any United Nations action and according to informed sources, Iran has stepped up financial aid to the increasingly financially strapped regime. [“The Russians are `tone deaf’, comments one State Department official.  The Iranian are scared s__less.”]  Meanwhile, most observers see Turkey as by far the most important regional actor… Next moves could include Turkish establishment of a “humanitarian corridor” and a “safety zone” within Syria. (Yawn)

            Bahrain is where the US holds the most sway.  But here, too, there are cross currents of opinion within the Administration.  The Pentagon  is reluctant to see the State Department or White House put any pressure on the ruling Khalifa family. … …  Meanwhile, neighbor Qatar has been, in the words of on US official “filling empty space.”  In other words, this tiny sheikhdom of 250,000 citizens has been proactive from Libya to Syria to Sudan and Yemen.  “They are fearless,” says one US official. They are also extremely wealthy but, for many here and in Europe they  also now seem to be backing Islamists across the region.”

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Obama is working behind the scenes to water down congressional language on ‘crippling sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran’

December 7th, 2011 Comments off

WINEP: ‘Israel’s Closing Window to Strike Iran’

November 26th, 2011 Comments off

“… Israelis may therefore interpret the latest signs of hesitation – namely, the U.S. and IAEA failure to fully sanction the Central Bank of Iran – to mean that the clock has virtually run out. If so, this would break the deadlock among the Israeli political and military elite over whether sanctions obviate the need for military action. Sanctioning the Central Bank would have prohibited Iran from engaging in dollar-denominated transactions of any kind. Yet the Obama administration fears that such a move would rattle oil markets and already-fragile economies. U.S. officials have also said in the past that there is more time to stop Iran, whether out of trust in America’s greater military capacity or a belief that sanctions will ultimately force Tehran to back down….”

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STATE’s take: ‘Collapsing the Central Bank of Iran: A double edged sword opposed by the Adminstration!’

November 17th, 2011 Comments off

MEPGS excerpts;

‘While the uprising in Syria continues to gather the most headlines, US policy makers, aware of their limited ability to affect events there are spending more of their time and attention on a problem of potentially even greater consequence – Iran.  Despite recent setbacks at the UN Security Council, where Russia and China prevented a resolution of condemnation and Russia’s resistance to a strongly worded declaration from the International Atomic Energy Agency, US and European diplomats continue to try to find means to curb, if not stop Teheran’s headlong rush towards development of a nuclear weapon.
?Congress, too, is stepping into the picture with the House poised to pass legislation that would effectively force companies to choose to do business with Iran’s Central Bank (“CBI”) or run the risk of being shut out from the US banking system.  According to informed sources, the Administration, at first, was attracted to this approach.  But upon closer examination, began to have second thoughts as it was seen to have a “double edged sword”, placing countries like Japan and South Korea in a difficult position, since their oil purchases are processed by the CBI.  Perhaps, even more important, would be the effect on the world wide oil market. Should Iran’s ability to sell crude be curtailed, the already shaky economies of the US and the EU could receive another jolt by facing a significant spike in oil prices.

?One solution would be to extract a pledge from Saudi Arabia to make up for any lost Iranian oil… the Saudis have the excess capacity to make up for lost Iranian oil, difficult logistics, not to mention innate caution, so far, have restrained any such bold action.  As one well-placed observer put it this week, “It would probably take a phone call from President Obama to King Abdallah to facilitate such a move.”
?Meanwhile, the Saudis are dealing, most say, quite well, with the elevation of Prince Nayef as Crown Prince to succeed the late Prince Sultan.  One State Department official characterized his elevation as, “The least surprising transition possible.”  He, and  other,  veteran US officials, aware that Nayef has something of a reputation as being less than  progressive, even by harsh Saudi standards, still maintain that as the “top cop” in the country, he will be an ardent foe of Iran.  Moreover, his son Mohammed, who is the chief counter-terrorism official in the Kingdom has as good a working relationship with US officials as any key Saudi figure.  “We expect that this apple was picked to reflect the thinking of the tree from which it fell,” is the way one semi-poetic US official (who must get his quotes from Bazooka Joe gum) boosted Nayef’s current and more important, future attitudes towards the US.
?The Saudis have also lined up along side the US in wishing to see the end of the Assad regime in Syria.  Both governments appear to have adopted the attitude that any regime that replaces the current one in Damascus could not be worse.  And the Saudis, along with the Qataris, were instrumental in the surprising Arab League decision to consider suspending Syria.  While the League has walked back that threat a bit in the past 24 hours, most observers believe that the Syrian regime has been dealt yet another body blow from which it will not be able to recover.  The key questions remain how long and how bloody it will be before the regime collapses.  “Slowly and bloodily” is the one regional expert put it this week… …
?What was once the epicenter of the so-called “Arab Spring”, Egypt has, to a large extent, disappeared from the front pages.  But, to those who watch development in this, the most populous Arab country, the trend there is becoming increasingly worrisome.  To begin with, the recent election in Tunisia (where the Arab Spring had its beginnings) resulted in a more than expected amount of support for the (mildly) Islamic Party.  Experts had predicted it would receive about 25% of the vote.  Instead it garnered over 40%.  Now, these same experts are revising upwards the percentage of the vote the two main Islamist parties in Egypt will gain in the upcoming elections.  Not only do they expect the Egyptians Islamists to match their Tunisian counterparts’ 40% but more than a third of that vote could go to extreme Islamist parties allied with the radical Salafi movement.  This would leave a scattering of liberal and European leaning parties with low double digit numbers, according to reliable pollsters.  Western observers heap scorn on these progressive parties, calling them “lazy and ill-organized.”  Moreover, the authorities who are supposed to be organizing the elections have, in their opinion, badly stumbled, not providing enough judges, working to improve the electoral process and even “willy-nilly” saying that Egyptian ex- patriots should be allowed to vote without providing a means for them to do so.
?Other regional actors also give US policymakers reason to pause.  In Bahrain, a commission led by Egyptian-American jurist Sharif Bassiouni, is expected to present a  report on the uprising and the regime’s reaction to it next week.  Even those parties sympathetic to the al-Khalifa’s the Sunni royal family which runs this predominantly Shia mini-state, predict the government there will be ill-equipped to deal with the harsh criticisms expected to emerge.  “This is a dysfunctional government that is still shell-shocked by the uprising,” said one US official recently.  Others expect differing responses from various power centers.  “It’s going to be a mess,” says one regional observer.
?(In Libya)… One area of concern remains the power and extent of the Islamists.  Backed by the ever active Qataris during the war, they could pose a threat but one which the US and its allies are taking seriously enough to weigh in heavily with Qatari authorities about it.?

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Ongoing attacks & ‘chaos in Kabul’

September 13th, 2011 Comments off

Who is running Libya? Not the transitional council for sure

August 26th, 2011 Comments off
The Central Intelligence Agency and other spy services are also putting their muscle behind the effort to safeguard mustard gas and other chemical-weapons agents that the colonel’s regime had stockpiled at sites around the country, the officials said.” (thanks Laleh)

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Ba`th Party meeting

August 17th, 2011 Comments off
The Syrian Ba`th Party has called for an urgent meeting of its Central Committee.  It is expected that the party will call for an amendment to the Article 8 of the Syrian constitution so that the party will be designated as the “leader of the state, society, and…universe.”

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