Weekly Briefing – December 21-27, 2014

By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Sunday, December 28th, 2014 @ 1:30AM

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Left: Israel – completely clear – on Christmas morning from the International Space Station. Astronaut Barry Wilmore woke up early on Christmas to reflect upon the beauty of the Earth and snap some images to share with the world. Photo credit: NASA/Barry Wilmore 123C0777

 — The Oil Market Crossroad Chris Cook – “The number one crude oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, has projected a $39 billion deficit in 2015. The impact of lower oil prices, along with the decision not to cut production, is putting pressure on the country’s finances.” It is virtually impossible to tell someone that a belief essential to his world view is untrue: it’s invariably necessary to show him. So it is that oil producing nations such as Iran, Russia and Venezuela all believe that the global market price of oil is based upon physical supply and demand. That conventional view may been briefly shaken when the price collapsed from $147/barrel in July 2008 to $35/barrel in December 2008 while the physical demand for oil varied by no more than 3%. But the subsequent reflation of the price saw producers’ faith in the oil market Gods restored. Since I predicted the current oil market collapse three years ago, I have not found it easy to explain in simple terms the way in which the oil market has been financialised and has therefore enabled Saudi Arabia and the US between them to ‘peg’ the price at a level comfortable for both. In 2007/8 a colossal pyramid of US bank debt backed by real property collapsed when the burden of debt became too great for the US population to support…. The visible wounds of the US economy – the damaged private banks – have now healed through being recapitalized, but invisible internal bleeding continues into unsustainable and repayable property debt. This requires a continuing transfusion of new dollars which have until recently been provided by the US Federal Reserve Bank (‘Fed’) in exchange for financial assets such as government bonds. This Fed economic policy of a program of dollar creation and asset swaps is known as ‘Quantitative Easing’ or QE. These dollars had to end up somewhere, and apart from conventional investments, new types of funds were created which enabled investors who feared inflation to invest in gold and commodities.…more

Israel shoots itself in both knees Norman Bailey – Generally positive regional developments for Israel are overshadowed by the appalling gas cartel decision…The Egyptian president has announced that Egypt will be willing to station troops in the Palestinian territories to ensure compliance with any agreement reached on their political status, especially with reference to demilitarization. Along with the draconian measures taken by Egypt on the Gaza frontier and the abortive offer of land in the Sinai to be united with Gaza to form a homeland for the Palestinians, an offer rejected by Abbas, of course, it shows that Egypt continues to take measures and offer solutions entirely to the benefit of Israel. The Saudi energy minister, speaking on behalf of King Abdullah, stated that the kingdom would be willing to sell oil to Israel, a startling reversal of decades of Saudi policy. In some ways even more interesting is that he referred to Israel as “the Jewish state”, not “the Zionist Entity” or any other epithet so dear to Palestinian and other Arab propagandists.Finally, it would appear that another attempt is underway to replace Mahmoud Abbas with Mohammed Dahlan, an effort undertaken by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE (where Dahlan resides), and Jordan…However… The head of the Antitrust Regulatory Authority…changed his mind and was reversing his decision of last March, in a formal agreement signed with Delek and Noble Energy, and had now decided that the partners must divest themselves of either the Tamar field or the Leviathan field decided that the partners must divest themselves of either the Tamar field or the Leviathan field…This is not Israel shooting itself in the foot, it is Israel shooting itself in both knees. This incredibly stupid, illegal and immoral decision will undoubtedly be reversed by the courts and/or international arbitral tribunals, but by the time that happens much of the damage will have been done and recovery will be difficult or perhaps impossible...more…

Funding the Castros’ TyrannySol W. Sanders – The amateur ideologues of the Obama Administration have fallen into another snakepit with their tacit endorsement of the notorious Cuban dictatorship…At the Vatican, whose help Obama also acknowledged, there are echoes of the Church’s tacit support of Franco and other cruel dictatorships, as well as Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s ambiguous relationship with Argentine totalitarians as Jesuit Father Provincial in his native country before mounting the papacy. (Nor is this gesture likely to help stave off the growing influence of Evangelical Christians on the old Roman Catholic monopoly of Christian believers throughout Latin America.) Despite all the talk of the regime moderating , Raúl Castro holds more than 57,000 political prisoners. And his dungeons have sucked in more new victims in the past year than the five previous years. Conditions are as bad as in the worst days of the Soviet Union and the East Eruopean Communist Bloc, producing hunger strikes in a noble if feeble effort against solitary confinement, beatings, restricted family visits, and denial of medical care.…more

The Muslim Brotherhood’s International Union for Muslim ScholarsJ. Millard Burr and Rachel Ehrenfeld –  After a half-century of activity in Europe, the most intriguing recent event involving the Muslim Brotherhood occurred in 2003, when Qaradawi, the Egyptian exile and Ikhwan “spiritual guide” and Chairman of the Sunna and Sira Council, in the new home he found in Qatar, proposed the founding of the World Council of Muslim Clerics. Qaradawi was already head of the European Council for Fatwa and Research, a Dublin-based private foundation founded in London in March 1997 on the initiative of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe. The Federation is the heart of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Europe. Beginning in the new millennium, Sheikh Qaradawi had indicated that he had new developments in store for the European Continent.…more

Evaluation of the U.S. Campaign against ISIS Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center – “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy” (Statement by the President on ISIS. White House, press release, September 10, 2014)…. By setting the final goal as the destruction of ISIS, he has created high expectations for his and the next administration. Their ability to meet the expectations is of great importance. That is because the campaign extends beyond the narrow perspective of the war on terrorism, and its outcome will affect the America’s status the Middle East and around the globe for years to come. Thus not only is President Obama’s foreign policy being tested, but the image of American regional and international power also faces a significant challenge… In ITIC assessment it will be very difficult for America to achieve all the goals it set for itself, for the following reasons: A. The political assumptions and goals, both declared and undeclared, which are at the root of the campaign against ISIS seem to be unrealistic: 1) The intention to establish a central democratic regime in Iraq, which will impose its control over the whole country, failed even during the years the US maintained a large military force in Iraq. The current goal is even more unrealistic, after the US has withdrawn its troops from Iraq and the country is divided into its religious-sectarian components.[1] 2) As for Syria, it is impossible to rely on the so-called moderate rebel organizations to eradicate ISIS. That is because those organizations are fragmented, their military capabilities are limited and they lack effective leadership. Even if American aid strengthens the Western-oriented rebel groups to the point where they may be able to stand up to their enemies more successfully, it is still unlikely that they will be able to overcome the Assad regime and ISIS and other jihadi organizations.…more

ISIS Ongoing Propaganda CampaignRachel Ehrenfeld – Social media continues to serve ISIS propaganda campaign and efforts to recruit in the West, especially among America’s black, using Ferguson’s and New York demonstrations  against the police. “Hey blacks, ISIS will save you,” #IslamicState, #Ferguson and #Coming, said recent tweet. Another carried the message, “Indeed, Malcolm X knew that the only cure for racism is Islam. Obama is proof that democracy won’t help blacks in USA. #Ferguson #ISISHERO— Abu Ottoman (@RadioRome) August 19, 2014. Some are more instructive, “For how long will you let these govts oppress u. Draw ur knives and show them a response!! #FergusonDecision #IS,” twitted ISIS member, Abu Dujana, who also tweeted a photograph of a large knife held by somebody wearing a Nike glove. Videos posted online also instructed, “If you can kill a disbelieving American or European, especially the spiteful and filthy French, or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever, then rely upon Allah and kill him in any manner or way however it may be.” Last week, “An 18-year-old British citizen, apparently from London, known as Umm Khattab, the widow of an ISIS operative who fought in Syria, posted a photo on Twitter of a young boy armed with a toy gun standing in front of an ISIS flag with the inscription “the next generation”. ISIS and its supporters around the world publish photos of children carrying weapons against the background of ISIS flags, to emphasize their determination to fight and their patience.” While Western authorities are worried about returning ISIS foreign fighters from Iraq and Syria, they should pay more attention to the  growing number of supporter they recruit in the West  through their savvy use of social media. Recent expressions of support and sympathy to ISIS in the West were reported on Spotlight on Global Jihad (Dec.17-23, 2014), the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center…more

News & Analysis

Thawing U.S. ties: Cuba today, Iran tomorrow? Majid Rafizadeh

Iran FM: Deal Possible as Soon as West Accepts to Remove Sanctions against IranFars News

Iranian Regime Escalates Threats To Annihilate IsraelMEMRI

Tehran Film Festival Opening with Kurdish Folk Dance RUDAW

Cuba’s Ambassador: The Mosque President Erdogan requested “will be built” World Bulletin

Western leftists stand up for their comrades in IslamJennifer Oriel

Taliban publicize training camp in northern Afghanistan Bill Roggio, Caled Weiss

Party Crashers: Kremlin SWAT Teams Attack Opposition MeetingsVladimir Kara-Murza

Almost a Third of Russians Would Like Their Children or Grandchildren to Grow Up to Be Chekists – Paul Goble 

Sword vs. Pen. In the Age of Terror, the status of journalists is evolving. Review of The New Censorship: Inside the Global Battle for Media Freedom by Joel SimonGabriel Schoenfeld

 

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