WH Admits Need To ‘Adapt Our Strategy’ Against IS, Contradicts Previous Admin Statements

Publicerat i Irak, Iran, Islamister / Jihadister, Islamska Staten, Syrien, USA | Lämna en kommentar

Assad retirerar för ISIS

Assad pulls air force out of Deir ez-Zour, the third Syrian air base surrendered to ISIS, DEBKAfile, May 27, 2015

ISIS__fighting__between_Homs_and_Palmyra_27.5.15ISIS in combat between Homs and Palmyra

Just a week after losing the big Palmyra air base to the Islamic State – and with it large stocks of ammo and military equipment – Syrian military and air units Wednesday, May 27, began pulling out of the big air base at Deir ez-Zour. This was Bashar Assad’s last military stronghold in eastern Syria and the last air facility for enabling fighter-bombers to strike ISIS forces in northeastern Syria and the western Iraqi province of Anbar.

His surrender of the Deir ez-Zour base is evidence that the Syrian president has run out of fighting strength for defending both his front lines and his air bases. He is also too tied down to be able to transfer reinforcements from front to front. He is therefore pulling in the remnants of his army from across the country for the defense of the capital, Damascus.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Islamic State now has in its sights the Syrian army’s biggest air facility, T4 Airbase, which is located on the fast highway linking Homs with Damascus 140 km away.

It is home base for the bulk of the air force’s fighters and bombers. In its hangars are an estimated 32 MiG-25 fighters, as well as smaller numbers of MiG-25PDS interceptors, designed for combat with the Israeli air force, MiG-25RBT bombers-cum-surveillance planes; MiG-25PU trainers, which are routinely used to strike rebel forces in crowded built-up areas, and advanced MiG-29SM fighter jets.

Stationed there too are 20 advanced Su-24M2 bombers, the strategic backbone of the Syrian air force.

T4 Airbase also holds the largest Syrian stocks of guided bombs, air-to-air and air-to-ground missiles.

In the last few hours, air crews have been frantically removing these warplanes from T4 and distributing them among smaller bases in central Syria, at the cost of their operational effectiveness.

In the space of a week, therefore, Bashar Assad has lost three of his major air bases, including Palmyra, where Iranian and Russian air freights had been landing regularly with fresh supplies of ordnance and spare parts for his army.

Our military experts say that this bonanza frees ISIS to cut off the eastern, northern and central regions from the capital, and deprive the Syrian and Hizballah units battling for control of the Qalamoun Mts of air support against rebel and Islamist forces.

If they manage to take T4 as well, the Islamists will be able to prevent US jets from taking off for strikes against them in Syria, or bombing the their forces which have seized long stretches of the fast highway from Homs to Damascus.

Publicerat i Iran, Islamister / Jihadister, Islamska Staten, Syrien | Lämna en kommentar

Enligt Al Jazeera stöder 81% av araberna ISIS

Al Jazeera Poll: 81% of Arabs Support ISIS, Truth RevoltBradford Thomas, May 26, 2015

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An online survey conducted by the Al Jazeera Arabic television channel has found that a huge majority—over 80 percent—of respondents support the Islamic State’s military campaigns. 

Breitbart News provides a summary of the findings of AlJazeera’s “shock poll“:

In a recent survey conducted by AlJazeera.net, the website for the Al Jazeera Arabic television channel, respondents overwhelmingly support the Islamic State terrorist group, with 81% voting “YES” on whether they approved of ISIS’s conquests in the region.

The poll, which asked in Arabic, “Do you support the organizing victories of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)?” has generated over 38,000 responses thus far, with only 19% of respondents voting “NO” to supporting ISIS.

Last week the Islamic State achieved one of its more significant victories in recent months, seizing control of the city of Ramadi from the ineffectual Iraqi forces. The fall of the strategically important city has heightened pressure on the Obama administration over what is being increasingly perceived as its failing strategy to combat the radical militant group. Meanwhile, the popularity of ISIS—not just in the region, but among sympathetic radical circles worldwide—appears to be only expanding, in part due to the group’s aggressive social media campaign.

Publicerat i Hot mot DEMOKRATI, Islamister / Jihadister, Islamska Staten, Saudiarabien, Sunni islam | Lämna en kommentar

6 orsaker till varför oljepriset kommer att förbli lågt för en lång tid framåt

The Top 6 Reasons Oil Prices are Heading Lower By STEVE AUSTIN for OIL-PRICE.NET, 2015/05/07

Investors and speculators can make money in any market no matter which way prices move. In a rising market, you buy and then sell later at a higher price to make profit; in a falling market, you commit to sell and then buy later at a lower price (shorting). The key element on deciding on an investment strategy in crude oil is to work out where prices are heading.

Despite the fact that falling prices can be an incentive to speculate, brokers and traders that live and breathe the oil market tend to prefer rising prices. Everyone loves to back a winner and rising numbers make those in the market feel like they have improved their status. Thus, no matter how clearly factors show prices are going lower, you will still read enthusiastic explanations that oil prices will rise soon.

 

Some buyers and their agents may have been caught out by long-term futures contracts that commit them to high prices despite the falling spot price. Thus, they will talk up the market to try to square their books and find a pool of gullible outsiders upon whom they can dump their over-priced stock. However, readers at oil-price.net should know by now that the simple rules of supply and demand mean that the crude oil price will continue to hang around or below the $60 mark for some time to come. Here are the top 6 reasons that savvy speculators should continue to short crude oil.

1. Iran Returns

Despite heavy fines by the US authorities against anyone trading in any way with Iran, that country has still managed to continue oil production over the past few years. Sanctions against Iran have existed in various forms since the eighties when religious fundamentalists overthrew the West-friendly Shah of Iran and committed a series of terrorist attacks against Western nationals. However, sanctions ramped up to the point of shutting Iran out of the oil markets in January 2012, when the US insisted that Iran cancel its program of tests of nuclear weapons.

At the beginning of April 2015 Iran signed an agreement to end its nuclear program and let in international inspectors to prove its commitment. Confirmation of Iran’s compliance will remove the biting sanctions of 2012 and bring Iranian oil to international markets. Despite being stymied by US and EU sanctions, Iran is still able to produce 2.7 million barrels per day, of which 1 million is exported. The un-exported 1.7 million barrels meet domestic demand, but a large proportion is sent to storage.

The world currently has excess crude oil production of roughly 2 million barrels per day, so a cash-strapped, and slightly embittered Iran could have immediate impact on crude oil prices by putting its estimate 35 million barrels of stored oil on the market the day sanctions are lifted.

The impact of Iran’s return to the market greatly depends on how quickly they can ramp up production. Bijan Namdar Zangeneh, Iran’s oil minister, claims that the country could easily increase production by 1 million bpd within months of the lifting of sanctions. That worrying figure would increase the world’s excess production by 50 per cent, which some analysts claim would push crude oil prices down to $20 per barrel. However, other analysts are skeptical.

Iran’s production levels were at 4 million barrels per day in 2011 before the latest round of sanctions hit. Iran’s isolation and denial of technology and investment capital means its oil industry has become badly under-invested. Their ability to get back up to former production levels could also be blocked by OPEC, of which Iran is a member. Nevertheless, Iran’s return will prevent the world’s excess supply from being reduced and so prices will fall.

2. Fracking is Not Going Away

Many believe that the 2014 fall in oil prices was specifically engineered by Saudi Arabia to knock out US oil production through fracking. Industry analysts estimated that heavy start up costs and financing requirements placed the break-even point of a fracking rig at around a $70 per barrel price of crude oil. Many saw the slump in the price of crude down to $60 and then to the $50 mark as a significant factor.

Sure enough, the rig count in the USA plummeted from 1,608 in October 2014 to 747 in April 2015. Seemingly, the lower oil price had squeezed out US oil production in the higher-cost fracking sector. However, the advancement of technology and the agility of fracking producers resulted in higher output from fewer rigs. In October 2014, the USA produced just under 9 million barrels per day. In April 2015, that output had increased to just under 9.5 million barrels per day.

Chinese oil production through fracking has risen to the same extent as USA production, with companies in both countries adopting and improving the same technology. In a world with an excess production of 2 million barrels per day, America’s increased production means that oil prices are not about to rise. China’s increases compound that situation.

3. OPEC is Idle

Previous oil price falls have been keenly countered by OPEC, the cartel of oil producing nations, centered mainly on Middle Eastern producers. Whenever oil prices fall, OPEC cuts quotas to its members, limiting their production and causing the price to rise through reduced output.

Saudi Arabia is by far the biggest producer in the OPEC club and the opinion of its oil minister, pretty much rules the actions of OPEC. If OPEC members decide to cut their production, but Saudi Arabia refuses to play ball, the resolution to cut would have no impact on oil prices, and thus be a worthless exercise.

Fracking started to provide the USA with a means of achieving energy independence. The country has already become a net exporter of gas, and similar performance in oil production would remove the USA’s dependence on the Middle East for its oil supplies. Saudi Arabia’s dominance of American oil supply enables them to entice the USA to deploy its military in the Persian Gulf at the direction of Saudi foreign policy. The Saudis want to return to the days of US dependence on Arabian oil and so refuse to cut their production in the face of falling prices.

Despite the apparent failure of the Saudi production tactic, OPEC shows no signs of changing its policy. The Saudis seem to be determined to continue forcing the price of crude down to squeeze out US production, but as fracking gets cheaper, output will continue to expand and the price of crude oil will continue to fall.

4. Russia Produces More

Political analyst point out that oil prices fell dramatically around the time that Russia invaded the Ukraine and the EU dithered over imposing the sanctions that the USA demanded. Although Europe did eventually go along with the policy of punishing Russia through trade restrictions, their reluctance to really hit hard has undermined US strategy.

Eyeing the success of an embargo on oil sales in bringing Iran to the negotiating table, the US administration, the theory goes, decided to depress the price of oil in order to bankrupt Russia and force it to cancel plans to take over the Ukraine. The Russian economy is overwhelmingly dependent on oil and gas exports, because it has little successful industry and is unable to match the West in the development of technology.

Saudi Arabia also has a cause to complain about Vladimir Putin’s behavior. The Saudis loathe Bashar Assad, the President of Syria and want to see him overthrown. American and European governments seemed willing to play along with this policy until the Russians threw their support behind Assad and European determination folded. Without any significant allies to share the burden, the USA cancelled their planned invasion of Syria. The infuriated Saudis decided to take matters into their own hands and collapsed the price of oil with the intention of punishing Russia, not US frackers.

Vladimir Putin and his administration have complained loudly and frequently that the oil price fall was deliberately aimed at attacking the Russian economy. However, the steadfast determination of unrealistic quotas haunts the Russian mentality as an overhang of the Communist era. Putin needs money to continue his glorious and domestically popular policy of reassembling the Russian Empire. The Russians refuse to bend to market forces and so have made up the shortfall in their budget caused by falling oil prices by pumping out more oil. The Russian need for income means they are unlikely to make a tactical cut in oil output. Increased production adds to the downward pressure on crude oil prices.

5. ISIL’s Days are Numbered

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are said to be causing havoc with oil production in the Middle East. ISIL, originally called ”the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria,” first came to the world’s attention when they threatened takeover of northern Iraq and Syria in the autumn of 2014 – just after the USA declared they would not intervene in Syria to overthrow its president.

Oil analysts talk up the oil price by warnings over ISIL’s actions. However, the revolutionaries only managed to grab a small portion of Iraq’s oil wells and actually increased production of their new assets in order to fund their cause. The ISIL bogeyman delayed the fall in oil prices by about a month and the havoc they have wrought across the Middle East has since failed to block that overproduction of 2 million bpd.

ISIL’s greatest success in wrecking an oil producing country came in Libya, where they apply different tactics to the oil industry. Rather than profiting from Libya’s oil wells, ISIL has been destroying them, thus knocking out a major oil producing nation. Simultaneous increases in production in the USA, China and Russia, however, mean that the loss of Libyan output has had no impact on the glut of crude oil in the world. The panic pricing in the oil markets that the group’s initial appearance caused has withered away.

Europe’s willingness to turn a blind eye to ISIL’s activities in Libya came to an abrupt end in mid-April. Deciding to knock out oil production, rather than profit from it, ISIL turned to Libya’s other money maker – people smuggling. The short distance between the Libyan coastline and the Italian island of Lampedusa makes the former slave trading ports of Libya ideal routes for illegal immigrants to sneak into the EU. Unfortunately, the greed and carelessness of the smugglers has resulted in overloaded ships sinking in the middle of the Mediterranean.

The death toll through drowning of ISIL’s passengers has reached headline-grabbing levels and Europe’s major military powers have resolved to put an end to the organization’s activities. Although the smuggling gangs are the proposed targets of European airstrikes, the difficulty of identifying those activists means that Europe will have to restore a legitimate government to Libya in order to stop human trafficking.

It is significant that the proposed European strategy is to join Egyptian military efforts. The Egyptians have been routinely bombing ISIL in Libya since February. ISIL is easier to attack than other terrorist groups. With a standing army, rather than a terrorist cell structure, such as that of Al Qaeda, ISIL is more visible, and so can be engaged by a traditional military response. Its system of local governors and administrators require offices and infrastructure that are fixed and easy to bomb. The imminent defeat of ISIL in Libya means the oil industry there will be able to rebuild, the world’s oil production excess will increase and crude oil prices will fall further.

6. No Demand

The excess supply in the oil market could easily be mopped up by increased demand. However, there is no great leap in growth expected in the world for the next couple of years. Energy efficiency and investment in renewable energy, such as solar, has permanently reduced demand for oil in most of the developed world.

Both the Federal Reserve and the People’s Bank of China have announced they are ending their loose monetary policies. This free money pumped around the world inflated the prices of property, stocks, bonds and commodities. Part of the reason the oil price rose through 2013 and early 2014 was simply that the excessive amount of dollars in circulation had to be invested in something. Now that money has to be paid back, the asset price inflation of the past two years will be reversed.

The BRIC economies have failed to continue their stratospheric growth into 2015. In fact, some developing nations, like Brazil, are now in recession, with tumbling currencies cutting their populations’ spending power. World trade is falling and demand for oil will fall with it. With few prospects of increased demand for oil, the chance of its price rising is zero.

Conclusion

The major oil producers have done nothing to cut production since October 2014, and they are unlikely to consider cutting output any time soon. The USA, Russia and Saudi Arabia each have different reasons to continue high output, but all three are just stockpiling oil because they cannot find enough immediate buyers. Add on the inevitable return of Iran and Libya and the prospects of the 2 million bpd excess production in the world reducing can be seen to be impossible.

Monetary tightening will reduce world growth and remove asset price inflation. Lower growth, coupled with lower need for oil through efficiency and environmentalism, means demand for oil is not going to exceed supply for a long time to come. The oil price is not going to rise any time soon.

Publicerat i EU Europa, Iran, Islamister / Jihadister, Ryssland, Saudiarabien, USA, Världsekonomin | Lämna en kommentar

Håller ”palestinakramarna” vid Amnesty International på att bli opartiska?

​Gaza: Hamas har genomfört summariska avrättningar och torterat fångar

Publicerad: 27 maj 2015 01:00

Under den israeliska militära offensiven mot Gaza i juli och augusti 2014, begick Hamas mycket grova övergrepp mot palestinier som anklagades för att ha ”samarbetat” med Israel. Många utsattes för tortyr och minst 23 personer blev summariskt avrättade.

– Det är skrämmande att Hamas, mitt under angreppen från Israel som orsakade massförstörelse och många palestiniers död, lät sina egna säkerhetsstyrkor genomföra fruktansvärda övergrepp på fängslade palestinier. Syftet var att hämnas och sprida skräck i Gaza, säger Philip Luther, chef för Amnesty Internationals Mellanösternavdelning.

Många av de summariska avrättningarna har officiellt kopplats till operationen ”Strangling necks” som riktades mot påstådda kollaboratörer under konflikten. I verkligheten hade dock minst 16 av de 27 avrättade fängslats innan konflikten bröt ut i juli 2014. För åtta fångar pågick fortfarande rättegångarna och sex hade överklagat sina dödsdomar. Två fångar hade dömts till tidsbestämda fängelsestraff men avrättades trots det. I samtliga fall var rättegångarna mycket bristfälliga och många av fångarna hade uppgett att de tvingats ”bekänna” under tortyr.

Hamas styrkor kidnappade och torterade också medlemmar och anhängare av Fatah, Hamas främsta politiska motståndare i Gaza. Även tidigare medlemmar av den palestinska myndighetens säkerhetsstyrkor har kidnappats och torterats.

Inte en enda person har ställts till svars för de brott som begåtts av Hamas styrkor mot palestinierna under konflikten 2014.

En av dem som avrättades var Atta Najjar, en tidigare polis med psykisk funktionsnedsättning. År 2009 dömdes han till 15 års fängelse för ”samarbete” med Israel. Den 22 augusti 2014, togs han ut ur sin cell och avrättades.

– Han hade märken efter tortyr och 30 kulhål på kroppen, ben och armar var brutna … han kropp såg ut som om den hade stoppats i en säck och krossats… han hade djupa skärsår på halsen och bakhuvudet var ett stor hål, hjärnan var borta….det var svårt för oss att bära honom eftersom benen var krossade, berättade hans bror som hämtade kroppen på al-Shifasjukhusets bårhus den 22 augusti 2014.

En av de mest chockerande händelserna i Amnestys rapport inträffade den 22 augusti då sex personer avrättades offentligt av Hamas utanför al-Omarimoskén med hundratals människor, bland dem flera barn, som åskådare. Hamas meddelade att männen var misstänkta kollaboratörer och att de dömts till döden av en revolutionsdomstol. Med täckta huvuden släpades männen till en mur där de tvingades på knä vända mot folksamlingen. Var och en sköts med ett skott i huvudet och sedan avlossades en skur av kulor mot deras kroppar med en AK-47:a

– Hamas ledare kräver rättvisa och mänskliga rättigheter för palestinierna i Gaza och på andra platser. Men deras eget agerande stämmer illa överens med respekt för rättigheter och rättsstatens principer, säger Philip Luther

Förutom de utomrättsliga avrättningarna, har Hamas även torterat personer som kidnappats. Vissa förhördes och utsattes för tortyr och annan misshandel i en nedlagd klinik i anslutning till Al-Shifasjukhuset. Minst tre personer som gripits och anklagats för samröre med Israel dog i häkte .

– Hamas styrkor har visat brist på respekt för de mest grundläggande rättigheterna enligt den internationella humanitära rätten. Tortyr och grym behandling av fångar under en väpnad konflikt är en krigsförbrytelse, detsamma gäller utomrättsliga avrättningar. De facto-administrationen i Gaza måste skicka ut en tydlig signal till personal inom rättssystemet att fångar ska behandlas humant under alla omständigheter. Alla anklagelser om utomrättsliga avrättningar och tortyr måste utredas opartiskt och oberoende och förövarna ställas inför rätta i en rättvis rättegång, säger Philip Luther.

Amnesty uppmanar de palestinska myndigheterna och Hamas de facto-administration att samarbeta med oberoende internationella undersökningsorgan, inklusive den undersökningskommission som tillsattes av FN:s råd för mänskliga rättigheter i juli 2014. Det är viktigt att även de fall som tas upp i Amnestys rapport blir opartiskt utredda.

Amnesty har vägrats tillträde till Gaza av såväl israeliska som egyptiska myndigheter trots upprepade förfrågningar. Rapporten är baserad på ett mycket omfattande material, dels uppgifter från en fältarbetare som arbetar på uppdrag av Amnesty inne i Gaza, men också intervjuer med tidigare fångar, fångars anhöriga, vittnen till övergrepp, människorättsaktivister, journalister, medicinska rapporter och dödsattester.

Bakgrund

Den israeliska operationen ”Protective Edge” pågick mellan den 8 juli och 26 augusti 2014.

Sammanlagt dödades 1 500 civila palestinier, varav 500 barn. Massförstörelsen av bostäder och offentliga byggnader, bland annat skolor och sjukhus var enorm och situationen för de boende i Gaza försvåras av den israeliska blockaden som pågått sedan 2007.

Amnesty har publicerat flera uttalanden och rapporter om israeliska krigsförbrytelser.

Amnesty har även rapporterat om Hamas och andra väpnade palestinska grupper gjorde sig skyldiga till krigsförbrytelser. Tusentals raketer avfyrades mot bostadsområden i Israel. Sex civila israeler dödades och även minst tio palestinier varav nio barn då raketer av misstag detonerade i flyktinglägret al-Shati.

Läs rapporten (PDF).

Publicerat i Gasa - Hamas, Hot mot DEMOKRATI, Islamister / Jihadister, Israel, Palestina - PLO/Fatah | Lämna en kommentar

FBI Warns Military Personnel Of ISIS Threat Within The U.S.

Publicerat i Hot mot DEMOKRATI, Islamister / Jihadister, Islamska Staten, USA | Lämna en kommentar

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