30.3.16

Chinese troops in Pakistan, finally

.
.
.
.
This was a rumor and discussion between the two countries for a long time. It has the support of the Pakistan military.

China is Pakistan's best ally in all senses.

China provides military and strategic aid to Pakistan. 

China does not dictate to Pakistan or make demands.

The Chinese embassy in Islamabad is not a vipers nest of intrigue against Pakistan.

The Chinese do not promote military coups in Pakistan, against democratically elected governments.

The Chinese do not promote corrupt gangsters people in Pakistan.

The Chinese do not establish subversive NGO's in Pakistan which destabilize the state.

The Chinese do not send drones into Pakistan.

The Chinese do not commit terrorism in Pakistan.

The Chinese do not assassinate Pakistani leaders.

The Chinese respect and talk respectfully to their Asian brothers and others around the world. 

The Chinese want to lock Pakistan into its economic success and the SCO, which Pakistan will join this year.

INITIALLY Chinese troops were to be stationed in Gwadar, a strategic port where the Persian Gulf meets the Arabian sea so went the gossip, then the discussion moved to stationing a Chinese Brigade in FATA to fight the Chinese Uighurs and Uzbeks and al-Qaeda. Then there was a rumour that Chinese troops would be stationed in Gilgit-Baltistan to protect Chinese construction workers building dams, power stations and roads.

With the construction of the economic corridor between China and Pakistan worth some $50 billion, now there is some REAL possibility of Chinese troops in Pakistan. This is interesting for a country that has hosted in the past USA, Israeli, Arab and UK troops.

But China must be cautious and not overly naive about Pakistan. There are two Pakistan's which has baffled many experts. One is the hapless failed state of Pakistan, which is filled with very poor people....and the other is the Pakistan military. The Pakistan military has 1.1 million personnel, including paramilitaries and is the most powerful institution in the country.......not the elected PM, or the President.....or the Supreme Court.

Sadly this most powerful of institutions is the product of British colonialism, and the top officers are trained in the UK/USA. It was not disbanded and started afresh in 1947. What bastardised it even more is when the departing colonial power decided to create the infamous ISI within the Pakistan colonial armed forces in 1948. It was headed by a British officer from 1948-59. Thus the Pakistan military's world is seen through the prism of Washington.....which means terrorism, destabilization of Pakistan and neighbors 

INCLUDING supporting Chinese Uighur terrorists in China.  

This includes supporting the Afghan Taliban

This includes supporting ISIS in Pakistan/Afghanistan/China.

What may appear as common sense or what is Pakistan's best interests....for ordinary informed Pakistanis it is inverted in the twilight world of the Pakistan general staff. On the one hand they could be smiling and shaking hands with the Chinese for their shiny new weapons.....on the other they could be doing the dirty, for their gora sahib masters.

Presumably the Chinese troops stationed in Pakistan protecting the economic corridor will be fighting some of the elements mentioned above. 

But China is a big forgiving power which will treat Pakistan as yet another North Korea...a bothersome satellite that is strategically important.

This is a good development.

Can we hope for Chinese troops in Iraq, in the future? Second largest oil deposits, with the USA doing the dirty on them as per usual.......weak unpopular pro-American government in Bagdad.

Whilst the Iraqi governments forces fight ISIS, the USA supplies ISIS covertly.

Why does the JEWSA do this, risking exposer?

1. The USA does not trust MIT (Turkish Intelligence)......the main supplier of ISIS via Turkey

2. When the USA supplies from Iraqi bases the supply line is much shorter, quick and direct where there is a matter of urgency.

3. The more sophisticated weapons are supplied directly by the USA to ISIS, ensuring that the ISIS arms bazaar does not sell to the wrong people.......Russians, Syrians...

4. Whilst the ISIS operation in Syria is dominated by Turkey, the ISIS operation in Iraq is dominated by Israelis with over a 1000 active members of the IDF within its ranks.....and thus since the JEWSA is the best butt buddy of the Israelis the Americans give priority of supply through themselves to ISIS in Iraq....

........whilst they continue to marshal thousands of American troops who will pretend to fight ISIS in Iraq.

Iraq is resource rich, and near the silk road which can be linked to China through road and rail eventually....the Chinese government should embrace and seek out Sinophiles in Iraq.

___________________________________________

Chinese troops likely to be positioned in Pakistan: agency

By Khaama Press
 
Chinese troops will be positioned in Pakistan to protect the 3,000-km-long China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that connects the Gwadar Port in Balochistan to China’s Xinjiang region, NDTV reports.
. 
Besides, Pakistan has raised three independent infantry Brigades and two additional artillery regiments to protect the highway, security agencies have told New Delhi. A Brigade consists of least three regiments, each with about a 1,000 soldiers.
.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor or CPEC starts from the restive Pakistani province of Balochistan, runs along the Makaran Coast turning north to connect Lahore and Islamabad, passes through Gilgit-Baltistan in Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and then runs into the Karakoram Highway, ending at Kashgar in the Xinjiang region of China.
.

Although China’s People’s Liberation Army or PLA will be positioned to protect the highway, its presence in Pakistan is a cause of concern for India. New Delhi has earlier objected to the presence to Chinese troops in the Gilgit-Baltistan area and a substantial portion of the additional forces being raised in Pakistan and the Chinese PLA are likely to be deployed in that area of PoK.
.

“We are closely watching these developments,” a top government official told NDTV, adding, “We have a fair idea of the number of Chinese troops that are likely to be positioned in Pakistan.”
.
There are indications that Pakistan is seriously attempting to annex this region into a fifth province of Pakistan, government sources said.
.

Pakistan’s moves to annex Gilgit-Baltistan have led to massive protest in the region and brutal crackdowns on the local population.
.

The first phase of the CPEC is likely to be functional by December 2016 and it is expected to be completely ready in three years, giving China direct access to the Indian Ocean and beyond.
.

The corridor is likely to be used, among other things, to transport fuel and petroleum products from the Gulf region into China. Its will shorten the route for China’s energy imports from the Middle East by about 12,000 km.
.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed to build the highway and committed a whopping US dollars 50 billion for the project, during his visit to Pakistan last April.

How to encourage the 5-7 million Iranian expat community with $2 trillion personal assets to return to their country

.
.
.
.
The primary problem is the mullah puppet regime brought into power by the USA/UK.

Under this mullah regime an unprecedented number of Persians mostly middle class have left the country for foreign shores. Not since the Arab invasion of Persia in 638 AD have so many Persians left the country. 

What a huge tragedy created by the bastards in the USA/UK.


These 5-7 million Iranian expats are important for 2 reasons:

(i) These Iranians are middle class, and a modern state is really about the middle class...their size and wealth. A rich modern country has a huge middle class, with the middle class essentially running the country..........a poor country has a very small middle class, with a few very rich people at the top which is what the Jews in London/NY desire for their respective countries.........and for their satellites. It is easier for the elite to manage illiterate people than middle class people.

(ii) These expat Iranians of 5-7 million have assets worth $2 trillion from the sweat of their brow and the honest application of their skills. This sum is bigger than the current PPP GDP of Iran which is about $1.4 trillion.

The donkey mullah puppets of Iran OBVIOUSLY don't want these expat Iranians back, otherwise they wouldn't have let them go in the first place. They constitute a legitimate challenge to the utterly absurdistan mullah rule in Iran.

The mullahs in Persia inshallah will one day pass from the page of history, and the Iranian people will finally in the future learn to grapple with the snake like schemes against Persia from the USA/UK........and their dogs.

_________________________________________________

Iranian expats hard to woo as Western firms seek foothold in Iran

26.3.16

The Russian Central Bank

.
.
.
.
.
The Rothschilds of London run all Central Banks of all nations, save for Persia and North Korea.

They do this not through international financial regulation only, but through the APPOINTMENT of people who work in national central banks and who obey the financial laws of the Rothschilds of London.

This is not revolutionary strategic economics being spelt out for the first time, but things that have been uttered before by the Nazis in Germany, the Communists in the Soviet Union and many others of yet moderate political persuasion.

The pound sterling is strong this month and the Ringgit is weak for a whole year is utter voodoo fraud economics that bares no relationship to reality............it is in reality the backroom manipulation of financial markets through the Rothschild control of local central banks that allow such a situation to arise.

AND ......yes we have the paradox of the Soviet Union GDP growing each year by 20% in real terms from 1928--1941, with a far poorer backward country, with fewer resources and far greater sanctions that are exercised by the Neo-liberals against Russia from Washington, presently.

Of course you might well say that Comrade Stalin was a little bit more 'resolute' 'determined' 'illiberal' compared to bourgeois Putin, BUT the key difference is the position of the Central Bank under the two men. Under Stalin the Soviet Central bank was firmly under Stalin's control......in Russia with an inherited political system designed in Washington, the Russian Central bank is quasi-independent. Its very independence means that International Capital (Rothschilds/NY) leans on the Russian Central bank to obey its back room commands.

That is why Russia's economy is not doing too well....due to the Neo-liberal infested Russian Central bank, and nothing to do with the Washington Neo-liberal sanctions. As President Roosevelt, Stalin and Hitler proved so effectively, when demand slumps in one sector of the economy (In Russia's case Europe and North American trade presently) it is the governments duty to increase demand in another sector of the economy both domestic and international. .......by:

1. Cutting interest rates

2. Increasing spending (Infrastructure, healthcare, education and industry.....are non-inflationary)

The great deals with China as gimmicks go are symbolically important, to show the Neo-liberals that Russia has alternative choices, BUT the deals are spread out over many years and on an annual basis amount to very little.

The current NEO-LIBERAL philosophy is that there should be a few rich people.....and a vast mass of people under them slaving away for next to nothing, 7 days a week. AND if a high percentage of  these rich people are Jewish in the West, that is also good....as they are beautiful deserving people. Absolutely beautiful....truly beautiful and pure. AND if in India there are billionaires who think like them, talk like them, walk like them, drive cars like them.....then AS LONG AS ITS ONLY A FEW.......that is also good.

______________________________________________

How Russia's Economy Is Being Strangled by Its Central Bankers

Despite rapid fall in inflation the Central Bank is keeping interest rates at an unreasonably high 11%
By Russia Insider

A whole new set of economic data now makes it possible to form a clear view of the state of the Russian economy as the first quarter approaches its close.
.
Industrial output is flat.
.
The story of this recession is of a steep fall in industrial output in the second quarter of 2015.
This steep fall caused world headlines with the usual commentators taking it as proof of an impending collapse.
In reality the fall in industrial output hit bottom in June 2015. Output has been steady since.
There has been some excitement because of an increase in industrial output of 1% in February over the level of output in February 2015.
Part of that rise was statistical: the result of the extra day in February caused by the fact 2016 is a leap year.
However it is unlikely that this explains all of the output rise in February. 
Industrial output in February 2015 was higher than in subsequent months in 2015, with output in the second half of 2015 continuing roughly at the level it fell to in June 2015.
The fact industrial output in February 2016 was slightly greater than in February 2015 therefore points to at least some recovery from the output levels the economy hit in June 2015, at which the economy has been stuck ever since, even if the rise is being exaggerated to some extent by the effect of the extra day.
.
With output flat the statistics will soon anyway show a decline in the rate of output fall if only because of the base effect.
Since the main fall in industrial output happened in the second quarter of 2015, even if output remains flat the statistics for the second quarter of 2016 should show either zero growth or at worst only a small further contraction in output as compared with the level of output achieved in the second quarter of 2015.
.
The Economics Ministry is more optimistic. It is predicting that output in the second quarter of 2016 will be higher than in the second quarter of 2015 and judging from the results in February it is probably right.
.
If so then that will confirm that a certain recovery in output is indeed underway.
Whilst industrial output remains flat, agricultural output is continuing to surge as the farm sector reaps the benefits of the devaluation and the counter-sanctions.
I notice that the famous US economist Paul Krugman has recently taken to questioning some of the claims made about the supposed evils of protectionism  If he wants an example of how protectionist measures can work he need look no further than the positive effect the counter-sanctions are having for Russia’s agriculture sector.
.
Employment has been steady  The unemployment rate is still 5.8% - the same as in the second half of last year. Predictions of mass lay-offs have never come true at any point in this recession. They were again widespread at the start of this year following the second oil shock. They have again failed to come true.
.
The annualised rate of inflation continues to fall and is now 7.7% - half its rate of a year ago.
This too is however in some respects a misleading figure. Weekly inflation has been rock steady for several months at 0.1%, which would translate to a real inflation rate of around 6% over the year as a whole.
.
It is widely predicted that because of the base effect the annualised rate of inflation will rise above 8% in June. Assuming the weekly rate of inflation remains 0.1% that would again however be a purely statistical effect with the rate of actual price rises in the shops remaining stable.  The Economics Ministry is now predicting that inflation over the year as a whole will be below 8%.
.
That the underlying or true annual rate of inflation is actually 6% or thereabouts is implied by a claim made by the Central Bank in its latest quarterly Statement.  
The Central Bank says the annualised rate of inflation in March 2017 - ie. a year from now when all statistical distortions have been eliminated from the figures - will be 6%, setting the scene for a further decline to 4% by the end of 2017.
.
That could be seen as an admission that the true annual rate of inflation is indeed 6% or thereabouts.
.
In comments published on 18th March 2016 Central Bank Chairman Nabiullina appears to have gone further, admitting that the annualised rate of inflation could actually fall below 6% by the end of 2016. Her precise words were as follows:
“Annual price growth rates may accelerate in the middle of the year, but only on the back of the low base effect of last year. This is a statistical effect. 
In the second half of the year, as our forecast suggests, annual inflation is set to resume its decline, provided there are no new shocks emerging. 
Some pressure on 2016 prices is envisaged from increased excise duties, those on fuel in the first place. Yet its input is expected to be minor: circa 0.5 percentage point into annual inflation inclusive of all types of effect. 
Our baseline scenario suggests that annual inflation will total under 6%, decreasing to the 4% target in late 2017.”
(underlining added)
If the annualised rate of inflation in Russia has indeed fallen to below 6% by the end of the year, then inflation in Russia will have fallen further and faster than anyone predicted. It will have been the steepest fall in inflation in any major economy since the US experienced the Volcker Shock in the early 1980s.
.
Regardless, predictions that the rouble’s second devaluation caused by the second oil shock would cause a sharp rise in inflation (with the Central Bank talking of inflation rising to an annualised rate of 16%) have - as Jon Hellevig has explained - simply failed to come true.
.
According to the Central Bank the economy was due to repay $26 billion in foreign debt this quarter with the month in which the heaviest payments for the year would fall - $12.5 billion - being this March.
.
There is nothing to suggest any difficulties in making these payments despite the widely reported problems at VEB. The rouble continues to track closely movements in oil prices which suggests that foreign debt payments are not causing strain despite the second oil price fall.
.
There remains real uncertainty about what proportion of foreign debt is real debt as opposed to merely book debt nominally created through intra-company transactions by Russian companies.
.
The Economics Ministry is now forecasting that net capital outflow in 2016 will be no more than $30 billion. If so then given that what is called capital outflow is now principally debt payment that suggests the true amount of foreign debt payment in 2016 is significantly less than the $76 billion claimed by the Central Bank or even the $60 billion estimated by Constantin Gurdgiev.
.
Either way total foreign debt has probably already fallen below $500 billion - or should do so by the end of March - and appears to be on track to fall to $440 billion or thereabouts by the end of the year.
.
Foreign currency reserves held by the Central Bank have been steady at $360-380 billion.
There is no information of recent purchases or sales of gold or foreign currency by the Central Bank, and there have been no foreign currency interventions by the Central Bank to support the rouble even during its steepest period of decline at the start of the year. 
.
Changes in the dollar value of the reserves held by the Central Bank that get announced from time to time are therefore due entirely to movements in exchange rates and in the price of gold, not to any actual increases or reductions in the total amount of gold and foreign currency held in reserve by the Central Bank.
.
Bank balance sheets continue to improve and in fact there are reports of the banks being awash with money the problems of VEB notwithstanding. Though it is VEB’s problems that have been attracting attention the rise in Sberbank’s share price - it recently touched its peak 2007 level - has gone practically unnoticed.
.
This improvement in liquidity points to a general improvement in economic conditions. Contrary to claims made in a recent article by Bloomberg it is not the result of extra spending from the Reserve Fund. On the contrary budget spending - which is what the Reserve Fund is used for - is being cut. Nor is the extra liquidity a substitute for an interest rate cut as Bloomberg claims (see below).
.
So far the only visible effect of the second oil shock on the economy is that it has caused a fall in the country’s trade surplus as the dollar price of the energy products that are the country’s main export halved in the first weeks of 2016 by comparison with their 2015 peak levels achieved in the early summer of 2015.  
This fall in the dollar value of the country’s exports has however been at least in part made up by a further decline in imports, ensuring that the trade balance remains in surplus.
.
As Jon Hellevig has pointed out it is this fall in imports that explains why the second oil shock has not caused the higher inflation that the Central Bank predicted.
.
On the subject of how the devaluation of the rouble is helping the Kremlin’s import substitution policy I must refer to the single most extraordinary fact that came out of Jon Hellevig’s recent article on the Crimean economy’s boom.
.
This is that Russia saved a staggering $25 billion because Russians chose to go to Crimea and elsewhere in Russia for their holidays rather than go abroad.  
Jon Hellevig has told me in private correspondence that he found this figure so surprising that he felt obliged to check and double check it.  However it turned out to be true.
.
This is not an unequivocally good thing. It is a shame that because of the fall in the rouble’s purchasing power many Russians have had to forego foreign holidays they doubtless would have enjoyed and which some of them no doubt planned long in advance and looked forward to. However what may not be good for individuals can be good for the economy and this is a case in point.
.
Taking all these facts together it is impossible to avoid the feeling that the thing that is now holding the economy back is the continuing high interest rates.
It is the high interest rates that are stifling investment and demand, both of which need to increase for the economy to grow. At the moment both are still well below their levels this time last year, though there are tentative signs of recovery.
.
At its recent meeting on 18th March 2016 the Central Bank decided to hold interest rates at 11% where they have been since August.
The Central Bank has also released pessimistic forecasts for the economy, predicting a further contraction this year and low or zero growth next year, with the economy only fully returning to growth in 2018.
This can only mean that the Central Bank intends to keep interest rates high both this year and next.
.
Why is it doing so?
 .
The Central Bank’s recent Statement justifying its decision to hold rates at 11% shows it running out of reasons.
.
The Central Bank has consistently claimed that its reason for keeping rates high is the risk of higher inflation caused by the devaluation of the rouble caused by the oil price fall.
Following the second oil shock, when the rouble again devalued at the start of the year, the Central Bank predicted inflation would take off and used this as its justification for keeping interest rates high. Indeed it even warned interest rates might need to go higher.
.
As the Central Bank rather grudgingly admits - but as Jon Hellevig predicted - what has in fact happened is the precise opposite: the further devaluation of the rouble at the start of the year far from causing inflation to rise has had no discernible effect on inflation at all so that the annualised rate of inflation, instead of rising as the Central Bank expected, is instead continuing to fall:
“………inflation slowdown is continuing. Under the Bank of Russia estimates, the annual consumer price growth rate is down from 9.8% in January 2016 to 7.9 % as of 14 March 2016. 
This is lower than the forecast for inflation for the year ahead, which, the Bank of Russia released in its March 2015 press release (circa 9%).

In 2Q 2016, as the Bank of Russia forecast suggests, quarterly inflation will continue to decline.
However, annual inflation may accelerate temporarily in the middle of the year as a result of the low base effect.
Provided there are no new shocks emerging, subsequently annual inflation is set to resume its decline.”
However, despite now admitting that inflation is going in the opposite direction to the one it expected, the Central Bank continues to justify its high interest rate policy with claims of future inflation risks caused by possible further falls in oil prices:
In making its key rate decision, the Bank of Russia Board of Directors took as a premise the expectations for oil prices which are lower than its December forecast.
The current oil market still features a continued oversupply, on the backdrop of a slowdown in the Chinese economy, more supplies originating from Iran and tighter competition for market share.
Despite growing oil prices and ruble strengthening in the latest period, the accumulated weakening of the ruble, impacted by the drop in oil prices, between late 2015 and early 2016, is still putting pro-inflationary pressure on the economy, contributing to continued high inflation expectations
The risks remain that inflation may exceed the target in late 2017. These relate to a further worsening in the oil market developments; persistent elevated inflation expectations; the global food price performance; changed rates of indexation of regulated prices, wages and pensions, as well as the uncertainty around a balanced federal budget over the medium term. 
To enable the accomplishment of inflation targets, the Bank of Russia may conduct its moderately tight monetary policy for a more prolonged time than previously planned.”
It is not difficult to see the contradictions in all this.
.
The Central Bank continues to worry about “high inflationary expectations” even as it admits that inflation is actually falling. It frets about the possible effect on inflation of a further fall in oil prices even though it admits the rise in inflation it predicted because of the second oil shock has failed to materialise. Why suppose that a third oil shock - if it happens later this year - will cause higher inflation when the second oil shock failed to do so?
.
At some level one senses genuine bafflement on the part of the Central Bank that inflation is not behaving in the way the Central Bank expected it to do.
Amongst Russia’s three big economic policy making institutions - the Economics Ministry, the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank - the Central Bank has been consistently the most pessimistic - and the most wrong - in its economic forecasts (the most optimistic and the most right has been the Economics Ministry).
.
That suggests the Central Bank is working with an outdated model of the economy that makes mechanical predictions about inflation based on levels of the rouble and the oil price, which would explain why it is getting the inflation rate wrong.
Even allowing for this the Central Bank’s refusal to believe the good news is odd.
Explanations I have heard for the Central Bank’s insistence on keeping interest rates high despite inflation falling faster than it expected is that it is not really worried about inflation at all but is keeping interest rates high in order to support the rouble and to encourage higher saving.
.
These are worthy aims. However the major difficulty in attributing to them the present interest rate policy is that they are not the aims the Central Bank is giving to justify it.
.
Central Bank officials have occasionally spoken about the need to encourage higher saving in the economy. However they do not cite this as their reason for keeping interest rates presently so high. 
.
As for supporting the rouble, they tend to deny that this is a factor in their decisions at all.
Instead they focus exclusively on inflation, as the Central Bank did in its recent Statement, and as Central Bank Chairman Nabiullina did in her recently published comments explaining the decision.
.
I would add in passing that there is in fact little evidence that the current high interest rates are providing much support to the rouble, whose rate continues to track even the tiniest movements in the oil price.
.
As for the saving rate, it is indeed a worthy aim to seek to increase it. However my opinion is that the reason it has been less high than it might otherwise have been is Russia’s historically high inflation rate which has deterred saving, in which case it will rise as inflation comes down.
.
My view remains that the true reason the Central Bank remains reluctant to reduce interest rates is the one given a short time ago by Central Bank Deputy Chairman Yudaeva - that the Central Bank is worried that the financial community - ie. market traders and analysts - does not believe it is serious about achieving its 4% inflation target. Central Bank Chairman Nabiullina is now reported to have said the same thing.
.
As to that I will say what I said before: it is understandable that the Central Bank after the humiliation it suffered when it briefly lost control of the rouble in December 2014 should want to regain the credibility it fears it lost with the financial community. With both output and employment steady it may also feel under no real pressure to do otherwise.
.
The problem is that the people who work in the financial community have almost to a man and woman an institutional bias in favour of the bleakest possible view of the Russian economy. Trying to appease them is hopeless and should not be a reason for deferring an interest rate cut if that is what economic conditions point to.
.
That economic conditions do now point to the need for an interest rate cut is a view that is now starting to take hold. 
.
It is an open secret that the Economics Ministry wanted an interest rate cut in March and was disappointed when it didn’t get one.
Now Sberbank - Russia’s biggest bank and its largest financial institution - has broken ranks and is apparently now also calling for a cut.
.
As for the improvement in liquidity discussed previously, Bloomberg is simply wrong to treat it as a reason to put off an interest rate cut.  On the contrary it is a market signal that an interest rate cut is not only possible but is becoming overdue.
.
In saying all this there is one point I do however want to make.
.
No one so far as I know is suggesting a loose monetary policy. Certainly I am not.
Nor do I think that Russia should relax its fiscal discipline or try to reflate its economy through a spending binge or a credit boom or a bubble.
At this point in its economic history Russia simply doesn’t have the economic room for manoeuvre that more mature economies like those of the US and Western Europe have, and Russia cannot afford to take the kind of risks that those economies routinely take.
.
What that means in practice is that Russia has to maintain rigorous discipline in managing both its monetary policy and its budget.
.
As it happens I believe that excessively loose monetary and fiscal policies in the West - culminating in structural budget deficits, quantitative easing, negative interest rates and talk of “helicopter drops”  - are misguided and are the cause of many of the problems the Western economies suffer from now.
Whether or not I am right about that, I am absolutely sure that if anything like that were attempted in Russia - with its far weaker financial system and its much lower levels of trust in its institutions and currency - the effects would be quickly disastrous.
.
However interest rates of 11% - twice the likely underlying annual rate of inflation of 6% - is monetary overkill by any standard, especially when the trend for inflation is clearly downward.
In my opinion interest rates can and should be brought down from these excessively high levels so as to restore growth to the economy. Moreover provided this is done in a careful and prudent way I believe it can be done without compromising the anti-inflation strategy or taking unacceptable risks with the exchange rate.
That also appears to be the view of the Economics Ministry and of Sberbank.
It is what at its latest meeting on 18th March 2016 the Central Bank however missed its chance to do.


 

8.3.16

Go for it

.
.
.
.

After 28 years, Bangladesh revives case to drop Islam as state religion

antiwar.com via reuters



Legal action to drop Islam as Bangladesh's state religion has been revived after 28 years, and the High Court has agreed to hear the case later this month.
.
Bangladesh's 1971 constitution originally declared all religions were equal in the eyes of the state. However, military ruler Hussain Mohammad Ershad amended it in 1988 to make Islam the state religion.
.
Ershad's action led a group of 12 citizens to file a writ with the High Court to overturn the amendment. But Shahriar Kabir, who convened the group, said the members soon decided not to go ahead with the case.
.
"After filing the case, we realised that the bench would not be favourable for us, so we did not move further," Shahriar told Reuters on Monday.
.
Then the current government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, again amended the constitution. The new amendment reinstated the principle of secularism but also reaffirmed Islam as the state religion.
.
The court action brought by Shahriar's group essentially seeks to resolve that contradiction. The High Court will hear the case on March 27.
.
"It will take long time to get any decision,” said Rana Dasgupta, a government prosecutor. "The nature of the case is time-consuming. The High Court will continue to hear from both parties and then will deliver its verdict."

6.3.16

Its not all Turkey's fault

.
.
.
.
Funding training and arming ISIS isn't going to prevent a Kurdish state arising out of Syria, BUT supporting a SECULAR STRONG central government in Damascus will prevent such an entity evolving and expanding in Syria right on Turkeys borders. 

Under ISIS as in Iraq or Taliban Afghanistan only a fragmented state will emerge if ISIS comes to power, and thus the chance to create an independent Kurdish state that is aligned to the Iraqi entity as well.

Thus USA/Israeli policy in Syria should not be slavishly followed. An independent policy should follow that supports the democratically elected central government, regardless of whether they are Shia or not. It is the will of the majority of the people.

_________________________________________________
Turkey is Screwed. And it’s all US Fault 

By Arras February and "Information Clearing House" - "The Saker" 

- Amid rising tensions between Turkey and Russia over the situation in Syria, one important fact got lost. It’s not Russia that caused the current Turkish problems. It was the USA. 

The most fundamental problem modern Turkey is facing is the Kurdish question. It’s a chronic problem, which threatens the integrity of Turkey and the Turkish elite perceives it as the largest security treat the country is facing. 

Turkish policies in Syria are determined by the Kurdish issue more than anything else. The change from the so called policy of zero problems with neighbors, which Erdogan and his government used to promote, came as a surprise to many and is directly related to the Kurdish issue and the events in Iraq after the disastrous US invasion. 

Here, a little historical excursion is needed. When the modern Turkish state was created on the ashes of the Ottoman empire following defeat in WWI, it was seeking a new identity on which it could successfully establish itself. The new young Turkish elite chose the model of nationalism, at that time a progressive concept so popular in contemporary Europe. Turkey, just like some of its European counterparts, was however faced with the imperial heritage of diverse ethnic groups living on its newly established territory. There were large and ancient communities of Greeks, Armenians, Kurds and many other people living in Anatolia and the European part of Turkey. Ethnic Turks themselves were relative newcomers to these parts of the world, having arrived only in the 11th century. Greeks and other ethnic groups, on the other hand, can trace their presence in what is now Turkey well into the Bronze Age and beyond (3300-1200 BC). 

The Turks managed to solve the Greek question after the Graeco-Turkish war of 1919-1922 and the large exchange of population which followed it. Most Greeks left Turkey and Turkey received an influx of ethnic Turks from Greece in return. The Armenian question got solved already during WWI in what many call the Armenian genocide. Term which Turkey fiercely opposes. It was a forceful deportation of Armenians into the Syrian desert. It is estimated that about 1.5 million of them died. Turkey acknowledges the fact of the deportation, but claims that loss of life was an unintended consequence rather than a deliberate act. 

One ethnic question which Turkey however did not manage to solve is the Kurdish question. The Kurds are an ancient community of Iranian people who accepted Islam. They were skilled soldiers and played an important role in Islamic armies, including the Seljuk and the Ottoman. Indeed, the most famous historical Kurdish figure is Saladin (name under which he is known in the West), a Muslim general who reconquered Jerusalem during the Crusades and a sultan of Egypt and Syria. 

The Turks tried to solve the Kurdish issue by straightforward assimilation. They announced that from now on, Kurds are simply „Eastern Turks“ and banned the Kurdish language. The Kurds resisted and the Turks answered with repression, forced relocation, discrimination and heavy handed military crackdown. Kurds in Turkey are since then in de facto constant rebellion and a, sometimes less sometimes more intense, war with the Turkish government, which claimed thousands of lives on both sides. 

Despite having an advantage in numbers and equipment, Turkey seems to be slowly losing this war. It is estimated that Kurds make up to about 20% of the Turkish population and Kurdish families have about double the birthrate of Turkish ones. In a few decades, this will eventually lead to a situation when there will be more Kurdish than Turkish men of military age in Turkey. To make matters worse for Turkey, Kurds do not live only in Turkey. Thanks to the post colonial legacy and arbitrariness of borders, which France and Britain drew in the sands, plains and hills of the Middle East, similarly sized Kurdish communities live in the neighboring countries of Syria, Iraq and Iran. Together they inhabit one large, almost continuous area called Kurdistan. Fortunately for the Turks, the Kurds in these countries until recently faced similar persecution as in Turkey. All these countries perceive their Kurds as a threat to their territorial integrity. The most well know episode of this repression came when Saddam Hussein used poison gas on Kurds in Northern Iraq. That was by no means an exclusive example, but one which at the time suited Western interests in the Middle East and thus received widespread publicity in Western media. After decades of silent complicity.

Which brings us back to the cause of the recent change in Turkish policies and the rising tension on Turkish-Syrian border. When the USA decided to invade Iraq in 2003, Turkey correctly concluded that the operation is pure hazard with an unpredictable outcome. In a hope of minimizing the negative impact on Turkey itself, they decided to keep strict neutrality and to not intervene, and went so far as to refuse to allow their US and British NATO allies to use Turkish territory and bases for an attack. The US attack on Iraq and the occupation led to an all out civil war inside the country and eventually broke Iraq into de facto Shia, Sunni and Kurdish parts. All of a sudden Turkey was faced not just with Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey, but, for the first time. also with (de facto) an independent Kurdish state right on its borders which could provide a safe haven (regroup and supply) area for Kurds from inside Turkey. That was a disaster. The Turks tried to deal with the situation with limited military incursions into Iraqi Kurdistan, attempts to buy Kurdish leaders and reliance on the ability of their US partners to keep the Kurds in check and prevent damage. Something the Americans turned out not to be very capable at. Perhaps even not willing. 

The lesson Erdogan and the Turkish leadership sees to have learned from the events in Iraq was likely that abstaining from conflicts in the region will not shield Turkey from negative consequences and, if Turkey can not prevent these conflicts, it’s better that Turkey participates in them and thus is at last able to protect its interests by influencing the outcome. When the USA and their NATO allies decided to change regimes in Northern Africa and engaged in yet another imperial adventure in Libya, following initial reluctance, Turkey agreed to join. And when the USA then decided to start a war in Syria, Turkey jumped on the wagon, probably on the promise of a quick victory and the instalment of a new government of the Muslim Brotherhood, friendly to Turkey and its ruling party. Ankara might have even expected such a government to be a Turkish client. That certainly was the expectation of Riyadh, another unfortunate victim of US Middle Eastern policies. As is the rule with similar US foreign policies, they seldom work as advertised. When Assad proved to be resilient, Ankara and Riyadh were expecting Washington to do what it did in Libya and intervene under the pretext of a no fly zone and an alleged protection of civilians, a pretext well tested already in Yugoslavia. 

No man however steps into the same river twice, wisdom already ancient Greeks understood. After the disaster in Libya, opposition to intervention, led prominently by Russia and China, proved to be stronger, and support inside the USA and their British and French allies weaker than might have been anticipated. A no fly zone did not materialize. Of note is, that Turks and Saudis were its most outspoken proponents and they insist on establishing a no fly zone in Syria (euphemism for a US led intervention) till today. 

Meanwhile, Obama’s administration walked away, quietly thankful to the Russians for the face saving pretext in form of the chemical weapons deal. Regime change in Syria thus had to be accomplished solely through proxies in the form of a colorful collection of various more or less disgusting Sunny Islamic groups, both local and foreign. 

Turkey and Saudi Arabia engaged in an enthusiastic support of these groups; openly supporting those under the moderate name, and less openly others, while publicly pretending to fight them as radicals and terrorists. In reality. the only group Turkey ever really fought in Syria were Kurds. Which is ironically probably the only significant opposition group in Syria which really deserves name moderate. Despite the catastrophic heterogeneity of these opposition groups, which are willing to fight each other as much as they are willing to fight Syrian government, it seemed that the government will be eventually worn down in a war of attrition. 

But then came the unexpected Russian intervention and, against all assurances from Washington about the Russians having another Afghanistan, it managed to turn the tables and forced the rebels to what is increasingly looking like an all-out retreat. This is a disaster of epic proportions for Turkey. Instead of a friendly regime of the Muslim Brotherhood type in Damascus, which Ankara would be able to control, they are faced with the creation of a second Kurdish independent state on their borders. That’s what has sent the Turkish leadership into panic mode and that’s why the Turks are seemingly irrationally rising tensions on the border with Syria. 

In my opinion, the downing of the Russian plane, the shelling of Kurds and the concentration of military forces on the border, accompanied with aggressive rhetoric, are not so much meant to threaten Russia or Assad, they are first of all desperate attempts to force Washington to lead an invasion in Syria at last. Which is probably something Washington itself made Ankara and Riyadh expect in the first place. Now Washington is being seen dragging their feet and backing out. Neither Turkey, nor Saudi Arabia are likely to invade alone. 

To conclude, the US policies of destabilizing countries and whole regions to suit their geopolitical and economic interests in the last decade or two proved to be often as damaging to US allies as they are to US opponents. If not more. Another case in point of course is the European migration crisis. What effect is that going to have on relations between the USA and their allies on one side, and US opponents on the other, remains to be seen. But it is reasonable to expect that dissatisfaction with US leadership will be on the rise.

The Kuwait trap for Erdogan

.
.
.
.
Of course the USA is not going to attack Turkey, or for that matter any NATO member.....but will let the Russians smash the lone Turkish army. When it is smashed Erdogan abe will fall from power, along with his mafia linked family.

1. USA    2. China    3. Russia   4. India                                    5.Turkey

Strength of their conventional military machines.

The Turkish military is good, and Turks are natural fighters who hale from Central Asia. But in this push button age of warefare natural fighting ability matters less, than the size of ones economy...steel production....domestic production of good quality military equipment. Turkey does not need to test all this against Russia, over Syria......and most Turks understand this.



I never thought that Syria was that important for Erdogan to the extent he would risk his political career, and the exposure of mafia activities of his children.

The more Erdogan Deonme abe shows his crazy passion and love for the ISIS head choppers, liver eaters, rapists, murderers, plunderers, thieves AND TERRORISTS in Iraq and Syria, the more politically vulnerable and exposed he becomes through this association.

It is true that he must follow his American masters orders, but realistically if you have been in power for 14 years, then you earn the right to tell the USA.....'SORRY uncle Sam, though my family makes a lot of money through the ISIS misadventure, this is also politically dangerous for me and MY COUNTRY'

Turning Turkey into a Hitlerian fascist dictatorship will not help matters.

Russia will soon in addition destabilize the country, given Turkeys hostile posture. Arm the Kurds who will fight Turkey; set the Alevis against the Sunnis in the country; arm and activate the Communists and left-wing groups against the state......and all the other Turks who hate Erdogan.

There may also be military personnel who fled Turkey and now live in Moscow, after Erdogan purged the military a few years back. They will now be used by Moscow to see when and where the military can conduct a coup against Erdogan abe.

These are lower risk options than direct confrontation with a NATO power, for Russia.

Russia is unhappy with Turkey for:

(i) Promoting pan-Turanism in Central Asia.

(ii) Through the Uighurs of China and Central Asia spreading radical Islam and annexed terrorism in Central Asia and China, with direction and encouragement from the USA.

(iii) Spreading and supporting terrorism in Russia through the Chechens and other Muslim groups in the Caucasus, with the backing and direction of the USA.

(iv) Giving support to the Nazi Jewish regime in the Ukraine.

(v) Syria....in a big way. with USA direction and backing.

(iv) Iraq .....in a big way. With USA direction and backing.

Erdogan abe must ready his private plane for the USA, fill it with ISIS petrol.......and empty the plane of the Afghan heroin to make room for himself and his court jesters. If the USA shuts the door on him, Shah like, he can settle in the USA colony of Panama. There he can grow cocaine and export it to the USA with his CIA brothers.....................and write a memoir.


______________________________________________

Regime Change in Ankara? More Likely Than You Think

 By Mike Whitney By "Information Clearing House" - "Counterpunch" 

- On Friday, the United States rejected a draft resolution by Russia that was intended to prevent a Turkish invasion of Syria. Moscow had called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to address its growing concern that Turkey is planning to send thousands of ground troops and armored vehicles it has massed on its southern border, into Syria to protect Turkish-backed militants and to block the Kurdish militia, the YPG, from establishing a contiguous state in northern Syria. 

Moscow’s one-page resolution was a thoroughly-straightforward document aimed at preventing a massive escalation in a conflict that has already claimed the lives of 250,000 and left the country in ruins. 

According to Russia’s deputy U.N. envoy, Vladimir Safronkov, “The main elements of this Russian draft resolution are to demand that all parties refrain from interfering in the internal affairs of Syria, that they fully respect Syria’s sovereignty and independence, stop incursions, and abandon plans for ground operations.” The resolution also expressed Moscow’s “grave alarm at the reports of military buildup and preparatory activities aimed at launching foreign ground intervention into the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic.” 

There was nothing controversial about the resolution, no tricks and no hidden meaning. 

The delegates were simply asked to support Syrian sovereignty and oppose foreign armed aggression. These are the very principles upon which the United Nations was founded. The US and its allies rejected these principles because they failed to jibe with Washington’s geopolitical ambitions in Syria. 

Quashing the resolution confirms in the clearest terms that Washington doesn’t want peace in Syria. Also, it suggests that the Obama administration thinks that Turkish ground troops could play an important role in shaping the outcome of a conflict that the US is still determined to win. Keep in mind, if the resolution had passed, the threat of a Turkish invasion would have vanished immediately. Why? Because the Turkish “military has publicly stated that it is not willing to send troops across the border without U.N. Security Council approval.” (Washington Post) 

Many people in the west are under the illusion that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dictatorial powers and can simply order his troops into battle whenever he chooses. But that is not the case. While Erdogan has removed many of his rivals within the military, the top brass still maintains a certain autonomy from the civilian leadership. 

Turkish generals want assurances that they will not be prosecuted for war crimes in the future. The best way to do that is to make sure that any invasion has the blessing of either the US, NATO or the UN. 

The Obama administration understands this dynamic, which is why they quashed the resolution. Obama wanted to leave the door open so Turkish troops could eventually engage the Russian-led coalition in Washington’s ongoing proxy war.

This leads me to believe that the Washington’s primary objective in Syria is no longer the removal of Syrian President Bashar al Assad but the bogging down of Russia (and Iran) in a never-ending conflict. 

Just hours after the US defeated Moscow’s draft resolution at the UN, closed-door talks were convened in Geneva where high-level U.S. and Russian military officials met to discuss the prospects for ceasefire. The cease-fire, which is typically referred to as a “cessation of hostilities”, is aimed at temporarily stopping the fighting so the battered jihadists and US-backed rebels can regroup and rejoin the war at some later date. 

Both Moscow and Washington want to deliver humanitarian aid to war-torn cities across Syria, and to move towards a “political transition” although both sides are deeply divided over Assad’s role in any future government. 

According to the Washington Post: “One of the many problems to be overcome is a differing definition of what constitutes a terrorist group. In addition to the Islamic State and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, Russia and Syria have labeled the entire opposition as terrorists. Jabhat al-Nusra, whose forces are intermingled with moderate rebel groups in the northwest near the Turkish border, is particularly problematic. Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire, at least temporarily, until the groups can be sorted out.” (“U.S., Russia hold Syria cease-fire talks as deadline passes without action“, Washington Post) Repeat: “Russia was said to have rejected a U.S. proposal to leave Jabhat al-Nusra (al Qaida) off-limits to bombing as part of a cease-fire, at least temporarily, until the groups can be sorted out.” In other words, the Obama administration wanted to protect an affiliate of the group that is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Syrian civilians whose only fault was that they happen to occupy country that these Wahhabi mercenaries wanted to transform into an Islamic Caliphate. 

Naturally, Moscow refused to go along with this charade. Even so, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced on Sunday that he and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, “had reached a ‘provisional agreement in principle’ for a temporary truce in the Syrian civil war and that it could start within days” although no one really knows how the “cease-fire would be enforced and how breaches would be resolved.” 

Consider how hypocritical it is for Obama to reject Russia’s draft resolution at the UN and, just hours later, try to put Al Qaida under the protective umbrella of a US-Russia brokered ceasefire. What does that say about America’s so called “war on terror”? 

Meanwhile in Turkey, Erdogan’s threats to invade Syria have intensified following a car bombing in Ankara last week that killed 28 and wounded 61 others. The Turkish government blamed a young activist, Salih Neccar, who had links to the Turkish militia (YPG) in Syria of being the perpetrator. But less than 24 hours after the blast, the government’s version of events began to fall apart. In a story that has been scarcely reported in the western media, the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) claimed full responsibility for the bombing according to a statement on its website. (The Freedom Hawks are linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK.) Then, on Monday, the Erdogan regime was slammed with more damning news: DNA samples demonstrated conclusively that Neccar was not perpetrator, but rather Abdulbaki Sömer, a member of the group that had claimed responsibility from the beginning. (TAK) As of this writing, the government still hasn’t admitted that it lied to the public to build their case for war. 

Erdogan and his extremist colleagues continue to use thoroughly discredited information to threaten to invade Syria. As he said on Saturday at a UNESCO meeting in Gaziantep: “Turkey has every right to conduct operations in Syria and the places where terror organizations are nested with regards to the struggle against the threats that Turkey faces…No one can restrict Turkey’s right to self-defense in the face of terror acts that have targeted Turkey.” 

This explains why Turkey has been shelling Syrian territory for the last week. It also explains why Erdogan has given Sunni jihadists a free pass to traverse Turkey and reenter the war zone in areas that improve their chances of success against the Syrian Army. Check this out from the New York Times: “Syrian rebels have brought at least 2,000 reinforcements through Turkey in the past week to bolster the fight against Kurdish-led militias north of Aleppo, rebel sources said on Thursday. Turkish forces facilitated the transfer from one front to another over several nights, covertly escorting rebels as they exited Syria’s Idlib governorate, traveled four hours across Turkey, and re-entered Syria to support the embattled rebel stronghold of Azaz, the sources said. “We have been allowed to move everything from light weapons to heavy equipment, mortars and missiles and our tanks,” Abu Issa, a commander in the Levant Front, the rebel group that runs the border crossing of Bab al-Salama, told Reuters, giving his alias and talking on condition of anonymity.” (“Syrian Rebels Say Reinforcements Get Free Passage via Turkey“, New York Times) 

The Obama administration knows that Erdogan is fueling the conflict, but has chosen to look the other way. And while Obama has (weakly) admonished Turkey for shelling Syrian territory, he has, at the same time, acknowledged Turkey’s “right to defend itself”, which is an expression the US reserves for Israel when it conducting one of its murderous rampages in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. Now, Obama has bestowed that same honor on Erdogan. This alone speaks volumes about the duplicity of Washington’s approach. 

So what is Washington’s gameplan in Syria? Is the administration serious about defeating ISIS and ending the hostilities or does Obama have something else up his sleeve? 

First of all, Washington is not the least bit concerned about ISIS. The group is merely a straw-man created by the USA that allows the US to conduct military operations in a region that is vital to its national interests. If the ISIS boogieman disappeared tomorrow, the White House would conjure up some other phantom–like the drug war or something equally ridiculous–so it could continue its depredations uninterrupted.

What matters to Washington is breaking up the strong, secular Arab governments that pose a long-term threat to US-Israeli ambitions. That’s what really matters. ISIS serves as a useful fifth column that destabilise and destroys Arab countries for Israel.

The other obvious goal is to control critical resources and pipeline corridors to the EU and make sure those resources continue to be denominated in US dollars. 

We continue to believe that the US-Kurdish (YPG) alliance does not really advance US strategic interests in Syria. The US is not interested in Kurdish statehood nor do they care if jihadist militias control the northern quadrant of Syria’s border-region. The real purpose of the US-YPG alliance is to enrage Turkey and provoke them into a cross-border conflict with the Russian-led coalition. If Turkey deploys ground troops to Syria, then Moscow could face the quagmire it has tried so hard to avoid.

Turkish forces would serve as a replacement army for the US-backed jihadists and other proxies that have prosecuted the war for the last five years but now appear to be in full retreat. 

More importantly, a Turkish invasion would exacerbate divisions inside Turkey seriously eroding Erdogan’s grip on power while creating vulnerabilities the US could exploit by working with its agents in the Turkish military and Intel agency (MIT). The ultimate objective would be to foment sufficient social unrest to incite a color-coded revolution that would dispose of the troublemaking Erdogan in a Washington-orchestrated coup, much like the one the CIA executed in Kiev. 

It is not hard to imagine Obama secretly giving Erdogan the greenlight, and then pulling the rug out from under him as soon as his troops crossed over into Syria. 

A similar scam was carried out in 1990 when U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie, gave Saddam Hussein the nod to invade Kuwait. The Iraqi Army had barely reached its destination before the US launched a massive military campaign (Operation Desert Storm) that forced Saddam to speedily withdraw along the infamous Highway of Death where upwards of 10,000 Iraqi regulars were annihilated like sitting ducks in a vicious and homicidal display of American firepower. That was the first phase of Washington’s plan to overthrow Saddam and replace him with a compliant Arab stooge.



Is the same regime change trap now being set for Erdogan? It sure looks like it.
__________________________________________________

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.