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Chaos Reigns in Trump Administration over Iranian Sanctions

The U.S. doesn’t have the same power it had to enforce these types of escalating sanctions regimes like they used to.

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Authored by Tom Luongo via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Sanctions may indeed be coming but will they have the bite that Donald Trump is hoping for? It’s a good question as we open November with a flurry of edicts from Trump’s State and Treasury Departments.

Let’s go over them all and see just how contradictory they are while at the same time acceding to the reality of just how much the world has changed in the six years since President Obama first went nuclear on Iran with sanctions.

It starts with Trump’s tweet that “Sanctions are Coming.” Okay, fine we knew this. But sanctions don’t account for much if the State Department is handing out 180 day waivers to countries.

Next up was Pompeo saying on the same day that no less than eight countries would be exempt from sanctions for buying oil from Iran.

A little news for Mike Pompeo, Halloween was last week.

Contrast this with 2012 where India, for example, to get around the sanctions had to essentially barter to get much needed Iranian oil, because no such exemption was forthcoming.

South Korea and Japan were also denied waivers then, but according to the Financial Times they are all among the countries to be exempted.

Mr. Pompeo did not name the eight jurisdictions, but Turkey’s energy minister said his country had been given an exemption. India, South Korea, Japan and Iraq are among other US allies that experts expect to benefit. China is also expected to be a beneficiary. The list will be announced on Monday.

Mr. Pompeo pushed back on suggestions that the US was being lenient to Iran or that the Trump administration had failed to deliver a hard line in the absence of European backing. He said two of the eight jurisdictions would reduce Iranian oil imports to zero in a few weeks and the other six had agreed to “greatly reduced” levels.

As always, believe it when you see it. What matters, ultimately, is that Turkey, India and China continue their purchases. They are some of the biggest consumers of Iranian oil. And as the competition drops for Iran’s production so to will the price and I wouldn’t be shocked if eventually all of these countries actually increase their imports of Iranian oil rather than cut one single barrel.

I mean, it’s not like I heard that India was now all of a sudden backing out of the new IPI – India Pakistan India — pipeline that Gazprom is building for it.

In fact, let’s get serious here. India, Iran and Russia just announced more concrete plans about opening up the North South Transport Corridor to ship goods between them.

I find it funny that Turkey is no longer on Trump’s “bad people” list once he was exposed over his relationship with Mohammed bin Salman due to l’affair Khashoggi. All of a sudden there are all sorts of agreement and reciprocity happening between the two countries, but in ways that are not in line with the U.S.’s previous policies.

Turkey has been openly hostile to the U.S. with President Erdogan openly accusing the U.S. of trying to oust him from power in 2016 and fulminating the market turmoil in the Lira earlier in the year.

There’s cooperation between the Turks and the U.S. in Manbij, Syria? Political prisoner transfers?

And now Trump, the ultimate ‘tough guy’ is giving Turkey a waiver on buying Iranian oil?

You can bet that Turkey is not one of the two countries who have agreed to cut imports to zero. In fact, I will be surprised if Turkey cuts its imports more than a nominal amount so that Pompeo can bloviate about winning on this issue and then never bringing it up again.

Do you remember who laundered Iranian oil money in the form of physical gold through their banks during the last sanctions period? That’s right it was Turkey, and Erdogan knew all about it.

Because let us not forget what is really going on here. The U.S. doesn’t have the same power it had to enforce these types of escalating sanctions regimes like they used to.

Which brings me to the next U.S. proclamation vis a vis Iran. And that is the pressure the State Department is putting on international financial messaging service SWIFT to cut Iran’s financial institutions out of the their system, similar to what Obama did in 2012.

In the recent past Trump ‘dog-whistled’ that Iran would not be subject to SWIFT expulsion, but his Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin is adamant that Iran be cut off. Apparently the argument to keep Iran in SWIFT based on being able to better monitor their activity failed to win over Mnuchin.

I’m not at all surprised about this as so much of this anti-Iran policy has been driven by the Israelis and the Saudis, who still feel that using the U.S. as their bully is the best path to getting what they want. In my opinion, Mnuchin’s loyalties lie with the U.S. They lie with Goldman-Sachs first and Israel second.

The U.S. is way down on his priority list. Until I see something from Treasury other than insipid anti-Russian neocolonialism I will continue to hold that opinion.

And that brings me to why I think there’s, ultimately, a lot less here than meets the eye.

Russia’s alternative to SWIFT, SPFS, is not only open for business it is now the dominant financial messaging system in Russia and its list of interested international clients include banks from all of the countries I’ve already talked about – India, Iran, Turkey and China.

And Russia was quite savvy releasing this ‘news’ at the same time as the U.S. finally had to put up or shut up about sanctions on Iran. It was a deft piece of a diplomacy if you ask me.

Now, don’t’ for a second think resistance to this situation will be easy for Iran or the Iranian people. It won’t be. It’s already hard and the fact that Pompeo, Trump and the rest of the gang that can’t negotiate don’t seem to care one whit about that tells us all we need to know about their collective moral compass.

They don’t have one.

But, as always, when governments fight the people lose.

So, unlike in 2012, Iran has a lot more friends. But those friends also have a lot more power and resources than they had back then. A Russian alternative to SWIFT is not only a viable work-around for the sanctions it is the birth of a new and parallel regional monetary system at a time when there is a growing fear of a political and financial meltdown just over the horizon in the West.

These countries will need to have alternative ways to conduct and clear transactions going forward. Because you can bet that there will be more of these edicts, each one successively less effective than the last, over the next few years.

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Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

Bye bye blood-oil petro-dollar and all your sick-minded Zio-skank.

Joe
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Joe

“….. Mnuchin’s loyalty is to the US”… Surely, you mean his loyalty is NOT to the US.

Mike Mischak
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Mike Mischak

The important question is, what happens when the oil is gone?

Vince Dhimos
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And the beauty of the SPFS is that it will help states minded to dedollarize to settle in non-dollar currencies. That will bring down the value of the dollar. Let’s hope it is a slow motion crash and not too violent.

Guy
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Guy

I don’t know if slow motion crash is possible .Wall street critters run in packs .

Bill
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Bill

The profits from dealing in oil are so great that it is impossible to sanction oil.

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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