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8 reasons for Qatar and Saudi Arabia’s dispute

It isn’t about ideology, it’s about commercial matters which underpin a long history.

George Oprisko

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The peoples of Asia, in particular those of the Persian Gulf, carry within them, cultural norms, and identities that span millenia.  Persia and China have dominated the scene, with footnotes from Portugal and Britain.  Persia’s influence began with Elam in the bronze age at ~ 2700 BCE, succeeded by the Assyrians 900-700 BCE, the Medes 700-500 BCE, the Achaemenids which extended control to the south coast of the Persian Gulf by 490 BCE, and from what is now Tunisia to Xingjang Province in the PRC, southward from today’s Kzahstan to the sea, the kingdom of Alexander conquered this space, and extended their control to what is now Pakistan between 324-200 BCE.

However, it was the Parthians who incorporated the littoral territories of the southern coast of the Persian Gulf into their domain between 200-100 BCE. The Sassanides added what is now Yemen, Oman, Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbijan, consolidating their control between  226-650 AD.

The arrival of Muhammad 570-632 AD, brought new energies to the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula, giving rise to Islam.   Wars of conquest, beginning about 610 AD,  built the Arabian Empire, which morphed into the Caliphate , eventually encompassing all territories from the Iberian Peninsula to China, including the north coast of africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Turkey, Mesopotamia, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan  by 725 AD.

By 1000AD the Caliphate fractured, with the Buwayhid state controlling the territory of what became Persia, founding the Seljuq empire by 1194 AD.  The Seljuqs were succeeded by the Timurids in 1405 AD. The arrival of Ismail in 1501 ended their reign.  Ismail and his successors converted their domain from Sunni to Shia, establishing the Safavid empire, in the process laying the foundations of modern Persia by 1726 AD, including competition with the Uzbeks and Ottomans.  This period saw a profound change in trading patterns, with the Portugese conquering Hormuz by 1507, demanding tribute, and establishing a fortified trading station there.  The Portuguese were followed by european firms such as the British East India Company which established a residency in 1763 at Busher on the Persian Coast.

The Safavids were followed by the Qajars between 1794 and 1905.  Seeking to modernize their domain, they gave territorial and business concessions to various european powers. The arrival of the French in 1807 galvanized the English into ratifying a treaty with Persia in 1809, which was the foundation of Anglo-Persian relations until the arrival of Khomeni, despite Persian attempts at independence during the constitutional periods of 1905-1925 and Mossadegh in 1953.

Prior to the arrival of the  Portuguese, the trade route from Calicut in India to Tyre in Lebanon was dominated by the Chinese  beginning with the Yuan Dynasty in 1271 and expanded by the Ming dynasty after they came to power in 1368.  In 1273 Kublai Khan created the world’s first bank notes (paper money), giving rise to letters of credit and other international banking arrangements facilitating trade.  Under Chinese tutelage, Hormuz became a major trading center for goods bound westward via the Persian Gulf-Euphrates River- Syrian Desert route to Tyre on the Mediterranean Sea.  Hormuz remained the gateway to this route until the Portuguese were replaced by the Safavids who shifted the station to Bandar Abbas.   Zhung He in particular led 7 expeditions to the region for the purpose of solidifying Chinese hegemony between 1405-1433.

The Chinese concept of tribute, however, differed markedly from that practiced by the european powers.   To the Chinese, tribute signified respect, not subservience, and the Chinese reciprocated via offering their silks, teas, jade, ceramics, and technologies in exhange for goods sourced from the tributary state.  The Chinese did not interfere in the domestic affairs of tributary states, preferring to gain influence through marriage between tributary elites and concubines sent to them for that purpose.   Following completion of the grand canal and the death of Emperor Zhu Di, his successor, Zhu Zhanji, the Zhengtong Emperor commissioned a seventh and final voyage.  Confucian scholars convinced  Zhu Zhanji to scrap the navy, and to abandon international trade, just prior to the arrival of the Portuguese at Macau in 1557.  Absence of the Chinese Navy on the trade routes left them open to usurpation by the European powers, led by Portugal, followed soon thereafter by the Spanish and Dutch, with the English arriving by the late 1700s.

This situation prevailed in China until president Nixon opened china 5 centuries later in 1972, giving rise to Deng Xiaopeng,  Hu Jintao, and the One Belt One Road initiative.  In the process, China has opened itself to the world, modernized and expanded it’s economy, and become a trading center around which states array themselves.

Russia’s influence on the nations bordering the Persian Gulf began in the 19th century when a resurgent Russia found itself in conflict with Persia for lands and resources abutting the Caspian Sea.  Russia took Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbijan from Persian influence and control, together with Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  Russia competed with Britain for control of the mineral resources of Persia/Iran, going so far as to divide control of Persia with Britain during WWII.  This generated the great animosities held by the Pahlavi dynasty, Khomeini, and his successsors.  The Soviet Union added further fuel to this fire via alliances with Iraq, Syria, Egypt, and Libya, most of whom disliked Iran.  Iraq relied primarily on Soviet weapons during the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-1988, while Iran had to make do with whatever american weapons remained after the Shah was deposed.

Collapse of the Soviet Union was followed by experimentation with neo-classical macro-economic ideas promulgated by american schooled economists, primarily from Harvard and Yale.  These proved a disaster.  When Putin came to  power, Russia’s economy had shrunk to 40% of it Soviet Maximum, middle aged male suicide was at epidemic proportions, much of the populace was starving, critical infrastructure was crumbling, and NATO came closer and closer each year.  The arrival of Hu Jintao as premier of the PRC in 2002 gave rise to a personal friendship between Hu and Putin which led to profound changes in Russian macro-economics, and in the way Russia interacts with neighboring states.  Always a non-agressor state preferring diplomacy, Putin’s engagement with Hu leavened these policies with ancient Chinese policies toward tributary states.

Where the Soviet Union always sought advantage over dependent states, we now see Russia forming symbiotic relationships to mutual advantage.  This was evinced by Russia and China jointly creating the SCO.  From humble beginnings, the SCO has grown to encompass China, Russia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, India,  and Kyrgyzstan.  Mongolia and Iran are observers, with Iran slated to join next year.  Furthermore Russia and China guided the nuclear 5+1 agreement which normalized Iran’s relationship with the UN and ended UN sanctions against her.  We now see Russia forming a deep pragmatic relationship with Iran, to the point they are allies in the Proxy war between the US-Israeli-Qatari-Saudi alliance and Syria.

Chinese influence runs deep in Asia.  Originating with Ghengis Khan, spread throughout the mongol empire, the Chinese way of win-win tributary relationships, has spread from the Baltic to the Bering, from the Arctic to the Indian Ocean, and across the Atlantic to the Caribbean.   Diametrically different from the winner take all policies of the European powers and their successors, Chinese pragmatism, confounds Anglo-Zionist observers.  The Chinese are back.  Their navy is conducting exercises in the Straits of Hormuz now.  Their goods can be found in every nation on earth.  Their nationals ditto.  It is the Chinese who found a way to implement the Iran-Pakistan freedom pipeline regardless of stringent US objections.  It is they who built a gas pipeline from Gwadar Port to western china across the hindu-kush, ostensibly for LNG, routing it within 20 miles of the Iranian border where the iranian portion terminates, thence completing the missing link surreptitiously, bringing Iranian gas to market after nearly 30 years of US obstructionism.

It is probably the Chinese who suggested Iran offer Qatar access to Asian markets and the EU via Iranian pipelines after clearing it with Gazprom.  It is probably the Chinese who suggested offering some of this gas to Turkey to power it’s economy.  No less an observer than Pepe Escobar hints at this in his latest report.

 8 Key POINTS:

  1. The south coast Gulf Littoral states were part of Persia for centuries, were converted to Shia Islam by the Safavids in the 16th century, and their peoples have great cultural affinity towards Iran.
  2. Bahrain in particular was taken from Iran at the initiative of the Shah via UN resolution in
    1970, via a UN mission which was supposed to grant them independence. Following this the Al Khalifa clan assumed the throne, with Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa the current monarch.
  3. Oman in particular has had a long friendly relationship with Iran.
  4. The UAE has a grudge against Iran because the Shah took Abu Musa, and the Greater and Lesser Tumbs from her, together with vast petroleum deposits once held by Armand Hammer in what previously was the Sultanate of Sharjah
  5. For the past 6 years Qatar has been allied with KSA in their battle to market their petroleum products to the EU, via dis-memberment of Syria. It is now apparent that Syria will not be dismembered.
  6. For quite some time, Russia, Iran, and China have engaged in diplomacy with all the GCC states, the specifics of which are not known.
  7. Recently, information has leaked regarding a pipeline deal offered by Iran to Qatar,
    permitting Qatar to market it’s gas to Pakistan/India and to the EU via Iranian pipelines.
    Such an arrangement, should it exist, would leave KSA and the UAE out in the cold.
    Most likely Turkey has been offered some of this gas to run it’s economy.
  8. Though Whabbist, Qatar does not mandate the chador, and is actually quite modernist.

SUMMARY:

The row between Qatar and KSA/GCC is most likely due to capitulation by Qatar in their contest with Iran/Iraq/Syria for a route to market their petroleum products.

Capitulation to Iran’s offer of transit via Iranian pipelines to both asia and europe.

The offer to market to the EU has the blessing of Gazprom/Russia.

This offer is a pragmatic means to divide the forces funding ISIS and the other terrorist groups.

If this is indeed the case, we should see disarray among the various terrorist groups with those sponsored by KSA fighting the others, and the groups formerly sponsored by Qatar suddenly left in the lurch.

The consequence of this should be a much weakened proxy force for the R+6 to deal with.

 

 

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French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

RT

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Via RT…


Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

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Soros Mimics Hitler’s Bankers: Will Burden Europeans With Debt To ‘Save’ Them

George Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas.

The Duran

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Via GEFIRA:


After the Second World War, many economists racked their brains to answer the question of how Hitler managed to finance his armament, boost the economy and reduce unemployment.

Today his trick is well known. The economic miracle of Führer’s time became possible thanks to the so-called Mefo promissory notes.

The notes were the idea of the then President of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, and served not only to finance the armament of the Wehrmacht for the Second World War, but also to create state jobs, which would otherwise not have been possible through the normal use of the money and capital markets, i.e. the annual increase in savings in Germany.

The Reich thus financed the armaments industry by accepting notes issued by the dummy company Metallurgische Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH (hence the name Mefo) rather than paying them in cash. The creation of money was in full swing from 1934 to 1938 – the total amount of notes issued at that time was 12 billion marks. The Reichsbank declared to the German banks that it was prepared to rediscount the Mefo notes, thus enabling the banks to discount them.

Because of their five-year term, the redemption of notes had to begin in 1939 at the latest. This threatened with enormous inflation. Since Schacht saw this as a threat to the Reichsmark, he expressed his doubts about the Reich Minister of Finance. But it did not help, and Schacht was quickly replaced by Economics Minister Walther Funk, who declared that the Reich would not redeem the Mefo notes, but would give Reich bonds to the Reichsbank in exchange. At the time of Funk, the autonomous Reichsbank statute was abolished, the Reichsbank was nationalized, and inflation exploded in such a way that Mefo notes with a circulation of 60 billion Reichsmark burdened the budget in post-war Germany.

George Soros also proposes such a money flurry in the style of Schacht and Funk.

Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas. He calls on the EU heads of state and governments to effectively deal with the migrant crisis through money flooding, which he calls “surge funding”.

“This would help to keep the influx of refugees at a level that Europe can absorb.”

Can absorb? Soros would be satisfied with the reception of 300,000 to 500,000 migrants per year. However, he is aware that the costs of his ethnic exchange plan are not financially feasible. In addition to the already enormous costs caused by migrants already in Europe, such a large number of new arrivals would add billions each year.

Soros calculates it at 30 billion euros a year, but argues that it would be worth it because “there is a real threat that the refugee crisis could cause the collapse of Europe’s Schengen system of open internal borders among twenty-six European states,” which would cost the EU between 47 and 100 billion euros in GDP losses.

Soros thus sees the financing of migrants and also of non-European countries that primarily receive migrants (which he also advocates) as a win-win relationship. He calls for the introduction of a new tax for the refugee crisis in the member states, including a financial transaction tax, an increase in VAT and the establishment of refugee funds. Soros knows, however, that such measures would not be accepted in the EU countries, so he proposes a different solution, which does not require a vote in the sovereign countries.

The new EU debt should be made by the EU taking advantage of its largely unused AAA credit status and issuing long-term bonds, which would boost the European economy. The funds could come from the European Stability Mechanism and the EU balance of payments support institution.

 “Both also have very similar institutional structures, and they are both backed entirely by the EU budget—and therefore do not require national guarantees or national parliamentary approval.“

In this way, the ESM and the BoPA (Balance of Payments Assistance Facility) would become the new Mefo’s that could issue bills of exchange, perhaps even cheques for Turks, Soros NGOs. Soros calculates that both institutions have a credit capacity of 60 billion, which should only increase as Portugal, Ireland and Greece repay each year the loans they received during the euro crisis. According to Soros, the old debts should be used to finance the new ones in such a way that it officially does not burden the budget in any of the EU Member States. The financial institutions that are to carry out this debt fraud must extend (indeed – cancel) their status, as the leader of the refugees expressed such a wish in his speech.

That Soros is striving to replace the indigenous European population with new arrivals from Africa and Asia is clear to anyone who observes its activities in Europe. The question is: what does he want to do this for and who is the real ruler, behind him, the real leader?

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The French People Feel Screwed

For the first time in his presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

The Duran

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Authored by David Brown via The Gatestone Institute:


On December 4, French Prime Minister Édouard Phillipe told deputies of the ruling party, “La République en Marche”, that a proposed fuel tax rise, which had led to the largest protests France has seen in decades, would be suspended.

The protesters, called Gilets-Jaunes — “Yellow Vests,” because of the vests drivers are obliged by the government to carry in their vehicles in the event of a roadside breakdown — say that the fuel tax was the last straw from a president who took office with a promise to help the economically left-behind but instead has favoured the rich.

Even by French standards, the protests of the “Yellow Vests” during the weekend of December 1 were startling. Burning cars and vast plumes of grey smoke seemed to engulf the Arc De Triomphe as if Paris were at war. Comparisons were drawn with the Bread Wars of the 17th Century and the spirit of the Revolution of the 18th Century.

For more than two weeks, the “Yellow Vests” disrupted France. They paralyzed highways and forced roads to close — causing shortages across the country – and blocked fuel stations from Lille in the North to Marseilles in the South.

During protests in France’s capital, Paris, the “Yellow Vests” were soon joined by a more violent element, who began torching cars, smashing windows and looting stores. 133 were injured, 412 were arrested and more than 10,000 tear gas and stun grenades were fired.

One elderly lady was killed when she was struck by a stray grenade as she tried to shutter her windows against the melee.

There was talk of imposing a State of Emergency.

The “Yellow Vests” present the most significant opposition French President Emmanuel Macron has faced since coming to office in May 2017. Unlike previous protests in France, which have divided public opinion, these have widespread support – 72% according to a Harris Interactive Poll published December 1st.

Fuel tax rises — announced in November before being retracted on December — were intended to help bring down France’s carbon emissions by curbing the use of cars. Macron makes no secret of his wish to be seen as a global leader for environmental reform.

He forgets that back at home, among the people who elected him, fuel prices really matter to those outside big cities, where four-fifths of commuters drive to work and a third of them cover more than 30km each week.

The increases have incensed people in smaller communities, where they have already seen speed limits reduced to please the Greens and cuts to the local transport services.

These additional costs-of-living increases come at an extremely bad time for ordinary French people working outside of Paris. Lower-middle class families are not poor enough to receive welfare benefits but have seen their income flat-line whilst cost-of-living and taxes have risen.

An analysis by the Institut des Politiques Publiques think-tank shows that benefits cuts and tax changes in 2018 and 2019 will leave pensioners and the bottom fifth of households worse off, while the abolition of the wealth tax means that by far the biggest gains will go to the top 1%

This is tough to swallow. Macron is seen as being out of touch with ordinary people and is unlikely to escape his new title, “the President of the Rich.”

“People have this feeling that the Paris technocrats are doing complicated things to screw them,” said Charles Wyplosz, an economics professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

It is probably not as complex as that. The French people feel screwed.

As employment and growth are slowing, Macron, for the first time in his presidency, is under serious pressure. Unemployment is at 9%; his efforts to reform Europe are stalling, and his approval rating has plummeted to just 23% according to a recent opinion poll by IFOP.

Images of Macron at the Arc De Triomphe daubed in graffiti calling for him to step down, or worse, have done little to bolster his image abroad.

So far, Macron had said he would not bow to street protests. To underline his point, in September 2017, he called protestors against French labour-market reform “slackers”.

The political U-Turn on the fuel tax is a turning point for the Macron presidency. The question is : What next, both for Macron and the “Yellow Vests”?

Macron most likely needs to plough ahead with his reform agenda, and doubtless knows he has the support of a solid majority in the National Assembly to do so. France is crippled by debt (nearly 100% of GDP) and its grossly bloated public sector. There are 5.2 million civil servants in France, and their number has increased by 36% since 1983. These represent 22% of the workforce compared to an OCDE average of 15%.

Tax-expert Jean-Philippe Delsol says France has 1.5 million too many “fonctionnaires [officials]. When you consider that public spending in France now accounts for 57 per cent of gross domestic product. Soon the system will no longer function as there will be less and less people working to support more and more people working less”.

Macron’s mistake, in addition to a seeming inclination for arrogance, is not to have made national economic reform his absolute priority right from his initial grace period after his election. Lower public expenses would have made it possible to lower taxes, hence creating what economists call a virtuous circle. Instead, he waited.

Now, at a time when he is deeply unpopular and social unrest is in full sway he is looking to make further reforms in unemployment benefits, scaling them back by reducing the payments and the length of time beneficiaries can receive the money. The “President of the Rich” strikes again.

There is talk that he may also re-introduce the wealth tax to try to placate the protestors.

Macron’s presidential term lasts until May 13, 2022. Understandably, Macron will be focused on the elections to the European Parliament expected to be held May 23-26, 2019. Headlines have signalled that Marine Le Pen and the National Rally (formally National Front) are ahead in the polls at 20%, compared to Macron’s En Marche at 19%.

The shift is understandable, given the divide between the countryside, where Le Pen has solid support, and the cities, where Macron’s centre-left prevail.

In contrast, the “Yellow Vests” have galvanised support after standing up for the “impotent ordinary”, and seem much buoyed by the solidarity they have been shown by both fire fighters and the police. There are images online of police removing their helmets and firefighters turning their backs on political authority to show their support for the protestors.

Whilst Macron’s political opposition may be fragmented, this new breed of coherent public opposition is something new. Leaderless, unstructured and organised online, the “Yellow Vests” have gained support from the left and right, yet resisted subjugation by either.

Being leaderless makes them difficult to negotiate withor to reason with in private. The “Yellow Vests” seem acutely aware of this strength, given their firm rebuttal of overtures for peace talks from the Macron government.

Enjoying huge support from the public and with reforms to the social welfare system on the horizon, the “Yellow Vests” are not going away.

For the first time in his Presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

After Macron rebuked nationalism during his speech at the armistice ceremony, Trump was quick to remind the French President of his low approval rating and unemployment rate near 10%. A stinging broadside from Trump on twitter suggests that Macron may well be relegated to Trump’s list of global “Losers“:

“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

The “impotent ordinary” in the United Kingdom, who might feel betrayed over Brexit, and the nationalists in Germany, who have suffered under Merkel , are no doubt staring in wonder at the “Yellow Vests”, wishing for the same moxie.

The historian Thomas Carlyle, chronicler of the French Revolution, said the French were unrivaled practitioners in the “art of insurrection”, and characterised the French mob as the “liveliest phenomena of our world”.

Mobs in other countries, by comparison, he argued were “dull masses” lacking audacity and inventiveness. The blazing yellow vests of the French protest movement , however, have made Macron appear increasingly dull and weak too.

David Brown is based in the United Kingdom.

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