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The EU is a corrupt, sinking ship…and Greece has opportunity to get off before the whole thing blows

Greece could only be so lucky to leave the eurozone. Greece has a prosperous future outside the eurozone as an independent, sovereign nation. The EU is a tide that does not lift all boats, but sinks even the best of ships.

Alex Christoforou

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Post originally appeared on The Automatic Earth.

French Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron and German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel published a piece in the Guardian last week that instantly revived our long nourished hope for the European Unholy Union to implode and be dissolved, sooner rather than later. The two gentlemen propose a ‘radical’ reform for the EU. Going a full-tard 180º against the tide of rising euroskeptism, the blindest bureaucrats in European capitals are talking about more centralization in the EU.

Here’s hoping that they follow up with all the energy they can muster, and that we’ll hear a lot more about the ‘reforms’ being proposed. Because that will only serve to increase the resistance and skepticism. Let them try to ‘reform’ the EU. We’re all for it. If only because if they do it thorough enough, referendums will be required in all 28 member nations, which all need to agree, in a unanimous approval vote.

The gents know of course that that is never ever going to happen. So sneaky ways will have to be found. Something Brussels is quite experienced at. They’ve shown many times they won’t let a little thing like 500 million citizens get in their way. We’re curious to see what they’ll come up with this time.

Meanwhile, though, the rising skepticism threatens to rule the day in many countries, and Greece is by no means the leader in the field. Germany has a rising right wing party that wants out (just wait till Merkel leaves). Marine Le Pen has vowed to take France out as soon as she gets to power, and she leads many polls. Britain’s Ukip is merely the vanguard of a broad right wing UK ‘movement’ that either want out or have treaties thoroughly renegotiated.

Portugal’s socialists are soaring in the polls on an EU-unfriendly agenda. Spain’s Podemos is no friend of Brussels. In Italy, M5S’s Beppe Grillo has gone from skeptic to outright adversary over the past few years. There are varying levels of antagonism in all other countries too.

Now obviously, not all countries in the union carry the same weight, politically speaking (why do we so easily agree that’s obvious, though?). You have Germany, then a big nowhere, then France and Britain.

Greece, equally obviously, has no say. They can elect a government that wants to change things even just at home, and be told no way. If Germany would elect such a party, all EU policy would change in the blink of an eye. A true union of sovereign nations it therefore is not. And that of course was never possible, it was just something people wished for who never contemplated the details or consequences.

Still, given that the whole project has always been represented as a one-way street from which escape is not possible, the weight of the smaller nations should not be underestimated. Perhaps all it will take is one defector to make the entire edifice unstable. Statements to the contrary are made only by people who eat hubris for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

If either France or Germany leave -the former looks far more likely right now-, it’s project over. The same would probably hold for Italy. Spain would be a grave blow. Britain might be quite a bit easier (no euro), though negotiations -let alone referendums- over treaties could cause a lot of havoc and unrest. While various bigwigs try to fool you into thinking that letting small nations leave can be ‘ringfenced’, that is utter nonsense, they have no way of knowing.

David Cameron tries to convince himself that he can get away with establishing some sort of status aparte for Britain, but others may want such a status too, and they may have a list of points they want to discuss if and when treaty changes are put on the table. Multiple that by 28 and before you know it either nothing changes, or everything does.

The Union was hastily and sloppily cross-stitched together when everyone was still exclusively dreaming more of mass lift-all-boats profits in the offing, than caring about the fineprint of compromise squared treaties or considering possible future consequences if and when the profits would turn out not to be unlimited. Ergo, everything that happens now is an improvised play performed by 28 at best mildly talented actors trying to convey an air of confidence. That’s all that is left.

Throw all this in a pile, and renegotiating any EU treaty will to a high degree of probability be akin to opening Pandora’s cesspit. And besides, any changes would never pass if a referendum were held. Macron and Gabriel are all too aware of this pesky factoid:

“What’s important is the project,” Macron said in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche. “Treaty change is a method that would ensue and that we have to prepare in due time,” he said, warning that European people would probably reject a new treaty if asked in a referendum.

Meanwhile, British demands to opt-out from “ever closer union” could be accommodated by a special “protocol” to the EU treaties, according to Manfred Weber, a Christian Social Union MEP who is a close ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. But in return, Britain would have to accept losing its veto in areas where others forge ahead with deeper integration, the German MEP warned.

In 2005, both France and Holland rejected the EU constitution in respective national referenda. But Brussels just ‘forged’ ahead as if it didn’t matter. Today, however, let’s see them try that again.

Ten years ago, the profits were still in vogue. But things have changed, and problems are everywhere. Problems that Brussels seeks to ‘solve’ by gifting itself with ever more centralized powers. But the undoubtedly biggest problem of all they have is that not 10% of Europeans would vote to give them these powers. So please, please, try.

As for Greece, all the negotiations really are just a matter of fiddling while Rome burns. But that is not because Greece is in trouble; it’s because of what the EU has become. A club that depends on its ability to scare members into submission, the same vein the IMF operates in. The negotiations are about amounts of debt that were imposed upon Greece by the troika when it decided to bail out banks of Europe’s most powerful member nations and put the Greek people on the hook.

Europe’s high and mighty will yet come to regret the decision not to restructure these banks, because this will be the catalyst that blows up the Union. The reason why will become apparent as debt rises further and asset markets start falling off so many cliffs.

Greece should get out as fast as it can, all member countries should, especially the poorer ones. There is no benign or even economically viable future for any of them in the Union. A future inside the union is infinitely more frightening than one outside.

What is evident by now is that the troika creditors don’t come to the table to negotiate, they come to impose their will. And those countries that carry the most debt are most vulnerable to the threats flung across the table. If you don’t get out, in time Germany will decide what you can eat, what your children learn in school, and how you are to behave. You will no longer live in sovereign nations.

The eurozone must fail. And so must the EU. That is better for everyone who’s not inside the power circles, in the long term. What countries should do now is ‘ringfence’ themselves as best they can from the nuclear fallout the failure will lead to. Focus on resilience.

While the leadership everywhere dreams of ever more centralized power, economic reality dictates decentralization. It can only be halted through propaganda and violence. But that will merely be temporary.

Even if Brussels somehow ‘solves’ the Greece issue, others nations will follow, be targets of financial markets, and once it comes to Italy or Spain, who are both in very precarious places, the EU and the ECB are simply not strong enough to absorb the blow. And then where do you think that leaves you?

I’ve said many times before that all governments, power structures and supra-national organizations are a magnet for the last people you would want to lead them: sociopaths. That’s not an opinion, it’s a description of the dynamics of human group psychology. Greece itself before Syriza is a prime example of this.

The smaller the countries, states, regions that politicians are allowed to rule over, the less likely leadership posts are to attract sociopaths. Other considerations count too, remuneration, chances to forge ties with an elite and serve their purposes. Larger entities are certain to attract pathological minds. Exceptions to the rule are far and few between. Also: the more a society manages the field of propaganda, the likelier it is to get -and keep- a sociopath as its leader.

The US is a good example. So is the EU. And obviously, the IMF, World Bank, NATO, FIFA. We always fail at ‘doing large scale’ for the benefit of the people. The large the scale, the less the people benefit.

Just when its moment of glory seems to arrive, globalization will lead towards decentralization and protectionism. Just as stability leads to instability.

The EU’s socio-pathological trait is evident in the way the organization’s leaders deal with Ukraine, with the refugees off its southern coasts, and, inside its very borders, with Greek society, unemployment, hunger and hospitals. There is no compassion, no conscience.

In the EU, the idea(l)s have become the problems, argues Stratfor’s George Friedman:

Is The European Union Already On The Brink Of Inevitable Disaster?

The fact of the matter is that a free-trade zone in which the black hole at the centre, Germany, absolutely overwhelms all of its competition, and the competition can’t protect itself, is untenable.

[..] many of the great ideas that the European Union began with have turned, as it frequently happens in history, into the problems.

Q: [..] ..you said a group of squabbling nations, and you’ve alluded to the history, from the Franco-Prussian wars right up to 1945, the history is very, very unpleasant indeed. Is the corollary that Europe will eventually descend back into war?

George Friedman: Well, the question is really has it ascended? From ’45 to ’92, Europe was occupied by the Soviets and the Americans. The fundamental questions of sovereignty were not in the hands of London or Berlin or Rome, it was in the hands of Washington and Moscow. In ’92, the Soviet Union collapsed, and for the first time since WWII, Europe became genuinely sovereign. And for 16 years, they made a go of it. For the last seven years, it’s been rather disastrous, and the question is, can they reverse it?

And if they don’t reverse it, what prevents them from returning to the kind of history that is normal in Europe? And what I’m arguing is that basically, the period of ’92 to 2008 was an interesting aberration. We are now back to the old normal, and how bad it becomes really depends on a bunch of (inaudible) issues. But first we have to really recognise that the Europe that was envisioned in the European Union is not going to return.

We had better not forget that. If Europe will never be what it was supposed to be, then why would anyone want to be part of it, apart from the few that profit most? If the corollary truly is that Europe will eventually descend back into war, isn’t it time to take care of your own? And isn’t that, really, what the Greeks are already trying to do today?

Very timely for this article, Tyler Durden posted a piece by Jeff Thomas today that delves deeper:

The New World Order – A Faustian Bargain

[..] most people in any given country seem to believe that the political parties that rule them do not collude in their own collective interest and against the best interests of their respective constituents.

Similarly, they are unlikely to accept that fascism exists in their country—that members of their favoured party collude with industries. Further, most people seem to disbelieve that the leaders of their own country collude with the leaders of their country’s enemies in such a way that might create loss or danger to their own people. This is naive. Such collusions are the norm rather than the exception.

Those who tend to be more informed, readily acknowledge that collusion exists between all of the above, to one degree or another. If this group errs, it is often in the opposite assumption—that the collusion is all-encompassing.

There can be no doubt that a New World Order is being sought by some—this has been made clear for at least a hundred years by many who regard themselves as an Elite. It is therefore an open secret.

In my experience in dealing with political leaders (and political hopefuls) from several jurisdictions, I’ve found there to be a consistent sociopathology (by definition, the desire for dominance over others, undeserved self-confidence, lack of empathy, a sense of entitlement, lack of conscience, etc.).

Sociopaths are drawn to political leadership for obvious reasons. First, they’re prone to collusion, as they recognise that it may further their interests [..] Trouble is, the same sociopathology would drive the same individuals to seek to dominate each other.

It has been postulated by many that those who see themselves as an Elite are nearing the completion of what they perceive as world dominance. However, should they succeed, they will betray their partners the very next day, as it’s their nature to do so.

First, there most assuredly are extremely domineering forces (regardless of how closely associated they might be), which, in the near future, will do immense damage to the cause of freedom in the world, particularly in those countries where they are most dominant, or will become most dominant. Second, the situation does appear to be reaching a head.

The two greatest uncertainties will be how much damage will be done before the dust has settled, and how protracted the period of destruction and struggle for dominance might be. [..] The best that can be done is to work at placing ourselves as far outside of their sphere of influence as possible.

That describes how the EU functions, and why Greece -first of all, and first thing in the morning- needs to leave. There is no future in the EU that anyone wants to live in. It’s not a tide that will lift all boats, it will sink them.

References:

http://www.theautomaticearth.com/2015/06/why-greece-must-leave/

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Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

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Second Canadian Citizen Disappears In China

According to the he Globe and Mail, the man was identified as Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose company Peaktu Cultural Exchange brings tourists and hockey players into North Korea.

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Via Zerohedge…


For a trade war that was supposed to be between the US and China, Canada has found itself increasingly in the middle of the crossfire. And so after the arrest of a former Canadian diplomat in Beijing in retaliation for the detention of the Huawei CFO in Vancouver, Canada said a second person has been questioned by Chinese authorities, further heightening tensions between the two countries.

The second person reached out to the Canadian government after being questioned by Chinese officials, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said, at which point Canada lost contact with him. His whereabouts are currently unknown and Global Affairs Canada said they are in contact with his family.

“We haven’t been able to make contact with him since he let us know about this,” Freeland told reporters Wednesday in Ottawa. “We are working very hard to ascertain his whereabouts and we have also raised this case with Chinese authorities.”

According to the he Globe and Mail, the man was identified as Michael Spavor, a Canadian whose company Peaktu Cultural Exchange brings tourists and hockey players into North Korea. He gained fame for helping arrange a visit to Pyongyang by former NBA player Dennis Rodman, and he met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on that trip, the newspaper reported. Attempts to reach Spavor on his contact number either in China, or North Korean went straight to voicemail.

Spavor’s personal Facebook page contains several images of him with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un including one of him with both Jong-un and former Dennis Rodman at an undisclosed location.

Michael P. Spavor, right, pictured here with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, second from right, and Dennis Rodman.

Another image shows the two sharing a drink on a boat.

The unexplained disappearance takes place after China’s spy agency detained former Canadian diplomat Michael Kovrig in Beijing on Monday, who was on leave from the foreign service. The arrest came nine days after Canada arrested Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou at the request of U.S. DOJ. While Canada has asked to see the former envoy after it was informed by fax of his arrest, Canada is unaware of Kovrig current whereabouts or the charges he faces.

“Michael did not engage in illegal activities nor did he do anything that endangered Chinese national security,” Rob Malley, chief executive officer of the ICG, said in a written statement. “He was doing what all Crisis Group analysts do: undertaking objective and impartial research.”

One possibility is that Kovrig may have been caught up in recent rule changes in China that affect non-governmental organizations, according to Bloomberg. The ICG wasn’t authorized to do work in China, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said during a regular press briefing in Beijing Wednesday.

“We welcome foreign travelers. But if they engage in activities that clearly violate Chinese laws and regulations, then it is totally another story,” he said, adding he had no information on Kovrig specifically.

As Bloomberg further notes, foreign non-governmental organizations are now required to register with the Chinese authorities under a 2017 law that subjects them to stringent reporting requirements. Under the law, organizations without a representative office in China must have a government sponsor and a local cooperative partner before conducting activities. ICG said this is the first time they’ve heard such an accusation from the Chinese authorities in a decade of working with the country. The company closed its Beijing operations in December 2016 because of the new Chinese law, according to a statement. Kovrig was working out of the Hong Kong office.

Meanwhile, realizing that it is increasingly bearing the brunt of China’s retaliatory anger, Trudeau’s government distanced itself from Meng’s case, saying it can’t interfere with the courts, but is closely involved in advocating on Kovrig’s behalf.

So far Canada has declined to speculate on whether there was a connection between the Kovrig and Meng cases, with neither Freeland nor Canadian Trade Minister Jim Carr saying Wednesday that there is any indication the cases are related. Then again, it is rather obvious they are. Indeed, Guy Saint-Jacques, who served as ambassador to China from 2012 to 2016 and worked with Kovrig, says the link is clear. “There’s no coincidence with China.”

“In this case, they couldn’t grab a Canadian diplomat because this would have created a major diplomatic incident,” he said. “Going after him I think was their way to send a message to the Canadian government and to put pressure.”

Even though Meng was granted bail late Tuesday, that did not placate China, whose foreign ministry spokesman said that “The Canadian side should correct its mistakes and release Ms. Meng Wanzhou immediately.”

The tension, according to Bloomberg,  may force Canadian companies to reconsider travel to China, and executives traveling to the Asian country will need to exercise extra caution, said Andy Chan, managing partner at Miller Thomson LLP in Vaughan, Ontario.

“Canadian business needs to look at and balance the reasons for the travel’’ between the business case and the “current political environment,’’ Chan said by email. Chinese officials subject business travelers to extra screening and in some case reject them from entering, he said.

Earlier in the day, SCMP reported that Chinese high-tech researchers were told “not to travel to the US unless it’s essential.”

And so, with Meng unlikely to be released from Canada any time soon, expect even more “Chinese (non) coincidences”, until eventually China does detain someone that the US does care about.

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Multipolar World Order in the Making: Qatar Dumps OPEC

Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The decision by Qatar to abandon OPEC threatens to redefine the global energy market, especially in light of Saudi Arabia’s growing difficulties and the growing influence of the Russian Federation in the OPEC+ mechanism.

In a surprising statement, Qatari energy minister Saad al-Kaabi warned OPEC on Monday December 3 that his country had sent all the necessary documentation to start the country’s withdrawal from the oil organization in January 2019. Al-Kaabi stressed that the decision had nothing to do with recent conflicts with Riyadh but was rather a strategic choice by Doha to focus on the production of LNG, which Qatar, together with the Russian Federation, is one of the largest global exporters of. Despite an annual oil extraction rate of only 1.8% of the total of OPEC countries (about 600,000 barrels a day), Qatar is one of the founding members of the organization and has always had a strong political influence on the governance of the organization. In a global context where international relations are entering a multipolar phase, things like cooperation and development become fundamental; so it should not surprise that Doha has decide to abandon OPEC. OPEC is one of the few unipolar organizations that no longer has a meaningful purpose in 2018, given the new realities governing international relations and the importance of the Russian Federation in the oil market.

Besides that, Saudi Arabia requires the organization to maintain a high level of oil production due to pressure coming from Washington to achieve a very low cost per barrel of oil. The US energy strategy targets Iranian and Russian revenue from oil exports, but it also aims to give the US a speedy economic boost. Trump often talks about the price of oil falling as his personal victory. The US imports about 10 million barrels of oil a day, which is why Trump wrongly believes that a decrease in the cost per barrel could favor a boost to the US economy. The economic reality shows a strong correlation between the price of oil and the financial growth of a country, with low prices of crude oil often synonymous of a slowing down in the economy.

It must be remembered that to keep oil prices low, OPEC countries are required to maintain a high rate of production, doubling the damage to themselves. Firstly, they take less income than expected and, secondly, they deplete their oil reserves to favor the strategy imposed by Saudi Arabia on OPEC to please the White House. It is clearly a strategy that for a country like Qatar (and perhaps Venezuela and Iran in the near future) makes little sense, given the diplomatic and commercial rupture with Riyadh stemming from tensions between the Gulf countries.

In contrast, the OPEC+ organization, which also includes other countries like the Russian Federation, Mexico and Kazakhstan, seems to now to determine oil and its cost per barrel. At the moment, OPEC and Russia have agreed to cut production by 1.2 million barrels per day, contradicting Trump’s desire for high oil output.

With this last choice Qatar sends a clear signal to the region and to traditional allies, moving to the side of OPEC+ and bringing its interests closer in line with those of the Russian Federation and its all-encompassing oil and gas strategy, two sectors in which Qatar and Russia dominate market share.

In addition, Russia and Qatar’s global strategy also brings together and includes partners like Turkey (a future energy hub connecting east and west as well as north and south) and Venezuela. In this sense, the meeting between Maduro and Erdogan seems to be a prelude to further reorganization of OPEC and its members.

The declining leadership role of Saudi Arabia in the oil and financial market goes hand in hand with the increase of power that countries like Qatar and Russia in the energy sectors are enjoying. The realignment of energy and finance signals the evident decline of the Israel-US-Saudi Arabia partnership. Not a day goes by without corruption scandals in Israel, accusations against the Saudis over Khashoggi or Yemen, and Trump’s unsuccessful strategies in the commercial, financial or energy arenas. The path this doomed

trio is taking will only procure less influence and power, isolating them more and more from their opponents and even historical allies.

Moscow, Beijing and New Delhi, the Eurasian powerhouses, seem to have every intention, as seen at the trilateral summit in Buenos Aires, of developing the ideal multipolar frameworks to avoid continued US dominance of the oil market through shale revenues or submissive allies as Saudi Arabia, even though the latest spike in production is a clear signal from Riyadh to the USA. In this sense, Qatar’s decision to abandon OPEC and start a complex and historical discussion with Moscow on LNG in the format of an enlarged OPEC marks the definitive decline of Saudi Arabia as a global energy power, to be replaced by Moscow and Doha as the main players in the energy market.

Qatar’s decision is, officially speaking, unconnected to the feud triggered by Saudi Arabia against the small emirate. However, it is evident that a host of factors has led to this historic decision. The unsuccessful military campaign in Yemen has weakened Saudi Arabia on all fronts, especially militarily and economically. The self-inflicted fall in the price of oil is rapidly consuming Saudi currency reserves, now at a new low of less than 500 billion dollars. Events related to Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) have de-legitimized the role of Riyadh in the world as a reliable diplomatic interlocutor. The internal and external repression by the Kingdom has provoked NGOs and governments like Canada’s to issue public rebukes that have done little to help MBS’s precarious position.

In Syria, the victory of Damascus and her allies has consolidated the role of Moscow in the region, increased Iranian influence, and brought Turkey and Qatar to the multipolar side, with Tehran and Moscow now the main players in the Middle East. In terms of military dominance, there has been a clear regional shift from Washington to Moscow; and from an energy perspective, Doha and Moscow are turning out to be the winners, with Riyadh once again on the losing side.

As long as the Saudi royal family continues to please Donald Trump, who is prone to catering to Israeli interests in the region, the situation of the Kingdom will only get worse. The latest agreement on oil production between Moscow and Riyad signals that someone in the Saudi royal family has probably figured this out.

Countries like Turkey, India, China, Russia and Iran understand the advantages of belonging to a multipolar world, thereby providing a collective geopolitical ballast that is mutually beneficial. The energy alignment between Qatar and the Russian Federation seems to support this general direction, a sort of G2 of LNG gas that will only strengthen the position of Moscow on the global chessboard, while guaranteeing a formidable military umbrella for Doha in case of a further worsening of relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

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