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Numerous Explosives Discovered Near Winter Olympics Site | Zero Hedge

Numerous Explosives Discovered Near Winter Olympics Site | Zero Hedge.

Just a few short weeks away, the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympic may go off with a bang, literally, judging by the amount of “terrorist” chatter surrounding the games. Today however, it is more than just chatter: earlier the Russian media reported that Russian security forces had come across multiple unexplained deaths and explosive devices in a region near Sochi, resulting in an aggressive “anti-terrorism sweep.”

The developments are bizarre to say the least:

A car with a body inside exploded as police approached it in Russia’s Stavropol Territory, reported Russia’s state-owned RIA Novosti, citing the Interior Ministry. In the same area, Russian authorities reportedly discovered a car containing the bodies of three men along with explosive material. The day before, two more bodies were found in the same region.

 

Russian officials are investigating the possible cause and motive for the deaths — a Russia analyst speculated to ABC News the deaths could be related to organized crime — but at any rate the mystery and the security sweep add to an already tense situation in southern Russia as the Olympics approach.

One person keeping a close eye on the developments is none other than president Obama, who as we reported yesterday, will unleash an ad blitz for Obamacare around the Olympics. The last thing he will want is for the participants in the games to have need of it. Which is why one can be certain that the NSA and various US security forces are already well aware of any potential sources of terrorism around the games. Sure enough, in a statement of condolences from the White House over the most recent Volgograd bombings, President Obama’s National Security Council slipped in an apparent jab at the Russian government over the security situation. “The U.S. government has offered our full support to the Russian government in security preparations for the Sochi Olympic Games, and we would welcome the opportunity for closer cooperation for the safety of the athletes, spectators, and other participants,” the NSC statement said.”

Some thoughts on who they may be:

Just 10 days ago more than 30 people were killed in dual suicide bombings in Volgograd, Russia, some 400 miles northeast of Sochi. By comparison, Moscow lies more than 850 miles north of Sochi. In October seven people were killed when a suicide bomber detonated explosives on a bus, also in Volgograd. The Stavropol Territory lies approximately halfway between Volgograd and Sochi – approximately 150 miles away from the Olympic site.

 

No group has publicly claimed responsibility for the bombings, but in the case of the October bus bombing, Russian authorities said the bomber hailed from Dagestan, a restive region in southern Russia to Sochi’s east that, along with Chechnya, is home to a violent Islamist insurgency that has fought Russian government forces for decades.

 

The leader of the insurgency, Doku Umarov, sometimes referred to as “Russia’s Osama bin Laden,” last June called on his followers to “do their utmost to derail” the Sochi Olympics, which he called a “satanic dance on the bones of our ancestors.” In the past Umarov has claimed responsibility for deadly attacks on Russian civilians, including the 2011 bombing of Moscow’s Domodedovo airport.

What is far more clear is who is providing the funding and supplies for the Islamists – the same puppetmaster who was behind the Syrian conflict. Recall:

Bandar told Putin, “There are many common values and goals that bring us together, most notably the fight against terrorism and extremism all over the world. Russia, the US, the EU and the Saudis agree on promoting and consolidating international peace and security. The terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya. … As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.”

Putin laughed in Bandar’s face, the Saudi natgas pipeline gambit in Syria failed, and as a result the escalation in Sochi is progressing just as Bandar implied it would. Naturally this puts Obama in a tough spot: he can’t openly act against Saudi interests once again after alieanting his ally in the region and take out the terrorist camps in Chechnya, but the last thing he would want is to cart home coffins of athletes.

Which means US participants are resorting to Plan B:

the U.S. ski and snowboard team this year will be overseen by a private security firm, which plans to have as many as five aircraft on standby in case of a medical or security emergency in Sochi. “This environment is unique,” Global Rescue CEO Dan Richards told USA Today Wednesday. “You just don’t have competitions in places like Sochi with any frequency. … In the last 10 years, there has been nothing like it.”

 

William Rathburn, who was the head of Olympic Security during the bombing of the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Georgia, told ABC News that while he’s confident Russian officials “have done everything they can” to secure the upcoming games, the odds of an incident are “very high.”

 

“It’s an opportunity for the Chechen [militants] or anyone else to embarrass Russia or [Russian President Vladimir] Putin, I think,” he said. “It’s far easier to protect against attacks on somebody who might be targeted, a group or country or delegation. [But] it’s clear that the people who conducted the two bombings in Volgograd are willing to indiscriminately kill people. It’s very difficult to protect against…”

And after last year in which Putin humiliated US and most western foreign policy on virtually every front, the number of people who want to embarass Putin is quite long.

2013 Greatest Hits: Presenting The Most Popular Posts Of The Past Year | Zero Hedge

2013 Greatest Hits: Presenting The Most Popular Posts Of The Past Year | Zero Hedge.

The fifth anniversary of Zero Hedge is just around the corner, and so, for the fifth year in a row we continue our tradition of summarizing what you, our readers, found to be the most relevant, exciting, and actionable news of the year, determined objectively by the number of page views. Those eager for a brief stroll down memory lane of prior years can do so at their leisure, by going back in time to our top articles of 200920102011 and 2012. For everyone else, without further ado, these are the articles that readers found to be the most popular posts of the past 365 days.

  • In 25th place, with just over 100k reads, was the extended profile of the puppetmaster of the biggest geopolitical event of 2013, the false flag-driven Syran conflict which nearly escalated into the world’s first YouTube “justified” world war pitching the US-led west against the Russia-led east, the Saudi intelligence chief: Prince Bandar, exposed in “Meet Saudi Arabia’s Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War.” The war was avoided with a last minute gambit by Putin, which lead to a historic detente between the US and Iran, as well as an unprecedented breakdown in US relations with its long-time middle east allies Saudi Arabia and Israel. Look for the Middle East to make geopolitical headlines in the new year since the underlying issue – Europe’s dependence on Gazprom – remains entirely unresolved.
  • The 24th most popular article hardly needs an explanation: “The Chinese Don’t Want Dollars Anymore, They Want Gold” – London’s Gold Vaults Are Empty: This Is Why.” The only comment here is that like above, the trend of gold’s transfer from West to East, started in earnest in late 2012, and peaking in 2013, is sure to continue in 2014 when the liquidation of paper gold in Western capital markets will afford Chinese buyers with ever more attractive prices at which to purchase physical gold
  • In 23rd spot an “Unidentified Navy Officer summed it all up” when he said that “I didn’t join the navy to fight for Al Qaeda in a Syrian civil war.” It is understandable why over 106,000 people agreed with the message
  • The 22nd most popular article looked at “What Happened The Last Time We Saw Gold Drop Like This?” which compared the fall in the price of gold in 2013 to previous historic occasions, most notably the months just before the collapse of Lehman. For now, courtesy of the $170 billion in liquidity injected by the Fed and the BOJ, “this time has proven different.” But with the Fed now tapering, how much longer will the illusion persist? We, like everyone else, look to 2014 for the answer.
  • With 108k views, the 21st most read post of 2013 revealed the “Photos And Video Of the Boston Bombing Suspects“, culminating the most violent terrorist event in years, and one which brought back vivid memories of the events from September 11
  • It may seem like a distant memory now, but the shocking announcement from mid-March in which Cypriot deposits were confiscated without a warning, reverberated across Europe and all insolvent banking systems, especially since it is now the blueprint of how banks will impair depositors going forward. Then again, with over 112k reads of our summary “For Everyone Shocked By What Just Happened… And Why This Is Just The Beginning” we reminded our readers that the deposit confiscation event of 2013 was predicted on these pages nearly two years earlier, and explained why, indeed, this is just the beginning of the great balance sheet rebalancing. For now Europe has managed to hide its hundreds of billions in bad loans under the couch; 2014 will be a different story. Look for the Cyprus “blueprint” to see a much wider acceptance in the coming year.
  • In 19th spot, mother nature reminded everyone with a “Stunning Time-Lapse Video Of 2-Mile Wide Oklahoma Tornado” that despite their sense of omnipotence, the central planners better pray each and every day that in a world priced to beyond perfection, that there are no material natural disasters. Because 10 out of 10 times, a liquidity tsunami generated from a central bank’s printer is powerless to withstand a natural one, as the Fukushima catastrophe reminds us each and every day with headlines of its ever deteriorating radiation “containment.”
  • A long-time favorite of readers, Kyle Bass’ Japan thesis came one step closer to fruition when earlier this year Japan went all in on its great reflation experiment, described in “Kyle Bass Warns The ‘AIG’ Of The World Is Back“, a presentation seen by over 114K readers. So far Abenomics has been a failure with wages contracting, import food and energy prices soaring, a record trade deficit (yes, Abenomics was supposed to boost net exports), and of course Fukushima in the background, but for now everyone has a rampaging Nikkei to be easily distracted by. With Abe’s popularity finally tumbling, will his second tenure as Prime Minister be cut short, and would his departure finally force Japan to cross the event horizon of no return? This is but another question which we hope 2014 will answer.
  • In 17th spot, we revealed some very disturbing trends in US energy consumption with “These Charts Better Not Reflect The True State Of The US Economy.” Because while the shale revolution may have revealed a (transitory) marginal source of oil, what remains unknown is why demand for energy in the US economy is tumbling in parallel. Unless, of course, the narrative about a US recovery has been a lie from the beginning…
  • With 121k reads, in the 16th top spot another post that needs no explanation was “Stunning Images From China: Ten Thousand People Waiting In Line To Buy Gold“. Perhaps the only article that could beat this one is “Ten thousand hedge fund managers waiting in line to sell GLD”
  • There are stereotypes about others, and then there are stereotypes about America. Which perhaps explains why over 121k people eagerly read “10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America.” We can only hope they learned something.
  • It may be forgotten now, but the biggest story of early 2013 was the Bundesbank’s shocking announcement in mid-January that it would proceed to repatriate some 700 tons of its gold held in central bank vaults in New York and Paris. Of course, the events described in “It Begins: Bundesbank To Commence Repatriating Gold From New York Fed” and read by 127k people, could be seen coming by Zero Hedge readers from a mile away: after all it was this website that repeatedly warned in late 2012 about the trials and tribulations that had surrounded the official German gold hoard. We can only hope that we were in some part responsible for the Buba’s correct decision to repatriate its gold. Then again, as we updated last week, having collected only 37 tons of gold in one year (out of 700), Germany will really have to pick up the pace if it hopes to have recourse to its hard currency before it is no longer a matter of convenience but one of survival.
  • The 13th top article of the year was the release of the list with “132 Names Who Pulled Cyprus Deposits Ahead Of “Confiscation Day.” It appeared the Cyprus deposit confiscation was not a complete secret to everyone, but then again the Animal Farm “new normal” justice in which some are more equal than others is hardly a surprise to anyone these days.
  • And speaking of confiscation, the 12th most read article of 2013, with 131k views was “Poland Confiscates Half Of Private Pension Funds To “Cut” Sovereign Debt Load.” It would appear that wealth transfer, first voluntary and then, not so much, will be an increasingly prevalent theme of the “recovery”…
  • But the biggest stunner in this category was the impromptu announcement itself when on March 16, “Europe Does It Again: Cyprus Depositor Haircut “Bailout” Turns Into Saver “Panic”, Frozen Assets, Bank Runs, Broken ATMs.” Don’t worry though: Europe is now fixed, it is recovering, and, if one believes the continent’s unelected leaders, all shall forever be well. We are confident 2014 will show otherwise.
  • The 10th most read article in 2013 dealt with the bedrock of the New Normal – the dollar’s reserve currency status, and rather, its gradual disintegration as China increasingly makes itself heard. It made itself heard loud and clear to the 142k readers who clicked on “Thanks, World Reserve Currency, But No Thanks: Australia And China To Enable Direct Currency Convertibility.” The loss of USD-reserve status will be yet another theme to keep a close eye on in 2014 and onward.
  • Showing just how reliant on welfare the US has become was top article #9 in which a leaked USDA memo hinted of a “Foodstamp Program Shutdown Imminent” which grabbed the attention of 148k readers. For now SNAP as it is better known has been merely “tapered”, not fully shut down, although ensuing Walmart stampedes driven by EBT card glitches provided a glimpse of just had bad things could be if indeed nearly 50 million Americans suddenly found themselves without government backstops
  • The troubles of the poor were hardly an issue for the 8th most popular article of 2013 in which we asked if “The Russians Have Already Quietly Withdrawn All Their Cash From Cyprus?” Once again it was the middle class that got shafted, while those who could fly in and out on private jets appear to have gotten away unscathed. This is certainly the prevailing theme of the past five years and one which will accelerate into the future.
  • 152k people read the breaking news from April when “Large Explosions Reported At Boston Marathon; Numerous Injuries And Casualties.” The focal point of all watercooler talk for the next several weeks, the analogies to terrorist attacks in the past were unavoidable even if the motivations behind the attacks turned out to be far less nefarious and organized than initially feared.
  • 2013 was the year in which the largest US city (to date) filed bankruptcy. However it was “25 Facts About The Fall Of Detroit That Will Leave You Shaking Your Head” that was read by 154k people, that made this the 6th most popular article of 2013.
  • 2013 was also the year in which the stock market finally took out its previous, 2007 highs, driven entirely by the unprecedented expansion of both the Fed’s and the Bank of Japan’s balance sheets. What over 163k found curious, however, were the other economic comparisons to “The Last Time The Dow Was Here…” Needless to say, there is nothing in the economy that would justify a market at the current levels, or even levels far lower, if it were only up to the economy. Luckily, there Fed is always there to lend a helping hand. And what can possibly go wrong…
  • 2013 was not only the year of the Fed’s QEternity: it was also the year in which Japan went all in with its own reflation experiment. However, all will be for nothing unless the troubling facts revealed in “Why Have Young People In Japan Stopped Having Sex?” remain unresolved. Because at its core, Japan’s crisis is a demographic one, and at the current pace of social aging, there will be no Japan left in several decades. Unfortunately for Kuroda, he can’t print babies.
  • The third most popular article of 2013 was posted almost exactly a year ago, when it “Put America’s Tax Hike In Perspective.” Over 171k people realized just how meaningless in the grand scheme of things was America’s grand bargain achieved last year at this time, over much stock market huffing and puffing. Then again, the fact that all major decisions in the US are put in the can that is later kicked down the street is also no news to anyone. The only thing in the here and now is theatrics, theatrics and more theatrics…
  • The second most popular post of 2013, with nearly 200k reads, was our succinct summary of the US “recovery” laid out in “People Not In Labor Force Soar By 663,000 To 90 Million, Labor Force Participation Rate At 1979 Levels.” We are happy that by now everyone has finally understood that plunging unemployment at the expense of a collapsing work force is nothing to be proud about.
  • And in the top spot, with nearly 300k reads, our most read article was the satirical, sarcastic look at the Egyptian counterrevolution titled “Egyptians Love Us For Our Freedom.” Turns out…they don’t. But they certainly appreciate the irony of two-faced, hypocritical US foreign policy which was humiliated and left in tatters both in Egypt and in every other place around the globe where either Hillary Clinton or John Kerry came, saw and promptly departed in the past year.

So what to make of the world as we enter 2014?

With nearly $2 trillion in emergency liquidity pumped by the world’s two largest central banks – more than has been injected ever before – the entire world is floating on an ocean of excess liquidity, which for now has succeeded in masking just how ugly the truth beneath the calm surface is. Sooner or later, the tide comes out, as it always does, and the naked are revealed for all to see. However, this time it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who are finally exposed as wearing absolutely nothing. What happens then, and when that happens, is anyone’s guess. We, however, will be there to document every aspect of it.

Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck and success in 2014, and leave everyone with a promise of what we can be 100% sure of: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that the system is reduced to (ab)using each and every day just to keep the grand tragicomedy going for at least one more day.

 

Olduvai’s Top Ten 2013

OLDUVAI’S TOP TEN

TOP TEN POSTS:

  1. Fukushima Debris Island (292)
  2. Collapse of Trust and Faith in the System (241)
  3. Summarizing the Known Rigged Markets (226)
  4. David Suzuki’s Fukushima Warning (221)
  5. 4 Articles: Grid Ex II-Nov 13/14 North American Grid Failure Exercise (165)
  6. How the NSA Hacks Your iPhone: Presenting Dropout Jeep (145)
  7. Peak Oil Responds: “The report of my death was an exaggeration.” (138)
  8. Jeremy Grantham: We have been conned. (110)
  9. Meet Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar Bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind the Syrian War (94)
  10. Protesting Veterans Tear Down DC Barricades, Chant “Shut Down the White House” (89)

TOP INTERNAL LINKS FOLLOWED:

  1. Olduvai (4288)
  2. Home Page/Archives (1480)
  3. About (259)
  4. Topics (124)
  5. Readings (59)
  6. Media (55)
  7. Passage (54)
  8. Purchase (36)
  9. Book 2 Sneak Peek (28)

TOP TEN EXTERNAL LINKS FOLLOWED:

  1. Zerohedge (517)
  2. Olduvai (Friesen Press) (99)
  3. Huffington Post (98)
  4. Wikipedia (92)
  5. CBC (89)
  6. Al Jazeera (80)
  7. The Economic Collapse (73)
  8. Washington’s Blog (62)
  9. Kunstler (36)
  10. Bloomberg (34)

TOP TEN VIEWING COUNTRIES:

  1. United States (7553)
  2. Canada (6004)
  3. United Kingdom (511)
  4. Australia (253)
  5. Spain (171)
  6. Germany (151)
  7. France (122)
  8. Ireland (92)
  9. India (90)
  10. Mexico (84)

» Volgograd Bombings Follow Saudi Threat to Attack Russia Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!

» Volgograd Bombings Follow Saudi Threat to Attack Russia Alex Jones’ Infowars: There’s a war on for your mind!.

Prince Bandar warned Putin, “The Chechen groups….are controlled by us”

Paul Joseph Watson
Infowars.com
December 30, 2013

Twin blasts targeting a train station and a trolley bus in the city of Volgograd which killed at least 31 people follow a threat by Saudi Arabia to attack Russia using Chechen terrorists if Moscow did not withdraw its support for President Assad in Syria.

The first attack took place at Volgograd-1 station on Sunday morning, killing 17 people. CCTV footage shows an orange blast behind the main doors of the station, smashing windows and sending debris out into the street. The prime suspect is a female suicide bomber.

The second attack occurred near a busy market in Volgograd’s Dzerzhinsky district. A bus packed with people on their morning commute was ripped apart by a suicide bomber, killing 14.

Although no group has claimed responsibility for the blasts, suspicion immediately fell on Islamists from the North Caucasus region who routinely attack soft targets in Russia.

While the media has concentrated on the threat such groups pose to February’s Winter Olympics in Sochi, no scrutiny has been given to a warning issued by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan back in August when he told Vladimir Putin that Saudi Arabia would activate the Chechen terrorist groups it controls to target Russia if Moscow refused to abandon its support for Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

As we reported at the time, the threat was made during a closed-door meeting between Prince Bandar and Putin at the beginning of August.

According to a transcript of the comments made during the meeting by Middle Eastern news agency Al Monitor, Bandar made a series of promises and threats to Putin in return for Moscow withdrawing its support for Assad in Syria.

“I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year,” Bandar allegedly stated, adding, “The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”

Bandar made it clear that his position was supported by the US government.

This “guarantee” to stop the Chechens from attacking the Sochi Olympics was also obviously a veiled threat that if Russia did not abandon Assad, terrorist attacks would be given the green light.

Given that Russia did not abandon Assad and indeed virtually single-handedly prevented a US military strike on Syria, much to the chagrin of Saudi Arabia which is the primary supplier of anti-Assad rebel jihadists, are we to believe that the Volgograd bombings are evidence of Bandar following through on his threat?

Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/paul.j.watson.71
FOLLOW Paul Joseph Watson @ https://twitter.com/PrisonPlanet

*********************

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

This article was posted: Monday, December 30, 2013 at 5:49 am

 

Caught On Tape: Suicide Bombing In Russia’s Fifth Largest Train Station Kills 15, One Month Ahead Of Sochi Games | Zero Hedge

Caught On Tape: Suicide Bombing In Russia’s Fifth Largest Train Station Kills 15, One Month Ahead Of Sochi Games | Zero Hedge.

Two months ago, we reported when a female suicide bomber detonated a bomb in a bus in the Russian city of Volgograd, located 400 miles northeast of Sochi where the winter Olympic games begin in just over a month.

The explosion was caught on dashcam (the video can be seen here). But more than a mere isolated terrorist incident in a region of Russia which has historically been rife with conflict between Russia and Chechen separatists, this explosion, which took place just after Russia managed to impose its will in the Syrian conflict’s outcome, and left Saudi (and Israeli) relations with the US in tatters, we reminded readers just who is the invisible hand behind all terrorist activities in proximity to Sochi: Saudi Arabia.

Recall from our commentary on the October Volgograd explosion:

Disturbing as this video is, we believe it is only going to get worse as the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics approach. Recall from “Meet Saudi Arabia’s Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War“:

Bandar told Putin, “…The terrorist threat is growing in light of the phenomena spawned by the Arab Spring. We have lost some regimes. And what we got in return were terrorist experiences, as evidenced by the experience of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the extremist groups in Libya…. As an example, I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics in the city of Sochi on the Black Sea next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us…

Was today’s terrorist explosion just a warning shot ultimately funded and organized by none other than the biggest loser from the Syrian detente: Saudi Arabia, because recall that it was Saudi Arabia which orchestrated the near-US invasion after playing Obama and Kerry like a fiddle, in hopes of getting the natgas pipeline under Syria. Following the Putin-brokered peace plan, Saudi will now have to wait at least one more year before re-escalating tensions in the Syria region with hopes of installing its own puppet regime.  In the meantime, is Saudi now openly lashing out at the one country that made this delay a reality. And if so, when, where and how will Putin retaliate against the country that serves as the anchor of the petrodollar system? We look forward to finding out.  

It’s two months later and if indeed Bandar bin Sultan is in funding and enabling the local terrorists, then Saudi Arabia is increasingly demonstrating its displeasure with Russia, and furthermore, sending a warning to the world that the Sochi games may be hazardous to one’s health. Overnight, another almost identical explosion rocked Volgograd, when a female suicide bomber set off a bomb in one of the five largest train stations in Russia in what is a clear warning to Russia as the Winter Olympics approach.

This is what happened earlier today:

A suicide bombing has killed at least 14 people and injured over 40 in the southern Russian city of Volgograd, raising concerns about terrorism just over a month before Russia hosts the 2014 Winter Olympic Games. The train station attacked today is one of the five largest in Russia
and is a major transit point for much of southern Russia
. It was unclear
whether the train station was the woman’s intended target or whether
she planned to travel elsewhere to carry out an attack. 

A female bomber carried out the blast in a Volgograd train station, 400 miles from the site of the upcoming Olympics in the Russian resort town of Sochi, Russian authorities said. The Sochi 2014 Olympic Games are scheduled to begin on Feb. 7. A total of 33 people were hospitalized, with eight in serious condition and one in “extremely serious condition,” Oleg Solagai, a spokesman for the Russian health ministry, told Russian news agency Rossiya24.

Authorities in Volgograd said the attack left 27 people seriously injured, and that the death toll may increase. A police officer was among the dead, and a nine-year-old girl was injured, authorities said.

A severed head found at the site of the bombing is suspected to be that of the woman who carried out the attack, making it “possible to identify her,” a Volgograd law enforcement source told the Russian news agency Interfax. Investigators have reason to believe the woman came from Russia’s Dagestan region, the source told the agency. 

The bombing took place in the same city where another female suicide bomber was blamed for an attack an October bus attack that killed seven people, including the bomber.  Like the October bomb attack, today’s blast was caught on camera. Surveillance video showed the exact moment the explosion took place, just inside an entranceway to the train station.

Volgograd reeled from the attack just before the New Year’s celebrations, a major holiday in Russia that would have likely meant a high amount of traffic was passing through the train station today. Yulia Chemova with Volunteers of Russia, who was at the railway station minutes after the attack to help out, told ABC News she believed the attack was planned around the New Year holiday.

“The timing for the terrorist attack in Volgograd is perfect,” she said. “It’s holiday season; airports and train stations are packed at this time of year.”

There have been 32 terrorist attacks in Russia in the year ahead of Sochi 2014, according to Kavkazskiyuzel, a Russian think tank.

The power of today’s explosion was equivalent to at least 22 pounds of TNT, and police officers averted a much larger tragedy by stopping the woman right at the entrance to the train station, according to a committee investigating the attack. Had she made it inside, a spokesman for the committee said, casualties could have reached the hundreds. Russia’s interior ministry said it would deploy more police at all rail stations in Russia and that passengers would be subject to strict security measures.

Today’s attack bore some similarities to the October bus bombing, which authorities said was also carried out by a woman from Dagestan. Russia has for years been fighting an Islamist insurgency in the North Caucasus, a region that encompasses the restive Russian regions of Chechnya and Dagestan, as well as the Olympic host city, Sochi.

Suicide bombers, often female, from Chechnya or Dagestan and sometimes known as “black widows,” have carried out many attacks on Russian targets in the past decade, including the dual bombing of the Moscow subway in 2010 that claimed 39 lives. Female bombers from the Caucasus were also blamed for the simultaneous bombing of two Russian airplanes in 2004, an attack that killed 90 people.

And, as noted, the explosion was caught on video and can be seen below:

So, like before, if Saudi Arabia is doing its best to poke Vladimir Putin with ever escalating provocations, how long until the former KGB spy retaliates?

 

Syrian Rebel Groups Vie for Saudi Funding and Weapons

Syrian Rebel Groups Vie for Saudi Funding and Weapons.

Syrian Rebel Groups Vie for Saudi Funding and Weapons

By ISN Security Watch | Thu, 07 November 2013 22:59 | 0
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Various Syrian rebel groups have announced a spate of mergers and alliances over the past month. In theory, the trend is a welcome sign that the opposition’s extreme fragmentation is at long last being reversed. Such a development would complement the emergence of a few dominant multibrigade groupings and “fronts” within the armed rebellion over the past year.

But the reality is quite the opposite. The recent announcements reflect realignment rather than unification, and they reveal a competitive logic driven by the expectation of external funding that presages greater political polarization and deepening division.

This dysfunctional dynamic has long bedeviled the armed rebellion, but driving the latest trend is a Saudi plan to build a new national army for the Syrian opposition. It aims to create a force trained outside of Syria that is capable of defeating the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and countering the growth of jihadist rebel groups affiliated with al-Qaeda. The rebel groups realigning to receive Saudi support profess a supposedly “centrist” Islamist but avowedly Sunni ideology.

This Saudi effort will only serve to further polarize the rebels. The main losers are likely to be the currently recognized leaders of the opposition—the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces and the allied Higher Military Council of the Free Syrian Army. At its latest meeting on October 22, the Friends of Syria core group, of which Saudi Arabia is a member, called on the National Coalition to commit to representing the Syrian opposition at a Geneva II peace conference slated for late November. But many of the new rebel alliances, including those receiving stepped-up Saudi support, have already withdrawn their recognition of the National Coalition and Higher Military Council, or threatened to do so, in response to their presumed readiness to attend the conference.

Unless the Saudi-supported rebels adhere to an agreed political strategy and buy into being represented by the National Coalition, they are likely to suffer the same lack of cohesion and capacity as those they seek to supplant. And by funding its own chosen group of rebels, Saudi Arabia too risks slamming shut its windows of opportunity and undercutting its goals in Syria.

Saudi Arabia Shifts Into High Gear

The shift to an increasingly assertive stance on the Syrian crisis reflects the Saudi leadership’s dismayabout the U.S.-Russian agreement on dismantling Syria’s chemical weapons capability. The effort effectively removes the specter of U.S.-led military action against the regime and potentially rehabilitates Assad as a partner of the international community. Riyadh has long pushed for a tougher line. The additional prospect of a U.S.-Iranian understanding on the nuclear file has only made the Saudi leadership more grimly determined to bring down Assad.

The first public sign of Saudi Arabia’s intentions was an August 8 statement by the chair of the National Coalition, Ahmad al-Jarba—regarded as a Saudi nominee—that he was working with the Free Syrian Army to form a unified force of 6,000 men to confront warlords operating in liberated areas. Other National Coalition members disclosed that the force was intended as the nucleus of a national army with a strength of 7,000–10,000, including 6,300 army defectors who had taken refuge in Jordan and Turkey.

According to Saudi insiders, training involving some 5,000 rebels had already been under way in Jordan for several months with the aid of Pakistani, French, and U.S. instructors, although well-connected Jordanian sources suggest a much lower number. In any case, little can be expected from the defectors, who chose to leave Syria and have remained in isolated officers’ camps in exile ever since. This may have influenced the thinking of Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz, Director General of the Saudi Intelligence Agency Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, and Deputy Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, to whom the Syria file has been transferred. Notably hawkish on Syria, their plan is to build a rebel army of 40,000–50,000 at a cost of “several billion dollars,” according to insiders.

The plan appears to have been discussed, at least in general outline, by the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates, who met French President François Hollande on September 13. This resulted in an agreement “to step up international support for the democratic opposition to allow it to cope with attacks from the regime.” A high-level Saudi delegation visited Paris a month later to negotiate contracts for arming and equipping both the Free Syrian Army and the new national army.

Following what it regards as the “defection” of the U.S. administration from the coalition of countries willing to support the Syrian opposition militarily, Saudi Arabia has turned to Pakistan to provide training for the new army. But this may prove difficult, given the major national security challenges facing the Pakistani armed forces ahead of the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan and the uncertainty of the country’s civil-military relationship during the selection of a new chief of general staff. Sources with good access to the Pakistani Ministry of Defense and military intelligence services confirm that the armed forces were already reluctant or unable to meet a previous Saudi request to provide special forces training to the Syrian rebels. They regard the scale of the new Saudi proposal as unmanageable.

Related article: Why Syria is Important to Iran?

Crucially, it will be difficult to find a steady place to base and train the new force. Resistance to acting as a rear base for the rebels or supporting external military intervention in Syria is building up in Jordan, which has been a conduit for Saudi-funded training and arms since late 2012. Since then, the kingdom has become part of a clear axis with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates regarding Syria. But the new Saudi plan requires Jordanian commitment on a scale that is opposed within the security and military establishment and is unlikely to be implemented.

Buying a Ready-Made Rebel Army

The prospect of building a rebel army outside Syria is poor. The only practical way to build one is to amalgamate and sponsor existing armed groups inside Syria—but that too is becoming more difficult as rebel alliances shift and proliferate.

Many of Syria’s rebel groups are positioning themselves to receive Saudi funding and weapons by declaring mergers and alliances. In fact, competition for external funding has long been a powerful driver of organizational dynamics within Syria’s armed rebellion. Not all of that support comes from government sources. It is already customary for private donors in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates to sponsor rebel groups of their choice, most often Salafists or jihadists, as the Facebook pages of these forces proudly attest.

Most prominent among the new groups receiving Saudi government funding is the Army of Islam, formed on September 29. It was founded by 43 rebel brigades and battalions in the Damascus region under the leadership of Zahran Alloush, commander of the local Islam Brigade (the backbone of the Army of Islam) and secretary general of the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front. Although the Army of Islam denied press reports of Saudi sponsorship, its stated aim of “uniting the efforts of all factions . . . and forming an official army” coincided precisely with the Saudi objective.

The formation of the Army of Islam closely followed the publication by the association of Muslim ulema in Syria of a proposal to unite Islamist rebel groups under a single Army of Muhammad, with a stated target of building up to a strength of 100,000 by March 2015 and 250,000 by March 2016. Although such an army would espouse a centrist and nonsectarian ideology, according to the proposal’s authors, it would nonetheless follow “the path of the Sunnah and Jama’ah,” unambiguously declaring its Sunni affiliation. Since then, the Army of Islam has discussed forming the all-encompassing Army of Muhammad with the “moderate Islamist” Tawhid and Suqour al-Sham Brigades.

The fracturing has gone even further. When Alloush announced the Army of Islam, several of his main partners in the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front complained that they had not been consulted and pulled out of the Damascus-area joint operations room in protest. Five of them then formed the Glories of Islam Assembly on October 4. Elsewhere, four moderate Salafist groups in the northeastern Albu Kamal region had already announced the formation of the Army of the People of the Sunnah and Jama’ah on October 2.

A day after the Army of Islam was formed, the al-Habib al-Mustafa and al-Sahaba Brigades announced that, along with Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement, probably the strongest rebel faction in Syria, they were withdrawing from the Chamber of the Council of Kuwaiti Supporters of the Syrian Revolution in Damascus and Its Rif. They cited what they described as the hegemony of certain groups, the exclusion of others, and the lack of an agreed vision as the reasons for the pullout.

The competitive dynamic also seems to have prompted 106 non-Islamist rebel groups from across Syria to form the Union of Free Syrians on October 13, again as “the nucleus of the future Syrian army.” The absence of Islamist discourse from their founding statement may not preclude Saudi support, but a more favored recipient is prominent Islamic preacher Sheikh Adnan al-Aroor. Aroor features in the network of rebel groups being pulled together in the new Saudi plan, highlighting its focus on building a Sunni rebel army.

Taking on Jihadists or Weakening Centrist Islamists?

The Saudi leadership may be forgiven for believing that, in contrast to the modest role it played among those supporting Syria’s armed rebellion a year ago, its intervention will be decisive now that it is firmly in the driver’s seat and ready to commit what an insider describes as “limitless” funds. But that approach may prove counterproductive. A year ago the battle lines were simpler: the Free Syrian Army versus the Assad regime. Today, as former intelligence chief Prince Turki al-Faisal explained, the Saudi leadership seeks to wage two battles—one against Assad and his family, the other against al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria. But Riyadh is not winning the fight against the jihadists, and its efforts may splinter the opposition further.

A number of groups seem to have mobilized in the face of the Saudi effort. The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, an umbrella group of jihadist insurgents formed in Iraq in 2006, has been moving forcefully against other rebel groups in northern Syria since late August, wresting control of border crossings with Turkey and forcing affiliates of the Free Syrian Army in Raqqa and Aleppo to leave or declare allegiance to it. Along with other jihadist groups, it believes that it is targeted by the United States and U.S. allies such as Saudi Arabia. The group has also reached an understanding with its sister al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, and the powerful Ahrar al-Sham Islamic Movement to set aside their differences, form a joint judicial council, and increase joint operations against Assad regime forces. This axis, along with several smaller jihadist groups that continue to appear, is bearing the brunt of fighting against regime forces to the southeast of Aleppo. Jabhat al-Nusra now also operates along the border with Jordan.

The network of alliances being woven by Saudi Arabia has yet to prove its mettle in this looming confrontation. On the contrary, the Tawhid Brigade, despite having been invited to join the Army of Islam in forming the larger Army of Muhammad, has repeatedly declared its neutrality in an onslaught waged by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant since mid-September in northern Syria.

Related article: Turkey’s Zorlu Group Fights for Israel Pipeline

Equally significantly, the Saudi drive to build an unmistakably Sunni army may increase the potential for rebel fragmentation, even among the like-minded centrist Islamist and Salafist groups it targets. The groups that refused to join the Army of Islam, for example, include several of the main armed factions in the eastern Ghouta area of Damascus and members of the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front, bringing the army’s unity and cohesion into question.

Implications for the Secular Moderates

At a time of deepening polarization within the Syrian opposition, the Saudi plan’s focus on creating a Sunni army undermines those who share an interest in preventing the rise of the jihadist wing of the armed rebellion. Some members of the National Coalition have sought to join the bandwagon, speaking warmly of creating a “central political-military council under Islamic command.” But this only underlines the declining fortunes of the coalition and the Higher Military Council, both of which have nominally been under Saudi patronage since last June, when Jarba became the coalition’s new chair. The single-minded focus on a military approach undermines what residual standing and authority the National Coalition and Higher Military Council still have inside Syria.

Saudi disappointment with both bodies is understandable. Their leadership has lost credibility and lacks a strategy for defeating the regime, whether militarily or politically, by developing concrete proposals for transitional power sharing that might persuade the regime’s principal institutional and social constituents to abandon it. The National Coalition also remains unable to govern liberated areas.

But by channeling funding and weapons flows directly to rebel groups on the ground, rather than entirely through the Higher Military Council, the Saudi approach runs counter to the needs of military consolidation. And by working around the recognized opposition and relying on massive funding to create a unified rebel army, Riyadh neither assures its military effectiveness nor does anything to address the critical political failings of the Syrian opposition.

The focus on manipulating and micromanaging rebel dynamics also complicates civil-military relations on the ground. When, for example, civilian bodies announced the formation of an expanded civilian council for the city of Douma in eastern Ghouta on October 13, Army of Islam commander Alloush condemned them for “dividing the voice of Muslims, which is haram [forbidden] and splits the ranks.” Their announcement of an independent judicial body was also, in Alloush’s view, an “inexcusable transgression” against the local Shura Council that he helped to found in March, and that he dominates.

All this has significant implications for the upcoming Geneva II peace conference. The National Coalition faces a particularly fateful moment as its partners drop away. Twelve rebel groups, most of which nominally belong to the Free Syrian Army, joined al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra on September 24 in rejecting thecoalition’s representative status. On October 15, 50 armed groups announced that they were forming an independent revolutionary command council in the southern region and withdrawing recognition of the National Coalition because “it has abandoned the principles of the homeland and the revolution.” Two days later, Alloush warned starkly that “the coalition will be treated as our enemy, just the same as Bashar al-Assad’s regime, if it decides to go to the Geneva II peace conference next month to seek a political solution to the Syrian crisis.” And on October 26, nineteen rebel groups, including all three members of the putative Army of Muhammad, regarded anyone attending the conference or negotiating with the regime as being guilty of “trading in the blood of the Syrian people and treason . . . [they] must be brought to justice.”

Scoring Own Goals

Saudi Arabia has ample reason to be distressed by the continuing death and destruction inflicted on the Syrian people and dissatisfied with the actions of its friends and allies in the Friends of Syria group of countries. But its current approach risks undermining its own objectives in Syria.

Already, deep unhappiness with U.S. policy on Syria—as well as on Iran and Palestine—has prompted Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz to warn of a “major shift” in the two countries’ bilateral relationship. A policy shift on this scale is almost certainly unsustainable. More immediately, the widening rift places Jordan and the National Coalition, which are important to the success of Saudi plans in Syria but rely no less heavily on the strength and durability of their own relations with the United States, in a distinctly uncomfortable and potentially untenable position.

The divergence of Saudi and U.S. approaches additionally complicates the Geneva II peace conference. Although the Friends of Syria’s October 22 final communiqué set tough terms for participation in the conference and strict parameters for the transition that meet National Coalition and Saudi expectations, Riyadh’s insistence on excluding Tehran from the meeting opens up another possible rift with its allies, several of whom have openly signaled their willingness to accept Iranian participation.

The Saudi leadership might argue that its plan to increase military pressure on the Assad regime will compel it to accept the terms set by the Friends of Syria for participation in the peace conference. Turki al-Faisal seemed to argue this when he reiterated the need to help the opposition achieve “a level playing field.” But this is belied by the unexpected and unusually public spat with the United States, which damages the prospect that the Saudi plan can weld rebels into a unified army. The conference may not convene or succeed anyway, but the fact that the rebel groups receiving Saudi support have vocally rejected the effort lowers its chances further. And the collateral damage to the National Coalition undermines a different part of the Saudi approach, constituting another own goal.

This leaves the Saudi leadership heavily dependent on Syria’s Sunni rebels. If its plan to unite them fails, Riyadh’s credibility will be diminished. Worse, Saudi Arabia could find itself replicating its experience in Afghanistan, where it built up disparate mujahideen groups that lacked a unifying political framework. The forces were left unable to govern Kabul once they took it, paving the way for the Taliban to take over. Al-Qaeda followed, and the blowback subsequently reached Saudi Arabia.

In Syria, Saudi reliance on funding and weapons supply as principal levers of acquiring influence, the concentration on escalating military pressure on the regime without developing a clear political strategy to defeat it in parallel, and the focus on mobilizing and strengthening groups with an overtly Sunni Muslim character risk contributing to a similar outcome. The Saudi leadership should be careful what it creates in Syria: Muhammad’s Army may eventually come home to Mecca.

By. Yezid Sayigh for Carnegie Middle East Center

The Growing Rift With Saudi Arabia Threatens To Severely Damage The Petrodollar

The Growing Rift With Saudi Arabia Threatens To Severely Damage The Petrodollar. (source)

The number one American export is U.S. dollars.  It is paper currency that is backed up by absolutely nothing, but the rest of the world has been using it to trade with one another and so there is tremendous global demand for our dollars.  The linchpin of this system is the petrodollar.  For decades, if you have wanted to buy oil virtually anywhere in the world you have had to do so with U.S. dollars.  But if one of the biggest oil exporters on the planet, such as Saudi Arabia, decided to start accepting other currencies as payment for oil, the petrodollar monopoly would disintegrate very rapidly.  For years, everyone assumed that nothing like that would happen any time soon, but now Saudi officials are warning of a “major shift” in relations with the United States.  In fact, the Saudis are so upset at the Obama administration that “all options” are reportedly “on the table”.  If it gets to the point where the Saudis decide to make a major move away from the petrodollar monopoly, it will be absolutely catastrophic for the U.S. economy.

The biggest reason why having good relations with Saudi Arabia is so important to the United States is because the petrodollar monopoly will not work without them.  For decades, Washington D.C. has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep the Saudis happy.  But now the Saudis are becoming increasingly frustrated that the U.S. military is not being usedto fight their wars for them.  The following is from a recent Daily Mail report

Upset at President Barack Obama’s policies on Iran and Syria, members of Saudi Arabia’s ruling family are threatening a rift with the United States that could take the alliance between Washington and the kingdom to its lowest point in years.

Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief is vowing that the kingdom will make a ‘major shift’ in relations with the United States to protest perceived American inaction over Syria’s civil war as well as recent U.S. overtures to Iran, a source close to Saudi policy said on Tuesday.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan told European diplomats that the United States had failed to act effectively against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, was growing closer to Tehran, and had failed to back Saudi support for Bahrain when it crushed an anti-government revolt in 2011, the source said.

Saudi Arabia desperately wants the U.S. military to intervene in the Syrian civil war on the side of the “rebels”.  This has not happened yet, and the Saudis are very upset about that.

Of course the Saudis could always go and fight their own war, but that is not the way that the Saudis do things.

So since the Saudis are not getting their way, they are threatening to punish the U.S. for their inaction.  According to Reuters, the Saudis are saying that “all options are on the table now”…

Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter, ploughs much of its earnings back into U.S. assets. Most of the Saudi central bank’s net foreign assets of $690 billion are thought to be denominated in dollars, much of them in U.S. Treasury bonds.

“All options are on the table now, and for sure there will be some impact,” the Saudi source said.

Sadly, most Americans have absolutely no idea how important all of this is.  If the Saudis break the petrodollar monopoly, it would severely damage the U.S. economy.  For those that do not fully understand the importance of the petrodollar, the following is a good summary of how the petrodollar works from an article by Christopher Doran

In a nutshell, any country that wants to purchase oil from an oil producing country has to do so in U.S. dollars. This is a long standing agreement within all oil exporting nations, aka OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The UK for example, cannot simply buy oil from Saudi Arabia by exchanging British pounds. Instead, the UK must exchange its pounds for U.S. dollars. The major exception at present is, of course, Iran.

This means that every country in the world that imports oil—which is the vast majority of the world’s nations—has to have immense quantities of dollars in reserve. These dollars of course are not hidden under the proverbial national mattress. They are invested. And because they are U.S. dollars, they are invested in U.S. Treasury bills and other interest bearing securities that can be easily converted to purchase dollar-priced commodities like oil. This is what has allowed the U.S. to run up trillions of dollars of debt: the rest of the world simply buys up that debt in the form of U.S. interest bearing securities.

This arrangement works out very well for the United States because we can wildly print money and run up gigantic amounts of debt and the rest of the world gobbles it all up.

In 2012, the United States ran a trade deficit of about $540,000,000,000 with the rest of the planet.  In other words, about half a trillion more dollars left the country than came into the country.  These dollars represent the number one “product” that the U.S. exports.  We make dollars and exchange them for the things that we need.  Major exporting countries (such as Saudi Arabia) take many of those dollars and “invest” them in our debt at ultra-low interest rates.  It is this system that makes our massively inflated standard of living possible.

When this system ends, the era of cheap imports and super low interest rates will be over and the “adjustment” to our standard of living will be excruciatingly painful.

And without a doubt, the day is rapidly approaching when the petrodollar monopoly will end.

Today, Russia is the number one exporter of oil in the world.

China is now the number one importer of oil in the world, and at this point they are actually importing more oil from Saudi Arabia than the United States is.

So why should Russia, China and virtually everyone else continue to be forced to use U.S. dollars to trade oil?

That is a very good question.

In fact, China has been making a whole lot of noise recently about the fact that it is time to start becoming less dependent on the U.S. dollar.  The following comes from a recent CNBC article authored by Michael Pento

Our addictions to debt and cheap money have finally caused our major international creditors to call for an end to dollar hegemony and to push for a “de-Americanized” world.

China, the largest U.S. creditor with $1.28 trillion in Treasury bonds, recently put out a commentary through the state-run Xinhua news agency stating that, “Such alarming days when the destinies of others are in the hands of a hypocritical nation have to be terminated.”

For much more on all of this, please see my previous article entitled “9 Signs That China Is Making A Move Against The U.S. Dollar“.

But you very rarely hear anything about this on the evening news, and most Americans do not understand these things at all.  The fact that the U.S. produces the de facto reserve currency of the planet is an absolutely massive advantage for us.  According to John Mauldin, this advantage allows us to consume far more wealth than we actually produce…

What that means in practical terms is that the United States can purchase more with its currency than it produces and sells. In theory those accounts should balance. But the world’s reserve currency, for all intent and purposes, becomes a product. The world needs dollars in order to conduct its trade. Today, if someone in Peru wants to buy something from Thailand, they first convert their local currency into US dollars and then purchase the product with those dollars. Those dollars eventually wind up at the Central Bank of Thailand, which includes them in its reserve balance. When someone in Thailand wants to purchase an imported product, their bank accesses those dollars, which may go anywhere in the world that will take the US dollar, which is to say pretty much anywhere.

And as Mauldin went on to explain in that same article, a significant amount of the money that we ship out to the rest of the globe ends up getting reinvested in U.S. government debt…

That privilege allows US citizens to purchase goods and services at prices somewhat lower than those people in the rest of the world must pay. We can produce electronic fiat dollars, and the rest of the world accepts them because they need them to in order to trade with each other. And they do so because they trust the dollar more than they do any other currency that is readily available. You can take those dollars and come to the United States and purchase all manner of goods, including real estate and stocks. Just this week a Chinese company spent $600 million to buy a building in New York City. Such transactions happen all the time.

And there is one other item those dollars are used to pay for: US Treasury bonds. We buy oil and all manner of goods with our electronic dollars, and those dollars typically end up on the reserve balance sheets of other central banks, which buy our government bonds. It’s hard to quantify the exact amount, but these transactions significantly lower the cost of borrowing for the US government. On a $16 trillion debt, every basis point (1/10 of 1%) means a saving of $16 billion annually. So 5 basis points would be $80 billion a year. There are credible estimates that the savings are well in excess of $100 billion a year. Thus, as the debt grows, the savings also grow! That also means the total debt compounds at a lower rate.

Unfortunately, this system only works if the rest of the planet has faith in it, and right now the United States is systematically destroying the faith that the rest of the world has in our financial system.

One way that this is being done is by our reckless accumulation of debt.  The U.S. national debt is now 37 times larger than it was 40 years ago, and we are on pace to accumulate more new debt under the 8 years of the Obama administration than we did under all of the other presidents in U.S. history combined.  The rest of the world is watching this and they are beginning to wonder if we are going to be able to pay them back the money that we owe them.

Quantitative easing is another factor that is severely damaging worldwide faith in the U.S. financial system.  The rest of the globe is watching as the Federal Reserve wildly prints up money and monetizes our debt.  They are beginning to wonder why they should continue to loan us gobs of money at super low interest rates when we are beginning to resemble the Weimar Republic.

The long-term damage that we are doing to the “U.S. brand” far, far outweighs any short-term benefits of quantitative easing.

And as Richard Koo has brilliantly demonstrated, quantitative easing is going to cause long-term interest rates to eventually rise much higher than they normally should have.

What all of this means is that the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve are systematically destroying the financial system that has enabled us to enjoy such a high standard of living for the past several decades.

Yes, the U.S. economy is not doing well at the moment, but we haven’t seen anything yet.  When the monopoly of the petrodollar is broken, it is going to be absolutely devastating.

And as I wrote about the other day, when the next great economic crisis strikes it is going to pull back the curtain and reveal the rot and decay that have been eating away at the social fabric of America for a very long time.

Just check out what happened in Detroit recently.  The new police chief was almost carjacked while he was sitting in a clearly marked police vehicle…

Just four months on the job, Detroit’s new police chief got an early taste of the city’s hardscrabble streets.

While in his patrol car at an intersection on Jefferson two weeks ago, Police Chief James Craig was nearly carjacked, police spokeswoman Kelly Miner confirmed today.

Craig said he was in a marked police car with mounted lights when a man quickly tried to approach the side of his car. Craig, who became police chief in June, retold the story Monday during a program designed to crack down on carjackings.

Isn’t that crazy?

These days, the criminals are not even afraid to go after the police while they are sitting in their own vehicles.

And this is just the beginning.  Things are going to get much, much worse than this.

So let us hope that this period of relative stability that we are enjoying right now will last for as long as possible.

The times ahead are going to be extremely challenging, and I hope that you are getting ready for them.

 

This Lack Of Syrian Aggression Will Not Stand, Man: Saudi’s Bandar Bin Sultan Furious At US | Zero Hedge

This Lack Of Syrian Aggression Will Not Stand, Man: Saudi’s Bandar Bin Sultan Furious At US | Zero Hedge. (source)

That Saudi Arabia has been furious at the US for refusing to be the monarchy’s puppet Globocop, and in the last minute declining to bomb Syria following Putin’s gambit in which World War III seemed a distinctly possible consequence of John Kerry’s hamheaded “YouTube-substantiated” false flag campaign, is no secret. However, while the US has largely forgotten this latest foreign policy debacle and the humiliation it brought upon the Department of State, Saudi Arabia is nowhere close to forgetting. Or forgiving. And this time the anger comes from the one man who truly matters, and whom we dubbed several months ago as the puppetmaster behind the Syrian campaign: the man in charge of Saudi intelligence, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan.

The WSJ reports overnight, that Prince Bandar told European diplomats this weekend that he plans to scale back cooperating with the U.S. to arm and train Syrian rebels in protest of Washington’s policy in the region, participants in the meeting said.  This demonstratively framed announcement follows Saudi Arabia’s surprise decision on Friday to renounce a seat on the United Nations Security Council. “The Saudi government, after preparing and campaigning for the seat for a year, cited what it said was the council’s ineffectiveness in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian and Syrian conflicts.”

In short: Bin Sultan has decided to take the stage and make it quite clear that this lack of aggression by the US will not stand. The question is: what can or will he do?

Diplomats here said Prince Bandar, who is leading the kingdom’s efforts to fund, train and arm rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, invited a Western diplomat to the Saudi Red Sea city of Jeddah over the weekend to voice Riyadh’s frustration with the Obama administration and its regional policies, including the decision not to bomb Syria in response to its alleged use of chemical weapons in August.

“This was a message for the U.S., not the U.N.,” Prince Bandar was quoted by diplomats as specifying of Saudi Arabia’s decision to walk away from the Security Council membership.

U.S. officials said they interpreted Prince Bandar’s message to the Western diplomat as an expression of discontent designed to push the U.S. in a different direction. “Obviously he wants us to do more,” said a senior U.S. official.

Obviously. What is odd is that the “proxy” intelligence chief appears to have usurped foreign policy decision-making from the Saudi king himself.

 Top decisions in Saudi Arabia come from the king, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud, and it isn’t known if Prince Bandar’s reported remarks reflected a decision by the monarch, or an effort by Prince Bandar to influence the king. However, the diplomats said, Prince Bandar told them he intends to roll back a partnership with the U.S. in which the Central Intelligence Agency and other nations’ security bodies have covertly helped train Syrian rebels to fight Mr. Assad, Prince Bandar said, according to the diplomats. Saudi Arabia would work with other allies instead in that effort, including Jordan and France, the prince was quoted as saying.

If there was any confusion that the entire Syrian campaign was purely at the behest of the Qataris and the Saudis as we first suggested in May, it can finally be put to bed.

The monarchy was particularly angered by Mr. Obama’s decision to scrap plans to bomb Syria in response to the alleged chemical-weapons attack in August and, more recently, tentative overtures between Mr. Obama and Iran’s new president.

Diplomats and officials familiar with events recounted two previously undisclosed episodes during the buildup to the aborted Western strike on Syria that allegedly further unsettled the Saudi-U.S. relationship.

In the run-up to the expected U.S. strikes, Saudi leaders asked for detailed U.S. plans for posting Navy ships to guard the Saudi oil center, the Eastern Province, during any strike on Syria, an official familiar with that discussion said. The Saudis were surprised when the Americans told them U.S. ships wouldn’t be able to fully protect the oil region, the official said.

Disappointed, the Saudis told the U.S. that they were open to alternatives to their long-standing defense partnership, emphasizing that they would look for good weapons at good prices, whatever the source, the official said.

In the second episode, one Western diplomat described Saudi Arabia as eager to be a military partner in what was to have been the U.S.-led military strikes on Syria. As part of that, the Saudis asked to be given the list of military targets for the proposed strikes. The Saudis indicated they never got the information, the diplomat said.

“The Saudis are very upset. They don’t know where the Americans want to go,” said a senior European diplomat not in Riyadh.

To be sure, not just Prccne Bandar is angry – everyone else in Saudi is now fuming at Obama too:

 In Washington in recent days, Saudi officials have privately complained to U.S. lawmakers that they increasingly feel cut out of U.S. decision-making on Syria and Iran. A senior American official described the king as “angry.”

Another senior U.S. official added: “Our interests increasingly don’t align.”

Fair enough: but what can it do? It is no secret, that as the primary hub of the petrodollar system which is instrumental to keeping the dollar’s reserve status, Saudi has no choice but to cooperate with the US, or else risk even further deterioration of the USD reserve status. A development which would certainly please China… and Russia, both of which are actively engaging in Plan B preparations for the day when the USD is merely the latest dethroned reserve currency on the scrap heap of all such formerly world-dominant currencies.

Perhaps the only party that Saudi can lash out at, since it certainly fears escalating its animosity with the US even more, is Russia. And perhaps it did yesterday, when as we reported, a suicide-bombing terrorist incident captured on a dashcam killed many people, and was supposedly organized by an Islamist extremist – of the kind that Bandar told Putin several months ago are controlled and funded by Saudi intelligence chief.

If true, and if Saudi wants to project its impotence vis-a-vis the US by attacking Russia, this will likely culminate with the Sochi winter Olympics. So will Prince Bandar be crazy enough to take on none other than the former KGB chief? And more importantly, just like in the US Syrian fiasco, what happens when and if Putin retaliates against the true power that holds the USD in place?

 

Saudi-Israeli Alliance/DailyCensored.com

DailyCensored.com – Breaking Censored News, World, Independent, Liberal NewsUnholy Alliance – DailyCensored.com – Breaking Censored News, World, Independent, Liberal News. (FULL ARTICLE)

Unknown-2Israel and Saudi Arabia are rogue states writ large. They’re two of the world’s worst. They deplore democratic values. They spurn rule of law principles.

They commit horrendous human and civil rights abuses. They’re responsible for daily crimes against humanity.

They partner with Washington’s imperial wars. They’re an odd couple. They’re strange bedfellows. Perhaps they’re joining forces. Formal relations aren’t maintained. Back channel secret ones substitute.

On October 2, Israel’s Channel 2 TV news said senior Israeli security officials met with a high-level Gulf state counterpart. They did so in Jerusalem.

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The Arab official’s name wasn’t mentioned. It’s believed to be Saudi Prince Bandar ibn Sultan. Representing his government, he’s very much involved in Washington’s war on Syria. So is Israel…

 

Saudi Arabia “Outraged” At Obama’s Peace Overtures With Syria, Iran | Zero Hedge

Saudi Arabia “Outraged” At Obama’s Peace Overtures With Syria, Iran | Zero Hedge.

Back in August, just after the false flag chemical weapon attack in Syria, we showed that despite all the posturing by the Obama administration (and, of course, France’s belligerent, socialist leader Francois Hollande), the nation behind the entire Syrian campaign was not one of the “democratic”, Western nations but none other than close neighbor Saudi Arabia, and the brain orchestrating every move of the western puppets was one Bandar bin Sultan, the nation’s influential intelligence chief. We also explained the plethora of geopolitical and mostly energy-related issues that Saudi and Qatar had at stake, which they were eager to launch a regional war over, just to promote their particular set of selfish interests. A month later, in clear confirmation that this was precisely the case, the WSJ reported that the recent overtures by Obama, brilliantly checkmated by Putin, to push for a peaceful resolution with not only Syria, but suddenly Iran as well, has managed to infuriate Saudi Arabia: traditionally one of the US’ closest allies in the region and the key source of crude oil to the western world.

From the WSJ:

The Obama administration’s handling of overtures on Syria and Iran have outraged regional ally Saudi Arabia, which is signaling it wants to do more to boost the power of armed Sunni rebel groups on the ground in Syria as the U.S. pursues diplomacy.

 

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