Early this week in the vicinity of the entrance to the temple mount two terrorists attacked and stabbed a policeman on duty. The two terrorists were detected by the police patrolling nearby who shot one dead and the other was wounded. The entrance to the Temple Mount was closed to all Muslims Arabs under the age of 50.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has arrived in Paris to discuss the proposals by Emmanuel Macron to preserve the JCPOA deal, and is scheduled to meet with the French president today, Friday. The details of Mr. Macron’s proposal are not yet clear, but he said he has a strategy aimed at “reducing sanctions.”
The Greek government has said it will not provide any facilities to the Adrian Darya (formerly Grace 1) oil tanker. “We have sent a very clear message, saying that we do not wish to provide any facilities for the smuggling of oil to Syria,” the Greek deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday, August 21.
The Iranian oil supertanker Grace 1, recently renamed ‘Adrian Darya 1,’ finally departed from Gibraltar on Sunday night. The tanker is heading to a destination that is yet to be revealed, the information has been confirmed by shipping data and the local media. This is comes several hours after the British territory rejected a request from the United States to stop the ship from leaving.
The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran says freedom of expression in Iran has been curtailed. In his second report in six months, he expressed concern about the impact of sanctions on Iran’s “food and drug safety.” Javid Rahman submitted his second report to the UN General Assembly on Friday and it emphasized that in the past year freedom of expression in Iran has been curtailed and human rights abuses have continued.
A meeting of Iran, representatives of Yemen’s Ansarollah and ambassadors of four European countries were held in Tehran to find solutions to the Yemen crisis in Tehran. The meeting discussed the political developments and the situation in the war-torn country.
Iran and Turkey have criticized India’s policy of ending the autonomy of the two states, Jammu and Kashmir. Many Muslim countries, however, have been more cautious about recent developments in Kashmir. Mohammad Hussein Bagheri, Iranian Armed Forces chief of staff, expressed concern over the situation in Kashmir and said in a telephone conversation with his Pakistani counterpart that a military approach to the Kashmir crisis could increase complexity throughout the region. Bagheri has called on the Indian government to respect the rights of Muslim residents of the two states.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton has traveled to meet with UK Prime Minster Boris Johnson’s top officials to “keep London in line with pressure on Iran and secure shipping in the Gulf.” Iran and the US-UK joint approach to the country are expected to be among the most important issues of Bolton’s meetings and talks with British officials.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has called the Persian Gulf “a vital highway” for the country and has described the presence of non-regional and foreign forces as a source of insecurity. Mr. Zarif wrote on his Twitter post, “The National Security Priority for the Islamic Republic,” and Iran will “no doubt maintain its security.”
Mohammad Jafar Montazeri, the Attorney General of Iran Islamic Republic, once again opposed the presence of women in football stadiums, raising the question of what FIFA is doing. Iran’s AG has said in his remarks, “FIFA has no sympathy for Iranian women, and it’s resistance on allowing them to enter arenas and watch male footballers competing against each other, is a reflection of [the] enemy’s infiltration in Iran.”
After a relatively quiet couple of weeks, Iran upped the ante again this weekend. State media reported that the Revolutionary Guard seized an Iraqi oil tanker, which it accused of smuggling fuel. It is the third such vessel captured since July 13. The move comes as tensions continue to escalate between the quarantined Islamic Republic and the western powers, particularly the United States. A spokesman for the U.S. Navy, however, said they had no information to confirm the seizure.
Hamas sent a delegation to Iran and met with Ayatollah Ali Khomeini as the alliance between them seems to be expanding. Iranian leaders said that Hamas is Iran’s first line of defence. They mocked the deal of the century as a dangerous plot. A Hamas leader said once the Palestinians were throwing stones today they have precision rockets.
Monday was another bad day for Chinese tech giant Huawei. The Washington Post dropped a major bombshell on the company regarding alleged (highly-illegal) dealings in North Korea, and Czech Radio added another involving activities in their own country. The news adds fresh and serious doubts about the company’s potential western footprint, and bolster’s Washington’s case that the giant is a threat to American national security and users’ privacy. President Trump met tech CEOs in the White House Monday, partially to discuss what to do about it.
The US requested collaboration to protect the transit of oil tankers after the incident with the British ship. After recent incidents in the Strait of Hormuz, the White House asked its international partners to collaborate in a joint military mission, called Operation Sentinel, to protect the transit of commercial tankers through the mouth of the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon aims to add its partners in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East in this naval effort.
The United Kingdom yesterday urged Iran to ease tensions in the Gulf by releasing the British oil tanker boarded in the Strait of Hormuz, an act deemed “unacceptable” by London and raising further escalation fears. British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt announced that the executive would inform Parliament on Monday about “further measures” that the United Kingdom intends to take, but the “priority” remains to “find a way to defuse the situation.” But “we also need to see a process” of appeasement on the Iranian side, he said. “We need this ship to be released.”
US forces are deployed in Saudi Arabia to defend US interests in the face of “serious emerging threats,” the Pentagon said. The move comes amid growing tension with Iran over the safety of shipping lines in the Gulf. Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz has agreed to “host US forces to enhance security and stability in the region,” according to the Saudi Press Agency.
A month ago, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down an unmanned American drone in the Strait of Hormuz. Later that week, President Trump called off a retaliatory military attack on Iran at the last minute. He explained the next day that he did not believe the loss of Iranian lives to be proportionate to the loss of a machine. On Thursday, the United States appeared to level the score. US Marines jammed an unmanned Iranian drone in the Strait, downing the aircraft and destroying it. The incident reignited tensions between the two countries, which seem to be stumbling toward war.
The Iranian mission to the United Nations, Ali Reza Mir Yusuf, said Tehran’s ballistic missile program is not negotiable. His remarks came after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke of the Iranians’ readiness to discuss their missile program.
US President Donald Trump also said progress has been made in an effort to reduce tensions with Iran. Relations between the two countries deteriorated dramatically after Trump withdrew last year from the nuclear deal with Iran and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran. In response, Iran began to breach some of the terms of the agreement.
Amid ongoing saber rattling between the United States and Iran, two European envoys have been dispatched to attempt to save the Iran Nuclear Deal. Emmanuel Bonne, representing French President Emmanuel Macron, was in Tehran this week, and British Foreign Minister (and Prime Ministerial candidate) Jeremy Hunt is headed for Brussels. Meanwhile, Iran says it’s ready to talk, conditionally. It seems unlikely the United States will be as willing to listen.
President Hassan Rohani is ready for negotiations with the United States in order to stop efforts to punish his country economically. Amid tensions between Washington and Tehran, Germany, France and the United Kingdom called for responsible action. Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on Sunday his country is ready to resume talks with the United States if Washington removes heavy economic sanctions against the country and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said an Iranian oil tanker being held by the British Royal Navy in the Straits of Gibraltar could be released if the United Kingdom will be guaranteed by Iran that the oil tanker would not go to Syria to deliver its cargo. The minister added that he had a “constructive” telephone conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who informed him of Tehran’s desire to resolve the issue, and not to escalate the situation.
On Friday, in “the most important foreign policy vote in the United States Congress,” the Democrat-controlled House voted to reauthorize the often-contentious National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)— and tied President Trump’s war-making hands in doing so. Twenty Republicans voted with the majority on a bipartisan amendment to require the president to get congressional approval before attacking Iran. The bill now heads to the Senate, where it faces long odds, and the threat of a presidential veto.
Iranian ships tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, the UK government said. This happened a week after British marines detained an Iranian tanker in the Strait of Gibraltar.
As stated by the British government, the incident occurred on Wednesday into the Strait of Hormuz: three Iranian boats tried to prevent the passage of British Heritage a commercial vessel but were forced to retreat when the HMS Montrose tanker escorting crew demanded they withdraw.
The nuclear deal with Iran is facing another serious setback. The government in Tehran wants to ramp up uranium enrichment.
France’s head of state Emmanuel Macron warned his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani in a telephone conversation about the “risk of weakening” the international nuclear agreement. Macron had expressed deep concern in the conversation, pointing out that such weakening of the agreement would have consequences, the Presidential Office in Paris said. What consequences this could be, was not explained.
After the disappointing two day Summit of Jared Kushner representing the U.S., the situation in the Middle East and in Israel continues to be on fire. The Palestinians from Gaza have continued to send fire balloons from their territory into southern Israel. More than a hundred of these balloons were recorded during the past week in an escalation of terror from the time of the Summit in Bahrain.
Friday morning was an unusual one for observers of the United States Senate. The longest vote in the chamber’s history, in which several of the deliberative body’s sacrosanct rules and traditions were bent, resulted in a somewhat foregone conclusion, and with it, another abdication of congressional responsibility. An amendment requiring the president receive explicit congressional approval before attacking Iran got 50 votes after more than 10 hours of open-house voting. It needed 60, and failed.
If a real estate developer pitches a $50 billion timeshare presentation at a seminar in Bahrain, and nobody shows up to take it seriously, is it really a plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? That’s the approximate weight given by most observers— those who bothered to observe— to the “deal of the century,” crafted by senior White House advisor Jared Kushner, who also happens to be President Trump’s son in law. Kushner unveiled the economic portion of the plan at the “Peace and Prosperity” workshop in Bahrain on Tuesday.
America is working to negotiate peace between Israel and the Palestinians. There is resistance on both sides to the peace plan initiated by Jared Kushner representing President Trump, his father-in-law.
The first phase of the peace treaty involves a $50 billion investment in all interests surrounding Israel including Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon. The idea is to create first an environment for peace between these nations before reaching a political solution. The agreement will attempt to connect Gaza with the West Bank. Israel is concerned about its tourist trade located in the city of Eilat which will be cut off from the rest of Israel through this thoroughfare. This thoroughfare could also be used by terrorists from Arab Gihad to infiltrate Israel.
If oil demand is down so much due to the China trade war and tariffs, how come the more economically sensitive materials, such as copper, have not felt the same economic downward price effects?
Today China has asked it’s refineries to hold off on placing new orders for crude oil imports in anticipation of lower prices once and if demand stalls further. The Chinese buyers have cut off purchases of U.S. crude oil as the trade dispute between Beijing and Washington continues.
In case you missed it, we almost went to war on Thursday night. That same day, Iran shot down an American surveillance drone, which was flying in or near the country. President Trump confirmed earlier media reports Friday morning that he authorized a limited strike on Iran, but called it off at the last minute. His action, and abrupt control-Z, raise more questions about the administration’s Iran policy than they do answers.
On Monday, in one of his last acts as acting Secretary of Defense, Patrick Shanahan announced the United States would send an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East. They will join the roughly 1,500 American troops already there— plus an aircraft carrier strike group, Patriot missile batteries, and bombers— to counter what the Trump administration sees as a threat from Iran. It is the latest development in a tit-for-tat escalation between the two countries, which some fear may lead to war. And Congress— nominally, an important player in the use of military force— might not be involved.
Today following the world news can be seen in a world at unrest. In these countries especially is apparent World Unrest:
Khazakhstan – The world’s largest land locked country and the ninth largest in the world with an area of 2,724,900 square kilometers. It is a democratic secular republic with a diverse heritage. After the elections resulting in the overwhelming victory of interim president Toqaev began wave of protests against the lack of fairness in the elections.
The Toronto Raptors have officially become champions in the NBA after defeating the Golden State Warriors in a very close game. Kevin Lowry scored 26 points leading their team to a victory. Kevin Lowry was singled out for his opposition to the Toronto Raptors fans cheering the injury to Kevin Durant. The injury to Klay Thompson in the fourth quarter was the final clincher in the defeat of Golden State. Clay Thompson we see was the difference between the two squads. Golden State without Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson already gave Toronto the edge eventually the championship. The injury to Klay Thompson when he went up for the layup was for sure not intentional. It was just an attempt to block his shot. The ballplayers showed proper sportsmanship during the game and afterwards.
President Donald Trump (R) lifted his tariffs against Mexico and Canada, but is he scaling up on China. So what about cars, steel, aluminium, washing machines, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and Huawei?
Cars: Trump asked for and received a government study on car imports. He was particularly angered last November when General Motors announced that it was closing car assembly plants in Ohio, Michigan and Maryland. Trump has threatened to impose a 25% tariff on imported cars in retaliation for GM’s moves.
President Trump was very happy that Netanyahu succeeded to win the elections but is disgusted with Israel that they have not given him their support to form a new government. President Trump before elections gave support to Netanyahu that Israel needed to be a strong nation with a strong leader who is Netanyahu.
Israel will be going to election again in September after failing to make a government with a majority. National security needs national unity and Israel failed to make a coalition government. The government was split after elections between Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Ganz both received an equal amount of votes.
To make the government all on the side of Likud (the right side) Netanyahu needed the help of the other parties which had received mandates. On the right there was a conflict between the religious ultra-orthodox right and the secular right.
When the officials in Iran were interviewed recently they were asked: Why do you want to destroy Israel? Iran continuously publically states there intention to destroy Israel and wipe Israel off the face of the map. This is also the wish of Hamas and Jihad in the Gaza Strip. This official in Iran answered to this question, “Israel is an apartheid state. We were also against the apartheid state in South Africa.
Apartheid began in South Africa in 1948 when the National Party was elected in office. The National Party government classified all South African people into three races and developed rights and limitations for each.
The east and west conferences of the NBA have reached the playoffs. The NBA finals will begin May 30. In the meantime from the West conference will be decided who will reach the finals between Golden State and Portland. From the East conference the conference finals are between Milwaukee and Toronto.
There is glory, fame and money at stake. Each team in both conferences has invested in their success. There is one winner in each conference and one winner in the NBA Finals. Then will be chosen the MVP of the year.
- Trump aims to drive Iran’s oil exports to zero by ending sanctions exemptions that it previously granted to some of the Islamic Republic’s biggest customers.
- Saudi Arabia is ready to start pumping more oil if the United States indeed ends the sanction waivers they granted eight Iranian oil importers last November, citing a source that remained unnamed, but Riyadh will not rush into a reversal of the cuts. It will first examine the effect of the sanction waiver cancellation before it decides how to respond to it.
According to Kitabat Electronic News Page:
Protests in Basra started again during the Prime Minister Abdul Mahdi visit; and turn it into a time bomb in his face.
Demonstrations came out again in the streets of “Basra” Iraqi (Friday night January 18th ) and increased the accessions of other demonstrators; in despite of the number of victims occurred during the recent protests two months ago, because of corruption and the deterioration of basic services and lack of jobs in the province, which is the richest in Iraq.
- SYRIA: Israeli fighter planes struck Syrian and Iranian targets late Sunday night and early Monday morning, according to an IDF spokesman. The attack was in retaliation to a missile launched by Iranian forces, which was intercepted by the Iron Dome.
- UNITED KINGDOM: Prime Minister Theresa May will consider amending the Good Friday Agreement, which ended decades of violence in Northern Ireland, as part of her “Plan B” Brexit deal. The plan must be presented to Parliament on Monday.
- GUATEMALA: About 500 Hondurans reached Tecún Umán, on the border of Guatemala and Mexico, as part of a new caravan hoping to reach the U.S. President Trump, meanwhile, continued to demand funding for a wall to keep them out.
- CHINA: Coming as no tremendous surprise to analysts, China announced its economy grew at 6.6% in 2018, the lowest official pace in 28 years. The announcement comes amid Beijing’s ongoing trade dispute with the United States, its largest trading partner.
- CONGO: In a surprise move Thursday, the Southern African Development Community abandoned calls for a recount in the disputed Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential election. Their decision to back opposition candidate Felix Tshisekedi’s victory indicates a delicate balancing act for the 16-member bloc.
- PREVIOUS: International Roundup: Kurds, Canada, Congo, Caracas
- President Trump announced plans to withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria on Wednesday. The decision apparently came over the objection of his top military advisors, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, who announced his resignation the next day.
- Huawei executive arrested on a U.S. extradition warrant in Canada because Huawei is suspected of trying to evade American sanctions on Iran. U.S. prosecutors have been investigating since 2016 whether Huawei violated U.S. export and sanctions laws by shipping U.S.-origin products to Iran.
- China is interested in expanding its strategic and long-term relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Chinese government and various political and economic institutions, emphasized the need for expansion of the banking and financial relations between the two countries.
- Iran and China have found a way for China to continue buying Iranian crude and pay for it without risking a U.S. sanction breach. China had a special bank dedicated to handling payments for Iranian oil during the international sanctions against Tehran earlier this decade, so finding ways around sanctions is hardly new.
- “I am a Tariff Man,” Trump announced to signal his devotion to import taxes–a remark that served to downplay the likelihood of ending his trade war with China. Fear that an escalation in tariffs would choke off economic growth and possibly send a global slowdown into a recession.
- That massive data breach that hit hotel group: Marriott believes the hackers were working for a Chinese government intelligence gathering operation. Marriott said that a hack that began four years ago had exposed the records of up to 500 million customers in its Starwood hotels reservation system.
- Trump claimed a “BIG leap forward,” But scant details and few public commitments by China on what its commitments would be under the verbal agreement between Trump and Xi erased some market exuberance over what was brokered between the world’s two largest trading partners.
- Previous: How the China Trade “Pause” Effects Stocks
- The Trump administration reinstated sanctions on Iran’s energy, banking and shipping industries. Washington granted temporary waivers to eight countries, including China and India, the biggest purchasers of Iran’s oil.
- The exemptions have been granted for 180 days, and will be reviewed toward the end of the period. China Waiver: 360,000 b/d. Purchases before sanctions: 658,000 b/d in Jan.-Sept. 2018
- Saudi Arabia has enough spare capacity to cover for any shortfall related to Iran, although any further unexpected outages – from, say, Venezuela, Libya or Nigeria – would test the cartel’s abilities. Saudis indicated a price level of approx. $80 per barrel is comfortable, and would target this price level.
- Venezuela’s crude production was in “free-fall” and could soon fall below 1 million barrels per day.
- The EIA expects U.S. crude oil production will average 10.9 million barrels per day (b/d) in 2018, up from 9.4 million b/d in 2017.
- Previously: American Shale Oil: Real Long Term Growth or Does History Repeat Itself with Boom then Bust?