Hurling BRICs, And, ‘Israel Bought an Airfield Called Azerbaijan’

6:45 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Today, in the US House of Representatives…

Lawmakers Target Iran’s Energy Sector for Expanded Sanctions

U.S. lawmakers are seeking to expand sanctions on Iran’s energy sector by banning the purchase of its natural gas and prohibiting investment in oil and gas services, exploration and new pipelines.

Representatives Ted Deutch, a Florida Democrat, and Robert Dold, an Illinois Republican, introduced the Iran Energy Sector and Proliferation Sanctions Act in Congress today. The measure is the latest in a stepped-up campaign to tighten sanctions aimed at depriving Iran’s government of revenue that may be used for its nuclear and missile programs.

Iran is the second-largest crude producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. It also has the world’s second-largest natural-gas reserves, which are largely undeveloped.

“We must not allow the Iranian regime to use the nation’s vast energy resource as a financial pipeline for its nuclear ambitions,” Deutch said in an interview. The legislation is intended to “put the world on notice that the entire Iranian energy sector is off limits so long as Iran continues to defy the international coalition.”

Just yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul, put a block on it’s companion bill in the Senate, however tenuous a block…!

Now, to refresh your memory, as I’d noted before…

Iran’s Oil Bourse: A Threat to the U.S. Economy?

…While Iran’s nuclear program has become a major focus of the international media, there are many who strongly believe that the program is only a cover for the U.S. government’s true motive in a possible attack against Iran.

What some analysts posit is the real concern for the United States is Iran’s plan to open its own oil exchange — the Iranian Oil Bourse (IOB) — with the alleged goal of becoming the dominant center of the Middle East’s oil trade.

What makes the IOB the subject of such interest by the American government? According to rumors, which first vaulted the issue into the spotlight, the financial exchange in the aforementioned bourse will trade for oil in euros instead of the U.S. dollar. The dollar has long been the dominant currency for international oil trade. {snip}

Of course, the effectiveness of the IOB will depend on whether the big international oil trading companies decide to accept deals in euros or not. However, the potential financial impact on the U.S. economy remains more than just idle speculation.

“The weapon of oil in the hands of Iran’s regime is more dangerous than any other weapon,” said a recently published article in Italy’s Panorama newsmagazine. {snip}

There is speculation that the IOB represents Iran’s plan to escape any possible future economic sanctions spearheaded by the U.S. However, some postulate that the plan could also endanger the continued existence of Iran’s regime. William Clark, an American security expert, predicted that if Iran threatened the hegemony of the U.S. dollar in the international oil market, the White House would immediately order a military attack against it…

Then, I’d mentioned, more recently that we are indeed Screwing the Petro-Pooch…

…take a gander at this new [Jan 24, 2012] Asia Times article…

…Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, who visited Doha last week, disclosed at a press conference on Friday: a) China proposes to invest in the manufacturing of ”downstream oil products, which are most urgently needed by Qatar”; b) China and Qatar signed an agreement to jointly build a refinery in Taizhou, Zheijiang, in China; c) Chinese companies propose to participate in infrastructure projects in Qatar; and d) China and Qatar are discussing a “long-term, stable and comprehensive cooperative partnership” in natural gas.

Then, Wen quietly dropped a bombshell. He revealed “one more important point” as if it were an afterthought. He said:

In order to address investment issues, we [China and Qatar] need financial support. Therefore, we reached another agreement, a cooperation agreement linking finance with investment. Qatar also proposed the use of local currency in trade settlement and even a specific ratio. I think this proposal can be studied.

The short point is, the renminbi, the “people’s currency” also known as the yuan, is appearing in Doha. The China-United Arab Emirates (UAE) currency swap deal which was signed during Wen’s visit to Abu Dhabi last week already brings the yuan to the Emirates. The deal with the UAE is worth US$5.5 billion and the Chinese central bank statement said that it aims at “strengthening bilateral financial cooperation, promoting trade and investments and jointly safeguarding regional financial stability”. {snip}

…Iran and Russia have already switched to their national currencies for conducting bilateral trade. Tehran’s ambassador to Moscow Seyed Reza Sajjadi said on Friday, “[Trade] with Russia is based on our national currencies. We started this work long ago. Iranian businessmen are buying products in Russia and are using the rouble as [payment] currency] … The US dollar has no [economic] support base … There is a similar interest on the Russian side.”

Last week, it also came to be known that India proposes to allow Iran’s central bank to open rupee accounts with two Indian banks as a long-term solution to the countries’ payment problems instigated by the US (which pressured New Delhi to terminate the traditional payment mechanism for Iran within the Asian Clearing Union.) An Indian delegation visited Tehran last week to finalize details…

On a side note, Chinese firm surpasses Exxon in oil production…

Well, our chickens are indeed coming home to roost… BRICS not ‘obliged’ to follow US sanctions on Iran

...India, China and other BRICS countries today said they will not severe their trade ties with oil-rich Iran, which is facing US sanctions against its nuclear programme.

The issue came up for discussion at the meeting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) trade ministers, a day ahead of the BRICS summit here.

“Yes, this was discussed. All BRICS members are members of the UNSC. We respect UN resolutions…at the same time the resolution does not forbid countries to engage in trade in essential commodities and what is required for human good,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said, addressing a joint a press conference with other BRICS trade ministers.

Commerce Minister from China, Chen Deming said his country is not ‘not obliged to follow any domestic laws and rules of any particular country’.

Sharma said Iran is an important source of energy. Spiralling oil prices have put stress on India’s finances. “Therefore, we look at things…in very pragmatic manner and remaining within the ambit of the UN resolution”

The BRICs are truly decoupling from our Western Imperialism…

BRICS Tighten United Front

- At their summit in the Indian capital on Thursday, leaders of the coalition known as BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – made several poignant decisions that experts say hint at the converging of economic and political interests of a disparate regional bloc.

Though the leaders chose to defer the long-awaited announcement of a ‘South-South Bank’ to next year’s meet, or beyond, the ‘Delhi Declaration’ produced at the end of the summit said BRICS finance ministers have been directed to “examine the feasibility and viability of such an initiative, set up a joint working group for further study, and report back to us (heads of state) by the next Summit (in South Africa).”

“Creating such a ‘BRICS Bank’ involves complex issues, such as the medium of transfer of credit,” said Vivan Sharan, associate fellow at the prestigious Observer Research Foundation (ORF), which hosted a BRICS academic forum of experts and scholars from member countries in New Delhi from Mar. 4 – 6.

“But there are no roadblocks ahead and it is an idea whose time has come,” Sharan told IPS. “While the plan now is to supplement rather than supplant the existing global financial structure, there is clearly the ambition to go ahead.”

For now though, according to Sharan, citizens of the bloc, who account for nearly half the world’s population, can be content with the knowledge that by June there will be a BRICS Exchange Alliance in place, allowing trading options using local currency.

Investors will soon be able to invest in each other’s progress and there will be greater liquidity, better market-determined integration and the possibility of extending credit in local (currencies),” Sharan said. “Two BRICS countries are among the top five in purchasing power parity terms and four are in the top 10.

BRICS’ frustration with the policies of the wealthy G7 countries – France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain, the United States, and Canada – was palpable at the meeting…

Now, about that ‘New Silk Road’… U.S.: We’re For The New Silk Road — If It Bypasses Iran…

Here’s a great visual update on PNAC’s designs on Pipelineistan…

Speaking of the Neo/ZioCons, they’re screeching at the top of their bloody lungs… Israeli-Azerbaijan Deal Leaked, Bolton Blames Obama… And then straight from Hasbara Apparatchik… Israelis Suspect Obama Media Leaks to Prevent Strike on Iran

I do think the ever intrepid, Richard Silverstein, provides the best analysis…

‘Israel Bought an Airfield Called Azerbaijan’

…Perry notes that Azerbaijan’s rampant corruption has allowed Israel to exploit the situation to its advantage. In return for military hardware and joint production deals, Israel gets these landing rights, the right to place sophisticated listening posts targeting Iran on Azeri soil, and maybe even the right for its assassins to use Azeri territory on their way to and from Iran to assassinate nuclear scientists. If this reminds you of a Graham Greene or John Le Carre novel, it should. The only difference is that the characters’ features are more Middle Eastern and the languages spoken are different… {snip}

All of this equals a major projection of Israeli power right into the heart of two of the region’s major Muslim powers, Turkey and Iran. Frankly, it reminds me of the history of U.S. interventionism around the world–in Central America (1950 and 70s), Latin America (1960s and 70s), Asia (1960s and 70s), and now the Middle East (1990s and 2000s). All of this aggressive projection of American power for objectives and values almost impossible to quantify, has led us to much grief. It can only lead Israel to a similar fate. What the Middle East does NOT need is Israeli air bases on Cyprus and Azerbaijan. It does not need Israel doing its level best to rile up regional powers like Turkey and Iran.

It is precisely belligerent acts like this which convince the nations of the area that they need nuclear weapons to defend themselves. Israel doesn’t mess around. If it wants something, it gets it. If it doesn’t want you to do or have something, it’ll do its damndest to stop you, or barring that to make you pay for your defiance. Israel makes the neighborhood even tougher than it is or has to be. Under such conditions, it’s no wonder Iran might feel the need to explore a nuclear option…

I’ll wrap it up with a Christian Science Monitor report today…

Attacking Iran: Did US just torpedo Israeli deal for a base in Azerbaijan?

Israel is developing a ‘secret staging ground’ in Azerbaijan for a possible attack on Iran, reports Foreign Policy magazine. US officials aren’t happy with that, and may have leaked the story.

More leaks please…!