Damascus To Become A “Ruinous Heap”?: Syria Threatens To Attack The Golan Heights And Israel Prepares For War

The winds of war are blowing once again, and it isn’t going to take much to spark a major conflict in the Middle East.  This week is the eighth anniversary of the beginning of the civil war in Syria, and after the nightmare that the people of Syria have been through, you would think that the Assad regime would be eager for peace.  But instead, Assad appears to be ready to go for broke.  If Syria can spark a Middle East war that results in the complete destruction of Israel, Assad would be remembered as a hero in the Islamic world forever.  Instead of a legacy of civil war and crushing poverty, Assad’s legacy would be one of wartime leader that brought total victory over Syria’s most hated enemy.  But of course such a conflict would be a huge risk, because if it went badly the city of Damascus would be completely flattened and the nation of Syria as we know it today would be entirely destroyed.  And considering how overwhelmingly powerful the Israeli military is, it would seem to be a very foolish risk to take.  Unfortunately, Assad does not appear to be thinking rationally.  On Thursday, Syria officially threatened “to attack Israel unless it withdraws from the Golan Heights”.  The following comes from the Jerusalem Post

Syria vowed to attack Israel unless it withdraws from the Golan Heights, World Israel News reported on Thursday.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad submitted an official warning to the head of the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) Kristin Lund, in what seemed to be an attempt to prevent official US recognition of Israeli sovereignty in the Golan.

Of course Israel is never going to leave the Golan Heights.  We all know how Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu feels, and on Monday his main opposition in the upcoming election expressed similar sentiments

Blue and White party politicians Gabi Ashkenazi, Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz and Moshe Ya’alon visited the Golan Heights on Monday and vowed never to give it up.

“We will increase the numbers of residents in the Golan, sending a resounding message to all – we will never relinquish the Golan Heights,” Gantz said.

Let us hope that Syria is bluffing, because if Syria attacks the Golan Heights it will start a war.

And it is a war that Syria could not possibly hope to win on their own.  But Assad doesn’t plan to take on Israel by himself.

Over the last several months, Israel has repeatedly attacked Iranian forces inside Syria.  The Iranians have been fighting on Assad’s side in the Syrian civil war, and the Israelis are afraid that when everything is all said and done that the nation of Syria will end up being totally dominated by Iran.  The following comes from Haaretz

For Iran, its domination of Syria is key to achieving its long-standing dream of a “Shiite crescent,” extending through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, to the Mediterranean and of establishing a permanent ground, air and naval presence on Israel’s border. Iran’s ability to do so has been impeded to date only by the small and dwindling U.S. force in eastern Syria and hundreds of Israeli airstrikes that have, so far, successfully thwarted Iran’s efforts.

Although Israel has become a powerful and essentially secure state, capable of demonstrating restraint in the face of the many challenges it faces, this would constitute a dire and unacceptable change in the balance of power, one that Israel cannot tolerate and must prevent – even at the expense of war.

The Iranians have stated that they are no longer going to tolerate Israeli airstrikes, and their military leadership is fully ready to go to war.  If war does erupt between Israel and Syria, it seems very unlikely that Iran would stay out of it.

And without a doubt, Iranian targets would be among the first to get hit in a war between Israel and Syria, and the Netanyahu administration has been very clear that Israel is preparing for a war with Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu startled Iranians and even the White House on Wednesday with a strident call for Israeli-Arab action against the government in Tehran that was translated by his office as urging “war with Iran.”

Although Israeli officials tried to soften the reference by altering the English translation, the provocative comment was likely to further the perception that Israel, its Gulf Arab neighbors and the United States are interested in using military action to topple the government of Iran. It comes at a particularly delicate moment, as the Trump administration uses a U.S.-organized summit in Warsaw and this week’s 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution to try to rally the world against the government in Tehran.

Such a war would be incredibly bloody, and the moment that missiles began to fall on Tel Aviv the Israelis would not hesitate to use nukes on Damascus and Tehran.

Let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

Meanwhile, the situation in Venezuela continues to unravel as well.  Sunday was the fourth day for the nationwide blackout, and Nicolas Maduro is blaming the failure of the power grid on a U.S. cyberattack

Socialist President Nicolas Maduro – who is facing a challenge to his rule by the leader of the opposition-led congress, Juan Guaido – has blamed the blackout on an act of “sabotage” by the United States at the Guri hydroelectric dam, but experts say it is the outcome of years of underinvestment.

“The national electrical system has been subject to multiple cyberattacks,” Maduro wrote on Twitter on Sunday. “However, we are making huge efforts to restore stable and definitive supply in the coming hours.”

Hopefully the U.S. was not behind the cyberattack, because a cyberattack is an act of war.

And since nobody has asked the U.S. Congress for permission to go to war, such an attack would be in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution.

In addition, relations with North Korea are rapidly deteriorating as well.  In fact, Kim Jong-Un appears to be preparing to provoke the U.S. by launching a missile

Following President Donald Trump’s stalemate talks with Kim Jong-Un, it appears North Korea may be preparing to launch a missile or rocket some time soon.

Earlier this week North Korea sparked outrage after satellite images revealed the nation was ‘rapidly rebuilding’ its Sohae Launch Facility, a long-range missile launch site.

New images reveal activity may have also resumed at a second site near Pyongyang, known as Sanumdong, where intercontinental ballistic missiles and satellite-launching rockets are assembled.

We truly do live at a time of “wars and rumors of wars”, and this could very easily be a year of war for the United States.

Unfortunately, our military is not in very good shape right now.  In fact, in RAND’s recent “simulated World War III scenarios” the U.S. just kept on losing

In simulated World War III scenarios, the U.S. continues to lose against Russia and China, two top war planners warned last week. “In our games, when we fight Russia and China, blue gets its ass handed to it” RAND analyst David Ochmanek said Thursday.

RAND’s wargames show how US Armed Forces – colored blue on wargame maps – experience the most substantial losses in one scenario after another and still can’t thwart Russia or China – which predictably is red – from accomplishing their objectives: annihilating Western forces.

“We lose a lot of people. We lose a lot of equipment. We usually fail to achieve our objective of preventing aggression by the adversary,” he warned.

Over the past decade, the U.S. military has been dramatically transformed, and not for the better.

But even if our military was in the condition that it should be, we should still not desire war, because in this day and age weapons of mass destruction have made full-blown war between major powers absolutely unthinkable.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

World War 3 Alert: Iranian Forces Fire Rockets Into Israel, And The IDF Responds With “Waves Of Guided Missiles”

Israel and Iran are edging dangerously close to a state of all-out war.  On Sunday night, Israeli forces rained missiles down on Iranian forces based in the Damascus area “for nearly an hour”.  According to the IDF, this was a response to “dozens” of missiles that were fired by Iranian forces in Syria toward targets in Israel earlier that day.  The Israelis were able to intercept the Iranian missiles, but if any of them had gotten through they could have caused a tremendous amount of damage.  Some of the missiles that Israel fired at the Iranians were reportedly intercepted, but quite a few of them did hit their intended targets. If the violence continues to escalate, we could potentially soon be talking about an all-out war between Israel and Iran in which both sides use their weapons of mass destruction.

The missile strikes against Iranian targets in Damascus made headlines all over the globe.  According to Syrian state media, there were “consecutive waves of guided missiles”

Syrian state media cited a Syrian military source as saying Israel launched an “intense attack through consecutive waves of guided missiles”, but that Syrian air defenses destroyed most of the “hostile targets”.

Witnesses in Damascus said loud explosions rang out in the night sky for nearly an hour.

The Syrians are boasting that they were able to destroy quite a few of the Israeli missiles, but independent observers confirm that quite a few Iranian targets were destroyed.

In the past, the Israelis have not always publicly acknowledged their attacks in Syria, but on Sunday night they released an immediate statement

“We have started striking Iranian Quds targets in Syrian territory,” Israel’s military said in a statement.

“We warn the Syrian Armed Forces against attempting to harm Israeli forces or territory.”

You can see some footage of the missile strikes right here.  Among the targets were “weapons warehouses at the Damascus International Airport”

Targets striked by the IDF, which number at around 10 according to its statement, include weapons warehouses at the Damascus International Airport and in other locations, an Iranian intelligence site and an Iranian training camp in Syria’s south.

Now that the Iranians have been hit so hard, will they respond by striking back at Israel?

If both sides continue to escalate the violence, eventually a “point of no return” will be reached, and then all hell will break loose.

Prior to the IDF missile attacks on Iranian targets, rockets were fired toward the Golan Heights from inside Syria, and Israel blamed those attacks on the Iranians

The Israeli military said earlier on Sunday that missiles fired toward the northern Golan Heights were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. It added in a statement on Monday that an Iranian force fired these missiles, but said it holds the Syrian regime responsible for any activity in its territory.

It seems extremely unlikely that this conflict will be resolved any time soon.  The Iranians are certainly not going to leave Syria, and they are definitely going to continue to funnel arms and resources to Hezbollah forces in southern Lebanon.

And the Israelis have clearly stated that they are going to resist any Iranian attempts to strengthen Hezbollah or to establish a permanent military presence inside Syria.  In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t have been any clearer when he said this to reporters

“We have a permanent policy, to strike at the Iranian entrenchment in Syria and hurt whoever tries to hurt us,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

If a full-blown war erupts in the days ahead, Israel will almost certainly find itself fighting Iran, Syria and Hezbollah simultaneously.  Of course Hezbollah is essentially an Iranian proxy, and at this point they have between 130,000 and 150,000 missiles aimed at Israel.  When war finally comes, it will be extremely bloody and extremely destructive.

Tonight, we are closer to such a war than ever.  The Iranians and the Israelis absolutely hate one another, and now they are firing missiles at one another.

It isn’t going to take much to push the two sides over the edge, and if that happens we are just a hop, a skip and a jump away from the start of World War 3.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.  His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.  From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites.  If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so.  The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Mainstream Media Is Talking About A Coming Middle East War That Could Involve Saudi Arabia, Iran, The U.S. And Israel

People better start waking up and paying attention to what is happening in the Middle East, because the situation is becoming quite serious.  If things go badly, we could be facing a major regional war which would involve not only Saudi Arabia and Iran, but also potentially the United States and Israel.  Yesterday, I quoted an article in the New York Times that warned that tensions between the Saudis and the Iranians were raising “the threat of a direct military clash between the two regional heavyweights”.  And now Jake Novak of CNBC is saying that a “direct conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as opposed to the proxy war they’re fighting in Yemen, looks inevitable.”

I put those last two words in bold so that there wouldn’t be any confusion.  In fact, Novak is warning that the Saudis “are marching ever closer towards a wider regional war”.  Novak understands the dynamics of the Middle East, and he realizes where things could be headed if cooler heads do not prevail.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have already been fighting proxy wars against one another in Syria and Iran for quite a while, but a direct military conflict between the two could literally be a nightmare scenario.

One of the primary characters in this ongoing drama is Saudi Arabia’s extremely hawkish crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.  He hates Iran with a passion, and he has already said that he believes that a peace dialogue with Iran is impossible.

And over the past several days, events in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon have moved talk of war to the front burner

First, the kingdom squarely blamed Iran for a missile attack on Riyadh from Yemen that was thwarted by the U.S.-made Patriot anti-missile system. The Saudis called that attack “direct military aggression by the Iranian regime and may be considered an act of war.”

Second, the Saudis accused Lebanon of — figuratively at least — declaring “war” against it because of aggression from Hezbollah. That statement spurred even Saudi ally and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to publicly urge for calm.

In an article yesterday, I discussed the “purge” that is currently taking place in Saudi Arabia.  Many believe that this purge is all about removing any potential obstacles to a war with Iran.  Mohammed bin Salman and his father have made dealing with Iran their number one strategic priority, and they have even enlisted the Israelis as allies in their cause…

As is already well-known, the Saudi and Israeli common cause against perceived Iranian influence and expansion in places like Syria, Lebanon and Iraq of late has led the historic bitter enemies down a pragmatic path of unspoken cooperation as both seem to have placed the break up of the so-called “Shia crescent” as their primary policy goal in the region. For Israel, Hezbollah has long been its greatest foe, which Israeli leaders see as an extension of Iran’s territorial presence right up against the Jewish state’s northern border.

If Saudi Arabia and Iran go to war, it is probably inevitable that Hezbollah will strike Israel at the same time, thus getting the Israelis directly involved in the conflict.

Not only that, if a major regional war does erupt in the Middle East it would almost certainly mean that the U.S. would have to get involved as well.  Here is more from Jake Novak of CNBC

But if full blown war breaks out directly between the two countries, it’s hard to see the U.S. being able to sit it out without at least some form increased weapons support and other aid. Then it will be up to Iran’s possible allies, like Russia and China to make the next move.

If you are thinking that this sounds like the type of scenario that could cause World War III to erupt, you would be correct.

The Iranians and the Saudis both have weapons of mass destruction, and so a direct conflict between the two would seem to be unthinkable.

But rational thinking does not always prevail in the Middle East.  The conflict between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam has a long and bitter history, and the bad blood between the Saudis and the Iranians is never going to subside until one side or the other ultimately prevails.

Let us hope that a “hot war” between Saudi Arabia and Iran does not erupt any time soon, because such a war would not be good for the United States whatsoever.  Pretty much every scenario that you can imagine ends with enormous numbers of innocent people dead, and such a conflict could ultimately be the spark that sets off World War III.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Is Saudi Arabia Heading For War With Iran?

Is a major war in the Middle East looming on the horizon?  Most of us living in the western world simply do not realize how much Saudi Arabia and Iran truly hate one another.  Saudi Arabia is the global center for Sunni Islam, and Iran is the global center for Shia Islam, and the two major sects of Islam have a history of bad blood that literally goes back for over a thousand years.  The Saudis and the Iranians are already engaged in “proxy wars” in Syria and in Yemen, and now a missile that was fired at Riyadh’s international airport threatens to turn the conflict between the two regional powers into a hot war.

If you are tempted to think that I am exaggerating one bit, just consider what the New York Times is saying about this…

Saudi Arabia charged Monday that Iran had committed “a blatant act of military aggression” by providing its Yemeni allies with a missile fired at the Saudi capital over the weekend, raising the threat of a direct military clash between the two regional heavyweights.

The accusations represent a new peak in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran at a time when they are already fighting proxy wars in Yemen and Syria, as well as battles for political power in Iraq and Lebanon.

And Yahoo is reporting that the Saudis are saying that this missile attack “may amount to an act of war”…

On Monday, a Saudi-led military coalition battling Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen said it reserved the “right to respond” to the missile attack on Riyadh at the weekend, calling it a “blatant military aggression by the Iranian regime which may amount to an act of war”.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir also warned Tehran.

“Iranian interventions in the region are detrimental to the security of neighbouring countries and affect international peace and security. We will not allow any infringement on our national security,” Jubeir tweeted.

For those that have not grasped the implications of what I am saying yet, let me break this down very simply for you.

If Saudi Arabia and Iran go to war, the United States will be involved in that war on the side of the Saudis.

It would be a war unlike anything we have ever seen in the history of the Middle East, and it is almost a certainty that weapons of mass destruction would be used in such a war.

Essentially, what we are talking about is the potential for World War III to erupt in the Middle East.

And all of this comes at a time when the biggest “purge” in the modern history of Saudi Arabia is taking place

A campaign of mass arrests of Saudi Arabian royals, ministers and businessmen expanded on Monday after a top entrepreneur was reportedly detained in the biggest anti-corruption purge of the kingdom’s affluent elite in its modern history.

The reported arrest of Nasser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar followed the detention of dozens of top Saudis including billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in a crackdown that the attorney general described as “phase one”.

The purge is the latest in a series of dramatic steps by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to assert Saudi influence internationally and amass more power for himself at home.

Some would say that the Saudis are “cracking down on corruption”, while others would say that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is “consolidating power” prior to going to war.

In any event, this situation deserves our full attention, because it could ultimately result in a major regional war in which the United States is directly involved.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

World War 3 Could Very Easily Turn Into The Very First Nuclear War In The Middle East

Nuclear War - Public DomainSaudi Arabia already has nukes, Iran probably does, and the Russians are one of the two great nuclear powers on the entire planet.  So if Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their Sunni allies do decide to conduct a full-blown ground invasion of Syria, could someone ultimately decide to use nuclear weapons when their backs get pushed up against a wall?  As you read this article, there are thousands of military vehicles and hundreds of thousands of troops massed along the southern border of Turkey and the northern border of Saudi Arabia.  If the command is given and those forces start streaming toward Damascus, it is inevitable that the Syrians, the Iranians, Hezbollah and the Russians would fight back.  It would literally be the start of World War 3, and the Saudis and the Turks are trying very hard to convince the United States to be involved.  But the truth is that we don’t want any part of this conflict, because it could very easily become the very first nuclear war in the history of the Middle East.

Perhaps you didn’t know that the Saudis already have nukes.  Of course the official position is that they don’t, but it is a fact that they were the ones that funded the development of Pakistan’s nuclear program.  It is an open secret that the Saudis have the bomb, but nobody is really supposed to talk about it.

That is why it was so alarming what Saudi political analyst Dahham Al-‘Anzi told RT just recently

Earlier this week a Saudi political analyst told RT’s Arab network the kingdom has a nuclear weapon.

Dahham Al-‘Anzi made the claim while saying Saudi Arabia is engaged in an effort to “minimize the Iranian threat in the Levant and Syria.”

Although Saudi Arabia has officially denied it has a nuclear weapons program and has publicly stated it opposes nuclear weapons in the Middle East, it has funded a military nuclear program and received scientific assistance from the United States and Pakistan.

You can watch video of this exchange right here

If you don’t want to believe him, perhaps you will believe the former director of the CIA counter-terrorism operations center.  He told Fox Business that everyone in the intelligence world knows the Saudis have nukes

If the fur started flying in Syria and Russia and Iran decided to start bombing Saudi airbases, would Saudi Arabia resort to using their nukes?

Let’s hope not.

In the event of a massive ground invasion by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and their allies, it is actually more likely that Russia may decide to be the first one to use nukes.  An invasion force of hundreds of thousands of troops would vastly outnumber the relatively small Russian force that is already inside Syria, and so the Russians may feel that the only way that they can keep the Sunni powers out of Damascus is to use tactical nukes.

Russia has more tactical nukes that anyone else in the world by far, and there are some reports that indicate that Russia may be prepared to use them in Syria.  For example, former Associated Press reporter Robert Parry, the author of America’s Stolen Narrative, says that a source has told him that the Russians have already warned Turkey that this could potentially happen

If Turkey (with hundreds of thousands of troops massed near the Syrian border) and Saudi Arabia (with its sophisticated air force) follow through on threats and intervene militarily to save their rebel clients, who include Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front, from a powerful Russian-backed Syrian government offensive, then Russia will have to decide what to do to protect its 20,000 or so military personnel inside Syria.

A source close to Russian President Vladimir Putin told me that the Russians have warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Moscow is prepared to use tactical nuclear weapons if necessary to save their troops in the face of a Turkish-Saudi onslaught. Since Turkey is a member of NATO, any such conflict could quickly escalate into a full-scale nuclear confrontation.

Given Erdogan’s megalomania or mental instability and the aggressiveness and inexperience of Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman (defense minister and son of King Salman), the only person who probably can stop a Turkish-Saudi invasion is President Obama. But I’m told that he has been unwilling to flatly prohibit such an intervention, though he has sought to calm Erdogan down and made clear that the U.S. military would not join the invasion.

Are you starting to understand how serious this is?

With all of the talk of a potential invasion in recent days, the Russians are on high alert and are rapidly preparing for a direct conflict with both Saudi Arabia and Turkey.  The following comes from Infowars

Still, the Russians are taking no chances and they have put all their forces into high alert. They have very publicly dispatched a Tu-214r – her most advanced ISR (Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance) aircraft. You can think of the Tu-214R as an “AWACS for the ground”, the kind of aircraft you use to monitor a major ground battle (the regular Russian A-50Ms are already monitoring the Syrian airspace). In southern Russia, the Aerospace forces have organized large-scale exercises involving a large number of aircraft which would be used in a war against Turkey: SU-34s. The Airborne Forces are ready. The naval task forces off the Syrian coast is being augmented. The delivery of weapons has accelerated. The bottom line is simple and obvious: the Russians are not making any threats – they are preparing for war. In fact, by now they are ready.

In addition, it is important to remember that it is quite likely that the Iranians have nuclear weapons as well.

Of course the U.S. government and the Iranian government both insist that Iran does not have nukes, but many of those in the know insist otherwise.

For instance, you may want to consider what retired U.S. Army Major General Paul Vallely and U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Dennis B. Haney are saying.  The following comes from an article that was authored by Jerome Corsi of WND

In a joint statement, Vallely and Haney say an accumulation of available evidence shows a coalition of Russia, China and North Korea have assisted Iran since 1979 in achieving a nuclear weapon, despite sanctions, under the guise of a domestic nuclear energy program.

Vallely explained to WND that he and Haney have taken a systematic approach to evaluating each component needed to deliver a nuclear weapon, from the development and testing of a ballistic missile system, to the design of a nuclear weapons warhead, to the development of the weapons-grade uranium needed to produce a bomb.

“To come to our conclusion that Iran is a nuclear weapons power right now, we supplemented publicly available research, plus information from intelligence sources, including Iranian resistance groups such as the National Council of Resistance of IRAN, NCRI,” Vallely explained.

I happen to agree with Vallely and Haney.  I cannot prove it, but all of the intel that I have received indicates that Iran already has nukes.

Hopefully I will not be proven accurate any time soon.

It had been hoped that a cease-fire could be negotiated that would at least temporarily defuse tensions in Syria.  Unfortunately, it does not look like the shooting is going to stop, and this is going to put immense pressure on both Saudi Arabia and Turkey to do something to rescue the radical Sunni militants that are on the verge of defeat.  The Saudis, the Turks and their allies have poured enormous amounts of money and resources into this war over the past five years, and now they are faced with the choice of either accepting defeat or directly intervening in this conflict themselves.

But in order to conduct a full-fledged ground invasion, they are going to need justification for doing so.  There are some that are suggesting that we could soon see a false flag attack that would provide that justification, so that is something to watch out for.

I can’t remember a time when our planet has been so close to World War 3 potentially beginning.

And if it does break out, I believe that it is quite likely that nuclear weapons will be used.

So what do you think?

Do you agree with me?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

The Financial Apocalypse Accelerates As Middle East Stocks Crash To Begin The Week

Apocalyptic - Public DomainIt looks like it is going to be another chaotic week for global financial markets.  On Sunday, news that Iran plans to dramatically ramp up oil production sent stocks plunging all across the Middle East.  Stocks in Kuwait were down 3.1 percent, stocks in Saudi Arabia plummeted 5.4 percent, and stocks in Qatar experienced a mammoth 7 percent decline.  And of course all of this comes in the context of a much larger long-term decline for Middle Eastern stocks.  At this point, Saudi Arabian stocks are down more than 50 percent from their 2014 highs.  Needless to say, a lot of very wealthy people in Saudi Arabia are getting very nervous.  Could you imagine waking up someday and realizing that more than half of your fortune had been wiped out?  Things aren’t that bad in the U.S. quite yet, but it looks like another rough week could be ahead.  The Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are all down at least 12 percent from their 52-week highs, and the Russell 2000 is already in bear market territory.  Hopefully this week will not be as bad as last week, but events are starting to move very rapidly now.

Much of the chaos around the globe is being driven by the price of oil.  At the end of last week the price of oil dipped below 30 dollars a barrel, and now Iran has announced plans “to add 1 million barrels to its daily crude production”

Iran could get more than five times as much cash from oil sales by year-end as the lifting of economic sanctions frees the OPEC member to boost crude exports and attract foreign investment needed to rebuild its energy industry.

The Persian Gulf nation will be able to access all of its revenue from crude sales after the U.S. and five other global powers removed sanctions on Saturday in return for Iran’s curbing its nuclear program. The fifth-biggest producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries had been receiving only $700 million of each month’s oil earnings under an interim agreement, with the rest blocked in foreign bank accounts. Iran is striving to add 1 million barrels to its daily crude production and exports this year amid a global supply glut that has pushed prices 22 percent lower this month.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what this is going to do to the price of oil.

The price of oil has already fallen more than 20 percent so far in 2016, and overall it has declined by more than 70 percent since late 2014.

When the price of oil first started to fall, a lot of people out there were proclaiming that it would be really good for the U.S. economy.  But I said just the opposite.  And of course since that time we have seen an endless parade of debt downgrades, bankruptcies and job losses.  130,000 good paying energy jobs were lost in the United States in 2015 alone because of this collapse, and things just continue to get even worse.  At this point, some are even calling for the federal government to intervene.  For example, the following is an excerpt from a CNN article that was just posted entitled “Is it time to bail out the U.S. oil industry?“…

America’s once-booming oil industry is suddenly in deep financial trouble.

The epic crash in oil prices has wiped out tens of thousands of jobs, caused dozens of bankruptcies and spooked global financial markets.

The fallout is already being felt in oil-rich states like Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota, where home foreclosure rates are spiking and economic growth is slowing.

Now there are calls in at least some corners for the federal government to come to the rescue.

Is it just me, or is all of this really starting to sound a lot like 2008?

And of course it isn’t just the U.S. that is facing troubles.  The global financial crisis that began during the second half of 2015 is rapidly accelerating, and chaos is erupting all over the planet.  The following summary of what we have been seeing in recent days comes from Doug Noland

The world has changed significantly – perhaps profoundly – over recent weeks. The Shanghai Composite has dropped 17.4% over the past month (Shenzhen down 21%). Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 8.2% over the past month, with Hang Seng Financials sinking 11.9%. WTI crude is down 26% since December 15th. Over this period, the GSCI Commodities Index sank 12.2%. The Mexican peso has declined almost 7% in a month, the Russian ruble 10% and the South African rand 12%. A Friday headline from the Financial Times: “Emerging market stocks retreat to lowest since 09.”

Trouble at the “Periphery” has definitely taken a troubling turn for the worse. Hope that things were on an uptrend has confronted the reality that things are rapidly getting much worse. This week saw the Shanghai Composite sink 9.0%. Major equities indexes were hit 8.0% in Russia and 5.0% in Brazil (Petrobras down 9%). Financial stocks and levered corporations have been under pressure round the globe. The Russian ruble sank 4.0% this week, increasing y-t-d losses versus the dollar to 7.1%. The Mexican peso declined another 1.8% this week. The Polish zloty slid 2.8% on an S&P downgrade (“Tumbles Most Since 2011”). The South African rand declined 3.0% (down 7.9% y-t-d). The yen added 0.2% this week, increasing 2016 gains to 3.0%. With the yen up almost 4% versus the dollar over the past month, so-called yen “carry trades” are turning increasingly problematic.

Closer to home, the crisis in Puerto Rico continues to spiral out of control.  The following is an excerpt from a letter that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent to Congress on Friday

Although there are many ways this crisis could escalate further, it is clear that Puerto Rico is already in the midst of an economic collapse

Puerto Rico is already in default. It is shifting funds from one creditor to pay another and has stopped payment altogether on several of its debts. As predicted, creditors are filing lawsuits. The Government Development Bank, which provides critical banking and fiscal services to the central government, only avoided depleting its liquidity by halting lending activity and sweeping in additional deposits from other Puerto Rico governmental entities. A large debt payment of $400 million is due on May 1, and a broader set of payments are due at the end of June.

It isn’t Michael Snyder from The Economic Collapse Blog that is saying that Puerto Rico is “in the midst of an economic collapse”.

That is the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury that is saying it.

Those that have been eagerly anticipating a financial apocalypse are going to get what they have been waiting for.

Right now we are about halfway through January, and this is the worst start to a year for stocks ever.  The Dow is down a total of 1,437 points since the beginning of 2016, and more than 15 trillion dollars of stock market wealth has been wiped out globally since last June.

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people out there that are in denial.

There are a lot of people that still believe that this is just a temporary bump in the road and that things will return to “normal” very soon.

They don’t understand that this is just the beginning.  What we have seen so far is just the warm up act, and much, much worse is yet to come.

In Yemen, It’s The Bad Guys Vs. The Bad Guys

Yemen - Photo by Addicted04Saudi Arabia and Egypt stand poised to conduct a massive ground invasion of Yemen, and the western media will be full of tales about how “Operation Decisive Storm” is liberating that country from the evil Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.  And without a doubt, the Houthis are bad guys and so are their Iranian benefactors.  But don’t be fooled into thinking that the war in Yemen is a battle of good vs. evil.  The truth is that the conflict in Yemen is actually a proxy war between two sets of bad guys that both ultimately plan for Islam to take over the entire planet.  On one side, the Iranians are very honest about the fact that they view us as an enemy, and they plan to impose their version of radical Shia Islam worldwide as soon as they can.  On the other side, the Saudis pretend to be our friends, but they don’t hide the fact that they believe that their version of Sunni Islam will eventually rule the world.  And their version of Sunni Islam includes constant beheadings, the destruction of all churches and the death penalty for anyone caught smuggling a Bible into Saudi territory.  At the end of the day, there is very little difference between the Saudis and ISIS.  In fact, ISIS gets a lot of funding from Saudi sources, and there is more support for ISIS on Twitter from Saudi Arabia than from anywhere else.  Saudi Arabia is a horribly repressive regime where women are treated like dirt, where the secret police conduct a never ending reign of terror and where even a minor deviation from sharia law can mean the loss of a limb.  But because our politicians and the mainstream media constantly tell us that they are “our friends”, we cheer them on.

It is being reported that the Saudis have mobilized 150,000 troops for a ground invasion of Yemen, and Egypt says that it is ready to contribute a very large force as well.  The Saudis simply were not going to just sit back and watch as pro-Iranian forces took total control of their neighbor.  The following is how the Telegraph recently described what the Iranians have been up to in Yemen for the past several years…

For the past four years the Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been smuggling weapons to the Houthis, as well as providing expert military training, with the result that the Shia Houthi militia finally succeeded in seizing control of the capital Sana’a last year, forcing the Western-backed president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to seek refuge in Aden.

Last week it was claimed that Tehran was increasing its support for the Houthis with the delivery of a 185 ton shipment of weapons and other military equipment.

This is how Iran likes to fight wars.  They like to fund and arm proxy organizations that will do their fighting for them.  That way they don’t have to get their hands messy or risk direct retaliation.  Hezbollah is a prime example of this.

And the Iranians were winning in Yemen.  In fact, they were on the verge of complete and total victory.

So the Saudis felt forced to step in.  The Saudis don’t like to fight their own wars either, but in this instance they felt there was no other choice.

But let there be no misunderstanding.  This is not a conflict between Saudi Arabia and some rebel group in Yemen.  This is part of an ongoing war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and at this point relations between the two nations are at an all-time low

“The Saudis were caught off guard by how quick and aggressive the Houthi offensive was and felt they needed a sharp and immediate response,” geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia group, told Business Insider over email. “They didn’t want Iran to think they needed Egypt or anyone else to come rescue the Kingdom. This is the worst tension we’ve seen between Iran and Saudi Arabia, period.”

And of course Yemen is far from the only front in this war.

For instance, Saudi-backed fighters “are poised for a massive battle” with Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters on the Syria-Lebanon border…

Islamist forces armed and aided by Saudi Arabia are poised for a massive battle in the coming days targeting the Syrian regime and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization, according to Egyptian security officials speaking to WND.

The officials said the Saudis have directed the Islamist forces, including the Al Nusra Front, to lead an imminent counterinsurgency focusing on the Syria-Lebanon border, with particular emphasis on the Qalamoun region.

Qalamoun is a strategic site that serves as a supply line to Damascus from Lebanon. Control of the area would give the rebels a base of operations to target Damascus.

In the western media, this ongoing conflict is being characterized as a conflict between “good” Saudi Arabia and “evil” Iran.

But should we really be cheering on Saudi Arabia?

As I mentioned above, more funding for ISIS comes out of Saudi Arabia than anywhere else.

And ISIS also gets more support on social networks such as Twitter from Saudi Arabia than anywhere else

Part of ISIS’s success is its adoption of social media as a way to spread the group’s messages and find new members. A study by The Independent analyzed the origin of posts supporting ISIS on Twitter, and found that Saudi Arabia provides by far the most.

If you believe that ISIS is wrong for beheading people, you should keep in mind that there is a beheading in Saudi Arabia every four days.

The truth is that ISIS is simply just copying what the Saudis have been doing for centuries.

And for writing what I just did, I could be sentenced to 1,000 lashes if I was living in Saudi Arabia.  In fact, that is exactly what happened to one Saudi blogger.  Another Saudi man was recently sentenced to death for renouncing Islam.

The Saudis don’t believe that it will happen tomorrow, but they are fully convinced that their version of Islam will eventually dominate every inch of our planet.

Are you ready to live like the Saudis do?  In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive, religious police can drag you away at any time for any reason, and the penalty for smuggling a Bible is death.

If you are tempted to think that the Saudis do not plan to impose their rules on the rest of the world, you should consider what the top religious leader in the entire country recently had to say.  Earlier this month, he declared that every single church on the entire Arabian Peninsula (not just Saudi Arabia) must be destroyed

Saudi Arabia’s top Muslim cleric called on Tuesday for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula after legislators in the Gulf state of Kuwait moved to pass laws banning the construction of religious sites associated with Christianity.

Speaking to a delegation in Kuwait, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, who serves as the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, said the destruction of churches was absolutely necessary and is required by Islamic law, Arabic media reported.

These are the “good guys”?

The truth is that the Saudis are not our friends.  They like our money and they like our military might, and we make a convenient ally for them right now.

But what the Saudis stand for is the antithesis of everything that the United States is supposed to stand for.  It is a brutally oppressive regime that is promoting tyranny all over the planet.  Barack Obama may be comfortable with such “friends”, but the American people should not be.

So what do you think?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

 

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