Keeping Up with the Saudis

obsaUS foreign policy mirrors a bad reality show, we have a compilation of characters acting out any number of scenes all for the American publics consumption, yet it is no where close to reality.

The actions involving ISIS are just the next episodes of a 20 year sitcom with evil terrorist lurking around every corner poised in a moments notice to bring the United States to its knees.busie

Yet if you are listening and watching the truth slips out from time-to-time……..

“Our allies in the region were our largest problem in Syria,” he said, explaining that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE were “so determined to take down Assad,” that in a sense they started a “proxy Sunni-Shia war” by pouring “hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons” towards anyone who would fight against Assad.

“And we could not convince our colleagues to stop supplying them,”Vice President Biden told Harvard students on October 3rd.

But what does it all mean?  We are in the middle of one of the largest energy wars in history.  The players are the Saudis and US butting heads with Russia, China, and Iran.  The middle man the European Union in a desperate search for a secondary supplier of natural gas to break the strangle hold Russian owned Gazprom has over Europe’s energy needs.

Europe needs desperately to add a secondary supplier of natural gas with it becoming more-and-more difficult for Russia to meet demand due to US led sanctions.  Europe sees a willing and capable partner in Iran.

“According to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, Iran’s proven natural gas reserves are at a whopping 33.6 trillion cubic meters, while Russia’s are at 32.9 trillion cubic meters. Talk about two powerhouses.”

The US and Saudis are in the middle of stopping any pipelines from Iran into Europe which could further strengthen the Iranian economy and positioning them to be a major power broker between the West and East.  Saudi Arabia can not afford a strong powerful Iran at all costs.  Iran has proposed and based on Turkey’s inactions in the war on ISIS are on board for the following:

Nabucco, a Pipelineistian“…….. a pipeline to Europe via Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria filled with sometimes Azerbaijani, sometimes Iraqi gas……Iran’s Deputy Oil Minister Ali Mejidi  recently commented on the Nabucco pipeline; “With Nabucco, Iran can provide Europe with gas. We are the best alternative to Russia.”

Enter ISIS and Joe Biden’s quote, many in the region need Bashar Assad deposed as leader of Syria for a host of reasons, but the main player who needs Assad gone is the Saudi royal family.

If Syria were to fall into the hands of radical Islam, it would put enormous pressure on Turkey to move massive military and financial resources in order to stem the tide of extremist flooding into Turkey itself.  Turkey is quite safe at the moment as Syria provides a nice buffer from the radical elements functioning in Iraq and southern Syria also, seems to have no problem with “Iranian funded terrorist” as Iraq and much of the Middle East does?

This is changing rapidly though as the US doddles in controlling ISIS and the Saudis continue to fund and arm ISIS. The fight now has begun to edge closer to Turkey as Kobani, Syria stands to fall into ISIS hands opening the flood gates of ISIS fighters into Turkey.

The Saudis aren’t done.  They are now putting enormous pressure on the Russian economy with the plunging oil prices fostered by Saudi Arabia under cutting OPEC.  Russia’s economy is dependent upon the price of oil and gas to remain stable as is the government’s budget deficit or surplus.

“With oil prices estimated by the government to average $100/barrel for 2015-2017, Russia may be over-estimating.  Brent crude settled at $88.97 per barrel for the November 2014 futures contract on Thursday……..

“You have rising inflation, falling oil revenues and a weaker economy,” says Mike Reynal, an emerging markets fund manager for RS Investments in Des Moines. ”Ukraine’s political crisis and the sanctions against Russia also hurts investor sentiment. The impact sanctions and oil have on growth are all very negative. The 0.5% growth rate is marginally at risk now.  Inflation is over 8%. So you have high inflation and no growth and a Central Bank that doesn’t want to protect the ruble but will have to protect it regardless, which means you are likely to see interest rate hikes in a moribund economy. It’s an investor nightmare

Saudi Arabia is driving the price of oil through the floor to stem the tide of any possible investment into an Iranian-to-Europe pipeline all the while putting pressure on the Russian’s to back off their blanket support for Bashar Assad. The following chart shows how Saudi Arabia’s actions are undermining the entirety of OPEC, but who is being hurt the most by these price drops in oil.  Opec%20breakevens


Their proxy for getting this all done the US military, the desperate need of the US to have the Saudis continue to sell oil in USD only, and the Saudi end game continued control over the energy direction of the Middle East and stemming the inevitable rise of a powerful Iran.  This has been the first episode of “Keeping up with the Saudis” Always remember with the Saudis it is all about following the money…..till next time.

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