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Wed, 22 Mar 2023
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Game changer: How China's Iran-Saudi deal transforms geopolitics

© motioncenter/Shutterstock
'Meeting in the middle'
Just a year ago, the US was in the ascendant when it came to Middle East politics, working to isolate Iran by helping to normalize relationships between Israel and the Mideast Gulf states. The reality just changed — literally overnight — after China successfully brokered a reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Iran which, if consummated, will radically transform regional and global geopolitics.

When Wang Yi, China's most senior diplomat, stepped out in front of the cameras in Beijing, China, on Mar. 10, accompanied by Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, and Saudi National Security Adviser Musaad bin Mohammed al-Aiban, the world changed forever. On the surface, the deal that China mediated — with Iran and Saudi Arabia agreeing to resume formal diplomatic ties and affirming their respect for "the noninterference in internal affairs of states" — was a remarkable enough diplomatic accomplishment. In practical terms, this simply reset the clock to pre-2016, when the two nations severed relations in the aftermath of the execution by Saudi Arabia of a prominent Shiite cleric, which in turn prompted attacks on the Saudi embassy in Tehran. But the agreement to resume diplomatic relations was accompanied by a series of other commitments by the two nations to respect each other's sovereignty, and to engage in economic, cultural and sports cooperation. The timeline for implementation is two months from the date of the agreement.


UK's depleted uranium plan threatens all of Europe - Moscow

© Sputnik/Vladimir Fedorenko
Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin
The Ukraine conflict could descend into a fight "to the last European," a top Russian lawmaker has warned...

The British decision to supply depleted uranium munitions to Kiev is part of a dangerous trend that makes the Ukraine conflict a threat to the whole of Europe, Russian State Duma Chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has warned.

"The war to the last Ukrainian could become a war to the last European," the politician said in a social media post. Numerous Russian officials have claimed that Kiev's Western backers are prepared to sacrifice every Ukrainian for their geopolitical interests.

Volodin argued that Kiev's acquisition of depleted uranium munitions, which can contaminate the battlefield and cause health risks for generations to come, could become a stepping stone to even more dangerous weapons. "The next step could be the use of a dirty bomb by the Kiev regime or the deployment of a tactical nuclear weapon."

President Vladimir Putin expressed concern about the British decision earlier this week, warning that Russia "will be forced to react accordingly, bearing in mind that the collective West has already started to use weapons with a nuclear component."

Comment: Just like the denials in blowing up the pipeline, the factions of the West will deny supplying Ukraine with nuclear weapons.

Better Earth

Global banking turbulence prompts Wall Street banks to trim hawkish Fed bets

facade Fed Reserve
© Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
Goldman Sachs is expecting a pause this week from the U.S. Federal Reserve after a year-long rate increase campaign as Wall Street banks scale back their hawkish expectations in the aftermath of the ongoing global banking turmoil.

Bets of a 50 basis points rate hike at the start of the month following evidence of sticky inflation in a tight labor market and hawkish rhetoric from Fed Chair Jerome Powell have been dramatically altered by the collapse of two mid-sized U.S. banks and troubles at Credit Suisse.

A Swiss-backed takeover of Credit Suisse by peer UBS has helped calm some contagion fears but broader ramifications of the deal are yet to be seen. Across the Atlantic, U.S. regulators and the Fed set up lending programs and brokered deals to support regional banks.

A Swiss-backed takeover of Credit Suisse by peer UBS has helped calm some contagion fears but broader ramifications of the deal are yet to be seen. Across the Atlantic, U.S. regulators and the Fed set up lending programs and brokered deals to support regional banks.

Comment: Takeaway: It's all a guessing game. As the global financial mosaic breaks apart, ramifications are incalculable.


Bill Gates says the world must create 'a fire department for pandemics' to avoid the next catastrophic outbreak

© Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
Bill Gates
Bill Gates says the world must prepare for the next pandemic as it would respond to any other emergency.

Gates wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Sunday:
"We need a fire department for pandemics. The world hasn't done as much to get ready for the next pandemic as I'd hoped. But it's not too late to stop history from repeating itself."
Albeit concerned, Gates says he's optimistic about the World Health Organization's announcement of a Global Health Emergency Corps that could "spring into action at a moment's notice when danger emerges." He sees the success of this team as constantly practicing drills for different potential emerging pathogens, being able to implement widespread global testing, preventative sewage testing, and seamless coordination with governments across the world.

Research published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America suggests the chance of a pandemic similar to the impact of COVID-19 is 38% in someone's lifetime. The authors note that that percentage could double in years to come.

Comment: Translation: Gates is guaranteeing another plandemic is in the works - only better this time if we all behave.


Asian leader warns Putin warrant could spark nuclear war

Hun Sen
© Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Press Office/TASS/Sipa USA
Cambodia PM Hun Sen
The issuance of an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin by the International Criminal Court (ICC) could lead to nuclear war, as well as creating other implications globally, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned.

The warrant has only sowed further division in the world, potentially jeopardizing diplomatic efforts to reach a settlement of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which has been raging for over a year already, the PM believes.
"This ICC warrant to arrest Putin will complicate efforts to find a peaceful solution to the conflict between Ukraine and Russia, especially before [Chinese] President Xi Jinping's visit to Moscow during which he is expected to mediate for peace.

"Will Putin agree to be arrested without confrontation? If the ICC tries to arrest him, would the Russian authorities be willing to allow this to happen easily?"
The warrant also poses a threat to international efforts in other spheres, namely tackling "global issues such as climate change and diseases," the Cambodian leader said. Moreover, the ICC move has sharply increased the risk of events spiraling into a nuclear exchange in Europe, the PM warned.

Comment: Global movers and shaker nations are not members of the ICC and therefore deny jurisdiction.

Star of David

US 'extremely troubled' over Israeli law permitting more new settlements in Occupied Palestine

settler outpost West Bank
© Keren Manor/Activestills.org
An illegal outpost in the West Bank
The newly approved bill is "inconsistent" with promises to ease tensions with the Palestinians, a senior State Department official has said

The US government has voiced major concerns after Israeli lawmakers passed a bill allowing for the construction of new settlements in the occupied West Bank, warning that the measure would facilitate the theft of Palestinian land.

The State Department's principal deputy spokesman, Vedant Patel, said Washington is "extremely troubled" by the law, which rescinds parts of a 2005 bill that ordered Israeli settlers to vacate Gaza and some areas of the West Bank.

"The US strongly urges Israel to refrain from allowing the return of settlers to the area covered by the legislation," he told reporters on Tuesday, noting that "At least one of the [former] outposts in this area... was built on private Palestinian land, which is illegal under Israeli law."


In Moscow, Xi and Putin bury Pax Americana

In Moscow this week, the Chinese and Russian leaders revealed their joint commitment to redesign the global order, an undertaking that has 'not been seen in 100 years.'

Xi and Putin
© The Cradle
What has just taken place in Moscow is nothing less than a new Yalta, which, incidentally, is in Crimea. But unlike the momentous meeting of US President Franklin Roosevelt, Soviet Leader Joseph Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in USSR-run Crimea in 1945, this is the first time in arguably five centuries that no political leader from the west is setting the global agenda.

It's Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin that are now running the multilateral, multipolar show. Western exceptionalists may deploy their crybaby routines as much as they want: nothing will change the spectacular optics, and the underlying substance of this developing world order, especially for the Global South.

What Xi and Putin are setting out to do was explained in detail before their summit, in two Op-Eds penned by the presidents themselves. Like a highly-synchronized Russian ballet, Putin's vision was laid out in the People's Daily in China, focusing on a "future-bound partnership," while Xi's was published in the Russian Gazette and the RIA Novosti website, focusing on a new chapter in cooperation and common development.

Right from the start of the summit, the speeches by both Xi and Putin drove the NATO crowd into a hysterical frenzy of anger and envy: Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova perfectly captured the mood when she remarked that the west was "foaming at the mouth."

The front page of the Russian Gazette on Monday was iconic: Putin touring Nazi-free Mariupol, chatting with residents, side by side with Xi's Op-Ed. That was, in a nutshell, Moscow's terse response to Washington's MQ-9 Reaper stunt and the International Criminal Court (ICC) kangaroo court shenanigans. "Foam at the mouth" as much as you like; NATO is in the process of being thoroughly humiliated in Ukraine.

During their first "informal" meeting, Xi and Putin talked for no less than four and a half hours. At the end, Putin personally escorted Xi to his limo. This conversation was the real deal: mapping out the lineaments of multipolarity - which starts with a solution for Ukraine.

Predictably, there were very few leaks from the sherpas, but there was quite a significant one on their "in-depth exchange" on Ukraine. Putin politely stressed he respects China's position - expressed in Beijing's 12-point conflict resolution plan, which has been completely rejected by Washington. But the Russian position remains ironclad: demilitarization, Ukrainian neutrality, and enshrining the new facts on the ground.

In parallel, the Russian Foreign Ministry completely ruled out a role for the US, UK, France, and Germany in future Ukraine negotiations: they are not considered neutral mediators.


Why hypersonic weapons change everything

They can sink ALL of the U.S. aircraft carriers, all at once.
Hypersonic Weapon
© Vivekananda International Foundation

When it comes to all matters military, I have been following a handful of analysts among whom Croatian Admiral Davorin Domazet (retired) emerged as perhaps my favorite. He has deep and detailed command of technical matters (like Andreiy Martyanov he insists that you can't prevail in modern warfare without deep knowledge of of advanced mathematics and probability). More importantly, he has perhaps the clearest understanding of the broad historical context of today's clash between Russia and the western powers.

Unfortunately, Admiral Domazet does not give many interviews and none in English, but I thought that his last one was important enough to share more broadly in this article.

Admiral Davorin
© Alex Krainer's TrendCompass
If you happen to speak Croatian/Serbian languages, you can find the interview, published on 17 March 2023 at this link. It runs over 2 hours.

Star of David

Delusional: Israeli minister claims there's 'no such thing' as Palestinians

Bezalel Smotrich
© GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images
Bezalel Smotrich, Israeli far-right lawmaker and leader of the Religious Zionist Party
Bezalel Smotrich has alleged that the notion of separate people is "an invention that is less than 100 years old"

There's no such thing as Palestinian history or culture, and the Palestinians are not a legitimate ethnic group, Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich has claimed. The hardline politician, who is tasked with the administration of the occupied West Bank, made the inflammatory remarks on Sunday during a visit to France.

Smotrich was speaking at a memorial event commemorating Jacques Kupfer, a prominent Zionist and activist with the right-wing Likud Party, who died back in 2021. The minister delivered his speech while standing at a lectern draped with a flag depicting a variation of the so-called 'Greater Israel' map that appears to include the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza and Jordan, footage of the event, which was widely shared online, shows.

Comment: Pure projection. Less than 100 years ago, there was no such thing as an 'Israeli'.

Israel's "culture" is a mishmash of eastern European traditions, and what has been stolen from the indigenous Palestinians. The average 'Israeli' has more connection to latkes and klezmer music than to hummus and ouds. And zero connection to the 'history' of the small tribal group recounted in the fictional Bible.


The financial system is terminally broken, toast, kaput!

bank run

Comment: Keeping in mind that the author is a goldbug, and the following is not financial advice, he does raise some excellent points.

Anyone who doesn't see what is happening will soon lose a major part of their assets either through bank failure, currency debasement or the collapse of all bubble assets like stocks, property and bonds by 75-100%. Many bonds will become worthless.

Wealth preservation in physical gold is now absolutely critical. Obviously it must be stored outside a broken financial system. More later in this article.

The solidity of the banking system is based on confidence. With the fractional banking system, highly leveraged banks only have a fraction of the money available if all depositors ask for their money back. So when confidence evaporates, so do the balance sheets of the banks and depositors realise that the whole system is just a black hole.

And this is exactly what is about to happen.

For anyone who believes that this is just a problem with a few smaller US banks and one big one (Credit Suisse), they must think again.

Comment: The UBS did end up purchasing Credit Suisse.

See: Shotgun marriage: Swiss bank UBS 'is prepared to take over troubled rival Credit Suisse but only for knockdown price' UPDATE

And don't miss: Ellen Brown: The Looming Quadrillion Dollar Derivatives Tsunami