“There Is A Dollar Shortage”: Abu Dhabi Warns On Decreased Dollar Supply

It’s not entirely clear whether Saudi Arabia knew what they were setting in motion when the kingdom moved to deliberately suppress crude prices at the end of 2014.
The idea (of course) was to preserve market share by bankrupting the US shale space and if there were ‘ancillary benefits’ – like say forcing Moscow to give up its support for Bashar al-Assad – well then all the better.
Unfortunately for Riyadh, things didn’t really go as planned. The kingdom’s budget deficit ballooned to 16% of GDP (which, for the uninitiated, is an unmitigated disaster) and this year’s target of 13% will invariably prove to be elusive unless the Saudis decide to either drop the war in Yemen, drop the riyal peg, or (preferably), both.
In any event, the demise of the petrodollar has predictably created a shortage of, well, petrodollars, and it’s starting to show up in the UAE.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 03/02/2016.

Saudi Arabia Unleashes Capital Controls: Bans Bets Against Dollar Peg

14 months ago, Saudi Arabia had a plan.
That plan involved deliberately suppressing the price of crude in order to bankrupt the US shale complex and put pressure on the Russians who were still clinging to the notion that Bashar al-Assad would remain President of Syria.
Preserving crude market share and securing the ‘ancillary diplomatic benefits’ (to quote The New York Times) of lower oil prices has proven to be a trickier proposition than Riyadh originally imagined.
Not only has Moscow refused to relinquish Assad, Russia is actually pumping crude at record rates as the country’s fragile economy remains resilient even as the budget deficit looks set to balloon to its second widest level in two decades. Meanwhile, US production has managed to survive the rout thanks to forgiving capital markets drunk on ZIRP Kool-Aid.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 01/20/2016.

Assad: Europe, Turkey, Qatar, And Saudi Arabia Made Syria A “Hotbed Of Terror”

If there’s a silver lining in Turkey’s brazen move to shoot down a Russian Su-24 near the Syrian border late last month, it’s that it gave Putin the excuse he needed to expose Ankara’s role in bankrolling Sunni extremism in the Mid-East.
Despite the fact that fomenting sectarian discord and creating the type of instability that leads to regime change is part and parcel of US foreign policy, the general public is blissfully ignorant when it comes to the role played by Washington and its Mid-East allies in fostering the kind of chaotic conditions under which groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda thrive. Generally speaking, everyday Westerners are happy to remain in the dark about such things but when civilians start getting shot at concert halls and pizza joints in Paris, people start asking questions. And Putin has been happy to provide answers.
Of course the Russian President isn’t the only one who’s been shouting from the rooftops about the ill effects of foreign meddling in the Mid-East. No one understands how dangerous covert intervention can be better than Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.
“If you are worried about [refugees], stop supporting terrorists,” Assad said in an interview with Russian news organizations in September. “That’s what we think regarding the crisis. This is the core of the whole issue of refugees.”

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 12/23/2015.

Gold And Silver – Obama Is Bullish for Gold And Silver

Obama is ultimately bullish for gold and silver. His erratic and often incompetent decision -making can only cause both PMs to rally. Here is part of the reason why:
Russia’s entry into the Syrian conflict to fight real terrorists is as much a side-show as it is a pivotal power play and game changer for Putin in the Middle East [ME]. We continue to report on this for diametrically opposed reasons. It puts a glaring focus on Obama’s political inabilities, similar to watching a satirical comedy sketch, while at the same time, there is the potential for WWIII, mostly due to the instability of US policies. This is a tragicomedy unfolding before us on the world’s stage.
Putin is playing his cards exceptionally well, while Obama plays a Joker’s hand. From being a dominating factor in the ME for decades, Obama and his team of neocon misfits have turned tail, slinking away from what power it once exercised. If events continue as Putin has been directing, even Saudi Arabia and Qatar will suffer financially, much more than imagined even from as little as a year ago.
Coat-tailing off of Russia’s new-found force, Iran has been a background player throughout the Syrian civil war, [started at the behest of Obama wanting to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to be replaced by a Western-selected puppet.] Since the Russian air attacks, Iran now openly sends its troops to fight along with Syrian forces and those of Hezbollah. There are implications that a Russian-Iranian axis could challenge the dominance of the Saudis and their control over oil pricing. Russia and Iran would love to see oil back at the $100 mark, and greater control by them can only add pressure to the existing Saudi corner on pricing oil.
As if Obama’s decision-making could not get any worse, after openly refusing to join Russia in a coalition to fight the same ISIS the US has been purportedly fighting for the past 14 months, and without success, after consulting with a few of his advisors, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, he decided to air drop 50 tons of ammunition into middle of the terrorist fighting with the ‘hopes’ that the ammunition will be found by the good terrorists and [unsaid, used to fight and defeat Assad].

This post was published at Edge Trader Plus on 17 October 2015.

A Look Inside The Secret Deal With Saudi Arabia That Unleashed The Syrian Bombing

For those to whom the recent US campaign against Syria seems a deja vu of last summer’s “near-war” attempt to ouster its president Bashar al-Assad, which was stopped in the last minute due to some very forceful Russian intervention and the near breakout of war in the Mediterranean between US and Russian navies, it is because they are. And as a reminder, just like last year, the biggest wildcard in this, and that, direct intervention into sovereign Syrian territory, or as some would call it invasion or even war, was not the US but Saudi Arabia – recall from August of 2013 – “Meet Saudi Arabia’s Bandar bin Sultan: The Puppetmaster Behind The Syrian War.” Bin Sultan was officially let go shortly after the 2013 campaign to replace Syria’s leadership with a more “amenable” regime failed if not unofficially (see below), but Saudi ambitions over Syria remained.
That much is revealed by the WSJ today in a piece exposing the backdoor dealings that the US conducted with Saudi Arabia to get the “green light” to launch its airstrikes against ISIS, or rather, parts of Iraq and Syria. And, not surprising, it is once again Assad whose fate was the bargaining chip to get the Saudis on the US’ side, because in order to launch the incursion into Syrian sovereign territory “took months of behind-the-scenes work by the U. S. and Arab leaders, who agreed on the need to cooperate against Islamic State, but not how or when. The process gave the Saudis leverage to extract a fresh U. S. commitment to beef up training for rebels fighting Mr. Assad, whose demise the Saudis still see as a top priority.“
In other words, John Kerry came, saw and promised everything he could, up to and including the missing piece of the puzzle – Syria itself on a silver platter – in order to prevent another diplomatic humiliation.
When Mr. Kerry touched down in Jeddah to meet with King Abdullah on Sept. 11, he didn’t know for sure what else the Saudis were prepared to do. The Saudis had informed their American counterparts before the visit that they would be ready to commit air power – but only if they were convinced the Americans were serious about a sustained effort in Syria. The Saudis, for their part, weren’t sure how far Mr. Obama would be willing to go, according to diplomats.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 09/25/2014.