<b>This topic is to discuss the future of USA wrt to the current situation in Iraq.
SInce US is dominant in the world in terms of economy/military and influence
the impact will be felt in India also.
The topic should focus on the impact of Iraq
US Foriegn Policy
US Internal politics/ Identity/ Role as the only super power
US Economy/Global Economy in the next 5 years/ Oil</b>
06-05-2004, 01:02 AM
(This post was last modified: 06-05-2004, 01:12 AM by acharya.)
U.S.A.--The declining years
Is USA now on the decline?
The big debate will go on now for some years and at the end of the first decade of the Gregorian twenty first century, we will know how sound the assessment has been. We are concerned astrologically with it. To do it we need a horoscope of USA which is not a settled one as western astrologers have used nearly sixteen different horoscopes with different dates, different time and never succeeded in making a single good prediction on the basis of what they claim is their research with Pluto, Herschel and Neptune included.
We have waited long enough and watched all these debates and controversies. It has been quite easy for us Hindu astrologers to make annual predictions about USA on the basis of our well known Chaitra Shukla Pratipada horoscope but it is limited to the year under scrutiny. The problem can be solved only if we decided on a dependable horoscope.
I have decided the horoscope given here as correct for many reasons which is what I must state here first.
1) There is no doubt in my mind that the date chosen,4 July 1776, is what all historians of USA accept as being correct.
2) USA celebrates 4 July every year as her day of independence with which we have been familiar.
3) Majority of western astrologers have used different horoscopes of 4 July but with different time.
4) Yet,some western and "Vedic" astrologers have used the same data and given Dhanu lagna which would make USA a disastrously war mongering nation while history has recorded US soldiers as most undistinguished in battle fields.
5) Some others have given Vrischika lagna not even applying the elementary principle of mundane astrology which would have made it not the great creative and rich nation it is with its long list of Nobel Prize winners and great scientists, industrialists and men of really great entrepreneurs.
While I had been working on it for some years, I got the help of Yogi Karve who gave me the time through his supernormal power which I have found very helpful many times. On this basis this horoscope been cast.
Till Yogi Karve gave me this time, I had been toying with the idea of it being Kanya lagna but 4th July all right from where the tenth house shows, Sun. Mars, Jupiter and Venus which will show its super power status, unparalled in the recorded history of world.
Changing it to Simha lagna, I found a strong eleventh house and Moon in the seventh house as the twelfth lord. I had kept a mental note of it and had requested friends in USA to give to me the time of the swearing of President Bush on 20 January 2001. When I got it, I commented on that day itself, that the new US president would follow an aggressive international policy and will openly be against abortion.
Immediately after assuming office, President Bush declared his policy of no US aid being given to states or countries which supported abortion as their policies. Western astrologers did not even know the importance of muhurta chart, till I pointed out that it was a valuable supplementary chart.
World had to wait till 11 September 2001, to see the manifestation of US aggression as was seen in the oath taking chart of President Bush, when "Osama dead or alive" became almost a US slogan.
The question then was, if it was reflected in the chart prepared on the basis of the time given by Yogi Karve.
Interestingly, here we find the mahadasha of Moon starting from 13 October 2001. Moon here has three clear significations in mundane astrology. As the twelfth lord it must show:
a) Foreign plots hatched against it.
b) Expenditure increasing which is what has been happening ever since USA decided to fight the Afghan war with only one active ally, Britain, with other coalition partners helping the war efforts in a more non-military manner.
c) The mood of aggression which Moon in the seventh house, the house of war, must show. This Moon being in the nakshatra of Mars, (Dhanista) doubly must show aggression.
To make assurance doubly sure, the annual horoscope of USA for 2001,on the basis of this date was cast and the planetary position was as shown here. Here one strikingly spectacular factor in the annual horoscope was retrograde Mars in the seventh house showing the same astrological point which the swearing in horoscope of President Bush had shown, an aggression. Here it is surer indication because this Mars is both retrograde and is aspected by Saturn in Rohini nakshatra which is an old research of mine about war.
USA is now involved in a war in the mahadasha of Moon in the seventh house as the twelfth lord and in the annual horoscope, there is Mars retrograde aspected by Saturn.
A brief survey at the second cycle of Vimshottri mahadasha in the US chart being used should be made first.
Vimshottari mahadasha of Rahu from 13 October 1898
Rahu ending 14 October 1916
As the mahadasha of Rahu was ending USA prepared for ending its policy of isolationism self imposed on itself through the famous Monroe Doctrine. After watching the progress of war in Europe, as soon as the Jupiter dasha started, it decided to jump into it. History, records that it was the powerful participation of USA in the war that changed 0the course against Germany.
Jupiter ending 13 October 1932
As the Jupiter dasha was ending, USA got itself engulfed in the deadly Depression of 1929 whose effects was a financial ruination of so many.
Saturn ending 14 October 1951
Saturn as the seventh lord of war, had to involve USA again, this time in the Second World War. It came after the Japanese bombarded Pearl Harbour. Whole of Saturn dasha saw USA trying to encircle USSR, after the war was over, through a series of military pacts. USAâs international involvement was total.
Astrologically, no better corroboration is needed to accept this horoscope as correct. But some more events of the past years, well known in world history should be verified here.
1)The first verifiable fact is USA joining the First World War which started in the Rahu-Moon period though USA joined it actively only when President Wilson took the decision to join after a British ship carrying many Americans was sunk by German army."Wilson appeared before the Congress to ask for declaration of war and resolution was passed on 6-4-1917." It was the period of Jupiter-Jupiter-Saturn and here Saturn as the sixth and the seventh lord, in the second house aspected by Mars will show attack both on Americans and also USA joining the war.
2) The great Depression of the thirties of the twentieth century occured in the mahadasha of Jupiter and the antardasha of Mars aspecting the second and the fifth house representing the stock exchange. The pratyantara dasha was of Saturn, in the second house aspected by Mars. Jupiter is the fifth lord of speculation (stock exchanges). There was no recovery till the antardasha of Rahu was over. It being a notable dasha chiddra it took USA many years under the astute presidentship of FDR to overcome which must have come almost at the end of Saturn Mercury period of this horoscope. Mercury, as the eleventh lord, has to give such a recovery here.
3)USA joined the Second World War in Sun-Moon antardashas in the mahadasha of Saturn which is easily explainable. Saturn as the seventh lord and Moon in the seventh house are clear explanations of all this.
4) The WTO disaster of 11 September 2001 took place in the mahadasha of Sun in the eighth house (as the fourth lord) of the Chaturthamsha. Here Sun receives the terrible aspects of both Mars and Saturn. It was in the dasha of Sun that US properties outside and inside USA have been the targets of terrorist attacks.
On this basis we need not have any hesitation in accepting the horoscope cast on the basis of the time given by Yogi Karve.
What then are the results one should expect in the mahadasha of Moon which has begun from October 2001, the dasha of the twelfth lord in the seventh house of war?
In navamsha Moon, as the eighth lord, is with Mars aspected by Sun and Saturn. In the dashamansha it comes under Rahu/Ketu axis and in thrimshamsha it is again in the seventh house with Mars in the rashi of Mars.
Analysis of the mahadasha of Moon
As the twelfth lord in the seventh house, Moon is the period of big national drain, enormous expenditure and exhaustion. No wonder it has given to president Bush a mood to become belligerent which have been commented upon thus: "Where Mr. Bush now takes this doctrine is an open question, but he has painted his mission broadly across the world" (By Patrick E Tyler, 20 November 2001, Times London)
One should not expect USA to get out of the war mood till the end of Moon dasha of full ten years as will also be clear from what President Bush said, "In his Sept. 20 address to Congress, Mr. Bush put it this way: "From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. He added that while the war on terror began with Al Qaeda, it did not end there. "It will not end," he said, "until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated."
A brief hint that can be from each antardasha in the mahadasha of Moon is:
The features of Moon mahadashas visible are: there will be something in the nature of a world war, not a continuous war but many wars in each of which USA will be participating.
(Moon-Moon beginning 13 August 2001)
There will be no end to the fight that has begun even after the Afghan war is over.
(Mars 14 March 2003
It will be a period of national agony and crashing stock exchanges.
Rahu 11 September 2004
A fearful stock market crash and terrible US losses can lead to a decision to use more dangerous weapons.
It will go on like this till the antardasha is over Saturn ending 13 August 2007).
Sometime towards the end of 2007, when Saturn will have crossed Magha nakshatra in Simha, the war will begin to show some visible abatement. But Rahu will take some more years to reach Dhanu to give to USA a breather. The final experience of it all for USA will be much worse than its Vietnamese misadventure (1956-74).
What will be the likely consequences of all this ? Drawable inferences are.
1) USAâs position as a super power in an unipolar world will have suffered its worst damage. China in the meantime will begin to rise to occupy position as the most dreaded world power. (will be discussed later)
2)World view of Islam as a religion will undergo a very unfavourable change as has been said by a US Senator thus" âThere is no such thing as peaceful Islam,ââ Lind said. ââIslamics cannot fit into an America in which the first loyalty is to the American Constitution"
3) What will be the assessment made of USA being described as world as worldâs biggest terrorist state is left to the readers to judge. Read what Chomsky has to say.
Kolkata, Oct. 22. (PTI): Noted thinker Noam Chomsky today said India would gain "nothing" by supporting the US offensive in Afghanistan but get a "kick in the face" if it came in the way of Americaâs interests.
Describing the US as the "worldâs biggest terrorist State", the self-confessed anarchist said following the September 11 attacks in his country, it was carrying on a "worse" kind of terrorism on Afghanistan."
The Hindu News Update as at 22.30 hrs (IST) on November 22, 2001
What is interesting about this narration is that of the Sept 2004
A fearful stock market crash and terrible US losses can lead to a decision to use more dangerous weapons.
<b>Bush warns Latham on Iraq pullout </b>
By Louise Dodson in Washington and Cynthia Banham
June 4, 2004 - 1:19AM
"A close friend of mine" . . . Mr Bush and Mr Howard at the White House. Photo: Andrew Taylor
US President George Bush has delivered an unprecedented blow to the Labor Party, describing Mark Latham's policy of withdrawing Australian troops from Iraq as "disastrous".
Speaking after a one and a half hour meeting with the Prime Minister, John Howard, at the White House, <b>Mr Bush said withdrawing the troops would "dispirit those who love freedom in Iraq" and "embolden our enemy which believes it can shake our will". </b> <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<b>"It would be a disastrous decision for the leader of a great country like Australia to say that we're pulling out,"</b> Mr Bush said as the two leaders met reporters in Washington early today, Australian time.
"It would say that the Australian Government doesn't see the hope of a free, democratic society [in Iraq]. It would embolden the enemy to believe that they could shake our will."
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->A fearful stock market crash and terrible US losses can lead to a decision to use more dangerous weapons.It will go on like this till the antardasha is over Saturn ending 13 August 2007).<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<!--emo&:omg--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/omg.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='omg.gif' /><!--endemo--> I am sure people will be making their investment plans. But I would be very surprised if this comes out to be true <!--emo&
--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='smile.gif' /><!--endemo-->
I wonder if the neo-cons also use astrology like our neta-babu log.
<b><span style='color:red'>Breaking News
Ronald Reagan is dead </b></span>
<b>Ronald Reagan dead at 93</b>
Goldilocks Economy' Could Be Pure Fantasy
Sat Jun 5, 1:21 PM ET Add Business - Reuters to My Yahoo!
By Dick Satran
NEW YORK (Reuters) - A not-too-hot and not-too-cold economic story has warmed the hearts of Wall Street investors for months.
Stocks rose Friday after the release of a long-awaited jobs report that showed an economy that still isn't growing fast enough to require drastic tightening by Alan Greenspan (news - web sites)'s Federal Reserve (news - web sites).
But Wall Street's Goldilocks tale might need a bit of revising soon, and maybe Britney Spears could take the starring role. Like Spears, who was asked by the Chinese government not to dress too hot on her concert tour there next year, investors may want to turn down the heat.
"There's going to be earnings disappointments coming by the third quarter," said Peter Wall, chief investment strategist for Chase Personal Financial Services. "We don't think the forecasts that are out there reflect the changes in the economy."
As corporate hiring continues to surge, wage demands could add to the inflationary pressures already presented by rising oil and commodity prices. Even if that doesn't rattle the Fed into taking draconian actions, the rising costs will cut corporate results starting in the second half of the year, analysts say.
The signs of an economic shift are sprouting all over the landscape. In the credit market, interest rates surged to a 2-year high on Friday. The Commodity Research Bureau index recently hit 23-year highs. Oil hit all-time highs repeatedly in recent weeks and is still almost 50 percent above the start of the year. And the government Thursday reported a 4.6 percent rise in hourly compensation -- one of the strongest signs yet that labor costs are rising.
"The encouraging thing is that the economic rebound is in place," said Joseph Kalinowski, director of research at Puglisi and Co. "Just two months ago we were in a jobless recovery and deflation. But now that the jobs have arrived, we're going to see more competitive wages. And more inflation pressure."
The wage inflation pressures, at least, will probably remain modest, analysts say. In part, that's because jobs can easily migrate offshore. It's also because companies are loathe to add employees with health costs soaring and terror attacks still a threat, said Richard Yamarone, director of research at Argus Research.
Indeed, while the government was reporting an expansion of 248,000 jobs last month, appliance giant Maytag (NYSE:MYG - news) was laying off 20 percent of its salaried work force, and technology mainstay Seagate (NYSE:STX - news) was trimming 7 percent of all staff.
"We continue to hear a number of corporate chieftains pushing back their hiring intentions until some of the dust from the Middle East, the war with Iraq (news - web sites) and terror-related turmoil subsides," said Yamarone.
CORPORATE PROFITS SQUEEZED
The economy's sluggish pockets will probably keep the Fed from getting overly aggressive when it meets at the end of the month. Most analysts are looking for the central bank to launch a series of one-quarter point rate increases in a gradual tightening.
But rate hikes are probably not the biggest immediate threat to the stock market rally. Instead, it's the withering impact of thousands of small cost hikes that will become Wall Street's villain. Corporate profits will be increasingly squeezed by rising costs, which will also lead to sagging demand from sticker-shocked consumers, analysts say.
"People are updating their models and the consensus will start to reflect a slowdown," said Kalinowski. "You're going to see the massive number of positive earnings pre-announcements subside. Things will start to turn negative."
The summer will probably continue to be a relatively robust period, Kalinowksi said. Good news will continue to flow with the second-quarter results -- due out in July. But starting in the third-quarter results period at summer's end, things will get stickier. The bad news could start to arrive as early as August, when companies start giving bearish forecasts for their third-quarter results, he added.
"We're going to see earnings trail off," agreed Wall. "With the tightening in the job market, wages and salaries will go up enough to impact corporate profit, but not until the third quarter, because there's always a bit of a lag before it shows up in corporate results."
After the hot summer, things could be set to cool down.
For the week, the Nasdaq Composite Index (^IXIC - news) slipped 0.41 percent to 1,979, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI - news) rose 0.54 percent to 10,243 and the Standard & Poor's 500 index (^SPX - news) added 0.16 percent to 1,123.
<b>Fear Enters the Pipeline of Saudi Oil Industry</b>
Sat Jun 5, 7:55 AM ET Add Top Stories - Los Angeles Times to My Yahoo!
By Megan K. Stack Times Staff Writer
DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia â In the desert washes where Americans first found this kingdom's black gold, Saudis scrambled this week to harden their defenses. New security checkpoints cropped up at the edge of the vast tangles of steel in the oil fields. Makeshift sniper nests appeared around town. A Saudi magnate logged on to an Israeli settler website for a few tips on home fortification.
Last weekend's carnage by suspected Islamic militants in the nearby petrochemical hub of Khobar drove the price of oil to a new high and laid bare an uncomfortable truth: The world oil market depends heavily on a calm that seems to be vanishing in this volatile desert kingdom.
Many people here believe that after years of threats, a struggle aimed at wrecking Saudi Arabia's storied oil industry has begun. The nature of the violence has morphed; suicide bombings at housing compounds in Riyadh gave way to two major shooting rampages at oil companies last month. Workers are no longer rattled or nervous â they are scared.
Saudi stability once seemed a relatively safe bet; now analysts are questioning the security of the kingdom's oil facilities and the tight grip of its ruling family.
After gunmen killed 22 people last weekend, then vanished into a neighborhood swarming with Saudi commandos, official explanations were tinged with inconsistencies and marked by inexplicable security lapses.
"Every society secretes its evil. We have our share, and you have your share," Abdallah S. Jumah, president of government-owned oil company Saudi Aramco, said in an interview here. "This is our share."
"The other day shouldn't have been allowed to happen, because they knew it was coming," said Tracy Thompson, a 43-year-old substitute teacher married to an Aramco employee. "And even if they catch these [gunmen], so what? There's another 200. It's very frustrating because we know there could be sympathizers living next door."
Saudi officials scornfully dismiss the suggestion that terrorism could block the flow of oil. It's one thing to blow up a housing compound or open fire at a lightly guarded firm, they say, but quite another to obliterate a facility that pumps, transports or loads oil. The latter, they insist, is virtually impossible.
Wrapped in layers of fencing, barbed wire and hydraulic barriers, watched with cameras and night-vision goggles, Aramco's oil facilities are monitored by more than 5,000 guards. Backed by Saudi troops, armed guards patrol on foot, in cars and in the sky.
"You'd need a nuclear power," said Ibrahim Muhanna, advisor to the petroleum and mineral resources minister. "To damage the biggest oil facilities you'd need to come from the sea, like only the U.S. is capable of."
But even if the kingdom's heavily fortified network of pumping stations and ports prove immune to assault, there is a soft spot: The workers. About 6 million foreign engineers, software experts, schoolteachers and cooks live in Saudi Arabia, and they keep the oil business humming.
Now foreigners are barricaded in gated communities, terrified to venture outside. Some are abandoning Saudi Arabia altogether. Workers at Aramco estimate that dozens of employees have resigned since last weekend.
Nervous workers are urging their spouses and children to leave the country for the summer, or longer. Many are quietly looking for new jobs, hoping to line up a financial escape route.
Saudi Arabia has larger proven oil reserves than any other nation and has long served as a sort of relief valve for the global market: In a pinch, Saudis can easily pump extra crude, which tends to drive down prices and calm markets.
Already the top oil exporter, the kingdom could pump still more. It is producing 9.1 million barrels a day but has the capacity for 10.5 million barrels, Muhanna said.
<b>The kingdom has responded to many a global crisis by increasing production â during World War II, the Korean War, the Iranian oil cutoff, the Iranian revolution and the 1991 Persian Gulf War (news - web sites). On Thursday, OPEC (news - web sites) agreed to raise production yet again after prodding by an insistent Saudi Arabia. </b>
But terrorism has its price, and in the case of oil, it's not a small one. Analysts say fear alone fattens the price of a barrel of oil by $4 to $10. Even before last weekend's attacks, the suspicion that Saudi Arabia might not be able to protect its oil from sabotage was driving prices to new heights. This week, the price peaked at a record $42 a barrel.
Saudi Arabia takes seriously its position as the world's biggest exporter of crude â and even more seriously the petrodollars that helped reinvent this hardscrabble desert country into a gleaming and sophisticated kingdom in just a few decades.
"People come here from Harvard with their funny views, but they don't live here and they don't understand how things work," said Hassan Husseini, a former Aramco planning consultant. "This oil is not just oil. It's our water, it's our farming and it's our hospitals."
But it's precisely the oil industry â and the royal family it supports â that Saudi Arabia's radical Islamists yearn to destroy. The insurgents deride the government, which they deem apostate, for cooperating with the United States while growing fat on oil profit.
There are only two recipes for immediate disaster in Saudi oil, and few analysts think either one is likely.
â¢ A cataclysmic strike on a key oil facility, particularly the massive refinery in Ras Tanura, could clog production for months.
â¢ The spasms of suicide bombings and shootouts could grow strong and fast enough to break the hold of the ruling family, leaving a vacuum or allowing for the creation of a regime hostile to the United States, which would endanger the flow of oil.
The second threat seems particularly improbable. The Saudi regime is under pressure and divided, but it's still strong, diplomats say. The real threat is terrorism â and thanks to the extreme secrecy of the Saudi regime, the depth and strength of the insurgency remains hidden behind a flurry of government statements.
"<b>Ten or 15 years ago I was much more confident saying, 'Look, I've got all kinds of criticisms [of Saudi Arabia], but there's a lot of reasons why I think it's stable,' " said Robert J. Lieber, a foreign service professor at Georgetown University. "Now I'm agnostic. I do think the risk of terrorism is not insignificant." </b>
If anybody should be able to judge the strength of the militants, it's the Americans. U.S. troops are stationed in Saudi Arabia, and the two nations swap intelligence. These days, the message from the U.S. Embassy to expatriates has been blunt: Leave the country; trouble is coming.
Saudi authorities are miffed by the dire tone of the warnings, which they say are exaggerated. The U.S. government tells its citizens to leave Saudi Arabia, but recruits other citizens to go to Iraq (news - web sites), griped one Saudi official. "As if that were safer."
In public, Saudi officials dismiss talk of departing foreign workers. Through the decades, Saudis have risen to dominate the upper echelon of Aramco management, replacing the Americans who founded the company and steered it through its early decades. Aramco's workforce is about 85% Saudi.
Even if the Westerners leave, Saudis will take up the slack, they say, or replenish the ranks with foreign workers who have a stronger stomach for risk. Already, the majority of the kingdom's foreign workers are Arabs from countries such as Egypt and Yemen, or South Asians from Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka.
"Somebody will pick it up, as long as there's money to be made," said Muhanna, the advisor to the petroleum minister. "I'm not minimizing the effect, but let's not exaggerate it. We're capable of carrying on even if some people leave."
Frantic to Leave
Rattled families put together sales in the Aramco housing compounds this week to sell off their belongings. A private school in Bahrain, the archipelago across the causeway from Dhahran, reported a flurry of telephone calls from parents frantic to move their children out of Saudi Arabia.
"Some are retiring, some are going into early retirement, some are leaving because of family commitments," said Aramco President Jumah, who was reluctant to link the resignations to the attacks. "I have not seen a mass exodus."
Saudis and expatriates alike are trying to defend themselves. Improbably, a sorrowful Saudi construction magnate logged on to a website run by Israeli settlers this week. Maan Sanea, who owns the Oasis residential complex, where much of last weekend's violence took place, wanted to find a way to protect it. Sanea followed the settlers' example, sealing off all entrances except one and erecting new brick barriers at his battered housing compound.
He had assumed that the enclave of tidy trees and red-tiled roofs was safe behind its thick walls, guard posts and stainless steel doors, but he was wrong. Militants breezed through the front gate May 29 and went on a rampage. They slit throats, took hostages and shot people execution-style.
Then, after a full day and night of mayhem, the gunmen apparently clambered up the rocks of an artificial waterfall in a back courtyard, went over the fence and disappeared in a stolen car. They have not been found.
During a tour of the compound this week, security consultants acknowledged that the story didn't make much sense. It seemed likely that the gunmen had help, they said.
"They were calm, collected and they knew what they were doing," said a security consultant, who was in the compound during the attacks and asked not to be named. "They came in like special forces and they went out like special forces."
Many witnesses doubted that the militants who stormed into the Oasis were the same men who opened fire at two office compounds earlier that morning, then dragged a British petrochemical worker behind a car. Saudi officials have said the same four gunmen carried out all of the assaults.
But witnesses at the compound noted that the four gunmen were unruffled and the military fatigues were clean when they went through the gates.
The attack May 1 in the Red Sea petroleum hub of Yanbu is also troubling. Like the carnage in Khobar, it was an illustration of a security force caught off guard and overwhelmed by a few low-tech killers. Six Westerners and one Saudi were killed.
Islamist gunmen in that attack moved with very little urgency. They had time to gun down workers of Houston-based ABB Lummus Global Inc., and to tie a man to a car and drag him through the streets. They displayed his mauled body to schoolchildren, urging them to wage jihad in the name of the Iraqi city of Fallouja.
It took more than an hour for Saudi commandos to stop them.
"<b>I think everyone understands the limitations of security within the kingdom," said a 49-year-old Aramco worker who has lived in the kingdom since she was 22 and declined to be named.
"I think all of us are pretty tenuous" about staying in Saudi Arabia, she said. "As Americans, it's just not in our nature to get slaughtered. At this point, it's everybody's individual fear factor."</b>
<b>Once seen as an alarmist fear, an attack on key Saudi oil terminal could destabilise west </b>
Thursday June 3, 2004
<b>When Fadel Gheit first warned of his "nightmare scenario" that Saudi Arabia's main oil export terminal at Ras Tanura could be wiped out by terrorists, he was dismissed as an alarmist.</b>It was the week after the September 11 attacks in New York, where he is based. But the oil analyst began to think there was another target that would have an even more devastating impact if hit.
As fears of upheaval in Saudi helped set world crude oil prices to 21-year highs of $42.45 per barrel ahead of an Opec ministerial meeting today, there were fewer willing to scoff at Mr Gheit.
"I cannot think of any more logical target for terrorists. It [Ras Tanura] is the nerve centre for the Saudi oil trade but also for global exports. If you can blow up the Pentagon in broad daylight, then it cannot be impossible to fly a plane into Ras Tanura - and then you are talking $100 [per barrel] oil," he says.
Saudi Arabia is the linchpin for world crude supplies, a key to setting prices and yet sitting on a political tinderbox due to internal dissent and having trouble securing itself against terrorism.
The repressive desert kingdom is the birthplace of Osama bin Laden, provided 15 out of the 19 attackers on 9/11 and its future problems could ultimately make petrol too expensive for us to take our cars out of the garage.
<b>Not only is Ras Tanura or the refining centre of Abqaiq dangerously exposed to being knocked out of action by militants, but Mr Gheit also believes regime change in Saudi to a more hostile Islamic government is as inevitable as it was in Iran a quarter of a century ago. "It's only a matter of time," he claims. </b>
But this is no headline-grabbing polemicist. The Egyptian-born American is employed by investment house Oppenheimer & Co to provide sober assessments of future oil supply and demand to investors sitting on billions of dollars worth of Wall Street financial funds.
Nor is he an armchair theorist. The 58-year-old worked in Saudi as a chemical engineer for Mobil (now ExxonMobil) while it was building facilities at Yanbu in the 1980s. Yanbu, on the Red Sea, was attacked barely a month ago and six western expatriate oil workers were killed; in a further attack in Khobar at the weekend 22 civilians were killed. <b>Yesterday shots were fired at US military personnel outside the capital Riyadh, adding to the tension and forcing a Saudi foreign affairs spokesman, Adel Al-Jubeir, to admit the oil industry was being targeted. </b>
<b>An assault on Ras Tanura, however, would be vastly more serious. As much as 80% of the near 9m barrels of oil a day pumped out by Saudi is believed to end up being piped from fields such as Ghawar to Ras Tanura in the Gulf to be loaded on to supertankers bound for the west. </b>
Ras Tanura and other terminals are heavily patrolled and protected, the energy ministry is ringed by concrete and the streets outside patrolled by tanks and armoured vehicles. But that seems to have done little to reduce a growing number of attacks on key installations. Saudi is vital because it sits on the world's largest oil reserves, exports much more than anyone else and even more importantly has consistently acted as "swing producer" inside the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) to try to iron out supply/demand blips.
The Saudi royal family promised ahead of the western assault on Saddam Hussein that it would pump out more crude to make up any temporary shortfall should Iraqi oilfields be knocked out of action. Similarly, Saudi promised to increase its output unilaterally when its plan for Opec to increase production was turned down by some other Opec ministers ahead of the meeting in Beirut today.
But this role of being friends to the west causes tension inside the country with religious and other conservatives opposed to social liberalism and western culture.
Against this is a growing number of young, highly educated Saudis who want to throw off what they see as the semi-feudal rule by the House of Saud and adopt democracy and a new openness.
So what would happen if either Ras Tanura was put out of action or the country was taken over by an anti-western fundamentalist movement which decided to turn off oil to the west?
Julian Lee, senior energy analyst at the Centre for Global Energy Studies thinktank in London, does not dismiss out of hand the $100 per barrel oil scenario which could produce the Â£10 gallon of petrol. "I think it would be difficult to put an upper limit on the kind of panic reaction you would see in the global oil markets following the loss of Saudi supplies," he says.
And $80 plus could be a more likely guess, according to Mr Lee. But he also believes it would be a relatively short-lived spike because the west would take reserves out of storage to try to stabilise the market.
The US has close to 700m barrels of oil in its strategic petroleum reserves while many European countries, plus Japan and South Korea, have similar stocks. Britain is still a net exporter, so in theory is self-sufficient but even if the direct impact of a loss of Saudi oil was not felt directly for say half a year, the shock would produce serious disruption and probable economic recession.
<b>And if an extreme Saudi regime produced oil but refused to sell it to the west? <i>Mr Lee suggests an invasion by America could not be ruled out but seems pretty unlikely given the difficulties in Iraq</i>. </b>
<i>Saudi exports would be sucked up by China, Asia and others but in turn a lack of demand for non-Saudi supplies from those nations could then be passed on to the west, he argues. </i>But that is not to say there would not be a problem even if Russia, Angola and the Caspian nations are all busy providing new sources of crude.
"There is no one who could step in and take over from Saud after six months, one year or even two," says the analyst from the Centre for Global Energy Studies. "But the world has lived with being dependent on politically shaky countries: look at the coup after coup in Nigeria, strike after strike in Venezuela," he argues.
Not everyone is willing to even consider the "nightmare scenario." Gerald Butt, an editor with the Middle East Economic Survey (MEES) newsletter, is dismissive of suggestions that the country is in a politically fragile state. "The royal family is very large and very influential. It will stand together to face a common threat and sees al-Qaida as a security issue and not a political one," he says.
As for the threat to oil installations, the MEES editor believes they are well guarded, pushing terrorists to attack softer targets such as compounds of western workers.
In Beirut, the Saudi oil minister, Ali al-Naimi, assured the meeting of Opec last night that oil facilities in the kingdom were "very secure". He said: "The paranoia about terrorism in the world threatening all the oil establishments in the world, that's not true."
<b>Back over the Atlantic, Mr Gheit remains convinced that there is a real and continuing threat which would cripple the world economy. He was in the past accused of being irresponsible by critics who said doom mongers had been predicting regime change in Saudi for 20 years, but the current situation frightens economists and consumers alike</b>. However there is one group that is happier than others.
Oil giants such as BP in Britain and ExxonMobil in the US have been making corporate history by notching up the largest profits ever.
As Mr Gheit puts it: "Oil executives must be pinching themselves every morning when they wake up. They are not making money, they are printing it."
Who will gain financially with regime change?
Who is creating environment for regime change?
whose economy will tank?
Who will loot?
Who will enjoy spoil?
France and India.
Interesting article here..
A United States of Europe?
Last week the political elites of Europe took a momentous decision by converting what had hitherto been a treaty bound association of nation sates into a constitutional political entity, which would in effect create a United States of Europe (USE).
The two prime movers in this enterprise (which goes back to the origins of the European Union in the various economic treaties which began the European co-operation), have been France and Germany. The reluctant partner has been the United Kingdom.
Though continually sold as an economic project, the French and German political elites, and surreptitiously the British political elites have known it was ultimately a political one. What was its aim? To create a Untied States of Europe which would compete with the Untied States of America.
From Charles de Gaulle to Jacques Chirac the French have been clear headed in recognising that the only way for the French to maintain any global influence is to create a European bloc run by them which harnesses the demographic and economic strength of Germany to create a counter to the emerging Anglo-Saxon dominance of the world.
This is the theory of the French rider riding the German horse. As de Gaulle made abundantly clear, he saw any British entry into the European community as being a Trojan horse to dilute this predominantly anti-Anglo Saxon (for which read anti-American) political union.
The British elites, traumatised by the loss of their imperial role, looked first, briefly, at the Commonwealth as providing a new arena to maintain their global role, but then made the fateful decision to throw their lot in with Europe. This was based on a number of factors.
First, with the seeming economic success of the countries of the European community in the post-war years as compared with Britain's indifferent economic performance, many came to see a free trade area with these successful countries as the route to economic prosperity.
The referendum on the European Common Market in the UK in the mid-1970s was sold and won as such. Even Margaret Thatcher was persuaded when signing the Single European Act in the 1980s that the transfer of sovereignty in various political areas to the EU was merely window dressing to get the other partners to agree to the creation of a larger common economic space to be run by classical liberal policies.
Not surprisingly, until the mid-1980s, the British Labour Party was vehemently opposed to the European Union. It was under the European Commission presidency of the French socialist Jacques Delors that the true economic colouring of the newly emerging EU became clear.
It was to preserve what is called the "social market economy", which in effect is to create a Colbertian corporatist and quasi-socialist state on the continent, in direct opposition to the classical liberal market economy that the British had increasingly embraced with the Thatcher revolution.
The dealings leading to the Maastricht treaty made this clear and led to the split on Europe in the Tory party and Thatcher's political assassination. The vehemently anti-European Labour Party, which recognised that the new Europe far from being a capitalist haven was to promote a quasi-socialist paradise, became its major champions.
But these economic twists and turns have been a smokescreen used by the Euro elites (mostly trained in that arch school of dirigisme, the French Ecole Nationale d' Administration) to create a dirigiste bureaucratic anti-American super state in Europe.
It was primarily a French project. Defeated Germany went along as a way to gain respectability and to redress that division of Germany that Hitler's misguided adventure had led. They have also seen a political union as tying down German nationalism as the best way to tame the passions which had led to two savage European wars.
Among the other members of the community, their adherence to this Franco-German "enterprise association" has been borne of their weaknesses.
Italy has gone along as it wished to unload the unending burden of subsidising its south -- the Mezzogiorno -- to a larger body of European taxpayers, while the other Mediterranean countries and Ireland have looked upon the subsidies, through the Common Agricultural Policy and other regional schemes they have obtained from Europe, as a drunk given free access to a liquor store.
Whilst the newest East European members of the EU see it as an insurance policy against their justified fear of the Russian bear next door.
But, it is only when the European project is viewed in a longer historical perspective that the true nature of the enterprise and the various contradictions it involves become clear.
Ever since the fall of Rome, Europe has been a disunited continent of warring states. Some (such as, Eric Jones in The European Miracle) have seen the ensuing economic competition between this system of states as being the essential reason for the processes which led to the rise of the West.
But the lodestar of the powers on the Continent has been the creation of another Holy Roman Empire. Given the wars of religion spawned by the Reformation, whether this would be a Protestant or Catholic empire was the initial bone of contention.
But, with the cooling of these intra-Christian passions in the modern age, the aim now is to create a Christian Holy Roman Empire. Hence the problem Turkey faces and will continue to face in joining the union, as was made abundantly clear by the French architect of the new European constitution, Valery Giscard d'Estaing.
More important has been the history of Europe since the 16th century. Along with the rise of the West, this period has also been one for the struggle for the mastery of Europe between the various nation states that were created after the Renaissance.
Their relative success has been determined by their relative economic strength, measured by their GDP. After the relative decline of Spain in the 16th century, this was essentially a battle between the British and the French, after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 in England.
They were at war between 1689 and 1697, 1702 and 1713, 1743 and 1748, 1756 and 1763, 1778 and 1783, 1793 and 1802, and 1803 and 1815, when the Battle of Waterloo seemed to settle the rivalry in favour of Britain.
As these wars spilled into their overseas territories, it also left Britain as the paramount global power, though the French had succeeded in allying with Britain's progeny in the New World, and stripping it of its most valuable imperial possession with the declaration of American independence in 1776.
But, as can be seen from Figure 1 (from my forthcoming In Praise of Empires, Macmillan) this predominance did not last. With the spread of the technology of the Industrial Revolution by the late 19th century two other rising economic powers, Germany and the US were challenging the British economic lead.
By 1913, the US was the predominant economic power in the world as measured by its GDP. But the struggle for the mastery of Europe continued, as the US largely stayed within its continental fortress.
The rising power of Germany twice tried to win mastery of Europe, in wars which spilled into the world, and which were only settled with decisive intervention by the then predominant economic (and ipso facto military power) the United States.
<b>France and Germany are thus both defeated nations. They have both been undone by the dominance since the 19th century of the English speaking peoples of the world -- not least in the triumph of their language and culture across the world. </b>
Little wonder that their elites have sought to counter this global Anglo-American dominance by attempting to create under the guise of an economic union a rival United States which they hope can compete successfully with this colossus on the world stage.
But will they succeed in their ambitions, and what of Britain? Will it join this USE, or will it recognise that it is best to remain part of the Anglo-American imperium which it helped to create and which has made its island story the most distinguishing feature of the world during the past millennium? These are the issues I take up in my next column
Clinton - next UN Sec Gen?
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Clinton has been telling friends that he would like to become the next Secretary General of the United Nations when Kofi AnnanÂ´s term ends in 2006. This position would make history since no American has ever served as UN Secretary-General and it would also have a major impact on world events, something that appeals to ClintonÂ´s still intense desire to impact the course of human events. If George W. Bush is re-elected, Clinton can forget ! about any possible chance of replacing Annan, yet, if Kerry is elected and Clinton helps him win, you might as well start calling Clinton Secretary General.
<!--QuoteBegin-Viren+Oct 25 2004, 03:09 PM-->QUOTE(Viren @ Oct 25 2004, 03:09 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--> Clinton - next UN Sec Gen?
<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--> Clinton has been telling friends that he would like to become the next Secretary General of the United Nations when Kofi AnnanÂ´s term ends in 2006. This position would make history since no American has ever served as UN Secretary-General and it would also have a major impact on world events, something that appeals to ClintonÂ´s still intense desire to impact the course of human events. If George W. Bush is re-elected, Clinton can forget ! about any possible chance of replacing Annan, yet, if Kerry is elected and Clinton helps him win, you might as well start calling Clinton Secretary General.
<!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo--> <!--emo&:roll--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/ROTFL.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='ROTFL.gif' /><!--endemo-->
I think UN declaration of human rights will be amended.. New amendment..
- Right to love cigars.. <!--emo&:bhappy--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/b_woot.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='b_woot.gif' /><!--endemo-->
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I think UN declaration of human rights will be amended.. New amendment..<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
That scares hell out of me.
He will force J&K solution.
Yes, he may push for Woman rights <!--emo&
--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/biggrin.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='biggrin.gif' /><!--endemo-->
Read somewhere that a citizen of the P5 can't be UN Sec Gen - not sure about this. Has to be cross-checked.
Though Clinton might not be a bad candidate to lead the middle east peace process. The guy's pretty knowledgable on the subject, enjoys a good rapport with both sides and is the master politician.
<b>GOP lawmakers block intelligence overhaul</b>
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A bill aimed at overhauling the nation's intelligence agencies was pulled Saturday because of conservative opposition, on what was supposed to be the last day of Congress' lame-duck session.
<b>Powell 'pushed out' by Bush for seeking to rein in Israel</b>
By Charles Laurence in New York and Philip Sherwell
Colin Powell, the outgoing US secretary of state, was given his marching orders after telling President George W Bush that he wanted greater power to confront Israel over the stalled Middle East peace process.
Although Mr Powell's departure was announced on November 15, his letter of resignation was dated November 11, the day he had a meeting with Mr Bush.
Colin Powell: the president's 'good cop'
According to White House officials, at the meeting Mr Powell was not asked to stay on and gave no hints that he would do so. Briefing reporters later, he referred to "fulsome discussions" - diplomatic code for disagreements.
"The clincher came over the Mid-East peace process," said a recently-retired state department official.
"Powell thought he could use the credit he had banked as the president's 'good cop' in foreign policy to rein in Ariel Sharon [Israel's prime minister] and get the peace process going. He was wrong."