Friday, June 13, 2014

The Republican's Border Security is a Self-defeating strategy.

Honduras Bets on IMF Deal as Investors Snap Up 18% Bond Returns

June 13, 2014
Honduras’s government (click here) is betting that an accord with the International Monetary Fund will unlock $500 million to help the country boost growth in an economy plagued by one of the world’s highest levels of violence.
“I think that we are in better conditions than ever to reach an agreement,” President Juan Orlando Hernandez told reporters in Washington today. “The sovereign bonds already reflect a different attitude from the market toward Honduras.”
Honduran bonds have returned about 18 percent this year, the most about 60 emerging market economies tracked by JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s EMBIG index. The yield on the country’s dollar bonds due in 2024 plunged to 6.77 percent on June 10, the lowest since they were sold in March last year. The country will consider selling more bonds next year if yields continue to drop, Rivera said....

Back in the day of the colonists, the state of Georgia was a penal colony. By the USA selectively allowing those immigrants without a criminal record to stay in the USA, but, shipping everyone back to their country of origin it has created a penal colony of each of the countries now sending women and minors to the USA border.

May 15, 2014

...For the nations of Central America, (click here) these policies have been a disaster. An influx of displaced deportees has fed crime and violence that were already out of control—spurring more El Salvadorans, Guatemalans, and Hondurans to seek safety in the U.S., which has led to more asylum requests and deportations....

...True, allowing these criminals to stay in U.S. cities and prisons is dangerous and expensive. But if Congress and the Obama administration are going to continue deporting them, they could do some things to make the U.S. and Central America safer. Instead of cutting funding for the Central American Regional Security Initiative by 20 percent this year, to $130 million, they should be raising it and speeding up its delivery. Never mind the immorality of the U.S. outsourcing the drug war to those least capable of prosecuting it and U.S. culpability in incubating Central America’s gangs: Day to day, the region’s lawlessness and violence affect more Americans than does, say, the war in Afghanistan....

The Republicans really have it backwards, don't they?

June 13, 2014

The Americans with fellow inmates in the prison yard. From left: James Kelly "Boo Boo" Garrett, Steve Matanich, Devon Butler and Nick Cook. [Michael McCabe]
...The crew of the Aqua Quest (Americans from where gun laws are liberal) (click here) marine salvage boat remain jailed on charges of smuggling weapons into this Central American country. But they insist they had five guns only for protection against piracy in international waters.
Back home, the men's families are becoming increasingly worried. They believe this is all a shakedown for money in an impoverished nation with a corrupt judicial system.
The controversy has reached Capitol Hill, where U.S. congressmen are stepping up political pressure to free the crew. In a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing this week, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, questioned President Obama's nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Honduras about the case. And Honduras' president was meeting with U.S. State Department officials in Washington on Friday....

Where is only one question to ask about Iraq's future.

Is it possible to have a secular government in Iraq?

I don't think so. While there are many in the global community that would like to see a secular government in many areas of the world, including Iraq, is it reasonable to believe it is possible?

The ethnic and religious divides among the people of Iraq is far more than superficial. It is profound. The divides reach deep into the religious basis of the people. Right now it is nearly impossible to expect Iraq to survive a struggle for a secular government. It isn't possible. 

The region is lucky in that there is land and water to provide space for many people of different cultures, religions and ethnicity. In that reality is the understanding there does not have to be a war for land and/or resources. The region can accommodate the division of Iraq into the basic understanding of the people. That is a good thing. What occurred when Bosnia came into the picture was more a struggle for land than ethnic identity. The ethnic identity, no different than the horrors of the Third Reich, were convenient to the means to an end.

If there is any chance ethnic and religious divisions will result in a peace between all nations for the benefit of the region, then that is the solution.

Regardless of the final outcomes written by lines in the sand, the Shi'ites now know they have an obligation to it's population in having a strong military basis to fight these wars with extremists. The Shi'ites have to defend themselves. 

The Kurds have already mastered their missions into war. The Kurds need allies and that is difficult right now because there is no sovereign nation with borders to define them. Not long ago there was no South Sudan either.

I think the region will welcome Iran's ability to stabilize violence.

No one wants another Saddam. To that end the ethnic and religious divides among the people of Iraq should be respected. This is somewhat the final chapter in the Iranian Revolution, isn't it?

Iraqi Shiite tribal leaders gathered in Baghdad's Sadr City neighborhood Friday to appeal for followers to join the government's fight against the advancing Islamic State of Iraq and Syria militia. (Karim Kadim / Associated Press)

June 13, 2014
By Nabih Bulos, Carol J. Williams

Ilamic militants took control of two more cities in northeastern Iraq on Friday, prompting a senior cleric in the violence-plagued country to call on Shiite Muslim followers to take up arms against the invaders.
Fighters from the resurgent Al Qaeda splinter group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria have rolled over large swaths of Iraqi territory in recent days, meeting little resistance from Iraq's marginalized Sunni Muslim minority and wide-scale retreat of Iraqi soldiers....
It is rather incredible to realize the current President of Iran is a first class diplomat, well respected and accepted internationally. If it were a more controversial President the dynamics might be very different. At the same time, in the USA, peace initiatives are first for President Obama. To that end there is no one from The West or Iran racing into an unjustified battle. I am encouraged by the willingness of the nations in the region to participate to uphold the ethnic and religious differences within the Iraq to protect them rather than continue bloodshed. The outcomes are somewhat hopeful at this time. I look forward to a stable region with perhaps clearer borders of nations not completely content with their current status.
"...unusual circumstances with NORMAL coping skills..." 

From that statement alone I assess he is cognitively intact. However, I think it is going to be a while before he is exposed to the real world. Considering there is such a level of hatred among his former platoon members, he won't be brought to that reality for some time. His circumstances have become so political I doubt he will be up to that level of resilience soon, if at all.

I wish his family solace in their time waiting for their son to be well enough to see them again.

It is so comforting to know the best of Iraq's security forces are protecting the family jewels.

The global oil markets run on speculation. We know this. We have known this for a long time. The price of oil has NOTHING to do with reality.

(Reuters) - Iraq's biggest oil refinery at Baiji (click here) remained under government control on Thursday after Sunni rebels' offensive through northern Iraq, Iraqi Oil Minister Abdul Kareem Luaibi said.
Luaibi said Iraq was not importing any additional fuel and that stored supplies of gasoline and diesel were good.
The country's crude oil exports from its southern terminal at Basra were running at an average 2.6-2.7 million barrels per day as of Wednesday, he said.
Militants from an al Qaeda splinter group, who seized Iraq's second biggest city of Mosul this week, advanced into the oil refinery town of Baiji on Wednesday, setting the court house and police station on fire.
"Baiji refinery is totally secured by the special forces and operating normally now," an official at the refinery said on Thursday.

Security officials said additional special forces troops were sent to secure energy installations in Baiji on Wednesday, including the refinery and a nearby major power station. (Reporting by Rania el-Gamal, Vienna OPEC newsroom; Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Pravin Char)

World Cup Standings, Friday, June 13, 2014

Americans are more scared than the Iraqis are.

Iraqi men outside the main army recruiting center in Baghdad on Thursday, volunteering for military service against insurgents. 
CreditKarim Kadim/Associated Press

Friday, June 13, 2014
Iran has reportedly (click here) intervened in the Iraq conflict, deploying a branch of the Revolutionary Guards to bolster Iraqi government troops who have been routed by the extremist Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis).
Iran’s Quds Forces helped troops from Nouri al-Maliki’s beleaguered Shia-led Iraqi government to retake 85 per cent of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s birthplace, from Isis yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Iranian president Hassan Rouhani said the Islamic Republic “will not tolerate this violence and terrorism . . . we will fight and battle violence and extremism and terrorism in the region and the world”....
The media isn't even reporting it correctly.

It is more or less like a hurricane blew through the region. It is basically over. The Kurds now hold the northeast, the Sunnis have Al Anbar and the Shi'ites are holding the south. If the ethnic forces didn't respond there would have been far more upheaval than this, but, it is the end of the country of Iraq. The remaining provinces may in time be annexed by Saudi Arabia, Iran and Kurdistan. This probably gives Kurdistan it's first autonomous land with defined borders.

This movement had begun under the no fly zones. If one recalls the first place the USA parachuted into Iraq was within the Kurdish region in the north. Why? Because it was friendly to western forces. The Kurds developed their civilization including governing authority under the no fly zone. As a matter of fact, except for the Saddam invasion into the Shi'ites lands of the south in 2002, the ethnic sections of the country were doing well.

The issues with the Shi'ites screams eons of abuse by the influence of a Sunni dictate. Mass graves, dry wetlands, absent water supplies and then the 2002 invasion into their territory killing 50,000 Shi'ites. This new advance by Sunni extremists is not foreign to Iraq. But, this time there will be sincere divisions within the country and it will permanently split. I am sure the 'province' of Baghdad will attempt to continue to claim to be the government of Iraq and why shouldn't they unless of course the Sunni militias are successful in entering the city and destroying the seat of government.

The UN is correct in warning about violence by the extremist militias, but, as witnessed in this report the people are less inclined to be afraid of them than welcome stability. 

This is Iraq and with the ending of so called democracy as The West knows it, there is greater chance the people will find peace within their own regions. If Saudi Arabia annexes An Albar the Saudi government's laws will come to bear and the most violent and threatening of the militants will eventually be found and treated as would any other Saudi citizen in reformation of their lives. 

There is too much strength within the separate ethnic groups to expect this to get out of control. I don't see genocide or ethnic cleansing occurring as under Saddam Hussein.

It is up to the people to come to their own defense and the Grand Ayatollah al Sistani can do exactly that. He marshals them to defend what is their's through some extraordinary circumstances. Never before had I witnessed masses of people come together to defend their Holy Land and stopped a USA military directive. It was amazing. Not a shot was fired either. I am less worried about this outcome than if the USA decided to return to the region and cause their own form of violence.

ERBIL, Iraq — After Islamic extremists (click here) swarmed his city this week, Saad Hussein fled here with his wife and six children. But after one night, he was on his way back home to Mosul, hearing that things were quiet there.

“What can we do?” said Mr. Hussein, at a checkpoint on the road from Erbil to Mosul. “You have to depend on your God.”

Another man stood nearby, his two small sons tugging at his belt. He had left Mosul and was waiting to enter Erbil, about 50 miles to the east. “We don’t know what will happen in the future,” said the man, Ahmed Ali, 31. “The government is not there. It’s empty.”

As many as 500,000 Iraqis fled Mosul this week after the city was besieged by the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, many of them Sunnis who seemed less fearful of the beheadings and summary justice that the group is known for than of their own government and the barrage it might unleash in an effort to take the city back.    

That many Sunnis would prefer to take their chances under a militant group so violent it was thrown out of Al Qaeda sharply illustrates how difficult it will be for the Iraqi government to reassert control. Any aggressive effort by Baghdad to retake the city could reinforce the Iraqi Army’s reputation as an occupying force, rather than a guarantor of security....

June 12, 2014
Aamir Saeed
Islamabad...The new houses (click here) are being built in Awaran, an off-grid district that was struck by two major earthquakes only four days apart in September 2013. More than 500 people were killed and around 20,000 houses destroyed.
According to the plan, 80 percent of the 4 billion-rupee ($40.6 million) budget will be spent on rebuilding collapsed housing units and the rest on providing solar energy to all of the new homes.
“It is an owner-driven programme and we hope to complete all the reconstruction work and installation of solar-energy panels in two and half years,” said Aziz Jamali, director of the project being run by the Baluchistan government.
The owner of every house set to be reconstructed will get 250,000 rupees ($2,500) in four instalments, Jamali explained, adding that funding would be stopped to any beneficiary who fails to observe the safety standards issued by the provincial government in the rebuilding process. The first instalment of 88,000 rupees ($900) was released on May 21....

Bending the greenhouse gas curve. Years in the making.

June 13, 2014

Australia posted (click here) its biggest annual reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 24 years of records in 2013 as the carbon tax helped drive a large drop in pollution from the electricity sector.
The latest greenhouse gas inventory, released online without fanfare by the federal government, showed annual emissions excluding changes in land use were estimated at 538.4 million tonnes of carbon-dioxide equivalent in 2013, down 0.8 per cent on the previous year.
While the final figures may be revised, the annual drop is likely to exceed the only two other years of emissions falls – in 2009 and 2010 – since the tally began in 1990.
The electricity sector reported emissions fell 5 per cent last year, with all but one other sector showing an increase. The carbon tax has its most direct impact on power generators, which account for about one-third of Australia’s emissions outside changes to forest cover.
The carbon price, now at $24.15 a tonne, will rise to $25.40 a tonne from next month and will apply until its likely scrapping when the new Senate votes on the Abbott government’s repeal bills, expected soon after July 1....

"Three baskets of strategy that we can think about. There is carbon pricing and trading...incentives...and thirdly there are regulations...."

June 12, 2014
Nick O'Malley

Former US vice-president Al Gore (click here) has told Fairfax Media that “history will not be kind” to politicians who stand in the way of climate action, and he expected President Barack Obama would raise the issue with Tony Abbott when the two leaders met on Wednesday at the White House.
“I am not a citizen of Australia and I don’t feel I have the privilege of entering your political debate,” said Mr Gore.
“But we have had deniers of the climate crisis in office in the US as well. History will not be kind to those who looked away, much less those who sought to prevent [action on climate change].”