US-Iran economic war By Pepe
NEW YORK - Here's a crash course
on how to further wreck the global economy.
A key amendment to the National Defense
Authorization Act signed by United States
President Barack Obama on the last day of 2011 -
when no one was paying attention - imposes
sanctions on any countries or companies that buy
Iranian oil and pay for it through Iran's central
bank. Starting this summer, anybody who does it is
prevented from doing business with the US.
This amendment - for all practical
purposes a declaration of economic war - was
brought to you by the American Israel Public
Affairs Committee (AIPAC), on direct orders of the Israeli
government under Prime
Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu.
Torrents of spin have tried to rationalize
it as the Obama administration's plan B as opposed
to letting the Israeli dogs of war conduct an
unilateral attack on Iran over its supposed
nuclear weapons program.
Yet the original
Israeli strategy was in fact even more hysterical
- as in effectively preventing any country or
company from paying for imported Iranian oil, with
the possible exceptions of China and India. On top
of it, American Israel-firsters were trying to
convince anyone this would not result in
relentless oil price hikes.
displaying a matchless capacity to shoot
themselves in their Ferragamo-clad feet,
governments in the European Union (EU) are
debating whether or not to buy oil from Iran
anymore. The existential doubt is should we start
now or wait for a few months. Inevitably, like
death and taxes, the result has been - what else -
oil prices soaring. Brent crude is now hovering
around $114, and the only way is up.
Get me to the crude on time Iran
is the second-largest Organization for Petroleum
Exporting Countries (OPEC) producer, exporting up
to 2.5 million barrels of oil a day. Around
450,000 of these barrels go to the European Union
- the second-largest market for Iran after China.
The requisite faceless bureaucrat, EU
Energy Commissioner Gunther Ottinger, has been
spinning that the EU can count on Saudi Arabia to
make up the shortfall from Iran.
self-respecting oil analyst knows Saudi Arabia
does not have all the necessary extra spare
capacity. Moreover, and crucially, Saudi Arabia
needs to make a lot of money out of expensive oil.
After all, the counter-revolutionary House of Saud
badly needs these funds to bribe its subjects into
dismissing any possibility of an indigenous Arab
Add to it Tehran's threat to block
the Strait of Hormuz, thus preventing one-sixth of
the world's oil and 70% of OPEC's exports from
reaching the market; no wonder oil traders are
falling over themselves to lock up as much crude
as they can.
Forget about oil at an
accessible $50 or even $75 a barrel. The price of
oil may be destined to soon reach $120 a barrel
and even $150 a barrel by summer, just as in
crisis-hit 2008. OPEC, by the way, is pumping more
oil than at any time since late 2008.
what started as an Israeli-concocted roadside
improvised explosive device has now developed into
a multiple economic suicide bombing targeting
whole sections of the global economy.
wonder the chairman of the Iranian parliament's
national security and foreign policy commission,
Ala'eddin Broujerdi, has warned that the West may
be committing a "strategic blunder" with these oil
Translation: as it goes, the
name of the game for 2012 is deep global
Obama rolls the dice
First Washington leaked that sanctions on
Iran's central bank were "not on the table". After
all, the Obama administration itself knew this
would translate into an oil price hike and a
certified one-way ticket for more global
recession. The Iranian regime, on top of it, would
be making more money out if its oil exports.
Still, the Bibi-AIPAC combo had no trouble
forcing the amendment through those Israel-firster
Meccas, the US Senate and Congress - even with US
Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner expressly
The amendment just passed may
not represent the "crippling sanctions"
vociferously demanded by the Israeli government.
Tehran will feel the squeeze - but not to an
intolerable level. Yet only those irresponsible
people at the US Congress - despised by the
overwhelming majority of Americans, according to
any number of polls - could possibly believe they
can take Iran's 2.5 million barrels of oil a day
in exports off the global market with no drastic
consequences for the global economy.
increasingly will need more oil - and will
continue to buy oil from Iran. And oil prices will
keep flirting with the stratosphere.
why did Obama sign it? For the Obama
administration, everything now is about electoral
calculus. Those terminal wackos in the Republican
presidential circus - with the honorable exception
of Ron Paul - are peddling war on Iran the moment
they're elected, and substantial swathes of the
American electorate are clueless enough to buy it.
No one, though, is doing some basic math
to conclude the American and European economies
certainly don't need oil flirting with the $120
level if some minimal recovery is in the cards.
Show me your balls Apart from that
self-defeating, terminally in crisis euro/North
Atlantic Treaty Organization bunch, everyone and
his neighbor will be bypassing this
Israeli-American declaration of economic war:
- Russia already said it will circumvent it.
- India is already paying for Iranian oil via
Halkbank in Turkey. - Iran is actively
negotiating to sell more oil to China. Iran is
China's second-largest supplier, only behind Saudi
Arabia. China pays in euros, and soon may be
paying in yuan. By March they both will have
sealed an agreement about new pricing. -
Venezuela controls a bi-national bank with Iran
since 2009; that's how Iran gets paid for business
in Latin America. - Even traditional US allies
want out. Turkey - which imports around 30% of its
oil from Iran. - Will seek a waiver exempting
Turkish oil importer Tupras from US
sanctions. - And South Korea will also seek a
waiver, to buy around 200,000 barrels a day - 10%
of its oil - from Iran in 2012.
India, South Korea, they all have complex two-way
trade ties with Iran (China-Iran trade, for
instance, is $30 billion a year, and growing).
None of this will be extinguished because the
Washington/Tel Aviv axis says so. So one should
expect a rash of new private banks set up all
across the developing world for the purpose of
buying Iranian oil.
have the balls to try to impose sanctions on
Chinese banks because they will be dealing with
On the other hand, one's got to
praise Tehran's balls. After a relentless campaign
of covert assassinations; abductions of Iranian
scientists; cross-border attacks in
Sistan-Balochistan province; Israeli sabotage of
its infrastructure, with viruses and otherwise;
invasion of territory via US spy drones; non-stop
Israeli and Republican threats of an imminent
"shock and awe"; and the US sale of $60 billion of
weapons to Saudi Arabia, still Tehran won't balk.
Tehran has just tested - successfully -
its own cruise missiles, and in the Strait of
Hormuz of all places. Then when Tehran reacts to
the non-stop Western aggressive barrage, it is
blamed with "acts of provocation".
Friday, the New York Times editorial board was
totally in love with the Pentagon's threats
against Iran, as well as calling for "maximum
The bottom line is
that average Iranians will suffer - as average,
crisis-hit, indebted Europeans will also suffer.
The US economy will suffer. And whenever it feels
the West is getting way too hysterical, Tehran
will keep reserving the right to send oil prices
The regime in Tehran will
keep selling oil, will keep enriching uranium and,
most of all, won't fall. Like a Hellfire missile
hitting a Pashtun wedding party, these Western
sanctions will miserably fail. But not without
collecting a lot of collateral damage - in the