Monday, October 20, 2014

Saudi Arabia to pressure Russia, Iran with price of oil - Anadolu Agency

Saudi Arabia plans to sell oil cheap for political reasons, one analyst says.

To pressure Iran to limit its nuclear program, and to change Russia's position on Syria, Riyadh will sell oil below the average spot price at $50 to $60 per barrel in the Asian markets and North America, says Rashid Abanmy, President of the Riyadh-based Saudi Arabia Oil Policies and Strategic Expectations Center. The marked decrease in the price of oil in the last three months, to $92 from $115 per barrel, was caused by Saudi Arabia, according to Abanmy.

With oil demand declining, the ostensible reason for the price drop is to attract new clients, Abanmy said, but the real reason is political. Saudi Arabia wants to get Iran to limit its nuclear energy expansion, and to make Russia change its position of support for the Assad Regime in Syria. Both countries depend heavily on petroleum exports for revenue, and a lower oil price means less money coming in, Abanmy pointed out. The
Gulf states will be less affected by the price drop, he added.... 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Petro Global News - U.S. airstrikes cut Islamic State oil production by 50,000 bpd

After a month of U.S. led airstrikes the extremist group Islamic State is facing a major downturn in oil production used by the group to fund its activities.

The Paris-based International Energy Agency reported that total oil production from fields captured by Islamic State has dropped from about 70,000 barrels per day to 20,000 barrels per day.

Before the airstrike campaign Islamic State controlled seven oil fields and a refinery in northern Iraq as well as six oil fields in eastern Syria.

In September, the airstrikes destroyed 15 Syrian refineries captured by Islamic State.

According to the report, the air campaign in northern Iraq and Syria is “frustrating the jihadists’ ability to operate oil fields and refineries.”

The IEA said that at peak output Islamic State was sending about 120 tanker trucks carrying about 20,000 barrels of oil per day from Iraq and through Kurdistan.

The airstrikes have slashed shipments to about 10 trucks per day, or about 2,000 barrels of oil per day.

The U.S. led campaign has also taken out “dozens of teapot refineries” in Syria the IEA said, squeezing Islamic State’s gasoline supply.

Kurdistan and Turkey are also ramping up their efforts to curtail smuggling, seizing tanker trucks controlled by Islamic State and arresting the drivers.... 

Concrete Canvas Shelters '09

Monday, October 13, 2014

Fort Campbell Troops On Ebola Mission Won’t Get Full Protective Gear - Nashville public radio

Troops from the 101st Airborne Division leading the military response to Ebola in West Africa will only need gloves and masks to protect themselves from the deadly virus, so said Gen. David Rodriguez at a Pentagon briefing Wednesday.
“They don’t need the whole suit – as such – because they’re not going to be in contact with any of the people,” the commander of U.S. troops in Africa said.

Soldiers from the 101st Airborne will primarily be building hospitals, ultimately leading what could be a contingent of 4,000 American service members. They’ll be housed either in tent cities at military airfields or in Liberian Ministry of Defense facilities, Rodriguez said.
Soldiers’ health will be monitored through surveys and taking their temperature on their way in and out of camps. If a service member does get sick, Rodriguez said they will be flown home immediately for treatment.
Next week, the 101st Airborne will hold a traditional pre-deployment ceremony, known as a “color casing”, before departing for Liberia, though a handful of soldiers are already on the ground.

-bth: this is the same bullshit that was pulled in 2003 when the army said they didn't need to issue ceramic body armor to transportation soldiers because they wouldn't be in combat.  Well you know shit happens and pretty quickly equipment for  a known threat is going to be needed in placed least expected.  So do these soldiers ever step in mud or crap on the ground?  Do they ever have a person give them a hug unexpectedly?  What about a kid throwing up unexpectedly?  So what happens when the first week hundreds of sick and dieing people start showing up outside the front gate begging for medical help?  Do you think these soldiers won't be exposed the bio-hazards? 

1971 Indo Pak War - RARE VIDEO

American military advisers, 200 armored vehicles arrive near Tikrit - Iraq News
Salahuddin ( On Sunday a security source in the province stated that a number of US military advisers and 200 armored vehicles arrived at the northern  base in Tikrit University.
The source said, “Tens of US military advisers accompanied by 200 armored vehicles arrived to back Iraqi forces who are positioned in the University of Tikrit.”

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Photos from Victoria Kennedy's visit to Bedford MA First Parish Oct 8, 2014

Vicki Kennedy and Alma Hart

Vicki Kennedy and Steve Kerrigan

Vicki Kennedy and Cathy Cordes

Alma Hart and Dorothy Smith

Alma Hart, Steve Kerrigan, Brian Hart

Alma Hart, Carlos Arredondo, Brian Hart

Alma Hart, Steve Kerrigan, Brian Hart, Sam Poulten, Carlos and Melida Arredondo

Alma Hart, Melida Arredondo, Victoria Kennedy, Brian Hart, Sam Poulten, Carlos Arredondo

Kobane Supply - Recent Assessments

Information from various sources listed.

Supplies to ISIS

Supplies to Kurds

  • "Turkey’s attitude toward the battle for Kobane has eliminated any remaining doubts about what Ankara sees as its priorities in Syria. The prospect of a Kurdish entity run by the PYD along Turkey’s border with Syria is too much for Ankara to accept. Instead, Turkey wishes to create its own buffer zones inside the Syrian border area to accommodate new refugee flows and deny the Syrian Kurds territorial self-rule. Despite U.S. and European pressure, Ankara has stiffly refused to permit Kurdish fighters from other areas to cross the Turkish border to assist in the defense of Kobane—effectively blocking off the only channel for outside reinforcements to reach exhausted defenders in the enclave." 
  • "In secret meetings last week between PYD leader Saleh Muslim and Turkish intelligence officials, Ankara reportedly demanded that the price for support to the YPG is that the PYD must dissolve its self-ruling local governments in northern Syria, join the Free Syrian Army—which has for the most part refused to recognize minority rights in Syria—distance itself from the PKK, and become part of Turkey’s ‘buffer zone project’ along the Syrian border. The Syrian Kurds were given a choice of full surrender to Ankara at the table or to the Islamic States on the battlefield. The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), outgunned and outnumbered, had been calling for air support for weeks as they fought a rearguard action through the countryside around Kobane.They also accuse Turkey of preventing them from resupplying their forces, which are reported to be running low on ammunition.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he sees the Islamic State and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – a Turkish Kurdish rebel group closely linked to the YPG – in the same light." 
  • "The border and the main roads leading to the crossing at Mursitpinar, as well as the town of Suruç, are under firm control of the security forces, but the approximately eight kilometers of farmland, dotted with local farms and criss-crossed by dirt tracks and patikas (“goat-trails”) between the town and the frontier are the realm of the people’s resistance.Especially after dark, when the security is tightened and improvised checkpoints are manned by people from the Group of Communities in Kurdistan (KCK), it would be unsafe for any ill-willing figures (whether in uniform or sporting a big beard) to roam around these areas. While driving around these unlit roads, and after being stopped at yet another checkpoint, my friends point out that without them I would not have been able to make it for a single kilometer out of town." 
  • "The Turkish government has sent 634 vehicles of humanitarian aid to the Syrian town of Kobani since September 19, the prime ministrery said Friday. "The total amount of aid, including food, medicine, tents, clothes and cleaning supplies delivered to Kobani region cost around $10 million," the office said in a statement."
  • "The Kurds say they do not want Turkish intervention but do want Turkey to permit weapons, ammunition and food to flow across its border to the 3,000 or so fighters defending the town. Without fresh supplies, said Kurdish activist Ibrahim Kader, Kobane’s fall is only a matter of time. some estimates say tens of thousands of civilians are at risk in Kobane. A senior State Department official said that while exact numbers were difficult to obtain in a conflict zone, “our partners have indicated that the number of civilians in and around Kobane remains low” and that most needing protection had left for Turkey over the past several weeks."
  • "Turkey sent medical equipment to Kobane on Oct. 7 after talks with Turkish officials in Ankara, but Syrian Kurds desperately need Ankara to allow People’s Defense Forces (YPG) forces to cross Turkish territory to join the fight against jihadists, Democratic Union Party (PYD) leader Salih Muslim has said. “We have our armed fighters in Afrin and Cizre waiting to join the ranks of fighters in Kobane. But, we have to use Turkish territory in order to carry these fighters to Kobane. We asked Ankara to allow them cross the Turkish border,” Muslim told the Hurriyet Daily News on Oct. 7."

Geographic Significance of Kobane

  • "The fate of the Syrian Kurdish experiment in self-rule—the so-called July 19 revolution, which began when Assad withdrew his forces from much of the Turkish border area in July 2012—will likely be determined in Kobane. The Kurdish-run areas, known to Kurds as Rojava, include three geographically isolated border enclaves along an east-west axis, with Kobane located in the center. Kobane therefore serves as a geographic linchpin of the Rojava region. Even while embattled, it has helped tie down hostile Islamist forces that could otherwise have moved on the Kurdish areas to the east and west, the so-called Jazeera and Efrin enclaves. Without Kobane it becomes much more difficult for the two remaining enclaves to withstand the threats posed by the Islamic State and other groups to their security. Kobane’s fall could therefore set off a domino effect of Kurdish reversals in primarily the Jazeera region but also free Islamic State forces to move west toward the Arab countryside north of Aleppo and the border crossing at Bab al-Salama, which is crucial to rebel logistics."
  • "The Syrian town of Kobani, despite not being an energy-abundant region, is a vital oil transit route both for ISIL and Kurdish groups in conflict, say experts. Having taken major oil fields in the north of Syria - Raqqa, Deir ez-Zor and al Omar - ISIL is rumored to be earning millions of dollars and to have created a local market in which they produce between 300-500 barrels of refined petroleum per day.  If they seize Kobani, ISIL will be controlling approximately 100 kilometers from its de facto headquarters in Raqqa - the largest oil field in Syria to Turkish border. Speaking to Anadolu Agency, experts drew attention to Kobani's geographical, economic and logistical position and said the region might serve as a vital link for short-term oil trade for ISIL. An Iraqi energy expert Ali Semin from Istanbul based think tank BILGESAM said one of the main aims of ISIL from the beginning is controlling energy resources and routes in Syria. Claiming that ISIL had earned around $90 million monthly in Syria, Semin said "If ISIL seizes Kobani, it will have free place for further progress, it will have a long border with Turkey and its leverage of maneuver will enlarge." Tugce Varol Sevim, an associate professor at Istanbul's Uskudar University International Relations Department  said, "Kobani doesn't have energy resources but it is a very important transit route linking Syria's north with Iraqi Kurdish region."She added, "Kobani is such a significant region that when ISIL is cleared out, a potential pipeline carrying Iraqi Kurdish oil might be transferred through Kobani, and sold to international markets over there.""



Oil prices and government budget breakeven points

Russian Finance Minister Says Country Can't Afford Current Military Spending

Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said the country's military spending plans need to be "more realistic" and take into consideration forecasts for economic growth and budget revenue.
Siluanov addressed Russia's Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, on October 7 and said his ministry wanted to reconsider the amount to be spent from the state budget on Russia's multibillion dollar program to rearm and modernize the military.
Siluanov said currently Russian simply could not afford such spending and added the finance and defense ministries have already started talks on which programs could be financed from state coffers.
The current plan calls for spending some $576 billion on defense in the next six years....

BBC map of bombing targets

Russia Deploying Tactical Nuclear Arms in Crimea - Washington Beacon

Russia is moving tactical nuclear weapons systems into recently-annexed Crimea while the Obama administration is backing informal talks aimed at cutting U.S. tactical nuclear deployments in Europe.
Three senior House Republican leaders wrote to President Obama two weeks ago warning that Moscow will deploy nuclear missiles and bombers armed with long-range air launched cruise missiles into occupied Ukrainian territory.
“Locating nuclear weapons on the sovereign territory of another state without its permission is a devious and cynical action,” states the letter signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R., Calif.) and two subcommittee chairmen.
“It further positions Russian nuclear weapons closer to the heart of NATO, and it allows Russia to gain a military benefit from its seizure of Crimea, allowing Russia to profit from its action.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin in recent months “has escalated his use of nuclear threats to a level not seen since the Cold War,” they wrote....

Russia government estimates of global oil prices to stabilize at $90 in 2015-2017 - Turkish weekly

The Russian Finance Ministry expects global oil prices to stabilize at $90 per barrel in the medium-term perspective, although they could suffer a short-term setback in 2015, the ministry’s strategic planning department chief said Friday.

“We will see no sharp decline, but a fast recovery is not to be expected either,” Maksim Oreshkin told journalists in Washington.

Oreshkin ruled out as unlikely the Russian central bank’s disaster scenario in which crude oil prices plunge to a mere $60 per barrel.

“I don’t quite believe in 60 [dollars per barrel]. Ninety [dollars per barrel] seems more likely to me. It’s clear that [oil prices] could suffer a short-term decline to 80-85 [dollars per barrel], but the medium-term trend will be that of 90 [dollars],” the Russian finance strategy chief said.

On Thursday, crude oil prices dipped below $90 dollars for the first time in the past couple of years amid forecasts that global supplies would continue to surpass demand....
Targets hit by US-led air strikes in Iraq and Syria