Oct 162014
 
Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times/Hong Kong, an analyst for RT and TomDispatch, and a frequent contributor to websites and radio shows ranging from the US to East Asia.short URL Published time: October 15, 2014 11:52 http://rt.com/op-edge/196148-saudiarabia-oil-russia-economic-confrontation/ A fisherman pulls in his net as an oil tanker is seen at the port in the northwestern city of Duba.(Reuters / Mohamed Al Hwaity) Rosneft Vice President Mikhail Leontyev: “Prices can be manipulative …Saudi Arabia has begun making big discounts on oil. This is political manipulation, Arabis is being manipulated, which could end badly.” A correction is in order; the Saudis are not being manipulated. What the House of Saud is launching is“Tomahawks of spin,” insisting they’re OK with oil at $90 a barrel; also at $80 for the next two years; and even at $50 to $60 for Asian and North American clients. The fact is Brent crude had already fallen to below $90 a barrel because China – and Asia as a whole – was already slowing down economically, although to a lesser degree compared to the West. Production, though, remained high – especially by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait – even with very little Libyan and Syrian oil on the market and with Iran forced to cut exports by a million barrels a day because of the US economic war, a.k.a. sanctions. The House of Saud is applying a highly predatory pricing strategy, which boils down to reducing market share of its competitors, in the middle- to long-term. At least in theory, this could make life miserable for a lot of players – from the US (energy development, fracking and deepwater drilling become unprofitable) to producers of heavy, sour crude such as Iran and Venezuela. Yet the key target, make no mistake, is Russia. A strategy that simultaneously hurts Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Ecuador and Russia cannot escape the temptation of being regarded as an “Empire of Chaos” power play, as in Washington cutting a deal with Riyadh. A deal would imply bombing ISIS/ISIL/Daesh leader Caliph Ibrahim is just a prelude to bombing Bashar al-Assad’s forces; in exchange, the Saudis squeeze oil prices to hurt the enemies of the “Empire of Chaos.” Yet it’s way more complicated than that. Sticking it to Washington Russia’s state budget for 2015 requires oil at least at $100 a barrel. Still, the Kremlin is borrowing no more than $7 billion in 2015 from the usual “foreign investors”, plus $27.2 (more…)
Mar 272013
 
Published on Truthout (http://www.truthout.org) Sunday 8 May 2011 by: Michael Fox, Truthout (Image: AK Press) Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America [3] By Ben Dangl AK Press, 2010 The planet is on fire. It comes from above, as bombs come crashing toward Libya in Obama’s new military exploit. And it comes from below, as people from Cairo to Madison stand up to for their rights against dictators and hard-line politicians. Not for decades have we seen such a global uprising from below. Not for decades, except for perhaps in Latin America, where, over the last 13 years, social movements have lifted leftist presidents to power across the region. These leaders have heralded in unprecedented change, and they have been a beacon of hope during one of the darkest periods in US history, with its growing military-industrial complex, an endless war on terror and a conservative crackdown at home. Then came the financial meltdown and the “change” we could believe in. And we, too, believed that we were following down the road of our Latin American brothers and sisters, that Obama would lead us to a more just society, by and for the people and not Wall Street. Then something happened. As the signs read in Wisconsin, the “sleeping giant has awoken.” We realized that Obama can’t do it for us. We awoke to the fact that even with a “leftist” in power, we must stay in the streets and continue to organize. We awoke to the essential thing that movements across Latin America learned years ago when faced with progressive governments who were supposed to represent their interests and didn’t always follow through. We awoke to “the dance.” The what? “The dance between social movements and states,” writes Benjamin Dangl, longtime journalist covering Latin America and the editor of “Upside Down World” and “Toward Freedom.” This relationship is the focus of his new book, “Dancing with Dynamite: Social Movements and States in Latin America.” [3] The book is a breath of fresh air in these challenging times. Dangl lays before us the complicated relationships between social movements and states in Latin America’s most progressive countries and gives us plenty to learn from. He takes us deep into the heart of Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Uruguay, Venezuela, Brazil and Paraguay, heralding the historic struggles of the social movements that in nearly every case helped to carry a leftist (more…)