Iraq can produce around 3 million barrels of oil per day. By any measure this is a lot of oil, placing the country in the premier league of oil producers. However, the situation in Iraq is likely to evolve in such a way that this production potential will be fully controlled by the infamous Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
Sergey Glazyev, the economic aide of Vladimir Putin, published an article outlining a plan for "undermining the economic strength of the US" in order to force Washington to stop the civil war in Ukraine. Glazyev believes that the only way of making the US give up its plans on starting a new cold war is to crash the dollar system.
The Russophobes are celebrating! Bulgaria has caved in to the pressure from the US and the European Commission and halted the construction of South Stream. What's next for the biggest pipeline project of the Russian gas giant?
Even before the American invasion of Iraq, it was abundantly clear that the reason for the US military action had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction. Iraq was and still is one of the biggest oil producing countries on the planet and the control of its oil is an important geopolitical asset. It seems that Washington is very close to losing this asset because of the chaos created by Washington itself.
Ukraine's newly appointed president has to chose between two disastrous scenarios. He will either face the wrath of Washington or he will be isolated and ostracized by Russia and the European Union. During the D-Day celebrations in Normandy, German's chancellor Angela Merkel and President of France Francois Hollande organized an ad-hoc meeting with Vladimir Putin and Petr Poroshenko.
Ukraine’s newly elected President Petr Poroshenko has said in his inauguration speech he is ready to sign immediately the economic part of the agreement on Ukraine’s association with the EU. Peter Koenig, a financial pundit, former World Bank staff member and a Voice of Russia regular, talks about the big geopolitical picture, the situation in Ukraine and how a second Cold War can be averted.
Despite all attempts to blackmail Gazprom into submission, the European Commission can't block the construction of the South Stream pipeline. The stakeholders of the pipeline, national governments and energy companies will do their best to thwart any attempt of stopping the project for the sake of American interests in Europe.
Poland is the latest victim of "Euro mania" that gripped the continent. Despite numerous proofs that Euro adoption is more often than not a recipe for disaster, a number of Polish politicians are pushing for a speedy adoption of the common currency. However, cooler heads have prevailed so far.
While the lame ducks of the European Commission are doing their best to sabotage the construction of the South Stream pipeline and the Russo-Ukrainian gas talks, Gazprom is retaliating in an asymmetric manner by refocusing its development efforts towards the Asia-Pacific region.
If no agreement is reached during today's trilateral talks between Russia, EU and Ukraine, it is very likely that on Tuesday morning we will witness the beginning of a new “gas war” that will threaten the gas supply from Russia to Europe.
Years ago, Goldman Sachs economist Jim O'neill coined the term BRIC for the four largest emerging countries that were threatening the global economic status quo. Now, The Times' columnist Roger Boyes is implicitly proposing a new term – RIC, for describing what he calls "Putin's anti-US alliance" because in his view, Russia, India and China are a threat to the existing world order.
According to the statement made by Vladimir Putin during his recent visit to Shanghai, Russia and China have reached an unprecedented level of cooperation that encompasses aspects ranging from energy trading to military drills. Moreover, the Russian President suggests that the two countries are working together in order modify the existing practices regarding currency reserves management. Washington should be very concerned.
Besides its obvious economic benefits for both parties involved in it, the 400 billion dollars gas contract between Russia and China is also a threat for the EU, because it strips Bruxelles of its privileges associated with being the only major buyer of Russian gas. Judging by the recent statements made by European officials, the EU got the message loud and clear.
"De-dollarization" of bilateral trade is one of the main topics discussed during Vladimir Putin's visit to Beijing. The desire to get rid of the dollar is present in official political statements and in agreements signed by state-owned financial institutions of the two countries.
Given the dire state of Ukraine's economy, Russia's gas giant doesn't expect Kiev to pay for its gas bills. In an exclusive interview for the state-owned Rossia 24 channel, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said that the problem transcends gas issues and is a systemic one. “Ukraine is bankrupt”, he added unequivocally.
A recent report published by Ukrainian Agribusiness Club claims the crisis-hit country will experience a fall of up 10% in spring sowings. However, official figure s don't jive with the facts on the ground and are likely to be overly optimistic. Ukraine may be heading for a fully fledged food crisis.
The Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, also known as the ”Russian Davos”, has become the litmus test of the much touted “transatlantic solidarity”. While American CEOs shun the forum, European CEOs will be present, showing that the biggest part of the European business community is against antagonizing or alienating Russia.
John McCain, channeling America's inner Mr. Hyde, has repeatedly stated that “the strategy of the US must be built in opposition to Russia's gas strategy, as this will be the end of Putin and his empire". Barack Obama promised to kick Gazprom out of Europe with American shale gas exports. However, there are hints that Russia may be silently preparing a countermove against the US with the help of a former American ally.
With great power, comes great responsibility. More often than not, the world's most important financial institution, the International Monetary Foundation (IMF), choses to use its power for ill rather than good. In Ukraine's case it is safe to say that the IMF board pushed the country over the brink of a civil war.
The breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk are very important for Ukrainian economy. For the US-sponsored junta it is imperative to keep the two regions under control at all costs because without them Ukraine will soon be bankrupt. Standard and Poor's researchers explain why.