06/20/12

The Making of Kurdistan: Oil, Investment and a Turkish Gamble

As tensions rise among Iraqi Kurds in the country’s north, Sunnis in the south and the Shi’ite-led government in Baghdad over the distribution of natural resources, Turkey is setting its sights on an unconventional alliance with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).

This is a gamble Ankara is willing to take, despite the potential implications it could have for Kurds on its own territory. Indeed, as recently as 2009, Ankara had a very different view on the KRG, going as far as to label its leader, Masoud Barzani, a “bandit” who was turning a blind eye (at best) to Kurdish militants using Northern Iraq as a base to launch cross-border attacks on Turkey. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has been fighting the Turkish government for more rights for decades.

So when Ankara began announcing a series of bilateral deals with the KRG (deals that went above Baghdad’s head), everyone’s first question was why would Turkey want to align itself with an Iraqi Kurdish leadership that is clearly making a play to create a sovereign Kurdish state?

According to intelligence analysts at Jellyfish, this is not such an unexpected or even illogical development from Turkey’s standpoint. “It is important to understand that Northern Iraq is a major market for Turkish exports and that oil and gas from coming Iraqi Kurdish territory is moved on to worldwide markets through Turkey,” Jellyfish President Michael Bagley told Oilprice.com.

“From a financial and logistical standpoint, an Ankara-Erbil marriage is one of exceptional convenience. From our standpoint, Northern Iraq stands to be one of the next great investment areas in the Middle East, and so far, the KRG has managed to out-play Baghdad in the natural resources and investment game.”

Last October, the KRG signed a highly controversial deal with ExxonMobil to explore for hydrocarbons in Northern Iraq. The deal was signed without Baghdad’s consent, and without even consulting Baghdad, which perceives the deal as illegal. In May, Baghdad attempted to auction off another set of exploration blocks, but none of the big international players bid, balking at (among other things) clauses forbidding anyone to deal exclusively with the KRG.

Also in May, as reported on Oilprice.com, the KRG and Turkey announced plans to build a pipeline connecting Ceyhan, Turkey, with northern Iraq and that this pipeline could carry one million barrels of oil per day and could be completed as early as August 2013. A second addition to the pipeline would connect it directly to the existing Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline by 2014. The KRG plans to export crude oil to Turkey, which will be refined in Turkey and re-exported to Northern Iraq.

A highly significant but oddly underreported development that will boost the KRG’s power play for autonomy in Northern Iraq was the expression of support, in early June, by the governor of Ninewa (Ninevah) province for the KRG’s deal with ExxonMobil.

Ninewa province Governor Atheel Nujaifi–from his seat in the provincial capital of Mosul–officially aligned himself with the KRG’s oil rights moves against Baghdad, tipping the balance of power in the KRG’s favour over the issue. The Ninewa seal of approval also bodes well for Exxon as it signifies that there will be less violent opposition from local leaders over its move to court the KRG.

Here again, Baghdad loses out. Ninewa today is one of the last bastions of al-Qaeda in Iraq, and its blessing of the KRG-ExxonMobil deal is significant in terms of security.

Iraq’s oil is Iraq’s oil, as far as Baghdad is concerned, and the KRG does not have the authority to sign any export deals on its own, even if it plans to divert revenues from sales to the Iraqi central authority.

The KRG, however, has a number of major power players behind it–from Ankara to Brussels and Washington, all of whom would very much like to see Iraqi oil and gas find an easy way to Western markets.

In the end, Turkey’s stance on Northern Iraq may seem like a paradox, but it is a logical move on many levels. With Syria in a state of violent upheaval, militant Kurds that threaten Turkey from across that border are no longer a focal point or indeed even a threat by comparison. And Ankara’s burgeoning relationship with the KRG has noticeably softened Kurdish militancy aimed at Turkey in the last couple of years.

Economics has played the greatest role in forging these new relations and Northern Iraq has become a new staging ground for Turkey companies and investment, with Turks owning an estimated 50% of all major businesses operating under the KRG-controlled territory.

Furthermore, the pipeline deal announced between Ankara and the KRG in late May was in part a reaction to pressure to reduce imports from Iran, but it also follows a logical path in the Turkey-Northern Iraq relationship.

Turkey knows that the pipeline deal and other energy deals forged with the KRG will set the stage for the creation of an independent Kurdish state. But in the meantime, Turkey has made such a heavy footprint in Northern Iraq that its level of influence there is and will continue to be immense. As such, Ankara will wield much control over any potential sovereign Kurdish state.

As for the KRG, it shows no signs of backing down in the face of threats from Baghdad, and is hedging its bets that the combination of its natural resource wealth and Western power brokers on its side will give it the advantage. On 11 June, the KRG told a gathering of potential investors at a business convention in the northern capital Erbil that it expected to quadruple oil production in the next three years, and that today’s 250,000 bpd would be up to 300,000 bpd by the end of this year. The KRG is already translating this into a boom for other sectors beyond energy.

Source: http://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/The-Making-of-Kurdistan-Oil-Investment-and-a-Turkish-Gamble.html

By: Jen Alic of Oilprice.com

06/20/12

Obama & Holder – Fast & Furious Contempt Proceedings – Blame Bush

By: AJ

President Obama and Eric Holder have decided to blame Bush for their Fast & Furious gun program that sent thousands of US guns to Mexican drug cartels, gangs and murderers who used them to kill Mexicans and Americans.

A live stream of the contempt proceedings against Eric Holder can be seen in real time HERE. (http://issues.oversight.house.gov/fastandfurious/)

Watch this 2009 video showing that Obama’s DOJ, run by Eric Holder, rolled out the new Fast & Furious gun program.

Smoking Gun: Obama Ordered Operation Fast and Furious – Project Gunrunner – 2009

The prelude to the Obama/Holder Fast & Furious gun program was the false narrative, perpetuated publicly by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, claiming that 90% of the foreign guns found in Mexico come from the US. In actuality, the majority of weapons were from other countries – not the US.

Trafficking Guns to Mexico from – FOXNews

Obama’s “blame Bush” tactic is used on every front to make excuses for his failures. In this case, however, Obama is using this tactic as cover because he was caught deliberately putting guns in the hands of Mexican criminals.

Why would Obama want to flood Mexico with US weapons? To impose more restrictive US gun laws on Americans by making his narrative true – ‘90% of the foreign guns found in Mexico come from the US.’

Rest assured that if Obama and Holder had not been caught, they would not be asserting Executive privilege on the eve of Holder’s contempt proceedings and they would not be asserting the false “blame Bush” narrative.

UPDATE: Committee votes to hold Eric Holder in contempt over Fast and Furious

06/20/12

The President MUST Be Involved in an Issue to Invoke Executive Privilege

By: Snarky Basterd
Feed Your ADHD

By now, you probably know that President Barack Obama invoked executive privilege to stall Congress’ attempt to get Attorney General Eric Holder to fork over documents in the Fast and Furious Scandal.

You probably also know, by now, that Obama explicitly spoke out against executive privilege before he was president, saying “the American people need to know what’s going on,” in yet another classic “do as I say, not as I do” moment brought to you by the first dictator in the history of the United States.

But did you know the president has to be involved in a situation in order to invoke executive privilege?

From the files of Congress:

Under those precedents, the privilege, which is constitutionally rooted, could be invoked by the President when asked to produce documents or other materials or information that reflect presidential decisionmaking and deliberations that he believes should remain confidential.

Note the emphasized language, and the grammar of the sentence that leaves no doubt that the president MUST be involved in whatever issue for which he invokes executive privilege: “when asked to produce documents or other materials or information that reflect PRESIDENTIAL DECISIONMAKING AND DELIBERATIONS.

You won’t hear this from the lapdog media. But, hey, I’m just a blogger.

So, what we have here, then, is the president not only protecting Holder, he’s also protecting himself.

Meanwhile, over at Think Regress (see comments), the left is rejoicing about the president’s actions, once again, as leftists do, defending the indefensible.

I wonder how the president’s new 800,000 voters feel about him covering up information about the murder of Mexicans.

UPDATE: Not only is the president apparently involved in F&F, he’s illegitimately using executive privilege to shield wrong doing.

UPDATE II: Breitbart is saying this is deliberative process privilege, rooted in common law not the Constitution, and therefore Obama didn’t invoke EP to protect himself.

UPDATE III: But Judge Napolitano says the implication the president is involved is in his actions of claiming executive privilege. H/T: YouViewed

Cross-posted at Pat Dollard.

Linkage: Thanks, Moonbattery.

06/20/12

Benjamin Franklin: America’s Man for the Ages – Part 1

By: Jay Loeffers

Hi everyone… Yes, this is a another profile of fine Americans throughout history. Today I will be sharing with you my favorite founding father, Benjamin Franklin and how this man invented many aspects of America that you take for granted today. Of course, I will speak of his early years working with the creation of the Constitution and his contribution to modern science, plus his humor and his business philosophy.

EARLY YOUTH AND THE PRINTED WORD

Franklin was born in Boston on January 17th, 1706. His father made soap and candles. Young Franklin grew up loving to read, swim, boat and write poetry. As a teenager, Franklin wanted nothing to do with his father’s business.

So, his father set him up with a bonded apprenticeship in his older brother’s service in the printing trades. With a very strict set of rules: no drinking, no gambling, no marriage and no buying or selling without his brother’s approval. Ben’s brother was jealous of him and had beaten him on many occasions.

Franklin at an early point in his apprenticeship, helped get a new newspaper started in 1721. At age 16, he started to write about principles of free government and he began writing about morals, philosophy and observations he had made, but he didn’t want his brother knowing it was him. So he created “Silence Dogood” as his pen name. This also revived his early patriot convictions. By 17, Franklin was the youngest full time printer in the colonies.

After the Boston magistrates arrested Franklin’s brother for what he printed in his paper and after suffering repeated abuses by his brother, Ben had had enough and walked away. He ran to Philadelphia. On his way there, he walked by his future wife’s home – one Deborah Read. She found him to be the most awkward looking man.

In Philly, Franklin found some work here and there. Then he met Governor Keith and as they talked, Ben started thinking of going to London. But he could not afford it. The governor said that he would help get Ben to London with a notary letter. Ben also wanted to borrow money from his family, but never got it. During this time as well, Deborah and Ben were getting to know each other. Franklin scraped up enough money to sail to London and was hoping the governor’s letter would help him. He arrived in London to find out the letter never came and was left to fend for himself.

It was not long before Franklin found printing work in London. His coworkers called him THE WATER AMERICAN, because instead of drinking beer for his lunch break, he drank water. He also went around teaching swimming to others.

Franklin produced a pamphlet entitled: “A DISSERTATION ON LIBERTY AND NECESSITY, PLEASURE AND PAIN. Ben was so busy in London that he had written very little to Deborah Read and forgot to sometimes. During his boat trip, he had met a Quaker businessman who wanted him to work for him as his clerk. Franklin was getting bored with London any way.

Back to Philly, Franklin went to rekindle his romance with Deborah, but was shocked to hear she was married to John Rogers after her friends urged her to do so. To her dismay, Mr. Rogers was already married to a another woman and spent her dowry and was soon broke. So, she left him and that marriage was invalidated.

Franklin worked for the merchant for a little while and then left him to go back to the printing business. He went to work for Sam Keimer. Ben didn’t like the guy, but needed the job (sound familiar anyone?). Franklin wound up being the shop manager.

Franklin and another employee left the Keimer shop to set out on their own but… one downside was that the other employee, Guy Hugh Meredith, had a wee small drinking problem. With that, Franklin bought out Hugh’s interest in the shop and was on his own. By the age of 25, he had a successful business and a great reputation in the colonies.

Franklin and Read had renewed their romance together and they were married on September 1st, 1730. Franklin found her to be a good and faithful helpmate. He kept writing on how married life was a contented life and the happiest of all possible conditions.

Franklin did have an out-of-wedlock child named William, who became a new Jersey governor. Sadly, a second child, Francis Folger Franklin, died of smallpox at age 4. Their 3rd child, Sally, would live to give Franklin 7 grandchildren.

The Franklin family business consisted of the main print shop and a small general store. They also took care of his wife’s mother. The Franklins practiced frugality as a virtue and his wife managed the store, bookkeeping and postal accounts, helping the print shop out.

Franklin’s printing shop produced the following:

– First German-American newspaper
– The constitutions of the Free Masons
– Published the first American novel: “Pamela” by Samuel Richardson
– Poor Richard’s Almanack

Franklin had also published letters to the editor under funny pen names, such as “Anthony Afterwit,””Celia Single”and “Alice Addertongue” and he sometimes wrote apposing sides to the same article.

Franklin was the one to invent the public access library system and was a self-taught language teacher and musician. Franklin had a self-improvement program that he practiced every day, called the 13 virtues.

06/20/12

President Obama Grants Executive Privilege to Eric Holder Over ‘Fast and Furious’ Documents

Read more at The Blaze…

Garry Hamilton:

Administration claims executive priviledge in a matter it supposedly knew nothing about.

This is what we, in the data analysis community call “contrary facts.” In other words, one datum (“we knew nothing”) contradicts the other (“we will not reveal what we knew”).

Expect the Media Myth Generators to offer a package of “reasons” explaining how you can deny knowing and yet still claim “priviledge” to protect the “nothing” that you know.

Head them off at the pass. Call them on it.

They.

Are.

Lying.

To us.

Never mind lying to Congress. They are lying to the entire population.

“Lying to America” may not be a crime on the books, but I reckon it’s a crime nonetheless.

Let us then mete out the appropriate punishment.