It’s hard to call shale oil a US strength when so much of it is produced at a loss and funded by borrowed money. From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:
Headlines abound about the massive surge in US shale oil production. The energy independence-cheering punditocracy hail this as a great victory. This includes President Trump.
And it would be if this surge in production was built on financially stable ground. But it isn’t. The fracking industry continues to bleed massive amounts of cash. As I pointed out in an article earlier this week, when accounting for this inconvenient truth much of the U.S’s return to dominance in the energy space is a lot of hot air.
Nick Cunningham’s article at Oilprice.com tells the tale.
Heading into 2019, the industry promised to stake out a renewed focus on capital discipline and shareholder returns. But that vow is now in danger of becoming yet another in a long line of unmet goals.
“Another quarter, another gusher of red ink,” the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, along with the Sightline Institute, wrote in a joint report on the first quarter earnings of the shale industry.
The report studied 29 North American shale companies and found a combined $2.5 billion in negative free cash flow in the first quarter. That was a deterioration from the $2.1 billion in negative cash flow from the fourth quarter of 2018. “This dismal cash flow performance came despite a 16 percent quarter-over-quarter decline in capital expenditures,” the report’s authors concluded.
Our close ally Saudi Arabia wants to kill an eighteen-year-old for protesting the regime when he was ten. From Muhammad Darwish, Tamara Qiblawi and Ghazi Balkiz at cnn.com:
A group of boys on bicycles gather on a dusty side-street in eastern Saudi Arabia.
Foot on pedal, 10-year-old Murtaja Qureiris is about to lead the group of around 30 children. In video footage obtained by CNN, he is wearing rolled up denim jeans and black flip-flops on his feet, and grinning at the camera recording the event. It may look like a regular bike ride, but the group is staging a protest.
Moments after they set off, Qureiris gets lost in the sea of boys, struggling to keep up as he lifts a megaphone and presses it against his lips. “The people demand human rights!” he shouts.
As a boy, Qureiris participated in demonstrations like this bike ride, expressions of dissent in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province during the 2011 Arab Spring.
Three years after he was filmed taking part in the bike protest, Saudi authorities arrested Qureiris, then just 13 years old. He was traveling with his family to Bahrain when he was detained by Saudi border authorities on the King Fahd causeway that connects the two countries.
At the time, he was considered by lawyers and activists to be the youngest known political prisoner in Saudi Arabia.
Now, at the age of 18, Qureiris is facing the death penalty after being held for almost four years in pre-trial detention, CNN has learned.
The title question answers itself. Of course we won’t see any consequences, other than those borne by the people of Yemen. From Dave DeCamp at antiwar.com:
The war in Yemen is still raging on with no end in sight and the Saudis are beginning to see the war come home to them. The Houthi regime has been increasing drone strikes inside of Saudi Arabia, hitting an oil pipeline and an arms depot in recent weeks. While the Saudis are beginning to see blowback from their brutal military campaign in the country, we must not forget that this war would not be possible without US intelligence and weapons. President Trump recently bypassed congress by declaring a state of emergency to sell more weapons to the Saudis, using the “Iranian threat” as the excuse.
In 2015 Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies launched an attack on Yemen after the Houthis began to take control of some key cities, including the capital Sanaa. On March 25th 2015, the Obama administration released a statement pledging military and logistical support to the coalition. Four years and over 19,000 airstrikes later the UN has estimated if the war ended in 2019 it would account for 233,000 deaths, 140,000 of those deaths being children under the age of five. Eighty percent of the country’s population relies on humanitarian aid for their food, with 13 million at risk of starvation.
The UN report said the conflict is Yemen was turning into a “war on children,” they estimated 330,000 could be dead by 2022. The Saudis are known to target vital civilian infrastructure in their airstrikes, such as water treatment plants, hospitals, schools and markets. The Saudis have even targeted fisherman to further squeeze the country’s food supply.
This “war on children” is similar to the US campaign against Iraq after the invasion of Kuwait in 1990. After Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded Kuwait over a discrepancy of a contested oil field on their vague border, the UN security council, led by the US, imposed economic sanctions on Iraq. The sanctions were intended to make Iraqi forces withdraw from Kuwait, but even after they did, the US refused to allow the sanctions to be lifted.
Catchy names like Troika of Tyranny are only applied to the US government’s enemies, but might not that catchy name apply to the US government’s friends in the Middle East? From Danny Sjursen at tomdispatch.com:
Key American Allies in the Middle East Are the Real Tyrants
American foreign policy can be so retro, not to mention absurd. Despite being bogged down in more military interventions than it can reasonably handle, the Trump team recently picked a new fight — in Latin America. That’s right! Uncle Sam kicked off a sequel to the Cold War with some of our southern neighbors, while resuscitating the boogeyman of socialism. In the process, National Security Advisor John Bolton treated us all to a new phrase, no less laughable than Bush the younger’s 2002 “axis of evil” (Iran, Iraq, and North Korea). He labeled Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua a “troika of tyranny.”
Alliteration no less! The only problem is that the phrase ridiculously overestimates both the degree of collaboration among those three states and the dangers they pose to their hegemonic neighbor to the north. Bottom line: in no imaginable fashion do those little tin-pot tyrannies offer either an existential or even a serious threat to the United States. Evidently, however, the phrase was meant to conjure up enough ill will and fear to justify the Trump team’s desire for sweeping regime change in Latin America. Think of it as a micro-version of Cold War 2.0.
Odds are that Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, both unrepentant neocons, are the ones driving this Latin American Cold War reboot, even as, halfway across the planet, they’ve been pushing for war with Iran. Meanwhile, it’s increasingly clear that Donald Trump gets his own kick out of being a “war president” and the unique form of threat production that goes with it.
You won’t hear much about this in the American mainstream media. From Patrick Knox and Mark Hodge at thesun.co.uk:
A YOUNG lad was tortured with electricity and beheaded in Saudi Arabia because he sent WhatsApp messages about a protest aged 16.
Abdulkarim al-Hawaj, 21, was a schoolboy when he was detained and accused of being a “terrorist” for sending texts online about an anti-government demonstration.
Abdulkareem al-Hawaj was just 16 when he was arrested
He was a Shiite Muslim – which is a persecuted minority group in Sunni-dominated Saudi – living in the troubled Eastern province.
Abdulkarim was beaten and tortured with electricity while his hands were chained above his head when he “confessed” to his crimes, human rights charity Reprieve said.
According to Amnesty International, his trial was a farce because he was denied access to a proper defence lawyer and convicted on the forced confession.
Aside from torture, the charity also claims that his captors threatened to kill his family if did not confess to the crimes.
This week, he had his head cut from his body in front of a baying, bloodthirsty crowd along with 36 other men in the medieval country.
The chances that anything good comes from the Trump administration and Israel’s war against Iran are next to nil. From Eric Margolis at lewrockwell.com:
The world is still reeling in horror from the deadly Sri Lanka bombings that may have been the work of Islamic State madmen. Poor Sri Lanka has suffered so much after three decades of civil war and communal strife. We weep for this beautiful and once gentle nation.
But behind the horror in Sri Lanka, a huge crisis was building up of which the world has so far taken insufficient notice: renewed tensions in the oil-producing Gulf. This is the latest attempt by the United States to crush Iran’s independent-minded government and return it to American tutelage.
The Trump administration has demanded that the principal importers of 1.2 billion barrels of Iranian oil halt purchases almost immediately. This imperial diktat includes China, South Korea, Turkey, India and Japan. The comprehensive embargo is very close to an all-out act of war. In 1941, America’s cut-off of oil to Japan provoked the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Of all the people running for the Democratic nomination for president, President Trump should be most afraid of Tulsi Gabbard. She’s sounding many of the same foreign policy themes that candidate Trump did, and subsequently discarded in favor of Pompeo’s and Bolton’s foreign policy. Gabbard will steal Trump voters who were looking for something new in foreign policy. Gabbard also came out against the Assange arrest, another flashpoint for a substantial number of Trump voters. However, Gabbard probably has zero chance of getting the Democratic nomination. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Democratic presidential candidate for 2020 Rep. Tulsi Gabbard lashed out at Trump on Wednesday after the president vetoed the Yemen War Powers Resolution this week, which sought to end US support for the Sauid-led war in Yemen.
The Hawaiian congresswomen and outspoken US foreign policy critic asserted the president is turning the nation “into the prostitute of Saudi Arabia” and further stated he vetoed the bill “to please his Saudi masters” in a minute-and-a-half campaign video.
“Unlike Donald Trump I will not turn our great country into the prostitute of Saudi Arabia.”
The former combat veteran who served in the Iraq War has gotten visibility and vast push back even within her own party for making “ending regime change wars” her campaign focus.