Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
Politically good for Israel and negative to our intention of freezing Israel out on the Iran deal.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia pulls out of US talks on Iran
Barack Obama hoped to use summit at White House and Camp David to reassure Saudi monarch about nuclear deal with Iran
Ian Black Middle East editor
Monday 11 May 2015 07.08 EDT Last modified on Monday 11 May 2015 07.42 EDT
King Salman of Saudi Arabia has withdrawn from a carefully orchestrated summit with the US that President Barack Obama hoped would assuage Gulf anxieties about the conclusion of a nuclear agreement with Iran.
The monarch had been expected to join other heads of state from the six Gulf Cooperation Council countries at an unprecedented meeting at the White House and a day of talks at the presidential retreat at Camp David. Now the only leaders attending will be the emirs of Qatar and Kuwait.
The deal with Iran, Saudi-led attacks on Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen and the crises in Syria and Iraq made for a difficult and crowded agenda.
The summit, scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, follows months of tension and intensive US diplomacy designed to persuade Riyadh and its neighbours that Washington is not abandoning its Gulf allies in order to normalise relations with Tehran.
Salman will be represented instead by the newly appointed Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, the darling of western countries and the first of the younger generation of Saudi royals to look likely to ascend the throne. The king’s son and Saudi defence minister, Mohammed bin Salman – who is running the campaign of air strikes in Yemen – will also be there.
Obama had been expected to make a renewed effort to help the GCC states create a regional defence system to guard against Iranian missiles. The Saudis and others appear to accept that a nuclear agreement is inevitable but are keen to extract guarantees that their interests will not be harmed by it, diplomats say.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
I would like to be a fly on the Wall in the room these conversations will take place.
US Secretary of State Kerry traveling to Russia, set to meet Lavrov, Putin
Published time: May 11, 2015 12:17
Edited time: May 11, 2015 14:10
US Secretary of State John Kerry is planning a trip to Sochi on Tuesday, where he is expected to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The three men are to discuss the situation in Ukraine, Yemen, Iraq and Syria.
The trip has been confirmed by Russian and US officials.
"This trip is part of our ongoing effort to maintain direct lines of communication with senior Russian officials and to ensure US views are clearly conveyed," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a written statement.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said that Moscow is ready for the dialogue with Washington.
Russia is "open for cooperation [with the US] on the basis of equality, non-interference in internal affairs, and taking Russian interests into account without attempts to pressure us,“ the ministry said in a statement.
Earlier, RIA Novosti news agency quoted a Russian diplomatic source as saying that Kerry’s arrival was "very symbolic,” since the top US diplomat had canceled the trip several times.
This will be Kerry’s first visit to Russia since the outbreak of the crisis in Ukraine in November 2013.
Lavrov and Kerry met last in March during the Iran nuclear talks in Switzerland’s Lausanne, where several world leaders were working hard to hammer out a final decision on Iran’s nuclear program before a looming deadline of March 31.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
World Bank and IMF – here starts the competition.
India announces first BRICS Bank President
May 11, 2015, 10:12 am
Ahead of the 7th BRICS Summit in Russia, the Indian government on Monday announced the appointment of Indian banker Kundapur Vaman Kamath as president of the $100 billion New Development Bank being set up by the BRICS. Kamath has earlier worked with the Asian Development Bank and was the FORBES ASIA’s 2007 Businessman of the Year.
The BRICS Bank launched last year will fund infrastructure projects in Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, and challenge the dominance of the Western-led World Bank and the IMF.
The bank is likely to be operationalised within one year, Finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi said.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov will become the bank’s first Chairman of the Board of Governors, while the first chairperson of the Board of Directors will be Brazilian. South Africa will establish an African regional center for the bank.
Leaders of of BRICS had in 2014 reached an agreement to establish the New Development Bank, with its headquarters in Shanghai. Russia’s Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters after the Summit in Brazil that the BRICS decided in favor of Shanghai because the city offers better infrastructure, opportunities to capture private funding, and is home to more investors than the competitors.
South African Trade and Industry Rob Davies said last year that although the capital of the New Development Bank and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement had been set at $100 billion each, this did not mean that this capital would necessarily be held in US dollars.
“We want to move away from the same old, same old way of doing things. What currencies the capital will be held in is something that will be part of the Sherpa process with the pace set by Brazil, but we expect substantive progress by the time of the next BRICS summit in Russia in June 2015,” he said.
The BRICS combined GDP grew 300 per cent in the last decade as opposed to 60 per cent growth registered by the developed world.
Jim Sinclair’s Commentary
Would you welcome this to your neighborhood?
Texas bristles at Obama’s ‘invasion’
Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington
President Barack Obama plans to launch a military operation this summer that will see the special forces which killed Osama bin Laden team up with Walmart to take over Texas.
The invasion will also target the Mormon stronghold of Utah and an “insurgent pocket” in California. But the main thrust will be in Texas where 1,200 special forces — Army Green Beret forces to Navy Seals — will try to reclaim the state that voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 election.
As the US focuses on the threat from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), anti-Obama groups have been fanning the flames of conspiracy over Jade Helm 15, a long-planned military exercise to let troops “practise core special warfare tasks, which help protect the nation against foreign enemies”.
Mr Obama is no stranger to conspiracy theories — for instance, Donald Trump claiming that he was not born in the US and so not qualified to occupy the White House.
The former “Republic of Texas” has also had one of the strongest streaks of independence in the US since it was annexed in 1845, making the “Lone Star” state ripe for conspiracy tales involving the federal government.
But the latest intrigue took on a new dimension when Greg Abbott, the new Republican governor of Texas, ordered the State Guard, a branch of the Texas state military, to monitor Jade Helm on the grounds that it was “important that Texans know their safety, constitutional rights, private property rights and civil liberties will not be infringed”.
Ted Cruz, the Texas senator running for president, said while he was not concerned about Jade Helm, the anxiety was valid because “we have seen, for six years, a federal government disrespecting the liberty of the citizens”.
But Mr Abbott’s move sparked criticism from mainstream Republicans and people surprised that he would lend credence to rumours.