Saturday, April 11, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Well, for one the price has dropped significantly due to the "global economic tsunami" (cool way to describe it, eh?). Business has slowed and has left a pool of oil on the international market that has caused the price to drop significantly. Here is a cool site I used to track it. And:
Another thing to keep in mind is that oil is traded on two basic speculative commodity markets that are based out of New York and London. Though this has caused a bit of resentment in the past, major oil cartels, like OPEC, still carry weight in determining their own output. Saudi Arabia has so much oil that it can effect the market by itself! Nevertheless, oil has dropped astronomically in the past year and only now has it started to retain stability at around $50 a barrel. Still, it's as the seemly lone writer, Mark Williams, of the MyWay news service says:
Analysts expected a boost of 2.3 million barrels, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos. (MHP)
"We're swimming in this stuff," oil analyst and trader Stephen Schork said after the report was released, noting that crude levels already were at 16-year highs before the release of the report.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
The reason I focus on the "where" is that it tells a lot about the "who," who actually did it. This past week a string of suicide bombings have swept through Baghdad. Al Jazeera has estimated that about 34 people have been killed, many more wounded. Most of these bombings have taken place in the Shia districts, the latest in the slums of Sadr City. So who is behind it: Sunni leaders (part, or perhaps not part of the Sons of Iraq program), SIIC radicals, al-Qaeda in Iraq, others?
Sorry to disappoint the readership but even Abu G's non-conventional reporting skills do not reach the streets of Sadr City. Sorry. Ben Preston?
But if you want my rant, here it is: Ever since Prime Minister Maliki allied himself with the Muqtada al Sadr (who controls the Mahdi Army militia) the Shia have been able to win elections and keep the SIIC from power. Though the SIIC still holds crucial cities, like Basra, they are not in federal control. And if you can remember back to some previous post that I currently can't find, I said that the Maliki-Sadr ticket is basically a vote for federalized Iraq and not a Shia mini-state in southern Iraq.
Now you’re probably edged to the front of your seat saying "oh comm'on Abu, just hit me with it. Who is behind the bombings!?!"
More than likely, it is al-Qaeda in Iraq. For one, every news agency I have read has pointed that direction. But also, al-Qaeda in Iraq would love to see the Sadderist freak and return the Mahdi Army to the streets. This would cause a similar type of unrest that we saw in the pre-surge period and would most certainly break the ever fragile Maliki-Sadr alliance.
So lets just take a moment to be clear: al-Qaeda in Iraq would like to see nothing more than a fragmented Shia bloc, an incompetent government Baghdad and a return to chaos that would force the U.S. to fight al-Qaeda in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember, these are international Islamists whose main strategy is attrition. Though our sympathy here at the Casbah goes out to the families who lost loved ones in these attacks, this will be a good test to see if the Iraqis can figure this one out on their own.
But what the hell am I rambling about; I'm just another misanthropic blogger without healthcare.
Update: Check out what old Tom Ricks had to say about this whole thing. Think he reads the Casbah? I'm starting to wonder...
A man stripped down to nothing but a strategically placed sock at a Tel Aviv supermarket in protest at its decision to sell bread over Passover in violation of Jewish religious laws, Israeli news websites Ynet News reported on Monday.Do you think al-Arabiya gets a kick out of reporting such stories? (sarcasm) Of course they do!
Police led away Arieh Yerushalmi, 28, after he shed his clothing in the store on Sunday -- one year after he staged a similar protest at another supermarket.
Monday, April 6, 2009
The Army and Marine Corps have sponsored a series of multimillion-dollar war games to test how U.S. forces might fare against a similar foe. "I've organized five major games in the last two years, and all of them have focused on Hezbollah," said Frank Hoffman, a research fellow at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory in Quantico.
A big reason that the 34-day war is drawing such fevered attention is that it highlights a rift among military leaders: Some want to change the U.S. military so that it is better prepared for wars like the ones it is fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, while others worry that such a shift would leave the United States vulnerable to a more conventional foe."The Lebanon war has become a bellwether," said Stephen Biddle, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who has advised Gen. David H. Petraeus, head of the U.S. Central Command. "If you are opposed to transforming the military to fight low-intensity wars, it is your bloody sheet. It's discussed in almost coded communication to indicate which side of the argument you are on."
U.S. military experts were stunned by the destruction that Hezbollah forces, using sophisticated antitank guided missiles, were able to wreak on Israeli armor columns. Unlike the guerrilla forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, who employed mostly hit-and-run tactics, the Hezbollah fighters held their ground against Israeli forces in battles that stretched as long as 12 hours. They were able to eavesdrop on Israeli communications and even struck an Israeli ship with a cruise missile.
Sunday, April 5, 2009
At least 62 people suffocated to death in the back of a truck packed with illegal migrants, and dozens were rescued unconscious after Pakistani police acting on a tip opened the vehicle Saturday near the Afghan border. Rasool Bakhsh, a senior police official in the city of Quetta, said the shipping container the truck was carrying entered Pakistan from Afghanistan and was headed for Iran. He said most of the victims were Afghans.
Television footage shot shortly after the white container was opened showed dozens of bodies, many of them stripped to the waist, lined up on the road next to the truck.
The stench from the container suggested some might have been dead for days, Bakhsh said.
Officials said they were holding the truck's driver as part of their investigation.
Here's the kicker:
Southwestern Pakistan lies on a well-trodden route (new silk road?) for traffickers smuggling young men from poverty-afflicted countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan hoping to find work and prosperity in Europe and elsewhere.
Sound familiar America?
UPDATE: CHECK OUT THIS ARTICLE ABOUT AN AFGHANI MAN WHO STRAPPED HIMSELF UNDER A BUS AND TOOK IT FROM KABUL TO POLAND UNDETECTED!!!