Category Archives: Economic Sanctions
Economic sanctions are domestic penalties applied by one country (or group of countries) on another for a variety of reasons. Economic sanctions include, but are not limited to, tariffs, trade barriers, import duties, and import or export quotas. The most famous example of an economic sanction is the fifty-year-old United States embargo against Cuba.
Economic sanctions are not always imposed because of economic circumstances. For example, the United States has imposed economic sanctions against Iran for years, on the basis that the Iranian government sponsors groups who work against US interests.
The United Nations imposed stringent economic sanctions upon Iraq after the first Gulf War, and these were maintained partly as an attempt to make the Iraqi government co-operate with the UN weapons inspectors’ monitoring of Iraq’s weapons and weapons programs. These sanctions were unusually stringent in that very little in the way of trade goods were allowed into or out of Iraq during the sanction period (further information about these sanctions and their effects can be found at www.casi.org.uk and at ). The sanctions were not lifted until May 2003, after the government of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein was overthrown.
There is a United Nations sanctions regime imposed by UN Security Council Resolution 1267 in 1999 against all Al-Qaida- and Taliban-associated individuals which has undergone years of modification by a dozen UN Security Council Resolutions. The cornerstone of the regime is a consolidated list of persons maintained by the Security Council. All nations are obliged to freeze bank accounts and other financial instruments controlled by, or used for the benefit of, anyone on the list.
April 29, 2014
The Ministry of Finance (MoF) on President Putin’s order yesterday accelerated the opening of the St. Petersburg Exchange (SPE), where prices for Russian oil and natural gas will be set in rubles instead of US dollars.
Putin’s order regarding the SPE was in direct response to the US placing sanctions yesterday upon Igor Sechin the CEO of the Russian energy giant Rosneft and a nominated board member of the SPE, and of which Deputy Minister for foreign relations, Sergey Ryabkov, had warned: “A response of Moscow will follow, and it will be painfully felt in Washington DC.”
Sechin, was directly threatened by the Obama regime earlier this month due to his October 2013 remarks at the World Energy Congress in Korea where he called for a “global mechanism to trade natural gas” and went on suggesting that “it was advisable to create an international exchange for the participating countries, where transactions could be registered with the use of regional currencies”.
Sechin, as one of the most influential leaders of the global energy trading community now has the perfect instrument to make this plan a reality with the SPE where reference prices for Russian oil and natural gas will be set in rubles instead of US dollars and could literally destroy the petrodollar.
As we reported earlier already Russia and India are planning to remove the Dollar, meanwhile many speculators believe that the Yuan may already have become a de facto reserve currency. Also to be noted is the epic $30 Billion Oil Pipeline undertaken by Russia, India, China that could shift the Geopolitical balance.
The use of this “Financial Nuclear Weapon” (the sale of oil in a currency other than the US dollar) which was previously deployed by Saddam Hussein, resulted in the total destruction of Iraq, but it failed to deter other countries angry with the highhandedness of the US.
Libya made another attempt and it resulted in the destruction of the country and the brutal murder of its leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Next was Iran. The US and the global financial war party found it much more difficult to isolate and annihilate Iran, even when it was threatened with outright nuclear attack by US and Israel. And in spite of unprecedented sanctions against Iran (which constitute economic warfare and are war crimes in itself), Iran stood defiant.
The leading members of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Russia and China restrained themselves so as to preserve global stability.
However, the war party faction of the US took such restraint as weakness and went on a spree of regime change throughout the world to undermine the growing strength of BRICS.
The “straw that broke the camels’ back” was the unbridled and reckless coup against the elected President of Ukraine by US and NATO and orchestrated by the US State Department and led by the war-monger Victoria Nuland, who openly admitted that the US had disbursed through such organizations as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) over $5 Billion to facilitate the coup. Further to this just a couple of days back as reported by Bodhita US backed elite ‘Rape-Murder’ Alpha Squads were captured in Ukraine.
Critical to understand about the current Ukrainian Crisis, is that it has “absolutely nothing” at all to do with either Ukraine or its people, but should be understood for what it really is…a “sledgehammer” the US is attempting to use against Russia to prevent the opening and expansion of the SPE.
By perpetually expanding the US money supply, it’s important to note, America’s standard of living for its elite classes increases as well. The only problem with this situation is that the only way that it can be sustained is if the demand for the dollar and for US debt securities remains consistently strong.
Grasping this last point is extremely important. For if the artificial global US dollar demand, made possible by the petrodollar system, were ever to crumble, foreign nations who had formerly found it beneficial to hold US dollars would suddenly find that they no longer needed the massive amounts that they were holding.
This massive amount of dollars, which would no longer be useful to foreign nations, would come rushing back to their place of origin… America.
Obviously, an influx of dollars into the American economy would lead to massive inflationary pressures within their economic system and collapse it, along with that of the EU too.
It is difficult to overstate the importance of this concept as the entire American monetary system literally hinges on this “dollars for oil” system. Without it, Washington would lose its permission slip to print excessive numbers of dollars.
With thousands of NATO-backed Romanian troops now moving to the Ukraine border, along with British and French fighter jets now being deployed to Lithuania and Poland to join their recently arrived US military allies, it cannot be ruled out that the US will attempt to start a war with Russia in order to protect their petrodollar scheme.
In spite of the fact that all Russian military forces have returned to their permanent bases and Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu assured his US counterpart Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel yesterday during an hour long phone conversation that Russia had no intention of invading Ukraine, Moscow has become increasingly “alarmed” by the combined US-NATO military buildup on its borders that Minister Shoigu called “unprecedented”.
As for the Ukrainian people themselves being used as pawns by the US against Russia in this “petrodollar war”, their lives are quickly turning from despair to outright misery as they are forced to swallow the “bitter pill” being forced upon them by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is forcing their fuel and energy costs to skyrocket and taxes being raised on everything from alcohol to tobacco, not to mention the tens-of-thousands of public jobs being made redundant (layoffs and firings) and the nearly 5% cut in payments to pensioners.
Even worse for these “US Pawns”, wages now in Ukraine are, as a rule, not enough to feed a family, and the devaluation of their currency will make it totally impossible for these people to absorb these costs.
On the other hand, Western currency speculators will be able to profit from fluctuations in Ukraine’s currency and multinational corporations stand to benefit from privatization of those state assets that haven’t already been sold off.
It is critically important to note that back in 2008, when the US brought the world to the very brink of total economic collapse, then Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev warned that Russia should seize opportunities created by the weak US dollar. “Today, the global economy is going through uneasy times,” he said. “The role of the key reserve currencies is under review. And we must take advantage of it.”
Six years later that is what Putin is doing…nobody can say that they weren’t warned.
04/04/2014 by Tyler Durden
On the heels of Russia’s potential “holy grail” gas deal with China, the news of a Russia-Iran oil “barter” deal, it appears the US is starting to get very concerned about its almighty Petrodollar
- *U.S. HAS WARNED RUSSIA, IRAN AGAINST POSSIBLE OIL BARTER DEAL
- *U.S. SAYS ANY SUCH DEAL WOULD TRIGGER SANCTIONS
- *U.S. HAS CONVEYED CONCERNS TO IRANIAN GOVT THROUGH ALL CHANNELS
We suspect these sanctions would have more teeth than some travel bans, but, as we noted previously, it is just as likely to be another epic geopolitical debacle resulting from what was originally intended to be a demonstration of strength and instead is rapidly turning out into a terminal confirmation of weakness.
As we explained earlier in the week,
Russia seems perfectly happy to telegraph that it is just as willing to use barter (and “heaven forbid” gold) and shortly other “regional” currencies, as it is to use the US Dollar, hardly the intended outcome of the western blocakde, which appears to have just backfired and further impacted the untouchable status of the Petrodollar.
“If Washington can’t stop this deal, it could serve as a signal to other countries that the United States won’t risk major diplomatic disputes at the expense of the sanctions regime,”
The US dollar’s position as the base currency for global energy trading gives the US a number of unfair advantages. It seems that Moscow is ready to take those advantages away.
The existence of “petrodollars” is one of the pillars of America’s economic might because it creates a significant external demand for American currency, allowing the US to accumulate enormous debts without defaulting. If a Japanese buyer want to buy a barrel of Saudi oil, he has to pay in dollars even if no American oil company ever touches the said barrel. Dollar has held a dominant position in global trading for such a long time that even Gazprom’s natural gas contracts for Europe are priced and paid for in US dollars. Until recently, a significant part of EU-China trade had been priced in dollars.
Lately, China has led the BRICS efforts to dislodge the dollar from its position as the main global currency, but the “sanctions war” between Washington and Moscow gave an impetus to the long-awaited scheme to launch the petroruble and switch all Russian energy exports away from the US currency .
The main supporters of this plan are Sergey Glaziev, the economic aide of the Russian President and Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, the biggest Russian oil company and a close ally of Vladimir Putin. Both have been very vocal in their quest to replace the dollar with the Russian ruble. Now, several top Russian officials are pushing the plan forward.
First, it was the Minister of Economy, Alexei Ulyukaev who told Russia 24 news channel that the Russian energy companies must should ditch the dollar. “ They must be braver in signing contracts in rubles and the currencies of partner-countries, ” he said.
Then, on March 2, Andrei Kostin, the CEO of state-owned VTB bank, told the press that Gazprom, Rosneft and Rosoboronexport, state company specialized in weapon exports, can start trading in rubles. “ I’ve spoken to Gazprom, to Rosneft and Rosoboronexport management and they don’t mind switching their exports to rubles. They only need a mechanism to do that ”, Kostin told the attendees of the annual Russian Bank Association meeting.
Judging by the statement made at the same meeting by Valentina Matviyenko, the speaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, it is safe to assume that no resources will be spared to create such a mechanism. “ Some ‘hot headed’ decision-makers have already forgotten that the global economic crisis of 2008 – which is still taking its toll on the world – started with a collapse of certain credit institutions in the US, Great Britain and other countries. This is why we believe that any hostile financial actions are a double-edged sword and even the slightest error will send the boomerang back to the aborigines,” she said.
It seems that Moscow has decided who will be in charge of the “boomerang”. Igor Sechin, the CEO of Rosneft, has been nominated to chair the board of directors of Saint-Petersburg Commodity Exchange, a specialized commodity exchange. In October 2013, speaking at the World Energy Congress in Korea, Sechin called for a “global mechanism to trade natural gas” and went on suggesting that “ it was advisable to create an international exchange for the participating countries, where transactions could be registered with the use of regional currencies “. Now, one of the most influential leaders of the global energy trading community has the perfect instrument to make this plan a reality. A Russian commodity exchange where reference prices for Russian oil and natural gas will be set in rubles instead of dollars will be a strong blow to the petrodollar.
Rosneft has recently signed a series of big contracts for oil exports to China and is close to signing a “jumbo deal” with Indian companies. In both deals, there are no US dollars involved. Reuters reports, that Russia is close to entering a goods-for-oil swap transaction with Iran that will give Rosneft around 500,000 barrels of Iranian oil per day to sell in the global market. The White House and the russophobes in the Senate are livid and are trying to block the transaction because it opens up some very serious and nasty scenarios for the petrodollar. If Sechin decides to sell this Iranian oil for rubles, through a Russian exchange, such move will boost the chances of the “petroruble” and will hurt the petrodollar.
It can be said that the US sanctions have opened a Pandora’s box of troubles for the American currency. The Russian retaliation will surely be unpleasant for Washington, but what happens if other oil producers and consumers decide to follow the example set by Russia? During the last month, China opened two centers to process yuan-denominated trade flows, one in London and one in Frankfurt. Are the Chinese preparing a similar move against the greenback? We’ll soon find out.
Finally, those curious what may happen next, only not to Iran but to Russia, are encouraged to read “From Petrodollar To Petrogold: The US Is Now Trying To Cut Off Iran’s Access To Gold.”
Thursday, April 3, 2014 The 4th Media News
Putin Flushes the US Dollar: Russia’s Gold Ruble Payments System Delinked from Dollar?
A New Financial System independent from Wall Street and City of London begins to take shape concretely in Russia?
Russia “forced” by the sanctions to create a currency system which is independent from the US dollar.
Russia announces that it will sell (and buy) products and commodities – including oil – in rubles rather than in dollars. The move is towards the development of bilateral.
Putin has been preparing this move — the creation of a payment system in rubles completely independent and protected from the Dollar and the “killer speculations” (e.g. short-selling) of the big Western financial institutions — for a long time.
After sanctioning several Russian banks to punish Russia for Crimea, the Washington politicians were told by the financial power-to-be to step back because obviously, the Wall Street vampires understand that putting Russian banks outside the reach of their blood sucking teeth is never a good idea.
For Wall Street and the city’s financial services, countries like Russia should always have an open financial door through which their real economy can be periodically looted.
So Washington announced that it was a mistake to enforce sanctions on all Russian banks; only one, the Rossiya bank shall be hit by sanctions, just for propaganda reasons and to make an example out of it.
It is what Putin needed. Since at least 2007, he was trying to launch an independent Ruble System, a financial system that would be based on Russia’s real economy and resources and guaranteed by its gold reserves.
No tolerance for looting and financial speculation: A peaceful move, but at the same time a declaration of independence that Wall Street will consider as a “declaration of war”.
According to the Judo strategy, the sanction attack created the ideal situation for a “defensive” move that would redirect the brute force of the adversary against him.
And now it’s happening. Bank Rossiya will be the first Russian bank to use exclusively the Russian ruble.
The move has not been done in secret. On the contrary. A huge golden ruble symbol will be set up in front of bank Rossiya headquarters in Perevedensky Pereulok in Moscow “to symbolize the ruble’s stability and its backing by the country’s gold reserves,” the official agency Itar-Tass explains quoting the bank officials.
In fact, the officials are very clear on their intention to punish the western speculators that have been looting their country for a long time:
“Russia, at its present stage of development, should not be dependent on foreign currencies; its internal resources will make its own economy invulnerable to political wheeler dealers.”
This is only the first step, declared Andrei Kostin, the president of VTB, another bank previously sanctioned:
“We have been moving towards wider use of the Russian rouble as the currency of settlement for a long time. The ruble became fully convertible quite a long time ago.
Unfortunately, we have seen predominantly negative consequences of this step so far revealed in the outflow of capital from this country. The influx of foreign investments into Russia has been speculative and considerably destabilizing to our stock markets.”
According to Itar-Tass, Kostin was very precise and concrete:
“Russia should sell domestic products – from weapons to gas and oil – abroad for roubles and buy foreign goods also for rubles….Only then are we going to use the advantages of the rouble being a foreign currency in full measure.”
Putin himself lobbied for the new siystem in meetings with members of the Upper House of the Duma, the parliament, on March 28, overcoming the last doubts and indecisions:“
“Why do we not do this? This definitely should be done, we need to protect our interests, and we will do it. These systems work, and work very successfully in such countries as Japan and China. They originally started as exclusively national [systems] confined to their own market and territory and their own population, but have gradually become more and more popular…”
Alea Iacta Est!
By Umberto Pascali, Information Clearing House
March 13, 2014 By Sara Noble
China is warning the West to not impose sanctions on Russia because “sanctions could lead to retaliatory action, and that would trigger a spiral with unforeseeable consequences.”
Jedidiah Noble, who is not a geo-political strategist – he’s actually an engineer – predicted exactly this. If Jedidiah can make these predictions, why is it Mr. Obama can’t?
Mr. Obama has done little to stop Putin from rebuilding the Soviet Union. Putin remains in Georgia and has overtaken Crimea with barely-disguised Russian troops slipping in and out of the iron curtain they have erected between Ukraine and Crimea.
Yesterday, in a press conference with Ukraine’s PM, Mr. Obama gave Crimea away without even a whimper.
Mr. Obama gave away the missile defense shield and got nothing in return. He has drawn red lines and drawn lines without calling them red lines, but has done nothing retaliatory except move the line back.
China has been a menace to Japan and is threatening to take over sixteen islands in the East China Sea. The islands have value for their fisheries but mostly it’s a power grab by China and it will give China a strategic advantage in any military conflict. Mr. Obama has done little to nothing to support Japan.
When Russia moved into Crimea, Mr. Putin spoke with China’s leaders. He allegedly worked out some sort of deal. One can be sure that China’s imperialistic vision is part of the deal.
Russia used the imaginary threat to Russian populations living in Crimea as an excuse to go into Crimea once freedom fighters overturned the government in Ukraine. Now one can expect China to use an imaginary allegiance to Russia as an excuse for taking further steps.
In addition to our facing land grabs, we are in trouble economically if Russia and China join forces. We are deeply in debt to both Russia and China to say nothing of the fact that our dollar is threatened as the world currency.
China responded to the West threatening Russia with sanctions in this way: ”We don’t see any point in sanctions,” said Shi Mingde, China’s Ambassdor to the EU. “Sanctions could lead to retaliatory action, and that would trigger a spiral with unforeseeable consequences. We don’t want this.”
The sanctions are only travel bans and asset freezes on people and companies accused by Brussels of violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
Russia’s Deputy Economy Minister Alexei Likhachev responded by promising “symmetrical” sanctions by Moscow.
Mr. Obama is allegedly speaking with Beijing and working on a deal but there is no sign there will be a result favorable to the U.S. Mr. Mingh’s statement is a warning, but then again who could see that coming.
Can we even survive two more years of Mr. Obama?
Remember to vote in November!
(Reuters) – A major Chinese ship insurer will halt indemnity cover for tankers carrying Iranian oil from July, dealing a blow that narrows the insurance options for Tehran’s main export already constricted by payment barriers caused by Western sanctions.
With Western sanctions on Tehran increasing, sources at the China P&I Club told Reuters on Thursday it did not want to stand alone in the market, especially after insurers in Japan and Europe plan to either limit or ban their own coverage for tankers operating in Iran.
This is the first sign that refiners in China, Iran’s top crude buyer, may struggle to obtain the shipping and insurance to keep importing from the Middle Eastern country. Iran’s other top customers — India, Japan and South Korea — are running into similar problems, raising questions on how Tehran will be able to continue to export the bulk of its oil.
Crude oil prices are up nearly 14 percent since the start of this year on concerns that Iranian supplies may be disrupted due to Western sanctions. Brent crude traded above $123 a barrel on Thursday. <O/R>
The China P&I Club, whose members include major Chinese shipping firms Sinotrans (0368.HK) and COSCO Group COSCO.UL (600428.SS), is the first Chinese maritime insurer to confirm it will halt business with tankers operating in Iran.
“Many ship owners want to join our club and want our club to cover this risk, but considering all these regulations from the United States and the EU, I know the China P&I club will not do that,” said a Hong Kong-based official with the insurer, which provides coverage to more than 1,000 vessels.
“The China P&I club will not take the risk. We have asked our members not to go there, if they go there, they take their own risk,” the official added, who wished not to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
Starting in July, European insurers and reinsurers will be barred from indemnifying ships carrying Iranian crude and oil products anywhere in the world, in line with sanctions on Tehran.
Iran sells most of its 2.2 million barrels per day of oil exports in Asia, where China, India, Japan and South Korea are the four biggest buyers.
Growing pressure by the West has led some Iranian oil buyers to cut imports, but the problem over obtaining maritime insurance could altogether halt shipments to Asian customers. Chinese imports from Iran are already down more than 21 percent in the first two months of 2012 to around 395,000 barrels per day compared to the same period last year.
Along with Russia and the Middle East, China is one of the few remaining alternatives for Asian ship owners to replace European-based coverage. It is not clear if other Chinese ship insurers also planned to follow China P&I Club and cut coverage.
“I really don’t know what will happen,” said a Beijing-based Chinese industry official. “We are talking about $1 billion in coverage (per tanker). No single insurance company can handle that.”
European insurers provide cover for the majority of the world’s oil tanker fleet. Industry officials say ship owners who still legally trade with Iran will be pressed to find sufficient, or comprehensive, alternative insurance.
“Western insurance companies, taking advantage of their market dominance, have been raising insurance costs gradually for ship owners,” said a Chinese shipping executive.
“Now they say they don’t want to provide cover to those disputed regions. China should really make its own comprehensive considerations (on this issue).”
An official with the China P&I club held out hope the European Union would decide on a last-minute easing of the sanctions. European nations are divided over the sanctions, while oil refiners, insurers and tanker owners face lost business opportunities with OPEC’s second-largest producer.
“As far as I’ve seen with these new published sanctions, it seems to us that there might be some room for compromise,” said a Beijing-based club official, who wished not to be named.
China P&I Club is not a member of the Group of International P&I Clubs, an association of customer-owned ship insurers which cover 95 percent of the world’s tankers against pollution and personal injury claims. The Chinese insurer has applied to join the club and could be taking the action on Iranian coverage to ensure it becomes a member, industry sources said.
The Japan P&I club, the only Asian-based member of the Group of International P&I Clubs, said last month it would only be able to provide a fraction of cover for tankers operating in Iran.
“It’s now non-life (insurers) and shippers who can tell us how many cargoes we will be able to ship from Iran,” said a manager from a Japanese firm that buys Iranian crude, adding that importing cargoes without insurance was unthinkable.
(Additional reporting by Aizhu Chen in Beijing, Risa Maeda in Tokyo and Meeyoung Cho in Seoul; Editing by Ed Lane)
- Japan refiners want force majeure to cover Iran oil shipping ban (mb50.wordpress.com)
- India ships will lose insurance due to Iran sanctions, may look to China – Reuters (reuters.com)
- S&P: Tankers Brace For Headwinds From Iran Trade Sanctions (gcaptain.com)
- Iran oil exports fall as sanctions take toll (business.financialpost.com)