Middle East, Africa

Market Celebrates Egypt’s Coup, But It’s Not Over Yet

Contributed by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com: The situation in Egypt has not been tenable since the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi took over, post-revolution, but now that the military has stepped in, ousted Morsi, and placed him in detention, foreign investors are celebrating – on the logic that things couldn’t get any worse, only better.

Perfecting The Surveillance Society – One Payment At A Time

Governments, corporations, even that genius app developer in Russia have one thing in common: they want to know everything. Data is power. And money. As the Snowden debacle has shown, they’re getting there. Technologies for gathering information, then hoarding it, mining it, and using it are becoming phenomenally effective and cheap. But it’s not perfect.

Libya, An Energy Asset Security Nightmare

Contributed by Jen Alic of Oilprice.com. Libya—awash with roving militias and undergoing a near-total evacuation of Westerners from oil-producing Benghazi—is doing its best to make cosmetic security changes in an atmosphere of growing uncertainty. But much of the country’s south and half of its border regions are not even under government control.

A War To Reverse The French Government’s Descent Into Unpopularity Hell

Normally, the media would have given it priority: French President Hollande and Prime Minister Ayrault have become more unpopular than ever before. But the poll was shoved into the background by France’s bombing campaign in Mali—which released an avalanche of positive comments and support from all sides, at least in France. With impeccable timing.

Nigeria’s Oil and Gas Fiasco

Militants attack oil infrastructure and staff. Oil theft leads to severe pipeline damage, causing loss of production and pollution. There is piracy, sabotage, violence, and decrepit infrastructure. Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and has the ninth largest natural gas reserves in the world. Yet only 50% of the people have access to electricity.

QE, Zimbabwe, And The Surreptitious 30% Haircut Every Decade

Dizzying QE gobbledygook is upon us once again. It would restart its big 480-volt money printer, in addition to the desktop machine it had been using recently, the Fed said, in order “to help ensure that inflation, over time, is at the rate most consistent with its dual mandate,” namely “maximum employment and price stability.” Thus, more inflation magically creates more jobs, and “price stability” requires more inflation in order to become more … stable maybe?

Gold Confiscation, Inflation, And Virtuous Central Bankers

When the world’s major central bankers get together, as they did at the Fed conference in Washington this weekend, ironies abound. Off to the side, Turkey had just floated a plan to get its people to turn in their physical gold in exchange for “certificates,” a first if still voluntary step in what may become a process of gold confiscation. In the background: the Fed, which had promised to keep interest rates at record lows through 2014, come hell or high water, after having purchased $2.3 trillion in bonds. In the foreground: the money printers of Japan and Europe.

Afghanistan: “There Will Be Civil War”

Delegations from 100 countries and organizations will meet on Monday in Bonn for a conference on Afghanistan—1,000 participants in all, including Hilary Clinton, Hamid Karzai, Angela Merkel, and 60 foreign ministers. Goal: “Laying the foundation for a better future of Afghanistan.” But just when official optimism gets frothy, classified documents surface that predict a dire future.