Qatar warns against attacking Iran


Qatari emir, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani

The emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, has warned that Doha will not allow any country to turn the Persian Gulf into a war zone.

His remarks on the subject come in an environment of long-standing US and Israel threats to launch an attack against Iranian nuclear installations under the pretext that Tehran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is planning to secretly weaponize its civilian use nuclear program.

The international nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has strongly denied the charge with. IAEA chief Mohammad elBaradei stating he would resign if Iran is attacked on this pretext.

Tehran insists that its program is purely for electricity generation.

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Gold demand soars. Price falls. What’s going wrong?

Physical demand for gold is surging but the price keeps taking serious knocks. What’s happening.

LONDON – Gold market manipulation conspiracy theorists should be having a field day.  The past few weeks have seen solid evidence that physical gold demand from individuals is soaring. We have seen the U.S. Mint having to suspend one ounce Gold Eagle coin sales because of what it terms ‘unprecedented demand’, Indian gold sales have picked up enormously in the past few weeks leading to purchasers having to wait several days for deliveries as the traditional sellers are short of gold, while yesterday we hear that Abu Dhabi, a major trading centre for precious metals, has seen gold sales rise by 300 percent in volume and 250 percent in value in August compared with a year ago.

According to a Reuters report quoting Abu Dhabi Gold and Jewellery Group Chairman Tushar Patni “It was the best month the market has seen in almost 30 years and it compensated for any drops we have seen earlier this year.  We had never expected that if gold fell below $800 an ounce we would see a 300 percent increase in volume and 250 percent in value, especially as many buyers are abroad on holiday.”

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Lehman Brothers in urgent talks on capital injection

The Wall Street investment bank Lehman Brothers is this weekend locked in talks with a group of foreign government-backed investment funds in an effort to secure billions of dollars in new equity capital.

The Sunday Telegraph has learned that Lehman has intensified talks in recent days with Korea Development Bank, the South Korean ­government-backed lender, about a capital injection of as much as $6bn (£3.3bn). KDB has drafted in bankers from the heavyweight advisory boutique Perella Weinberg to provide counsel on the talks, which could be concluded this week.

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The war between the United States and Iran is on

AP photo / Brennan Linsley
Members of the Iranian resistance group Mujahadeen-e Khalk, or MEK, guard a road leading to the group’s main training camp, watched over by a U.S. Army Abrams tank in background, near Baqubah in north-central Iraq.

Acts of War

By Scott Ritter

The war between the United States and Iran is on. American taxpayer dollars are being used, with the permission of Congress, to fund activities that result in Iranians being killed and wounded, and Iranian property destroyed. This wanton violation of a nation’s sovereignty would not be tolerated if the tables were turned and Americans were being subjected to Iranian-funded covert actions that took the lives of Americans, on American soil, and destroyed American property and livelihood. Many Americans remain unaware of what is transpiring abroad in their name. Many of those who are cognizant of these activities are supportive of them, an outgrowth of misguided sentiment which holds Iran accountable for a list of grievances used by the U.S. government to justify the ongoing global war on terror. Iran, we are told, is not just a nation pursuing nuclear weapons, but is the largest state sponsor of terror in the world today.

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Russia’s new Great Game


Vladimir Putin (left), then the president of Russia, met with Muammar Qaddafi, the Libyan leader, in April to discuss arms, energy and debt. AFP

Employing strategies redolent of a new Great Game, Russia has stepped up its diplomatic and trade activities in the Middle East and North Africa in a bid to enhance its geopolitical clout and gain access to, and at least partial control over, the region’s oil and gas reserves.

Among the former global superpower’s tactics: linking arms deals and debt-forgiveness to energy deals.

The strategy has been most apparent in former client states of the ­Soviet Union including Libya, Iraq and Syria, although by no means limited to such countries. Moreover, Moscow has not shied away from courting the authoritarian regimes of countries such as Iran, Syria and Libya that are or have been shunned by the US and other western governments.

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Greenspan tells Gulf to drop dollar

Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the US central bank, or Fed, has said that inflation rates in Gulf states, which are reaching near record levels, would fall “significantly” if oil producers dropped their US dollar pegs.

Speaking at an investment conference on Monday in Jedda, Saudi Arabia, he said the pegs restrict the region’s ability to control inflation by forcing them to duplicate US monetary policy at a time when the Fed is cutting rates to ward off an economic downturn.

Debate is rife in the Gulf on how to tackle inflation.

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Greenspan, right, says inflation rates in Gulf states will fall if they drop their US dollar pegs [AFP]

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Abu Dhabi fund draws scrutiny in U.S.

The headquarters of the InvestmAbu Dhabient Authority. The authority has a high profile in the emirate, but its secrecy is drawing scrutiny in Washington. (Charles Crowell/Bloomberg News)

Abu Dhabi has about 9 percent of the world’s oil and 0.02 percent of its population. One result is a surfeit of petrodollars, much of which is funneled into a secretive, government-controlled investment fund that is helping to shift the balance of power in the financial world.

After decades in the shadows, the fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, is turning heads on Wall Street and in Washington by making high-profile investments in the United States and elsewhere.

Known as ADIA (pronounced ah-DEE-ah), the fund recently formed a small team that is now buying big stakes in Western companies. This unit masterminded ADIA’s $7.5 billion investment in Citigroup, the largest U.S. bank, in November. It has also taken a large position in Toll Brothers, one of America’s biggest home builders.

“There is an idea that Abu Dhabi should not be the underdog of the map,” said Frauke Heard-Bey, a historian who has written a book about the political emergence of the United Arab Emirates. “They have the money to buy companies that are ailing, and why should they not? Why not make a mark?”

ADIA is the largest of the world’s sovereign wealth funds, giant pools of money controlled by cash-rich governments, particularly in Asia and Middle East. But Abu Dhabi, the wealthiest of the seven Arab emirates, says little about its fund. Few outsiders know for sure where ADIA invests, or even how much money it controls. And secrecy breeds hyperbole; some estimates of the fund’s size exceed $1 trillion.

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