viernes, 2 de agosto de 2013

¿Novedades?

Dos artículos casi sucesivos del sitio web Zero Hedge (http://www.zerohedge.com/) nos llaman la atención. 

El primero 
Título: “US Embassies Across Muslim World Mysteriously Shutting Down This Weekend”

Texto: “Amid all the high-fives over stocks hitting all-time highs and Edward Snowden's temporary freedom hogging the headlines yesterday, State Department spokesperson Marie Harf quietly pointed out that, due to an "abundance of caution," an unspecified number of US embassies and consulates in the Muslim world will be closed this weekend (and diplomatic facilities maybe longer). House foreign affairs committee chairman Royce suggested this morning that this closure is 'Al-Qaeda-threat-related'; and, as AP reports, the last major warning came last fall when embassies warned American diplomatic facilities across the Muslim world of potential violence around Sept. 11. (and the disaster that was Benghazi). But we can't help but worry about the coincident 'leak' by US officials of Israel's airstrike on Syria (and the potential forced response from Assad this would seem to portend).

 Via AP,
The United States is closing its embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world on Sunday after receiving an unspecified threat, officials said.

 State Department officials said Thursday they were acting out of an "abundance of caution."
 Spokeswoman Marie Harf cited information indicating a threat to U.S. facilities overseas and said some diplomatic facilities may stay closed for more than a day.

 Other U.S. officials said the threat was in the Muslim world, where Sunday is a workday.

 ...
 Those officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly about the matter.

 The State Department issued a major warning last year informing American diplomatic facilities across the Muslim world about potential violence connected to the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
 ...
 In Benghazi, Libya, the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed when militants assaulted a diplomatic post. The administration no longer says that attack was related to the demonstrations.
 And while Royce 'confirms' this is an Al-Qaeda threat-related move, the following does make one think...

Via Jerusalem Post,
Unnamed US officials leaked information Thursday on alleged Israeli air strikes in Syria, and told The New York Times they expect an additional attack by Israel in the near future.

 The sources, described by the Times as “American intelligence analysts,” discussed what they said were classified assessments, according to which a July 5 IAF strike on a Syrian facility housing Russian surface-to-sea missiles in Latakia failed to destroy them all.
 ...
 The American leaks have raised concerns among some observers in Israel that Syrian President Bashar Assad would be unable to refrain from responding to the attacks due to the embarrassment he would incur.
 “The mere fact that such leaks happen often indicates that the Pentagon leadership does not have Israel’s interests at heart,” Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University, told The Jerusalem Post. “It is difficult to assess the motivation of such leaks.”
 ...
 “As soon as there is fire from Syrian territory that endangers us, or enters our territory and violates our sovereignty, we identify the source of fire and destroy it.”

**********

El segundo

Título: “US Escalates: Issues Worldwide Travel Alert Following Embassy Closures”

Texto: “With US leaks about Israeli air strike on Syria, John Kerry stirring the civil war pot in Egypt, and the closure of US embassies across the Muslim world (Iraq, Afghanistan, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yemen, UAE, Algeria, Mauritania, Sudan, Israel (Tel Aviv) and Jordan), it appears something is afoot. To add to the intrigue, the US State Department just issued a worldwide travel alert for US citizens.

* *STATE DEPARTMENT WORLDWIDE TRAVEL ALERT EXPIRES AUGUST 31, 2013
* *STATE DEPT ISSUES WORLDWIDE TRAVEL ALERT FOR U.S. CITIZENS

An Al-Qaeda threat has been posited but with no follow-up butwe can't help but fear what we wondered about previously - the need for deficits to re-awaken (via some external event that no-one can 'un-patriotically' demur) providing more room for Bernanke to avoid his need for Taper.

Via The State Department,
The Department of State has instructed certain U.S. Embassies and Consulates to remain closed or to suspend operations on Sunday, August 4. The Department has been apprised of information that, out of an abundance of caution and care for our employees and others who may be visiting our installations, indicates we should institute these precautionary steps.

On Egypt,
Demonstrators calling for the reinstatement of ousted former president Mohammed Morsi (2012-13) remained defiant on 1 August, a day after the interim cabinet authorised the police to dismantle their protest camps. The authorities in recent days have filed additional charges for incitement to violence against senior members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties.
 ...
 Accordingly, Embassy Cairo will be closed on Sunday, August 4.  U.S. citizens requiring emergency assistance should contact the Embassy switchboard which is manned 24/7 at 02-2797-3300.
 Various media sources are reporting possible marches or demonstrations for Friday, August 2 and possibly throughout the weekend.  In addition, several media sources are reporting that the police have been given the authority to clear protestors from permanent gathering locations.  Should police move to clear these various locations, it may escalate into violent confrontations.  U.S. citizens should maintain a low profile and limit movements within their immediate residential neighborhoods.

On Saudi Arabia,
Department of State urges U.S. citizens to carefully consider the risks of traveling to Saudi Arabia. As the August 26, 2012, arrest of two terrorist cells by Saudi security authorities indicates, there remains an ongoing security threat due to the continued presence of terrorist groups, some affiliated with al-Qaida, who may target Western interests...

 And as we noted, our concern before:
Why is Ben unhappy? Simple - as a reminder, the only reason Ben is even contemplating tapering has nothing to do with the economy. After all the Fed chairman (and/or his successor) is willing to send the stock market into stratospheric overdrive and would be very happy to add not subtract from the monthly QE $85 billion notional since it means more "wealth effect" and thus brings the US closer to the "Keynesian successful endgame" (that the logic here is completely inverted is well known to all but the most die-hard Keynesian fanboys and is not in the scope of this article).

 However, the fact that the gross US debt issuance is declining (if only until the demographic and healthcare crunch hits in 2015 and deficits explode once more) means Bernanke has less primary issuance to monetize. Were Bernanke to maintain his monetization run rate into a lower deficit regime, the Chairman would destabilize the liquidity in the already increasingly illiquid Treasury market in which the Fed now holds over 30% of all 10 Year equivalents and its holdings increase by 0.3% every week. This illiquidity is manifesting itself most directly in the "special" repo rates that have become a norm in the past few months especially in the 10 Year, and which indicate an ongoing shortage of TSY collateral.

 Of course, there is a very simple and elegant solution to declining defense spending, one which has been used time and again in US history when the US government needed to provide the Fed with more securities (i.e. deficit) to monetize: war.

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