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Fed Policy Outlook Continues to Support US Dollar

By , September 1, 2014 11:09 pm

Mix of US dollar billsThe US dollar rose against almost all of its major counterparts today, touching the highest level since January versus the Japanese yen and reaching the strongest rate in a year against euro, as the monetary policy outlook continues to support the currency.

The dollar demonstrated remarkable performance in August with help of speculations about eventual monetary tightening from the Federal Reserve. The greenback entered the new trading month with strong upward momentum and for now it looks like the currency is going to maintain its rally.

Trading was subdued and volume was thin on Monday because of the Labor Day holiday in the United States. It did not prevent the dollar from gaining on the yen, and the rise accelerated today. The US currency fell versus the Great Britain pound yesterday but pared losses today.

EUR/USD fell from 1.3128 to 1.3120 as of 3:26 GMT today, trading near the lowest level since September 6, 2013. GBP/USD dropped from 1.6606 to 1.6580. USD/JPY climbed from 104.34 to 104.76, trading close to the strongest rate since January 23.

If you have any questions, comments or opinions regarding the US Dollar, feel free to post them using the commentary form below.

Forex News

Islamic State Requires Saudi Arabia to Rethink Its Support for Extremism

By , August 30, 2014 1:09 pm

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the country’s grand mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, left, welcome Iran’s former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (photo: AFP/Getty Images).King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the country’s grand mufti, Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, left, welcome Iran’s former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images Islamic State (Isis), now being described in some quarters as “the most capable military power in the Middle East outside Israel”, is at the top of the global agenda. Naturally, there is discussion of its origins and backers.

It is notable that, in particular, the Saudi government has scrambled to deny any links to the group. In the past two weeks, the usually low-profile Saudi ambassador in the UK sent a strongly worded letter to the Guardian. The embassy issued a press release to the same effect, and last week the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia himself made a statement condemning Isis. This follows a $ 100m contribution to a UN anti-terror programme.

Saudi Arabia is increasingly feeling the heat of the Sunni hardline blowback. While the Saudi government technically doesn’t sponsor Isis, it has promoted a fundamentalist Salafi interpretation of Islam that has encroached into the mainstream Sunni space. This has created the conditions, inside and outside the country, for extremism to breed.

The clergy is a powerful force in Saudi Arabia. Its influence derives from the fact that the royal family has entered into a formal pact with the sheikhs, under which the understanding is that the House of Saud can hold on to political power, while the religious establishment gets to dictate the national character of Saudi Arabia, one that has remained doggedly extreme. This vision has also been exported abroad by both state and non-state actors, the former as a clumsy substitute for a coherent foreign policy, by which the Saudi government contributes funds for mosques and charitable organisations in Muslim countries as a way of purchasing influence; the latter via personal wealth and the zeal of private citizens.

Osama bin Laden was a perfect combination of the two, a personally motivated non-state actor, radicalised in the schools and mosques of Jeddah, who managed to also rope in the Saudi establishment by selling a religious mission to them — pushing back the Soviet invasion — in the guise of a political project.

But it seems even Saudis are beginning to see the foolhardiness of this arrangement. In a searing essay in the Saudi newspaper Al Riyadh last week, Hissa bint Ahmed bin Al al-Sheikh, a member of one of the most influential religious families in Saudi Arabia and a relative of the grand mufti, rails against the “farce of fatwas” in the kingdom, and records a litany of extremist measures introduced since the 1980s that have stifled public life and glorified a culture of “hatred and death” that she recognises in Isis. This is a culture disseminated via state media, the national curriculum and public order laws — legislation that many Saudi intellectuals warned against.

The Saudi establishment has sacrificed its people, and the wider Muslim world that lies within its influence, in return for immunity from religious revolt of the type that threatened Mecca in the 1970s. While the immediate focus vis-a-vis Isis needs to be on practical counter-extremism measures, the west can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to Saudi’s internal contradictions. These have spawned a decadent and west-friendly royal family that preside over a society where clerics run amok, where imams rant against infidels, religious minorities are oppressed, education is heavily slanted towards religion and where people are beheaded for sorcery. As far as containing the radical Islamic threat, the status quo is increasingly no longer working — neither for the Saudis, nor the western governments who support them.

Saudi salafism is not the wellspring of hardline Islamic groups worldwide, but it is part of something that might be — a tendency for Arab and Muslim governments to pay lip service to Islam to bolster their religious credentials through politically expedient means. These leaders simultaneously instrumentalise religion while oppressing any form of religious opposition. The combination of serious cash and the religious weight that comes from being the birthplace of Islam renders Saudi Arabia the most dangerous member of this club.

The long-term solution to the constant reincarnation of radical Islamic political movements doesn’t lie in grand public gestures like anti-terrorism funding, strong statements of condemnation, or “rehabilitation clinics” for radicals, but in dismantling state-sponsored religious indoctrination. As the Isis threats march on, the old calculations no longer work in Arab governments’ favour.

Assyrian International News Agency

Canada Pledges Support for “Brave” Iraqis

By , August 20, 2014 7:15 pm

Canada Pledges Support for “Brave” Iraqis

By John Lee.

The Canadian government has confirmed that they have two cargo planes operational to assist in the transfer of arms and supplies to Iraqi Kurdish forces.

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird (pictured) went as far as to endorse US air strikes against the “brutal” ISIS:

“Canada supports all efforts, including United States supply drops and air strikes, to protect civilians from ISIS terrorists. We continue to stand with those who support the Iraqi people, including the Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers who are bravely fighting this brutal terrorism.”

Canada has also pledged $ 5 million of humanitarian aid to help those displaced by the crisis.

(Source: Rudaw English)

Iraq Business News

Lebanese Maronite Patriarch in Arbel in Support of Iraqi Christians

By , August 20, 2014 2:19 am

[unable to retrieve full-text content]The delegation is traveling to Baghdad first and will then visit Irbil (photo REUTERS/Saad Shalash).Beirut — A delegation headed by Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai arrived Wednesday in Irbil, the capital of the Kurdish region of Iraq, in a show of support with the thousands of Christians suffering the advance of Islamist militants.
Assyrian International News Agency

US corporations boycott Glasgow over Gaza support

By , August 20, 2014 12:49 am

US corporations boycott Glasgow over Gaza support
By: RT on: 19.08.2014 [11:44 ] (190 reads)

US corporations boycott Glasgow over Gaza support
Published time: August 19, 2014 11:05

Hundreds of US businesspeople have scrapped plans to visit Glasgow, following the Scottish city’s decision to fly the Palestinian flag following Israeli military operations in Gaza.

The visitors represented major US corporations such as Wal-Mart, ExxonMobil and Coca-Cola, and were due to visit the Glasgow as a reward for investing millions into its economy.

The delegation of 600 CEOs and business leaders was organized by the vice president of a leading Fortune 500 company, Richard Cassini.

However, following Glasgow City Council’s decision to fly the flag over its city chambers as a sign of solidarity with Gaza, Cassini wrote to Glasgow’s Lord Provost, Sadie Docherty, canceling the planned event.

“We were scheduling six days in Glasgow, three for business and three for leisure time,” Cassin wrote. “Having read your statement endorsing Hamas and its leadership due to the number of Muslims in your city, I have decided to cancel all plans for our trip. We are a Fortune 500 Company, so costs were really not a serious consideration, location was,” he said.

“Hopefully, the Muslim population that you so sincerely endorse will have the spending power of the very people you have chased away so well.”

While Glasgow City Council has acknowledged receiving the email, they have not responded “because of the volume” of emails relating to the council’s decision to fly the Palestinian flag.

“The council has received more than 1,500 emails/calls/online forms, etc, about the flag and is responding to each” of tem, a council spokeswoman said.

The council sparked controversy when it decided to raise the Palestinian flag in the wake of the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza, which began in July.

In a letter to the Mayor of Bethlehem, Israel, Docherty offered her “heartfelt sympathy” to the people of Gaza.

“Glasgow is home to many friends of Palestine and this is a deeply distressing time for them. They represent a variety of ethnicities, political persuasions, faiths and none. However, they are united by a common desire to support the Palestinian people,” she said.

The council’s decision was met with criticism from a number of Jewish representative groups, including the Glasgow Jewish Representative Council, who referred to the act as “the worst kind of gesture politics”.

It “does nothing to alleviate the suffering on either side of the conflict,” they added.

Cassini insisted his decision to abandon the business leaders’ trip to Glasgow would not be reversed. (en) RSS feed for articles and news

Kurdish Leader: We Support Assyrians Defending Themselves

By , August 19, 2014 2:55 pm

Kurdish Leader: We Support Assyrians Defending Themselves

Posted 2014-08-19 21:41 GMT

Masoud Barzani.(AINA) — Massoud Barzani, the President of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in North Iraq, announced the KRG is ready to accept Assyrian Christian volunteers for the Kurdish forces, so that they may protect their homes and villages from the Islamic State (ISIS).

The announcement was made in a statement published by the presidency of the region, Monday evening, after meeting Lebanese Foreign Minister, Gibran Basil, who visited Kurdish and Assyrian leaders yesterday (AINA 2014-08-19).

The statement says the KRG will do “everything in its power” for the displaced Christians who have fled from ISIS attacks, and asks the Christians “not to think of emigration and leaving the country because the threat of terrorism is temporary and the terrorists will be defeated.”

Mr. Barzani said “the people of Kurdistan, with all of its components/diversity, either will live freely and safely or will be annihilated together.”

Assyrian International News Agency

Kurds Announce International Military Support

By , August 15, 2014 7:33 pm

Kurds Announce International Military Support

By Patrick M Schmidt.

Kurdish security forces have announced that a military airport will open in Erbil that will be the receiving point for international military assistance to the regional government. Iraqi, Kurdish and American forces will jointly operate the airbase.

While the Kurdish security forces have already received weapons from the United States, they have also received pledges of arms support from Canada, France, Italy, Finland, the United Kingdom, and Germany.

Weapons training from the respective supply state will also occur before the weapons are given to frontline Kurdish forces.

(Source: Basnews)

(Weapons image via Shutterstock)

Iraq Business News

The Kurds Must Support the Assyrians and Yazidis Militarily and Politically

By , August 14, 2014 9:30 am

(AINA) — Today, in the midst of the greatest threat to a 6764 year old community’s existence in Iraq, the Aramaic-speaking Assyrians (also known as Chaldeans and Syriacs), both Iraqi and expatriate, must look to the Kurdish Regional Government for immediate aid for those in the Nineveh and Kirkuk province from the risk of immediate annihilation. This means harboring all those fleeing from ISIS forces, then finding a place of safety, water, food and shelter.

Soon after, if indeed safety can even be achieved, and with international assistance, there must be carved out a protected and safe area where Assyrians and other minorities can live in their towns and villages without fear of attacks, kidnappings, rape and forced conversions they are now experiencing. The only alternative is mass departure and final end to this community. The fear of total annihilation is realistic. Sadly, there is recent precedence for similar exterminating genocides within Iraq, and not by unofficial militia forces.

A large and successful Jewish community, centered in Baghdad, remained rightfully proud of its position as a community of cultural and economic importance to the area both within the Persian and Turkish areas of control. As some of the community began to splinter off with calls of the Zionist movement, many tens of thousands carried on in government and businesses as did other Iraqis. With the end of WWII and the creation of Israel, officially opposed by Iraq and other Arab countries, savage reprisals were heaped on the Jews of Iraq. Key government figures and business owners were tried in mocking fashion and hanged publicly in the central square of Baghdad as Israeli or American spies. With the gruesome assassination of Iraq’s King Faisal in 1958 by a new military regime, and contemporaneous with another Arab-Israeli war, Jewish leaders were again singled out and given the choice to leave without their property and money, or stay and face trial. Again, those tried were hanged as spies while attacks and robbery of Jewish Iraqis went unpunished. Mass exodus to Israel and the United States meant the final end to this historic community.

With the Kurdish provinces situated well within historic Assyrian areas, the suggestion of cooperation and assistance might appear as an obvious consideration, a humanitarian request easily made. Historic and emotional wounds have, though, resonated generation after generation and have left many Assyrians distrustful of cooperation with Kurdish authorities.

The KRG has actively worked against establishing an Assyrian autonomous region in the Nineveh Plain as well as the creation of local police and militia manned by Assyrians, which for years Assyrians have been calling for. Had this been accomplished, perhaps the outcome may have been different when ISIS entered the Assyrian Nineveh Plain. What actually happened was the Kurdish forces withdrew from their positions in the Assyrian and Yazidi areas, leaving them defenseless and forcing them to flee their homes.

We cannot be so naive as to predict that had a safe haven been carved out and set aside for minorities in the plains of Nineveh in 2005, there would have been no scourge of the ISIS invasion, and no telling how dramatic its consequence would then be compared to today. All of this was dependent on security forces and protection. We can say with certainty, however, that not having the cooperation of the KRG has meant that the efforts and decade of calling for a safe haven and protected area have yielded little.

Today, cooperation between the KRG and Assyrians will make possible maintaining an independent identity in Iraq. The idea of responding to a call for protection in Najaf, as has been made, is no solution to maintaining the culture, traditions and open practices of Christians in Iraq.

Only by cooperation can the KRG address the true grievances with Kurdish authorities and pesh merga forces, or even have them be aired and discussed in a constructive manner. Only by seeking KRG assistance and cooperation in immediate protection for besieged populations and carving out a safe haven in the Nineveh Plain can Assyrians move from immediate safety to longer term stability.

While men and children are being maimed and murdered with each ISIS advance, while girls and women being taken to give to ISIS fighters as prizes, as groups are trapped to starve or die of thirst, there must be a banding together in recognition of the desperation of this plight. KRG cooperation is necessary to save Assyrians and other minorities in Iraq under siege by ISIS. The depth of Kurdish assistance is not a subject that today needs to be addressed, only cooperation and assistance in immediate rescue, shelter, and the creation of a protected safe haven with international authorities.

Assyrian International News Agency

CBI announces delivery of 90 tons of gold to support IQD

By , August 10, 2014 3:32 am

Please any Questions: send to I will get to your questions as soon as possible by personal e-mail, blog post or audio “If you Knew you could not fail, what would you try today?” Philippians 4:13

Turkish Vows Support for KRG

By , August 9, 2014 9:38 am

Turkish Vows Support for KRG

By Patrick M Schmidt.

Senior Officials in the Turkish ruling party announced that the country would do everything it could to ensure the security of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). The announcement follows reports of Turkish fighter jets on patrol over the region.

As a strategic neighbor the stability and security of the Kurdistan Region is important to Turkey and to keep that stability Turkey will do whatever falls on its shoulders,” said a Turkish politician.

European countries, including France and the United Kingdom, have also offered their support for Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and its security forces.

(Source: Rudaw)

Iraq Business News