Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Stephen Cohen on #Russiagate

Tales of the New Cold War: Russiagate is a secret in an envelope
Stephen F. Cohen @nyu @princeton University

Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

The White House debated various options to punish Russia, but facing obstacles and potential risks, it ultimately failed to exact a heavy toll on the Kremlin for its election interference.

Graphic: The main findings, highlighted

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

At that point, the outlines of the Russian assault on the U.S. election were increasingly apparent. Hackers with ties to Russian intelligence services had been rummaging through Democratic Party computer networks, as well as some Republican systems, for more than a year. In July, the FBI had opened an investigation of contacts between Russian officials and Trump associates. And on July 22, nearly 20,000 emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee were dumped online by WikiLeaks.

5 years ago there was NO MSM coverage like this!

We are starting to get some admission that climate models are extremely conservative

CLIMATE CHANGE Becoming Even More Extreme! REVELATION! Arctic and Antarctica Are Warming So Fast Now

Photos of the melting Arctic

For description go to original article.

Stunning Photos of the Arctic Circle As It Literally Melts Away
The latest monograph from photographer Diane Tuft provides a little-seen portrait of beauty and loss.

1 June, 2017

Artist and photographer Diane Tuft, whose work is included in the permanent collection of the Whitney Museum, the International Center of Photography in New York City, and the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill, New York, has focused her life’s work on traveling to remote areas to record environmental changes on the Earth’s landscape. Her first monograph, UNSEEN: Beyond the Visible Spectrum, was a collection of 10 years’ worth of photographs from the American West, Nepal, North Africa, and Iceland. She spent six weeks on the continent of Antarctica for her second book, Gondwana: Images of an Ancient Land.

Her latest, The Arctic Melt: Images of a Disappearing Landscape (Assouline), brings her back to the Arctic Circle, where her unconventional landscape photography turns frozen tundra and ice from the North Pole, Norway, and Greenland into a staggering record of beauty and loss.

The Greenland Ice Sheet

Taken July 16, 2016, this overhead shot documents the Greenland Ice Sheet, the 660,000-square-mile collection of ice that covers roughly 80 percent of the surface of the island.

The Greenland Ice Sheet
The Greenland Ice Sheet
Taken July 16, 2016, this overhead shot documents the Greenland Ice Sheet, the 660,000-square-mile collection of ice that covers roughly 80 percent of the surface of the island.
Photographer: Diane Tuft
Wedel Jarlsberg Land
Wedel Jarlsberg Land
A glacial split in progress in Wedel Jarlsberg Land, at the southern end of Spitsbergen island in the Svalbard archipelago, Norway. More than 65 percent of the region is estimated to be ice cap.
Photographer: Diane Tuft
Franz Joseph Land
Franz Joseph Land
The Collinson fjord, where a failed expedition to reach the North Pole set up camp more than 100 years ago, is located in the high Russian Arctic archipelago of Franz Joseph Land, an uninhabited collection of islands in the Arctic Ocean and Barents Sea.
Photographer: Diane Tuft
The Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean
A photograph of the Arctic Ocean taken at 87 degrees north latitude.
Photographer: Diane Tuft
The Greenland Sea
The Greenland Sea
At 79 degrees north, where the Arctic Ocean meets the Greenland Sea.
Photographer: Diane Tuft
Disko Bay
Disko Bay
The Broken Arches in Disko Bay, a wide southeastern inlet of Baffin Bay on the western coast of Greenland.
Photographer: Diane Tuft
Ice patterns on Wordiekammen, a mountain in Svalbard, Norway.
Photographer: Diane Tuft
Sullorsuaq Strait
Sullorsuaq Strait
Close-up of ice at Sullorsuaq Strait, on the western coast of Greenland.
Photographer: Diane Tuft
Remnants of ice at 69 degrees north in Greenland.
Photographer: Diane Tuft
Wahlenbergbreen, a glacier in Oscar II Land at Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway.
Photographer: Diane Tuft
The North Pole
The North Pole

This photograph was taken at the North Pole at 12:03 a.m., at 0 degrees Celsius.

The latest from Paul Beckwith

Water Weirding: Too Much or None at all

Water is vital for life. Water cycling from solid to liquid to vapour (gas) on Earth is changing with abrupt climate disruption. Phenomena like atmospheric rivers & water fingers are bringing more water & heat to higher latitudes. Gear-like patterns in the jet stream can firehose water from the ocean to land, creating intense long-duration rains & thus floods.

I chat about these things and much more; grab an ice water and let me tell you this water story

Weather Wilding, Weirding & Whiplashing

Our world has changed. Weather jumps from one extreme, like fire-hosing deluges with floods, to droughts, & then back again in months or years. What you get depends on where you are relative to crests & troughs of the jet streams. A 1-in-100 year flood can be every 10 years now.

Most of the public, decision makers & governments just don't get it. They rely on models, & forget to look out the window. Everything happens "faster than expected", thus clearly peoples expectations on rates of climate change must urgently change. Welcome to the Climate Casino...

Watching the Arctic melt

From cryosphere to blogosphere, sea ice enthusiasts track Arctic melt

Arctic sea ice is more unstable than ever, and the ice may be melting toward a record in 2017, or not; one place to find out for sure is on the Arctic Sea Ice Blog and Forum.

  • Arctic sea ice extent has fallen precipitously since 2007, far surpassing all 18 computer models forecasting a drastically slower decline that wasn’t supposed to pick up speed until after 2050.
  • As a result of these startling annual events, a dedicated group of bloggers is trying to parse out what is really happening in the Arctic. Led by Neven Curlin (known as Neven Acropolis on the web), the Arctic Sea Ice Blog and the Forum is citizen science at its best.
  • Approximately 1,250 bloggers now gather annually online to work through all the conflicting seasonal Arctic evidence to make a forecast for the fate of the ice in September — will sea ice extent fall to a new low, impacting the world’s weather?

25 May, 2017

To some, watching sea ice melt — each floe dissolving slowly away into the Arctic Ocean — might seem the cold-weather equivalent of watching paint dry. But for the roughly 1,250 enthusiasts who gather in cyberspace on the Arctic Sea Ice Blog and the Arctic Sea Ice Forum each spring and summer, swapping satellite imagery, scientific intel, carefully plotted graphs, and strongly worded opinions, it can be as riveting as a Stanley Cup shootout.

A sampling: “HOLY SH*T: Fournier Triangulation Reversion Processed Image of the Lincoln Sea Ice reveals substratum of further leads and coastal regions made of pulverized pancake ice heading to Nares and Fram [straits],” wrote VeliAlbertKallio on June 6 in the Ice Forum’s 2017 Melting Season thread, which, at the time of publication, spans a whopping 44 pages.
User jdallen followed: “I find it striking how the ice along all the larger leads that opened up is disintegrating into what almost looks like long channels, 10-20 KM wide of slush reaching deep into the central pack. If it is all disintegrating into sub 100 meter floes, that does portend rapid melting out of those channels and exponentially increasing instability as they do.”
So goes the thread, with mostly ice nerds and citizen scientists — plus some seasoned Arctic researchers — chiming in with analyses riddled with jargon and acronyms baffling to novices, all arguing and offering evidence as to whether 2017 will set another record for low Arctic sea ice extent, or not.
Every now and then, their respected leader, Arctic Sea Ice Blog and Forum administrator and founder, Neven Curlin — who goes by Neven Acropolis on the web, or simply “Neven” — jumps in with this own updates, and sometimes a warning to temper those who offer the most outlandish forecasts.

A screenshot from Neven’s Arctic Sea Ice Blog in May 2017 at the start of this year’s melt season. The site has attracted some 1,250 enthusiasts who gather on the web to watch the Arctic icecap melt away each summer. Image courtesy of the Arctic Ice Blog

Neven cautions newbies that predicting Arctic ice melt is notoriously difficult, and that things may not always be as bad as they seem: “I’ve been in contact with David Schroeder and he has confirmed (or rather his model [has confirmed]) that this year (again) there is lesser melt pond formation than in years with record low minimums,” he wrote on June 12.
Fewer melt ponds early on, Schroeder says, might mean less extreme melt by September.

Following the ice

The Arctic melt season typically begins in May, and over the course of the summer months, builds in intensity toward a day — always, so far, during September — when the Arctic sea ice minimum is reached, marking the ice cap’s smallest extent for that year.
Since 2007, Arctic sea ice minimums have been dropping precipitously, and the ice is now declining at a rate of 13.3 percent per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average. According to Arctic Sea Ice News, last year’s sea ice minimum was a near statistical dead heat with the second lowest ice record minimum, set back in 2007, when the Arctic ice covered only 1.60 million square miles (4.155 million square kilometers) in September. The lowest sea ice extent recorded to date came in 2012 when extent (usually defined as the area of ocean where there is 15 percent or more floating sea ice), fell to 1.31 million square miles (3.387 square kilometers).

Clark University’s Karen Frey and Luke Trusel work amid sea ice in the Chukchi Sea on July 4, 2010, setting up an instrument to measure the optical properties of melt ponds. The research is part of NASA’s ICESCAPE mission to sample the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the ocean and sea ice Photo by Kathryn Hansen/NASA

The record to beat. The 2012 September minimum was the lowest since Arctic record keeping began. Scientists theorize that the loss of summer ice, and the opening up of the Arctic Ocean which absorbs more solar energy, is continuing to warm the Far North at an alarming and escalating rate. Image courtesy of University of Bremen

That’s partially why there’s so much excitement overwhat will happen this summer — will the sea ice extent continue in a downward spiral? Or will it rebound?
In March, the Arctic sea ice winter maximum extent set a record low for the third straight year, meaning the Arctic is already starting off with less sea ice this spring. Furthermore, online users have noted a strange, unsettling, quality to this year’s ice. In the past, the Arctic was made up of far more thick, multi-year ice. This year’s ice is thin and highly fractured, which ice bloggers point out could make current satellite sea ice extent measurements look far healthier than they actually are — a matter of quality, not quantity.
The argument goes that a battering from below and above by warmer Arctic Ocean and atmospheric temperatures this year could cause this fractured ice mosaic to just melt away by September, or summer storms could come along, as in past years, to smash the weak ice to smithereens.
But some experts believe otherwise, that we might actually be heading toward a better-than-normal sea ice extent come September. The lack of melt ponds in June — always seen in previous record low years — is one indicator scientists like Schroeder point to.
Though some bloggers argue fiercely back that maybe the lack of melt ponds this year is because the ice is just too fractured to hold melt water.
The most seasoned bloggers have learned the hard way that predicting Arctic ice melt accurately — with new weather patterns and phenomena emerging daily — is harder than getting the trifecta at the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes combined. (Though that doesn’t stop them from placing bets: in 2011, blogger Rob Dekker had a $10,000 bet going with blogger William Connolly.)

If you feel certain you know what’s going to happen, then you’re likely new to Neven’s Ice Blog.

Birth of an obsession

Twelve years ago, Neven Curlin, a Dutch translator living in Austria, developed an interest in global warming, skimming through blog after blog. When the first major sea ice extent record was set in 2007, stunning scientists, he began digging deeper, spending hours online discussing events in the Arctic.
In June 2010, the middle of the melt season, he decided to launch his own blog — a modest typepad account that’s changed very little in appearance since its inception. “I wanted to do something myself because I thought sea ice was such an important subject,” he says.

Melt ponds and ice floes pose a complicated puzzle for scientists. Understanding the complex mix of ice dynamics, sea and air temperature, ocean currents, solar absorption, cloud cooling, storms and other factors have made modeling and forecasting future Arctic conditions exceedingly challenging. Photo courtesy of Dr. Pablo Clemente-Colon, Chief Scientist National Ice 

While no one knows if a new record minimum will be set this September, the Arctic death spiral, as some bloggers call it, is showing no sign of abating. This chart, illustrating the September monthly average volume by decade and year from 1980 to 2016, clearly demonstrates the precipitous decline of Arctic sea ice volume over a mere four decades. Graph by Jim Pettit ( sourced from PIOMAS

Though sea ice melt doesn’t affect global sea level rise (the ice is already floating atop the ocean and therefore doesn’t cause water to be displaced), disappearing sea ice has huge ramifications for global climate. The high reflectivity (albedo) of the white ice cap helps to keep the polar region cold, as sunlight is returned to space rather than absorbed by the surface. But as the ice melts, and more and more non-reflective blue water replaces ice in summer, the Arctic is warming — and so is the rest of the world.

Armed with only a high school education in physics and mathematics, Neven began resetting his “alpha brain” which benefits from an aptitude for languages, by intently studying weather maps. “Most of the analyses were simply comparing between years,” he says. “And when it comes to scientific papers I usually only read the abstract and discussion.”
Neven’s citizen science blog was an immediate hit among sea ice nerds, skyrocketing him to virtual stardom in the obscure subject. Three years later, Neven founded the Arctic Sea Ice Forum — an offshoot of his blog — to allow for a more vibrant discussion. Last month, the Forum had 2 million page views.
I thought at some point it’s going to stabilize, but it just keeps growing — even in winter. Arctic sea ice is getting more and more attention,” says Neven.

Is the smart money on melt ponds?

The growing numbers of people attracted to the Blog and Forum may be partly explained by rapid changes in the Arctic, as events there become more extreme and unpredictable.
So what’s really going to happen in 2017? Following Neven’s post about the lack of “melt ponding” this spring, Mongabay reached out to David Schroeder, a sea ice modeler at the Centre for Polar Observation and Modeling, and an avid reader of Neven’s Ice Blog.

Schroeder says that despite the fractured state of the ice, it’s best to remain cautious concerning a new record. Melt ponds form on Arctic sea ice when winter snow sitting atop it melts during late spring, which affects surface albedo by allowing more sunlight to be absorbed rather than reflected and therefore creating a positive feedback loop that exacerbates ice melt.
A multi-year ice floe, riddled with melt ponds, on the starboard side of the Coast Guard Cutter Healy, as the ship heads north into even thicker ice. Photo by Patrick Kelley, U.S. Coast Guard

In 2012, Schroeder, Danny Feltham and Daniela Flocco from England’s University of Reading developed a model to simulate the evolution of melt ponds and their contribution to sea ice melt in hopes of generating greater predictive accuracy regarding the September minimum. Until then, accounting for melt ponds had been difficult as satellite imagery often couldn’t discern between open water and melt ponds atop ice. When the team ran simulations of climate models without accounting for melt ponding, they found that September sea ice volume was predicted to be 40 percent greater
By looking at the positive feedback loops modelers can make a prediction as to what the sea ice state will be in the summer as early as May or June, though unpredictable weather by July will have a pronounced effect on the ice. “There’s a lot of impact from weather in the summer months, but we don’t know beforehand — we cannot predict the weather. However, it’s still possible to make predictions of this positive feedback through melt ponds.”
As already mentioned, this year, researchers are witnessing a substantial lack of melt ponds. Normally, Schroeder explains, melt ponds will first appear near the sea ice edge early in May, but so far, the only area with substantial melt ponding is around the Beaufort Sea, north of Canada.
It’s a bit of a surprise when you look at what happened with sea ice last winter,” Schroeder says. “We had a very, very mild winter and the lowest sea ice volumes ever according to the PIOMAS [Pan-Arctic Ice Ocean Modeling and Assimilation System] for April. The ice is thinner and therefore more likely to melt earlier, but the weather conditions in May were not so favorable for melting.”
In fact, in many Arctic regions this spring it was colder than prevailing climate conditions over the past 20 years. There was also more snow precipitation on the sea ice, which increased the albedo effect, meaning slower melt.
Graphs of forecasts by 15 computer models of Arctic sea ice melt at the September minimum through the year 2100, as compared to actual observed sea ice melt through 2015 shown in red. Scientists have been stunned by the drastic plunge in ice extent, which they’ve as yet been unable to explain in their models. Image and estimates courtesy of Neven Acropolis

Predicting the unpredictable

All that being said, it’s still way too early to tell whether 2017 will be spared a record-breaking year, and even the world’s top ice experts have been horribly wrong in the past. Ice modelers, for example, had repeatedly predicted in the past that the Arctic sea ice would stay intact and be safe from climate change until 2050 or later. Then in 2007, and again in 2012, the ice extent minimum fell far below all 18 computer models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, shocking experts right down to their socks.

So, back to 2017: what might lie ahead? “There are a couple things in favor of a record low year,” notes Neven, pointing to the mild winter and the low PIOMAS ice volumes Schroeder spoke of. But the things that stack up against a record are high terrestrial snow cover and cooler temperatures. “It’s been cold lately. The ice is melting less fast.”
Of course, all this can change in a matter of weeks. As we near July, snow cover will vanish and sea surface temperatures may increase. If the ice is as thin as PIOMAS says — 10 to 20 percent thinner than previous first-year ice — and it stays sunny, Neven believes we have “high chances of seeing a record low.”
It’s also possible that as the ice pack becomes increasingly vulnerable — like the fractured ice flowing out of the Far North right now — weather might not matter as much. Last year, for example, tied roughly with sunny 2007, even though June, July, and August 2016 were cloudy.
A melt pond atop Greenland’s sea ice. Photo by Michael Studinger, NASA GSFC

Ice fatigue

On November 20, 2016, Neven took to his blog with a surprise announcement. He wasn’t sharing a new forecast, but rather declared he would be taking a sabbatical.

“I have been struggling with Arctic burnout since 2012,” he wrote. “On the one hand it’s caused by everything that has been and still is going on in the Arctic. The learning curve, the excitement, but most of all the depression that comes with watching this steamroller just plough forward, is taking its toll.” Then, he linked to the Genesis song “
It’s Gonna Get Better.”

His post received 171 comments.
Talking with Mongabay, Neven chalked up his temporary absence to a couple factors including the workload (“Even though the ice melts slow, there’s so much information and so many things to watch for.”), and the despair (“On the one hand, it’s exciting if spectacular things happen, but if you sit back and think about the implications and potential consequences, it can be a bit depressing.”)
Last summer, when Andrew Slater died, a young cryosphere scientist whose work Neven had followed closely, it all became too much. “It made me so sad, and I thought maybe it’s time for a break.”
By and large, he has stuck to his planned sabbatical over the past seven months, averaging just two to three posts per month, and allowing his fellow bloggers to take on much of the heavy lifting on the Ice Forum and Blog. But as melt season ramps up, it’s been harder to stay away, he says. And even though he’s blogging less, Neven has stayed active on the Forum.
He is also using his time away to think more optimistically, considering where to take the website in the future. “I don’t want to just describe the train wreck in slow motion — I don’t find that very satisfying,” he concludes. “I’m hoping I’ll get some new ideas… about how to connect what is happening to a more positive outlook. I always like to insert a bit of humor in the blog, too.” Hoping against hope, Neven wants to believe It’s Gonna Get Better.

The crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy dip their feet in a melt pond during Ice Liberty — a few hours during the ICESCAPE mission when scientists and crew could take a break and relax (or throw snowballs) on the sea ice. Photo by Kathryn Hansen/NASA

The state of Arctic ice - 06/27/2017

This is one person’s view. I do not know what his background is.

"For anyone else seeing this video, the author's key point is the collapse has gotten worse, and he now sees the autumn minimum being 1st to 2nd lowest of all time. In his previous video he thought not in the top 3 years."

Summer 2017 Sea Ice Outlook

With the acceleration in the melt this past week, I'm gonna go out on a limb and predict 2.5 million sq. km CT area for this melt season daily minimum—i.e. somewhere in between 2012 and 2016. I also now think that the Northwest Passage will open for sure (of course, the Northeast passage will open as well; that goes without saying at this point...)

This is part one from 19 June

Daily volume: 11,134 km³ (3rd lowest for the date) Δ –988/day
4227/week, –7839/month, +1442/year, –1463/5year (–12%)

Daily extent: 9,330,928 km² (4th lowest for the date) Δ –79k/day
487k/week, –2081k/month, +175k/year, –5k/5year (–0.1%)

2017 volume maximum 22,255 km³ on May 12th (*lowest*)
2017 volume minimum¹ 11,134 km³ on June 27th
2017 extent maximum 13,878,287 km² on March 6th (*lowest*)
2017 extent minimum¹ 9,330,928 km² on June 27h

¹Preliminary max/min

Source: JAXA / Wipneus for June 27th 2017.

Is America losing its domination of the il market - and the Middle East?

Has Washington Lost the Middle East After Qatar?

William Engdahl

Journal Neo,
27 June, 2017

There is a hidden thin red thread connecting the recent US Congress’ sanctions against Iran and now the Russian Federation, with the decision of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf monarchies to sanction Qatar. That red thread has nothing to do with a fight against terrorism and everything to do with who will control the largest natural gas reserves in the world as well as who will dominate the world market for that gas.

For more or less the past Century, since 1914, the world has been almost continuously at war over control of oil. Gradually with the adoption of clean energy policies in the European Union and most especially in China’s agreeing to significantly cut CO2 emissions by reducing coal generation, itself a political act not a scientific one, as well as advances in natural gas transport technologies, notably in the liquefaction of natural gas or LNG, natural gas has finally become a globally traded market as is oil. With this development, we now are in an era not only of wars for control of major oil reserves around the world. Now we have the dawn of the age of natural gas wars. Fasten your seatbelts, ladies and gentlemen.

In terms of geopolitical actors, no political power has been more responsible for launching the recent undeclared gas wars than the corrupt Washington cabal that makes policy on behalf of the so-called deep state interests. This began markedly with the Obama Presidency and is continuing with a vengeance under the current Trump-Tillerson dog-n-pony show. Donald Trump’s recent trip to Riyadh and Tel Aviv to nudge along the idea of a Sunni Arab “NATO” to fight “terrorism,” which Washington now defines as Iran, has ignited a new phase in the emerging US global gas wars.

Burning the house to roast the pig

The Trump Administration policy in the Middle East–and there is a clear policy, rest assured–might be compared to that of the ancient Chinese fable about the farmer who burnt down his house in order to roast a pig. In order to control the emerging world energy market around “low-CO2″ natural gas, Washington has targeted not only the world’s largest gas reserve country, Russia. She is now targeting Iran and Qatar. Let’s look more closely at why.

I’ve written before about the infamous meeting on March 15 2009 between then-Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani in Qatar with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, at that time still considered a reliable friend of the Emir. Reportedly when Sheikh Hamad proposed to Assad construction of a gas pipeline from Qatar’s huge Persian Gulf gas field through Syria’s Aleppo Province on to Turkey aimed at the huge EU gas market, Assad declined, deferring to his long-standing good relations with Russia in gas issues and to not wanting to undercut Russian gas exports to the EU with Qatari gas.

That Persian Gulf gas field, the Qatari part called North Dome and the Iranian called South Pars, is estimated to be the largest single gas field in the world. As fate would have it, the field straddles the territorial waters between Qatar and Iran.

Then in July 2011, reportedly with Moscow’s nod of approval, the governments of Syria, Iraq and Iran signed a different gas pipeline agreement called “Friendship Pipeline.” That agreement called for construction of a 1,500 km long gas pipeline to bring the untapped vast Iranian South Pars gas to the emerging EU market via Iraq, Syria and to the Mediterranean by way of Lebanon. That pipeline is obviously on hold since NATO and the Wahhabite reactionary Gulf states opted to destroy Syria after 2011. They opted to destroy Assad and a unified Syrian state through various false flag terror entities they have variously named Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria, then called the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, then simply IS, or in Arabic DAESH. For NATO and the Gulf Arab states a Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline would have changed the energy geopolitical map of Eurasia, and the political influence of Iran over Saudi Wahhabite domination.

Not surprising, when the mysterious ISIS exploded onto the scene in 2014, it moved to occupy Aleppo where the pipeline to Turkey from Qatar was planned. Coincidence? Not very likely.

The proposed Qatar-Syria-Turkey-EU pipeline (blue) would go through Aleppo Province and the alternative Iran-Iraq-Syria (red) via Lebanon to the EU gas markets.

The year 2011 was the point that Qatar began pouring as much as $3 billion into her war against Assad, backed then by Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Gulf Arab states, and then also by Turkey, which saw its geopolitical European and Asian gas hub ambitions vanishing. The very next month after announcement of the Iran-Syria “Friendship Pipeline” agreement, in August, 2011, in the UN Security Council the US demanded that Syria’s Assad step down. US Special Forces and CIA began covertly training “Syrian opposition” terrorists recruited from around the Sunni Wahabite-influenced world at secret NATO bases in Turkey and Jordan to drive Assad out and open the door for a Saudi-controlled puppet regime in Damascus friendly to their gas pipeline ambitions with Qatar.

Geopolitical stupidity in Washington and Riyadh

How does that all fit the demonization today by Trump and by Saudi Prince Salman of Iran as “the number one sponsor of terrorism” and Qatar as a backer of terrorism?

It all fits together when we realize that the current Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, son of Sheikh Hamad, being a more pragmatic sort and realizing that Qatari dreams of a pipeline through Aleppo into Turkey on to the EU had gone up in flames once Russia stepped into the Syrian war, quietly began talks with…Teheran.

This past spring, Qatar began talks with Teheran about finding a compromise on exploitation of the shared South Pars-North Dome gas field. Qatar lifted its moratorium on exploiting the field and carried out discussions with Iran over its joint development. Reportedly Qatar and Iran had come to an agreement on joint construction of a Qatar-Iranian gas pipeline from Iran to the Mediterranean or Turkey that will also carry Qatari gas to Europe. In exchange, Doha agreed to end its support for terrorism in Syria, a huge blow to the Trump-Saudi plans to balkanize a destroyed Syria and control the gas flows of the region.

To prevent that geopolitical catastrophe as Washington and Riyadh and Tel Aviv view it, the unholy three have teamed up to blame Iran and Qatar, ironically home to the Pentagon’s most important bases in the entire Middle East. Qatar they announced is the ‘Evil Knievel’ of world terrorism, with US Defense Secretary “Mad Dog” Mattis actually declaring that Iran was the world’s “biggest state sponsor of terrorism,” while Qatar’s crime allegedly was as key financier of Hamas, Al Qaeda and ISIS. That was maybe then. Today Qatar is pursuing other aims.

Washington conveniently whitewashes the role of Wahhabite Saudi Arabia which has reportedly funneled more than $100 billion in recent years to build networks of fanatic Jihadi terrorists from Kabul to China, from Bosnia-Herzegovina to Kosovo and Syria and even in Iran and Russia.

Doomed to Fail

Like most recent neo-con Washington strategies, the Qatar-Teheran demonization and sanctions is blowing back in the faces of its backers. Iran responded immediately with offers of emergency food and other aid to break the blockade, reminiscent in a very different context of the 1948-49 Berlin Airlift.

As well Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has just met with the Qatari Foreign Minister in Moscow  and China and the Chinese Navy has just landed in an Iran port to engage in joint Iran-China naval exercises in the hyper-strategic oil chokepoint at the Strait of Hormuz. The Strait of Hormuz between Oman and Iran at the opening from the Persian Gulf to the Sea of Oman, is undeniably the most strategic water choke-point in today’s world with more than 35% of all seaborne oil passing through it to China and other world markets.

Iran is a candidate to become a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization now that US and EU sanctions have been semi-lifted, and is already an invited strategic participant in China’s One Belt, One Road, earlier known as the “New Economic Silk Road,” far and away the world’s most impressive infrastructure project to create economic linkages across the states of Eurasia including the Middle East.

Qatar too is no stranger to either China or Russia. In 2015 Qatar was officially recognized by the Peoples’ Bank of China as the first Middle East center for clearing transactions in the Chinese currency, the yuan, now accepted by the IMF in its SDR basket of currencies, a major boost to international acceptance of the renminbi or yuan. That renminbi clearing status allows Qatari companies to settle their trade with China, for example in natural gas, directly in renminbi. Already Qatar exports significant LNG to China.

According to recent reports out of Amsterdam, Qatar is already selling China gas denominated in renminbi rather than US dollars. If true, that spells a major tectonic shift in the power of the US dollar, the financial basis of its ability to wage wars everywhere and run a federal deficit and public debt over $19 trillion. Iran already refuses dollars for its oil and Russia sells its gas to China in rubles or yuan. Were that to significantly shift in favor of international bilateral trades in renminbi or Russian rubles and other non-dollar currencies, that would be twilight for America’s global superpower. Lights out, basta!

It ain’t easy to be the world’s Sole Superpower today, not at all as it was, say, in the 1990’s. Not even psychopathic generals with nicknames like Mad Dog can scare others into falling back in line when Washington barks her orders. Back as recent as the 1990s it was, so to say, a piece of cake. Run a war in Yugoslavia, destabilize the Soviet Union after a long war in Afghanistan, loot the former Communist economies of all Eastern Europe. Worse still, the world seems not to appreciate Washington’s wars of destruction anymore. Now that’s real ingratitude after all that Washington has done for them in recent years…

Could it be that the American Century, viewed by future historians, will have its obituary written around the time in 2017 when Washington lost control of the “strategic prize” as Dick Cheney called the energy-rich Middle East?

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”