September 30, 2014

Heard in London

By Jeremy Bradshad

When President Reagan wanted to destroy the Soviet Union, he secretly asked the Saudis to raise the price of oil. That helped trigger the bankruptcy of the USSR because Moscow lacked the dollars to buy imported fuel.

Today, with a resurgent Russia, the Saudis are again deploying the oil weapon against the Kremlin, according to Neil Barnett, a London-based security-and-risk analyst. But this time, there is a twist.

Saudis Use Oil as a Weapon Against Russia
Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi mistakenly predicted stable oil prices at a December meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. (Karim Jaafar/Getty Images)
Nicaragua Veers Hard Left with Ortega’s Power Play
November 12, 2013
Nicaragua’s socialist president, Daniel Ortega, is ramping up his efforts to solidify his power, proposing more than three dozen constitutional amendments in a bid to reshape the country’s political system in his favor. With his radical leftist party already dominating more than two-thirds of the legislature, Ortega seems primed to succeed in his campaign to roll back democracy in Latin America.
Reich on Venezuela: Maduro Could Not Be Doing Worse
November 11, 2013
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is doing an abysmal job of leading his country, former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela Otto Reich told LIGNET in an exclusive interview last week, citing the South American nation’s plummeting currency reserves, soaring inflation, shrinking media and unresponsive government. “In a nutshell, Reich said, Maduro could not be doing much worse, frankly.”
British Bank Chief Cranks Up Credit as Recovery Builds
November 11, 2013
The British economy is grinding its way toward recovery, a trend now being shepherded by the country’s Canadian-born central bank chief. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney clearly wants the monetary authority to lead rather than follow, recently announcing a raft of policy changes that included new “forward guidance” on interest rates designed to spur confidence and goose up already heated consumer borrowing.
Iran Nuclear Talks Collapse Over French Resistance
November 10, 2013
A U.S.-led effort to approve what France called a “fool’s game” with Iran on its nuclear program caused three days of multilateral talks to end early Sunday without an agreement. Although the talks are scheduled to resume in 10 days, the impasse reflected concerns by Israel and many in the United States that a proposed multi-step Western plan does not go far enough to stop Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons.
Tajik Election Win Gives Strongman Ruler Brief Respite
November 8, 2013
Tajikistan re-elected its authoritarian 61-year-old President Emomali Rahmon to a fourth seven-year term on Nov. 6, solidifying his control over the poor Central Asian nation through the end of the decade. Despite his decisive victory, however, growing economic, political and social pressures in the strategically important country pose a dangerous long-term threat to regional stability.
How Erdogan Could Cling to Power Despite Term Limits
November 8, 2013
Following the most tumultuous summer of his decade-long rule, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is for the first time facing some uncertainty about his political future. As constitutional reforms introduced by his own party now prevent him from serving a fourth term as prime minister, Erdogan will need to engineer a new route to remain in control of the Turkish government –and many expect this to occur via a transition into the presidential role currently occupied by long-time Erdogan ally Abdullah Gul.
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