Greece Faces Big Debt Payment Tuesday, European Leaders And Financial Markets Braced For Greece Exit From Euro
“Financial markets are hastily making preparations for a Greek exit from the euro after a day of political and economic turmoil ended with Europe’s policy elite admitting for the first time that it may prove impossible to keep the single currency intact.
With attempts in Athens to form a government after last week’s election looking increasingly doomed, European leaders abandoned their taboo on talking about the possibility that Greece might have to leave the euro.
Shares, oil, and the euro were all sold heavily on Monday in anticipation that anti-austerity parties would garner support in a second Greek election likely to be held next month, bringing the row between Greece and its European creditors to a climax.
Critical talks are scheduled to continue in Athens between all party leaders, although President Karolos Papoulias’s decision to prolong the negotiations came despite widespread signs the talks were heading towards collapse. He has until Thursday, when the Greek parliament reconvenes, to broker a deal.
The British chancellor, George Osborne warned that the prospect of Greece crashing out of the euro was damaging economies across Europe.
Uncertainty over the future of struggling eurozone nations was having a ‘real impact’ on growth, he said…
Markets are braced for figures due out on Tuesday to show that the eurozone is officially in a double dip recession, and fear that the events of the past few days will intensify the slump.” Read more.
Greece Faces Big Debt Payment Tuesday: Now What? – “As if the Greek situation wasn’t messy enough, a missing paragraph from a key legal document is throwing a wrench into a debt deadline. Greece has a 436 million euro principal repayment due Tuesday. So far, the country has not decided what to do. Under normal Greek-debt contracts, if Greece doesn’t pay, it would have only a seven-day grace period. But experts who have pored over all of this have found that one of the key paragraphs from the normally boiler-point language is missing. As a result, Greece will have a 30-day grace period, leading to the possibility of an extended, ‘Will they?’ or ‘won’t they?’ drama.” Read more.
Egypt: Increasing Number Of Egyptians Want To Ditch Peace Treaty With Israel, Model Its Government After Saudi Arabia
I guess the tombstone of that “dead and buried” peace treaty is preventing the people of Egypt from carrying out one of their greatest collective wishes. Sadly, this thirst may be one of the reasons why the Muslim Brotherhood’s own “[Say Good-Bye To] Freedom and [Anything But] Justice Party” continues to receive the highest support rating from the Egyptian people …
By Patrick Goodenough, CNS News – “(CNSNews.com) – As Egyptians prepare to vote for their first post-Mubarak president next week, the antipathy towards Israel espoused by the frontrunners aligns with the findings of a new survey, in which 61 percent of Egyptian respondents favor abandoning the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, up from 54 percent a year ago.
The poll, by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, also finds a small decline among Egyptians in favorable views of the United States – now just 19 percent – while 61 percent of respondents said the billions of dollars the U.S. gives their country in military and economic aid has a ‘mostly negative’ impact.
Asked their views on Egyptian-U.S. ties, 38 percent indicated the relationship should be more distant, 35 percent said it should remain as it is now, and 20 percent said it should be closer.
Among other findings:
–On the role of religion in government, 61 percent chose Saudi Arabia as the preferred model. (Turkey came in at 17 percent).
–Asked whether Egypt’s laws should strictly adhere to the Qur’an, 60 percent said yes while 32 percent said it should follow the values and principles of Islam and only six percent said laws should not be influenced by the teachings of the Qur’an.
– Seventy percent of respondents viewed the Muslim Brotherhood favorably, down from 75 percent in 2011. The Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, also received the highest support rating among political parties, 56 percent.” Read more.
Flashback: Egyptian Presidential Candidate Amr Moussa: Camp David Accords ‘Dead and Buried’ – “Isn’t it interesting how an Egyptian Presidential candidate now needs to speak in order to win the voting public’s support? As revealing as these words are as far as the candidate is concerned, it reveals even more about the current state of Egypt and the people now empowered to cast the ballot …” Read more.
Syria: Remaining Christians Fear Possible Islamist Rule, Would Be ‘Expelled From The Country In One Day’ If Assad Falls
‘I am afraid that we will suffer bad times,’ a member of Damascus’s Christian community, who identified himself as Jorge, told RIA Novosti.
A full-fledged civil war will break out in Syria if Assad’s enemies and their western supporters continue efforts to topple the president, he continued.
‘If the regime falls…, Islamists will come to power,’ Jorge said, adding that Islamists ‘wrongly believe that we support the current regime,’ and for that reason they will complicate the life of Christians.
‘Sunni Muslims who predominate Syria think that if President Assad’s regime representing the interests of the Alawi minority falls, they will live better. But I personally think that they are wrong. Syria is a secular state and its people, including Muslims, will not like it if the new power starts thrusting orthodox Islamic norms of moral and behavior on them,’ he added.
According to Jorge’s opinion, extremist forces rather than liberals would come to power in Syria.
Another Syrian, an engineer from Homs, said on conditions of anonymity that he is sure that if Assad’s regime falls, Christians will be ‘expelled from the country in one day.'” Read more.
Syria: Jihadists Seize Christian Village, Expel Its Residents – “Armed jihadist seized control of Qastal al-Burg village on Thursday, May 10, and ordered its 10 Christian families to leave, according to a report published by UPI on its Arabic language website. A resident of the village, who did not wish to be identified, said ‘armed jihadist (expiatory) group came to the village and ordered us to leave our homes empty handed.’ The armed group, he further stated, ‘have exercised their control over all the houses, and occupied the church and made it as their command control center.’ Qastal al-Burg village is in the province of Hama and is 48 kilometers northwest of Hama.” Source – AINA.
Flashback: ‘Deliberate and Growing’: Christian Persecution From ‘Arab Spring’ Insurgents in Syria Becoming a Steadily Growing Reality, ‘It Will Never Be the Same Anymore’ – “Refugees who have fled to Jordan from Syria are telling mission leaders supported by Christian Aid Mission about deliberate, new persecution from the ‘Arab Spring’ insurgents who are seeking to overthrow the brutal Assad regime in Damascus. Nearly 100,000 Christians so far have fled from Homs and other cities being targeted by government forces, but it is no longer just to escape the crossfire. Now, more reports are revealing that a new wave of persecution is deliberate and growing… ‘It is over; we can’t get back what we lost,’ said one discouraged Christian refugee here in Jordan. ‘It will never be the same anymore for me or my family. We’ve lost hope.’” Read more.
New Proof Of Iran Nuclear Arms Program No Surprise To Israel, Casts More Doubt On Iran’s Nuclear Denials
By Ryan Jones, Israel Today Magazine – “The Associated Press at the weekend published a graphical rendering of what appears to be a pressure chamber used to test nuclear weapons. It reported that the drawing was provided by a high-ranking official from a country tracking Iran’s nuclear program, and that the image allegedly depicts facilities located inside the Parchin military base near Tehran.
A former deputy director general at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) told the AP that the drawing closely resembles a photograph he recently saw of a pressure chamber at Parchin.
Iran refused to comment on the drawing, and continued to insist that it is not developing nuclear weapons. And while the new evidence strongly suggests otherwise, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the pressure chamber diagram is nothing new.
‘This diagram is part of the information known to all leading intelligence agencies in the free world for some time,’ Barak told Israel Radio. The Israeli did indicate that he hopes the publication of the diagram will get more countries on board with serious efforts to halt Iran’s nuclear program.
Late last week, Iranian opposition group Mujahadeen Khalq warned in a report published by Germany’s Die Welt that while Iran teases the West with hopes of a diplomatic solution, the Islamic Republic is rushing full steam ahead to develop an atomic bomb.” Read more.
Flashback: Iran: Nuclear Weapons Will Prepare Us For The Emergence Of Islamic Messiah – “New evidence indicates Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wants nuclear weapons and he created a religious-based ruse to deceive the world into joining new talks. The leader intends to use those talks to buy more time to harden his weapons program, prevent an attack, and persuade world powers to lift sanctions… President Khamenei explained ‘This [possessing nuclear weapons] was the only way to secure the very essence of the Islamic revolution from the schemes of its enemies … and to prepare it for the emergence of Imam Mehdi [messiah],’ who would bring the world under Islamic rule.” Read more.
Flashback: Iran: Spiritual Leaders Declare Use Of Nuclear Weapons As Lawful Under Sharia – “‘The spiritual leaders of the ultra-conservatives [in Iran] have accepted the use of nuclear weapons as lawful in the eyes of shari’a. Mohsen Gharavian, a disciple of [Ayatollah] Mesbah Yazdi [who is Iranian President Ahmadinejad's spiritual mentor], has spoken for the first time of using nuclear weapons as a counter-measure. He stated that ‘in terms of shari’a, it all depends on the goal.’… [T]he IraNews news agency published recent remarks by Mohsen Gharavian regarding the nuclear issue. Gharavian is a lecturer at the religious schools of Qom, and is a disciple of [Ayatollah] Mesbah Yazdi. In his recent remarks, he said for the first time that the use of nuclear weapons may not constitute a problem according to shari’a. He further said that ‘when the entire world is armed with nuclear weapons, it is permissible to use these weapons as a counter-[measure]. According to shari’a, too, only the goal is important…’” Read more.
Iran: 60 Scientists And Engineers Actively Working To Develop Nuclear Weapons, Claims America Has Abandoned Israel
By Nicholas Vinocur and Fredrik Dahl – “(Reuters) – An exiled Iranian opposition group said on Saturday that Iran has some 60 scientists and engineers involved in a concerted and expanding programme to develop nuclear weapons under defence ministry auspices.
However, diplomats say the National Council of Resistance of Iran has had a spotty record with allegations about Iran’s nuclear work since exposing a secret uranium enrichment plant at Natanz in 2002. A top U.S. nuclear expert said the NCRI report, like previous ones, should be treated with great scepticism.
Its latest report, whose details could not be verified, appeared timed to encourage a tougher line at talks with Iran the U.N. nuclear watchdog will have in Vienna on Monday and Tuesday and six world powers will hold in Baghdad on May 23.
But it clashed with the assessment of U.S. and Israeli intelligence officials that Iran has not decided whether to ‘weaponise’ its enrichment programme. Tehran says it is refining uranium solely for peaceful energy.
In the six-page report shown to Reuters, the Paris-based NCRI cited sources in Iran’s government and military as saying some 60 scientists were pursuing bomb-relevant research in 11 agencies operating clandestinely under defence ministry control.
‘Information … shows that the clerical regime has expanded the organisation responsible for nuclear weapons development,’ the report said. ‘This finding reveals a complete and elaborate, and highly … secret research structure and a network for procurement of the required parts and equipment.'” Read more.
Iran boasts U.S. has abandoned Israel – “Iranian outlets have been claiming recently the United States has been forced to bow before Iran on its nuclear program, demonstrating the West’s abandonment of Israel and paving the way for the Islamic regime to annihilate the Jewish state. While restating that Iran will demand ever more in the upcoming second round of talks with the 5+1 nations to be held this month in Baghdad, the Iranian media are now boasting that Israel has been abandoned by its allies and is in a dire bind.” Read more.
The Market Oracle – “… All of the weak euro-zone countries are waking up to the fact that they have been in a state of denial because they are NOT Germany they cannot compete against Germany and therefore are only delaying the inevitable by remaining in a currency union with Germany that ensures their economies are also in a state of slow motion death spiral of economic collapse. In which respect they are in fact making the economic pain of their populations far worse as a consequence of dragging out economic collapse over many years rather than months as would have been the case had they had their own currencies and money printing presses such as that deployed by the UK that has successfully used smoke and mirrors inflation to mask the truth that Britain is in a far worse state in terms if indebtedness than most of the euro-zone countries.
Greece exiting the Euro-zone would crash the banking system as banks across the euro-zone start to fail domino style as a consequence of their direct exposure to 400 billion of Greek debt and counterparty risks which will put immediate pressure on all of the other weak Euro-zone members, with Spain and Portugal the next targets for exit as a consequence of these countries being on the same unserviceable debt fuelled economic collapse trajectories as Greece. In my opinion Spain and Portugal will both exit the Euro-zone within 6 months of Greece leaving so depending on the timing of Greece’s exit Spain and Portugal could also both leave the the eurozone this year…
The wild card is Germany for as I originally speculated over 2 years ago (May 2010). Germany may decide to alleviate pressure on the rest Eurozone by planning its own exit. However all this would amount to a desperate belated attempt to buy more time to slow down the rate of collapse of the Euro-zone so as to allow the financial system to better survive a breakup of the whole eurozone.” Read more.
Here’s How The Whole Eurozone Could Unravel In Just A Matter Of Months - “Paul Krugman has a gloomy post this evening explaining how quickly the whole Euro could unravel. It basically goes like this: Greece leaves the euro ‘very possibly next month.’ That would lead to a massive run on Italian and Spanish banks. There would be massive borrowing from the ECB to prevent a banking collapse. At which point Germany has to decide: Shoulder a major burden for the debts of Spain/Italy, etc., or let it all go. He concludes: ‘And we’re talking about months, not years, for this to play out.’ – Read more.