|Friday 08th of February 2013
"You take up arms against the nation of Iran and say: 'negotiate or we fire'. Reuters
Law & Politics
Ali Khamenei FLICKR
Khamenei plays hardball with Obama By M K Bhadrakumar
Three major happenings within one week would have to be taken as the
inevitable confluence of a flow of developments and processes: the
offer by the Syrian opposition of a bilateral dialogue with the Bashar
al-Assad regime; the historic visit of an Iranian president to Egypt;
and the public, unconditional offer by the United States of direct
talks with Iran and the latter's ready acceptance of it.
Yet, they are interconnected. First, the Syrian kaleidoscope is
dramatically shifting despite the continuing bloodbath. Unless the
European countries drop their arms embargo on Syria (which expires on
March 1 anyway) and decide to arm the rebels, the stalemate will
The mood in Western capitals has shifted in the direction of caution
and circumspection, given the specter that al-Qaeda affiliates are
taking advantage. If anything, the hurricane of militant Islamism
blowing through Mali only reinforces that concern and reluctance.
To be sure, Iran played a signal role in the grim battle of nerves
over Syria through the recent months. Strangely, it is Iran today,
which is on the "right side of history", by urging dialogue and
negotiations and democratic elections as holding the key to reform and
change in Syria - or, for that matter, in Bahrain.
The shift in Syria has actually enabled Iran to cross over the
Sunni-Shi'ite barriers that were tenaciously put up to isolate it.
Thus, President Mahmud Ahmedinejad's historic visit to Egypt this week
has a much bigger regional dimension to it than the restoration of the
Iran-Egypt bilateral relationship. The trilateral meeting held between
Ahmedinejad and his Egyptian and Turkish counterparts Mohammed Morsi
and Abdullah Gul signified Iran's compelling relevance as an
interlocutor rather than as an implacable adversary for the two major
Interestingly, Morsi added, "Egypt's revolution is now experiencing
conditions similar to those of Iran's Revolution and because Egypt
does not have an opportunity for rapid progress like Iran, we believe
that expansion of cooperation and ties with Iran is crucially
important and necessary."
If the propaganda has us believe that the regime in Tehran is living
in fear of a Tahrir-like revolution erupting in Iran, Khamenei's words
show no such traces of fear or timidity. On the other hand, Khamenei
would have carefully weighed Obama's capacity (or the limits to it) to
bulldoze the Israeli lobby and to initiate a genuine normalization
process with Iran.
When Richard Nixon worked on China in the early 1970s, he had the
benefit of a broad consensus of opinion within the US political
establishment. On the contrary, when it comes to Iran, pride and
prejudice influence still rule the roost for most consequential
Khamenei's message to Obama is to get serious and think through what
he really wants instead of lobbing a vague offer through Biden with no
strings attached and no commitments underlying it. The Iranian leader
who has continuously dealt with successive US administrations through
the past 22 years simply threw the ball into Obama's court and will
now wait and see how the latter kicks it around when he is in Israel
Bhadrakumar is a very intelligent Man.
Washington And Tehran’s Perpetual Search For The Upper Hand by Trita Parsi
With Khamenei’s negative statement and Iran’s pre-negotiation
wrangling delaying the next round of talk till February 26,
Washington’s strategy of manufacturing a climax to force Iran’s hand
may have boomeranged. If the window for diplomacy before the Iranian
elections is missed, Obama’s political space for talks will close once
more with an accompanying increase in risk of war.
There is a split in Tehran on how to proceed in the diplomatic dance,
but also a consensus on the minimum the West must offer to make a deal
acceptable. The first line of thinking in Tehran acknowledges that
President Barack Obama has through a combination of measures—as well
as unpredictable developments in the region such as Arab spring and
the civil war in Syria—rolled back Iran’s regional influence. Momentum
is currently on the Western side and Iran has lost the initiative.
The question is, officials in Tehran associated with this line of
thinking say, whether the US and the EU have the maturity and the
strength to make Iran a face-saving offer that meets Tehran’s bottom
line—the lifting of nuclear sanctions and acceptance of limited
enrichment in Iran under strict inspections. Thus far, the West has
refrained from concretely putting serious sanctions relief and
acknowledgment of enrichment in Iran on the negotiating table.
The other line of thinking in Tehran believes that Washington won’t
make a deal unless it is forced to. This approach to Washington is
identical to America’s approach to Tehran: The belief that the other
side only responds to (overwhelming) pressure. Consequently, asking
the West for a save facing out will not work because it signals
weakness, not strength. Iran’s only option, the reasoning goes, is to
regain momentum in order to force Washington to “come back to the
Hence, as long as the West does not put offers on the table that meet
Iran’s bottom line, the calculation goes, Iran should play for time
and seek a game changer that enables it to set the terms for a deal.
Even though the price of stalling will be high, the price of failed
talks will likely be equally high, leaving Tehran better off seeking
to press the West to improve the deal—rather than participating in
talks that are doomed to fail.
Khamenei has unsurprisingly come down on the side of the latter line
of thinking. By stating “You are holding a gun against Iran saying you
want to talk. The Iranian nation will not be frightened by the
threats"—though he has conceded that Iran has been weakened and that
momentum is on the US side. But it simply doesn’t lie in his nature to
agree to talks from a position of weakness—and certainly not without
the protection of having the talks be conducted by an Iranian
President who he can take the blame for any potential failure in the
talks. Khamenei would rather wait till after the Iranian elections, it
seems, in order to both find ways to shift the momentum back to Iran’s
side and to hide behind Iran’s new President in the talks.
In the past ten years, neither side has been able to translate their
“momentum” into a deal. The perpetual search for a game changer that
would conclusively shift momentum to one’s side is circular—none of
the game changers have compelled the other side to capitulate and both
side have found themselves incapable of translating a upper hand into
a favorable deal, largely because of their maximalist approach in
which they, in the words of MIT’s Jim Walsh, seek a lot at the
negotiating table without offering anything in return.
Iran is also looking at non-nuclear paths to regain the upper hand.
Tehran is doubling down in Syria—two weeks ago former Foreign Minister
and current advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati said
that “an attack on Syria would be considered an attack on Iran”—and
calculates that if Bashar al-Assad survives a few more months, fatigue
will besiege the West and the regional supporters of the uprising
(primarily Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar). This will signal that
even after Riyadh and Ankara threw all their resources on the Free
Syrian Army, the Assad regime still survived thanks to the support it
received from the Iranian regime.
This, in turn, will bolster Iran’s regional influence and shift the
momentum back to its side—or so the clerical leadership in Iran hopes.
Add to this that Saudi Arabia will likely experience a succession
crisis in 2013, which may give birth to an indigenous Saudi spring. At
that point, Iran will be able to activate its assets in Saudi Arabia
and destabilize the Kingdom, potentially even unseat the House of
If these scenarios were to play out in this fashion—Assad surviving in
Syria and House of Saud falling in Saudi Arabia—Iran will likely
achieve a game changer. At that point, it will be Iran’s turn to be
tested if it has the foresight and maturity to offer a palpable deal
to Washington, lest the search for momentum will reignite once again.
For both Washington and Tehran, there is only one way to break this
cycle: Abandon the maximalist approach at the negotiating table.
Very interesting Analysis.
Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson warns Kenyan voters that
“choices have consequences.” VOA
"Choices have consequences," Carson said. "We live in an
interconnected world and people should be thoughtful about the impact
that their choices have on their nation, on the region, on the
economy, on the society and on the world in which they live. Choices
Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson FLICKR
Compare this Comment with President @BarackObama 's YouTube Message to Kenya
Kenya: Transcript of President Obama's Message to the People of Kenya
United States Embassy (Nairobi)
I think the International Community has failed to speak with a
Singular Voice. And that in fact, this has been a Failure on their
Part in the Art of Diplomacy. You cannot have it cut both ways, in my
The New Scramble for Africa
And the Western powers are not the only ones eying Africa’s resources.
China has moved to penetrate African markets in recent years. China is
seeking the cooperation of African governments by exchanging
infrastructure investment for natural resources.
China has agreed to lend various African governments a total of $20
billion over the next three years for infrastructure and agriculture
development. Trade between China and Africa has expanded to over $150
billion a year, and this relationship has been formalized in the Forum
on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
China’s increased investment in Africa over the past decade has not
escaped the attention of the Western powers.
Now, whether China’s investments in Africa will pan out and improve
the living standards of the average African is an open question.
However, the fact that these deals are being cut outside the
Anglo-American sphere may encourage the Western powers to establish a
larger permanent military presence on the continent. It’s a game as
old as empire itself.
The West's Insertion of Hard Power into the African Continent allows
them to tilt the Pitch and to shrink China's Operating Theatre.
The Pivot to Asia detours through Africa.
Furthermore, The Pentagon is seeking to exercise decisive Control over
the Indian Ocean and this will allow the West to switch the Lights off
The Snake @Aiww @Hirshhorn Twitpic
Currency Markets at a Glance WSJ
Euro 1.3387 - Its a Buy at this level set for a 1.7 percent weekly
drop the steepest since July
Dollar Index 80.19
Japan Yen 93.19
Swiss Franc 0.9178
Aussie 1.0295 djfxtrader: #RBA Lowers June 2013 GDP Forecast To 2.5%
Vs 2.75%; Dec 2013 GDP Forecast To 2-3% Vs 2.25%-3.25%
a 1.1 percent decline this week.
India Rupee 53.61
South Korea Won 1095.34
Brazil Real 1.9666
Egypt Pound 6.7133
South Africa Rand 8.9324
djfxtrader: #China Jan Exports +25.0% On Year vs Expected +17.7%; Jan
Imports +28.8% On Year vs Expected +21.4%
Europe’s shared currency has strengthened 2.2 percent this year, the
best performer of 10 developed-nation currencies tracked by Bloomberg
Correlation-Weighted Indexes. The dollar gained 0.5 percent and the
yen tumbled 7.3 percent.
Euro versus the Dollar 3 Month Chart 1.3385 Last
There are downside risks to inflation “stemming from weaker economic
activity and, more recently, the appreciation of the euro exchange
rate,” according to a statement of Draghi’s remarks yesterday placed
on the ECB’s website.
An Italian election in two weeks may yield a hung parliament,
requiring a follow-up vote to establish a governing majority, a member
of poll leader Pier Luigi Bersani’s campaign said for the first time
I think the Euro is a Buy on this Drawdown.
Draghi Finds Powerful Weapon in Words as Markets Heed His Voice Bloomberg
European Central Bank President Mario Draghi has found his most
effective weapon is the sound of his own voice.
Draghi yesterday caused the euro’s biggest drop in seven months by
suggesting its recent appreciation could damp inflation, a signal that
further interest-rate cuts remain a possibility. His pledge in July to
buy government bonds precipitated a sea-change in sentiment that
helped to shore up the 17-nation euro area economy, yet the ECB hasn’t
spent a cent so far in its so-called Outright Monetary Transactions
The ECB “is becoming a master of verbal intervention,” Danske Bank
economists wrote in a research note. Draghi yesterday “managed to
dampen recent de facto tightening without taking any action, much as
was the case with the OMT program, which has so far managed to lower
Spanish and Italian bond yields without buying a single bond,” they
Super Mario: The Euro's Saviour Monday, September 10, 2012 - 00:00 --
BY ALY KHAN SATCHU
I have spent my life studying the linguistics of the world's central
bankers. I ran short term interest trading desks. My life was spent in
whats called the short end of the yield curve. And the biggest
impactor on interest rates is of course, the central banker. I
actually enjoy studying and parsing the semantics, the language, the
emphasis of central bankers.
You have to weigh every nuance with the same care that you might hold
a Fabergé egg. The personality of the central banker is also key. He
or she has to be compelling and never underwhelming. Last week, I was
invited to speak about Africa in Zurich at a conference hosted by the
Neue Zurcher Zeitung and Credit Suisse. The current Swiss central
banker Thomas J. Jordan, his predecessor Thomas Hildebrand, the
previous head of the Bundesbank Axel Weber amongst many European
banking worthies spoke on the first day about the Euro.
My day one takeaway was that they were complacent but later I realised
that they had evidently met Mario Draghi and what I was perceiving as
complacency was in fact a real sense of confidence that they had a
secret silver bullet and that was super Mario. Mario Draghi is a super
star in my world.
He came up with a plan which can work and he has an air about him
which is persuasive and compelling. The triple bottom line is that
this is not a fellow to bet against.
Dollar Yen 3 Month Chart INO 92.898 Last
djfxtrader: #Japan Dec Current Account Deficit Y264.1B, Expected
Deficit Y148.5B; Japan Dec Trade Deficit Y567.6B, +286.8% On Year
The yen added 0.3 percent to 93.31 per dollar, paring its decline for
the week to 0.5 percent. It’s set for an unprecedented 13th weekly
drop versus the U.S. dollar.
Dollar Index 3 Month Chart INO 80.162 Last
Commodity Markets at a Glance WSJ
Crude Oil 3 Month Chart INO 95.92 Last
Futures advanced as much as 0.4 percent in New York, trimming the
first weekly decline in nine. China’s exports climbed 25 percent in
January from a year earlier, customs figures showed. That beat the
17.5 percent median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. Crude imports
increased to the highest level in eight months. Oil markets will
“remain tight” in the first quarter, according to Goldman Sachs Group
“This is the strongest showing of China’s export growth since last
April and bodes well for China’s demand growth for energy,” said
Gordon Kwan, the head of energy research at Mirae Asset Securities
Ltd. in Hong Kong who predicts Brent may rise as high as $120 a barrel
in coming days. “We continue to forecast a sustained high oil price.”
Crude for March delivery gained as much as 36 cents to $96.19 a barrel
in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at
$95.96 at 3:53 p.m. Singapore time.
Gold 3 Month Chart INO 1668.95 Last
Dollar versus Rand 3 Month Chart INO 8.9256 Last
VIX inhaler no more South Africa Rand Economist
IT USED to be simple. When the world economy was in trouble,
speculators sold the rand; when things looked brighter, they bought
it. A unique blend of factors made South Africa’s currency a good
gauge of how investors feel.
So the recent, cheerier tone to global markets ought to have been good
for the rand. The VIX, an index that reflects how much investors will
pay to insure against volatile equity prices, has fallen to around 13
from a reading above 45 when the euro-zone crisis was at its scariest.
Yet the rand is trading as if investors were still terrified (see
chart). Capital flows into South Africa have slowed, in contrast to
the deluge in other emerging markets. That has taken its toll. Two
years ago, a dollar would buy seven rand; at the moment it buys nine.
The rand now says more about perceptions of investment risk in South
Africa than about global risk appetite. Last month Fitch followed
other ratings agencies in marking down South Africa’s government
bonds, in the wake of protests and violent strikes that claimed dozens
of lives last year. The economy has grown at less than half the rate
of its emerging-market peers in the past half-decade and well below
the rates in other (albeit poorer) African countries. Exports have
been weak, even allowing for the disruption caused by strikes and the
troubles in South Africa’s European markets. The current-account
deficit has ballooned to 6.4% of GDP.
A revival in global brio has often spelt trouble for South Africa’s
exporters. The rand’s decoupling from the VIX offers them some relief.
It has been cautiously welcomed by Gill Marcus, the central-bank
governor. But South Africa needs more than a weaker currency to fix
its economy: unemployment, officially at 25% of the workforce, is a
particularly pressing issue. The rand’s fall is a warning to South
African policymakers that they are the ones now under scrutiny.
As You correctly note the Ties that now bind the Rand are domestic.
The Extreme Positive Carry and Interest Rate Differential has been
sharply reduced and the Central Bank apparently no longer as keen to
deploy interest Rates to defend the Rand. For too long Markets were
blissfully unaware of the domestic Risks. The World Cup was a Positive
Tipping Agent and Marikana a Negative One. There is a much sharper
awareness now of SA Political Risk and I am afraid it has only been
partially priced in, so far.
Egypt Pound versus The Dollar 3 Month Chart INO 6.7170 [Headed to 7.00]
At least 35 pyramids have been discovered at a site called Sedeinga in
Sudan, according to researchers.
About 2,000 years ago, a kingdom named Kush flourished in what is now
known as Sudan. Sharing a border with Egypt, the people of Kush were
highly influenced by the other civilization. The result was that they
built pyramids: lots of them. At one particular site known as
Sedeinga, pyramid building continued for centuries. Now archaeologists
have unearthed at least 35 of these small pyramids along with graves.
Discovered between 2009 and 2012, the pyramids were densely packed. In
one field season alone, researchers discovered 13 pyramids within
5,381 square feet--only slightly larger than an NBA basketball court.
So why was the density of the pyramids so great? Researchers theorized
that since this building continued over centuries, the people of Kush
used whatever space was available at the site, packing in pyramids in
between others to make better use of the space.
A picture taken on February 26, 2010 shows pyramids in the Meroe
desert, north of Khartoum.
Suspects obstructing probe, says Bensouda The Standard
“The Prosecution has notified the Chamber on several occasions of
systematic attempts by the accused and their associates to identify
and approach those co-operating with ICC investigation,” Ms Bensouda
said in her observations ahead of the pre-status conference on
In the submission dated Wednesday, the prosecutor reiterated she
reserves the right to request the Chamber to issue warrants of arrest
against the suspects.
She said such a warrant could be issued should the accused violate
conditions of their summonses, including attending trial.
“The prosecution reserves the right to request the Chamber under
Articles 58 and 64(6)(a) of the Statute and Rule 119(4) of the Rules
of Procedure and Evidence for warrants of arrest,” she said.
Fatou Bensouda FLICKR
CMC Holdings' Bill Lay Exits Announcement here
CMC share price data and Earnings Releases here
Kenya Bets on Peaceful Vote as Tourists, Exporters Hold Back Bloomberg
Kenya’s Finance Ministry is betting on peaceful elections next month
to boost investment and economic growth even as tourists and exporters
hold back amid concern about a renewal of ethnic violence.
Voters go to the polls in the world’s biggest tea-exporting nation on
March 4, the first election since a disputed 2007 presidential ballot.
“A smooth transition would buy a permanent assurance that we have
matured into a solid democracy and attract even more investors who are
in for the long-term,” Economic Secretary Geoffrey Mwau said in an
Kenya has implemented a range of measures since the last vote to
support the economy and ease ethnic tensions, including investing in
roads and power and adopting a new constitution that will devolve
power to county governments. That’s helped to support investor
sentiment, encouraging companies such as Toyota Motor Corp., Google
Inc. (GOOG), Visa Inc (V). and Pfizer Inc. (PFE) to create their
regional hubs in Kenya.
Concern that violence may flare up during the elections threatens to
derail investor confidence. Some businesses, mainly local ones, have
delayed investment decisions, according to the Kenya Private Sector
Alliance, or Kepsa.
Bookings by tourists, the second-biggest source of foreign- exchange
income after tea, have fallen by as much as a fifth at the most
popular coastal tourist destinations this year compared with 12 months
ago, according to the Mombasa and Coast Tourist Association.
Kenya has benefited from the first discovery of crude made by
London-based Tullow Oil Plc and partner Africa Oil Corp. in March,
boosting foreign inflows. The economy will probably expand “slightly
above” 5 percent this year, Mwau said in a phone interview on Feb. 5.
That compares with about 4.5 percent in 2012 and 7 percent in 2007,
and remains below the government’s 10 percent target by 2017.
Kenya may face international sanctions and diplomatic isolation if
Kenyatta and Ruto are voted into office and fail to cooperate with the
ICC, according to analysts including Aly-Khan Satchu, chief executive
officer of Nairobi-based investment company Rich Management Ltd.
The Rub of the Issue is around Cooperation with the ICC Process.
Kenya Shilling versus The Dollar Live ForexPros
Nairobi All Share Bloomberg +11.986% 2013.
Nairobi ^NSE20 Bloomberg +10.355% 2013 and this is a 25 Month High.
Every Listed Share can be interrogated here
Kenya Commercial Bank share Price data here +17.647% 2013 Record Closing High
ScanGroup share price data here +7.299% 2013 Record Closing High
Athi River Mining share price data +34.529% 2013 Record Closing High
EABL share price data +15.849% and at a Record Closing High
The Chairman and the Board of East African Breweries Limited are
pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Martin Oduor-Otieno to the
Company’s Board of Directors. Dr. Oduor-Otieno is the immediate
former Chief Executive Officer of the Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB)
Group, the largest bank in Kenya by assets.
Dr. Oduor-Otieno brings on board a wealth of financial expertise and
management experience in both the public and private sectors, having
previously worked in senior positions with Barclays Bank and British
American Tobacco before joining KCB in October 2005 as Deputy Chief
Executive, and later becoming the CEO in May 2007. He also served as
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance & Planning and Treasury
in the Government of Kenya.
He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of
Nairobi, an Executive MBA degree from the ESAMI/Maastritch Business
School, and is a Fellow of both the Kenya Institute of Bankers and
Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya.
Dr. Oduor-Otieno has been awarded an Honorary Doctor of Business
Leadership degree by KCA University and the National Recognition of
the First Class Order of the Chief of the Burning Spear (CBS) by His
Excellency the President of the Republic of Kenya for his contribution
to national development.
Consequently, Mr. Seni Adetu has relinquished his position from the
EABL Board. Mr. Adetu, former CEO and Group Managing Director of
EABL continued to serve on the board following his appointment as the
CEO and Managing Director of Guinness Nigeria last year.
I commend The EABL Board and Dr. @OduorMartinO on his appointment.
He is a c21st Corporate Leader.
With Thanks to Dr. @OduorMartinO for my signed