News Dump Sunday: Iran's influence is growing Edition
Now we know why Russia has been buying drones from Iran.
According to US officials, Iran may soon receive the cutting-edge Russian-made Su-35 Flanker-E aircraft in exchange for providing arms to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
According to the officials, Iranian pilots received Sukhoi Su-35 training in Russia in the spring, indicating Iran may start acquiring the aircraft within the following year.
Iran hasn't had a real air force since the Shah was in power. While this won't put them on equal footing with Israel, but they will be able to maybe defend themselves.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby on Friday cited U.S. intelligence assessments for the allegations, saying Russia was offering Iran “an unprecedented level of military and technical support that is transforming their relationship into a full-fledged defense partnership.”
Kirby said Russia and Iran were considering standing up a drone assembly line in Russia for the Ukraine conflict, while Russia was training Iranian pilots on the Sukhoi Su-35 fighter and Iran could receive deliveries of the plane within the year.
While NATO has succeeded in dividing Russia from Europe, it's helped push Iran and Russia together. Also, Iran has been extending its influence elsewhere.
Sanctions-hit Iran is consolidating its hold over neighbouring Iraq, an economic lifeline where pro-Tehran parties dominate politics, all to the chagrin of the United States, experts say.
...After a 2003 US-led invasion toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Iran's influence has grown through political links among both countries' Shiite-Muslim majorities.
Pro-Iran parties now dominate Iraq's parliament, and in October they named a new prime minister following a year-long tussle with their Shiite rivals.
Iraq has become an "economic lifeline" for Iran, said Ihsan al-Shammari, a political scientist at the University of Baghdad.
Iran's influence can also be seen through its links with Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi, a former paramilitary force made up mainly of pro-Iran militias that have since been integrated into the regular forces.
Its representatives are part of the Coordination Framework parliamentary bloc, which controls 138 of the legislature's 329 seats and is made up of pro-Iran factions, including that of Maliki.
Russia has pivoted hard toward China.
Russian gas now can reach eastern China’s Yangtze River Delta, as a new section of the east-route natural gas pipeline between the two countries came into operation on Wednesday.
...The new pipeline will increase the natural gas supply capacity of the Yangtze River Delta region to about 50 million cubic metres (1.77 billion cubic feet) per day, alleviating the reliance on imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) along the route, the company said. State broadcaster CCTV reported that the daily capacity had been 30 million cubic metres.
...Signed in 2014, the contract between China National Petroleum Corporation and Russia’s Gazprom to supply gas via the pipeline was estimated to be worth US$400 billion over 30 years.
Finally, the results are coming in from Brexit, and they are very not good.
Two in three Britons believe Brexit has gone badly, a poll has found – the highest level of negativity since Boris Johnson’s trade deal come into force at the start of 2021.
Some 65 per cent of voters think Brexit was going badly and only 21 per cent said it is going well, the latest Opinium survey found
It's not just people's opinions. It's hard numbers too.
According to one study, UK exports fell by more than 20%, compared to a projection of what they would otherwise have been, in the first 15 months following the post-Brexit trade deal with the EU. Imports from Europe have bounced back, but exports haven’t.
Investment flattened after the referendum in 2016 then dropped during the pandemic—by more than in Europe or the US. It’s recovering slowly, but is still lower than it was six years ago.
...Johnson’s overriding goal was to “get Brexit done." Now the government is similarly fixated on making Brexit a success— by rushing to devise questionable or ill-conceived policies as proof of its benefits. The government casts its thinking on “Big Bang 2.0," a proposed new round of financial deregulation, as a source of Brexit dividends. One such idea—loosening the rules on ring-fencing banks’ retail activities—has little to do with Brexit, apart from the branding.
Brexit is hurting poor people the worst - usually the same people who voted for Brexit.
This week’s research by the London School of Economics (LSE) found that, thanks not to the war in Ukraine or the pandemic or “global factors”, but explicitly to all the extra red tape incurred by Brexit, the cost of food imported from the EU added a total of £210 to the average household’s grocery bill over 2020 and 2021: a 6% increase in that period.
Because poorer families spend a larger share of what little they have on food, that £210 Brexit levy has hit them disproportionately hard....
It’s not as if there isn’t enough food to go around. An estimated 7bn meals went to waste this year, with farmers citing Brexit – and the resulting shortage of fruit and veg pickers – as a key factor. The National Farmers’ Union found some 40% of its members had lost crops because they didn’t have enough people to bring in the harvest. Those shortfalls used to be met by seasonal workers coming in from the continent, but Brexit has shut them out – and so perfectly edible food is left to rot....
If you’re running a small business that used to be able to get a product into, say, the Netherlands in two days and now finds it takes 21 days, then you get why the number of trade relationships between the UK and EU has fallen by a third – and you understand why the Office for Budget Responsibility calculates that Brexit alone will make Britain 4% worse off. That 4% translates into roughly £100bn less cash generated each year, £40bn less tax revenue – and therefore £40bn less spent on schools, hospitals and all the things we collectively, and desperately, need.
China has a new space station
I don't remember seeing anyone talk about this.
In think that Fortune magazine just emerged from a coma.
I seem to remember CB talking about it previously. In fact the first portion of it was launched in 2021.
Crimea doesn't want Ukraine
Well the Conservatives tried Liz Truss --
-- and that didn't work out. It only took 45 days to figure out that she was a non-starter, too. So now the same people who thought Liz Truss would be awesome are going to try to think of a way out of the mess she made worse.
"The cost of sanity in this society is a certain level of alienation." -- Terrence McKenna
Fifty years ago, when I as still in high school
I said that the EU would be a catastrophe because the bigger the political organization the more money and power it takes to control it - but the greater the profits of doing so. Thus the bigger the more hostile to the everyday citizen and the greater the kleptocracy and authoritarianism. The more arbitrary powers will punish people if they should dare to attempt to better or just defend themselves.
It took fifty years, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and Klaus Schwab to show how much I was right, but I think I'm about due for a victory lap.
On to Biden since 1973
Brexit keeps the EU from dictating to UK re wars and immigration
That fact alone will eventually make Brexit feel like a good thing.
Presumably, the UK didn’t fight Big Bad Adolf only to knuckle under to “Nurse Ratched” Ursula.
@lotlizard The UK already takes