Lawmakers To Obama: Don't Supply Syrian Rebels With Stingers

Authored by Brendan McGarry via DoDBuzz.com,

More than two dozen U.S. lawmakers are urging President Barack Obama to refrain from supplying Syrian rebels with American-made shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles.

The 27 members of Congress, led by Reps. John Conyers, a Democrat from Michigan, and Ted Yoho, a Republican from Florida, on Tuesday sent a letter to the president “urging him to maintain his policy of refusing to transfer shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS) to Syrian combatants,” including those trained by the Pentagon and Central Intelligence Agency.

The missiles are primarily designed to target helicopters. One type is the FIM-92 Stinger, made by Raytheon Co., whose use against Soviet aircraft in Afghanistan during the 1980s was popularized by the book and movie, “Charlie Wilson’s War.”

“While we may have differing perspectives regarding the appropriate US response to the horrific violence in Syria, we agree that MANPADS would only lead to more violence, not only in Syria, but potentially around the world,” Conyers said in a statement released Wednesday by his office.

The release cites an April 12 article in The Wall Street Journal by Adam Entous that reported the CIA and its partners in the region had prepared plans to arm moderate rebels in Syria with more potent weapons than the Soviet-era BM-21 “Grad” truck-mounted rocket launchers:

The agency’s principal concern focuses on man-portable air-defense systems, known as Manpads. The CIA believes that rebels have obtained a small number of Manpads through illicit channels. Fearing these systems could fall into terrorists’ hands for use against civilian aircraft, the spy agency’s goal now is to prevent more of them from slipping uncontrollably into the war zone, according to U.S. and intelligence officials in the region.

 

Coalition partners have proposed ways to mitigate the risk. They have suggested tinkering with the Manpads to limit how long their batteries would last or installing geographical sensors on the systems that would prevent them from being fired outside designated areas of Syria. But Washington has remained cool to the idea.

Syrian rebels have also reportedly acquired other U.S.-made weaponry.

A YouTube video published Feb. 26 appears to depict a Syrian rebel in Sheikh Aqil, a town near Aleppo, firing a BGM-71 TOW (for tube-launched, optically tracked, wire-guided) missile at a T-90 tank, Russia’s main battle tank that entered service in the 1990s, presumably operated by Assad forces.

 

U.S.-backed rebels in the country may have acquired both the older TOW, developed in the 1970s and also manufactured by Raytheon, as well as the newer FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile, developed in the 1990s and made by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Corp.

In his letter, Conyers cites recent instances in which extremist organizations captured U.S.-supplied weaponry in Syria:

In late 2014, the headquarters of the CIA-backed militia Harakat Hazm — one of the biggest recipients of U.S. arms including powerful TOW anti-armor missiles — was overrun by Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s primary Syrian affiliate. Harakat Hazm fled its positions, leaving behind many of their weapons that were seized by al-Nusra. Last September, Syrian rebels vetted and trained by the United States handed over their equipment to the al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, and just last month, Nusra attacked a Western-backed rebel faction, taking over bases and seizing U.S.-supplied weapons including antitank missiles.

 

Natural Gas is Sexy Once Again from a Macro Fundamentals Standpoint (Video)

By EconMatters

 

The mild winter has Nat Gas stocks at record levels, but the last time this many natural gas rigs went offline in 2012, prices rebounded to the $5 level nicely on a long trending trade. Traders and Investors are trying to anticipate and evaluate the likelihood of this move in Natural Gas happening again.

 

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Deep State Democrats & The Donald – Ron Paul Destroys The 2-Party System Myth

Submitted by Nick Bernabe via TheAntiMedia.org,

Longtime congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul made it clear in a recent interview on CNN that he will vote 3rd party if the presidential race comes down to Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton.

Though Paul didn’t specify which candidate he would vote for, he did say Libertarian or Independent party candidates are a possibility. Paul also said he couldn’t support Ted Cruz, who has since dropped out of the race, because he’s a “theocrat” who wants to rule with religion. Paul didn’t comment on his specific reasons for not supporting Clinton, but one can speculate the fiercely anti-war Paul opposes her militaristic tendencies.

Then Paul went even further, saying both the Republican and Democratic parties — from Reagan to Obama — are controlled by the “Deep State” and powerful special interests.

Watch the interview below:

Churn, Baby, Churn – The China Commodity Bubble Exposed In 1 Simple Chart

The frenzied trading that smashed Chinese commodity markets through the roof in the last month has begun to unfurl rapidly as authorities crackdown on the speculative fever and force exchanges to curve excess ‘churn’. Of course, there are still some who cling to the belief that any of this was ‘real’ demand, real buying, and real economic growth (just don’t look at The Baltic Dry in the last few days) but, as Bloomberg reports, it was nothing but “churn baby churn” as trading volume exploded but open-interest remained flat.

“With more speculators being let in on this secret, more money poured in
the game,”
Fu said. “Prices went higher and higher with explosive
growth in trading volumes.”

 

As Bloomberg reports,

The slowdown marks a return toward normality after a frenzy that drew comparisons with the credit-driven stock market rally last year that preceded a $5 trillion rout. Investor appetite has waned after the exchanges raised transaction fees and margins amid orders from regulators to limit speculation.

 

“It’s pretty crazy to see such a quick move in trading volumes, compared with historical levels,” Zhang Yu, an analyst with Yongan Futures Co., said by phone from Hangzhou in Zhejiang Province. “Some investors are exiting after the exchanges’ measures.”

Crazy Indeed…

 

Open interest, or the amount of outstanding contracts at the end of the day, has remained relatively unchanged throughout, indicating that the trading was short-term speculation, with traders holding positions for a few hours and cashing out before the end of the day. At the peak of the trading boom, daily aggregate volume across the contracts was more than four times open interest. It was 1.4 times by May 4.