Monthly Archives: July 2015

Varoufakis did have preliminary authorisation to prepare the ground for a Grexit

Former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has claimed that he was authorized by Alexis Tsipras last December to look into a parallel payment system that would operate using wiretapped tax registration numbers (AFMs), which could eventually work as a parallel banking system.

In a teleconference call with members of international hedge funds on July 16 this year, coordinated by former British Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, Varoufakis claimed to have been given authorisation by Tsipras last December – a month before the general elections that brought SYRIZA to power – to plan a payment system that could operate in euros but which could be changed into drachmas “overnight” if necessary.

Varoufakis worked with a small team to prepare the plan, which would have eventually required a staff of 1,000 to implement but did not get the final go-ahead from Tsipras to proceed.

Listen to the recording of the conversation on*:


*Yanis Varoufaris, in this conversation, describes the fact that Angela Merkel and the German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, were on different sides of the fence on the Greek problem, and, what has become the subject of a recent article by Varoufakis in Die Zeit, that Schäuble actually wanted a Grexit in order to have leverage over France regarding instituting a transfer of budgetary powers from Paris to Brussels across the Eurozone. This is something which the French government is clearly trying to avoid at all costs, given its out-of-control finances.

The US agreement with Turkey

US State Department spokesperson John Kirby said: “Turkey has continued to come under attack by PKK terrorists, and we recognize their right to defend themselves against those attacks”. This confirms the tacit agreement between the US and Turkey described in our previous post, which includes a buffer zone inside Syria




Terrorism and Turkey’s politics

The recent suicide bombing in Suruç aimed at members of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations was aimed at tripping up the Kurdish reconciliation process. Militant Kurds do not want the HDP (the Peoples’ Democratic Party which garnered much of the Kurdish vote in the last elections) to dilute Kurdish demands. The AK party was committed to a reconciliation process and has asked the HDP to distance itself from the PKK formally, which doesn’t appear to be happening.

If the AK party cannot carry a dialogue of reconciliation forward then the hard left will collude with the Kurds and the Alevi minority to create a left coalition against a right AK party, taking Turkish politics into a new era of divisiveness.

The immediate response of the Turkish government has been to change facts on the ground. To disable a Syrian Kurdish state, it has sought a buffer zone on Syrian territory, which the US refused to concede. The Turkish response was to refuse help in the fight against ISIS. However, the situation has become so grave that the US has changed its position on that issue. So Turkey has agreed to help and given the US permission to use Inçirlik and Diyarbakir airbases, in exchange for greater freedom to operate outside its borders to deny Syrian Kurds room to manoeuvre.

This will drive more activity within the Turkish political sphere. The correct political response is to keep holding the olive branch. This will mean that a coalition with the nationalist MHP will never be possible for the AKP. However, if talks with the CHP fail and new elections become necessary, many votes, concerned about the country’s stability, will leave the HDP and the MHP to go back to the AKP, especially of the violence continues.

Nine reasons Obama is going to win on Iran. The first: Netanyahu

We have said all along this deal is going through. Philip Weiss lists who is going to vote for it:

53 percent of Americans supported the deal in April, it’s bound to be higher now
J Street is supporting it – the left-wing of the Israel lobby – which tells us that 59% of American Jews support the deal [see;]
Dianne Feinstein is going to support the deal
So is Nancy Pelosi
National Jewish Democratic Coalition
Many diplomats and Nuclear Experts [see:]
Samantha Power
The Carnegie Center and the Atlantic Council
We said some time ago that Hillary Clinton was supporting the deal
Charles Ellis “Chuck” Schumer – the pro-Israel senior Senator from New York
Jonathan Chait – neocon-lite – the bellwether of Jewish establishment support
and so on
read the article on

Yahia Hamid: Gulf states as much to blame as Sisi if Morsi is executed

يحيى حامد: داعمو السيسي شركاء في جريمة التخطيط لإعدام مرسي

علق في عربي 21 أمس يحيى حامد على الخطط التي يعدها نظام السيسي لإعدام الرئيس الشرعي مرسي، مشيرا إلى أن تنفيذ هذه الخطط سيؤدي إلى زلزال في المنطقة  لا يعرف إلا الله مداه فقال: “النظام فاقد للشرعية.. وأن رأس هذا النظام يتخبط، ويعتقد أنه ما دام السيد الرئيس على قيد الحياة فإن سيف الشرعية المتمثّلة بالرئيس سيلاحقه في كل لحظة وفي كل مكان.. ولذلك فهو معني بجنونه في تنفيذ الإعدامات ظانا أن في ذلك خلاصه”

وتعليقا على دور السعودية قال: “أقول بشكل واضح إن على من عاون وأيد الانقلاب علنا أن يوقفه ويكف يده علنا، وإلا فإنه سيكون شريكا في الجريمة بحق الرئيس الصامد المدافع عن وطنه بل بحق كل مصري حر. أوجه كلامي إلى قادة دول الخليج وعلى رأسها السعودية.. صمتكم غير مقبول ولا يمكن تبريره أو فهمه إلا لإعطاء الضوء الأخضر لتنفيذ جريمة الإعدام”.

و أضاف: “إن فعلها الخائن وأعدم الرئيس فإن ذلك سيؤدي إلى زلزال لا يعلم مداه وعواقبه إلا الله… والله غالب على أمره ولكن أكثر الناس لا يعلمون”.

Yahia Hamid warned Arabi21 yesterday against plans by Sisi’s regime to execute Egypt’s first freely elected President Mohamed Morsi. He added that Sisi’s junta is illegitimate and that the head of the regime is floundering. It believes that so long as Morsi is alive, this régime will continue to be haunted by the sword of legitimacy that he represents at all times and all places. This is the reason, he added, that Sisi’s regime is obsessed with carrying out the death sentences believing this to be the solution for its predicament.

Regarding the Saudi role Hamid said: “I would say it loud and clear: those who publicly aided and supported the coup should intervene to stop him and restrain him also publicly. Otherwise, they will be partners in the crime perpetrated against the steadfast president who is defending his country. It will even be a crime against every free Egyptian. I tell the leaders of the Gulf states, foremost among them Saudi Arabia, your silence is unacceptable. It can neither be understood nor defended. It amounts to giving the green light for the crime of execution to proceed.”

He added: “If the traitor goes ahead and executes the president, this will lead to an earthquake whose repercussions only God can know.”


If the AKP can’t form a coalition with the CHP, it’s elections again in Turkey

As noted on June 24th in the piece by Osman Can, the only real coalition option was between the polar opposites AKP and CHP. Ahmet Davutoğlu has now confirmed this and is in talks with the CHP. But he is unable to form a coalition with the CHP, tradition dictates the president offer the party that received the second most votes the chance to create a viable administration within another 45-day period. Should this also fail , early elections must be called and a prime minister appointed within five days to form an interim government consisting of representatives from all four parties until the end of elections.

Iran engaged in a nuclear programme specifically to end US sanctions

Gareth Porter writes:

Iran had long viewed its nuclear programme not only in terms of energy and scientific advancement but also as a way of inducing the United States to negotiate an end to the extraordinary legal status in which Iran has been placed for so long. Even during the Bill Clinton administration Iranian strategists wanted to get the United States to move toward more normal relations, but Clinton was determined to be the most pro-Israeli administration in US history, and instead imposed a complete trade embargo on Iran.

Clinton eventually offered a “dialogue” with Iran but made it clear that he had no intention of giving up the sanctions against Iran. The lesson that Iranian strategists, including then secretary of the Supreme National Security Council and now President Hassan Rouhani, learned from the Clinton years was that the United States would only negotiate the end of its sanctions against Iran if was convinced that the cost and risk of refusing to negotiate was too high.

read on at


The crushing of Greece

Tsipras has capitulated. Syriza’s zero privatization promise has been reversed in the latest deal, which will see Germany advancing money only after a pile of new laws are passed in the Greek parliament to its benefit. All that merely for extending the maturities on the debt a few years: proverbially kicking the can down the road. Syriza has betrayed the Greek ‘no’ vote. We shall be back in the same place again in a few years. Yanis Varoufakis, who resigned as finance minister,  says of the deal that it is “absolutely impossible, totally non-viable and toxic …[they were] the kind of proposals you present to another side when you don’t want an agreement…. This country must stop extending and pretending, we must stop taking on new loans pretending that we’ve solved the problem, when we haven’t; when we have made our debt even less sustainable on condition of further austerity that even further shrinks the economy; and shifts the burden further onto the have-nots, creating a humanitarian crisis.”

Varoufakis was taken off the negotiating team even while he was Finance Minister, the reason he said: “I try and talk economics in the Eurogroup” – the club of 19 finance ministers whose countries use the Euro – “which nobody does.” I asked him what happened when he did…  it’s not that it didn’t go down well – there was point blank refusal to engage in economic arguments. Point blank. You put forward an argument that you’ve really worked on, to make sure it’s logically coherent, and you’re just faced with blank stares. It is as if you haven’t spoken. What you say is independent of what they say. You might as well have sung the Swedish national anthem – you’d have got the same reply.”

Varoufakis had warned the Greek cabinet that the ECB would close Greece’s banks to force a deal, but he recommended that, in such an event, Greece issue euro-denominated IOUs, apply a “haircut” to the bonds Greek issued to the ECB in 2012 (thus reducing Greece’s debt), and finally seize control of the Bank of Greece from the ECB. These moves would have laid the groundwork for a possible Grexit, and considerably strengthened Greece’s negotiating position. This plan of his was what cost Varoufakis his job, when the six-strong inner cabinet voted on it, and it failed to pass by four votes to two. Tsipras was against the plan because a Grexit was potentially a very difficult thing to manage.

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