Former US national security advisor: Trump team deserves ‘no more than a C+’ on Middle East approach

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration deserves “no more than a C plus” for how it has addressed conflict in the Middle East, according to a former U.S. national security advisor. However, Jones ultimately expressed optimism that the United States will stay committed to the region. On one such issue — the planned U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria — Jones said the tensions that have arisen between Washington and Ankara should not be litigated in public, but rather by careful discussion betwe


U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration deserves “no more than a C plus” for how it has addressed conflict in the Middle East, according to a former U.S. national security advisor. However, Jones ultimately expressed optimism that the United States will stay committed to the region. On one such issue — the planned U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria — Jones said the tensions that have arisen between Washington and Ankara should not be litigated in public, but rather by careful discussion betwe
Former US national security advisor: Trump team deserves ‘no more than a C+’ on Middle East approach Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-01-14  Authors: shirley tay, delil souleiman, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, plus, syria, national, say, middle, president, east, trump, regard, security, advisor, deserves, washington, nato, approach, jones, kurdish, team


Former US national security advisor: Trump team deserves 'no more than a C+' on Middle East approach

U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration deserves “no more than a C plus” for how it has addressed conflict in the Middle East, according to a former U.S. national security advisor.

James Jones — who served as NSA under former President Barack Obama and as supreme allied commander of NATO forces in Europe during George W. Bush’s presidency — said Monday that it isn’t clear exactly what the White House wants to do in the Middle East because of apparently “disparate” messages it has sent. However, Jones ultimately expressed optimism that the United States will stay committed to the region.

“I think generally — with regard to the main threats: with regard to Iran, with regard to ISIS, with regard to Russia — I would say, at this point, because there’s some confusion, I would say, no more than a C plus,” Jones told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” when asked what grade he would give to the administration’s handling of the various issues in the Middle East.

On one such issue — the planned U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria — Jones said the tensions that have arisen between Washington and Ankara should not be litigated in public, but rather by careful discussion between the two governments.

“You really have to have serious meetings at both capitals with the intent of fixing what right now is somewhat fractured,” he said.

That comment came after Trump threatened in a Sunday evening Twitter post to “devastate” Turkey’s economy if the NATO ally “hit” the Kurds.

As the U.S. prepares to withdraw from Syria, it’s set to leave behind an increasingly fraught situation between its Kurdish partners on the ground and its ally in Ankara. Turkey has said it is planning an offensive against the Kurds, but Washington has said it requires guarantees of safety for the Kurdish fighters that helped it against Islamic State, the extremist group also known as ISIS.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-01-14  Authors: shirley tay, delil souleiman, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, plus, syria, national, say, middle, president, east, trump, regard, security, advisor, deserves, washington, nato, approach, jones, kurdish, team


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As Trump officials double down on Iran, allies’ nervousness over US policy grows

It’s been a confusing couple of weeks for U.S. allies in the Middle East. White House officials have been making the rounds in the region, reiterating the U.S. administration’s signature fierce rhetoric against Iranian geopolitical ambitions. But the message’s divergence from Trump’s own policy decision was not lost on observers and allies. “But I’m hearing from officials in the Middle East more concern about American predictability over time. They want to believe there’s this permanent shift on


It’s been a confusing couple of weeks for U.S. allies in the Middle East. White House officials have been making the rounds in the region, reiterating the U.S. administration’s signature fierce rhetoric against Iranian geopolitical ambitions. But the message’s divergence from Trump’s own policy decision was not lost on observers and allies. “But I’m hearing from officials in the Middle East more concern about American predictability over time. They want to believe there’s this permanent shift on
As Trump officials double down on Iran, allies’ nervousness over US policy grows Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-01-14  Authors: natasha turak
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, trumps, syria, allies, president, middle, trump, nervousness, double, state, security, grows, shift, policy, iran, officials, troops


As Trump officials double down on Iran, allies' nervousness over US policy grows

It’s been a confusing couple of weeks for U.S. allies in the Middle East.

White House officials have been making the rounds in the region, reiterating the U.S. administration’s signature fierce rhetoric against Iranian geopolitical ambitions.

But the pledges of continued U.S. support directly contradict what’s been described as President Donald Trump’s isolationist drive, which in its latest manifestation saw the announcement via tweet to withdraw all American troops from Syria — the very theater that officials had previously spotlighted as key to pushing back on Iran.

“You have a tweet from the president about withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria after months of working together with our allies in the Arab world, with the interagency and State Department, Pentagon,” Fred Kempe, president of the Atlantic Council, told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble in Abu Dhabi on Saturday. “And suddenly everything’s changed with a single tweet.”

Trump’s December decision drew a barrage of criticism from lawmakers and security experts alike, who warned that the so-called Islamic State was not completely defeated in the war-torn country and that an abrupt departure would be abandoning U.S. local partners on the ground. So Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security advisor John Bolton, among others, have been sent to reassure allies of U.S. commitment in the region — but it may be too late to quell their fears.

Pompeo laid out his framing of America’s vision for the Middle East during his speech in Cairo on Thursday. “When America retreats, chaos often follows. When we neglect our friends, resentment builds. And when we partner with enemies, they advance,” he said.

But the message’s divergence from Trump’s own policy decision was not lost on observers and allies.

“There’s a nervousness — one wants to believe that message,” Kempe said. “But I’m hearing from officials in the Middle East more concern about American predictability over time. They want to believe there’s this permanent shift on behalf of allies to stand up to Iran, there are a lot of signs that’s really there, but they’re made nervous by the Syria shift.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-01-14  Authors: natasha turak
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, trumps, syria, allies, president, middle, trump, nervousness, double, state, security, grows, shift, policy, iran, officials, troops


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Falling oil prices will be a hidden blessing for Saudi start-ups, investor says

In a part of the world better known for towering skyscrapers and oil than for its startup scene, Gulf Arab entrepreneurs might be seeing bright times ahead. That’s according to Fadi Ghandour, executive chairman of Wanda Group, whose venture capital fund invests in tech companies all over the Middle East and North Africa. Now that oil prices are dramatically down from their October highs, the veteran Middle East investor says the market moves “will definitely be a blessing in disguise” and in tha


In a part of the world better known for towering skyscrapers and oil than for its startup scene, Gulf Arab entrepreneurs might be seeing bright times ahead. That’s according to Fadi Ghandour, executive chairman of Wanda Group, whose venture capital fund invests in tech companies all over the Middle East and North Africa. Now that oil prices are dramatically down from their October highs, the veteran Middle East investor says the market moves “will definitely be a blessing in disguise” and in tha
Falling oil prices will be a hidden blessing for Saudi start-ups, investor says Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-01-11  Authors: natasha turak, simon dawson, bloomberg, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, middle, falling, investor, arab, prices, hidden, faster, east, scale, ghandour, blessing, region, startups, oil, saudi


Falling oil prices will be a hidden blessing for Saudi start-ups, investor says

In a part of the world better known for towering skyscrapers and oil than for its startup scene, Gulf Arab entrepreneurs might be seeing bright times ahead. That’s according to Fadi Ghandour, executive chairman of Wanda Group, whose venture capital fund invests in tech companies all over the Middle East and North Africa.

“For years we’ve said there is an inverse relationship between how change happens on the regulatory environment and the price of oil — the lower the price of oil, the faster the change process happens,” Ghandour told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble on Thursday, pointing to Arab Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates whose economies have historically been dependent on hydrocarbon revenues.

Now that oil prices are dramatically down from their October highs, the veteran Middle East investor says the market moves “will definitely be a blessing in disguise” and in that it will force the development of sustainable, knowledge-based economies and jobs. He believes that startups founded five or more years ago are now reaching their maturity stage, meaning there will be more businesses scaling up in the next several years — if they can get the necessary support.

“These companies born somewhere around 2011, 2012, have raised much more money, they are growing much faster, the region is adopting mobile smartphone technology much faster, they are interacting much faster and at a much larger scale, specifically in Saudi Arabia,” Ghandour said.

“This is the time when there is size, there is scale, and the big funds globally who don’t want to take the risk early on, are going to be looking for entry into a market that they don’t have much presence in.” He pointed to New York-based global equity firm General Atlantic’s investment of $120 million in Dubai-based website Property Finder last November. The Middle East real estate platform was founded in 2007 and has been profitable since 2013.

Investments in Middle East and North Africa (MENA)-based startups went up by 31 percent between 2017 and 2018 to $893 million, with 366 deals made, according to Magnitt, a regional data platform for investors. The database also found that more than 155 institutions invested in MENA startups in 2018, 30 percent of which were from outside the region and 47 percent of which had not previously invested in the region.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-01-11  Authors: natasha turak, simon dawson, bloomberg, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, middle, falling, investor, arab, prices, hidden, faster, east, scale, ghandour, blessing, region, startups, oil, saudi


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Forget the US and Asia, the top 5 countries for expats are in Europe and the Middle East

If you plan to embark on a new career move this year, you should try casting your eye to Europe or the Middle East. That’s according to a new report from HSBC, which found that the top five countries for expat workers were all outside North America and Asia. It found that select nations in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region scored most highly. Notable expat destinations in Asia and North America — such as the U.S., Canada and Hong Kong — also made gains this year and appeared in th


If you plan to embark on a new career move this year, you should try casting your eye to Europe or the Middle East. That’s according to a new report from HSBC, which found that the top five countries for expat workers were all outside North America and Asia. It found that select nations in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region scored most highly. Notable expat destinations in Asia and North America — such as the U.S., Canada and Hong Kong — also made gains this year and appeared in th
Forget the US and Asia, the top 5 countries for expats are in Europe and the Middle East Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-01-08  Authors: karen gilchrist, david jrg engel, eyeem, eyeem premium, getty images, shanshihan, moment, jorg greuel, stone, laurie noble
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, region, forget, north, europe, countries, workers, asia, middle, destinations, report, expats, east, expat


Forget the US and Asia, the top 5 countries for expats are in Europe and the Middle East

If you plan to embark on a new career move this year, you should try casting your eye to Europe or the Middle East. That’s according to a new report from HSBC, which found that the top five countries for expat workers were all outside North America and Asia.

Based on responses from 22,318 expats working in 163 countries, the report measured those destinations deemed best for international workers along a series of metrics — such as work/life balance, earnings prospects and career development. It found that select nations in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region scored most highly.

Strong salaries, positive work cultures, job security and personal fulfillment opportunities all enabled the region to jump forward in the bank’s annual list and gain the top spots. Notable expat destinations in Asia and North America — such as the U.S., Canada and Hong Kong — also made gains this year and appeared in the top 10. But Singapore saw a drop this year, missing out on the top five to take its place among the final 10.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-01-08  Authors: karen gilchrist, david jrg engel, eyeem, eyeem premium, getty images, shanshihan, moment, jorg greuel, stone, laurie noble
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, region, forget, north, europe, countries, workers, asia, middle, destinations, report, expats, east, expat


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‘Brave’ investors can find opportunities in Asia — especially in Hong Kong, strategist says

“I think if we do have a trade deal with China, let’s say by the middle of 2019, then Asia will be the place to be in terms of equities.” Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index is coming off its worst annual performance in seven years, finishing 2018 down 13.6 percent. It fell another 3 percent in the first two trading days of this year as global markets tanked. Shares in the semi-autonomous Chinese region are sensitive to movements on mainland exchanges, which also fell sharply last year. The U.


“I think if we do have a trade deal with China, let’s say by the middle of 2019, then Asia will be the place to be in terms of equities.” Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index is coming off its worst annual performance in seven years, finishing 2018 down 13.6 percent. It fell another 3 percent in the first two trading days of this year as global markets tanked. Shares in the semi-autonomous Chinese region are sensitive to movements on mainland exchanges, which also fell sharply last year. The U.
‘Brave’ investors can find opportunities in Asia — especially in Hong Kong, strategist says Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-01-04  Authors: kelly olsen, nikada, getty images, -stefan hofer, chief investment strategist at lgt bank
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, asia, hong, middle, terms, think, opportunities, brave, investors, strategist, trading, say, possible, region, markets, place, trade, especially, kong


'Brave' investors can find opportunities in Asia — especially in Hong Kong, strategist says

“I think if we do have a trade deal with China, let’s say by the middle of 2019, then Asia will be the place to be in terms of equities.”

Hofer suggested that thin liquidity and trading volumes during the opening week may be exacerbating the rough market conditions, and urged investors to be ready for possible good news.

“I think if we do have a trade deal with China, let’s say by the middle of 2019, then Asia will be the place to be in terms of equities because that has been the major overhang that has been a problem for Asian markets,” he said.

Hofer sees opportunity in Hong Kong’s battered market, which he described as a “great place to start” for those willing to position themselves in the region for possible better times.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index is coming off its worst annual performance in seven years, finishing 2018 down 13.6 percent. It fell another 3 percent in the first two trading days of this year as global markets tanked.

Shares in the semi-autonomous Chinese region are sensitive to movements on mainland exchanges, which also fell sharply last year.

The U.S.-China tariff war has also dampened investor sentiment in Hong Kong as its economy relies heavily on trade.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2019-01-04  Authors: kelly olsen, nikada, getty images, -stefan hofer, chief investment strategist at lgt bank
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, asia, hong, middle, terms, think, opportunities, brave, investors, strategist, trading, say, possible, region, markets, place, trade, especially, kong


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Trump risks ‘damaging America’s reputation for the long term’ with Syria withdrawal, experts warn

U.S. President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement this week that he intends to withdraw all American troops out of Syria risks dealing a serious blow to his country’s credibility as an ally and partner, former national security officials and regional experts warned. Geopolitical experts are also sounding the alarm on the state of America’s international partnerships. Trump has long opposed U.S. military involvement in Syria, and his backers view the withdrawal decision as a campaign promise kept


U.S. President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement this week that he intends to withdraw all American troops out of Syria risks dealing a serious blow to his country’s credibility as an ally and partner, former national security officials and regional experts warned. Geopolitical experts are also sounding the alarm on the state of America’s international partnerships. Trump has long opposed U.S. military involvement in Syria, and his backers view the withdrawal decision as a campaign promise kept
Trump risks ‘damaging America’s reputation for the long term’ with Syria withdrawal, experts warn Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-12-22  Authors: natasha turak, win mcnamee, getty images, delil souleiman, afp
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, middle, officials, trump, risks, withdrawal, syria, reputation, wrote, defense, east, state, long, experts, term, damaging, warn


Trump risks 'damaging America's reputation for the long term' with Syria withdrawal, experts warn

U.S. President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement this week that he intends to withdraw all American troops out of Syria risks dealing a serious blow to his country’s credibility as an ally and partner, former national security officials and regional experts warned.

That decision, announced in a Twitter post, was reportedly the “breaking point” for Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who submitted his resignation letter a day later. The 68-year-old retired Marine Corps general said he was leaving the administration in part because he does not agree with Trump on a number of issues, and cited the importance of alliances.

Geopolitical experts are also sounding the alarm on the state of America’s international partnerships.

“(Trump’s Syria move) risks not only jeopardizing the near-term U.S. interest of stabilizing a key part of the Middle East, but also damaging America’s reputation for the long term,” Turkey expert Soner Cagaptay and former Defense Department and Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Dana Stroul wrote in a brief for The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Trump has long opposed U.S. military involvement in Syria, and his backers view the withdrawal decision as a campaign promise kept. He announced the defeat the Islamic State (IS), arguing that America should no longer fight others’ battles for them.

But defense officials and lawmakers reject the assertion that IS is finished, and say that America still has commitments to allies on the ground and a reputation to uphold.

“Next time the U.S. needs to challenge an imminent terror threat somewhere in the world, we’ll presumably want to do so ‘by, with & through,’ using local partners,” wrote Charles Lister, senior fellow at the Middle East Institute and author of “The Syrian Jihad.”

“You think they’re going to trust us now? Not a chance.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-12-22  Authors: natasha turak, win mcnamee, getty images, delil souleiman, afp
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, middle, officials, trump, risks, withdrawal, syria, reputation, wrote, defense, east, state, long, experts, term, damaging, warn


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Blame Saudi Arabia and the US for regional instability, Iran’s foreign minister says

Iran called out its regional rival Saudi Arabia in response to accusations that Tehran is a leading state sponsor of terror, accusing Riyadh and the United States of fomenting ‘dangerous escalations’ in the Middle East. “It’s the wrong policies that are being followed, not only by Saudi Arabia but by its allies in the West who have given it a blank check to continue to make these very dangerous escalations in the region,” Zarif added. Zarif’s hit at Saudi Arabia was unsurprising, given the recen


Iran called out its regional rival Saudi Arabia in response to accusations that Tehran is a leading state sponsor of terror, accusing Riyadh and the United States of fomenting ‘dangerous escalations’ in the Middle East. “It’s the wrong policies that are being followed, not only by Saudi Arabia but by its allies in the West who have given it a blank check to continue to make these very dangerous escalations in the region,” Zarif added. Zarif’s hit at Saudi Arabia was unsurprising, given the recen
Blame Saudi Arabia and the US for regional instability, Iran’s foreign minister says Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-12-15  Authors: natasha turak, getty images, ahmad al-basha, afp
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, yemen, tehran, region, middle, foreign, instability, arabia, minister, sponsor, regional, worlds, zarif, blame, irans, saudi


Blame Saudi Arabia and the US for regional instability, Iran's foreign minister says

Iran called out its regional rival Saudi Arabia in response to accusations that Tehran is a leading state sponsor of terror, accusing Riyadh and the United States of fomenting ‘dangerous escalations’ in the Middle East.

Speaking to CNBC’s Hadley Gamble at the Doha Forum in Qatar, Iranian foreign Minister Javad Zarif rejected the label of the world’s top sponsor of terrorism ascribed to it by Saudi Arabia and the U.S.

“I think actions speak much louder than words; what is happening in our region, now people are witnessing the source of instability in region, be it in Yemen, be it elsewhere,” the minister said.

“It’s the wrong policies that are being followed, not only by Saudi Arabia but by its allies in the West who have given it a blank check to continue to make these very dangerous escalations in the region,” Zarif added.

Zarif’s hit at Saudi Arabia was unsurprising, given the recent years of escalation between the Shia and Sunni powerhouses grappling for greater influence in the Middle East.

His comments referred to the four-year long civil war in Yemen, where a Saudi-led bombing campaign has contributed to thousands of deaths, economic collapse and what the U.N. has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. For their part, the Saudis have blamed Yemen’s Houthi rebels, who receive support from Tehran.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-12-15  Authors: natasha turak, getty images, ahmad al-basha, afp
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, yemen, tehran, region, middle, foreign, instability, arabia, minister, sponsor, regional, worlds, zarif, blame, irans, saudi


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China’s Cosco and Abu Dhabi Ports develop Khalifa to support Belt and Road initiative

Monday marks the inauguration of a 35-year concession agreement between Abu Dhabi Ports and China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) Shipping Ports. The deal will allow Cosco to operate and develop a new container terminal in Khalifa Port to support trade flows expected from China’s 60-country-wide infrastructure project. The belt and road initiative is a vast project designed to link China with much of Asia, Europe the Middle East and Africa, and to increase Beijing’s political and trade influence


Monday marks the inauguration of a 35-year concession agreement between Abu Dhabi Ports and China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) Shipping Ports. The deal will allow Cosco to operate and develop a new container terminal in Khalifa Port to support trade flows expected from China’s 60-country-wide infrastructure project. The belt and road initiative is a vast project designed to link China with much of Asia, Europe the Middle East and Africa, and to increase Beijing’s political and trade influence
China’s Cosco and Abu Dhabi Ports develop Khalifa to support Belt and Road initiative Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-12-10  Authors: karen gilchrist, bloomberg, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, khalifa, east, dhabi, serving, support, cosco, middle, road, initiative, trade, port, develop, ports, shipping, belt, chinas


China's Cosco and Abu Dhabi Ports develop Khalifa to support Belt and Road initiative

Monday marks the inauguration of a 35-year concession agreement between Abu Dhabi Ports and China Ocean Shipping Company (Cosco) Shipping Ports. The deal will allow Cosco to operate and develop a new container terminal in Khalifa Port to support trade flows expected from China’s 60-country-wide infrastructure project.

The belt and road initiative is a vast project designed to link China with much of Asia, Europe the Middle East and Africa, and to increase Beijing’s political and trade influence globally.

The port, which is situated halfway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, now serves over 25 shipping lines and has links to 70 international destinations. Al Shamisi said that makes it a “strategic location” for trade, not only within the United Arab Emirates and the Middle East, but the wider ecosystem.

“It’s huge … We are not serving the Middle East per se, but we are serving the North Africa Indian subcontinent and we are transitioning point to all of these destinations,” said Al Shamisi.

“Having such infrastructure where the biggest ships can enter and use Khalifa Port as a hub, it will serve the one belt one road, and it’s actually the heart of the one belt one road,” he added.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-12-10  Authors: karen gilchrist, bloomberg, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, khalifa, east, dhabi, serving, support, cosco, middle, road, initiative, trade, port, develop, ports, shipping, belt, chinas


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BP’s Middle East chief isn’t worried about low oil prices, says $50 a barrel is ‘within range’

Oil producers across North America may be looking at dialing back their investment plans amid plummeting oil prices in recent weeks, but BP’s Middle East chief is unfazed. “You don’t plan on today’s oil prices — you plan on a range,” Townshend said during a conference in Dubai organized by the Iraqi British Business Council. “We see a sensible range would be in that $50 to $70 range [?]. Asked if the lower oil prices would prove problematic for BP’s Iraq operations, Townshend replied that the co


Oil producers across North America may be looking at dialing back their investment plans amid plummeting oil prices in recent weeks, but BP’s Middle East chief is unfazed. “You don’t plan on today’s oil prices — you plan on a range,” Townshend said during a conference in Dubai organized by the Iraqi British Business Council. “We see a sensible range would be in that $50 to $70 range [?]. Asked if the lower oil prices would prove problematic for BP’s Iraq operations, Townshend replied that the co
BP’s Middle East chief isn’t worried about low oil prices, says $50 a barrel is ‘within range’ Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-11-26  Authors: natasha turak, haidar mohammed ali, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, chief, plan, middle, east, weeks, prices, investment, oil, worried, bps, iraqs, townshend, projects, isnt, 50, low, range


BP's Middle East chief isn't worried about low oil prices, says $50 a barrel is 'within range'

Oil producers across North America may be looking at dialing back their investment plans amid plummeting oil prices in recent weeks, but BP’s Middle East chief is unfazed.

The British oil giant has planned its investments with a wide price range in mind, accounting for drops like November’s, BP Middle East President Michael Townshend told CNBC on Sunday.

“You don’t plan on today’s oil prices — you plan on a range,” Townshend said during a conference in Dubai organized by the Iraqi British Business Council. “We see a sensible range would be in that $50 to $70 range [?]. And that’s what we plan on.”

Crude prices have been on a rollercoaster ride, falling to a year-low on Friday, just weeks after hitting a nearly four-year high in October ahead of U.S. sanctions on Iran, OPEC’s third-largest oil producer. Dubbed oil’s “Black Friday,” global benchmark Brent crude dropped 6.1 percent to $58.80, down 22 percent for the month on fears that the world is oversupplied.

The conference, centered on Iraq’s reconstruction one year after the defeat of the Islamic State militant group, highlighted the need for investment and improved efficiency in Iraq’s power sector. Asked if the lower oil prices would prove problematic for BP’s Iraq operations, Townshend replied that the company was prepared for turns in the market.

“Our investment decisions are all based on a range of pricing, they’re in that $50 to $70 range — whatever today happens to be, we have no control over whatever tomorrow happens to be,” he said. “Our job is to make sure we’re as efficient as possible so we can work through whatever the oil price is. We can’t predict the oil price.”

But if history is any guide, a drop in oil prices means a drop in Iraq’s capital expenditure, according to Frank Gunter, professor of economics at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Iraq’s government will likely have a much harder time funding its own infrastructure development projects, he said. [?]

When oil prices collapsed in 2014, capital expenditure dropped by 50 percent — meaning important investment projects were abandoned and had to be completely restarted years after.


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-11-26  Authors: natasha turak, haidar mohammed ali, afp, getty images
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, chief, plan, middle, east, weeks, prices, investment, oil, worried, bps, iraqs, townshend, projects, isnt, 50, low, range


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Saudi war game scenario shows peril of post-Khashoggi period for the US

The toxic aftermath of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder has allies feuding, adversaries scheming, and competitors jockeying for influence among Muslims worldwide. One possible outcome in the below scenario is the worst regional war the Middle East has seen. He considers two options: a secure call to President Donald Trump to request he join his Saudi allies against their common foe. Or, alternatively, the Saudi Air Force strikes Iran, provoking a counterstrike that it hopes will bring A


The toxic aftermath of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder has allies feuding, adversaries scheming, and competitors jockeying for influence among Muslims worldwide. One possible outcome in the below scenario is the worst regional war the Middle East has seen. He considers two options: a secure call to President Donald Trump to request he join his Saudi allies against their common foe. Or, alternatively, the Saudi Air Force strikes Iran, provoking a counterstrike that it hopes will bring A
Saudi war game scenario shows peril of post-Khashoggi period for the US Cached Page below :
Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-11-23  Authors: fred kempe, mark wilson, pool via bloomberg
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, scenario, middle, war, iran, american, yemen, values, period, saudi, shows, game, peril, risk, postkhashoggi, allies, worry


Saudi war game scenario shows peril of post-Khashoggi period for the US

DUBAI – Even in a region that specializes in nightmare scenarios, the “war game” below got my attention because it falls within the realm of the possible and the horrible.

What makes it even more explosive is the context. The toxic aftermath of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder has allies feuding, adversaries scheming, and competitors jockeying for influence among Muslims worldwide.

One possible outcome in the below scenario is the worst regional war the Middle East has seen. Another could be a historic rupture in U.S. relations with Saudi Arabia.

A Middle Eastern government analyst, when asked what risk keeps him awake at night, frames the scenario this way:

Iranian-backed Houthi militia in Yemen break a fragile cease-fire with a missile launched at Riyadh, the Saudi capital. Unlike so many before it, this missile slips through Saudi air defenses and lands on a shopping mall in early evening, the busiest time of the day. The strike takes mass casualties and sets off panic. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, already rattled by U.S. and European backlash from the Khashoggi killing, blames Tehran for the attack, knows he must respond, but is unsure what allies he can count on. Advisors argue he must strike Iran itself, given the scale of the carnage, the pointlessness of striking targets in Yemen, and questions swirling about his leadership. However, he lacks the offensive and defensive wherewithal for a sustained war with Iran. He considers two options: a secure call to President Donald Trump to request he join his Saudi allies against their common foe. Or, alternatively, the Saudi Air Force strikes Iran, provoking a counterstrike that it hopes will bring American allies into the fighting. In either case, the U.S. president is left to decide: double-down on a tainted ally or stand aside and risk those consequences.

This is just one of many perilous scenarios that experts in the region are discussing as potential “aftershocks” from the Khashoggi killing.

What U.S. allies worry about most are the consequences of understandable U.S. and European reaction to the murder –brutal, foolish and irresponsible as it was – that disregards the risk of weakening U.S. alliances, strengthening the already growing role of China and Russia, and fueling pan-Islamist momentum.

Most of all, they worry about a slowing or even a reversal of moves over the last two years by the Saudi crown prince to turn his kingdom against the support and financing of Islamist extremism that was in no small part a result of previous Saudi leadership.

The ongoing Saudi affair highlights a historic tension in U.S. foreign policy between American values and interests. Without its values as a guide, the United States loses its unique attraction as a global power. Yet values alone would have failed to win the Cold War against the Soviet Union – and will likely fail now in the Middle East as well.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board this week joined a chorus of criticism of Trump’s statement this week that leaned toward all interests and no values. “Ronald Reagan,” said the Wall Street Journal, “pursued a hard-line, often controversial foreign policy against Soviet Communism, but he did so with a balance of unblinkered realism and American idealism. Mr. Trump seems incapable of such balance.”


Company: cnbc, Activity: cnbc, Date: 2018-11-23  Authors: fred kempe, mark wilson, pool via bloomberg
Keywords: news, cnbc, companies, scenario, middle, war, iran, american, yemen, values, period, saudi, shows, game, peril, risk, postkhashoggi, allies, worry


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