U.S. Appeasement of Iran Has Opened the Door to a Sino-Saudi Attack on the Dollar

March 21 2022

Not long after Riyadh rebuffed the White House’s entreaties to pump more oil to offset the economic effects of sanctions on Russia, reports emerged that Saudi Arabia has entered into negotiations with China to begin selling oil in yuan. Such a shift to Chinese currency would undermine the dollar’s dominant status in global petroleum markets. Ed Morrissey observes:

This isn’t an energy problem, so it can’t be fixed by rapidly increasing American production—at least not directly. This is a diplomatic and strategic issue, one that Joe Biden’s pursuit of a renewed [nuclear] deal with Iran has exacerbated, if not almost entirely created. The Obama administration also bent toward Tehran at the expense of the regional Sunni states, but the Saudis et al. benefited from Donald Trump’s rejection of the [2015 nuclear agreement] and a focus on U.S. alliances [with Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel].

That’s the strategic outlook from the Saudi [perspective]. The strategic outlook from China is just as obvious, although an attack on the dollar would be risky for Beijing. They hold a lot of U.S. currency in reserve, after all, and that is one way they manipulate the yuan.

China could decide that the strategic value of dismantling [the global monetary policy established in 1944 at] Bretton Woods outweighs the damage they could do to themselves in the short run. As for the Saudis, they might end up noting that China has been facilitating the Iran deal, as noted by Putin’s interlocutor in the talks, Mikhail Ulyanov. [The Saudi discussions about the yuan] could just be a shot across Biden’s bow to deflect the White House from a very bad deal with the mullahs of Tehran.

As if to underscore Saudi grievances, yesterday Iran-backed Houthi guerrillas in Yemen launched missile and drone attacks at several fossil-fuel and water-desalination plants in the kingdom.

Read more at Hot Air

More about: China, Iran, Oil, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy, Yemen

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy