Real Wealth Society

Saturday, March 04, 2006

ScandiArabia By Fred Cederholm

I’ve been thinking about “Scandiarabia.” Actually I’ve been thinking about Scandinavia, Hans Blix, the Jyllands-Posten cartoons, Norwegian oil, Sven Arild Andersen, and the US Dollar. While the images of snow capped mountains, reindeer, and stable political democracies of the Scandinavian countries are a far cry from the images of arid geography, camels, and questionable stability of the oligarchies of the Arabian Peninsula; there are clear links.

You see, Scandinavian connections figure predominantly in the unfolding drama of the present war/instability in the Middle East - and have so since before the US invasion of Iraq on March 19th, 2003. The significance of these “Scandiarabia” factors cannot be downplayed. Two of these links (with ongoing ramifications) have already transpired. One more link between these regions is about to unfold in the coming weeks. It will hit with a bang, and not a whimper.

The Swedish career diplomat and Doctor of Laws, Hans Blix, had served as the Director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1981 to 1997. In 2000, he was brought from retirement by UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan to head the UN Monitoring Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) in Iraq. His team of investigators was finding the Saddam regime in Iraq had neither weapons of mass destruction nor ongoing nuclear weapon development capabilities. His conclusions were made very public.

When his Commission’s findings were not acceptable (and ignored) by the Bush and the Blair governments, Blix publicly stated: they had “over-interpreted the case for war,” and (by going to war, the US and the UK) “ignored the view of the majority of the Security Council, leading to a loss of legitimacy for the invasion.” His statements did not endear him to either 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or Number 10 Downing Street. Three years of warfare, over 3000 US/UK casualties, and over $300 BILLION in costs; have yet to prove his findings wrong!

The publication of depictions of twelve comic representations of the central figures of Islam by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, and their re-publication globally have triggered worldwide riots and other acts of violence. Are they “directly” responsible for the past week’s bombings and intra-Islam conflicts in Iraq? It is impossible to say, but they certainly did not help the situation. Iraq is now on the brink of all-out civil war, and the “light at the end of the tunnel,” is looking more and more like an on-coming train!

Norway is the third largest player in the global petroleum market. Its exports from the North Sea fields are only surpassed globally by Saudi Arabia and Russia. Norway’s role in the international oil market is about to increase because on Tuesday, Feb. 21st, 2006, 192 additional exploration lease parcels of the Norwegian North Sea fields were offered for sale. This was the largest such sale in over 40 years. It is important to note that Norway is neither a member of the European Union (EU) nor is it a member of OPEC. Its currency is the Krone – not the EURO.

On Dec. 27th, 2005, it was published (in Norwegian) that Swen Arild Andersen, the Director of the Norwegian (energy) Bourse, would pursue an expanded role for their exchange in the trading of Norway’s oil, and that the transactions would be denominated in EURO’s. Andersen stated:” "We have performed market studies and both Russia, which is a large oil exporter, as well as the countries of the Middle East have large parts of their economies in Euros. They would be able to view such a bourse as a contribution to balancing their economies in a better manner than at present, where their products are traded solely in dollars,"

The Norwegian article was not translated (and re-published) in English until Feb 22nd, 2006 and this development comes on the back of the already much publicized Iranian Energy Bourse scheduled to commence trading oil, gas, and petro-chemical (in EURO’s) on March 20th, 2006. The largest mandated use of the US dollar (up to now) has been for the purchase of oil. Accepting the EURO for oil sales was begun by Saddam of Iraq in December 2002. Chavez of Venezuela has since followed suit. Now, it is Iran, Norway, and… – Ca-Ching, Ca-Ching, Ca-Ching – OUCH! I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too
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Copyright 2006 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved.

To “audit” this column and to learn more about the subjects discussed, please check out:

Profile: Hans Blix
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/2268819.stm

CHANGING FACE OF IRAQ -- Hans Blix: Profile
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/E6D5D6EB-B320-475C-8F87-A42C8FC7A061.htm

Hans Blix: War Planned 'Long in Advance'
http://truthout.org/docs_03/041203A.shtml

THINKING ABOUT CARTOONS
http://real-wealth-society.blogspot.com/2006/02/thinking-about-cartoons-by-fred.html

Norway Offers 192 Oil Exploration Blocks
http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D8FTEVM82.htm?campaign_id=apn_home_ down&chan=db

Norwegian Bourse Director wants oil bourse - priced in euros (originally published in N0rwegian 12/27/05 – translated into English and re-published 02/22/06)
http://www.energybulletin.net/13081.html

Crude Oil and Total Petroleum Imports from top 15 countries (Source: Energy Information Agency of US Department of Energy)
http://www.eia.doe.gov/pub/oil_gas/petroleum/data_publications/company_level_imports/current/import.html

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