After several busy weeks, and with some 90% of S&P companies having already reported Q1 earnings, newsflow slows down and there are no blockbuster US data releases, but US retail sales (tomorrow) and a selection of US housing data will be the highlights. Across the globe, we will also see the monthly China economic activity data dump (tomorrow), GDP and CPI reports from Japan (Wednesday and Friday), along with labor market reports in the UK (tomorrow). In addition, there are a lot of central bank speakers, especially from the Fed. Fed Chair Powell and ECB President Lagarde both speak on Friday with the latter also up tomorrow.
Elsewhere the latest G7 summit starts on Friday in Hiroshima and earnings season still lingers with notable companies reporting being US retailers Walmart and Home Depot, along with China's tech giants Alibaba and Tencent.
Taking a more detailed look at the data, DB's Jim Reid starts with his preview of US retail sales tomorrow, where DB economists expect the headline to print at +0.7% in April, up from -0.6% previously, or +0.5% vs -0.4% ex autos (we will have a detailed retail sales preview later in the day). Headline will likely be boosted by strong auto sales in the month. The gain in ex-autos sales is likely to be gas price related while economists expect a flat reading on retail control (unch. vs. -0.3%), which is the direct input into GDP for goods spending. So consumption is grinding lower after a strong start to the year, something we detailed over the weekend in "There Goes The US Consumer: Card Data Reveal First Drop In Household Spending In Two Years As Upper-Income Wages Tumble, Unemployment Benefits Soar." Investors will also get a read on the US consumer from US retailers which report earnings, including Walmart (Thursday), Target (Wednesday) and Home Depot (tomorrow).
Tomorrow's NAHB housing market index (DB at 44 vs. 46) starts the week for US housing data and will be followed by Wednesday's housing starts and permits and then Thursday's existing home sales.
Thursday's jobless claims will be more important than usual for a couple of reasons. Firstly it is the survey week for the next payrolls release and secondly we saw it confirmed on Friday that a decent slug of the recent rise in claims were likely due to fraudulent filings in Massachusetts. This state seems to have accounted for around half the +23% rise in the 4-week moving average claims number from the late January lows. The 4-week moving average for continuing claims is up around 10% this year so the labor market is easing but not quite as much as the raw claims numbers had suggested.
In Europe, the UK labor market data tomorrow will be interesting following last week's twelfth consecutive BoE meeting hike. Whether the data shows persistent wage pressures, following the last hot print, will likely contribute to whether a pause is feasible at the next meeting on June 22, although another round of wages and inflation data will be due by then as well. The house view is that they will hike another 25bps in June which will be the last for the cycle but with the risks that there'll be more. Elsewhere in Europe, key indicators include the ZEW survey (tomorrow) and the PPI report (Friday) for Germany and Q1 GDP, trade balance for March (tomorrow) and industrial production (today) for the Eurozone.
This week will also be a busy one for the major Asian economies. Starting with Japan, Q1 GDP will be released on Wednesday, trade balance data on Thursday, and the CPI report on Friday.
In China, investors will be focused on the latest economic activity signals tomorrow, with the release of retail sales, industrial production and property investment data. Amid base effects, our economists expect +11% and +21% YoY growth in industrial production and retail sales, respectively (vs 3.9% and 10.6% in March). The industrial production print and its contrast with retail sales will be especially in focus given flailing momentum in the former. New home prices data are due on Wednesday.
China will also be in the spotlight for corporate earnings this week. Its tech giants, including Alibaba (Thursday), Tencent (Wednesday) and Baidu (Tuesday) will be among the most anticipated reports. The full day-by-day week ahead in at the end as usual.
Q1 earnings season is in its final stages, with 80-90% of companies having reported in the US and in Europe. Earnings growth came in better than consensus expected, at -3% y/y in the US, and +3% y/y in Europe, which is a positive surprise factor of 7% and 10% vs IBES estimates, respectively. The low hurdle rate entering the reporting season, combined with the improving fundamentals during the quarter, has likely helped S&P500 blended EPS inflect higher. The last week of earnings as usual focuses on retailers, and we will hear from Walmart (Thursday), Target (Wednesday) and Home Depot (tomorrow).
Below is a day-by-day calendar of events courtesy of DB:
Monday May 15
- Data: US May Empire manufacturing index, Japan April PPI, machine tool orders, Italy March general government debt, Eurozone March industrial production, Canada March wholesale trade sales, April housing starts, existing home sales
- Central banks: Fed's Bostic, Kashkari and Cook speak, ECB's Nagel speaks, BoE's Pill speaks
- Earnings: Siemens Energy, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Sumitomo Mitsui, Mizuho, Catalent
Tuesday May 16
- Data: US May New York Fed services business activity, NAHB housing market index, April retail sales, industrial production, capacity utilization, March business inventories, China April retail sales, industrial production, property investment, UK Q1 output per hour, March average weekly earnings, employment change, April payrolled employees monthly change, Germany and Eurozone May ZEW survey, Eurozone Q1 GDP, employment, March trade balance, Canada April CPI, March manufacturing sales
- Central banks: Fed's Mester, Logan and Williams speak, Fed's Barr testifies before House Financial Services Committee, ECB's Lagarde and Makhlouf speak
- Earnings: Home Depot, Baidu, Vodafone
- Others: Joe Biden meets with Congressional Republicans to try to hammer out a deal on the debt ceiling. As covered above, this will be the key theme for the week. We will also see industrial production and retail sales numbers out of China (will that consumer-led revival materialize?) UK employment data, the German ZEW survey, US retail sales and Canadian CPI. ECB Chief Christine Lagarde will be providing comment, as will the ECB’s Makhlouf and a slew of Fed speakers that includes Mester, Barr, Williams, Goolsbee and Bostic.
Wednesday May 17
- Data: US April housing starts, building permits, China April new home prices, Japan Q1 GDP, Japan March capacity utilization, Italy March trade balance, France Q1 ilo unemployment rate, EU27 April new car registrations
- Central banks: Fed's Bostic and Goolsbee speak, ECB's Guindos speaks
- Earnings: Target, TJX, Cisco, Take-Two, Tencent, Siemens
- Other: Wednesday: Preliminary 1st quarter GDP data for Japan will kick off a relatively quiet day. The market is looking for a read of 0.2% q-o-q for GDP and 2.1% y-o-y for the price deflator. We will get US housing numbers for April later in the day where starts are seen falling slightly to 1400 for the month. De Cos, Elderson Centeno, Rehn and Guindos will all be in action for the ECB.
Thursday May 18
- Data: US May Philadelphia Fed business outlook, April leading index, existing home sales, initial jobless claims, Japan April trade balance
- Central banks: Fed's Jefferson and Logan speak, Fed's Barr testifies before Senate Banking Committee, BoE's Pill speaks, BoC's Financial System Review
- Earnings: Alibaba, Walmart, Applied Materials, SQM, BT, easyJet
- Other: Thursday is Aussie jobs Day. The expectation is for 25,000 new positions added in April with the unemployment rate to remain steady at 3.5% and participation also steady at 66.7%. US initial jobless claims will be released later in the day. Expectation there is for a figure of 252,000, well down on the prior read of 264,000. We will also get the Philadelphia Fed’s business outlook for May and the Bank of Canada’s Financial System Review. In terms of central bank speakers, human headline Huw Pill will be in action, as will BOE Governor Andrew Bailey, De Guindos from the ECB and the Fed’s Jefferson, Barr and Logan will also be speaking.
Friday May 19
- Data: UK May GfK consumer confidence, Japan April CPI, March tertiary industry index, Germany April PPI, Canada March retail sales
- Central banks: Fed's Powell, Williams and Bowman speak, ECB's Lagarde, De Cos and Schnabel speak, BoE's Haskel speaks
- Earnings: Deere
- Other: Kiwi trade balance numbers start us off on Friday. Bloomberg provides no estimates for this, but another atrocious number seems a safe bet given recent form. Japanese CPI figures will be out next with the market expecting prices to have risen 3.5% y-o-y in April (up three ticks from the previous month). Out of the UK we will get consumer confidence figures (likely diabolical) and the results of the Bloomberg economic survey, while in Germany we will see April PPI figures and over in the US we will also get results for the Bloomberg economic survey. The Bank of England’s Haskell will be speaking, as will the Fed’s Williams and Bowman. Later on Jerome Powell will be speaking on a panel with Ben Bernanke, while from the ECB we will hear from Lagarde, Schnabel and de Cos.
* * *
Finally, focusing on just the US, Goldman writes that the key economic data releases this week are retail sales on Tuesday and the Philly Fed manufacturing index on Thursday. There are many speaking engagements from Fed officials this week, including Chair Powell; Vice Chair Nominee Jefferson; governors Cook, Barr, and Bowman; and presidents Bostic, Goolsbee, Kashkari, Mester, Williams, and Logan.
Monday, May 15
- 07:30 AM Atlanta Fed President Bostic (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will participate in an interview with CNBC. On April 20, Bostic said, “Our policy works with the lag. We’ll have moved firmly into restrictive space. And then I think it’s time for us to let the restrictive action work its way through. And that will take some time.”
- 08:30 AM Chicago Fed President Goolsbee (FOMC voter) speaks: Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee will participate in an interview with CNBC. On May 10, Goolsbee said, “You don’t want to land the plane nose down. So we’re trying to balance off — can we slow the inflation without sending it into a recession…We’ve had some promising indicators on that front, but it’s always a possibility.” On May 8, he said, “I am certainly getting vibes…in the market and in the business context that a credit crunch or, at least, a credit squeeze, is beginning.”
- 08:30 AM Empire State manufacturing survey, May (consensus -4.0, last +10.8)
- 08:45 AM Atlanta Fed President Bostic (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will deliver welcoming remarks at the Atlanta Fed’s annual financial markets conference.
- 09:15 AM Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari (FOMC voter) speaks: Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari will participate in a moderated discussion at the ACEC's Minnesota Transportation Conference & Expo. Q&A with audience is expected. On May 11, Kashkari said, “Inflation has come down but it’s still well above our 2% target. We have seen some softening in wage growth nationally, but it’s very mixed…We’ve been surprised at how high it got, we’ve been surprised at how persistent it’s been. And it’s coming down – there is some evidence that it’s coming down. But so far it’s been pretty darn persistent. That means we’re going to keep at it for an extended period of time.”
- 02:00 PM Atlanta Fed President Bostic (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will participate in an interview with Bloomberg TV at 2:00 PM and hold a media Q&A at the Atlanta Fed’s financial markets conference at 3:00 PM.
- 05:00 PM Fed Governor Cook speaks: Fed Governor Lisa Cook will deliver a commencement address at the U.C. Berkeley Spring 2023 Economics Commencement. Speech text is expected. On April 21, Cook said, “Currently, with the federal funds rate target near 5%, I am looking at what rate will be sufficiently restrictive to bring inflation down to 2%, over time…If tighter financing conditions are a significant headwind on the economy, the appropriate path of the federal funds rate may be lower than it would be in their absence. But if data show continued strength in the economy and slower disinflation, we may have more work to do.”
Tuesday, May 16
- 08:15 AM Cleveland Fed President Mester (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will discuss the economic and policy outlook at a Global Interdependence Center event hosted by the Central Bank of Ireland. Speech text and a Q&A with the audience are expected. On April 20, Mester said, “I anticipate that monetary policy will need to move somewhat further into restrictive territory this year, with the fed funds rate moving above 5% and the real fed funds rate staying in positive territory for some time. Precisely how much higher the federal funds rate will need to go from here and for how long policy will need to remain restrictive will depend on economic and financial developments.”
- 08:30 AM Retail sales, April (GS +1.3%, consensus +0.8%, last -0.6%); Retail sales ex-auto, April (GS +0.8%, consensus +0.4%, last -0.4%) ;Retail sales ex-auto & gas, April (GS +0.4%, consensus +0.2%, last -0.3%); Core retail sales, April (GS +0.5%, consensus +0.3%, last -0.3%): We estimate core retail sales rebounded by 0.5% in April (ex-autos, gasoline, and building materials; mom sa). Our forecast reflects a rebound in high-frequency consumer spending data, including in mall-based categories such as clothing stores. However, we expect another month of flat-to-down grocery spending due to the expiration of pandemic food stamp benefits. We estimate a 1.3% rise in headline retail sales, reflecting higher auto sales and gasoline prices.
- 09:15 AM Industrial production, April (GS +0.2%, consensus flat, last +0.4%); Manufacturing production, April (GS +0.3%, consensus +0.1%, last -0.5%); Capacity utilization, April (GS 79.8%, consensus 79.7%, last 79.8%): We estimate industrial production increased 0.2% in April, as stronger auto production is partially offset by weaker natural gas utilities. We estimate capacity utilization remained at 79.8%.
- 10:00 AM Business inventories, March (consensus flat, last +0.2%)
- 10:00 AM NAHB housing market index, May (consensus 45, last 45)
- 10:00 AM Fed Governor Barr speaks: Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr will testify before the House Financial Services Committee in its Semiannual Hearing on Supervision and Regulation. Speech text will be available.
- 12:15 PM New York Fed President Williams (FOMC voter) speaks: New York Fed President John Williams will participate in a moderated discussion on the economic outlook and monetary policy at an event hosted by the University of the Virgin Islands. On May 9, Williams said, “We haven't said we are done raising rates…We've made incredible progress" but "if additional policy firming is appropriate, we'll do that.” He added, “In my forecast I see a need to keep a restrictive stance of policy in place for quite some time to make sure we really bring inflation down from 4% all the way to 2%. I do not see in my baseline forecast any reason to cut interest rates this year.”
- 02:30 PM Chicago Fed President Goolsbee (FOMC voter) speaks: Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee will participate in an interview with Bloomberg TV.
- 03:15 PM Dallas Fed President Logan (FOMC voter) speaks: Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan will moderate a panel discussion at the Atlanta Fed's Financial Markets Conference. Q&A with audience is expected. On April 20, Logan said, “Over the past six weeks, I’ve also been closely watching the effects of stresses in the banking system—both on the macroeconomy and on local communities, especially here in Texas where small and midsize banks are so important. Smaller banks are particularly significant in small business, rural, middle-market, and commercial real estate lending.”
- 07:00 PM Atlanta Fed President Bostic (FOMC non-voter) and Chicago Fed President Goolsbee (FOMC voter) speak: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Chicago Fed President Austan Goolsbee will participate in a moderated discussion on the economic outlook during the Atlanta Fed’s annual financial markets conference. On May 10, Goolsbee said, “You don’t want to land the plane nose down. So we’re trying to balance off — can we slow the inflation without sending it into a recession…We’ve had some promising indicators on that on that front, but it’s always a possibility.” On May 8, he said, “I am certainly getting vibes…in the market and in the business context that a credit crunch or, at least, a credit squeeze, is beginning.”
Wednesday, May 17
- 08:30 AM Housing starts, April (GS -1.1%, consensus -1.4%, last -0.8%): Building permits, April (consensus flat, last -7.7%)
Thursday, May 18
- 08:30 AM Initial jobless claims, week ended May 13 (GS 240k, consensus 252k, last 264k); Continuing jobless claims, week ended May 6 (consensus 1,818k, last 1,813k): We estimate that initial jobless claims fell to 240k in the week ended May 13. Last week’s jump in initial claims partly reflected fraudulent filings in Massachusetts. Our forecast assumes that those fraudulent filings—which we estimate could be boosting the level of claims by roughly 20-30k—are curtailed. While the annual seasonal factor revisions that took place last month appear to have resolved most of the seasonal distortions in initial claims, we believe the revisions may have intensified the distortions in continuing claims. Those distortions have likely contributed to the net decline over the last few prints, and we estimate they could exert a cumulative drag on the level of continuing claims of up to 400k between April and September.
- 08:30 AM Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, May (GS -16.0, consensus -19.8, last -31.3): We estimate that the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index rebounded 15.3 points to -16 in May, reflecting the gradual rebound in East Asian trade and industrial activity following weakness in the winter.
- 09:05 AM Fed Governor Jefferson speaks: Fed Governor Philip Jefferson will deliver a speech on the economic outlook at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) International Insurance Forum. Speech text is expected. On May 9, Jefferson said, “The economy has started to slow in an orderly fashion...I am of the view that inflation will start to come down and the economy will have the opportunity to continue to expand.” President Biden will nominate Jefferson as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve.
- 09:30 AM Fed Governor Barr speaks: Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr will testify before the Senate Banking Committee in its Semiannual Hearing on Supervision and Regulation. Speech text will be made available. Barr released the review of the Fed’s supervision and regulation of Silicon Valley Bank on April 28.
- 10:00 AM Dallas Fed President Logan (FOMC voter) speaks: Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan will deliver a speech, followed by moderated Q&A with audience, at Texas Bankers Association’s annual convention.
- 10:00 AM Existing home sales, April (GS -5.0%, consensus -3.2%, last -2.4%)
Friday, May 19
- 08:45 AM New York Fed President Williams (FOMC voter) speaks: New York Fed President John Williams will deliver a keynote address at a monetary policy research conference hosted by the Fed.
- 09:00 AM Fed Governor Bowman speaks: Fed Governor Michelle Bowman will participate in a discussion at the Texas Bankers Association Annual Convention. Speech text and a moderated Q&A are expected. On May 12, Bowman said, “Should inflation remain high and the labor market remain tight, additional monetary policy tightening will likely be appropriate to attain a sufficiently restrictive stance of monetary policy to lower inflation over time. I also expect that our policy rate will need to remain sufficiently restrictive for some time to bring inflation down and create conditions that will support a sustainably strong labor market.”
- 11:00 AM Fed Chair Powell speaks: Fed Chair Jerome Powell and former chair Ben Bernanke will participate in a panel discussion during a monetary policy research conference hosted by the Fed. At the May FOMC meeting, Powell said that he does not expect a recession, unlike the Fed staff, and he made his clearest statement so far that he thinks a soft landing is possible and finds the labor market rebalancing to date encouraging, views that we share. We see this as dovish too—if Powell thinks that a recession is not necessary to solve the inflation problem, he will be reluctant to deliver future hikes that he thinks would materially raise the risk of pushing the economy into a recession.
Source: DB, Goldman, Rabobank, BofA
Nigerian gov supports AI initiatives with $290K in grants
The recently introduced Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme is designed to facilitate the widespread utilization of AI to drive economic advancement.
The recently introduced Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme is designed to facilitate the widespread utilization of AI to drive economic advancement.
The Nigerian Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr. Bosun Tijani, revealed on Friday, Oct.13, that the Federal Government intends to grant a sum of $6,444 (5 million naira) each to 45 artificial intelligence (AI) focused startups and researchers. This figure makes a total of $289,980 (225 million naira) being given out for the purpose of AI.
This information was disclosed by the minister in a post on X. The recently introduced Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme is designed to facilitate the widespread utilization of Artificial Intelligence to drive economic advancement.
As outlined on the scheme's official website, the focal areas encompass Agriculture, Education and Workforce, Finance, Governance, Healthcare, Utility and Sustainability. To be eligible for the grant, applicants are required to form a consortium, comprising a startup or tech company, a researcher from a Nigerian university, or a foreign researcher, as stated by the Ministry.
To support the mainstreaming of the application of Artificial Intelligence for economic prosperity, we’ve launched the Nigeria Artificial Intelligence Research Scheme to fund 45 consortia of startups and researchers to allow them explore further opportunities to deepen their… pic.twitter.com/CaD5Vqs8Du— Dr. 'Bosun Tijani (@bosuntijani) October 13, 2023
Applicants should present a research proposal in line with the Federal Ministry of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy's AI focus areas. Furthermore, they must provide a comprehensive project proposal that highlights the project's potential economic impact in Nigeria.
In addition, a proven track record of excellence in research or entrepreneurship is a requirement. Finally, applicants are expected to publish at least one peer-reviewed article within one year of grant receipt.
In August, the Nigerian government extended an invitation to scientists of Nigerian heritage, as well as globally renowned experts who have worked within the Nigerian market, to collaborate in the formulation of its National Artificial Intelligence Strategy.
The application period commences on Oct.13, 2023, and concludes on Nov. 15, 2023. All submissions should be made through the specified online platform. The Ministry has indicated that a panel of AI specialists will assess the proposals. Those who make it to the shortlist will receive email notifications and be invited for interviews.grants china
Escobar: The Geopolitics Of Al-Aqsa Flood
Escobar: The Geopolitics Of Al-Aqsa Flood
Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Cradle,
Global focus just shifted from Ukraine to Palestine. This…
Global focus just shifted from Ukraine to Palestine. This new arena of confrontation will ignite further competition between the Atlanticist and Eurasian blocs. These fights are increasingly zero-sum ones; as in Ukraine, only one pole can emerge strengthened and victorious.
Hamas’ Operation Al-Aqsa Flood was meticulously planned. The launch date was conditioned by two triggering factors.
First was Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flaunting his 'New Middle East' map at the UN General Assembly in September, in which he completely erased Palestine and made a mockery of every single UN resolution on the subject.
Second are the serial provocations at the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, including the straw that broke the camel’s back: two days before Al-Aqsa Flood, on 5 October, at least 800 Israeli settlers launched an assault around the mosque, beating pilgrims, destroying Palestinian shops, all under the observation of Israeli security forces.
Everyone with a functioning brain knows Al-Aqsa is a definitive red line, not just for Palestinians, but for the entire Arab and Muslim worlds.
It gets worse. The Israelis have now invoked the rhetoric of a “Pearl Harbor.” This is as threatening as it gets. The original Pearl Harbor was the American excuse to enter a world war and nuke Japan, and this “Pearl Harbor” may be Tel Aviv’s justification to launch a Gaza genocide.
Sections of the west applauding the upcoming ethnic cleansing – including Zionists posing as “analysts” saying out loud that the “population transfers” that began in 1948 “must be completed” – believe that with massive weaponry and massive media coverage, they can turn things around in short shrift, annihilate the Palestinian resistance, and leave Hamas allies like Hezbollah and Iran weakened.
Their Ukraine Project has sputtered, leaving not just egg on powerful faces, but entire European economies in ruin.
Yet as one door closes, another one opens: Jump from ally Ukraine to ally Israel, and hone your sights on adversary Iran instead of adversary Russia.
There are other good reasons to go all guns blazing.
A peaceful West Asia means Syria reconstruction – in which China is now officially involved; active redevelopment for Iraq and Lebanon; Iran and Saudi Arabia as part of BRICS 11; the Russia-China strategic partnership fully respected and interacting with all regional players, including key US allies in the Persian Gulf.
Incompetence. Willful strategy. Or both.
That brings us to the cost of launching this new “war on terror.” The propaganda is in full swing. For Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Hamas is ISIS. For Volodymyr Zelensky in Kiev, Hamas is Russia. Over one October weekend, the war in Ukraine was completely forgotten by western mainstream media. Brandenburg Gate, the Eiffel tower, the Brazilian Senate are all Israeli now.
Egyptian intel claims it warned Tel Aviv about an imminent attack from Hamas. The Israelis chose to ignore it, as they did the Hamas training drills they observed in the weeks prior, smug in their superior knowledge that Palestinians would never have the audacity to launch a liberation operation.
Whatever happens next, Al-Aqsa Flood has already, irretrievably, shattered the hefty pop mythology around the invincibility of Tsahal, Mossad, Shin Bet, Merkava tank, Iron Dome, and the Israel Defense Forces.
Even as it ditched electronic communications, Hamas profited from the glaring collapse of Israel’s multi-billion-dollar electronic systems monitoring the most surveilled border on the planet.
Cheap Palestinian drones hit multiple sensor towers, facilitated the advance of a paragliding infantry, and cleared the way for T-shirted, AK-47-wielding assault teams to inflict breaks in the wall and cross a border that even stray cats dared not.
Israel, inevitably, turned to battering the Gaza Strip, an encircled cage of 365 square kilometers packed with 2.3 million people. The indiscriminate bombing of refugee camps, schools, civilian apartment blocks, mosques, and slums has begun. Palestinians have no navy, no air force, no artillery units, no armored fighting vehicles, and no professional army. They have little to no high-tech surveillance access, while Israel can call up NATO data if they want it.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant proclaimed “a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed. We are fighting human animals and we will act accordingly.”
The Israelis can merrily engage in collective punishment because, with three guaranteed UNSC vetoes in their back pocket, they know they can get away with it.
It doesn’t matter that Haaretz, Israel’s most respected newspaper, straight out concedes that “actually the Israeli government is solely responsible for what happened (Al-Aqsa Flood) for denying the rights of Palestinians.”
The Israelis are nothing if not consistent. Back in 2007, then-Israeli Defense Intelligence Chief Amos Yadlin said, “Israel would be happy if Hamas took over Gaza because IDF could then deal with Gaza as a hostile state.”
Ukraine funnels weapons to Palestinians
Only one year ago, the sweaty sweatshirt comedian in Kiev was talking about turning Ukraine into a “big Israel,” and was duly applauded by a bunch of Atlantic Council bots.
Well, it turned out quite differently. As an old-school Deep State source just informed me:
“Ukraine-earmarked weapons are ending up in the hands of the Palestinians. The question is which country is paying for it. Iran just made a deal with the US for six billion dollars and it is unlikely Iran would jeopardize that. I have a source who gave me the name of the country but I cannot reveal it. The fact is that Ukrainian weapons are going to the Gaza Strip and they are being paid for but not by Iran."
After its stunning raid last weekend, a savvy Hamas has already secured more negotiating leverage than Palestinians have wielded in decades. Significantly, while peace talks are supported by China, Russia, Turkiye, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt - Tel Aviv refuses. Netanyahu is obsessed with razing Gaza to the ground, but if that happens, a wider regional war is nearly inevitable.
Lebanon’s Hezbollah – a staunch Resistance Axis ally of the Palestinian resistance - would rather not be dragged into a war that can be devastating on its side of the border, but that could change if Israel perpetrates a de facto Gaza genocide.
Hezbollah holds at least 100,000 ballistic missiles and rockets, from Katyusha (range: 40 km) to Fajr-5 (75 km), Khaibar-1 (100 km), Zelzal 2 (210 km), Fateh-110 (300 km), and Scud B-C (500 km). Tel Aviv knows what that means, and shudders at the frequent warnings by Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah that its next war with Israel will be conducted inside that country.
Which brings us to Iran.
Geopolitical plausible deniability
The key immediate consequence of Al-Aqsa Flood is that the Washington neocon wet dream of “normalization” between Israel and the Arab world will simply vanish if this turns into a Long War.
Large swathes of the Arab world in fact are already normalizing their ties with Tehran – and not only inside the newly expanded BRICS 11.
In the drive towards a multipolar world, represented by BRICS 11, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), and China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), among other groundbreaking Eurasian and Global South institutions, there’s simply no place for an ethnocentric Apartheid state fond of collective punishment.
Just this year, Israel found itself disinvited from the African Union summit. An Israeli delegation showed up anyway, and was unceremoniously ejected from the big hall, a visual that went viral. At the UN plenary sessions last month, a lone Israeli diplomat sought to disrupt Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi’s speech. No western ally stood by his side, and he too, was ejected from the premises.
As Chinese President Xi Jinping diplomatically put it in December 2022, Beijing “firmly supports the establishment of an independent state of Palestine that enjoys full sovereignty based on 1967 borders and with East Jerusalem as its capital. China supports Palestine in becoming a full member of the United Nations.”
Tehran’s strategy is way more ambitious – offering strategic advice to West Asian resistance movements from the Levant to the Persian Gulf: Hezbollah, Ansarallah, Hashd al-Shaabi, Kataib Hezbollah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and countless others. It’s as if they are all part of a new Grand Chessboard de facto supervised by Grandmaster Iran.
The pieces in the chessboard were carefully positioned by none other than the late Quds Force Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps General Qassem Soleimani, a once-in-a-lifetime military genius. He was instrumental in creating the foundations for the cumulative successes of Iranian allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Palestine, as well as creating the conditions for a complex operation such as Al-Aqsa Flood.
Elsewhere in the region, the Atlanticist drive of opening strategic corridors across the Five Seas - the Caspian, the Black Sea, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, and the Eastern Mediterranean - is floundering badly.
Russia and Iran are already smashing US designs in the Caspian – via the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC) – and the Black Sea, which is on the way to becoming a Russian lake. Tehran is paying very close attention to Moscow’s strategy in Ukraine, even as it refines its own strategy on how to debilitate the Hegemon without direct involvement: call it geopolitical plausible deniability.
Bye bye EU-Israel-Saudi-India corridor
The Russia-China-Iran alliance has been demonized as the new “axis of evil” by western neocons. That infantile rage betrays cosmic impotence. These are Real Sovereigns that can’t be messed with, and if they are, the price to pay is unthinkable.
A key example: if Iran under attack by a US-Israeli axis decided to block the Strait of Hormuz, the global energy crisis would skyrocket, and the collapse of the western economy under the weight of quadrillions of derivatives would be inevitable.
What this means, in the immediate future, is that he American Dream of interfering across the Five Seas does not even qualify as a mirage. Al-Aqsa Flood has also just buried the recently-announced and much-ballyhooed EU-Israel-Saudi Arabia-India transportation corridor.
China is keenly aware of all this incandescence taking place only a week before its 3rd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing. At stake are the BRI connectivity corridors that matter – across the Heartland, across Russia, plus the Maritime Silk Road and the Arctic Silk Road.
Then there’s the INSTC linking Russia, Iran and India – and by ancillary extension, the Gulf monarchies.
The geopolitical repercussions of Al-Aqsa Flood will speed up Russia, China and Iran’s interconnected geoeconomic and logistical connections, bypassing the Hegemon and its Empire of Bases. Increased trade and non-stop cargo movement are all about (good) business. On equal terms, with mutual respect - not exactly the War Party’s scenario for a destabilized West Asia.
Oh, the things that a slow-moving paragliding infantry overflying a wall can accelerate.
* * *
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle or ZeroHedge.
Visualizing All Attempted & Successful Moon Landings
Visualizing All Attempted & Successful Moon Landings
Since before Ancient Greece and the first Chinese Dynasties, people have sought to…
Since before Ancient Greece and the first Chinese Dynasties, people have sought to understand and learn more about the moon.
Curiosity and centuries of study culminated in the first moon landing in the 1960s. But there have been many other attempted moon landings, both before and after.
Race to the Moon
The 1960s and 1970s marked an era of intense competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union as they raced to conquer the moon.
During the Cold War, space became a priority as each side sought to prove the superiority of its technology, its military firepower, and its political-economic system.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy set a national goal to have a crewed lunar landing and return to Earth.
After several failed attempts from both sides, on July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission was successful and astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to set foot on the moon.
|Mission||Launch Date||Operator||Country||Mission Type||Outcome|
|Ranger 3||26-Jan-62||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Ranger 4||23-Apr-62||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Ranger 5||18-Oct-62||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Luna E-6 No.2||4-Jan-63||OKB-1||☭ USSR||Lander||Launch failure|
|Luna E-6 No.3||3-Feb-63||OKB-1||☭ USSR||Lander||Launch failure|
|Luna 4||2-Apr-63||OKB-1||☭ USSR||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Luna E-6 No.6||21-Mar-64||OKB-1||☭ USSR||Lander||Launch failure|
|Luna E-6 No.5||20-Apr-64||OKB-1||☭ USSR||Lander||Launch failure|
|Kosmos 60||12-Mar-65||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Launch failure|
|Luna E-6 No.8||10-Apr-65||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Luna 5||9-May-65||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Luna 6||8-Jun-65||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Luna 7||4-Oct-65||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Luna 8||3-Dec-65||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Luna 9||31-Jan-66||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Successful|
|Surveyor 1||30-May-66||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander||Successful|
|Surveyor 2||20-Sep-66||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Luna 13||21-Dec-66||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Successful|
|Surveyor 3||17-Apr-67||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander||Successful|
|Surveyor 4||14-Jul-67||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Surveyor 5||8-Sep-67||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander||Successful|
|Surveyor 6||7-Nov-67||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander||Successful|
|Surveyor 7||7-Jan-68||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander||Successful|
|Luna E-8 No.201||19-Feb-69||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Launch failure|
|Luna E-8-5 No.402||14-Jun-69||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Launch failure|
|Luna 15||13-Jul-69||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Apollo 11||16-Jul-69||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander/
|Kosmos 300||23-Sep-69||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Launch failure|
|Kosmos 305||22-Oct-69||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Launch failure|
|Apollo 12||14-Nov-69||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander/
|Luna E-8-5 No.405||6-Feb-70||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Launch failure|
|Apollo 13||11-Apr-70||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander/
|Luna 16||12-Sep-70||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Successful|
|Luna 17||10-Nov-70||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Successful|
|Apollo 14||31-Jan-71||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander/
|Apollo 15||26-Jul-71||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander/
|Luna 18||2-Sep-71||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Luna 20||14-Feb-72||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Successful|
|Apollo 16||16-Apr-72||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander/
|Apollo 17||7-Dec-72||NASA||???????? U.S.||Lander/
|Luna 21||8-Jan-73||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Successful|
|Luna 23||16-Oct-75||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Partial failure|
|Luna E-8-5M No.412||16-Oct-75||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Launch failure|
|Luna 24||9-Aug-76||Lavochkin||☭ USSR||Lander||Successful|
|Chang'e 3||1-Dec-13||CNSA||???????? China||Lander||Operational|
|Chang'e 4||7-Dec-18||CNSA||???????? China||Lander||Operational|
|Beresheet||22-Feb-19||SpaceIL||???????? Israel||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Chandrayaan-2||22-Jul-19||ISRO||???????? India||Lander||Spacecraft Failure|
|Chang'e 5||23-Nov-20||CNSA||???????? China||Lander||Successful|
|Hakuto-R Mission 1||11-Dec-22||ispace||???????? Japan||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
|Luna 25||10-Aug-23||Roscosmos||???????? Russia||Lander||Spacecraft failure|
After the Apollo missions, the fervor of lunar exploration waned. From 1976 to 2013, no moon landing attempts occurred due to budget constraints, shifting priorities, and advances in robotic missions.
However, a new chapter in space exploration has unfolded in recent years, with emerging players entering the cosmic arena. With its Chang’e missions, China has made significant strides, landing rovers on the moon and exploring the far side of the moon.
India, too, has asserted its presence with the Chandrayaan missions. In 2023, the country became the 4th nation to reach the moon as an unmanned spacecraft landed near the lunar south pole, advancing the country’s space ambitions to learn more about the lunar ice, potentially one of the moon’s most valuable resources.
Exploring Lunar Water
Since the 1960s, even before the historic Apollo landing, scientists had theorized the potential existence of water on the moon.
In 2008, Brown University researchers employed advanced technology to reexamine lunar samples, discovering hydrogen within beads of volcanic glass. And in 2009, a NASA instrument aboard the India’s Chandrayaan-1 probe confirmed the presence of water on the moon’s surface.
Water is deemed crucial for future space exploration. Beyond serving as a potential source of drinking water for future moon explorations, ice deposits could play a pivotal role in cooling equipment. Lunar ice could also be broken down to produce hydrogen for fuel and oxygen for breathing, essential for supporting extended space missions.
With a reinvigorated interest in exploring the moon, manned moon landings are on the horizon once again. In April 2023, NASA conducted tests for the launch of Artemis I, the first American spacecraft to aim for the moon since 1972. The agency aims to send astronauts to the moon around 2025 and build a base camp on the lunar surface.
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