Belarus becomes next country bent on ditching the dollar as they seek bi-lateral trade agreements with Russia

Belarus becomes next country bent on ditching the dollar as they seek bi-lateral trade agreements with Russia

In the Russian Analyst’s opinion, this move is a direct counter to U.S. attempts to enforce the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAASTA) against Russia and re-imposition of anti-Iranian economic measures. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, a major source of revenue in Belarus has been the refining and export of Russian crude to Europe. Another source of Belorussian income has been supplying Soviet type arms and parts to Iran when that nation was still under pre-JCPOA sanctions.

With Washington putting the squeeze on EU refiners not to touch Iranian oil while giving ENI and Total just 90 days or less to comply, the Belorussians are well situated to profit from busting the U.S. sanctions. They can import by rail Iranian oil that doesn’t get processed in Russian refineries after its shipped up the Volga from the Caspian Sea. Of course, to do that, Minsk needs to be able to transact on a large scale without dollars. — JWS

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Russian Intelligence Chiefs Meet with CIA’s Pompeo and DNI Dan Coats

Russian Intelligence Chiefs Meet with CIA’s Pompeo and DNI Dan Coats

Either Cold War 2 is not what it seems, or the American 'Deep State' is a house divided against itself, with a significant pro-Trump faction willing to cooperate -- at least on counter-terrorism -- with the Russians. It is a fact that Daesh terrorists returning to their home countries from 'Syraq' represent a threat to both Russia and US allies in Europe. Intelligence sharing on this and related topics was likely the subject of the meeting between Director of National Intelligence and former Indiana Republican U.S. Senator Dan Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo with their Russian counterparts -- who are subject to the U.S. sanctions list. That had Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and a host of #TheResistance trolls on Twitter crying foul, with the latter suggesting that the Trump Administration's defiance of the sanctions at least on this narrow topic of intelligence sharing is more proof that Trump is 'Putin's puppet'. Nevermind if U.S.-Russia cooperation recently saved lives in St. Petersburg and likely other places we don't yet know of.

The Russian Analyst will have more thoughts on this subject as well as the shoot down of a Russian SU25 ground attack jet by Al-Qaeda jihadists in Idlib region later this weekend. -- JWS

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