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  • How Syria Could Spark New Middle East War

    What does the stand-off in Syria have to do with the investment markets? Potentially, a lot. As I have argued in recent weeks, if the Middle East devolves into another military quagmire, it could be quite bearish for the US stock and bond markets going forward. That’s why we will talk about the implications today.

    President Obama is hell-bent on attacking Syria for gassing over 1,400 innocent citizens on August 21. Normally, it would not be unusual for an American president to want to respond to such a humanitarian outrage. But it is still not clear why this liberal president – who’s mandate was to get us out of war – is now so intent that we need to attack Syria militarily.

    We begin our analysis today by briefly examining how the civil war in Syria began and why. From there, we examine whether the US has any justified reasons to get involved or to punish Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad for the recent chemical attacks on his own people. For whatever reasons, President Obama initially felt that he alone had the authority to take the US to war with Syria, and made plans to do so last week.

    However, an NBC poll released last Friday revealed that almost 80% of Americans believe that the president must get congressional approval before taking the nation to war. Other polls showed that a majority of Americans don’t want the US to attack Syria, period. So on Saturday, Obama backed down and said he would wait for Congress to have its say next week.

    But before we get to that discussion, let’s take a quick look at the latest economic reports, including last Thursday’s 2Q GDP estimate, which was revised up from 1.7% to a more healthy 2.5%, and a few other recent reports. Let’s get started.

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  • Stratfor: Odds of War with Iran Spiking

    In just the last few weeks, we have learned several disturbing new things about Iran's nuclear capabilities. First, we discovered that Iran has a large secret uranium enrichment facility inside a mountain south of Tehran that we didn't previously know about. Second, shortly thereafter, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear oversight group, said that Iran is much more advanced in its nuclear program than the IAEA had thought previously. According to the report, Iran now has all the data needed to design a nuclear weapon.

    Third, was a revelation in the first days of October by the Times of London which reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Moscow on September 7 to charge that Russian scientists and engineers are working directly with Iran on its nuclear weapons program. This intelligence suggests that Iran may be much further along in developing nuclear weapons than the international community previously believed.

    To give us insights on these latest revelations about Iran and its nuclear ambitions, we turn to our good friends at Stratfor.com this week. Please read what follows very carefully.

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