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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘oil’

Iran Bypassing Sanctions on its Oil, Aided by Asian Customers and the Obama Administration

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

Iran is involved in hectic attempts to lower the insurance costs for its oil shipments, and, apparently these attempts are working.

Iran Insurance Company (IIC) Chairman Javad Sahamian has told Tehran Times that Iran will provide insurance coverage for any oil tanker carrying Iranian crude oil. “After the sanctions, Iran extends insurance coverage for every oil tanker loading in Iranian ports,” Sahamian said.

Seyyed Ataollah Sadr, managing director of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization, said last July that Iran would give insurance to “any foreign ship that enters Iran’s waters” but did not elaborate on how the scheme would work in practice.

The consortium providing the insurance to these rogue shipments includes domestic insurance firm Kish P&I, itself underwritten by Central Insurance of Iran, and Razi Insurance Company, which in August was reported by the Fars News Agency (FNA) as “ready to join the consortium of domestic companies in this field.”

According to various sources, Kish, which is the Iranian national insurance company, has already begun to independently insures all vessels leaving Iranian ports, replacing insurance service by European companies, which was stopped on July 1, when the European Union sanctions on the Iranian oil industry went into effect.

Now, as a result of self-insuring, the premium for transporting oil to Japan dropped from $3.17 a barrel in July to $2.00 in August.

In addition, carriers belonging to the National Iranian Tanker Company, (NITC), began independently transporting oil to countries in the Far East in order to help them avoid the sanctions. The NITC frequently uses small, private Iranian shipping companies flying foreign flags. Coverage provided by the Kish Company for the fleet of tankers has amounted to $1 billion.

Turkey’s imports of Iranian crude oil have jumped in August, ignoring possible friction with the U.S., after hitting a multi-year low in July, using Iranian-owned tankers.

Kish uses a secondary guarantor, the Central Bank of Iran.

The U.S. and European countries are aware of the latest developments, and have begun to demand penalties for Asian countries attempting to avoid the sanctions. Many analysts predict, however, that the U.S. is not planning to enforce the sanctions with real, tough measures against countries like Japan or China.

The U.S. has also given several countries sanction waivers after they cut imports prior to the imposition of the full embargo. Turkey was granted a 180-day exception from sanctions from June 11 as a result of an initial 20 percent cut in July, according to Tehran Times.

With the elections approaching, the last thing President Obama wants is to get into complications with those two countries, or with South Korea. Analysts add that the U.S. economy is benefiting from the Asian markets’ clandestine oil imports from Iran.

But all hope is not lost – it turns out Iran’s biggest enemy is its own inefficiency. A research study conducted by Reuters last Week revealed China’s lack of satisfaction with the timing of the Iranian oil deliveries, which used to take 48 hours and now takes up to 10 days.

But the Kish insurance policies do not cover instances of late delivery; and an unhappy China is pressuring Iran to improve service or improve the compensation system.

Holiday Recipes

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

Shank Bone Filled With Dried Fruit And Rice
(Serves 5)

Ingredients:

Lamb shoulder (ask the butcher to remove the bones and create a pocket for filling)
1 tbsp. olive oil
5 tbsp. heated honey
6 fresh thyme sprigs, chopped
8 garlic cloves, sliced

Filling:

2 cups round rice, cooked
1 cup pitted dates, cubed
1 dried apricot, cubed
1 cup Granny Smith apples, cubed
1 cup shelled almonds (blanched)
1 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1 celery stalk, chopped
1 medium ginger root, grated
Salt and pepper to taste

A bed of root vegetables:

3 parsley roots, coarsely chopped
3 celery roots, coarsely chopped
8 medium artichokes, coarsely chopped
6 carrots, sliced
1 red onion, coarsely chopped
1 head of garlic, halved
1½ cups red wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Mix all the filling ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.

Stuff the pocket of the lamb shoulder with the filling.

Sauté all of the root vegetables in a frying pan until golden.

Pour the vegetables into a baking dish.

Place the meat on top of the vegetables.

Mix the honey, thyme, olive oil and garlic together and pour it over the meat. Pour the wine over the vegetables.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 90 minutes.

Uncover and bake again at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for an additional 90 minutes.

To serve: Slice the meat, place on a serving plate and add a spoon of vegetables.

Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

Ingredients:

1 cup corn oil
1 cup water
4 medium eggs
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. instant coffee powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. cloves
¼ cup sliced almonds
½ cup honey
¾ cup sugar
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled and cubed

Preparation:

In a standard mixer, mix all the ingredients (except apples) for about 4 minutes, until fluffy.

Divide into 2 long loaf pans (about ¾ of the way full) and sprinkle with apples and almonds.

Bake on 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 35 minutes.

Cool and serve.

Can be kept in a cool place for up to 2 weeks.

Moti Buchbut is executive chef at Inbal Jerusalem Hotel.

Easy Weeknight Dinners

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

With loads of camp laundry to wash and fold, and school prep on our minds, we are all busy with one thing or another. No one needs the added stress of planning tomorrow night’s dinner! Look below for several quick and tasty dishes to serve the family.

Chicken & Rice Bake

It’s still August and the heat of summer is hitting us full blast! I’m hot and sweaty and the last thing I want to do is turn the oven on or have to stand in front of the stove for a long time. This recipe is quick and easy at it’s best. It’s a one-pot dish that makes for a flavorful dinner with an easy cleanup. I like ginger, however, if you don’t simply keep it out and replace it with your favorite spices.

Ingredients:
1 small onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups chopped spinach (I use frozen)
1 cup of rice, raw not yet cooked
2 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
4 pieces of chicken breast, cut into small pieces
Salt, pepper, garlic, and ginger to taste

Directions:

Saute onions with olive oil in a large pot until golden.

Season with salt, pepper, garlic and ginger.

Add the chicken pieces and cook until no longer pink.

Add rice, broth and spinach to the pot.

Cover and simmer until liquid is absorbed.

Roasted Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons

This dinner is tasty and fun for the entire fam! The grown ups will enjoy the rich flavor in the soup while the children will adore the mini grilled cheese sandwiches floating on top.

Ingredients:
1 container of cherry tomatoes
Salt & pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
1 can of diced fire roasted tomatoes (14.5oz)
3 cups of vegetable broth

Directions:

Place cherry tomatoes in a baking pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Coat well.

Place in oven on 400° for 30-35 minutes until beginning to brown.

Once the tomatoes are roasted, saute onions and garlic with remaining olive oil. Once golden, add the broiled tomatoes and allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the canned tomatoes and mix well. Allow to cook for 2 minutes.

Add the broth and bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender and serve with grilled cheese croutons. (Grilled cheese sandwiches cut into mini squares)

Creamy Spinach Mushroom Linguine

I was craving Fettuccine Alfredo the other night and decided to experiment in the kitchen. I wanted to eat pasta that was rich and creamy, yet lighter on calories than the original dish which is loaded with fat. I skipped the heavy cream and butter and swapped them with low fat cream cheese and olive oil. I added the mushrooms and spinach for extra nutrition and flavor.

Ingredients:

1 box of whole grain linguine
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, diced
Mushrooms, sliced
Spinach, fresh or frozen
1 8oz. container low fat cream cheese
1 cup of 2% milk
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
Salt & pepper

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain well.

Meanwhile, sauté the onions and garlic in some olive oil. Once golden, add the mushrooms. Cook until tender and add the spinach. Season with salt and pepper.

Allow to cook and then add the cream cheese.

Once melted add the milk and parmesan. Combine well.

Add the pasta and stir over low heat until heated through.

Top each serving with additional parmesan.

Yoram Ettinger: Israel’s Economic Culture Praised Despite Global Financial Gloom

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

While the global economy deteriorates and its ripple effects erode Israel’s economic indicators (e.g., unemployment increased to 7%), there is cause for optimism in the Holy Land:

–Frans Van Houten, the CEO of the Dutch giant, Philips Global recently told Globes Business Daily (Aug. 2, 2012): “Israel’s economic and organizational culture is consistent with Philips’ requirements…. Philips owes part of its enhanced performance [2nd quarter’s earnings – 17% above projections] to Israel’s excellent engineers in the imaging, data processing and data storage areas.  Philips has expanded its Israeli presence and acquisitions since 1999, when it acquired part of Israel’s Elscint, then Israel’s CDP and CDC…. Philips will expand its current 600 employee research & development center.”

–Marcos Battisti, head of Intel Capital in Europe and Israel, hired additional investment directors in Israel, expanding Intel’s pursuit of Israeli start ups.  Since 1991, Intel Capital invested in 60 Israeli companies, collaborating with Intel’s four research & development centers and two manufacturing plants in Israel (Globes, July 26).

–Israel’s Kayak raised $91MN in a Wall Street IPO led by Morgan Stanley (Globes, July 23).  Abingworth Ventures, 7 MedHealth Ventures, Arch Ventures, MPM Capital and F3 invested $38MN in a round of private placement by Israel’s Chiasma (Globes, July 24).  Battery Ventures and Bessemer Ventures led a $12MN round of private placement by Israel’s Vayyar Imaging (Globes, Aug. 3).

–Is Israel a future energy superpower?  Walter Russell Mead, Editor at-large of the Washington, DC-based bimonthly magazine The American Interest, which specializes in global economy and international affairs, July 2, 2012: “Canada and Russia are moving to step up energy relations with Israel….Israel and Canada have just signed an agreement to cooperate on the exploration and development of what could be vast shale oil reserves beneath the Jewish State…. The Russian Gazprom and Israel have announced plans to cooperate on gas extraction…. Drillers working in Israeli waters have already identified what seems to be 5 billion barrels of recoverable oil, in addition to over a trillion cubic feet of gas. Israel’s undersea gas reserves are currently estimated at about 16 trillion cubic feet and new fields continue to be rapidly found…. Another sensible target for Israeli energy diplomacy would be India… eager to diversify its energy sources…. According to the World Energy Council, a leading global energy forum, Israel may have the 3rd largest shale oil reserves in the world: something like 250 billion barrels (US – well over 1 trillion barrels; Canada – 2 trillion barrels)…. OPEC’s power to dictate world prices is likely to decline as Canadian, US, Israeli and Chinese resources come on line… An energy-rich Israel… is also going to be a more valuable ally…. The impact of Israel’s energy wealth is dramatic.  On President Putin’s visit to Jerusalem he donned a Kippah (skullcap) and went to pray at the Western Wall.  Turning to the Wall, he said: ‘here we see how the Jewish past is etched into the stones of Jerusalem….’  In the meantime, we wonder if there was an 11th Commandment at Sinai: ‘Thou shalt drill, baby, thou shalt drill.’”

Originally published at http://www.theettingerreport.com/Overseas-Investments/Israel%E2%80%99s-Economic-Culture-Praised-by-Philips-Globa.aspx 

An Analysis of the Presidential Candidates

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

http://haemtza.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/an-analysis-of-presidential-candidates.html

Mitt Romney went to the Kotel on Sunday. It was quite a sight. But not an unusual one for a candidate running for the highest office in the land. Nor was all the pro-Israel rhetoric that unusual – especially at a fundraising event in Jerusalem.  Watching all of this on the TV news on Sunday night made me think about the upcoming Presidential election. I thought I would do a snap analysis of the candidates as they stand now and see whether either of them deserves my support.

I have come to the conclusion that where it matters the most to me – the security of the State of Israel and the overall welfare of the Jewish people, there is virtually no difference between them. Both President Barack Obama and former Governor Mitt Romney would be “good for the Jews.”

This may come as a shock to Obama haters and Romney supporters, but any fair analysis of the candidates cannot help but see them this way. A lot of the Jewish opposition to the President has been because of things that are not of any substantive value.

For example there is the fact that the President has not visited Israel… or the time he said that any treaty between Palestinians should be based on the pre-’67 border lines …or his criticisms over Israel’s settlement polices … or the less-than-warm relationship with Israel’s prime  minister.

If one looks at these issues and measures them over substantive ones – like Israel’s security, Obama has a magnificent record – one that surpasses any of his predecessors.  He has helped fund Israel’s Iron Dome defense system over and above the foreign aid allocated to them.  He recently approved additional millions in foreign aid to Israel.  He has instituted the greatest level of intelligence co-operation in Israel’s history. Same thing is true about joint military exercises. Both are at unprecedented levels. He has also insisted that one of his most important foreign policy goals is preventing Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

That’s just a partial list of things he’s done to show his ‘unshakeable’ support for the State. I therefore do not buy the argument made by the anti Obama forces that President will put any more pressure on Israel after the election. If this is being anti Israel – I’ll take it!

The non-substantive issues are virtually irrelevant in light of all these pluses. Sure, I’d like for him to have visited Israel at least once during his Presidency, but what difference does it really make? Sure I’d like him to have warmer relations with Israel’s prime minister… but again as it affects Israel’s security – what difference does that really make?

What about his rhetoric with respect to Israel’s settlements policy? His statements hardly differ from policies the US has had in past administrations. Why pick on him? For example let us look at the pre-’67 border statement. He didn’t say that Israel had to go back to the exact pre-’67 borders. He said that there would be land swaps to accommodate “the facts on the ground.” Meaning that border areas like Maale Adumim would be annexed by Israel in exchange for unoccupied territories from Israel proper. I happen to believe that this is going to be the scenario in any peace treaty in the unlikely event that it should ever happen. I saw nothing wrong with that statement. He was merely stating the obvious.

Aside from some pro Israel rhetoric – I do not see Romney doing anything substantially different with respect to Israel or Iran than the President has.

So as it stands now – and for the first time in many years, Israel will not be the issue that will make the decision for me in the next election. I will instead be voting for who I think will do a better job for the economy.

Right now, after Obama’s three and a half years in office – the economy is not doing  well. Far too many people are unemployed. Jobs are being created at a snail’s pace and the rate of jobs being created has actually been decreasing over the last two fiscal quarters.

Businesses aren’t hiring. They are being over taxed and over regulated which increases operational costs and tends to discourage production, and thereby hiring. His environmental policies have cost jobs too. In at least one case it has caused cancellation of a project (an oil pipeline from Canada) in the private sector that would have created jobs and helped stabilize oil prices.

Quinoa Salad

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Ingredients

1 cup red quinoa, 1 cup white quinoa (Ancient Harvest pre washed)
A handful craisins
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup diced red pepper
*nuts (pecans or macadamia nuts (optional- *omit if allergic)

Directions

Cook quinoa using 1 1/4 cup water to each 1 cup quinoa (instead of 2:1)
Cook on low heat for 30-35 minutes
Remove from heat and let sit for 10 minutes – covered
Once cool, add rest of ingredients

Toss with the dressing below:

Quinoa Salad Dressing:

Ingredients

1/4 cup vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
Chives
Salt and pepper
1 tsp. granulated garlic or powder
1/4 cup oil

This is a very versatile recipe. It can be an appetizer, a side, or a main.

The Art of “Gray-Hull Diplomacy”

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

I received a question last week from a correspondent:

I was wondering if you could suggest some manners in which the US could make the military option more credible against Iran.

To my request for clarification, the correspondent replied that this question was more about how to credibly intimidate Iran than about how to effectively interdict Iran’s nuclear program with military force.

It’s a very good question.  How should an American president use the military in an intimidating, persuasive manner, to induce Iran to give up her nuclear-weapons purpose?  Very little has been discussed on this topic in the forums of punditry; virtually all treatments focus on the feasibility or proper method of a military attack campaign.  Is there an “intimidation option,” short of a shooting war?  And if so, what would it look like?

The first principle in answering these questions is that intimidation is personal, not mechanical.  There is no force package that is more effectively intimidating than another, if the will to carry out one’s threats is not considered credible.  The short and non-flippant answer to my correspondent’s question is, “Get another president in the White House.”  Changing an opponent’s intentions through intimidation is entirely about credibility, and credibility comes from the threatener’s history and perceived character.

This is especially true as regards the United States.  We have three aircraft carrier strike groups in the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf right now, something no other nation can possibly do.  (We won’t have three a few weeks from now; two of the carriers are swapping out on station, and thereafter our two-carrier presence will be maintained.)  We have Air Force strike-fighters in the Gulf, about 15,000 US Army troops in Kuwait, and tens of thousands of soldiers in Afghanistan, along with air assets.  We have an amphibious group with a Marine battalion in the Gulf region as well.  In spite of our drawdown over the last 20 years, we retain forces in Europe and Turkey, as well as the still-large package of permanently-stationed forces we have in the Far East.

We have the conventional forces to be intimidating with.  The question about our credibility is not related to the believability of our military capacities.  It’s about the leadership and will behind them.

But from a methodological standpoint, leadership and will can produce different courses of action, and they are not all equally effective.  Presidents Bush and Obama have chosen not to use the US military to increase the pressure on Iran, and the “escalation” path adopted by the Perm-5 + 1 has been selected for its extreme slowness and incremental nature.

It’s worth taking a moment to clarify the point that we aren’t using military power to increase pressure on Iran.  The US forces in Southwest Asia have been drawn down absolutely since 2008, and outside of Afghanistan, what we have kept or sent to the theater since then has been purely defensive.  Incremental defensive preparations, such as the introduction of additional minesweepers or anti-missile batteries around the Gulf, are not a means of intimidation.  They are not attack assets.  The current mix of US forces in the Gulf region indicates that we believe Israel and/or Iran might mount a military initiative.  It does not indicate that we intend to.  The US force posture around the Gulf is a defensive one, indicating our intention to have the option of reacting.

The UN and US sanctions on Iran have, meanwhile, been incremental and very slow-acting.  The issue for our purposes is not whether that is “good” or “bad,” but whether it is effective.  Objectively, the sanctions in place are not discouraging or usefully delaying Iran’s progress toward nuclear weapons.  Nations like China, India, and Germany continue to do robust business with Iran, not only supplying Iran with hard currency by buying her oil, but selling her technology and materials for her nuclear program.  In spite of the annoying impediments created by the international community, Iran continues to expand her uranium-enrichment operations and to deny IAEA access to suspect facilities.  The program of multilateral talks with Iran merely serves Iran’s purpose of dragging out the current situation, which is favorable for her objectives.

The mere presence of military forces is not automatically intimidating, nor is there an intimidation formula that prescribes levels or combinations of force.  What intimidation boils down to in this case is Iran’s perception of what we intend to do with our forces, on an operationally significant timeline.

Summer Fiesta – Mexican Dishes!

Monday, July 9th, 2012

Spice up your summer with these colorful and zesty Mexican dishes. Since I like it quick and easy in the kitchen, all of these recipes are no fuss dinners that are full of flavor.

Quick & Easy Chicken Burritos

There is nothing more satisfying than digging into a freshly made burrito. With tasty fillings all wrapped up and ready to bite into, you won’t care about making a mess!

Ingredients:

1 small onion, diced
2 tbs. olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into pieces
1 cup of uncooked rice (I used brown basmati)
1 package of taco seasoning mix (I used Ortega)
3 cups of water

Directions:

Sauté onions in a large pot with olive oil. Add chicken and cook until no longer pink.

Add rice and taco seasoning to chicken then add water and mix well. Cook until water is absorbed by rice.

While the chicken and rice mixture cooks, dice up some fresh tomatoes and open up a can of corn and black beans.

Serve in a wrap (I use whole wheat) or as a taco bowl with the chicken and rice in bowl with tomatoes, corn and beans layered on top.

Fresh & Tasty Fish Tacos

This is definitely one of my favorite recipes. It’s super easy and fresh and tasty. I often serve this for Shabbat lunch, buffet style so my guests can create their own tacos with their choice of toppings. Guacamole, salsa, corn salad and shredded cabbage are all great toppings.

Ingredients:

1 lb tilapia fillets
¼ cup olive oil
juice of 1 lime
1 small red onion, diced
1 small bunch of cilantro, chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp. teaspoon cajun spice or cumin or fajita seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
Hard tacos
SALSA & PURPLE SLAW to garnish (check the site for those recipes!)

Directions:

Combine olive oil, lime juice, red onion, cilantro, cajun spice as well as salt & pepper in a large zip lock bag.

Place the tilapia fillets in the bag then seal and let it marinate in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

After it has marinated, bake at 400° for 20 minutes. Using a fork, flake the fish into pieces. Serve in taco shells with salsa and purple slaw.

Flavorful Steak Enchiladas

Similar to a burrito, enchiladas are rolled tortillas filled with meat, rice and veggies that you bake with a tomato based sauce that are usually topped with cheese. Since these are meat based, I left out the cheese. If you opt for a veggie version without the steak, top with shredded cheese before baking.

Ingredients for Steak Marinade:

1 lb. pepper steak, cut into small strips
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder

Ingredients for Filling:

1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 can of diced tomatoes (14.5oz) – reserve
1/2 cup of sauce on side
1 can of tomato sauce (15oz)
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. mexican pepper flakes
1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup of uncooked brown rice
2 cups of water
whole wheat wraps

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine olive oil, 1/4 tsp. cumin, 1/4 tsp. chili powder and pepper steak in a large ziplock bag. Marinate in fridge for 20-30 minutes.

Place rice and water in a pot and bring to a boil, then simmer and cook until water is absorbed.

While the rice cooks and the steak is marinating, sauté onions in a large frying pan until golden. Add in garlic. Cook for several minutes before adding the red and yellow pepper. Mix well and cook for several minutes then add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. (Remember to reserve 1/2 cup of sauce on the side) Add spices and mix well. Cook until pepper is tender.

While the tomato and pepper mixture cooks, cook steak strips until no longer pink.

Take the 1/2 cup of reserved tomato sauce and pour on the bottom of a 9×13 baking pan.

Take the whole wheat wraps and one by one fill it with brown rice, tomato, onion & pepper mixture, steak strips and some chopped cilantro. Roll over and place in pan with rolled side facing down. Once you have filled up the pan, pour some of the remaining tomato, onion and pepper mixture on top then place in oven and bake on 400° for 15-20 minutes. Sprinkle on some fresh chopped cilantro before serving.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/food/recipes/summer-fiesta-mexican-dishes/2012/07/09/

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