After the attack on Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, thousands gather this Friday in Baghdad to protest the United States’ military presence. Some gather in defiance of the United States and its recent actions in Iraq, whereas others simply have grown tired of their home being used as a constant battlefield.
Protests appear to be a peaceful display of nationalism and a call for self-determination. Iraqi civilians are yearning to decide their fate now and not later. There is no question as to whether the people of Iraq should determine their own future, but rather the question remains of how to build such a future.
The United States and its interventions in the middle east have long been criticized, although their abrupt removal would surely destabilize the region. The influence of Iran would dramatically increase and escalate further violence if the US were to withdraw personnel. We need only look at recent history when the United States pulled out of most of northern Syria leaving the Kurdish fighters to fend for themselves. What followed was a massive assault on Kurdish strongholds by Turkey driven by political tensions already existing within their borders.
In the case of Iraq, we are well aware that Qassem Soleimani coordinated and aided Shia militias in Iraq in order to further Iran’s sphere of influence. Without the United States as a balance between the Shia and the minority Sunni, a power struggle would ensue. Likely, the United States would further enter into a deeper proxy war with Iran and entrench itself further.
What is the answer?
It seems like if the US leaves Iraq, the area will destabilize, but if the US stays in Iraq, tensions may further build to a breaking point.
It’s a Catch-22!
US Equities fall as fears over the Coronavirus spread. The extent as to which the virus has truly reached is unknown with two total confirmed cases in the United States. Meanwhile around the world, new cases have emerged with two cases of the virus reaching France. Chinese officials are trying their best to contain the virus. In China, there are already more than 830 cases and at least 26 people have died. 8,420 people are reported to be under observation. In total, France, South Korea, Japan, Nepal, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan and the United States have all confirmed cases of the virus.
What does this mean for markets?
If this situation escalates, there is a fear that it will disrupt economic supply chains. A large enough disruption could trigger bearish sentiment in the market and turn to a modest downturn. It seems that many analysts saw equities as fully priced back in August 2019 when a sharp correction threatened the Bull Market. Since then, investors have gotten more bullish off corporate guidance and the US-China trade deal. It seems that the media has been selling the news of the pending US-China trade deal and have led the market to greater heights in anticipation. Now the news seems to have turned sour with this breakout virus grabbing the headlines.
Will this present an opportunity to buy or more trouble ahead?
We will find out.