TIME Social Networking

Twitter Investigating ISIS-Related Threats Against Employees

Twitter
Leon Neal—AFP/Getty Images File photo dated September 11, 2013 shows the logo of the social networking website 'Twitter' displayed on a computer screen in London.

After Twitter blocked several ISIS-related accounts

Twitter is investigating threats made against its employees by people claiming ties to the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS).

A message appeared online Sunday calling on ISIS supporters to kill Twitter employees, apparently in response to the company’s efforts to block ISIS-related accounts.

“You started this failed war,” reads one post in Arabic. “We told you from the beginning it’s not your war, but you didn’t get it and kept closing our accounts on Twitter, but we will soon come back.”

One message singled out Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey in particular, showing an image of crosshairs overlaid on Dorsey’s face. Dorsey is now CEO of mobile payments company Square.

“Our security team is investigating the veracity of these threats with relevant law enforcement officials,” said Twitter spokesman Jim Prosser.

ISIS has often used Twitter and other social media to broadcast its message, publish video of violent acts and recruit new followers. The group has shown a penchant for “gaming” Twitter by using automated accounts to make its online supporter base seem larger than it likely actually is.

Meanwhile, Twitter regularly deletes posts and suspends accounts showing executions or violent actions. The company’s terms of service ban posting “direct, specific threats of violence against others.”

TIME Israel

How Israel Sees Benjamin Netanyahu’s Speech to Congress

Political Leaders Address Annual AIPAC Policy Conference
Amos Ben Gershom—GPO/Getty Images Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) 2015 Policy Conference on March 2, 2015 in Washington, DC.

Israelis are divided on the prime minister's trip to Washington, just two weeks before they go to the polls

If recent history is any indication, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to receive a number of standing ovations when he speaks before Congress on Tuesday to warn lawmakers about what he predicts will be a “bad deal” on Iran’s nuclear program.

But just as members of Congress are voting with their feet whether to attend the controversial speech that the Obama administration has deemed “destructive” to U.S.-Israel ties, Israeli voters are preparing to vote with their ballots as they narrow down their choices ahead of national elections exactly two weeks later, on March 17.

The diplomatic tempest over Netanyahu’s address, which comes at the invitation of Republican House Speaker John Boehner without any coordination with the White House, is also casting a cloud over Israel’s internal debate, with politicians and pundits speaking about little else.

Some analysts say the storm of attention may actually help Netanyahu, who has built himself a reputation as “Mr. Security” since he took the premiership for the second time in 2009 (He was elected for a third term in 2013). Conservative voters who feel Israel must never compromise its defense by relying too heavily upon others believe that even the so-called “special relationship” with the United States should be kept in check. This rightist constituency likes the idea of a leader who will defy what they perceive as pressure from Washington and Europeans capitals to make concessions, whether to the Palestinians next door or to the Iranians in a deal on nuclear enrichment.

“He’s actually speaking the language this audience wants to hear,” says Professor Reuven Hazan, the chair of the political science department at the Hebrew University. “It’s beautiful politicking … Two weeks before the election he is setting the agenda on Iran, which is where he wants it, and not on housing prices. It is increasingly perceived in this audience that Obama wants to reach an agreement at all costs, and Netanyahu will get a free hour of prime time across all the networks to broadcast that message.”

But it’s not just political expediency driving Netanyahu to Washington, says Gideon Rahat, a senior associate at the Israel Democracy Institute in Jerusalem. “It’s his deep belief that Obama doesn’t understand the cruel world outside and he’s trying to be too nice.”

No matter how pure Netanyahu’s ideological motives are for speaking to Congress, the speech could end up hurting him. Critics in Israel and elsewhere say Netanyahu’s decision to speak Tuesday is turning support for Israel into a partisan issue, pitting Democrats against Republicans and threatening the relationship with Israel’s most valued ally. Among these are Commanders for Israel’s Security, a group of more than 200 retired officers who chimed into the chorus of critique over Netanyahu’s plans to address Congress against the wishes of the Obama administration. On Sunday they held a press conference at which they said Netanyahu had gone off course.

“We decided that we need to publicly give our opinion — that the prime minister’s current policy is destroying the covenant with the United States,” said Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amnon Reshef. “The way to stop a nuclear Iran is by strengthening ties between countries, between the U.S. and Israel, between Israel an the international community.”

Amiram Levin, a former northern commander in the IDF, offered that he’d known Netanyahu as a young soldier and had taught him how to navigate while serving in an elite army unit. “I tell him now, Bibi you are navigating incorrectly,” Levin said, using the prime minister’s nickname. “The target is Tehran, not Washington.”

Such censure must surely sting, but Netanyahu left for the U.S. capital Sunday smiling and insisting that his was a “fateful, even historic, mission.” Indeed, his own political fate could be determined by this speech, just days before a national ballot that he himself called when he fired several of his ministers last November. Recent polls show that his rivals in the Zionist Union, an alliance of the Labor Party under the leadership of Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni of Hatnua, have a slight lead over Netanyahu’s Likud. Two centrist parties are siphoning away support from Netanyahu’s Likud base, as are parties further to the right of him led by Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Lieberman.

The strained U.S.-Israel relationship and the Iran nuclear issue are not the only factors weighing on Netanyahu’s popularity, though. The premier has suffered from a string of mini-scandals pointing to excessive spending at his official and private residences, and personal use of public funds. Meanwhile, a report released last week indicated that a housing crisis in Israel is even more severe than previously realized, and found two consecutive Netanyahu administrations coming up short on solutions. Apartment prices jumped 55% from 2008-2013, the study found.

When asked for a reaction, the prime minister immediately turned back to his favorite subject. “When we talk about housing prices, about the cost of living, I do not for a second forget about life itself,” he tweeted. “The biggest threat to our life at the moment is a nuclear-armed Iran.”

TIME Foreign Policy

Why Bibi and Barack Can’t Get Along

Obama Meets with PM Netanyahu of Israel
Olivier Douliery—picture-alliance/dpa/AP President Barack Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office of the White House on Oct. 1, 2014 in Washington, DC.

It would be easy but for the deep differences in policy, politics and personality.

The messy relationship between Benjamin Netanyahu and Barack Obama began, appropriately enough, in a janitor’s office at Reagan National Airport in March 2007. U.S. and Israeli diplomats have been cleaning up ever since, as the two men have left a path littered with personal slights and policy differences.

But their confrontation over Netanyahu’s politically tinged speech to Congress Tuesday could end up being their messiest yet, affecting the outcome of U.S.-Iran nuclear talks, the upcoming election in Israel and the future of the Middle East.

Bibi and Barack’s hastily arranged first meeting was, in fact, cordial and respectful, according to those who were there. Obama was returning to Washington from the primary campaign trail. Netanyahu was headed back to Israel where he was the opposition leader in the Knesset. Both knew they might soon be in power, and both recognized it would be work to reconcile their differences.

For starters, they came from very different backgrounds. As TIME wrote in 2010, Netanyahu’s father, Benzion, was among the intellectual leaders of what is known as revisionist Zionism while his older brother became a national hero after leading, and dying in, the 1976 raid on Entebbe.

Obama for his part is the Christian son of an atheist father who had been raised a Muslim. The future president spent formative childhood years in a Jakarta house that had no refrigerator and no flushing toilet, and he still bears on his arm a scar from a playing-field cut perfunctorily stitched up in a Jakarta hospital.

But the real challenge the two have faced is their different policies in the Middle East. Obama came to office reaching out to Iran and pushing for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Netanyahu opposed warming ties with the militantly anti-Israel theocrats in Tehran and refused in early meetings with Obama publicly to embrace the possibility of a Palestinian state.

The two men have endeavored to put a positive face on their differences, and at times it wasn’t hard since they and their countries often had common interests. The two countries have collaborated on anti-Iran measures, and senior officials say the security relationship between the two countries has never been closer.

But as often as not, the combination of personal and policy differences, fueled by distrustful staffers, gave way to friction between the two men. There was the time Israel announced a massive expansion of settlements in East Jerusalem just as Vice President Joe Biden arrived there for talks—a traditional Israeli greeting for peace-process pushing U.S. diplomats that dates back at least to Secretary of State James Baker. Then there was “the Snub” —Obama’s 2010 decision to leave Netanyahu negotiating with aides in the West Wing while he went for dinner with his family.

The outcome of their latest confrontation remains to be seen. Netanyahu faces a tough election this month and the White House’s increasingly public criticism may well show their desire for a change in leadership. Netanyahu’s effort to encourage anti-Obama members of Congress to push new sanctions could help scupper the already tenuous U.S.-Iranian talks.

But even if nothing much comes of their latest confrontation, few imagine the men will ever be inclined to patch up their differences. As Netanyahu’s sometime political nemesis Avram Burg told TIME in 2010, the two men may simply be irreconcilable. “You cannot stitch together the world visions of Obama and Netanyahu,” Burg said. “This is a clash of the psychological infrastructure.”

TIME Environment

Can We Fix Climate Change With Technology?

ice-melting
Getty Images

Geoengineering could remain the only option to combat catastrophic effects of climate change

A report from the National Academy of Sciences concluded that experiments in blotting out the sun in order to reduce the amount of the sun’s rays that hit the Earth would be too risky.

Spraying aerosols into the atmosphere – one leading approaching to “geoengineering” – would be a massive science experiment that would have unknown environmental side effects. The fallout on precipitation patterns, agricultural productivity, and the global climate cannot be fully known until it is unleashed. If the United States seeded the atmosphere with aerosols that produced more drought in, say, sub-Saharan Africa, that would potentially raise indefensible ethical questions.

Lowering global temperatures by reducing sun exposure – euphemistically known as “albedo modification” – would also merely treat the symptom of climate change, rather than the cause. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would remain unchanged. As such, sending aerosols up into the sky would be a process that would need to be maintained for many hundreds of years. It would also do nothing to address ocean acidification, another extraordinary problem facing humanity, which could lead to the collapse of fisheries around the world and alter global climate patterns.

Read more: The $17.6 Trillion Solution To Climate Change

“No reputable scientist I know thinks placing tiny reflecting particles in the stratosphere is a good idea, although some support studying it,” argues Philip Duffy, President the Woods Hole Research Center. Other geoengineering strategies include dumping iron into the oceans to suck up carbon.

The panel stated unequivocally that reducing carbon emissions was indeed the preferred method to address climate change. Transitioning to clean energy and replanting forests would offer much safer options, the latter of which is an age-old and well-understood method of carbon capture and storage.

Still, despite the National Academy concluding that albedo modification is unacceptably risky at this time, the panel called for more research into the subject.

What is disconcerting about such geoengineering schemes is that they could probably be attempted using today’s technology and not require significant breakthrough advances. They are likely to be significantly cheaper than carbon capture and sequestration, the other major approach to geoengineering explored by the National Academy report.

Moreover, unilateral “albedo modification” could spark geopolitical conflict, especially in the absence of international laws put in place. The Daily Mail reported that the CIA is possibly looking into how geoengineering might be used to “weaponize” the weather.

Read more: Strategic Thinking: How to Think About the Future

A separate study published in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science found that people who are ideologically attracted to individualism and free markets are much more likely to accept climate change on its face if it is presented in conjunction with a geoengineering solution. However, if the problem of climate change is broached along with a call for strict limits on emissions instead of geoengineering, people with an individualistic outlook are more likely to reject the science of climate change altogether.

Such findings could boost momentum for geoengineering research to the detriment of carbon mitigation (although that is perhaps up for debate). And for climate-skeptic politicians, for whom denying climate change science is becoming a growing liability, geoengineering could provide a way out of their predicament. It offers the option of “having our cake and eating it too,” as Clive Hamilton, an Australian public ethics professor, phrased it in an interview with The Guardian.

Even worse, the longer the world waits to reduce the rate at which it burns fossil fuels, the more likely that governments will view geoengineering as the only option remaining to combat catastrophic effects of climate change.

This article originally appeared on Oilprice.com.

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TIME energy

U.S. Will Never Gain Oil Market Crown, Says IEA Head

Fatih Birol of the International Energy Agency (IEA) speaks to media during World Energy Outlook 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Nov. 18, 2014.
Anadolu Agency—Getty Images Fatih Birol of the International Energy Agency (IEA) speaks to media during World Energy Outlook 2014 in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Nov. 18, 2014.

Fatih Birol predicts OPEC to "prevail over all other producers for the foreseeable future"

No matter how much oil the United States produces over the next few years, it will never become the next Saudi Arabia in the global oil market, according to Fatih Birol, the new executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

What’s especially interesting about this forecast is that it directly contradicts what Birol said only three months ago, and he gave no explanation for his change of mind.

On Feb. 26, Birol told The Telegraph’s Middle East Congress in London that OPEC, particularly the Persian Gulf members, will prevail over all other producers for the foreseeable future, even though the revolution in extracting shale oil has been “excellent news” for American producers.

“The United States will never be a major oil exporter. Their import needs are getting less but the US is not becoming Saudi Arabia,” Birol told the conference. “Their production growth is good to diversify the market but it will not solve the world’s oil problems.”

Read more: OPEC’s Strategy Is Working Claims Saudi Oil Minister

Certainly, Birol acknowledged, 2014 crude production by countries that are not among OPEC’s 12 members was greater than it had been in three decades, helping create an oversupply of oil that caused prices to erode and robbed OPEC producers of some of their market share.

But at least for the next 10 years, the cartel’s two top producers, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, will be the countries best equipped to meet the world’s demand for energy, especially if non-OPEC producers such as Brazil, Canada and the United States see production falter, Birol said.

Birol’s comments don’t jibe with what he said on Nov. 12, 2014, when he was still the IEA’s chief economist, when introducing the agency’s annual World Energy Outlook. He was appointed to the agency’s top position two weeks ago.

In that report, the IEA said US oil production is likely to exceed Saudi Arabia’s in the next 10 years, making the country nearly self-sufficient in energy and poising it to become a net exporter of oil.

Specifically, the IEA report said, Americans will be pumping 500,000 barrels more than Saudi Arabia in 2020 and 100,000 more than the Saudis in 2025. Riyadh will not reclaim its position as the biggest producer until 2030, when it is expected to extract 1.2 million more barrels per day than US producers.

Read more: The Easy Oil Is Gone So Where Do We Look Now?

Whether Birol’s forecast is correct now or was correct in November, he was not alone among noted economists and institutions in expecting a major surge in US oil production. The American financial services company Citigroup Inc. issued a report on March 20, 2014, predicting that the United States will overcome Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s largest oil producer by 2020.

And more recently, on Jan. 3, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said the growth of US oil production could perhaps displace Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest net exporter. “The United States has the chance to be to the energy economy of the next decade what Saudi Arabia has been for the last two to three decades,” he told the American Economics Association conference in Boston.

No one but Summers and the people at Citigroup know whether they’ve changed their minds since they spoke so glowingly about US oil production. And as for Birol, only he knows why he’s changed his mind. But for people whose livelihoods depend on understanding the arc of the oil market, such contradictions are confusing at best.

This article originally appeared on Oilprice.com.

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TIME Nigeria

Nigeria’s Kidnapped Girls Forgotten Ahead of Election Day

President Goodluck Jonathan is concentrating his energies on getting re-elected in March

It has been nearly one year since Boko Haram militants kidnapped over 270 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria. And while the terrorist group continues its attacks across Nigeria, the country’s president has been more focused on staying in power after the March 28 elections than on getting the girls back.

Local activists want that to change, demanding that the government make the disappearance of the Chibok girls the top priority. “These rallies is the reason why [the government] remembers,” organizer Funmi Adesanya told TIME’s Africa bureau chief Aryn Baker, “but I don’t think they are really doing anything about it.”

TIME Foreign Policy

Netanyahu’s Approval Rating Rises in the U.S., Poll Finds

As voters back home in Israel are turned off by the prime minister seeking re-election

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is getting more popular in the U.S., according to a new poll.

Netanyahu is viewed favorably by 45% of Americans, and only 24% view him unfavorably, according to a new Gallup poll. That’s up from a 35% favorable rating in a July 2012 poll.

In Israel, however, only 41% of likely voters said they view their Prime Minister favorably as his re-election effort enters its final weeks, according to a Times of Israel poll published in February.

In the U.S., Republicans were much more likely to say they support Netanyahu than their Democratic counterparts. Nearly two-thirds of Republicans said they viewed the Prime Minister favorably, compared with about a third of Democrats.

Read More: Netanyahu: Speech Not Intended to Disrespect Obama

Netanyahu has come under fire from White House officials for planning a trip to the U.S. without consulting the State Department or working through typical diplomatic channels. The visit, facilitated by House Speaker John Boehner, will feature a controversial speech to Congress in which the Prime Minister is expected to denounce a deal proposed by President Obama to work with Iran on nuclear power.

Despite the recent criticism from Democrats, Netanyahu’s favorability numbers are an improvement from three years ago, when only half of Republicans and a quarter of Democrats said they viewed him favorably.

The margin of error for the Gallup poll was 4%, while the Times of Israel poll had a 3.4% margin of error.

TIME isis

Iraqi Victory over ISIS in Tikrit Could Worsen Sectarian Strife

Iraqi government forces and allied militias fire weaponry from a position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from ISIS militants, March 2, 2015.
Younis Al-Bayati—AFP/Getty Images Iraqi government forces and allied militias fire weaponry from a position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from ISIS militants, March 2, 2015.

Shiite-dominated invasion force could make Sunni residents fearful of reprisals

It took only a matter of hours for the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) to take Tikrit last June, but the battle to regain the city is likely to be a long one. Tens of thousands of Iraqi security forces started their advance on Tikrit on Monday morning in their third attempt to re-establish government control. However, Iraqi security forces aren’t marching alone. They are flanked by thousands of mostly Shiite militiamen who have allied themselves with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

“We have not seen the Iraqi military able to take a sizeable area without either the participation of Shiite militias or Kurdish peshmerga,” says Kenneth M. Pollack, a specialist in Middle East political-military affairs and a former CIA analyst. “The U.S. has made it clear that the Iraqi brigades they are training are not yet ready to take part in operations.”

Unlike the American-trained government forces, Shiite militia are battle-hardened and ideologically driven, much like ISIS, making them militarily important. But this reliance on Shiite militiamen could further exacerbate the already deep Sunni-Shiite divide in the country.

“Tikrit is an overwhelmingly Sunni city and the forces attacking are overwhelmingly Shiite,” says Pollack.

Less than 100 miles from the capital, Baghdad, Tikrit is the hometown of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and a Sunni stronghold at the center of the Saladin Governorate. ISIS found relatively easy support in Tikrit among Sunnis who felt marginalized and oppressed by Shiite-led governments in Baghdad.

But, military planners believe that Tikrit’s Sunnis have grown tired of ISIS’s harsh rule for 10 months. They hope that some of those Sunnis will now be willing to turn their guns against ISIS. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has offered these Sunni tribes a pardon, and a last chance to come back into the fold with the national government.

READ MORE: Inside ISIS, a TIME Special Report

“I call upon those who have been misled or committed a mistake to lay down arms and join their people and security forces in order to liberate their cities,” said Abadi at a press conference on Sunday in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad.

During the American occupation of Iraq, these local Sunni tribes did rise-up against ISIS’s Al-Qaeda predecessor and fought in coordination with US-forces against other Sunni militiamen through the Sunni Awakening Movement.

“Sunni tribes of Tikrit could turn against ISIS,” says Hamed al-Mutlaq, a member of the Iraqi parliament and an influential Sunni politician. “They prefer the security forces to be in control. They would rather be with the Iraqi forces than ISIS.”

While tribal leaders may not want to see ISIS wielding all the influence in their territory, they’re even less likely to want to see Shiite militiamen controlling their streets.

“We know that there are Sunni tribal sheiks that don’t like [ISIS],” says Pollack. “But there are other Sunni sheiks who are more scared of the Shiite militias than they are of [ISIS].”

Iraqi government forces and allied militias take position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from ISIS militants, March 2, 2015.
Younis Al-Bayati—AFP/Getty ImagesIraqi government forces and allied militias take position in the northern part of Diyala province, bordering Salaheddin province, as they take part in an assault to retake the city of Tikrit from ISIS militants, March 2, 2015.

And they have reason to be. These Shiite militias that are marching alongside the Iraqi government forces have been accused of kidnappings, forced evictions and summary executions of Sunni civilians.

“The use of Shiite militias is a big problem,” says Mutlaq. “They have burned houses, terrorized and abducted people in Diyala, Samarra and Baghdad. They have a bad reputation.”

Mutlaq says he knows the Iraqi forces lack the weapons and training to take the city, but if they enter Tikrit with these Shiite militias they won’t be welcomed by the local population. Without the support of the Sunni tribes and local populations the government is unlikely to retake the city and if they do they will face constant resistance.

“The position of the tribes is critical in the long term. If they don’t accept the army’s occupation of Tikrit, they will resist. They can resist on their own, or they can resist with [ISIS].” says Pollack. “And that would be disastrous for Iraq. It would turn a government campaign against [ISIS] into nothing but a war between Shiite militias and Sunni militias.”

TIME energy

Here’s What Will Send Oil Prices Back Up Again

oil-well-pump
Getty Images

Oil is a volatile market, but prices are in a long term upward trend

Oil’s rapid decline since August of last year has been dramatic. To listen to some commentators you would also think it is unprecedented and irreversible. Those claiming that oil will continue to fall from here and remain low for evermore, however, are flying in the face of both history and common sense. The question we should be asking ourselves is not if oil prices will recover, but when they will.

ada1794
Macrotrends.netInflation adjusted WTI since Jan 1985.

From June of 2014 until now, the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has fallen approximately 57 percent. As the above chart shows, there have been drops of a similar percentage five times in the last 30 years. The rate of recovery has been different each time, but recovery has come. In addition, since 1999 the chart shows a consistent pattern of higher lows. In other words, oil is a volatile market, but prices are in a long term upward trend.

Read more: How Much Crude Oil Do You Consume On A Daily Basis?

Charts can only tell us so much, however. Even a long term trend can be broken if fundamental conditions change, and that, say those predicting that oil will never recover, is what has happened. There is no doubt that supply has increased. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” technology has unlocked reserves of oil and natural gas previously thought of as unrecoverable. Supply alone, however, doesn’t determine price. We must also consider demand, and that has been increasing too.

ada1795
U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA)

According to this chart, from the U.S. Energy Information Agency (EIA), demand has been increasing along with supply since 2010. Admittedly there has been a production surplus since the beginning of 2014 but that is nothing new and is forecast to be back in balance by the end of this year. The increased production, then, is in response to increasing demand; hardly a recipe for a protracted period of low prices. The supply situation makes it unlikely that the recovery will be rapid, but a gradual move up over the next few years is the only logical conclusion.

The low price brigade cites another factor in making their predictions, the rise of alternative energy sources. There is no doubt that there have been significant advances in that area, particularly in wind and solar power, but, according to the EIA, renewables currently account for 11 percent of the world’s energy consumption. That number will undoubtedly grow in the coming years, but, whether we like it or not, oil consumption still looks set to grow over the next few years. Fracking can fill some of that demand, but the simple fact remains that oil is still used extensively, and we are using more of it every year. The price simply cannot stay low for an extended period, but while it does it will delay research and infrastructure spending on renewables, slowing the pace of their adoption.

Read more: OPEC Considers Emergency Meeting On Oil Prices

Any increase in price would be hastened by a decision from OPEC and Saudi Arabia in particular, to reduce production. Right now they say that that is not on the cards, and why would they cut back? Their attitude seems to be that the oversupply was not their doing, and as their oil is cheap to produce, they can sit back and watch those who did cause the problem, most notably the upstart American companies, suffer. OPEC has always played the long game and will undoubtedly do so again, but once the lesson has been taught the pressure to restrict supply somewhat will mount. Again it may take time, but it will probably come.

History tells us that the price of oil will bounce back, but so does basic logic. Oil is a finite resource that we are using at an increasing rate, and as long as that situation remains, the laws of supply and demand mean that the price must recover. That is a good thing. As long as oil remains cheap there is little incentive to invest in the alternatives that we will inevitably need someday, nor to reduce our consumption of what is essentially a dirty fuel source. So, enjoy low fuel prices while you can, but don’t expect them to last forever.

This article originally appeared on Oilprice.com.

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TIME Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu: Speech Not Intended to Disrespect Obama

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed “regret” Monday that his address to a joint session of Congress has become politicized, but pledged to continue to criticize the emerging Iran nuclear agreement.

Addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, Netanyahu was greeted by the friendly audience with multiple standing ovations, saying he appreciates all that President Obama has done in support of his country.

“My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office which he holds,” he said. Republicans invited Netanyahu to address Congress Tuesday without first consulting the White House in an breach of diplomatic protocol. The White House responded by refusing to meet with the Israeli leader, citing proximity to this month’s Israeli elections.

Netanyahu appeared to acknowledge that his address has become a distraction from the very talks he aims to criticize.

“You know never has so much been written about a speech that hasn’t been given,” he quipped. Even attendance at the Tuesday speech has become controversial, with a number of Democratic lawmakers pledging to boycott.

“The last thing that I would want is for Israel to become a partisan issue and I regret that some people have misperceived my visit here this week as doing that,” Netanyahu said.

But the prime minister said he would proceed with his plan to aggressively criticize the P5+1 Iran nuclear talks, which are inching closer to an agreement and he warns could “threaten the survival of Israel.”

“I have a moral obligation to speak up in the face of these dangers while there’s still time to avert them,” Netanyahu said, alluding to the Jewish people’s millennia in diaspora. “Today we are no longer silent. Today we have a voice. And tomorrow, as prime minister of the one and only Jewish state I plan to use that voice.”

“Israel and the US agree that Iran should not have nuclear weapons, but we disagree on the best way to prevent Iran for developing those weapons,” he added.

Before Netanyahu took the stage, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power defending the Obama administration’s support for Israel and criticized the politicization of the alliance. Later Monday, National Security Advisor Susan Rice is set to address the pro-Israel group to deliver in depth remarks about the Iran talks in advance of Netanyahu’s criticism.

“Debating the most effective policy both within our respective democracies and among partners is more than useful, it is a necessary part of arriving at informed decisions,” Power said, attempting to separate out the politics from the substance. “Politicizing that process is not. The stakes are too high for that.”

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