Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Containing Russia and China


"There Will Be Blood" - The 

Whole Game Is About Containing 

Russia-China


Pepe Escobar

A child holds the national flags of Russia and China prior to a welcoming ceremony for Russian President Vladimir Putin outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, June 25, 2016

29 August, 2016


The next BRICS summit, in Goa, is less than two months away. Compared to only two years ago, the geopolitical tectonic plates have moved with astonishing speed. Most BRICS nations are mired in deep crisis; Brazil’s endless political/economic/institutional debacle may yield the Kafkaesque impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff.

BRICS is in a coma. What’s surviving is RC: the Russia/China strategic partnership. Yet even the partnership seems to be in trouble – with Russia still attacked by myriad metastases of Hybrid War. The – Exceptionalist – Hegemon remains powerful, and the opposition is dazed and confused.

Or is it?
Slowly but surely – see for instance the possibility of an ATM (Ankara-Tehran-Moscow) coalition in the making – global power continues to insist on shifting East. That goes beyond Russia’s pivoting to Asia; Germany’s industrialists are just waiting for the right political conjunction, before the end of the decade, to also pivot to Asia, conforming a BMB (Berlin-Moscow-Beijing) coalition.

Germany already rules over Europe. The only way for a global trade power to solidify its reach is to go East. NATO member Germany, with a GDP that outstrips the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, is not even allowed to share information with the “Five Eyes” secret cabal.
President Putin, years ago, was keen on a Lisbon-to-Vladivostok emporium. He may eventually be rewarded – delayed gratification? – by BMB, a trade/economic union that, combined with the Chinese-driven One Belt, One Road (OBOR), will eventually dwarf and effectively replace the dwindling post-WWII Anglo-Saxon crafted/controlled international order.
This inexorable movement East underscores all the interconnections – and evolving connectivity – related to the New Silk Roads, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the BRICS’s New Development Bank (NDB), the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU). The crux of RC, the Russia-China strategic partnership, is to make the multipolar, post-Atlantic world happen. Or, updating Ezra Pound, to Make It New.

Containing RC


Russia’s pivot to Asia is of course only part of the story. The core of Russia’s industries, infrastructure, population is in the west of the country, closer to Europe. BMB would allow a double pivot – simultaneously to Europe and Asia; or Russia exploiting to the max its Eurasian character. Not accidently this is absolute anathema for Washington. Thus the predictable, ongoing no holds barred exceptionalist strategy of preventing by all means necessary closer Russia-Germany cooperation.

In parallel, pivoting to Asia is also essential because that’s where the overwhelming majority of Russia’s future customers – energy and otherwise – are located. It will be a long, winding process to educate Russian public opinion about the incalculable value for the nation of Siberia and the Russian Far East. Yet that has already started. And it will be in full fruition by the middle of the next decade, when all the interpolated New Silk Roads will be online.
Containment” of RC will continue to be the name of the exceptionalist game – whatever happens on November 8. As far as the industrial-military-security-surveillance-corporate media complex is concerned, there will be no reset. Proxies will be used – from failed state Ukraine to Japan in the East China Sea, as well as any volunteering Southeast Asian faction in the South China Sea.

Still the Hegemon will be in trouble to contain both sides of RC simultaneously. NATO does not help; its trade arm, TPP, may even collapse in the high seas before arriving on shore. No TPP – a certainty in case Donald Trump is elected in November – means the end of US economic hegemony over Asia. Hillary Clinton knows it; and it’s no accident President Obama is desperate to have TPP approved during a short window of opportunity, the lame-duck session of Congress from November 9 to January 3.
Against China, the Hegemon alliance in fact hinges on Australia, India and Japan. Forget about instrumentalizing BRICS member India – which will never fall into the trap of a war against China (not to mention Russia, with which India traditionally enjoys very good relations.)

Japan’s imperial instincts were reawakened by Shinzo Abe. Yet hopeless economic stagnation persists. Moreover, Tokyo has been prohibited by the US Treasury Dept. to continue unleashing quantitative easing. Moscow sees as a long-term objective to progressively draw Japan away from the US orbit and into Eurasia integration.

Dr. Zbig does Desolation Row


The Pentagon is terrified that RC is now a military partnership as well.
Compared to Russia’s superior high-tech weaponry, NATO is a kindergarten mess; not to mention that soon Russian territory will be inviolable to any Star Wars-derived scheme. China will soon have all the submarines and “carrier-killer” missiles necessary to make life for the US Navy hell in case the Pentagon harbors funny ideas. And then there are the regional details – from Russia’s permanent air base in Syria to military cooperation with Iran and, eventually, disgruntled NATO member Turkey.
No wonder such exceptionalist luminary ideologues as Dr. Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski – foreign policy mentor to President Obama – aresupremely dejected.

When Brzezinski looks at progressive Eurasia integration, he simply cannot fail to detect how those “three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy” he outlined in The Grand Chessboard are simply dissolving; “to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.”

Those GCC vassals – starting with the House of Saud – are now terrified about their own security; same with the hysteric Baltics. Tributaries are not pliant anymore – and that includes an array of Europeans. The “barbarians” coming together are in fact old civilizations – China, Persia, Russia – fed up with upstart-controlled unipolarity.
Unsurprisingly, to “contain” RC, defined as “potentially threatening” (the Pentagon considers the threats are existential) Brzezinski suggests – what else – Divide and Rule; as in “containing the least predictable but potentially the most likely to overreach.” Still he doesn’t know which is which; “Currently, the more likely to overreach is Russia, but in the longer run it could be China.”

Hillary “Queen of War” Clinton of course does not subscribe to Brzezinski’s “could be” school. After all she’s the official, Robert Kagan-endorsed, neocon presidential candidate. She’s more in tune with this sort of wacky “analysis”.

So one should definitely expect Hillary’s “project” to be all-out hegemony expansion all across Eurasia. Syria and Iran will be targets. Even another war on the Korean Peninsula could be on the cards. But against North Korea, a nuclear power? Exceptionalistan only attacks those who can’t defend themselves. Besides, RC could easily prevent war by offering some strategic carrots to the Kim family.
In many aspects, not much has changed from 24 years ago when, only three months after the dissolution of the USSR, the Pentagon’s Defense Planning Guidance proclaimed:
Our first objective is to prevent the reemergence of a new rival…This requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power. These regions include Western Europe, East Asia, the territory of the former Soviet Union and southwest Asia.”

Talk about a prescient road map of what’s happening right now; the “rival”, “hostile” power is actually two powers involved in a strategic partnership: RC.
Compounding this Pentagon nightmare, the endgame keeps drawing near; the next manifestations and reverberations of the never-ending 2008 financial crisis may eventually torpedo the fundamentals of the global “order” – as in the petrodollar racket/tributary scam.
There will be blood. Hillary Clinton smells it already – from Syria to Iran to the South China Sea. The question is whether she – and virtually the whole Beltway establishment behind her – will be mad enough to provoke RC and buy a one-way ticket to post-MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) territory.


Alexander Mercouris on the Turkish invasion of Syria

Erdogan Calls Putin as Russia Seethes at Turkey’s Syrian Incursion

Note by the Saker: I have to admit that I still am rather puzzled by the Turkish “invasion” of Syria.  There are several hypotheses about what the Turks are really up to and what their real goal is.  Since my friends Alexander Mercouris and Mark Sleboda seem to have a much better understanding of what is happening than I, I submit to your attention their analysis rather than to exposes you to my confused guesses.
The Saker
——-
Image result for rdogan Calls Putin as Russia Seethes at Turkey’s Syrian Incursion

Russia furious at Turkish move to set up rebel “safe zone” inside Syria to assist Jihadi rebels there, putting the recently announced “normalisation of relations” between Russia and Turkey in jeopardy.
In the immediate aftermath of the Turkish capture of Jarablus in Syria Turkish President Erdogan telephoned his “friend Putin” on Friday 27th August 2016.
The Kremlin’s account of the conversation is remarkable even by its standards for its terseness
The two leaders discussed the development of Russia-Turkey trade and political and economic cooperation in keeping with the agreements reached in St Petersburg on August 9.  Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan exchanged opinions on developments in Syria and pointed out the importance of joint efforts in fighting terrorism.  They agreed to continue their dialogue on the issues of the bilateral and international agenda.”

The true subject of the discussion will in fact have been the Turkish capture of Jarablus in northern Syria.
Whilst it seems the Turks did inform the Russians of this move in advance, it is clear that the Russians are to put it mildly unhappy about it.  Though the Turks appear to have tried to arrange talks with the Russian military leadership presumably to discuss this move – even announcing a visit to Turkey by General Gerasimov, the Chief of the Russian General Staff – no such talks are taking place, with the Russians denying that a visit to Ankara by their Chief of General Staff was ever agreed, and the Turks now saying that the visit has been postponed.
The Russian media meanwhile is carrying articles making clear the extent of Russian anger.  An article in the Russian newspaper Kommersant, which is clearly based on official briefings, is accusing Turkey of “going further than promised in Syria”.  That this article reflects official thinking in Moscow is shown by the fact that the semi-official English language Russian news-site “Russia Beyond the Headlines” hasrepublished it in English
The article makes it clear that Turkey did not coordinate the Jarablus operation with Moscow or Damascus, and that it was much bigger than Moscow was led to expect.  The Russians are also clearly annoyed by the extent to which the operation has been coordinated by Turkey with the US, which is providing air support.
For Moscow, Ankara’s operation was an unpleasant surprise, demonstrating that the expectations for a convergence of the countries’ positions on Syria that emerged after the meeting between Putin and Erdogan were premature.  In deciding about the operation in Jarabulus, the Turkish leader has sent a signal that relations with the U.S. remain a priority for him, and he prefers to act in the framework of the antiterrorist coalition led not by Moscow, but Washington.”

(Bold italics added)

I have repeatedly warned against over-high expectations that the recent rapprochement between Turkey and Russia amounted to any sort of realignment.  I have also said that despite Turkish annoyance with the US over the recent coup attempt, Turkey remains a US ally, continues to be committed to regime change in Syria, and is not going to throw the US out of Incirlik or allow Russia to use the base.  My only surprise is that judging from this comment it appears there were some people in Moscow who thought otherwise.
The Kommersant article then continues ominously
According to Kommersant’s information, in case of aggravation of the situation, the Russian military and diplomats are ready to employ bilateral channels of communicationwith their Turkish counterparts, as well as express their concerns to the U.S. if necessary. According to Vladimir Sotnikov, director of the Moscow-based Russia-East-West centre,Ankara’s actions could seriously affect the process of normalisation of bilateral cooperation that was agreed by presidents Putin and Erdogan in St. Petersburg”.
(Bold italics added)

That suggests that behind the mild public language strong complaints have been made in private by Moscow to Ankara.  Erdogan’s call to Putin looks like an attempt to assuage Russian anger, to reassure Moscow about Turkey’s intentions in Syria, and to keep the “process of normalisation” between Turkey and Russia on track.  The terse Kremlin summary of the conversation suggests that Putin in response made Russian feelings and concerns perfectly clear, and that there was, in the diplomatic language of the past, “a full and frank exchange of views” ie. a row.
Why are the Russians so angry about the Jarablus operation?
Here I acknowledge my heavy debt to the geopolitical analyst Mark Sleboda who over the course of a detailed and very helpful discussion has corrected certain errors I have previously made about the Jarablus operation and has greatly enlarged my understanding of it.
In my two previous articles discussing the Jarablus operation I said that it looked to be targeted principally at the Kurds, whose militia, the YPG, has over the last year significantly expanded the area in north east Syria under its control.  I also discounted the possibility that the Turkish seizure of Jarablus was intended to affect the course of the battle for Aleppo by providing supplies to the Jihadi fighters trying to break the siege there.  In my latest article I said the following
“….. it is not obvious that the rebels actually need a “safe zone” in this area.   They already have a corridor to send men and supplies to Aleppo through Idlib province, which they already control.  Why add to the problems of setting up a “safe zone” much further away in north east Syria when the rebels already control territories so much closer to Aleppo?”

Mark Sleboda has explained to me that the principal corridor to supply the rebels in Syria has always been through the area of north east Syria around Jarablus.  In his words

Idlib is not an acceptable supply route from Turkey to forces in Aleppo province because the Turkish-Syrian border in Idlib is mountainous terrain – small and bad roads and then long routes all the way through Idlib past SAA held territory into Aleppo province. The Jarablus Corridor north of Aleppo is and has always been absolutely vital for the insurgency,. That’s why Turkey, Brookings, etc have always placed so much priority on a no fly zone there. Now its come to realisation.”

In other words the Turkish capture of Jarablus before it could be captured by the YPG was not primarily intended to prevent the linking together of two areas within Syria under Kurdish control – though that may have been a secondary factor – but was primarily intended to secure the main supply route (or “ratline”) Turkey uses to supply the Jihadi fighters attacking Aleppo.
Beyond that it is now clear that Turkish ambitions go much further than Jarablus.  Various Turkish officials have over the last two days been speaking to the Turkish media of Turkey establishing a large rebel controlled “safe zone” in this area of Syria.   Moreover – as Mark Sleboda says – they have now secured US support for it, as shown by the very active role the US air force is taking in supporting the Turkish move on Jarablus. 
As Mark Sleboda has also pointed out to me, creating this rebel “safe zone” within Syria has been a declared Turkish objective for over a year.  The Turks have up to now been prevented from realising it because of US reluctance to provide the necessary support, and because of concern in Washington and Ankara about a possible Russian military reaction.  With the move to Jarablus and beyond now carried out with US support and through Russian acquiescence obtained by stealth, the Turks have now achieved it.
What implications does this have for the war in Syria and for the continuation of the Russian – Turkish rapprochement?
Going back to the war in Syria, my own view remains that this will not in the end decide the outcome of the battle of Aleppo, where reports suggest that the Syrian army is continuing to gain ground despite the uninterrupted – and in fact increasing – flow of supplies to the Jihadi fighters across the Turkish border. My longer term view also remains that if the Syrian government succeeds in recapturing the whole of Aleppo and eventually Idlib, then it will have won the war.  However what this episode shows is that the war is far from won, and that the Turks and their US backers are still prepared to go on escalating it in order to prevent the Syrian army winning it. 
Beyond that I think the British reporter Patrick Cockburn may turn out to be right, that by trying to establish a “safe zone” within Syria Turkey is overplaying its hand and is taking a step that
“….would embroil Turkey in the lethal swamp lands of the Syrian-Iraqi war.”

Already there are indications that the Turkish move is provoking a local reaction from the YPG and the Kurds.  Despite earlier reports that the YPG was withdrawing all its forces back across to the eastern bank of the Euphrates, there are now credible reports of scattered resistance to the Turkish move by Kurdish militia aligned with the YPG, and there are also reports of mobilisation against the Turkish move in the Kurdish areas of Syria.
In my recent article I made the following point about the potential ability of the YPG to wreck any scheme to set up a rebel “safe zone” in this part of Syria
North east Syria is a bitterly contested area in which the dominant force is not the rebels but the YPG.  It does not look like a credible “safe zone” for the rebels or a credible launch area from which to launch attacks on Aleppo.  On the contrary an attempt to create a rebel “safe zone” in this area would antagonise the YPG, and would restore the alliance between the Syrian government and the YPG to full working order, leading to constant fighting in the area of the so-called “safe zone” between the Syrian rebels and the YPG.  That would surely defeat the whole purpose of the “safe zone”, rendering it unsafe and effectively worthless as a “safe zone”.   Of course the Turkish military could try to garrison the area to defend whatever “safe zone” it created inside it.  That would however require an incursion into Syria that went far deeper than the one to Jarablus, and which would risk the Turkish army becoming bogged down in a lengthy guerrilla war on Syrian territory with the YPG.  I doubt Erdogan, the Turkish military or the US would want that.”

In his article discussing the Turkish incursion Patrick Cockburn makes essentially the same point
Turkey may be able to prevent the Kurds permanently extending their rule west of the Euphrates, but it would be a very different and more dangerous operation to attack the de facto Syrian Kurdish state, which has spread itself between the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers since the Syrian Army largely withdrew from the region in 2012.”

Setting up a rebel “safe zone” inside Syria in the teeth of the opposition of the YPG is however what Erdogan and the Turks – backed by the US – have now decided to do.
In recent days there has been some renewed talk of Russia becoming bogged down in the war in Syria. In my opinion the country that runs by far the greatest risk of getting bogged down in Syria is not Russia but Turkey, which already has to deal with an Islamist terrorist campaign and a Kurdish insurgency on its own territory – both in large part consequences of the war in Syria – and which cannot afford to add a war between the Turkish army and the potentially Russian backed YPG in Syria to its mounting problems.  That however is what Turkey by its latest move now risks.
There remains the outstanding puzzle of US policy.  The US actively encouraged the YPG to capture the town of Manbij – which lies west of the Euphrates – from ISIS, and provided heavy air support for the YPG operation to the capture Manbij.  It is now demanding that the YPG withdraw from Manbij and from all areas west of the Euphrates, and is providing air support for a Turkish military operation that is at least in part targeted against the YPG.
It is impossible to see any logic in these moves.  As I said in my previous article
It is impossible to see any coherent strategy here.  Rather it looks as if CIA and military officials on the ground in Syria have been going their own way, encouraging the YPG to expand as fast as it can, heedless of the larger consequences.  The political leadership in Washington, when it finally woke up to what was happening, then had to take disproportionate steps to bring the situation back under control.”
Regardless of this, the Turkish move into Syria should bury once and for all any idea that Turkey is in the process of undertaking a geopolitical realignment away from the West and towards the Eurasian powers. Not only is Turkey still a US and NATO ally,  but it is now conducting an illegal military operation against Russian opposition in Syria with US military support.  That is not the action of a country in the process of carrying out a realignment and preparing to switch alliances from the West to Beijing and Moscow.
The Russians and the Turks are now talking to each other, which for several months they had stopped doing.  The Kremlin’s summary of Friday’s conversation between Putin and Erdogan shows that they are still talking about improving their trade links and economic ties.  However, as the Kommersant article shows, even that limited progress now appears to be in jeopardy as the two countries’ conflicting stances in the Syrian war once again threaten to pull them apart. 
In other words Turkey remains, as it has always been, an ally not of Russia and the Eurasian powers, but of the US and the West, and its actions in Syria are a clear demonstration of that.



A Chinese view of India-US military agreement

An interesting semi-official Chinese view on India-US military agreement.

Is India heading toward alliance with US?

Image result for Is India heading toward alliance with US?

30 August, 2016



The US and India are expected to sign a logistics agreement which allows both sides access to each other's military facilities for refueling and replenishment. Indian Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar has departed on a visit to the US and will sign this historic pact with his US counterpart Ashton Carter.

This is undoubtedly a leap forward in US-India military cooperation. US media highly applauded this deal, with Forbes hailing it as a "war pact" and believing that India is shifting away from Russia, its Cold War ally, toward a new alliance with the US.

The Indian side has adopted a prudent attitude. Some defense analysts expressed worries that India may lose strategic independence and warned that the pact may render New Delhi a "follower" of Washington.

India has practiced the principles of non-alignment since independence, which have been advocated by Indian elites. However, in recent years, Washington has deliberately wooed New Delhi to become its quasi ally so as to impose geopolitical pressure on China.

It is possible that the Modi administration is trying an unconventional way to lean toward the US with the logistics agreement.

But how close the US-India relationship can be and what geopolitical values it can get remains a question.

India holds dear its independence and sovereignty after squeezing out of the UK's colonialism. It views itself as a major power and is developing on the wave of the emerging countries. It attaches high importance to national security. It feels it is an urgent task because its defense levels are a necessary condition of being a major power, rather than out of a sense of crisis that requires an intimacy to the US.

If India hastily joins the US alliance system, it may irritate China, Pakistan or even Russia. It may not make India feel safer, but will bring strategic troubles to itself and make itself a center of geopolitical rivalries in Asia.

Due to its non-alignment policy, India has been given attention from all the major powers such as the US, Japan, China and Russia in recent years.

Now is arguably a time when India has the most room for strategic maneuvering. During Shinzo Abe's first tenure as Japan's prime minister, Japan hyped the concept of a quadrilateral alliance between the US, Japan, Australia and India; however, New Delhi remained cool to the idea.

Therefore, India will not lean toward the US, because it will not only hurt India's self-esteem, more importantly, India can gain more strategic benefits by striking a balance between China and the US.

Since China does not resort to regional expansion, the US' maneuvers in Asia will prove futile. The primary field of competition for China and the US is the economy. As long as China can keep its fast growth, the US' strategic deployment will go nowhere. 

Washington is preparing for war

RUSSIA NEEDS TO STAY ALERT – WASHINGTON IS PREPARING FOR WAR

Paul Craig Roberts





Katehon,
29 August, 2016


We just have to see what Turkey will do and what Britain will do. Could they actually manage to get out of NATO? Two years is a long time, Washington could try to work on the British government. If the British will successfully leave the EU, this could encourage other countries. And if Turkey will leave NATO, this could start other countries leaving. But I think it would be a mistake for Russians to simply assume that is going to happen. It is hopeful.



Critical bow to John Key's offshore drilling propects


Key’s drilling plan “in freefall” as NZ’s biggest offshore oil prospector bails

August 30, 2016 at 13:25 - In the wake of last week’s reports that oil giant Shell is having a firesale of its New Zealand assets, prospecting company ION Geophysical has also now relinquished its oil surveying permits, which covered almost half of New Zealand’s waters.



30 August, 2016


ION’s bid, lodged last September, was the largest application ever to be made for prospecting in New Zealand’s EEZ. It involved surveying 1.6 million square kilometres of ocean.

To add to the mass pull-out, another Houston based company, TGS, also yesterday withdrew its application for its major offshore prospecting permit off the West Coast of the North Island.

Greenpeace New Zealand’s senior campaign advisor, Steve Abel, said the growing list of oil companies bailing are a solid indication that the Government’s oil programme is dying a death.

Prospecting is the essential first step of offshore drilling. These companies gain data that is on-sold to the oil companies, but if there is poor indication of possible oil or there aren’t buyers for the data then the prospectors aren’t going to waste their time and money on surveying,” he said.

The ION and TGS departures are another critical blow to John Key’s offshore oil prospects. I think it’s safe to say the New Zealand’s offshore oil industry is in freefall. International petroleum players are dropping like flies.

It’s high time for Key to give up on this waste of taxpayers money and make good on the promises he made at the Paris climate conference by quitting support for oil drilling and properly backing the clean innovative sectors that should be powering and providing jobs and income for New Zealanders.”




In New Zealand: from autumn too "like summer"

Temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius above normal

September will feel like summer instead of spring

Forget spring - it's summer that has sprung, with meteorologists predicting yet more record-breaking temperatures for 2016.

30 August, 2016

The months of March, April and May were the second warmest autumn ever, with the warmest May on record, according to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA).
NIWA forecaster Ben Noll said more records were set to fall in the coming months.
Summer
You'll need sunblock come Thursday. Photo: 123RF
He said it would be good to break out the 30+ sunblock, with Thursday and Friday's temperatures on the country's east coast set to rise between five and 10 degrees above normal.
"Some places may approach 25°c as a classic foehn wind [dry, warm, down-slope wind that occurs on the downwind side of a mountain range] develops," Mr Noll said.
Mr Noll said 2016 had been the hottest start to any calendar year since records began in 1909.
Warm seas around New Zealand were primarily responsible for the summer-like heat, with above-average temperatures.
"We've seen that through much of 2016 so far and it seems to want to repeat itself here, even into the middle and latter stages of the year.
"You have this big high pressure system forming over warm waters and it brings winds from sub-tropical or even a tropical direction from the north, from near New Caledonia, even near the Coral Sea."
The atypical warmth was expected to expand across the North Island by the weekend, and could see records tumble from Sunday, said Mr Noll.
"It may repeat itself a couple of times in the first half of September, so if we don't break records this time around we'll have another chance around September 10, so a couple of rounds of this December-like weather," said Mr Noll.
It was time to put away electric blankets in the east of the country, he said, with parts of the country experiencing warm overnight temperatures for September.
But while people would enjoy getting outside more the predictions were bad news for farmers, with the North Canterbury drought set to continue.
Waipara West in the north of Canterbury was tracking towards its second driest winter on record, with just 73mm of rain through to 28 August - only 43 percent of normal winter rainfall, Mr Noll said.
"Places in Northern Canterbury, some spots have had only 40 to 60 percent of their normal rainfall so far in 2016 and these types of foehn winds will contribute to that.
"So it looks like in the next 15 days there's little in the way of rainfall for places that needs it most."
Mr Noll said ski fields could suffer from early snow melt, with Mt Ruapehu particularly affected.