Saudi Coalition Air Strikes Kill Seven Children in Yemen

Global Research, September 26, 2019
Middle East Eye 24 September 2019

Saudi-led coalition air strikes killed seven children in Yemen on Tuesday, a local official and doctor said.

The seven children were among 16 people killed during the air strike, as Saudi Arabia continues to pound the country already facing a humanitarian disaster.

“Sixteen people, including women and children, were killed and nine others injured” in a raid targeting a home in Daleh, a local official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

A doctor at Al Thawra hospital in nearby Ibb province, which received the bodies of those killed, told AFP that seven children and four women were among them.

The Houthi rebels condemned the coalition for its “continued aggression” against the Yemeni people.

“The aggressors do not understand the message of peace… but only messages of drones and of missile power,” said a statement carried by the rebels’ Al Masirah television.

The victims were in an apartment in Al Fakher, in the southern district of Qataba, Al- Daleh province. One of the injured children lost her entire family in the explosion. After the attack, most injured were brought to a hospital supported by Save the Children.

Save the Children, whose staff treated some of the casaulties, said one of the wounded children had lost her entire family in the explosion. The aid group called for an urgent investigation into the attack on the civilian area and said it “simply cannot accept that such an atrocity is carried out with impunity.”

“Attacks like this happen almost on a daily basis – the use of explosive weapons in populated areas is sadly all too common in the Yemen conflict… Only yesterday four children were killed in another attack in Amran that killed an entire family, including a pregnant mother,”

Tamer Kirolos, Country Director for Save the Children in Yemen, said.

“These children should not be victims of this conflict. Yet, they have paid the highest price imaginable. We’re calling for an independent investigation into the attack and for perpetrators to be held to account.”

The coalition could not be immediately reached for comment.

The raid came days after the Houthis offered to halt drone and missile attacks on Saudi Arabia as part of efforts to end Yemen’s ongoing civil war.

The group claimed responsibility for attacks on Saudi oil installations that knocked out half of Riyadh’s oil production.

The United States and Saudi Arabia, however, blamed Iran, saying the strikes were carried out with advanced cruise missiles and drones.

Britain also claimed that the Saudi oil facility attacks were not perpetrated by Houthi rebels.

Tuesday’s air strikes on Qatabah, in southern Yemen’s Daleh province, which is partly controlled by the Houthis, marked the first major attack believed to have been carried out by the coalition since the group’s offer was made.

Saudi Arabia had given a cautious response on Saturday to the Houthis’ offer to de-escalate.

“We judge other parties by their deeds, actions and not by their words, so we will see (whether) they actually do this or not,” said Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir.

“Regarding what prompted them to do this… we have to do more intensive studies,” he said at a news conference in Riyadh.

The UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths welcomed the rebels’ proposal, saying it could bring an end to the bloody conflict.

Its implementation “in good faith could send a powerful message of the will to end the war”, he said.

Tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, have been killed since Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened in March 2015 in support of the beleaguered government after the rebels captured the capital Sanaa.

The fighting has left 24.1 million – more than two-thirds of the population – in need of aid.

The United Nations has described Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

How Yemen’s Houthis Are Bringing Down a Goliath

Global Research, September 26, 2019

“It is clear to us that Iran bears responsibility for this attack. There is no other plausible explanation. We support ongoing investigations to establish further details.”

The statement above was not written by Franz Kafka. In fact, it was written by a Kafka derivative: Brussels-based European bureaucracy. The Merkel-Macron-Johnson trio, representing Germany, France and the UK, seems to know what no “ongoing investigation” has unearthed: that Tehran was definitively responsible for the twin aerial strikes on Saudi oil installations.

“There is no other plausible explanation” translates as the occultation of Yemen. Yemen only features as the pounding ground of a vicious Saudi war, de facto supported by Washington and London and conducted with US and UK weapons, which has generated a horrendous humanitarian crisis.

So Iran is the culprit, no evidence provided, end of story, even if the “investigation continues.”

Hassan Ali Al-Emad, Yemeni scholar and the son of a prominent tribal leader with ascendance over ten clans, begs to differ. “From a military perspective, nobody ever took our forces in Yemen seriously. Perhaps they started understanding it when our missiles hit Aramco.”

A satellite image from the US government shows damage to oil and gas infrastructure from weekend drone attacks at Abqaig on September 15.

Al-Emad said:

“Yemeni people have been encircled by an embargo. Why are Yemeni airports still closed? Children are dying without treatment. In this current war, the first door [to be closed against enemies] was Damascus. The second door is Yemen.”

Al-Emad considers that Hezbollah’s Secretary-General Sayed Nasrallah and the Houthis are involved in the same struggle.

Al-Emad was born in Sana’a in a Zaydi family influenced by Wahhabi practices. Yet when he was 20, in 1997, he converted to Ahlulbayat after comparative studies between Sunni, Zaydi and the Imamiyyah – the branch of Shi’ite Islam that believes in 12 imams. He abandoned Zaydi in what could be considered a Voltairean act: because the sect cannot withstand critical analysis.

I talked and broke bread – and hummus – with Al-Emad, in Beirut, during the New Horizon conference among scholars from Lebanon, Iran, Italy, Canada, Russia and Germany. Although he says he cannot get into detail about military secrets, he confirmed: “Past Yemeni governments had missiles, but after 9/11 Yemen was banned from buying weapons from Russia. But we still had 400 missiles in warehouses in South Yemen. We used 200 Scuds – the rest is still there [laughs].”

Al-Emad breaks down Houthi weaponry into three categories: the old missile stock; cannibalized missiles using different spare parts (“transformation made in Yemen”); and those with new technology that use reverse engineering. He stressed: “We accept help from everybody,” which suggests that not only Tehran and Hezbollah are pitching in.

Smoke billows from the Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern province after the Sept 14 attacks. Photo: AFP

Al-Emad’s key demand is actually humanitarian: “We request that Sana’a airport be reopened for help to the Yemeni people.” And he has a message for global public opinion that the EU-3 are obviously not aware of: “Saudi is collapsing and America is embracing it in its fall.”

The real danger

On the energy front, Persian Gulf energy traders that I have relied upon as trustworthy sources for two decades confirm that, contrary to Saudi Oil Minister Abdulazziz bin Salman’s spin, the damage from the Houthi attack on Abqaiq could last not only “months” but even years.

As a Dubai-based trader put it:

“When an Iraqi pipeline was damaged in the mid-2000s the pumps were destroyed. It takes two years to replace a pump as the backlogs are long. The Saudis, to secure their pipelines, acquired spare pumps for this reason. But they did not dream that Abqaiq could be damaged. If you build a refinery it can take three to five years if not more. It could be done in a month if all the components and parts were available at once, as then it would be merely a task of assembling the components and parts.”

On top of this, the Saudis are now only offering heavier crudes to their customers in Asia. “Then,” adds a trader,

“We heard that the Saudis were buying 20,000,000 barrels of heavier crudes from Iraq. Now, the Saudis were supposed to have as much as 160 million barrels a day of stored crude.  So what does this mean?  Either there was no stored crude or that crude had to go through Abqaiq in order to be sold.”

Al-Emad explicitly told me that Houthi attacks are not over, and further drone swarms are inevitable.

Now compare it with analysis by one trader:

“If in the next wave of drone attacks 18 million barrels a day of Saudi crude are knocked out, it would represent a catastrophe of epic proportions. The US does not want the Houthi to believe that they have such power through such fourth generational warfare as drones that cannot be defended against. But they do. Here is where a tiny country can bring down not only a Goliath such as the US, but also the whole world.”

Asked about the consequences of a possible US attack against Iran – picking up on Robert Gates’ famous 2010 remark that “Saudis want to fight Iran to the last American” – the consensus among traders is that it would be another disaster.

“It would not be possible to bring Iranian crude on line for the world to replace the rest of what was destroyed,” said one.

He noted that Senator Lindsey Graham had “said he wanted to destroy the Iranian refineries but not the oil wells. This is a very important point.  The horror of horrors would be an oil war where everyone is destroying each others’ wells until there was nothing left.”

While the “horror of horrors” hangs by a thread, the blind leading the blind stick to the script: Blame Iran and ignore Yemen.

Originally published on Asia Times

Feature image from Asia Times: An image taken from a video made available on July 7, 2019 by the press office of the Yemeni Shiite Houthi group shows ballistic missiles, labeled ‘Made in Yemen,’ at a recent exhibition of missiles and drones at an undisclosed location in Yemen. Footage showed models of at least 15 unmanned drones and missiles of different sizes and ranges. Photo: AFP/ Al-Houthi Group Media Office

How Yemen’s Houthis Are Bringing Down a Goliath

Will the Yemen War be the End of Saudi Arabia?

Global Research, September 20, 2019
Gold Goats ‘n Guns 19 September 2019

The attack on Saudi Arabia’s major oil processing station in Abqaiq over the weekend was a major turning point in global politics. It may be even bigger than many of us realize.

While forces within U.S. political circles, Israel and Saudi Arabia keep trying to shift the blame to Iran, the most likely scenario is that the Houthis in North Yemen were responsible for the attack as a follow up to last month’s hit which showed off the capabilities of their new drones.

That attack set the stage for the latest one in a classic case of the past being prologue. By showing the world it was capable of throwing drones anywhere in Saudi Arabia rebels in Yemen created plausibility for last weekend’s attack.

And as I said the other day this attack begs a lot of questions. And the ham-fisted push to blame Iran for it, after President Trump all but ruled out a military response from the U.S. from all corners of the U.S. and Saudi establishment opens up even more.

If this was a swarm attack from Iraq and Iran, as claimed now (and supported by factless conjecture) then how did all the vaunted U.S. technology fail to account for it?

U.S. Naval CENTCOM is in Bahrain folks. Are these people blind as well as incompetent?

No. I don’t think they are. Say what you want about U.S. political leadership and the nigh-treasonous bureaucracy supporting it, I don’t think our military is that fundamentally corrupt, lazy or stupid.

What are we spending all of the money on, after all?

By continuing to spin this attack up as Iranian in origin people like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Saudi Arabian government are throwing the Pentagon under the bus.

The truth is that by trying to re-frame this as an attack by Iraqi Shi’ite militias, the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), in conjunction with the IRGC, we are trying to further separate them from the Iraqi government who still openly support them and deflect against Saudi Arabia’s inherent weakness.

The PMUs have been our target politically in Iraq for months now so as to restart the chaos in Iraq.

Iraq and Syria continue to try and re-open the Al-Bukumai border crossing near Deir Ezzor. In response to the drone attack on Saudi Arabia there were two sets of airstrikes there on the 17th and the 18th. Saudi Arabia denies being involved and blamed Israel for the strikes.

The Shia Crescent is forming. The PMUs are an important part of this. Iran is investing billions in new road and rail links from Tehran to Beirut. So, the existential threat to Saudi Arabia and Israel is real.

Of that I have zero doubt.

But, notice what’s happening. Everyone’s pointing fingers at each other within the the U.S. alliance now.

Meanwhile Iran very calmly keeps denying the attack. I fully expect proof from them in the near future if the U.S. shows “proof” of Iran’s involvement.

Think back to the drone incident in June which nearly landed us in a war with Iran. The story morphed and changed with each day. The Iranians had the data, the proof, on their side and they let morons like Pompeo say provably false things before releasing it.

“Drip Drip Drip” is the strategy, as Andrew Breitbart used to call it. Drip out some information and allow your target to lie about it. Then drip out the next bit exposing that lie. And so on, and so on.

That’s what Iran did in June, humiliating Trump at every turn. And I’m sure if they weren’t behind this attack they will do the same thing in the coming days.

And I also think the U.S knows this as well. And that’s why nothing much more will come of it. It will be used diplomatically to tie Trump’s hands and front a lie to conceal more important truths.

  • The Saudi Arabians cannot defend their home. As Moon of Alabama points outSaudi air defense coverage is poor.
  • U.S. naval positioning is not prepared for a step up in violence. Carrier Groups are not in the Persian Gulf.
  • The Iranians believe they can hit targets up to 2000 kilometers away. How true that is versus U.S. air defense systems is questionable.
  • The Saudis have lost nearly all of their external support. The coalition against Yemen has collapsed.
  • The Houthis are winning.
  • Qatar hates them.
  • Egypt wouldn’t join Trump’s Arab NATO.
  • OPEC+ is floundering and Russia sets the tone.

And this brings me to the stark possibility Pepe Escobar laid out in his recent column. The Houthis may, right now, be in a position to launch an all-out attack from Yemen on Saudi Arabia and destabilize the country.

The situation has now reached a point where there’s plenty of chatter across the Persian Gulf about a spectacular scenario: the Houthis investing in a mad dash across the Arabian desert to capture Mecca and Medina in conjunction with a mass Shiite uprising in the Eastern oil belt. That’s not far-fetched anymore. Stranger things have happened in the Middle East. After all, the Saudis can’t even win a bar brawl – that’s why they rely on mercenaries.

An uprising in the east has always been on the table. It’s why the Saudis need $80+ per barrel oil. They have to pay for social programs that keep the population relatively happy.

From every side now, the Saudi Kingdom is under existential threat. So, I’m not surprised they are trying to push the blame for this incident onto Iran.

The quick announcement by newly-minted Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman that Aramco’s production will be back to normal quickly was done to reassure potential investors in the upcoming Aramco IPO, a $400 billion affair. It is the lynchpin to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MbS) Vision 2030 plan for modernizing the kingdom’s economy.

That fits with the desire to deflect the source of the attack away from their war in Yemen. Because, as bad as the optics are for the U.S. military, they are far worse for the Saudis if the Houthis are truly the culprits.

At a minimum the changing of the energy minister was a signal that a shift in Saudi policy is forthcoming. But without suing for peace soon MbS may not have time he thought he did.

Because there is no appetite for all out war with Iran in the U.S. The Saudis are no longer the ‘good Arabs’ to most Americans.

The military doesn’t want to put the soldiers at risk, Wall St. doesn’t want to see a financial collapse that makes Lehman Bros. look like a couple of Amish kids on rumspringa.

The MIC doesn’t want to expose their toys to the potential for them failing to dominate in the field.

War with Iran will not be conventional. It will come from all sides, all across the Shia Crescent, but especially Yemen. Of this the Iranians have been very clear, regardless of the outcome. They believe their missile technology is superior to U.S. air defense systems.

They may be correct and the last thing the U.S. wants is an actual shooting war where the outcome isn’t a foregone conclusion. The U.S. military is better served as a bogeyman, politically, rather than an actual physical threat.

So, MbS better come to the conclusion quick that a settlement in Yemen is the key to his near-term survival. Because in a quick strike by the Houthis which creates an uprising across the country there’s precious little the U.S. can or will do to oppose that.

And while an all-out war would certainly bring $150+ per barrel oil which the Saudis need to balance their budget, they most likely wouldn’t be the ones selling into that market.

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Tom Luongo is publisher of the Gold Goats n Guns. Ruminations on Geopolitics, Markets and Goats.

Featured image is from Al-Masdar News

 

Will the Yemen War be the End of Saudi Arabia?

Trump Reviewing Target Lists as Iran War Threat Mounts

Global Research, September 20, 2019
World Socialist Web Site 19 September 2019

US President Donald Trump has been presented with list of targets for US military strikes against Iran as US imperialism draws ever closer to initiating an armed conflict that could prove the antechamber to a third world war.

According to a report by the New York Times late Wednesday, military planners at the Pentagon and the US Central Command (CENTCOM) have provided the White House with options for strikes against Iran’s massive Abadan oil refinery on Kharg Island, Iranian missile launch sites, military bases and assets associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“Any strikes against Iran would almost certainly be carried out by volleys of cruise missiles from Navy vessels,” according to the Times report. “Strike aircraft would be aloft to carry out attacks if Iran retaliated against the first wave….”

As the threat of a major war with Iran becomes ever more imminent, the corporate media, with the Times in the lead, becomes all the more slavish in its parroting of the US charges of Iranian responsibility for Saturday’s attacks on Saudi oil installations. There is no serious attempt to critically probe these claims, much less to place them in the context of the proven record of deliberate lies and false pretenses used to justify US military aggression, from the Gulf of Tonkin in Vietnam to “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq.

On Wednesday, Trump said that he would announce a new round of economic sanctions against Iran within the next 48 hours, while again raising the threat of military action, in relation to the attacks on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations, for which Tehran has repeatedly denied responsibility.

While deflecting reporters’ questions over whether the White House is preparing military strikes, Trump, who was in California on a campaign fund-raising tour, said that “there’s plenty of time to do some dastardly things. It’s very easy to start. And we’ll see what happens.”

“There are many options,” Trump told the media. “And there’s the ultimate option, and there are options that are a lot less than that.”

Asked by a reporter whether by “ultimate option” he was referring to dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran, Trump said no, adding, “I’m saying ‘the ultimate option,’ meaning go in—war.”

The fact that such questions are being raised and such answers are being given is a manifestation of the acute and rising danger of a catastrophic new war in the Middle East that can trigger a global nuclear conflagration.

Given Trump’s repeated statements about how he could end the war in Afghanistan overnight if he “wanted to kill 10 million people,” the question about the “nuclear option” was hardly far-fetched. As for his answer, to “go in” to Iran by means of war would far eclipse the disastrous US wars waged in Iraq and Afghanistan in terms of casualties and destruction, while requiring hundreds of thousands of troops and, inevitably, the reimposition of the military draft in the United States.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the most prominent hardliner in relation to Iran within the administration after the recent resignation of John Bolton as national security adviser, declared in the western Saudi city of Jeddah Wednesday that the attacks on the oil facilities were “an act of war,” while insisting, without providing any substantiating evidence, that “this was an Iranian attack.”

Pompeo was in Saudi Arabia for consultations with the kingdom’s de facto leader, the blood-soaked Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, who organized the hideous murder and dismemberment of US-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul nearly a year ago and who has overseen the beheadings of at least 134 people, including dozens of political dissidents, in just the first half of this year.

The Houthi rebels who control the bulk of Yemen claimed responsibility for attacking the Saudi oil facilities, which they said was an act of retribution for the near-genocidal war led by the Saudis and backed by the US which has killed nearly 100,000 Yemenis and driven roughly 8 million more to the brink of starvation.

For his part, Pompeo insisted that the attacks had to have been launched by Iran because the Houthis did not have the technical capacity to organize such an action. He claimed that US intelligence had “high confidence” that the weapons used could not have come from Yemen. Confronted with a UN report issued last January establishing that the Houthis did indeed possess drones capable of carrying out such strikes, the US Secretary of State was unfazed.

“It doesn’t matter,” Pompeo said. “This was an Iranian attack. It’s not the case that you can subcontract out the devastation of five percent of the world’s global energy supply and think that you can absolve yourself of responsibilities.”

Even if the Houthis did launch the attacks, he added,

“it doesn’t change the fingerprints of the Ayatollah as having put at risk the global energy supply.”

In other words, Washington has no evidence that Iran launched the attack. If the Houthis, who have every reason to claim the attack as an act of self-defense, did so, they will simply be dismissed as Iranian “proxies” in order to justify the US build-up to war against Iran.

Such assertions are believed by no one, including Washington’s erstwhile allies. Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono told reporters Wednesday that his government is “not aware of any information that points to Iran” in relation to the Saudi attacks. He added,

“We believe the Houthis carried out the attack based on the statement claiming responsibility.”

It is widely recognized that Washington has deliberately provoked the confrontation with Iran, having last year unilaterally and illegally abrogated the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany, followed by the imposition of a draconian regime of economic sanctions tantamount to a state of war.

For its part, Tehran delivered an official diplomatic note to the United States through the Swiss embassy Wednesday, denying that it was responsible for the strikes on the Saudi oil facilities and warning that “if any actions are taken against Iran, that action will face an immediate response from Iran and its scope will not be limited to just a threat.” Iranian officials have previously warned that US bases throughout the region, and the roughly 70,000 US troops deployed there, are in range of Iran’s ballistic missiles.

In a further exacerbation of tensions, the Trump administration has failed to issue visas for an Iranian delegation, including President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, to travel to New York City for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. An advance party was already supposed to be in New York, while Zarif was to arrive there on Friday, and Rouhani on Monday.

Trump made the idiotic statement Wednesday that “if it was up to me I’d let them come,” when it is entirely up to the US president to admit or exclude the Iranians. For his part, Pompeo justified barring the Iranian officials from the United Nations on the grounds that they are guilty of “terrorism.”

It had earlier been suggested that Trump and Rouhani could hold a meeting on the sidelines of the General Assembly meeting. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, however, ruled out talks with American officials “at any level.” In a speech Tuesday, he described US suggestions of a negotiated settlement as a “ploy” designed to prove that Washington’s campaign of “maximum pressure,” designed to starve the Iranian people into submission, had succeeded.

Other Iranian officials have insisted that any resumption of negotiations be preceded by Washington resuming its adherence to the nuclear accord negotiated between Tehran and the world’s major powers in 2015 and the lifting of US sanctions.

The response of Trump’s ostensible political opposition, the Democratic Party, to the rising war threat has been mild at best. Leading congressional Democrats have largely restricted themselves to calling for any proposal for military action to be submitted to Congress, where it in all likelihood would be approved with substantial bipartisan support.

Meanwhile, Michael Morell, who was appointed acting director of the CIA under Obama and endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, echoed the calls for a military assault on Iran. In a speech delivered in northern Virginia Monday night, he insisted that Washington needed to respond to an “act of war,” suggesting strikes on Iranian military installations “to deter Iran.”

A war for regime change in Iran and the securing of a US stranglehold over the massive energy reserves of the Middle East has been a strategic objective of major sections of the US ruling establishment and its military and intelligence apparatus for some 40 years, under both Democratic and Republican administration.

The deepening crisis of American capitalism, and above all the growth of social inequality and class struggle within the US itself, powerfully expressed in the autoworkers strike at General Motors, is providing an impetus for escalating the confrontation with Iran and provoking another war for the purpose of directing social tensions outward in an explosion of military violence.

Such a war would pose the immediate threat of drawing in all of the major world powers, including nuclear-armed Russia and China, which have major strategic interests in Iran. A war on Iran and the threat of a new world war, posing the end of human civilization, can be prevented only by means of the independent mobilization of the international working class in a struggle to put an end to capitalism.

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The Globalization of War: America’s “Long War” against Humanity

Michel Chossudovsky

The “globalization of war” is a hegemonic project. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The U.S. military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.

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Year: 2015
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Saudi Arabia up in Flames: Riyadh Is Headed for a Major Disaster

Global Research, September 20, 2019
Strategic Culture Foundation 19 September 2019

On Saturday September 14, Yemen’s Houthi rebels announced that they had conducted a massive attack on several Aramco plants in Saudi Arabia, including the largest oil refinery in the world in Abqaiq, using 10 drones. On Twitter, dozens of videos and photos showed explosions, flames and the resulting damage.

The move is part of a retaliatory campaign by the Houthis in response to the indiscriminate bombings conducted by the Saudi air force over more than four years. UN estimates speak of more than 100,000 deaths and the largest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.

The Saudi kingdom finds itself in an increasingly dangerous situation as a result of the retaliatory capacity of the Houthis, able to inflict severe military and economic damage on Riyadh with their missile forces. Estimates suggest that Riyadh is losing something in the region of $300 million a day from the Houthi attacks. On Sunday September 15, a spokesman for the Saudi oil ministry spoke of damage that is yet to be calculated, possibly requiring weeks of repair. Meanwhile, Saudi oil production has halved following the Saturday attack. With a military budget of $200,000, the Houthis managed to inflict damage numbering in the billions of dollars.

House of Saud Isolated

The withdrawal of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates from the conflict in Yemen, driven by their desire to improve relations with Tehran, and the impossibility of the United States intervening directly in the conflict, has created significant problems for the House of Saud. The conflict is considered by the UN to be the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, and Trump has no intention of giving the Democratic presidential contenders any ammunition with which to attack him. Bolton’s dismissal could be one of those Trump signals to the deep state stating that he does not intend to sabotage his re-election hopes in 2020 by starting a new war.

This reluctance by Washington to directly support Israel and Saudi Arabia has aggravated the situation for Riyadh, which now risks seeing the conflict move to its own territory in the south of the country. The Houthi incursions into Saudi Arabia are now a daily event, and as long as Riyadh continues to commit war crimes against innocent Yemeni civilians, the situation will only worsen, with increasingly grave consequences for the internal stability of the Saudi system.

Saturday’s retaliation is the real demonstration of what could happen to the Saudi economy if Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) refuses to sit down and negotiate a way out of one of the worst military disasters of the contemporary era.

The invincibility of US weapons systems is only in Hollywood movies

The Houthis have in recent months managed to strike their targets in Saudi Arabia dozens of times using different aerial means. This highlights once again the total failure of American air-defense systems in the country.

In contrast, the multiple Russian anti-aircraft systems in Syria have achieved a 100% success rate with regard to interceptions, managing to disable (through electronic warfare) all the drones, mortars and missiles launched by jihadists against Russia’s bases in Tartus bases and Latakia.

Blame Iran!

Pompeo blames Tehran for the Yemeni attack on Saudi Arabia, of course without offering any proof. Riyadh and Tel Aviv are increasingly isolated in the Middle East. Washington is only able to offer tweets and paranoia about Iran to help its allies, given that a direct intervention is seen as being too risky for the global economy, not to mention the possibility of the conflict becoming a wider regional conflagration that would sink any chance of reelection in 2020 for the present administration.

Trump, Netanyahu and MBS are concocting a witches’ brew that will bring about a disaster of unprecedented proportions to the region. It is only a matter of time before we see the baleful consequences of their handiwork.

A hypothesis to be discarded

There is some talk doing the rounds that the Saudis conducted a false-flag attack on their own oil refineries, a hypothesis that enjoys a superficial plausibility. The resulting increase in the price of oil could be seen as having a positive effect on Aramco’s share price, it is true. But for the reasons given below, this hypothesis is actually not plausible.

The Houthis develop their own weapons, assisted by the Yemeni army. Used drones would cost less than $20,000 a piece. The military embargo on Yemen (enforced by the US and UK) has created a humanitarian disaster, limiting food and medicine. The delivery of weapons by sea therefore seems unlikely. As repeatedly stated by Mohammad Javad Zarif, the foreign minister of Iran, as well as representatives of Ansarullah, Tehran has no influence on the Houthis.

The Yemeni response is part of an increasing asymmetric logic, which has as its primary objectives the halt to Riyadh’s bombings of Yemen by increasing the costs of doing so such that they become unsustainable. The obvious pressure point is the 20 billion barrels in strategic reserves.

There is no need for a false flag to blame Iran for the work of the Houthis. The corporate media is enough to have the false accusations repeated without the help of the Israelis or US-based neocons.

The Saudis are more cautious, even if unable to decide how to proceed. In Yemen, they have no more cards to play: they do not want to sit down and deal with Ansarullah, Tehran is unassailable, while Tel Aviv is pushing for a conflict, with Riyadh offered to be sacrificed.

I have been writing for months that, sooner or later, an event will occur that will change the regional balance in a possible conflict with Iran. This happened on Saturday, when half of Saudi Arabia’s oil production was brought to a halt by an attack.

Conclusion

There could not be any worse news for the neocons, Wahhabis and Zionists. If the Houthis could inflict such damage using 10 drones, then Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Washington must be having conniptions at the thought of what the Iranians would be capable of doing in the event that they themselves were attacked.

Any power (in this case the US and their air-defense systems) and its close ally would do everything to avoid suffering such a humiliation that would only serve to reveal their military vulnerabilities.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s visit to Moscow is seen by many in Israel as a failure. It is confirmed in Tel Aviv that the Zionist state’s recent attacks in Syria have been quashed by Russian intervention, sending an unambiguous message to Netanyahu.

Netanyahu and MBS, I reiterate, are heading towards the political abyss. And given their inability to handle the situation, they will do everything in their power to draw Washington into their plans against Iran.

It is all certainly vain. But in the coming weeks, I expect further provocations and tensions in the Middle East.

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Federico Pieraccini is an independent freelance writer specialized in international affairs, conflicts, politics and strategies. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

The Ansarullah’s Aramco Drone Strike versus “The Real Act of War” against Yemen

Global Research, September 19, 2019

Pompeo’s provocative pronouncement that the Ansarullah’s drone strike on Aramco’s oil facilities was an “act of war” is extremely hypocritical because it ignores the fact that the Saudis were the ones to initiate the international dimension of the War on Yemen as part of the US’ long-running Hybrid War on Iran, and any conventional US and/or Saudi attack against the Islamic Republic in response to its alleged involvement in the attack would amount to an “act of war” against the entire world due to the global economic consequences that such a move would very likely trigger.

US Secretary of State Pompeo provocatively described the Ansarullah’s drone strike on Aramco’s oil facilities last weekend as an “act of war“, thus making many observers fear that his country and the Saudis are plotting a reciprocal response against them and their Iranian political supporters that both also blame for complicity in the attack, therefore potentially leading to a larger regional conflict. There are reasons to doubt that such a scenario will actually transpire, but the arguments thereof will be explained after elaborating on the hypocrisy of the “act of war” pronouncement.

It was the Saudis, not the Ansarullah, that initiated the international dimension of the War on Yemen out of their serious concern that this rebel group’s rapid successes in the neighboring country would eventually lead to their Iranian rival making military inroads on their doorstep (whether conventional or more likely unconventional) if its political allies captured control of the coast. The Saudis, however, sold their intervention to the public as an attempt to restore Hadi’s internationally recognized government to power following his request for military assistance to this end, which was technically true but didn’t officially touch on the Iranian angle even though the authorities have since emphasized it to the extreme.

Seeing as how no evidence has emerged in the past 4,5 years to corroborate the Saudis’ suspicions about Iran’s future plans to tilt the regional balance of power against it in the event that the Ansarullah were to have taken full control of Yemen, it can be said that their formal intervention was predicated on the concept of “preemptive war” to offset that seemingly impending scenario that they convinced themselves (whether rightly or wrongly) was on the brink of unfolding had they not actively thwarted it. Critics allege that perspective is nothing more than the paranoid delusions of a crumbling Kingdom, but it should be pointed out that Iran has never made a secret of exporting its Islamic Revolution, with its justification for going on the counter-offensive against Iraq in the First Gulf War of the 1980s being a case in point that continues to send chills down the back of its royalist rivals. They, however, weren’t completely innocent in that sense either because they fully supported Iraq’s war of aggression against Iran, as did many other countries in the world at that time including interestingly also the US and USSR. The reason why so many feared the Islamic Revolution is because it presented a credible “third way” for Muslim countries to follow in the Old Cold War and thus upset bipolarity.

To simplify a very complex series of events, the 1979 Islamic Revolution set off a regional — and to an extent, even a global — security dilemma that continues to influence International Relations to this day, most recently when forming the implied basis behind the Saudis’ “preemptive” War on Yemen that eventually led to the Ansarullah asymmetrically responding out of self-defense through their massive drone strike against Aramco’s oil facilities last weekend. Even in the unlikely event that Iran somehow contributed to the attack through logistics, military, or other forms of support like the US and Saudi Arabia allege, that wouldn’t change the fact that it would have been a response to the Hybrid War that those two have been incessantly waging against it since 1979 and which markedly intensified in nearly the past 1,5 years since the imposition of the anti-Iranian sanctions. Even so, many observers fear that the US and Saudi Arabia are prepared to strike (back at?) Iran and ominously climb the conventional escalation ladder to dangerously new heights, but while that certainly can’t be discounted, there are valid reasons for arguing that it probably won’t happen owing to Iran’s control of the asymmetrical escalation one that could impose unacceptable costs to them and the world if that ever occurs.

Irrespective of whether there really was a secret Iranian hand behind the Aramco attack or not, few doubt that the country has the drone and missile capabilities to turn that incident into child’s play and carry out something far more devastating if it were ever attacked. The US’ Patriot missiles failed to intercept the Ansarullah’s ten drones, revealing a glaring regional security shortcoming that therefore means that practically every oil processing facility in the Gulf is vulnerable to this sort of attack unless they’re able to rapidly improve their defensive capabilities, which can’t realistically happen for some time even if they were to purchase Russia’s S-400s and anti-drone equipment to complement or partially replace their inefficient American systems. World-renowned geopolitical analyst Pepe Escobar is correct in predicting that

“The real reason there would be no ships traversing the Strait of Hormuz (author’s note: if the US and Saudi Arabia attack Iran) is that there would be no oil in the Gulf left to pump. The oil fields, having been bombed, would be burning”, which would collapse the Gulf economies and also instantly trigger the world’s worst economic crisis in history.

With this in mind, a US-Saudi strike on Iran would be an actual “act of war” against both their target itself and the rest of the world.

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Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Will Trump Take Neocon Bait and Attack Iran Over Saudi Strike?

By Ron Paul

September 17, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities by Yemeni Houthi forces demonstrate once again that an aggressive foreign policy often brings unintended consequences and can result in blowback. In 2015 Saudi Arabia attacked its neighbor, Yemen, because a coup in that country ousted the Saudi-backed dictator. Four years later Yemen is in ruins, with nearly 100,000 Yemenis killed and millions more facing death by starvation. It has been rightly called the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet.

But rich and powerful Saudi Arabia did not defeat Yemen. In fact, the Saudis last month asked the Trump Administration to help facilitate talks with the Houthis in hopes that the war, which has cost Saudi Arabia tens of billions of dollars, could finally end without Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman losing too much face. Washington admitted earlier this month that those talks had begun.

The surprise Houthi attack on Saturday disrupted half of Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas production and shocked Washington. Predictably, however, the neocons are using the attack to call for war with Iran!


This article was originally published by “
Ron Paul Inst“- Sen. Lindsay Graham, one of the few people in Washington who makes John Bolton look like a dove, Tweeted yesterday that, “It is now time for the US to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries…” Graham is the perfect embodiment of the saying, “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” No matter what the problem, for Graham the solution is war.

Likewise, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who is supposed to represent US diplomacy – jumped to blame Iran for the attack on Saudi Arabia, Tweeting that, “Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply.” Of course, he provided no evidence even as the Houthis themselves took responsibility for the bombing.

What is remarkable is that all of Washington’s warmongers are ready for war over what is actually a retaliatory strike by a country that is the victim of Saudi aggression, not the aggressor itself. Yemen did not attack Saudi Arabia in 2015. It was the other way around. If you start a war and the other country fights back, you should not be entitled to complain about how unfair the whole thing is.

The establishment reaction to the Yemeni oilfield strike reminds me of a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee just before the US launched the 2003 Iraq war. As I was arguing against the authorization for that war, I pointed out that Iraq had never attacked the United States. One of my colleagues stopped me in mid-sentence, saying, “let me remind the gentleman that the Iraqis have been shooting at our planes for years.” True, but those planes were bombing Iraq!

The neocons want a US war on Iran at any cost. They may feel temporarily at a disadvantage with the departure of their ally in the Trump Administration, John Bolton. However, the sad truth is that there are plenty more John Boltons in the Administration. And they have allies in the Lindsay Grahams in Congress.

Yemen has demonstrated that it can fight back against Saudi aggression. The only sensible way forward is for a rapid end to this four-year travesty, and the Saudis would be wise to wake up to the mess they’ve created for themselves. Whatever the case, US participation in Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen must end immediately and neocon lies about Iran’s role in the war must be refuted and resisted.

Copyright © 2019 by RonPaul Institute.

 

==See Also==

Credibility Crisis: No One Believes Iran Attacked Saudi Arabia

Lest we forget: Trump said: “Saudi Arabia should be paying the United States many billions of dollars for our defense of them. Without us, gone!”

 

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52280.htm

“Drone Attack” on Saudi Oil – Who Benefits?

Global Research, September 16, 2019

Huge blazes were reported at two oil facilities in Saudi Arabia owned by Aramco. While Saudi authorities refused to assign blame, media outlets like the BBC immediately began insinuating either Yemen’s Houthis or Iran were responsible.

The BBC in its article, “Saudi Arabia oil facilities ablaze after drone strikes,” would inject toward the top of its article:

Iran-aligned Houthi fighters in Yemen have been blamed for previous attacks.

Following an ambiguous and evidence-free description of the supposed attacks, the BBC even included an entire section titled, “Who could be behind the attacks?” dedicated to politically expedient speculation aimed ultimately at Tehran.

The BBC would claim:

Houthi fighters were blamed for drone attacks on the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction facility last month and on other oil facilities in May.

The Iran-aligned rebel movement is fighting the Yemeni government and a Saudi-led coalition.

Yemen has been at war since 2015, when President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi was forced to flee the capital Sanaa by the Houthis. Saudi Arabia backs President Hadi, and has led a coalition of regional countries against the rebels.

The coalition launches air strikes almost every day, while the Houthis often fire missiles into Saudi Arabia.

Deliberately missing from the BBC’s history lesson are several key facts, leaving readers to draw conclusions that conveniently propel the West’s agenda versus Iran forward.

The US and Saudi Arabia vs. MENA

The war in Yemen was a result of US-backed regime change operations aimed at Yemen – along with Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Syria, and Egypt – starting in 2011.

Major hostilities began when the client regime installed by the US was ousted from power in 2015. Since then, the US and its Saudi allies have brutalized and ravaged Yemen triggering one of the worst humanitarian crises of the 21st century.

The UN’s own news service in an article titled, “Humanitarian crisis in Yemen remains the worst in the world, warns UN,” would admit:

An estimated 24 million people – close to 80 per cent of the population – need assistance and protection in Yemen, the UN warned on Thursday. With famine threatening hundreds of thousands of lives, humanitarian aid is increasingly becoming the only lifeline for millions across the country.

The cause of this catastrophe is the deliberate blockading of Yemen. Reuters in its article, “U.N. aid chief appeals for full lifting of Yemen blockade,” would report:

The United Nations appealed on Friday to the Saudi-led military coalition to fully lift its blockade of Yemen, saying up to eight million people were “right on the brink of famine”.

Essentially – the United States – with the largest economy and most powerful military in the world – along with its allies in Riyadh – are attempting to erase an entire nation off the map through bombings, starvation, and disease.

Saudi aggression carried out on behalf of Washington isn’t confined only to its war on Yemen. Saudi Arabia has played a key role in radicalizing, arming, and funding US-backed militants attempting to overthrow the government of Syria as well as extremist groups bent on destabilizing Iraq and even Iran itself.

Likewise, the militants who overran Libya in 2011 were drawn from extremist networks funded for decades by Riyadh. Thus, Saudi Arabia is not merely menacing neighboring Yemen, it is menacing the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and even beyond.

Saudi Arabia the Victim?  

The BBC’s recent article attempting to portray Saudi-Yemeni hostilities as a tit-for-tat conflict rather than Yemen’s desperate struggle for survival is yet another illustration of not only the West’s hypocrisy in terms of upholding or in any way underwriting human rights, but also the Western media’ complicity in advancing this hypocrisy.

Saudi Arabia is no victim.

If the US can predicate the invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of its government on deliberately false claims of possessing “weapons of mass destruction,” wouldn’t Yemen and its allies be justified in using any means possible to attack and undermine Saudi Arabia’s fighting capacity as it and its US allies openly carry out a war of aggression unequivocally condemned by the UN itself?

Houthi fighters or Iran would both be well within their rights to strike at the economic engine driving what even the UN has repeatedly declared as an illegal war of aggression waged by Saudi Arabia and its Western sponsors against the nation and people of Yemen.

Unfortunately, provoking such attacks – however justified – is key to US machinations toward igniting an even wider and more destructive regional conflict.

Two Possibilities 

The alleged attacks on Saudi oil facilities mean one of two things.

Either it is indeed retaliation against Saudi Arabia for its criminal activities across the region – showcasing new military capabilities raising the costs for Riyadh to continue down its current foreign policy path – or it was a staged provocation that will be used by the US to station yet more military forces in Saudi Arabia and to ratchet up tensions with both Iran to the east and Yemen’s Houthis to the south.

The recent departure of US National Security Adviser John Bolton led many to believe the US may be changing tack on its foreign policy – particularly toward Iran. However, it was much more likely a means of portraying the US as a “peacemaker” ahead of another round of attempts by the US to escalate tensions with Iran and if at all possible, trigger a wider conflict long sought by US special interests for years.

The US already used recent and highly questionable incidents in the Persian Gulf to justify sending hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia. The New York Times in its July 2019 article, “U.S. to Send About 500 More Troops to Saudi Arabia,” would report:

The United States is sending hundreds of troops to Saudi Arabia in what is intended as the latest show of force toward Iran, two Defense Department officials said Wednesday. 

The roughly 500 troops are part of a broader tranche of forces sent to the region over the past two months after tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated. 

Since May, a spate of attacks have left six oil tankers damaged in the Gulf of Oman, with Washington accusing Tehran of inciting them. Iranian officials have denied that claim. The downing of an American drone in June by an Iranian surface-to-air missile only heightened tensions, prompting President Trump to approve military strikes against Iran before abruptly pulling back.

With a growing number of US troops in Saudi Arabia, the US will be well positioned to launch offensive attacks against Iran in any future war, as well as carry out defensive operations to protect Saudi Arabia and essential infrastructure from retaliation.

This most recent alleged attack, along with a series of questionable incidents in the Persian Gulf have afforded the US justification – however tenuous – to further build up its military presence along Iran’s peripheries it otherwise would have had to carry out in an openly provocative and unjustified manner.

It was just these sort of provocations that were described for years by US policymakers who sought to “goad” Iran into war with the West.

For example, in a 2009 Brookings Institution paper titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran,” US policymakers would openly admit (emphasis added):

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. 

However beneficial this campaign of provocations may be for US foreign policy objectives, neither possibility – a provoked reaction from the Houthis or Iran or a staged attack organized by the US – bodes well for those ruling in Riyadh.

For Washington’s allies – the fact that they are just as likely – or more likely – to receive a devastating attack from the US itself than from their actual enemies – all to trigger an even more devastating war they will find themselves in the middle of – is added incentive for nations like Saudi Arabia to take the extended hands of future potential allies like Russia and China, and begin walking down a new and different path.

Only time will tell how far Saudi Arabia is willing to go down its current path, and how much they are willing to risk doing so, before they join the growing list of nations departing from America’s unipolar global order and choosing a more equitable multipolar future.

Whether the US and Saudi Arabia finally provoked genuine attacks from nations they’ve purposefully goaded for years, or staged the attacks themselves, a dangerous course toward war has been set – and a course the rest of the world must now work hard to steer away from.

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Tony Cartalucci is Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook” where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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The Ansarullah’s Drone Strike against Saudi Arabia’s Oil Facilities Was a Classic “David vs. Goliath” Moment?

Global Research, September 16, 2019

Global Research has published several articles which provide different as well as opposing views of the strikes directed Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities. What was the (direct or indirect) role of Iran in these strikes?

*** 
This weekend’s massive drone strike by Yemen’s Ansarullah rebels against the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia was a classic David vs. Goliath moment where a smaller force inflicted a devastating blow against their much larger opponent, one which even surpasses its legendary predecessor because of its potential global consequences.

The world was reminded of the biblical story of David vs. Goliath over the weekend after a massive drone strike by Yemen’s Ansarullah rebels against the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia represented an unforgettable modern-day manifestation of a smaller force inflicting a devastating blow against their much larger opponent. The attack was condemned by almost the entire international community, including Russia which described it as “an alarming event for the oil markets” and promised to “strongly condemn” the incident if it was proven to have actually been a drone strike like reported, and Iran’s enemies immediately sought to capitalize on it by linking the Islamic Republic to what happened in an attempt to increase already unprecedented pressure on that country. Tehran denied the claims being made against it, but that hasn’t stopped some in the American administration from insisting that their rival was responsible.

It’s difficult to predict what will happen next, but obtaining a more informed understanding of the larger context involved could help observers get a better grip on this rapidly evolving situation. The first issue to address is why this even happened at all. Gun-for-gun and dollar-for-dollar, the Ansarullah are no match for the Saudi-led coalition, which is why they’ve had to resort to asymmetrical warfare for the entirety of this nearly half-decade-long conflict that’s since been recognized by the UN as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. The conflict has reached a stalemate, especially following the UAE’s large-scale withdrawal and the rise of their South Yemeni separatist allies in their wake, though Saudi Arabia is ignoring which way the proverbial wind is blowing and has yet to lessen its involvement in the war because it can’t find a “face-saving” way to do so.

Crown Prince MBS fears that an “undignified withdrawal” might provoke some members of the royalist elite into pursuing (another?) “palace coup” attempt against him, yet continuing to participate in this increasingly unpopular war harms his country’s international standing. Thrown onto the horns of this dilemma by none other than its Emirati coalition “ally”, Saudi Arabia has remained in a state of strategic paralysis since this summer and refused to use take advantage of this opportunity to engage in a large-scale withdrawal as well. The Ansarullah therefore sought to exploit this by carrying out a devastating drone raid against the world’s largest oil production facility that would naturally force the Saudis’ hand and therefore exacerbate the dilemma that it’s presently in. There was no way that MBS could ignore what happened, yet any massive military response like the one that’s expected will only serve to drag him deeper into this quagmire.

This might have been the worst possible time for such a crisis to happen too, both for Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world. About the first-mentioned, it just replaced its Oil Minister with a member of the royal family for the first time in decades, which upset the delicate inter-elite balance that was already rocked by MBS’ controversial “anti-corruption” campaign from two years ago. This crisis therefore represents the Oil Minister’s first real challenge less than a week into the job. Not only that, but oil revenue constitutes the bulk of the Saudi budget, which has been under strain as it is by the rising costs of the War on Yemen and the slump in global oil prices. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a systemic economic transition (“Vision 2030“) towards its inevitable post-oil future, but the success of MBS’ ambitious plans rests on reliably receiving oil revenue in order to properly fund it, which has just been thrown into doubt after the attack by 10 inexpensive drones.

Concerning the interests that the rest of the world have in this crisis, it’s obvious that a war with Iran and/or a worsening of the humanitarian situation in Yemen through large-scale Saudi bombings would be extremely undesirable for all, but there are also more “selfish” ones at play too. Potentially higher oil prices could lead to inflation, which might be enough to finally push some of the developed economies (specifically the US, EU, and China) into a recession that could in turn catalyze another global economic crisis. There are likely some self-interested forces who would like to see this happen (such as Trump’s “deep state” foes), but all responsible stakeholders are doing their best to prevent this scenario. Still, because of this latest attack’s potentially global consequences in this respect, it stands as an event of out-sized importance, one that takes the David vs. Goliath metaphor to an entirely new level but also somewhat changes the story based on the modern circumstances.

David’s slingshot in this example was the Ansarullah’s drones, the shots of which were heard around the world, though the Saudi Goliath hasn’t (yet?) fallen. That same Goliath, though, is internally divided given the Saudis’ inter-elite divisions, and its overall wellness (in this case, structural and more specifically economic stability) isn’t that good either. David (or the Ansarullah) also isn’t undamaged, but has been pummeled over and over by a vastly superior force that’s inflicted massive collateral damage to those that he cares about too (the Yemen people, especially those in the North). Nevertheless, David isn’t giving up, but is doubling down on his asymmetrical warfare capabilities in the hope of either taking Goliath down himself or getting someone else to intervene in restraining him (the International Community), with only time telling how this new legend will end.

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Andrew Korybko is an American Moscow-based political analyst specializing in the relationship between the US strategy in Afro-Eurasia, China’s One Belt One Road global vision of New Silk Road connectivity, and Hybrid Warfare. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from OneWorld

Saudi $295 billion defense budget failed to protect oil installations from ragtag Houthi rebels

By Abdus-Sattar Ghazali

September 15, 2019 “Information Clearing House” – With $295 billion 2019 defense budget, Saudi Arabia Saturday failed to stop a drone attack on its oil installations from the Yemeni rebel rag tag militia.

Drones launched by Yemen’s Houthi rebels attacked the world’s largest oil processing facility in Saudi Arabia and another major oil field, sparking huge fires.

The facilities are operated by Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant, and produce up to 70% of the country’s crude oil output.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting “people familiar with the matter,” reported that Saudi Arabia is shutting down about half of its oil output following the strikes. The shutdown would amount to a loss of about 5 million barrels a day or roughly 5% of the world’s daily production of crude oil, the Journal said.

The attack by the Houthis in the war against a US-backed and Saudi-led coalition comes after weeks of similar drone assaults on the kingdom’s oil infrastructure, but none of the earlier strikes appeared to have caused the same amount of damage.

While the Houthis do not have significant financial resources, the drones have given them a way to hurt Saudi Arabia, which was the world’s third highest spender on military equipment in 2018, investing an estimated $67.6 billion on arms, the New York Times said.

The attacks some 500 miles from Yemeni soil not only exposed a Saudi vulnerability in the war against the Houthis, but demonstrated how relatively cheap it has become to stage such high-profile attacks. The drones used in Saturday’s attack may have cost $15,000 or less to build, said Wim Zwijnenburg, a senior researcher on drones at PAX, a Dutch peace organization.”This has given the Saudis a challenge they can’t confront, no matter what their financial, military or intelligence capabilities are,” Farea Al-Muslimi, co-founder of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, which focuses on Yemen, was quoted as saying.

Conflict Armament Research, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that the rebels have flown drones into the radar arrays of Saudi Arabia’s Patriot missile batteries disabling them and allowing the Houthis to fire ballistic missiles into the kingdom unchallenged.

The Houthis launched drone attacks targeting Saudi Arabia’s crucial East-West Pipeline in May. In August, Houthi drones struck Saudi Arabia’s Shaybah oil field.

In March 2018, it was reported that US-made missile defenses spectacularly failed in Saudi Arabia.

David Axe of VICE, wrote, at least five American-made Patriot missiles apparently missed, malfunctioned, or otherwise failed when Saudi forces tried to intercept a barrage of rockets targeting Riyadh on March 25, 2018. That’s bad news for the US military and its closest allies, who are counting on the Patriot to stop large-scale enemy attacks during a major war.

It’s nothing but an unbroken trail of disasters with this weapon system, Axe wrote.

The ground-launched, radar-guided Patriot missile, which is 19 feet long in its basic version, has been controversial since shortly after its introduction in 1984. It missed many of its targets during the 1991 Gulf War. Twelve years later during the US-led invasion of Iraq, Patriot crews shot down two allied warplanes, killing three crew members.

In August 2015, as the U.S. State Department approved a $5.4 billion sale of 600 Lockheed-made Patriot missiles to Saudi Arabia, alongside an additional half billion dollars in ammunition for various smaller weapons.

Tellingly, Saudi Arabia is buying 68% of its arms purchases from the U.S. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) from 2014-18, the kingdom received 56 combat aircraft from the United States and 38 from the United Kingdom, with aircraft in both cases equipped with cruise missiles and other guided weapons.

Associated Press quoted UN investigators as saying that the Houthis’ new UAV-X drone, found in recent months during the Saudi-led coalition’s war in Yemen, likely has a range of up to 1,500 kilometers. That puts the far reaches of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE in range.

This article was originally published by “The Journal of America“- 

 

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52275.htm

 

Saudi says unclear when oil output will return to normal after ‘massive’ damage

A satellite photo declassified by the US administration on September 15, 2019, allegedly shows the damages inflicted on Saudi oil facilities in Abqaiq in a retaliatory drone attack by Yemeni forces. (Photo via Twitter)

 

An informed Saudi source says the damages inflicted on the Aramco oil facilities in the recent Yemeni drone attacks are so massive that it is not clear when the country’s oil output can return to normal.

Attacks by 10 Yemeni drones on Saudi Arabia’s key oil facilities in Abqaiq and Khurais have shut down about 50 percent of the kingdom’s crude and gas production, cutting the state oil giant’s crude oil supply by around 5.7 million barrels per day.

An oil industry source briefed on the developments said on Sunday it is unclear how long the oil production shutdown will continue, as it is impossible to fix the “big” damages overnight.

Aramco has given no timeline for output resumption. However, a source close to the matter told Reuters the return to full oil capacity could take “weeks, not days”.

Another source briefed on the developments said the kingdom’s oil exports would continue to run as normal this week thanks to large storage in the country.

High-resolution satellite photos of the damaged facilities “declassified” by the US administration on Sunday show the drone attacks have hit at least 19 points with great precision.

Dion Nissenbaum

@DionNissenbaum

Developing: Trump administration declassifies photos of Saudi oil industry targeted by attack showing strikes on 17 different places.

Dion Nissenbaum

@DionNissenbaum

Photos released by Trump administration show extent of weekend attack on Saudi oil industry. US officials say evidence now pointing towards cruise missile attacks from Iraq or Iran, not drone strikes from Houthis in Yemen. But no official assessments yet from DC or Riyadh.

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A senior US official, asked not to be named, has claimed that evidence shows the launch area was west-northwest of the targets – the direction of Iran and Iraq – not south from Yemen.

The official has also quoted Saudi officials as saying that there are signs that cruise missiles were used in the attack.

This comes as Yemen has clearly stated it used 10 drones for Saturday’s operation, which was one of their largest retaliatory attacks ever inside the kingdom.

Earlier in the day, Tehran dismissed the US’ claim of Iranian involvement in the drone attacks, saying “futile allegations and blind statements as such are incomprehensible and meaningless within the framework of diplomacy.”

Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said such remarks “seem more like a plot being hatched by secret and intelligence organizations aimed at tarnishing a country’s image and setting the stage for future actions.”

He also criticized Saudi Arabia for fueling the flames of war in the region by committing various war crimes in Yemen for about five years, and hailed Yemen for putting up resistance in the face of the aggression.

Iraq has also denied reports alleging that the country was the site from where Yemeni drones were launched to attack Saudi oil installations.

The statement came from Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi’s office on Sunday. It said Iraq would act “decisively” if anyone tried to use its territory to attack other countries, AP reported.

 

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/09/15/606284/Saudi-oil-facilities-massive-damage-yemen-drone-attack

FBI Finally Agrees To Name Saudi Official Who Helped 9/11 Attackers

By Tyler Durden

September 13, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  Just 18 years after the terrible events of September 11, 2001, The FBI has agreed to provide a key piece of new information about alleged official Saudi involvement following intense efforts by the victims families.

While the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, remains at Guantamo Bay (trial date set for January 2021!), he opened the door in July to helping victims of the attacks in their lawsuit against Saudi Arabia if the U.S. government spares him the death penalty.

And, as The Wall Street Journal reports, victims’ families have urged the government to make more information public, telling President Trump in a letter recently that it would help them “finally learn the full truth and obtain justice from Saudi Arabia.”

Two of the people, Fahad al-Thumairy and Omar al-Bayoumi, were linked to the Saudi government, according to FBI and congressional documents.  The third person, whose name is redacted, is described in the summary as having tasked the other two with assisting the hijackers.The families had sought an unredacted copy of a four-page 2012 summary of an FBI inquiry into three people who may have assisted two of the hijackers in California in finding housing, obtaining driver’s licenses and other matters.

As a reminder, most of the attackers were from Saudi Arabia; Riyadh has denied complicity in the attacks.

In an odd admission, that appears to suggest they are withholding even more evidence, The FBI, citing the “exceptional nature of the case” said it would provide the name of one Saudi official the families’ had most wanted, but wouldn’t release any other information they sought.

Of course, this decision puts President Trump back in an awkward position of maintaining ties with his petrodollar partners who are buying all those arms while being forced to face realities about the Saudis’ behaviors.

This article was originally published by “Zero Hedge“- 

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52258.htm

Robert Mueller helped Saudi Arabia cover up its role in 9/11 attacks: suit

By Paul Sperry

September 08, 2019 “Information Clearing House”  After a lengthy investigation, special counsel Robert Mueller charged Russia made “multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election” and said the incursion “deserves the attention of every American.”

But former FBI investigators say their old boss didn’t feel the same concern when they uncovered multiple, systemic efforts by the Saudi government to assist the hijackers in the lead-up to the 9/11 attacks — a far more consequential, to say nothing of deadly, foreign influence operation on America.

As the head of the FBI at the time, they say Mueller was not nearly as interested in investigating that espionage conspiracy, which also involved foreign intelligence officers. Far from it, the record shows he covered up evidence pointing back to the Saudi Embassy and Riyadh — and may have even misled Congress about what he knew.

9/11 victims agree. “He was the master when it came to covering up the kingdom’s role in 9/11,” said survivor Sharon Premoli, who was pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center 18 years ago.

“In October of 2001, Mueller shut down the government’s investigation after only three weeks, and then took part in the Bush [administration’s] campaign to block, obfuscate and generally stop anything about Saudi Arabia from being released,” added Premoli, now a plaintiff in the 9/11 lawsuit against Saudi Arabia.

In fact, Mueller threw up roadblocks in the path of his own investigators working the 9/11 case, while making it easier for Saudi suspects to escape questioning, multiple case agents told me. Then he deep-sixed what evidence his agents did manage to uncover, according to the 9/11 lawsuit against the Saudis.

  • Instead, Mueller obliged what Guandolo called an “outrageous request” from Bandar within days of the attacks to help evacuate from the country dozens of Saudi officials, including at least one Osama bin Laden relative on the terror watch list. Mueller assured their safe passage to planes, using agents as personal escorts, according to FBI documents obtained by Judicial Watch. Agents who should have been interrogating the Saudis instead acted as their bodyguards.Time and again, agents were called off from pursuing leads back to the kingdom’s embassy in Washington, as well as its consulate in Los Angeles, where former FBI Agent Stephen Moore headed a 9/11 task force looking into local contacts made by two of the 15 Saudi hijackers, Moore testified in an affidavit for the 9/11 lawsuit. He concluded that “diplomatic and intelligence personnel of Saudi Arabia knowingly provided material support to the two hijackers and facilitated the 9/11 plot.” Yet he and his team were not allowed to interview them, according to the suit.
  • In Washington, former FBI Agent John Guandolo, who worked terror cases out of the bureau’s DC office, said then-Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar “should have been treated as a terrorist suspect” for giving money to a woman who funded two of the 9/11 hijackers. But he was never questioned either, Guandolo said.
  • In 2002, Mueller prevented agents from arresting the Saudi-sponsored al Qaeda cleric who privately counseled the Saudi hijackers, said Raymond Fournier, an agent with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in San Diego at the time. “He was responsible for vacating the arrest warrant for Anwar al-Awlaki for passport fraud,” Fournier said. He even ordered agents who detained the fiend at JFK to release him into the custody of a “Saudi representative,” Fournier said. The FBI closed their investigation of Awlaki, who was allowed to leave the US on a Saudi plane. “Shortly thereafter, the Fort Hood shooting occurred and Awlaki’s fingerprints were all over that incident,” said former FBI Agent Michael Biasello, who helped work the Texas terror case.
  • At the same time, Mueller removed a veteran agent from investigating a tip that an adviser to the Saudi royal family had met with some of the Saudi hijackers at his home in Sarasota, Fla., effectively killing the case, according to the lawsuit. The home was suddenly abandoned two weeks before 9/11.
  • Mueller even tried to shut down a congressional investigation into the Saudi hijackers and their contacts in LA and San Diego, said Bob Graham, who led the joint inquiry as Senate Intelligence Committee chair. “The strongest objections” to his staff investigators visiting FBI offices there came from the FBI director himself, said Graham, in a 2017 interview with Harper’s magazine. Among other things, Mueller refused their demands to question a paid FBI informant who roomed with the hijackers and even moved him to a safe house where they couldn’t find him, Graham said. Mueller, with the White House, redacted 28 pages detailing Saudi-9/11 ties from the congressional report.
  • He also gave testimony to Congress that was, at the very least, misleading. In an October 2002 closed-door hearing, Mueller claimed he found out about Saudi-9/11 connections only as a result of the joint inquiry’s investigative work: “[S]ome facts came to light here and to me, frankly, that had not come to light before.” Only, Moore said he gave Mueller “daily” briefings on such connections in 2001. Mueller also testified the hijackers “contacted no known terrorist sympathizers in the United States,” even though the FBI’s own case files showed they had contact with at least 14 terrorist suspects and sympathizers in the US prior to 9/11, including some working for the Saudi government. (In later testimony, he tried to walk this back, insisting he “had no intent to mislead.”)

While the Beltway media have portrayed Mueller as a by-the-book former Marine whose integrity is as square as his lantern-shaped jaw — a cop who can’t be compromised — others know better.

“He’s a villain, and an arrogant one to boot,” former FBI Agent Mark Wauck said, adding that his former boss has a long history of acting as a “servant of the deep state,” or the permanent DC ruling class.

A Mueller spokesman declined to comment. But some agents say he was merely following White House orders.

“Any letting the Saudis off the hook came from the White House,” former Agent Mark Rossini said. “I can still see that photo of Bandar and Bush enjoying cigars on the balcony of the White House two days after 9/11.”

Still, others note the hypocrisy of Mueller going after President Trump for conspiring with a foreign enemy.

“Bottom line is, Mueller did not do an investigation on people involved in the 9/11 attacks who were connected to the Saudi government,” a former US counterintelligence official asserted. “Maybe if they were Russians, he would be interested. But he was not interested in investigating [Saudi] terrorists who murdered Americans.”

Paul Sperry is an investigative journalist and author of the bestseller “Infiltration.”

This article was originally published by “NYPost – 

Do you agree or disagree? Post your comment here

==See Also==

Tulsi talks about Wikileaks cables

 

 

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52229.htm

 

Saudi-led coalition strike on prison in Yemen kills at least 100 people – Red Cross

Red Crescent medics stand at the site of Saudi-led air strikes on a Houthi detention centre in Dhamar © Reuters / Ahmed al-Ansi
A Red Cross official has estimated that Saudi airstrikes killed at least 100 people at a Yemeni prison. Medics have been dispatched to the scene of what looks like the deadliest strike in Yemen this year.

Airstrikes pounded the detention center located in a college building in Dhamar City on Sunday.  The facility housed some 170 detainees.

“We estimate over 100 people were killed,” International Red Cross head in Yemen, Franz Rauchenstein, told AFP. Rauchenstein said that rescue teams are combing the rubble for survivors, but their chances of success “are very low.”

Earlier, the Red Cross dispatched medical teams to the strike site, carrying medical supplies to treat 100 people and 200 body bags, amid reports that “dozens” of detainees at the prison were feared dead.

“Today’s event is a tragedy. The human cost of this war is unbearable. We need it to stop,” said Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen. “I hope the Coalition will launch an enquiry into this incident. Accountability needs to prevail.”

ICRC Yemen

@ICRC_ye

An ICRC team carrying both urgent medical supplies that can treat up to 100 critically wounded persons and 200 body bags to be donated is on its way to Dhamar province following air strikes which are reported to have killed or wounded dozens of detainees.

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The Sauid-led coalition, which has waged an air campaign against the Houthis for four years now, claims it targeted a military facility “in accordance with international humanitarian law.” 

The attack looks set to be the deadliest this year by the Saudi-led coalition. The Saudis have faced fierce international criticism for their air campaign, which has often seen non-military targets struck by warplanes. As many as 40 civilians were killed in strikes on the port city of Aden last month, while one year earlier, Saudi aircraft bombed a school bus, killing at least 40 children, all under 15 years old.

Further back, Saudi strikes targeted a Houthi prison before, in the port of Hodeida in 2016. At least 58 people were killed in the airstrike, many of them prisoners awaiting trial. The coalition said at the time that the prison was used by the Houthis as a command center.

Sunday’s strike came as Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom was in Jordan on a mission to revive peace talks.  Sweden has played mediator in the conflict since a UN-brokered peace deal was signed in Stockholm last December.

 

https://www.rt.com/news/467748-saudi-strike-yemen-prison-kill/

 

Saudi Arabia Acknowledges Defeat In Yemen – Starts To Sue For Peace

By Moon Of Alabama

August 29, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –   Two weeks ago we wrote that war on Yemen will soon end. The Saudis lost their ally, they lost the war and would have to sue for peace. They are now doing so. But they fighting in Yemen will continue until that country finds a new balance.

Today the United Arab Emirates airforce bombed the Yemeni proxy forces of its ‘ally’ Saudi Arabia:

Yemen’s internationally recognized government accused the Emirati air force of attacking its troops Thursday as they were heading to the key southern port city of Aden to fight separatists backed by the United Arab Emirates. The airstrikes killed at least 30 government forces, a Yemeni commander said.

Col. Mohamed al-Oban, a commander of the government’s special forces in Abyan province, said the troops were on the road, headed from Abyan toward Aden on Thursday, when the strikes took place, killing at least 30.

At least six raids were carried out by Emirati warplanes around the temporary capital, according to government military sources who asked to remain anonymous.

Southern separatist forces under the Southern Transitional Council and supported by the UAE hold Aden. Between 1967 and 1990 south Yemen, then named the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, was separated from the mountainous north. After uniting with north Yemen the south became neglected even though its eastern desert holds most of the country’s hydrocarbon resources.


biggerSince 2015 the coalition of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with U.S. and British help, waged war against the Houthi in northern Yemen. The coalition is now falling apart. Both countries claimed to fight against the Houthi, which control the capital Sanaa, in support of the internationally recognized ‘legitimate’ government under ‘President’ Hadi. But both countries had from the very beginning more egoistic war aims.

 

The Wahhabi Saudis want a Yemeni government that is not controlled by the Zaydi-Shia Houthi with whom they fought dozens of wars over two provinces that Saudi Arabia once annexed. They also want to control Yemen’s oil and a pipeline from the Saudi oil region to a harbor in Yemen. It would help Saudi oil exports to avoid the Iran controlled Strait of Hormuz.

The UAE is big into the port business. It wants to control the strategic port of Aden and other Yemeni harbors on the southern coast. As it has no direct border with Yemen it largely does not care who controls the rest of Yemen.

The UAE leader Mohammad bin Zayed (MbZ) is not an absolute king. He is the son of the Emir of Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates that form the UAE. His aggressive foreign policy, with military engagement in Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya, has come under critic of the rulers of the other emirates. Wars are expensive and bad for regular business. MbZ’s alliance with the Saudi clown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) was seen as dangerous. While the Saudis would like the U.S. to wage war on Iran, the UAE, and especially Dubai, would become a casualty of such a war.

In June the emirs decided to change cause. The UAE retreated from active war in Yemen and started to make nice with Iran. It hoped that the southern separatists it had trained would keep Aden under control and continue to do the UAE’s bidding. The Saudis and the ‘legitimate government’ under Hadi they control do not want to condone that.

The Saudis are extremely angry that the UAE changed course:

But this month, at his Mecca palace, Saudi King Salman took the unusual step of expressing “extreme irritation” with the UAE, his closest Arab partner, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The comment appears to be evidence of a fissure in the alliance, which is led in practice by the king’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), and the UAE de facto ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan (MbZ).

The king’s annoyance was voiced in a conversation on Aug. 11 with President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, head of Yemen’s Saudi-backed government, according to two Yemeni sources and one other briefed on the meeting.

Hadi’s forces in Aden had just been routed by troops supported by the UAE, as nominal allies in the country’s south turned on each other in a power struggle.

The Saudis must end the war against the Houthi that was launched at the behest of its clown prince. The war cost the Saudis an enormous amount of money even as they are still losing it. Only yesterday 25 of their forces were killed in a Houthi ambush. With the help of Iran the Houthi acquired long range missiles and drones and they now use them in volleys that reach deep into the Saudi’s land:

Beginning on Aug. 24, the Houthis said its forces conducted two drone strikes on the King Khaled airbase in Khamis Mushayt and the Abha airport in southern Saudi Arabia. A day later, another round of drone strikes were reported on both targets.

On the same day, ten Badr-1 ballistic missiles were reportedly fired into Saudi’s Jizan city. However, Saudi officials reported that the country’s air defense systems shot down six ballistic missiles. The officials did not confirm if more missiles were included in the barrage.

On Aug. 26, another ballistic missile, the newly-announced Nakal missile, was reportedly fired at Saudi troops near Najran. Later in the day, another round of drones were reportedly intercepted near the King Khaled airbase in Khamis Mushayt.

As drones were hitting the King Khaled airbase, a separate attack was purportedly occurring near Riyadh with the new Samad-3 suicide drones. If confirmed, this marks the second time Houthi drones have hit the Saudi capital. The first was a reported strike on an Aramco facility near the capital last month.

On Aug. 27, the Houthis showcased another newly-announced ballistic missile, the Qasem-1, by allegedly hitting Saudi troops positioned near the Yemeni border in Najran. Another drone was intercepted and destroyed by Saudi forces over Khamis Mushayt as well.

And yesterday a new cruise missile, the Quds-1, was launched towards the Abha airport. Though, Saudi officials stated that the missile was intercepted and destroyed.

The Saudi king must have recognized that he has no longer any chance to ever win the war. It seems that he asked the Trump administration to work out an agreement with the Houthi:

The Trump administration is preparing to initiate negotiations with Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in an effort to bring the four-year civil war in Yemen to an end, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The effort is reportedly aimed at convincing Saudi Arabia to take part in secret talks with the rebels in Oman to help broker a cease-fire in the conflict, which has emerged as a front line in the regional proxy war between Riyadh and Tehran.

The brother of the clown prince came to Washington to prepare for the talks:

Prince Khalid met with Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Wednesday and discussed “U.S. support for a negotiated resolution between the Republic of Yemen government” and a breakaway group known as the Southern Transitional Council, according to a statement from State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.

The Hadi government is irrelevant. The Southern Transitional Council will demand independence from the north. The Houthi will demand to control the north and reparations for the war the Saudis waged against them. North Yemen’s infrastructure is largely destroyed. It will cost several dozens of billions to rebuild what the five year long Saudi air war destroyed. As the Houthi can continue to harass the Saudis at will, even in their capital, their is no way out for the Saudis but to pay whatever the Houthi demand.

It was the clown prince Mohammad bin Salman who launched the war in Yemen soon after he came to power. It was supposed to defeat the Houthi within a few weeks. Five years later and after at least a $100 billions was spent on it, the Saudis lost the war.

Will the King hold his son responsible for the large loss of money and face that he caused?

This article was originally published by “Moon Of Alabama – 

 

 

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52183.htm

Saudi Arabia’s ‘strategic plan’ to take Turkey down

In a confidential Emirati document seen by MEE, Mohammed bin Salman’s scheme to confront Erdogan’s government is outlined in full

By David Hearst, Ragip Soylu

August 06, 2019 “Information Clearing House” –  Saudi Arabia has begun implementing a “strategic plan” to confront the Turkish government, after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman decided he was being “too patient” with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

The plan is detailed in a confidential report based on open- and closed-source intelligence prepared by the kingdom’s ally, the United Arab Emirates.

The intelligence report is one of a monthly series written by the Emirates Policy Centre, a think tank with close links to the Emirati government and security services.

Entitled “Monthly Report on Saudi Arabia, Issue 24, May 2019”, the report is of limited circulation and intended for the top Emirati leadership. It does not appear on the think tank’s website. A copy has been obtained by Middle East Eye.

It reveals that in Riyadh in May, orders were given to implement the strategic plan to confront the Turkish government.

The aim of the plan was to use “all possible tools to pressure Erdogan’s government, weaken him, and keep him busy with domestic issues in the hope that he will be brought down by the opposition, or occupy him with confronting crisis after crisis, and push him to slip up and make mistakes which the media would surely pick up on”.

Middle East Eye contacted the Emirates Policy Centre for comment, with no reply by the time of publication.

Restricting influence

Riyadh’s aim is to restrict Erdogan and Turkey’s regional influence.

“The kingdom would start to target the Turkish economy and press towards the gradual termination of Saudi investment in Turkey, the gradual decrease of Saudi tourists visiting Turkey while creating alternative destinations for them, decreasing Saudi import of Turkish goods, and most importantly minimising Turkish regional role in Islamic matters,” the report says.

According to the report, Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, took the decision to confront Turkey following the assassination of Khashoggi by a team of Saudi agents in their country’s Istanbul consulate.

The murder of the Saudi journalist, a Middle East Eye and Washington Post columnist, created international outrage, in large part due to Turkey’s insistence on Riyadh providing accountability and transparency over the affair.

“President Erdogan … went too far in his campaign smearing the kingdom, especially the person of the crown prince, using in the most reprehensible manner the case of Khashoggi,” the reports says

In the document, the Emirates Policy Centre claims Turkey did not provide “specific and honest” information to assist the Saudi investigation into the killing, but instead leaked “disinformation” to the media “all aimed at distorting the image of the kingdom and attempting to destroy the reputation of the crown prince”.

Riyadh had concluded that Erdogan failed in his attempt to politicise and internationalise the case and now was the time to mount the fightback, the report says.

Both the CIA and leading members of the US Congress have accepted the Turkish intelligence assessment of Khashoggi’s murder.

“The accepted position is that there is no way this happened without him being aware or involved,” said a US official familiar with the CIA’s conclusions, the Washington Post reported. The CIA also concluded that Mohammed bin Salman almost certainly signed off on the operation, an assessment based on its own intelligence as well.

Since then, a report by United Nations human rights investigator Agnes Callamard detailed the difficulties the Turkish authorities had in investigating the murder and gaining access to the consulate building and the home of the consul-general.

Callamard concluded independently that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi’s murder.

The pressure begins

Last week came the first public sign of the campaign detailed in the Emirati document coming to life.

Saudi authorities blocked 80 Turkish trucks transporting textile products and chemicals from entering the kingdom through its Duba port.

Three hundred containers carrying fruit and vegetables from Turkey had also been held in Jeddah’s port, according to a Turkish official who spoke to MEE on condition of anonymity.

The number of Saudi tourists visiting Turkey decreased 15 percent (from 276,000 to 234,000) in the first six months of 2019, according to official data released by the Turkish tourism ministry.

Saudi Arabia has approximately $2bn worth of direct investment in Turkey, according to the Turkish foreign ministry data from 2018.

That year, Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia were valued at around $2.64bn, while imports from the kingdom stood at $2.32bn.

Behind the scenes, other signals have been sent to Ankara.

The Emirati report says “in a sign that the Saudi leadership has severed its relationship with … Erdogan and started treating him as an enemy”, King Salman approved “without hesitation” a recommendation from an advisory committee not to send an official invitation to attend a high-profile Organisation of Islamic Cooperation summit in Mecca.

The Turkish president’s name was added to the list of those excluded from the summit, alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and the Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Eventually, King Salman decided to allow the Qatari emir to attend the event in Mecca, though Erdogan’s invitation was not forthcoming.

The Turkish government is aware of the Saudi crown prince’s attempts to sever relations and is trying to combat them through keeping direct communications with his father, King Salman.

A senior Turkish official, speaking anonymously, said the existence of a Saudi strategy to punish Turkey over its stance on the Khashoggi case wasn’t surprising.

“We are aware of what they are doing. It is almost public, to the extent that you could see their activities on Saudi-backed social media and Saudi state media,” the official told MEE, noting that they had openly called for a boycott.

“Tourist arrivals are decreasing, while we are having problems related to Turkish exports. We are closely following the situation.”

The Turkish official said, however, that Ankara does not believe that Saudi citizens are altering their stance on Turkey, despite the government in Riyadh’s efforts.

“Istanbul, for example, is still full of Saudi tourists. Saudi officials should check the BBC’s poll on Erdogan’s popularity in the Middle East. Then they will realise that they are failing,” the official said.

Erdogan phoned the king on Thursday, raising the problem of Turkish exports being held at Saudi ports.

Another Turkish official, also speaking anonymously, said Erdogan’s phone call with the Saudi king was cordial and focused on regional developments, such as Syria and the Palestine question.

The official, who was informed about the call, said the king was lucid and supportive of Turkish concerns with regard to Syria.

In the same call, Erdogan invited King Salman and his family, including the crown prince, to Turkey.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

This article was originally published by “MEE” – 

 

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/52048.htm

Saudi reshuffle: ‘Riyadh signals to US foes that it’s ready to cooperate’

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© REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci
Saudi Arabia has made a major reshuffle of its top officials. The move is meant to make the cabinet more efficient and loyal to the King and the crown prince in the face of US pressure, a Middle East expert told RT.

King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Tuesday issued a number of royal decrees, reforming some parts of the Saudi cabinet and appointing different individuals to various offices. It’s the second major reshuffle by the king after Saudi Arabia changed the way power is transferred in the monarchy and made his son Mohammed bin Salman the heir to the throne, Grigory Lukyanov, a Middle East analyst and senior lecturer at the Russian Higher School of Economics, told RT.

ALSO ON RT.COMSaudi Arabia replaces FM, sacks envoy to UK in major govt reshuffle following Khashoggi killingThe first reshuffle came amid the so-called anti-corruption campaign, which boils down to shaking down powerful and wealthy princes to fill up the coffers of the kingdom while curbing their political ambition. The new round is about placing more competent people in charge while not compromising the powerbase of Salman and his son, Lukyanov said.

The need comes in part from the Jamal Khashoggi case and in part from the remaining doubt among the political elites over the reform of the inheritance procedure. The rotations of officials in Saudi Arabia are increasingly pushing up non-aristocratic people, who are making a career on their personal merits..Mohammed perceives them as the future foundation of his power.

The Khashoggi case centers around the murder of a prominent self-exiled Saudi journalist, which triggered a major falling out between Riyadh and its Western backers. The crown prince is believed by many people to be personally responsible for the slaying of Khashoggi, which happened at a Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The Saudi king needs to find ways to address the new reality, in which his country’s traditional patron, the US, takes actions hostile towards the Saudis, the expert said.

The Saudi government has to act in a robust manner, purging the elite from those deemed too pro-American, including in the cabinet. They also have to show the US that they will not tolerate anyone’s meddling in Saudi Arabia’s domestic affairs and signal other nations that their help would be appreciated.

The reform of the Saudi space authority, which is part of the reshuffle, is a clear signal to Russia and China, that Saudi Arabia is willing to consider purchasing space technologies from them, even though Washington sees both as its strategic foes, Lukyanov added.

The efficiency aspect, too, is in part driven by foreign pressure. A more competent cabinet will have better chances in preventing incidents like the Khashoggi murder or Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic row with Canada, the expert said. The king and his son are apparently confident enough in their hold on power, since they decided they can sacrifice less-competent loyal people in the reshuffle and appoint others in their place. In the previous round, loyalty to the king’s faction was considered a paramount consideration.

 

https://www.rt.com/news/447525-saudi-us-sooperate-reshuffle/

US Senate Resolution Potentially Changes Middle East Dynamics

Global Research, December 06, 2018
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draft US Senate resolution describing Saudi policy in the Middle East as a “wrecking ball” and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as “complicit” in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, if adopted and implemented, potentially could change the dynamics of the region’s politics and create an initial exit from almost a decade of mayhem, conflict and bloodshed.

The six-page draft also holds Prince Mohammed accountable for the devastating war in Yemen that has sparked one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, the failure to end the 17-month-old Saudi-United Arab Emirates-led economic and diplomatic boycott of Qatar, and the jailing and torture of Saudi dissidents and activists.

In doing so, the resolution confronts not only Prince Mohammed’s policies but also by implication those of his closest ally, UAE crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed. The UAE was the first country that Saudi leader visited after the Khashoggi killing.

By in effect challenging the position of king-in-waiting Prince Mohammed, the resolution raises the question whether some of his closest allies, including the UAE crown prince, will in future want to be identified that closely with him.

Moreover, by demanding the release of activist Raif bin Muhammad Badawi, better known as Raif Badawi, and women’s rights activists, the resolution further the challenges fundamentals of Prince Mohammed’s iron-fisted repression of his critics, the extent of his proposed social reforms as part of his drive to diversify and streamline the Saudi economy, and the kingdom’s human rights record.

A 34-year-old blogger who named his website Free Saudi Liberals, Mr. Badawi was barred from travel and had his assets frozen in 2009, arrested in 2012, and sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam. His sister, Samar Badawi, a women’s rights activist, was detained earlier this year. Mr. Badawi’s wife and children were granted asylum and citizenship in Canada.

A diplomatic row that stunned many erupted in August when Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador after the foreign ministry in Ottawa demanded in a tweet the release of Ms. Badawi and other activists.

Prince Mohammed and Saudi Arabia, even prior to introduction of the Senate resolution, were discovering that the Khashoggi killing had weakened the kingdom internationally and had made it more vulnerable to pressure.

Talks in Sweden between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and Houthi rebels to end the war is the most immediate consequence of the kingdom’s changing position.

So is the resolution that is unprecedented in the scope and harshness of the criticism of a long-standing ally.

While the resolution is likely to spark initial anger among some of Prince’s Mohammed’s allies, it nevertheless, if adopted and/or implemented, could persuade some like UAE crown prince Mohammed to rethink their fundamental strategies.

The relationship between the two Mohammeds constituted a cornerstone of the UAE leader’s strategy to achieve his political, foreign policy and defense goals.

These include projecting the Emirates as a guiding light of cutting-edge Arab and Muslim modernity; ensuring that the Middle East fits the crown prince’s autocratic, anti-Islamist mould; and enabling the UAE, described by US defense secretary Jim Mattis as ‘Little Sparta,‘ to punch above its weight politically, diplomatically and militarily.

To compensate for the Emirates’ small size, Prince Mohammed opted to pursue his goals in part by working through the Saudi royal court. In leaked emails, UAE ambassador to Washington Yousef al-Otaiba, a close associate of Prince Mohammed, said of the Saudi crown prince that

“I don’t think we’ll ever see a more pragmatic leader in that country.”

Mr. Al-Otaiba went on to say:

“I think in the long term we might be a good influence on KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), at least with certain people there. Our relationship with them is based on strategic depth, shared interests, and most importantly the hope that we could influence them. Not the other way around.”

The impact of the Senate resolution and what it means for the US policy will to a large extent depend on the politics of the differences between the Congress and President Donald J. Trump who has so far sought to shield the Saudi crown prince.

To further do so, Mr. Trump, with or without the resolution, would likely have to pressure Saudi Arabia to give him something tangible to work with such as an immediate release of imprisoned activists followed by a resolution of the Qatar crisis as well as some indication that the Yemen peace negotiations are progressing.

Whichever way, the fallout of the Khashoggi killing, culminating in unprecedented Congressional anger against Prince Mohammed and the kingdom, is likely to have significant consequences not only for the Saudi crown prince but potentially also for the strategy of his UAE counterpart.

That in turn could create light at the end of the Middle East’s tunnel of almost a decade of volatility and violent and bloody conflict that has been driven by Saudi and UAE assertiveness in countering dissent at home and abroad in the wake of the 2011 popular Arab revolts as well as Iran that has played its part in countries like Syria and Yemen in fuelling destruction and bloodshed.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site: The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer.

Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and co-host of the New Books in Middle Eastern Studies podcast. James is the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog, a book with the same title and a co-authored volume, Comparative Political Transitions between Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa as well as Shifting Sands, Essays on Sports and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa and just published China and the Middle East: Venturing into the Maelstrom

 

US Senate Resolution Potentially Changes Middle East Dynamics

US to keep backing Saudi war on Yemen, Pompeo says amid humanitarian crisis there

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is pictured before the signing of a new free trade agreement among US, Mexico and Canada in Buenos Aires, on November 30, 2018. (AFP photo)

The United States will continue backing the Saudi-led war on Yemen, says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, despite a humanitarian crisis in the impoverished country and outrage over the kingdom in the wake of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

“The program that we’re involved in today we intend to continue,” Pompeo said, speaking from a Group of 20 summit in Buenos Aires on Saturday.

Yet, he acknowledged that the crisis in Yemen has reached “epic proportions.”

In a rare classified briefing on Wednesday, Pompeo and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis tried to convince US senators to allow the assistance to continue, but to no avail.

Although the White House had urged a “no” vote, American senators voted 63-37 to consider ending Washington’s support for the Saudi-led aggression on Yemen.

The exact same measure had failed on the chamber’s floor in a 55 to 44 vote in March.

US President Donald Trump has thrown his support behind Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who reportedly ordered the assassination of the dissident journalist and Washington Post columnist at the Saudi consulate in Turkey last month.

Pompeo asserted that there is no “direct evidence” implicating the country’s de facto ruler.

The White House has been under pressure over close ties with the Saudi government amid the Khashoggi fallout.

“To me, we’ve got a relationship with a country that’s a semi-important country and a semi-important ally. I wouldn’t elevate them beyond that,” Bob Corker, the outgoing Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in an interview published Friday.

US lawmakers and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan maintain that the crown prince and other top Saudi leaders should be held accountable for Khashoggi’s assassination,

Saudi Arabia has acknowledged the murder, yet left many questions unanswered.

Turkish intelligence intercepts reportedly show that Khashoggi, who was last seen entering the Saudi mission in Istanbul on October 2, was murdered on a direct order from bin Salman.

 

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/12/01/581710/US-to-keep-backing-Saudi-war-on-Yemen-Pompeo

World Leaders Greet and Meet with Saudi Crown Prince at G20

Global Research, December 01, 2018
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It was to be expected. Some G20 leaders treated Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) like nothing happened in the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate on October 2.

They ignored Riyadh’s genocidal war in Yemen (in cahoots with the US, UAE and other countries), pretending horrendous Saudi domestic human rights abuses and cross-border atrocities are a non-issue.

Various world leaders met with MBS on the G20’s sidelines and/or greeted him publicly one-on-one – including Trump, Vladimir Putin, Britain’s Theresa May, France’s Emmanuel Macron, China’s Xi Jinping, India’s Narendra Modi, South Korea’s Moon Jae-in, Mexico’s Enrique Nieto, South Africa’sCyril Ramaphosa, and perhaps others – eager for Saudi oil, investments, and purchases of what they’re eager to sell the Saudis.

Putin’s public greeting of MBS was a disturbing moment, nothing to be proud of, warranting harsh criticism and disdain.

Some, maybe most, world leaders in Buenos Aires tried distancing themselves publicly from MBS.

For them, he’s an unwelcome skunk at G20 garden party proceedings, sidelined for the family photo, standing at its far edge, who’d be willing to stand next to him, exiting the stage without shaking hands or talking with other leaders when taken.

Publicly he stayed largely on the periphery, most leaders likely uncomfortable about being photographed near him, let alone shaking hands and chatting amiably with a universally reviled despot.

Vladimir Putin greeted him warmly, caught on camera smiling with a high-five. Sputnik News said their public exchange “st(ole) the show at the G20…the video of their greeting going viral” online.

RT reported on the unsettling  exchange, adding “(a)s the leaders were lining up for a traditional ‘family photo’, Trump was seen walking towards Putin – but at the last possible moment, the feed was cut to a closer shot of a different group.”

“The wide shot was back a few moments later, when Trump was already in his spot further down the line.”

Image result for g20 summit 2018 MBS

Source: France 24

In greeting MBS on Friday, Putin opted for diplomatic graciousness instead of going out of his way to avoid him, the right thing to do, a ruthless tyrant, unaccountable for egregious high crimes – ongoing in Yemen, Syria, domestically and elsewhere while G20 leaders schmoozed in Buenos Aires.

France’s Macron acted like Putin and Trump, caught on camera chatting amiably with MBS, others likely doing it more discretely.

Realpolitik took precedence over honor and high-mindedness the way it most always does, disturbing scenes caught on camera indelibly etched in my mind, many others likely viewing them with disdain.

Ordering Jamal Khashoggi’s murder was a drop in the ocean compared to MBS’ Nuremberg-level crimes in Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere in the region, its support for ISIS and likeminded jihadists, along with notorious domestic human and civil rights abuses – horrific enough to make many world leaders blush.

MBS is the Arab world’s most ruthless tyrant, not an issue for Putin, Macron, Trump, and others, greeting him like a close friend, an ordinary guy, far from it.

Other leaders were more circumspect, at least publicly, keeping their distance, cordiality with MBS on camera avoided.

Behind the scenes it’s another matter for some, meetings held with the crown prince – unannounced or made known in advance.

He was sidelined at the official family photo, largely ignored when taken, leaving the scene without shaking hands or other exchanges with G20 leaders.

Putin, Macron, Trump, and perhaps several other G20 leaders acted otherwise, caught on camera greeting MBS warmly, a figure to be shunned, rebuked, and held accountable for his high crimes.

Russia largely refrained from criticizing Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi’s murder, Sergey Lavrov saying:

“It is essential to complete the investigation as soon as possible. We note that the Saudi authorities are carrying out this investigation and note that they are cooperating with the Turkish authorities. We will wait for the final verdict to be delivered.”

Putin earlier said he lacked information about the murder, adding he won’t alter bilateral relations with the kingdom over it. Reportedly he met privately with MBS on Saturday.

The kingdom repeatedly lied about Khashoggi’s murder before admitting responsibility for what happened.

Claiming MBS had nothing to do with it was and remains a bald-faced lie. Riyadh investigating itself assures whitewash and coverup, convenient patsies to take the fall for his crime.

For Russia, the US, UK, France, and other countries, continuing dirty business as usual with the kingdom overrides all else.

Trump, Putin, and other G20 leaders refused to demand MBS be held accountable for his high crimes – Nuremberg-level ones far worse than Khashoggi’s murder.

As the saying goes, when lying with dogs, you get fleas. Treating war criminals like law-abiding figures shares guilt with their high crimes.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

World Leaders Greet and Meet with Saudi Crown Prince at G20

US-Saudi Ties: Drenched in Blood, Oil and Deceit

Global Research, November 30, 2018

Abdel_Fattah_el-Sisi_King_Salman_of_Saudi_Arabia_Melania_Trump_and_Donald_Trump_May_2017-400x267

Why do Donald Trump and the CIA disagree about the recent killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Turkey?

The CIA concluded that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, personally ordered the murder and dismemberment of Khashoggi. In an extraordinary statement for a U.S. president, Trump disputed the CIA findings. He saids it didn’t matter if MBS—as the Saudi ruler is known—was or was not involved in the Khashoggi killing, and that U.S.-Saudi relations are “spectacular.”

Trump’s statement reflects his narrow cultivation of business relations with MBS, while the CIA’s announcement reflects the view that that MBS has become a liability for the U.S. ruling class as a whole. The spy agency, which has deep ties to Saudi intelligence, fears that bin Salman’s reckless and impulsive actions could jeopardize the security of the whole Saudi ruling clique, endangering U.S. ruling class interests in Saudi Arabia and the entire Middle East.

For decades, Saudi Arabia has been one of the most strategic and valuable U.S. client states, and the CIA wants to keep it that way. Support for Saudi Arabia is completely bi-partisan. This partnership is drenched in blood, oil and deceit.

A review of U.S.-Saudi ties shows that Saudi Arabia anchors the U.S. empire in the Middle East. The kingdom, with the greatest oil reserves in the world, is a source of fabulous wealth for U.S. oil companies. The Saudis use their oil capacity to raise and lower world prices to further U.S. foreign policy aims. In the 1980s, for example, Ronald Reagan, got the Saudis to flood the market with oil to reduce the world price as part of an economic war against the Soviet Union.

The kingdom willingly uses religion as a cover for imperialism’s aims, exporting thousands of schools, mosques, and other centers that preach intolerance and recruit jihadists for U.S. wars. It allows the U.S. to invade other Arab countries from its territory and has funded covert CIA actions on three continents. It is treated like a cash cow for U.S. corporations and banks. It uses its vast stash of petrodollars to buy billions of dollars in Pentagon weapons at inflated prices, as well as other high-price U.S. products and services.

The country is ruled as the personal fiefdom of one family, the al-Sauds. The government is one of the most repressive and misogynistic in the world. There is no parliament or legislature. The first elections, and then only on a municipal level, took place in 2005, 73 years after the country was formed. Women were only allowed to vote in 2015. These incontestable facts go unmentioned by U.S. officials, Democrats and Republican alike.

While Washington claims to be a protector of human rights abroad, the Pentagon has pledged to send in troops if a mass movement tries to overthrow the Saudi regime.

A country birthed by imperialism

Britain and France emerged victorious after World War I. They carved Western Asia into more than 20 countries, drawing borders to weaken and dismember Arab and other indigenous national groups, and to facilitate imperialist domination.

That’s when Saudi Arabia was created. Its rulers, the al Saud and the Wahhabi families and followers merged into a political-religious alliance. The Saudi Arabia we know was established 1932, when the Saudis agreed to stop harassing other British protectorates, and to accept Britain’s definition of their borders.

Saudi Arabia’s rulers were among the first far-right Islamists assisted by imperialism. They set up an absolute monarchy and theocracy. The only constitution was the Koran as interpreted by the royal family. Slavery was legal until 1962.

Wahhabism, a form of Islam aggressively intolerant of other currents of that faith, and in opposition to secular governments, bwecame the state religion. Saudi Arabia’s control of the most important sites in Islam—Mecca and Medina– gave it prestige it had not earned in the Muslim world.

Enter U.S. oil companies and the Pentagon

In 1933, the kingdom granted Standard Oil of California (now Chevron) exclusive oil drilling rights. Huge oil reserves were discovered in 1938, promoting the formation of ARAMCO (Arabian American Oil Company) by Standard Oil and 3 other U.S. partners that later became Texaco, Exxon, and Mobil.

Image on the right: Exxon’s own research in the 1980s indicated that without major reductions in fossil fuel combustion, “[t]here are some potentially catastrophic events that must be considered.” (Photo: Luc B / Flickr)

Exxon's own research in the 1980s indicated that without major reductions in fossil fuel combustion, "[t]here are some potentially catastrophic events that must be considered." (Photo: Luc B / Flickr)

Saudi Arabia would soon be the country with the world’s largest known oil reserves. It would be the greatest oil producer in the world. And U.S. companies were pumping it.

Diplomatic recognition soon followed. In 1943, President Roosevelt declared the security of Saudi Arabia a “vital interest” of the United States. The U.S. opened an embassy in the country the next year.

The Pentagon soon arrived to secure the oil. In 1950, the U.S. established the Sixth Naval Fleet as a permanent military presence in the Mediterranean. In 1951, after signing the Mutual Defense Agreement, the U.S. began arming the Saudi government and training its military.

Since World War II, the U.S. empire has been built on controlling the oil flowing from the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia was the linchpin of this control.

Waging holy war for Washington: ‘Our faith and your iron’

Following World War II, a wave of militancy and nationalism swept the Arab world. Mass secular movements in Algeria and Iraq overthrew colonial puppets. South Yemen declared itself socialist. The Egyptian and Syrian people deposed imperialist client rule. Many of the new progressive regimes and liberation struggles were aided by the Soviet Union

The thinking of U.S. policymakers was, as Rachel Bronson puts it,

“that religion could be a tool to staunch the expansion of godless communism.”

Saudi rulers happily complied. The founder of modern Saudi Arabia told U.S. Minister to Saudi Arabia, Colonel William A. Eddy, “Our faith and your iron.”

Arab anti-imperialism was especially inflamed by the 1948 destruction of Palestine and the creation of Israel. To undercut this, the Eisenhower administration set out to increase the renown of King Saud, making him ‘the senior partner of the Arab team.”

A State Department memo documents expectations that the Saudis would redirect Arab anger from Israel to the Soviet Union:

“The President said he thought we should do everything possible to stress the “holy war” aspect. [Secretary of State] Dulles commented that if the Arabs have a “holy war” they would want it to be against Israel. The President recalled, however, that Saud, after his visit here, had called on all Arabs to oppose Communism.”

In the 1950s and 1960s, the Saudis gave shelter to extremists seeking to topple nationalist governments. The kingdom started funding a network of schools and mosques that recruited jihadists for the CIA in Soviet republics with Muslim populations, and in poor Muslim countries in Asia and Africa. This included “facilitating contacts between the CIA and religious pilgrims visiting Mecca.”

The oil weapon

Some members of the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) have advocated using oil as a weapon to force Israel to give up Palestinian land. Saudi Arabia, the biggest oil producer of OPEC, has staunchly opposed this. While calling for “separating oil from politics,” the kingdom has repeatedly raised and lowered world oil prices to advance U.S. foreign policy.

There have been exceptions. To maintain credibility among the Arab world, Saudi Arabia joined the OPEC oil embargos against the U.S. and other governments supporting Israel in the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973. The 1967 embargo lacked OPEC consensus and was not effective. Saudi Arabia agreed to join the 1973 embargo only after the U.S. promised $2.2 billion in emergency military aid to Israel, giving it an advantage in the fighting.

The 1973 oil embargo did not cause international shortages, as many oil producers didn’t honor it. However, U.S. companies used the embargo to hold back oil supplies, raise prices, and increase profits. Occidental Petroleum’s 1973 earnings were 665 percent higher than those the year before. By the end of 1974, Exxon Corporation moved to the top of the Fortune 500 list. Four other oil companies—Texaco, Mobil, Standard Oil of California and Gulf—joined Exxon in the top seven rankings.

In 1970, the Saudis organized the “Safari Club,” a coalition of governments that conducted covert operations in Africa after the U.S. Congress restrained CIA actions. It sent arms to Somalia and helped coordinate attacks on Ethiopia, which was then aligned with the Soviet Union. It funded UNITA, a proxy of the South African apartheid government fighting in Angola.

More recently, the Saudi government likely drove down oil prices in 2014 in order to weaken the Russian and Iranian economies as punishment for supporting the Syrian government.

However, the U.S. ruling class has had it both ways with Saudi Arabia several times. While the country is a key client state of the U.S., the Saudis have also served as convenience scapegoats. When energy costs spike, causing considerable hardship among U.S. working-class families, for instance, the U.S. rulers hypocritically and suddenly start talking about the Saudi royal family, its thousands of princes, their gold bathtubs, and other extremes paid for by petrodollars.

Manufacturing a Sunni-Shia rift

In 1979, a mass revolutionary upsurge in Iran overthrew the Shah, a hated U.S.-backed dictator, establishing the Islamic Republic of Iran. The new government nationalized Iran’s huge oil reserves. That same year, an armed band of Sunni fundamentalists denounced the Saudi royal family and seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, taking tens of thousands of religious pilgrims hostage. Hundreds of hostages were killed in the retaking of the mosque. Both events shook the Saudi rulers to their core. They responded by diverting attention to Iran. They began a religious campaign against Shia Iran, claiming they were enemies of Sunni Islam. They upped funding for Sunni jihadists worldwide, encouraging them to hate other strains of Islam, other religions, and secularism.

There was no significant conflict between Sunnis and Shias in the modern era. Saudi rulers fomented it in an attempt to turn Sunnis against the Iranian revolution. Since then, all national liberation struggles or groups fighting for some degree of independence that have Shia members have been falsely labeled as agents of Iran. These include Hezbollah–viewed by Arab progressives as the central force in the national liberation movement of Lebanon–the amalgam of forces fighting Saudi domination in Yemen, and oppressed Shia minorities in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis bought out the ARAMCO oil company in 1980. But this did not make Saudi Arabia independent. The oil was still controlled by U.S. companies, especially ExxonMobil, through their ownership of oil pumping and other technology, oil tanker fleets, storage facilities, etc.

Funding the Mujahideen and the Contras

In 1978, the Marxist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan took control of the country in a coup. It promoted land distribution and built hospitals, road, and schools in one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. It did this with the help of the Soviet Union. The new government banned forced marriages and gave women the right to right to vote. Revolutionary Council member Anahita Ratebzad gave the new government’s view in a New Kabul Times editorial (May 28, 1978).

“Privileges which women, by right, must have are equal education, job security, health services, and free time to rear a healthy generation for building the future of the country … Educating and enlightening women is now the subject of close government attention.”

Seeking to overthrow the Soviet-aligned government, the U.S. covertly supported rural tribes that were opposed to the recent social changes, especially women’s rights and secularism. The groups attacked the new rural schools and killed women teachers. In 1979, the Soviet Union sent in troops to support the government.

From 1979-89 the Saudi kingdom recruited reactionary mujahideen forces and financed them to the tune of $3 billion. The CIA formally matched the Saudi funding.

In 1984, when the Reagan administration sought help with its secret plan to fund Contra militias and death squads in Nicaragua, the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. pledged $1 million a month. Saudi Arabia spent a total of $32 million supporting the Contras. The contributions continued even after Congress cut off funding to the them.

U.S. would stop an internal revolution

In 1981, Ronald Reagan’s Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger said that the U.S. would not let the Saudi government be overthrown, and that it would send troops to defend the Saudi regime if necessary:

“We would not stand by, in the event of Saudi requests, as we did before with Iran, and allow a government that had been totally unfriendly to the United States and to the Free World to take over.” The U.S. would intervene “if there should be anything that resembled an internal revolution in Saudi Arabia, and we think that’s very remote.”

This is a regime that allows no human rights or freedom of speech; where virtually all the work was done by migrants who are super-exploited and have no chance of becoming citizens; where all women are considered legal minors and require an appointed male ‘guardian’ to supervise them and give permission for getting married, obtaining a passport, traveling, enrolling in a school; where in some court cases, a women’s testimony is worth half as much as man’s.

Saudi Arabia, 9/11, and extremism

Decades of funding extremist centers to recruit shock troops for CIA wars helped create radical Islamist groupings and individuals. Al-Qaeda’s founder, Osama Bin Laden, is a prime example. He was a Saudi citizen and a key recruiter of Saudi fighters to Afghanistan.

Fifteen out of the 19 hijackers on Sept. 1, 2001 were Saudi nationals. One might think that if the Pentagon were to retaliate against any country for the 9/11attack, it would be Saudi Arabia. Not so. While it took a few months to sort things out, the upshot was tighter security ties between Washington and Riyadh.

Instead, Washington sent troops to Afghanistan ostensibly to force the Taliban government to turn over Bin Laden, who was seeking shelter there (even though the Taliban offered to surrender Bin Laden). Ironically, another reason cited was to protect Afghani women from the Taliban that Washington installed. Many believe, however, that a more pressing reason for Wall Street and the Pentagon was that the Taliban government would not permit the U.S. to build gas and oil pipelines through Afghanistan to bring oil from Central Asia to the Arabian Sea.

In 2010,Wikileaks published secret Saudi diplomatic cables revealing that the Saudis had the dubious distinction of being the ”most significant” source of funding for Sunni terrorist groups (like al Qaeda) worldwide.

Other published cables confirm how the the Saudis cynically use religious shrines in their control. Jihadists soliciting funds slip into the country disguised as holy pilgrims. They then set up front companies to launder and receive money from government-sanctioned charities.

In 2013, under operation Timber Sycamore, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. partnered to fund, arm, and train jihadists in Syria.

The wars on Iraq

As the Soviet Union neared collapse, the Pentagon took aim at governments in the Middle East that weren’t fully under its thumb. Iraq was the first target. When Kuwait waged economic war against Iraq, including the use of slant drilling technology to penetrate the border and steal Iraqi oil, the Iraqi government sent troops into Kuwait. This was the pretext for the U.S. to form an imperialist coalition to invade Iraq. The Saudis officially requested the U.S to send in troops. The Pentagon stationed 500,000 soldiers in the kingdom, and used Saudi soil as a base to invade Iraq, and later to enforce sanctions and a no-fly zone.

The Sept. 11 attack served as a pretext to invade Iraq in 2003. The corporate media whipped up a hysteria that Saddam Hussein bore responsibility for the 9/11 attacks, even though the Iraqi government and al-Qaeda were on opposite ends of the Middle East political spectrum, had no relations, and did not cooperate. U.S. and British leaders fabricated “evidence” that Iraq had developed nuclear weapons and posed an imminent threat to the world.

Once again, Saudi Arabia proved essential. U.S. coordinated attacks on Iraq out of the Prince Sultan Air Base near Riyadh, where some 10,000 troops were stationed. U.S. Special Operations Forces operated out of the country, which tapped into oil reserves to stabilize oil prices.

Subsidizing the U.S. arms industry

For decades, the Saudis have bought large amounts of U.S. weaponry at inflated prices. These purchases peaked under the Obama administration when Saudi Arabia agreed to spend over $110 billion on U.S. weapons, aircraft, helicopters, and air-defense missiles. This made it the largest purchase of U.S. arms in history. These weapons are not for defense. The purchases are far more than is needed for any purpose for a country with 22 million people. In effect, the Saudis are subsidizing the U.S. arms industry. Most of the military equipment sits in the desert.

Of course, the arms are used when needed. When the people of neighboring Bahrain rose up against a backward and repressive regime and Saudi ally in 2011, the Saudi military rode across sovereign borders on U.S. tanks and crushed the uprising. There was no outcry from Washington.

Waging genocide in Yemen

Additionally, in 2015 Saudi Arabia started a war to dominate Yemen. The war is currently at a stalemate, with the Saudi bombings and blockade responsible for a cholera epidemic, indiscriminate civilian deaths, and starvation, in what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands of children have died from disease and starvation. The war is waged with U.S. arms. U.S. advisers provide intelligence and training on the ground. Until this month, U.S. planes were refueling the Saudi planes bombing Yemen.

The U.S. has also been conducting its own operations within Yemen as part of the so-called “war on terror.” These operations include drone warfare, raids, and assassinations.

The Saudi rulers clam that the conflict in Yemen in a Sunni-Shia one. But Saudi Arabia didn’t think twice in the 1960s about backing Shiite royalist rebels in Yemen–the grandparents of today’s Houthis–against Sunni troops from Egypt supporting a progressive Yemini government.

A cash cow for U.S. corporations

Saudi Arabia continues to be a cash cow milked by U.S. businesses. The kingdom bought $20 billion in U.S. products last year, from Boeing planes to Ford cars. It recently signed a $15 billion deal with General Electric for goods and services, and put $20 billion into an investment fund run by the Blackstone Group.

U.S. banks love Saudi Arabia. The kingdom has paid $1.1 billion to western banks in fees since 2010. And truly giant bank fees are in the offing for JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley, who are working with ARAMCO to take that company public.

U.S. universities and corporations grease the wheels for these giant business deals by training the kingdom’s managers and politicians, and promoting mutual interests. Many Saudi rulers begin their careers working for U.S. banks and businesses. Fahad al-Mubarak, who governed the central bank from 2011-2016 was previously chairman of Morgan Stanley in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Ministers, include those of finance and petroleum, got their degrees in the U.S.

The kingmakers in this oil-rich country have always been the princes of Wall Street. And the only god worshiped by the U.S.-Saudi unholy alliance is the almighty dollar.

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This article was originally published on Liberation School.

Featured image: President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump join King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, and the President of Egypt, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, Sunday, May 21, 2017, to participate in the inaugural opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)


 

US-Saudi Ties: Drenched in Blood, Oil and Deceit

Israel and the Jihadi Connection

Israel’s complex game with Jihadi terror groups pays off as more and more African states look to Israel for protection.

Global Research, November 29, 2018
Israel-Saudi-Arabia-400x194

Earlier this year, with little publicity, the official position of Israel on terrorism was explained by Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon

“I would like to see ISIS rule all of Syria (by inference, the whole region – RG); ISIS and its offshoots do not pose a threat to the Israeli State. Iran remains the main enemy!”

Ya’alon was being disingenuous, but the thinking behind his words is actually clear enough from the words themselves.  Put simply, Israel’s relentless emphasis on the supposed threat from Iran is simply a diversionary tactic intended to conceal the continuing realisation of the ‘Greater Israel’ Project.

Ya’alon added

“Iran is a rogue regime with designs on a regional hegemony. Hezbollah is Iran’s proxy, with the ability to declare war. Iran currently has terror infrastructure in place in five continents: Asia, Africa, Europe and both in South and North America.”

Ya’alon’s last comment refers to Iran as a rogue regime.  However experienced Middle East observers will no doubt hesitate after reading the totality of his comments, and will wonder whether in light of them it is actually Israel and the US which should be considered the rogue regimes rather than Iran or indeed anyone else,  other than obviously Israel’s and the US’s staunch ally,  the odious Saudi regime.

Many similar comments of this nature  have been made by senior Israeli officials, but one in particular stands out.  This is a speech made at the Herzliya Conference by Israel’s military intelligence chief, Major General Herzi Halevy.  He took Israel’s long-standing position that it “prefers ISIS” over the Syrian government to a whole new level, declaring openly that Israel does not want to see ISIS defeated in anywar.  As quoted in the Hebrew language NRG site, owned by the Maariv Newspaper conglomerate, Major Gen. Halevy actually expressed worry about the recent offensives against ISIS, expressing concern that military offensives in the last three months had placed ISIS in the “most difficult” situation it has known since its inception or at least since its declaration of a caliphate.

Needless to say most people are not aware that Major Gen. Halevy has in effect become a  spokesperson for ISIS.

So what is going on? 

The short answer is that the real ‘game’ in the region is being played out by and an on behalf of Israeli interests.   An indirect but nonetheless highly revealing clue has just been provided by the recently developing relationship between Israel and Chad.  Chad, located south of Libya in the Sahara, faces a mountain of difficulties which Israel can help it deal with.  These range from extreme water scarcity to Chad finding itself on the front line in Africa’s fight against Islamist terrorism, be it in the form ISIS, al-Qaeda or Boko Haram.  This supplies the reason for Chadian President Idriss Déby recent visit to Israel, which has taken place 46 years after Libya’s former leader Muammar Gaddafi pressured Chad into breaking off diplomatic relations with Israel in 1972,  a step which Chad took even before the big wave of African countries severing diplomatic ties with Israel took place, which happened after the 1973 Arab-Israeli Yom Kippur War.

Chad broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 1972 because it believed that it would gain more by forging close ties with Gaddafi’s Libya than by retaining ties with Israel. Obviously since the fall of Gaddafi that calculation has changed.

However another – obviously unacknowledged – reason is almost certainly Chad’s worry that it might find itself facing the same sort of Islamist terrorism in Chad that Syria has recently experienced.  After all if Israeli officials can publicly admit to Israel’s de facto support for Islamist terrorism in Syria why should it be any different in Chad?

So the bottom line is that Chad – and no doubt plenty of other countries in the region – find themselves needing Israel’s help to protect themselves from the Frankenstein’s monster of worldwide Islamist terrorism which Israeli and US policies have conjured up.  It amounts to the classic protection racket, with countries like Chad looking to Israel to ‘protect’ them from the very Islamist threat Israeli and US policies are themselves creating.

Given that this is so, and given the extent to which the spread of Islamist terrorist groups across the Middle East and North Africa actually serves Israeli and US interests, there is simply no point looking to Israel and the US for a ‘solution’ to the problem caused by them.  Certainly no such solution is going to be found in Palermo, site of the latest Libya peace talks.  No such solution is going to be found whilst the ‘protection racket’ serves Israel’s regional interests so well.  Indeed Déby’s visit to Jerusalem, as does the rush of other African countries restoring relations with Israel, shows the spectacular success of the ’protection racket’.

In view of this it should come as no surprise that all attempts to change it are furiously resisted.  Thus in the US “The Stop Arming Terrorists Act” proposed in early 2017 by Representative Tulsi Gabbardand Senator Rand Paul, which sought to prohibit use of US government funds from providing assistance to terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, ISIS, and the rest, and to those countries which support these organizations, predictably ran into a wall of opposition. As of November 2017 only 14 out of 435 members of the US House of Representatives were prepared to co-sponsor the bill with Gabbard,  whilst in the Senate Rand Paul could find no co-sponsors at all. 

Given the extremely close ties between the US and Israel, there is in fact no possibility of the bill – at least in the form proposed by Gabbard and Rand Paul – being passed.

Given the strong feelings many in the US have about Islamist terrorism – with memories of 9/11 still fresh – one might suppose that this would be an enormous scandal.  However – predictably enough – neither the US media nor the global media seem at all interested in it.

Authors note: many of the sources and quotes, details etc, contained herein came from Israeli media.

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This article was originally published on The Duran.

Featured image is from The Duran

 

Israel and the Jihadi Connection

How Saudi Arabia Is Trying to Erase Yemen’s History

The Saudi-led destruction of Yemen, an ancient cradle of civilisation, seems to come from a place of deep envy

Global Research, November 27, 2018
Middle East Eye 22 November 2018

 

The war in Yemen is heading towards its fourth year, its only tangible result so far being the gradual destruction of the country and its people. 

Ostensibly, it is being fought to restore the rule of Yemen’s deposed president, Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, who fled to Saudi Arabia in the wake of the 2014 Houthi takeover of Sanaa. The war is also intended to thwart Iran’s alleged plan to spread its control throughout Yemen using the Houthi rebels as proxies.

But the indiscriminate ferocity of the coalition’s onslaught on Yemen cannot be explained by these supposed motives. Why was it necessary to bomb the country back to the stone age and target its civilians, ensuring it will not recover for a century? To answer this question, one must understand Arabian history and Saudi Arabia’s small place in it.

Flourishing civilisations

In ancient times, Yemen was home to several flourishing civilisations. At least six kingdoms developed here from the 12th century BC onwards, based in Ma’in, Qataban, Hadramaut, Ausan, Saba and Himyar. The most prominent was the Sabaean kingdom, which lasted for 11 centuries and was one of the most important in the Near East.

Popular legend identifies it with the Queen of Sheba, and the kingdom of Saba is mentioned in the Quran. Its capital was in Marib, where the Sabaeans built a great dam that was a marvel of ancient engineering. They developed an advanced irrigation system through canal networks and a wealth of farmlands.

By 700 BC, the Sabaeans had spread their rule over most of South Arabia. The splendid civilisation they created was based on the spice trade in frankincense and myrrh, which they expanded through trading networks that reached as far as China, India and the Near East. To facilitate their trade, they built a series of colonies up the Red Sea route to the Near East, and were in control of the Bab al-Mandab exit to the Indian Ocean and the Horn of Africa. Remnants of Sabaean art and architecture have been found as far away as northern Ethiopia.

With the advent of Islam, Yemeni tribes played a major role in the Arab conquests of Egypt, Iraq, Persia and the Levant. By the 13th century, Yemen had a thriving Islamic culture, along with numerous madrassas and centres of Islamic learning. With this came the development of a distinctive architecture based almost entirely on local building materials, unique in the Arab region. Sanaa’s old city, dating from the first Christian century, is a prime example.

Steeped in history

What, in contrast to these legendary Yemeni achievements, did North Arabia, most of which makes up modern Saudi Arabia, have to offer that could remotely compare? Until the arrival of Islam in the seventh century, that part of Arabia was traditionally ruled by tribal chiefs, mostly isolated and obscure, and as such could never have rivalled the kingdoms of Yemen. Even after Islam, the splendours of Islamic civilisation were not created in North Arabia, but outside.

Despite being a modern construction in its current incarnation, Yemen is steeped in history. Today’s Saudi Arabia is a more thoroughly recent creation, only established in the 1930s, and the United Arab Emirates, its fellow coalition war partner, set up even more recently in 1971.

They have little history or secular culture that could hold a candle to the civilisations their bombing war is laying waste to. The Saud family’s Wahhabist-inspired destruction of historical buildings, tombs and monuments in Mecca and Medina set a dangerous precedent for what is happening in Yemen.

The war has led to widespread destitution and disease. The UN estimates that 14 million people, or half of Yemen’s population, are at risk of starvation. According to UNICEF, 1.8 million children are acutely malnutritioned, 400,000 of whom suffer from severe acute malnutrition.

The bombing has killed more than 10,000 people, left 22 million – most of Yemen’s population – in need of international aid, and provoked the largest cholera outbreak ever recorded. Half the country’s medical facilities have been destroyed in a coalition bombing campaign that has targeted civilian infrastructure, and often, civilians themselves.

Irreparable harm

The physical damage to Yemen’s infrastructure – its schools, hospitals and markets – has been severe, but at least they can be rebuilt in a time of peace. The same cannot be said of the irreparable harm done to Yemen’s historic architecture. UNESCO has documented the war’s devastating effects on Sanaa’s Old City, its mosques, bathhouses, and mud-brick houses with their distinctive, arched, gypsum-framed windows.

The same has happened to the Old City of Saada, the ancient Marib dam, the historic city of Baraqish, and Hadhramaut’s irreplaceable ancient tombs. These losses are permanent.

Surveying this disproportionate degree of death and destruction, one must wonder if the real motive for the Yemen war, just like the Saudis’ visceral hostility towards another great civilisation, Iran, is a deep-seated envy of the grandeur of these countries’ place in human history.

If so, bombing Yemen out of existence will not delete its glorious past, nor give Saudi Arabia what it never had.

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Ghada Karmi is a Palestinian doctor, academic and author.

Featured image is from Felton Davis | CC BY 2.0

How Saudi Arabia Is Trying to Erase Yemen’s History

Are the Saudi Princes True Friends?

saudi-princes

By Patrick J. Buchanan

November 23, 2018 Information Clearing House    The 633-word statement of President Donald Trump on the Saudi royals’ role in the grisly murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi is a remarkable document, not only for its ice-cold candor.

The president re-raises a question that has roiled the nation since Jimmy Carter: To what degree should we allow idealistic values trump vital interests in determining foreign policy?

On the matter of who ordered the killing of Khashoggi, Trump does not rule out the crown prince as prime suspect:

“King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder… (but) it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge.”

Yet, whether MBS did or didn’t do it, the Saudis have “agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States.” And a full fourth of that is for “military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other great U.S. defense contractors.”

“Foolishly” cancel these contracts, warns Trump, and Russia or China will snap them up. Moreover, the Saudis have agreed to pump oil to keep prices down.

Trump is unabashedly putting U.S. economic and strategic interests first. He is not going to damage our relationship with Riyadh and its royal family, even if the future king ordered a cold-blooded killing of a U.S.-based Saudi journalist he regarded as an enemy.

The stark manner in which Trump framed the issue will force the members of Congress of both parties to decide whether they wish to defy Trump, sanction the Saudis and risk the relationship.

Other contentions in Trump’s statement suggest that one of the reasons he is giving the crown prince a pass on the Khashoggi killing is that he sees MBS as an indispensable ally against our real enemy in the region.

After his introductory line, Trump goes into a tear that begins: “The country of Iran… is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen.”

But is this true?
It is not Iran but Saudi Arabia and the UAE, with U.S. munitions and logistic support, whose troops, bombs and blockade are responsible for the thousands of causalities in Yemen and the millions who suffer from cholera, malnutrition and starvation.In 2015, it was on the orders of Mohammad bin Salman, then defense minister, that Saudi Arabia intervened in the civil war in Yemen, after Houthi rebels in the north overthrew a Saudi puppet and overran much of the rest of the country.

It is not the Iranians who are trying to close the last port of entry for humanitarian aid for the suffering civilian population.

Iran, said Trump, is “propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens)… Likewise the Iranians have killed many Americans and other people throughout the Middle East.”

But the cause of the 7,000 U.S. military dead in the Middle East in this century, and the 60,000 wounded, are the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that were launched by the United States and George Bush, not by Iran.

As for U.S. civilian casualties, the 3,000 we lost in that monstrous atrocity of 9/11 were the victims of 15 Saudi terrorists, not Iranians.

While Iran has aided its Shiite allies in Iraq, and those allies have fought Americans, the major terrorist organizations we fight today in the Near East, Middle East and Africa – al-Qaida and its affiliates, the Taliban, ISIS, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab – are all Sunni, like the Saudis.

These terrorist groups are Iran’s enemies as well as ours.

“Our paramount goal,” Trump declared in his statement, “is to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world.”

But this objective is every bit as utopian as George W. Bush’s second inaugural where he declared the “ultimate goal” of U.S. foreign policy to be “ending tyranny in our world.”

Terrorism and tyranny have been with mankind forever, and they will be with mankind forever.

Trump both titled and concluded his statement “America First.”

And had an America First policy been pursued in this century, we would not today be tied down in these forever wars of the Middle East.

We would not have attempted to create a Western-style democracy in the wilds of Afghanistan. We would not have invaded Iraq, or attacked Libya, or armed rebels to overthrow Assad, thereby igniting a war that has cost half a million Syrian lives and made refugees of millions.

In his statement, Trump praises Saudi Arabia as a “great ally in our very important fight against Iran.”

Yet, Iran has not attacked us, does not want war with us and remains in compliance with the nuclear treaty from which we walked away.

Trump is president because he promised to extricate us from the Mideast wars into which some of his closest advisers, along with some of our closest “allies,” helped to plunge his country.

Is President Trump about to replicate President Bush’s folly?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of “Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever.” To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at http://www.creators.com.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50658.htm

 

More European Governments Promise to Stop Arming Saudi Arabia: The UK Must Do the Same

Global Research, November 23, 2018
Campaign Against Arms Trade
Stop-Arabie-Saoudite

This morning the Danish  and Finnish governments pledged to end arms sales to Saudi forces. Germany has recently promised to do the same. This follows an intensification of the ongoing bombardment of Yemen and the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

According to Government figures collated by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Germany authorised €254.5 million worth of arms export licenses to Saudi Arabia in 2017, while Denmark licensed €55,000. Norway and Switzerland have made similar pledges.

This is not the first time that the German Government has pledged to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

Despite the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, the UK government  has refused to stop arms sales. Government statistics show that since the bombing of Yemen began in 2015, it has licensed £4.7 billion worth of arms to Saudi Arabia, including:

  • £2.7 billion worth of ML10 licenses (Aircraft, helicopters, drones)
  • £1.9 billion worth of ML4 licenses (Grenades, bombs, missiles, countermeasures)

Andrew Smith of Campaign Against Arms Trade said:

These arms sales should never have been allowed in the first place. However, if these governments stick to their promises then it could set a major precedent and help the drive for peace in Yemen. 

There must also be action from countries like the US and the UK, which have licensed billions of pounds worth of arms to the Saudi regime, including the fighter jets and bombs that are playing a central role in the destruction.

After almost four years of war, the need for a political solution could not be greater. The humanitarian crisis is the worst in the world and Yemen is on the verge of famine. It is time for all governments to push for a ceasefire and to stop prioritising arms sales over the rights and lives of Yemeni people.”

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More European Governments Promise to Stop Arming Saudi Arabia: The UK Must Do the Same

Trump’s Statement Giving Saudi Arabia A Pass On Khashoggi Murder

Lies And Propaganda 
By Aaron Blake

 

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President Trump on Tuesday pretty much erased any doubt that he wouldn’t hold the Saudi royal family accountable for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi — even as the CIA has concluded with high confidence that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was behind it.

Perhaps anticipating a damning report, Trump released a long, exclamation-point-laden statement preemptively making the case for not punishing Mohammed or his father, King Salman, even if they were involved. It’s a remarkable statement that even includes a smear against the slain journalist, while insisting that Trump didn’t believe the smear.

Below is the statement in full, with our annotations.

November 20, 2018 Information Clearing House 

Statement from President Donald J. Trump on Standing with Saudi Arabia

America First!

The world is a very dangerous place!

The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” Iran is considered “the world’s leading sponsor of terror.”

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave. They would immediately provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance. Additionally, Saudi Arabia has agreed to spend billions of dollars in leading the fight against Radical Islamic Terrorism.

After my heavily negotiated trip to Saudi Arabia last year, the Kingdom agreed to spend and invest $450 billion in the United States. This is a record amount of money. It will create hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States. Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great U.S. defense contractors. If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries — and very happy to acquire all of this newfound business. It would be a wonderful gift to them directly from the United States!

The crime against Jamal Khashoggi was a terrible one, and one that our country does not condone. Indeed, we have taken strong action against those already known to have participated in the murder. After great independent research, we now know many details of this horrible crime. We have already sanctioned 17 Saudis known to have been involved in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the disposal of his body.

Representatives of Saudi Arabia say that Jamal Khashoggi was an “enemy of the state” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but my decision is in no way based on that — this is an unacceptable and horrible crime. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman vigorously deny any knowledge of the planning or execution of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi. Our intelligence agencies continue to assess all information, but it could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!

That being said, we may never know all of the facts surrounding the murder of Mr. Jamal Khashoggi. In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. They have been a great ally in our very important fight against Iran. The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region. It is our paramount goal to fully eliminate the threat of terrorism throughout the world!

I understand there are members of Congress who, for political or other reasons, would like to go in a different direction — and they are free to do so. I will consider whatever ideas are presented to me, but only if they are consistent with the absolute security and safety of America. After the United States, Saudi Arabia is the largest oil producing nation in the world. They have worked closely with us and have been very responsive to my requests to keeping oil prices at reasonable levels — so important for the world. As President of the United States I intend to ensure that, in a very dangerous world, America is pursuing its national interests and vigorously contesting countries that wish to do us harm. Very simply it is called America First!

This article was originally published by Washington Post” 

Do you agree or disagree? Post your comment here

==See Also==

Clapper: Killing of Saudi journalist displays that Trump will ‘accept the words of autocrats’

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50636.htmTrump exaggerated importance of Saudi arms sales

 

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50636.htm

How Khashoggi was killed: Erdogan says chilling audio sent to Saudi Arabia, US, UK, France & Germany

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Turkish President Erdogan said that Khashoggi murder was ordered at the “highest levels” of the Saudi government. © AFP / Adem Altan; © Middle East Monitor / Handout via Reuters; © Saudi Royal Palace / Bandar al-Jaloud

The recordings that could reveal the killing of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi embassy in Turkey in shocking detail have been shared with France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and the US, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

“They all know since they all listened to the conversations and everything,” Erdogan said in a televised speech on Saturday.

Read more

FILE PHOTO: A US Air Force F-15 aerial refueling © Global Look Press / US Air Force

Erdogan also accused Saudi Arabia of knowing that the killer of the former Washington Post columnist is among a group of 15 Saudis who touched down in Turkey the day prior to the killing, leaving again for Riyadh in the hours following Khashoggi’s death.

“Saudi Arabia could resolve this by making this 15 talk,” Erdogan said. “The murderers are surely among this 15 or 18, there’s no need to look elsewhere.”

Ankara has claimed to have had audio of the blood-curdling murder ever since the journalist went missing on October 2, after going inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, never to be seen again.

Unconfirmed reports of the contents of gruesome tape allege that Khashoggi was grabbed, drugged and dismembered on a tape with a bone saw. The voice attributed to a Saudi forensic evidence chief also suggests that others witnessing Khashoggi’s harrowing fate listened to music in order to drown out the sounds.

D. William Norris@dwilliam9940

Western hypocrisy at its worst. Immediate sanctions all round for Russia, nothing but lame threats for Saudi. ‘Sawed while still alive’? Gruesome ‘taped’ details of Khashoggi’s alleged murder cause media stir — RT World News https://www.rt.com/news/441560-khashoggi-saudi-consulate-murder/?utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fzen.yandex.com 

‘Sawed while still alive’? Gruesome ‘taped’ details of Khashoggi’s alleged murder cause media stir…

After a Turkish daily said it obtained a recording from the Saudi consulate in Istanbul related to journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a London-based outlet published an ultra-graphic description of his…

rt.com

49 people are talking about this

Saudi Arabia had initially denied that Khashoggi was killed inside the building, initially insisting that he left it. They later changed their story to say the journalist was accidentally killed in a fist fight after an argument broke out. Riyadh now insists that the killing was carried out in a rogue operation unbeknownst to the leadership.

However, Erdogan has insisted that Khashoggi had been killed on order from the “highest levels” of the Saudi government.

The tapes will put further pressure on the Saudis’ Western allies to take action over the killing, who have so far taken a wait-and-see approach before sanctioning the regime. Riyadh is big buyer of Western military hardware, and US and EU leaders will also be under pressure to heed calls to block the billion-dollar arms sales agreed with the kingdom.

Last week, France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel agreed that the outcome of the murder investigation could lead to EU-wide sanctions on Saudi Arabia, including a halt to arms sales.

READ MORE: Find Khashoggi’s killer or you’ll be helping Iran, Boris Johnson tells Saudis

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meanwhile, said on November 2 that Washington would need a “handful more weeks” before making a decision on potential sanctions. He did stress that President Trump would “demand accountability for those who were involved in the commission of this heinous crime.”

Meeting in Paris on Saturday, Macron and Trump agreed that full transparency was needed from Saudi authorities on the murder, adding that the killing should not be used to allow further destabilization in the region.

Pressure is also mounting on the Saudi Crown Prince and heir apparent Mohammad bin Salman, whose possible role in the killing has been much discussed in the media, prompting some to suggest that he may be replaced in the near future.

 

 

https://www.rt.com/news/443618-erdogan-khashoggi-recordings-us-saudi/

UK Was Aware of Saudi Plot Against Khashoggi Weeks in Advance: Report

Saudi Arabia told the U.K. about their plan of abducting Khashoggi three weeks before the incident took place. The MI6 warned them against carrying out the said operation.

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The murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi was about to disclose details of Saudi Arabia’s use of chemical weapons in Yemen when he was killed, as reported by the Sunday Express, a source close to him told the media outlet Friday.

This revelation was made as different intelligence sources disclosed that the U.K. was made aware of the entire plot by Saudi Arabia three weeks before the incident took place on Oct. 2.

Intercepts by GCHQ of internal communications by the kingdom’s General Intelligence Directorate revealed orders by a “member of the royal circle” to abduct the troublesome journalist and take him back to Saudi Arabia. The report does not confirm or deny whether the order came from the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

They were supposed to abduct Khashoggi and take him back to Riyadh but could take other actions, if the journalist created problems.

“We were initially made aware that something was going in the first week of September, around three weeks before Mr. Khashoggi walked into the consulate on October 2, though it took more time for other details to emerge,” the intelligence source told the Sunday Express Friday.

“These details included primary orders to capture Mr. Khashoggi and bring him back to Saudi Arabia for questioning. However, the door seemed to be left open for alternative remedies to what was seen as a big problem. We know the orders came from a member of the royal circle but have no direct information to link them to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Whether this meant he was not the original issuer we cannot say.”

The MI6 had warned their Saudi counterparts to cancel the mission.

“On October 1 we became aware of the movement of a group, which included members of Ri’āsat Al-Istikhbārāt Al-‘Āmah (GID) to Istanbul, and it was pretty clear what their aim was.

“Through channels, we warned that this was not a good idea. Subsequent events show that our warning was ignored.”

Sunday Express also obtained an anonymous interview from a close friend of Khashoggi’s who revealed that the journalist was about to obtain “documentary evidence” of Saudi Arabia’s use of chemical weapon in its proxy war in Yemen.

Iran has previously claimed that the kingdom had been supplying ingredients that can be used to make the nerve agent Sarin in Yemen but Khashoggi was possibly referring to phosphorus which can be used to burn bones. Last month it was claimed that Saudi Arabia had been using U.S.-supplied white phosphorus munitions against troops and even civilians in Yemen.

Jamal Khashoggi was a Washington Post columnist who left Saudi Arabia a year ago due to the widespread crackdown on dissent by the crown prince which sawimprisoning of a large number of dissenters and activists in Saudi Arabia.

The journalist went to Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 .to get papers for his marriage and never seen after that. Turkey maintained that he was killed inside the consulate by Saudi authorities but the latter denied any allegations against them for almost three weeks before finally accepting that he indeed was murdered but alleged it to be a rogue operation about which the crown prince had no knowledge.

The case of Khashoggi created an international uproar and diplomatic scandals where many countries are deciding to impose sanctions on the country and many companies severed their ties with Saudi Arabia.

According to the latest updates, the European Union is considering a ban on arms sale to Saudi Arabia and other sanctions. The EU will make a joint decision on how to punish the kingdom, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said Saturday in Istanbul after Russia-Turkey-France-Germany summit on Syria. A similar sentiment was expressed by France’s Emmanuel Macron.

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Missing Saudi Journalist Jamal Khashoggi Rejiggers the Middle East
The original source of this article is teleSUR
Copyright © Telesur, teleSUR, 2018

UK Was Aware of Saudi Plot Against Khashoggi Weeks in Advance: Report

Khashoggi was to disclose Saudi use of chemical weapons in Yemen: source

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Protesters hold placards outside the Saudi embassy in Paris on October 26, 2018, more than three weeks after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. (Photo by AFP)

Dissident Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, who was recently murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, was about to disclose details of Saudi Arabia’s use of banned chemical weapons in its imposed war on Yemen days before he was killed, a report says.

British Sunday Express weekly reported that a close friend of Khashoggi, speaking on condition of anonymity, had told it on Saturday night that he was about to obtain “documentary evidence” from his murdered friend proving claims that Riyadh had used banned chemical weapons in its brutal aggression against Yemen.

“I met him a week before his death. He was unhappy and he was worried,” the Middle Eastern academic told the British weekly, adding that he asked Khashoggi why he was unhappy and worried.

“He didn’t really want to reply, but eventually he told me he was getting proof that Saudi Arabia had used chemical weapons. He said he hoped he be getting documentary evidence,” Khashoggi’s fried further revealed, adding, “All I can tell you is that the next thing I heard, he was missing.”

Leading a coalition of its allies, including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Sudan, Saudi Arabia invaded Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to reinstall a former Riyadh-friendly regime, which had resigned amid popular discontent, and to crush the country’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has played a significant role, alongside the Yemeni army, in defending the nation and has been running state affairs in the absence of an effective government.

The aggression initially consisted of a bombing campaign, but was later coupled with a naval blockade and the deployment of ground forces to Yemen. More than 15,000 Yemenis have so far been killed and thousands more wounded.

The Saudi-led war has also taken a heavy toll on the country’s infrastructure, destroying hospitals, schools, and factories. The UN has already said that a record 22.2 million Yemenis are in dire need of food, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger. According to the world body, Yemen is suffering from the most severe famine in more than 100 years.

More than three and a half years into that war, Saudi Arabia has achieved neither of its objectives. This is while it had declared at the start of the invasion that the war would take no more than a couple of weeks.

Since the onset of that war, Riyadh has been accused of using banned chemical weapons against the Yemeni soldiers defending their country against the Saudi-led aggression, with reports of using US-supplied white phosphorus munitions that can maim and kill by burning to the bone.

Khashoggi’s friend did not tell the Sunday Express whether the white phosphorus was one of the chemicals Saudis used against Yemenis, but the weekly speculated that it was “more likely” that the murdered journo was referring to phosphorous.

Last month, it was claimed that Saudi Arabia had been using white phosphorous munitions supplied by the US against soldiers and even civilians in Yemen, the weekly added.

“If Khashoggi did, in fact, have proof that Saudi Arabia was deliberately misusing phosphorous for this purpose, it would be highly embarrassing for the regime and provides the nearest motive yet as to why Riyadh may have acted when they did against him,” the Sunday Express quoted chemical warfare expert, Col. Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, as saying.

Khashoggi, 59, an outspoken critic of the Saudi government, had been living in self-imposed exile in the United States since 2017, when Saudi authorities launched a massive crackdown on dissent. He was seeking to secure documentation for his forthcoming marriage when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, but never came out despite Riyadh’s initial claim that he exited the mission less than an hour after entering.

The kingdom, however, later admitted that the journo had been murdered in the consulate after diplomatic pressure grew tremendously on Riyadh to give an account on the mysterious fate of its national. However, it said that it did not know the whereabouts of the journo’s body, which is widely believed to be dismembered.

The British weekly further cited “highly-placed” intelligence source, speaking on condition of anonymity that a “member of the royal circle” of Saudi Arabia had ordered to kidnap the journalist and take him back to the Arab kingdom. But it is not clear whether the “member” had been Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. “Whether he was not the original issuer we cannot say,” they added.

Though it was commanded that Khashoggi should be abducted and taken back to Riyadh, it “left the door open for alternative remedies,” should the journo proved to be troublesome, sources added.

Last week, Saudi Arabia’s Attorney General confirmed “the suspects in the incident had committed their act with a premeditated intention,” in sharp contrast to initial official explanations that Khashoggi had been killed after a fight broke out in the diplomatic mission.

Those suspects, the weekly added, were within a 15-strong hit squad sent to Turkey and included serving members of Saudi General Intelligence Presidency (GIP).

MI6 knew about the plan

Separately, the highly-placed source has confirmed that Britain’s MI6 had warned its Saudi Arabian counterparts to cancel the mission, though this request was ignored.

“On October 1, we became aware of the movement of a group, which included members of the GIP to Istanbul, and it was pretty clear what their aim was,” the source said, adding, “Through channels we warned that this was not a good idea. Subsequent events showed that our warning was ignored.”

https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2018/10/28/578383/Khashoggi-chemical-weapons-yemen

The Quincy Pact only protects the King of Arabia, not his heir

The Panamanians who remember Washington’s arrest of its employee, General Noriega, will not be surprised by the fate reserved for the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. The Jamal Khashoggi affair is one of MBS’s most insignificant crimes, but will probably be his last. The Saoud family is not protected by the Quincy Pact, which only applies to the King. The United States should recuperate several billion dollars.

 

 | BEIRUT (LEBANON)
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When he received the Saudi Crown Prince, « MBS », President Trump recapitulated the incredibly expensive orders from Riyadh to his country, and concluded with a smile : « You can afford this, right ? ».

The Khashoggi affair is one of the multiple examples of Western variable geometry ethics.

The Arabia of the Saoud family

For seventy years, we have been ignoring the facts, shouting : « Saudi Arabia is not a State like the others. It’s the private property of the King, and all the people that live there are no more than serfs. That is why it is described as the residence of it’s owners, the Saoud family, in other words, « Saudi » Arabia ».

In the 18th century, a tribe of Bedouins, the Saouds, allied themselves with a Wahhabite sect and rebelled against the Ottoman Empire. They managed to create a kingdom in Hedjaz, the region of the Arabian peninsula which includes the holy cities of Islam, Medina and Mecca. They were quickly put down by the Ottomans.
At the beginning of the 19th century, a survivor of the Saoud tribe raised a new rebellion. However, his family began fighting amongst themselves and lost again.
Finally, in the 20th century, the British allied with the Saoud family in order to overthrow the Ottoman Empire and exploit the hydrocarbon resources in the Arabian peninsula. With the help of Lawrence of Arabia, they founded the present kingdom, the tribe’s third.

The Foreign Office’s idea was that the Saouds and the Wahhabites should be hated by their serfs and incapable of maintaining good relations with their neighbours. Because of the disproportion of the military forces – between the Saoud’s sabres and the modern weaponry of the British – this family would never be able to turn on their Western masters. However, at the end of the Second World War, the United States seized the opportunity presented by the weakened British forces, and took their place. President Franklin Roosevelt concluded the Quincy Pact with the founder of kingdom. The United States pledged to protect the Saoud family in exchange for their hydrocarbons. Apart from that, the Saoud family would not oppose the creation of a Jewish State in Palestine. This document was renewed by President George W. Bush.

The founder of Wahhabism, Mohammed ben Abdelwahhab, considered that all those who did not join his sect should be exterminated. Many authors have pointed out the proximity of the Wahhabite way of life and that of certain Orthodox Jewish sects, as well as the resemblances between the reasoning of the Wahhabite theologians and that of certain Puritan Christian pastors. However, in order to maintain their influence over the Middle East, the British decided to fight the Arab nationalists and to support the Muslim Brotherhood and the Nashqbandis. That is why, in 1962, they asked the Saouds to create the Muslim World League, and in 1969, what we now call the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. Wahhabism admitted Sunni Islam, which, until then, it had always contested. The Wahhabites then presented themselves as the protectors of Sunnism, but continued to oppose all other forms of Islam.

Anxious to avoid the fratricides which had marked the history of his family in the 19th century, Ibn Saoud instituted a system of succession between brothers. The founder of the kingdom had 32 wives who gave him 53 sons and 36 daughters. The oldest of the survivors, King Salman, is now 82. In order to save his kingdom, the Family Council decided in 2015 to put an end to this adelphic rule and designate the children of Prince Nayef and the new King Salman as future heirs to the throne. Finally, Mohammed Ben Salman ousted Nayef’s son and became the only Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia.

The morals of the Saoud family

In Antiquity, the word « Arab » defined the Aramean people who lived on the Syrian side of the Euphrates. In this sense, the Saouds are not Arabs. However, since the Coran was collated by the Caliph in Damascus, the word « Arab » today describes the people who speak the language of the Coran, in other words, the people of Hejaz. This generic term masks the very different civilisations of the desert Bedouins and the people of towns in a geographical area stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Persian Gulf.

Having evolved abruptly from the use of camels to the private jet, the Saoud family of the 21st century has conserved the archaic culture of the desert. For example, its hatred of History. It destroys any historical vestige in its country. It is with this mentality that we saw it working with the jihadists in Iraq and Syria. There is no other reason for the destruction of the house of Mahomet by the Saouds, or that of the Sumerian administrative tablets by Daesh.

Just as the Western powers used the Saouds to force the Ottomans to retreat – which no-one contests today – they used the jihadists, financed by the Saouds and supervised by the Wahhabites, to destroy Iraq and Syria.

This has been forgotten, but at the beginning of the aggression against Syria, when the Western Press was inventing the « Arab Spring », Saudi Arabia asked only for the departure of President Bachar el-Assad. Riyadh accepted that Syria keep its counsellors, its government, its army and its secret services, with which it had no quarrel at all. It only wanted Assad’s head because he is not a Sunni.

When Prince Mohamed Ben Salmane (alias d« MBS ») became the youngest Minister of Defence in the world, he demanded to exploit the oil fields of the « Empty Quarter », a zone which straddles his country and Yemen. Faced with Yemen’s refusal, he launched a war to cover himself in glory, like his grand-father. In reality, no-one has ever been able to successfully occupy Yemen, no more than Afghanistan. But whatever… the Crown Prince displayed his power by depriving 7 million people of food. And although all the members of the Security Council expressed their concern about the humanitarian crisis, none of them dared say anything about the valourous Prince MBS.

Advising his father, King Salman, MBS proposed to eliminate the head of the interior opposition, Cheikh Nimr Baqr al-Nimr [1]. The man was a peace-lover, it’s true, but from the Wahhabite point of view, he was an infidel, a Chiite. He was decapitated without causing an uproar in the West. Then MBS ordered the destruction of Moussawara and Chouweikat in the Qatif region. All Chiites ! Here too, the West failed to see the cities destroyed by tanks and the massacred serfs.

Since he stands for no contradiction, in June 2017, MBS pushed his father to break with Qatar, which had dared to take the side of Iran against Saudi Arabia. He called for all the Arab states to follow his lead and managed to force the Emirate to back off – temporarily.

When he entered the White House, President Trump made some allowances. He would leave the Yemenites to their agony on the condition that Riyadh stop supporting the jihadists.

That’s when President Trump’s advisor, Jared Kushner, had the idea of recuperating the oil money to replenish the US economy. The immense fortune of the Saoud family is nothing other than the money that the Western powers, in particular the United States, had automatically been paying them for their hydrocarbons. It is not the fruit of their work, but only a rent on their property. The young man therefore organised the Palace coup of November 2017 [2]. 1,300 members of the royal family were placed under house arrest, including the bastard son of the Fadh clan, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. Some of them were hung by their feet and tortured. All of them were obliged to « offer » the Crown Prince half of their fortune. So « MBS », in his own name, raked in at least 800 billion in dollars and actions [3]. A fatal error !

The fortune of the Saouds, which until then had been shared between them all, was now concentrated in the hands of a man who was not the King, and therefore was not representative of the state. All that needed to be done was to twist the Prince’s arm in order to grab the loot.

MBS also threatened Kuwait with the same destiny as that of Yemen if it refused to offer him its frontier oil reserves. But time flies…

Operation Khashoggi

We only had to wait. On 2 October 2018, in violation of article 55 of the Vienna Convention concerning consular relations, MBS ordered the assassination of one of Prince al-Waleed Ben Talal’s henchmen at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, the journalist Jamal Khashoggi [4].

Jamal Khashoggi was the grandson of the personal doctor of King Abdul Aziz. He was nephew of the arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi, who equipped the Saudi Air Force, and then, on behalf of the Pentagon, supplied Chiite Iran against Sunni Iraq. His aunt Samira Khashoggi is the mother of arms dealer Dodi Al-Fayed (eliminated with his companion, British Princess Lady Diana [5]).

Jamal had been associated with the Palace coup that old Prince al-Waleed was preparing against MBS. Mercenaries cut off his fingers and dismembered him before presenting his head to MBS, their master. The operation was carefully recorded by the Turkish and US secret services.

In Washington, the US Press and parliamentarians demanded that President Trump raise sanctions against Riyadh [6].

One of MBS’s advisors, Turki Al-Dakhil, replied that if the US were to sanction the kingdom, Saudi Arabia would be ready to destabilise the world order [7]. In the tradition of the desert Bedouins, all insults must be avenged whatever the cost.

According to Al-Dakhil, the kingdom was preparing some thirty measures, the most significant being to :
- Reduce the production of oil to 7.5 million barrels per day, provoking a raise in prices of about 200 dollars per barrel. The kingdom would demand to be paid in other currencies than the dollar, which would bring about the end of US hegemony ;
- Move away from Washington and move closer to Teheran ;
- Buy arms from Russia and China. The kingdom would offer Russia a military base in Tabuk, in the North-East of the country, in other words, close to Syria, Israël, Lebanon and Iraq ;
- Immediately begin supporting Hamas and Hezbollah.

Aware of the damage that this wild cannon could cause, the White House sounded the attack. Remembering a little late their uplifting speech about « Human Rights », the Western powers declared en chœur that they would no longer stand for this medieval tyrant [8]. One by one, all of their economic leaders obeyed the instructions from Washington and cancelled their participation in the Riyadh Forum. In order to calm their anger, and remembering that Khashoggi was a « US resident », President Trump and his advisor, Kushner, mentioned the confiscation of his properties for the benefit of the United States.

In Tel-Aviv, panic reigned. MBS was Benjamin Netanyahu’s best partner [9], and had asked him to create a joint staff in Somaliland in order to crush the Yemenites. He also made a secret visit to Israël at the end of 2017. The US ex-ambassador in Tel-Aviv, Daniel B. Shapiro, warned his Israëli coreligionists that with an ally like that, Netanyahu is putting the country in danger [10].

The Quincy Pact only protects the King, not the pretenders to his throne.

Translation
Pete Kimberley

[1] « La mort du cheikh El-Nimr fait vaciller le régime des Saoud », par André Chamy, Réseau Voltaire, 3 janvier 2016.

[2] “Palace Coup in Riyadh”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 7 November 2017.

[3] “Saudis Target Up to $800 Billion in Assets”, Margherita Stancati & Summer Said, Wall Street Journal, November 8, 2017.

[4] « Convention de Vienne sur les relations consulaires », Réseau Voltaire, 24 avril 1963.

[5Lady died, par Francis Gillery, Fayard éd., 2006. « Francis Gillery : “J’ai étudié le mécanisme du mensonge d’État dans l’affaire Diana” », par Thierry Meyssan, Réseau Voltaire, 23 août 2007.

[6] “The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi”, by Manal al-Sharif, Washington Post (United States) , 9 October 2018. “Letter by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi”, 10 October 2018.

[7] “US sanctions on Riyadh would mean Washington is stabbing itself”, Turki Al-Dakhil, Al-Arabiya, October 14, 2018.

[8] « Déclaration conjointe des ministres des affaires étrangères d’Allemagne, de France et du Royaume-Uni sur la disparition de Jamal Khashoggi », « Déclaration de la France, de l’Allemagne et du Royaume-Uni sur la mort de Jamal Khashoggi », Réseau Voltaire, 14 et 21 octobre 2018.

[9] “The secret projects of Israël and Saudi Arabia”, by Thierry Meyssan, Translation Pete Kimberley, Voltaire Network, 27 June 2015.

[10] “Why the Khashoggi Murder Is a Disaster for Israel”, Daniel Shapiro, Haaretz, October17, 2018.

Posted October 23, 2018

http://www.voltairenet.org/article203589.html