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The Trump administration is guilty of many acts of deliberate cruelty, such as taking away the children of immigrant parents at the US border. But just as the world was watching the lead up to the Trump-Kim Jong-un meeting in Singapore last Monday, the US may have done something even worse by quietly announcing a... Read More
Will Washington, Tel Aviv, Riyadh, and Tehran Face Off in a Future Cataclysm?
With Donald Trump’s decision to shred the Iran nuclear agreement, announced last Tuesday, it’s time for the rest of us to start thinking about what a Third Gulf War would mean. The answer, based on the last 16 years of American experience in the Greater Middle East, is that it won’t be pretty. The New... Read More
Imagine that you paid a special visit to a family you hardly knew halfway around the world and they were so pleased to see you that they spent an estimated $68 million on your welcome, while mounting “festivities” like the one in which you danced with them sword in hand? Yes, you'd probably be thrilled,... Read More
How the Saudis Took Donald Trump for a Ride
It’s another Trump affair -- this time without the allegations of sexual harassment (and worse), the charges and counter-charges, the lawsuits, and all the rest. So it hasn’t gotten the sort of headlines that Stormy Daniels has garnered, but when it comes to influence, American foreign policy, and issues of peace and war, it couldn’t... Read More
I spent most of the last year reporting two sieges, Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria, which finally ended with the decisive defeat of Isis. This was the most important event in the Middle East in 2017, though people are already beginning to forget how dangerous the Isis caliphate was at the height of... Read More
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Good News from Around the World
Merry Christmas to you, dear readers! It is a beautiful and serene time of hope, when the darkest time of the year is already behind us. Though the light is still not perceptible, but we know and feel that the change is coming. The recent vote in the United Nations has been such a glimpse... Read More
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Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) of Saudi Arabia is the undoubted Middle East man of the year, but his great impact stems more from his failures than his successes. He is accused of being Machiavellian in clearing his way to the throne by the elimination of opponents inside and outside the royal family. But,... Read More
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Imprisoning and Torturing Billionaire Oligarchs
The best solutions to difficult problems are simple. The Columbus Egg. The Gordian Knot. The Procrustean Bed. So many people strained their fingers trying to untangle the messy knot, until Alexander came and slashed it open with one fine stroke of his mighty sword. Wise men vainly tried to make an egg stand upright on... Read More
Why did Tom Friedman write such a gushing tribute to the Saudi tyrant, Mohammed bin Salman? (See: “Saudi Arabia’s Arab Spring, At Last,” New York Times) Is Friedman a supporter of the power-hungry Crown Prince? Does he think that rounding up one’s political rivals, hanging them upside down and beating them with rubber hoses is... Read More
Our aim is to "starve the whole population -- men, women, and children, old and young, wounded and sound -- into submission," said First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill. He was speaking of Germany at the outset of the Great War of 1914-1918. Americans denounced as inhumane this starvation blockade that would eventually take... Read More
It’s remarkable that whenever you read an article about Yemen in the mainstream media, the central role of Saudi Arabia and the United States in the tragedy is glossed over or completely ignored. A recent Washington Post article purporting to tell us “how things got so bad” explains to us that, “it's a complicated story”... Read More
I was in my room in the Baghdad Hotel on al-Sadoun street last Sunday evening, writing about the chances for stability in Iraq taking hold, when the walls and floor began to shake. They jerked sideways and up and down several times as if my room was the cabin of boat in a rough sea.... Read More
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SouthFront has just released a very interesting video analysis warning about the possibility of a war involving Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and, possibility, Syria, Iran, and Israel. That, of course, also means that Russia and the US would be involved. First, please see the video here: What I propose to do is go over the implications... Read More
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Introduction Saudi Arabia has built a powerful network of regional and local political, military and economic relationships incorporating a shared extremist-religious affiliation. As a result, despite its reputation as a backward despotic clerico-monarchy with an extreme dependency on oil sales, it has become a deadly political force in the Middle East and beyond. To understand... Read More
If the crown prince of Saudi Arabia has in mind a war with Iran, President Trump should disabuse his royal highness of any notion that America would be doing his fighting for him. Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, the 32-year-old son of the aging and ailing King Salman, is making too many enemies for his... Read More
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What’s going on in Saudi Arabia? Over 200 bigwigs detained and ‘illegal profits’ of some $800 billion confiscated. The kingdom is in an uproar. The Saudi regime of King Salman and his ambitious 32-year old son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, claim it was all part of an ‘anti-corruption’ drive that has Washington’s full backing.... Read More
About eight or nine years ago, I had an Afghan friend who previously worked for a large US aid agency funding projects in the Afghan provinces. He had been hired to monitor their progress once work had got underway, but he did not hold the job very long for reasons that he explained to me.... Read More
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The White House is targeting Iran but should instead focus on Saudi Arabia
It is one of the great ironies that the United States, a land mass protected by two broad oceans while also benefitting from the world’s largest economy and most powerful military, persists in viewing itself as a potential victim, vulnerable and surrounded by enemies. In reality, there are only two significant potential threats to the... Read More
The Saudi-American-Iranian-Russian-Qatari-Syrian Conundrum
The Middle East. Could there be a more perilous place on Earth, including North Korea? Not likely. The planet’s two leading nuclear armed powers backing battling proxies amply supplied with conventional weapons; terror groups splitting and spreading; religious-sectarian wars threatening amid a plethora of ongoing armed hostilities stretching from Syria to Iraq to Yemen. And... Read More
In the event you have noticed the hullabaloo about Qatar and wonder what it is about, it is about Al Jazeera, a news organization, established by the Emir who rules the oil and gas sheikdom on the Persian Gulf. Al Jezeera is far more professional than any news organization in the West. Al Jazeera’s problem... Read More
What a scary week in the Mideast. The epicenter of the world’s energy resources and the land-bridge between Asia and Africa is spinning out of control as the danger of a shooting war between the US and Russia grows daily. A US F-18 warplane shot down a Syrian Air Force SU-22 ground attack aircraft over... Read More
The Saudi Regime Is Playing Donald Trump With Potentially Disastrous Consequences
At this point, it’s no great surprise when Donald Trump walks away from past statements in service to some impulse of the moment. Nowhere, however, has such a shift been more extreme or its potential consequences more dangerous than in his sudden love affair with the Saudi royal family. It could in the end destabilize... Read More
Not that anyone in a position of power seems to notice, but there’s a simple rule for American military involvement in the Greater Middle East: once the U.S. gets in, no matter the country, it never truly gets out again. Let’s start with Afghanistan. The U.S. first entered the fray there in 1979 via a... Read More
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Tiny Qatar, the mouse that roared, has now managed to enrage the larger part of the Arab world and defy the newly-minted Mideast expert, Donald Trump. This month, an angry alliance of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, with some background support from the puppet regimes of war-torn Libya and Yemen, declared... Read More
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Terrorism supporters in Washington and Riyadh close ranks against Qatar
The United States has been using lies to go to war since 1846, when Americans who believed in manifest destiny sought to expand to the Pacific Ocean at the expense of Mexico, acquiring by force of arms California and what were to become the southwestern states. In 1898 the U.S. picked up the pieces of... Read More
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Yet another clumsy attempt by the Three Rogue States to weaken Iran
First, a quick who's who We will probably never find out what truly was discussed between Trump, the Saudis and the Israelis, but there is little doubt that the recent Saudi move against Qatar is the direct results of these negotiations. How do I know that? Because Trump himself said so! As I mentioned in... Read More
Qatar is unexpectedly under siege from its neighbours. Led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, supported by Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen, the five Arab states have cut diplomatic relations with Qatar, severed land, air and sea travel and are expelling Qatari citizens who have 48 hours to depart. The Saudis and their allies... Read More
The Great White Father came to Saudi Arabia last week to harangue some 50 Arab and African despots on the glories of Trumpism, democracy and the need to fight what the Americans call terrorism. Having covered the Mideast for many decades, I cannot think of a more bizarre or comical spectacle. Here was Saudi Arabia,... Read More
In the wake of the massacre in Manchester, people rightly warn against blaming the entire Muslim community in Britain and the world. Certainly one of the aims of those who carry out such atrocities is to provoke the communal punishment of all Muslims, thereby alienating a portion of them who will then become open to... Read More
It was crude stuff. President Trump called on 55 Muslim leaders assembled in Riyadh to drive out terrorism from their countries. He identified Iran as a despotic state and came near to calling for regime change, though Iran held a presidential election generally regarded as fair only two days previously. He denounced Hezbollah and lined... Read More
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President Trump arrives in Saudi Arabia tomorrow, mere hours after US bombers attacked pro-Assad militiamen whom the US military say were threatening a base in southern Syria where US and British Special Forces are training rebel fighters. It would be naïve to imagine that the timing of the US attack, the first intentionally made against... Read More
Many people view Donald Trump as the most dangerous man on the planet, but next week he flies to Saudi Arabia for a three-day visit during which he will meet a man who surely runs him a close second as a source of instability. This is deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31 – the... Read More
The Trump administration is making its first radical policy change in the Middle East by escalating American involvement in the civil war in Yemen. Wrecked by years of conflict, the unfortunate country will supposedly be the place where the US will start to confront and roll back Iranian influence in the region as a whole.... Read More
On Friday, the Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, used his first trip abroad to present Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef with the CIA’s highest award for fighting terrorism, the George Tenet Medal. Although the ceremony wasn’t covered by any of the major media, it was picked up on various blogsites where the... Read More
In the south west corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Britain is complicit in one of the worst and least noticed crimes against humanity in the 21st century. Thanks to Saudi air strikes starting two years ago, a localised civil war in Yemen was transformed into a devastating conflict which has brought 12 million people to... Read More
As recently as two years ago, Saudi Arabia’s half century-long effort to establish itself as the main power among Arab and Islamic states looked as if it was succeeding. A US State Department paper sent by former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, in 2014 and published by Wikileaks spoke of the Saudis and Qataris as... Read More
The British Government’s fawning on the absolute monarchs of the Gulf, whose authority is enforced by beheadings, lashings and the torture chamber, is at once contemptible and pathetic. It is a measure of Britain’s decline as a great power that it is only in tiny, toxic, sectarian Bahrain, where Sunni rulers suppress the Shia majority,... Read More
It is fortunate for Saudi Arabia and Qatar that the furore over thesexual antics of Donald Trump is preventing much attention being given to the latest batch of leaked emails to and from Hillary Clinton. Most fascinating of these is what reads like a US State Department memo, dated 17 August 2014, on the appropriate... Read More
Why does the British Government devote so much time and effort to cultivating the rulers of Bahrain, a tiny state notorious for imprisoning and torturing its critics? It is doing so when a Bahraini court is about to sentence the country’s leading human rights advocate, Nabeel Rajab, who has been held in isolation in a... Read More
Hundreds of foreign hospital workers in Saudi Arabia, unpaid for seven months, were on strike this week and were blocking a highway in Eastern Province in defiance of the ban on strikes and demonstrations in the Kingdom. The employees’ anger was deepened by the belief that the very same employer who has been holding back... Read More
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James Jesus Angleton, head of CIA counterintelligence for three decades, long ago explained to me that intelligence services create stories inside stories, each with its carefully constructed trail of evidence, in order to create false trails as diversions. Such painstaking work can serve a variety of purposes. It can be used to embarrass or discredit... Read More
In 1996 the CIA set up a special unit called Alec Station with the aim of targeting Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaeda network. It was headed by Michael Scheuer who found the Saudis less than cooperative. “When we set up the unit in 1996 we asked the Saudis for some basic material on bin... Read More
The forever changing 9/11 story is entering a new phase. Blame is being transferred from Osama bin Laden to the Saudi Arabian government. There are 28 pages classified secret of a congressional inquiry into 9/11 that allegedly found Saudi financial support for the alleged 9/11 hijackers. Neither the George W. Bush nor the Obama regimes... Read More
With a Busted Business Model, Oil Economies Head for the Unknown
Pity the poor petro-states. Once so wealthy from oil sales that they could finance wars, mega-projects, and domestic social peace simultaneously, some of them are now beset by internal strife or are on the brink of collapse as oil prices remain at ruinously low levels. Unlike other countries, which largely finance their governments through taxation,... Read More
Trying to end its dependence on oil - and it's not going to work
Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the son of the ailing King Salman and de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia, has launched a highly ambitious plan under which he says his country will speedily “end its addiction to oil.” In terms of its revolutionary ambition, lack of realism and potential for disruption, the plan has parallels with... Read More
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America's "allies" pursue their own agendas
The redacted 28 pages describing the Saudi Arabian role in 9/11 have become somewhat of a political football. At this point, I suspect the Obama Administration is doing a damage assessment on them to determine whether they will in any way hurt Democratic electoral prospects in November. As the missing pages will likely lead to... Read More
For decades the US and Saudi Arabia have shared a peculiar relationship: the Saudis sell relatively cheap oil to the United States for which they accept our fiat currency. They then recycle those paper dollars into the US military-industrial complex through the purchase of billions of dollars worth of military equipment, and the US guarantees... Read More
Foreign leaders visiting King Salman of Saudi Arabia have noticed that there is a large flower display positioned just in front of where the 80-year-old monarch sits. On closer investigation, the visitors realised that the purpose of the flowers is to conceal a computer which acts as a teleprompter, enabling the King to appear capable... Read More
Poor President Barack Obama flew to Saudi Arabia this past week but its ruler, King Salman, was too busy to greet him at Riyadh’s airport. This snub was seen across the Arab world as a huge insult and violation of traditional desert hospitality. Obama should have refused to deplane and flown home. Alas, he did... Read More
Commentators have missed the significance of President Barack Obama’s acerbic criticism of Saudi Arabia and Sunni states long allied to the US for fomenting sectarian hatred and seeking to lure the US into fighting regional wars on their behalf. In a series of lengthy interviews with Jeffrey Goldberg published in The Atlantic magazine, Mr Obama... Read More
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