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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
Doha skyline, Qatar
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
The Petro-Powers vs. the Greens
That Donald Trump is a grand disruptor when it comes to international affairs is now a commonplace observation in the establishment media. By snubbing NATO and withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, we’ve been told, President Trump is dismantling the liberal world order created by Franklin D. Roosevelt at the end of World War II.... 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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Another phony excuse for endless war
The Israeli Minister of Defense is now telling anyone who is willing to listen that the Iranian government is building an “international terror network that includes sleeper cells that are stockpiling arms, intelligence and operatives to be ready to strike on command in places including Europe and the U.S.” Moshe Yaalon elaborated that Iran intends... Read More
The suggestion by Saudi Arabia that it send ground troops to Syria might mean the limited deployment of Saudi special forces alongside their US counterpart or a more ambitious intervention, probably in combination with the Turkish army. The suggestion by Saudi Arabia that it send ground troops to Syria might mean the limited deployment of... Read More
One night in his tent in Tripoli, Libya, Col. Muammar Khadafi told me, “the Saudis are a very rich family hiding behind high walls, terrified their neighbors will come and steal their wealth.” He was right. The covetous neighbor most feared by the Saudis are Iran, followed by Egypt, Turkey and, more distantly, Israel. Iraq... Read More
At the end of last year the BND, the German intelligence agency, published a remarkable one-and-a-half-page memo saying that Saudi Arabia had adopted “an impulsive policy of intervention”. It portrayed Saudi defence minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – the powerful 29-year-old favourite son of the ageing King Salman, who is suffering from... Read More
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Once in a blue moon, this writer’s view coincides with that of the New York Times leader. It has happened now. The Saudi predilection for gore is not easy to stomach. The House of al Saud chose to celebrate the New Year, Christmas and Nativity of the Prophet Muhammad by shooting (or chopping heads, or... Read More
Saudi Arabia will be pleased that the furore over its execution of the Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr is taking the form of a heightened confrontation with Iran and the Shia world as a whole. Insults and threats are exchanged and diplomatic missions closed. Sunni mosques are blown up in Shia-dominated areas of Iraq. The Saudi... Read More
The New Year's execution by Saudi Arabia of the Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr was a deliberate provocation. Its first purpose: Signal the new ruthlessness and resolve of the Saudi monarchy where the power behind the throne is the octogenarian King Salman's son, the 30-year-old Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman. Second, crystallize, widen and... Read More
The Saudis have made themselves even more unpopular after decapitating or shooting 47 prisoners last week. Critics are calling them, “the white ISIS.” The men, Sunni and Shia, had been convicted of “terrorism,” belonging to al-Qaida, drug offenses, or membership in proscribed Shia groups. All but two of them were Saudi citizens. Most prominent among... Read More
The big news today is that Saudi Arabia and Turkey are clubbing together to overthrow the Assad regime. Actually, this is old news. What happened today is that the news embargo was lifted and the AP’s Desmond Butler got to print the scoop. It was apparent for a couple weeks that something along these lines... Read More
Air strikes and blockade threaten humanitarian disaster for millions
Dozens of Saudi soldiers and Yemeni fighters have been killed in clashes on the border between the countries as five weeks ofSaudi air attacks fail to bring the war to an end. Air strikes and heavy artillery fire in the southern port of Aden have left much of the city in ruins and the attempted... Read More
The main outcome of the Saudi air campaign will be terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants
Yemen is short of many things, but weapons is not one of them. Yemenis own between 40 and 60 million guns, according to a report by UN experts published earlier this year. This should be enough for Yemen’s 26 million people, although the experts note that demand for grenades that used to cost $5, handguns... Read More
For a month now, the Saudi air force has been bombing Yemen to reverse a takeover of that nation of 25 million by Houthi rebels, and reinstall a president who fled his country and is residing in Riyadh. The Saudis have hit airfields, armor and arms depots, and caused a humanitarian catastrophe. Nearly 1,000 dead,... Read More
...Despite having no decisive impact on the opposing Houthi militias
Yemenis are wondering if the 28-day Saudi bombing campaign is really over or whether the war has simply entered a new phase. Air strikes were still taking place in Aden, Taiz and other Yemeni cities hours after they were supposed to have ceased. And nobody in Yemen supposes that the war the Saudis escalated when... Read More
Let Yemenis Determine Their Future
In its ongoing effort to prevent the rise of “any popularly supported government in the region”, the US has joined Saudi Arabia’s savage war of annihilation against Yemen’s northern tribal rebels, the Houthis. The Pentagon has expedited the delivery of bombs, ammunition and guidance systems to assist the Saudi-led campaign and is providing logistical support... Read More
As the US and Iran reach accord, Saudi Arabia endangers the status quo in the Middle East
A succession of crucially important military and diplomatic events are convulsing the political landscape of the Middle East. The most significant development is the understanding between the US and five other world powers with Iran on limiting Iran’s nuclear programme in return for an easing of sanctions. But the muting of hostility between the US... Read More
Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis
Foreign states that go to war in Yemen usually come to regret it. The Saudi-led military intervention so far involves only air strikes, but a ground assault may follow. The code name for the action is Operation Decisive Storm, which is probably an indication of what Saudi Arabia and its allies would like to happen... Read More
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