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BRUSSELS - Is al-Qaeda really back in business? The three simultaneous bombings in three housing compounds for foreigners in Riyadh that left 29 dead, according to the Saudi Interior Ministry, as well as the nine suicide bombers, have at least shattered a sort of consensus that had been emerging among Western intelligence services. Until the... Read More
Anyone who wants to understand what really goes on in the Mideast should have a look at the scandal that erupted earlier this month over the outsized character of Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia. Bandar has long been a renowned mover, shaker, and charmer. As Saudi ambassador to the US, the influential Bandar schmoozed official... Read More
One happened, the other didn’t. Together, they shed some light on the nature of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in Middle East affairs. The first was something of a foreign affairs bombshell: Saudi Arabia’s invitation to Iran’s President Ahmadinejad to join this year’s haj...an invitation that Ahmadinejad accepted with alacrity. From the Teheran Times: The standard narrative... Read More
The Saudi Arabian monarchy has privately sought advice on what is likely to happen in the November US presidential elections and is shaping its policy towards Washington accordingly. The US consulting firm they hired has provided them with a confidential assessment stating that the likely Democratic candidate Barack Obama will lose to Republican John McCain... Read More
Via Laura Rozen, more talk of Hillary Clinton jawboning Saudi Arabia to assure Chinese energy supplies if a) China votes for Iran sanctions and b) Iran’s petroleum exports to China are disrupted as a result. China, of course, considers itself a great power with its own energy allies in the Middle East, not an awkward... Read More
How does it feel to be on your own, like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone, crisscrossing the desert sands, howling to the winds that the end of the end of history is now? Western ideological categories lie mummified in a tomb. There's no dichotomy, or "clash" of civilizations, between Western parliamentary democracy and... Read More
The great 2011 Arab revolt, the cry for democracy in Northern Africa, the mostly Shi'ite revolt in the Persian Gulf, the Western despair over the price of oil, and the new United States Middle East doctrine of "regime alteration" - not to mention the Pentagon's full-spectrum dominance doctrine - have been convoluted into the ultimate... Read More
The key slogan in Tahrir Square in Egypt was "the people want the downfall of the regime". When it comes to Saudi Arabia, it's more like "the House of Saud wants the downfall of its people". Which brings us to the US$36 billion question; can an ailing monarch (Saudi King Abdullah) bribe his subjects with... Read More
United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates visits Bahrain to meet King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa on Saturday. Saudi Arabia invades Bahrain on Monday. This has got to be just a coincidence; Gates and the king were obviously discussing the fortunes of Ferrari and MacLaren in the (postponed) Formula 1 Grand Prix in Bahrain. Moreover, this... Read More
War is peace. Protesters are now off-camera, missile diplomacy is on camera. Packaged in moral uprightness, Tomahawks, Typhoons, Tornados, Rafales, Mirages, B-2s and F-18s - not to mention sexy European Storm Shadow cruise missiles and possible guest star the F-22 Raptor radar-evading stealth jet - now speak the language of democracy. These "military assets", displaying... Read More
Without cutting through the fog of war it's impossible to understand what's really going on in Libya. Odyssey Dawn is only happening because the 22-member Arab League voted to impose a no-fly zone over Libya. The Arab League - routinely dismissed in Western capitals as irrelevant before this decision - is little else than an... Read More
You invade Bahrain. We take out Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. This, in short, is the essence of a deal struck between the Barack Obama administration and the House of Saud. Two diplomatic sources at the United Nations independently confirmed that Washington, via Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, gave the go-ahead for Saudi Arabia to invade... Read More
Go, go, you coward; you are an American agent - Protesters chanting in Sana'a, March 24 So far no R2P ("responsibility to protect"). No United Nations resolution. No no-fly zone. No "coalition of the willing". No Tomahawks. No Predator drones. No C-130 gun ships. No humanitarian imperialism. Yet so far, protesters are being killed; a... Read More
United States Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is in Riyadh to talk to Saudi King Abdullah. The Associated Press told the world's media they should discuss the "Arab upheaval". Then there are all those other cliches - "political reform", oil production, "the Iran threat". But as the Pentagon meets the House of Saud at the... Read More
Early last week, US President Barack Obama sent a letter to Saudi King Abdullah, delivered in person in Riyadh by US National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon. This happened less than a week after Pentagon head Robert Gates spent a full 90 minutes face to face with the king. These two moves represented the final seal... Read More
Ironies in the Middle East come bathed in arsenic; the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria lifts a state of emergency in effect for 48 years just when Syria is in a real state of emergency. And then a regime newspaper, Tishrin, states "the most sublime form of freedom is the security of the homeland". To... Read More
March 14, 2011, will go down in history as the infamous day when the House of Saud launched - with full United States backing - a vicious counter-revolution designed to smash the Gulf chapter of the great 2011 Arab revolt. (See Exposed: The US/Saudi Libya deal Asia Times Online, April 2, 2011). This is the... Read More
They are a shish kebab of hereditary monarchies, emirates and outright theocracies. Most sit on oceans of oil (45% of the world's reserves). They are addicted to the West's glitter and glamour - from London to Monte Carlo, from the delicacies of Paris to the weaponized delicacies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO. They... Read More
As the Arab Spring turns into summer, the counter-revolution is winning. Tyrants - but not systems - are down in Tunisia and Egypt. The Libyan "revolution" is a sham: North Atlantic Treaty Organization air war plus Western spooks/special forces helping dodgy defectors/exiles on the ground. Bahrain, Yemen and Syria have been popular defeats. As far... Read More
The counter-revolution, paraphrasing the late, great soul jazz poet Gil Scott-Heron, will not be televised; it will float downstream flush with hard cash. Take Egypt. The House of Saud has just given Supreme Military Council leader Field Marshall Tantawi US$4 billion in cold hard cash - although not even the Sphinx knows for sure how... Read More
To follow Pepe's articles on the Great Arab Revolt, please click here. A very quiet summit recently took place at a North Atlantic Treaty organization (NATO) base in Molesworth, in the United Kingdom. Facing the British was none other than Prince Turki al-Faisal, former director general of Saudi Arabia's feared Mukhabarat (intelligence services), and once... Read More
London's burning. Wall Street's burning. Global markets are burning. While Rome burns, the House of Saud fiddles - dreams of expanding torture and building a monster minaret coupled with scolding Syria for repressing its own people. The "international community" barely emits a peep; when you're a Medieval family dynasty sitting on an ocean of oil,... Read More
Royals dancing in palace corridors have been spotted in Riyadh. The heir to the Libyan throne, Prince al-Senussi, a nephew of King Idriss who was deposed by Muammar Gaddafi and others in a bloodless 1969 military coup, has embarked on a busy self-promotion campaign, saying he's ready to go back to Libya and even "lead... Read More
Saudi Police Open Fire on Civilians as Protests Gain Momentum
Pro-democracy protests which swept the Arab world earlier in the year have erupted in eastern Saudi Arabia over the past three days, with police opening fire with live rounds and many people injured, opposition activists say. Saudi Arabia last night confirmed there had been fighting in the region and that 11 security personnel and three... Read More
Iron Fist Tactic Suspended (For Now)
The Saudi security forces are pulling back in troubled parts of the oil-rich country's Eastern Province to avoid further confrontation with Shia protesters, say human rights activists, but they warn that any small incident might provoke fresh clashes. Saudi police and soldiers had previously been besieging the Shia town of al-Awamiyah which was the scene... Read More
CounterPunch Diary
Threaten the stability of Saudi Arabia, as the Shi’a upsurges are now doing in Qatif, and al-Awamiyah in the country’s oil-rich Eastern Province and you’re brandishing a dagger over the very heart of long-term U.S. policy in the Middle East for over half a century. In 1945 the chief of the State Department’s Division of... Read More
Anyone who hoped the Arab Spring might eventually take over the Persian Gulf and those lands once known as Arabia Felix has enough reason to drown in sadness. The Arab counter-revolution is stronger than ever - led by the House of Saud and its monarchy minions at the Gulf Counter-revolution Club (GCC), officially known as... Read More
Last week, independent journalist Sam Husseini went to a news conference by Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia at Washington’s National Press Club - where Husseini is a member. Then he did something that is alien to United States corporate media culture. He behaved as an actual journalist and asked a tough, pertinent, no-holds-barred question.... Read More
There's no way to understand the larger-than-life United States-Iran psychodrama, the Western push for regime change in both Syria and Iran, and the trials and tribulations of the Arab Spring(s) - now mired in perpetual winter - without a close look at the fatal attraction between Washington and the GCC. [1] GCC stands for Gulf... Read More
So the Arab League has a new draft United Nations Security Council resolution to "solve" the Syrian saga. [ 1] World public opinion may be fooled into believing this is an altruistic Arab solution to an Arab problem. Not really. First of all this is a draft resolution of NATOGCC - that symbiosis between selected... Read More
Here's a crash course on the "democratic" machinations of the Arab League - rather the GCC League, as real power in this pan-Arab organization is wielded by two of the six Persian Gulf monarchies composing the Gulf Cooperation Council, also known as Gulf Counter-revolution Club; Qatar and the House of Saud. Essentially, the GCC created... Read More
It was deep into the night, somewhere over Siberia, in a Moscow to Beijing flight (BRIC to BRIC?) when the thought, like a lightning bolt, began to take hold. What the hell is wrong with those Arabs? Maybe it was the narcotic effect of that perennially dreadful Terminal F at Sheremetyevo airport - straight out... Read More
And the winner is ... the Gulf Counter-revolution Club (GCC), also known as Gulf Cooperation Council. Their collective celebration party is this weekend's Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix - complete with buckets of Moet and Ferraris oozing by. See it as a coterie of Sunni sheikhs telling the "international community" - we won; it's our... Read More
It is, literally, a bomb. What kind of wily actor managed to get the precious intel needed to penetrate, disrupt and destroy a meeting at the National Security building in Damascus - killing Defense Minister Dawoud Rajha and his deputy Assef Shawkat, Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law? What really happened is still murky. Reuters said it was... Read More
Was Prince Bandar "Bush", 63, son of Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz (perennial Saudi Defense Minister,1963-2001), semi-perennial ambassador to Washington (1983-2005), and secretive jihad financier, killed by a Syrian intelligence death squad? Thunderous silence prevails on Syrian, Iranian and Arab media (most of it controlled by the Saudis). The same applies for al-Jazeera. This is DEBKA's... Read More
It took Reuters quite a while to be allowed to report that US President Barack Obama had approved an intelligence finding [1] letting the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) loose in its support for the weaponized "rebels" fighting for regime change in Syria. By now even fishermen in Fiji knew about this "secret" (not to mention... Read More
With all the reams of reporting on Syria, I am surprised that relatively little is written, in English anyway, about the divergence of aims between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Qatar backs the Muslim Brotherhood and, it appears, would not object to a brokered deal to end the insurrection that allows the MB to get its... Read More
My post on the competing strategies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar received a considerable amount of thoughtful comment and pushback by e-mail and on the Web, more than I’m accustomed to receive for a non-China post from somebody who has only an informed layman’s interest in the Middle East. Maybe I came up with something... Read More
PARIS - And now some breaking news coming from the Islamic Emirate of Syriastan. This program is brought to you by the NATOGCC corporation. Please also tune in for a word from our individual sponsors, the United States government, Britain, France, Turkey, the House of Saud and the Emir of Qatar. It all started early... Read More
Hi, my name is Mostafa and I'll be your moderate insurgent today. I'm addressing you all because we badly need your help. We could have started a Facebook page, like We Need Your Weapons or something, or ask the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights to make a YouTube video, but I prefer to speak straight... Read More
Talk about The Comeback Spy. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush (for Dubya he was like family), spectacularly resurfaced after one year in speculation-drenched limbo (was he or was he not dead, following an assassination attempt in July 2012). And he was back in the limelight no less than in a face-to-face with Russian... Read More
There he is, Egypt's new pharaoh, Pinochet Sisi, in full regalia/glory. Subtitles are superfluous. This is General Abdel Fattel al-Sisi's Oscar moment. He's thanking his sponsors/producers. When he mentions "Saudi Arabia" the room goes wild. When he mentions [King] "Abdullah" the room goes wild. What a performance. A biopic looms. He's already dreaming of Jack... Read More
The ''responsibility to protect'' (R2P) doctrine invoked to legitimize the 2011 war on Libya has just transmogrified into ''responsibility to attack'' (R2A) Syria. Just because the Obama administration says so. On Sunday, the White House said it had ''very little doubt'' that the Bashar al-Assad government used chemical weapons against its own citizens. On Monday,... Read More
There is nothing tragic about the Obama presidency, capable of drawing the analytical talents of a neo-Plutarch or a neo-Gibbon. This is more like a Pirandello farce, a sort of Character in Search of An Author. Candidates to Author are well documented - from the Israel lobby to the House of Saud, from a select... Read More
It was 12 years ago today. Historians will register that, according to the official narrative, 19 Arabs armed with box cutters and minimal flying skills pledged to a transnational Terror Inc turned jets into missiles to attack the US homeland, fooling the most elaborate defense system on Earth. Fast forward to 2013. Here's a 15-second... Read More
If any extra evidence was needed to shatter the myth of a "revolution" struggling for a future "democratic" Syria, the big news of the week cleared any remaining doubts. Eleven, 13 or 14 "rebel" brigades (depending on the source) have ditched the "moderate", US-propped Syrian National Council (SNC) and the not-exactly Free Syrian Army (FSA).... Read More
Every sentient being with a functional brain perceives the possibility of ending the 34-year Wall of Mistrust between Washington and Tehran as a win-win situation. Here are some of the benefits: The price of oil and gas from the Persian Gulf would go down; Washington and Tehran could enter a partnership to fight Salafi-jihadis (they... Read More
Life is good if you're a member of the Gulf Counter-revolution Club, officially known as Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). You can crush the Arab Spring at will. You can hire goons all across dar-al-Islam to advance a sectarian Sunni-Shi'ite divide. You can be deeply implicated in the destruction of Syria. You can treat a significant... Read More
Over the last year or so, I’ve taken the bet  that Saudi Arabia is pursuing a strategy of regime collapse in Syria. In practical terms, this means that the KSA won’t support a Syria peace process that achieves a measure of accommodation between the Ba’athist ruling party (with or without Assad) and the opposition, popular,... Read More
Don't count on a female Saudi playwright writing a 21st century remix of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger starring a bunch of non-working class Saudi royals. But anger it is - from King Abdullah downwards; not only at the UN's "double standards" but especially - hush hush - at the infidel Obama administration. This... Read More
Category Classics
How America was neoconned into World War IV
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
Shouldn't they recuse themselves when dealing with the Middle East?
Which superpower is more threatened by its “extractive elites”?