Tag Archives: Middle East

Biden’s Middle East: Saudi Arabia Embraces China; Will They Topple the Dollar? By Judith Bergman

The Middle East is playing the U.S. off against China and the dollar against the yuan. From Judith Bergman at gatestoneinstitute.org:

  • If Saudi Arabia were to break the tradition of pricing its oil in US dollars, as it is contemplating doing, others could well start to price oil in Chinese yuan or other currencies — negatively affecting the US dollar’s status and potentially the entire US economy.
  • “China must brace for a full-blown escalation of the struggle with the United States and prepare to gradually decouple the Chinese yuan from the US dollar.” — Zhou Li, former deputy director of the Communist Party’s International Liaison Department, South China Morning Post, July 5, 2020.
  • That Saudi Arabia now seems to be seriously considering selling its oil in yuan signifies the extent to which the Biden administration’s Middle East policies have left countries such as Saudi Arabia hedging their bets on China, as the ascendant power in the Middle East. China, on the other hand, is simply taking advantage of the current US administration’s deprioritization of the region and its alienation of strategic US allies such as Saudi Arabia.

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When Our Mideast Friends Prove Unfaithful, by Doug Bandow

One thing you can almost always count on is that nation’s and their leaders will watch out for themselves, regardless of how many treaties they’ve signed and alliances they’ve formed. From Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.com:

When Our Mideast Friends Prove Unfaithful

It’s time for the United States to look out for itself.

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on October 14, 2019. (Photo by Alexey Nikolsky/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)

It took a tragic war in Europe to demonstrate that America’s Mideast friends are not really friends. Ever ready to squeeze the U.S. for all the benefits it can provide, they won’t sacrifice for it in return. Even a little.

Uncle Sam is like the lovelorn teen nerd who falls for a popular cheerleader. She happily accepts his gifts, treating them as her due. But for him, nada. Yet he won’t give up, convinced that she really likes him. And on it goes, until reality finally cools his ardor.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is going through something like this with Saudi Arabia and its neighbors. America has never been their first love, which was themselves, but they enjoyed her willingness to do whatever they asked. Provide aid and arms. Back ruling regimes. Offer diplomatic cover. Ignore human rights violations. Accept support for violent extremists. And ignore opposition to U.S. interests and objectives.

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THE ANGRY ARAB: The Middle East & the War in Ukraine, by As’ad AbuKhalil.

Middle Eastern politics and alliances will reflect the end of the American empire. From As’ad AbuKhalil at consortiumnews.com:

Gulf Arab regimes, and other developing countries, will adjust to a new world where power is shifting. It is no longer the world the U.S. shaped after the Cold War, writes As’ad AbuKhalil.

Putin meeting Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, 2018. (Kremlin)

It is premature to determine the exact shape of the world in the wake of the Russian military intervention in the Ukraine. At the risk of repeating dreaded cliches, it is clear that the world order has been irrevocably altered. The post-cold war era is over, forever.

The U.S. established global supremacy after the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and ensured that NATO would form a security siege around Russia to keep it weak and vulnerable — and to maintain American hegemony throughout the continent. Never has America been challenged in such a direct and focused way as by Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.

The old rules that the U.S. imposed — by force — will be no more. While China has been cautious in expressing support for Russia in its official pronouncements, its media have been clear in refuting U.S. propaganda claims. The reverberations of the cataclysmic event will be felt for years to come and will affect regional and international conflicts.

The impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war will also be felt in the Middle East, which has a long history of involvement in the Soviet and Russian-U.S. rivalry.

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The US Desperately Needs To Rethink Its Middle East Strategy, by Paul Sullivan

Playing nice in the Middle East is winning China and Russia more friends than the US’s bullying. From Paul Sullivan at oilprice.com:

Is the Middle East still important? This is a seemingly absurd question, yet some are asking this in Washington. The Middle East is the source of massive reserves in oil and gas. Much of the fuel to produce goods and trade from Asia and the EU comes from the Middle East. Much of the world economy relies on Middle East energy. The region has strategic chokepoints like the Strait of Hormuz, The Suez Canal, and The Bab al Mandab. It is a source of some of the more significant threats in the world, such as from ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other groups. It contains some of the most important security connections in the world. Consider the neighbors of the Middle East and not just the Middle East. The Middle East is a crossroads for energy and security. It also could be one of the generators of change and improvement, if it is allowed and supported to do so.  However, as the U.S. becomes more focused on “The Great Powers Conflict” in Asia, especially with China, it is becoming clearer that the U.S. is losing the plot in the Middle East. Consider the slow to no reaction to the shipping of Iranian fuel with the help of Hezbollah and Syria to Lebanon.

The U.S. could have done many different things to help the Lebanese with this without handing a massive public relations and political victory to its adversaries. But, in some ways, Washington’s sanctions have painted it into a corner on such issues. Consider how the U.S. took the anti-missile batteries from Saudi Arabia as the Houthis are still attacking Saudi Arabia with missiles. The Saudis made a deal with the Russians in response to this and other moves by the U.S. The U.S. handed leverage to the Russians. These are just two of many examples of how the plot is being lost.

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Blinken on Damage-Limitation Tour After Afghanistan Fiasco, by Finian Cunningham

The Biden administration is sending a schmuck to convince our allies that the Biden administration isn’t full of schmucks. From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.org:

Washington’s whirlwind outreach is evidently an effort to shore up confidence among U.S. allies in American defense commitments.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken is visiting the Middle East and Europe this week in an effort to repair the damage to Washington’s standing with its allies following the disastrous retreat from Afghanistan.

The top U.S. diplomat first goes to Qatar, the Persian Gulf state which has served as a forward – and now backward – operating base for the Pentagon during its military occupation of Afghanistan. Blinken then travels to the giant U.S. airbase at Ramstein, Germany, which was also a vital logistics hub for prosecuting America’s “longest war” – a war that ended in spectacular failure last month. There he will meet German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas ahead of a virtual conference with other European officials on the challenges posed by postwar Afghanistan.

Blinken’s itinerary will overlap with that of the U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin who is also visiting Qatar and the other Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain.

Washington’s whirlwind outreach is evidently an effort to shore up confidence among U.S. allies in American defense commitments. The dramatic and hasty pullout from Afghanistan by the Biden administration has left allies wondering if their American patron can be trusted when the chips are down.

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Why the West Funds Terrorism, by Cynthia Chung

The West, led by the US government, has funded a long and illustrious list of organizations that meet anyone’s definition of terrorist, including many who have declared war against the US and the West. From Cynthia Chung at strategic-culture.org:

It is clear that the declared “enemy” in this “War on Terror,” is not what we were led to believe, and increasingly, it is beginning to look like the enemy may in fact be, anyone who resists this global agenda.

I believe in a cruel God who made me in his image and who in fury I name.

– Iago, in Verdi’s Opera Othello

On June 22, 2021, Bulgarian journalist Dilyana Gaytandzhieva published an expose titled “US fuels Syrian war with new arms supplies to Al Qaeda terrorists,” showing documents obtained by the US Federal Contracts Registry, revealing that the US Army Contracting Command, ACC Picatinny Arsenal,  has contracted eight American companies to procure Category 1 End User Certificate weapons from 2020-2025.

According to Gaytandzhieva, the Pentagon is buying $2.8 billion worth of weapons for conflict zones around the world. Most of the weapons are destined for Syria. After all, the Idlib Province in Syria (which is presently entirely controlled by Al Qaeda) has been recognised as one of the most strategic locations in the Middle East.

There are even a number of propaganda videos by Hayat Tahrir Al Sham HTS (formerly known as Al Nusra Front, which is Al Qaeda’s branch in Syria), showing them using American TOW anti-tank missiles.

A US-made TOW missile system seized by Syrian troops during their offensive in Urum al-Kubra in the de-escalation zone of Idlib. The province is under the control of the terrorist group HTS. (Telegram)

Propaganda footage published by Ibba news agency, linked to the terrorist organisation HTS, shows HTS militants being trained to operate American BGM-71 TOW weapon systems, Kornet and Konkurs anti-tank systems in the Syrian province of Idlib (Telegram @new_militarycolumnist)

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Palestine: Hamas Defeats Israel, by The Saker

Israel’s enemies in the Middle East know it is not invincible. From The Saker at unz.com:

Credit: Musa Al-Shaer/AFP

Just like in 2006, when both Ehud Olmert and George Bush declared that the “invincible IDF” had, yet again, achieved a “glorious victory” and the entire Middle-East almost died laughing hearing this ridiculous claim, today both the US and Israeli propaganda machine have declared another “glorious” victory for the “Jewish state of Israel” cum “sole democracy in the Middle-East”. And, just like in 2006, everybody in the region (and in Zone B) knows that the truth is that the Zionist entity suffered a huge, humiliated, defeat. Let’s try to unpack this.

First, a few numbers. The combat operations lasted two weeks. All other missile numbers are in dispute. Rather than trust this or that source, I will simply say that Hamas fired many thousands of missiles into Israel. Some, probably less than 50%, were truly intercepted by the Israeli air defenses, others hit in no man’s land, and some actually landed and caused plenty of destruction and at least 12 deaths. The Israelis executed hundreds of artillery and airstrikes causing massive destruction in the Gaza strip and killing about 250 Palestinians. Again, these numbers are guesstimates and they don’t really tell the full story. To understand the story, we need to forget about these numbers and look at what each side was hoping for and what each side achieved. Let’s begin with the Israelis:

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Why The Main Argument Against Withdrawing US Troops Is Bogus, by Caitlin Johnstone

Maybe the Middle East can manage its own affairs. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

Former National Security Advisor and literal psychopath John Bolton has a new opinion piece out in Foreign Policy titled “‘Bring the Troops Home’ Is a Dream, Not a Strategy“, which should surprise no one and enrage everyone at the same time. The fact that this reptile continues to be elevated on mainstream platforms after consistently revealing himself to be a bloodthirsty liar is all the evidence you need that we are trapped inside a globe-spanning empire fueled by human corpses.

John Bolton has pushed for deranged acts of mass military slaughter at every opportunity. He not only remains one of the only people in the world to continually insist that the Iraq invasion was a great idea, but has actually argued that the destabilization and chaos caused by the invasion cannot be attributed to Bush’s war because you can’t prove that “everything that followed from the fall of Saddam Hussein followed inevitably, solely, and unalterably from the decision to overthrow him.” There are harrowing accounts of Bolton threatening, assaulting and intimidating anyone with less power than him if they got in his way; he once threatened to harm the children of former OPCW Director General Jose Bustani because Bustani was interfering in attempts to manufacture consent for the Iraq war.

In an even remotely sane civilization, such a creature would be driven from every town he entered until he is forced to crawl into a cave for the rest of his miserable life eating bats alone in the darkness. Instead he is given the mainstream spotlight whenever he wishes while truthful and intelligent anti-imperialists are relegated to fringe blogs and podcasts. This would not be the case if we did not live in an empire that is held together by war and war propaganda.

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A Middle East in Motion, by Alastair Crooke

The China-Russia duo is making inroads in the Middle East. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

U.S. sanctions are easily done, but not easily undone – even temporarily. Lifting them completely is institutionally almost impossible.

If we view the Middle East as a complex network system, it is possible to discern a number of dynamics that now are touching on their potential to shift the regional matrix entirely – to put it on a fresh path.

Some of these ‘seeds’ were sown, a while past: President Putin, in 2007 at Munich, told the largely western audience that the West had taken an adversarial stance toward Russia, challenging it. ‘Ok’, said Putin: We accept the challenge, and we shall prevail. His statement was met with open derision from the Munich audience.

Now, many years later, following the contentious exchanges at Anchorage, Putin’s riposte has emerged fully-fledged: China told Washington flatly, that it refused the imposition of western values and hegemony. China thus accepted, with Russia, the ‘western challenge’: It had its own values and vision that it intended to pursue, and noted that the U.S. was in no position of strength to demand otherwise. China (or Russia) does not seek war with the U.S. – nor want Cold War, either – but both stand steadfast by their ‘red lines’. They should be taken literally (i.e. they were no ‘posture’), China indicated.

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Shock and Awe Is a State of Mind: Millions of Deaths Have Not Made Americans Safer, by Philip Giraldi

How can invading foreign lands that pose no threat to the US make Americans safer? From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

That the United States likes to use expressions like “shock and awe” or “maximum pressure” would rather suggest that there is a psychopath working in the White House basement whose full-time job is to come up with pithy one-liners to somehow euphemize government bad behavior. The expressions hardly mean anything in and of themselves apart from “tough talk” but they do serve as an alternative to having to admit in plain language to the killing of millions of people since the Global War on Terror began in 2001. “Millions?” one might skeptically ask. Yes, millions if one includes all those killed directly or indirectly as a result of the wars. Direct victims of the violence number at least 157,000 in Afghanistan, 182,000 in Iraq, 400,000 in Syria and 25,000 in Libya. And if you want to go back a few years three million Vietnamese died in 1964-1975 while 2.5 million civilians were killed in Korea. And even in the “Good War” World War 2 there were unnecessary incidents to include the nuking of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that killed 105,000, the firebombing of Tokyo adding another 97,000, and the firebombing of Hamburg and Dresden that together killed 45,000.

An estimated ten million more civilians have been displaced from their homes since 2001, creating refugee crises in both Europe and the Americas, while trillions of dollars have also been wasted or “misplaced” by the geniuses at the Pentagon and in Congress. And some might reasonably argue that the violence taking place all around the world has also been internalized in the U.S., with mass murders surfacing in the news media every few days. Some argue that the United States has nearly always been at war since its founding, which would be true, but it is also correct to note that the nature of America’s lethal engagement with the rest of the world has changed in the past twenty years. Old wars were fought to expand territory and trade or to acquire colonies for the same purpose, meaning they were intended to increase one’s power and wealth. Since 9/11, however, the wars are being fought seemingly without any real identifiable objective while also inflicting significant losses in relative wealth and power on the United States.

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