Senator Rand Paul breaks with Trump on Saudi Arabia. From Paul at townhall.com:
The brutal murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi has opened a window into the world of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and reminded us that there are many places in the world where disagreeing with your government is a death sentence.
I break with the administration on their response to this killing for many reasons. If Saudi Arabia is not held accountable for the barbaric murder of Khashoggi, what will it mean for the fate of other dissidents held in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere who are being held without trial? What message does it send to kingdoms and dictatorships around the region and the world that America considers its defense sales paramount to its stand for human rights?
What will it mean for Ali al-Nimr, the nephew of Nimr al-Nimr, the Shia sheik executed by the Saudis in 2016?
Posted in Civil Liberties, Crime, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Military, Morality, Politics
Tagged Jamal Khashoggi murder, Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
Trump’s not going to let the Jamal Khashoggi murder get in the way of the mutually advantageous US-Saudi Arabia relationship. From Middle East Eye at theantimedia.org:
US President Donald Trump’s latest statement on Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder is an extraordinary example of political sincerity – although backed by a completely wrong analysis.
Trump departed from the usual empty and generic rhetoric made by former American presidents about Saudi Arabia. He made it very clear that the US will condone what Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman did, i.e ordering the killing of Khashoggi, because the kingdom is containing Iran, purchasing American weapons and is helping to control oil prices in line with American interests.
In other words, when American values, such as defending human rights and the rule of law, collide with American interests, Trump will opt for the latter. In fact, Trump statement confirms indirectly Middle East Eye’s report on the US intention to offer a way out to the Saudi crown prince from the Khashoggi quagmire.
Posted in Crime, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Investigations, Law, Money, Morality, Politics, War
Tagged Arms Sales, Jamal Khashoggi murder, Mohammad bin Salman, President Trump
Trump has given the green light for Saudi Arabia to continue its war in Yemen. From Randi Nord at theantimedia.org:
Washington has chosen to diverge from its European allies and continue support for the Saudi led-coalition against Yemen. Following a White House statement that reaffirms US commitment, the Saudi coalition has continued with its assault on Hodeidah port and civilians in Yemen.
- Germany, the United Kingdom, and other European nations have recently put forth effort to stop the war against Yemen.
- The White House has issued a statement doubling down on its seemingly unconditional support for Saudi Arabia — particularly its assault on Yemen.
- Saudi Arabia has since continued its attacks on Yemen’s Hodeidah port and civilian areas.
- Yemenis hold out hope for the European effort and UN envoy’s recent visit to Hodediah port.
Washington Diverges from European Allies, Doubles Down on Support for Gulf Monarchies
On November 20th, the White House issued (yet another) statement blaming Iran for the ongoing bloodshed in Yemen. It’s worth noting that Iran has no troops in Yemen. Furthermore, Saudi Arabia and the UN inspect all aid shipments entering Yemen for weapons and missile parts. There is absolutely no concrete evidence of Iran providing support to Ansarullah (aka. Houthis) in Yemen.
Posted in Collapse, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Imperialism, Media, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Arms Sales, Mohammad bin Salman, President Trump, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
President Trump has made a huge mistake placing all his chips on Saudi Arabia and Mohammad bin Salman in the Middle East. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
“Mr. Trump, nor anyone else in his administration, has announced any conclusions about how Mr. Khashoggi died, or who bears responsibility for ordering the killing”, a Washington Post editorial fulminates. “Instead, they have pretended to be waiting for the results of a Saudi investigation… the obvious problem with that stance is it assumes that Mohammed bin Salman himself is not at the bottom of the Khashoggi plot — though abundant evidence points to the crown prince. In truth, as the administration surely knows, there is no Saudi investigation — only a cover-up operation that has clumsily tried to disguise itself as an inquiry”.
One aspect to this affair is the US domestic issue. The White House is increasingly perceived – as the Washington Post implies – as engaged in a ‘soft’ cover-up of a cover-up. That is to say, the White House is being viewed as so set on keeping MbS in position as lynchpin to Trump’s entire Middle Eastern strategy that the White House and Mr Bolton will try to turn a Nelsonian ‘blind eye’ – or a ‘selective ear’ – to any audio evidence provided by the Turkish government that seems to implicate MbS.
President Trump is keeping his powder dry. He said: “I’ll have a much stronger opinion on that subject over the next week … I’m forming a very strong opinion.” But caution on his part might be wise: leading Turkish daily, Yeni Safak, which is close to the Turkish government, and which has been covering leaked details of the Khashoggi investigation day by day, has reported that Maher Mutrib, the Saudi intelligence official who led the 15-man assassination team in Ankara, spoke to Badr al-Asaker, the head of the Crown Prince’s private office, four times directly after Khashoggi was killed (if it was Mutrib who said “tell your boss” to MbS’ chef de cabinet, then the implication is clear). This has not been officially confirmed, but it is possible (and likely) that Turkish intelligence has yet further details to trickle out, piecemeal, to discredit the Saudi ‘line’ each time the kingdom tries to ‘draw the line’ under the case. Erdogan is determined to get MbS’ scalp, it seems.
Saudi Arabia does what’s best for Saudi Arabia. US involvement in the Middle East, and its alliance with Saudi Arabia, has been very good for Saudi Arabia (or at least the dynasty that rules Saudi Arabia), but not so good for the US. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:
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.”
Posted in Crime, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Investigations, Money, Morality, Politics
Tagged Jamal Khashoggi murder, Mohammad bin Salman, President Trump, Saudi Arabia, Weapons contracts
Nothing from the CIA should be taken as gospel. In fact, it should be treated with utomost skepticism. For what it’s worth, the CIA now apparently believes Mohammad bin Salman was behind Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
With Turkey’s graphic recording of Khashoggi’s final moments finally in the hands of US intelligence agencies, the Washington Postjust confirmed what the New York Times first hinted at more than one month ago: That US intelligence agencies believe that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in what is just the latest example of the Trump administration and its intelligence agencies working at cross purposes (the first being, of course, the investigations that eventually coalesced into the Mueller probe).
But instead of focusing on the recording of Khashoggi’s murder, the CIA is reportedly in possession of another piece of evidence that it believes incriminates the Crown Prince: A phone call made by Khalid bin Salman, MbS’s brother and the kingdom’s ambassador to the US, to Khashoggi, during which he promised the journalist that he wouldn’t be harmed if he visited the Saudi embassy in Istanbul to pick up the paper needed to marry his Turkish fiance.
Posted in Crime, Geopolitics, Governments, Intelligence, Investigations, Politics
Tagged CIA, Jamal Khashoggi murder, Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, US
Notwithstanding the kerfuffle over the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, the US-Saudi Arabian relationship will quickly revert to status quo. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:
In the last few weeks, numerous articles and analyses have been produced relating to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. However, the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the United States has not been questioned, and the reason for this has not yet been explained.
Nixon’s decision in 1971 to withdraw the United States from the gold standard greatly influenced the future direction of humanity. The US dollar rose in importance from the mid-1950s to become the world reserve currency as a result of the need for countries to use the dollar in trade. One of the most consumed commodities in the world is oil, and as is well known, the price is set by OPEC in US dollars, with this organization being strongly influenced by Saudi Arabia.
It is therefore towards Riyadh that we must look in order to understand the workings of the petrodollar. After the dollar was withdrawn from the gold standard, Washington made an arrangement with Riyadh to price oil solely in dollars. In return, the Saudis received protection and were granted a free hand in the region. This decision forced the rest of the world to hold a high amount of US dollars in their currency reserves, requiring the purchase of US treasuries. The relationship between the US dollar and oil breathed new life to this currency, placing it at the centre of the global financial and economic system. This privileged role enjoyed by the dollar allowed the United States to finance its economy through the simple process of printing its fiat currency, relying on its credibility and supported by the petrodollar that required other countries to store reserves of US treasuries in their basket of currencies.