If you want to know the official intelligence community (both American and British) line, the Financial Times ranks right up there with the Washington Post, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
A fascinating FT article suggests Western intelligence agencies have now dumped Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman after he’s been personally accused by world leaders — foremost among them Turkey’s President Erdogan and US President Trump — for ordering the brutal murder and dismemberment of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Implicit in the article, rich with quotes from current and former US and Western intelligence officials, is the further suggestion that these very intel operatives appear to now be actively seeking MbS’ ouster.
But the other fascinating aspect to FT’s commentary is what it reveals about both the mainstream media and intelligence ‘deep state’ perspective on the kingdom and Middle East politics in general: a head of state is deemed good or bad insofar they are amenable to the goals of Western intelligence agencies. While this might be obvious to any student of the history of covert action in the 20th century, it is rare to see it acknowledged so out in the open in a mainstream publication. The FT article reads like a “bragging rights” competition over which crown prince could be better formed by US intelligence: MbS or his recently ousted cousin Mohammed bin Nayef (MbN)?
The US may never get a better excuse to cut Saudi Arabia loose. From Gareth Porter at antiwar.com:
The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi now seems very likely to prompt Congress to impose some sanctions on the Saudi government, and it may finally act to end the active US role in the Saudi-UAE war on Yemen.
Perhaps more significantly, some senior Democratic Party figures in Congress have called for the first serious reconsideration of the whole US-Saudi “special relationship”, citing the need for fundamental changes in the relationship.
A political cover
Such a critical reappraisal is long overdue. For decades the United States has been providing political-diplomatic cover for Saudi policies that have caused far more disastrous consequences for the United States and for the entire Middle East than any of the countries that Washington has designated as “adversaries”.
More than any other American ally, the way Saudi Arabia operates is completely at odds with the values the US professes to champion and embody. The Saudi ruling elite is not only proudly anti-democratic but upholds an extreme interpretation of Islam that has made it the primary source of violence and instability in the Middle East over the past decade.
Jamal Kashoggi’s murder may ultimately wreak a lot of havoc on the Middle East. Saudi Arabia has enough problems as it is, the last thing it needs is a maniac at the helm. From Daniel Lazare at consortiumnews.com:
If the Saudi power structure were to crumble in the wake of the Khashoggi scandal there would be chaos at home and a shift in power around the Gulf, says Daniel Lazare
If Donald Trump seems at a loss about how to respond to the Jamal Khashoggi murder, it may not be because he’s worried about his Saudi business investments or any of the other things that Democrats like to bring up to avoid talking about more serious topics. Rather, it’s likely because Trump may be facing one of the biggest U.S. foreign-policy crises since the overthrow of the shah in 1979.
At that time the U.S. counted on support from Arab Gulf states no less frightened by the Iranian revolution. That included Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, oil emirates Kuwait and Qatar, plus the Saudis themselves.
But if the Saudi power structure were ever to crumble in the wake of the Khashoggi scandal, there would likely be chaos because there is no alternative to replace it. The impact on the region would be significant. With its 55-percent Shi‘ite majority, Iraq is already in the Iranian orbit after the U.S. overthrow of Saddam; Qatar and Oman are on businesslike terms with Tehran, while Kuwait and the UAE could possibly reach an accommodation with Teheran as well. The upshot would be an immense power shift in which the Persian Gulf could revert to being an Iranian lake. That’s probably why the United States and Israel will do everything in its power to prevent the House of Saud from falling.
Posted in Collapse, Crime, Cronyism, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Money, Morality, Politics, War
Tagged Jamal Khashoggi murder, Middle East, Muhammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia
Whether or not the furor over Jamal Khashoggi’s murder recedes probably depends on if media coverage continues or if it moves on to the next sensation. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:
A preliminary deal has been made between the Turkish president Erdogan and the al-Saud clan in Saudi Arabia. The case of Jamal Khashoggi, killed in Istanbul by bodyguards of the Saudi clown prince Mohammad bin Salman, will be closed for now.
Over the last 36 hours, since Erdogan’s speech proved Saudi culpability, there have been no more damaging leaks about the case from the usual Turkish sources.
During a podium discussion at yesterday’s investor conference in Riyadh Mohammad bin Salman denounced the “heinous crime” committed against Jamal Khashoggi. He praised the “unbreakable relations” with Turkey and lauded Qatar’s economic durability.
The comments came after a phone call between MbS and Erdogan.
The Khashoggi murder is nothing new for Saudi Arabia. What’s new is that western governments and media are paying attention. From Craig Murray at antiwar.com:
The Turkish account of the murder of Khashoggi given by President Erdogan is true, in every detail. Audio and video evidence exists and has been widely shared with world intelligence agencies, including the US, UK, Russia and Germany, and others which have a relationship with Turkey or are seen as influential. That is why, despite their desperate desire to do so, no Western country has been able to maintain support for Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. I have not seen the video from inside the consulate, but have been shown stills which may be from a video. The most important thing to say is that they are not from a fixed position camera and appear at first sight consistent with the idea they are taken by a device brought in by the victim. I was only shown them briefly. I have not heard the audio recording.
There are many things to learn from the gruesome murder other than the justified outrage at the event itself. It opens a window on the truly horrible world of the extremely powerful and wealthy.
Posted in Civil Liberties, Crime, Cronyism, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Media, Morality, Politics
Tagged Gina Haspel, Jamal Khashoggi murder, Muhammad bin Salman
The Jamal Khashoggi murder is helping Turkey in its rivalry with Saudi Arabia. From Burak Bekdil at gatestoneinstitute.org:
- Turkey, pursuing its own Islamist agenda and trying to rival Saudi influence in the Sunni world, is just too happy to have discredited the Wahhabi royals.
- Turkey’s message to the Western world was: See the difference between our peaceful Islamism and rogue-state Islamism? Stop discrediting us for our democratic deficit — also, presumably, for “only” imprisoning more than 100 journalists there.
|Turkey, pursuing its own Islamist agenda and trying to rival Saudi influence in the Sunni world, is just too happy to have discredited the Wahhabi royals in the wake of the Jamal Khashoggi killing. Pictured: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (left) greets Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz on November 15, 2015 in Antalya, Turkey. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
It looked like a first-class spy thriller: A prominent writer enters the Saudi consulate in Istanbul but never leaves the building. Saudi officials said he left the building but could not offer footage from security cameras. When they did, the image was of a dark-haired body-double dressed in the writer’s clothes.
Trump’s should try to get ahead of the Jamal Khashoggi story by announcing a cut-off of US aid for Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:
Was the assassination of JFK by Lee Harvey Oswald still getting as much media coverage three weeks after his death as it did that first week after Nov. 22, 1963? Not as I recall.
Yet, three weeks after his murder, Jamal Khashoggi, who was not a U.S. citizen, was not killed by an American, and died not on U.S. soil but in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul, consumes our elite press.
The top two stories in Monday’s Washington Post were about the Khashoggi affair. A third, inside, carried the headline, “Trump, who prizes strength, may look weak in hesitance to punish Saudis.”
On Sunday, the Post put three Khashoggi stories on Page 1. The Post’s lead editorial bashed Trump for his equivocal stance on the killing.
Two of the four columns on the op-ed page demanded that the Saudis rid themselves of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the prime suspect in ordering the execution.
Posted in Crime, Cronyism, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Investigations, Media, Morality, Politics, War
Tagged Jamal Khashoggi murder, Muhammad bin Salman, President Trump, Saudi Arabia, Yemen