Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Has the War Party Hooked Trump? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Will Trump launch a Syrian war? How will the US know if it won? It supposedly won in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, and those countries are in worse shape than before the US invaded them. One prediction is easy: a Syrian engagement will be a similar disaster. From Patrick Buchanan at buchanan.org:

With his Sunday tweet that Bashar Assad, “Animal Assad,” ordered a gas attack on Syrian civilians, and Vladimir Putin was morally complicit in the atrocity, President Donald Trump just painted himself and us into a corner.

“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria,” tweeted Trump, “President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price… to pay.”

“Big price… to pay,” said the president.

Now, either Trump launches an attack that could drag us deeper into a seven-year civil war from which he promised to extricate us last week, or Trump is mocked as being a man of bluster and bluff.

For Trump Sunday accused Barack Obama of being a weakling for failing to strike Syria after an earlier chemical attack.

“If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand,” Trump tweeted, “the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!”

Trump’s credibility is now on the line and he is being goaded by the war hawks to man up. Sunday, John McCain implied that Trump’s comments about leaving Syria “very soon” actually “emboldened” Assad:

“President Trump last week signaled to the world that the United States would prematurely withdraw from Syria. Bashar Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers have heard him, and emboldened by American inaction, Assad has reportedly launched another chemical attack against innocent men, women and children, this time in Douma.”

Pronouncing Assad a “war criminal,” Lindsey Graham said Sunday the entire Syrian air force should be destroyed.

So massive an attack would be an act of war against a nation that has not attacked us and does not threaten us. Hence, Congress, prior to such an attack, should pass a resolution authorizing a U.S. war on Syria.

And, as Congress does, it can debate our objectives in this new war, and how many men, casualties and years will be required to defeat the coalition of Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, Iran, and the allied Shiite militias from the Near East.

On John Bolton’s first day as national security adviser, Trump is being pushed to embrace a policy of Cold War confrontation with Russia and a U.S. war with Syria. Yet candidate Trump campaigned against both.

To continue reading: Has the War Party Hooked Trump?

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Syrian Showdown: Trump vs. the Generals, by Patrick J. Buchanan

Trump wants to take US troops out of Syria, the generals want to keep them there. Can Trump win this one? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

With ISIS on the run in Syria, President Trump this week declared that he intends to make good on his promise to bring the troops home.

“I want to get out. I want to bring our troops back home,” said the president. We’ve gotten “nothing out of the $7 trillion (spent) in the Middle East in the last 17 years. … So, it’s time.”

Not so fast, Mr. President.

For even as Trump was speaking he was being contradicted by his Centcom commander Gen. Joseph Votel. “A lot of good progress has been made” in Syria, Votel conceded, “but the hard part … is in front of us.”

Moreover, added Votel, when we defeat ISIS, we must stabilize Syria and see to its reconstruction.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had been even more specific:

“It is crucial to our national defense to maintain a military and diplomatic presence in Syria, to help bring an end to that conflict, as they chart a course to achieve a new political future.”

But has not Syria’s “political future” already been charted?

Bashar Assad, backed by Iran and Russia, has won his seven-year civil war. He has retaken the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus. He now controls most of the country that we and the Kurds do not.

According to The Washington Post, Defense Secretary James Mattis is also not on board with Trump and “has repeatedly said … that U.S. troops would be staying in Syria for the foreseeable future to guarantee stability and political resolution to the civil war.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who fears a “Shiite corridor” from Tehran to Baghdad, Damascus and Beirut, also opposes Trump. “If you take those (U.S.) troops out from east Syria,” the prince told Time, “you will lose that checkpoint … American troops should stay (in Syria) at least for the mid-term, if not the long-term.”

Bibi Netanyahu also wants us to stay in Syria.

Wednesday, Trump acceded to his generals. He agreed to leave our troops in Syria until ISIS is finished. However, as the 2,000 U.S. troops there are not now engaging ISIS — many of our Kurd allies are going back north to defend border towns threatened by Turkey — this could take a while.

To continue reading: Syrian Showdown: Trump vs. the Generals

Saudi Crown Prince Admits Saudis “Financed Terrorist Groups”, Blesses Israeli Statehood, by Tyler Durden

The crown prince draws the line, however, at admitting that the Saudi government finances terrorist groups. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) admitted in a wide-ranging interview in The Atlantic that Saudi nationals have funded terrorist groups, and quite stunningly – that Israelis are entitled to live peacefully on their own land yet another indicator that the relationship between Riyadh and Tel Aviv is strengthening.

When it comes to financing extremist groups, I challenge anyone if he can bring any evidence that the Saudi government financed terrorist groups. Yes, there are people from Saudi Arabia who financed terrorist groups. This is against Saudi law. We have a lot of people in jail now, not only for financing terrorist groups, but even for supporting them. –The Atlantic

Bin Salman’s comments come days after a U.S. judge rejected Saudi Arabia’s request to dismiss lawsuits accusing it of involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

The cases are based on the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (Jasta), a 2016 law that provides an exemption to the legal principle of sovereign immunity, allowing families of the victims to take foreign governments to court.

The families point to the fact that the majority of the hijackers were Saudi citizens, and claim that Saudi officials and institutions “aided and abetted” the attackers in the years leading up to the 9/11 attacks, according to court documents. Middle East Eye

MbS also told The Atlantic when asked if Jewish people have a right to a nation-state in at least part of their ancestral homeland:

I believe the Palestinians and the Israelis have the right to have their own land. But we have to have a peace agreement to assure the stability for everyone and to have normal relations…  We have religious concerns about the fate of the holy mosque in Jerusalem and about the rights of the Palestinian people. This is what we have. We don’t have any objection against any other people. This is what we have. We don’t have any objection against any other people”

Saudi Arabia does not currently recognize Israel – maintaining for years that normalizing relations all depends on the withdrawal from Arab lands captured in the 1967 Middle East War – territory Palestinians claim to be theirs for the establishment of a future state.

There are a lot of interests we share with Israel and if there is peace,” MbS added. “There would be a lot of interest between Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and countries like Egypt and Jordan”

To continue reading: Saudi Crown Prince Admits Saudis “Financed Terrorist Groups”, Blesses Israeli Statehood

New Satellite Imagery Shows Shocking Yemen Devastation As Saudi Crown Prince Tours US, by Tyler Durden

Everybody’s rolling out the red carpet for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is, with US help, waging a horrific war in Yemen. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Saudi Arabia and other oil rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) allied states like the UAE have long managed to escape the scrutiny of media and international human rights bodies thanks to their deep pockets and security relationship with the West. Their collective oil, weapons, and infrastructure investment interdependency with Britain and the US have generally translated into Western governments, media, and human rights organizations toeing the party line on the gulf sheikhdoms, content to (with a few sporadic exceptions) uncritically present them as some kind of “reform-minded” terror-fighting benevolent monarchies looking out for democratic interests and championing human rights.

This is currently being demonstrated more than ever during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) extensive and ongoing tour of the United States after a visit to the UK earlier this month. The kingdom’s heir apparent landed in Washington nearly two weeks ago and met with Trump and other high US officials before embarking on a multi-city tour across the United States.

 Last Tuesday MBS met with Bill and Hillary Clinton, Kissinger, Senator Chuck Schumer, and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during a stop in New York City.  On Friday, he also met with the CEOs of Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan, James Gorman and Jamie Dimon.

He is scheduled to stop in Seattle and then California over the weekend, where he plans to strengthen ties with tech companies while meeting with Northwest business leaders.

Not unexpectedly, mainstream media and politicians have fawned over the 32-year old prince’s visit. Americans can even find a slick, nearly 100-page, ad-free magazine at their local supermarket newsstand which is entirely devoted to praising MBS and his “New Kingdom” (in the words of the magazine’s title), produced by the owner of the National Enquirer – American Media Inc.

To continue reading: New Satellite Imagery Shows Shocking Yemen Devastation As Saudi Crown Prince Tours US

Bin Salman Flies Into New York City as 9/11 Families Push Case Against Saudi Arabia, by Middle East Eye

The world’s leading Middle Eastern exporter of terrorism is Saudi Arabia, not Iran, although you’ll never hear that from anyone in the government or mainstream media. From Middle East Eye at theantimedia.org:

The two-week long visit by Mohammed bin Salman to the US is at risk of being overshadowed by an ongoing legal battle being waged by the families of hundreds of people killed in the 9/11 attacks, two legal sources have told Middle East Eye.

Nearly 3,000 people died when hijacked airplanes crashed into New York’s World Trade Centre, the Pentagon building and a Pennsylvania field in September 2001, and lawyers for the families of the victims are optimistic that the latest phase of their long-running legal battle will coincide with the visit of the powerful Saudi crown prince to the US.

The lawyers launched a string of compensation claims against Saudi Arabia in 2016, alleging Riyadh channelled money through charities to al-Qaeda to support the attacks.

They expect the ongoing court battle to move forward in the next few weeks, refocusing attention on the 9/11 families’ search for justice as the US relationship with Saudi Arabia is in the media spotlight.

Saudi Arabia also stands accused of supporting the attack through its alleged funding of al-Qaeda training camps and its support for the group, including weapons, funding and logistical support.

The cases seek to take advantage of “Jasta”, a 2016 law which provides an exemption to the legal principle of sovereign immunity so families can take the Saudi and other governments to court.

The families point to the fact that majority of hijackers were Saudi citizens, and claim that Saudi officials and institutions “aided and abetted” the attackers in the years leading up to the 9/11 attacks, court documents say.

Earlier this year, lawyers for the families also presented sworn statements from two former FBI officials and Bob Graham, the former chairman of the powerful Senate select committee on intelligence, in which they link Saudi officials to two of the 9/11 hijackers.

To continue reading: Bin Salman Flies Into New York City as 9/11 Families Push Case Against Saudi Arabia

Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia: Top Three Stunning Admissions From the Top U.S. General in the Middle East, by Haaretz

General Joseph Votel demonstrated rare candor before a Congressional committee. From haaretz.com:

Assad has won, Iran deal should stand and Saudis use American weapons without accountability in Yemen: head of U.S. military’s Central Command’s stunning Congressional testimony

The top U.S. general in the Middle East testified before Congress on Tuesday and dropped several bombshells: from signaled support for the Iran nuclear deal, admitting the U.S. does not know what Saudi Arabia does with its bombs in Yemen and that Assad has won the Syrian Civil War.

U.S. Army General Joseph Votel said the Iran agreement, which President Donald Trump has threatened to withdraw from, has played an important role in addressing Iran’s nuclear program.

“The JCPOA addresses one of the principle threats that we deal with from Iran, so if the JCPOA goes away, then we will have to have another way to deal with their nuclear weapons program,” said U.S. Army General Joseph Votel. JCPOA, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is the formal name of the accord reached with Iran in July 2015 in Vienna.

Trump has threatened to withdraw the United States from the accord between Tehran and six world powers unless Congress and European allies help “fix” it with a follow-up pact. Trump does not like the deal’s limited duration, among other things.

Votel is head of the U.S. military’s Central Command, which is responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia, including Iran. He was speaking to a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the same day that Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after a series of public rifts over policy, including Iran.

Tillerson had joined Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in pressing a skeptical Trump to stick with the agreement with Iran.

“There would be some concern (in the region), I think, about how we intended to address that particular threat if it was not being addressed through the JCPOA. … Right now, I think it is in our interest” to stay in the deal, Votel said.

When a lawmaker asked whether he agreed with Mattis and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford’s position on the deal,Votel said: “Yes, I share their position.”

To continue reading: Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia: Top Three Stunning Admissions From the Top U.S. General in the Middle East

A Kingdom on the Brink – An Interview with Dr. Ali Alyami, by Erico Matias Tavares

This is s thoughtful, comprehensive, and keenly analytical article on Saudi Arabia, well worth the read. From Erico Matias Tavares at linkedin.com:

Dr. Alyami is a native of Saudi Arabia and a citizen of the US for the past four decades. From an early age he has been advocating for political, economic and social reform in his native homeland. He is the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Democracy & Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, a Washington D.C. based non-profit tax exempt organization.

Previously, he was a Senior Fellow at the Saudi Institute in Washington, D.C., Director of an educational peace program for the American Friends Service Committee in San Francisco and a Representative for the Arab Organization for Human Rights (a Cairo based group) in North America. Dr. Alyami has spoken at conferences throughout the US, Egypt, Sudan, Israel, France, Belgium, Spain and the UK, has offered expert testimony before Congress and has advised senior officials at the Pentagon, the National Security Council and the Department of State.

E Tavares: Dr. Alyami, thank you for your being with us today. We have spoken on several occasions in the recent past and your views on what is currently unfolding in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (“KSA”) have proven to be extremely accurate. Its new leadership has announced a range of social liberalization measures, including letting women drive at long last and even creating a whole new area in Saudi Arabia outside of strict Islamic law to attract tourists. Given your efforts to liberalize your motherland, are you pleased with these developments?

Ali Alyami (AA): Despite the fact that the embryonic social initiatives you listed are decades (and in some cases centuries) overdue, their psychological and practical impact on Saudi society cannot be underestimated. However, it’s important for your readers, business CEOs and politicians to keep in mind that the recent administrative rearrangements in Saudi Arabia were not designed to alter the absolute monarchical system or to abandon the Saudi’s zealot brand of Islam, Wahhabism (as has been misleadingly reported), but rather to ensure the royal family’s continued iron-fisted rule, a cherished life-long commitment held by King Salman. Thus, he chose his most trusted novice son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“MbS”) to implement his wish.

By arresting and detaining a handful of corrupt royals and prominent commoners, MbS gave many Saudis a flicker of hope for better things to follow. For the first time in their history, some Saudis felt that the state’s draconian policies and practices are being applied to a selected number of the ruling elites who have been spared the severe social injustices, political repression and economic hardships inflicted on the subjugated population. If MbS continues to apply the state’s rules to all segments of society, including all members of the parasitical royal family, he will go down in history books as a liberator.

To continue reading: A Kingdom on the Brink – An Interview with Dr. Ali Alyami