Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

With Friends Like These: Abusive Frenemies and American Mideast Policy, by Maj. Danny Sjursen

Our so-called friends in the Middle East do the US no favors. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

Pop quiz: name the two largest (by far) recipients of U.S. foreign military aid and one other country which recently negotiated the biggest American arms sale deal in world history. Let’s call them the Big three (beneficiaries of largesse, that is). Need some hints? One is ruled by a dictatorial general who came to power in a coup and subsequently ordered the slaughter of some one thousand civilian protesters. Another regularly defies international law, has annexed conquered territory, and boasts a military that has shot to death 250 civilian protesters along its border over just the last year. Finally, the last country fatally starved upwards of 85,000 foreign children and still decapitates women for the crimes of “witchcraft” and “sorcery.” By the way, all three are rather tight with old Uncle Sam – regularly described as “partners” in Washington. Which reminds me of the old saying: with friends like these, who needs…well, you get it.

Ready for the (not-so) shocking answers? So, the military dictatorship is Egypt – recipient of $1.3 billion in military aid per annum. The nation that conquered and annexed adjacent territory is Israel – the donee of some $3.1 billion in military aid each year; and, ironically, the state that US leaders regularly (if incorrectly) tout as the “only democracy in the Mideast.” And the charming, child-starving, woman-beheading regime: that’s the theocracy and absolute monarchy of Saudi Arabia – future owner (maybe) of a record $110 billion in US military equipment. Now that’s a proud lot!

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Walter Jones and the Vote to End US War on Yemen, by Walter Jones

Ron Paul salutes an honest colleague and his efforts against the US war machine. From Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

In a fitting legacy for my friend Walter Jones, Jr. who passed away last week, the US House made history by voting in favor of H.J.Res. 37, a resolution “Directing the removal of United States Armed Forces from hostilities in the Republic of Yemen that have not been authorized by Congress.” As George O’Neill wrote in the American Conservative magazine this week, the historic 248-177 victory for a bill demanding the end of the US participation in the nearly five year Saudi war of aggression “reflects how many hearts and minds were influenced by the late Congressman’s tireless efforts.”

Walter Jones did not care who controlled Congress. He was happy to join forces with any Member to end the senseless US global military empire, which sends thousands of young men and women off to patrol foreign borders, overthrow foreign governments, and needlessly put themselves at risk in missions that have nothing to do with the safety and security of the United States.

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Entering a Major Regional Re-set – The Syria Outcome Will Haunt Those Who Started This War, by Alastair Crooke

Odds don’t usually favor dramatic change, because today usually looks pretty much like yesterday, and tomorrow usually looks pretty much like today. However, the odds favor a rather dramatic realigment in the Middle East that leaves Russia and its allies in a position of strength, and the US in withdrawal. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

The Middle East is metamorphosing. New fault-lines are emerging, yet Trump’s foreign policy ‘hawks’ still try to stage ‘old movies’ in a new ‘theatre’.

The ‘old movie’ is for the US to ‘stand up’ Sunni, Arab states, and lead them towards confronting ‘bad actor’ Iran. ‘Team Bolton’ is reverting back to the old 1996 Clean Break script – as if nothing has changed. State Department officials have been briefing that Secretary Pompeo’s address in Cairo on Thursday was “ slated to tell his audience (although he may not name the former president), that Obama misled the people of the Middle East about the true source of terrorism, including what contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. Pompeo will insist that Iran, a country Obama tried to engage, is the real terrorist culprit. The speech’s drafts also have Pompeo suggesting that Iran could learn from the Saudis about human rights, and the rule of law.”

Well, at least that speech should raise a chuckle around the region. In practice however, the regional fault-line has moved on: It is no longer so much Iran. GCC States have a new agenda, and are now far more concerned to contain Turkey, and to put a halt to Turkish influence spreading throughout the Levant. GCC states fear that President Erdogan, given the emotional and psychological wave of antipathy unleashed by the Khashoggi murder, may be mobilising newly re-energised Muslim Brotherhood, Gulf networks. The aim being to leverage present Gulf economic woes, and the general hollowing out of any broader GCC ‘vision’, in order to undercut the rigid Gulf ‘Arab system’ (tribal monarchy). The Brotherhood favours a soft Islamist reform of the Gulf monarchies – along lines, such as that once advocated by Jamal Khashoggi .

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Trump Foreign Policy for 2019, by Philip Giraldi

Is Trump’s foreign policy method to madness or just madness? From Philip Giraldi at unz.com:

Never before has any presidential administration been as all over the place in terms of national security and foreign policy as is that of Donald J. Trump. Indeed, one might well argue that there is no overriding policy at all in terms of a rational doctrine arrived at through risk versus gain analysis of developing international situations. Instead, there has been a pattern of emotional reactions fueled by media disinformation supplemented by “gut feelings” about a series of ultimately bilateral relationships that frequently have little or nothing to do with American national interests.

This is not to suggest that the “gut feelings” are always wrong. Established wisdom in Washington has long reflected the view that the United States must exercise leadership in establishing and maintaining the neoliberal consensus that gained currency after the devastation of the Second World War. Elections, free trade and a free media were to be the benchmarks of the new world order but they also came packaged with U.S. hegemony to confront those who resisted the development. And it turned out that those “benefits” were frequently difficult to achieve as elections sometimes produced bad results while trade agreements and an uncontrolled media often worked against broader U.S. objectives. All too often the United States found itself going to war against nations that it disapproves of for reasons unrelated to any actual interests, routinely claiming inaccurately that dissident regimes were both “threatening” and disruptive of the universal values that Washington claimed to be promoting.

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Is the End of the Brutal War in Yemen Finally at Hand? by Gareth Porter

Dare we hope? From Gareth Porter at antiwar.com:

When the new Congress convenes Jan. 3, it is expected to pass a House resolution upholding congressional war powers and ending all direct U.S. involvement in the Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen. But hopes remain high that H. Con. Res. 138 will help to end the Yemen war itself. Congressional strategists and activists who have been working on the issue believe passage of the war powers measure will force Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the negotiating table.

Together, they are challenging the position of some former Obama administration officials who have warned the war powers resolution alone cannot bring the conflict to a close. Those former officials, led by Brookings Institution fellow Bruce Riedel, say that cutting off the Saudi pipeline of spare parts is the only way to prevent further airstrikes, which have been central to the Saudi war strategy.

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Who Was Secretly Behind America’s Invading And Occupying Syria? by Eric Zuesse

Who were the string-pullers behind the US government’s misadventures in Syria? From Eric Zuesse at strategic-culture.org:

The invasion and occupation of Syria by tens of thousands of jihadists who were recruited from around the world to overthrow Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, was financed mainly by US taxpayers and by the world’s wealthiest family, the Sauds, who own Saudi Arabia and the world’s largest oil company, Aramco. America’s international oil companies and major think tanks and ‘charitable’ foundations were also supportive and providing propaganda for the operation, but the main financing for it came from America’s taxpayers, and from the Saud family and from the Government that they own.

One of the best articles that the New York Times ever published was by Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo, on 23 January 2016, “US Relies Heavily on Saudi Money to Support Syrian Rebels”. They reported that, “the C.I.A. and its Saudi counterpart have maintained an unusual arrangement for the rebel-training mission, which the Americans have code-named Timber Sycamore. Under the deal, current and former administration officials said, the Saudis contribute both weapons and large sums of money, and the C.I.A takes the lead in training the rebels. … From the moment the C.I.A. operation was started, Saudi money supported it.” Furthermore, “The White House has embraced the covert financing from Saudi Arabia — and from Qatar, Jordan and Turkey.” But “American officials said Saudi Arabia was by far the largest contributor to the operation.” The invasion and occupation of Syria by jihadists from around the world was primarily a Saud operation, though it was managed mainly by the US Government.

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A Shift: Repudiating War on Yemen, by Kathy Kelly

It’s tragic that tens of thousands had to die before anyone in the US sat up and took notice. From Kathy Kelly at antiwar.com:

Twenty years ago, a small delegation organized by Voices in the Wildernesslived in Baghdad while U.S. cruise missiles attacked more than 100 targets in Iraq. Following four days of bombing, known as “Operation Desert Fox,” our group visited various Iraqis who had survived direct hits. One young girl handed me a large missile fragment, saying “Merry Christmas.”

An engineer, Gasim Risun, cradled his two-week-old baby as he sat in his hospital bed. Gasim had suffered multiple wounds, but he was the only one in his family well enough to care for the infant, after an unexploded missile destroyed his house. In Baghdad, a bomb demolished a former military defense headquarters, and the shock waves shattered the windows in the hospital next door. Doctors said the explosions terrified women in the maternity ward, causing some to spontaneously abort their babies while others went into premature labor.

In December 1998, US news media steadily focused on only one person living in Iraq: Saddam Hussein. With the notable exception of Stephen Kinzer of The New York Times, no mainstream media focused on U.N. reports about the consequences of US economic sanctions imposed on Iraq. One of Kinzer’s articles was headlined: “Iraq a Pediatrician’s Hell: No Way to Stop the Dying.”

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