Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Not The Onion: Saudi Crown Prince Receives CIA Medal For “Efforts Against Terrorism”, by Tyler Durden

This is the biggest farce since Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, the world’s number one exporter of terrorism, is receiving a medal from the CIA for “efforts against terrorism.” From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

We are sad to report that despite the change in administration, the “new” CIA is exactly the same as the “old” one.

In a stunning mockery of fact, either real, “alternative” or gratuitously made up, on Friday the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, who is also Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, received a medal from the CIA for his distinct intelligence-related counter-terrorism work and his contributions to ensure international peace and security, Al Arabiya proudly reported.

The medal, named after George Tenet, was handed to him by the new CIA Director Micheal Pompeo after the Crown Prince received him in Riyadh on Friday in the presence of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman al-Saud, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. The meeting came days after the Washington Times reported that Trump is set to unblock a multi-billion weapons shipment to Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, including precision-guided missile technology and dozens of F-16s fighter jets.

The medal, named after George Tenet, was handed to him by CIA Director
Michael Pompeo after the Crown Prince received him in Riyadh

Taking the farce further, the Crown Prince – who until just a few months ago was a fervent supporter of Hillary Clinton yet appears to have changed his mind about Trump on a dime, just like every Wall Street hedge fund – said in a press statement after receiving the medal that he appreciated the CIA honor, stressing that his efforts were guided by the leaders of Saudi Arabia headed by King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, as well as the efforts of the Kingdom’s security forces.

To continue reading: Not The Onion: Saudi Crown Prince Receives CIA Medal For “Efforts Against Terrorism”

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Trump’s Hard Line on Iran Will Give Saudis Free Hand in Yemen, by Gareth Porter

Why has the US repeatedly condemned, sanctioned, and isolated Iran, while Saudi Arabia gets a free pass doing the exact same things for which Iran stands accused? From Gareth Porter at antiwar.com:

The Trump administration’s truculent warning last week that it was putting Iran “on notice” over its recent missile test and a missile strike on a Saudi warship off the coast of Yemen appears calculated to convince the American public that the current administration is going to be tougher on Iran than the Obama administration was.

However, despite the tough talk from National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and other senior officials, the new administration appears to be focused primarily on aligning US policy more closely with that of Saudi Arabia – especially in its war in Yemen and its broader conflict with Iran. The Saudis have been leading a coalition of Sunni Gulf regimes in bombing most of the Yemeni territory controlled by Houthi rebels since March 2015, with US support.

An unidentified senior administration official speaking at a February 1 press briefing, a transcript of which Truthout has obtained, indicated that, apart from economic sanctions, the administration was considering options “related to support for those that are challenging and opposing Iranian malign activity in the region” – meaning the Saudis and Israel.

During the briefing, the senior officials signaled clearly that the Trump administration will unconditionally support the Saudi-led air campaign in Yemen. In response to the question of whether the administration was “reassessing” US support for the Saudi war in Yemen, the unnamed senior official answered with one word: “No.”

The Trump administration’s lack of public reservation about the indiscriminate Saudi-led bombing campaign, as well as its lack of interest in exerting pressure on the Saudis to end the war by accepting a compromise with the Houthis and the forces of former Yemeni president Saleh, significantly increases the likelihood that the Saudi bombing will continue indefinitely. That means that the food shortage that is killing thousands of Yemeni children will probably become far worse in the coming months.

To continue reading: Trump’s Hard Line on Iran Will Give Saudis Free Hand in Yemen

 

In Trump’s World Where Money Talks, Saudi Arabia Gets a Free Pass, by Medea Benjamin

Since the end of World War II, the US government has been at its hypocritical best when it comes to Saudi Arabia. Donald Trump does not look set to upset that apple cart. From Medea Benjamin at antiwar.com:

President Trump’s Muslim ban is not only mean-spirited and, hopefully, unconstitutional, but it is irrational because it doesn’t even include the country most responsible for spreading terrorism around the world: Saudi Arabia.

The travel restrictions on seven Muslim-majority countries was rationalized as a way to thwart potential terrorists from entering the United States, with Trump citing the tragedies of 9/11 and the San Bernardino shooting as motivations behind the executive order. But no citizens of the seven banned countries were responsible for the deaths of any Americans on US soil. It is indeed a glaring omission that Saudi Arabia, the country that furnished 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11, was absent from the list.

Protecting Saudi Arabia is not new; it has been US policy since the discovery of oil in the desert nation in the 1930s. Despite evidence that the Saudi government was supporting ISIS and Al Qaeda affiliates, President Obama continued the cozy Saudi relationship, including selling the Saudis massive amounts of weapons. But when Obama signed the nuclear deal with Saudi’s nemesis, Iran, the relationship started to fray. It now appears that Donald Trump, despite his criticisms of the repressive kingdom during the campaign, will be an even more staunch supporter of the Saudi regime.

Trump is certainly well aware of the Saudi terrorist connection and the irony of the US-Saudi relationship. Back in 2011 he called the Saudi regime the world’s biggest funder of terrorism and said the Saudi government uses “our petro dollars, our very own money, to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people while the Saudis rely on us to protect them.” In a 2016 Fox News interview during the campaign, Trump said, “Who blew up the World Trade Center? It wasn’t the Iraqis, it was Saudi [Arabia].” He also repeatedly criticized Hillary Clinton for taking Saudi money for the Clinton Foundation and challenged her to return the money.

To continue reading: In Trump’s World Where Money Talks, Saudi Arabia Gets a Free Pass

 

Trump at the Crossroads, by Justin Raimondo

Before his election, Justin Raimondo was sure that Donald Trump would work a transformation in US foreign policy, away from the dominant neoconservatism. No he’s not so sure. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Less than three weeks into the presidency of Donald J. Trump, there are several troubling signs that the new administration is abandoning its foreign policy mandate and going off the rails.

First and foremost is the saber-rattling aimed at Iran. The ostensible reason for this is Tehran’s testing of mid-range ballistic missiles which, we are told, are “nuclear capable.” But of course any and all ballistic missile systems can be modified to carry nuclear warheads, and since Iran is complying with the JCPOA agreed to by Tehran and the Western powers, this is just rhetorical noise generated for home consumption. Accusations by the Trump administration that the tests violate a UN resolution are inaccurate: part of the Iran deal was a revision of an earlier UN resolution that forbade such tests to read that the international body merely “calls on” the Iranians to refrain from such activities. The Obama administration opposed this, but received no backing from our European “allies.” So the tests are “legal,” albeit considered provocative.

And yet, as Kelsey Davenport and Daryl Kimball of the Arms Control Association point out: “Given the tensions between Tehran and its neighbors, it is extremely unlikely that Iran will stop developing its ballistic missile capabilities when countries like Saudi Arabia and Israel field ballistic missiles capable of targeting Iran.” Indeed, the Saudis have been procuring nuclear capable ballistic missiles from China since the 1980s, more recently with CIA approval. And US arms sales to the Saudis have buttressed their military, enabling the Kingdom’s invasion of Yemen – the first such action in the region since Saddam Hussein marched into Kuwait in the early 1990s. All this gives heft to Tehran’s contention that their missile tests are strictly defensive.

To continue reading: Trump at the Crossroads

The Coming Clash With Iran, by Patrick J. Buchanan

The US picking a fight with Iran does not sound like noninterventionism. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:

When Gen. Michael Flynn marched into the White House Briefing Room to declare that “we are officially putting Iran on notice,” he drew a red line for President Trump. In tweeting the threat, Trump agreed.

His credibility is now on the line.

And what triggered this virtual ultimatum?

Iran-backed Houthi rebels, said Flynn, attacked a Saudi warship and Tehran tested a missile, undermining “security, prosperity, and stability throughout the Middle East,” placing “American lives at risk.”

But how so?

The Saudis have been bombing the Houthi rebels and ravaging their country, Yemen, for two years. Are the Saudis entitled to immunity from retaliation in wars that they start?

Where is the evidence Iran had a role in the Red Sea attack on the Saudi ship? And why would President Trump make this war his war?

As for the Iranian missile test, a 2015 U.N. resolution “called upon” Iran not to test nuclear-capable missiles. It did not forbid Iran from testing conventional missiles, which Tehran insists this was.

Is the United States making new demands on Iran not written into the nuclear treaty or international law — to provoke a confrontation?

Did Flynn coordinate with our allies about this warning of possible military action against Iran? Is NATO obligated to join any action we might take?

Or are we going to carry out any retaliation alone, as our NATO allies observe, while the Israelis, Gulf Arabs, Saudis and the Beltway War Party, which wishes to be rid of Trump, cheer him on?

Bibi Netanyahu hailed Flynn’s statement, calling Iran’s missile test a flagrant violation of the U.N. resolution and declaring, “Iranian aggression must not go unanswered.” By whom, besides us?

The Saudi king spoke with Trump Sunday. Did he persuade the president to get America more engaged against Iran?

To continue reading: The Coming Clash With Iran

Yemen: America’s Shame, by Justin Raimondo

Most Americans couldn’t find Yemen even if told it was on the Arabian peninsula (many of them couldn’t find the Arabian peninsula). For anyone interested in finding out about the most obscure nation on Trump’s seven, here is both a good background article and an account that should shame the US government, if that were possible. From Justin Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Why are we helping the Saudis to commit war crimes?

The ridiculous truth is that the imposition of a travel ban on Yemen – in addition to six other countries – has evoked more anguish than America’s major role in making that country unlivable. Here’s a very sad story about the plight of a young Yemeni girl who is being blocked from entering the US – but where is the outrage about what’s being done to her homeland with our tax dollars and in our name?

And make no mistake: the Saudi invasion of Yemen on behalf of a “government” that has no popular support and was kicked out of office by its disgusted citizens is one of the worst atrocities in recent history. More than 25,000 have died, many more have been grievously wounded, and the country is being swept by famine. The result has been the empowerment of America’s worst enemies – and by that I mean not just al-Qaeda.

Yemen has been in turmoil since the end of the cold war, with a many-sided civil war making normal life nearly impossible. Yet things have gotten much worse since the 2015 Saudi invasion, which aims at installing a puppet government and crushing the Houthi insurgency in the north. The Saudis and Yemeni government troops have generally ignored al-Qaeda, which controls a swathe of territory in the southeast, instead concentrating their efforts on bombing civilians in Houthi areas.

To continue reading: Yemen: America’s Shame

 

How to Make America Great Again with Other People’s Money, by Dmitry Orlov

Dmitry Orlov argues the US should loot and ransack Saudi Arabia before somebody else does. From Orlov at cluborlov.com:

A lot of the sharper-minded commentators have recently started pointing out a problem with Donald Trump’s plan to “make America great again”: lack of funds. The US is bankrupt: sinking ever-further into unrepayable debt, unable to achieve a rate of economic growth that could ever catch up with its growing debt burden. It is in the midst of a giant financial bubble that is propped up by various scams and rackets, from car loans whose term exceeds the useful lifetime of the car, to retirement fund shortfalls caused by effectively negative interest rates, to educational debt that condemns ever more young people to a lifetime of indentured servitude, to the medical racket which is now eating up over 20% of the economy while delivering some of the worst levels of well-being in the entire developed world… Attempts to fix any of these problems would inevitably run into long-standing, intractable political conflicts and contradictions and go nowhere while also bursting the financial bubble and turning the political realm into one very large and angry poop party. Better not even go there!

And so Trump’s plan to “make America great again” through infrastructure spending, repatriating manufacturing jobs and other great quests will have to wait, possibly forever. All of these things would require taking on even more debt, even as around the world everyone tries to unload US debt as fast as possible, leaving the Federal Reserve as the debt-buyer of last resort. This would have the effect of turning US sovereign debt into a pure Ponzi scheme, and Ponzi schemes don’t go on for too long. But if the requirement to “make America great again” is nonnegotiable, what alternatives are there?

To continue reading: How to Make America Great Again with Other People’s Money