Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

FYI Trump’s Latest Yemen Move Is Far Worse Than The Capitol Riot, by Caitlin Johnstone

The Washington protest doesn’t hold a candle to killing a bunch of kids and other innocent Yemeni civilians. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

While the Capitol riot is being hysterically compared to Pearl Harbor and Kristallnacht by the political/media class, the Trump administration has done something far, far worse that is receiving far, far less attention.

The US State Department has officially announced its intention to designate Yemen’s Houthis as a terrorist group, as many had previously warned. Humanitarian organizations have been condemning the move as it will make it more difficult to provide aid to a population that is already being brutalized by the worst mass atrocity in the entire world, a Saudi-led atrocity which could not occur without the help of the western power alliance.

We are already seeing some effects of this designation.

ntiwar‘s Dave DeCamp reports the following:

The terror designation will hamper the efforts of international charities that deliver food to Houthi-controlled areas, where 70 percent of Yemen’s population lives and malnutrition is the most widespread.

Aid agencies fear their work in north Yemen will now be criminalized since the Houthis are the authority they have to deal with and make transactions with. US terror designations open up sanctions on any individuals or entities that do business with those Washington brands as terrorists.

Pompeo said exemptions would be made for humanitarian goods. But any additional roadblocks for aid agencies will cause more suffering in Yemen since the situation is so dire. “Even with exemptions, the operation will be compromised,” said Janti Soeripto, the president of Save the Children, according to AP News.

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Market Friday: Russia Wins Oil War With Saudi Arabia, by Thomas Luongo

It looks like Russia, not the US or Saudi Arabia, will call the tune in the oil markets. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:

bin-salman-saudi-arabia

If you missed the big story of this week I wouldn’t blame you. It’s a big story, bigger than riots in D.C.

Russia became the de facto controller of the marginal barrel of oil.

This is a bigger story than what happened on Capitol Hill on Wednesday because that was a continuation of a story whose end was already written.

Joe Biden will be President. The Era of Trump is over.

Now that has far-reaching effects on a number of markets, including oil. But, again, we’ve known Biden was taking office, if we’re being honest with ourselves, since election night when the civil war in the U.S. officially began.

So, we’ve known that Trump’s push to become the controller of oil markets was coming to an end. We’ve also known since the Coronapocalypse that U.S. oil production had peaked and could only go down from there.

Yes Russia’s production dropped by a similar amount, around 2 million barrels per day, averaging 10.27 millions of barrels per day in 2020. But the difference here is not in how much is produced but in what it costs to produce those barrels.

And not just any barrel, but the marginal barrel… the last barrel.

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‘Thinking Machiavelli, Acting Mussolini’, by Alastair Crooke

Iran may not have nuclear weapons, but it never the less has upended war and geopolitical strategy in important ways that the US ignores at its peril. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Earlier this month, the Lebanese al-Manar TV aired footage of Israeli bases in Upper Galilee, which were filmed by a Hizbullah drone. An Israeli base in Brannite and a command centre in Rowaysat al-Alam in northern Israel can be seen in the footage. According to Southfront, whose military expertise is highly regarded, Hizbullah now operates a variety of drones, some with combat capabilities. Reports suggest that Hizbullah has established a formidable stealth drone and smart cruise missile force (with support from Iran). The Russia-linked, military site, Southfront, concludes that today, the movement is better trained and equipped than many armies around the world.

Israel is convinced that, for the first time, that the ‘next war’ will not be limited to Lebanese territory; that its own borders will be violated; and that offensive combat forces will enter settlements and homes and clash with Israeli troops.

This is giant ‘chess’ – where a combination of armed drones, suicide drones and ‘smart’ missiles likely will predominate (rather than tanks, as in the 2006 war). In its evolving thesis of a new war with Hizbullah, Israel believes that all its airfields will be bombed with precision missiles. (And is therefore trying to get from the U.S., a few squadrons of the new generation F-35B jets that do not need long runways, so as to try to secure its air superiority in the face of a possible swarm drone or missile attack on its air defences).

This represents just one component to Iran’s transmutation of any Israeli or American ‘military’ option against Iran into a suicide ‘Red Pill’ for whomsoever might launch it. Quietly, while all the world was focussed on the ‘Big One’ (putative nuclear weapons), over the last four years, Iran has built a conventional ‘swarm’ and ‘smart’ (and virtually undetectable by radar) ‘ant’s hive’ of ‘micro’ weapons circling across the region – from Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq to Yemen.

Although it is still to sink-in to European and American thinking (obsessed with the possibly now passé framework of the ‘Big One’ – the JCPOA), Iran quietly has inverted the calculus. It possesses the leverage now. And it has other trade options (through looking East) opening to it. Israel and its Gulf State ‘allies’, by contrast are on the defensive.

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Saudi Arabia: The Ally From Hell, by Doug Bandow

Oil can’t buy morality or respectability. The present ruler is execrable. From Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.come:

MbS has made the U.S. complicit in war crimes and committed murder. The new administration should stand up to him.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman arrives at Kansai airport in Izumisano city, Osaka prefecture, on June 27, 2019 ahead of the G20 Osaka Summit. (CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

Members of the G-20, representing states with the world’s largest economies, gathered virtually over the weekend for a meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia. Time is running out for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to capitalize on his friendship with President Donald Trump. The incoming administration is unlikely to cater to his deadly whims.

Trump made his first presidential trip abroad to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The president came away from that meeting in thrall to the young MbS, who turned a repressive collective dictatorship into a murderous personal tyranny.

If the Trump administration had merely maintained civil relations with yet another authoritarian regime, there would have been little controversy. However, the president and secretary of state turned complicity with brutality into an art form. Rarely has a president so ostentatiously welcomed such a dictator to the White House, assiduously protected such a dictator from accountability, and effectively armed such a dictator to commit further villainy.

The KSA was always a dubious partner for America. An absolute monarchy in which fear of Islamist radicalism caused the princely libertines in private to enforce Islamic purity in public, Riyadh won the affection of U.S. officials with its vast oil reserves. Western governments averted their gaze from royal repression and welcomed spendthrift princes and princesses seeking a luxurious and sybaritic retreat.

However, after King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud took over in January 2015, he broke with tradition and put one of his sons, the current crown prince, in charge. Then MbS staged a uniquely Saudi machtübernahme, akin to the Nazi seizure of power. Since then, even senior royals have routinely disappeared from view—kidnappings, detentions, torture, shakedowns, and killings have stamped the regime’s authority on the country.

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We Are The Terrorists, by Caitlin Johnstone

If what Saudi Arabia, with American assistance, is doing to Yemen isn’t terrorism, what is? From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

The Trump administration is reportedly close to moving the Houthi rebels in Yemen onto its official list of designated terrorist organizations with the goal of choking them off from money and resources. The head of the UN’s World Food Program along with many other experts caution that this designation will prolong the horrific war which has claimed over a quarter million lives and create an impenetrable barrier of red tape stopping humanitarian aid from getting to the Yemeni people.

The United Nations conservatively estimates that some 233,000 Yemenis have been killed in the war between the Houthis and the US-backed Saudi-led coalition, mostly from what it calls “indirect causes”. Those indirect causes would be disease and starvation resulting from what UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls “the worst famine the world has seen for decades”.

When people hear the word “famine” they usually think of mass hunger caused by droughts or other naturally occurring phenomena, but in reality the starvation deaths we are seeing in Yemen (a huge percentage of which are children under the age of five) are caused by something that is no more natural than the starvation deaths you’d see in a medieval siege. They are the result of the Saudi coalition’s use of blockades and its deliberate targeting of farms, fishing boats, marketplaces, food storage sites, and cholera treatment centers with airstrikes aimed at making the Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen so weak and miserable that they break.

In other words, the US and its allies have been helping Saudi Arabia deliberately kill children and other civilians on mass scale in order to achieve a political goal. Which would of course be a perfect example of any standard definition of terrorism.

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Joe Biden and Terrorism, by Daniel Lazare

Joe Biden and his team have no problem cozying up to terrorists, as long as the terrorists are aligned with US regime change objectives. From Daniel Lazare at strategic-culture.org:

As Joe Biden unveils his hawkish cabinet picks, it’s hard not to get the sense that we’re all hurtling back in time to those glorious days of regime change when the United States believed it had a sacred right to topple any government that got in its way. It also seems like we’re returning to the days that when jihadi terrorism aimed at America and its allies was horrible, terrible, a crime against humanity, and so on, while terrorism aimed at people the US didn’t like was, well, distasteful and unpleasant but not something to bring up in polite company.

While no one wants to blow up innocent civilians, in other words, what really counts is which civilians and in whose behalf.

With that in mind, it’s worth revisiting a talk that then-Vice President Biden gave at Harvard’s Kennedy School in October 2014. If you enjoy listening to an empty-headed politician spouting endless clichés, you can access all ninety minutes of it here. But if you’re not a glutton for punishment, you can jump to the 53:35 mark and zero in on Sleepy Joe’s specific thoughts regarding America’s Mideast partners and their inordinate fondness for ISIS and Al Qaeda.

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Saudi Aramco’s Landmark IPO Is Costing The Kingdom Billions, by Simon Watkins

An IPO is supposed to leave you flush with cash, not put you deeper in the hole. From Simon Watkins at oilprice.com:

The initial public offering (IPO) of Saudi Aramco that was heralded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) as being a showcase flotation for raising massive new capital for the Kingdom and anchoring a major expansion of its international equities market presence has proven only to put Aramco into a debt spiral and highlighted a myriad of problems in Saudi Arabia to international investors. Now, Aramco is digging itself further into serious debt through bond issuances simply to pay for the huge dividend payments promised by MbS that were absolutely required to persuade anyone to buy into the omni-toxic IPO. At this rate, the debt taken on by Aramco and other Saudi bond offerings to pay for the dividends will be far more than the amount of money raised in the IPO. As a direct result of MbS deciding to go ahead with yet another oil price war at the same time as the COVID-19 pandemic was gathering pace and destroying demand for oil, Aramco’s finances have suffered a massive hit. For the first half of this year, the company saw a 50 percent plunge in net profit and at the beginning of this month, it reported another massive drop in profits of 44.6 percent for the third quarter, falling to SAR44.21 billion (US$11.79 billion) from SAR79.84 billion in the same period last year. On the other side of the balance sheet, though, is the stark fact that because the company’s IPO was so toxic on so many levels that it was shunned by Western investors and had to be off-loaded to buyers who were either bullied or bribed into buying the stock Aramco is left having to pay massive guaranteed dividend payments for the foreseeable future to those shareholders.

This huge guaranteed dividend payment of US$18.75 billion per quarter – US$75 billion for a full year – will have to be paid for through budget cuts over and above the US$15 billion in Aramco’s annual capital spending alluded to by Aramco’s chief executive officer, Amin Nasser, just after the first half profits figures were unveiled. This will take the total down from around US$40 billion to around US$25 billion. Further reports have stated that even this US$25 billion figure is set to be reduced by another US$5 billion, taking the total capital spending in this year from US$25 billion to US$20 billion.

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Those Who Destroyed Yemen Must Be Prosecuted for War Crimes, by Doug Bandow

Helping one of the most corrupt governments on the planet wage a war on one of the poorest countries on the planet is a war crime for which US officials must be called to account. From Doug Bandow at theamericanconservative.com:

That includes prominent American officials. Punishing the perpetrators is the only way to restore our credibility.

Workers search through debris at a warehouse, after it was reportedly hit in an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition, in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on July, 2, 2020. (Photo by MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP via Getty Images)
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently announced that it was providing $204 million in aid for the impoverished and war-ravaged country of Yemen. That sounds generous, but it’s the Saudi royals themselves who are responsible for most of the death, destruction, starvation, and disease in Yemen, in which 80 percent of the population, some 24 million, need outside assistance.

Riyadh has spent more than five years conducting a brutal air campaign intended to restore a pliant regime to power. The claim that the Kingdom is generously helping the needy is a bit like a man murdering his parents only to throw himself on the court’s mercy since he is an orphan. If Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman wanted to help the Yemeni people, he would simply end the war.

But he won’t, at least in part because the Trump administration is underwriting the Saudi government’s murderous campaign. Why is the president forcing Americans to assist the Saudi royals, who respect no political or religious liberty and kidnap, imprison, and murder their critics? President Donald Trump appears to be almost bewitched by the licentious and corrupt Saudis.

Washington sold Saudi Arabia planes and munitions used to kill thousands of Yemeni civilians. American personnel serviced and refueled the same planes, as well as providing intelligence to assist in targeting Saudi strikes. That makes U.S. officials complicit in war crimes committed day in and day out for more than five years.

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Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran? by Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies

There’s a network of organizations and individuals that operate for the most part under the radar who have a massive influence on US policy in the Middle East. From Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies at antiwar.com:

On May 6th, President Trump vetoed a war powers bill specifying that he must ask Congress for authorization to use military force against Iran. Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign of deadly sanctions and threats of war against Iran has seen no let-up, even as the U.S., Iran and the whole world desperately need to set aside our conflicts to face down the common danger of the Covid-19 pandemic.

So what is it about Iran that makes it such a target of hostility for Trump and the neocons? There are many repressive regimes in the world, and many of them are close US allies, so this policy is clearly not based on an objective assessment that Iran is more repressive than Egypt, Saudi Arabia or other monarchies in the Persian Gulf.

The Trump administration claims that its “maximum pressure” sanctions and threats of war against Iran are based on the danger that Iran will develop nuclear weapons. But after decades of inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and despite the US’s politicization of the IAEA, the Agency has repeatedly confirmed that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program.

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The Trump Administration Kills Coldly in Yemen, Putting Jobs Before Lives, by Doug Bandow

Why has America been Saudi Arabia’s bitch for so long? From Doug Bandow at antiwar.com:

Many observers have been mystified by the Saudi regime’s hold over President Donald Trump. For years he had criticized the gaggle of corrupt, dissolute royals. He also asked why Americans were paying to defend the wealthy, licentious al-Saud family, as it practiced totalitarianism at home and promoted Islamic fundamentalism abroad, including in America.

Yet Trump made his first trip as president to Saudi Arabia. Some observers wondered if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had salvaged his infamous orb from Mordor’s collapse eons ago and used it to take control of the president’s mind. No other explanation made sense.

Now the New York Times reports that the fault lies with Peter Navarro, the protectionist aide who spends much of his time urging economic and real war with China. He apparently was instrumental in convincing the president to put the profits of munition makers before the lives of Yemenis.

Consider the tragedy that had befallen Yemen, a deeply divided and tragically impoverished nation. During the Arab Spring the Yemeni people ousted the longtime president, leaving a weak and unpopular successor. The former chief executive joined a longtime rebel movement to overthrow the government. All par for the course in a divided land that has never known peace or stability.

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