The line out of the Trump administration, the mainstream media, and the well-funded Saudi Arabian public relations machine is that Saudi Arabia is becoming less repressive and is changing in other positive ways. It and Israel are the US’s strongest allies in the Middle East. From Jason Ditz at theantimedia.org:
he disappearance of high-profile Saudi journalist, and regular writer for the Washington Post, Jamal Khashoggi has put the Trump Administration into an uncomfortable position, obliging them to raise the questions about the disappearance and presumptive murder of the man by Saudi officials.
Khashoggi’s connections with the Washington Post made this a much bigger story than the disappearances of most dissident journalists in the Middle East. That he was in exile for writings critical to the Saudi Crown Prince, and entered a Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, but never came out, making it very likely he came to a bad end.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling for a “thorough” investigation by the Saudis into Khashoggi’s disappearance as well, which also virtually obliges the US to follow through when such an investigation doesn’t happen.
The Saudis, after all, insist that nothing happened to Khashoggi, and barring the Turkish government coming across his corpse at some point in the near future, that’s a position they’re likely to stick to.
This is a bombshell if it turns out to be true. From Vivian Nereim and Taylan Bilgic at bloomberg.com:
The Saudis were discussing a plan to lure Khashoggi back to the kingdom, The Washington Post reported, citing a person familiar with the communications, which were intercepted before he vanished. Khashoggi, a columnist for the newspaper, was last seen entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and is feared to be detained or dead.
One reason Saudi Arabia has a special place in the firmament of American politics is because the Saudis spread copious quantities of money around Washington. From Ben Freeman at tomdispatch.com:
It was May 2017. The Saudis were growing increasingly nervous. For more than two years they had been relying heavily on U.S. military support and bombs to defeat Houthi rebels in Yemen. Now, the Senate was considering a bipartisan resolution to cut off military aid and halt a big sale of American-made bombs to Saudi Arabia. Fortunately for them, despite mounting evidence that the U.S.-backed, supplied, and fueled air campaign in Yemen was targeting civilians, the Saudi government turned out to have just the weapon needed to keep those bombs and other kinds of aid coming their way: an army of lobbyists.
If the present government of Saudi Arabia were to fail, it would cause consternation in Washington, to say the least. From Daniel Lazare at consortiumnews.com:
Ibn Khaldun—the famous Tunisian historian, geographer and social theorist—believed that decadence leads to collapse for Muslim dynasties. Such a scenario may be playing out with the Saudis, reports Daniel Lazare.
Reports are growing that Muhammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s hyperactive crown prince, is losing his grip. His economic reform program has stalled since his father, King Salman, nixed plans to privatize 5 percent of Saudi Aramco. The Saudi war in Yemen, which the prince launched in March 2015, is more of a quagmire than ever while the kingdom’s sword rattling with Iran is making the region increasingly jumpy.
Heavy gunfire in Riyadh last April sparked rumors that MBS, as he’s known, had been killed in a palace coup. In May, an exiled Saudi prince urged top members of the royal family to oust him and put an end to his “irrational, erratic, and stupid” rule. Recently, Bruce Riedel, an ex-CIA analyst who heads up the Brookings Institution’s Intelligence Project, reported that the prince is so afraid for his life that he’s taken to spending nights on his yacht in the Red Sea port of Jeddah.
A statue of Ibn Khaldun in Tunis, Tunisia. (Kassus / Wikimedia)
In her former position as Secretary of State, you would think Hillary Clinton would know who is and isn’t a state sponsor of terrorism. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
Those rare moments that WikiLeaks gets invoked at the United Nations are always fun, especially when part of a tense feud between Middle East rivals and involving Hillary Clinton.
Iranian Ambassador to the UN Gholamali Khoshroo gave a fiery speech during the final days of the UN General Assembly meeting in New York wherein he responded to specific charges of Saudi Arabia that Iran sponsors terrorism and is waging proxy wars on Riyadh throughout the Middle East, saying that global terrorism actually originates with the Saudis.
Mike Pompeo is overlooking Saudi Arabian atrocities in Yemen to preserve $2 billion in arms sales for Raytheon. Let’s hope he at least gets a seat on the company’s board of directors when he leaves “public service.” From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
On rare occasion a story is unearthed in the mainstream media which demonstrates in stunning clarity how major foreign policy decisions are really made in Washington, especially when it comes to waging perpetual war in the Middle East often under the official rhetorical guise of “protecting civilians”.
A bombshell Wall Street Journal report details a leaked classified memo which shows Secretary of State Mike Pompeo decided to continue US military involvement in the Saudi war on Yemen in order to preserve a massive $2 billion weapons deal with Riyadh.
Human Rights Watch 2016 report: Saudi Arabia Uses US-Made Cluster Bombs and Guided Missiles in Yemen.
Before you know it, Saudi Arabia will be a full-fledged democracy with a full-fledged Bill of Rights. From theantimedia.org:
(ANTIMEDIA) Riyadh, Saudi Arabia — The Saudi government announced this week it is further criminalizing dissent, deeming satire that “disturbs the public order” a crime in what amounts to an escalation of already existing practices despite recent claims the Kingdom has entered an age of reformation.
The government’s Public Prosecution tweeted Monday that using social media to commit an “informational crime” that “affects public order, religious values and public morals” will be punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of three million riyals, roughly $800,000.
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