Mohammad bin Salman is young, spoiled, and has made some big mistakes. From Moon of Alabama at moonofalabama.org:
When the Saudi King Salman promoted his son Mohammad bin Salman (MbS) to Defense Minister and then Crown Prince the expectations were high. But three of the major projects Muhammad launched since then soon ran into trouble. Now initiatives are under way to limit the damage he caused. The end of the five year old Saudi war on Yemen is coming into sight. The public offering of the Saudi state owned ARAMCO oil company is finally happening but with a much lower valuation than originally planned. The thirty month spat with Qatar is under repair.
On August 17 2019 a Yemeni drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil installations proved that the Saudis had lost the war. Moon of Alabama’s headline empasized the effect that it would have:
Long Range Attack On Saudi Oil Field Ends War On Yemen
Today’s attack is a check mate move against the Saudis. Shaybah is some 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) from Houthi-controlled territory. There are many more important economic targets within that range. […]
The attack conclusively demonstrates that the most important assets of the Saudis are now under threat. This economic threat comes on top of a seven percent budget deficit the IMF predicts for Saudi Arabia. Further Saudi bombing against the Houthi will now have very significant additional cost that might even endanger the viability of the Saudi state. The Houthi have clown prince Mohammad bin Salman by the balls and can squeeze those at will.
A month later another large scale attack disabled half of the Saudi oil output.
The Saudis have since procured additional U.S. military units to provide more air defenses around their oil installations. But U.S. air defenses are not effective against the kind of attacks the Yemenis launched. The Saudis had no choice but to sue for peace.
Posted in Energy, Financial markets, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Politics
Tagged Houthis, Mohammad bin Salman, Oil, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen
Are we trying to pull out of the Middle East or get more deeply involved? From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
“Jaw-jaw is better than war-war,” is attributed, wrongly, say some historians, to Winston Churchill. Still, the words lately came to mind.
While last week ended with a hopeful U.S.-Iranian prisoner exchange that was hailed by President Donald Trump — “Thank you to Iran for a very fair negotiation. See, we can make a deal together” — a few days earlier, the week produced more ominous news.
In a startling front-page story Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. is to send 14,000 troops to the Middle East, in addition to the 14,000 we have sent since May.
The reason for the reinforcements, said the Journal, is Iran.
“The Trump administration is considering a significant expansion of the U.S. military footprint in the Middle East to counter Iran, including dozens more ships … and as many as 14,000 additional troops.”
Posted in Politics, Foreign Policy, War, History, Military, Economy, Energy, Governments, Geopolitics
Tagged Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Houthis, Middle East wars
The Saudis definitely don’t love Americans, and only their oil explains the American government’s long-time infatuation with the House of Saud. From Ronald Enzweiler at antiwar.com:
Soon after the shooting of American citizens at the Pensacola Naval Air Station last Friday (December 6) by a Saudi national who was in the US for flight training, President Trump, speaking from the White House, read a statement from Saudi Arabia’s King Salman. President Trump let us know “the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter.” He then reassured us, “this person [the perpetrator] in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people who love the American people.”
As an American who has lived and worked in Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East on a full-time basis for over ten years, I was astonished by this obviously untruthful and deceiving statement that President Trump was parroting on behalf of Saudi Arabia. Lest we forget, 15 of the 19 hijackers who committed the 9/11 terror attacks – and their leader Osama bin Laden – were Saudi nationals. Moreover, anti-American Saudi nationals killed twenty US soldiers and injured 500 more in a car bombing attack on Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia in June 1996. I guess the Saudi nationals who perpetrated these attacks (among others I could cite) also were “in no way, shape or form [representative] of the feelings of the Saudi people” and thus these attacks also should be excused.
Trump’s actual foreign policy, as opposed to his bombast, is virtually no departure from the policies of his predecessors. From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:
I’ve been publishing antiwar material for more than five years now. Seeing as I only retired this past February, I did most of my dissenting while still on active duty, and much of it during the Obama years. During that time, the overwhelming majority of hate mail in my inbox – and sometimes my actual mailbox – almost always came from the political right. Then Trump was elected, occasionally said some modestly prudent things about ending endless war in the Middle East, and when I dared write approvingly about those words, my hate mail began to change. Now it invariably emerges from the mainstream “left,” my own ostensibly ideological compatriots. (More on this phenomenon in my Nov. 6 column at Antiwar.com). Now, despite spending almost all of my adult life in uniform, I’m labeled a “Putin apologist,” a “traitor,” an “asset” and a “useful idiot.”
It’s ironic; maddeningly so, in fact. A cursory glance at my body of work since January 2017 reveals a consistent propensity to challenge this president. Nonetheless, I’ve felt of late a professional, and ethical, obligation to occasionally (if cautiously) cheer Trump’s more prudent critiques of the forever wars I once waged. My more thoughtful critics note that all that Trump-talk hasn’t been backed by much follow-through, and they ain’t wrong. As I’ve been long apt to point out, the distance between Trump’s anti-interventionist “rhetoric” and his actual actions in the greater Middle East remains, for now, wide enough to drive a semi-truck through.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Military, Politics, War
Tagged Israel, Middle East, President Trump, Saudi Arabia, Syria
The richest country in the Middle East can’t seem to defeat one of the poorest, but the rich country’s attacks have made the poorest that much poorer…and hungrier. From Ahmed Abdulkareem at mintpressnews.com:
Between March 2015 and March 2019, the Saudi-led Coalition launched at least 10,000 airstrikes in Yemen that struck farms, 800 that struck local food markets, and about 450 airstrikes that hit silos and other food storage facilities.
HODEIDA, YEMEN — The country of Yemen, known in the medieval period as “Green Yemen,” is one of the most extensively terraced areas of the world. There, Yemeni farmers transformed rugged mountain slopes into terraces and built dams like the Great Marib, a structure whose history spans long enough that it was mentioned in the Quran. During the medieval period, Yemen had one of the widest ranges of agricultural crops in all of the Middle East.
Farhan Mohammed is one of the richest farmers in Qama’el, a rural village in the region of Baqim in northwestern Yemen. He owns 50 hectares of land which he uses to cultivate corn, pomegranates, and apples. Now, Farhan is struggling to keep his farm afloat after Saudi airstrikes targeted his fields, burning his crops and rendering the soil so toxic that it’s no longer able to sustain life. Saudi Arabia’s now nearly five-year-old project in Yemen has decimated the incomes of Farhan and most other Yemeni farmers. Fuel is hard to come by thanks to a Saudi-led coalition blockade and the fuel that is available has become prohibitively expensive. Airstrikes targeting farm fields and orchards have rendered large swaths of Yemen’s arable land too toxic to use.
Well, if they’re going to impeach Trump on a nothing of a case, he might as well thoroughly piss them off. From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:
From the moment that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Davos) announced reluctantly that impeachment proceedings would begin against President Trump I knew this was about his shift in Middle East policy.
It happened on Terrible Tuesday where both Trump and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson were handed smackdowns by their respective Deep States over their plans to unwind multiple decades of aggressive foreign policy on the one hand and subjugation to the growing European Union on the other.
Now that Trump has fully embraced ending some of the US’s involvement in Syria the knives have come out in full. There have been nothing but howls of pain from every corner of neoconservatism and liberal interventionism on both sides of the domestic political aisle, about how Trump is unfit for office because he abandoned the heroic Kurds to genocide by the Turks after fighting for freedom against the brutal Bashar al-Assad.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Military, Politics
Tagged Israel, President Trump, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syrian withdrawal, Turkey, Vladimir Putin
Vladimir Putin wants peace in the Middle East, not colonies. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
Peace in the Middle East is coming at us fast and we’re going to have Russian President Vladimir Putin to thank for it.
The howls of agony coming from U.S. and European foreign policy centers are deafening. Pat Buchanan lists them in his latest article which asks if Putin is now the new king of the Middle East.
“Donald Trump Has Handed Putin the Middle East on a Plate” was the title of a Telegraph column. “Putin Seizes on Trump’s Syria Retreat to Cement Middle East Role,” said the Financial Times.
The U.S. press parroted the British: Putin is now the new master of the Mideast. And woe is us.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Military, War
Tagged Great Britain, Iran, Israel, President Trump, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syrian War, Turkey, Vladimir Putin