Turkish leader Erdogan is capitalizing on Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:
It seems that the quartet (US, Israel, UAE and MbS himself, naturally), acting in the cause of ‘exonerating MbS’, think they have got their ‘coup’ with Trump’s “maybe he did, but maybe he didn’t”, exculpation. They are probably quite pleased with themselves. MbS may stay for now, and embarrass everyone at the G20, by ostentatiously trying to shake hands with leaders, in front a phalanx of photographers, as leaders try to dodge the tainted hand. But if MbS does weather the crisis, what it shows more than anything else is how well MbS has succeeded in destroying the al-Saud family as a joint leadership ‘enterprise’, and in undercutting Saudi Arabia’s Islamic credentials. President Trump and Jared Kushner – quite oblivious – colluded in this outcome.
And the outcome: Yes, as Pepe Escobar, lately was being told in Istanbul: “The Erdogan machine has sensed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity [i.e. l’affaire Khashoggi], to simultaneously bury the House of Saud’s shaky Islamic credibility, while solidifying Turkish neo-Ottomanism, but with an Ikhwan [i.e. with a Muslim Brotherhood – style] framework”. This is heady stuff – maybe the Arab world is not so anxious to welcome back, with open arms, either the Ottomans or the Muslim Brotherhood. But nonetheless, with the Gulf so discredited in terms of its legitimacy, Erdogan is probably right to think that he is pushing at an ‘open door’.
Posted in Crime, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Politics
Tagged Gulf States, Iran, Israel, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, US
Turkey moves farther and farther outside the US orbit. From Tom Luongo at tomluongo.me:
While the Trump Administration still thinks it can play enough games to derail the Nordstream 2 pipeline via sanctions and threats, the impotence of its position geopolitically was on display the other day as the final pipe of the first train of the Turkstream pipeline entered the waters of the Black Sea.
The pipe was sanctioned by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who shared a public stage and held bilateral talks afterwards. I think it is important for everyone to watch the response to Putin’s speech in its entirety. Because it highlights just how far Russian/Turkish relations have come since the November 24th, 2015 incident where Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 over Syria.
Posted in Business, Currencies, Debt, Geopolitics, Governments, Money, Politics
Tagged Gas pipelines, Natural gas, Russia, Turkey, Turkstream
We’ve got Turkey’s version of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, but how do we know that’s really what happened? From Marin Jay at strategic-culture.org:
Trump’s relationship with Erdogan raises new questions about the credibility of US mainstream journalism. Was Khashoggi a victim of a Turkish ‘honey trap’?
The Washington Post continues its banal attack on the regime of Saudi Arabia, following the horrific murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate on October 2. In Turkey too there is much which the western media cannot understand or refuses to probe, as Ankara plays a game of blackmail with Riyadh in a bid to extract a deal from Mohammad bin Salman who is at the centre of its character assassination.
But what are we missing? What is at the heart of this story which isn’t getting picked up by journalists or even TV commentators in the region?
Much has been written about the ‘free license’ that Trump and his son in law, Jared Kushner gave the Saudi prince and that this murder is an inevitable consequence of such blinded dogma towards ones allies. There is some truth in this, but if you are to look at the coverage of, in particular, the US media over Khashoggi, you might be curious to understand why it is so extensive and prolonged. After all, Saudi Arabia has been kidnapping its own dissidents for years and there are many western journalists who are killed or go missing around the world which get minimal coverage. Why such an entrenched campaign for Khashoggi?
Syria’s now the belle of the ball because now that Assad has survived regime change, it could serve as a counterweight to Turkey and Iran in the Middle East. From Middle East Eye at theantimedia.org:
Last week the United Arab Emirates announced it was negotiating the reopening of its embassy in Damascus and restoring full ties with Syria.
After the opening of the Nassib border crossing on the Jordan-Syria border, for the first time since the war began, Syria now has a through road linking Turkey to Jordan.
At the same time the Israelis have also handed over the Quneitra border crossing in the occupied Golan Heights to Damascus after four years of closure.
It is not just that all roads are leading to Damascus but also there is a quiet – but strategic – shift by the most powerful Arab actors in the region towards establishing a working relationship with the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Posted in Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, History, Media, Politics
Tagged Bashar al-Assad, Egypt, Israel, Middle East, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates
Nothing from the CIA should be taken as gospel. In fact, it should be treated with utomost skepticism. For what it’s worth, the CIA now apparently believes Mohammad bin Salman was behind Jamal Khashoggi’s murder. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
With Turkey’s graphic recording of Khashoggi’s final moments finally in the hands of US intelligence agencies, the Washington Postjust confirmed what the New York Times first hinted at more than one month ago: That US intelligence agencies believe that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman ordered the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in what is just the latest example of the Trump administration and its intelligence agencies working at cross purposes (the first being, of course, the investigations that eventually coalesced into the Mueller probe).
But instead of focusing on the recording of Khashoggi’s murder, the CIA is reportedly in possession of another piece of evidence that it believes incriminates the Crown Prince: A phone call made by Khalid bin Salman, MbS’s brother and the kingdom’s ambassador to the US, to Khashoggi, during which he promised the journalist that he wouldn’t be harmed if he visited the Saudi embassy in Istanbul to pick up the paper needed to marry his Turkish fiance.
Posted in Crime, Geopolitics, Governments, Intelligence, Investigations, Politics
Tagged CIA, Jamal Khashoggi murder, Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, US
Iran’s position is stronger than it was in 2012 when Obama imposed sanctions. From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:
Sanctions may indeed be coming but will they have the bite that Donald Trump is hoping for? It’s a good question as we open November with a flurry of edicts from Trump’s State and Treasury Departments.
Let’s go over them all and see just how contradictory they are while at the same time acceding to the reality of just how much the world has changed in the six years since President Obama first went nuclear on Iran with sanctions.
It starts with Trump’s tweet that “Sanctions are Coming.” Okay, fine we knew this. But sanctions don’t account for much if the State Department is handing out 180 day waivers to countries.
Next up was Pompeo saying on the same day that no less than eight countries would be exempt from sanctions for buying oil from Iran.
A little news for Mike Pompeo, Halloween was last week.
Contrast this with 2012 where India, for example, to get around the sanctions had to essentially barter to get much needed Iranian oil, because no such exemption was forthcoming.
Posted in Energy, Foreign Policy, Geopolitics, Governments, Military, Politics, Trade, War
Tagged China, India, Iran, Iran Sanctions, Oil, Russia, Turkey
Russia, Turkey, Germany and France are shaping the peace in Syria without the US and Britain. From a Strategic Culture Foundation editorial at strategic-culture.org:
There were several takeaways from the recent Quadrilateral Summit in Istanbul on finding a peaceful settlement to the war in Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin convened with his counterparts from Turkey, Germany and France for a two-day summit last weekend in a convivial and constructive atmosphere.
The four powers signed a communique emphasizing the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. It was Putin who underscored the inviolability of the Syrian government of President Assad as the internationally recognized authority in the Arab country. The communique also endorsed the right of the Syrian nation to self-determination over the future political settlement, free from external interference.
These principles have been stated before in a previous UN Security Council Resolution 2254. But it seems more than ever that the sovereignty of Syria has been widely accepted. Recall that not too long ago, Turkey and France were calling for President Assad to stand down. That demand is no longer tenable, at least as far as the four powers attending the Istanbul summit are concerned.