Why Are We Helping Saudi Arabia Destroy Yemen?

Why Are We Helping Saudi Arabia Destroy Yemen?

By Moon Of Alabama

November 21, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – The Saudi clown prince Mohammad Bin Salman is an impulsive tyrant. But what accounts for his urge to purge the country of any potential competing power center Why does he run a such an activist foreign policy? The answer might be Iran. Not Iran the country, but Iran the system.

Since the U.S. war on Iraq the sclerotic Saudi Arabia continuously lost standing in its region. The Iranian model gained ground. A decade later the authoritarian Arab systems were challenged by the so called “Arab spring”. While the movements in the various countries -as far as they were genuine- have failed, they were a warning sign for things to come.

Saudi Arabia reacted to the challenges by moving away from a sedate, consensual run family business towards a centrally controlled, supercharged tyranny. The move allows for more flexible and faster reactions to any future challenge. But it also increases the chance of making mistakes. To understand why this endeavor is likely to fail one needs look at the traditional economic and social system that is the fabric of the country. The fate of the Hariri dynasty is an example for it.

Since Salman climbed the throne he has moved to eliminate all competition to his rule. The religious establishment was purged of any opposition. Its police arm was reigned in. First crown prince Murqrin was removed and then crown prince Nayef. They were replaced with Salman’s inexperienced son. Economic and military powers were concentrated in his hands. During the recent night of the long knives powerful family members and business people were detained. The Wall Street Journal reports of a second arrest wave. More higher ups have been incarcerated. This round includes senior military commanders and very wealthy business people.

As the prison for the arrested VIPs, the Ritz-Carlton hotel, is fully booked, the next door Mariott is now put to use. Qualified staff was hired to handle the prisoners:

As many as 17 people detained in the anti-corruption campaign have required medical treatment for abuse by their captors, according to a doctor from the nearest hospital and an American official tracking the situation.

The former Egyptian security chief, Habib el-Adli, said by one of his advisers and a former Egyptian interior minister to be advising Prince Mohammed, earned a reputation for brutality and torture under President Hosni Mubarak.

After the torture reports spread due to employees of local hospitals, a medical unit was established in the Ritz itself.

My assertion in earlier pieces, that one motive of the arrest wave was to fleece the prisoners, has been confirmed. The arrested rich people are pressed into “plea deals” in which they give up their assets in exchange for better treatment and some restricted kind of freedom. The aim is to “recover” up to $800 billion in so called “corruption” money. Thousands of domestic and international accounts have been blocked by the central bank of Saudi Arabia. They will eventually be confiscated. But Saudi billionaires have long been looking for ways to park their money outside of the country. The accounts which were blocked are likely small change compared to their total holdings in this or that tax haven. Historically the recoveries of such assets is problematic:

Asset recovery programs never really go quite to plan. They are beset by obstacles — most often in the form of wealth squirreled away offshore and political infighting over wealth seized onshore.

Most likely, Saudi Arabia will obtain a sliver of these assets — say in the tens of billions of dollars — a useful, but temporary, gain. What happens after that depends on how Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman re-sets relations with business.

The financial success of the MbS raids will be small. The financial damage he causes with his jihad against his own family members will be significant. It ruins his plans for attracting foreign investment:

“Half my Rolodex is in the Ritz right now. And they want me to invest there now? No way,” said one senior investor. “The wall of money that was going to deploy into the kingdom is falling apart.”

One can not steal money from some people and then expect other people to trust assurances that such could never happen to them. MbS’s big plans for Neom, a $500 billion artificial city financed by foreign investors, will fall apart.

To accuse princes and high officials of “corruption” is a fancy excuse. “Corruption” is how business is done in Saudi Arabia. It is tightly connected to the traditional ruling system. The king and his son are trying to change both:

Foreign investors tend to enter the Saudi market via partnerships with established business franchises or princes as they seek to exploit their domestic clout to navigate a complicated bureaucratic landscape.

The same goes for any state tender. To contract for building a road or public housing a company will have to find a prince or high official with the necessary clout. To get a tender signed it will have to promise, or pay upfront, a share of the expected profits. When the job is finishes it will need to come back to its protector to get its bill paid. No money will flow for the delivered work unless another bribe is handed over. Contracts are calculated with 40% on top to compensate for these necessary lubricants.

The systems works. The Saudi State has enough money to compensate for such distribution. The system is only problematic when a contractor delivers shoddy work, but can still bribe his patron into accepting it. Drainage man-hole covers in Saudi streets without the necessary drainage tunnels below them are a well known and despised phenomenon.

Rafic Hariri, the father of the Lebanese premier minister Saad Hariri, built a construction empire in Saudi Arabia by paying the right people. He knew how to work within the  system. He was also a capable manager who ran his business, Saudi Oger, well. He was also the Saudis man in Lebanon and did his best to fulfill that role.

His son Saad never got a grip on the business site. By 2012, seven years after Rafic Hariri had been assassinated, the family business in Saudi Arabia ran into trouble:

Almost a year ago, the Saudis began keeping an eye on Hariri’s company, which reeked of corruption. Several high-ranking officials – some close to Saad Hariri – were accused of theft and extortion. But Hariri could not find a solution to the crisis, nor was he able to restore the confidence that the company lost in the market.

So he began a major pruning operation, laying off lower-level employees without any indication of objections to their job performance. The dismissals did not even spare Saudi nationals, leading to widespread dissent.

The Saudis once treated the company with care, providing it with contracts in the region’s biggest oil economy. Now, the company is suffering from internal disputes and theft. It became closer to a scrapyard for the Kingdom.

Saad Hariri had the wrong contacts, bribed the wrong people and delivered shoddy work which made his company an easy target. He also failed to be a reliable Saudi asset in Lebanon. There the Shia Hizbullah gained in standing while the Sunnis, led by Hariri, lost political ground.

The Hariri company took up large loans to finance its giant construction projects for the Saudi government. But by 2014 oil prices had fallen and the Kingdom simply stopped paying its bills. It is said to own $9 billion to the Hariri enterprises. Other Saudi constructions companies, like the Bin Laden group, also had troublesome times. But they were bailed out by the Saudi government with fresh loans and new contracts.

No new contracts were issued to Hariri. No new bank loans were available to him and his bills were not paid. The Saudis demanded control over Lebanon but Hariri could not deliver. In July, after 39 mostly successful years, Saudi Oger went out of business. The Hariri family is practically bankrupt.

Hariri’s two youngest children, 16 and 12 years old, are kept hostage in Saudi Arabia. After the recent trip to Paris his wife also returned to Riyadh. The French President Macron had intervened and Hariri was allowed to leave Saudi Arabia. But Macron failed (intentionally?) to free him from Saudi influence. Hariri’s financial means and his family are under control of the Saudi tyrant. He is not free in any of his political, business and personal decisions.

Hariri is pressed to now drive a political hardline against Hizbullah in Lebanon. He knows that this can not be successful but his mischievous Saudi minder, the Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer, does not understand this. His boss, MbS, believes that the whole world can and should be run the same way he wants to run his country.

Bloomberg’s Erik Schatzker has long observed how business is done in Saudi Arabia. He had portrait the Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal. His recent observations at a nightly desert picnic explains how the wider al Saud family used to run the country:

It was almost midnight when the prince held a Majlis, a traditional Bedouin ceremony in which tribesmen come to pay their respects and ask for charity. A line of men in white robes and red-and-white Arab headdresses stretched into the darkness. One by one they approached, removing their sandals, bowing and handing him pieces of paper. Some recited poetry. The prince scribbled on each cover sheet and put the papers on a stack.

Saudi Arabia used to run on such patronage:

Saudi society is divided by tribe, region, sect, degree (or nature of religiosity), and class.Although these various groups are only rarely organized in formal structures outside of the state, many developed special connections with specific state bodies, turning the sprawling state apparatus into constituencies of sorts.

Middle East expert Steffen Hertog has aptly described how the Saudi state emerged in the oil era: leading princes carved out structures they could dominate; state institutions worked in silos and coordinated poorly; and networks of beneficiaries, contractors, and influence brokers populated various bureaucracies. The Saudi state expanded rapidly into an uncoordinated group of what Hertog goes so far as to call “fiefdoms.”

High up princes take care of lower ranking ones. Each has common folks, clans or whole tribes he is supposed to take care of. Obedience is bought by controlling the “social” spending that trickles down through this pyramid. The princes make their money by having their fingers in, or “taxing”, all kind of state businesses. It is this money that sponsors their luxurious life as well as the benefits they distribute to lower folks. This was never seen as corruption as it is understood in the west. For decades these tribute payments were simply owned to the princes. They had a birth-right to them.

MbS “corruption” ride is destroying that system without him having a replacement. Saudi Arabia has been run as a family business. Decisions in recent decades were taken by consensus. Every part of the family was allowed to have its cash generating fiefdom and patronage network. The rule of King Salman and his activist son are trying to change that. They want to concentrate all business and all decisions in one hand. But what will replace the old system?

Mohammad bin Salman’s view of the world is that of Louis XIV – “L’etat, c’est moi” – I am the state. In his own view MbS is not just a crown prince or the future king of the state of Saudi Arabia. He, and he alone, is Saudi Arabia. He is the state. He let this view known in an interviewwith the Economist in January 2016:

[W]e have clear programmes over the next five years. We announced some of them, and the rest we will announce in the near future. In addition to this, my debt-to-GDP is only 5%. So I have all points of strength, and I have the opportunities to increase our non-oil revenues in many sectors, and I have a global economic network.

As I remarked at that time:

The young dude not only thinks he owns the country, he actually thinks he is the country. He has debt-to-GDP, he has ten million jobs in reserve, he has all women of Saudi Arabia as productive factor and he has scary population growth.

Does the guy understand that such an attitude guarantees that he personally will be held responsible for everything that will inevitably go wrong with his country?

Saudi Arabia and its state apparatus have for decades been build on an informal but elaborate system of personal relations and patronage. MbS expects that he can take out one part of the system, the princes and businessmen, and the rest will follow from that. That he will be the one to control it all.

That is a doubtful endeavor. The ministries and local administrations are used to do their business under tutelage. Eliminating the leadership caste that controlled them will not turn them into corruption free technocracies. Seeing the exemplary punishments MbS hands out at the Ritz the bureaucracies will stop working. They will delay any decisions out of fear until they have the okay from the very top.

Ten-thousands of tribal and clan leaders are bound to and depend on the patronage system. The hundreds of people who sought audience with Alwaleed bin Talal at the desert picnic will turn whereto? Who will take up their issues with higher authorities? Who will provide them with hand outs and the “trickle down” money they depend on?

Another target of Mohammed bin Salman’s activities have been the religious authorities. Some critical sheiks have been incarcerated, others are held incommunicado. The Salman “revolution from the top” extends into their judiciary role:

Historically, Saudi leaders have propounded the view that the sharia is the country’s highest law and the overall legal system operates within its bounds.

the domination of the religious establishment in law is ending. The king and crown prince are clearly favoring (and fostering) religious figures who repudiate some long-standing official views.

Bin Salman is purging the religious establishment, the military, the competing members of the families, the business people and the bureaucracy. He wants to run the state on his own. He demands the right to review any decision in the legal, business and foreign policy realm. He has authority to punish people responsible for decisions he dislikes. Under his system any personal initiatives will become extinct.

The country is too big for one person to control. MbS can not take all decisions by himself. No large system can work like that. The people will soon become unhappy with his centralized and unresponsive control.

That centralization does not work well is already visible in his failing foreign policy. MbS wants to be seen as the indisputable “leader of the Islamic world”. His hate for everything Iran originates there. The Iranian system of a participatory and democratic Islamic state is a living alternative to the autocratic model he wants to implement in Saudi Arabia. The western model of a “liberal democracy” does not adapt well to the historic social models that are prevalent in the Middle East. But the Iranian system is genuine and fits the local culture. It is the sole competition he fears. It must be destroyed by any means.

But all his attempts to counter Iran (even where it was not involved) have been unsuccessful. Saudi interventions in Yemen, Qatar, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon have been disastrous. Over the weekend the Arab League delivered the usual criticism of Iran but decided on nothing else. Half of the Arab League states, including the powerful Egypt, are not willing to follow the aggressive Saudi course. Mohammed bin Salman’s grand scheme of using Israel and the U.S. to fight Iran in Lebanon, Syria, Yemen and Iran itself is unraveling.

The Saudi response to the competition of the Iranian system is a move towards more authoritarian rule. This is hoped to allow for more agile policies and responses. But the move breaks the traditional ruling system. It removes the sensible impediments to impulsive foreign policies. It creates the conditions for its very failure.

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America Has Become a Nation of Incompetents

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George Bush remains the ultimate symbol of ascendant stupidity

A once-proud nation which was the envy of the world now suffers from a kind of omni-present dementia

Having grown up during the second half of the 20th century, I don’t recognize my country today. I experienced life in a competent country, and now I experience life in an incompetent country.

Everything is incompetent. The police are incompetent. They shoot children, grandmothers, cripples, and claim that they feared for their life.

Washington’s foreign police is incompetent. Washington has alienated the world with its insane illegal attacks on other countries. Today the United States and Israel are the two most distrusted countries on earth and the two countries regarded as the greatest threat to peace.

The military/security complex is incompetent. The national security state is so incompetent that it was unable to block the most humiliating attack in history against a superpower that proved to be entirely helpless as a few people armed with box cutters and an inability to fly an airplane destroyed the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon itself. The military industries have produced at gigantic cost the F-35 that is no match for the Russian fighters or even for the F-15s and F-16s it is supposed to replace.

The media is incompetent. I can’t think of an accurate story that has been reported in the 21st century. There must be one, but it doesn’t come to mind.

The universities are incompetent. Instead of hiring professors to teach the students, the universities hire administrators to regulate them. Instead of professors, there are presidents, vice presidents, chancellors, vice chancellors, provosts, vice provosts, assistant provosts, deans, associate deans, assistant deans. Instead of subject matter there is speech regulation and sensitivity training. Universities spend up to 75% of their budgets on administrators, many of whom have outsized incomes.

The public schools have been made incompetent by standardized national testing. The purpose of education today is to pass some test. School accreditation and teachers’ pay depend not on developing the creativity or independent thinking of those students capable of it, but on herding them through memory work for a standardized test.

One could go on endlessly.

Instead, I will relate a story of everyday incompetences that have prevented me from writing this week and for a few more days yet.

Recently, while away from my home, a heavy equipment operator working on a nearby construction site managed to drive under power lines with the fork lift raised. Instead of breaking the wire, it snapped the pole in half that conveyed electric power to my house. The power company came out, or, as I suspect, an outsourced contractor, who reestablished power to my home but did not check that the neutral wire was still attached.

Consequently for a week or so my house experienced round the clock surges of high voltage that blew out the surge protection, breaker box, and every appliance in the house. Expecting my return, the house was inspected, and the discovery was that there was no power. Back came the power company and discovered that high voltage was feeding into the house and had destroyed everything plugged in.

So. Here we have a moron operating heavy equipment who does not understand that he cannot drive under power lines with the lift raised. We have a power company or its outsourced contractor who does not understand that power cannot be reconnected without making certain that the neutral wire is still connected.

So every appliance is fried. Glass everywhere from blown out light bulbs. We are talking thousands of dollars.

This is America today. And the incompetents ruling incompetents want war with Iran, Korea, Russia, China. Considering the extraordinary level of incompetence throughout the United States, I guarantee you that we will not win these wars.

Another False Flag Terror ADMISSION: Snipers In the Ukraine “Protests”

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Snipers Fired At BOTH Police and Protesters In Ukraine

Remember the protests in Ukraine which led to the old leader being replaced?

If you’ll recall,  the ruthless slaughter of people by snipers was the event which turned world opinion against the Ukrainian Prime Minister, and resulted in him having to flee the country.

Italy’s 11th largest newspaper – Il Giornale – reported on an admission by several of the snipers (Google translation) :

“Everyone started shooting two or three shots at a time. It went on for fifteen, twenty minutes. We had no choice. We were ordered to shoot both on the police and the demonstrators, without any difference. I was totally outraged.

So Georgian Alexander Revazishvilli remembers the tragic shootout of 20 February 2014 in Kiev when a group of mysterious snipers opened fire on crowds and cops massacring over 80 people. That massacre has horrified the world and changed the destiny of Ukraine by forcing President Viktor Yanukovich accused of organizing the shootout. But the massacre also changed the fates of Europe and our country, triggering the crisis that will lead to sanctions against Putin’s Russia. Sanctions revealed a boomerang for the Italian economy ( Watch the video ).

Revazishvilli’s confessions and two other Georgians – gathered by writers in the documentary “Ukraine, the hidden truths” aired tonight at 23.30 on Matrix, Channel 5 – reveal a different and disconcerting truth. The truth of a massacre and the same opposition that accused Yanukovych and his Russian allies. Revazishvilli and his two companions – met and interviewed in the documentary – are a former member of the security services of former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and two former militants of his party. Hired in Tbilisi by Mamuka Mamulashvili, Saakashvili’s military adviser, are tasked with supporting – along with other Georgian and Lithuanian volunteers – ongoing demonstrations in Kiev in return for a $5,000 final fee.

***

The following day, Mamulashvili and the leaders of the protest explain to volunteers who will face a police assault at the Conservatory building and at the Ukraine hotel. In that case – he says – we must shoot at the square and sow the chaos. But one of the protagonists confesses to having received another explanation, much more comprehensive. “When Mamulashvili arrived, I also asked him. Things are getting complicated, we have to start shooting – he replied that we can not go to the pre-election presidential elections. But who should shoot? “I asked. He replied that who and where it did not matter, you had to shoot somewhere so much to sow chaos.

“It did not matter if we fired at a tree, a barricade, or the molotov. confirms another volunteer – what counts was sowing confusion.

BBC interviewed the head of the opposition’s security forces at the time, who confirms that snipers were killing both sides … protesters and police:

And the former Ukranian government security boss said the same thing. Specifically, he said:

Former chief of Ukraine’s Security Service has confirmed allegations that snipers who killed dozens of people during the violent unrest in Kiev operated from a building controlled by the opposition on Maidan square.

Shots that killed both civilians and police officers were fired from the Philharmonic Hall building in Ukraine’s capital, former head of the Security Service of Ukraine Aleksandr Yakimenko told Russia 1 channel. The building was under full control of the opposition and particularly the so-called Commandant of Maidan self-defense Andrey Parubiy who after the coup was appointed as the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Yakimenko added.

So the chief of the government’s security forces, the head of the opposition’s security forces, and the snipers themselves  all admit the snipers were killing both protesters and police.

Similarly:

[Ukrainian Health Minister Oleh] Musiy, who spent more than two months organizing medical units on Maidan, said that on Feb. 20 roughly 40 civilians and protesters were brought with fatal bullet wounds to the makeshift hospital set up near the square. But he said medics also treated three police officers whose wounds were identical.

Forensic evidence, in particular the similarity of the bullet wounds, led him and others to conclude that snipers were targeting both sides of the standoff at Maidan — and that the shootings were intended to generate a wave of revulsion so strong that it would topple Yanukovych and also justify a Russian invasion.

And the Estonian foreign minister – after visiting Ukraine – told the EU foreign affairs minister that the Maidan opposition deployed the snipers – and fired on both the protesters and the police – to discredit the former government of Ukraine.

The Snipers Were Associated with the Maidan Protesters

While the mainstream media has proclaimed that the sniper fire was definitely from government forces, some of the above-cited sources dispute that claim.

Additionally, BBC reported at the time:

Reporting for Newsnight, Gabriel Gatehouse said he saw what looked like a protester shooting out of a window at the BBC’s Kiev base, the Ukraine Hotel.

BBC interviewed a Maidan protester who admitted that he fired a sniper rifle at police from the Conservatory, and that he was guided by a military veteran within the Maidan resistance. Here are actual pictures a reporter took of Maidan snipers, recently published by BBC:

gunmen at Kiev Conservatory 20 February

(There were reportedly at least 10 Maidan snipers firing from the Conservatory.)

The Frankfurther Allgemein reported that Maidan commander Volodymyr Parasjuk controlled the Conservatory at the time:

Volodymyr Parasjuk – the leader in “self-defense units” of the revolution who had called the night of Yanukovich’s escape, on the stage of Maidan to storm the presidential residence one year ago.

On the day of the massacre Parasjuk was staying with his unit in the colonnaded building of the Kiev Conservatory right at the Maidan. In the days before the death toll had risen, and the fighters grew the conviction alone with limited power as before will not be able to overthrow Yanukovych. “There were at that time many guys who said you have to take the weapon and attack,” said Parasjuk recalls. “Many,” he himself had since long ago it had firearms, often their officially registered hunting rifles.

Tagesschau – a German national and international television news service produced by state-run Norddeutscher Rundfunk on behalf of the German public-service television network ARD – also reported in 2014 that at least some of the sniper fire came from protesters.

And remember, the snipers who admitted firing at both sides were associated with Mikhail Saakashvili and his party.  Saakashvili was a huge supporter of the Maidan protesters from the very beginning.  As Newsweek reports:

Saakashvili was a supporter of the Ukrainian revolution since the beginning of Euromaidan ….

Indeed, the Maidan protesters who deposed the old Ukrainian prime minister were so pleased with events that they rewarded Saakashvili by appointing him leader of Ukraine’s largest region.

Former AP and Newsweek reporter Robert Parry summarizes what kind of guy Saakashvili is:

The latest political move by the … regime in Ukraine was to foist on the people of Odessa the autocratic Georgian ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, a neoconservative favorite and currently a fugitive from his own country which is seeking him on charges of human rights violations and embezzlement.

***

According to a New York Times profile last September, Saakashvili was there “writing a memoir, delivering ‘very well-paid’ speeches, helping start up a Washington-based think tank and visiting old boosters like Senator John McCain and Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state.”

McCain and Nuland were key neocon backers of the coup that ousted Yanukovych and touched off the bloody civil war that has killed thousands of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, while also reviving Cold War tensions between the West and Russia. Before the coup, McCain urged on right-wing protesters with promises of U.S. support and Nuland was overheard hand-picking Ukraine’s new leadership, saying “Yats is the guy,” a reference to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who became prime minister after the coup.

***

The Georgian prosecutors also have charged Saakashvili with human rights violations for his violent crackdown on political protesters in 2007.

Context: Sniper Attacks As False Flag Terror

Random shootings are a type of false flag terror.    For example, in 1985 – as part of the “Gladio” false flag terror campaign (see number 12) – snipers attacked and shot shoppers in supermarkets randomly in Belgium, killing twenty-eight and leaving many wounded.

Shooting both sides is an especially big red flag for a false flag …

Specifically, when authoritarian regimes want to break up protests, they might shoot protesters. On the other hand, when violent protesters shoot government employees, they might be trying to overthrow the government.

But when secretive snipers kill both protesters and the police, it is an indication of a “false flag” attack meant to sow chaos, anger, disgust and a lack of legitimacy.

This has happened many times over the years. For example:

  • Unknown snipers reportedly killed both Venezuelan government and opposition protesters in the attempted 2002 coup

Trump’s Saudi Scheme Unravels

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President Trump and his son-in-law bet that the young Saudi crown prince could execute a plan to reshape the Mideast, but the scheme quickly unraveled revealing a dangerous amateur hour, writes ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

By Alastair Crooke

Aaron Miller and Richard Sokolsky, writing in Foreign Policy, suggest “that Mohammed bin Salman’s most notable success abroad may well be the wooing and capture of President Donald Trump, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.” Indeed, it is possible that this “success” may prove to be MbS’ only success.

President Trump shakes the hand of Saudi Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman on May 20, 2017. (Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

“It didn’t take much convincing”, Miller and Sokolski wrote: “Above all, the new bromance reflected a timely coincidence of strategic imperatives.”

Trump, as ever, was eager to distance himself from President Obama and all his works; the Saudis, meanwhile, were determined to exploit Trump’s visceral antipathy for Iran – in order to reverse the string of recent defeats suffered by the kingdom.

So compelling seemed the prize (that MbS seemed to promise) of killing three birds with one stone (striking at Iran; “normalizing” Israel in the Arab world, and a Palestinian accord), that the U.S. President restricted the details to family channels alone. He thus was delivering a deliberate slight to the U.S. foreign policy and defense establishments by leaving official channels in the dark, and guessing. Trump bet heavily on MbS, and on Jared Kushner as his intermediary. But MbS’ grand plan fell apart at its first hurdle: the attempt to instigate a provocation against Hezbollah in Lebanon, to which the latter would overreact and give Israel and the “Sunni Alliance” the expected pretext to act forcefully against Hezbollah and Iran.

Stage One simply sank into soap opera with the bizarre hijacking of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri by MbS, which served only to unite the Lebanese, rather than dividing them into warring factions, as was hoped.

But the debacle in Lebanon carries a much greater import than just a mishandled soap opera. The really important fact uncovered by the recent MbS mishap is that not only did the “dog not bark in the night” – but that the Israelis have no intention “to bark” at all: which is to say, to take on the role (as veteran Israeli correspondent Ben Caspit put it), of being “the stick, with which Sunni leaders threaten their mortal enemies, the Shiites … right now, no one in Israel, least of all Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is in any hurry to ignite the northern front. Doing so, would mean getting sucked into the gates of hell” (emphasis added).

The Syrian Defeat

Let us be clear, the so-called Sunni Alliance (principally Saudi Arabia and UAE, with Egypt already backing off) has just been roundly defeated in Syria. It has no capability whatsoever to “roll-back” Iran, Hezbollah or the Iraqi PMU (a Shiite militia) – except by using the Israeli “stick.” Israel may have the same strategic interests as the Sunni Alliance, but as Caspit notes, “the Saudis are interested in having Israel do the dirty work for them. But as it turns out, not everyone in Israel is as excited about it.”

Senior White House Adviser Jared Kushner, and his wife, Assistant to the President Ivanka Trump, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus arrive at the Murabba Palace as guests of Saudi King Salman, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

This refusal to “bark” (in the famous Conan Doyle account of Sherlock Holmes) somehow knocks the blocks out from under Kushner’s “grand plan” because if Israel is opting out, what is there left to talk about? Israel precisely was the “stick” in Trump’s plan too. No stick: no Sunni Alliance roll-back of Iran; no further Saudi normalization with Israel; no Israeli-Palestinian initiative. MbS’ clumsiness (“reckless[ness]” a US official has called it) has pulled the rug out from under U.S. policy in the Middle East.Caspit calls a prospective clash between the Sunni Alliance and the Iranian-led front “a veritable war of Armageddon.” Those words encapsulate Israeli reservations.

Why did Trump gamble so heavily on the inexperienced Kushner and the impulsive MbS? Well, of course, if such a “grand plan” had indeed worked out, it would have been a major foreign policy coup – and one done over the heads of the professional foreign policy and defense echelon who were excluded from it. Trump then would have felt himself freer to ascend above the Establishment tentacles: to attain a certain elevated independence and freedom from his “minders.” He would have achieved his coup through family channels, rather than be officially advised.

But, if it sinks into farce, and MbS becomes regarded in the U.S. as a maverick, rather than a Machiavelli, the (slighted) “system” will exact its revenge: presidential judgments will stand devalued — and ever more in need of justification and “minding.”

MbS (and Kushner) may have hurt President Trump in a much wider way therefore: the failed bet on the untried MbS may leach into other spheres – such as, in consequence, U.S. allies’ openly questioning the soundness of Trump’s North Korea judgments. In short, the U.S. President’s credibility will bear the consequences for his falling for MbS’ spin.

Wishful Thinking

There is, to be fair, much that is fanciful (even sycophantic) in the Western treatment of Saudi Arabia (President Trump is not alone in his thrall of things Saudi): the very notion of Saudi Arabia transforming itself into some muscular, “modern” regional powerhouse that can stare down Iran, in itself, would seem a tad unrealistic, yet this is widely accepted among U.S. commentators. Yes, the kingdom has little alternative but to transform as its oil dividend approaches expiry, and that may well mean, in theory, wrenching the kingdom onto a new course.

Saudi defense minister, Crown Prince

Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud

 

But defining exactly how the kingdom can re-invent itself, without tearing itself apart, is likely to be much more complex than advocating some superficial embrace of “Western modernity,” or that of combatting “corruption.” These are red herrings: the family is the state; and the state (and its oil wealth) is the family’s. There is no boundary, or demarcated frontier, between state and family. The latter enjoy the privileges and perquisites of birth (depending on proximity, or distance, from the throne). And perquisites awarded or appropriated, reflect only the monarch’s power-needs that serve to sustain his absolutism. There is no “damned merit” or equity in this system, nor was it ever intended.

What then can the term “corruption” mean in such a system? Saudi Arabia does not even pretend to a level, rules-based playing field. The law (and the rules) simply are what the king says, or signs, day-to-day.

What “corruption” used to mean, when Europe earlier “enjoyed” such a similar absolutist system, was clear enough: you had got in the king’s way, that is all that “corruption” implied. So, if the outside world thinks that MbS is moving Saudi Arabia towards a Western modernity, then they must mean either that MbS is planning the jettisoning of “the family” (the 15,000 princes of the blood royal), or he’s moving towards some constitutional monarchial set-up, and a rules-based society of citizens, rather than subjects.

Nothing in MbS’ actions suggest that he is moving in that direction. Rather, his actions suggest that he wants to recover and restore the absolutist aspect to the monarchy. And the modernity that he is seeking is of the type that you buy, virtually ready-made, ready to be assembled from its box. In short, the plan is to buy an industrial base, “in a box,” off the shelf, to make up for depleting oil revenues.

Vision 2030 tells us that this well-packaged, high-tech, “industrial base” is supposed to yield $1 trillion’s profit per annum, if all goes well … eventually. That is to say, it is intended as replacement source of income: precisely to support “the family” – and not displace it. It is not therefore “reformist” in the Western notion of modernity being “equality before the law” and of protected rights.

Unrealistic Hopes  

Well, this type of non-organic, high-speed industrialization is not so easy to graft into society (if you are not Josef Stalin). It is expensive and, as history also tells us, is socially and culturally disruptive. It will cost a lot more than the reported $800 billion which MbS hopes to “recover” from his detainees (through physical coercion – some 17 have been already been hospitalized, in consequence of their treatment in detention).

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump join Saudi King Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, May 21, 2017, to participate in the inaugural opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The difficulty is that some in the family would have opposed such adventurism against Iran. MbS seems to be pursuing a notion similar to that adopted by the neocons: i.e. the Kristolian argument that you can’t make (or restore) a “benevolent hegemony” omelet without breaking a few eggs. And as Miller and Sokolsky noted, Trump “didn’t take much convincing” — MbS’ vision intersected precisely with his own imperatives (and animus towards Iran). Trump duly tweeted his endorsement for the Saudi “corruption” crack-down.But, if it is not to Westernize the economy, why then are so many senior family members needing to be “got out of the way”? This part of the “grand plan” relates perhaps, to the reason why MbS wanted, so much, to “woo and capture” President Trump (as Miller and Solkosky put it). MbS is frank about this: he has been telling President Trump that he wants to restore the kingdom’s former grandeur; to be again the leader of the Sunni world, and the guardian of Islam. And to do that, upstart Iran and the Shi’i revival must be knocked back down into subordination to Saudi leadership.

And here lay the third leg to the “grand plan”: Israel would be “the stick” for the Saudi-UAE-U.S. alliance against Iran (Hezbollah was to be to be its peg for action). Saudi Arabia then, in return, would move to recognize the Jewish State, and Israel would give the Palestinians “something”: a “something” that might be called a state, even if it was much less than a state. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia would co-ordinate in pressuring the Palestinians to accept the U.S. proposals for a “settlement.”

Why did it go so wrong? Exaggerated expectations of that which each other party could realistically implement. Believing each other’s rhetoric. America’s love affair with Saudi royalty. Kushner’s family ties to Netanyahu. Wishful thinking on the part of Kushner and Trump that MbS could be the instrument to restore not just the Saudi kingdom as America’s “policeman” in the Islamic world, but even the American-led order in the Middle East, too.

Maybe Jared Kushner believed Bibi Netanyahu when he hinted that “normalization” of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel would witness reciprocation in Israeli concessions to the Palestinians (when in fact, the Israeli security cabinet has already vetoed the concessions – well short of a state – that were being discussed in this connection)?

Maybe Jared believed MbS when he suggested that he could mobilize the Sunni world against Iran – if America and Israel backed him (when even Egypt opposed destabilizing Lebanon)?

Maybe MbS believed that Trump spoke for America when he offered to support him (when in fact, he spoke only for the White House)?

Maybe MbS thought that Trump would rally Europe against Hezbollah in Lebanon (in fact, the Europeans have prioritized Lebanese stability)?

And, maybe MbS and Kushner thought Netanyahu spoke for Israel when he promised to be a partner in the front against Hezbollah and Iran? Was it the “grand plan” that was affirmed between Netanyahu and Trump on the day before the latter launched his United Nations broadside at Iran in September? When in fact, while any Israeli Prime Minister can wage war against the Palestinians with a relatively free hand, the same is not true where the state of Israel itself is being put at stake. No Israeli P.M. can commit to a possibly existential conflict (for Israel), without having broad support from the Israeli political and security establishment. And the Israel Establishment will only contemplate war when it is plainly in the Israeli interest, and not merely to please MbS or Mr Trump.

Ben Caspit (and other Israeli commentators) confirm that the Israeli establishment does not see war with Hezbollah, and the risk of a wider conflict, to be in the Israeli interest.

The fallout from this episode is highly significant. It has exposed that Israel presently is deterred from contemplating a war in the region (as Caspit explains). It too has underlined the hollowness of MbS ambitions to mount a “Sunni Alliance” against Iran; and it has undercut President Trump’s containment policy for Iran. For now, at least, we may expect Iran and Russia to consolidate the state in Syria, and to stabilize the northern tier. Caspit’s “war of Armageddon” may yet arrive – but not for now, perhaps.

Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum.

THE SAKER: A ZIOWAHABI ATTACK ON HEZBOLLAH AND IRAN?

South Front

17.11.2017

The Saker: A ZioWahabi Attack On Hezbollah And Iran?

Written by The Saker; Originally appeared at The Unz Review

Israel, Saudi Arabia Setting Preconditions For War With Hezbollah – a critical analysis

SouthFront has just released a very interesting video analysis warning about the possibility of a war involving Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and, possibility, Syria, Iran, and Israel. That, of course, also means that Russia and the US would be involved. First, please see the video here:

What I propose to do is go over the implications of such a scenario.

The context: a total AngloZionist failure on all fronts

To understand the context for these developments we first need to quickly summarize what has taken place in Syria and the rest of the Middle-East in the past few years.

The initial AngloZionist plan was to overthrow Assad and replace him with the Takfiri crazies (Daesh, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, ISIS – call them whatever you want). Doing this would achieve the following goals:

  1. Bring down a strong secular Arab state along with its political structure, armed forces and security services.
  2. Create total chaos and horror in Syria justifying the creation of a “security zone” by Israel not only in the Golan, but further north.
  3. Trigger a civil war in Lebanon by unleashing the Takfiri crazies against Hezbollah.
  4. Let the Takfiris and Hezbollah bleed each other to death, then create a “security zone”, but this time in Lebanon.
  5. Prevent the creation of a Shia axis Iran-Iraq-Syria-Lebanon.
  6. Breakup Syria along ethnic and religious lines.
  7. Create a Kurdistan which could then be used against Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
  8. Make it possible for Israel to become the uncontested power broker in the Middle-East and forces the KSA, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait and all others to have to go to Israel for any gas or oil pipeline project.
  9. Gradually isolate, threaten, subvert and eventually attack Iran with a wide regional coalition of forces.
  10. Eliminate all center of Shia power in the Middle-East.

That was an ambitious plan, but the Israelis felt pretty confident that their US vassal-state would provide the resources needed to achieve it. And now this entire plan has collapsed due to the very high effectiveness of an informal but yet formidable alliance between Russia, Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

To say that the Israelis are seething with rage and in a state of total panic would be an understatement. You think I am exaggerating? Then look at it from the Israeli point of view:

  1. The Syrian state has survived and its armed and security forces are now far more capable than they were before the war started (remember how they *almost* lost the war initially? The Syrians had to bounce back, learn some very hard lessons, but by all reports they have made tremendous improvements and while at a critical moment Iran and Hezbollah were literally “plugging holes” in the Syrian frontlines and “extinguishing fires” on local flashpoints, now the Syrians are doing a very good job of liberating large chunks of their country, including every single city in Syria).
  2. Not only is Syria stronger, but the Iranians and Hezbollah are all over the country now which is driving the Israelis into a state of panic and rage.
  3. Lebanon is rock solid, even the latest Saudi attempt to kidnap Hariri is backfiring.
  4. Syria will remain unitary and Kurdistan is not happening. Millions of displaced refugees are returning home.
  5. Israel and the US look like total idiots and, even worse, as losers with no credibility left.

This is all a disaster for the AngloZionists who now are falling back to their typical attitude when met with resistance: if we can’t control it, then let’s destroy it.

The plan: force the US to attack Iran

The following is only my speculation and nothing more. I have no way of knowing what the Axis of Kindness (US-Israel-KSA) has come up with, but I feel that I can take an educated guess. For one thing, this is nothing new. The Saudis and the other Gulf states have in the past made noises about intervening in Syria and we know that the Saudis have intervened in Bahrain and Yemen. As for the Israelis, their record of (completely illegal) military interventions is so long that we can safely assume that the Israelis will be involved in *any* ugly or evil plan to lay the region to waste. The main problem for the Saudis and the Israelis is that they have bad armies. Expensive ones – yes. High-tech ones – yes. But their problem is that their only true area of expertise is massacring defenseless civilians, that they are real experts at. But in terms of real warfare, especially against truly formidable adversaries like the Iranians or Hezbollah, the “ZioWahabis” (what a combo!) don’t stand a chance and they know it (even if they never admit it). Imagine how frustrating that must be: you basically control the US which you have turned into a vassal-state, you spent billions and billions of dollars in equipping and training your bloated armed forces, but at the end of the day the Shias are just laughing in your face. And, for some reason you cannot fathom, every time you try to “teach them a lesson”, it is you who has to crawl back home in total shame to lick our wounds and try to hush up the magnitude of your defeat. That hurts, badly. So a plan to make the Shias pay for it had to be concocted. Here is what I think it will be.

First, the goal will not be to defeat Hezbollah or Iran anywhere. For all their racist rhetoric and hubris, the Israelis know that neither they nor, even less so, the Saudis have what it would take to seriously threaten Iran, or even Hezbollah. But their plan is, I think, much cruder: to trigger a serious conflict and then force the US to intervene.

I have written many articles explaining that the US military does not have the means to win a war against Iran. And that might be the problem here: the US commanders know full well that and they are therefore doing whatever it takes to tell the Neocons “can’t do, so sorry!” (that is the only reason why a US attack on Iran has not happened yet). From an Israeli point of view, this is totally unacceptable and the solution is simple: simple force the US into a war they really don’t want. After all, who cares how many US goyim will die? As for the Iranians, the goal of a Israeli-triggered US attack on Iran would not be to defeat Iran, but only to hurt it, very very badly. That is the real goal. As far as the Israelis are concerned, not only don’t they give a damn about how many non-Jews will die (Judaic ethics teach that all non-Jews are most likely deserving to die anyway) as long as their Master Race benefits from it. Simply put: to them we are only tools, tools capable of thought, but tools nonetheless. That is also how Neocons view us, of course. In fact, I can just about imagine the glee of the Israelis seeing that the Shia and Sunni Muslims are killing each other. Throwing in a few Christians only makes it even better.

So it’s all simple: have the Saudis attack Lebanon and/or Iran, observe how they lose, then switch on the propaganda machine at full power and explain to the average TV-watching goy that Iran is a threat to the region and the aggressor here, that the Saudis are only defending themselves from Iranian aggression. And if that is not enough, they scream “oy gevalt!” in the US Congress and have the prostitutes on the Hill explain to the American people that the US must “lead the Free World” to “defend” the “only democracy in the Middle-East” against Iranian “aggression” and that the US have a “responsibility” to prevent the Iranians of “seizing the Saudi oil fields” etc. etc. etc.

It’s a win-win situation for the Israelis as long as there are not caught red-handed manipulating it all. But we can count on our beloved Ziomedia to make sure that no such “anti-Semitic” accusations are ever made, even if Israeli fingerprints are all over the place.

Moon of Alabama has just posted an interesting article entitled “Revealed – Saudis Plan To Give Up Palestine – For War On Iran” which seems plausible to me and which further corroborates my thesis that the goal is to get the US to attack Iran. Of course, the very notion that the Saudis could give up Palestine implies two outright outlandish notions: first, that the KSA has not already sold out the Palestinians many times over and, second, that the Saudis could somehow “deliver” Palestine to the Zionist Entity. Still, I recommend the reading of this article which contains a lot of very interesting revelations about the true nature and intentions of the Saudis regime.

As for the Israelis, they are offering to share intelligence (read: targeting data) with the Saudis. How touching it is to see these two medieval, backward and generally evil regimes are so willing to work together. At least they are both now showing their true, ugly, faces!

The counter-plan

The Iranians really have no good options here. The least bad option is to do what Putin is doing in the Donbass: remain externally passive at the risk of having the not too gifted accuse you of caving in. Regardless, if your enemy’s plan is not to win, but to lose, then refusing to engage him makes perfectly good sense, at least on the strategic level and temporarily.

I am not suggesting that the Iranians not fight back on a tactical level. Even the Russian Task Force in Syria has official orders to defend itself if attacked. I am talking at a strategic level. Basically, tempting as it might be, the Iranians have to refrain from striking back at Saudi Arabia or itself. Ditto for Israel. In a paradoxical way, Iran cannot do what Hezbollah did in 2006 and the reason for that is very simple: by the time the first Hezbollah missiles began raining down on Israel the Israelis had already reached their highest level of escalation (their usual vicious campaign to make civilians pay). But in the case of Iran, the AngloZionist Empire could step up the level of violence way beyond what the Israelis and the Saudis could ever do by themselves. The combined power of Israel and the Saudis is dwarfed by the kind of firepower the US (CENTCOM+NATO) could unleash against Iran and it is therefore crucial that the Iranians not give the US Americans any pretext to officially join the attack. Instead of destroying the regime in Riyadh the Iranians should let, or even help, the regime in Riyadh destroy itself. I think that the Saudis have even less staying power than the US or the Israelis, so there is no need to force a rapid outcome of any war between Iran and the KSA.

Needless to say, if the AngloZionist Empire joins in and unleashes its full military might against Iran, something which I consider a very real possibility, then all bets are off and Iran should, and will, retaliate with a full set of symmetrical and asymmetrical responses, including strikes against Israel and the Saudis, and even strikes against CENTCOM bases in the entire region. However, such a situation would have catastrophic consequences for Iran and should therefore be avoided if at all possible.

At the end of the day the best hope the world has is that a US American patriot will see through this rather obvious plot to “wag the dog” and tell the ZioWahabis “not on my watch” like Admiral Fallon did in 2007 (will that honorable man ever get the historical recognition he deserves, say a Nobel Peace Prize? Possibly never in this world, but in the judgment of God he shall be called a “son of God” (Matt 5:9)). By themselves the Israelis and the Saudi are just a gang of medieval thugs which even Hezbollah can terrify and force to run. Their only real power is the power they have in Congress and the US Ziomedia: the power of corruption, the ability to lie, deceive and betray. I know for a fact that there are many US officers on all levels in the US armed forces which see straight through these Zionist smokescreen and whose loyalty is to the United State and not to the nasty little Zionist Entity in Palestine. I have studied and worked with such patriots and there are plenty of them in the Saker Community today. I am not suggesting that we should count on top US commanders refusing to execute a Presidential order (like this article is suggesting). The truth is that anybody who has served in the military, especially at a high command level (Pentagon, CENTCOM), knows that there are all sorts of creative ways to make sure that something does not happen. Finally, I have not lost all hope that Trump could do the right thing. Yes, he is a weak man, yes, he is now cornered and has no allies left, but when faced with the horrendous consequences of a attack on Iran he still might say “no” and order his staff to come up with some other plan. Trump might also realize that refusing to wage war on Iran would be his best revenge against those who have smeared him and who are now apparently trying to impeach him.

Conclusion: will the attack happen?

In short, probably yes. The simple truth is that the nutcase regimes in power in Israel and Saudi Arabia are cornered and desperate. The rise in power of Iran over the past decade has been immense and irresistible. The recent failure of the ZioWahabis to bring even tiny Qatar to heel is indicative of the tremendous erosion in power and credibility these wacko regimes have suffered. I believe that the recent trips by Bibi Netanyahu and even the Saudi King to Moscow are all part of an effort on the part of the ZioWhabis to gauge the Russian response to an attack on Iran.

[Sidebar: While we will never know what was said behind closed doors, my guess is that Putin indicated in clear terms to the ZioWahabis that Russia will not step aside and let them strike at Iran. In truth, Russia has very limited options. Unless Russian personnel are directly attacked, Russia cannot just go to war in a overt and formal way, that would be way too dangerous, especially against the US. But Russia could immensely (and very rapidly) strengthen Iranian air defense capabilities by deploying her aircraft (A-50, MiG-31s, in Iran or even by flying them in from Russia to conduct surveillance flights. Russia can provide the Iranians with intelligence far beyond anything the Iranians could collect themselves. Likewise, the Russians could quietly deploy some of their electronic warfare systems to key locations in Iran. The US Americans would rapidly detect all this, but Russia would still have a “plausible deniability” on a political level. Finally, the Russians could do for Iran what they have done for Syria and integrate all the Iranian and Russian air defense capabilities into a single network thereby immensely improving the capabilities of the currently rather modest, but rapidly improving, Iranian air defense capabilities.]

At this moment in time it is pretty clear that an attack on Iran is being prepared and such an attack is possible or even likely. But it is not a done deal yet. For one thing the Saudis and Israelis have a long history of empty threats and both regimes love posturing and grandstanding. And for all their bravado they do realize that Iran is a formidable and very sophisticated adversary. They probably also remember what happened when the Iraqis, with the full help and support from the US, the Soviet Union, France, Britain and pretty much everybody else attacked Iran when Iran was at its weakest. Following a long and horrible war, the Iranians are now stronger than ever, Saddam is dead and the Iranians are more or less in control of Iraq. Iran is simply not a good country to attack, especially with a lack of a clear vision of what “victory” constitutes. So you ought to be crazy to attack Iran. The problem is, of course, that the Saudis and the Israelis are crazy, they have proved that many times over. So our best hopes is that they might be just “crazy”, but not “that crazy”. Not much of a hope, but that’s the best we got.

US Received No Permission from the UN to Intervene in Syria Despite Their False Claim. Russian Foreign Ministry

Source

By Paul Antonopoulos

The United States received no permission from the United Nations to intervene in Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

“We were surprised to hear a statement made by US Defense Secretary James Mattis when talking to the US media representatives on November 13 that the US Armed Forces are in Syria “with the permission of the UN,”” Zakharova said.

Her comments were made on Monday after Secretary of Defense James Mattis said that Washington’s intervention in Syria had been approved by the United Nations.

“I want to remind you that the Security Council is the only body under the UN Charter that is entitled to take decisions on using military force in the international community,” she said, adding that no such decision has been taken. “The US units are there in disregard of the country’s legitimate government in fact acting as occupants,” the diplomat stressed.

Zakharova emphasized that the US tries to “withhold part of Syrian territory.”

“The task, which is again seen as part of this approach, is to achieve the necessary result of settlement by force,” she said.

“We are very concerned by the US attempts to settle in someone’s house while they apparently do not bring peace and calm to that house. We hope that the US will still formulate its fair and legal position on the issue of its presence in Syria, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier said,” Zakharova said.

This follows on from an earlier report by FRN of Jim Jatras, a former US diplomat and adviser to Senate Republic leadership, who also said Washington is violating international law by intervening in Syria following on from Mattis’ false claims.

Featured image is from the author.

Breaking: Lebanon considers Saad Hariri detained in Saudi Arabia – Aoun

 

BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:30 A.M.) – Lebanese President Michel ‘Aoun stated on Wednesday that his government considers former Prime Minister Saad Hariri detained in Saudi Arabia because he hasn’t returned in 12 days.‘Aoun added that Hariri’s detainment is a violation of the Vienna Convention and an act of aggression towards Lebanon.

Saad Hariri recently tweeted he is returning to Lebanon in two days after an Iranian official also accused Saudi Arabia of holding him against his will.

 

Hariri maintains he is simply a guest in Saudi Arabia and that he is not under any kind of arrest.

Saudi Goes Ahead with Hariri’s Farce

November 15, 2017

Hariri Rahi

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who is believed to be held by Saudi authorities in Riyadh, met Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi on Tuesday and announced that he will return to Lebanon in the coming days.

As Hariri and Rahi met in Raiyadh, journalists were barred from covering the meeting in a move seen by many observers that raises doubts over the “freedom” which Hariri enjoys in the Gulf Kingdom.

Separately, it was announced on Hariri’s Twitter account that he will return back to Lebanon within days.

“Guys, I am perfectly fine, and God willing I will return in the coming days. Let’s calm down,” a tweet on the Lebanese premier’s Twitter account said.

However, Hariri’s family will stay in Saudi Arabia, according to the Tweet.

On November 4, Hariri resigned in a surprise announcement from Riyadh. International, Arab and local media then reported that Hariri was forced by Saudi Arabia to do so, in a move aimed at toppling the Lebanese government. Media also reported that Hariri has been under house arrest in Riyadh.

On Sunday (November 12), Hariri appeared in an interview. As the move was aimed at denying reports’ that Hariri has been held, it raises more questions about his situation in Saudi Arabia. The Lebanese premier appeared to be exhausted and concerned during the interview.

Shortly before the interview, President Michel Aoun, who refused so far to accept Harrir’s resignation, stressing that the ambiguity of his situation makes all what he has states unreliable.

Source: Al-Manar

عون: الحريري محتجز في السعودية ونعتبر ذلك عملاً عدائياً ضدّ لبنان

عون يعتبر احتجاز الحريري في السعودية عملاً عدائياً ضدّ لبنان ويعلن استعداد بلاده البحثَ في أسباب الاستقالة مشترطاً عدم المس بالسيادة اللبنانية.

عون: مستعدون للبحث باسباب استقالة الحريري بشرط ألا تمس بالسيادة اللبنانية

أكد الرئيس اللبناني العماد ميشال عون أنّ رئيس مجلس الوزراء اللبناني سعد الحريري “محتجز” في السعودية، معتبراً ذلك “عملاً عدائياً” ضدّ لبنان.

كلام عون جاء أمام وفد من المجلس الوطني للإعلام، حيث أوضح أنّ ما حصل مع الحريري يعدّ “انتهاكاً لحقوق الإنسان.. لا يمكننا إطالة الانتظار وخسارة الوقت، إذ لا يمكن إيقاف شؤون الدولة”.

ورفض الرئيس اللبناني التبرير لعدم عودة الحريري، مضيفاً ” لا شيء يبرر عدم عودة الحريري بعد مضي 12 يوماً..نعتبره موقوفاً ومحتجزاً بما يخالف اتفاقية فيينا وشرعة حقوق الإنسان”.

وبحسب عون فإنّه لا يمكن البتّ باستقالة الحريري التي قُدّمت من الخارج مطالباً بعودة رئيس مجلس الوزراءلتقديم استقالته أو للرجوع عنها أو لبحث أسبابها وسبل معالجتها.

وكان الحريري أعلن في مقابلة له من الرياض الأحد الماضي أنه سيعود إلى لبنان قريباً جداً “خلال يومين أو ثلاثة” لتأكيد استقالته طبقاً للدستور، موضحاً أنه سيحاور رئيس الجمهورية ميشال عون وكل الفرقاء بعد عودته إلى البلاد “بشأن كيفية إتمام التسوية”، ملمّحاً إلى إمكانية التراجع عن استقالته بشرط “احترام النأي بالنفس”.

الرئيس عون: لا شيء يبرر عدم عودة الرئيس الحريري بعد مضي ١٢ يوماً. وعليه نعتبره محتجزا وموقوفا، ما يخالف اتفاقية فيينا وشرعة حقوق الانسان

 وعرض عون إمكانية البحث في أسباب استقالة الحريري مشترطاً “عدم المس بالسيادة اللبنانية”، متعهداً بأن يقوم لبنان بكل ما يتوجب عليه للمطالبة بالإفراج عن الحريري والتواصل مع الدول العربية والغربية لأجل ذلك.

وحول تأثير “إعلان استقالة” الحريري من السعودية على الأوضاع في لبنان، قال الرئيس اللبناني “الوحدة الوطنية هي المدخل الفعلي للاستقرار ولا خوف على السوق المالية والوضع أكثر من جيد”.

وطمأن عون اللبنانيين بالقول “لا تخافوا لا اقتصادياً ولا مالياً ولا أمنياً”.

الرئيس عون: لا تخافوا، لا اقتصادياً ولا مالياً ولا أمنياً، البلد آمن والسوق المالية تعمل كما يجب، والوحدة الوطنية صمام الأمان

 المصدر : رئاسة الجمهورية اللبنانية

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