Saudi Crackdown: Three Prominent Scholars to Be Executed after Ramadan

By Staff, Agencies

In the course of the ruthless Saudi crackdown led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against Muslim preachers and intellectuals, the kingdom’s officials are reportedly set to sentence three imprisoned dissident scholars to death and execute them shortly after the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The London-based Middle East Eye news website, citing two unnamed Saudi government sources, reported on Tuesday that the three men are Sheikh Salman al-Ouda, Sheikh Awad al-Qarni and Ali al-Omari.

Ouda is the assistant secretary-general of the International Union of Muslim Scholars, listed by the Riyadh regime as a ‘terrorist’ organization.

Saudi authorities detained the prominent cleric on September 7, 2017, and have held him in solitary confinement without charge or trial ever since. The officials have imposed travel bans on members of his family as well.

A family member told Human Rights Watch that the distinguished cleric was being held over his refusal to comply with an order by Saudi authorities to tweet a specific text to support the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.

Ouda, instead, posted a tweet, saying, “May God harmonize between their hearts for the good of their people,” – an apparent call for reconciliation between the Gulf littoral states.

Awda has been prevented from communicating with the outside world since October last year.

The trio is currently awaiting trial at the Special Criminal Court in the capital Riyadh. A hearing was set for May 1, but was postponed without setting a further date.

“They will not wait to execute these men once the death sentence has been passed,” a source said on condition of anonymity.

A second source, requesting not to be named, said the beheading of 37 Saudi nationals in a single day on April 23 was used as a trial balloon to see how strong the international condemnation was.

“When they found out there was very little international reaction, particularly at the level of governments and heads of state, they decided to proceed with their plan to execute figures who were prominent,” the source said.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up politically-motivated arrests, prosecution and conviction of peaceful dissident writers and human rights campaigners.

Saudi officials have also intensified crackdown in the country’s Shia-populated Eastern Province.

The province has been the scene of peaceful demonstrations since February 2011. Protesters have been demanding reforms, freedom of expression, the release of political prisoners, and an end to economic and religious discrimination against the oil-rich region.

They, however, have been met with a heavy-handed crackdown by the regime, with regime forces increasing security measures across the province.

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Story of a Martyr: Abbas Al-Hassan, the Man of Tolerance Saudi Arabia Couldn’t Tolerate

Zeinab Daher

One of the recently beheaded martyrs inside the Saudi Kingdom is Abbas Haji Ahmed al-Hassan. A Banker who had four children, was arrested from his family home, remained behind bars for over 6 years, and lost his life despite being well known for his tolerance. Instead, the regime accused him, like all other detainees, of ‘terrorism’-related charges.

The open-minded man was very tolerant to others of different viewpoints. He was raised on the Islamic value that finds the most honorable among people are those who are most pious.

His family narrated chapters of his life. They said he was open to relations with people from all sects. He used to participate in the gatherings of Sufis as well liberals. He was ready to discuss and argue with any other person. He was also having his religious studies in the Hawza. But because of his acceptance of others, he was always under the government’s supervision.

Martyr Abbas Al-Hassan was the Regional Manager of the Automated Support Unit at the Arab Bank, in addition to founding the Makarem Import and Export Establishment, and working with a touristic company whose activities include visiting the holy sites for religious, cultural and spiritual tourism when visiting the shrines of the Prophet’s household [PBUT]. The government didn’t like this, as it didn’t like all other martyrs’ activities.

His Makarem Establishment was founded in service of the Shia community and in support of holding the Imam Hussein memorial ceremonies. For that, he was firstly warned to write a pledge, but martyr Abbas didn’t accept that. So, he was detained on May 5th, among a group of the community’s elite who were all detained for unrelated crimes.

‘The martyr, who had never killed a mosquito, would never have harmed a person in his life,’ his wife stressed.

Storming the house

Abbas was brutally arrested as he tiredly returned home from work. He was planning to go with his family to perform Umrah. The moment he stepped out of his car walking towards the house, the investigations and raids groups arrested him, then told him to walk home.

He told them that they are arresting him without showing a warrant and without giving him a reason for that. “I don’t accept terrifying my children. You may only enter the house over my dead body.”

Abbas kept in mind that his wife might open the door without having the Abaya over her head. He rang the door, his son Mohammad opened the door, then told his mother that his dad is over there and some women are also with him.

The wife narrated that as she asked: “Who is there?” The martyr said Um Muhammad open the door, you are safe.

“I opened the door, the female inspector entered. She asked me: where is your children’s room? I asked her why? She said we are the police, we have some questions to ask your husband then we will leave. I didn’t believe what she said, but the moment we entered the children’s room, she brought the Abayas of my daughters Maria and Zahraa, and we saw more than 25 persons messing up everything at home. Then they asked him to sit in the hall.”

She further added:

“I told her: had you been the police, why there are all those people here and why they are dressed as civilian? You are from the investigations. Kindly don’t tell me lies again. I wanted to go to Abbas. Then a policeman put his gun and told me to sit. I sat down, then Abbas nodded his head to keep calm. I sat down until they finished messing up with the house. Then they took Abbas, and Maria caught her father’s clothes, Nasser held his leg… it was very painful. I remember it as if it was today. He told the children, my dearests let me leave…”

The martyr was accused of ‘spying for Iran, funding Imam Hussein memorial ceremonies, recruiting other people, and conducting researches for an ‘enemy’ channel, al-Alam News Channel,’ which was untrue and was hence sentenced to death, his wife stressed.

“We couldn’t visit him before two months and 16 days after his arrest. He was only able to call us for a few minutes. Over the period of investigation, he was not allowed to contact his lawyers or communicate with anyone. When we visited him for the first time, it was very clear that he had been tortured. We were only allowed to visit him twice a month. The first visit was for close family members that include his brothers and sisters, children, wife and parents only; and the second visit is specified for the wife only. As for phone calls, he was allowed to only make one call per week, with a maximum duration of 10 minutes, which is also limited with the close relatives.”

It is a matter of fact that over the five years that preceded arresting Abbas, the Shia community, particularly in Jeddah, was heavily targeted and weakened.

The man was trying to recover his economic situation to contribute to helping the needy and poor families. It is also a fact that the Shia community doesn’t receive any governmental support. The Makarem project he established was intended to improve his income and hence can stop depending on his job to support the Shia community. This was one of the issues the Saudi regime didn’t accept.

He had a joint job with Martyr Sheikh Mohammed al-Attiyah to spread awareness and culture among the Shia community, not to mention that the memorial ceremonies they held for the sake of Imam Hussein [AS] were open to and attended by all sects. Those participants had never had any problem in this, they rather welcomed being part of it.

Family members

The martyr left behind a bereaved wife and four children to take care of. The eldest among them, Mohammad, was only 14 when his father was arrested. Then came Maria (12), Nasser (9) and the youngest was Zahraa, who was less than 6 years at the time.

The last visit

His wife said that she last visited him the Sunday before the execution. “We agreed to schedule another visit for after two weeks. He was asking me about the children. They didn’t inform us. We didn’t even have a chance to bid them farewell.”

Learning the bad news

The wife said the family has learned the news from social media: “At around 14:45, the news started circulating on Twitter, and this is how we were informed about it. We didn’t believe it! It took us several hours to comprehend it. But “There is no power or strength save in Allah.”

All families of martyrs were threatened by the government not to speak up for their sufferings.

Years in prison

The martyr spent almost seven years behind bars. The overall duration was very hard to spend. He was tortured, his rights were violated and he was interrogated even after the regular duration of interrogation was done. Two years of his imprisonment were spent in Riyadh. As the interrogation started, all kinds of violations and humiliation were practiced against him. Their imprisonment in Riyadh was a tragedy for him and for us. Even the visits didn’t take place easily. There was intended humiliation for the Shia community.

When they divided the group of detained elite, a part of them was taken to the notorious al-Dammam General Investigations Prison, another part remained in Riyadh, and a group was take to the Thahban Prison in Jeddah. They abused them. Even the trials were unjust and unfair. Even their lawyers couldn’t attend their trials. Visits were marred by restrictions, sometimes harassment by some officers, long wait, and extreme nervousness. But now he has been raised as a martyr, Thanks God.

ISIL’s Baghdadi Refers to Syria Defeat in First Video in Five Years

AlManar

April 30, 2019

ISIL Leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

The ISIL Takfiri group’s elusive supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi made his first purported appearance in five years in a propaganda video released Monday, acknowledging ISIL’s defeat in the Syrian town of Baghouz while threatening “revenge” attacks.

The world’s most wanted man was last seen in Mosul in 2014, announcing the birth of ISIL’s “caliphate” across swathes of Iraq and Syria, and appears to have outlived the proto-state.

In the video released by ISIL’s Al-Furqan media arm, the man said to be Baghdadi referred to the months-long fight for ISIL’s final redoubt Baghouz, which ended in March.

“The battle for Baghouz is over,” he said, sitting cross-legged on a cushion and addressing three men whose faces have been blurred.

He referred to a string of ISIL defeats, including its onetime Iraqi capital Mosul and Sirte in Libya, but insisted the Takfiri terrorists had not “surrendered” territory.

“God ordered us to wage ‘jihad.’ He did not order us to win,” he said.

In a segment in which the man is not on camera, his voice described the April 21 Easter attacks in Sri Lanka, which killed 253 people and wounded nearly 500, as “vengeance for their brothers in Baghouz.”

The man insisted ISIL’s operations against the West were part of a “long battle,” and that the Takfiri group would continue to “take revenge” for members who had been killed.

“There will be more to come after this battle,” he said.

On Monday ISIL terrorists claimed their first attack in Bangladesh in more than two years, saying they had “detonated an explosive device” on a group of police in Dhaka, wounding three officers, the SITE Intelligence Group reported.

Source: AFP

Saudis destabilizing Middle East, paying for US-Israeli crimes: Hezbollah official

Sun Apr 28, 2019 06:1

Sheikh Naim Qassim, the deputy secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement, speaks at a ceremony in the southern Lebanese town of Kfar Fila on April 28, 2019. (Photo via Twitter)

Sheikh Naim Qassim, the deputy secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement, speaks at a ceremony in the southern Lebanese town of Kfar Fila on April 28, 2019. (Photo via Twitter)

The deputy secretary general of Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement has described Saudi Arabia as the root cause of instability in the Middle East, stating that the incumbent regime in Riyadh is sponsoring fiendish US and Israeli crimes in the region.

“Saudi officials are paying for American-Zionist crimes from the pockets of poor and impoverished people among other walks of society in the kingdom. Saudi rulers have turned the country into the kingdom of evil. Saudi money rests behind all crises and problems in the region, besides the agents that are on the American-Israeli side,” Arabic-language al-Ahed news website quoted Sheikh Naim Qassim as saying at a ceremony in the southern Lebanese town of Kfar Fila on Sunday evening.

Qassim added that the ruling Saudi family is a sheer example of an oppressive and dictatorial regime, which practices all kinds of pressure and injustice under American orders to legitimize Arabs’ normalization of diplomatic relations with the Israeli regime, the so-called deal of the century that deprives Palestinians of their motherland and their future, in addition to aggression and occupation.

“Saudi Arabia committed a massacre by executing a number of its citizens without a fair trial and through false confessions. The individuals were charged only because of expressing their views and speaking truth. This is only part of the crimes the Al Saud regime, which has also killed (Shia cleric) Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr and (renowned journalist) Jamal Khashoggi, and destroyed life in Yemen for more than four years without being penalized,” the senior Hezbollah official pointed out.

“The Al Saud is the one who destroyed Syria, introduced (the radical ideology of) Wahhabism, dispatched al-Qaeda, Nusra and their terrorist allies to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East region, and provoked sectarian strife. They are the ones who are sabotaging Libya, Sudan and Algeria. This regime is preventing stability in the region,” Qassim commented.

He highlighted that Riyadh has the least respect for the standards of human rights and grossly distorts Islamic teachings.

مَن هو القاتلُ الحقيقي في السعودية؟

أبريل 25, 2019

د. وفيق إبراهيم

هذه دولةٌ قامت على الفتك بالمدنيين منذ تأسيسها في مطلع القرن الماضي بتغطية عسكرية مباشرة من البريطانيين الذين كانوا يحتلون شبه جزيرة العرب.

لقد توافرت لآل سعود بعد انتصارهم فرصة إنتاج مشروع دولة لديها وسائل إقناع اقتصادية النفط مع اسلام معتدل يرعى الحرمين الشريفين ومواسم الحج والعمرة المتواصلة.

لكنها آثرت التمسك بمنطلقات تأسيسها مجرد مجموعة قبلية مرتبطة بالمخابرات البريطانية فتكت بعشرات آلاف العرب من أبناء القبائل الأخرى من السنة والشيعة ومن دون تمييز، فكلّ من شعر آل سعود بخطره على مشروعهم أبادوه.

اسألوا القبائل من شمر وعنترة وطي وتميم وكلاب وغيرها، كيف هرب معظمها الى البلدان المجاورة هرباً من القتل السعودي البريطاني؟

لكن تحوّلهم دولة لم يؤدّ كما يُفترض الى تغيير في الممارسات.

التغيير الوحيد الذي حدث هو على مستوى تغطيتهم الدولية التي أصبحت أميركية منذ 1945، تنشر حماياتها السياسية والعسكرية على كامل جزيرة العرب، وخصوصاً مملكة آل سعود الأغنى نفطياً والأكثر تخلفاً من غيرها.

لذلك بنى آل سعود دولة منحوها اسم قبيلتهم مُقطعين مؤسّساتها السياسية الأساسية والوظائف الدبلوماسية والاقتصادية والإدارية الى أفراد عائلتهم أو من عائلات حليفة لهم، خصوصاً آل الشيخ أحفاد محمد بن عبد الوهاب مؤسّس المذهب الوهابي.

للإيضاح فقط فإنّ آل سعود على مستوى تأسيس مملكتهم هم نتاج تمازج الدور البريطاني الاستعماري وعشيرة آل سعود مع الحركة الوهابية المتطرفة التي بايعت آل سعود بشكل مطلق في السياسة وقيادة الدولة والاقتصاد.

منذ ذلك التاريخ أنتج السعوديون دولة ديكتاتورية تقوم على مفهوم «السمع والطاعة» مخترعين مجتمعاً غير قابل للتحرك بثلاث وسائل: القراءة الوهابية الداعية باسم الإسلام للانصياع لولي الأمر والقمع بالقتل وبتسميات ترقى الى العصور الأولى للإسلام التعزير والحرابة لكلّ من يطالب بحقوق الإنسان وإلغاء التمييز العنصري او ينتقد التسلط الديكتاتوري للدولة، أما الوسيلة الثالثة فهي الوفر الاقتصادي الهائل الناتج من ثروات نفطية خيالية، الذي يسمح حتى الآن بتوفير الحدّ الوسطي من المتطلبات الاقتصادية.

ولأنّ هذه العناصر غير كافية غطى الأميركيون هذه المعادلة السعودية مؤمّنين لها حماية من الخارج الإقليمي والدولي، وقواعد عسكرية في المنطقة لإجهاض أيّ تحرك داخلي.

فتحوّلت السعودية إلى «كهف مُكتفٍ» تسير أموره على نحو رتيب بتسليم قدري من المجتمع الداخلي الذي أصبح مُلِمّاً بعجزه عن إحداث أيّ تغيير لأنه قابل للإجهاض من قبل الأميركيين والجيش السعودي ذي الأصول الباكستانية والسودانية مع طبقة من قياديين من بريطانيا والولايات المتحدة.

هذا ما سمح لآل سعود باعتقال المجتمع، فمنعوه من التطوّر العلمي والصناعي جاعلين منه مثالاً على المجتمعات القرون أوسطية، فكرياً، فاستدام هذا الوضع على هذه القاعدة ولم يشُذ عنها، إلا بانتفاضة جهيمان العتيبي في السبعينيات الذي كان يحمل مشروع الوهابية القديمة التي ترفض ايّ اتصال بالأجنبي وتريد منع الأميركيين والغربيين ومجمل الأجانب من الإقامة في «الأرض الحرام»، كما كانوا يقولون.

واستلزم القضاء على هؤلاء مشاركة قوات أردنية وفرنسية وأميركية.

إلا أنّ نجاح الثورة في إيران في 1979 أصاب آل سعود بجنون الخوف على مملكتهم فخرجوا عن باطنيتهم مشاركين إلى جانب الاميركيين بمحاولة القضاء على ثورة الخميني مموّلين كلّ الحروب والحصار والمقاطعات التي تتعرّض لها حتى الآن.

بالتوازي واصلوا اعتقال المجتمع ممارسين قتلاً منهجياً بين المواطنين السنة والشيعة على السواء وسط تجاهل دولي لمجازرهم حتى أنّ أحداً لم يستنكر مذابحهم.

ومع تطوّر الصراع الأميركي الإيراني استعمل الحلف الأميركي السعودي الإسرائيلي أسلوب تأجيج الفتنة السنية الشيعية للمزيد من التضييق على الحركة الإيرانية في الإقليم مثيرين مناخاً مذهبياً على حساب تراجع الصراع مع «إسرائيل» ما منح السعوديين فرصة كافية لقمع دموي دائم ومتواصل استهدف المدنيين الشيعة في القطيف، ومن يعترض من السنة.

الملاحظة الأولى انّ الغطاء الاميركي الشامل حمى آل سعود من ايّ نقد دولي مع تلميع إعلامي بدا حريصاً على تقديمهم نموذجاً للدولة الإسلامية المروّجة للقيم الإنسانية وهي لا تعتقل إلا الإرهابيين المسيئين لتعاليم الدين او المجرمين.

الأميركيون سياسياً وإعلامياً ومعهم الأوروبيون غطوا هذا التلميع بشكل صارم وسط صمت صيني وروسي. ما عطل هذا المفهوم هي تلك الخلافات التي عصفت بالعلاقات بين الرئيس الاميركي الحالي ترامب والحزب الديمقراطي الأميركي المنافس له وبعض قوى أوروبا وتركيا، هؤلاء كمنوا لترامب عند حادثة اغتيال الإعلامي الخاشقجي من قبل مجموعة أمنية تابعة لولي العهد محمد بن سلمان، فشنّوا هجوماً مسعوراً على السعودية بهدف التصويب على ترامب وسياساته، أدّى هذا الوضع الى ولادة حذر سعودي في اقتراف مجازر داخلية لشعورهم بتراجع التغطية الأميركية.

وأخيراً عادت الحاجة الأميركية الماسّة إليهم في مسألة تعويض النقص المحتمل من النفط الإيراني بسبب الحصار الأميركي، فطرحت السعودية نفسها البديل المستعدّ للتعويض، وقامت فوراً بإعدام 37 سعودياً بينهم أربعة من داعش و33 مدنياً من الشيعة لم يفعلوا سوى المطالبة بالحقوق المدنية. ألا تدفع هذه الأمور الى السؤال عن هوية القاتل الفعلي لهؤلاء؟ السعودية هي اليد التي نفذت الإعدام، لكن صاحب الأمر هو الراعي الأميركي الذي يواصل ارتكاب المجازر في العالم والشرق الأوسط منذ 1945 مباشرة أو بواسطة أعوانه السعوديين و»الإسرائيليين».

Saudi Crackdown: Mother of 4 Detained from Shia Town since Two Weeks So Far

By Zeinab Daher

While the entire world decries Saudi Arabia’s notorious human rights record, the tyrant kingdom doesn’t make any effort to prove the opposite.

Two weeks ago, and still counting, the Saudi regime forces stormed the house of the Abdullah Abu Abdallah family in the town of Awamia, in the Shia-populated Qatif eastern province.

Without any earlier notice, Saudi forces broke through the house on February 7, 2019, and detained Ms. Mariam Ali Al-Qaysoum after damaging everything inside the house. They insulted residents of the house and hit them with rifle heels, then directed the rifles to the heads of children and women there.

Meanwhile, nothing has been heard so far from Ms. Mariam since the moment she was detained without charge. She just called her family a couple of days after being held, informing them that he was at the jail of the Saudi Secret Police Agency in Dammam.

Mariam is a mother of three boys and a girl. She is the sister-in-law of detained Saudi activists Mohammaed, Salem and Abbas, as well as martyr Ali Abu Abdallah.

MBS Peace Versus Pieces

Image result for Saudi agreement with American President Roosevelt

October 29, 2018

by Ghassan Kadi for The Saker Blog

Ever since Saudi Arabia signed its agreement with American President Roosevelt in February 1945, it never ever considered, or even contemplated to be outside the American sphere of influence and protection.

In my previous article https://thesaker.is/the-price-of-bin-salmans-head/ I elaborated on some of the personal issues that define the nature of the relationship that Saudi royals have with American lawmakers as men, not as politicians, not as allies, but simply as men trying to understand and deal with each other.

With all the dirt, greed, blood and guts, when one looks into the American-Saudi relationship from the outside, it’s clear that they are very different to each other and couldn’t have worked together successfully whether on good or nefarious projects. Neither of them had any good intentions toward the other or to the rest of the world; they deserved each other.

The Saudi-American marriage “was” at best a marriage of convenience, in which both parties looked at each other with the view of a one-stop-shop convenience store.

To the Saudis, the American one-stop-shop meant a customer with great thirst for oil, wealth to buy it with, and military might and determination to protect its flow.

To the Americans, the Saudi one-stop-shop meant a supplier of virtually endless supplies of a crucial commodity, one that is unable to stand on its own feet and dictate its terms, and one that will bend over and backwards to ensure continuity of sales for and protection.

The marriage was perhaps an epitome of pragmatism, though it was not often perceived as such.

But think about it, just look at the irony; an anti-democratic fundamentalist Muslim nation that sees all non-Muslims as infidels, signing the deal of the century with a nation that is secular, predominantly Christian and allegedly the protector of democracy.

But back in early 1945, pre-Hiroshima America was not technically a superpower yet, and Saudi Arabia was an insignificant and, by-and-large, an unknown kingdom to the rest of the world. Back then, the paradox was not as pronounced as it is now.

And even though by 1945 the Zionist Lobby was well and truly preparing for the creation of Israel, the American-Saudi deal would have gone ahead with or without any Israeli presence and role. It goes without saying though, that the creation of the state of Israel in 1948 has, among other things, created geopolitical turmoil which made it more pertinent for the Saudi-American marriage to withstand the ravages of time.

The marriage has lasted, and it’s not time for divorce, at least not yet, but perhaps the time has come for a serious revision; from both ends of the bargain.

If MBS hasn’t yet realized that the Americans can drop him personally like a hot potato, then he must be stupid. Indications are he is ruthless, arrogant, ambitious, megalomaniac, hasty, but stupid he is not.

The manner in which the Khashoggi episode has been manipulated by the media and the whole West is partly to be blamed on the Saudi state, and partly on MBS personally. And when Saudi FM Al-Jubair tries on several occasions to distance MBS from the story, he is actually expressing the biggest Saudi fear and inadvertently putting MBS in the centre court and line of fire.

Saudi Arabia is therefore facing two Western “attacks”; one that is general and centered on the whole regime and another that is centered on MBS himself. It is most hypocritical of the EU nations to suddenly consider enforcing an arms sales embargo on Saudi Arabia. The Khashoggi story did not have any impact on the war on Yemen. The suffering of the Yemeni people has been going on ever since the needless criminal war started. And although the current EU stand can go a long way in isolating Saudi Arabia and perhaps weakening its military ability, it has come, if it comes, too little too late, and for all the wrong reasons.

For MBS, he now has many confrontations to contend with. His money-grabbing November 2017, Ritz Hotel house arrest of his cousins has left him with very few supporters from within the Royal Family. He is the Crown Prince to a throne that no longer has a formal lineage for succession and, it doesn’t even now have a second-in-line to MBS. In essence, every descendant of founding King Abdul Aziz is eligible and there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of grandchildren.

His biggest domestic, or rather home battle therefore, is to make sure that the current impasse with America does not generate a strong contender for the throne, one that he is unable to set aside. And given that he has already been blemished by brutality after the Khashoggi drama, any stifling of royal dissent, even revolt, can easily be manipulated by the West again in a manner that portrays him as a new Saddam.

I have used the term “new Saddam” before, and we may need to get used to hearing it.

MBS will then have to tread very carefully with his cousins to ensure his position as Crown Prince is stable and unchallenged. Will he be able to do this? No one knows, especially if one of the challenging contenders suddenly receives bottomless Western support.

The other battle that MBS has to contend with is his diplomatic one with America and the rest of the West. The events of the last few weeks would have proven to him that without the façade of Western impunity, he is finished. He now knows that he doesn’t have a safe haven on the top of the hill with the big boys. And once again, he will have to pay America a price for his survival. He does not seem to have better choices.

But this situation is persuading him to scale down his reliance on America. However, when Saudi officials try to alarm America by making statements to the effect that they can buy Russian weapons instead of American ones, the American position becomes more resolute. Such ploys backfire on the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia cannot replace America with Russia, and for many reasons. If the Saudi-American marriage had its own ideological contradictions which both parties managed to overlook, a prospective Saudi-Russian marriage would have many more obstacles that would make it impossible to come to fruition; especially if Saudi Arabia demands the kind of military protection from Russia as it has demanded from the USA.

Saudi Arabia and Russia can engage in trade, sales of military hardware, etc., but they cannot and will not have a relationship that is akin to the Saudi-American marriage.

For starters, the two nations have never trusted each other, and they are not about to start doing this now. The support of Saudi Arabia to Jihadi fighters in Afghanistan in the early 1980’s and their continued support to Chechen terrorists are still fresh in the minds of Russians. After all, it was only five years ago that Prince Bandar Bin Sultan threatened President Putin with restarting the Chechen war if Putin did not support him in Syria.

And unlike the hypocritical West, Russia would not tolerate Saudi-sponsored fundamentalist religious schools to be spawned all over the Russian landscape.

And let us not forget that Russia does not need Saudi oil like America did, and if anything, to this effect, the two nations are competitors.

Knowing that flagging snuggling up with Russia made MBS’s impasse with America even worse, he seems to be taking a slightly different interim approach based on creating a situation that reduces his immediate need for America’s support, without having to go to bed with its mortal enemies.

An “allegedly” Pakistani initiative has been launched in an attempt to end the war in Yemen https://timesofislamabad.com/27-Oct-2018/yemeni-houthi-rebels-responds-to-pakistan-offer-and-stance-over-yemen-peace-talks .Whilst any attempt to end the war on Yemen is welcome news, the timing of such an initiative now draws suspicion.

Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have a special and strong relationship despite some serious hiccups in the past. It is alleged that Saudi Arabia has contributed largely towards the development costs of the Pakistani A-Bomb, and in return, it expected to be supplied with A-Bombs, but Pakistan refused. And even though Pakistan also later on reneged on its promise to support the Saudi war on Yemen, neither Pakistan nor Saudi Arabia make any public negative statements about each other. In more ways than one, Saudi Arabia does not want bad blood with the only predominantly Sunni Muslim nation with nuclear arms, and Pakistan does not want bad blood with the richest Sunni nation either.

It is possible, in fact highly likely, that MBS whispered into Pakistani PM, Imran Khan’s ear, to launch the initiative of peace with Yemen. Thus far, the Yemenis have welcomed it (see reference above), and they cannot be blamed. They are suffering a huge humanitarian catastrophe that the world does not want to know about. As yet, there hasn’t been an official Saudi comment, and this implies acceptance. Had this “initiative” been made at a time when the war was winnable or had MBS personally not been under such enormous pressure, the Saudis would have immediately rejected it outright.

If MBS manages to end the War on Yemen, he will be setting aside one huge problem, and without a battle raging, his need for Western weapons would not be as critical as it is right now. Such a move would also preclude his immediate need for Russian weapons to replace American weapons with.

It seems that MBS has finally come to the realization that he is trying to bite off more than he can chew. But ultimately, unless he de-escalates his stand against Iran, he will remain under American stranglehold. On the other hand, if he indeed manages to find a face-saving exit from Yemen and also finds a way to manage less hostile relationships with Iran, he would be putting himself in the cross fire of America and Israel which he is trying hard to normalize relationships with.

Whilst contemplating all options available, MBS must see himself in the position of a dead man walking; with the choice of method of his own execution.

If he holds his ground against America, America can tighten the noose and suspend the arms supplies that he desperately needs for his war in Yemen. His Kingdom of Sand is a country that has a military budget exceeding that of Russia’s, but is unable to manufacture even bullets. Everything is imported, and if the war runs out of ammunition, MBS will have to beg other nations to supply him. This carries the potential risk of having the Houthis encroaching on Riyadh itself. But America can choose another course. With many Saudi princes begrudging MBS and harbouring strong vendettas against him, America can sponsor and support a rival prince who can challenge MBS for the position of Crown Prince. America can even sponsor a number of would-be contenders to the throne instead of just one, and thereby creating a fertile ground for a civil war that lures in other rival factions and not only necessarily royals. This can generate a state of chaos similar to what we now see in Libya. A civil war of this nature can go on for years with no clear winners. Such chaos, however, will not necessarily disrupt the flow of oil because its geographical theater will be centered around the precincts of the royals and their palaces around Riyadh and Jeddah, far away from the oil fields in the Eastern Province.

Knowing Americans and, judging by their history, they may opt to incite strife and prince-vs-prince rivalry. And even if the instability expands to the Eastern Province, the USA can always find a way to enact some resolution or another to put its hands on the oil fields as a measure of “national security”.

Unless MBS magically and miraculously finds a way out, he may have to choose between peace with his cousins plus, much to his dismay, peace with his regional enemies and rivals, or face the prospect of seeing his kingdom sliced into pieces. On the other hand, if MBS gives in to America’s demands, he may be able to keep his head and throne, but he will end up with an empty wallet and oil fields with title deeds in the name of the US Federal Reserve. Painful as it may sound, it is perhaps his only way out of this mess.

It’s a tough one for MBS. He is in a damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don’t situation, but in reality, he only has himself to blame. He and his evil predecessors have a long history of cruelty, arrogance, criminality and creating mayhem. Karma is catching up with them, and they deserve what they get.

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