Iran…..The World’s Biggest Exporter of Terrorism?

By Prof. Anthony Hall

Source

Reflections on Global Geopolitics, on an Iranian Conference in Beirut, and on a Canadian Federal Election

Tony and New Horizon in Black and White a8f76

I was out of the country for two weeks during the opening phase of the political contest that will culminate in a Canadian national election on October 21. In late September I took part in a controversial conference in Beirut Lebanon. Since ancient times Beirut has been a pivotal city in the strategic zone on the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea where Asia, Africa and Europe converge. Beirut has been dramatically rebuilt in an atmosphere of relative stability over recent years, but especially since the turning back of the Israeli invasion of southern Lebanon in 2006.

The conference was organized by the Iran-based New Horizon organization. My time with the distinguished members of the international group assembled in Lebanon has helped me to see more clearly some of the core issues in the rapidly changing configurations of global geopolitics. It has also helped me to appreciate better the nature of problems closer to my Canadian home.

Looking outward from the perspective of the Beirut conference I have garnered many new insights on a variety of issues. In particular, I gained fuller appreciation of the problems plaguing the vitality of public discourse in my own North American country. I have had to face a heightened appreciation of the stunted and parochial character of public discourse in Canada even during a national election campaign. It seems there is a dearth of thoughtful commentary emerging to address the possibility of new roles for Canada in rapidly changing configurations of global power. It seems there is little willingness to consider the possibility of a dramatic reshaping of the political, economic, cultural and military interactions that help define Canada’s place in the global community of communities.

I found Lebanon to be an environment much more conducive than Canada to the exercise of free speech. The discussions in which I took part in Lebanon helped confirm for me the tight censorship of permissible public discourse in Canadian institutions these days. The formal and informal censorship extends to harsh repression of thought, discussion and publication in, for instance, agencies of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian universities and the core institutions in our failing parliamentary democracy.

Tony and Lebanese Flag 3c4af

The pattern is not unique to Canada. The repression of public discourse is fast reaching crisis proportions throughout the Occident. The clampdown of free speech is manifest especially in the rush by powerful political lobbies to censor the Internet.

Much of the rush to control the Internet’s content and search mechanisms is going forward in the name of a seemingly benevolent opposition to “hate speech.” It is important to bring skeptical eyes to appreciate the true priorities of arbitrarily-appointed censors who claim the want to wrestle “hate speech” into insignificance. It seems the ill-conceived war on terror is giving rise to a similarly ill-conceived war on hate speech.

In far too many cases the zeal by elites to decide what people can read, watch and hear on the Internet is being carried out in the name of a censorious war on hate speech. In the final analysis, the zeal to filter, constrain and reconfigure the Internet’s content and motifs of digital interaction is tightly aligned with the self-serving agendas of some of society’s most ruthless power brokers.

The Yemeni Connection to the New Horizon Conference of 2019 in Beirut

As the New Horizon conference got going, one of the delegates shared with us early news about the startling events taking place inside the southern boundary of Saudi Arabia around the town of Narjan. Assan Al-Emad, a Yemeni leader, shared with the attendees at the Beirut conference insights and information that, to the best of my knowledge, has been sparse and misleading in the zealously policed content of the Occident’s mainstream media.

Even before the circulation of some international reports about the military breakthrough being executed by the Yemeni army together with the organized Houthi resistance, Mr. Al-Emad shared with the conference delegates a running commentary on the remarkable news emerging from his home region. The new developments had as their background the Saudi Arabian military assault beginning in 2015 on the civilian population of its Yemen in the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula. Part of that aggressive warfare has involved the Saudi attempt to blockade all Yemeni land, air, and seaports in order to starve the indigenous population into submission.

The Saudi war is directed at returning Yemen to the status of a subordinate satellite of the world’s wealthiest and notorious Petro tyranny. The Saudi attempt to obliterate the vital infrastructure supporting the lives of the Yemen civilian population is backed by a large coalition of Occidental and Arab powers. These powers include Canada, Israel, the United States, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.

In recent years the Saudi assault on Yemen has been widely recognized as the basis of the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. The invasion has directly affected about 80% of Yemen’s 24 million people where starvation in running rife. As a high-level UNICEF official put it, “Yemen has become today a living hell for children…. with 400,000 children suffering acute malnutrition.”

Those engaged in the Yemeni resistance to Saudi Arabia’s assault on their country began in the summer of 2019 to demonstrate increasingly sophisticated forms of self-defense especially through the deployment of unmanned aerial vehicles including drones. In mid-September this strategy of targeting Saudi installations in the cause of undermining the strength of the imperial predator extended to hitting oil-producing and oil-refining installations of the Saudi corporate giant, Aramco.

As the New Horizon delegates learned in Beirut, the Yemeni resistance forces followed up this action in late September by capturing about 2,000 Saudi officers and their mercenary soldiers who hail from many locations including Sudan, Pakistan, and Iraq. The Yemeni resistance also captured hundreds of Saudi military vehicles including some light armored vehicles made in Ontario by a Canadian-based unit of General Dynamics.

The turnaround in the military balance of power in the Arabian Peninsula in September of 2019 has many global implications. There is no doubt this turnaround is a game-changer with many far-reaching implications. The Yemeni resistance demonstrates that the world’s biggest importer of armaments emanating mostly from the United States cannot repel a concerted attack on the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces within Saudi territory. The attack comes from highly-skilled fighting units hailing mostly from one of the poorest and most aggressively assaulted countries in the world.

In 1945 Saudi Arabia was effectively taken over by the United States and its oil and gas sector. The USA claimed the lion’s share of Arabia’s fossil fuel wealth as one of the main fruits of victory for intervening to help shift the balance of power towards the allies in the Second World War. The family of Ibn Saud was entrusted to play the role of custodian of the massive Saudi oil fields largely on behalf of the emerging US superpower with its imperial headquarters in the Pentagon.

Now in 2019, the balance of world power is shifting again, this time to the disadvantage of the United States. The drone attacks on Aramco followed by the humiliation of the Saudi Armed Forces captured en masse in their own territory demonstrates once again that the Saudi royal dynasty is in dire trouble. The monarchical system of Saudi Arabia does not serve the largest majority of its own people. Nor is Saudi Arabia capable of carrying on the protection for the Zio-American empire of one of the world’s primary caches of the black gold that fuels this extended era of dirty industrialization.

The royal dynasty established by Ibn Saud with British and then US-backing is showing itself to have been outmaneuvered and outsmarted by poor but determined regional enemies. These enemies have been generated over several generations through the now-legendary ineptitude of corrupt Saudi leadership that is widely resented by millions both inside and outside the petrodollar’s heartland.

The absurd dependence of the Occident on the Wahabi Kingdom run by mentally-unstable billionaire princes is becoming increasingly obvious. The Kingdom’s vulnerability to the growing sophistication of the Yemeni resistance exposes many of the internal contradictions plaguing the corrupt constitution of the most zealous drivers of imperial globalization.

The logistical sophistication embodied in the victories of the Yemeni resistance should not be underestimated. The operation demonstrates that the Yemeni resistance has much support within Saudi Arabia. The resistance has agents and collaborators inside the Saudi Kingdom that are obviously ready, willing and able to supply vital intelligence of developments on the ground.

Among the many elements of the victory by the Yemeni resistance is the shutting down of Jizan airport and the targeting of nearby Saudi bases so that reinforcements could not be sent into battle. A particularly bold maneuver was aimed at sidelining Apache helicopters parked at King Khalid International Airport near Riyadh. The Yemeni resistance deployed missiles, drones and anti-aircraft systems to prevent Saudis from supporting their troops in the air. They used various electronic jamming devices to disrupt Saudi systems of command and control.  Yemeni resistance demonstrated its ability to blind the expensive Patriot radar system sold to the Saudis at great expense by US war profiteers.

Why are the startling developments in the Arabian Peninsula not generating significant political discussion here in Canada during our federal election? Can it even be said that there is sufficient objective reporting reaching the heavily censored airwaves and print reporting in the Occident to enable even a modicum of informed commentary on the recent developments? What obstructions are being put in the way of wider recognition that the balance of power in the Arabian Peninsula and in global geopolitics is being inalterably affected by dramatic turnarounds in a very significant theatre of military conflict?

In spite of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s war of words with the Saudi government, Canada maintains extremely close relations with the leadership and business sector of the Saudi Kingdom. This close relationship goes back at least to 1984 when the Saudi plutocrat, Adnan Kashoggi, met in Toronto with top officials of the then-ruling Ontario government of Bill Davis. In those days this Saudi “playboy” and “arm’s merchant” was often billed as the world’s richest man.

Until he was offered up as a fall guy in the Iran-Contra scandal based on the discovery of a covert supply line largely running largely through Canada, the late Jamal Khashoggi’s uncle, Adnan, was an ideal candidate for star coverage. Adnan Khashoggi’s ostentatious lifestyle perfectly fit the dominant plotline of the hit TV series, “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.”

Khashoggi’s close partner was Peter Munk who some have described as an agent charged to advance the financial interests of Canada’s Bronfman family dynasty. Khashoggi and Munk teamed up in Toronto with the aim of preparing a public offering of Barrick Gold shares. The history of Barrick Gold in Canada is deeply intertwined with the rising importance of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. The Barrick Gold Company has been used as a primary commercial base for the Conservative and Republican parties of former Canadian Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, and former US President, George H.W. Bush.

On the other side of Canada’s main electoral rivalry is the large international engineering firm, SNC-Lavalin. This corporate entity has been fashioned as one of the primary commercial platforms cultivated as a base of operations for the Liberal Party of Canada. The covert merger of public and private interests in the corporatocracy embodied by the international operations of SNC has been an important pillar in the rise of the Trudeau family dynasty.

The changing situation in Saudi Arabia is deeply integrated into the substance of the SNC-Lavalin fiasco, a complex scandal that has created a significant political problem menacing Justin Trudeau’s quest for re-election. Canada’s SNC scandal has some of its major roots in the company’s efforts to gain multiple engineering contracts in Libya through wholesale bribery of the Gaddafi family, but especially Muammar’s son, Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi.

The scandal swirling around SNC is this election no doubt also involves Saudi Arabia where the company employs 9.000 individuals. This number is comparable to the number of people employed in the SNC’s Montreal headquarters. Justin Trudeau speaks often about the need to protect SNC jobs in his own Montreal riding. The current Prime Minister, however, never elaborates on the Libyan and Saudi Arabian background of the company’s effort to exploit its Liberal Party connections in order to evade multiple criminal charges including some emanating from the World Bank.

The failure to even notice the dramatic military turnaround being suffered by Canada’s Saudi ally during the height of our national election is reminiscent of a similar case in 2011. During the federal election of 2011 the Canadian Armed Forces began to play a large role in NATO’s bombing campaign aimed at an illegal and ill-considered regime change in Libya.

This military intervention culminated in the vigilante-style murder/sodomy of Muammar Gadaffi. The murder was executed by a well-armed mob left free by NATO and the UN to commit a ruthless act of lethal violence against a sitting head-of-state and against what remains of the degraded viability of anything resembling an international rule of law. “We came, we saw, he died” exclaimed former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a now-notorious statement that succinctly sums up the nature of her strategic understanding of how power is exercised.

In 2011 the leaders of all the major political parties in Canada conspired with the mainstream media to make sure no significant opening was allowed for significant electoral debate on Canada’s role in the Occident’s treatment of the government and people of Libya. It seems that our political masters increasingly want to sideline the big issues of war and peace, life and death, as eligible subjects for formal debate in national elections. National elections in which corrupt media venues deny citizens the basic information we require to make informed decisions are of dubious legitimacy.

Navigating Relations Between USA, Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia

On September 29 when I was still in Beirut, the US TV network, CBS, broadcasted an interview with Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin-Salman. The interview was recorded several days before the item was televised. It was the first English-language interview granted by the Crown Prince since reports emerged in October of 2018 that Saudi government officials had gruesomely murdered in Istanbul’s Saudi consulate a prominent Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

The exchange between the hands-on ruler of the Saudi Kingdom and journalist Norah O’Donnell appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes. There might have been some real rhetorical fireworks generated in Canada by the 60 Minutes telecast if our electoral process was a genuinely open exercise in candid political interaction rather than a televised spectacle scripted to adhere to the narrow boundaries of permitted debate.

Generally speaking, national electorates are frequently discouraged by the experts in media spin from looking beyond a few well-marked subjects of domestic concern. In my view, this systemic sabotaging of democratic spontaneity in elections– this betrayal of the rights and responsibilities of free speech– is contributing significantly to Canada’s increasingly anemic role in the international arena.

Abdel Bari Atwan, the Editor-In-Chief of Rai al-Youmoffered up the following characterization of the televised performance of the man pulling most of the strings of Saudi monarchical rule. Mr. Atwan wrote that bin Salman was

unusually conciliatory towards Iran and its allies, completely abandoning the hawkish escalatory tone that has characterized most if not all his previous interviews…. The most plausible explanation for this sudden outbreak of dovishness is that the Saudi Crown prince feels betrayed and deceived by his Western allies, especially the US. They left him standing alone to face a succession of Iranian or Iranian-backed attacks and failed to retaliate after key Saudi oil facilities were targeted three times in succession — including the very nerve center of its petroleum industry in Abqeiq and Khreis, slashing its output by half.

Prince bin Salman conducted the taped interview with CBS prior to the circulation of news that the Saudi land forces had suffered a major defeat on Saudi territory at the hands of the Yemeni resistance. Nevertheless, the change in the military balance of power was already well advanced when the Saudi leader made his comments.

I am more skeptical than is Mr. Atwan about the sincerity of the Crown Prince’s sudden “dovishness.” Since the exchange on 60 Minutes was the first interview Prince bin Salman had granted since the murder by Saudi officials of Jamal Khashoggi, the prevailing mood of the Saudi leader was animated by his need to eat some humble pie on American TV. His tone of light contrition affected his way of talking about Iran. Under the circumstances, bin Salman pulled back from engaging in his usual sword rattling rhetoric highlighting the military dimension of Saudi Arabia’s conflict with its Iranian opponent.

By appointing itself as a harbinger of war, the CBS network afforded Crown Prince bin Salman considerable latitude to feign the role of a sensible friend of peace among nations. I for one did not find bin Salman at all credible in this personae. When seeking a response from the Crown Prince about drone strikes on Aramco, Norah O’Donnell declared sharply, “Iran struck Aramco.” Not surprisingly the journalist offered up no evidence or explanation to back CBS’s attempt to advance the interests of the war party that seeks to incite public support for a US-led invasion of Iran.

On behalf of his Liberal federal government, Justin Trudeau has aggravated the conditions that have rendered Canada a foe of Iran and a friend of Saudi Arabia including in its recent history of genocidal incursions into Yemen. Trudeau had promised in the last federal election of 2015 to re-establish with Iran formal diplomatic relations.

In 2012 Stephen Harper strongly took the side of the anti-Iranian war party. Harper implemented the Israel Lobby’s request that Canada should withdraw from diplomatic relations with Tehran. Not only did Trudeau fail in his first term to make good on this election promise to the Canadian people. Trudeau added insult to injury by adding to the weight of antagonisms with Iran. He carried through with Harper’s plan to appropriate Iranian property in Canada in order to redistribute it to “victims of terrorism.”

“The New Horizon conferences has been a platform where many of the world’s most formidable dissident intellectuals can meet in person”

I began attending New Horizon conferences in Tehran in 2014. Since then, the New Horizon conferences have given rise to a New Horizon movement. In partnership with our Iranian colleagues, the New Horizon group is made up largely of independent-minded skeptics based widely throughout the Occident. A common denominator informing many participants in the New Horizon movement is a significant loss of confidence in the capacity of Western governments, media cartels, universities, and political lobbies to operate within a framework of relative honesty, integrity and respect for the requirements of law and due process.

An example of the kind of understanding that animates many who have attended the New Horizon conferences is a willingness to engage in clear condemnation of the audacious misrepresentations of the events of September 11, 2001. The wrongheaded notions concerning who did what to whom on 9/11 and why have been followed up by the perpetration of subsequent acts of false flag terrorism. This Deep State engineering of Islamophobic responses to 9/11 has helped in the creation of public support for US invasions of Muslim-majority countries including Iraq and Iran.

An overriding preoccupation of the Israel Lobby and of many Israel First partisans is to persuade the leadership of the US government to invade Iran. This agenda has been promoted relentlessly since the 9/11 false-flag terror event of 2001. As President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton was one of the most obsessive promoters of a US-led war on Iran in order to serve Israel’s expansionistic agenda. Was Bolton fired because Donald Trump discovered that one of his key advisers on international and strategic affairs was first and foremost serving Benjamin Netanyahu as a White House spy?

It seems Trump has attempted to offer up some red meat to the hawks demanding an invasion of Iran. The US President has expanded the frontiers of so-called “sanctions” on Iran. The term, “sanctions,” that has become a kind of code for many-faced forms of economic warfare. The effort to expand the field of sanctions targeting Iran’s economy has had its base in the US Treasury branch and in particular in the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. Created in the wake of 9/11, the keepers of this Office have consistently been zealous Israel First neoconservatives from Stuart Levy to David Cohen to Sigal Mandelker.

Mandelker, a current or past Israeli citizen, became part of the wave of Israel First partisans who flooded into high-ranking positions in the administration of US President George W. Bush after 9/11. She became an economic hit woman as the Global War on Terror coalesced to become the US government’s top strategic priority.

During her quick rise up the ladder of administrative power within the US government, Mandelker served as a clerk for ultraconservative Supreme Court Judge Clarence Thomas and as a lawyer representing Homeland Security czar, Michael Chertoff. Apparently Mandelker played a role on behalf of the federal Justice Department in arranging the sweetheart deal extended to Jeffrey Epstein in Florida in 2008 for various infractions including child sex trafficking. There is much literature suggesting that a big part of Epstein’s operation involved creating the conditions for Mossad and other related intelligence agencies to blackmail key politicians.

Like so many of her Israel First colleagues, Mandelker became obsessed with heaping recriminations on Iran. She was prominent among the Israel First partisans who were inducted en masse into the deep bowels of the international affairs branches of the US government after 9/11. In spite of much evidence to the contrary, she regularly charges Iran with trying to obtain nuclear weapons. At the same time, she remains completely mum on the reality of Israel’s still-unacknowledged possession of many nuclear weapons.

As Mandelker sees it, “Iran is “posing an incredibly destabilizing presence in the region.” She added, “They’re threatening our great ally in the region, Israel!”

Given even the partial information that has already emerged concerning Mandelker’s relationship to the USA and Israel, certain questions have been emerging. In her work as a US economic intelligence officer has Sigal Mandelker been working as a spy for the Israeli government, a polity well known over the years for conducting very concerted espionage operations in the United States?

Has Mandelker’s work figured at all into the spying allegations directed by one branch of the FBI at AIPAC and at the neocon’s very hawkish organization, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies? Was Mandelker’s recent resignation on October 2 an indication that the substance of her work in the US Treasury Branch could not withstand skeptical scrutiny concerning the substance of what she was really doing on behalf of her patrons and clients in Israel and the United States?

In her last weeks as the primary enforcer of the USA’s campaign of economic warfare targeting Iran, Sigal Mandelker went on a kind of sanctions blitzkrieg. As part of her economic warfare activities, Mandelker targeted the New Horizon conference as well as its top organizers. In particular, Mandelker pinned the new label of “Global Terrorist” on Iranian broadcaster, Nader Talebzadeh, and on his Lebanese wife, Zeinab Mehanna.

This effort to further isolate Iran and to throw up obstacles to any peace-making dialogue between US and Iranian citizens went further. FBI officers visited the 11 public intellectuals in the United States who had planned to attend the New Horizon conference in Beirut between September 20 and 26. All these individuals were threatened with heavy fines and jail time if they took part in an event whose aims include identifying means of avoiding disastrous bloody wars. What US interests would be served by a US-led invasion on 80 million Persian people whose government happens to be in a strong position to respond with a formidable national self-defense?

Among those pressured into staying home was Dr. Kevin Barrett, an outspoken Muslim critic of the dubious assumptions and outright lies animating the conduct of the Global War on Terror. Dr. Barrett summed up as follows his understanding of the reason for attempting to sanction and thus cripple an event dedicated to advancing the arts of sciences of dialogue and peace over the devastations of war. He wrote,

I think the Tehran-based New Horizon NGO has been targeted because its conferences are viewed as an ideological threat to powerful special interests here in the US. Mainstream Iranian intellectuals like New Horizon organizer and filmmaker Nader Talebzadeh, the most popular TV host in Iran, hold views of the US empire, Israel, and related issues that are very different from the views allowed expression in mainstream American media and politics. Yet a great many well-informed people, globally and here in the US, largely agree with some or most aspects of the mainstream Iranian view, and disagree with the mainstream American one. The New Horizon conferences have been a platform where many of the world’s most formidable dissident intellectuals can meet in person, get to know each other, and find ways to promote their interpretations of world events.

Michael Maloof was another member of the group of Americans who had planned to attend the New Horizon conference but who warned by federal police to stay away if they wanted to avoid harsh consequences. A 30-year veteran of the US Defense Department, Maloof retired as a senior security policy analyst with the Office of the Secretary of Defence. Of his reason for being drawn into the orbit of the New Horizon movement, Maloof said of himself and of his American colleagues, “We’re all still US patriots, but we believe there’s another way to go about things other than looking at everything in Iran through the prism of Israel.”

Because the US delegates did not attend, I found myself to be the only North American delegate included in the program. The contrast between my treatment by my own Canadian government and the treatment of my US colleagues by their government is significant. As I see it, there are good reasons for Canada and Iran to return to normal diplomatic and economic relations. I am of course pleased to be left free to advocate this position of normalization of relations in the developments of policies in both Ottawa and Tehran.

My presentation on the podium of the New Horizon conference on Sept. 23 dealt with my reflections on some of my recent research for a paper entitled “The Israel Lobby and University Governance.” I initiated this research following an episode that put me at the center of a crude and illegal assault mounted by the Israel Lobby in partnership with the administration of the University of Lethbridge in Alberta Canada. This administration failed grossly to live up to its fiduciary responsibilities to adhere to the contractual protections for academic freedom in Canada.

Nader and Tony 4905b

My unilateral suspension from my professional duties in October of 2016 was pushed forward in a way that denied me pay, due process or the proferring of any coherent evidence to which I could respond. A court in Alberta court eventually condemned unequivocally this combination of administrative actions. The win for my faculty association and I, however, took place after the Israel Lobby in Canada had already mounted a specious media smear campaign with the aim of delegitimizing me professionally. The effort to try to outlaw as “anti-Semitic” any criticism of Israel and its treatment of Palestinian people is moving in the same direction in North America as the travesty of smear directed at Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party in Great Britain.

Meanwhile, it is unlikely that most of the issues I raised in Beirut and in this essay will make their way into the gate-kept confines shaping the current parochial character of electioneering in Canada. The Israel Lobby as embodied in organizations like B’nai Brith Canada and the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is seeing to it that any debate on Israel/Palestinians affairs is held to a minimum. Moreover, I am not optimistic that any of the contenders for the job of Canadian prime minister have the capacity, courage, insight or independence to mount a thoughtful political debate on the need for Canada to reorient the dominant motifs of our interactions with Iran, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.

Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?

Like many Israel First mouthpieces in North America, Sigal Mandelker repeats often many of the slogans of the anti-Iran war party. Like John Bolton, she has tried to fan the flames of extreme Islamophobia and Iranophobia. She seeks to push the US government to lead a monumental war project that would target the Persian heartland. She labels Iran with the unsupported slogan that the Muslim-majority country is the “biggest exporter of terrorism in the world.” Seldom do those who constantly repeat this mantra ever attempt to explain the assertion.

One obvious way of calling into question the claims equating Iran with the international support of terrorism is to point out the relative peace and stability currently enjoyed by all the citizens of Lebanon. These citizens include Shia, Sunni and Christian groups. This stability is to some extent founded on Iran’s backing of forces that helped defend Lebanon’s territorial integrity against armed intervention by the Israeli Defence Force in 2006. Iran’s positive relation with the government of Lebanon helps to explain how it is that the most recent New Horizon conference took place in Beirut.

Iran’s relationship with the Yemeni resistance, which by and large emerges from deep within the Aboriginal cultures of the Indigenous peoples, also helps cast doubt on the Israel Lobby’s propagandistic condemnation of Iran. Any reasonable account of the Saudi invasion of the life support system of Yemeni citizens since 2015 reveals the obvious fact that the Saudis are the aggressors and that their victims are the targets of round after round of ruthless state terrorism.

If anyone is a leading exporter of terrorism, it is the Saudi Arabian monarchy. The Houthis and other Yemeni citizens are prominent among the victims of the Saudi government with its weird missionary preoccupations aimed at spreading its own Takfiri form of Wahabi fundamentalism.

Saudi Arabia, the USA and Israel have much to do with the creation and backing of the al-Qaeda and ISIL/Daesh, proxy armies that consistently fought the armed forces of the elected governments of Syria, Iran, and Russia. The forces of the so-called “Islamic state” fought with the backing of Israel, the USA and many NATO countries. Iran itself has had to defend its own citizens from the incursion of ISIL/Daesh.

Iran has had to absorb a cyberwar directed at it by the National Security apparatus of the USA and Israel. This attack included the goal of crippling Iran’s local system for generating electrical energy. Iran has had to absorb many ruthless assassinations of its nuclear scientists. Iran has to face the West’s growing political support of a former Marxist organization that is much despised by many indigenous Persians. The violent group, MeK, is being cast in much the same role as was Ahmed Chalabi prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. MeK is being groomed to take up the levers of power in Iran following the regime change war being persistently promoted even by the likes of the CBS television network.

How is it a promotion of terrorism for Iran to intervene in Lebanon in the process that has brought some peace and stability to benefit all the citizens of a very diverse and pluralistic country? How is it a promotion of terrorism to render some assistance to an indigenous fighting force whose aim is to protect Yemeni citizens from the genocidal incursions of the predatory Saudi royal dynasty? How is it an export of terrorism for Iran to support the elected government of Syria against those invaders seeking to balkanize and subjugate the country in order to advance a malevolent agenda involving, it seems, an endless series of US wars for Israel?

A Generation Deleted: American Bombs in Yemen Are Costing an Entire Generation Their Future

By Ahmed Abdulkareem

Source

ADAA, NORTHERN YEMEN — Third-grader Farah Abbas al-Halimi didn’t get the UNICEF backpack or textbook she was hoping for this year. Instead, she was given an advanced U.S bomb delivered on an F-16 courtesy of the Saudi Air Force. That bomb fell on Farah’s school on September 24 and killed Farah, two of her sisters, and her father who was working at the school. It will undoubtedly have an irrevocable effect on the safety and psyche of schoolchildren across the region.

Over the course of Yemen’s pre-war history, which locals fondly refer to as the happy Yemen years, never has an entire generation been subjected to the level of disaster and suffering as that levied upon Farah’s generation by the Saudi-led Coalition, which has used high-tech weapons supplied by the United States and other Western powers to devastating effect since it began its military campaign against Yemen in 2015.

Last week a new school year in Yemen began, the fifth school year since the war started, and little has changed for Yemen’s schoolchildren aside from the fact that the Coalition’s weapons have become more precise and even more deadly, leaving the futures of the country’s more than one million schoolchildren in limbo.

“I want to go to school, I can’t wait any longer,” a relative of six-year-old Ayman al-Kindi told MintPress, recalling how Ayman, surrounded by proud family members, waited impatiently to leave for his first day of school. Ayman would never make it to school; in fact, he never even made it outside. “Ayman wanted to become a doctor but a bomb took him away from school. What these American bombs do to our children is terrifying,” his relative told us.

In late June 2019, Coalition aircraft targeted Ayman’s family home located on their farm in the Warzan area, south of Taiz province in southwestern Yemen. Six of Ayman’s family members were killed, including three children aged 12, nine and six. According to  Amnesty International, the laser-guided precision weapon used in the attack was made by Raytheon. Amnesty’s arms experts analyzed photos of the remnants of the weapon recovered from the scene of the attack by family members and identified it as a U.S.-made 500-pound GBU-12 Paveway II.

The use of a U.S.-made weapon in the attack on the al-Kindi home was no anomaly: most of the weapons possessed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which between them have carried out a quarter of a million raids on Yemen since the beginning of the war, are American-made. This week, families who lost loved ones in Coalition airstrikes held an exhibition called “Criminal Evidence” in the city of Sana`a. The event was an opportunity to consolidate evidence of potential war crimes and prompted hundreds of Yemeni civilians to attend the event with remnants of U.S.-made weapons in tow, remnants recovered from the rubble of the attacks that killed their loved ones.

Yemen Raytheon

The airstrike on the al-Kindi home was one of nearly a dozen carried out by Saudi Arabia using U.S. weapons that were included in a recent UN report. A team of investigators appointed by the UN Human Rights Council found numerous cases of Saudi airstrikes that violated international humanitarian law and, for the first time, directly implicated the United States, Britain, France and Australia for supplying the weapons used in the attacks.

Charles Garraway, a former military lawyer and one of the experts behind the report, recently told PBS, “We have a war that’s going on. It’s causing immense suffering and frankly most of that suffering is caused by arms.” Garraway continued, “The tragedy in Yemen is so awful at the moment that somehow one has got to reach some form of settlement to stop the war.”

Despite the abundance of evidence proving that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have routinely targeted schools and other civilian facilities, the United States continues to replenish the Coalition’s arsenal. Earlier this year, the Trump administration tried to force through an $8.1 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Jordan; and, despite growing opposition within his own government, President Donald Trump seems determined to maintain the flow of U.S. weapons to Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Not your normal “back-to-school” day

Eleven-year-old Mohammed AbdulRaham al-Haddi is one the few schoolchildren to have survived the horrific August 9, 2018, Saudi airstrike on a school bus on the outskirts of Dahyan in Yemen’s northwestern province of Saada. The attack killed more than 35 of his classmates, but Mohammed miraculously survived. Today, he returns to school for the first time since the deadly attack, but to an underserved school and without his classmates. Al-Faleh, Mohammed’s new school, lies nestled in a dusty valley near Yemen’s northeastern border with Saudi Arabia

Yemen War Children

The attack on Mohammed’s school bus was carried out using a Mark 82 (MK-82) bomb, jointly manufactured by U.S. weapons companies Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics. The MK-82, along with other general-purpose MK-series bombs, has been sold to the Saudi-led Coalition by the United States through a series of contracts made in 2016 and 2017. In addition to last year’s atrocity, the Coalition has used the MK-82 to target Yemeni civilians in the past, such as its bombing of a funeral in 2016 that left over 140 dead and 525 wounded.

As the war in Yemen enters its fifth year, the tragic consequences of these weapons deals are difficult to describe, but their effects are noticed everywhere. Some 3,526 educational buildings have been at least partially destroyed by bombs since the war began, with most yet to be rebuilt. Of those, 402 were completely destroyed, according to a new field survey conducted by the Ministry of Education. Approximately 900 of Yemen’s schools are still being used as shelters for the internally displaced. And 700 schools have been closed as a result of ongoing clashes.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) estimates that two million children are out of school in Yemen. “A fourth of the two million Yemeni children have dropped out since the beginning of the Saudi war in March 2015,” UNICEF representative in Yemen Sara Beysolow Nyanti said in a statement released last Wednesday.

Beysolow raised concerns about the future of Yemeni children, saying:

[They] face increased risks of all forms of exploitation including being forced to join the fighting, child labor and early marriage. They lose the opportunity to develop and grow in a caring and stimulating environment, ultimately becoming trapped in a life of poverty and hardship.”

According to the Geneva-based human rights monitoring organization, SAM, four hundred thousand schoolchildren in Yemen suffer from acute malnutrition, exposing them to the risk of sudden death, 7 million schoolchildren face hunger, and more than 2 million do not go to school.

Even before the war began, the education system in Yemen, the Arab world’s poorest country, was not in good health; a lack of equipment, unqualified teachers, and a shortage of textbooks plagued the country’s schools, which were bursting at the seams with overcrowding. Coalition bombs and a blockade supported by the United States have effectively destroyed what was left, just as schools were beginning to show signs of recovery.

Many of Yemen’s teachers have not received a paycheck in years and some, unable to eke out a living, have sought work as soldiers-for-hire on Yemen’s battlefields, leaving millions of children without prospects for education and the country as a whole with a 70 percent rate of illiteracy. Beysolow warned that the education of a further 3.7 million Yemeni children is at risk, as teachers have not received their salaries for over two years, adding that one fifth of schools in Yemen can no longer be used as a direct result of the conflict. “Violence, displacement and attacks on schools are preventing many children from accessing school,” she said.

In a bid to stop teachers from leaving schools, the Ministry of Education, based in Sana`a, has imposed a fee on students of $2 per month to pay teacher salaries, but that seemingly nominal fee has added a huge burden to families with more than one child, many of whom are living in extreme poverty as a result of the war and siege. “I have six students, meaning that I need to pay $12 a month; I can’t save that amount,” one mother told us. She lost her husband in the clashes that erupted between the former president Ali Saleh and opposition tribes on Hasabah Street in 2011. Now, her only source of income is begging and it is not enough to feed her six children, let alone send them to school.

To make matters worse, just weeks before the new school year began, the Saudi-led Coalition prevented 11 oil tankers from entering Yemen. The move sparked an acute shortage of fuel, which meant that school buses could no longer run, leaving even those with the means to pay school fees unable to send their children to school.

The severe psychological toll

The effect of U.S.-made weapons upon Yemen’s children does not end there. Children who have survived the fighting are often left with physical disabilities and severe and chronic psychological symptoms, turning their environment into the worst place in the world, according to UNICEF.

Beyond the direct casualties from airstrikes, the largely unnoticed and unrecorded (by the world) sounds of explosions and buzzing warplanes are leaving Yemen’s children with irreversible psychological damage.

Yemen War Children

Like other students, Mohammed often gets distracted while at home or sitting in class, unable to focus and laden with severe anxiety. While students the world over occupy their minds with the day-to-day matters that should accompany adolescence, Yemen`s students, especially those who live in border districts, are filled with an ever-present fear of an impending airstrike.

Since the school year began on September 15, the Saudi-led Coalition has reportedly dropped more than a thousand bombs and missiles in 400 separate airstrikes targeting border districts including Sadaa, Hajjah, Sana`a, Amran, Dhali, and Hodeida. The hundreds of sorties are accompanied by frightening whizzing noise and have left great panic in the hearts of civilians, especially Yemen’s schoolchildren.

“Before the war, the sound of planes meant happiness for families who were expecting loved-ones returning [from abroad], but now the sound of planes mean destruction, death, blood,” Dr. AbdulSalam Ashish, a consultant for psychological and neurological diseases, told MintPress. Dr. Ashish continued, “Now, the planes bring nothing but fear and panic and are a reminder of tragedies and crimes that were committed with U.S., British, and French weapons.”

“It was 1:45 p.m., when we heard a missile strike; we were able to calm the students down but when the third strike hit we lost control of the students as they began to scream and chaos spread throughout the school,” Hana Al Awlaqi, a school agent at the  “Martyr Ahmed Abdul Wahab Al Samawi” School, said, recounting the moment a Saudi attack took place just tens of meters away from the school. “The sound of the fourth bomb made matters worse, as the school was being broken into by panicked parents and many teachers were fainting.”

Yemen War Children

Al Awlaqi went on to say that many students convulse into spasms when they hear the sound of airplanes, while others have refused to come back to school. “The sound of an explosion or the buzz of the aircraft stays in the mind. The sound of an aircraft can send these children into severe panic attacks and anxiety,” Dr. Ashish confirmed.

Jalal Al-Omeisi, a pediatric nurse at the Psychiatric and Neurological Hospital in Sana`a told MintPress that most of the cases that arrive at the hospital are from areas subjected to intensive Saudi Coalition raids, such as Sana`a, Hodeida, and Saada, as well as the border areas. Al-Omeisi went on to say that most medics lack the training to deal with the complex psychological issues that these children are developing.

Such experiences in children go well beyond the temporary impact on their education and, without proper care and the knowledge necessary to address treat these psychological issues, many will suffer life-long consequences that hinder their ability to obtain an education. This is especially true in light of the lack of programs, centers or hospitals for the rehabilitation of war-affected children in Yemen.

Asking Americans to open their eyes

Schoolchildren living along Yemen’s porous border with Saudi Arabia and throughout its southern districts face a reality even more grim than that faced by their peers. Many are recruited or even forced to join the fight to defend the Saudi border via local trafficking networks, which funnel children into training and recruitment camps in the southern Saudi provinces of Jizan and Najran, as well as to Yemen’s southern districts.

According to a recent report by SAM, Saudi Arabia has been enlisting thousands of Yemeni children to fight along its southern border with Yemen over the past four years. Those have who died as a result of the fighting at the border are often buried in the Kingdom without their families’ knowledge. At least 300 had to have their limbs amputated as a result of their military injuries.

Yemen Child Soldiers

MintPress managed to speak to dozens of school-aged Yemeni children who were captured in a recent Houthi operation that saw thousands of militiamen, including dozens of schoolchildren, and Saudi officers taken into captivity. Fifteen-year-old Adel was among those captured. He left his home in the southern city of Taiz, chasing promises of a regular paycheck of up to 3,000 Saudi riyals ($800). Adel told MintPress: 

We were left alone in Wadi Abu to face our destiny. Older recruits were fleeing on pickup trucks and armored personnel carriers; Saudi airstrikes hit us as we were surrendering to the Houthis.”

Saudi warplanes targeted the captured mercenaries in Wadi Abu Jubarah, killing more than 300 of their own recruits.

Adel, who left school for the promise of a paycheck, went on to say, “Me and the others were recruited to wash the clothes of Saudi soldiers but they gave us rifles and forced us to go to battlefields.” When asked what he would do when freed, Adel said simply, “I want to go back to my mom and school. I don’t want to fight.”

The recruitment of Yemeni children by Saudi Arabia is not without precedent. Although the Kingdom signed the international protocol banning the involvement of children in armed conflict in 2007 and again in 2011, it was accused of recruiting Sudanese children from Darfur to fight in Yemen on its behalf as late as 2018.

Mohammed, who often visits the memorial to his classmates located only a few hundred meters away from his new school, said he will continue to attend school every day, regardless of how much bombing there is. He asked that Americans open their eyes to see what their weapons are doing to Yemen’s children.

The United States of Bribery and Sanctioning

 

 

The USBS.

Not very long ago, I was saying to an ardent, proudly feminist democrat that they should be careful what they wish for in their assuming that replacing Trump with Pence would be an improvement. The immediate response I received was (and which indicated the futility of my suggestion),

“Well, at least he’s normal.”

Normal indeed.

The democratrepublicans are now confidently toying with the idea that Trump could be impeached because there seems to be a possibility that Trump tried to use some of the US’ institutionalized, bipartisanly supported bribery of a foreign government to try to insure his own political advantage. The entrapment into privately profitable insurance ventures through the use of bribes and sanctions has long been widely and very highly regarded in Washington.

We little people will likely never be allowed to read anything beyond a hearsay summary of what was supposedly said in Trump’s conversation with the president of Ukraine, Zelensky (sp?). This sort of obfuscation of any real information is now increasingly THE standard procedure for government reports. We are instead supposed to to relish our allowance of each redacted “summary” because we are told that our lack of awareness of the facts is central to our feelings of security. They need us to believe that our minds would implode if we had even a hint of any real evidence. Never-mind that such an implosion might lead us out of their control. The message from the corporatized democratrepublican state is increasingly the same – ignorance is freedom and blind faith is the source of security. In this way, Ukraine-gate follows Russia-gate follows Enhanced Interrogation (torture)-gate follows…. and every other mental redaction which was supposedly an authorized investigation. This embrace of ignorance and the demand for conformity within/under the authorized message are pretty much the same methods used by slave-owner sadists and their so-called government as they forced their slaves to remain imprisoned and under-educated in the early years of the so-called USA.

Government secrets and “classify”ing are a characteristic of war. It is clear that in the faking USA and its allied capitalizing fraudulent governments, the greatest enemy is widespread factual knowledge, while ignorance and a strongly slanted reliance upon innuendos are portrayed as sources of devout pride. One of their greatest successes in corrupting is that they have brainwashed huge numbers of people to believe that the religion of unrestrained, predatory capitalism is the most honorable form of democracy.

The accusations which the faking USA makes against other nations are usually (or perhaps more frequently) applicable to the supposed USA and its allies. A prominent example of this fakery is that, in their eagerness to employ their own weapons of mass destruction, they falsely accused Iraq of what they themselves were intent on doing. What is unavoidably prominent to me is that all of these scandals stem from the exact same hypocrisy. It is the core hypocrisy of the faking USA. Even as the supposed USA has infiltrated and spread its controls over many other nations around the world through the most massive, religious-economic militarism the world has ever seen (while portraying itself as exceptionally righteous through its privately controlled and often misleading media), the bipartisan fakery of

government takes it as an intolerable affront that some echo of its own corruption might emanate (from either inside or outside of the corporate control center of Washington, DC) without their authorization. The bipartisan purveyors of Wall Street-ian bloated and bloody gluttony prefer to appear as if they take great indignation at their own handiwork. They often simultaneously insist that someone must be punished and that it must not be the bipartisan purveyors who have created the situation again and again and all across the planet. The great faker Obama’s “exceptional” people are merely typically corrupt, but on the most exceptional scale ever seen.

Beware of supposed “whistleblowers” who come from inside, who follow inside channels, and who are strongly endorsed by the democratrepublican insiders – especially when what they present is second or third hand interpretations of events.

Being a bipartisan foreign government which has a long, continuing history of manipulating and overthrowing other governments is one of the chief roles played by the government of the faking USA. In the name of protecting its “interests,” the devious scheming of the so-called government of the two-faced USA business venture has probably undermined and destroyed more attempted egalitarian states than any other nation ever. The repeated enabling of vicious tyrannical injustices in numerous nations by the faking USA is a clear indicator of the democratrepublican’s sadomasochistic interests. They and their allies have consistently tried to force their economic scheming upon weaker nations. They talk about “free market capitalism,” but their chronic behavior of forcing capitalist privatizations and privations upon others through militaristic horrors indicates that even they do NOT believe that their preferred system of predatory economics can match the appeal of the benefits of social responsibility and equal justice. They prefer to undermine or viciously crush anything approaching democratic socialism, again and again and again. Consistently, they employ accusations with words of malleable and misrepresentative meanings. It’s their hallmark.

While the possibility of Trump’s impeachment does have a great deal of attractiveness, it is also a distraction from a greater reality. That reality being that Trump is possibly the most blatant, fetish-like representative of the arrogance and use of obfuscating scheming which has been celebrated and even demanded by the vast majority of democratrepublican agents who have inhabited Washington’s power positions over many decades. Trump’s biggest possible mistake is that, in his delusional ardor for money and power, he makes it too obvious that the so-called USA is one of the (if not THE) most hypocritical imperialistic schemes to come down the pike. It is Trump’s crass obvious-ness which is likely becoming intolerable for the bipartisan pseudo-government corporetum. This faking corporetum loves misrepresentation almost as much as it loves worshipping money and hoarding money, while destroying the lives of millions of people and poisoning the environment.

When Joe Biden threatened to withhold a billion (taxpayer) dollars of “loans” as a means to coerce Ukraine’s government to do his bidding because he and his colleagues did not trust one of that nation’s officials and when he boasted to have caused that government to remove that official, he obviously had no qualms about his foreign manipulations of another government. A key point to the Biden strong-arming of the government of Ukraine is that, after Mr. Shokin was removed and Biden’s desired investigation was done, no charges against Burisma Holdings came out of the investigation. Perhaps the accusations of money-laundering by Burisma were necessary to give the illusion that the faking USA and its allies were opposed to such things – even as they rely on such behavior in every yearly budget. Biden seems to love his own misrepresentations as much as Trump seems to love his own misrepresentations and they both may have used Ukrainians for their own personal sense of increased power over others.

We little people will likely never know what was really said (or who said what) in Trump’s phone conversation with Zelensky or what Biden was really after in his bullying of the Ukrainians, as long as people allow themselves to settle for hearsay and the words of known and/or unknown insider bullshitters as if interpretations are real evidence.

Without the exact words from the exact individuals and firsthand evidence – the original recording of words – being presented openly to the public, it is unlikely that what is said by anyone involved in this emotional hoopla is anything more than another employment of typical US BS. It is pathetically corrupt how many people confidently pronounce guilt based upon hearsay and before there is a trial.

If the Trump blatantly vain fraudulence is impeached, it is very likely that it is because his mouth is the clearest echo of the bipartisan vacuum which is at the center of the faking USA. The faking USA has usually relied upon having a more decorously pretentious fraud (someone like Biden) to cover over its greed-driven, thuggish privations and the hollowness of the vaults which control(s) its machinations. If Trump is not impeached, then this obsession with his impeachability is possibly another exercise by the bipartisanly faking machinery to confidently push the boundaries of politesse and test how close they can get to making a would-be fascist dictatorial faker seem reasonable, or even sympathetic, as they have been trying to do again and again and with increasing frequency. Either way, there is little chance that necessary changes will come about as long as the democratrepublicans are seen as viable.

 

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Yemenis Humiliated the US in the Ansarullah Aramco Operation – Rouhani

Yemenis Humiliated the US in the Ansarullah Aramco Operation - Rouhani

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that the Ansarullah revolutionaries were able to hit Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities due to the ineffectiveness of US anti-missile systems that were used by the kingdom.

Last week, media reports said that the US had redeployed the USS Nitze destroyer to the northeast coast of Saudi Arabia in a bid to “plug the gap” in Saudi Arabia’s air defenses that was allegedly used in the 14 September operation that targeted its oil facilities.

“In fact, the Yemenis have humiliated the United States,” Rouhani said in a comment posted on his official website, adding that in this case it is difficult to deny the weakness of the US radar and defense systems that drones and missiles could overcome.

Last week, the Yemeni Ansarullah revolutionary movement warned Saudi Arabia of new, more damaging attacks on the country’s vital facilities if Riyadh continues military action against Yemen.

On 14 September, Saudi Aramco had to close two of its oil facilities after they were hit by drones and then caught fire. The incident led to a cut in oil production totaling 5.7 million barrels per day — about half of Saudi Arabia’s daily oil output.

Following the operation, a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia itself, the US, the UK and Germany blamed the attack on Iran.

Iran denied all accusation, pointing out that the Yemeni Ansarullah movement has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Farcical Ceasefire in Yemen Collapsing

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Since agreed on last December, ceasefire existed in name only. Fighting never stopped. It just ebbed around the key port city of Hodeidah before escalating, where things stand now.

Yemen is Washington’s war, the Trump regime bearing most responsibility for what’s going on, wanting endless war, not resolution – if otherwise nearly two decades of war would end.

The Saudis and UAE share responsibility for partnering with US aggression. There’s nothing civil about war in the country, not in any countries Washington attacked.

Peace talks in Sweden last December achieved no breakthroughs, war raging without letup while going on.

The so-called agreement  reached between warring parties wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Saudi/UAE terror-bombing continued in parts of the country – with full US support, encouragement, and weapons supplied.

According to the New York-based International Rescue Committee (IRC), its board of directors stacked with monied interests, including Obama’s Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the former US president at war on Yemen throughout his eight years in office, no-ceasefire/ceasefire is collapsing, saying:

For days, fighting in and around Hodeidah escalate, both sides accusing each other of violations – the Saudis and UAE to blame, acting on orders from Washington, my comment, not the IRC’s.

The group saying last December’s ceasefire is imperiled ignored what existed all along in name only.

Last week, AMN News reported on “intense clashes” in Hodeidah after US/NATO/Saudi/UAE proxies attacked Houthi fighters, the casualty count on both sides unknown.

Violence initiated against the Houthis effectively rendered the so-called ceasefire null and void. Reporting on fighting in and around Hodeidah, Al Jazeera said things agreed on in Sweden were never implemented, including no prisoner exchange or meaningful ceasefire.

Efforts by UN envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths achieved nothing. Claiming momentum for peace in the country “is still there” was meaningless, deceptive rhetoric, adding:

“More than any time in the past, there is a political will demonstrated by all parties to put an end to this conflict. What we need to see now is the implementation of the provisions of the agreement, fully and rapidly.”

Reality on the ground is polar opposite his assessment  because the Trump regime, calling the shots, wants endless war, not resolution.

Conditions for millions in the country are worse than in any other US conflict theater, the daily death toll mounting exponentially from war, starvation, untreated diseases, and overall deprivation – hundreds of thousands of civilians perishing over the last two decades, mostly during the last four or five years.

Oxfam’s Awssan Kamal calls Yemen “a prison without walls” for its people, the country blockaded and terror-bombed daily. Millions of Yemenis have no safe havens.

They’re severely malnourished, especially young children, countless numbers in the country at risk of perishing from starvation.

The official UN death toll greatly understates the casualty count, mitigating one of the world’s greatest human calamities, courtesy of US imperial designs on the country and region. 

Under Republicans and Dems, Washington is responsible for killing a nation and its defenseless people, victims of its imperial viciousness.

US Training Saudi and UAE Pilots for Combat in Yemen

By Stephen Lendman
Source

Yemen is one of many US forever wars – key NATO countries, Israel, Jordan, the Saudis and UAE partnering in them.

US special forces operate in Yemen. Pentagon drone war has been ongoing in the country without letup since launched by Bush/Cheney in October 2001, weeks after 9/11.

A no-ceasefire/ceasefire reflects conditions on the ground. War rages with no prospect for resolution because bipartisan US hardliners reject ending it. Claiming otherwise is political pretense.

Daily reports show endless conflict continues. US-backed Saudi/UAE forces keep battling Houthi fighters, including in areas around the strategic port city of Hodeidah, ceasefire agreed on more illusion than reality.

Saudi/UAE terror-bombing goes on daily – overnight against Sanaa, the Houthi-controlled Yemeni capital. A Houthi statement said “(t)his escalation comes under the direction and supervision of the U.S…This escalation will be met with an escalation.”

Earlier calls by US officials for peaceful conflict resolution in Yemen were pure deception. Republicans and undemocratic Dems reject restoring peace and stability to war-ravaged countries.

According to Military Times last November, the Pentagon’s so-called Operation Yukon Journey involves US military operations in Africa and the Middle East – on the phony pretext of defeating ISIS and al-Qaeda Washington created and supports.

The Middle East operation is designated “Support to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Partner Nations in Yemen.” Along with providing weapons, munitions, intelligence, and logistics support, the Pentagon has been training Saudi and UAE pilots for combat in Yemen.

Federal procurement documents show the US air force has been using a private contractor to train Saudi pilots at its US facility.

A previous article discussed US and UK involvement in supplying the Saudis with billions of dollars worth of weapons and munitions annually, Pentagon contractors involved in training its military personnel in their use.

Under the so-called United States Military Training Mission to Saudi Arabia, USMTM trains, advises and assists the kingdom’s armed forces, including through military exercises and related activities.

USMTM is a joint US army, navy, air force and marine corps joint command, an extensive arrangement with the kingdom since the 1950s – under the 1951 Mutual Defense Assistance Agreement and later USMTM agreement.

An earlier London Daily Mail report said Britain is secretly training Saudi’s military, aiding its genocidal war in Yemen.

Documents obtained through an FOIA request show Pentagon personnel have been and likely still are actively involved in training UAE pilots for combat operations in Yemen.

According to an air force memo dated December 18, 2017, its personnel “assisted (the training of) 150 (UAE) airmen in challenging (exercises) to prepare (them) for combat ops in Yemen.”

Further training was provided UAE pilots at the country’s Pentagon operated Al Dhafra airbase, the memo saying:

“Unit fighter personnel advanced the UAE’s F-16 fighter pilot training program; 3 pilots flew 243 instructor sorties/323 hrs that created 4 new instructors & 29 combat wingmen who immediately deployed for combat operations in Yemen.”

CENTCOM spokesman Lt. Col. Josh Jacques lied, saying “(w)e do not conduct exercises with (Saudi and UAE airmen) to prepare for combat operations in Yemen.” 

Joint Chiefs chairman General Joseph Dunford turned truth on its head, claiming the US is “not a participant in the civil war (sic) in Yemen, nor are we supporting one side or another.”

Hard evidence refutes both of the above statements. Conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Central Asia and North Africa are US launched and waged, nothing civil about any of them. Nor are they involved in combating the scourge of terrorism the US supports, using jihadists as proxy troops.

None of the above information should surprise. The Pentagon and private military contractors it enlists are actively involved in training and otherwise working directly with the armed forces of numerous countries worldwide.

What’s going on is all about advancing America’s imperium, largely by waging endless wars and related military activities.

Trump is like his predecessors, co-opted to go along with a dirty system, raging since Harry Truman’s war on North Korea in the early 1950s.

Endless US wars of aggression rage with no prospect for resolution, others drafted to be launched if and when ordered – every sovereign independent country potentially targeted, including Russia, China and Iran.

Big Lies Drown Out Truth-Telling

By Stephen Lendman
Source

All politicians lie, some more than others. The Clintons, Bush/Cheney, and Obama were egregious serial liars.

Since entering office, Trump dissembling, rage, duplicity, hubris, and arrogance exceeded the worst of his predecessors. Virtually nothing he says on important issues is credible.

He never lets facts interfere with his deplorable domestic and geopolitical agenda only despots and robber barons could love.

His lying is so consistent, compulsive and extreme, he may be unable to distinguish between truth and fiction, especially for relying on rubbish fed him by hardline neocon advisors and Fox News disinformation, his favorite TV channel.

He’s an embarrassment to the office he holds, a geopolitical know-nothing, the latest in a long line of anti-populist warrior presidents – serving the nation’s military, industrial, security complex, including Wall Street and other monied interests exclusively at the expense of the vast majority of people everywhere.

His support for Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) flies in the face of his responsibility for ordering Jamal Kashoggi’s murder, his genocidal war in Yemen (partnered with US-led NATO and Israel), the kingdom’s horrendous human rights abuses, its support for ISIS and other terrorists (along with the US, NATO and Israel), and the CIA’s conclusion about MBS’ responsibility for Khashoggi’s assassination.

His hyperbolic claims about Saudi arms purchases from US companies and jobs created are grossly inflated.

According to ABC News, slumlord DLT son-in-law Jared Kushner pushed the Pentagon and State Department to go along with Trump’s fake numbers, according to three former White House officials.

One source quoted Kushner saying “(w)e need to sell them as much as possible” during a national security council meeting ahead of DLT’s Riyadh visit last May.

Touting an alleged $115 billion deal agreed on, along with hundreds of billions more over the next decade, around $15 billion alone has been discussed.

The so-called Memorandum of Intent signed at the May meeting is unrelated to what the Saudis may actually buy – a whole lot less than Trump touts.

According to ABC News, since the touted deal was signed in Riyadh, “there has been minimal activity toward purchasing the defense equipment and arms laid out in the arms agreements and signed,” adding: 

“According to the Department of Defense, of the original $110 billion, Saudi Arabia has signed Letters of Offer and Acceptance valued at around $14.5 billion for equipment, including helicopters, tanks, ships, weapons and training.” 

Much of what the Saudis agreed to buy from the US was negotiated by Obama regime officials.

“Many of the details about the quantity and types of defense weapons to be purchased are not listed and are slated to be delivered after 2022 or have a ‘to be determined’ delivery dates and quantities.”

Trump’s claim about record US arms sales to the Saudis, “creat(ing) hundreds of thousands of jobs, tremendous economic development, and much additional wealth for the United States” is pure deception, adding:

“Of the $450 billion, $110 billion will be spent on the purchase of military equipment from Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and many other great US defense contractors.”

The dollar amount of alleged deals and numbers of jobs created are figments of his imagination and habitual dissembling. His hyperbole bears no relation to reality.

A US/Saudi document seen by ABC News says what Riyadh agreed on with Trump officials “does not create any authority to perform any work, award any contract, ‘issue articles from stock,’ transfer funds, or otherwise obligate or create a binding commitment in any way either for the United States or the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

In other words, it’s a Trump regime no-deal/deal – nothing firm or contractually binding, nothing approaching Trump’s touted $110 billion figure and $450 billion amount.

They’re fantasy numbers, not real ones. So-called “record amount of money” in US arms sales to the kingdom and “hundreds of thousands of jobs” created, perhaps a million he said, is “record” bunkum.

It’s more proof that all Trump claims are fabricated. Nothing he says is credible. He plays fast and loose with reality, pretending fiction is fact.

Trump exposed: Once a liar, always one, never to be believed on anything.

U.S. Foreign Policy Has No Policy

Why can’t we just leave everyone alone?

By Philip Giraldi
Source

President Donald Trump’s recent statement on the Jamal Khashoggi killing by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince might well be considered a metaphor for his foreign policy. Several commentators have suggested that the text appears to be something that Trump wrote himself without any adult supervision, similar to the poorly expressed random arguments presented in his tweeting only longer. That might be the case, but it would not be wise to dismiss the document as merely frivolous or misguided as it does in reality express the kind of thinking that has produced a foreign policy that seems to drift randomly to no real end, a kind of leaderless creative destruction of the United States as a world power.

Lord Palmerston, Prime Minister of Britain in the mid nineteenth century, famously said that “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.”The United States currently has neither real friends nor any clearly defined interests. It is, however, infested with parasites that have convinced an at-drift America that their causes are identical to the interests of the United States. Leading the charge to reduce the U.S. to “bitch” status, as Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has artfully put it, are Israel and Saudi Arabia, but there are many other countries, alliances and advocacy groups that have learned how to subvert and direct the “leader of the free world.”

Trump’s memo on the Saudis begins with the headline “The world is a very dangerous place!” Indeed, it is and behavior by the three occupants of the White House since 2000 is largely to blame. It is difficult to find a part of the world where an actual American interest is being served by Washington’s foreign and global security policies. Indeed, a national security policy that sees competitors and adversaries as enemies in a military sense has made nuclear war, unthinkable since the demise of the Soviet Union in 1991, thinkable once again. The fact that no one is the media or in political circles is even talking about that terrible danger suggests that war has again become mainstreamed, tacitly benefiting from bipartisan acceptance of it as a viable foreign policy tool by the media, in the U.S. Congress and also in the White House.

The part of the world where American meddling coupled with ignorance has produced the worst result is inevitably the Middle East. Washington has been led by the nose by Israel and Saudi Arabia, currently working in sync, to have the United States destroy Iran even though the Iranians represent no threat whatsoever to Americans or any serious U.S. interests. The wildly skewed view of what is taking place in that region is reflected in Trump’s memo in the first paragraph, which reads:

“The country of Iran, as an example, is responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen, trying to destabilize Iraq’s fragile attempt at democracy, supporting the terror group Hezbollah in Lebanon, propping up dictator Bashar Assad in Syria (who has killed millions of his own citizens), and much more. Likewise, the Iranians have killed many Americans and other innocent people throughout the Middle East. Iran states openly, and with great force, ‘Death to America!’ and ‘Death to Israel!’ Iran is considered ‘the world’s leading sponsor of terror.’”

Almost all of that is either patently untrue or grossly exaggerated, meaning that Trump’s profoundly ignorant statement is remarkable for the number of lies that it incorporates into 631 words which are wrapped around a central premise that the United States will always do whatever it wants wherever it wants just because it can. The war being waged by the Saudis against Yemen, which reportedly has killed as many as 80,000 children, is not a proxy struggle against Iran as Trump prefers to think. It is naked aggression bordering on genocide that is enabled by the United States under completely false pretenses. Iran did not start the war and plays almost no role in it apart from serving as a Saudi and Emirati excuse to justify the fighting. Other lies include that Bashar al-Assad of Syria has killed millions of his own citizens and that Saudi Arabia is fighting terrorism. Quite the contrary is true as the Saudis have been a major source of Islamic terrorism. And as for Iran being the “world’s leading sponsor of terrorism,” that honor currently belongs to the U.S., Israel and the Saudis.

The core of Trump’s thinking about Khashoggi and the Saudis comes down to Riyadh’s willingness to buy weapons to benefit America’s defense contractors and this one sentence: “The United States intends to remain a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia to ensure the interests of our country, Israel and all other partners in the region.” Yes, once again it is Israel pulling Trump’s strings, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu leading the charge to give Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman a pass on the gruesome murder of a legal resident of the United States who, once upon a time, might have actually had the U.S. government on his side.

The reckless calibrations employed to set American policies in other parts of the world are also playing out badly. Russia has been hounded relentlessly since the 2016 election, wasting the opportunity to establish a modus vivendi that Trump appeared to be offering in his campaign. Russian and American soldiers confront each other in Syria, where the U.S. has absolutely no real interests beyond supporting feckless Israel and Saudi Arabia in an unnecessary armed conflict that has already been lost. There is now talk of war coming from both Moscow and Washington while NATO in the middle has turned aggressive in an attempt to justify its existence. The bilateral relationship between the U.S. and Russia is now worse than it was towards the end of the Cold War while the expansion of NATO up to Russia’s doorstep has threatened the Kremlin’s vital interests without advancing any interest of the United States.

Afghanistan has become the longest war in U.S. history with no end in sight and China too has seen what began as a dispute over trade turned into something more vitriolic, a military rivalry over the South China Sea that could explode. And North Korea? A love fest between two leaders that is devoid of content.

One might also add Venezuela to the list, with the U.S. initiating sanctions over the state of the country’s internal politics and even considering, according to some in the media, a military intervention.

All of the White House’s actions have one thing in common and that is that they do not benefit Americans in any way unless one works for a weapons manufacturer, and that is not even taking into consideration the dead soldiers and civilians and the massive debt that has been incurred to intervene all over the world. One might also add that most of America’s interventions are built on deliberate lies by the government and its associated media, intended to increase tension and create a casus belli where none exists.

So what is to be done as it often seems that the best thing Trump has going for him is that he is not Hillary Clinton? First of all, a comprehensive rethink of what the real interests of the United States are in the world arena is past due. America is less safe now than it was in 2001 as it continues to make enemies with its blundering everywhere it goes. There are now four times as many designated terrorists as there were in 2001, active in 70 countries. One would quite plausibly soon arrive at George Washington’s dictum in his Farewell Address, counseling his countrymen to “observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.” And Washington might have somehow foreseen the poisonous relationships with Israel and the Saudis when he warned that “…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.”

George Washington or any of the other Founders would be appalled to see an America with 800 military bases overseas, allegedly for self-defense. The transfer of wealth from taxpayers to the military industrial complex and related entities like Wall Street has been catastrophic. The United States does not need to protect Israel and Saudi Arabia, two countries that are armed to the teeth and well able to defend themselves. Nor does it have to be in Syria and Afghanistan. And, by the way, Russia is no longer the Soviet Union and NATO should be abolished.

If the United States were to withdraw its military from the Middle East and the rest of Asia tomorrow, it would be to nearly everyone’s benefit. If the armed forces were to be subsequently reduced to a level sufficient to defend the United States it would put money back in the pockets of Americans and end the continuous fearmongering through surfacing of “threats” by career militarists justifying the bloated budgets.

Will that produce the peaceable kingdom? Probably not, but there are signs that some in powerful positions are beginning to see the light. Senator Rand Paul’s courageous decision to place a “hold” on aid to Israel is long overdue as Israel is a liability to the United States and is also legally ineligible for aid due to its undeclared nuclear arsenal and its unwillingness to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The hysterical reactions of American Jews and Israel suggest that any redirection of U.S. Middle East policy will produce a hostile reaction from the Establishment, but even small steps in the right direction could initiate a gradual process of turning the United States into a more normal country in its relationships with the rest of the world rather than a universal predator and bully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing in Any Conspiracy Theory Is As Bad As What’s Being Done Out in The Open

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Yesterday President Trump posted a statement on the White House website saying his administration will be standing with the House of Saud despite the CIA’s assertion that Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman personally ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist who was living and working in the United States.

The statement reads like a long form version of one of Trump’s tweets, replete with gratuitous exclamation points and slogans like “America First!” and the lie that Iran is “the world’s leading sponsor of terror”, which will never be trueno matter how many times this administration deliberately repeats it. The world’s leading sponsor of terrorism is of course Saudi Arabia, along withIsrael and the United States.

Trump’s alleged opposition has responded with melodramatic outrage, as though a US president continuing to stand by Saudi Arabia in the face of horrific acts of violence is somehow new and unprecedented and not standard operating procedure for decades. Dismembering a journalist while he’s still alive would be a fairly typical Tuesday afternoon for the Saudi government and would not rank anywhere near the top ten most evil things this government has done, but because it involves America and a conspiracy it’s a sexy story that everyone laps up. Add in the fact that Trump is more blunt and forthcoming about American depravity and you’ve got yourself a yarn.

This has remained a hot story through to today, invigorated by a tweet by America’s WWE president in which he crowed about low gas prices and added “Thank you to Saudi Arabia” like a good little muppet. And amid all the fist-shaking and rending of garments about the killing of one man by the Saudi government, a far less magnetic story has been published saying that about 84,701 Yemeni children under the age of five were starved to death between April 2015 and October 2018. And I say “were starved to death” instead of “have starved to death” because their starvation is the direct result of a blockade and relentless violence by Saudi Arabia.

The lack of any sense of proportion in response to the Khashoggi case compared to the destruction of civilian lives in Yemen has been roundly criticized by anyone with a public platform and open eyes, and rightly so; obviously a government murdering a journalist in cold blood would be a terrible thing, but to hold that as more worthy of attention than the anguished deaths of untold tens of thousands is obscene.

This dynamic is also not unique to Saudi human rights violations. Take the ongoing Russiagate conspiracy theory, for example. Even if Mueller’s investigation did somehow prove that Trump colluded with the Russian government to steal the 2016 election (and it won’t), that act would still have been far less horrible than the ongoing cold war escalations that this administration has been continually advancing against a nuclear superpower. The existence of every single organism on this planet has been placed in jeopardy by Trump’s idiotic, unforgivable, still very much ongoing game of nuclear chicken with Russia, but hardly anyone ever talks about it. They focus on an empty conspiracy theory instead, partly because it is the mass media’s job to manufacture support for warmongering while downplaying its risks, and partly because theoretical conspiracies draw more attention than the things our rulers are doing right out in the open.

I often get conspiracy buffs asking/telling me to write about this or that theory of 9/11 or the JFK assassination or whatever, and I’m just like, dude, have you seen the stuff they’re doing in broad daylight?? It’s not that I have any attachment to the official narratives the TV tells me I’m required to believe, I just find I can get a lot more traction with much better arguments pointing out the facts that are publicly known and undisputed, especially because those things are often far worse than anything alleged in any conspiracy theory.

I mean, take 9/11. Pretty bad, right? 2,996 dead human beings. If that were engineered or permitted to happen by any faction of the US government or any of its allies, that would be pretty diabolical. But would it be worse than a million Iraqis killed in a war based on lies? Even if you only care about American lives, just the number of US soldiers killed in Iraq already far exceeds the death toll of 9/11. This was a war engineered by secretive government agencies and DC insiders, justified and sold to the public with government lies, lies which were advanced as objective and unquestionable fact by the mass media. The war was rammed through without any public accountability, a million human lives were snuffed out, and when they were done nobody was tried for war crimes. Nobody was even fired. No changes were ever made to prevent such horrors from being inflicted upon our world again.

On paper, I’d say that’s far worse than 9/11. Yes, I know the two are related, but just looking at the objective facts of those two occurrences, one is clearly more egregious an offense than the other, regardless of what specifically happened on that September morning.

Pretty much all other conspiracy theories are like this as well; interesting and intriguing due to the idea of catching powerful people in the act of something horrible, but much less horrible than the things those same powerful people are doing publicly. Mass media outlets make no attempt to hide who owns them or to mask their virulently pro-establishment bias as they manipulate our minds day in and day out, medicine money is spent on bombs and war ships, civilians are starved to death with sanctions, wars are waged on lies and when those lies are uncovered we get nothing but a “Fuck you we do what we want,” billionaires influence the legislative branch with corporate lobbying and campaign donations right out in the open to tilt the scales in favor of the plutocratic class, money is hemorrhaging upward to the richest of the rich while Americans die of lack of healthcare, we inch closer to extinction by either ecocidal end-stage capitalism or nuclear holocaust, and lucrative arms deals are cut with an unfathomably wealthy royal family that is causing the worst humanitarian crisis on earth in Yemen.

If we could see with fresh eyes what is being done to us and our fellow man right out in the open, we would recoil and fall to the ground trembling in sheer terror. The only reason we don’t treat these terrible things like what they are is because they have been normalized for us to the point where we take them for granted and assume that’s the only way things could possibly be. Conspiracy theories sparkle because those are new stories we haven’t been desensitized to, but it’s usually the things that powerful people do out in the open that does the most damage.

The Untouchable US-Saudi Relation Is a Core Element of US Imperialism

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By Frederico Pierccini
Source

Nixon’s decision in 1971 to withdraw the United States from the gold standard greatly influenced the future direction of humanity. The US dollar rose in importance from the mid-1950s to become the world reserve currency as a result of the need for countries to use the dollar in trade. One of the most consumed commodities in the world is oil, and as is well known, the price is set by OPEC in US dollars, with this organization being strongly influenced by Saudi Arabia.

It is therefore towards Riyadh that we must look in order to understand the workings of the petrodollar. After the dollar was withdrawn from the gold standard, Washington made an arrangement with Riyadh to price oil solely in dollars. In return, the Saudis received protection and were granted a free hand in the region. This decision forced the rest of the world to hold a high amount of US dollars in their currency reserves, requiring the purchase of US treasuries. The relationship between the US dollar and oil breathed new life to this currency, placing it at the centre of the global financial and economic system. This privileged role enjoyed by the dollar allowed the United States to finance its economy through the simple process of printing its fiat currency, relying on its credibility and supported by the petrodollar that required other countries to store reserves of US treasuries in their basket of currencies.

This arrangement continued to sustain itself in spite of numerous wars (the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan), financial crises (the Black Monday of 1987, the Dotcom bubble of 2000, and Lehman Brothers’ subprime crisis of 2008), and the bankruptcies of sovereign states (Argentina in 1998). The explanation is to be found in the credibility of the US dollar and the US itself, with its ability to repay buyers of treasury bonds. In other words, as long as the US continues to maintain its dominance of the global financial and economic system, thanks to the dollar, its supremacy as a world superpower is hardly questioned. To maintain this influence on the currency markets and the special-drawing rights (SDR) basket, the pricing of oil in US dollars is crucial. This explains, at least partially, the impossibility of scaling down the relationship between Washington and Riyadh. Nobody should delude themselves into believing that this is the only reason why Saudi-US relations are important. Washington is swimming in the money showered by Saudi lobbies, and it is doubtful that those on the receiving end of such largesse will want to make the party stop.

The agreement made between Washington and Riyadh guaranteed that the latter would receive protection from the former and Washington would look the other way regarding Riyadh’s behavior within its kingdom and in the region – so long as Saudi Arabia sold its black gold in US dollars alone. This agreement was clearly a controversial one and has been kept away from the general public, even in the light of Khashoggi’s death and the liberal mainstream media’s piling on the Kingdom. Yet this is not the only reason why US-Saudi ties are so close. The initial agreements between the Saudis and the Americans concerned the petrodollar; but after the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 (Iran’s nationalist prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh, had been previously overthrown by the US and UK in 1953), Riyadh and Washington decided to declare war on their common enemy, with the hearty approval of Israel. The cooperation between Riyadh and Washington became even closer in the 1980s, through the common campaign against the USSR in Afghanistan through the use of jihadists recruited, trained and armed by the Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the US secret services. The use of jihadist terrorism as a geopolitical weapon has been a main feature of Riyadh’s statecraft.

The relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US evolved from a mere economic and protection agreement, to a full-fledged collaboration against the shared enemies of Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh, expanding on the existing cooperation since the 1980s of using jihadism to advance strategic objectives. The situation with Iran became of primary importance for US strategy in the region. Riyadh, with the passage of time, assumed a triple role, namely, that of being the guarantor of the petrodollar, a facilitator in the use of Islamic terrorism as a geopolitical weapon, and a regional opponent of Iran.

This relationship has been mutually beneficial. The House of Saud has been free to run its country according to the strict strictures of Wahhabism without Western interference; and Washington enjoys a capacity for unlimited military spending (especially after the 2008 crisis and the beginning of quantitative easing) simply through the printing of debt in the form of government bonds that are immediately acquired by other countries. Washington has effectively been printing waste paper and obtaining consumer goods in return, a state of affairs that has allowed the United States to squander six trillion dollars in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without suffering significant economic consequences.

Ever since Donald Trump took over the White House, the process of de-dollarization that begun during the Obama era has only accelerated. With the unprecedented move in 2012 to remove Iran from the SWIFT international banking system, a dangerous precedent had been set that acted as a warning to the rest of the world. The United States revealed itself as willing to abuse its dominant position by wielding the dollar as a weapon against geopolitical adversaries.

The consequences of that action continue to be felt today. Many within the Western elite have come to recognize this mistake and are regretting it. Russia and China understood that they were next on the chopping block and set about creating alternative payment systems like CIPS that would serve to act as a backup system in case Washington tried to exclude Moscow and Beijing from the SWIFT system.

Trump contributed more than any of his predecessors towards further pushing the world in the direction of de-dollarization. Sanctions and tariffs have weakened confidence amongst US allies and forced the rest of the world to start looking for alternatives. The cases of Iran and Russia are instructive, with commercial exchanges being undertaken in currencies other than the dollar for a number of years now. There are dozens of other examples where the use of the dollar in commercial transactions has been abandoned. More complicated, however, is the financing of debt for private or public companies that often takes place in dollars. This exposes industries to a difficult situation in the event that their national currencies devalue against the dollar, making it more expensive to find the US dollars needed to repay creditors, leaving what are major national companies with the prospect of facing bankruptcy. As Russia learned in 2014 with the attack on its Ruble, exposure of potentially strategic sectors of the country to the economic influence of a foreign adversary should be avoided.

The push to renounce the use of the dollar in financial transactions also stems from the fear that the next financial crisis may affect global debt as expressed in dollars; not only destroying the US economy, but dragging down with it countries that are large holders of US treasuries. This is not speculation or conspiracy theory but simple deduction from observing the economic situation over the last 10 years. The global economy was saved in 2008 as a result of the confidence held by citizens following the intervention of central banks. The corrosive mechanism laid out by the Fed and its partners became evident months later. Central banks started printing unlimited amounts of money at 0% interest rates and furnishing it to banks and financial institutions to cover the debts left by the bursting of speculative bubbles like the one involving subprime mortgages.

The average citizen, seeing Bernanke and Draghi on TV talking about “unprecedented actions to save the system”, felt reassured, and therefore felt their money remained safe, in banks or in US dollars. The next financial crisis – potentially the worst ever – is likely to be caused by either the raising of interest rates by the Fed and other central banks, or from the popping of one of the numerous debt bubbles around. The central point is that the citizens’ belief in the system will be put to the test because, as Draghi said, “[this weapon of QE] can be used only once”. There is no protection for banks and speculative entities that could be in debt to the tune of many billions of dollars with no chance of survival.

With a view of to the possible collapse of the dollar-based financial system, several countries are selling their US government bonds, reducing their exposure and accumulating gold. This involves not just China and Russia, but even the European Union.

In such a situation, a crisis in relations with Saudi Arabia is unthinkable for Washington, especially when the region now seems to be guided by an axis that starts from Tehran and ends in Beirut, including Baghdad and Damascus. Riyadh is necessary for the Israeli strategy in the region, and Washington follows in tow for reasons related to the US dollar. Factoring the importance of Riyadh in supporting the petrodollar and in countering Iran in the region, it is not surprising why the Israeli lobby in Washington is doing its utmost to calm US senators down intent on punishing Riyadh for the Khashoggi affair.

If Saudi Arabia were really convinced of the innocence of MBS in the Khashoggi affair, it could use this situation to its advantage by reducing the role of Washington in its foreign policy. Turning to the east and increasing partnerships with China and Russia would have beneficial effects on the whole region, as well as reducing the importance of the United States in the world. Saudi Arabia is governed by a large family riven with divisions and feuds spanning decades. MBS has no interest in his kingdom and is occupied with his survival alone. He is aware that Netanyahu and Trump are his best bet for continuing to reign. Trump is equally aware of the importance of MBS in his communication strategy in the US, with a view to the midterm and the 2020 elections. MBS is for Trump the golden goose that finances the MAGA project, thanks apparently to Trump’s mesmerizing negotiation skills with the Saudis. Of course this is far from the truth, but what matters is the spin that Trump gives to this alliance.

Israel is the primary ally of MBS, given that the crown prince is the first Saudi monarch openly willing to establish diplomatic relations with the Jewish State and bring relations between the two countries out into the open. The upper level of the US government, the so-called deep state, tried for a few weeks to use MBS against Trump. But this strategy came to an end after the Israelis, together with some elements of the US deep state, saw the risk of downsizing the global relationship between Saudi Arabia and the US. MBS will hardly be pushed aside, and within the Kingdom his position seems firmer than many expected, as seen at the Davos in the Desert conference. Breaking up with MBS would have had unimaginable repercussions for the US’s hegemonic position, and this is something Washington can ill afford at the moment.

The use of jihadism and petrodollars as political and financial weapon against Washington’s adversaries is reason enough to quickly forget Jamal Khashoggi and go back to ignoring the various abuses committed by Saudi Arabia. In this phase of the transition from a unipolar to a multipolar world, the US cannot afford to renounce some of the most potent weapons in its arsenal to wield against its geopolitical foes.

Has America Lost Its Moral Compass?

By Reverend John Bryson Chane
Source

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The alleged direct ties of Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammad Bin Salman linking him to the murder and dismemberment of United States resident and Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi has heightened the awareness of President Trump’s willingness to put his self-interests and “deal making” first, before condemning the criminal behavior of the Saudi Government.

Our Nation is living through a time of political anomaly. Donald Trump has ascended to the Office of the President as a businessman, deal maker, and a media-savvy political chameleon. Whether we watch FOX and Friends, CNN, follow Trump’s Tweets, claim residency in a Red or Blue State, as Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Christians, Jews or Muslims we need to come to terms with the debilitating cost of making “America Great Again.”

Truth be told democracy is a complex and messy way of governing any nation, let alone one as diverse as America. Yet there are indissoluble values enshrined in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and affirmed by the Rule of Law, freedom of the press, and the important balance of powers between the Executive, Judicial and Legislative Branches of government. They are being undermined each day by the current occupant of the White House. The president surrounds himself with an inner circle of staffers who have discarded their sense of right and wrong by agreeing to serve Mr. Trump with absolute loyalty. They behave like co-dependents afraid to confront a president who is heavily addicted to power and control and has a hard time with reality. And their co-dependency is mirrored by the behavior of many in the House and Senate.

Morality is understood to mean knowing the difference between right and wrong, of good and bad behavior. Its definition comes from the core teachings of all monotheistic religions, the ancient roots of philosophical thinking and sustaining cultural mores. Moral behavior is open to human interpretation fed by an individual’s upbringing, their interpretation of religious teaching, cultural traditions and engagement with the world. Sadly, President Trump’s decision making, and behavior exhibit the personality of an amoral person, one who doesn’t seem to comprehend what it means to live a moral life and too often appears unable to distinguish between right and wrong.

He consistently uses language that is disrespectful, bullying, racist, and homophobic. He is a classic example of a misogynist. And because the people of this nation have become so polarized by the current politics of divide and conquer at any price very few confront his behavior and condemn it. If we say we are a “religious people” how can we condone such behavior without calling it out for what it is…unacceptable, unembraceable and immoral?  Or as so many are doing in America right now, turning a blind eye and defending the president because he is fulfilling his campaign promise to “Make America Great Again.”  Whatever happened to living out the basic values of treating others with dignity and respect, behavior that mirrors empathy, a willingness to accept responsibility for one’s own actions and compassion for the least among us?

This president has a history of not telling the truth.  He is a confirmed liar, well documented by the media. Bipartisan fact-checking has shown Trump has either lied or manipulated the truth to suit his needs and reinforce his power and leadership in over a thousand instances.

In a statement made on the day of his inauguration, Trump promised to bring a country divided by his election back together to meet the challenges that are ahead for our country and the world. He has done just the opposite. Our country is losing the respect and support of our European allies. Our isolation from the global community with “America First” is causing world leaders to doubt the ability of America to lead the world with its better angels during times of increasing violence, climate change, and the rapid uptick of emerging un-democratic authoritarian regimes.

And because of this president’s self-promotion as an international deal-maker what we get in return for those “deals” are relationships with despotic leaders such as Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. All represent undemocratically governed countries that are known for their egregious human rights violations. And because of the deals, this president looks the other way when human rights are continuously violated, and the rule of law is a non-existent reality. What price as a country are we willing to pay for this president’s deal-making?

The compass is a necessity for anyone when lost in the wilderness seeking a way out. Its consistent pointing to true north can be lifesaving. As a nation we are badly divided politically, culturally and tribally. Our true compass point used to be focused on the Office of the President whether we liked him or not. But when the compass is being stolen from the American people by this president’s behavior we are in real danger of becoming a morally rudderless nation, rapidly losing our soul. Is this country and its citizenry willing to forfeit our democracy and very soul as a nation in order for Donald Trump to make another deal?

American Woman Turns to Hunger Strike to Break Media Blackout on Yemen

Pamela Bennett | Yemen Hunger Strike

By Whitney Webb
Source

SAN FRANCISCO — In Yemen, 18 million civilians are now at the brink of starvation, including 5 million children. The situation in the country, widely considered to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, is entirely man-made – the sordid result of the Saudi Arabia/UAE coalition’s war to control the Middle East’s poorest nation, a war that deliberately targets civilian infrastructure and the civilian food and water supply. Despite the fact that these are clear war crimes, and despite the mass suffering it has inflicted on Yemen’s innocents, this effort continues to receive U.S. and U.K. support.

In the face of the enormity of this completely preventable crisis, some international activists have taken matters into their own hands, giving it their all in order to bring much-needed attention to the plight of the Yemeni people by sacrificing their own quality of life in a stunning and inspiring show of solidarity.

Pamela Bennett, an American woman living in San Francisco, has been on a hunger strike since October 8 in an effort to show solidarity with Yemenis facing famine and to raise awareness in the United States in particular about upcoming congressional efforts to reduce or end the U.S.’ role in the genocide currently occurring in Yemen. Bennett is not alone in her efforts, as a contact from her Facebook page, “Yemen Rising,” is also currently in the seventh day of his hunger strike. Bennett, however, is on her 23rd day.

Others had initially joined the hunger strike but had to end, some leaving for personal reasons while others were forced to stop after being hospitalized as a consequence of their participation. After some of the original hunger strikers had been hospitalized, Bennett began drinking juices and broth in addition to water in order to prevent major health complications.

As part of her bid to raise awareness about Yemen through the hunger strike, Bennett posts daily videos to Facebook discussing her experiences as a result of the hunger strike and her reasons for taking such a drastic step to raise awareness about the crisis in Yemen.

What Bennett hopes her hunger can accomplish

Bennett told MintPress that one of her main reasons for hunger striking for Yemen was that she was “enraged at how well the [Western] media has hidden this,” explaining:

I considered myself a quasi-activist, and I had no idea. I thought it [the humanitarian crisis] was a drought in Yemen or something when I even saw the rare post. When I discovered it was man-made, and that my own government was greatly responsible, I was frightened at how easily I was misled. I wanted action to combat that fear, so I thought of a strike.”

Another of Bennett’s motivations to start a hunger strike was:

How unfair it is for me to have food when millions of people, including pregnant women and children, don’t have any food because of corrupt people in my complicit media hiding what’s happening, and my culpable government preventing them from having good water and electricity with a blockade that decimated their economy, and bombs that destroy their world.”

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A doctor shows a photo of Fadl, an 8-month-old Yemeni boy taken in his last days before he starved to death, in this Feb. 10, 2018 photo at a hospital in Mocha, Yemen. Nariman El-Mofty | AP

She continued, stating:

I also felt that this action would keep my attention, and that of others, on the lack of food that most are suffering in Yemen, and would show solidarity with the Yemeni people. I can tell you, at [23] days now, it is much harder to distract myself than it was at the beginning, and I feel a tiny inkling of what millions are suffering at the hands of greedy people right now.”

However, it continues to be the glaring lack of coverage about the crisis in Yemen that has served as the main impetus for Bennett’s solidarity efforts. Bennett told MintPress:

I would not have to strike if the media did their jobs. I have not seen a fraction of the coverage needed on Yemen. I am sent photos, videos, and stories daily by the Yemeni people. Why would the Yemeni people be doing this if there was adequate coverage? As one Yemeni man put it, on feeling invisible in his suffering, ‘only God sees our tears.’”

Action from Congress?

At this moment in her hunger strike – now in its fourth week – Bennett stated that her immediate goal in continuing the strike was to raise awareness about current legislation in the U.S. Congress related to either reducing or ending the U.S.’ participation in the Yemen conflict, either by ending arms sales to the coalition or by ending the U.S. military’s role in the fighting and the coalition’s bombing campaign. In particular, Bennett is calling on U.S. citizens to contact their representatives, urging them to support Senator Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) JR 54 that would end the U.S.’ role in Yemen as well as Rep. Ro Khanna’s (D-CA) HR 138that also calls for a U.S. withdrawal from Yemen. Another House bill, Rep. Jim McGovern’s (D-MA) JR 102, would restrict arms sales to the Saudi government.

If Americans step up and put enough pressure on their representatives and any one of these bills is passed, the U.S. may pull out. Bennett opined that, if the U.S. is forced to withdraw, “I think that there is every chance Saudi Arabia, the U.K. and the UAE will follow suit, with enough pressure.”

To join the effort

Any person interested in participating in the hunger strike alongside Bennett is urged to contact her either through her page “Yemen Rising” or her personal Facebook page. Bennett stated that water-only fasts are no longer encouraged and that all potential hunger strikers need to be in good health before beginning. She emphasized that the hunger strike is “a media campaign to combat media silence, [so please make] videos about what you are doing and why these actions are needed to spread the word.” She also noted that some people have done shorter-term solidarity fasts, anywhere from one day to one week, in order raise awareness.

For those looking to aid solidarity efforts in another way, Bennett stated that it is of the utmost importance for U.S. citizens to search online for “the contact sheets for senators and representatives, and email, call and write. And tell your friends to do the same.”

Killing Jamal Khashoggi Was Easy. Explaining It Is Much Harder

By Philip Giraldi
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Getting to the bottom of the Jamal Khashoggi disappearance is a bit like peeling an onion. It is known that Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul on October 2nd to get a document that would enable him to marry a Turkish woman. It is also known, from surveillance cameras situated outside the building, that he never came out walking the same way he entered. The presumption is that he was either killed inside or abducted, though the abduction theory would have to be based on a Consulate vehicle leaving the building with him presumably concealed inside, something that has not been confirmed by the Turks. If he was killed inside the building and dismembered, as seems likely, he could have had his body parts removed in the suitcases carried by the alleged fifteen official Saudis who had arrived that morning by private jet and left that afternoon the same way. The supposition is that the fifteen men, which may have included some members of Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’s bodyguard as well as a physician skilled in autopsies who was carrying a bone saw, constituted the execution party for Khashoggi.

There are certain things that should be observed about the Turks, since they are the ones claiming that the disappearance of Khashoggi may have included a summary execution and dismemberment. The Turkish intelligence service, known by its acronym MIT, is very good, very active and very focused on monitoring the activities of foreign embassies and their employees throughout Turkey. They use electronic surveillance and, if the foreign mission has local employees, many of those individuals will be agents reporting to the Turkish government. In my own experience when I was in Istanbul, I had microphones concealed in various places in my residence and both my office and home phones were tapped. A number of local hire consulate employees were believed to be informants for MIT but they were not allowed anywhere near sensitive information.

As Turkey and Saudi Arabia might be termed rivals if not something stronger, it is to be presumed that MIT had the Consulate General building covered with both cameras and microphones, possibly inside the building as well as outside, and may have had a Turkish employer inside who observed some of what was going on. Which is to say that the Turks certainly know exactly what occurred but are playing their cards closely to see what they can derive from that knowledge. The two countries have already initiated a joint investigation into what took place. Turkey’s economy is in free fall and would benefit from “investment” from the Saudis to create an incentive to close the book on Khashoggi. In other words, Turkey’s perspective on the disappearance could easily be influenced by Saudi money and the investigation might well turn up nothing that is definitive.

Saudi Arabia, for its part, has a couple of cards to play also even if it did kill and dismember Khashoggi under orders from the Crown Prince. First of all, the system of petrodollars, which basically requires nearly all purchases of petroleum to be paid in dollars, is underwritten by the Saudis. Petrodollars in turn enable the United States to print money for which there is no backing knowing that there will always be international demand for dollars to buy oil. The Saudis, who also use their own petrodollars to buy U.S. treasury bonds, could pull the plug on that arrangement. That all means that the United States will be looking for an outcome that will not do too much damage to the Saudis.

Second, Saudi Arabia is in bed with Israel in opposition to Iran. This means the Israel Lobby and its many friends in Congress will squawk loudly about Khashoggi but ultimately shy away from doing anything about it. It already appears that a cover story is halfway in place to explain what happened. It is being suggested that a “rogue” element from Saudi Arabia might have carried out without the knowledge of the Crown Prince an interrogation or abduction attempt that went too far. Donald Trump speculated on Monday that that might be the case, suggesting that it may already be part of the official line that will be promoted. Those who know Saudi Arabia well, however, consider a high-level assassination not ordered by the Crown Prince directly to be extremely unlikely, but that does not necessarily mean that a cover story including that feature might not be successfully floated.

In regional terms, Saudi Arabia is also key to Trump’s anticipated Middle East peace plan. If it pulls out from the expected financial guarantees aspect, the plan will fall apart. Riyadh is also committed to buy tens of billions of dollars’ worth of American arms, an agreement that could be canceled if Washington begins to pressure the Saudis for answers. Beyond that, Saudi Arabia could stop pumping oil or fail to increase production when Iranian oil becomes subject to U.S. sanctions early next month, driving the price per barrel up dramatically for everyone. The Saudi government has already indicated that it will respond forcefully to any attempts to punish it over Khashoggi and there is no reason to doubt the seriousness of that threat.

There are, of course, possible impediments to selling the fake news narrative. Some early reports suggested that Khashoggi’s fiancé had observed and possibly recorded the execution inside the consulate using the victim’s Apple wristwatch linked to an iPad in her possession. If that is true, the release of such material to the media will create worldwide demand to learn the truth that will be difficult to control. Also, there are unconfirmed reports that U.S. intelligence knew in advance of Saudi plans to abduct Khashoggi, which could prove embarrassing to the Trump administration and could narrow its options.

The trick will be to see how a bit of extreme brutal behavior by the Saudis can be manipulated by all interested parties to produce a solution that doesn’t damage anyone too much. It will undoubtedly be far from the truth, but truth doesn’t necessarily matter much these days.

Will Khashoggi Incident Be Saudi Crown Prince’s Undoing?

Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance since October 2 after entering Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate clearly suggests foul play.

His likely abduction and possible murder by Riyadh created an international uproar.

Make no mistake. Saudi relations with the US and other Western countries are strong – given its huge oil reserves and support given Washington’s regional imperial agenda.

How crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) fares if Khashoggi’s abduction and/or murder is proved is another issue entirely.

His status and ascension to the kingdom’s throne could be doomed. Saudi king Salman may replace him as crown prince to soothe international anger, especially in the region and West.

On Monday, Turkish President Erdogan demanded Riyadh prove Khashoggi left the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as claimed.

“Do you not have cameras and everything of the sort,” Erdogan asked? “They have all of them. Then why do you not prove this? You need to prove it.”

Turkish officials believe Khashoggi was abducted and killed because of his outspoken criticism of the kingdom.

Until Monday, Trump was silent, finally expressing weak-kneed concern saying:

“I don’t like hearing about it. Hopefully that will sort itself out. Right now, nobody knows anything about it, but there’s some pretty bad stories going around. I do not like it.”

Pompeo on Monday tried downplaying the incident, saying there are “conflicting reports on (Khashoggi’s) safety and whereabouts.”

Turkish media reported that a number of diplomatic vehicles left the consulate on October 2, the day Khashoggi disappeared. 

Turkish investigators believe he may have been killed, his body dismembered, taken from the consulate in boxes, and flown to the kingdom for disposal.

The so-called anonymous Saudi Julian Assange whistleblower known as Mujtahid uses Twitter as a platform for his remarks.

Last April, he was wrong tweeting in Arabic: “Circles close to Mohammed bin Salman have disclosed that he has coordinated with Trump and Jared Kushner to have King Salman step down from power to be succeeded by the Saudi Crown Prince by July 4 at most.”

On Tuesday, he tweeted: “It seems that the details that Turkey will announce (in the near future about the fate of Khashoggi) are enough to put an end to the political career of Mohammed bin Salman.” 

“It is also likely that an international stance will be formed against Saudi Arabia which is a law-breaking government and bin Salman will be sued (in) the International Court of Justice (ICJ).”

He believes evidence Turkish investigators uncover may dissuade the Trump regime to stop supporting MBS – suggesting Ankara already has enough evidence to prove his responsibility for Khashoggi’s disappearance and likely death, adding they’re waiting to complete their investigation before passing judgment publicly.

According to Turkish/Arab Media Association head Turan Kislakci, “(w)hat was explained to us (by Turkish officials) is this. (Khashoggi) was killed. Make your funeral preparations,” adding:

“We called a few other places. These are lower officials, but they said: ‘We have evidence he was killed in a barbaric way. We will announce it’ ” later this week.

Last May, exiled Saudi prince Prince Khaled bin Farhan Al Saud since 2013 said the kingdom could “descend into chaos,” destabilizing the region and elsewhere.

“I would like to say to Europeans that the situation in Saudi Arabia resembles a volcano that is about to erupt. And if this volcano erupts, it will not only affect the situation inside Saudi Arabia or in the Arab region, but it will also have an effect on you too,” he said, adding:

“(I)f Saudi Arabia descends into a state of chaos, there will be global chaos, and (the kingdom) will be a source of terrorism for the entire world as it will support and sustain international terrorism” – what it’s done for many years, he failed to explain.

On Monday, he tweeted: “If the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi is proved, I invite all walks of life in Saudi Arabia to cooperate in a legal measure and change the political system through civil disobedience.”

According to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), at least 81 members of the profession were killed in 2017 globally, calling attacks and threats against journalists at “epidemic levels.”

So far this year, IFJ reported 73 journalists killed worldwide. No fatalities from their ranks in recent memory caused the international uproar like Khashoggi’s disappearance and likely murder.

By Stephen Lendman
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Did the Saudis Kidnap and Murder Journalist Jamal Khashoggi?

On October 2, prominent Saudi journalist/critic Khashoggi disappeared after entering the kingdom’s Instanbul, Turkey consulate, needing documents for his upcoming wedding, scheduled for this week.

He hasn’t been seen or heard from since, likely victimized by foul play. Turkish officials believe he was murdered by a Saudi hit squad sent from the kingdom to eliminate him.

According to Turkish police, 15 Saudis, including several officials, arrived in Istanbul on October 6. They entered the consulate when Khashoggi was believed alive inside.

On October 7, Turkish/Arab Media Association head Turan Kislakci cited unconfirmed reports that he was killed in the consulate, his body dismembered, then removed undetected.

Instabul’s chief prosecutor initiated an investigation into what happened, including an examination of all video surveillance footage of consulate entrances, along with checking all inbound and outbound flights since Khashoggi’s disappearance. 

On Monday, Turkey’s Foreign Ministry asked permission to conduct a forensic search of the consulate, after Saudi envoy to the country Waleed AM El-Hereiji was summoned to the ministry for the second time.

Last year, Khashoggi fled Saudi Arabia over harsh crackdowns on regime critics. Friction between him and its despotic ruling family surfaced after saying the kingdom should be “nervous about a Trump presidency.”

He opposed Saudi aggression in Yemen, its unacceptable policies toward Qatar, and harshness against critics.

Banned from writing and speaking out publicly, he self-exiled himself to America, saying “I have left my home, my family and my job, and I am raising my voice,” adding:

“To do otherwise would betray those who languish in prison. I can speak when so many cannot.”

Earlier this year, he said Saudi intellectuals and journalists risk imprisonment for criticizing ruling family policies.

“(N)obody…dare(s) speak and criticize reforms” initiated by MBS. “I haven’t heard him make even the slightest inference that he would open the country for power-sharing, for democracy.”

The State Department was largely silent on Khashoggi’s disappearance, a statement saying it’s aware of reports and seeks more information.

Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is ruthlessly intolerant of regime criticism. If it’s proved responsible for Khashoggi’s death, relations with Turkey will likely worsen.

They deteriorated markedly in recent years. Saudi consul-general Mohammad al-Otaiba claimed Khashoggi “is not at the consulate nor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the consulate and the embassy are working to search for him.”

His fiancee Hatice Cengiz waited for him outside the consulate. She disbelieves the regime’s explanation about his disappearance.

Kingdom assassins likely murdered him. Its ruling are authorities contemptuous of civil and human rights, along with disdaining the rule of law.

GOP Senators Bob Corker, Lindsey Graham, and Ben Cardin called for honest answers on what happened to Khashoggi, Graham tweeting:

“We agree that if there was any truth to the allegations of wrongdoing by the Saudi government it would be devastating to the US-Saudi relationship, and there will be a heavy price to be paid — economically and otherwise.”

Senator Chris Murphy said if reports about US resident Khashoggi’s murder by the kingdom is true, “it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia.”

Khashoggi is a Washington Post columnist. Commenting on his disappearance, its editorial page editor Fred Hiatt said “(i)f the reports of (his) murder are true, it is a monstrous and unfathomable act.”

Separately the broadsheet accused kingdom authorities of unlawfully “carry(ing) out hundreds of arrests under the banner of national security, rounding up clerics, business executives and even women’s rights advocates.”

Khashoggi was likely abducted and murdered to silence his criticism. If proved, it’s unlikely to disrupt longterm bilateral relations America – notably strong since Franklin Roosevelt met with king Abdul Aziz in 1945.

Around the same time, the State Department called Middle East oil riches, mainly Saudi ones, “a stupendous source of strategic power, and one of the greatest material prizes in world history.”

The kingdom’s likely responsibility for whatever happened to Khashoggi isn’t likely to change longterm US/Saudi relations.

By Stephen Lendman
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