The Saudi Engine of Repression Continues to Run at Full Speed

 

David Ignatius

One hundred days after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pressing ahead with anti-dissident campaigns and remains in regular contact with Saud al-Qahtani, the media adviser whom the CIA believes helped organize Khashoggi’s killing, according to US and Saudi sources.

The Saudi crown prince, far from altering his impulsive behavior or signaling that he has learned lessons from the Khashoggi affair, as the Trump administration had hoped, appears instead to be continuing with his autocratic governing style and a ruthless campaign against dissenters, the US and Saudi sources said this week.

“Domestically, he feels very confident and in control. As long as his base is secure, he feels that nothing can harm him,” says one American who met recently with MBS, as the crown prince is known. One of Britain’s most experienced Saudi-watchers agreed: “He’s completely un-chastened by what has happened. That is worrying for Western governments.”

MBS has been contacting Qahtani and continuing to seek his advice, according to the US and Saudi sources. A Saudi source said Qahtani had also met recently at his Riyadh home with his senior deputies from the royal court’s Center for Studies and Media Affairs, the cyber-command post he ran until shortly after Khashoggi’s death. “I’m being blamed and used as a scapegoat,” Qahtani is said to have told his former aides.

“Qahtani holds a lot of files and dossiers,” says the American who met recently with MBS. “The idea that you can have a radical rupture with him is unrealistic.” A Saudi who is close to the royal court agrees: “There’s stuff [Qahtani] was working on that he may have to finish, or hand over,” he said.

One indication that MBS hasn’t altered his Qahtani-style Internet bullying tactics is an aggressive social media campaign launched this week to attack Khashoggi and Omar Abdulaziz, a dissident living in Canada.

An Arabic hashtag on Twitter surfaced Thursday claiming to offer “Fact” about the two men’s alleged involvement in anti-Saudi conspiracies funded by Qatar. One English-language post showed pictures of the two men with the caption “Jamal and Omar: Qatar’s Agents.”

Also appearing on Twitter was a slick video titled “Qatar System Exposed,” apparently produced by a company with the same name as a Dubai-based studio. The video includes English subtitles alleging that Khashoggi was involved in a plot to “create a new destabilizing Arab Spring to unsettle Arab countries, mainly, Saudi Arabia.”

Another new video argues that The Post shouldn’t have given Khashoggi a platform as a columnist when he was also receiving editing advice on his columns from the head of the Qatar Foundation International, a Qatar-funded group based in Washington.

Ironically, the main evidence offered to support these charges of Khashoggi’s links to Qatar is a Dec. 22 article in The Post by Souad Mekhennet and Greg Miller. The Qatar Foundation link was hardly a secret; I mentioned it in a long column about Khashoggi that appeared on Oct. 12, 10 days after he disappeared in Istanbul.

Even MBS’s strongest supporters in the United States appear concerned by the new social media campaign. Ali Shihabi, the head of the Saudi-backed Arabia Foundation, commented in an email to me Thursday:

“I have no idea who is behind this new campaign, but it certainly does not seem wise.” He argued that despite a “concerted campaign funded by Qatar and others . . . the kingdom’s media organs had so far exercised great self-control since the Jamal tragedy, and I would hope that continues.”

The videos and Web postings in the new campaign all have the professional feel of modern media studios in Dubai. According to a Saudi source, Qahtani recently made two trips to the United Arab Emirates, even though he is supposedly under house arrest in Riyadh. The trips couldn’t be confirmed independently.

The Treasury Department said Nov. 15 in imposing sanctions on Qahtani that he “was part of the planning and execution of the operation” that led to Khashoggi’s death.

The American who recently visited MBS said he cautioned him that top US military and intelligence officials were weighing whether the crown prince was a dictator, like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, nominally committed to modernization but unreliable, or a solid ally of the United States. “As long as you keep Qahtani, people will say you’re more like Saddam,” this visitor warned.

Senior Saudi officials who have discussed MBS’s continuing contact with Qahtani have urged US patience. “If I try to ban him, [Qahtani] will find another channel,” a senior prince is said to have advised the administration. Meanwhile, the Saudi engine of repression continues to run at full speed.

Source: WP, Edited by website team

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Editor’s Picks: US Senate Corners Trump to Stop Supporting Bin Salman’s Crimes, Yemen War

Local Editor

The US Senate delivered an unusual rebuke of President Donald Trump’s response to the murder of Saudi journo Jamal Khashoggi as well as his support of continued Saudi war in Yemen, and signaled new skepticism from Capitol Hill toward the longtime Middle East ally, bringing analysis pieces dealing with the issue on top of the media platform, of which we brought to you some.

The Washington Post’s Editorial Board considered the resolution a powerful repudiation of both Saudi Arabia and Trump.

According to the Post, it was an important step toward holding Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accountable for the murder of its contributing columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

The senate unanimously approved a resolution that assigns responsibility to bin Salman for the killing and said the regime’s “misleading statements” about the case “have undermined trust and confidence” in Saudi-US relations.

The vote was a powerful repudiation of Trump’s refusal to accept, or act upon, the truth about the crown prince — and it should cause the president to reconsider.

The resolution’s passage came on the heels of a 56-to-41 vote in favor of another resolution ending US support for the Saudi war in Yemen under the War Powers Act. House Republicans have already moved to block consideration of that measure. But if Speaker Paul D. Ryan [R-Wis.] wishes to end his congressional career with a touch of honor, he should schedule a vote next week on the Khashoggi resolution. House members should have the opportunity to show whether they stand with US intelligence professionals who have concluded that Mohammed bin Salman was responsible for this act of wanton brutality — or with a president who would bury the facts in service of [largely phantom] weapons sales. They should have a chance to stand up for the American values, including support for human rights that Trump has repudiated.

The evidence connecting Mohammed bin Salman to the killing is overwhelming. According to The Post’s reporting, the 15-member team sent to Istanbul to attack Mr. Khashoggi inside the Saudi Consulate on Oct. 2 included several of the crown prince’s personal bodyguards. It was headed by another close associate who called a top aide in Riyadh to say that he should “tell your boss” that Mr. Khashoggi was dead. The CIA discovered that the aide, Saud al-Qahtani, and the crown prince exchanged numerous texts during that time period.

Additionally, the Post’s contributor Aaron Blake wrote “The whole Senate just said Trump is wrong.”

Trump and top Cabinet officials have completely obscured and slow-rolled their own intelligence community’s conclusion about the Saudis’ killing of Washington Post Global Opinions columnist Jamal Khashoggi. And on Thursday, every single senator in attendance rebuked them.

Just moments after the Senate passed a resolution calling for an end to US involvement on the Saudi side of the war in Yemen, the GOP-run Senate voted unanimously for Sen. Bob Corker’s, R-Tenn., resolution officially blaming Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for Khashoggi’s death.

Corker’s resolution says, among other things: “The Senate . . . believes Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is responsible for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.”

That’s also what the CIA has concluded, but it’s a conclusion that Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and even Defense Secretary Jim Mattis have taken great pains to undermine. A couple weeks back, the latter two briefed senators, with Pompeo saying there was no “direct reporting” of Mohammed’s culpability and Mattis saying there was no “smoking gun.” Those statements may be technically true, but they ignore the fact that CIA assessments aren’t legal documents but did assess Mohammed’s responsibility with “high confidence.” They created an impossible standard.

Meanwhile, Reuters’ Patricia Zengerle penned a piece entitled US Senate hands Trump historic rebuke on Saudi Arabia.

In a historic move, senators voted 56-41 to end US military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s war. The conflict killed tens of thousands of people and spawned what the United Nations calls the world’s most dire human crisis, with the country on the brink of famine.

It was the first time either chamber of Congress had backed a resolution to withdraw US forces from a military engagement under the War Powers Act. That law, passed in 1973, limits the president’s ability to commit US forces to potential hostilities without congressional approval.

For his part, Imad Zafar’s Asia Times said the US Senate’s Yemen move is a message to Saudi royals.

The Yemen conflict is the most tragic event of recent times, where thousands of innocent people have lost their lives in the war between Saudi forces backed by the US and the Houthi rebels backed by Iran. The innocent people living in Yemen are caught in the middle of this fight as on the one side there are Houthi armed groups who are Shiite Muslims, while on the other side, the coalition led by Saudi Arabia is bombing them ruthlessly.

According to Amnesty International, because of this war more than 15,000 people have been killed or injured and it has resulted in a humanitarian crisis. Perhaps this move from the US Senate will help save the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent Yemenis targeted mercilessly by the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthi armed groups.

One wonders why it took Jamal Khashoggi’s murder to make the lawmakers realize that the US has been backing Saudi Arabia in killing thousands of civilians in Yemen.

Perhaps this can be seen as a signal to the Saudi kingdom that the US is ready to hold Mohammad bin Salman responsible for Khashoggi’s killing. Anger had been growing in the US over the recent findings of the Central Intelligence Agency that pointed to possible involvement by the crown prince in the killing and Turkey’s claim of a telephonic recording in which the killers were talking to higher Saudi officials about the success of the mission.

Source: Al-Ahed News

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How Big Brother Grips Americans’ Minds to Support Invasions

By Eric Zuesse
Source

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On November 29th, Gallup headlined “Democrats Lead Surge in Belief US Should Be World Leader” and reported that “Three-fourths (75%) of Americans today think the United States has ‘a special responsibility to be the leading nation in world affairs,’ up from 66% in 2010. The surge is driven by Democrats, whose belief in this idea has increased from 61% eight years ago to 81% now.” This finding comes even after the lie-based and catastrophic US invasions of Iraq in 2003, and of Libya in 2011 (and of so many others, such as Afghanistan, where the US and Sauds created the Taliban in 1979). Americans — now even increasingly — want ‘their’ (which is actually America’s billionaires’) Government to be virtually the world’s government, policing the world. They want this nation’s Government to be determining what international laws will be enforced around the world, and to be enforcing them.

Most Americans don’t want the United Nations to have power over the US (its billionaires’) Government, but instead want the US Government (its billionaires) to have power over the United Nations (which didn’t authorize any of those evil, lie-based, US invasions).

Not only would doing this bankrupt all constructive domestic functions (health, education, infrastructure, etc.) of the US federal Government, but it would also increase the global carnage, as if the US Government hasn’t already been doing enough of that, for decades now.

The leadership for this supremacist craving comes straight from America’s top, not from the masses that are being sampled by the Gallup organization, who only reflect it — they are duped by their leaders. Here is how US President Barack Obama (a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2009, for nothing at all but his ‘kindly’ but insincere verbiage when he had been a candidate) stated this widespread delusional American belief in American global moral supremacy, when addressing the graduating class at West Point Military Academy, on 28 May 2014:

The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation*. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come…America must always lead on the world stage.

[*Every other nation is therefore ‘dispensable’; we therefore now have “Amerika, Amerika über alles, über alles in der Welt”.]

This had certainly not been the objective of US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he set up the U.N. just before his death in 1945; he instead wanted the U.N. to evolve into a democratic government of the world, with elected representatives of each and every one of the world’s governments — to evolve into becoming the global international republic — regardless of whether or not the US Government approves or disapproves of another nation’s government. The idea on which the U.N. was founded was not to involve the US Government in the internal affairs of other nations, not to be the judge jury and executioner of other governments that it doesn’t like, nor to dictate what other nations should or should not do within the given nation’s boundaries. FDR intended that there instead be democratically represented, at the U.N., each and every nation, and each and every people within that global government, where each of these national governments is (hopefully but not necessarily) a democracy.

FDR was just as opposed to dictatorship internationally, as he was opposed to dictatorship nationally, and he recognized that inevitably some governments will disapprove of other governments, but he was deeply committed to the view that a need exists for laws and law-enforcement between nations, on an international level, and not only within the individual nations, and that each nation is sacrosanct on its own internal laws. He respected national sovereignty, and opposed international empire. (This was his basic disagreement with Winston Churchill, then, and with American leaders such as Obama and Trump now.) Unlike President Obama (and evidently unlike the vast majority of today’s Americans) FDR didn’t want this international government to be an American function, but instead an entirely separate international governmental function, in which there is no international dictatorship whatsoever — not American, and not by any other country. He knew that this is the only stable basis for international peace, and for avoiding a world-annihilating World War III.

Barack Obama rejected FDR’s vision, and advocated for the United States as being (and even as if it already had been for a century) virtually the government over the entire world, which “must always lead on the world stage.” Adolf Hitler had had that very same international vision for his own country, Germany, “the Thousand-Year Reich,” but he lost World War II; and, then, when FDR died, Hitler’s vision increasingly took over in America, so that ideologically, FDR actually lost WW II, when Harry S. Truman took over the White House and increasingly thereafter, until today, when the US commits more invasions of foreign countries than do all other nations in the world combined. Americans (apparently, as shown in this and other polls) like this, and want more of it. Nobody else does.

For example, nobody (except the US and Saudi and Israeli aristocracies and their supporters worldwide, which are very few people) supports the US regime’s reinstitution of sanctions against Iran, which the US regime is imposing as the global dictator. America’s economic sanctions are like spitting into the face of FDR, who had opposed such imperialistic fascism in the more overtly military form when Hitler’s regime was imposing it. It’s also spitting at the U.N.

This latest Gallup finding displays an increase, but nothing that’s at all anomalous as compared to the decades-long reality of imperialistic US culture. For decades now, Gallup’s polling has shown that the most respected of all institutions by the American people is the nation’s military — more than the church, more than the Presidency, more than the US Supreme Court, more than the press, more than the schools, more than anything. America is invasion-nation. This is true even after the 2003 invasion of Iraq on the basis of blatant lies, which destroyed Iraq — a nation that had never invaded nor even threatened to invade the United States. The American people are, resolutely, bloodthirsty for conquest, even after having been fooled into that evilinvasion, and subsequent decades-long military occupation in Iraq, and after subsequent conquests or attempted conquests, in Libya, Syria, Yemen, and elsewhere — all destroying nations that had never invaded nor even threatened America. Why? How did this mass-insanity, of evil, come to be?

How is this aggressive nationalism even possible, in America’s ‘democracy’? It’s actually no democracy at all, and the public are being constantly fooled to think that it is a democracy, and this deception is essential in order for the public to tolerate this Government, and to tolerate the media that lie for it. This widespread deceit requires constant cooperation of the ‘news’-media — and these are the same ‘news’-media that hid from the public, in 2002, that the US Government was outright lying about “WMD in Iraq.”

The public simply do not learn. That’s a tragic fact. Largely, this fact results from reality being hidden by the ‘news’-media; but, even now, long after the fake ‘news’ in 2002, about the US regime’s having possessed secret and conclusive evidence of “Saddam’s WMD,” the published ‘history’ about that invasion still does not acknowledge the public’s having been lied-to at that time, by its Government, and by the ‘news’-media. So, the public live, and culturally swim, in an ongoing river of lies, both as its being ‘news’, and subsequently as its having been ‘history’. This is why the public do not learn: they are being constantly deceived. And they (as Gallup’s polls prove) tolerate being constantly deceived. The public do not rebel against it. They don’t reject either the politicians, or the ‘news’-media. They don’t demand that the American public control the American Government and that America’s billionaires lose that control — especially over the ‘news’-media.

Honesty is no longer an operative American value, if it ever was. That’s how, and why, Big Brother (the operation by the international-corporate billionaires) grips Americans’ minds to support foreign Invasions. Americans support liars, and it all comes from the top; it’s directed from the top. It is bipartisan, from both Democratic Party billionaires and Republican Party billionaires. National politicians will lose their seats if they disobey.

A good example, of this Big-Brother operation, is America’s Politifact, the online site which is at America’s crossover where ‘news’ and ‘history’ meet one-another. It’s controlled by billionaires such as the one who founded Craigslist. Millions of Americans go to Politifact in order to determine what is true and what is false that is being widely published about current events. The present writer sometimes links to their articles, where I have independently verified that there are no misrepresentations in an article. But, like the ‘news’-media that it judges, Politifact is also a propaganda-agency for the (US-Saud-Israeli) Deep State, and so it deceives on the most critically important international matters.

An example of this occurred right after the US regime had overthrown, in February 2014 in a bloody coup, the democratically elected Government of Ukraine, and replaced it by a rabidly anti-Russian racist fascist or nazi Government on Russia’s doorstep, a regime that was selected by the rabidly anti-Russian (but lying that it wasn’t) Obama regime. This Politifact article was dated 31 March 2014, right after over 90% of Crimeans had just voted in a referendum, to rejoin Russia, and to depart from Ukraine, which the Soviet dictator had transferred them to, separating them from Russia, in 1954. (None of that history of the matter was even mentioned by Politifact.)

The Politifact article was titled “Viral meme says United States has ‘invaded’ 22 countries in the past 20 years”, and it was designed to deceive readers into believing that “Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea” reflected the real instance of “invasion” that Americans should be outraged against — to deflect away from America’s recent history as being the world’s actual invasion-nation. This propaganda-article said nothing at all about either Crimea or Ukraine except in its opening line:

A Facebook meme argues that Americans are pretty two-faced when it comes to Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea.”

It then proceeded to document that the exact number of American invasions during the prior 20 years wasn’t 22, and so Politifact declared the allegation “false” (as if the exact number were really the entire issue or even the main one, and as if America’s scandalous recent history of invasions were not).

So, it’s on account of such drowning-in-propaganda, that the US public not only respect what US President Dwight Eisenhower derogatorily called the “military-industrial complex,” but respect it above even the US Presidency itself, and above all other US institutions (as Gallup’s constant polling demonstrates to be the case).

Here’s the reality: The same group of no more than a thousand super-wealthy Americans control both the United States Government and the weapons-manufacturing firms (such as Lockheed Martin), which are the only corporations whose only customers are the US Government and its chosen allied governments. So, these few people actually control the US Government’s foreign relations, and foreign policies. They create and control their own markets. This is the most politically active group of America’s super-rich, because they own America’s international corporations and because their business as owners of the military ones is military policy and also diplomatic policy, including the conjoining of both of those at the CIA and NSA, including the many coups that they (via their Government) engineer.

They also control all of the nation’s major news-media, which report international affairs in such a manner as to determine which foreign governments will be perceived by the mass of Americans to constitute the nation’s ‘enemies’ and therefore to be suitable targets for the US military and CIA to invade and conquer or otherwise “regime-change” — such as have been the lands of North Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Yemen, Venezuela, etc., at various times.

The weapons-manufacturers won’t have any markets, at all, if there are no ‘enemy’ nations that are deemed by the public to be suitable targets for their weapons. ‘Enemy’ nations, and not only ‘allies’ (or ‘allied’ nations), are necessary, in order for the military business to produce the most profits. Overwhelmingly, if not totally, the chosen ‘enemies’ are nations that have never invaded nor even threatened to invade the United States; and, so, in order to keep this Government-funded business (the war-profiteering and associated international natural-resources extractions businesses) growing and thriving, what’s essential is continuing control over the nation’s ‘news’-media.

As Walter Lippmann wrote in 1921, “the manufacture of consent” is an essential part of this entire operation. It happens via the media. Even Germany’s Nazis needed to do that. Any modern capitalist dictatorship (otherwise called “fascism”) does. The US regime, being a capitalist dictatorship, certainly does.

Physically, Hitler lost, but his ideology won, he won even as nazism (racist fascism) instead of merely as fascism, and this racism is shown because the US regime is rabidly racist anti-Russian (not merely anti-communist), and has been so for at least a century. (Maybe it’s what Obama actually had secretly in mind when he said “That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come.” And Trump is no less a liar than Obama, and he continues this aim of ultimately conquering Russia.)

They say they’re only against Russia’s leader Vladimir Putin, but Putin shows in all polls of Russians, even in non-Russian polls, to be far more favorably viewed by Russians than either Barack Obama or Donald Trump are viewed by Americans. This is why regime-change-in-Russia is increasingly becoming dominated by US economic sanctions and military, and less dominated by CIA and other coup-organizers. The actual dictatorship is in America, and it requires participation by its ‘news’-media. Demonizing ‘the enemy’ is therefore crucial. It is crucial preparation for any invasion.

The United States Government spends at least as much money on its military as do all of the other governments in the world combined. Its ‘news’-media (that is to say, the media that are owned by, and that are advertised in by, the corporations that are controlled by, the same small group of billionaires — America’s billionaires — who fund the political campaigns of both the Democratic Party’s and the Republican Party’s nominees for the US Congress and the Presidency) may be partisan for one or the other of the nation’s two political Parties, but they all are unitedly partisan for the international corporations, such as Lockheed Martin, that America’s billionaires control, and that sell only to the US Government and to the foreign governments that are allied with the US Government. They also are partisan for the US-based oil and gas and mining international corporations, which need to extract at the lowest costs possible, no matter how much the given extractee-nation’s public might suffer from the deal. “Three-fourths (75%) of Americans today think the United States has ‘a special responsibility to be the leading nation in world affairs,’” and the actual beneficiaries of this mass-insanity are the owners of those US-based international corporations, the military and extraction giants.

Anthony Cordesman, at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, headlined on 15 August 2016, “US Wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen: What Are The Endstates?” and he said,“Once again, the United States does not seem to be learning from its past. The real test of victory is never tactical success or even ending a war on favorable military terms, it is what comes next.”

But he ignored the main reason why these invasions had occurred. America’s weapons-manufacturers won’t have any markets, at all, if there are no ‘enemy’ nations that are deemed by the American public to be suitable targets for their weapons. Cordesman is there calculating success and failure on the basis of the myths (such as that the US Government cares about those “Endstates”), not of the realities (that it craves targets). The realities focus upon the desires of the owners and executives of the weapons-manufacturers and the extraction-firms, for ongoing and increased profits and executive bonuses, and not on the needs of America’s soldiers nor on the national security of the American people. Least of all, do they focus upon the needs — such as the welfare, freedom, or democracy — of the Iraqi people, or of the Syrian people, or of the Libyan people, or of the Yemenite people.

It’s all just lies, PR. Those invasions served their actual main functions when they were occurring. “The Endstates” there are almost irrelevant to those real purposes, the purposes for which the invasions were, and are, actually being done.

Here’s an ideal example of this mass mind-control: On 19 November 2017, Josh Rogin at the Washington Post headlined “The US must prepare for Iran’s next move in Syria” and reported that:

A task force of senior former US diplomatic and military officials has come up with suggestions for how Trump could prevent Iran from taking over what’s left of liberated Syria and fulfill his own promise to contain Iranian influence in the region.

“Most urgently…the United States must impose real obstacles to Tehran’s pursuit of total victory by the Assad regime in Syria,” the report by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America states. “Time is of the essence.”

The underlying presumption there was that the US regime has legitimate authorization to be occupying the parts of Syria it has invaded and now occupies, and that Iran does not. But the reality is that the US regime is occupying Syria instead of assisting Syria’s Government to defeat the US-Saud-Israeli invasion to overthrow and replace Syria’s Government, by stooges who will be selected by the Saud family who own Saudi Arabia, and the reality is that Iran’s forces there are invitees who are instead assisting Syria’s Government against the Saudi-Israeli-American invasion. In other words: this WP article is basically all lies. Furthermore, the Jewish Institute for National Security of America is a front-organization for the fascist regime that rules Israel, and the WP hid that fact, too, so its cited ‘expert’ was a mere PR agency for Israel’s aristocracy. So, this is Deep-State propaganda, parading as ‘news’.

Americans actually pay their private good money to subscribe to (subsidize) such bad public ‘news’papers as that. The billionaire who happens to own that particular ‘news’paper (the WP), Jeff Bezos, had founded and leads Amazon, which receives almost all of its profits from Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud-computing division, which supplies the US ‘Defense’ Department, CIA, and NSA.

For example, “without AWS and Prime, Amazon lost $2 billion in the 1st quarter of FY18. … These losses come from Amazon’s retail business. About 60% of Amazon’s revenue comes from retail and that’s where Amazon is losing money.” Amazon is profitable because of what it sells mainly to the Government, but also to other large US international corporations, and they all want to conquer Syria. None opposes that evil goal. Although Bezos doesn’t like the Sauds, he has actually been (at least until the Khashoggi matter) one of their main US media champions for the Sauds to take over Syria. It’s all just a fool-the-public game. It works, it succeeds, and that’s what Gallup’s polls are demonstrating. The public never learns. It’s a fact, which has been proven in many different ways.

This reality extends also to other nations, allies of the US aristocracy, and not only to the US regime itself. For example, on 27 November 2018, a whistleblowing former UK Ambassador, Craig Murray, who is a personal friend of Julian Assange, headlined “Assange Never Met Manafort. Luke Harding and the Guardian Publish Still More Blatant MI6 Lies”, and he proved that Britain’s Guardian had lied with total, and totally undocumented (and probably even totally non-credible), fabrications, alleging that Julian Assange of WikiLeaks had secretly met (in 2013, 2015, and 2016) with Paul Manafort of the Trump campaign.

The UK, of course, is a vassal-nation of the US aristocracy, and the Guardian is run by Democratic Party propagandists (paid indirectly by Democratic Party and conservative Tony-Blair-wing Labour Party billionaires) and therefore fabricates in order to assist those Parties’ efforts to impeach Trump and to dislodge Jeremy Corbyn from the Labour Party’s leadership. However, each of America’s two political parties (like the UK’s aristocracy itself) represents America’s aristocracy, which, like Britain’s aristocracy, is united in its determination to eliminate Assange — they are as determined to do that to him, just as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman al-Saud was determined to eliminate Jamal Khashoggi. ‘Democracy’? This? It is Big Brother.

Only if the population boycott lying individuals and organizations, is democracy even possible to exist in a nation. Democracy can’t possibly exist more than truth does. In political matters, deceit is always treachery; and its practitioners, whenever the evidence for it is overwhelming and irrefutable, should experience whatever the standard penalty is for treachery. Only in a land such as that, can democracy possibly exist. Elsewhere, it simply can’t. The only basis for democracy, is truth. Deceit is for dictators, not for democrats. And deceit reigns, in the US and in its allied countries. Is this really tolerable? Americans, at least, tolerate it.

When Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the far-right Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal editorialized against Obama on 10 October 2009, by saying that “What this suggests to us — and to the Norwegians — is the end of what has been called ‘American exceptionalism’.”

Little did anyone then know that after winning re-election upon the basis of such war-mongering lies from Obama, as that “America remains the one indispensable nation”, Obama in February 2014 would go so far as to perpetrate a bloody coup overthrowing the democratically elected Government of one “dispensable” nation, Ukraine. And then, on 28 May of 2014, Obama would be telling America’s future generals, that “The United States is and remains the one indispensable nation” and that Obama would, in that speech, explicitly malign Ukraine’s neighbor Russia.

He did it, in this speech, which implicitly called all nations except the US “dispensable.” He had carefully planned and orchestrated Americans’ hostility toward Russia. His successor, Trump, lied saying that he wanted to reverse Obama’s policies on this, and Trump promptly, once becoming elected, increased and expanded those policies. Whatever a deceitfully war-mongering country like this might be, it’s certainly no democracy. Because democracy cannot be built upon a ceaseless string of lies.

What Senators Had to Say on Ending Military Support to Saudi Arabia

 

Local Editor

The Senate on Wednesday delivered a historic rebuke of Saudi Arabia and President Trump’s handling of the fallout over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s killing last month, as a decisive majority voted to advance a measure to end US military support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

The vote was prompted by lawmakers’ growing frustration with Trump for defending Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s denials of culpability in Khashoggi’s death, despite the CIA’s finding that he had almost certainly ordered the killing.

Their frustration peaked shortly before Wednesday’s vote, when senators met behind closed doors to discuss Saudi Arabia, Khashoggi and Yemen with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and War Secretary Jim Mattis — but not CIA Director Gina Haspel, who did not attend the briefing.

Democratic Senator Bob Menendez said the Senate had been “stonewalled from hearing from the CIA director”.

“I have respects for the secretaries of state and defense but I don’t need them to characterize the information of the CIA and intelligence community, I need to hear it directly,” he added. “It’s time to send Saudi Arabia a message, both on its violation of human rights and the incredible humanitarian catastrophe it’s creating in Yemen.”

Republican Senator Bob Corker, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it was apparent to everyone in the room that the crown prince had been responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

“We have a problem here. We understand that Saudi Arabia is an ally, of sorts, and a semi-important country. We also have a crown prince that’s out of control,” he said.

Another Republican Senator, Lindsey Graham, said he would be withholding his vote on any key issue until the CIA gave senators directly a briefing on the killing.

“I’m all for realpolitik, but that suggests that you accept the truth,” Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said of Khashoggi’s death, adding that if Mohammed “wasn’t directly involved, he certainly knew of it.”

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

أهم من بقاء ورحيل محمد بن سلمان

نوفمبر 29, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– يقع البعض في التسطيح عندما يقارب المشهد الدولي الإقليمي المنعقد حول عنوان هو الوضع الجديد للسعودية في ضوء الحملة المرافقة لقتل جمال الخاشقجي، من خلال جعل القضية محصورة بالإجابة عن سؤال هل تتم تنحية محمد بن سلمان من ولاية العهد وهل تتم معاقبته أم لا؟ فالأكيد أن أي بديل لإبن سلمان سيكون من كنف البطانة العائلية والسياسية ذاتها وسيكون في ظل المرجعية الأميركية ذاتها، وفي إطار الخيارات العدائية ذاتها تجاه قوى المقاومة، والعناوين ذاتها للسير بالتعاون مع كيان الاحتلال والتطبيع معه، لذلك سيكون تضييعاً للوقت تعقب الأمور من زاوية هذا المسار، والتسطيح الأشد طبعاً هو توهّم أن ما يجري حملة حقوق إنسان ودعوة لمعاقبة قاتل. وما يجري سياسيا هو أن السعودية وقعت في اطمئنانها لحلفائها فأوقعوا بها، وما يجري تاريخياً هو أن ما دبّره السعوديون ومَن معهم في لبنان لسورية والمقاومة وأصدقائهما وحلفائهما في قضية اغتيال الرئيس رفيق الحريري وقعوا هم في حفرته في ما سبق وما سيلي في قضية قتل جمال الخاشقجي، والأكيد أنه لو سارت الأمور نحو تحقيق دولي فهذا لن يعني اقتراباً من العدالة ولا من الحقيقة، بل سيعني توافقاً على إطالة أمد الاستعمال للقضية في تحقيق أهداف أبعد تصبح أمراً واقعاً كلما تمادى حضور القضية.

– المعلوم أن الثلاثي الذي يقود الحملة حول الخاشقجي والعدالة وملاحقة إبن سلمان يتكون من تركيا ومعها طبعاً قطر والأخوان المسلمون وقناة الجزيرة في ضفة، ووكالة المخابرات المركزية الأميركية ومن تستطيع تحريكهم والتأثير في تحريكهم داخل أميركا وخارجها من منظمات مجتمع مدني وهيئات حقوقية وشخصيات نيابية وحكومية، في ضفة ثانية، وفي ضفة ثالثة صحيفة الواشنطن بوست ومِن حولها الغاضبون من إدارة الرئيس دونالد ترامب من الحزبين الجمهوري والديمقراطي وخارجهما ولأسباب ليست العلاقة بالسعودية ولا الجرائم الوحشية في اليمن ولا قتل جمال الخاشقجي في أولوياتهم، بل السياسات العنصرية لترامب في قضايا الجنسية والمواطنة، والتأمين الصحي، والفشل في سياسات الحماية الجمركية والعقوبات بتحقيق الطفرة الاقتصادية الصناعية الموعودة، والخطاب المبتذل لترامب في قضايا المرأة والإعلام والحريات والتعدّد العرقي الاجتماعي، لكن المعلوم أيضاً أن صفقة غامضة تمّت بين تركيا ووكالة المخابرات الأميركية انتهت بالإفراج عن القس الإنجيلي أندرو برانسون الذي بقي معتقلاً لمدة عامين إثر محاولة الانقلاب التي استهدفت الرئيس التركي رجب أردوغان ووجّهت أنقرة لواشنطن الإتهام بدعم المحاولة عبر المعارض الداعية فتح الله غولن، وطلبت تسليمه مقابل الإفراج عن برانسون. والمعلوم أن صفقة غامضة ايضاً تمت بين الواشنطن بوست والمخابرات الأميركية رعاها المالك الجديد للصحيفة الأميركية صاحب شركة أمازون جيفري برستون بيزوس وتتصل بالتعاون في مجال تبادل المعلومات والخدمات وقعت علناً منذ عام تقريباً، ومن مفاعيلها إفادة الواشنطن بوست من التحقيقات في قضايا حقوق الإنسان التي تجريها السي آي أي، والسي آي أي لا تجري التحقيقات لأجل إقامة عدالة، بل لإجراء تغيير في السياسة، وقيمة الصفقة المستغربة في أوساط أهل الإعلام كانت ستمئة مليون دولار، والبعض يقول إن استضافة الواشنطن بوست لجمال الخاشقجي كاتباً على صفحتها الأولى كان من ضمن مفاعيل التفاهم.

– يختال محمد بن سلمان في زيارات مفبركة لإثبات أن شيئاً لم يتغير في وضعه، رغم الحملات التي تستهدفه، كأنه يصدّق أن القضية هي اعتقاله، لكن الأشياء الحقيقية تحدث في العمق، وتتثبت بصورة لا رجعة عنها. فالسعودية فقدت مهابتها وهالتها، ولم تعد تلك الدولة الممنوع التداول باسمها في الصحافة الغربية إلا بالترويج المدفوع، ورموزها صاروا في التداول وصورهم تنشر على الصفحات الأولى تحت عنوان قاتل ومجنون ومعتوه ومجرم وسواها من التوصيفات المشابهة. وباتت التظاهرات تنتظر مسؤولي المملكة في أي عاصمة يقصدونها، وانتقلت السعودية من صانع سياسات إلى موضوع للسياسات، ومن موقع كونها لاعباً إلى أنها صارت ملعباً، ومن صفة مَن يقرّر مصير الآخرين إلى صفة من يقرّر الآخرون مصيره، وثانياً انتقلت تركيا إلى موقع الزعامة البديلة للسعودية في الضفة الأميركية من العالم الإسلامي، برصيد علاقاتها المميّزة بروسيا وإيران، وثالثاً وضعت حرب اليمن على الطاولة، ورابعاً وضعت العلاقات الأميركية السعودية قيد البحث، وخامساً انتقل الرئيس الأميركي وفريقه من نكسة الانتخابات النصفية إلى نكبة إبن سلمان حيث تلاشت كل قدرة على الهجوم وصار حكماً في حال الدفاع.

– مسارات جديدة لخريطة إقليمية ودولية جديدة ترتسم، ربما تنتهي خلال عامين وربما أكثر، ستبقى خلالها قضية الخاشقجي وإبن سلمان في التداول، وربما تنشأ لها محكمة دولية خاصة، لكن هذه المسارات هي التي تتقدّم، ولا يعود مهماً بعدها بقي إبن سلمان ولياً للعهد أم لا، بقي حراً أم تمّت معاقبته أم لا، فتلك نقاط على جدول أعمال المعنيين، وعندما تتم فلأنها من ضرورات المضي قدماً في تثبيت المسارات، وليس لأنها مطلوبة بذاتها، تذكروا كيف عندما تمت السيطرة على أجهزة الأمن اللبنانية لم يعد مهماً إثبات مسؤولية الضباط الأربعة الذين كانوا يتولونها عن التورّط في اغتيال الريس الحريري، وكيف أن اعتقالهم والإفراج عنهم لم ترافقه أي تصرّفات توحي باحترام حتى الشكليات القانونية، وعندما تمّ ضمان خروج القوات السورية من لبنان وتمّت السيطرة على الأغلبية النيابية التي كانت مستحيلة في ظل بقاء الرئيس الحريري حياً، لم تعُد مهمة ملاحقة سورية بتهمة الاغتيال، وكيف أن حزب الله وهو الطرف الذي بذل كل شيء للتعاون في كشف الحقيقة وأظهر الحرص على تقديم التنازل لمنع الفتنة، لم يوفر له ذلك الحصانة من التحوّل إلى متهم أول بالاغتيال بموافقة عائلة الرئيس الحريري الشاهدة على كيف سلم الأغلبية النيابية طوعاً في الحلف الرباعي، وكيف تغاضى عن ملاحقة أصدقائه بتهمة الاغتيال حرصاً على اطمئنان العائلة، وها هو اليوم متهماً أول لأن مصلحة «إسرائيل» ذاتها باغتيال الرئيس الحريري لإنعاش قوى التطرف في الساحة الإسلامية، ليتهيأ استعمالها الذي شهدناه في الحرب على سورية، هي المصلحة ذاتها لملاحقة حزب الله بتهمة الاغتيال، وها هي السنة الثالثة عشرة على الاغتيال والمسارات لم تقفل.

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صراعات المخابرات والرئاسة في واشنطن: نيكسون وترامب… والسعودية مجدداً

 

نوفمبر 27, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– لا يحتاج تفسير التسريب الرسمي لتقرير وكالة المخابرات الأميركية لوسائل الإعلام وقبلها توزيعه على زعماء الكونغرس إلى كثير تحليل، فذلك يحدث بوجود شرطين متلازمين، وجود قضية تتصل بإعادة رسم الاستراتيجيات على مستوى عالٍ من الخطورة، وتمنع الرئيس عن الأخذ برأي المخابرات، لتبدأ مواجهة بينهما تستعمل فيها كل الأسلحة، بما فيها تصنيع ملفات للرئيس وسوقه للمحكمة أو لمواجهة خطر العزل في الكونغرس. وهذا ما حصل مع الرئيس الأميركي الأسبق ريتشارد نيكسون، وما يتهدّد اليوم الرئيس دونالد ترامب.

– لم يصدق أحد في العالم أن استقالة نيكسون استباقاً لمواجهة خطر العزل تمت على خلفية فضيحة ووتر غيت التي تتصل بتستر الرئيس على التنصت على خصومه واتهامه بإعاقة العمل القضائي. فالفضيحة ذاتها لم تكن لتقع لولا التقارير المخابراتية الموثقة، لاستعمالها في لحظة كهذه، يومها كان سجلّ نيكسون ووزير خارجيته هنري كيسنجر مليئاً بالإنجازات التي نظر إليها الكثير من صقور المؤسسات الأميركية كهزائم، وفي مقدمتها الانسحاب من فييتنام والتفاهم على الحد من الأسلحة الاستراتيجية مع الاتحاد السوفياتي وتطبيع العلاقات مع الصين، والإمساك بمفاصل الصراع في الشرق الأوسط بعد حرب تشرين عام 1973 بمشاريع للتسويات كان أهمها فك الاشتباك على جبهة الجولان عام 1974، وبعد اختبار مخاطر استخدام سلاح النفط مجدداً، وما يوصف بإنجازات نيكسون وكيسنجر في أميركا اليوم جاء بعد اختباره لخيارات المواجهة وزجّه بعشرات الآلاف من الجنود الأميركيين في فييتنام، واكتشافه بمشورة كيسنجر محدودية قدرة القوة على رسم السياسات، ووضع يده مع معاونه كيسينجر على ما يمكن أن يترتب على العنجهية الإسرائيلية في ضوء حرب تشرين وما أظهرته القدرات التي أظهرتها الجيوش العربية فيها، والذهاب إلى البحث عن تسوية تاريخية برأي واشنطن تستدعي الضغط على «إسرائيل» لمفهوم مختلف عن السلام.

– كانت المخابرات قد أتمّت بالتعاون مع «إسرائيل» الإعداد لزيارة الرئيس المصري أنور السادات إلى القدس، وأتمّت السيطرة على القرار السعودي السياسي والنفطي مع صعود مرحلة ولي العهد الجديد فهد بن عبد العزيز، وصارت إطاحة نيكسون وكيسنجر طريقا لمواجهة جديدة، ترجمت في أفغانستان وكامب ديفيد وتخطيط حرب الأخوان المسلمين وتفجير الحرب في لبنان بوجه سورية، تمهيداً لغزو «إسرائيل» الذي تم تباعاً في العام 1978 ثم في العام 1982. وكان محور اللعبة التي تديرها المخابرات ما عرف لاحقاً بالحقبة السعودية التي آن الأوان لها أن تبدأ، وما يبدو اليوم من مؤشرات مرافقة للصراع بين المخابرات والرئاسة يبدو معكوساً لجهة اليقين بأن الحقبة السعودية آن لها أن تنتهي، وأن الخط التراجعي في الحروب التي خاضتها واشنطن، وما ينتج عنه من تقدم في مكانة روسيا دوليا وتعزيز مكانة إيران إقليمياً، بات فوق قدرة الحليفين اللذين تبقيا لواشنطن في المنطقة، إسرائيل العاجزة والمردوعة والسعودية المتآكلة والتي تغرق في الفشل، وقد عجزت عن تحقيق تعهدها بضمان الشريك الفلسطيني في صفقة القرن.

– في الزمن المتبقي من ولاية الرئيس ترامب يبدو الصراع مفتوحاً، تحت عنوان رسم الاستراتيجية الجديدة، بعد سقوط صفقة القرن، وتعافي سورية وتعاظم مكانة روسيا وصمود إيران، ويبدو ترامب الباحث عن تسويات منتصف الطريق كوقف الحرب في اليمن ساعياً للتخفف من الأعباء وهو يدرك أنه وهو يقول بأن التمسك بالحكم السعودي شرط لخوض المواجهة مع إيران أن إيران هي الرابح الأول من وقف حرب اليمن، كما يدرك وهو يقول إن السعودية ضمان لعدم ترحيل «إسرائيل»، أن وقف حرب اليمن يزيد قوة محور المقاومة صاحب مشروع الترحيل، بينما تدرك المخابرات أن تعديل المكانة السعودية وتقاسم ما تمثله سياسياً واقتصادياً مع شركاء جدد منهم روسيا وتركيا وإيران، يستدعي تخريب مساعي ترامب لتسويات منتصف الطريق، فيتم التصعيد في أوكرانيا وسورية بإشارات مخابراتية متزامنة وواضحة.

– الأكيد أن الاعتراف بالحقائق التي بشر بها تقرير بايكر هاملتون قبل اثنتي عشرة سنة، يجمع في نهاية الطريق ترامب والمخابرات، لكنهما يفترقان حول من يدفع ثمن التسويات، فترامب يسعى لحماية السعودية من التحول إلى غنيمة العصر، وحماية القيادة الحاكمة في كيان الاحتلال والسعي الإسرائيلي للتصعيد، ويسعى للبحث عن تسويات منتصف الطريق في سورية والعراق ومع إيران وروسيا، بينما يبدو للمخابرات أن نهاية الزمن السعودي سيكون كافياً لروسيا وإيران وتركيا لصفقة قرن أخرى.

– في هذه المرحلة تطغى الفوضى السياسية والأمنية، ويعمّ ضياع الوكلاء والعملاء في معرفة أي التحالفات يقيمون وأي الخطابات يتبنّون، ويصير عدم الانشغال بتفاصيل الصراعات الجانبية بين حلفاء واشنطن، هو الأصل، شرط التفرغ لفرض الوقائع في الجغرافيا والوقائع السياسية الثابتة. فالمركب الذي يضم جماعة أميركا في المنطقة بلا ربان تائه، وهذه مناسبة لتثبيت الوقائع الجديدة التي كلفت من الدماء الكثير، أهم من تضييع الوقت بانتظار معرفة لمن ستكون الغلبة بين صفوف صناع القرار في واشنطن.

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