Is NATO falling apart?

November 22, 2022

Something quite amazing has just happened.  Following the terrorist attack in Ankara which killed 34 people and injured another 125, Turkish authorities first declared that they will not accept US condolences.  Then the Turks launched a military operation against “Kurdish terrorists in northern Syria“.  Turkey then claimed to have neutralized 184 terrorists.

What is not mentioned in those articles is that the target of the Turkish strike was the US-run center for the training and education of PKK militants in Rojava.  There are rumors that the Turks gave the US enough warning time to evacuate most of its personnel.

Does that sound familiar?

If it does, it is because it is very similar to what the Iranians did when they hit US bases in Iraq following the murder of General Solemani in a US drone strike.

If the above is true, and rumors are very much “if” and cannot be considered as proven fact, then that means that a NATO member state (Turkey) just attacked a US base and, like Iran, got away with it: the “The Finest Fighting Force in the History of the World” just got whacked hard and humiliated for a second time and could do absolutely nothing to defend itself or even save face.

How big a slap in the face did Uncle Shmuel get this time?  According to the Turkish defense minister, Hulusi Akar,

Terrorists’ shelters, bunkers, caves, tunnels, and warehouses were successfully destroyed,” Akar said, adding that “the so-called headquarters of the terrorist organization were also hit and destroyed.” Overall, the Defense Ministry claimed that the strikes hit nearly 90 targets, which it said were connected to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG).

Even allowing for some “patriotic exaggeration”, it is pretty clear that Ergodan’s revenge strike was both quite substantial and, apparently, rather effective.

So, what do we have here?  A NATO member state all but accused the US of a major terrorist attack against its capital city, and then that NATO member state openly attacked a US-run facility (let’s not call it a base, that would be inaccurate).

Is Erdogan’s claim even credible?  Absolutely!  Not only has the US already attempted to overthrow and kill Erdogan, who was saved in extremis by Russian special forces (same with Ianukovich), but we also know that the US overthrew General de Gaulle in 1968-1969 and that NATO covert forces were used to stage false flag attacks against NATO allies (especially Italy) in the so-called GLADIO operation.

NATO is not a defensive alliance – it never was –  but it is a tool of US colonial domination.

This was always true, hence the famous words spoken  in the now faraway 1950s when the first NATO Secretary General, British General Hasting Ismay, bluntly admitted that real the purpose of NATO was to keep the “Russians out, Americans in, Germans down“.  Let’s take these elements one by one, starting with the last one:

  • “Keep the Germans down”: here the word “Germans” is a placeholder for any and all European leaders or countries who want true sovereignty and agency.  Translation: enslave the Europeans
  • “Keep the Americans in”: in order to crush any European liberation movement. Translation: place US overlords over all the EU nations.
  • “Keep the Russians out”: make sure that Russia does not liberate Europe.  Translation: demonize Russia and do anything and everything to prevent peace on the European continent.  If possible, break-up, subjugate or otherwise destroy Russia.

Need proof?  How about the undeniable act of war against Germany (and, I would argue, the entire EU) when the Anglos blew up NS1/NS2?  Is that not proof enough?

Against that background, we have to ask yourselves: what does it even mean to be a NATO member state in 2022?

The truth is that NATO was a pure creation of the Cold War and that in the real world of 2022 it is a total anachronism.  Being a NATO member state really means very little.  Not only are some “more equal than others” in NATO, but there are also non-NATO states which are far more “NATOized” than actual NATO members states (I think of Israel or, of course, the Nazi occupied Ukraine).  And being a member of NATO does not protect you from anything, not from external attacks and not against internal ones either.

According to Col (Ret) MacGregor, the war in the Ukraine might well bring about the collapse of both NATO and the EU.  I very much agree with him.  I would say that such a collapse will not so much be the result of embarrassing defeats as it will be due to the deep internal contradictions inside both organizations.

By the way, this is not our topic today, but I think that the CSTO has much of the same problems and contradictions as NATO.  So is what we observe a “NATO problem” or a problem of artificial and generally obsolete alliances?  I would argue for the latter.

But let’s leave a discussion of the CSTO for another day.

In the case of Turkey this problem is made even worse by a total incompatibility between Islam and the Woke ideology now openly promoted (and enforced) by the US and NATO.

Then there is geography.  Turkey has some pretty powerful regional neighbors, including not only Greece or Israel, but also Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Syria and, course, Russia.  Can Turkey count on any type of US/NATO “protection” from such powerful neighbors?

Ask the Saudis how much the US/NATO helped them against the Houthis!

Ask the Israelis how much the US/NATO helped them against Hezbollah?

If anything, the Iranian strikes on CENTCOM bases have demonstrated that the US does not have the stomach to take on Iran.  In sharp contrast, the Russian and Iranian intervention in Syria defeated the US plans for a “New Middle East” or, shall we say, it did bring about a “new Middle-East”, but most definitely not the one the US Neocons were hoping for!

Add to this is major deterioration in the relationship between the US and MBS’ Saudi Arabia and we get an amazing picture: the USA and NATO (which the US dragged into the region) are gradually becoming irrelevant in the Middle-East.  Instead, new “big actors” are gradually filling the void, including Russia and Iran who are now even gradually allowing Saudi Arabia to participate in a much needed regional dialog about the future of the region.

The phenomenal weakness of the US/NATO/CENTCOM is best illustrated by the US reaction to the Turkish strikes: Uncle Shmuel endorsed (no kidding!!!) the Turkish strikes 🙂

How absolutely pathetic is that for a wannabe superpower?

Will this process have an impact on the NATO war against Russia?

Well, let’s imagine that Russia would really strike some target inside Poland (which is what the Ukies claimed, as did the Poles until Uncle Shmuel told them to cool it).  What would happen next?

Does anybody still remember what happened when Erdogan flew to Mons to beg for NATO protection against Russia (following the downing of a Russian Su-24 over northern Syria by a joint US-Turkish operation, possibly executed without Erdogan’s knowledge, at least that was his claim).  What did NATO promise or give the Turks?  Absolutely *nothing* (other than “consultations”).

Now the Poles might be delusional enough to think that a US President might order a retaliatory attack on Russia if Russia strikes Poland, but those of us who know the USA and its ruling elites know that this is nonsense.  Why?  Simply because a US/NATO counter-strike on Russian forces would result in an immediate Russian response.

And then what?

The truth is very stark in its simplicity:

  • The US/NATO do not have the manpower or firepower needed to take on Russia in a conventional combined arms war.
  • Any use of nuclear weapons will result in an immediate retaliation most likely resulting into a unwinnable full-scale nuclear war.

So here is the deal: whether western politicians understand that or not, military professionals all know the truth – NATO can’t defend ANY of its members against a truly modern military.   Why?

Let’s look at what capabilities the US/NATO truly have:

  • The USN has a superb submarine force (both SSNs and SSBNs) capable for firing large numbers of relatively obsolete cruise missiles (and plenty of SLBMs)
  • A still very capable, if rather old, nuclear triad
  • A quantitative (only!) conventional advantage over Russia
  • Superb (but very vulnerable!) C4ISR capabilities
  • A printing press allowing for the quasi infinite printing of dollars
  • comprador elite ruling over all the NATO/EU countries
  • The most formidable propaganda machine in history

So what does NATO lack to be a credible military force?

Obviously, “boots on the ground”.   And I don’t mean a few subunits from the 101st or 82AB or US special forces or even a so-called “armored brigade” which, in reality, lacks adequate TO&E to qualify as such.  I am talking about a “land warfare” force capable of fighting a modern and extremely determined enemy.

[Sidebar: if this is a topic of interest to you, may I recommend my article “Debunking popular clichés about modern warfare” written in 2016 but which is still mostly relevant]

The USA, Israel and the KSA all fell into the same trap: the delusion that by spending billions and billions of dollars on massively over-priced and massively under-performing military hardware will allow you to defeat an enemy assumed to be “less sophisticated”.  Hence the need to use:

  • Proxy forces
  • PMCs
  • PSYOPS
  • Corruption

All of the above are a normal part of any modern war, but in the case of the US/NATO they are not just part of a bigger plan, they are central to any US/NATO operation, thereby dramatically decreasing the true capabilities of the US/NATO.  In sharp contrast, countries like Russia or Iran can deploy “boots on the ground”, and very capable ones at that (remember that the Iranians are those who trained Hezbollah!).

What does all this mean practically?

It means that even if the Russians decided to strike at a NATO country, the tensions would go through the roof, but it is highly UN-likely that any US President would allow any action which could result in a full-scale nuclear war!  Remember, for Russia, this is an existential war, no less than WWII, whereas no Anglo leader would ever dare launch a suicidal attack on Russian forces which would most likely result in the full obliteration of the US/UK and any other country participating (for example by hosting forward deployed standoff weapons) in such an attack.

Does that mean that we have to anticipate a Russian strike on Poland, Romania or the UK?

No, not at all.  In fact, it would be very dangerous for the Russians to only leave a stark choice to the Hegemony: admit defeat or commit suicide.  And since the Russians do have escalation dominance (that is to say that they have balanced capabilities from the small-arms fire level to a full intercontinental nuclear war, and with all the stages in between these two extremes) they, unlike the US/NATO. are not stuck between the choice of surrender or suicide.

That being said, it would also be misguided to assume that Russia “would never dare strike a NATO member state”.  The Poles might be willing to wager their future and even existence on such a invalid inference, but not the folks at the Pentagon or elsewhere in the decision centers of the Hegemony.

Conclusion:

Douglas MacGregor is right, the NATO war against Russia might very well result in the collapse of both NATO and the EU which, in turn, will place an official “last nail”, into the coffin of an already long-deceased Hegemony which currently still exists only because of its momentum and its propaganda machine.

I would argue that NATO is already falling apart before our eyes, a process which the economic, social, political, economic and spiritual crises which are plaguing the entire EU will only accelerate.  And, of course, the most amazing thing about this is that this collapse is not the result of some Machiavellian plan cooked up by the Russians, the Chinese or the Iranian, but a direct consequence of decades of truly suicidal policies: they did it to themselves!

Now, the Russians, the Chinese and the Iranians are mostly waiting, watching (probably smiling) and planning for the Hegemony-free multi-polar world they want to bring about, with or without the participation of the USA and Europe.

Andrei

قائد عسكري إيراني: ضبط النفس في وجه الفتنة السعودية له حدود

 

2022 السبت 19 تشرين ثاني

المصدر: وكالة فارس للأنباء

رئيس مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية للجيش الإيراني العميد أحمد رضا بوردستان يصرّح بأنّ الأميركيين لم يكونوا قادرين على تنفيذ الخيارات العسكرية ضد إيران لذلك لجأوا إلى إشعال أحداث الشغب والفتنة.

رئيس مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية للجيش الإيراني العميد أحمد رضا بوردستان (أرشيف)

أشار رئيس مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية للجيش الإيراني، العميد أحمد رضا بوردستان إلى ضلوع السعودية في أحداث الشغب الأخيرة في البلاد.

وقال بوردستان في حوارٍ خاص أجرته معه وكالة أنباء “فارس” الإيرانية: “على النظام السعودي أن يعلم بأنّ إيران تُمارس ضبط النفس تجاهه إلا أنّ هنالك حدوداً لذلك”.

ولفت إلى أنّ “الولايات المتحدة غيّرت استراتيجيتها من الحرب الاستنزافية إلى حرب هجينة”، مضيفاً: “بعد أن جهّزت واشنطن أفراداً مُندسين وجندتهم في الميدان ووضعتهم قبالة القوات الأمنية، قامت بدعمهم لإشعال مواجهات وتنفيذ عمليات قتل”.

وأكّد أنّ الدول الداعمة للفوضى قررت إدخال العناصر الإرهابية لإشعال الفتن الإثنية والقبلية في كردستان وسيستان وبلوشستان، ثم في خوزستان، “إلّا أنّ يقظة الأجهزة الاستخبارية أفشلت مخططاتهم الخطيرة والمدمرة”، مشيراً إلى أنّ العمليات الميدانية للجماعات الإرهابية رافقها دعم إعلامي واسع ودبلوماسي معادٍ، لذلك قلت أنها حرب هجينة تمّ التخطيط لها في ثلاث طبقات استراتيجية وعملانية وتكتيكية.

وفي وقتٍ سابق، أكّد مدير مركز الدراسات الاستراتيجية والعلاقات الدولية في طهران، أمير موسوي، أنّ “السعودية أرسلت أموالاً لمثيري الشغب والأمن الإيراني اكتشفها”.

وشدد بوردستان على أنّ “إيران تحظى بالكثير من مكونات القدرة والصلابة العالية جداً ولا يمكن للحوادث أن تمسّ بها، وقد أدّى وجود هذه المكونات إلى صمود الشعب”.

وسائل إعلام معادية استخدمت “القصف الخبري”

ولفت بوردستان إلى أنه “في أعمال الشغب الأخيرة، استخدمت وسائل الإعلام المعادية، في عمل مشترك، جميع تقنيات وسائل الإعلام وجاذبيتها وبكميات ونطاق كبيرين للغاية نادراً ما شوهدت مثلها، وليس مبالغة أن نستخدم مصطلح القصف الخبري فيما يتعلق بحجم وكثرة الأخبار عن إيران، فالأخبار تتدفق مثل المدفع الرشاش بطريقة تسلب قوّة التفكير من الجمهور وتضع ما يريدونه في أذهانهم”.

وأضاف: “هناك مهمة أخرى غير مسؤولة ودنيئة لوسائل الإعلام المعادية، كانت تنسيق وتوجيه المشاغبين وتعليم أساليب التدمير والقتل وإبقاء ميدان الاشتباكات مشتعلاً، ويمكن القول بثقة أنّ وسائل الإعلام المعادية لعبت في أحداث الشغب الأخيرة دور القيادة والسيطرة، بتوجيه من أجهزة الاستخبارات والأمن الأجنبية”.

وصرّح بأنّ إيران واجهت حرباً معرفية عمل فيها العدو على خداع العديد من الشباب، موضحاً بأنّ عدداً ملحوظاً من الشباب الذين ألقي القبض عليهم خلال أحداث الشغب الأخيرة “أعربوا عن ندمهم وأيقنوا بأنّهم خُدعوا من قبل وسائل إعلام العدو، وأضروا بأنفسهم وأسرهم وبلادهم”.

وفي وقتٍ سابق، أحصت وكالة “فارس” الإيرانية أكثر من 38 ألف كذبة نشرتها وسائل الإعلام المعادية لإيران.

العدو لجأ إلى الفتنة لعدم قدرته على استخدام الخيار العسكري

وقال بوردستان: “المؤشرات الواضحة على قدرات البلاد العسكرية والقتالية أن الأميركيين لم يكونوا قادرين على تنفيذ الخيارات المطروحة على الطاولة، لذلك نرى أنهم بدافع اليأس والعجز لجأوا إلى إشعال أحداث الشغب والفتنة”.

ولفت إلى أنّ “لجوء نظام استكباري مثل النظام الأميركي، الذي يُعدّ بصورةٍ ما القوة العسكرية الأولى في العالم، إلى إثارة الفتنة والاستعراض في بيئة غير عسكرية، يبيّن ضعفه الشديد وعدم قدرته على القتال في حربٍ عسكرية”.

وأعلن بوردستان أنّه بالنظر إلى أنّ الأعداء غير موجودين على الساحة وأنّ وكلائهم يؤدون عنهم مهامهم في الميدان، فإن “ردّنا بالتأكيد لا يمكن أن يكون واضحاً وظاهرياً لأننا لا نرى العدو أمامنا لنقاتله. لهذا السبب، فإنّ أساليبنا لمواجهة الحرب الهجينة للعدو هي استخدام قدراتنا الهجينة”.

وتابع القائد العسكري: “يعرف الأميركيون وكذلك الأوروبيون وأيضاً النظام السعودي أنّ لدينا أدوات قوية جداً تحت تصرّفنا لنستخدمها بصورةٍ هجينة ضدهم، وبحسب خبرتي في القوات المسلحة لا بدّ لي من القول إنّ كل ممارسات الأعداء سيتم الرد عليها بالتأكيد وهذا الرد سيكون بالتأكيد للأعداء رداً باعثاً على الندم”.

وأشار إلى أنّ “العدو بعث أفراداً مندسين تحت غطاء سياح وزوار وعلماء، عملوا بعد دخولهم البلاد على تجنيد البعض من أصحاب السوابق والمشبوهين”، وأردف: “الأميركيون وظفوا في الفتنة الأخيرة خبراتهم التي حصلوا عليها من كل الفتن”.

وأضاف أنّ “هدف العدو من هذه الفتنة كان توريط البلاد في حربٍ أهلية إلا أنّه تمّ إجهاض هذه الفتنة في ظلّ توجيهات قائد الثورة وحنكته، وشجاعة القوات المتواجدة في الساحة”.

اقرأ أيضاً: إيران: “إسرائيل” ستتلقى الرد الأكبر إذا كانت تقود المؤامرة ضدنا

ابن سلمان عميل الموساد وأميركا

وتابع بوردستان: “علينا أن نقبل حقيقة أن محمد بن سلمان تدرّب على يد الأميركيين. لقد درس في أميركا وأساتذته كانوا من ضباط الموساد وهو أحد العملاء الرئيسيين للموساد وأميركا في المنطقة”.

ولفت إلى أنّ إبن سلمان “أظهر عداءه، بينما كان القادة السعوديون السابقون مهتمين بتخفيف التوترات إلى حدٍّ ما وهو ما رأيناه يحدث على مستويات عديدة. ومن الأمثلة على ذلك التسهيلات التي وفّروها لحجاجنا”.

وقال: “إيران وفقاً لقدراتها وإمكانياتها تمتلك القدرة التي يمكنها من خلالها أن تُنفّذ إرادتها في المنطقة، وباعتقادي أنّ إيران مارست ضبط النفس حقاً خلال الأحداث الأخيرة”.

وأردف: “شعرت أنا شخصياً أنّه كان من المناسب أن تتلقى السعودية صفعة قوية في هذه الفتن من خلال الطاقات الموجودة في المنطقة لكنني أرى بأنّ المسؤولين لدينا يمارسون ضبط النفس كما هو الحال دائماً. ومع ذلك، يجب أن تعلم السعودية بأنّ ضبط النفس له حدود، ولو أرادت تصعيد أعمالها العدائية، فإنّ ردّنا على هذه الأعمال سيكون رداً باعثاً على الندم بالتأكيد”.

Biden Administration Grants Saudi’s MBS ‘Immunity’ in Khashoggi Murder Case

November 18, 2022

US President Joe Biden with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman during a visit to the Kingdom in July 2022.

The Biden administration has told a US court that Mohammed bin Salman should be granted sovereign immunity in a civil case involving the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, effectively ending a last-ditch attempt to hold the Saudi crown prince legally accountable for the 2018 killing.

In a filing released late on Thursday night, the Biden administration said the crown prince’s recent promotion to the role of prime minister meant that he was “the sitting head of government and, accordingly, immune” from the lawsuit.

“The United States government has expressed grave concerns regarding Jamal Khashoggi’s horrific killing and has raised these concerns publicly and with the most senior levels of the Saudi government,” the Department of Justice said in its filing, adding that the US had also imposed financial sanctions and visa restrictions related to the murder.

“However, the doctrine of head of state immunity is well established in customary international law and has been consistently recognized in longstanding executive branch practice as a status-based determination that does not reflect a judgment on the underlying conduct at issue in the litigation,” it said.

The government’s filing included an attached letter from Richard Visek, acting legal adviser to the US state department, instructing the Department of Justice to submit a “suggestion of immunity” to the court.

Legal experts say the US government’s position, which was filed to a US district court, will likely lead judge John Bates to dismiss a civil case brought against Prince Mohammed, known by his initials MBS by Hatice Cengiz, the outspoken fiancee of Khashoggi.

Back in 2019, in the wake of the assassination of Washington Post, then-presidential candidate Biden promised to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over the kingdom’s human rights record.

Biden repeatedly talked about reevaluating and reassessing US-Saudi relations. To his credit, Biden seemed to follow through on this early in his presidency by suspending offensive weapons sales to Saudi Arabia, freezing contacts with MBS, and releasing a brief assessment by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence establishing the Saudi crown prince’s role in and responsibility for Khashoggi’s death.

Thursday’s decision is likely to provoke an angry reaction. The White House had hoped the July trip by President Joe Biden to Saudi Arabia would get the rocky US-Saudi relationship back on track but since then, relations have only continued to sour.

The relationship is being reevaluated, the White House has said earlier in October, in the wake of an oil production cut by Saudi-led OPEC+ that the administration saw as a direct affront to the US. Members of Congress, already infuriated by the oil cut and calling for a reevaluation, will likely only be angered further if the prince is given immunity.

Source: Agencies

US hands down ‘immunity’ to MBS in Khashoggi murder case

باسيل إلى باريس واحتمال لقاء مع ماكرون: فرنسا تعدّ مشروع «رئيس توافقي»

 الأربعاء 16 تشرين الثاني 2022

الأخبار

(هيثم الموسوي)

يشهد الملف الرئاسي في لبنان تطوراً لافتاً يتمثّل في زيارة يُفترض أن يقوم بها رئيس التيار الوطني الحر النائب جبران باسيل إلى باريس، هذا الشهر، لعقد سلسلة لقاءات على مستوى رفيع تشمل كل المعنيين بالملف اللبناني، للبحث في الاستحقاقات الداهمة رئاسياً وحكومياً واقتصادياً. وقالت مصادر مطلعة إن الفرنسيين يأملون بالاتفاق مع باسيل على خريطة طريق للانتخابات الرئاسية، انطلاقاً من العلاقة الجيدة التي تربطه بكل من البطريرك الماروني بشارة الراعي وحزب الله.

وكانت السفيرة الفرنسية في بيروت آن غريو غادرت إلى باريس، أول من أمس، في مهمة عاجلة، يتعلق جانب منها بالتحضير لزيارة باسيل الذي يفترض أن يلتقي أعضاء خلية الإليزيه المعنية بالملف اللبناني، والتي تضم السفير إيمانويل بون ورئيس الاستخبارات الخارجية برنار إيمييه، إضافة إلى مسؤولين في وزارة الخارجية. وبحسب المصادر، فقد يلتقي باسيل، بحسب مسار المحادثات، الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون، وأن أمير قطر تميم بن حمد آل ثاني يتوسّط لعقد هذا اللقاء.

وبحسب المعلومات، فإن الزيارة العاجلة لغريو إلى باريس تهدف إلى وضع القيادة الفرنسية في أجواء الاتصالات الأخيرة التي أجرتها في بيروت حول الملف الرئاسي والاستحقاقات الحكومية والاقتصادية. ويفترض أن تطلع غريو على نتائج الاتصال الذي جرى بين ماكرون وولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان قبل يومين في ما يتعلق بلبنان، على أن تعود إلى بيروت الأسبوع المقبل لمرافقة باسيل متى تم تحديد موعد زيارته.
وأجرت غريو في الأيام العشرة الماضية سلسلة اجتماعات بقي معظمها بعيداً من الأضواء، وشملت البطريرك الماروني بشارة الراعي ورئيس الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي وليد جنبلاط وشخصيات من قوى المعارضة التي ترشح النائب ميشال معوض. كما عقدت غريو اجتماعين مهمين أحدهما مع مسؤول كبير في حزب الله والثاني مع باسيل.

اجتماعات السفيرة الفرنسية في بيروت شملت لقاء مع مسؤول كبير في حزب الله


ومع أن الجانب الفرنسي لا يحمل مبادرة متكاملة، إلا أنه سعى إلى معرفة موقف كل الأطراف من لائحة من المرشحين تضم نحو سبعة أسماء. وفهم متصلون بالسفيرة الفرنسية أن بلادها لا تزال تحظى بالتفويض الأميركي لإدارة المبادرة بما خص الملف الرئاسي، وأن باريس تريد التوصل مع السعودية إلى اتفاق يسهل المهمة، لأن الإصرار على خوض معارك قاسية من شأنه عدم انتخاب رئيس في وقت قريب.
وكررت غريو أمام كل من التقتهم أن بلادها مهتمة بتوافق جدي يتيح انتخاب رئيس قادر على تشكيل حكومة سريعاً، وعلى الخطوات الإصلاحية التي تنتظرها الدول التي ستقدم مساعدات للبنان لمعالجة الأزمة الاقتصادية. كما كررت التزام بلادها الشق المتعلق بفرنسا وشركة «توتال» ضمن تفاهم ترسيم الحدود البحرية مع كيان الاحتلال. علماً أن إدارة شركة «توتال» أعلنت، أمس، أنها أنجزت مع حكومة العدو الاتفاق الخاص بطلبات إسرائيلية مالية تتعلق بالجزء الجنوبي من حقل قانا الواقع جنوب الخط 23 والذي يفترض أن توفره الشركة الفرنسية من دون المساس بحصّة لبنان.

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What would a Russian defeat mean for the people of the West?

November 15, 2022

Regular readers of the blog know that I separate our poor and long-suffering planet into two basic parts: Zone A, aka the AngloZionist Empire, aka the World Hegemony aka the “Axis of Kindness” and what I call Zone B, or the Free World.  Very approximately, we need to separate the ruling elites and the people they rule over separately.  Here is, very roughly, what we get:

Zone AZone B
Ruling elitesHate Russia/PutinSome fear the Hegemony, but others don’t
Peoplemostly indifferent or hostilemostly support Russia/Putin

Next, I propose to make a simple though experiment.  Let’s assume that Russia loses the war against NATO.  We do *not* need to spell out how exactly such a defeat could/would happen, we simply assume that Russia is unable to achieve her goals of denazification and demilitarization of the Ukraine (and, really, all of NATO), that NATO forces are successful in defeating the Russian military machine (again, it does not matter how, with or without amazing Wunderwaffen) and that Russia very clearly loses.

We don’t even need to define what “defeat” would mean?  Maybe we can imagine that Russia gets keeps Crimea, but loses all her recently liberated regions from the former Ukraine, or maybe NATO manages to even occupy Crimea. I don’t see NATO tanks in downtown Moscow, but we can even imagine a purely psychological defeat in which both sides believe that Russia has lost and NATO won.

Again, details, no matter how improbable and far removed from reality, do not matter.  What matters is only this: once all the four groups above realize that NATO has defeated Russia, how would they react?

For the leaders of the Hegemony, this would be a dream come true.  In fact, the Neocons running the Hegemony will most likely decide that they need to “finish the job” which they did not finish in the 90s, and that Russia needs to be broken up into several parts.  This would be the West’s latest “final solution” for the “Russian problem”.

For the leaders of the Free World, a Russian defeat would signal that there are no alternatives to the Hegemony and that like it or not, the AngloZionists will rule the planet.  Like the Borg in Star Trek like to proclaim: “We are the Hegemony.  Resistance is futile.  You will be assimilated“.

For most people in the Free world, a Russian defeat would be a crushing disappointment for the simple reason that most people would see the AngloZionist plan for what it is: get Russia first, then take on and bring down China and then, eventually, Iran and any other nation daring to disobey the rulers of the Hegemony.

Clearly, this is not about the Ukraine, this is about the future of mankind as a whole.

But what about the people in Zone A who currently already live under the AngloZionist yoke?

[Quick reminder: I have decided, for various reasons, not to discuss internal US politics on the Saker blog and I will try hard to stick to this rule.  Still, I will state the obvious: we all now know the outcome of the latest elections in the USA and the adults in the room understand what happened, no need to list various truisms here.  If there is anybody reading this who would sincerely believe that some variation of the Neocon Uniparty in power will change things for the better or even slow down the inevitable collapse I would recommend that this person stop reading here.  Now for the rest of us:]

I think that the initial reaction of most people in Zone A will be a mix of relief (“Of course I knew that the West would win!“) and indifference (transgender issues are SO much more important!): their valiant “finest fighting force in the history of the world” kicked some rooskie commie ass which most definitely deserved some ass-kicking.  Some of the most sanguine defenders of the “western civilization” will even drop by our comments section and gloat “ha! ha! told you! your Putin and his clueless generals got their asses kicked by the most bestest US and NATO generals!“.  And for a while, they will feel really good.  Vindicated:  finally the dumbshit stupid Russians will pay the price for electing and supporting such a weak, indecisive, naive, corrupt, incompetent (and possibly even dying of cancer) leader!

And if only the Kremlin had had the wisdom to listen to its “western friends”!

But no, the Kremlin did not, and now there is going to be hell to pay.  Of course, if Russia’s “western friends” had been in charge, they would have executed a lightening fast blitzkrieg a long time ago, smashed Banderastan into smithereens (à la Fallujah if you wish) and quickly an decisively defeated NATO.  But those clueless idiots in the Kremlin did not listen, and so they deserve what is coming next.

Okay, fair enough.

But what about the regular people in Zone A?  The ones whose “side” supposedly “won”?

Once the initial bliss and celebrations are over, what will happen to them next?

Anybody want to take a guess?  If so, please post your thoughts in the comments section below.

My personal take is that after the defeat of Russia, the defeat of China (by whatever means) would be next.  Once that happens, all of the following will become decapitated and irrelevant: BRICS, SCO, CSTO.  The next country on the Hegemony’s kill list is Iran which, having lost the backing of both Russia and China will not be able to successfully challenge the Hegemony.  That, in turn will have major consequences for the entire Middle-East.  Wannabe Pasha Erdogan would be very quickly brought to heel.  Ditto for MBS.

The Israelis will feel like they “fixed the universe” well enough and that their Moshiach must be next 🙂

With Russia and China out of the way, Central Asia would be frankly easy picking for the Hegemony. In fact, all the Russian limitrophes would quickly be absorbed into the Hegemony.

The same goes for Pakistan and India, who would quickly lose most (or even all) of their sovereignty.  Afghanistan will be handed over to the (US-baked and run) ISIS.  Eventually, both Latin America and African will be fully recolonized (to the immense relief and joy of the local comprador class).

Now I submit that anybody with a modicum of information and intelligence will agree that the gang of woke freaks currently running the USA and almost every EU country out there doesn’t give a damn about the people they rule over: they see them only as means of production, in other words, as slaves who need to be given sufficient amounts of (bad) food and immense amounts of (truly demonic) “entertainment” to keep them nice, and happy and, above all, obedient and ignorant.  So here comes my question:

With Zone B gone, what hope for a better future, if any, could the slaves of the AngloZionist Hegemony keep in their hearts if our entire planet turns into Zone A?

The current repressive apparatus available to the US ruling class which includes 17 “intelligence” agencies,  the biggest military aggression budget on the planet, the highest number of prisoners kept in jails, the total informational control provided by Google, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Twitter, etc. etc. etc. militarized police forces and other agencies ready to deal with “internal terrorists” (sometimes defined as any MAGA person), and a school and college system designed to create obedient office plankton (white collar) and fast food employees (blue collar) with almost no awareness, nevermind any understanding, of the outside world.  EU states are not quite there (yet) but they are catching up fast.

This is not a system which will simply collapse by itself or, even less so, be overthrown by its “deplorables”.

I have mentioned this many times in the past: the US political system is neither viable nor reformable.

The EU political system is basically an extension of the US political system, just with a more strongly pronounced colonial mindset (“fuck the EU” right?).

So will the Hegemony turn our entire planet into a giant and “woke” Disney World run by Neocons?

Not as long as Russia, China, Iran and others are standing firm.  But if these “resisting nations” are crushed, then its show over for the people of Zone A whose slavery will not only last even much longer, but whose living conditions will further rapidly deteriorate

And once the “bread and games” thingie fails, you can bet that violent repression is next.

ANY regime which seriously aims at colonizing the entire planet (which the Hegemony undoubtedly does!) will ALWAYS keep its own population in slave-like conditions, materially, culturally and spiritually.

So, to paraphrase Malcolm Xthe only hope for the House Negros still remains the Field Negro.  Whether the House Negros themselves understand that or not is immaterial.

Let me rephrase this in an even more shocking way: the last and only hope for the people of the USA and the EU would be a total Russian victory against NATO.  A NATO defeat will bring down not only NATO itself, but also the EU and that, in turn, would force the US to (finally!) become a normal, civilized, country.

As for the EU, a NATO defeat would mean the end of one thousand years of imperialism.

I get it.  For a civilization built upon the assumption of racial superiority (whether officially proclaimed or not) the notion that the only possible salvation could come from “inferior Asiatic barbarians” is shocking and can only be considered as an extreme form of doubleplusbadcrimethink.  Such a thought is, quite literally, unthinkable for most.

Yet, as I mentioned above, what the House Negros understand or not is entirely irrelevant.  Not only do they have no agency, they want none (Poland anybody?).

Conclusion:

Russia won’t lose this war, most of us understand that.  But to those who don’t, I will offer one simple conclusion: a Russian defeat would be a disaster for Russia.  And China.  And the rest of the planet.  But it will also be a true calamity for the oppressed people of the West.  They, of all people, should be very careful what they wish for. And the next time they want to hallucinate and gloat about a “strategic Russian retreat/defeat” they should ask themselves a simple question: what might this mean for *me* and *my own* future?  Do I really have a reason to rejoice?

Maybe they simply got used to being slaves and the idea of *real* freedom and diversity simply terrifies them?

Andrei

مساعٍ فرنسية لمقايضة رئاستي الجمهورية والحكومة: فرنجية مرشح حزب الله برضا باسيل… وبلا خطة «ب»

الثلاثاء 15 تشرين الثاني 2022

وفيق قانصوه  

(هيثم الموسوي)

في خطابه السبت الماضي، أعطى الأمين العام لحزب الله السيد حسن نصرالله دفعاً قوياً لمعركة رئاسة الجمهورية. لا يعني الدفع، بالضرورة، تسريع انتخاب الرئيس، لكنه، عملياً، أخرج الملف من دائرة مقفلة إلى مرحلة أكثر جدّية بعدما حدّد مواصفات الرئيس المقبل، و«سمّى الجيرة وسمّى الحي»، وأعلن، أو كاد، اسم مرشح حزب الله.

كلام نصرالله أتى بالتوازي مع مبادرة فرنسية جديدة بدأت قبل نحو عشرة أيام لتوفير توافق على انتخاب رئيس جديد قبل نهاية السنة، مع وعود بإطلاق برامج مساعدات للبنان على رأسها برنامج «سيدر». ويفترض أن النقاش الذي بدأه الفرنسيون مع الأطراف الأساسية في لبنان، يجري استكماله مع واشنطن والرياض، ويقوم على فكرة أن أحداً غير قادر على فرض رئيس للجمهورية أو رئيس للحكومة من دون توافق فعلي بين القوى الرئيسية.
ومع أن المتابعين نفوا أن تكون فرنسا قد أقرت بمبدأ المقايضة على رئاستي الجمهورية والحكومة، إلا أن هؤلاء أشاروا إلى أن باريس لمست من جهات فاعلة، من بكركي إلى التيار الوطني الحر وحزب الله والرئيس نبيه بري ورئيس الحزب التقدمي الاشتراكي وليد جنبلاط، بقبول مقايضة انتخاب رئيس للجمهورية قريب من حلفاء حزب الله مقابل رئيس للحكومة قريب من الغرب والسعودية.

وحتى مساء أمس، لم يكن المسؤولون في لبنان قد حصلوا على معطيات دقيقة حول مضمون المحادثة التي جرت بين الرئيس الفرنسي إيمانويل ماكرون وولي العهد السعودي محمد بن سلمان، أول من أمس، وسط إشارات تؤكد أن الرياض لا تزال على موقفها الرافض لأي تسوية مع حزب الله.
وبعيداً من إشارات لافتة وواضحة وردت في كلام نصرالله أوحت بعدم تأييد حزب الله لترشيح قائد الجيش العماد جوزف عون (كما في إشارته إلى رفض مرشحين يتلقون اتصالات من القيادة الأميركية الوسطى، ناهيك عن التحفّظات المعروفة عن التدخل الأميركي الكبير في المؤسسة العسكرية في السنوات الأخيرة)، طوت المواصفات التي حدّدها الأمين العام لحزب الله صفحة «مزحة» ترشيح ميشال معوّض، و«نكتة» مرشحي التغييريين من التكنوقراط الذين يتبدّلون مع كل جلسة، وكل مرشح لا طعم له ولا رائحة ولا لون على شاكلة الرئيس السابق ميشال سليمان. وهو ضيّق دائرة البحث إلى حدود مرشحين اثنين لا ثالث لهما، هما سليمان فرنجية وجبران باسيل اللذان أكّد لهما، عندما استضافهما معاً الصيف الماضي، أنه يثق بكليهما. وبما أن رئيس التيار الوطني الحر أعلن أنه ليس مرشحاً وخارج السباق لاعتبارات عديدة، يغدو رئيس تيار المردة المرشح المعلن للحزب من دون تسميته بالاسم.
أكثر من ذلك، وعلى غرار ما كان حزب الله يردّده عام 2016 بأن لا خطة «ب» لترشيح العماد ميشال عون، فإنه هذه المرة، أيضاً، لا يملك خطة بديلة: المرشح هو فرنجية. ونقطة على السطر. أما التوافق على مرشح آخر يتفق عليه الحليفان، فدونه مخاطر لا يملك أحد ترف خوضها. وقد سمع التيار الوطني الحر من حزب الله، مباشرة، رأيه في أن تجارب اقتراح أسماء لمواقع أدنى من رئاسة الجمهورية في عهد العماد ميشال عون لم تكن مشجّعة، بعدما انقلب شاغلو هذه المواقع على من سمّاهم إليها.

على أن دون انتخاب فرنجية «شرطاً» ألزم حزب الله نفسه به، وهو أنه لن يذهب إلى جلسة انتخاب رئيس تيار المردة ما لم يكن يحمل في جيبه موافقة باسيل. واعتبارات ذلك عديدة، منها رفد فرنجية بدعم مسيحي يجعله رئيساً قوياً، والأهم هو حرص الحزب الشديد على استمرار التفاهم مع التيار الوطني الحر وعلى تمتينه، وبالتالي «انتخاب سليمان يكون برضا جبران وليس على حسابه». علماً أن «رضا» التيار يمكّن عملياً من تأمين النصاب، ولو من دون المشاركة في التصويت، طالما أن بري أخذ على عاتقه إقناع جنبلاط بالسير في فرنجية في حال تم إقناع باسيل. وبالاستناد، أيضاً إلى أن لا فيتو فرنسياً على فرنجية وإلى مساع فرنسية تجرى مع السعودية للتسهيل. وفي هذا السياق ليس تفصيلاً جلوس رئيس تيار المردة في الصف الأول في منتدى الطائف الذي عقده السفير السعودي وليد البخاري في الأونيسكو السبت الماضي، فيما كان معوّض، مرشح حلفاء السعودية، يقبع في الصفوف الخلفية.
عليه، لن تحمل جلسة الخميس المقبل، ولا التي تليها وما بعد بعد ذلك ربما، أي جديد، في انتظار نضوج الظروف لاستئناف الحزب مفاوضاته مع حليفه باسيل. ومع أن الأخير يتقصّد المجاهرة برفضه دعم ترشيح فرنجية، إلا أن مصادر مطلعة تؤكد أن الأبواب ربما ليست موصدة تماماً.

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Intelligence Online: MBS ‘purges’ politically aimed at certain clans

 November 9, 2022

Source: Intelligence Online

The purge is directed toward certain clans; commercial agents close to former King Abdullah and Mohammad bin Nayef.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Athens, Greece, July 26, 2022. (Reuters)

By Al Mayadeen English 

Website Intelligence Online has revealed that Saudi Arabia’s purges are motivated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman using the pretext of tackling corruption and that the purge is directed toward certain clans; commercial agents close to former King Abdullah and Mohammad bin Nayef. Interestingly, agents of the Mishaal and Sultan clans are not being targeted. 

Saudi authorities are trying via Interpol to get their hands on Salah Fustok, a former commercial agent for a clan of King Abdullah bin Abdelaziz. Fustok is the uncle of Muteb bin Abdullah, who commanded the Saudi National Guard (SANG) until he was ousted by MbS. Muteb then got caught up in the anti-corruption purge that took place in November that year. He is still under house arrest and cannot leave the kingdom.    

Individuals close to bin Nayef are facing legal proceedings, and bin Nayef himself remains under house arrest. Bin Nayef’s former counter-terrorism chief and head of a financial empire, Saad Al-Jabri, in addition to Nader Turki Al-Dossari, a Saudi businessman, are both under intense judicial pressure.

King Salman bin Abdelaziz’s brother, Ahmad bin Abdelaziz, is forbidden from leaving the country while businessmen close to him are avoiding the kingdom. 

However, members of the late Mishaal bin Abdelaziz’s clan won’t be worrying too much about the purge.

Although complaints against businessman Abdullah Al Shugair have been made to the Saudi Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority – Nazaha – no actions have been taken despite documented evidence. Shugeir was a factotum to Prince Mishaal, who allowed MBS and his son to prevail, after which he died a multi-billionaire in 2017. 

Noting that Shugeir owns his Security Technology Company (STC), according to a 70-page complaint filed by US company DefensTech, he had stolen intellectual property related to body armor. The complaint puts down that Shugeir owes DefensTech over $5.6 million after selling 10,000 vests to the Royal Guard in 2014.

The vests sold to the Royal Guard were not DefensTech’s, but rather counterfeits that they purchased through a scheme in which Saudi interior ministry officials were involved. According to Intelligence Online, although the US company made a strong case, Nazaha did not take action. 

Read next: NBC: “Mohammed Bin Nayef Was Beaten & Biden Stepped in to Rescue Him”

Arab League Summit – Hopes and Aspirations

Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° 

Viktor Mikhin
The next summit of the League of Arab States (LAS), whose participation has been confirmed by the heads of state of numerous Arab countries, will be held in Algiers in early November. On the agenda, of course, are primarily issues related to the reconciliation of a number of Arab countries and their consolidation in the face of various external threats. However, the Arab media and even politicians are already saying that no breakthroughs can be expected from the summit, as the Arab League has lost its once-authoritative status in recent years.

Arab leaders have held two consecutive high-level meetings in 2019. In the spring, they met in Tunisia at the annual Arab Summit. In May, they met again in Mecca at the invitation of Riyadh for an extraordinary Arab summit. At issue was Saudi Arabia’s and other Persian Gulf Arab countries’ concern about Iran’s regional policies and opposition to Tehran’s plans to increase its activities in a number of countries in the Arab world. The 31st ordinary Arab summit is now scheduled to be held in Algiers on November 1, with a concluding session on November 2. The Algerian government wanted the summit to take place on the anniversary of the outbreak of the 1954 Algerian Revolution, which led to Algeria’s independence from France in July 1962.

Some fears are related to domestic political developments in Algeria, while others stem from Algeria’s relations with other Arab countries, which are not without nuances of disagreement over the choice of a common Arab and regional policy. This concerns the events in Libya, the position on the problems in North and East Africa, including the situation in Western Sahara, and the position on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Syria is another major stumbling block given Algeria’s determination to rejoin the Arab League system after being expelled from it in 2011. At the time, this was done under the far-fetched pretext of the alleged use of force by President Bashar al-Assad to quell discontent among some segments of the population. Afterward, incidentally, it was found that the Persian Gulf countries and the West, led by the United States, had a hand in stirring up passions there. Then the situation turned into an endless civil war in which foreign fighters actively participated on the side of the Syrian opposition, generously paid by the same Persian Gulf Arabs.

It is worth remembering that the world and Arab countries look distinctive today than they did in 2019 when the last Arab summit was held. The world has changed since then, and not only the Covid-19 pandemic, but also a host of other Arab, Middle Eastern, and international events have changed the overall context in which the Algiers Summit will take place. Three major international developments are expected to influence discussions at the Arab Summit.

The first, in chronological order, is the change of government in the United States. After four years of foreign policy by former US President Donald Trump, who tried to move away from old problems that had plagued previous administrations, current US President Joe Biden has returned to an interventionist US foreign policy based on forming new military alliances while strengthening existing ones, such as NATO. The second major event was the war in Ukraine, which was prepared and unleashed by the West under the leadership of the United States to bleed and damage Russia. The third is the growing US-China tension over Taiwan, also initiated by the United States. These three events have had and continue to have a direct impact on the Arab world, and they are clearly not favorable to the Arabs. This concerns both the issue of food security and the high energy prices affecting Arab states that are not oil producers, such as Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia, Morocco, and some others.

From a regional perspective, there have also been fundamental changes in the Arab country’s relations with Israel, Turkey, and Iran, which will undoubtedly impact the work and conclusions of the Arab Summit. For example, building on Trump’s diplomacy, Israel signed the so-called “Abraham Accords” with four Arab countries in the second half of 2020. The previous Trump administration spoke of the Arab-Israeli normalization process as being deliberately separated from the Palestinian issue, to the detriment of the Palestinians and the prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. While the Biden administration advocated for a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine from day one, it refrained from using its influence with the Israelis to resume peace talks with the Palestinians that ended in April 2014.

While Trump in May 2018 roughly withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a nuclear agreement between Iran and a group of 5+1 countries, and pursued a strategy of “maximum pressure” on Iran, the Biden administration has worked assiduously to join the JCPOA under a formula known as “control over control.” This means that the United States will join the agreement if Iran is the first to meet all of its obligations. But if the “control over control” formula is implemented, followed by the lifting of some sanctions, the Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia, will be very concerned about what the Iranian government will spend the billions of dollars that will flow to Iran as a result of the resumption of oil sales. Will Tehran spend the money on developing the Iranian economy, or will it fund pro-Iranian regimes in the Arab world? If the latter, how will the US respond, and will Washington be able to side with the Saudis?

Turkey will also have to face a fierce controversy, as many Arabs see positive developments in Turkish-Arab relations despite the reassessment of Turkey’s strategy in the Middle East, Libya, or the Eastern Mediterranean. Ankara has now significantly tightened its policy in the Arab world, reminding left and right of its “right” as heir to the Ottoman Empire. This presupposes, Erdoğan says, Turkey’s leadership role in the created joint Arab Union. But here there will be clear opposition from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries, given Erdoğan’s recent flirtations with Iran, which is the main enemy of Persian Gulf Arabs.

The Algiers summit also comes after the end of the boycott of Qatar by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain and the resumption of diplomatic relations between these countries. One of the most positive results of this intra-Arab reconciliation was the official visits of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to Qatar and the official visit of the ruler of Qatar to Egypt last July. Clearly, this much-needed reconciliation will have a positive impact on the Arab Summit discussions and decisions, both politically and economically. At the same time, the Arabs are taking into account the huge gas reserves in Qatar and its ability to export gas to the Arab states.

In addition, special attention is being paid to the situation in Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Tunisia. The Arab world is interested in helping these countries manage them successfully. The financial issue will be one of the main topics of the summit, and here the Persian Gulf states, led by Saudi Arabia, are likely to have a weighty say. In any case, this summit will provide Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud with an excellent opportunity to strengthen and expand his authority in the Arab League and throughout the Arab world.

As for the situation in Libya, Arab leaders are expected to call on Libyan political factions to resolve the ongoing crisis in their country by holding free and fair elections. Experts warn that this must happen as soon as possible to prevent Libya from reverting to the violence that nearly tore the country apart three years ago.

The next summit of Arab states in Algiers should prove that the Arab world is united and seeks only Arab solutions to Arab problems. And this requires the unity of all countries in the region. Will the ambitious Arab leaders be able to speak with one voice, or will everyone pull the covers over themselves? — the upcoming Arab League summit will clearly show this.

MBS Will Have to Choose Between Acquiescence or A Fate Like that of King Faisal

October 25, 2022

By Mohammad Baqer Yassin

There is a new season of the Saudi-US soap opera and the tense relationships between the allies. What’s new in the crisis is the decision of the OPEC+ to reduce oil production which has urged a clear American response, along with a series of reactions in newspapers and speeches of US politicians, amid a Saudi affirmation on the technical aspect of the unanimously-made decision, according to Riyadh. Is the Saudi decision purely technical or political? What are the expected American steps towards Riyadh? Will the Kingdom insist on its position or will it acquiesce, as usual?

To clarify the nature of the decision taken by OPEC +, we must go back to the time before the decision was taken, as the Wall Street Journal articulated that “US Officials called on their Gulf counterparts, headed by Saudi Arabia, to postpone the decision for another month, which was rejected by Saudis.” The newspaper also stated, according to sources within the Saudi government, that “Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS] told his advisers that he is not willing to sacrifice much for the administration of US President Joe Biden, which criticizes Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen and is trying to conclude a nuclear agreement with Iran which Riyadh opposes.” Adding to the aforementioned, the decision of Aramco, the Saudi energy company, to raise prices of oil exports to the US in November, it becomes clear to us that the Saudi decision unmasks the economic-shelled Saudi decision as purely political. MBS is under US pressure in three stressful topics [the war on Yemen, the nuclear agreement and the Jamal Khashoggi case]. Thus, by reducing production, he tried to blackmail the US administration, as it is in this sensitive stage in need of stabilizing oil prices, especially to harm its enemy Russia, in order to reach its goals.

After facing the American anger, MBS was sure he made a foolhardy rushing decision of overwhelming consequences. He consequently insisted that it was a pure technical decision with no political dimension, which forced Saudi officials to issue statements agreeing with this point. For this purpose, Adel Al-Jubeir spoke several times on this point in particular, and after him, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan in an interview with Al-Arabiya, in which he confirmed that “the decision of OPEC + is purely economic, and the decision was taken unanimously by member states.” After the failure of this attempt, the kingdom was forced to save face through its foreign ministry statement, in which it rejected what it called “dictations, actions or efforts seeking to alter the lofty goals it is working on to protect the global economy from oil market fluctuations,” adding that the Kingdom “looks at its relationship with the US from a strategic perspective that serves the mutual interests of both countries.” Lately, Riyadh called upon the positions of states [like Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Tunisia, Malaysia, Egypt, Morocco and Algeria so far] to back its “technical position” in the face of continuous American declarations regarding reducing oil production.

MBS’s blackmailing of Washington during tough circumstances urged a strong reaction from the US side, expressed by media and American political figures by demanding deterrent measures. This blackmail forced US President Joe Biden to talk about serious consequences during his interview with CNN. Speaking in the interview, Biden hasn’t defined the nature of his administration’s decisions against the Saudi decision, as he said that he would not go into details. He was quoted as saying that his country is discussing reviewing relations.

Among the expected measures, which fall under the division of military measures, is reducing or canceling military deals between Washington and Riyadh, as well as withdrawing air defense batteries. If the US goes far in its decision, it would evacuate its bases in the Kingdom. Furthermore, economic sanctions against Riyadh are among the expected measures, especially after it classified the Saudi move as being part of Russia’s aid. The US will include Saudi Arabia in the list of states and companies sanctioned for their cooperation with Russia, if it wants to move forward and give its words legal effects. Accordingly, the US is sending MBS a deterrent message that will make him think wisely before taking any similar measures in the future, and in order for him to know his limits and that he should not cross them.

On the basis of what has been stated before, MBS is bounded by two difficult choices, the best of which is bitter; the first one is to acquiesce again to US dictates, and the second is to continue insisting on his firm stance and take the decision to the end. MBS set the ground for the first choice when he limited his decision in the pure technical dimension and neglected any support to Russia, this delivers a message saying that he was still under the path of American dependency and did not deviate from it. As for the second option, MBS knows with certainty that his fate will not be far from the fate of King Faisal, and he will not be dearer to him in the American administration.

Opec+ row: The US has lost control of its Gulf allies

13 October 2022 

David Hearst

The Biden administration is now paying the price for its chaotic and inconsistent policy on Saudi Arabia

On Wednesday, US President Joe Biden issued his national security strategy, which boasted, among other things, of his country’s unique capacity to “defend democracy around the world”.

US President Joe Biden at the White House, on 4 October 2022 (AFP)

One of the standout phrases of this unashamed piece of geopolitical fiction was this one: “We are forging creative new ways to work in common cause with partners around issues of shared interest.”

This statement was released just days after Opec+, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, unleashed the biggest shock to oil markets this century by cutting production by two million barrels a day.

It’s chaos – not in the unstable Middle East, but in the corridors of the National Security Council

Despite Riyadh’s latest protestations that the decision was based only on “economic considerations”, the move has triggered a tidal wave of anger among Democratic members of Congress, who are now threatening to suspend arms sales to the kingdom for a year. National security adviser Jake Sullivan has also said the White House was looking into a halt to arms sales. As 73 percent of the kingdom’s arms imports come from the US, this is no mere rhetorical threat.

“If it weren’t for our technicians, their airplanes literally wouldn’t fly… We literally are responsible for their entire air force,” Ro Khanna, a Democratic congressman from California, told reporters. “What galls so many of us in Congress is the ingratitude.”

Incidentally, the same is true of the British firm BAE Systems, which supplies and maintains aircraft for Saudi Arabia, but the UK government is staying silent. 

It should not. Because the national security strategy shows that, among other things, the US has lost control of its allies, especially in the Middle East and particularly in the Gulf.

Courting a ‘pariah’

To take Biden’s tenure as an illustration, one of the first things he did upon taking office was to appoint Brett McGurk, a diplomat who had served under previous presidents, as his National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East.

McGurk is famous, or rather infamous, among Sunni political circles in Iraq – let alone pro-Iran Shia ones – for being rather too close to Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia and latterly its prime minister. McGurk set up the disastrous “fist bump” encounter between Biden and Mohammed bin Salman by negotiating an agreement between Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt over the transfer of two uninhabited but strategically placed islands in the Red Sea, Tiran and Sanafir.

How, then, could Mohammed bin Salman poke such a large finger in Biden’s eye just before the midterm elections, if McGurk had been doing his job? It’s chaos – not in the unstable Middle East, but in the corridors of the National Security Council.

Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are pictured in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 16 July 2022 (AFP)
Biden and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on 16 July 2022 (AFP)

Or take the decisions that Biden made over Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist and Middle East Eye columnist murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Biden abandoned the principles he touted as a presidential candidate to treat the Saudi crown prince as a pariah, the moment he took office. 

Upon the publication of a summary of a CIA report on the murder, which concluded that Mohammed bin Salman had ordered the killing, Biden had an opportunity to put US weight behind a UN investigation into the killing. He notably declined to do so.

The US announced visa restrictions against 76 Saudis implicated in the plot, but did nothing against the man its intelligence services said was behind it. 

“The relationship with Saudi Arabia is bigger than any one individual,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at the time of the so-called Khashoggi ban. “What we’ve done by the actions that we’ve taken is really not to rupture the relationship, but to recalibrate it to be more in line with our interests and our values.”

Dennis Ross, a former Middle East negotiator, applauded Biden for “trying to thread the needle”, telling the New York Times that the affair was “a classic example of where you have to balance your values and your interests”.

Not unnaturally, Mohammed bin Salman concluded that he had gotten away with it. Now, Biden is paying the price.

State of surprise

The American foreign policy establishment has been, since the end of the Cold War, in a permanent state of surprise.

There was surprise that it had “lost Russia” at the end of the 1990s; surprise at the devastation caused by its invasion of Iraq; surprise over Vladimir Putin’s 2007 Munich speech, in which the Russian leader called out the US’s “almost uncontained hyper use of force in international relations”; surprise at Putin’s intervention in Syria; surprise over the fall of Kabul; and surprise that strategic decisions such as expanding Nato eastwards would ultimately lead to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine

At least the US is showing consistency in its faulty analytics and strategy, and massive blind spots. You can now rely on it to make the wrong choice

A world power that, until Putin’s intervention in Syria, held a monopoly on the use of international force but has squandered its authority in a series of mainly unforced errors. That is why it can no longer lead the democracies of the world.

Alienating China at the very time the US needs President Xi Jinping to contain Putin and stop him from using battlefield nukes, which he is quite capable of doing, is perhaps the biggest strategic mistake it is currently making. 

At least the US is showing admirable consistency in its faulty analytics and strategy, and massive blind spots. You can now rely on it to make the wrong choice. 

But what of its wayward allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates?

Saudi miscalculations

Saudi foreign policy cannot be untangled from the personality of its de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman. He is to international relations what a Nintendo game console is to careful reflection. He presses a button and thinks it can happen. He has an idea, and it has to be true.

I recently met an academic in Tehran who believed Mohammed bin Salman had moved beyond his Game Boy past. He is involved in backchannel negotiations with the Saudis.

Saudi Arabia: Mohammed bin Salman is now the state

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“A senior Saudi diplomat told me that MBS started as a kid playing video games,” he told me. “Killing Khashoggi, starting a military intervention in Yemen which would last ‘two weeks’, the siege of Qatar, getting rid of [Lebanese Prime Minister Saad] Hariri were all video games for him, buttons you can press, enemies disappearing from the screen. Out of necessity, he is becoming more strategic.

“Strategic maturity does not come from what you would like to have. It comes out of necessity,” the academic added. “I don’t think the Saudis decided to move beyond that strategic relationship with America. The American hand is still strong. But there are differences happening. The Americans are not seen with the same confidence that was seen in Riyadh.

“Where does it leave the Saudis? The Saudis have been trying to build relations with China and Russia and in the region. Vision 2030 cannot move without calm all around the kingdom. The Saudis see Yemen in two tracks: one, the Saudi-Yemeni track [with the Houthis]; two, the national reconciliation track. But the two rely on each other, and MBS is moving towards a compromise.”

The Iranian academic admitted that this was music to his ears, which was why he thought his Saudi counterpart was playing it, but nor could he discount the temptation to believe it.

Machiavellian tutor

Mohammed bin Salman admires Putin personally. Multiple sources have told me that the inspiration for the Tiger Squad – which killed and dismembered the body of Khashoggi and tried to do the same to Saad al-Jabri, a former minister of state and adviser to deposed crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef – came from the killing of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko in London and the attempted poisoning of defector Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

But beyond that, Mohammed bin Salman sees the limits of the kingdom’s ties to the US. He used former President Donald Trump as his ticket to the top of the Saudi royal family, but now that the Trump clan is – for the moment – out of power, he sees no reason not to court Russia. 

But he remains impulsive, and his tutor in the modern art of Machiavelli, UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed, is more astute.

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (R) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are pictured in Abu Dhabi in November 2019 (AFP/Saudi Royal Palace)
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (left) with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi, in November 2019 (AFP/Saudi Royal Palace)

In distinction to his pupil, Mohammed bin Zayed still sees his country’s growing trade alliance with Israel as his ticket to influencing US policymakers. It was his ambassador in the US, Yousef al-Otaiba – not the Saudi ambassador – who introduced Mohammed bin Salman to the Trump family and to Washington.

But Mohammed bin Zayed hates being told what to do. One official familiar with relations between the Saudi and Emirati crown princes told me of a plan Mohammed bin Salman once had to run a maglev railway around the Gulf. Only a few of these systems, such as the Shanghai Transrapid, are running in the world, due to the enormous cost of construction. 

“MBS makes a plan and tells everyone else how much to invest without consulting them,” the official said. “He had an idea to run a maglev train going around the Gulf. Its [cost] was $160bn, because it’s $1bn a mile. Abu Dhabi’s share was huge. They were furious and stopped the plan.

“MBZ resents being told what to do by MBS, because he thinks he created him. MBS could not conceive of a relationship to him where he is subservient.”

New era of power projection

So while Mohammed bin Zayed went to Russia courting Putin, his officials distanced themselves from the Opec+ oil cut. The Financial Times reported that the UAE and Iraq had “expressed misgivings”.

Foreign policy in the hands of Mohammed bin Zayed is more nuanced than in those of his Saudi protege. This means that every move Mohammed bin Zayed makes is reversible, and therefore tradeable. He calculates each move before he makes it.

Although the two men look in public to be close to each other, in reality, Mohammed bin Salman is moving faster than his neighbour wants him to. The one thing that Mohammed bin Zayed does not want is for Mohammed bin Salman to become his own man. At the same time, the one thing that Mohammed bin Salman will not tolerate is for anyone else to issue him orders. 

The US is being tested as much by its allies as by its foes. And for good reason

It happened once over Yemen, where the announcement of the pullout of UAE troops left the Saudi crown prince on his own.

Biden and his advisers may be tempted to take a successful pushback of Russian troops in Ukraine as a starting gun for a new era of American power projection around the world – one whose target is China. But even if Putin is turned back in Ukraine, they would be profoundly wrong to do so.

The US is being tested as much by its allies as by its foes. And for good reason: they sense that the US won’t resume the role of unchallenged leader, which it held briefly for three decades.

The US has learned no lessons from the fall of Kabul. It reacted to its military defeat in Afghanistan by trading up. A geographically limited conflict in Central Asia was replaced by a potentially much larger conflict with China. Large parts of the world have rightly lost faith in this type of leadership.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye. 

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

David Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was the Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

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«أوبك +» هل تقصم ظهر العلاقات الأميركية ـ السعودية

الثلاثاء 18 أكتوبر 2022 

بتول قصير

يبدو أنّ خيبات الولايات المتحدة الأميركية تتوالى. فقد أثار قرار الدول المصدرة للبترول “أوبك” والدول المنتجة للنفط المتحالفة معها “أوبك بلس” خفض إنتاج النفط بمقدار مليوني برميل يومياً، حالة من الهستيريا والغضب في واشنطن، لما له من تداعيات سلبية على الولايات المتحدة وحلفائها. فعلى خلفية القرار عبّر الرئيس جو بايدن أنه “أصيب بخيبة أمل” ووصف القرار بـ “قصير النظر”، واتهم دول المنظمة النفطية بالانحياز إلى روسيا.

شكل قرار خفض الإنتاج حالة إرباك بالنسبة لإدارة الرئيس بايدن، فالتوقيت الحرج لهذا القرار يأتي قبل شهر تقريباً من موعد إجراء انتخابات التجديد النصفي للكونغرس. وثمة خطر في أنّ هذا الخفض الذي سيدخل سريان المفعول في الأول من تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر من شأنه أن يتسبّب في ارتفاع أسعار البنزين والغاز، ما يعني انّ واشنطن أمام كارثة سياسية كاملة الأركان على إدارة الرئيس الديمقراطي بايدن، خاصة أنّ خصومه الجمهوريين سيستغلون الفرصة الثمينة هذه للإطاحة بمصداقيته أمام الناخبين الأميركيين خلال عملية الاقتراع، كإثبات على السياسة الفاشلة التي تمتع بها عهده.

وعلى خلفية هذا القرار تعالت الأصوات في الكونغرس الأميركي التي تدعو لإعادة النظر في العلاقة مع الرياض، وتأطير العلاقة مع الأخيرة التي اعتبرت الإدارة الأميركية خطوتها بأنها بمثابة انحياز للمملكة في صراعات دولية وأنه قرار بُني على دوافع سياسية ضدّ الولايات المتحدة الأميركية. واللافت انّ ارتفاع وتيرة التوتر بين البلدين ترافق مع طرح النائب الأميركي الديمقراطي توم مالينوفسكي مشروع قانون في مجلس النواب يطالب إدارة الرئيس بايدن بسحب أنظمة الدفاع ضدّ الصواريخ و3000 جندي، وهم قوام القوات الأميركية من السعودية والإمارات. وقال مالينوفسكي في بيان صادر عنه: “لقد حان الوقت لكي تستأنف الولايات المتحدة دورها كدولة عظمى في علاقتها بزبائنها في الخليج”.

وعليه فإنّ حفلة الجنون الأميركية عقب قرار “أوبك بلس”، يفسّرها انشغال واشنطن وحلفائها في السعي الدؤوب لضمان أمنهم الطاقي نظراً لأهمية مصادر الطاقة العالمية. خاصة بعد أزمة أوكرانيا وإغلاق روسيا لصنابير الطاقة والغاز عن أوروبا.

وكخطوات عاجلة أمر الرئيس الأميركي وزارة الطاقة بالإفراج عن 10 ملايين برميل من الاحتياطي البترولي الاستراتيجي الأميركي في الأسواق مع دخول خفض الإنتاج حيّز التنفيذ في الأول من تشرين الثاني/ نوفمبر، والاستمرار في اللجوء إلى احتياطي البترول الاستراتيجي كلما اقتضت الحاجة. كما باشر بايدن بمشاورات مع الكونغرس للبحث في آليات إضافية لتقليص تحكم أوبك في أسعار الطاقة وتقليص اعتماد الولايات المتحدة على المصادر الأجنبية للوقود الأحفوري وتسريع ضخ الاستثمارات في الطاقة النظيفة.

من منظورٍ آخر، يبدو أنّ واشنطن تسبّبت بطريقة أو بأخرى بدفع “أوبك بلس” لخفض الإنتاج، عندما قرّرت مؤخراً رفع أسعار الفائدة والدولار، في وقت يستورد العالم النفط بالعملة الأميركية، ورفع قيمته يؤثر على الدول المستوردة للنفط، ما تسبّب بقلة الطلب عليه، ما أدّى لخلق فائض نفطي لدول “أوبك بلس”. واشنطن المذهولة من القرار حمّلت الرياض مسؤولية تداعياته، معتبرة أنّ دوافعه سياسية وانحياز لروسيا وسيشكل دعماً لها لا يُستهان به.

بدورها السعودية رفضت الاتهامات الأميركية التي لا تستند إلى الحقائق، وعلقت بأنّ القرار اتخذ بالإجماع من كافة دول المجموعة، وهو قرار اقتصادي بحت. وما زاد الطين بلة، أنّ قراراً مدعوماً من السعودية بأن تتوقف مجموعة “أوبك بلس” عن استخدام بيانات وكالة الطاقة الدولية، وهي الهيئة الغربية لمراقبة قطاع الطاقة، ما يعكس المخاوف من التأثير الأميركي على البيانات.

وأخيراً، يبدو انّ زيارة بايدن للسعودية في تموز/ يوليو لم تفعل شيئاً يُذكر لتغيير تصميم محمد بن سلمان على رسم سياسة خارجية مستقلة عن النفوذ الأميركي، خاصة أنّ الزيارة أغضبت ولي العهد، الذي كان منزعجاً من أنّ بايدن تحدث علناً عن تعليقاته الخاصة مع العائلة المالكة بشأن وفاة الصحافي جمال خاشقجي. وهذا لا يعني انّ البيت الأبيض سيتجه لاتخاذ قرارات عقابية واضحة تجاه الرياض، فهو وعلى الرغم من العلاقات بين كلّ من المملكة والولايات المتحدة شهدت مداً وجزراً على مدى عقود خلت وحتى الفترة الحالية، إلا انّ الدولتين تتمتعان بشراكة استراتيجية، مدعومة بمصالح مشتركة. فالبلدان يشتركان في رؤية متوافقة تجاه العديد من القضايا الدولية والإقليمية، من مسألة الملف النووي الإيراني، والتحالف الرباعي ضدّ اليمن، وغيرها من الملفات الإقليمية والدولية.

وعليه فإنّ ما يجمع واشنطن والرياض أكبر بكثير مما يمكن أن يزعزع علاقة البلدين الشاملة في كافة المستويات. بيد أنَّ هذه العلاقات تعرّضت وتتعرّض في أوقات كثيرة لمثل هذه الهزات، إلا أنَّه من المستبعد أن تذهب ردود الأفعال إلى مستويات بعيدة، خصوصاً أنّ قرار «أوبك بلس» لم يكن سعودياً بحتاً.

عندما يستثمر ابن سلمان في «القبَلية» الأميركية

الثلاثاء 18 تشرين الأول 2022

علاقة أميركا مع الدول المرتبطة بها، هي علاقة مصلحة متبادلة (أ ف ب)

موسى السادة  

يتيح قرار منظّمة «أوبك +» الأخير، خفْض إنتاج النفط بما يقارب المليونَي برميل يومياً، فرصة لقراءة الأبعاد المختلفة للعلاقات الدولية اليوم، وأبرزها العلاقة بين المملكة السعودية والولايات المتحدة، إذ إن تداعيات هذا القرار ستطاول أكثر من ملفّ، في ظلّ وضع دولي غير مسبوق تسارعت التحوّلات فيه بعد الحرب الروسية على أوكرانيا. تستدعي قراءةٌ كتلك، التنبّه إلى ثلاثة أوجهٍ مختلفة متشابكة: أوّلها، الاختلال في قوّة الولايات المتحدة وأدوات سيطرتها على السياسة الدولية، وثانيها، حجم هذا الاختلال وكيفية تأثيره في الداخل الأميركي واستقطاباته السياسية والاجتماعية، وثالثها التغيّر في ديناميكية علاقة الدول المرتبطة بأميركا، خصوصاً حين الحديث عن دولة بحجم وأهمية السعودية، التي تمتدّ وتنصهر ارتباطاتها بالولايات المتحدة، بشكل يتداخل مع مجال السياسة الداخلية الأميركية.

من هنا، يمكن النظر إلى قرار «أوبك +» من زاوية كوْنه خطوة سعودية ستؤثّر في الهيمنة الأميركية الدولية. ذلك أن واحداً من تداعياته سيكون دعم الاقتصاد الروسي، المنخرط في مجهود عسكري ضدّ أوكرانيا وحلف «الناتو». أمّا الزاوية الأخرى، فهي تأثير القرار في الداخل الأميركي، في فترة زمنية حسّاسة تسبق الانتخابات النصفية، وهذا بالتحديد هو ما يشغل الأميركيين أكثر من تأثير الخطوة في الطرف الروسي. وفي حين كان الخطاب الرسمي السعودي بالغ الدبلوماسية في التعاطي مع القرار، إلّا أن مُريدي السعودية، وبل حتى سواهم، قاربوه كدليل على استقلالية قرار المملكة وتقديمها مصلحتها الوطنية أولاً، وإنْ كان في وجه أميركا نفسها، وهو ما دفع خصوم السعودية، القائم خطابهم على تبعيّتها لـ«بيت الطاعة» الأميركي والغربي، إلى اتّخاذ موقع دفاع، في تنابُز إعلامي وسياسي مديد في المجال السياسي العربي.

إلّا أن ما يجب اعتباره من القرار، بعيداً عن هذا التنابز، هو عبر قراءة مركّبة لشكل العلاقة التاريخية بين المملكة وأميركا، بالإمكان توسيعها أيضاً لتشمل كلّ دولة تُحكم من نُخب تتشابك وترتبط مصالحها مع الولايات المتحدة. فالتفسير الهشّ القائم على تبسيط شكل العلاقة إلى حدود «سيّد» يأمر وينهى كيفما وأينما شاء دونما أيّ اعتبارات؛ و«عبد» يطيع، إنّما هو تفسير خاطئ يؤسّس لقراءة خاطئة. الواقع أن علاقة أميركا مع الدول المرتبطة بها، هي علاقة مصلحة متبادلة، وأن ما يقتضيه لفظ «الهيمنة الأميركية» هو أن كفّة القوة ضمن علاقة المصلحة تلك، تميل بشكل قاهر لصالح الأميركيين. تختلف، هنا، أدوات القوة وأشكالها من دولة إلى أخرى، ومنها مثلاً الابتزاز بوقْف المِنح المالية والعسكرية، أو التهديد بالتضييق والعقوبات، أو في الحالة المميّزة في الخليج العربي التهديد برفع الحماية العسكرية، مثلما ينادي به اليوم العديد من أعضاء الكونغرس الأميركي، وصرّح به مسؤولون أميركيون مختلفون ومباشرة على شاشات التلفزة، بقولهم: «هل يظنّ السعوديون أن الروس أو الصينيين قادرون على توفير الحماية لهم؟».

المثير والمهمّ، هو كيف أمست السياسة الأميركية أشبه بسياسات دول غير متماسكة


وإذ يأتي هذا التهديد ضمن مسار تاريخي من الشدّ والجذب وفق ما تقتضيه المصلحة، فإن الأمر المختلف اليوم هو أننا أمام واقع دولي وأميركي داخلي مغاير، يظهّر اهتزازاً لفعالية أوراق الابتزاز الأميركية، وهو ما فهمه السعوديون جيداً.
ولعلّ أهمّ وجوه اهتزاز السطوة ذاك، يمكن استشفافه من مراقبة تبدُّل شكل علاقة النُّخب الحاكمة الخليجية بالولايات المتحدة وجرأتها السياسية. فهذه النُّخبة السعودية هي أوّل مَن يستشعر ويهاب تقهقر أميركا التي رهنت ديمومة حُكمها بها. وبالنسبة إلى المملكة، وتحديداً منذ تسلُّم محمد بن سلمان السلطة الفعلية، كانت السنوات السبع الماضية مخاضاً للتكيّف في التعامل مع الأميركيين، والأهمّ الوصول إلى القدرة على استغلال تناقضاتهم الداخلية. ومن هنا، ولكي لا يُفهم قرار «أوبك +» كانحياز كامل إلى الروس، حرص السعوديون على موازنته، بإعلانهم عن هِبة مادّية بقرابة 400 مليون دولار لأوكرانيا، وأيضاً تواصلهم مع المسؤولين الأوكرانيين والطلب منهم التغريد بتصريحات تثمّن مواقف المملكة. هذه الموازنة في حدّ ذاتها تعكس ضعفاً أميركياً وغربياً، حيث تخشى الدول حتى المرتبطة أمنياً واقتصادياً بواشنطن، وعلى الرغم من احتدام الصراع الروسي – الغربي، من التخندق الصارخ إلى جانب أيّ من الطرفَين.
البُعد الآخر الذي تظهّره هذه الموازنة، هو أن قرار «أوبك +» في جوهره ليس اصطفافاً ضدّ الغرب مع روسيا، بل محاولة للتأثير في الداخل الأميركي وفي حكومة الرئيس جو بايدن على وجه التحديد، إذ تُعدّ السياسة الداخلية الأميركية مسرحاً مهمّاً ليس للحُكم السعودي فقط، بل حتى للشخصيات السعودية المعارضة، التي تعمل من داخل التجاذبات الحزبية على التحريض على حُكم آل سلمان، سواء على المستوى القضائي أو الإعلامي. ولذلك، يؤثّر السعوديون في المجال السياسي الأميركي في إطار مصالحهم، وبحجم ونوع غير مسبوقَين، لم يكونا ليتحقّقا لولا حجم الاستقطاب والتناقضات الداخلية الأميركية الحادّة. بتعبير آخر، إن الاهتزاز الذي يصيب الولايات المتحدة على الساحة الدولية، وحجم الاستقطاب السياسي – الاجتماعي في داخلها، يؤثّر أحدُهما في الآخر بشكل سلبي. ومن هنا، يمسي وصْف البيت الأبيض قرار «أوبك +» بـ«بالعمل العدائي» خاوياً، والأمر ذاته ينسحب على مسألة التدخّل في الانتخابات. ذلك أن حجم الشقاق الجمهوري – الديموقراطي، حال دون إقرار موقف موحّد تجاه خطوة المنظّمة، ليضيع ردّ الفعل في زحمة الاختلافات الحزبية. وحتى وإنْ حرص الجمهوريون على تبيان امتعاضهم من القرار، لكي لا يَظهروا بمظهر غير المبالين بأثره في الناخبين الأميركيين، إلّا أنهم ألقوا باللوم المباشر على بايدن. ويضاف إلى ذلك، قيام أعضاء من الحزبَين بتبنّي سرديات مِن قَبيل أن بايدن أراد من السعوديين مجرّد تأجيل القرار شهراً واحداً حتى تَظهر نتائج الانتخابات، أو سردية أن الجمهوريين هم مَن دفعوا بالسعوديين نحو خطوتهم الأخيرة للإضرار ببايدن ومحاولة كسْب الانتخابات. وهنا، ضاع موضوع تمرّد السعوديين وقيامهم بما وُصف بـ«العمل العدائي».

المثير والمهمّ، هو كيف أمست السياسة الأميركية أشبه بسياسات دول غير متماسكة، أو حتى بسياسات النُّخب الحاكمة العربية القائمة على تعصّب الأطراف بعضها ضدّ بعض. فلو وضعْنا القرار السعودي في حقبة زمنية ماضية، ولْنقل في فترة باراك أوباما الأولى، فما كان له أن يتمّ، إذ إن الهوية الأميركية كانت متماسكة على نحو سيدفع الجميع إلى اعتبار الخطوة «عملاً عدائياً»، إلّا أن القبَلية الحزبية والاستقطاب الأميركي اليوم، وهّنا من الهوية الأميركية لصالح المصالح الحزبية – الهويّاتية الضيّقة. ومن هنا، يَبرز قرار «أوبك +»، ليس كمحاولة للانعتاق من الولايات المتحدة، اقتصادياً وسياسياً وعسكرياً وبل حتى ثقافياً، بل كمؤشّر إلى ولادة مرحلة دولية، وأميركية داخلية، جديدة على الدول المرتبطة نُخبها بالأميركيين، وقواعد لَعِبها مختلفة عن الماضي، وهذا بالتحديد ما يحاول السعوديون التأقلم معه، وصوغ وجودهم ضمن تناقضاته.

من ملف : السعودية – أميركا: أزمة تخادُم

مقالات ذات صلة

US-Saudi Rift on OPEC Plus: Bruised Ties or Beyond That?

October 15, 2022

By Hiba Morad | Press TV

The US-Saudi partnership has often been described as a transactional one; majorly owing to Saudi Arabia’s oil supply in return for US arms in bulk. Since 1943, the equation has been protecting the interests of American oil companies in Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas industry in return for weapons and military equipment.

Saudi Arabia is a vital US asset in West Asia. Since the kingdom has the world’s largest oil reserves, enjoys a geo-strategic position, and has influence in the Arab and Islamic worlds, it remains to be the imperialist US’s pivot to Asia. Saudi Arabia has also been the US’ milking cow, paying tremendous sums of money in return for arms deals over the years.

Tensions, however, rose between the two countries following Saudi pressure on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies [OPEC Plus] alliance last week to cut oil production by 2 million barrels per day.

This was after the US was acting in collusion with Saudi Arabia to patch things up in July on the Mohammed Bin Salman-ordered killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. The US Intelligence had earlier released a report in which it said that MBS approved the operation to kill and dismantle the journalist.

Recently given a “made up” title of prime minister to secure his impunity at US courts on his role in the killing of Khashoggi, MBS claimed that the decision of OPEC Plus, in which Riyadh is a top producer, was “merely” economic and not politically motivated.

John Kirby, a top spokesperson for the US National Security Council denied the claims and said the Saudi move was wrong. He stated that the Saudis conveyed during the recent weeks their intention to reduce oil production, privately and publicly, knowing this would increase Russian revenues and blunt the effectiveness of sanctions.

In reaction, President Biden issued a vague warning to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday, pledged “consequences” and vowed to “take action.” The US claimed that OPEC Plus is aligning with Russia.

Of course, Biden is concerned that decreased oil output could push up the price of gasoline right before the November 8 US midterm elections, when Democrats will defend their control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Meanwhile, some Senate Democrats are demanding a swift and concrete response.

In a strong expression of US anger over the Saudi oil-production cuts, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez called for freezing all US cooperation with Saudi Arabia on Monday. Menendez claimed that the move serves to boost Russia in its war in Ukraine.

He vowed he “will not green-light any cooperation with Riyadh until the Kingdom reassesses its position with respect to the war in Ukraine. Enough is enough.”

Gulf sources rushed to conclude that the rift between the two countries will not break ties, while pro-US sources lashed MBS and OPEC Plus for the decision and said this move proves Bin Salman is siding with Russia, and that Western leaders should abandon him.

In the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, the West has gone to great lengths to isolate Russia’s economy, which relies in large part on energy exports.

As part of their economic sanctions against Moscow, the US and EU are trying to impose a cap on the price paid to Russia for its oil exports. But that effort could now collapse as global oil prices rise and Europe heads into a winter season when heating costs are expected to soar due to the Ukraine war.

OPEC Plus, which groups the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia, has refused to raise output to lower oil prices despite pressure from major consumers, including the United States.

Russia has hailed the recent decision made by OPEC Plus. The Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov made the remarks on October 9, saying the move successfully at least “balances the mayhem that the Americans are causing.”

It is very good that such “balanced, thoughtful and planned work of the countries, which take a responsible position within OPEC, is opposed to the actions of the US,” Peskov said.

For months, the US and Saudi monarchy have been in a tit-for-tat game, seemingly contemplating how to pressure each other in return for gains. Of course, Mohammed bin Salman has gained leverage on the international level following the beginning of the Russia-Ukraine war since he controls the oil game, if possible to say.

MBS, who was described by The Economist as “one of the most dangerous leaders” of the world in September is opportunistic; he will do whatever it takes to get what he wants.

Middle East Eye quoted an academic from Tehran as saying “A senior Saudi diplomat told me that MBS started as a kid playing video games. Killing Khashoggi, starting a military intervention in Yemen which would last ‘two weeks,’ the siege of Qatar, and getting rid of [Lebanese Prime Minister Saad] Hariri were all video games for him, buttons you can press, enemies disappearing from the screen. Out of necessity, he is becoming more strategic.”

“Strategic maturity does not come from what you would like to have. It comes out of necessity,” the academic said. “I don’t think the Saudis decided to move beyond that strategic relationship with America. The American hand is still strong. But there are differences happening. The Americans are not seen with the same confidence that was seen in Riyadh.”

By the OPEC Plus move, yes, MBS has shown his influence over the global oil market, but he did upset the foreign policy establishment in Washington. Of course, Washington will not want to risk oil security which is in the hands of the kingdom to a great extent, or drive Riyadh closer to Russia and China; a too simplistic of a prediction. Saudi Arabia still cannot make it through without the US, but Biden needs to take action for the Saudi humiliation.

A serious issue remains in question; what will happen to the West as winter becomes harsher in light of power cuts, the absence of hot water and scarcity and high prices of oil?

Also on the current rift, will Biden invite MBS to Washington and “spank” him like the Saudi game boy did to Lebanon’s Hariri, perhaps in one way or another? Will relations deteriorate and the world see different coalitions as the US says it will reconsider relations with the Saudi monarchy? Or will this be just another bruise in ties between the oil-rich country and the imperialist US before the two resume their US-Saudi waltz?

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Russia courts Muslim countries as strategic Eurasian partners

Thursday, 13 October 2022 7:10 PM  [ Last Update: Friday, 14 October 2022 9:14 AM ]

Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi (L) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) attend the CICA summit in Astana, Kazakhstan on October 13, 2022.

By Pepe Escobar

Everything that matters in the complex process of Eurasia integration was once again at play in Astana, as the – renamed – Kazakh capital hosted the 6th Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

The roll call was a Eurasian thing of beauty – featuring the leaders of Russia and Belarus (EAEU), West Asia (Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Palestine) and Central Asia (Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan).

China and Vietnam (East and Southeast Asia) attended at the level of vice presidents.

CICA is a multinational forum focused on cooperation toward peace, security, and stability across Asia.,Kazakh President Tokayev revealed that CICA has just adopted a declaration to turn the forum into an international organization.  

CICA has already established a partnership with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU). So in practice, it will soon be working together side-by-side with the SCO, the EAEU and certainly BRICS+.

The Russia-Iran strategic partnership was prominently featured at CICA, especially after Iran being welcomed to the SCO as a full member.

President Raeisi, addressing the forum, stressed the crucial notion of an emerging  “new Asia”, where “convergence and security” are “not compatible with the interests of hegemonic countries and any attempt to destabilize independent nations has goals and consequences beyond national geographies, and in fact, aims to target the stability and prosperity of regional countries.”

For Tehran, being a partner in the integration of CICA, within a maze of pan-Asia institutions, is essential after all these decades of”maximum pressure” unleashed by the Hegemon.

Moreover, it opens an opportunity, as Raeisi noted, for Iran to profit from “Asia’s economic infrastructure.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, predictably, was the star of the show in Astana. It’s essential to note that Putin is supported by “all”nations represented at CICA.

High-level bilaterals with Putin included the Emir of Qatar: everyone that matters in West Asia wants to talk to “isolated” Russia.      

Putin called for “compensation for the damage caused to the Afghans during the years of occupation” (we all know the Empire of Chaos, Lies and Plunder will refuse it), and emphasized the key role of the SCO to develop Afghanistan.

He stated that Asia, “where new centers of power are growing stronger, plays a big role in the transition to a multipolar world order”.

He warned, “there is a real threat of famine and large-scale shocks against the backdrop of volatility in energy and food prices in the world.”

Hefurther called for the end of a financial system that benefits the “Golden billion” – who “live at the expense of others” (there’s nothing “golden” about this “billion”: at best such definition of wealth applies to 10 million.)

And he stressed that Russia is doing everything to “form a system of equal and indivisible security”. Exactly what drives the hegemonic imperial elites completely berserk.

“Offer you can’t refuse” bites the dust

The imminent juxtaposition between CICA and the SCO and EAEU is yet another instance of how the pieces of the complex Eurasia jigsaw puzzle are coming together.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia – in theory, staunch imperial military allies – are itching to join the SCO, which has recently welcomed Iran as a full member. 

That spells out Ankara and Riyadh’s geopolitical choice of forcefully eschewing the imperial Russophobia cum Sinophobia offensive.  

Erdogan, as an observer at the recent SCO summit in Samarkand, sent out exactly this message. The SCO is fast reaching the point where we may have, sitting at the same table, and taking important consensual decisions, not only the “RICs” (Russia, India, China) in BRICS (soon to be expanded to BRICS+) but arguably the top players inMuslim countries: Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar.

This evolving process, not without its serious challenges, testifies to the concerted Russia-China drive to incorporate the lands of Islam as essential strategic partners in forging the post-Western multipolar world. Call it a soft Islamization of multipolarity.  

No wonder the Anglo-American axis is absolutely petrified.

Now cut to a graphic illustration of all of the above – the way it’s being played in the energy markets: the already legendary Opec+ meeting in Vienna a week ago.

A tectonic geopolitical shift was inbuilt in the – collective – decision to slash oil production by 2 million barrels a day.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry issued a very diplomatic note with a stunning piece of information for those equipped to read between the lines.

For all practical purposes, the combo behind the teleprompter reader in Washington had issued a trademark Mafia threat to stop “protection” to Riyadh if the decision on the oil cuts was taken before the US mid-term elections. 

Only this time the “offer you can’t refuse” didn’t bite. OPEC+ made a collective decision, led by Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

Following Putin and MBS famously getting along, it was up to Putin to host UAE President Sheikh Zayed – or MBZ, MBS’s mentor – at the stunning Konstantinovsky Palace in St. Petersburg, which datesback to Peter the Great.

That was a sort of informal celebration of how OPEC+ had provoked, with a single move, a superpower strategic debacle when it comes to the geopolitics of oil, which the Empire had controlled for a century. 

Everyone remembers, after the bombing, invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, how US neo-cons bragged, “we are the new OPEC”.

Well, not anymore. And the move had to come from the Russians and US Persian Gulf “allies” when everyone expected that would happen the day a Chinese delegation lands in Riyadh and asks for payment of all the energy they need in yuan.

OPEC+ called the American bluff and left the superpower high’n dry. So what are they going to do to “punish” Riyadh and Abu Dhabi? Call CENTCOM in Qatar and Bahrain to mobilize their aircraft carriers and unleash regime change?

What’s certain is that the Straussian/neocon psychos in charge in Washington will double down on hybrid war.

The art of “spreading instability”

In St. Petersburg, as he addressed MBZ, Putin made it clear that it’s OPEC+ – led by Russia, Saudi Arabia and the UAE – that is now setting the pace to “stabilize global energy markets” so consumers and suppliers would “feel calm, stable and confident” and supply and demand “would be balanced”.

On the gas front, at Russian Energy Week, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller made it clear that Russia may still “save” Europe from an energy black hole.

Nord Stream (NS) and Nord Stream 2 (NS2) may become operational: but all political roadblocks must be removed before any repairing work starts on the pipelines.

And on West Asia, Miller said additions to Turk Stream have already been planned, much to the delight of Ankara, keen to become a key energy hub. 

In a parallel track, it’s absolutely clear that the G7’s desperate gambit of imposing an oil price cap – which translates as the weaponization of sanctions extended to the global energy market – is a losing proposition.

Slightly over a month before hosting the G20 in Bali, Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati could not make it clearer: “When the United States is imposing sanctions using economic instruments, that creates a precedent for everything”, spreading instability “not only for Indonesia but for all other countries.”

Meanwhile, allMuslim-majority countries are paying very close attention to Russia. The Russia-Iran strategic partnership is now advancing in parallel to the Russia-Saudi-UAE entente as crucial vectors of multipolarity.

In the near future, all these vectors are bound to unite in what ideally should be a supra-organization capable of managing the top story of the 21st century: Eurasia integration.    

Pepe Escobar is a veteran journalist, author and independent geopolitical analyst focused on Eurasia.

(The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

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US Senator Sanders Calls for Troop Withdrawal from Saudi Arabia, End of Selling Weapons

October 8, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Independent US Senator and former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has called for the withdrawal of American troops from Saudi Arabia and an end to military aid to the conservative kingdom for lowering oil production.

“If Saudi Arabia, one of the worst violators of human rights in the world, wants to partner with Russia to jack up US gas prices, it can get Putin to defend its monarchy,” the Vermont senator tweeted Friday after the OPEC+ bloc announced a cut in daily oil production.

“We must pull all US troops out of Saudi Arabia, stop selling them weapons & end its price-fixing oil cartel,” he added.

In August, the United States approved massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates worth more than $5 billion, amid criticism of their ongoing military aggression in Yemen which has inflicted heavy civilian casualties.

The State Department said Saudi Arabia would buy 300 Patriot MIM-104E missile systems and related equipment for an estimated $3.05 billion. The missile systems can be used to shoot down long-range incoming ballistic and cruise missiles, as well as fighter jets.

Separately, the United States will sell Terminal High Altitude Area Defense [THAAD] System Missiles and related equipment to the UAE for $2.25 billion.

Saudi Arabia and other members of OPEC-PLUS, which groups up the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other producers including Russia, announced this week it would cut oil production to prop up falling prices.

“Saudi Arabia’s crown prince ordered the murder of a Washington Post columnist with a bone saw. Its disastrous war in Yemen has led to the deaths of 377,000 people and a humanitarian crisis. It’s now siding with Russia to damage our economy. Our support for Saudi Arabia must end,” Sanders tweeted on Friday.

Sanders also expressed similar feelings on Wednesday when he said the US “must end OPEC’s illegal price-fixing cartel, eliminate military assistance to Saudi Arabia, and move aggressively to renewable energy.”

The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels Act of 2021, or the NOPEC bill prohibits a foreign state from engaging in collective action impacting the market.

The NOPEC bill allows the US Attorney General to sue companies such as Saudi Aramco in federal court. 

In a related move, a group of lawmakers has introduced a new bill that aims to end the US’ military support to Saudi Arabia.

House Representatives Tom Malinowski, Sean Casten and Susan Wild launched the motion on Wednesday.

“We see no reason why American troops and contractors should continue to provide this service to countries that are actively working against us,” they said.

Several congressional Democrats have had similar remarks on the announcement, which is poised to counter sanctions on Russian oil and potentially drive up gas prices ahead of the midterm US elections.

US Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer rebuked Saudi Arabia. The senior Democratic senator from New York threatened Saudi Arabia, saying Riyadh will pay the price for what he called its “deeply cynical action” of supporting a 2 million-barrel cut in oil supplies, which will put more pressure on the American economy.

 “What Saudi Arabia did to help Putin continue to wage his despicable, vicious war against Ukraine will long be remembered by Americans. We are looking at all the legislative tools to best deal with this appalling and deeply cynical action, including the NOPEC bill,” Schumer tweeted on Friday.

Legislation introduced in the House by Representatives Sean Casten [D-Ill.], Tom Malinowski [D-N.J.] and Susan Wild [D-Pa.] would remove American troops and military hardware from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The number two Democrat in the Senate, Senator Dick Durbin, also demanded the passage of the legislation this week, and voiced support for a broader reevaluation of the Washington-Riyadh relationship, specifically seeking “unanswered questions” about the role of the Saudi state in the 9/11 attacks.

“The Saudi royal family has never been a trustworthy ally of our nation,” Durbin said Thursday. “It’s time for our foreign policy to imagine a world without this alliance with these royal backstabbers.”

Families of victims of the attacks have for years pushed the US government to declassify and make public more information about 9/11, which was a series of strikes that killed nearly 3,000 people and caused about $10 billion worth of property and infrastructure damage in the United States.

US officials assert that the attacks were carried out by 19 al-Qaeda terrorists but many experts and independent researchers have raised questions about the official account.

They believe that rogue elements within the US government, such as former Vice President Dick Cheney, orchestrated or at least encouraged the 9/11 attacks in order to accelerate the US war machine and advance the Zionist agenda.

Certain documents related to the FBI’s investigation of 9/11 reportedly contain evidence of Saudi involvement in the strikes.

Successive US administrations have refused to release the classified documents because they reportedly could expose a potential link between Saudi Arabia and the 9/11 attacks. Fifteen out of 19 alleged 9/11 attackers were Saudi nationals.

Several US senators and House lawmakers have been calling for the disclosure of 28 pages that purportedly contain evidence of Saudi involvement in financing and backing the alleged 9/11 hijackers. The pages were extracted from a 2002 Congressional inquiry into the September 11, 2001 attacks.

مأزق «إخوان اليمن»: مصالحة صنعاء «شرّ» لا بدّ منه؟

 السبت 24 أيلول 2022

 إسحاق المساوى

يحاول فرع «الإخوان» في اليمن إعادة إصلاح ما فَسد مع السعودية خصوصاً (أ ف ب)

صنعاء |

على رغم أن الحملة الأخيرة التي قادتْها الجماعات الموالية للإمارات في جنوب اليمن أخيراً، ضدّ الأذرع العسكرية لـ«الإصلاح»، جرى ضبطها سعودياً وأميركياً بحيث لا تَقطع «شعرة معاوية» مع الأخير، وتُبقي له منفذاً إلى المناطق الغنيّة بالنفط، إلّا أن الحزب لا يزال يستشعر «مؤامرة» ضدّه تستهدف إنهاء وجوده بالكامل. إزاء ذلك، يحاول فرع «الإخوان» في اليمن إعادة إصلاح ما فَسد مع السعودية خصوصاً، واضعاً تظلّماته أيضاً على طاولة الرُّعاة الدوليين لـ«التحالف»، مُحاوِلاً بهذا تجنُّب تجرُّع الكأس المرّة المتمثّلة في العودة إلى صنعاء، إلّا أن هذه الكأس قد لا يكون ثمّة مناصٌ منها في نهاية المطاف، بكامل الرغبة، أو بنصفها، أو حتى تحت وطأة الظروف القاهرة

في آذار 2015، أيّد حزب «التجمّع اليمني للإصلاح» (إخوان مسلمون)، في بيان رسمي، الحملة التي أطلقها «التحالف العربي» بقيادة السعودية، على اليمن. وبعد سبع سنوات من ذلك، وتحديداً في آب 2022، قاد «التحالف» نفسُه حملة لقصقصة أجنحة «الإصلاح» في محافظة شبوة الغنيّة بالنفط، وتهشيم وجوده في محافظتَي عدن وأبين. إثر هذا، تَجدّدت التساؤلات حول إمكانية حصول تبدُّل في التموضع الاستراتيجي للحزب، خصوصاً أن الأخير ترك، في بيانه الصادر في الحادي عشر من آب، الباب مفتوحاً أمام احتمال لجوئه إلى خيارات مغايِرة لِما انتهجه في السنوات الماضية، وأبْقاه تحت ظلّ «التحالف» الذي فرض الحرب والحصار على بلاده، إذ اعتبر «الإصلاح»، في البيان المذكور، أن تداعيات القضاء عليه «تحُول دون إنهاء الانقلاب واستعادة الدولة في اليمن، وتستهدف في الوقت نفسه مجلس التعاون لدول الخليج العربي، وفي مقدمته السعودية»، في ما قُرئ على أنه قَرْن شَرْطي واضح بين «أمن السعودية ومشروعها» و«أمن الإصلاح ومشروعه»، من شأن تزعزعه أن يجعل الأخير في حِلّ من أمْره.

إزاء ذلك، يرى القيادي الجنوبي المقرّب من «الإصلاح»، عادل الحسني، في حديث إلى «الأخبار»، أن «استهداف الحزب سيحلحل ملفّات شائكة بين قواعده وقواعد أنصار الله»، لكنه يَعتبر أن «الحديث عن تحالف قيادات الطرفَين مبكر»، مستدرِكاً بأن «الإصلاح لن يجد مخرجاً إلّا بتأجيل معاركه الداخلية، والاتّجاه مع الجميع لإخراج المحتل»، بالنظر إلى أن الحزب بات «يدرك يوماً بعد آخر أنه مستهدَف من قِبَل التحالف أكثر ممّا هو مستهدَف من قِبَل أنصار الله»، كما يقول الحسني. وانطلاقاً من المخاوف نفسها، وحتميّات تفاديها، يُعرب العضو السابق في شورى «الإصلاح»، عبدالله مصلح، في حديث إلى «الأخبار»، عن اعتقاده بأن «الحزب بات يستشعر ضرورة الوقوف في وجه التحالف، ليس فقط من أجل اليمن، وإنّما أيضاً من أجل الحزب نفسه»، الذي أصبح «مهدَّداً في وجوده ومُجبَراً على خوض معركة مصيرية صعبة».
لكن إقدام «الإصلاح» على خطوة «شجاعة»، مِن مِثل الخروج من عباءة السعودية والإمارات نحو مظلّة وطنية أوسع، ربّما لا يسعفه التوقيت، ولا المكان، ولا الشخوص أيضاً. فالحزب الذي تخلّى عن تنظيمه الدولي قد يجد نفسه وحيداً في المبارزة العسكرية أو السياسية، فضلاً عن أن معظم قياداته يقيمون في العاصمة السعودية الرياض، وهو الأمر الذي يجعل أيّ خطوة من هذا النوع، في نظر البعض، «مغامرة». لكن ذلك الواقع نفسه قد تكون نتيجته الحتمية، بحسب البعض الآخر، تقارب «الإصلاح» مع «أنصار الله» على قاعدة «مرغَم أخاك لا بطل». ومع أن مصلح لا يتوقّع حدوث هكذا تقارب، بالنظر إلى أن الطرفَين «تيّاران مؤدلجان عقائدياً، وكلّ منهما يمارس نهجاً عدائياً تجاه الآخر»، إلّا أنه يقول إن «السياسة لا تعرف الثبات في المواقف، فقد يحدث بعض التقارب التكتيكي المحدود والمؤقّت وغير المعلن»، أمّا التحالف أو التقارب الكامل فـ«يتطلّب من كلَيهما المبادرة إلى إثبات حسن النوايا، وهذا ما لم يحدث حتى الآن، وخاصة من قِبَل أنصار الله».

جهود استمالة «الأعداء»
إلى الآن، ينتهج «الإصلاح» سياسة استمالة حلفائه المفترَضين الذين باتوا أعداءً له، حتى لا يضطرّ للركون إلى خيارات أخرى تكون صنعاء أو تنظيمه الدولي وُجهتها، وهو ما يؤشّر إليه حرصه إلى اليوم، في بياناته ومواقفه الرسمية، على عدم قطْع حبل الودّ مع السعودية. لكنّ مصلح يؤكد أن «السعودية والإمارات متّفقتان على تنفيذ هذا المخطّط التمزيقي للبلاد والمكوّنات السياسية الفاعلة، وفي مقدّمتها الإصلاح، إلّا أن قيادة الحزب لا تزال تَنظر إلى السعودية كدولة حليفة»، منبّهاً إلى أن «الدور السعودي أخطر على الإصلاح من الدور الإماراتي الواضح في عداوته، فما لم تستطع الإمارات تحقيقه بالقوّة، تُحقّقه السعودية بأسلوب ناعم ظاهره الوساطة والرحمة وباطنه العذاب والدمار».

تُوثّق الذاكرة السياسية والعسكرية مراحل صدام عديدة بين «الإخوان المسلمين» والسعودية

وكان «الإصلاح» بالغ، على مرّ السنوات الماضية، في مساعيه لاسترضاء السعودية والإمارات، ومن ذلك مثلاً اختياره شهر أيلول 2016، الذي يصادف ذكرى تأسيسه، ليتبرّأ من جماعة «الإخوان المسلمين»، كما وزيارة رئيس هيئته العليا للإمارات في منتصف تشرين الثاني 2018. لكنّ هذه المساعي لم تؤتِ في أيّ مرّة أُكُلها، وهي على الأرجح ستظلّ تفشل مستقبلاً، حتى تتحقّق توصيات ضابط استخبارات سعودي في ختام مؤتمر نظّمته بلاده، وأهمّها «الحدّ من نفوذ الحزب في الجيش الوطني وفي الحكومة»، في مقابل احتواء الخصم الاستراتيجي له، وهو حزب «المؤتمر الشعبي العام». وكانت السعودية توعّدت، في أيلول 2017، على لسان وليّ عهدها محمد بن سلمان، بـ«تدمير الإخوان المسلمين الآن وفوراً»، الأمر الذي قوبل بموقف مماثل من قِبَل المكتب العام للجماعة في نيسان 2018، حيث وصف ما تقوم به القيادة السعودية بأنه «نكوث عن الواجب الديني والقومي»، محذّراً من أن «الدُّول تدقّ مسمار نعشها حين ترمي الناس بالباطل».
وتُوثّق الذاكرة السياسية والعسكرية مراحل صدام عديدة بين أذرع «الإخوان المسلمين» في اليمن، وبين السعودية، من ثورة عام 1962، إلى حرب الانفصال عام 1994، وصولاً إلى اليوم حيث يَرجح خيار تحالف الحزب مع صنعاء أكثر من أيّ وقت مضى، بكامل الرغبة، أو بنصفها، أو حتى تحت وطأة ظروف استهدافه القاهرة. ومع ذلك، لا يزال الحزب يحاول إصلاح الأمور، من خلال التظلُّم لدى الدول الراعية لـ«التحالف»، كما جرى في 12 أيلول الجاري، عندما التقى القائم بأعمال الأمين العام لـ«الإصلاح»، عبد الرزاق الهجري، بسفير المملكة المتحدة لدى اليمن، ريتشارد أوبنهايم. لكنّ اللقاء بدا أقرب إلى وقفة تضامنية بريطانية مع ما بقي من جسد الحزب في البلاد، أو إلى روتينِ «حكومةٍ تستخدم كلمات متشابهة وتعني بها أشياء مختلفة جدّاً».

موقف صنعاء
في مقابل احتماليّة عودة «الإصلاح» إلى التحالف مع صنعاء، فتحت الأخيرة باب العودة لِمَن يرغب، محارباً كان أم مسالماً، بقرار عفو عام صدر في أيلول 2016. وفي أيلول 2019، باشر «فريق المصالحة الوطنية والحلّ الشامل» أعماله، ومهمّته إعادة المنخرطين في صفوف «التحالف»، أفراداً وكيانات، إلى «الوطن». وعلى رغم أن هذه الخطوات نجحت في إعادة نحو 16 ألفاً – كما تشير التقديرات -، بِمَن فيهم أعضاء في «الإصلاح»، إلّا أن كثيرين يستبعدون اتّجاه الحزب، بشكل معلَن وفي الوقت الراهن تحديداً، إلى ذلك المخرج لأسباب إيديولوجية مرتبطة بنشأته، والتزاماته مع الأطراف الخارجية المُعادية لصنعاء. وفي هذا الصدد، يقول عضو وفد «أنصار الله» التفاوضي، عبد الملك العجري، إن «ضغائن الإصلاح الإيديولوجية على أنصار الله أصابتْه بعمًى سياسي، لا يبدو أنه قادر على التعافي منه». ويضيف، في تغريدة، أنه «لو مارس الإصلاح 10% من التعقّل الذي يمارسه مع دول العدوان لمَا وصلْنا إلى ما وصلْنا إليه منذ عام 2014، علماً أن ما حدث له في صنعاء لا يساوي 1% من الصفعات التي تلقّاها من دول العدوان».
ويشي الواقع بأنه كلّما بالغ «الإصلاح» في الصبر، بالغ «التحالف» في استهدافه، والسبب في ذلك، من وجهة نظر عضو المجلس السياسي لحركة «أنصار الله»، عضو فريق المصالحة محمد البخيتي، أن «دول العدوان متأكّدة من أن قيادة حزب الإصلاح لن تجرؤ على فضّ الشراكة معها، والانضمام إلى صفّ الوطن، ولذلك فإنها مستمرّة في تصفية الحزب في المحافظات الجنوبية والشرقية من دون أيّ قلق». وبشأن إمكانية تحالف «الإصلاح» مع «أنصار الله»، يقول البخيتي، في تغريدة، إن «مصالح دول العدوان تتعارض مع مصالح اليمن، وحتى مع مصالح الأطراف التي تَورّطت في استدعاء العدوان، وحزب الإصلاح نموذجاً»، مضيفاً «(أنّنا) لسنا بحاجة إلى تقديم تنازلات لبعضنا، وكلّ ما نحتاج إليه هو أن نتوحّد لتحرير اليمن من الاحتلال، وهذا مكسب كبير للجميع وليس فيه أيّ خسارة لأيّ طرف».

مقالات ذات صلة

50-year in prison for tribesmen who rejected expulsion for MBS’ Neom

14 Sep 2022 19:52

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

The sentence comes amid reports that officials shut off water and electricity and used surveillance drones to evict the Howeitat tribe to make way for MBS’ $500 million dream city.

Artist view of the ‘Mirror Line’, a 120-kilometer horizontal skyscraper, a landmark in Neom, north of Saudi Arabia (Reuters)

Two members of the Howeitat tribe in Saudi Arabia who were forcibly expelled to make room for the $500 billion Neom megacity received harsh jail sentences for the mere reason of demonstrating against the project, according to a UK-based rights organization.

Just for supporting their family’s refusal to be forcibly evicted from their houses in the Tabuk area of northwest Saudi Arabia, Abdulilah Al-Howeiti and his relative, Abdullah Dukhail Al-Howeiti, both received a 50-year prison sentence and a 50-year travel ban, according to Alqst.

The Specialized Criminal Court of Appeal’s decisions in their cases were just the latest in a slew of lengthy sentences imposed by Saudi courts this summer.

Salma Al-Shehab, a student at Leeds University and mother of two, and Nourah bint Saeed Al-Qahtani, a mother of five, received sentences of 34 and 45 years respectively in response to tweets that were critical of the Saudi government. Alqst reported last week that writer, translator, and computer programmer Osama Khaled received a 32-year sentence for “allegations relating to the right of free speech.”

Read next: Neom: MBS’ personal dystopia

According to unverified reports, a third member of the Howeitat was also sentenced at a Saudi court. “The lengthy prison sentence handed [out] against members of the Howeitat tribe follow a dangerous pattern we are seeing unfold in Saudi Arabia,” Ramzi Kaiss, legal and policy officer at MENA Rights Group, told Middle East Eye.

Since US President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July, Kaiss said there had been a “more repressive approach by the Saudi state security and judicial authorities against individuals exercising their right to freedom of speech.”

Alqst‘s head of monitoring and communications, Lina Al-Hathlou, said, “This is becoming a new trend. No one will be saved from this. I think that anyone who gets arrested now will be handed a lengthy sentence.” 

‘They are being watched’

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman originally revealed the plans for Neom in 2017, when he claimed a futuristic city would be constructed on Saudi Arabia’s northwest coast.

Little has been built as of yet, but huge sums have been paid to experts, and increasingly bizarre plans have been made public. Nevertheless, the Saudi government has made efforts to rid the province of Tabuk’s 170 km of its inhabitants, many of whom are Howeitat.

According to reports, compensation for displaced tribespeople who owned large properties ranged up to 1 million riyals ($266,000) and 100,000 riyals ($27,000) for those who owned smaller dwellings. But according to information previously provided to MEE, relocated Tabuk households are often given payments of roughly $3,000.

Howeitat tribespeople have reported since December that the Saudi authorities’ campaign to drive them from their land has escalated. New measures include cutting water and electricity supplies and deploying surveillance drones above residences, MEE has been told.

According to Alya Al-Howeiti, a UK-based activist and a member of the tribe, 150 Howeitat have been jailed for opposing the Neom project, including the recently condemned tribesmen.

Western consultancies condemned

Saudi’s new megacity will include a 170km straight line city, an eight-sided city that floats on water, and a ski resort with a folded vertical village, among other grandiose and architecturally challenging projects.

Prior to Abdul Rahim’s killing, the tribe and human rights organizations wrote an open letter to three consulting firms urging them to end their work on Neom “unless and until” negative effects on human rights were addressed.

MEE asked the same consultancies – Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey, and Oliver Wyman – about the continuous allegations of human rights violations facing the Howeitat. 

Read next: Saudi Arabia Whitewashes Its Human Rights Abuses with Entertainment – HRW

A Boston Consulting Group spokesperson said, “We do not comment about specific clients and projects to protect client confidentiality.” The other two companies did not respond. 

“These companies should condemn the violations being committed and consider reassessing their involvement in projects that promote wide-scale human rights violations,” said Kaiss. 

“If violations are not addressed or mitigated, then these companies should responsibly halt their engagement in these projects and with the authorities promoting abuses, instead of causing further harm.”

Saudi Arabia’s government and Neom also did not respond to requests for comment. 

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Saudi authorities brutally attack girls in Asir orphanage

August 31, 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

KSA is the site of a brutal attack by Saudi authorities on young girls protesting forf their rights at an orphanage in the Asir province, which sparked outrage on social media.

Part of the leaked video from the orphanage (Tasnim News)

Saudi security authorities aggressively committed violence toward young girls in an orphanage in the Asir province, which came after the girls had demanded to get their rights in the orphanage. 

According to Saudi activists, the security authorities entered the orphanage with permission from the facility’s administration, and a leaked video shows the authorities chasing the girls inside and beating them. 

Saudi news outlets have reported that Asir’s Prince, Turki bin Talal bin Abdel-Aziz, has ordered the formation of a committee to convene on the incident, which the Asir Emirate has not released any information about, with the hashtag “Khamees Mushayt Orphans” going viral on social media platforms. 

Sentence after sentence, woman after woman 

A mere two weeks ago, Salma Al-Shehab, a dental hygiene student at Leeds University and a mother of two, who had returned home for a vacation was sentenced to 34 years in prison for following and retweeting dissidents and activists on her personal Twitter account – for the “crime” of using an internet website to “cause public unrest and destabilize civil and national security.” On Twitter, she regularly shared pictures of her young children and tweets about Covid burnout.

Court records reviewed by a human rights organization show that another Saudi Arabian woman, Nourah bint Saeed Al-Qahtani, has been sentenced to decades in jail (45 years) for using social media to “violate the public order” by the country’s terrorism court. 

Abdullah Alaoudh, the director for the Gulf region at Dawn, said Saudi authorities appear to have imprisoned Al-Qahtani for “simply tweeting her opinions,” adding that “it is impossible not to connect the dots between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s meeting with [US] President Biden last month in Jeddah and the uptick in the repressive attacks against anyone who dares criticize the crown prince or the Saudi government for well-documented abuses.”

Saudi prisons, regardless of whether for females or males, are notorious for techniques of torture and abuse that go beyond human rights violations and that suspiciously resemble brutal methods used at US Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons. Methods of abuse range from electric shocks, to psychological torture and sexual abuse. 

MBS concealing the truth with top-dollar parties 

Since Mohammad bin Salman (MBS) became the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia in 2017, the country has jailed hundreds of activists, bloggers, academics, and others for political activism, demonstrating almost zero tolerance for dissent despite international condemnation of the crackdown. Muslim academics have been executed and women’s rights activists have been imprisoned and tortured, while the Kingdom’s authorities continue to deny freedom of expression, association, and belief. 

The case poses evidence of how MBS has targeted Twitter users in his repression campaign, while also controlling a significant indirect stake in the US social media company through Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

Most recently, the Kingdom has been using the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and its corresponding entertainment performances by renowned artists like Justin Bieber and A$AP Rocky and actresses like Elite’s Maria Pedraza to polish its image in the international arena, diverting its controversial reputation to a more moderate one as planned by MBS himself. 

Non-Saudi women residing in the Kingdom, such as domestic workers under the Kafala sponsorship, are among those dramatically affected by the abuse of women’s rights, as not only are their passports taken away, but their freedom of communication and movement is limited and sexual harassment and abuse are unfortunately a daily occurrence in the household. 

Saudi Police Brutally Attack Girls’ Orphanage in Asir [Video]

August 31, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

In a disturbing footage, the Saudi regime’s lies about the empowerment of women have been documented.

The baseless claims of empowering females in the kingdom have been proved the other way after the video that shows ‘security’ forces brutally attacking girls in an orphanage in Khamis Mushait in Asir region went viral.

The secretly recorded footage and photos captured the moment Saudi police stormed the girls’ orphanage to punish striking female workers who had previously demanded their workers’ and social rights.

Social media activists shared the videos and images from the incident that took place inside an orphanage southwestern Saudi Arabia, sparking widespread condemnation.

One of the videos showed a number of masked individuals and several security personnel entering the Social Education House in the Asir region in the widely circulated video clip, which was later republished by a Saudi newspaper.

The so-called Emirate of Asir region, for its part, provided the following explanation in a statement made public by the Saudi Press Agency: “In reference to what was shared on social media, videos and photos showing an incident inside the Social Education House in the Khamis Mushait Governorate in the Asir region, a directive was issued by His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Talal bin Abdulaziz, governor of the Asir region, formed a committee to find out the incident, investigate all parties involved , and refer the case to the competent authority.”

On Wednesday morning, Arab social media users spent most of their time talking about the “Khamis Mushait orphans” hashtag on Twitter. However, the Emirate of Asir made no further statements regarding the incident.

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Drinking Water in Yemen Contaminated with Radioactive Substances, Heavy Metals

August 29, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

The Yemeni Ministry of Water and Environment warned about the level of pollution in drinking water in the country’s strategic coastal province of al-Hudaydah, raising alarms about the serious health hazards derived from the repeated exposure to traces of heavy metals, including lead, mercury, and arsenic.

During a press conference held in the Yemeni capital city of Sanaa on Sunday afternoon, the ministry elaborated on the adverse consequences of the tight Saudi-led blockade on the water and environment sectors of Yemen.

Abdul Karim al-Safiani, deputy director of Yemen’s Water Resources Organization, stated the organization has discovered high levels of radioactive substances and toxic metals in a number of fresh water resources in al-Hudaydah province.

He also underlined that the Saudi-led military coalition has destroyed more than 2,995 water facilities, including dams, barriers, pumps, reservoirs, and irrigation systems and networks, since 2015.

Safiani also sounded the alarm that more than 20 million Yemenis, according to statistics provided by international organizations, do not have access to clean drinking water.

Abdulsalam al-Hakimi, deputy minister of Water and Environment, also said that the damage to Yemen’s water and environment sector as a result of the ongoing Saudi-led aggression and siege is estimated to stand at more than $1.7 billion.

Hakimi stressed that irregular diesel fuel distribution and its high price have forced water pumping systems to decrease their capacity.

He noted that Yemeni authorities have tried to import spare parts to expand national water and sewage treatment networks in light of a UN-sponsored ceasefire, and several water wells and treatment plants have come on stream as a result.

The Saudi-led aggression on Yemen has resulted in a lack of clean drinking water and sanitation services for nearly half of the country’s population.

According to the United Nations, Yemenis are in urgent need of water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance, while access to clean and safe drinking water remains crucial for the good health and survival of a whole nation.

The International Organization for Migration [IOM] has said that Yemen is suffering from the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, as nearly 15.4 million people lack access to safe water and sanitation.

Saudi Arabia launched the devastating war on Yemen in March 2015 in collaboration with its Arab allies and with arms and logistics support from the US and other Western states.

The objective was to reinstall the Riyadh-friendly regime of Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi and crush the Ansarullah resistance movement, which has been running state affairs in the absence of a functional government in Yemen.

While the Saudi-led coalition has failed to meet any of its objectives, the war has killed hundreds of thousands of Yemenis and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Price: US to study Iran response, sanctions were not helpful

August 16, 2022 

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Salma Al-Shehab, a student at Leeds University and a mother of two, is charged with following and retweeting dissidents and activists on Twitter by Riyadh’s so-called “special terrorist court”.

Salma al-Shehab, a student at Leeds University and a mother of 2

A Saudi university student who had returned home for a vacation was sentenced to 34 years in prison for following and retweeting dissidents and activists on her personal Twitter account. 

The sentence was handed down by Saudi Arabia’s so-called “special terrorist court” just weeks after US President Joe Biden’s visit to the Kingdom, which human rights activists warned could give Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) a green light to intensify his crackdown on dissidents and other pro-democracy activists.

See more: Biden claims human rights on agenda during Saudi Arabia visit

The case poses evidence of how MBS has targeted Twitter users in his repression campaign, while also controlling a significant indirect stake in the US social media company through Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, the Public Investment Fund (PIF).

In MBS’ playbook, Tweeting is a crime

Salma Al-Shehab, a 34-year-old mother of two, aged four and six, was initially sentenced to three years in prison for the “crime” of using an internet website to “cause public unrest and destabilize civil and national security.” 

However, an appeals court handed down the new sentence on Monday – 34 years in prison followed by a 34-year travel ban – after a public prosecutor requested that the court consider other alleged crimes.

Shehab was not a prominent or particularly vocal Saudi activist, neither in Saudi Arabia nor in the United Kingdom. 

On Instagram, where she had only 159 followers, she described herself as a dental hygienist, medical educator, PhD student at Leeds University, lecturer at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, wife, and mother to her sons, Noah and Adam.

Her Twitter profile listed 2,597 followers. She regularly shared pictures of her young children and tweets about Covid burnout.

Shehab rarely retweeted posts from Saudi dissidents in exile calling for the release of political prisoners in the Kingdom.

The PhD student appeared to support the case of Loujain Al-Hathloul, a prominent Saudi feminist activist who was previously imprisoned and tortured for advocating for women’s driving rights, and is now subject to a travel ban.

Someone who knew Shehab said she couldn’t stand injustice. She was described as well-educated and a voracious reader who had moved to the UK in 2018 or 2019 to pursue her PhD at the University of Leeds. 

She had returned to Saudi Arabia for a vacation in December 2020, intending to bring her two children and husband with her. Saudi authorities then summoned her for questioning, and she was eventually arrested and tried for her tweets.

Of secret torture and oppressed revelations  

In further detail, a person who followed her case revealed that Shehab had been held in solitary confinement at times and had sought to privately tell the judge details about how she had been treated that she did not want to reveal in front of her father during the trial.

She was not permitted to communicate the message to the judge, as per the source. Three judges signed the appeals verdict, but their signatures were illegible.

See more: Human Rights Watch Report Reveals New Details About Torture in Saudi Prisons

On its account, Twitter declined to comment on the case and did not respond to specific questions about Saudi Arabia’s influence over the company, according to the Guardian.

It is worth noting that Twitter previously did not respond to questions about why a senior aide to MBS, Bader Al-Asaker, was allowed to keep a verified Twitter account with more than 2 million followers, despite US government allegations that he orchestrated an illegal infiltration of the company, leading to the identification and imprisonment of anonymous Twitter users by the Saudi government. A former Twitter employee has been convicted in the case by a US court.

The Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns more than 5% of Twitter through his investment company, Kingdom Holdings, is one of Twitter’s most significant investors. 

While bin Talal remains the company’s chairman, his authority over the company was called into question by the US media, including the Wall Street Journal, after it was revealed that the Saudi royal – a cousin of the crown prince – had been held captive at the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh for 83 days. 

See more: MBS after Saudi royals, again

The incident was part of a larger purge led by MBS against other members of the royal family and businessmen, which involved allegations of torture, coercion, and the expropriation of billions of dollars from Saudi Arabian coffers.

In May, Kingdom Holding announced that it had sold approximately 17% of its company to the PIF, of which bin Salman is chairman, for $1.5 billion. As a result, the Saudi government is a significant indirect investor in Twitter. According to Twitter, investors have no influence over the company’s day-to-day operations.

“MBS’s ruthless repression machine”

The European Saudi Organization for Human Rights condemned Shehab’s sentence, which it said was the longest ever imposed on an activist. It was noted that many female activists had been subjected to unfair trials that resulted in arbitrary sentences, as well as “severe torture,” including sexual harassment.

Khalid Aljabri, a Saudi living in exile whose sister and brother are detained in Saudi Arabia, said the Shehab case demonstrated Saudi Arabia’s view that dissent equals terrorism.

“Salman’s draconian sentencing in a terrorism court over peaceful tweets is the latest manifestation of MBS’s ruthless repression machine,” he said.

“Just like [journalist Jamal] Khashoggi’s assassination, her sentencing is intended to send shock waves inside and outside the kingdom – dare to criticize MBS and you will end up dismembered or in Saudi dungeons.”

While the case has received little attention, the Washington Post published a sarcastic editorial about Saudi Arabia’s treatment of the Leeds student on Tuesday, stressing that her case demonstrated that the “commitments” the US President received on  reforms were “a farce.”

“At the very least, Mr. Biden must now speak out forcefully and demand that Ms. Shehab be released and allowed to return to her sons, 4 and 6 years old, in the United Kingdom, and to resume her studies there,” it read.

Read more: Former Saudi Spymaster: MBS Is a “Psychopath” Who Planned to Kill King Abdullah

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