Saudi Game-Changing Head-Chopping

Exclusive: Saudi Arabia likes to distinguish itself from the head-choppers of the Islamic State but the recent mass executions, including decapitating a top Shiite dissident, reveals the Saudi royals to be just better-dressed jihadists, while creating an opening for a U.S. realignment in the Mideast, says Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

For generations, U.S. officials have averted their eyes from Saudi Arabia’s grotesque monarchy which oppresses women, spreads jihadism and slaughters dissidents in a crude trade-off of Saudi oil for American weapons and U.S. security guarantees. It is a deal with the devil that may finally be coming due.

The increasingly undeniable reality is that the Saudis along with other oil sheikhs are the biggest backers of Al Qaeda and various terrorist groups helping these killers as long as they spread their mayhem in other countries and not bother the spoiled playboys of the Persian Gulf.

President and Mrs. Obama disembark from Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on Jan. 27, 2015, for a state visit to Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President and Mrs. Obama disembark from Air Force One at King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh on Jan. 27, 2015, for a state visit to Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

President George W. Bush and then President Barack Obama may have suppressed the 28 pages of the congressional 9/11 report describing Saudi support for Al Qaeda and its hijackers but the cat is thoroughly out of the bag. Mealy-mouthed comments from the State Department spokesmen can no longer hide the grim truth that U.S. “allies” are really civilization’s enemies.

The big question that remains, however, is: Will Official Washington’s dominant neocon/liberal-interventionist claque continue to protect the Saudis who have built a regional alliance of convenience with Israel over their shared hatred of Iran?

Inside Official Washington’s bubble where the neocons and liberal hawks hold sway there is a determination to make the “designated villains,” the Iranians, the Syrian government, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Russians. This list of “villains” matches up quite well with Israeli and Saudi interests and thus endless demonization of these “villains” remains the order of the day.

But the Saudis and indeed the Israelis are showing what they’re really made of. Israel has removed its humanistic mask as it ruthlessly suppresses Palestinians and mounts periodic “grass mowing” operations, using high-tech munitions to slaughter thousands of nearly defenseless people in Gaza and the West Bank while no longer even pretending to want a peaceful resolution of the long-simmering conflict. Israel’s choice now seems to be apartheid or genocide.

Meanwhile, the Saudis though long-hailed in Official Washington as “moderates” are showing what a farcical description that has always been as the royals now supply U.S.-made TOW missiles and other sophisticated weapons to Sunni jihadists in Syria, fighting alongside Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front.

Using advanced U.S.-supplied warplanes, the Saudis also have been pulverizing poverty-stricken Yemen after exaggerating the level of Iranian support to the Houthis, who have been fighting both a Saudi-backed regime and Al Qaeda’s Yemeni affiliate. Amid the Saudi-inflicted humanitarian crisis, Al Qaeda’s forces have expanded their territory.

And, at the start of the New Year, the Saudi monarchy butchered 47 prisoners, including prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr for his offense of criticizing the royals, or as the Saudis like to say without a touch of irony supporting “terrorism.” By chopping off Nimr’s head as well as shooting and decapitating the others the Saudis demonstrated that there is very little qualitative difference between them and the head-choppers of the Islamic State.

The Usual Suspects

Yes, the usual suspects in Official Washington have sought to muddle the blood-soaked picture by condemning angry Iranian protesters for ransacking the Saudi embassy in Tehran before the government security forces intervened. And there will surely be an escalation of condemnations of anyone who suggests normalizing relations with Iran.

But the issue for the neocons and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks is whether they can continue to spin obviously false narratives about the nobility of these Middle East “allies,” including Israel. Is there a limit to what they can put over on the American people? At some point, will they risk losing whatever shreds of credibility that they still have? Or perhaps the calculation will be that public credibility is irrelevant, power and control are everything.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the United States, meeting with President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas, on Aug. 27, 2002. (White House photo)

Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then Saudi ambassador to the United States, meeting with President George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas, on Aug. 27, 2002. (White House photo)

A similar choice must be made by politicians, including those running for the White House.

Some Republican candidates, most notably Sen. Marco Rubio, have gone all-in with the neocons, hoping to secure largesse from casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson and other staunch supporters of Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. On the other hand, real-estate magnate Donald Trump has distanced himself from neocon orthodoxy, even welcoming Russia’s entry into the Syrian conflict to fight the Islamic State, heresy in Official Washington.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is the most closely associated with the neocons and the liberal hawks and she has dug in on the issue of their beloved “regime change” strategy, which she insists must be applied to Syria.

She appears to have learned nothing from her misguided support for the Iraq War, nor from her participation in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi’s secular regime in Libya, both of which created vacuums that the Islamic State and other extremists filled. (British special forces are being deployed to Libya as part of an offensive to reclaim Libyan oil fields from the Islamic State.)

A Sanders Opportunity

The Saudi decision to chop off Sheikh Nimr’s head and slaughter 46 other people in one mass execution also puts Sen. Bernie Sanders on the spot over his glib call for the Saudis “to get their hands dirty” and intervene militarily across the region.

That may have been a clever talking point, calling on the rich Saudis to put some skin in the game, but it missed the point that even before the Nimr execution the Saudis’ hands were very dirty, indeed covered in blood.

For Sanders to see the Saudis as part of the solution to the Mideast chaos ignores the reality that they are a big part of the problem. Not only has Saudi Arabia funded the extreme, fundamentalist Wahhabi version of Sunni Islam building mosques and schools around the Muslim world but Al Qaeda and many other jihadist groups are, in essence, Saudi paramilitary forces dispatched to undermine governments on Riyadh’s hit list.

That has been the case since the 1980s when the Saudis along with the Reagan administration  invested billions of dollars in support of the brutal mujahedeen in Afghanistan with the goal of overthrowing a secular, Soviet-backed government in Kabul.

Though the “regime change” worked the secular leader Najibullah was castrated and his body hung from a light pole in Kabul the eventual outcome was the emergence of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, led by a Saudi scion, Osama bin Laden.

Though Sanders has resisted articulating a detailed foreign policy instead seeking to turn questions back to his preferred topic of income inequality the latest Saudi barbarism gives him a new chance to distinguish himself from front-runner Clinton. He could show courage and call for a realignment based on reality, not propaganda.

President Obama, too, has a final chance to refashion the outdated and counter-productive U.S. alliances in the Middle East. At least he could rebalance them to allow a pragmatic relationship with Iran and Russia to stabilize Syria and neutralize the Saudi-backed jihadists.

Standing Up, Not Bowing Down

Instead of being supplicants to Saudi riches and oil, the West could apply stern measures against the Saudi royals to compel their acquiescence to a real anti-terrorist coalition. If they don’t comply immediately, their assets could be frozen and seized; they could be barred from foreign travel; they could be isolated until they agreed to behave in a civilized manner, including setting aside ancient animosities between Sunni and Shiite Islam.

It seems the European public is beginning to move in this direction, in part, because the Saudi-led destabilization of Syria has dumped millions of desperate refugees on the European Union’s doorstep. If a new course isn’t taken, the E.U. itself might split apart.

But the power of the neocon/liberal-hawk establishment in Official Washington remains strong and has prevented the American people from achieving anything close to a full understanding of what is going on in the Middle East.

The ultimate barrier to an informed U.S. public may also be the enormous power of the Israel Lobby, which operates what amounts to a blacklist against anyone who dares criticize Israeli behavior and harbors hopes of ever holding a confirmable government position or for that matter a prominent job in the mainstream media.

It would be a test of true political courage and patriotism for some major politician or prominent pundit to finally take on these intimidating forces. That likely won’t happen, but Saudi Arabia’s latest head-choppings have created the possibility, finally, for a game-changing realignment.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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42 comments for “Saudi Game-Changing Head-Chopping

  1. Tom Huckin
    January 5, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    Well said on all counts, Robert! Saudi Arabia and Israel — so different in so many ways — are evil twins when it comes to influencing our ME policy.

    • frederike
      January 6, 2016 at 12:26 am

      Exactly. Their genetic make-up is the same. And it shows.

    • Kiza
      January 6, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Yes, the US doggy has got two tails, Israel and Saudi Arabia, and both are wagging it continuously and vigorously. The EU doggy satellites of the US are exactly the same, they talk the human rights talk, but they do not walk the walk.

      Yet, the most insightful note by Perry in this article is that Al Qaeda, Al Nusra, ISIS and all other assorted terrorists are just the paramilitary troops of the Saudi and Israeli regimes. Both regimes have well equiped armies, but they also pay and operate the para-militaries in order to achieve their political and military goals.

      This is quite obvious to those who want to see.

      • Marianna Tubman
        January 6, 2016 at 5:48 pm

        Parry did not say these groups were paramilitary of the Saudis and Israeli government, he only said the Saudis. I don’t think Parry said anything to suggest Israel is supplying money or weapons to the jihadists or Islamic terrorist groups

        • Kiza
          January 6, 2016 at 11:53 pm

          I agree that Parry did not mention that Israel was paying the paramilitaries, the terrorists of Syria and Iraq. But there has been plenty of evidence, even in the MSM, that Israel was (and probably still is) providing logistical support, bombing and health services to Al Qaeda in Syria. Also, al Sauds are closely aligned with Israel, this is no secret either. Parry does usually stay away from the Israeli hot-potato, to avoid the usual accusations of anti-Semitism. But even if we deny the MSM reports of Israeli cooperaton with Al Qaeda or call them European propaganda, this does not change the reality that Israel has never been attacked by the Sunni terrorists in Syria. I wonder why?

          In summary, yes, Israel does not appear to pay the payroll of Sunni terrorists as Saudis do.

      • Gerald R Perdue
        January 9, 2016 at 1:06 pm

        No tail has ever wagged a dog!

    • Fernando de Sousa Falcão
      January 6, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      Sure

  2. pablo Diablo
    January 5, 2016 at 11:17 pm

    Some people make money off of war, lots of money. (See Prescott Bush, George H.W. Bush, George w. Bush for example) and can continue to buy politicians who will push for war ( See Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama for instance). The media is pushing Hillary to go against THE DONALD and ignoring Bernie Sanders in order to make Neocon Hillary “our” next President.

  3. Abe
    January 6, 2016 at 12:00 am

    If you think Saudi Arabia’s latest head-choppings have created the possibility for a game-changing realignment, wait ’til you see Israel’s upcoming ethnic cleansing operations in the West Bank, Gaza, the Golan Heights, and southern Lebanon. Israel has prepared “deployment groups” to implement a final solution to the two-state question.

  4. Sam
    January 6, 2016 at 12:07 am

    The Saudi royal family rose to power and have maintained their grip through a longstanding Faustian bargain with those who believe in an extreme version of the Islamic faith. This is their base, and I doubt they have the domestic political support or the will to moderate their approach to governing.

    Sure, the Saudis need to understand there are consequences for their actions. But those consequences could blowback and destabilize their regime. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, and when I look at the Middle East, that’s what I see — a series of endless unintended consequences that have sent the region into chaos.

  5. francis teoh
    January 6, 2016 at 12:10 am

    As one PM /CM of a country said “I will trade with the devil or the deep blue sea “for myself than my country to move forward –RICH.

  6. frederike
    January 6, 2016 at 12:20 am

    “Instead of being supplicants to Saudi riches and oil, the West could apply stern measures against the Saudi royals to compel their acquiescence to a real anti-terrorist coalition.”

    As long as having a lot of money is the ultimate goal and considered the highest achievement (no matter how it was gained) by most politicians in the West (US) (name one politician who isn’t increasing his larder) nothing in the behavior of politicians will change, certainly not in Sanders, Clinton, Rubio, Cruz, and other intellectually unqualified contenders, who, in addition to being supporters of Israel (and their Allies, the Saudis), no matter how horrid their crimes towards the Palestinians are.
    Change will only come about when politicians (in the USA) are prevented from gaining personal profit from lobbies, not only for private gain, but also while running for political office, so they are unable to influence voters with statements that are geared to lure voters into believing their lives are in danger.
    Politicians should be paid according to their job level, not for how much money they can gain from a lobby’s desire to sell products or other agendas leading to personal profit.
    In more civilized countries political contenders do not take the world stage and announce themselves as idiots, like they do here, more or less. (I could name a couple whom I respect for their intelligence, but the rest is unbelievably ignorant and uneducated and uncultivated, including Obama. Having gone to Harvard means nothing any more. Lawyers are a dime a dozen.)
    The position and income of a president is regulated in a civilized country, there are no lobbies, and is not exploited like in the USA, where presidents, who have perpetuated war and disaster, often for personal gain (of course more or less secretly) cruises around in a huge plane, as if he were a god.
    Even gods do not behave in such an atrocious manner.

    • January 6, 2016 at 8:52 am

      I can vaguely remember that the gods of the Greek and Hindu mythology were quite a nasty bunch, but as an agnostic (or skeptic, atheist, pantheist, Buddhist) I’m not an expert in gods.

      Beside that, your comment points to the essential notion that US foreign policy is not, or only to a small part, depending on which group of individuals are in the driver seat in Washington and who is occupying the Oval Office, but is a manifestation of US culture and society (I used the word “notion” instead of “fact”, because things are multifaceted and there are other valid view points as well).

      The Saudi princes may be abominable brats, but the present anarchy in the Middle East is not their fault, it is the result of two centuries of colonial politics.

      Until 1927, Ibn Saud’s dominions were a British protectorate and in 1945 he forged an alliance with the USA. The Saudis are creatures of the West and without Western colonial meddling the Arabian Peninsula would have been ruled by secular nationalist, socialist leaders like Nasser, Boumediene, Gaddafi, Assad (Michel Aflaq). Without colonial meddling Wahhabism would be irrelevant.

      The repulsion about the head chopping Saudis seems misplaced, considering that many, condemned to the electric chair or to lethal injection, apparently suffer terrible pain in the last moments of their lives (why don’t US executioners just use a modernized guillotine? As the spinal cord is cut, consciousness should end instantly. Yet, nobody can say for sure and the executed cannot tell. As an opponent of capital punishment I’m not an expert in this either).

      When Robert Parry mentions Dr. Mohammad Najibullah, a medical doctor like Dr. Salvador Allende and Dr. Bashar al-Assad, he could have mentioned “Charlie Wilson’s War.” The Saudis were not acting “… along with the Reagan administration …”, they were used by the Reagan administration via the CIA.

      Needless to say, that the Saudis are just one of many proxy forces working for the US empire. Latin American dictators like Pinochet, Trujillo, Videla, Somoza were all aided by US agencies. Socialist leaders like Lumumba, Sankara, Allende, Najibullah, Gaddafi were killed by or with the help of Western agents.

      600 CIA assassination attempts against Fidel Castro Ruz failed though, for that reason Cuba is now in a so much better state than Haiti (and in many social parameters even leading the USA).

      A US based journalist understandably cannot address these facts in all their harshness, because it would amount to a blazing condemnation of US culture and society. Yet, it seems that Robert Parry is trying to give the cues for commenters like you and me to say what he has to omit.

  7. January 6, 2016 at 1:25 am

    Another excellent article for Mr. Parry.

    ISIS, Saudi Arabia, and Israel are identical triplet, with ISIS and Saudi as conjoined.

  8. Joe Tedesky
    January 6, 2016 at 3:16 am

    The shelve life of the taking out seven Middle Eastern nations within five years is long past due it’s expired date. Now would be an excellent time for America to change out that plan for a better one. One idea would be that America start leading by example. Lofty words about freedom and democracy should be practiced, and not just hypocritically used to justify more bombing sorties of far off places which most Americans can’t locate on any map.

  9. Sebastian
    January 6, 2016 at 6:08 am

    What a load of hatemongering garbage.

    Robert, you and your minions need your head examined as you have been poisoned by hate and ignorance.

    • RogerT
      January 7, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Seems to me, there are pretty compelling reasons to hate the Saudi and Zionazi terrorist, blood-soaked regimes. Are you tucked away in some little ivory tower unaware of the dreadful atrocities perpetrated by them? Come down into the real world an d stop peddling your arant nonsense.

  10. Peter Loeb
    January 6, 2016 at 6:23 am

    IS A REAL TRANSFORMATION POSSIBLE?

    “Instead of being supplicants to Saudi riches and oil, the West could
    apply stern measures against the Saudi royals to compel their acquiescence
    to a real anti-terrorist coalition. If they don’t comply immediately, their
    assets could be frozen and seized; they could be barred from foreign
    travel; they could be isolated until they agreed to behave in a civilized
    manner, including setting aside ancient animosities between Sunni and
    Shiite Islam…”
    —–Robert Parry, in “Saudi Game-Changing Head-chopping”,
    above

    In a magnificent summation of US-Saudi relationships and policies,
    it is here that the basic premise of Parry’s argument completely
    breaks down. There is no possibility that the US will make such moves
    either in the White House, the US Congress, the campaign trail or the
    general public. (As regards the general public, there has been no
    possibility for any information to enable an informed decision).

    Regarding seeking “peace”, there is absolutely no evidence
    (beyond rhetorical and totally unsubstantiated PR) that Israel
    seeks “peace” beyond Oslo II. This is, in other words, total control of
    Palestinians, denial of their rights as a state, denial of
    rights of free speech etc. etc. Oslo II is 300 pages in
    length (as opposed to the 10 pages of Oslo I), What the
    Israelis and the Zionists since their inception seek was
    expressed many years ago by Yosef Weitz , the moving
    spirit of the “transfer committee” and ” Director of Land
    Department for JNF”:

    “..Among ourselves it must be clear that there is no room
    in this country [Palestine] for both peoples [Arab and Jewish]
    …”

    All sides say they seek “peace” but a good low-risk
    bet would be that none really does. “Peace” means
    significant concessions and no party is ready for any at all.
    Neither is the US either now or under a future President.

    —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

    • Sam
      January 6, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      I agree with this assessment. Political realism is staring reality in the face and dealing with the world as it is, not as you wish it to be. Love or hate the Saudis and the Israelis, or the Palestinians or Assad or ISIS or Iran or Russia or whoever you think should be our allies or adversaries on any given day, thinking that we can pressure the Saudis to alter their entire approach to governing their country is just not very realistic. And I would say the same thing about Israel and all other stakeholders in the region.

      If it weren’t for the oil and the Israeli lobby, none of us would even care about the Wahhabis, Al Queda, Israeli settlements, or anything else going on over there. Case in point, when the Hutus savaged the Tutsis (after decades of Tutsi domination of the Hutus), no one blinked an eye. When the Ethiopian government last month cracked down on and killed scores of defenseless protesters, the world barely noticed.

      Shucks, here at home, the gun lobby has such a grip on the GOP and some Dems that they are locking in policies that guarantee the deaths of thousands of Americans every year, many of them innocent kids and teenagers going to school or out at the movies. If we can’t stop the gun lobby here at home, how the hell are we going to stop the Saudis from sucking up to, funding, and sheltering jihadists when those very extremists represent the Saudi’s political base?

      Still, it is very useful to report on these issues so Americans can fully realize the complexity and ultimate no-win situation that is the Middle East.

  11. Brad Owen
    January 6, 2016 at 7:06 am

    I see Brit spec-ops have moved in to “secure” Libyan oil that their own/owned terrorist assets “liberated” from Gaddafi. Typical. I also understand that the Brits held the main poppy-growing Province during the NATO ops in Afghanistan; royal “liquid assets” since the 1790’s. House of Saud; Brit (more specifically City-of-London) colonial asset. Israel; C-of-L colonial asset. USA-via-Wall Street; C-of-L colonial asset (but necessity forced a “power-sharing” deal with W.S.; co-rulers of “The Western Empire”-via Deep State assets). UK; another C-of-L colonial asset, just as is the USA-via-W.S. These are all Imperial Games played in the modern, corporate-fascist, covert “Deep State” mode; all done for “Portfolio enhancement” to secure the Reign of Imperial Oligarchs, specifically at the expense Nation-State stability & security; which, if they (we) ever manage to coalesce into a real defensive Alliance, would be a deadly threat to Imperial Ops everywhere. Fortunately, the Russian Federation, having check-mated their own infestation of Oligarchs into a corner, have a relatively free hand (with powerful BRICS support) to crush these Imperial Ops of the C-of-L/W.S. Deep State Empire, hence all of the WWIII saber-rattling. Putin supposedly said “I’ll crush the Illuminati” (a quaint, science- fictiony name for The Deep State).

    • Brad Owen
      January 7, 2016 at 6:13 am

      Just read about an enormous geopolitical earthquake-in-the-making, on Tarpley.net. The Brits are building a Sino-Brit power bloc, via their “Wall Street-of-the-East”; Hong Kong (typical “Perfidy-of-Albion” maneuver. They did the same to Germany in WWI, allying with traditional enemy France, against their traditional German Ally, who had gotten too big & powerful). We must immediately adopt FDR New Deal policies and erect protective tariffs, and build a strong alliance WITH Russia, India, and EU & Japan to counter-balance Sino-British Bloc, and more fundamentally, protect ourselves. The Imperial days of Free-Market/Wall Street dealings are over!! The “Filthy Deal” policies of Robber Barons are over. The “New Deal” policies are the protection for our General Welfare. They never did forgive us for the Revolutionary War. This is aimed at us in USA, and RUSSIA has ALWAYS stood WITH us against Brit perfidy since Catherine The Great, for mutual protection. See Tarpley.net for the story.

  12. Lusion
    January 6, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Actually, Mr. Parry makes it clear in all his fine articles that he does NOT believe American politics will decisively change for the better, but he gives us some glimpses into how he imagines it could theoretically be done.
    By the way – I feel stupid for having considered Sanders as an actual chance for betterment in comments I wrote lately. It’s so tempting to forget for a while the dire conclusions already arrived at…

    I came across a post from Dmitry Orlov, which I find very fitting, esp. his referral to Orwell’s explanation for the seemingly completely clueless political class:

    “The story is the same every time: some nation, due to a confluence of lucky circumstances, becomes powerful—much more powerful than the rest—and, for a time, is dominant. But the lucky circumstances, which often amount to no more than a few advantageous quirks of geology, be it Welsh coal or West Texas oil, in due course come to an end. In the meantime, the erstwhile superpower becomes corrupted by its own power.

    As the endgame approaches, those still nominally in charge of the collapsing empire resort to all sorts of desperate measures—all except one: they will refuse to ever consider the fact that their imperial superpower is at an end, and that they should change their ways accordingly. George Orwell once offered an excellent explanation for this phenomenon: as the imperial end-game approaches, it becomes a matter of imperial self-preservation to breed a special-purpose ruling class—one that is incapable of understanding that the end-game is approaching. Because, you see, if they had an inkling of what’s going on, they wouldn’t take their jobs seriously enough to keep the game going for as long as possible.”

    http://cluborlov.blogspot.de/2015/12/license-to-kill.html

    • J'hon Doe II
      January 6, 2016 at 1:17 pm

      “The story is the same every time: some nation, due to a confluence of lucky circumstances, becomes powerful—much more powerful than the rest—and, for a time, is dominant… .

      How about European conquest, subjugation and proprietary ownership of the planet subsequent to Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe… ? Europe’s domination of the world required a gargantuan amount of ruthless animalistic barbarity/inhumanity to accomplish.

      Hillary’s remark, “we came, we saw, he died” is but a reiteration of European Self-Authorization of some ‘divine right’ to steal, kill and destroy at will.

      “World” history champions the ‘conquests’ of Europe’s explorers and “settlers” without emphasis, for example, on massive death of indigenous populations and slaves forced into the gold, silver and precious metal mines of South America – or plantations in the Caribbean Islands or diamond mines of South Africa, rubber plantations of West Africa; et al – which resources created the vast wealth of Europe from the deaths & labor of “natives”.

      “Lucky Circumstances” -? – dismisses much of the uncivilized, criminal behavior which persists into this 21st century where Raw Aggression remains the “Rule of Law” in the world.

      • Lusion
        January 7, 2016 at 10:34 am

        Sadly, that is true.
        And the attached question would be – were the Europeans just the first ones managing to subjugate much of the world, would such behaviour have been coming from somewhere else than European culture instead as well?
        Is it human nature or is it culture? Both, I believe.
        We are a cooperative species by nature, but maybe our in-group/out-group differentiation mechanism doesn’t manage to apply the in-group-level for all of humanity, maybe unless confronted with aliens from outer space.

  13. Eduardo Cohen
    January 6, 2016 at 7:22 am

    Since his history tells us that John Kerry rarely tells the truth, his statements implying a “softening” of American insistence on regime change in Syria should be taken with a grain of salt. And that leads me to ask the question: Could the White House and the Saudi monarchy be acting out a predetermined good cop-bad cop script?

    In such a script the White House would appear to take a more moderate position towards the peace talks which Russia and Iran have stated should lead to an election in which the Syrian people can decide for or against Assad’s continuation in power. It seems more of the world is getting on board with Russia and Iran on this now than with the United States and Saudi Arabia.

    So, President Obama and State Department Secretary Kerry moderate their position and the Saudis sabotage the entire peace process by virtually declaring war with Iran. In this scenario the peace process can be blown to smithereens and the White House can say: We didn’t have ANYTHING to do with that.

    And then in return the United States says almost nothing about the beheadings, especially that of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr, and Saudi Arabia gets to buy some more of our most sophisticated weapons systems.

    I hope I’m wrong. Syria needs for the war to be over and in a way that doesn’t bring even more destruction and chaos. But a voice in my head says: Yes. The United States still wants Assad out at any cost and this is exactly what could be happening.

  14. January 6, 2016 at 9:33 am

    I too would like to see stern measures employed against Saudi Arabia (and its allies in terror on the Gulf Coast Council). But doing so requires some serious study of the leverage they have on the U.S. via the petrodollar system insitituted through the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation. http://www.gao.gov/products/ID-79-7 Then some real creativity in reducing that leverage. It would require at minimum remaking the foundation of the U.S. economy.

    You can find a good succinct coverage of that relationship and its economic impact on the U.S. (with supporting links) at Storm Clouds Gathering, http://stormcloudsgathering.com/the-geopolitics-of-world-war-iii

    • Pat
      January 6, 2016 at 6:06 pm

      You are exactly right, Mr. Merrell. Any discussion of U.S. foreign policy re: the Saudis simply cannot ignore this reality.

      Thank you for the links. I will check them out. Meanwhile, here is another. It’s from CFR, so you can do with that whatever you want, but I found it very informative:

      http://www.cfr.org/saudi-arabia/us-saudi-relations/p36524

  15. Drew Hunkins
    January 6, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Stupendous piece Mr. Parry.

  16. lightweight buffoon
    January 6, 2016 at 11:24 am

    “For Sanders to see the Saudis as part of the solution to the Mideast chaos ignores the reality that they are a big part of the problem.”

    Totally concur. That’d be like putting a fox in charge of guarding the hen house. Is Sanders stupid?

    • January 6, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      No – Sanders isn’t stupid, but his being a long-time Zionist, whatever his “ideal” state does, he follows – and which state in the Middle East is the de facto partner of Israel in almost all this mayhem? Saudi Arabia, of course – ergo, Sanders’ idea that Saudi Arabia’s totalitarian leaders are not doing enough to solve the problems (which they in large part have created by their ideological and material support for Sunni Muslim extremists OUTSIDE OF THE KINGDOM) can only be categorized as, at best, cognitive dissonance, or at its worse, insanity…

  17. Richard Browning
    January 6, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    Your writings and your books are something that every U.S. citizen should read but I need to take one exception. There is no way that 19 so called hijackers brought down the three towers in New York on 9/11. To continue to state that they did simply covers up the truth.

  18. Bill Bodden
    January 6, 2016 at 1:30 pm

    Mealy-mouthed comments from the State Department spokesmen can no longer hide the grim truth that U.S. “allies” are really civilization’s enemies.

    It isn’t only U.S. “allies” (and that would include former European colonial powers) it is also the hegemon out to create the greatest empire ever and who sees those “allies” as agents. Ironically, little Israel still wags the big hegemon’s tail..

    • J'hon Doe II
      January 6, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Question is; — do we live in Empire’s shadow, as the behavioral scientists’ experimental lemmings in this brave new Social Media world?
      Or, are we the artists, writers, freethinkers of a, what? — recapture of Walden Pond ethics?

      Is it too late… ?

      • J'hon Doe II
        January 6, 2016 at 5:46 pm

        Please Find
        Adam Curtis — “The Century of the Self”

  19. Pat
    January 6, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Bob and others, HOW MANY TIMES do I have to explain that the idiom “to get your hand’s dirty” has a specific usage in the English language, and it does NOT refer to questionable ethics? To the contrary, it is a laudable quality. It means being willing to do all parts of a job, including the boring, tedious tasks that are essential but no one wants to do. Here is the example given by the Cambridge Idioms Dictionary:

    “Unlike other bosses, he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty and the men like that in him.”

    Don’t take my word for it. Look it up yourself!

    In suggesting that the Saudis need to get their hands dirty, Sanders is saying they need to cease and desist from calling on the United States to send troops to deal with the latest perceived threat to the Saudi royal family and TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

    Sanders never has suggested that the Saudis LEAD the effort against the Islamic State. He has been consistent in calling for a coalition of Muslim nations, with support from the United States and other countries outside the region. Sanders would include Russia and Iran. IRAN! OK? And Russia! Does that sound like he advocates unleashing the Saudis on the region without any control or oversight?

    And who says the Saudis shouldn’t be part of the solution? It’s difficult to fathom how any plan to fight the Islamic State could succeed without them. What do you suggest, Bob (along with your partner in Sanders-bashing, Sam Husseini)? Do you think the U.S. should censor the Saudis, place sanctions on them, prohibit them from any participation in the region’s conflicts at all? If so, your ideas are even more “screwy,” as you put it, than Sanders’s foreign policy.

    And yes, he does have one. I’ve sent you the link to it and quoted from it extensively. His foreign policy may be bare-bones at this point, but it is more than what most candidates running for their party’s nomination offer. It’s a fact that voters care very little about foreign policy. That’s true even in the aftermath of a terrorist attack and 24/7 fear-mongering by the MSM. What is so hard to understand about this? Sanders is absolutely correct to focus on wealth inequality and the growing gap between rich and poor.

    I won’t make this comment any longer by including the entire foreign policy section of his speech at Georgetown University on November 19. Here is the link (foreign policy starts about two-thirds of the way down the page):
    https://berniesanders.com/democratic-socialism-in-the-united-states/

    Note that it includes recognition of where the jihadis are getting their arms and funding. He doesn’t mention Saudi Arabia by name, but does make a general statement about nations in the region that are aiding and abetting terrorism.

    It irritates me to no end that “Bernie bashers” continue to make the same claims over and over, even when provided with evidence to the contrary. These folks seem to get sustenance from anger and hate, and won’t let facts get in the way. There are plenty of valid criticisms of Sanders’s policies to be made based through fair and objective analysis, without distorting his words and actions to make a case or making him out as some kind of buffoon.

    One last thing: Whatever the Saudis initially did to create the Islamic State, the monster is coming home to bite them in the @ss. And, irony of ironies, they recently announced that they’re forming a regional coalition to fight the Islamic State. Of course, it doesn’t include Iran, and who knows whether it’s all for show? But it certainly is a development to watch.

    • John M. Morgan
      January 6, 2016 at 8:34 pm

      I read the foreign policy part of the speech you mention and I re-read the part of Parry’s piece that you are so strongly objecting to.

      I think Parry is dead on and you are (perhaps understandably) being WAY too defensive about Bernie’s wishy washy foreign policy.

      • Pat
        January 6, 2016 at 9:13 pm

        You are entitled to your opinion that Sanders’s foreign policy is “wishy washy.” You are not entitled to call me “defensive” because I don’t agree with you.

  20. Abe
    January 6, 2016 at 8:31 pm

    The game is always the same and it is currently aimed at Israel’s principal perceived adversaries: Iran and Syria.

    Riyadh’s recent atrocities are part of a Saudi-Israeli alliance effort to aggravate the conflict between Sunni and Shia communities in the Middle East.

    Stanislav Ivanov, a research fellow at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has analyzed this effort:

    “It is obvious that the execution of the Shia preacher served as a pretext for a new aggravation between Iran and the Sunni Arab states led by Saudi Arabia. In a situation when there’s a growing number of political and economic contradictions between Riyadh and Tehran, the intensification of the aggressive war of words was just a matter of time.

    “The agreement between Tehran and the West on the Iranian nuclear program and, as a consequence, the expected withdrawal of economic sanctions regime from Iran brings this state out of artificially imposed international isolation, allowing it to once again become one of the leading regional powers. It’s no secret that Iran is the center of one of the main branches of Islam – Shia fundamentalism, which serves as an antithesis to the Sunni-Wahhabi version of Islam that prevails today in Saudi Arabia and several other Persian Gulf monarchies. Tehran’s influence in the Middle East in recent years has considerably strengthened, be it Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Libya, or Bahrain’s Shia community. The Gulf monarchies are terrified by the strengthening “Shia arc” in the region, so they are pretty reluctant to share power or resources with Shia minorities. The greatest irritation among all for the Wahhabi regimes is their inability to topple the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria and suppress the Houthi uprising in Yemen. That is why, despite the formal claims that they are fighting international terrorism, the Gulf monarchies keep on supporting radical Islamist groups in the region.

    “Moreover, Iran makes no secret of the fact that he is going to grab its own part of the oil market and restore the pre-sanction levels of oil production. Allegedly, Iran could be providing the market with up to 1 million barrels of oil per day. Moreover, it prepared to pursue the collapse of OPEC if the members of this organization would not agree to return all of its quotas. The conflict between Riyadh and Tehran has already caused some increase in oil prices. Thus, Brent grew by 3.35%, breaking the mark of 38 dollars per barrel, while WTI grew by 3.5%. The dollar has also went up since invetors are traditionally buying American dollars against a background of immediate geopolitical threats. Paradoxically, but Washington benefits from the Middle Eastern face-off.

    “There’s no telling how far will Iran and Saudi Arabia go in their confrontation, but one cannot not exclude any further provocations from both sides and even attempts to use armed forces in this conflict. But, for the sake of objectivity, it should be noted that any direct military confrontation is not serving the interests of neither of the states. Tehran is determined to see the withdrawal of the sanctions imposed on it by the UN and Western countries to become a full member of the international community. In turn, Riyadh has to reckon with the increased military and economic potential of Iran and it would not aggravate its relations with Washington any further. Yet, the situation can get out of control pretty quickly…”

    http://journal-neo.org/2016/01/06/riyadh-is-aggravating-the-sunni-shia-face-off/

    • Pat
      January 6, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      Good analysis. Thanks for the link.

      There’s no question that both Israel and Saudi Arabia were furious with Obama for pushing the Iran deal, but it’s also helpful to remember he also had near-fatal opposition at home. What this says is that the United States is internally deeply divided, but some were willing to side with Iran. The cynic in me says that the deal was not about peace, guaranteeing Iran would never have nukes, etc., but because there is a faction (or factions) in the United States salivating at the business opportunities there, not to mention the oil and gas and pipelines — all of which could go to Russia or China if the U.S. didn’t drop sanctions.

  21. Abe
    January 7, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    On 14 July 2015, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an international agreement on the nuclear program of Iran reached in Vienna between Iran, the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany), and the European Union.

    Pat, your alleged “near-fatal opposition” to the JCPOA agreement with Iran is a pro-Israel delusion shared by all the abject Israel-pandering US Presidential candidates.

    Bernie the Bomber wants the Saudis to “to get their hands dirty” to advance the agenda of the Saudi-Israeli Alliance against Syria and Iran.

    Regardless of Sanders’ current, easily reversed “position” on the JCPOA agreement with Iran (constantly slandered by the abject Israel-pandering US media as the “Iran deal”), Bernie the Bomber is no less an abject Israel-panderer than Rubio, Cruz or Frau Clinton.

    The Hasbara trolls have to work overtime ‘splainin’ Bernie to the American electorate, but ‘splain’ they do.

    • Pat
      January 8, 2016 at 4:51 am

      Hasbara Trolls for Bernie!

      I would have thought they’d be more inclined to splain for Hillary, seeing as how she has promised to increase weapons and military aid to Israel, while Sanders has said he’d reduce military aid in favor of economic aid and (gasp) would give more to the Palestinians. But then you know, he’s got that dual Israeli citizenship, and she’s just a shiksa from Arkansas.

  22. Dr. Ibrahim Soudy
    January 7, 2016 at 8:14 pm

    “Mealy-mouthed comments from the State Department spokesmen can no longer hide the grim truth that U.S. “allies” are really civilization’s enemies.”

    Civilization’s enemies?! Really?! What a hypocritical statement to make coming from an American!! YES, Israel and Saudi Arabia are CRIMINAL States……but what about America?! Have you forgotten the bloody history of “Civilized America”? Go ask Native Americans and African Americans or go ask the countries that suffered under dictators shored up by “Civilized America”!! Please tell us how do we free D.C. from the influence of Israel and Saudi Arabia given the fact that American Politicians are no more than PROSTITUTES……and the vast majority of Americans care far more about the curves of Kim Kardashian than about American Foreign Policy!!

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