Saudi Arabia’s Desperate Gamble

Furious over defeat in Syria, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince is gambling again, arresting rivals at home and provoking a political crisis in Lebanon, but he may lack the geopolitical chips to pull off his bet, says ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

By Alastair Crooke

It is always tempting. The Syrian war is coming to an end, and the losses to those who bet on the losing side – suddenly in the glare of the end-game – become an acute and public embarrassment. The temptation is to brush the losses aside and with a show of bravado make one last bet: the masculine “hero” risks his home and its contents on a last spin of the wheel. Those in attendance stand in awed silence, awaiting the wheel to slow, and to trickle the ball forward, slot by slot, and to observe where it comes to rest, be it on black, or on the blood-red of tragedy.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump join Saudi King Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, May 21, 2017, to participate in the inaugural opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Not only in romances, but in life, too. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has wagered all on black, with his “friends” – President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) and Trump himself daring MbS on. Trump, in his business life, once or twice has staked his future on the spin of the wheel. He too has gambled and admits to the exhilaration.

And in the shadows, at the back of the gaming room, stands Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. The idea of going to the casino was his, in the first place. If the hero lands on black, he will share in the joy, but if it is red … never mind: Bibi’s home is not forfeit.

Let us be clear, MbS is severing all the various fetters that hold the Saudi kingdom together and intact. Saudi Arabia is not just a family business: it is also a confederation of tribes. Their diverse interests were attended to, primordially, through the composition of the National Guard, and its patronage. The latter henceforth reflects, no longer, the kingdom’s diverse tribal affiliations, but the security interests of one man, who has seized it for himself.

Ditto for the various cadet branches of the al-Saud family: the carefully judged sharing out of spoils amongst the many family claimants is finished. One man is clearing the table of everybody’s smaller stakes. He has snapped the wires connecting the Court to the Saudi business élite – and is slowly slicing away the Wahhabi religious establishment, too. They have been effectively kicked out of the partnership, which they founded jointly with ibn Saud, the first monarch of Saudi Arabia who ruled during the first half of the last century, also known as King Abdul Aziz. In short, no one has a stake left in this enterprise, but MbS – and no one it seems, has rights, or redress.

Why? Because MbS sees the Saudi political and religious leadership of the Arab world slipping, like sand, through the king’s fingers, and he cannot bear the thought that Iran (and the despised Shi’a), could be the inheritor.

Transforming Saudi Arabia 

Saudi Arabia, therefore, has to be transformed from a sleepy, declining kingdom, into an instrument for blunting Iranian power. This, naturally resonates with an American President who seems, too, more and more preoccupied with reasserting U.S. prestige, deterrence and power in the world (rather than adhering to the non-interventionist narrative of the Campaign). At The American Conservative’s conference in Washington last week, editor Robert Merry, a staunch realist and prolific author, mourned that: “There is no realism and restraint in American foreign policy in the Trump era.”

Saudi defense minister, Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud

All wars are costly, and money is needed (and is being seized accordingly through MbS’s arrest of his rivals on corruption charges). But Saudi Arabia traditionally (since the Eighteenth Century), has waged all its power struggles via one particular (and effective) tool: fired-up Wahhabi jihadism. And that, in the wake of the Syrian debacle, lies discredited, and no longer available.

So now, Saudi Arabia has to craft a new instrument, with which to confront Iran: and the Crown Prince’s choice is truly ironic: “moderate Islam” and Arab nationalism (to counter non-Arab Iran and Turkey).  Mohammad Abd-el Wahhab must be turning in his grave: “moderate” Islam in his rigorous doctrine, led only to idolatry (such as that practiced by the Ottomans), and which, in his view, should be punished by death (see here).

In fact, this is the riskier part of MbS’s gamble (though seizing Prince Walid bin Talal’s mammoth fortune has grabbed most attention). King Abdel Aziz faced armed rebellion, and another king was assassinated for departing from the Wahhabist principles on which the state was founded – and for embracing westernized modernity (viewed by pure Wahhabis as idolatry).

The gene of Wahhabist fervor cannot be exorcised from Saudi society by simply commanding it gone.  (Abdul Aziz finally only overcame it, by machine gunning its adherents, dead).

But, embracing “moderate Islam” (i.e. secular Islam), and threatening to confront Iran, probably was done with one eye on wooing President Trump to support MbS’s ousting of his cousin, Prince Naif, as Crown Prince – and the other eye on the P.R. potential to portray Iran as “extremist” Islam to a White House whose world view of the Middle East has been shaped by Bibi Netanyahu whispering in the ear of Jared Kushner, and by the prejudices of a circle of advisers disposed to see Iran in terms of one singular understanding, rather than in its diverse aspects. Netanyahu must be congratulating himself on his clever ploy.

Netanyahu’s Coup

No doubt about it: it has been a coup for Netanyahu. The question though, is whether it will turn out to be a Pyrrhic victory, or not: whichever it is, it is highly dangerous to throw grenades into combustible material. This U.S.-Israeli-Saudi-UAE project is, at bottom, an attempt to overturn reality, no less – it is rooted in a denial of the setback suffered by these states by their multiple failures to shape a New Middle East in the Western mode. Now, in the wake of their failure in Syria – in which they went to the limits in search of victory – they seek another spin of the roulette wheel – in the hope of recouping all their earlier losses. It is, to say the least, a capricious hope.

President Donald J. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the United Nations General Assembly (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

On the one hand, Iran’s strength across the northern Middle East is not tentative. It is now well rooted. Iran’s “strategic space” includes Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen – and increasingly – Turkey.  Iran has played a major role in defeating ISIS, together with Russia. It is a “strategic partner” of Russia, while Russia now enjoys broad sway across the region. In a word, the political heft lies with the north, rather than with the weakened, southern tier.

If there be some notion that Russia might be induced to “rein in” Iran and its allies across the region to mollify Israeli concerns, this smacks of wishful thinking. Even if Russia could (and it probably cannot), why should it? How then will Iran be rolled-back? By military action? This, too, seems a stretch.

Israel’s military and security echelon, in the wake of the 2006 war on Lebanon, is likely only to contemplate a war (with anyone other than Palestinians), that is short (six days or less); does not result in heavy Israeli civilian or military casualties; and can be won at a low cost. Ideally, Israel would also expect full American buy-in (unlike in 2006). The Pentagon has little appetite for putting boots on the ground again in the Middle East, and Israelis are aware of this. And Saudi Arabia alone, cannot threaten anyone militarily (as Yemen has amply demonstrated).

Can Saudi Arabia squeeze Lebanon economically and impose political pressure on any Lebanese government? Of course: but economic pressure likely will hurt the Sunni, middle and business classes, harder than the 44 percent of the Lebanese population who are Shi’a.  Generally, the Lebanese have an aversion to external interference, and American sanctions and pressures will be more likely to unite Lebanon than divide it. (This is the old, old story of imposed sanctions.) And at a guess, the Europeans will neither willingly support the de-stabilization of Lebanon nor the abandonment of JCPOA, the 2015 agreement to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

So what may be the outcome? At a guess, Saudi Arabia, already a society with many repressed tensions, may simply implode under the new repression (or MbS might somehow be “removed” before the tensions combust). America and Israel will not emerge strengthened, but rather will be viewed as less relevant to the Middle East.

Robert Malley, the former Middle East adviser in the last administration, warns of the danger of a potential regional explosion: “Fear is the one thing preventing it—but could also precipitate it.”

Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum.


80 comments for “Saudi Arabia’s Desperate Gamble

  1. Mr Reynard
    November 22, 2017 at 00:02

    Humm.. IMHO Yehudi Arabya, was always a satrapy of the little shitty country ?

  2. Sylvia Seveti
    November 17, 2017 at 04:42

    Does anyone seriously believe the Iranians will just sit back and allow the weasel nathanayou take over the ‘show’.. this is happening because of the extremely weak US under Trump .. a bunch of no-nothings in the present government.

  3. Bianca
    November 15, 2017 at 15:32

    I am not sure of one thing — why did the body that decides on the royal succession decide to remive MbN snd replace him with MbS? The body is representative of tribes, i.e. different branches of House of Saud? And, in keeping with the rules of succession, the new Crown Prince’s son cannot become Crown Prince, and the authority of determining next Crown Prince remains in the hands of the same authority? So, many soeculations do not ring true. As King is the powerbroker in the kingdom, mediates and resolves intertribal issues, which means also taking their input on any subject — from the economy and religion, to foreign policy. This also means that Crown Prince — who is an actual head of government with broad powers – needs to follow the king’s overall guidance based in the consensus of tribes. But what actually happened in appointing MbN the Crown Prince? First — there were some celebratory noises among neocon high priests of information. There were hints that US was instrumental in getting the job to MbN. How true was that — who knows. But the man niw in power was without doubt their favorite. There were no complains when he started war with Yemen, no complaints about his funding Al-Qaeda in Arabian Penjnsula — a convenient pretext for US involvement, and the tool against both Hadhramout secessionists, and Zaidi north Yemen attempt at regaining former independence. No complaints from US at all. MbN dissastrous involvement in Syria and Iraq using a combination of experienced fighters and masses of destitute under a recognizable Saudi Wahhabi puritan Salafism, under the cult name ISIS. MvN was without a question CIA favorite man. Qatar ultimatum was the height of arrogance — a form of a triumphant loyalty test for GCC members. But MbN and neocon excess started unravellng this house of cards. I was wondering about one incongruent fact from the start — the presence of Egypt in the Saudi ultimatum club. It was not more then a month sgo that Saudi Arabia cut delivery of oil to Egypt due to their abandoning Yemen “coalition”. Saudi Arabia demanded in the name of unpaid debts that Egypt cedes three islands in the Red Sea. Tensions were mounting, and US was sending all kinds of angry messages of “human rights” to Egypt. But in run up to Qatar crisis somehow, all was forgotten, and Egypt was a guest during
    Trump royal reception in Riyadh.

    All along, buzz in US was that the old King suffered from dementia, and possibly. Alzheimers, that looked lost in the meetings, vacant and unresponsive. There was clearly a fervent desire to have MbN become the king to bring trubes jn line with his CUA friendly policy, then bring in the new Crown Prince to his liking and get rid of King’s son, and appoint his men to Aramco, and Defence. As I said before, adding Egypt looked odd. But it became clear later. After MbN was remived, neiconland started buzzing with an outrage at the impetuous young ruler, HIS sins being Yemen, financial bleeding, Qatar mess. All thst is nonsence — as Crown Prince is the head if givernment with almost unlimited power. So all if a sudden, MbN, the CUA darling whi mysteriously wuit his college studies in US to attend FBI school — was under the control of his defence minister. Immedelly, after the coup a meeting held in Cairo changed all ultimatums into principles. And deescalared the crisis. But now, instead if the crisis becoming a litalty test of GCC anti-Iranian stand — it became a permanent symbol of GCC backing off from anti-Iranian agenda. Other then Saudi-iccupied Bahrein and a one man show in UAE — others are distinctly uninterested in anti-Iranian front. Immediatelly following the coup, ghere was a happy buzz about “dissidents” that will challenge the “impetuous” upstart. This upstart, at the advice of his father never studied in the West, snd has no real or imaginary dossier. And sure enough, the profile of disidents became clear. The dissidents are still out there and playing hugh stakes. The false invitation to Lebanese PM Hariri, his flying visit to UAE neicon fix it man. his visible distress during iver one hour interview with Lebanese anchor, his crying, and her subsequent lowering of stridency of questions — all pointed out to a man under grave stress. And all of this is attributed to MbS? Where woul be his interest in this? Cannot come to resolution of war in Yemen, nor can he back off in Qatar, leaving wider role to Egypt. He is already signaling the changing role if relugion, being more open to other religions — a sign of recognition how ISIS attrocities have damaged Saydi Arabia by its religion, Wahhabism, being closely assiciated with the ISUS cult. And not just there — Wahhabi preachers snd humanitarian aid to Egypt have almost resulted in a civil war between the Mislem Brotherhood and Saudi funded Salafi parties. And military was forced to sacrifice Moslem Brotherhood and placate the millions of poor Salafis radicalized by Saydi influence. But Egypt adroitly exploited Najaf’s arrogance by demanding three islands. Egypt courts were involved, and a tremendous anti -Saudi mood created in Egypt among thise same Salafis thst Saudi Atabua was buying.
    With all this going on at home, and repositioning the country abroad — it is very hard to believe that Saudi Arabia concocted Hariri kidnapping. Now that a head of Lebanese Moronite church is invited by MbS — in itself a good sign for intolerant kingdom — there may be some clarity on Hariri status. MbS will not challenge neicons nor Israel in their key pisitions, Iran or Hezbollah. But the question is — his father, the King who suddenly has no dementia, to cut a deal with Russia in range of issues — what kind of strategic geopositioning is in the works. It is only in this light that strange happenings are swirling about Harriri, as thise kn the lising end are here jn Washington — and to them a new conflict looks like a solution. But if they sre trying to encourage Israel to start yet anotjer Lebanese adventure — this can backfire spectacularly. Hariri kidnapping unified Lebanon, with everyone from Christian President to Hezillah Speaker of the Parliament ir Hezbollah lleader himself, demanding that he be allowed to come home. The change in Saudi Arabia has been long overdue — and us deeper then it looks. And the opposition to change this course will have to demonstrate its strength politically in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states— not by a bag of cheap tricks, but by. a fundamental social and economic trends in their societies. Monarchies for all their power iver institutions are mire vulnerable to popular approval then democracies. Unpopular Elites in democracies rule by deception, while monarchies would have to resort to oppression. Gulf monarchies are ferling their Sell By date is coming — and are anxious to rebrand themselves. They will as a result, take their stick in foreign policy as well. Their disastrous support for armed “regime change” in Syria, and continuous adherence to Washington line made them look ridiculous, weak and damaging to economy. Something will change — neocon bag of tricks us inadequate to the challenge. Saydi Arabia us niw enjoying the spectacle if Congress being unable under neocon pressure to get out if Yemen war. Say when, MbS us saying to US — do not out blame in me that you started and want to cintinue — while blaming me. Because when I decude what ti — you will not suddenly become unhappy with my decision. Thus anytime now! Hard line is maintained — where are you?
    Simething siilar is shaping on Iran. Let us see what Congress does.

  4. Chumpsky
    November 13, 2017 at 19:33

    MbS is trying to take control over a House of Saud that is flailing in all directions and consolidate it into a sustainable force that can 1) set an example, and 2) lead the Arab people.

    He is a man of moderation who desperately wants to bring Saudi Arabia into the 21st Century (a la Muhammad bin Mahathir’s strategy of remaking Malaysia in the 1980s and 90s).

  5. Z54
    November 13, 2017 at 12:23

    The only thing stopping the US and Israel from going all out and trying to takeout Lebanon, Syria and Iran is Russia. Unfortunately, the morons running the US Government still think the US has the power and money to rule the world economically and militarily. Fools!

  6. elmerfudzie
    November 11, 2017 at 20:32

    Despite the, all to many, moving parts in this article, I still can’t believe that this latest, “spastic fit” in the middle east is catalyzed by long term Zionist agendas, Wahhabism, Sunnis vs Shia or any regional hegemonic quest(s) of a military nature. CONSORTIUMNEWS readers need to keep their eyes focused on the proverbial ball; Oil, gas and pipelines. These three issues (commodities and the distribution systems of same) still lack a long overdue, international treaty binding second and third world producers to an energy “Magna Carta” In simple terms, everyone agrees to equal shares of the “oil pie” trade. Trade that feeds the EU and far eastern economies. ASIDE: If I ever saw a brand new catalyst opening the door to WW I I I, it’s the blockchain technology of Bitcoin V.S. fiat currencies, dominated by the six major banks (-sters), Federal Reserve Boards and World Bank. Exchanging raw commodities for the equivalent in USDs, gold backed yuan or Euros will be traceable from end-to-end. Thus, no corrupted officialdom or brokers or individuals can “steal” or glean from exchanges without being in full view and subject to prompt and dire consequences! Well, back to my original point, the oil pie would be divvied out (perhaps) in proportion to the strength of their individual GDPs, or to demonstrate a critical need. Examples; build economic infrastructure s: roads, bridges, dams, communication systems and so on. The BRICS, SCO, GCC, African and Western Occident interests (whatever is left of the seven sisters and their corporate architectures, BP Shell, Chevron, ET Al..) .would bring a proposal to the UN and then the document quickly finalized by the world members–BEFORE we all blow ourselves up and turn this blue marble in space into a black cinder ball!

  7. backwardsevolution
    November 11, 2017 at 17:14

    Another take:

    “In the U.S. there are entities who will be severely hurt by the action of the Crown Prince because the Saudi people arrested were financing their corrupt political operations in Washington, D.C. The impacted list includes:

    Deep State swamp dwellers in D.C. John McCain, Jeff Flake, Chuck Schumer, Bob Corker, Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan, and every member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Arms Committee. Those committee members just lost millions.

    The Bush and Clinton clans. Every member within the family of the Bushes and Clinton’s were on the receiving end of hundreds of millions.

    The Obama family and the fundraisers for the Obama Library. The arrest of these Saudi officials and influence agents will wipe out the top tier of their finance operation.

    Left-wing ideological media companies, including social media outfits, and some Machiavellian media groups like Fox News and the Wall Street Journal. They too were funded by, or partly owned by, participants and influence agents within the Saudi group that was arrested.

    Billionaire globalist, and “Mr. Wall Street”, Rupert Murdoch.

    Any State Department entity that supported the Muslim Brotherhood and its various affiliated enterprises. Including CAIR and more than a dozen NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations).

    Dozens of K-Street offices. The lobbyist industry writ large has just lost a major source of funding and influence money.”

    • Abe
      November 11, 2017 at 17:50

      Interesting how all those “Deep State swamp dwellers in D.C.” have leading roles in the pro-Israel Lobby: John McCain, Jeff Flake, Chuck Schumer, Bob Corker, Nancy Pelosi, Paul Ryan, and every member of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and Senate Arms Committee.

      • November 11, 2017 at 20:32

        The zionists will simply demand more money from the US and pickup the bribery tab that the saudis have been paying…we just cant cut our own throat fast enough it seems…glad im not a farmer in southern Lebanon right now…

      • backwardsevolution
        November 12, 2017 at 04:50

        Abe – you’re right. At least Corker and Flake have thrown in the towel, not running again. McCain’s health is going to end his reign of terror. ISIS is being chased out of Syria. Three or four top members of the Federal Reserve are out the door – or almost. The rats are fleeing the ship.

        Clinton is going down. When she does, she will take Obama, Holder, Lynch, Comey, Mueller, Rosenstein down with her.

        The rest of the rats will scatter too (Schumer, Pelosi, Graham, Ryan).

        Draining the swamp has to be done slowly and carefully, lest you get eaten.

        One can dream.

  8. phil
    November 11, 2017 at 15:06

    As a Canadian male recently very interested in geo-politics I am hoping fervently that Saudi arabia and all other countries with extreme views on things are reigned in and shown their place. It is my absolute belief that had Russia not stepped in in Syria then the middle east would have been lost for another 50 years. All countries should have a military capable of defending their borders more than that. It sounds naïve I know. It is always the civilians who pay the price. If politicians want war then their children should be the ones first committed to battle…watch the violence drop off then. Cheers

  9. Mark Thomason
    November 11, 2017 at 11:41

    “to be transformed from a sleepy, declining kingdom, into an instrument for blunting Iranian power”

    Describes what Israel wants done, not what the US needs. This is all Israel, all the way through.

    If it fails, it will upend everything the Israelis have used to assert their influence. They’ll lose too. They are betting their house too, whether they realize that or not.

    • dahoit
      November 11, 2017 at 13:45

      yep.What can you say to their influence.

  10. mike k
    November 11, 2017 at 10:27

    Is anything good going to come from all this ferment in the middle east, for the 99.99%? The answer is obvious isn’t it? Death and poverty for us – fun and games for them.

    • LJ
      November 11, 2017 at 14:43

      War never benefits the poor people who have to die because the rich want more, more , more with no risk in the future. What loss is the sacrifice of peasants, the indebted, the uneducated, the impoverished or just plain stupid people. It does not hurt the ruling class in Modern Times. The Ruling Class doesn’t sacrifice and neither do the Banks that support their aims. And the Ruling Class never pays even when they lose and the other guys win. It’s the poor, The People that have to pay . The crazy thing is that everybody knows this, except some mouth breathing, barbecue eating, white trash Southerners but still the Beat Goes On.

  11. j. D. D.
    November 11, 2017 at 09:43

    Whatever is going on in Saudi Arabia is perhaps too early to judge. But one thing is certain, that is the role of London in the whole affair. Since its artificial creation during WWI by the British, marrying the House of Saud to the Wahabist clergy, the Saudi royals, for which the country was named, have increasingly been merged into the financial, social and political life of the UK’s highest circles, including Britain’s own Royal family. So looking simply to President Trump, Jared Kushner, or Netanyahu, without taking into account the British role is not going to tell the whole story.

    • turk 151
      November 11, 2017 at 14:55

      The British don’t leak, there is no first amendment in the U.K. They are deeply involved, but you never hear about them.

      When it is time for a dodgy dossier, call The British, but you notice how nothing is being said about their role in the whole affair.

      Even Israel is held to account more than the British.

    • Abe
      November 11, 2017 at 18:29

      “Israel” is written all over a number of dodgy dossiers:

      “an early draft of what would become the dodgy dossier making the case for war […]

      “The word ‘Israel’ was written in the margins of the draft document by an unknown – but presumably senior – hand. It referred to a sentence which said of Saddam’s Iraq: ‘No other country has flouted the UN’s authority so brazenly in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.’ The implied meaning of the margin note was well articulated by a senior Foreign Office official, Neil Wigan, in trying to argue for its suppression – that ‘the person who wrote it believes that Israel has flouted the UN authority similar to that of the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein’.”

  12. Liam
    November 11, 2017 at 09:12

    Massive White Helmets Photo Cache Proves Hollywood Gave Oscar to Terrorist Group

    “Now You See Me” – Over 100 White Helmet Self-Posted Facebook Images Expose Fake Humanitarian Group as FSA Terrorists Linked with Al-Qaeda

  13. backwardsevolution
    November 11, 2017 at 08:20

    Alastair Crooke – good article. It’s so hard to know what’s going on. Tom Luongo has another take:

    “Bin Salman’s moves have been stunning in their severity and swiftness. But, if you are going to move against the most powerful people in the world, act fast or be destroyed.

    There is a full-court press on to bring to light the extensive corruption of our political class from Washington to Tel Aviv, Brussels to Beirut. And while barred from openly coordinating policy or even talk with each other, Putin and Trump are supporting each other’s moves while looking like they aren’t.

    The status quo in Saudi Arabia is over. It’s bin Salman’s country now. Thank Putin and Trump for this. The old alliances between it and Israel are now out in the open, creating cognitive dissonance in a whole new class of people. It’s reach into governments around the world has been severed.

    Hundreds of billions in assets frozen. Dozens of family members jailed, many major donors to the corrupt-to-the-bone Democratic National Committee.

    A major pillar of U.S. control atomized with the arrest of Prince Alaweed.

    The coincidence cannot be ignored. Everything happens in politics for a reason.

    And for every pundit confused by what is happening, worried that this is a prelude to regional war I remind you that there are always multiple interpretations of the same events. Such is the grist for history’s mill.

    For example, that missile fired from Yemen at the Saudi capital conveniently had ‘proof’ of its Iranian origin. Was this bin Salman’s false flag or someone else’s?”

    By the way that Trump patted Putin on the back, shook his hand, stood next to him, all smiles, it didn’t seem to me that the U.S. was too unhappy with the way that things were unfolding. If true, Israel will be the loser.

    • backwardsevolution
      November 11, 2017 at 08:44

      Maybe Trump is a good actor, or what the above author says might be true:

      “Trump went out of his way to greet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vietnam at the beginning of APEC, despite intense pressure for him not to do so. Again, why?

      Is this the behavior of a man about to go to war? Be impeached?”

      I remember how Obama stared Putin down when he was made to look the fool (or maybe he was just acting too?). I didn’t see worry on Trump’s face – or anger.

      • Brad Owen
        November 11, 2017 at 09:16

        Go back to Trump’s campaign: friendly, cooperative relations with Russia and China, NATO obsolescence, (implying the end of geopolicitical gaming in general), president of USA, NOT the whole g@dd@mn World, get America back into manufacturing, etc… All of which got him in deep doodoo with the Deep State and its imperial Washington Concensus. He is more warmly received by Putin and Xi than the Washington/Wall Street Establishment…and Xi’s BRI is the wave of the future, like a New Deal/Marshall Plan for the whole World, USA included, which will give Trump the means to deliver on his promise to essentially rebuild America. Big picture is that the World’s problems can now be realistically solved when all three Great Powers, USA, Russia, China, are on the same page. This outcome, BTW, will put Trump up in the top rank with Washington, Lincoln, and FDR…what a hoot, the character assassination op isn’t working.

        • Bob Van Noy
          November 11, 2017 at 11:49

          Brad thanks, I think you got it, at least, I hope so…

        • dahoit
          November 11, 2017 at 13:48

          Great post.

    • Claudius
      November 11, 2017 at 12:40

      Yes, how rich is S Arabia today? Isn’t there a temptation for MbS to pull the Bibi trick and let US pay the big bills for coming Wars?

    • Paranam Kid
      November 11, 2017 at 13:36

      An interesting take. Thanks for sharing.

    • Virginia
      November 11, 2017 at 14:18

      Back, you’ve expressed my interpretation, and my hope.

  14. Realist
    November 11, 2017 at 08:19

    Sunnis and Shias have been living cheek to jowl in the Middle East since their great schism in 632 AD. Neither side is yet extinct after a millennium and a half of blood-letting. Why does Mohammed bin Salman think that 2017 or 2018 is the time to settle all family business, as if that were even possible?

    No matter how many Shiite countries he drags into a greater Middle Eastern war will settle the issue, it will only get a monstrous number of Lebanese, Syrians, Iranians, Iraqis, Yemenis, Saudis, and probably many Jordanians, Turks, Egyptians and even Israelis killed. Every city in the region ends up looking like Aleppo or Mosul and recovery by the survivors takes forever as even the rich countries claim to be pauperized.

    Honestly, the Saudis cannot crush the Yemenis even with American assistance, and they want to pick a fight with both Lebanon and Iran? If things truly spiral out of control and Washington is foolhardy enough to enter the fray as an ally to bin Salman and provoke Russia in the process, the whole world may be doomed. Do the Wahabists suffer from the same “End Times” delusion that Christian fundies think they see prophesied in the Bible? What’s the motive to pursue mutual suicide?

    If the elder bin Salman floated such a war between his country and Iran during his recent visit to Moscow, I’m sure Putin gave him a great big “nyet.” Hopefully, the international intrigue is only meant to sow confusion as the younger bin Salman solidifies his internal power within the kingdom, with important people who otherwise might oppose him rallying round him against external “enemies.” We’ve seen that card played time and again by Washington.

    • LJ
      November 11, 2017 at 14:36

      Realist , Remember Archie Bunker used to tell Polish jokes? How stupid are they? Well any and all Poles could beat Saudis in any game that requires any thought whatsoever on any level unless the Saudis were allowed to have Foreign Nationals play for them as dual citizens like instance,former Prime Minister Said Hariri in Lebanon.. This was not a desperate gamble. The young Prince has plenty of advice and help from his uncle Sam.

    • Christopher Sopko
      November 12, 2017 at 10:39

      You make a lot of interesting points, but do you have any suggestions as to what the US should do in such a situation? Sometimes we need to make a decision and take action out of a bunch of bad options. Honestly, I certainly don’t have the answer and I am just curious to hear some other ideas. Thanks!

      • Sam F
        November 12, 2017 at 23:02

        The US should be using its economic power and diplomacy with other superpowers to encourage all sects and groups in the Mideast toward peaceful reconciliation. Warmaking and major injustices should result in embargoes and economic sanctions. Military power should be used only under UN control with reasonable assurance of maintaining peace.

        The crazy chessboard games of our tyrant leaders have destroyed the position and reputation of the US. If we had built the roads and hospitals of the developing world since WWII, we would have lifted the poorest half of humanity from poverty and would have no enemies, a true American Century. Instead we have murdered ten million innocents and ruined the lives of a hundred million with no benefit whatsoever.

        The problem is the corruption of our institutions of democracy by economic power. We need amendments to restrict financing of mass media and elections to limited individual contributions. But without those tools of democracy we cannot restore democracy peacefully. Every branch of the federal government is utterly corrupt at the highest levels. Our Congress, executive, judiciary, and mass media are utter prostitutes to gold. Democracy cannot be restored without paying the full price of overthrowing aristocracy, and this will likely be the highest price every paid.

        Your move.

        • Realist
          November 13, 2017 at 07:00

          I’ll bet that’s what most of the American people think our government does… because they are constantly told that lie. According to the narrative, it’s our “enemies” who refuse to play the game right.

        • Christopher Sopko
          November 13, 2017 at 08:24

          I certainly agree with you that the US government often jumps into these situations with a flex of our military might, but I doubt that diplomacy and “encouragement” alone will truly solve the problems in that part of the world. Again, I am no expert, but it appears to me that a large part of the issues stem from the basic beliefs held by Sunni’s and Shia’s and each of their interpretation of one true god and one true religion. Certainly, many things come into play, but there is a strong belief that they are fighting for their “souls” (and frankly for the souls of the unbelievers as well) through their religious doctrine and politics. Unless this type of thinking dramatically changes then it will never allow them to effectively deal with other cultures and religions in a rational way. Sadly, this type of on-going, religious fundamentalism is taught to many people in that part of the world through their schooling at a very young age and helps to perpetuate a radical way of dealing with the rest of the world.

          The encouraging thing on the surface, is that the new Saudi ruler has identified this and claims that one of the reasons for his push to consolidate power is to try and stop this type of fundamentalist mass education and brain washing from continuing. He seems to realize that it has been one of the primary reasons why peace has been so elusive in the Middle East and why so much terror stems from this part of the world. I think he also recognizes that the corruption and self serving hierarchy in Saudi Arabia was standing in his way of fixing the situation, which is why he claims he is taking these dramatic measures.

          Of course, it all can be a smoke screen against yet another simple grab at power, but at least he has actually implemented a few liberal changes in his kingdom including allowing women to drive and attend sporting events. These may seem like innocuous things to many of us in the west, but they represent a huge change in the social, religious and political structure of Saudi society.

          Again, I look forward to reading other thoughts on this subject…thanks!

    • November 13, 2017 at 16:03

      The KSA is Bombing, among others the Houthis, the best destroyers of Al Qaeda in Yemen.

  15. Dr. K
    November 11, 2017 at 08:17

    Alastair, you forgot the most important part of why this will work. People in their souls want freedom. Deep down, people do not want oppression. The young will see this through. The old and rigid will be shocked.

    Watch and learn.

    • Sam F
      November 11, 2017 at 08:48

      Progress is not generational; such ideologies divide and conquer for wrongful purposes.

      • Dr. K
        November 14, 2017 at 19:31

        70% of Saudi’s population is under 40 – the demographics alone make these changes the changes of the young.

    • Bob Van Noy
      November 11, 2017 at 11:44

      Dr. K and Sam F. Great exchange. I’m most certainly no geostrategist, but I’m currently reading Jefferson Morley’s book “The Ghost” about James Jesus Angleton, his back room power, and assumptions, and about what he thought was happening in geopolitics. At least in Cuba, he missed by a mile the desire for a young generation to secure their freedom from oppression both political and economic. It appears more clearly as documents and personalities are exposed from the bureaucracies they represent; that their biases were stronger than the “system’s” ability to discern what was actually the situation. Unfortunately they were powerful and wrong. A terrible combination.

      • Sam F
        November 11, 2017 at 17:01

        Yes, all observers, institutions, and viewpoints benefit by broad exposure to ideas and self-criticism to rejuvenate their thinking. One of the reasons that progress sometime seems to be generational is that the wrongdoers in power are usually the older wrongdoers, and active revolutionaries are younger, so revolutions often displace older with younger, but younger wrongdoers arise unless the good people of all ages are united for progress.

        • Bob Van Noy
          November 11, 2017 at 19:11

          Excellent comment Sam F. Thanks…

  16. Christopher Sopko
    November 11, 2017 at 08:16

    This is an interesting article and explanation of the rationale behind what is currently going on with Saudi Arabia in the middle east. It has certainly addressed a few of the questions that have been rumbling around in my head so thanks for the piece.

    What I would like to have you comment on (if possible) is to describe what other options Saudi Arabia might be using in order to remain relevant in the middle east. How can they offset the influence that Iran and Russia are now enjoying in this part of the world? It appears that we are well on the way to pushing ISIS out of the area, and if I am not mistaken much of this is due to the efforts of Iran, Russia and the USA.

    There certainly may be ulterior motives behind MbS’s interest in becoming more moderate, but isn’t moving in this direction still a good thing? We have been faced with different fundamentalist interpretations of Islam from the Sunni’s and Shi’a and it has created a lot of terror and destruction in the Muslim world and for those of us who live in the west.

    While it is certainly a risky move, it seems to me that we might want to support these efforts instead of criticize them. I am certainly no expert, but it seems to me that moving away from such fundamentalist ideas is one of the major things that needs to happen if we will ever resolve these conflicts and perhaps bring a new level of peace to the region and much of the world. Thanks!

    • Sam F
      November 11, 2017 at 08:47

      So far I see little evidence of Saudi moderation in the continued support of Wahabbi jihadists in Syria and western Iraq, the genocidal embargo of Yemen, and the threatening of Lebanon. Moderation would imply real cooperation with the Shiites, peaceful diplomacy to ensure the rights of Sunnis in Iraq and Syria, and advancing the cause of the Palestinians against Israel.

    • November 11, 2017 at 11:08

      “It appears that we are well on the way to pushing ISIS out of the area, and if I am not mistaken much of this is due to the efforts of Iran, Russia and the USA.”
      The wahabist gangs bent on genocide in Syria and Iraq are indeed being pushed out, but the list of organizations which is making this a reality does not include the USA. The USA belongs on the list of organizations lamenting that their creature’s demise at the hands of the Syrian Arab Army, and the Iraqi militias with the assistance of Iran, Russia, Hezbollah.
      This Idea that the USA is opposing their wahabist pets anywhere in the world is laughable. The wahabist serves the USA like some rabid dog the USA unleashes upon it’s victims. Latin America is certainly lucky to not have a significant Ummah to exploit and radicalize … we had to invent the reds in order to destroy their democratic institutions and replace them with our brand of fascist corporate military regimes.
      NO Sir! Strike the USA from the list of countries opposing those wahabist creatures bent on genocide wherever we raise them. Creatures which are disposable once having served their purpose, or we bomb them for the cameras.

      • Dick Tater
        November 11, 2017 at 13:29

        Common?! Is that really you? I feel as if I haven’t heard from you in forever. Perhaps it’s time for a family reunion…

      • Dave P.
        November 11, 2017 at 13:59

        Common Tater – Very true. I agree.

      • Christopher Sopko
        November 12, 2017 at 10:37

        I agree that this is a complicated issue and the loyalties of the Saudi’s have been strange at best. It does appear, however, that you are disavowing anything and everything the US has done over the past few years to try and defeat ISIS. Am I missing something?

        • November 13, 2017 at 15:50

          Yup. The USA publicly ignored KSA,Qatar and Turkey’s formation and support of Da’esh and there has been no indication of the USA opposing that support or formation.. The USA failed to halt Da’esh until Russia was destroying Da’esh.

  17. fudmier
    November 11, 2017 at 04:44

    The “…..” Department has deemed Sunni Wahabbi leadership a failure because it failed to consolidate control and it failed to coordinate function over the competing social, religious and economic variables that constitute the Middle East. Hence a regime change. The Sunni nations reorganization act has passed.
    A new Franchisee has been appointed. Hopefully one able to coordinate, control and manipulate the relative political strengths of the “….. ……..” controlled nations. The total human power within a licensed Franchisee owned state must be better concentrated (federalized) and coordinated (propagandized) and made powerful enough (militarized) to coordinate the theft of the oil from the rest of the middle east (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Turkey, Yemen, etc) Why is this important?
    Low priced ME Oil has made LNG from the states non-competitive. In order to make LNG marketable global oil and gas prices must be raised or oil and competing gas from Russia, Iraq, Syria and Venezuela eliminated from the global market or forced to raise their prices in line with the needs of the LNG suppliers.

    After all the oil and gas extraction, refining, and trade must go on no matter the middle east. Nation franchisees failing to surrender their nations oil and gas and other natural resources to private mostly external enterprises, or that cannot protect the private corporate oil and gas enterprises while extracting, producing, or refining and marketing oil and gas within the nation will be replaced. Nation state franchise holders are expected to find within the nations they are licensed to operate, the money and means to acquire and maintain overwhelming power (OWP) sufficient to assure the national rule of the franchisee to be always sufficient to protect the foreign private interest operating within their respective franchised states. Trump said it best “the other nations must be made to pay for their own protection”.
    Franchisees are expected to coordinate the frustrations and to manipulate the beliefs of the people within the national franchise; such that, no group within, can become powerful enough, to organize a coup from within (the divide and conquer strategy), and Franchisees are expected to develop sufficient security to keep competing interest out. Necessary also it is to save from interference the private corporate natural resource programs (oil and gas, opium, gold-silver, etc.), as well as the privatized service empires (electricity, public transportation, water, sewer, etc.) operating within the Franchisee (nation state).

    “Now, in the wake of their failures in Syria – in which they went to the limits in search of victory – they seek another spin of the roulette wheel – in the hope of recouping all their earlier losses. It is, to say the least, a capricious hope.” I wish AC had been a little more clear as to whom he meant when he said “THEY”?

  18. geeyp
    November 11, 2017 at 02:30

    Perhaps Iran can whisper into Netanyahu’s ear to go away for a long while. I feel he is easily swayed if whispered to in certain ways.

  19. Abe
    November 11, 2017 at 01:21

    “As the regional divide between Iran and Saudi Arabia widens, Lebanon has suddenly found itself on the front lines.

    “While this escalation has been brewing for some time now, its intensification could already be detected a week earlier in a series of laws passed by the US House of Representatives. Among these was a bill that mobilised international law’s human shields clause to deepen US sanctions against Hezbollah. The bill, however, does much more than simply expand sanctions and should thus be understood within the context of the changes in US foreign policy under US President Donald Trump.

    “Introduced by Republican Representative Mike Gallagher, the ‘Sanctioning Hizballah’s Illicit use of Civilians as Defenseless Shields Act’ […] requires the president to ‘identify and impose sanctions on foreign people or entities affiliated with Hizballah that he determines have used civilians as human shields or have provided, tried to provide, or facilitated the provision of material support to that terrorist group.’

    “Two points are particularly noteworthy about this bill.

    “First, Israel’s signature is everywhere. The bill’s rationale for deepening the sanctions is Hezbollah’s potential threat to Israel and its citizens rather than to the United States. The information about Hezbollah’s weapons and ostensible use of shielding strategies was supplied by Israeli intelligence, which, as we have shown elsewhere, has played a crucial role in spreading the accusation of human shielding in the region.

    “Second, the unprecedented use of human shields as a foreign policy tool has a duplicitous character. Even if one were to take the bill’s human shielding argument at face value, Hezbollah’s alleged use of human shields is not new, and there is no apparent political reason to add a new layer of sanctions against the organisation at this historical juncture. A close reading of the bill reveals that its main target is actually Iran and not its Lebanese ally.

    “The use of the human shields argument by the House of Representatives to deepen sanctions must be understood within the context of an international consensus – which includes both the US and Israeli militaries – that the Iran deal is good and that the Islamic Republic is fulfilling its obligations towards the deal.

    “President Trump, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are the outliers, scrambling, as it were, to find new weapons to unravel the Iran deal. This time their supporters in the House have pulled international law’s human shield clause out of the hat.

    “Their objective is to inject a new moral argument against Iran, one that insinuates that the Islamic Republic promotes the violation of the laws of war and therefore the deal’s fifteen-year prohibition from enriching uranium and engaging in, or research on, spent fuel reprocessing is insufficient.

    “Human shields are thus being put to use by warmongers who wish to open the door to military confrontation.”

    ‘Israeli’ legislation on Hezbollah in the US Congress
    By Nicola Perugini & Neve Gordon

  20. Joe Tedesky
    November 11, 2017 at 00:53

    It looks to me to be a classic example of, ‘when in times of desperation people do desperate things, as everything appears to demand a solution reached by desperate measures’.

    We may possibly be living through a time of a great sea change in our geopolitical 21st Century world. I being no economist contemplate China’s power of a raising yuan, and wonder to how this will effect the U.S. dollar. Will China insist that the U.S. trade only in yuan, and what if China dumps it’s investment in the U.S. dollar at the same time? Is the U.S. already overwhelmed with it’s overworked global network of operations? Are we witnessing only the beginning of a Saudi Royal Family feud, and a family feud destined to only end in a violent bloody coup? Will we ever find out the real power behind the Zionist, and why Israel seems to have so much power over its chosen allies? If Netanyahu fails will Israeli’s such as Miko Peled then lead the way to an all inclusive Palestine/Israel one state?

    So much to watch, and with so many moving parts, to only keep a old news junkie busy. Thank you consortiumnews for the integrity, and honest objectivity your site has to offer me, for I only require the truth, as you so attempt to provide. Joe

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 11, 2017 at 02:20

      Gordon Duff explains the mechanism of the ‘stink tanks’, and their influences over the Middle East.

      • Ol' Hippy
        November 11, 2017 at 13:21

        Thank you Joe for mentioning China. While the US is screwing around in the ME, China is rapidly going about quietly doing the measures to ensure their welfare. We need to step back and reassess the situation.

        • Joe Tedesky
          November 11, 2017 at 13:36

          You are right Ol’ Hippy. The U.S. needs to get inside the real reality of the world, and quit with it’s self made image of what the U.S. try’s to enforce. Dumping the 7 nation’s in 5 years Oded Yinon Plan would be a marvelous beginning to a happy ending, but I won’t hold my breath waiting for this to happen anytime too soon. Good to hear from you Ol’ Hippy. Joe

    • Joe Tedesky
      November 11, 2017 at 02:48

      Raúl Ilargi Meijer gets down into it about what’s happening with Saudi Arabia…

      • November 14, 2017 at 07:34

        Thanks for that link to Meijer’s article, Joe. I can’t kick any holes in it.


    • tina
      November 11, 2017 at 21:41

      Hi Joe

      I am not dumb, but I really want to know what are the objectives that the Saudis, and Israelis, and Iranians , and of course the UK, and USA , want to achieve? Global dominance does not make sense. They have that already. Resources, Money, Subjugation, ..The one percent already have that. I just do not understand. Help me.

      • Mateo
        November 12, 2017 at 11:57

        Haven’t you seen Chronicles of Riddick? Keep what you kill.

      • November 13, 2017 at 13:47

        The pentagon declared policy is global full spectrum dominance.

      • November 14, 2017 at 08:17

        @ tina: “Global dominance does not make sense. They have that already. … I just do not understand. Help me.”

        Probably a thousand plausible answers to that, but the one that works for me is to rework your second sentence as” “They *had* that.”

        The post-Cold War Superpower phase of history is coming to an end. U.S. power and the U.S. dollar were overextended. A multi-power world is emerging as more natives in more lands become restless simultaneously than the U.S. is able to control.

        To get a grasp of this, I high recommend reading an article on how the petrodollar worked.

        Then enter into your calculus a few more facts such as:

        * At the beginning of this year, 45 per cent of foreign exchange transactions globally were being handled in currencies other than the U.S. dollar.

        * Russia and China have been accumulating vast reserves of gold.

        * China announced a few weeks ago that it would begin paying for fossil fuel imports only in a special issue of yuan that would be immediately redeemable in gold.

        * The result of the above is that the dollar’s purchasing power is being brought down and the end of the U.S. ability to pay for enormous military expenditures is in sight.

        * The classic realism school of U.S. foreign policy ended when neocons largely representing Israel’s interests took over U.S. Mideast foreign policy. The change was perhaps quintessentially framed by Michael Ledeen: “Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.” The U.S. attacked a succession of natural resource-rich Muslim countries in the MENA (Mideast and Northern Africa) region, not to mention in Ukraine.

        * That period perhaps ended when the Syrian experience — with the Assad government remaining in power — showed that U.S. such attacks could be thwarted.

        The petrodollar had a long run as fiat currencies go, but it’s coming to an end. The entire house of cards built upon it is coming down, along with the military power it funded. Now there is not much more than the minions of the western banksters taking a series of increasing desperate measures attempting to prolong the petrodollar system, but more and more people are realizing that this is not much more than the dying twitches of the dinosaur’s tail. As many have said, it’s analogous to arguing about the positions of the deck chairs as The Titanic goes down.

        My 2 cents.

  21. Seamus Padraig
    November 10, 2017 at 23:50

    There’s something that bothers me about the ‘MbS is out for blood’ narrative, namely: If he’s looking to cause trouble because his defeat in Syria, why buy S-400 ABMs from the Russians? Why let the Chinese start paying for their oil in yuan? Those seem more like gestures of conciliation to the other side. Or does he really think he can buy some ‘right’ to go after Lebanon? And if so, how is he going to do that? As Crooke noted, MbS can’t even handle neighboring Yemen. And the Israelis? Is he expecting them to handle Lebanon for him? But look what happened to the IDF the last two times they went after Lebanon: they got their nuts handed to them on a silver platter! I doubt the Izzies will want to relive that.

    • Paranam Kid
      November 11, 2017 at 13:15

      MbS is not “leting” the Chinese pay for their oil in yuan. China is SA’s biggest customer, and China has said that only suppliers who are willing to acept their gold-convertible yuan as payment will be allowed to continue supplying, all others will be bid farewell.

    • LJ
      November 11, 2017 at 18:29

      The Chinese told Saudi Arabia that they were no longer willing to pay in dollars. Saudi Arabia cannot make China but Saudi Oil and there is an oil glut world wide and a surplus of oil has lead to a decline in revenue for Saudi Arabia due to lower prices at the worst possible time. This has hurt US enemies like Russia, Venezuela and Iran but it has also hurt Saudi Arabia. They ha mismanaged the lower price for oil worldwide that was a result of increased US production of oil through fracking at every possible turn,.. Saudi Arabia needs China to buy it’s oil but Iran and Russia can easily make up for any loss that th Saudis could inflict and this would hurt Saudi market share and push them into recession. Saudi Arabia is a pimple compared to China, they are the supplicants. China manages the relationship to it’s own advantage. Keep in my that the USA is pushing conflict with China over the South China Sea and oil reserves figure prominently. China could well become an oil exporter in the next 20 years. Saudi Arabia just made a stupid move meanwhile they are still conducting a genocidal war in Yemen.

  22. David G
    November 10, 2017 at 22:59

    The singular fact that the planned next royal succession from Salman to MbS will be the first from father to son since the death of Abdulaziz seems to me to add a whole other level of uncertainty to what is already a difficult time for the kingdom.

  23. Zachary Smith
    November 10, 2017 at 22:28

    And in the shadows, at the back of the gaming room, stands Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. The idea of going to the casino was his, in the first place. If the hero lands on black, he will share in the joy, but if it is red … never mind: Bibi’s home is not forfeit.

    At first glance it looks to me as if Netanyahu wins any coin flip, whether it is “heads” or “tails”. No matter what happens, Saudi Arabia is going to be severely shaken up, and chaos in surrounding Muslim nations is almost always a “plus” for Israel.

    But at second glance I imagine I can also see a downside. The Arabian Peninsula has a hefty population, and if the Kingdom here does shatter, there is a possibility that an Arabic Napoleon could emerge. During the time of Muhammad there was an outward-moving crusade, and might it not happen again? Saudi Arabia may not have much of an army at the moment, but that could change quickly. A glance at a world globe shows Israel to be very close by. This sort of thing would cause me to lose sleep if I were an Israeli strategist.

    At the moment the KSA is being taken over by a young numbskull, if all the accounts I’ve read are even remotely true. Perhaps Israel is providing the brains. The Moon of Alabama blogger has a low opinion of the young man.

    Saudi Arabia – This “Liberal Reformer” Is An Impulsive Tyrant


    • Sam F
      November 11, 2017 at 08:32

      Yes, the Israel/US/KSA/UAE subversion of KSA neighbors with Wahabi jihadism appears not to have sought “a New Middle East in the Western mode” but has created an unstable jihadist insurgency whose return KSA it has long feared. MbS will be lucky if they stay in eastern Iraq and Jordan at the new US insurgency bases, and may have set the stage for a KSA collapse. If he instead aimed the jihadists at Israel and sought rapprochement with the Shiites, he might stabilize the Mideast and live long to celebrate.

  24. Sally Snyder
    November 10, 2017 at 22:05

    Here are some cables that Wikileaks released showing us how the Saudi royal family tries to control the world’s media:

    The Saudi Royal Family has bottomless pockets when it comes to controlling negative press coverage.

    • Sam F
      November 11, 2017 at 08:22

      Zionists control nearly all US media; the Saudis have little or no direct control of western media, and no control through advertising revenue. There is almost no mention of the Saudis in western media, and nothing on their culture, no promotion of their people, etc. There are many “bottomless pockets” that do not control mass media. I have seen no evidence of Saudi control; but zionists are now seeking to divert attention to others.

      Do you have any evidence at all of Saudi control?

      • Paranam Kid
        November 11, 2017 at 13:09

        Just a small point: even if there were something about SA, there would be nothing about their culture because there is none. Originally it is Bedouin-based, which means it is nomadic, and all of what there was, was blown away by the desert winds.

      • Dave P.
        November 11, 2017 at 13:45

        Sam F –

        You are one hundred percent right. However, Saudis and Gulf States do pay these Zionist Controlled Thank Tanks, and Media enough dough for not writing against these Kingdoms. The U.S. sells these Kings and Sheikhs the weapons and makes sure they keep their thrones, and also send a good portion of their Nations Wealth to “The West” as a Tribute. Otherwise Saudis and Gulf State Sheikhs have no control over U.S. Media. This arrangement has existed for more than seven decades now.

        • mark
          November 11, 2017 at 18:20

          CNN puts out so called documentaries about Shady Wahabbia, Qatar, Bahrain etc. that are paid for by those dictatorships.
          One of their journalists resigned over this recently.
          CNN and the rest of the corrupt western MSM are bought and paid for like street corner whores.
          In fact, the moral and ethical standards of CNN would make the average street corner whore blush with embarrassment.

      • Tiu
        November 11, 2017 at 19:06

        The Saudi’s (and other anti-democratic monarchs, eg European and Middle Eastern) control things with a long screwdriver via the sharemarket and seats on boards of directors either personally or through proxies.
        I’d concede that bin Talal appears to be in a tight spot at the moment, but the dust hasn’t settled and there’s always Quod Scis Nescis to contemplate.

      • November 13, 2017 at 13:40

        Not the media but S.A. holds a lot of USA bonds.

    • WH
      November 18, 2017 at 00:31

      Useful idiots

  25. Abe
    November 10, 2017 at 22:03

    Israel’s next desperate gamble is direct military attack on Lebanon and Syria.

    On 5 November, the ever more delusional Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu complained to the BBC about an “Iranian takeover” of Lebanon.

    On 9 November, the equally delusional Israeli Intelligence Minister Israel Katz complained to the Associated Press that “Lebanon is Hezbollah and Hezbollah is Iran”.

    Israel is by no means content to merely “contemplate” a war.

    With the rollback of ISIS and Al Qaeda terrorist proxy forces in Syria, and the failure of Kurdish separatist efforts in Iraq, Israel plans to launch military attacks against southern Lebanon and Syria.

    War against Lebanon and Syria is the next stage of the Israeli-Saudi-US Axis “project”.

    Saudi Arabia and the United States are very much available to “assist” the upcoming Israeli military adventure.

    South Front has presented a cogent and fairly detailed analysis of Israel’s upcoming war in southern Lebanon.

    Conspicuously absent from the South Front analysis is any discussion of the Israeli planned assault on Syria, or possible responses to the conflict from the United States or Russia.

    Israeli propaganda preparations for attack are already in high gear. Unfortunately, sober heads are in perilously short supply in Israel and the U.S., so the prognosis can hardly be optimistic.

    “Scenarios for the Third Lebanon War

    Over time, IDF’s military effectiveness had declined. […] In the Second Lebanon War of 2006 due to the overwhelming numerical superiority in men and equipment the IDF managed to occupy key strong points but failed to inflict a decisive defeat on Hezbollah. The frequency of attacks in Israeli territory was not reduced; the units of the IDF became bogged down in the fighting in the settlements and suffered significant losses. There now exists considerable political pressure to reassert IDF’s lost military dominance and, despite the complexity and unpredictability of the situation we may assume the future conflict will feature only two sides, IDF and Hezbollah. Based on the bellicose statements of the leadership of the Jewish state, the fighting will be initiated by Israel.

    “The operation will begin with a massive evacuation of residents from the settlements in the north and centre of Israel. Since Hezbollah has agents within the IDF, it will not be possible to keep secret the concentration of troops on the border and a mass evacuation of civilians. Hezbollah units will will be ordered to occupy a prepared defensive position and simultaneously open fire on places were IDF units are concentrated. The civilian population of southern Lebanon will most likely be evacuated. IDF will launch massive bombing causing great damage to the social infrastructure and some damage to Hezbollah’s military infrastructure, but without destroying the carefully protected and camouflaged rocket launchers and launch sites.

    “Hezbollah control and communications systems have elements of redundancy. Consequently, regardless of the use of specialized precision-guided munitions, the command posts and electronic warfare systems will not be paralysed, maintaining communications including through the use of fibre-optic communications means. IDF discovered that the movement has such equipment during the 2006 war. Smaller units will operate independently, working with open communication channels, using the pre-defined call signs and codes.

    “Israeli troops will then cross the border of Lebanon, despite the presence of the UN peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, beginning a ground operation with the involvement of a greater number of units than in the 2006 war. The IDF troops will occupy commanding heights and begin to prepare for assaults on settlements and actions in the tunnels. The Israelis do not score a quick victory as they suffer heavy losses in built-up areas. The need to secure occupied territory with patrols and checkpoints will cause further losses.

    “The fact that Israel itself started the war and caused damage to the civilian infrastructure, allows the leadership of the movement to use its missile arsenal on Israeli cities. While Israel’s missile defence systems can successfully intercept the launched missiles, there are not enough of them to blunt the bombardment. The civilian evacuation paralyzes life in the country. As soon IDF’s Iron Dome and other medium-range systems are spent on short-range Hezbollah rockets, the bombardment of Israel with long-range missiles may commence. Hezbollah’s Iranian solid-fuel rockets do not require much time to prepare for launch and may target the entire territory of Israel, causing further losses.

    “It is difficult to assess the duration of actions of this war. One thing that seems certain is that Israel shouldn’t count on its rapid conclusion, similar to last September’s exercises. Hezbollah units are stronger and more capable than during the 2006 war, despite the fact that they are fighting in Syria and suffered losses there.


    “The combination of large-scale exercises and bellicose rhetoric is intended to muster Israeli public support for the aggression against Hezbollah by convincing the public the victory would be swift and bloodless. Instead of restraint based on a sober assessment of relative capabilities, Israeli leaders appear to be in a state of blood lust. In contrast, the Hezbollah has thus far demonstrated restraint and diplomacy.

    “Underestimating the adversary is always the first step towards a defeat. Such mistakes are paid for with soldiers’ blood and commanders’ careers. The latest IDF exercises suggest Israeli leaders underestimate the opponent and, more importantly, consider them to be quite dumb. In reality, Hezbollah units will not cross the border. There is no need to provoke the already too nervous neighbor and to suffer losses solely to plant a flag and photograph it for their leader. For Hezbollah, it is easier and safer when the Israeli soldiers come to them. According to the IDF soldiers who served in Gaza and southern Lebanon, it is easier to operate on the plains of Gaza than the mountainous terrain of southern Lebanon. This is a problem for armoured vehicles fighting for control of heights, tunnels, and settlements, where they are exposed to anti-armor weapons.

    “While the Israeli establishment is in a state of patriotic frenzy, it would be a good time for them to turn to the wisdom of their ancestors. After all, as the old Jewish proverb says: ‘War is a big swamp, easy to go into but hard to get out’.”

    Israeli Defense Forces: Military Capabilities, Scenarios for the Third Lebanon War

    • Abe
      November 11, 2017 at 17:08

      “Israel has instructed its overseas embassies to lobby their respective host countries in support of Saudi Arabia and its apparent efforts to destabilise Lebanon, a recently leaked diplomatic cable shows.

      “The cable appears to be the first formal confirmation of rumours that Israel and Saudi Arabia are colluding to stoke tensions in the region.

      “Sent by the Israeli foreign ministry and disclosed by Israel’s Channel 10 news this week, the cable demanded that diplomats […] appeal to the ‘highest officials’ in their host countries to press for Hezbollah’s expulsion from the Lebanese government […]

      “It further called on Israeli diplomats to back Saudi Arabia in its war in Yemen, emphasising that the missile directed at Riyadh required ‘more pressure on Iran and Hezbollah’. […]

      “In a column in Israeli daily Haaretz this week, Daniel Shapiro, a former US ambassador to Israel, argued that the Saudis were trying to move the battlefield from Syria to Lebanon after their failure to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. […]

      “Neither Israel nor Saudi Arabia can afford to get more directly involved in Syria, given Russia’s involvement.

      “Shapiro warned Israel to be wary of Riyadh’s efforts to push it prematurely into a confrontation with Hezbollah, which could rapidly escalate into a regional war.

      “A diplomatic source with long experience in the Middle East said the cable might ultimately prove to be just such a misstep.”

      Israel instructs diplomats to support Saudis: Cable
      By Jonathan Cook

    • Abe
      November 11, 2017 at 17:42

      The pro-Israel Lobby uses Hasbara propaganda tactics and political manipulation to influence elections and manipulate legislation in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and other countries.

      Israel is influencing student, activist and parliamentary groups in the UK, offering financial and strategic assistance in order to shape UK politics:

      An Al Jazeera Investigative Unit undercover reporter infiltrated pro-Israeli groups working to influence UK politics.

      The investigation uncovered a close link between a senior political officer at the Israeli embassy in London, and a network of politicians, activists and analysts in Britain who are sympathetic to Israel.

      For example, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit discovered that the Union of Jewish Students in Britain not only received money from the Israeli embassy, but also attempted to oust the president of the National Union of Students, which represents more than four million British university students.

      Pro-Israel Lobby groups make extensive use of the “Anti-Semitic” trope to bully groups and manipulate political leaders.

      The Al Jazeera Investigative Unit six-month undercover investigation reveals how Israel penetrates different levels of British democracy.

    • mark
      November 11, 2017 at 18:13

      Very shrewd assessments as usual from AC and Abe.
      The usual suspects – Jewnited Snakes/ Kosher Nostra/ Shady Wahabbia, are intent on another war in Lebanon.
      This will happen SOON.
      It will not go well for any of them.
      It will escalate uncontrollably beyond Lebanon.
      It will be a bigger defeat for the Kosher Nostra than 2006.
      It will lead to the collapse of the regime in Shady Wahabbia.
      It will lead to the fall of Trumpenstein.

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