President Trump and his son-in-law bet that the young Saudi crown prince could execute a plan to reshape the Mideast, but the scheme quickly unraveled revealing a dangerous amateur hour, writes ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.
By Alastair Crooke
Aaron Miller and Richard Sokolsky, writing in Foreign Policy, suggest “that Mohammed bin Salman’s most notable success abroad may well be the wooing and capture of President Donald Trump, and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.” Indeed, it is possible that this “success” may prove to be MbS’ only success.
“It didn’t take much convincing”, Miller and Sokolski wrote: “Above all, the new bromance reflected a timely coincidence of strategic imperatives.”
Trump, as ever, was eager to distance himself from President Obama and all his works; the Saudis, meanwhile, were determined to exploit Trump’s visceral antipathy for Iran – in order to reverse the string of recent defeats suffered by the kingdom.
So compelling seemed the prize (that MbS seemed to promise) of killing three birds with one stone (striking at Iran; “normalizing” Israel in the Arab world, and a Palestinian accord), that the U.S. President restricted the details to family channels alone. He thus was delivering a deliberate slight to the U.S. foreign policy and defense establishments by leaving official channels in the dark, and guessing. Trump bet heavily on MbS, and on Jared Kushner as his intermediary. But MbS’ grand plan fell apart at its first hurdle: the attempt to instigate a provocation against Hezbollah in Lebanon, to which the latter would overreact and give Israel and the “Sunni Alliance” the expected pretext to act forcefully against Hezbollah and Iran.
Stage One simply sank into soap opera with the bizarre hijacking of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri by MbS, which served only to unite the Lebanese, rather than dividing them into warring factions, as was hoped.
But the debacle in Lebanon carries a much greater import than just a mishandled soap opera. The really important fact uncovered by the recent MbS mishap is that not only did the “dog not bark in the night” – but that the Israelis have no intention “to bark” at all: which is to say, to take on the role (as veteran Israeli correspondent Ben Caspit, a columnist for Al Monitor, put it), of being “the stick, with which Sunni leaders threaten their mortal enemies, the Shiites … right now, no one in Israel, least of all Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is in any hurry to ignite the northern front. Doing so, would mean getting sucked into the gates of hell” (emphasis added).
The Syrian Defeat
Let us be clear, the so-called Sunni Alliance (principally Saudi Arabia and UAE, with Egypt already backing off) has just been roundly defeated in Syria. It has no capability whatsoever to “roll-back” Iran, Hezbollah or the Iraqi PMU (a Shiite militia) – except by using the Israeli “stick.” Israel may have the same strategic interests as the Sunni Alliance, but as Caspit notes, “the Saudis are interested in having Israel do the dirty work for them. But as it turns out, not everyone in Israel is as excited about it.”
Caspit calls a prospective clash between the Sunni Alliance and the Iranian-led front “a veritable war of Armageddon.” Those words encapsulate Israeli reservations.
This refusal to “bark” (in the famous Conan Doyle account of Sherlock Holmes) somehow knocks the blocks out from under Kushner’s “grand plan” because if Israel is opting out, what is there left to talk about? Israel precisely was the “stick” in Trump’s plan too. No stick: no Sunni Alliance roll-back of Iran; no further Saudi normalization with Israel; no Israeli-Palestinian initiative. MbS’ clumsiness (“reckless[ness]” a US official has called it) has pulled the rug out from under U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Why did Trump gamble so heavily on the inexperienced Kushner and the impulsive MbS? Well, of course, if such a “grand plan” had indeed worked out, it would have been a major foreign policy coup – and one done over the heads of the professional foreign policy and defense echelon who were excluded from it. Trump then would have felt himself freer to ascend above the Establishment tentacles: to attain a certain elevated independence and freedom from his “minders.” He would have achieved his coup through family channels, rather than be officially advised.
But, if it sinks into farce, and MbS becomes regarded in the U.S. as a maverick, rather than a Machiavelli, the (slighted) “system” will exact its revenge: presidential judgments will stand devalued — and ever more in need of justification and “minding.”
MbS (and Kushner) may have hurt President Trump in a much wider way therefore: the failed bet on the untried MbS may leach into other spheres – such as, in consequence, U.S. allies’ openly questioning the soundness of Trump’s North Korea judgments. In short, the U.S. President’s credibility will bear the consequences for his falling for MbS’ spin.
There is, to be fair, much that is fanciful (even sycophantic) in the Western treatment of Saudi Arabia (President Trump is not alone in his thrall of things Saudi): the very notion of Saudi Arabia transforming itself into some muscular, “modern” regional powerhouse that can stare down Iran, in itself, would seem a tad unrealistic, yet this is widely accepted among U.S. commentators. Yes, the kingdom has little alternative but to transform as its oil dividend approaches expiry, and that may well mean, in theory, wrenching the kingdom onto a new course.
But defining exactly how the kingdom can re-invent itself, without tearing itself apart, is likely to be much more complex than advocating some superficial embrace of “Western modernity,” or that of combatting “corruption.” These are red herrings: the family is the state; and the state (and its oil wealth) is the family’s. There is no boundary, or demarcated frontier, between state and family. The latter enjoy the privileges and perquisites of birth (depending on proximity, or distance, from the throne). And perquisites awarded or appropriated, reflect only the monarch’s power-needs that serve to sustain his absolutism. There is no “damned merit” or equity in this system, nor was it ever intended.
What then can the term “corruption” mean in such a system? Saudi Arabia does not even pretend to a level, rules-based playing field. The law (and the rules) simply are what the king says, or signs, day-to-day.
What “corruption” used to mean, when Europe earlier “enjoyed” such a similar absolutist system, was clear enough: you had got in the king’s way, that is all that “corruption” implied. So, if the outside world thinks that MbS is moving Saudi Arabia towards a Western modernity, then they must mean either that MbS is planning the jettisoning of “the family” (the 15,000 princes of the blood royal), or he’s moving towards some constitutional monarchial set-up, and a rules-based society of citizens, rather than subjects.
Nothing in MbS’ actions suggest that he is moving in that direction. Rather, his actions suggest that he wants to recover and restore the absolutist aspect to the monarchy. And the modernity that he is seeking is of the type that you buy, virtually ready-made, ready to be assembled from its box. In short, the plan is to buy an industrial base, “in a box,” off the shelf, to make up for depleting oil revenues.
Vision 2030 tells us that this well-packaged, high-tech, “industrial base” is supposed to yield $1 trillion’s profit per annum, if all goes well … eventually. That is to say, it is intended as replacement source of income: precisely to support “the family” – and not displace it. It is not therefore “reformist” in the Western notion of modernity being “equality before the law” and of protected rights.
Well, this type of non-organic, high-speed industrialization is not so easy to graft into society (if you are not Josef Stalin). It is expensive and, as history also tells us, is socially and culturally disruptive. It will cost a lot more than the reported $800 billion which MbS hopes to “recover” from his detainees (through physical coercion – some 17 have been already been hospitalized, in consequence of their treatment in detention).
But, if it is not to Westernize the economy, why then are so many senior family members needing to be “got out of the way”? This part of the “grand plan” relates perhaps, to the reason why MbS wanted, so much, to “woo and capture” President Trump (as Miller and Solkosky put it). MbS is frank about this: he has been telling President Trump that he wants to restore the kingdom’s former grandeur; to be again the leader of the Sunni world, and the guardian of Islam. And to do that, upstart Iran and the Shi’i revival must be knocked back down into subordination to Saudi leadership.
The difficulty is that some in the family would have opposed such adventurism against Iran. MbS seems to be pursuing a notion similar to that adopted by the neocons: i.e. the Kristolian argument that you can’t make (or restore) a “benevolent hegemony” omelet without breaking a few eggs. And as Miller and Sokolsky noted, Trump “didn’t take much convincing” — MbS’ vision intersected precisely with his own imperatives (and animus towards Iran). Trump duly tweeted his endorsement for the Saudi “corruption” crack-down.
And here lay the third leg to the “grand plan”: Israel would be “the stick” for the Saudi-UAE-U.S. alliance against Iran (Hezbollah was to be to be its peg for action). Saudi Arabia then, in return, would move to recognize the Jewish State, and Israel would give the Palestinians “something”: a “something” that might be called a state, even if it was much less than a state. The U.S. and Saudi Arabia would co-ordinate in pressuring the Palestinians to accept the U.S. proposals for a “settlement.”
Why did it go so wrong? Exaggerated expectations of that which each other party could realistically implement. Believing each other’s rhetoric. America’s love affair with Saudi royalty. Kushner’s family ties to Netanyahu. Wishful thinking on the part of Kushner and Trump that MbS could be the instrument to restore not just the Saudi kingdom as America’s “policeman” in the Islamic world, but even the American-led order in the Middle East, too.
Maybe Jared Kushner believed Bibi Netanyahu when he hinted that “normalization” of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel would witness reciprocation in Israeli concessions to the Palestinians (when in fact, the Israeli security cabinet has already vetoed the concessions – well short of a state – that were being discussed in this connection)?
Maybe Jared believed MbS when he suggested that he could mobilize the Sunni world against Iran – if America and Israel backed him (when even Egypt opposed destabilizing Lebanon)?
Maybe MbS believed that Trump spoke for America when he offered to support him (when in fact, he spoke only for the White House)?
Maybe MbS thought that Trump would rally Europe against Hezbollah in Lebanon (in fact, the Europeans have prioritized Lebanese stability)?
And, maybe MbS and Kushner thought Netanyahu spoke for Israel when he promised to be a partner in the front against Hezbollah and Iran? Was it the “grand plan” that was affirmed between Netanyahu and Trump on the day before the latter launched his United Nations broadside at Iran in September? When in fact, while any Israeli Prime Minister can wage war against the Palestinians with a relatively free hand, the same is not true where the state of Israel itself is being put at stake. No Israeli P.M. can commit to a possibly existential conflict (for Israel), without having broad support from the Israeli political and security establishment. And the Israel Establishment will only contemplate war when it is plainly in the Israeli interest, and not merely to please MbS or Mr Trump.
Ben Caspit (and other Israeli commentators) confirm that the Israeli establishment does not see war with Hezbollah, and the risk of a wider conflict, to be in the Israeli interest.
The fallout from this episode is highly significant. It has exposed that Israel presently is deterred from contemplating a war in the region (as Caspit explains). It too has underlined the hollowness of MbS ambitions to mount a “Sunni Alliance” against Iran; and it has undercut President Trump’s containment policy for Iran. For now, at least, we may expect Iran and Russia to consolidate the state in Syria, and to stabilize the northern tier. Caspit’s “war of Armageddon” may yet arrive – but not for now, perhaps.
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.
Regardless of the accuracy of this self published analysis, this is some of the worst political writing in the world this week.
More evidence that, in fact, Iran is a closer putative ally to the West and USA than the insane (and Medieval) Wahhabist Saudis and the Zionists of Israel.
This is ALL insane. This is the living religious battle Sunni vs. Shia akin to the wars of Catholics and Protestantism. And of course International M.I.C. Capitalism has a large hand in its promulgation….
btw, note that the vast part of the dastardly international terror is coming from the “rightwing” or Conservative Sunni Wahhabist sects: ISIS, Taliban, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, etc… and the Shia/Sufis are limited to regional resistance in the exhibition of groups (legitimate resistance group arguably as opposed to the former I just listed) like Hezbollah…
Thanks, Alastair Crooke for a very interesting piece and humorously written too – reminding me of Robby Burns’ wonderful observation: “the best laid plans o’ mice and men, gang aft aglay”……
I’m quite tired of imbeciles thinking they can play chess with human lives just because they’re sitting on some golden throne for the moment…..
I’m also quite tired of the west’s view that a diverse multicultural country of 80 million Iranians must play the role of enemy.
How is that possibly the case?
Bush was criticized for his amateurish “Axis of Evil”.
We behave like school yard bullies. The fat cats profit from the wars, hide their loot from the tax collector and leave overburdened working people to pay the bills and risk their lives on horrific wars that make this country less safe.
This is not, IMO, just left vs right; or muslim vs non muslim; or even modernity vs tribalism – it’s about delusional exceptionalism, hubris, miscalculation and an immoral interference in other peoples’ business when we can’t even run this country sanely.
– infrastructure collapsing; corrupt elections; prisons full of people for minor infractions; unaffordable health care; bad energy policy; bad environmental policy…….
Maybe if we can persuade those people who think they know how to run the world to try placing a virtual reality war game machine over their eyes instead of interfering in the lives of ordinary people around the world that they don’t even know, then average people on the ground will figure out how best to solve their own problems…..without tearing each other apart…..
Obama suggested he believed in that – and maybe he helped to encourage the Arab Spring. But he didn’t mean it…….witness his drone killing spree……
[I haven’t read all the comments]
There are several occasions in the text where it is asserted/assumed that it is a ‘Trump plan’ w/Kushner and, casually, mentions how this is also to diss the American Intelligence apparati. It becomes a clue in itself, and lacking any basis except the claim that it would be in Trump’s strategic interest (unlikely to stop the abuse he receives as being the fountainhead of all America’s problems) is used in a garbled context ‘Trump’s plan, Israel as a ‘stick’, MbS’s plan…, all too confused and inconsistent except to conceal the real actors and impetus.
My guess is this is the same old routine the DoD, State Dept,, NSC and all the think tank candy shops always play.
Imagine exploding drones, targeting mobile phones of dissidents and investigative reporters.
Some good news for a change, if Mr Crooke is right.
If everyone was following the news, when Saudi Arabia announced its ARAMCO plans for an IPO, various analysts had predicted the risks around the IPO. What we see playing around is nothing but the risks. Some believe that the ARAMCO reserves may be much lower than cited and the fiscal health of Saudi Arabia may be much poorer than claimed. The Saudi crown prince is panicking as everyone will move in for the kill once they know the real situation. Even the corruption issues were highlighted by analysts and Wikileaks but no one bothered. Expect more fireworks in the region soon.
Saudi ARAMCO IPO – Great Opportunity or Riddled with Risk ?
SAUDI ROYAL WEALTH: WHERE DO THEY GET ALL THAT MONEY?
The US DOE was formed with the express mission of preventing foreign entanglements from interfering with the energy supplies of the US. We are more indebted to outside supplies NOW than when DOE was formed, and in the meantime have funded Islamic terrorism to the tune of over Trillions of dollars (thru oil purchases).
When we invaded Iraq, I speculated that Bush and Rumsfeld did not know the difference between a Shia and a Sunni. History shows that they wanted only a war, to distract attention for the Sauds. Big mistake.
Now Trump (Kushner) has his eye blackened from Shias winning in Syria…Wait! Isn’t Assad an Alawite, and isn’t this faith more Christian than Islamic? but..we are a “Christian” nation? What goes on here?
Taras 77 – We should not forget that in U.S. and The West, we now are living in an Orwellian World! How many Think Tanks and Foundations “The West” has created to disseminate propaganda (The Truth!) to the gullible public for running this Orwellian World. And then there is the whole Corporate Media on board for that function.
With the CIA firmly attached by strings acting as a puppet master.
do you all feel that Russia would just stand by and do nothing for Hez and the Iranians if war breaks out?
No one here suggested that.
I think the answer to that question is context-sensitive in that it depends on the circumstances at the time such an event occurs. In my view, Russian diplomacy is typically very careful, moving only when conditions give a strong likelihood of success.
More Alastair Crooke. He really knows the areas, understands the people and is constructive.
Crooke deliberately left out the entire issue of Israel/KSA attempts to influence the US to start a war in Lebanon. Neither Israel nor KSA would attack Lebanon by themselves. He even praises the diplomacy of Israel. This is nothing more than a whitewash for the zionists.
Crooke lies that the US goal with MbS is “restore… the Saudi kingdom as America’s “policeman” in the Islamic world” when obviously neither KSA nor Israel ever had such a role. He knows that instead the US military has been rented out for less than nothing to the zionists to support their land thefts.
I just happened to see on C-Span Bill Roggio, and Thomas Joscelyn, who are from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and it was mind blowing listening to these two fellows. According to Mr Joscelyn newly FOIA released transcripts of Osama bin Landen’s documents proves that bin Laden and Iran were working together. Here once again we find the Iranian involvement behind the 911 attacks being pushed, as if after 16 years we are to believe that our CIA is only now discovering Iranian collusion with al Qaeda.
The U.S. by following this insane path to Persia nonsense is only getting loss in the woods. Saudi Arabia is spiraling down, while at the same time attempting to put on a show of force. Simply put the Saudi’s are being replaced by ‘fracking’. I would not be surprised that if Israel and the U.S. do decide to invade Iran, that after they get help from the Saudi’s, then after the destruction of Iran the plan will be to take down the Royal oil empire. Good luck (not) with that.
Trump’s trip to Asia, was nothing more than a MIC sales run. Even the Asian countries who are on America’s side still wish to have an open relationship with Russia and China, so who do we Americans think we are fooling? Asia everyday is becoming more of a loss cause.
So with failures, upon failure, one can only wonder to if the American Empire is coming to an end. Oh, but in the meantime let’s convict people for their pass disgusting transgressions, and sentence them to a life of doom without a trail. These witch hunts, whether it be Russia-Gate or a Hollywood sex scandal are more important to uninformed American citizens, but never mind the innocents in far off places who die at the hands of the American made weapons of mass destruction. Then we scratch our heads to why America is such a violent place….really?
Joe, as you note, that claim by an ultra zionist tank is more than a tad dubious; it has been met with derision and skepticism:
Thank you very much Tara’s 77 for the moonofalabama link, you cleared up the FDD agenda fairly well for me. It’s at times like this I wish that what Benazir Bhutto told David Frost back in 2007 about Osama bin Laden being dead was all the more the truth to someday be known…wow, would that be news, or what?
Israel gets special attention. I mean why is it only the Saudi’s who get 28 pages, and not the Israelis? Putin was the first to offer help to George W Bush back on 911, and Iran publicly displayed their sorrow for Americans as well on 911 and offered their assistance, but yet we Americans are prompted every hour and minute day and night to demonize these very first responder caring people….is this America refusing Russian and Iranian friendship, or is this Israel speaking for the U.S.?
To your last question, I would say both. The irrational hatred of all things Russian and/or Iranian defies t o my mind any intelligent explanation. And as we all know, Israel does control congress and to a great extent policies of the admin.
One aspect I failed to mention is that mcmaster and pompeo went to this tank recently for love/pander fest; from press accounts, it was almost worthy of extreme hollywood mutual adulation.
@ “And as we all know, Israel does control congress and to a great extent policies of the admin.”
Let’s not forget that the U.S. Supreme Court now has four Jewish justices, each undoubtedly l vetted carefully by the Israel Lobby.
It’s AIPAC-orchestrated shekels speaking for the US
Kushner/Trump 2020, or Trump/Kushner 2020, the winning team. I adore them
You can blame the refugee numbers on Soros. They were actually going into the camps and drumming up business.
Most of the refugees were perfectly happy in their camps, but they were enticed by dreams of free money and fantasyland; in fact, many wanted to return, said the camps were better than what they found in Europe.
Cite your sources, backwardsevolution.
This tangled web has many weavers – seen and unseen.
“NATO apologizes to Turkey for targeting Erdogan and Ataturk in training exercise
“Turkey’s founding leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan were both listed as enemy targets in a NATO joint military exercise. NATO has apologized for the gaffe and blamed it on an underling.”
Are NATO buddies falling out? See link below:
Turkish President Erdogan Accuses US of Supporting ISIS
Published 17 November 2017 (9 hours 48 minutes ago)
With the Saudi princes and rich relatives behind bars (who were the very people supplying ISIS and pumping money into the Clinton Foundation), where will the Washington elite find a new source of corrupt money? What’s a Clinton to do?
Sigh, that’s pretty much all history. Focus on current events.
But, if you must ask, everyone who plays along is quite able to get funding via the FED (indirectly, of course).
Seer – I am talking “current”. The FED is getting an overhaul too. Times are changing, Seer. The rats are either being imprisoned (there’s hope for Clinton) or fleeing the ship.
Are these Princes the specific ones who supported Da’esh?
wierd scenes inside the gold mine. The “earth island” concept of the 1850’s advanced by the nazis through their agent Jack Philby, co-creator of Saudi might explain some of the chaos. Should this be the case time will tell who controls the people,access and resources in the end. Won’t be boring, don’t forget to duck!
“While Saudi Arabia appears to have the full backing of Trump, the recent purge of top princes, officials, businessmen and military officers has raised concerns the crown prince has overextended himself. The kingdom says it has detained 201 people in the sweeping anti-corruption probe, which MBS is overseeing. The arrests raise the potential for internal strife and discord within the royal family, whose unity has been the bedrock of the kingdom for decades.
The crown prince shows no sign of backing down from the purge either. The government has promised to expand its probe, and has reportedly frozen some 1,200 bank accounts.”
Yikes, that’s a lot of power bottled up! But it was these very people who were aligned with Israel and were paying for ISIS. I see this move as de-escalating Middle East conflict, removing the troublemakers.
“On Monday, the kingdom announced that the Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen would begin reopening airports and seaports in the Arab world’s poorest country, days after closing them over a rebel ballistic missile attack on Riyadh.
The move came just hours after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who shocked the nation by announcing his resignation from the Saudi capital on Nov. 4, gave an interview in which he backed off his strident condemnation of the Lebanese militant Hezbollah, saying he would return to the country within days to seek a settlement with the Shiite militants, his rivals in his coalition government.
The two developments suggest that Saudi Arabia’s bullish young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, may be trying to pedal back from the abyss of a severe regional escalation.
“This represents de-escalation by the Saudis,” said Yezid Sayigh, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut. “The general trend is that the Saudis are going to back off and this is largely because of the unexpected extent of international pressure, and not least of all U.S. pressure.”
I think what’s happening here with the Saudi prince is exactly what happened in Syria – the U.S. is putting a stop to any further escalation!
“I think what’s happening here with the Saudi prince is exactly what happened in Syria – the U.S. is putting a stop to any further escalation!”
As far as Syria goes it was Russia that put a stop. Any continuance by the Saudis, Israelis and Americans would be seen as purely naked aggression. Total loss of any international support: and, of course, they’d have been pummeled.
One day we will look back and realize just how big Russia’s push-back in Syria was. I believe that all other neocon/Zionist plans were upended at this battle point.
Seer – yes, I was taking it as a given that Russia put a stop to the annihilation of Syria. But I believe that Trump also has worked behind the scenes to make sure that that happens.
I think Trump is also working behind the scenes with the new Saudi prince who has taken out the very Saudis who were working with Clinton and the Washington neocons.
“I think Trump is also working behind the scenes with the new Saudi prince who has taken out the very Saudis who were working with Clinton and the Washington neocons.”
Give me a break. Donald Trump isn’t working with the Saudis to oppose “Clinton and the Washington neocons.” Are you really that naive? Here’s a few facts:
-In spite of well-documented Saudi atrocities in Yemen, the Trump Administration has enthusiastically embraced Saudi Arabia as an ally and trumpeted U.S. arms sales as a way to create American jobs.
-Trump chose to “decertify” the Iran nuclear deal in spite of the fact that virtually everyone agrees Iran has been living up to its commitments. This isn’t some nefarious “deep state” plot, Trump has been boasting about doing it on Twitter since well before he was elected President.
-Trump has been doing everything possible to suck up to Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli hard-liners for years. This is the man who campaigned on moving the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Stop drinking the Trump Kool-Aid. Just because he’s less aggressive with Russia doesn’t mean he’s not a warmonger or a closet neocon imperialist. He’s every bit as dangerous as Clinton would have been.
“One day we will look back and realize just how big Russia’s push-back in Syria was. I believe that all other neocon/Zionist plans were upended at this battle point.” @ Seer
Hence the “Russia, Russia, evil Russia” chorus blanketing the US corporate media. Putin has outsmarted the neocon neoliberal masters of the universe in the Ukraine, in Syria and the propaganda wars with RT and this is driving them mad. Putin is a neo liberal oligarch himself and would not tolerate the US dissidents that he features on the RT channel in Russia. This is another tit for tat. The US supports Russian dissidents against the Russian oligarchs and RT gives voice to the anti war genuine left in the US.
Things will change once internet neutrality is revoked early in December. All independent media will be throttled. RT is already been eliminated in the broadcast arena, having recently been eliminated in the Philadelphia metro area. The zionist military industrial congressional complex will impose their narrative on the US public and suppress all independent media including this site. Get ready, Gore Vidal’s prediction of a military dictatorship in the US is about to be realized. Revocation of net neutrality is the first step. It will happen despite overwhelming opposition of the American public.
I think if there ever was such a plan, there are at least two important hurdles that probably prevent it.
One is that probably few people in Israel want a large-scale war in which Israel is involved. Yes, Israel will probably continue to demand that Iranian-backed forces leave Syria – after ISIS/Daesh and Al Nusra etc. have definitively been defeated, there may even be a chance that this happens. But in general, Israel seems to be quite comfortable with the status quo (including ongoing occupation of the West Bank), and Hisbollah and Iran probably have enough means to deter Israeli attacks. With all the rhetoric about an Iranian threat, I doubt that many people in Israel would deem the large sacrifices for such a war that would hardly be in anyone’s interest acceptable.
If Israel started a war, its international position would also be threatened. With the current situation, I doubt that the calls for boycotts and sanctions will have a big effect – on one hand, the occupation of the West Bank with Palestinians living under the de facto control of Israel without having rights as citizens is seen as unacceptable in most of the world, but the general impression is that this is a complex problem – if Israel suddenly withdrew from the Palestinian territory, it would, indeed, be possible that extremists came to power there and would be a threat to Israel, so Israel has a kind of excuse in the eyes of many people for not withdrawing immediately (and actually not doing anything for ending the occupation in the longer term, either). But if Israel started a large-scale war of aggression, it does not seem unrealistic any more that sanctions against Israel would be introduced – probably not by the United States (though calls for boycots certainly would become more popular there as well in the case of a large-scale war initiated by Israel), but possibly by the European Union. Relying on the United States along, and even if starting a war against Lebanon and Iran would help normalizing Israeli-Saudi relations, being so isolated would still be difficult for Israel. The European Union is Israel’s biggest trading partner, and that would be threatened if Israel started a war.
Another hurdle is that the US and Saudi Arabia (whether with Israel or without it) would be isolated internationally. The US was already quite isolated when it decided to attack Iraq in 2003, but then that “coalition of the willing” for the illegal aggression at least comprised some European countries like the UK, Poland, and Spain (with relatively little popular support in these countries). The reaction to the “decertification” of the Iran nuclear deal gives a clear indication that with US attempts to start a conflict with Iran, it would be completely isolated, and there would be no support and not even tolerance for a US war from anywhere in Europe. Even the UK under Theresa May clearly stated that it wants to uphold the Iran deal. There are several reasons why the European governments are so clear about this. Of course, many reject a war from humanitarian reasons. But it also plays an important role that it would not be in Europe’s interest, at all. Although replacing fossil fuels is planned for the long term, for the time being, EU countries depend on importing fossile fuels (to a much higher degree than the United States), and it would be very unwise to depend almost exclusively on Saudi Arabia and liquified gas from the United States. Having Iran and Russia as suppliers is important. This not only concerns EU countries, also Japan wants to do business with Iran. Another important reason why European countries certainly don’t want wars in Lebanon and Iran is that the experience with suddenly rising numbers of refugees in 2015/2016 was quite difficult. It should be taken into account that there are already many Syrian refugees in Lebanon – many Europeans certainly hope, that they will be able to return safely to Syria rather than having to flee both Syria and Lebanon and having nowhere else to go. The EU could try paying countries like Turkey even more for hosting them, but with large-scale wars, the numbers of refugees coming to EU countries would inevitably go up again. Even if that might not be a lethal threat financially, it would be an enormous political threat inside EU countries, and they certainly don’t want to repeat the traumatic experience of 2015/2016 or something on an even larger scale.
The US is quite used to unilateral actions against international law. But starting a war against strong opposition from the whole of Europe and Japan would still be difficult.
“The vision recurs; the eastern sun has a second rise; history repeats her tale unconsciously, and goes off into a mystic rhyme; ages are prototypes of other ages, and the winding course of time brings us round to the same spot again.” – Christian Remembrancer 1845
Not really the same spot. Similar perhaps.
No stepping in the same river twice permitted – Cosmic Law.
That was one of Heraclitus’s better ideas.
I sincerely hope the author is correct with this assessment, but that’s not how I’d bet my money. Israel really wants the water, land, and other resources in Lebanon, and in my opinion the safest way of stealing them is the only remaining question for the little outlaw apartheid nation.
The Netanyahu regime prefers to further weaken Lebanon and Syria militarily, economically and politically in order to minimize Israeli civilian and military casualties in the coming war
Netanyahu is betting on the fact that Lebanon and Syria want peace more than Israel wants war.
There will be war, but Israel wants war on better terms with even more generous support from the U.S.
The Saudis will continue supplying terrorists and alibis for Israel.
Israel wants to drive the U.S. first through the gates of hell. That means no Israel-gate investigations and plenty more conflict with Russia (watch Ukraine, folks).
So far, Israeli-puppet Trump has proven to be fully on board.
I question whether Israel’s leaders have the stomach for much more than a hit-and-run war on Lebanon, if that. Israel’s last attempt at seizing territory in Lebanon resulted in a resounding defeat by Hezbollah and that was before Hezbollah acquired some 100,00 missiles and vast military experience helping defend Syria. Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah has been emphatic that should Israel launch war against Lebanon, much of that war will be fought in Israel itself.
And the Syrian experience has certainly driven home the point that the U.S. no longer has the military upper hand in the Mideast, Russia and Iran do and Hezbollah is a staunch ally of both. How Russia and Iran would react to an Israeli invasion of Lebanon is an unanswered question that provides a strong measure of deterrence against such an event.
There is also the factor of world opinion as Israel is losing the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions battle. Israel’s last invasion of Gaza resulted in a huge boost in support for BDS even in the U.S. because Israel could not stop on-the-ground video news from escaping. Likewise, Israel could not stop similar news emanating from Lebanon: there’s this thing called the Internet …
To boot, I favor the view that Iran and Russia’s victory in Syria made the Zionist’s dream of Eretz Israel go splat and that Israel’s leaders know it.
I don’t like to make predictions; my crystal ball is a 1946 model; it’s 71 years old and has never been reliable enough to instill confidence. But I do see a big cluster of factors that should give the likes of Benyamin Netanyahoo pause when considering war on Syria. He needs to divert attention from his looming criminal prosecution for corruption but I’m viewing his Lebanon bellicosity as more bluster of the type he is notorious for until I see reason to think otherwise.
Paul E. Merrell, J.D., your crystal ball is two years newer than mine and it seems to be functioning quite well… Thanks for the comment.
“Israel’s last invasion of Gaza resulted in a huge boost in support for BDS even in the U.S. because Israel could not stop on-the-ground video news from escaping. Likewise, Israel could not stop similar news emanating from Lebanon: there’s this thing called the Internet …” @Paul E. Merrell, J.D.
This precisely why the Trump administration is revoking internet neutrality. Once this happens independent sources of news and commentary will be eliminated. Once this happens, the wars will begin.
In reality it’s really quite simple. One word. S-400 is the word. It’s changed everything. The empire of chaos can no longer project it’s chaos effectively abroad.
I have wondered just how wide-spread the Russians are willing to see the S-400 become. Imagine if Syria had several battalions. The Israeli’s would have to change their calculus about attacking a country, which although it might not have a strong air force, would be able to fight back pretty effectively.
Will this happen eventually?
November 7, 2017
When the war criminals fallout, will the end come?
Will their use of horrific nuclear weapons blot out the sun?
Will raging fires and smoke cover the earth?
Will all the stock markets lose all their worth?
Is it all going to end with an enormous bang?
The final “work” of the ruling gangster gangs
Will offshore tax havens go up in smoke?
Will their bandit owners be devoid of hope?
Will some cower and cringe and think they are “safe”?
While hiding in their bunkers hoping to escape?
Will any that survive be thankful and anxious?
Will the villains in their bunkers still be thankless?
There will be no escape for the so-called “elites”?
Nobody will grovel anymore at their rotten feet
The burning earth will be all aflame
A fitting end to the rule of the corrupt insane
Sadly, innocent people will also die
The nuclear bombs will silence their cries
Armageddon arrives for one and all.
There is no escape from the Hell that befalls
Corruption and greed will be erased from the planet.
A fitting end for all those that caused it
Nuclear justice sent by their very own hand.
Ended the rule of the villains and the people in every land
“US meddling in the Middle East has not decreased due to ‘energy independence,’ but it has increased. With a greater abundance on the market, American oil companies are even more desperate to remove competitors. The drive to move against countries like Iran, Venezuela, and Russia, with state run oil companies that function as competitors, is even stronger.
“However, the position of Saudi Arabia in this global drive for monopoly is no longer what it once was. The USA doesn’t need Saudi oil the way it once did, and while it has no desire to see competitors sweep up the Saudi oil fields, the ‘sweet spot’ the Saudis once occupied as irreplaceable suppliers, is slipping away. They are no longer sacred cows in American foreign policy.
“Donald Trump openly criticized Saudi Arabia during his Presidential campaign, winning lots of applause and no real condemnation for it. The redacted pages from the 9/11 commission report, documenting the links of the Saudi government to the hijackers, have been released to the public.
“Saudi Arabia is now facing an existential crisis. The Kingdom must prove its value to those who prop it up in Wall Street, London, and Washington. While it no longer has the same economic value, the regime in Riyadh is now working to prove its worth in military terms. […]
“The main target of Saudi Arabia’s saber-rattling rhetoric is the Islamic Republic of Iran. After the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran established a political order based on the principles of ‘War of Poverty Against Wealth’ and ‘Not Capitalism But Islam.’ Iran’s economy is centrally planned, with state controlled oil as its lynchpin. Iran is aligned with various anti-imperialist forces throughout the region who call themselves ‘the Axis of Resistance.’
“Saudi Arabia presents the conflict in the region as a war between Sunni and Shia. In reality, the targets of Saudi attack are the forces demanding independence and economic development. They are not religiously sectarian, or even unified. The majority of the fighters in the Syrian Arab Army are Sunnis, not Shias like the Iranian leadership. The Zaidi Shias in the Ansar Allah (Houthi) organization in Yemen, are a small minority in the country. Most of the Yemenis fighting against the Saudi onslaught are not Shia either. Hezbollah in Lebanon is a Shia organization, but it sits at the center of a united front, aligning with secular anti-imperialists, nationalists, christians and communists in a political bloc opposing Israel and the United States.
“If Saudi Arabia escalates its actions against forces asserting independence throughout the region, this will likely result in more chaos. Syria, Libya and Yemen are already in turmoil due to Saudi meddling, in cooperation with the United States. Iraq and Afghanistan have been in chaos ever since their governments were toppled by US-led invasions.
“Iran has never attacked the United States. Neither has the Syrian Arab Republic. The people of Yemen, the people of Bahrain and Lebanon, pose no threat to the American people. In fact, Hezbollah and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards of Iran are battling the ISIS terrorists every day in Syria, alongside the Syrian Arab Army.
“Wall Street certainly sees more chaos in the region as beneficial. For the billionaire elite that runs the USA, further chaos in the Middle East means lots of weapons sales, and the destruction of independent governments that function as competitors on the oil markets. But for average Americans, the prospects of further instability in the Middle East only means more danger from terrorism, and more tax money wasted on foreign wars.”
Salman’s Shake-Up: Saudi Maneuvers Are Bad For The American People
By Caleb Maupin
Well it has been said quite often that Human intelligence is finite but its penchant for stupidity isn’t…
A MUST READ ARTICLE: SEE LINK BELOW.
CHRIS MURPHY ACCUSES U.S. OF COMPLICITY IN WAR CRIMES FROM THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE
November 14 2017, 7:15 p.m
Senator Murphy very probably wants the stealing and murdering for (and by) Israel done in a more “moderate” fashion. I’ve no indication at all he wouldn’t be perfectly happy to send me to prison for many years for supporting Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions on the nation-state he loves more than the US.
There are reports out of Lebanon this morning that the hostility towards Lebanon from Saudi Arabia is because of a Russian-Lebanese gas pipeline deal. Considering the real estate this could be a revival of the “Shia pipeline” proposal from 2011 that would have run from Iran’s fields across Iraq and Syria. I’m not sure if Lebanon as the terminal point for Iranian gas is any more practical, but by bringing Lebanon into the deal would essentially add another ally in the region. It would put Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon into the Russian orbit and pretty much end the Project for a New American Century petroleum grab.
As for the US’s plans to cut Russian gas off from the European market by installing the neo-Nazis in Ukraine, that seems not to be working and might (with Donald Trump’s climate idiocy) push the US and NATO away from the EU.
When in doubt, follow the pipeline.
For sure, Bob, ALL WARS ARE ABOUT RESOURCES. Ukraine was all about breaking EU reliances on Russian energy. And, of course, all these skirmishes in the ME are also about positioning for control of resources/distribution (with the added objective of pulling along the religious wackos looking to play End-Of-Times- one must have a mind for blood-lust in order to carry this off).
@ Seer: “ALL WARS ARE ABOUT RESOURCES”
Often but not always. E.g., the U.S. war against Viet Nam and other U.S. wars fought to “contain Communism.” See my essay here. https://relativelyfreepress.blogspot.com/2015/03/us-russia-and-ukraine-heartland.html
I doubt that resources are a major factor in US Mideast policy:
1. The US can buy oil from whomever has it like everyone else;
2. China buys more Saudi oil than the US with no Mideast policy;
3. The US sells no resources to the Mideast;
4. the US has no interest in pipelines there, as these do not affect its imports or exports.
The resource issues would therefore affect only KSA et al who can easily export by sea as always.
It is Israel that controls US elections and mass media, and thereby its Mideast policies.
Chomsky states the Wars are about the control of fossil fuels not the availability for USA consumption. USA is to get its fossil fuel supplies from the Atlantic Basin.
YES….follow the pipeline….follow the pipeline that did NOT get built. THAT pipeline was the Saudi/UAE/Kuwaiti pipeline that was to have traversed Syria. There was a problem. Russia didn’t want competition, from Gulf Emirates LNG. Bashar Assad said NO! The Saudis and Emirates unleashed ISIS, which was armed by the Obama state department, via SOS Clinton, sending pillaged Libyan weaponry from Benghazi, to Syria, via Turkey. The Clinton/Saudi/Emirati plan was upended by Russian heavy bombers and crews who didn’t concern themselves with collateral damage in Alleppo, Homs, Deir Azzor, and so on. Forget that the DSyrian Aramy is depleted of manpower. Barak Obama funded the Iranian proxy army with 200-500 billion dollars (who knows HOW much, really?).
“Why did Trump gamble so heavily on the inexperienced Kushner and the impulsive MbS? Well, of course, if such a ‘grand plan’ had indeed worked out, it would have been a major foreign policy coup – and one done over the heads of the professional foreign policy and defense echelon who were excluded from it.”
The foreign policy coup that was waiting for Trump to just pick it up and run with it, upsetting the Beltway consensus to his political benefit and the good of the world in general, was in North Korea. Dumbass naturally couldn’t figure it out.
“And here lay the third leg to the ‘grand plan’: Israel would be ‘the stick’ for the Saudi-UAE-U.S. alliance against Iran …”
In my mind, I hear the collective spirit of Israel saying: “Wait a minute, U.S., you think *we’re* supposed to be *your* stick against Iran? You’ve got that backwards, Yankee: *you’re* supposed to be *ours*!”
No wonder these charming schemes aren’t working out.
The only people who would place strategic bets on incompetent boobs like Trump, Kushner, and MbS, are incompetent boobs like Trump, Kushner, and MbS.
And so it has transpired.
Consequences of deceit “https://friendsofsyria.wordpress.com/2017/11/15/warehouses-full-of-us-made-lethal-weapons-found-by-syrian-army-photos-video/”
I hope you are right about the war with Iran being a no-go for now Mr. Crooke. Your article seems almost air-tight and wholly logical, but affairs in the Mideast, and indeed in the modern world, are so twisted and complex now, that one often ends up crossing one’s fingers and hoping for the best. Everything seems to go smoothly until some player suddenly knocks over the chessboard to everyone’s surprise, and everything is up for grabs once more. The world now is either a paradise or a hell for our commentators and forecasters. Who knows what may happen with nut cases like Donald Trump in possession of nuclear weapons and other means to destroy our world, like pulling out of the climate accords?
mike, what this all signifies is that there is insufficient power via ME alliances to do what the neocons and Zionists want. The US is not willing to go full-in (Iraq et al were military cake-walks- the objectives of ousting leaders was carried out rather easily; of course, it’s turned into a complete mess subsequent, but…). And, as Crooke put it, Israel isn’t looking to move forward on any of this w/o full and total support from the US (read complete US military involvement- WWIII): I’d also suspect that they’d be reticent to move forward on anything that had heavy reliance on Saudi Arabia- “kingdom” of Israel’s future reliant upon the Saudi kingdom? (one only need to say these words to realize the utter ridiculousness of it)
I would like to see the evidence that Trump/Kushner thought that Israel/KSA would act alone against Iran/Lebanon. Neither Israel or KSA seem to have the power to do so alone, and could only create a provocation, as they surely realize. The article seems to assert this scenario as a diversion from the endless Israeli efforts to entangle the US.
You are right Mike, there’s always the unexpected false flag to contend with. A Sarin loaded missile landing on Tel Aviv for example, perhaps coming from Syria or some other provocation which would inflame Israel. The Americans will in no way let there be peace in the middle East and they have a lot of special forces roaming around the place who could easily pull something like this off. Its not will or even could it happen, its when where and how it will happen.
I have one issue against the thrust of this author’s premise; That Israhell is cautious, logical, restrained and EVEN moral!!!
Have I missed something In this Zionist whitewash ? I don’t think so.
Well, they had to have done something right in order to effectively control the entire US government, no? (while getting billions in free money)
Good point Abby.
Abby? You mean Abby Martin, formerly with RT, now TeleSur, is that the one you mean?
……said he who despises all things Jewish. after you attend the Friday stonings, and the Saturday honor killings, and Sunday concentration camp atrocity re-enactments, what is it that you do tom decompress, prior to the subsequent Friday, mein Herr?
Herr, Berkowitz. You should take a closer look at your brethren.
Donald Trump has no other agenda than repealing the estate tax to save his family a billion $$$ in taxes after he passes to that great casino in the sky. Nada, zilch. He is a cipher obsessed with one thing and one thing only, $$$$$. All else is pretense.
Isn’t this what the word “pikers” was coined for?
“According to four-star General Wesley Clark, shortly after the attacks of 9/11, the Pentagon adopted a plan to topple the governments of seven countries; Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.”
Darius Shahtahmasebi, January 27, 2017….
Is it now Iran’s turn to be subjected to the planned and hellish wars that have already engulfed Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan and other countries? Will, the gates of hell be further opened to include an attack on Iran?…
[more info at link below]
I think that the Big Plan was derailed by Russia: stalled out with Russia’s intervention People, once again, failed in their assessment of Russia’s capabilities and interests.
The US could no more upend Iran against the wishes of Russia than Russia could upend Canada against the wishes of the US.
Article of interest at link below:
Saudi Arabia Wants to Fight Iran to the Last American
November 15, 2017