geopolitics

The Voluntary Exchange Podcast: Arabian Nights

This is the story of a major shift in Saudi Arabian policy abroad. I think.

Background

The purge that took place last week has to be seen through the viewpoint of it’s geopolitical ramifications. Saudi Arabia is doubling-down on it’s “shadow” war with Iran, this time in a more public way. From blaming a missile strike from Yemen on Iran, or actively working with the Israelis to isolate Hezbollah in Lebanon (to cripple Iran).

The Saudi regime dates back to WWI, when the house was one of many clans that worked with the British is its fight against the Turks. Later on, FDR made a deal a the end of WWII to protect the Saudi Royal Family if the US had access to Saudi oil. This deal stands to this day.

The Crown Prince selected the “corruption” purge with a purpose. Beginning at a meeting in 2014, elements of the Royal Family planned to oust the current king, King Abdullah. At that meeting, Prince Bandar was relieved of his duties. This might not have been evident at the time, but this was the start of the Saudis separating even more from the radical, Islamist elements of the family. Prince Bandar was shown to have helped fund the 9/11 hijackers, and has been known as one of the links between the royal family and the jihadists they fund outside of The Kingdom.

The plan was for a power-sharing to take place between three power groups:

  • King Salman & Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

King Salman took over after the death of King Abdullah. Earlier this year, the crown prince, Prince Nayef, was replaced by King Salman’s favorite son, Mohammed Bin Salman. Recently, King Salman created an “anti-corruption” committee and placed his son in charge. This purge is a result of this committee, with the Crown Prince focusing on the family of former King Abdullah and the former Crown Prince.

  • Prince Nayef

The previous Crown Prince, Prince Nayef and his son have become targets by Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS).

  • Prince Miteb

Prince Miteb is the favorite son of King Abdullah. The head of the National Guard, he is supported by the ultra-conservative, old guard of the family. The National Guard in Saudi Arabia is seen as a “parallel” force to the military. To some, the military is seen as a puppet force of the US puppet regime. This is the same element that supports Al Qeada and pushes Wahhabism. The National Guard itself was created by the fonder of the House of Saad. The original members were former tribal warriors or “Mujahedeen”.

Prince Miteb has been arrested in the current purge.

Outside of the “power-sharing” agreement that went to hell, another name you will see in the coverage is Prince Al-Waleed Bin Talal. Bin Talal has major stockholdings in Twitter, Lyft, Citi, 4 Seasons and previously Newscorp. He has been arrested along with other members of the media.

The Crown Prince has had the bank accounts of the arrested frozenprivate jets grounded, and in some cases physically assaulted. There has been two dead princes since the purge, one in a helicopter crash, another in a fire-fight.

Bin Salman has been busy outside of the Saudi Arabia also. His recent visit to Israel helped plan the recent breakdown of politics in Lebanon. The Prime Minister there stepped down live from Riyadh, stating that Hezbollah has taken over the country and “declared war on Saudi Arabia”. The president of Lebanon is seen has in Hezbollah’s pocket, so things in Lebanon will escalate.

The Prince also has been in charge of the war in Yemen, and his US overlords have made it clear that they want Iran isolated. This moves in Lebanon by Saudi & Israel and the double-down in Yemen are the two moves to keep in mind moving forward. The second part of this new policy is the attempt to marginalize the extremist elements within the family and the habit of funding terrorist groups. This was most likely asked of the new Crown Prince by Trump and Tel Aviv.

The upcoming tension in Lebanon and the blowback of any policy to crackdown on Wahhabism locally should be the storylines readers (and listeners) following in the months ahead.

Episode can be found here. The full episode archive can be found here and on ITunes.

Sources:

Image Source: 1 ,2345

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Episode: Sanctions, What Are They Good For?

Russia-is-suing-Ukraine-for-1-billion-dollars

In this episode, I discuss sanctions and how they are sold to the general public. The recent sanctions placed on Russia (Trump’s trade war with China) are just the latest imperialist move from the United States Government….allies & common man be damned. I also touch on the US public’s rejection of the “Anti-Boycott Israel Act” and the continued selective outrage from the left in terms of the Trump presidency.

CHECK OUT THE PODCAST HERE!
Image Source

Sources:

Russian PM: “The U.S. Just Declared Full-Scale Trade War On Russia”
Collateral Damage
69% Oppose AIPAC’s ‘Israel Anti-Boycott Act’
Trump Says U.S. ‘Losing’ Afghan War in Tense Meeting With Generals
Trump To Launch Trade War With China On Friday, Beijing Vows Retaliation
Trump: “Thank Congress That US-Russia Relations Are At All-Time And Dangerous Lows”
FOIA Dump Reveals Collusion Between Lynch, FBI And Media To Bury Bill Clinton Meeting
How Russia Could Strike at the US in 5 Simple Maps

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Episode: A Game of Thrones

In this episode I update you on the situation between Turkey and it’s NATO allies, especially Germany. I cover the protests at the Temple Mount in Israel, and point out that India and China both have nukes and don’t like each other very much.

Episode Link

Photo credit

Sources

Mahmoud Abbas freezes contact with Israel over al-Aqsa
Six Killed, Hundreds Wounded as Violence Rages Across West Bank
US Urges All Nationals In North Korea To “Depart Immediately”, Bans Tourists From Visiting
Trump Ends Covert Aid to Syrian Rebels Trying to Topple Assad
Trump’s DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana
Germany overhauls Turkey policy
Germany continues war of words with Turkey, reviews arms sales
Turkey has over 680 German firms on terrorism black list: security source
Billions Of Lives At Stake As China Threatens India With War After “Blatant Sovereignty Infringement”

Episode: 20 Years in Prison for Boycotting a Foreign Government

I wasn’t planning on this episode. But an article over at The Intercept prompted me to drop everything and dive into this story: The US Congress has a bill, with support, to make it a felony to join any movements with the purpose of boycotting Israel. It carries a fine of 250k and up to 20 years in prison. Such a violation of the 1st Amendment.

So in this episode I break down this law, and the influence of the Israeli lobby behind it. I give some backstory of the Israel lobby in this country and how it’s interests are not Americans interest. No matter what DC tells you.

I also follow up on the Turkey-NATO split and the revenge killings in Mosul.

Episode link

Picture source

Content sources:

Revenge Attacks Grow in and Around ‘Liberated’ Mosul

A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm

AIPAC Still Our Biggest Foreign Agent

US Imperils Nuclear Deal With New Iran Sanctions

Why Isis Fighters Are Being Thrown Off Buildings in Mosul
Netanyahu: Israel Opposes Cease-fire Deal Reached by U.S. and Russia in Southern Syria

Pentagon Furious After Turkey Leaks U.S. Base Locations In Syria

Moral Opposition to the Occupation: It’s Stories From Israel Like This That Shape My Stance

Not much to say on this topic, that’s a lie. I have a lot to say, but my emotions get the best of me to be honest. The hypocrisy of an occupation, complete with racist settlers and ghettos, being perpetrated by members of THE traumatized ethnic group of the last century (and the militate support for their actions) on another population is really too much to discuss calmly. So, what I like to do is set the scene. There have been books written, documentaries made, whole websites dedicated to covering the unbelievable situation that has unfolded over the past 50 years.

Below is just a small section of an article I came across today from Haaretz, an left-leaning Israeli news organization. The article is about a group of conservative, American Rabbis, who took a trip to Hebron, West Bank, in the Occupied Territories to see for themselves what is taking place there. For some it was a return trip, for others it was their first time. The full article is worth a read, the section below describes what can be seen there:

Hebron is the only Palestinian city in the West Bank that has an Israeli settlement located within it. A total of about 850 Israelis (including about 200 yeshiva students, who are not full-time residents) live here among 200,000 Palestinians – among them, some of the most radical and violent settlers to have emerged during a half-century of occupation. To make sure that the city’s tiny Jewish population is protected, hundreds of Israeli soldiers patrol the streets here.

But even this very conspicuous military presence is not enough, as the rabbis on the tour soon learn. To avoid friction between the two hostile populations, Israel has imposed heavy restrictions on the movement of Palestinian residents in what used to be bustling downtown Hebron.

Bubis opens a map filled with a maze of different colored lines to illustrate her point. On roads delineated in purple, she points out, Palestinians cannot drive vehicles. On those marked with purple-and-gold stripes, not only are Palestinians prohibited from driving – they are not allowed to open businesses. On roads delineated in red, not only can they not drive or open businesses, they are not even permitted to walk. These red roads, the guide explains, are known in army jargon as “sterile.”

The situation for Palestinians has improved, Bubis acknowledges. Until just a few years ago, on streets where pedestrian movement was allowed, Palestinians were forced to walk down very narrow paths sealed off by barricades. Those barricades have since been removed. And until just a few years ago, along one of the city’s main streets, they were not allowed to exit their homes through the front door. Rather, they were forced to climb up onto their roofs and jump along the roofs of their neighbors to exit through a back way. Those restrictions are no longer enforced either.

This isn’t a political situation. This is a moral one. This is not a right or left issue or agenda, it is a human one. The groups involved make it a “third-rail” within polite political discussion. This I guess I understand, but I do not accept. The only thing rude is pretending this can be explained away.

Business As Usually for the US Empire Under Trump

Now I know it is shocking to read an article title such as this with a Republican in the White House. With all of Trump’s talk of trying not to get bogged down in Middle East conflicts and business of empire, he is doing a terrible job so far.

Save maybe his stance toward Russia, Trump’s administration is continuing to signal that not much is going to change in the next four years.

Starting with his first week in office, Mr. Trump signed off on the raid in Yemen without any intelligence which left civilians dead, including the young daughter of previously slain Anwar Al-Awlaki. This raid was a sloppy mess, producing no usable intel and included even a US casualty; the US Navy Seal Trump attempted to use as a political chess piece at his first speech to Congress.The target of the raid was not even killed, as in early March he released audio taunting the president.

Trump’s next Clinton-like idea came in the form of “safe zones” in Syria. An idea which much like Clinton’s “no-fly zone” would need to be administered over sovereign Syrian terrorist. All to help destabilize the hold the government has on it’s own country there.

Moving to this week, we see the rest of the policy coming into form. I previously wrote about the US airstrikes in Mosul that killed dozens of civilians. Well, that number is now in the HUNDREDS and has been confirmed by coalition forces. Any idea that Trump would be shifting policy in Iraq seemed to go out the window when the man that Trump defers to on all things military, General Mattis, stated that US troops will need to stay in Iraq “for years”. This will not be nation-building Mattis says, but just “stabilization”. We don’t know to pull out like that wimp Obama and create another vacuum for ISIS to fill…

As we move to the African continent, we are introduced to the great military mind US African Commander Gen. Thomas Waldhauser. This genius is petitioning the president to keep US forces in Libya to help combat ISIS, which has a presence of 200 total men in a country the size of the Northeast. This is to help “stabilize” the nation, and also to keep Russia from influencing the government there. Something that is supposed to the job of the United States.

Commander Walhauser also wants expanded presence in Somalia. Doubling down on the Syria-type engagement strategy here. Arming rebels, embedding US Special Forces, airstrikes and drones. This keeps the Marines off the ground and allows for some PR space back home.

As you can see from the laundry list of bad ideas, not much is going to change under Trump. Not that this is shocking to anyone. If anything, it helps to highlight how the empire works. No matter who is sitting in the Oval Office, the policy stays the same.

The only saving grace with Trump was supposed to be his views on Russia and NATO. But even that seems to just be window dressing. Yes, he is annoying our NATO and EU allies with his brash behavior during his meeting with German Chancellor Merkel and his applause for Brexit. But this isn’t keeping his underlings from moving the status quo forward.

Newly confirmed Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley can be found on video threatening sanctions on Russia unless they “give back” Crimea and “leave” Ukraine:

Lets not forget about the rouge-element within Congress in the form of John McCain. Sen. McCain has been cheer-leading for more NATO expansion in eastern Europe, including the welcoming of Montenegro into the alliance. A move that will surely be approved by Congress and the president, no matter what Rand Paul’s feelings are on the subject.

Sen. McCain has become the leading voice for Neo-Conservative, Liberal-Internationalist wing of Washington with Trump in office. Just this Friday, McCain spoke out in Brussels repeating his support for more EU and NATO cooperation in the region. Going as far as to say that the world “cries out for American and European leadership” and that “The New World Order is under enormous strain”. Music to my ears but disaster in McCain’s eyes.

As the Trump presidency continues to unfold, focus at least some of your attention away from the dumpster-fire which is domestic politics, and watch to see if there is any change in the foreign policy of the Empire.

The Reason Attacks Like London Will Not End Anytime Soon – 33 Civilians Dead in US Airstrike in Syira

My reaction to the attack in London today is sure to come with the comments I usually receive: “How can you blame the victim?!” “This is about their religion!” “So you are blaming the US (Britain)!?” Of course, that is not what I am doing. I have become a bit numb to the complete horror of these attacks. I do go directly to the idea of “Blowback” that was introduced by the CIA, and further introduced to me by Ron Paul.

While the mainstream media and extreme left will cover this attack as if it is an irrational attack by an individual from a small minority of an otherwise peaceful culture or religion, the radical viewpoint on this that will come both from the right and left will be to directly attribute this attack to he religion of Islam.

I reject both of these as stated earlier. As I wrote in my previous post, the rational explanation of why these types of attacks take place can be found in the daily news coming out of the Middle East.

I went over to Antiwar.com and read the following article posted today: “US Airstrike Kills 33 Civilians Sheltering in Syrian School“. The article covers the most recent idiotic military operation by the US in Syria. Ready for this? The US airdropped Kurdish fighters into ISIS-controlled Raqqa in an attempt to “liberate” the city. To clear the are for the airdrop, the US first provided airstrikes. One airstrike struck a school housing refugees, killing 33 people according to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The indifference in which we treat these massacres carried out by our governments lead to the lashing out of the violently oppressed. I won’t get into who the refugee crisis in Europe is directly related to the destruction of the refugees’ countries. A six year old can figure that out on their own.

On the surface this is a tragedy in its own right. But the response and reaction by the US military, media and Westerners alike is the real story. Responsibility is not taken for the airstrike, even denial is in the cards. CNN, FOX or MSNBC won’t touch this story.

Because of this, the everyday Westerner won’t have any reaction. There will be no hashtags or profile picture changes.

They will say that this is “the price of empire” or that this is just what happens in that part of world. Well, I can sadly say that attacks like the one in London is the real price of empire, and it too is just what happens in THAT part of the world.

Yemen Kicks Out US Officials

It’s official. Yemen in another country without a US embassy. The coup against the US-backed regime has been completed. The drone program and black ops deployed in the country for most of Obama’s presidency helped create the chaos we’ve seen unfold. Yemen will just be another country forced into waiting arms of Iran (and maybe Russia).

From Zerohedge:

Another US-friendly regime has folded completely, and after bumbling US foreign intervention in Libya and Egypt made the countries into terrorist breeding grounds where Americans are kidnapped on sight or worse, it is now Yemen’s turn: another country in the Middle East whose president until recently was backed by the US government, and which will now be nothing more than civilian casualty fodder for remote-controlled US drones.

  • YEMENI EMPLOYEES SAY US AMBASSADOR IN YEMEN INFORMS STAFF THE EMBASSY IS CLOSING DOWN COMPLETELY, AMBASSADOR TO LEAVE BY WEDNESDAY

For those Americans who are still on location, fear not: you are in good hands:

  • US TO ASK TURKEY OR ALGERIA TO LOOK AFTER ITS INTERESTS IN YEMEN WHILE THE EMBASSY IS CLOSED – YEMENI US EMBASSY EMPLOYEES

And now it’s time for Obama to discuss just how “isolated” Putin really is.

Crash in Oil Prices Not a Result of Market Forces

Zerohedge explains how the crash in oil prices was entirely about the Saudis, Syria, an oil pipeline and Russia’s support for Assad.

back then we wrote about a certain visit by John Kerry to Saudi Arabia, on September 11 of all days, to negotiate a secret deal with the now late King Abdullah so as to get a “green light” in order “to launch its airstrikes against ISIS, or rather, parts of Iraq and Syria. And, not surprising, it is once again Assad whose fate was the bargaining chip to get the Saudis on the US’ side, because in order to launch the incursion into Syrian sovereign territory, it “took months of behind-the-scenes work by the U.S. and Arab leaders, who agreed on the need to cooperate against Islamic State, but not how or when. The process gave the Saudis leverage to extract a fresh U.S. commitment to beef up training for rebels fighting Mr. Assad, whose demise the Saudis still see as a top priority.

In comes Russia. From the NYT:

“If oil can serve to bring peace in Syria, I don’t see how Saudi Arabia would back away from trying to reach a deal,” a Saudi diplomat said. An array of diplomatic, intelligence and political officials from the United States and Middle East spoke on the condition of anonymity to adhere to protocols of diplomacy….
..Any weakening of Russian support for Mr. Assad could be one of the first signs that the recent tumult in the oil market is having an impact on global statecraft. Saudi officials have said publicly that the price of oil reflects only global supply and demand, and they have insisted that Saudi Arabia will not let geopolitics drive its economic agenda. But they believe that there could be ancillary diplomatic benefits to the country’s current strategy of allowing oil prices to stay low — including a chance to negotiate an exit for Mr. Assad….
….”Russia has been one of the Syrian president’s most steadfast supporters, selling military equipment to the government for years to bolster Mr. Assad’s forces in their battle against rebel groups, including the Islamic State, and supplying everything from spare parts and specialty fuels to sniper training and helicopter maintenance.”

The pipeline I mentioned at the start is the one proposed by the Saudis, Qataris and their ally, the US. With support from Jordan and Israel, it would pump Middle Eastern oil directly to Europe, cutting Russia out of the European energy supply game. Geopolitics at its best.

There Is A Coup Taking Place in Yemen

The Shia Houthi rebels from the northern tribal areas of Yemen have finally had their moment. Today they stormed the state-run media and surrounded the presidential palace in the capital city of Sana’a. While their presence in the capital city is nothing new, today marked the first time time the international (western) media took notice. The prime minister’s convoy was surrounded and a cease fire was arranged. The cease fire turned out to be sort lived. CNN confirmed the news early this afternoon on Twitter (#Yemen) and Bloomberg covered the story.

The geopolitical ramifications of this are interesting as AQAP (Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) claim responsibility for the attacks in France. With a full on coup taking place in a gulf state that is historically supported by the Saudis and it’s allies (US), the threat of Iran taking the reign is worry for western imperialists. I’m sure Israel, the neo-con wing of the Republican party and rank-in-file western globalists will be demanding intervention to quell the revolt and bring “stability” back to the country quickly. The ongoing drone operations in Yemen will be ignored or seen as not “tough” enough as the threat of Islamist terrorism fills the news cycle.

The sell will be tricky, as this is secretarial conflict mixed with the endless proxy war between the Saudis & the Iranians. The Saudis will not take this lightly.

The Telegraph article linked above includes a history of the involved factions.