middle east

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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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.

What Happened to the “Khorasan” Threat?

I guess the Pentagon got it’s airstrikes in Syria and now the “threat” used as pretext for them isn’t needed anymore:

“As the Obama Administration prepared to bomb Syria without congressional or U.N. authorization, it faced two problems. The first was the difficulty of sustaining public support for a new years-long war against ISIS, a group that clearly posed no imminent threat to the “homeland.” A second was the lack of legal justification for launching a new bombing campaign with no viable claim of self-defense or U.N. approval.

The solution to both problems was found in the wholesale concoction of a brand new terror threat that was branded “The Khorasan Group.” After spending weeks depicting ISIS as an unprecedented threat — too radical even for Al Qaeda! — administration officials suddenly began spoon-feeding their favorite media organizations and national security journalists tales of a secret group that was even scarier and more threatening than ISIS, one that posed a direct and immediate threat to the American Homeland. Seemingly out of nowhere, a new terror group was created in media lore.”

Source

Same can be said about the “Save the Yezidis” campaign that crashed and burned once it was revealed that:

1) There weren’t hundreds of thousands of Yezidis stuck on a mountain.

2) They didn’t want to leave. They lived there.

3) It wasn’t ISIS, but their Sunni neighbors that were attacking them.

None of this means the campaign didn’t do it’s job. The majority of the American people saw the headlines on CNN and that was enough to convince them (along with a beheading) that America HAD to come to the aid of the poor Yezidis. This is one of the ethnic groups which only found themselves in danger once the 2003 invasion took place and any stability in the country was aborted.

After Pretending to Care About Egyptian Democracy, the U.S. Back to Openly Supporting Tyranny.

Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept does a great job summing up the last 3 years of US policy towards Egypt, and how the wishes of the Egyptian people are the last thing on the list.

Grayson Asks Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Other Nations for Multilateral Forces to Fight ISIS

House Foreign Affairs Committee Member Congressman Alan Grayson (FL-09) wants to know if any of Iraq’s regional neighbors would be willing each to commit 5,000 soldiers or more to a multilateral force, in an effort to fight and defeat ISIS in Iraq. Grayson sent inquiries to the U.S. Ambassadors of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Oman, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, Algeria, and Morocco today.

“Right now, there is no clear plan that would lead to the military defeat of ISIS in Iraq,” Grayson explained. “I think that some plan is better than no plan, particularly if it means that we could avoid U.S. military intervention. If these nations band together to create a multinational force, they could defeat ISIS, and they could do it without U.S. military intervention. This plan would put troops in the field who share the same religion as the local population, can (in most cases) speak the same language, and understand the local culture, rather than troops that would be perceived as a hostile occupying force.”

Grayson’s letter, which requests a response by Wednesday, September 10th, reads, in-part:

“I would like to know whether your nation would be willing to contribute a substantial military force of at least 5,000 soldiers to a multilateral, regional force to fight and defeat ISIS forces within Iraq, subject to the consent of the Government of Iraq.”

Grayson also wrote Iraqi Ambassador and asked whether the country would accept or reject such soldiers to fight ISIS. Congressman Alan Grayson represents Florida’s 9th Congressional District, which includes Osceola County, as well as parts of Orange and Polk counties. He previously served as the U.S. Representative for Florida’s 8th Congressional District in the 111th Congress.

 

Click here to view the letter.

Source

USA Overtakes Saudi Arabia As World’s Largest Oil Producer

So why are we intervening in the Middle East?

 Oil extraction is soaring at shale formations in Texas and North Dakota as companies split rocks using high-pressure liquid, a process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The surge in supply combined with restrictions on exporting crude is curbing the price of West Texas Intermediate, America’s oil benchmark. The U.S., the world’s largest oil consumer, still imported an average of 7.5 million barrels a day of crude in April, according to the Department of Energy’s statistical arm.”

 Why aren’t prices lower?

 “The shale production story is bigger than Iraqi production, but it hasn’t made the impact on prices you would expect,” said Blanch. “Typically such a large energy supply growth should bring prices lower, but in fact we’re not seeing that because the whole geopolitical situation outside the U.S. is dreadful.”

 It’s news like this that should make more and more people realize our adventures in the Middle East have less to do with “American Interests” with each added day. If you included invading countries for oil control “American Interests”. I believe this new round of intervention in the Middle East is more about our ally Israel. In truth, the list of reasons for the last round begins with Israel. The difference this time is it will be sold as such. It won’t be a hidden agenda. No masking this time. In true 1984 fashion, America has to fight in the Middle East because America has always fought in the Middle East.

The world is a scary place when the liberal narrative (partially correct I might add) that the War in Iraq was fought for oil is no longer relevant. We have truly moved into a new stage in the struggle to keep imperial control of the Middle East.

The Age of Blowback.

Source

William Polk’s Take on Iraq 3.0

“The diplomat and scholar William R. Polk (right) first wrote about the Middle East in The Atlantic back in 1958, in an article called “The Lesson of Iraq.”… Now he is back with an assessment of how the United States ended up in the situation it now confronts throughout the Middle East, and what if anything it might do to improve—or at least avoid worsening—its and the region’s prospects.”

Source

Militants Allied with Syrian and Yemenis Caught Planning “Major” Terror Plot on Saudi Arabia Regime

Al Arabiya is reporting that the Interior Ministry of Saudi Arabia has “dismantled” a major terror plot with links to “elements” in Syria and Yemen. These elements included having “direct” contact with the ISIS or Islamist State of Iraq and Syria.

The Interior Ministry stated that the attacks were plotted against “government facilities and foreign interests”.

According to a ministry statement, 62 suspected members of the group – among them three foreigners; a Palestinian, a Yemeni and a Pakistani – were arrested.
 
Among the Saudi detainees, there are 35 who had previously been detained on security-related allegations and released, it said.
 
Members of the organization have “links with extremist elements in Syria and Yemen,” it said, adding that authorities are still hunting down 44 others whose names have been submitted to Interpol.

 
The tribal population of Saudi Arabia and Yemen have for a long time blamed the ruling family of Saudi Arabia as much as they blame the U.S. and Israel for the occupation and exportation of the Arab World.

After a wave of deadly al-Qaeda attacks in the kingdom between 2003 and 2006, Saudi authorities cracked down on the local branch of the group founded by the late Osama bin Laden, himself Saudi-born.

Members of that group went on to merge with Yemeni militants to form al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which is based in Yemen and seen as one of the network’s most formidable affiliates.

The government that original pushed to start civil war in Syria, is now getting its newest round of blowback.