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Posts Tagged ‘Mohammed bin Salman’

Khashoggi trial: Consulate worker was told to ‘light up the oven’ | Turkey News | Al Jazeera

Posted by M. C. on July 4, 2020

As bad as the US government is…

Technician tells Turkish court he was given the orders after Khashoggi entered the building where he was killed.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/07/khashoggi-trial-consulate-worker-told-light-oven-200703180203828.html

A Saudi consulate worker in Istanbul has told a Turkish court he was asked to light an oven less than an hour after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the building where he was killed in 2018.

Zeki Demir, a local technician who worked for the consulate, was giving evidence on Friday, on the first day of the trial in absentia of 20 Saudi officials over Khashoggi’s killing which sparked global outrage.

Demir said he had been called to the consul’s residence after Khashoggi entered the nearby consulate.

“There were five to six people there … They asked me to light up the tandoor [oven]. There was an air of panic,” said Demir.

Khashoggi disappeared after entering the consulate building in October 2018 to get papers for his upcoming marriage.

Some Western governments, as well as the CIA, said they believed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the killing – an accusation Saudi officials denied.

Turkish officials have said one theory police pursued was that the killers may have tried to dispose of the body by burning it after suffocating him and cutting up his corpse.

Skewers of meat

According to his testimony in the indictment, Demir reported seeing many skewers of meat and a small barbecue in addition to the oven in the consul’s garden.

Marble slabs around the oven appeared to have changed colour as if they had been cleaned with a chemical, the indictment reported him as saying.

Separate witness testimony in the indictment, from the consul’s driver, said the consul had ordered raw kebabs to be bought from a local restaurant.

Demir offered to help with the garage door when a car with darkened windows arrived, but he was told to leave the garden quickly, the indictment said.

The indictment accuses two top Saudi officials, former deputy head of Saudi Arabia’s general intelligence Ahmed al-Asiri and former royal court adviser Saud al-Qahtani, of instigating “premeditated murder with monstrous intent”.

It says 18 other defendants were flown to Turkey to kill Khashoggi, a prominent and well-connected journalist who had grown increasingly critical of the crown prince.

The defendants are being tried in absentia and are unlikely to ever be handed over by Saudi Arabia, which has accused Turkey of failing to cooperate with a separate, largely secretive, trial in Riyadh last year.

In December, a Saudi court sentenced five people to death and three to jail for the killing, but Khashoggi’s family later said they forgave his murderers, effectively granting them a formal reprieve under Saudi law.

At the time, a Saudi prosecutor said there was no evidence connecting al-Qahtani to the killing and dismissed charges against al-Asiri.

Khashoggi murder: Western powers are 'sending the wrong message'

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The Trump Administration Kills Coldly in Yemen, Putting Jobs Before Lives – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on May 18, 2020

It soon became evident that the Saudi military is a vanity force, largely for show. Even with abundant American assistance, providing planes and munitions, training personnel, refueling planes, and giving intelligence to assist in targeting, Riyadh found itself stuck in what became an endless war, a quagmire that revealed the Saudi royals to be incompetent, unimaginative fools.

However, they proved to be efficient killers – of civilians.

Weapons supplied by American companies, approved by American officials, allowed Saudi Arabia to pursue the reckless campaign.”

https://original.antiwar.com/doug-bandow/2020/05/17/the-trump-administration-kills-coldly-in-yemen-putting-jobs-before-lives/

Many observers have been mystified by the Saudi regime’s hold over President Donald Trump. For years he had criticized the gaggle of corrupt, dissolute royals. He also asked why Americans were paying to defend the wealthy, licentious al-Saud family, as it practiced totalitarianism at home and promoted Islamic fundamentalism abroad, including in America.

Yet Trump made his first trip as president to Saudi Arabia. Some observers wondered if Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had salvaged his infamous orb from Mordor’s collapse eons ago and used it to take control of the president’s mind. No other explanation made sense.

Now the New York Times reports that the fault lies with Peter Navarro, the protectionist aide who spends much of his time urging economic and real war with China. He apparently was instrumental in convincing the president to put the profits of munition makers before the lives of Yemenis.

Consider the tragedy that had befallen Yemen, a deeply divided and tragically impoverished nation. During the Arab Spring the Yemeni people ousted the longtime president, leaving a weak and unpopular successor. The former chief executive joined a longtime rebel movement to overthrow the government. All par for the course in a divided land that has never known peace or stability.

But MbS, as the reckless, impulsive, dictatorial crown prince is known, wanted a toady in power next door. He also desired to demonstrate that he was the Big Man in the Middle East. So he and his counterpart in the United Arab Emirates, Mohammed bin Zayed, created a faux coalition filled with the bought and conscripted and invaded Yemen. The conquest was supposed to be completed in a few weeks.

It soon became evident that the Saudi military is a vanity force, largely for show. Even with abundant American assistance, providing planes and munitions, training personnel, refueling planes, and giving intelligence to assist in targeting, Riyadh found itself stuck in what became an endless war, a quagmire that revealed the Saudi royals to be incompetent, unimaginative fools.

However, they proved to be efficient killers – of civilians. Reported the Times: “Year after year, the bombs fell – on wedding tents, funeral halls, fishing boats and a school bus, killing thousands of civilians and helping turn Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Weapons supplied by American companies, approved by American officials, allowed Saudi Arabia to pursue the reckless campaign.”

Notably, President Barack Obama and the supposedly liberal interventionists who surrounded him, who insisted that something must be done to stop the killing in Syria, didn’t care and didn’t act. Nothing changed with President Trump; if anything, he seemed bewitched when he returned from his May 2017 trip. The slaughter continued. Read the rest of this entry »

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Putin Unleashes Strategic Hell on the U.S. — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on March 19, 2020

Putin just told the world he’s not riding his country’s oil and gas resources like a cash cow but rather as an important part of a different economic strategy for Russia’s development.

It’s like watching someone playing the first half of a game implying one strategy and making a critical shift to a different one halfway through, taking advantage of their opponents’ carelessness.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/03/15/putin-unleashes-strategic-hell-on-us/

 Tom Luongo

I am an avid board game player. I’m not much for the classics like chess or go, preferring the more modern ones. But, regardless, as a person who appreciates the delicate balance between strategy and tactics, I have to say I am impressed with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s sense of timing.

Because if there was ever a moment where Putin and Russia could inflict maximum pain on the United States via its Achilles’ heel, the financial markets and its unquenchable thirst for debt, it was this month just as the coronavirus was reaching its shores.

Like I said, I’m a huge game player and I especially love games where there is a delicate balance between player power that has to be maintained while it’s not one’s turn. Attacks have to be thwarted just enough to stop the person from advancing but not so much that they can’t help you defend on the next player’s turn.

All of that in the service of keeping the game alive until you find the perfect moment to punch through and achieve victory. Having watched Putin play this game for the past eight years, I firmly believe there is no one in a position of power today who has a firmer grasp of this than him.

And I do believe this move to break OPEC+ and then watch Mohammed bin Salman break OPEC was Putin’s big judo-style reversal move. And by doing so in less than a week he has completely shut down the U.S. financial system.

On Friday March 6th, Russia told OPEC no. By Wednesday the 11th The Federal Reserve had already doubled its daily interventions into the repo markets to keep bank liquidity high.

By noon on the 12th the Fed announced $1.5 trillion in new repo facilities including three-month repo contracts. At one point during trading that day the entire U.S. Treasury market went bidless. There was no one out there making an offer for the most liquid, sought-after financial assets in the world.

Why? Prices were so high, no one wanted them.

Not only did we get a massive expansion of the repo interventions by the Fed, but it was for longer duration. This is a clear sign that the problem is nearly without an end. Repos longer than three days are in this context a rarity.

The Fed needing to add $1 trillion in three-month repos clearly means they understand that they are looking out to the end of the quarter as the next problem and beyond that.

It means, in short, the world financial markets have completely seized up.

And worse than that…. It didn’t work.

Stocks continued to slide, gold and other safe-haven assets were hit hard by a reversal of capital outflows from the U.S. In the first part of the aftermath of Putin’s decision the dollar got whacked as European and Japanese investors who had piled into U.S. stocks as a safe-haven sold those positions and brought the capital home.

That lasted a few days before Christine Lagarde put on her dog and pony show at the European Central Bank and told everyone she didn’t have any answers other than to expand asset purchases and continue doing what has failed in the past.

This touched off the next phase of the crisis, where the dollar begins to strengthen. And that is where we are now.

And Putin understands that a world awash in debt is one that cannot withstand the currency needed to repay that debt rising sharply.

That puts further pressure on his geopolitical rivals and forces them to focus on their domestic concerns rather than the ones overseas.

For years Putin has been begging the West to stop its insane belligerence in the Middle East and across Asia. He’s argued eloquently at the U.N. and in interviews that the unipolar moment is over and that the U.S. can only maintain its status as the world’s only super power for so long. Eventually the debt would undermine its strength and at the right moment would be revealed to be far weaker than it projected.

This doesn’t sit well with President Trump who believes in America’s exceptionalism. And will fight for his version of “America First’ to the last using every weapon at his disposal. The problem with this ‘never back down’ attitude is that it makes him very predictable.

Trump’s use of sanctions on Europe to stop the Nord Stream 2 pipeline was stupid and short-sighted. It ensured that Russia would be merciless in its response and only delay the project for a few months.

Trump was easy to counter here. Sign a deal with Ukraine, desperate for the money, and redirect the pipe-laying vessel back to the Baltic to finish the pipeline.

And with natural gas prices in Europe already in the gutter from oversupply and a mild winter, there isn’t much time or money lost in the end. Better to take the world oil price down well below U.S. production costs which ensure that Trump’s prized LNG stays off the European market as the myth of U.S. energy self-sufficiency vanishes in a puff of financial derivative smoke.

Now Trump is facing a market meltdown well beyond his capacity to fathom or respond to. While Russia is in the unique position to drive costs down for so many of the people while riding out the shock to the global system with its savings.

Because money flows to where the best returns on it come, high oil and gas prices stifle development of other industries. Lowering the oil price not only deflates all of the U.S.’s inflated financial weapons it also deflates some of the power of the petroleum industry domestically. This gives Putin the opportunity to continue remaking the Russian economy along less focused lines. Cheap oil and gas means lower return on investment in energy projects which, in turn, opens up available capital to be deployed in other areas of the economy.

Putin just told the world he’s not riding his country’s oil and gas resources like a cash cow but rather as an important part of a different economic strategy for Russia’s development.

It’s like watching someone playing the first half of a game implying one strategy and making a critical shift to a different one halfway through, taking advantage of their opponents’ carelessness.

It rarely works, but when it does the results can be spectacular. Game, Set, Match, Putin.

 

© 2010 – 2020 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org.

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Realism & Restraint American Soldiers Are Not Bodyguards for Saudi Royals

Posted by M. C. on December 6, 2019

Doesn’t anyone remember these are the people that did 9/11?

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/american-soldiers-are-not-bodyguards-for-saudi-royals/

 

President Donald Trump believes in America First except when it comes to the Saudi royal family. Then it is Saudi Arabia first.

At the end of November, U.S. military leaders were in Riyadh negotiating the employment terms for the royal’s new bodyguards. That is, the plan for an expanded American military presence in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), including Patriot missiles, Sentinel radars, a THAAD air defense system, fighter aircraft, and other equipment, as well as personnel, who will eventually number around 3,000.

Why is the president, who has loudly insisted that allies do more to defend themselves, even more determined to handle Saudi Arabia’s security?

Of course, the royals themselves want American backing. Having grabbed control of their people’s wealth, they long have hired others to do the hard, unpleasant, and dangerous work—including the U.S. military.

The status-conscious KSA spends lavishly, especially on modern fighter jets. Last year Riyadh devoted $83 billion to the military. In 2017 defense expenditures ran $89 billion. That put the Kingdom in third place globally, after America and China. Alas, possession of fine equipment alone is not enough to ensure its good use.

In 2015 the Saudi regime attacked neighboring Yemen, one of the poorest nations on earth. De facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman, who became crown prince two years later, decided on war to reinstate a friendly ruler. Unfortunately, a campaign that was supposed to take a few weeks has lasted almost five years. Saudi pilots proved highly competent at slaughtering civilians, bombing weddings, funerals, hospitals, school buses, and markets. Humanitarian groups figure that three-quarters of the estimated 12,000 civilian deaths have resulted from air attacks—delivered by KSA aircraft provided, armed, guided, and, until recently, refueled by the U.S. The destruction of critical infrastructure has resulted in mass malnutrition and disease, which may have taken another 150,000 lives.

Nevertheless, the royals may prefer not to have a capable military, as it could threaten a system in which the few mulct the many. After all, who other than a prince receiving a state subsidy has much incentive to defend the corrupt, repressive, and decrepit monarchy? It might be worth joining the armed forces to collect a paycheck, but certainly not to risk one’s life on behalf of some man or woman (very) distantly related to the desert bandit named al-Saud who long ago defeated his rivals.

For the regime, the National Guard is most important, since its role is to protect the princely rulers from internal enemies. Also critical is the Pakistani military, which deploys upward of 20,000 troops in Saudi Arabia on “security duties.” Islamabad has found the arrangement to be profitable.

Although Trump criticized the Kingdom during the campaign, on taking office he promptly turned U.S. policy over to Riyadh. He apparently viewed the royals’ checks to munitions makers as de facto compensation for the Pentagon playing bodyguard. Yet the revenues are minor compared to America’s overall economy and offer little benefit to most Americans. Worse still, military cooperation entangles the U.S. in regional conflicts and Sunni-Shia confrontation, of which Yemen is the latest manifestation.

Now the U.S. role is further expanding. President Trump promised that the KSA would pay “100 percent of the cost” of the new deployment, but that doesn’t include the expense of creating the units being deployed. Even if it did, the Pentagon should not hire out personnel to rich states. The role of Americans in uniform should be to protect America, not to act as foreign mercenaries...

Washington’s tight embrace of the Saudi royals always was a mistake. The justification for even a looser association has dissipated over time. Today the relationship is frankly criminal, given the horrors being committed by Riyadh with U.S. assistance in Yemen.

The U.S. should bring its forces home from the Kingdom and shift Saudi Arabia’s defense burden back where it belongs, on the royal regime. If the president really believes in America First, he should stop putting Saudi Arabian interests before those of the U.S.

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Currency Rate in Pakistan: US Dollar, UK Pound, Saudi ...

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US approved transfer of nuclear expertise to Riyadh after Khashoggi murder | Middle East Eye

Posted by M. C. on June 5, 2019

What happened to non-interventionist, bring the troops home Trump?

Saudi Arabia financed 9/11 and they are still taking us for a ride.

I would call Congress morons but that would be insulting to those poor non-Washingtonians.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-approved-transfer-nuclear-expertise-riyadh-after-khashoggi-murder

By

The Donald Trump administration issued two authorisations for the transfer of technical “nuclear expertise” to Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi late last year, US Senator Tim Kaine has revealed.

Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia, where Khashoggi resided, called the decision “shocking” – as it came amid global outrage over the Saudi journalist’s gruesome murder on 2 October.

The two approvals were issued on 18 October – only 16 days after Khashoggi was killed – and on 18 February, respectively.

Known as “Part 810 authorisations”, they allow US companies to discuss and work on nuclear-related projects in the Gulf kingdom.

“I have serious questions about whether any decisions on nuclear transfers were made based on the Trump family’s financial ties rather than the interests of the American people,” Kaine said in a statement on Tuesday…

“The process involves a thorough interagency review that requires the Department of Energy to secure the concurrence of the Department of State, and consult with the Departments of Defense and Commerce, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission,” the official said in an email.

Lawmakers from both major parties introduced legislation in April to require US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry to report to Congress about the transfer of nuclear technology to foreign nations.

During a congressional hearing earlier this year, Kaine also personally grilled Perry over when the nuclear transfers to Saudi Arabia were approved.

Perry said at the time that he did not know the specific dates of the approvals.

The Energy Department has also kept the companies involved in the sharing of nuclear technology information with Saudi Arabia confidential, citing the need to protect business interests, Reuters reported.

‘Fuelling a dangerous escalation’

Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the government in Riyadh, was killed by Saudi agents inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul last autumn.

His death led to unprecedented criticism of Riyadh in Congress…

The US president also vetoed a bill to halt US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, and last month, the Trump administration bypassed Congress to push through a weapons sale to the Gulf kingdom.

The authorisations for the transfer of nuclear information to Saudi Arabia come amid growing concerns about the possibility of an atomic arms race in the Middle East.

Earlier this year, bin Salman told CBS News that his country would “without a doubt” try to acquire a nuclear weapon if Iran develops one.

“President Trump’s eagerness to give the Saudis anything they want, over bipartisan congressional objection, harms American national security interests,” Kaine said in his statement on Tuesday.

It is also “one of many steps the administration is taking that is fuelling a dangerous escalation of tension in the region”, he said.

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Pakistan in the Crosshairs of New US Aggression

Posted by M. C. on March 4, 2019

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/03/01/pakistan-in-crosshairs-of-new-us-aggression.html

Tom LUONGO

With events escalating quickly in Kashmir it’s incumbent to ask the most pertinent questions in geopolitics.

Why there?

And, Why Now?

Why Kashmir?

India and Pakistan are both making serious moves to slip out from underneath the US’s external control. India has openly defied the US on buying S-400 missile defense systems, keeping up its oil trade with Iran and developing the important Iranian port at Chabahar to help complete an almost private spur of the North South Transport Corridor.

Pakistan, under new Prime Minister Imran Khan is trying to square accounts with China over its massive investment for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It has also been at the forefront of multiple rounds of talks spurred by the Russians and Iranians to forge some kind of peace in Afghanistan.

And the Trump administration cut off US aid to Pakistan for not being sufficiently helpful in the fight against terrorism. This opened up a war of words between Trump and Khan who reminded Trump that the little bit of money the US sent Pakistan nothing compared to the losses both economic and personal.

If there was ever the possibility of peace breaking out between India and Pakistan it would be in the context of stitching the two countries together through China’s regional plans as well as solving the thorny problem of continued US and NATO occupation of Afghanistan.

Anything that can be done to flare up tensions between these two adversaries then serves the US’s goals of sowing chaos and division to keep the things from progressing smoothly. Khan was elected to, in effect, drain the Pakistani Swamp. His, like Trump’s, is a tall order.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Mohammed bin Salman: Too Big to Fail – LobeLog

Posted by M. C. on November 9, 2018

They know that the United States has never put its relationship with Saudi Arabia on the line over any human rights issue or over the fate of any individual. Some economic or strategic goal always overrides human rights considerations.

https://lobelog.com/mohammed-bin-salman-too-big-to-fail/

A month after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul, an international consensus is emerging about how to respond: deplore the crime, demand justice, but don’t cut ties with the kingdom. In particular, don’t cut off Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the man widely believed to have ordered the killing of the dissident journalist.

The ambitious, impetuous crown prince, known as MbS, is probably damaged goods as a person. He’s unlikely to receive another lavish welcome in Silicon Valley any time soon. But he has become the diplomatic equivalent of some big banks: too big to fail.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has suspended weapons sales to await the outcome of Saudi Arabia’s investigation of the murder. That sounds like strong action, but it’s a whitewash. The chances that the investigation will conclude that MbS was responsible for Khashoggi’s death are close to zero,… Read the rest of this entry »

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Saudi Bad Guy – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 19, 2018

Most Americans who care about these things are not buying. They associate Saudi Arabia with 9/11, as well they should. Powerful allegations accuse the CIA of not having prevented 9/11 even though they could have.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/10/michael-s-rozeff/saudi-bad-guy-mohammed-bin-salman/

By 

“Mohammed bin Salman, who seems to be running Saudi Arabia these days, is one of the bad guys. If he were a good guy, he wouldn’t have attacked his neighboring country, Yemen. He wouldn’t be committing war crimes there in conjunction with vital U.S. support. If he were a good guy, he’d respect not only the rights of females but also the rights of everyone else.” (November 24, 2017)

“In his tour of America, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has started to do some real damage to truth and us, as he shapes public opinion. His weapon is the rhetoric of falsehood. He has come here with antagonism in his heart and war-making on his mind. He has come to knot the U.S. government even more firmly to Saudi Arabia than it already is. Who will counter the falsehoods he has begun to spread?” (April 3, 2018) Read the rest of this entry »

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Did Saudis, CIA Fear Khashoggi 9/11 Bombshell?

Posted by M. C. on October 19, 2018

Jamal Khashoggi may have known too many dark secrets about US and Saudi intel collusion, primarily related to the 9/11 terror incidents.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/10/14/did-saudis-cia-fear-khashoggi-9-11-bombshell.html

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM

The macabre case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi raises the question: did Saudi rulers fear him revealing highly damaging information on their secret dealings? In particular, possible involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks on New York in 2001.

Even more intriguing are US media reports now emerging that American intelligence had snooped on and were aware of Saudi officials making plans to capture Khashoggi prior to his apparent disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. If the Americans knew the journalist’s life was in danger, why didn’t they tip him off to avoid his doom?… Read the rest of this entry »

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Murder Most Foul – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 19, 2018

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/10/eric-margolis/murder-most-foul-in-istanbul/

By 

After watching the Saudis behead and even reportedly crucify critics and opponents for decades, suddenly Washington’s great and good are outraged by a single murder.

The victim was a Saudi columnist from that nation’s elite who was noted for his moderate, cautious views, who was also linked to the former Saudi intelligence chief, Turki al-Faisal.

But even gentle criticism of the royal government, and particularly its strongman, crown prince Mohammed bin Salman (aka MBS), caused Khashoggi to be murdered and cut up into pieces in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, to where he was lured last week and from whence he never emerged alive.  Turkish intelligence secretly monitoring the Saudi consulate picked up the gruesome details as Khashoggi’s fingers were reportedly cut off, followed by his head… Read the rest of this entry »

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