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Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

Is Trump ‘Selling’ Our Troops to Saudi Arabia? | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on January 15, 2020

But unfortunately he comes off like a mafia don extorting the hapless shopkeep on the corner.

That is because he is. Trump is not selling troops he is selling protection. Making offers that can’t be refused.

It doesn’t matter you created 9/11.  Help US protect “our” oil. Help US defeat our perceived enemies. Keep supplying US your oil. Or else…

Do US troops realize they are nothing more than “human shields”?

Once again General Smedley Butler is proved correct. War Is A Racket.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/state-of-the-union/is-trump-selling-our-troops-to-saudi-arabia/

Rep. Amash is right, we’re a republic, not a cheap protection racket in a Scorsese film.

President Donald Trump poses for photos with ceremonial swordsmen on his arrival to Murabba Palace, as the guest of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, Saturday evening, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Congressman Justin Amash (I-Michigan) is seeing red over a comment President Trump made in an exclusive interview with Laura Ingraham on Fox News on Friday.

“We have a very good relationship with Saudi Arabia. I said, listen, you’re a very rich country. You want more troops? I’m going to send them to you, but you’ve got to pay us. They’re paying us. They’ve already deposited $1 billion in the bank,” Trump said.

What Trump was likely trying to convey, however inartfully, is that he is not letting America’s allies take advantage—if they want protection (which is exactly what the expanded U.S. defense presence in Saudi Arabia, announced back in November, is designed to be), then they will have to pay their fair share.

But Amash is right—our men and women are not mercenaries, bought and sold to the highest bidder, nor should they be considered as such. Furthermore, this is what today’s national security zeitgeist has wrought: the idea that Saudi Arabia is an ally (and the only backstop to Iran), so despite all of the billions the kingdom has in oil money, the United States is obligated to help defend it, at any cost (and you better believe, while the Saudis might be footing the bill, we’ll be paying on the back end by putting our people and interests further into harm’s way). Nevertheless, while the uptight denizens of the Blob might have articulated it differently, they likely wouldn’t disagree with the spirit of Trump’s words, nor the program that he was essentially talking about, as reported in The Washington Post two months ago:

Trump authorized a boost to the relatively light U.S. footprint in Saudi Arabia, from an advisory mission that stood around 800 to a force of about 3,000, following the Sept. 14 assault on Saudi oil facilities, which Saudi and U.S. officials said was launched by Iran in an major escalation of regional tensions.

The troops will operate additional assets designed to help the Saudi military guard against Iranian attacks, including four Patriot batteries, a terminal high altitude area defense system, or THAAD air defense system, and two squadrons of fighter jets. Financial responsibility for the deployment has taken on unusual visibility after Trump, who has criticized allies for not contributing enough to shared defense, promised the oil-rich kingdom would pay “100 percent of the cost.”

And the clincher:

Military officials say one important aspect of the deployment is the presence of American forces in more locations across the kingdom. They believe Iran has demonstrated its reluctance to target American personnel, either directly or indirectly, in part because Trump has made clear that would trigger a military response.

So our men and women are not only sent overseas to defend another country, but used as human shields, too?

Again, the difference here from years past is that Trump is taking a hard line, a transactionally hard line. But unfortunately he comes off like a mafia don extorting the hapless shopkeep on the corner. But that’s not our role, and the Saudi royal family is no hapless supplicant—they have plenty of money to splurge on their princes and have caused a lot of trouble in the region, throwing their weight around knowing Washington has had their backs. They might be crying austerity today, but the royal family lives in a kind of opulence the vast majority of the world only sees in Hollywood movies. But they can’t build or maintain a real army to save their lives. So they depend on outsourcing, and we’re the best game in town.

This has been said many times on these pages, but this is what George Washington meant by unhealthy passionate foreign attachments.  It is time to claw back from this toxic relationship, and the first place to start is to transform our current mission of  paternalistic “power projection” to one of “national defense.” Who cares what the House of Saud wants to buy—it’s not what the American taxpayer pays for, and amen to Amash for putting it in such bald terms.

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VIPS MEMO: Doubling Down Into Yet Another ‘March of Folly,’ This Time on Iran – Consortiumnews

Posted by M. C. on January 8, 2020

https://consortiumnews.com/2020/01/03/vips-memo-doubling-down-into-yet-another-march-of-folly-this-time-on-iran/

“We write with a sense of urgency suggesting you avoid doubling down on catastrophe,” VIPS tells Donald Trump in its latest memo to the president.

January 3, 2020

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Doubling Down Into Another “March of Folly”?

The drone assassination in Iraq of Iranian Quds Force commander General Qassem Soleimani evokes memory of the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand in June 1914, which led to World War I. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was quick to warn of “severe revenge.” That Iran will retaliate at a time and place of its choosing is a near certainty. And escalation into World War III is no longer just a remote possibility, particularly given the multitude of vulnerable targets offered by our large military footprint in the region and in nearby waters.

What your advisers may have avoided telling you is that Iran has not been isolated. Quite the contrary. One short week ago, for example, Iran launched its first joint naval exercises with Russia and China in the Gulf of Oman, in an unprecedented challenge to the U.S. in the region.

Cui Bono?

It is time to call a spade a spade. The country expecting to benefit most from hostilities between Iran and the U.S. is Israel (with Saudi Arabia in second place). As you no doubt are aware, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his political life. He continues to await from you the kind of gift that keeps giving. Likewise, it appears that you, your son-in-law, and other myopic pro-Israel advisers are as susceptible to the influence of Israeli prime ministers as was former President George W. Bush. Some commentators are citing your taking personal responsibility for providing Iran with a casus belli as unfathomable. Looking back just a decade or so, we see a readily distinguishable pattern.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon played a huge role in getting George W. Bush to destroy Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Usually taciturn, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, warned in August 2002 that “U.S. action against Iraq … could turn the whole region into a cauldron.” Bush paid no heed, prompting Scowcroft to explain in Oct. 2004 to The Financial Times that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had George W. Bush “mesmerized”; that Sharon has him “wrapped around his little finger.” (Scowcroft was promptly relieved of his duties as chair of the prestigious President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board.)

In Sept. 2002, well before the attack on Iraq, Philip Zelikow, who was Executive Secretary of the 9/11 Commission, stated publicly in a moment of unusual candor, “The ‘real threat’ from Iraq was not a threat to the United States. The unstated threat was the threat against Israel.” Zelikow did not explain how Iraq (or Iran), with zero nuclear weapons, would not be deterred from attacking Israel, which had a couple of hundred such weapons.

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The USA Doubles Down On Its Saudi Allegiance | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on January 5, 2020

There is a great deal of wishful thinking that fantasises about US military defeat, but it is simply unrealistic if the USA actually opted for full scale invasion…

Disagree – Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen!, Sudan…

Wait a minute – didn’t SA finance 9/11?

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/usa-doubles-down-its-saudi-allegiance

 

For the United States to abandon proxy warfare and directly kill one of Iran’s most senior political figures has changed international politics in a fundamental way. It is a massive error. Its ramifications are profound and complex.

There is also a lesson to be learned here in that this morning there will be excitement and satisfaction in the palaces of Washington, Tel Aviv, Riyadh and Tehran. All of the political elites will see prospects for gain from the new fluidity. While for ordinary people in all those countries there is only the certainty of more conflict, death and economic loss, for the political elite, the arms manufacturers, the military and security services and allied interests, the hedge funds, speculators and oil companies, there are the sweet smells of cash and power.

Tehran will be pleased because the USA has just definitively lost Iraq. Iraq has a Shia majority and so naturally tends to ally with Iran. The only thing preventing that was the Arab nationalism of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath Socialist Party. Bush and Blair were certainly fully informed that by destroying the Ba’ath system they were creating an Iranian/Iraqi nexus, but they decided that was containable. The “containment” consisted of a deliberate and profound push across the Middle East to oppose Shia influence in proxy wars everywhere.

This is the root cause of the disastrous war in Yemen, where the Zaidi-Shia would have been victorious long ago but for the sustained brutal aerial warfare on civilians carried out by the Western powers through Saudi Arabia. This anti-Shia western policy included the unwavering support for the Sunni Bahraini autocracy in the brutal suppression of its overwhelmingly Shia population. And of course it included the sustained and disastrous attempt to overthrow the Assad regime in Syria and replace it with pro-Saudi Sunni jihadists.

This switch in US foreign policy was known in the White House of 2007 as “the redirection”. It meant that Sunni jihadists like Al-Qaida and later al-Nusra were able to switch back to being valued allies of the United States. It redoubled the slavish tying of US foreign policy to Saudi interests. The axis was completed once Mohammad Bin Salman took control of Saudi Arabia. His predecessors had been coy about their de facto alliance with Israel. MBS felt no shyness about openly promoting Israeli interests, under the cloak of mutual alliance against Iran, calculating quite correctly that Arab street hatred of the Shia outweighed any solidarity with the Palestinians. Common enemies were easy for the USA/Saudi/Israeli alliance to identify; Iran, the Houthi, Assad and of course the Shia Hezbollah, the only military force to have given the Israelis a bloody nose. The Palestinians themselves are predominantly Sunni and their own Hamas was left friendless and isolated.

The principal difficulty of this policy for the USA of course is Iraq. Having imposed a rough democracy on Iraq, the governments were always likely to be Shia dominated and highly susceptible to Iranian influence. The USA had a continuing handle through dwindling occupying forces and through control of the process which produced the government. They also provided financial resources to partially restore the physical infrastructure the US and its allies had themselves destroyed, and of course to fund a near infinite pool of corruption.

That US influence was balanced by strong Iranian aligned militia forces who were an alternative source of strength to the government of Baghdad, and of course by the fact that the centre of Sunni tribal strength, the city of Falluja, had itself been obliterated by the United States, three times, in an act of genocide of Iraqi Sunni population.

Through all this the Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi had until now tiptoed with great care. Pro-Iranian yet a long term American client, his government maintained a form of impartiality based on an open hand to accept massive bribes from anybody. That is now over. He is pro-Iranian now…

Nevertheless, Tel Aviv and Riyadh will also be celebrating today at the idea that their dream of the USA destroying their regional rival Iran, as Iraq and Libya were destroyed, is coming closer. The USA could do this. The impact of technology on modern warfare should not be underestimated. There is a great deal of wishful thinking that fantasises about US military defeat, but it is simply unrealistic if the USA actually opted for full scale invasion…

In the short term, Trump in this situation needs either to pull out troops from Iraq or massively to reinforce them. The UK does not have the latter option, having neither men nor money, and should remove its 1400 troops now. Whether the “triumph” of killing Suleimani gives Trump enough political cover for an early pullout – the wise move – I am unsure. 2020 is going to be a very dangerous year indeed.

*  *  *

Unlike his adversaries including the Integrity Initiative, the 77th Brigade, Bellingcat, the Atlantic Council and hundreds of other warmongering propaganda operations, Craig’s blog has no source of state, corporate or institutional finance whatsoever. It runs entirely on voluntary subscriptions from its readers – many of whom do not necessarily agree with the every article, but welcome the alternative voice, insider information and debate. Subscriptions to keep Craig’s blog going are gratefully received.

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When in Doubt, Blame Imaginary ‘Isolationism’ | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on January 1, 2020

The argument, such as it is, is that because the U.S. refused to fight a war it was not obligated to fight to defend a state that isn’t actually an ally, it is therefore “isolationist.”

Referring to Saudi Arabia as an “ally” has been commonplace for a long time, but it was never true. The Abqaiq attack forced many U.S. politicians and analysts to acknowledge the truth that the U.S. owed the Saudis nothing.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/when-in-doubt-blame-imaginary-isolationism/

The U.S. has approximately 50,000 military personnel in Iraq, Syria, and the Persian Gulf, and our military is involved in wars in Syria and Yemen, but the headline we get as 2019 ends is this: “US isolationism leaves Middle East on edge as new decade dawns.” That is the headline for a report from The Guardian, but it could easily have come from many other newspapers. There is a congealing consensus that the U.S. is “disengaging” from the region at the same time that our government’s military presence keeps increasing.

There are just a couple small problems with the story they are telling: the Middle East is the last region in the world where one can argue that the U.S. is behaving in an “isolationist” fashion, and the region has been repeatedly destabilized by U.S. interventions big and small for at least the last 30 years. If the region is “on edge,” it is not because of our government’s “isolationism,” because that doesn’t exist. If the region is “on edge,” the heightened tensions and anxieties probably have something to do with the reckless U.S. economic war against Iran, the ongoing U.S.-backed conflict in Yemen, and the continuation of the war in Syria. Pretending that the U.S. is “disengaging” when it is doing just the opposite misinforms readers and distracts us from the real problems with U.S. foreign policy in the region. It treats a hyperactive, excessively involved America as the stable norm that has to be maintained, and it pejoratively casts anything that hawks don’t like as “isolationism.”

The chief piece of evidence for “isolationism” offered in the report is the decision not to go to war over the Abqaiq attack in Saudi Arabia. The argument, such as it is, is that because the U.S. refused to fight a war it was not obligated to fight to defend a state that isn’t actually an ally, it is therefore “isolationist.” The report is not very good if one wants to come away from it being better informed about the world, but it is a useful example of how lazy stereotypes and inaccurate definitions muddle and distort our foreign policy debate. The vocabulary of our foreign policy discourse is so impoverished that correspondents routinely use the wrong words to describe what is going on, and we are all worse off because of it.

Consider this section of the report:

The impact of the US failing to respond to an attack on Saudi oil facilities was that an act of war on a US ally had gone unpunished, and that ally was now willing to talk with the country that Washington had been determined to bring to its knees.

Referring to Saudi Arabia as an “ally” has been commonplace for a long time, but it was never true. The Abqaiq attack forced many U.S. politicians and analysts to acknowledge the truth that the U.S. owed the Saudis nothing. What are the terrible consequences of not rushing to fight for Saudi Arabia? It turns out that it has meant that Saudi Arabia is looking for a way to reduce tensions with their neighbor. That may be undermining the pressure campaign against Iran, but then the pressure campaign is what created the crisis that led to the attacks in the first place, so what exactly is the problem?

If the U.S. had attacked Iran on Saudi Arabia’s behalf earlier this year, the Persian Gulf would be a shooting gallery, the Saudis and the UAE would be getting pummeled with Iranian missiles, and many Americans and Iranians would already be dead in a war that would still be going on. Choosing not to escalate from one attack into a regional war was not a “failure,” and it certainly doesn’t mean that the U.S. is “isolationist.” The absurd framing and inaccurate language used in this report help to obscure America’s overly militarized, extremely meddlesome foreign policy from public view. Reports like this make it that much harder to advance an alternative foreign policy in which the U.S. is not constantly starting or escalating wars in a region where it has few real interests.

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Presenting The Syria Deception: Al Qaeda Goes to Hollywood (VIDEO) – Grayzone Project

Posted by M. C. on December 8, 2019

https://grayzoneproject.com/2018/09/15/presenting-the-syria-deception-al-qaeda-goes-to-hollywood-video/

An exclusive Grayzone investigative documentary rips the cover off of the most sophisticated and expensive campaign of humanitarian interventionist propaganda in modern history.

By Dan Cohen

For decades, Western governments, corporate media, and Hollywood have engaged in a project of mass deception to manufacture consent for military interventions. Waged in the name of lofty ideals like freedom, human rights, and democracy, US-led wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya wound up bringing death, destruction and even the return of slavery to the African continent.

As the wounds from those catastrophes festered, Washington embarked on its most ambitious project yet, marketing another war of regime change, this time in Syria.

The following investigative mini-documentary exposes the cynical deceptions and faux humanitarianism behind the campaign to sell the dirty war on Syria.

It also demonstrates the lengths that the US and its allies have gone to develop new ploys to tug at Western heartstrings and convince even liberal minded skeptics of war that a US intervention was necessary — even if it meant empowering Al Qaeda’s largest franchise since 9/11 and its theocratic allies among the insurgency.

Big lies and little children have formed the heart of what is perhaps the most expensive, sophisticated, and shameless propaganda blitz ever conducted. Welcome to The Syria Deception.

Hollywood’s role in promoting war is nothing new. The American film industry has collaborated over the years with the State Department, the Pentagon, and the intelligence services to produce an array of films burnishing the military’s image, revising controversial US actions, and propagating official accounts of critical events through action blockbusters.

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The Saudi/U.S. Partnership: Evil Begets Evil

Posted by M. C. on December 7, 2019

In the process it has become the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world, all due to U.S aggressive intervention, with no compassion whatsoever shown toward the innocent people of Yemen.

The Saudi government kills many of its own citizens as well, and is continuing to murder record numbers by public beheadings every year. Mass beheadings are not uncommon after being charged with non-existent crimes, mostly by corrupt state courts. These charges are against anyone speaking out against the government…

Saudi Arabia. Our friend and perpetrator of 9/11.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/12/gary-d-barnett/the-saudi-us-partnership-evil-begets-evil/

By

Those who knowingly conspire with evil are evil themselves, and because this truth is irrefutable, hiding behind the false mask of exceptionalism only deepens that evil. Conspiracy to commit evil abounds, but some partnerships seem to have sprung out of the bowels of the nether world. One such union is that of the United States and Saudi Arabia, an alliance based only on greed, murder, and power.

Attempting to understand the American psyche concerning its obvious lust for war, and especially its worship of those who prosecute those wars, is difficult beyond reason. But the masses blind indifference toward this heinous and immoral marriage between Saudi Arabia and the United States belies all aspects of common sanity. On the surface, this is an absurd paradox, but considering the “leadership,” is it really? It would be difficult to compare the Saudi citizens to American citizens given the stark differences at many levels, but the leadership of these two countries is much more closely aligned, at least considering known agendas in common. Slime does mix well with slime.

Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy, and is run by the House of Saud, which is the ruling family of Saudi Arabia. The King and Prime Minister is Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, but he is incapacitated by dementia and is senile, and not in good health. He appointed his son, Muhammad bin Salman, Crown Prince in 2017, who is now heir-designate to the throne. He rules the country with an iron hand, and holds the positions of deputy prime minister, chairman of the Council of Political and Security Affairs, and the minister of defense. In other words, he controls politics, all security, vast sums of money, and the military. This is the essence of a powerful monarchy.

The situation in Saudi Arabia is very complicated, and many others are involved with what happened before and after the 2017 Saudi Purge that solidified the rise of Muhammad bin Salman. The partnership and love affair between Trump and the U.S. and Saudi Arabia is disturbing in every way, and that relationship includes Zionist Israel as well. This collusion has to do with oil, proxy wars, energy price manipulation, Middle East politics, technocracy planning, vast amounts of money, and future political and geopolitical conspiracy planning and probable war against Iran.

I am mainly concentrating here on the strange bedfellows that are Saudi Arabia and the United States. The Royal Family’s net worth is estimated to be 1.7 trillion dollars, and my guess is it is much higher. The U.S. buys oil from the Saudis and the Saudis are buying over $110 billion worth of arms from U.S. companies. The U.S., UK, and the rest of Europe supply 99% of Saudi’s weapons, weapons used for murder. 61% of those weapons come from America. These weapons are used against innocent countries, but concentrated in Yemen, where the Saudi’s have been murdering civilians in that country for the U.S. since 2015. This proxy war has been a genocide that was purposely orchestrated by the U.S. as an attack against Iranian interests, and is simply meant to stop any Iranian presence in Yemen. In the process it has become the biggest humanitarian disaster in the world, all due to U.S aggressive intervention, with no compassion whatsoever shown toward the innocent people of Yemen.

The Saudi government kills many of its own citizens as well, and is continuing to murder record numbers by public beheadings every year. Mass beheadings are not uncommon after being charged with non-existent crimes, mostly by corrupt state courts. These charges are against anyone speaking out against the government, against non-violent offenders who commit victimless crimes, including drug charges, and a multitude of others. Some of the other non-violent capital crimes include “Apostasy, treason, homosexuality, blasphemy, adultery, sorcery, witchcraft, and waging war on God.”

Saudi’s human rights record is beyond atrocious, including no free speech, incarceration without due process, limited or no basic freedoms for women and girls, no peaceful demonstrations, or practicing the “wrong” religious rites. Other punishment “includes amputations of hand and feet for robbery, and flogging for lesser crimes such as “sexual deviance” and drunkenness. In the 2000s, it was reported that women were sentenced to lashes for adultery; the women were actually victims of rape, but because they could not prove who the perpetrators were, they were deemed guilty of committing adultery.”

This is a major ally of the U.S. It is a murdering arm of American aggression against civilians. It is a recipient of U.S taxpayer aid, and is supplied its weapons by the U.S. and Europe. This is the same country that produced the alleged terrorists that supposedly committed the September 11 attacks, although the true story has never been told.

Saudi Arabia is the worst example of government abuse, of horrendous human rights violations, of misogyny and the brutal treatment of women, of total disrespect for life at every level of man and animal, of insatiable greed, of segregation, of racism, sexism, torture, and murder.

Saudi Arabia is the exact opposite of all that was good about the United States at its founding. Its policies defy morality and the sanctity of life, but the ignorant and indifferent American populace in their total hypocritical blindness says nothing and does nothing to stop the nefarious union of these countries via there beloved elected rulers. The U.S. has become its own enemy, and is now joined with evil. Evil begets evil, and so long as Americans allow this partnership to continue in their name, they are at fault, and responsible for these crimes against humanity. This relationship is not just based on oil, but is based on power and control. It is the essence of depravity, and should be ended without delay.

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Saudi Arabian Lobbyists Have Many Friends in DC | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on November 24, 2019

According to a recently released Center for International Policy (CIP) report — one based entirely on publicly available information — the Saudi government spent approximately $27 million on US lobbying firms in 2017. So there is no doubt that there’s plenty of good money in pestering politicians on behalf of the Saudis. Not only the lobbyists but for the politicians as well. CIP found that Saudi lobbying firms donated nearly $400,000 to the campaigns of members of Congress they “had contacted on behalf of Saudi interests.” And if this weren’t blatant enough, CIP identified “twelve instances in which that contact and contribution occurred on the exact same day.”

The US congress – a cheap date and easy.

https://mises.org/wire/saudi-arabian-lobbyists-have-many-friends-dc

Most libertarians are familiar with Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex and its nefarious influence on US foreign policy. Many have read Major General Smedley Butler’s short book War is a Racket, in which he lays out the ways in which war is in the economic interests of certain groups, while other groups pay the cost. Some may even have read Robert Nisbet’s warning about the way in which the military-industrial complex has expanded to universities, as researchers seek out government funding from the vast military-industrial blob. While all of these warnings are indeed correct, they neglect another equally nefarious influence on American foreign policy; foreign governments.

Every year foreign governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying the US government for everything from foreign aid and trade deals, to trying to influence US military policy. This lobbying is generally ignored, but after the recent gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi Arabian government, there has been increased scrutiny on the cozy relationship between the Saudi regime and US politicians — a relationship maintained through the Saudi’s vast entourage of over two dozen DC-area lobbying firms.

According to a recently released Center for International Policy (CIP) report — one based entirely on publicly available information — the Saudi government spent approximately $27 million on US lobbying firms in 2017. So there is no doubt that there’s plenty of good money in pestering politicians on behalf of the Saudis. Not only the lobbyists but for the politicians as well. CIP found that Saudi lobbying firms donated nearly $400,000 to the campaigns of members of Congress they “had contacted on behalf of Saudi interests.” And if this weren’t blatant enough, CIP identified “twelve instances in which that contact and contribution occurred on the exact same day.”

What has Saudi Arabia gotten in return? The CIP report notes that “the timing of many of these political contributions coincides closely with key Congressional events, involving the Justice Against State Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) votes and votes to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia.” Let’s also not forget the US support, in the form of mid-air refueling and intelligence, for the Saudi-led coalition into Yemen that has led to a humanitarian disaster — complete with the threat of mass starvation and a widespread cholera outbreak .

This mid-air refueling has been stopped for now as a result of the Khashoggi affair, but, according to CNN ’s Sam Kiley, “it’s an opportunity to appear a little bit cross over the alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi while making sure that the Kingdom’s strategic trajectory stays on course.”

It is even possible that all of this lobbying might manage to save Saudi Arabia from the ongoing Khashoggi murder fiasco. NBC reports that the Trump administration has weighed expelling Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric and enemy of the Erdogan regime, “in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” The Trump administration denies this, but the fact that such action is even in the realm of possibility speaks to the success of Saudi lobbying efforts.

The outrageous abuses by the Saudi regime — both domestically and abroad — are nearly endless. But, unfortunately, they are not the only foreign power pouring lobbying money into DC to influence US military policy. In 2017, according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), the UAE spent over $21 million on US lobbying. The UAE has a large ground presence in Yemen as part of the Saudi-led coalition and has been accused of running secret prisons where Yemenis are tortured. Former US Army Colonel Stephen Toumajan is currently the head of the UAE Joint Aviation Command, where, by his own admission to BuzzFeed News, Toumajan claimed that he was “instrumental in the modernization of the UAE fleet with investing over $10 billion in American aircraft and services.”

But US entanglement with the UAE’s sordid business in Yemen doesn’t even stop there. An in-depth investigative report from BuzzFeed News found that former US special forces had been serving as an assassination hit-squad in Yemen for the UAE. In a stunning report, a former Navy Seal recounted to BuzzFeed News how he, along with a former French Foreign Legionnaire, ran a hit squad made up of former US special forces in Yemen — whose targets included not only armed terrorists but politicians as well.

As of 2008, it took over $350,000 to train a Navy SEAL, and then an additional $1 million to deploy him overseas. As Ryan McMaken points out, this means that the US taxpayer is effectively subsidizing the training of “what are essentially death squads designed to eliminate the regimes’ enemies” for the UAE.

The Saudis and the UAE obviously feel it is necessary to grease US palms with tens of millions of dollars in order to ensure that arms sales get approved, US assistance in the Yemeni war continues, and the Pentagon continues to turn a blind eye to misconduct from former US service members. This leads to the question, what would US policy toward these two onerous regimes be without millions of dollars in lobbying money?

With such blatant bribery of US officials, it seems impossible to trust US foreign policymakers to judge American national interests in an unbiased and levelheaded way. Factor in the even larger amount of influence wielded domestically by the military-industrial complex and it seems hopeless to expect American foreign policymakers to actually be acting in the American national interest. It is little wonder that American foreign policy has been a complete disaster for decades.

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Saudi Bases and the Bin Ladens: A Love Story – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on October 28, 2019

Nothing would please the “three Bs” – Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and former National Security Adviser John Bolton – more than a US military strike on the Islamic Republic, cost and consequences be damned.

https://original.antiwar.com/Danny_Sjursen/2019/10/27/saudi-bases-and-the-bin-ladens-a-love-story/

What is Trump really up to? It’s almost unknowable. At the same time that the president was pulling (some) troops out of Northeast Syria, giving an antiwar speech, and then sending other troops back into Syria to “secure the oil,” he also quietly sent another 1800 service members into Saudi Arabia. What little Trump did say about it consisted of a peculiar defense of his actions. Faced with the obvious question from a reporter: “Mr. President, why are you sending more troops to Saudi Arabia when you just said it’s a mistake to be in the Middle East?” Trump argued that there was no contradiction in his policy because, well, the Saudis “buy hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of merchandise from us,” and have “agreed to pay us for everything we’re doing to help them.” It seems the U.S. military is going full mercenary in the Gulf.

While I’ve noted that Trump’s recent antiwar remarks were profound – though largely unfulfilled – these words will amount to nothing if followed by a military buildup in Saudi Arabia that leads to a new, far more bloody and destabilizing, war with Iran. Nothing would please the “three Bs” – Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, and former National Security Adviser John Bolton – more than a US military strike on the Islamic Republic, cost and consequences be damned.

It’s just that an Iran war isn’t the only risk associated with basing majority-Christian, foreign American troops in the land of Islam’s two holiest cities. And a brief historical review of US presence in Saudi Arabia demonstrates quite clearly the potential transnational terrorist “blowback” of Washington’s basing decisions. In fact, Trump’s latest deployment constitutes at least the third time the US military has been stationed on the Arabian peninsula. It’s rarely ended well, and, in a paradox stranger than fiction, often linked Washington and Riyadh’s dollars with the Bin Laden family. It’s almost enough to make one understand the propensity of some Americans to buy into some degree of 9/11 “truth.”

The strange saga began in the 1930s when a US oil conglomerate, Aramco, built a settlement at Dhahran in the desert near the little town of Khobar. Local workers did the construction, including a rather talented Yemeni bricklayer named Mohamed Bin Laden. Though illiterate and with only one eye, he and his brother then started their own construction company: Mohamed and Abdullah, Sons of Awadh bin Laden.” When, in 1945, the US military decided to lease a sizable air base at Dhahran, the Bin Laden brothers got the contract. The firm made a fortune on the American taxpayers’ dime. After that, the Bin Laden’s became the builders of choice for the spendthrift Saudi royal family, by then flush with oil profits.

Nonetheless, the devoutly Muslim Saudi people were horrified by the Western presence and the king ended the first US military lease in 1962. Still, the Bin Laden company continued to do business with the American government and corporate entities, so much so, in fact, that it retained an agent in New York City. After the elder Bin Laden died in 1967, his sons took over the family business. One, Osama, had a particular knack for construction.

He was also devoutly religious, and, despite his family business’ close connections with the Americans, virulently opposed to foreign intervention in the Greater Middle East. So, with tons of his firm’s heavy construction equipment in tow, he headed off to Afghanistan to fight with the mujahideen against the Soviet Army occupation of that country. Though he and his fellow Arab volunteers played only a small role in the Soviet’s eventual defeat, Osama Bin Laden dug tunnels, built roads, and crafted a genuine mountain base for his fighters in Afghanistan. He even named his new organization to direct the jihad Al Qaeda, or “the base,” and learned a life-altering lesson from the Soviet war. As he reflected, “The myth of the superpower was destroyed not only in my mind but also in the minds of all Muslims.”

Thus, when Saddam Hussein’s massive Iraqi Army swallowed up Kuwait and threatened the Saudi Kingdom in 1990, Bin Laden thought he could recruit a new mujahideen army and single-handedly defeat the invaders. He offered his services to the king, but was rebuked, in favor of an invitation to the US military to instead defend Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden never forgave the king or the American “occupiers” of his holy homeland. The American troopers flooded into a reopened base at Dhahran, the Iraqis were swiftly defeated by the US military coalition, Bin Laden later declared war on the United States, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Terror attacks on the Khobar Towers Air Force barracks, two US African embassies, and the Navy’s USS Cole followed, and then New York and Washington were struck in the worst terrorist incident in American History. Bin Laden got the war he sought, lured the US military into countless quagmires in the Mideast and, despite his eventual death at the hands of American Navy SEALs, succeeded beyond probably even his wildest imagination.

All that brief history ought to remind American policymakers and people alike of the inherent dangers of military basing in Saudi Arabia in this, the third, such instance. Washington, as has been proven time and again since the end of the Second World War, reaps what it sows across the world. So, when Trump’s latest addition to the tragic US history of building bases and stationing troops on the Arabian Peninsula backfires, when a new Bin Laden of sorts takes the war to a major American city, I’ll be one of the few voices saying I told you so…

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Trump, Saudis, money … and a murder. We need a new ...

 

 

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Will More US Troops in Saudi Arabia Make America Great?

Posted by M. C. on September 24, 2019

Why should the military be sent to “defend” one of the wealthiest and most repressive countries on earth? It is hard to see how putting US servicemembers into harm’s way – into a war zone – to defend Saudi Arabia can in any way make America great again.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2019/september/23/will-more-us-troops-in-saudi-arabia-make-america-great/

Written by Ron Paul

President Trump deserves credit for resisting the war cries from neocons like Sen. Lindsey Graham and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after last week’s attack on two Saudi oil facilities. Pompeo was eager to blame Iran because he wants war with Iran and anything that can trigger such a war is fine with him. So he put the president in a difficult spot by declaring Iran the culprit: suddenly the president’s options in the media and in Washington were limited to “how to punish Iran.”

A week has now passed since the attack and Pompeo’s rush to judgement has been shown for what it was: war propaganda. That is because there has still been no determination of who launched the attack. Yemen’s Houthis took responsibility right away and Iran denied any involvement. We have seen nothing to this point that contradicts this.

President Trump likely understands that a US war on Iran will be his undoing as president. Who knows, maybe that’s what his closest advisors want. But according to a Gallup poll just last month, only 18 percent of Americans were in favor of military action against Iran. Seventy-eight percent of Americans – including 72 percent of Republicans – want the president to pursue diplomatic efforts over war. Iran has made clear that any attack on its territory will trigger a total war. The Middle East would be engulfed in flames and the US economy would be in the tank. Suddenly we’d see Democrat challengers pretending to be antiwar!

The message to Trump is pretty clear – war with Iran would be deeply unpopular – and it seems clear he understands the message. Just hours after his Secretary of State put the US on war footing with Iran, President Trump was forced to walk back Pompeo’s aggression. When asked about going to war with Iran, President Trump said, “Do I want war? I don’t want war with anybody.”

Unfortunately, with pressure on President Trump to “do something” even as Iran has not been found to have been behind the attack, the president has settled on two measures – one pointless and the other dangerous. On Friday Trump announced yet even more sanctions on Iran, leaving many of us to wonder what is possibly left to sanction. He also announced a deployment of US military forces to Saudi Arabia of a “defensive nature.” Why should the military be sent to “defend” one of the wealthiest and most repressive countries on earth? It is hard to see how putting US servicemembers into harm’s way – into a war zone – to defend Saudi Arabia can in any way make America great again. I believe most Americans would agree.

President Trump should immediately cancel the order to send US troops to Saudi Arabia and should immediately remove what troops are already on Saudi soil. Then the Saudis would understand that they must end their aggression against Yemen.

Attempting to placate the neocons is a fool’s errand, because they are never satisfied even up to and including war. The tide is turning in America – and even in Washington – against Saudi Arabia. After the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a catastrophic four-year Saudi war on Yemen, no American politician is any longer in the mood to stick his or her neck out to defend Saudi Arabia. President Trump would be wise to use caution: it’s always dangerous sticking one’s neck out when the Saudi government is around.

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Watch “Defending Saudi Arabia…Hardly Our Moral Responsibility!” on YouTube

Posted by M. C. on September 23, 2019

Becoming Irrelevant.

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