Category Archives: Saudi Arabia

Enough of Mohamed bin Salman!

His boss, Trump, cannot allow him to become King and maybe just maybe, the American political system is waking up to the monster they have chained to their coat tails.

Jamal Khashoggi: end game for Saudi thug Mohamed bin Salman

Turkish intelligence MİT and Istanbul police have the photos and names of the 15 murderers of Jamal Khashoggi, who are all linked to Saudi Intelligence, the Saudi foreign service and Mohamed bin Salman’s personal guard.

Khashoggi entered the consulate on CCTV footage (above centre), and no footage exists which films him exiting.

MİT knows that Jamal Khashoggi was killed, and in which room he was killed in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, because they have taken samples from the drain pipes around the consulate. They now want to search both the consulate and the Consul’s personal residence, as well as dig up its garden, which is under constant surveillance.

Bin Salman’s recent boast that the Turks are welcome to search the Consulate is an invitation now suddenly withdrawn, as it has become clear that  it is a police forensics team that is seeking access.

Trump has said nothing through all this, except that he knows nothing, although Mike Pence made a lame offer for the FBI to help out. This is clearly not necessary.

Mohamed bin Salman has destroyed Yemen because he doesn’t want any of the two major political blocks in the country to come to power, neither Houthis nor al-Islah (the Muslim Brotherhood). He has put the lives of 25m people at risk of starvation and epidemic.

But it is not this vicious war in Yemen that is going to bring bin Salman down. The war has been legitimised through U.S., British and French involvement. It is the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul which will achieve this; something the one-time journalist, critical of the current Saudi tyrant, is probably smiling about from the place where he now is. None of the hypocrites running the U.S., Britain or France will be able to whitewash this outrageous breach of all political and diplomatic norms. It would have passed if only he hadn’t been caught. Now it is too late.

All of bin Salman’s enemies are circling. And when bin Salman falls, the policy of total destruction that Trump and Kushner are gradually carrying out in the Middle East, will come to an abrupt close.

 

Turkish police say Jamal Khashoggi hacked to death in Saudi Consulate

Turkish police believe that Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the Saudi Consulate he visited four days ago. ‘The murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate,’ a source in the Turkish police force told Reuters.

The report said Khashoggi never left the Saudi Consulate, adding that 15 Saudi’s, including officials, were present at the consulate same day. They had arrived in Istanbul on two flights on Tuesday and were at the consulate at the same time as the journalist, and left again the same day.

A senior Turkish police source told Middle East Eye that Khashoggi had been “brutally tortured, killed and cut into pieces. Everything was videotaped to prove the mission had been accomplished and the tape was taken out of the country”.

The diplomatic bags of the 15 Saudis visiting could not be opened told MEE, but Turkish intelligence was sure that Khashoggi’s remains were not in them. They had to be elsewhere. By the same token the source added, “The consulate is surrounded by cameras, no evidence of Khashoggi leaving was recorded on them.”

On Saturday, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s office said it had begun investigating the disappearance of the prominent journalist, who has been missing for four days. AK Party spokesman Ömer Çelik later said that Turkey would uncover the details about prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and his whereabouts.

Where is Jamal Khashoggi?

Jamal Khashoggi went into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul 1 p.m. on Oct. 2 to legalise some documents and never came out. Turkish security forces have now surrounded the building and the Saudi consul insists that he isn’t there.

Oil Kingdom In Crisis: Saudi Royal Family Rift Turns Violent

Saudi Arabia has plunged its immediate region into major strategic uncertainty. What can only be described as a serious outbreak of shooting in the Royal Palace in Riyadh on April 21, 2018, was the catalyst for events which could determine the fate of the Crown, the Kingdom, and the regional competition, particularly with Iran, for influence.

By June 1, 2018, however, the crisis seemed to be subsiding.

The delicacy of the situation posed serious questions for Russia, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the US, in particular, in shaping their strategies, given that it raised serious questions over energy supply, the war in Yemen, control of the Red Sea, and the Eurasia-Africa links in the PRC’s Silk Route network. It is clear that the Saudi Government, controlled by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, itself was, even by early June 2018, uncertain how the situation would evolve.

Gregory Copley of Defense and Foreign Affairs noted recently: “Saudi Arabia now appears to have moved beyond the point of recovery, and could collapse at any time into internal conflict or fracturing.” On October 8, 2015, he had previously noted: “Concerns are growing within Saudi Arabia that the Kingdom is facing systemic challenges which could see its break-up within a decade or two.”

Matters came to a head on the evening of April 21, 2018, when heavy automatic weapons fire was heard over a fairly long timespan, coming from the compound of the Al-Khazami Palace in the neighborhood of Khuzama, in Riyadh. Government officials issued a report that the shooting was by Palace guards, firing at a civilian “toy” drone (unmanned aerial vehicle) which had strayed into forbidden airspace over the Palace. However, it was clear that some of the firing occurred within the Palace itself.

There were a significant number of casualties, and Riyadh had some discreet but clearly high-level funerals in the days which followed, although no announcements were subsequently made (even by early June 2018) of the deaths of any senior officials. It was understood that some visiting and very senior princes and officials were in the Palace with their armed bodyguards at the time of the incident.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was reported to have been struck by at least two rounds. The Government had said that King Salman bin ‘Abd al-’Aziz al Sa’ud was not in the Palace at the time of the “drone incident”, and that he was at a family/military compound in the north-west of the Kingdom.

Other, private reports said that the King was in Riyadh at the time, and was quickly moved to a safe haven. The incident showed the extent of the anger felt by a significant number of family members of the House of Sa’ud toward Crown Prince Mohammed’s policies and methods.

Neither the King nor the Crown Prince appeared in open public situations from the time of the incident until early June 2018, although, on May 31, 2018, the Government released video footage of Crown Prince Mohammed meeting that day in Jeddah with Abd al-Rab Mansour al-Hadi, the Saudi-supported President of Yemen. What was significant about the video and still imagery released on May 31, 2018, was that one shot showed the Crown Prince standing and shaking hands with the President. King Salman met in Jeddah with the President the day before.

What is significant is that this was the first occasion in which Crown Prince Mohammed was shown standing since the April 21 shooting incident; all other imagery — and there was very little of that — only showed him seated. Clearly, however, if the Crown Prince was injured in the incident, then the wounds were not life-threatening, even though they were sufficient to ensure that he could not be presented to the public in a way which would allay rumors.

It has been confirmed that Crown Prince Mohammed was in a position to meet and conduct significant business with visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed Ali on May 18, 2018, just 27 days after the shooting incident, although no imagery exists of their meetings during the official visit of Dr Abiy (May 18-20, 2018). This was a significant visit, not only due to some tensions between the Kingdom and Ethiopia, but because Crown Prince Mohammed was attempting to act as an intermediary between Ethiopia and Eritrea, healing several decades of tensions and, for Saudi Arabia, to ensure that the influence of Iran and Qatar in both countries was minimized.

[The Crown Prince also agreed to release 1,000 Ethiopians imprisoned for minor offences in the Kingdom, a move seen as positive in Ethiopia, but Prince Mohammed’s attempts to reduce the number of foreign workers in the Kingdom — which is under severe economic constraints — in 2017 saw 14,000 Ethiopians forcibly deported, and 70,000 voluntary returnees. Overall, the Kingdom wants to deport 500,000 Ethiopian workers, of whom some 160,000 have already left.]

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited the Kingdom on April 28, 2018, a week after the shooting, and met with King Salman and Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, but not with the Crown Prince.

Iraqi cleric and political leader Muqtada al-Sadr, the key victor of the May 12, 2018, Iraq parliamentary elections, had requested to visit the Kingdom, to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed, after his visit to Kuwait on May 30, 2018. The Shi’a cleric had visited the Kingdom in 2017, and had been warmly received, because of his independence from Iran, a position which only became more valuable following his recent election win. But the Saudi Government asked him to delay his visit to the Kingdom, a sign that there were still difficulties in the country.

But what was also significant was that Crown Prince Mohammed and King Salman had apparently spent much of the five weeks after the incident ensconced in the Rabigh Palace — a military compound with its own port — in Makkah (Mecca) Province, on the Red Sea. There was some speculation that the choice of this compound gave the option of rapid departure from the Kingdom if medical conditions demanded a move, or if the internal situation worsened. Read original article

 

Khalid bin Farhan al-Saud: volcanic portents in Saudi politics

Trump’s negotiations with China, especially his trade-off between saving electronic giant ZTE from bankruptcy induced by his own sanctions on the company, in exchange for eliminating Chinese tariffs on US agriculture imports, reveals something of his hardball tactics.  This should tells us something about how he understands pulling out of JCPOA: a matter that is confusing hard-pressed European nations that are part of the agreement.

Although some in the Trump cabinet dream of world wars, for Trump himself, the Iran/Shi’a threat is a construction whose principal purpose is to leverage “protection money” from Saudi Arabia. The sums Trump is demanding from Mohamed bin Salman (some in exchange for actual weapons, and much not) will without a doubt bankrupt the desert kingdom. The rest of the royal family are appalled at the utter cupidity and self-serving moronity of the unknown and vindictive upstart who has taken over the kingdom in the fog of his royal father’s dementia.

David Hearst interviews Saudi Prince Khaled bin Farhan on the rumblings of régime change in Saudi Arabia as the embattled royals that bin Salman has put under house arrest wake up from the shock of the violent and ruthless ambush they have been subjected to. Here is a snipet from the interview.

2017 film “The Square”: Art as the religion of the rich

Early in the film “The Square,” a reporter called Anne asks a museum curator about the  challenges of running a museum. The museum in question is a modern art museum, the butt of much social criticism. Ruben Östlund is the film’s director. and his film asks the question about the function of the modern art museum and its exhibitions and performances. Is the art market, classical or modern, with its exhibitions and organised art-performances, anything other than a safe haven for the extremely rich where they can park their money whilst waiting for other opportunities? Are we all that surprised that a Saudi prince (Mohamed bin Salman or MbS) may not know what to do with his extra cash and invests it in one of those objects (Salvatore Mundi) that can hold so much sheer monetary value in excess of its physical worth?

The curator of this museum (called Christian) is the main protagonist. In answer to all the criticism he faces about art, he responds by mounting an exhibition involving just a square painted on the ground before the museum. This is supposed to represent a “space of safety”, or safe haven. Muslim viewers could draw  parallels with the 3-D cube at the center of their worship and their relationship with the Universe (the Ka’aba). Designating a specific area as a sanctuary goes back a long way in terms of religious practice, and the square Christian places at the center of this film proposes the idea that modern art is the new religious experience for an atheist liberal elite.

Östlund slowly chips away at the protective layers that Christian, a priest of the liberal religion, surrounds himself with. Accidents throw him into the lives of ordinary people who would never normally visit his museum, yet after each event he becomes obsessed with the people he meets. In a desperate attempt to find someone he lost contact with, Christian finds himself in a garbage dump on a rainy night trying to recover a piece of paper with the person’s phone number. Many scenes in the film explore the complacency of the art world in a radical way. In the film’s poster (above), an art-performance event is depicted where an “artist” acts like an ape to entertain the elite who, elegantly dressed, are dining in an ornate hall. The performer is supposed to test the boundaries of what his polite audience will endure in order to protect their investment in this act of modern art. Here, Östlund explores how much artistic license we are prepared to give the artist, on the basis that all art is a dare.

What the religion of the rich clearly indicates is the disdain and fear of lesser mortals felt by rich individuals and their search for safety through a sense of mutual reinforcement which the art market provides. A similar “religion of the nobility” existed in Zoroastrian fire worship in the period of Sassanian Iran, which held that all craftsmen, or people who worked with their hands, were unholy. It would be these craftsmen, who eventually locked in their tens of thousands to become Muslims in 7th century Iraq, which revolutionised Islam, turning it from an Arabic into a world religion.