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Italian dockers obstruct Saudi’s criminal war on Yemen

Dockworkers in Genoa have given a vital lesson to workers everywhere in how to harness our collective strength.

Proletarian writers

Dockers have refused to load cannons bound for the Yemen war onto the freighter Bahri Yanbu in the port of Genoa.

Many years ago, when the Stop the War Coalition could still pack a hall and communists had not yet been expelled, it held a congress, at which the CPGB-ML proposed a resolution calling on the coalition to lead a campaign of non-cooperation with imperialist wars.

The communists pointed out that imperialist wars could only be carried out with the cooperation of workers, and that by collectively withdrawing that cooperation it lay within the power of the organised working class, not simply to protest against such wars, but to stop them in their tracks.

The resolution was passed overwhelmingly by delegates at the congress, who really did want to stop the wars, but the policy was quietly shelved and ignored by the coalition’s leadership, dominated by Labour party and trade-union placemen and their Trotskyite hangers-on – a careerist crew that has overseen the effective demise of the anti-austerity as well as of the anti-war movement in Britain.

But now dockworkers in the Italian port of Genoa are demonstrating in practice that it is both possible and necessary to sabotage the war machine by collectively refusing to follow orders.

The dockers stopped the Saudi ship Bahri Yanbu from loading with drones and other equipment that would be used in the devastating war on Yemen. Anti-war activists joined forces with union members, demanding: “Open the ports to people, close them to arms.” (Italian dock strike blocks deadly cargo headed for Saudi Arabia by Steve Sweeney, Morning Star, 20 May 2019)

Activists in France had earlier succeeded in stopping the same ship from loading eight Caesar cannons in the port of Le Havre. Although their legal challenge failed, the ship’s owners were sufficiently rattled to leave France without the weapons, sending them overland to Italy in the hope of loading them there instead.

Honest journalists expose French crimes

The French action was inspired by Disclose media journalists Geoffrey Livolsi and Mathias Destal and Radio France journalist Benoit Collombat, who went public with a classified report on the ghastly scale of Yemeni casualties caused by France’s export of Caesar cannons. These brave reporters are now being threatened with jail time for refusing to reveal their sources. (France takes unprecedented action against reporters who published secret government document by Ryan Gallagher, The Intercept, 17 May 2019)

The Caesar cannons at the centre of the row are a French-manufactured variety of mobile armoured artillery, many using a Renault chassis, which are capable of firing devastating rocket-propelled shells with a high degree of accuracy over huge distances: up to 50km.

According to Telesur: “Maps produced for the classified note show that about 437,000 people could have been affected by strikes (including French cannon fire Caesar strikes) in three different border areas between Saudi Arabia and Yemen.” (Leaked secret note reveals French dirty role in Yemen war, 15 April 2019)

Disclose media has established that 35 civilians died during 52 bombings between March 2016 and December 2018 in the field where French Caesar cannon fire operated. And of course these confirmed fatalities from French weapons are just the tip of a very bloody iceberg.

It is particularly crucial for the imperialist war effort that journalists and media workers should cooperate in putting out war propaganda on behalf of their masters. This psychological war waged against workers is crucial in maintaining the capitalists’ grip on power at home and allowing them to conduct their criminal and aggressive wars abroad.

There is no shortage of well-paid volunteers for this dirty work. The few brave reporters who refuse find at best that they are blacklisted, and at worst that they are threatened with jail – as in the case of Julian Assange.

Those journalists who continue to broadcast the lies of the imperialist war machine should hang their heads in shame when confronted with that rare breed: an honest journalist.

Workers everywhere salute the dockworkers of Genoa, whose bold actions put them firmly in the proletarian internationalist tradition of our own East End dockers of London, who in 1920 refused to load the Jolly George with guns to shoot Russians.

By this action, and the threat of more to come, they were able to put an end to Britain’s involvement in the vicious war of intervention that was aimed at toppling the first ever workers’ state – the newly-established Soviet Union.

Like those Londoners a century ago, the Genoa dockers are showing exactly what can be achieved when workers organise to use their collective power in their own interests.

No cooperation with imperialist war!

Posted in Italy, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on Italian dockers obstruct Saudi’s criminal war on Yemen

British soldier arrested for protesting collusion in Saudi’s Yemen war

‘I’ve seen enough not to speak out and I’d rather sleep peacefully in a cell than stay silent for a pay cheque.’

Proletarian writers

Lance Corporal Ahmed Al-Babati being arrested outside Downing Street.

In late August a serving British soldier was arrested for protesting against British involvement in the war being waged by Saudi Arabia against Yemen.

Lance Corporal Ahmed Al-Babati, a soldier in the Royal Signals, absconded from duty to protest in uniform outside the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in London. During his demonstration he blew a whistle every 10 minutes to indicate the death of another child in the conflict.

Footage posted to the internet showed Al-Babati being led away from his protest by military police.

In a video recorded beforehand, Al-Babati explained his motivations: “It is clear this government has blood on their hands, so with that being said I refuse to continue my military service until the arms trade with Saudi Arabia has been put to an end.

“It is reported that a child dies every ten minutes in Yemen, so I’ll be standing outside 10 Downing Street blowing a whistle every ten minutes so that they can hear every time a child dies due to a war they continue to arm and support,”

“I joined the army in 2017 and took an oath to protect and serve this country, not to be part of a corrupt government that continues to arm and support terrorism.

“What made this decision so easy for me and why I choose to sacrifice a lot of things including possibly my freedom is for the simple fact that me, myself as somebody that was born in Yemen, I could have easily fell victim to one of those air strikes or died out of hunger.

“I’ve seen enough not to speak out and I’d rather sleep peacefully in a cell than stay silent for a pay cheque.”

At least 18,500 civilians have been killed or injured in air strikes since the war began in 2015, which has also created the world’s biggest humanitarian disaster.

Moreover, some 2 million children under the age of five are suffering from acute malnutrition and hundreds of thousands more have died of hunger during the course of the war. Around half of Yemen’s population is on the verge of starvation.

The Saudi government is one of Britain’s closest military allies, purchasing 49 percent of all UK arms exports. BAE systems alone sold more than £15bn worth of arms and services to the Saudi military in the last five years.

Alongside war materiel, Britain provides training to Saudi air force pilots, with more than 100 trained in the last decade by the RAF and some still in training as of July 2020. In addition, Britain has some 200 military personnel stationed on Saudi soil providing training services, as well as maintaining and repairing aircraft.

Saudi Arabian involvement in Yemen is ostensibly aimed at restoring former president Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi to power following his ousting during the Arab Spring by the Houthi-led popular protest movement. Despite Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates controlling vast swathes of territory in southern Yemen, Hadi has yet to return.

In reality, the war is a pretext to control areas of strategic importance, as well as to monopolise vast untapped natural resources. Britain’s continued interest in facilitating the war in Yemen, despite the many civilian deaths and the ongoing humanitarian disaster, needs no further explanation when one considers the vast profits in arms sales and the possibility of grabbing a share of the Yemini people’s natural resources.

In 2010, British soldier Joe Glenton served nine months in prison for refusing on principle to return to the war in Afghanistan. Al-Babati is likely to receive a similar sentence following his highly public protest.

Workers must give full support to all military personnel who follow their conscience and refuse to take part in criminal wars of imperialist aggression.

More than that, we must work to ensure that all trade unions in Britain adopt an active policy of non-cooperation with criminal imperialist wars, so that workers have full support from their workmates when they refuse to participate in furthering the war effort.

We want an end to the victimisation of individuals who follow their conscience. All workers must be protected from finding themselves in the invidious position of having to choose between assisting in a criminal war or losing their job.

Solidarity with Ahmed Al-Babati!

Posted in Human Rights, Saudi Arabia, UK, YemenComments Off on British soldier arrested for protesting collusion in Saudi’s Yemen war

Burying bad news: corona-filled papers ignore Britain’s Yemen invasion

Unreported in British media, British troops have landed in Aden. All that awaits them is the graveyard of imperialist ambitions.

Proletarian writers

Another air strike in Sanaa on 30 March 2020. Officially by the Saudis, but many have been British bombs, dropped by British planes that are flown by British-trained pilots and maintained in Saudi Arabia by thousands of British contractors.

Five years into Riyadh’s imperialist-sponsored war against the Yemeni people, a war conducted with the maximum savagery and cowardice, the corrupt feudal sheikhdom of Saudi Arabia is further than ever from achieving any of its goals – or any of the war aims of its imperialist sponsors in the USA and Britain.

The much-loathed and deservedly ousted former president, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, continues to cool his heels in Riyadh, waiting in vain for his hosts to succeed in bludgeoning his fellow countrymen into having him back.

Meanwhile, the national resistance forces continue to hold their own, whilst the Saudi alliance is increasingly weak and divided – its mercenary forces being consistently hammered in the ground war, and only able to function at all thanks to the brutal air war conducted against the civilian population.

If the war could have been won simply by piling misery upon misery on the long-suffering Yemeni people, Hadi and his sponsors would long ago have prevailed.

It is impossible to overstate the horrors to which millions of Yemenis have been exposed through blockade, blitzkrieg, hunger and disease. The United Nations estimates that over 24 million Yemenis are in dire need of aid, 10 million of whom are suffering from extreme levels of hunger.

The Yemen Data Project calculates that the Saudi gang has carried out nearly 20,500 air raids, meaning that the spread of cholera and other diseases has been facilitated by the systematic destruction of hospitals, schools, bridges, roads and all manner of vital infrastructure, not least the specially targeted water purification plants. (Saudi-led coalition launches air raids in Yemen’s Hudaydah, PressTV, 8 March 2020)

As well as infrastructural destruction, they make a speciality of targeting weddings, funerals and refugee camps.

British imperialist war crimes

Britain’s role in this criminal enterprise has been substantial throughout. A Guardian article published last June demonstrated conclusively that British imperialism is up to its elbows in blood.

It reported: “Every day Yemen is hit by British bombs – dropped by British planes that are flown by British-trained pilots and maintained and prepared inside Saudi Arabia by thousands of British contractors.” The bombs are manufactured in Glenrothes, Stevenage and Harlow. (The Saudis couldn’t do it without us’: the UK’s true role in Yemen’s deadly war by Arron Merat, Guardian, 18 June 2019)

RAF engineers are sent to train Saudi pilots and targetters, whilst BAE Systems personnel work in the field, providing weapons, maintenance and engineers. One BAE worker told Channel 4’s Dispatches: “If we weren’t there, in seven to 14 days there wouldn’t be a jet in the sky.”

The Guardian article explained how BAE is contracted by the government to provide “in-country” services, with around 6,300 contractors “stationed at forward operating bases in Saudi Arabia. There, they train Saudi pilots and conduct essential maintenance night and day on planes worn out from flying thousands of miles across the Saudi desert to their targets in Yemen.

“They also supervise Saudi soldiers to load bombs on to planes and set their fuses for their intended targets.”

The RAF provides liaison officers to work inside the Saudi command-and-control centre, which decides who is to get targeted. Meanwhile, inside “Saudi forward operating bases, there are thousands of British contractors working to keep the war machine moving.

“British contractors coordinate the distribution of bombs and aircraft parts. They manage climate-controlled armouries and work in shifts to ensure bombs are dispatched in a timely manner for fresh raids.”

In short, in an impeccable public/private partnership, the RAF and BAE between them do everything short of pulling the trigger.

However, even that last caveat is of dubious validity. As the Guardian article also noted: “In May 2018, an unknown number of British troops were sent to Yemen to assist Saudi ground forces. Since then, multiple newspapers have published reports of British special forces wounded in gun battles inside Houthi-controlled territory.”

Three thousand British and US troops heading for Yemen?

And now, on 12 March, the Iranian news agency Press TV has reported a claim by the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC, a breakaway separatist faction within the Saudi coalition that is sponsored by the UAE) that hundreds of US and British soldiers “have arrived in the port city of Aden as the first batch of a large military force that Washington and London seek to deploy to the Arab country’s resource-rich areas under the guise of fighting terrorism”. (US, British troops in Aden, more to arrive in Yemen strategic areas, PressTV, 12 March 2020)

According to Fadi al-Murshidi, media official of the STC, some 450 US and British soldiers had already arrived in Aden, the first batch of a planned 3,000-strong contingent which is aimed to directly occupy Aden, al-Anad base in Lahj province, Socotra Island in the Arabian Sea, Hadhramaut, Mahrah and Shabwah provinces.

In the same Press TV report, unspecified “southern local media” are said to have reported that a US force of 110 soldiers reinforced by ten Black Hawk aircraft, 30 Harvey armoured vehicles, four Patriot air defence systems and an integrated field operations room had reached the coast of Balhaf in the oil-producing Shabwa province, where are also docked two US warships.

Balhaf happens to be the main port for the export of Yemen’s liquified natural gas (LNG).

The significance of this report, so far uncorroborated by any other source seen by this writer, is not immediately clear. As is plain from the Guardian piece cited above, Saudi Arabia is already teeming with British contractors, engineers, special forces and RAF advisers. A few thousand more troops need not of itself necessarily radically alter the facts on the ground. An imperialist mercenary smells the same in or out of uniform.

However, if this development signals a qualitative shift in strategy, abandoning reliance on proxies to deliver the imperialist agenda in favour of a more blatant direct intervention by the puppet-masters themselves, then this suggests just how little confidence imperialism on either side of the pond has in the ability of Saudi Arabia and its partners-in-crime in the UAE to bring home the bacon.

The concentration of US and British forces in the oil-producing Shabwa province, complete with two US warships docked at the main LNG-exporting port, looks more like a clumsy smash-and-grab of the nation’s mineral wealth than a confident assertion of imperialist dominance – much like America’s blatant theft of Syria’s oil wealth.

In both cases, it looks more like a shoplifter stuffing his pockets whilst heading for the exit than a serious plan of settled domination.

Thieves fall out

The Southern Transitional Council (STC), from whose spokesman the Press TV story originates, is sponsored by the UAE, a key ally in the war against Yemen. The STC has previously been instrumental in the attempt to restore Hadi, which was in line with the imperialist attempt to force the Yemeni people to submit to being ruled by a Saudi stooge.

However, last year the STC turned against Hadi and seized Aden, the nominal ‘capital’ of Hadi’s shadow government, with the involvement of the UAE’s military. Faced with the prospect of a squabble amongst rival militias undermining the war effort and driving a wedge between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, a peace deal was brokered under which Saudi forces took control of most of south Yemen and UAE forces withdrew.

But the deal is not holding, tensions are escalating between Saudi-backed militias and STC fighters, and now the Saudi coalition is preventing STC leaders returning to Aden. It seems probable that the intention of sending in the imperialist soldiery is in part to shore up the Saudi-led fighters and refocus minds on the imperialist agenda.

These quarrels erupting within the ranks of the Saudi coalition, with even a danger that Saudi Arabia and the UAE could find themselves drawn into open collision, are clearly weakening and dividing the forces of oppression.

They are also making it harder for ‘allies’ to maintain a united propaganda front – as illustrated by the STC apparently letting the cat out of the bag about the influx of imperialist troops.

The struggle continues

And through it all, the forces of national liberation led by the Ansarullah movement (or ‘Houthi rebels’ as the imperialist media like to dismiss them) not only remain unbroken but have since last summer been making substantial military gains against the oppressor.

These are putting maximum pressure on Riyadh to put an end to the humanitarian disaster prolonged by its unwinnable war and come to the negotiating table. As Ansarullah leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi pointed out in a recent televised address, the US is humiliating Riyadh and Abu Dhabi to pursue its own agenda.

Al-Houthi noted: “Evaluation and studies confirm that economic losses inflicted on the Saudi regime have been huge and its ambitions have not been realised. The Saudi and UAE economies are suffering from economic crises, and continue to decline.” (US only humiliating, blackmailing Saudi Arabia, UAE: Ansarullah leader, Press TV, 26 March 2020)

Militarily, the reality is that Riyadh has never got over the massive humiliation of seeing 50 percent of its oil production shut down by drone attacks last September. Taken together with the pro-Hadi fighters’ dismal showing in the ongoing ground war, this has left the mercenaries demoralised and on the back foot.

In January, the Yemeni liberation forces recaptured key positions in the Nehm district of Sana’a province and also advanced into Serwah district, 40km west of Ma’arib city.

Then at the beginning of March it was reported that liberation forces had captured al-Hazm, capital of al-Jawf province, as Saudi-led mercenaries retreated into neighbouring Ma’arib province. The mercenaries lost at least 30 of their number over two days, including some high-ranking pro-Hadi officers.

Commenting on this development, Maged al-Madhaji, executive director of the Sana’a Center, a Yemeni think-tank, said: “Control of the capital of al-Jawf could totally change the course of the war. Houthis have made an exceptional advance and are changing the balance,” adding that the advance would enable the Ansarullah-backed forces to surround neighbouring oil-rich Ma’rib province, the most significant territory in the hands of the pro-Saudi mercenaries.

By taking al-Hazm, he suggested, “Houthi forces have cleared away the last obstacle in front of the vast, largely empty desert areas across the north of Marib. The Houthi movement, therefore, gains an easy military path to the vein of Marib’s wealth – its oil wells and a refinery – without having to capture Marib city, the governorate’s well-fortif

“The new achievement by Yemeni forces and the Houthi fighters also secures supply lines between Sana’a and the Houthi northern stronghold of Saada.” (Yemenis seize capital of strategic al-Jawf as Saudi-led mercenaries retreat, 1 March 2020)

The Saudi gang responded with the usual cowardly air strikes a week later, this time against the western province of Hudaydah. War planes raided the Salif area and targets in the Bab al-Mandeb strait.

Fierce fighting continued in Ma’arib province, and then at the end of March came news of the first strikes against targets in Saudi Arabia itself since last September. This latest bold attack mobilised a mix of home-made drones and ballistic missiles, demonstrating that Yemen is fully capable of bringing the war back home to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is in no fit condition to be acting as imperialist catspaw in the middle east; and if it is really the intention to send in thousands of US and British troops to do the job instead, all that awaits them is the graveyard of imperialist ambitions.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Saudi Arabia, UK, YemenComments Off on Burying bad news: corona-filled papers ignore Britain’s Yemen invasion

Fake calls for Covid peace in Yemen

Resistance rejects the strong-arm tactic of ‘dialogue under fire and siege’.

Lalkar writers

How are the Yemenis supposed to combat coronavirus if Saudi Arabia’s blockade of the country remains in place?

“The United Nations security council on Friday [17 April] endorsed the secretary-general’s call for the warring parties in Yemen to immediately stop fighting and focus on reaching a peace agreement and countering the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“The UN’s most powerful body welcomed the unilateral, two-week ceasefire announced by the Saudi-led coalition that went into effect 9 April to support the UN-led peace process and secretary-general Antonio Guterres’s call for a truce.” (Security council backs UN chief’s call for Yemen ceasefire, Al-Jazeera, 18 April 2020)

Imperialism has used the Yemeni resistance forces’ rejection of this supposedly ‘humanitarian’ olive branch to heap condemnation upon them, but a moment’s examination of the situation lays bare the base, vulpine nature of this so-called ‘call for peace’:

“Mohamed Abdel Salam, a spokesman for the Houthis on Thursday said the current UN proposal neglects their key demand – to lift Saudi Arabia’s land, air and sea blockade, which aid officials partly blame for driving the country’s humanitarian crisis.

“‘Dialogue under fire and siege is only a strong-arm tactic that works in the interest of the military option,’ Abdel Salam said.” (Ibid)

How are the Yemenis supposed to combat coronavirus if the blockade, which the Saudis have certainly not proposed they should lift, remains in place?

It is time the shameful war against the Yemeni people waged by imperialism and its Saudi and other despotic backers be brought to an end. The fact that even in the midst of a deadly pandemic imperialism is not prepared to let go, and tries to pull the wool over the eyes of the ever-widening circles of people who are rightly horrified by its criminal activities in Yemen, demonstrates its truly monstrous nature.

It is time to take a leaf out of the book of the heroic Yemeni people, who are prepared to fight on to victory regardless of the horrors being showered upon them.

It is time to stand up against imperialism in its home countries and refuse to participate in facilitating these horrendous war crimes, either by acting as mercenaries, by making or transporting weaponry, or by disseminating imperialism’s lying propaganda and fake news.

Posted in Human Rights, Saudi Arabia, YemenComments Off on Fake calls for Covid peace in Yemen

Khashoggi – a murder most foul

Imperialism and its Saudi puppets in the dock.

Ella Rule

The brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi has exposed the true nature of the US-Saudi relationship.

The gruesome murder and dismemberment of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul’s Saudi Arabian consulate on 2 October 2018 has been seriously threatening to destroy the whole mechanism through which US imperialism maintains its influence in the middle east, and even its ability to wage economic warfare on a world scale.

Mr Khashoggi was a Saudi national and supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood who went into self-imposed exile in the US in 2017 following Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s taking over of day-to-day management of the Saudi government shortly after his father King Salman acceded to the Saudi throne in January 2015.

There had been such a crackdown on free speech that no criticism of the government was tolerated, making it impossible for Khashoggi to do what he saw as his job – so he left the country, settled in the US and became a correspondent for the Washington Post, for which he wrote articles that were frequently critical of the Saudi government and its policies.

He condemned, for instance, the war being waged by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, as well as Saudi attempts by use of blockade and sanctions to bring Qatar to its knees.

Because of his long-standing connections at the highest levels of Saudi society – besides a lifetime in journalism, he had a father who had been a medical practitioner to the royal family and his uncle Adnan was a hugely wealthy arms dealer – Khashoggi was very influential among his fellow Saudis.

It is indicative of the current frailty of the Saudi regime that it was felt he needed to be silenced.

The opportunity to silence him arose when he decided to get married to a Turkish woman. For this purpose he needed paperwork from Saudi Arabia confirming he was divorced from his former wife.

To obtain the necessary documentation, he visited the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he was greeted with great cordiality, by all accounts, and told the papers would be ready for him if he would return for them the following week.

In the interim, “a 15-man ‘hit squad’ flew by private jets (at least one of which is owned by the crown prince) and scheduled flights to Istanbul the morning of Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance.

“At least nine of those onboard worked for the Saudi security services, military or other government ministries. Among those is Salah Muhammed al-Tubaigy, president of the Saudi Fellowship of Forensic Pathology, who specialises in gathering DNA from crime scenes and dissecting bodies. He stayed in Istanbul until 11.00pm on 2 October.

“He was joined by Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, a diplomat assigned to the Saudi embassy in London in 2007. He travelled extensively with the crown prince, records show.” (Shady hitmen and a diplomatic mire by Josie Ensor, The Telegraph, 17 October 2018)

Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, who is also the head of the Saudi forensic medicine institute, was apparently handily equipped with an important instrument of his profession – a bone saw.

When Khashoggi arrived at the consulate, he is said to have been invited to chat with the crown prince over the telephone, being asked to return voluntarily to Saudi Arabia, which Khashoggi made clear he had no intention of doing.

What followed, according to Turkish sources cited in the Telegraph article quoted above, was that: “Khashoggi was murdered inside the consulate. In accounts given to the Wall Street Journal and others, Mr Khashoggi is led into the office of the consul general, Mohammed al-Otaibi.

“Mr al-Otaibi is reported to have been heard saying they should do this outside, or he will get into trouble.

“A voice identified as M Tubaigy, the forensics expert, tells him to stay out of it. ‘If you want to live when you come to Saudi Arabia, be quiet,’ he says.

“Mr Khashoggi is then heard screaming as he has his fingers cut off one by one, although there is said to have been no attempt to interrogate him.

“As he started to dismember the body, Tubaigy put on earphones and listened to music. He advised other members of the squad to do the same. ‘When I do this job, I listen to music. You should do [that] too,’ Tubaigy was recorded as saying, a source told Middle East Eye.

“Reports suggest it took him seven minutes to die.”

Khashoggi’s body parts were smuggled out of the consulate, but to date it has not been discovered where they ended up. As we go to press, there are reports that some parts have been found in the consulate garden and in a well in that garden, which the Saudi authorities are refusing to allow the Turkish authorities to investigate.

Attempts at a cover-up

Mr Khashoggi’s fiancee was waiting for him outside the consulate and, when he did not appear after four hours, she contacted the Turkish authorities, who demanded to know his whereabouts. They were told that Khashoggi had left the consulate some time previously via a back entrance.

In fact, arrangements had been made to create a CCTV image of him leaving in order to back up this story, but it all went wrong.

One of the hit team was Mustafa al-Madani, a man of similar build to Khashoggi, who was filmed wearing Khashoggi’s clothes and a false beard leaving out of the back door. However, he for whatever reason did not put on Khashoggi’s Oxford brogues but kept his own rather distinctive trainers, which would of course have been noticed when the CCTV of Khashoggi’s arrival at the consulate was compared to that of his supposed departure. Therefore the ‘departure’ CCTV ‘disappeared’ and was not available for inspection.

Unknown to the Saudis, the Turkish intelligence services were bugging the consulate and had tapes of what was going on there. They had also listened in to the telephone calls made from the consulate to Mohammed bin Salman’s private office – no fewer than seven of them – by the hit team.

But for two weeks the Saudi authorities maintained the lie that Khashoggi had left the consulate alive, while the Turkish authorities drip-fed leaks about what had really happened.

Ultimately, the revelations being made public forced the Saudis to admit that Khashoggi had died at the consulate, while they flailed around trying to compose an explanation that did not compromise the Saudi government and its de facto chief executive, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (commonly referred to as MbS).

First they claimed that Khashoggi had been killed accidentally in the course of a ‘fist fight’, and more recently that he had been killed by ‘rogue elements’, but neither of these ‘explanations’ tallied with the accusatory facts that had come to light.

If it was an ‘accident’, what was a top pathologist doing at the consulate? And where is the body? And if it was ‘rogue elements’, what are ‘rogue elements’ doing in the crown prince’s private jet, or making telephone calls from the consulate to the crown prince’s private office?

Imperialist embarrassment

Apart from Israel, Saudi Arabia is imperialism’s chief stooge in the middle east. Both countries are vilely vicious, but it is generally the case that the bourgeois media do not if they can help it draw much attention to this because of the importance of these countries in defending imperialist interests.

Imperialism would have been quite happy for this whole episode to be hushed up – but it was not to be. Turkey not only harbours visceral hatred for Saudi Arabia, which peddles wahhabism (a different and even more archaic brand of islamism than do Turkey’s rulers, committed as they are to the Muslim Brotherhood), but currently it is also enraged by Saudi Arabia’s US puppetmaster, which, in a vain attempt to prevent President Bashar al-Assad from regaining control over the whole of his country, has been supporting Syrian Kurdish separatists aligned with the separatist movement of Turkish Kurds, whom successive Turkish governments have been fighting tooth and nail for decades.

The fury that Turkish leader Erdogan feels towards US imperialism as a result of this knows no bounds. There was no way the Turkish authorities were going to bypass this chance to damage both the Saudis and their US masters.

In so doing they have been supported, albeit implicitly, by very powerful lobbies.

To start with, there is the full weight of that part of the US establishment which deplores Trump’s presidency. Since Trump has made his friendship with Saudi Arabia such a pivot of his middle east policy, with his son-in-law Jared Kushner cosying up to the crown prince as a best buddy, outing the outrageous behaviour of said best buddy is an opportunity too good to miss.

Then there are all the rich and influential people in Saudi Arabia whom, on charges of corruption, the crown prince has forced to part with a large portion of their billions. They are joined by Saudi clerics whose nose has been put out of joint by MbS’s ‘modernisation’ programme, which allows women to drive and cinemas to open.

Nor should the royals be forgotten who have been cut out of the traditional order of succession by King Salman’s decision to make his son the crown prince in place of candidates who would otherwise have had priority. All these people have an axe to grind and are no doubt only too happy to wield it!

Then there is the Muslim Brotherhood, which may be down, but is certainly not out, and is in a strong position to influence public opinion.

And finally there are the journalists who write for the bourgeois media and who would be hard to repress when faced with the grisly murder of one of their own.

All in all, there was no way of brushing this particular atrocity under the carpet.

Imperialism on the horns of a dilemma

Saudi Arabia is vital to imperialist interests for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most important of these is the authority it has in the islamic world, as ‘guardian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina’, to influence the religious masses of the region and further afield away from any thoughts of revolution and freedom, and to mobilise large numbers of them, furthermore, to fight against those who refuse to accept imperialism’s diktat, such as the people of Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Also, with massive Saudi oil deposits effectively at its disposal, US imperialism is able to some considerable extent to use Saudi Arabian production as an economic weapon against other countries – although the downside of this is that Saudi Arabia can also use oil threats to secure concessions from imperialism. Nevertheless, such actions are unlikely as reducing oil production would seriously hurt the Saudi economy, which is already suffering from high unemployment.

“Saudi Arabia enjoys a privileged position both in geopolitical and economic terms. It will have a powerful hand to play if tensions with the US and the west escalate …

“Its vast oil reserves – it claims to have about 260bn barrels still to extract – afford the most obvious advantage. The kingdom is the world’s largest oil exporter, pumping or shipping about 7m barrels a day, and giving Riyadh huge clout in the global economy because it wields power to push up prices.

“An editorial in Arab News by Turki Aldhakhil, the general manager of the official Saudi news channel, Al Arabiya, offers a hint of what could be in the offing.

“He said Riyadh was weighing up 30 measures designed to put pressure on the US if it were to impose sanctions over the disappearance and presumed murder of Jamal Khashoggi inside the country’s Istanbul consulate. These would include an oil production cut that could drive prices from around $80 (£60) a barrel to more than $400, more than double the all-time high of $147.27 reached in 2008.” (How much damage can Saudi Arabia do to the global economy? by Rob Davies, The Guardian, 15 October 2018)

So long as the Saudi government is closely allied with US imperialism, rather than being sanctioned by the latter, it is usually happy to pump more or less oil as US imperialism directs – a weapon in the US’s armoury to use against its opponents such as Iran. When faced with US anger at Khashoggi’s murder, the Saudi energy minister complained that the kingdom had long served as the world’s energy ‘shock absorber’, implying that it was beyond criticism even when committing murder.

Related to this, US imperialism needs Saudi cooperation if it is to have any hope of putting down Iran.

“[What is the reason why Trump] is laying the ground to exonerate the regime in general and bin Salman in particular?

“The answer can be spelled out in four letters: Iran. Trump realised, belatedly, that his long-plotted strategy for confronting Iran, which culminates on 5 November with a sweeping, potentially crippling global embargo on Iranian oil, cannot work without Saudi support.

“The plan, which many analysts believe is actually an attempt to force regime change in Tehran, depends on the Saudis pumping extra oil to compensate for the anticipated shortfall. If not, the outcome could be a worldwide oil shock, with rapidly rising prices and massive, negative knock-on impacts on international markets and trade.

“That’s why Trump refuses to contemplate sanctions, such as suspending arms sales, as urged in Congress. For the same reason, he has failed to check the Saudi-led carnage in Yemen. Iran is why Trump will not apply his punitive tool of choice – penalties on named individuals in foreign governments – in the Khashoggi case.

“Surely nobody honestly believes the high-risk Istanbul operation was undertaken without the prior knowledge of bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s most powerful man. But sanctioning him would blow up Trump’s entire Iranian bonfire night plot …

“Trump needs the Saudis not only because the oil embargo could prove chaotic without them. He will also need their political and military cooperation if, as threatened, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards take reciprocal, physical action to halt Saudi and Gulf states’ oil exports via the Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf and the Bab-el-Mandeb strait, at the mouth of the Red Sea.

“If this crisis point is reached, escalating confrontations across the region cannot be ruled out.” (Regime change in Iran is Trump’s real reason for siding with the Saudis by Simon Tisdall, The Guardian, 18 October 2018)

And finally, US imperialism is dependent on Saudi Arabia for massive arms purchases that keep its military-industrial complex going and for massive inward investment.

“Public Investment Fund (PIF), Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund, has poured $4.9bn into American start-ups. Another Saudi-backed venture has made at least $17bn worth of deals. Banks have hauled in hundreds of millions of dollars in fees for advising on Saudi projects.” (Is economic war looming between Saudi Arabia and America? by GC, The Economist, 19 October 2018)

Trump’s son Eric was very frank about this:

“Eric Trump said Thursday on Fox News’s Outnumbered: ‘Saudi Arabia has actually been a friend to the US in many ways. They’re ordering from us, massive, massive orders. Hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of arms that will create tens and tens of thousands of jobs.

“‘So what are you going to do? You’re going to take that and you’re going to throw all of that away?’” (Eric Trump asks ‘Are we just supposed to throw away our relationship with Saudi Arabia’ following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Marlene Lenthang, Daily Mail, 19 October 2018)

History of appeasement of Saudi Arabia

Enough has been said to demonstrate why imperialism would feel it can’t afford to be on bad terms with Saudi Arabia, and to explain why, despite the overwhelming evidence that a heinous crime has been committed at the instigation of the Saudi regime, no sanctions have been imposed and no ambassadorial staff have been expelled – in stark contrast to the reaction of the ‘international’ (imperialist) community when the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal was poisoned in Britain and the finger was pointed at Russia despite a complete absence of evidence.

Imperialism’s toothless response to Saudi Arabia’s egregious crime totally undermines the myth underlying imperialism’s expansionist adventures that is the defender of human rights, on a mission to expand democracy and freedom to every ‘barbaric’ corner of the globe.

To have as its ally Saudi Arabia, with its medieval regime practising medieval torture on its citizens as a matter of routine, and forcing them to abide by an antediluvian code of conduct that notoriously infantilises women, among other outrages, has always been an embarrassment to the country’s imperialist masters, who have nevertheless been forced to close their eyes to their puppet’s antics.

Under the crown prince, things were hyped as now undergoing change for the better. He was presented to the world as the great moderniser who lifted the ban on women driving and allowed cinemas to be opened where not only would Saudi citizens be able to watch films but men and women would be able to attend the same viewings! MbS, we were told, was standing up to the clerics and to the old guard, and bringing Saudi Arabia into the 21st century.

Except that he wasn’t, as all the imperialist powers were very well aware: “In June, when the ban on Saudi women driving ended, it was portrayed around the world as part of a modernising, liberalising agenda by the new crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. Yet the authorities ordered female activists not to speak out in its favour.

“Their blunt message was that what was being offered was the gift of King Salman and his crown prince son, and not a result of the campaign by female activists. In fact, the government had arrested 11 of these activists a month beforehand. Though four were released, the remaining seven had led a petition demanding that the female guardianship system – which treats adult women as legal minors – be abolished. They remain in detention without charge, but could face up to 25 years in jail …

“Before the ascension to the throne by Crown Prince Salman bin Abdul Aziz in January 2015, the Saudi monarchy allowed space, however reluctantly, for non-establishment wahhabi clerics, and silenced dissenters by intimidation, co-option through cash handouts, and in the case of foreign-based opponents, periodic kidnaps. With the swift ascendancy of the headstrong bin Salman, this changed.

“He has grabbed all centres of power, not only in the government – defence, the national guard, interior ministry and its intelligence agencies – but also in the form of Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil corporation, as well as in construction and broadcasting.

“Bin Salman achieved this under the guise of launching a seemingly popular anti-corruption campaign, sanctioned by his father, in November 2017 – detaining 326 businessmen and princes in the swanky Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh. Royal court officials said the detainees had stolen assets from the government …

“In January, security services arrested 11 princes after their refusal to leave the historic Qasr al-Hokm palace in old Riyadh. They were held at al-Hair maximum-security prison. They had gathered there merely to frame an objection to a decree in which the government would stop paying the princes’ utility bills.

“The detained women’s rights activists have been smeared in the state-guided newspapers, which have accused their campaign of treason and implied it is funded by the much maligned Qatar.

“Thanks to their sympathisers, and international human rights organisations, the women’s rights activists remain in the public eye. In sharp contrast, the fate of the dissenting clerics, writers and intellectuals held without trial remains unknown.

“Equally unknown is the fate of the 56 Ritz-Carlton detainees who were brave enough to resist official coercion and threats, and were then transferred to traditional jails. These persecuted groups have become non-persons, the early victims of a totalitarian regime in the making under the 33-year-old bin Salman.” (Mohammed bin Salman never was a reformer. This has proved it by Dilip Hiro, The Guardian, 18 October 2018)

In foreign policy, bin Salman has proved equally ruthless:

“Since he took office in 2017, Trump signalled to Saudi Arabia’s leaders, especially King Salman and his son, the ambitious and ruthless 33-year-old crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, that they can get away with anything – as long as they help keep global oil prices stable and continue buying US weapons.

“With Trump’s green light, the young prince and his advisers intensified a series of destructive policies: Saudi Arabia continued a brutal war in Yemen that has killed tens of thousands of civilians; the kingdom imposed a blockade against its smaller neighbour, Qatar; the prince detained and forced Lebanon’s prime minister to resign; and he ordered the arrest of hundreds of Saudi activists and business leaders.

“Without any consequences for these actions, is it any surprise that Saudi Arabia expected to get away with the alleged abduction and murder of Khashoggi, who wrote columns for the Washington Post critical of the crown prince? …

“The Saudi-led war in Yemen triggered a humanitarian catastrophe, which by some estimates has killed nearly 50,000 people. More than 8 million Yemenis are on the brink of famine, and 1.1 million are infected with cholera.

“Several United Nations investigations found both the Houthis and the Saudi-led coalition responsible for war crimes, but the Saudis and their allies have caused far more civilian deaths with air strikes.

“And the US is probably culpable for these war crimes because it provides the Saudis and Emiratis with missiles and bombs, intelligence assistance in identifying targets and mid-air refuelling for warplanes.” (Khashoggi’s fate isn’t a surprise. Trump has emboldened Saudi Arabia by Mohamad Bazzi, The Guardian, 16 October 2018)

Saudi Arabia needs America even more than America needs Saudi Arabia

Despotic though the crown prince has always been, he was in charge of a major push to make the kingdom less dependent on oil, especially now that the world oil price has shrunk below the levels needed to keep the Saudi economy in a state of health.

This push is of course opposed tooth and nail by the obscurantist traditionalists who until lately largely ruled the roost, but MbS kept them down through a mixture of concessions (hence the continued persecution of women activists) and brute force.

With Saudi Arabia’s economic problems multiplying by the day, the country is desperate for reform, and it seems this cannot be effected without the active support of US imperialism:

“One of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s primary objectives is to diversify the Saudi economy and wean his country off its dependence on oil. Unemployment in Saudi Arabia is at more than 12 percent, and some 70 percent of employed Saudis work for the government. The Saudi labour ministry estimates that the economy needs to create 1.2 million jobs by 2022 to lower unemployment to a still dismal 9 percent.

“But because the country lacks business experience and special expertise outside of the oil and petrochemical industries, that won’t be possible without foreign — and particularly American — participation. That’s why the Saudis have been making so many deals recently.

“The Public Investment Fund has partnered with AMC to open and run movie theatres across the country because AMC knows how to manage cinemas. Saudi Arabia is pursuing deals for Snap and Amazon to open facilities in the kingdom because they can offer tech opportunities.

“It’s not just the private sector. The Saudi government bureaucracy also relies heavily on American management expertise. Riyadh has been hiring American consultants since the 1950s, and in recent years American firms like McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group and Oliver Wyman have worked on hundreds of projects for the kingdom. In some cases, Saudi government bureaucrats work side by side with these consultants to implement government programmes.

“The Saudi Public Investment Fund – the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, which is estimated to have more than $250bn in assets – is also closely tied to the American economy. To name just a few of its major investments: it put $3.5bn into Uber in 2016 and almost half a billion dollars in the start-up Magic Leap this year; it invested $45bn in SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which invests heavily in American technology start-ups; and it made a $5bn investment with a possible growth to $20bn in a Blackstone fund for United States infrastructure.

“Much of the tens of billions of dollars cannot be pulled out on a whim. These start-ups are private companies without open markets for their shares. Prince Mohammed is building a domestic reputation with this tech portfolio, so its success is politically important, too.

“All of this is at risk if the dispute worsens between Saudi Arabia and the United States over Mr Khashoggi’s disappearance. Not only could the Saudis not retaliate because their economy is so intertwined with that of the United States, but they will also be susceptible to pressure.

“Targeted sanctions – if it comes to that – could force consultants to withdraw or cut off the Saudi Public Investment Fund’s access to the profits of its investments. More likely, though, is that a continuing dispute would force American businesses like AMC to seriously reconsider involvement in the country because of negative publicity.

“What about oil? Whereas Saudi Arabia could once shock the world economy by cutting oil exports or production to raise prices, it no longer has that power.

“The oil market today is significantly more diverse than it was in 1973, when Saudi Arabia and other Arab petroleum exporters unilaterally raised the price of oil and unsettled the American economy. In fact, the United States now produces more oil than Saudi Arabia, and imports make up a smaller percentage of domestically refined crude oil.

“Saudi Arabia cannot embargo or unilaterally raise oil prices for the United States without doing greater harm to its own industry and revenues. If Riyadh directed the national oil company, Saudi Aramco, to halt exports to the United States today, it would primarily hurt Aramco itself.

“Aramco owns Motiva, the largest refinery in the United States, and Motiva is more reliant on Saudi oil than any other part of America’s energy ecosystem. If Aramco tried to raise prices by cutting oil production or exports, it would face irate customers in Asia and hurt its own refineries in China and Korea, too.” (Saudi Arabia has no leverage by Ellen R Wald, New York Times, 18 October 2018)

This deep commonality of interests between the US imperialist warmonger and its bloodthirsty minion will undoubtedly motivate both of them to take whatever steps, however drastic, to enable them to continue in their nefarious partnership with minimal reputational damage.

The most obvious step to take would be blame Mohammed bin Salman for everything and then unceremoniously replace him as crown prince. It is clear, however, that for the moment great efforts are being made to avoid any such outcome since it would be sure to destabilise the present dispensation so carefully put in place.

At the same time, keeping MbS in his present position also carries the risk of destabilisation because of the powerful forces arrayed against him within Saudi Arabia and beyond. Whichever way the ruling clique turns it faces destabilisation and disintegration of its ossified and senile rule.

For the moment it is trying frenetically to find some scapegoat to be sacrificed at the altar of the decaying feudal Saudi monarchy.

The role of Turkey

Turkey has undoubtedly enjoyed the discomfiture that the revelations of its intelligence services regarding the murder of Khashoggi have caused both to its regional rival Saudi Arabia and to US imperialism. It is, however, unlikely that it is above being bought off.

In fact, it is only too likely that in revealing information piecemeal, constantly hinting there are even more dramatic revelations as yet withheld, it is inviting Saudi Arabia and US imperialism to pay for its silence on these latter issues.

This would explain why President Erdogan, instead of laying out the whole of the information at his disposal right from the start, only disclosed it bit by bit, thus giving the miscreants a chance to negotiate a price for Turkish silence.

It would also explain why Erdogan postponed until Tuesday 23 October the speech in which he was promising to tell all – the “naked truth”, no less – yet when the time came failed to tell anything very much at all. One can only assume that some accommodation has been reached.

Roger Boyes in The Times foresaw such accommodation as a possible outcome of the affair:

“The cynical assumption is that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, will soon put constraints on the investigation, not allowing it to stray too close to implicating the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman.

“There are multiple disagreements between Turkey and the Saudi leadership: the Saudis don’t like Erdogan’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood or Turkey’s closeness to Qatar (which has just offered $15bn of investment to Erdogan and a $500m presidential jet).

“Yet it would be consistent with Erdogan’s taste for creating geopolitical leverage for Turkey to keep a tight rein on the probe, to encourage evidence-gathering but not draw any conclusions about who pulled the strings.

“The fact that he allowed the Saudis to become part of a joint team was for many critics an omen of an impending cover-up. Saudi Arabia is, after all, a prime suspect. Turkey should have invited international assistance from elsewhere.

“If the Turks end up swallowing the lie, the US would perhaps demonstrate gratitude by withdrawing support for Kurdish units in Syria. The tone of relations is already changing after a Turkish court last week freed an American pastor who had been in prison for two years on spurious terror charges.

“That is a gift to the Trump administration, and in particular the evangelical Christian vice-president Mike Pence, ahead of next month’s midterm elections.” (Erdogan smells weakness in the US-Saudi pact, 17 October 2018)

Even if US imperialism would not go so far as withdrawing its support for Syrian Kurds – at least not yet – Turkey could also use large injections of cash …

Fallout

Whatever arrangement is ultimately pieced together, there is no doubt that imperialist interests have been seriously harmed, quite possibly irreparably.

The gruesome nature of the Saudi regime has been highlighted to such an extent that many businesses that were minting it through contracts with Saudi Arabia have had seriously to think about pulling out for fear of losing business elsewhere if they do not:

“Now, the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi has turned the spirited pursuit of trophy deals in the kingdom into an exercise in crisis management for some of the world’s most influential financiers.

“Among those caught in the crosshairs are executives who have been most successful in courting Prince Mohammed – including such chief executives as Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase; Larry Fink of BlackRock, the world’s largest fund manager; and Stephen Schwarzman of Blackstone, the world’s largest private equity firm.

“All three men joined the exodus of corporate titans, media companies and sponsors that withdrew from Saudi Arabia’s flagship business conference set for next week in Riyadh, which was meant to present the kingdom’s modernising face.” (Khashoggi disappearance puts dealmakers in a bind by Arash Massoudi and James Fontanella-Khan, Financial Times, 15 October 2018)

While imperialist corporations have been forced by public outrage to downgrade their presence at the business conference in question, Saudi Arabia’s much-hyped ‘Davos in the desert’, their junior representatives have found themselves sitting uncomfortably next to executives from Russia and China looking to bag some of the lucrative contracts that would normally have gone to imperialist concerns as a matter of course.

The Khashoggi murder has also drawn the world’s attention to the unparalleled horrors of the war being waged by Saudi Arabia against the Yemeni people, with armaments and logistical support from various imperialist countries, especially the US and Britain.

It would be a bonus for humanity if that war could be forced to an end – to the detriment, no doubt, of imperialist military-industrial enterprises.

The possibility has also been mentioned that to avoid further Turkish revelations, US imperialism might find it prudent to abandon its support for Kurdish dissidents in Syria, which in effect would mean having to pull its troops out of Syria altogether. That would be a bonus indeed.

Cynical motivations laid bare

As things stand at the moment there are three major parties to this dispute, each with differing interests.

– First, Saudi Arabia’s rulers, whose main concern is to ringfence Mohammed bin Salman, the organiser of this foul murder.

– Second, US imperialism, which is desperate to preserve its highly lucrative and strategically vital relationship with the medieval, brutal and autocratic regime in Riyadh.

– Third, Turkey, which wants to extract as many concessions as it can from its Saudi rival as well as from US imperialism – at a time when its relationship with the latter has gone through a very difficult period.

In view of this, it is the endeavour of all three parties to cover up this foul crime and prevent the evidence in support of the truth, and indeed the whole truth itself, ever reaching the public domain.

Their problem is that, on the basis of the evidence that has been released, it is already clear to the whole world that Khashoggi’s murder was pre-planned and carried out at the behest of MbS.

Into the bargain, this murder has shaken the Saudi regime to its foundations and laid some of the ground for its destruction. In the process, it has made clearer than ever that imperialism in pursuit of its sordid selfish interests cares not what crimes are committed, and has not the slightest interest in human rights.

Posted in Human Rights, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Khashoggi – a murder most foul

The march of the Saudi regime towards its inevitable doom

The mediaeval autocracy is fuelling the very forces that will bring its decrepit rule to an end.

Ella Rule

On 2 January 2016, Saudi Arabia began the new year by executing 47 people, including a fiery shia cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who was an outspoken (but peaceful) opponent of the Saudi regime. Al-Nimr’s opposition focused on the Saudi ruling elite’s policy of discriminating against shias, and for this ‘crime’, he had been imprisoned as a ‘terrorist’.

In the eyes of religious shia, killing a mullah is seen the same way as killing the Pope would be seen by devout catholics. It could therefore be expected to trigger a violent response from the masses of the shia faithful, which it duly did, resulting in particular in the Saudi embassy in Tehran being ransacked and set on fire – though it should be emphasised that the Iranian government was able to ensure the personal safety of all embassy personnel and did not condone the action. On the contrary, it condemned the attack and had people associated with it arrested and put behind bars.

Although the Saudi government had knowingly provoked this situation, it responded to the attack on its embassy with feigned outrage, breaking off diplomatic relations with Iran on 3 January. This lead was followed by a number of Saudi’s sunni allies or client states, who either severed or downgraded relations with Iran. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia was loudly demanding that the world join it in exacting retribution from the Iranian state for the riotous behaviour of a handful of its citizens.

In executing this respected cleric, contrary to the almost peremptory advice Saudi officials had received from US imperialism, it is hard at first sight to understand what could have possessed the regime to do such a thing. After all, the medievalist Saudi government has only been able to withstand the opposition of either modernisers and socialists on the one hand, or of rival jihadi headbangers on the other, because of the support it receives from US imperialism.

It is, in such circumstances, tempting to believe that, for some unfathomable reason, US imperialism must have surreptitiously given the Saudis the go-ahead.

However, this does not appear to have been the case, if one can judge from the dismay expressed by a former senior US state department official, Aaron David Miller: “The prospects for ending the civil war [in Syria] and defeating Isis have gone from near impossible to impossible. The US is stuck in a region with unreliable allies whose interests do not always align with ours.” (Quoted in US calls for restraint as Saudi-Iran tensions escalate, Financial Times, 5 January 2016)

This dismay can be well understood if it is realised that, following the entry of Russia into the war in Syria in support of a government that US imperialism wants overthrown, and Russia’s success in scattering the jihadi rabble armies that US imperialism had surreptitiously mobilised to achieve this objective, Washington now wants peace talks to go ahead as soon as possible in order to cut its losses while it still holds some negotiating chips.

In order to have bargaining power at any peace talks, the US needs to be able to muster powerful regional allies to help it extract concessions from its opponents, who include not only the Syrian, Russian and Iranian governments, but and many non-state popular resistance forces, and who together present a formidable negotiating bloc. US imperialism’s allies, meanwhile – chiefly Saudi Arabia, Israel, Qatar and Turkey – are far from singing from the same hymn sheet.

What Saudi Arabia has been trying to do is to undermine the Syrian peace talks that were due to start on 25 January. It also wants to sabotage the implementation of the international agreement on the Iranian nuclear issue if it possibly can. In pursuit of the first aim, the Saudis appear to be trying to ensure that talks simply do not take place.

The feudal rulers’ reasoning seems to have gone like this: either Iran would rise to the provocation and refuse to sit with Saudi Arabia or, failing that, Saudi Arabia could use the excuse of a hoped-for Iranian retaliation for the killing of al-Nimr (which Iran had threatened in an attempt to keep him alive) to justify itself in refusing to sit with Iran. This in turn would lead to the cancellation of talks, as US imperialism would be unable to field a powerful enough team to achieve any of its objectives.

The imperialists, however, are determined to keep Saudi Arabia involved if at all possible. As a result, the US’s response to the Saudi action was interestingly different from that of its allies. Whereas “Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations secretary general, said … that he was ‘deeply dismayed’ by the execution of Sheikh Nimr and the other men after ‘trials that raised serious concerns over the nature of the charges and the fairness of the process’” and whereas “the European Union cited similar questions about ‘freedom of expression and the respect of basic civil and political rights’”, all the US department of state had to say was that Nimr’s execution risked “exacerbating sectarian tensions at a time when they urgently need to be reduced”, stopping short of any actual condemnation.

For all its anger, the US “could not bring itself, at least in public, to condemn the execution of a dissident cleric who challenged the royal family, for fear of undermining the fragile Saudi leadership that it desperately needs in fighting the Islamic State and ending the conflict in Syria”. (US in a bind as Saudi actions test a durable alliance by David E Sanger, New York Times, 5 January 2016)

Worsening relations

In actual fact, Saudi frustration with its US imperialist patron has been growing in recent years, since US imperialism, naturally, puts its own interests ahead of those of its puppet whenever these interests diverge. And the interests of US imperialism and the Saudi ruling elite have increasingly been diverging of late.

“The United States has usually looked the other way, or issued carefully calibrated warnings in human rights reports, as the Saudi royal family cracked down on dissent and free speech and allowed its elite to fund Islamic extremists. In return, Saudi Arabia became America’s most dependable filling station, a regular supplier of intelligence, and a valuable counterweight to Iran.

“For years, it was oil that provided the glue for a relationship between two nations that share few common values. Today, with American oil production surging and the Saudi leadership fractured, the mutual dependency that goes back to the early 1930s, with the first American investment in the kingdom’s oil fields, no longer binds the nations as it once did.

“But the political upheaval in the Middle East and the American perception that the Saudis are critical to stability in the region continue to hold together an increasingly fractious marriage.” (New York Times, ibid)

The recent divergence of interests began with US acceptance of the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. This acceptance enabled US imperialism ultimately to maintain some influence in Egypt and to minimise the damage to itself from the uprising of 2011. From the Saudi point of view, however, this acceptance was an indication that the US may not be willing to fight to keep the Saudi regime in power were it to be challenged by a similarly popular internal movement.

Then, after years of negotiations, US imperialism recently signed accords with Iran that led on 16 January this year to the lifting of UN sanctions against that country. In return, Iran has taken action to restrict – for a while at least – the development of its nuclear industry.

Since the whole reason for imperialist patronage of regimes such as those in Saudi Arabia and Israel is that they should be its local stooges in the fight against independent, anti-imperialist states in the Middle East like Iran and Syria, any lessening of hostilities between such countries and imperialism is bound to make the stooges feel decidedly jealous and insecure.

Saudi Arabia is also at loggerheads with the US over its proxy jihadis, with whose behaviour abroad Saudi Arabia has no quarrel but whose activities US imperialism is now to some extent trying to rein in because they are damaging its interests.

While under US pressure Saudi Arabia did drop a few bombs in the general direction of jihadi terrorists, it at the first opportunity diverted its attention to conducting what the US considers to be a counterproductive and unwinnable war in Yemen against the Houthi-led resistance to the Saudi-backed coup regime. True, US imperialism has provided some material backing to Saudi Arabia in that war, but it is thought that this has been in return for Saudi Arabia holding off sending in ground troops, which would, in the US estimation, be bound to be thoroughly trounced.

Desperation

Because of the fall in the world price of oil, on which Saudi Arabia is dependent for nearly 90 percent of its government budget, “this year’s deficit ballooned to 367bn Saudi riyals ($97.9bn,) or 15 percent of gross domestic product, as oil revenues fell 23 percent to Sr444.5bn”. With Iranian oil re-entering the market in significant quantities (now that UN and EU sanctions against Iran have been lifted), and speculation in some quarters that oil prices might be on their way down to as little as $10 a barrel, Saudi Arabia needs to make drastic changes to the way the country is run.

“The al-Sauds have survived by making three compacts: with the wahhabis to burnish their islamic credentials as the custodians of the holy places of Mecca and Medina; with the population by providing munificence in exchange for acquiescence to the absolutist rule; and with America to defend Saudi Arabia in exchange for stability in oil markets.

“But all three of these covenants are fraying. America is semi-detached from the Middle East [actually this is the opposite of the truth, though of course the US is less dependent these days on Saudi oil supplies]. The plummeting price of oil … means the old economic model can no longer sustain the swelling and unproductive population. And the alliance with obscurantists brings threats, because they provide intellectual sustenance to jihadists, and form an obstacle even to modest social reforms that must be part of any attempt to wean the country off oil and create a more productive economy.” (Young prince in a hurry, The Economist, 9 January 2016)

In the short term, severely declining oil revenues are forcing Saudi Arabia to take a whole gamut of austerity measures, including proposing to privatise education and health services and sell off a minority stake in Aramco, the Saudi oil company.

“Riyadh would revise energy, water and electricity prices ‘gradually over the next five years’ … The first reforms will be effective from Tuesday [29 December 2015], including an increase in gasoline prices, a rise in electricity tariffs for the wealthiest consumers, a modest increase in water costs for all, and changes to all energy prices for industrial users.

“The government will also seek to implement a plan for the introduction of a sales tax across the six Arab Gulf states.” (Saudis unveil radical austerity programme by Simeon Kerr, Financial Times, 28 December 2015)

In the longer term, Crown Prince Mohammed, the Saudi defence minister, son of the present king Salman and de facto ruler of the kingdom since his father is widely believed to be suffering from Alzheimer’s, has plans to develop a more modern economy that does not solely depend on oil revenues. “Under his ‘Transformation Plan 2020′ … the prince wants to develop alternatives to oil and drastically to cut the public payroll, which acts as a form of unemployment benefit. To do so, he wants to create jobs for a workforce that will double by 2030.”

However, for that purpose, huge amounts of investment would be required, which, in the circumstances, are unlikely to be forthcoming. As a result of this situation, “sceptics abound. Reform has long been talked about but never implemented … some businessmen speak more of exporting their wealth than investing it in the country.” (The Economist, op cit)

Importantly, these austerity measures not only do not extend to the vast and bloated royal household, but, even more importantly, they breach “an unspoken social contract with the general population. People may not have political liberty, but they get a share in oil revenues through government jobs and subsidised fuel, food, housing and other benefits.”

Knowing that US imperialism would drop it like a hot potato should it lose its ability to keep its population under control (by whatever means), the Saudi government faces a severe challenge in maintaining the backing of the Saudi population. To maintain their control despite austerity, Saudi Arabia’s rulers on the one hand are seeking to reclaim the religious high ground from the non-state jihadis, and on the other are whipping up nationalism and religious chauvinism.

There is for the moment apparently great enthusiasm among Saudi sunnis for beheadings and crusades against ‘infidels’ – particularly shias. So the execution of no fewer than 47 people on 2 January would have been very popular at home. Forty-three of those executed were jihadis who had risen up against the Saudi regime 10 years ago, so their execution would in addition help remind the Saudi population not to get involved with the likes of them.

But, as austerity begins to bite, the effectiveness of all such measures is bound to wear off. Even with all its oil-fuelled public spending at the time when the price per barrel was over $100, Saudi Arabia already faced a massive problem of youth unemployment: “Saudi Arabia’s youth unemployment is now the biggest socio-economic challenge that is crippling, if not seriously undermining, the government’s hold on power.

“Two-thirds of the Saudi population – of 31 million – are under the age of 30. According to official statistics, the unemployment rate for Saudis aged 15-24 is 30 percent. A published paper by the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars in 2011 suggests that 37 percent of all Saudis are 14 years old or younger! Saudi Arabia needs to create at least 3 million new jobs by 2020.”

In addition, Saudi Arabia’s decreased oil income is increasingly being diverted away from social to military spending:

“As for defence spending, the 2016 budget has featured the largest single allocation in the budget at 213bn riyals ($56.79bn) to the military and security services, comprising more than 25 percent of the total budget … Saudi defence [spending] could reach as much as $62bn by 2020, in part due to [the country’s] military interventions in the region.

“It is worth noting Riyadh’s defence budget had been rising by 19 percent a year since the Arab uprisings of 2011, which clearly reflects the growing domestic and regional pressures felt by the authorities.

Of course, it is well known that Saudi Arabia has massive currency reserves, but at the current rate of projected expenditure these will run out in five years. The Huffington Post concludes: “Putting external affairs above the kingdom’s domestic priorities; paying lip service to political, social and institutional reforms; financing rebel groups; burning through currency reserves on military expeditions and ignoring future generations’ needs, are all the very things that Saudi Arabia must not continue doing.

“Riyadh needs to undergo a sea-change in mindset if it is to step back from the abyss that awaits. The winds of change can no longer be ignored by Riyadh.” (Saudi Arabia’s economic timebomb by Luay Al Khatteeb, Huffington Post, 30 December 2015)

But the Saudi regime is damned whatever it does. If it reforms, it will put up the backs of all the present vested interests. If it does not reform, it will end up as an economic basket case. On the one hand, there are rival jihadis, rival royals and political liberals waiting in the wings for the chance to seize power, while on the other there are relatively (for Saudi Arabia) more progressive forces building their bases amongst the oppressed shia, particularly in the east of the country.

According to the US’s Foreign Policy journal: “Many of [the shias’] demands extended far beyond shiite-specific reforms, encompassing changes to the very structure of power in Saudi Arabia: reform of the judiciary, the release of political prisoners, a constitution, and greater power for elected bodies. This is precisely what made them so threatening.” (Saudi Arabia has a shiite problem by Frederic Wehrey, 3 December 2014)

With every step, the present regime gets closer to its own annihilation. In the meantime, we can expect to see many more crazed moves driven by madness and desperation.

Posted in Saudi ArabiaComments Off on The march of the Saudi regime towards its inevitable doom

Thousands of mercenaries hired by UAE to carry out assassinations in southern Yemen

By Jim W. Dean,

…from PressTV, Tehran

[ Editor’s Note: The UN as a body is failing miserably in these ongoing wars, as offensive countries put on display that the UN can shove its charter up its behind whenever it conflicts with what these countries want to do.

Sure, the UN cannot field an army to go in and remove the offending government. But we are long past the time when the UN current structure has shown it is hopelessly failing due to no provisions in its charter to deal with rogue members.

At the head of the list is Israel, whose beginning was as a protectorate set up by the UN, where US extensive military intelligence archives released under the early Freedom of Information Act legislations showed that the atheist communist Zionists who claimed God gave them the land, planned to take over the whole area from day one, one bit at a time.

Author Steven J. Green, now gone, published some of this treasure trove of material in his seminal book, Taking Sides, compiled from declassified documents that had remained buried until FOIA came along.

The Reagan administration even considered charging Green to try to stop the book, but the Justice Department discouraged that because the government had released the documents to him. They confirmed the Zio plan to displace the Palestinians in their ‘Greater Israel’ plan.

Now we see some of the Arab States who have long been having undercover relations with Israel, borrowing some of the Zionist “going rogue” tools.

As Israeli support has used its diplomatic leverage with the US to break down Arab League cohesion on supporting justice for the Palestinians, so it is doing with Saudi Arabia and the UAE with Yemen… Jim W. Dean ]

Yemenis present documents in order to receive food rations provided by a local charity, in Sanaa, Yemen, Thursday, April, 13, 2017.

 First published … September 20, 2020 –

Two international civil society organizations for human rights say the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has hired thousands of mercenaries to carry out high-profile assassinations and targeted killings in the southern part of Yemen.

The International Institute for Rights and Development and the Rights Radar Foundation said in a statement, read during the 45th session of the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council in the Swiss city of Geneva, that they “are deeply concerned about the escalation of assassination cases in Yemen by the mercenaries.”

“The UAE hired American mercenaries to carry out high-profile assassinations in Yemen. They conducted several operations in Aden and several cities, resulting in the assassinations of dozens of politicians and public figures during the past five years of conflict in Yemen,” the statement read.

The rights groups highlighted that the Persian Gulf country has signed up 30,000 mercenaries from four Latin American states, of whom at least 450 mercenaries have been deployed to Yemen after having received training by US trainers.

“They take advantage of the UN’s disregard for their human rights abuses in Yemen to continue their crimes with no accountability,” the groups argued. 

“Over 80 percent of Yemeni politicians, lawmakers and media professionals have been displaced locally or globally, seeking safety as they become potential targets for assassination,” they pointed out.

The rights groups warned that “the right to life in Yemen is in extreme danger,” stressing that the situation “needs the UN to offer effective action not just kind words. Enough is enough.”

Aden and other Yemeni southern cities are controlled by Riyadh-allied and UAE-backed militant groups, which serve a Saudi-led coalition of aggressors waging war on Yemen since early 2015.

Abu Dhabi — alongside Riyadh — has repeatedly come under fire for running secret prison facilities in southern Yemen, which are rife with gross human rights violations, including torture and sexual abuse of the captives, as documented by prominent rights institutions.

Militants backed by the UAE have repeatedly faced accusations of kidnaping people and transferring them to the notorious Abu Dhabi-run jails in southern Yemen under the pretext of clearing out suspected al-Qaeda-linked elements.

Meanwhile, the UAE has set its sights on Yemen’s strategic island of Socotra, where it maintains a much-criticized military presence.

Earlier this month, French-language news outlet JForum said in a report that the Israeli regime, in conjunction with the UAE, plans to construct intelligence-gathering bases on the island of Socotra.

Posted in Middle East, Human Rights, Saudi Arabia, UAE, YemenComments Off on Thousands of mercenaries hired by UAE to carry out assassinations in southern Yemen

How the Nazi regime won over the Zionist Arabs?

A man takes a selfie in front of the Tel Aviv Municipality on Rabin Square, which was lit up with the flag of United Arab Emirates after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE, on August 13, 2020. (Oren Ziv)

A man takes a selfie in front of the Tel Aviv Municipality on Rabin Square, which was lit up with the flag of United Arab Emirates after U.S. President Donald Trump announced the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE, on August 13, 2020. (Oren Ziv)

Bibi’s digital warriors take on Arabia: How Israel won over the Gulf states

Israel has been using a web of social media accounts to produce a more favorable image among Arabs in the Gulf. With the UAE agreement, it seems these efforts are bearing fruit.

By Katie Wachsberger 

On August 13, Israel and the United Arab Emirates signed a historic deal to normalize relations between the two countries. Under the agreement, which was brokered by U.S. President Donald Trump, Israel will suspend its annexation of parts of the West Bank. On Twitter, Trump called the agreement a “HUGE breakthrough,” and a “historic peace agreement between our two GREAT friends.”

The peace deal is the culmination of years of warming ties between Israel and the Gulf (or Khaleej in Arabic) countries, buttressed by a demonstrable shift in Arab public opinion. While the deal immediately came under attack for disregarding Palestinians’ aspirations for self-determination, it was also welcomed enthusiastically by many social media influencers from around the GCC.

Over the past decade, as the rise of Iran’s regional influence has been countered by the growing power of the Gulf states, Israel has been using a web of Arabic-speaking social media accounts to spread pro-Israel propaganda in order to win over the hearts and minds of Khaleejis and neutralize the perceived threat of the Islamic Republic. Now, with a peace deal on the horizon, it seems those efforts have borne fruit.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has historically played a significant role in Israel’s relations with the Khaleej. Initiated in the 1990s following the Oslo Accords, annulled in the early 2000s during the Second Intifada (partly as a result of mass popular protests in some Khaleeji countries), recalled in the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, and covertly re-established throughout the 2000s and 2010s, Netanyahu’s government has recently been successful in warming ties with the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council — specifically the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and to a lesser extent, Oman and Qatar.

Already in the late 2000s, the Israeli government began utilizing social media to spread hasbara, its national propaganda efforts. Since 2008, for example, Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has been promoting short “informational” videos on YouTube. Two years later, it established virtual Egyptian and Jordanian embassies on Twitter, “dedicated to strengthening diplomatic relations, economic growth and friendship” between Israel and the two nations. These accounts focus exclusively on social, cultural, technological, and economic content, steering clear of sensitive political issues such as Palestinian rights, which are known to foster discontent among the Jordanian and Egyptian populations.

Similar tactics and social media tools have since been adopted by internal security entities, attempting to influence the Palestinian population’s negative perception of military occupation to one of partnership and closeness.

In the years following his return to the premiership in 2009, Netanyahu hired a group of young, ex-soldiers from the IDF’s communications unit, “Dover Tzahal” — including his eldest son, Yair — to lead the administration’s efforts in creating a strong social media presence. Equipped with an elite unit of tech-savvy digital warriors, the Israeli government was ready to take on the Arab blogosphere and begin producing a more favorable image of Israel.

Following the Arab Spring, the Israeli government established several more Arabic-language accounts — such as “Israel in Arabic” on Twitter and “Israel Speaks Arabic” on Facebook, which has nearly two million followers from the region — reaching beyond Israel’s formal allies. Officials such as IDF Spokesperson Avichay Adraee, the prime minister’s Arabic media spokesperson Ofir Gendleman, and even Netanyahu himself, began posting in Arabic between 2011 and 2012.

These accounts work together, retweeting one another’s posts, sharing information and followers, and engaging extensively with people throughout the region. They post discussions and polls, videos that directly address the people of the region, and references to Arab culture and Islam. They portray Israel as a progressive, tolerant, resourceful, and peaceful nation. Over the past several years they have come to focus more on technological advancement in realms that interest the Arab world, such as in agritech and medicine. There is also a significant focus on women’s rights and gender representation in the Israeli government and military, creating an image that marginalizes the violence of the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

The seemingly benign facade of Israel’s cultural, technological, and social achievements can be intriguing for some Arabic-speaking social media users, many of whom have had little to no insight into the nature of Israeli society.

President Donald Trump, joined by White House senior staff members, delivers a statement announcing the agreement of full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian)

President Donald Trump, joined by White House senior staff members, delivers a statement announcing the agreement of full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Joyce N. Boghosian/White House)

“Sometimes it’s just about curiosity,” explained Kareem Abdulaziz, a Lebanese consultant born and raised in the UAE who has been following Netanyahu’s Arabic account on Twitter for several years. “My whole life I’ve heard these shadowy explanations of what Israel has done to the Arabs, how Israel is the devil, why we should never talk to Israelis. The whole topic is so taboo that suddenly the opportunity to peak into the black box is impossible to resist.”

Another popular tool is the portrayal of Arabic culture in different Israeli contexts, seeking to foster familiarity and the appearance of sympathy and interest among Israelis toward Arabic music, language, and art. This also includes the manipulation of the Mizrahi narrative, erasing the establishment’s history of oppressing Jews who arrived to Israel from Middle Eastern and Muslim countries due to their Arabic identity and culture, while focusing exclusively on the fraternity and shared experiences of Mizrahi Jews and Arabs in the region. 

“They think that I will be more sympathetic to Israel if I see that many Israelis are actually from an Arab background or from Islamic countries,” explained Mansour Benani, a student at Penn State originally from Rabat who follows several official Israeli Arabic accounts on Twitter. “But the truth is this can actually fuel antisemitic tendencies toward Jewish communities that have remained [in Arab and Muslim countries]. We have several such communities in Morocco who often try to disassociate themselves from Zionism.”

By demonstrating the Zionist sentiments of Jews who remained in these countries — which Benani claims is commonly believed among Moroccan residents to be the reason for their discrimination in Muslim countries following the 1967 war — these accounts further alienate Arab audiences. “They are saying, there is no difference between Judaism and Israel, and that even Jews from the Middle East have typically supported Israel. It justifies disdain for the Jews, which often originates from the rejection of Israel’s violent treatment of Palestinians.”

As Israel tightens its control over Palestinians in the occupied territories, and as Arab leaders’ strategic interests increasingly marginalize the occupation’s significance, some of these social media accounts have increasingly adopted overtly political messaging. This increasingly aggressive discourse attacks the Palestinians’ handling of the conflict, claims they have repeatedly rejected any peace initiative offered by Israel, portrays resistance as illegitimate terrorism, and exaggerates Palestinian ties with Iran and Qatar. This more recent addition to the accounts’ repertoire — specifically as it pertains to the portrayal of Iran as a malicious regional influencer — signifies shifting attention toward the Gulf.

As such, the government established the “Israel in the Khaleej” account in 2013. The Khaleeji social and cultural environment has been immensely impacted by social media’s facilitation of exposure to global communities, discourse, and trends, all of which led to the account’s rapid growth. Israel in the Khaleej is deemed by Israeli officials one of the MFA’s most successful social media outreach campaigns, and was branded a “virtual embassy” in 2018. “We can see more and more of our followers who credit our content with having changed their perceptions and attitudes towards Israel,” claims the account’s founder, Yonatan Gonen.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents files on Iran's nuclear program in a press conference at the Kirya government headquarters in Tel Aviv, on April 30, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presents files on Iran’s nuclear program in a press conference at the Kirya government headquarters in Tel Aviv, on April 30, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

In recent years, there has been a notable increase in engagement on all of Israel’s official Arabic accounts’ with the Gulf. The Israeli government’s Twitter and YouTube channels have published videos of Gulf citizens speaking favorably about Israel, news of visits by GCC nationals, official Khaleeji statements regarding normalization of relations (which are often neglected in mainstream Gulf media), and messages from Israeli citizens to different Gulf states.

The political posts also often touch on shared strategic concerns or interests, specifically as they pertain to Khaleeji foreign policy, such as combating Iran’s nuclear advancements and curbing the spread of Islamic extremism (often equated with Palestinian resistance movements). They also highlight Netanyahu’s access to and cooperation with U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, which is attractive to many Gulfies who favor Trump’s aggressive policies regarding Iran.

While the perceived Iranian threat was the catalyst and leading cause of Israel’s diplomatic ambitions in the Gulf, it is not the only uniting factor. In 2011, the Arab Spring brought Israel and the Gulf countries closer, as uprisings demonstrated the power of popular sentiments and their ability to topple authoritarian regimes. 

The protests were equally threatening to Israel’s government — primarily interested in maintaining the status quo in which regional threats are neutralized — and to the Gulf regimes, which found the prospects of mass political movements to be both directly and indirectly threatening. The shared perceived threat of Islamist movements developing out of popular resistance is utilized by these official accounts to portray Palestinian national aspirations as dangerous, corrupt, and radical.

As such, posts often attack radical Islamic ideology, drawing a distinction between so-called “good Arabs” and “bad Arabs,” the former referring to compliant and productive citizens, while the latter to supporters of Islamist movements or “terror” organizations (including Palestinian militant groups). 

In one Tweet, for example, Israel’s army spokesperson Adraee asks followers how they would want to be remembered: as “respected and successful” like Egyptian football star Mohammed Salah and Syrian sports journalist Mustafa Agha, or “as the cowardly terrorist Ahmad Jarrar,” who was accused of killing an Israeli settler and was shot dead by the Israeli army. These statements echo a common discourse heard in the UAE and Saudi Arabic, which expresses caution regarding radical Islamist trends.

Additionally, these accounts criticize Palestinian resistance, demonize efforts to fight against the occupation, and play into authoritarian regimes’ fear of popular movements that challenge the political status quo or support radical ideological currents. Using hashtags such as “Hamas is your Nakba” and “Not Awda (return) but Fawda (chaos),” official Israeli accounts portray uprisings and protests as violent and goaded by Hamas or supported by Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in the East Room of the White House to unveil details of the Trump administration’s Middle East plan. (Shealah Craighead/White House)

U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in the East Room of the White House to unveil details of the Trump administration’s Middle East plan. (Shealah Craighead/White House)

In the late 2010s, prominent international Jewish organizations aligned with Netanyahu’s pro-occupation policies also jumped on the bandwagon. The American Jewish Committee’s Arabic Twitter account, created less than a year ago, now enjoys nearly 60,000 followers. Generally less political in their messaging than the Israeli accounts, the popularity of these organizations in many Arab countries demonstrates a growing interest in Judaism. It also highlights their role as a bridge for Arab nations interested in developing ties with Israel. The AJC, for example, has been a significant facilitator of relations between the UAE and Israel, using its alleged political neutrality as to connect UAE officials with Zionist communities that support the current Israeli administration in the West and in Israel.

Alongside official accounts, individual supporters of Israel’s pro-occupation policies who post in Arabic have also amassed significant following on Twitter. Edy Cohen, an academic specializing in the Arab world and former advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office, has a significant media presence with over 260,000 followers on Twitter. Cohen has become an extremely popular source of information about Israeli politics, and his persona has become a topic of criticism and debate among Arabic social media users region-wide. 

Guy Maayan, a Likud member and journalist with the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation who regulalry posts in Arabic on his Twitter account, is especially vocal on Palestinian issues. He features Palestinians who reject the prospects of living under Palestinian sovereignty, while defending the Israeli government’s policies in the occupied territories. Mordechai Kedar, a right-wing academic and commentator, uses his account almost exclusively for engaging with the Palestinian issue, often claiming that popular support for Palestinian rights is an emotional trend that lacks logic and reason. 

These independent accounts cooperate with official Israeli social media posts by retweeting and spreading explicitly political content. Many of them reach out to Khaleeji audiences, emphasizing issues that unite Israeli and Gulf political interests. There has also been an increase in posts about alleged animosity that Palestinians harbor toward the Khaleej, claiming that Palestinians have been irresponsible and ungrateful, manipulating the region (and especially the Gulf) through their claims of being victims of occupation. Such statements are often reposted enthusiastically by the Israeli accounts mentioned above. 

Accordingly, there has been a steady increase of pro-Israel accounts in the GCC, particularly in Saudi Arabia, which simultaneously praise Israeli achievements and policies while condemning Palestinian efforts to resist the occupation. The arguments used by pro-Zionist Arabic social media accounts to justify their dwindling support for Palestine include Israel’s success in technological advancements and combatting terror, the corrupt and impotent nature of Palestinian resistance, and the Palestinians’ failure to accept previous peace agreements. 

These classic hasbara arguments demonstrate the effectiveness of Israel’s outreach campaigns in the region and their success in adapting these tactics to the Arabic-speaking target audience. Such accounts, especially in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, use hashtags such as “Palestine is not my problem” or “yes to normalization,” and have run various campaigns over recent months that rally anti-Palestinian sentiments among Gulf citizens. This is done by showing Palestinians living in luxury or highlighting ordinary aspects of Palestinian life in an attempt to discredit claims of oppression and injustice. 

Nadim Nashif, the executive director of 7amleh, The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, explained that the rise of Israel’s Arabic social media presence seeks to show the high quality of life in Israel and the opportunities that await the Arab world once relations are completely normalized. “This phenomenon goes to show that relations with the Arab world are becoming stronger and that interest in the Palestinian cause is decreasing,” explained Nashif.

Saudi prince Al-Walid bin Talal seen upon his arrival at the Muqata'a Compound during an official visit to the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 4, 2014. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Saudi prince Al-Walid bin Talal seen upon his arrival at the Muqata’a Compound during an official visit to the West Bank city of Ramallah on March 4, 2014. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

Indeed, this anti-Palestinian rhetoric is gradually taking hold in popular discourse outside of social media, with more Khaleejis posting uninhibitedly about their support for Israel as well as their wariness of the conflict with the Palestinians. Known popularly as “Arab Zionists,” they are gaining more legitimacy to speak freely about their pro-Israel views.

These voices are not exempt from internal criticism, and in some countries support for engaging with Israel still leads to ostracization (as is the case in Kuwait, for example). But in countries where official engagement with Israel is becoming increasingly visible, such as in the UAE, popular discourse is following suit. 

“This is not only because of the fact that people here maintain a herd mentality, supporting what the government supports,” explained a social entrepreneur from Dubai who asked to remain anonymous given the critical nature of his statements regarding Emirati social norms, which could hurt his reputation among colleagues and peers. “It’s also because this has become an accepted way of speaking among Emiratis. Supporting Israel is no longer considered strange, it has become something you hear from time to time.” Indeed, as the interviewee suggested, the increased popularity of pro-Israel discourse can be traced to tendencies among citizens to adopt their government’s stances, as well as the official decision to remove education about the Palestinian issue from school curricula. Social media allows these sentiments to spread and become normalized.

Additionally, the Qatar embargo (enforced by the Saudi, UAE, Bahrain, Egyptian bloc in 2017 as a rejection of Qatari support for Islamic movements) has influenced the decline of pro-Palestine awareness and discourse, as Al-Jazeera (currently blocked in the UAE and Saudi Arabic) used to present the harsh reality of the Israeli occupation in a way that is no longer widely available to Khaleejis. 

As such, few prominent Emirati intellectuals who vocally reject normalization with Israel are often subjected to criticism by other UAE nationals, facing resistance when advocating for a solution to the Palestinian issue before the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Expressing resistance to normalization is becoming increasingly dangerous in countries like the UAE, where the government may detain or even torture citizens who criticize authorities. Since the agreement was announced on Thursday, UAE authorities have made it clear that rejecting the government’s new policy on Israel will bring trouble to objectors. The Gulf nations have restrictions on residents’ ability to critique political entities and decisions, which has allowed pro-Israel discourse among Khaleejis to grow with little scrutiny.

As a result, Palestinian social media users are posting more frequently about Khaleeji relations with Israel, condemning their neighbors for abandoning the cause. “This normalization between Netanyahu and the Gulf has been attempted for years, and one of the methods used is incitement against Palestinians and fueling of tensions between Palestinians and Gulfies,” explained Sulaiman Khatib, a Palestinian social activist and co-founder of Combatants for Peace, an anti-occupation organization founded by ex- Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian armed fighters. “They definitely use Gulf voices to play up this conflict. However, I do trust the people of the Gulf that they will stand, as they have historically, with Palestine at the end of the day.”

Thousands of Israeli and Palestinian protesters take part in a demonstration in Rabin Square against the government's annexation plan, Tel Aviv, June 6, 2020. (Oren Ziv)

Thousands of Israeli and Palestinian protesters take part in a demonstration in Rabin Square against the government’s annexation plan, Tel Aviv, June 6, 2020. (Oren Ziv)

As the pro-occupation camp achieves success in fostering popular support for normalization with Israel, Israeli voices that reject the status quo and struggle to end the occupation have been slow to catch up in the struggle for influence over the Arab blogosphere, and have yet to establish a presence in Khaleeji discourse on both official and popular levels. Peace organizations and people-to-people initiatives in Israel have translated few of their materials to Arabic, let alone created an active presence in Arabic conventional media or social media.

“Khaleeji nationals have no idea that there are Israelis and Palestinians working together,” asserted Aisha al-Ghamdi, a Riyadh-based advocate for Saudi women’s rights. “People are convinced that showing interest in Israel inherently requires them to abandon the Palestinian cause, or to look down on Palestinians. This is the case on the web, it is very black and white.”

“The Israeli left has focused its outreach in the U.S. and Europe for several reasons,” explains Achiya Schatz, former director of communications at Breaking the Silence, an Israeli organization of veteran IDF soldiers working to expose the everyday reality of the occupation. “The Palestinians are doing advocacy work in the Arab world, they know the playing field much better than us, and can make their own strategic decisions about what is needed to influence public opinion there. Secondly, the lack of diplomatic ties has made such a task challenging and seemingly irrelevant. Thirdly, the authoritarian nature of the Gulf regimes create obvious challenges for us, a camp that focuses on the importance of human rights.”

It is true that public sentiment and policies in Europe and the U.S. have historically had the most significant influence on the conflict in terms of foreign intervention. However, the incentive of commercial and political cooperation with the GCC is becoming increasingly desirable for Israeli leadership. Netanyahu’s administration has been adamantly striving toward partnership with Khaleeji nations, and has now proven that the realization of these ties is not conditional on a peace agreement with the Palestinians. These nations’ diplomatic decisions have an increasingly significant effect on the conflict’s development, and will continue to play a role determining the nature of any future agreement with the Palestinians, as the normalization of ties becomes a reality.

Meanwhile, the anti-occupation camp is beginning to understand that in order to convince Khaleejis that ties with Israel should not come at the expense of Palestinian rights, it will have to start speaking directly to them. In June, three former Israeli diplomats published an article in The National, expressing their appreciation for Emirati Ambassador to the U.S., Youssef Al Otaiba, after he penned an article in Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth, warning that annexation will “be a serious setback for relations with the Arab world.”

Similarly, a new Twitter account, “A New Voice from Israel,” recently published a short video featuring former members of Knesset speaking in Arabic and rejecting annexation and occupation. This video received widespread attention from young Khaleeji social media users, many of whom expressed surprise at the fact that some Israelis are more interested in realizing the establishment of a Palestinian state than Arab leaders. “It is unfortunate to find Arab voices denouncing normalization under the pretext of cooperation, while we see Israeli voices inside Israel who refuse to annex the West Bank and stand against Zionist racism and promote the establishment of an independent Palestinian state,” tweeted Talal Alkhanfar from Kuwait.

These initiatives are not only young, they are at a disadvantage because they lack the support of official institutions in Israel and the GCC. Yet they engage the silent majority of young Khaleejis who are interested in the potential benefits of relations with Israel and Israelis while remaining adamantly opposed to the violation of Palestinians’ basic human rights. If fostered and expanded, such efforts have the potential to engage many voices in the Gulf looking to move forward and create a truly interconnected region that offers opportunities to all of its residents.

Posted in Palestine Affairs, Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE1 Comment

The ‘Israel’-U.S.-Saudi alliance will likely end in disaster

By +972 Magazine 

By supporting the Saudi kingdom with military aid and intelligence cooperation, while ignoring the regime’s human rights abuses and support for terror organizations, Israel and the U.S. risk repeating the Cold War era’s worst mistakes.

By Eitay Mack (translated by Ofer Neiman and Tal Haran)

US president Donald Turmp and King Salman sign a joint agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh, May 20, 2017. (Shealah Craighead, the White House)

US president Donald Turmp and King Salman sign a joint agreement between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Riyadh, May 20, 2017. (Shealah Craighead, White House)

Israel and Saudi Arabia have been close partners with the American political and economic elite for several decades. In recent years, their parallel relationships with the U.S. have become a close triangular relationship. Israel and Saudi Arabia promote their mutual interests in the Middle East and, it seems, maintain intelligence ties, the details of which remain secret. Even if Israel is not selling weapons to Saudi Arabia or providing intelligence support, there is no doubt that Israel has given the United States the green light to massively arm the Saudi kingdom.Get Our Weekly NewsletterSign up

Dramatic political changes have been reflected in recent reports of ongoing communication between Israel and Saudi Arabia: calls by senior Israeli officials for full normalization of relations between the two counties; repeated statements by Netanyahu that Israel has shared interests with the Gulf States in the fight against Iran and ISIS, especially with Saudi Arabia, which sees Israel as a partner, not an enemy; and an exceptional interview that Commander-in-Chief of the army Gadi Eizenkott gave to a Saudi news site, in which he praised the partnership between Israel and Saudi Arabia, at least in their joint struggle against Iran, and announced that Israel is willing “to share intelligence with the moderate Arab states.”

Israel is looking reap three major benefits from its relationship with Saudi Arabia: the creation of a united, regional front against Iran and its proxies, influence over events in Syria, and reduced support for the Palestinian independence struggle. Israel knows that one of the Palestinians’ last cards is normalization. As in the case of African states—which severed official diplomatic ties with Israel in 1973 but continued to purchase Israeli weapons exports, directly and indirectly—the question of normalization with the Arab nations has increasingly become a symbolic rather than practical question. Today, a good number of Arab countries maintain commercial, diplomatic, and even security-oriented ties with Israel behind the scenes.

A doomed triangular affair

Netanyahu and Trump applauded the announcement by the Saudi crown prince and defense minister, Mohammed Bin Salman, that Ayatollah Khomeini is “the new Hitler in the Middle East,” as well as Salman’s remarks against Hezbollah. However, it the Israel-Saudi-U.S. triangle has largely failed to achieve its goals: Iraq is quickly becoming an Iranian proxy; the Assad regime, supported by Iran and Russia, is winning the Syrian civil war, which will strengthen Hezbollah, whose soldiers will soon return to Lebanon as heroes; similar to America and Saudi Arabia’s support for the mujahedeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the Syrian militias armed by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to fight the Assad regime and ISIS won’t part with their weapons anytime soon, and chances are they will be used against Israel in the future; even if the ISIS caliphate physically disappears, it will remain alive as an ideology amongst its militants and supporters; and the Palestinian question is unlikely to disappear from the international agenda any time soon.  A declaration of full normalization of relations with Israel by an Arab regime prior to the resolution of the Palestinian issue would constitute political suicide.

The failure to realize these goals stems not only from the complicated reality in the Middle East, but also from the fact that the tripartite partnership between Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United States is inherently incapable of achieving them.

First, it is impossible to ignore American and Israeli contributions to radicalization in the Middle East: the continuation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon; and especially the decades-long U.S. support for Arab dictatorships (for example, of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, prior to 1989). These regimes squandered their countries resources, leaving their citizens in severe poverty or far behind a narrow caste of ruling elites, and carried out harsh internal repression.

Second, it is impossible to combat the process of radicalization in Muslim countries and communities around the world while ignoring the tremendous Saudi financial support for terrorist organizations and an extremist, ultra-conservative form of Islam, from Europe to Indonesia. For years, Saudi Arabia support for Al-Qaeda has been known, all while the regime claimed that at most it was private Saudi citizens who were funding the terror organization and others like it. Even if this is true, it does not explain why the dictatorial Saudi regime, which monitors its citizens so closely, has failed to halt the financial flow. Recent reports revealed that the British government is keeping hidden a report on the Saudi contribution to radicalization to avoid damaging economic and strategic relations between the two states.

Last June, Saudi Arabia declared its boycott of the Qatari dictatorship because of the latter’s relations with Iran and its support for terrorism. The boycott failed. Kuwait and Oman refused to join it from the outset, and Qatar – refusing to give up its relations with Iran – strengthened its ties with Turkey. It now seems that Saudi Arabia is facing an additional military defeat in its war in Yemen against the Houthi rebels, who boast of Iranian support, though clearly this military link is not as tight as Iran’s link to Hezbollah.

The war in Yemen has now entered its third year. Saudi Arabia has been unable to defeat the Houthis, despite purchasing sophisticated weapons systems worth billions of dollars from the U.S. and Britain. The murderous war does entail war crimes on both sides, but most of have been committed by the coalition of Sunni states led by Saudi Arabia. The Sunni coalition, armed by the U.S. and Europe, attacks and bombs hospitals and civilians, lays siege to the state’s ports, and blocks the transfer of basic humanitarian aid. According to partial UN data, so far at least 10,000 civilians have been killed and tens of thousands wounded. Millions lack badly needed medical services, access to clean water, and minimal nutrition. About 700,000 cases of cholera have been documented.

Saudi Arabia invests a fortune in the war in Yemen each day, even though its economy is faltering. Low oil prices can no longer subsidize the profligate habits of thousands of members of the Saudi royal family or contain the corruption that has infested every echelon of the Saudi regime and bureaucracy. Thanks to support from the U.S. and Britain, permanent members of the UN Security Council, the international community is paralyzed from doing anything to stop the war in Yemen. No political solution to this crisis is in sight, though the war clearly has no military solution. The Saudi crown-prince, Bin Salman, knows that ending this war without a Saudi military victory could be the end of his personal career; he has led this war since being appointed as Minister of Defense in 2015.

Instead of facing this reality, Netanyahu and the Trump administration have fallen in love with the Saudi crown-prince, and are especially enamored with his expressed hatred of Iran and his proposed initiatives to modernize the state – such as allowing women to drive, diversifying the economy and reducing its dependence on oil profits, and a campaign to fight corruption that included removing political rivals, present and future.

We seem to be watching the Saudi spin-off series of prior episodes of military and political aid handed by the U.S., Britain and Israel to the Iranian Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi – who was also marketed as progressive and pro-Western to justify such support. During the Shah’s corrupt rule, tens of thousands were tortured, thousands were executed or disappeared, and protesters were shot. Severe political oppression was one of the main reasons for Ayatollahs’ rise to power in Iran in 1979.

As for the Saudi dictatorship, in addition to its responsibility for the murderous war in Yemen and its support for international terrorist organizations, the kingdom exercises extremely harsh political and gender oppression. The Saudi regime is an absolute monarchy. The law bans political parties. The state has never held elections, except for a few municipal elections. Its security forces routinely carry out arbitrary torture and arrests. Women need the approval of their male guardian to go to work, travel in and out of the country, open a bank account, and undergo medical treatment. The courts of law are not independent. Corruption is rampant.

US President Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prior to Trump departure to Rome at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on May 23, 2017. (Kobi Gideon / GPO)

U.S. President Donald Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prior to Trump departure to Rome at the Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv on May 23, 2017. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Netanyahu and the Trump administration, then, disingenuously distinguish between the Iranian dictatorship (which they fight and vehemently denounce) and the Saudi dictatorship (whose misdeeds the U.S. and Israel are willing to live with, or at least ignore). Both Iran and Saudi Arabia interfere with other states and are linked to militias and terrorist groups. History repeats itself.

The distinction between Iran and Saudi Arabia resembles the neo-conservative American distinction between authoritarian and totalitarian regimes during the Cold War. According to that doctrine, as articulated by one of its prominent supporters — Ambassador to the UN under the Reagan administration, Jeane Kirkpatrick — authoritarian regimes were less oppressive and severe and were thus open to democratic change, whereas totalitarian regimes, with their total control of all aspects of life, presented no possibility of change at all. In fact, the doctrine was meant to categorize the U.S.-backed murderous dictatorships (such as the Latin American juntas) as authoritarian, and thus justify U.S. support, while distinguishing them from the totalitarian regimes of the USSR and its satellites.

Netanyahu and the Israeli security establishment have not learned from past mistakes. They did not not try to limit the U.S. arming of Saudi Arabia, nor have they lifted finger to halt Saudi support for radicalization and worldwide terrorism. Quite the contrary, they have offered political backing and legitimization to the Saudi crown-prince and his dangerous adventures throughout the Middle East.

Theirs is a mistaken gamble. Considering the failed Saudi campaign in Yemen, in addition to Iran’s successful involvement in Syria and Iraq, the faltering Saudi economy, and internal power struggles at the top of the Saudi regime, chances are that Prince Bin Salman will soon fall. The Saudi royal family now faces a harsh test, perhaps the harshest ever. Saudi Arabia might have skipped the Arab Spring, but it is not at all certain to survive Prince Bin Salman’s arrogant behavior.

In the meantime, Israeli media mostly repeats messages issued by the Prime Minister’s office about the warming relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as the other Gulf states. Only rarely do they report on the war in Yemen, Saudi corruption or Saudi contributions to terrorist organizations. The Israeli public, unaware of such information, is mostly glad to place some more obstacles before the Palestinians’ struggle for independence; it might wake up only once missiles begin flying from Saudi Arabia towards Eilat. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this this before.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, Human Rights, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on The ‘Israel’-U.S.-Saudi alliance will likely end in disaster

Secret document: Saudis, ‘Israel’ working together to provoke war in Lebanon

Joyce Chediac

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Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri

Only a day after major ISIS defeats in Syria and Iraq indicated that fighting may be winding down, an extraordinary series of events raised the danger of a new war, this time against Lebanon. These events began on Nov. 4 when Saudi Arabia destabilized Lebanon’s government by forcing Prime Minister Saad Hariri’ to resign, and led to the Saudi government false claim on Nov. 7 that Lebanon had “declared war” on that kingdom.

Secret documents made public by Israeli TV Channel 10 indicate that this provocative war scenario was  coordinated by Saudi Arabia and Israel to instigate a new Middle East war, with Lebanon the target, vilified as a proxy of Iran. This provocation follows a huge Israeli military exercise held in September simulating an invasion of Lebanon designed specifically to target the Lebanese group Hezbollah. This was Tel Aviv’s largest military drill in 20 years, involving all branches of the Israeli military.

While Washington has branded the Lebanese group Hezbollah “terrorist,” progressives in the Middle East see the group as a defender of Lebanese sovereignty.  Twice, in 2000 and 2006, it kicked Israeli troops out of Lebanon.  Hezbollah has fought alongside the Syrian government not only to prevent the dismemberment of this neighboring Arab country, but also to prevent ISIS from invading Lebanon and terrorizing the people there. Iran, also vilified by U.S. imperialism and its clients, has provided crucial political, material and military support needed to defeat ISIS.

The events are as follows:

On Nov. 3, the last ISIS strongholds in Iraq and Syria fell. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel seek to dismember Syria, and have assisted ISIS.

In a measure never seen before in the international arena, on Nov. 4 under orders from the Saudi regime, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced from Saudi Arabia on Saudi TV his resignation as PM. He assailed Iran for interfering in Lebanon, and claimed that Hezbollah was trying to assassinate him.

Hours later, Ryadh said it intercepted a Yemeni-fired missile over its capital. For years the  Saudi regime, armed by the U.S., has been bombarding the people of Yemen, indiscriminately killing civilians.

While the Yemenis say the missile they fired was made in Yemen, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed claimed, “It was an Iranian missile, launched by Hezbollah,”  and constituted “act of war by Iran.”

On Nov. 7, the Saudis, furthered the escalation, and accused Lebanon of “declaring war” against it.

At the same time, in a bid to consolidate power, the Saudi regime arrested hundreds inside the kingdom on charges of corruption, including some of the country’s most high-profile princes and businessmen.

Leaked cable shows Saudi-Israeli coordination

The corporate media has long given the impression that Israel and Saudi Arabia are on opposite sides.  That is for public consumption. Both regimes are propped up and armed by Washington so that they can slam liberation struggles and independent governments in the Middle East and keep this oil rich area “safe” for Exxon Mobil  and JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Now there is a smoking gun showing that Israel and Saudi Arabia are working together to bring war to Lebanon.

On Nov. 7, Israeli Channel 10 news published a leaked diplomatic cable sent to all Israeli ambassadors throughout the world concerning the above events. The classified embassy cable, written in Hebrew, shows that Tel Aviv and Riyad are deliberately coordinating to escalate the situation in the Middle East. These documents provide the first proof of direct collaboration between these two U.S. clients.

The cable was leaked by Barak Ravid, senior diplomatic correspondent for Channel 10 News.  The communiqué, he said, was sent from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem on Nov. 6 to all Israeli embassies. It instructed Israeli diplomats to to do everything possible to rev up diplomatic pressure against Hezbollah and Iran. The communication urged support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and for Israeli diplomats to appeal to the “highest officials” in their host countries to expel Hezbollah from Lebanese government and politics,” according to zerohedge.com.

Resignation leaves Lebanon vulnerable to attack

In Lebanon, Hariri’s resignation is seen as having been forced by the Saudis in order to destabilize the Lebanese government, foment discord and leave Lebanon vulnerable to Israeli attack.  Many have pointed out that the resignation statement was written in a style used by the Saudis. The resignation shocked even Hariri’s closest aides. The Lebanese army denied any assassination threat.

Lebanon’s unwieldy political system is easily destabilized.  Put together by the French colonizers in 1925, it mandates that government posts, and parliamentary apportionment, be based upon the country’s different religious groupings. The current government, with Hariri as MP, and Hezbollah’s Michel Aoun as president, took office last year. It ended years of government deadlock, and last month it produced Lebanon’s first budget since 2005.

Hariri, who has dual Saudi-Lebanese citizenship and financial interest in Saudi Arabia, is regarded as “the Saudi’s man” in Lebanon. The irony of a Lebanese PM railing against Iran for interfering in Lebanon’s affairs when he just resigned in Saudi Arabia on Saudi TV reading a Saudi-written statement has not been lost on anyone.

Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun has announced that he will not decide whether to accept or reject the resignation of Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri until Hariri returns to Lebanon to explain his reasons. Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah has called on the people of Lebanon to remain calm.

Why is Hezbollah being targeted?

Israel, which shares a border with Lebanon, has long wanted to contain Lebanese sovereignty and even to annex its territory. The Israeli military bombed southern Lebanon for decades from land, sea and air.  In 1982 a massive Israeli invasion killed tens of thousands of Lebanese civilians, while Israeli troops occupied southern Lebanon for 18 years.  In 2006 Israel bombs targeted Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure and fighter planes peppered the south with a million cluster bombs that still kill and maim.

Israel seeks to destroy Hezbollah because it is a formidable fighting force, and the only group that prevents Israel from doing as it wills in Lebanon. Hezbollah fighters and their allies kicked Israeli troops out of Lebanon in 2000, ending the 18-year occupation, and repelled an Israeli ground invasion of Lebanon in 2006, forcing it to retreat.

This week’s dangerous and provocative developments seek to counter the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq with war in Lebanon. Whether imperialism and its agents will be able to do this, however, is far from certain. The beleaguered people of the Middle East have been inspired by the victories against ISIS, and remain determined to fight for their rights.

Posted in Middle East, ZIO-NAZI, Lebanon, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Secret document: Saudis, ‘Israel’ working together to provoke war in Lebanon

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