Saudi Arabia 2

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Saudi Arabia 2

heinäkuu 18, 2019, 4:02 am

House votes to block Trump’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia, setting up a likely veto
Karoun Demirjian | July 17, 2019

The House voted Wednesday to undo President Trump’s bid to sidestep Congress and complete several arms sales benefiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, sending three disapproval resolutions to the Oval Office, where they are expected to be vetoed.

The Trump administration announced in May that it would invoke emergency authority to push through 22 deals worth more than $8 billion, sales that include missiles, munitions and surveillance aircraft. A bipartisan majority in both the House and Senate — but not a veto-proof majority — objected to the move, which would replenish part of the Saudi arsenal that lawmakers say has been used against civilians in Yemen’s long-running civil war...

Members of both parties also object to the idea of rewarding Saudi leaders at a time when most lawmakers want to punish them for the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But only four Republicans — Reps. Mike Gallagher (Wis.), Trey Hollingsworth (Ind.), Thomas Massie (Ky.) and Alex Mooney (W.Va.), plus newly independent Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) — joined Democrats to pass the resolutions, which the Senate approved last month....

heinäkuu 18, 2019, 4:02 am

House votes to block Trump’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia, setting up a likely veto
Karoun Demirjian | July 17, 2019

The House voted Wednesday to undo President Trump’s bid to sidestep Congress and complete several arms sales benefiting Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, sending three disapproval resolutions to the Oval Office, where they are expected to be vetoed.

The Trump administration announced in May that it would invoke emergency authority to push through 22 deals worth more than $8 billion, sales that include missiles, munitions and surveillance aircraft. A bipartisan majority in both the House and Senate — but not a veto-proof majority — objected to the move, which would replenish part of the Saudi arsenal that lawmakers say has been used against civilians in Yemen’s long-running civil war...

Members of both parties also object to the idea of rewarding Saudi leaders at a time when most lawmakers want to punish them for the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

But only four Republicans — Reps. Mike Gallagher (Wis.), Trey Hollingsworth (Ind.), Thomas Massie (Ky.) and Alex Mooney (W.Va.), plus newly independent Rep. Justin Amash (Mich.) — joined Democrats to pass the resolutions, which the Senate approved last month....

heinäkuu 22, 2019, 8:02 am

The fake Twitter accounts influencing the Gulf crisis (Al Jazeera)

The blockade of Qatar, led by Saudi Arabia, has seen a slew of fake accounts open up and attempt to sway public opinion...

heinäkuu 23, 2019, 8:04 am

How the US supplying arms to Saudia Arabia threatens Sudan's hard-won peace (Global Voices)

By a Sudanese writer

On June 3, 2019, thousands of Sudanese protesters continued pro-democracy protests demanding civilian rule in Sudan, armed with nothing but peaceful disobedience. In contrast, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), acting on behalf of the Transitional Military Council (TMC) temporarily in charge of Sudan, were ready to shoot and kill on that fateful...

Saudi Arabia strongly supports the RSF. RSF leader Mohamed Daglo is a trusted friend and an ally of Saudi Arabia. In May 2019, Daglo met with the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman and assured him of continued cooperation with Saudi Arabia in their ongoing war in Yemen.

The Saudis supply RSF with money and arms, so when the US supports arms deals with Saudi Arabia they’re essentially supporting RSF as well. Saudi Arabia, a strategic ally of the US in the region, has tried to secure gains at the cost of the Sudanese people’s dream...

On June 3, 2019, the RSF used brutal force to disperse peaceful protesters holding a sit-in and calling for democratic and civilian-led government in Sudan. Initial reports on this massacre confirmed that at least 100 people were shot to death, their bodies thrown into the Nile river, and women were raped in the streets.

In an attempt to obscure their crimes, the RSF and the TMC shut down the internet across the country.

The RSF is made up of members from the notorious “Janjaweed,” well known for their role in atrocities committed in Darfur. International rights organizations have issued several reports about their heinous crimes... HRW also placed RSF leader Daglo on the “partial list of individuals who should be investigated by the ICC”...

American arms are now in the hands of Saudi crown prince Mohamed bin Salman, who not only orders the killing and torture of journalists such as Jamal Khashoggi, and also fully supports a Daglo and his militia who kill protesters, rape women and recruits children as soldiers.

As a Sudanese citizen, I find it really embarrassing that a great nation like the US—that has been built on the principles of freedom and justice for all—keeps sending arms to Saudia Arabia...

heinäkuu 24, 2019, 9:22 pm

Axios @axios | 7:46 PM · Jul 24, 2019:
Trump vetoed 3 bipartisan resolutions to block more than $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday.
Saudi arms sales move forward after Trump vetoes bipartisan resolutions
Congress likely won't have the votes to override this veto.

Saudi arms sales move forward after Trump veto
Orion Rummler | 7/24/ 2019

heinäkuu 29, 2019, 12:56 pm

No One Is Safe: How Saudi Arabia Makes Dissidents Disappear
Ayman M. Mohyeldin | July 29, 2019

The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi was no aberration. A Vanity Fair investigation reveals how Saudi Arabia attempts to abduct, repatriate—and sometimes murder—citizens it regards as enemies of the state.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 30, 2019, 7:35 am

Key Trump insiders have pushed proposal to build dozens of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia
while seeking to avoid restrictions on transfer of US nuclear technology and
have stood to profit from the effort, Oversight investigative report says.

House Dems blast Trump insider in new report, allege profit motive in push for Saudi nuclear plan
benjamin siegel and matthew mosk | Jul 30, 2019

... The 50-page report, which relied on 60,000 documents and statements from whistle-blowers inside the administration, was made public Monday. It focuses on the actions of Thomas Barrack, a wealthy Los Angeles businessman who oversaw President Donald Trump's inaugural committee, as well as earlier efforts by retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn to push a Saudi nuclear energy plan. Investigators said they found evidence that "private parties with close ties to the President wielded outsized influence over U.S. policy towards Saudi Arabia."...

heinäkuu 30, 2019, 8:02 am

#6--very worthwhile reading.

elokuu 2, 2019, 5:23 am

#6 contd. Saudi government's long arm can still reach expats, but women can ow travel without permission of male guardian.

Saudi Arabia lifts travel restriction on its women
Jubilation erupts on social media as landmark reform ends male 'guardianship' on women travelling abroad.
7 hours ago

Saudi Arabia will allow women to travel abroad without approval from a male "guardian", the government has announced, ending a restriction that drew international censure and prompted extreme attempts to flee the kingdom.

The decree announced on Friday comes after high-profile attempts by women to escape their guardians... (One woman in Britain appealed her forced marriage?)...

elokuu 16, 2019, 12:41 am

UK receives report documenting Saudi cover-up of unlawful Yemen airstrikes (Guardian)

Comprehensive independent analysis will add pressure after June ruling that UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia are unlawful

elokuu 30, 2019, 4:53 am

Saudi-bought European weapons now in the hands of Sudan militia (Middle East Monitor)

Serious questions have once again been raised over Saudi Arabia’s ability to insure that weapons purchased in Europe do not fall into the wrong hands. A report by the investigative media group Bellingcat has uncovered details of Serbian made weapons purchased by Riyadh winding up in the hands of Sudanese Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and Sudanese army fighting at the Saudi-Yemen border, in what is said to be a violation of end-user protection guarantees precluding re-export of arms to a third party...

syyskuu 4, 2019, 2:48 am

UK, US and France may be complicit in Yemen war crimes – UN report (Guardian)

Britain, the US and France may be complicit in war crimes in Yemen by arming and providing support to a Saudi-led coalition that starves civilians as a war tactic, a United Nations report has said.

A UN panel of experts has for the first time compiled a list of 160 military officers and politicians who could face war crimes charges, including from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Houthi rebel movement and Yemeni government military forces. A secret list of those most likely to be complicit has been sent to the UN...

syyskuu 16, 2019, 8:21 am

Chris Murphy @ChrisMurphyCT (U.S. Senator from Connecticut ) | 9:21 PM · Sep 15, 2019:

1/ Okay, in a few tweets I'm going to try to explain what's going on in Yemen today, so you have some knowledge to counter this claim that America needs to bomb Iran because the Houthis bombed Saudi Arabia. It's complicated, but now you need to know.

2/ The conflict btwn Saudi Arabia and Yemen roughly dates from the 1932 founding of Saudi Arabia, when the new kingdom took territory from Yemen in a war set off by a border dispute. The Saudis has attempted to influence Yemeni affairs every since.

3/ The Houthis are a group of Shia tribes in northern Yemen who practice a distinct form of Islam called Zaidism. In the 1980s, the Saudis began a campaign to push Sunni Wahabism into Houthi areas, creating massive friction with Houthi communities.

4/ Saudi Arabia sent Wahhabi settlers into Houthi areas to try to dilute Zaidism and increase Saudi influence in north Yemen. The Houthi resistance to the Saudis, and their patron governments in the Yemeni capital, grew and grew.

5/ In the 2000s, Saudi backed Yemeni governments carried out 6 separate wars against the now rebelling Houthis. Bush opposed most of these wars, believing the anti-Houthi campaigns to be doing more harm than good, especially as the Houthis began to reach out to Iran for help.

6/ Over the course of these wars, the Houthi military capabilities grew, and by 2010 they were the most battle tested army in Yemen. In 2015 they successfully marched on the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, and Saudi Arabia and UAE initiated a full fledged war against the Houthis.

7/ Since 2015, there have been atrocities committed by both sides. Casualties are hard to track, but it could be that 100,000 Yemenis have died in the war, and the resulting humanitarian disaster has resulted in another 100,000 children dying of starvation or disease.

8/ The cholera outbreak (the result of water treatment plants being destroyed) is the worst in recorded world history. Houthis refuse to let food & medicine reach contested areas. Saudis drop bombs on hospitals and school buses. Bottom line - it's the ugliest war on the planet.

9/ Over time, the Houthis have turned to Iran for more and more help. The Iranians don't have a command and control relationship with Houthis, but their influence grows every day the war continues. Houthi drones likely come from Iran.

10/ Over time, a dangerous game of escalating behavior has developed. Saudis kill a bunch of Houthi civilians, then the Houthis launch an attack in Saudi Arabia. The latest attack on the Saudi refinery follows a Saudi attack on Dhamar prison which killed 100 people.

11/ Bottom line: the Saudis sowed the seeds of this mess. They marginalized the Houthis in the 80s and thru the 2000s wars. They bungled the prosecution of the post 2015 conflict. Houthis/Iranians have blood on their hands too, but the U.S. should not be a part of this disaster.

syyskuu 16, 2019, 8:47 am

>13 margd: That sounds about accurate. The longer the war continues, though, the more it becomes another Saudi-Iran proxy war, and the more likely the US will get dragged into it by their Saudi 'allies', willingly or otherwise.

syyskuu 16, 2019, 8:52 am

The most obvious solution to this conflict would be to let North and South Yemen go their separate ways again. The area controlled by the Houthi is pretty much contiguous with the old North Yemen, while the Saudi-backed regime controls most of the former South Yemen.

syyskuu 16, 2019, 1:05 pm

#13---seems like a fairly thorough analysis by Sen. Murphy. The Saudi royal family are a bunch of shitbirds.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 16, 2019, 3:39 pm

>15 madpoet: In other words, let Saudi Arabia have half of Yemen. Kissinger would love you.

syyskuu 16, 2019, 8:23 pm

>17 RickHarsch: The Saudi-supported government of Yemen, officially recognized by most countries, already controls most of the south (except areas controlled by Al Qaeda). Officially dividing Yemen into North and South would be simply recognizing the status quo. South Yemenis have made it plain that they do not want to reunite with the North, while neither side has the ability to defeat the other side and reunite the country by force. Unification was tried, repeatedly, and has always led to civil war. The sectarian and economic differences between North and South make a unified Yemen unworkable. Dividing the country is not only the shortest route to peace, it also recognizes the reality that, although both halves are called 'Yemen', this is not really one country, and never will be.

Look on the bright side, Rick: your friends the Iranians will get to keep half of the country as a proxy state.

syyskuu 16, 2019, 8:54 pm

The Iranians are what the US made them.

syyskuu 16, 2019, 9:32 pm

>19 RickHarsch: What a simplistic little world you live in, Rick.

syyskuu 16, 2019, 9:45 pm

Now Putin has offered to sell Saudi Arabia missile defenses to protect their oilfields. The same ones they sold their enemy, Iran, and NATO member Turkey. Watch out, America, the Russians are poaching all your clients! What good are all these Middle Eastern wars if you can't make any profit from them?

syyskuu 16, 2019, 10:31 pm

However bad actors the Iranians the Saudis are if anything worse and I wouldn't call the US good actors either--not even before this current clown came into office.

In the 50's we helped to overthrow a democratic Mossadegh led Iranian regime---one of our biggest reasons for doing that was oil. We then installed the
Shah---a murderous dictator. What's happened to Iran is mostly our fault and Trump's walking away from the treaty we had made with them one of the most colossal foreign policy blunders in American history.

But back to the Saudi's---they have offered to pay us to use our military against Iran. To wit our soldiers die to fight their war and to be clear they are asking us to join them in fighting a religious war--the Sunni against the Shia and asking us to take sides with one branch of Islam against the other. How many ways can that go wrong? And I'd guess the orange turd in the White House is quite incapable of making distinctions. The Saudi's also bankroll the Taliban. Their MBS is an absolute piece of shit. Their war in Yemen an absolute disgrace. They are a despicable regime and known for great cruelty on all kinds of fronts.

syyskuu 17, 2019, 12:00 am

>22 lriley:

The Saudis are also bankrolling one of the most brutal warlords in Sudan, Hemeti, payng him for sending his mercenaries to fight for them in Yemen. He and his militia, which includes many foreign mercenaries, is now one of the most destabilising factors in Sudan following its nonviolent revolution which peacefully overthrew a dictator.

syyskuu 17, 2019, 3:57 am

>20 madpoet: I guess lriley and I live in the same world as I do, as does johnthefireman. Maybe it's time for your trolling and pettiness to stop?

syyskuu 17, 2019, 8:27 am

Just one angle of this regime that Trump and Lindsey Graham want us to side with:

syyskuu 17, 2019, 8:08 pm

>22 lriley: Well, this is the Middle East. There are no 'good guys': just bad guys and worse guys. And it's a fair question who is worse: Saudis or Iranians? Maybe Saudis. In any case, like you say, the US has nothing to gain by getting in the middle of this hot mess.

Maybe if the Saudis realize they aren't going to get any more help from the US or anyone else they will back down and allow peace negotiations to move ahead. They certainly aren't winning the war now.

syyskuu 17, 2019, 8:35 pm

#26--well Donald Trump shouldn't be anywhere near foreign policy. He's pissed off most of Europe, Canada and Mexico and toadied up to some of the worst actors out there. He tore up the agreement with Iran pretty much just because it was Obama who did it and the last couple months you'd hear the junk that he was out to reinstate the same only with his own name on it. The trade thing with China is absolutely insane as his toadying up to Kim in North Korea. He's a walking disaster and should not be making any decisions. Bolton was a war happy ghoul--Pompeo has links to evangelical rapturists. Lindsey Graham is another war happy ghoul.

What's needed is diplomacy--someone willing and able to take the temperature in the region down a few degrees.

syyskuu 17, 2019, 9:25 pm

I was very relieved when Bolton resigned- or was fired. Good riddance to that warmonger.

I don't trust Donald Trump with foreign policy: he doesn't understand it, although he thinks he knows more than everyone in the room. Still, the drone attacks on Yemen were started even before the current civil war, by Bush, and escalated under Obama. The US has been regularly attacking that country-- or targets within that country-- since 2010, with the first attack going all the way back to November 2002. it seems each US government-- Republican or Democrat, it doesn't matter-- keeps up the same basic foreign policy in the Middle East.

syyskuu 18, 2019, 3:47 am

Anyway Trump's unfitness to be POTUS has come up many times before. Everything he's done in the foreign policy arena since he entered office has been a disaster. He does not understand or bother to read up on or seek advice on anything. He acts solely on his own narrow minded biases and/or as a matter of transaction thinking to benefit himself first and foremost. The fact is his friendship with the Saudis is based on transaction to benefit himself and I suspect as is his friendship with Netanyahu. That makes him malleable to manipulation by foreign entities. He always puts his own interests before the interests of the people of this country. The Israelis and Saudis frame our Middle Eastern foreign policy for us.

We did not win our wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. We will not win a war against Iran. Iran is larger in territory and population. It has a much more organized and better military. It's population is not divided by tribe or religion. It is more sophisticated in its ability to respond to attack. We can bomb the fuck out of them but it won't end anything---it will only exacerbate a bad situation into a terrible one. Trump is not sophisticated enough to understand anything other than force--the only possible thing that will result from Donald's using the military against Iran will be a major calamity that might not be able to be fixed but will surely leave much unnecessary death and destruction for everyone.

syyskuu 18, 2019, 5:52 am

>"Well, this is the Middle East. There are no 'good guys': just bad guys and worse guys." It's hard to believe that an intelligent person can still think this way.

syyskuu 18, 2019, 11:00 am

#30--our part in it is very ugly. Under the guise of promoting solutions and peace we've come down on sides allying with the most powerful and wealthiest people and entities. We've been doing that at least since the end of WWII. It's a canard when we talk about democracy in the region. The Palestinians don't get to vote and the Saudis and other gulf kingdoms don't have elections.

syyskuu 18, 2019, 10:15 pm

>30 RickHarsch: Who, exactly, would you consider 'good guys' in the Middle East? I'm talking about groups with power, not the poor civilians who are starving in Yemen or driven from their homes in Syria.

syyskuu 19, 2019, 7:32 am

King Abdullah II of Jordan?

Kurds seem like they would mind their own business if left alone?

syyskuu 19, 2019, 7:36 am

>32 madpoet:

Have to say that Lebanon and Jordan are 'good guys' to the extent that, despite being poor countries, they have been very welcoming to millions of refugees on a scale unseen by the richer nations in Europe and north America.

syyskuu 19, 2019, 11:35 am

>32 madpoet: Sorry, but I just can't find your level. I cannot think in terms of good guys and bad guys. Of course, if I am asked to apply those in your chiaroscuro short history, I would say vis a vis Vietnam, French and US bad, Viets minh and cong, good. In Iran I would say that as the acts of the US in 1953 definitively shaped the Iran of today, US bad, Iran good. The US overthrew an Iranian government; the Iranians have done no such thing to the US. The US shot down an Iranian civilian airliner. The Iranians have done no such thing.
Who, exactly, would you consider 'good guys' in the US and western Europe? I'm talking about groups with power, not the poor civilians, etc.

syyskuu 19, 2019, 11:36 am

>33 margd: And if Iran were left alone in 1953?

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 19, 2019, 1:49 pm

>36 RickHarsch: And if Iran was not invaded by Iraq with ~one million casualties on both sides...

I occasionally write Iranian authorities on behalf of prisoners--most recently a biologist filming their vanishing cheetahs. Much as I deplore Iran's heavyhandedness, one can understand why they might object to cameras on their borders, etc.

I suspect Shiite majority Iran still might be "bad guy" from the West's perspective, as Iran tends to intervene to protect Shiite minorities from dominant Sunnis (Iraq, Syria, Yemen), Muslims from Israel, etc.?

syyskuu 19, 2019, 1:01 pm

>37 margd: True enough, but the bad guy appellation would have come from resisting western oil interference, and they actually may have become a powerful, generally pacific state if the interference remained diplomatic. In fact, they may even have, once the western world accepted their autonomy, become a balance to Saudi measures and a good oil trading partner.

These are ifs that make me crazy.

syyskuu 20, 2019, 12:11 am

>35 RickHarsch: You see, you can't even name one regime or rebel militia in the entire Middle East that is good. Everyone in the Middle East has committed war crimes or terrorist acts. Who can you side with, when the very best are corrupt and intolerant, and the worst are genocidal?

Take Syria for example. Assad's regime oppressed the people of Syria and committed plenty of human rights abuses while failing to develop Syria's economy. During the war, they have been supported by Iran, which brought in Hezbollah, considered a terrorist group by most western nations. Syrian government forces deliberately targeted hospitals and residential areas to demoralize the population in rebel-held ciities.

The rebels included many extreme Islamic groups such as Al Qaeda and most infamously ISIS. I'm sure I don't need to recount their crimes against humanity. There was also the infamous video, early in the war, of a rebel commander taking a bite out of the still-warm heart of his dead enemy. Remember that? Some people claimed it was faked. Who the hell cares? The message is plain and gruesome. One of the Sunni rebels' slogans was: 'Christians to Beirut; Alawites to the coffin.'

Ah, but the Kurds (the YPG) are heroes, right? Amnesty International has accused the YPG of several massacres, destroying entire villages and committing 'ethnic cleansing' against Arab and Turkomen populations. Turkey calls them terrorists, in league with the PKK in Turkey. Turkey, of course, has its own agenda and in the early stages of the war was giving aid to ISIS.

syyskuu 20, 2019, 12:39 am

>39 madpoet:

If the entire Middle East is as bad as you claim in terms of committing war crimes, why is the USA so actively supporting two of the worst offenders, Saudi Arabia and Israel, ie colluding with those who commit war crimes?

syyskuu 20, 2019, 1:18 am

>40 John5918: "If" there are a lot of war crimes in the Middle East? Do you doubt it? Have you not been watching the news for the last 40 years?

Still, a good question, about U.S. involvement. I can see the historical and political reasons for the U.S. supporting Israel (although I don't agree with it) but why the U.S. thinks Saudi Arabia is their good friend and ally is a mystery. As everyone knows, several Saudi citizens were involved in hijacking the planes on 9/11 (15 of the 19 hijackers actually) and many experts have long suspected that officials in Saudi Arabia's government were involved in the planning of the attacks. Then there is Saudi Arabia's attempts to spread their extreme and repressive version of Islam by sponsoring mosques in the west. Saudi Arabia and UAE may have given aid to ISIS. So yeah, great allies.

But 'the enemy of my enemy is my friend' and the U.S. is most worried about Iran, which may be trying to develop a nuclear bomb and is the world's #1 market for flammable American flags. Proud sponsors of Hezbollah, Hamas and now the Houthis (they do like groups whose names begin with 'h', don't they?) It's like the bad old days of the Cold War, when the Americans supported any regime, no matter how undemocratic, as long as it was 'anti-communist.' The U.S. supports Saudi Arabia, as they consider it the lesser of the two evils. But still evil.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 20, 2019, 1:52 am

>41 madpoet:

The "if" was just a grammatical construction - don't ask me what it is called - to reference your post. No, of course I don't doubt the level of war crimes in the Middle East, including those committed by former colonial masters and currently by the USA, although I refer to my >34 John5918: that Jordan and Lebanon have something good going for them in terms of their adherence to international conventions on refugees.

the U.S. is most worried about Iran, which may be trying to develop a nuclear bomb

And the USA is not worried about Israel, which already has nuclear weapons, and which has a wider range of potential targets in the region than Iran does? That's a rhetorical question, by the way.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 20, 2019, 7:30 am

Before Trump walked away from the agreement the Obama administration had made with Iran the Iranians were compliant with the terms and were not developing nuclear weapons. There was even a grace period afterwards where they continued to abide by the terms even as the United States through agents like Bolton continually made up shit out of thin air and threatened war with them. Which is to say they were honest actors in abiding by what they agreed to and have shown considerable restraint vis-a-vis a continued stream of threats coming their way via the Trump administration. There wouldn't be this threat of a 'bomb' if it weren't for our own dipshit bad behavior.

The issue really is how flakey and bellicose our current administration is and how easily manipulated by the Saudis and Israelis Mr. Trump is. Tillerson is talking about it again--how Netanyahu played Trump. If we want the Iranians to abide by the agreement we made with them we should go back to them with an apology and ask to reinstate the agreement or even sweeten it a bit for them. I think the probability is that they would but there won't be any progress until we make the first step.

Moral of the story: If you want to have a good result act with good intentions.

syyskuu 20, 2019, 7:31 pm

>39 madpoet: You want to play a sort of adolescent game that I refuse to play. You have no response to my post, which demonstrates you have no argument against the fact that the nature of that region today is based on the behaviors of the US and before that other European powers (Israel included, and they have become the most maleficent nation in the Middle East, the only nuclear power there, and the least constrained by international law generally). The Kurds, by the way, have a portion of Syria that is the most pacific and their designation by Turkey is a joke. We also know that the US was decisive in generating the war in Syria, irresponsibly, as they had no real plan other than ousting Assad. The US also directed the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Egypt.
I wonder how much you really know. Do you know, for instance, that Israel and the US have a pact that each must let the other know when they want to assassinate someone? It has been revealed that Israel asked that during their war with Lebanon in 2006 they be allowed to proceed to act outside that agreement and of course the US said sure. There's an abundance of such dirty tales involving the US in the Middle East, so why would I answer such a jejune question about good guys and bad guys in the Middle East? The Palestinians are probably, by any measure possible, the most victimized of 'groups' in the Middle East, so I would, playing your game for one moment, nominate them as the good guys.
How's China treating you? Been to Hong Kong lately?

syyskuu 20, 2019, 9:13 pm

>43 lriley: I agree with you that Trump is an idiot. Also, he shouldn't have walked away from the deal with Iran. The deal wasn't perfect, but I don't think the Obama Administration thought it was either-- more of a way to slow down Iran, rather than stop them outright.

>42 John5918: It's more a question of which way the nukes are pointed: in Israel's case, not towards the U.S. or its friends. Also, Israel (might) have had nuclear weapons for decades, and never used or threatened to use them. Finally, Israel ALREADY has nuclear weapons, so it's too late to stop them from getting them.

>44 RickHarsch: 'The Palestinians' are not a military or political organization. You totally miss the point. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas are the relevant institutions: the first are former terrorists (once called the PLO) and the second are current terrorists-- who by all accounts are more of a terror to their own people than to the Israelis.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 21, 2019, 1:05 am

>45 madpoet: former terrorists (once called the PLO)

I wonder why you feel the need to refer to "former terrorists"? Let me name a few more who have been labelled "terrorists": Nelson Mandela, Jomo Kenyatta, Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, David Ben-Gurion, Yitzhak Rabin, Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness, Yasser Arafat, John Garang... the list could go on and on. All renounced their militant past and became respected statesmen, peacemakers and/or political figures.

syyskuu 21, 2019, 6:27 am

>45 madpoet: I reject your point, your game. How do you discuss the Middle East without discussing the people? And of course you avoid discussing anything I bring up and stick to your own game. What's the point? You are like a chemist discussing jai alai through the prism of your undergrad thesis.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 21, 2019, 7:03 am

During the Kuwait war, Saudis allowed US troops, but they had to stay hidden AMAP(?)
Now, we infidels are invited in?

U.S. to deploy military forces to Saudi Arabia, UAE after drone attacks on oil sites
Mosheh Gains and Dennis Romero | Sept. 20, 2019

"The president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces which will be defensive in nature," Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Friday...


The Bases of War in the Middle East
Congress is spending billions of dollars on bases in the Middle East, but what role do they really serve?
David Vine | November 13, 2014

...since 1980 (through 2014 when article was written)...every American president has invaded, occupied, bombed or gone to war in at least one country in the (Greater Middle East). The total number of invasions, occupations, bombing operations, drone assassination campaigns and cruise missile attacks easily runs into the dozens.

...In the Persian Gulf alone, the United States has major bases in every country save Iran.

By one estimate, the United States has spent $10 trillion protecting Persian Gulf oil supplies over the past four decades.

...In January 1980, President Jimmy Carter announced a fateful transformation of US policy. It would become known as the Carter Doctrine. In his State of the Union address, he warned of the potential loss of a region “containing more than two-thirds of the world’s exportable oil” and “now threatened by Soviet troops” in Afghanistan who posed “a grave threat to the free movement of Middle East oil.”

Carter warned that “an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America.” And he added pointedly, “Such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

With these words, Carter launched one of the greatest base construction efforts in history. He and his successor Ronald Reagan presided over the expansion of bases in Egypt, Oman, Saudi Arabia and other countries in the region to host a “Rapid Deployment Force,” which was to stand permanent guard over Middle Eastern petroleum supplies....

...As was famously the case with Osama bin Laden and US troops in Saudi Arabia, bases have fueled militancy, as well as attacks on the United States and its citizens. They have cost taxpayers billions of dollars, even though they are not, in fact, necessary to ensure the free flow of oil globally. They have diverted tax dollars from the possible development of alternative energy sources and meeting other critical domestic needs. And they have supported dictators and repressive, undemocratic regimes, helping to block the spread of democracy in a region long controlled by colonial rulers and autocrats.

...Of course, using bases to launch wars and other kinds of interventions does much the same, generating anger, antagonism and anti-American attacks...

...The Carter Doctrine’s bases and military buildup strategy and its belief that “the skillful application of US military might” can secure oil supplies and solve the region’s problems was, (retired Army colonel and political scientist Andrew Bacevich) adds, “flawed from the outset.” Rather than providing security, the infrastructure of bases in the Greater Middle East has made it ever easier to go to war far from home. It has enabled wars of choice and an interventionist foreign policy that has resulted in repeated disasters for the region, the United States and the world. Since 2001 alone, US-led wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and Yemen have minimally caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and possibly more than 1 million deaths in Iraq alone...

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 21, 2019, 12:35 pm

#45--I didn't see the treaty really in terms of slowing down Iran--whatever that means. I think Iran was fine stopping its nuclear weapons program under the conditions of the agreement. What has changed is that the Trump administration walked away from the agreement (still expecting Iran to abide by it) and ratcheted up its bellicosity towards the regime and Trump's alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia is at least part of why. Trump has picked this fight at the urging of Netanyahu and the Saudis. Iran is simply standing its ground.

But here's what else Trump has done. He's driven away many of the European nations and other allies that would have been by Obama's side. They're no longer there for him......and it's because he can't be trusted and because he's equal parts bat shit crazy, arrogant and ignorant of history.

syyskuu 21, 2019, 7:54 pm

>47 RickHarsch: There's really no point trying to discuss foreign policy with you, Rick. You have just one note: blame the U.S. for everything. (Or Israel, or Britain) "The Iranians are what the US made them." The CIA engineered a coup in the 1950s, 70 years ago, and everything that has happened in Iran since is the United States' fault? You give the U.S. far too much credit, while insulting Iranians as having no agency, unable to make decisions for themselves. There are other actors, for good or ill, in the world, besides the U.S. The U.S. may be a great power, but it is not the only one.

syyskuu 21, 2019, 8:35 pm

>46 John5918: I wonder how the families of the victims of terror feel about 'reformed terrorists' like former IRA and PLO members. Maybe the reason so many people view Palestinians as poor 'victims' is because they are too young to remember the airplane hijackings of the 1970s and 80s, a terrorist technique which the PLO pioneered. The PLO didn't care who they killed, most notoriously executing a Jewish-American man and throwing him off the side of the Achille Lauro, leaving a long streak of blood down the side of the ship. The man they killed was in a wheelchair, and one of the terrorists later said they killed him to prove to the other hostages that none of them were safe.

You ask why I insist on calling them 'former terrorists'? Because I do not believe such actions should be forgotten, or excused, and I doubt the sincerity of such bastards, or the bastards who ordered them to do the kidnapping, who say they are now 'reformed'.

Before you respond that the Israelis did terrible things too: yes, I know they did. I'm not excusing them.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 21, 2019, 10:39 pm

#51--FWIW the Provisional IRA was born out of the Bloody Sunday massacre of British paratroopers shooting dead 14 unarmed citizens during a civil rights march in Derry (or Londonderry if that's your preference) in 1972. The first murders that set off Northern Ireland's troubles though were carried out by the UVF--not the IRA. They were the work of a squad led by Augustus Spence otherwise known as Gusty. The fact of the matter is that the British Army and MI5 trained Protestant paramilitaries like those in the UVF and the UDA and from very early on. British operatives and members of the UVF were actually responsible for setting off bombs in Dublin in the early 70's.

But anyway the UDR--Ulster's version of what would be in the United States the National Guard--have always been entirely Protestant and for a reason--they don't want Catholics--likewise the RUC that province's Police force has almost always been entirely Protestant. Maybe that's changed a bit since the treaty but I'd be surprised if the numbers weren't very disproportionately protestant. The thing was they were running an apartheid like regime in Ulster which is why a civil rights movement came along to protest little things like housing and jobs and when it was met with extreme violence then you had the result of the IRA schisming and afterwards there were the Provisionals fighting back--targeting cops and UDR members and prison guards because they weren't from the side that had never been included. None of that had to happen but it did because the majority thought of it's minority as lesser beings and was more than ready to use force first.

syyskuu 22, 2019, 12:06 am

>51 madpoet: Because I do not believe such actions should be forgotten, or excused, and I doubt the sincerity of such bastards, or the bastards who ordered them to do the kidnapping, who say they are now 'reformed'.

Probably unlike most of you I've been the victim of a direct Palestinian "terrorist" attack, lying on the floor and crawling for safety as hand grenades exploded in the room with me and three men emptied their AK47s in my direction. I escaped with just a bit of shrapnel in my foot. I have forgiven them. I don't excuse any killing of one human being by another, and of course I can never forget that we live in a dysfunctional world where many people think that violence is a solution to political problems and radicalise young men (and some young women) to kill in the name of a cause, whether they be Palestinian, Israeli, US, British or whatever.

You doubt the sincerity of Nelson Mandela, or that he was reformed?

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 22, 2019, 2:17 am

>51 madpoet: That's how history works. So, yes, no point in YOU trying to discuss it. The US did more than simply overthrow Mossadegh. They supported one of the nastiest regimes the region ever saw, in Iran with SAVAK, and gave the Shah refuge after the revolution, and since then have been actively opposing them through financial means, supporting Iraq in the war against them, inventing a nuclear problem, imposing more sanctions, pulling out of an internationally welcomed deal.
And of course, you leave most of what I write unanswered.
As far as the time limit you seem to have in your noggin, think of the lasting effect of the British/French impositions in the region, including screwing the Kurds. The effect of delineating a Middle East without a Kurdistan is one of the most enduring problems of the region. Am I acting like the Kurds have no agency? Both the Kurds and the Iranians have, what is that again, agency?, of course they do, and they are opposed by greater powers at all times.
So, yeah, if you don't want to learn anything, you should probably not discuss history. If you can't understand history, you should probably go on as you do, selectively discussing and setting the terms at a high school level (that includes reactions like "You have just one note: blame the U.S. for everything." Then adding two notes: or Israel or Britain. Sorry if you don't understand cause and effect in history.)

syyskuu 23, 2019, 1:14 am

Saudi Arabia won’t attack Iran. But it may pay someone else to (Guardian)

There is a longstanding joke told in the Middle East about Saudi Arabia’s reluctance to fight its own wars. “Saudi Arabia will fight until the last Pakistani,” the punchline goes, in reference to the fact that Pakistani troops have long supported Saudi’s military endeavours.

The punchline has expanded lately to include the Sudanese, a recent addition to the Saudi army’s ground troops. Saudi Arabia is accustomed to buying labour that it deems too menial for its citizens, and it extends that philosophy to its army.

There is always a poorer country ready to send cannon fodder for the right price. The military assault in Yemen is sometimes referred to as “the Arab coalition”, a respectable term for a Saudi-led group of combatants that, in addition to allies in the Gulf, includes forces from Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, as well as Sudanese child soldiers, whose deaths are handsomely compensated for with cash paid to their families back home. When asked what fighting in Yemen under the command of the Saudis had been like, some returning Sudanese troops said that Saudi military leaders, feeling themselves too precious to advance too close to the frontline, had given clumsy instructions by satellite phones to their hired troops, nudging them in the general direction of hostilities. Where things were too treacherous, Saudi and coalition airforces simply dropped bombs from high-flying planes, inflating civilian casualties. This is how Saudi fights: as remotely as possible, and paying others to die...

UN Yemen envoy welcomes Houthi offer to halt attacks on Saudi Arabia (Guardian)

The United Nations envoy for Yemen has welcomed an offer from the country’s Houthi rebels to halt all attacks on Saudi Arabia, saying it could bring an end to years of bloody conflict.

Implementation of the initiative by the Houthis “in good faith could send a powerful message of the will to end the war”...

syyskuu 23, 2019, 4:46 am

>53 John5918: I draw a distinction between guerrilla warfare and terrorism. The former is a legitimate form of war: it is targeting soldiers, military equipment or infrastructure necessary for the enemy's military strategy. When Palestinians shoot an Israeli soldier in uniform, or blow up a military post, that is legitimate guerrilla warfare. When they set a car bomb on a busy street, targeting civilians, that's terrorism.

So I don't see Nelson Mandela as ever being a terrorist. Although the ANC did some terrorist acts, I don't think Mandela ever personally did (I may be mistaken). He accepted violence as necessary to the struggle, but I think he envisioned a guerrilla struggle, which is what the armed wing of the ANC did, at first. Only later, while he was in prison, did the ANC start committing terrorist acts (mostly bombings) against civilians.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 23, 2019, 5:02 am

>53 John5918:

I hear what you are saying, but I think modern warfare has blurred that distinction. During World War II British, German and US airmen deliberately bombed civilian targets and killed hundreds of thousands of civilians, almost certainly including plenty of old men who no doubt left streaks of blood. There was no pretence even that these were military targets. This is "terrorism", particularly as these major powers had other military means at their disposal, and I'm not sure why you find this any different to the actions of modern day fighters who use it as a means of asymmetric warfare when they feel they have no other weapons to use against major powers. I'm not condoning it - I condemn all warfare and all killing of human beings by human beings - but I struggle to see why people rail against "terrorists" today while at the same time memorialising and giving honours to the "terrorists" who flew bombers and the "terrorists" who gave the orders during World War II. They were brave and dedicated (if misguided) young men. So were the young men who killed civilians during the hijackings that you mention, or indeed during 9/11 - brave, dedicated but misguided. Perhaps it's because we were the victors in World War II? Or perhaps, to use your own phrase, it's because most people today are too young to remember the horrors of previous wars? All killing should be condemned.

syyskuu 23, 2019, 8:04 am

The United States often refers to its terrorism by calling it collateral damage but it's really the same thing. Air or drone warfare against cities and towns are going to kill civilians. There is no getting around that. Shock and Awe was a war crime--it got a lot of hurray's from the American media nonetheless. The Israelis very often do the same shit in Gaza except with less apology over civilian deaths. All they say is 'we were going after Hamas targets' but as far as they're concerned the entire area is a Hamas target. That's why it's blockaded by sea and fenced in by land and patrolled by air. It's an open air prison and when you consider the Sabra and Shatila massacres that was overseen by Ariel Sharon's govt. with Israeli proxies shoot into a defenseless refugee camp it's pretty much the same thing.

The idea that Palestinians are blowing up innocents all the time is pretty much a canard. With so many dissidents locked up at any given time--with everyone in Gaza pretty much out of reach because they're fenced off from the world with those in the West Bank walled off into their own communities with little possibility of movement out of Palestinian areas--a trigger happy Israeli Army patrolling all over---where are the weapons coming from? The Israelis are thorough inspectors of goods going in and out of country as well. They are the world leader as a surveillance state. There aren't many on the West Bank--the people there are basically down to knives. Generally the stories you hear of Palestinians attacking Israelis these days are of someone maybe stabbing a person or two or coming at them with a knife and being gunned down dead shortly thereafter. Or the rockets out of Gaza which very very seldom injure or kill anyone or even cause much damage. What the Palestinians have to offer as far as physical resistance is very feeble.

syyskuu 23, 2019, 8:27 pm

>57 John5918: There were war crimes by the Allies, as well as by the Axis, to be sure. However, the airmen who bombed Dresden and other German cities didn't just do those bombings-- they also, mostly, bombed legitimate targets. The PLO in the 1960s-1990s were terrorists who rarely if ever targeted military bases or soldiers (legitimate targets of guerrilla warfare) and instead chose the easier target: civilians-- many of whom were not even Israeli, but from other, neutral nations.

I'm not a pacifist: German and Japanese aggression in World War II, the Khmer Rouge, ISIS, etc.: there are some times when violence must be met with violence. When the aggressors are so irrational that there is no peaceful means of stopping them, and so untrustworthy that you cannot make accord with them (think Chamberlain at Munich), violence must be used. Sometimes the group are so repugnant in their philosophy that compromise becomes unthinkable. Imagine if the Allies had let the Nazis remain in power in Germany, in a deal to end the war earlier (which was proposed). Surely that would not be acceptable. The same is true with contemporary groups like the Taliban, with whom there is talk of reaching a peace settlement. That would leave parts of Afghanistan in Taliban control: girls in those regions would be denied any education, while everyone would suffer under the most barbaric interpretation of Islamic law. It would also create a safe haven for all kinds of Islamic terrorists to train. (ISIS is already a presence in Afghanistan.) 'Peace' obtained in that way is not a lasting peace at all.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 23, 2019, 9:09 pm

There is Vonnegut's book on Dresden which pretty much details the aftermath. You could read books like Gert Ledig's Payback which describes an allied bombing mission from the bombers in the sky right down to street level. It's harrowing at all levels. For instance a .45 slug goes right through an American bomber's rear gunners cockpit hitting his machine gun mount which spins around so fast it shatters the gunners jaw and knocks out all his teeth. Meanwhile buildings are collapsing on people below including a factory making munitions and almost all of the workers there are slave laborers from Eastern Europe. The allies weren't just killing Germans and German soldiers when they bombed these cities. Curzio Malaparte in Kaputt describes the effects of a liquid phosphorous firestorm in the Hamburg bombing. People are literally in the river and once a body part that was on fire before they jumped in resurfaces in the air it's on fire again--the Germans eventually shot everyone in the river---there was nothing else they could do for them. But anyway the macadam is just turning into molten lava, buildings collapsing on people, the heat in places so hot it would burn out your lungs to breathe and panic is palpable. No fucking joke to be caught in that. The British air marshall talked about Dresden as payback for the countless British cities that had been terrorized by German bombers earlier in the war. So this isn't to say there wasn't some justification--but Dresden certainly could have been spared. Was it a war crime?--I would say yeah because it wasn't really necessary.

As for the Israelis---Begin and Sharon wiped out many Palestinian villages. To me they absolutely were war criminals. Their objective was to kill or force as many people off their land as possible. To continue with Sharon we have the Sabra and Shatila massacres amongst others. This idea that only Palestinians have perpetrated terrorist attacks is in Palestine is a canard. They are way behind the Israelis on that count.

syyskuu 24, 2019, 1:36 am

>59 madpoet:

I'm travelling for the next three weeks without my laptop, and my fingers are not nimble enough to answer properly on a smartphone, so I'll respond to two of your statements belatedly when I get home, namely that violence is sometimes necessary (which I will nuance) and that groups such as the PLO only attacked civilians (which I will disagree with).

syyskuu 24, 2019, 4:27 am

>61 John5918: I didn't say the PLO only attacked civilians, but civilians were more often targeted than the Israeli military. They might have done some guerrilla warfare, but they were primarily a terrorist organization. Terrorism wasn't the only choice they had: they could have chosen non-violent resistance or guerrilla warfare. They decided to hijack planes and spread terror worldwide, thinking that would get them international recognition. It did, but it didn't get them any sympathy. Only when they gave up terrorism (outside of Israel and Palestine) did international opinion begin to see them as victims instead of perpetrators. Terrorism is usually counterproductive, as the PLO learned.

Have a good trip, John!

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 26, 2019, 4:38 am

Tried to post a map... nevermind...

syyskuu 27, 2019, 3:44 am

If anyone is interested in visiting Saudi Arabia, they've just announced tourist visas for people from about 50 countries (which countries will be announced soon). Some restrictions apply...

syyskuu 27, 2019, 6:37 am

>61 John5918:, >62 madpoet:

Sitting at my god-daughter's laptop in Spain en route to the Camino, I'll try to respond even though this Mac is almost as difficult to use as a smartphone!

On the PLO's use of violence against civilians, while I repeat my condemnation of violence, I think you make an unfair criticism. In asymmetric warfare, where a liberation movement is fighting an oppressive regime which is using terrorism against the civilian population and which has overwhelming military superiority (indeed when it has the might of the USA backing it up), there are few opportunities for meaningful attacks on military targets and that is why liberation movements often feel they have little option but to prosecute a war of attrition against both the morale and the resources of the population which is benefiting from and supporting the oppressive regime. As I say, I don't support it, but it's unfair to single out the PLO when you consider the huge assault on civilian targets by both the Allies and the Axis in World War II, both of whom had far less justification for the carpet bombing of European cities and the atomic bombing of Japanese cities. Germany's shift to the bombing of British cities instead of military airstrips contributed to its losing the war, while British bombing of German cities was widely criticised even at the time for reducing the airpower available to bomb German military targets.

On the use of violence more generally, while I don't think I could commit 100% to pacifism, nevertheless the examples that most people give to "prove" that violence is sometimes necessary are almost all flawed, in part because serious organised strategic active nonviolence has never been tried on the same scale that military options have. If even a fraction of the vast human, physical and financial resources currently wasted on the military option were devoted to seeking and implementing nonviolent solutions; if millions of people were mobilised, trained and supported for strategic nonviolent action; if there were the political will for pre-emptive political solutions; if the current militaristic narrative, macho attitudes and focus on a form of retributive justice which is often little more than vengeance were replaced by a narrative that encouraged nonviolent action; if the power and influence of the military-industrial complex were curbed; if multilateral organisations were supported rather than undermined... we would see a different situation. So yes, violence is sometimes all that is left because we have not put any serious effort into the nonviolent alternatives.

I refer often to a book entitled Why Civil Resistance Works by Erica Chenoweth and Maria J Stephan. It's an academic study of over 300 "hard" conflicts over the last century or so. The empirical evidence shows that violent struggles "succeeded" in around 25% of cases, nonviolent struggles a little over 50%, and that in 25% of cases neither succeeded. So nonviolence has actually been successful twice as often as violence. It also demonstrates that the post-conflict society is likely to be more stable, democratic, peaceful and human rights-respecting after a nonviolent conflict than after violence. The last point is well-illustrated in some of the current news stories. Are Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan more or less stable now than they were before?

Closer to home for me, Sudan and South Sudan also illustrate this. South Sudan "won" a long and brutal civil war and achieved independence from Sudan in 2011. In just two years the new country descended into civil war within itself, with an appalling record on governance, human rights and the economy. Sudan, on the other hand, has just had a nonviolent revolution, an intifada (popular uprising) where a 30-year military and Islamist dictator was overthrown without any looting, burning or fighting, and where the people did not allow themselves to be provoked into using violence even when government troops were killing, beating and raping them. They still have a long way to go, but the basis for stable and peaceful governance is much firmer after their nonviolent revolution than if they had resorted to violence.

syyskuu 29, 2019, 10:10 am

Mona Eltahawy @monaeltahawy | 2:52 PM · Sep 27, 2019

Today marks 500 days since the #Saudi regime detained Loujain al-Hathloul for fighting the ban on women driving and to end male guardianship. She has been waterboarded, subjected to electric shocks and threatened with rape. We remember you, Loujain. #FreeLoujain


Meanwhile, in Iran

Detained Conservationists Niloufar Bayani and Sepideh Kashani on Hunger Strike
Center for Human Rights in Iran | August 8, 2019

Niloufar Bayani and Sepideh Kashani, two of the eight wildlife conservationists detained in Iran since January 2018, began a hunger strike on August 3, 2019, a source with knowledge of their cases told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI).

“After more than 560 days in detention, the people accused in this case, and their families, are still unaware of the alleged crimes they committed and they continue to be denied transfers to public wards in prison despite the completion of the preliminary investigations,” said the source who spoke to CHRI on the condition of anonymity on August 8, 2019.

The source added that the conservationists are demanding due process and to be released on bail ahead of their trials...

lokakuu 11, 2019, 4:17 pm

Pentagon sends new wave of troops to Saudi Arabia even as Trump calls for ending wars
WESLEY MORGAN | 10/11/2019

The deployment is meant to “assure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia,” a spokesman said, following attacks on the kingdom’s oil infrastructure last month.

...despite President Donald Trump’s repeated pledges to end the U.S. military's commitments in the Middle East.

...The latest deployment, which includes two squadrons of fighter jets and three air-defense units, will bring to 3,000 the number of troops the U.S. has sent to Saudi Arabia since Iran attacked the kingdom’s oil infrastructure last month.

...Trump has repeatedly pledged to pull U.S. forces back from overseas entanglements. “We want to bring our soldiers back home. These are endless wars,” he said Monday, in an apparent reference to the continuing U.S. troop commitments in the Middle East, Afghanistan and elsewhere. And yesterday, Trump falsely claimed that U.S. forces have been fully removed from Syria. Roughly 1,000 troops are deployed there...

marraskuu 4, 2019, 7:27 am

‘Seven whistleblowers’
And a story that — if true — could be deadly for Jared Kushner
Cockburn least one is nothing to do with Ukraine but instead was reporting a call between Trump and the Saudi ruler, Mohammed bin Salman. Specifically, the whistleblower is said to have ‘concerns’ about what was said on the call about the president’s son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner. Kushner himself is known to have a very close relationship with MBS. Cockburn has previously written that Kushner may have been what Cosmo would call an ‘oversharer’ when it came to MBS. Unfortunately, it’s claimed that what he was sharing was American secrets: information Kushner had requested from the CIA would (allegedly) be echoed back in US intercepts of calls between members of the Saudi royal family. One source said this was why Kushner lost his intelligence clearances for a while.

...Kushner (allegedly) gave the green light to MBS to arrest the dissident journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, who was later murdered and dismembered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. A second source tells Cockburn that this is true and adds a crucial twist to the story. This source claims that Turkish intelligence obtained an intercept of the call between Kushner and MBS. And President Erdogan used it to get Trump to roll over and pull American troops out of northern Syria before the Turks invaded. Cockburn hears that investigators for the House Intelligence Committee know this whole tale and the identities of some of the people telling it...

marraskuu 6, 2019, 2:42 am

Under shroud of secrecy US weapons arrive in Yemen despite Congressional outrage (CNN)

footage showing the unloading of a variety of US-made arms -- which was filmed illicitly at the offloading site, then obtained and verified by CNN -- is itself contentious. Multiple witnesses told CNN that Yemeni authorities, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, have been arresting and questioning those they suspect of leaking it to the media....

Muokkaaja: joulukuu 7, 2019, 11:33 pm

'Yemen conflict has no military solution': Sudan's Abdalla Hamdok (Al Jazeera)

Sudan's Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok has said the war in Yemen, which the United Nations calls one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters, has no military solution and peace there could only be achieved through a political solution.

Speaking at the Atlantic Council, a self-described think tank in Washington, DC in the United States, Hamdok said: "When it comes to Yemen... this is a legacy we inherited. I think a conflict in Yemen has no military solution - whether from us or anywhere in the world."

"It can only be resolved through political means," he added...

Former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir deployed troops to Yemen in 2015 as part of a major foreign policy shift that saw Khartoum break its decades-old ties with Iran and join the Saudi Arabia-led coalition fighting to restore the internationall-recognised government in Sanaa.

Al-Bashir's removal from power in April this year and the formation of a civilian government led to the withdrawal of some 10,000 Sudanese troops fighting in Yemen...

Edited to add: Sudan to withdraw all forces from Yemen: PM (Yeni Safak)

Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok said Friday he will withdraw all forces fighting alongside the Saudi-led coalition against Houthi rebels in Yemen...

joulukuu 9, 2019, 8:46 am

Trump: Saudis "are going to help out the families very greatly." Because money solves everything.
Esper: normal to film a terrorist shooting(?) Especially useful propaganda if victims are on US military base....

Minh Ngo @minhtngo 10:30 PM · Dec 8, 2019
The House of Saud owns the House of Trump.

"They are devastated in Saudi Arabia. … The King will be involved in taking care of families and loved ones. ... He’s very very devastated by what happened ... Likewise MBS, they are devastated by what took place in Pensacola."

0:37 (CNN clip at


Aaron Rupar @atrupar | 11:35 AM · Dec 8, 2019:

Here's Defense Secretary Mark Esper downplaying reports that
Saudis filmed one of their colleagues shooting Americans at a US military base as if it's a totally normal thing:
"You know, today, people pull out their phones and film everything and anything that happens."

0:29 (Fox News clip at )

joulukuu 23, 2019, 7:43 am

Saudi Court Sentences 5 to Death in Khashoggi Murder
Ben Hubbard | Dec. 23, 2019

A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced five men to death and three to prison terms over the killing of the Saudi dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last year, the kingdom’s public prosecutor’s office said on Monday.

...As the trial proceeded, little information was released publicly. The kingdom never announced the suspects’ names, and foreign diplomats who attended sessions of the trial were sworn to secrecy.

The public prosecutor’s office said on Monday that it had examined 31 suspects and arrested 21 of the. Of those, 11 were put on trial.

Five men were sentenced to death for their direct involvement in Mr. Khashoggi’s killing. Three others were given a total of 24 years in prison for covering up the crime and violating other laws.

The kingdom did not provide the names of those sentenced, but named three suspects who were not among them. Mohammed al-Otaibi, the Saudi consul in Istanbul, and Ahmed Asiri, the deputy head of Saudi intelligence, were found not guilty...

Saud al-Qahtani, a top aide to Prince Mohammed on whom the United States imposed sanctions over the killing, had not been tried because of a lack of evidence against him.

The sentences announced on Monday were preliminary and subject to appeal...

tammikuu 12, 2020, 9:45 am

But hey, for $1bn Saudi Arabia can BUY thousands of our soldiers...

U.S. plans expulsions of at least a dozen Saudi military students whose colleague killed three at Pensacola naval base
Devlin Barrett and John Hudson |Jan. 11, 2020

At least a dozen Saudi military trainees in the United States could be sent back to their home country after an FBI investigation found connections to extremist rhetoric, possession of child pornography, and a failure by a small number of people to report alarming behavior by the gunman who killed three people last month at a Pensacola, Fla., military base, according to people familiar with the matter...

tammikuu 22, 2020, 5:26 pm

Bezos Phone Hack Tied to Saudi Crown Prince Puts New Pressure on Kingdom
Ben Hubbard and Michael Schwirtz | Jan. 22, 2020

BEIRUT, Lebanon — United Nations experts broadened the inquiry into Saudi Arabia’s efforts to squelch criticism on Wednesday, accusing its crown prince of personally hacking the cellphone of Jeff Bezos, the billionaire owner of The Washington Post, to “influence, if not silence” the newspaper’s critical coverage of the kingdom...

tammikuu 22, 2020, 5:38 pm

Trump sold nuclear tech to Saudis in secret after Khashoggi killing
David Charter | June 6 2019

The Trump administration secretly approved the transfer of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia after the killing of Jamal Khashoggi without informing Congress.

One transfer was signed off 16 days after the journalist was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October and a second came in February...

helmikuu 7, 2020, 1:09 am

Don’t let Saudi arms ship dock in UK, say campaigners (Guardian)

Campaigners have called on the British authorities to refuse permission for a vast Saudi ship carrying military equipment to dock in the UK because the Gulf kingdom is still embroiled in the war in Yemen...

Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT), wrote to UK government lawyers to clarify whether the ship’s business was in line with an export ban on British arms to Saudi Arabia, which could be used in the Yemen war. Andrew Smith of CAAT said: “This ship must be turned away. If it is carrying weapons for use in Yemen then they could be used in war crimes and abuses for years to come... Arms-dealing governments like the one in the UK have played a central role in strengthening the Saudi dictatorship and fuelling the devastating war in Yemen.”

Last July, the court of appeal ruled that all future arms exports to Riyadh that could be used in Yemen had to be halted because UK ministers and officials had failed to properly assess the humanitarian risks involved...

helmikuu 8, 2020, 4:49 am

The current build-up of U.S. troops in Saudia Arabia (up to 3000) is an under-reported and colossal strategic error.

Before Bush senior left American troops there after the Gulf War, Bin Laden was more preoccupied with regional apostates. The U.S. presence changed the scale of the conflict, with awful consequences for everybody.

Sooner or later, this troop build-up will come back to haunt.

maaliskuu 7, 2020, 11:02 am

Multiple Saudi royal family members detained, accused of plotting coup
Marty Johnson - 03/07/20 09:26 AM EST

...include King Salman's brother, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, and
the king's nephew, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, known as MBN
( One of MBN's brothers was also detained. )

...the alleged coup was to unseat King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS. Both arrested family members have been accused of treason.

Prince Ahmed and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef were once thought to have some claim to the throne if King Salman, 84, were to die or abdicate, and their arrests further consolidate power for MBS...Historically, the throne of the kingdom has been passed down from brother to brother....

MBN, the king's nephew, had held the title of crown prince until 2017 when King Salman replaced him with MBS...

...Prince Ahmed and MBN could face lifetime imprisonment or execution.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 15, 2020, 12:52 am

Fighting escalates in Yemen despite coronavirus 'ceasefire'

Fighting in Yemen between the Houthi rebels and forces loyal to the exiled government has escalated, despite a ceasefire designed to help the war-torn country focus on containing the coronavirus pandemic...

BAE Systems sold £15bn worth of arms to Saudis during Yemen assault

Britain’s leading arms manufacturer BAE Systems sold £15bn worth of arms and services to the Saudi military during the last five years, the period covered by Riyadh’s involvement in the deadly bombing campaign in the war in Yemen...

The data also reveals that the true value of British arms sales to the Gulf kingdom is far greater than the £5.3bn total value of UK export licences since the Saudi-led coalition began its campaign in Yemen...

Both from the Guardian

huhtikuu 21, 2020, 12:41 am

Saudi Arabia executed record number of people in 2019 (BBC)

Saudi Arabia put to death 184 people in 2019 - a record number for the kingdom - despite a decline in executions worldwide, Amnesty International says.

The number of executions also doubled in Iraq to 100 last year, while Iran remained the second most prolific executioner after China, with 251.

However, global confirmed executions decreased for the fourth consecutive year to 657 - 5% less than in 2018...

toukokuu 22, 2020, 9:39 am

Jamal Khashoggi’s killers spared from execution after journalist’s sons forgive them
Associated Press | May 22, 2020

toukokuu 23, 2020, 12:39 am

kesäkuu 9, 2020, 11:53 pm

Canada doubles weapons sales to Saudi Arabia despite moratorium (Guardian)

Canada sold a record amount of military hardware to Saudi Arabia in 2019, despite sharply criticizing its poor human rights record and placing a moratorium on any new exports to the kingdom...

kesäkuu 10, 2020, 9:26 am

Donald Trump came down harder on 75-year-old Martin Gugino for cracking his skull and bleeding from his ear after being shoved to the ground by cops in Buffalo than he did on Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman for slaughtering Jamal Khashoggi.

- Andrea Junker @Strandjunker | 12:32 PM · Jun 9, 2020

heinäkuu 14, 2020, 12:19 am

Alleged breaches of international law by Saudi forces in Yemen exceed 500 (Guardian)

The {UK} Ministry of Defence has revealed it has logged more than 500 Saudi air raids in possible breach of international law in Yemen, even though last week it justified resuming arms sales to Riyadh on the basis that only isolated incidents without any pattern have occurred...

syyskuu 11, 2020, 9:06 am

'I saved his a--': Trump boasted that he protected Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after Jamal Khashoggi's brutal murder, Woodward's new book says
Sonam Sheth and John Haltiwanger | 9/10/2020

President Donald Trump bragged that he protected Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the assassination and dismembering of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in October 2018.

"I saved his ass," Trump had said amid the US outcry over Khashoggi's killing, according to Bob Woodward's new book. "I was able to get Congress to leave him alone. I was able to get them to stop."

The president told Woodward he didn't believe that MBS ordered Khashoggi's murder, though the US and other foreign intelligence services concluded that he did order the attack.

After Khashoggi's murder, Trump bypassed Congress to sell roughly $8 billion in arms to the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates. He vetoed a trio of resolutions blocking the sale, as well as a resolution to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen....

lokakuu 4, 2020, 12:02 pm

Mercenaries from Sudan, Senegal arrive on Yemen’s Socotra (Middle East Monitor)

Sudanese and Senegalese troops have arrived on the Yemeni Island of Socotra, reported the Yemen Press Agency yesterday. A batch of some 600 soldiers from the two African countries turned up on the island amid earlier reports that the UAE had requested forces belonging to the Southern Transitional Council (STC) return back to Aden on the mainland, with others moving onto the Hadramaut province. At the start of the year Sudan announced it had begun reducing the number of its troops deployed in Yemen. Senegal, a Sunni Muslim majority country is the only non-Arab country to be involved in the US-backed, Saudi-led coalition and – along with Sudan – has been since the formation of the coalition in 2015...

Sudan sending hundreds of troops to Yemen via Saudi Arabia (Middle East Eye)

Sources say officers and soldiers arrived in the kingdom last week, despite Khartoum supposedly winding down its involvement in the conflict...

maaliskuu 1, 2021, 7:30 am

>86 margd:

Three names mysteriously removed from Khashoggi intelligence report after initial publication
Alex Marquardt | February 28, 2021

(CNN)Shortly after the US intelligence community published its long-awaited report on Friday afternoon on the Saudis who were responsible for the death of Jamal Khashoggi, it was taken down without explanation and replaced with another version that removed the names of three men it had initially said were complicit.

...The first of the three names removed is Abdulla Mohammed Alhoeriny, who has not been previously connected with Khashoggi's death.
According to a person familiar with the inner workings of Saudi intelligence, he's the brother of General Abdulaziz bin Mohammed al-Howraini, a minister who is in charge of the powerful Presidency of State Security which oversees multiple intelligence and counterterrorism agencies. Abdulla (as it's spelled by ODNI) appears in Saudi reports as the assistant chief of state security for counterterrorism.

The two other names that appeared in the unclassified intelligence report and then disappeared are Yasir Khalid Alsalem and Ibrahim al-Salim. It was not immediately clear who they are...

Seventeen Saudis had already been sanctioned for the murder by the US Treasury Department. An eighteenth, a former senior intelligence official, was added Friday. The force that serves as the protective detail for MBS, known as the "Tiger Squad," was also sanctioned.

The State Department also announced 76 unnamed Saudis would be barred from the United States under a "Khashoggi Ban."...

maaliskuu 1, 2021, 7:37 am

Tämä käyttäjä on poistettu roskaamisen vuoksi.

lokakuu 11, 2022, 11:36 am

Biden to ‘Re-Evaluate’ Relationship With Saudi Arabia After Oil Production Cut
Peter Baker | Oct. 11, 2022

...the president signaled openness to retaliatory measures proposed in Congress, including...including arms sales, and stripping OPEC members of their legal immunity so they can be sued for violations of American antitrust laws...

joulukuu 22, 2022, 1:42 pm

Turkey, Saudi Arabia condemn Taliban’s university ban for women
Saudi Arabia expressed ‘astonishment and regret’ over the ban, while Turkey called it ‘neither Islamic nor humane’.
Al Jazeera | 22 Dec 2022

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday that the ban was “neither Islamic nor humane”.

Speaking at a joint news conference with his Yemeni counterpart, Cavusoglu urged the Taliban to reverse the decision.

“What harm is there in women’s education? What harm does it do to Afghanistan?” Cavusoglu said. “Is there an Islamic explanation? On the contrary, our religion, Islam, is not against education; on the contrary, it encourages education and science.”

The Saudi foreign ministry expressed “astonishment and regret” at Afghan women being denied a university education. In a statement late on Wednesday, the ministry said the decision was “astonishing in all Islamic countries”.

..Initially, the Taliban had promised a more moderate rule respecting rights for women and minorities but has since implemented its own strict interpretation of religious law.

Since retaking power, it has banned girls from secondary education and barred women from most fields of employment. Women are also banned from parks and gyms.

...Another show of support for female university students came at Nangarhar Medical University in Jalalabad. Local media reported that male students walked out in solidarity and refused to sit exams until women’s university access was reinstated...

toukokuu 25, 12:52 pm

Seriously, Microsoft?
Human Rights Watch | 25 May 2023

Here’s a bad idea: tech giant Microsoft is planning to invest in a new cloud data center in Saudi Arabia.

While you’re picking your jaw up off the floor, let me tell you it’s probably worse than you imagine.

What’s shocking here is not just Saudi Arabia’s abysmal human rights record generally. Of course, the country is infamous for its incessant repression of dissent, and even brutal murder of its critics.

But Saudi Arabian authorities also have an awful record specifically related to tech...