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Offline Palloy2

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Saudi regime change
« on: June 22, 2017, 06:14:53 PM »
The old and politically weak King Salman wheedled his way into power, but was required to keep bin Nayef as Crown Prince, to give his son bin Salman the chance to prove himself before becoming Crown Prince.  That has been a total disaster and yet the transition has just happened, putting bin Salman in an extremely weak position and in need of a strong friend (Trump). If the outcome is a war with Iran, and presumably Qatar, then someone has seriously over-estimated the strength of their hand.

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/393614-saudi-crown-prince-iran-war
Hired gun: Is war with Iran now inevitable under new Saudi crown prince?
Martin Jay
Martin Jay is an award winning British journalist now based in Beirut who works on a freelance basis for a number of respected British newspapers as well as previously Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle TV. Before Lebanon, he has worked in Africa and Europe for CNN, Euronews, CNBC, BBC, Sunday Times and Reuters. Follow him on Twitter @MartinRJay
22 Jun, 2017

Israel and Washington seem to have been instrumental in the rise of Riyadh's new leader, a hot-headed young royal who leaves a trail of havoc behind him. But can they control him?

In the hilarious novel by Christopher Buckley, 'Thank you for smoking,' the central character, Nick Naylor, works for Big Tobacco as a chief spokesman. The reason why Naylor, who lobbies on behalf of cigarettes using ingenious ploys, was given the job in the first place was due to a blunder he made as a journalist before, where he incorrectly announced live on air the death of the US president.

His new boss believed Naylor would be brilliant in his new job as he would have so much to prove. Indeed, in one scene Naylor even explains to schoolchildren how smoking isn’t bad for your health.

It almost seems a fitting description of Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman. For those who are only now tuning in to the news from Saudi Arabia, King Salman, 81, gave his court a bit of a surprise when he deposed his nephew Muhammad bin Nayef of all his official duties. In his place, the king installed his son, Mohammad bin Salman, 31, as crown prince and heir apparent to the throne.
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U.S. President Donald Trump dances with a sword as he arrives to a welcome ceremony by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at Al Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017 © Jonathan Ernst ‘Strange, Trump slams Qatar for ‘supporting terrorism,’ yet gives Saudis a blank check’

By most accounts, the young crown prince was, just three years earlier, an entirely obscure figure whose short period as defense minister was marred by several unfortunate setbacks, including billions of dollars lost in Yemen. Then there was the time he threw his weight behind an oil scheme that resulted in an oil price crash, which has left the Saudi economy decimated.

The new crown prince really does have an awful lot to prove. But that’s not a good thing.

Ruthlessly ambitious and an outsider, this makes him dangerous and unpredictable, yet for Donald Trump’s purposes the perfect partner to spearhead his ill-conceived campaign against Iran. Slowly, Trump’s pieces are falling into place in the Middle East, and it is no surprise that the first media in the region to praise Mohammed’s swift takeover of the cherished post was that of Israel.

Mohammed bin Salman has inherited a country not only at a crossroads in its contemporary history, as it struggles to unshackle itself from oil dependency, but one which appears to be suffocating under its own insecurities, foibles and paranoia. Indeed, the more the House of Saud moves, it seems, the more it appears to be in a permanent state of geopolitical dysfunction. In fact, few analysts, except perhaps for David Ignatius of the Washington Post – who was recently accused of having not an entirely healthy journalistic relationship with the Saudi elite – have failed to notice the country’s blunders in the region. It’s as though almost everything that Riyadh does outside of its borders just turns to ashes. Syria, Yemen and now Qatar.

Can this absurdly young, aggressive and outlandish new leader, who will take the reigns under an increasingly despondent and frail father as remaining monarch, really help his country? Or is he doomed to push it into the abyss as many regional commentators fear?

Salman has a reputation as being anti-establishment and desperate to be seen as a reformer. But his haste was his downfall in the past. Despite being hugely popular and very much seen at home as a modernist – who we should remember took away key powers from the religious police and is throwing his weight behind a modernization plan to drag the country into the 21st century – Mohammed’s bold idea to thunder ahead with a military campaign in Yemen was a great error which his adversaries are only too keen to cautiously point out.
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Turkish APC drives at their military base in Doha, Qatar June 18, 2017. © Qatar News Agency Turkish troops arrive in Qatar for joint war games amid Gulf tensions – media

He was also a chief proponent in the 2015 decision to over produce oil in a craven attempt to financially drain US fracking companies – but which in the event failed after a few months and resulted in the oil price crash, which today has taken away much of Riyadh’s clout in the region.

And it’s that same region where the present king and his son believed would at least provide them with some payback, once Trump came to Riyadh and breathed new life into the kingdom.

Yet it was Prince Mohammed who led a multi-nation effort to quarantine Qatar over its ties with Iran and support for Islamist groups that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have opposed for years.

Was the Qatar crisis, which is really backfiring on the Saudis, a catalyst for the crown prince to swoop in and take the most powerful job in government or were there other factors?

It’s not clear at this stage what role the Qatar fiasco played. But what is clearer is that Mohammed bin Salman, who didn’t study in the West like so many of his contemporaries and speaks little English, will take a much harder line both on Qatar and more importantly Iran.

Consequently, we are almost certainly witnessing both Saudi Arabia and Iran approaching the abyss of a crisis which appears to be almost entirely crafted by Israel, Saudi Arabia and of course America. Indeed, as far as hard-liners go in Riyadh, Trump couldn’t have dreamt up a Saudi leader more suited to his plans to marginalize Iran. Even if it means through military efforts in an all-out war.

But there are many factors which have rushed his arrival into office as crown prince and heir to his father, King Salman. Many believe his father’s mild dementia might be developing; others point to the catastrophe of Qatar. But most of all, Iran’s perceived threat – which is largely invented to use as a platform to justify a less challenging style of governance and an inflated public image among other GCC states that admire Riyadh’s high defense spending - is at fever pitch.
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FILE PHOTO: Ballistic missiles are launched during the military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-6, for Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards at an unknown location on June 28, 2011© Rouholla Vandati / ISNA Iran fires missiles against 'terrorist bases' in E. Syria in retaliation for Tehran attacks (VIDEO)

Never have the Saudis been so up for a scrap with Iran, but paradoxically, so ill-equipped to execute it. The attack on Iran, although carried out by Al-Qaeda, is believed to have been commissioned by Riyadh. But like almost everything they do, it was also poorly timed and misjudged. The Saudis couldn’t have banked on Iran sending over a bevy of missiles precisely targeting Al-Qaeda groups on the ground in Syria. Said by one Iranian commentator to be a ‘slap’ for Saudi Arabia, the message was clear. We can hit your proxies. And if you persist, we can use the same precision missiles against you on your own soil.

But the strike must have been music to the ears of those in Riyadh and Washington who actually want a tangible justification to begin a military campaign against Iran.

Prince Mohammad is not interested in diplomacy with Iran, as he has recently stated quite clearly. And few believe he will change his views on how to deal with the Iran problem.

“It is not really a question of if but rather of when a new escalation with Iran starts,”said Olivier Jakob, managing director of consultant Petromatrix GmbH, as quoted by Reuters. “Under his watch, Saudi Arabia has developed aggressive foreign policies and he [Crown Prince Mohammed] has not been shy about making strong statements against Iran.”

Indeed, his capricious style, which has led his critics to label him as “brash” and one who “starts wars on a whim” is a clear point in his favor to those who helped install him. For it is no accident that a series of bizarre meetings in Washington between Trump’s Middle East experts and Adel al-Jubeir, the highly articulate foreign minister, assisted by officials from the UAE followed by the bizarre provocation in Tehran all point to one thing: his appointment is not solely down to his father’s wishes, but from regional powers – in particular, Israel – which believes that King Salman's son will recognize the Jewish state and open the floodgates of business for the Israelis.

The crown prince is not merely ambitious. I am told he is ready to do anything to take the Saudi throne when ultimately his father’s health wanes, a claim supported by journalist Jamal Elshayyal of Middle East Eye.

He is a creation of Washington and Tel Aviv and the recent terrorist attack in Tehran [on June 7, two terrorist attacks were carried out in the Iranian capital, one on the parliament building, and the other at the Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomenei, which left 17 civilians dead and 43 wounded], designed to accelerate the process of his passage to supreme power, under the guise of Trump and Netanyahu.

Qatar threatened to cloud this process of promoting debate, which questioned the fallacious threat of Iran and so needed to be dealt with quickly. Almost certainly the new crown prince will adopt a much tougher strategy against Qatar that may result in a standoff against Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir of Qatar.

via GIPHY

What we are witnessing in Saudi Arabia is not only a cataclysm of rules of dynasty and power, but an intense polarization of the Middle East which is only heading in one direction. Trump’s defense secretary Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis may be alone in warning others in the White House about the perils of fighting Assad’s army in Al-Tanf in Syria, but he seems to have signed off a blueprint for a war with Iran – presumably to garner a wave of military spending from the cabal of Muslim countries, a subject Trump alluded to during a speech in Riyadh.

But naked ambition, seized upon by other players in the region, might throw the kingdom further into turmoil. There’s a huge amount of gambling going on simply to give the young crown prince his dream of the Saudi throne, which includes a shake up of the intelligence apparatus and a new 28-year-old US ambassador in Washington.

If you think the Qatar plan was whacky, hold on to your seats for the Iran sequel. We’re all in for a rough ride, and it’s hard to see after Riyadh’s demise both in Yemen and Syria that its own forces will fare well against Iran’s. Even if a coalition of Muslim countries steps up, who is going to lead such a vanguard of its closest allies? Could it be that, like Qatar, there has been a miscommunication between Riyadh and Washington and the new crown prince is expecting US forces to take on the task?

If that is the case, Mohammed’s dispatch from the corridors of power might be as speedy as his entry, if Trump cannot rein him in and keep him from starting a war with Iran. Otherwise, we may need someone like Nick Naylor to explain to our children what went so disastrously wrong in a movie entitled, 'Thank you for bombing.'
"The State is a body of armed men."

Offline Palloy2

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Re: Saudi regime change
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2017, 06:18:23 PM »
http://thesaker.is/blood-on-the-tracks-of-the-new-silk-roads-qatar-chaos-sends-ripples-of-economic-anxiety-across-the-region/
Blood on the tracks of the New Silk Roads: Qatar chaos sends ripples of economic anxiety across the region
June 15, 2017

by Pepe Escobar for the Asia Times

China’s cardinal foreign policy imperative is to refrain from interfering abroad while advancing the proverbial good relations with key political actors – even when they may be at each other’s throats.

Still, it’s nothing but gut-wrenching for Beijing to watch the current, unpredictable, Saudi-Qatari standoff. There’s no endgame in sight, as plausible scenarios include even regime change and a seismic geopolitical shift in Southwest Asia – what a Western-centric view calls the Middle East.

And blood on the tracks in Southwest Asia cannot but translate into major trouble ahead for the New Silk Roads, now rebranded Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

When he said, on the record, “I decided … the time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding [of terrorism]”, President Trump essentially took credit for the Saudi/UAE-orchestrated excommunication of Doha, the aftermath of his now notorious sword dance in Riyadh.

US President Donald Trump and Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud attend the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 21, 2017. Photo: Reuters

Trump’s senior staff though maintains that Qatar never came up in discussions with the Saudis. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former Exxon-Mobil CEO and a certified old Middle East hand, has done his best to defuse the drama – conscious there would be no reason for Qatar to continue hosting Al Udeid Air Base and Centcom to a hostile superpower.

Meanwhile, Russia – the Beltway’s favorite evil entity – is getting closer and closer to Qatar, ever since the game-changing acquisition in early December by the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) of 19.5% of the crown energy giant Rosneft.

That translates into an economic/political alliance of the world’s top two gas exporters; and that explains why Doha – still holding a permanent office at NATO’s HQ – has abruptly thrown its “moderate rebels” in Syria under the (economic) bus.

Russia and China are bound by a complex, multi-vector strategic partnership. Beijing, privileging economic interests, takes a pragmatic view and is never inclined to play a political role. As the world’s biggest manufacturer and exporter, Beijing’s motto is crystal clear: Make Trade, Not War.

But what if Southwest Asia is mired in the foreseeable future in a permanent pre-war footing?

China and BRI’s best pal Iran

China is Qatar’s top trading partner. Beijing was actively negotiating a free trade agreement with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) before the current standoff. Moving forward, a possible scenario is Qatar even pulling out of the GCC.

Qatar is also China’s second-largest source of liquefied natural gas (LNG), while Saudi Arabia is China’s third-largest source of oil. Since 2010 China is ahead of the US as the biggest exporter to Southwest Asia while solidifying its position as the top importer of Southwest Asia energy.

When King Salman recently visited Beijing, the House of Saud ecstatically spun a “Sino-Saudi strategic partnership” based on the signing of deals worth $65 billion. The partnership, in fact, hinges on a five-year Saudi Arabia-China security cooperation agreement that includes counter-terrorism and joint military drills. Much will have to do with keeping the profitable Red Sea-Gulf of Aden corridor free of political turmoil.

Of course, eyebrows may be raised over the fact that Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabism is the ideological matrix of Salafi-jihadism threatening not only Southwest Asia and the West but also China itself.

The New Silk Roads/BRI imply a key role for the GCC – in a mutual investment, trademark Chinese “win-win” way. In an ideal world, the Saudi “Vision 2030” modernizing plan breathlessly being sold by Warrior Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) could, in theory, even reign in the appeal of Salafi-jihadism of the Daesh variety all across Southwest Asia.

What the Iranophobic MBS seems not to understand is that Beijing actually privileges its BRI-based economic relationship with Tehran.

Early last year, when President Xi Jinping visited Tehran, he and President Rouhani pledged to raise Chinese-Iranian bilateral trade to a whopping $600 billion in 10 years, most of it related to BRI expansion.

China and Iran have been doing serious business. For over a year now, direct China-Iran cargo trains have been crossing Central Asia in only 12 days. That’s just the appetizer for high-speed rail connectivity spanning the arc from China to Turkey via Iran in the early 2020s.

And in a (distant?) future, a pacified Syria will also be configured as a BRI node; before the war, Syrian merchants were a top fixture in the trading-in-small-goods Silk Road running from the Levant to Yiwu in eastern China.

BRI does Turkey, Egypt and Israel

China’s Maritime Silk Road is not about a threatening “string of pearls” – but mostly about port infrastructure, built by Chinese companies, configuring key BRI stops from the Indian Ocean via the Red Sea and Suez all the way to Piraeus port in the Greek Mediterranean. Piraeus is owned and operated by China’s COSCO since August 2016; this upgraded, modern container hub for trade between East Asia and the West is already the fastest-growing port in Europe.

For his part, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already made it clear that Turkey’s national interests involve “the Suez Canal, the adjacent seas, and from there extending to the Indian Ocean.” As much as Ankara has set up a base in Qatar – with soldiers now flowing in – it has also established a Turkish-Saudi Strategic Cooperation Council.

Ankara may have been slowly and surely engaged in a strategic pivoting to Russia – as in the go-ahead for Turkish Stream. Yet that also qualifies as a pivot to China – expected to develop, bumps included, in all key areas, from membership of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Both Turkey and Iran – a possible full member of the SCO as early as next year – are actively supporting Qatar in the current standoff, including via regular food shipments. That shows once again how Beijing simply cannot allow itself to be dragged politically into what is essentially the vicious, intractable Iran-Saudi regional power war. Once again; BRI trumps everything.

Egypt poses an extra problem. It aligns with Riyadh in the current standoff; after all Field Marshall President Al-Sisi depends on the House of Saud “largesse”.

In Egypt, the new Singapore-sized capital east of Cairo is essentially being financed by Chinese investment; $35 billion by the end of last year, and counting. Extra bonuses include Beijing facilitating currency swap deals – providing a much-needed boost to the Egyptian economy. Ahmed Darwish, chairman of the Suez Canal Economic Zone, has nothing but praise to the top investor in the Suez Canal Corridor, which happens to be Beijing.

And then there’s the budding Israeli-Chinese connection. Israel backs the Saudi-UAE anti-Qatar blitzkrieg essentially as yet another proxy war front against Iran.

China is bidding to build the Red-Med high-speed rail connecting the Red Sea to the Mediterranean. If the proverbial sea of containers can be accommodated near Eilat, the Chinese will be able to transship cargo via the Red-Med railway directly to Piraeus – an alternative route adding to the already Chinese-involved Suez Canal Corridor.

Connectivity is frantic on all fronts. Shanghai International Port Group is running Haifa port. China Harbor Engineering will build a new $876 million port in Ashdod. Israel is already China’s top supplier of advanced agricultural technology – as in water desalination, aquaculture and cattle farming, for instance. Beijing wants more biomedical, clean energy and telecom technology Israeli imports. And the clincher is Israel’s imminent membership of the AIIB.

It’s fair to argue that from now on everything that happens across Southwest Asia will be conditioned by, and interlocked with, BRI’s land-sea superhighway emporium from East Asia and Southeast Asia to southeastern Europe.

Focused on BRI’s comprehensive drive for multipolarization, “inclusive” globalization 2.0, and the rapid spread of information technology, the last thing Beijing needs is a throwback to the past; a foolish, manufactured standoff as the new front in an existential proxy war between the House of Saud and Iran, and with Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Israel pitted against Qatar, Turkey, Iran – and Russia.

Talk about sleepless nights in the Zhongnanhai these days.
"The State is a body of armed men."

Offline Eddie

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Re: Saudi regime change
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2017, 06:47:33 PM »
The old and politically weak King Salman wheedled his way into power, but was required to keep bin Nayef as Crown Prince, to give his son bin Salman the chance to prove himself before becoming Crown Prince.  That has been a total disaster and yet the transition has just happened, putting bin Salman in an extremely weak position and in need of a strong friend (Trump). If the outcome is a war with Iran, and presumably Qatar, then someone has seriously over-estimated the strength of their hand.

https://www.rt.com/op-edge/393614-saudi-crown-prince-iran-war
Hired gun: Is war with Iran now inevitable under new Saudi crown prince?
Martin Jay
Martin Jay is an award winning British journalist now based in Beirut who works on a freelance basis for a number of respected British newspapers as well as previously Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle TV. Before Lebanon, he has worked in Africa and Europe for CNN, Euronews, CNBC, BBC, Sunday Times and Reuters. Follow him on Twitter @MartinRJay
22 Jun, 2017

Israel and Washington seem to have been instrumental in the rise of Riyadh's new leader, a hot-headed young royal who leaves a trail of havoc behind him. But can they control him?

In the hilarious novel by Christopher Buckley, 'Thank you for smoking,' the central character, Nick Naylor, works for Big Tobacco as a chief spokesman. The reason why Naylor, who lobbies on behalf of cigarettes using ingenious ploys, was given the job in the first place was due to a blunder he made as a journalist before, where he incorrectly announced live on air the death of the US president.

His new boss believed Naylor would be brilliant in his new job as he would have so much to prove. Indeed, in one scene Naylor even explains to schoolchildren how smoking isn’t bad for your health.

It almost seems a fitting description of Saudi Arabia’s new crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman. For those who are only now tuning in to the news from Saudi Arabia, King Salman, 81, gave his court a bit of a surprise when he deposed his nephew Muhammad bin Nayef of all his official duties. In his place, the king installed his son, Mohammad bin Salman, 31, as crown prince and heir apparent to the throne.
Read more
U.S. President Donald Trump dances with a sword as he arrives to a welcome ceremony by Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud at Al Murabba Palace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia May 20, 2017 © Jonathan Ernst ‘Strange, Trump slams Qatar for ‘supporting terrorism,’ yet gives Saudis a blank check’

By most accounts, the young crown prince was, just three years earlier, an entirely obscure figure whose short period as defense minister was marred by several unfortunate setbacks, including billions of dollars lost in Yemen. Then there was the time he threw his weight behind an oil scheme that resulted in an oil price crash, which has left the Saudi economy decimated.

The new crown prince really does have an awful lot to prove. But that’s not a good thing.

Ruthlessly ambitious and an outsider, this makes him dangerous and unpredictable, yet for Donald Trump’s purposes the perfect partner to spearhead his ill-conceived campaign against Iran. Slowly, Trump’s pieces are falling into place in the Middle East, and it is no surprise that the first media in the region to praise Mohammed’s swift takeover of the cherished post was that of Israel.

Mohammed bin Salman has inherited a country not only at a crossroads in its contemporary history, as it struggles to unshackle itself from oil dependency, but one which appears to be suffocating under its own insecurities, foibles and paranoia. Indeed, the more the House of Saud moves, it seems, the more it appears to be in a permanent state of geopolitical dysfunction. In fact, few analysts, except perhaps for David Ignatius of the Washington Post – who was recently accused of having not an entirely healthy journalistic relationship with the Saudi elite – have failed to notice the country’s blunders in the region. It’s as though almost everything that Riyadh does outside of its borders just turns to ashes. Syria, Yemen and now Qatar.

Can this absurdly young, aggressive and outlandish new leader, who will take the reigns under an increasingly despondent and frail father as remaining monarch, really help his country? Or is he doomed to push it into the abyss as many regional commentators fear?

Salman has a reputation as being anti-establishment and desperate to be seen as a reformer. But his haste was his downfall in the past. Despite being hugely popular and very much seen at home as a modernist – who we should remember took away key powers from the religious police and is throwing his weight behind a modernization plan to drag the country into the 21st century – Mohammed’s bold idea to thunder ahead with a military campaign in Yemen was a great error which his adversaries are only too keen to cautiously point out.
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Turkish APC drives at their military base in Doha, Qatar June 18, 2017. © Qatar News Agency Turkish troops arrive in Qatar for joint war games amid Gulf tensions – media

He was also a chief proponent in the 2015 decision to over produce oil in a craven attempt to financially drain US fracking companies – but which in the event failed after a few months and resulted in the oil price crash, which today has taken away much of Riyadh’s clout in the region.

And it’s that same region where the present king and his son believed would at least provide them with some payback, once Trump came to Riyadh and breathed new life into the kingdom.

Yet it was Prince Mohammed who led a multi-nation effort to quarantine Qatar over its ties with Iran and support for Islamist groups that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have opposed for years.

Was the Qatar crisis, which is really backfiring on the Saudis, a catalyst for the crown prince to swoop in and take the most powerful job in government or were there other factors?

It’s not clear at this stage what role the Qatar fiasco played. But what is clearer is that Mohammed bin Salman, who didn’t study in the West like so many of his contemporaries and speaks little English, will take a much harder line both on Qatar and more importantly Iran.

Consequently, we are almost certainly witnessing both Saudi Arabia and Iran approaching the abyss of a crisis which appears to be almost entirely crafted by Israel, Saudi Arabia and of course America. Indeed, as far as hard-liners go in Riyadh, Trump couldn’t have dreamt up a Saudi leader more suited to his plans to marginalize Iran. Even if it means through military efforts in an all-out war.

But there are many factors which have rushed his arrival into office as crown prince and heir to his father, King Salman. Many believe his father’s mild dementia might be developing; others point to the catastrophe of Qatar. But most of all, Iran’s perceived threat – which is largely invented to use as a platform to justify a less challenging style of governance and an inflated public image among other GCC states that admire Riyadh’s high defense spending - is at fever pitch.
Read more
FILE PHOTO: Ballistic missiles are launched during the military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-6, for Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards at an unknown location on June 28, 2011© Rouholla Vandati / ISNA Iran fires missiles against 'terrorist bases' in E. Syria in retaliation for Tehran attacks (VIDEO)

Never have the Saudis been so up for a scrap with Iran, but paradoxically, so ill-equipped to execute it. The attack on Iran, although carried out by Al-Qaeda, is believed to have been commissioned by Riyadh. But like almost everything they do, it was also poorly timed and misjudged. The Saudis couldn’t have banked on Iran sending over a bevy of missiles precisely targeting Al-Qaeda groups on the ground in Syria. Said by one Iranian commentator to be a ‘slap’ for Saudi Arabia, the message was clear. We can hit your proxies. And if you persist, we can use the same precision missiles against you on your own soil.

But the strike must have been music to the ears of those in Riyadh and Washington who actually want a tangible justification to begin a military campaign against Iran.

Prince Mohammad is not interested in diplomacy with Iran, as he has recently stated quite clearly. And few believe he will change his views on how to deal with the Iran problem.

“It is not really a question of if but rather of when a new escalation with Iran starts,”said Olivier Jakob, managing director of consultant Petromatrix GmbH, as quoted by Reuters. “Under his watch, Saudi Arabia has developed aggressive foreign policies and he [Crown Prince Mohammed] has not been shy about making strong statements against Iran.”

Indeed, his capricious style, which has led his critics to label him as “brash” and one who “starts wars on a whim” is a clear point in his favor to those who helped install him. For it is no accident that a series of bizarre meetings in Washington between Trump’s Middle East experts and Adel al-Jubeir, the highly articulate foreign minister, assisted by officials from the UAE followed by the bizarre provocation in Tehran all point to one thing: his appointment is not solely down to his father’s wishes, but from regional powers – in particular, Israel – which believes that King Salman's son will recognize the Jewish state and open the floodgates of business for the Israelis.

The crown prince is not merely ambitious. I am told he is ready to do anything to take the Saudi throne when ultimately his father’s health wanes, a claim supported by journalist Jamal Elshayyal of Middle East Eye.

He is a creation of Washington and Tel Aviv and the recent terrorist attack in Tehran [on June 7, two terrorist attacks were carried out in the Iranian capital, one on the parliament building, and the other at the Mausoleum of Ruhollah Khomenei, which left 17 civilians dead and 43 wounded], designed to accelerate the process of his passage to supreme power, under the guise of Trump and Netanyahu.

Qatar threatened to cloud this process of promoting debate, which questioned the fallacious threat of Iran and so needed to be dealt with quickly. Almost certainly the new crown prince will adopt a much tougher strategy against Qatar that may result in a standoff against Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the emir of Qatar.

via GIPHY

What we are witnessing in Saudi Arabia is not only a cataclysm of rules of dynasty and power, but an intense polarization of the Middle East which is only heading in one direction. Trump’s defense secretary Jim ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis may be alone in warning others in the White House about the perils of fighting Assad’s army in Al-Tanf in Syria, but he seems to have signed off a blueprint for a war with Iran – presumably to garner a wave of military spending from the cabal of Muslim countries, a subject Trump alluded to during a speech in Riyadh.

But naked ambition, seized upon by other players in the region, might throw the kingdom further into turmoil. There’s a huge amount of gambling going on simply to give the young crown prince his dream of the Saudi throne, which includes a shake up of the intelligence apparatus and a new 28-year-old US ambassador in Washington.

If you think the Qatar plan was whacky, hold on to your seats for the Iran sequel. We’re all in for a rough ride, and it’s hard to see after Riyadh’s demise both in Yemen and Syria that its own forces will fare well against Iran’s. Even if a coalition of Muslim countries steps up, who is going to lead such a vanguard of its closest allies? Could it be that, like Qatar, there has been a miscommunication between Riyadh and Washington and the new crown prince is expecting US forces to take on the task?

If that is the case, Mohammed’s dispatch from the corridors of power might be as speedy as his entry, if Trump cannot rein him in and keep him from starting a war with Iran. Otherwise, we may need someone like Nick Naylor to explain to our children what went so disastrously wrong in a movie entitled, 'Thank you for bombing.'

And Trump dreamed up this palace intrigue? Tillerson knows them much better than Trump, I'd imagine.

Isn't Salman Senior said to be in the throws of dementia? (not that anyone is likely to notice these days.)

What is the strategic value of Qatar? It has the population of Houston. Forget regime change. Complete genocide is more likely.

What is your guess as to the endgame with Saudi oil? Will the oil go first, or the water. Or the food. Or will nobody have money to buy even cheap oil? I wonder myself.

RE can tell you that those guys were talking about building giant monolithic domes to grow food. I'm not sure if they ever got any built. I think it was a good idea that probably got passed over.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well.

Offline Palloy2

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Re: Saudi regime change
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2017, 07:41:43 PM »
I think the CIA palace watchers have known about, and helped engineer, royal power relations for ages, and the irrepressible Trump just did what he was told and nearly spoilt it all with his self-congratulatory tweets.  Tillerson immediately started back-tracking when Qatar started their "We host the Air Base and CENTCOM HQ (maybe)" line.

King Salman is 81 and has dimentia, but I bet he has plenty of advisers.

The strategic value of Qatar lies in the Al-Udeid air base and CENTCOM HQ in Doha.

I reckon the Saudi oil de-sulphuring plant at Ab-Qiaiq and the oil-exporting port at Ras Tenura will go up in flames, and never be re-built since money will have lost all its worth. The Chinese OBR will never be built, and US infrastructure will rot until it falls down.
"The State is a body of armed men."

 

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