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In Escalating War Of Words, Saudi Crown Prince Calls Iran’s Ayatollah “New Hitler Of The Middle East

In Escalating War Of Words, Saudi Crown Prince Calls Iran’s Ayatollah “New Hitler Of The Middle East

Godwin’s law states that “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Hitler approaches 1.” Saudi Arabia’s powerful, and controversial, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – who in just a few months has made more local (and foreign) enemies than most of his predecessors accumulated over a lifetime, decided he does not need to wait that long, and in a glowing interview with the New York Times‘ Thomas Friedman, which touched on everything from the accommodations of the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton, to the recent power grab anti-corruption campaign, to Donald Trump, to the Saudi social and religious revolution, called the Supreme Leader of Iran “the new Hitler of the Middle East”, escalating the war of words between the arch-rivals. For his part, Khamenei has referred to the House of Saud as an “accursed tree”, and Iranian officials have accused the kingdom of spreading terrorism.

MbS, as he is also known, and who after the recent purge is also Saudi defense minister, also slapped down the ISIS card and suggested the Islamic Republic’s alleged expansion under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei needed to be confronted.

“But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East,” the paper quoted him as saying.

As reported previously, tensions between Iran and the Saudi Kingdom soared once again this month when Lebanon’s Saudi-allied Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned in a television broadcast from Riyadh, citing the influence of Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon and risks to his life. Hezbollah called the move an act of war engineered by Saudi authorities, an accusation they denied.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Lebanese Army On “Full Combat Readiness” At Southern Border To Counter “Israeli Enemy”

Lebanese Army On “Full Combat Readiness” At Southern Border To Counter “Israeli Enemy”

Two days after Israel provided the first ever official confirmation of covert ties with Saudi Arabia, a step many analysts see as a precursor to future conflict in the Middle East involving adversaries Iran and Lebanon, on Tuesday the head of the Lebanese Army told the military to be at “full combat readiness” to face “the Israeli enemy” at the country’s southern border. The announcement comes as Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, vow to tighten their grip on Lebanon’s Hezbollah militia.

The army needs to be prepared to “confront the threats and violations of the Israeli enemy and its hostile intentions against Lebanon,” Joseph Aoun said on Tuesday, while urging the army to cooperate with United Nations forces in Lebanon under UN Security Council Resolution 1701, adopted to resolve the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict. The statement came after Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that “Israeli targeting still continues and it is the right of the Lebanese to resist it and foil its plans by all available means,” according to Reuters.


 قائد الجيش للعسكريين: أدعوكم إلى الجهوزية التامة على الحدود الجنوبية لمواجهة تهديدات العدو الإسرائيلي وخروقاته، وما يبيّته من نيّات عدوانية ضد لبنان وشعبه وجيشه، كما إلى السهر الدائم على حسن تنفي
President Aoun’s remarks were echoed by Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, who also cautioned Tel Aviv against sparking a war, according to RT. Lebanon is ready to act, but will do its utmost to prevent Israel from an invasion, he told RT last week. “We should restrain Israel from starting a war exactly because Lebanon is sure to win it,” he said.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Saudis and Trump: Gambling Bigly

“My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel.” –  Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, first Prime Minister of United Arab Emirates

Try this simple mental exercise. Imagine a hypothetical Middle Eastern monarchy in which:

  • Virtually all wealth comes from the extraction and sale of depleting, non-renewable, climate changing petroleum;
  • Domestic oil consumption is rising rapidly, which means that, as long as this trend continues and overall oil production doesn’t rise to compensate, the country’s net oil exports are destined to decline year by year;
  • The state has a history of supporting a radical version of Sunni Islam, but the people who live near its oilfields are mostly Shiite Muslims;
  • Power and income have been shared by direct descendants of the royal founder of the state for the past 80 years, but the thousands of princes on the take don’t always get along well;
  • Many of the princes have expatriated the wealth of the country overseas;
  • Population is growing at well over two percent annually (doubling in size every 30 years), and, as a result, 70 percent of the country is under age 30 with increasing numbers in need of a job;
  • Roughly 30 percent of the population consists of immigrants—many of whom are treated terribly—who have been brought into the country to perform labor that nationals don’t want to do;
  • A sizeable portion of the nation’s enormous wealth has been spent on elaborate weapons systems and on fighting foreign wars;
  • A powerful Shia Muslim nation located just a couple of hundred miles away has gained geopolitical advantage in recent years; and,
  • For the past three years oil prices have been too low to enable the kingdom to meet its obligations, so it has rapidly been spending down its cash reserves.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Oil Prices Could Double If Middle East Conflict Escalates

Oil Prices Could Double If Middle East Conflict Escalates

Oil

Barrel traders recently pushed the price of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil above $US 55; the first time in over two years.

Scarcity doesn’t really justify the upward price movement. There isn’t a shortage of oil in the world. But there could be, in the worst case, if missiles start flying between two of the world’s largest oil players: Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Maybe it won’t happen. But maybe it will. And that’s what the “geopolitical risk premium” is all about. It’s an anxiety surcharge that’s tacked onto every barrel of oil, in fear of supply disruption on a moment’s notice. And the fear is back.

After three years of naivety we’re back to acknowledging the known unknowns of the Middle East, the uncertainties that strap a 10-to-20 percent premium on the price of a barrel.

Paying a risk premium for oil is nothing new. It’s been around for decades and has gone up and down with the hostility thermometer of the Middle East.

Unusually, the pricing of risk dropped to zero around 2015. Three main reasons prompted a sense of world peace: the promise of the Iranian nuclear deal; a feeling that booming oilfields in Texas could offset any disruption; and a growing surplus of oil inventories in storage tanks around the world.

Of late, the notion of oil obsolescence has also perpetuated a feeling of nonchalance. “Who cares about the Middle East and their oil?” has been a question driven by the utopian narrative: “I’m not worried, everyone will be driving electric cars in a few years anyway.”

But it’s all been a false sense of security.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?

Is Trudeau Ready for a Middle East war?

The world is now at the mercy of a coalition of three of the most dangerous autocrats on the planet:  Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s new absolute ruler Mohammad bin Salman a name that will become increasingly familiar as the months go by. These three ‘leaders’ are now collaborating in an incredibly reckless plan to permanently reshape the Middle East.

The final outcome will unfold no matter what Canada does. But unless the Trudeau government gets a grip on reality Canada will be drawn into this potential catastrophe by virtue of foreign policy positions it has already taken. Geopolitics is getting incredibly complex and there is little evidence that the Liberal government has a clue how to navigate through the dangers. The problem is that despite all the hype about “being back” Canada’s foreign policy under Trudeau and Freeland is still characterized by cynicism and ill-considered trade-offs on files within the broad spectrum of foreign affairs – including investor rights agreements like NAFTA and the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Obviously a certain amount of realpolitik is inevitable and even necessary to protect Canada’s interests. But even so it begs the question of how Canada’s interests are defined. How much of the store is Trudeau willing to give away to buy favour with the US on NAFTA, especially when it seems concessions like putting our troops on Russia’s border has gotten us nothing in return? With Trump and his redesigned US Empire, there is no quid pro quo.

The embarrassing “me too” gang up on Russia is bad enough. The Canadian version of the US Magnitzky Act is a pathetic effort to please the US (EU allies in NATO are increasingly uneasy about Russophobia given their own particular national interests). And Putin can hurt Canada and Canadian businesses more than we can hurt Putin and his oligarchs – and he has promised to do so.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Reverse Midas Touch of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince is Turning the Middle East to Dust

KUDOS TO GERMANY’S spooks. Back in December 2015, the German foreign intelligence agency, BND, distributed a one-and-a-half-page memo to various media outlets titled: “Saudi Arabia — Sunni regional power torn between foreign policy paradigm change and domestic policy consolidation.” The document was pretty astonishing, both in its undiplomatic bluntness and remarkable prescience.

“The current cautious diplomatic stance of senior members of the Saudi royal family will be replaced by an impulsive intervention policy,” the memo warned, focusing on the role of Mohammed bin Salman, who had been appointed as deputy crown prince and defense minister at the age of 30 earlier that year.

Both MBS, as he has come to be known, and his elderly father King Salman, the BND analysts wrote, want Saudi Arabia to be seen as “the leader of the Arab world” with a foreign policy built on “a strong military component.” Yet the memo also pointed out that the consolidation of so much power in a single young prince’s hands “harbors a latent risk that in seeking to establish himself in the line of succession in his father’s lifetime, he may overreach,” adding: “Relations with friendly and above all allied countries in the region could be overstretched.”

And so it has come to pass. In fact, despite being repudiated at the time by a German government more concerned about diplomatic and commercial relations with Riyadh, the BND warning turned out to be eerily prophetic.

Consider recent events in the Gulf. Can you get more “impulsive” than rounding up 11 fellow princes, including one of the world’s richest menand the commander of the national guard, and holding them at the Ritz Carlton on charges of corruption?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The War That Would Transform Oil Markets

The War That Would Transform Oil Markets

Oil

A fire erupted at an oil pipeline connecting Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and the two Arab allies are pointing the finger at Tehran. Iranian officials denied any involvement, but the incident is the latest in a series of events that are intensifying conflict between the Middle Eastern rivals.

The oil pipeline resumed operations in a matter of hours, but the war of words is heating up. Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Khalifa said on Twitter that the “attempt to bomb the Saudi-Bahraini oil pipeline is a dangerous Iranian escalation that aims to scare citizens and hurt the global oil industry.” A spokesperson for Iran fired back, saying that the Bahrainis “need to know that the era for lies and childish finger-pointing is over.”

The incident comes only days after a missile was fired from Yemen into Saudi Arabia, which the Saudis pinned on Iran.

Meanwhile, a web of intrigue has enveloped Lebanon, the small country in which all the regional powers hope to exert their influence. Earlier this month, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri resigned and decamped to Saudi Arabia, blaming Iran and Hezbollah for putting his life and his family’s safety at risk.

But, Hezbollah said Hariri is actually being held captive by the Saudis. Riyadh, in turn, warned Saudi nationals to leave Lebanon. Israeli leaders have said they would bomb Lebanon back to the Stone Age.

To further confuse matters, Hariri said he could withdraw his resignation and continue on as prime minister, so long as Hezbollah quit interfering in regional conflicts. “I am not against Hezbollah as a party; I have a problem with Hezbollah destroying the country,” he said.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Mideast Turmoil: Follow the Oil, Follow the Money

Mideast Turmoil: Follow the Oil, Follow the Money

In this scenario, time is running out for Saudi Arabia’s free-spending royalty and state– and for all the other free-spending oil exporters.

While there are numerous dynamics at work in the turmoil roiling Saudi Arabia and by extension, the Mideast, one way to cut to the chase is to follow the oil, follow the money. Correspondent B.D. recently posited a factor that has been largely overlooked in the geopolitical / fate-of-the-petrodollar discussions:

Perhaps the core dynamic is a technical one of diminished oil production. Here is Bart’s commentary:

“I think the Saudis may be quickly running out of profitable oil to produce/export.

I think they tried to over-produce for a while to damage the competition… and they now have production issues resulting from that. (As has happened in the past)

I think they may have recently slipped over the event horizon for being the world’s swing producer of ‘cheap-ish and abundant’ oil. That has huge ramifications for the global markets ability to quickly respond to supply/demand fluctuations.

I suspect they’re no longer cutting production voluntarily … they are now in the grip of a technically driven decline in output. (Why else begin selling off ARAMCO now?)

I doubt that many national economies can handle $70+ oil for very long… price will be limited by the ability of the consumers to pay. What I assume should happen is relentless severe volatility in the absence of a big swing producer that can open up or shut in production with comparative ease.”

Thank you, B.D. Let’s start with what’s well-established about Saudi oil production:

1. The days of sticking a straw in the sand and oil gushing out are long gone. Oil production now depends on costly technologies such as pressurizing the wells with seawater, CO2, etc.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Drums of Big War Heard in Middle East

Drums of Big War Heard in Middle East

Drums of Big War Heard in Middle East

Summing up the recent events in the Middle East leads to the conclusion that the threat of a Saudi-Iranian war is looking increasingly credible as tensions rise in the Middle East. There are visible signs that the region is heading into an out and out conflict, waged simultaneously in different places and involving many actors.

Fears of an imminent conflict in Lebanon rose on Nov.9 as Gulf Arab states followed Saudi Arabia’s lead in calling on their citizens to immediately exit Lebanon, whose former prime minister had resigned, citing an assassination plot against him as the reason. He blamed Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah for sowing strife, destruction and ruin wherever it went in the Arab world. Having flown to Saudi Arabia, he accused Tehran of being driven by a “deep hatred for the Arab nation.”

The resignation not only brought down the coalition government and plunged Lebanon into a new political crisis but also thrust the country into the frontline of regional competition between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi‘ite Iran. The minister is a Sunni in Lebanon’s sectarian system and his stepping down risks exacerbating sectarian tensions between Sunni and Shi‘ite Muslims.

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran escalated with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz blaming Tehran over the ballistic missile fired at Riyadh by Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels. Saudi air defenses intercepted a ballistic missile fired Novem­ber 4 from the ar­eas under rebels’ control. The missile was de­stroyed near King Khalid international airport on Riyadh’s northern outskirts. Supplying rebels in Yemen with missiles was a “direct military aggression by the Iranian regime,” the prince said on Nov.7. The Saudis say that retaliation will follow, while the Houthis threatened to continue attacks against Saudi Arabia and the Unit­ed Arab Emirates, its closest ally.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Arab League To Hold Urgent Meeting On Iran As Saudis Reportedly Mobilize Fighter Jets 

Arab League To Hold Urgent Meeting On Iran As Saudis Reportedly Mobilize Fighter Jets 

The Arab League is set to hold an emergency meeting on Iran at Saudi Arabia’s request, this according to Reuters and various regional sources, at a moment when Saudi fighter jets may be mobilizing for war in an attempted show of force. Egypt-based Ahram Online also reports further that the meeting will discuss “Iranian interference” in the region at League headquarters in Cairo, and other early unconfirmed reports indicate the meeting could come as early as next Sunday.

News of the Arab League extraordinary session comes as tensions are at breaking point as regional powers – especially Saudi Arabia and Israel – talk war against perceived Iranian expansion and domination in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, The Daily Star, citing the Baghdad Post, claims that Saudi Arabia has scrambled its air force for strikes in Lebanon: “Reports now state the Royal Saudi Air Force has placed its warplanes on alert to launch strikes as the region sits on a knife edge.” The report accompanies undated footage of Saudi F-15’s in aerial maneuvers over what is presumably a Saudi airfield.

The Daily Star adds the following accompanying the video:

The kingdom has mobilized its F-15 fighter jet fleet to launch a military operation against the Iranian-backed terrorist militia of Hezbollah in Lebanon, regional news website The Baghdad Post reports.

Saudi Arabia previously accused both Lebanon and Iran of committing an act of wars against it after rebels fired a missile at the King Khalid International Airport in the kingdom’s capital of Riyadh.


Saudi Arabia has reportedly placed its air force on alert
.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Geopolitical Tsunami: Pax Americana, Petrodollar, & The Coming Crisis In The Gulf

Geopolitical Tsunami: Pax Americana, Petrodollar, & The Coming Crisis In The Gulf

It’s easy to get lost in all things Middle East, especially concerning the chaotic events that unfolded over the weekend in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

Three days after the most stunning purge in recent Saudi history – which was really a countercoup, that led to the arrest of dozen of Saudi Arabian royals, ministers and businessmen to further the control of the Kingdom – Saudi Arabia called Yemen’s missile launch on Riyadh an ‘act of war’ by Iran, and also played victim by saying Lebanon has declared war against the Kingdom.

How to make sense of this all? 

An author on twitter by the handle Black Pigeon Speaks beautifully outlines today’s events in an easy to understand video titled: PAX AMERICANA, PetroDollar & the Coming CRISIS in the GULF… 

The author of the video focuses on the Middle East and says a perfect storm is gathering upon the horizon, as the whole world is changing and the only way to change it for the better is to understand the world around you.

The video opens up with a brief understanding of the stunning purge in Saudi Arabia and how it has cleared any potential obstacles for King Salman’s son ascension to the throne.

This was done by a widespread arrest of royals, ministers and businessmen who have large sums of money and control key parts of the economy and parts of the military. Such an unorthodox move is bound to force internal conflict with-in the country that could very well spillover.

In the next section, the author says “this comes all at a time of seeming change for the Kingdom”. Allowing women to drive was merely a window dressing event and the real issue is the country’s economic transition away from oil.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

If The Saudi Arabia Situation Doesn’t Worry You, You’re Not Paying Attention

A key geopolitical axis is swiftly shifting

While turbulent during the best of times, gigantic waves of change are now sweeping across the Middle East. The magnitude is such that the impact on the global price of oil, as well as world markets, is likely to be enormous.

A dramatic geo-political realignment by Saudi Arabia is in full swing this month. It’s upending many decades of established strategic relationships among the world’s superpowers and, in particular, is throwing the Middle East into turmoil.

So much is currently in flux, especially in Saudi Arabia, that nearly anything can happen next. Which is precisely why this volatile situation should command our focused attention at this time.

The main elements currently in play are these:

  • A sudden and intense purging of powerful Saudi insiders (arrests, deaths, & asset seizures)
  • Huge changes in domestic policy and strategy
  • A shift away from the US in all respects (politically, financially and militarily)
  • Deepening ties to China
  • A surprising turn towards Russia (economically and militarily)
  • Increasing cooperation and alignment with Israel (the enemy of my enemy is my friend?)

Taken together, this is tectonic change happening at blazing speed.

That it’s receiving too little attention in the US press given the implications, is a tip off as to just how big a deal this is — as we’re all familiar by now with how the greater the actual relevance and importance of a development, the less press coverage it receives. This is not a direct conspiracy; it’s just what happens when your press becomes an organ of the state and other powerful interests. Like a dog trained with daily rewards and punishments, after a while the press needs no further instruction on the house rules.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Things Are Escalating Quickly

Things Are Escalating Quickly

I didn’t spend all week writing about the gigantic tremors occurring in the Middle East because I thought it was fun. If I’m even remotely correct in my analysis, the entire world will be affected and shaped for decades to come by what’s about to go down in the region. Rather than rehash what I already wrote, I suggest you take a read of the following if you missed them the first time around.

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia Are About to Make More Disastrous and Idiotic Mistakes – Part 1

The U.S. and Saudi Arabia Are About to Make More Disastrous and Idiotic Mistakes – Part 2

There’s been a major update since those posts were published. Namely, it appears the government of Lebanon has seen enough and is coming out with its side of the story. As I reported in Part 1, the Saudis immediately claimed Lebanon declared war on it following the obviously staged and forced resignation of Hariri via Saudi Arabia over the weekend. This appears to be a case of classic psychological projection, as in reality, Saudi Arabia appears to have declared war on Lebanon. It straight up kidnapped their Prime Minister.

Here’s some of what we learned from Reuters:

Lebanon believes Saad al-Hariri is held in Saudi Arabia, from where he resigned as prime minister, two top Lebanese government officials said, amid a deepening crisis pushing Lebanon onto the frontlines of a power struggle between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

A third source, a senior politician close to Saudi-allied Hariri, said Saudi Arabia had ordered him to resign and put him under house arrest. A fourth source familiar with the situation said Saudi Arabia was controlling and limiting his movement.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The End of “The End of History” – U.S. Mid-East Policy’s Fork in the Road

The End of “The End of History” – U.S. Mid-East Policy’s Fork in the Road

In 1989 Francis Fukayama declared that we had reached “The End of History.”  Democracy as a form of government would, in fact, be the end of the evolution of human interaction.  The West had triumphed and that the rest was ‘just a chase scene,’ to borrow a phrase from Neal Stephenson’s brilliant dystopian novel “Snow Crash.”

But, this past week’s events in the Middle East tell me that autocracy has replaced democracy and the trans-national parliamentary system of the European Union that Fukayama championed in his 2007 article in The Guardian.

The EU no longer practices representative Democracy today.  Diktats come down from unelected technocrats in Brussels. They are wholly-owned by stateless rent-seeking oligarchs (i.e. George Soros). Everyone in and around the EU is expected to obey or face tanks in the streets (Spain) or endless legal entanglements from captured international courts (Poland).

If you circumvent the rules, the EU will change them to suit its masters’ needs.  Just look at any proposed Russian pipeline into Europe over the past five years.

In the U.S. we have been subjected to the worst form of operant conditioning by an unelected Deep State and its quisling media for a year. They created the mass delusion that President Donald Trump is a secret Russian agent.

The goal was to overturn a democratic election, which itself the people had to overcome systemic voter fraud to win.

When, in fact, everyone who is involved in creating this mass delusion are covering up their collusion with Russia in ways that are espionage and treason.

So, consider me unimpressed with Fukayama’s assessment of history.  History is one of the praxeological disciplines.  Economics is another.  Any historical analysis bereft of economic imperatives is worthless.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Saudi Arabia Sows Instability

How Saudi Arabia Sows Instability

U.S. propaganda claims Iran causes Mideast instability, but the truth is that Saudi Arabia – from backing Islamic extremists to blockading and bombing Yemen – is the real culprit, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.


The anachronistic family enterprise known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has long been politically fragile. In some respects it is remarkable that this entity has endured into the Twenty-first Century. A clan of royals lives on rake-offs from the country’s petroleum wealth, while using more of that wealth to buy off a fast-growing population.

President Trump shakes the hand of Saudi Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman on May 20, 2017. (Screenshot from Whitehouse.gov)

The Saudis have had to continue playing that game through vicissitudes of the oil market, on which the Saudi economy depends. The potential for breakdown has always been present. Now a king and his favorite — and ambitious and inexperienced — son are bringing the potential closer to becoming reality.

The power plays by that son, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), include the latest spectacular purge, which extends to senior princes in government as well as leading private-sector figures. The power plays flout some of the principal conventions through which the Saudi royals have held their enterprise together so far.

Although only one man can be king at a time, the system of rule to date has involved a distribution of power among different branches of the royal family. With the latest purge and the concentration of power in the young hands of MBS, that system is destroyed.

Another feature of the Saudi political scene over the past few decades has been a leaving open of the question of exactly where the royal succession, which had been working its way through sons of kingdom founder Abd al-Aziz, would go once the succession reached the grandsons of Abd al-Aziz.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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