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Trump Administration Moves to Approve New Arms Sales to Saudi Arabian War Criminals

Trump Administration Moves to Approve New Arms Sales to Saudi Arabian War Criminals

This week’s episode of “Empire Gone Wild” features our freshly inaugurated dear leader, Donald Trump, who appears determined to enthusiastically continue the Obama administration’s policy of recklessly arming Saudi war criminals.

First, here’s a little background from The Washington Post:

The State Department has approved a resumption of weapons sales that critics have linked to Saudi Arabia’s bombing of civilians in Yemen, a potential sign of reinvigorated U.S. support for the kingdom’s involvement in its neighbor’s ongoing civil war.

The proposal from the State Department would reverse a decision made late in the Obama administration to suspend the sale of precision guided munitions to Riyadh, which leads a mostly Arab coalition conducting airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen.

While the U.S. military has provided support to the Saudi-led air campaign since 2015, including aerial refueling for Saudi jets and a U.S. advisory mission in the Saudi operations headquarters, the Obama administration sought to scale back that support last year amid alleged Saudi strikes on civilian targets.

Despite Saudi hopes that the conflict would quickly restore Hadi to power, it is now approaching its third year. As of January, the conflict had led to the deaths of at least 10,000 civilians, according to the United Nations.

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

Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, and the Petrodollar

Donald Trump, Saudi Arabia, and the Petrodollar

 

Obama pulled out his veto pen 12 times during his presidency.

Congress only overrode him once…

In late 2016, Obama vetoed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). The bill would allow 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia in US courts.

With only months left in office, Obama wasn’t worried about the political price of opposing the bill. It was worth protecting Saudi Arabia and the petrodollar system, which underpins the US dollar’s role as the world’s premier currency.

Congress didn’t see it that way though. Those up for reelection couldn’t afford to side with Saudi Arabia over US victims. So Congress voted to override Obama’s veto, and JASTA became the law of the land.

The Saudis, quite correctly, see this as a huge threat. If they can be sued in US courts, their vast holdings of US assets are at risk of being frozen or seized.

The Saudi foreign minister promptly threatened to sell all of the country’s US assets.

Basically, Saudi Arabia was threatening to rip up the petrodollar arrangement, which underpins the US dollar’s role as the world’s premier currency.

Donald Trump and the Saudis

Unlike every president since the petrodollar’s birth, Donald Trump is openly hostile to Saudi Arabia.

Recently he put this out on Twitter:

Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money. Can’t do it when I get elected.

The dopey prince that Trump is referring to is Al-Waleed bin Talal, a prominent member of the Saudi royal family. He’s also one of the largest foreign investors in the US economy, particularly in media and financial companies.

The Saudis openly backed Hillary during the election. In fact, they “donated” an estimated $10 million–$25 million to the Clinton Foundation, making them the most generous foreign donors.

Besides Hillary Clinton, the single biggest loser from the US presidential election was Saudi Arabia.

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

US Shale Production To Soar By 3.5 Million Barrels/Day Over Next Five Years: BofA Explains Why

US Shale Production To Soar By 3.5 Million Barrels/Day Over Next Five Years: BofA Explains Why

Two years ago, when Saudi Arabia launched on an unprecedented campaign to crush high-cost oil producers, in the process effectively putting an end to the OPEC cartel (at least until last year’s attempt to cut production), it made a bold bet that US shale producers would be swept under when the price of oil tumbled, leading to a tsunami of bankruptcies, as well as investment and production halts. To an extent it succeeded, but where it may have made a glaring error is the core assumption about shale breakeven costs, which as we reported throughout 2016, were substantially lower than consensus estimated.

In his latest note, BofA’s Francisco Blanch explains not only why a drop in shale breakevens costs is what is currently the biggest wildcard in the global race to reach production “equilibrium”, but also why US shale oil production could surge in the coming years, prompting OPEC to boost production in hopes of recapturing market share.  Specifically, Blanch predicts that US shale oil production could grow by a whopping 3.5 million barrels per day over the next five years.

Here’s why: as he explains “many oil companies around the world have survived the price meltdown by bringing down breakeven costs in the last two years.

But what parts of the world can grow output in the years ahead? In BofA’s view, US shale oil producers will come out ahead and deliver outsized market share gains by 2022. Shale oil output in the US may grow sequentially by 600 thousand b/d from 4Q16 to 4Q17 on increased activity in oil rigs and fast productivity gains. Importantly, breakeven costs for key major US plays now stand around the $55/bbl mark.

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

Trump Left Saudi Arabia Off His Immigration Ban… Here’s the Shocking Reason Why

Trump Left Saudi Arabia Off His Immigration Ban… Here’s the Shocking Reason Why

Trump Left Saudi Arabia Off His Immigration Ban… Here’s the Shocking Reason Why
On August 15, 1971, President Nixon killed the last remnants of the gold standard.

It was one of the most significant events in US history—on par with the 1929 stock market crash, JFK’s assassination, or the 9/11 attacks. Yet most people know nothing about it.

Here’s what happened…

After World War 2, the US had the largest gold reserves in the world, by far. Along with winning the war, this let the US reconstruct the global monetary system around the dollar.

The new system, created at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944, tied the currencies of virtually every country in the world to the US dollar through a fixed exchange rate. It also tied the US dollar to gold at a fixed rate of $35 an ounce.

The Bretton Woods system made the US dollar the world’s premier reserve currency. It effectively forced other countries to store dollars for international trade, or to exchange with the US government for gold.

By the late 1960s, the number of dollars circulating had drastically increased relative to the amount of gold backing them. This encouraged foreign countries to exchange their dollars for gold, draining the US gold supply. It dropped from 574 million troy ounces at the end of World War 2 to around 261 million troy ounces in 1971.

To plug the drain, President Nixon “suspended” the dollar’s convertibility into gold on August 15, 1971. This ended the Bretton Woods system and severed the dollar’s last tie to gold.

Since then, the dollar has been a pure fiat currency, allowing the Fed to print as many dollars as it pleases.

Of course, Nixon said the suspension was only temporary. That was lie No. 1. It’s still in place over 40 years later.

And he claimed the move was necessary to protect Americans from international speculators. That was lie No. 2. Money printing to finance out-of-control government spending was the real threat.

 

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

Stockman to Trump: It’s the Economy, Stupid

Stockman to Trump: It’s the Economy, Stupid

In a recent appearance on CNN, David Stockman suggested that Trump might best spend some time actually addressing economic issues instead of the administration’s travel ban for immigrants from Middle Eastern countries, which Stockman called “a giant misfire.”

Pointing out that Americans are far, far more likely to be struck by lightning than killed by a terrorist, Stockman asserted that it was really Trump’s opposition to Obamacare and other government regulation that got him elected. Employing the 1992 Clinton Campaign motto of “it’s the economy, stupid,” Stockman noted “Trump was elected because flyover America is hurting economically. The voters of Racine, Wisconsin and Johnstown, Pennsylvania are imperiled not because of some refugees, they’re imperiled because their jobs have all been disappearing for decades. The problem is far more the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, the bubbles they’re creating on Wall Street…”

Stockman went on suggest that the Trump Administration is showing decreased interest in “draining the swamp” employing a phrase Trump used when he claimed he would greatly cut federal power in Washington. Instead of doing that, Stockman contends, Trump is merely filling the swamp with ” “other creatures that will build up homeland security, border control, more money for defense, more money for spying and national security.”

Stockman might also have pointed out that the travel ban itself illustrates how the ban has nothing to do with national security given that Saudi Arabia and Egypt are not on the list of blocked countries, even though Saudi Arabia and Egypt were the two countries most closely linked ot 9/11. Moreover, the perpetrators of the 2015 San Bernardino shootings had been radicalized in Saudi Arabia and traveled there before the killings. Indeed, Trump’s list seems to be more accurately described as a list of Saudi enemies, including Saudi Arabia’s most bitter enemies Iran and Syria. Also on the list is Yemen, which is currently subject to a vicious war and starvation campaign launched by Saudi Arabia’s dictators.

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

Things That Make You Go Hmm… Like The Death Of The Petrodollar, And What Comes After

Things That Make You Go Hmm… Like The Death Of The Petrodollar, And What Comes After

Excerpted from “Get It. Got It. Good” by Grant Williams, author of “Things That Make You Go Hmm…”

The story begins in the 1970s when Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon struck a deal with the House of Saud — a deal which gave birth to the petrodollar system.

The terms were simple The Saudis agreed to ONLY accept U.S. Dollars in return for their oil and that they would reinvest their surplus dollars into U.S. treasuries.

In return, the U.S. would provide arms and a security guarantee to the Saudis who, it has to be said, were living in a pretty rough neighbourhood. As you can see, things went swimmingly (chart below)

Saudi purchases of treasuries grew along with the oil price and everyone was happy.  (We’ll come back to that blue box on the right shortly)

The inverse correlation between the dollar and crude is just about as perfect as one could expect (until recently that is… but again, we’ll be back to that).

And, as you can see here, beginning when Nixon slammed the gold window shut on French fingers and picking up speed once the petrodollar system was ensconced, foreign buyers of U.S. debt grew  exponentially.

Having the world’s most vital commodity exclusively priced in U.S. dollars meant everybody needed to hold large dollar reserves to pay for it and that meant a yuuuge bid for treasuries. It’s good to be the king.

By 2015, as the chart on the next page shows quite clearly, there were treasuries to the value of around 6 years of total global oil supply in the hands of foreigners (if we assume a constant 97 million bpd supply which I think is a pretty reasonable estimate).

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

1/3 of Saudi strikes hit Yemeni hospitals, schools & other civilian targets – study

1/3 of Saudi strikes hit Yemeni hospitals, schools & other civilian targets – study

People stand on the rubble of a school destroyed by a Saudi-led air strike in an outskirt of the northwestern city of Saada, Yemen September 14, 2016. © Naif Rahma
In five of the last 18 months of the Saudi-led war in Yemen, the coalition hit more non-military than military targets, a Guardian study has revealed. Overall more than one-third of all strikes ended up hitting civilian sites including hospitals, schools and mosques.

After analyzing public source data for some 8,600 air raids conducted by the Saudi-led coalition between March 2015 and August this year, the Yemen Data Project concluded that only 3,577 sites were of a military nature. Some 3,158 were listed as non-military, while 1,882 strikes were classified as unknown, the Guardian said in its analysis of the data.

Furthermore, the data which has been collected from open sources and cross-referenced by the NGO using a wide range of information showed that Saudis flew 942 air raids on residential areas. The planes managed to strike 114 markets, 34 mosques, and 147 school buildings, in addition to 26 universities. The information also revealed that Riyadh targeted transportation network, striking some 37 transport sites.

The Yemen Data Project said that the coalition hit more non-military sites than military in five of the last 18 months, with some target areas being struck on multiple occasions. One particular school was hit nine times, a deplorable fate that is shared by one market that was hit at least 24 times.

Saudi Arabia which has been repeatedly called to world attention over its indiscriminate bombings of civilian targets dismissed the report, with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir telling the Guardian that the figures are “vastly exaggerated.” 

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

Wolf Blitzer Is Worried Defense Contractors Will Lose Jobs if U.S. Stops Arming Saudi Arabia

SEN. RAND PAUL’S expression of opposition to a $1.1 billion U.S. arms sale to Saudi Arabia — which has been brutally bombing civilian targets in Yemen using U.S.-made weapons for more than a year now — alarmed CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Thursday afternoon.

Blitzer’s concern: That stopping the sale could result in fewer jobs for arms manufacturers.

“So for you this is a moral issue,” he told Paul during the Kentucky Republican’s appearance on CNN. “Because you know, there’s a lot of jobs at stake. Certainly if a lot of these defense contractors stop selling war planes, other sophisticated equipment to Saudi Arabia, there’s going to be a significant loss of jobs, of revenue here in the United States. That’s secondary from your standpoint?”

Paul stayed on message. “Well not only is it a moral question, its a constitutional question,” Paul said. “Our founding fathers very directly and specifically did not give the president the power to go to war. They gave it to Congress. So Congress needs to step up and this is what I’m doing.”

Watch the exchange:

Saudi Arabia began bombing Yemen in March 2015, and has since been responsible for the majority of the 10,000 deaths in the war so far. The U.S.-backed bombing coalition has been accused of intentionally targeting civilians, hospitals, factories, markets, schools, and homes. The situation is so bad that the Red Cross has started donating morgue units to Yemeni hospitals.

The war’s incredible humanitarian toll has generated an increasing outcry in the United States. Earlier this month, more than 60 members of Congress signed a letter asking the administration to delay the most recent arms shipment. Ordinarily, under the Arms Export Control Act, Congress has 30 days to block arms sales proposed by the administration — but by announcing the arms sale in August, most of those 30 days fell during Congress’s August recess.

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

The 28-Pages Are Way Worse Than I Thought

The 28-Pages Are Way Worse Than I Thought

Shortly after the release of the infamous 28-pages earlier today, the White House issued a statement dismissing allegations of Saudi involvement in the attacks of 9/11. I believe such assurances are intended to prevent people from reading it in the first place, because if you actually read them, your mouth will be wide open the entire time in disbelief.

There are only two conclusions any thinking person can come to after reading the 28-pages.

1. Elements within the Saudi government ran the operations behind the 9/11 attack.

2. The U.S. government covered it up.

But don’t take my word for it. You should read it yourself.

Just to give you a little taste, here’s what was found on the first page alone (click on the images for the entire document).

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 4.08.04 PMScreen Shot 2016-07-15 at 4.09.45 PM

For prior articles on the 28 pages, see:

Additional Evidence Emerges That U.S. Government Officials Intentionally Whitewashed the Saudi Role in 9/11

Video of the Day – 60 Minutes Explores the Saudi Links to 9/11 Attacks

Disturbing Claim – FBI Interrogated Former Senator for Wanting “28 Pages” Declassified

Two Congressmen Push for Release of 28-Page Document Showing Saudi Involvement in 9/11

Saudi Ties to 9/11 Detailed in Documents Suppressed Since 2002

SAUDI TIES TO 9/11 DETAILED IN DOCUMENTS SUPPRESSED SINCE 2002

Many political figures who had previously seen the report led the charge calling for its release, including former Sen. Bob Graham, who said the 28 pages “point a very strong finger at Saudi Arabia,” and Minnesota Congressman Rick Nolan, who said the pages “confirm that much of the rhetoric preceding the U.S. attack on Iraq was terribly wrong.”

The suppressed pages, redacted in parts, detail circumstantial evidence of ties among Saudi government officials, intelligence agents, and several of the hijackers.

“While in the United States, some of the September 11th hijackers were in contact with or received assistance from, individuals who may be connected with the Saudi government,” reads the report, which added that FBI sources believed at least two of those individuals were Saudi intelligence agents.

The report also mentions that numbers found in the phonebook of Abu Zubaydah, a detainee currently held in Guantánamo, could be traced to a company in Denver, Colorado, connected to former Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Prince Bandar bin Sultan.

One of the most notable figures mentioned is Omar al-Bayoumi, alleged by the report to have likely been a Saudi intelligence agent. Al-Bayoumi was in close contact with hijackers Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, providing them financial assistance during their time in the United States and even helping them find an apartment.

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

29 Pages Revealed: Corruption, Crime and Cover-up Of 9/11

29 Pages Revealed: Corruption, Crime and Cover-up Of 9/11

First and foremost, here is what you need to know when you listen to any member of our government state that the newly released 29 pages are no smoking gun — THEY ARE LYING.

Our government’s relationship to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is no different than an addict’s relationship to heroin. Much like a heroin addict who will lie, cheat, and steal to feed their vice, certain members of our government will lie, cheat, and steal to continue their dysfunctional and deadly relationship with the KSA — a relationship that is rotting this nation and its leaders from the inside out.

When CIA Director John Brennan states that he believes the 29 pages prove that the government of Saudi Arabia had no involvement in the 9/11 attacks, recognize that John Brennan is not a man living in reality — he is delusional by design, feeding and protecting his Saudi vice.

When Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Anne W. Patterson, testifies — under oath — that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an ally that does everything they can to help us fight against Islamic terrorism, recognize that her deep, steep Saudi pandering serves and protects only her Saudi vice.

Read the 29 pages and know the facts.

Do not let any person in our government deny the damning reality of the 29 pages.

And as you read the 29 pages remember that they were written during 2002 and 2003.

President Bush did not want the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia investigated. President Bush has deep ties to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its royal family and only wanted to protect the Kingdom. President Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq — not Saudi Arabia.

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

The Real 9/11 Conspiracy

The Real 9/11 Conspiracy 

   Secretary of State John Kerry, center, poses with his Arab counterparts after a meeting in Saudi Arabia on Sept. 11, 2014. Kerry’s visit was aimed at pinning down Middle Eastern allies on what support they were willing to give to U.S. plans to beat back Islamic State, which had seized large chunks of Iraq and Syria. (Brendan Smialowski / AP)

I remember watching the towers fall.

My sister called early in the morning to tell me to turn on the television. My husband and I, who had been working closely with Afghan women organizing against the Taliban, stared at the screen, aghast as the buildings crumbled.

Like everyone else the world over, we realized it was a moment that was going to change history. We also realized that ordinary people, including our friends in Afghanistan, were going to pay the price for something they likely had nothing to do with. And sure enough, on Oct. 7, 2001, despite the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals, the U.S. went to war with Afghanistan. That war, the longest in U.S. history, remains a bloody weight on our collective conscience.

But as soon as the towers fell and Congress rushed to hand over blanket authority to President Bush to wantonly bomb, whispers of “an inside job” began circulating on the Internet.

Those whispers snowballed as the war expanded from Afghanistan to Iraq. Many anti-war activists, eager to undermine the flawed rationale for the Iraq War, insisted ever more shrilly that Bush and company were likely behind the attacks or knew ahead of time that the attacks were coming and failed to act purposefully. Complex and convoluted arguments about the temperatures at which the towers’ beams melted were vociferously trotted out on public radio and in Internet chat rooms. Jesse Ventura jumped into the fray.

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

The Mystery Of Saudi Treasury Holdings Solved: US Reveals Saudi Holdings For The First Time

The Mystery Of Saudi Treasury Holdings Solved: US Reveals Saudi Holdings For The First Time

In the aftermath of Saudi Arabia’s explicit threat to sell off US Treasurys (of which according to the NYT it had some $750 billion) should the US pursue legislation that could hold it liable for the September 11 bombings, Wall Street’s analysts quickly tried to calculate whether Saudi Arabia had anywhere remotely close to that amount of US paper available for liquidation.

As a reminder, despite starting to release data on foreign ownership of Treasuries in 1974, the Treasury’s policy has been to not disclose Saudi holdings, and it has instead grouped them with those of 14 other mostly OPEC nations, including Kuwait, Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates.  The group held $281 billion as of February, down from a record of $298.4 billion in July. For more than a hundred other countries, from China to the Vatican, the Treasury provides a detailed monthly breakdown of how much U.S. debt each owns.

A few days after the NYT’s disturbing article on Saudi Treasury liquidation, in hopes of bringing some clarity to this all too important topic, we penned an article titled “Does Saudi Arabia Have $750 Billion In Assets To Sell?” we cited Stone McCarthy which analyzed oil exporter reserve holdings and observed that “at the end of January, Asian oil exporters held $563.6 billion of U.S. securities, with Treasuries and U.S. equities accounting for 92.2% of the total. Treasury holdings totaled $268.2 billion.”

SMRA speculated further, adding that “these figures reflect holdings that Treasury can directly attribute to the Asian oil exporting countries. Regular readers of our updates on the TIC data know that foreign investors often hold securities at custodial institutions in other countries. For example, in February, the five major custodial centers held $1.1 trillion of Treasury securities.

 

 

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

The Future of Geopolitics and Energy Markets

The Future of Geopolitics and Energy Markets

SolarPanels, cc Flickr Oregon Department of Transportation, modfiied, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Energy prices and geopolitics have been interconnected since the beginning of the twentieth century, but expanded globalization, increased industrialization, and booming fossil fuel supplies have made this relationship increasingly brittle.

The political actions of energy-producing states such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iran, and the United States impact energy prices. Conversely, energy prices affect the geopolitical actions of energy-producing states, as well as global consumers like China and India.  The dramatic fluctuations in the energy sector are rewriting the relationship between geopolitics and investments. A pragmatic understanding of these two separate components is essential to navigating national security and understanding financial markets related to fossil fuels.  More than ever before, an understanding of geopolitics is critical to making profitable oil and gas investments.

For example, as a result of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – the Iranian nuclear agreement spearheaded by the United States – Saudi Arabia has declared war on US oil and gas production.  The shale revolution now directly affects how Saudi Arabia reacts to US policies regarding Iran, as the Saudi oil minister has repeatedly spoken about being at war with U.S. shale. The Saudi decision to liquefy oil prices was a conscious effort, as Saudi national and economic security was threatened by improved Iranian relations with the West, and the resulting influx of Iranian oil in the marketplace.

The remissive and reluctant attitude of European states towards Russian aggression in Ukraine, such as the 2014 invasion of Crimea, is a direct result of European – namely German – dependence on Russian oil and natural gas. As the decades-old ban on US natural gas exports has been lifted, Europe is more likely to be freed from Russian attempts to use oil and natural gas as a geopolitical weapon.

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

US Blocks 9/11 Suits against Saudis while Compensating Saudi Bombing Victims

US Blocks 9/11 Suits against Saudis while Compensating Saudi Bombing Victims

A brief summary of how the US oligarchy has been throwing its ‘own’ civilians under the bus in favor of its terrorist friends in the Saudi dictatorship.

Robert Barsocchini is an internationally published author who focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and also writes professionally for the film industry. Updates on Twitter. Author’s essay ‘The Agility of Tyranny: Historical Roots of Black Lives Matter’.

References listed at Youtube page.

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