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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…

Israel Shoots Down Syrian Recon Drone Over Golan Heights

Israel Shoots Down Syrian Recon Drone Over Golan Heights

Early this morning, Reuters reported that Israel has intercepted and downed a Syrian reconnaissance drone approaching its northern border over Golan Heights.

The drone was shot down by the US-MIM-104 Patriot surface-to-air missile (SAM) system…

Over the Golan demilitarized zone that has separated Israeli and Syrian forces since the ceasefire after the 1973 war.

The official Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Twitter confirmed…


Moments ago, the IDF used a Patriot Missile to intercept a UAV that attempted to infiltrate Israeli airspace in the Golan Heights


In another report, the IDF initially told Reuters it was a ‘Russian-manufactured’ UAV, but offered no evidence.

The military initially told Reuters the UAV was Russian-manufactured but offered no evidence. A military source later said it was unclear whether the UAV was indeed Russian-made.

Lieutenant-Colonel Jonathan Conricus, told Reuters “it was a reconnaissance UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) and not an attack UAV and we are checking whether there is any connection to Iran and Hezbollah”.

In response to the incident, “the State of Israel regards with utmost seriousness any violation of its sovereignty and will respond with force to any provocation,” made in a statement by Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liebermam.

Sputnik provides the backdrop of why tensions are high in ‘disputed Golan Heights’ between Israel and Syria,

…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…

Saudi Arabia’s Desperate Gamble

Saudi Arabia’s Desperate Gamble

Furious over defeat in Syria, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince is gambling again, arresting rivals at home and provoking a political crisis in Lebanon, but he may lack the geopolitical chips to pull off his bet, says ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.


It is always tempting. The Syrian war is coming to an end, and the losses to those who bet on the losing side – suddenly in the glare of the end-game – become an acute and public embarrassment. The temptation is to brush the losses aside and with a show of bravado make one last bet: the masculine “hero” risks his home and its contents on a last spin of the wheel. Those in attendance stand in awed silence, awaiting the wheel to slow, and to trickle the ball forward, slot by slot, and to observe where it comes to rest, be it on black, or on the blood-red of tragedy.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump join Saudi King Salman and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, May 21, 2017, to participate in the inaugural opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Not only in romances, but in life, too. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) has wagered all on black, with his “friends” – President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ) and Trump himself daring MbS on. Trump, in his business life, once or twice has staked his future on the spin of the wheel. He too has gambled and admits to the exhilaration.

And in the shadows, at the back of the gaming room, stands Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. The idea of going to the casino was his, in the first place.

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

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

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

In Part 1 of this series, I detailed the recent aggressive power plays initiated by 30-something Saudi princeling Mohamed bin Salman (MBS), who is effectively the absolute leader of Saudi Arabia at this time. I also highlighted how 30-something U.S. princeling Jared Kushner, son-in-law of U.S. President Donald Trump, may have been involved in MBS’s scheming during an unannounced visit to Saudi Arabia a little over a week before the purge hammer dropped. Today’s post will focus on what I think this means for the future of the Middle East, as well as U.S. imperial ambitions.

Before I get started, I want to make something clear. I don’t think I’m Nostradamus or anything. These posts are based on the assumption that certain realities remain in place in the months and years ahead. The first is that Mohamed bin Salman’s attempt to consolidate power will prove successful, at least long enough for him to make more extremely stupid mistakes. The second assumption is that Donald Trump will continue to foolishly give this princeling a blank check when it comes to whatever insane aggressions he pursues within the region.

It’s perfectly clear that MBS views recent setbacks in Syria, where Saudi ISIS forces were routed by Russia and Assad, as unacceptable. As such, he’s looking for another place to fight a proxy war with Iran. Never mind the fact that his war in Yemen has been a total failure and humanitarian disaster, MBS doesn’t appear to be someone who lets one failure get in way of future failures. He appears to have chosen Lebanon as the place for his next chaotic adventure.

In that regard, I found a post published at Moon of Alabama extremely informative. Here’s an excerpt from that piece:

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

Lebanon – the next front in the Great Gas War.

Lebanon – the next front in the Great Gas War.

The Great Gas War has already two distinct fronts: The now relatively quiet Northern Front in Ukraine and the Southern Front in Syria in which the Western empire has been losing. It looks to me that Lebanon is being targeted as the next front, where the West hopes its loses might be recouped.

Yesterday, November 6th,  Reuters reported,

Saudi Arabia said on Monday that Lebanon had declared war against it because of attacks against the Kingdom by the Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah.

This comes after Israel, Saudi’s long time though largely un-offical best friend in the region,  has been very publicly preparing to renew its own war with Lebanon – or more accurately with Hezbollah.  As the American news journal Newsweek put it recently,

ISRAEL PREPARES FOR ANOTHER WAR WITH HEZBOLLAH AS IDF PRACTICES LEBANON INVASION.

Why now and why Lebanon?  Well the rulers of Saudi, a Sunni dominated country, will tell us that it is because Hezbollah is a Shia terrorist organisation. “Hezbollah” literally means the “Party of Allah” or “Party of God”.  Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan yesterday pointedly referred to Hezbollah as, “the Lebanese Party of the Devil”.  Saudi is not alone of course, Hezbollah has also been listed as a terrorist organisation by America, Israel, the Arab League, the UK and the EU. It is also, however, part of the popular government of Lebanon having seats in its parliament.

I suggest, however, a powerful reason that a new war with Hezbollah may be in the offing is because Lebanon is the next link in any gas pipeline that could potentially bring Iranian Gas to Europe. That was the reason the West decided to “liberate” the Syrian people and it will be why they decide to enforce the same salvation upon the people of Lebanon.

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

Tillerson: US to Build Additional De-Escalation Zones in Syria

Tillerson: US to Build Additional De-Escalation Zones in Syria

Tillerson: US to Build Additional De-Escalation Zones in Syria

In his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on October 30, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told lawmakers that the US is working to create additional de-escalation zones in Syria. The secretary did not say where exactly the zones will be built. It’s logical to assume that the top diplomat meant the southern and south-eastern parts of Syria under the control of US-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Kurdish militias.

The area accounts for about one third of the national territory with approximately 70% of hydrocarbons in Syria. Tillerson emphasized that he was not talking about demarcation zones to divide the country. He said the regime change was not the goal but the US executive will approach lawmakers for authorization to act against the government of Bashar Assad, if need be.

The secretary did not say that the plan presupposes an increase in military presence but, once established, additional zones will inevitably require more military personnel to carry the mission out. If the creation of the zones is coordinated with other actors, it won’t be Americans only. Russia, Jordanian and US militaries are controlling the de-escalation zones in the provinces of Deraa, Quneitra and As-Suwayda located in the south-western part of Syria. If Mr. Tillerson was talking about a unilateral move, then the US military presence will grow substantially, including armor units and other heavy military equipment.

The issue of setting up additional de-escalation zones was not on the agenda of the Astana talks on Syria held on October 30-31.The US was invited as an observer but nothing was said about the plan Secretary Tillerson announced to Congress. Creating de-escalation zones is never all roses. For instance, the process is not running smoothly in the province of Idlib.

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

In Shocking, Viral Interview, Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War

In Shocking, Viral Interview, Qatar Confesses Secrets Behind Syrian War

 A television interview of a top Qatari official confessing the truth behind the origins of the war in Syria is going viral across Arabic social media during the same week a leaked top secret NSA document was published which confirms that the armed opposition in Syria was under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the conflict.

And according to a well-known Syria analyst and economic adviser with close contacts in the Syrian government, the explosive interview constitutes a high level “public admission to collusion and coordination between four countries to destabilize an independent state, [including] possible support for Nusra/al-Qaeda.” Importantly, “this admission will help build case for what Damascus sees as an attack on its security & sovereignty. It will form basis for compensation claims.”

A 2013 London press conference: Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr Al Thani with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. A 2014 Hillary Clinton email confirmed Qatar as a state-sponsor of ISIS during that same time period. 

As the war in Syria continues slowly winding down, it seems new source material comes out on an almost a weekly basis in the form of testimonials of top officials involved in destabilizing Syria, and even occasional leaked emails and documents which further detail covert regime change operations against the Assad government. Though much of this content serves to confirm what has already long been known by those who have never accepted the simplistic propaganda which has dominated mainstream media, details continue to fall in place, providing future historians with a clearer picture of the true nature of the war.

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

 

NSA Document Says Saudi Prince Directly Ordered Coordinated Attack by Syrian Rebels on Damascus

A LOOSELY KNIT collection of Syrian rebel fighters set up positions on March 18, 2013, and fired several barrages of rockets at targets in the heart of Damascus, Bashar al-Assad’s capital. The attack was a brazen show of force by rebels under the banner of the Free Syrian Army, targeting the presidential palace, Damascus International Airport, and a government security compound. It sent a chilling message to the regime about its increasingly shaky hold on the country, two years after an uprising against its rule began.

Behind the attacks, the influence of a foreign power loomed. According to a top-secret National Security Agency document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden, the March 2013 rocket attacks were directly ordered by a member of the Saudi royal family, Prince Salman bin Sultan, to help mark the second anniversary of the Syrian revolution. Salman had provided 120 tons of explosives and other weaponry to opposition forces, giving them instructions to “light up Damascus” and “flatten” the airport, the document, produced by U.S. government surveillance on Syrian opposition factions, shows.

The Saudis were long bent on unseating Assad. Salman was one of the key Saudi officials responsible for prosecuting the war in Syria, serving as a high-ranking intelligence official before being promoted to deputy minister of defense later in 2013.

The NSA document provides a glimpse into how the war had evolved from its early stages of popular uprisings and repression. By the time of the March 2013 attack, arguably the most salient dynamic in the conflict was the foreign powers on both sides fueling what appeared to be a bloody, entrenched stalemate. The document points to how deeply these foreign powers would become involved in parts of the armed uprising, even choosing specific operations for their local allies to carry out.

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

A New Oil Crisis Is Developing In The Middle East

A New Oil Crisis Is Developing In The Middle East

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After over 40 years in the energy business, more than two decades of that with a parallel career in intelligence, I regularly witness the impact of global developments on the energy markets.

So it’s hardly surprising that I often address geopolitical events here.

Currently, situations in Latin America (Venezuela), Asia (the South China Sea crisis), and Africa (ongoing civil conflict in Libya and Nigeria) show how widespread the geopolitical impact is on energy prices and availability.

Each one either is, or could easily, spike oil price volatility.

But the instability in a different region remains the biggest single factor in how the two sectors interact…

The Middle East.

There, two significant events unfolded over the past week. Each is certain to have an impact on how crude oil trades in the near-term.

The curious de-certification of JCPOA (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, more popularly known as the “Iranian nuclear accord”), by President Trump, was followed in short order by the ominous hostilities between Iraq and Kurdistan over the status of the city and region of Kirkuk.

Both impact the northern Persian Gulf, already a region with a short fuse.

The toppling of Raqqa, the self-styled ISIS capital, may be underway in Syria, but the ongoing cross-border disagreements have already spread elsewhere.

And they could set the whole region on fire…

Sanctions Don’t Work Very Well

First, take the Iranian nuclear deal. Decertifying it was a curious choice by the White House, as it actually accomplishes very little.

The move kicks the can back to Congress, where the legislative branch has 60 days to decide whether the U.S. remains in the accord.

What it does do, of course, is increase volatility.

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

The Deep State’s Bogus ‘Iranian Threat’

The Deep State’s Bogus ‘Iranian Threat’

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Yesterday we identified a permanent fiscal crisis as one of the quadruple witching forces arising in October 2017 which will shatter the global financial bubble. Today the Donald is on the cusp of making the crisis dramatically worse by decertifying the Iranian nuke deal, thereby reinforcing another false narrative that enables the $1 trillion Warfare State to continue bleeding the nation’s fiscal solvency.

In a word, the whole notion that Iran is a national security threat and state sponsor of terrorism is just as bogus as the Russian meddling story or the claim that the chain of events resulting from the coup d’ etat fostered by Washington on the streets of Kiev in February 2014 is evidence of Russian expansionism and aggression.

Likewise, it’s part of the same tissue of lies which led to Washington’s massive, destructive and counterproductive interventions in Syria and Libya — when neither regime posed an iota of threat to the safety and security of the American homeland.

To the contrary, all of these false narratives are the cover stories which justify the Warfare State’s massive draw on the nation’s broken finances. We will get to the Big Lie about Iran momentarily, but first it is useful to demonstrate just how enormously excessive the nation’s defense budget actually is, and why the denizens of the Imperial City—especially the neocon ideologues—-find it necessary to peddle such threadbare untruths.

Spoiler alert: Iran has actually never attacked a single foreign nation in modern history whereas Washington has chosen to unilaterally intervene in or arm virtually every surrounding country in the region.

Here’s some historical context that dramatizes our point about Washington’s hideously excessive spending on defense. Back in 1962 on the eve of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the US defense budget was $52 billion, which would amount to $340 billion in today’s (2017$) purchasing power.

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

Russia Accuses U.S. Of “Pretending To Fight ISIS”

Russia Accuses U.S. Of “Pretending To Fight ISIS”

Russia has once again accused the US-led coalition in Iraq and Syria of facilitating the entry of Islamic State terrorists into Syria in order to hinder the advance of the Syrian Army and its allies. On Tuesday Russia’s defense ministry accused the US of merely “pretending” to fight ISIS in a way designed to put maximum pressure on Syrian and Russian front line defenses in Syria’s east. Russian military spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said, “Everyone sees that the U.S.-led coalition is pretending to fight Islamic State, above all inIraq, but continuing to allegedly fight Islamic State in Syria actively for some reason.”

The accusation comes a little over two weeks after Russia released aerial images allegedly showing ISIS, the SDF (US-backed “Syrian Democratic Forces”), and US special forces working side-by-side on the battlefield against Syrian and Russian forces in Deir Ezzor, Syria. While the previous charges implied some level of close coordination between US-backed forces and ISIS in the region, the new claims point to coalition air power intentionally facilitating and utilizing ISIS movements to its advantage: “The actions of the Pentagon and the coalition demand an explanation. Is their change of tack a desire to complicate as much as they can the Syrian army’s operation, backed by the Russian air force, to take back Syrian territory to the east of the Euphrates?” asked Konashenkov. He continued with, “Or is it an artful move to drive Islamic State terrorists out of Iraq by forcing them into Syria and into the path of the Russian air force’s pinpoint bombing?”


Image source: Activist Post

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A Deaf Ear to Dire Russian Warnings

A Deaf Ear to Dire Russian Warnings


From time to time, the Kremlin uses the Sunday evening weekly news wrap-up program of Dmitry Kiselyov on state television, channel Rossiya-1, to send blunt and public warnings to Washington without diplomatic niceties. Last night was one such case and we must hope that the intended audience within the Beltway can put aside all its distractions about Russia-gate long enough to read a real message from Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, following his address to the UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

The last such message came in the week following President Trump’s April 6 decision to launch 59 Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian air base to punish the Syrian government for an alleged but disputed chemical attack on a village in Idlib province. TV host Kiselyov used his airtime to spell out Russia’s disdainful response, which he characterized as unprecedented in scope and seriousness.

It was essential to put all the elements of the warning together in one place, as he did, because the Pentagon sought to downplay the elements in isolation, such as Russia’s installation of the Iskander nuclear potential missiles in Kaliningrad, a Russian city on the Baltic Sea surrounded by Poland and Lithuania; or the abrogation of the deconfliction agreement relating to air space over Syria; or the dispatch of still more Russian vessels to the Eastern Mediterranean equipped to sink U.S. Navy ships.

While U.S. generals were saying that the Russians didn’t really mean it, Kiselyov put the whole picture on the screen: an ultimatum to Washington to back off or be prepared for war.

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

US Public Don’t Care if ‘News’media Lie

US Public Don’t Care if ‘News’media Lie

US Public Don’t Care if ‘News’media Lie

To say that the US public don’t care if ‘news’media lie, is shocking, but I shall here present evidence that it actually is true — not in some mere theory, but in empirical fact.

A typical example of Americans not caring about the truthfulness, nor even about the honesty, of their sources of alleged ‘news’, is that, during the period of October 3rd through the 5th, there were two news-reports both of which were true, but which, when taken together, display the total disconnect between newsmedia-honesty, on the one hand, and the confidence that the American people have in the nation’s ‘news’media, on the other.

One of these two news-reports was published on October 5th by the anonymous blogger who has come to be, amongst readers who closely follow and investigate the war in Syria, the most-trusted source of reporting on it, and the article was headlined, “Russia Issues Third Warning Against US Cooperation With Terrorists”, and it provided links to each of the three recent instances in which the US Government was cooperating with ISIS to defeat Syria and its defender Russia, in Syria. It summarily described the ways in which the US had been exposed (but not by US ‘news’media) as having been providing vital intelligence and other crucial assistance to ISIS, in ISIS’s efforts to overthrow and replace the existing Syrian Government (headed by Bashar al-Assad). That report should be read by anyone who proceeds further here, because it covers events that were certainly of top international importance and that might even precipitate war between the US and Russia, but which were reported little if at all in US ’news’media. Of course, it would be very bad for US ’news’media to allow the US to become involved in a nuclear war against Russia and to have hidden, from the American public, the US Government’s provocations which had produced such a war.

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

Why Are Washington’s Clients Getting Cozy With Moscow?

Why Are Washington’s Clients Getting Cozy With Moscow? 

Turkey, which has the second largest army in NATO, has been cooperating with Russia in Syria against Washington’s interests since last year and has recently placed an order for the Russian-made S-400 missile system.

Similarly, the Saudi King Salman, who is on a landmark state visit to Moscow, has signed several cooperation agreements with Kremlin and has also expressed his willingness to buy S-400 missile system.

Another traditional ally of Washington in the region, Pakistan, has agreed to build a 600 mega-watt power project with Moscow’s assistance, has bought Russian helicopters and defense equipment and has held joint military exercises with Kremlin.

All three countries have been steadfast US allies since the times of the Cold War, or rather, to put it bluntly, the political establishments of these countries have acted as virtual proxies of Washington in the region and had played an important role in the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991.

In order to understand the significance of relationship between Washington and Ankara, which is a NATO member, bear in mind that the United States has been conducting air strikes against targets in Syria from the Incirlik airbase and around fifty American B-61 hydrogen bombs have also been deployed there, whose safety became a matter of real concern during the failed July 2016 coup plot against the Erdogan administration; when the commander of the Incirlik airbase, General Bekir Ercan Van, along with nine other officers were arrested for supporting the coup; movement in and out of the base was denied, power supply was cut off and the security threat level was raised to the highest state of alert, according to a report by Eric Schlosser for the New Yorker.

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

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