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SAUDI ARABIA

Aug 27 11:05

Ex-Saudi intel official who sued crown prince says his son-in-law has been arrested in ‘act of reprisal’

A former Saudi intelligence official living in Toronto says his son-in-law has been detained overseas in retaliation for a lawsuit the official filed accusing the crown prince of sending a “hit squad” to kill him.

A statement issued on behalf of Saad Aljabri on Tuesday said Salem Almuzaini, Aljabri’s son-in-law, had been summoned Monday to Saudi state security offices, where he was arrested.

“His whereabouts are unknown,” the release states.

The development follows the alleged detainment by Saudi officials of two of Aljabri’s children, earlier this year.

Officials with the Saudi embassy in Washington, D.C., did not immediately respond to the Star’s request for comment.

Aug 27 10:57

“THIS PLANE IS NOT GOING TO LAND IN CAIRO”: SAUDI PRINCE SULTAN BOARDED A FLIGHT IN PARIS. THEN, HE DISAPPEARED

Something wasn’t right about Captain Saud. Sitting on a fine-grained leather couch in the custom wood-paneled cabin of his Boeing 737-800 in Paris, he had the outward appearance of a pilot. His uniform was crisp, his demeanor confident and friendly. He cracked jokes and showed pictures of his children to staffers of the VIP he was supposed to fly to Cairo, a Saudi prince named Sultan bin Turki II.

But little things seemed off. One member of the prince’s entourage was a recreational pilot, and Saud couldn’t keep up with his small talk about 737 pilot training. The captain’s plane had a crew of 19, more than double the usual number of staffers. And the crew was all men, some a little burlier than you’d expect. Where were the leggy European blondes who were fixtures on Saudi Royal Court flights?

Then there was the watch. Saud was fascinated by the Breitling Emergency watch the prince’s companion wore. “I’ve never seen one of these,” he said, in perfect English.

Aug 24 09:47

Ignore at your peril: Palestine ranks high in Arab public opinion

James Dorsey explains that while domestic issues such as provision of jobs, education and health care, good governance and protection of personal rights are of primary concern to Arab citizens, opinion polls indicate that Palestinian rights remain at the top of citizens’ agendas.>>

Aug 20 06:19

Saudi Arabia issues desperate call for extension of anti-Iran UN arms ban

The Saudi regime has issued a desperate call for the extension of a UN arms embargo against Iran only days after the UN Security Council said a resounding ‘No’ to a US resolution seeking an illegal extension of the embargo.

The cabinet, chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Tuesday, demanded the extension of the arms embargo on Iran, alleging that the removal of the sanctions will lead to “more destruction” and further fuel conflicts in the Middle East region.

It also pledged the kingdom’s support for all international measures that contribute to stopping Iran’s regional clout.

Aug 20 06:05

Pompeo Says Keeping Saudis From Nukes a Top US Priority

Following reports that this is a specific concern of Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he believes it is a “real risk” that Saudi Arabia will get nukes, and that the US views it as a “top priority” to try to prevent the Saudis from getting such arms.

Recent reports, all centering on the Israeli narrative, claim the Saudis are processing yellowcake uranium, and that they are getting secret help from China that could lead to the acquisition of nuclear arms in the future.

This is an unusual place for the administration to be in, as they general support arming the Saudis to the teeth, and Pompeo has repeatedly gone to bat for the idea that the Saudis need more arms for their “emergency” state. Those are US-made arms, of course.

Aug 20 06:05

Saudi Arabia says no Israel deal without Palestinian peace

Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it will not follow the United Arab Emirates in establishing diplomatic ties with Israel until the Jewish state has signed an internationally recognised peace accord with the Palestinians.

Aug 20 04:35

Pompeo Says Keeping Saudis From Nukes a Top US Priority

Israel concerned Saudis might get nuclear arms with 'China's help'

Following reports that this is a specific concern of Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he believes it is a “real risk” that Saudi Arabia will get nukes, and that the US views it as a “top priority” to try to prevent the Saudis from getting such arms.

Recent reports, all centering on the Israeli narrative, claim the Saudis are processing yellowcake uranium, and that they are getting secret help from China that could lead to the acquisition of nuclear arms in the future.

This is an unusual place for the administration to be in, as they general support arming the Saudis to the teeth, and Pompeo has repeatedly gone to bat for the idea that the Saudis need more arms for their “emergency” state. Those are US-made arms, of course.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"purchased Yellowcake uranium"..... now, where have we heard this charge before?!?

Oh, yes, I remember now; it was before the US invaded Iraq, and it was the Bush administration making that claim.

Chronology of Bush Administration Claim that Iraq Attempted to Obtain Uranium from Niger (2001-2003)

And remember when Secretary of State Colin Powell's address to the UN, regarding Iraq's WMD program, which US intelligence agencies knew was chock-full of bold-faced lies?!?

How the Bush administration sold the war – and we bought it

But if China spurns Saudi Arabia, there is always their nuclear-armed "regional frenemy", Pakistan, which "just might be persuaded" to do so. After all, just 3 days ago, Pakistan's Army Chief visited Saudi Arabia. Pakistan’s Army Chief Visits Saudi Arabia Amid Strained Ties

One would have to be naive in the extreme, to think that the issue of potential Saudi nuclear weapons didn't come up at some of these meetings.

Aug 20 03:40

Saudi Arabia Breaks Silence, Tentatively Embraces Israel-UAE Peace Deal

As the steward of the two Muslim holy cities (Mecca & Medina) - cities where no non-Muslims are allowed - Saudi Arabia has an image to maintain as an ally in the regional struggle to support the Palestinians in their struggle against Israel. But in another sign of just how significant Jared Kushner's accomplishment actually was, it appears the desert petro-kingdom is finally ready to make an important step toward publicly accepting Israel as a neighbor and friend.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Prime Minister Netanyahu has made it quite clear, that his annexation will continue to move forward; just perhaps at a slower pace than the speed at which he originally wanted this accomplished.

I am as of yet unsure that this move will find Palestinians "forced to the table" for other concessions.

Aug 18 10:42

UAE recognition of Israel: Whither the Arab and the Muslim world?

James Dorsey says parochial interests and rivalry between the Arabian peninsula's rulers lie behind the United Arab Emirates’ decision to recognise Israel and Saudi Arabia’s turning its back on Jammu and Kashmir.>>

Aug 13 03:56

Saudi Arabia hit hard by low oil prices as Aramco posts massive loss

Low oil prices exacerbated by the spread of the new coronavirus pandemic, have inflicted a huge financial loss on Saudi Arabia and its biggest revenue generator, the state-run oil company Aramco.

In a Sunday statement, Aramco CEO Amin Nasser admitted the company had suffered bitterly as a result of recent developments in the international oil markets.

Revenues declared by Aramco for the three-month period to the end of June had been reduced $18.1 billion year on year to stand at only $6.6 billion.

That reflects a massive loss of 73 percent compared to the similar period last year.

Aug 11 12:38

US court issues summons for Saudi Arabia's Mohammed bin Salman

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has been issued a summons by a US court for a lawsuit by a former top Saudi intelligence agent who was reportedly targeted in a foiled assassination attempt.

The US District Court for the District of Columbia issued the summons on Friday, a day after Saad al-Jabri filed the lawsuit accusing Prince Mohammed of sending a hit squad to Canada to try and kill him.

A summons is an official notice of a lawsuit, given to the person or persons being sued.

Jun 30 09:57

Who is the late Saudi Prince Bandar bin Saad bin Muhammad bin Abdulaziz? – Erm news

Late on Sunday evening, the Saudi Royal Court mourned Prince Bandar bin Saad bin Muhammad Al Saud, who died after a conflict with the disease, according to what close to him reported.

The late prince belongs to one of the branches of the Al Saud family, which includes tens of thousands of princes, and his full name is Bandar bin Saad bin Muhammad bin Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Faisal Al Saud.

This branch of the ruling family meets with the branch of King Abdulaziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia, at his grandfather, Faisal bin Turki.

The late prince is the grandson of the founding king of his daughter Madawi Bint Abdulaziz.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

In looking at the image of this guy, compared to Mike and me, and he was a very young man when he passed.

Although it mentions a "conflict with the disease" (most likely being Covid-19), I have to speculate; was he, in any way, a "rival" to Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and possibly "eased" into an early death to prevent any possible competition with MBH's reign?!?

Assassinations are hardly out of character for this guy, as we know from his past history.

Jun 29 07:48

Shots Fired: Saudi Arabia Forced 3 Iranian Boats From Its Territorial Waters

A rare moment where Saudi and Iranian vessels were in a direct standoff in what described as Saudi territorial waters has been revealed Saturday by Saudi state news agency SPA.

Saudi Arabia says its coast guard forced no less than three Iranian vessels out of its territorial waters after firing warning shots.

While it's unclear whether the Iranian boats had military personnel or perhaps civilian fishermen, the Saudi maritime border patrol issued repeated warnings, and then fired shots signaling it was ready to engage, SPA described.

Jun 26 06:37

At Least 54 Killed as South Yemen Ceasefire Collapses in Abyan

A Saudi-brokered ceasefire between the Saudi-backed government in Yemen and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) has not lasted long, and after tensions on the island of Socotra, fighting erupted in Abyan Province.

Fighting has raged over 24 hours in Abyan Province, with at least 54 fighters killed. Both sides are blaming the other for starting the fighting and “violating” the truce. Monitors are still heading into Abyan, but it’s not clear there is a ceasefire left to monitor.

A coastal province, Abyan has often been contested by the STC, and the same territory was under dispute during the Arab Spring, when Islamist groups tied to al-Qaeda seized several towns in the area, including the provincial capital of Zinjibar.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Anyone holding any hope for this cease-fire holding, does not really understand the nature of this conflict.

Jun 22 09:13

As Coronavirus Rips Through Yemen, Saudi Bombs Continue to Fall

With an already shattered medical infrastructure due to the five-year US-Saudi siege, Covid-19 has rapidly spread through Yemen. The Arab country lacks the basic necessities for preventative measures like clean water, and a population facing malnourishment is especially vulnerable to the disease. A recent uptick in Saudi bombing might put a country already on the brink of collapse over the edge.

Last week, Saudi warplanes pounded Yemen’s capital Sanaa, in what residents called the worst airstrikes they have seen since the first years of the war. Seventy-seven airstrikes hit several provinces in north Yemen within 24 hours. According to the Houthi’s health ministry and NGOs on the ground, one of the strikes hit a car traveling in the Sadaa province and killed 13 civilians, including four children.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"Killing civilians, particularly civilian kids; that's what we, with our war-crimes enabled and sanctified by the US government, DO!!" - official Saudi souse.

The Saudi government has the best PR money can buy, and they have to buy it, because their human rights record, both at home and abroad, is simply so execrable as to cause the most callous of human hearts to faint dead away from its excesses, both at home and abroad.

The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, in the Saudi embassy in Turkey, was just the tip of the proverbial ice berg here.Audio Offers Gruesome Details of Jamal Khashoggi Killing, Turkish Official Says

And Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the guy who most probably ordered this hit, is one of President Trump's "BFFs" in the Middle East?!?

One has to wonder if one of the Prince's "attractive qualities" to this President, is that he can literally get away with murder... and never have to say he's sorry.

Mr. President, you really may want to think a little more carefully about with whom you align, internationally; because right now, the US is still enabling and abetting Saudi war crimes in Yemen: I know this, as do millions of other
Americans, particularly those who lived through the horror which was the war against Vietnam.

Jun 19 07:47

US, Saudis, allies responsible for any environmental disaster off Yemen coast: Houthi

A member of Yemen’s Supreme Political Council has held Saudi Arabia and its regional allies, which are involved in an atrocious military campaign against the impoverished Arab country, fully responsible for a potential oil leakage from a decaying tanker in the Red Sea, and the impending environmental disaster it could cause.

“We do not assume any responsibility for any leakage from the Safer tanker afloat at the sea,” Arabic-language al-Masirah television network quoted Mohammed Ali al-Houthi as saying on Thursday.

He called for immediate actions over the matter, holding the United States, Saudi Arabia and their allies fully liable for any disastrous consequences as they have not allowed Yemen to sell the crude loaded at the tanker.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The Saudis and the US government will not lift a finger to prevent this coming, preventable catastrophe; all they care about, is the further destruction of Yemen and its people, to the point of the Houthis' capitulation.

I would like to gently suggest to the governments of both countries that this is only likely to happen... when pigs discover they are aerodynamic.

Jun 16 09:44

Saudi Airstrike Kills 13 Civilians in Yemen

An airstrike from the US-backed Saudi-led coalition hit a vehicle carrying civilians in north Yemen on Monday. The airstrike killed 13 people, including four children. The same day, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres removed the Saudi coalition from a global list of parties who have harmed children in conflicts.

The international humanitarian group Save the Children said the victims were on their way home from a local market when the vehicle was suddenly bombed. The Houthi’s Health Ministry identified 11 of the victims, which included one woman and four children, ages 12-14.

The coalition often targets civilian infrastructure, which is why Guterres’s move to remove them from the “blacklist” drew sharp condemnation from human rights groups. Saudi warplanes have hit schools, hospitals, water treatment plants, markets, weddings, and other civilian targets.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

One has to guess that when countries are as wealthy as is Saudi Arabia, one can buy people like UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as your geopolitical whores, and deny any culpability for murdering civilian innocents; hey, Guterres, what was your price here?!?

We're very keen to know, and right the hell now!!

Jun 13 04:01

NEW EVIDENCE SUGGESTS TURKEY PREPARING FOR LIBYA-STYLE MILITARY INTERVENTION IN YEMEN

SOURCE: MINT PRESS
ADEN, YEMEN — As focus begins to turn to developments in Libya and the foreign interference that plagues the Arab country, it seems that Turkey already has its eye elsewhere, preparing for military involvement in Yemen in a move that has sparked concern among Yemenis already struggling against an intervention led by Saudi Arabia, famine and most recently, COVID-19.

Informed sources in Aden and Taiz revealed to MintPress that a militia belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated El-Eslah Party, the ideological and political ally of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, is already engaged in the latest round of fighting in Yemen’s southern provinces, particularly in Abyan and Shabwa.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

President Obama originally sent "advisors" to Yemen, to placate the Saudi government; President Trump has "doubled down" on this approach, and put the US into the position of enabling Saudi war crimes in Yemen.

One has to wonder what Erdogan's "end game" against Saudi Arabia might well be here; Turkish control of Marib, perchance?!?

Jun 01 07:35

Trump Administration Plans $500 Million Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia: Move would give Raytheon licenses to make bombs in Saudi Arabia

The Trump Administration has sent a notification to Congress confirming plans to sell $500 million in weapons to Saudi Arabia in an upcoming round of sales. The plan would include sales of Paveway bombs to the Saudis, and licenses to Raytheon to let them manufacture the bombs directly in Saudi Arabia.

These bombs are part of a 2019 deal in which the Saudis intend to buy 60,000 precision munitions. The deal has continued to face heavy resistance in Congress, in no small part because the Saudis have been committing war crimes with these US-made arms.

Concerns about US culpability in having provided these arms were compounded with the Saudi assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which fueled a substantial political backlash. So far, the Trump Administration has resisted letting Congress block any sales, but each announcement starts the battle anew.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Apparently, the Saudi approach in Yemen is assassinating all native Yemenites, particularly women, children, and the medically fragile elderly, so they can own the country.

Mr. President, by signing off on this deal, you are telling the world that you proudly are signing off on Saudi war crimes, courtesy of US enabling; what the hell kind of message do you think this is sending to the world?!?

Are you so "sheltered" by your toadying advisors, that you don't know this is precisely what the Saudi military will do with these munitions?!?

Mr. President, you have both a world of hurt to try to help to heal, both societally and economically, to the country you alledge you actually govern; so can you please attempt to do some positive governing to resolve those issues, before you treat your weapons developers/massive contributors to yet another windfall in weapons profits?!?

Or do you really relish the title of"Merchant of Death in Chief"?!?

May 22 10:16

Reining in the Rogue Royal of Arabia

If the crown prince of Saudi Arabia has in mind a war with Iran, President Trump should disabuse his royal highness of any notion that America would be doing his fighting for him.

Mohammed bin Salman, or MBS, the 32-year-old son of the aging and ailing King Salman, is making too many enemies for his own good, or for ours.

Pledging to Westernize Saudi Arabia, he has antagonized the clerical establishment. Among the 200 Saudis he just had arrested for criminal corruption are 11 princes, the head of the National Guard, the governor of Riyadh, and the famed investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

May 13 17:47

FBI 'Mistakenly' Releases 9/11 Bombshell In Court: Key Saudi Diplomat Who "Tasked" Hijackers Named

It's being called "a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement" according to 9/11 victims' families who are in a lengthy ongoing lawsuit seeking to expose Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attacks and US efforts to cover it up.

A new bombshell has been dropped which the families of victims are hailing a huge success: FBI court documents inadvertently left a key Saudi embassy official's name unredacted, revealing one of the government's most sensitive secrets regarding the September 11 attacks and state sponsorship.

A Yahoo News exclusive reveals, based on what has since been admitted as "a giant screw-up," the identity of "a mysterious Saudi Embassy official in Washington who agents suspected had directed crucial support to two of the al-Qaida hijackers."

May 12 04:49

War in Yemen forces more girls into child marriage

An extraordinary case of child marriage in Yemen has highlighted the rising number of forced, underage weddings. In rare instances, women have managed to fight back, reports Safia Mahdi from Sana'a.

When 12-year-old Hind visited her father in jail a few months ago, he told her she was to marry a fellow inmate. Her groom, 30, had been sentenced to death for drug smuggling and possession, but they would get married anyway, she was told.

When Hind's mother managed to get a court order cancelling the marriage contract, her story became one of the rare cases of reprieve in Yemen, where the rate of child marriage is rising rapidly.

There is still no clear law regulating the minimum age for marriage in Yemen and many girls are forced to marry at ages considered too young to allow for their consent.

Read more: Empowering women in Yemen's civil war

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Child marriage is one of the worst forms of child abuse inflicted on young girls, and should be universally banned.

May 12 04:22

New investigation reveals shocking extent of torture in Saudi women's prisons

A documentary by Al Jazeera revealed shocking testimonies from female former detainees about the extent of torture and sexual harassment in Jeddah's Dhahban Central Prison.Tags:Dhahban, torture, women's rights, prison.
A new documentary broadcast on Al Jazeera's Arabic channel has uncovered terrifying details about the torture of female prisoners in Saudi Arabia.

The film presents a selection of testimonies from former detainees of Jeddah's Dhahban Central Prison, revealing rampant physical and psychological torture as well as sexual harassment during interrogation sessions.

Dhahban Prison is where a number of prominent Saudi women's rights activists have been arbitrarily detained since a sweeping campaign of arrests in May 2018.

The activists have previously complained about sexual harassment, torture and other forms of mistreatment during interrogation, however, the documentary is the first of its kind in airing direct testimonies.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I would strongly and politely suggest to President Trump, that he may well want to pick his international "friends" just a little more carefully than he has with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

This torture of women is apparently what the guy has signed off upon, and if it has happened under MBS's watch, he must have approved it, and continues to approve it.

This is one of the myriad of reasons you would never get me, willingly, to go to Riyadh; being a Christian, and a woman, is enough to get one tortured and killed, under this barbaric regime's watch.

In fact, as noted in the following article last month, people in the international community are beginning to sit up and take notice. This article was published at justsecurity.org, last month: Ending Impunity: Now Is the Time for a UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights Situation in Saudi Arabia

The article goes on to state: "One cannot deny that Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, not stellar to begin with, has been worsening, especially after Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) was made Crown Prince in 2017. Since then, the regime has systematically silenced any dissent and has racked up a worrying toll of human rights violations, against both Saudi and foreign citizens. Saudi authorities act with total impunity with the international community looking on. This can no longer be tolerated, nor go unpunished: an essential first step is establishing a United Nations independent expert to monitor the human rights situation in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), in the form of a special rapporteur.

Saudi policy continues to incorporate torture, murder, and restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms, including the right to life, freedom of expression and opinion, freedom of assembly and association, freedom of belief and movement, women’s rights, minority rights, and migrant workers’ rights, coupled with alleged war crimes in Yemen. Saudi authorities persistently persecute peaceful activists by labelling them as terrorists or agitators and using anti-terror and security laws against them, following a pattern of rife violations. Suspects are often beaten to extract confessions; they are denied access to legal support and family visits; they are exposed to corporal punishment; and remain in excessively protracted pre-trial detention, with any pleas for fair investigation of these violations falling on the deaf ears of judicial authorities."

May 11 07:03

Saudi Arabia Running Out Of Money: Riyadh To Slash Spending By $27 Billion, Suspend Cost Of Living Allowance

Last weekend we quoted Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan, who warned that the world's biggest oil exporter hasn’t witnessed "a crisis of this severity" in decades, adding that government spending will have to be cut "very deeply", something we touched on previously.

We didn't have long to wait, because early on Monday, the Saudi government - which appears to be running out of money fast - ordered government spending cuts including suspending the cost of living allowance amid broad austerity measures for about $26.6 billion and a tripling of the value-added tax as part of measures aimed to shore up state finances, which have been battered by low oil prices and the coronavirus.

"Cost of living allowance will be suspended as of June first, and the value added tax will be increased to 15% from 5% as of July first," said the Saudi finance minister according to the state news agency, suggesting Saudi Arabia is on the verge of a full-blown fiscal crisis.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

One has to wonder: will this financial crisis ultimately be enough to topple the House of Saud as the country's leadership, and replace it with a somewhat democratic regime?!?

May 08 06:09

US Pulling Patriot Missiles, Warplanes Out of Saudi Arabia Amid Dispute

The Trump Administration has been annoyed at Saudi Arabia’s inability to stabilize oil prices at a level high enough to ensure US producers a profit, and in a move that appears to be retaliation based on those tensions, the US is starting to pull military assets out of Saudi Arabia.

Officials announced on Thursday that the US will be withdrawing two Patriot missile batteries, along with a number of warplanes from the Saudi desert, along with other air defenses. The assets were placed in the area in recent months to “counter Iran.”

The US buildup in Saudi Arabia began after a Yemeni missile hit oil-producing regions. Saudis blamed Iran, and the US sent forces there to “deter” them. US-Iran tensions over Iraq ultimately led to more deployments into the area.

May 07 12:36

Oil Surges After Saudis Slash Price Discounts In Bid To Prop Up Market

After slumping much of yesterday, Brent soared on Thursday morning, after Saudi Arabia stepped in to prop up the recovery in the energy market by raising crude prices for its customers worldwide. Saudi Aramco increased pricing for most of its grades for shipment in June.

According to a price list seen by Bloomberg, Aramco raised its official selling price for flagship Arab Light crude to buyers in Asia by $1.40 a barrel, to a discount of $5.90 below the Middle East benchmark. The company was expected to reduce its official pricing by $2.50 a barrel, to a discount of $9.80, according to the median estimates in a Bloomberg survey of seven traders and refiners. By increasing pricing for Asia, Aramco is also indicating it sees demand beginning to recover in its largest regional market. The company is reversing three consecutive months of reductions in pricing for the world’s largest oil-consuming region.

May 05 12:27

U.S. should keep Congress informed about nuclear talks with Saudis - GAO

The U.S. Departments of State and Energy should commit to regular briefings to relevant committees in Congress on talks about nuclear power cooperation with Saudi Arabia, a congressional watchdog said in a report on Monday.

The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, report said Congress should consider amending the 1954 Atomic Energy Act, or AEA, to require the briefings for the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations about negotiations on nuclear power sharing.

May 05 09:59

Coronavirus and Saudi Arabia’s “Soft Power”. Will This Year’s Hajj be Cancelled? “Pilgrims bring in Billions of Dollars…”

Today, the tourism industry is considered as one of the important sources of the soft power of countries in promoting and disseminating its material and spiritual attractions to attract other nations of the world. Saudi Arabia is known as a country with the soft power of religious tourism due to its Islamic richness and Muslim holy sites. Despite high economic income from oil sales, Saudi Arabia is seeking to expand its tourism industry and tourism for pilgrim’s day by day due to the presence of Mecca and Medina, to spread its culture and achieve its political goals by bringing pilgrims from different parts of the world. Get an outsider. But in late February, Saudi Arabia abruptly suspended all visas for Umrah and pilgrimage to the holiest Muslim city. A city with about thirteen million visitors a year. Today, the two holy cities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mecca and Medina, are fully involved in the spread of the coronavirus.

May 04 05:33

The Coronavirus Will Make A Mirage Of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030

As Saudi Arabia struggles to salvage its ailing economy and move away from oil dependency, the coronavirus crisis has rendered Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman's (MbS) future ambitions even more fragile. And as the world faces the prospect of a global recession, there's good reason to believe Saudi Arabia will not be spared.

May 01 23:02

China's Surveillance Tech-Centric Society Is Far Superior, Is Desireable, & Gov't, Tech, & Corp Media Believe The US Should Switch NOW — & Will Try To Convince You Any Way They Can

Did you know that the Chinese model of Total Government Domination & Control Of The Socio-Political Sphere & Its Discourse (Online & Off) is objectively betterl -- that, as the Atlantic puts it, one thing we learned from the coronavirus pandemic was that "China was right?"

WHAT?!

This PDF may very well blow your mind.

Links available at source: Fulltext (PDF, JPG, HTML); context; background, textual and videographic analysis; & a detailed graphic mosaic representation of Society therein described.

May 01 04:13

Shocker: FBI Lied, Hid Evidence, Covered Up State of Disorder

Notorious for failing in its duty to thwart terrorist attacks, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is under fire again, this time from a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators who want the beleaguered law enforcement agency investigated for “major abnormalities” involving evidence in a terrorism case. Known for its corrupt method of operating, the FBI appears to be hiding evidence critical to a pending Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) lawsuit brought by family members of 9/11 victims. Two years ago, the FBI received a civil subpoena in the case and the lawmakers believe the agency has committed numerous violations and may be trying to conceal that its “investigative files are in a state of disorder.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I'm appalled, but not shocked; for the current iteration of the FBI, such horrific, ethicless behaviour, has become absolutely the "New Normal".

May 01 03:11

WHO Cuts 80% Of Humanitarian Aid To War-Torn Yemen At Moment COVID-19 Emerges

Authored by Julia Conley via CommonDreams.org,

The United Nations warned Monday that the World Health Organization would likely impose drastic cuts to humanitarian aid in Yemen this week, a move that follows the Trump administration's slashing of funds for the global health agency.

Lise Grande, U.N. humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, said WHO is expected to suspend about 80% of its funding for Yemen's hospitals, primary healthcare programs, and other healthcare needs.

The announcement at a panel hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies came two weeks after Yemen reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Although the official number of cases remains low, Al-Monitor reported last week that many cases may have been kept secret from the public and from global health organizations.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This withholding of funds and aid... is genocide writ large, folks.

Apr 29 04:58

Yemen's health system has been wrecked by war, but Britain is still helping the Saudis bomb it – even during the Covid-19 pandemic

Ravaged by years of conflict, Yemen is facing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Its health system has been decimated and many of its people are starving – but the flow of British weapons to Saudi Arabia has not stopped.
Britain’s role in fueling and sustaining Riyadh’s devastating bombing campaign in Yemen has always been despicable, but it becomes especially monstrous as the threat of Covid-19 looms over the war-torn country.

Apr 27 04:38

Figures reveal staggering depletion of Saudi Arabia’s foreign reserves under Salman's rule

Saudi Arabia’s foreign reserve fund has been depleted massively ever since current King Salman bin Abdul Aziz took power in January 2015, figures from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority have revealed.
The statistics show that Saudi Arabia held $732 billion in foreign reserves in January 2015 but held only $499 billion in December 2019 – a decline of $233 billion in nearly five years. The massive decline was first reported in an article by David Hearst, the editor of Middle East Eye.

Hearst said that the war in Yemen, massive arms purchases from Western countries, and spending on “vanity projects” like the controversial futuristic city of NEOM had all played their part in draining the Saudi kingdom’s foreign reserves.

The massive loss of wealth – averaging about $46 billion per year, is equal to the total GDP of other countries in the MENA region. The Arabic news website Arabi 21 pointed out that $233 billion is 18 times the yearly budget of a country like Tunisia.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

These... are pretty staggering numbers, all right; the question is, how does the country extricate itself from the hole in the economy his decisions have created?!?

Apr 27 04:17

South Yemen Separatists Declare Self RuleSaudi-backed govt rejects 'coup' against their rule

An issue that was always going to come to a head at some point has arisen again in Yemen this weekend, with the Southern Transitional Council (STC), announcing full self-rule of the territory of South Yemen, and an effort to move to reassert the nation as it existed before 1990.

South Yemen existed from 1967 to 1990, mostly as a Soviet-aligned state. A civil war beginning in 1986 ended with South Yemen being annexed by the north. Southern separatists have remained active since, and with the hacking of the United Arab Emirates have become a contesting power to the Saudi-backed “government” that occupies parts of the south. The Saudi-backed government rejected the claim of self-rule, labeling it a “coup.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

We have a companion piece, also from antiwar.com, with the following title:

The future of war in Yemen amid COVID-19 and a failed ceasefire

The article, by Thomas Lippman, goes on to state: "How long can a war go on when its most powerful combatant wants to get out?

In Yemen, the answer could be, quite a while, even if Saudi Arabia succeeds in finding a face-saving way to withdraw after five futile years. Yemen is so Balkanized, so fragmented, that its well-armed tribes and factions could well continue the conflict that attracted Saudi intervention in the first place.

On April 8, Saudi Arabia, the leader of a coalition that has been battling an insurgent Yemeni group known as the Houthis, unilaterally announced a two-week ceasefire to go into effect the next day, with an extension possible if negotiations warrant.

The kingdom’s statement, issued in the name of the “Coalition to restore legitimacy in Yemen” by its spokesman, Col. Turki al-Malki, said the purpose of the ceasefire was “to counter the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic” by stimulating new efforts to negotiate a comprehensive settlement. The disease has hit Saudi Arabia so hard that the kingdom has blocked pilgrims from going to Mecca, and it now has also reached neighboring Yemen, which is virtually defenseless against the disease after years of bombing and devastation."

The US needs to withdraw from Yemen right now, as the reality of aiding and abetting Saudi war crimes here, appears to have known no bounds.

Apr 26 07:00

Saudi Arabia courts abolish flogging as punishment

Saudi Arabia has abolished flogging as a legal punishment in response to criticism of its use of corporal punishment, the Supreme Court has announced.

Hundreds of lashes could previously be ordered for a variety of offences, including murder, extramarital sex and breach of the peace.

Despite the change attributed to reforms under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Amnesty International reported last week that Saudi Arabia executed a record 184 people in 2019, accusing the kingdom of using the death penalty notably against Shia Muslim dissidents.

The Saudi supreme court said the latest reform was intended to "bring the kingdom into line with international human rights norms against corporal punishment".

Apr 26 06:22

Saudi Arabia to take on billions in debt to survive the oil price crisis

Saudi Arabia may have to borrow as much as $58 billion this year to cover a budget shortfall caused by the oil price slump, Bloomberg reports, citing Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan.

Al-Jadaan told media this week that the Kingdom might issue bonds worth $26.57 billion (100 billion riyals) this year in addition to an earlier issue of $31.88 billion (120 billion riyals) worth of debt.

Saudi Aramco, for its part, is considering a $10 billion sale in part of its pipeline business, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.

“The kingdom went through similar crises in its history – maybe even worse – and was able to pass through them,” Al-Jadaan said. “This is not an exception.”

Apr 26 06:14

Oil price war started after shouting match between Putin and MbS

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the shouting match phone call between Saudi Crown Prince MbS and Russian President Vladimir Putin that eventually launched a devastating oil price war.

Reports claim that the Saudi crown prince threatened Russian president over production cuts prior to flooding market. A source for the Middle East Eye reports that ‘the call ended badly.’

Apr 22 03:21

EXCLUSIVE: Saudis launched oil price war after 'MBS shouting match with Putin'

A telephone call last month between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman degenerated into a shouting match just before Riyadh decided to flood the market with oil in a move which sent prices spiralling.

Saudi officials with knowledge of the disastrous call told Middle East Eye that the row threatened to undo months of detente between the two countries, in which a significant arms trade was also agreed.

The call took place just before an Opec+ meeting on 6 March, in which major oil producers failed to agree a deal on cutting production despite falling global demand as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Just before that meeting there was a call between Putin and MBS. MBS was very aggressive and gave an ultimatum. He threatened that if there is no agreement, Saudi would start a price war.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

It is most unfortunate, that one of President Trump's BFFs in the Middle East, his most murderous Royal Highness Mohammed Bin Salman, still has no clue about to whom he is speaking, when he speaks to Russia's Putin; perhaps future economic collapse in Saudi Arabia, might well teach the gentlemen a lesson in restraint, but I sincerely doubt that this will happen, until, most probably, the entire Saudi family has to run for its life from the ruin it has visited upon its native country.

Apr 20 14:39

Oil prices plunge below zero, sending stocks lower

This is really bad. A total collapse of oil prices.

NEW YORK (AP) — Oil prices plunged below zero on Monday as demand for energy collapses amid the coronavirus pandemic and traders don’t want to get stuck owning crude with nowhere to store it.

Apr 20 09:28

South Korea blocks test kits for Iran on Saudi-funded TV's request

Iran says South Korea has rejected a SWIFT payment request by Tehran for purchase of coronavirus testing kits over the US sanctions.

Iran's Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour late Saturday released a document that shows a Saudi-funded TV had asked a Korean bank to reject the request.

"As a result, the Korean bank rejected Iran's request and the kits were not delivered to Iran," he said.

According to the document, London-based Iran International television channel falsely claimed that the SWIFT request had been made by a software company which sought to export non-medical goods to Iran.

Apr 20 09:26

Bogged down Saudis look for exit from Yemen quagmire using COVID-19 as fig leaf: Report

Saudi Arabia is reportedly using the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as a “fig leaf” for an exit from the quagmire in war-torn Yemen, where fighters from the popular Houthi Ansarullah movement now have the upper hand against Saudi-led invaders.

An article published by The Economist newspaper on Saturday raised doubts about the objective of the so-called ceasefire declared by the Riyadh regime in Yemen earlier this month.

The Saudi-led coalition, which has been waging the war on Yemen since 2015 to reinstall the regime of pro-Riyadh former president Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, claimed that its unilateral two-week truce in Yemen was designed to head off the outbreak.

“Cynics doubt that compassion is truly motivating Saudi Arabia, a majority Sunni nation. For years its bombs have hit hospitals, houses and schools in Yemen—often, it seemed, on purpose. Rather, the war is turning and the Saudis are losing heart,” the report said.

Apr 15 02:59

Saudi Arabia has carried out 800 executions under King Salman: ReportExecutions have doubled in only five years, with at least 13 juvenile defendants currently on death row, says Reprieve

Saudi Arabia has carried out the 800th execution of King Salman bin Abdulaziz's five years of rule, human rights organisation Reprieve said on Tuesday.

According to the British nonprofit, which campaigns against the death penalty, the rate of execution in Saudi Arabia has doubled since 2015, when King Salman succeeded to the throne in January after the death of his half-brother, King Abdullah.

While the king's son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said that his government planned to limit the number of executions in the kingdom, the reality is far from that statement, Reprieve said.

By comparison, Saudi authorities executed 423 people between 2009 and 2014.

Currently, there are at least 13 juvenile defendants on death row - including Ali al-Nimr, Dawood al-Marhoon and Abdullah al-Zaher - who are “at imminent risk of execution”, Reprieve and the European Saudi Organisation for Human Rights said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

To other world leaders, Saudi money (not to mention oil) is what makes these abominations completely acceptible.

One wonders how so many cases of Covid-19, which has infested the royal House of Saud somewhat in the manner of a plague, are going to reshape the Saudi royal family, and in what direction.

150 members of royal Saudi family test COVID-19 positive

Apr 14 04:29

Saudi preventing aid from entering Yemen: Commentator

Political commentator Paul Larudee says Riyadh is under pressure from both inside and outside Saudi Arabia to halt its war on Yemen.

Apr 14 04:17

Is Saudi Arabia Restarting The Oil War?

Apr 10 08:02

War-Torn Yemen Confirms First COVID-19 Case, Official Says Brace For 'Millions'

Throughout five years of war Yemen has been considered by the UN and health agencies to be the 'world's worst humanitarian disaster' — but few Americans have heard much about the war or its over 100,000 dead, including tens of thousands of civilians, given that it's the US-Saudi coalition doing the bombing.

But now Yemen is about to rip back into the headlines, given the first confirmed COVID-19 case in the country, with health officials fearing "one million" could be infected if the outbreak takes hold in the war-torn country.

This as already some 25 million civilians are in dire need of humanitarian aid, including basic food, medicines, and other staples. The Saudis have essentially imposed a complete land, sea and air blockade of the country for years. Its health system also long ago collapsed.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

As I type this, there was a news flash in the Presstitute Non-Media from yesterday which got nearly zero traction, and the headline read: Saudi royals hit by COVID-19; King, Crown Prince in isolation. Any infected staff members will now be treated at a less elite hospital to save room for royals.

Please remember; Saudi royalty will be treated brilliantly, and their staffs, at least well, and with any and everything known to help them recover, and ease their suffering.

But once this gets hold of the Yemeni population, the Yemeni people, suffering from underlying medical conditions as malnutrition; cholera; and with infants; children; women and the medically fragile elderly maimed for life by US/Saudi bombing sorties, and God knows what else, thanks to the US/Saudi blockade, Yemenis will die by the thousands from this new scourge.

I would truly love to be a citizen of a country which does not, as a matter of national course and policy, commit war crimes; unfortunately, Mike and I are both too broke, and too old, to make that happen at this time.

But having said this, I want to make something very clear to both the present, and future, US administrations; the moment you start committing war crimes around the world in our names, and with our tax dollars, this site will, in the most peaceful, logical, and most documented manner, will call you out on it, for both our brother and sister Americans, and all the world to see.

Apr 10 05:20

Saudi Hospitals Alerted To "Influx Of VIPs" As 150 Members Of Royal Family Have COVID-19

Despite the Saudis starting as early as February in shutting key public sites down in the kingdom, including the historically unprecedented shuttering of the pilgrimage to Mecca, it's been reported this week that COVID-19 has hit the Saudi royal family hard.

A source close to the royal family told The New York Times Wednesday that up to 150 members of the Saudi royal family have contracted the coronavirus.

Appropriately titled Coronavirus Invades Saudi Inner Sanctum the Times report says that even King Salman has been moved to isolation near the city of Jeddah, after his nephew and governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal bin Bandar bin Abdulziz al Saud, tested positive. The prince is said to be in intensive care in serious condition.

Apr 09 21:05

Putin, Trump, Saudi King Salman Discussed Situation in Oil Markets, OPEC+ Talks - Kremlin

Earlier, US President Donald Trump said during a press briefing that he had held a phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Riyadh's King Salman. The phone talks followed the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries's (OPEC) discussions on a deal for new oil cuts.

Apr 09 04:33

Saudi-Led Coalition Declares Two-Week Ceasefire in Yemen to Prevent COVID-19 Outbreak

Senior Saudi officials have announced a ceasefire in Yemen to begin on Thursday in an effort to contain the COVID-19 outbreak in that country.

A two-week-long ceasefire in Yemen will begin on Thursday at noon local time between the Royal Saudi Armed Forces and its allied forces on the one side, and the Houthi militant group and its allies on the other, according to senior Saudi officials in Riyadh.

The officials said the ceasefire is aimed at bringing the Houthis to the negotiating table for peace talks led by the United Nations, as well as to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus in the country, which has already been wracked by famine and disease for years due to the war.

Apr 06 06:43

Yemen Is Shattered And The U.S. Helped The Saudis Break It

Five years ago the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia invaded neighboring Yemen. The conflict was supposed to be quick and simple, over in a few weeks. Now the once-haughty Saudi royals have offered a ceasefire, after their opponents, Houthi irregulars, captured the province of al-Jawf.

The conflict has created a horrific humanitarian crisis. Yemen, which has long been divided, impoverished, and embattled, is wrecked, and is unlikely to emerge as one complete nation. The cost has been roughly 100,000 dead in combat (nearly 20,000 of them civilians); another 130,000 dead from the consequences of the conflict; a million people suffering from Cholera; 20 million Yemenis facing food insecurity; sixteen million regularly hungry; and ten million at risk of famine.

Apr 05 06:53

Saudi-led airstrike, gunfire leave nearly dozen civilians dead in Yemen

Nearly a dozen people have lost their lives and several others sustained injuries when warplanes operated by the Saudi-led military coalition and militiamen loyal to Yemen's former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi launched separate attacks in the northwestern province of Sa’ada and the central province of Ma’rib over a span of 24 hours.

Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Yemen’s Arabic-language al-Masirah television network that three people were killed and a woman was injured on Friday, when the warplanes struck Ghafra area in the Dhaher district of Sa'ada.

The source added that the air raid also resulted in the death of dozens of livestock and destruction of the house targeted.

Apr 03 04:26

Saudi Arabia Urges Muslims to Halt Hajj Plans over Coronavirus

Saudia Arabia urged over one million Muslims to halt preparations for the mandatory pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) on Tuesday. The request has caused some to speculate that the pilgrimage may be canceled this year.

Apr 02 04:41

Which target after Syria?

Events in the "Broader Middle East" since 2001 have followed a relentless logic. The current question is whether the time has come for a new war in Turkey or Saudi Arabia. The answer depends in particular on the resumption of hostilities in Libya. It is in this context that the Additional Protocol negotiated by Presidents Erdo?an and Putin to resolve the Idleb crisis must be interpreted.

Apr 02 04:33

Saudi-led forces airdropping virus-infected masks in Yemen: Minister

Yemen’s information minister has raised the possibility of the facemasks airdropped by Saudi-led warplanes in Sana’a and other cities being infected with the new coronavirus, urging media outlets and activists to spread awareness of the danger.

Dhaifullah al-Shami said given the fact that the Saudi-led coalition has turned Yemen into the scene of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis through years of lethal military aggression, it is a big surprise to see coalition forces distributing masks across the capital and several other Yemeni provinces, the Middle East Monitor press observatory organization reported on Tuesday.

Shami urged media and activists to warn citizens against touching or wearing the masks.

Mar 31 12:55

Gas prices dip below $1 at some Cleveland stations, reaching as low as 67.9 cents

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Gasoline prices at some Cleveland gas stations have dipped below one dollar per gallon over the past 24 hours, reaching as low as 67.9 cents Monday night at one station on Cleveland’s West Side.

Mar 31 06:43

Saudi Airstrikes Pound Yemeni Capital, Scores of Horses Killed

Looking to retaliate after Houthi missile fire into Saudi Arabia, Saudi warplanes carried out multiple airstrikes against different targets in the capital of Sanaa. hitting a presidential palace, a school, and an airbase, along with a military training site.

The coalition insisted that all of the targets hit were “legitimate military targets” that threaten civilians. Casualty reports suggest one person was killed in the strikes, along with about 70 horses who were kept at the military training site.

These are some of the biggest Saudi strikes in months, as both sides had dialed back the attacks to focus on possible peace talks. There is still no deal in sight, but escalations have led them to trade strikes on one another here and there.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

When I think of the Saudi "justification" for strikes like this, which included horses and schools, I am very much reminded of the response given by Dominick Guzman, Papal Legate to the French province of Montsegur, to battle the Cathars, a Christian split-off group, with their own perspectives, and their own faith.

Upon being informed that women and children were also inside the siege site, his response was, "Kill them all; God will find His own."

The Catholic Church went on to canonize this guy, now known in Catholicism, as St. Dominic, so that he would go on to be revered as a saint, and not the mass murderer he actually was, in order to be rewarded for carrying out the Vatican's orders.

I would like to politely suggest to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, that the judgment of history against him, will be negative in the extreme, as will history's judgement of the two US Presidents who have enabled him, and are enabling him and his troops' war crimes in Yemen, President Obama, and President Trump.

Mar 30 04:20

Saudis Claim US Patriot Missiles Activated In Major Yemeni Houthi Attack On Riyadh

Houthi rebels in Yemen over the weekend launched what's being described as among the largest assaults on Saudi Arabia since the start of the war five years ago.

Starting on Saturday the Saudi military said it intercepted at least two ballistic missiles over the capital of Riyadh, as well as over the southern city of Jizan, in the first such major attack in more than a year.

Saudi military spokesman Turki al-Malki confirmed there were injuries among residents on the ground from "debris scattering on some residential areas" in Riyadh and Jizan.

Mar 25 04:53

Hand-washing: a luxury millions of Yemenis can't afford

Hand-washing to combat the spread of coronavirus is the order of the day, but it's an unaffordable luxury for millions in war-ravaged Yemen where clean water is dangerously scarce.

Yemen's broken healthcare system has yet to register any cases of the disease, but if the pandemic does hit, the impact will be unimaginable in a country where five years of conflict has created what the United Nations calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

Five years after a Saudi-led military coalition intervened in Yemen to support the government against the Iran-backed Huthi rebels, some 80 percent of the population is in need of aid.

- Cholera and disease -

Yemen suffered one of its worst ever outbreaks of cholera in 2017.

"Years of under-investment in public water and sanitation systems provided the foundations for this outbreak," Bismarck Swangin, UNICEF Yemen's chief of communications, told AFP.

"The risk still remains if access to water continues to be low."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

What this article deliberately avoids naming and shaming, is the US military's having enabled Saudi destruction of Yemen, including live fire taking the lives of infants; toddlers; women, and the medically fragile elderly; they have enabled the complete destruction of water infrastructure, guaranteeing that the water will nearly certainly cause disease; and prevented aid ships from getting in to Yemen, to provide desperately needed food aid.

Mar 21 04:07

Putin Won't Blink First: Putin Rejects Potential US 'Intervention' In Russia-Saudi Oil War

"We do not think that anyone should intervene in these relations," the Russian presidency's office stated Friday of its "good relationship" and "partnership" with the Saudis, hitting back at Trump's comments on the emerging oil-price war. Yesterday President Trump described the Saudi-Russia oil price war as "very bad" for Saudi Arabia but ultimately "devastating" to Russia, but with the consolation of lower prices at the pump for American consumers.

Trump assured the public that “we have a lot of power over the situation,” adding that that Washington will attempt mediate the dispute “at the appropriate time.” This after US oil prices collapsed by a staggering 24% Wednesday to just $20, before clawing back Thursday afternoon and into Friday morning to $25 on Trump's comments and especially reports that the US will buy up to 30 million barrels of crude for its emergency stockpile by the end of June.

Mar 21 03:35

The Inevitable Outcome Of The Oil Price War

In purely basic oil economics terms, Russia has a budget breakeven price of US$40 per barrel of Brent this year: Saudi’s is US $84. Russia can produce over 11 million barrels per day (mbpd) of oil without figuratively breaking sweat; Saudi’s average from 1973 to right now is just over 8 mbpd. Russia’s major oil producer, Rosneft, has been begging President Putin to allow it to produce and sell more oil since the OPEC+ arrangement was first agreed in December 2016; Saudi’s major oil producer, Aramco, only suffers value-destruction in such a scenario. This includes for those people who were sufficiently trusting of MbS to buy shares in Aramco’s recent IPO. Russia can cope with oil prices as low as US$25 per barrel from a budget and foreign asset reserves perspective for up to 10 years; Saudi can manage 2 years at most.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

As usual, Putin is about one thousand chess moves ahead of DC, as he is in this case.

Mar 20 17:43

U.S. Oil Industry Could End Up Losing More Than 200,000 Jobs

With West Texas Intermediate below $30 a barrel and Saudi Arabia’s plans to keep pumping as much as it can for as long as it can, the U.S. oil industry is bracing for job losses that could end up in five-figure territory. “A sustained drop in oil prices would cost the sector 50,000-75,000 jobs if employment returned to its low from a few years ago,” the chief economist of PGIM Fixed Income, Nathan Sheets, told CNBC this week.

Mar 20 05:26

Trump To Intervene In Russia-Saudi Price War At "Appropriate Time" After Crude Hit $20

As Congressional voices and US oil companies have grown louder in urging President Trump to mount a muscular pushback against the Russians and Saudis flooding the market following their spat early this month that triggered an ongoing oil-price war — which lately witness crude falling to $20 yesterday — the administration has said it plans to get involved at "the appropriate time" and hopes to find a "middle ground". Trump said Thursday at a White House briefing: "They are in a fight on price, on output," and indicated that "At the appropriate time I will get involved."

Early this month the Saudis were caught completely off-guard when Putin said Russia would ignore Riyadh and OPEC+ plans to significantly cut production, effectively and dramatically overturning the balance of power in the oil world while declaring war on US shale, sending crude prices crashing and leaving dozens of American producers teetering on bankruptcy.

Mar 20 04:58

UK's scandal-hit Prince Andrew helped spruce up Saudi Arabia's image

Prince Andrew, who is facing fresh scrutiny over a sex abuse scandal, has reportedly helped Saudi Arabia repair its image battered over the kingdom's human rights record and war on Yemen.

According to British newspaper Daily Mail, the Duke of York’s new public relations aide has played a key role in transforming Saudi Arabia's image after a torrent of widespread international condemnation over the killing of thousands of Yemeni civilians.

The daily said that Pagefield Global Counsel (PGC) founder Mark Gallagher, whose firm was hired by Saudi Arabia in 2018, helped to develop a pamphlet promoting Saudi aid to Yemen that was distributed to British MPs.

Nicknamed “the backroom fixer,” Gallagher specializes in crisis management and has been brought in to help restore Prince Andrew’s reputation in the wake of the Jeffrey Epstein scandal.

Mar 19 05:00

REPORT: Saudi Crown Prince Kidnapped Princess Cousin

A report said Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has kidnapped his cousin, Princess Basmah bint Saud bin Abdulaziz, who has been missing for over a year, amid a crackdown on critical voices. According to the Spanish ABC newspaper, the princess, a critic of the royal family and an advocate for women’s rights, has been held in al-Hayer Prison since she was abducted in February last year.

Mar 18 06:54

Yemen’s Houthis Report They’ve Seized Province on Saudi Border

Jawf seized, Houthis turn sights on Maarib.

Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi movement has reported on Tuesday that they have taken control of nearly the entire Jawf Province, a northern province bordering Saudi Arabia. This is one of the biggest gains reported by the Houthis in months.

Controlling more of the border is always useful, but indications are that this is just the start of a broader push, with the Houthis seeking to turn south into Maarib Province. That province is where Yemen’s valuable, albeit limited oil and gas industries are located.

Tuesday already saw some very heavy fighting in Maarib, with 38 reported killed. Both sides claimed to have the advantage there, but as with most central Yemen provinces it tends to be very stalemated, and fighting is probably going to continue to rage there.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The capture, and holding, of Maarib, could be a real game-changer for the Houthi rebels, in terms of peace negotiations which will, ultimately, have to happen here.

Mar 18 06:49

Saudi Flood of Crude About to Crash Into Demand Destroyed by Coronavirus Containment Measures

March 16th, 2020
Oil just broke down under $30.

Via: Reuters:

Saudi Arabia’s move to flood the crude oil market is on a collision course with global demand that is about to be pummelled by the coronavirus pandemic, especially in North America and Europe.

As the outbreak intensifies and spreads across Europe and the United States, governments are trying to contain it by effectively shutting down many transport links and encouraging social distancing.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The timing here could possibly have been worse; but it is hard to see how.

Mar 17 08:57

Geopolitical Genius Donald J. Has Backed Saudi Arabia’s MBS to the Hilt Only to Get a Price War on US Shale in Return

Donald Trump made one of the biggest mistakes of his presidency in the spring of 2017, when he offered an unconditional embrace to the then-emerging 31-year-old ruler of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman, and adopted his agenda of aggressively confronting Iran. Three years later, as Trump grapples with the greatest crisis he has faced, that choice is costing him dearly.

Mar 17 05:52

The Forgotten Epidemic: Cholera in Yemen

The cholera outbreak started in Yemen in October 2016. The outbreak exploded in 2017 when the country saw over one million cases, the worst cholera epidemic since records started in 1949. In 2019, Yemen experienced the second-worst year, with over 860,000 suspected cases. 2020 is on track to be another bad year, with over 56,000 new suspected cases recorded in the first seven weeks. As of March 8th 2020, the World Health Organization has recorded 2,263,304 cholera cases in Yemen and 3,767 deaths related to the illness since 2017.

The international humanitarian organization Oxfam has warned the rainy season in Yemen will cause a spike in cholera cases, as it has in previous years. The rainy season starts in mid-April and lasts until August.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The problem is for me, as a 70 year old American, is the very unmistakable realization that, no matter who I vote for (and God knows, of the current batch of Candidates on the Democratic side of the Aisle, the only one looking half-way viable, is Tulsi Gabbard, the Representative from Hawaii, who has been marginalized out of both the debates, and out of running for President), I only have a choice for which war-monger in chief, and merchant of death in chief, is running the White House, and US foreign policy.

Our alleged "choices" for leadership every 4 years, only includes those warmongers fully capable of sating the military industrial complex's bloodlust, and that never augers well for world peace.

From my perspective, American elections are very much akin to Kabuki-like exercises in futility, where none of the choices of peace-centric Americans are ever honored, expect in the breach.

We have both President Trump and Vice-President Biden fulminating as to which of them will actually protect Israel better from the consequences of its own actions; the Middle East, and South America, have the oil; so the wars of destabilization will continue against them, and briskly.

We see "Rapture Ready" Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, actually make the statement on record with the BBC, that President Trump may have been put into office to save Israel from Iran.

Whatever battlefields will erupt, however, will have to do so quickly, and with a minimum of time before they cab take hold; the center cannot manage to stay together in this economy.

And as to the question about when we will get something better than "the lesser of two evils", I am hard-pressed to say, "Never!!" until this country's present state collapses, and we are either faced with martial law, the severity of which would make a Chinese politburo blush, or some kind of new orientation and system, we are going to be dealing with a "business as usual" which can never be "normal" again.

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is a very tough state of affairs for this country, but that is precisely where we are right now.

Mar 17 05:24

Saudi Arabia Detains Almost 300 Officials Over ‘Corruption’ Amid Royal Power Struggle

Authorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia detained 298 public officials in a new alleged “anti-corruption push” amid reports that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is seeking to get rid of potential rivals to the Saudi Wahhabi throne.

RevContent InArticle SOLO
A Saudi “anti-corruption body” known as Nazaha announced on Sunday that it had arrested 298 government officials for crimes such as “bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power” involving a total of 379 million riyals ($101 million), PressTV reported.

Mar 17 04:08

The world can't forget the fight for the Saudi crown amid virus panic: The political landscape is changing as the Covid-19 outbreak undermines Donald Trump and his allies, such as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

by Patrick Cockburn, theindependent.uk.co

The political consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are already vast because its advance, and the desperate measures taken to combat it, entirely dominate the news agenda and will go on doing so for the foreseeable future, although it is in the nature of this unprecedented event that nothing can be foreseen.

History has not come to a full stop because of the virus, however: crucial events go on happening, even if they are being ignored by people wholly absorbed by the struggle for survival in the face of a new disease. Many of these unrecognised but very real crises are taking place in the Middle East, the arena where great powers traditionally stage confrontations fought out by their local proxies.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

OK, Patrick; let's not forget one very critical factoid,which you painfully and awkwardly attempted to camouflage by omission, in that last bit regarding Iraq's invasion of Kuwait:

[Congressional Record: January 26, 2011 (House)]
[Page H503]
HOW THE 20-YEAR WAR STARTED

The article went on to state: " Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, how did the 20-year war get started? It had
been long assumed that the United States Government, shortly before
Iraq invaded Kuwait in August of 1990, gave Saddam Hussein a green
light to attack. A State Department cable recently published by
WikiLeaks confirmed that U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie did indeed have
a conversation with Saddam Hussein one week prior to Iraq's August 1,
1990, invasion of Kuwait. Amazingly, the released cable was entitled,
``Saddam's Message of Friendship to President Bush.'' In it, Ambassador
Glaspie affirmed to Saddam that ``the President had instructed her to
broaden and deepen our relations with Iraq.'' As Saddam Hussein
outlined Iraq's ongoing border dispute with Kuwait, Ambassador Glaspie
was quite clear that, ``we took no position on these Arab affairs.''
There would have been no reason for Saddam Hussein not to take this
assurance at face value. The U.S. was quite supportive of his invasion
and war of aggression against Iran in the 1980s. With this approval
from the U.S. Government, it wasn't surprising that the invasion
occurred. The shock and surprise was how quickly the tables were turned
and our friend, Saddam Hussein, all of a sudden became Hitler
personified.
The document was classified, supposedly to protect national security,
yet this information in no way jeopardized our security. Instead, it
served to keep the truth from the American people about an event
leading up to our initial military involvement in Iraq and the region
that continues to today.

{time} 1440

The secrecy of the memo was designed to hide the truth from the
American people and keep our government from being embarrassed.
This was the initial event that had led to so much death and
destruction--not to mention the financial costs--these past 20 years."

This is something which can no longer be ignored by either the American people, or the world, sir.

And to President Trump, sir, a word; your proclivity for liking the company of dictators who can "get away with" murder (literally, like Saudi Arabia's Mohammed Bin Salman, and never having to face the consequences), is something of which the American people are growing painfully tired.

Getting US troops out of Yemen, where they are enabling Saudi war crimes in that country, would be one of the most practically intelligent things you could do right now, but I am betting you won't, simply because of what could be characterized by "Imperial Hubris."

Please, have someone look up the words I have just typed, and break them down for you, simply.

Between the stock-market selloff, coupled with your lackluster Covid 19 scare response, your re-election, which seemed a safe bet several months ago, is now thrown open for question, and the challenge by your would-be Democratic contender, Joe Biden, whose mental faculties seem to be sorely, and publicly, tested by this campaign, is gaining pace.

And while there are moments when I worry about your desire to throw weapons at the bad guy (whoever the "bad guy du jure" is), I cringe to think that it might possibly be a President Biden with his hands around the nuclear football.

Mar 17 03:42

Saudi Prince’s $79million superyacht capsizes and partially sinks while docked in Greece

The 230ft Nourah of Riyad, owned by Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd Al Saud, was being lifted out of the water for repairs when it capsized.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Poor baby! :)

Mar 16 22:24

Russia Strikes Back Where It Hurts: American Oil

March 17, 2020
12:01 am
Scott Ritter

Russia and Saudi Arabia are engaged in an oil price war that has sent shockwaves around the world, causing the price of oil to tumble and threatening the financial stability, and even viability, of major international oil companies.

Mar 12 05:23

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Had Been Laying Low. That's Over.

First he ordered the detention of at least four senior members of his own royal family. The next day he plunged Saudi Arabia into a price war with Russia that sent energy and stock markets around the world into free fall.

For a while, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia had appeared to be living down his reputation for dangerous aggression.

Perhaps chastened by the blowback over his connection with the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the 34-year-old crown prince had kept a low profile for more than a year.

Now his new power plays are reviving debates in Western capitals about whether he is too rash to trust as a partner. His sudden, steep cut to the price of oil has rocked a global economy already at risk of falling into recession, threatened to burn through Saudi Arabia’s cash reserves and undermined his grandiose promises of new investments to lessen the kingdom’s dependence on oil.

Mar 12 05:02

Saudi’s Brave Women Pull Back the Curtain on Crown Prince MBS

This week, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MBS), Saudi Arabia’s 34-year-old de facto ruler, was on a tear. He arrested members of his own royal family and initiated an oil price war with Russia that has sent the price of oil—and the world’s stock markets—plummeting. Behind the headlines, however, another critical event will take place in Saudi Arabia starting March 18: women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, who was arrested almost two years ago for advocating the right to drive, is due in court. The diabolical MBS wants the world to believe he is the Arab world’s liberal reformer and took credit for eventually granting women the right to drive, but he is also the one who had al-Hathloul and nine other women thrown in prison, charging them as foreign agents and spies. The imprisonment of these peaceful women activists exposes the brutal nature of MBS’s regime and the duplicity of the Western democracies that continue to support him.

Mar 12 04:31

Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Faisal bin Farhan Passed Away, Royal Court Announces

The Royal Court announced here today that Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah bin Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has passed away.

Funeral prayer for the soul of the deceased will be conducted at Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque in Riyadh on Wednesday, March 11, the statement of the Royal Court said, appealing to Allah the Almighty to bestow His mercy upon him and abode him in His vastly-wide Paradise.

Mar 11 09:21

Saudi-Initiated All-Out Oil War Could Lead To Collapse Of Kingdom Itself

Saudi Arabia launched an all-out oil war offering unprecedented discounts and flooding the market in an attempt to capture a larger share and defeat other oil producers. This “scorched earth” approach caused the biggest oil price fall since the war in the Persian Gulf in 1991.

Mar 11 04:51

Saudi Arabia’s Oil Price War Could Very Easily Backfire

President Putin’s job obliges him to put his country’s interests above all others, and it was with this in mind that he tasked his Energy Minister with rejecting the request of Russia’s OPEC+ partners last Friday to further reduce oil production in response to slumping demand. Russia is apparently calculating that its comparatively more resilient economy can better withstand the shock of lower oil prices than its competitors’, which could in turn compel them to eventually return to a reformed partnership on Moscow’s terms. Bloomberg published an insightful piece on the matter headlined “Putin Is Facing Down OPEC Because His Economy Can Take The Pain“, which argues that “Five years of austerity and safeguarding assets against the threat of U.S.

Mar 10 19:17

Don't Be Fooled By The Oil Price Rebound

A mild winter in the northern hemisphere, the COVID-19 outbreak, and now the price war that Saudi Arabia declared last weekend have combined to produce an all-new oil price crisis just four years after the last one. And things might get worse before they get better.

Mar 10 06:31

All you need to know about latest Saudi crackdown in 500 words

Saudi Arabia has launched a new crackdown against senior royals and top officials, according to several reports, in what appears to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's latest effort to consolidate control of all major levers of power inside the kingdom.

Among those held in the sweeping crackdown are two of the most prominent royal family members: Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, a younger brother of Saudi King Salman, and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the king's nephew and former crown prince.

More:
Saudi crackdown widens amid reports of further arrests of royals
Saudi Arabia detains king's brother, nephew in crackdown: Reports
Profile: Former Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef
There has been no official comment from Saudi authorities on the arrests, but reports emerging on Friday triggered rumours about a possible coup attempt or sudden deterioration in the health of the 84-year-old king.

Here is what happened:

Arrests

Webmaster's Commentary: 

We have a companion piece, also in antiwar.com, with the following headline:

Saudi princes' detentions sent a message: don't block my path to the throne

the article went on to state: " Saudi Arabia’s crown prince meant to send a strong message to critics within the royal family by detaining senior princes this weekend: Don’t you dare oppose my succession to the throne. The main target in the crackdown, sources said, is King Salman’s brother, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, one of only three members of the Allegiance Council, the royal body that endorses the line of succession, to oppose Mohammed bin Salman becoming crown prince in 2017 in a palace coup."

Mar 10 06:00

EXCLUSIVE: Saudi crown prince plans to become king before November G20 summit

Mohammed bin Salman launched purge against his uncle and others to clear path to becoming king ahead of gathering in Riyadh

Mar 10 05:56

How Saudi Arabia is trying to CRIPPLE Russian oil industry by flooding world market and dropping price to 30-year low in fight over coronavirus that could hit Trump's re-election hopes by triggering US recession

Saudi Arabia slashed its oil export prices over the weekend and declared a price war with Russia that sent global markets reeling and marked the sharpest decline in oil futures since 1991.

The price drop came after Russia refused to sign on with a proposal by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to cut production globally as the coronavirus outbreak has slowed the demand for oil.

OPEC nations met with allies like Russia on Thursday and Friday in Vienna to reduce oil production by an additional 1.5million barrels per day to stabilize the market starting in April through the end of the year.

But Russia refused to join to agreement.

Mar 09 11:15

Putin Launches "War On US Shale" After Dumping MbS & Breaking Up OPEC+

OPEC+ is no more, after a torrid 24 hours in which Russia overturned the balance of power in the oil world, leaving the members of OPEC+ dazed and confused, shocking Saudi which now faces social unrest with the price of oil far below Riyadh's budget, and - in a repeat of the Thanksgiving 2014 OPEC massacre - sending oil prices plunging by the most since the financial crisis.

And now, Bloomberg has the stunning backstory behind Friday's announcement that Russia is quitting its output deal with OPEC and its allies, after last week's Vienna summit meant to back a proposal by oil producers to cut output collapsed, causing a 10% plunge in oil prices, with some markets seeing their biggest one-day falls since the financial crisis.

Mar 09 11:05

Panic Purgatory: Oil Crashes To $27; S&P Futures Locked Limit Down, Treasuries Soar Limit Up Amid Historic Liquidation

Next on their agenda.....world war!

The Sunday futures fiasco started off on the back foot, with virtually every risk asset that is not nailed down puking with a force unseen since the financial crisis. It has only gotten worse since.

Mar 09 05:12

Saudi Arabia Starts All-Out Oil War: MbS Destroys OPEC By Flooding Market, Slashing Oil Prices

With the commodity world still smarting from the Nov 2014 Saudi decision to (temporarily) break apart OPEC, and flood the market with oil in (failed) hopes of crushing US shale producers (who survived thanks to generous banks extending loan terms and even more generous buyers of junk bonds), which nonetheless resulted in a painful manufacturing recession as the price of Brent cratered as low as the mid-$20's in late 2015/early 2016, on Saturday, Saudi Arabia launched its second scorched earth, or rather scorched oil campaign in 6 years. And this time there will be blood.

Mar 09 04:40

MbS Widens Purge: Dozens Of Royals And Army Officers Swept Up After Powerful Princes Arrested

Yesterday we predicted a return to MbS' infamous Ritz-Carlton Riyadh shakedown of 2017 after a dramatic Friday morning raid on the homes of King Salman's brother, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz al Saud, and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz al Saud.

All eyes are on the spread of the deadly coronavirus, so what better time to initiate a broader crackdown (or at least dramatically restart the 2017-2018 purge), than when world leaders are distracted by making sure their societies survive a potential apocalyptic pandemic?

The pair, which happen to be the kingdom's top most powerful royals aside from MbS, having both in the past been in charge of Saudi armed forces and intelligence in the post of Interior Minister, were arrested for allegedly plotting a coup to unseat the king and crown prince. Of course any level of evidence was not forthcoming. Treason could bring the death penalty.

Mar 09 04:30

Saudi Arabia locks down Shia-majority region using coronavirus as excuse

Saudi Arabia has imposed a lockdown on the oil-rich and Shia-populated Qatif region with an excuse to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

In a statement released on Sunday, the Saudi Interior Ministry said no one would be allowed to enter or exit Qatif and that work at all public and private sectors in the region had been suspended with the exception of institutions providing necessary services.

“Given that all 11 recorded positive cases of the new coronavirus are from Qatif... it has been decided... to temporarily suspend entry (into) and exit from Qatif,” the statement read.

Residents in Eastern Province, which includes Qatif, have long demanded an end to what they say is discrimination by the Riyadh regime.

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