Friday, 22 April 2016

Saudi Arabia - blackmail and economic implosion

The Implosion of the House of Saud

Pepe Escobar

The Implosion of the House of Saud

14 April, 2016

The Panama Papers psyops revealed that – ailing – King Salman of Saudi Arabia is among a roast of notorious offshore profiteers «in relation» to «associates».

The House of Saud used British Virgin Islands shell companies to take out at least $34 million in mortgages for lavish houses in London and «a luxury yacht the size of a football field». And yet Western corporate media has given it a glaring pass. Quite predictable: House of Saud notables feature heavily among prime Western vassals.
As it stands, a major disconnect is also in effect. The House of Saud is busy spinning the need for austerity at home even as it is now positioned as the world’s third-largest spender on weapons, ahead of Russia.
«Austerity» is a bit rich when I revealed earlier this year that the House of Saud not only unleashed an oil price war – against Russia, Iran and the US shale oil industry – but also was busy unloading at least $1 trillion in US securities on the market to balance its increasingly disastrous budget.
And now we have a major PR offensive in Western corporate media by Warrior Prince Mohammad bin Salman, 30, the lead conductor of the disastrous, illegal and crammed with civilian collateral damage war on Yemen. Young Salman is selling himself as an Arab David Bowie – the Man Who Changed the World, mostly because of his desire to partially privatize Aramco and partially extract Saudi Arabia from its strict role as an oil hacienda by creating a $2 trillion fund.
For the US, UK and France, especially, Saudi Arabia is the proverbial «key ally». It’s not only the – again proverbial – second-largest oil reserves in the world, and the notorious Mob-style 1945 «protection» deal struck between Roosevelt and Ibn Saud. It’s the House of Saud as the key anchor for the petrodollar; and the House of Saud consistently buying over $100 billion in weapons from the West in the past few years.
Yet, in parallel, Saudi Arabia – a mix of theocracy and absolute monarchy, complete with a gaggle of intolerant, fundamentalist imams – keeps perpetuating its role of ideological matrix to all strands of Salafi-Jihadism, including of course its latest incarnation: the phony ISIS/ISIL/Daesh «Caliphate». The House of Saud, directly and indirectly, has lavished over $100 billion all across the lands of Islam – and beyond – to spread its fundamentalist Wahhabi «vision».
A glimpse behind the velvet curtains
For a while there have been incessant rumors, from London to New York, and across the Middle East, of a possible coup in Riyadh.
Now a policy-making source with intimate knowledge not only of the House of Saud but its real masters in the Washington/Wall Street axis has offered an unprecedented glimpse into the current, groundbreaking power play in the Kingdom.
According to the source, «Prince Mohammed bin Salman really does realize what is happening. He is being set up. He is surrounded by consultants going over the entire Saudi economic system aiming for its reorganization – which is certainly necessary. And some of these consultants at the same time are organizing the data for the CIA. This would make any transition away from the monarchy – which the CIA loathes – much easier, towards a favored military officer».
And this would also imply that some of Aramco’s Western employees – hired to hold the place together – are your proverbial CIA agents; a classic cover for clandestine ops.
The whole process started a while ago, in April 2014, when there were rumblings in Riyadh about a move to get rid of King Abdullah. Eventually a compromise was struck; Bandar bin Sultan, a.k.a. Bandar Bush – who badly bundled the war in Syria via his sponsorship of an army of Jihadis – was fired as the real culprit in this Saudi-led war of terror. And Prince Mohammed bin Nayef was promoted to number two in the Kingdom – duly under the orders of His Masters’ Voice in Washington. As he was anointed Crown Prince, Nayef was all but enshrined as the next King in the succession of King Salman.
What the publicity-savvy young Salman wants is to turn the tables. He sees himself as his father’s successor. Yet internal resistance is fierce. According to the source, «it does not play well among the poor masses of the Kingdom that he brags about a two-trillion-dollar stock value of Aramco when they are suffering the removal of House of Saud subsidies». As for the Saudi oil wealth, the young Salman deceptively does not believe «the decline in oil prices poses a threat to us, for us it’s a free market that is governed by supply and demand».
Our source is adamant that «Mohammed bin Nayef is very capable and a very effective fighter against terrorism. He is mature, stable, capable and talented. The problem is there is growing discontent in the Kingdom over the oil price war ordered by Washington. Consultants meanwhile are pressing Mohammed bin Salman to cut subsidies. That is certain to disorient the masses towards him. And this gives, then, a justification for any coup whereby the population is neutralized».
Which brings us to the all-important massive weapons purchases angle: «This has to do with the efforts of Mohammed bin Salman to create a strong Saudi army, in combination with military alliances with Pakistan and Egypt, which are paid for allies. Money is being thrown around all over, while subsidies are to be cut. This will only add more pressure on the monarchy». 
The military front is not exactly a win for the Salmans, father and son. Sisi in Cairo certainly balks at the notion of having Egyptian troops trapped in a Yemen quagmire. Same with Sharif in Islamabad – who refused to send a Pakistani contingent.
So King Salman was forced to turn towards India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After all there are 3 million Indian workers in Saudi Arabia, and India imports 20% of its oil from Saudi Arabia. Still, no Indian troops.
Both India and Pakistan clearly see, this is all part of Riyadh’s extensive, paranoid anti-Iran campaign. India and Iran are partners in the expansion of the New Silk Roads across Eurasia. And Iran-Pakistan are key partners in Pipelineistan – via the IP gas pipeline.  
Time to line up for a cab?
The possibility of a coup in Riyadh further on down the road still remains. It boils down to Exceptionalistan’s control. Saudi Arabia under the Warrior Prince cannot possibly be trusted, according to influential sectors in the Beltway. Turkey is now considered out of control; Sultan Erdogan being snubbed in Washington by Obama could even turn out to be the prelude for his eventual removal by the Turkish military, which are really under Exceptionalistan’s control. Iran cannot be counted on – because for Tehran the priority is Eurasia integration and a closer strategic relationship with both Russia and China.
Arguably the House of Saud could turn things around by raising the oil price to $100 a barrel, via a 10% cutback in production worked out with Russia at the upcoming meeting in Doha; and realign their policies with Russia as a balancing power. Forget it; it’s not bound to happen.
What’s fascinating in this running Saudi House of Cards plot is that, according to our source, «King Abdullah was someone that could be argued to be useful to the United States to maintain the stability of oil supply». But influential Beltway players do not regard Salman or his son that way; especially the son is thought of as «erratic and unstable».
Once again: control, control, control. Our source explains how «the West has educated Saudi Arabia’s military officers – who are often Western intel agents. That’s why Crown Prince Sultan never trusted them and purposely kept the military weak when he was Defense Minister. He feared them as the privileged source in a takeover of the country. And he was certainly correct. In the CIA’s eyes, the Saudis need outside supervision. And this is one of the reasons for the CIA’s desire for regime change, as the place is spiraling out of control».
Yet here’s another key disconnect. The CIA believes the House of Saud to be the chief sponsors of global terrorism. But that’s not true. Most of these terror ops are 21st century remixes of Operation Gladio. And that implies the hand of NATO/Pentagon. This disconnect partially explains why the Pentagon and the CIA are at each other’s throats.
It’s still unclear which US intel faction will eventually prevail in Riyadh – and that may further change depending on who will be the tenant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue next year.
For the moment, quite a few influential players are fond of imagining an astonishing House of Saudi fortune, including Thousand-and-One nights-style assets of the extended royal family, all frozen overseas, from the US to Panama. With the inevitable corollary of thousands of princes lining up for cab driver jobs in London and New York.
This would have been absolutely inconcievable a short time ago - from Bloomberg

The $2 Trillion Project to Get Saudi Arabia’s Economy Off Oil

Eight unprecedented hours with “Mr. Everything,” Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Obama Faces Chilly Reception on Arrival in Saudi Arabia

Praises Saudi Pledges for Humanitarian Aid After Yemen War

With the Saudi Foreign Ministry openly threatening to collapse the US dollar just days ago, President Obama’s visit to Riyadh today wasn’t exactly met with a warm welcome. Saudi state TV always hypes visits by foreign heads of state. Obama’s arrival was conspicuously not mentioned.

Saudi King Salman had been at the airport, broadcast on state TV greeting other arriving leaders for the GCC summit, by the time Obama got there, he and the TV crew were long gone, and only the local governor was there to meet with him.

The Saudis have been pretty public about their displeasure about Obama’s presidency, and were pressing Obama on their ongoing desire for hostilities with Iran, as Obama pressed them to accept a “cold peace” that would end the sectarian tensions in the region
Obama was said to have mentioned “concerns” about Saudi human rights violations, but publicly praised the kingdom for itss pledges to eventually provide humanitarian aid to Yemen, which they attacked last year and have imposed a naval blockade on.

Unlikely to be acknowledged are any conversations related to Foreign Minister Jubeir’s threat to sell $750 billion in treasury securities to punish the US for a law that would expose them to legal action for their involvement in 9/11.
Obama has not directly commented on the situation regarding the treasury assets at all, but White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday that Obama would almost certainly veto the legislation to protect “taxpayers.”

Blackmailed? Obama Enjoys Saudi King’s ‘Hospitality’ Amid New 9/11 Proof
Has the White House just sent a message to the families of the September 11 victims and to the world that America will bow to the demands of terrorist financiers?

21 April, 2016

Last July, the White House declassified a 47-page memo from an FBI investigation in 2003 that proved top Saudi officials had financed and orchestrated the devastating 9/11 terror attacks.

The documents have received new attention after former Senator Bob Graham (D-FL) pressured the Obama Administration on April 10 to declassify 28 pages of the 9/11 Commission report, detailing Saudi Arabia’s connection to the terror plot.
The report establishes that Ghassan al Sharbi, an al-Qaeda extremist captured in Pakistan and presently detained at Guantanamo Bay, received an envelope from the Saudi embassy in Washington DC containing his flight itinerary. Al Sharbi went to flight school with the 9/11 hijackers but ultimately did not take part in the attacks.
Abdullah bin Laden, the half-brother of the infamous al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, had been assigned to the Saudi embassy in Washington DC as an administrative officer prior to the office issuing the flight itinerary to al Sharbi. Another accomplice to the attack, Hamad Alotaibi, visited a 9/11 hijacker right before the attacks and had served in the military division of Saudi Arabia’s Washington DC embassy.
The Saudi embassy also paid for the airfare of Mohammed al-Qudhaeein and Hamdan al-Shalawi, Saudi students who allegedly participated in a "dry run" preparation for the 9/11 attacks during a 1999 flight.
Following the revelations — and the renewed push to hold Saudi Arabia accountable, by allowing surviving family members of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government in a US court — Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir threatened to divest the kingdom’s $750 billion in US Treasury assets.
Top US lawmakers, including Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT), denounced the Saudi threat, calling on the Obama administration to stand up to the regime’s "blackmail."
President Obama immediately vowed to veto any legislation that would provide 9/11 families the right to sue Saudi Arabia, and took a noncommittal stance on releasing the 28 redacted pages of the 9/11 report.
The White House has found unlikely support among top Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who, with many other high ranking Republican officials, have moved to block the legislation.
On Wednesday, President Obama had a one-on-one meeting with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, where he reportedly employed aggressive rhetoric regarding Saudi Arabia’s chief regional adversary Iran, stating that the US continues to have "serious concerns" regarding Tehran.
From RT

Saudi king fails to meet Obama off plane at Riyadh airport

U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted upon his arrival at King Khalid International Airport for a summit meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 20, 2016 © Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Barack Obama is greeted upon his arrival at King Khalid International Airport for a summit meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 20, 2016 © Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

Obama, who has visited Saudi Arabia more times than any US president before him, was not greeted by the Saudi king at the airport. Saudi state television broadcast no live pictures of the US president's arrival.

It was the US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and a local governor who met the American leader off the plane.

President Obama came to Saudi Arabia to take part in a summit of Persian Gulf leaders and discuss Islamic State, Al Qaeda and Yemen with King Salman.
This comes in stark contrast to the reception of other high-profile guests, whom the 80-year-old King Salman greeted personally on the airfield.

Obama did have a two-and-a-half hour conversation with King Salman later, a talk that reportedly "really cleared the air,"the US administration officials assured the American media.

Barack Obama's visit has been downplayed by the Middle Eastern newspapers, too, generally saying that as a “lame duck” Obama hardly has time to mend strained relations, the BBC reports

U.S. President Barack Obama walks with Saudi King Salman at Erga Palace upon arriving for a summit meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia April 20, 2016 © Kevin Lamarque

In a unique show of disrespect to a sitting US president, the Saudi Kingdom dispatched a modest, low-ranking delegation to meet President Obama when he landed in Riyadh, with the Saudi King refusing to greet the American at the airport
The usually extremely close relations between Washington and Riyadh have been fraying recently over a number of issues Saudi Arabia regards as matters of life and death.

The families of victims of 9/11 terror acts in the US are once again trying to have the classified pages of the Congressional report released to the public as part of a lawsuit against the Saudi Arabian government. The documents may also contain details on a support network for the hijackers that featured the involvement of the Saudis, suspected of providing material support to Al-Qaeda ahead of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

The Obama administration has argued that stripping sovereign immunity from nations over terror attacks on the US would endanger Americans and spark similar legislation against the US.

In response to a threat to be held responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Saudi Arabia made it clear it would sell off up to $750 billion in US treasury securities and other assets if Congress passes the bill, thus putting Riyadh in jeopardy.

The US senators were quick to react, immediately proposing a restriction on sales or transfers of US-made air-to-ground weapons to Saudi Arabia.

The countries have been close allies for decades, no matter how complicated relations between the two capitals are now. Washington and Riyadh have common global strategic interests and depend on each other.

On Tuesday, the world’s leading oil producers failed to reach an agreement on capping production, only because Saudi Arabia changed its position last minute. 
This move is believed to be made in Washington’s favor, interested to keep oil prices low to apply pressure on certain countries with national budgets dependent on oil revenues, such as Iran, Russia and Venezuela.

There's also an unprecedented $95 billion price tag sale of American weapons to Riyadh under Obama.

Former Saudi Intelligence Chief Prince Turki Al-Faisal told CNN's Christiane Amanpour that there is going to be a“recalibration” of the Saudis’ relationship with America.

How far we can go with our dependence on America, how much can we rely on steadfastness from American leadership, what is it that makes for our joint benefits to come together,” said Turki, using rhetoric previously unexpected from Riyadh.“These are things that we have to recalibrate,” Turki stressed.

No comments:

Post a Comment