Looking For The Spark Of World War 3? Start Here

The arc of this story points to at least one likely conclusion: the dreadful day that ISIS (shorthand for whatever they call themselves) overruns the US Green Zone in Baghdad. Won’t that be a nauseating spectacle? Perhaps just in time for the 2014 US elections. And what do you suppose the policy meeting will be like in the White House war room the day after?

There is not a nation on earth that is preparing intelligently for the end of oil — and by that I mean 1) the end of cheap, affordable oil, and 2) the permanent destabilization of existing oil supply lines. Both of these conditions should be visible now in the evolving geopolitical dynamic, but nobody is paying attention, for instance, in the hubbub over Ukraine. That feckless, unfortunate, and tragic would-be nation, prompted by EU and US puppeteers, just replied to the latest trade sanction salvo from Russia by declaring it would block the delivery of Russian gas to Europe through pipelines on its territory. I hope everybody west of Dnepropetrovsk is getting ready to burn the furniture come November. But that just shows how completely irrational the situation has become… and I stray from my point. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia Seeks to Protect Mecca after ISIS Destroys Iraqi Religious Sites – Reports

MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) – Saudi Arabia is seeking help from Pakistan and Egypt to protect its borders and religious sites from attacks by the Islamic State (IS), formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the International Business Times reported.

“The kingdom is calling in favors from Egypt and Pakistan. No one is certain what ISIS has planned, but it’s clear a group like this will target Mecca if it can. We expect them to run out of steam, but no one is taking any chances,” the International Business Times wrote Sunday citing an adviser to the Saudi government. Continue reading

ISIL Targets Saudi Intelligence

Which is precisely why they have asked Pakistan for troops, previously said to have been in the 30,000 range. If the House of Saud goes, so does the calm portion of Arab world — and for good. What’s more, and bit of a side note, is noting how U.S. agencies mine social media to get a feel for the real social-political climate of a nation, even its own.

 

Officials: ‘Crowd-sourced’ assassination campaign aimed at destabilizing Saudi Arabia

The ultra-violent al Qaeda offshoot group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) has targeted Saudi Arabian intelligence officers for a campaign of assassination as part of plans by the group to expand activities inside the oil-rich kingdom.

The campaign, according to U.S. officials, appears aimed at destabilizing Saudi Arabia, the location of two of Islam’s holiest cities.

U.S. officials said social media monitoring indicated that thousands of Saudis are supporting ISIL, as indicated by social media use. Twitter users in the kingdom account for 40 percent of all Twitter users in the Arab world. Continue reading

Saudia calls in Pakistani troops for protection against ISIS

  • As ISIS members say they want to ‘sack the holy city’, Riyadh calls in military assistance from its close allies to shore up the porous 500-mile border
  • Pro-ISIS graffiti begins to appear around the kingdom while residents in parts of Riyadh woke in June to find jihadist leaflets on their car windscreens

Saudi Arabia has deployed thousands of troops from Egypt and Pakistan along its frontier with Iraq, amid fears of invasion by the al-Qaeda splinter group that has declared a radical Islamic state across the border. Continue reading

Netanyahu’s dilemma: Back Obama’s save Hamas policy, or fight for its downfall with Egypt and Saudis

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu entangled himself Saturday and Sunday, July 26-27,  in the net he had cast to blur the effect of the unanimous decision by the security-political cabinet of Friday to turn down the ceasefire proposals proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. The two diplomats and their partners, a brace of European ministers and Qatar and Turkey, who met in Paris to concoct a peace framework for Gaza, were privately dubbed by wags in Jerusalem the “Save Hamas Squad.”

Netanyahu tried to present the flat cabinet “no” to the ceasefire as a “no, maybe.”

His purpose was to leave an opening for the US and UN to ginger up their pro-Hamas framework for ending hostilities in the Gaza Strip by incorporating elements that Israel’s security needs half way. If that was done, Israel, he indicated, would be amenable to joining lengthy ceasefire accords with Hamas, or even making unilateral halts in violence. Continue reading

Kerry and Ban in truce bid to save Hamas from defeat. Israel holds reply. Cairo won’t amend truce proposal

Three rival groups are in a tug-o’-war over a ceasefire initiative for the Gaza conflict: The US and UN are pulling one way; Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the other; and Qatar, Turkey, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, are trying to manipulate the others.

Monday night, July 21, US Secretary of State John Kerry and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo to press their case with Egyptian President Abdel-Fatteh El-Sisi: Kerry’s directive was outlined by President Barack Obama a few hours earlier, “to focus on bringing about a ceasefire than ends the fighting and can stop the death of innocent civilians.”

Reported to be pushing for a long-term ceasefire, the UN Secretary went on to comment that it was impossible to go back to the situation that caused the conflict. He ruled out the “status quo ante” for the Gaza Strip as untenable. Continue reading

Saudi Arabia’s New Strategic Game in South Asia

Motivated by old and new security anxieties, and above all, by its sectarian competition with Iran, Saudi Arabia is playing a new game in South Asia. In a dramatic shift from prior decades, warming ties with India have already served Riyadh well by steering New Delhi away from a closer partnership with Tehran. Separately, reenergized links with Pakistan offer Riyadh even more potent ammunition to counter Iran’s nuclear and regional ambitions.

Although Western analysts tend to view Saudi policies through a Middle Eastern lens, Riyadh’s South Asia play is a high-stakes gambit with direct consequences for Iranian nuclear developments, the war in Syria, Pakistan’s stability and Indo-Pakistani peace. Fortunately, if Washington is clever and a little lucky, many of Riyadh’s moves with Islamabad and New Delhi can be turned to the U.S. advantage. Continue reading

GCC oil fields and military bases threatened by the Islamic State

Saudi Arabia is facing today growing security threats amid fears that the same terrorism it established in neighboring countries, such as Iraq and Syria, will expand to reach its own territories, especially since the “Islamic State” organization has learned many lessons from the past experiences of its predecessor, al-Qaeda, with the Saudi regime.

New York – The Gulf governments seem worried these days. None of them had imagined, a few months ago, that individuals entrusted with security, people’s lives, oil fields and weapons would eventually pose the main threat to all these valuables.

Times have changed, so did the rules of the game. The new “caliph”, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, supported by countries of the Gulf that have provided him with money and arms, will not wait before striking. Al-Baghdadi may even resort to a preemptive war, this time launched from inside, not from across the borders. Continue reading

Jordanian Bedouin hoist Al Qaeda flag in Ma’an – 104 km from Eilat. US, Israeli forces on the ready

“Ma’an is the Falluja of Jordan!” shouted thousands of Bedouin Saturday, June 28, in the southern Jordanian town of Ma’an. This legend was inscribed on the placards and flags they bore aloft with one hand in the name of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS). In the other, they waved automatic rifles.

Ma’an (pop: 50,000) is in a sensitive location:  218 km south of Amman, it also lies 104 km from the Israeli port town of Eilat and some 60 km from the main artery cutting south from northern Israel to the south.

But although pro-Al Qaeda riots have been going on for days in Ma’an, capital of the southern province of the Kingdom of Jordan, military and security personnel have not been seen in its vicinity. Continue reading

King Abdullah calls up Saudi armed forces on high preparedness. Egyptian troops ready to fly to kingdom

Thursday, June 26, the day before US Secretary of State John Kerry was due in Riyadh, King Abdullah summoned a National Security Council meeting “upon the current security events in the region, especially in Iraq,” and ordered “all necessary measures to protect the kingdom against terrorist threats.” This meant a general call-up of military units for a high level of preparedness.

debkafile’s military sources disclose that Egypt is assembling an expeditionary commando force to fly to Saudi Arabia and bolster its border defenses.

This flurry of Saudi-Egyptian military steps comes in the wake of intelligence gathered by Saudi reconnaissance planes showing Iraqi Al Qaeda-linked Sunni fighters (ISIS) heading for the Saudi border and aiming to seize control of the Iraqi-Saudi crossing at Ar Ar (pop: 200,000). Continue reading

The U.S. Must Deny Russian Influence in Egypt

In the violent aftermath of the Egyptian military’s removal of Mohamed Morsi from power, the United States has tried to send a message with limited suspensions of aid. As the security situation on the Sinai Peninsula continues to deteriorate, re-engaging Egypt in counterterrorism efforts is warranted. The administration’s oscillating decisions to maintain, halt, and then reinstate this type of security assistance have been confusing at best and harmful at worst. Egypt’s need for satellite services (including launch capabilities) to address the growing problem of insurgents in the Sinai is a key national security concern to Egypt, Israel, and the U.S.

On the geopolitical stage, the fact that Russia has stepped in to solve Egypt’s technology services gap should further motivate the U.S. to action.The Egyptian sentiment that the U.S. has turned its back on them in their hour of need has left an opening for other players to provide financial and technical military assistance. Attempting to preserve the appearance of propriety and support a democratically elected leader, exert regional influence, and keep radical Islamists out of office, Washington has fallen short and created a vacuum whereby a pro-Syrian Russia has moved in to further its strategic regional interests. Continue reading

Major U.S. city next target for Islamic terror

ISIS militants not planning to stop in Iraq

WASHINGTON – Beyond Iraq, what is the intent of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria?

There appears to be short- and long-term goals, with a hint of those intentions in the name ISIS has chosen for itself.

Its real name is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, meaning Greater Syria.

ISIS, morphing from the Islamic State of Iraq before it was excommunicated from al-Qaida central in Pakistan last year for its extreme Wahhabi brutality, appears to have intentions of re-creating Greater Syria into an Islamic caliphate, subject to strict Shariah law. Continue reading

The New Map of the Middle East

 

The map you see above, and also embedded below, was the main illustration for the piece, which appeared in the January/February 2008 issue. I introduced the conceit of the story this way:

As America approaches the fifth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the list of the war’s unintended consequences is without end (as opposed to the list of intended consequences, which is, so far, vanishingly brief). The list includes, notably, the likelihood that the Kurds will achieve their independence and that Iraq will go the way of Gaul and be divided into three parts—but it also includes much more than that. Across the Middle East, and into south-central Asia, the intrinsically artificial qualities of several states have been brought into focus by the omnivorous American response to the attacks of 9/11; it is not just Iraq and Afghanistan that appear to be incoherent amalgamations of disparate tribes and territories. The precariousness of such states as Lebanon and Pakistan, of course, predates the invasion of Iraq. But the wars against al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and especially Saddam Hussein have made the durability of the modern Middle East state system an open question in ways that it wasn’t a mere seven years ago. Continue reading

Anonymous plans global cyber attacks on energy firms on Friday

Dubai: AnonGhost, a politically motivated group of hacktivists, is planning to launch cyber attacks on energy companies globally, including Adnoc and Enoc in the UAE, on Friday for using the dollar in oil trades.

This is according to a YouTube post link tweeted by the AnonGhost team.

“It is a follow-up from the #opPetrol operation in 2013. They [Anonymous] are serious about its political message and they will deliver it,” Nicolai Solling, director of technology services at Help AG, told ‘Gulf News’.

Continue reading

‘Proxy wars’ caused Iraq unrest

Essentially, an American forces reduction in Iraq created a power vacuum which Iran has happily attempted to fill in its quest for capturing the entire Middle East. Not wanting it to go unchecked and taking notice of the USA’s neglect, Saudi Arabia has stepped into the fray. Iran from the beginning has engineered the chaos and has now offered a pre-chosen solution in reaching out to America in ‘restabilizing’ Iraq. Iraq is now taking the bait by accepting Iranian troops and soon we will likely see an Iranian-dominated Middle East — without an American presence. You can also thank Russia (and China) for empowering Iran to begin with and making it what it is today, starting with the Iranian revolution.

Baghdad/ Berlin: While German  foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier warned on Sunday that the bloody conflict in Iraq could quickly spin into a regional “proxy war”, former  spokesperson for the US defence department J.D. Gordon said that the renewed violence is actually a “proxy war between Saudi Arabia and the Iranians which is now spilled over into Iraq and there will be a lot more violence in the months, years to come.”

“The Islamist radicals are being funded by the Saudis, Gulf states. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki did not include the Sunnis in the power-sharing agreement like he should have, so there a lot of Sunnis who are upset,” Mr Gordon was quoted as saying by Fox News. Continue reading

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