Did Saudis, CIA Fear Khashoggi 9/11 Bombshell?

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The macabre case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi raises the question: did Saudi rulers fear him revealing highly damaging information on their secret dealings? In particular, possible involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks on New York in 2001.

Even more intriguing are US media reports now emerging that American intelligence had snooped on and were aware of Saudi officials making plans to capture Khashoggi prior to his apparent disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. If the Americans knew the journalist’s life was in danger, why didn’t they tip him off to avoid his doom? Continue reading

Russia imports Iranian teams for S-300s in Syria – 24 launchers in all. Shocked alarm in US, Israel

 

DEBKA Exclusive:  The US and Israel were alarmed to learn that Moscow had decided to man the S-300 anti-air missiles sent to Syria with Iranian teams, DEBKAfile’s exclusive sources report. US and Israeli intelligence agencies which brought the news to Washington and Jerusalem also reported that the Russians had begun flying the Iranian operatives over to Syria. Continue reading

A New Era Of Geopolitical Risk In Global Oil Markets

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Amid never ending talk and speculation over how many more barrels of Iranian oil will be removed from global markets once sanctions slated to hit Iran’s oil production on November 6 take effect, some are claiming that geopolitical factors have driven the market just as much as supply fundamentals.

At Russia Energy Week in Moscow last week, both Saudi and Russian energy ministers said they see rising geopolitical risk as driving the recent oil price increase at a time when there is sufficient supply in the market. Of course, the notion of sufficient supply will be tested soon, as will both Saudi Arabia’s and OPEC’s spare production capacity will be called on to maintain this supply. Continue reading

Trump To Saudi King: “You Wouldn’t Last Two Weeks Without Us”

 

One week after President Trump accused Saudi Arabia of deliberately conspiring to drive up oil prices during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly, the president stepped up his rhetoric against America’s most important strategic ally in the Middle East during a rally in Southaven Mississippi Tuesday night, implying that the US could withdraw the military protection it provides to the kingdom and warning that the Saudi regime that it wouldn’t survive for “two weeks” without US support. Continue reading

Chinese armed drones now flying across Mideast battlefields

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FILE – In this Oct. 10, 2015, file photo, Iraqi Defense Minister Khaled al-Obeidi, center, inspects a first Chinese drone to be used by the Iraqi Air Force before sending it to bomb Islamic State group positions at an airbase in Kut, 160 kilometers (100 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq. Across the Middle East, countries locked out of purchasing U.S.-made drones due to rules over excessive civilian casualties are being wooed by Chinese arms dealers, who are world’s main distributor of armed drones. The sales are helping expand Chinese influence across a region crucial to American security interests and bolstering Beijing’s ambitions of being a world leader in high-tech arms sales. (AP Photo, File)

 

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — High above Yemen’s rebel-held city of Hodeida, a drone controlled by Emirati forces hovered as an SUV carrying a top Shiite Houthi rebel official turned onto a small street and stopped, waiting for another vehicle in its convoy to catch up.

Seconds later, the SUV exploded in flames, killing Saleh al-Samad, a top political figure.

The drone that fired that missile in April was not one of the many American aircraft that have been buzzing across the skies of Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan since Sept. 11, 2001. It was Chinese. Continue reading

Syria’s S-300s are being integrated in Russia’s national nuclear C3 command and control system

 

When Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Oct. 2 that the “unified” S-300 air defense systems in Syria will be installed in Syria by Oct. 20, he really meant its integration in the Russian homeland system. This element of his report to President Vladimir Putin is the key to the real import of Moscow’s response to the downing of its Il-20 spy plane on Sept. 17, for which Shoigu blamed Israel. DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources report that Putin seized on the disaster to establish in Syria an advanced air defense weapons system linked not only to the Russian Khmeimim Air Base in Latakia, but integrated in Russia’s own C3 command, control and communications system against nuclear attack. Continue reading

Strategic breakthrough for Iran in unimpeded drone-missile attack on E. Syria

 

Neither Israel nor the US intervened when Iran broke new strategic ground on Monday, Oct. 1 by sending a squadron of 11 stealth UAVs to attack ISIS in E. Syria. DEBKAfile: The attack drones were greater cause for concern than the six surface missiles the Revolutionary Guards launched from their base in Kermanshah in western Iran. Like the missiles, the assault drones cut through Iraqi air space to their targets in Syria, without asking Baghdad for permission; but, unlike the missiles, they also returned to home base by the same route unhindered. Not a single Israeli or American aircraft took to the air stop them. Continue reading

Enter the Dragon: China’s Belt and Road Rising in the Middle East

Cairenes are not modest about their beloved city. It is Umm al-Dunya, they say, the mother of the world. They also call it simply Masr, the Arabic term for Egypt, suggesting, of course, that there is really nothing worth noting in the vast country beyond their grand city on the Nile.

Fifty miles east of Cairo, a Chinese construction firm is giving the aged, crowded, increasingly decaying “mother of the world” a face-lift of sorts. China State Construction and Engineering Company (CSCEC) has broken ground on a new business and administrative district to the tune of $3 billion, mostly financed by Chinese banks. When completed by late 2019, according to projections, much of Egypt’s government will move to this new “capital.” Continue reading

Russia ramps up anti-Israel measures in Syria for possible war of attrition

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At some point in the last 48 hours, the fallout from the Russian Il-20 plane disaster has evolved into hostile steps by Moscow against Israel, as reported by DEBKAfile.

  1. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced on Friday, Sept. 28 that Russia had already handed over advanced S-300 missile defense systems to Syria. This was a day after Russian National Security Adviser Nikolai Patrushev met in Tehran with his counterpart Ali Shamkhani. A tradeoff was to have been offered at that meeting, whereby Israeli would call off its air strikes in Syria if Iran stopped sending arms to Hizballah via Syria. Israel was given to understand by Russian officials that this deal would be sealed at an early face-to-face between President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Until then. the S-300s would be held in abeyance. However, as Lavrov indicated, either Israel was misled, or Moscow sharply changed course in the last 48 hours. Netanyahu responded to the Russian disclosure by calling the S-300 handover to Syria “irresponsible.”

Continue reading

US Hints At Naval Blockade Of Russian Energy Exports Which Moscow Warns Would Be “An Act Of War”

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaking at an industry event on Friday. Image source: State Impact Pennsylvania

 

In a interview about fracking and the implications of making the United States less dependent on foreign sources of energy, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told the Washington Examiner that the US Navy has the ability to blockade Russia from controlling energy supplies in the Middle East.

“The United States has that ability, with our Navy, to make sure the sea lanes are open, and, if necessary, to blockade… to make sure that their energy does not go to market,” Zinke said on Friday at a Consumer Energy Alliance event in Pittsburg.  Continue reading

On a State Visit to Berlin

 

BERLIN/ANKARA (Own report) – Turkish President Recep Tayyig Erdoğan’s arrival in Berlin on a state visit amid media reports of arms cooperation with his country and of state-sponsored denunciation, using a smartphone app of those – also in Germany – critical of his government. Erdoğan will be received with all protocolary state honors, since the German government wants to strengthen its ties to Ankara at all costs. There is a growing risk that Ankara will turn its back on the West. Germany seeks to strengthen these ties because of Turkey’s contribution to warding off refugees and particularly for geostrategic motives. Turkey is regarded as the indispensable isthmus to Germany gaining the much-coveted influence in Central Asia and the Middle East. Ankara is also facilitating the participation of Berlin in achieving an alignment in Syria, together with Moscow – but with the exclusion of Washington. Expansion of German-Turkish cooperation involves contracts in the billions for German companies and German participation in the development of Turkey’s own arms industry.

Continue reading

World upside down as EU and Russia unite against US

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EU refused to be ‘pushed around by the unilateral decisions of our US allies’, France’s Emmanuel Macron said (Photo: Consilium)

 

The UN general assembly in New York, the world’s largest diplomatic event, turned into a show of EU solidarity with Russia and China against the US on Tuesday (25 September).

The development, which came about over Iran, symbolised a world-turned-upside-down by US leader Donald Trump’s unilateralism.

It left Mike Pompeo, Trump’s foreign policy chief, “disturbed and indeed deeply disappointed”. Continue reading

US Pulls Patriot Missiles From Middle East As Focus Shifts To China, Russia Threat

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The Pentagon is removing Patriot missile systems from several Middle Eastern countries next month, an a move that the Wall Street Journal says coincides with a “realignment of forces and capabilities as the military steps up its focus on threats from China and Russia,” citing multiple senior military officials.

The relocation of the systems out of the Middle East, which hasn’t been previously disclosed, is one of the most tangible signs of the Pentagon’s new focus on threats from Russia and China and away from the long-running conflicts in the Middle East and Afghanistan. Continue reading

Iranian Militant Threatens to Open ‘Gates of Hell’ on U.S. Military

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UPDATE: Pompeo heckled by Iranian protestors: ‘We’re sick of you’

An Iranian military leader on Tuesday threatened to open the “gates of Hell” on the U.S. military if the Trump administration moves to attack Iranian-backed forces in Iraq, according to new threats that come on the heels of the Islamic Republic declaring that it will not engage in direct talks with President Donald Trump.

Iran has amped up its military rhetoric, threatening the United States directly in recent weeks as the Trump administration readies new sanctions expected to cripple the Iranian economy and further fuel ongoing popular protests against the hardline regime. Continue reading

Russia declares electronic war on Israel ranging over Syria, E. Mediterranean

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Within two weeks, Russia will arm Syria with S-300 air defense systems and start jamming navigation in the E. Mediterranean – two of the three measures announced by Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu in Moscow on Monday, Sept. 24 “in response to Israel’s role in downing the Russian IL-20” on Sept. 17.

Syria’s air defense electronic capacities will be boosted to level that of Russian forces in the country. But the most significant measure announced by Shoigu was: “Russia will jam satellite navigation, on-board radars and communication systems of combat aircraft, which attack targets in the Syrian territory, in the regions over the waters of the Mediterranean Sea bordering with Syria.” Continue reading