Vladimir Putin has drawn up this plan for the Sochi conference. He will put it before Binyamin Netanyahu when they meet on Monday, Jan. 29.
DEBKAfile reports that the Russian president has prepared a plan for Syria’s post-war future for presentation to the Syrian peace conference which begins on the same day at the Black Sea resort of Sochi. Moscow has taken into account 1,600 Syrian government and opposition participants. Some rebel groups have announced a boycott. DEBKAfile reports that the absentees are pro-Assad and pro-Iranian groups who are boycotting the event to reflect their masters’ objections to the Russian president’s plans. Unless he decides to back down at the last moment, those plans are substantially as follows:
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is on his way Tuesday to Riyadh where he faces a stern demand to break away from the Turkish-Qatari-Jordanian line-up fighting US political steps in the region. DEBKAfile reports that Saudi Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman will not give way on this demand and, if Abbas holds out, the showdown could end in the Saudis cutting off assistance to the Palestinian Authority. Continue reading
Lowe and behold the ‘islamic NATO’ discussed in the previous posts:
Riyadh (AFP) – Saudi Arabia’s crown prince vowed to “pursue terrorists until they are wiped from the face of the earth” as officials from 40 Muslim countries gathered Sunday in the first meeting of an Islamic counter-terrorism alliance.
“In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries… with no coordination” among national authorities, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is also Saudi defence minister, said in his keynote address to the gathering in Riyadh.
“This ends today, with this alliance.” Continue reading
BERLIN/RIYADH(Own report) – Germany is helping Saudi Arabia establish an independent arms industry. Via its South African subsidiary, the Rheinmetall Group has already set up an ammunition factory in Riyadh, in which Saudi Arabia can produce artillery shells and bombs for its Air Force. Next month, a Rheinmetall manager will be appointed chair of the new arms producer – SAMI (Saudi Arabian Military Industries). Saudi Arabia, which competes with Russia for the third place of countries with the highest military budgets, is seeking to buy half its weaponry eventually from domestic companies. SAMI should thus become one of the 25 most important arms manufacturers in the world – with close contacts to US arms manufacturing giants and the EU’s military industry. This project is being launched at a time when Riyadh is on an extremely aggressive course, to win a power struggle with Iran for predominance in the Middle East.
This weekend, while we here in the US were focused on the upcoming election and President Trump’s visit to Asia, a powerful drama with vast geopolitical implications played out in Saudi Arabia.
Mohammad bin Salman, the king’s son, is the de facto ruler of the country and has been making increasingly aggressive moves in an attempt to shift Saudi Arabia from its status as an ultraconservative oil-producing nation to a 21st-century manufacturing superpower with social mores to match. In doing so he has greatly perturbed a broad swath of the Saudi elite – many of them his near and distant royal family brethren – as well as the fundamentalist Wahhabi clergy. Continue reading
Military tensions rise in the Gulf region amid Iranian threats and supplies of extended-range missiles to the Yemeni insurgents.
Tehran has warned Riyadh that unless the Saudi blockade of Yemeni ports is lifted, Revolutionary Guards missiles supplied to the Yemeni Houthi insurgents will be loosed against the seaports and airfields of Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The warning was forwarded to their governments through the Omani back channel. Continue reading
The shocking latest twist in what has been a chaotic weekend in Saudi Arabia is news that a helicopter transporting 8 high-ranking Saudi officials (including prince Mansour bin-Muqrin) has crashed in the south of the Kingdom, near the border with Yemen.
As PTI reports, a Saudi prince was killed today when a helicopter with several officials on board crashed near the kingdom’s southern border with war-torn Yemen, state television said. Continue reading
RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s future king has tightened his grip on power through an anti-corruption purge by arresting royals, ministers and investors including billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal who is one of the kingdom’s most prominent businessmen.
Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of the king and owner of investment firm Kingdom Holding, invests in firms such as Citigroup and Twitter. He was among 11 princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers detained, three senior officials told Reuters on Sunday.
The purge against the kingdom’s political and business elite also targeted the head of the National Guard, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, who was detained and replaced as minister of the powerful National Guard by Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf. Continue reading
The geopolitical reality in the Middle East is changing dramatically.
The impact of the Arab Spring, the retraction of the U.S. military, and diminishing economic influence on the Arab world—as displayed during the Obama Administration—are facts.
The emergence of a Russian-Iranian-Turkish triangle is the new reality. The Western hegemony in the MENA region has ended, and not in a shy way, but with a long list of military conflicts and destabilization.
The first visit of a Saudi king to Russia shows the growing power of Russia in the Middle East. It also shows that not only Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but also Egypt and Libya, are more likely to consider Moscow as a strategic ally.
New financial instrument gives oil-exporting nations their long-sought alternative to the petrodollar.
China will soon introduce a crude oil futures contract denominated in yuan and convertible into gold, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on September 1. Analysts say that since China is the world’s largest oil importer, the move could deal a major blow to the global influence of the United States dollar.
The contract would allow oil exporting nations such as Russia, Iran and Venezuela to conduct sales in yuan, instead of in U.S. dollars, and to then change the yuan into gold on both the Hong Kong and Shanghai exchanges. This would also allow these countries that often fall afoul of American foreign policy to circumvent dollar-based U.S. sanctions.
The Chinese government has been developing the gold-backed futures contract for years, and Oilprice.com reports that it is expected to launch this year. It will be China’s first commodities futures contract available to foreign entities, and analysts expect many oil-exporting nations and firms to find it appealing. Continue reading
The sweltering heat of Saudi Arabian summer will feel like a cool breeze compared to the geopolitical fire that could soon take over the country if ongoing internal power struggles destabilize the Kingdom’s Royal Family and national security in the coming weeks.
After his successful elevation to Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS) has been appointed by King Salman to be in charge during his holiday to Morocco. The King’s holiday comes at a time of relative instability in the Kingdom, as the effects of the removal of former Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef at the end of the Ramadan period continue to linger. Continue reading
On Friday the diplomatic split between Qatar and an Arab coalition led by Saudi Arabia deepened as 18 Qataris were placed on a terrorism blacklist and Turkey committed troops, warships and planes to defend their ally.
(DUBAI/DOHA) The developments intensified a confrontation between tiny-but-wealthy Qatar and a group of Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt that accuse it of fomenting instability. The dispute has created a major diplomatic test for the United States, which is close allies of the countries on both sides.
In an apparent escalation of the crisis, staff at Al Jazeera, Qatar’s influential satellite television news channel which often infuriates the rulers of the Arab world, said on Thursday its computer systems were under cyber attack. Continue reading