Armed with German Help

 

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.

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Saudi Arabia’s Saturday Night Massacre

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

Iran threatens to hit Saudi, Abu Dhabi and Dubai air and sea ports, ships more missiles to Yemeni Houthis

 

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

Saudi Helicopter Carrying 8 High-Ranking Officials & Prince Bin-Muqrin Crashed Near Yemen Border – All Dead

It’s unknown whether this was part of the ongoing purge in the kingdom but we shouldn’t be surprised if it is.

 

 

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

Saudis Call Missile Attack “Blatant Act Of Aggression” By Iran, “Could Be Considered Act Of War”

War is coming…

This weekend’s chaos in the middle east just got considerably more serious.

Yesterday we detailed reports that the Saudis intercepted a ballistic missile over the nation’s capital Riyadh… Continue reading

Future Saudi king tightens grip on power with arrests including Prince Alwaleed

FILE PHOTO – Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia October 24, 2017. REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

 

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

Is This The Geopolitical Shift Of The Century?

 

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. 

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China’s New Gold-Backed Oil Benchmark to Deal Blow to U.S. Dollar

ISTOCK.COM/SELENSERGEN

 

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 Saudi Power Balance Is On A Knife-Edge

 

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

Qatar Saudi Terror Row Deepens as Turkey Commits Troops

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan poses with commandos following a fast-breaking iftar dinner at the 1. Commando Brigade in Kayseri, Turkey, June 8, 2017. Kayhan Ozer/Presidential Palace/Handout via REUTERS

 

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

The Years of Terror (II)

BERLIN (Own report) – Following the recent terror attacks, international pressure has been mounting on a major supporter of global jihadism – Saudi Arabia, a close German ally. In London, leading politicians from the opposition are calling on the British government to finally publish an investigation of the – presumably Saudi – financiers of British jihadis. Protest against the western powers’ pact with the Saudi ruling clan is being raised also beyond Europe’s borders. The youth league of the world’s largest Islamic organization, the Indonesian Nahdlatul Ulama, for example, has published a declaration accusing the West of ignoring the direct correlation between the Saudi Salafist crusade “and the spread of terrorism worldwide.” For decades, Saudi Arabia has been promoting Salafi jihadi milieux throughout the world – partly in alliance with Germany, partly with Berlin’s de facto approval – significantly strengthening them in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Sahel, North Africa, the Middle East and the European countries with Muslim populations, such as Kosovo, as well as in Southeast Asia – in Indonesia and in the Philippines. While milieux supported by Saudi Arabia have increased their terror also in Western Europe, Berlin is continuing its cooperation with Riyadh.

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The Years of Terror (I)

LONDON/BERLIN/RIYADH (Own report) – With its continued worldwide support for Salafis, Germany’s close partner, Saudi Arabia, is relentlessly fertilizing the soil for the growth of jihadi terror, according to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). “The consequences of Saudi Arabia’s support for Salafism are catastrophic,” the SWP concludes in light of IS/Daesh activities in Europe. British experts are also sharply criticizing cooperation with Riyadh. If one seriously wants to combat jihadi terror, one “should start by stopping the mass export of Wahhabism’s intolerance and hatred from Saudi Arabia,” an insider recommends. This is, however, countered by Germany, other European powers and North America’s relentless cooperation with the Saudi ruling clan. Just a few weeks ago, Chancellor Angela Merkel launched regular military cooperation with the Saudi armed forces. Out of consideration for Riyadh, the British government has been withholding an investigation, showing the – presumably Saudi – financiers of British jihadis. This had been made known only three days before the latest terror attack in London.

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US-Saudi arms mega deal looks to counter Iran

 

Washington has announced a bumper arms deal with Saudi Arabia, heralding the package as a major boost to long-standing security ties and a way to further isolate Iran.

Administration officials claim the agreement — worth $110 billion over the next decade — is the biggest single arms deal in American history, and it will see US defense firms flow everything from ships and tanks to the latest anti-missile systems to the kingdom.

The deal also reportedly includes the renewed sale of precision-guided munitions that had been blocked under president Barack Obama’s administration, for fear the Saudis would use them on civilian targets in Yemen, where Riyadh is prosecuting a war against Iranian-backed Huthi rebels. Continue reading

Trump to unveil plans for an ‘Arab NATO’ in Saudi Arabia

Interestingly enough, in a previous post from 2015, Saudi Arabia was already working on building an ‘Islamic NATO’ to fight what it deemed ‘terrorism’. At the time, it could’ve been an actual Arab NATO forming under the guise of terrorist fighting, but the main aim was and always has been Iran. Maybe it still exists to this day and Trump is adding more strength to it.

Furthermore, and more interesting was America’s goals stated in public by now-retired General Wesley Clark to overthrow seven Middle East nations in five years to keep the next world superpower from rising. The goal never changed but the timeline did. Now fast forward to 2017 and almost six out of 10 are taken care of — the sixth being Syria which is almost as good as defeated and about to be split up between three or four major powers. If an Arab NATO is formed, it will obviously be with the blessing of Washington and likely used as a proxy to take out the seventh Middle East nation, Iran.

All in all, this is going to be a very interesting development to follow up on.

For more on the ‘Islamic NATO’, see the following previous post:

Is Saudi Arabia building an ‘Islamic NATO?’

 

President Trump meets with Saudi Defense Minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office on March 14. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

 

When President Trump arrives in Riyadh this week, he will lay out his vision for a new regional security architecture White House officials call an “Arab NATO,” to guide the fight against terrorism and push back against Iran. As a cornerstone of the plan, Trump will also announce one of the largest arms-sales deals in history.

Behind the scenes, the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have been conducting extensive negotiations, led by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The discussions began shortly after the presidential election, when Mohammed, known in Washington as “MBS,” sent a delegation to meet with Kushner and other Trump officials at Trump Tower. Continue reading

Iran threatens Saudi Arabia

Hossein Dehqan (Reuters)

 

Iran’s defense minister threatens to leave no part of Saudi Arabia untouched if Riyadh “does anything ignorant”.

Iran’s defense minister threatened Saudi Arabia on Sunday, days after a Saudi prince ruled out dialogue with Tehran and said he would protect his kingdom from what he called Iranian efforts to dominate the Muslim world.

“If the Saudis do anything ignorant, we will leave no area untouched except Mecca and Medina,” Dehqan said, according to the report, in comments made to Hezbollah’s Al-Manar TV. Continue reading