- Priests are afraid to talk about Jesus during mass. — Eva Hamberg, priest and professor, who in protest resigned from the priesthood and left the Church.
- The Church of Sweden may be headed towards “Chrislam” — a merging of Christianity and Islam. Swedish priests, noting the religious fervor among the Muslims now living in Sweden, enthusiastically take part in various interfaith projects.
- “There are reliable sources from Egypt, showing that the Saudi royal family is really a Jewish family that came from Iraq to the Arabian Peninsula sometime in the 1700s. They built an army with the aid of British officers fighting the Ottoman sultanate.” — Imam Awad Olwan, with whom a priest, Henrik Larsson, is cooperating in an interfaith project.
- “The involvement that the Church of Sweden has shown for the vulnerability of Christian Palestinians, has been replaced with indifference to the ethnic cleansing of Christians in Syria and Iraq. In these countries, it is mostly Muslims who commit the atrocities, which is evidently enough to make the Church of Sweden concentrate on climate change and environmental issues instead.” — Eli Göndör, scholar of religion.
The Church of Sweden has departed from being a strong and stern state church. In the past, Swedes were born into it and, until 1951, no one was allowed to leave the church. These days, however, it is an institution that has very little to do with Christianity or Jesus. Sweden now, according to the World Values Survey, is one of the world’s most secular countries; every year a large number of Swedes leave the church.
(TRUNEWS) While reviewing 9/11 documents previously declassified in July 2015, blogger Brian P. McGlinchey discovered a new link between Saudi Arabia and the 2001 terror attacks.
In the seventeenth of the 29 documents released under the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) appeal 2012-48, McGlinchey uncovered that the FBI had located the flight certificate for Ghassan Al-Sharbi — a known al-Qaeda member who trained with the 9/11 hijackers. The report said the Embry Riddle certificate was buried in an underground cache in Pakistan, and was inside an official envelope marked from the Saudi Embassy in Washington.
McGlinchey noted on his blog, 28pages.org that its not uncommon for people to re-use envelopes or to correspond with their nations embassy while living in a foreign country. But did say nonetheless, that this — and the rest of Document 17 — directly indicates another possible connection between the Saudi government, al-Qaeda, and the 9/11 terrorist attack.
In recent days, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the top echelons of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) dispatched threatening messages to Saudi Arabia’s rulers in response to the hundreds of Iranians killed in the stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia, which claimed the lives of over a thousand Hajj pilgrims. Khamenei, along with IRGC commanders and ideological camp leaders, were furious at the Saudi royal family, holding it responsible for the disaster and promising a “harsh and decisive” response if Saudi Arabia continued what they called its deliberate anti-Iran conduct. The daily Kayhan, which is close to Khamenei, even claimed that Saudi authorities had intentionally caused the stampede after it was planned by the Israeli Mossad. Continue reading
Apparently Iran was on to something when it said the Saudi leadership wouldn’t be around in another 20 years from now. Maybe Iran knew beforehand something was going on behind the scenes. Maybe Iran penetrated the Saudi leadership circles and now have influence.
We’ll know more in the future about any possible influence as events unfold, especially if they become pro-Iran.
If Iran ever somehow took control of Saudi Arabia through influential channels, or united with them, they will have succeeded in their long-term ambitions of becoming the Middle East hegemon and new superpower on the world stage. How events have already been unfolding throughout the last decades, it seems already likely, but this would erase all doubt that Iran is the Biblically prophesied King of the South.
Senior member of Saudi royal family calls for coup to replace King Salman as the country’s leader
A Saudi prince has reportedly launched an unprecedented campaign against Saudi King Salman, calling for a coup to replace the monarch, claiming he “led the country to disaster.”
Speaking to the British daily The Guardian, the unnamed prince — one of the hundreds of grandsons of the nation’s founder, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud — said plans were being put into place to replace Salman, who succeeded King Abdullah in January. Continue reading
Iran on Saturday marked Army Day with a military parade featuring new weapons systems, as well as a truck carrying a massive banner reading “Death to Israel.”
A televised broadcast of the parade was punctuated by repeated cries of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
“If Israel makes a mistake,” the announcer on Iran television said during the broadcast, as heavy trucks carrying armored personnel carriers rolled past, “those in Tel Aviv and Haifa will not sleep at night, not one person.” Continue reading
Whether it is to cripple the will of Putin and end his support of the Syria regime (thus handing the much desired gas-pipeline traversing territory over to Qatari and/or Saudi interests), a hypothesis first presented here in September and subsequently validated by the NYT, or much more simply, just to destroy any and all marginal producers so that Saudi Arabia is once again the world’s most important and price-setting producer and exporter of oil, one thing is clear: the Saudis will not relent from pumping more oil into the market than there is (declining) demand for, until its biggest threat and competitor – the US shale patch – which recently had become the marginal oil producer, as well as its investors – mostly junk bond holders gambling with other people’s money – are crushed, driven before the Saudi royal family, and the lamentation of their women is heard across the globe.
That much is known.
Saudi billionaire businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal told me we will not see $100-a-barrel oil again. The plunge in oil prices has been one of the biggest stories of the year. And while cheap gasoline is good for consumers, the negative impact of a 50% decline in oil has been wide and deep, especially for major oil producers such as Saudi Arabia and Russia. Even oil-producing Texas has felt a hit. The astute investor and prince of the Saudi royal family spoke to me exclusively last week as prices spiraled below $50 a barrel. He also predicted the move would dampen what has been one of the big U.S. growth stories: the shale revolution. In fact, in the last two weeks, several major rig operators said they had received early cancellation notices for rig contracts. Companies apparently would rather pay to cancel rig agreements than keep drilling at these prices. His royal highness, who has been critical of Saudi Arabia’s policies that have allowed prices to fall, called the theory of a plan to hurt Russian President Putin with cheap oil “baloney” and said the sharp sell-off has put the Saudis “in bed” with the Russians. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Q: Can you explain Saudi Arabia’s strategy in terms of not cutting oil production?
A: Saudi Arabia and all of the countries were caught off guard. No one anticipated it was going to happen. Anyone who says they anticipated this 50% drop (in price) is not saying the truth. Continue reading
It should be no secret that the Saudis are both fed up with the Obama administration and seek an end to the Iranian regime. They have even threatened to go nuclear should Iran be allowed to continue its nuclear program.
Hardly a day goes by without the Obama administration pointing out in some US media outlet the futility, wrongheadedness, hazards, superfluity etc. of Israel military action for pre-empting a nuclear Iran. The public has been informed, for instance, that it would only set Iran’s program back by a year, and that the ayatollahs have put their nuclear bomb program on hold. So what’s the hurry?
But about the equally strenuous White House effort to hold Saudi Arabia back from attacking Syria as well as Iran – hardly a word sees the light of day.
The fuss and pother about Israel’s intentions distract attention from the very real fears in Washington about the Saudi royal family’s plans for military action against Iran and its allies, Syria and Hizballah, and Riyadh’s efforts to draw the heads of the Gulf oil emirates into the action.
Riyadh puts no trust in the sanctions and embargo Washington and its Western allies have put in place to curb Iran’s nuclear aspirations. Instead, they see sanctions becoming a boon for Tehran
Tuesday, March 20, oil fell by only 1 percent after the Saudis announced their most detailed steps yet to make good on any shortfalls generated by the embargo on Iranian oil and the cutoff from March 17 of Iran’s banks from transactions through the Belgian-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT), which facilitates most of the world’s bank transfers.
Money in Iran’s pocket from sanctions-boosting oil prices
Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi announced the kingdom was pumping 9.9 million barrels per day – the highest level in decades – and was willing to turn the taps up to a maximum capacity of 12.5 million bpd to meet its customers’ every request.
Iraq, too, added 30,000 barrels per day to its production of 2.1 million bpd.
But these steps failed to reverse the upward price trend.
And the sanctions’ deleterious impact on Tehran was offset by profits from skyrocketing oil prices: Not only were the extra costs of circuitous trade routes covered, but the declining value of the Iranian rial flattened.
“We are ready and willing to put more oil on the market, but you need a buyer,” Al-Naimi said bitterly, aware that no matter how much more oil Saudi Arabia may pump, Tehran is still ahead of the sanctions game. Only if China, Japan and India can be persuaded to line up behind the Obama administration and make genuine cutbacks in their oil purchases from Iran, would the topped-up Saudi oil production come into play.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources in the Gulf report that the Saudis suspect the Obama administration of publicly talking up the latest round of sanctions (Barack Obama: “We’ve applied the toughest sanctions ever on Iran”), while assuring Tehran in quiet talks (See the item in this issue about secret US-Iranian talks), that, so long as they keep the dialogue going, sanctions will put Iran in the black.
US stalls British-Saudi arms sales
This week, US acted to stymie Saudi operations in two key arenas:
1. Iran was the first: They suspect the White House of ordering US International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) to stall the sale of British precision-guided Paveway IV bombs developed by Raytheon UK, a weapon that would enable Saudi Arabia to attack key Iranian Persian Gulf sites, such as its naval bases on the Sirri, Abu Musa, Greater Tunb and Lesser Tunb islands around the strategic Strait of Hormuz, and strategic locations on Iran’s Persian Gulf coast.
The Saudis believe the US administration is deliberately keeping those assault weapons out of their hands to frustrate a potential attack on Iran.
They had pinned their hopes on British Prime Minister David Cameron interceding on their behalf with President Barack Obama during his visit to Washington in mid-March and getting the weapons released to Riyadh.
But the bonhomie and shared jokes aside, Cameron made no headway in budging the US president from his opposition to the sale, although British interests are also at stake. The sale to Saudi Arabia of 72 Eurofighter Typhoons delivered by BAE Systems (the combination of British Aerospace and Marconi Electronic Systems), is still up in the air because without the precision-guided bombs, those bomber jets are not much use to the Saudis.
Washington stops Jordan allowing Saudi troops transit to Syria
2. The Obama administration is firing every stratagem in its quiver to hold Saudi Arabia back from military intervention in the Syria crisis.
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s sources in the Persian Gulf disclose exclusively that, two weeks ago, SaudiKing Abdullah secretly asked Jordan’sKing Abdullah for permission to send Saudi military forces into Syria by way of the Hashemite Kingdom.
Senior Saudi princes, including Saudi Defense Minister Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz, had already been in touch with their Jordanian counterparts to discuss detailed plans which designated the routes Saudi forces would take, the Jordanian bases they would use and the Saudi Air Force’s tactics for covering the advancing Saudi troops and shielding the Kingdom of Jordan against potential Syrian air force action.
The Saudis plan to send troops in to the Syrian Druze Mountains and Horan regions for setting up safe havens to protect the beleaguered civilian population from Syrian military and security forces.
On March 15, Prince Salman attended a military parade on the grounds of the Eighth King Fahd Brigade in Tabuk in northern Saudia near the Jordanian border.
It was attended by a high-powered lineup: Chief of Staff Gen. Hussein Al-Qubail, Gen. Abdul Rahman Al-Binyan, Director General of the Prime Minister’s office, Gen. Prince Khaled bin Bandar, commander of Land Forces, and Maj. Gen. Eid Al-Shalawi, Commander of the Northern Region.
The parade of military prowess and resolve was mean to impress on Jordan that the Saudis were serious about getting a force into Syria through its territory.
The two Abdullahs in deep discord
This Saudi plan was soon nipped in the bud.
Riyadh was informed that US officials had warned the Jordanian monarch against acceding to the Saudi request. Stuck in an impasse, the Hashemite king stopped answering insistent Saudi calls for clarifications.
Seeing their plans for intervention in Syria in ruins, the Saudis decided to get their own back.
In an unprecedented move against a fellow Arab ruler, they arranged for an Arab diplomat, who remained anonymous, to inform the Omani Gulf News agency that Saudi arms were being pumped to the anti-Assad Syrian rebels and the first shipment was on its way to destination through Jordan.
By spilling the beans about Jordan’s clandestine role in this traffic, Riyadh exposed the kingdom to Syrian punitive action.
This maneuver brought the Jordanian king hurrying over to Riyadh for a secret visit.
Our sources report that when he tried explaining to the Saudi king that if Assad was toppled his successors would be worse, he was brusquely brushed aside. Saudi King Abdullah, who is twice the age of the Hashemite royal, reproved him sharply and told him it was time to make up his mind on which side he was in the Middle East.
The two kings Abdullah parted in deep discord.
Saudis are gunning for the US and Turkey
As for Syria, Bashar Assad will have understood by now that Riyadh is rolling up its sleeves for military action against him as soon as a way can be found. Four complications are unfolding:
First: The disclosure that weapon shipments to anti-Assad rebels were passing through Jordan has revived the Saudi pledge of a military and air shield for the Hashemite Kingdom against Syrian aggression. This may lead to military and aerial clashes between Syria and Saudi Arabia on Jordanian soil very near the sensitive junction of Jordanian, Lebanese and Israeli borders.
With this eventuality in mind, Riyadh is reported by DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s military sources to have selected the Druze Mountains and Horan region as potential safe havens for persecuted Syrians.
Second: Saudi-US relations are in sharp decline: Riyadh’s Syrian initiative is an act of protest against Washington’s decision to refrain from military intervention to stop Assad’s brutal suppression of the revolt in Syria – even after at least 8,000 Syrian civilian deaths.
The encounter three weeks ago in Tunis between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, ended with Faisal angrily stalking out with words to the effect of: if you don’t take action against Bashar Assad, we will.
The Saudis fully intend now to make good on that threat.
Third: The Saudis are gunning for Turkey. They intend to show up Ankara’s toothlessness in the fight against Assad in contrast to its leaders’ high rhetoric about their prowess as a Middle East Muslim superpower.
Most of all, they can’t abide Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s pretensions as go-between for the back-channel dialogue the Obama administration is conducting with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. (See a separate item in this issue.)
Fourth: Riyadh finds it essential to counteract Iran’s airlift of arms and equipment into Syria through Iraqi airspace. The Saudis refuse to stand by idly while Iran enhances its position in Syria and Iraq.
Full article: Obama Holds Saudis Back from Striking Iran – and Syria Too (DEBKAfile)
Analysts and diplomats assert that the Saudi royal family has been
frustrated by the U.S. hesitation to stop Iran. They cited the refusal by
the administration of President Barack Obama to sign tough sanctions
legislation that targeted Iran’s energy sector.
“The Gulf states are definitely taking a stronger stance against Iran
and are using their considerable influence to try to convince others of
their Iranian fears,” Theodore Karasik, an analyst at the Institute for Near
East and Gulf Military Analysis in the United Arab Emirates, said.
Currently, the GCC, led by the Saudis, were engaged in a massive
military buildup. Riyad has ordered about $30 billion worth of fighter-jets
and munitions from the United States while the UAE was expected to purchase
another $20 billion from Washington.
Continue reading article: Saudis seek new security allies, sign nuclear agreement with China (World Tribune)