In Escalating War Of Words, Saudi Crown Prince Calls Iran’s Ayatollah “New Hitler Of The Middle East”

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Saudi Arabia’s powerful, and controversial, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as we warned earlier in the year when he was elevated to his currrent status, has in a few months has made more local (and foreign) enemies than most of his predecessors accumulated over a lifetime, appears to have decided he does not need to wait any longer for the final war that will cement the global supremacy of his particularly unpleasant brand of Islamic extremism.
In an interview with the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman, which covered a wide range of topics including the recent power grab anti-corruption campaign, to Donald Trump, to the Saudi social and religious revolution, bin Salman (MbS to his friends,) called the Ayatollah Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran “the new Hitler of the Middle East”. This signals his intention to escalate the war of words between the arch-rivals. For his part, Khamenei has referred to the House of Saud as an “accursed tree”, and Iranian officials have accused the kingdom of spreading terrorism.

MbS, who after the recent night of the long knives purge anti corruption campaign is also now the Saudi defense minister and holder of any other job he fancies, slapped down the ISIS card and suggested the Islamic Republic’s alleged expansion under Ayatollah Ali Khamenei needed to be confronted.

“But we learned from Europe that appeasement doesn’t work. We don’t want the new Hitler in Iran to repeat what happened in Europe in the Middle East,” the paper quoted him as saying.

As reported previously, tensions between Iran and the Saudi Kingdom were ratched up again this month when Lebanon’s Saudi-allied Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned in a television broadcast from Riyadh, citing the influence of Iran-backed Hezbollah in Lebanon and risks to his life. Hezbollah called the move an act of war engineered by Saudi authorities, an accusation they denied.

The NYT subtitled the Friedman interview “The crown prince has big plans to bring back a level of tolerance to his society”, which is ironic considering MbS, a supporter of the most intolerant version of Islam, the fundamentalis Wahhabi sect, just rounded up most of his country’s wealthiest and most liberal citizens and gave them an ultimatum: your money or your freedom. And speaking of extortions, the Crown Prince said that 95% of of suspects agree to a “cash settlement”, adding that the public prosecutor expects govt to recover about “$100 billion in settlements.”

Saudi Arabia desperately needs cash: with oil refusing to rise to its previous level of $100/barrel, Riyadh is hard-pressed to continue funding its ongoing war of aggression against neighboring Yemen, now in its third year. As happened in Syria where President Assad’s forces, backed by Iran and Russia defied the terrorists of ISIS, a movement supplied by the USA and NATO and funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. So far Saudi Arabia’s mercenaries have failed to to defeat the Iranian-aligned Houthi movement that seized broad swaths of the country.

Salman told the New York Times that the war was going in its favor and that its allies controlled 85% of Yemen’s territory. Which of course, is meaningless: the Houthis still retain the main population centers despite the war effort by a Saudi-led military coalition which receives intelligence and refueling for its warplanes by the United States.

Some 10,000 people have died in the conflict, largely thanks to weapons made in the US.

Ominously, Bin Salman said in May that the kingdom would make sure any future struggle between the two countries “is waged in Iran.” Now that Israel is openly on the side of Saudi Arabia in the upcoming middle-east war, said Iran-based “struggle” may be imminent.

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Egypt Mosque Attack Death Toll Hits 235

24 November, 2017

Early today, heavily armed Islamic militants stormed a mosque in Egypt’s northern Sinai Peninsula on Friday, killing at least 235 people and wounding at least 120 others, according to Bloomberg.  In what appears to be the deadliest mass killing in Egypt since the 2013 attack in Rabaa al-Adawiya, where paramilitary militia men who support President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi murdered as many as 900 Islamists who had gathered in the square for a nonviolent sit-in.

The latest assault, west of the town of El-Arish in Sinai, targeted people gathered for Friday prayers, when mosques in Egypt often overflow with worshipers. There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Yet Sinai province, which lies to the east of the Nile delta and borders southern Israel and the Gaza Strip, has been a key battleground in the government’s struggle against a local branch of Islamic State.

As the BBC   has reported, Northern Sinai has been living under a media blackout for several years. No media organisations, including state-sponsored media, have been allowed to report from there.

While the majority of Islamist activity has been confined to the northern part of the Sinai, the violence has occasionally spilled over to Cairo and other main cities. Meanwhile, attacks against Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority have killed dozens.

Al-Arabiya and other local sources said some of the worshippers were Sufis. Islamic State regards them as apostates because they revere saints and shrines, which hardliners believe is tantamount to heresy.

While the bombings aren’t seen as threatening the stability of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi’s government, they’ve devastated the tourist industry, a vital pillar of the economy, according to Bloomberg. El-Sisi called a meeting with the security committee following the mass killing, according to the state-run television said.

El-Sisi has declared three days of mourning, according to Shorouk News. State TV reports five militants were involved in the attack.

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As usual The Daily Stirrer was moths ahead of the mainstream in reporting this.

Civilians in Yemen are still in the grip of a major humanitarian crisis as Saudi Arabia’s war on the impoverished republic continues unabated. Shocking numbers are affected including 7 million civilians facing severe malnutrition, and 19 million out of the country’s 27 million population “in need of some form of aid.” However, all of this is made worse by the Saudis having imposed a blockade on humanitarian support. It effectively genocide and yet the United Nations does nothing and the USA and NATO allies impose sanctions on nations which try to help Yemen.

Yemen has been devastated by more than two years of brutal civil war, with Sunni Muslims loyal to the oppressive regime, supported by the Saudi Arabian government’s well equipped military and politically by the United States. President Abd-Rabu Mansour Hadi’s government is backed by the Saudi-led coalition and is fighting to drive the Shi’ite Houthi rebels out of cities they seized in 2014 and 2015.

Since the beginning of the conflict, US support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen, started by Obama and continued by Trump, thousands of innocent civilians—including children—have been slaughtered by American and European manufactured weapons. In spite of the fact that the Saudis have been caught dropping US bombs on schools, hospitals, and marketplaces, (remember the faux outrage from liberal media and politicians when Assad’s forces were accused of doing that in Syria, even though a blind, deaf and dumb person could have seen those alleged atricities were false flag events.) The Saudis and their mercenaries have been directly targeting civilians yet the US and NATO continue to support the side controlled by the Saudis.

Last week, Houthi rebels in Yemen launched a ballistic missile toward the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh. In response to the attack which killed no one, the Saudis placed a blockade on all flights in Yemen, including humanitarian aid. The blockade has stopped the flow of the much needed medical supplies and the food for which millions of Yemenis are desperate and if not reversed will cause the largest genocide by starvation in modern history.

After briefing the UN Security Council last week, Mark Lowcock, the UN’s humanitarian chief, said the move will worsen a “catastrophic” humanitarian crisis that has pushed millions to the brink of famine and has caused a mass cholera epidemic, reports Al Jazeera. It is a safe bet however that three permanent members of the Security Council, Britain, France and USA will veto any move for actionagainst the Saudis.

“I have told the Council that unless those measures are lifted … there will be a famine in Yemen,” Lowcock, who visited Yemen late in October, told reporters last week. “It will not be like the famine that we saw in South Sudan earlier in the year, where tens of thousands of people were affected. It will not be like the famine which cost 250,000 people their lives in Somalia in 2011,” he added.

In spite all this being common knowledge, for three years the West has seen what was happening yet stood on the sidelines and refused to act. Strangely the same nations were eager to get involved in Syria and Ukraine until it became clear the price would be confrontation with Russia. Children are starving by the thousand in Yemen because of a US / NATO policy of supporting Saudi Arabia no matter what war crimes and human rights abuses the primitive theocracy is guilty of. All Western nations are complicit as is the United Nations by not only failing to step in and stop it but actually aiding it.

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Media Silent as Syrian Forces Finally Defeat ISIS, Finding Cache of Made In USA Weapons

When the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria began to dominate headlines in 2014, it was made out to be the most horrifying, ruthless terrorist group in existence—now any coverage the group receives tells a story of defeat, and the discovery of American weapons and equipment has gone virtually unnoticed.

ISIS was forced to withdraw from its last major stronghold in Syria on Thursday, after Syrian troops declared victory in Albu Kamal. A report from The Guardian noted that “Albu Kamal had long been crucial to the ferrying of jihadists from Syria into Iraq during the American occupation, and vice versa during the war in Syria.”

A statement from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights declared, “Forces loyal to the regime … have advanced in the Albu Kamal border city and established complete control after the withdrawal of the remaining [Isis] fighters to areas under their control in the countryside.”

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Qatar Balks At Saudi Ultimatum That Would Force It To Surrender Sovereignty

Immediately after Saudi Arabia and its Gulf State client shiekdoms released an ultimatum containing 13 demands to which Qatar must agree as a precondition for the resumption of diplomatic ties and an end of the Saudi economic and naval blockade, the tiny kingdom on the Persian Gulf described the ultimatum as neither “reasonable” nor “realistic”, and claimed it would infringe on Qatar’s sovereignty. 

“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy” said  Sheikh Saif Al Thani, of Qatar’s official communications office, according to Bloomberg.

The full list contained demands  such as reducing Qatar’s diplomatic representation in Iran, cancelling the Turkish military base being established there (Turkey has already balked at the threat), severing ties with terrorist organizations, shutting down Al Jazeera and all affiliated channels, and so on. The demands are explicitly aimed at dismantling Qatar’s two-decade-old interventionist foreign policy, which has reflected the clout generated by its vast natural gas and oil wealth but incensed conservative Arab peers over its alleged support for extremist groups they regard as threats to their dynastic rule.

Al Thani dismissed the demands and said the list is “under review”, but only “out of respect for our brothers in Kuwait” whose emissary delivered the Saudi demands on Friday (22 June). Al Thani said that the demands do not meet the US and UK criteria for “reasonable and realistic measures.”

Meanwhile Qatar’s Foreign Ministry said it will soon issue an official response, one which we doubt Saudi Arabia will like as the bid/ask in the early stage of the negotiations is being established. 

“The State of Qatar is currently studying this paper, the demands contained therein and the foundations on which they were based, in order to prepare an appropriate response,” the ministry told Channel News Asia.

On Friday, Qatar’s news outlet Al Jazeera responded to Saudi demands that it be shut down as part of the “renormalization” process. “We in the network believe that any call for closing down Al Jazeera is nothing but an attempt to silence the freedom of expression in the region and to suppress people’s right to information,” Al Jazeera said in a statement.

“By accepting those demands and conditions Qatar will be subject to international accountability and violating its commitments regarding human rights conventions,” Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee said in a statement cited by Reuters.

Meanwhile, a senior United Arab Emirates official told Reuters what would happen if Qatar refused to comply with the Arab ultimatum, saying there would be a “parting of ways.”

“The alternative is not escalation, the alternative is parting of ways, because it is very difficult for us to maintain a collective grouping,” UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told reporters.

Gargash urged Qatar to meet the demands. “It would be wiser that [Qatar] deal seriously with the demands and concerns of the neighbors or a divorce will take place,” Anwar Gargash said on Twitter in Arabic, adding, that “the crisis is profound.”


UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash

In other words, another attempt at a backdoor deal orchestrated by Saudi Arabia failed because someone leaked something, only this time it didn’t involve Trump being a KGB secret agent.

Gargash said that if Qatar fails to comply within the 10-day timeline set out in the ultimatum, it will be isolated. But he did not make clear what more could be done since the four Arab nations have already cut diplomatic relations with Doha and severed most commercial ties.

Despite verbal assurances that there will be no further escalation, Qatar is preparing for the worst, as two contingents of Turkish troops with columns of armored vehicles have arrived in Doha since the worst crisis among Gulf Arab states for years erupted on June 5.

The uncompromising positions adopted by both sides leave little prospect for a quick end to the crisis. The sanctions have disrupted Qatar’s main import routes by land from Saudi Arabia and by sea from big container ships docked in the United Arab Emirates. But Qatar so far has avoided economic collapse by quickly finding alternative channels (mainly through Iran which made the Saudis even more pissed off) and says its huge financial reserves will meet any challenges.

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Qatar Close To Running Out Of Dollars?

Let’s be honest, the Saudi-led campaign to starve Qatar’s citizens of food and businesses of trade was doomed from the start, while the Saudi’s my feel they can rely on big bully boy best mate the USA to deter anybody thinking of helping Qatar, with both Turkey and Iran volunteering to provide food and other essentials to the tiny Gulf nation while <a href=”http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-12/bypass-food-embargo-qatar-will-pay-8-million-airlift-4000-cows”>local entrepreneurs have started a cow paradropping campaign</a> to beat the blockade on milk imports,&nbsp; the key factor is what will Russia’s President Putin do.

Putin has little time for the Saudis, is fed up of American meddling in the middle east, and is a strong ally of both Iran, the real target of the Saudi move against Qatar, and of Syria’s President Assad. And Putin is well aware of the role the USA and Saudi Arabia have played in sponsoring the iSIS / Al Nusra war in Syria. In fact, right up to the end of his failed presidency Barack Hussein Obama was telling the world America’s priority in Syria was not to defeat the terrorists of ISIS but to remove Assad and open the way for the Saudis to install a Muslim theocracy that would support its own extreme version of Islam.

A new problem has now emerged in Qatar, the world’s biggest source of natural gas: the financial system is running out of dollars. Bloomberg reports that several Qatari banks have boosted interest rates on dollar deposits to shore up liquidity as the Saudi-led campaign to isolate the gas-rich state intensifies.
&nbsp;&nbsp;
Adding to concerns of a monetary blockade, Bloomberg also reports that some banks in neighboring countries have been offloading investments in Qatar amid concerns of a widening of the blockade.

Qatar is the world’s wealthiest nation on a GDP/capita basis and is well able to withstand a prolonged financial siege, and defend its currency and economy. Finance Minister Ali Shareef Al Emadi&nbsp; played down the impact of the crisis on the country, in an interview with CNBC on Sunday (11 June) saying the plunge in Qatari assets last week was a “normal” reaction to the standoff.

Finally, the question nobody dares ask out loud is, “Where does Russian president Vladimir Puting stand on all this. Well aware of the US role in this latest crisis and the real reasons behind it (reported <a href=”https://originalboggartblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/10/germany-foreign-minister-warns-qatar-crisis-could-lead-to-war-as-qatar-asks-moscow-for-support/&#8221; target=”_blank”>HERE</a> and <a href=”https://originalboggartblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/11/irans-warships-sail-to-oman-as-the-qatar-crisis-deepens/&#8221; target=”_blank”>HERE</a>) Puting has said the US has “got a false sense that it is able to do everything without any consequences,” in particular after the Soviet Union’s collapse.

“In such a situation, a man or a country begins to make mistakes… Putin said. The state begins to function ineffectively. One mistake follows another. That is the trap in which, as I believe, the United States got caught into,” Putin reflected during a press conference.<strong><em>

“I believe that if you think you are the only world power, trying to impose on the whole nation the idea of their exclusiveness, this creates an imperialistic mentality in society, which in turn requires an adequate foreign policy expected by society. And the country’s leaders are forced to follow this logic. And in practice this might go contrary to the interest of the Americans…. It demonstrates it’s impossible to control everything.”</em></strong>

 

<strong><em>&nbsp;</em></strong>

Which some might interpret as a warning to the USA to stay out of the middle east and mind its own business.

 

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