” Trump’s Saudi Scheme Unravels” – Alastair Crooke


"And, maybe MbS and Kushner thought Netanyahu spoke for Israel when he promised to be a partner in the front against Hezbollah and Iran? Was it the “grand plan” that was affirmed between Netanyahu and Trump on the day before the latter launched his United Nations broadside at Iran in September? When in fact, while any Israeli Prime Minister can wage war against the Palestinians with a relatively free hand, the same is not true where the state of Israel itself is being put at stake. No Israeli P.M. can commit to a possibly existential conflict (for Israel), without having broad support from the Israeli political and security establishment. And the Israel Establishment will only contemplate war when it is plainly in the Israeli interest, and not merely to please MbS or Mr Trump.

Ben Caspit (and other Israeli commentators) confirm that the Israeli establishment does not see war with Hezbollah, and the risk of a wider conflict, to be in the Israeli interest.

The fallout from this episode is highly significant. It has exposed that Israel presently is deterred from contemplating a war in the region (as Caspit explains). It too has underlined the hollowness of MbS ambitions to mount a “Sunni Alliance” against Iran; and it has undercut President Trump’s containment policy for Iran. For now, at least, we may expect Iran and Russia to consolidate the state in Syria, and to stabilize the northern tier. Caspit’s “war of Armageddon” may yet arrive – but not for now, perhaps."  Crooke


An eloquent contemplation of the interaction of career Borgists (foreign policy establishment) in Washington with the crowd of enthusiastic amateurs who are DJT's true inner circle.  Kushner, Bibi and MbS thought up this idea of a "Sunni Alliance,' sold it to DJT and then went forth to re-shape the world.  My God! What an absurdity!

If Crooke is right about this cabal of dunces, the notion circulating that people like Mattis, McMaster, Tillerson, Pence are effective minders for Trump preventing the worst of his potential rogue elephant behavior is just completely wrong.  If Crooke is right, then Trump ran this little "caper" all by hisself with the help of "the fam" as Bill Murray once called it.

I would agree with Crooke that the Sunni Alliance as he formulates it was always silly.

1.  Saudi Arabia is worthless as military muscle. Yemen! Yemen! Yemen!  Had anyone in the cabal noticed that the Saudis have fallen on their asses in Yemen?  To launch Saudi and other Gulfie legions at Iran would be precisely like throwing eggs at a brick wall. 

2.  As Crooke writes, Israel really IS deterred by Hizbullah's potentially murderous rocket and missile fire from hardened positions in Lebanon.  the Israelis are far too smart not to know that.  Their ambition in this cabal was likely to find others to do their fighting for them while they made threatening noises.   pl  


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44 Responses to ” Trump’s Saudi Scheme Unravels” – Alastair Crooke

  1. EEngineer says:

    Shouldn’t “hardened positions in Israel” be “hardened positions in Lebanon”? Typing too fast?
    Not to be pedantic, but I assume future historians will use this blog as an authoritative source for what it really going on now. God help them if they use the MSM records for anything other than a barometer of the insanity of the age.

  2. turcopolier says:

    Thanks. I fixed that. I am just sloppy sometimes. pl

  3. Babak Makkinejad says:

    This particular horse has left the barn, none of its policy recommendations are practical.

  4. eakens says:

    Favorite line in that document: “The United States and SDF – not Assad, Iran, Russia, Hezbollah or Turkey – have borne the battle against IS in Syria.”
    What sort of parallel universe have we entered

  5. Peter AU says:

    A good article by Crooke though I think US repositioning/refocus in Syria must be taken into account.
    Some talk of Trump pulling US out of Syria after the Talk with Erdogan, but then this tweet by Trump..
    Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
    Nov 24
    Will be speaking to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey this morning about bringing peace to the mess that I inherited in the Middle East. I will get it all done, but what a mistake, in lives and dollars (6 trillion), to be there in the first place!
    Get it all done? What does Trump mean by that? Seven counties in five years?
    Wesley Clark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw
    Iran was last on the list.

  6. LeaNder says:

    the Sunni Alliance” against Iran
    does anyone around here grasp its genesis post 9/11. For me there are only unconnected bits and pieces.

  7. turcopolier says:

    It’s genesis? I thought I explained that in the piece. Conceit and self deception by ignorant men who think themselves grander than they are. You are a “cultural marxist?” What parts of Western civilization do you want to destroy? pl

  8. turcopolier says:

    Peter AU
    “US repositioning/refocus in Syria must be taken into account.” For what? It is an effect, not a cause. IMO Trump is playing his own game with Putin and erdogan. He tried to include MbBS in the game and that has failed. IMO everyone in Washington outside his “family” is just a flunky. That included Mattis, Tillerson and McMaster. Trump is the neocons worst nightmare. He uses people including them. pl

  9. FB Ali says:

    As you say, Col Lang, there is no such thing as a “Sunni Alliance”. This is either a clever gimmick that MbS uses to fool the US, or part of his own delusions of grandeur. I suspect it is both.
    On Sunday, the first meeting of the Defense Council of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC) is being held in Riyadh. This is the 41-nation grouping that MbS has cooked up to pander to his own ego, and also to bamboozle witless entities such as Trump, Kushner, and the US establishment.
    All that MbS and the Saudis have is money. With it they can buy Blackwater (to do their dirty work for them), and Muslim politicians to attend these grand meetings. Only the stupid fall for these well-staged shows. There is no substance to them. Nor any outcomes.

  10. turcopolier says:

    FB Ali
    Yes. “A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” pl

  11. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Or the aliens, after landing on Earth. The historian will compse a tome titled: “Death of a Planet” while the musicians among them an oratorio of the same title, played on “original native instruments”.

  12. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Just bravado for domestic consumption. Russia, for reasons of fear of Sunni Muslim insurgencies in Russia and its environ, has helped Iranians establish their sphere of influence.
    They also alienated Turkey from the Western Fortress, by pointing how Kurds were being used. This round goes to the Rus and Putin.

  13. turcopolier says:

    Trump will simply move on. He is not stupid. He is brutal, self centered and treacherous. That is not “stupid.” He is the product of the New York City sewer he grew up in. pl

  14. Peter AU says:

    Back when the US election narrowed down to Trump and Clinton, I had two thoughts on Trump if he was genuine about going against the neo-con establishment. First is that if he was to go against the neo-cons, try and take them down, he would have to use very unconventional methods as he was on his own (treachery and so forth). The other thought, was that Trumps hatred of Iran was his Achilles heel and could and would be used.

  15. b says:

    Pat writes:
    “If Crooke is right about this cabal of dunces, the notion circulating that people like Mattis, McMaster, Tillerson, Pence are effective minders for Trump preventing the worst of his potential rogue elephant behavior is just completely wrong. ”
    Trump just went rogue on them again and offered Erdogan peace. They can’t keep him under control. Their attempts to get Kushner fired (or exiled to New York again) has so far failed. The military junta is already trying to circumvent what Trump promised to Erdogan (no longer arming YPG – see at my site).

    “Their (Israels) ambition in this cabal was likely to find others to do their fighting for them while they made threatening noises.”
    Everyone in that cabal tried that and all failed. The Israelis wanted to get the Saudis and the U.S. to do the fighting. The Saudis wanted the U.S. and Israel to bleed and Kushner thought that Israel and the Saudis would unite and do the dirty business.
    Good material for a slapstick skit.

  16. turcopolier says:

    “The military junta” Disingenuous. A junta rules. These people do not rule. pl

  17. turcopolier says:

    Peter AU
    I am not sure that DJT hates Iran. His play may include that gambit. pl

  18. Peter AU says:

    I had wondered about that. Have been trying to find how far it goes back, but seems to have only appeared for the election campaign.

  19. EEngineer says:

    I just blame it on getting old when I do it…
    Excellent work as always. I’ll just have to settle for being the copy editor.

  20. Bill Herschel says:

    There is a side to Donald Trump (and there are many more than one) which sensibly believes that there should not be a single American soldier in the Middle East. Maybe believing that is equivalent to believing in the tooth fairy, but based on his rhetoric in the primaries I believe it.
    When he says “get it all done” I sincerely believe that he means get every American soldier out of the Middle East. He may be contemplating war on the Korean peninsula, but that tweet just doesn’t equal war in Iran/Lebanon/Syria to me. Yes, he has to get several thousand troops out of the ME, but I think that’s what he wants to do. Sensibly, is there anything else for him to do?
    In other words, he may, just may, be smart and independent enough to detach himself from his lunatic, moronic son-in-law and Bibi.

  21. EEngineer says:

    This is the key question in my mind. Is there a “Nixon Goes to China” nexus on the horizon where “Trump Goes to XXX”, declares victory, and brings the troops home? Or does someone whack the hornet’s nest? It would be a real game changer if XXX was again China.

  22. Bandolero says:

    What I think Alastair Crooke overlooked in the Saudi-Israeli game with Hariri was a likely desired effect to bring pressure for anti-Iraian action on the EU.
    Shortly after the Saudis started the Hariri game, the very pro-Israel German paper “Die Welt” published an interview with “ex-Mossad top-woman” Sima Shine, titled “Our next war will definitely be more intense.” Read it here:
    A quick translation by Google and me of the introduction and some key phrases:
    “The escalation between Saudi Arabia and Iran increases the likelihood of an armed conflict in the region. Whether it comes to that depends also on Europe, says ex-Mossad-top-woman Sima Shine.
    … But there are alternatives to this war. Iran could also be repressed in the region by diplomatic and economic means. And that’s where the Europeans could help. … The wars of the Iranian militias are destabilizing the region everywhere and exacerbating the danger of new wars. But the world is looking at Iran’s nuclear program because of the threat of US President Donald Trump to terminate the joint agreement. “This is exactly where the Europeans can start,” says Shine. “You can make it clear to Iran: We are committed against the USA for the preservation of the nuclear deal, if you withhold yourself with militias and rockets.” One could contain Iran quite well, if one builds – also with the Gulf Arabs – a strong alliance. It does not need a war in Lebanon. The new proximity between Israel and the Saudis could also be used quite differently. …”
    So, the Israeli idea seems to have been to use the Saudi bellingerence towards Iran for pressuring the Europeans to a policy more confrontational stance against Iran. It was a clear threat: either you Europeans will be more confrontational against Iran or we will explode the region in more wars.
    Of course, that didn’t work. Instead of being more confrontational against Iran, German foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said – while meeting the Iran-friendly Lebanesse FM – it was time to speak out against Saudi adventures. That meant this scheme to pressure the EU to a more confrontational stance against Iran failede, and the Saudis were so angry about it, that they recalled their ambassador to Germany over this – for consultations.

  23. J says:

    The problem that I see is that we have two (2) unelected Presidents/SecOStates/NatSec Advisors named Ivanka and Jared. The two (2) unelected knots-on-a-fence-post are being handled by both Israeli Intelligence and Netanyahu’s office. I say Israeli Intel is because they are using one of their Intel satellites known as Chabad to handle Ivanka and Jared and they don’t even know they’re being ‘handled’.

  24. Anna says:

    Judging by the results, as outlined by “Bandolero” above, it is better that the two stayed in and continue being “handled.”

  25. Anna says:

    Judging by the results, as outlined by “Bandolero” above, it is better that the two stayed in and continue being “handled.”

  26. mariner says:

    ‘Saudi Arabia is worthless as military muscle’
    Not the only metric.
    The changes in Saudi are already being felt across Asia. In the other hotspot so studiously ignored by US media commentators – Mindanao – one of the obstacles to successful implementation of the Bangsamoro Basic Law [BBL] has been the resistance of the Sulu based MNLF to uniting with the MILF in a single federal State, holding out for their own. Saudi, Turkey and Malaysia are members of the Contact Group facilitating talks. Since the Marawi disaster more urgency has been injected into the peace process and greater Saudi assistance to convince the MNLF can now be expected. The US and Australia are funding this ‘convergence’ process. Crooke understandably focuses on his particular region of expertise but the great majority of Muslims in Asia are Sunni and while the intractable problems of the ME may remain so, the changes in Saudi hold great hope for developments in Asia. Where the money is.

  27. blowback says:

    It looks like JINSA has infected the British Embassy in Washington.

    Also height of hypocrisy for Russia or Assad to claim credit for defeat of Da’esh. Vast majority of effort conducted by Syrians working with Global Coalition.

    Is it something in the water?

  28. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Another fantasy.
    When do you people ever learn that outside of Turkey and Iran there in positive direction for Muslims?

  29. blowback says:

    Over six years and almost $200 billion spent by Gulfies and perhaps US and Assad is more firmly entrenched than ever. If Washington really wanted regime change in Damascus, there’d be no UNSC resolution, the build up and SEAD would take six months without Russia disrupting it and the total cost to the United States would be several trillion dollars. Trump is not going to repeat G W Bush’s errors.
    As for the KSA plot, I think Trump’s apparent support may have been a marketing tool to flog the KSA and UAE lots of military kit that they can’t use. I think to plot was designed to provoke Hezbollah to launch rockets at Israel in response to KSA/UAE air strikes flown through Israeli airspace in the hope that the United States and NATO would intervene on the Israeli/KSA/UAE side and obliterate Hezbollah. This depended on the Lebanese government not asking for help from other countries such as Russia, but the failure of the Hariri resignation means this failed. End of plot but through no fault of Trump so KSA and UAE still on hook for defence contracts signed with Trump.
    I think that part of the spat with Qatar was because Qatar didn’t want to be involved in the KSA plot and I have speculated that Qatar told the Iranians who told the Lebanese but it wouldn’t surprise me if Trump told the Russians who told the Iranians who told the Lebanese. Trump’s tweets and posturing may not be very presidential but they’re perfect as distractions.

  30. Peter AU says:

    From what I read, US troop numbers in middle east have recently increased rather than decreased, this at a time when the last scraps of ISIS held territory are being cleared and not by US troops. In not re certifying the Iran Nuke agreement, he has left it up to congress to decide what to do about it… at a time when they are being swamped with anti Iran propaganda.
    “Maybe believing that is equivalent to believing in the tooth fairy, but based on his rhetoric in the primaries I believe it.”
    From his book, Trump believes that to be successful you must deliver. But two seemingly contradictory promises – to make America great again – and to pull the US out of foreign entanglements.
    From what I read of that tweet, and the propaganda buildup for war with Iran, I take it he thinks that leaving the job half done, now that it has been started, was worse for the US than getting it finished quickly and then get out.
    But then, IF he is capable of deceiving the neo-cons, then he will also, by necessity, be deceiving observers.
    Over here, when I have voted, I always vote for the outsider rather than for one side of the double headed coin and have always been disappointed.
    Trump’s recent play in Saudi Arabia to do an inside run around the neo-cons makes him worth watching for a bit.

  31. b says:

    The better, little known expression is “stratocracy” – a military junta which nominally follows the rule of law.
    Kelly, McMaster and Mattis (and more generals in the NSC and cabinet) are running “national security”. They watch over Trump, control what he gets to see and what not. They feed him their filtered “reality”. Trump is just the figurehead.
    (It may be different on the economic side though Trumps hyping of military sales and the enormous increase of the military budget and purchase also point to an influential role of the generals.)

  32. Bandit says:

    It should be clear by now that all the bs coming from the MSM and borgist sycophants is strictly for the deliberately ignorant masses. I don’t think they believe a word of what they say or write. When you read something as deliberately false as this quotation, you know it is not aimed at the well-informed segment of the population.
    The borgist apologists and war-monger neocons will not stray even a little from the established narrative. They are as perceptive as most of us as to the reality on the ground. However, their agenda is to mount a massive disinformation campaign in the hope of distracting the masses in order to subvert the factual reality.
    They are far from living in a “parallel universe”. They are quite aware of the lies they put forth. It is the suckers who read and believe the shit they write that are the ones destined to live in a parallel universe so completely detached from reality.

  33. turcopolier says:

    “Trump is just the figurehead.” I think that is untrue. pl

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You cannot compare Nixon, a strategist of high caliber, with Trump. Trump doing a Nixon in China thing is inconcievable to me.
    You saw him in action at UN; first publicly berating Iranian leaders and then seeking a secret audience with no prior set agenda or preparation, no planning at ministerial levels or any other such necessary steps.

  35. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Alastair Crooke has written a supplement to the Consortium News piece on which this post is based. It is embedded in a post put up yesterday afternoon at Raul Ilargi Meijer’s place, The Automatic Earth. Ilargi implies that he found it at Crooke’s Conflict Forum site but I’ve so far been unable to find one there. You can read the whole thing here after Ilargi’s lengthy introductory commentary. Below are a couple of the money paragraphs:

    . . . what we have here is the intersection of geo-politics with geo-finance. Both are now wholly contingent on the ‘saving of appearances’. One co-constitutes the other. One is the saving of appearance that America is not losing ‘respect’, or being disdained in the international arena, as it attenuates its global commitments (that is the Thucydides ‘syndrome’), and two, saving the appearance that ‘recovery’ and ‘prosperity for all’, are continuing to unfold nicely in the economy (the world converging globally to western values ‘syndrome’).
    Both these aspects to the dissolution of today’s western ‘modernity’ are intertwined, and co-constituting, and therefore likely to march in tandem – at least for now: western ‘prosperity’ underwrites the global order, and the global order underwrites American ‘prosperity’. The American and European élites therefore find themselves painted into a globalised ‘rules-based order’ corner, geo-politically, just as the Central Bankers have been backed into their QE, low or negative interest rate corner – from which there is no easy escape, either.

  36. Willybilly says:

    What’s very interesting about the so-called Riyadh gathering of 40 defense ministers this Sunday is that not one word was uttered about Iran, Hizbullah or the Shi’a crescent……. 🙂

  37. Willybilly says:

    You’re quite right in your analysis, but the Izzies have other ideas as well, for using Saudi territory, airbases and positioning supplies as an eventual springboard against Iran proper….. They can still dream, can’t they?

  38. You are right. I think one should be aware that the path has been very difficult for the Jews. I would be grateful for an explanation of why that means it has to be very difficult for the Palestinians.

  39. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Mostly for European Jews and only after the anti-clericalism of the Enlightenment left them with no religious protection.
    There is a huge chasm between all sorts of sundry discrimination and humiliation and Shoah.

  40. turcopolier says:

    Sid Finster
    Trump is running the show whenever he chooses to direct an outcome. pl

  41. LondonBob says:

    Really though Crooke is still guessing, did MbS have Trump’s sign off, did he have just Kushner’s?
    There has been little in the way of follow through.

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