Muhhamad bin Salman as liberator.


"The imprisoned, among whom are billionaire and Kingdom Holding chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Al Tayyar Travel Group founder Nasser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar and chairman of builder Red Sea International construction company Amr al-Dabbagh, are accused of money laundering, bribery, extorting officials and misappropriation of public office.

Interestingly, the Saudi authorities have announced that all economical assets seized from those found guilty will be confiscated as state property. Even a no-fly list has reportedly been drawn up, and security forces have been deployed in order to prevent private jet owners from leaving the kingdom."  AMN


Let's not kid ourselves.  What the West calls "corruption" in business and government is the very basis of life in Saudi Arabia along with the the Wahhabi version of Islam, a version that resembles a bug frozen for all time in amber. 

 A lot of these business people and their companies (same thing normally in SA where true public companies are rare) will have long ago offshored much of their assets.  Foreign bank accounts, dummy chains of shell holding companies leading to a pot of gold at the end of the chain, Foreign law firms that manage hidden assets as in the the Paradise Papers, these are all methods. 

It is significant that MbS has imprisoned these people in a luxury hotel rather than putting them in house arrest where they could attempt to arrange to be smuggled out of the big sand box.  He has also not put them in hotel style royal guest houses where they might have connections among the government people who run them.  IMO MbS intends to beggar some of these people and geld the rest, figuratively speaking.  

This purge of his possible enemies and rivals was well prepared.  Key to preventing a counter-coup was the removal and replacements of the heads of the security services and the silencing of the Wahhabi ulema.'  I earlier thought that MbS might act against the senior Shia ulema'  but that may not be true.  He has been engaged in "preaching" toleration of other than Wahhabism.  Quelle horreur!!  In this circumstance the Shia clergy may see MbS as a friend and he may leave them alone.

Might one someday see a church in Saudi Arabia like those in many other majority Muslim countries?  Saudi Arabia as I have personally known it has been a theocratically driven police state.  When I was DATT there I was repeatedly asked by attache colleagues to smuggle Filipino, Pakistani and other Christians into the secret Christmas services held in the US Embassy.  I was glad to do so. 

MbS has abolished the arrest powers of the Mutawi'iin, the religious "decency" police.  These are the worthless, scrawny old bastards in short thawb who wander the streets beating women whose behavior they do not like. For that alone I am favorably inclined to him. 

Unfortunately, he has foreign policy delusions of grandeur in which he is making common cause with redheiferland and the gaudy world of Trump Administration delusions about the Middle East.  pl

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115 Responses to Muhhamad bin Salman as liberator.

  1. turcopolier says:

    I was puzzled as to what “musharaat al suq” meant in the photo. I now understand that it means gains and losses in the market in the riba-free financial system pl

  2. DianaLC says:

    My brother took a temporary position in SA several years ago because it paid so well and he wanted to use the money to take his son and daughter-in-law on a nice trip to Italy later.
    He just hated his time there, and he felt so sorry for the young woman who had been sent with his team to do the office work. She lived those months basically in house arrest.
    I’ve had a few SA students in college courses I have taught. In all cases, which means that my sample is not statistically valid, I was impressed with them. I always got the feeling they really wanted a more open society. The last SA student I met was one that my sister invited to Thanksgiving. He and his wife and two little boys were very happy to be invited. I spoke with him at length because he could tell I knew quite a bit about Christianity, and he was trying to understand all the differences in churches. It was as confusing to him as it is for us to understand all the different sects of Islam. He was surprised that what little I knew was far more than what anyone else he had spoken with knew about the differences in Islam.
    His wife stayed in America for a while and brought her female cousin over to live with her and the boys while that woman also studied English. She missed her family, but she was also liking the freedom she had as a woman in America.
    This new turn of affairs in SA is something that causes me hope, but of course I will hold my breath a little, too.

  3. kooshy says:

    According to Iranian news sites Talal daughter is also arrested. And base on India today Mogrin’ helicopter was shot down. According to Colonel’ suggestion, this must have been planed way in advance, If so one wonders if the Hariri’ resignation was part of over all plan as a news detour, distraction? Some claimed estimate over 500 people have been arrested.
    “Bin Muqrin had apparently sent a letter to over a thousand princes, asking them to not support Mohammed bin Salman’s
    succession to the throne, Middle East Monitor quoted the New Khaleez as reporting”

  4. Peter AU says:

    I read both Saudi Arabia and now Kuwait telling their nationals to leave Lebanon.
    Looks like Israel and SA about to take the plunge and set something off?
    MBS – gathering a war chest and grassroots support in preparation?

  5. kooshy says:

    IMO, now is obvious that from the beginning R+6 and PMU ( Iraqi Basij) focus and priorities was securing and owning Syrian Iraqi borders, and not the oil fields. More importantly they were not fooled or distracted by SDF/ US maneuvering and deals with locals occupying Syrian state owned oil fields.

  6. robt willmann says:

    This note indicates that `Abd-Al-Mansur Hadi of Yemen is also detained and confined in addition to Hariri–

  7. robt willmann says:

    In addition, the governments of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have asked their citizens who are in Lebanon to leave right away–
    See Col. Lang’s recent posts: “Confirmation – straight from the Red Heifer’s mouth” (8 November), and “Hariri resignation – Israeli attack comes next?” (4 November).

  8. turcopolier says:

    Saudi princes are far too egotistical for that. He thinks he is running them, not the other way around. pl

  9. Dmcna says:

    Whatever the ther motivations, I will watch to see if anti corruption can spread as corruption did. The western world has become corrupt with money from the Middle East. The purchase of influence is disguised but it is rife and yet it is not widely recognised as a major problem.

  10. eakens says:

    Good interview of Chas Freeman, particularly the part about how we nailed SA and actually made money off the Gulf War. Seems like we may be getting ready for second act.

  11. turcopolier says:

    Ra’i al-yowm (Opinion of the Day), a UK based newspaper is reporting that Salman will abdicate within the week. At the same time SA and Kuwait have ordered their nationals out of Lebanon. If I were still in the bidness I would consider those factoids to be Imminence of Hostilities (IOH)indicators in the present climate of SA/Israeli/US collusion. Does anyone know who owns this newspaper? pl

  12. ann says:

    Thank you for making me chuckle since I would prefer hiding under a rock. It sounds like poor Lebanon will be a battle zone once again.
    Last I saw, el Sisi, (Egypt) was not supporting the Saudi’s. Do you think they will be involved or will they be able to remain neutral if SA does attach Lebanon?

  13. turcopolier says:

    Egypt needs US and Saudi money. they will do nothing. pl

  14. Peter AU says:

    Also reported here
    Their media site here
    Nothing about who owns or runs the site in the “about” page.

  15. J says:

    Do you think that MbS’s under-the-covers-romp with the Israelis will be his undoing in the long run? I mean, there are better prostitute governments than the Tel Aviv club for him to romp with and still the get same results he may long for.
    MbS need to wear a full body condom when romping with Natanyaha.

  16. turcopolier says:

    The internal coup in SA has been so thorough that I don’t see who would remove MbS. If there is war in Lebanon SA’s part will be political and symbolic. pl

  17. FourthAndLong says: runs a check (10 sec) outputs that is Serbia based & no further info available.
    No idea the value of the above.

  18. Laguerre says:

    Me, I would say an attempt at assassination is in short order. Serious money is in question. they can offer plenty to suborn a guard, who will be shot dead on site

  19. turcopolier says:

    could be. pl

  20. FB Ali says:

    Col Lang,
    You are quite right – it is very unlikely that there could be a counter-coup against MbS. And, that the Saudis will participate in any war in Lebanon only with financial and media support.
    Not only has MbS’s coup been very thorough, but also SA and its inhabitants are rotten to the core. So much so, that I very much doubt if even an assassination attempt would be made.

  21. turcopolier says:

    FB Ali
    What model of Islam would you recommend for a re-boot? pl

  22. Yeah, Right says:

    OK, I can understand MbS launching a pre-emptive coup against potential rivals. Obviously if you aren’t super-confident of gaining the throne then wiping the floor with your rivals is A Good Idea.
    But rattling sabres towards Lebanon at the same time?
    When does that get smart?
    After all, I assume everyone accepts that the Saudi armed forces can’t hope to prosecute that war.
    In which case the only possible reason for throwing war-words at Lebanon is to lay the groundwork for an unprovoked IDF attack on Hezbollah.
    Let’s leave aside the terrible optics of looking like you are acting as the IDF’s lapdog, bad though that looks.
    Regardless, it just seems to me to be extraordinarily foolhardy to makes your plans hostage to the performance of the IDF. Who, need it be said, do not answer to MbS.
    I mean, consider this: what if the Israelis take MbS’s sabre-rattling as the signal to attack Hezbollah and…… Hezbollah then proceed to wipe the floor with that bunch of prissy IDF ponces.
    If they get routed (which is a very real possibility) then Bibi will not hesitate to run to the UNSC to demand a ceasefire, all the while crying that “It wasn’t my idea! I never wanted this war! The Saudi’s put us up to it and we couldn’t say No!”
    Honestly, MbS is putting his testicles in Netanyahu’s hands, and doing so in the expectation that Bibi will then squeeze Nasrallah’s happy-sacks.
    Which doesn’t sound like a particularly sound strategy to me.
    What if Nasrallah sinks the knee into Bibi’s Balls(tm) instead?

  23. FB Ali says:

    We already have a “re-boot” in Islam in the al Qaeda and Islamic State ideologies. Their versions are the culmination of the ‘reformist’ trends in various Muslim countries that seek to reform Islam by taking it back to a supposed ideal form that existed in the very early years of the faith.
    The other ‘reformist’ path being followed in Muslim countries is that adopted by the elites – ignoring the religion while continuing to pay lip service to it. I think this will be MbS’s path as well. It certainly is the one being followed by most of his young supporters.
    It seems to me that these two paths are not peculiar to Islam, but are being traversed by the followers of all religions. They are a function of the challenges that Religion face in the modern world.

  24. Will.2718 says:

    The Col. once wrote the Oman version of Islam was pretty tolerant. Doubt it would make much headway outside of its enclaves.

  25. blue peacock says:

    Col. Lang,
    Who are the key staff that would have been necessary to have planned and executed such a thorough internal coup for MbS?
    It would seem they are very competent.
    If there’s no loyalty for those deposed even by those who have benefited from them and may lose much in the new order, can MbS expect loyalty from those who benefit from his rule?
    I am really curious about their recent Moscow visit as well as Kushner hanging out a few days before the coup, Hariri’s resignation and now Macron in Riyadh. They all seem connected.

  26. Poul says:

    Will MbS seen an opportunity to reduced the number of royals who can receive an apanage? Cut the weak branches of the oil tree so to speak and save the state from a huge financial burden.

  27. Peter AU says:

    I wonder how much swamp sponsorship are now locked up at the Ritz, or have their assets frozen?
    Trump playing Machiavellian games?

  28. JohnB says:

    Is there a possibility that SA could use RAF Akrotiri Cyprus or a base in Jordan for a symbolic air strike against Hezbollah in Leb or Syria?

  29. Bill Herschel says:

    RT on Macron’s surprise visit to Saudi Arabia:
    “The Iranian nuclear agreement “must be preserved” but “complemented with two pillars,” Macron said during his visit to the United Arab Emirates. In particular, the French leader wants to renegotiate the question of the “ballistic activity of Iran” – not covered under the current accord – “with sanctions if necessary.” He further wants discussions about “Iranian hegemony throughout the region.””
    Le Monde:
    “Paris a exprimé sa solidarité avec Riyad après l’interception d’un missile tiré par les rebelles yéménites soutenus par Téhéran. Ce tir est une preuve aux yeux des autorités françaises de la réalité du danger du programme balistique iranien. Mais si Paris considère qu’il faut compléter l’accord sur le nucléaire par un accord sur le balistique et « encadrer » l’hégémonisme régional de Téhéran, la diplomatie française estime également que la fin de l’accord sur le nucléaire entraînerait la guerre ou la création d’une autre Corée du Nord.”
    So France believes that the rocket fired from Yemen at the SA airport was “proof of the reality of Iran’s ballistic missile program.”
    So Macron, the Tony Blair wannabe ruling France, says that of course he’s all for the Iran deal, but wants to add to it in order to protect Saudi Arabia from Iran. During his visit with MBS.
    MBS wants to buy foreign governments. His success with Trump has gone to his head. Call it the Dennison Clothiers’ Foreign Policy, “Money talks, nobody walks.”

  30. turcopolier says:

    John B
    Their own base at Tabuk in NW Saudi Arabia is close enough. pl

  31. turcopolier says:

    Peter AU
    Why would DJT want to have his swamp supporters locked up? Your statement indicates a mind set in which the little brown people have to be told what devilment to attempt. pl

  32. turcopolier says:

    blue peacock
    These princes all have large households. No idea as yet to who may have been the planners. pl

  33. jonst says:

    There is something ‘operatic’ about the announcement to get out of Lebanon. To me, anyway. Indeed, there is something operatic about the entire purge. Again, to me. Less than meets the eye?

  34. JMH says:

    Comments like this one are why I come to this site, thanks for the laugh.

  35. Barbara Ann says:

    500 years ago Christianity did a own re-boot of it’s own. It seems to me that the second category you describe may in fact directly give rise to the first, as reactionary forces reject it. British historian Tom Holland described the Daesh re-boot of Islam in a documentary recently: (UK proxy needed to watch).
    Holland’s view is that Daesh’s antipathy towards France, in particular, stems from Bonaparte’s conquest of Egypt & the Enlightenment’s influence on how Muslims view their faith, which fundamentalists see as having ‘polluting’ Islam. Could have been done in 30 mins, rather than 60, but worthwhile nevertheless IMO.

  36. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Ebadis are appear tolerant only in comparison to Wahabis and Jihadists.

  37. Babak Makkinejad says:

    No, Trump is against Iran and Shia and for Israelis and Wahabis. That, is, in fact, the position of the Western Fortress. Just look at Marcon’s ejaculation on the Arabian Penninsula over the last 2 days.

  38. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There will be nothing symbolic about attacking Hezbollah or Lebanon. It would cement a war to the finish.

  39. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Yup, Marcon, the deputy of Mukhtar of Arabs.

  40. Babak Makkinejad says:

    There is no state in Saudi Arabia.

  41. JohnB says:

    Did we expect Macron to say anything else.

  42. turcopolier says:

    not so. There is not a nation in SA but there is a state. pl

  43. turcopolier says:

    Macron is the primary mukhtar of France. pl

  44. turcopolier says:

    Ibadhis are the descendants of the early Khawarij. They believe that the Qur’an is the CREATED word of God, i.e., that Muhammad was inspired by God to create it rather than believing in the descent of the Qur’an from heaven as uncreated and an aspect of God. pl

  45. LeaNder says:

    Interesting eakens, highly interesting guy too, if may put it that colloquially. Almost forgot about him.
    Complete session, on first sight:

  46. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That is closer to Protestanism and in direct contradiction to the views of Shia Doctors.

  47. Babak Makkinejad says:

    If what you state be true, then the state would continue to function if the Al Saud are gone. Do you think so?

  48. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Amazing, the Child of Enlightenment doning the mantle of the Mukhtar of the Bedu; is this another instance of the Noble Savage, TE Lawrence and all that?

  49. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The ledger is now clear; the fracturing of Christendom on the plane of ideas first led to the rise of ethnic states eith their cult of National Man (itself an ecpression of the idolatrous wordhip of the vollective powers of man) as well as trans-tribal ideologies that tried to beome gods to men.

  50. turcopolier says:

    there is probably enough human infrastructure to keep things functioning if the whole country does not disintegrate in civil war, but FB Ali is correct in saying that he Saudi population are a feckless lot, so, who knows? pl

  51. jonst says:

    There was, always, a split between Northern Europeans, and Mediterranean centered Europeans. This split predated Christianity. There were simply too many people living in too small a space…and the winter made this split a battle royal for precious resources. Which in turn created a very free and active ‘Market’ for weapons, and the practical ideas needed behind such weapons.

  52. Winston Smith says:

    How high would you estimate the likelihood of a scenario whereby SA launches airstrikes from Tabuk.
    I imagine that any HA reaction to this would almost certainly draw the IDF into a war. Be it a any kind of rocket, AA or otherwise, or a shot down plane, or false flag operation inside or into Israel, all seem to be sufficient an excuse. (Should the will to escalate be there).
    How could/would the Russians react to such a scenario?
    There is a lot of talk out there little with serious analysis.
    To start with it seem the wrong season – going into the rain season.
    HA doesn’t seem to expect an attack.
    But given that the Syria is stabilising an attack on HA in Lebanon could seem like a good way of countering this.
    Thoughts and questions..

  53. eakens says:

    The Saudis were probably expecting a rapid escalation, and were not expecting calm in Lebanon. When your opening move backfires, that’s generally not a good thing.

  54. Annem says:

    I read the Macron message a bit differently and that Lebanon was the focus of his attention in Riyadh, at least. Yes, he said all those things that would support the US/UAE/Saudi position, but the bottom line was that the international accord must stay. Then he supposedly met “indirectly” with ex-PM Hariri. He is clearly worried about the warning signals to Lebanon by the call for Saudis and then Kuwaitis to exit the country. It is the latter announcement that makes it sound like more than an empty threat. Like many of his predecessors, Macron views Lebanon, and especially its Christians, as French business.
    Interestingly, MbS is reported to have issued an invitation to the Maronite Patriarch to visit SA. That would be an historic event if it indeed occurs. For the Patriarch, his decision will no doubt rest on whether this is just a cheap way of getting creds with another potential constituency or a chance for serious political business.

  55. eakens says:

    Tillerson comments on Hariri….
    Sounds like we may be telling SA & Israel that their little plan didn’t work out as I don’t see how you can bring Hariri back into the fold without him being seen as either a coward, or the Saudis being seen as culprits. Neither of which is good for SA.

  56. turcopolier says:

    Rafik, his father, had given up his Lebanese citizenship in favor of Saudi and wsa nevertheless inflicted on Lebanon as PM in the aftermath of the Taif accord that ended the civil war. He was always a Saudi agent of influence. SA and the US did that with Syrian acquiescence. So, there is a precedent. pl

  57. turcopolier says:

    IMO SA will not do that unless they have a firm commitment from Israel to go to war against Hizbullah and tacit approval from the US. Overflight clearance from either Jordan or Israel would be needed. Putin is probably going to try to talk DJT out of that at Danang. I don’t know. pl

  58. Charles Michael says:

    Ouch !
    I enjoy this Micron basching, the fraud without honor.
    almost as good than the tarte Chantilly in the face he should get.

  59. JamesT says:

    I did not know about Thank you.

  60. FB Ali says:

    The link provided by Eakens above is to an official US government statement. This was complemented by a similar statement by the International Support Group after a meeting of its representatives with President Aoun –
    Both statements say the same thing: the international community does NOT want any outside interference in Lebanon, and considers Hariri to be still the PM of Lebanon. This is a clear slap in the face of MbS, who was trying to prepare the ground for an Israeli intervention in that country. It is also a warning to Israel to butt out.
    These are significant developments, not only for Lebanon but also for the wider ME. MbS may get away with his coup in SA, but he and his Israeli friends had better stand down on their plans for the region. It also shows that the US establishment is not happy with MbS’s actions – whatever Trump may say!
    Another setback for the young SA princeling. In any other self-respecting country, he would have been removed much earlier. Not in SA, though.

  61. kooshy says:

    No, France like UK, like Germany is not a foreign policy sovereign state. In ME, Israeli, Saudi interests are dictated to Europe via US regardless of lip service.
    If US ( you read Israel intrest ) policies are not obeyed, Mokbtar of France will wake up with freedom fries in his bed. And will be named worst person in the world by BHL.

  62. b says:

    Same day the UAE (MbZ is patron of MbS) bought, unexpectedly, two corvettes from France with the option of two more.
    Macron was allowed to announce the deal.
    Those were his 30 pieces of silver …

  63. b says:

    Nasrallah said today that he knows of a plan by MbS to incite the Israeli to wage another war against Hizbullah. The Saudis allegedly promised to pick up the bill and more.
    MbS must have misjudged Netanyahoo and the IDF. Can’t imagine them being so crazy.
    The road is open from Afghanistan through Iran, Iraq, Syria to the front with Israel. How may fighters, especially from Iraq – well trained and armed and experienced, would come if some Shia authority calls them up to defend the resistance?

  64. Peter AU says:

    It looks as though there are number of schemers, with one common goal/enemy, but a number of private goals schemes against each other, or that are not part of the common cause.
    Trump, MBS and Netanyahu as the main players, perhaps a few others in lesser roles but all working to their own ends.
    My impression is that Trump has been cheering MBS in his purges whereas state department seem more apprehensive about the purge but are in agreement with the Hariri/Lebanon business.

  65. robt willmann says:

    Today (10 November), Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, gave a speech. A video of at least some of it is 1 hour, 11 minutes long. You click on the large circle to start the video and a new webpage should appear. An English translation is a voice-over. He starts talking more specificially about Hariri and Lebanon beginning at around 21 minutes, 28 seconds into the video–
    In an article from Al Jazeera, “… Russia’s ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, threatened on Thursday [9 November] to refer Hariri’s case to the UN Security Council if the ‘ambiguity’ continues.”–
    A Reuters article says that “Tillerson told reporters on Friday there was no indication that Hariri was being held in Saudi Arabia against his will but that the United States was monitoring the situation.” France has apparently a more ambiguous position: “The French foreign minister said earlier on Friday that he also believed Hariri was a free man – a statement at odds with the later French foreign ministry comment that it wanted Hariri to have “all his freedom of movement”.–
    However, yesterday at the U.S. State Department briefing, the spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, let the cat out of the bag. The perky Ms. Nauert, enthralled with her job, answered a question with–
    “Ms Nauert: Okay. So I addressed the part of U.S. citizens who may be there. I want to mention that our charge d’affaires, who’s serving in Saudi Arabia – his name is Chris Henzel – he met with Prime Minister Hariri yesterday, so had a chance to speak with him. I cannot provide you with a readout of that conversation or any specifics of it, but we have seen him. In terms of the conditions of him being held or the conversations between Saudi Arabia and the Prime Minister Hariri, I would have to refer you to the Government of Saudi Arabia and also to Mr. Hariri’s office.”
    A reporter actually followed up about a detention of Hariri, and Ms. Nauert tried to recover. That kind of amusing part begins at about 11 minutes, 40 seconds into the video; there is also a transcript of the briefing–
    The State Department has the same statement of today “On the Situation in Lebanon” that was cited by eakens above from the U.S. Embassy website–
    The second paragraph starts out strong, but the second sentence, by its choice of words, specifically excludes Hizbullah–
    “The United States supports the stability of Lebanon and is opposed to any actions that could threaten that stability. There is no legitimate place or role in Lebanon for any foreign forces, militias or armed elements other than the legitimate security forces of the Lebanese state – which must be recognized as the sole authority for security in Lebanon. The United States cautions against any party, within or outside Lebanon, using Lebanon as a venue for proxy conflicts or in any manner contributing to instability in that country.”

  66. turcopolier says:

    You are right. The implication of the now open road between Afghanistan and Syria through the heartlands of Islamdom is profound. pl

  67. robt willmann says:

    The “anti-corruption investigation” is an obvious cover story for the palace coup in Saudi Arabia, and the other day I was surprised that “Bandar Bush” bin Sultan had not been named.
    The Middle East Eye news website reports that “The crown prince’s cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, who continues be under house arrest, has had his assets frozen, the Reuters news agency reported. Sons of Sultan bin Abdulaziz have also been arrested and had their assets frozen.” The “sons of Sultan bin Abdulaziz” should include Bandar.–
    This is interesting, due to Bandar’s long-time relationship with the U.S. and Britain.
    The Middle East Eye is a British organization, and is said to have with it a former primary writer on foreign matters for the British Guardian newspaper, David Hearst, and a person from Al Jazeera.–
    The article’s lead paragraph says, not surprisingly: “Some senior figures detained in last Saturday’s purge in Saudi Arabia were beaten and tortured so badly during their arrest or subsequent interrogations that they required hospital treatment, Middle East Eye can reveal.”

  68. Babak Makkinejad says:

    No. They want to do what they are doing. Even without any US encoragement.

  69. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It has not existed since the demise of Seljuks.

  70. JamesT says:

    I concur that Egypt will do nothing in the sort term. But in the long term (i) my understanding is Sisi is trying to fashion himself as the new Nasser, and (ii) the Egyptian street will be very unimpressed with any Arab leader who openly alligns himself with Israel. I think that while MbS is very much in control of the short term situation, what he is doing is very risky in the long term. The Izzies remind me of a losing gambler who keeps doubling his bets in an effort to win back his loses.

  71. Barbara Ann says:

    If you are describing it is run by Abdel_Bari_Atwan. He was previously editor-in-chief of London-based Al Quds Al Arabi. As he is best known for having interviewed bin Laden in 1996, British MSM get his views from time to time on AQ matters.

  72. JamesT says:

    I can’t see Bibi sending IDF troop into Lebanon – but a bombing campaign that draws return fire such that the US can get drawn in to defend their ally? Leaders who start wars and then lose tend to get booted out of office. IMO Bibi is a simpering coward who wants to hold on to power at all costs. So a war waged in partnership with KSA will give Bibi someone to blame if it doesn’t go well; “our useless arab allies messed it up” will go down well with the Israeli-Jewish street who still have not come to terms with their 2006 defeat.

  73. VietnamVet says:

    Yes. I am profoundly concerned that Saudi Arabian and Israeli money men will get the USA involved to cut the Iran to Lebanon landline. It is a defeat for the rulers of Islam’s holy sites to be cut off from their believers to the north. If Israel stands down from its dreams of expansion, they would have to learn to live with fellow Semites. I do not think Israel can take on Hezbollah and supporting Shiite militias by themselves. The USA has thousands of soldiers and contractors right in the middle. A defeated Israel will use atomic weapons. A day without a wider regional war with Iran is a good day.

  74. Barbara Ann says:

    Can we assume by implication that the DOS (what’s left of it) will also not be happy with Kushner’s likely role in all this either? With luck he’ll be forced to toe the line from now on. If Tillerson accomplishes nothing else in his current job he’ll have done his country a great service. Perhaps this is the only reason he stays.

  75. kooshy says:

    Yes, IMO definitely ayatollah Khamenie will ask for Muslims volunteers to defence of Lebanon.

  76. turcopolier says:

    ” …Iran to Lebanon landline. ” Why do you keep thinking that Israel would tolerate a trans-islam road that terminates in a Lebanese port? pl

  77. charly says:

    i think they big difference is that in the Med they speak Latin dialects and in the North they don’t. This makes having a service in Latin in say Spain totally different than a Latin service in Denmark. A 13th century Spaniard who left his village could understand the service in while only a very educated Dane could.

  78. charly says:

    But than you would need to fly through Israel or Jordan and Syria with their own issues.

  79. Yeah, Right says:

    I am not quite sure how Israel can stop it, short of invading and occupying Lebanon.
    UNSCR 1701 prevents the IDF from dropping bombs inside Lebanon itself, which is why all previous interdictions of “Hezbollah-bound” supplies involved attacks on warehouses/convoys/airports inside Syria.
    Once those cargos make it over the border into Lebanon then they are safe from attack from the air, so there is no reason why those roads shouldn’t be put to use.
    Don’t misunderstand me: if the Israelis start yet another war on Hezbollah then all bets are off, clearly the IDF will lay waste to anything that moves inside Lebanon.
    But that’s the only way the Israelis can “not allow” a road that culminates in a Lebanese port, and the calculation the Israelis will have to make is that they may very well start that war and…. be humiliated.

  80. The Beaver says:

    «Une proposition a été faite à la famille Hariri de désigner Baha, un frère de Saad, pour reprendre le flambeau politique»
    Read that the brothers hate each other and that Saad’s family resides in Riyadh.
    Macron didn’t meet with Saad Hariri but
    Quelques heures avant l’arrivée du chef de l’État à Riyad, l’ambassadeur de France en Arabie, François Gouyette, avait rencontré Saad Hariri. Selon une source française, «le leader libanais était entouré d’officiels saoudiens pour cet entretien qui n’aurait pas duré très longtemps».
    Thus he is a prisoner since he couldn’t even have a tête à tête with the French Ambassador in Riyadh.Hopefully they spoke in French !

  81. VietnamVet says:

    I don’t think the Shiite militias will stop before unifying their lines of communications with Iraq and Iran and splitting Sunni territory in half. Israel may first try to have the Saudis conduct the bombing raids. But, that will be ineffective. Israel will have to widen the war or stand down. I don’t see how Israel can get away with bombing Iraqi and Iranian Shiite militias along the road without those nations arming them with anti-aircraft missiles and shooting down an Israeli jet. Adding a nuclear armed combatant to the regional war. If USA troops and contractors move south to cut the Shiite landline for its allies, it becomes a World War with Iraq, Iran and Russia.
    The only way to avoid an ever-escalating regional war is a peace treaty where everyone returns to federations within existing borders and the American and Russian troops return to their barracks. Daesh remain but the Islamic State is no more.

  82. johnf says:

    Well, after all the posturing and screaming and fist-shaking by various parties – especially the Israelis/KSA/USA – suddenly the glowering thunder clouds magically disperse and the sun shines down.
    A normally belligerent BBC reports first that Rex Tillerson warns off KSA (and by implication Israel) from any rash moves against The Lebanon:
    “Lebanon Hariri crisis: Tillerson warns against Saudi-Iran proxy war
    US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has warned other countries against using Lebanon for proxy conflicts, following a crisis triggered by the resignation of its prime minister, Saad Hariri…
    Mr Tillerson said he had received assurances that Mr Hariri was free.
    Mr Hariri resigned a week ago while in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.
    “There is no legitimate place or role in Lebanon for any foreign forces, militias or armed elements other than the legitimate security forces of the Lebanese state,” Mr Tillerson said in a statement.”
    Then, after reports on Friday that Trump and Putin would not meet in Vietnam and The Big Freeze was on, now the BBC reports they had THREE “very brief” meetings – the words “very brief” have since been dropped from the report.
    It reports them as only discussing getting rid of IS.
    Oh yeah!
    They even wore matching shirts at the official photo session at the end.

  83. iowa steve says:

    I agree with you. Too often the western powers use “US pressure” as a domestic political excuse to do exactly what they would do in any case. The elite in both Europe and the US share certain common interests.

  84. LondonBob says:

    Religion is always adapted to suit the people who practice it. No surprise that Protestantism in Europe arose amongst the Germanic/Nordic areas.

  85. jonst says:

    I respectfully disagree with you that the “….fundamental difference” between the two religions is who the relevant ‘book’ was delivered to. Thee fundamental difference between Islam and Christianity is one (Islam) claimed immediate and total political power, via a wink of approval from God, so to speak,, the other had 300 years or so dismissing said power, as well as dismissing ‘this world’… Before it (Christianity) decided, how shall we say, to go for the gold.

  86. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The Western Fortress has stated its intention to get out of the JCPOA cease-fire deal; how could one expect it to pursue a policy such as you describe? Not in the cards.
    Iranians have carved their Shia pie on the field of battle and are not going to go gently into that night.

  87. Poul says:

    Perhaps MbS is saying that in the new Saudi Arabia
    “L’état, c’est moi”

  88. LeaNder says:

    Hmmm, ok. Oh dear, sweetheart.
    did it hurt the British much over the centuries of dissent? The lucky island? Because Henry VIII was inspired by it?

  89. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Just saw a Tweet from someone I know nothing about saying that Bandar Bush has been arrested in the purge. If I find more I’ll pass it on.

  90. kooshy says:

    Absolutely, under assistance and leadership of Iran Shia muslims are now an independent determining power in entire Western Asia no matter if US, KSA and others like it or not.
    IMO, US’ wrong, hard headed and at times stupid policy and animosity (through multiple US Adminstrations) toward Iran’ revolution, was a big factor for Iranians to realize that their security will be greatly enhanced, by fully supporting and rylying on a region wide collective Shia Muslim security in Western Asia. In Iran this policy change, was realized and took place as the resault of Iran, Iraq war, fully supported (prescribed?) and financed by entire West, Sunni Arabs and USSR. IMO Iran’ Revolution was one of the most effective events of late 20th century, after almost 40 years, it’ effects has not been ( refused to be ) accepted by West or the Sunni western clientele.

  91. Babak Makkinejad says:

    In understanding that Iranian security cannot be protected from inside the Iranian borders and acting upon that understanding, Iranian leaders had adopted what USA had done after WWII.

  92. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think also that the Islamic Republic, in incorporating the ideas of Separation of Powers, Parliamentary Independence, Universal Sufferage, Devolution of Power to cities and hamlets, and election for executive positions has been channeling the European ideas quite firmly into Islamic political theory.

  93. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And then there are such things as high-ways around Tehran, Nuclear Industry, Aviation, Electronics, Rocketry, Military industries that could all be traced back to Western, largely US, technology transfers.

  94. outthere says:

    One of the most famous is Prince Bandar bin Sultan, a former Saudi ambassador to Washington and confidant of former US president George W Bush.
    There is no word on his fate, but Saudi authorities said that one of the corruption cases they are looking at is the al-Yamamah arms deal, in which Bandar was involved.
    Bandar bought a hamlet in Oxfordshire, in a picturesque area of central England, and a 2,000-acre sporting estate with part of the proceeds from kickbacks he received in the al-Yamamah arms deal, which netted British manufacturer BAE £43bn ($56.5bn) in contracts for fighter aircraft.
    As much as $30m (£15m) is alleged to have been paid into Bandar’s dollar account at Riggs Bank in Washington and the affair led to corruption probes in the US and UK, although the case was dropped in the UK in 2006 after an intervention by then-prime minister Tony Blair.

  95. Mark Logan says:

    A speculation:
    By simultaneously acting as if he is very much on board with the plan to Wahhabitize the Levant MBS made it difficult for the clerics to hate him overmuch, at least for the moment. This leads to a speculation this Lebanon war stuff could be, at least for the most part, but a gambit of his coup.
    If he doesn’t suspect Lebanon could become the quagmire of Yemen cubed SA and the region are in serious trouble.

  96. kooshy says:

    add Tehran and other large cities Metro, yes the Shia have proved they are better adapted to modernity , not only to modern technical and social lifestyles but also to be adaptive of modern law and politics, maybe the reason is, that they are minority and need commonly accepted norms for consensus?

  97. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Likely because of doctrine of Ijtihad and that they were Seljuk muslims earlier.

  98. Peter AU says:

    “Your statement indicates a mind set in which the little brown people have to be told what devilment to attempt. pl”
    Something that greatly affected me a few years back. I had worked a couple of short periods with aboriginal people (black not brown) when I was young, that although a few differences in out outlook/background, worked the same as “white” people” and I simply thought of them as equals and thought no more of it. In many places there are aboriginal people who have lost their culture and so forth and the result is not good. This is what I was accustomed to.
    In moving to an area where the people had moved from stone age hunter gather to the present in less than 100 years, in many cases within living memory, I was very unsure how to deal with them. Some local (white) people in the area told me how to treat blacks. It was something I could not do. I guess I must be some type of new age rainbow flag waving tree hugger or something, but I decided to treat them same as anyone else and pay the same wages as any other person I would have working for me.
    Took awhile to get some workers as they had a great distrust for whitey’s.
    But one in particular I have never forgotten. Mid to late forties, when he introduced himself to me, said straight up he was and alcoholic.
    After work, at the camp fire we always had two or three beers every night. He never asked for more.
    After we had finished a stint of six weeks or so, I was heading to town for more supplies and the Derby rodeo so the two older blokes wanted to go in for that rather than go back to the community.
    At the community, the elders told me I would never get D (introduced himself as alcoholic) back out of town once he got on the booze.
    I dropped them in Derby and headed down to Broom as there was a few things I wanted there plus a weekend at a resort sort of place.
    Monday morning, I pull into the petrol station at Derby to fuel the truck up before collecting and loading supplies for the next stint. As I was fuelling up, D turned up beside me, already with a cardboard cask or so under his belt, and asked me when we were leaving. What he said next totally stunned me and have not not been able to forget.
    He said ” I will go anywhere with you. You treat me like a man, not a blackfella”
    I guess in your trade pl, you see more than anyone the shit that people do to each other, but.. a man in his late forties, a very honest and straightforward man, had never in his life been treated as a man by whites..
    The other thing that happened – loading up with stores at the supermarket. It was also the grog shop and I would get about a pallet of beer along with food for the next stint out.
    Alcoholism and drugs along with the associated crime required for acquisition, were a major problem with the aboriginal people that had moved to town, which was the majority. Always there were aboriginal people hanging in the supermarket carpark asking whitey’s to buy them some grog.
    Loading up the beer this day, for whatever reason, I had no one to watch the truck.
    I came out and put the first couple of cartons on the truck, but the was a group of somewhat hostile aboriginal people siting on the curb near the front front of the truck. I was in a not so good situation as after putting a couple of cartons on the back, I could not leave it. Then being a bit green, I just thought f..k it and asked them to watch the truck for me.
    The difference… they f..king watched that truck like hawks. The experience with the people of that area is something I will never forget.
    And I look at the US and disciples bringing “freedom and democracy to brown people”
    Not real sure how to take the “brown people” bit pl as you are hard to read, but I have no illusions based on peoples skin colour or culture. Smart and not smart, honest dishonest ect ect in all peoples.

  99. turcopolier says:

    Peter AU
    I am hard to read? Good. If you are easy to read you are probably a little simple mended and unable to grasp the many facets of any situation. As for the “little brown people,” and your attitude toward them , you seem inordinately proud of your ability to treat someone of another culture as an equal. I will say again, the tendency to treat people of other cultures as though they were born without original sin is quite repulsive and very paternalistic. The desire to believe that they are somehow better people thn Europeans is just silly and extremely dangerous. pl

  100. turcopolier says:

    You are painfully “pink” (white)? What a pretentious ass you are. pl

  101. different clue says:

    Mark Logan,
    Many years ago I once confessed that I found trying to understand the Middle East like trying to understand a game of checkers where the squares were moving around as well as the checkers.
    If MBS is doing what you say, then he is artfully juggling several “flaming bobcats on meth”. If so, he must be very careful. Because if even only one of those flaming bobcats on meth which he is juggling turns around and claw-chews his face off; that would spoil his whole day.

  102. different clue says:

    Pacifica Advocate,
    I am not AU, but I once saw someone who did indeed seem very close to black-leather black. He was working in a Grand Middle-Class Hotel I was once at a conference in, and his face had some symmetrical scar marks on it.
    I think they were tribal identification scars but I wasn’t about to ask.

  103. turcopolier says:

    Different Clue
    I have worked with people from Kerala who were black as anthracite. pl

  104. Peter AU says:

    Not thinking people other than Europeans are all good, rather that where religion or ideology does not interfere people are pretty much the same all over. Honest and dishonest and so forth.
    A few years back, my 86 year old father was nearly killed because a do gooder judge believed that jailing violent young aboriginal men on made them worse. He had been in and out of jail since age seventeen, always committing another violent assault when let out on.
    When he attacked my father he was 25 and it was only two hours after being released on bail for hitting and breaking the cheek of a sixty year old women.
    Something about living in that part of Australia for couple of years did affect me in some way. Perhaps it was seeing the incompatibility of two different cultures and their laws that cannot merge.
    I worked there as a contractor and when we could not reach a mutually agreeable deal for the next year, I left.
    MBS – ? He is relatively young, is in a bit of a mess in Yemen, but from what I read here, seems to have put himself in a very strong position in SA. Remains to be seen if he is a survivor like Erdogan.

  105. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The women are quite comely.
    There are Iranians who are as black as soot in Southern Iran. One who was traveling in North related how children would run their fingers across his skin to see if the color would come off.

  106. turcopolier says:

    Peter AU
    ” .. people are pretty much the same all over.” Well, that is sad. It means that you are just another dummmy do-gooder. pl

  107. Peter AU says:

    “It means that you are just another dummmy do-gooder. pl”
    You may well be right. Having a conscience that doesn’t allow me to do some things is a major hassle at times.

  108. Peter AU says:

    Thinking on it a bit more, apart from my family, my conscience does not push me to go out and do what I perceive as good things. It only prevents me from doing some things.

  109. fanto says:

    racism is in all races – sounds trivial. But anecdotes help to illustrate – I met Sri-Lankan doctors who were as black as tar, but would be upset when one called them “Black”. Chinese look down their noses on Caucasians , Germans have famously little regard for “Polen, Juden und Zigeuner”.. etc etc etc.

  110. Peter AU says:

    What I do find exceptional is the response to treating another like a normal human which I think is why it affected me in some way
    I saw more racism in that part of the country than I had realised existed. Then on the opposite spectrum, in the comment section of an article on aboriginal massacres at a university site, the politically correct offence that was taken when relating a story to do with history in the same words as used by the Aboriginal man.

  111. Cee says:

    Col. Lang,
    Didn’t Israel assassinate Rafik?

  112. SR Wood says:

    Ali Ali Shihabi at the Arabia Foundation explains the current shakeup in Saudi Arabia, not primarily as a consolidation of power, but as a means to drain the Saudi swamp.
    What are your views?

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