What Is Happening In Saudi?

There seems to be a lot of change and turmoil happening in the House of Saud and Saudi Arabia in general.

Seems like we are getting a surprise a week or so. I don’t know what to make of it, partly because I’ve not been paying much attention lately, and partly due to it being a place that generally didn’t interest me much. But it is being pushed to the forefront due to the scope and rate of changes.

Women are being allowed to drive. OK, got that. About time.

Saudi is bombing folks in Yemen and stepping up to providing their own defense. About time, but maybe a bit heavy handed. Wondering just where they intend to stop. Qatar being squeezed for being friendly to Iran, but is that the last step or the first step in an anti-Iran anti-Shiia move? Where will a militant Saudi put the finished line?

Saudi Aramco up for sale. OK, may make sense as a simple diversification, but… Can’t help wondering if the oil is running a bit thin so they want to sell at a huge cash rake before how bad it really is shows up… or if they are just all on board with the Global Warming Scam and want to diversify out of oil and into Teslas, batteries, and wind farms…

Now we have a New Prince in town shaking up the other Princes and Families. What the?…

This link pegged 2 cores on the Odroid XU4 at 100%. Yes, I had 6 more cores to go, but I don’t like it when pages that ought to just be displaying text and a picture cause cores to slam to full operation. So I’ve copied the whole article here just so nobody else has to “go there” if on small systems. It might only be some bit of Java that doesn’t do well in this browser (so goes open loop) or it might be something trying to crawl into a Microsoft Box and not figuring out this is Linux and it’s kit will not work… but I’m not interested in debugging their page.

Bold bits mine. Generally looks to me like a power grab and desire to concentrate wealth from non-oil sources into the hands of the House of Saud royals.


Saudi Crown Prince’s unprecedented shakeup changes Kingdom

With Hariri’s resignation, Israel has more leeway in next war with Lebanon
Saudis gamble on Hariri resignation to check Iranian grip on Lebanon

By Seth J. Frantzman
November 6, 2017 13:16

Arrest of numerous princes and businessmen in corruption probe aims to consolidate power and remake country, experts say.

Saudi Arabia has placed itself front and center of the news in the Middle East. First the country enabled former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to make his momentous resignation from Riyadh. Now a swath of senior princes and officials have been rounded up with allegations of corruption. Amidst the momentous news, a missile was also fired from Yemen at the capital city’s airport Saturday night.

Foremost among the potentates carted off in Saudi’s anti-corruption probe is Al-Waleed bin Talal, a prince whose vast holdings include a web of the most important media and financial groups in the United States: Twitter, News Corp, 21st Century Fox and Citigroup. A dozen other princes, and businessmen have been arrested as well.

So if he was so corrupt what does that say about his influence on Twitter, News Corp, Fox, etc. etc.? This guy was touted as the Saudi Warren Buffet; so maybe he’s more like the Saudi Ponzi or what?

Jonathan Schanzer, senior vice-president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies says that charges are also part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS)’s attempt to reshape the Saudi government in his own image. “MBS is looking to bring in new blood, fresh thinking and younger leadership to bring the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia into the modern era,” says Schanzer. He argues that “these corruption charges appear to be one part of that effort.” MBS, who was born in 1985 and is the eldest son of King Salman, has been crown prince since June 2017. Since 2015 he has been Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia. When he was appointed to that role at age 29 he was the youngest defense minister in the world.

Dr. Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) at Tel Aviv University, says the attempt to consolidate power is unprecedented and could also be dangerous for the Kingdom. “Israelis and the establishment [in Israel] I assume look favorably on the foreign policy that MBS initiated. We like his boldness and activity and aggressiveness against Iran and against Iran proxies in Yemen etc.” However while his conduct against Iran is welcomed, there is a potential downside. “I’m not so sure if what is going on inside Saudi reassures Israelis. In the long run any instability or conflict inside the palace can affect the tacit relations behind closed doors. Any damage to Saudi regional status is not something that Israel would be happy about because of the shared interests between the countries.” Before the shakeup, MBS had carved out a niche as a reformer looking to the future. He supported privatization and changes in Saudi Arabia that would affect health care, education and military sectors of the economy, according to a profile in Egypt Today. He has also supported the potential massive IPO of ARAMCO and been outspoken on bringing women into the economy. US President Donald Trump has reportedly welcomed the listing of Aramco on US stock exchanges, part of Trump’s overall policy to work closely with the Saudis on numerous regional issues. The Crown Prince is also involved in other reforms. In September the Kingdom announced the women would begin to receive the right to drive a car.

So is it just Trump being OK with that, or was it Trump giving a bit of a shove? I doubt the Saudi’s would care what anyone else thinks, given their incredible ownership of much of the world… but you never know what leverage exists.

The overall picture of the shakeup in Saudi Arabia is that if affects numerous high profile people. According to a list tweeted by policy analyst and visiting Professor at the University of Miami Rula Jebreal, it includes Prince Mitaib bin Abdullah, Minister of the National Guard, Prince Turki bin Abdullah, former Governor of Riyadh and Khaled Al-Tuwaijri, former President of the Royal Court, as well as a raft of other former ministers of labor and finance, chiefs of the investment authority, a former head of Saudi Arabian airlines and the CEO of the Bin Ladin Group and Saudi Telecom. According to The Daily Sabah in Turkey, the arrests include the heads of three state-owned TV networks. At least two of those arrested are sons of the late King Abdullah who died in 2015. Those detained range in age from 47 to 67 years old.

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Arabiya presents the arrests as a widespread anti-corruption campaign. It says that Mohammed Bin Salman’s new “anti-corruption committee” has sweeping powers to “investigate, arrest, ban from travel, freeze accounts and portfolios, track funds and assets of individuals.” In addition the reporting seeks to link those arrests to the floods that affected Jeddah in 2009 and responses to a health crisis. The Kingdom highlights this as a clear indication that “no one is above the law.” Another Saudi news outlet described the Crown Prince’s actions as a “war against corruption.” The hashtag “king fights corruption” is now trending.

Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, a research fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, was quoted in Daily Sabah saying that MBS is setting his sights to remain in power for decades. He is “remaking the kingdom in his own image and signaling a potentially significant move away from the consensual balancing of competing interests that characterized Saudi rule in the past.” Ian Black at the London School of Economics told Al-Jazeera a similar message. “Since Mohammed bin Salman became the crown prince in June, we’ve seen a lot of upheaval. We’ve seen the announcement of this very ambitious Saudi plan to transform the Saudi economy, [called] Vision 2030.”

Saudi Arabia’s actions do not come in a vacuum. It is part of a larger alliance with the gulf states and Egypt. The United Arab Emirates has said it stands firmly with the Saudis, although its comments don’t clearly reference the arrests, but rather the Yemenite missile. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed said that foreign hands “will not undermine the resolve of our brothers in the Kingdom.”

That choice of 2030 is a bit of a worry, being aligned with the Global Warming / UN Agenda dates. Could just be a coincidence, maybe.

Saudi and to some extent regional stock markets are down a bit. Folks “in the area” showing some worry.

Here’s another view on it from NPR, the NGO of National Public Radio in the USA that does much more than radio now.


With Saudi Arrests, Crown Prince Shows He Can Force Change. But It’s Not Democracy

November 6, 20174:21 PM ET

Caption to the photo of the Crown Prince:

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh last month. “We are returning to what we were before — a country of moderate Islam that is open to all religions and to the world,” he said at the economic forum.

Well, it would be nice for the various Wahhabi hard core mosques to stop preaching such a hard core version of Islam, but I’m not seeing how that’s going to change any time soon. So better tolerance for use infidels would be a welcome change.

The Saudi prince behind the weekend’s unprecedented arrest of high-level Saudi officials and businessmen is known as young and brash, and has even been called reckless. He is also known to be in tune with Saudi Arabia’s youth; those under 25 make up a majority of the country’s population.

The prince’s latest high-risk move has gotten rave reviews from Saudis on Twitter, the country’s most popular social media outlet. Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, or MBS, as the 32-year-old leader is known, is gambling that he can modernize the ultra-conservative kingdom by consolidating power and mobilizing a generation of young people, say Saudi analysts inside and outside the kingdom.

So going for a rapid “cultural coup” with a demographic angle? Sure hope he has good control of the Royal Guard and Military. And doesn’t get shown to have committed some sin for which he can be claimed non-Muslim…

These high-profile targets were previously considered untouchable in the Saudi kingdom and follow other controversial moves, including a royal decree allowing women to drive and limits on the power of the religious police.

It does not mean Saudi Arabia is opening up to democracy. The country’s rulers are unelected monarchs with a record of jailing critics and members of the Shiite minority. And the purge — action taken by a single leader — is very much in keeping with Saudi royal tradition. But the sweep of arrests marks a change.

So in an accepted historical pattern, but implies folks ought to have known to make preparations in case it happened; so raises the stakes that someone might have a $billion or two stuffed in a Swiss Bank with directions to hire mercenaries should they be arrested…

“It is unprecedented, more for the speed and the scale,” says H.A. Hellyer, a fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London and the Atlantic Council. Mohammed bin Salman is sending a message, he says: “This guy is in charge and nobody is off the table.”

The crown prince is a Saudi-educated son of the current King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud Salman. In a surprise move, he was elevated in June to become next in the succession, replacing his older cousin.

“His position is already secure. It’s not like he was being challenged. Everyone suspects he will be announced as the new king. But you can always consolidate more,” says Hellyer.

In one of his first TV interviews after his June promotion, Mohammed bin Salman pledged to tackle endemic corruption in the kingdom. “No one who got involved in a corruption case will escape, regardless if he was a minister or a prince,” he warned.

It turned out to be no idle threat.

“Many of them have been known as deeply corrupt,” said a Saudi official who supports the crown prince and requested anonymity to discuss the arrest list — which includes former CEOs of Saudi Telecom and Saudi Airlines, four sitting cabinet ministers and high-profile business leaders from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s business capital on the Red Sea coast. Some had close personal relations to the crown prince.

These high-profile arrests send a powerful message, said the Saudi official. Business as usual is over, he said, with this “shock to the system.”

Well I guess some of them made one too many brags to the wrong guy about how much ‘rake’ they were creaming…

His anti-corruption commission launched a new probe into an old corruption case involving damage after floods devastated the Red Sea city of Jeddah in 2009. Torrential rains washed away thousands of homes and killed more than 120 people.

“No one was held to account there for the damage after the floods,” said the Saudi official who asked for anonymity. “Fighting corruption is always popular.”

The devastation in Jeddah was blamed on corrupt real estate practices and spurred a grassroots political movement that launched the career of a female activist, 38-year-old Rasha Hefzi. She won a seat on the Jeddah local council in 2015, when women could run for office for the first time.

The government has announced new trials with as many as 320 defendants, including some already acquitted by local courts.

Well, I guess asking for “double jeopardy” protection is unlikely there… It looks like partially the Prince is pushing things to make the people happy. Every new ruler needs to make the rabble like him, or risk rebellion. Tossing a few corrupt princes and “dukes” under the bus has been a winner for ages.

Interesting Trump connection here:

The new populism in the kingdom has the backing of the Trump administration — in particular,Jared Kushner, who reportedly has a close personal relationship with the crown prince.

But Mohammed bin Salman is playing a high-stakes game and there are grave risks, says F. Gregory Gause, head of the international affairs department at Texas A&M’s Bush School of Government and Public Service.

“The biggest risk here is to Prince Mohammad’s Vision 2030,” he says, a far-reaching reform plan to reduce Saudi Arabia’s dependence on oil and diversify the economy.

“If some of the leading figures of the Saudi private sector can be detained in this way, it introduces enormous uncertainty into the investment environment,” says Gause. “Capitalists do not like uncertainty.”

So a close personal relationship with a Jew? How’s that going to sit with the rest of the House Of Saud? In the original, that Vision 2030 is a link to:


It looks like a positive vision statement. I was once told by an Arab friend that Saudi was sitting on a mountain of gold that would someday be mined after the oil ran out. That this statement talks to mining gold is interesting.

Our country is rich in its natural resources. We are not dependent solely on oil for our energy needs. Gold, phosphate, uranium, and many other valuable minerals are found beneath our lands. But our real wealth lies in the ambition of our people and the potential of our younger generation. They are our nation’s pride and the architects of our future.

There’s also clearly a realization that the people of Saudi Arabia ought to be doing more than just selling their natural resources.

Our ambition is for the long term. It goes beyond replenishing sources of income that have weakened or preserving what we have already achieved. We are determined to build a thriving country in which all citizens can fulfill their dreams, hopes and ambitions. Therefore, we will not rest until our nation is a leader in providing opportunities for all through education and training, and high quality services such as employment initiatives, health, housing, and entertainment.
We commit ourselves to providing world-class government services which effectively and efficiently meet the needs of our citizens. Together we will continue building a better country, fulfilling our dream of prosperity and unlocking the talent, potential, and dedication of our young men and women. We will not allow our country ever to be at the mercy of a commodity price volatility or external markets.
We have all the means to achieve our dreams and ambitions. There are no excuses for us to stand still or move backwards.
Our Vision is a strong, thriving, and stable Saudi Arabia that provides opportunity for all. Our Vision is a tolerant country with Islam as its constitution and moderation as its method. We will welcome qualified individuals from all over the world and will respect those who have come to join our journey and our success.

So I’m generally in agreement with his stated goals for his country. Diversification and good stewardship of wealth is always important and valuable. Having the People gainfully employed, happy and healthy, is critical for any monarch who wants to have a long and peaceful rule with maximum prosperity. I wish him well.

It’s the rest of the country that I’m worried about… When change is too fast, the cultural “gel” breaks, and crisis, or worse, revolution, follows.

This is the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. In that case, the Czar was weak and too wedded to old traditional ways. He let the corrupt aristocracy oppress the common people. At the same time, a key radical was put to death in a failed bomb plot. The older brother of Vladimir Lenin. The Czar also lost a war with Japan, leading to much of the society hating him. Lenin took the opportunity to lead that unrest into the downfall of the Czar and 300 years of Romanov rule. I hope the Saudi Crown Prince has read his history. It looks like it. He knows to remove the worst corruption and do things to improve life for the commoner. He just needs to make sure he doesn’t execute the wrong person’s brother… and lose an unpopular war…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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47 Responses to What Is Happening In Saudi?

  1. jim2 says:

    Even if the US never set foot in the Middle East, I suspect it would still be a cluster-F.

  2. Eilert says:

    A correction to the downfall of the Czar. The Czar was forced to resign in the MARCH 1917 Revolution which was not initiated by Lenin, but the leader was Alexander Kerensky. Lenin was out of the country (in Switzerland) at the time. The so called October Revolution (actual was in November) was in fact a coup d’état by Lenin, who went back to Russia with the help of the German Kaiser)

  3. philjourdan says:

    The revolution changed once Russia went on the western calendar. But it is strange to hear it told.

  4. p.g.sharrow says:

    Looks to be a standard “Game of Thrones” change up.

  5. p.g.sharrow says:

    Take over the organizations of security, Arrest all the heads of the former family line and hold them to prevent them from organizing opposition and hold them for the ransom of their position and wealth that they control. Consolidating wealth and power into the hands of the new potentate and his faction.. Control of $800 Billion of wealth at stake as well as a once in 100 year modernization of Saudi society organization…pg.

  6. p.g.sharrow says:

    A thing that occurs to me is that the Head of the House of Saudi is also the leader over the Sunni Muslims and could push a reformation of that Religion. Giving reformers protection, authority and a place to work on the modernization of their belief system in this war between Sunni and Shea. Saudi and Iranian conflict over control over the Middle East. …pg

  7. A C Osborn says:

    I think the Pres Trump marked their card while he was out there.
    Especially the 9/11 involvement of so many Saudis.
    I thas been kown for some time that ceratin members of their Royal family have been actively supporting Terrorist groups.
    I am sure that he told them to clean up their act.

  8. Power Grab says:

    Re: “So a close personal relationship with a Jew?”

    I saw an article about 3-1/2 years ago on the Forbes site that said that Rothschilds and Saudis traditionally work together to start wars.

  9. Larry Ledwick says:

    I think it is a little deeper than that. The new leadership has recognized that the middle east and especially Saudi Arabia was on death spiral if they continued to let the radical Wahhabi factions to sponsor radical Islam. They realize that their oil income is going to down turn in the near future as production drops and fracking kills their market monopoly. Their graft ridden system of government had a cancer that needed to be excised. Iran is seen as their highest risk enemy and they either have to get control of things or they are next on the chopping block for an Arab Spring movement. After Egypt threw out the Muslim Brother hood there has been a significant change in the arab world. Saudi Arabia has actually been acting as a partner with Israel on dealing with Iran and groups like ISIS.

    A new sense of “we are all in this together” has taken hold in several of the countries (Jordon, Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE ) and they are acting in their mutual interest to pull out by the roots radical Jihadist Islam in the middle east. It is a long term project. The Monarchies in the middle east are finally beginning to realize that radicalism is a poison that will destroy them too.

    I think that Mohammed bin Salman has realized that with the huge growth in the young population cohort in Saudi Arabia (which he has connected with) gives him a huge power base to purge the old hard line corruption. The young want to move toward a liberal peaceful Islam like Lebanon had prior to all the wars where it was a major tourist attraction and vacation spot.

    I believe he is trying to shift the Saudi Arabia economy away from Oil into technology and tourism as their major revenue bases and both of those require an open more tolerant and less restrictive society to succeed. Their recent split from Quatar and the formation of a block of countries trying to isolate Quatar and its radical support shows that those countries realize there is no future in radicalism other then their over throw and destruction at the hands of lunatics like ISIS and the hard line Taliban.

    Simple self preservation drives it and the only win win exit they have is to move toward more accepting relationships with outsiders. Terrorism has destroyed most of the tourist based income of countries like Lebanon and Egypt which once made both of them destination attractions. Under the 2030 initiative it appears he is planning to build new modern liberal cities conducive to both tourism and high tech development (in a climate where out door activities are unbearable in the summer time, air conditioned high tech is an industrial base that works and gives constructive and profitable outlet for all those young Saudis currently entering their early 20’s and late teens)

    It will either be a huge success or the bloom just before the bubble pops and their society and Monarchy is swallowed up in chaos.

  10. Jeff says:

    I wouldn’t equate the Rothschilds with Kushner, nor with Jews in general. The Rothschilds, and their front-man Gyorgi Schwartz (aka George Soros) are members of what has been termed “The synagogue of Satan” (Revelation 2:9 and 3:9).

    I’m curious to see the effect on the “swampian” news media and banks (Citigroup among them).
    Since NPR (and most of the YSM) are part of that, I’m not surprised that they were somewhat less than sanguine about the future of the status quo (swamp) in KSA…..

    I’m also interested in what this will do to the Syrian influence in Lebanon. Could be that great alliance (along with what looked like Woody Allen’s “orb”) will have some positive results before long…..

  11. Larry Ledwick says:

    For example:

    I think Trump’s efforts to shift our foreign policy toward a win win philosophy that allows other governments to deal with their own problems in their own ways as long as they do not interfere in US interests was part of the reason his first state visit to Saudi Arabia was so cordial and significant. It signalled a change in how the US plans to deal with SA and the middle east in general and also recognition of the mutual threat of a nuclear Iran.

    (including recent deployments of anti missile technology to Israel and Saudi Arabia like Patriot Missile batteries and other regional defense systems)


    As Iran becomes a proxy for Russia there is mutual support in Israel, the US in the region and the gulf states led by Saudi Arabia to contain Iran. This is building a new understanding of how they can work together if they lower the temperature of the regional issues like the Palestinian problem and advocacy for revolution by Jihad.

  12. Power Grab says:

    While we’re on the subject… there’s something I have wanted to ask.

    Also about 3-1/2 years ago I read that these 4 countries are the only ones not under the control of international bankers: Syria, Cuba, North Korea, and (IIRC) Lebanon.

    Lebanon isn’t what it used to be, what with the influx of refugees, right? Did that change when Syria signed onto the Paris agreement? How about when Obama got Cuba to come under his wing (or something)? It looks like NK is well on the road to get their a** kicked. I assume that will put them in dire (more dire?) need for funding. Bankers love have their way with folks who need funds, right?

    I don’t remember where I saw it, but someone has said that CAGW was supposed to be the means whereby the world shook off the petrodollar, which supposedly would take the US out of the driver’s seat of the world economy.

    I don’t follow these issues closely enough to believe all that, or not. What do you think?

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    I’m fond of pointing out that the M.E. has been going at this since Israel vs Philistines vs Canaan vs Egypt vs Hittites vs… It isn’t something we started, and it isn’t something we can fix. The Persians and Greeks went at each other for centuries, and though now named Iranians, it’s the same process. It will end when one side exterminates the others. It is a fools errand to “bring peace to the Middle East”, IMHO.


    A helpful analogy, IF I ever watched Game Of Thrones and knew what it was about ;-)

    Yes, one hopes he can lead a Reformation. One fears the Clerics will lead the revolt…


    I get the whiff of that too, but it was played so close to the vest it is hard to see evidence. So was it a “wink and nod” to go ahead and clean house, or a gauntlet being slapped in the hand while talking tough… hard to know.

    @Power Grab:

    Sounds like an interesting article. It has long been a tradition of Kings and Emperors to agree with neighbors (often cousins) on starting a war so as to remove the excess population, accumulate the wealth, and get the rabble distracted. I see no evidence that process has changed with the onset of Democracies, Republics, and Petty Empires like the EU. Just a bit more indirect and hidden, IMHO.


    More an expansion than a correction. I tried to be careful in my choice of words. “Downfall” is not “resigned”. Yes, he was already resigned and off in Siberia by then, but it was the Bolsheviks who had him and his family slaughtered and assured the continued downfall of the Romanov Dynasty, as opposed to a return. Similarly, “took the opportunity” is not “started”. Yes, the revolution was started by another faction, the Provisional Government, but it was Lenin who turned it to his ends and his cause.

    What is fascinating to me is just how close it was to becoming a Republic as the Provisional Government was full of capitalists and the aristocracy. It was not assured that Lenin would succeed by a long shot. It was 1918 before the Soviets and the Bolsheviks deposed the final Provisional Government entities. As it was the Provisional Government what was protecting the Czar and his family in Siberia, when they finally lost that control to Lenin and his movement, the opportunity was used for a ‘final solution’ to the Romanov rule…

    Oh, and remember that Russia was still on the Julian calendar then while the rest of the world had mostly gone on to the Gregorian, so they were one month off from us in their dates…

    It is an absolutely fascinating bit of history and how it unfolded in the particulars is like all things Russian, complex and indirect. I tried to compress the essence of it into one sidebar paragraph, but I guess it really does need a Russian Novel sized treatment…


    Need to go shut up the dogs… back in a few for the rest of the comments…

  14. Steven Fraser says:

    IPO of Saudi Aramco would be for liquidity and to spread the risk. Projects in Riyadh with govt funding have been slowed way down due to cash flow issues. Having a leg in a western capital market makes stock distribution plays possible by the govt, and means that the assets can be leveraged anywhere in the world that has access to a stock brokerage.

  15. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting reference. Had to look it up. It would seem when I last read Revelations I didn’t notice the current implications of “Synagogue of Satan” and just sort of tossed it off as “insult fluff” when “description of adversary” was a better category… Jewish by birth, but not by mind or soul…

    I’ve generally had “unease” about the potential influence of a near $Trillion of “investments” on our Western companies and governments. IMHO, they have had much more influence “buying elections” in the West than any Russians. If “Citibank” gives a $Million “campaign contribution” to the Democrats to fight M.E. vetting of immigrants, that’s legal, but if a Republican in a receiving line at a diplomatic dinner says “hello” to a Russian Ambassador, that’s “criminal meddling”?

    @Power Grab:

    Nobody is under the “control” of international bankers. It’s more like a mutual deadly embrace. The Governments make the laws and can simply screw over the bankers if they want (vis the fallout from Dodd Frank and other rule making…) yet the Bankers can screw over politicians and even some governments (vis cutting off funds to Greece and “donations” to candidates they like and Goldman Sachs having a revolving door with Treasury. Each depends on the other and has a Frenemy relationship, IMHO.

    That said, at any one time, I think it’s the major families and houses of the 0.000001% ultra-rich bankers that has the strongest hand and generally gets the rules they want, until they screw up to publicly, then they get spanked for a decade until things get loosened again.

    Governments want to spend money they don’t have, and Bankers “let them” in exchange for a noose around body parts. That works for them right up until someone finds parts turning blue and hurting, then a noose gets put on the Bankers for a while. In some cases, nations just repudiate the debt noose. Latin America has done that repeatedly. Currently being negotiated with Puerto Rico and Venezuela… Ecuador “nationalized” all sorts of stuff, but where they are at the moment is unclear to me. So it isn’t all a one way street with Bankers driving the bus. Yet in places like Cyprus, they clearly were 100% in charge. Spain, Ireland, Iceland, Greece still a work in progress, but mostly Bankers doing OK, the people not so much, the Government as facilitator.


    Sort of a Monarchy seeing the French Haircut outcome of undirected revolution of radicals and wanting to avoid that, so channeling the needed reforms rather than fighting them… I can see that.

    The question, of course, is can it work?

    The Sunni / Shia thing has been going on for generations. Iran is not going to go quietly into that good night. Saudi has the money, but Iran has the population and “drive”. The use of “containment” generally is just “postponement” until the arms level builds up high enough. I suspect the Trump administration has green-lighted the Saudis to be the Regional Power just so long as they leave Israel alone and purge the radicals. The question I see, though, is what happens when Saudi defines Shia as “the radicals” and that centuries long hatred becomes active conflict. That was a sub-text in the ISIS vs Syria vs Iraq conflict that has reduced to rubble just about all of Syria to western Iraq and is still hot in Yemen.

    I can see it working; but wonder what will survive in the rubble it leaves behind…

  16. Larry Ledwick says:

    Yes it a case of riding a tiger for the Saudi new leaders!
    How do they get off?

  17. Larry Ledwick says:

    I also think that Saudi Arabia might have decided they cannot trust the Pakistan govt for access to nuclear weapons if Iran goes nuclear, and have a secret treaty with Israel for mutual defense in case of nuclear attack. Saudi Arabia providing funding for lots of military equipment in exchange for being able to sidle up under the edge of the Israeli nuclear umbrella since they would both be targets of such an attack. Trump in turn may have given a blessing to such a deal giving the Saudi’s permission to buy high dollar items like THAAD missile batteries on the condition that they provide back door support to Israel in case of a nuclear threat from Iran, and to back us up with troops on the ground if Iran tries to shut down the Persian gulf strait of Hormuz shipping lanes.
    That and the suez canal would be the US strategic interest in the deal.

    Mutual support from Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia would make the Suez canal secure and cover our back door if we got in a shooting war in the strait of Hormuz shipping lanes with Iran.

    Not to mention their strategic intelligence in the Arab world as part of the quid pro quo.

  18. p.g.sharrow says:

    Remember Muslim Prophesies are that they will destroy their world. After that the 12th Imam will teach them the new way, “He walks with Jesus” or preaches peace with others rather then war…pg

  19. catweazle666 says:

    “Even if the US never set foot in the Middle East, I suspect it would still be a cluster-F.”
    Well, it has been for around the last 3,000 years!
    At least.

  20. p.g.sharrow says:

    @catweazle666, before the creation of the war cult of Mohammad the Middle East was the home of Western Civilization, Egypt and Iran (Persia) have been in existence for 5000 years.
    Islam is a Bedouin war cult that from time to time has acquired a veneer of civilization from it’s conquered peoples. After a time their wealth is exhausted and the more radical straight jacket of Shara is clamped down to lock society into their version of religious order..
    4th century Bedouin shithole…pg .

  21. p.g.sharrow says:


    There was a young lady of Niger
    Who smiled as she rode on a tiger;
    They returned from the ride
    With the lady inside,
    And the smile on the face of the tiger.”…Monkhouse

    Brings a smile to my face…pg

  22. Larry Ledwick says:

    Hmmmmm well this is interesting! I wonder whatsup?
    From twitter
    World-Events Live‏ @IdeologyWars 32 minutes ago

    #BREAKING: #SaudiArabia has ordered all its citizens out of #Lebanon immediately

  23. Larry Ledwick says:

    Apparently Bahrain is also urging the same. Pity the major news organizations are too busy to mention this.


  24. Larry Ledwick says:

    Others are joining the party, looks like something is about to go down in Lebanon.

    World-Events Live‏ @IdeologyWars 2 hours ago

    #UPDATE: #Kuwait and #Bahrain have joined the #SaudiArabian government in issuing a decree to advise citizens to leave #Lebanon

    Hamas might be about to have a bad day:


  25. David Walker says:

    “@catweazle666, before the creation of the war cult of Mohammad the Middle East was the home of Western Civilization, Egypt and Iran (Persia) have been in existence for 5000 years.”

    Yep, and continuously at war throughout the whole period!
    Take a look at some of the Egyptian artwork:


    Here are some Persians:


  26. p.g.sharrow says:

    @David; you are right about that. Seems that a fundamental job of government is war. Defense, at times even for profit. But nothing like Islam. This is a disease that must be stopped or the human race will be stunted, never again to advance into space. GOD will not permit this to continue…pg

  27. p.g.sharrow says:

    Prophecy is that:”The Brothers of the North will unite and outlaw war”
    A PAX that ends the activities of War Lords, but just who are the “Brothers of the North?
    America? Russia?….pg

  28. tom0mason says:

    Hopefully the new broom in Saudi takes note of the Rolls Royce trial

    Defense contracting especially to the Middle East have always been a viper pit of corruption. BA has been found out, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/feb/05/bae-systems-arms-deal-corruption , who else is there?

    And then little more than a year after the “Panama Papers” leak, the “Paradise Papers” are shedding light on who is investing huge amounts of money in offshore tax havens. How much Saudi money is sloshing around in these off-shore funds, for whose benefit, and why?

  29. E.M.Smith says:

    France24 had the Saudi civilians exit from Lebanon as a crawler. Sky had it as a reading of middle east newspapers. The assertion was some ambassador? from Lebanon? resigned after a visit to Saudi. Then something about some vip having death threats. ( sorry, but hearing not good, mixed with volume too low, an accent, funny names, and no closed captions means I missed some. I’ll catch it on the replay…)

    Al Jazeera was running some special, so I’ll try it later too.

    Sky also mentioned a desire by the Saudis to have Iran and their Hezbola proxy retun Lebanon to local civilian rule.

    Reading between the lines, looks to me like the Saudi Crown Prince is looking to clean house in the region too. Saw a clip of him doing the public photo op after the Trump visit, on stage with Trump. Eyes gleaming, and small smile; like he got what he wanted from The Deal. I suspect Trump gave him the green light to do what he wanted… and I think clean Iran / Hezbola out of Lebanon is on his list…

  30. Larry Ledwick says:

    Story on Lebanon and Saudi Arabia starting to get fleshed out in the media:



    Now that ISIS is effectively crushed and coalition forces have killed off a majority of the senior commanders of the Iranians who entered that fight trying to usurp ISIS as the de facto power broker in the region, I suspect SA has decided to decapitate the leadership of Hezbollah in Lebanon and take down that center of Iranian influence just as they have fought against Iranian sponsored actors in Yemen.

    I think we have a proxy war being fought between Saudi Arabia and Iran on multiple fronts now, and that the US has given SA the green light to sort out the middle east. It would not surprise me at all given President Trump’s negotiation history to have sat down with SA authorities and said:

    Look we can never impose order on the middle east as an outsider, you can, We don’t want to impose our system of government on anyone but we do want to see a stable and prosperous middle east that is not a constant threat to world peace. We are currently spending X dollars to try to keep things from blowing up over here, what would you say if we agreed to quietly send you X/2 dollars in the form of weapons deals and other support like satellite intelligence and you use your resources to fix this mess and put Iran in a box until their Theocracy collapses and they quit being a security risk for this part of the world?

    Just a theory but would make perfect sense to me – we cut our losses in manpower, save a ton of money to rebuild a worn out military from 17 years of continuous fighting, and they get to exercise leadership and independent control over the future of the middle east on the condition they create a stable regional Pax Saudia Arabia.

  31. Larry Ledwick says:

    Related to my above comments, looks like Russia and the US are making progress toward some sort of agreement on the situation in Syria. (I expect some sort of agreement that guarantees the Russians a warm water port / airbase and center of influence in Syria in exchange for a mutual stand down and enforcement of peaceful conditions in Syria).


  32. E.M.Smith says:

    Hmmm…. Iranian missile fired from Yemen almost reaches airport near Saudi capital. Saudi busy “cleaning up” Yemen… Now also leaning on Lebanon that is also in bed with Iran. So maybe Saudi Crown Prince is clueful enough to realize being surrounded by Iran and Iranian proxies firing missiles at them Is A Bad Thing; and taking steps to end it. I agree that The Donald gave him the nod to go ahead… S.C.Prince has a suppressed gleeful expression on his face in the ‘shaking hands with Trump’ meet and greet photo from a while back. I was wondering what had him so happy ;-)

  33. beththeserf says:

    Logic of the situation hopefully unfolding
    post Hillary?
    Building defense buffers for two,
    warm water port for another,
    reducing costly interaction for a fourth,
    more stable Middle East? Win/win situation.
    Let us pray. )

  34. Larry Ledwick says:

    And here we go!
    Assuming this is legitimate news:

    The kingdom has mobilized its F-15 fighter jet fleet to launch a military operation against the Iranian-backed terrorist militia of Hezbollah in Lebanon, regional news website The Baghdad Post reports.

    Saudi Arabia previously accused both Lebanon and Iran of committing an act of war against it after rebels fired a missile at the King Khalid International Airport in the kingdom’s capital of Riyadh.

    Yesterday, Saudi Arabia ordered its citizens to leave Lebanon escalating fears of war to new heights – which the US have dubbed grounds for a “proxy war”.

    The timing of this flight appears to have been a couple hours before moon rise in Lebanon.
    Moon rise right now is 12:03 AM Beirute time, and depending on the speed of this news getting out the flight probably took place around 9:00pm to 10:00 pm. We are one week from the new moon with the moon rising one hour later each day (ie tomorrow it will rise at about 1:04 am).

    Perfect lighting conditions for night attacks.

  35. E.M.Smith says:

    Original date 8 Nov, latest update 11 Nov:


    Exclusive: Saudi F-15 fleet mobilized in Cyprus to attack Hezbollah
    November 08 2017 08:02 PM

    Saudi Arabia has mobilized its F-15 jets fleet in Cyprus to launch a military operation against the terrorist militia of Hezbollah in Lebanon, a well-informed source told The Baghdad Post on Wednesday.

    On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia accused Lebanon of declaring war against it because of aggression by the Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah.

    This comes as the Lebanese politician Saad al-Hariri quit as prime minister on Saturday, blaming Iran and Hezbollah in his resignation speech.

    Saudi Gulf affairs minister Thamer al-Sabhan said the Lebanese government would “be dealt with as a government declaring war on Saudi Arabia” because of what he described as aggression by Hezbollah.

    Last Modified: 11 08 2017 08:10 PM

    Certainly the “Fog Of War” is here, if not the actual thing… Similarly foggy:


    Nasrallah says Saudi Arabia asked Israel to attack Lebanon

    Hezbollah terror chief warns Israel not to take advantage of turmoil following Hariri resignation, says his group can handle any threat
    By Agencies 10 November 2017, 5:39 pm

    BEIRUT, Lebanon — Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Friday accused Saudi Arabia of asking his archenemy Israel to launch strikes on Lebanon amid ongoing tension between Riyadh and Tehran.

    “The most dangerous thing is inciting Israel to strike Lebanon,” the head of Lebanese Shiite terror group said in a televised address. “I’m talking about information that Saudi Arabia has asked Israel to strike Lebanon.”

    But Nasrallah said that war with Israel was unlikely. He said that Hezbollah, an Iranian proxy which seeks to destroy Israel, was watching carefully for any Israeli attempts to use the crisis, that began with the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri last week, to initiate hostilities against Lebanon.

    Israel has stressed that it does not seek war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, but has acted repeatedly to prevent advanced weapons reaching the Iran-inspired group, which has become the most powerful military force in Lebanon.

    Nasrallah’s comments were aimed at calming an apparently jittery population following Saudi Arabia’s escalation against Hezbollah’s patron Iran. The resignation of Hariri was seen as a move by Riyadh to engage in another proxy war with Iran, this time in Lebanon.

    Hariri was in Saudi Arabia when he delivered his resignation address.

    Everything clear as mud…

    I’m off to cycle through France24, Sky, Al Jazeera, RT, etc. to see if there’s any actual factual news (preferably with film of actual things happening…)

  36. Larry Ledwick says:

    From twitter: (unfortunately no source listed for the image)

    This gives a probable source. Using google images

    This source asserts it is just a fabrication of the IDF public relations desk.

    Now you have to decide is that a good faith “representative” illustration that does not compromise sources and actual intelligence, or simply propaganda.

    Keep in mind that just because you see repeating patterns does not mean it is fake. One of the ways photo analysts locate certain military assets is by looking for repeating patterns of construction. All tanks dug into revetments looks similar a box with gun surrounded by a horseshoe shaped embankment. Soviet era anti aircraft missile batteries had a “standard” configuration of layout to get best coverage and efficient logistical support to the batteries. That created a visual signature for analysts to look for.



    It could be as mentioned in the article, a slap upside the head to the bad guys (we know where you live) or misinformation to deceive them about what their intelligence service knows. Only the direct players will be able to know which of these several possibilities is the truth.

    In any case it is well known that Hamas has spent 30+ years building military infrastructure in southern Lebanon to support attacks on Israel. (conflicts in 1978, 1982, 2006) It is unrealistic to expect the IDF to give away the family jewels of intelligence by divulging actual locations, so I am inclined to suspect this is a good faith simulation of the actual situation on the ground for use in briefings to quickly impress on visitors the magnitude of what the IDF is facing in southern Lebanon.

  37. E.M.Smith says:

    I once worked with an (ex) Mossad agent. He had “interesting stories”. One was that at the Egyptian border, one side had fields of melons and the other side had some other crop – something like tomatoes or …. The guys patrolling each side would pull their jeeps up to the fence and swap produce… (“Just ’cause you might have to kill each other ‘someday’ doesn’t mean you can’t be nice to each other today”…). Seems having nobody to interact with for months in the middle of dirt and sand leads to a certain degree of familiarity…. Eventually you talk to the only other folks around.

    One of his accomplishments was to infiltrate an Egyptian air base and map out on the ground the location of all their real airplanes vs the dummies. During one of the various wars, Israel pointedly only shot up and bombed the real ones… He “walked with a limp” thanks to his “stay” under Egyptian “care” during one of his “visits”…

    Great guy. Wonderful to work with. Highly competent.

    I have no doubt what so ever that Israel knows exactly where Hezbollah has their goods and staff. I also have no doubt they can only publish a “representation”; as to do otherwise would put too many folks at risk. (IF for example, 5 folks know where a cache is located and 4 of them are cousins…) They will have some number of “boots on the ground” at many of the sites.

    So is the representation valid? I would expect it to be mostly so, but with some subtle “sellers puff” in it for effect, and mutations to protect sources and methods. Likely a few “Easter Eggs” too – like showing a Hezbollah weapons cache on top of a local political leader’s home, just to send a message… (when really it might be down the street under a school or mosque. Sometimes I wonder if the jihadis understand that their repeated use of schools and mosques and hospitals as weapons staging areas has become a signature useful for locating their stuff…) It’s what I’d do.

    We are now harvesting the fruit of our neglect when Islam decided to invade and overrun “Christian Lebanon” a half century ago. Turning it from the “Pearl of the Middle East” into the hell hole it became.

    I can only hope that the House of Saud has realized it is better to rule a peaceful region and “get along” with Christians & Jews than to “get along” with jihadis who want to reduce everyone to rubble so they can be “converted by the sword”. Time will tell.

  38. Larry Ledwick says:

    Interesting bit here on US Israeli cooperation on missile defense. Alot of folks do not realize that the two nations have been working together on missile defense for some time.



  39. Larry Ledwick says:

    Two related items. UAE owned company to provide “prepreg” carbon fiber to Boeing for manufacture of 777x. Below that UAE spending $ 1.6 B to upgrade 80 F-16 fighters and $18 M to procure 2000# bunker buster BLU-109 munitions.


  40. Chris in Calgary says:

    Fractals are common in the natural world. So too in the human world. We have a cold war between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, playing out in proxies Yemen, Syria, Lebanon.

    And with the post-Communist “peace dividend” era in the rear-view mirror, a resurgent cold war is brewing between the U.S. and Russia. In the Middle East, the U.S. is backing the Sunni side and Russia is backing the Shia side. Turkey (Sunni and in NATO, but publicly courting Russia and Iran) is a fascinating third party to watch. Of course both sides (Saudi and Iran) would like to see nuclear-armed Israel defeated, but in the absence of a realistic scenario for that at present, Israel is nominally aligned with the Saudi side.

    The questions to answer are: (1) Will the ME cold war contain itself to the proxy countries or will Saudi and Iran get into a hot war? (2) If we get a ME hot war, does that contain itself to Saudi and Iran or do the U.S. and Russia get involved in a hot war as well? (3) If we get a U.S./Russia war, does that stay contained to the ME, or does that spread to the rest of the world?

    In other words, how far does this fractal cold war fracture into real war? I really hope it doesn’t go further than this, but anything could happen….

  41. Chris in Calgary says:

    Also interesting to note that the U.S. intervened in Iraq in 2003, turning a potential Saudi ally Iraq into a potential Iranian ally. Given that Iraq has a majority Shia population, that might have happened anyways with or without U.S. intervention.

    Given the current conflict, it’s very possible that without the second Gulf war Iran and Saudi would be waging a full-scale proxy war in Iraq right now. They still might do that. I wonder whether the early termination of Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship made the situation better or worse?

  42. p.g.sharrow says:

    Back in the 1960s 7 Middle Eastern Muslim nations organized themselves into an alliance to eradicate Israel and drive westerners out of the area. Real nations with real armies and real power. Over the last 60 years, One by One they have destroyed themselves and fallen into orgy of sectarian violence. Only Iran is left as an organized working nation With conquest on it’s mind. It appears that the House of Saud is realizing that they are next if they don’t change their ways and join with the west.
    The disease of warfare against all others is bearing the fruit of cult against cult, clan against clan Vendetta! That is the heart of the Muslim belief system. They are destroying their world.
    The teaching of Jesus was the path of peace, Forgiveness!
    The 12th Imam walks with Jesus and will teach Muslims the path of Peace.
    Maybe the new Saudi king to be will provide the protection, support and credibility needed for the creation of the 12th Imam……………………………………………….Obama? he is their creation. a strange thought…pg

  43. R. de Haan says:

    What’s new? Islam has followed the path of conquest from day one. They have become extremely succesfull now as the West obviously has surrendered it’s own territory without any resistance.

  44. Larry Ledwick says:

    Looks like Saudi Arabia is setting the stage to act soon, regarding Hezbollah and Iran.


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