Thursday, January 31, 2013

Israeli Attack: Desperate Bid to Save Failed Syrian Campaign


 
An Israeli fighter jet (file photo)

By: Tony Cartalucci

Source Link: Land Destroyer Blog
http://landdestroyer.blogspot.ca/2013/01/israeli-attack-desperate-bid-to-save.html#more

Israel has conducted airstrikes in Syria based on "suspicions" of chemical weapon transfers, in a flagrant violation of the UN Charter, international law, and in direct violation of Syria's sovereignty. The Guardian in its report titled, "Israel carries out air strike on Syria," claims:

"Israeli warplanes have attacked a target close to the Syrian-Lebanese border following several days of heightened warnings from government officials over Syria's stockpiles of weapons."

It also stated:

"Israel has publicly warned that it would take military action to prevent the Syrian regime's chemical weapons falling into the hands of Hezbollah in Lebanon or "global jihadists" fighting inside Syria. Israeli military intelligence is said to be monitoring the area round the clock via satellite for possible convoys carrying weapons."

In reality, these "global jihaidists" are in fact armed and funded by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel since at least as early as 2007. They are also in fact the direct beneficiaries of Israel's recent aggression. The Israeli "suspicions" of "weapon transfers" of course, remain unconfirmed, because the purpose of the attack was not to prevent the transfer of "chemical weapons" to Hezbollah in Lebanon, but to provoke a wider conflict aimed not at Israel's defense, but at salvaging the West's floundering proxy terrorist forces inside Syria attempting to subvert and overthrow the Syrian nation.

The silence from the United Nations is deafening. While Turkey openly harbors foreign terrorists, arming and funding them with Western, Saudi, and Qatari cash as they conduct raids on neighboring Syria, any Syrian attack on Turkish territory would immediately result in the United Nations mobilizing. Conversely, Turkey is allowed, for years, to conduct air strikes and even partial ground invasions of neighboring Iraq to attack Kurdish groups accused of undermining Turkish security. It is clear the same double standard has long applied to Israel.

Israel, along with the US & Saudi Arabia, are Al Qaeda's chief sponsors.

It must be remembered that as far back as 2007, it was admitted by US, Saudi and Lebanese officials that the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia were intentionally arming, funding, and organizing these "global jihadists" with direct ties to Al Qaeda for the explicit purpose of overthrowing the governments of Syria and Iran.

Reported by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article, "The Redirection," it was stated (emphasis added):

"To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda."

Of Israel it specifically stated:

"The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat. They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations."

Additionally, Saudi Arabian officials mentioned the careful balancing act their nation must play in order to conceal its role in supporting US-Israeli ambitions across the region:

"The Saudi said that, in his country’s view, it was taking a political risk by joining the U.S. in challenging Iran: Bandar is already seen in the Arab world as being too close to the Bush Administration. “We have two nightmares,” the former diplomat told me. “For Iran to acquire the bomb and for the United States to attack Iran. I’d rather the Israelis bomb the Iranians, so we can blame them. If America does it, we will be blamed.”"

It may interest readers to know that while France invades and occupies large swaths of Mali in Africa, accusing the Qataris of funding and arming Al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups in the region, France, the US, and Israel are working in tandem with the Qataris to fund and arm these very same groups in Syria.

In fact, the US-based think-tank, the Brookings Institution literally has a "Doha Center" based in Qatar while US-Israeli citizen Haim Saban's Brookings "Saban Center" conducts meetings and has many of its board of directors based likewise in Doha, Qatar. Doha also served as the venue for the creation of the West's most recent "Syrian Coalition," headed by an unabashed supporter of Al Qaeda, Moaz al-Khatib.

These are part of the brick and mortar manifestation of the conspiracy documented by Seymour Hersh in 2007.

The Wall Street Journal, also in 2007, reported on the US Bush Administration's plans of creating a partnership with Syria's Muslim Brotherhood, noting the group is the ideological inspiration for linked terror organizations including Al Qaeda itself. In the article titled, ""To Check Syria, U.S. Explores Bond With Muslim Brothers," it states:

"On a humid afternoon in late May, about 100 supporters of Syria's largest exile opposition group, the National Salvation Front, gathered outside Damascus's embassy here to protest Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule. The participants shouted anti-Assad slogans and raised banners proclaiming: "Change the Regime Now."

The NSF unites liberal democrats, Kurds, Marxists and former Syrian officials in an effort to transform President Assad's despotic regime. But the Washington protest also connected a pair of more unlikely players -- the U.S. government and the Muslim Brotherhood."

The article would also report:

"U.S. diplomats and politicians have also met with legislators from parties connected to the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, Egypt and Iraq in recent months to hear their views on democratic reforms in the Middle East, U.S. officials say. Last month, the State Department's intelligence unit organized a conference of Middle East experts to examine the merits of engagement with the Brotherhood, particularly in Egypt and Syria."

It describes the ideological and operational links between the Brotherhood and Al Qaeda:

"Today, the Brotherhood's relationship to Islamist militancy, and al Qaeda in particular, is the source of much debate. Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders cite the works of the Brotherhood's late intellectual, Sayyid Qutb, as an inspiration for their crusade against the West and Arab dictators. Members of Egyptian and Syrian Brotherhood arms have also gone on to take senior roles in Mr. bin Laden's movement."

Yet despite all of this, the US, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, along with Israel and Turkey are openly conspiring with them, and have now for years been arming and funding these very sectarian extremist, terrorist groups across the Arab World, from Libya to Egypt, and now in and around Syria.

Israel's fears of these terrorists acquiring "chemical weapons" is absurd. They have already acquired them with US, NATO, British, Saudi, Qatari and even Israeli help in Libya in 2011. In fact, these very Libyan terrorists are spearheading the foreign militant groups flooding into Syria through the Turkish-Syrian border.

What Israel's strike may really mean.

Indeed, Israel's explanation as to why it struck neighboring Syria is tenuous at best considering its long, documented relationship with actually funding and arming the very "global jihaidists" it fears weapons may fall into the hands of. Its fears of Hezbollah are likewise unfounded - Hezbollah, had it, the Syrians, or the Iranians been interested in placing chemical weapons in Lebanon, would have done so already, and most certainly would do so with means other than conspicuous convoys simply "crossing the border." Hezbollah has already proven itself capable of defeating Israeli aggression with conventional arms, as demonstrated during the summer of 2006.

In reality, the pressure placed on Syria's borders by both Israel and its partner, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's Turkey in the north, is part of a documented plan to relieve pressure on the Western, Israeli, Saudi-Qatari armed and funded militants operating inside Syria.

The above mentioned, Fortune 500-funded (page 19), US foreign-policy think-tank, Brookings Institution - which has blueprinted designs for regime change in Libya as well as both Syria and Iran - stated this specifically in their report titled, "Assessing Options for Regime Change.


 

Image: The Brookings Institution, Middle East Memo #21 "Assessing Options for Regime Change (.pdf)," makes no secret that the humanitarian "responsibility to protect" is but a pretext for long-planned regime change.
....

Brookings describes how Israeli efforts in the south of Syria, combined with Turkey's aligning of vast amounts of weapons and troops along its border to the north, could help effect violent regime change in Syria:


"In addition, Israel’s intelligence services have a strong knowledge of Syria, as well as assets within the Syrian regime that could be used to subvert the regime’s power base and press for Asad’s removal. Israel could posture forces on or near the Golan Heights and, in so doing, might divert regime forces from suppressing the opposition. This posture may conjure fears in the Asad regime of a multi-front war, particularly if Turkey is willing to do the same on its border and if the Syrian opposition is being fed a steady diet of arms and training. Such a mobilization could perhaps persuade Syria’s military leadership to oust Asad in order to preserve itself. Advocates argue this additional pressure could tip the balance against Asad inside Syria, if other forces were aligned properly." -page 6, Assessing Options for Regime Change, Brookings Institution.

Of course, airstrikes inside Syria go beyond "posturing," and indicate perhaps a level of desperation in the West who appear to have elected their chief villain, Israel, to incrementally "intervene" just as they had planned in regards to attacking Iran - also documented by Brookings in a report titled, "Which Path to Persia?"

In regards to Iran, in Brookings' "Which Path to Persia?" report, it states specifically (emphasis added):

"Israel appears to have done extensive planning and practice for such a strike already, and its aircraft are probably already based as close to Iran as possible. as such, Israel might be able to launch the strike in a matter of weeks or even days, depending on what weather and intelligence conditions it felt it needed. Moreover, since Israel would have much less of a need (or even interest) in securing regional support for the operation, Jerusalem probably would feel less motivated to wait for an Iranian provocation before attacking. In short, Israel could move very fast to implement this option if both Israeli and American leaders wanted it to happen.

However, as noted in the previous chapter, the airstrikes themselves are really just the start of this policy. Again, the Iranians would doubtless rebuild their nuclear sites. They would probably retaliate against Israel, and they might retaliate against the United States, too (which might create a pretext for American airstrikes or even an invasion)." -page 91, Which Path to Perisa?, Brookings Institution.

And in this statement we can gather insight behind both Israel's otherwise irrational belligerent posture throughout its brief history, as well as its most recent act of unprovoked aggression against Syria. Israel's role is to play the "bad guy." As a regional beachhead for Western corporate-financier interests, it provides a "foot in the door" to any of the West's many desired conflicts. By bombing Syria, it hopes to provoke a wider conflict - an intervention the West has desired and planned for since it tipped off Syria's violent conflict in 2011.

For Syria and its allies - the goal now must be to deter further Israeli aggression and avoid wider conflict at all costs. If NATO's proxy terrorist forces are as weak as they appear - incapable of tactical or strategic gains, and tapering off into desperate terrorist attacks, it is only a matter of time before NATO's campaign grinds to a halt. As mentioned before, such a failure on NATO's part will be the beginning of the end for it, and the Western interests that have been using it as a tool to achieve geopolitical hegemony.

Israel should be expected to commit to increasingly desperate acts to provoke Syria and Iran - as its leadership represent directly corporate-financier interests abroad, not the Israeli people, or their best interests (including peace and even survival). For the people of Israel, they must realize that their leadership indeed does not represent them or their best interests and is able, willing, and even eager to spend their lives and fortunes in the service of foreign, corporate-financier interests and global hegemony.

 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Israeli warplanes bombed research center near Damascus - Syrian military




An Israeli F-15 fighter jet (AFP Photo/Jack Guez)

Source: Russia Today
http://rt.com/news/israeli-warplanes-bomb-damascus-114/

Israeli fighter jets targeted a military research center near Damascus early on Wednesday morning, Syrian state news agency SANA said citing army officials.

The Syrian army’s general command has issued a statement, saying an air strike was launched by the IAF targeting a military research center in Jamraya, rural Damascus.­

“Israeli fighter jets violated our air space at dawn today and carried out a direct strike on a scientific research center in charge of raising our level of resistance and self-defence,” the army statement said as cited by SANA.

The strike caused material damage to the center and a nearby building, killing two workers and wounding five others, the statement added.

The Israeli military has neither confirmed nor denied the reports of attacks on Syrian territory, an IDF spokeswoman said they “do not comment on reports of this kind.”

Earlier there were reports in the media of an attack by Israeli jets on Wednesday morning striking a target on the Syrian-Lebanese border amid repeated violations of Lebanese airspace. A US government official has confirmed reports that Israeli warplanes targeted a convoy headed from Syria to Lebanon, the Associated Press says.

The Syrian military however has denied this, saying there was no Israeli strike on a convoy of trucks on its border. It called the strike a “blatant act of aggression” against Syria and accused Israel of supporting terrorist activity in the country.

It is unclear whether this is the same air raid the Syrian military is now referring to or if there were two separate assaults.

­Although it has not yet been confirmed whether an air strike indeed targeted a military site near Damascus, experts believe that after months of constant rebel attacks on Syrian air defence systems an air strike would make sense.

“It finally makes sense because the rebels or as they like to call themselves the revolutionaries, they have been attacking air defence bases near Damascus for the past seven months,” Dr Ali Mohamad, editor in chief of the Syria Tribune news website told RT. “They’ve managed to attack the S-200 base and over four SM-2 and SM-3 bases. Now this followed by an air strike from Israel. So it all adds up, it makes sense. It only shows that Israel has a great interest in the instability in Syria and that it is being helped by groups of armed rebels in Syria."

 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Rise and Fall of the House of Saud

Updated - 2016 Jan 13

This Post will be updated with news and information as the house of Saud is exposed for its part in crimes against the peace of the World.

Saudi Arabia, big oil & US foreign policy (Part I)





With 261 billion barrels of crude oil lying beneath its soil, Saudi Arabia remains the lynchpin in the international oil grab presided over by the four horsemen; Shell, Chevron, British Petroleum, Exxon. As of 1990 Aramco (Arabian American Oil Company) produced over 8 million barrels of crude oil a day, ensuring the Saudi role as "swing producer". During the 1991 Gulf War Aramco underwent another expansion and now cranks out an unprecedented 10 million barrels a day. Aramco's primary construction contractor is Bechtel, a San Francisco-based private company that is the largest engineering firm in the world.

In 1981 the US and Saudi governments spearheaded an effort to create the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), consisting of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and UAE. All except Oman are members of OPEC. The elite families of the six GCC nations; Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and UAE are heavily invested in Western economies. High volume crude oil production keeps this investment capital flowing to Wall Street while allowing the GCC elites to live opulent lifestyles, in this way the volume of oil production is much more important than the price received for the oil for Western bankers and the GCC monarchs alike.

Saudi Arabia, big oil & US foreign policy (Part II)




Will Saudi Arabia see the wave of changes?





The Saudi monarch has given a fifth of the seats in a consultative body to women as part of social reforms promised in the year 2011. The kingdom's top religious authorities, including the Grand Mufti, have accepted the decision; however dozens of Saudi clerics have staged a protest against the decision to appoint women to the Shura Council. The Saudi monarch has given a fifth of the seats in a consultative body to women as part of social reforms promised in the year 2011.

The kingdom's top religious authorities, including the Grand Mufti, have accepted the decision; however dozens of Saudi clerics have staged a protest against the decision to appoint women to the Shura Council.


Suicide for Sale: Saudi Arabia gets cash for blood in Syria




Outside support for the myriad of Syria's armed groups is no secret. Saudi Arabia and Qatar alone funnel millions of dollars to the rebels every month. But, as Gayane Chichakyan reports, it's not just cash and weapons being smuggled into Syria, but suicide bombers and ideology too.

George Galloway On The Saudi Arabian Invasion of Bahrain




Source: YouTube

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Update: 2013 – January 30th

Saudi ex-diplomat flees Qatar amid deportation fears

Source: Press TV

Amnesty International says a former Saudi diplomat who was due to be deported from Qatar to his native country of Saudi Arabia has managed to travel to Morocco with the help of Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee.

The London-based human rights organization said in a recent report that Amnesty International and Qatar’s National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) pressured Qatari officials to halt the deportation of Mishal bin Zaar Hamad al-Mutiry.

According to the report, the two human rights bodies paid the al-Mutiry family’s travel expenses to Morocco. The ex-diplomat and his family left Qatar on January 18.

Before traveling to Morocco, al-Mutiry had lived in Qatar since August 2011, when he escaped Saudi Arabia.

In 2006, the former diplomat said he was arrested and tortured for six months after being tracked down and brought back by Saudi regime officials from Brussels to Riyadh.

At the time, al-Mutiry had been living in the Netherlands, where he was granted political asylum in 2004.

The ex-diplomat had been dismissed from his job at Saudi Arabia’s embassy in The Hague after accusing his native country’s embassy of funding terrorism.

Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at Amnesty International, said, “The spotlight on this case resulted in the Qatari authorities curtailing their plans to deport Mishal al-Mutiry long enough for him and his family to leave of their own accord, and the assistance of the NHRC was crucial to ensuring they could travel.”

“Given that Mishal al-Mutiry faced a real risk of torture in Saudi Arabia, it is a huge relief that the authorities did not end up forcing him to return there,” Luther added.

“We will continue to monitor his situation and react if the risk of being deported to Saudi Arabia arises again,” he said.
-----------------------------------
Update: 2013 Feb 14
 
Saudi Arabia, ally to West and exporter of terrorism


Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia is viewed as a land of contradictions by many outsiders, as the country continues its widespread support for extremism and terrorist groups while being propped up by the West.

An analyst with the Institute for Middle East Studies says wealthy Saudi figures and tribes are willing to support terrorists if they believe the extremists to be pursuing a sacred cause.

Furthermore, the WikiLeaks whistleblower website has published secret documents belonging to the US Department of State, revealing that terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda receive most of their funds from Saudi Arabia.


Nonetheless, countries such as the United States continue to hail the Saudi monarchy despite the kingdom’s support for terrorism such as funding terrorists in Iraq, Syria and Yemen among other parts of the world.

Analysts attribute the US support to the huge reserves of natural resources in Saudi Arabia, while the ruling Al Saud family has proven to be a reliable and staunch ally for Washington over the past decades.

The absolute monarchy seeks to quell any instability in the region by resorting to heavy-handed crackdowns in confronting critics at home and supporting despotic regimes in neighboring countries, the observers add.
-------------------------------------
Update: 2013 March 16th

Saudis hold anti-regime protest in Qassim


Anti-regime protest in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province

Source: Press TV

Demonstrators in Saudi Arabia have staged another protest rally against the Al Saud regime in central province of al-Qassim, Press TV reports.

The outraged protestors took to the streets in the city of Buraidah on Saturday, calling for the immediate release of political prisoners including a group of women who were recently arrested.

Earlier on March 1, Saudi security forces arrested over 300 people, including 15 women, in al-Qassim province.

The arrests took place after hundreds of Saudis staged a protest sit-in to demand the release of political prisoners.

Saudi activists say there are more than 30,000 political prisoners, mostly prisoners of conscience, in jails across the Kingdom.

According to the activists, most of the detained political thinkers are being held by the government without trial or legitimate charges and that they were arrested for merely looking suspicious.

Some of the detainees are reported to be held without trial for more than 16 years.

Attempting to incite the public against the government and the allegiance to foreign entities are usually the ready-made charges against the dissidents.

In Saudi Arabia, protests and political gatherings of any kind are prohibited.

Since February 2011, protesters have held demonstrations on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination.


However, the demonstrations have turned into protests against the repressive Al Saud regime, especially after November 2011, when Saudi security forces killed five protesters and injured many others in the country's Eastern Province.
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Update: 2013 March 19

Factors in place for revolution in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia




Source: Press TV

A commentator says that all the factors and ingredients of a revolution are now present in the Persian Gulf monarchy of Saudi Arabia.

The comments come as the Al Saud regime forces have arrested dozens of prominent figures in the Persian Gulf kingdom in a two-day period as Riyadh intensifies its campaign of terror on dissidents. According to reports, security forces raided homes and offices across the capital city of Riyadh, detaining a number of religious scholars, doctors, professors, students and civil workers. Regime forces also launched similar crackdowns in the kingdom's Eastern Province and the cities of Mecca and Jeddah.

Since February 2011, demonstrators have held anti-regime protest rallies on an almost regular basis in Saudi Arabia, mainly in the Qatif region and the town of Awamiyah in Eastern Province, primarily calling for the release of all political prisoners, freedom of expression and assembly, and an end to widespread discrimination.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Ali al-Ahmad, director of the IGA from Washington DC, to shed more light on the issue at hand.
----------------------
Update: 2013 May 07

Muslim Holy Shrine Demolishing Idea Came from Saudi Arabia



Source: Press TV
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UPDATE: 2013 June 16th

Saudi royals planned military coup: Website


News Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz has ordered former deputy Defense Minister Prince Khaled bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz be put under house arrest.

The monarch apparently issued the order after the country’s intelligence services detected suspicious activities by the officers within the ground forces who are close to the former defense minister, mirataljazeera.net reported.

The king ordered the house arrest from Morocco where he was on a visit. The monarch cut short the trip and flew home to deal with the issue.

The investigation was carried out by a committee comprising six different security agencies. It revealed that the officers, in cahoots with the prince and the former governor of the Eastern Province Mohammed bin Fahad bin Abdul Aziz, currently residing in the United States, were planning to stage a coup d'état.

The website also said that the former defense minister is suspected of having a role in the coup.

Prince Khaled was dismissed by royal decree on April 21, 2013. Prince Fahd Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Abdulrahman, who was commander of Saudi naval forces since 2002, succeeded him.

There has been a power struggle within Al Saud as younger members of the royal family are vying to snatch power in case the ailing king dies.
------------------------------
UPDATE: June 20th, 2013

Saudi Arabia provides heavy weaponry to militants in Syria


News Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia has provided the Takfiri militants operating inside Syria with Russian-made Konkurs anti-tank missiles.

According to the Daily Telegraph, militant sources said they had received the first batch of the heavy weaponry from Saudi Arabia in Aleppo.

The sources said that more arms, including higher-end missiles, would be sent to the militants later.

On June 14, US President Barack Obama ordered his administration to provide the militants with weapons, claiming that the Syrian government had used “chemical weapons” against the militants and thus crossed Washington’s “red line.” Damascus has rejected the allegation as “lies.”

Israeli President Shimon Peres voiced support for Washington’s arming of the Takfiri militants in Syria. Takfiris accuse most Islamic sects of being infidels.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned other states against providing weapons to the militants in Syria, saying that the arms could end up in Europe one day.

The crisis in Syria began in March 2011. Many people, including large numbers of Syrian soldiers and security forces, have been killed in the foreign-sponsored militancy.

Last month, the Syrian president said that militants from as many as 29 different countries were fighting against Syria.


The Syrian government says the West and its regional allies - especially Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are supporting the militants.
------------------------------------------
UPDATE: June 28th, 2013

Saudi Arabia committing genocide



Video Source: Press TV

Tens of thousands of people in Saudi Arabia have attended the funeral of two activists who were killed by regime forces in the country's Eastern Province. The funerals were held in the town of Awamiyah and the Qatif region on Wednesday.

The mourners slammed the regime's deadly crackdown on the country's uprising and chanted slogans against the ruling Al Saud family.


Press TV has conducted an interview with Syed Ali Wasif, Society for International Reforms and Research, about the recent protests in Saudi Arabia.
----------------------------------------------
Update: 2013 July 29

Global demand for Saudi oil dropping


Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal

Source: Press TV

Global demand for Saudi Arabian oil has been continuously dropping, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal says.

In open letters to high-ranking Saudi officials published on Sunday, Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, expressed alarm over the fact that "92 percent of the government budget relies on oil" revenues.
"The world's reliance on OPEC oil, especially the production of Saudi Arabia, is in a clear and continuous drop," he wrote in a letter, which addressed to Ali al-Naimi, the Saudi Arabian minister of petroleum and mineral resources.

The prince added that the threat from shale gas is "definitely coming", and pointed out recent progress in this field in North America and Australia.
Shale gas is natural gas that is found trapped within shale formations and is extracted by hydraulic fracturing, or fracking -- pumping water, chemicals and sand at high pressure into rock to release it.

"Revenue diversification is a must, and that necessitates a clear vision that should be implemented immediately," said Prince Alwaleed, one of the world’s richest men with an estimated fortune of more than $20 billion.


He also called on Saudi authorities to prepare plans to generate nuclear and renewable energy to "reduce local consumption of oil as soon as possible".
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Update 2013 Nov 17th 

Saudi ‘House of Pseud’ thrives on deception


By: Finian Cunningham
Source: Press TV

The House of Saud is such a decrepit domain of duplicity it is hard to know where to begin in listing its numerous deceptions, but suffice to say that any appraisal should start, in the first instance, with a name change. Henceforth, in the cause of truth and plain language, the Saudi rulers would be better referred to as the House of Pseud.

A “pseud” is a poser, a pretender, and this term is eminently applicable to a regime that rules by fear, terror and tyranny, yet which claims to represent the Muslim World - the Ummah - by pointing to itself as the “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques of Islam”.

The truth is that this “custodian” has inflicted more suffering and violence among Muslims than perhaps any other agency in history, through its sponsorship of sectarianism, hatred and terrorism. The Saudi rulers with their obscurantist Wahhabi version of Islam are anathema to the worldwide diversity and collectivism that truly reflects the religion and spirit of “Islam” - meaning “peace”.

Syria’s information minister Omran al-Zoubi hit the nail on the head this week when he lambasted the Saudi regime for “betraying” the Arab world and Islam.

Indeed, one could say that since its inception as a state in 1932 at the hands of the British Empire, Saudi Arabia has continually betrayed the Arab people, including its own population, in the service of imperialist interests. The Saudi rulers, from the first so-called King Ibn Saud to the present King Abdullah, have siphoned off the oil riches of the Arabian Peninsula while the ordinary people struggle with unemployment, homelessness and poverty. The lion’s share of wealth of the world’s biggest oil exporter feeds the Saudi elite and their foreign patrons, and what’s more this wealth is used to suppress and oppress.

Roughly, the lifetime of the Saudi state parallels the genocide of the Palestinians since at least the 1930s. Yet in all that time, the Saudi rulers have done nothing to alleviate or defend the rights of their Arab brothers and sisters in Palestine. Indeed, as the Zionist regime now turns to dispossessing the Ummah of its third holiest site - al Aqsa Mosque in East Al Quds (Jerusalem), the Saudi royals have not bothered to raise even a whimper of objection.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Sites is hardly in any position to complain since the Saudi rulers are also busy demolishing religious sanctities in Mecca and Medina to make way for new apartments and shopping malls for their family’s profiteering.

When Saudi Arabia rejected the United Nations’ offer of a non-permanent seat on the Security Council last month it said that it was in protest at the “inaction of the Council to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict”. This is a classic example of the House of Pseud, given its pathetic inaction over more than seven decades to lift a finger for the Palestinians.

Moreover, no sooner had the Saudi crocodile tears for the Palestinians dried up than reports emerged of the kingdom’s intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan al Saud, holding secret meetings in Jordan with his Israeli counterpart, Tamir Bardo, the director of Mossad. Such a meeting is, as it turns out, a matter of routine between the Israeli regime and the Saudis, as well as the latter’s Wahhabi clients in Qatar, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

All of these reactionary, dictatorial regimes collude with each other in their heinous common interest of destroying democracy across the Middle East.

This illustrates the real political motives of the Saudi rulers. Religion and the fraternity of Arabs and Muslims do not, remotely, come into their calculus. They operate on the basis of preserving their elite class interests of material privilege and luxury. Those interests are preserved by working assiduously with the enemies of Muslims and the mass of Arabs.

The greatest immediate enemy of the Arabs is the Western-backed Zionist regime and yet the Saudi rulers do not have any compunction about colluding with this enemy. In fact, they are impelled to collude in order to preserve their own corrupt position.

Earlier this week, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal again repeated his country’s dissatisfaction with the United States and Europe for not intervening more in Syria. “We can’t have these high moral values if we do nothing here,” he said during a meeting with US secretary of state John Kerry.

Meanwhile, the Saudi minister’s brother, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who was formerly the kingdom’s intelligence chief, told US media that the way to stop violence in Syria was for the US and Europe to send more arms to the militants fighting in that country. “We need to level the playing field,” he said, adding: “to checkmate the military superiority of [Syrian President] Bashar al-Assad and force him to come to the negotiating table.”

How is that for twisted logic and morality? With 100,000 dead Syrians already from a two-and-a-year conflict, the aging Saudi playboys want to fuel even more violence so as to satisfy their criminal desire for regime change in a sovereign country. Yet, they make this pathologic sound like a virtue.

As for the proposed peace talks at Geneva, the Saudis have done everything to ensure that there will be no negotiations. They have instructed the artificial opposition, the pampered exile group known euphemistically as the Syrian National Coalition, to snub the process at every opportunity. And the Western governments and media have gone along with this charade by ignoring several legitimate internal Syrian opposition groups who are willing to attend a Geneva conference.

The fact is Saudi Arabia, like the Zionist genocidal regime and the other Wahhabi monarchies, does not want peace, justice or democracy anywhere in the Middle East. They need and thrive on conflict, enmity, hatred and division. That is why the Saudi rulers have emerged as partners in crime with Tel Aviv in sponsoring conflict and terrorism in Bahrain, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq and Iran, as well as crushing dissent within their own domains.

The House of Pseud is anything but the “Custodian of the Two Holy Sites of Islam”. It is the centre of state-sponsored terrorism against Muslims, Arabs, Christian and anyone else who dares challenge their tyrannical despotism.

And yet this week, US secretary of state John Kerry groveled and indulged these despots with ridiculous compliments about being the region’s “senior players”. Which just goes to show, Kerry and his Western ilk are also honorary members of the “House of Pseud”.
----------------------------------------
Update: 2013 Nov 17th

Israel, Saudi Arabia hand in hand against Iran: Report


Saudi and Israeli leaders are concerned about a potential nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1. (File photo shows Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz)

Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia has given the go-ahead for Israeli planes to use its airspace for possible attacks on Iran over Tehran’s nuclear energy program, a report says

“Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency is working with Saudi officials on contingency plans for a possible attack on Iran if its nuclear programme is not significantly curbed in a deal that could be signed in Geneva this week,” the British newspaper The Sunday Times reported .

The report added that the Saudi and Israeli officials are convinced that the international talks to place limits on Tehran’s nuclear program “amount to appeasement and will do little to slow its development.”

“As part of the growing co-operation, Riyadh is understood already to have given the go-ahead for Israeli planes to use its airspace in the event of an attack on Iran,” it said.

Iran has repeatedly warned that it will retaliate with its utmost power against any attack on its soil.

According to the reports, Riyadh and Tel Aviv have both united in worry that the West may come to terms with Iran, easing anti-Iran sanctions and allowing Tehran to continue its nuclear program.

“The Saudis are furious and are willing to give Israel all the help it needs,” an unnamed diplomatic source told the paper.

Recently, Saudi Arabia’s spy chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and the director of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, Tamir Pardo, reportedly have held a secret meeting in Jordan’s Aqaba city.

The likelihood of an agreement between Iran and the permanent members of the UN Security Council- the US, Britain, China, France and Russia- plus Germany has made, enraged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has denounced a possible agreement with Iran as a “historic blunder.”

Israel began its lobbying efforts after it found out that the latest talks in Geneva were coming close to an agreement between Iran and the P5+1.

The two sides did not reach an agreement in the talks, but stressed that significant progress had been made and expressed optimism about the prospect of a possible deal in the future talks set for November 20 in Geneva .
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Update: 2013 - Dec 15

King of the Sands – Film in Syria trashes Saudi founder King Abdulaziz




Source: Press TV

Syria has begun the screening of the long-awaited film King of the Sands. It is a historical version of the events which led to the creation of the Saudi monarchy by King Abdulaziz in 1932 . The movie has drawn fierce criticism from Riyadh which deems it disrespectful toward the Al Saud founder
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Saudi Arabia to deport thousands of Egyptian workers




Source: Press TV

Decades of lax immigration enforcement in Saudi Arabia allowed migrants including Egyptians to take low-wage jobs in the kingdom. Now, thousands of Egyptians are facing deportation as Riyadh launches a visa crackdown on undocumented foreign workers
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Saudi minister admits foreign workers expulsion hurts market




Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia has expelled nearly 200,000 foreign workers as part of crackdown on foreign laborers.

Saudi Labor Minister Adel Faqih says 170,000 foreign workers have been deported in the past 40 days. He's admitted that the vacuum following the mass expulsion of foreign workforce has damaged the Saudi market. The minister says now it's time to attract Saudi nationals to fill the gap. But he complained of the Saudi youth's reluctance to get jobs that were occupied by foreign workers. Expelled foreign workers say they've been mistreated by police.
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Update: 2014 Jan 15th

Russia may hit back at KSA for Volgogard attacks


Russian President Vladimir Putin

By: Finian Cunningham
Source: Press TV

Russian intelligence has now reportedly obtained solid proof that Saudi Arabia was directly involved in the twin terror attacks on the city of Volgograd.
The attacks killed more than 32 people and injured over 100 others. Most of the victims were civilians.

According to an informed Russian official source, reported by the Fars News Agency, Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has informed President Vladimir Putin of the Saudi link to the Volgograd massacre.

This will come as no surprise to Putin. The Russian leader was warned by the Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar Bin Sultan during a heated four-hour private meeting back in July that Wahhabi-sponsored terrorists based in the North Caucasus region of Russia would be targeting the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The Sochi Games are due to open on February 7. Volgograd is a key transport hub linking Moscow with the southern Russian territory and the Black Sea resort city of Sochi in particular, where the Winter Olympics are to be held.

The double bombings on Volgograd’s transport system on 29-30 December were therefore unmistakably an assault on Russia’s hosting of the Olympics. The atrocity caused the deaths of several women and children, and in the aftermath President Putin was livid in his disgust at the attacks. He said there was no justification, whatsoever, for the killing of innocent civilians and he vowed to “destroy the terrorists” behind the bombings.

This raises the onerous question: What will Putin do next if he has, in fact, been told that the authors of the Volgograd crime against humanity are connected to the Saudi rulers? This could be construed as an act of war.

There are unconfirmed reports that Putin and his senior intelligence officers have already drawn up plans to “destroy Saudi Arabia” over its systematic sponsoring of terrorism on Russian territory.

The Volgograd atrocity is just the latest in a long series of
terrorist acts connected to Saudi-sponsored radicals in the North Caucasus. Back in October, another suicide bomb on a packed bus in Volgograd left six dead.

The group believed to be behind these attacks is known as the Caucasus Caliphate, led by Doko Umarov. Saudi Arabia is a major source of funds for the Caucasus Caliphate, which espouses the same fundamentalist ideology as the Saudi-sponsored Takfiris operating in Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq.
Based in Chechnya and Dagestan, Umarov has publicly stated that “all means necessary would be used to derail” the Sochi Olympics.

Previously, the same network carried out suicide bomb attacks on Moscow’s metro system in 2010 and 2011, which caused dozens of deaths.

The Caucasus extremists are known to have close logistical connection with both American and Saudi military intelligence.

Indeed, from the early 1990s following the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Americans and the Saudis redeployed their Afghan Al Qaeda tactics into the southern Russian territories as a way to further destabilize Moscow. One of the architects of this plan was former CIA chief William Casey. This US and Saudi covert operations fuelled the two Chechen wars of 1994-95 and 1999-2000.

Although Moscow has since managed to subdue the large-scale violence, the Caucasus Caliphate remains a potent source of terrorism and sabotage, as the latest horror in Volgograd all too grimly attests.

Saudi spy chief Bandar’s earlier threat to Putin that the Sochi Games were at risk of attack from the Caucasus-based terror groups was thus no idle threat.

In retrospect his words amount to self-indictment. Bandar reportedly boasted to Putin: “We control them (the Caucasus militants).” This implies that Saudi Arabia can turn on and off the conduct of these terror groups. That places Saudi Arabia as the ultimate author of a catalogue of crimes that Russia has endured for the most part of 20 years, the latest being in the city of Volgograd.

It is not known what precise evidence Russian intelligence has lately uncovered that allegedly pinpoints Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the Volgograd massacre.
But there is already copious circumstantial evidence, as well as Bandar’s own braggadocio.

One of the suicide bombers in the Volgograd double attack has been identified as Russian national Pavel Pechyonkin (32). He reportedly traveled to Syria last year and fought in the ranks of Saudi-backed extremists trying to topple the government of Bashar al Assad.

Many other Russian nationals have also been recruited by Saudi Arabia’s terror sponsors to wage regime-change war in Syria. Perhaps it was in Syria that the Volgograd bomber was recruited for that specific mission.

If the Russians have acquired hard evidence of Saudi collusion in terrorism on their soil, there is firm legal ground for Russia to exact retaliation under the doctrine of self-defense.

In a second meeting between Bandar and Putin, the Russian leader reportedly told the Saudi in no uncertain terms that his support for terrorism was “a double-edged sword” that would eventually inflict damage on those who wield it.

For years now Saudi Arabia has gotten away with covert state-sponsored terrorism disrupting its Middle East neighbors. Syria, Lebanon and Iraq are but the latest victims. The Saudis have done this with impunity in the service of American imperialism, just as Zionist Israel has likewise functioned as an imperial crime syndicate.

But now Saudi Arabia may have swung its double-edged sword too recklessly. It has apparently been caught red-handed in an outrage against the Russian bear. Prince Bandar, we can be sure, will from now on be making extra checks beneath his car
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Russia committed to destroying al-Qaeda and terrorism


By: Tahmineh Bakhtiari
Source: Press TV

After the Black Widows terrorist operations in Volgograd, Russia is committed to destroying al-Qaeda.

In his reports to Putin just few days after the attacks on January 8, chief of Russia’s FSB intelligence and counter-intelligence agency presented documents, which mostly revealed multi-layer communication and cyber lines in Britain, UAE, Lebanon and Turkey. In the report Saudi Arabia was described as the control center of the recent terrorist operations.

This confidential report also detailed how Saudi Arabia provided financial and logistic support to the mentioned terrorist group.

At the time Russian President Vladimir Putin asked the United Nations Security Council in an urgent meeting to consider adding Saudi Arabia to its list of terrorist supporters.

A question that arises here, considering Russia’s commitment to its fight against al-Qaeda, is that could this situation lead to the downfall of the Saudi government.

The next question is why Saudi Arabia is at the center of all terrorist operations in the Middle East and other countries, even in Russia and the US?

To answer this question, we must first look into the current state of Saudi Arabia at both domestic and international level.

Saudi Arabia is still governed by an unusual monarchy regime, which has about a hundred of princesses at the same time.

They wait a long time to become a king and mostly they die without experiencing the joys of the throne.

The intense internal conditions of Saudi Arabia is in such a way that even the US intelligence agencies have recently warned of the risk of a bloody coup in this country.

Currently, there is a rift between Saudi spy chief Bandar bin Sultan and many of the Saudi princesses. Especially from 2010 onwards, wherever there is unrest, riots, bombing and sabotage, the name of al-Qaeda and its main sponsor Saudi Arabia is present. They see Bandar bin Sultan as the main cause of many internal and external problems of Saudi Arabia.

Lack of freedom of speech, repeated violations of human rights, Gender and religious discriminations are among many other problems that have caused the deep rupture among the Saudi people.

Thousands of political and intellectual activists are jailed in Saudi Arabia only for criticizing the Al Saud family.

Under these circumstances, Al Saud officials try to divert world's attention from the country’s internal affairs to elsewhere and strengthen their family by supporting al-Qaeda.

However this tactic is not very effective, because the 21st century is the era of the public opinion awakening and fast exchange of information.

AL-Qaeda has deceived many young people with false promises to use them to promote its own agenda. In the beginning al-Qaeda was formed as part of a plan to counter communism.

The group was used to promote Islam as a violent faith, serving the West’s interest on two fronts. Distorting the image of Islam among Europeans and acting as an ideological war against `communism.

After the collapse of the Soviet Russia, the US tried to use al-Qaeda to disrupt the regional equations in Middle East, and that was their reason for not disarming them.

In 2001, 9-11 attacks by al-Qaeda in New York gave the US the opportunity to carry out its plans in the Middle East. At first the US attacked Afghanistan and then Iraq to fight against the so-called origin of terrorism, which was al-Qaeda.

After the US attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, not only al-Qaeda did not become weak, but it also nested in most of the Middle Eastern countries and even Russia. In a move contradictory to their past slogans, the US and some Arab countries sent money and weapons to the terrorists in Syria.

After the terrorist nature of Syria’s opposition and their links to al-Qaeda was exposed, international hostility towards Assad diminished.

Under these circumstances, America and some Western countries such as France and Britain realized that the continuation of this situation could be a major security threat to them, and it would lead to the distrust of their own people of their governments.

So they stopped their financial support to al-Qaeda linked militants in Syria, a situation that led to the success of the Syrian Army in clearing out many areas from the militants.

Some leaked reports even suggest of an alliance between the US, Russia and some European countries for destroying al-Qaeda, but there is a major difference in Russia’s stance compared to the US and European countries.

Russians government has realized that it must raze al-Qaeda from its roots, which could only be done by overthrowing the Al Saud Wahhabi regime.

The US killed Osama bin Laden and throw his body into the sea to suggest to the world that al-Qaeda has ended. However, not only al-Qaeda did not end, but it has been using more sophisticated tactics and terrorist methods in Iraq, Yemen and Syria.

Most of the intelligence agencies in the West have concluded that the financial support of Riyadh has kept al-Qaeda alive.

It must also be noted that in all reports of terrorists act across the world the footprint of Saudi Arabia could be seen, without its name being in the list of terrorism sponsors. Not a single sanction has been imposed against this country and even human rights violations in Saudi Arabia have been ignored with gentle and non-binding statements.

The West is concerned that a democratic government in Saudi Arabia could serve the Saudis, rather than its interests. This is while Russia, China and many other countries believe that the continued presence of the Al Saud dynasty in Saudi Arabia means the continuation of al-Qaeda and their terror operations and to target the core of this crisis, the Al Saud dynasty should be overthrown.

This is a way that must be pursued to solve the root of terrorism and as long as Al Saud is in power there will be terrorism.
-----------------------------------------
Saudi Arabia: The cradle of terror

The very militants that claim to be carrying the flag of Islam are no more than abominations, Takfiris radicals, the hellhounds of Saudi Arabia, writes Shakdam. Above, militants are seen in the border town of Ras al-Ain, Syria, November 15, 2012

By: Catherine Shakdam
Source: Press TV

As violence and senseless bloodshed continue to spread across the Middle East and Asia, fed by sectarian-based hatred and radicalism, never have terrorists in league with al-Qaeda been more powerful and more dangerous.

Three years after Tunisia was set alight by a revolutionary fire calling for democratic change, Zionists have managed to twist the people’s aspirations by turning once peaceful communities against one another, playing Islamic radicalism to the beat of their war drum, seeking only to destroy where people dreamt of unity; Israel and its allies have unleashed onto the region the evil that is apostasy.

But if Israel imagined its plan inevitable by nature due to its diluted sense of superiority over the divided Islamic Ummah, Zionists have failed to grasp the resolve of the men leading the Islamic resistance movement. Three years under unparalleled pressure and Syria has yet to bow to international pressure, its government steadfast in its opposition of Israel’s imperialistic ambitions in the Levant.

Three years after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad first warned the world against al-Qaeda and its masters, the Saudi royals, the world slowly began to grasp the perverted nature of Saudi Arabia.

Just as al-Qaeda was created by the United States of America in Afghanistan to act as a buffer against the then-Soviet forces, radicalism was nurtured in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. For decades, the kingdom has acted as a breeding ground for Islamists, a dark force at the service of an even greater and darker power, Israel.

While the media shrugged President Assad’s warnings, three years of butchery at the hands of the Salafis have silenced the harshest critics, putting Western powers under a less-than-flattering light.

Ironically, the truth is always much harder to stomach than a web of intricate lies.
But who can now dare deny that al-Qaeda is but a fabrication of the West, a destroyer of the world, a cancer that needs to be annihilated?

Earlier this month, Syria’s permanent representative to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari, took a decisive step toward naming and shaming Saudi Arabia for its promotion of terrorism by addressing a formal letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the WTO. Ja’afari called on both institutions to abide by their founding principles by taking drastic actions against Riyadh.

Guilty of despicable crimes against humanity, Saudi Arabia should be held accountable for its atrocities before an international court of law, warned Ja’afari, calling on the international community to uphold its legal and moral commitments.

A recent report released earlier this month revealed that 72 preachers across Saudi Arabia have, under strict orders from the royals, called on their congregations to join and support “Jihad” in Syria. Saudi Arabia’s clerics, the very men who should have been advocating peace and restraint, have called on Muslims to wage war on their Syrian brothers, thus directly interfering with a founding pillar of Islamic law.

The very militants that claim to be carrying the flag of Islam are no more than abominations, Takfiris radicals, the hellhounds of Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi Arabia is governed by a family dictatorship which tolerates no opposition and severely punishes human rights advocates and political dissidents. Hundreds of billions in oil revenues are controlled by the royal despotism and fuel speculative investments the world over. The ruling elite relies on the purchase of Western arms and US military bases for protection. The wealth of productive nations is siphoned to enrich the conspicuous consumption of the Saudi ruling family. The ruling elite finances the most fanatical, retrograde, misogynist version of Islam, ‘Wahhabi,’ a sect of Sunni Islam,” wrote Professor James Petras, summing up with a few strokes of his pen the extent of Al Saud perversion.

Built on blood and betrayal, Saudi Arabia has defined itself across the decades through deceit, corruption, treason, manipulation, banditry and violence. The fact that Al Saud royals have resorted to terrorism to quench their thirst for power should therefore come as no surprise; rather, we should be asking why our governments have tolerated such a folly. Faced with internal dissent and the rise of Shia Islam as a potent alternative political model in the region, Al Saud naturally turned to its Takfiri legions to defend its empire.

Elated by its political invulnerability, Saudi Arabia actually no longer denies that it is aiding terror militias in Syria. Turned into a terror factory, Saudi Arabia, as written by Professor Petras, “has turned toward financing, training and arming an international network of Islamic terrorists who are directed toward attacking, invading and destroying regimes opposed to the Saudi clerical-dictatorial regime.”

Under the careful care and supervision of Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the very powerful director general of the Saudi Intelligence Agency, Saudi Arabia has even eclipsed Israel in its game of manipulation. A grand master of clandestine operations, Bandar has transformed Saudi Arabia from an inward-looking, tribal regime solely dependent on Washington’s military aid and support for its political survival, into an international terror hub, which has bought governments, supported dissidence and financed dictatorships across the Middle East.

The forefather of Sunni radicalism, Prince Bandar has in a short few years established a terror network so tightly embedded within the region’s political and institutional makeup that its shadows extend from North Africa to the Levant and the far corners of the Persian Gulf.

At the head of an international Takfiri army, Saudi Arabia no longer wishes to be a silent partner of Western imperialism; under Bandar’s leadership, it aims to assert itself as the only regional super-power.

Israel’s protégé and Washington’s prodigy, Prince Bandar is no other than Zionists’ terror man, a man who has genocide in his mind.
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Update: 2014 Feb 03

Saudi Arabia passes draconian law that criminalizes opinion as terrorism


Source: Russia Today

Actions that threaten Saudi Arabia’s unity, disturb public order, or defame the reputation of the state or the king – will be considered acts of terrorism under a new counterterrorism law which has come into force in the gulf kingdom.

The new legislature was ratified by King Abdullah on Sunday after being approved by the Cabinet in December, following the initial proposal by the Interior Ministry and advisory Shura Council.

It defines terrorism as “any act carried out by an offender … intended to disturb the public order…to shake the security of society… stability of the state… expose its national unity to danger… suspend the basic law of governance or some of its articles,” according to its text as cited by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Terrorists can also be considered those individuals who “insult the reputation of the state or its position… inflict damage upon one of its public utilities or its natural resources,” or those who attempt to force “governmental authority to carry out or prevent it from carrying out an action, or to threaten to carry out acts that lead to the named purposes or incite [these acts].”

The legislation, made up of 40 clauses, allows the security forces to arrest and detain suspects for up to six months with the possibility to extend the confinement for another six months. Suspects are allowed to be held incommunicado for 90 days without the presence of their lawyer during the initial questioning.

Internet surveillance and phone tracking are also allowed under the new legislature, as well as the right for the security services to raid the homes of suspected terrorists, without prior approval from a judge. People suspected of financing terrorist activities could also be prosecuted.

The interior minister, rather than any judge, is empowered to suspend sentences or drop charges and release a person on trial.

When the legislature was approved in December, HRW lashed out against the Kingdom’s strive to limit freedom of speech and criticized the monarchy over its very vague definition of terrorism.

“Vague and overbroad legal provisions cannot be the basis for overriding a broad array of fundamental rights,” HRW said in a statement in December. “Saudi Arabia’s denial of the rights to participate in public affairs, and freedom of religion, peaceful assembly, association, and expression, as well as its systematic discrimination against women greatly exceed any notion of justifiable restrictions.”

Activists are worried that the law will first of all be applied to silence the liberal opposition in the country. Saudi activist Abdulaziz Al Shubaily from the Saudi Association for Civil and Political Rights (HASEM) described the law as a “catastrophe”.

“If I call for the release of someone from jail for being held longer than their sentence, I can be tried for “asking the state to take action,” Shubaily said. “When I call for a constitutional monarchy, I can now be charged with terrorism.”

“They characterize you as a terrorist because you ask the kingdom to do something it does not want to do,” he added.

HRW researcher Adam Coogle said, that the new law is “draconian in spirit and letter, and there is every reason to fear that the authorities will easily and eagerly use it against peaceful dissidents.”


Saudi women who are seen driving can now be accused of disturbing public order for defying a driving ban imposed on females and face punishment under a new law. In October last year, several images emerged online of women getting in cars and going around the city as part of a unified protest.
---------------------------------
UPDATE: 2014 June 08

Takfirism Saudi's Frankenstein Monster


By: Rodney Shakespeare
Source: Press TV

The USA and UK are creating a monster. Monsters are supposed to bite other people but they do have a disconcerting tendency to bite the hand that feeds them.

Yet the USA and UK are continuing to feed the monster partly because they like monsters and partly because monsters provide justification for more spying, more arms and more war.

The creation of the 9/11 monster was particularly successful because it enabled them to have an excuse to attack Islamic nations (indeed, General Wesley Clark was told that seven would be attacked).

Today’s monster is the Takfiri/Wahhabi one which is getting lots of food especially because the USA wants to nourish anything which is central to the Axis of Evil (i.e., the USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia). After all, friends help each other, don’t they?

Yet in Europe, and even in the USA, there is increasing realisation that the Takfiri/Wahhabi monster could soon be barging in through the back gate. So Western governments are now complaining about young men who go to Syria to join the head-choppers, throat-slitters, gas-chokers and garrotters of young girls. Those young men might return and do their garrotting on home territory.

However, even while complaining, the USA, UK and others are encouraging, financing and arming the Takfiri and Wahhabi! This, of course, is contradictory, even schizophrenic, but what’s a bit of schizophrenia when you’re among friends?
Nevertheless, nasty facts are starting to impinge even on schizophrenic minds not least because the monster is popping up in more and more places. One example is Iraq where the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant killers are as gruesome a manifestation of the monster as there is ever likely to be. Another is northern Nigeria where hundreds of Nigerian girls are being kidnapped, raped and sold into slavery by Boko Haram.

So who lies behind the latest atrocity committed by Boko Haram? Who is promoting them? Who is financing them? Despite the poverty of the area (where over 60% of the population live on under $2 per day) how does it happen that Boko Haram have been filmed with armoured vehicles and heavy weaponry? Where did they get the money to buy such things? Who supplied the weaponry?

Well, it wasn’t the fairies (or the Russians, or the Chinese, or the Iranians, for that matter). It was, and is, the Axis of Evil. And the key to understanding the Takfiri/Wahhabi monster is to ask who is supplying the psychological motive which tells young men that it is legitimate to kill anybody but themselves?
Indeed, who is stimulating young men to commit atrocities the nature of which would have been unthinkable only a short time ago? Who sanctifies unspeakable conduct? Who tells the monster that everything it does is not only acceptable to, but also sanctified by, Allah?

Everybody knows the answer ‒ it’s the Saudis. Or rather, the vicious Saudi regime. More than anything else (and, in comparison, the Israelis and the Americans are minor partners) it is the Saudi regime which is promoting a world of atrocity and destruction the like of which even the barbarians invading the ancient Roman Empire would have been ashamed.

In Bahrain, furthermore, the Saudis are behind the torture and killing being done by the Killer-Khalifa regime (another lot of vicious totalitarians using death squads to terrorise a remarkably brave population only wanting a bit of democracy). The UK government, of course, continues to be loyal to these killers thereby destroying any slivers of respect that the rest of the world might have for it, but there is awareness of the bankruptcy of British foreign policy and that, one day, a price will have to be paid.

That awareness is increasing. The USA and UK are having to face the fact that millions of Syrians enthusiastically went to vote and, just as enthusiastically, voted to maintain President Assad.

And then there’s Hezbollah which, significantly, is no longer being called a terrorist organisation by American Secretary of State John Kerry. Kerry is as unprincipled a politician as there ever was (and that’s saying something) but even he is beginning to sleep uneasily as his subconscious mind begins to recognise that his foreign policy is now completely contradictory and has no logical, let alone moral, substance whatsoever.

Furthermore, even Kerry can recognise what is now an out-of-control monster.

So what can be done?

At first sight, nothing because Takfiri/Wahhabism is integral to the continuing existence of the Saudi state and the regime ruthlessly maintains its grip.

But, at second sight, the solution becomes obvious ‒ the overthrow of the Saudi regime and then the realisation of the deepest desire of the bulk of the populace for a genuinely modern, democratic society (with which the USA and UK could trade in the normal way).

All of which might seem unlikely except that the USA and UK are finding that the monster they have helped to create really is coming in through the back door and so, unless they do something immediate and really big, they will get badly bitten.
The overthrow of the Saudi regime could be done and, quite soon, it could become a necessity.

Let us hope that, for once, the USA and UK manage to break free from the grip of the Axis of Evil.
----------------------------------
Prof. Rodney Shakespeare is a visiting Professor of Binary Economics at Trisakti University, Jakarta, Indonesia. He is a Cambridge MA, a qualified UK Barrister, a co-founder of the Global Justice Movement www.globaljusticemovement.net, a member of the Christian Council for Monetary Justice.  
----------------------
UPDATE: 2014 Aug 31

Saudi king warns West of ISIL Takfiri terrorism


News Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia’s monarch King Abdullah has warned that the West will be the next target of the ISIL Takfiri terrorists sweeping across Syria and Iraq, unless there is "rapid" action.

"If we ignore them, I am sure they will reach Europe in a month and America in another month," said the Saudi monarch in Saturday remarks cited by state-owned news outlets. The irony of the remarks has not been lost on observers as the Persian Gulf kingdom is widely believed to be a major sponsor of the terror group.

"Terrorism knows no border and its danger could affect several countries outside the Middle East," King Abdullah further added while addressing a welcoming ceremony on Friday for new foreign ambassadors, including new envoy of the major Saudi ally, the United States.

The rare Saudi pronouncement against terrorism comes as the regime is widely suspected to finance and support various terrorist groups that operate in the war-ravaged Syria and Iraq.

Iraqi and Syrian authorities have repeatedly criticized Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf Arab allies of fomenting terror in their countries.

Lack of action would be "unacceptable" in the face of the phenomenon, King Abdullah further emphasized during his address.

"You see how they [Takfiri terrorists] carry out beheadings and make children show the severed heads in the street," he said, condemning the "cruelty" of such acts.

"It is no secret to you, what they have done and what they have yet to do. I ask you to transmit this message to your leaders: 'Fight terrorism with force, reason and [necessary] speed'."
--------------------------
Short Documentary - Britain and the Kings of Arabia




News Source: Press TV

Britain’s support of the authoritarian regimes of the Arabian Peninsula is deeply rooted in their vast economic and military interests through often corrupt partnership between the royal families. In this documentary the history of these relations are studied; and it shows how huge amounts of oil revenue is again invested in Britain by Arabian princesses instead of being spent on the people of these nations and where these funds are needed. The torture and murder of an Afghan laborer at the hands of an Abu Dhabi prince with the aid of the police is also depicted. - England, 2012
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UPDATE December 26th, 2014

Saudi Arabia braces for $39bn deficit, to cut wages due to low oil prices


Photo - Reuters/Enrique De La Osa

Source: Russia Today

The number one crude oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, has projected a $39 billion deficit in 2015. The impact of lower oil prices, along with the decision not to cut production, is putting pressure on the country’s finances.


The figure was part of the endorsed 2015 budget, which was made public in a statement read out on state-run television on Thursday.

The estimated trade deficit will be Saudi Arabia’s largest on record.
The Finance Ministry said the government will try to save some money by cutting salaries, wages, and allowances that represent around “50 percent of total budgeted expenditures.” But the move could anger Saudi youth, who are already struggling to cover the costs of living in the country.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), about two-thirds of the population works for the government.

The 2015 budget includes 860 billion riyals (US$229.3 billion) in spending and 715 billion riyals ($190.7 billion) in revenue. Saudi Arabia promised to cover the difference by digging into its reserves.

At the latest OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, the Gulf country opted not to cut the production ceiling of 30 million barrels per day, despite oil prices plunging nearly 50 percent since summer.



Saudi oil minister Ali Al-Naimi (AFP Photo/Yasser Al-Zayyat)

Saudi Arabia has also made clear that it is unwilling to cut down production, even if oil prices continue to fall further. Last week, the country’s oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, said that output would not be reduced, even if prices fall to $20 a barrel.

The decision has been interpreted by some experts as trying to weed out new players from North America, who can competitively produce shale oil only at higher crude prices. However, lower oil prices also directly hurt the economies of countries like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela.


Some economists fear that the deficit in 2015 might be even larger than projected, since Saudi Arabians have underestimated the figure in the past.
“I believe we are headed for a difficult year in 2015. I think the actual deficit will be around 200 billion riyals [$53 billion] because actual revenues are expected to be lower than estimates,” Saudi economist Abdulwahab Abu-Dahesh told AFP. “Spending in the budget is not in line with the sharp decline in oil prices,” he said.

According to the country’s Finance Ministry, the 2014 fiscal year budget is set to post a deficit of 54 billion riyals ($14.4 billion) – the first budget shortfall since 2009.
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UPDATE: 2014 Dec 28th 

Saudis remain tight-lipped on Israel-occupied islands



Video Source: Press TV
---------------------------------
UPDATE: 2015 January 02 nd

A closer look at the current power structure in Saudi Arabia



Source: Press TV
--------------------------------------------------- 
UPDATE: 2015 January 17

What game is the House of Saud playing?


Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal.(Reuters / Brendan Smialowski)
By: Pepe Escobar

Story Source: Russia Today

The House of Saud now finds itself in times of extreme trouble. Their risky oil price war may eventually backfire. The succession of King Abdullah may turn into a bloodbath. And the American protector may be musing a change of heart.

Let’s start with oil – and some background. As much as US supply has increased by a couple of million barrels a day, enough oil from Iran, Kirkuk in Iraq, Libya and Syria has gone out of production; and that offsets extra US oil on the market. Essentially, the global economy – at least for the moment – is not searching for more oil because of European stagnation/recession and the relative China slowdown.

Since 2011, Saudi Arabia has been flooding the market to offset the decrease in Iran exports caused by the US economic war, a.k.a. sanctions. Riyadh, moreover, prevented OPEC from reducing country production quotas. The House of Saud believes it can play the waiting game - as fracked oil, mostly American, is inexorably driven out of the market because it is too expensive. After that, the Saudis believe they will regain market share.

In parallel, the House of Saud is obviously enjoying “punishing” Iran and Russia for their support of Bashar Assad in Damascus. Moreover, the House of Saud is absolutely terrified of a nuclear deal essentially between the US and Iran (although that’s still a major “if”) – leading to a long-term détente.

Tehran, though, remains defiant. Russia brushed off the attack because the lower ruble meant state revenues remained unchanged – so there will be no budget deficit. As for oil-thirsty East Asia - including top Saudi customer China – it’s enjoying the bonanza while it lasts.

Oil prices will remain very low for the time being. This week Goldman Sachs lowered their 2015 WTI and Brent Crude forecasts; Brent was slashed from $83.75 a barrel to $50.40, WTI was cut from $73.75 to $47.15 a barrel. Prices per barrel could soon drop as low as $42 and $40.50. But then, there will be an inevitable “U-shaped recovery.”

Nomura bets that oil will be back to $80 a barrel by the end of 2015.

Punish Russia or bust

US President Barack Obama, in this interview, openly admitted that he wanted “disruptions” in the “price of oil” because he figured Russian President Vladimir Putin would have “enormous difficulty managing it.” So that settles the argument about hurting Russia and US-Saudi collusion, after US Secretary of State John Kerry allowed/endorsed King Abdullah in Jeddah to simultaneously raise oil production and embark on a cut price strategy.

Whether Kerry sold out the US shale gas industry out of ignorance or incompetence – probably both - is irrelevant. What matters is if the House of Saud were ordered to back off, they would have to do it in a flash; the ‘Empire of Chaos’ dominates the Persian Gulf vassals, who can’t even breathe without at least an implicit US green light.

What is way more troubling is that the current bunch in Washington does not seem to be defending US national and industrial interests. If humongous trade deficits based on currency rigging were not enough, now virtually the entire US oil industry runs the risk of being destroyed by an oil price racket. Any sane analyst would interpret it as contrary to US national interests.

That dysfunctional marriage

As if this was not messy enough, the crucial succession of the House of Saud is propelled to the forefront. King Abdullah, 91, was diagnosed with pneumonia, hospitalized in Riyadh on New Year’s Eve, and was breathing with a tube. He may – or may not, this being the secretive House of Saud – have lung cancer. He won’t last long. The fact that he is hailed as a “progressive reformer” tells everything one needs to know about Saudi Arabia. “Freedom of expression”? You must be joking.

So who’ll be next? The first in the line of succession should be Crown Prince Salman, 79, also defense minister. He was governor of Riyadh province for a hefty 48 years. It was this certified falcon who supervised the wealth of private “donations” to the Afghan mujahedeen in the 1980s jihad, in tandem with hardcore Wahhabi preachers. Salman’s sons include the governor of Medina, Prince Faisal. Needless to add, the Salman family controls virtually all of Saudi media.

To get to the Holy Grail Salman must be proven fit. That’s not a given; and on top of it Abdullah, a tough nut to crack, already survived two of his crown princes, Sultan and Nayef. Salman’s prospects look bleak; he has had spinal surgery, a stroke and may be suffering from – how appropriate - dementia.

It also does not bode well that when Salman was promoted to Deputy Defense Minister, soon enough he was shown the door – as he got himself mixed up with Bandar Bush’s atrocious jihadi game in Syria.

Anyway, Salman already has a successor; second Deputy Prime Minister Prince Muqrin, former governor of Medina province and then head of Saudi intelligence. Muqrin is very, very close to Abdullah. Muqrin seems to be the last “capable” son of Ibn Saud; “capable” here is a figure of speech. The real problem though starts when Muqrin becomes Crown Prince. Because then the next in line will be picked from the grandsons of Ibn Saud.

Enter the so-called third generation princes – a pretty nasty bunch. Chief among them is none other than Mitab bin Abdullah, 62, the son of the king; cries of nepotism do proceed. Like a warlord, Mitab controls his own posse in the National Guard. Sources told me Riyadh is awash in rumors that Abdullah and Muqrin have made a deal: Abdullah gets Muqrin to become king, and Muqrin makes Mitab crown prince. Once again, this being the “secretive” House of Saud, the Hollywood mantra applies: no one knows anything.

Abdullah’s sons are all over the place; governor of Mecca, deputy governor of Riyadh, deputy foreign minister, president of the Saudi Red Crescent. Same for Salman’s sons. But then there’s Muhammad bin Nayif, son of the late Crown Prince Nayif, who became Interior Minister in 2012, in charge of ultra-sensitive internal security, as in cracking down on virtually anything. He is the top competitor against Mitab among the third-generation princes.

So forget about family “unity” when such juicy loot as an oil hacienda impersonating a whole country is in play. And yet whoever inherits the loot will have to face the abyss, and the same litany of distress; rising unemployment; abysmal inequality; horrendous sectarian divide; jihadism in all its forms – not least the fake Ibrahim Caliphate in “Syraq”, already threatening to march towards Mecca and Medina; the unspeakably medieval Council of Ulemas (the lashing/amputating/beheading-loving bunch); total dependency on oil; unbounded paranoia towards Iran; and a wobbly relationship with His Masters Voice, the US.

When will they call the cavalry?
And it so happens that the real ‘Masters of the Universe’ in the Washington-New York axis are debating exactly the erosion of this relationship; as in the House of Saud having no one to talk to but the “puppets”, from Bush Two minions to Kerry at most on occasion. This analysis contends that any promises made by Kerry over the House of Saud “cooperation” to damage Russia’s economy really mean nothing.

Rumbles from ‘Masters of the Universe’ territory indicate that the CIA sooner or later might move against the House of Saud. In this case the only way for the House of Saud to secure its survival would be to become friendly with none other than Moscow. This exposes once more the House of Saud’s suicidal present course of trying to hurt Russia’s economy.

As everyone is inexorably an outsider when faced with the totally opaque House of Saud, there’s an analytical current that swears they know what they’re doing. Not necessarily. The House of Saud seems to believe that pleasing US neocons will improve their status in Washington. That simply won’t happen. The neocons remain obsessed about the House of Saud helping Pakistan to develop its nuclear missiles; some of them – once again, that’s open to speculation – might even be deployed inside Saudi Arabia for “defensive purposes” against that mythical Iranian “threat.”

Messy? That doesn’t even begin to describe it. But one thing is certain; whatever game Riyadh thinks it’s playing, they’d better start seriously talking to Moscow. But please, don’t send Bandar Bush on another Russian mission.

Buy Pepe Escobar’s latest Book “Empire of CHAOS” 
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UPDATE: 2015 Jan 19

Man who filmed beheading of Saudi woman reportedly arrested.



Video Source: RT – In The Now

The man who filmed the beheading was actually taking part in the death sentence of a woman who was convicted of killing a child. At least 10 people have already been executed in 2015. And in 2014 we seen a 5 year high - over 80 beheadings.

The thing is these executions happen all the time and for what many would consider no crime at all. People get beheaded for sorcery, women jailed for driving and posting online. But this draws no international condemnation. Why? John Wight says it’s simple: Money.
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UPDATE: 2015 January 22

Saudi ruler dead: King Abdullah dies in hospital aged 90, Crown Prince Salman Succeeds



Video Source: Russia Today

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has died in hospital while undergoing treatment for pneumonia. An official statement has named Saudi Crown Prince Salman the new king.

An announcement, made by state TV early on Friday, also said that his 77-year-old half brother, Salman, has succeeded him.

"His Highness Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and all members of the family and the nation mourn the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who passed away at exactly 1 a.m. this morning," said the statement.
The king reportedly died at hospital, where he had been receiving medical treatment for several weeks.

The late Saudi king’s funeral ceremony will be held on Friday afternoon.
The official statement further noted that the late king's half brother Muqrin has been named the new crown prince. The new Saudi king has reportedly called on the royal family's Allegiance Council to recognize Muqrin as his crown prince and heir.
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Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah dies at 90



Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz has died at the age of 90 in hospital.
Saudi state TV says 79-year-old Crown Prince Salman has now officially become king. Prince Muqrin Bin Abdulaziz is the new crown prince. The late monarch had been in hospital for several weeks, suffering from a lung infection. King Abdullah came to power in 2005 and suffered ill health in recent years. The late king's funeral ceremony will be held on Friday afternoon.
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UPDATE: 2015 March 08

Saudi Arabia is World’s Largest Arms Importer



Source Video: Press TV

According to data released by the I-H-S, a leading analyst of the global arms trade, Saudi spending rose 54 percent to more than six and a half billion dollars last year. It predicts that the kingdom’s arms imports will increase by 52 percent to nearly ten billion dollars this year. Meanwhile, a senior German official is calling for the restriction of arms exports to Saudi Arabia, calling Riyadh the leading exporter of terrorism in the Middle East. The vice president of German parliament Boon-dess-taag, Claudia Roth, says a large number of terrorists in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan come from Saudi Arabia.
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UPDATE: 2015 March 11

Bribes Sealed Saudi Arabia as Biggest Global Arms Importer



Video Source: In the Now

India was in the top spot for 2013 but Saudi Arabia pushed the emerging economy into second place with more than 6.4 billion dollars on arms in 2014.

Saudi weapon imports just keep growing and are expected to grow this year. Who benefits overall? The U.S. scores with 8.4 billion worth of Middle Eastern exports in 2014. Plus 'The Independent' reports almost 16-million-pounds' worth of anti-riot equipment has been approved for sale to countries which Britain deems repressive. Tear gas, rubber bullets and riot shields all on the bill. Controversial exports have been sealed for more than a hundred countries, which include Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Pakistan - all featured on an official blacklist because of human rights abuses. Ali al Ahmed, Director of Gulf Institute, is In the Now.
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UPDATE: 2015 March 26

Saudi Arabia, Allies Start Bombing Yemen



Source Video: Press TV

The Saudi ambassador to the US made the announcement during a rare press conference in Washington. He also said Riyadh had consultations with the US before the beginning of the operation. Yemeni media say warplanes have bombed the Sana'a international airport and an airbase in the city. Several Yemenis are reportedly killed during the aerial attacks. The bombardment comes amid fresh gains by the country's Ansarullah fighters.

Yemen Will Not Be Another Bahrain for Saudi’s



Source Video: Press TV

The Ansarullah movement in Yemen and its allied army units have made significant gains in the country’s south, where fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi had sought refuge after fleeing the capital Sana’a. Latest developments on the ground suggest that Hadi and his aides are losing their last stronghold as opposition fighters have managed to push into the city of Aden.

Saudi Arabia airstrikes kill dozens of Yemeni civilians in Sana'a



Source Video: Press TV

Dozens of civilians are killed as Saudi Arabia and a coalition of regional allies launch a military operation in neighboring Yemen.

Yemeni media says warplanes have bombed residential areas including a hospital. Sana'a international airport has also been hit. Dozens of Yemeni civilians, including children and women, are killed in the attacks. Witnesses say the residential Bani Hawwat neighborhood has been the worst hit. The Saudi ambassador to the US says a group of ten countries have contributed to Yemen offensive.
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UPDATE: 2015 April 12

The Saudi War on Yemen


A Playlist of news reports and opinion (2011 to 2015) on Yemen’s struggle for freedom against the backdrop of Saudi backed puppet governments (now deposed) and the resulting Saudi war campaign on the Yemeni people. Just like in Lybia, Palestine and Syria, the Saudi regime’s actions speak for themselves, they are out of control and do not respect human rights. It is a war crime to invade and attack another country, PERIOD! Let us hope they will be brought to account for their war crimes and crimes against humanity throughout the Middle East and Africa. The people will not forget these Saudi attrocities...
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UPDATE: 2015 - May 01

Amnesty concerned over Saudi Arabia’s human rights situation


Video Source: Press TV

Amnesty International has expressed concern over Saudi Arabia’s human rights situation. The Amnesty says the rights situation remains grim in the kingdom although a new king has taken the helm. The international rights group says King Salman has failed to improve the human rights situation during his first one hundred days in office. According to the Amnesty, rights activists are labeled as terrorists in Saudi Arabia and their trials continue. The organization adds that Riyadh imprisons people merely for exercising their right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. Amnesty has also slammed the Saudi regime for violating international laws through its aerial war on Yemen, saying it’s killed hundreds of civilians.
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UPDATE: 2015 May 09

The Triangle of Akhir Al Zaman By Sheikh Imran Hosein


Video Source: Sheikh Imran Hosein

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UPDATE: 2015 May 14

Saudi Arabia prepares to hang opposition Shia cleric amid large protests


Video Source: Russia Today

Story Source: Russia Today

Human rights activists worldwide are demanding clemency for cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia for taking part in Shia Muslim minority protests in 2011. They warn the execution could inflame the whole of the Middle East.

The Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) an independent non-profit organization based in London, have asked the UN to intervene and prevent al-Nimr’s execution. He is the most respected Shiite cleric in Saudi Arabia, where the majority of the approximately 18 million population are Sunni.

In their address they say: "It is a severe blight on the reputation of this office if it is not able to work to protect the rights of individuals to free speech, to protest, to practise their religion, to a fair trial, to not be subjected to torture, and the right to life."

Despite global condemnation the forthcoming execution has been largely ignored by Saudi Arabia's key allies - the UK and the US, nations that profess to upholding democratic values.

The representative of Bahraini Shiite leader, Shaykh Ali Salman, told the ABNA news agency that US Secretary of State John Kerry was dismayed by the Saudi decision to execute Ayatollah al-Nimr. Allegedly, Kerry was informed about the Saudi decision during a meeting in Riyadh on May 6.

“John Kerry expressed his surprise to President Barack Obama over the decision made by the House of Saud, and by their silence they gave the green light to Saudi Arabia to go ahead with the execution,” the representative said.

In London, where Shia Muslims staged a #FreeNimr rally, RT spoke to former Bahraini MP Jawad Fayruz. He said since Saudi Arabia is “mainly backed by the US and the United Kingdom,” it could be just “one word” from US or UK officials to reverse things and save al-Nimr’s life.

“Our clear message is to Downing Street, to [PM] Cameron: you have the ability and you can do a lot of things,” said Fayruz, explaining that the British prime minister could use his influence on Saudi Arabia and secure Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr’s release.

The lawmaker also said: “There’s no independent judiciary system in Saudi Arabia” and the case of Sheikh al-Nimr is “politically oriented.” This is especially due to the ongoing war against Yemen, where Shia Houthi rebels overthrew the president, a Saudi Arabian protégé.

Skeikh al-Nimr became a symbol of the 2011 insurrection when the Arab Spring came to Saudi Arabia. He led Shia Muslim street protests throughout the country, demanding constitutional changes, liberties and an end to anti-Shia discrimination in the kingdom.

Sheikh al-Nimr was arrested on July 8, 2012 in disputed circumstances, after police tracked him down in the eastern province of Qatif and shot him in the leg during a shootout.

The Sheikh’s relatives insisted al-Nimr didn’t own a gun, but the cleric was accused of terrorism and apostasy and put on trial in March 2013. Human rights activists shared concerns since the outset that al-Nimr was unlikely to get a fair trial.

The arrest of Skeikh al-Nimr provoked even more disturbances in Saudi Arabia, as protesters demanded his immediate release, which led to an even greater escalation of violence between protesters and Saudi security forces.

The arguably biased trial lasted until October 2014, with al-Nimr being sentenced to death for “disobeying the ruler,”“inciting sectarian strife” and “encouraging, leading and participating in demonstrations.”

The sentence aroused the strongest condemnation from international human rights watchdogs.

Joe Stork, the organization's deputy Middle East director, said: “Saudi Arabia’s harsh treatment of a prominent Shia cleric is only adding to the existing sectarian discord and unrest,” adding that if Saudi Arabia wants to gain stability in its eastern province, it should put an end to “systematic discrimination against Shia citizens.”

According to Said Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, “the death sentence against Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr is part of a campaign by the authorities in Saudi Arabia to crush all dissent, including those defending the rights of the Kingdom’s Shiite Muslim community.”

Shia Muslims around the world have been holding rallies and petitioning to prevent the execution. When Saudi Arabia announced al-Nimr will be executed on May 14, protests intensified and people took to the streets in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, India and Iraq.

In Iran, the regional superpower and the only country with a predominantly Shiite population in the Middle East, clerics and scholars staged a mass sit-in on Wednesday in the two holy cities of Qom and Mashhad, to express their solidarity with Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Iranian Shia Muslim clerics warned that Saudi Arabia is going to pay a heavy price if it dares to execute the religious leader, saying the execution could trigger “an earthquake” that would lead to the fall of the Saud dynasty.

Last week, following the beheading of five foreigners, human rights groups condemned Saudi Arabia for a dramatic increase in public executions. Eighty people have already been executed so far in 2015, compared to 88 during the whole of 2014.

Despite mounting international criticism from foreign governments and human rights campaigners, Saudi Arabia has shown no willingness to end public executions.
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UPDATE: 2015 May 17

Saudi protesters in Qatif call for release of Shia cleric


Source: Press TV

Saudi protesters have once again taken to the streets to show solidarity with prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, who is facing execution there.

The Saudis staged protest rallies in the Qatif region in Eastern province for the third night in a row. The demonstrators carried placards and shouted slogans, calling on the ruling Al Saud regime to overturn the death sentence handed to Nimr last year. The demonstrations come as calls are growing worldwide for the release of Sheikh Nimr, who has been imprisoned by Saudi Arabia for more than three years. The dissident cleric was attacked and injured during his arrest by Saudi forces in 2012. He’s facing the death penalty for criticizing the government and defending the rights of prisoners.
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UPDATE: 2015 May 17

Saudi’s set to buy Nuclear Weapons from Pakistan


Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia is reportedly seeking to purchase nuclear weapons from Pakistan.

Sunday Times has quoted a former US defense official as saying that Riyadh has made the strategic decision after an agreement with Islamabad. Another U-S intelligence official told the paper that the C-I-A was working to find out whether Pakistan has already supplied the Arab kingdom with nuclear technology or weaponry. The official said there is an assumption that Saudis have decided to become a nuclear power. Reports indicate that Riyadh has financed substantial amounts of Islamabad’s nuclear program over the past three decades. The kingdom has provided the Pakistani government with billions of dollars of subsidized oil while taking delivery of Shaheen mobile ballistic missile. Meanwhile, a senior British military officer has raised concerns that Turkey and Egypt may feel compelled to seek nuclear weapons as well.
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UPDATE: 2015 May 23

Saudi Regime Fanning the Flames of Sectarianism


Video Source: Press TV

Print Source: Press TV

Press TV has interviewed Ali al-Ahmed, the director of the Institute for (Persian) Gulf Affairs from Washington, to get his take on a recent bomb attack on a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province as well as Riyadh’s ongoing military aggression against neighboring Yemen.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: Why is it that the attacks on Shia mosques and gatherings are increasing?

Al-Ahmed: Well, you have to understand that the Saudi government has been funding and supporting anti-Shia terrorist groups in the Middle East in the past 25 years at least. So this is a direct result of the Saudi government’s policy. But especially this attack is not an indirect attack; this is an attack that was launched by the Saudi government. If you go back early before the Saudi war against Yemen, there was a double…attack against two Sana’a mosques. This is very similar. This is the Saudi government.

There is something called the special office of Mohammad bin Nayef, the minister of interior, who carried out and planned these attacks. And this terrorist who [launched] the attack today in Qatif was detained and re-educated by Mohammad bin Nayef’s center for educating or rehabilitation to redirect his terrorist attack against Shia targets. So this is a crime. I put my credibility on the line here. This is a crime that was committed by the Saudi government. The world should listen to this and should start investigating the Saudi government’s role in funding the terrorism. The United Nations Security Council should take responsibility, should adhere to its Charter, and initiate an international inspection of the Saudi terrorism networks and industry.

Press TV: Now, focusing on the situation in Yemen itself. How much do you think the Ansarullah movement is advancing against the Saudis?

Al-Ahmed: Well, it is very clearly that 60 days of bombardment, more bombardment than any country in the Middle East has witnessed, the Ansarullah movement and the popular committees in Yemen are gaining ground. They could have gain greater ground faster if these Saudi-led attacks were not killing and destroying and hindering them. So, clearly, we can see that they are doing this. They have taken some Saudi territories last night. And I expect more the strategy of going after Saudi Arabia. I think it is very successful way of pushing back the Saudi monarchy’s attacks.

Press TV: And how optimistic are you about the Geneva talks on Yemen?

Al-Ahmed: I am not very optimistic because the United Nations secretary general does not have any authority to implement or to force anybody. It is the United Nations Security Council that has that authority. So without their support, the authorities and a new resolution on Yemen forcing the Saudis to stop the war, I think the Geneva talks will be empty.
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UPDATE: 2015 May 24

Thousands gather in Qatif to condemn terrorist attack on Shia Muslims


Source: Press TV

Thousands of mourners are gathering in Saudi Arabia’s city of Qatif in a mass demonstration against a terror attack that killed Shia Muslims on Friday.

Activists in the eastern city say over five-thousand people have already gathered in Qatif. The protesters have denounced the sectarian policies of the Saudi media and government as well as the rhetoric by some Saudi clerics who promote Wahabbist ideology. They say sectarian language used by Saudi figures have fuelled hatred against Shia Muslims. On Friday, 21 Shia worshippers lost their lives and scores of others were injured in a terrorist attack on Imam Ali mosque, in the village of Qadih, in Qatif region. ISIL has claimed responsibility for the blast.
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UPDATE: 2015 May 31

HRW releases evidence of using cluster bombs in Saudi bombardment of Yemen


Video Source: Press TV

Human Rights Watch releases new evidence of the use of internationally banned cluster bombs in Saudi Arabia's bombardment of Yemen. The rights group has urged the aggressors to halt the use of the bombs which it says harm civilians. The HRW has posted online photos, showing remnants of cluster munitions and unexploded sub-munitions found in several areas, including Nushoor and Maqash in the northern Sa’ada province. The HRW says it has identified the use of three types of cluster munitions in Yemen. Earlier in May, the group published evidence showing that Saudi Arabia and its allies used US-supplied cluster bombs against Yemen. The munitions spread bomblets over a vast area. The weapons have been banned under a treaty signed by 116 countries.
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UPDATE: 2015 June 05

Saudi Arabia, Israel have held 5 secret meetings since 2014


Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia and Israel are engaged in a campaign of covert diplomacy against Iran.

According to media sources, Saudi and Israeli officials have held at least five secret meetings since the beginning of last year to discuss their mutual interests in the face of Iran. The covert campaign was revealed for the first time on Thursday when at the Council on Foreign Relations think tank in Washington. The rare public meeting was held between Dore Gold, the incoming director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Anwar Majed Eshki, a retired Saudi general and ex-adviser to Prince Bandar Bin Sultan. Tel Aviv and Riyadh say they’re worried about what they call Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East.
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UPDATE: 2015 June 13

Rights groups slam Riyadh for committing crimes in Yemen


Video Source: Press TV

A coalition of 13 aid organizations has urged a permanent ceasefire in Yemen.

The relief groups called for the immediate lifting of an air and sea blockade imposed by Saudi Arabia on the Arab nation. The aid agencies further asked for an increase in humanitarian and longer-term development funding. The signatories include Oxfam, International Rescue Committee and Friedrich Ebert Foundation. The plea comes as Saudi Arabia continues its deadly war on Yemen. In the latest, warplanes launched two airstrikes on Sahar district in Sa’ada. More than 20 people were also killed in earlier bombardments of the same province. Warplanes also targeted the residence of the country’s former deputy commander of special security forces as well as the presidential palace in Sana’a.
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UPDATE: 2015 June 20

Wikileaks releases 600,000 top secret Saudi diplomat papers


Source Video: Press TV

The whistleblower website WikiLeaks has announced that it’s releasing hundreds of thousands of diplomatic and government documents belonging to Saudi Arabia.

Wikileaks has already posted one tenth or 60,000 of the Arabic-language papers on its website. They include email communications between Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry and other countries as well as confidential reports from other Saudi ministries.
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UPDATE: 2015, July 29

Saudi Arabia’s War On Yemen


Video Source: New Eastern Outlook

While the West undermines, invades, and topples governments around the world sighting the violation of "human rights", the brutal autocracy of Saudi Arabia is allowed to wage war on its neighbours, both through its proxies of Al Qaeda and ISIS, and directly with their own military on neighbours such as Yemen.

The West not only supports Saudi Arabia rhetorically, but provides it with the very weapons it needs to brutalize its neighbours, all while the Western media spins or covers up these atrocities altogether...It is a “War Crime” to invade or attack a sovereign nation and it is also a Crime Against Humanity to support this type of War Crime…People need to wake up and hold their governments responsible for their actions or inactions to war crimes or these crimes will happen to you in the near future…
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UPDATE: 2015 Aug 03

The Iran Obsession - What ails the Kingdom of Saud?


Saudi King Salman at the Royal Court, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. © Andrew Harnik / Pool / Reuters

By: Catherine Shakdam
Source: Russia Today

Just as the international community embraces the prodigal Iran back into the fold, Saudi Arabia is trying to reverse the return to grace of its nemesis. Intent on protecting its legacy, is there anything the kingdom won’t do to paint Iran as the enemy?

The grand hegemon of the Middle East, Saudi Arabia has long used its status as an oil superpower and its religious clout in the Islamic world to sit as a titan over the region and as a strategic ally for western powers.

And while many imagined the kingdom untouchable and absolutely powerful by the sheer strength of its economic might and reach of its political alliances, WikiLeaks, maybe unwittingly, has divulged an interesting chip in the kingdom's armor.

If Saudi Arabia has been keen to project itself onto others as secure, in control and endlessly wealthy, its officials, it appears, have lived in fear of Iran, obsessing over its political, religious and economic pull in the region, forever working to undermine its standing within the world community; as if Saudi Arabia's life expectancy was tied to the rise or fall of the Islamic Republic.

And though Saudi Arabia's antipathy towards Iran has left very little to the imagination over the decades, the depth and length the kingdom went to in order to feed the anti-Iranian train and thus sabotage any hope of a bridge in between the two peoples, let alone the rest of the western world, cannot be put down to a simple religious disagreement or even upset political ambitions. Saudi Arabia's hatred for Iran is more than just a little psychotic, it has defined the kingdom's foreign policy and translated at home into a violent sectarian vendetta.

Lo and behold, Iran has become the capital state of Shia Islam.

But can a religious dispute and the need for theological vindication ever truly justify such ire and loathing for an entire people - Shia Muslims? Or is there more to Saudi Arabia's paranoiac fear of Iran?

While no exact tally of Saudi Arabia's religious patronage exists, it is thought that the kingdom invested an excess of $100 billion over the past three decades in exporting fanatical Wahhabism - its own home-grown, honed and state-approved interpretation of Islam - to a flurry of "sympathetic" organizations worldwide.

At the same time, Saudi Arabia engaged in a vicious campaign against Iran, its appointed religious nemesis and political adversary. It is important to remember that where Saudi Arabia sits its institutional legitimacy on its monarchical roots, imposing its religious vision to the whip of its lashes, Iran has risen since 1979 a Republic and a pluralist democracy. Everything Iran became and stands for, whether religiously, socially or politically, is a negation of Saudi Arabia, and there lies Riyadh's fear.

And while of course, Iran cannot, and actually does not claim to own any absolute political truth or perfect social formula, it is far from being the evil Riyadh has worked so very hard to paint. Iran's image has been so distorted and manipulated under Saudi money that most Iranians and to an extent Shia Muslims do not recognize themselves, nor their values, in the propaganda weaved and disseminated by Riyadh's pawns.

WikiLeaks most recent "release" opens the lid on a veritable trove of documents, each painting a new shade of Saudi fixation with Iran and Shia Islam. The Saudi Foreign Ministry dedicated an incredible amount of resources toward not just monitoring but falsifying and undermining Iran's efforts to get back to the world political roundtable.

From a nuclear Armageddon to cries the world could soon be made to bow to Shia Islam should Iran be allowed to breathe easy, Saudi Arabia played fears and religious prejudices to its advantages, splashing petrodollars to soothe politicians’ doubts and silence the opposition.

Arguably, the real threat to peace and stability is Saudi Arabia. If not for Riyadh's institutionalization of ethnic bias and religious intolerance, the Muslim world would have remained true to its pluralist traditions, thus leaving little room to extremism.


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hands with Saudi Arabia's King Salman at the Royal Court, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia © Andrew Harnik / Pool / Reuters

As Michel Kaplan, an associate with the Sana'a Institute for Arabic Studies, noted, "Riyadh's recent initiatives against Iran have included undermining foreign officials and media opposed to the kingdom's narrative. Such propaganda remains to this day unmatched in its scope and reach. So much so that Saudi Arabia's reality has become people's truth."

But Iran's nuclear deal and its anticipated return within the fold of the international community upset Riyadh's design rather dramatically.

And where nations sighted in relief before such a colossal diplomatic achievement, comforted in the idea that the drums of war had receded in the distance, if anything for a moment at least, the kingdom only flexed its muscles further, determined to break the Iranian momentum in its infancy.

Saudi Arabia's next move would betray exactly its intentions.

Just two weeks after Western nations and Tehran struck a deal to limit Iran’s nuclear program, Saudi Arabia went on a military shopping spree, signing deals with the US for the delivery of yet more PatriotMissiles. But that is not all.

Following the visit in France, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman returned home with several billion dollars worth of aircraft and energy contracts, thus signaling a shift in Riyadh's foreign policy and attitude towards the US. Riyadh and Washington's love affair is souring.

With or without the US, Saudi Arabia will remain at war with Iran.

And while many were left under the impression that Riyadh's hatred towards Iran was very much US-oriented, it could be instead that it was Riyadh embedded animosity vis a vis the Islamic Republic which fed America's mistrust.

In any case, dynamics are changing and it is likely the Middle East will witness a dramatic political shift as a result.

And while Saudi officials have drummed into diplomats’ ears that they worry Iran will use the nuclear agreement to deepen its involvement in Arab affairs as sanctions are lifted and its economy and revenue expand, Riyadh’s propaganda machine is slowly grinding to a halt.
----------------------------
About the Writer:

Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. Her writings have been published in world-renowned publications such as Foreign Policy Journal, Mintpress News, the Guardian, Your Middle East, Middle East Monitor, Middle East Eye, Open Democracy, Eurasia Review and many more. A regular pundit on RT, she has also contributed her analyses to Etejah TV, IRIB radio, Press TV and NewsMax TV. A leading analyst for the Beirut Center for Middle East Studies and consultant for Anderson Consulting, her research and work on Yemen were used by the UN Security Council in relation to Yemen looted funds in 2015.
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UPDATE: 2015 Sept 06th

Saudi Arabia to cut spending, issue more bonds due to falling oil prices


News Source: PressTV

Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf has said efforts are underway to cut unnecessary expenditure, but gave assurances that key spending in education, health and infrastructure wouldn't be affected. Experts say Saudi Arabia has so far been relying on its huge budget to bridge the gap. The country has predicted an official budget shortfall of 36 billion dollars for 2015, but international institutions including the International Monetary Fund say the actual deficit will be much higher.
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UPDATE: 2015, Sept 23rd

House of Saud: Letter calls for Saudi King to be replaced


Video Source: RT

The backstairs intrigue within the House of Saud has seen a letter circulating among members of the royal family. It calls for the Saudi king and deputy crown prince to be replaced.
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UPDATE: 2015 Sept 26th

Total death toll from Hajj stampede could reach 2,000


Source: Press TV

A day after a catastrophic stampede in Saudi Arabia, Iranian officials say the death toll could dramatically rise.

The head of Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization says the toll could reach two-thousand. He also said, so far 13-hundred pilgrims including 131 Iranians have been confirmed dead. Three-hundred-30 more Iranians are still missing. Saudi Arabia has put the total death toll at 717. It has blamed pilgrims for the tragic incident. Pilgrims from Morocco, Pakistan, Algeria, India, Indonesia and Netherlands are also among the dead. Riyadh is facing growing criticism over the catastrophe, with questions raised about its ability to manage the annual Hajj pilgrimage.

Riyadh should accept responsibility for Hajj crush

News Source: Press TV

A senior Iranian official says Saudi authorities’ shirking their responsibility toward a deadly crush during the Hajj pilgrimage rituals in Mina, outside the Saudi holy city of Mecca, is unacceptable, urging Riyadh to fulfill its duties regarding the incident.

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Saturday that Saudi officials and religious leaders should not attribute the catastrophe to fate and destiny.

He added that mismanagement by Saudi organizers of the Hajj event led to the tragic incident in Mina on Thursday, which killed upwards of 2,000 pilgrims, including at least 136 Iranians.

Amir-Abdollahian emphasized that Iran expects Saudi officials to immediately establish the fate of those who are still missing following the the deadly crush and help transfer the Iranian casualties back home.

The Iranian envoy criticized the "unsatisfactory" handling of the incident by Saudi officials.

He said Riyadh authorities should discharge their responsibility rather than offering “incorrect justifications.”

Saudi Arabia's top religious leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh has said the Mina crush incident was beyond human control.

"You are not responsible for what happened. As for the things that humans cannot control, you are not blamed for them. Fate and destiny are inevitable,” the Sheikh said in a meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in Mina.

Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi said on Saturday that 102 Iranian pilgrims had been wounded in the tragic incident while 344 others were still missing.

It has been reported that the convoy of Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, the son of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz, had arrived at the site, forcing the pilgrims to change their original direction of movement.
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UPDATE: 2015 - September 29

The Collapse of Saudi Arabia is Inevitable


Deep-rooted structural realities means that Saudi Arabia is indeed on the brink of protracted state-failure, a process likely to take-off in the next few years.

By: Nafeez Ahmed

News Source: Middle East Eye

On Tuesday 22 September, Middle East Eye broke the story of a senior member of the Saudi royal family calling for a “change” in leadership to fend off the kingdom’s collapse.

In a letter circulated among Saudi princes, its author, a grandson of the late King Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, blamed incumbent King Salman for creating unprecedented problems that endangered the monarchy’s continued survival.

“We will not be able to stop the draining of money, the political adolescence, and the military risks unless we change the methods of decision making, even if that implied changing the king himself,” warned the letter.

Whether or not an internal royal coup is round the corner – and informed observers think such a prospect “fanciful” – the letter’s analysis of Saudi Arabia’s dire predicament is startlingly accurate.

Like many countries in the region before it, Saudi Arabia is on the brink of a perfect storm of interconnected challenges that, if history is anything to judge by, will be the monarchy’s undoing well within the next decade.

Black gold hemorrhage

The biggest elephant in the room is oil. Saudi Arabia’s primary source of revenues, of course, is oil exports. For the last few years, the kingdom has pumped at record levels to sustain production, keeping oil prices low, undermining competing oil producers around the world who cannot afford to stay in business at such tiny profit margins, and paving the way for Saudi petro-dominance.

But Saudi Arabia’s spare capacity to pump like crazy can only last so long. A new peer-reviewed study in the Journal of Petroleum Science and Engineering anticipates that Saudi Arabia will experience a peak in its oil production, followed by inexorable decline, in 2028 – that’s just 13 years away.

This could well underestimate the extent of the problem. According to the Export Land Model (ELM) created by Texas petroleum geologist Jeffrey J Brown and Dr Sam Foucher, the key issue is not oil production alone, but the capacity to translate production into exports against rising rates of domestic consumption.

Brown and Foucher showed that the inflection point to watch out for is when an oil producer can no longer increase the quantity of oil sales abroad because of the need to meet rising domestic energy demand.

In 2008, they found that Saudi net oil exports had already begun declining as of 2006. They forecast that this trend would continue.

They were right. From 2005 to 2015, Saudi net exports have experienced an annual decline rate of 1.4 percent, within the range predicted by Brown and Foucher. A report by Citigroup recently predicted that net exports would plummet to zero in the next 15 years.

From riches to rags

This means that Saudi state revenues, 80 percent of which come from oil sales, are heading downwards, terminally.

Saudi Arabia is the region’s biggest energy consumer, domestic demand having increased by 7.5 percent over the last five years – driven largely by population growth.

The total Saudi population is estimated to grow from 29 million people today to 37 million by 2030. As demographic expansion absorbs Saudi Arabia’s energy production, the next decade is therefore likely to see the country’s oil exporting capacity ever more constrained.

Renewable energy is one avenue which Saudi Arabia has tried to invest in to wean domestic demand off oil dependence, hoping to free up capacity for oil sales abroad, thus maintaining revenues.

But earlier this year, the strain on the kingdom’s finances began to show when it announced an eight-year delay to its $109 billion solar programme, which was supposed to produce a third of the nation’s electricity by 2032.

State revenues also have been hit through blowback from the kingdom’s own short-sighted strategy to undermine competing oil producers. As I previously reported, Saudi Arabia has maintained high production levels precisely to keep global oil prices low, making new ventures unprofitable for rivals such as the US shale gas industry and other OPEC producers.

The Saudi treasury has not escaped the fall-out from the resulting oil profit squeeze – but the idea was that the kingdom’s significant financial reserves would allow it to weather the storm until its rivals are forced out of the market, unable to cope with the chronic lack of profitability.

That hasn’t quite happened yet. In the meantime, Saudi Arabia’s considerable reserves are being depleted at unprecedented levels, dropping from their August 2014 peak of $737 billion to $672bn in May – falling by about $12bn a month.

At this rate, by late 2018, the kingdom’s reserves could deplete as low as $200bn, an eventuality that would likely be anticipated by markets much earlier, triggering capital flight.

To make up for this prospect, King Salman’s approach has been to accelerate borrowing. What happens when over the next few years reserves deplete, debt increases, while oil revenues remain strained?

As with autocratic regimes like Egypt, Syria and Yemen – all of which are facing various degrees of domestic unrest – one of the first expenditures to slash in hard times will be lavish domestic subsidies. In the former countries, successive subsidy reductions responding to the impacts of rocketing food and oil prices fed directly into the grievances that generated the “Arab Spring” uprisings.

Saudi Arabia’s oil wealth, and its unique ability to maintain generous subsidies for oil, housing, food and other consumer items, plays a major role in fending off that risk of civil unrest. Energy subsidies alone make up about a fifth of Saudi’s gross domestic product.

Pressure points

As revenues are increasingly strained, the kingdom’s capacity to keep a lid on rising domestic dissent will falter, as has already happened in countries across the region.

About a quarter of the Saudi population lives in poverty. Unemployment is at about 12 percent, and affects mostly young people – 30 percent of whom are unemployed.

Climate change is pitched to heighten the country’s economic problems, especially in relation to food and water.

Like many countries in the region, Saudi Arabia is already experiencing the effects of climate change in the form of stronger warming temperatures in the interior, and vast areas of rainfall deficits in the north. By 2040, average temperatures are expected to be higher than the global average, and could increase by as much as 4 degrees Celsius, while rain reductions could worsen.

This would be accompanied by more extreme weather events, like the 2010 Jeddah flooding caused by a year’s worth of rain occurring within the course of just four hours. The combination could dramatically impact agricultural productivity, which is already facing challenges from overgrazing and unsustainable industrial agricultural practices leading to accelerated desertification.

In any case, 80 percent of Saudi Arabia’s food requirements are purchased through heavily subsidised imports, meaning that without the protection of those subsidies, the country would be heavily impacted by fluctuations in global food prices.

“Saudi Arabia is particularly vulnerable to climate change as most of its ecosystems are sensitive, its renewable water resources are limited and its economy remains highly dependent on fossil fuel exports, while significant demographic pressures continue to affect the government’s ability to provide for the needs of its population,” concluded a UN Food & Agricultural Organisation (FAO) report in 2010.

The kingdom is one of the most water scarce in the world, at 98 cubic metres per inhabitant per year. Most water withdrawal is from groundwater, 57 percent of which is non-renewable, and 88 percent of which goes to agriculture. In addition, desalination plants meet about 70 percent of the kingdom’s domestic water supplies.

But desalination is very energy intensive, accounting for more than half of domestic oil consumption. As oil exports run down, along with state revenues, while domestic consumption increases, the kingdom’s ability to use desalination to meet its water needs will decrease.

End of the road

In Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Egypt, civil unrest and all-out war can be traced back to the devastating impact of declining state power in the context of climate-induced droughts, agricultural decline, and rapid oil depletion.

Yet the Saudi government has decided that rather than learning lessons from the hubris of its neighbours, it won’t wait for war to come home – but will readily export war in the region in a madcap bid to extend its geopolitical hegemony and prolong its petro-dominance.

Unfortunately, these actions are symptomatic of the fundamental delusion that has prevented all these regimes from responding rationally to the Crisis of Civilization that is unravelling the ground from beneath their feet. That delusion consists of an unwavering, fundamentalist faith: that more business-as-usual will solve the problems created by business-as-usual.

Like many of its neighbours, such deep-rooted structural realities mean that Saudi Arabia is indeed on the brink of protracted state failure, a process likely to take-off in the next few years, becoming truly obvious well within a decade.

Sadly, those few members of the royal family who think they can save their kingdom from its inevitable demise by a bit of experimental regime-rotation are no less deluded than those they seek to remove.
-------------------------- 

- Nafeez Ahmed PhD is an investigative journalist, international security scholar and bestselling author who tracks what he calls the 'crisis of civilization.' He is a winner of the Project Censored Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for his Guardian reporting on the intersection of global ecological, energy and economic crises with regional geopolitics and conflicts. He has also written for The Independent, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Scotsman, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, Prospect, New Statesman, Le Monde diplomatique, New Internationalist. His work on the root causes and covert operations linked to international terrorism officially contributed to the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest.
-----------------------
Saudis not penniless yet but draining assets


Saudi Arabia’s foreign reserves have hit record lows.

Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia has withdrawn as much as $70 billion of its assets held abroad as the kingdom’s lavish spending and its destructive war on Yemen is burning through reserves at a blistering pace.

According to financial services market intelligence company Insight Discovery, Saudi rulers are using the assets to plug the budget deficit which the International Monetary Fund predicts to exceed $107 billion this year.

The financial news and data provider Bloomberg, citing asset managers, said the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has pulled out between $50 billion to $70 billion of the funds held abroad over the past six months.

“Saudi Arabia is withdrawing funds because it’s trying to cut its widening deficit and it’s financing the war in Yemen," it quoted Nigel Sillitoe, CEO of the Dubai-based Insight Discovery, as saying.

The kingdom is facing a backlash from its move to flood the market with excess oil in order to drive down prices for political reasons.

Saudi Arabia’s foreign reserves have hit record lows from a peak of $737 billion in August 2014 and are falling by at least $12 billion a month at current levels.

"Foreign-exchange reserve depletion, rather than accumulation, is the new reality for Saudi Arabia. None of this should come as much surprise given the current-account deficit and risk of capital flight,” Bloomberg said.

Oil income accounts for about 80% of revenue in the country of about 30 million people.

With spending forecast to reach 1,082 billion riyals (more than $270 billion) this year, Saudi Arabia’s fiscal deficit could rise to around $140 billion or 20% of GDP, according to the IMF.

Saudi rulers have already borrowed $4 billion from local banks and plan to raise as much as $26 billion in bonds before the end of the year.  

Standard and Poor’s cut its credit outlook for Saudi Arabia in February to negative from stable, saying it viewed the country’s economy “as undiversified and vulnerable to a steep and sustained decline in oil prices".

The kingdom’s finances are depleted at an alarming rate by continued subsidies, handouts to public sector workers in order to keep dissent in check, the Yemen war and a patronage system which has expanded over years.

Saudi Arabia is also engaged in a massive military buildup that will catapult the kingdom to the fifth place in the world ranking for military spending.
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Lethal Yemen bombings: 2300+ civilians killed in 6 months


Source: Russia Today

Dozens, mostly women and children, were killed in the bombing at a wedding party in Yemen by an alleged Saudi Arabia airstrike. Riyadh, who has air supremacy in the area, denied responsibility.

Yemen wedding airstrike took over 100 lives. Saudi-led coalition denies responsibility


Source: In the Now

The air attack, which took place in Wahijah village, outside of the Red Sea port city of Mokha, killed 135 people according to the UN. The Saudi-led coalition leading air strikes in Yemen to defeat country’s Houthi rebel group, denied any claims it was responsible.
--------------------------------
UPDATE: 2015 Sept 30th 

Saudi Arabia calls on Assad to leave or be removed by force


Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir (AFP)

Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave office or face being removed via military intervention.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir made the remarks at the UN general assembly in New York on Tuesday following a meeting with his country’s allies.

“There is no future for Assad in Syria,” Jubeir said. “There are two options for a settlement in Syria. One option is a political process where there would be a transitional council. The other option is a military option, which also would end with the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power.”

He noted that a military option would be a lengthier and more destructive process, but the “choice is entirely that of Bashar al-Assad.”

The Saudi foreign minister also admitted that the kingdom and other countries are already backing “moderate rebels” fighting the Damascus government but refrained from commenting on the specifics of a military option.

"Whatever we may or may not do we're not talking about," he said.

Saudi Arabia is currently engaged in a military aggression in Yemen, which it launched on March 26 – without a United Nations mandate. According to a report released on September 19 by the Yemen’s Civil Coalition, over 6,000 Yemenis have so far lost their lives in the airstrikes, and a total of nearly 14,000 people have been injured.

Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. According to the UN, some 250,000 people have been killed in the conflict and millions of others have been displaced.
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UPDATE: 2015 Oct 02

Most Saudi royals back coup against King Salman: Prince


Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ©AFP

Source: Press TV

A Saudi prince says 80 percent of the royal family support his call for a palace coup d'état against Saudi Arabia’s ruler, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, along with his two anointed successors.

“It is best for the country for King Salman to step down as well. We cannot take sick people in top leadership,” the grandson of Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, the state’s founder, told Britain's The Times daily.

He also said that Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman would "have to be punished and thrown out.”

The prince, whose name has not been revealed for security reasons, had earlier written two letters calling for a revolt from within the royal ranks.

“It is no secret that the most serious problem in his health is the mental side, which has made the king fully subject to the control of his son,” one of the letters read.


Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef (L) and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman 

The letter also called on the 13 surviving sons of Ibn Saud to instigate a coup, saying, “They have to isolate the powerless King Salman, the excessively arrogant, reckless Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef [and] the one who devastates the homeland, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.”

Earlier this week, the author of the two letters told The Guardian that there is disquiet among the royal family at the leadership of King Salman, who assumed the throne in January after the death of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

“The public are also pushing this very hard, all kinds of people, tribal leaders,” the prince said, adding, “They say you have to do this or the country will go to disaster.”

Meanwhile, The Times obtained a third letter by another prince, noting that most of the sons and grandsons of the state’s founder were glad that “someone took the initiative” to call for a palace coup.

Pressure mounts on Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has come under harsh criticism over its poor handling of the recent tragic crush in Mina, near the holy city of Mecca.

The fatal crush occurred on September 24 after two large crowds of pilgrims, who were on their way to participate in the symbolic stoning of Satan, a Hajj ritual, collided.

The kingdom is also struggling with plummeting oil prices, which dropped more than 50 percent in the past year. Earlier this week, The Financial Times reported that Riyadh has withdrawn as much as USD 70 billion from its overseas investment funds in order to shore up its fiscal position.

The Al Saud regime also faces criticism over its deadly military campaign against neighboring Yemen, which was launched on March 26 – without a UN mandate – in a bid to undermine Yemen’s Houthi Ansarullah movement and restore power to the country’s fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch ally of Riyadh.
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Saudi Arabia halts UN inquiry into Yemen war


Source: Press TV

A UN rights council resolution on abuses committed during the Saudi war on Yemen has been impeded after intervention by Saudi Arabia, US and Britain.

Human Rights Watch said the resolution called on UN rights chief to dispatch investigators to monitor and report on the human rights violations in Yemen. It was backed by the Netherlands, Germany and six other European nations. But the resolution was withdrawn after the US and Britain called for a consensus on the text amid protest by Saudi Arabia. The Human Rights Watch said a Saudi-proposed resolution that removed the call for an inquiry replaced the initial text. The rights group said Britain and the US blocked the resolution due to their alliance with Saudi Arabia as a key oil producer. The Saudi airstrikes on Yemen have so far killed nearly 6400 people, including over 130 civilians at a wedding this week.
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UPDATE: 2015 Oct 03

Inside the Saudi Kingdom: Butchery, Slavery & History of Revolt



Meet the new head of the United Nations panel on Human Rights: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Abby Martin takes us inside the brutal reality of this police-state monarchy, and tells the untold people's history of resistance to it. With a major, catastrophic war in Yemen and looming high-profile executions of activists, The Empire Files exposes true nature of the U.S.-Saudi love affair.
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UPDATE: 2015 Oct. 07

Saudi Arabia threatens “internet rumor-mongers” with execution


Source: Press TV

Based on the new regulations, the so-called internet rumor-mongers who cause social confusion will face penalties ranging from house arrest and imprisonment to lashes and execution. It is not clear what kind of posts on Facebook and Twitter will be punishable by death. There are already laws and departments to monitor and censor mass media in the country. The Arab kingdom has been under fire for its terrible rights records. Activists have slammed the new rules as another heavy-handed attempt to suppress social and political dissent.
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UPDATE: 2015 Oct 08

Saudi police deployed to Awamiya village in Qatif : Report


Source: Press TV

Reports coming out of Saudi Arabia indicate that police forces have been deployed to the restive Eastern Province to arrest a number of activists.

Local residents reported sounds of explosions and exchanges of gunfire in the Shia-dominant town of Awamiya in eastern Qatif region. They said police also used tear gas to disperse crowds in several parts of the town. There are conflicting reports whether arrests are made. Eastern Province has been the site of peaceful demonstrations, mostly in the oil-rich Qatif region, since February 20-11. Protesters demand reforms, freedom of expression and the release of political prisoners.

Amnesty: UK must stop arms trading with Saudi Arabia


Source: Press TV

Prime Minister David Cameron faces fresh grilling over Britain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia as the Arab kingdom continues its war crimes in Yemen. Criticism is coming in on many fronts inside and outside the country.
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UPDATE: 2015 Oct 20

Saudi FM: Riyadh ready to confront Iran over 'aggression on Kingdom'


News Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister says the kingdom is ready to confront Iran if it does not give up its 'continued aggression on the kingdom'.

Adel al-Jubeir said Riyadh is prepared to use all its political, economic and military powers against Iran. Jubeir also accused Iran of being a colonizing state that meddles in the affairs of Saudi Arabia’s neighbors. He said Iran should change the policies he claimed make positive mutual relations difficult. He made the comments in a joint press conference with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Riyadh. Saudi Arabia itself has been widely accused of destabilizing the Middle East by supporting terrorists in Syria, Yemen and Iraq, among others. On Saturday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed Saudi Arabia for trying to eliminate Iran from the region, adding that Iran is not after eliminating Saudi Arabia.
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UPDATE: 2015 October 23

Saudi Arabia could be bankrupt by 2020 – IMF


A man looks at central Riyadh from the Faisaliah Tower, Saudi Arabia. © Peter MacDiarmid / Reuters

Source: Russia Today

The Middle East’s biggest economy, Saudi Arabia may run out of financial assets within the next five years if the government maintains its current policies, warns the International Monetary Fund.
Saudi Arabia is expected to run a budget deficit of 21.6 percent in 2015 and 19.4 percent in 2016, according the IMF’s latest regional economic outlook.

The country needs to adjust spending, the IMF urged.

The IMF outlined two key factors shaping the region’s outlook. They are spreading and deepening regional conflicts and slumping oil prices.

The conflicts have given rise to large numbers of displaced people and refugees, on a scale not seen since the early 1990s, according to the report.

“Achieving fiscal sustainability over the medium-term will be especially challenging given the need to create jobs for the more than 10 million people anticipated to be looking for work by 2020 in the region’s oil exporting countries,” IMF Middle East and Central Asia Department Director Masood Ahmed told journalists after the report’s unveiling in Dubai.

According to the research, many experts suggest low oil prices will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

“For the region’s oil exporters, the fall in prices has led to large fall in revenue, amounting to a staggering $360 billion this year alone,” Masood Ahmed said.

OPEC members Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Algeria and Libya have all seen their revenues drop sharply as a result of a decline in oil prices.

Saudi Arabia is currently facing a budget deficit for the first time since 2009. The crude price decline has strongly influenced the kingdom’s economy since oil sales account for about 80 percent of its revenues. It has prompted the government to cut spending, delay projects and sell bonds.

The country’s net foreign assets fell by about $82 billion from January to August. The government sold state bonds worth $15 billion (55 billion riyals) this year.

“There have been a number of one-off spending proposals this year that have taken place, and those initiatives have added to the spending needs,” Masood Ahmed said.

The budget deficit caused project layoffs in Saudi Arabia. Companies working on infrastructure projects haven’t been paid for six months or more. Payment delays increased lately as the government wants to cut prices on contracts in order to preserve cash.

Despite the perpetual appeals to reduce output and support crude prices, OPEC has been refusing to do so as the cartel is trying to maintain its market share. However, last month the cartel signaled a possible change of stance, saying it might cut output and is ready to talk to other (non-OPEC) producers. But experts say OPEC’s statements are not important without a change of policy by its biggest crude producer Saudi Arabia.
------------------------------------ 
UPDATE: 2015 October 24

8 Saudi princes want King Salman ousted: Report


Source: Press TV

A new report reveals that eight of the 12 surviving sons of Saudi Arabia’s founding monarch are supporting a palace coup to oust King Salman.

British daily, the Independent, quoted an unnamed Saudi prince as saying that there is an increasing pressure within the royal family to end the internal power struggle that has erupted since King Salman inherited the throne early this year. He said a clear majority of powerful clerics also back the move to oust the current King and install his younger brother, Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, in his place.

The prince also predicted that eventually either King Salman will step down or Prince Ahmed will become Crown Prince, with full control over the whole country. The prince, who was not named for quote-security reasons, is reportedly the author of two recently published letters calling for the royal family to replace the current Saudi leadership.
------------------------------
UPDATE: 2015 Oct. 26

Lebanon arrests, interrogates Saudi prince for carrying drugs


Several cartons of narcotics seized from a Saudi prince by Lebanese authorities in Beirut

News Source: Press TV

Security forces in Lebanon interrogate a Saudi prince on charges of carrying drugs on his private plane, Lebanese media say.

Abd al-Muhsen bin Walid bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud was detained on Monday at the Rafik Hariri International Airport in the Lebanese capital, Beirut, while in possession of 24 bags and eight suitcases full of narcotics.

The Saudi prince was arrested along with four other individuals.

They were charged with attempting to smuggle around two tonnes of captagon pills on their private jet to Saudi Arabia.

Police have launched an investigation into the smuggling case.

Captagon pills have “the typical effects of a stimulant” and produce “a kind of euphoria – you’re talkative, you don’t sleep, you don’t eat, you’re energetic,” according to Lebanese psychiatrist Ramzi Haddad.

The drugs are reportedly the Takfiri Daesh militants’ favorite narcotics.


---------------------------------
UPDATE: 2015 Oct 27

Saudi Arabia hits hospital run by Doctors without Borders in Yemen


Yemenis stand amid the rubble of a warehouse targeted by Saudi airstrikes in the capital, Sana’a, October 26, 2015. (Photo by AFP)

News Source: Press TV

Doctors without Borders (MSF) says a hospital run by the international medical group in Yemen has been hit by Saudi airstrikes.

“MSF facility in Saada [sic] Yemen was hit by several airstrikes last night with patients and staff inside the facility,” the group said in a tweet on Tuesday.

MSF spokeswoman Malak Shaher separately said that there were “no casualties” in the attacks.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s state news agency Saba quoted the Heedan hospital director as saying that several people were injured in Saudi attacks on the hospital – which is also located in Sa’ada – last night.

“The air raids resulted in the destruction of the entire hospital with all that was inside – devices and medical supplies – and the moderate wounding of several people,” Doctor Ali Mughli said.

It was not immediately clear, however, whether the Heedan hospital was the one operated by the MSF and targeted by Saudi warplanes.

The Saudi military has been engaged in heavy strikes against Yemen since late March. The strikes are supposedly meant to undermine the Houthi Ansarullah movement and restore power to fugitive former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a staunch Saudi ally.

About 7,000 people have lost their lives in the Saudi airstrikes, and a total of nearly 14,000 people have been injured since March 26.

It is the second time this month that an MSF facility has been hit in a conflict zone.

Earlier, on October 3, an MSF hospital in the Afghan city of Kunduz was bombed by US forces, killing about 30 people.

Officials at the humanitarian organization have blamed the United States, calling for “independent investigation” into the incident, which the US says occurred as a result of a “mistake” made “within the US chain of command.”


Video News Source: Press TV

----------------------------------------
UPDATE: 2015 NOV 07th  

People protest Shia cleric’s death verdict in Saudi Arabia


News Source: Press TV

The protesters chanted slogans against the Saudi regime in the town of Awamia in the Qatif region. The demonstrators slammed Nimr’s verdict as unfair and called on Riyadh to overturn it and release the cleric immediately. Saudi Arabia’s top court upheld Nimr’s death penalty last month yet to be approved by the Saudi king. Sheikh Nimr was arrested in Qatif region in 20-12 for the alleged charges of undermining the kingdom’s security and inciting violence. His detention has so far sparked protests in Saudi Arabia and other countries. International rights groups have denounced Nimr’s verdict as well.
----------------------------------------
UPDATE: 2015 Nov 15th 

Riyadh to support militants if Assad remains in power: Saudi FM


Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks to the press as he arrives for international peace talks on the Syria conflict in Vienna, Austria, on November 14, 2015. ©AFP

News Source: Press TV

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says his country will continue supporting the Takfiri militant groups operating to topple the Damascus government as long as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is in power.

Speaking on the sidelines of the international peace talks on the Syria crisis in Vienna, Austria, on Saturday, Jubeir said the Riyadh regime only backs a political process that envisages President Assad’s removal from power.

“We will support the political process that will result in him (Assad) leaving or we will continue to support” Syria’s foreign-backed opposition in order to topple the Syrian leader “by force,” said the top Saudi diplomat.

The fresh round of talks on the Syria crisis opened in Vienna on Friday and ended on Saturday. Senior representatives from 17 countries, the United Nations, European Union as well as the Arab League were in attendance.

According to an official statement issued at the end of the meeting, the world diplomats seeking to find a solution to the Syria crisis would meet again in “approximately one month” to review progress towards a ceasefire and the start of a political process in the crisis-hit country.


US Secretary of State John Kerry (C), Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (C-R) and other senior diplomats attend a conference on the Syria conflict in Vienna, Austria, on November 14, 2015. ©AFP

The participants also agreed on a set calendar for a transition government in Syria within six months and elections in 18 months.

The parties to the international peace talks in Syria remain at loggerheads over the role that Assad would play in Syria’s political process.

While some countries, including the US and its allies, press for the removal of Assad as part of a solution to the Syrian crisis, others, notably Iran and Russia, say only the Syrian nation can decide over the matter.

Saudi Arabia has long been among the major supporters of the terror groups operating against the Syrian government since March 2011. The violence fueled by the foreign-backed Takfiris has so far claimed over 250,000 lives.

The previous round of talks on the crisis in Syria was held in the Austrian capital on October 30. At the end of the day-long talks, the participants agreed on respecting Syria’s national unity and sovereignty as well as uprooting terrorism in the violence-plagued Arab country.

Jubeir had repeated the same comments ahead of the October 30 round of Vienna talks, saying Riyadh sees no role for Assad in Syria’s political future.

However, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi lashed out at the Saudi official for his statements, saying Riyadh is not qualified to participate in efforts to resolve the crisis in Syria as the kingdom is shedding the blood of people elsewhere.

Jubeir “who has no clue how diplomacy and politics work, should keep his mouth closed and keep his country out of a matter that is none of its business,” Zoubi added.

Europe sees Vienna talks positive

European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, has described as “very good” the latest round of international talks on the Syrian conflict in Vienna.

“The process can definitively start” toward reaching a settlement for the nearly five-year conflict in Syria, Mogherini told journalists at the end of the day-long talks held in the Austrian capital on Saturday.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier also said the Vienna meeting had resulted in an agreement to convene meetings between the opposition and the incumbent Damascus government, and enforce a ceasefire by January 1.

Saudi FM: Riyadh to continue supporting militants in Syria unless Assad steps down


Video Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia has threatened to continue supporting foreign-backed militants in Syria unless President Bashar al-Assad steps down from power.

Jubeir also said Saudi Arabia would only support a political process that results in Assad’s removal. He made the comments after negotiations on the Syrian conflict ended in the Austrian capital Vienna. Most of the participating countries agreed that only Syrians have the right to decide their future. Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said foreign ministers of the participating countries are expected to agree on the necessity of respect for Syria’s unity and sovereignty. Talks on the Syrian crisis started on Friday and ended on Saturday. The countries involved in the talks agreed to speed up efforts to end the conflict by setting up negotiations between the government and opposition parties by January and holding elections within 18 months.
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UPDATE: 2015 Nov 27

Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr


Source: Press TV

This short 10 minute documentary brings to light Sheikh Nimr Al-Nimr, a Shia Sheikh who is a critic of the Saudi Arabian government sentenced to death in 2014 for his role in the 2011 uprising. The documentary also exposes the insanely brutal Saudi regime for some of the worst crimes it’s committing in the Middle East.
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UPDATE: 2015 Dec 09

From Wahhabism to Daesh


Source: Press TV

This episode traces the roots of Daesh terrorism to the Wahhabi school of thought which was nurtured and advocated by the Saudi family and Western imperialism since the 18th century.
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UPDATE: 2015 Dec 11

Amnesty International says Saudi Arabia school bombings 'violated international law'


Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia’s deadly and devastating war on its southern neighbor Yemen is raging on with no clear end in sight. The relentless airstrikes are claiming the lives of innocent Yemenis on a daily basis. Amnesty International has released a damning report on Riyadh’s human rights violations including deliberately targeting schools in Yemen and killing students. 
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UPDATE: 2016 Jan 02

Saudi Arabia executes top Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr


Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia has executed prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr despite international calls for his release.

Sheikh Nimr’s execution was announced by the Saudi Interior Ministry which also said 46 other convicts were put to death for terrorism. The 56-year-old cleric was shot and arrested in Qatif in 2012 on charges of causing sectarian strife and disobeying the country's ruler. Rights groups say Nimr was arrested for the free expression of his views and criticizing Riyadh. The cleric repeatedly demanded reforms in Saudi Arabia's political system. Amnesty International had called the death sentence against Sheikh Nimr appalling, saying it must be quashed. Widespread protests were also held in several countries including Iran and Bahrain calling for his release.

Nimr execution indicates Saudi monarchy nearing demise: Senior Iran MP


Source: Press TV

A senior Iranian legislator has condemned the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, saying the move is a sign that the rule of Al Saud monarchy is reaching the end of the road.

“The execution of Sheikh Nimr and scores of others by the Al Saud government once again showed that there is nothing called freedom and respect for scholars and thinkers in Saudi Arabia, and there is essentially absolute dictatorship in the country,” said MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi on Saturday.

The lawmaker said the US, which offers total support to Saudi Arabia, shares responsibility for the killing of Sheikh Nimr.

Boroujerdi, who is the chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said Nimr’s execution would mark the start of a new wave of protests in Saudi Arabia.

"History has shown that those who confront religious scholars will see defeat and annihilation brought upon them."

Spokesman for the Iranian Parliament’s presiding board Abdolreza Mesri said Iranian lawmakers will not remain silent in the face of the Saudi regime’s “inhumane and un-Islamic” move. He called on international rights organizations and world bodies to react to Al Saud’s atrocities.

Separately, Tehran’s Friday Prayers leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Khatami said the Shia Muslim community in Saudi Arabia will make the ruling Al Saud regime rue Nimr’s execution, calling on the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to adopt a stance against the crime.

On Saturday, Saudi Arabia executed Sheikh Nimr along with 47 others in defiance of international calls for the release of the prominent Shia cleric and other jailed political dissidents in the country.

Sheikh Nimr, a critic of the Riyadh regime, was shot and arrested by Saudi police in 2012 in the Qatif region of Saudi-Arabia’s Shia-majority Eastern Province, which was the scene of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations at the time.

He was charged with instigating unrest and undermining the kingdom’s security. He had denied the charges as baseless.

In 2014, a Saudi court sentenced Sheikh Nimr to death, provoking widespread global condemnations. The sentence was upheld last March by the appeals court of Saudi Arabia.

EU: Nimr execution may have dangerous consequences for Mideast


Shia protesters carry posters of late Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr during a demonstration outside the Saudi embassy in Sana’a, Yemen, in this October 18, 2014 photo. (Reuters photo)

Source: Press TV

The European Union says the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by the Saudi regime could have “dangerous consequences” for the Middle East, a region already in the grip of deadly turmoil.

In a statement issued in reaction to the execution, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Saturday that the specific case of Sheikh Nimr raises serious concern about freedom of expression and the respect of basic civil and political rights “also in the framework of the fight against terrorism.”

She warned that the case has the potential of sparking “further the sectarian tensions that already bring so much damage to the entire region, with dangerous consequences.”

On Saturday, the Saudi Interior Ministry announced that Sheikh Nimr along with 46 others, who were convicted of being involved in “terrorism” and adopting a “Takfiri” ideology, had been put to death.

Sheikh Nimr, a critic of the Riyadh regime, was arrested in 2012 in the Qatif region of Shia-dominated Eastern Province, which was the scene of peaceful anti-regime demonstrations at the time.

He was charged with instigating unrest and undermining the kingdom’s security, making anti-government speeches and defending political prisoners. He had rejected all the charges as baseless.

Mogherini, meanwhile, called on the Saudi authorities “to promote reconciliation between the different communities.”

In 2014, a Saudi court sentenced Sheikh Nimr to death, provoking widespread global condemnations. The sentence was upheld last March by the appeals court of Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Nimr executed despite international outcry


Source: Press TV
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UPDATE: 2016 Jan 04

Saudi Arabia severs diplomatic relations with Iran


Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia says it is cutting all diplomatic relations with Iran after demonstrators entered the Saudi embassy in Tehran to protest the execution of a top Shia cleric.

Speaking to reporters in the Saudi capital Riyadh, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said the Kingdom has asked Iranian diplomats to leave Saudi Arabia within 48 hours. The top Saudi official claimed that Iran has been supporting what he described as terrorism in the Middle East. Jubeir also noted that the decision to sever all ties has been made based on his country’s national interests. On Sunday, Iranian officials said they have arrested forty people for entering the Saudi Embassy. The foreign ministry also said Iranian security forces will protect all the Saudi missions in the country. Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani has denounced attacks on the Saudi embassy as totally unjustifiable.

Iran has reacted to Saudi Arabia’s decision to sever ties with Tehran in the wake of attacks on the kingdom’s embassy in Iran.

Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian slammed Saudi Arabia for executing Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr saying Riyadh cannot cover up its grave mistake of killing him. Amir-Abdollahian said none of Saudi Arabia’s diplomats was harmed in its embassy in the capital Tehran and its consulate in the northeastern city of Mashhad. He said Riyadh’s QUOTE imprudent and hasty approaches have already exacerbated insecurity in the region and promoted terrorism and extremism. The Iranian official said Riyadh attempted to play a destructive role in Iran nuclear talks and hatched plots to lower oil prices, harming both itself and other countries in the region. Amir-Abdollahian noted that Iran is one the most secure countries in the region and all diplomats enjoy full security in the country.

Guest: Alexander Azadgan

Prof. of Strategic Global Management & International Political Economy
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UPDATE: 2016 Jan 13

Saudi king not aware of his surroundings, report says


Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Source: Press TV

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is suffering from periodic blackouts and inability to speak, a new report says.

The health of the 80-year-old monarch is increasingly deteriorating and he is under regular medical care, the Palestinian Manar online newspaper cited an Arab official as saying on Wednesday.

The unnamed source further said that King Salman has lost awareness of his surroundings, prompting physicians to advise his sons to restrict their father’s public appearances in a bid not to disclose the worsening conditions. The king is said to have been confined in one of the rooms of his palace.

A separate report in early October also said that the king was thought to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and the royal government was practically administered by his Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef.

The failing health of the Saudi monarch has also led to an intense game of throne among the royal family.

On October 23, an unnamed Saudi prince told The Independent that eight of the 12 surviving sons of the founder of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, support the measure to remove King Salman and replace him with his 73-year-old brother, Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz.

The prince also said that a majority of the country’s powerful clerics, known as the Ulama, would support a coup to oust the current ruler and install Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, a former interior minister, in his place.

There has been mounting discontent at the Saudi king's decisions, including his controversial appointments, the brutal and costly war against impoverished Yemen, and the execution of prominent Shia cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

Salman was crowned as the king of Saudi Arabia on January 23, 2015, following the death of his half brother, King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, at the age of 90.
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