135 thoughts on ““Wait ’til the fire turns green!”

  1. Hey presto says:

    (6/5/17) residents in Qatar are swarming local supermarkets in fear of a sudden food shortage sparked by a dramatic shift in Middle East power after three of Qatar’s powerful neighbors—including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain—cut diplomatic ties with the country, accusing it of funding Islamic militants. The three states are giving Qatari residents two weeks to return to Qatar and have shut down transportation ties with the country, including airline flights to and from there. https://qz.com/999017/qatar-is-facing-a-food-shortage-as-saudi-arabia-uae-and-bahrain-cut-diplomatic-ties/ “Iran, long at odds with Saudi Arabia and a behind-the-scenes target of the move, blamed Trump’s visit last month to Riyadh and called for the sides to overcome their differences. “What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance,” tweeted Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, referring to Trump’s joining in a traditional dance with the Saudi king at the meeting. …The hawkish tone on Tehran and on terrorism that Trump brought in his visit to Muslim leaders in Riyadh is seen as having laid the groundwork for the diplomatic crisis. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-gulf-qatar-idUSKBN18W0DQ

  2. Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay! says:
  3. WTF says:

    Qatar said Wednesday it has signed a $12 billion deal to buy F-15 fighter jets from the United States — just days after President Donald Trump accused the country of being a “high-level” sponsor of terrorism. The announcement came after the country’s defense minister met with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Washington. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/qatar-buys-12b-u-s-jets-days-after-trump-says-n772691 See also “Trump punishes “funder of terrorism” Qatar with $12 billion weapons deal” https://news.vice.com/story/trump-punishes-funder-of-terrorism-qatar-with-12-billion-weapons-deal

  4. Meanwhile says:

    “Arab states issue list of demands to end Qatar crisis : Saudi and other Arab nations ask Qatar to shut Al Jazeera, close a Turkish base and scale down Iran ties within 10 days.” (Al Jazeera 6/23/17) http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/arab-states-issue-list-demands-qatar-crisis-170623022133024.html The document does not specify what the countries will do if Qatar refuses to comply.
    Al Jazeera Media Network is an “internal affair” and there will be no discussion about the fate of the Doha-based broadcaster with nations that imposed a blockade on Qatar, its foreign minister says. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/al-jazeera-table-gulf-crisis-talks-fm-170613023203310.html
    Journalist watchdog Reporters Without Borders has condemned the crackdown on Al Jazeera. https://rsf.org/en/news/al-jazeera-collateral-victim-diplomatic-offensive-against-qatar Launched in 1996, Al Jazeera revolutionized the Arab world’s media landscape by making room for the broadest range of viewpoints, from the most moderate to the most radical. It distinguished itself above all during its coverage of the Arab Spring but enraged many of the region’s governments, which regard it as a Qatari foreign policy tool.

  5. Update says:

    The Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said he’ll block U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and their neighbors in the Gulf Cooperation Council until there is a clear path for settling a major diplomatic crisis with Qatar. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-26/senator-vows-to-block-u-s-arms-sales-until-qatar-crisis-eased The GCC is an alliance of six Middle Eastern countries: Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman

  6. Bouncing Betty says:

    6:29 AM ET, Mon July 3, 2017: Qatar’s foreign minister has arrived in Kuwait carrying an official response to a list of demands from the Saudi-led bloc, according to Qatari officials in Doha. Details have not been released but Qatar has called the demands an “affront to international law”. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt agreed late Sunday to a request from the Emir of Kuwait to extend by 48 hours the deadline for meeting their demands.
    Qatar is a US ally and the United States maintains a large military base there, home to some 11,000 personnel. http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/03/middleeast/qatar-deadline-extended/index.html

  7. Magic 8-Ball says:

    “Volatile Persian Gulf crisis over Qatar tries, divides Trump administration” (LA Times 7/3/17) http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-fg-trump-qatar-20170703-story.html “…Trump lent enthusiastic support to Saudi Arabia, backing its move, made along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt, to cut off Qatari airspace, seal its land and sea borders and suspend diplomatic ties. (Kuwait did not join the blockade and is attempting to mediate.)
    Trump’s decision to turn on Qatar — just days after boasting that he had brought Arab nations together in “historic” unity to fight terrorism — has stunned diplomats here and abroad.”

  8. Hooligan says:

    “Major Western firms delivering stadiums for the Qatar 2022 World Cup are drawing up contingency plans to leave the Emirate if the diplomatic row engulfing the Middle East is not resolved.” (7/2/17) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/07/02/world-cup-2022-builders-draw-plans-leave-qatar-gulf-row-rages/ “Ongoing trade sanctions threaten to derail the £160bn ($206.9bn USD) building program the country needs to finish to host football’s top tournament. These include eight state-of-the-art stadiums, a new metro system for the capital Doha and 60,000 hotel rooms.” Also: “FIFA facing more calls to strip Qatar of 2022 World Cup as explosive full report into vote-buying is finally published” (6/27/17) https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/3898820/fifa-facing-more-calls-to-strip-qatar-of-2022-world-cup-as-explosive-full-report-into-vote-buying-is-finally-published/

  9. Mouse that roared says:

    A month after Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic, trade and transport ties with Qatar, accusing it of backing terrorism, it is suffering from isolation but is nowhere near an economic crisis. Qatar is so rich — at $127,660, its gross domestic product per capita in purchasing power terms is the highest of any country, according to the International Monetary Fund — it can deploy money to counter almost any type of sanction.
    In the past month it has arranged new shipping routes to offset the closure of its border with Saudi Arabia, deposited billions of dollars of state money in local banks to shore them up, and drawn the interest of some of the West’s biggest energy firms by announcing a plan to raise its LNG output 30 percent. On Wednesday, the alliance said Qatar, which denies any support for terrorism, had missed a deadline to comply with its demands. Further steps against Doha will be taken in line with international law “at the appropriate time”, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-gulf-qatar-economy-idUSKBN19R1WA

  10. Puzzling Evidence™ says:

    “Qatar Says It Has Enough Reserves to Meet Commitments” http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Qatar-Says-It-Has-Enough-Reserves-to-Meet-Commitments-20170711-0003.html
    “…U.S. President Donald Trump, who took credit for the diplomatic row between Qatar and its neighbors, has been critical of the Gulf country on social media. “So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off,” he tweeted on June 6. “They said they would take a hard line on funding, extremism, and all reference was pointing to Qatar.”
    In contradiction, Trump’s son-in-law, Kushner reportedly tried and failed to secure a US$500 million loan from a Qatari billionaire businessman …It has been alleged that Kushner, who serves as a senior adviser to the president, was integral in his father-in-law’s push for the crackdown on Qatar by his Saudi alliance.”
    See also “Jared Kushner Tried and Failed to Get a Half-Billion-Dollar Bailout From Qatar” https://theintercept.com/2017/07/10/jared-kushner-tried-and-failed-to-get-a-half-billion-dollar-bailout-from-qatar/

    • Update says:

      “Turkish lira drops 14%, hits fresh record low after Trump authorizes doubling metals tariffs on Turkey” https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/10/turkish-lira-loss-deepens-as-pm-erdogan-calls-for-citizens-to-convert-.html The sharp drop in Turkish assets came after a delegation returned from Washington with no apparent progress on the detention of U.S. evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who is charged with supporting a group blamed for an attempted coup in 2016. Last month, Trump threatened to slap “large sanctions” on the country if it refused to free Brunson. The U.S. then announced on Aug. 1 sanctions on Turkey’s justice and interior ministers and President Erdogan ordered reciprocal sanctions against two American officials in retaliation.
      Other points of friction are Turkey’s purchase of a Russian missile system, which flies in the face of cooperation within NATO; American support for Kurdish fighters in Syria, and the United States’ refusal to extradite the American-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Mr. Erdogan of instigating the 2016 coup attempt against the Turkish president.
      “Here is the Brunson row in Erdoğan’s words” (Hürriyet Daily News, Turkey 7/30/18) http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/murat-yetkin/here-is-the-brunson-row-in-erdogans-words-135170

  11. خنفساء الروث says:

    “The diplomatic machinations that have enveloped Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar may seem like a membership feud in a Persian Gulf club for the wealthy. But their quarrel highlights battles that have been roiling the Middle East since the Arab Spring began nearly seven years ago.” (David Ignatius, Washington Post 7/13/17) https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/the-question-about-islam-that-has-vexed-the-world-for-a-decade/2017/07/13/df7c9ede-67e9-11e7-8eb5-cbccc2e7bfbf_story.html “The allegation that Qatar supports terrorism is weak, especially after it signed a memo with (Secretary of State) Tillerson on Tuesday committing to a joint counterterrorism battle with the United States.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/qatar-agrees-to-curb-terrorism-financing-under-deal-with-us/2017/07/11/1a86e3b0-a041-4300-ab03-c840d8a19bcf_story.html See also “Trump’s stunning response to the Middle East diplomatic crisis” (June 6th) https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/global-opinions/trumps-stunning-response-to-the-middle-east-diplomatic-crisis/2017/06/06/2a531a16-4aec-11e7-9669-250d0b15f83b_story.html

  12. Nast says:

    “The Gulf Crisis, as Told Through Cartoons” (The Atlantic) https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/07/gulf-crisis-cartoons-cartoonists/535122/ “…In this stifled, conservative environment, the role of the cartoonist is sacrosanct. In the Arab world, the politically inflected art form dates back to the late 19th century, when Yaacub Sannu crafted anti-government, anti-imperial caricatures and satire in self-published broadsheets in Egypt. From the 1920s through the 1950s, cartoonists were integral to the rich illustrated press in Cairo and other Arab capitals. Since then, cartooning has played an outsized role in Arab media. In the face of a stifled press often unable to publish critical journalism, cartoonists take it upon themselves to fill the gap. They expertly employ tricks of the trade—metaphors, sarcasm, slang, and double entendre—to break the rules in ways that investigative reporters simply can’t.
    That doesn’t mean the task is easy…”

  13. Angry Optimist says:

    August 20, 2017: “Little-Known Qatari Sheikh Embraced by Saudi in Surprise Move” (Bloomberg) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-20/little-known-qatari-sheikh-embraced-by-saudi-in-surprise-move
    “In the last two years, three Saudi princes living in Europe have disappeared. All were critical of the Saudi government – and there is evidence that all were abducted and flown back to Saudi Arabia… where nothing further has been heard from them.” (BBC) http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-40926963
    “UAE ambassador says ‘whole of Saudi Arabia is cuckoo’ in leaked email : Yousef Otaiba an influential player in world politics and has attended Pentagon strategy meetings” (Independent UK) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/united-arab-emirates-globalleaks-hackers-yousef-otaiba-saudi-arabia-mohammed-bin-salman-pentagon-a7902281.html
    “The correspondence from Mr Otaiba’s email account was initially uncovered by the GlobalLeaks group, who approached Daily Beast. The hacking group claims to “reveal how million of dollars were used to hurt reputation of American allies and cause policy change.” (Al Jazeera) http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/08/yousef-al-otaiba-berates-saudi-leaked-emails-170819140533961.html

  14. 3rd law says:

    “Qatar’s emir officially inaugurates Hamad Port” http://www.aljazeera.com/video/news/2017/09/qatar-emir-officially-inaugurates-hamad-port-170905110351179.html “Large container ships will now go directly to Qatar rather than docking in the United Arab Emirates, where cargo used to be transferred to smaller vessels. The UAE is one of the countries that have imposed a land, air and sea blockade on Qatar. Hamad Port will have an annual capacity of 7.5 million shipping containers, and separate terminals dedicated to general cargo, cereals, vehicles and livestock. Located in the town of Mesaieed [about 50 kilometres south of the capital city of Doha] the port is the largest of its kind in the Middle East with the capacity to receive all types of ships and vessels. It is expected to be fully operational by 2020, when it will cover around 20sq km. The existing Doha port will then be transformed into an international cruise ship terminal.

  15. L7 says:

    President Donald Trump on Thursday hailed efforts by the leader of Kuwait, a staunch American ally, to mediate a festering diplomatic crisis involving Qatar and its Arab neighbors that could have implications for the U.S. military presence in the region.
    However, the quartet of Arab nations now boycotting Doha issued a strongly worded statement early Friday morning dismissing some of Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah’s comments, signaling the diplomatic crisis roiling the Gulf is far from over. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-hails-kuwait-mediation-on-qatar-arab-states-react/2017/09/07/6ec0ee2a-9444-11e7-8482-8dc9a7af29f9_story.html

  16. اصبر تنل says:

    “Trump’s Bid to End Saudi-Qatar Stalemate Ends in Recriminations” (NYT 9/9/17) https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/09/world/middleeast/trump-qatar-saudi-arabia.html
    ““The problem is as much about appearing to not capitulate to the other side as it is trying to solve any problems,” said Michael Stephens of the Royal United Services Institute in London.
    “Given the hypersensitivity of both sides to appearing weak,” he said, “it makes the problem considerably harder to solve.”
    …An influence race has erupted in Washington, where both sides have spent huge sums on lobbyists and advertising in a bid to influence political and public opinion.”

  17. Stranger than fiction says:

    During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump attacked Hillary Clinton for accepting money from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, complaining during one of the debates, “These are people that kill women and treat women horribly and yet you take their money.”
    That was, of course, before he made his first foreign visit as president to Saudi Arabia—and accepted dozens of gifts from the kingdom. In fact, during Trump’s visit, the White House accepted at least 83 separate gifts from Saudi Arabia, according to a document The Daily Beast has obtained via a Freedom of Information Act request to the State Department. http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-insane-gifts-saudi-arabia-gave-president-trump “The gifts range from the regal (“Artwork featuring picture of President Trump”) to the martial (multiple swords, daggers, leather ammo holders and holsters), to the baroque (tiger and cheetah fur robes, and a dagger made of pure silver with a mother of pearl sheath). Now when the president is contemplating the state of Saudi women’s rights, he can do so before a “large canvas artwork depicting [a] Saudi woman.”

  18. RTFA says:

    ‘He’s better than this,’ says Thomas Barrack, Trump’s loyal whisperer” https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/hes-better-than-this-says-thomas-barrack-trumps-loyal-whisperer/2017/10/10/067fc776-a215-11e7-8cfe-d5b912fabc99_story.html “…Thomas J. Barrack Jr., a billionaire who is one of President Trump’s oldest friends, had spent weeks trying to smooth the way for a May presidential meeting in Saudi Arabia with Arab leaders of the Persian Gulf. All initially went well. Trump praised Qatar — where Barrack, who is Arab American, has deep business ties — as a “crucial strategic partner.” Then Trump reversed course a few weeks later and attacked Qatar as “a funder of terrorism at a very high level.”

  19. Update says:

    United Arab Emirates planned to invade Qatar with Blackwater-linked mercenaries: Report http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uae-planned-invade-qatar-blackwater-linked-mercenaries-report-1742295879 Qatar’s former deputy prime minister Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah levelled the charges on Wednesday in a report published by Spanish daily ABC.
    Attiyah said the plan, which was prepared ahead of the diplomatic spat, was never carried out because US President Donald Trump failed to green-light the assault, the NewArab said. https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2017/10/13/uae-planned-to-invade-qatar-with-blackwater-linked-mercenaries An unidentified official source told the daily that the soldiers for hire were trained at an Emirati military base in Liwa in the west of the country by Academi, a US security service company formerly known as Blackwater.
    Blackwater military contractors killed 17 unarmed Iraqi civilians and wounded 20 in a notorious 2007 massacre in Baghdad that prompted the firm to change its name.
    “We estimate that Blackwater trained about 15,000 employees, most of them Colombian and South American,” the source told the New Arab.
    The New York Times reported as far back as 2011 that Colombians were entering the UAE posing as construction workers to become part of a secret mercenary army being built by Blackwater founder Erik Prince with more than $500m in financing from the oil-rich sheikdom.”
    See “Secret Desert Force Set Up by Blackwater’s Founder” http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/world/middleeast/15prince.html also “Trump Warned Saudis Off Military Move on Qatar” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-19/trump-is-said-to-have-warned-saudis-off-military-move-on-qatar
    Meanwhile: “Could Bannon’s Prince Disrupt Wyoming’s GOP?” https://www.sheridanmedia.com/news/could-bannon-s-prince-disrupt-wyoming-s-gop95968

    • Bubble Trouble says:

      “Special counsel Robert Mueller has evidence that may refute what Blackwater founder Erik Prince told Congress about his scrutinized meeting with a Russian financier, according to a report.
      Prince, who is also the brother of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, told a House of Representatives committee last year that he had a chance encounter and only one beer with Kirill Dmitriev, the head of Russia’s sovereign investment fund, at the bar of a luxury hotel in the Seychelles.
      Reports had said the private military mogul was part of a backchannel connection between the Trump orbit and the Kremlin, though he says that “I didn’t fly there to meet any Russian guy.”
      Mueller’s probe is into alleged Moscow election meddling in 2016 and potential collusion with Trump’s circle.” http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/russia-testimony-erik-prince-called-question-article-1.3918183

  20. Sold American! says:

    “The United States is to begin building the infrastructure needed for Qatar’s future fleet of Boeing F-15QA Eagle fighter aircraft, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) announced on 1 November. The agency disclosed that the US State Department has approved USD1.1 billion of building work related to Qatar’s program to acquire 36 F-15QA (Qatar Advanced)-variant fighters.” http://www.janes.com/article/75390/us-to-begin-building-qatari-f-15qa-infrastructure
    “The US state department has approved a deal for the support programme of Qatar’s F-15 fighter aircraft at an estimated cost of $1.1bn. In June, Qatar and the US signed a $12bn agreement in which Doha bought 72 of the multi-role fighter jets.
    The Pentagon said it had informed Congress of the agreement involving design and construction work, including the development of cybersecurity, protection, support and other related services. Congress now has 30 days to sign off on the deal.” http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/pentagon-approves-qatari-15-fighter-jet-support-deal-171102091243710.html

  21. Naulahka says:

    (Nov. 5, 2017) “Saudi Arabia’s future king has tightened his grip on power through an anti-corruption purge by arresting royals, ministers and investors including billionaire Alwaleed bin Talal who is one of the kingdom’s most prominent businessmen.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-arrests/future-saudi-king-tightens-grip-on-power-with-arrest-of-prince-alwaleed-idUSKBN1D506P
    “Trump Tells Saudi King That He Supports Modernization Drive” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/05/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-arrests.html
    Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the prominent billionaire investor, is one of the richest and most influential investors in the world. Among Prince Alwaleed’s crown jewels: sizable stakes in Twitter, Lyft and Citigroup. He has gone into business with some of the corporate world’s biggest titans, including Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Michael Bloomberg. His investments span the globe and are so vast that he has been referred to as the Warren Buffett of the Middle East. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/05/business/saudi-prince-alwaleed-investor.html
    Despite his being the 50th-richest person in the world, with a $19 billion fortune according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, details on the source of his wealth must be gleaned from public statements by Alwaleed, the website of his holding company and company filings. Often his transactions and assets are disguised by investing through funds that obscure the ultimate beneficiary. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-11-05/alwaleed-saudi-purge-s-richest-victim-has-assets-across-globe

  22. as-Sa’ah says:

    “Saudi Arabia Orders Its Citizens Out of Lebanon, Raising Fears of War” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/09/world/middleeast/saudi-arabia-lebanon-war.html
    “While analysts said a war was unlikely — because Saudi Arabia was not capable of waging one and Israel did not want one now — they worried that with so many active conflicts in the region, any Saudi actions that raised the temperature increased the risk of an accidental conflagration.”
    “Saudi Arabia commits the original sin of modern Middle East politics” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/saudi-arabia-commits-the-original-sin-of-modern-middle-east-politics/2017/11/09/d9e2807a-c599-11e7-84bc-5e285c7f4512_story.html
    “Kingdom Of Fear: Saudi Arabia On Lockdown” https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/International/Kingdom-Of-Fear-Saudi-Arabia-On-Lockdown.html “…There are also reports that the purge could fill the state coffers with as much as US$800 billion in assets seized from those arrested—all members of the Saudi elite.”
    Meanwhile: “Saudi Blockade of Yemen Threatens to Starve Millions, U.N. Says” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/world/middleeast/yemen-saudi-blockade.html

  23. Yee-Haw says:

    ● The Latest: Saudi should clarify why Hariri hasn’t returned (November 11 at 7:15 AM) https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/the-latest-lebanon-minister-says-probe-libelous-saudis/2017/11/10/1653f29a-c68b-11e7-9922-4151f5ca6168_story.html
    ● “It looks like Saudi Arabia removed Lebanon’s prime minister — and it may be the first move in starting a war” http://www.businessinsider.com/saudi-arabia-lebanon-israel-hezbollah-middle-east-war-2017-11
    ● “Prime minister’s disappearance has rare unifying effect on Lebanon” http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-lebanon-unity-20171110-story.html
    ● “Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said that “Saudi Arabia has asked Israel to strike Lebanon,” speaking in a televised speech from Beirut, Friday. He added that Saudi Arabia is “ready to offer tens of billions of dollars for this purpose.”” https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/saudi-arabia-asked-israel-strike-lebanon-nasrallah/
    ● “US air force official says Yemeni missile fired at Saudis ‘connects the dots to Iran’ : Saudi Arabia has long accused Iran of supplying weapons to the Shiite rebels known as Houthis and their allies, though Tehran has denied it” http://www.scmp.com/news/world/middle-east/article/2119395/us-air-force-official-says-yemeni-missile-fired-saudis
    ● “Saudi arrest of Osama bin Laden’s half-brother shatters royal entente” https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/middle-east/saudi-arrest-of-binladin-family-scion-shatters-royal-entente/articleshow/61603574.cms “It was a stunning end to a decades-old alliance between the ruling Al Saud and Binladin families that saw the Saudi Binladin Group secure a near-monopoly on mega-expansion projects in Islam’s two holiest sites, Mecca and Medina, throughout the reigns of successive Saudi monarchs.”
    ● “‘Nervous’ Mideast pushes oil to longest winning streak in a year” http://www.chron.com/business/energy/article/Nervous-Mideast-pushes-oil-to-longest-winning-12347512.php U.S. crude production jumped to 9.62 million barrels a day last week, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Crude stockpiles in the world’s largest economy unexpectedly increased last week as well. “Geopolitical risks have taken center stage in the oil market again,” said Jens Naervig Pedersen, senior analyst at Danske Bank A/S in Copenhagen. “The rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran have raised concerns in the oil market of an imminent supply disruption.”

  24. Zizzing & Dripping says:

    “The ‘Cold War’ between Iran and Saudi Arabia is heating up. Here are 5 things you should know about it.” (Agence France-Presse 11.12/17) https://www.pri.org/stories/2017-11-12/cold-war-between-iran-and-saudi-arabia-heating-here-are-5-things-you-should-know
    “Saudi Arabia tightens security at oil facilities after Bahrain pipeline attack” http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/11/12/Saudi-Arabia-tightens-security-at-oil-facilities-after-Bahrain-pipeline-attack.html Also”Arab league to meet on Iran at Saudi request” http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/gulf/2017/11/12/Arab-league-to-meet-on-Iran-at-Saudi-request-.html and “Why Obama put Bin Laden’s documents linking Iran, Qatar under lock and key” http://english.alarabiya.net/en/features/2017/11/11/Why-Obama-put-bin-Laden-s-documents-linking-Iran-Qatar-under-lock-and-key.html (re: The Washington Times see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Washington_Times#Political_stance )
    NEW YORK, Nov 12 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia’s efforts to reduce a worldwide crude supply glut by cutting shipments to the United States means others are now filling in, most notably Iraq, in a trend that is set to accelerate in coming months.
    Over the summer, normally one of the busiest periods for crude shipments, U.S. imports of crude from Iraq rose by 41 percent from a year ago, while similar shipments from Saudi Arabia have dropped by 22 percent. https://www.reuters.com/article/usa-saudi-imports/as-saudi-arabia-limits-u-s-crude-shipments-iraq-steps-in-idUSL2N1N51L5

  25. dozāreet oftād says:

    “Saudi-Iran proxy wars: In pursuit of regional hegemony” http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/saudi-iran-proxy-wars-pursuit-regional-hegemony-171113110353492.html
    “Trump’s bizarre obeisance to Saudi Arabia” http://theweek.com/articles/736995/trumps-bizarre-obeisance-saudi-arabia
    “Hariri ‘held for refusing to confront Hezbollah'” http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/hariri-held-refusing-confront-hezbollah-171112060742360.html
    Meanwhile: “Germany quintuples arms sales to Saudi Arabia and Egypt” http://www.dw.com/en/germany-quintuples-arms-sales-to-saudi-arabia-and-egypt/a-41370500

  26. al-ribā says:

    “A Trump-Endorsed Game of Thrones in Saudi Arabia” https://www.thenation.com/article/a-trump-endorsed-game-of-thrones-in-saudi-arabia/
    “Saudi Arabia ‘swaps assets for freedom’ after arrests” http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/saudi-arabia-swaps-assets-freedom-arrests-171118083433633.html …”Eliminating uncertainty about what the Saudi authorities are going to do goes a long way towards giving the market comfort that the regime is getting its house in order and plugging its deficit,” said Louis Gargour, founder and senior portfolio manager at the London-based hedge fund LNG Capital.
    Riyadh has been cutting spending while raising taxes and fees to curb a state budget deficit caused by low oil prices. The deficit, which hit $98bn in 2015, is shrinking, but at a high cost to the economy; data in late September showed Saudi Arabia in recession during the second quarter. …The United States is closely watching the situation in Saudi Arabia, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday. Asked about agreements to hand over wealth for detainees’ freedom, Mnuchin told CNBC: “I think that the Crown Prince [Mohammed bin Salman] is doing a great job at transforming the country.”
    The market value of the portfolio of Saudi equities held by the Public Investment Fund, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund, has gained, even as the arrest or questioning of more than 200 people in the inquiry caused stocks in many privately controlled firms to slump.
    Reuters could not immediately verify a Financial Times report stating that in some cases, the government is seeking to appropriate as much as 70 percent of suspects’ wealth to channel hundreds of billions of dollars into depleted state coffers.”

  27. Warning: Graphic Content says:

    “Yemenis are caught in a nearly three-year conflict that began as a domestic power struggle and evolved into a brutal proxy war between Iran and Saudi Arabia, killing more than ten thousand people and shuttering more than half of the country’s medical facilities. Saudi armed forces, backed by more than forty billion dollars in American arms shipments authorized by the Trump and Obama Administrations, have killed thousands of civilians in air strikes. They have also blockaded the country to varying degrees for two years and intermittently prevented journalists and human-rights researchers from flying into the country.” From The New Yorker: ‘The Catastrophe of Saudi Arabia’s Intervention in Yemen’. https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-catastrophe-of-saudi-arabias-trump-backed-intervention-in-yemen
    “When food is used as a weapon : How Yemen’s civil war has brought 7 million people, many of them children, to the brink of starvation” (CBS News 60 Minutes) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/when-food-is-used-as-a-weapon/
    “In Yemen’s “60 Minutes” Moment, No Mention That the U.S. Is Fueling the Conflict” https://theintercept.com/2017/11/20/60-minutes-yemen-war-us-involvement/
    Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a 30-year veteran of the CIA, explained last year that “if the United States and the United Kingdom, tonight, told King Salman [of Saudi Arabia], ‘This war has to end,’ it would end tomorrow. The Royal Saudi Air Force cannot operate without American and British support.” https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brookings-now/2016/04/22/watch-sen-chris-murphy-on-revisiting-u-s-saudi-relationship/

  28. كَلام ذو وَجْهَيْنِ says:

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s assertive crown prince on Sunday opened the first high-level meeting of a kingdom-led alliance of Muslim nations against terrorism, vowing that extremists will no longer “tarnish our beautiful religion.”
    Mohammed bin Salman’s words come as the Islamic State group, which sparked the creation of the alliance, has been driven out of Iraq and lost its self-described capital in Syria.
    However, the alliance doesn’t include Iran, Iraq or Syria, while member nation Qatar sent no one to attend the one-day Riyadh gathering amid a diplomatic standoff between Doha and four Arab nations led by the kingdom. https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-11-26/saudi-crown-prince-leads-islamic-military-alliance-meeting

  29. Bass-O-Matic says:

    “Turkish and Iranian ministers have signed an agreement with Qatar aimed at increasing the flow of goods to the Gulf state.
    Qatar faces trade restrictions from its Middle Eastern neighbors, including Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government has said it wants to punish Qatar for its ties with Iran and suspected links to terrorist groups.
    Turkey, however, has increased cooperation with Iran on some issues, especially those connected to the conflict in Syria. For example, both Turkey and Iran oppose the formation of an independent Kurdish state.” (Voice of America English class) https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/turky-iran-sign-trade-deal-with-qatar/4142319.html

  30. Narrator says:

    “Saudis Host Surprise Talks Between UAE, Yemen’s Brotherhood” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-14/saudis-host-surprise-talks-between-u-a-e-yemen-s-brotherhood
    “Trump Considers Easing Nuclear Rules for Saudi Project” https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-12/trump-is-said-to-consider-easing-nuclear-rules-for-saudi-project
    “Israeli Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz wants Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to visit, his spokesman said Wednesday, in what would be a historic trip involving two nations with no official diplomatic ties.” https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/middle-east/162580-171213-israeli-intelligence-minister-katz-invites-the-saudi-king-to-israel
    “In Jerusalem we have the latest chapter in a century of colonialism” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/dec/12/jerusalem-chapter-century-colonialism-donald-trump-intervention-palestine
    “The U.S. evangelical community is in raptures over Trump’s decision to declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel, believing it moves the world closer to Armageddon” https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.827591

  31. Shu hadha? says:

    Reportedly diamonds from first daughter Ivanka Trump’s now-defunct fine jewelry line were allegedly used in a massive money-laundering and fraud scheme, according to a federal court filing. https://www.gq.com/story/ivanka-trump-jewelry-business The Commercial Bank of Dubai in late June sought and later got permission to subpoena Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, claiming its diamonds were vehicles in a scheme to hide about $100 million owed to the financial institution, GQ reported on Friday based on filings at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York made over the summer.
    …In recent months, Trump’s father, President Donald Trump, and her husband, fellow White House adviser Kushner, have waded aggressively into a civil war within the Arab world. In June, shortly after a trip to Saudi Arabia, Trump endorsed a move by the Saudis, the Emiratis, and others to blockade Qatar even as his own State and Defense departments struck a more conciliatory tone. As it so happens, the Commercial Bank of Dubai—which was created by royal decree and remains partly owned by the Emirati government—made its subpoena request around the same time.

  32. Wheels within wheels says:

    12/28/17: Boeing awarded USD6.17 billion for 36 F-15QA fighters for Qatar https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/boeing-awarded-usd6-17-billion-for-36-f-15qa-fighters-for-qatar.535756/ Under the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract, announced by the US Department of Defense (DoD) on 22 December, all the aircraft will be delivered to the Qatar Emiri Air Force (QEAF) by 30 December 2022. Although that agreement was also reported to be for 36 aircraft, the value was given by the Qatari government as USD12 billion. This suggests that either a follow-on procurement for another 36 fighters might be possible, or that the initial agreement also covers an as-yet-unannounced major weapons purchase to accompany the Advanced Eagles.
    While Qatar certainly does not require another 36 F-15QAs on top of the 36 now contracted (it also has to be questioned as to whether the small Gulf nation has the manpower to field such an enlarged combat aviation force), such a development cannot be entirely discounted given the country’s procurement history of late. Qatar’s recent fighter procurement announcements have been quite remarkable in terms of their scope and ambition. The QEAF has over recent months signed for 36 Dassault Rafales from France and 24 Eurofighter Typhoons from the United Kingdom. These 60 aircraft coupled with the 36 Advanced Eagles are set to replace just 12 ageing Dassault Mirage 2000s.

  33. Update says:

    The United Arab Emirates said on Monday that two of its civilian airliners have been “intercepted” by a fighter jet from Qatar during a routine flight, in a sign of rapidly escalating tensions between the quarreling Persian Gulf neighbors. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/uae-accuses-qatar-of-intercepting-2-civilian-flights-escalating-persian-gulf-feud/2018/01/15/3250aef0-f9f5-11e7-b832-8c26844b74fb_story.html?utm_term=.42bd700c8472 It was not immediately clear what was meant by “intercepted.” A Qatari government official dismissed the report as “completely untrue.”
    The accusation comes against the backdrop of Qatar’s own claims of interference by the UAE. In recent weeks, Qatar has accused the fellow Gulf country of violating its airspace twice with military flights, raising concerns the quarrel could soon escalate into an armed confrontation.

  34. Update says:

    “Yemen PM ‘holed up’ as Aden palace surrounded” (BBC) http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42877851
    A senior Yemeni official has told Al Jazeera that southern separatists, backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), seized control of a key military base in the coastal city of Aden, after a UAE fighter jet bombed the facility – and despite a ceasefire being brokered by coalition partners Saudi Arabia and the UAE, hours earlier. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/01/uae-jet-enables-separatists-seize-army-base-aden-180130130644117.html
    Saudi Arabia’s government has arranged to seize more than $100 billion through financial settlements with businessmen and officials detained in its crackdown on corruption, the attorney general said on Tuesday. (Reuters) https://www.reuters.com/article/us-saudi-arrests-corruption/saudi-arabia-says-it-has-seized-over-100-billion-in-corruption-purge-idUSKBN1FJ28E

  35. الجن says:

    Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates had intentions to invade Qatar at the beginning of a diplomatic crisis that erupted in June, according to Qatar’s defence minister. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/02/defence-minister-saudi-uae-intended-invade-qatar-180203091422735.html In an interview with the Washington Post on Friday, Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah said his Gulf neighbours have “tried everything” to destabilise the country, but their intentions to invade were “diffused” by Qatar. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/qatar-to-saudi-arabia-quit-trying-to-overthrow-our-government/2018/02/02/05a1a848-0759-11e8-8777-2a059f168dd2_story.html?utm_term=.11d1b8322110

    • Omar comin'! says:

      “Jared Kushner’s Real-Estate Firm Sought Money Directly From Qatar Government Weeks Before Blockade” https://theintercept.com/2018/03/02/jared-kushner-real-estate-qatar-blockade/
      “…The failure to broker the deal [to secure financing for the Kushners’ signature 666 Fifth Avenue property in New York City] would be followed only a month later by a Middle Eastern diplomatic row in which Jared Kushner provided critical support to Qatar’s neighbors. Led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, a group of Middle Eastern countries, with Kushner’s backing, led a diplomatic assault that culminated in a blockade of Qatar. Kushner, according to reports at the time, subsequently undermined efforts by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to bring an end to the standoff.
      On Friday afternoon, NBC News reported that in late January and early February, Qatari government officials visiting the U.S. “considered turning over to Mueller what they believe is evidence of efforts by their country’s Persian Gulf neighbors in coordination with Kushner to hurt their country.”

  36. Kenny says:

    “The interception of an Iranian drone that targeted Israel suggests that the chances for a war between Israel and Iran-led forces, the first Israel-Shia war, have increased, General (ret.) Amos Yadlin, the former head of Israel’s military intelligence, said.” http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/dr20180212-fmr-idf-intelligence-chief-shootdown-of-iranian-drone-could-be-prelude-to-israelshia-war See also source “Fmr. IDF Intelligence Chief: Shootdown of Iranian Drone Could be Prelude to Israel-Shia War” http://www.thetower.org/5940-fmr-idf-intelligence-chief-shootdown-of-iranian-drone-could-be-prelude-to-israel-shia-war/ Includes link to Interview with Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Amos Yadlin, former head of IDF Intelligence and currently the Executive Director of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv.
    “Israel: Iranian drone we shot down was based on captured US drone” (CNN 2/12/18) https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/12/middleeast/israel-iran-drone-intl/index.html

  37. Full circle says:

    US airstrike killed dozens of Russians in Syria, but Moscow stays silent (CNN) https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/18/middleeast/us-airstrike-killed-dozens-of-russians-in-syria-intl/index.html “…The Russians were working for a paramilitary company called Wagner, which has hundreds of contractors on the ground in Syria, helping both the Russian military and pro-regime forces. Wagner is led by Dmitry Utkin, a former colonel in the Russian special forces who is under US sanctions for assisting pro-Russian separatists in the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
    Utkin was once head of security for a Russian oligarch called Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has close ties to the Kremlin. Prigozhin was indicted by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Friday for funding the Internet Research Agency, a Kremlin-linked troll group accused of interfering in the 2016 US presidential election campaign by sowing discord online. https://www.justice.gov/file/1035477/download Last month, the US Treasury Department designated another Russian company, Evro Polis, “for being owned or controlled by Yevgeny Prigozhin.” CNN has seen a copy of a contract between Evro Polis, and the Syrian regime, under which Evro Polis gets 25% of oil revenues from fields that are recovered from rebel control. “It seems that on some level all Prigozhin’s financial assets overlap and he uses the money from them to fund projects like the troll factory, Wagner, Evro Polis and others,” Ruslan Leviev, the activist, says. Essentially, Wagner does the fighting; Evro Polis gets the oil and gas. Coneco, the oil field near Deir Ezzor, is one of the most valuable still in rebel hands. Efforts to reach Wagner, which has no registered office in Russia, were unsuccessful.

    • Footnote says:

      July 27, 2016: “The Real Paranoia-Inducing Purpose of Russian Hacks” (The New Yorker) https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-real-paranoia-inducing-purpose-of-russian-hacks “For six months, starting in the fall of 2014, I investigated a shadowy online Russian propaganda operation called the Internet Research Agency. The agency has been widely reported in Russian media to be the brainchild of Evgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch and ally of Vladimir Putin…”

    • Puzzling Evidence™ says:

      U.S. Still Unsure Who Directed Syria Attack, Despite Russian Dead. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis: “Don’t ask me. I don’t know.” https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-02-18/us-still-unsure-who-directed-syria-attack-despite-russian-dead The U.S. military has said that in its effort to repel the attack on Feb. 7, U.S. forces on the ground called in coalition strikes for more than three hours, involving F-15E fighter jets, MQ-9 drones, B-52 bombers, AC-130 gunships and AH-64 Apache helicopters. Reuters has reported that about 300 men working for a Kremlin-linked Russian private military firm were either killed or injured. Russian officials deny they deploy private military contractors in Syria, saying Moscow’s only military presence is a campaign of air strikes, a naval base, military instructors training Syrian forces, and limited numbers of special forces troops. (Feb. 18, 2018, at 12:52 a.m.) https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-02-18/us-still-unsure-who-directed-syria-attack-despite-russian-dead

      • Фальшивые новости says:

        “Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Marina Zakharova is the only Russian government official who has publicly confirmed that five people, “presumably” Russian citizens, were killed in an armed clash with U.S. forces near Deir el-Zour in Syria. Kremlin-linked Audio Recordings Contradict Her Story.” https://www.polygraph.info/a/us-wagner-russia-syria-scores-killed/29044339.html (“Polygraph.info is a fact-checking website produced by Voice of America (VOA)​ and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The website serves as a resource for verifying the increasing volume of disinformation and misinformation being distributed and shared globally. A similar website in the Russian language can be found at factograph.info.”)

        • Puzzling Evidence™ says:

          A journalist who had been investigating the deaths of alleged Russian mercenaries in Syria died in a hospital on Sunday after falling from his balcony in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/maxim-borodin-russia-reporter-death-fall-balcony_us_5ad4f819e4b0edca2cbcc536
          Maxim Borodin, a 32-year-old reporter for the Yekaterinburg-based Ria Novy Den news agency, was known for his coverage of high-profile corruption and criminal cases. He fell from his fifth-floor balcony on Thursday, The New York Times reported, and neighbors found him critically injured at the foot of the building. He was rushed to the hospital, where he died from his injuries three days later.

          • Аэрофло́т says:

            On July 31, three Russian journalists, Orkhan Jemal, Kirill Radchenko, and Alexander Rastorguev, were killed in the Central African Republican (CAR) when their vehicle was ambushed by unknown assailants near the town of Sibut. Russian opposition figure Mikhail Khodorkovsky later confirmed that the three journalists had been working for one of his projects, the Center for Investigation, on a probe into the activities of a so-called “private military company” called Wagner or the Wagner Group. That company has previously been involved in the conflicts in Ukraine and Syria. https://www.polygraph.info/a/has-russia-been-open-about-its-involvement-in-the-central-african-republic-/29405622.html Reportedly cooperation between the Russian government and private military companies such as Wagner “represents the new Russian ‘hybrid approach,’ where one does not know where the state ends and private interest begins.”
            In addition to the Russian reporter who fell from his apartment balcony and died after covering the Wagner Group’s involvement in Syria, a number of other opposition and media figures have also perished in similar circumstances. According to Orkhan Jemal, one of the three journalists who were killed on July 31st, “We have had cases in which suspects managed to jump out of completely sealed, barred windows, and even cases in which the suspects suffered multiple lethal injuries from falling out of first floor windows” (see also https://www.polygraph.info/a/russia-suspicious-deaths-from-falling-out-window-/29178628.html )

    • Proxies says:

      “The Kremlin ally indicted last week as a key figure in Russia’s online election influence operation is also tied to a shadowy military contractor whose Russian mercenaries recently launched an attack on American forces in Syria, U.S. officials tell ABC News. Yevgeny Prigozhin — a Russian businessman and restaurateur dubbed “Putin’s chef” by the Russian media — is deeply involved in the Wagner Group, officials said, a paramilitary firm based in southern Russia. According to those officials, the firm deployed mercenaries in Syria who tried to strike U.S. special operations forces earlier this month. The attack failed, two intelligence officials told ABC News, as the mercenaries were decimated by U.S. airstrikes during their advance. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/russian-troll-farm-financier-backs-russian-mercenaries-syria/story?id=53256296 Y
      Much more information and details with links in “What Is the Connection Between the Wagner Group and the Russian State?” https://www.polygraph.info/a/russian-mercenaries-in-syria/29057392.html [Polygraph.info is a fact-checking website produced by Voice of America (VOA)​ and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.]

  38. Blowback says:

    “Don’t Be Fooled: Russia Attacked U.S. Troops in Syria” (Bloomberg Opinion) https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-16/russia-attacked-u-s-troops-in-syria “Russia Warns U.S. Not to ‘Play With Fire’ in Syrian Conflict “(Bloomberg) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-19/russia-warns-u-s-not-to-play-with-fire-in-syrian-conflict “Russian hand seen behind increased bombing of Syrian hospitals” (NBC) https://www.nbcnews.com/news/mideast/russian-hand-seen-behind-increased-bombing-syrian-hospitals-n847961 “Turkey denies use of chemical weapons in Syria” (Deutsche Welle) http://www.dw.com/en/turkey-denies-use-of-chemical-weapons-in-syria/a-42627819 “Amid the chaos of Syria, will Israel and Iran launch an all-out war?” (Guardian) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/feb/18/amid-chaos-syria-will-israel-iran-launch-all-out-war

  39. Cauldron says:

    “The United States said on Friday it will open its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem in May, a move from Tel Aviv that reverses decades of U.S. policy and is bound to trouble U.S. allies who have already objected.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-israel-diplomacy/u-s-ready-to-open-jerusalem-embassy-in-may-state-department-idUSKCN1G71WF
    “The US embassy will move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by May 14, in honor of the 70th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence, according to Minister of Transportation and Intelligence Israel Katz.” http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Report-US-embassy-Jerusalem-move-date-decided-543465
    “Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson offers to help pay for Jerusalem embassy: report” https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/02/23/republican-donor-sheldon-adelson-jerusalem-embassy/366223002/
    “Abnormal times in Israel” http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Abnormal-times-in-Israel-543409

  40. Omar comin'! says:

    George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman who advises Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, is cooperating as investigators reportedly examine whether Nader funneled money from the Emirates in an attempt to influence Trump’s policies.
    After being served search warrants and a subpoena after landing at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, D.C., on Jan. 17. while on his way to celebrate the president’s first year in office at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, Nader is now cooperating with investigators and gave testimony to a grand jury last week as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, The New York Times reported Tuesday night. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/06/us/politics/george-nader-special-counsel-mueller-cooperating-seychelles.html
    The special counsel’s team has taken an interest in a January 2017 meeting in the Seychelles that Nader attended, the Times reported. Also in attendance was a Russian investor connected to President Vladimir Putin, and Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater who advised Trump during the transition. http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/377087-uae-adviser-eyed-in-mueller-probe-is-cooperating-with-special-counsel

  41. nahh says:

    Qatar officials decline to give Kushner info to Mueller probe: report http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/377900-qatar-officials-decline-to-give-kushner-info-to-mueller-probe-report Officials reportedly have information regarding alleged influence by the United Arab Emirates on Trump associates, including Kushner, NBC News reported. The evidence includes information about secret meetings. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/qataris-opted-not-give-info-kushner-secret-meetings-mueller-n855326?cid=sm_npd_nn_fb_ma
    Three sources familiar with the discussions said the Qatari officials don’t want to hand over the evidence to Mueller because they don’t want to negatively affect the relationship with the Trump administration. A report earlier this month said Mueller’s team of investigators was looking into whether an adviser to the de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates has influenced White House policymaking.

  42. Puzzling Evidence™ says:

    The Senate scuttled a resolution opposed by the Trump administration that called on the U.S. military to stop aiding Saudi-led bombing in Yemen, acting the same day President Donald Trump and top lawmakers met with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
    The 55-44 vote Tuesday shelves the measure indefinitely. Defense Secretary James Mattis met privately with Senate Republicans to oppose the measure hours before the vote. The administration contended the resolution could damage U.S.-Saudi relations as the two countries seek to develop an increasingly close partnership on issues such as isolating Iran and bolstering business ties. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-20/senate-scuttles-yemen-measure-as-saudi-prince-meets-with-trump
    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocratic monarchy in which Sunni Islam is the official state religion based on firm Sharia law and non-Muslims are not allowed to hold Saudi citizenship. The official form of Islam is Sunni of the Hanbali school, in its Salafi version. Public worship by adherents of religions other than Islam is forbidden and conversion from Islam to another religion is punishable by death as apostasy. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salafi_movement

  43. Shitberg says:

    “How a Witness for Mueller and a Republican Donor Influenced the White House for Gulf Rulers” (NYT) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/21/us/politics/george-nader-elliott-broidy-uae-saudi-arabia-white-house-influence.html “…High on the agenda of the two men — George Nader, a political adviser to the de facto ruler of the U.A.E., and Elliott Broidy, the deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee — was pushing the White House to remove Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, backing confrontational approaches to Iran and Qatar and repeatedly pressing the president to meet privately outside the White House with the leader of U.A.E.
    Mr. Tillerson was fired last week, and the president has adopted tough approaches toward both Iran and Qatar.

  44. Baksheesh says:

    The Crown Prince and Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia tours Boeing on secretive Seattle visit amid tight security. https://www.seattletimes.com/business/boeing-aerospace/saudi-crown-prince-tours-boeing-on-secretive-seattle-visit/ Mohammed bin Salman’s private VIP 747 jumbo jet, inbound from New York, landed at Paine Field in Everett just after 2 p.m. Friday for a tour of Boeing — his first West Coast stop on a 3-week U.S. trip to refashion the image of Saudi Arabia in the eyes of Americans. After a tour of the widebody jet plant that built his airplane, the 32-year-old prince looked on as Boeing chairman and chief executive Dennis Muilenburg signed a memorandum of agreement to set up a $450 million joint venture in Saudi Arabia that will provide maintenance and repair support for the kingdom’s military aircraft.
    The Prince’s final itinerary and plans in Seattle were not announced.

  45. Gatsby says:

    “Donald Trump’s Sons Jet To Dubai To Attend Lavish Wedding, Costing Taxpayers Up To $73,000” https://www.inquisitr.com/4858504/donald-trumps-sons-jet-to-dubai-to-attend-lavish-wedding-costing-taxpayers-up-to-73000/ Donald Trump’s eldest sons traveled to Dubai to meet business partner Hussain Sajwani and visit Trump-brand properties in the area, according to a Trump Organisation spokesperson. The two conducted no government business. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/donald-trump-jr-eric-trump-dubai-trip-cost-taxpayers-73000-secret-service-hussain-sajwani-trump-a8294956.html

  46. Ragnarök says:

    “Iran and Israel draw closer to war than ever” (CNN) https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/30/middleeast/iran-israel-analysis/index.html See also “The Syrian airbase at the heart of a potential Israel-Iran war” (Guardian) https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/01/the-syrian-airbase-at-the-heart-of-a-potential-israel-iran-war and “Iran–Israel proxy conflict” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran%E2%80%93Israel_proxy_conflict
    “Europeans cast doubt on Israel’s claims about Iran nuclear breaches : EU governments stand by 2015 deal with Tehran after presentation by Netanyahu” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/01/europeans-cast-doubt-on-israel-claims-about-iran-nuclear-breaches
    “The White House brushes off a major ‘typo’ in its statement on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, blames Obama instead” http://www.businessinsider.com/white-house-statement-on-iran-nuclear-had-typo-2018-5

    • Array says:

      “Trump and Putin’s unholy alliance could lead to war with Iran” (Guardian UK July 15, 2018) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jul/15/trump-and-putin-unholy-alliance-could-lead-to-war-with-iran “…Western allies fear that Trump, egged on by the Saudis and Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who conferred with Putin in Moscow last week, may privately offer de facto US recognition of Crimea’s annexation and an easing of Ukraine-related sanctions. In return, he would seek Putin’s agreement to push Iran out of Syria, thereby safeguarding Israel’s border and weakening Tehran’s influence in Lebanon and the wider region.”
      “Papers stolen in daring Israeli raid on Tehran archive reveal extent of Iran’s past weapons research” (Washington Post 7/15/18) http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-iran-israel-nuclear-weapons-20180715-story.html “The stolen documents contain no revelations about recent nuclear activity and no proof that Iran has violated the 2015 nuclear accord it reached with the United States and five other global powers. U.S. officials had long known of Iran’s pre-2004 nuclear weapons research, which the Obama administration cited explicitly in prodding Iran to accept the historic deal limiting its ability to make enriched uranium and placing its nuclear facilities under intensive international oversight.
      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has seized on the documents in recent weeks to launch new attacks against the nuclear deal, which Israeli officials say is inadequate for containing Iran’s long-term nuclear ambitions. The accord has been on life support since the Trump administration unilaterally withdrew from the pact in May. Iran says it is honoring the terms of the agreement and has no intention of building nuclear weapons.”

  47. Gee-wiz says:

    “Iran fears send US oil above $70 for first time since 2014” http://money.cnn.com/2018/05/06/investing/oil-prices-70-dollars-barrel/index.html “Oil prices have been climbing partly because of expectations that President Donald Trump will abandon the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which allowed Iran to export more crude.
    This is the first time the US crude benchmark has been above $70 since November 2014.
    “The focus of oil markets is currently on the US president’s pending decision on the fate of the Iran nuclear deal,” said Victor Shum, an oil industry analyst at research firm IHS Markit.
    The recent surge in prices suggests markets are assuming there will be some disruption to Iran’s exports, Shum said. Trump has to decide by May 12 whether to bring back sanctions against the country.”
    “Oil Bursts Above $70, Threatens Economy” https://247wallst.com/energy-economy/2018/05/07/oil-bursts-above-70-threatens-economy/
    “We’re in the Money” (1933) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJOjTNuuEVw

    • On borrowed time says:

      (BBC): “These are the first skirmishes in a potential war between Israel and Iran that promises a fearful level of destruction – even by the standards of the modern Middle East.
      It could spread across Syria and Lebanon. Israeli cities would be hit, as might strategic targets in Iran. In its initial stages, it would be Israeli air power against the long-range missile forces of Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah.
      It is a conflict that needs to be averted and the time to do it is now. However Israel and Iran remain on a collision course.” http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-44067804

  48. Calamitous says:

    Russia and Israel ‘agree deal’ to hold back Iranian militias so Assad can take border region https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/05/29/russia-israel-agree-deal-hold-back-iranian-militias-assad-prepares/
    Israeli Air Force (IAF) Lockheed Martin F-35I Adir multirole fighters have carried out their first airstrikes against enemy targets, IAF commander Major General Amikam Norkin revealed on 22 May. http://www.janes.com/article/80259/israeli-adirs-confirmed-as-first-f-35s-to-strike-targets
    “The decision to reveal both the image and the operational use of the F-35, including in Syria, was seen by many defense analysts as a subtle threat to Israel’s nemesis Iran, with which it is fighting an ongoing, mostly quiet war in Syria.” https://www.timesofisrael.com/ministers-reportedly-pan-air-force-chief-for-photo-of-f-35-over-lebanon/
    Israel to push for US recognition of occupied Golan Heights : Israel’s Intelligence Minister Israel Katz says that US recognition of its sovereignty is top of its agenda. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/israel-push-recognition-occupied-golan-heights-180524063529566.html

  49. Doosra says:

    Qatar’s foreign minister has dismissed reports of threats of military action by Saudi Arabia over Doha’s plans to acquire the Russian-made S-400 air defence system, saying Qatar’s decision to buy weapons is a “sovereign” one.
    The threats, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Monday, violates “international law and all the international norms”. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/06/qatari-fm-dismisses-reported-saudi-threats-400-deal-180605061648530.html Today marks one year since Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, sparking the biggest diplomatic crisis in the Gulf in years.
    Accusing Doha of supporting “terrorists” and being too close to Saudi Arabia’s regional rival Iran, Riyadh said it acted to “protect its national security from the dangers of terrorism and extremism”.

  50. 3cardMonte says:

    The U.S. government has quietly called on Saudi Arabia and other OPEC producers to boost oil production by about 1 million barrels a day (Bloomberg) https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-05/u-s-said-to-ask-opec-for-1-million-barrel-a-day-oil-output-hike “The rare request came after U.S. retail gasoline prices surged to their highest in more than three years and President Donald Trump publicly complained about OPEC policy and rising oil prices on Twitter. It also follows Washington’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran’s crude exports that had previously displaced about 1 million barrels a day, or just over 1 percent of global production.”
    OPEC meets in Vienna on June 22 to decide whether the group and non-OPEC producers, including Russia, should raise output to make up for any supply shortfall from Iran and Venezuela. Higher U.S. gas prices will have political consequences during the midterm election year – which could explain why Trump is now asking for more of a foreign commodity to be imported into the United States.

  51. Humbug says:

    The government of Qatar is taking the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to the UN International Court of Justice over what it described as human rights violations, according to the official Qatar News Agency (QNA). https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/06/qatar-takes-uae-human-rights-court-blockade-180611103646133.html The move on Monday comes a year after the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting “terrorism”.

  52. Ad mati says:

    Why Is Israel Simulating Attacks on Its Own Nuclear Reactors? http://warisboring.com/why-is-israel-simulating-attacks-on-its-own-nuclear-reactors/
    “The Israel Atomic Energy Commission has been taking numerous steps to protect the nuclear reactors in Dimona and Nahal Sorek in light of assessments that Iran and Hezbollah see the reactors as preferred targets for missile attacks,” the left-leaning Israeli daily, Haaretz, reported on June 28 .
    The Nahal Sorek reactor is a small research reactor America supplied to Israel as part of the Atoms of Peace program. The Dimona reactor is a much larger reactor that Israel used to produce plutonium for its nuclear weapons program. The Dimona reactor is still operating, although it’s unclear if it is making plutonium. It is widely believed that Israel uses Dimona to produce tritium for boosted atomic weapons.”
    See also “How Israel’s Dimona Nuclear Reactor Was Concealed From the U.S.” (Haaretz 2015) “Documents revealed this week shed new light on the story of Israel’s nuclear program, and the role of John Kerry’s father in the saga.”

  53. Kubrā says:

    “‘Billion dollar ransom’: Did Qatar pay record sum?” (BBC 7/17/18) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-44660369 “…The government that gave us this material – which is hostile to Qatar – believes the discussions between Sheikh Mohammed and Mr Khayareen were about $1bn in ransom plus $150m in side payments, or “kickbacks”. But the texts are ambiguous. It could be that the four towns deal was what was required to free the hostages, plus $150m in personal payments to the kidnappers.
    Qatari officials accept that the texts and voicemails are genuine, though they believe they have been edited “very selectively” to give a misleading impression.
    The transcripts were leaked, to the Washington Post, in April 2018. Our sources waited until officials in Doha issued denials. Then they sought to embarrass Qatar by releasing the original audio recordings.”

  54. Cassandra says:

    “Russia-Israel Deal Is Clear: Iran Away From Border, Assad’s Rule Accepted” (Haaretz, Israel 7/15/18) https://www.haaretz.com/middle-east-news/syria/.premium-russia-israel-deal-iran-away-from-border-assad-s-rule-accepted-1.6269407
    “On Thursday, Putin gave a public address to Russian diplomats in which he claimed that specific “useful agreements” were reached with Trump in their one-on-one meeting at the summit, a private meeting that Trump himself insisted on. Putin’s announcement came a day after his Ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said that Trump had made “important verbal agreements” with Putin on arms control and other matters. The Russians, Antonov said, were ready to get moving on implementing them. The White House, meanwhile, has said nothing about what the two men may have agreed to in private, although Trump tweeted Thursday morning that he and Putin had discussed everything from nuclear proliferation to Syria, Ukraine, and trade, and that he looked forward to a second meeting with the Russian President soon, to follow up. On Thursday afternoon, the White House confirmed that Trump plans to invite Putin to Washington in the fall for another summit.
    Days after the Helsinki summit, Trump’s advisers have offered no information—literally zero—about any such agreements. His own government apparently remains unaware of any deals that Trump made with Putin, or any plans for a second meeting, and public briefings from the State Department and Pentagon have offered no elaboration except to make clear that they are embarrassingly uninformed days after the summit.” (The New Yorker 7/19/18) https://www.newyorker.com/news/letter-from-trumps-washington/the-trump-putin-summit-and-the-death-of-american-foreign-policy

  55. Warbucks says:

    “Could Iran really close the Strait of Hormuz?” (Deutsche Welle 7/23/18) https://www.dw.com/en/could-iran-really-close-the-strait-of-hormuz/a-44786581 “About a third of the world’s sea-borne petroleum passes through the Strait. According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 2016, some 18.5 million barrels of crude oil was sent through the waterway, a 9 percent increase on the previous year”
    “Oil prices could top $120 before year-end” (MarketWatch July 20, 2018) https://www.marketwatch.com/story/oil-prices-could-top-120-before-year-end-2018-07-20 “Oil prices have lost more than 8% this month, but investors should be aware that a roughly 40% spike from last week’s levels to more than $120 is possible this year.
    “This is a tight market. Supply and demand are close,” says Matt Badiali, senior research analyst at Banyan Hill. Global oil demand is expected to average 99.1 million barrels a day this year, but global oil supply stood at 98.8 million barrels a day in June, according to the International Energy Agency.”

  56. Regime-change says:

    “Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates planned to launch a military operation against Qatar at the beginning of a diplomatic crisis that erupted in June last year but were stopped by former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in an act that may have played a key role in his dismissal.” https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/rex-tillerson-stopped-saudi-uae-attacking-qatar-180801125651449.html
    “According to the investigative news website The Intercept, the plan involved Saudi ground troops crossing the land border into Qatar, and with military support from the UAE, advancing 100km inland and seizing the Qatari capital.
    Based on information it said it received from a current member of the US intelligence community and two former Department of State officials, The Intercept said the coup, which was largely devised by Saudi Arabia and the UAE’s crown princes, “was likely some weeks away from being implemented”.

  57. العمى says:

    Saudi Arabia appeared to threaten Canada with a 9/11-style attack in a feud over human rights https://www.aol.com/article/news/2018/08/06/saudi-arabia-appeared-to-threaten-canada-with-a-911-style-attack-in-a-feud-over-human-rights/23496948/
    Saudi Arabia has already expelled Canada’s ambassador and frozen all new trade and investment with Ottawa in response to Global Affairs Canada tweeting last Friday that it was “gravely concerned” about a new wave of arrests in the Kingdom targeting women’s rights activists. The arrests last week included award-winning rights activist Samar Badawi, who is best known for challenging the country’s restrictive male guardianship laws.

  58. Warbucks says:

    “Seven years of relentless conflict in Syria have wreaked destruction that the United Nations said Wednesday has cost the country close to US$400 billion.” (Agence France-Presse 8/9/18) https://www.ndtv.com/world-news/cost-of-syria-war-destruction-at-388-billion-says-un-1897492
    The UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) said the “volume of destruction in physical capital and its sectoral distribution” had been estimated at more than US$388 billion. The figure does not include “human losses resulting from deaths or the loss of human competences and skilled labor due to displacement.”
    More than half of Syria’s pre-war population has fled the country or been displaced internally over the past seven years.”

  59. Ante up says:

    “Turkey has secured a $15 billion investment from Qatar that could bolster its economy amid a widening dispute with the United States.” https://money.cnn.com/2018/08/15/news/economy/trade-war-trump-turkey/index.html The Turkish lira extended its gains against the US dollar to 6% following the announcement, which came on the same day that Turkey announced steep tariff hikes on American products including cars, alcohol and tobacco.
    The move is a response to trade actions announced last week by the Trump administration. It doubles retaliatory tariffs on American cars to 120% and on alcoholic drinks to 140%, according to a notice published by the Turkish government. Relations between Washington and Ankara have rapidly soured in recent weeks over Turkey’s detention of the American evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who Turkey accuses of helping to plot a 2016 coup attempt against the Turkish president.

  60. Puzzling Evidence™ says:

    Why Is Trump’s Favorite Publisher Selling Saudi Propaganda? The New Kingdom magazine is an American-made love letter to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (Vanity Fair 4/24/18) https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/04/why-is-trumps-favorite-publisher-selling-saudi-propaganda
    “David Pecker, Chief of National Enquirer’s Publisher, Is Said to Get Immunity in Trump Inquiry” (NYT Aug 23, 2018) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/23/us/politics/david-pecker-immunity-trump.html “…After Mr. Trump became president, he rewarded Mr. Pecker’s loyalty with a White House dinner to which the media executive brought a guest with important ties to the royals in Saudi Arabia. At the time, Mr. Pecker was pursuing business there while also hunting for financing for acquisitions, The New York Times reported in March.”
    “…The tabloid publisher took along a special guest, Kacy Grine, a French businessman who advises one of Saudi Arabia’s richest men and sometimes acts as an intermediary between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Western businesses. The two men and other Pecker associates chatted with the president in the Oval Office and briefly met with Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and Middle East envoy, Jared Kushner.” (NYT 3/29/18) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/29/business/media/david-pecker-trump-saudi-arabia.html
    “A losing gambler: The raw truth about Mohammad bin Salman : The Saudi crown prince’s grand designs are disappearing in the desert and with them the ambitious reform claims” (Middle East Eye 8/24/18) https://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/raw-truth-about-mohammed-bin-salman-407845504 See also “Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman Actually Sacha Baron Cohen : The comedian has been playing the royal as part of an elaborate TV prank” http://www.panarabiaenquirer.com/wordpress/saudi-crown-prince-mohammad-bin-salman-actually-sacha-baron-cohen/

    • Ataturk says:

      “Push to Execute Saudi Clerics Rattles Kingdom’s Power Structure : Prosecutors seek death sentences for influential imams, challenging alliance behind monarchy” https://www.wsj.com/articles/push-to-execute-saudi-clerics-rattles-kingdoms-power-structure-1537097475 “Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and his father, King Salman, have jailed activists, businessmen and government officials as part of their efforts to reshape Saudi society and economics. But Saudi clerics have long been a power unto themselves, with fame and influence beyond that of others caught up in recent crackdowns. The jailed clerics are among Saudi Arabia’s best-known and most popular Sunni Muslim religious figures. They were arrested a year ago in a roundup of imams with large followings for not openly supporting the government’s pressure campaign against Qatar, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing rights activists.”

  61. انفصاليين says:

    The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called for an end to all weapons sales to Saudi Arabia following the bombing of a school bus last month that killed 51 people, including 40 children.
    The rights group called the attack an apparent war crime and said it places arms suppliers at “risk of complicity in war crimes”.
    HRW’s statement, released on Sunday, came just hours after Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates admitted the bombing was “unjustified”.
    A probe, conducted by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi rebels, concluded on Saturday that “mistakes” were made in the August 9 air raid in Saada province.
    (Al Jazeera 9/2/18) https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/hrw-saudi-arms-sale-yemen-school-bus-attack-180902075014341.html Last year, the UN blacklisted the Saudi-UAE alliance for causing the majority of reported child deaths and injuries in Yemen. It also described the situation in Yemen as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
    At least 10,000 people have been killed since the start of the conflict, the UN said.

  62. Warbucks says:

    Syrian President Bashar Assad has given approval for the use of chlorine gas in the country’s last remaining rebel holdout in Idlib province, U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal on Sunday. http://thehill.com/policy/defense/405856-syrias-assad-has-approved-use-of-chlorine-gas-in-idlib-report If Assad deploys the chemical against the approximately 70,000 remaining opposition fighters in Idlib, President Trump has privately threatened to deploy a massive attack against him, people familiar with the exchange told the Journal.
    The Washington Post reported Friday that the president had approved a new strategy in Syria that would station 2,000 U.S. soldiers there indefinitely. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/in-a-shift-trump-approves-an-indefinite-military-and-diplomatic-effort-in-syria-us-officials-say/2018/09/06/0351ab54-b20f-11e8-9a6a-565d92a3585d_story.html?utm_term=.cf6e0dddac55 Officials told the Journal that the president has not settled on the precise trigger for military action or if the U.S. response would target Syria’s Russian and Iranian allies.
    “I think it’s a very sad situation in Idlib, the province, what’s going on there,” Trump told reporters in the Oval office on Wednesday as he met the emir of Kuwait. “If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too.” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/05/syria-donald-trump-idlib-slaughter-very-angry
    “Everything you need to know about the looming battle for Idlib : Who are the main players, what are the likely scenarios and what will be the human cost? All questions answered.” https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/09/looming-battle-idlib-180908142026400.html

  63. Blood bath says:

    “As he had done dozens of times before, Anas al-Diab rushed to film the aftermath of an airstrike in Syria’s Idlib province. The 22-year-old citizen journalist and rescuer with the White Helmets volunteer group snapped photographs of a leveled potato chip factory in Khan Sheikhoun on Friday as his friends and colleagues hosed down the flames. Suddenly, another explosion hit. This time Diab became a victim, but he kept his camera rolling.” (CNN 9/11/18) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDOwA3d4ddE

  64. 3cardMonte says:

    CNBC 9/23/18: OPEC’s leader Saudi Arabia and its biggest oil-producer ally outside the group, Russia, ruled out on Sunday any immediate, additional increase in crude output, effectively rebuffing U.S. President Donald Trump’s calls for action to cool the market [before the critical midterm elections take place in the US]. Benchmark Brent oil reached $80 a barrel this month, prompting Trump to reiterate on Thursday his demand that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries lower prices. The price rally mainly stemmed from a decline in oil exports from OPEC member Iran due to fresh U.S. sanctions imposed by Trump.
    Boomberg 9/22/18: The world has changed. OPEC is no longer relevant in the way it once was. Though the group has never had more members in its 58 years of existence, the volume of crude it produces represents just a third of all the oil extracted in the world — the smallest share it has commanded in almost three decades. Not exactly the “monopoly” railed at by Trump.
    The group’s ability to influence oil prices by either boosting or cutting output has also waned. Spare capacity available to lift production at short notice has become increasingly concentrated in the hands of a dwindling band of Persian Gulf Arab countries. https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-09-23/opec-like-a-dying-star-is-about-to-go-supernova
    “We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices! We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!” Trump wrote on Twitter (5:13 AM – Sep 20, 2018)

    • نهاركم سعيد says:

      “Saudi Arabia and other OPEC members have been discussing on the quiet a half-a-million-barrel increase [per day] in their combined oil production to keep a lid on oil prices, unnamed sources told Reuters amid growing concern that the Iran sanctions will create a serious shortage in global supply. The increase could be shared by non-OPEC producers as well, the sources said. The information contradicts the official Saudi stance expressed at the OPEC+ meeting in Algiers last weekend but, said the sources, Riyadh did not want to make the discussions public in order to avoid upsetting those OPEC members that did not have enough spare production capacity to deploy quickly enough to weather the effects of the Iran sanctions.” (Oilprice.com 9/27/18) https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/OPEC-Secretly-Discusses-500000-Bpd-Production-Boost.html See also Reuters: “Oil prices LCOc1 rose to their highest since 2014 above $80 per barrel this week on fears that a steep decline in Iranian oil exports because of new U.S. sanctions will deepen an oil deficit, along with production declines in Venezuela. However, OPEC’s latest report released at the weekend forecast that its non-OPEC rivals led by the United States would increase output by 2.4 million bpd in 2019 while global oil demand should grow by just 1.5 million bpd. That, Saudi thinking goes, could create a large surplus of crude next year, especially if a stronger dollar and weaker emerging market economies reduce global demand for oil.” https://www.reuters.com/article/us-oil-opec-saudi/saudi-arabia-in-short-term-oil-fix-fears-extra-u-s-supply-next-year-idUSKCN1M70UW

  65. Baychimo says:

    “Iran’s oil tankers are starting to disappear from global satellite tracking systems with just under six weeks to go until U.S. sanctions are due to hit the country’s exports, making it harder to keep track of the nation’s sales.” (Rigzone 9/25/18) https://www.rigzone.com/news/wire/iranian_oil_tankers_disappearing_from_tracking_systems-25-sep-2018-157026-article/
    VesselFinder: Free AIS Ship Tracking of Marine Traffic https://www.vesselfinder.com/ (interactive map)

    • Jenkins' Ear says:

      The Saudi-led coalition has publicly identified an Iranian cargo ship that is loitering in the Red Sea as a military threat for the first time: a move that could be a precursor to an attempt to board the vessel. (Jane’s 9/28/18) https://www.janes.com/article/83413/saudi-led-coalition-says-iran-operating-command-ship-in-red-sea In his regular briefing on 24 September, coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Maliki said the Iranian-flagged general cargo ship Saviz is used exclusively for military purposes, including to provide command and control and to transfer weapons to other vessels, three of which he identified, but none of their names correspond with internationally registered commercial vessels.

  66. Brisance says:

    “Vice President Pence recently pressured the US agency for international development (USAID) to appoint a special liaison to Iraqi Christians. This may not capture the same headlines as the Kavanaugh Supreme Court nomination fight or the new NAFTA, but it could have significant—and unexpected—implications for Middle East stability. Pence’s move was part of a year-long fight over US aid policy towards Iraq’s religious minorities, with several conservatives voices claiming USAID and the United Nations were failing to help groups persecuted by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). In response, Pence has pressured USAID to change its approach.”
    Last October, Vice President Pence said the United States would redirect aid from the United Nations and directly help Iraqi Christians. He followed this up with an announcement that the United States is dedicating aid to charities trying to help Iraqi Christians. The recent appointment of a liaison to work “directly” with Iraqi churches on reconstruction efforts is the latest development in this process.
    Pence was responding to pressure from conservative religious freedom advocates and politicians.”

    • Quid pro quo says:

      A Turkish prosecutor called for a jail sentence of 10 years for a US Christian pastor on Friday, but also asked the court to lift judicial controls, a move that would allow Andrew Brunson to leave the country immediately.
      If the court agrees to the requests, Brunson could return back to the United States immediately and thus end the friction over his case that caused a crisis in relations between NATO allies Ankara and Washington.
      With Washington slapping sanctions on Ankara, the crisis also sparked a crash in the Turkish lira in August that exposed Turkey’s economic fragility. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/turkish-prosecutor-seeks-10-year-jail-term-pastor-181012073353582.html

  67. Hacked2pieces says:

    “Secret recordings give insight into Saudi attempt to silence critics” (Washington Post Oct 17, 2018) https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/secret-recordings-give-insight-into-saudi-attempt-to-silence-critics/2018/10/17/fb333378-ce49-11e8-ad0a-0e01efba3cc1_story.html?utm_term=.f6b3af06647f
    “A brief timeline of how Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul.” (Al Jazeera News 10/17/18) https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/10/jamal-khashoggi-case-timeline-181017155740442.html

  68. Puzzling Evidence™ says:

    “Police in the US say they are still investigating the deaths of two sisters from Saudi Arabia whose bodies were found duct-taped together by the riverbank of New York City’s Hudson last week.” (Al Jazeera News 11/1/18) https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/11/police-probe-deaths-saudi-sisters-duct-taped-181101114658673.html “The day before the bodies were discovered, the sisters’ mother told US detectives that she had received a phone call from the Saudi embassy in Washington ordering the family to leave the US, New York police said. The sisters had reportedly applied for political asylum in the US.
    Saudi Arabia’s consulate general in New York City did not comment on the claims, saying it had “appointed an attorney to follow the case closely.”
    “Why Saudi Arabia hates Al Jazeera so much” (Washington Post 6/23/17) https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/06/23/why-saudi-arabia-hates-al-jazeera-so-much/?utm_term=.5c179b1e9122

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