64 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:
    • شنو says:

      Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt severed ties with Qatar this week over allegations it supports terrorism and, more specifically, that it uses Al-Jazeera as a mouthpiece to destabilize the region. The Qatar-based network, one of the most widely seen Arabic channels in the world, had long angered Mideast governments, since at its start it was one the few that presented alternative viewpoints. Critics say it has in past years turned to promoting Islamist movements as a tool of Qatar’s foreign policy. The region’s rulers see many of these movements, including the Muslim Brotherhood, as threats. Qatar and the station deny the accusations. Qatar’s foreign minister told The Associated Press there was no way the country would silence Al-Jazeera, which says its channels reach 100 countries and 310 million homes worldwide. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/al-jazeera-a-target-in-gulf-confrontation-with-qatar/2017/06/09/0957eec2-4d35-11e7-987c-42ab5745db2e_story.html See also “Al Jazeera media platforms under cyberattack : Website and digital platforms of entire Doha-based network undergoing ‘systematic and continual hacking attempts’.” http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/al-jazeera-media-platforms-cyberattack-170608170600837.html Meanwhile: Turkey is a key ally of Qatar and is setting up a military base in the country which also hosts the largest US airbase in the Middle East.

  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/

  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

  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

  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.”)

    • 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

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