Archive for Saudi Arabia

What the Saudis Don’t Get

You’d need the Library of Congress to catalog it all, but this is the latest:

Ebola fears have stopped more than 7,000 West African Muslims attending an annual pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia implemented a travel ban.

The measure affects some 7,400 would-be pilgrims from the West African countries, which have been the hardest hit by the virus that is estimated to have killed more than 3,400 people.

‘That will continue until further notice until we are comfortable that it is not anymore an epidemic in these countries,’ Mr Faqih said.

About 12 per cent of the population of Liberia is Muslim, while more than a half are part of the religion in Guinea and Sierra Leone, reported Al Jazeera.

Silly Saudis, don’t you know that shutting the borders, banning travel, looking out for the health and safety of your own citizens is counterproductive? That’s what our health officials tell us. What are you, stupid?

That’s the least of your problems. Backward, inbred, psychotic, your intellect is hardly the issue. Just take it from your wiser Uncle Sam: when you see haggard, sunken-eyed zombies barfing a your border, throw open the gate and let them in. That’s how you cure this thing. Quarantine, bad; open borders, good.

M’kay? There’s a good little Wahabbi.

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More Wins For The Obama Foreign Policy

Saudi Arabia designates Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization

Saudi Arabia has come out in support of Bashar Assad.

Saudi Arabia has formally designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group, official Saudi television reported citing a statement by the Interior Ministry.

The kingdom has also designated Nusra Front and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, whose fighters are battling Syrian President Bashar Assad, as terrorist organizations.

Last year, the Egyptian government intensified its crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and formally listed the group as a terrorist organization after accusing it of carrying out a suicide bomb attack on a police station that killed 16 people.

Interesting in so many ways. I thought that US policy was to support “the rebels” and take down Bashar Assad? And I thought the Saudis were our “allies”? Also that Syria was a satellite nation to Iran, an enemy of Saudi Arabia? Does this mean that Barack Obama and John Kerry have succeeded in uniting Saudi Arabia with Iran, under the rubric of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”?

It is also interesting that Egypt suffers one little bombing and they take a nutty. Show restraint, guys, show restraint.

PS – More and more I believe that House of Cards is a documentary.

– Aggie

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Israel And The Saudis Will Respond

It is so odd that these two will now work together. Thanks, Obama. You’ve made the world a friendlier place.

TEL AVIV — Israeli personnel in recent days were in Saudi Arabia to inspect bases that could be used as a staging ground to launch attacks against Iran, according to informed Egyptian intelligence officials. The officials said Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and other Arab and Persian Gulf countries have been discussing the next steps toward possible strikes on Iran’s nuclear sites. The officials said the U.S. passed strong messages to Israel and the Saudis that the Americans control radar capabilities over the skies near Iran and that no strike should be launched without permission from the Obama administration. It was unclear whether the purported visit to Saudi Arabia by Israeli military and intelligence officials signals any real preparation for a strike or if the trip was meant to keep pressure on the West amid Israeli fears about the current deal with Tehran. The trip came prior to the announcement today of the deal with Western powers that aims to halt key parts of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. At a cabinet meeting in Jerusalem today, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed what he called a “bad” and “dangerous” deal, while affirming that Israel will not allow Iran to go nuclear.

So who knows if it is true or not, but Israel certainly cannot trust the US and needs to do something to prevent another 6 million Jewish deaths.

– Aggie

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Is Rouhani Gorbachev? [UPDATED]

Subtract the beard and glasses (and turban), add a birthmark in the shape of the Malay Peninsula.

Whaddya think?

Thanks to firm and resolute measures by Western democracies, a fierce and aggressive dictatorship has been brought to the edge of bankruptcy and collapse. Suddenly a new leader arises. He looks different from his predecessors: warmer, more human. He speaks and acts differently.

And, sure enough, he elicits warmth in Western capitals, especially Washington. We mustn’t forfeit this opportunity, politicians and pundits declare. We must help this promising leader to achieve for his country—and for the sake of world peace—the difficult transition from confrontation to cooperation. The path he travels is perilous; he is surrounded at home by figures who want him to fail. If he seems unprepared to meet our demands today, we must meet him more than halfway so he can meet them tomorrow. We must not let the promise of this moment slip from our fingers.

Such are the voices giving the benefit of the doubt to Hasan Rouhani, the new president of Iran, and branding those less trustful of the regime’s intentions as shortsighted enemies of peace. They remind me of the voices I heard—that we all heard—in the first years of Mikhail Gorbachev’s tenure in the 1980s as the new leader of the ailing Soviet Union.

That’s Natan Sharansky (Anatoly as was), who’s seen this act before. He wasn’t buying then, and he’s not buying now:

Sure enough, these moves—instituted not to reform the communist system, but to rescue it from collapse—were met with near-ecstatic cheers from Western pundits and politicians, followed by calls for reciprocal “confidence-building” measures: most prominently, the cancellation of economic sanctions and an immediate halt to missile-defense programs like the Strategic Defense Initiative. Anyone urging a contrary policy was branded a warmonger.

Fortunately, one of those alleged warmongers was Ronald Reagan, who along with knowledgeable and tough-minded senators like Henry Jackson (who died in 1983), had long understood that lifting sanctions without any concrete evidence of Soviet reform was precisely the wrong way to proceed. Under the policy known as linkage, famously embodied in the so-called Jackson Amendment of 1974, the U.S. government tied economic concessions to real, verifiable reforms.

There were other alleged warmongers. In 1987, I and others in the movement for Soviet Jewry were planning a massive demonstration in Washington timed to coincide with Mr. Gorbachev’s first visit to this country. We were warned not to go ahead. Mr. Gorbachev had become popular in the United States—admired not least for having released the Nobel physicist Andrei Sakharov from exile and some “Prisoners of Zion,” myself included, from imprisonment. Mounting a huge demonstration against him would surely be deemed in poor taste by Americans and received by Mr. Gorbachev and his people as an insult.

Yet far from considering the demonstration an irritant, those welcoming it included the American president, who two months beforehand had assured me of his tacit approval, and Vice President George H.W. Bush, a featured speaker at the event itself. It gave President Reagan an opening: You see, he could explain to Mr. Gorbachev, my people will not allow me to ask anything less from you than to open the iron gates.

Nor did many Soviet citizens perceive the rally as an insult. To the contrary, it gave heart to tens of millions. While Western elites regarded Mr. Gorbachev as a reformer, many in his country knew he was already working to retard or reverse the reforms he himself had initiated.

The U.S., to its eternal credit, held firm. The Americans were not ready to accept a bad ballistic-missile deal like the one proposed by Mr. Gorbachev in Reykjavik. They were not ready to cancel the sanctions. And they continued to support public pressure. Four years later, the evil Soviet empire collapsed without a shot having been fired.

Mr. Sharansky is chairman of the executive of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the author of “The Case for Democracy: The Power of Freedom to Overcome Tyranny and Terror”.

Think Obama’s read it? Doubtful, as Bill Ayers didn’t write it.

Israel’s trying to get their message across:

Amid Netanyahu’s repeated warnings that Israel will not be bound by a “bad” agreement with Iran, former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror said Sunday that Israel has the ability to strike Iran, and is willing to do so alone.

Amidror, in a Financial Times interview obviously timed and placed to send a message to the world, said Israel could halt Iran’s nuclear capability “for a very long time,” and that the air force has conducted “very long-range flights… all around the world” in preparation.

“We are not the United States of America, of course, and believe it or not they have more capabilities than us,” Amidror said. “But we have enough to stop the Iranians for a very long time.

“We are not bluffing,” he said. “We are very serious – preparing ourselves for the possibility that Israel will have to defend itself by itself.”

Amidror said Israel could not, nor would it want to, “count on others to do the job if the others don’t want to do the job.”

Though others are more than willing to help:

The Mossad is working with Saudi officials on contingency plans for a potential attack on Iran in the event that Tehran’s nuclear program is not sufficiently curbed in the deal that may be concluded between Iran and world powers in Geneva this week, The Sunday Times reported.

Both Jerusalem and Riyadh have expressed displeasure at the deal being formulated between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers that they see as doing little to stop Tehran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon.

According to the Times, Riyadh has already given its consent for Israel to use Saudi airspace for a potential attack on Iran.

The paper quoted a diplomatic source as saying the Saudis were willing to assist an Israeli attack by cooperating on the use of drones, rescue helicopters and tanker planes.

If politics makes strange bedfellows, what do survival politics make? Existential politics? Perhaps the only benefit of Obama leading with his behind is that Israel has been forced to find more reliable soulmates… like Saudi Arabia.

UPDATE
Speaking of strange bedfellows:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, today (Sunday, 17 November 2013), accompanied French President Francois Hollande and his partner Valerie Trierweiler on their visit to Yad Vashem. At their later press conference, Prime Minister Netanyahu told President Hollande:

“We just came back from Yad Vashem. I’m always moved when I’m there.

We understand exactly when somebody says that they’re out to destroy you, we’ve learned in our Jewish history to take them seriously. And I think from humanity’s point of view, there should be another lesson. When somebody starts by attacking the Jews, they generally don’t end there, and the fire soon catches and burns many lands.

Now in Yad Vashem, I was moved by the fact that you were so visibly moved, and you said, when you came out, you said that the experience of the Holocaust places a very special responsibility on all of us. François, I want to tell you the burden it places on me, as the Prime Minister of Israel. It is my duty to prevent anyone from credibly threatening or executing another holocaust against the Jewish people. This is my obligation, but I also believe it’s our common obligation for the sake of mankind, for the sake of our common future.”

And John Neville Kerry says “don’t listen to Israel on this”.

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What Happens When We Allow Iran To Build A Nuclear Bomb Or Two?

Saudi Arabia gets some of the same from Pakistan

Another example of the incompetence of the Obama administration.

Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.

While the kingdom’s quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran’s atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.

Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.

Last month Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, “the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring.”

Since 2009, when King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia warned visiting US special envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross that if Iran crossed the threshold, “we will get nuclear weapons”, the kingdom has sent the Americans numerous signals of its intentions.

Etc. More at the BBC link. But I’ll ask the question that has haunted me since 2008, during the campaign: Is Obama stupid or malevolent? I know that his supporters are dopes, but what about him?

– Aggie

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Women Drivers

John Kerry is hardly shy about telling Israel exactly what to do and how to do it.

Suddenly the cat has got the pussy’s tongue:

On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry met with Saudi King Abdullah to try and warm relations between the two countries. “A true relationship between friends is based on sincerity, candor and frankness,” said Prince Saudi al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, after the meeting.

But Kerry certainly wasn’t frank about Saudi Arabia’s brutal treatment of women; according to The New York Times, “Wary of inflaming Saudi sensitivities, Mr. Kerry sidestepped a reporter’s question about whether Saudi women should be allowed to drive, casting the debate as one ‘best left to Saudi Arabia.’”

I guess we all know some women who shouldn’t drive, right Johnny Boy? Huh? Am I right or am I right? Huh? Huh?

And button that top button unless you have a license for that hedgehog peeking out of your shirt.

Un-freakin’-believable. Is the preservation of Jews “best left to Israel”, or no? Hmm?

Flaming a-hole. Grade A douchebag.

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Sheiken to the Core

That was then:

This is now:

Last month, Prince Turki al Faisal, the former Saudi ambassador in Washington, offered his view on the deal Washington struck with Moscow over Syria’s chemical weapons.

“The current charade of international control over Bashar’s chemical arsenal,” the Prince told a London audience, “would be funny if it were not so blatantly perfidious, and designed not only to give Mr. Obama an opportunity to back down, but also to help Assad butcher his people.” It’s a rare occasion when a Saudi royal has the moral standing to lecture an American President, but this was one of them.

“They [the Americans] are going to be upset—and we can live with that,” Saudi security analyst Mustafa Alani told Ms. Knickmeyer last month. “We are learning from our enemies now how to treat the United States.”

Racist raghead sons-of-bitches…I love ‘em!

How come the whole rest of the world has realized what an utter fraud he is, but we—at least our media—haven’t budged an inch from their hagiography?

And you don’t know the half of it!

Prince Bandar has decided to downgrade ties with the CIA in training Syrian rebels, preferring instead to work with the French and Jordanians. It’s a rare day, too, when those two countries make for better security partners than the U.S. But even French Socialists are made of sterner stuff than this Administration.

Riyadh’s dismay has been building for some time. In the aborted build-up to a U.S. strike on Syria, the Saudis asked the U.S. to beef up its naval presence in the Persian Gulf against a potential Iranian counter-strike, only to be told the U.S. didn’t have the ships.

Then there is Iran. Even more than Israel, the Saudis have been pressing the Administration to strike Iran’s nuclear targets while there’s still time. Now Riyadh is realizing that Mr. Obama’s diplomacy is a journey with no destination, that there are no real red lines, and that any foreign adversary can call his bluff. Nobody should be surprised if the Saudis conclude they need nukes of their own—probably purchased from Pakistan—as pre-emptive deterrence against the inevitability of a nuclear Tehran.

The Syrian people have learned the hard way that Mr. Obama does not mean what he says about punishing the use of chemical weapons or supplying moderate rebel factions with promised military equipment. And the Israelis are gradually realizing that their self-advertised “best friend” in the White House will jump into any diplomatic foxhole rather than act in time to stop an Iranian bomb.

America’s exceptionalism, however defined, is Obama’s prime target. Both domestically, in his far-reaching disabling of the economy, and overseas—here, there, everywhere.

As he once said: “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” At this point, I’d take British exceptionalism—but it’s Greek “exceptionalism” I fear we’re heading for.

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They Are the Bomb!

Sorry if this blog gets a little Saudi-centric (three of the last four posts?), but there’s a method to our madness:

The US Pentagon said on Thursday it plans a large arms sale to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates worth $10.8 billion.

The weapons include bunker-buster bombs and air-launched cruise missiles that can hit targets from a long distance, AFP reported. The missiles can hit air defense systems from a safe distance, out of range of anti-aircraft systems.

The weapons will be used on US-made F- 15 and F-16 fighter jets, according to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

The Gulf states are very concerned about Iran and its mission to extend its influence throughout the region. This worry has only increased as Iran gets ever closer to attaining nuclear weapons.

Hmmm.

Hmmm.

And again, hmmm.

We don’t want to bomb Iran to kingdom come. We’ve ordered Israel not to bomb Iran to kingdom come. But there is a very interested party that has been practically begging for Iran to be bombed to kingdom come. And now has the means.

[T]he Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes that the manner, the mechanisms of action and double standards existing in the Security Council prevent it from performing its duties and assuming its responsibilities towards preserving international peace and security as required, leading to the continued disruption of peace and security, the expansion of the injustices against the peoples, the violation of rights and the spread of conflicts and wars around the world.

The failure of the Security Council to make the Middle East a free zone of all weapons of mass destruction, whether because of its inability to subdue the nuclear programs of all countries in the region, without exception, to the international control and inspection or to prevent any country in the region from possessing nuclear weapons, is another irrefutable evidence and proof of its inability to carry out its duties and hold its responsibilities.

Here ya go, SA. You want to “subdue the nuclear programs of all countries in the region, without exception,” here’s your big chance.

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Saudi Arabia Channels Groucho Marx!

They don’t want to belong to any club that would have someone like them for a member:

Saudi Arabia is rejecting its seat on the U.N. Security Council and says the 15-member body is incapable of resolving world conflicts.

The move came just hours after the kingdom was elected as one of the Council’s 10 nonpermanent members.

In a statement carried on Friday by the official Saudi Press Agency, the Saudi Foreign Ministry says the Council has failed in its duties toward Syria.

It says this alleged failure enabled Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime to perpetrate the killings of its people, including with chemical weapons, without facing any deterrents or punishment.

The Ministry also says the Council has not been able to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict over the past decades and has failed to transform the Middle East into a zone free of weapons of mass destruction.

If you get turned down by Saudi Arabia, you seriously need to rethink your way of doing business. The high school quarterback just doesn’t get turned down when he asks the fat girl to the prom. She did not only that, she kneed him in the nuts and dunked his head in the toilet. You go, girl!

Today, for the first time in my adult life, I am proud of Saudi Arabia.

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Your United Nations

Ah, the UN. You can’t make this [bleep] up:

Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Chad, Lithuania and Chile all won coveted seats on the U.N. Security Council Thursday, after there were no contested races for the first time in several years.

Philippe Bolopion, United Nations director for Human Rights Watch, denounced the election of Chad, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

“The prestige of a seat at the world’s foremost diplomatic table should prompt the new members to get their house in order,” he said, according to the AP.

“Chad should put an end to the recruitment of child soldiers, which earned it a spot on the U.N. list of shame. Saudi Arabia should end its crackdown on human rights activists and grant women their full rights,” Mr. Bolopion said, adding that Nigeria should also “end chronic abuse by security forces and better protect civilians in the north.”

Lithuania, however: good to go. Chile, no problem.

Oh, and speaking of the UN. This came across our screens the other day:

Can the United Nations be held legally accountable for its actions in a U.S. court? That question is the crux of a lawsuit filed this week that wants to hold the world organization accountable for the deaths of thousands of Haitians in the 2010 outbreak of cholera that still smolders today.

IJDH is seeking unspecified damages on behalf of eight Haitians—half of them fatal cholera victims—as the nucleus of a much larger class action against the UN, and also demanding that the world organization pay $2.2 billion to complete a still underfunded program of cholera eradication and recovery in the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

[T]he lawsuit could yet prove to be a watershed moment for the world organization, amid a rising tide of human rights and other opinion—some within the UN itself—that it must do something to compensate victims of the cholera disaster, which most medical experts agree was caused by inadequate human sanitation facilities at a UN peacekeeping camp housing Nepalese soldiers who had been exposed to the water-born disease at home.

[T]he UN denied at the time that it had anything to do with the cholera outbreak, according to eyewitnesses made efforts to remove evidence and keep investigators away from its campsite, has continually questioned the scientific validity of any findings that pointed specifically at a UN cause for the disease, wrongly claimed that the soldiers had been tested for cholera before their arrival in Haiti, stonewalled petitioners seeking any form of redress, and, as the IJDH lawsuit points out, taken months and even years to reply to anyone addressing the compensation question.

Maybe they can ask Saudi Arabia to pay off Haiti, now that they’re on the inside.

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Young Girl, Get Out Of… Just Get Out!

You’re much too young, girl:

A backwards society, shoddy economy and Islamist terror – many difficult problems flood the country of Yemen, one of the worst is the phenomenon of young girls forced into marriage.

Just last month an eight year old, identified as Rawan, died of internal bleeding, apparently the result of being forced to have sex with her 40-year-old husband on her wedding night.

Dr. Arwa Rabi’i, a gynecologist from the capital city of Sana’a, talked to the i24news channel and called for raising the marriage age to 18. “When a woman marries before the age of 18, before the uterus and hips are fully developed, there are going to be many gynecological complications such as multiple miscarriages and life-threatening infections,” she said. “We see it every day, not every month or week, every day! A lot of them, 10 or 20 sick girls.”

Belkis Wille, an activist in Human Rights Watch, talking to i24news from Yemen via Skype, said that in rural areas, it is common to see marriage at the ages of eight or nine. Regarding Rawan’s story, she said: “Unfortunately, this specific story is influenced by a lot of rumors; various local authorities are saying the story is not true, while the journalist who broke the story refuses to believe it’s not true.

“Different human rights organizations are taking different position locally, but from every point of view, whether this story is true or not, it’s irrelevant considering that this happening around the country all the time. I’ve personally come across two or three cases I’ve heard from gynecologists of girls who bled to death on their wedding night.”

Yemen may be particularly backward—or it may not. Next time some lefty hyperventilates about kids having to recite the Pledge of Allegiance or the plague of big sodas, tell him at least we don’t marry our 8-year-olds off to dirty old men (Elizabeth Smart notwithstanding).

And we don’t let them drive:

A leading Saudi cleric warned women who drive cars could cause damage to their ovaries and pelvises and that they are at risk of having children born with “clinical problems.”

Sheikh Saleh Al-Loheidan’s widely derided remarks have gone viral as activists claim a website urging women to defy their country’s driving ban has been blocked in Saudi Arabia.

“If a woman drives a car,” Al-Loheidan told Saudi news website sabq.org in an interview, “it could have a negative physiological impact … Medical studies show that it would automatically affect a woman’s ovaries and that it pushes the pelvis upward.”

Explained Al-Loheidan, “We find that for women who continuously drive cars, their children are born with varying degrees of clinical problems.”

“[W]omen who continuously drive cars”? In Saudi? Where? When? Much as I may favor women pushing their pelvises upward (and downward, forward, backward, side-to-side, you name it), this is completely deranged.

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Saudi Poets Write the Darnedest Things!

Best known for the haunting lyricism of “99 Lashes for the Woman Behind the Wheel”, this master wordsmith has a new odic offering:

Following are excerpts from a poem recited by Saudi cleric Muhammad Al-Farraj, which aired on Shada TV (via the Internet) on September 19, 2013.

Muhammad Al-Farraj: this is a poem about the Russians, who, along with the tyrant [Assad], are responsible for every drop of blood spilled. If not for the alliance between the Russians and the Zoroastrians [Iran], that tyrant would not have survived a single moment, Allah willing.

The Levant is my Levant, and the Hijaz is my Hijaz.

This people is my people, so awaken, oh Jihad warrior.

Do you think that they are avenging the day when our heroes dragged those loathsome [Russians] through the mud, making them the laughing-stock of the entire world?

They turned them into decapitated corpses and ridiculous Russians with no behinds.

The Russians are no longer courageous fighters, but are as despicable as arses.

[…]

Adolf Hitler had a blessed way of burning you, oh rotting nation.

He would rain bombs upon your land from planes and from gas jets, spreading a red mist over the frozen Volga River.

How many times have I read, in delight and relief, what he did to you on those tremendous days.

If I were allowed to pray for a non-Muslim, I would have prayed for the soul of the Nazi leader, who barbecued you and the Jews through and through with gasoline.

I guess you have to allow him a fair amount of poetic license, but still. Maybe all poems don’t have to wax rhapsodic about flowers and birds, but “[Hitler] … barbecued you and the Jews through and through with gasoline”? Not exactly Yeats or Frost.

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