Saudi Arabia and the US – a Partnership between the Hedgehog and the Snake | New Eastern Outlook

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12-02-19 08:25:00,

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Saudi Arabia at the beginning of this year is experiencing a number of fairly serious crises, above all in the political, economic and financial areas.

There is the ongoing fallout from the scandalous, and still unresolved, murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Istanbul. Both the USA and Turkey have, quite reasonably, accused Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman of involvement. The position of the Turkish president, Recep Erdoğan, is entirely understandable: in the murky waters of the Saudi crisis he is fishing for an advantage – in the form of financial leverage in his country’s economy. It appears from the silence of the “free” Turkish media that he has succeeded, or almost succeeded, in this.

To tell the truth, as far as concerns Saudi Arabia, with its monarchical dictatorship, there is nothing surprising in that: people who disagree with the Saudi leaders suffer fates ranging from questioning under torture of various kinds to public execution by beheading. But this is the first time that the regime has killed a well-known journalist in a foreign country. In this we can recognize the distinctive signature of the Israeli security forces, Mossad, with whom the Saudi intelligence forces have established efficient contacts, and who do not hesitate to share their skills with those “executioners” who are more experienced, and less troubled by moral concerns, when it comes to international law and human rights.

However, there remains that so-called democracy, the United States of America. Donald Trump, the US President, after careful consideration, chose to dispense with long meaningless speeches about democracy, and instead came out in support of the Saudi Crown Prince. He justified this choice in the simplest, most cynical way possible: if he were to put pressure on Saudi Arabia then the latter might choose to cancel its arms contracts with the US and buy from Russia and China instead. As they say, money talks. In addition, Saudi Arabia is still a faithful ally of the USA in their joint campaign to stifle Iran’s economy, and if Riyadh were to take offence then it would put that “project” at risk.

Everything seemed cut and dried, until the Democratic Party, always looking out for an opportunity to unseat the erratic Donald Trump,

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Saudi Arabia, armaments and conflict in the Middle East | SIPRI

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14-12-18 03:46:00,

Throughout the Middle East, many governments have placed a heavy emphasis on military force as a central tool for pursuing their political agendas and foreign policy aims and for dealing with perceived threats internally and abroad. Many states in the region have used their militaries in violent conflicts that have led to widespread destruction and hampered economic development. Militarization in the region is at a high level, as demonstrated by the fact that several states have steeply increased their arms imports in the past 10 years and that, in 2017, 7 of the 10 countries in the world with the highest military burden were in the Middle East.

This topical backgrounder puts a spotlight on armament developments in Saudi Arabia, the country with the highest levels of military spending and arms imports in the Middle East. It aims to contribute to the efforts by SIPRI to gain a better understanding of the impact of militarization on security, conflict, peace and development in the region.

Saudi Arabia’s military involvement in conflicts in the Middle East

Since the spring of 2015, Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of states in a military intervention against rebel forces in Yemen. The intervention has involved airstrikes, ground operations and an aerial and naval blockade of Yemen. Instead of a quick victory or resolution to the conflict, fighting has continued and the warring parties have been accused of violations of international humanitarian law. United Nations bodies and non-governmental organizations have accused Saudi Arabia of widespread and systematic attacks on civilian targets. The conflict in Yemen has caused tens of thousands of casualties and the situation there is currently considered to be the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. The fighting—and the blockade in particular—has disrupted imports of food, fuel and medical supplies.

Saudi Arabia is also militarily involved in other conflicts—such as providing support for rebel groups in Syria, attempting to use military assistance to gain influence in Lebanon and fighting Shiite minority groups in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. Although the various conflicts throughout the Middle East are complex, it is widely believed that they can be at least partly explained by regional power struggles (such as those between Saudi Arabia and Iran,

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Saudi Arabia and the USA: a Close Alliance of “Democratic” Nations | New Eastern Outlook

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06-12-18 08:30:00,

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The President of the “most democratic nation on Earth”, as the several journalists closely allied to the US call Donald Trump, has given us an impressive and easily comprehensible lesson on American democracy in action.

In an official statement from the White House, the President asserted his intention not to upset the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the USA because of the assassination of some Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  Afterwards, US senators openly accused Trump of putting Saudi Arabia “first” with his decision not to take any punitive measures against the kingdom or Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud for the brutal murder of the journalist. The President’s decision is “yet another fawning prostration to a foreign authoritarian” regime tweeted the Democratic senator Tim Kaine. “It’s only a matter of time until actions like this by the President directly threaten our security,” added the senator.

It is common knowledge that in the statement, released by the White House, Donald Trump said the US intends to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia, although “it could very well be” that the Crown Prince had knowledge of the journalist’s murder. He added that he had no intention of cancelling military contracts with the kingdom, stating “If we foolishly cancel these contracts, Russia and China would be the enormous beneficiaries”.

Donald Trump’s next statement immediately drew journalists’ attention. In his announcement, he highlighted that “It could very well be that the Crown Prince had knowledge of this tragic event – maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!”.

What is clear, at this stage, is that Donald Trump can no longer handle the enormous psychological and physical strain he has been experiencing during the last two years of his presidency. He keeps replacing his cabinet staff in bouts of hysteria, insulting them publicly, and raising his voice at his foreign allies and friends. Nowadays, global media outlets are discussing Trump’s rude telephone conversation with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Theresa May. After he publicly rebuked her, the recording of his conversation with Theresa May was widely circulated by the media. This is yet another striking example of American tolerance and democracy.

It is worth mentioning that the “great Democrat” made his comments about Saudi Arabia in public,

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Stop being ‘Saudi Arabia’s b*tch,’ Tulsi Gabbard tells Trump, critics pounce

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22-11-18 10:15:00,

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) has mocked US President Donald Trump’s commitment to remaining allied with Riyadh in the wake of journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s death, calling the president “Saudi Arabia’s b*tch.”

The anti-interventionist congresswoman tweeted the scathing insult following an earlier statement from Trump, in which he said that the United States would stand by its Saudi allies despite conclusions from the CIA that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing in October.

Trump admitted that it “could very well” be that the crown prince knew of plans to murder Khashoggi, but unashamedly cited weapons contracts with arms manufactures Lockheed Martin and Raytheon as a reason not to disturb the long-standing alliance between the two countries.

On Wednesday, Gabbard tweeted that “being Saudi Arabia’s b*tch” is not the kind of “America First” foreign policy that Trump promised during his presidential campaign.

Gabbard, who is an Iraq War veteran herself, opposes the knee-jerk use of the US military in foreign conflicts. She clashed with former president Barack Obama on his Syria policy, suggesting that the US and its allies were pushing for regime change in the country but ignoring the potential consequences. She has also spoken out against the US arming anti-government fighters in Syria, many of whom turned out to be jihadist extremists.

Gabbard also visited Syria herself on a private fact-finding mission, during which she met Syrian President Bashar Assad without informing top Democrats. After the trip, she was roundly denounced by members of both parties as an “Assad apologist” for daring to break bipartisan ranks on interventionist US foreign policy.

That exact same line criticism was on display on Wednesday as well, as pundits and politicians – even those routinely critical of Trump – lit into Gabbard over her tweet.

And how would you describe your fondness for Assad? Asking for the 500,000 Syrians he murdered… including the 50,000 children who gasped their last breath because of him. https://t.co/5Ezre1lWwO

— Adam Kinzinger (@RepKinzinger) November 21, 2018

It wasn’t all condemnations, however, as many in the anti-interventionist camp welcomed Gabbard’s straight-talking.

While the neocon grifters and liberal interventionists who have long enabled Saudi crimes hope for MBS to be replaced with a less impulsive ruler,

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Saudi Arabia Purchased Israel’s Iron Dome Defense System: Controversial Report

Saudi Arabia Purchased Israel’s Iron Dome Defense System: Controversial Report

15-09-18 04:21:00,

A controversial report detailing that Saudi Arabia has purchased Israeli’s Iron Dome defense system went viral this week after a prominent Arabic news site made the claim based on diplomatic sources.

Al-Khaleej Online, which is based in the UK and Persian Gulf, published the bombshell report on Wednesday, which alleged that the first Iron Dome missile battery is slated to be transferred to Saudi Arabia before the end of the year in December. 

A ship-based Iron Dome missile defense system being tested, via the Israeli Defense Forces

As Israel and Saudi Arabia are still longtime “official enemies” in the eyes of much of the Middle East public despite keeping increasingly close intelligence relations out of a shared desire to thwart Iran in the region, the story immediately stirred deep controversy, prompting Israeli officials to issue a prompt denial. 

“We deny the existence of a deal to sell Iron Dome to Saudi Arabia,” Israel’s Defense Ministry said in an emailed statement to the Times of IsraelIsraeli officials were responding to the story sweeping national media on the heels of the claims taking Arabic social media by storm. 

And further controversial is that the missile transfer, said to be in “excess of tens of millions of dollars,” reportedly included the mediation of the United States.

Saudi Arabia, for its part, has been mum on the controversy, which is not actually the first time the allegation has been made. Riyadh and Tel Aviv have reportedly developed closer ties in the midst of both Syrian and Yemeni wars, where they fear growing Iranian influence. 

Iron Dome missiles positioned in Israel, via Defense Blog

Amidst these closer intelligence and defense relations as a result of the Shia Houthi-led rebellion in Yemen, the two were said to be in prior talks concerning the advanced Iron Dome system.

According to Newsweek:

In May 2015, just two months after Saudi Arabia and allies launched their campaign against the Zaidi Shiite Muslim Houthis in Yemen, U.K.-based Arabic-language Rai al-Youm reported on an alleged Israeli offer to sell the Iron Dome to Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of talks hosted by the U.S.

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