Tag: House of Saud

I Firmly Believe That If You Can’t Fool All of the People All of the Time You Should Start Breeding Them for Stupidity*

I think that we have determined a method to Valdimir Putin’s various machinations.

He is determined to ensure that blithering idiots and delusional megalomaniacs take power in countries he considers a crucial to Russian interests:

Russia warned the U.S. against any effort to influence the royal succession in Saudi Arabia, offering its support to embattled Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who’s under continuing pressure over the killing of a government critic.

President Vladimir Putin’s envoy to the Middle East said Prince Mohammed has every right to inherit the throne when the ailing 82-year-old King Salman dies.

“Of course we are against interference. The Saudi people and leadership must decide such questions themselves,” Mikhail Bogdanov, who is also deputy foreign minister, said in an interview in Moscow on Tuesday. “The King made a decision and I can’t even imagine on what grounds someone in America will interfere in such an issue and think about who should rule Saudi Arabia, now or in the future. This is a Saudi matter.”

When you look at the various allegations of meddling by Putin, allegations that he supported Trump,. Erdoğan, le Pen, Modi, and now MBS.

It makes his life a lot easier when people that you have to deal with are stupid, monomaniacal,  and/or delusional.

*President Adam Weisshaupt (from Dave Sim’s Cerebus)

Now We Know Why Trump Tried to Keep Haspel Away From Congress

Unlike SecDef Mattis and Secretary of State Pompeo, who have studiously avoided looking at the intelligence data so that they could express doubt about the accusations that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, CIA Director Gina Haspel has to look at the intelligence.

It’s job one for the DCIA.

So, now that she has briefed Senators on what she knows, and while they cannot discuss the specific intelligence, they have said that MBS guilty as hell:

Senators emerged from an unusual closed-door briefing with the CIA director on Tuesday and accused the Saudi crown prince of complicity in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In some of their strongest statements to date, lawmakers said evidence presented by the U.S. spy agency overwhelmingly pointed to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s involvement in the assassination.

“There’s not a smoking gun — there’s a smoking saw,” said Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), referring to the bone saw that investigators believe was used to dismember Khashoggi after he was killed Oct. 2 by a team of Saudi agents inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul.

Armed with classified details provided by President Trump’s handpicked CIA director, Gina Haspel, senators shredded the arguments put forward by senior administration officials who had earlier insisted that the evidence of Mohammed’s alleged role was inconclusive.

………“If the crown prince went in front of a jury, he would be convicted in 30 minutes,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Haspel, who had declined to appear alongside Mattis and Pompeo at a briefing on U.S.-Saudi policy for the full Senate last week, was joined by agency personnel and gave what lawmakers described as a compelling and decisive presentation of the evidence that the CIA has analyzed since Khashoggi, a Washington Post contributing columnist, was killed.


Graham leveled sharp criticism at Pompeo and Mattis, saying he thought they were “following the lead of the president.” He called them “good soldiers.” But, Graham added, one would “have to be willfully blind not to come to the conclusion” that Mohammed was “intricately involved in the demise of Mr. Khashoggi.”

“It is zero chance, zero, that this happened in such an organized fashion without the crown prince,” Graham said.

Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) said that “it would defy logic to think” that someone other than Mohammed was responsible, noting that members of the prince’s own royal guard are believed to have been part of the team that killed Khashoggi.

The only question now is whether Trump is protecting his, or Jared Kushner’s business interests in Saudi Arabia.

What it Looks Like When You Have a Petulant Child Running Your Country

The path of the proposed canal

I do not a reason for this canal beyond spite

No, this is not another Trump story, this about how Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud (MBS) is literally planning to cut Bahrain off from the rest of the Arabian peninsula:

The Saudi government appears to be close to announcing the winner of a tender to dig a canal along the border with Qatar, effectively transforming the peninsula nation into an island.

The tender process for the ambitious project to dig a 60-kilometre navigable canal closed on June 25 with Saudi media reporting at the time that the results would be announced in September.

A senior government official signalled on Friday that the final approvals for the project may be in the works.

“I am eagerly awaiting details on the implementation of the Salwa island project, a great, historic project that will change the geography of the region,” Saud Al Qahtani, a senior adviser to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, said on Twitter.

Seriously, there is no justification for this canal beyond isolating Qatar. 

A boat from Bahrain to Abu Dabi around the peninsula is 275 miles, through the canal it is over 300 miles, and the House of Saud is planning to put a nuclear waste dump on the Qatar side of the canal.

Even by the standards of the medieval and inbred descendents of Ibn Saud, this MBS is a train wreck.

This is a Change in Rhetoric, not a Change in Policy

You have likely heard about Donald Trump’s embrace of the House in response to the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

I believe that it is a contemptible statement, but that it does not constitute a change in policy.

The White House has had its tongue so far up the Saudi ass that it’s been tasting tonsils for over 20 years.

Barack Obama is the one who initially gave the full throated support of the Saudi brutal war on Yemen.

The Bush (II) administration aggressively suppressed connections between the House of Saud and the 911 hijackers.

Clinton bent over backwards to avoid facing the fact that, as became clear after things like the Khobar Towers bombing, that the Saudi state security apparatus was hopelessly compromised.

And then there’s Bush (I) who considered Prince Bandar bin Sultan to almost be a member of his family.

Trump’s behavior is completely within the mainstream of the past 35+ years of American foreign policy.

The only difference is that Trump is too stupid, and too impulsive, not to lie about it.

Dead “Man” Walking

I am not stating that  Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is not a human being, I am saying that he is an immature spoiled child who lacks the maturity to be a fry-cook, much less the de-facto absolute ruler of 33 million people

That’s the first thing I thought when I read that the CIA had issued a report where they concluded that MBS had personally ordered the hit on Jamal Khashoggi.  (As an aside, this would NEVER would have happened if John Brennan was still running the CIA, because he’s been a tool of the House of Saud since his day as a CIA station chief in Riyadh.)

The CIA has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul last month, contradicting the Saudi government’s claims that he was not involved in the killing, according to people familiar with the matter.

The CIA’s assessment, in which officials have said they have high confidence, is the most definitive to date linking Mohammed to the operation and complicates the Trump administration’s efforts to preserve its relationship with a close ally. A team of 15 Saudi agents flew to Istanbul on government aircraft in October and killed Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate, where he had come to pick up documents that he needed for his planned marriage to a Turkish woman.

In reaching its conclusions, the CIA examined multiple sources of intelligence, including a phone call that the prince’s brother Khalid bin Salman, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, had with Khashoggi, according to the people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence. Khalid told Khashoggi, a contributing columnist to The Washington Post, that he should go to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to retrieve the documents and gave him assurances that it would be safe to do so.

It is not clear if Khalid knew that Khashoggi would be killed, but he made the call at his brother’s direction, according to the people familiar with the call, which was intercepted by U.S. intelligence.

In related news, it appears that MBS threw a tantrum when presented with a cease-fire plan for Yemen:

Multiple sources tell CNN that a much-anticipated United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cessation of hostilities in Yemen and for Saudi Arabia to allow humanitarian aid to reach millions of starving people was “stalled” this week after the resolution’s sponsor, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, met face-to-face with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Two sources said the crown prince “threw a fit” about the resolution. Two other sources with knowledge of the discussion didn’t go so far as to describe the crown prince as angry, though they didn’t deny he was annoyed.

Seriously,  what the f%$# is wrong with this guy?

This is what end-stage royal inbreeding looks like.

Turkey Feels Left Out, so Trump Wants to Send Someone to Ankara for the Turks to Murder

It appears that Trump is in the thrall of the House of Saud just as much as his 3-4 predecessors:

The White House is looking for ways to remove an enemy of Turkish President Recep Erdogan from the U.S. in order to placate Turkey over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to two senior U.S. officials and two other people briefed on the requests.

Trump administration officials last month asked federal law enforcement agencies to examine legal ways of removing exiled Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen in an attempt to persuade Erdogan to ease pressure on the Saudi government, the four sources said.

The effort includes directives to the Justice Department and FBI that officials reopen Turkey’s case for his extradition, as well as a request to the Homeland Security Department for information about his legal status, the four people said.


“At first there were eye rolls, but once they realized it was a serious request, the career guys were furious,” said a senior U.S. official involved in the process.


The secret effort to resolve one of the leading tensions in U.S.-Turkey relations — Gulen’s residency in the U.S. — provides a window into how President Donald Trump is trying to navigate hostility between two key allies after Saudi officials murdered Khashoggi on Oct. 2 at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul.

It suggests the White House could be looking for ways to contain Erdogan’s ire over the murder while preserving Trump’s close alliance with Saudi Arabia’s controversial de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.


Erdogan, meanwhile, has kept the pressure up by leaking pieces of evidence and repeatedly speaking out to accuse Prince Mohammed of orchestrating the murder of Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and outspoken critic of the Saudi leadership.


Erdogan has for years demanded the U.S. send Gulen back to Turkey. The Turkish leader accuses the elderly cleric of being a terrorist who was behind a failed coup against Erdogan’s government in 2016. After the coup attempt, Ankara made a formal request to the U.S. for Gulen’s extradition.


Gulen, who has lived in self-imposed exile in the U.S. for almost two decades, denies any involvement in the failed coup in Turkey in 2016. A one-time ally of Erdogan, he’s become an influential cleric with a wide network of followers known as “Gulenistas.” His movement includes a host of nonprofit organizations, businesses and schools, in the U.S., as well as South Africa.

So, Erdogon is using the US’s desperation to make the uproar about Saudi misdeeds go away to secury policy concessions.

So not a surprise, and it is not a deviation from prior US foreign policy, but it does show that the US policy with regard to both Turkey and the House of Saud are miserable failures.

Another Reason to Hate Netanyahu

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attempted to persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to start a conflict with Hamas in Gaza as part of a plan to divert attention from the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, sources inside Saudi Arabia have told Middle East Eye.

A war in Gaza was among a range of measures and scenarios proposed by an emergency task force set up to counter increasingly damaging leaks about Khashoggi’s murder coming from Turkish authorities, according to sources with knowledge of the group’s activities.

The task force, which is composed of officials from the royal court, the foreign and defence ministries, and the intelligence service, briefs the the crown prince every six hours, MEE was told.

It advised bin Salman that a war in Gaza would distract Trump’s attention and refocus Washington’s attention on the role Saudi Arabia plays in bolstering Israeli strategic interests.

The fact that this plan was even discussed says a lot about the relationship between the Israeli PM and the prodigal son of the House of Saud says a lot about the dysfunction of the current Israeli leadership.

There’s Pathetic, and There’s ………

So clueless that Donald Trump mocks you for being an incompetent despot:

President Trump on Tuesday ramped up his rhetoric against Saudi Arabia over the death of Jamal Khashoggi, calling the kingdom’s efforts to hide the journalist’s killing the “worst cover-up ever.”

“They had a very bad original concept, it was carried out poorly and the cover-up was the worst in the history of cover-ups,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “They had the worst cover-up ever.”

We truly live in Bizarro world.


Here’s @CNN’s footage of a Saudi operative wearing Jamal Khashoggi’s clothes. This is important because it helps explain why, on Oct.3, the Saudi government confidently claimed Jamal left the consulate shortly after he entered it. https://t.co/UyeXvDDtP2

— Margherita Stancati (@margheritamvs) October 22, 2018

This is not, as the spies say the pinnacle of trade-craft here.

15 minutes after they murder him and dismember him, they have already stripped off his clothes and and have a half-assed look alike wandering around Istanbul in an attempt to show that he’s really alive.

I really do not know how the House of Saud can manage to eat a pretzel without choking to death.

Lies. Damned Lies, and McKinsey & Co.

It seems not that the Crown Prince has ordered a rich journalist murdered and dismembered, McKinsey & Co is “Horrified” that their work for the House of Saud might have been used in abusive ways.

We know what the House of Saud is, and we know what they do: They are incompetent and corrupt royals who make the Hapsburgs look like Little Orphan Annie.

Your hand wringing after the fact will disabuse no one of your complicity in their regime:

McKinsey & Co. said it’s “horrified” that a report it prepared to measure public perception of Saudi Arabia’s policies may have been used by the kingdom to silence dissidents.

The consulting firm responded on Twitter to a New York Times article that detailed a report in which it identified several people driving conversations on Twitter. Those people were later arrested or had their social-media accounts shut down.

In a nine-page report, the consulting firm said responses to the country’s economic policies received twice as much coverage on Twitter than in the country’s traditional news media, and that negative sentiment was more common than positive statements on social media. The document was a brief overview of social-media usage and meant for internal use, McKinsey said.

The New York-based firm said it wasn’t working in tandem with the Saudi government, and that when it does work with governments, the company “has not and never would engage in any work that seeks to target individuals based on their views,” according to a statement released on Saturday night. “We are horrified by the possibility, however remote, that it could have been misused in any way,” the statement said. “At this point, we have seen no evidence to suggest that it was misused, but we are urgently investigating how and with whom the document was shared.”

Yeah, and Dick Cheney is looking for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Please, don’t treat us as idiots.

A Fist Fight, and then Dismemberment? Seriously?

I am referring, of course, to the (now confirmed) death of Jamal Khashoggi.

Gee, a fistfight with Khashoggi single-handedly taking on a 15 person hit squad, which included a pathologists who brought a bone saw, “Just in case.”

Sound fishy to you?  It does to me too, but Donald Trump is just fine with this story:

After two weeks of shifting stories, Saudi Arabia said Saturday that its agents strangled Jamal Khashoggi, a dissident journalist, after a fistfight inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul and that 18 men had been arrested in the case.

Those arrested included 15 men who were sent to confront Mr. Khashoggi, plus one driver and two consular staff, a Saudi official said.

State media reported that Saud al-Qahtani, a close aide to the crown prince, had been dismissed, along with Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials. The Saudi official said General Asiri had organized the operation and that Mr. Qahtani had known about it and contributed to the aggressive environment that allowed it to escalate into violence.

President Trump on Friday night said that Saudi Arabia’s acknowledgment of the death and its announcement of arrests were “good first steps” but said he would consider “some form of sanction” in retaliation.

Here is their narrative:

But the order to return Mr. Khashoggi to the kingdom was misinterpreted as it made its way down the chain of command, the official said, and a confrontation ensued as soon as Mr. Khashoggi saw the men. He tried to flee, the men stopped him, punches were thrown, Mr. Khashoggi screamed and one of the men put him in a chokehold, strangling him to death, the official said.

“The interaction in the room didn’t last very long at all,” the official said.

The team then gave the body to a local collaborator to dispose of, meaning that they do not know where it ended up, and returned to the kingdom, the official said.

Note some facts:

  • Killing someone in a choke hold typically takes about 5 minutes.
  • They smuggled the body out of the consulate in pieces.
  • “The Turks had said the body had been disassembled with a bone saw by an autopsy specialist flown in specifically for that purpose and probably carried out of the consulate in large suitcases.”

The brazenness of this lie would have Samuel L. Jackson going full Jules Winnfield.

Our Friends in Riyadh

It appears that agents of the House of Saud murded dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in their consulate in Istanbul, dismembered him, and took him out of the country in diplomatic pouches:

Top Turkish security officials have concluded that the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was assassinated in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on orders from the highest levels of the royal court, a senior official said Tuesday.

The official described a quick and complex operation in which Mr. Khashoggi was killed within two hours of his arrival at the consulate by a team of Saudi agents, who dismembered his body with a bone saw they brought for the purpose.

“It is like ‘Pulp Fiction,’” the official said.

Saudi officials, including Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, have denied the allegations, insisting that Mr. Khashoggi left the consulate freely shortly after he arrived. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey has demanded that the Saudis provide evidence proving their claim.


The security establishment concluded that Mr. Khashoggi’s killing was directed from the top because only the most senior Saudi leaders could order an operation of such scale and complexity, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to disclose confidential briefings.

Fifteen Saudi agents had arrived on two charter flights last Tuesday, the day Mr. Khashoggi disappeared, the official said.

All 15 left just a few hours later, and Turkey has now identified the roles that most or all of them held in the Saudi government or security services, the official said. One was an autopsy expert, presumably there to help dismember the body, the official said.


Security camera footage showed Mr. Khashoggi entering the consulate shortly after 1 p.m. that day. Ms. Cengiz, his fiancée, waited outside, and she has said he never emerged.

Two and a half hours after he entered the facility, six vehicles with diplomatic license plates pulled out, carrying 15 Saudi officials and intelligence officers, Sabah reported.

Two other vehicles, including a black Mercedes Vito van with darkened windows, went from the consulate to the consul’s residence about 200 yards away. Turkish employees of the residence had unexpectedly been told not to report for work that day, the newspaper said.

This is completely nuts, but it’s par for the course for Mohammad bin Salman.

The 33-year-old boy king-in-all-but-name has clearly never ever had anyone ever say, “No” to him, and he is off the deep end in a way that would have Czar Nicholas II saying, “Dude, you are letting this whole absolute monarch thing go to your head.”

We are in for a bumpy ride on the Arabian peninsula.

Tru Dat

I know that we are living in Bizarro world when Donald Trump is telling the truth.

In this case, he told the King of Saudi Arabia that they were dependent on the US for their continued survival.

Taking down the corrupt creeps in the House of Saud, even rhetorically, is a good thing:

President Donald Trump made an undiplomatic remark about close ally Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, saying he warned Saudi Arabia’s King Salman he would not last in power “for two weeks” without the backing of the U.S. military.

“We protect Saudi Arabia. Would you say they’re rich. And I love the King, King Salman. But I said ‘King — we’re protecting you — you might not be there for two weeks without us — you have to pay for your military,'” Trump said to cheers at a rally in Southaven, Mississippi.

I don’t know if  he actually said this to representatives of the House of Saud, Trump has a long history of blowing smoke up people’s asses, but the statement is pretty accurate with regard to the to the real value of the few thousand thieves who claim to be princes.

You Remember the Story of the Boy Who Cried Wolf?

After about a year and a half of a noun, a verb, and Vladimir Putin, we now have some pretty good evidence that Donald Trump and his relatives have been selling foreign policy.

We’re talking an explicit quid pro quo, but you’ll hear very little about this because it all fades into the miasma that is Trump’s ethical lapses.

In the process of pursuing Vladimir Putin as if he were Ernst Stavro Blofeld, people have ignored the fact that Trump is deeply and profoundly corrupt, and always has been:

Today marks the 16-month anniversary of Donald Trump becoming the 45th president of the United States, and nowhere has our unlikeliest commander-in-chief placed a greater stamp on America’s place in the world than his dramatic — and sometimes arbitrary and capricious, or so it seems — shifts in foreign policy. None of these seismic changes seemed more baffling than last spring’s abrupt sellout of the Persian Gulf state of Qatar — a longtime ally where the U.S. Air Force Central Command and its 10,000 American troops are now based.


Trump stunned his own foreign policy team — including then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defense Secretary James Mattis — when he tweeted that Qatar is a sponsor of terrorism and seemingly endorsed an economic and political blockage of the tiny, oil-rich nation organized and led by two powerful neighbors, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, or UAE.


How to make sense of a 180-degree shift in policy that seemed so counter to U.S. interests in the region? A few months later, people who suspect the worst about Trump and his minions learned a possible motive that was almost too cynical to comprehend. Not long before Team Trump switched gears on Qatar, key officials from the emirate had met with Charles Kushner — father of Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared, who’s in charge of Trump’s Middle East portfolio — to discuss a massive Qatar-funded bailout of 666 Fifth Ave., the debt-laden Manhattan skyscraper that was threatening to sink the Kushner family real estate empire. But the Qataris rejected the deal — just weeks before the policy about-face. Whatever actually happened, the appearance was simply awful. 

No, the reality is simply awful.

It also seems not to have been the full story. This weekend, the New York Times published a stunning report about a plan floated by a longtime emissary for the Saudis and the UAE in early August 2016, when Trump had just grabbed the GOP nomination but faced an uphill campaign against Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr., aide Stephen Miller and Erik Prince, founder of the notorious mercenary outfit once know as Blackwater, listened intently as the emissary offered Team Trump millions of dollars in assistance, including a covert social-media campaign, to help Trump win that would be run by a former Israeli spy who specializes in psychological warfare, or psywar.

“The emissary, George Nader, told Donald Trump Jr. that the princes who led Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were eager to help his father win election as president,” the Times reported. Some key elements — exactly who was behind the plan, and what parts, if any, were carried out — remain murky.

I should mention here that Nader is a convicted felon, having served multiple sentences for child porn and sexual child abuse.  (As Anna Russell would say, “I’m not making this up, you know.”)

And the corruption is pretty explicit:

As long as Trump and Jared Kushner continue to hold onto their business holdings while leading U.S. foreign policy, this cloud will remain. Did Trump voice support last week for ending American sanctions on the Chinese telecom company ZTE Corp. because it would benefit their U.S. subcontractors, or because a Chinese fund is investing $500 million in an Indonesia theme park that should dramatically boost the value of a related Trump Organization development? Then there’s the matter of Qatar, because in recent months it has become clear that the Gulf state is again in the Trump administration’s good graces, and the strategic alliance has been renewed as if last spring’s blowup never happened. Is that because it’s a more sensible policy — or is it because a firm called Brookfield Asset Management that is backed heavily by Qatari funds is near a deal to bail out Kushner’s 666 Fifth Ave? Is it any wonder that so many longtime key allies of the United States wonder if they can trust Trump’s America?

I note that Trump was thoroughly corrupt, and deeply mobbed up last year, but, instead of looking at the stuff that blatantly obvious, we have discussions of pee tapes.

I Do Not Know What to Make of This, but It Seems Significant

There is some sort of seriously f%$#ed up dynastic sh%$ going on inside of the house of Saud:

Saudi Arabia announced the arrest on Saturday night of the prominent billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, plus at least 10 other princes, four ministers and tens of former ministers.

The announcement of the arrests was made over Al Arabiya, the Saudi-owned satellite network whose broadcasts are officially approved. Prince Alwaleed’s arrest is sure to send shock waves both through the kingdom and the world’s major financial centers.

He controls the investment firm Kingdom Holding and is one of the world’s richest men, owning or having owned major stakes in 21st Century Fox, Citigroup, Apple, Twitter and many other well-known companies. The prince also controls satellite television networks watched across the Arab world.

The sweeping campaign of arrests appears to be the latest move to consolidate the power of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the favorite son and top adviser of King Salman.

At 32, the crown prince is already the dominant voice in Saudi military, foreign, economic and social policies, stirring murmurs of discontent in the royal family that he has amassed too much personal power, and at a remarkably young age.

The king had decreed the creation of a powerful new anti-corruption committee, headed by the crown prince, only hours before the committee ordered the arrests.

The machinations of the House of Saud are a bag full of cats, but I find this behavior unusual, even by the standards of Riyadh.

Normally, when power dynamics shift, you find people quietly removed from their positions, and any arrests or detentions are on the down-low.  Public notice mass detentions of the royals are unprecedented.

Because of this, I do not think that this is coming from a position of strength.

Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) policy initiatives have not gone well, the Yemen operation is a hole sucking resources and diplomatic credibility, and the conflict with Qatar is not turning out as expected, and I think there has been increasing push-back from elements of the royal family against the meteoric rise of MBS.

What this means in the longer term for Saudi Arabia is unclear to me, but I think that there are likely to be some major shifts in the monarchy.

This could be a new path forward, or it could be rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

My money is on the the latter, but I’m an optimist.


In response to threats and a blockade led by the House of Saud, Qatar has reopened full diplomatic relations with Iran:

Qatar said Thursday that it has restored diplomatic relations with Iran, marking a further break with Arab nations that have closed ranks against Qatar for its links to Islamist groups and others perceived as regional threats.

The decision ignores demands by Qatar’s neighbors — led by Saudi Arabia — to limit ties with Tehran and threatens to deepen the region’s worst diplomatic crisis in decades, which has complicated Washington’s policies in the Middle East.

Qatar hosts U.S. warplanes at a major air base and serves as a logistical hub for Pentagon operations.

“The State of Qatar expressed its aspiration to strengthen bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran in all fields,” Qatar’s foreign ministry said in a statement.

The brief statement made no mention of the tensions that have roiled the Persian Gulf region since June, when Saudi Arabia and three other Arab nations severed ties with Qatar. The Arab bloc shut down borders, airspace and shipping lanes after accusing the tiny, energy-rich nation of backing terrorism because of ties with groups such as Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Qatar also has come under pressure to close down the powerful pan-Arab broadcaster Al Jazeera, which is based in the Qatari capital, Doha.

Qatar has denied the allegations and has weathered the boycott, not least by turning to Iran and Turkey for economic and military assistance.

Qatar recalled its ambassador from Tehran in early 2016 to show solidarity with Saudi Arabia after protesters ransacked the kingdom’s embassy in Tehran and a consulate in the city of Mashhad. The attacks were triggered by Riyadh’s execution of a well-known Shiite Muslim cleric, and prompted Saudi Arabia to sever ties with Iran after accusing it of not protecting its missions.

When you look at the Saudi initiatives that have come to the fore since Mohammed bin Salman first rose to prominence in the House of Saud, the pointless and self-destructive confrontation with Qatar is only the latest clusterf%$#, it has been a very inauspicious start for the youngster.

I’ve always said that the House of Saud would fall sooner rather than later, and that the only choice was whether they fell like the House of Windsor (British Royals), or like the House of Romanov (the Russian Czars).

They seem determined to going the Romanov route.