RSS

Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

Bloated bodies in the Nile show Sudan protesters were right to fear the arrival of Saudi and UAE money

The Sudanese democracy demonstrators were the first to protest at Saudi Arabia’s interference in their revolution. We all knew that the Saudis and the Emiratis had been funnelling millions of dollars into the regime of Omar al-Bashir, wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court and now chucked out of power by a Sisi-like military cabal. But it was the sit-in protesters who first thought up the slogan: “We do not want Saudi aid even if we have to eat beans and falafel!”

It was shouted, of course, along with the more familiar chants of ‘revolution of the people”.

Few noticed this little development – save, to give it credit, The Washington Post – but the dozens of waterlogged bodies being dragged from the Nile should focus our attention on the support which the Emiratis and especially the Saudis are now lavishing upon the pseudo-transitional military government in Sudan.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/sudan-saudi-arabia-egypt-abdul-fattah-al-burhan-hemeti-dagolo-nile-a8952321.html

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 11, 2019 in Middle East

 

Tags: , , ,

While the world watches Donald Trump, it’s missing what’s really going on with US foreign policy

Our leaders know how to bang the war drums and, by and large, we go along with them. The US threatens Iran with war – so will Iran close the Strait of Hormuz and attack American warships in the Gulf? Israel strikes Iranian targets in Syria after rockets fall on Golan – so does an Arab-Israeli conflict loom closer than at any time since the 1973 conflict? Jared Kushner plans to reveal Trump’s “deal of the century” for peace in the Middle East – but is it dead in the water?

Meanwhile the real stories get pushed down the page – or “to the back of the book”, as we journalists used to say.

Take Donald Trump’s desire to furnish Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with billions of dollars of extra weapons so that they can increase the ferocity of their war in Yemen against the Houthis – whose support from Iran, such as it is, prompts much of the international abuse against the Islamic Republic. French intelligence officers in Washington have apparently discovered that this is no routine request from Riyadh but a desperate appeal to Washington, because so promiscuous has been the Saudis’ use of US munitions against Houthi rebels (and civilians, hospitals, aid centres, schools and wedding parties) that they are running out of bombs, guided and unguided missiles, drone parts and other “precision” arms to be used on one of the poorest countries in the world.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/trump-saudi-arabia-us-air-strikes-jordan-yemen-afghanistan-bolton-a8946726.html

 
1 Comment

Posted by on June 11, 2019 in Middle East, North America, Asia

 

Tags: , , ,

The mysterious ‘sabotage’ of Saudi oil tankers is a dangerous moment in Trump’s pumped up feud with Iran

Saudi Arabia’s claim that two of its oil tankers have been sabotaged off the coast of the UAE is vague in detail – but could create a crisis that spins out of control and into military action.

Any attack on shipping in or close to the Strait of Hormuz, the 30-mile wide channel at the entrance to the Gulf, is always serious because it is the most important choke point for the international oil trade.

A significant armed action by the US or its allies against Iran would likely provoke Iranian retaliation in the Gulf and elsewhere in the region. Although the US is militarily superior to Iran by a wide margin, the Iranians as a last resort could fire rockets or otherwise attack Saudi and UAE oil facilities. Such apocalyptic events are unlikely – but powerful figures in Washington, such as the national security adviser John Bolton and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, appear prepared to take the risk of a war breaking out.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 14, 2019 in Middle East, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , ,

It’s high time to hold Saudi Arabia to account on women’s rights

Today, Saudi Arabia once again committed to abolishing the male guardianship system.

In a statement before the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva, the Saudi authorities responded to the recommendations made as part of its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in November 2018. Among the recommendations accepted by the state were those of 18 countries calling for the abolition of the male guardianship system.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/high-time-hold-saudi-arabia-account-women-rights-190314092049635.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 27, 2019 in Middle East

 

Tags:

Patrons of Peace and Conflict

Suakin sits along Sudan’s Red Sea coast, a small grouping of faded buildings and historical ruins containing a proud fishing community. The town is a coastal village and the main attraction is the ancient ruins—some dating back to the fifteenth century—as well as the outer shell of a British fort that persists as a symbol of Sudan’s colonial past. In its prime, Suakin was a key transit point for African Muslims on the pilgrimage to Mecca, but with the advent of air travel the town has fallen from prominence, an abandonment only made worse by the collapse of Sudan’s tourist industry. 

Yet in January 2018, Suakin was at the center of a rapid deterioration of diplomatic relations between Sudan and its northern neighbor Egypt, triggering talk of possible war between the two nations. In December 2017 Turkish President Recep Erdoğan visited Suakin ostensibly to inspect the large-scale restoration of the historical town financed by the Turkish government. Then a few weeks later, in January 2018, Erdoğan returned to Sudan to sign among many other agreements, a deal to hand over Suakin to Turkey altogether—just for tourism, both governments maintain—which Sudan’s neighbors have interpreted as an act of aggression. 

The situation in Suakin is emblematic of increasingly complicated geopolitical relations in Africa’s northeast corner. From Egypt to Tanzania, decades of political ambivalence around unsettled borders, access to the sea, and ambiguous agreements about the waters of the Nile are flaring up. Much of this tension is left over from Britain’s colonial history in the region, but some is entirely new, aggravated by simmering conflicts in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region. There are also centuries of connection between the various states as well as internal realignments that complicate the situation further.

https://www.thecairoreview.com/essays/patrons-of-peace-and-conflict/
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 5, 2019 in Africa, Middle East

 

Tags: , , , , ,

The West is encouraging a vicious war between Sunnis and Shias — that’s the real truth about Iran and Saudi Arabia

Ghadanfar Rokon Abadi was Iran’s senior intelligence officer in Beirut in the late 1990s. I met him many times and he was always frank about Iran’s support for Hezbollah in Lebanon; he even spoke to students at a Christian university in east Beirut to explain why his country supported Syria. He was not very convincing: claiming that the Syrian revolution had nothing to do with poverty or oppression was a hard sell. He arrived back in Beirut as ambassador – and be sure, even more senior intelligence officer — in 2010, and subsequently herded then-president Mahmoud Ahmedinejad – a crackpot if ever there was one – on a tour of southern Lebanon. 

But in November 2013, two suicide bombers attacked the Iranian embassy in Beirut, killing 23 employees, Hezbollah guards and civilians who fell from their high-storey balconies when the explosion blasted through the streets. The attack was claimed by the ‘Abdullah Azzam Brigades’, named after a former lecturer in Saudi Arabia who would later help to found al-Qaeda, and was intended to destroy the entire embassy compound. 

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/iran-saudi-mbs-netanyahu-sunni-shias-war-west-benefits-robert-fisk-a8780246.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 16, 2019 in Middle East

 

Tags: ,

Why women are fleeing Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is facing a social problem that requires an urgent political solution. Women runaways, estimated to be over 1,000 cases, are now regular news. Rahaf al-Qunun, the 18-year-old who was stranded at Bangkok airport on her way to Australia, was put under UN custody to be accepted as an asylum seeker.

After blockading herself in a hotel room and broadcasting her plight and fears of being forcibly returned to Saudi Arabia, she finally reached Canada where she expects to lead a normal life.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/why-women-are-fleeing-mohammed-bin-salmans-saudi-arabia

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 9, 2019 in Middle East

 

Tags:

The Ottomans were once humiliated by Yemeni rebels – today, the Houthis have done the same to Saudi Arabia

I rarely have reason to thank Turkish ambassadors. They tend to hold a different view of the 1915 Armenian holocaust, in which a million and a half Armenian Christians were deliberately murdered in a planned genocide by the Ottoman Turkish regime. “Hardship and suffering”, they agree, was the Armenians’ lot. But genocide? Never.

Well, that’s not the view of genocide scholars – including Israeli historians – nor of that bravest of Turkish academics, Taner Akcam, who has prowled thorough the Ottoman archives to find the proof. The Armenians did suffer, alas, a genocide.

Certainly my gratitude to His Excellency Umit Yalcin, Turkish ambassador to the Court of St James, is not for his letter to me, in which he describes the Armenian genocide as a “one-sided narrative”. But he did enclose a small book, published five years ago by Edward Erickson, whose contents obfuscate the details of the mass slaughter of the Armenians, even daring to suggest that the Ottoman “strategy of population relocation” should be seen in the contemporary setting of Britain’s policy of “relocating” civilians in the Boer War (in “concentration camps”) in South Africa, and by the Americans in the Philippines.

Interesting. But we didn’t mass rape the Boer women, burn their children and drown Boer men in rivers.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/robert-fisk-saudi-arabia-yemen-houthis-humiliate-armenian-genocide-ottoman-empire-a8692451.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 20, 2018 in Middle East

 

Tags: , ,

Spare me America’s tears for Jamal Khashoggi – this excuse for Trump-bashing ignores the CIA’s past crimes

Can I be the only one – apart from his own sycophants – to find the sight of America’s finest Republicans and Democrats condemning the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia for murdering Jamal Khashoggi a bit sickening? “Crazy”. “Dangerous”. A “wrecking ball”. A “smoking saw”. These guys are angry. CIA director Gina Haspel, who was happy to sign off on the torture of her Muslim captives in a secret American prison in Thailand, obviously knew what she was talking about when she testified about Mohammed bin Salman and the agony of Jamal Khashoggi.

US government leaks suggest that Haspel knew all about the shrieks of pain, the suffering of Arab men who believed they were drowning, the desperate pleading for life from America’s victims in these sanctuaries of torment in and after 2002. After all, the desperate screams of a man who believes he is drowning and the desperate screams of a man who believes he is suffocating can’t be very different. Except, of course, that the CIA’s victims lived to be tortured another day – indeed several more days – while Jamal Khashoggi’s asphyxiation was intended to end his life. Which it did.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/robert-fisk-jamal-khashoggi-trump-gina-haspel-cia-recordings-muslims-torture-yemen-a8670246.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 12, 2018 in Middle East, North America

 

Tags: ,

The Enduring Fantasy of the Modernizing Autocrat

“Oil is flowing again into the free markets of the world,” The New York Times declared in 1954 as Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran, visited the United States. The previous year, a C.I.A.-backed coup had overthrown Iran’s elected prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, and within a few years the C.I.A. would help found Savak, the shah’s diabolical security agency, responsible for the torture and disappearance of countless dissidents. According to The Times, however, Mossadegh was “where he belongs — in jail,” and Iran under its monarch was open to “new and auspicious horizons.”

The following year, The Atlantic Monthly hailed the shah as “an articulate and positive force,” summing up the tone of the American press coverage of a ruthless usurper decades before politicians, investors and journalists in the United States began to praise another oil-rich potentate and American ally: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, who now stands accused of unspeakable crimes including the murder and dismemberment with a bone saw of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 11, 2018 in Middle East

 

Tags: ,