RSS

Tag Archives: Saudi Arabia

In the Wake of Khashoggi’s Disappearance, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Is Pushed to the Brink

It seems nearly certain now that Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist, died a slow and agonizing death, the kind that none of us could dare imagine for ourselves. It seems equally clear that Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and a columnist for the Washington Post, was murdered, probably on orders of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The latest evidence pointing to M.B.S.’s direct involvement is the identities of members of the team sent to Istanbul to kill him: several of the individuals identified by Turkish officials were part of the Royal Guard, responsible for protecting senior members of the House of Saud. “They answer directly to M.B.S.,’’ Bruce Riedel, a former Middle East specialist for the C.I.A. and National Security Council, told me.

Khashoggi was warm, generous, and funny—and loyal to his principles, like the virtues of open and accountable government. His refusal to compromise his values prompted the Saudi government, in 2016, to silence him, and it led him to conclude, the following year, that he needed to flee to America. I saw Jamal whenever I visited Washington. (Whenever he came to New York, we met at Katz’s Deli for giant reuben sandwiches.) Jamal and I spoke for the last time six days before he vanished. He was writing to tell me about the latest crackdown on the Saudi press, which had led to several reporters being imprisoned. He sent me clips from Saudi newspapers documenting their detention. “I hope you are interested in the story,” Jamal wrote in an e-mail. “Saudi authorities are making a mockery of justice while the world celebrates MBS’ reforms!”

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/in-the-wake-of-khashoggis-disappearance-saudi-arabias-crown-prince-is-pushed-to-the-brink

Advertisements
 
 

Tags: ,

Jamal Khashoggi’s killing took seven minutes, Turkish source tells MEE

It took seven minutes for Jamal Khashoggi to die, a Turkish source who has listened in full to an audio recording of the Saudi journalist’s last moments told Middle East Eye.

Khashoggi was dragged from the Consul General’s office at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul and onto the table of his study next door, the Turkish source said.

Horrendous screams were then heard by a witness downstairs, the source said.

“The consul himself was taken out of the room. There was no attempt to interrogate him. They had come to kill him,” the source told MEE.

The screaming stopped when Khashoggi – who was last seen entering the Saudi consulate on 2 October – was injected with an as yet unknown substance.

Salah Muhammad al-Tubaigy, who has been identified as the head of forensic evidence in the Saudi general security department, was one of the 15-member squad who arrived in Ankara earlier that day on a private jet.

Tubaigy began to cut Khashoggi’s body up on a table in the study while he was still alive, the Turkish source said.

The killing took seven minutes, the source said.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-khashoggi-829291552

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 17, 2018 in Middle East, Uncategorized

 

Tags: ,

Jamal Khashoggi: Missing journalist case proves that when Saudi Arabia’s credibility is damaged so is America’s

The Khashoggi affair has weakened President Trump’s campaign to impose stringent economic sanctions on Iran aimed at reducing its influence or forcing regime change. Saudi Arabia is America’s main ally in the Arab world so when its credibility is damaged so is that of the US.

On 5 November the US will impose tough restrictions on Iranian oil exports which have already been cut by more than half since Mr Trump announced the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement.

Other signatories, who disagree with him, are seeking to keep the nuclear deal afloat, but the threat of secondary sanctions on oil companies, banks and commercial companies for doing business with Iran is too great a risk for them to resist.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/jamal-khashoggi-saudi-arabia-iran-donald-trump-sanctions-a8587126.html

 
 

Tags: , ,

Trump and the boy king: Mohammed bin Salman’s reign is over before it even began

What were Jamal Khashoggi’s last thoughts, as he was being dragged out of the Saudi consulate general’s office in Istanbul by two men and realised that he had walked straight into a trap?

Khashoggi was no newcomer. He knew how Saudi consuls and embassies worked. He himself had worked in two of them: Washington and London. He knew the beast, the way it thought, the way it acted, the way it smelt.

He also thought he knew the rules. He had worked for Turki bin Faisal, a former Saudi intelligence chief. The rules of the game were brutal, but they were rational. There were clear red lines. If you knew about them, you could calculate the risks you were taking.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/jamal-khashoggi-trump-mohammed-bin-salman-erdogan-1891059956

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on October 16, 2018 in Middle East, Uncategorized

 

Tags:

The Ahvaz terror attack in Iran may drag the US into a larger war

Iran has been hit by yet another terrorist attack. At least 29 people were killed in the southwestern city of Ahvaz when gunmen opened fire on a crowd watching a military parade on Iran’s equivalent of Memorial Day. But unlike previous terror attacks, this one may spark a much larger regional conflagration – involving not just regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, but also the United States. In fact, it may have been designed to trigger just that.

The terrorist attack, which was first claimed by an Arab separatist group with alleged connections to Saudi Arabia, the Ahvaz National Resistance, did not occur in a vacuum. Iran’s regional rivals, particularly Saudi Arabia and the UAE, have increasingly taken their decades-long behind-the-scenes pressure on the US to bomb Iran into the open.

What used to be said in private is now increasingly declared in public. Moreover, these monarchies are no longer limiting themselves to pushing the US to take military action, but are announcing their own readiness to attack Iran.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/ahvaz-terror-attack-iran-may-drag-us-larger-war-1037509599

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 24, 2018 in Middle East

 

Tags: , , ,

The Medicis in the desert

When Muhammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, visited New York earlier this year, the face of Ahmed Mater, the kingdom’s most celebrated artist, was beamed onto an enormous billboard in Times Square. In recent years, he has been feted at exhibitions in London, New York and Venice. He dominates the Saudi art scene so thoroughly that his peers struggle for attention. “He’s the only artist anyone writes about,” says one Saudi curator. In 2017 Mater was appointed as artistic director of the Prince’s cultural and educational foundation, entrusted to promote art across the kingdom and liberalise the school system. He plays a crucial role in the enormously ambitious plan for economic and social transformation, which aims to wean the country off reliance on oil revenues, strip down the power of clerics and dispel a reputation for medieval obscurantism and misogyny.

Prince Muhammad has travelled the world to convince business leaders, tech titans and entertainment impresarios that Saudi Arabia is a place where both popular and high culture can flourish. For the first time in over 30 years, cinemas show films. For the first time ever, pop stars perform in concert halls. Mater has accompanied the prince on his pilgrimage as the epitome of the country’s artistic reawakening. When the Saudi Crown Prince met Xi Jinping, he brought Mater along and gave the Chinese president one of his paintings as a gift.

https://www.1843magazine.com/features/the-medicis-in-the-desert

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on September 12, 2018 in Middle East

 

Tags:

A losing gambler: The raw truth about Mohammed bin Salman

The bubble is bursting. One by one, Mohammed bin Salman’s grand designs are disappearing in the desert, and with them the ambitious claims he made to reform decades of corruption, diversify an oil dependent economy and emerge as Donald Trump’s man in the Middle East.

Strip away the words and the hype, and you are left with a 32-year-old prince, an angry royal family hell-bent on revenge for the humiliations they have suffered at his hands, and a hugely oil-dependent economy which is trying to stem capital flight. That is not a recipe for stability, let alone reform.

The chaos factor

This week, the cornerstone of his designs, plans to list Saudi Aramco on the stock market and raise $100bn by selling off 5 per cent, crumbled. Reuters reported that the financial advisers working on the planned listing had been disbanded, and that the listing had been called off. The report quoted one of four sources saying that even the local float on the Tadawul stock exchange had been shelved.

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister denied the report, claiming the government remained committed to the initial public offering (IPO) “in accordance with appropriate circumstances and time,” but he is fooling no one. The IPO ran into a headwind of concerns about legal action from the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, an inability to generate a $2tn valuation wanted by bin Salman, and concerns that foreign investors would demand transparency and reveal the extent to which the royal family plundered its funds.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/raw-truth-about-mohammed-bin-salman-407845504

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 27, 2018 in Middle East

 

Tags:

A Bosnian signs off weapons he says are going to Saudi Arabia – but how did his signature turn up in Aleppo?

In the basement of a bombed-out al-Qaeda arms storage building in eastern Aleppo last year, I found a weapons log book from a mortar factory in Bosnia – with the handwritten name of one of their senior officials, Ifet Krnjic, on each page. It was dispatched from the Balkans with a cargo of 500 120mm mortars in January 2016. But now, in the forested heart of central Bosnia, I have found Mr Krnjic, who says his company sent the arms to Saudi Arabia.

Sitting on the lawn of his home south of the weapons-manufacturing town of Novi Travnik, he brings his finger down onto the first page of the log book which I showed him. “This is my signature! Yes, that’s me!” Krnjic exclaims loudly. “It’s a warranty for the 120mm mortar launcher – this is Nato standard. It [the shipment] went to Saudi Arabia. It was part of a supply of 500 mortars. I remember the Saudi shipment well. They [the Saudis] came to our factory to inspect the weapons at the beginning of 2016.”

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-war-bosnia-saudi-arabia-aleppo-weapons-arms-deals-a8451841.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 16, 2018 in Europe, Middle East

 

Tags: , , ,

I traced missile casings in Syria back to their original sellers, so it’s time for the west to reveal who they sell arms to

Readers, a small detective story. Note down this number: MFG BGM-71E-1B. And this number: STOCK NO 1410-01-300-0254. And this code: DAA A01 C-0292. I found all these numerals printed on the side of a spent missile casing lying in the basement of a bombed-out Islamist base in eastern Aleppo last year. At the top were the words “Hughes Aircraft Co”, founded in California back in the 1930s by the infamous Howard Hughes and sold in 1997 to Raytheon, the massive US defence contractor whose profits last year came to $23.35bn (£18bn). Shareholders include the Bank of America and Deutsche Bank. Raytheon’s Middle East offices can be found in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Egypt, Turkey and Kuwait.

There were dozens of other used-up identical missile casings in the same underground room in the ruins of eastern Aleppo, with sequential codings; in other words, these anti-armour missiles – known in the trade as Tows, “Tube-launched, optically tracked and wire-guided missiles” – were not individual items smuggled into Syria through the old and much reported CIA smugglers’ trail from Libya. These were shipments, whole batches of weapons that left their point of origin on military aircraft pallets.

Some time ago, in the United States, I met an old Hughes Aircraft executive who laughed when I told him my story of finding his missiles in eastern Aleppo. When the company was sold, Hughes had been split up into eight components, he said. But assuredly, this batch of rockets had left from a US government base. Amateur sleuths may have already tracked down the first set of numbers above. The “01” in the stock number is a Nato coding for the US, and the BGM-71E is a Raytheon Systems Company product. There are videos of Islamist fighters using the BGM-71E-1B variety in Idlib province two years before I found the casings of other anti-tank missiles in neighbouring Aleppo. As for the code: DAA A01 C-0292, I am still trying to trace this number.

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-missile-arms-deals-west-us-uk-saudi-arabia-a8459731.html

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 16, 2018 in Middle East

 

Tags: , , , ,

The Blowup With Canada Is the Latest Saudi Overreach. Will They Ever Pay a Price?

Have the Saudis gone stark-raving bonkers?

First, they pick a fight with Canada — yeah, that Canada! Maple syrup-loving, hockey-playing, poutine-eating, liberal, multicultural Canada; the land with free health care and a prime minister who wears “Eid Mubarak” socks.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia (over)reacted to a single tweet from the Canadian foreign ministry. The tweet called on the Saudis to “immediately release” imprisoned activist Samar Badawi, sister of Raif, as well as “all other peaceful #humanrights activists.” The Saudi foreign ministry lambasted the Canadians for an “unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable” statement, announced the “freezing of all new trade and investment transactions” with Canada, demanding the Canadian ambassador leave the country “within the next 24 hours.”

https://theintercept.com/2018/08/07/saudi-arabia-canada-tweet/

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 16, 2018 in Middle East

 

Tags: