Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Isn’t Indispensable – Bloomberg

Indeed, any rational examination of MBS’s policies might lead both Israel and the Trump administration to conclude that, far from being crucial to the containment of Iran, Prince Mohammed has undermined that effort. The war in Yemen and the blockade of Qatar, both his initiatives, have divided the Arab world, draining military and political resources, just when unity against the Iranian threat is most important. And the Khashoggi murder, as U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis pointed out in Manama last month, has undermined regional stability.

via Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Isn’t Indispensable – Bloomberg

Saudis Call for Amazon Boycott Over Anger at Washington Post – Bloomberg

Saudis who are angry at The Washington Post’s coverage of the kingdom in the aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder are calling for a boycott of Amazon.com Inc. because of its shared ownership by U.S. billionaire Jeff Bezos.

“Boycott Amazon” was the top trending hashtag on Twitter in Saudi Arabia for several hours on Sunday, as users circulated images showing the deletion of the Amazon smartphone app. They also called for a boycott of regional subsidiary Souq.com, acquired by Amazon last year. Neither Amazon nor The Washington Post were immediately available for comment

via Saudis Call for Amazon Boycott Over Anger at Washington Post – Bloomberg

MbS Is the Next Saddam Hussein –

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is reportedly shocked over the backlash to his government’s killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. In a recent phone call with U.S. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner, according to the Wall Street Journal, his confusion over official Washington’s furor “turned into rage,” as he spoke of feeling “betrayed by the West” and threatened to “look elsewhere” for foreign partners.

Saudi Arabia’s indignation at the United States would not be the first time an autocratic U.S. ally in the Middle East has assumed it could act with virtual impunity due to its alignment with Washington in countering Iran. Indeed, the Saudi prince’s meteoric rise to power bears striking similarities to that of a past U.S. ally-turned-nemesis whose brutality was initially overlooked by his Washington patrons: former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

via Mohammed bin Salman Is the Next Saddam Hussein – Foreign Policy

Trump, Populists and the Rise of Right-Wing Globalization

.. these zones would not be isolated but hyper-connected, nodes for the flow of finance and trade ruled not by democracy (which would cease to exist) but market power with disputes settled through private arbitration. No human rights would exist beyond the private rights codified in contract and policed through private security forces. As Mr. Hoppe argues, the alt-right and identitarian vision of “a place for every race” need not conflict with a global division of labor. None of this need disrupt commercial exchange and the international division of labor. As Mr. Hoppe wrote, “not even the most exclusive form of segregationism has anything to do with a rejection of free trade.” The maxim would be: separate but global.

via Opinion | Trump, Populists and the Rise of Right-Wing Globalization – The New York Times

U.S. and Britain Seek Yemen Cease-Fire

The push comes as relations between Saudi Arabia and the United States have cooled in the month since Mr. Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist, was killed in Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate by a team of Saudi operatives. The operatives had close ties to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, architect of the Yemen war and a key Trump administration ally in isolating Iran.

On Wednesday, in Turkey’s first official account of what happened to Mr. Khashoggi inside the consulate, the Istanbul chief prosecutor said he had been immediately strangled and his body dismembered and destroyed.

Already troubled by the Yemen war and outraged over Mr. Khashoggi’s killing, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have been calling on the Trump administration to penalize Saudi Arabia.

via U.S. and Britain Seek Yemen Cease-Fire as Relations With Saudis Cool – The New York Times

Investors Troubled by Saudi Shocks – Bloomberg

Investors stunned by Saudi Arabia’s unpredictable foreign policy under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman are unlikely to drop their guard even if the kingdom succumbs to U.S. pressure to resolve its conflict with neighboring Qatar and end the war the Yemen.

While both issues shocked the investor community when they first erupted, they have since been eclipsed by aggressive policies at home and abroad. Last month, investors put the prince’s tactics under the spotlight after the killing of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi at the consulate in Istanbul caused an international uproar, sending the kingdom’s credit risk rising by the most in the world.

via Mending Qatar Ties Won’t Calm Investors Troubled by Saudi Shocks – Bloomberg

CIA and Saudi Arabia Conspired To Keep 9/11 Details Secret, New Book Says

But Strada evinces even more disdain for the Saudis. Responding to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s August 20 message “wishing Muslims around the world a blessed Eid al-Adha,” she tweeted, “Seriously???”

Strada added, “The Saudis promote & finance the most virulent hatred toward Americans than any other nation. Murdered 3,000 on Sept 11.” The “9/11 families,” she wrote, “will #NEVERFORGET. #FreeTheTruth”

via CIA and Saudi Arabia Conspired To Keep 9/11 Details Secret, New Book Says

How did Saudi King Abdullah become a world hero? – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

Did Burmese maid Layla Bint Abdul Mutaleb Bassim share the “modern” vision of the king as she was dragged through the streets and then beheaded in public while being held by four soldiers on January 18 of this year? She plead for her life and declared her innocence. It is tradition in Saudi Arabia’s injustice system that executioners ask those they kill for forgiveness prior to beheading them. But the young Bassim shouted in the street, blindfolded and with her arms tied behind her back: “haram [forbidden], haram, haram, I did not kill, I do not forgive you, this is an injustice.” And then the sword of modernity, of progress, of “warm and genuine friendship,” fell on her neck – three times, as the executioner could not kill her in one stroke. The man who filmed the gruesome legal murder of Bassim was arrested.

via How did Saudi King Abdullah become a world hero? – Opinion – Jerusalem Post

There Is Only One Way to Defeat ISIS

I would like to wallpaper the bathrooms of the White House, the Washington Post, the NY Times and the WS Journal with this article. Maybe if those guys have to read it every day, after a couple of years it might sink in…

Abandoning the Enlightenment values that produced democracy will not plumb the depths of the vestigial authoritarian impulse that resides in us all, the wish for kings, the desire for order, to be governed, and not to govern. Flexing and posturing and empty venting will not cure the deep sickness in the human spirit that leads people to slaughter the innocent in the middle of a weekend’s laughter. The expression of bigotry and hatred will not solve the deep desperation in the human heart that leads people to kill their fellow human beings and then blow themselves up as a final act of murderous vengeance against those they perceive to be their enemies, seen and unseen, real and imagined. Tough talk in the context of what happened in Paris is as empty as a bell rung at the bottom of a well.

Francois Hollande, the French president who was at the soccer game that was attacked, has promised that France will wage “pitiless war” against the forces that conceived and executed the attacks. Most wars are pitiless, but not all of them are fought with the combination of toughness and intelligence that this one will require. This was a lesson that the United States did not learn in the aftermath of the attacks of September 11, 2001. There are things that nations can do in response that are not done out of xenophobic rage and a visceral demand for revenge. There are things that nations can do in response that do not involve scapegoating the powerless and detaining the innocent.  There is no real point in focusing a response on the people whose religion makes us nervous. States should retaliate against states.

It is long past time for the oligarchies of the Gulf states to stop paying protection to the men in the suicide belts. Their societies are stunted and parasitic. The main job of the elites there is to find enough foreign workers to ensla…er…indenture to do all the real work. The example of Qatar and the interesting business plan through which that country is building the facilities for the 2022 World Cup is instructive here. Roughly the same labor-management relationship exists for the people who clean the hotel rooms and who serve the drinks. In Qatar, for people who come from elsewhere to work, passports have been known to disappear into thin air. These are the societies that profit from terrible and tangled web of causation and violence that played out on the streets of Paris. These are the people who buy their safety with the blood of innocents far away.

via There Is Only One Way to Defeat ISIS.

Rumors of a coup in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s royal family has undergone a major overhaul since the death of ruler King Abdullah in January. Abdullah was replaced by Salman, who has put in place a series of changes to the way Saudi Arabia’s succession plans work.

Salman has given his son Prince Mohammed bin Salman great responsibility and removed Prince Muqrin — one of Abdullah’s sons — from the order of succession. The changes have sparked widely reported rumours of a planned coup to oust King Salman and replace him with one of his eight brothers.

Regardless of whether the rumours are true, the leak appears to suggest that Saudi Arabia’s rulers are trying to quash any possible plans and to set about modernising the country.

via Saudi Arabia advisers leak document outlining changed – Business Insider.