25 September, 2020

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Different Strokes

By Mano Ratwatte  –

Mano Ratwatte

A notable Saudi journalist, who was/is an outspoken critic of the Saudi Arabian government enters the Consulate in Istanbul Turkey. His name was Jamal Khashoggi. He entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2 to obtain a document certifying he divorced his ex-wife. He has not been seen since.  He was also a contributory journalist to the famed Washington Post, and resided in the USA.

Turkish intelligence says he was abducted, assaulted and then murdered inside the Saudi Compound. Saudi officials have countered that claim, insisting Khashoggi left the building before vanishing. Turkey says it has video and audio surveillance to suggest otherwise.

USA is Saudi Arabia’s closest and oldest Arab ally. It profits immensely and so does the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) from bi-lateral trade and military transactions. KSA was the first foreign tour for President Trump; this was unprecedented for an incoming US President.  Usually, a new President visits his close traditional allies such as Canada (Obama), or UK or even Mexico (Bush-43).  To fete the vainglorious leader of the free-world, KSA pulled out all stops. They are believed to have flown in (by private plane) country singer Toby Keith from Oklahoma to sing 3 to 4 songs to an all-male audience, and paid a reported $3million dollars for his efforts. Toby Keith was told he cannot wear his trade mark cross, nor sing songs about women and booze. President Trump was ecstatic; the KSA signed on to about $110Billion dollars in weapons contracts with the world’s super power. KSA is ruled by smart thinkers who protect their interests. It was in their geo-political interests to rekindle the relationship with USA; it had taken a sour turn during Obama’s regime. During his visit, Trump brought several pictures of American weapons to a meeting with visiting Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. He boasted of multibillion-dollar sales of arms to the kingdom. Showing a sign to journalists at the meeting that read “12.5 billion in finalized sales to Saudi Arabia,” Trump boasted about all the money that US defense contractors would be getting for their products.

US is believed to have secret bases and stockpiles of weapons in the KSA as well.  KSA, despite recent hiccups when oil prices crashed also excels at feeding the appetites of the west.  It has tremendous oil wealth. They also see US as a partner in their long standing dispute with Iran; KSA views Iran as their ideological rival in the Muslim world.  They would love to see the USA take a more hostile stance against Iran.   

They were angered by Obama’s efforts to somewhat normalize relations with Iran with the nuclear treaty. In a pique of anger, Trump scuttled that agreement (all other signatories promised to uphold that international treaty; but not Trump; Iran had not violated a single condition imposed on it by the treaty either) for no reason other than that it was signed by Obama. He, in fact, has torn off or overridden so many executive orders related to the environment, TPP and other issues, just because Obama signed them. With Trump, and his hardcore hawkish top officials such as John Bolton, US is now following an aggressive policy towards Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was a hawk when he was in Congress. Iran also fishes in troubled waters by aligning itself with many forces that are sworn to the destruction of the State of Israel and sponsoring groups listed as terrorist groups in the USA. Iran is stupid if it thinks it can destroy Israel without a death wish upon itself.

The Geo-Political equation in the Oil Rich Middle East is very clear. KSA will also not mind normalizing relations with Israel if the conditions are suitable. Iran is hostile to Israel. Now in Trump’s USA, KSA and Israel has found a very reliable ally.

Trump made the necessary statements” I am angry, I will talk to the King of KSA” etc., about the missing presumably murdered dissident journalist. Then his son Donnie Jr.  retweets a message linking Khashoggi to terrorists; this is definitely to try to discredit the missing journalist (sounds familiar?). 

But Trump also said he will not impose sanctions or halt the $110Billion dollar value military sales; he says if? We don’t sell China and Russia will sell it to them”. It makes sense.  On October 13th Trump said United States would be “punishing” itself by halting military sales to Saudi Arabia even if it is proven that Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside the country’s consulate in Istanbul.  

United Kingdom also profits immensely from selling weapons to KSA. Their sales run into Billions of dollars as well. Hundreds of millions of pounds worth of British-made missiles and bombs have been sold to KSA for use in Yemen under an opaque licensing system that makes tracking arms sales more difficult. The disclosure has prompted accusations that the government is trying to mask the true extent of British-made arms exports to Saudi, a claim denied by the Department for International Trade. (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/23/uk-hides-arms-trade-saudi-arabia–yemen)

USA has been mute about the gross violations of civil rights in Yemen, the bloody and dirty war between proxies of KSA and Iran.  Most civilian deaths have been attributed to US made weapons deployed by KSA.

Already KSA has vowed retaliation against possible sanctions. KSA dismissed threats of sanctions, and vowed Saudi Arabia would retaliate against such action. “The kingdom affirms its total rejection of any threats or attempts to undermine it whether through threats to impose economic sanctions or the use of political pressure,” an official source said, quoted by state news agency SPA.”The kingdom also affirms that it will respond to any action with a bigger one”(Al-Jazeera)

Trump is a smart businessman; KSA is his biggest ally in the Oil-Rich Middle-East. In the likely event of a military conflict with Iran, KSA will be a pivotal ally. Little known fact is during the First Gulf War (and the only successful US led war in the Middle East) in 1991, US was quickly able to deploy forces because it had stockpiles of weapons in KSA , and staging areas in many of the non-democratic feudal Oil Potentates. To this date it has bases in Qatar and Bahrain, and has so many other facilities with military capabilities surrounding Iran. 

US has significant bases in the feudal Kingdom of Bahrain as well; its fifth fleet anchors there. KSA helped the ruling Sunni minority crushed pro-democracy movements in 2011.  No protests from US-UK. US has bases around the world surrounding Iran and so many other critical oil rich nations. It has secret bases and stockpiles of weapons in Saudi Arabia.  It has bases in many Muslim oil rich Arab nations. It also has bases in the Pacific.

The cozy US_KSA relationship based on Oil and money and military needs will make sure this little glitch of a missing presumed murdered journalist is forgotten sooner than later. In Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), US has a very reliable friend. It is important to note, that Trump’s not so moda, in fact smart Son in Law was the first to foster the relationship with MBS. MBS was offered the same sort of VVIP treatment when he visited the USA. 

Trump tore up the Iran Nuclear deal for trumped up reasons. But it views Iran with its massive oil reserves, as a threat to their super-dominance in the Middle East. Iran too is up to mischief sponsoring terrorist groups inimical to Israeli interests. Don’t be shocked if the US-KSA and Israel create a Gleiwitz incident or a Gulf of Tonkin canard to start a war 

Sri Lanka cannot antagonize KSA; it has thousands of migrant workers in KSA and KSA also provides a lot of aid to Sri Lanka. It better not protest about a missing journalist; SL has no oil. So what’s the outcome? Hundreds of Billions in weapons sales, resulting in jobs and economic boost for the economies of USA and UK vs human rights? Sanctions?  Nah! KSA is too rich, too powerful a nation to make the sort of threats the US and UK makes on little Island nations. Different strokes for different folks.

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Latest comments

  • 6
    0

    Trump will not go to war, against Iran or any other. His mentality is of a businessmen and he is always up for a deal not for a war.

  • 8
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    There were killings of Journalists Politicians and Business men in SL over the last few decades and those who committed the crimes are still FREE and Prospering

  • 2
    2

    Saudi leaders are smart and manipulative. They play the Palestine card just for public consumption. They have done a great job wiping out Al Qaeda inside the kingdom. As a Jewish businessman, I know Saudis already have lots of ties below the radar with Israel. They are pragmatic people. This may be an attempt to smear MBS or to foment trouble for MBS and Jared Kushner. Saudis are realist. They know normalizing relations with Israel will greatly benefit them when they go up against their mortal enemy Persia-Shia Islam. This could be an attempt by the old guard to create trouble or even a deep-state conspiracy to bring harm Saudi-US relations. Trump has openly supported them and Israel. Iran does not like that idea. Saudi Arabia is the key Oil ally of the West and the West loves their money. There are over 43,000 mostly white Americans working and profiting big time in Saudi Arabia. They will not like the relationship to get bad. There will be some shouting and token face saving “Actions” but US and UK will never give up lucrative weapons sales and contracts. Americans get paid a lot more for working in Saudi Arabia than in the US for the same job. They live like Princes in American Compounds and go to American schools etc. No one can tarnish those relations. This journalist was murdered but that is no big deal. Journalists get murdered often in the Middle East. US only pays lip service. Saudis I have worked with in USA are very smart and generous and friendly. They will not want this relationship to go bad.

    • 0
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      G
      All very true.
      If not for the US, Israel will not get away with a fraction of the crimes it commits against the Palestinians and some of its Arab neighbours.

  • 3
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    That $110 billion figure for defense deal has been shown to be false by The Washington Post. The actual amount is much less. Saudi Arabia’s claims that their video recording system had just stopped working, is a laughable claim and the evidence presented provides a strong case that Saudi Arabia murdered Khashoggi. If Trump fails to do something serious, Congress will act on a bipartisan basis to impose some form of sanctions. Khashoggi has deep connections to Washington’s foreign policy establishment and well-liked by Congressmen, think tanks and journalists. He was given asylum in the US and became permanent resident. Having given him asylum, the country cannot allow him to be murdered like this.

    Moreover, Turkey is a member of NATO, and a murder at the Consulate within Turkey, even though by Vienna convention the compound is Saudi Arabia’s sovereign territory, is an attack on a NATO member, and NATO may be legally bound to act.

    The Post is an influential and financially strong newspaper and will keep the issue alive. The 15 Saudi operatives have been named by Turkey and they will be charged somewhere. As for ordering the murder, MbS will be held responsible as well; though he will not be arrested, he will face internal opposition from within his family, and his father, King Salman, might have to replace him with another son as the Crown Prince.

    • 1
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      Agnos
      You are pinning too much faith in the capability of NATO to act independent of the will of the US.
      The Crown Prince is a US favourite, and he will be secure for the foreseeable future.
      He has got away with many times worse in Yemen besides the cock-up of relations with Qatar.

      • 0
        0

        SJ,

        MBS is not a US favorite anymore. Only the utterly amoral Trump and perhaps some Defense industry lobbyists still want to make up with MBS. There is bipartisan outrage; there has always been a hidden outrage at Saudi Arabia because of 9/11, but in recent years, there has been a recognition that the US can do without Saudi oil because of shale oil. Saudi threats to retaliate are recognized as empty. The outrage in US society is now at a level I have never seen.

        It is true that the US allowed thousands in Yemen to die. But when this happens to a US resident brazenly in a consulate, it is at an altogether different level. Moreover, Khashoggi has influential friends in the US and the support of his paper, owned by the richest person on the earth.

        • 0
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          Agnos
          You could be right about how MBS is rated in the US establishment.
          But he will not be dropped by the US unless the family drops him; and that seems unlikely.
          My gut feeling is that, to the US, business with the Saudis is more precious than any individual.

  • 0
    0

    SJ: how true, if not for Tillerson, KSA was ready to invade Qatar. Qatar is fiercely independent and exposes the duplicity of KSA.

    MBS might be made the fall guy now if King Salman is to be believed. Trump is already making excuses. No one will sacrifice blood money tens of billions of dollars worth of sales for human rights. Sri Lanka has no oil; if it had oil like KSA, it would be different.

  • 0
    1

    Like the 9/11 twin-towers destruction is now come to be known as an inside work involving US & Israel intelligence; sooner or later Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance/murder secrets will emerge as another conspiracy planned and carried out by KSA-USA-Israel-Mossad. When looking at the timing of Pastor Brunson’s release, it makes one think, even Turkey could be part of the plot.

  • 0
    1

    Henry Kissinger famously said once that “You may live by being enemy of US but you are 100% destroyed if you are friend of US”,

    • 0
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      Henry Kissinger 95+ years old is a former US Secretary of State, presently serves on the team of Rothschild/Rockfeller (illuminati) big time…he was recently in the news attending the funeral service of John McCain

  • 0
    0

    Pay attention to news. Trump will NEVER punish KSA. He is a buffoon who rules over low IQ Whites now. Low IQ Whites are the base of his power. He openly said he will not allow Big US companies to suffer by imposing sanctions on KSA. Lockheed, Raytheon, Boeing mint Billions off of KSA and sales to other rich Oil nations in the Middle-East. They will make a muted “condemnation”. You wont find fat and overbloated American Diplomats strutting around like they do in Ceylon bossing pathetic pansy Government officials and elected leaders of Ceylon as they have done in the past 3 years claiming “human rights”. US is totally silent about the thousands of civilians killed by KSA in Yemen. That is how the world rolls. Get over it. Ceylon is not KSA. KSA can murder journalists and kill thousands and not have freedom of expression and rape migrant labourers from Ceylon and Philippines and Indonesia without a protest by UNHRC.. It is only a problem when it happens in Sinna-Dorai, chota battey, tiny beggar small fry nations like Ceylon and Maldives

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