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07 October 2015

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Paul Escobar

AbuAbdullah,

I notice academics routinely propose that "discontent" and "frustration" are harbingers of *impending* revolution in far off places. And they are routinely cited proposing such things in alarmist & click-baity articles online.

In my relatively young life, I have never met anyone who is politically happy with the status quo. And 80% of social media is some form of bitching or idol worship.

So I imagine that if you are a political academic, it is very easy to find discontent online...and then conclude in your mind that a country is on the verge of "revolution".

Thanks for sharing the observations of your family AbuAbdullah,
Paul

Will
Abu Sinan

I am aware of Dr. Ali Alyami. I worked with one of the people at his organisation and translated one of their pamphlets into Arabic.

I like much of what he does, but he is discounted by some Saudis because he is Shi'a and the usual slur against him and those like him is that he is just an Iranian shill.

I was married to a Saudia for years, the daughter of a Saudi military diplomat here in DC and scion of a well known family from Mecca. At the moment there is no real threat to al Saud rule in the country. The only substantial threat of any nature comes from the religious extremist end, but they have pretty much grasped the concept of not biting the hand that feeds them.

As long as the day to day worker drones in the Saudi establishment are kept well, the Saudi family will stay in power. There is discontent, but there always has been to one extent or another. Things will have to change drastically before there is enough drive in the country for any substantial change.

A large chunk of my current wife's family lives in Saudi and I just do not see any immanent, looming change at all.

BostonB

I would love to see KSA and Turkey Gaddafied. I think Russia-Syria-Iran-Iraq need to draw a Clean Break-esque strategy. What's ol' Ahmed Chalabi doing these days? Does he need a job? Or yeah, that's right, he's been working on this for the last few years. This time I'm hoping for Chalabi's success.

BostonB

Maybe the wounded/captured jihadis can be given Syrian documents and sent on their way to Mutter Merkel to enjoy the lebensraum. They can be a consolation prize to Mutter Merkel for not winning the Nobel Peace Prize (sexist Germanophobes!).

Will

It's probably by a Syrian. Rambo's English Rambles & doesn't flow as seamlessly as a native speaker's, but this guy has his shxt togehter. He references all the points that he/she makes. It also could be a Russian intelligence officer. The analysis resembles Rashomon- gives the point of view and options of all the actors. That clinches- it's a Russian intel officer or maybe even The Saker himself under a pseudonym.

Learned a lot by reading "John Rambo's" siterep. Hadn't know there had been solid evidence of Turkey's tight ties w/ ISIS. So that's the location of the Toyota dealership.

Article well worth reading as well as the references!

Babak Makkinejad

So he is a Shia - that explains, to me, my initial pleasant surprise at how sensible his opinions were.

Babak Makkinejad

No such thing as "Umma" as a political force; in exactly the same way that the Church no longer exists.

Babak Makkinejad

Putin has demonstrated that he is a statesman and a strategist at the level of Nixon with no counterpart among the NATO states' leaders.

If there were, we would be not here.

Babak Makkinejad

There are many foreigners, almost all of them Sunni Muslims, that really really like to live in Saudi Arabia - because they think that country is run according to True Islam.

I agree with you.

confusedponderer

News from Saudi Arabia:

"Informed sources told Arabic-language al-Ahd news agency that King Salman is now in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) section of King Faisal Specialist Hospital in the Saudi capital.

The sources also said that given the Saudi king's unstable and aggravating health conditions, officials have ceased plans to transfer him to US hospitals.

King Salman, 80, is thought to have Alzheimer’s or dementia and the government is practically administered by his Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef.

According to witnesses, his exact state of dementia is a source of speculation but he is known to have held cogent conversations as recently as last October. He can also forget what he said minutes ago, or faces he has known all his life. This is typical of the disease.

Sources close to the Saudi monarchy revealed earlier this year that the number of hospital visits by King Salman in the last few months has increased and that he did not walk around, as he did before."

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940714000534

ex-PFC Chuck

Chuck Spinney, one of the sharper instruments in the tool shed of US strategic thinking, has a new post this morning that draws heavily on three other pieces published over the past week which he pastes in-line; two by Patrick Cockburn at the Guardian, and one by Robert Parry at Consortium News. After drawing parallels and identifying differences between current events and the run-up and early days of World War I, he offers the following disturbing assessment of where things stand:

" The sheer breadth, depth, and staying power of the delusions disconnecting the West’s decisions in Syria from its reality is a case study in what ails contemporary American foreign policy in general. No doubt, this is a subject that will be studied by historians for decades to come. While not addressed directly in any of these attachments, the magnitude of the ongoing mass psychosis goes far beyond that described by Irving Janis in his classic book Groupthink. Janis studied how delusion creeps into and disconnects the decisions and actions of small, closely knit, often secretive, decision-making groups from the environment they are trying to cope with. But Cockburn’s first essay and Parry’s essay are not about small group psychosis, they are about mass psychosis. How and why this mass delusion has taken hold and persists in the face of massive evidence to the contrary brings us back to the nature of the tragedy of WWI. It is or should be the most important question facing Americans today. Yet it remains a little understood question, even though it is apparent that a kind of mental breakdown has now spread throughout the domain of America's popular as well as its political culture.

"It is also evident that the psychosis disconnecting the collective American mind from reality in Syria (and in our government’s decision making from reality in general) embodies, inter alia, some kind of opaque interaction among (1) the deep-state power structures distributed among the interest groups running the iron triangles of America’s peculiar political-economy with (2) divisive popular domestic politics — a subject introduced by Parry below, (3) a popular culture that displaces empiricism with ideology, and (4) the increasing malleability and speed of transmission of “info narratives” in what a wag in the Pentagon predicted accurately in 1981 would be the “post-information era.” The result is a mounting sense of confusion and disorder, that left unchecked will lead inevitably to paralysis and death by a thousand cuts.

"Only one thing is clear: the roots of this self-destructive interaction will never be untangled and understood until the American people take off the blinders and try to understand what is really going on. And in this regard, demonizing President Putin’s initiative in Syria is more in line with the opposite."

http://chuckspinney.blogspot.com/2015/10/a-general-summing-up-of-wests-march-to.html

FB Ali

I think your appraisal is sound. The danger to the al Sauds comes from the adherents of IS and such activist organizations. The rulers are keeping them suppressed with their 'police state' tactics, but if they ever reach a critical mass (including infiltrators in the security apparatus), they could cause a lot of trouble.

Ex-PFC Chuck

More from The Saker today.
http://thesaker.is/dreams-of-a-sleeping-alligator-dream-two-size-matters-and-obamas-zugzwang/

gemini33

"Saudi Arabia Continues Hiring Spree of American Lobbyists, Public Relations Experts"
https://theintercept.com/2015/10/05/saudi-arabia-continues-hire-politically-connected-american-lobbyists-public-relation-firms/?utm_source=Anonymous+News&utm_medium=twitter

Abu Sinan

I agree. I know many Saudis and 9 times out of 10, if they have good self awareness of what KSA is all about and a good understanding of Middle Eastern politics, they will be Shi'a.

Abu Sinan

The Russians are already making Syria unattractive. Word has it some 3,000+ takfiriyeen head-choppers have fled to Jordan since the Russians started their offensive.

LeaNder

You may enjoy this message by Franco Beradi to us "collective Germans" on July, 24, 2015, BostonBomber:

http://permalink.gmane.org/gmane.culture.internet.nettime/9267

Matthew

EX-PFC Chuck: The SecDef's comments also have undermined a decade-plus of conditioning the public that "Jihadis only hate us for our freedom." See http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/08/russia-pay-price-syrian-airstrikes-ashton-carter-us-defence-secretary

I guess terrorism is related to foreign policy--so long as we're only talking about Russia's foreign policy.

Valissa

Thanks for the link. I have been avoiding The Guardian for a while since they became more establishment friendly.

Enjoyed this link from the Guardian piece :)

Exclusive: Congress probing U.S. spy agencies' possible lapses on Russia http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/08/us-mideast-crisis-intelligence-exclusive-idUSKCN0S20CZ20151008

One of the subheadings in the article is "CONFUSION OVER RUSSIAN INTENT." I have seen variations on the phrase dozens of times in the past month or so. Confused, confusion, confusing.... this word shows up over and over again. I sometimes imagine a Jon Stewart-like montage of reports using these words in various ways.

Why the Establishments PR folks thought this would be a good meme to use is just another sign of their overall clueless-in-Borgistan attitudes. It makes the US look like a f**king idiot! We don't even do PR/propaganda/IO well anymore.

The US spends a hell of a lot of money on it's intelligence agencies, general military expenditures (compared to rest of world) and all the cool military toys I keep reading about... which looks more and more like war of the future BS as far as I'm concerned. Seems like some serious looting and corruption here (the kleptocracy), courtesy of think tanks, defense contractors and their cronies.

different clue

BostonB,

If the KSA gets imploded and Gaddafied, the fallout will be way worse than the fallout from Libya itself. I suspect KSA has 5 or 8 times more weapons stored up here and there. Imagine all the jihadists of the Middle East racing to get their hands on those weapons. And then using them on all their neighbors and/or selling them to other jihadists a little further away. And unless Iran and Shiaraq could occupy and secure the Eastern Province and all its oilfields and oil people fast enough, imagine all that oil and future money also in the hands of various jihadists.

So no . . . a KSA implosion is something devoutly to be feared.

The Beaver

Brig. Ali,

From the Guardian:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/oct/08/no-more-new-cars-furniture-king-oil-slump-forces-cuts-saudi-arabia

different clue

Will,

I would think that the Russians would ideally like to be able to wall off and encyst the jihadis to prevent any of them from going anywhere. Ideally they would like to help the Syrians and others kill every single one of them in Syria. Why, for example, would the Russians want any Chechens and Daghestanis and etc. to survive in Syria to return to Russia?

walrus

Chuck, I think its worse than Spinney says and yes, Tuchmans "the march of folly" is appropriate comparison.

What is missing though is an apreciation of the total amorality of American modern leadership - the entire "greed is good" paradigm. Truth is no longer paramount in American thinking. What counts is your "angle" that is going to get you ahead.

I have railed against narcissism and I won't go on here except to say that the very idea of electing a bitch like Clinton or a bastard like Romney would be totally alien to people a fees generations ago. For these people nothing matters but themselves.

What worries me is that someone like the narcissist Obama is likely to want to take America with him if he feels he is going to hell.

Joseph Moroco

"I would love to see KSA and Turkey Gaddafied."

Would prefer to see Turkey Kemalized, or re-Kemalized and the KSA carmelized.

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