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09 November 2017

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jonst

There was, always, a split between Northern Europeans, and Mediterranean centered Europeans. This split predated Christianity. There were simply too many people living in too small a space...and the winter made this split a battle royal for precious resources. Which in turn created a very free and active 'Market' for weapons, and the practical ideas needed behind such weapons.

Winston Smith

Colonel,

How high would you estimate the likelihood of a scenario whereby SA launches airstrikes from Tabuk.

I imagine that any HA reaction to this would almost certainly draw the IDF into a war. Be it a any kind of rocket, AA or otherwise, or a shot down plane, or false flag operation inside or into Israel, all seem to be sufficient an excuse. (Should the will to escalate be there).

How could/would the Russians react to such a scenario?

There is a lot of talk out there little with serious analysis.

To start with it seem the wrong season - going into the rain season.

HA doesn't seem to expect an attack.

But given that the Syria is stabilising an attack on HA in Lebanon could seem like a good way of countering this.

Thoughts and questions..

eakens

The Saudis were probably expecting a rapid escalation, and were not expecting calm in Lebanon. When your opening move backfires, that's generally not a good thing.

Annem

I read the Macron message a bit differently and that Lebanon was the focus of his attention in Riyadh, at least. Yes, he said all those things that would support the US/UAE/Saudi position, but the bottom line was that the international accord must stay. Then he supposedly met “indirectly” with ex-PM Hariri. He is clearly worried about the warning signals to Lebanon by the call for Saudis and then Kuwaitis to exit the country. It is the latter announcement that makes it sound like more than an empty threat. Like many of his predecessors, Macron views Lebanon, and especially its Christians, as French business.
Interestingly, MbS is reported to have issued an invitation to the Maronite Patriarch to visit SA. That would be an historic event if it indeed occurs. For the Patriarch, his decision will no doubt rest on whether this is just a cheap way of getting creds with another potential constituency or a chance for serious political business.


eakens

Tillerson comments on Hariri....

https://lb.usembassy.gov/statement-secretary-tillerson-situation-lebanon/

Sounds like we may be telling SA & Israel that their little plan didn't work out as I don't see how you can bring Hariri back into the fold without him being seen as either a coward, or the Saudis being seen as culprits. Neither of which is good for SA.

turcopolier

eakens
Rafik, his father, had given up his Lebanese citizenship in favor of Saudi and wsa nevertheless inflicted on Lebanon as PM in the aftermath of the Taif accord that ended the civil war. He was always a Saudi agent of influence. SA and the US did that with Syrian acquiescence. So, there is a precedent. pl

turcopolier

Winston

IMO SA will not do that unless they have a firm commitment from Israel to go to war against Hizbullah and tacit approval from the US. Overflight clearance from either Jordan or Israel would be needed. Putin is probably going to try to talk DJT out of that at Danang. I don't know. pl

Charles Michael

Ouch !
I enjoy this Micron basching, the fraud without honor.
almost as good than the tarte Chantilly in the face he should get.

JamesT

FourthAndLong

I did not know about scamadvisor.com. Thank you.

FB Ali

The link provided by Eakens above is to an official US government statement. This was complemented by a similar statement by the International Support Group after a meeting of its representatives with President Aoun - http://tinyurl.com/ycch9dhn

Both statements say the same thing: the international community does NOT want any outside interference in Lebanon, and considers Hariri to be still the PM of Lebanon. This is a clear slap in the face of MbS, who was trying to prepare the ground for an Israeli intervention in that country. It is also a warning to Israel to butt out.

These are significant developments, not only for Lebanon but also for the wider ME. MbS may get away with his coup in SA, but he and his Israeli friends had better stand down on their plans for the region. It also shows that the US establishment is not happy with MbS's actions - whatever Trump may say!

Another setback for the young SA princeling. In any other self-respecting country, he would have been removed much earlier. Not in SA, though.

kooshy

No, France like UK, like Germany is not a foreign policy sovereign state. In ME, Israeli, Saudi interests are dictated to Europe via US regardless of lip service.
If US ( you read Israel intrest ) policies are not obeyed, Mokbtar of France will wake up with freedom fries in his bed. And will be named worst person in the world by BHL.

b

Same day the UAE (MbZ is patron of MbS) bought, unexpectedly, two corvettes from France with the option of two more.

Macron was allowed to announce the deal.

Those were his 30 pieces of silver ...

b

Nasrallah said today that he knows of a plan by MbS to incite the Israeli to wage another war against Hizbullah. The Saudis allegedly promised to pick up the bill and more.

MbS must have misjudged Netanyahoo and the IDF. Can't imagine them being so crazy.

The road is open from Afghanistan through Iran, Iraq, Syria to the front with Israel. How may fighters, especially from Iraq - well trained and armed and experienced, would come if some Shia authority calls them up to defend the resistance?

Peter AU

PL
It looks as though there are number of schemers, with one common goal/enemy, but a number of private goals schemes against each other, or that are not part of the common cause.
Trump, MBS and Netanyahu as the main players, perhaps a few others in lesser roles but all working to their own ends.
My impression is that Trump has been cheering MBS in his purges whereas state department seem more apprehensive about the purge but are in agreement with the Hariri/Lebanon business.

robt willmann

Today (10 November), Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, gave a speech. A video of at least some of it is 1 hour, 11 minutes long. You click on the large circle to start the video and a new webpage should appear. An English translation is a voice-over. He starts talking more specificially about Hariri and Lebanon beginning at around 21 minutes, 28 seconds into the video--

https://www.pscp.tv/w/1YqJDLOWXjzJV

In an article from Al Jazeera, "... Russia's ambassador to Lebanon, Alexander Zasypkin, threatened on Thursday [9 November] to refer Hariri's case to the UN Security Council if the 'ambiguity' continues."--

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/nasrallah-saad-hariri-resignation-illegal-171110141956412.html

A Reuters article says that "Tillerson told reporters on Friday there was no indication that Hariri was being held in Saudi Arabia against his will but that the United States was monitoring the situation." France has apparently a more ambiguous position: "The French foreign minister said earlier on Friday that he also believed Hariri was a free man - a statement at odds with the later French foreign ministry comment that it wanted Hariri to have "all his freedom of movement".--

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/amp/idUSKBN1DA1J2

However, yesterday at the U.S. State Department briefing, the spokeswoman, Heather Nauert, let the cat out of the bag. The perky Ms. Nauert, enthralled with her job, answered a question with--

"Ms Nauert: Okay. So I addressed the part of U.S. citizens who may be there. I want to mention that our charge d’affaires, who’s serving in Saudi Arabia – his name is Chris Henzel – he met with Prime Minister Hariri yesterday, so had a chance to speak with him. I cannot provide you with a readout of that conversation or any specifics of it, but we have seen him. In terms of the conditions of him being held or the conversations between Saudi Arabia and the Prime Minister Hariri, I would have to refer you to the Government of Saudi Arabia and also to Mr. Hariri’s office."

A reporter actually followed up about a detention of Hariri, and Ms. Nauert tried to recover. That kind of amusing part begins at about 11 minutes, 40 seconds into the video; there is also a transcript of the briefing--

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2017/11/275450.htm

The State Department has the same statement of today "On the Situation in Lebanon" that was cited by eakens above from the U.S. Embassy website--

https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2017/11/275454.htm

The second paragraph starts out strong, but the second sentence, by its choice of words, specifically excludes Hizbullah--

"The United States supports the stability of Lebanon and is opposed to any actions that could threaten that stability. There is no legitimate place or role in Lebanon for any foreign forces, militias or armed elements other than the legitimate security forces of the Lebanese state – which must be recognized as the sole authority for security in Lebanon. The United States cautions against any party, within or outside Lebanon, using Lebanon as a venue for proxy conflicts or in any manner contributing to instability in that country."

turcopolier

b

You are right. The implication of the now open road between Afghanistan and Syria through the heartlands of Islamdom is profound. pl

robt willmann

The "anti-corruption investigation" is an obvious cover story for the palace coup in Saudi Arabia, and the other day I was surprised that "Bandar Bush" bin Sultan had not been named.

The Middle East Eye news website reports that "The crown prince’s cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, who continues be under house arrest, has had his assets frozen, the Reuters news agency reported. Sons of Sultan bin Abdulaziz have also been arrested and had their assets frozen." The "sons of Sultan bin Abdulaziz" should include Bandar.--

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-senior-figures-tortured-and-beaten-saudi-purge-1489501498

This is interesting, due to Bandar's long-time relationship with the U.S. and Britain.

The Middle East Eye is a British organization, and is said to have with it a former primary writer on foreign matters for the British Guardian newspaper, David Hearst, and a person from Al Jazeera.--

http://www.middleeasteye.net/users/david-hearst

The article's lead paragraph says, not surprisingly: "Some senior figures detained in last Saturday's purge in Saudi Arabia were beaten and tortured so badly during their arrest or subsequent interrogations that they required hospital treatment, Middle East Eye can reveal."

Babak Makkinejad

No. They want to do what they are doing. Even without any US encoragement.

Babak Makkinejad

It has not existed since the demise of Seljuks.

JamesT

Colonel

I concur that Egypt will do nothing in the sort term. But in the long term (i) my understanding is Sisi is trying to fashion himself as the new Nasser, and (ii) the Egyptian street will be very unimpressed with any Arab leader who openly alligns himself with Israel. I think that while MbS is very much in control of the short term situation, what he is doing is very risky in the long term. The Izzies remind me of a losing gambler who keeps doubling his bets in an effort to win back his loses.

Account Deleted

If you are describing http://www.raialyoum.com it is run by Abdel_Bari_Atwan. He was previously editor-in-chief of London-based Al Quds Al Arabi. As he is best known for having interviewed bin Laden in 1996, British MSM get his views from time to time on AQ matters.

JamesT

I can't see Bibi sending IDF troop into Lebanon - but a bombing campaign that draws return fire such that the US can get drawn in to defend their ally? Leaders who start wars and then lose tend to get booted out of office. IMO Bibi is a simpering coward who wants to hold on to power at all costs. So a war waged in partnership with KSA will give Bibi someone to blame if it doesn't go well; "our useless arab allies messed it up" will go down well with the Israeli-Jewish street who still have not come to terms with their 2006 defeat.

VietnamVet

Colonel,

Yes. I am profoundly concerned that Saudi Arabian and Israeli money men will get the USA involved to cut the Iran to Lebanon landline. It is a defeat for the rulers of Islam’s holy sites to be cut off from their believers to the north. If Israel stands down from its dreams of expansion, they would have to learn to live with fellow Semites. I do not think Israel can take on Hezbollah and supporting Shiite militias by themselves. The USA has thousands of soldiers and contractors right in the middle. A defeated Israel will use atomic weapons. A day without a wider regional war with Iran is a good day.

jpb

"Bandar Bush" is named in the Middle East Eye. http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/exclusive-senior-figures-tortured-and-beaten-saudi-purge-1489501498

Is MBS really acting with consent of Trump and Putin? http://russia-insider.com/en/saudi-arabias-coup-geopolitical-feather-trump-and-putins-cap/ri21545

Account Deleted

Can we assume by implication that the DOS (what's left of it) will also not be happy with Kushner's likely role in all this either? With luck he'll be forced to toe the line from now on. If Tillerson accomplishes nothing else in his current job he'll have done his country a great service. Perhaps this is the only reason he stays.

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