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05 November 2017


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Pacifica Advocate

Succession via brothers was a common means of succession among the Turkic/Mongolian tribes of the eastern and central Asian steppe, as well. What we are seeing in Saudi Arabia was often repeated in those tribes, as well: once the line of brothers ran out--or if the last remaining brother was considered weak, and susceptible--then this kind of free-for-all among the competing offspring was common, and often resulted in a new line of brothers rising to possession of the throne.

FB Ali

Keith Harbaugh,

Another answer to your question is that Muslims take their religion (or the various versions of it) much more seriously than, say, modern Christians.

They are going through the same phase that Christians did earlier (eg, the Thirty Years War). The latter soon moved on to fighting over other causes (King, country, nation, etc); Muslims are still fighting over religious beliefs.


IMO it is being used as a diversion (to the dislike of EU politics. People don't like it, but a lot of this is based on sentiment. When you look into the facts (which not a lot of people do), it isn't that important or troublesome.

It does however play in the hands of populist-nationalist parties who keep growing. It does also mean that the Euroborg are still able to form new governments as a lot of voters elect strategic against (ultra) right and left populist parties or only a relative small percentage is enough to become the next government. In my country with a very small coalition of pro-Euro parties (76 of 150 seats) and for example in France (and the UK) with stepped electoral elections (2 rounds in France and a system similar to the US in the UK). No government has a strong electoral majority.

IMO the next elections will be won by the (ultra)right and muslims (in particular refugees) will be used as scapegoats.

Part of the problem is that a lot of asylum seekers are young, male and alonw who regardless of culture are always more problematic than families. IMO it would have been better to insist on extendedfamilies. Improper behavior will be handled internally and return when the situation is improving (like Syria) is easier.


Are my eyes playing tricks on me, or is the Prince going after 911 players as well?

ex-PFC Chuck

Pepe Escobar at Asia Times has a post up at AT with what appears to be a lot of inside scoop on the Saudi purge and its consequences. In the past his reporting has generally been pretty reliable with regard to other countries but I don't recall him ever delving into Saudi affairs before. I'm very curious to read what others here think of this story.


As for that war game - it was named "Millennium Challenge 2002".

"Red, commanded by retired Marine Corps Lieutenant General Paul K. Van Riper, adopted an asymmetric strategy, in particular, using old methods to evade Blue's sophisticated electronic surveillance network. Van Riper used motorcycle messengers to transmit orders to front-line troops and World-War-II-style light signals to launch airplanes without radio communications.

Red received an ultimatum from Blue, essentially a surrender document, demanding a response within 24 hours. Thus warned of Blue's approach, Red used a fleet of small boats to determine the position of Blue's fleet by the second day of the exercise. In a preemptive strike, Red launched a massive salvo of cruise missiles that overwhelmed the Blue forces' electronic sensors and destroyed sixteen warships. This included one aircraft carrier, ten cruisers and five of six amphibious ships. An equivalent success in a real conflict would have resulted in the deaths of over 20,000 service personnel. Soon after the cruise missile offensive, another significant portion of Blue's navy was "sunk" by an armada of small Red boats, which carried out both conventional and suicide attacks that capitalized on Blue's inability to detect them as well as expected.

At this point, the exercise was suspended, Blue's ships were "re-floated", and the rules of engagement were changed; this was later justified by General Peter Pace as follows: "You kill me in the first day and I sit there for the next 13 days doing nothing, or you put me back to life and you get 13 more days' worth of experiment out of me. Which is a better way to do it?"[1] After the reset, both sides were ordered to follow predetermined plans of action.

After the war game was restarted, its participants were forced to follow a script drafted to ensure a Blue Force victory. Among other rules imposed by this script, Red Force was ordered to turn on their anti-aircraft radar in order for them to be destroyed, and was not allowed to shoot down any of the aircraft bringing Blue Force troops ashore.[2] Van Riper also claimed that exercise officials denied him the opportunity to use his own tactics and ideas against Blue Force, and that they also ordered Red Force not to use certain weapons systems against Blue Force and even ordered the location of Red Force units to be revealed.[3]

This led to accusations that the war game had turned from an honest, open, free playtest of U.S. war-fighting capabilities into a rigidly controlled and scripted exercise intended to end in an overwhelming U.S. victory,[2] alleging that "$250 million was wasted".

Van Riper was extremely critical of the scripted nature of the new exercise and resigned from the exercise in the middle of the war game. Van Riper later said that the Vice Admiral Marty Mayer altered the exercise's purpose to reinforce existing doctrine and notions of infallibility within the U.S. military rather than serving as a learning experience."


An interesting read. Soooo ... a capable but retired Marine general fought smart and beat the US Navy in an exercise and Pace, a still active Marine General ... by order ... refloats the lost ships to ... not lose, err, to win. How realistic. What a brilliant strategist.

Mr. Van Riper appears to be a capable man. As for Pace, I'm not so sure.

Interestingly Pace's wiki entry says that "Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced on June 8, 2007, that he would advise the President to not renominate Pace for a second term" as a chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

* For one, the script of the exercise - in one sentence: "Surrender or we'll bomb ya" - appears familiar.

** I'm speculating: Perhaps Gates problem with the man was that sunken ships usually cannot be re-floated by, say, an edict, willing or an order?


Concur completely with your assessment on events in Saudi Arabia, as well as your subsequent comments; particularly following my recent roadtrip back to KSA. MBS is all about consolidation of power, and not social or economic reform as many experts are saying. The second order effect of this is exactly as someone noted that AMB Freeman has commented, as the end of "Consensus/Ijma" among the Saudi royal family. The third order effects, particularly for US interests, may be more significant, depending if MBS's next actions are as successful (sic) as they have been so far (i.e. Yemen, Qatar, etc). I would guess that POTUS is being advised what the long-term US interest WRT Saudi Arabia and the region, and is continuing to ignore it, particularly when you look at the makeup of the recent Kushner delegation.


No one's yet mentioned Prince Talal, al Waleed's father. I seem to remember him being something of a reformer/black sheep, 30 years ago. Is he still around?


You had been warned




It says here he was shot




Is MBS a descendant of the man who died in a crash in Texas pre- 911?

FB Ali

ex-PFC Chuck,

Pepe Escobar always claims to have an "inside scoop" on various developments. I find this rather dubious!

In this post he writes of "a struggle emanating from the military". BS!

The real armed force in SA is the National Guard. If they could let their commander, Prince Miteb b. Abdullah, be arrested without a squeak (in spite of their long association with his family), I don't see the army doing anything. As I said above, the whole kingdom is rotten to the core.

He also says that, after the death of his father, King Salman, MbS will face a backlash. I doubt that, too. His take is in line with that of the US establishment (especially the CIA), which lost many of its supporters in MbS's purge.

MbS sees the writing on the wall; he is moving SA out of the US's orbit and closer to that of Russia and China.


FB Ali

"which lost many of its supporters in MbS's purge" Any basis for this statement? IN SA if you associate with Americans you are automatically suspect. To recruit clandestine assets you have to be able to associate with people. In SA surveillance is everywhere. They follow people to your door and wait outside. detention is without habeas corpus and is unlimited in length. I suppose you could recruit Saudis in London or Nice if you could get their attention. Typically these wastrels and vapid billionaires have no serious interests. CIA's role in SA has always been almost entirely liaison to the Saudi service. I am sure that CIA has never been a political force in SA. pl

FB Ali

Col Lang,

I did not say that any of these people were CIA agents. What I said was that the US and the CIA lost many of their "supporters". By that I meant people who were pro-US or/and had good relations with the US government or the CIA. Such as former Crown Prince M b Nayef.

The Saudi royal family has always had good relations with the US, and on many occasions has acted on US requests (many call them directions). A lot of the royal princes had financial assets, residences and other ties to/in the US. Almost all of them who were in-country have been arrested by MbS.


FB Ali

"or the CIA.' No. As I have tried to tell you social interaction outside of government to government channels or business delegation visits is impossible. You greatly exaggerate the extent of US government leverage over SA. They are very good at flim-flamming us. pl


Most opposition parties in Holland are also pro-EU or pro-EU if run differently and even Wilders party is against Eastern Europe but not really against a EU without Eastern Europe


Iraq wasn't resupplied by Russia and China. Iran will be. Iran is also not an partly empty plain.

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