Beneath Contempt 429


The ruling caste of Saudi Arabia present the most striking example in world history of the extreme combination of avarice and personal cowardice. They are gagging for a war with Iran so long as somebody else fights it for them. Due to a dispute over who ought to have been Caliph 1400 years ago they are absolutely champing at the bit for somebody to massacre the Shia in the Shia heartland, provided they don’t have to do the massacring. It is not that they object to blood on their pure white robes, they often get that when executing a bound prisoner or raping the housemaid. But the thought of their own blood being spilt is an abomination. Let some helpful young Israelis or Americans risk fighting the Iranians, while the Saudi rulers sniff their cocaine in their London penthouses.

It is not that Saudi does not have its own military – bombing civilian Shia Houthis from a great height with no chance of retaliation is great sport. And there were some actual Saudis in some of the tanks sent in to massacre the unarmed democracy demonstrators of Bahrain. But the world’s greatest spender per capita on weapons systems has no intention that its own elite should do any fighting. No matter how relentlessly Israel, abetted by the United States, persists in the slow genocide of the Palestinian people, Saudi will always remain a firm US and Israeli ally, because the biggest coward always hides behind the biggest bully. From that position Saudi Arabia will use all its money and influence to promote military action against Iran – by others.

The British government, having armed, supplied, trained and lent special forces to the enduring Saudi massacre of Houthi civilians in Yemen, is horrified and full of condemnation that the Houthis have the temerity to hit back at an oil facility. The attack by drones was a brilliant bit of assymetric warfare that shows money is not everything in war. For US Vice President Mike Pence, after meeeting Mohammed Bin “Chopper” Salman, to denounce this attack as “An act of war” is pretty otiose. There are many thousands of mutilated or orphaned Houthi children who could have told him there was a war on, had he bothered to talk to them rather than their oppressor.

It is an act of massive folly for the West to get drawn in to the Sunni/Shia small wars that rage across the Middle East and risk blowing them into something much larger. We do not have a “side” in an Islamic sectarian divide which everybody should be seeking to heal, not to exacerbate. There is no genuine western interest at play here other than a desire to bolster Israel and its Saudi alliance. The demonisation and crippling by sanctions of Iran, with its profound and ancient culture and massive human capital and economic potential, is a major mistake.

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429 thoughts on “Beneath Contempt

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  • David

    Craig, probably you are being accurate again… thanks for diverting us from the trials of Brenda and the clown

    Unlike many following commenters I have lived in KSA, visited (Shia) Dammam/Dahran where ARAMCO is situated, it is such a special bit of KSA that I was actually able to see a theatrical production there – haram in the rest of the country. It didn’t feel like, certainly taste like KSA, more like downtown Ohio.

    In response to the recent (alleged) bombing, one Saudi commentator was heard on 5:30am R4 financial news this week to claim that all will be repaired and back to normal within three weeks, which had other commentators saying “No, it will surely take months to source the needed spare parts and plan the repairs” all I know is, having ground-truth, is that it will be impossible for any commenter to state anything factual, as access to the mini-state/country of ARAMCO is not usually possible.

    The current instability threatens a hot-war, as autocratic Iran have just offered to retaliate with everything that they have got, hypersonic missiles and all, should someone attempt to cash in on what might eventually prove to be a lot of false waving of flags.

    The current instability incidentally, seems to mostly impact negatively the Chinese economy, as USA is happily fracked to full supply (tho’ not many of their frack operations were at all making profits at last month’s spot barrel prices)

    • Laguerre

      You’re not the only one; I’ve worked in and on Saudi since the 80s, though not all the time, and among other Arab countries.

      • Rod

        During most of the 1980’s I also spent more time in the Kingdom than I now care to recall. Personally speaking, I found the people (the Saudi nationals) to be insular, paranoid, arrogant, ignorant, indolent, religiously intolerant and racist; so all in all my view of them then was hardly complementary nor has it since changed for the better since I departed the place for the final time in 1988.

        George Orwell’s 1984 was in full spate with portraits of the current monarch and his two predecessors hanging in every public building like Stalin and every other despot one could think of. I found them to be irrationally anxious to the point of paranoia with the thought some other entity was on the verge of stealing their oil.

        As an expatriate advisor I watched Saudi nationals who had risen to supervisory grade, more though nepotism than by merit, treat their subordinates with unnecessary disdain and publicly berate them for minor infractions.

        Frequently Saudis would come to me and demand that I place them on the payroll because I was in their country and they were so entitled irrespective of qualification or experience. This was preferable to providing them with employment because gainful employment was the last thing many of them wanted as they would rather mainly remain absent until they put in an appearance on pay-day.

        In the eastern province there was a predominance of Shi’a muslims to Sunni muslims which did not follow the national demographic and the ruling family’s creed. There was a religious based governing minority authority ruling the majority of the population and among that citizenry were other guest worker nationals from around the middle east, the Indian subcontinent and east Africa who were treated with aloof indifference.

        The Saudi outward bluster hid a deep seated insecurity and the worst thing for them to experience was a loss of face in a conflict. With this in mind one can imagine the inner loss of face they felt when they had to invite the western powers to defend them during two gulf wars despite being in possession of the largest military arsenal in the region and the ability to purchase any replacement losses without batting an eyelid. It promoted internal consternation that they had to allow infidels into their country bringing alcohol (albeit restricted to military bases) but, worst of all, ideas that didn’t fit with their interpretation of people conducting themselves in a respectful manner.

        The west will continue to sustain and support this current regime in Saudi Arabia while it is expedient so to do. The Saudi’s, in my view, fear insurrection from within more than they do from any perceived external threat. If there ever was an internal rebellion that gained a foothold, the west would drop this terrible regime like a hot spud to support the new lot no matter how good or bad they prove to be.

        • Ash

          > Frequently Saudis would come to me and demand that I place them on the payroll because I was in their country
          > and they were so entitled irrespective of qualification or experience.

          Were you actually obliged to “hire” them or could you tell them to pound sand?

          • Rod

            Sorry Ash, I meant to say ‘in their opinion they felt they were entitled to be automatically hired by virtue that they were Saudi nationals’. At that time, and I have no reason to assume it’s any different now, nepotism played a large cultural role in society within Saudi Arabia; so those with connections to others in senior positions were indeed hired and more often than not it was these individuals who proved to be the most difficult to accommodate. A little learning was indeed a most dangerous thing. In a way it’s not a lot different to the Etonian attitude we have in this country today that their sense of entitlement over their fellow countrymen was a normal thing to have. Those without connections I tried to treat fairly and view their applications on merit.

            Mr Murray’s piece is apt and to the point, the ruling regime is truly beneath contempt. I remember it was a British aircrew that was shot down in a bombing raid over Iraq protecting British interests in Saudi Arabia during the gulf war. Unlike the Houthis, the Iraqis had formidable defence batteries so risky tasks were delegated to expendable subcontractors.

            The individuals who secure our pacts or bi-lateral agreements with Saudi Arabia should be aware of the scorpion and the frog syndrome that Saudi Arabia during my time there was noted for. The fable went as follows :

            A frog sat sunning himself at the edge of a pond when he is approached by a scorpion. The scorpion, not being able to swim himself, asks the frog to swim across the pond with him on his back as he desperately needed to get to the other side.

            The scorpion promised the frog he would reward him handsomely if he performed this service for him.

            The frog, being mistrustful of the scorpion (who had a reputation of being a deceitful and poisonous creature), was initially unwilling because he thought that the scorpion might sting him when they were halfway across the pond, and he said so. The scorpion assured the frog with if he did that, they would both drown. This seemed logical to the frog and so looking forward to his reward he allows the scorpion to climb upon his back and begins swimming across the pond.

            You’ve probably already guessed that halfway across the pond the scorpion stings the frog with his deadly venom and the frog cries out ‘now we are both going to drown, why on earth did you do that ?’

            The scorpion replies ‘Because this is Saudi Arabia’.

          • Ash

            Thanks Rod. I’ve heard that about Saudi nepotism before — I know a couple of oil patch workers who spent a few years in KSA and reported much the same. That they would demand sinecures thus came as no surprise, but I was curious whether you were in a position where you could actually refuse.

        • Misbah

          The full correct version of that fable is the scorpion couldn’t fight against its nature, so not specifically Saudi could just as easily be the UK.

          If you were so disgusted with the set up in Saudi that your virtuous conscience recoiled you can always vote with your feet, plenty of other money grubbers to take your place.

          Still at least you learnt the lesson of keeping your mouth shut in KSA, you weren’t hired to voice your views after all. Plus it helped you avoid a stint at His Majesty’s pleasure. You can be sure in that predicament you come a distant second to HMG maintaining its special relationship with KSA.

          • Rod

            Thank you Misbar for your response, you make the same point as me that the actions of the Saudis were similar to those who enjoy or have access to others in high places in this country, only in the British case through the public school system and those with that advantage can fight against their nature no less to see they remain with that advantage.

            I don’t think was so much a matter of virtuous conscience that disgusted me with the Saudi regime, it was more as you say to do with the fear of incarceration for insignificant infractions that led me to eventually vote with my feet and leave. I don’t suppose I saw myself as a money grubber as Mrs Thatcher was then in power and decent jobs were equally in short supply as they are today; my only intention was to provide a decent standard of living for a family and for that I exchanged their company for months at a time just to do a job in order to achieve that.

            Initially I was a bit slow on the uptake and it was only after it became my purview to get expatriates out of jail who might have committed offences, some as trivial as minor road traffic accidents, that I saw the country as a police state where individual police offices were completely autonomous power packs who were backed up by their sergeant, who was backed up by his lieutenant, who was backed up by his captain and so on up the line of command to the chief of police.

            I was an advisor who had no authority in an alien land in full knowledge that my own government in London would do absolutely nothing to assist a British subject who found himself falling foul of the Saudi legal and penal system if it meant going against British business interests.

            Who in their right mind would want to subject themselves to a life of constant uncertainty in order to earn a living ? No, Mr Murray is right to highlight the type of people our country strives to deal with.

          • Misbah

            Rod, thanks for fleshing out your experience in Saudi and adding the context of why you were there.

            David Wearing has written an excellent book on the toxic relationship between the UK & KSA. The backward nature was baked into their political economy as far back as the 1800s. The British not willing to back more progressive actors at the time.

            FP has an article on the short shelf life advisers have in Saudi if they don’t toe the line. Now behind a paywall but a good read.
            https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/persian-gulf/2019-04-16/all-kings-consultants

          • Rod

            Misbar @ 11:41 Sept 11th – Many thanks for your David Wearing information and you’re perfectly correct that it all goes back a very long time. Nobody took a real interest in the place (and on the face of it who could blame them) until T E Lawrence became the unsuspecting tool of the then British government and the discovery of oil in great quantities. The USA and Britain wouldn’t give a flying flamingo about Saudi Arabia if they produced carrots instead of oil.

            At the time of my being there the outgoing British Ambassador (his name currently escapes me, but I believe he may have been a Scot) wrote an excoriating valedictory letter to the then Foreign Secretary of the time leaving him in no doubt what they were like. I think it was published in the Daily Record and was subsequently ‘pulled’ but not before I had them fax me a copy – sadly now gone, I do wish I had kept it.

          • Misbah

            Rod, the Gulf was part of the India Office’s remit, being considered on the periphery of the subcontinent. The Foreign & Colonial Office had a hand (as well?). But yes no interest.
            Lawrence, in a hotly contested field, was probably the most treacherous Englishman of his day for his betrayal of the Arabs. The English choose strange men to lionise.

            Parting Shots by Chris Parris may include the Ambassador’s letter, if not you can still read of how Ambassadors (negatively) viewed the countrymen they’d been sent to live amongst.

            MisbaH

          • Misbah

            Rod
            Speaking of flying flamingos, the Saudis wouldn’t give 1 either if we didn’t have the money dealers in the City nor the death dealing merchants. These are the standard bearers who champion these Isles.

          • Rod

            Misbah @ 18:42, Sept 21 – Thanks again, you make the subject matter of Mr Murray’s piece very well, moreover the ruling elite of Saudi Arabia also play the casino stock exchanges of the world just as much the western powers in order to consolidate their own personal positions. It was not so long ago that one of these individuals engaged in a public spat because someone had suggested he was worth so many billions of dollars and he was affronted because he thought it an underestimate. With my own eyes I had seen women dressed from head to toe in black begging for alms on the streets of Al Khobar, Dammam and Jubail. That’s why I despair of these people who treat their own ordinary citizens with contempt and they seem free to extend that manifestation to whosoever they consider beneath them; be they westerners or anyone else. It’s my belief they actually despise the western powers who kau tau to them. I also believe that one day their oil will either run out or some other type of fuel will become the norm and the west will concentrate its attention in a totally different direction leaving them stranded on the biggest beach in the world without a true friend in sight.

          • Misbah

            Rod, the cost of ‘lifting’ a barrel of oil for Saudi is 1 or 2 dollars, cheaper than anywhere else. Their regime will outlive both of us. As you rightly conclude international capital is loyal to opportunities not nationality. We reward soldiers with tin & ribbon, but oil execs get stock options.

  • Vercingetorix

    It doesn’t take much imagination to conject that at some point in the future all this will lead unfortunately to some form of nuclear holocaust.

  • Laguerre

    Of course, Saudi gets others to do the fighting for them, because they don’t have the population, being a sparsely inhabited desert country (though the Gulf States are worse in that respect). But even then, the population they do have are unwilling to fight. The Saudi-Yemen frontier is very little defended, because the Saudi troops won’t fight – that’s where the special forces were sent a couple of years ago, to “beef up” the defence. I don’t know if they’re still there.

    The problem comes from the Saudi failure to make a nation out of the disparate territories conquered by Ibn Saud in the 1920s and 30s. All the money goes into the pockets of Al Saud, and only enough comes out to pay off the tribes (i.e. not to revolt). It’s done, amongst other ways, by useless public employments of people to do nothing. But it’s why the soldiers won’t fight – they were expecting to do nothing except drink tea all day, and then go home. Putting themselves in danger is not part of the bargain. But they can’t be sacked, because they’re part of the tribal bargain. And why Saudi has to employ mercenaries, Pakistanis and Sudanese, to do the actual fighting, as long as that works. But now the whole south of Yemen, which was in the Saudi-supported government’s hands, is now in confusion, through other revolts, and Saudi has now pretty much lost on the ground. Might be recoverable, might not.

  • Anthony

    The BBC was also horrified by the temerity of the Houthi mouse. It put a succession of neocons on a loop to whip up public sympathy for the mass murdering Saudi regime and hatred for Iran.

          • Herbie

            I don’t think there’ll be a war with Iran. There maybe something for show. Cupla million killed kinda thing.

            Everyone knows the House of Saud is in decline and its local allies have already positioned themselves towards Iran.

            Everything that has happened since the Iraq War 2 has benefited Iran, and undermined KSA and Israel.

            Sorry chaps, but the Eurasian project takes precedence over local squabbles.

            And, best man for the job, the time, eh.

            Bye bye Bibi, bye bye Trump.

            We’ll be avin no prima donnas here.

  • Pyewacket

    It must also stick in the Saud’s craw, that the $billions they’ve spent on defence weaponry appears to be absolutely useless against these type of relatively unsophisticated attacks, maybe even a few red faces around MIC boardroom tables. Nice touch by Putin to tell them they should have bought either the s300 or s400.

    • bevin

      The Saudi government is well aware that it is not arming itself but paying protection money. I sometimes wonder whether most of the stuff they pay the MIC billions annually for is ever actually unpacked and readied for employment.
      After all we too have spent trillions on weapons which became obsolete without ever being used. And in many cases that was just as well since the weapons do not work.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    At Press conference to show debris from drones and cruise misilles, Saudi, Spokesman Colonel Turki Al-Malki implies that the drones came from Iran, but when CNN reporter Nick Robinson asks, twice the direct question “Was it from Iran?”, Al-Malki ignores the question.

    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190919-attacks-on-saudi-arabia-unlikely-to-stop-trumps-keenness-towards-iran/

    Frankly creepy Mike Pompeo asserts that “Iran is responsible” for Saturday’ attack. Think of the implications IF this were true. All the Eastward facing ground to air defence systems and radar stations in Saudi, purchased from the US at astronomical cost are effectively scrapyard junk. We already know from Iran’s shooting down of a high altitude “stealth” surveillance drone that any equipment touted by America as being “stealth” is in fact scrapyard junk.

    • Phil

      Following on from the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max, this must now be a nightmare for Raytheon, particularly as potential buyers of their Patriot systems are already favouring buying Russian (even NATO members). It’s difficult to imagine something more embarrassing, the Patriot (Phased Array Tracking Radar to Intercept on Target) failed miserably against third-rate Houthi weapons. Pompeo’s recent defensive remarks, just sound like he’s digging an even bigger hole for Raytheon and the credibility of American armament manufacturers. Putin suggested to the Saudi’s that they might buy Russian surface-to-air missiles instead, ouch. I’m waiting for the British press to start doubting the efficacy of Trident again, they all seem to have forgotten the recent failure of the test firing of one of the RN’s missiles. Theresa May kept the failure a secret. As Ewen MacAskill wrote in The Guardian over 2 years ago: “the missile was not out by a few metres but several thousand miles”!

      • SA

        It seems irrelevant who did it in this context and the question is what are you going to do about it, and what would be the consequences if you start a war?

      • Jimmeh

        Patriot missile systems are for shooting down ballistic missiles and high-altitude bombers. They are not meant for killing for drones and ground-hugging cruise missiles. I don’t see why Raytheon should be embarrassed.

    • Goose

      That debris could’ve been collected from Yemen or anywhere quite frankly, its provenance uncertain.

      They claim cruise missiles were involved. America tracks all such launches. It wasn’t long since Trump posted a picture on Twitter of a failed Iranian space launch. Iran is probably the most monitored country on earth, along with Syria. The idea they could lob cruise missiles over the Gulf undetected is ridiculous.

      Pompeo is indeed a sinister individual, former FBI chief James Comey compared Trump to a mob boss remember, what does that make Pompeo? Pompeo raced to the KSA rulers’ side to offer advice on smoothing over the public image implications of Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, only after KSA had lied until they could lie no more about that. Remember they even went to the lengths of having someone dressed like Khashoggi leaving the embassy for the purpose of plausible deniability, little knowing his fiancée was sat waiting for him outside. And yet there Pompeo was making it all alright.

    • Jim C

      “We already know from Iran’s shooting down of a high altitude “stealth” surveillance drone that any equipment touted by America as being “stealth” is in fact scrapyard junk”

      The RQ-4A Global Hawk isn’t a stealth drone.

      Iran did manage to down an RQ-170, which is a stealth aircraft, but that was probably by detecting and hijacking its data feeds. Whether its adversaries’ radar can pick up US “stealth” aircraft on radar is a subject of considerable debate.

  • Sharp Ears

    Pompeo is in Riyadh, upping the propaganda against Iran. Sanctions will be increased etc.
    https://www.straitstimes.com/world/middle-east/pompeo-says-us-backs-saudi-arabias-right-to-defend-it
    On to Jerusalem afterwards perhaps following the one in March?

    The UN are sending in its panel of experts on Yemen to investigate the attack on Saudi facilities. The Iranian Defence Minister says his country had no involvement in the Aramco installation attacks.

    The incendiaries await orders to set fire to the cauldron.

  • Mist001

    The most depressing, tiresome aspect of this for me is that it doesn’t matter a jot if Iran was responsible for this attack or not, Iran was always going to be responsible for this attack.

  • Peter

    “… Saudi Arabia will use all its money and influence to promote military action against Iran – by others.”

    As it has done in Syria, of course, also with the connivance and support of the US and the UK governments resulting in death, destruction and displacement on a biblical scale.

    Utterly sickening.

    We are ‘governed’ by fools and criminals.

    I am reminded of Denis Healey’s famous quote to the 1945 Labour Party conference: “the upper classes in every country are selfish, depraved, dissolute and decadent”.

    Someone should be held to account.

    • Peter

      “… with the connivance and support of the US and the UK governments …”

      I should add also with the connivance and support of the BBC, as Humphrys (good riddance…) et al have reported the Syrian conflict as if there was only one side involved in the (not a civil) war – Assad and those nasty Russkies – whilst the international assortment of mercenary Jihadis backed by the Saudis, Qatar, Turkey and not forgetting the US and UK are the main forces behind the war seeking regime change and have been largely ignored by the BBC and the MSM, except for the occasional single sentence footnote at the end of the reports – to cover themselves in case they are brought to book and have to answer for their mis-reporting

  • Harold P

    Though uk.gov is making a challenge for that beneath contempt title…

    Tory minister apologises for ‘accidentally’ approving illegal sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia
    https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/saudi-arabia-yemen-war-uk-weapon-exports-court-liz-truss-a9107916.html

    “Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, admitted the government approved two licences for military equipment which could be used in the civil war.
    This is despite the government freezing new arms licences for Saudi Arabia in June after the Court of Appeal ruled that it was unlawful for the government to license weapons exports without assessing whether there was a “historic pattern of breaches of international humanitarian law” by the Saudi-led coalition.
    Ms Truss wrote to the chair of the Committees on Arms Export Controls on Monday, informing them that she had apologised to the Court of Appeal for unintentionally breaching the ruling.
    She said: “The government legal department has today informed the Court of Appeal of two inadvertent breaches.

    “I have apologised to the court unreservedly for the error in granting these two licences.””

  • SA

    “It is not that they object to blood on their pure white robes, they often get that when executing a bound prisoner or raping the housemaid. “
    Or even murdering and dismembering a journalist in an embassy in broad daylight.

  • Muscleguy

    If I had the money to do so I would love to be a tourist in iran, see Isfahan and the ruins of Persepolis etc. But I would go on my New Zealand passport, not my British one.

    Iran was one of the countries NZ built a trading relationship with after the UK entered the EEC and the shutters came down on our exports. We sell them things like butter and sheepmeat and fairly recently the Agritech, cultivars and knowhow to set up a kiwifruit growing industry in the NE of Iran.

    The NZ media has puff pieces of how nice it is to tour there, for women tour groups even. I would tell the Iranians that the Americans and British governments do nothing in my name. The history of British and American meddling in Iran is shameful. Shameful.

    One day, one day.

    • Laguerre

      I went this spring. it’s exceptionally cheap for local prices, because of the decline in the currency, a five-star hotel for less than fifty quid. Two weeks for two cost me 3K, and could have been done for less if we’d flown into Tehran (fly Turkish, it flies in everywhere). It was difficult for me as a Brit to get a visa, but EU, AUS, NZ no problem. Great place; I hadn’t been there for fifty years when I was a kid.

      • james

        thanks laguerre for the overview… i noticed they had regular flights from istanbul when i was there in 2012.. i would love to go, but can’t convince my wife!

  • Ingwe

    Whilst it is a “nice” fantasy to imagine the Houthis being able to hit back at bullying Saudi Arabia, it is naïve in the extreme to hold this view. Israel has been hoping for war with Iran for a very long time; some Gulf of Tonkin incident, laying the blame with Iran, would allow Israel to have a nuclear war with Iran would do nicely. When its big funder wouldn’t agree to this, Bibi and his generals have had to be satisfied with something less drastic but still involving war with Iran.
    The reason the US and Saudi Arabia won’t produce the radar traces of the drone or in reality cruise missiles that hit the oil installation, is because it would be apparent that the missiles came from Israel or US controlled areas of Iraq. That would remove the justification for bombing Iran.

    • Laguerre

      Ah, a conspiracy theorist. The Houthis have been sending missiles over Riyadh for months. They obviously got some new toys from Iran, and they thought they’d try them out.

      • Wikikettle

        Laguerre. Yours to, is a conspiracy theory with respect. Anyway, looks like the US and Israel will sooner or later have Iran bombed to the stone age. This barbaric act will not only destroy Iran as it did Iraq, Libya and Syria, but will in the end have a blow back on our own very comfortable cossetted lives.

        • Laguerre

          Hmm. It’s just the minimum explanation to fit the facts and claims. Maybe that’s a conspiracy theory, more like Occam’s razor.

        • bevin

          “..looks like the US and Israel will sooner or later have Iran bombed to the stone age. ”
          Highly unlikely that they would try. Israel is exceedingly vulnerable and there are more US targets within range of Iran than just about anywhere else.
          The reality, thank God, is that the days when the USA bullied whomsoever it pleased are gone. Iran and its allies, including Russia, are winning hands down. So are the Yemeni.

        • Jimmeh

          I think perhaps you are underestimating the challenge of “bombing Iran to the Stone Age”. Iran has a large population, a well-equipped military, and a government with a tight grip on the population. Iran has natural resources, access to the sea, and land borders with all sorts of trading partners. Iranians also have powerful allies; or at least, there are powerful nations that are sufficiently at-odds with the USA that they are potential allies of Iran. Iran’s armed forces are also combat-hardened. Who are the USA’s potential allies? Ummm, the KSR, who as we have seen are not enthusiastic about fighting; and Israel, a country of about 9M people, 20% of whom are ‘disaffected’ to put it mildly, most of whose troops are currently busy oppressing the people of the West Bank and Gaza, and which is bordered to the north by Lebanon – not exactly an ally of Israel – and to the south by Egypt, which is at best a fair-weather friend, and which itself has serious stability problems.

          No, the USA could not rely on much more from Israel than some land in the desert to build a base.

          It would be extreme folly on the part of the USA to launch a land war against Iran. The last looney that tried that was Saddam Hussein (armed by the west and the USSR), and he got thrashed. But he was the leader of a thoroughly-militarised nation, not to mention a dictator with an extremely effective internal security service; he had 500,000 men under arms, modern tanks and modern planes. Whatever its faults, the USA is not a military dictatorship. And remember that Trump’s appeal to his base is partly built on the promise to keep the USA out of wars in faraway places of which his supporters know little.

          There’s a reason John Bolton lost his job after just 18 months.

  • Goose

    If war with Iran comes it’ll be at the behest of Israel and KSA.

    Israel’s paranoia about Iran’s nuclear programme..

    [Over] two decades ago, in 1996, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress where he darkly warned, “If Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, this could presage catastrophic consequences, not only for my country, and not only for the Middle East, but for all mankind,” adding that, “the deadline for attaining this goal is getting extremely close.”

    [Over] 20 years later that deadline has apparently still not passed, but Netanyahu is still making dire predictions about an imminent Iranian nuclear weapon. Four years before that Congressional speech, in 1992, then-parliamentarian Netanyahu advised the Israeli Knesset that Iran was “three to five years” away from reaching nuclear weapons capability, and that this threat had to be “uprooted by an international front headed by the U.S.” – The intercept

    As for the Saudis, they too are worried about a nuclear armed Iran , but their primary concern is growing Shia influence..

    We are told they are fighting in Yemen to restore a democratically elected leader to power. But the leader in question was their puppet and his mandate ran out five years ago. Their man Hadi was “elected” president in 2012, in a vote where nobody else ran, to serve a two-year transitional term while the country sorted out a new constitution. In was in the process of implementing constitutional change that would’ve impoverished the Shia Houthis so he was overthrown.

    7.2 million are now on the brink of starvation in Yemen , thanks to air and sea blockades courtesy of the USA and other Saudi allies. Hundreds of thousands dead due to western(including UK) supplied bombs.

  • nevermind

    Thanks for this long awaited blogpost on the ruthless rulers of Saudi Arabia. Much of their awkwardness lead to providing them with a toilet trained financial and offshoring service for their oil cash.

    The UK has always had a sabre dancing front seat when it comes to arms deals, maintaining and servicing their oil installation as well as the vast arms systems we have sold them.
    The Uk is also their preferred investment market and much of London, businesses and real estate, has changed into their ignorant hands.
    They are implicated and central for a.lot of terrorism in the world today and they are still paying billions to Some of Pakistans most ruthless terror gangs, all operating to a now wahabi tinged political islam, who are as able and not far removed from the current Taliban.
    Britain has always directed and colluded with radical islam, whether its fpunding and seriously funding the Egyptian muslim brotherhood or Mullah Omar of the Taliban. The Uk and Saudis, especially prince Turki , have funded the worst excesses during the late 1990s, the whole of the current regime keeping up the pretence of an injured party is sickening to say the least.

  • Alex Westlake

    I’d have more respect for people who criticise the Saudi regime – which is evil, if they would recognise that the Iranian dictatorship is also evil. No one denies that Iran has a profound and ancient culture. As with Germany from 1933 to 1945 the problem is with its rulers.

    • Goose

      Alex Westlake

      In the context of the current situation, whether the Iranian regime is good or bad is irrelevant. You don’t have to admire them to be objective.

      Iran aren’t the ones desperately trying to start a war in the region. Given the fact Iran was sticking by the the JCPOA according to IAEA inspectors , and it was the US that ripped it up. And given the fact Iran is subject to crippling sanctions and illegal tanker seizures.There is only one conclusion:

      Iran is more sinned against than sinning.

      • Alex Westlake

        The Houthi movement is an Iranian proxy. Hashd al Shabi is an Iranian proxy. Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy. And they spent the extra revenue when sanctions were eased on their proxies rather than on trying to make life better for their own citizens

        • Goose

          May I suggest you read this blog from last year after Khashoggi’s murder.

          http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opinion/gwynne-dyer/yemen-the-bigger-lie-138280

          Quote : Iran certainly approves of the Houthi revolt, partly because the Houthis are fellow Shias but mainly because they overthrew a Saudi puppet president. But there is no reason to believe that Iran actively encouraged the revolt – the Houthis understand their own interests quite well – and absolutely no evidence that it has supplied the Houthis with weapons.

          It’s just not necessary: Yemen is flooded with weapons, and always has been. Besides, there is no way for Iran to get weapons and supplies in to the Houthis. Yemen is a thousand kilometers from Iran, with Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies in between. Saudi Arabia and its allies control the seas around Yemen and the airspace over it. The whole idea is nonsense.

        • Jim C

          “The Houthi movement is an Iranian proxy. Hashd al Shabi is an Iranian proxy. Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy. And they spent the extra revenue when sanctions were eased on their proxies rather than on trying to make life better for their own citizens”

          They’re not proxies. They’re allies.

          And Iran isn’t the only country donating generous military resources to allies while people at home are going hungry, or homeless. In fact, I’d be willing to bet Iran has fewer homeless people than the US does.

          • Goose

            Jim C

            “Iranian-backed Houthis” is just our(US & UK) govt’s way(via corporate media) of excusing their support for genocide. If the Houthis were truly Iranian-backed 10 million Yemenis wouldn’t be on the brink of starvation:

            “10 million Yemenis ‘one step away from famine’, UN food relief agency calls for ‘unhindered access’ to frontline regions. The World Food Programme (WFP) is providing food assistance for those most urgently in need of support in what has emerged as one of the world’s worst hunger crises in 2019.”

          • bevin

            A count last year established that on the night of the survey there were more than 500,000 homeless people in the US.

      • Alex Westlake

        The Houthi movement is an Iranian proxy. Hashd al Shabi is an Iranian proxy. Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy. And they spent the extra revenue when sanctions were eased on their proxies rather than on trying to make life better for their own citizens

        • Tony

          Alex, are you suggesting that the Houthi didn’t exist in The Yemen as a powerful entity prior to 1979?

        • SA

          As opposed to the Al Qaeda and Islamic State proxies armed and supported by the west in order to bring democracy to Syria.
          Listen Westlake your answer and subsequent one about the Houthies is pure nonesense. Whether Iran supports the Houthis or Hizbullah or Hamas is not the point. You seem to ignore that these are resistance movements that all arose because the conflict was imposed on them and they are not the aggressors. Stop reading or at least regurgitating here the MSM propaganda.

      • Alex Westlake

        Last post went in the wrong place. Executing dissidents and homosexuals seems a good place to start if you’re going to call a regime evil

        • Ralph

          Really? Rather than the satanic, murderous USG fucking up any country it wants (exceptions being those that can hit back hard or harder).
          Do some simple arithmetic and then get back here and apologise: add up all those the Iranian Govt has killed, versus all those murdered by the USG, this century.

          • Robyn

            Thank you, Ralph.

            And while Alex is doing the simple arithmetic on US-killed and Iran-killed, perhaps he can post the figure for the number of Iranians killed in the US-backed Iraqi war against Iran 1980-1988. And the number if Iranians killed on the Shah’s watch would be interesting too.

          • Ralph

            nevermind: Are you insinuating that Iran had ANYTHING to do with 911???
            And the direct deaths from 911 was just under 3000, including about 300 non-US citizens; plus all those who died from heart attacks around the world from it too.

    • Jimmeh

      Unlike 30’s Germany, Iran has multiple competing centres of power, and unlike in the time of the Shah, it is not a military dictatorship. They have not exported a militaristic, bigoted religious ideology to most parts of Central Asia. The last time they had a war, it was against Iraq; and Iraq started it.

  • ewan hayes

    thank goodness someone said it. you got the crooked relationship between Saudi usa and eretz yisrael correctly.

  • Wikikettle

    Fantastic to hear Tulsi Gabbard on her site and on Fox say what she did. MSM tried to ignore her comments. She said Trump was not her and her brothers and sisters (US Military) Pimp and we (US Military) were not his Prostitutes to be Pimped out to KSA which was an Islamist Dictatorship supporting terrorism. Malouf, ex Pentagon, thinks there is a big threat from within the ‘Family’ to oust Bin Salman, and also added that the Yemenies are hopping mad that their attack is being attributed to Iran.

  • Brianfujisan

    In this Very importan post fro Craig,

    Craig says ” It is an act of massive folly for the West to get drawn in to the Sunni/Shia small wars that rage across the Middle East and risk blowing them into something much larger. “..

    The Iranian’s are Guaranteeing that to be So.

    Asked what the consequence of a US or Saudi military strike on Iran would be, Iran’s foreign minister
    Javad Zarif said: “All-out war.”

    “I make a very serious statement about defending our country. I am making a very serious statement that we don’t want to engage in a military confrontation,” said Zarif. He added that a military response based on “deception” about the weekend attacks would cause “a lot of casualties.”
    “But we won’t blink to defend our territory,” he said.
    Zarif added, in a reference to how Saudi Arabia’s critics believe Riyadh relies on the US to fight on its behalf: “I think it is important for Saudi government to understand what they are trying to achieve. Do they want to fight Iran until the last American soldier? Is that their aim?”

    https://edition.cnn.com/2019/09/19/middleeast/iran-zarif-saudi-intl/index.html?

    And as George Galloway has been saying.. ” Iran is not Iraq “

  • No to mass murder

    Its the Israeli lobby that got Trump to walk away from the nuclear deal with Iran and reimpose sanctions.
    They’ve been trying to get the Americans to attack Iran since before they got America to invade Iraq for them. The method was for years to exaggerate Iran’s nuclear capability and to threaten to attack it – whilst having no intention of doing so. The hope was to bounce the Americans into doing it for them. It failed because no American President, even Bush, was quite that stupid.

  • N_

    Nice piece, with a corking first paragraph. So you’re not too fond of those self-sacrificing public-spirited princes who have so many friends in the British military-industrial complex then, @Craig? 🙂

  • michael norton

    HMS Jufair

    or to put it another way
    the Royal Navy Base in the Gulf of Persia.
    If the projectiles were dispatched from Iran to Saudi, they would have overflown the Royal Navy Base.
    So, the U.K. will have the proof.
    What will they do with the proof.
    If they do not produce the proof, there probably were no projectiles flying from Iran to Saudi.

    • michael norton

      HMS Jufair
      was re-established
      on 5 April 2018, the U.K. Naval Support Facility was officially opened by Bahraini Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa and Britain’s Prince Andrew.

      This is the facility that HMS Duncan and our other ships which are attempting to interdict Iranian assets from impeding British registered shipping in the Gulf of Persia. No doubt they are on very high alert?

    • IrishU

      Have you evidence of the trajectory / flightplan of the supposedly Iranian missiles or drones? I mean, why would they have to fly over HMS Jufair, do you not think the Iranians would have seen that as dangerously provocative?

  • Wikikettle

    Adam Curtis’s film Bitter Lake, worth watching on you tube as is reading Anthony Cave Brown’s book Treason in the Blood. We all know about Kim, but how many know of his father H St John Philby ? His role in helping the Americans (over Britain) obtain the greatest commercial prize in the the history of the planet (according to US State Dept).

  • John Goss

    Wise words. I am sick of the way western economies bolster their incomes by providing technology and weapons to nations with medieval mindsets. I was thinking earlier today what a Godsend electric vehicles will be (once established) if they have a huge detrimental effect on oil-rich nations. It is an indictment on our government that we can stoop so low as to trade with these despicable dictatorships. That Israel is working in the background is almost certain.

    You can win a literary prize and have it taken from you when certain pressure is brought to bear on the prize-givers as Kamilia Shamzie soon found out.

    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/german-city-reverse-prize-uk-author-kamila-shamsie-over-support-bds

    • Brianfujisan

      Cheers John..I read that earlier.. Disgusting.. and they refused to include Kamilia’s response along with their own statement.

    • Misbah

      Don’t overlook the UK’s medieval mindset of willing to act as mercenaries for (black) gold.
      I’ve no love for the Saudis but if the UK is willing to prostitute itself and the Saudis are not short of a bob or two then it’s a natural fit.

      If you don’t like the UK’s international profile then have the character to find a more honourable line of work.

    • Ishmael

      “nations with medieval mindsets”

      …Sigh.

      Your really not helping with your supremacist mindset. I suggest putting a sock in it, ..frankly.

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