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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  • Cynicus

    “ 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.”-Craig
    Or chopping up the body of a dissenting journalist in their Istanbul embassy.

  • giyane

    The concept of a tribal loyalty is totally incomprehensible to the Western mind.
    In a tribal loyalty situation members of the tribe will give you hell in order to boost their place in the tribal pecking order. That’s like Johnson sacking his own majority just to test the swing of his own prime Ministerial dick.The Saudis tortured their own family in order to cull the bloodline. The Saudis paid off the Iraqi general defending Mosul to abandon Mosul to the Daesh, who then massacred the Iraqi army’s Sunni recruits.
    Tribalism in Pakistan looks like the ERG proroguing parliament, cancelling every human right from the time of Magna Carta and worshipping the raw economic power of feudal overlords.

    However none of this has anything to do with the religion of Islam. If anything, the mindset of the Shi’a is closer to the Judaeo- Christian tradition but we should not like something just because it is more familiar, or dislike something because it seems total foaming bonkers. In my humble opinion the Qur’an is a tool that is capable of guiding us and the bible is pretty much a neolithic stone.It’s just that the Saudis don’t appear to consult the Qur’an, and therefore are sometimes in need of a little gentle smacked bum.

    Why would the US of all people not enjoy the vicarious pleasure of Iran taking pot shots at the Saudis or even getting the israeli zealots to do it for them?

    • SA

      What all countries in the world, including Iran and KSA and others is to pay less not more attention to Islam and religion in general in running the state. The only answer for Muslim majority countries is to undergo a renaissance and completely detach religion and polity. Unless the state can become a ruler for all irrespective of their religion or ethnic makeup there will be no fairness. If this was to happen,there will be no Sunni Shia divide nor fatwas nor jihadi wars. The jihad or ijtihad should be exercised solely by individuals in a conflict ending in self improvement not murderous movements.
      This is why many support the current Syrian Government despite its many imperfections because it represents the only hope for secularism in this part of the world which is undergoing so much turmoil.
      Incidentally I commend fully what has been going on ln two Muslim majority countries at present, though maybe not receiving the cover in our media. News of the elections in Tunisia, undergoing a second democratic election appear very promising. In Sudan s peaceful revolution has finally managed to oust a military pseudo Islamic dictatorship and appoint an interim secular government. Developments in Algeria also seem to be going in the right direction.
      Unless those who promote Islam as a way of running countries rather than as a private religion for self improvement are defeated things will not improve.

      • giyane


        I like your point about secularising Islam and Syris. But the whole point about Islam is that the leaders should follow the teachings of Islam and bring those teachings into government.

        Politics is basically piggy backing on more powerful people than yourself and lying about it to your own constituents.
        But Islam absolutely rejects lying of any kind so what’s the point?

        If the imam reads versed about killing Christians on the day Daesh admit they hit 750 Christians in Sri Lanka and denies that he has a political agenda, he is a liar and therefore no longer an imam of anything. What’s the point of praying behind a liar with a beautiful voice?

        If MBS murders Kashoggi and then denies it, he is no longer a leader in the Islamic sense because he is a liar.
        For him to remain in power brings the whole of Islam into disrespect. Craig’s use of the word caste is both nasty and completely correct. This is the word used to translate the way Phsraoh treated the children of Israel, as a different caste.

        By definition a liar can neither be a leader nor an imam in Islam because it requires the highest level of integrity to be equally applied to both religion and politics.

        • Doghouse

          “Politics is basically piggy backing on more powerful people than yourself and lying about it to your own constituents.”

          Nailed to the mast. Don’t see that taught in schools. Gold star award for accuracy and succinctness. Should be taught by every parent to every child.

        • SA

          I am sorry if I have not been clear. There are many religions. Not all of them can be the only one right true path. Religious texts were written by men many hundreds of years ago, mostly predating modern thinking about the universe and all this nonsense we call science. They have long fulfilled and outgrown political usefulness and many of them do not advocate harmony between men, unless of course you believe. The function of religion in the modern age is mainly to reflect on our hopeless existence and try and guide us (not me personally but mankind) through this wonderful but strange and often inexplicable thing called life.
          Let that be its function for those who believe. For the rest of us let politics and law and statehood be completely divorced from religion.

          • John Merryman

            The fallacy of monotheism is that a spiritual absolute would be the essence of sentience, from which we rise, not an ideal of wisdom and judgement, from which we fell.
            For the Ancients, there was little distinction between politics and religion, basically civics and culture. Monotheism equated with top down, singular rule, one leader/one god. While pan and poly theisms equated with democratic and republican systems, many voices/power centers/many gods. (re: Gilbert Murray)
            So when the West went with a form of monotheism, in the trinitarianism of Christianity, it was also going to monarchy as a default political model and this was not entirely unintentional. For one thing, the trinity was a holdover of the Greek year gods and an analogy of the passing of time, past, present and future. It was just that as the eternal institution, the Catholic Church did its best to obscure this original meaning, leaving Martin Luther to try to push the reset button. Much as Jesus had tried to do with Judaism.
            So the separation of church and state only became necessary when the West reverted back to democratic and republican forms of government.
            Mixing up the ideal with the absolute is a crime against logic, which does lead to cultural narcissism, as one’s cultural mores are presumed to be universal, rather than unique expressions of context.

      • Goose

        But Israel nor the US want that democratic reformation of the Muslim world.

        As undemocratic theocracies/ absolute monarchies and military dictatorships Muslim countries are easier for the US to control, and they are forced to house bases and waste financial resources buying arms and protection from their sponsor in chief.

        Take Egypt for example; the Arab world’s most populous country, a country of 100m. After winning power in the Arab spring the Muslim Brotherhood and Mohamed Morsi took a different approach to the Israel/Palestine issue and thus had to go – el-Sisi removed him from office in the coup d’état after protests.

        By all accounts life in Egypt is now more oppressive than it was under Hosni Mubarak; people are jailed for social media posts and they are the lucky ones , high-profile critics of the regime including journalists are being disappeared. But that’s fine with the US, the aid flows, because el-Sisi is unsympathetic to the Palestinians.

        This is true of many other dictatorships and absolute monarchies. The last thing the US and Israel want is these countries becoming real bona fide democracies and speaking with one voice.

        Were all the Arab countries in the region to become true democracies they wouldn’t be so relaxed as the dictators and brutal monarchs are about Israel’s expansionism

        • SA

          I am afraid you are wrong in your assessment of Morsi. After all the supporters of the MB turkey and Qatar are also knee deep in turning a blind eye to Israel. Morsi may have been elected democratically but was starting to islamize Egypt and prepare to rule forever under Islamic diktat. This is common to all Islamists including our own resident Islamist here giyane who coaches this in anodyne terms of rule by consent which never happened and will never happen if there is a religion on best system of rule.
          Two wrongs do not make a right but Sissi arrived by military means to his dictatorship much more quickly than Morsi would have taken but an Islamic dictatorship would have eventually resulted.
          The three countries I have mentioned are so far escaping attention probably because at least Tunisia and Sudan do not have much oil and have been ignored. The fight is ongoing in Algeria.

          • Goose

            But a military dictator like el-Sisi – in the Saddam Hussein mould – and his ‘rule by fear’ can’t be described as progress, can it? Why is the US supporting this option over insisting real democracy continue in Egypt? They’ve turned the military aid taps back on too .

            In Venezuela, an elected leader is being called upon to step down, and threatened with US military intervention. The US will tolerate anyone in power, as long as they’re compliant and do their bidding; democracy and respecting human rights don’t appear to be a real consideration.

          • SA

            We are basically in agreement. US never wanted truly nationalist independent leaders in the Arab world after taken on the imperial mantle from Britain. Al Sisi is the most horrible dictator I agree but Morsi would have been equally bad for the 19% of the Copts and for many who want a secular progressive society. The revolution in Egypt raised high hopes but sadly was then highjacked twice, once by Morsi and then by Al Sissi. It is a sad end to very high hopes.

          • giyane


            An Islamist is not somebody who believes thatvIslam is the answer. An Islamist is a person who was forced to practice Islam and went through all the motions but whose real belief is in money and power acquired against the teachings of Islam by doing the will of the enemies of Islam and thereby betraying the actual Muslims to death homelessness and powerless degradation.

            Anybody who preaches fighting but refuses to put either themselves or their families in the danger of war is a hypocrite I.e.a liar.

            The Qur’an says the hypocrites will never be forgiven. London is holding bay for the Empire to milk like ants milking green fly larvae.

    • Misbah

      Always entertaining to see westerners thinking they are standing on the sidelines like bemused spectators. The fact of the matter is that the representative parliamentary democracies of the west always side with the strongman dictators. Perhaps you do make deeply incisive intellectual points but it just sounds like shrill whining to be ignored when placed against where your demonstrable loyalties lie.
      Secularism didn’t save the west or the world from 2 fantastically destructive world wars, communism, national socialism, colonialism etc.

      • Herbie

        “Always entertaining to see westerners thinking they are standing on the sidelines like bemused spectators.”

        Yeah, well. They have been. Since 1945, really. But, increasingly we see that London and the Home Counties are exploding in knife and other violence which neither the mayor nor the police can contain. So, yes, what we used to watch on telly from afar, is now a deadly drama unfolding just beyond our door.

        “The fact of the matter is that the representative parliamentary democracies of the west always side with the strongman dictators.”

        Yeah. They created them.

        “Secularism didn’t save the west or the world from 2 fantastically destructive world wars, communism, national socialism, colonialism etc.2

        That bit’s right.

        • Ash

          Well actually they don’t just stand on the sidelines. In fact one could easily say that it is the Western Nations that are the root cause of all the conflicts in the world. They started them, they fund them, they arm them. The western nations are the real issue in the world.

          • giyane


            My point is that the heart’s love and worship of God has a beautiful intellect while the logic of the mind would find ever nastier ways to destroy competitor human beings and also the planet. You appear to be unable to grasp thst simple point and with that I’m afraid i can’t help.

          • Misbah

            Giyane thanks for clarifying, I now do indeed grasp your point. Disappointing that you make it in a patronising manner.

          • giyane


            Only as patronising as your original comment about westerners not understanding Islam.
            Just like Mugabe being set up for failure as a socialist and as a black man, so also the colonialists recruit and fund opponents from among the Muslims to oppose them and betray them.
            It works. People rarely question the triangular narrative of blame.

          • Misbah

            That wasn’t my point. My point was that the west would like to consider itself at arm’s length from intra Islamic divisions when infact it appears to me they have chosen the Sunni side and do engage in covert or otherwise activities.

        • Litchfield

          Basically it sounds like Giyane, whatever her/his religion actually happens to be, has to be right whatever the direction of discussion. I certainly won’t engage.

          • giyane

            Lord Litchfield
            It seems to me that your oh so English avatar masks a salafist brain wash.

            One thing’s certain Asians and British have a long shared history so we know eachother’s buttons.

            When the imam tells me to go out / infirou in Arabic, what poor persecuted nation of Muslims would you suggest I go and annoy?

            The bad Muslims of the Middle east or the bad Muslims of the far east.
            Where would you like me to proselytize your narrow version of Islam?

      • N_

        Secularism didn’t save the west or the world from 2 fantastically destructive world wars, communism, national socialism, colonialism etc.

        Or from Zionism.

          • giyane


            As I understand it Zionism is to Judaism what Islamism is to Islam, in other words using the good name of a good religion as a totem or slogan to mask raw political colonialism.
            Secular means that Religion and state are separate. In reality there is no connection between Zionism and Judaism, or Islamism and Islam. The only function of the prefix of Zion- or Islam- is to sanitise crimes. The -isms are totally secular and political.
            Of course the original Judaism and Islam have a form ofpolitics and only today i was listening to the prophet Solomon’s prayer pbuh to Allah to give him an unparalleled power, which was granted in the form of control over nature and the world of the Jinns.

            The politics of the original Islam was rooted in strict honesty which attracted millions and conquered millions. A far cry from the Salafists of today who colluded with the West with lies , false flags and harsh tortures for innocent Muslims. If the Salafists had treated the Muslims of Syria and Libya with respect, these countries would be invincible now.
            But they didn’t so the Muslims turned against them and won a permanent victory against terrorism, rape, enslavement and criminal theft.

            The plan of the West to gain control of Libya and Syria and break their political systems will mean that only Russia and China will be tolerated in the future reconstruction. Until USUKIS give up any hope of being involved and taste the disgrace of their proxy violence these countries will never be at peace. The Tory Empire2 plan has its little feet stuck on the HoyHoy trap like cockroaches. Bye Bye Democrats. Bye bye bojo. Bye bye water. Bye bye oil.

          • Alex Westlake

            Yes, it’s secular. Judaism is a religion, but you can be Jewish without following it. Benjamin Disraeli was an Anglican, but he was still Jewish. The composer Felix Mendelssohn was a Lutheran, but he was still Jewish. Zionism is the national movement of the Jewish people. It’s objective was the establishment, and now the protection of a Jewish nation in the Levant.

        • Misbah

          SA, I can’t recall. 1 of the commentators didn’t have a reply button. But this was the thread I wanted to respond to. I’ll not reiterate what I’ve already posted.
          I see that you are in favour of a division between state and religion, & no doubt an independent judiciary. How do you view China’s governance model? I’m not aware they have an official (independent) religion. Too much concentration of power in 1 entity? China in its long history has had much success with the emperor model.
          Although the UK now has separate state, religion & judiciary, go back 200 years and you’ll find that a titled landed gentry would pass down the title and land to 1 son, 1 into the judiciary, 1 into the church etc. So they all had a vested interest in retaining the status quo.
          It’s possible that a fully bedded in Islamic system would have division of responsibilities within a unified structure. I’m not saying evolving towards a separation more towards the western model would happen nor that it is desirable. Accountability is the key criteria.

  • bevin

    Marvellous invective on the Sauds.
    What ought to be added is the contemptible series of betrayals that HMG, over the past sixty years or so has perpetrated at the expense of the people of Yemen. Much of which used to be what was laughingly called a Protectorate. British governments have sponsored and encouraged wars in Yemen to keep the country weak. It was after the British government, along with Israel and the Usual Suspects, who supported the ‘Houthi’ ‘royalist’ side in the war against the popular revolutionary government supported by Nasser. It was a sort of dress rehearsal for Afghanistan and featured the predecessors of al qaeda being ferried around Yemen in Beverleys by the RAF.
    The people of Yemen have ample reason to detest the British government. And every new days sees more reasons .

  • Wikikettle

    bevin. Indeed Pan Arabism / Nasser were were destroyed by the policy of divide and rule, betrayal and broken promises after WW1. The Arabs have been cursed with the black gold beneath them.

  • james

    thanks craig… this sunni-shia divide has been cultivated by the west… the usa has sided with ksa wahhabism – the most fanatical arm of the sunni.. i think it was intentional.. now everyone gets told in the west it is because of the sunni-shia divide.. we can thank the west for cultivating the divide.. we are seeing it first hand here with ksa set up against iran peddled in the western msm 24/7.. we can thank the usa, uk, israel and a few other western countries for this set up..

    • SA

      The west appears to be supporting some of the worst religious and racist bigots in the Middle East whilst pretending to be fighting to introduce democracy to the region.

  • glenn_fr

    I really like the line of outrage/ argument taken by the US and its various stooges:

    The Houthis – who the Saudis have been bombing and attacking with the most sophisticated weaponry we can sell them, could not possibly have retaliated with a few drones. No, they’re not up for something like that – they’re too defenselessness. Way too primitive for an operation like that.

    So it must have been those dastardly Iranians. Because they Houthi that our Partners in Peace are massacring are simply not capable of striking back. So obviously, we must attack the Iranians for the crime we accuse them of – standing up for a defenseless victim!

    • Wikikettle

      Bruce. To date the USA/British Action against Iran has involved ; A coup against an elected government in 1953, supporting Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran and resulting war which may have cost up to a million lives on both sides and supplying chemical weapons to Saddam to boot. A blockade for decades, killing their scientists and introducing a virus into their Nuclear programme. The Iranians have been under siege and have had repeated acts of war committed against them simply because they want to be independent and control their own resources. The Persians have not been divided and ruled over since the Shah was toppled. The Arabs would be wise to re embrace Pan Arabism and reject sectarian and wahhibism. This is why Iran is such a threat US domination of all of Arabia and why the Saudi Family has betrayed all Arabs.

      • Andyoldlabour

        Wikikettle, I should also like to add the fact, that British forces invaded Iran in WW2 in order to secure the oil supplies, killing Iranian troops and civilians and sinking ships and destroying armour.
        Iran was neutral at the time.

          • Andyoldlabour

            And it should be noted that the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Navy combined to attack the Iranian Navy.
            Can you imagine the outcry if Switzerland had been attacked in WW2?

        • pete

          The attempt by the west to control middle east oil date from way before WW2, did you mean WW1,

          The main point however is correct, as is Craig’s point of view in this matter, we really should not be involved in what is essentially a tribal sectarian dispute, and we certainly should not be selling arms to the warring factions, however lucrative that might be. It is far too dangerous.

      • Llitchfield

        NB: Iranians/Persians are not Arabs, so Pan-Arabism does not include them. Or Turks. Or Kurds. Or Sudanese, or quite a few others.

  • SA

    The US administration under Trump is highly locked and loaded to shoot itself in the foot. Relying on two policies economic and militarily bullying they do not realise that others can still outmanoeuvre them.
    The first own goal was the self righteous outrage about the faked Syria gas attack that did precisely nothing to bolster their image. The second own goal is still evolving, the complete backing of the racist Netanyahu is now slowly backfiring as he appears to be on the way out, and although his replacement may be no better, it has galvanised the Israeli Palestinians who have now managed to elect many Palestinian MPs in a united list which may well expose the sham nature of the so called democracy in Israel in its current state. Third own goal was Afghanistán but to be fair that has been a very long own goal predating the Trump administration. The fourth own goal has been the withdrawal from the Iran deal and the subsequent economic squeeze on Iran which is now unravelling as it has exposed the extreme vulnerability of the emperor and his vassal states.
    The economic war on China will of course be another own goal eventually. Living under a pseudo bubble of a manufactured growth the bubble is bound to burst sooner or later.

  • Herbie


    My mate Norbert was saying that there’s two Eurasian futures.

    There’s the one in which Iranian soft power, to the Levant and up the Caucasu,s is a constituent part of the stability of the new Eurasian trade routes.

    And then there’s the other one which argues that cutting down on Iranian power in the region is the way forward.

    There’s been a big decline in Sunni power for some reason. The Saudis are in disarray. Incapable of representing Islam in any serious sense.

    I think we’ll see Iran and Turkey pacify the region.

    The Eurasian project has to undo all the sectarian problems created by the previous divisive way of doing things.

    And that’s what seems to be happening.

    • Andyoldlabour

      Herbie, I wonder how many people realise, that when the attacks happened on the oil facilities, Iran, Turkey and Russia were holding more talks about the Syrian situation – something which the US absolutely hates.

      • michael norton

        It would be interesting to know how Turkey obtains its oil.
        Options :Saudi, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Qatar, Iran or Russia or fracked oil from U.S.A.
        All choices for Turkey are political.
        Like buying stolen oil from Islamic State.

        As there are so many more countries now producing Oil, Saudi Arabia becomes less important.
        After the murder of Khashoggi, they became less important.
        As the World quickly moves towards renewable energy, especial;ly electric vehicles, Saudi Arabia will be even less important.
        The next fifteen years will be its Dog Days.

        I wonder why the Arab Spring has not yet happened in Saudi Arabia?

        • giyane

          Michael Norton

          The Arab Spring is a wholly artificial revolution opersted and funded by the West. Every time I hear an Allahu Akbar from the BBC world service studios in White City , the nest of spies in London, I think of the Bullingdon boys sitting in Whitehall signing off another false flag mission.

          Why has nobody succeeded in prizing these criminals from their ivory towers more to the point.
          They make Jeremy Corbyn look like a working class flat capped hero by contrast. Does anyone ever actually vote for these Tory scum?

      • Herbie


        “I wonder how many people realise, that when the attacks happened on the oil facilities, Iran, Turkey and Russia were holding more talks about the Syrian situation – something which the US absolutely hates.”

        Iran, Turkey and Russia are attempting to unwind the old sectarian hotspots which were created in the past to ensure Eurasia remained economically divided.

        That seems to me to be the only way forward for the world, and I expect Western elites see it that way as well.

        Yet, it may be important that the US and others pretend to be concerned about this, that old allies don’t too soon come to understand their fate.

  • Chris Barclay

    The Israelis must be the most incompetent genocidal murderers in history. The population of Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel itself grows at a steady rate of over 2% a year. Absurd over-exaggeration distracts from your valid criticisms of Israel.

    • Herbie

      “The population of Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and Israel itself grows at a steady rate of over 2% a year.”


      They’ll soon be a majority, and in the only Democracy in the ME, form their own Muslim/Christian/Jew Government in Israel.

      Like the way it used to be.

      Before the strangers came.

      • Sharp Ears

        Great. ‘
        ‘Palestine Population 2019 – 5,007,178
        Palestine is a region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, although adjacent territories are sometimes considered a part of Palestine. The region is between Egypt, Arabia and Syria and it is the birthplace of Christianity and Judaism. Palestine is also known as the Land of Israel, the Promised Land and the Holy Land. The boundaries of Palestine have changed many times.

        ++Palestine is now considered a country by the U.N. and most of its members. While it is recognized as a sovereign state, Palestine does not actually possess any land, and most of the territory called Palestine is controlled by Israel.++

        The growth rate is stated to be 2.44%.

        So there we are. For Palestine, read Israel, according to that American website, based in California.

        Israel’s population is stated as 8,549,266 with a growth rate of 2%.

        Note it is a ‘democratic country’. LOL

        Israel, known officially as the State of Israel, is a democratic country in the Middle East on the southeastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea.

        • Monster

          There has never been a land of Israel. The Roman province that contained a Jewish population was called Judea with a dynasty of various puppet kings of dubious ancestry and existed long before the Romans. Israel is a term created by Jewish priests long before they arrived in their seaside heaven. Palestine was the name eventually given to the area after the Roman occupation. Don’t trust Wikipedia, there’s lot wrong with the entries concerning Palestine.

    • Hatuey

      Chris, are you counting the 6 million that were expelled by Israel in your population numbers? Or are you only going back so far, as is typical? Try going back to around 1900 or even 1945. You can’t.

      Try comparing the Palestinian population before the bizarrely named Israel-Arab War of 1948 with population data after. Again, you can’t.

      It’s almost as if someone doesn’t want you to look at the Palestinian population through the whole period of invasion and occupation but wants to restrict analysis to a more recent and narrower timeframe.

      It’s virtually impossible to asses the rate of population growth amongst Palestinians, for obvious reasons. Many millions have been chased and their return blocked, and Palestine in any meaningful sense of the word does not exist because it’s being constantly eaten up by illegal settlers — are you counting Israeli settlers in you Palestinian population growth data?

      Of course, crude population rate data tell nothing of the abject suffering and misery of life in the occupied territories where Israeli soldiers are casually using Palestinian protestors for target practice, using live ammunition. They tell nothing of the easily preventable diseases that are prevalent, the birth defects, the mental health issues of highly traumatised people, and, of course, the endemic malnutrition.

      If you had a soul, you’d be ashamed to make the point you made.

  • fredi

    Some people have a different view of exactly who is gagging at the bit for someone to have a war for them. Such views are apparently not tolerated and must be censored.

    • fredi

      As any fan of detective books or shows knows well, when you observe a crime you must first ask yourself, “Who benefits.” The Latin is Cui Bono Literally to whom is it a benefit?

      On Saturday September 14th someone fired missiles or sent armed drones against Saudi oil facilities reducing world oil production by 5% and Saudi production by 50%. The beleaguered Houthis group at war by Saudi Arabia in Yemen quickly claimed credit for the attack.

      While the Houthis have used armed drones in attack mode previously against the Saudi’s, those flights were bee stings compared to the sophistication and breadth of success in the latest attack.

      • fredi

        Saudis in Glass Houses Shouldn’t Throw Stones
        Bob Moriarty
        Sep 19, 2019

        There is a giant difference between those who have been in combat and those who have not. I spent almost two years in Vietnam so I understand a lot about stupid illegal criminal wars. One is that 80% of those in combat zones never hear a shot fired in anger. The vast majority of those who engaged in combat in Vietnam were either infantry or chopper pilots. They got shot at and they know what happens. Those in the rear may have collected combat pay but they were no more in combat than a donut dolly.

  • M.J.

    I am sure that Iran will be grateful for your support. But we can also enumerate the virtues of the Saudi rulers from the UK’s point of view, as traditional friends of this country:
    1. Allies against Nazism during WWII
    2. Allies against Communism during the Cold War
    3. Allies against Terrorism in the present century.

    I understand that the US claims to have evidence that the attack came from Iran. If Iran either did it or helped the Houthis to do so, it has made a big mistake, insofar as this is an attack on the Saudi economy that impinges on the West. Look what happened to Saddam when he took Kuwait.

    None of this is to deny that the people who murdered Jamal Khashoggi should be held to account.

    • Hatuey

      It would be easier, cheaper, and quicker for the US to foster an Arab spring in Saudi Arabia — leading ultimately to the current tyranny being replaced with something resembling democracy — than it would to fight a regional war with Iran.

      It would also be much less destructive.

      It’s because of the implications for western economies that planners will be considering the above. You don’t seriously think anyone anywhere likes or has any loyalty to these crackpots, do you? I don’t even think the Saudi could rely on a military that would fight and die to save their corrupt dictatorship. A good proportion of Saudis are actually Shia too..

      The big problem for the west is that Iran can cause such widespread chaos and destruction in the region that oil prices would fly off the charts.

      • Misbah

        Easy, cheap & quick regime change never occurred in Iraq, so why do you think it would be the case in Saudi?

        Saudi also has the monetary resources to sway US politicians, fund think tanks, underwrite US universities, employ hordes of K street lobbyists and keep the military industrial complex in its pocket. That’s enough of an insurance policy to keep the status quo.

    • Herbie

      The thing is though, if you attack Iran you completely bugger the Western economy..

      What’s left of it.

      Maybe that’s the point.

      Trigger Iran. Collapse the Western economy, which was going to collapse anyway.

      But now you can blame it on Iran.

      Nothing at all to do with the dodgy financial system at all, at all.

      • N_

        @Herbie – You on the right lines. But you’ve got the aim wrong. It’s more like this:

        * trigger the collapse of the western economy at the moment of their choosing
        * make a huge amount of money when they do it

        You overestimate the susceptibility to public relations damage. The actors here already control minds.

        Interestingly the 1987 crash was triggered by US military action against Iran. But few cared, and few remember now. They don’t particularly mind that people know that the financial system is “dodgy”. What are people going to do about it?

        • giyane


          ‘ make a huge amount of money when they do it’

          Do you think Corbyn might legislate against casino hedge-fund gamblers like Rees Mawg being allowed to partake in government.? or are we in fact due the mother of all recessions on Nov. 1 when the ERG shit hits the No Deal fan? The Labour Party has plenty of economist talent to replace him when the Tory slurry hits the British windscreens.

        • Herbie

          I’m not sure I’d agree that making money is the overriding aim. I see that as ancillary to the main geopolitical project.

          Sure, if money can be made in implementing the project, then money they’ll make, but even at that level, they’ll be more interested in capturing resources than in the money itself.

          Insiders can do as they please, it seems, so long as what they’re doing is within the overall plan of the building.

  • Hatuey

    When I first heard of the drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil refineries, I predicted that it was either a real attack or a false flag attack and added that in the case of the latter they’d probably “retaliate” instantly.
    I didn’t think it was a false flag though. And I don’t now.

    I predicted this would escalate massively and lead to the cataclysmic war in the Middle East that we have all feared for years. That outcome looks more likely now than it did when I suggested it. The US and Britain will support Saudi Arabia if or when push turns to shove. Everything now hinges on Russia and China, silent partners of Iran who are watching closely.

    The big news here, though, is that Iran can make drones that are able to penetrate highly defended areas in Saudi Arabia. Despite their massive investments in defence and military spending, the west and its cohorts in the region can’t stop drone attacks; that means US assets such as shipping, military bases and airports, and troops in the region, of which there are many, are vulnerable to Iranian drone attacks.

    • Andyoldlabour

      As someone who has relatives in Iran, I very much hope this situation is defused and that people step back from the brink. If there is a war, then I believe that the unthinkable could happen, and that the US would use nuclear weapons. The reason why I say that, Is because I think that Iran have the capability to hit the US ofrces, particularly capital ships, in a way which Iraq could not. The ships in that region are simply very large targets, and if you sink one, then the casualties will run into thousands.
      I think Donald Trump is a complete madman and lacks any kind empathy for others.

      • Doghouse

        “I think Donald Trump is a complete madman and lacks any kind empathy for others.”

        You speak as though it is something unique to the Trump. In reality it is almost a mandatory requirement for not just most world leaders but their cabinet members also. Which of course makes situations like this all the more dangerous. Easy when their is no empathy coupled with no personal danger to you and yours. Sadder than sad, but there we are.

    • David

      remember just over a year ago when a ‘terrorist group’, who’s name at the time was rumored to start with the letters “is”, really?, or “is/il” at the end….. launched a swarm of low-tech drones (with super advanced C3/C4i bits) against the pesky Russians in Syria.

      Surely the richest head-choppers on the planet would have protected their oil-refinery bases from a ‘new’ tech attack that they might just have noticed at the time it was trialed in Syria in 2018, or was it the UAE that funded that particular provocation?

    • Goose

      “The big news here, though, is that Iran can make drones that are able to penetrate highly defended areas in Saudi Arabia.”

      Doubtful, and as for the cruise missiles they claim were allegedly involved.

      Look how the US tracks every North Korean missile launch releasing information like : The missile flew about 236 miles and reached a height of 60 miles, etc. Do you really think they were blindsided by Iran’s amazing new tech? The US will know exactly what happened.

      Look how Iran tracked the flight path of the $100m US drone they shot down, the Iranians knew when it turned its communications systems off(going dark) , the Iranians even revealed the presence of a fully crewed Boeing P-8 Poseidon in proximity flying alongside the drone, which Trump confirmed, by thanking the Iranians for not shooting down.

      • Rod

        It would not surprise me if the Saudi regime had been sold a pup with the purchasing of missile defence systems from the USA that didn’t work as they were supposed to as described in the glossy leaflet. The Saudis are not likely to advertise that they were that idiotic enough to believe everything they read in the leaflet no more than the US armament manufacturers and President Trump are to admit that their systems were probably inferior to the Russian systems that are on offer. Equally, it would not surprise me if a party of Houthis had simply not just climbed over the fence, ww2 Telemark-style, and strategically placed explosives where they could do most damage – cheaper than drone-bearing ATS rockets or cruise missiles. It’s hard to believe anything put out in the form of official statements and demonstrations of wreckage for public consumption.

    • giyane


      All attacks in the Middle East are false flag. The US uses Iran against Sunni Islam , so they do need to spray a lot of anti-Iran tripe over the Western airwaves. I believe trump’s grandfather was in the protection racket.
      Saudi needs protection from evil and clever Iran.
      People need squeezing from time to time, especially if they’re not paying attention to the gun held against their brains.

  • Martin

    I have Shia colleagues. They are from Qatif in Saudi Arabia. Their town was attacked by government forces about two years ago.The school books also brainwash Sunni kids, saying that the Twelvers are inferior.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Follow up post on MoA. The oil conditioning site was protected by layers of US and French surface to air defences (although these were relatively antiquated and ineffectual to drones and cruise missiles). Also, the Partiot batteries may have been switched off for the weekend.

    From a US, military liaison officer. ” …. never underestimate the feckless laziness of the Saudis …. they turn off all ATC air defence systems that require manning when …. inconvenient”.
    There are assumptions in that statement and potentially Western chauvinism. The Saudi National Guard is seemingly disproportionately large for its task of internal security and is presumably exclusively Sunni. The Army may include Shia troops to make up the numbers. The facility was in the Shia heartland and so the “feckless” Saudis may have been Shia with negligible interest in protecting the assets of their oppressors.

    • Laguerre

      I wouldn’t be surprised if no Saudi military at all were Shi’a. As Martin mentions @10.09, the Shi’a town of Awamiyah was besieged and starved into submission in 2017. They are hated.

      It is also necessary to understand the function of the National Guard. In theory it ought to be like the US National Guard, a reserve army, but it isn’t. People say that the function of the National Guard is to counterbalance the Army, so that neither the one nor the other can overthrow the King, as each is led by a different faction of the Al Saud family. I believe it, though I haven’t studied the question detail.

  • Crispa

    On the current situation, the Houthis do have form in the use of drones, what has been slipped into the narrative is the use of cruise missiles which were not mentioned in the initial reports to point the finger away from them to Iran. This is a false flag element.
    What I find generally dispiriting is that there is every little debate – such as happens on this blog here – between politicians in and out of parliament about the direction UK foreign policy should take. Governments of the day rarely initiate or change the position that has already been decided. Jeremy Corbyn threatens to do this, which is one reason for him being seen as a threat by the USA puppet controllers.
    The deference shown to Saudi Arabia is disgraceful and untenable morally and everyone knows that, but government will refuse to do anything about it as long as it is a good customer for our arms exports (and the jobs that go with it so the argument goes) and it supplies us with oil. It just turns a blind eye to Saudi excesses that occur on a daily basis, then harrumphs hypocritically against less evil states that simply, and usually for historical reasons, it just does n’t like, Russia currently being a good example. It stifles democratic debate by declaring such matters are in the “national interest” and we ordinary citizens must accept it or lump it. And so we get lie after lie.

  • Sharp Ears

    Sky News are on the job. Their reporter Mark Stone has just been shown on a video, speaking from the plant which he says is up and running. He is part of a large press contingent that has been flown by the Saudi government from Riyadh on a half hour flight.

    Their diplomatic correspondent, Dominic Waghorn, also comments today:

    Why the drone attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abqaiq oil refinery is a big deal
    Although the facilities can be repaired, the lasting damage is the concern the Saudis’ defence is not rigorous enough.

    Tim Marshall, a good reporter on the ME and the region, seems to have been given the chop by Sky. Of course. He was much too friendly on the Palestinians and told it like it is ref the daily toll of Israel’s atrocities.

  • Laguerre

    I wasn’t sure whether I was going to remind commenters of what I’ve said before on this blog, and indeed elsewhere, but it is important. That is that the core of the problem is the Shi’a population of Saudi Arabia, which explains very well the attitude of the Saudis towards Iran, and also towards the Houthis. It is not simply a question of millennial hatred, as Craig puts it. Yes, yes, it is true there is Sunni-Shi’a tension, like Protestants and Catholics in NI, but it wouldn’t be important if there were not present-day very physical problems.

    And that is, as is said but people forget that all the Saudi oil-fields, every single one of them, are inhabited by the Saudi Shi’a, and not by more reliable Sunnis. There are no other, which means that the Saudi princes would be reduced back to the camel herders they were before, if the Shi’a ever got independence. The fear among the Saudi princes is palpable. The vicious, brutal way they treat their Shi’a is easy to see – (same thing among the Bahrainis), such as the siege of Awamiyah in 2017, where they walled up the town and starved it into submission. The Shi’a are not to be allowed to even think about getting independence.

    People say the princes have massive cash reserves, they wouldn’t be bothered personally if they lost the oil. Well, no. The Saudi princes get through money very fast.

    But the importance goes even further. It’s one basic reason why the Saudis are so active against the Shi’a abroad. They have to be prevented from helping the Shi’a at home. That is, Iran and Yemen. Even Syria. Destroying the Shi’a Asad was part of the reason for Saudi support for the Jihadis, including particularly Da’ish. This time around, it is a policy that hasn’t worked very well, as it may be the Houthis have teamed up with Abqaiq refinery workers.

    To put the point in context, though, it does have to be underlined that the Saudis, since their alliance with Ibn Abd al-Wahhab in the 18th century, have always been über-Sunni, and Ibn Saud conquered Arabia with the help of a jihadi revolutionary movement in the 1920s, and they then had to be disposed of when no longer convenient. In the 1970s, after the oil crisis, the newly rich Saudi Arabia offered to build new mosques, and pay imams, in large numbers of countries all round the world. The results can be seen everywhere from Benin to China to Brussels. Cheaper for the local governments, but unfortunately also leading to the dangers of radicalisation we face today. But pushing Sunnism as a cultural act doesn’t necessarily mean a physical war against the Shi’a. That is what the fear of the Saudi Shi’a is doing.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      The line about ” …. cooperation of honourable and free men within the Kingdom.” in the Houthi press statement is intriguing. If this isn’t disinformation then it’s potentially the most unsettling aspect of the whole episode from an Al-Saud perspective. Unfortunately, disinformation or not it’s almost certain to end up in mass roundups in the Eastern provinces and mass executions.

      • Laguerre

        I agree with you. It wasn’t very nice of the Houthis to put their fellow Shi’a at risk of severe reprisals. Not disinformation – why would they put people who’d helped them at risk? – more a foolish error.

  • Republicofscotland

    Former US Defence Secretary Roberts Gates once said the Saudis want to fight Iran right down to the last American. Will Trump want a full out war against Iran, a far more formible opponent than Iraq? With an election on the horizon, that could throw the country (But not the arms sellers) into recession?

    Of course there are no shortage of warhawks wanting to attack Iran such as Mike Pompeo and Lindsay Graham. Yet we might all be forgetting that it was the Houthis in Yemen who claimed the attack and not Iran, however, technically its an Iran backed attack.

    Trump appears to say one thing with regards to imminent attacks on what he sees as enemies, and then quickly draws back to a, all options on the table stance. Personally I think Trump is a businessman first and foremost, and unless you’re a dealer in weapons of death, and cleaning up the aftermath, then war is bad for business.

    One does wonder if things escalate and there’s an outbreak of war, just how many US sons and daughters, and, indeed British sons and daughters will die (As Westminster almost always follows on US coattails), so that Israelis and Saudi can jointly rule the roost so to speak.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Trump is arrogantly uninformed on most matters. He is also supremely unpredictable (to the extent that he can control his moods). To date, he has talked of the “greatest military the world has ever seen” and the “greatest, awesome equipment”. Given his decades of litigation with poorly performing construction contractors not delivering to contract, it’s just possible that he may see eventually see through the false promises appended to eye wateringly expensive “defense” projects by the usual lineup of culprits. “Stealth” systems that Russian radar can see, or Iranian electronic countermeasures can disable. Surface to air missile systems that don’t work against modern asymmetrical warfare. Of course all the top Brass have known about this for decades but the revolving door between the Pentagon and the “defence” contractors ensures that this is never mentioned. Again, think of the unpredictability of Trump and his itchy Twitter thumbs. Will he have a Twitter strop and blurt out “why in hell are my “stealth” planes being shot down? Heads should roll in the Boardrooms of the MIC!”

      • Goose

        They’ve spent $$trillions of dollars over the years on their military.

        Meanwhile, infrastructure, tghings like bridges, schools and other public projects are starved of funding. The less said about the costs of US healthcare the better.. It was once stated it’d cost $130bn to equip every US home with 1Gbs up/down fiber broadband, obviously a lot less for just cities and large towns.

        If I were a US citizen I’d be furious with the insane priorities that have led to throwing trillions into military spend.

  • Tony

    I can remember when, some years ago, a member of the Saudi government said he was against interference in his country.

    Excuse me but it was foreign interference that put them in power in the first place.

        • Laguerre

          And then divorced them, because you can only have four wives at a time in Islam. In his lifetime 378 wives, must be a record. He even built a city for them all, called al-Murabba’, the square, in 1935, where he died in in 1952. Only a little remains today.

  • Hatuey

    Interesting to see so many bashing Trump when it’s possible he’s the only “thing” standing between us and a war of devastating proportions.

    And, needless to say, we have every reason to think that Hillary would have bombed them over this, if not for something else previously, and that every other president would have done so too — including Barak Drone-Loving Obama.

    People think Trump and Brexit represent some sort of battle between liberalism and the alt right. For many of us, though, it actually represents something much more important; it’s about removing the fake liberals and fake leftists from the equation so that we can genuinely address the world’s problems.

    The Justin Trudeau scandal sums the whole thing up.

    Hillary, Blair, macron, Trudeau, the Democrats, the Labour Party, liberals, leftists generally, environmentalists generally, they’re all fake. They’re all distractions. I’d rather be shafted by the honest scum of the earth.

    • Dom

      Trump has proven himself a more craven ally of Iran’s two main antagonists in the region than any previous US president. He has also appointed some of the most unhinged Iran hawks to positions of influence beyond their wildest dreams. As for the rest of your post, just gibberish I’m afraid.

      • Hatuey

        Dom, I actually think the “gibberish” is the part you should read again, and possibly consider tattooing it on your chest or something.

        Populations across the world are calling out the fake left everywhere. If these are revolutionary times, and I’d say they were, ridding ourselves of the fake left is our Bastille. That includes Corbyn.

        Tell me what Corbyn’s Policy is on trident renewal then tell me he isn’t as fake as Tony Blair…

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      At least Tulsi Gabbard isnae feart to go on Fox “News” and speak the truth.

      Taking the fight to Trump’s faithful (who polling have shown agree with Gabbard). If the corrupt DNC could be sidelined, Gabbard would make one hell of a Presidential candidate. She could pull substantial numbers out of his base in the flyover states that also supply the cannon fodder for the military. Go Tulsi 2020!

      • Athanasius

        The problem for Gabbard is that it’s not just the DNC that’s corrupt, it’s that the entirety of the Democratic Party from the base up has gone barking mad leftie. I don’t just mean they have a different way of looking at things from the Republicans, I mean they’re insane. You recognize all the words they use, but nothing they say makes any sense, and an increasing number of Americans are sick of it. Gabbard is a reasonable enough sort, but she’s nothing special; she just looks good beside the rest of them. If we can get past the default assumption that Orange Man is some kind of mindless monster from central casting, as entertain the shocking assumption that he’s neither stupid nor particularly evil, then a lot of things start to make sense.

      • Hatuey

        I like Gabbard. So far, so good. If anyone can’t see the difference between her and the traditional left in the US, they really should be just dismissed as pathetic morons.

  • Athanasius

    The west doesn’t have a side in this and shouldn’t get involved? Wow, Craig. Not that I disagree with you, but that almost sounds like realpolitik. You know – sense.

  • N_

    Although I like the first paragraph, its final sentence is a bit confused:

    Let some helpful young Israelis or Americans risk fighting the Iranians, while the Saudi rulers sniff their cocaine in their London penthouses.

    I doubt that a single Israeli has ever died in a conflict in which he or she has chosen or been ordered to participate principally in order to help non-Jews, whether ruling scum such as the Saudi princes or the working class and peasant victims of regimes such as Franco’s or Pol Pot’s.

    The US state often talks about “human rights” in order to justify foreign military interventions; the Israeli state, never.

    There are six million refugees from the Syrian civil war, and the dirty little Nazi-style state of Israel hasn’t offered humanitarian refuge to a single one on the territory it keeps under its control.

      • N_

        I should clarify that my Franco reference was to the period after 1948, when the armed struggle against Spanish fascism was limited to guerrilla actions and was much weaker than it was during the civil war of 1936-39. And I am talking about Israel and Zionism, or Jewish Nazism as it can also be called. The Israeli state doesn’t even pretend to give a “flying flamingo” about any non-Jews’ “human rights” anywhere in the world. I am absolutely not talking about Jews in general. Many left-wing Jewish volunteers from many countries risked and lost their lives fighting fascism in Spain.

  • John2o2o

    I completely agree Craig. They are appalling.

    I’m no expert on this, but my understanding of Islam is that it is around 90% Sunni and 10% Shia, but that the Saudi Arabian Sunnis are a sect of Salafist (fundamentalist) ideology called Wahhabism named after the 18th century religious leader and co-founder of Saudi Arabia Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

    From wikipedia (Sunni Islam):
    “Political tensions between Sunnis and Shias continued with varying intensity throughout Islamic history and have been exacerbated in recent times by ethnic conflicts and the rise of Wahhabism.”

    So I ‘m not sure if it’s as straightforward as being Shia v Sunni, more that it is these puritan Sunnis of Saudi Arabia that are causing the problem. Their extreme wealth enabling them to spread their Wahhabist ideology throughout the Muslim world with relative ease.

    • Loony

      Saudi Arabia is most certainly exporting Wahhabist ideology – and these exports reach far beyond the traditional Muslim world.

      Saudi spending on the promotion of Wahhabism is estimated to have doubled from $2 billion/yer to $4 billion/yer between 2007 and 2015. Some of that money most likely washed up in the UK.

      It is estimated that in 2007 the number of Wahabbi linked mosques in the UK was 68. By 2015 that number had risen to 110.

      These mosques benefit from the periodic appearances of men like Syed Muzaffar Shah Qadri. This gentleman was banned from preaching in Pakistan due to his teachings being considered overly extreme. Luckily the UK authorities did not share the concerns of the Pakistani’s.

      What might be considered extreme in Pakistan? Maybe Pakistan is simply being overly cautious. Well this kind of stuff happens in Pakistan and does not seem to meet the “too extreme” test.

      • Hatuey

        It’s brainless madness that you and john2020 think you can show any understanding of the problems and tensions in that region without even mentioning oil and western interference.

        If there was an ignore option on here, I’d zap both of you.

        • michael norton

          “exporting Wahhabist ideology”
          this is their tool/key how to control Arabia, it of course does not imply they believe any of it, themselves.
          It is a good example of an evil empire.
          Like all empires, it will come to a sticky end.

        • Loony

          All except my post did not purport to deal with problems in “that region” Rather it attempted to provide a pointer as to how problems in “that region” are in the process of being exported to other regions.

          You can ignore this and/or “zap” it if you wish. However as Huxley pointed out facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.

  • Dave

    Its not really Sunni against Shia or even Shia against Sunni its House of Saud against Sunni and Shia under the guise of Wahhabism.

    What you have is an tribal extended family in ownership of an oil well and the West then America supported this arrangement for secure oil supplies. In return House of Saud buys over-priced weapons that don’t work and/or which they can’t operate, hence the need to hire mercenaries.

    These mercenaries are given an Islamic flag to fly under the pretence their are religious fighters rather than mercenaries and Wahhabism is deliberately extreme so that anyone who threatens House of Saud ownership of the oil well can be killed as a heretic. A similar ruse was used by communist regimes who denounced opponents of the dictatorship as enemies of the people.

    However the promotion of America First by Trump has made America energy self-sufficient and no longer dependent on Saudi oil and so why be manipulated to fight a war over oil you don’t need. Indeed ironically cuts in Saudi oil now serves American (and Russian) interests.

    • michael norton

      Quite so, the two biggliest winners
      will be Russia and America, the Carbon Super Powers.

      More reason for The Donald to get along with Vlad.

      Now Bolton has been fired, just maybe, this part of Donald’s plan, can be allowed to work out.
      Win Win for Russia/America.

      • michael norton

        The win for America would be access to the burgoning markets of Russia and the Central Asian lands, stuff another spanner in the works of China. The win for Russia would be a welcome back into the Free World and massive selling of Methane to Europe.

        • Tatyana

          I disagree, michael.
          Hydrocarbon export is the significant share of our total exports, but not of our entire economy.
          Besides, there are much easier source nearby, in ex-USSR Turkmenistan, which is dreaming of access to the Russian export pipe, so no need for dangerous remote region like the Middle East.

          • Loony

            The thing is all western economies are suffering from systemic insolvency.

            Insolvency cannot be resolved by injections of liquidity – only the acquisition of assets that can be monetized can offset insolvency. Everything in the Middle East has long since been monetized. Sure they need the Middle East to keep the system going, but what they really need is control of more assets. Russia has these assets in abundance. Hydrocarbons are only one part of it. Russia has vast reserves of precious metals, rare earth minerals, water, forestry etc. The list is endless.

            Due to its history and its size there is likely much more yet to be discovered. No one is interested in places like Turkmenistan. Russia is the prize, and if you can capture Russian then all of the ex-USSR satellite states will fall instantly.

          • Tatyana

            capture Russian 🙂 hey hey Loony, hello, we are living here for I don’t know how many centuries, waiting for you to come and capture us 🙂 Livonian order could not, Sweden could not, Ottomans could not, Napoleon could not, Hitler could not, here comes Loony 🙂

            ex-USSR will fall instantly! It’s epic!

            Loony, return to reality from the world of illusions.
            Look around – Baltic states, Ukraine, Georgia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia… many small countries midway between Russia and old Europe, they are looking for a strong neighbor who can be saddled and ridden at least part of the way. USSR then, EU now.
            You describe them as if someone is trying to knock them down, and they proudly resist (oh my, it’s funny 🙂 ) when in fact they are trembling with impatience, jumping right into your arms. Come on, take them 🙂

            I’m sorry, it may be impolite to write it, but really, it’is hilarious, I couldn’t resist. Sorry.

          • Tatyana

            look what I’ve got for you!
            ha ha ha, the Davos economic forum, this is how Ukraine argues why it is necessary to invest in their country.
            They say it directly into your ear, looking strait into your eyes – “we are beautiful, we are sexy!”

            Boris Johnson’s sister showed her naked tits on TV. I am disappointed that the Kiev mayor’s brother didn’t expose anything, it would have been much more convincing (I hope 😉 )

          • Herbie

            The only way to capture Russia, now, is through China.

            China and Siberia, eh. There’s a thought. Anyone remember the Pacific Rim idea.

            Plenty of discussions on the matter in China. The Russians are a bit funny about it. Get a bit tongue-tied when the matter is raised, Lavrov, most recently.

            I mean, China does big big deals with the Russian state, but they don’t really invest in Russia as such.

            They do massive logging in Siberia even now. They come. Take. And there’s absolutely no value to the locals in their presence, other than holes where once grew pristine forest.

            I suspect a deal has been done between Russia and China on the Siberian question, and it’ll be unveiled as soon as Eurasia is at peace.

          • Tatyana

            Herbie, ukrainians do massive logging in Rostov, georgians, armenians and abkhazians – in Sochi, dagestanians in Stavropol etc. It is normal in border regions.
            No one would mind chinise do logging in Siberia. It is a vast swampy and wooded wasteland with the population of less than 3 people for 1 square kilometer. The only thing that worries, it that the settlement and activity were legal.

            We have similar region Far East and the government tries to make it attractive for people to settle there and to develop it. They offer discounted mortgage, they run a project of getting 2 hectares territory at zero cost if one goes to develop it, we are going to built another big bridge there to connect Russia and China.

          • John2o2o

            “Russia is the prize, and if you can capture Russian then all of the ex-USSR satellite states will fall instantly.”

            – Loony, what is this nonsense?

          • Herbie


            “ukrainians do massive logging in Rostov, georgians, armenians and abkhazians – in Sochi, dagestanians in Stavropol etc. It is normal in border regions.”

            Are they doing 16 million acres of logging per annum. I don’t think so.

            No, we’re not talking about border logging. We’re talking about Chinese logging in Russia, at a rate twice that of the deforestation in the Amazon.

            We’re talking about a Moscow deal with the Chinese which is so unequal that the locals are in despair.

            The region is being harvested of its natural resources with no view to the stability of the local economy for the future.

            And we’re talking raw wood here. All the added value takes place in China.

            Why would Moscow do such a deal with the Chinese?

            Very weak of them, in an area you’d think they’d want to be developing.

          • Tatyana

            Herbie, this spring my aunt from Omsk, Siberia spent several months with us. She is a clever woman and we discussed politics with her, and I find it strange that she didn’t mention the problem you describe.
            Can you please link the source of this information?

          • Herbie

            She needs to turn her attention east to Kansk.

            City council member, Irina Avdoshkevich, will tell her all about it.

            Failing that you could read the copious media accounts of the problem.

            Here’s just one:


            The problem is so bad that the Russian leadership are now pretending to be annoyed about it, even though they must have given the go-ahead to the Chinese in the first place.


      • John2o2o

        Michael, I think you’re missing the whole point here.

        Donald Trump is first and foremost a businessman. He’s not a politician. In my opinion he’s always liked Vladimir Putin and been open to negotiation. But his hands are tied, because every time he has tried to be friendly to Putin the American media has gone up the wall.

        The problem is that the security services (CIA, etc) view still view Russia as a useful enemy. The American “Military Industrial Complex” cannot thrive unless there is an enemy out there. Why build weapons if the world is at peace? This is the point.

        “American arms manufacturers, who stand to gain billions of dollars in sales of weapons, communication systems and other military equipment if the Senate approves NATO expansion, have made enormous investments in lobbyists and campaign contributions to promote their cause in Washington.”

        A more detailed piece by Peter Hitchens here:

    • Mighty Drunken

      America increased its oil production mostly during the period of Obama’s administration, a 74% increase. Though this was mostly due to better technogy and a period of high oil prices allowing investment into fracking.

      • Loony

        Yeah right.

        Investments into US fracking are guaranteed to produce negative cash flow. These negative cash flows persist for the entire period that any fracking operation produces hydrocarbon output. How is this an investment?

  • Laguerre

    I am not quite sure that Craig is right in calling the Saudis cowards. Their policy is inherent in their situation. Saudi is a very large family of princes, 5000 at the last count and now more, who have control of a field of oil-wells. Like all the oil-states, all the revenue goes direct to the government, Saudi having few other sources of revenue. Quite like the other Gulf countries, but they are small, and Saudi is big. They only dispense that which is necessary to keep the rest of the tribes calm.

    They don’t have any other choice than to use their money to execute their foreign policy, as their military won’t fight for them, no sense of nationhood having been created. Thus mercenaries to fight their wars, and paying the US to defend them. Because that it is what it is. All those arms orders are simply paying off the US to defend them.

    • Wikikettle

      Laguerre. So why invade Yemen ? Was it to divert attention from internal threats from within the ‘Family’ ? Not looking good either for the floation of ARMCO. No doubt the CIA has another ‘Prince’ ready to to take over from MBS ?!

      • Goose

        The KSA sent troops into Bahrain remember, when the majority Shia population were protesting against minority Sunni monarchy.

        Yemen is the same logic; They hate the idea of growing Shia influence on the Arabian Peninsula.

        What happened Iraq really ramped up the KSA’s rulers’ paranoia , because up until Saddam Hussein was overthrown the Ba’ath Party(seen as a pan-Arab Sunni project) had had complete control, with Shia and other religions given largely token positions. The Iraq war put the Shia majority firmly in control and strengthened Iran’s ties and influence in that country

        The Syrian war and the KSA and other Gulf states funding of jihadis can also be seen in this context too. Assad’s Alawites are a Shia(offshoot) minority, in a majority Sunni country. It must have all looked so simple until Russia showed up. The US and Israel saw the Syrian war and bringing the Sunnis to power as a means to put a buffer between Iran, Hezbollah(in the Lebanon) and Israel. As well as guaranteeing Israel Golan.

        • Wikikettle

          Goose, Laguerra, yes, as Robert Fisk pointed out, the majority of Syrian Arab Army is Sunni ! So its not a simple sectarian thing ?

          • Goose

            Well the Assad Alawites are secular, it’s not a theocratic regime.

            It’s almost like an incidental thing with Syrian identity being more important. A bit like how Catholic and Protestant aren’t central to our identity in England. Go to Northern Ireland, however, and it’s a different matter. The Gulf monarchies thought they could play up the divide, as they did in a once united Iraq, by sponsoring ultra-violent religious jihadis.

        • giyane

          Saudi Arabia would be encircled by the Shi’a if Yemen went Houthi and US puppets already in Baghdad. The yanks certainly know how to wind up the rich dudes.

          • Goose

            The KSA’s plan could be religious inspired genocide in Yemen.

            That’s why the UK and US need to get them to stop. The fact that 10.2 million are reportedly near the point of starvation should be a huge flashing warning light. If there is mass starvation UK ministers, could end up being held accountable and go to prison if the mood in the UK demands it.

            Can’t see the US wanting to be party to millions of starvation deaths either?

            Wish the climate change protests today, wee instead for the people of Yemen.

          • N_

            @Goose – No British minister ever got charged with a crime for the SAS helping Pol Pot in Cambodia. There’s no PR hit for the US or British regimes “allowing” genocide to take place abroad.

            I once had an online conversation with a British former special services officer who declared that contrary to what I’d said the princely regime called “Saudi Arabia” wasn’t going to end with evacuating princes hanging onto helicopter skids, Saigon style, any time in the foreseeable future. I’ve always looked forward to the day when I could say “Remember what you said?”

  • Glasshopper

    Despite the colossal military hardware at their disposal, Trump and Johnson have both talked about a “diplomatic” response. Meaning more sanctions.
    They both know that their voters have no stomach for another Middle Eastern escapade, and that their actions will have dire consequences. But they will also know that more sanctions will fail and bring about more moves from Iran who hold a lot of cards.

    It is clear that Iran are in the driving seat here.

    Iran, for all it’s many faults, is a full-blooded nation state. Our “ally” Saudi Arabia is a family business living on borrowed time.

    • Goose

      Notice the US Pentagon refuse to comment on the refinery attack?

      They won’t lie, because the penalties for lying are so serious in the US. Hence why the Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stated in 2018, the U.S. “has no evidence to confirm reports that the Syrian government has used the deadly chemical sarin on its citizens”. Little reported at the time.

      The Pentagon say they will leave it to the KSA to provide evidence.

      Hasn’t stopped Pompeo blaming Iran however.

    • Hatuey

      The danger is the western idea of a limited response. We have become accustomed in the west to thinking it’s okay to bomb people a little bit, as if it’s simply a way of communicating and expressing ideas.

      The Iranians, being so culturally backward and uncivilised, don’t understand this new form of language; they think when we drop bombs on people that we mean to cause harm and destruction.

      The Iranian Foreign Minister couldn’t be clearer. Any such limited bombing conducted against Iran and they’re all in.

        • michael norton

          Syria gains, Lebanon gains, Cyprus gains,Turkey gains, Russia gains and the ex-Soviet Central Asian countries gain, U.S.A./U.K./Canada gain, Norway gains.
          Saudi lose, Israel lose, other Gulf States may well lose.

          The difficult bit is to forecast how things will turn out for Iran/Yemen?

      • Goose


        Iran is a huge country with 84m people and 120m plus if you include in Shia, in the region.

        Would America or we in the UK accept and shrug off a few strikes by a foreign power, say a few missiles hitting London or LA?

        Being uncivilised has nothing to do with it. We wouldn’t tolerate it full stop.

        Iran will let loose salvos of cruise missiles in response.

          • Goose

            I’ll admit that’s an oversimplification, but I’m basically agreeing that Iran isn’t Syria, a disarmed Libya, Sudan; or Iraq, or Afghanistan – all countries that fit that ‘accept your US punishment’ line.

            A limited strike on Iran à la ‘Monica’s missiles’ : where dozens of U.S. cruise missiles struck targets in Sudan at a time that coincided with Monica Lewinsky’s testimony.

            There is pride on the line and such action almost has to be met with a response.

        • Loony

          The only way Iran could hit London or LA is via a few nut job car bombers.

          When the US shot down an Iranian passenger jet in 1988 what did Iran do? All they could do was to attach some kind of bomb to the car of the “war hero” Captain of the Vincennes. This did not even work properly.

          Things have moved on since 1988 – almost certainly Iranian weapons systems are compromised by various stealth computer bugs. You can blow up Iran if you want and rest easy at night knowing that the Ubermensch who inhabit London and LA will sleep free from the worry of Iranian retaliation.

          Now if the Russians decide to support Iran….well then it’s game on and goodnight Eileen.

          • N_

            In principle the Great Satan could look at the far higher morale in Russia (and you know what Napoleon said about morale) and wind its Satanic neck in. Just saying. Soon it will be goodnight Eileen anyway, Loony pants.

            Who do we actually think fired those missiles? I would say it doesn’t sound like the Houthis or at least not without assistance. This isn’t because I don’t think they would be justified. It’s because you’ve got to consider the attack alongside other recent “mysterious” attacks in the region blamed on Iran and that Iran has denied.

          • Iain Stewart

            “The only way Iran could hit London or LA is via a few nut job car bombers.”
            Like the Paris bombings all through 1986? That was pretty effective in getting the Eurodif dispute sorted, and Iran managed to wipe off (most of) its fingerprints. Who were the “nut jobs” then? (Unless that means any indiscriminate mass murderer.)

          • Iain Stewart

            “Who do we actually think fired those missiles? I would say it doesn’t sound like the Houthis or at least not without assistance.”
            Why not? Didn’t France “lend” a penniless Sadaam Hussein half a dozen Rafale fighters to attack Iran (while selling Iran artillery munitions, just to be fair to both sides)?

    • Wikikettle

      Following the Pentagon announcing new troop deployments to SA, – I hope Russia and China, at the request from Iran, deploy S400 and a commensurate force to neutralise any idea US have of bombing Iran. This blockade of Iran has to be lifted. The Persians cant tolerate these acts of war against it much longer. China and Russia must intervene in a big way.

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