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Khashoggi murder has set back US-Israel effort to confront Iran

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The uproar over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul October 2 is obviously the biggest story in the world right now and though Israel is maintaining a strategic silence so as not to hurt its new ally, responses to the outrage in the U.S. are not all ideological, or ascribable to the Israel lobby.

The thrust of American mainstream commentary on the case appears to be: the murder is too much to swallow, but Saudi Arabia is too valuable an ally to lose, given the US-Israeli-Saudi alliance against Iran and the Saudi role of imposing a possible “deal” on the Palestinians. So Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman needs to get out of the way.

Israel is already a big loser in the fallout from the murder, as it is throwing shade on Israel’s rightwing friends, including Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and Mideast negotiator and counterpart of bin Salman.

Here’s a roundup of mainstream opinion. Republican Congressman Peter King takes the rightwing line on ABC’s This Week. We can move past this, if only for the sake of Israel.

I would ask the president to try to thread the needle here, one to — whether it involves imposing sanctions, whether it involves delaying arms sales, making a clear statement of condemnation at the end but still not hurt ourselves…

Because the Saudis do provide very effective intelligence, they are a bulwark against Iran and they have been working closely with Israel. You put all that together, we have to try to balance it.

Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff on the same show takes the Democratic line, It’s Kushner’s fault.

I think part of why we are where we are is that we have essentially delivered a message through the Trump family that it’s carte blanche for the Saudi family. They can do what they want, where they want and the U.S. will never stand up to them. That kind of a policy has got to come to an end.

Peter Feld writes in the Forward that Kushner has tried to shrug off Khashoggi’s murder, but can’t.

Kushner reportedly argued that the firestorm over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder “will pass, just as it did after other Saudi errors like the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon and the killing of a busload of children in Yemen.”

The quote appeared in an article in The New York Times which was later retracted after pushback.

Feld says this is a blow for the US-Saudi efforts to force Palestinians to accept Bantustans as sovereignty.

The brash Saudi crown prince has been more aggressive than anyone else might be in trying to pressure Palestinians to accept Kushner’s Middle East peace plan, rumored to entail historic concessions that would remove refugee status from almost all Palestinians who currently hold it.

The Associated Press concurs, the Khashoggi killing threatens the Trump peace plan:

“It definitely complicates their plans to release their proposal, if indeed they have one,” said [former US ambassador to Israel] Dan Shapiro.

“A U.S. official familiar with the peace effort said the team remains committed to its plan and does not expect the crisis surrounding the Khashoggi killing to affect it. The official added, however, that the team has not yet discussed the matter since the Saudis confirmed Khashoggi’s death over the weekend, and plans a discussion in the coming days.”

The AP story said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to boast lately about “improved behind-the-scenes ties with moderate Arab countries, an apparent reference to Saudi Arabia.” But the killing is bad news for the vaunted peace deal because bin Salman has lost his international clout.

Mkhaimer Abusada, a Palestinian analyst, said he thinks the Khashoggi killing will have a “huge effect” on the crown prince’s own behavior as well.

“I think from now on, he is going to count his steps carefully and stop being that impulsive,” he said. “The Palestinians will reject the U.S. peace plan when it’s officially on the table and MBS will not be in any good position to wield any pressure on the Palestinians to accept it.”

Neoconservative kingpin Elliott Abrams in the Weekly Standard wants Mohammad bin Salman stripped of “absolute power,” but he is fearful of the consequences for Israel of a major break with the Saudis and a leader who understood “that Iran and not Israel is their enemy.”

An instant decision to cut off all arms sales to the kingdom, being pushed now by many Democrats in Congress, would not be sensible. The main beneficiaries of weakening U.S.-Saudi defense ties would be the regime in Iran, which is the enemy of both Saudi Arabia and the United States, and those who would happily sell whatever arms we do not—China and Russia, for example…

Richard Haass of the Council on Foreign Relations says the murder is likely to have real foreign-policy consequences, constraints on the slaughter in Yemen:

How to respond to the Khashoggi murder has emerged as the biggest foreign policy test so far for a Trump presidency that has mostly created its own crises. It should call for a real investigation, distance itself from MBS, and rein in KSA policy on Yemen.

He concedes that the murder has set back Trump’s Iran strategy:

[The] attempt to defend Saudi action further compromises US standing in the world and makes it harder to build pressure against Iran, an administration priority, especially if Congress sanctions Saudis, as it should and as well it might.

Democratic foreign policy maven Tamara Cofman Wittes is also concerned about the blowback to the Iran policy:

Precisely why this brazen, abhorrent murder has garnered attention in DC and European capitals: it has catalyzed long-brewing concerns over a string of imprudent, destabilizing Saudi policies that undermined important US interests like fight vs extremism and pushing back on Iran.

Neoconservative David Frum retweets a piece in Defense One, that reports on the wide range of politicians calling for U.S. sanctions on Saudi Arabia, but concludes, we need to be hardboiled:

The Pentagon has long accepted Saudi abuses as the price of friendship. The Khashoggi situation won’t change that.

Frum also retweeted Daniel Shapiro’s widely-read piece in Haaretz, the murder is a “disaster” for Israel. Shapiro says the U.S. must end “business as usual” with bin Salman because he “crossed all lines of acceptability,” but the U.S.-Saudi relationship is safe.

There are no boy scouts in the Middle East, and the U.S.-Saudi alliance has persisted through decades of repressive Saudi policies against their own people.

American interests could still be served by some of the economic and social reforms that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has championed, and by the advancement of the joint strategic goals of checking Iranian aggression in the region. Those considerations cannot be so easily dismissed…

Shapiro, the former ambassador who now lives in Israel and is its advocate, worries about the end to Israel’s Iran strategy–

MBS, in his obsession with silencing his critics, has actually undermined the attempt to build an international consensus to pressure Iran…

For Israel, this sordid episode raises the prospects that the anchor of the new Middle East realities it has sought to promote – an Israeli-Sunni Arab coalition, under a U.S. umbrella, to check Iran and Sunni jihadists – cannot be counted upon.

And he says that Israel risks “reputational damage” if it lobbies for Khashoggi in Washington.

A number of Israel advocates aren’t listening. Josh Block continues to retweet smears of Khashoggi: “the beatification of a bad guy.” And he disparages Turkey and Erdogan, who have denounced the murder, as “trustworthy as gas station sushi.”

While Tzvia Greenfield, a former Israeli leftist writing in Haaretz, hails Mohammad bin Salman as virtually another Sadat, willing to affirm Israel’s legitimacy in the Arab world.

[I]t’s necessary to treat the [murder] suspect with kid gloves. Trump’s peace initiative, if it is ever put on the table, is apparently the direct result of pressure by Mohammed bin Salman, who wishes to legitimize Israel before embarking on open cooperation with it. For 50 years we’ve prayed for a key Arab leader who agrees to sign a significant pact with Israel. Such a leader has finally arrived, and calls to depose him, such as those by former U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro in an op-edin Haaretz (October 21) are destructive and in keeping with the best Obama tradition. Anyone waiting for a world of the purely just will have to struggle all his life with the purely evil.

Bottom line, things are up in the air, and the anti-Iran axis is in jeopardy. The murder is a crisis for the love affair between the supposed reformers in Saudi Arabia and “policy elites and consulting elites” in the west, Abdullah al-Arian said on On the Media. The press fell for bin Salman and ignored Yemen, al-Arian said, in part because when terrorism came up, he always “somehow pointed the finger back at Iran.” Today we see “a very laudable reaction on the part of the U.S. media,” Al-Arian says of the Khashoggi reaction. “We see this outrage that we don’t normally see.”

Yes, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham, foreign policy hawks, have been among the most outraged on the cable stations. And even Bill Kristol is done with the Saudis:

The Saudi lies about the murder of Khashoggi come from a regime that routinely lies, that’s based on lies. The Saudis have exported terror while pretending to fight it; their playboy princes pretend to be defenders of the faith; the regime revels in corruption at home and abroad.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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55 Responses

  1. Maximus Decimus Meridius on October 22, 2018, 4:03 pm

    Meanwhile, in the Liberal Zionist bible:

    “However, this time it’s necessary to treat the suspect with kid gloves. Trump’s peace initiative, if it is ever put on the table, is apparently the direct result of pressure by Mohammed bin Salman, who wishes to legitimize Israel before embarking on open cooperation with it. For 50 years we’ve prayed for a key Arab leader who agrees to sign a significant pact with Israel. Such a leader has finally arrived, and calls to depose him, such as those by former U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro in an op-ed in Haaretz (October 21) are destructive and in keeping with the best Obama tradition. ”

    Who cares about murder in the consulate eh? The real question is: Is it good for Israel?

    I think the lobby aren’t quite stupid enough to go public on this, but you can be absolutely certain that behind the scenes, they are lobbying hard in Washington to smooth over all of this unpleasantness. However, that is looking increasingly unlikely. Wonder what we will hear in Erdogan’s Big Reveal tomorrow?

    • CigarGod on October 23, 2018, 12:04 pm

      The “naked truth” turned into the emperors new clothes.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on October 23, 2018, 5:17 pm

        Yes, a bit more subdued than expected. Maybe the visit of the CIA director had something to do with it? Erdogan’s price seems to be the dismissal of the clown prince. I’m guessing there are negotiations going on behind the scenes and there will be more leaks until he gets what he wants.

      • Maghlawatan on October 24, 2018, 1:12 am

        I think Erdogan is happy to do the dance of the seven intelligence veils and string it out.He wants to neutralise MBS .

        Interesting that the US also has a useless son of privilege meddling in the Middle East. Trump has run a coach and horses through the US constitution.

  2. Citizen on October 22, 2018, 7:16 pm

    Latest rendition of “Is it good for the Jews?” Zionist Jews, that is…

  3. Neil Schipper on October 22, 2018, 7:45 pm

    “There are no boy scouts in the Middle East..”

    Saudi allies in the region, including the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Jordan, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Palestinian Authority expressed solidarity with the Saudi position, some praising Riyadh for its “transparency” and “fairness” in the case.


    France said on Tuesday [October 2, 2018] there was no doubt Iran’s intelligence ministry was behind a June plot to attack an exiled opposition group’s rally outside Paris and it seized assets belonging to Tehran’s intelligence services and two Iranian nationals.

    “Behind all this was a long, meticulous and detailed investigation by our (intelligence) services that enabled us to reach the conclusion, without any doubt, that responsibility fell on the Iranian intelligence ministry,” a French diplomatic source said.

    “We hope this matter is now over. We have taken measures and said what we needed to say,” the source said, suggesting Paris was seeking to turn a page on the issue.


    • Ellen on October 24, 2018, 5:10 pm

      That is a weird citation. The GCC is dead. How could it express anything anymore. It has no unified voice, is not a unified body any longer.

      Egypt and Bahrain are dependent upon the KSA. They will grovel for the Saudis.

      Think any political leaders of anywhere are boy scouts?

      The brazen and horrific murder of Khashoggi is the straw breaking the camel’s back. The west is confronted with the realities of the nature of the Saudi leadership. It presents a far reaching danger beyond repression of a Journalist. This is realized.

      KSA cannot buy itself out of it this time.

      Israel, like the US, is riding the wrong horse. Should they change horses — and they might be forced to — the implications for the region and over the next decades are huge.

  4. JWalters on October 22, 2018, 10:09 pm

    Kushner may have a point that the firestorm over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder “will pass, just as it did after other Saudi errors like the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon and the killing of a busload of children in Yemen.” After all, look at all the Israeli errors, mass murders, mass robberies, devastating Gaza like a level 5 hurricane, assassinations, false flag operations, etc. that have passed and been forgotten. Those no longer even cause firestorms in the press. The danger for Kushner is that this “incident” will wind up opening more eyes to the insatiable Israeli war machine behind the curtain.

  5. Kay24 on October 23, 2018, 7:28 am

    Crooked Kushner must be hoping that the midterm elections will help diffuse the outrage against his good buddy MBS. You can judge a man by the company he keeps, and taking a hard look at Trump’s admiration for, and who he falls in “love” with, it is absolutely clear that is true.

    Who would have thought, that Trump would support, and love, a Muslim nation, this much?
    The devotion to that Jewish state was obvious when he defied all previous presidents, and
    world leaders, and moved the US embassy to Jerusalem.

    He seems to have a deep devotion for Putin and Royalty in Saudi Arabia, and would sooner attack Americans like Obama and Hillary Clinton, than say a negative word about those who have financial ties to the Trump organization. It is all tied up in his financial dealings, and campaign donors.

  6. Paranam Kid on October 23, 2018, 9:09 am

    @Kay24: can you please tell us what your source is that has evidence of financial dealings and campaign donations between/from Putin and Trump?

    • Kay24 on October 23, 2018, 9:55 am

      I mean the country as a whole, just like Saudi Arabia, and the
      numerous million dollar apartments bought by Saudis. If Putin ever did have direct financial dealings, I doubt he would do it so easily, so that it would become publicly known.

      That said, Don junior has bragged that they keep getting their money from Russia.
      I doubt Putin is in the dark about this. A tyrant like him must know where his band of oligarchs
      who have close ties to him, send their ill gotten gains to. Perhaps Robert Mueller will enlighten us soon, and how much money laundering has been going on.

      “Donald Trump has pursued business deals in Russia since 1987, and has sometimes traveled there to explore potential business opportunities. In 1996, Trump trademark applications were submitted for potential Russian real estate development deals. Trump’s partners and children have repeatedly visited Moscow, connecting with developers and government officials to explore joint venture opportunities. Trump was never able to successfully conclude any real estate deals in Russia. However, individual Russians have invested heavily in Trump properties, and following Trump’s bankruptcies in the 1990s he borrowed money from Russian sources. In 2008 his son Donald Trump Jr. said that Russia was an important source of money for the Trump businesses.”

      From the horses mouth.

      • gamal on October 23, 2018, 10:21 am

        ” A tyrant like him”

        while he may not be an elected American official he is democratically elected by Russians isn’t he? what makes him a “tyrant”? Does America have some right to dictate to others how they manage their affairs? Isn’t the US the global tyrant? Despite the holy Constitution, the checks and balances, the democracy and the self denying moral excellence of all it does?

        did you vote for massive tax cuts for the super rich and endless “war” against innocent and defenceless people? if not you may be being tyrannized, look into it.

      • Kay24 on October 23, 2018, 4:15 pm

        Gamal, I am not going to debate whether or not Putin is a tyrant, the world knows who he is, and what he has done. You certainly are a strong defender of him. As for elections, we know he is a master of manipulating them.

        I certainly would not drink any tea with any of his agents.

      • gamal on October 23, 2018, 7:33 pm

        sure ok, but “strong defender” it’s not that really, I am not affected by the peculiar need some Americans have for hunting demons rather than addressing issues, I mean if I were an American what should I do about the Putin threat, apart from get to indulge this emotionally satisfying righteous anger, and what is also great is that I neither need to evaluate myself or my astonishing and on going international crime wave (Empire), I am after all under dire threat (Putin), so sanctions and then war, is that Putins plan? seems to be Trumps

        So as an American what do I do sign up, denounce bots (please feel free honestly I am an Arab Muslim and am impervious to American contempt or dislike, you’ve killed 4 million of us in 17 years and continue to plague us so denounce away my dear)

        so what is the political effect of Putin(arafatassadghaddafihusseinxi) is the enemy at the gate what should an American do sign up? that’s all Kay, no big deal, but its not politics, there is no analysis just narrative, like Al-Quaida you remember them going to destroy the world from Goldfingers cave fortress, don’t you get bored with it? or suspect someone might be jerking your chain?

      • RoHa on October 23, 2018, 8:56 pm

        Gamal, Kay’s heart is in the right place (unlike her commas) but she has been sold on the idea that Putin is the font of all evil and that Trump is his chief henchman.

      • Kay24 on October 23, 2018, 10:24 pm

        Gamal, I am disgusted that this country has, using false intelligence, attacked Muslim nations, killing 2-4 million Muslims, injuring millions, and making millions more refugees. It is ironic that you do not hear any criticism, nor remorse, from any politician or president, for that outrage. I attended many anti war rallies, but to no avail. I am also appalled by the anti Muslim sentiment in this country, that wealthy pro Israeli millionaires have funded, for the poison to spread, not only in the US, but also to other nations. It is ironic to see comments calling Muslims and the religion evil, when facts are Christians from Western nations have dropped bombs over many Muslim nations, and innocent civilians have been killed by the millions.
        All that, but that does to mean I have to agree to what Putin is doing, or like his strongman tactics.

      • Paranam Kid on October 24, 2018, 12:44 pm

        @Kay24: the bragging and travels and business deals (failed or not) do NOT prove that there has been financial meddling by Putin in the presidential campaign. Russia being an “important source of money for the Trump businesses” is NOT an important source for campaign activities, unless the contrary can be proven. There is no hard, fact-based evidence for that. You regurgitate circumstantial evidence that the MSM keep spewing for want of real facts.

        The lack of hard, fact-based evidence is precisely the reason why Robert Mueller, in the almost 2 years he has been investigating “Russiagate”, has not come up with a single shred of evidence. But, in order to keep this well-paid job, he has diverted to arresting Manafort and Cohen, and to ‘indict’ Russians that he KNOWS will never stand trial in the US so they can be accused of anything to fit the narrative.

        Incidentally, Don jr. is NOT the “horse’s mouth”, only Don in this case ;-)

      • gamal on October 24, 2018, 12:46 pm

        Hi Kay,

        “does to mean I have to agree to what Putin is doing”

        sure absolutely, I am only sorry that I can not muster the most miniscule quanta of concern for the fate of the US state, I see what you’re saying and am happy to leave it here, thanks for your patience.

      • Paranam Kid on October 24, 2018, 12:47 pm


        … whether or not Putin is a tyrant, the world knows who he is, and what he has done.

        Does the world know? Does the world know it is based on what the MSM stenographers feed it?

        Please explain what he has done.

        Suggestion: try to consult some more eclectic news analysis channels to enlighten yourself.

      • Paranam Kid on October 24, 2018, 12:58 pm

        @Kay24: please explain Putin’s strongman tactics.

        Actually, let try to guess what you will say:
        1. he annexed Crimea
        2. he invaded Ukraine

        Allow me to set you staright on these 2 issues.
        1. The CIA spent $5 million instigating and fomenting the “ornage revolution” in Ukraine to get rid of a democratically elected government, and install its puppets. There is a telephone conversation between US Assist. Sec. of State for Europe at the time, Victoria Nuland, and the then US ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt discussing who should be put in place.

        The next step would be to grab hold of Crimea and block Russia’s access to the Black Sea. A referendum was organised in Crimea about reintegration in Russia, and the Crimeans, in a verified, fair, fair referendum, for reintegration.

        2. The puppet government installed by the CIA and Europe is mostly a neo-Nazi government, that has harassed and attacked the mostly ethnic Russian populations in eastern Ukraine. Putin did NOT invade eastern Ukraine but supported the ethnic Russians. Can he be blamed for that?

        If I am wrong in mentioning these 2 points about your views, please correct me.

      • Keith on October 24, 2018, 5:38 pm

        PARANAM KID- ” The CIA spent $5 million instigating and fomenting the “ornage revolution” in Ukraine….”

        Victoria Nuland bragged about spending $5 BILLION, not $5 million.

      • RoHa on October 24, 2018, 7:23 pm

        “Incidentally, Don jr. is NOT the “horse’s mouth”, only Don in this case ;-)”

        Both of them should be grateful for being called a horse’s mouth.

      • RoHa on October 24, 2018, 8:09 pm

        And I see someone is now sending dud bombs to Democrats. It must be Putin, right?

      • Keith on October 25, 2018, 11:10 am

        ROHA- ” It must be Putin, right?”

        Either that or one of those “Russian” oligarchs travelling on Israeli passports.

      • Paranam Kid on October 26, 2018, 7:16 am

        @Keith: sorry about the “m” for “b” typo. I was really checking if someone was awake out there ;-))

    • Kay24 on October 24, 2018, 1:17 pm

      “Please explain what he has done.

      Suggestion: try to consult some more eclectic news analysis channels to enlighten yourself.”

      You have no clue exactly where I get my news from, and they cannot be wrong just because YOU do not agree to what I say. Perhaps you should change your source, because you keep harping on knowing exactly what “he has done”. Do some research from more eclectic news analysis channels to enlighten yourself, because your source seems to omit this information. You are still in the dark.

      Trying to explain to you what he has done wrong will be just like explaining to the Trump cult followers that he is ethically and morally challenged.
      A waste of time.

      • Paranam Kid on October 25, 2018, 1:40 am

        @Kay24: you are right that I have no clue exactly where you get your news from, in the sense that I don’t know the names of your sources, but from the standard comments you make it is not difficult to guess – the collective name for them is MSM. And MSM are nothing more than US government stenographers, which are successful at making lots of gullible people swallow their absolute nonsense, biased reporting and analysis.

        Responding to my polite request to provide more details on one of your regurgitated comments
        by replying a “A waste of time” confirms my observation about your MSM sources, and reinforces my suggestion for you to consult some more enlightened sources.

        Many thanks, Kay24, for confirming what I suspected. Have a good day, and try to be a bit more critical about the MSM news.

  7. Marnie on October 23, 2018, 10:25 am

    Kushner reportedly argued that the firestorm over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder “will pass, just as it did after other Saudi errors like the kidnapping of the prime minister of Lebanon and the killing of a busload of children in Yemen.”

    And that’s probably the most honest thing this POS has ever said in his life. But antisemitism….

    • Misterioso on October 23, 2018, 4:24 pm

      @Marnie, et al

      “REVEALED: The Saudi death squad MBS uses to silence dissent” Middle East Eye, Oct. 22/18

      “MEE exclusively reveals details about the tiger squad, a team of assassins targeting Saudi critics at home and abroad”

      “Jamal Khashoggi fell victim to its assassins. He wasn’t the first.

      “In new revelations, a Saudi source with intimate knowledge of his country’s intelligence services told Middle East Eye about a death squad that operates under the guidance and supervision of Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince.

      “The Firqat el-Nemr, or tiger squad, is well-known to the US intelligence services. It was formed more than a year ago and is comprised of 50 of the best-skilled intelligence and military operatives in the kingdom.

      “The group was recruited from different branches of the Saudi security services, channelling several areas of expertise. Its members are unflinchingly loyal to Riyadh’s young crown prince, commonly known as MBS.

      “MEE can exclusively reveal details about the tiger squad, after speaking to a very well-placed source. The source detailed to MEE the squad’s makeup, targets, actions and personnel.”

      “‘The tiger squad’s mission is to covertly assassinate Saudi dissidents, inside the kingdom and on foreign soil, in a way that goes unnoticed by the media, the international community and politicians,’ the source said.

      “‘They [the Saudi leadership] have the belief that arresting critics will mount pressure on them, so that’s why they started assassinating them quietly,’ the source said.”

      • Marnie on October 23, 2018, 11:20 pm

        their ‘tiger team’ sounds like the mossad, the CIA, MI6 , KGB and every other state-sponsored terrorism unit. Why go through all the trouble of arresting dissidents when you can just kill ’em. They make the mafia look like pikers.

    • Marnie on October 25, 2018, 2:06 am

      Kushner: Oh, I forgot, boy is my face red, and the world trade center, the pentagon……….. I’ll all pass and be forgotten

  8. Misterioso on October 23, 2018, 11:27 am

    Add this to the mix:

    “Saudi Arabia has little bargaining power over Canada an expert says”
    By Eric Stober, Canada’s Global News, Oct. 22/18

    “Saudi Arabia holds little power over the larger economies of Canada and the United States, says one University of British Columbia professor, as countries worldwide condemn the Arab nation following the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which the kingdom is accused of orchestrating.

    “‘In both cases, the economies of Canada and the U.S. are far, far larger, more complex and intricate than that of Saudi Arabia,’ said Hani Faris, a political science professor at UBC who specializes in Middle East politics.

    “’Saudis only have crude (oil) to give you or cash to buy,’ he said ‘(Both Canada and the U.S.) can live without it without any major issue.’

    “‘Faris pointed out that Saudi Arabia’s major export is crude oil, which is not an export Canada or the U.S. rely on too drastically.

    “’Since the development of fracking, the U.S. now is producing more oil than Saudi Arabia,’ Faris said. ‘If you had asked me seven or eight years ago, I would have to say Americans would be in deep trouble because they relied on Saudis a lot more, but fracking has changed the whole scene.’

    “Faris also highlighted that Canada has many other countries to turn to if it’s in need of oil, such as Mexico, Venezuela, Iran or Kuwait.

    “In actuality, Faris believes Saudi Arabia may be the country in a bind because it owns refineries in the U.S. and has to supply them with crude oil. If the U.S. denies the Saudis the ability to import their crude oil then ‘they’re in trouble.’”

    “’Saudi Arabia has to be very careful,’ he said.”

    • Marnie on October 23, 2018, 11:25 pm

      the hold the saudi arabia has on the west is a relationship that is desired, but certainly not necessary. there’s oil in the west, so why keep dealing with these losers?

      • Tuyzentfloot on October 24, 2018, 10:22 am

        There is sufficient oil in the US alright. Historically the US relationship with KSA was not defined by the US own needs but by its role in US empire, in controlling the worldwide flow of oil, and especially the flow to its own clients. In the last decade however this role has been in decline. I don’t know in how many ways the relationship works, there is also an important financial side of KSA committing to spend their money in the US, but KSA is no longer able to push the price of oil down by producing extra. And probably they are not even able to push the price up as well by restricting because they need money so much.

      • Marnie on October 25, 2018, 12:19 am

        The only people the saudis have helped are the israelis –

        Report: Netanyahu says 9/11 terror attacks good for Israel – Haaretz ……/its-very-good-recalling-benjamin-netanyahus-words-da
        “It’s very good”: Recalling Benjamin Netanyahu’s words on the day of the 9/11 attacks
        Ali Abunimah 11 September 2012

        ‘Today, the eleventh anniversary of the 11 September 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, I was struck by the news in Haaretz:

        Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday launched an unprecedented verbal attack on the US government over its stance on the Iranian nuclear program.

        “The world tells Israel ‘wait, there’s still time’. And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’ Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel,” Netanyahu told reporters on Tuesday.

        Eleven years ago on this day, as the world looked on in stunned horror as the towers came down in New York, the same Netanyahu was already thinking strategically. Here’s how The New York Times reported it:

        Asked tonight what the attack meant for relations between the United States and Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, replied, “It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” He predicted that the attack would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.”

        Even after generously allowing Netanyahu to “edit” himself, the Times did not conceal that Netanyahu was not thinking in terms of sympathy for the victims of 9/11 and the United States, nor what a “friend” could do to help America. Rather, he was already thinking on the day it happened about how 9/11 could be manipulated to get America to do more for Israel.

        9/11, Zionism and Islamophobia

        The 9/11 attacks happened at the height of the second intifada and Israeli propaganda went into full gear – with some success – in portraying Israel’s war to steal the land of Palestinians and suppress their rights as a “war on terror” – often a code for a “war on Muslims.” And in the years after 9/11, prominent Zionist propagandists adopted or legitimized Islamophobia as one of their main discourses, something that helped newly virulent strands of Islamophobia enter the American mainstream today.

        Now, Netanyahu – once again prime minister – and Israel’s supporters in the US are apparently indignant that the US won’t go to war for Israel in Iran (at least not yet, and I do not put it past Obama).

        But here we are eleven years later to the day, and Netanyahu’s approach is the same: ask not what Israel can do for the United States, but what the United States can do for Israel – regardless of the cost to the United States and the rest of the world.’

        “Now, Netanyahu – once again prime minister – ” was it imagined in 2012 at the time of this article that in 2018 netanyahoo would still be prime minister and probably the last prime minister of the ‘state of israel’? If the US hadn’t allowed themselves to be led down this particular rabbit hole, what could the world be like today? I think it would be more stable for one and israel should have been marginalized decades ago, kicked out of the UN and only notable for the fact it was an apartheid, xenophobic theocracy that was relegated to the trash heap.

  9. pgtl10 on October 23, 2018, 12:29 pm


    1. We are the only democratic country in the middle east and care about human rights!

    2. Guys we need the Saudi dictatorship because we want to mean to Palestinians and fight Iran.

  10. Maghlawatan on October 23, 2018, 1:46 pm

    Çağaptay believes Erdoğan’s goals are more limited – for now. “He wants not to go after the Saudi royal family, to whom he’s deferential, including the King. What he’s trying to get out of this is to sideline, or maybe even neutralise MbS at least when it comes to Turkey. He wants to take one of his opponents out of that triple entente that opposes him.”
    Egypt Saudi Abu Dhabi

    • annie on October 23, 2018, 2:16 pm

      maghlawatan, the news about this out of the middleeast and turkey (i often read via google translate) is much more thorough about the regional competition vs US media. ie, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi (UAE) MbZ was totally off my radar, and i read in one of the analysis he is someone MbS looks up to. and this article you have linked to references MbS as the weak link (of SA/UAE). recall when SA tried to have qatar sanctioned and it went nowhere (we have bases in qatar) and turkey came to qatar’s defense and SA funds kurds, against turkey’s interest. a lot of this regional competition plays out on the ground in syria but isn’t explained via the press here because the public is kept in the dark about which state powers are funding which takfiri groups because the ptb think it’s not in the public’s interest to understand which of our allies are funding which headchoppers. or something — it’s often confusing for me too.

      but i can see how being erdogan, or leader of any ME state, and the idea of a new crown prince being shuffled into power whom you didn’t like and the prospect of him being there for decades (and clearly many in the DC circuit feel the same way). it makes sense to get him out of the way early on. so while trump and kershner are dillydallying over there playing kingmaker anointing the so-called “reformer” it makes perfect sense for turkey to trap him, and in turn trapping trump in a way — trump who is probably totally clueless about the middle east about anything non-israel related. iow, when it comes to balance of power, all they care about is israel at the top of the pyramid. whereas erdogan likely sees turkey as the center of everything w/ottoman empire aspirations. or something.

      • Maghlawatan on October 23, 2018, 3:34 pm

        Sah kalamik wa sah kalam ummik. Your words are true and so are your mother’s.
        At one level it is very simple. The Saudis , AD Egypt and Israel want to control the region via repression. Sisi, Saudi and Israel are all living on borrowed time. It may be linked.

      • Citizen on October 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

        US policy always comes down to What Does Israel want?

  11. James Canning on October 23, 2018, 1:58 pm

    If the butchery of Khashoggi derails ill-considered confrontation with Iran, this will be very good news.

    • Paranam Kid on October 24, 2018, 12:59 pm

      @James Canning: that derailment is likely to be temporary only. Saudi Arabia will buy its way out of the corner it is in.

      • Ellen on October 24, 2018, 5:23 pm

        They will certainly try. And might eventually succeed.

        But the KSA is going broke. While they do have cash reserves, expenditures are much greater than income to the state. A lot of the general population is suffering financially. Some youth are even working in stores, instead of the usual foreign labor. (This is revolutionary.)

        There is a reason MBS had to shake down so many for so much. The country desperately needs to attract investment to survive over the next decades. But without the “rule of law” and protections, even environmental protections, let alone a population that is used to working very much, it will be difficult if at all possible.

      • Paranam Kid on October 25, 2018, 2:58 am

        @Ellen: good points. Still, Trump and Erdoğan are trying to squeeze more money out of them. It’ll be interesting to see how successful they will be. SA also seems to be getting close to Russia.

  12. Ossinev on October 23, 2018, 3:13 pm


    “We are the only democratic country in the middle east” LOL see:

    BTW Has any MWeisser seen or heard Israel being described as “the only Middle East Democracy”? as opposed to the tedious pro forma Zioscripted “Only Democracy IN the Middle East” The Zios and Zio stooges are desperate to paint Israel as being some sort of “civilised” European or Western outpost in a sea of “Middle Eastern barbarians” plus it is fairly obvious that they don`t want to perceive of themselves as being “Middle Eastern” nothwithstanding the actual location of their “Ancient Historic Homeland”(sob) Would it perhaps invite howls and catterwaulings of Anti – Semitism or Anti – IHRAism if one were to describe Israeli Jews as being Middle Eastern people ?

  13. Maghlawatan on October 23, 2018, 4:47 pm

    I wouldn’t put Kushner in charge of M and M procurement. He is useless.
    Iran plus Turkey are more stable than Saudi with 12% unemployment and half the population under 25. Saudi needs oil at $85 to balance the budget. Israel can’t beat anyone on its own.
    The Trump years are a write off.

  14. chocopie on October 24, 2018, 1:46 am

    Was surprised today (Wednesday morning) to see what could have been a Mondoweiss article on the front page of the NYT International Edition, written by Ben Hubbard and David M. Halbfinger

    “The ascendance of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia was a boon for Israel…He cared little for the Palestinian cause and was seen as someone able to impose the Trump peace plan on the Palestinians…”

  15. Jackdaw on October 24, 2018, 1:22 pm


    The planet is burning up and it will be irrevocably destroyed in 12 years.

    Who’s gonna read your Jew obsessed blog than?

    • eljay on October 24, 2018, 2:14 pm

      || Jackdaw: Phil.

      The planet is burning up and it will be irrevocably destroyed in 12 years. … ||

      Is it Mother Nature or the non-Jewish human race that is conspiring to wipe all Jews off the globe (and push them into the ether)?

      Or – *gasp* – is Mother Nature conspiring with the non-Jewish human race?!

      || … Who’s gonna read your Jew obsessed blog than? ||

      Given your obvious obsession with it, my guess is that you’ll find a way.

    • Mooser on October 24, 2018, 2:47 pm

      “The planet is burning up and it will be irrevocably destroyed in 12 years. Who’s gonna read your Jew obsessed blog than?”

      So there we go, the Rabbi’s ‘one question’ is answered! Planetary destruction is ‘good for the Jews’.

    • wondering jew on October 24, 2018, 10:50 pm

      I will tell you the truth jackdaw, I too have thought about the global warming report and a new outlook on the middle east conflict, but I have reached no conclusions. Yes the planet is getting warmer and turmoil is on the horizon. But the falestinians will still feel cheated and it’s not so pa-shoot. I think america’s heyday is in its rear view mirror and my nostalgia is under attack on all fronts. I think the democrats will dominate America within 30 years, but it will be in a world stressed out by weather anomalies and mass migration. I think America reached its summit on a Tuesday night in June 68, and sirhan sirhan or a 2nd gunman put Nixon in the white house and it’s been downhill ever since.

      • Mooser on October 25, 2018, 4:29 pm

        “my nostalgia is under attack on all fronts.” “WJ”

        ROTFLMSJAO!! And while others warm themselves at the bonfire of your nostalgias. Why, it’s enough to give you neuralgia.

  16. Ellen on October 24, 2018, 5:27 pm

    Yemen had a much more important position in the history of Hebraic tribes and early Judaism. Jerusalem was a provincial outpost.

    That Zionist Israel is cheering on the destruction of Yemen is a tragic irony.

    • Paranam Kid on October 26, 2018, 7:33 am

      @Ellen: don’t mention to the Israelis the Kingdom of Himyar in what is now Yemen.
      1st, they are converts, as Shlomo Sand explains in his book “Invention of the Jewish people”, p. 204:

      There is much archaeological and epigraphic evidence, some of it newly discovered, that indicates with near certainty that toward the end of the fourth century CE the Himyar kingdom abandoned paganism and adopted monotheism, but it was not Christianity that it chose.

      And on p.208 he explains that the Israelis prefer to ignore it:

      Some Israeli scholars questioned the Jewishness of the Himyarites, which was probably not entirely rabbinical; others simply passed over this troublesome historical chapter. School textbooks issued after the 1950s made no mention of the proselytized southern kingdom that lay buried under the desert sand.

  17. Maghlawatan on October 24, 2018, 11:29 pm

    To me, Jamal Khashoggi was just a friendly, helpful colleague whom I was pleased to run into when reporting stories. I knew few people as skilled at explaining the mood of the Arab street and the intricacies of Arab politics. He somehow embodied more than half a century of Arab history: frustration and impotence over the fate of the Palestinians; the temptation of radicalism; the necessity of finding a modus vivendi with dictators; the search for an accommodation between religious faith and freedom.

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