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4 reasons why Saudi Arabia may cease to exist

Saudi Arabia’s wealth and arrogance are build on a oil-black house of cards.

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Saudi Arabia considers itself as the leading nation of the Arab world and at times the entire Muslim world. Most Arabs and most Muslims do not agree. Saudi Arabia is indeed a country that many Arabs hate and many Muslims have grown to reject because of the extreme and intolerant religion called Wahhabism which is practised in the Kingdom. Wahhabism bares little resembles to the peaceful, brotherly religion that is mainstream Islam.

In spite of its wealth, Saudi Arabia might not be around forever. Here’s why

1. Oil Dependency 

Oil prices continue their downward spiral. Just days ago Brent Crude prices hit their lowest level since OPEC agreed to cut production in March of 2017.

Even then, the cut benefited Iraq and Iran more than Saudi. With non-OPEC states like Russia becoming world energy producers and the United States moving further towards regaining energy independence, oil is unlikely to have another price boom.

Even at this early stage, Saudi society has felt the economic pinch. Last year Saudi Arabia contemplated introducing a first ever income tax on citizens. The outcry forced Riyadh to step back but new taxation on foreigners was introduced.

Saudi Arabia’s wealthy economy is almost entirely dependent on oil sales. Without oil, the otherwise resource poor country with an extremely regressive education system has nothing to offer the world and consequently nothing to offer its own people. The desert Kingdom is furthermore a cultural wasteland.

Ever since the oil price boom of 1973, Saudi Arabia has relied on effectively buying off its wealthy classes in order to create the veneer of stability.  Beneath the illusion of stability there are people who could easily grow rapidly discontented if the black gold of the desert kingdom were to dry up.

When the oil loses its value, Saudi Arabia loses its economy. It would become Yemen with much more debt.

2. Growing Isolation in the Arab World 

Although deeply compromised, Iraq is dominated politically by Iran leading Shi’a Arabs. Saudi Arabia’s funding of the ISIS and al-Qaeda militants that have ravaged Iraq has made Saudi increasingly hated in Iraq. This is especially the case in the southern Shi’a provinces of Iraq in places like Basra.

READ MORE: Wahhabi terrorism: the Saudi route to conquest

Syria’s secular Republic has come under direct attack by the same Saudi funded militants that ravaged much of Iraq and as a result, the vast majority of Syrians loathe the Saudi regime.

Consider Saudi Arabia’s proxy war in Yemen. No other Arab country has come to Saudi’s aid. It is only non-Arab states like Britain and America who are involved on Saudi Arabia’s side. The contempt with which Saudi Arabia has treated its follow Arabs is not unnoticed even in countries like Jordan and Egypt. If a wider war were to break out against Iran, for example and Saudi Arabia, even fellow Sunni Arab states would likely not get involved.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia threatens war on Iran. Iran offers strong response

3. Iran would destroy Saudi Arabia In A War 

Saudi Arabia’s recent threats against Iran are not only foolish but they border on the insane. Iran’s military is vastly superior to that of Saudi Arabia.

Iran has a fully professional large, highly trained, loyal and increasingly well armed fighting force. Saudi Arabia has an expensively armed force of pilots who can barely fly their  American air craft and Saudi soldiers are often the butt of jokes throughout the Arab world for good reason. They are essentially regional mercenaries, tin-pot generals and the odd non-Arab soldier of fortune. Likewise, Saudi Arabia’s military  has almost no real combat experiences while many of Iran’s military top brass were battle hardened in the Iran-Iraq war. Younger Iranian soldiers have gained valuable experience fighting terrorism in Syria.

Were America to get involved in a war between Saudi Arabia and, Iran it would likely spiral into a world-war, and America doesn’t seem to have the stomach for this. America’s backing off of threats against North Korea is one such example of America’s bark being increasingly bigger than its bite.

Russia on the other hand would not likely abandon Iran which is becoming an increasingly closer partner to Russia. Russia would continue to arm and offer support to Iran during any war against Saudi Arabia.

Some suggest that in a Saudi war with Iran, Erdogan’s Turkey would join up with the extremist Sunnis in Saudi. Again this is unlikely. Erdogan has a great deal on his plate and he isn’t handling it very well. Using Turkish forces to bolster jihdaists in parts of Syria is a much smaller effort than what would be required to fight a war with Iran.

Because Turkey has a conscripted army, such a war would be extremely unpopular. Erdgoan would likely be overthrown if he attempted to force Turkish conscripts to fight Iran for the sake of a distant Arab kingdom.

If the Saudis are stupid enough to provoke Iran, The Islamic Republic would likely obliterate the Whhabi Kingdom and many Arabs would quietly cheer, some would openly celebrate. If such an event resulted in the overthrow of the Turkish regime, many Turks would also be quite happy.

It is wise to remember too that Saudi Arabia is not a state known to history. There is no ancient or even modern basis for a Saudi state.

The house of al-Saud was a small desert tribe who only attained statehood because in the 1920s Britain switched allegiances from its former Hashemite allies in the Kingdom of Hejaz to the house of Saud who with British assistance took over much of the Arabian peninsula and formed Saudi Arabia in 1932.

Iran by contrast is one of the most ancient countries and civilisations in the world. The Saudis do not know what they are up against neither historically, culturally nor militarily.

READ MORE: 5 ways the Middle East has been radically changed since 1990

4. Silent Internal Sectarian Problems 

Although hardly reported in the west, Saudi Arabia is home to around 3 million Shia’s Muslims. They face high levels of discrimination in housing, education and employment in addition to severe religious persecution.

The treatment of Saudi’s Shi’a minority is simply appalling. It is a human rights disaster that the world shuts up about because the Saudi money is doing much of the proverbial talking.

Last year, Saudi Arabia executed a revered Shi’a cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The move caused great discord throughout the Islamic world.

Instances such as this are not as isolated as many pretend to believe. If Saudi Arabia continues to lose money and power, an internal revolution in one of the most repressive and intolerant states in the world is a real possibility.

It is wise to remember that the so called Ottoman period of decline lasted for centuries. Powerful states rarely fall overnight, but even so, the Ottoman Empire was a far different king of state than Saudi Arabia and frankly the events of the 21st century move even quicker than those in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

A young child  born today may live to see the day when Saudi Arabia is on the map only in antique markets.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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Saudi Arabia trying to squirm free of Khashoggi murder (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 2.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Saudi Arabia’s possible admission to killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi…accidentally, while they were torturing the man inside the consulate in Istanbul.

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Via Zerohedge

Even before the publication of last night’s Saudi trial balloon hinting that the kingdom would soon acknowledge that the extrajudicial killing of Jamal Khashoggi – the insider-turned dissident journalist who walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week and never walked back out – was the result of a “botched” kidnapping attempt carried out by “rogue killers” (despite reports that the US intelligence community knew that Khashoggi was being “targeted”), two realities had become increasingly clear. One: That the Saudis would avoid responsibility for the killing by pinning it on some unfortunate underling, and two: that there would be few, if any, lasting diplomatic repercussions.

And as more media organizations confirmed reports about Saudi’s plans to spin Khashoggi’s murder as a botched interrogation (we can only imagine what was said in that room to justify the use of such extreme violence), CNN calculated the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh for approximately 15 minutes early Tuesday, following his 12-hour-plus flight to the kingdom.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s meeting with King Salman of Saudi Arabia lasted no more than 15 minutes, CNN estimates based on the time the top US diplomat’s motorcade arrived at the royal court and departed.

The motorcade arrived at the royal court at 11:42 a.m. (4:42 a.m. ET) and left 26 minutes later. There is a fair distance to walk from where the motorcade dropped Pompeo off to where he met the king.

While Trump said on Monday that Pompeo would travel to Turkey “if necessary”, the Saudi’s decision to “come clean” about Khashoggi’s death pretty much rendered Pompeo’s fact-finding mission unnecessary.More important are developments in Turkey, where the joint Saudi-Turkish “investigation” is turning its attention toward the home of the Saudi consul, where a black diplomatic van that departed the Saudi consulate just under two hours after Khashoggi entered was captured on camera disappearing into a garage. Some speculate that this is where the killers finished disposing of Khashoggi’s body. This comes after a “nine-hour” search of the Saudi consulate building that, according to leaks published in Al-Jazeera, turned up “evidence of tampering” by the Saudis. On Tuesday, Turkey’s foreign minister clarified that Saudi had yet to admit its role in Khashoggi’s disappearance and probable death.

Turkish investigators will carry out a search of the Saudi Consul General’s residence on Tuesday as the probe into the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi continues, according to a Turkish diplomatic source.

CCTV footage released to the media from the day the Washington Post writer vanished show movement of vehicles from the consulate building to the Consul General’s residence nearby.

As speculation mounts that the incident could unseat the increasingly authoritarian Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (who has already marginalized or incapacitated nearly every threat to his rule), it’s looking more likely that neither the US nor the rest of the Western world will do much to punish the world’s most important oil exporter, which can “weaponize” the oil market seemingly on a whim.

Any punishment for this flagrant violation of human rights will need to come, therefore, from the private sector, which, according to Bloomberg, could sabotage MbS’s grand Vision 2030 plan, which aims to remake the Saudi economy via a flood of foreign direct investment:

The economic strategy of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, is to make investment the main engine of economic growth instead of government spending, but the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi could frustrate these ambitions. Foreign direct investment, a key part of the plan to reinvent Saudi Arabia’s economy, declined sharply in 2017 and is unlikely to return to previous levels, leaving the government’s target for 2020 beyond reach, according to analysis by Bloomberg Economics. Increased policy uncertainty and, after the Khashoggi incident, the risk of reputational damage to foreign companies working in Saudi Arabia won’t help.

 

 

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