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America has pushed Turkey straight into Russia’s arms

American incompetence and Russian pragmatism has drawn Erdogan to a Russia he often disagrees with but trusts, rather than a west he often acts in accord with but increasingly despises.

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In spite of still being on opposing sides in the Syrian conflict with Russia acting as a key member of Syria’s anti-terrorist coalition and Turkey continuing to occupy parts of Syria along with its terrorist proxy group FSA, there are increasing signs that at a wider geo-political level Turkey is moving closer to Russia–slowly but surely.

READ MORE: Putin and Erdogan talk of ‘strategic partnership’ between Russia and Turkey

Simultaneous and indeed related to this, America seems to be placing less and less value on its historic alliance with Turkey which retains the second biggest army in NATO which Turkey joined in 1952.

Turkey’s geo-political re-positioning is due to what is best described as a ‘push-pull factor’.

On the one hand the west is working hard to push Turkey away, while on the other Russia’s door remains both open and hospitable.

Barack Obama had infamously poor relations with Turkish strong-man President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Obama administration’s lukewarm condemnation of 2016’s attempted coup in Turkey along with America’s unapologetic sheltering of Fethullah Gülen, a wanted criminal in Turkey, did nothing to ease tensions.

Donald Trump’s recent hosting of Erdogan in Washington was widely thought to be a disaster. While the public statements of the two leaders looked strained and insincere, it later emerged that Donald Trump was deeply inhospitable to the Turkish leader, something all the more magnified as Trump generally likes to be a good host when in the company of those he respects of values.

READ MORE: Turkey seethes at Trump’s snub to Erdogan

But the most important element in the relationship is America’s continued backing of Kurdish forces in Syria. America has just delivered yet another heavy payload of weapons to the Kurdish YPG dominated SDF operating in northern Syria.

According to a Kurdish source,

“As part of the fight against Daesh (ISIS), the US sent us weapons and armoured vehicles.

Among the weapons received, there are missiles with thermal guidance, which can be used against enemy tanks. In this batch there were no tanks because the US had already sent them earlier”.

The Kurdish source continued,

“It (the US arms) will be used during the operation in Raqqa. We intend to enter the city in June, so our forces are in great need of heavy weapons. The US has already sent us weapons but it is not enough. It is necessary for us to have them in large quantities”.

READ MORE: America’s collision course in the Turkish-Kurdish conflict

If America continues to arm the Kurds and it looks as though America will, this could well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back in respect of Turkey’s relationship to the United States. Turkey considers the Kurdish forces in both Syria and Iraq as well as the Turkish  based PKK to be terrorists and enemies of Turkey. America is therefore apologetically arming Turkey’s primary regional foe.

Europe’s relationship with Turkey is little better. Germany may be on the verge of stopping flying its jets out of Turkey’s Incirlik Air Base, which is also used by the US and UK.

Germany has complained that German politicians have not been granted access to the base in order to inspect German forces there. Turkey has done little to alleviate German tensions. There is no love lost between Turkey and an EU which once promised Turkey EU membership that was always totally unrealistic from any logical point of view. The EU was simply leading Turkey on and Turkey finds this deeply insulting.

Moreover, many key European powers are engaged in a frankly childish ideological war with Erdgoan even since the Turkish sponsored political rallies in Europe prior to the Turkish Presidential Powers Referendum in April were cancelled in countries like Netherlands.

As the US and EU powers push Turkey away, Russia continues to welcome Turkey in a respectful and honest manner.

Turkey and Russia are historic enemies and indeed some would say still are in respect of alliances in Syria. But from a broader perspective, both Erdogan and the Turkish people, including Erdogan’s opposition are aware that Russia has consistently treated Turkey with respect, even in 2015 when both countries stood on the verge of war over Turkey’s shooting down of a Russian military jet near the Turkish-Syria border.

Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in an important dialogue with Turkey designed to ease tensions and it has largely succeeded. Russia has been able to get Turkey to be a member of the Russian initiated Astana Peace Talks. Iran and Turkey have also started to increase trade. Turkey and Iran’s technically co-equal position in the Astana process has without doubt played some part in easing historical tensions between Iran and Turkey.

Russia and Turkey continue to expand in areas of trade and technological exchange. 2017 also marks a year of Russian-Turkish cultural exchange wherein both countries will host important arts and cultural events.

Where the west’s push of Turkey has been rather aggressive and frankly crude, Russia’s pull has been quiet but steadfast. It is now impossible to ignore. Russia based its policy on respect for Turkey’s status as a powerful and important nation. The west cannot get over its own ideological obsession, let alone its diplomatic incompetence

Turkey’s active participation in China’s One-Belt, One-Road trade initiative, which the US effectively boycotted in all but name, is a further sign that Turkey is increasingly finding itself on the Russian side of the multi-polar global axis.

It’s almost surreal that the US will bend over backwards to insure that the geo-politically weak and deeply inconsequential small states of eastern Europe remain firmly in the US sphere of influence/control, yet are doing almost nothing to prevent Turkey from slipping east.

There are several possible reasons for this.

1. Turkey is too big to control 

Unlike the weak Baltic states of Europe with tiny, decreasing populations, Turkey is a massive regional power with a young and growing population.

The Ottoman Empire is gone, but unlike many former colonial European powers, Turkey remains a vibrant and important player on the world stage. One can hate Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman policies while still admitting that Turkey is a deeply important country whether led by secular Kemalists or led by Erdogan and his allies.

Perhaps America’s own declining power means that it is easier to shove Latvia around than Turkey? America may simply be going for the easy game in this respect.

2. Containment via Kurdistan 

Kurds in northern Iraq are set to hold a referendum on creating an independent Iraqi Kurdistan this year. Iraq and Turkey both oppose this move. Turkey opposes it because it is hellbent on opposing the creation of any Kurdish state and Iraq because it does not want to lose the oil reserves in Kuridsh majority regions of the country and frankly also doesn’t need another blow to its pride after decades of utter hell.

America’s project to keep Iraq together after the illegal 2003 invasion of the country led by George W. Bush and Tony Blair, would also officially be a failure if the Kurds decided to fully go their own way.

That being said, many in the US think that Kurdish separatism in Iraq is inevitable and because of generally good relations between the US and both Iraqi and Syrian Kurds, that the US should and perhaps will ultimately support a Kurdistan in Iraq and perhaps later also even in Syria, though this remains more ambiguous at this time.

With a hostile Kurdistan on Turkey’s borders, Turkey would be either contained by the Kurds or in a constant conflict that could seriously inhibit Turkey’s ability to expand its northern and eastern alliances.

In other-words, why should America worry about Turkey if the Kurds will keep them busy for the foreseeable future?

3. Incompetence

Often times the simplest explanation is the best. America’s foreign policy has become so ideologically driven and so dogmatic that perhaps they simply are ill-equipped to deal with Erdogan and his nation.

Under Obama’s radical schoolboy government, it was easy to be friendly with a neo-liberal EU and easy to a hate a sovereignty minded moderately conservative Russian Federation.

Turkey was and is neither of these things. Under Erdogan Turkey has become a strongman dictatorship in all but name. Democratic institutions have been weakened severely. Yet in spite of this, Turkey is militarily a ‘good guy’ in American eyes. Erdgoan hates secular Arab governments and funds the same kinds of jihadists that the US does.

At the same time Erdogan is deeply unpredictable. One day he’s a self-styled new European the next day he’s a Sultan to rule over conquered Arab subjects. One day he’s friends with Israel, the next day he’s a holy warrior for Palestine.

One day, he’s using his NATO jets to shoot down Russian planes and the next year he’s sitting happily beside President Putin.

The mechanistic, unthinking, under-educated and overly ideological America diplomatic corps may simply not be able to handle such a man and therefore such a country.

The real answer is probably a combination of these three factors, but one is inclined to lean most heavily on the ‘incompetence option’.

America and the west have pushed Turkey away through a combination of stupidity and blind liberal ideology. Russia has embraced Turkey due to its pragmatic policy of respecting all great nations, even those it profoundly disagrees with in key areas.

A man like Erdogan prides himself on  marching to the beat of his own drum, even though the rhythm is often erratic, making it difficult to dance to. But just as Russian ballet dancers mastered the odd rhythms of Stravinsky, so too do Russian diplomats know how to follow the beat of Erdogan’s drum, while America settles for the droning dirge of its own increasingly out of touch ideology.

In this sense America did all the pushing. Russia did some of the pulling and now Erdogan has few options but to work with Russia as best he can. Whether he can work with anyone in the long term however, still very much remains to be seen. Furthermore, there is no danger of Russia abandoning its traditional allies in Orthodox southern Europe to placate Turkey. The west doesn’t know this yet, but Turkey does which is why Erdogan would be wise to stay out of the Balkans and wider Hellenic world.

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Saudi Arabia’s version of events: Jamal Khashoggi died during a fist fight (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 5.

Alex Christoforou

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The BBC examines the stunning Saudi admission that Jamal Khashoggi was murdered from three angles:

What is Saudi Arabia’s version of events?

The kingdom says a fight broke out between Mr Khashoggi, who had fallen out of favour with the Saudi government, and people who met him in the consulate – ending with his death.

It says investigations are under way, and so far 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested.

Unnamed officials speaking to Reuters news agency and the New York Times say the Saudis did not know the whereabouts of the body after it was handed to a “local collaborator” to dispose of.

In addition to the arrests, two senior officials have been sacked over the affair – deputy intelligence chief Ahmad al-Assiri and Saud al-Qahtani, senior aide to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The Saudi authorities have yet to give evidence to support this version of events.

Observers are questioning whether Saudi Arabia’s Western allies will find their account of a “botched rendition” convincing – and whether it will persuade them not to take punitive action against them.

US President Donald Trump said what had happened was “unacceptable” but that the arrests were an important “first step”. The UK Foreign Office said it was considering its next steps after hearing the report.

What did Turkey say?

“Turkey will reveal whatever had happened,” said Omer Celik of Turkey’s ruling AKP party, according to Anadolu news agency.

“Nobody should ever doubt about it. We are not accusing anyone in advance but we don’t accept anything to remain covered [up].”

Publicly Turkey has so far stopped short of blaming Saudi Arabia for the killing.

Turkish investigators, however, say they have audio and video evidence which shows Mr Khashoggi was killed by a team of Saudi agents inside the consulate and dismembered. Reports in Turkish media this week gave gruesome details of what are said to be his final minutes.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke to Saudi King Salman on Friday evening, and the two agreed to continue co-operating in the investigation.

How have Saudi’s Western allies reacted?

President Trump praised the kingdom for acting quickly and said the official explanation was “credible”, despite many US lawmakers expressing disbelief over the Saudi account.

Mr Trump stressed the importance of Saudi Arabia as a counterbalance to Iran in the Middle East, and pushed back against the need for sanctions against the country in light of the new information, talking about the effect of such a move on the US economy.

Earlier this week he warned of “very severe” consequences if Saudi Arabia was proved to have killed the journalist.

A number of US lawmakers, including a Republican highly critical of the Saudis, Senator Lindsey Graham, said they were sceptical about the report on the journalist’s death.

The UK Foreign Office described it as “a terrible act” and said the people behind the killing “must be held to account”.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at Saudi Arabia’s admission to killing journalist Jamal Khashoggi during a fist fight inside the Istanbul consulate…a story that the Trump White House has so far accepted, but many US Congressmen and mainstream media pundits outright reject.

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Meanwhile Reuters floated this story on turmoil inside the Saudi Kingdom as a trial balloon to see if anyone has the might to challenge a very unstable crown prince, by appealing to the frail King and his western allies.

Since he acceded to the throne in January 2015, the king has given MbS, his favorite son, increasing authority to run Saudi Arabia. But the king’s latest intervention reflects growing disquiet among some members of the royal court about MbS’s fitness to govern, the five sources said.

MbS, 33, has implemented a series of high-profile social and economic reforms since his father’s accession, including ending a ban on women driving and opening cinemas in the conservative kingdom.

But he has also marginalized senior members of the royal family and consolidated control over Saudi’s security and intelligence agencies.

His reforms have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, a purge of top royals and businessmen on corruption charges, and a costly war in Yemen.

Khashoggi’s disappearance has further tarnished the crown prince’s reputation, deepening questions among Western allies and some Saudis about his leadership.

“Even if he is his favorite son, the king needs to have a comprehensive view for his survival and the survival of the royal family,” said a fourth Saudi source with links to the royal court.

“In the end it will snowball on all of them.”

Saudi officials did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

MISCALCULATION

Saudi Arabia has repeatedly denied any role in Khashoggi’s disappearance. But the sources familiar with the royal court said the reaction from the United States, an ally for decades, had contributed to the king’s intervention.

“When the situation got out of control and there was an uproar in the United States, MbS informed his father that there was a problem and that they have to face it,” another source with knowledge of the royal court said.

The crown prince and his aides had initially thought the crisis would pass but they “miscalculated its repercussions”, this source said.

Turkish officials have made clear they believe Khashoggi was killed inside the consulate, and two Turkish sources have told Reuters police have audio recordings to back up that assertion.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican close to President Donald Trump, on Tuesday accused MbS of ordering Khashoggi’s murder and called him a “wrecking ball” who is jeopardizing relations with the United States. He did not say what evidence he was basing the allegation on.

Trump said on Thursday he presumed Khashoggi was dead but that he still wanted to get to the bottom of what exactly happened. Asked what would be the consequences for Saudi Arabia, Trump said: “Well, it’ll have to be very severe. I mean, it’s bad, bad stuff. But we’ll see what happens.”

Trump has previously said “rogue killers” may have been responsible and has ruled out cancelling arms deals worth tens of billions of dollars. On Tuesday, Trump said he had spoken with MbS and that the crown prince told him he did not know what had happened in the consulate where Khashoggi went missing.

The case poses a dilemma for the United States, as well as Britain and other Western nations. Saudi Arabia is the world’s top oil exporter, spends lavishly on Western arms and is an ally in efforts to contain the influence of Iran.

But in a sign of the damage, a succession of international banking and business chiefs, including IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, JP Morgan Chief Executive Jamie Dimon and Ford Chairman Bill Ford, have pulled out of a high-profile investment conference in Saudi Arabia this month.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Thursday also abandoned plans to attend, as did Britain’s trade minister and the French and Dutch finance ministers, putting the event in question.

Saudi officials have said they plan to move forward with the conference, scheduled for Oct. 23-25, despite the wave of cancellations.

Neither JP Morgan nor Ford would elaborate on the reasons for the decision not to attend and did not comment on whether concerns about the disappearance of Khashoggi were a factor.

Lagarde had previously said she was “horrified” by media reports about Khashoggi’s disappearance. An IMF spokesperson did not give a reason for her deferring her trip to the Middle East.

TAKING CONTROL

Before the king’s intervention, Saudi authorities had been striking a defiant tone, threatening on Sunday to retaliate with greater action against the U.S. and others if sanctions are imposed over Khashoggi’s disappearance. A Saudi-owned media outlet warned the result would be disruption in Saudi oil production and a sharp rise in world oil prices.

“Reaction and threats to the possible sanctions of the last 24 hours were still (coming) from the crown prince,” the businessman close to royal circles said on Monday. “The king is now holding the file personally … and the tone is very different.”

The king has spoken directly with Erdogan and Trump in recent days. Both the king and his son met U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he visited Riyadh on Tuesday.

King Salman, 82, spent decades as part of the inner circle of the Al Saud dynasty, which long ruled by consensus. In four decades as governor of Riyadh, he earned a reputation as a royal enforcer who punished princes who were out of line.

Whether he is willing or able to resume that role in this crisis remains unclear, palace insiders say. One source with links to the royal court said the king was “captivated” by MbS and ultimately would protect him.

Still, there is precedent for the king’s intervention.

He stepped in this year to shelve the planned listing of national oil company Saudi Aramco, the brainchild of MbS and a cornerstone of his economic reforms, three sources with ties to government insiders told Reuters in August. Saudi officials have said the government remains committed to the plans.

And when MbS gave the impression last year that Riyadh endorsed the Trump administration’s still nebulous Middle East peace plan, including U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the king made a public correction, reaffirming Riyadh’s commitment to the Arab and Muslim identity of the city.

Despite these rare instances of pushback, several of the sources close to the royal family said that King Salman had grown increasingly detached from decisions taken by MbS.

“He has been living in an artificially-created bubble,” said one of the sources. Lately, though, the king’s advisers have grown frustrated and begun warning him of the risks of leaving the crown prince’s power unchecked.

“The people around him are starting to tell him to wake up to what’s happening,” the source said.

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Kiev ‘Patriarch’ prepares to seize Moscow properties in Ukraine

Although Constantinople besought the Kiev church to stop property seizures, they were ignored and used, or perhaps, complicit.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The attack on the Eastern Orthodox Church, brought about by the US State Department and its proxies in Constantinople and Ukraine, is continuing. On October 20, 2018, the illegitimate “Kyiv (Kiev) Patriarchate”, led by Filaret Denisenko who is calling himself “Patriarch Filaret”, had a synodal meeting in which it changed the commemoration title of the leader of the church to include the Kyiv Caves and Pochaev Lavras.

This is a problem because Metropolitan Onuphry of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church which is canonically accepted and acts as a very autonomous church under the Moscow Patriarchate has these places under his pastoral care.

This move takes place only one week after Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople unilaterally (and illegally) lifted the excommunications, depositions (removal from priestly ranks as punishment) and anathemas against Filaret and Makary that were imposed on them by the hierarchy of the Moscow Patriarchate.

These two censures are very serious matters in the Orthodox Church. Excommunication means that the person or church so considered cannot receive Holy Communion or any of the other Mysteries (called Sacraments in the West) in a neighboring local Orthodox Church. Anathema is even more serious, for this happens when a cleric disregards his excommunication and deposition (removal from the priesthood), and acts as a priest or a bishop anyway.

Filaret Denisenko received all these censures in 1992, and Patriarch Bartholomew accepted this decision at the time, as stated in a letter he sent to Moscow shortly after the censures. However, three years later, Patriarch Bartholomew received a group of Ukrainian autocephalist bishops called the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the USA, who had been in communion with Filaret’s group. While this move may have been motivated by the factor of Bartholomew’s almost total isolation within Istanbul, Turkey, it is nonetheless non-canonical.

This year’s moves have far exceeded previous ones, though, and now the possibility for a real clash that could cost lives is raised. With Filaret’s “church” – really an agglomeration of Ukrainian ultranationalists and Neo-Nazis in the mix, plus millions of no doubt innocent Ukrainian faithful who are deluded about the problems of their church, challenging an existing arrangement regarding Ukraine and Russia’s two most holy sites, the results are not likely to be good at all.

Here is the report about today’s developments, reprinted in part from OrthoChristian.com:

Meeting today in Kiev, the Synod of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” (KP) has officially changed the title of its primate, “Patriarch” Philaret, to include the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras under his jurisdiction.

The primate’s new official title, as given on the site of the KP, is “His Holiness and Beatitude (name), Archbishop and Metropolitan of Kiev—Mother of the cities of Rus’, and Galicia, Patriarch of All Rus’-Ukraine, Svyaschenno-Archimandrite of the Holy Dormition Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras.”

…Thus, the KP Synod is declaring that “Patriarch” Philaret has jurisdiction over the Kiev Caves and Pochaev Lavras, although they are canonically under the omophorion of His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine, the primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

Philaret and his followers and nationalistic radicals have continually proclaimed that they will take the Lavras for themselves.

This claim to the ancient and venerable monasteries comes after the Holy Synod of the Ecumenical Patriarchate announced that it had removed the anathema placed upon Philaret by the Russian Orthodox Church and had restored him to his hierarchical office. Philaret was a metropolitan of the canonical Church, becoming patriarch in his schismatic organization.

Representatives of the Ecumenical Patriarchate have clarified that they consider Philaret to be the “former Metropolitan of Kiev,” but he and his organization continue to consider him an active patriarch, with jurisdiction in Ukraine.

Constantinople’s statement also appealed to all in Ukraine to “avoid appropriation of churches, monasteries, and other properties,” which the Synod of the KP ignored in today’s decision.

The KP primate’s abbreviated title will be, “His Holiness (name), Patriarch of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine,” and the acceptable form for relations with other Local Churches is “His Beatitude Archbishop (name), Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus’-Ukraine.”

The Russian Orthodox Church broke eucharistic communion and all relations with the Ecumenical Patriarchate over this matter earlier this week. Of the fourteen local Orthodox Churches recognized the world over, twelve have expressed the viewpoint that Constantinople’s move was in violation of the canons of the Holy Orthodox Church. Only one local Church supported Constantinople wholeheartedly, and all jurisdictions except Constantinople have appealed for an interOrthodox Synod to address and solve the Ukrainian matter in a legitimate manner.

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Claims of Khashoggi death by fistfight expose Saudi brutality

The brutality of both state claims and unproven allegations in Khashoggi’s death raise serious questions about American alliances.

Seraphim Hanisch

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On October 2, 2018, Muslim Brotherhood member and Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi Arabian embassy in Turkey, never to be seen or heard from again.

This chilling report has been answered with some horrifying and grisly stories about what happened – that he was dismembered while still alive, that his body parts were dissolved completely in acid, leaving nothing left.

Now after two weeks, the Saudi official word on what happened came out: He died in an unexpected fistfight in the embassy.

Really. That is the Saudi’s explanation. A fistfight. In an embassy. With 18 people detained as suspects in the investigation.

And apparently the Saudi government expects the world to accept this explanation and just let it go.

This situation has just exposed the true nature of this “ally” of the United States. Even Rush Limbaugh, a staunch supporter of all conservative positions in America, has spoken from time to time about the amazing disconnect in American foreign policy with regards to Saudi Arabia. He continued that on his radio programs on both October 18th and 19th, 2018, as shown in this excerpted transcript, with emphasis added:

I’m simplifying this, folks, but generally that’s what happens. So, by the same token, you could say that this militant terrorist Islam that we’ve known since 9/11 and maybe 10, 15 years prior, that has been sponsored by Saudi Arabia, by the Saudi royal family. It’s why so many people have been upset with so many American presidents being buddy-buddy with the king, whoever he happens to be. The Saudis always fund former presidents’ libraries. I mean, the Saudis had a good thing going. They had relationships with every president, former president and so forth.

And while they were selling us oil, sometimes. Cooperative or uncooperative, depending on the time, with price. But during all of that, they were the primary thrust for Wahhabi Islam. Now, here comes MbS (Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia), and he wants to just reform the hell out of the country, get rid of Wahhabism, bring in petrodollars competitors such as Hollywood and Silicon Valley and basically bring Saudi Arabia into the twenty-first century instead of the seventh. And there’s some people that don’t want that to happen.

And from the 19th:

Wahhabi Islam is where the really radical clerics and Imams are who are welcoming anybody they can into their mosques and just literally converting them into suicide bombers, terrorists, and what have you, under the auspices of Islam. And the Saudi royal family stood by and let it all happen. Whether they were instrumental in advocating it, don’t know, but Saudi-funded charities all over the world promoted Wahhabism.

And that’s when I went back to Mr. Buckley and said, “I don’t see how the Saudi royal family, the Saudi government can be separated from these 19 hijackers.”

Now in the rest of these transcripts, which are very interesting, Rush explains that Khashoggi was a Muslim Brotherhood member, and as such, stood opposed to MbS’ reform plans and actions. However the brutality of the alleged murder of Mr. Khashoggi, and the official “State version” account of his death are almost equally brutal. Death by fists? How is it that the United States considers such people allies?

President Trump is on record as saying that this explanation by the Saudi government is “credible.” However, this statement alone is out of context, so we bring you the entire statement:

This is not to be misunderstood as a Trump endorsement of belief. He points out that this is a first step, and that in his view it is a good one, but that is all.

Still, these events throw the real nature of the Saudi kingdom into sharp relief. They are the number one customer for US military equipment, now considered allies against Iran. In the complicated field of Middle East relations, the president’s caution is probably very wise for the moment. However, this is a nation which produced most of the 9/11 hijackers, which is said to be the last voice in what Islam is, and so promotes a very violent interpretation of an already violent faith.

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The news and information media got a great lesson in following something like “due process” with this matter, and while the President is doing that, this situation still invites some strong speculation. Allies that simultaneously seek an allied nation’s destruction do not seem like allies much at all. And embassies are usually held to be very safe places for people, not places where they meet their death in any way at all, let alone the cruel means alleged and later claimed.

This event may actually be very damaging to the Saudi Crown Prince’s effort to bring his nation out of Wahhabism and into some more kind interpretation of Islam, and indeed the West’s assessment of Khashoggi has taken to calling him a “teddy bear” when he is a Muslim Brotherhood member. Former US President Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and these people were so violent, killing Christians and destroying homes and businesses, that the Muslim Brotherhood’s uprising was followed by a second uprising from the more reasonable people in Egypt (which Obama promptly dropped).

If reports are to be believed, Mohammed bin Salman wants to end Wahhabism. It would seem to logically make sense that his agencies were involved in what happened to Kashoggi, who is a known critic of bin Salman. But if it really is true that the Saudi royals were not involved, then whoever it was certainly succeeded in stopping bin Salman’s efforts to modernize his country, at least for now.

 

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