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US slanders Russia with new sanctions over Skripal poisoning hoax

The US government displays its lack of contact with reality with sanctions, designed to hurt both US-Russia relations and President Trump.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The pattern of slandering all things Russia with or without (usually without) the burden of proof continues in the US.

The US State Department made the decision to impose new sanctions on Russia, based on the insinuation that Russian agencies were involved in the poisoning of Sergey and Yuliya Skripal in Salisbury, England this past March.

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RT reports:

The US is imposing new sanctions on Russia over the poisoning of double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK. The measures are scheduled to go into effect on or around August 22, according to the State Department.

“The United States…determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law, or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement on Wednesday.

The accusation comes despite there being zero evidence suggesting Moscow was behind the attack.

A State Department official told reporters in a conference call on Wednesday that Washington informed Russia “this afternoon” about the sanctions. The US still wants to maintain relations with Moscow, despite the new sanctions. “We are tough on Russia, at the same time we are quite committed to working to maintain relations because there are important things at stake here,” the official said, as quoted by Sputnik.

London was predictably delighted and rushed to welcome Washington’s announcement of new punitive actions against Moscow. “The UK welcomes this further action by our US allies,” a spokesman for the UK Foreign Office said in a statement. “The strong international response to the use of a chemical weapon on the streets of Salisbury sends an unequivocal message to Russia that its provocative, reckless behavior will not go unchallenged.”

The Duran has followed this case very closely, and there has never been evidence provided by British or international agencies investigating this incident or its sequel that happened last month, to prove conclusively that Russian agencies were involved in poisoning former USSR Spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yuliya, in Salisbury in March of this year.

The news of this new set of sanctions was apparently enough to create jitters on the Russian stock exchanges, and the Russian Ruble has fallen to a new 2018 low against the American dollar. Trading went over 66 rubles to the dollar. This marks almost a 20% devaluation in the currency since April of this year, and the worst valuation since mid-November, 2016.

This incident has not gone unanswered in Moscow. The Russian Embassy in the United States called for documentation about the source and reasoning behind these new sanctions, as reported by TASS:

The Russian embassy in the United States has called on the US Department of State to publish correspondence on the introduction of new sanctions on Moscow over the Skripal incident, the embassy said in a statement.

“We suggested publishing our correspondence on this issue. No answer has followed so far,” the Russian embassy added.

This pattern of throwing out destructive slander while refusing to provide opportunity for a real answer has permeated American policy towards the Russian Federation with increasing intensity since 2013. It reveals the machinations of a very divided American government, with the “deep State” or establishment politicians and foreign policy makers completely unwilling to even give Russia a fair shake at representing itself.

Sergey and Yuliya Skripal, who were poisoned in Salisbury, England in March 2018. No one really knows who did this.

This policy is shared by the United Kingdom, as this piece by The Duran’s Editor in Chief, Alexander Mercouris shows, with this summary of violations of due process the British authorities are committing with regard to Russia:

(1) The British government is interfering in the conduct of a criminal investigation, with Prime Minister Theresa May and especially Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson pointing fingers at who they say is guilty (Russia) whilst the criminal investigation is still underway;

(2) The British government has said that unless Russia proves itself innocent within a specific time the British government will conclude that it is guilty.  As I have explained previously this reverses the burden of proof: in a criminal case it is the prosecution which is supposed to prove the defendant’s guilt, not the defendant who must prove his innocence;

(3) The British government refuses to share with Russia – the party it says is guilty – the ‘evidence’ upon which it says it has concluded that Russia is guilty, the evidence in this case being a sample of the chemical with which it says Sergey and Yulia Skripal was poisoned.

This violates the fundamental principle that the defendant must be provided with all the evidence against him so that he can properly prepare his defence;

(4) The British government is not following the procedure set out in Article IX (2) of the Chemical Weapons Convention to which both Britain and Russia are parties.  This reads as follows

States Parties should, whenever possible, first make every effort to clarify and resolve, through exchange of information and consultations among themselves, any matter which may cause doubt about compliance with this Convention, or which gives rise to concerns about a related matter which may be considered ambiguous. A State Party which receives a request from another State Party for clarification of any matter which the requesting State Party believes causes such a doubt or concern shall provide the requesting State Party as soon as possible, but in any case not later than ten days after the request, with information sufficient to answer the doubt or concern raised along with an explanation of how the information provided resolves the matter.

(5) The British authorities are denying the Russians consular access to Yulia Skripal, though she is a Russian citizen who the British authorities say was subjected to a criminal assault on their territory.

This is a potentially serious matter since by preventing consular access to Yulia Skripal the British authorities are not only violating the interstate consular arrangements which exist between Britain and Russia, but they are preventing the Russian authorities from learning more about the condition of one of their citizens who has been hospitalised following a violent criminal assault, and are preventing the Russian authorities from carrying out their own investigation into the assault on one of their citizens which the British authorities say has taken place.

I would add that this obstruction of Russian consular access to Yulia Skripal has gone almost entirely unreported in the British and Western media.

The Americans are playing the same game here, and, regrettably, President Trump’s overtures towards repairing this relationship are almost sure to be torn out from under him by the actions of this virulent group of people. It is quite possible that this is the very reason for these new sanctions.

The perspective of the American government as one divided, with a rabid force in favor of continuing to isolate and vilify a great power in the world for no good reason, is sure to have repercussions. However, given the gradual realignment of Russia and China to be in closer and closer partnership, and Russia’s increasing prominence in Asian and Eastern Hemisphere affairs, the end result of this behavior is likely to damage the United States and its standing in the world over the long run.

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HamletquestfoxenburgRex drabbleNicole TempleHappyCynic Recent comment authors
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Hamletquest
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Hamletquest

Another round of the echo chamber of lies. Novichok a story cooked up by retired MI6 spooks to feed their pension pots drags itself onto the geopolitical stage again… What’s it about and who benefits? Well it ain’t about facts as there are none. But it gives the Neo-cons another pop at Trump, the Tories another distraction from the impending BREXIT chaos and Browder another attempt to avoid prosecution in Russia for fraud and the US for perjury. The WMSM are dutifully using this as another attempt to reinforce the lies it has been spinning about Russia since the Georgian… Read more »

foxenburg
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foxenburg

“there has never been evidence provided by British or international agencies investigating this incident or its sequel that happened last month, to prove conclusively that Russian agencies were involved”

What do you mean “prove conclusively”? This “conclusively” is a weasel word. It implies there’s a lot of proof out there but none that could be called conclusive. There’s been no proof of any kind whatsoever.

Rex drabble
Guest
Rex drabble

They are desperate to start a war,its going to get worse.
Thankfully Russia has the means to stop these clowns in their steps,if and when the time comes.

Nicole Temple
Guest
Nicole Temple

Here is an interesting look at how the anti-Russian narrative began in the United States and who really rigged the 2016 U.S. election:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/07/the-genesis-of-russian-interference.html

Main Street America is being manipulated into believing that Russia is the enemy, giving Washington a complete pass on how business is done in America’s political capital.

HappyCynic
Guest
HappyCynic

The game being played is asymmetric sanctions. No US airlines fly directly to Russia, but Aeroflot flies directly from Russia to the US. So a simple-minded view of this is that sanctioning Aeroflot doesn’t harm US interests, and it lets Trump appear like he’s being hard on Russia (he has elections coming up). It’s a game of appearances – nobody in the US (except the simple-minded) actually believe the Novachuk nonsense, but it’s a good club to pound on political opponents. The question is whether Russia will let Trump do this – suffering minor economic damage and turning the other… Read more »

Eggie Offo
Guest
Eggie Offo

Russia’s weakness will cost it dearly because of Putin’s passivity and aloofness, contemptible timidity, and unprincipledness . It’s time for Russia to stop answering all questions relating to election meddling to poisoning, and being nice to Trump, for respect because Putin wants to meet and interact with Trump at all cost to feel relevant to the US , which is pathetic and a humiliation to all Russians I am also sad. The so-called western world just makes Russia looks stupid internationally. I also don’t understand why Russia is “soooooo” eager to work or to be in the good books of… Read more »

AM Hants
Guest
AM Hants

‘Destructive slander’ – what does the US gain, besides trying to divert media attention, from other stories? Create problems, with the financial markets. Timing – when the US is desperate to go to war with Iran, whilst nobody is backing them up. Theresa May is horse trading her ‘Remoaner friendly BREXIT’ script, over in the EU. Christopher Steele – Trump Dossier – Skripal – $US millions invested in Porton Down, just around the corner from Salisbury. Rand Paul, who passed a private letter from President Trump, to be handed over to President Putin. ……………………. Is it the official view of… Read more »

voza0db
Guest

The novichok magic cream
comment image

if it wasn’t the cream, it would have been some other nonsense excuse like “The Russian Cows are emitting more CH4 than any others!”

The United States of Terrorism is quickly eroding in terms of POWER! Their society is dying… And that’s why they need to bring everyone down.

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
Guest
VeeNarian (Yerevan)

Trump is the POTUS but not in power. Like love-struck teenagers he is even not allowed to meet Putin on his own. As if the two would spawn the son of Satan together in their long-delayed honeymoon in Helsinki.
H-E-L-L-L-L-L-S-I-N-K-E-E-E-E!!!
Trump will sign any sanction against Russia. The only question is if he will give the orders that will start WW3, especially if the “US intelligence agencies” were to hold his family hostage.
That letter from Trump, carried by the only loyal US senator Rand Paul, really looks ominous.

James Johnson
Guest
James Johnson

Is Trump so badly influenced that he doesn’t see that Tarese May has accused but not proven any thing

Taras77
Guest
Taras77

This probably goes into the twiight zone if one is searching for logic; state dept neo con thugs unfortunately have trumps ear as I do not believe that trump could dream up something this stupid by himself.

This skripal hoax has been laughed out of the park world wide and to come up with this now after trump did try to act responsibly by meeting with putin, it goes beyond what any rational person could conceive.

SPQR
Guest
SPQR

So Trump is either impotent (unable to control the rats that infest the US state department) or a fool… perhaps he is both but the author of this piece will no doubt continue to excuse his many failings as commander in chief. I’m tired of all the excuses, all the misderections regarding the myserious ‘deep state’ upon whose shoulders is placed the blame for the insanity that has gripped Washington DC. Trump owns this mess and has done from day one of his presidency.

Spike Munch
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Spike Munch

there is ample evidence; cctv, witnesses, etc. but it isn’t being put into the public domain because this remains an ongoing investigation, but USA issuing more sanctions against russia seems to indicate the the intelligence agencies are sharing information and that information has convinced the USA to sanction more

louis robert
Guest
louis robert

Time for Russia to recall its ambassador to Washington and break diplomatic relations with the Empire altogether. Sooner or later, Russia will be forced to do so by said Empire anyway. In actual fact, this is war, total war, unavoidable war, as has been crystal clear all along. Come to terms with it, Russia, before it’s too late!

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

comment image comment imagecomment imagecomment image

ColinNZ
Guest
ColinNZ

“The pattern of slandering all things Russia with or without (usually without) the burden of proof continues in the US.”

Terrible article, implying there sometimes IS proof. I don’t usually swear but I really am tired of the bollocks Hanisch writes.

Jack
Guest
Jack

We all know that Skripals are another pretext. Where there is a will there is a way so do not forget that American politician are acting not only on their own but under a huge lobby of influential not satisfied Russians who live in US and moreover by Jews of Russian origin who together want overthrow patriotic Gov of Putin’s Russia and put instead in the helm somebody like former president Yelcin to subjugate the country which enable them exploit and rob Russia of valuable natural resources stuffing their pockets and making Russians their slaves. So Putin has to act… Read more »

AM Hants
Guest
AM Hants

Look at how the US State Department handles unsubstantiated claims against Russia or Syria and how they handle claims against Saudi behaviour in Yemen? The pure hypocrisy.

Watch Reporters Slam US For Refusing To Condemn Saudi-US Airstrike On Yemen School Bus In Live Briefing… https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-09/watch-reporters-slam-us-refusing-condemn-saudi-coalition-airstrike-yemen-school-bus

Gio Con
Guest
Gio Con

The Israelis are on a killing spree in Gaza and the Saudis just blew up a bus full of children in Yemen, but the degenerate US congress and president are laying draconian sanctions on Russia and Iran for … committing … no crimes … whatsoever.

spoint
Guest
spoint

Release the Soviet files showing the holocaust is a total Soviet/ US lie. Say it over and over. Then aim all retaliation at israel.

anastasia157
Guest
anastasia157

The evidence is mounting, especially with the drug addicts getting poisoned after leaving their drug den, that someone other than Russia is using novichok poison.

anastasia157
Guest
anastasia157

The reason is quite clear to anyone with eyes to see.. It’s about making money for people inside government and their oligarchs on the outside of government. They want to weaken Russia economically and wipe out the competition on the gas

anastasia157
Guest
anastasia157

Two people, who clearly look like and act like drug addicts, and who admit they are drug addicts, and who admit they had just been to a drug den before the poisoning, were poisoned with novichok. This drug den is located nearby to the park where the Skripals were found poisoned. Did the Skripals just ingest some recreational drug that they obtained by the nearby drug den? It’s growing more ridiculous and obvious by the day, and the more obvious it becomes that Russia did not do it, the more sanctions they are imposing on them. It is almost as… Read more »

AriusArmenian
Guest
AriusArmenian

The Skripal poisoning is a hoax but more aptly should be called a classic false flag attack. The CIA/MI6 use the false flag to enforce the hate and fear Russia narrative to push along the evolving Cold War v2 that they love so much (vermin that they are).

Most will never regret what they did even into old age as they are so wrapped up and identify with their sick worldview. The are criminals aided and abetted by US elites.

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Foreign Banks Are Embracing Russia’s Alternative To SWIFT, Moscow Says

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative.

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Via Zerohedge


On Friday, one day after Russia and China pledged to reduce their reliance on the dollar by increasing the amount of bilateral trade conducted in rubles and yuan (a goal toward which much progress has already been made over the past three years), Russia’s Central Bank provided the latest update on Moscow’s alternative to US-dominated international payments network SWIFT.

Moscow started working on the project back in 2014, when international sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea inspired fears that the country’s largest banks would soon be cut off from SWIFT which, though it’s based in Belgium and claims to be politically neutral, is effectively controlled by the US Treasury.

Today, the Russian alternative, known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has attracted a modest amount of support within the Russian business community, with 416 Russian companies having joined as of September, including the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations likeGazprom Neft and Rosneft.

And now, eight months after a senior Russian official advised that “our banks are ready to turn off SWIFT,” it appears the system has reached another milestone in its development: It’s ready to take on international partners in the quest to de-dollarize and end the US’s leverage over the international financial system. A Russian official advised that non-residents will begin joining the system “this year,” according to RT.

“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,”said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Turkey, China, India and others are among the countries that might be interested in a SWIFT alternative, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out in a speech earlier this month, the US’s willingness to blithely sanction countries from Iran to Venezuela and beyond will eventually rebound on the US economy by undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

To be sure, the Russians aren’t the only ones building a SWIFT alternative to help avoid US sanctions. Russia and China, along with the European Union are launching an interbank payments network known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to help companies pursue “legitimate business with Iran” in defiance of US sanctions.

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative. For one, much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.

And as Russian trade with other US rivals increases, Moscow’s payments network will look increasingly attractive,particularly if buyers of Russian crude have no other alternatives to pay for their goods.

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US leaving INF will put nuclear non-proliferation at risk & may lead to ‘complete chaos’

The US is pulling out of a nuclear missile pact with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty requires both countries to eliminate their short and medium-range atomic missiles.

The Duran

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Via RT


If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.

By ending the INF, Washington risks creating a domino effect which could endanger other landmark deals like the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and collapse the existing non-proliferation mechanism as we know it, senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.

The current iteration of the START treaty, which limits the deployment of all types of nuclear weapons, is due to expire in 2021. Kosachev, who chairs the Parliament’s Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that such an outcome pits mankind against “complete chaos in terms of nuclear weapons.”

“Now the US Western allies face a choice: either embarking on the same path, possibly leading to new war, or siding with common sense, at least for the sake of their self-preservation instinct.”

His remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to “terminate” the INF, citing alleged violations of the deal by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied undermining the treaty, pointing out that Trump has failed to produce any evidence of violations. Moreover, Russian officials insist that the deployment of US-made Mk 41 ground-based universal launching systems in Europe actually violates the agreement since the launchers are capable of firing mid-range cruise missiles.

Leonid Slutsky, who leads the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament’s lower chamber, argued that Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet.”

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The deal effectively bans the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles of all types. According to the provisions, the US was obliged to destroy Pershing I and II launcher systems and BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missiles. Moscow, meanwhile, pledged to remove the SS-20 and several other types of missiles from its nuclear arsenal.

Pershing missiles stationed in the US Army arsenal. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images ©

By scrapping the historic accord, Washington is trying to fulfill its “dream of a unipolar world,” a source within the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“This decision fits into the US policy of ditching the international agreements which impose equal obligations on it and its partners, and render the ‘exceptionalism’ concept vulnerable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced Trump’s threats as “blackmail” and said that Washington wants to dismantle the INF because it views the deal as a “problem” on its course for “total domination” in the military sphere.

The issue of nuclear arms treaties is too vital for national and global security to rush into hastily-made “emotional” decisions, the official explained. Russia is expecting to hear more on the US’ plans from Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who is set to hold talks in Moscow tomorrow.

President Trump has been open about unilaterally pulling the US out of various international agreements if he deems them to be damaging to national interests. Earlier this year, Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. All other signatories to the landmark agreement, including Russia, China, and the EU, decided to stick to the deal, while blasting Trump for leaving.

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Converting Khashoggi into Cash

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The hazard of writing about the Saudis’ absurd gyrations as they seek to avoid blame for the murder of the late, not notably great journalist and Muslim Brotherhood activist Jamal Khashoggi is that by the time a sentence is finished, the landscape may have changed again.

As though right on cue, the narrative has just taken another sharp turn.

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has ‘fessed up (sorta) and admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose:

Y’see, it was kinda’f an ‘accident.’

Oops…

Y’see the guys were arguing, and … uh … a fistfight broke out.

Yeah, that’s it … a ‘fistfight.’

And before you know it poor Jamal had gone all to pieces.

Y’see?

Must’ve been a helluva fistfight.

The figurative digital ink wasn’t even dry on that whopper before American politicos in both parties were calling it out:

  • “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” tweeted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “First we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now, a fight breaks out and he’s killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince. It’s hard to find this latest ‘explanation‘ as credible.”
  • California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the new Saudi explanation is “not credible.” “If Khashoggi was fighting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he was fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him,” Schiff said. “The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump administration will not take the lead, Congress must.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must think he’s already died and gone to his eternal recreation in the amorous embraces of the dark-eyed houris. The acid test for the viability of Riyadh’s newest transparent lie is whether the Turks actually have, as they claim, live recordings of Khashoggi’s interrogation, torture, murder, and dismemberment (not necessarily in that order) – and if they do, when Erdogan decides it’s the right time to release them.

Erdogan has got the Saudis over a barrel and he’ll squeeze everything he can out of them.

From the beginning, the Khashoggi story wasn’t really about the fate of one man. The Saudis have been getting away with bloody murder, literally, for years. They’re daily slaughtering the civilian population of Yemen with American and British help, with barely a ho-hum from the sensitive consciences always ready to invoke the so-called “responsibility to protect” Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, Xinjiang, Rakhine, and so forth.

Where’s the responsibility not to help a crazed bunch of Wahhabist head-choppers kill people?

But now, just one guy meets a grisly end and suddenly it’s the most important homicide since the Lindbergh baby.

What gives?

Is it because Khashoggi was part of the MSM aristocracy, on account of his relationship with the Washington Post?

Was it because of his other, darker, connections? As related by Moon of Alabama: “Khashoggi was a rather shady guy. A ‘journalist’ who was also an operator for Saudi and U.S. intelligence services. He was an early recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood.” This relationship, writes MoA, touches on the interests of pretty much everyone in the region:

“The Ottoman empire ruled over much of the Arab world. The neo-Ottoman wannabe-Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like to regain that historic position for Turkey. His main competition in this are the al-Sauds. They have much more money and are strategically aligned with Israel and the United States, while Turkey under Erdogan is more or less isolated. The religious-political element of the competition is represented on one side by the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘democratic’ Islamists to which Erdogan belongs, and the Wahhabi absolutists on the other side.”

With the noose tightening around Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the risible fistfight cock-and-bull story is likely to be the best they can come up with. US President Donald Trump’s having offered his “rogue killers” opening suggests he’s willing to play along. Nobody will really be fooled, but MbS will hope he can persuade important people to pretend they are fooled.

That will mean spreading around a lot of cash. The new alchemy of converting Khashoggi dead into financial gain for the living is just one part of an obvious scheme to pull off what Libya’s Muammar Kaddafi managed after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing: offer up some underlings as the fall guys and let the top man evade responsibility. (KARMA ALERT: That didn’t do Kaddafi any good in the long run.)

In the Saudi case the Lockerbie dodge will be harder, as there are already pictures of men at the Istanbul Consulate General identified as close associates of MbS. But they’ll give it the old madrasa try anyway since it’s all they’ve got.Firings and arrests have started and one suspect has already died in a suspicious automobile “accident.” Heads will roll!

Saving MbS’s skin and his succession to the throne of his doddering father may depend on how many of the usual recipients of Saudi – let’s be honest – bribery and influence peddling will find sufficient pecuniary reason to go along. Saudi Arabia’s unofficial motto with respect to the US establishment might as well be: “The green poultice heals all wounds.”

Anyway, that’s been their experience up to now, but it also in part reflects the same arrogance that made MbS think he could continue to get away with anything. (It’s not shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, but it’s close.) Whether spreading cash around will continue to have the same salubrious effect it always has had in the past remains to be seen.

To be sure, Trump may succeed in shaking the Saudi date palm for additional billions for arms sales. That won’t necessarily turn around an image problem that may not have a remedy. But still, count on more cash going to high-price lobbying and image-control shops eager to make obscene money working for their obscene client. Some big American names are dropping are dropping Riyadh in a sudden fit of fastidiousness, but you can bet others will be eager to step into their Guccis, both in the US and in the United Kingdom. (It should never be forgotten how closely linked the US and UK establishments are in the Middle East, and to the Saudis in particular.)

It still might not work though. No matter how much expensive PR lipstick the spinmeisters put on this pig, that won’t make it kissable. It’s still a pig.

Others benefitting from hanging Khashoggi’s death around MbS’s neck are:

  • Qatar (after last year’s invasion scare, there’s no doubt a bit of Schadenfreude and (figurative) champagne corks popping in Doha over MbS’s discomfiture. As one source close to the ruling al-Thani family relates, “The Qataris are stunned speechless at Saudi incompetence!” You just can’t get good help these days).

Among the losers one must count Israel and especially Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. MbS, with his contrived image as the reformer, was the Sunni “beard” he needed to get the US to assemble an “Arab NATO” (as though one NATO weren’t bad enough!) and eliminate Iran for him. It remains to be seen how far that agenda has been set back.

Whether or not MbS survives or is removed – perhaps with extreme prejudice – there’s no doubt Saudi Arabia is the big loser. Question are being asked that should have been asked years ago. As Srdja Trifkovic comments in Chronicles magazine:

“The crown prince’s recklessness in ordering the murder of Khashoggi has demonstrated that he is just a standard despot, a Mafia don with oil presiding over an extended cleptocracy of inbred parasites. The KSA will not be reformed because it is structurally not capable of reform. The regime in Riyadh which stops being a playground of great wealth, protected by a large investment in theocratic excess, would not be ‘Saudi’ any longer. Saudia delenda est.”

The first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah, went belly up in 1818, with the death of head of the house of al-Saud, Abdullah bin Saud – actually, literally with his head hung on a gate in Constantinople by Erdogan’s Ottoman predecessor, Sultan Mahmud II.

The second Saudi state, Emirate of Nejd, likewise folded in 1891.

It’s long past time this third and current abomination joined its antecedents on the ash heap of history.

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