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As King Salman’s health deteriorates, Saudi Arabia’s warmonger Crown Prince is ready to take the throne

As the Saudi King’s health worsens, warmonger Bin Salman is set to become king.

Alex Christoforou

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As Saudi Arabia’s Dictator-King Salman’s health deteriorates, rumors that the Dictator-King’s unhinged son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will ascend to the thrown in the next few months are picking up steam.

It is widely believed that Mohammed bin Salman, has already been running the Wahhabi kingdom, pushing Saudi Arabia into wars in Syria and Yemen, as well as fueling tensions with neighbor Qatar.

Via The Anti-Media

Though it was long believed that Mohammed bin Nayef, the king’s nephew and the country’s Minister of the Interior, would assume the throne, bin Nayef’s sudden ouster as Saudi Crown Prince during Ramadan definitively changed that, with King Salman’s son and the current Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, now positioned to take control.

Bin Nayef’s ouster was initially reported by international media as having gone “smoothly.” However, itsoon emerged that bin Salman had planned the entire affair and that the former Crown Prince, following his acquiescence of the title, was essentially under house arrest. Since then, rumblings have emerged that many in the Saudi royal family, which has long been guided by deference to elders and group consensus, are none too happy with the sudden turn of events in the normally stable kingdom.

Now, with King Salman on vacation in Morocco for an entire month, the ambitious Crown Prince has been left in charge, promising a taste of things to come for the oil-rich kingdom. Already, speculators are stating that the kingdom’s balance of power is “on a knife-edge.”

One such indication that there is trouble brewing within the royal family is the King’s recent string of drastic policy changes that stripped the Interior Ministry, formerly headed by bin Nayef, of many of its key mandates, including counter-terrorism.

These functions have now been transferred to a new entity called the Presidency of State Security, which is under the direct command of the King, who also serves as Prime Minister. A royal decree further stated that “whatever concerns the security of the state, including civil and military personnel, budgets, documents, and information will also be transferred to the new authority.” According to experts, the overhaul of security services indicated there still exists opposition to bin Salman’s position as Crown Prince.

It is highly probable that this mass concentration of authority under the king and the essential gutting of the Interior Ministry was orchestrated by bin Salman himself, much like bin Nayef’s ouster. Given that King Salman’s suspected dementia has led the Crown Prince to “practically” administer the entire kingdom, bin Salman’s now-elevated position makes it highly likely that such efforts were intended to reduce opposition to his forthcoming rule and consolidate his power.

While citizens of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are debating how the Crown Prince will run domestic affairs, it is no secret that the young prince is a foreign policy warhawk.

As Defense Minister, Mohammed bin Salman had a talent for entangling Saudi Arabia into conflicts which have turned out into embarrassing displays of the Kingdom’s incompetence in the military arena, while showcasing it’s brutality towards civilian populations.

It was bin Salman, after all, who began the Saudi’s atrocious war in Yemen and oversaw its military’s use of force against civilian infrastructure and gatherings. Since it began in 2015, the war has claimed the lives of over 10,000 civilians and has brought Yemen to the brink of collapse. In addition, the Saudi’srepeated bombings of hospitals and its blockade of aid and medicine have caused the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history to spread through Yemen.

Despite the increasingly dire situation in Yemen, bin Salman stated in May that he was in no hurry to end the conflict, saying “time is in our favor,” later adding that Saudi troops were planning to wait for the rebels “to tire out.”

In addition, bin Salman has caused great discomfort with the Saudis’ foreign allies by orchestrating a diplomatic crisis with Qatar. The diplomatic row put the United States, a major foreign ally of the Saudis, in an uncomfortable situation as it sought to repair the rift between the two influential Gulf state monarchies. The United States has been tepid in its embrace of bin Salman, largely due to the fact that his predecessor as Crown Prince, bin Nayef, was highly regarded by U.S. counterterrorism officials and was seen as a close ally of the U.S. in the region.

The move was likely orchestrated to pressure Qatar to end support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which bin Salman despises, as well as its support of Hezbollah, a consolation from bin Salman to Israel. Indeed, bin Salman has been hailed as a “dream come true” for Israel and has pushed to normalize relations between the Saudi kingdom and the apartheid state in recent months.

In addition, the Saudis have also demanded that Qatar end all contact with Iran, speaking to bin Salman’s aggressive brinkmanship with the Islamic Republic. Prior to becoming Crown Prince, bin Salman had said that dialogue with Iran, i.e. a diplomatic solution to disagreements, was “impossible” and has hinted at a Saudi pre-emptive strike against Iran, stating that “We won’t wait for the battle to be in Saudi Arabia. Instead, we’ll work so that the battle is for them in Iran.”

While bin Salman has publicly stated that he will not push for war with Iran since he became Crown Prince, Iran doesn’t seem so sure. After bin Salman’s hawkish comments on Iran, the Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan stated that “If the Saudis do anything ignorant, we will leave no area untouched except Mecca and Medina.” Then, after terror attacks targeted the heart of Tehran a month later in early June, Iran’s intelligence community accused Saudi Arabia of involvement, vowing revenge. The Islamic State, a terrorist organization known to be directly funded by the Saudi kingdom, took credit for the attack in Tehran.

Some experts agree with Iran’s concern that bin Salman’s growing power will lead to more war, not less. For instance, Shirleen Hunter, professor of political science at Georgetown University, believes that bin Salman’s appointment and forthcoming ascension to the throne “means that Saudi Arabia’s hardline approach towards the war in Yemen as well towards Iran will continue.” In an interview with the Tehran Times, she added that “relations with Iran, in particular, could seriously deteriorate as Bin Salman might increase destabilizing efforts inside Iran.”

Coupled with rising domestic dissent and economic damage resulting from the artificial manipulation of oil prices and the high cost of the war in Yemen, bin Salman – though eager to gain power – will likely find himself in a perfect storm. Though many young Saudis see bin Salman as a potential reformer, his history of warmongering and making rash decisions suggests that he is set to unravel the power balance that has allowed the Saudi kingdom to maintain its influence in the Middle East for so long.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

RT

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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