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Hariri’s capture was instrumental to the “Red Prince’s” rise to power

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman forced the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri and subsequently detained him not just to destabilize Lebanon, but because the foreign leader is a dual-Saudi national who was plotting against the future King and could have granted “political asylum” to fleeing royals eager to one day exact their revenge on the “Red Prince”.  

Andrew Korybko

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Mohammed Bin Salman’s “deep state” coup has taken the world by storm and is becoming one of the most geopolitically disruptive events in the Mideast’s recent history. The author wrote about this in four separate articles that the reader is encouraged to skim through if they’re not already familiar with his interpretation of what’s happening:

* Mohammed Bin Salman: The Unlikely Anti-Oligarchic Bolshevik?

* Mohammed Bin Salman’s Post-Coup Bellicose Strategy, Bluff or Bluster?

* Saudi-“Israeli” Leaks: Collusion Or Opportunism?

* From Feudalism To The Future: How the “Red Prince’s” “Revolution” Could Modernize The Monarchy

The general idea is that the Crown Prince preemptively moved to thwart a pro-US royalist coup against him in response to the socio-economic and religious reforms that he initiated with his Vision 2030 program, as well as in retribution for his daring game-changing Great Power partnerships with China and Russia. Mohammed Bin Salman is also a “Red Prince” in the sense that his anti-oligarchic and Bolshevik maneuver (in terms of strategy and tactics, respectively) could seize upwards of $800 billion and redirect it to massive public works projects associated with his Vision 2030 plan to transform his feudalist state into a capitalist node along China’s New Silk Road, albeit one of the most important in the Eastern Hemisphere due to its tri-continental location at the crossroads of the Afro-Eurasian pivot space.

In order to advance his grand strategic plan to save Saudi Arabia from itself by reversing its declining revenue, transition its oil-dependent economy into a real-sector one, and stave off the rising threat of a generational conflict between his majority-youthful and relatively “liberal” population and the Kingdom’s conservative and more religious “old guard”, the “Red Prince” had to absolutely eliminate all threats to his future kingship first, ergo why he commenced his “deep state” coup over the weekend. As part of this complex operation, Mohammed Bin Salman also needed to prevent any royal “fugitives” and their supporters from seeking safety elsewhere in the region to plot their comeback, and it’s here where Lebanon and in particular its former Prime Minister Saad Hariri come into play.

The former Lebanese premier is a dual-Saudi national, and it’s very likely that he was involved in the pro-US royalist plot to unseat the “Red Prince”, hence why Mohammed Bin Salman decided to eliminate him as a political threat. Much has already been written about how unprecedented it is for a foreign head of state to resign while visiting a supposedly allied country, and lots of reports have circulated that this was actually done under duress and that Hariri is being held prisoner in Saudi Arabia, but these stories tend to downplay the fact that the former Lebanese Prime Minister is a dual-Saudi citizen, and therefore subject to its laws while on its soil. This means that if he was implicated in the plot to unseat Mohammed Bin Salman, then the “Red Prince” technically has every legal right to take action against him, even if it’s executed under the guise of an anti-corruption campaign.

There’s admittedly a very grey line involved here because of how unique the whole affair is, but at the end of the day, whether Hariri was a head of state or not, his status as a dual-Saudi national takes precedence in the Kingdom’s laws over his foreign statesmanship. Moreover, just like what can be presumed to be the case for most – if not all – of the wealthy people in Saudi Arabia, Hariri probably obtained his fortune through some degree of corruption. To clarify, corruption in this case isn’t be used to refer to backroom deals with decision makers in obtaining government contracts (which is the social norm in Saudi Arabia despite being legally regarded as corruption in most Western societies), but to exploiting these said deals through some form or another of deception (e.g. charging more than previously agreed upon for a good or service, or not even providing it at all after receiving payment) in order to gain greater profits.

It can only be speculated at this time what sort of corruption Hariri may or may not have been engaged in, but it’s becoming increasingly evident that the former Prime Minister was caught up in Mohammed Bin Salman’s “deep state” dragnet and that this is probably the real reason behind his resignation. The collateral damage from this event runs the risk of destabilizing Lebanon, which has traditionally been a proxy battleground between Saudi Arabia and Iran, though that’s probably not why the “Red Prince” demanded the premier’s resignation. Like it was mentioned above, it’s more than likely due to Hariri’s alliance with an anti-Salman royal clan conspiring to overthrow Mohammed Bin Salman and replace the Crown Prince with one of their own instead. The “Red Prince” knew that it would be a step too far – even for him – to openly carry out a regime change against a foreign head of state simply because the said individual was plotting against him, which is why he had to resort to superficially indirect methods.

Therefore, Mohammed Bin Salman must have found one way or another to implicate Hariri in the Kingdom’s far-reaching anti-corruption dragnet (which itself is largely being used as a populist smokescreen for justifying the “Red Prince’s” power grab and redistribution of oligarchic resources to his socio-economic Vision 2030 programs) so as to have a semi-plausible pretext before international law for detaining the former Lebanese Prime Minister, who, for the sake of “legal technicalities”, was probably detained only after he was pressured to resign and “officially” become a private dual-Saudi citizen without any “diplomatic immunity” as a head of state. Hariri’s capture was central to Mohammed Bin Salman’s plans because it prevented Lebanon from becoming a base for any “fugitive” royals and their supporters who might have fled the Kingdom to regroup elsewhere in the region while plotting their revenge.

If Hariri, as a dual-Saudi national opposed to Mohammed Bin Salman and doubling as the Lebanese head of state, offered sanctuary to “political refugees” fleeing the Kingdom after their failed coup plans went awry, then the “Red Prince” would forever face a threat to his rule from the royals hiding out in Lebanon. The reader shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that Lebanon has traditionally been a “playground” for the Saudi elite because its comparatively more liberal social situation allows the “weekday Wahhabis” to engage in such “haram” weekend activities as extramarital sex and alcohol consumption, so many of the country’s elite should rightly be presumed to have cultivated extensive contacts and influence here throughout the years, which is why they’re more than likely to have wanted to use Lebanon as their “base of operations” for plotting a comeback against the future King.

That scenario is now foiled, however, because Mohammed Bin Salman pressured Hariri to resign and is now likely holding him captive at the Rizt Carlton alongside the other detainees. The Lebanese government announced that it won’t react to Hariri’s resignation until he returns back to the country to explain what’s going on, but that’s probably only going to increase the odds that the “Red Prince” won’t let him leave. The last thing that the young leader needs is for Hariri to return back to Lebanon, denounce the “deep state” inquisition that the anti-oligarchic “Red Prince” is carrying out, and offer up his country’s territory to any “fugitive” royals and their supporters who want to fight back against him and regain their power. Worse still, Mohammed Bin Salman might fear that Hariri could deepen his working relations with Iranian-backed Hezbollah, which would essentially represent yet another major geopolitical fail by making Saudi Arabia “lose” Lebanon just like it irresponsibly “lost” Qatar nearly half a year ago because of the “Red Prince’s” impetuousness.

It’s perhaps due to this tacit realization that even some of Hariri’s opponents are feigning concern about his fate and all of a sudden supporting him on a “patriotic” basis by condemning the Saudis’ forced resignation of their head of state and his subsequent detainment. These individuals might have cursed Hariri a week ago and prayed for his downfall or worse, but now that he’s out of office due to the circumstances of Mohammed Bin Salman’s “deep state” coup – who they arguably hate more than Hariri because the future King is more powerful and has much more blood on his hands – Hariri is basically being heralded as a “martyr” of Lebanese statehood, and people who would never have previously thought to defend him are rushing to offer up their condemnation of the “Red Prince”.

This Machiavellian power reversal carries with it a certain logic, because if Hariri is released and allowed to return to Lebanon, then it might turn against his Crown Prince captor and side more closely with his Iranian rivals out of spite. Should his resignation be declared invalid because it was tendered under duress, then Hariri might be reinstituted as Prime Minister and therefore allowed to grant “political asylum” to any “fugitive” “rebel royals” and their supporters, thus turning the Hezbollah-controlled country into a base of regime change operations against the “Red Prince” and representing a game-changing development in the regional Saudi-Iranian rivalry. That’s probably why Mohammed Bin Salman won’t let him go anytime soon, though, and might even see to it that Hariri suffers an “accident” just like Prince Mansour Bin Muqrin did a few days ago when his helicopter went (or was shot?) down over the country’s southern desert and killed everyone on board who tried to flee from the “deep state” coup.

DISCLAIMER: The author writes for this publication in a private capacity which is unrepresentative of anyone or any organization except for his own personal views. Nothing written by the author should ever be conflated with the editorial views or official positions of any other media outlet or institution. 

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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