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Another massive sanctions fail: Russia forges ahead with marine gas turbines

Russia produces marine gas turbines in record time, defeating attempts to delay its naval programme by blocking their supply from Ukraine.

Alexander Mercouris

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The single biggest impact of the Ukrainian crisis on Russia’s defence build-up came from Russia losing access to the Zorya-Mashproekt plant in Ukraine, which since the 1950s has built the marine gas turbines used in the engines of ships of the Soviet and Russian fleets.

Following the 2014 Maidan coup and Crimea’s reunification with Russia, Ukraine stopped all further supplies of marine gas turbines from this plant to Russia.  Moreover in July 2014 the EU imposed sectoral sanctions on Russia, which prohibited the supply of ‘dual-use’ technologies (ie. technologies that could be used for both civilian and military applications) in what appears to have been a plan to prevent Russia replicating Ukraine’s gas turbine industry on its own territory or buying marine gas turbines for its navy from the West.

There is no doubt these measures were intended to disrupt Russian naval programme, with the new Admiral Gorshkov and Admiral Grigorovich frigate classes in particular depending on supplies of marine gas turbines from Ukraine.

As recently as March this year an article in the National Interest was claiming that the block on sale of Ukrainian marine gas turbines to Russia would hold up the Russian naval programme by “at least five years”

…….the problem for the Russian Navy is that the vessel’s gas-turbine engines are built by Zorya-Mashproekt in Ukraine—a legacy of the Soviet Union. “The frigate program has run into a mess because of Ukrainian engines,” Kofman said. “They’re looking at substantial delays of probably at least five years.”

On the positive side, the Russians have learned to maintain and overhaul Ukrainian-made engines onboard their existing ships, Kofman said. However, the solution was to hire as many Ukrainian technicians as possible who were willing to work in Russia. Kofman noted Russia has not yet been able to indigenously produce its own gas turbines to replace those currently installed in its fleet.

A mere month since that article was written Russia has proved it wrong.

President Putin has just returned to Moscow from a trip to the Rybinsk, where he held a meeting of Russia’s military industrial commission at the offices of the NPO-Saturn Production Company.

Saturn is one of Russia’s leaders in gas turbine technology, designing the Lyulka engines used by Russia’s Sukhoi fighters.  There is a large technological overlap between gas turbine technology used for aircraft engines and gas turbine technology used for other applications.  Following the embargo on the supply to Russia of marine gas turbines from Ukraine and of ‘dual-use’ technology from the West, Saturn was charged by the Russian government with replicating the technology in Russia.

Putin says it has succeeded, and done so moreover in a far shorter time-frame than anyone in the West or Ukraine expected, so that the delay in Russia’s naval programme will be only 18 months not five years. Here is how the Kremlin reports his comments

Since 2014, work has been conducted here to organise the production of ship gas turbine engines for combat vessels. This will allow us to produce and service such engines on our own.

You know, we were buying such engines in Ukraine before 2014. Unfortunately, through no fault of our own, this cooperation came to an end, and even the possibility of such cooperation has vanished. We had to turn to import replacement. Frankly, this was beneficial to us from a technological standpoint, because in the time from December 2014 to the present, we created a virtually new area of research and a new manufacturing industry. Previously, this expertise did not exist in Russia.

I am pleased to note that this work has been completed ahead of schedule. We thought that we would have to move the warship construction schedule back a couple of years, but the delay will be slightly shorter, about 18 months.

The article in the National Interest speculated that Russia might import marine gas turbines from China to make up for those it could no longer acquire in Ukraine

Moscow is exploring the purchase of Chinese-built engines (which are “derived” from German engines made by MTU and China similarly benefitted from extensive cooperation with Ukraine in this sphere).

Putin confirms that this option was considered but rejected, with Russia instead deciding to develop the entire technology itself from scratch

We could have gone with various different scenarios, such as looking for replacement imports or creating other makeshift solutions. Instead, we decided to develop these industries in our country. Judging by the result, we did everything right, because not only did we acquire a new area of expertise, we also obtained innovative equipment, which is more advanced than what we used to import. Its efficiency is 10–15 percent higher, and its service life is longer. This is true of the ships of nearby and distant maritime zones.

That the new gas turbines Russia has developed are more efficient than those it used to import from Ukraine is almost certainly true, since Ukraine’s gas turbine technology has essentially stagnated since the USSR fell.  There have been significant advances in this technology since then, and it would be surprising if the Russians could not design marine gas turbines which are more technologically advanced and more efficient than those currently produced in Ukraine.  What is surprising is that they have done it so quickly.

In order to dispel any doubt that the new all-Russian designed and Russian built marine gas turbines actually exist, the Kremlin has also provided a short summary of a tour by Putin of the Saturn facility in Rybinsk, in which he is reported to have inspected them

The President was shown the company’s products and attended the launch of a project to manufacture marine gas turbines. Vladimir Putin signalled the launch of tests of the M-35R-1 gas turbine with an M-70-FRU-2 engine for marine projects.

Other reports suggest that the new marine gas turbines will not be built in Rybinsk but in a new factory already built to manufacture them in St. Petersburg.

Putin was being slightly disingenuous when he said that “previously this expertise (to design and build marine gas turbines) did not exist in Russia”.  Prior to the crisis that brought about the fall of the USSR no one in Russia would have considered the Zorya-Mashproekt plant in Ukraine a “foreign” plant, and Russia actually has an abundance of knowledge and familiarity with this technology.  The speed with which the Russians have been able to replicate both the technology and its production on their own territory is nonetheless extremely impressive.

This episode again highlights a point I recently made in connection with Russia’s successful replication of oil drilling and shale technology, the export of which to Russia has also been prohibited by the West

The West seriously underestimated Russia in 2014.  It failed to realise to what an extent the country had advanced beyond the disastrous times of the 1990s.

Whereas the sort of sanctions the West imposed on Russia in 2014 would have crushed the Russian economy if they had been imposed in say 2000, today Russia is fully capable of developing its economy by drawing on its own financial resources and its own technology, both of which it has in abundance.

What the West did in 2014, by imposing the sanctions at a time when there was an oil price fall, was force the Russians to do this more efficiently and more quickly than they would have done if they had been left alone.

Westerners always seem to cling on to their idea of Russia as a poor, technologically backward, ill-governed, irredeemably corrupt, ‘third world’ country (“Upper Volta with missiles”).  This is what leads them to make foolish decisions, such as the decision to impose sectoral sanctions, which they took in July 2014.

Just as the sanctions the West imposed on Russia in 2014 forced the Russians to replicate the West’s oil drilling and shale technology “more efficiently and more quickly than they would have done if they had been left alone”, so the West’s and Ukraine’s ban on sales of marine gas turbines to Russia have forced the Russians to replicate “more efficiently and more quickly” production of marine gas turbines on their own territory “than they would have done if they had been left alone”.

The big loser is of course Ukraine, or to be more precise the  Zorya-Mashproekt plant, whose future now that it has lost its main buyer must be in doubt.

As to the Russian naval programme, Ukraine’s and the West’s transparent attempt to sabotage it by blocking the supply of marine gas turbines for its engines has obviously ended in failure.

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DS Analysis
Guest
DS Analysis

This is what Ukraine gets for doing the bidding of the empire. Poor sods.

Riccardo Zanetti
Guest
Riccardo Zanetti

Couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of arseholes.

Terry Ross
Guest
Terry Ross

Does this mean that these gas turbines can perhaps be repurposed in power stations as well, such as those being constructed in Crimea?

JohnT
Guest
JohnT

Likely not a leap. Pratt-Whitney powers aircraft and power stations.

Take a governor controlled aircraft engine, coupled aero derivationally to a generator, and boom you have simple cycle power station.

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

London Underground trains emergency generators are powered by two 1950’s Lightning fighter jet engines. They are tested every week for an hour or so.

Gary Sellars
Guest
Gary Sellars

The Russians have had power generation gas turbines for a long time. One of the latest modern units is the GTE-110 that is available for 100-500MW ratings. its only now that they have finally gotten around to developing maritime propulsions sets, but its really a re-packaging exercise, in concert with the other power train components like gearboxes for CODAG, CODAD configurations etc

Terry Ross
Guest
Terry Ross

Interesting. Perhaps they are not compatible with the Crimean design and that’s why I asked about the marine gas turbines. “Russia is struggling to source gas turbines for two new power plants it is building in Crimea, Russian Energy Ministry Alexander Novak said on Wednesday.” “Three sources told Reuters last year that turbines for the Crimean plants would be made by Siemens Gas Turbine Technologies LLC, a joint venture in which Siemens has a 65 percent share. The German company categorically denied it intended to send turbines to Crimea.The joint venture’s factory is the only one in Russia capable of… Read more »

tom
Guest
tom

If there is a race to become “Upper Volta with missiles”, my money is on the USA to beat Russia by several lengths.

Terry Ross
Guest
Terry Ross

Here is Putin’s meeting in Yaroslavl region to announce the successful production of the gas turbines.

Aussie battler
Guest
Aussie battler

This is exelant news,Russia must become more self reliant
More innovative and above all insulate itself from the totally
Corrupt Bancrupt western corporate elites scum

James Willy
Guest
James Willy

The whole article made me smile. It is nice reading any story of this type, showing great examples of how all zionist tactics fail every single time. Would be nicer if Russia would just finally end this debacle once and for all.

Alex Popoff
Guest
Alex Popoff

>the decision to impose sectoral sanctions, which they took in July 2014.

After west shooted down MH17 in false flag FAILED operation.

FlorianGeyer
Guest
FlorianGeyer

Nations are no different to companies and families. If there is easy money to be had , why bother with the difficult or boring jobs.

However, in adversity, turning ones hands to those jobs is necessary and satisfying. It also enables one to say ‘Thank you but No thank you ‘ to outside salesmen.

wimroffel
Guest
wimroffel

It will be more convincing when the Kuznetsov no longer smokes like it comes from the 19th century.

Gary Sellars
Guest
Gary Sellars

Kuznetsov uses steam turbines, not gas turbines… totally different technology, and which for Russia has a full production chain. BTW the Kuznetsov uses a heavy fuel oil called Mazut-100 which is cheap and has good calorific value, but the downside is it burns smoky until the burners are fully up to temperature. The K smokes heavily when she is bring new boilers on line, eg if she is getting underway, or needs to pick up her speed, and if she is cruising at a constant rate she produces minimal smoke (but of course our MSM chooses not to show any… Read more »

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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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