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South Korea’s history making geo-political pivot frightens the US more than Kim’s weapons

South Korea’s President Moon has just met with China’s President Xi Jinping. The meeting affirmed that South Korea is yet another traditional Asian ally of the US that wants to participate in One Belt–One Road. The implications however, go beyond South Korea’s economy. The move could lead to an outbreak of peace in the region that the US is hellbent on retarding.

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Throughout the Cold War, the doctrine of mutually assured destruction, somewhat appropriately referred to by the acronym ‘MAD’, ensured that in spite of high tensions, none of the nuclear powers ever directly attacked each other.

While the Cold War is over, the principle of understanding the mutual detriment of killing millions in two or more nations still holds strong. It is for this reason that Russian President Putin again stated that there is a clear rationale for North Korea’s weapons programme. The authorities in Pyongyang do not want to see their country and people destroyed in the way Iraq and Libya were, as the Arab states did not have a ‘MAD’ deterrent.

9 things you need to know from Vladimir Putin’s end-of-year Q&A session

But into the literally mad fray of Donald Trump, Trump’s Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley and his CIA Director Mike Pompeo threatening to destroy North Korea, seemingly at least once a week, there is a very real development that is making many in Washington worried behind the scenes.

South Korea is pivoting towards the geographically close superpowers of China and Russia. Indeed, in a literal sense, all that separates South Korea from Russia and China is North Korea. In spite of this, for decades, the zero-sum Cold War mentality which dominated geo-political relations in the late 20th century, led to South Korea being cut-off from two nearby giants.

Today, this has changed greatly. Furthermore, the meaningful scope and intensity of Seoul’s relations with both Beijing and Moscow has accelerated rapidly under the moderate rule of President Moon Jae-in.

Moon has developed a visibly productive and personally warm relationship with Vladimir Putin since taking office in May of this year. Moon supported, without hesitation, Putin’s tripartite economic cooperation initiative between Russia and the two Korean states when it was first unveiled at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok.

South Korea and Russia continue to work on more immediate energy projects, including the delivery of Russian liquefied natural gas to South Korea. There are further talks of a wider free trade agreements between Moscow and Seoul that could be finalised in 2018.

South Korea’s relationship with China continues to expand along similar lines. This was affirmed during Moon Jae-in’s just completed visit to Beijing, where he held substantial talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The following is from a report on the visit, originally published by China’s official Xinhua news agency,

“Xi welcomed Moon on his state visit to China for the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

China and the ROK are friendly neighbors and strategic cooperation partners, Xi said.

He said the two countries have made remarkable progress in exchanges and cooperation in various fields, which has brought tremendous benefits to both sides.

There have been some twists and turns in China-ROK relations, which have provided enlightenment for both sides on how to create a better future together on the basis of mutual respect for each other’s core interests, said Xi.

He said China attaches great importance to relations with the ROK and is ready to work with the ROK to maintain the original intention of establishing diplomatic relations and take full account of the well-being of the two peoples.

Both countries should uphold the basic principle of respecting each other’s core interests and major concerns as well as the principle of treating each other as neighbors with sincerity, he said.

Xi also suggested that the two sides adhere to the principle of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation to ensure that the development of bilateral relations is on the right track.

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has brought broader prospects for China’s cooperation with its neighboring countries, including the ROK, said Xi.

He called on the two sides to strengthen political communication, cement the foundation of mutual trust, and make good use of the exchange mechanism between legislative bodies and political parties of the two countries.

China welcomes the ROK’s participation in the Belt and Road construction, said Xi, hoping to promote the alignment of the Belt and Road Initiative with the ROK’s development strategy.

He called for increased exchanges in areas such as youth, education, science and technology, media, sports, health and local affairs, for the long-term and stable development of bilateral ties.

Moon’s visit coincided with China’s annual memorial for the victims of the Nanjing Massacre, which fell on Wednesday. Moon extended his empathy to the victims.

This was Moon’s fifth trip to China and the first as ROK president. He expressed his admiration for China’s development achievements.

Calling the two countries important trading partners, Moon said the development of regional countries is closely linked with China’s Two Centenary Goals.

The ROK expects joint efforts with China to cement political trust and friendship between the two peoples, boost cooperation in various areas and coordination in global and regional affairs, Moon said.

The ROK hopes to participate in the Belt and Road Initiative and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, he said.

The two leaders also exchanged their views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

“We must unswervingly uphold the goal of a nuclear-free peninsula and never allow war or chaos on the peninsula,” said Xi.

China believes that ultimately, the Korean Peninsula issue could only be solved through dialogue and consultation, he said.

China and the ROK have important common interests in maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, Xi added.

China will continue to strengthen communication and coordination with the ROK on maintaining stability and preventing wars on the Korean Peninsula and promoting peace and talks, said Xi.

He said China supports the continued improvement of the relations between the two countries on the Korean Peninsula through dialogues and contacts, which will help ease tensions and finally settle the issue.

Moon said the ROK is firmly committed to resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through peaceful means, and is willing to work with China to safeguard peace and stability in the region.

Xi reaffirmed China’s position on the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system in the ROK and hoped the ROK will properly deal with the issue.

After their talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of cooperative documents in areas such as economic and trade, green and ecological industries, environment, health, agriculture, energy and Winter Olympics”.

The report clearly indicates that each country is sincere about embracing warm relations in the 21st century, after not having official relations during the Cold War period (official relations were only established in 1992). Most crucially, Chinese media appears to be optimistic about South Korea’s participation in the One Belt–One Road initiative.

In many ways, One Belt–One Road remains one of the critical points which can insure the success of a would-be de-escalation of North/South Korean tensions. It would appear that South Korea realises this as much from its own self-interested economic perspective as it does in respect of overriding security concerns for the region and wider world.

North Korea’s nuclear deterrent proves One Belt–One Road is the only hope for peace

While the US seeks to literally starve the DPRK into submission, a tactic which the Russian President has warned will never work as North Koreans would sooner “eat grass” than capitulate to international bullying, China and Russia are clear in the knowledge that only mutual opportunities can solve geo-political crises.

Threatened US Naval blockade of North Korea represents the illegal starvation of a nation

China implemented a “win-win” model of crisis management during its first ever modern peace initiative in a dispute involving third parties. China’s peace plan for Myanmar’s Rakhine State was announced with little fanfare, but it is already being implemented.

China proposes peace process for Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh

The key to the programme’s success was fostering cooperation among the authorities in both Myanmar and Bangladesh, through the promise of increased economic investment and trading opportunities as part of One Belt–One Road. Sure enough, while the US made threats, China’s “win-win” model, secured the trust and enthusiasm of both Naypyidaw and Dhaka–two countries currently being warned off and wooed away from One Belt–One Road by India. Chinese method has quietly secured a victory against both US threats and Indian gamesmanship.

In Myanmar, the US just tried to derail China’s peace plan, but actually ended up alienating India

For South Korea, a similar “win-win” model is being pursued, albeit in very different circumstances.

On the 30th of October, Beijing and Seoul reached a still undisclosed agreement regarding China’s deep concerns over the presence of US THAAD missiles on South Korean soil. Russia and China have each sought to negotiate the removal of THAAD from South Korea, as the presence of the US missiles has been illustrated as a major point of provocation against Pyongyang, while also representing a threat against China and Russia.

America uses North Korea as a transparent excuse for meddling in South Korea and provoking China

China maintains its opposition to THAAD and while the missiles are still in place, the fact that both China and South Korea reached an agreement on the issue, means that in this sense, China trusts the good will of the South Korean President more than that of the US, when it comes to such issues.

This good will has resulted in the positive meeting in Beijing wherein both countries agreed to increase both their short and long-term trading ties.

This clearly is not what the US wants as the US model of trade seeks to build up a network of nations which are largely dependant on the US for their security and consequently policy making, in exchange for economic deals.

The Chinese model by contrast, does not come with such heavy strings attached. China has made it clear both in word and deed that it requires nothing in terms of domestic policy making and governance, once an understanding in-line with an agreement to cooperate on trade and investment  is reached.

The fact that the Chinese model is now attractive to South Korea, a nation once so firmly under the grip of the US that it was nothing more than a satellite state, is demonstrative of the fact that as US allies mature, they seek to diversify their economic and geo-political portfolios, and often at the expense of indelible ties to the US.

This is not to say that South Korea is not still a US ally and partner, it still very much is. But according to the Chinese model, there is room both for traditional allies and new partners in One Belt–One Road.

The idea that everything in geo-politics is a head-to-head competition is a Cold War relic that ironically and worryingly,  continues to shape US thinking more than it did even in the Cold War when the US courted Communist states like Romania as well as left leaning non-aligned states ranging from India to Egypt. Of course, Nixon’s own rapprochement with the People’s Republic of China and his detente with the USSR, proved that even at the height of the Cold War, the US used to be less dogmatic and extreme than it has become since the early 1990s.

In such a paradigm as that which is formulated by the US of 2017, the only loser is the nation seeking to compete, rather than make the best of every situation. In this sense, the US is the clear loser and both China, Russia and South Korea are winners. In time, North Korea could be a winner too as Russia and China have renewed calls to lead a peace process that the US continues to send mixed signals about.

When it comes to an eventual peace process, the cooperation of South Korea is implicitly important. If Russia, China and South Korea end up forming a chain of trade and cooperation among each other, the only missing piece will be North Korea.

In spite of North Korea’s stance vis-a-vis the South, Pyongyang officials have stated that they do not seek hostility with the South, so long as Seoul can demonstrate that it is a sovereign state that represents something more than an instrument of aggressive US foreign policy in the region.

By cooperating with both China and Russia, South Korea can make this message increasingly clear and thus gradually win increased trust from Pyongyang.

As it is with so many other geo-political conflict zones. The logical conclusion of this scenario is that the lone obstacle to peace and cooperation is the presence of the US in East Asia.

South Korea is charting its own course, which is why the US is trying to provoke tensions on the Korean peninsula in order to prevent the outbreak of peace as a result of Seoul’s undeniable geo-political pivot.

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Canada to Pay Heavy Price for Trudeau’s Groupie Role in US Banditry Against China

Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Huawei CFO Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


You do have to wonder about the political savvy of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his government. The furious fallout from China over the arrest of a senior telecoms executive is going to do severe damage to Canadian national interests.

Trudeau’s fawning over American demands is already rebounding very badly for Canada’s economy and its international image.

The Canadian arrest – on behalf of Washington – of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecom giant Huawei, seems a blatant case of the Americans acting politically and vindictively. If the Americans are seen to be acting like bandits, then the Canadians are their flunkies.

Wanzhou was detained on December 1 by Canadian federal police as she was boarding a commercial airliner in Vancouver. She was reportedly handcuffed and led away in a humiliating manner which has shocked the Chinese government, media and public.

The business executive has since been released on a $7.4 million bail bond, pending further legal proceedings. She is effectively being kept under house arrest in Canada with electronic ankle tagging.

To add insult to injury, it is not even clear what Wanzhou is being prosecuted for. The US authorities have claimed that she is guilty of breaching American sanctions against Iran by conducting telecoms business with Tehran. It is presumed that the Canadians arrested Wanzhou at the request of the Americans. But so far a US extradition warrant has not been filed. That could take months. In the meantime, the Chinese businesswoman will be living under curfew, her freedom denied.

Canadian legal expert Christopher Black says there is no juridical case for Wanzhou’s detention. The issue of US sanctions on Iran is irrelevant and has no grounds in international law. It is simply the Americans applying their questionable national laws on a third party. Black contends that Canada has therefore no obligation whatsoever to impose those US laws regarding Iran in its territory, especially given that Ottawa and Beijing have their own separate bilateral diplomatic relations.

In any case, what the real issue is about is the Americans using legal mechanisms to intimidate and beat up commercial rivals. For months now, Washington has made it clear that it is targeting Chinese telecoms rivals as commercial competitors in a strategic sector. US claims about China using telecoms for “spying” and “infiltrating” American national security are bogus propaganda ruses to undermine these commercial rivals through foul means.

It also seems clear from US President Donald Trump’s unsubtle comments this week to Reuters, saying he would “personally intervene” in the Meng case “if it helped trade talks with China”, that the Huawei executive is being dangled like a bargaining chip. It was a tacit admission by Trump that the Americans really don’t have a legal case against her.

Canada’s foreign minister Chrystia Freeland bounced into damage limitation mode following Trump’s thuggish comments. She said that the case should not be “politicized” and that the legal proceedings should not be tampered with. How ironic is that?

The whole affair has been politicized from the very beginning. Meng’s arrest, or as Christopher Black calls it “hostage-taking”, is driven by Washington’s agenda of harassment against China for commercial reasons, under a legal pretext purportedly about Iranian sanctions.

When Trump revealed the cynical expediency of him “helping to free Wanzhou”, then the Canadians realized they were also being exposed for the flunkies that they are for American banditry. That’s why Freeland was obliged to quickly adopt the fastidious pretense of legal probity.

Canadian premier Justin Trudeau has claimed that he wasn’t aware of the American request for Wanzhou’s detention. Trudeau is being pseudo. For such a high-profile infringement against a senior Chinese business leader, Ottawa must have been fully briefed by the Americans. Christopher Black, the legal expert, believes that Trudeau would had to have known about the impending plot to snatch Wanzhou and moreover that he personally signed off on it.

What Trudeau and his government intended to get out of performing this sordid role for American thuggery is far from clear. Maybe after being verbally mauled by Trump as “weak and dishonest” at the G7 summit earlier this year, in June, Trudeau decided it was best to roll over and be a good little puppy for the Americans in their dirty deed against China.

But already it has since emerged that Canada is going to pay a very heavy price indeed for such dubious service to Washington. Beijing has warned that it will take retaliation against both Washington and Ottawa. And it is Ottawa that is more vulnerable to severe repercussions.

This week saw two Canadian citizens, one a former diplomat, detained in China on spying charges.

Canadian business analysts are also warning that Beijing can inflict harsh economic penalties on Ottawa. An incensed Chinese public have begun boycotting Canadian exports and sensitive Canadian investments in China are now at risk from being blocked by Beijing. A proposed free trade deal that was being negotiated between Ottawa and Beijing now looks dead in the water.

And if Trudeau’s government caves in to the excruciating economic pressure brought to bear by Beijing and then abides by China’s demand to immediately release Meng Wanzhou, Ottawa will look like a pathetic, gutless lackey to Washington. Canada’s reputation of being a liberal, independent state will be shredded. Even then the Chinese are unlikely to forget Trudeau’s treachery.

With comic irony, there’s a cringemaking personal dimension to this unseemly saga.

During the 197os when Trudeau’s mother Margaret was a thirty-something socialite heading for divorce from his father, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, she was often in the gossip media for indiscretions at nightclubs. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards claims in his autobiography that Margaret Trudeau was a groupie for the band, having flings with Mick Jagger and Ronnie Wood. Her racy escapades and louche lifestyle brought shame to many Canadians.

Poor Margaret Trudeau later wound up divorced, disgraced, financially broke and scraping a living from scribbling tell-all books.

Justin, her eldest son, is finding out that being a groupie for Washington’s banditry is also bringing disrepute for him and his country.

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US Commits To “Indefinite” Occupation Of Syria; Controls Region The Size Of Croatia

Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005.

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Via Zerohedge


“We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation” — a Syrian resident in US-controlled Raqqa told Stars and Stripes military newspaper. This as the Washington Post noted this week that “U.S. troops will now stay in Syria indefinitely, controlling a third of the country and facing peril on many fronts.”

Like the “forever war” in Afghanistan, will we be having the same discussion over the indefinite occupation of Syria stretching two decades from now? A new unusually frank assessment in Stars and Stripes bluntly lays out the basic facts concerning the White House decision to “stay the course” until the war’s close:

That decision puts U.S. troops in overall control, perhaps indefinitely, of an area comprising nearly a third of Syria, a vast expanse of mostly desert terrain roughly the size of Louisiana.

The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be closer to 4,000

A prior New Yorker piece described the US-occupied area east of the Euphrates as “an area about the size of Croatia.” With no Congressional vote, no public debate, and not even so much as an official presidential address to the nation, the United States is settling in for another endless occupation of sovereign foreign soil while relying on the now very familiar post-911 AUMF fig leaf of “legality”.

Like the American public and even some Pentagon officials of late have been pointing out for years regarding Afghanistan, do US forces on the ground even know what the mission is? The mission may be undefined and remain ambiguously to “counter Iran”, yet the dangers and potential for major loss in blood and treasure loom larger than ever.

According to Stars and Stripes the dangerous cross-section of powder keg conflicts and geopolitical players means “a new war” is on the horizon:

The new mission raises new questions, about the role they will play and whether their presence will risk becoming a magnet for regional conflict and insurgency.

The area is surrounded by powers hostile both to the U.S. presence and the aspirations of the Kurds, who are governing the majority-Arab area in pursuit of a leftist ideology formulated by an imprisoned Turkish Kurdish leader. Signs that the Islamic State is starting to regroup and rumblings of discontent within the Arab community point to the threat of an insurgency.

Without the presence of U.S. troops, these dangers would almost certainly ignite a new war right away, said Ilham Ahmed, a senior official with the Self-Administration of North and East Syria, as the self-styled government of the area is called.

“They have to stay. If they leave and there isn’t a solution for Syria, it will be catastrophic,” she said.

But staying also heralds risk, and already the challenges are starting to mount.
So a US-backed local politician says the US can’t leave or there will be war, while American defense officials simultaneously recognize they are occupying the very center of an impending insurgency from hell — all of which fits the textbook definition of quagmire perfectly.

The New Yorker: “The United States has built a dozen or more bases from Manbij to Al-Hasakah, including four airfields, and American-backed forces now control all of Syria east of the Euphrates, an area about the size of Croatia.”

But in September the White House announced a realignment of its official priorities in Syria, namely to act “as a bulwark against Iran’s expanding influence.” This means the continued potential and likelihood of war with Syria, Iran, and Russia in the region is ever present, per Stripes:

Syrian government troops and Iranian proxy fighters are to the south and west. They have threatened to take the area back by force, in pursuit of President Bashar Assad’s pledge to bring all of Syria under government control.

Already signs of an Iraq-style insurgency targeting US forces in eastern Syria are beginning to emerge.

In Raqqa, the largest Syrian city at the heart of US occupation and reconstruction efforts, the Stripes report finds the following:

The anger on the streets is palpable. Some residents are openly hostile to foreign visitors, which is rare in other towns and cities freed from Islamic State control in Syria and Iraq. Even those who support the presence of the U.S. military and the SDF say they are resentful that the United States and its partners in the anti-ISIS coalition that bombed the city aren’t helping to rebuild.

And many appear not to support their new rulers.

We don’t want the Americans. It’s occupation,” said one man, a tailor, who didn’t want to give his name because he feared the consequences of speaking his mind. “I don’t know why they had to use such a huge number of weapons and destroy the city. Yes, ISIS was here, but we paid the price. They have a responsibility.”

Recent reports out of the Pentagon suggests defense officials simply want to throw more money into US efforts in Syria, which are further focused on training and supplying the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (or Kurdish/YPG-dominated SDF), which threatens confrontation with Turkey as its forces continue making preparations for a planned attack on Kurdish enclaves in Syria this week.

Meanwhile, Raqqa is beginning to look more and more like Baghdad circa 2005:

Everyone says the streets are not safe now. Recent months have seen an uptick in assassinations and kidnappings, mostly targeting members of the security forces or people who work with the local council. But some critics of the authorities have been gunned down, too, and at night there are abductions and robberies.

As America settles in for yet another endless and “indefinite” occupation of a Middle East country, perhaps all that remains is for the president to land on an aircraft carrier with “Mission Accomplished” banners flying overhead?

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The real reason Western media & CIA turned against Saudi MBS

The problem with MBS isn’t that he is a mass murdering war criminal, it is that he is too “independent” for the United States’ liking.

RT

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Forces are aligning against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, lead by elements within the CIA and strong players in the mainstream media. But what is really behind this deterioration in relationship, and what are its implications?

Following the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, western media and various entities, including the CIA, appear to have turned their back on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS). In response to the scandal, the Guardian released a video which its celebutante, Owen Jones, captioned“Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest threats on Earth. Time to stop propping up its repulsive regime.”

The Guardian was not alone in its condemnation. “It’s high time to end Saudi impunity,” wrote Hana Al-Khamri in Al-Jazeera. “It’s time for Saudi Arabia to tell the truth on Jamal Khashoggi,” the Washington Post’s Editorial Board argued. Politico called it “the tragedy of Jamal Khashoggi.”

Even shadowy think-tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Atlantic Council released articles criticising Saudi Arabia in the wake of Khashoggi’s death.

A number of companies began backing away from Saudi money after the journalist’s death, including the world’s largest media companies such as the New York Times, the Economist’s editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes, Arianna Huffington, CNN, CNBC, the Financial Times, Bloomberg, Google Cloud CEO, just to name a few.

The CIA concluded that MBS personally ordered Khashoggi’s death, and was reportedly quite open in its provision of this assessment. Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, also took time out of his schedule to express concern over Saudi Arabia’s confirmation of the killing.

At the time of the scandal, former CIA director John Brennan went on MSNBC to state that the Khashoggi’s death would be the downfall of MBS. Furthermore, the US Senate just voted in favour of ending American involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen (a somewhat symbolic victory, though this is a topic for another article), but nonetheless was a clear stab at MBS personally.

The only person who appeared to continue to uphold America’s unfaltering support for MBS, even after all the publicly made evidence against MBS, was the US president himself. So after years of bombarding Yemen, sponsoring terror groups across the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific and beyond, why is it only now that there has been mounting opposition to Saudi Arabia’s leadership? Let’s just bear in mind that western media had spent years investing in a heavy PR campaign to paint MBS as a “reformer.”

Former national security adviser under Barack Obama’s second term, Susan Rice, wrote an article in the New York Times, in which she called MBS a “partner we can’t depend on.” Rice concludes that MBS is “not and can no longer be viewed as a reliable partner of the United States and our allies.” But why is this? Is it because MBS is responsible for some of the most egregious human rights abuses inside his own kingdom as well as in Yemen? Is it because of MBS’ support for groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda? No, according to Rice, we “should not rupture our important relationship with the kingdom, but we must make it clear it cannot be business as usual so long as Prince Mohammad continues to wield unlimited power.”

One will observe that the latter segment of Rice’s article almost mirrors former CIA director Brennan’s word on MSNBC word for word who stated that:

“I think ultimately this is going to come out. And it’s very important for us to maintain the relations with Saudi Arabia. And if it’s Mohammed bin Salman who’s the cancer here, well, we need to be able to find ways to eliminate the cancer and to move forward with this relationship that is critical to regional stability and our national interests.”

In reality, this is probably the issue that western media and government advisors have taken up with MBS. Aside from the fact he allegedly held a huge hand in the brutal murder of one of their own establishment journalists (Saudi Arabia reportedly tortured and killed another journalist not long after Khashoggi, but western media was eerily silent on this incident) MBS is not opposed for his reckless disregard for human rights. With insight into Rice’s mindset, we actually learn that if the US were to punish MBS, he would be likely to “behave more irresponsibly to demonstrate his independence and exact retribution against his erstwhile Western partners.”

You see, the problem with MBS isn’t that he is a mass murdering war criminal, it is that he is too “independent” for the United States’ liking.

Last week, Saudi Arabia and the other major oil producers met in Vienna at the year’s final big OPEC meeting of the year. As Foreign Policy notes, Saudi Arabia remains the largest oil producer inside OPEC but has to contend with the US and Russia who are “pumping oil at record levels.” Together, the three countries are the world’s biggest oil producers, meaning any coordinated decision made between these three nations can be somewhat monumental.

However, it appears that one of these three nations will end up drawing the short end of the stick as the other two begin forming a closer alliance. As Foreign Policy explains:

“But Saudi Arabia has bigger game in mind at Vienna than just stabilizing oil prices. Recognizing that it can’t shape the global oil market by itself anymore but rather needs the cooperation of Russia, Saudi Arabia is hoping to formalize an ad hoc agreement between OPEC and Moscow that began in 2016, a time when dirt-cheap oil also posed a threat to oil-dependent regimes. That informal agreement expires at the end of the year, but the Saudis would like to make Russia’s participation with the cartel more permanent.”

Russian officials have been signalling their intention to formalise this agreement for quite some time now. Given the hysteria in western media about any and all things Russian, it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that this is the kind of news that is not sitting too well with the powers-that-be.

Earlier this year, Russia and Saudi Arabia announced that it would “institutionalize” the two-year-old bilateral agreement to coordinate oil production targets in order to maintain an edge on the global market.

While US president Trump has been supportive and incredibly defensive of MBS during this “crisis”, the truth is that the US only has itself to blame. It was not all too long ago that Trump announced that he had told Saudi King Salman that his kingdom would not last two weeks without US support.

Saudi Arabia is learning for themselves quite quickly that, ultimately, it may pay not to have all its eggs in one geopolitical superpower basket.

Saudi Arabia has been increasingly interested in Moscow since King Salman made a historic visit to Moscow in October 2017. While Trump has openly bragged about his record-breaking arms deals with the Saudis, the blunt truth is that the $110 billion arms agreements were reportedly only ever letters of interest or intent, but not actual contracts. As such, the US-Saudi arms deal is still yet to be locked in, all the while Saudi Arabia is negotiating with Russia for its S-400 air defence system. This is, as the Washington Post notes, despite repeated US requests to Saudi Arabia for it disavow its interest in Russia’s arms.

The economic threat that an “independent” Saudi Arabia under MBS’ leadership poses to Washington runs deeper than meets the eye and may indeed have a domino effect. According to CNN, Russia and Saudi Arabia “are engaged in an intense battle over who will be the top supplier to China, a major energy importer with an insatiable appetite for crude.”

The unveiling of China’s petro-yuan poses a major headache for Washington and its control over Saudi Arabia as well.According to Carl Weinberg, chief economist and managing director at High-Frequency Economics, China will “compel”Saudi Arabia to trade oil in Chinese yuan instead of US dollars. One must bear in mind that China has now surpassed the US as the “biggest oil importer on the planet,” these direct attacks on the US dollar will have huge implications for its current world reserve status.

If Saudi Arabia jumps on board China’s petro-yuan, the rest of OPEC will eventually follow, and the US might be left with no choice but to declare all of these countries in need of some vital freedom and democracy.

Therefore, ousting MBS and replacing him with a Crown Prince who doesn’t stray too far from the tree that is US imperialism may put a dent in pending relationships with Saudi Arabia and Washington’s adversaries, Russia and China.

Once we get over the certainty that the US media and the CIA are not against MBS for his long-list of human rights abuses, the question then becomes: why – why now, and in this manner, have they decided to put the spotlight on MBS and expose him exactly for what he is.

Clearly, the driving force behind this media outrage is a bit more complex than first meets the eye.

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