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The Case of Azerbaijan: How ‘Democrats’ Sacrifice Principles for Oil

The US foreign policy has invariably made it clear to the countries beyond the NATO or its nuclear club that a long and prosperous ruling is up to their loyalty to America’s strategic interests.

Ion Todescu

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An information society is a thing of curiosity. A human has always been dependent on the public opinion turning eventually into a milk-and-water illusion nourished by the mass media. Be it a federal TV channel or a popular blogger – opinion makers have successfully replaced people’s brains. And it’s a sin to take no advantage of it.

One of the US foreign policy’s priorities is promotion of democratic ideals as well as rule of humanism and human rights. Under slogans like these the US has launched numerous military operations (to make a long story short, invasions); its “color revolutions” have overthrown many a government, but none of those loyal to the USA. However, it concerns the most impudent “dictators” alone who refused to sell out their countries’ natural resources to American transnational corporations.

The US foreign policy has invariably made it clear to the countries beyond the NATO or its nuclear club that a long and prosperous ruling is up to their loyalty to America’s strategic interests. The leaders of the countries mentioned have come to a very important conclusion: convincing the US government of your loyalty shall entitle you to do whatever you may choose as long as everything across the ocean is up and running.

This is the pattern adhered by Ilham Aliev, President of Azerbaijan – an extremely oil-rich state in the South Caucasus. This guy who literally inherited power from his father Heydar Aliev in 2003, has been reigning supreme for years. It’s interesting to know the state machine of Azerbaijan fused with a criminal group headed by the president himself quite a long time ago.

Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (the latter is a most peculiar) report that the situation around these very rights protection in Azerbaijan leaves much to be desired. Everything to be avoided like the plague is there to be seen: media censorship, free speech violations, political prisoners, executions, and tortures.

The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) has named Azerbaijani President Aliyev Corruption’s “Person of the Year”; what is more, he is featured in the scandalous Panama Papers. But every cloud has a silver lining, and Aliyev’s only positive trait is that he’s anything but anti-Semite. Probably that must have been the reason for Israeli Ambassador in Azerbaijan Rafael Harpaz to claim that Azerbaijani tolerance was to be followed by the rest of the world. Lord forbid, Mr. Harpaz!

The White House, OSCE and other organizations have been criticizing Baku for disastrous human rights situation for years. One might think it would far sooner have brought the US Special Forces to the Caspian Sea shore to finally have the poor Caucasian Republic democratized. And overseas oil companies, in turn, would have laid their hands on Caspian oil fields as it already took place in Iraq, for instance.

An old dictator is a wise dictator though. Aliyev knew perfectly well that one of his throne legs was unsteady. The President of Azerbaijan thinking over an upcoming arrival of “the American democracy” realized it would be much more profitable to buy confidence by proving Azerbaijani liking for the West and its loyalty.

Lobbying is quite legal and wide-spread activity in this country. Many go-ahead people rich in high-level ties are busy bringing together businessmen and senators, magnates and congressmen, trade union chiefs and parties’ leaders. They search and hire journalists ready to write an article or two for popular news outlets at a moderate charge. Most esteemed and respected top-dogs are invited to federal TV channels on their order to give out their expert judgment on whichever the occurrence may be. You think it’s hoax altogether, don’t you? No, it’s honest business. The public opinion is legally bought from those who are able enough to generate it.

Aliyev made up his mind not to put all his eggs in one basket and hired several lobbying companies at a time through different channels. The largest and most powerful ones were Tool Shed Group, Roberti Global, DCI Group and attention! – Podesta Group. True, they consented to have Aliyev’s chair concreted for a far from modest consideration.

Let us have a look at the list of politicians financed by DCI Group AZ LLC, a department specially established for Azerbaijani Affairs. Below are the people to do the spadework aimed at projecting an image of the “right Azerbaijan” for Aliyev’s funds: Claire McCaskill, Mitt Romney, Deb Fisher, etc.

There is an extract from DCI Group AZ foreign agent registration statement, i.e. it’s posed as a company acting at an order of a foreign principal. The extract pictures politicians and their financial “backing” allocated from Azerbaijani tranches.

One of the most effective ways to have an opposition formed and an intelligence network set up (which is in great use by the US) is starting a non-government organization under the auspices of the State Department and its subsidiary commissions. Their operations and reports determine largely the US foreign policy. And what did Aliyev do? He just bribed NGO heads and their supervisors in Washington, D.C. Hats off to Mr. Aliyev, the Mafiosi dictator is smart enough to have done what the other less enterprising oil Republic leaders overlooked. They might have found it too disgusting to do the same though.

And now let’s watch a new reality being created as soon as pros get down to business. The story culminated in the US. Helsinki Commission sitting. The organization is designed to promote human rights and all the other humanistic values and is liable to account to the Bureau for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor and then higher to the State Department. Many outstanding people took part in the sitting mentioned, among them Ben Cardin (Democratic Senator from Maryland), Tom O.Melia (the then Bureau head and current USAID Assistant Administrator), Eric Rubin (ex-Chief of the European and Eurasian Affairs Bureau), Miriam Lanskoy (Senior Director for Russia and Eurasia at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and Brenda Shaffer (a visiting professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Russia, Eurasia and Eastern Europe Studies).

In a nutshell, all those most esteemed persons differently described the well-living of Azerbaijanis. Had they really heard of human rights before, they still failed to follow them as we have earlier seen. Who were those people? Ms. Miriam Lanskoy is quite noteworthy for her spending quite much time in the city of Baku; as far as Nagorno-Karabakh developments (the disputed border region between Armenia and Azerbaijan) are concerned she would always back Illham Aliyev, with her statements often contradicting official observers’ reports. Brenda Shaffer cooperates with a number of analytical centers close to the US government and above all holds the office of Adviser to the President of SOCAR for Strategic Affairs. The oil company of Azerbaijan is known to be co-headed by Mr. Aliyev. The information about it is provided here.

SOCAR turns out be one of the biggest US financial donors.  The above-stated DCI Group, Roberti White and Tool Shed Group have won contracts through the SOCAR’s leadership.

As indicated below, Roberti White LLC is registered as a foreign agent subsidized by SOCAR.

Additionally, SOCAR was responsible for an all-expense-paid trip to Azerbaijan for US Congressmen

Despite this financial channel’s huge capacities it is by far not the only one. Aliyev has set a diplomatic field in motion to faster have his goals achieved. The Ambassador of Republic of Azerbaijan to the United States Elin Suleymanov and his wife Lala Abdurahmanova are absolutely confident in doing what they’re supposed to do. It was Mr. Suleymanov himself, who signed a collaboration agreement with Podesta Group. There is a Podesta CEO Kimberley Fritts’s signature to be seen on the paper; however he’s got another principal ally in America’s political establishment rather than her.

Have a look at the amendment to Azerbaijani government-Podesta Group agreement:

Podesta Group is considered one of the most influential lobbying companies. It was founded in 1988 by brothers John and Tony Podesta.  Kimberley Fritts and Tony Podesta are reported to be the CEO and the Chairman respectively. John is de jure no company’s member since he left his office for the high politics, de facto is he a grey cardinal of the Democratic Party, while Tony’s doing big business. The two together have succeeded in setting up an effective system designed for financial elite and the Democratic leadership cooperation.

It’s worth noting, that Suleymanov is in most friendly relations  with the Podesta brothers, his wife is fairly well-received not only by prominent Democrats, but also by Hilary Clinton’s entourage; that is especially topical on the threshold of the election to come.   

Suffice it to mention, that Lala Abdurahmanova throws receptions on a regular basis, with Capricia Marshall (the Atlantic Council member, ex-States Department employee, Hillary Clinton’s confidante) and Debbie Dingel (Michigan congresswoman and a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton) being frequent guests. John Podesta, a great buddy of Ambassador Suleymanov, chairs the very presidential campaign of Ex-State Secretary. It would be interesting to find out whether Mr. Aliyev makes his own plans on Clinton’s presidency in this connection.

To sum up, I’d like to present you a couple of diagrams for simpler understanding.

There is an outline of Azerbaijan’s lobbying activity financing in the USA.

The companies pictured are the way to buy expert opinions, politicians’ ayes and noes as well to have favorable decisions promoted. They are essentially Aliyev’s attorneys in the eyes of American political elite.

The second diagram depicts in minute detail the way the Democratic Party opens out its arms to oil money inflow and appears to clean forget their principles allegedly to be topped in the list. It’s not as easy as falling off the log to make the diagram out; nevertheless, I would ask you to spend a little time of yours and obtain further insight into it. It’s bound to be a sort of novelty for you.

As to power race, people would always take any steps imaginable going back on their promises and dishonoring the ideals they used believe in. Hillary Clinton is not apparently a book to take a page out. She seems to be able to abandon the genuine goals which the Democratic Party has been intent on throughout the history. And it doesn’t matter in the least that the election campaign is being paid out by a mere dictator neglecting human rights in his own country. Who cares?  It is all solely for the election victory! 

At the end of the day John Podesta has promised to open UFO X-files to the public domain given Hillary comes through with flying colors. Perhaps he has no trouble disclosing the truth about extraterrestrials which is not the case with the US-oil magnates’ cooperation.

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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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Via RT…


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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