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CBS’s & NPR’s Rabidly False ‘News’ About the Khashoggi Case

What’s not normal in the Khashoggi case is that it was being done to a Saudi who has so many admirers and friends at high places in The West.

Eric Zuesse




Authored by Eric Zuesse:


It’s a lie to say, as CBS ‘News’ did on October 24th, that Saudi Crown Prince Salman couldn’t have done what Turkey says he did in the Khashoggi case — couldn’t do it,  because it’s not in the Saud family’s “DNA” to do such things. To the exact contrary: it is the norm for the Saud family, and has been for decades if not longer. What’s not normal in the Khashoggi case is that it was being done to a Saudi who has so many admirers and friends at high places in The West. That’s what makes the Khashoggi case different from all the others. And the evidence for this — and for the pervasive propagandistic fakery in U.S. mainstream ‘news’ reporting about foreign affairs (such as CBS did there) — will be presented here. This routine and unchallenged lying by the ‘news’-media is a super-scandal that the U.S. and UK press don’t report, but instead they all hide that they had lied and routinely do lie. So, since it’s totally unaddressed, it continues, on and on, for at least decades. Probably none of the major American or British ‘news’-media will publish this American samizdat, exposing the press, but this is being submitted to them all, in the hope that maybe at last, some or at least one of them will finally relent, and break open this mega-scandal — about the press itself. It needs to be made public

The constant lying, at any rate, must stop, regardless how it’s done. Though the problem itself, of repeatedly deceiving-the-public-into-wars, is not being reported, some U.S. and UK ‘news’-media are starting to come clean on aspects of the resulting disaster. The New York Times had participated like all the others in helping George W. Bush lie America into invading and destroying Iraq, but that newspaper, fifteen years later, bannered in its Sunday magazine on August 12th, “War Without End”, and sub-headed “The Pentagon’s failed campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan left a generation of soldiers with little to fight for but one another.” C.J. Chivers wrote, with rare honesty:

The governments of Afghanistan and Iraq, each of which the United States spent hundreds of billions of dollars to build and support, are fragile, brutal and uncertain. The nations they struggle to rule harbor large contingents of irregular fighters and terrorists who have been hardened and made savvy, trained by the experience of fighting the American military machine. Much of the infrastructure the United States built with its citizens’ treasure and its troops’ labor [and bodies!] lies abandoned. Briefly [these infrastructures were] schools or outposts, many [now] are husks, looted and desolate monuments to forgotten plans. Hundreds of thousands of weapons provided to would-be allies have vanished; an innumerable quantity are on markets or in the hands of Washington’s enemies. Billions of dollars spent creating security partners also deputized pedophiles, torturers and thieves. National police or army units that the Pentagon proclaimed essential to their countries’ futures have disbanded. The Islamic State has sponsored or encouraged terrorist attacks across much of the world — exactly the species of crime the global “war on terror” was supposed to prevent.

Even articles like that, however, fail to note that these invasions are enormously profitable for insider-connected American corporations, such as Blackwater and Halliburton and Raytheon. No lessons have been learned from these disasters, because the people in power in 2002, are still being honored, instead of despised today; they even are talking heads on news shows, and speech-makers at the think tanks. It’s all propaganda for the same group of billionaires’ products and services as before — no one is boycotting any of their companies. The problem is just the same now as it was in 2002. Nothing, at all, has yet been learned from these catastrophes. After George W. Bush’s unchallenged lying which fooled Americans into invading Iraq in 2003 and destroying that country, we had Barack Obama’s unchallenged lying which fooled Americans in 2011 into invading Libya and then Syria, and destroying those countries. And because those lies are still believed, both George W. Bush and Barack Obama are respected even now in the United States. There is no accountability, none. Unless things change, America is doomed, and will destroy the entire world, without stop.

Rabid lying results when a propagandistic purpose is being served by a false ‘news’ report and it encourages America’s evil such as America’s providing logistics and weapons for the Saudis to slaughter Yemen’s Houthis now by the millions. Such lying is what was done by not only CBS News and NPR during the lead-up to the criminal 2003 invasion of Iraq, but which propaganda-for-invasion all of America’s and UK’s mainstream news-media were doing (and they continue to do, regarding today’s news-events — they misrepresent, for a propagandistic purpose). Just as in the past, the purpose is for international invasions, such as the U.S. and UK billionaires want, because it’s good for the industrial part of the military-industrial complex, and because the same billionaires who control the ‘news’-media own those industries. The most blatant example of that lying-for-the-billionaires was displayed in 2002 here. George W. Bush knew that he was lying about the evidence, but he did it anyway, because he was determined to conquer Iraq. Anyone who trusts mainstream ‘news’ media in U.S. and UK after that is just a willing fool — a sucker — for the billionaires’ propaganda-machine, and consequently is a partner with their deceiving ‘news’-media, and their firms, such as Lockheed Martin, in the entire system of profit from the war-crimes that these billionaire owners support, and constantly engender, just like they did before. Essentially, nothing has changed, since 2002.

On October 23rd, CBS News bannered “Khashoggi case: Former top U.S. intel official says past Saudi activity suggests attempted rendition, not assassination” and reported that “intelligence veteran Norman Roule said an attempted rendition or interrogation sanctioned by the Kingdom’s leadership – rather than a state-directed assassination – appears for now to fit better with a known pattern of previous Saudi operations.” This lying by ‘experts’ is basically no different than what had happened with the rigged ‘news’-reporting in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. Back then it was fake and heavily biased (if not outright prostituted) ‘experts’ who were engaged to inform the American and British publics about how dangerous to us the “WMD” or weapons of mass destruction — which Saddam was, they said, building — were, and why we must therefore promptly kick the U.N. weapons-inspectors out and immediately invade Iraq in order to eliminate these fictitious WMD (which those inspectors had searched for but not found). But this time, we’re being deceived to continue supporting the most barbaric tyranny on the face of the Earth — the Saud regime, which is the top ally of the U.S. regime, which is the world’s most aggressive, internationally law-breaking, war-making government, and it’s joined-at-the-hip with the Saud family.

CBS presents Mr. Roule as “A career intelligence official who, before retiring last year, spent decades at the Central Intelligence Agency and Office of the Director of National Intelligence managing significant programs related to Iran and the Middle East.” In America’s invasion and destruction of Iraq, the CIA and DNI were tasked by the President to provide him evidence that Saddam Hussein still possessed or was producing WMD, but they couldn’t find any so put together whatever bogus ‘evidence’ they could locate to support George W. Bush’s determination to invade Iraq, and they did it, and suckers believed it. Does any intelligent person believe them now — after the CIA Director had privately assured Bush that the case about Saddam’s WMD would be “a slam-dunk,” meaning that it would fool the mass of suckers — which it was? What intelligent person would trust them after that — and after Obama and Hillary Clinton’s subsequent Libyan adventure, “We Came, We Saw, He Died. Ha ha!”, and after so many other psychopathic, catastrophic, conquests by America and its allies, which are based on official lies, all of which were backed-up by the CIA? The CIA ‘authenticates’ what the President wants it to ‘authenticate’.

No intelligent persons would trust them now, though many suckers still do. “Bad intelligence” isn’t unintelligent spies; it is the euphemism that’s used to apply to professional ‘intelligence’ that serves its actual purpose of deceiving the public to support a catastrophic invasion, an evil attack by the aristocracy’s operatives, and for the aristocracy’s other purposes.

Roule said: “the idea [that] a murder was approved by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia – I’ve seen no evidence for this. It’s not in the DNA of their past operational activity.” He went on: “Almost to a man and woman, they [the Saudi people] are hurting because of this event. There is a bit of pain that the entire country of Saudi Arabia is being painted with this action.” In other words: he presumed that the family who own Saudi Arabia, the Sauds, are beloved by (instead of terrify) the subjects over whom they rule. It’s “the entire country” and not bin Salman al-Saud himself that’s now being “painted with this action” (the murder of Khashoggi). Roule clearly lies. He does it yet again: “The Saudis have no recent history of engaging in assassination activity abroad,’ Roule said. ‘Even the alleged activities of the past are many, many years ago and may not have occurred.’” What, then, about “NAWAF AL RASHEED, SON OF PRINCE TALAL BIN ABDULAZIZ AL RASHEED, DISAPPEARED SINCE MAY 12 [2018] DEPORTATION TO SAUDI ARABIA”? Rasheed still hasn’t been heard from or about, since his abduction at the order of bin Salman, half a year ago. And, going back to even before this Crown Prince, to the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing ‘suspects’, all of them simply disappeared, never to be heard from (or about) again — no public trial, nothing at all. There are many such cases, of many different kinds. This is normal Saudi practice — not abnormal at all. The Saud clan are like the Mafia, but vastly richer. For other recent examples, all attributable to the reign of Crown Prince Salman: on 15 August 2017, the BBC headlined “Saudi Arabia’s missing princes”, and reported that, “Between 2015 and 2017, three Saudi princes living in Europe [Prince Sultan bin Turki bin Abdulaziz, Prince Turki bin Bandar, and Prince Saud bin Saif al-Nasr] disappeared. All were critical of the Saudi government — and there is evidence that all were abducted and flown back to Saudi Arabia, where nothing further has been heard from them.” And, yet, after all this, the ‘expert’Norman T. Roule, says: “It’s not in the DNA of their past operational activity.”

Then, in the CBS transcript, Roule said that America’s support for and assistance to the Sauds’ bombing of the Houthis in Yemen is on the good side of that invasion: the Houthis are bad people — “Where you have famine is primarily in areas under Houthi control. And the reasons for the famine, it’s less the absence of food, and it’s more that the Houthis charge so much for food.” He blames the victims. As I had headlined on Monday, 11 June 2018,“America’s Genocide in Yemen Starts Tuesday”. I reported there:

The Houthis in Yemen are expected to start being slaughtered en-masse on June 12th. The U.S.-Saudi-UAE plan is to destroy the Yemenese port city of Al Hudaydah, which is the only entry-way by which food reaches approximately seven million Shiites, members of the Houthi tribe, who occupy the western third of Yemen, and who had recently ruled all of Yemen. The U.S. provides the weapons and the training, and the United Arab Emirates supplies the pilots for this operation, which is financed mainly by the Saudis. The objective is to establish a joint UAE-Saudi-run government of Yemen.

Roule provides his ‘expertise’ not only at CBS, but at NPR, and at Bloomberg, and at Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy Schoool, and at many other prestigious forums.

And, of course, Roule isn’t the only reporter (or ‘expert’) who lies about Yemen and other matters. On August 10th, I bannered “Yemen: Fake ‘News’ That’s Mixed Into America’s Mainstream News — And Why” and reported that,

On Friday, August 10th, CNN headlined “Saudi-led strike kills dozens of children on school field trip in Yemen” and reported as if the United States doesn’t have any important role to play in targeting and supplying the bombs and missiles for what the news-report refers to as “the Saudi-led coalition.” It even says at 0:15 in the video, “Saudi Arabia, through air strikes, leads the coalition, including the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Sudan” and doesn’t even mention there the main party, other than the royal Saud family — the U.S. Government itself — which provides not only detailed authorization of each target but also the weapons and the training on how they’re used.

The lying is systematic, and across the major media, and academia.

Furthermore, Roule’s saying that “the Houthis charge so much for food” is irrelevant because the Sauds’ cutting off the food-supplies has caused food-prices to soar, but Roule uses this price-rise to blame the Houthis, and not the Saud-U.S.-UAE coalition. Of course, the food-prices soared. But what’s relevant is who did it — and he lies about that. He uses this irrelevant allegation as an excuse for what the Sauds, UAE and U.S. are doing to the Houthis — exterminating them.


Roule is hired because he’s a pro-Saud anti-Iran hack. On 20 October 2017, NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly interviewed Roule in “Former Intelligence Official On Iran Nuclear Deal”. He told her: “Any time you can push back a rogue nation’s capacity to develop a nuclear weapon you’ve done something good. … you don’t want to be in a position where you say to someone, if you stop robbing banks we won’t put you in jail, but because they’ve stopped robbing banks they can commit any other nefarious activity and say, well, if you put me in jail, I guess I get to go back to robbing banks.”

One of his many employers is the neoconservative (pro-imperialistic, pro-invasion), which provides this background of him:

Norman Roule is an advisory board member of the Arabia Foundation. Mr. Roule served for 34-years in the Central Intelligence Agency, managing numerous programs relating to Iran and the Middle East. His service in the CIA’s Directorate of Operations included roles as Division Chief and Chief of Station, and he also served as the National Intelligence Manager for Iran at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In addition to his role with the Arabia Foundation, Mr. Roule also serves as Senior Adviser to the Counter Extremism Project, United Against Nuclear Iran, and the Nuclear Threat Initiative.

If he didn’t hate Iran and Shia Muslims as much as the Saud family do, he wouldn’t be hired there, nor here, nor here, nor here, nor here, just to mention a few of his benefactors. To make money in this field, one must lie in the ‘right’ way. People wonder: How can atrocities such as the invasions of Iraq and of Libya happen? This is how it happens.

Fawaz Gerges

On October 24th, NPR headlined “Erdogan’s End Game”, and opened with “NPR’s David Greene speaks with international relations professor Fawaz Gerges about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s handling of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.” Gerges said:

2:20- “Almost everything we know that you and I and all of us [know], it really comes from leaks from Turkish security forces.”
3:10- “On the one hand, you have Turkey … provides support for religious activists or Islamists, support and refuge from all over the Arab world, while Saudi Arabia and Egypt and other Arab states view Islamists as subversive.”
4:10- “There are more correspondents jailed in Turkey than any other country in the world.”

He presented Erdogan as the “Islamist” and Salman as the non-Islamist. The interviewer didn’t challenge him, at all, on that absurd upside-down portrayal. The Sauds’ regime is much more religious-extremist than is the Turkish regime. But both interviewer and interviewee had doubtless been fully vetted by CIA, NATO, and other agencies of the billionaires that control such official bodies. This systematic consistently pro-NATO propaganda doesn’t “just happen.” It’s not by chance. And, now, NATO stands with Salman, and against NATO-member Turkey, on the Khashoggi affair; so, Gerges does too.

Here are Gerges’s sponsors:

Fawaz Gerges holds the Emirates Chair of the Contemporary Middle East at the  LSE and was the inaugural Director of the LSE Middle East Centre. Other than the London School of Economics, he also teaches at: Sarah Lawrence College, Oxford University, Harvard University, Columbia University, and Princeton University. But his main posting is at LSE, shown here:
Centre Funding
Emirates Foundation
Aman Trust
Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Science
UK Department for International Development
The Leverhulme Trust
Gerald Gray
LSE Knowledge Exchange and Impact Fund
British Institute for Persian Studies
British Institute for the Study of Iraq
Oxfam GB
LSE IGA–Rockefeller Fund
American Political Science Association
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Research Councils UK

Both the Saudi and the UAE rulers are pro-Taliban, and fund Al Qaeda.

America’s aristocracy and also Britain’s are allied mainly with the fundamentalist-Sunni Saud family who own Saudi Arabia, and also with the fundamentalist-Sunni President of “the Emirates” or UAE, Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and both are fundamentalist Sunni Arabs. They are now jointly destroying Yemen to kill off the Shiites there, Houthis, and are using U.S. weapons, logistics, and guidance, to do it. They and Israel are also strongly against Iran and against the Government of Syria. The U.S. and UK ‘news’-media pump that same propaganda, and are now becoming also hostile toward the Sunni Governments of Turkey and Qatar, which are less extreme Sunni regimes than the ones that the U.S. regime is allied with. At the present time, the flash-point is the murder of Khashoggi. That could even break up the Western alliance. The U.S. and UK ‘news’-media want to prevent this break-up from happening.

And this explains how the ‘experts’ and the ‘news’-media get the public to vote for politicians who, on the basis of lies, authorize the destruction of nations, such as Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Syria, and Yemen. Will the corruption and viciousness of America’s aristocracy ever stop? The mainstream ‘news’-media are part of it. The prospects are grim.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Vince Dhimos

So true. And one of the biggest, and most dangerous lies is “it was a mistake.” Whenever the US military says this in Syria, they’re aiding terrorists:–analysis/intentional-mistakes-of-the-united-states-in-syria

Shaun Ramewe
Shaun Ramewe

Saudis are perverse cowards. Lying ZioYank/Western political-meddling pro-terrorist war-criminal governments and their fake mainstream politicorporate media can never be trusted – not ever.


Re: “Even articles like that, however, fail to note that these invasions are enormously profitable for insider-connected American corporations, such as Blackwater and Halliburton and Raytheon.”

To be fair to the current Halliburton, they got out of the “defense” business in 2007. All of their business is now energy services related.


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.



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.



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.





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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