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From Feudalism To The Future: How the “Red Prince’s” “Revolution” could modernize The Monarchy

The “Red Prince” Mohammed Bin Salman is trying to do the seemingly unthinkable — modernize Saudi Arabia through an anti-feudalist “revolution” — but he’s going to face a lot of resistance every step of the way, and his possible failure would inevitably doom the Kingdom to future destruction.

Andrew Korybko

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman flawlessly executed what can only be described as an anti-oligarchic Bolshevik “deep state” coup over the weekend in preemptively thwarting a pro-US royalist plot to unseat him in response to the socio-economic and religious reforms that he initiated as part of his ambitious Vision 2030 program, as well as his newfound game-changing Great Power partnerships with China and Russia.

Mohammed Bin Salman: The Unlikely Anti-Oligarchic Bolshevik?

He’s not just trying to preserve his own power in the ultimate Machiavellian “Game of Thrones” environment of Saudi royal politics, but to save Saudi Arabia from what would otherwise be its impending collapse with time if the old order of business is allowed to continue. The absurdly wealthy Kingdom has been bleeding billions of dollars due to the disastrous (and very expensive) War on Yemen that he unwisely commenced roughly two and a half years ago, and falling oil prices during that time have made it impossible for the country to recoup its massive expenses from this ongoing campaign.

Not only that, but Saudi Arabia ridiculously boasts over a million public sector employees and an uncomfortably high 12,5% unemployment rate in a country where 70% of the population is under the age of 30. In addition, the Kingdom’s macroeconomic riches are largely concentrated in the hands of the royal family, whereas the rest of the country mostly trudges onward in a state of semi-feudalism where wealth has never truly “trickled down” to them.

To make matters even worse, the Wahhabi extremists that Saudi Arabia has always exported from its own population and simultaneously cultivated abroad are already boomeranging back into the Kingdom with the imminent defeat of Daesh in the Mideast. On top of that, historic state suppression of the sizeable Shiite minority in the oil-rich Eastern Province and the relatively liberal cravings of the majority youthful population are setting Saudi Arabia up for future sectarian and generational clashes.

Riyadh arrogantly believed that it could throw money at all of its problems and continue to buy time in indefinitely staving off this impending domestic disaster, but this irresponsible policy was never sustainable in the first place, and the situation is clearly approaching the brink of a serious crisis in the coming years given how state expenses are dangerously running way above the budget’s resource-dependent replenishment rate.

None of the royals really seemed to care, however, since in typical oligarchic and globalist fashion, they don’t have any loyalty to their homeland and figured they could just easily relocate somewhere else if everything started to fall apart. The only influential member of the monarchy that does care is Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, who cleverly muscled his way to the top of the Kingdom’s power structure in the span of just a few years by breaking all of the country’s previously sacred succession traditions.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that Mohammed Bin Salman is a “radical” in every sense of the word since he’s not only poised to undertake the Bolshevik-like takeover of approximately $800 billion in oligarchic assets to fund his Vision 2030 public works projects, but he’s also totally smashed the previous power hierarchy in the Kingdom and is slated to soon set his sights on its infamous Wahhabi clerics as well. The Crown Prince is, relatively speaking, carrying out a rapid across-the-board “revolution” in modernizing his feudalist Kingdom in order to save it, and the key to understanding it all is to appreciate the grand strategy behind Vision 2030.

For the pressing economic-structural reasons described above, Saudi Arabia urgently needs to transition from its oil-dependent economy to a real-sector one, and the $130 billion in investments that it secured from China over the past year during two separate deal-signing ceremonies in April and August will go a long way to jumpstarting this initiative, but it’s still far from enough. That’s why Mohammed Bin Salman moved to purge his country’s “deep state” before it could act against him first, since he knew from the inside-out just how badly Saudi Arabia needed a comprehensive “regime reboot” otherwise the best-intended and most visionary plans were inevitably bound to fail because of the Kingdom’s cesspool of corruption.

Having “cleaned house” and holding onto power with the help of the military and internal security services who support his patriotic mission to save Saudi Arabia from itself, the Crown Prince must now take out or sideline the Wahhabi clerics who had shared power with the monarchy due to a pre-unification arrangement between the Houses of Saud and Wahhab. There’s no way that this influential bastion of Takfiri power will let the modernizing young ruler reverse society’s gender segregations and bestow more liberties to women without making a stand to oppose what they and their older generation supporters may have come to believe is a future “infidel” King.

The clerics don’t just hate what Mohammed Bin Salman has already done, but they also deeply despise what he wants to do, and that’s increase the participation of women in the workforce and therefore diminish their traditional role in the family, something which is almost as “haram” as one can get in Saudi Arabia. The Crown Prince knows that Vision 2030 won’t succeed so long as most women are kept cloistered in the home and out of work, and however reluctant some Saudis might be to recognize this, the objective economic fact is that their country’s women will have to eventually “modernize” in the Western sense if the Kingdom is to survive the coming decade, let alone this century.

Mohammed Bin Salman won the first “deep state” battle when he detained the oligarchs and confiscated their wealth on an anti-corruption pretext, but the war isn’t over so long as the Wahhabi clerics remain in positions of power and influence, though truth be told, he’s already jailed quite a few of them over the past couple of months in order to instill fear in their hearts and set an unforgettable example. Still, this might not be enough, and if this “deep state” faction isn’t put under control and effectively neutralized, then they’ll eventually agitate against him sooner than later.

This task is admittedly much easier said than done, since the legacy of the past 80 years has left an indelibly extremist mark on the country’s psyche, and even if Mohammed Bin Salman “drains the Wahhabi swamp”, his security forces are going to forever remain on the defensive in guarding against “lone wolf” and “sleeper cell” attacks, whether homegrown or inspired/boomeranged from abroad. In any case, if by some auspicious chance he can score a Herculean victory in this “deep state” war while still retaining the loyalty of the military, the Crown Prince will then have to begin the painful process of implementing “shock therapy” to structurally modernize Saudi Arabia’s socio-economic situation.

It’s not known at this point how fast he would move on the social front, but this aspect of his country is inevitably bound to change alongside the economic one that he’ll probably most directly focus on at first. As was mentioned, the Crown Prince’s planned incorporation of women into the country’s workforce can’t take place without their liberation from restrictive Wahhabi standards first, hence why he’s already begun to implement piecemeal but relatively (for his country) radical reforms such as allowing women to drive and permitting gender mixing in sports stadiums.

The next step will be to incentivize them to get jobs, most likely in the service and administrative sectors, and it’s here where his majority-youthful and comparatively more “liberal” base can help him by standing behind his moves and opposing the older “conservative” generation’s resistance to this unprecedented reform. Women always end up in the workforce whenever a feudal society transitions to capitalism, but the strict socio-religious traditions that have been pervasive in Saudi Arabia for centuries suggest that a generational-culture clash of some degree is inevitable, which again underscores the necessity of the military’s loyalty to him personally but also more importantly to the patriotic understanding of how Vision 2030 is so necessary for preserving the Kingdom’s future survival.

All told, Saudi Arabia isn’t just in the midst of a power-grabbing (counter-)coup, but in the throes of a modernizing “revolution” that’s only just begun to play out under the stewardship of the Stalinist-like “Red Prince” Mohammed Bin Salman. Despite not being an actual communist, this young royal is no less “revolutionary” in that he’s robbed his country’s oligarchs of billions in order to fund his expensive socio-economic programs for transitioning his feudal country towards a capitalist model, with all of the profound socio-religious implications that this entails.

Just like all revolutions, however, this one is bound to come across resistance from the endangered elite, their foreign patrons, and the masses under their “conservative” ideological spell, but economic and demographic facts are on the “Red Prince’s” side, though he is admittedly making a somewhat risky bet that the latter are “liberal” enough to both support him and accept the all-encompassing lifestyle changes that his “revolution” will inevitably result in.

It’s too early to know whether Mohammed Bin Salman will succeed, let alone if he’ll even live another day after de-facto expropriating the mind-boggling sum of at least $800 billion from some of the world’s most powerful oligarchs, but it’s becoming clear that the “Red Prince” is carrying out his “revolution” not just for the sake of pure power, but to patriotically save Saudi Arabia from itself and ensure its continued existence in the future.

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

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US continues to try to corner Russia with silence on Nukes

Moscow continues to be patient in what appears to be an ever more lopsided, intentional stonewalling situation provoked by the Americans.

Seraphim Hanisch

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TASS reported on March 17th that despite Russian readiness to discuss the present problem of strategic weapons deployments and disarmament with its counterparts in the United States, the Americans have not offered Russia any proposals to conduct such talks.

The Kremlin has not yet received any particular proposals on the talks over issues of strategic stability and disarmament from Washington, Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS on Sunday when commenting on the statement made by US National Security Adviser John Bolton who did not rule out that such talks could be held with Russia and China.

“No intelligible proposals has been received [from the US] so far,” Peskov said.

Earlier Bolton said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis aired on Sunday that he considers it reasonable to include China in the negotiation on those issues with Russia as well.

“China is building up its nuclear capacity now. It’s one of the reasons why we’re looking at strengthening our national missile defense system here in the United States. And it’s one reason why, if we’re going to have another arms control negotiation, for example, with the Russians, it may make sense to include China in that discussion as well,” he said.

Mr. Bolton’s sense about this particular aspect of any arms discussions is correct, as China was not formerly a player in geopolitical affairs the way it is now. The now all-but-scrapped Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, or INF, was a treaty concluded by the US and the USSR leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, back in 1987. However, for in succeeding decades, most notably since the fall of the Soviet Union, the US has been gradually building up weaponry in what appears to be an attempt to create a ring around the Russian Federation, a situation which is understandably increasingly untenable to the Russian government.

Both sides have accused one another of violating this treaty, and the mutual violations and recriminations on top of a host of other (largely fabricated) allegations against the Russian government’s activities led US President Donald Trump to announce his nation’s withdrawal from the treaty, formally suspending it on 1 February. Russian President Vladimir Putin followed suit by suspending it the very next day.

The INF eliminated all of both nations’ land based ballistic and cruise missiles that had a range between 500 and 1000 kilometers (310-620 miles) and also those that had ranges between 1000 and 5500 km (620-3420 miles) and their launchers.

This meant that basically all the missiles on both sides were withdrawn from Europe’s eastern regions – in fact, much, if not most, of Europe was missile-free as the result of this treaty. That is no longer the case today, and both nations’ accusations have provoked re-development of much more advanced systems than ever before, especially true considering the Russian progress into hypersonic and nuclear powered weapons that offer unlimited range.

This situation generates great concern in Europe, such that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called on both Moscow and Washington to salvage the INF and extend the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms, or the New START as it is known.

“I call on the parties to the INF Treaty to use the time remaining to engage in sincere dialogue on the various issues that have been raised. It is very important that this treaty is preserved,” Guterres said at a session of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on Monday.

He stressed that the demise of that accord would make the world more insecure and unstable, which “will be keenly felt in Europe.” “We simply cannot afford to return to the unrestrained nuclear competition of the darkest days of the Cold War,” he said.

Guterres also urged the US and Russia to extend the START Treaty, which expires in 2021, and explore the possibility of further reducing their nuclear arsenals. “I also call on the United States and the Russian Federation to extend the so-called New START Treaty before it expires in 2021,” he said.

The UN chief recalled that the treaty “is the only international legal instrument limiting the size of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals” and that its inspection provisions “represent important confidence-building measures that benefit the entire world.”

Guterres recalled that the bilateral arms control process between Russia and the US “has been one of the hallmarks of international security for fifty years.”

“Thanks to their efforts, global stockpiles of nuclear weapons are now less than one-sixth of what they were in 1985,” the UN secretary-general pointed out.

The Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (the New START Treaty) entered into force on February 5, 2011. The document stipulates that seven years after its entry into effect each party should have no more than a total of 700 deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM), submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and strategic bombers, as well as no more than 1,550 warheads on deployed ICBMs, deployed SLBMs and strategic bombers, and a total of 800 deployed and non-deployed ICBM launchers, SLBM launchers and strategic bombers. The new START Treaty obliges the parties to exchange information on the number of warheads and carriers twice a year.

The new START Treaty will remain in force during 10 years until 2021, unless superseded by a subsequent agreement. It may be extended for a period of no more than five years (that is, until 2026) upon the parties’ mutual consent. Moscow has repeatedly called on Washington not to delay the issue of extending the Treaty.

 

 

 

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Trump witch hunt dots connected: CNN to Steele to John McCain (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 110.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss documents released which show that Christopher Steele admitted to using posts by ‘random individuals’ on the CNN community website ‘iReport’ in order to back up his fabricated Trump dossier.

President Trump took note of Steele’s use of CNN citizen journalist posts, in a twitter tirade that blasted the British ex-spy for running with unverified community generated content from a now now-defunct ‘iReports’ website as part of his research.

Trump the proceeded to rip into late neocon Arizona Senator John McCain, tweeting that it was “just proven in court papers” that “last in his class” McCain sent the Steele’s dossier to media outlets in the hopes that they would print it prior to the 2016 US election.

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Via The Daily Caller

A federal court unsealed 43 pages Thursday of a deposition that former British spy Christopher Steele gave as part of a lawsuit over his infamous anti-Trump dossier.

To the disappointment of many observers, the full deposition was not unsealed in Thursday’s motion. Instead, portions of Steele’s interview, which he gave in London on July 13, 2018, were unsealed in separate court filings submitted in the lawsuit.

Steele’s full deposition totaled 145 pages. The portions published Thursday focus mainly on questions about the dossier’s claims about Aleksej Gubarev, a tech executive who Steele alleges took part in the hacking of Democrats’ computer systems.

Gubarev has vehemently denied the claim and sued Steele and BuzzFeed News, which published the dossier on Jan. 10, 2017.

U.S. District Court Judge Ursula Ungaro, who handled the lawsuit, ordered a slew of previously sealed documents to be made public Thursday. Ungaro dismissed the lawsuit on Dec. 19 but did not weigh in on whether the dossier’s claims about Gubarev were accurate.

It is unclear whether Steele’s entire deposition will be released. A source familiar with Steele’s interview tempered expectations of any bombshells in the document, saying that Steele avoided going into detail about his efforts to create the dossier and his sources.

A deposition given by former State Department official David Kramer was perhaps the most enlightening document contained in the dump.

Kramer, a longtime associate of late Arizona Sen. John McCain, was BuzzFeed’s source for the dossier. Kramer shared the dossier with at least 11 other reporters, including CNN’s Carl Bernstein. (RELATED: John McCain Associate Gave Dossier To A Dozen Reporters)

Kramer obtained the dossier in late November 2016 after visiting Steele in London. Steele acknowledged that Kramer and McCain were picked as conduits to pass the dossier to then-FBI Director James Comey. McCain met with Comey on Dec. 9, 2016 and provided all of the dossier’s memos that had been written up to that point.

“I think they felt a senior Republican was better to be the recipient of this rather than a Democrat because if it were a Democrat, I think that the view was that it would have been dismissed as a political attack,” Kramer said in the deposition when asked why Steele and his business partners at Fusion GPS wanted McCain to meet with Comey.

Via Washington Examiner

Former British spy Christopher Steele admitted that he relied on an unverified report on a CNN website for part of the “Trump dossier,” which was used as a basis for the FBI’s investigation into Trump.

According to deposition transcripts released this week, Steele said last year he used a 2009 report he found on CNN’s iReport website and said he wasn’t aware that submissions to that site are posted by members of the public and are not checked for accuracy.

web archive from July 29, 2009 shows that CNN described the site in this manner: “iReport.com is a user-generated site. That means the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked, or screened before they post.”

In the dossier, Steele, a Cambridge-educated former MI6 officer, wrote about extensive allegations against Donald Trump, associates of his campaign, various Russians and other foreign nationals, and a variety of companies — including one called Webzilla. Those allegations would become part of an FBI investigation and would be used to apply for warrants under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

During his deposition, Steele was pressed on the methods he used to verify allegations made about Webzilla, which was thought to be used by Russia to hack into Democratic emails.

When asked if he discovered “anything of relevance concerning Webzilla” during the verification process, Steele replied: “We did. It was an article I have got here which was posted on July 28, 2009, on something called CNN iReport.”

“I do not have any particular knowledge of that,” Steele said when asked what was his understanding of how the iReport website worked.

When asked if he understood that content on the site was not generated by CNN reporters, he said, “I do not.” He was then asked: “Do you understand that they have no connection to any CNN reporters?” Steele replied, “I do not.”

He was pressed on this further: “Do you understand that CNN iReports are or were nothing more than any random individuals’ assertions on the Internet?” Steele replied: “No, I obviously presume that if it is on a CNN site that it may has some kind of CNN status. Albeit that it may be an independent person posting on the site.”

When asked about his methodology for searching for this information, Steele described it as “what we could call an open source search,” which he defined as “where you go into the Internet and you access material that is available on the Internet that is of relevance or reference to the issue at hand or the person under consideration.”

Steele said his dossier contained “raw intelligence” that he admitted could contain untrue or even “deliberately false information.”

Steele was hired by the opposition research firm Fusion GPS to investigate then-candidate Donald Trump in 2016. Fusion GPS was receiving funding at the time from the Clinton campaign and the DNC through the Perkins Coie law firm.

The series of memos that Steele would eventually compile became known as the “Trump Dossier.” The dossier was used in FISA applications to surveil Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

When asked whether he warned Fusion GPS that the information in the dossier might be “Russian disinformation,” Steele admitted that “a general understanding existed between us and Fusion … that all material contained this risk.”

Steele also described his interactions with Sen. John McCain’s aide, David Kramer, whose own deposition showed that he provided BuzzFeed with a copy of the dossier and had spoken with more than a dozen journalists about it.

“I provided copies of the December memo to Fusion GPS for onward passage to David Kramer at the request of Sen. John McCain,” Steele said. “Sen. McCain nominated him as the intermediary. I did not choose him as the intermediary.”

When asked if he told Kramer that he couldn’t “vouch for everything that was produced in the memos,” Steele replied, “Yes, with an emphasis on ‘everything.'”

When asked why he believed it was so important to provide the dossier to Sen. McCain, Steele said: “Because I judged it had national security implications for the United States and the West as a whole.”

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Trudeau’s Top Bureaucrat Unexpectedly Quits Amid Growing Corruption Scandal

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

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Via Zerohedge


Since it was exposed by a report in Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper earlier this month, the scandal that’s become known as the SNC-Lavalin affair has already led to the firing of several of Trudeau’s close advisors and raised serious questions about whether the prime minister was complicit in pressuring the attorney general to offer a deferred prosecution agreement with a large, Quebec-based engineering firm.

And according to the first round of polls released since the affair exploded into public view…

…it could cost Trudeau his position as prime minister and return control to the conservatives, according to the CBC.

Campaign Research showed the Conservatives ahead with 37% to 32% for the Liberals, while both Ipsos and Léger put the margin at 36% to 34% in the Conservatives’ favour.Since December, when both polling firms were last in the field, the Liberals have lost one point in Campaign Research’s polling and four percentage points in the Ipsos poll, while the party is down five points since November in the Léger poll.

Meanwhile, as the noose tightens around Trudeau, on Monday another of the key Canadian government officials at the center of the SNC-Lavalin scandal has quit his post.

Michael Wernick, clerk of the privy council, the highest-ranking position in Canada’s civil service and a key aide to Justin Trudeau, announced his retirement Monday. Trudeau named Ian Shugart, currently deputy minister of foreign affairs, to replace him.

In a scathing letter to Trudeau, Wernick said that “recent events” led him to conclude he couldn’t hold his post during the election campaign this fall.

“It is now apparent that there is no path for me to have a relationship of mutual trust and respect with the leaders of the opposition parties,” he said, citing the need for impartiality on the issue of potential foreign interference. According to Bloomberg, the exact date of his departure is unclear.

As we reported in February, Canada’s former justice minister and attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, quit following allegations that several key Trudeau government figures pressured her to intervene to end a criminal prosecution against Montreal-based construction giant SNC. Wernick was among those she named in saying the prime minister’s office wanted her to pursue a negotiated settlement.

Wernick has since twice spoken to a committee of lawmakers investigating the case, and during that testimony both defended his actions on the SNC file and warned about the risk of foreign election interference, as “blame Putin” has become traditional Plan B plan for most politicians seeing their careers go up in flames.

“I’m deeply concerned about my country right now, its politics and where it’s headed. I worry about foreign interference in the upcoming election,” he said in his first appearance before the House of Commons justice committee, before repeating the warning a second time this month. “If that was seen as alarmist, so be it. I was pulling the alarm. We need a public debate about foreign interference.”

Because somehow foreign interference has something to do with Wenick’s alleged corruption.

Incidentally, as we wonder what the real reason is behind Wernick’s swift departure, we are confident we will know soon enough.

Anyway, back to the now former clerk, who is meant to be non-partisan in service of the government of the day, also criticized comments by a Conservative senator and praised one of Trudeau’s cabinet ministers.

Wernick’s testimony was criticized as overly cozy with the ruling Liberals. Murray Rankin, a New Democratic Party lawmaker, asked the clerk how lawmakers could “do anything but conclude that you have in fact crossed the line into partisan activity?” Green Party Leader Elizabeth May said he seemed “willing to interfere in partisan fashion for whoever is in power.”

Whatever Wernick’s true motives, he is the latest but not last in what will be a long line of cabinet departures as the SNC scandal exposes even more corruption in Trudeau’s cabinet (some have ironically pointed out that Canada’s “beloved” prime minister could be gone for actual corruption long before Trump). Trudeau had already lost a top political aide, Gerald Butts, to the scandal. A second minister, Jane Philpott, followed Wilson-Raybould in quitting cabinet.

Separately, on Monday, Trudeau appointed a former deputy prime minister in a Liberal government, Anne McLellan, as a special adviser to investigate some of the legal questions raised by the controversy. They include how governments should interact with the attorney general and whether that role should continue to be held by the justice minister.

As Bloomberg notes, the increasingly shaky Liberal government hasn’t ruled out helping SNC by ordering a deferred prosecution agreement in the corruption and bribery case, which centers around the company’s work in Moammar Qaddafi’s Libya. Doing so would allow the company to pay a fine and avoid any ban on receiving government contracts. That decision is up to the current attorney general, David Lametti; of course, such an action would only raise tensions amid speculation that the government is pushing for a specific political, and favorable for Trudeau, outcome.

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