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France’s Meltdown, Macron’s Disdain

The “yellow jackets” [protestors] now have the support of 77% of the French population. They are demanding Macron’s resignation and an immediate change of government.

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Authored by Guy Milliere via The Gatestone Institute:


On November 11th, French President Emmanuel Macron commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I by inviting seventy heads of state to organize a costly, useless, grandiloquent “Forum of Peace” that did not lead to anything. He also invited US President Donald Trump, and then chose to insult him. In a pompous speech, Macron — knowing that a few days earlier, Donald Trump had defined himself as a nationalist committed to defending America — invoked “patriotism”; then defined it, strangely, as “the exact opposite of nationalism”; then called it “treason”.

In addition, shortly before the meeting, Macron had not only spoken of the “urgency” of building a European army; he also placed the United States among the “enemies” of Europe. This was not the first time Macron placed Europe above the interests of his own country. It was, however, the first time he had placed the United States on the list of enemies of Europe.

President Trump apparently understood immediately that Macron’s attitude was a way to maintain his delusions of grandeur,as well as to try to derive a domestic political advantage. Trump also apparently understood that he could not just sit there and accept insults. In a series of tweets, Trump reminded the world that France had needed the help of the USA to regain freedom during World Wars, that NATO was still protecting a virtually defenseless Europe and that many European countries were still not paying the amount promised for their own defense. Trump added that Macron had an extremely low approval rating (26%), was facing an extremely high level of unemployment, and was probably trying to divert attention from that.

Trump was right. For months, the popularity of Macron has been in free fall: he is now the most unpopular French President in modern history at this stage of his mandate. The French population has turned away from him in droves.

Unemployment in France is not only at an alarmingly high level (9.1%); it has been been alarmingly high for years. The number of people in poverty is also high (8.8 million people, 14.2% of the population). Economic growth is effectively non-existent (0.4% in the third quarter of 2018, up from 0.2% the previous three months). The median income (20,520 euros, or $23,000, a year,) is unsustainably low. It indicates that half the French live on less than 1710 euros ($1946) a month. Five million people are surviving on less than 855 euros ($ 973) a month.

When Macron was elected in May 2017, he promised to liberate the economy; however no significant measures, were taken. In spite of some cosmetic reforms– such as limits on allowances for unfair dismissal or the slightly increased possibility that small businesses could negotiate short work contracts — the French labor code, still one of the most rigid in the developed world, expertly blocks job creation. The tax burden (more than 45% of GDP) is the highest in the developed world. Even if some taxes were abolished since Macron became President, many new taxes were created. Public expenditure still accounts for about 57% of GDP (16% above the OECD countries average) and shows no signs of waning.

Macron also promised, when he was elected, to restore security. Lack of security, however, has been exploding; the number of violent assaults and rapes has been steadily on the rise. No-go zones are as widespread as a year ago and fiercely out of control. The influx of unvetted illegal immigrants into the country has sadly turned entire neighborhoods into slums.

In May, Macron warned that in many suburbs, France has “lost the fight against drug trafficking“.

When Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb resigned in on October 3, he spokeof a “very degraded situation” and added that in many areas “the law of the strongest — drug-traffickers and radical Islamists — has taken the place of the Republic.” He was simply confirming the chilling assessments of “out of favor” commentators such as Éric Zemmour, author of Le Suicide Français, and Georges Bensoussan, author of Une France Soumise (A Submissive France).

Riots are frequent; they indicate the growing inability of the government to maintain order. Public transport strikes, which took placeduring the entire spring of 2018, were accompanied by demonstrations and an enthusiastic looting of banks and shops. France’s victory at the soccer World Cup in July was followed by jubilation, which quickly gave way to violence by groups who broke store windows and attacked the police.

Since entering political life, Macron’s remarks have not only revealed a contempt for the French population, but also have multiplied. That has not helped. As early as 2014, when Macron was Minister of the Economy, he said that the women employees of a bankrupt company were “illiterates“; in June 2017, just after becoming president, he distinguished between “those who succeed and those who are nothing”. More recently, he told a young man who spoke of his distress at trying to find a job, that he only had to move and “cross the street”. During a visit to Denmark, he announced that the French were “Gauls resistant to change”.

One of the few issues Macron did seem eager to work on was Islam. He stressed several times his determination to establish an “Islam of France“. What he failed to take into account werethe concerns ofthe rest of the population about the rapid Islamization the country. In June 20, 2017, he said (not quite accurately, for example hereherehereherehere and here), “No one can make believe that (Muslim) faith is not compatible with the Republic”. He also seems to have failed to take into account the risks of Islamic terrorism, which he hardly ever calls by its name. He seems to prefer using the word “terrorism“, without an adjective, and simply acknowledges that “there is a radical reading of Islam, whose principles do not respect religious slogans”).

The current Minister of the Interior, Christophe Castaner, whom Macron appointed to replace Collomb, dismissed the concerns raised by his predecessor, and described Islam as “a religion of happiness and love, like the Catholic religion”.

Another area in which Macron has acted relentlessly is the “fight about climate change”, in which his targeted enemy arecars. On vehicles over four years old, mandatory technical controls were made more costly and failure to comply with them more punitive, evidently in the hope that an increasing number of older cars could be eliminated. Speed ​​limits on most roads were lowered to 80 km/h (50 mph), speed control radars multipled, and tens of thousands of drivers’ licenses were suspended. Gas taxes rose sharply (30 cents a gallon in one year). A gallon of unleaded gas in France now costs more than $7.

The small minority of French people who still support Macron are not affected by these measures. Surveys show that they belong to the wealthy layers of society, that they live in affluent neighborhoods, and almost never use personal vehicles. The situation is painfully different for most other individuals, especially the forgotten middle class.

A recent decision to increase gas taxes was the final straw. It sparked instant anger. A petition demanding that the government roll back the tax increase received almost a million signatures in two days. On social networks, people discussed ​​organizing demonstrations throughout the country and suggested that the demonstrators wear the yellow safety jackets that drivers are obliged to store in their cars in case of roadside breakdowns. So, on November 17, hundreds of thousands of protesters blocked large parts of the country.

The government ignored the protesters’ demands. Instead, officials repeated the many unproven imperatives of “climate change” and the need to eliminate the use of “fossil fuels” – but refused to change course.

After that, another national protest day was selected. On November 24, the demonstrators organized a march on Paris. Many, it seems, decided, despite a government ban, to head for the Champs Elysées and continue toward the presidential Elysée Palace.

Clashes took place, barricades were erected and vehicles were torched. The police responded harshly. They attacked non-violent protesters and used thousands of tear gas grenades and water cannons, which they had never done in the past. Although many of the protestors were holding red flags, indicating they were from the political left, the newly appointed Minister of the Interior Castaner saidthat the violence had come from a fractious and seditious “far right”. One member of the government fueled the fire by equating the French “yellow vests” with the German “brown shirts” of the 1930s. Macron declared that those who try to “intimidate officials” should be “ashamed“.

Finally, on November 25, Macron ended up recognizing, with visible reluctance, the suffering of the “working classes”. Two days later, Macron delivered a solemn speech, announcing that he would create a “high council for the climate”, composed of ecologists and professional politicians, and that his aim was to savethe planet and avoid “the end of the world”. He still did not utter a single word about the economic grievances that had poured forth during the previous ten days.

The spokesman for the center-right party, The Republicans, Laurence Saillet, remarked, “The French say, ‘Mr. President, we cannot make ends meet,’ and the President replies, ‘we shall create a High Council [for the climate]’ Can you imagine the disconnect?”.

Marine Le Pen, president of the right-of-center National Rally (the former National Front party, and today the main opposition party in France), said, “There is a tiny caste that works for itself and there is the vast majority of French people who are abandoned by the government, and feel downgraded, dispossessed “.

The “yellow jackets” now have the support of 84% of the French population. They are demanding Macron’s resignation and an immediate change of government. Those who speak on radio and television say that Macron and the government are hopelessly blind and deaf.

At the moment, the “yellow jackets” have decided to organize a third national protest – today, Saturday, December 1st — with another march to Paris and the Elysée Palace. The revolt in the country is intensifying and shows no sign of slowing down.

The political scientist Jean-Yves Camus said that the “yellow jackets” movement is now a revolt of millions of people who feel asphyxiated by “confiscatory” taxation and who do not want to “pay indefinitely” for a government that seems “unable to limit spending”. He added, ” Some do not measure the extent of the rejection that the demonstrators express”.

Dominique Reynié, professor at the Paris Institute of Political Studies, said that “Macron and the government had not expected that their tax policy would lead to this”.

European elections are to be held this May, 2019. Polls show that Le Pen’s National Rally party will be in the lead, far ahead of the party created by Macron, La République En Marche! [The Republic on the Move!].

In a little more than a year, Macron, elected in May 2017, has lost almost all credit and legitimacy. He is also one of the last European leaders in power who supportsthe European Union as it is.

Macron, who claimed that he would defeat the “populist” wave rising throughout the continent, has also claimed that leaders who listened to people eager to defend their way of life were “leprosy” and “bad winds“.

The “populist” wave is now hitting France; it could well mean the end of Macron’s term as president.

Dr. Guy Millière, a professor at the University of Paris, is the author of 27 books on France and Europe.

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Flying GabrielDavid BowlasFrangloBoxonManintheMoonBig Mike Recent comment authors
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Olivia Kroth, author and journalist
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Macron, a US puppet, should step down and make place for the Front National leader, Marine Le Pen. She wants to lead France out of the EU (Frexit) and out of Nato. It is high time that the French take their destiny in their own hands. After the presidency of General Charles de Gaulle, France deteriorated enormously.

ManintheMoon
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ManintheMoon

If only! However, De Gaulle was brought down by street protests (although lot less spontaneous that we’re given to believe), so there’s hope that at least Macron will be forced to go. However, it will take a political earthquake to bring Madame le Pen to power.

AM Hants
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AM Hants

In the UK, we only protest if Sor os picks up the bill.

Good luck France, nice one. Look how things worked out in the 18th century, when you got the guillotines out. Made the elite take notice.

Macron – Rothschilds little puppet and the grandmother he married, will nice to see them leave office.

Cudwieser
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Cudwieser

Off topic but how do you become a member Hants?

On To[pic. England protests if Soros picks up the bill. England protests if anyone else picks up the bill. You’re just that polite. Northern Ireland though makes a festival of public protest every 12th and 13th of July 😉

As for Macron France has an ego bigger than yours. Be aware and walk away.

Big Mike
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Big Mike

Macron is a delusional trou de cul who lives in a bubble of wealthy globalists and ideological elitists, with no contact with ordinary people, their needs and their real concerns. He deserves a new old woman in his life, Madame Guillotine.

FrangloBoxon
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FrangloBoxon

Good riddance to Macron. — Marine, (daughter of the war criminal, Jean-Marie, aka “la borgne”), as Pres. will definitely entail further strife in the country; if only by the association that party maintains with the nostalgics of the Wehrmacht of WW2, further insurrection will be guaranteed. IMO, the Republican and ‘Socialist’ parties have exhausted their influential clout, due to compromise with the corporatist entities, most visibly since Sarkozy’s stint as Pres.— I hope that the traditional co-operative ability of the French people is still sufficiently intact to be able to navigate a bloodless route, but I’m not holding my breath.

David Bowlas
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David Bowlas

That slimy snail thought he was a real smooth guy. But now we all know he is an empty suit. The French will know how to let the greasy politicians know when they are annoyed.

Flying Gabriel
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Flying Gabriel

Off with his head!

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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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