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Modi in Washington: Why India Will Not Become a US Ally

India’s recent moves do not mean it is breaking with the BRICS or joining a US alliance against China. It is simply a case of India pursuing its traditional policy of positioning itself between the Great Powers to achieve greatest advantage for itself.

Alexander Mercouris

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Indian Prime Minister Modi’s just completed visit to Washington has reinforced fears that India is evolving into a full-fledged ally of the US.

The grounds for thinking this were ably discussed by my colleague Andrew Korybko in two fine pieces he has written for The Duran.  For those interested in the details of the moves the US and India have been making towards each other, there is no better place to start than those two articles (here and here).

Is India however really abandoning its traditional policy of non-alignment to forge an alliance with Washington that would in effect bury the BRICS arrangement?

I have no doubt that that is what Washington itself believes.  I am sure that in the aftermath of Prime Minister Modi’s visit, Washington’s huge foreign policy establishment is busy congratulating itself on its success in detaching India from Russia and China.  The champagne corks in Langley and Foggy Bottom are no doubt flying as I write this, and I have no doubt that Andrew Korybko has reproduced with absolute accuracy the way the whole India play is looked upon by people inside the Beltway.

However I suspect that from New Delhi things look rather different.  I am quite sure that both the hopes and fears of an Indian alliance with the US are exaggerated.

Before discussing my reasons for saying this, it is necessary to provide some background.

Much of the concern that has been expressed about Prime Minister Modi’s dalliance with Washington derives from a misunderstanding of his background. There was a widespread view before Modi became Prime Minister of India that because the US had previously denied him a visa to travel to the US that somehow meant he was opposed to the US, and this has led to surprise when it turned out that he was not hostile to the US at all, with more than a hint in some quarters of a feeling of betrayal.

In reality the US refusal of a visa simply reflects ignorance of Indian politics and the US propensity to strike poses, in this case in connection to sectarian riots in Gujarat in 2002 for which Modi as the state’s chief minister was deemed by the US to be responsible.  The episode of the visa says nothing about Modi’s actual opinions of the US and is irrelevant to his actions as India’s Prime Minister.  Those are rooted in his own political needs and background and in India’s national interests.

Briefly and very crudely, Indian politics since independence have broadly followed one of two traditions: the secular leftist “social democracy” associated with Congress or the more conservative, more right wing and more free market oriented course associated with what is sometimes called the Hindutva nationalist movement.  Very broadly, during the Cold War Indian politicians associated with Congress tended to tilt towards Moscow, whilst more Hindutva oriented politicians tended to be more sympathetic to Washington.

Modi comes from the Hindutva nationalist tradition.  He came to power as leader of the right wing Hindutva oriented BJP after defeating Congress in 2014 in parliamentary elections, and he has positioned himself as a follower of the previous BJP Prime Minister hailing from the Hindutva tradition – Atal Bihari Vajpayee – whose name Modi repeatedly invoked in the speech he made to the US Congress during his US visit.

Modi’s Hindutva background would itself suffice to explain his preference for closer dealings with Washington.  There are however practical reasons that might impel him in that direction anyway – as they did his Congress predecessor Manmohan Singh. 

The first is the forceful demands for a closer alignment with the US from the outspokenly pro-US business community centred on India’s port city of Mumbai (Bombay).  These people form a key component of Modi’s political constituency and he is simply not in a position to disregard them. 

The second is the wish to attract US investment to India in order to sustain India’s programme for rapid economic growth and economic modernisation.  This has been India’s overriding priority ever since the initial steps were taken by Manmohan Singh as Finance Minister in the Congress government of the 1990s to liberalise India’s economy.

Given these factors Modi has actually been restrained in his dealings with the US.  It is important to say anyway that these dealings follow an established tradition within India of seeking good relations with the US.

In the late 1970s the leader of what was then the Janata party (the lineal ancestor of today’s BJP) Prime Minister Morarji Desai, was widely suspected of having leaked intelligence information from within the Indian Cabinet to Washington during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971.  Whether that was true or not, there is evidence that Henry Kissinger at least considered Morarji Desai to be a US intelligence asset (for a full discussion of this controversial question see the chapter on the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 in Seymour Hersh’s The Price of Power) and he did in fact follow a more friendly policy towards the US – and Pakistan – than the Congress led governments of the period did.

As for Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi’s predecessor as BJP leader and Indian prime minister, it was during his period as Prime Minister that the first steps in forming the present US-Indian relationship were taken with the visit in 2000 of US President Clinton – the first visit to India by a US President in 22 years.

The key event in forging the present close relations between the US and India however happened not under Vajpayee – or indeed now under Modi.  It happened during the last period of Congress government, when the US administration of George W. Bush made a sustained and ultimately successful attempt between 2005 and 2008 to forge good relations with India

The key achievement of this period – and the keystone of the whole US-Indian relationship – pointedly referred to as such by Modi in the speech he made to the US Congress during his visit – was the 2008 India-United States Civil Nuclear Agreement, which essentially amounted to recognition by the US of India’s status as a fully-fledged nuclear Great Power.

Suffice to say that the Indian Prime Minister at the time of the India-United States Civil Nuclear Agreement was none other than Manmohan Singh, someone often spoken of as a BRICS loyalist, who represented India at the founding summit of the BRICS group in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in 2009.

It is entirely natural that Modi, like Manmohan Singh before him, would want to build on the relationship with the US forged during the premierships of Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh.  Doing so after all arguably serves both his own political needs and India’s national interests.  India has no interest in making an enemy of the US and it is entirely natural that it would want to extract the most advantages from the US by maintaining a good relationship with it.

What however of the greater strategic play – does wanting good relations with the US mean India has to align itself with Washington against Beijing and Moscow? 

Before discussing this question it is necessary to say something about the history of India’s relationships with Beijing and Moscow.

India’s relations with China since independence has been complex and difficult.  India’s relations with Russia since independence by contrast have been straightforward and easy.

China and India had very close relations in the 1950s – much closer than today – when it appeared that the two countries’ prime ministers, Zhou Enlai and Jawaharlal Nehru, had forged a close friendship.  Relations however fell apart in the early 1960s over Tibet and disputes over their common border, with a brief but savage war fought between the two countries in 1962 in which Russia sided with India but in which India was comprehensively defeated by China, leaving China occupying much of what had previously been Indian controlled territory. 

Relations between India and China then remained very tense until Mao Zedong’s death in 1976 since when they have warned considerably.  During the previous period of tense relations China however forged an alliance with India’s perennial enemy Pakistan, which continues to this day and which adds another layer of conflict to the Indian-Chinese relationship.

With Russia by contrast the relationship has been straightforward and good.  India and Russia have been close friends since India achieved independence from Britain (the Indian ambassador Krishna Menon was the last foreign visitor received by Stalin before his death in 1953). 

In the late 1960s, as Moscow’s own relations with China deteriorated, Russia and India became for a time de facto allies against China and its ally Pakistan, with Russia providing India with critical military assistance which enabled India to win victory in the 1971 Indo-Pakistani war. 

Since the USSR’s collapse relations between Russia and India have as a result of Russia’s diminished reach and power inevitably become more distant, but they have remained warm.

Given the complex and difficult history of India’s relations with China, and given the huge increase in Chinese power which has taken place since the 1970s, and given the reduction in power of India’s former partner Russia over the same period, and given the fact that Russia has itself drawn closer to China and is now in de facto alliance with it, it is completely understandable that India would want to insure its position against China by strengthening its ties with Washington.  India would surely be doing this even if there were not also compelling economic reasons to do so (see above).

However looked at objectively what is striking is the restraint India has shown in pursuing this objective.  Whilst India has certainly followed the logic of improving its relations with Washington, it has been careful to retain its traditionally good relations with Moscow, and under both Manmohan Singh and Modi it has kept its lines of communication to China open, working successfully alongside China and Russia as a member of the BRICS.

The reason India has pursued this balanced course is actually made clear in Andrew Korybko’s two pieces.  India’s aspirations to be accepted as a Great Power are ultimately incompatible with subordination to Washington – a relationship of subordination to the US being the only type of relationship Washington today seems able to forge with other powers.

Beyond this, India has no more interest in making an enemy of China than it has in making an enemy of the US.  China is far more powerful than India.  India cannot defeat China militarily and recent experience will have taught India that any US commitments to “defend” India from China are to all intents and purposes worthless.  China is also India’s biggest trading partner and – like the US – is a key potential investor in the Indian economy.

From India’s point of view maintaining at least a working relationship with China is therefore overwhelmingly in India’s interests even if for historically fully understandable reasons the relationship with China cannot be conflict free or entirely warm.

All this points to the sort of policy Modi is currently following – and which was followed previously by his two predecessors – Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh: good relations with both Washington and Moscow combined with a certain wariness towards China but with a continued willingness to work with China in India’s national interest through the BRICS group and the various other Chinese led institutions that are now being formed.

Seen in this context it is now possible to read Modi’s speech to the US Congress in the proper way. 

The speech contained all the usual cliches and bromides Americans love: invocations of “freedom”, platitudes about American democracy, flattering reminders of how India is also a democracy, paeans of praise for American enterprise, breathless references to Abraham Lincoln, Norman Borlaug, Thoreau, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Walt Whitman (as it happens an interesting selection, and one that might beg some questions) and heroic talk of the joint struggle against Islamist terrorism.

It also made no definite promise or commitment to the US whatsoever.  The whole tenor of the speech was a call for US support for India with nothing of substance offered in return.  Importantly, nowhere in the speech is there a single reference to the Logistics Support Agreement discussed at length in his two pieces by Andrew Korybko. 

Whilst the Logistics Support Agreement does have the potential to evolve into the sort of all-encompassing military relationship Andrew Korybko writes about – and that is no doubt how the US envisages it – it is important to say that that can only happen if India approaches it in that way. 

As things stand that is most unlikely.  From the Indian point of view the Logistics Support Agreement should be seen for what it is: an insurance policy India has taken out with the US against China, which India can draw upon if its relations with China ever turn sticky, but which India ultimately only took out because it was pressed do so by the US, who offered it to India for free.

Modi’s visit to the US Congress and his speech there is in fact a regular ritual Indian prime ministers now regularly perform when they visit the US.  Similar speeches have been delivered to the US Congress by previous Indian prime ministers: Rajiv Gandhi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Manmohan Singh. 

From Modi’s point of view his speech must be counted a success.  Though Modi actually offered nothing the assembled Congressmen – thrilled by Modi’s earnest flattery – lapped his speech up.  The result is that Modi left Washington with Congressional approval for trade concessions and for more arms sales.

Having got what he wanted in Washington, Modi’s next move says everything one needs to know about the true nature of Indian policy.  On returning to New Delhi where – hopefully – US listening devices could no longer hear him, practically the first thing Modi did was to telephone his BRICS partner – President Putin of Russia – presumably over a secure line.

The Kremlin’s brief account of the call suggests a Putin – Modi summit is in the works.  It pointedly also refers to relations between India and Russia as a “privileged strategic partnership” – balancing similar words used in Washington by Modi to describe India’s relationship with the US.

Whilst we cannot know exactly what Modi and Putin said to each other, it is overwhelmingly likely Modi would have given Putin a detailed account of his visit to the US and that that was the purpose of his call.  It is also overwhelmingly likely that a full account of Modi’s conversation with Putin – perhaps even a transcript – will have been sent by the Kremlin to Beijing, and that Modi made the call knowing – and intending – that that would happen.

In summary, India’s moves towards Washington are not the actions of a country that is repositioning itself as an ally of the US pitched against its former partners Russia and China.  Nor are they an attempt by India to play one side off against the other.  Rather they should be seen as what they surely are: the careful manoeuvring of an emerging Great Power as it seeks the maximum advantage for itself in an increasingly fluid international system. 

The Russians and Chinese undoubtedly understand all this especially since – as Modi’s telephone call to Putin shows – the Indians are being careful to keep them informed about what they are doing.

As for the US, obsessed as it has become with its complex games of geopolitical chess, it by contrast almost certainly does not understand what the Indians are up to even though – if the US had a more conventional approach to foreign policy – understanding it would be easy enough. 

That this is so is shown by what happened the last time the US sought to play an emerging Asian Great Power off against one of its rivals.  That was in the 1980s when the US sought to play the “China card” against Moscow – oblivious to the fact that whilst it was doing so the Russians and the Chinese were quietly settling their differences with each other.  In the process the US made a string of unilateral concessions to “win over” China – just as they are doing with India now – including the fatal one of opening up US markets to Chinese goods.  The rest as they say is history.

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Foreign Banks Are Embracing Russia’s Alternative To SWIFT, Moscow Says

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative.

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Via Zerohedge


On Friday, one day after Russia and China pledged to reduce their reliance on the dollar by increasing the amount of bilateral trade conducted in rubles and yuan (a goal toward which much progress has already been made over the past three years), Russia’s Central Bank provided the latest update on Moscow’s alternative to US-dominated international payments network SWIFT.

Moscow started working on the project back in 2014, when international sanctions over Russia’s annexation of Crimea inspired fears that the country’s largest banks would soon be cut off from SWIFT which, though it’s based in Belgium and claims to be politically neutral, is effectively controlled by the US Treasury.

Today, the Russian alternative, known as the System for Transfer of Financial Messages, has attracted a modest amount of support within the Russian business community, with 416 Russian companies having joined as of September, including the Russian Federal Treasury and large state corporations likeGazprom Neft and Rosneft.

And now, eight months after a senior Russian official advised that “our banks are ready to turn off SWIFT,” it appears the system has reached another milestone in its development: It’s ready to take on international partners in the quest to de-dollarize and end the US’s leverage over the international financial system. A Russian official advised that non-residents will begin joining the system “this year,” according to RT.

“Non-residents will start connecting to us this year. People are already turning to us,”said First Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia Olga Skorobogatova. Earlier, the official said that by using the alternative payment system foreign firms would be able to do business with sanctioned Russian companies.

Turkey, China, India and others are among the countries that might be interested in a SWIFT alternative, as Russian President Vladimir Putin pointed out in a speech earlier this month, the US’s willingness to blithely sanction countries from Iran to Venezuela and beyond will eventually rebound on the US economy by undermining the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

To be sure, the Russians aren’t the only ones building a SWIFT alternative to help avoid US sanctions. Russia and China, along with the European Union are launching an interbank payments network known as the Special Purpose Vehicle to help companies pursue “legitimate business with Iran” in defiance of US sanctions.

Given its status as a major energy exporter, Russia has leverage that could help attract partners to its new SWIFT alternative. For one, much of Europe is dependent on Russian natural gas and oil.

And as Russian trade with other US rivals increases, Moscow’s payments network will look increasingly attractive,particularly if buyers of Russian crude have no other alternatives to pay for their goods.

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US leaving INF will put nuclear non-proliferation at risk & may lead to ‘complete chaos’

The US is pulling out of a nuclear missile pact with Russia. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty requires both countries to eliminate their short and medium-range atomic missiles.

The Duran

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Via RT


If the US ditches the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), it could collapse the entire nuclear non-proliferation system, and bring nuclear war even closer, Russian officials warn.

By ending the INF, Washington risks creating a domino effect which could endanger other landmark deals like the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) and collapse the existing non-proliferation mechanism as we know it, senior lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev said on Sunday.

The current iteration of the START treaty, which limits the deployment of all types of nuclear weapons, is due to expire in 2021. Kosachev, who chairs the Parliament’s Upper House Foreign Affairs Committee, warned that such an outcome pits mankind against “complete chaos in terms of nuclear weapons.”

“Now the US Western allies face a choice: either embarking on the same path, possibly leading to new war, or siding with common sense, at least for the sake of their self-preservation instinct.”

His remarks came after US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to “terminate” the INF, citing alleged violations of the deal by Russia.

Moscow has repeatedly denied undermining the treaty, pointing out that Trump has failed to produce any evidence of violations. Moreover, Russian officials insist that the deployment of US-made Mk 41 ground-based universal launching systems in Europe actually violates the agreement since the launchers are capable of firing mid-range cruise missiles.

Leonid Slutsky, who leads the Foreign Affairs Committee in parliament’s lower chamber, argued that Trump’s words are akin to placing “a huge mine under the whole disarmament process on the planet.”

The INF Treaty was signed in 1987 by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. The deal effectively bans the parties from having and developing short- and mid-range missiles of all types. According to the provisions, the US was obliged to destroy Pershing I and II launcher systems and BGM-109G Gryphon ground-launched cruise missiles. Moscow, meanwhile, pledged to remove the SS-20 and several other types of missiles from its nuclear arsenal.

Pershing missiles stationed in the US Army arsenal. © Hulton Archive / Getty Images ©

By scrapping the historic accord, Washington is trying to fulfill its “dream of a unipolar world,” a source within the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

“This decision fits into the US policy of ditching the international agreements which impose equal obligations on it and its partners, and render the ‘exceptionalism’ concept vulnerable.”

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov denounced Trump’s threats as “blackmail” and said that Washington wants to dismantle the INF because it views the deal as a “problem” on its course for “total domination” in the military sphere.

The issue of nuclear arms treaties is too vital for national and global security to rush into hastily-made “emotional” decisions, the official explained. Russia is expecting to hear more on the US’ plans from Trump’s top security adviser, John Bolton, who is set to hold talks in Moscow tomorrow.

President Trump has been open about unilaterally pulling the US out of various international agreements if he deems them to be damaging to national interests. Earlier this year, Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program. All other signatories to the landmark agreement, including Russia, China, and the EU, decided to stick to the deal, while blasting Trump for leaving.

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Converting Khashoggi into Cash

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The hazard of writing about the Saudis’ absurd gyrations as they seek to avoid blame for the murder of the late, not notably great journalist and Muslim Brotherhood activist Jamal Khashoggi is that by the time a sentence is finished, the landscape may have changed again.

As though right on cue, the narrative has just taken another sharp turn.

After two weeks of denying any connection to Khashoggi’s disappearance, Riyadh has ‘fessed up (sorta) and admitted that he was killed by Saudi operatives but it wasn’t really on purpose:

Y’see, it was kinda’f an ‘accident.’

Oops…

Y’see the guys were arguing, and … uh … a fistfight broke out.

Yeah, that’s it … a ‘fistfight.’

And before you know it poor Jamal had gone all to pieces.

Y’see?

Must’ve been a helluva fistfight.

The figurative digital ink wasn’t even dry on that whopper before American politicos in both parties were calling it out:

  • “To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” tweeted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “First we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now, a fight breaks out and he’s killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince. It’s hard to find this latest ‘explanation‘ as credible.”
  • California Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the new Saudi explanation is “not credible.” “If Khashoggi was fighting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he was fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him,” Schiff said. “The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump administration will not take the lead, Congress must.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan must think he’s already died and gone to his eternal recreation in the amorous embraces of the dark-eyed houris. The acid test for the viability of Riyadh’s newest transparent lie is whether the Turks actually have, as they claim, live recordings of Khashoggi’s interrogation, torture, murder, and dismemberment (not necessarily in that order) – and if they do, when Erdogan decides it’s the right time to release them.

Erdogan has got the Saudis over a barrel and he’ll squeeze everything he can out of them.

From the beginning, the Khashoggi story wasn’t really about the fate of one man. The Saudis have been getting away with bloody murder, literally, for years. They’re daily slaughtering the civilian population of Yemen with American and British help, with barely a ho-hum from the sensitive consciences always ready to invoke the so-called “responsibility to protect” Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Libya, Syria, Xinjiang, Rakhine, and so forth.

Where’s the responsibility not to help a crazed bunch of Wahhabist head-choppers kill people?

But now, just one guy meets a grisly end and suddenly it’s the most important homicide since the Lindbergh baby.

What gives?

Is it because Khashoggi was part of the MSM aristocracy, on account of his relationship with the Washington Post?

Was it because of his other, darker, connections? As related by Moon of Alabama: “Khashoggi was a rather shady guy. A ‘journalist’ who was also an operator for Saudi and U.S. intelligence services. He was an early recruit of the Muslim Brotherhood.” This relationship, writes MoA, touches on the interests of pretty much everyone in the region:

“The Ottoman empire ruled over much of the Arab world. The neo-Ottoman wannabe-Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like to regain that historic position for Turkey. His main competition in this are the al-Sauds. They have much more money and are strategically aligned with Israel and the United States, while Turkey under Erdogan is more or less isolated. The religious-political element of the competition is represented on one side by the Muslim Brotherhood, ‘democratic’ Islamists to which Erdogan belongs, and the Wahhabi absolutists on the other side.”

With the noose tightening around Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman (MbS), the risible fistfight cock-and-bull story is likely to be the best they can come up with. US President Donald Trump’s having offered his “rogue killers” opening suggests he’s willing to play along. Nobody will really be fooled, but MbS will hope he can persuade important people to pretend they are fooled.

That will mean spreading around a lot of cash. The new alchemy of converting Khashoggi dead into financial gain for the living is just one part of an obvious scheme to pull off what Libya’s Muammar Kaddafi managed after the 1988 Lockerbie bombing: offer up some underlings as the fall guys and let the top man evade responsibility. (KARMA ALERT: That didn’t do Kaddafi any good in the long run.)

In the Saudi case the Lockerbie dodge will be harder, as there are already pictures of men at the Istanbul Consulate General identified as close associates of MbS. But they’ll give it the old madrasa try anyway since it’s all they’ve got.Firings and arrests have started and one suspect has already died in a suspicious automobile “accident.” Heads will roll!

Saving MbS’s skin and his succession to the throne of his doddering father may depend on how many of the usual recipients of Saudi – let’s be honest – bribery and influence peddling will find sufficient pecuniary reason to go along. Saudi Arabia’s unofficial motto with respect to the US establishment might as well be: “The green poultice heals all wounds.”

Anyway, that’s been their experience up to now, but it also in part reflects the same arrogance that made MbS think he could continue to get away with anything. (It’s not shooting someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, but it’s close.) Whether spreading cash around will continue to have the same salubrious effect it always has had in the past remains to be seen.

To be sure, Trump may succeed in shaking the Saudi date palm for additional billions for arms sales. That won’t necessarily turn around an image problem that may not have a remedy. But still, count on more cash going to high-price lobbying and image-control shops eager to make obscene money working for their obscene client. Some big American names are dropping are dropping Riyadh in a sudden fit of fastidiousness, but you can bet others will be eager to step into their Guccis, both in the US and in the United Kingdom. (It should never be forgotten how closely linked the US and UK establishments are in the Middle East, and to the Saudis in particular.)

It still might not work though. No matter how much expensive PR lipstick the spinmeisters put on this pig, that won’t make it kissable. It’s still a pig.

Others benefitting from hanging Khashoggi’s death around MbS’s neck are:

  • Qatar (after last year’s invasion scare, there’s no doubt a bit of Schadenfreude and (figurative) champagne corks popping in Doha over MbS’s discomfiture. As one source close to the ruling al-Thani family relates, “The Qataris are stunned speechless at Saudi incompetence!” You just can’t get good help these days).

Among the losers one must count Israel and especially Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. MbS, with his contrived image as the reformer, was the Sunni “beard” he needed to get the US to assemble an “Arab NATO” (as though one NATO weren’t bad enough!) and eliminate Iran for him. It remains to be seen how far that agenda has been set back.

Whether or not MbS survives or is removed – perhaps with extreme prejudice – there’s no doubt Saudi Arabia is the big loser. Question are being asked that should have been asked years ago. As Srdja Trifkovic comments in Chronicles magazine:

“The crown prince’s recklessness in ordering the murder of Khashoggi has demonstrated that he is just a standard despot, a Mafia don with oil presiding over an extended cleptocracy of inbred parasites. The KSA will not be reformed because it is structurally not capable of reform. The regime in Riyadh which stops being a playground of great wealth, protected by a large investment in theocratic excess, would not be ‘Saudi’ any longer. Saudia delenda est.”

The first Saudi state, the Emirate of Diriyah, went belly up in 1818, with the death of head of the house of al-Saud, Abdullah bin Saud – actually, literally with his head hung on a gate in Constantinople by Erdogan’s Ottoman predecessor, Sultan Mahmud II.

The second Saudi state, Emirate of Nejd, likewise folded in 1891.

It’s long past time this third and current abomination joined its antecedents on the ash heap of history.

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