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The OIC is the Muslim world’s voice. Christian countries should have one too

The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) bills itself as “the collective voice of the Muslim world.”

Jim Jatras

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(Strategic Culture) Founded in 1972 as the “Organisation of the Islamic Conference” and adopting its current name in 2011, the OIC joins 57 Member States in what is billed as the second-biggest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations. The OIC’s declared mission is —

‘… to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world…. The Organization has the singular honor to galvanize the Ummah [i.e., all Muslims as a community] into a unified body and have actively represented the Muslims by espousing all causes close to the hearts of over 1.5 billion Muslims of the world.

The Organization has consultative and cooperative relations with the UN and other intergovernmental organizations to protect the vital interests of the Muslims and to work for the settlement of conflicts and disputes involving Member States. In safeguarding the true values of Islam and the Muslims, the organization has taken various steps to remove misperceptions and has strongly advocated elimination of discrimination against Muslims in all forms and manifestations.’

Despite intra-Islamic conflicts – notably the Sunni-Shiite divide led by Saudi Arabia and Iran respectively – the OIC is vocal in promoting a unified Muslim perspective on issues where there is a broad consensus. For example, the OIC recently issued a strong statement denouncing U.S. President Donald Trump’s declaration that the United States considers Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital. The OIC’s information chief also took a position on the internal affairs of traditionally Christian European countries, to the effect that mass Muslim migration – what Srdja Trifkovic has called the Third Muslim Invasion – is really doing Europe a big favor. No, it’s no bother at all – we’ll just help ourselves!

Whatever one thinks of the OIC’s activities and perspectives on various issues, one should nonetheless commend Muslim countries for their activism. Keep in mind, the OIC is an official organization of governments in the Islamic world, not of religious, academic, or NGO activists, though the latter contribute to the OIC’s mission. Again, give credit where credit is due.

But where is the comparable activism by the governments of Christian countries? There is certainly an ample empirical basis for a Christian version of the OIC. Consider:

  • There are almost two and half billion Christians in the world. The number of Muslims is about 1.8 billion. Granted, the reality behind such numbers largely reflects formal identification rather than active belief and worship, but the social importance of even pro forma self-description or communal tradition should not be dismissed.
  • Approximately 120 sovereign states have a Christian majority. This compares to about 50 countries with a Muslim majority.
  • There are four countries formally called Islamic republics (Afghanistan, Iran, Mauritania, and Pakistan), plus approximately 20 others where Islam’s leading status is defined in law. For example, Article 2 of the Constitution of Oman states that “The religion of the State is Islam and Islamic Sharia is the basis for legislation”; Article 1 of the Basic Law of Saudi Arabia states that the kingdom “is a sovereign Arab Islamic state with Islam as its religion,” with the Sunni Wahhabist sect in practice given preeminence over the minority Shia. By contrast, because of Christianity’s inherent distinction between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of Caesar, it would be hard to envision comparable “Christian states,” though the Holy See (the Vatican) is a Christian theocracy. Nor is there a Christian counterpart to Sharia as a religious basis for civil law. Nonetheless there are approximately 30 states where Christianity, or a particular Christian church, is singled out for a unique legal status or described as the traditional or leading faith. These include the Church of England, the Lutheran churches in Scandinavia, the Orthodox churches of Greece and Georgia, and the Roman Catholic Church in Argentina (Constitution, Article 2: “The Federal Government supports the Roman Catholic Apostolic religion.”), Costa Rica, Panama, Malta, Monaco, Liechtenstein, and others. For example, the Lateran Treaties regulating relations with the Vatican are affirmed in the Italian Constitution (Article 7). The Constitution of Georgia states (Article 9(1)) that “State shall recognise the outstanding role of the Apostolic Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Georgia in the history of Georgia and its independence from the State.” Several other states grant de facto primacy to a church without formal legal sanction, with the primacy accorded the Russian Orthodox Church a notable example. Finally there are many secular countries where Christian morality and heritage are central to national identity and state policy. Even the United States once prided itself on calling itself a Christian nation, in substance if not in law, in the words of many prominent statesmen well into the 20th century.
  • The flags of about 20 countries include specifically Islamic symbols, either the crescent moon or the shahada statement of faith (notably on the flag of Saudi Arabia). About 30 national flags carry a depiction of the Christian cross, with an additional dozen or so if naval ensigns are counted (for example the Saint Andrew’s cross on the flags of the Russian and Belgian fleets, and the Saint George’s cross on the ensigns of India, South Africa, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Trinidad and Tobago, and others whose civil flags do not display a cross).

What would be the purpose of a Christian version of the OIC? (For purposes of discussion, let’s call it the “Organisation of Christian Cooperation,” or the OCC.) Let’s take a leaf from the OIC and paraphrase: the mission of the OCC would be to –

“… protect the vital interests of Christians and to work for the settlement of conflicts and disputes involving Member States. In safeguarding the true values of Christianity and Christians, the OCC will take various steps to remove misperceptions and strongly advocate elimination of discrimination against Christians in all forms and manifestations.”

That would be a pretty good start, wouldn’t it? We could perhaps begin inside some of the nominally Christian countries, like the United Kingdom, where a spokesman for the government of Prime Minister Theresa May recently refused to confirm that publicly affirming the divinity of Jesus Christ could not land a person in jail for “hate speech.” The notion that simple expression of Christian belief and adherence to Christian moral principles, notably in the area of sexuality, constitutes hate has become a global phenomenon. No other religion’s believers are routinely defamed in this way.

Of course, as with the OIC a prospective OCC could and should be vocal on international issues. Starting in the 1990s, it began to be apparent even in polite, secular company that persecution of Christians was rampant in some countries, and that indeed more Christians died for their faith in the 20th century alone than in all the 19 centuries preceding it.

To come to grips with anti-Christian persecution, the U.S. Congress enacted the 1998 International Religious Freedom Act, which in implementation unfortunately soon veered towards promoting generic “religious liberty” and away from countering actual persecution – chiefly of Christians at the hands of communist regimes (mainly in the past) and Muslim militants (now).

Perhaps Christian persecution would be a good topic for an Organisation of Christian Cooperation to raise with the OIC, asking it as an intergovernmental organization to take forceful action to “remove misperceptions” that Islam is intolerant by insisting that all persecution of and discrimination against Christians by Muslims cease!

After all, even the Administration of President Barack Obama, who proudly declared that the U.S. was no longer “just” a Christian nation, was eventually shamed into declaring that the Islamic State was committing genocide against Christians in Iraq and Syria (though Secretary of State John Kerry took care to put Yazidis first, and then added Shia Muslims and others to avoid any appearance of caring about Christians in particular). In “safeguarding the true values of Islam and the Muslims” the OIC rarely has taken note of maltreatment of Christians. If an OCC comes into being, it must vigorously champion persecuted Christians.

Another example where Member States of a future OCC could make a positive contribution is help with postwar reconstruction in Syria, including the rebuilding of churches. The Russian government has pledged its assistance with the participation of the Orthodox Church and religious organizations. Why shouldn’t other Christian countries pitch in – not just in generic reconstruction aid but specifically to help maintain Christians in the region where Christianity was born? This kind of effort would be relevant not only in Syria but across the Middle East.

Which countries might be candidates to join a hypothetical Organisation of Christian Cooperation? Again, let’s look at the OIC, the membership of which mainly consists of countries with a Muslim majority but also includes eight countries where Muslims are a minority: Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guyana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Suriname, Togo, and Uganda. Russia and Thailand, which are majority Christian and Buddhist respectively but have significant Muslim minorities, are OIC Observers. Thus a future OCC should not only welcome all majority Christian countries – including some that may also belong to the OIC – but others where Christians are numerically or socially significant.

For example, while South Korea is only about one-third Christian, Christians form a solid majority of that country’s citizens participating in organized religious activities. About thirty countries in sub-Saharan Africa would be obvious OCC Member State candidates, as would virtually all of Latin America. China and India, where Christian minorities outnumber the total populations of many majority-Christian countries, should certainly be welcomed as Members or Observers. Paradoxically, the main reluctance is likely to be found among such historically Christian countries as Britain, France, Germany, the Low Countries, Scandinavia, and – alas! – the U.S. and Canada, where the forces of militant secularism have become increasingly intolerant of any indication of Christian public identity among officialdom.

That leaves the question of which states might take the initiative in forming an Organisation of Christian Cooperation. The Vatican would be an obvious key player but might not want to take the lead to avoid perceptions that the OCC might become a mechanism for Roman Catholic influence. The same could be said for Russia, whose leadership could be taken to be a front for Russia’s narrow state interests. But it should be noted that both the Holy See and the Kremlin have indicated their willingness to partner in defense of Europe’s historic Christian identity and social mores. What is notable is that this is state-to-state discourse, not just religious dialogue between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox churches.

Perhaps the most promising current trend is the revival of national traditions that incorporate Christian consciousness in Central Europe. For example, Poland’s new Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has declared: “My dream is to make [Europe] Christian again, since unfortunately, in many places, people no longer sing Christmas carols, the churches are empty and are turning into museums, and this is very sad.” Likewise, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (a Protestant in a majority Roman Catholic country) has spoken out boldly and eloquently in defense of the Christian character of his own country but of Europe as a whole, as well as of Christians persecuted in the Middle East:

‘A great many times over the course of our history we Hungarians have had to fight to remain Christian and Hungarian. For centuries we fought on our homeland’s southern borders, defending the whole of Christian Europe, while in the twentieth century we were the victims of the communist dictatorship’s persecution of Christians. … For us, therefore, it is today a cruel, absurd joke of fate for us to be once again living our lives as members of a community under siege. For wherever we may live around the world – whether we’re Roman Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox Christians or Copts – we are members of a common body, and of a single, diverse and large community.

Our mission is to preserve and protect this community. … Today it is a fact that Christianity is the world’s most persecuted religion. It is a fact that 215 million Christians in 108 countries around the world are suffering some form of persecution. It is a fact that four out of every five people oppressed due to their religion are Christians. It is a fact that in Iraq in 2015 a Christian was killed every five minutes because of their religious belief. It is a fact that we see little coverage of these events in the international press, and it is also a fact that one needs a magnifying glass to find political statements condemning the persecution of Christians.

But the world’s attention needs to be drawn to the crimes that have been committed against Christians in recent years. The world should understand that in fact today’s persecutions of Christians foreshadow global processes. The world should understand that the forced expulsion of Christian communities and the tragedies of families and children living in some parts of the Middle East and Africa have a wider significance: in fact they threaten our European values. The world should understand that what is at stake today is nothing less than the future of the European way of life, and of our identity.’

As the neo-liberal international order (symbolized by twin EU and NATO bureaucratic centers in Brussels) continue their decline, a revival of the national – and dare we hope, Christian? – spirit may be possible even in Europe. Such a revival could be an important impetus to creating an Organisation of Christian Cooperation, and in turn an OCC could help encourage that revival. This is not to minimize historic animosities even among Christians. The Polish-Russian and Croatian-Serbian enmities come readily to mind.

But if Iranians and Saudis can come together when the practical needs of Muslims per se require it, can Christians do any less? Does Christianity’s Founder, Who commanded His followers to love one another, expect any less from us? Perhaps an OCC could itself become a catalyst for reconciliation among Christians as much as a voice within the global community.

We can maybe even dare to hope that the United States is not quite lost. After all, Barack Hussein Obama is out, Donald John Trump is in. He’s even told Americans it’s alright to say “Merry Christmas!” again. If an Organisation of Christian Cooperation were to be formed, Melania Trump would make a great honorary patroness!

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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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