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Shootout in Crimea: Russia’s FSB vs Ukrainian Saboteurs

The FSB interception of Ukrainian sabotage groups attempting to infiltrate Crimea raise tensions.

Alexander Mercouris

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Anyone who has been following Ukraine related news over the last few days will be aware of reports of Russian troop movements in Crimea, of a shoot out there between the Russian security forces and alleged Ukrainian infiltrators which left several people dead, and of claims that Ukrainian sabotage groups had attempted to infiltrate the peninsula.

On  10th August 2016 came final confirmation of the incident from Russia’s counterintelligence and anti terrorism agency, the FSB (full statement attached below).  It reported separate incidents involving three Ukrainian sabotage groups connected to the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine’s Defence Ministry, shoot outs between FSB operatives and the Russian military and the Ukrainian military across the border line, and the deaths of one FSB operative and of one Russian soldier caught up in the shoot outs.  Other reports speak of the death of at least two Ukrainian infiltrators, and of the capture of several others, which claims however the FSB report does not confirm.  The FSB report does however speak of twenty improvised explosive devices containing more than 40 kilograms of TNT equivalent, ammunition, fuses, antipersonnel and magnetic bombs, grenades and the Ukrainian armed forces’ standard special weapons being found in one of the locations involved in the incident. 

The FSB report also says that several Ukrainian and Russian citizens belonging to an undercover spy ring operating inside Crimea have been arrested on charges of planning to help the saboteurs.  The FSB has named the ringleader as Yevgeny Panov, a resident of Ukraine’s Zaporozhye region born in 1977, who the FSB says is an employee of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate.  Presumably he has been working in Crimea for some time under cover.  The FSB says it has arrested him and that he is “giving evidence”.

The FSB has not identified the targets of the saboteurs other than saying that they were “critical infrastructure and life support facilities on the peninsula”.  Some Russian media reports have suggested that the intention was to create “false flag” incidents that would set Crimea’s Tatar and Russian communities against each other.  The reference to “critical infrastructure and life support facilities on the peninsula” does not however support this.  Rather it suggests an attempt to disrupt power supplies and possibly water treatment plants at the height of Crimea’s tourist season and on the eve of the elections.

The Ukrainians for their part deny all these allegations, claiming that the whole incident has been invented by the Russians.  The Western media, predictably enough, is following the Ukrainian line with wild speculations that the Russians have fabricated the whole incident in order to justify a Russian invasion of Ukraine during the Olympic Games.

Whilst the full truth of this incident will only become known over time – when or if people like Panov are put on trial – there is actually no reason to doubt that the Russian account is true.  The Russians are hardly likely to arrange the death of one of their own FSB operatives and of one of their soldiers in order to fabricate an incident like this, and the report of the capture of several of the saboteurs, and the confirmation of the arrest of the members of the spy ring which was created to support them, all but confirms that the Russian claims about this incident are true. Indeed given that Ukrainian leaders frequently speak of Ukraine being at war with Russia it is not difficult to see why they might authorise a sabotage mission of this sort in order to disrupt elections which would confirm the extent of Crimea’s integration into Russia.  Presumably the Ukrainian plan was to claim that the attacks were the result of local anti-Russian resistance cells, thereby fostering the fiction that there is opposition within Crimea to its unification with Russia.  It has been a cause of serious embarrassment to the Ukrainian leadership and its Western backers that there has been no real evidence of such opposition up to now.  The sabotage mission appears to have been intended to “correct” this.

Two days ago I reported about a meeting Putin had with his security chiefs which appeared to have been hurriedly convened in a secret location.  I speculated that the meeting was held to discuss the situation in Aleppo.  Whilst Aleppo undoubtedly was discussed at this meeting as shown by the presence of Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Kremlin’s account of the meeting – which referred to Putin’s forthcoming meetings with foreign leaders, of whom the two most important were President Erdogan of Turkey and President Rouhani of Iran with whom the topic of Syria and Aleppo would certainly be discussed – the meeting between Putin and his security chiefs undoubtedly also discussed the situation in Crimea, and the reports of the Ukrainian sabotage mission there.

Might there have been any other purpose to this Ukrainian sabotage mission other than to create the appearance of instability in Crimea during the tourist season and during the coming election season?  Putin in the joint press conference he held in Moscow following his meeting with Armenia’s President Sargsyan linked the incident to the attempted murder of Igor Plotnitsky, the leader of the Lugansk People’s Republic.  If true that would suggest that having despaired of a military victory the government in Kiev is now turning to assassination and sabotage tactics in order to keep the struggle with Russia going and to achieve its political goals.  Alternatively it could be that the Ukrainians have carried out these operations in preparation for the summer offensive in the Donbass that has been much talked about but which has yet to happen, though it is not clear how planting bombs in Crimea could aid a military offensive in the Donbass.  Yet another explanation is that the Ukrainians might be sensing a weakening in European support and might have launched the operation in order to heighten tensions and to rally support and to further undermine the Minsk II peace process.

My own opinion is that the most likely explanation for this frankly reckless action – which will cause serious embarrassment to some of Ukraine’s European backers even if they are not prepared to say so publicly – is the chaotic condition of the Ukrainian power structure and the perennial infighting that goes on there.  Given the luridly romantic language many members of the Maidan movement customarily like to indulge in I can easily see how the sabotage operation in Crimea and the murder attempt on Plotnitsky – if the two are indeed connected – might have been planned by individuals in Kiev who might think that the success of such operations would increase their credibility and popularity within the Maidan movement and therefore their chances of achieving political success in Ukraine.

Whatever the precise motivations behind this incident Putin has made it very clear that the Russians are taking it extremely seriously.  He has already said that there will no Normandy Four meeting with Merkel, Hollande and Poroshenko at the forthcoming G20 summit in China.  Moreover and in contrast to what happened following the trial of Savchenko, whose actions were carried out in the Donbass and therefore in territory the Russians continue to recognise as Ukrainian, I expect the Russians to be much slower to agree to prisoner exchanges of the Ukrainian operatives who were involved in this mission and who they accuse of carrying out or planning to carry out violent actions on Russian territory.

Here is the text of the statement describing the incidents which has been provided by the FSB:

The Russian FSB averted terrorist acts in the Republic of Crimea that were being prepared by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.

The Russian FSB averted terrorist acts in the Republic of Crimea that were being prepared by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, and which targeted certain critical infrastructure and life support facilities on the peninsula.

The goal of the attacks was the destabilisation of the socio-political situation on the peninsula prior to the approaching elections to the federal and regional governmental institutions.

The search operations carried out during the night of 6/7 August 2016 in the vicinity of the city of Armyansk, Republic of Crimea, uncovered a group of saboteurs. While attempting to detain the terrorists, an FSB operative was killed by enemy gunfire. The following was discovered on the scene: 20 improvised explosive devices with a total explosive power of 40kg TNT, munitions, special detonators, standard-issue anti-personnel and magnetic land mines, grenades, and special-issue weapons used by Ukrainian armed forces’ special operations units.

The follow-on measures on the territory of the Republic of Crimea eliminated a network of agents operated by the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Ukrainian and Russian citizens, engaged in the preparation of terrorist attacks, were arrested, and are now giving evidence. One of the organisers is Yevgeniy Aleksandrovich Panov, born 1977, an inhabitant of the Zaporozhye Region of Ukraine, an operative of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukrainian MOD, who has also been arrested and is giving evidence.

During the night of August 8, 2016, Ukrainian MOD special operations units attempted two more infiltrations by saboteur units which were prevented by the armed units of the FSB and collaborating entities. The infiltration effort was covered by heavy fire from the adjacent country, including by armored vehicles belonging to Ukrainian military. A Russian soldier was killed by the fire.

On the basis of the investigative and combat actions, the Crimea FSB Directorate’s investigations department has launched a criminal case. Additional investigative measures are being implemented. Places where large groups of tourists are concentrating and resting, and critically important infrastructure and life support facilities have been taken under additional security. A strengthened border control regime has been introduced on the border with Ukraine.”

(Translated by J. Hawk, as previously published on South Front)

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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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