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Trump does a 180 on Syria. War is on the horizon (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 102.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Trump campaigned heavily on a platform committed to ending the endless US wars in the Middle East, stating many times in the past that the United States should  “stay out” of Syria.

Now a vast array of reports from senior State Department officials are claiming that Trump agreed to a new strategy in Syria that indefinitely extends the illegal US military effort there and launches a major diplomatic push to achieve failed American objectives.

Trump’s 180 on Syria has shifted away from defeating ISIS to now include the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces from Syria, and “the establishment of a stable, nonthreatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the international community.” When was the secular state of Syria ever a threat to the United States, or allies in the region?

Senior officials claim that much of the motivation for Trump’s change of heart stems from growing doubts about whether Russia is able and willing to help eject Iran from Syria.

Senior US State Department officials are also moving way from branding the Al-Qaeda-ISIS jihadists fighting in Syria as “moderate rebels”, opting now to call the contingent of terrorists camped out in Idlib, by the new moniker of “domestic rebels”. 

James Jeffrey, a retired senior Foreign Service officer who last month was named Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “Representative for Syria engagement” said America’s “new policy is we’re no longer pulling out by the end of the year.”

“U.S. forces are to remain in the country to ensure an Iranian departure and the enduring defeat of the Islamic State.”

“That means we are not in a hurry.”

When asked whether Trump had signed off on what he called “a more active approach,” Jeffrey said, “I am confident the president is on board with this.”

Jeffrey should feel confident of Trump’s capitulation. The Deep State has been working overtime to burden the POTUS with threats of impeachment and criminal prosecution, providing Trump only option for some sense of relief from the never ending assault on his Presidency…to partake in the most bipartisan activity America has ever known, war in the Middle East.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the storm cloud of war forming over Syria, and how a domestically boxed in US President Trump may have no other option but to go to war in Syria so as to survive the remainder of his term.

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Via the Jeff Bezos owned, CIA edited Washington Post

Jeffrey declined to describe any new military mission. But he emphasized what he said would be a “major diplomatic initiative” in the United Nations and elsewhere, and the use of economic tools, presumably including more sanctions on Iran and Russia and the stated U.S. refusal to fund reconstruction in Assad-
controlled Syria.

But the more-activist policies he outlined, and only in vague terms, could increase the likelihood of a direct confrontation with Iran, and potentially with Russia.

Jeffrey’s description of a much broader U.S. role follows years of criticism from lawmakers and analysts that neither Trump nor his predecessor, Barack Obama, had a coherent strategy for Syria. Trump, like Obama, insisted that U.S. interests were focused on defeating the Islamic State, and he resisted significant involvement in the civil war against Assad raging in the rest of the country, even as both Iran and Russia increased their influence.

Jeffrey and retired U.S. Army Col. Joel Rayburn, who transferred to the State Department from the National Security Council last month to become “special envoy for Syria,” were brought in to try to create a coherent blueprint that would prevent a repeat of what the administration sees as the mistakes of Iraq — where a precipitous U.S. pullout left the field open for Iran, and for a resurgence of Sunni militants that gave birth to the Islamic State.

Pompeo first listed Iran’s withdrawal from Syria as one of 12 U.S. demands of Tehran in a May speech at the Heritage Foundation.

U.S. policy is not that “Assad must go,” Jeffrey said. “Assad has no future, but it’s not our job to get rid of him.” He said, however, that he found it hard to think of Assad as a leader who could “meet the requirements of not just us but the international community” as someone who “doesn’t threaten his neighbors” or abuse his own citizens, “doesn’t allow chemical weapons or provide a platform for Iran.”

The first test of the administration’s expanded role in Syria may come sooner rather than later in Idlib, in the northwest part of the country.

The province is the last bastion of rebel control after seven years of civil war, during which Assad, with extensive Russian and Iranian assistance, pounded opposition forces into submission. His scorched-earth tactics and, at times, use of chemical weapons have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and driven millions from their homes.

Idlib has now become a crowded holding pen for up to 70,000 opposition fighters, along with about 2 million Syrian civilians displaced from other battle zones, and activists and aid workers trying to assist them.

Turkish military forces are also in Idlib, where they have pushed back Syrian Kurds from the Syria-Turkey border. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who fears a new exodus of Syrian refugees, is due to attend a summit in Tehran on Friday with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Assad has said he is preparing a final offensive in Idlib, and Russian warplanes this week began bombing the region. Humanitarian organizations have warned of an unprecedented level of civilian bloodshed, and Trump himself has threatened U.S. retaliation if an all-out offensive is launched, especially with the use of chemical weapons.

“If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too,” Trump said Wednesday. Pompeo, Jeffrey said, has delivered the same message by telephone to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as did White House national security adviser John Bolton in a recent meeting with his Russian counterpart.

Russia, which has beefed up its naval and other forces in the region in recent weeks, has charged that the United States is preparing to manufacture a chemical weapons attack to justify military intervention. It says its operations in Idlib are aimed at up to 14,000 fighters linked to al-Qaeda.

While the United States agrees that those forces must be wiped out, it rejects “the idea that we have to go in there . . . to clean out the terrorists, most of the people fighting . . . they’re not terrorists, but people fighting a civil war against a brutal dictator,” as well as millions of civilians, Jeffrey said. Instead, the United States has called for a cooperative approach with other outside actors.

“We’ve started using new language,” Jeffrey said, referring to previous warnings against the use of chemical weapons. Now, he said, the United States will not tolerate “an attack. Period.”

“Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation” he said. “You add to that, if you use chemical weapons, or create refu­gee flows or attack innocent civilians,” and “the consequences of that are that we will shift our positions and use all of our tools to make it clear that we’ll have to find ways to achieve our goals that are less reliant on the goodwill of the Russians.”

Trump has twice authorized U.S. air and missile attacks on Syrian government targets as punishment for chemical weapons use.

Asked whether the United States would consider its own airstrikes against terrorist forces who are interspersed with Syrian rebel fighters in Idlib, Jeffrey said, “We have asked repeatedly for permission to operate” there, and “that would be one way” to respond.

“In some respects, we are potentially entering a new phase, where you have forces from the different countries facing each other,” rather than pursuing their separate goals, he said, listing Russia, the United States, Iran, Turkey and Israel, which has conducted its own airstrikes against Iran-linked forces inside Syria.

“Now all of them have accomplished their primary jobs” there. “But nobody is happy with the situation in Syria.”

Clarification: An earlier version of this article mischaracterized State Department official James Jeffrey’s comment regarding possible U.S. airstrikes in Syria as a response to a Syrian-Russian offensive in Idlib. The remark — “We have asked repeatedly for permission to operate”— referred to potential ways of attacking terrorist forces there interspersed with Syrian rebel fighters.

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Shlichimjohn vieiraJohn NolanbatavianIsabella Recent comment authors
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veth
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veth

IN MARCH TRUMP ORDERED THE GREAT ATTACK ON THE WAGNER GRUPPE IN SYRIA.300 RUSSIAN SOLDIERS WERE KILLED AS REPORTED. TIME FOR A REHEARSAL!

batavian
Guest
batavian

Let’s set the record straight:
“American troops may have killed hundreds of Syrian forces backed by Russian mercenaries, a US army general has said”. These are the words of American Brigadier General Jonathan Braga, March 2018. You’ll note there’s no reference to Russian soldiers.

Shlichim
Guest
Shlichim

The turnabout in Trump’s position came immediately after the NYT OpEd which was a zionist shot across the bow vis a vis US troops in M.E. It was authored by zionists, published by zionists and conceived by zionists as a message to Trump that if didnt keep with the Eretz Israel project (troops stay in Syria till partition)? Then he’d get coup’ed out of office.

veth
Guest
veth

US starts military exercises in Syria on the first day of summit between Russia, Turkey and Iran

batavian
Guest
batavian

Would these be the same exercises they’ve been conducting in al-Tanf ever since they established an illegal base there? You can call them exercises if you like. I’ll continue to refer to it as training of terrorists.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

For Christ’s sake Russia try out a couple of your “hyper-sonics” sink 2 US ships and issue a real threat to USA and Israel, no more of their hypocritical “bull-shit !!! no more trouble !!!!

Bob Valdez
Guest
Bob Valdez

Trump was ALWAYS going to start a war in Syria on behalf of Isra-hell. Starting to think this might not be a bad idea, as it will hasten the fall of the sewer empire.

voza0db
Guest

It’s still funny to see people that believes that mutTrump would do anything different from the other runner when it comes to the favorite pastime of the United States of Terrorism…

A.F.Veth
Guest
A.F.Veth
batavian
Guest
batavian

Let’s talk about Detroit and San Francisco for starters. Even Americans don’t want to holiday, attend conventions, or just visit SanFran anymore. Apparently the stench of human excrement piled up on the sidewalks keeps them away.

Isabella
Guest
Isabella

Troll. I’ve seen you trolling on Russia Insider Why dont you shove off, else go someplace?

batavian
Guest
batavian

On Russian Insider he gets to use his little Ukie flag avatar.

john vieira
Guest

Aye he is! And stupid too. Think a sceptic tank resides betwixt his eardrums…

ANDRE DE KONING
Guest
ANDRE DE KONING

The Saker has a good nuanced view of what is happening now: see his article here: http://thesaker.is/russias-asymmetric-response-to-the-us-in-syria/

Vince Dhimos
Guest

The fool probably is now convinced that Assad is a thug and that the US can survive a war with Russia.
The most accurate analyses will not come from any msm outlet or blog in the US. They are coming from Russia. Like this one by Middle East expert Yevgeny Satanovsky: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Vince Dhimos
Guest

I note that the article quoted is from 3 days ago. By now Russia and Syria have already started to decimate the jihadists they were warned not to touch. So much for that. Same old story as Aleppo and E- ghouta, which they were not to touch either. The 26 Russian warships of Syria and the new Russian policy approved by the Duma, to allow use of tactical nukes even against conventional attacks on Russian interests have changed the game, bringing the whole chess board much closer to nuclear war and no prez wants to be the one to drag… Read more »

john vieira
Guest

Maybe “no prez wants to be the one…” Since when does that matter…the puppeteers will call the plays and their puppet will do their bidding. They set up an insurance policy against Trump called a Shadow Government (5th Column) led by his predecessor and championed by his predecessor’s predecessors…of course the entire mainstream media whom they control are willingly complicit in the entire charade…Oh! As I type they are assuming full control of social media also…We westerners will have but ONE narrative to ponder…Happy “glow in the dark” times to us all!!!

John Nolan
Guest
John Nolan

Where are the balls, the integrity, the original America displayed when kicking the Englandia tyrants out, but now have willfully, gutlessly acquiesced to their fake jew, fake religious tyrants?
Amazia desperately needs another revolution, closing down the FED, nationalizing the entire banking system, terminating all their pretend, Judas politicians and realizing that their nation, Amazia, is now the most hated, dis-trusted,violent, dictatorial nation on our earth.
Don’t blame Chump, he is only doing what he is told, by fake Israel, and it is time the Amazian citizens realized how their hierarchy has bought our world to the brink of self-destruction.

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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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