| Machiavellian petro-dollar mischief: The self-beheading House of Saud!

The self-beheading House of Saud ~ Pepe Escobar, THE ROVING EYE, Asia Times.

Don’t count on a female Saudi playwright writing a 21st century remix of John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger starring a bunch of non-working class Saudi royals. But anger it is – from King Abdullah downwards; not only at the UN’s “double standards” but especially – hush hush – at the infidel Obama administration.

This is the official Saudi explanation for spurning a much-coveted two-year term at the UN Security Council, only hours after its nomination.

No wonder the House of Saud‘s unprecedented self-beheading move was praised only by the usual minion suspects; petro-monarchies of the Gulf Counter-revolution Club, aka Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as well as Egypt, who now depends on Saudi money to pay its bills and barely survive.
Kuwait shared Riyadh’s pain, enough to send “a message to the world”. The UAE said the UN now had the “historical responsibility” to review its role. Bahrain – invaded by the Saudis in 2001 – stressed the “clear and courageous stand”. Cairo said the whole thing was “brave”.

How brave, indeed, to lobby Arab and Pacific nations for two years, and to spend a fortune training a dozen diplomats in New York for months just to say “no” when you get the prize. The House of Saud would have replaced Pakistan with a Pacific seat; Morocco stays until 2015, in an African seat. As early as five months ago the Saudi seat was considered a done deal at the UN.

NSA-worthy torrents of bits have flowed speculating over the Saudi’s alleged “reformist agenda” or “principled position” on R2P (the Responsibility to Protect doctrine), Palestine and turning the Middle East into a weapons-free zone.

To his credit, King Abdullah had advanced a plan for Palestine since 2002 based on a two-state solution and a return to the pre-1967 borders.

But there has been no follow-up pressure on Israel; on the contrary, Riyadh is allied with Tel Aviv on setting Syria on fire. That implies no effort to include nuclear power Israel in a weapons-free Middle East. As for the Saudi version of R2P, it only applies to a sectarian “protection” of Sunnis in Syria.

Apart from a few Middle Eastern spots, no one is seriously losing sleep over the adolescent Saudi move – which displays a curious notion of leverage, as in choosing a PR spin reinventing the corrupt petro-monarchy as the “principled” champions of a cause (UN reform) just as they might have a crack at trying to influence it from within.

That would have implied more scrutiny. For instance, this Monday the Human Rights Council, another UN institution, duly blasted Saudi Arabia on its sterling record of discrimination against women and sectarianism, following reports by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. As a member of the UN Security Council, the discrepancy between the medievalist reality inside Saudi Arabia and its lofty “reformist” agenda would be even more glaring.

I want my kafir fluid
A bottle of that precious kafir fluid, Chateau Petrus – much prized by itinerant Saudi princes in London – may be bet that the “dump the UN” decision came straight from the leading camel’s mouth. And now that the House of Saud has decided to keep displaying its “influence” from the outside, nothing makes more sense than the resurfacing of Bandar Bush – who this summer was christened by King Abdullah as the man in charge of the Syrian jihad.

The perennial Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal had lunch with US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Prince’s very private luxury digs in Paris this Monday. The mystery is which kafir fluid was consumed; no doubts though in the official, harmless spin; they agreed on a nuclear-free Iran, an end to the war in Syria and a “stable” Egypt. Before the Paris bash, during the weekend, Bandar Bush was already in his trademark full gear, openly announcing to European diplomats in Riyadh that he will buy his Syria-bound weapons somewhere else, will dissociate his scheme from the CIA, and will train “his” rebels with other players, mostly France and Jordan.

The Wall Street Journal has the story, which predictably has not surfaced in Arab media (90% of it controlled by different branches of the House of Saud).

Even more interesting is two other pieces of information leaked by diplomats. The House of Saud wanted the US to provide them with targets to be hit inside Syria when Obama’s kinetic whatever would start. Washington adamantly refused.

Better yet; Washington allegedly told Riyadh the US would not be able to defend the Shi’ite majority, oil-rich Eastern Province if the Tomahawks started flying over Syria. Imagine the horror show in Riyadh; after all, mob protection against petrodollars recycled/invested in the US economy is the basis of this dysfunctional marriage for nearly seven decades.

So that should lead us to the now much hyped “independent Saudi foreign policy posture” to be implemented in relation to Washington. Don’t hold your breath.

As much as the House of Saud is completely paranoid regarding the Obama administration’s latest moves, throwing a fit will not change the way the geopolitical winds are blowing. Iran’s geopolitical ascent is inevitable. A Syrian solution is on the horizon. No one wants batshit crazy jihadis roaming free from Syria to Iraq to the wider Middle East.

The Saudi spin about creating “a new security arrangement for the Arab world” is a joke – as depicted by Saudi-financed shills such as this.

The bottom line is that an angry, fearful House of Saud does not have what it takes to confront benign protector Washington. Throwing a fit – as in crying to attract attention – is for geopolitical babies. Without the US – or “the West” – who’s gonna run the Saudi energy industry? PhD-deprived camels? And who’s gonna sell (and maintain) those savory weapons? Who’s going to defend them for smashing the true spirit of the Arab Spring, across the GCC and beyond?

Perennial Foreign Minister Prince Saud is gravely ill. He will be replaced by a recently appointed deputy prime minister.

Guess who?

Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the king’s son. Instead of a “principled” stance against “double standards”, the House of Saud move at the UN feels more like nepotism.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009). 

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WorldPeace4

BRAIN TRAFFIC1

| FOA: Open letter to Saudi Arabian embassy against G4S managing Hajj!

FOA Open Letter to Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia on G4S ~ Friends of Al-Aqsa.

OPEN LETTER

 

HRH Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf Al Saud

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

30-32 Charles Street

London

W1X 7PM

 

Your Excellency, 

We write this letter with concern following reports that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is using the global security company G4S to manage the annual Hajj crowds. This letter intends to draw your attention to some of G4S’s activities, which we hope will make you reconsider working with them. Primarily, G4S has for many years been profiting from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.

G4S provides a number of services to Israel including managing military checkpoints and the detention and imprisonment of Palestinians. Checkpoints are a daily misery for Palestinians, and these are intended to oppress them, denying them free movement including access to schools, hospitals and places of worships. It also helps provide Israel with complete power and control over the population. By providing such services, G4S is directly complicit in the oppression and subjugation of the Palestinian people and has been the target of global boycott campaigns as a result.

G4S claims it intends to end these contracts in the West Bank however, as confirmed by the UN Rapporteur for Human Rights in the OPT Richard Falk, G4S will remain complicit in the oppression of Palestinians for its role in running Israeli jails where Palestinians are held, some without charge or trial; while others face torture. In effect G4S is the instrument through which Israel routinely breaks international laws and Conventions where Palestinian detainees are concerned. One especially disturbing aspect of the Israeli prison system managed by G4S is the high numbers of Palestinian child prisoners held in adult prisons.

These facts cannot be ignored and by continuing with this contract with G4S, Saudi Arabia will be sending a message that it is indifference to the plight of the Palestinians. It would also mean that international calls being made to boycott G4S are being ignored by Saudi and thus raise questions about the seriousness with which Saudi views the Israeli occupation of the Holy Al-Aqsa and Palestine. Across the world, G4S has been the target of boycott campaigns for its role in sustaining the Israeli occupation and a number of entities have taken the principled action of ended their contracts with G4S, including the European Union and the University of Oslo, among others.

We hope that you will heed the call being made in this letter, and take the case up within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the appropriate authorities. For those who are guardians of the Haram al-Sharif in Makkah and Masjid An-Nabawi in Medina; I’m sure you will agree that granting G4S a contract to manage one of the most spiritual journeys that Muslims undertake is unacceptable. We therefore call for Saudi Arabia to immediately end its contracts with G4S and send a strong message that it will not work with companies directly complicit in the occupation.

Yours faithfully,

 

Ismail Patel 

Chair, Friends of Al-Aqsa

FOA is a UK based NGO registered with UN Network of Civil Society Organisations on the Questions of Palestine

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Executioner1

| Petrodollar mischief: Saudi Prince Alwaleed Loses UK Court Battle!

Saudi Prince Alwaleed Loses UK Court Battle ~ Ellen Knickmeyer, The Wall Street Journal.

For a man who carefully tends his brand, Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s image took a hit in a London court this week, when a judge called his testimony unreliable and confusing and ordered him to pay $10 million to a former business associate.

Judge Peter Smith ruled Wednesday that the Saudi prince, a billionaire businessman, was wrong in refusing to pay commission to a Jordanian woman who helped Prince Alwaleed negotiate, from 2001 to 2006, the sale of a luxury jumbo jet to then-Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi.

The Jordanian consultant, Daad Sharab, filed suit in 2007 in London to compel payment. The High Court of Justice ruled on the case.

In a statement late Wednesday, Prince Alwaleed said he planned to appeal the decision, saying the verdict “had been unduly swayed by the Judge’s own view regarding Prince Alwaleed’s business negotiations with the Government of Col. Muammar Gaddafi.”

Prince Alwaleed underwent tough questioning in court, including Judge Smith asking if the prince lied in telling the Libyans, as Prince Alwaleed was closing the plane deal, that the $95 million plane actually cost him $135 million.

“It is not a lie. It is a tactic,” Prince Alwaleed told the judge on July 2, according to a detailed court room exchange reported by Forbes magazine.

Prince Alwaleed had testified that his understanding with Ms. Sharab was that he would pay her a commission at his discretion, and that he was not satisfied with Ms. Sharab’s performance.

The judge didn’t appear to believe the Saudi. According to an account published by the Bloomberg news service, the judge said in his ruling: “He is a man who is clearly prepared to write false letters” and the evidence “shows that I cannot accept his assertion that he never tells lies in contracts and written documents.”

Prince Alwaleed is known for having an active public-relations campaign, sending out photos and press releases several times a week on the prince meeting with everyone from Prince Charles of Britain to the mayor of Accra, Ghana.

Earlier this year, Prince Alwaleed filed a letter of claim in a British court against Forbes magazine, after the magazine questioned the size of his fortune and downgraded his position on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people.

The Saudi prince, a nephew of King Abdullah, said Forbes had defamed Saudi Arabia by doing so.

Prince Alwaleed owns sizable stakes in corporations including Apple, Citigroup and News Corp, the parent company of The Wall Street Journal.

Most Saudi papers on Thursday carried no reports of the British ruling.

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Humility Pill

| Hubris, hegemony and a fistful of desperate dollars!

Petrodollar Pumping US Policy on Iran, Backfire Looms ~ Michael T. Winter.

Economic sanctions, spearheaded by the US and, less willingly, the EU could have a disastrous effect on both of their respective economies.  If Iran cannot sell their oil to Europe, there are plenty of customers waiting in the wings, and if they come bearing not petrodollars, but gold and sovereign currencies, then all the better for Iran.  These sanctions, if enforced, will in effect place a serious dent in the power of the petrodollar.

Any rhetoric regarding Iran’s nuclear program and the insistence on crippling it is nothing more than a US attempt to force regime change for one more receptive to maintaining the hegemony of the petrodollar.

The world now knows the truth about the US and how they conduct their affairs.  US hostilities toward Iran have nothing to do with nuclear weapons development.  If that were the case, then North Korea and Pakistan would be facing similar sanctions and threats, but they aren’t. The difference of course is in what lies beneath the ground – oil. Iran has it and the other guys don’t.

At the heart of the issue is not Iran’s dubious attempt to build nuclear weapons, or even oil, but how that oil is paid for.  In 1973, Richard Nixon promised King Faisal of Saudi Arabia that the US would protect Saudi Arabian oilfields from any and all interested parties seeking to forcefully wrest them from the House of Saud.  It’s important to remember that in 1973, Saudi Arabia didn’t have a fraction of the military and ground forces it possesses today (almost exclusively US manufactured weapons) and the USSR was very much a threat.

In return Saudi Arabia, and by extension OPEC, agreed to sell their oil in US dollars only.  As if that weren’t sweet enough, as part of the deal, they were required to invest their profits in US treasuries, bonds and bills. The real zinger is that all countries purchasing oil from OPEC had to do so in US dollars, or ‘petrodollars’.  

This strengthened the US dollar, resulting in a steady US economic growth cycle throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Countries purchasing OPEC oil started buying US treasury bills, bonds and securities to ensure they could continue purchasing OPEC oil.  This worked fine for the US until 2001.

No plan, however well formulated, functions smoothly indefinitely.

2001, enter Saddam Hussein. He floated a plan to sell oil for European currencies in lieu of petrodollars.  Shortly after Iraq was ‘suddenly’ found to be seeking and stockpiling weapons of mass destruction – allegations spearheaded by the US. The world knows what happened, suffice it to say that Saddam is dead and Iraq is ‘back on track’, selling its oil for petrodollars once again.

Muammar Gaddafi harbored the Lockerbie Bombers and allowed various terrorist organizations establish training camps in Libya.  He tried to buy a nuke from China in 1972. In 1977, he approached Pakistan, then India. He sought nerve gas from Thailand.  In spite of well over fifty failed assassination attempts on Gaddafi by Israel, the US and the UK, Libya was left to its own devices for the most part. Seeking nukes and harboring terrorists is one thing, but threatening the petrodollar is quite another.  Gaddafi made a fatal error when he decided to move away from the petrodollar in favor of other currencies.  This simply was not tolerated by the US.  Having already played the WMD card in Iraq, something new was pulled from the US ‘regime change’ grab bag. Within a year, ‘internal’ elements rose up in rebellion against Gaddafi and now he is dead.  Long live the petrodollar.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), suggested last year that the Euro would be a more suitable oil reserve currency than the US Dollar.  Within three months of that statement, allegations of rape ruined his career, derailing his bid for the French Presidency in the process.  Soon thereafter, all charges were dropped, but of course, le dommage était fait – the damage was done. Christine Lagarde, DSK’s replacement as head of the IMF sees no reason to change the current arrangement, naturellement.

The Iran situation is a little trickier. The US has sought to dismantle Iran’s regime ever since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, so this round of hostilities, while not new, reflects a new level of intensity.  Why, after thirty years of hostility, has the US ratcheted up its rhetoric? As Obama stated in his recent State of the Union address, when it comes to Iran and the insistence they dismantle their nuclear program, “no options are off the table”.  By stating ‘no options’ this would include nuclear deployment as a deterrent.

The answer of course is that Iran is now seeking to disengage itself from the petrodollar dynamic.  In 2005, Iran sought to create an Iranian Oil Exchange, thus bypassing the US controlled petrodollar.  Fear that western powers would freeze accounts in European and London banks put an end to that plan.  

But that was not the end of their attempts, and Iran sought other ways to get around the petrodollar noose. There are rumors that India, which imports 12% of their oil from Iran, has agreed to purchase oil for gold. Energy trade with China, importing 15% of its oil and natural gas from Iran may be settled in gold, yuan, and rial. South Korea plans to buy 10% of their oil from Iran in 2012, and unless Seoul sides with American and European sanctions, it is likely to use gold or their sovereign currency to pay for it. Also, Iran is already dumping the dollar in its trade with Russia in favor of rials and rubles.

Iran is breaking the back of the petrodollar. Others have tried, but Iran is succeeding.  To understand how disastrous this is for the US, one must have a basic understanding of how critical a role the petrodollar plays in the economic health of the US.

Through King Faisal, Nixon elevated the US to supreme economic ascendency, not unlike Damocles in his desire to rule.  Sitting on the (economic) throne of the world is great, but Nixon was either unaware of the sword dangling over the US economic system, or chose to ignore it in favor of reaping the rewards of the moment.   

By creating the petrodollar paradigm, the US economy soared, as all countries of the world were required to amass US currency to purchase oil from OPEC nations. Sales of T-bills, securities and US bonds soared.  US coffers fattened.  With the US dollar as the world’s oil currency reserve, economic fortune favored the US.   But with great reward comes great risk. While other countries exchanged their currency for the dollar, (forfeiting value in the process) the US simply printed more money to match their needs and purchase their oil – essentially for free. The best example is that while gasoline in the US cost $3.00 per gallon, in Europe that same gallon costs $6.00 or more.

Herein lies the danger.  If Iran is successful in its bid to set up their own bourse, or oil exchange, then what need does the world have for all those US dollars?  The answer is none at all. As Iran creating gold and sovereign currency partnerships with India, China, South Korea and Russia, the hegemony of the petrodollar will be destroyed.

The resulting sell-off of US dollars, T-bills, securities, bonds and assets will flood the already swollen world economy with even more useless dollars, ultimately devaluing it into a position where hyper-inflation becomes a risk.  

So, while the US government sabre-rattles and prattles on and on about nuclear weapons and the threat Iran poses to the Middle East, the thin veneer of lies spouted by the elite controlled media is being stripped away, revealing the truth of their warmongering rhetoric.

The US, by their foolish insistence on enforcing embargoes and sanctions against Iran, is hastening the end of the petrodollar and ushering in the age of US dollar hyper-inflation.  A practical example: One loaf of bread in a healthy economy is $1.00. In an inflationary economy it’s $1.75.  In a hyper-inflationary economy, $500.00.

Bullies may be large and dangerous, but rarely are they intelligent.

Damocles wisely vacated the throne of Dionysius before the sword fell upon his head, but the US is foolishly refusing to step down from their economic dais in spite of the catastrophic effect current policy direction will mean for US citizens and the world economy.