Threads by latest replies - Page 12

Pompeo Ignores Saudi Crimes—and U.S. History—in Middle East Speech

No.337717 ViewReplyOriginalReport

PARIS – Exactly 100 days after the gruesome murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi officials, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave what was billed as a major speech Thursday on America’s Middle East policy that made no mention of the crime or its far-reaching consequences.

But it was worse than that. The Khashoggi murder exposed the increasingly erratic and dangerous behavior of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS. What Pompeo outlined in his Cairo speech is a posture essentially built on MBS promises that it’s now clear the Saudi ruler can’t deliver.

The guts of Pompeo’s speech was this: Iran is the enemy, and that’s the glue that binds together America’s friends (as long as they play ball with Israel and MBS). If there is anything wrong with the Middle East, it’s Barack Obama’s fault for being, in Pompeo’s telling, too weak, too friendly with the enemy – Iran again.

Pompeo, unlike his boss, knows how cynical this approach is and how unconvincing it will be in the region, which is probably why he barely mentioned Saudi Arabia at all. Instead, Pompeo ran down a long list of countries from Egypt (a Saudi client under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi) to Bahrain (little more than a Saudi appendage) before finally, softly, mentioning that “Saudi Arabia, too, has worked with us to counter Iranian expansion and regional influence.”
25 posts omitted

Saudi woman appeals to USA Secretary Pompeo to help tortured sister

No.339612 ViewReplyOriginalReport

The sister of a female activist imprisoned in Saudi Arabia has issued a rare and emotional appeal to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, pressing him to raise the detention of women's rights activists during his visit to Riyadh this week.

Alia al-Hathloul — whose sister Loujain al-Hathloul is in jail after campaigning to earn women the right to drive — said she was "struck" by the fact that the imprisonment and alleged torture of women activists would most probably not feature on Pompeo’s agenda.

My Sister Is in a Saudi Prison. Will Mike Pompeo Stay Silent?
The United States secretary of state is visiting Riyadh — but political prisoners are not on his agenda.

By Alia al-Hathloul
Ms. Hathloul is the sister of the jailed Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul.
Jan. 13, 2019

When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Saudi Arabia on Sunday, he is expected to discuss Yemen, Iran and Syria and “seek an update on the status of the investigation into the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.”

I am struck by what is not included in Mr. Pompeo’s itinerary: the brave women activists of Saudi Arabia, who are being held in the kingdom’s prisons for seeking rights and dignity. Mr. Pompeo’s apathy is personal for me because one of the women detained, Loujain al-Hathloul, is my sister. She has worked relentlessly to earn Saudi women the right to drive.
14 posts omitted

Instead of shunning Saudi Arabia after Khashoggi killing, investors flock to $7.5 billion bond sale

No.337715 ViewReplyOriginalReport

Saudi Arabia raised $7.5 billion in its first dollar bond sale since the killing of Saudi dissident and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi incited an international uproar.
Khashoggi's killing sparked concerns that international investors would shun the kingdom. Saudi Arabia is prosecuting several agents and officials allegedly involved in the slaying at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.
Riyadh denies that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was involved in the murder, but the CIA has reportedly concluded that the king-in-waiting was complicit in the killing.

While some business executives have cut ties with the kingdom over the incident, bond buyers do not appear ready to overlook an investment opportunity in Saudi Arabia, the world's largest oil exporter.
The issuance was nearly four times oversubscribed, with the order book peaking at $27.5 billion, according to the Saudi Ministry of Finance.
Saudi Arabia sold $4 billion in 10-year notes that mature in 2029, and $3.5 billion in in 31-year notes that come due in 2050.
U.S.-based investors accounted for 40 percent of the 2029 bond purchases and 45 percent of the 2050 debt, according to Reuters.
On Wednesday, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said state-owned oil giant Aramco will issue bonds in the second quarter of this year. The debt will most likely be issued in dollars, he said.
14 posts omitted

Netflix censors and pulls show criticizing Saudi Crown Prince on behalf of Saudi Arabia

No.336469 ViewReplyOriginalReport

The government of Saudi Arabia makes it very clear that resistance to its regime is futile. It will not tolerate dissent; it is untouchable.

Outrage after Netflix pulls comedy show criticising Saudi Arabia

The kingdom has never claimed to be a democracy – or that it believed in free speech, the right to protest, or the right to collectively bargain for rights. There is no independent press.

The late King Abdullah introduced laws that leave no room for doubt about that position. King Salman and his son, the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, continue those policies and rule with an iron fist.

Anti-terror laws were introduced to deal with such “crimes” as insulting the reputation of the state, harming the unity or stability of the kingdom by any means, sowing discord in society – and the high crime of breaking allegiance with the ruler. These hard-to-define crimes were designed to enable the arrest of anyone, for any reason.

In terms of these laws, the US comic Hasan Minhaj’s satirical Netflix episode on Saudi Arabia – controversially taken down by the streaming service after complaints from the kingdom – ticked all the boxes. If Minhaj were a Saudi citizen, he would have been hauled in for “questioning”. All his electronic devices confiscated. Every comment he had made online and in private downloaded and analysed for previous transgressions against the state (even if they were legal at the time) and his picture printed in local newspapers with a red stamp on it, branding him a traitor and possibly a spy for an external enemy (Iran).

He would have been humiliated, tortured, sexually assaulted, disappeared.
36 posts omitted

Saudi Arabia's massive oil reserves total 268.5 billion barrels, even bigger than previously known

No.337093 ViewReplyOriginalReport

Saudi Arabia's massive oil and gas reserves are even bigger than previously reported, according to an outside assessment commissioned by the kingdom.
The independent audit not only revised Saudi reserves higher, but may help put to rest skepticism over the nation's oil and gas wealth, which has persisted in some corners of the market for years. It also shows national oil giant Saudi Aramco is taking strides towards transparency as it continues to consider a stock market debut.
On Wednesday, Saudi Energy Minister and Aramco Chairman Khalid al-Falih said the kingdom expects the initial public offering for Aramco to take place in 2021, following a delay.

State-controlled Aramco had 263.1 billion barrels of oil waiting to be tapped at the end of 2017, according to Dallas-based petroleum consulting firm DeGolyer and MacNaughton. That is 2.2 billion barrels more than Aramco reported in its last annual review.
Aramco's natural gas reserves total 319.5 trillion cubic feet, according to the audit. The company, which is not a major player in the gas market, previously reported 302.3 trillion cubic feet of gas reserves.
15 posts omitted

Jim Carrey slams 'tyrant' Trump Saudi's ties in gruesome painting

No.337711 ViewReplyOriginalReport

Jim Carrey continued his social media onslaught against President Trump and his administration on Thursday, tweeting a gruesome drawing of the "tyrant" president with what appeared to be Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman and a man having his arm chopped off.

In his post, the actor, a staunch opponent of the president, accused “tyrants like Trump” of having “demonized” journalists “for doing their jobs.”

“Maybe this year he’ll get a new bone saw for his bday from his pal, the Saudi Slayer, and they can chop up the next body together,” the tweet read. “That’s what ‘fiends’ are for!”



The accompanying image appeared to show Trump using the tool on a person’s arm. Another individual, seemingly the prince, appeared to be holding a light for the president.

Jamal Khashoggi, an activist and Washington Post contributor, was killed at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October.

In early December, a bipartisan group of six senators introduced a nonbinding resolution stating that bin Salman was “complicit” in his murder. His body was reportedly drained of blood before being dismembered via bone saw.


In a Nov. 20 statement, Trump said it was unclear if the prince was involved in Khashoggi's death. "It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event,” he said.

“Maybe he did and maybe he didn't!”
43 posts omitted

Israeli NSO group implicated in death of Saudi journalist Khashoggi exposing ties between nations

No.341380 ViewReplyOriginalReport
LONDON — A Saudi dissident close to the murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi has filed a lawsuit charging that an Israeli software company helped the royal court take over his smartphone and spy on his communications with Mr. Khashoggi.

The lawsuit puts new pressure on the company, the NSO Group, and on the government of Israel, which licenses the company’s sales to foreign governments of its spyware, known as Pegasus. More broadly, the suit also calls new attention to Israel’s increasingly open alliance with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf monarchies.

Saudi Arabia and its allies like the United Arab Emirates have never recognized the Jewish state but have quietly found common cause with it in opposition to Iran. Since the Arab Spring uprisings, Israel and those monarchies also appear to have found an alignment of interest in defending the established Arab order.

The lawsuit, filed in Israel by the Montreal-based Saudi dissident Omar Abdulaziz, follows parallel suits by journalists, activists and others charging that the NSO Group improperly helped the governments of Mexico and the United Arab Emirates spy on their smartphones even though the individuals had no criminal records and posed no threat of violence.
17 posts omitted

Thailand grants asylum to Saudi woman who left Sunni Islam and fled Saudi Arabia

No.336433 ViewReplyOriginalReport

An 18-year-old Saudi woman who fled her family at the weekend has left Bangkok airport "under the care" of the UN refugee agency, the head of Thailand's immigration police says.

Thai immigration officials had tried to return Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, to Kuwait, where her family is.

But she refused to board a flight on Monday, and barricaded herself into her airport hotel room.

She said she feared her family would kill her as she had renounced Islam.

"My brothers and family and the Saudi embassy will be waiting for me in Kuwait," Ms Mohammed al-Qunun told Reuters.

"My life is in danger. My family threatens to kill me for the most trivial things."

Her relatives have not commented on her claims.

Rights groups including Human Rights Watch have expressed grave concerns for Ms Mohammed al-Qunun, who had travelled to Thailand for a connecting flight to Australia, where she hoped to seek asylum.

The Thai authorities said her status would be assessed by the UN refugee agency.

On Monday evening local time, Thailand's chief of immigration police Surachate Hakparn confirmed that Ms Mohammed al-Qunun "is allowed to stay", and that she "left the airport with the UNHCR".

He earlier said the country would "take care of her as best we can", adding: "She is now under the sovereignty of Thailand; no-one and no embassy can force her to go anywhere.

"Thailand is a land of smiles. We will not send anyone to die."

Mr Surachate said he would meet Saudi diplomats on Tuesday to clarify Thailand's decision.

Ms Mohammed al-Qunun tweeted that her father had arrived, "which worried and scared me a lot," but said she felt safe "under UNHCR protection with the agreement of Thailand authorities".
19 posts omitted

Rahaf Mohammed: Saudi teen says women 'treated like slaves'

No.341327 ViewReplyOriginalReport

Rahaf Mohammed: Saudi teen says women 'treated like slaves'

A Saudi teenager given asylum in Canada after fleeing her family has said the journey was "worth the risk" so she could live a more independent life.

Rahaf Mohammed, 18, made headlines when she flew to Thailand and barricaded herself in a hotel while appealing on Twitter for help to avoid deportation.

She said she feared being killed if she was sent back to her family.

"It's something that is worth the risk I took," she told the Toronto Star and CBC News. "I had nothing to lose."

"We are treated as an object, like a slave," she said. "I wanted to tell people my story and about what happens to Saudi women."
6 posts omitted

The Saudi engine of repression continues to run at full speed

No.337720 ViewReplyOriginalReport

One hundred days after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pressing ahead with anti-dissident campaigns and remains in regular contact with Saud al-Qahtani, the media adviser whom the CIA believes helped organize Khashoggi’s killing, according to U.S. and Saudi sources.

The Saudi crown prince, far from altering his impulsive behavior or signaling that he has learned lessons from the Khashoggi affair, as the Trump administration had hoped, appears instead to be continuing with his autocratic governing style and a ruthless campaign against dissenters, the U.S. and Saudi sources said this week.

“Domestically, he feels very confident and in control. As long as his base is secure, he feels that nothing can harm him,” says one American who met recently with MBS, as the crown prince is known. One of Britain’s most experienced Saudi-watchers agreed: “He’s completely unchastened by what has happened. That is worrying for Western governments.”

MBS has been contacting Qahtani and continuing to seek his advice, according to the U.S. and Saudi sources. A Saudi source said Qahtani had also met recently at his Riyadh home with his senior deputies from the royal court’s Center for Studies and Media Affairs, the cybercommand post he ran until shortly after Khashoggi’s death. “I’m being blamed and used as a scapegoat,” Qahtani is said to have told his former aides.

“Qahtani holds a lot of files and dossiers,” says the American who met recently with MBS. “The idea that you can have a radical rupture with him is unrealistic.” A Saudi who is close to the royal court agrees: “There’s stuff [Qahtani] was working on that he may have to finish, or hand over,” he said.
14 posts omitted