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Yemen update 1/7/2016..White Daesh (the House of Saud).

Thursday, January 7, 2016 21:27
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Iran Say Saudi Warplanes Attacked Iranian Embassy In Yemen!

Tehran: Saudi jets deliberately targeted Iran embassy in Yemen

Iran Accuses Saudi Arabia Of Bombing Its Embassy In Yemen | Zero Hedge

Last weekend, an already chaotic geopolitical landscape was complicated immeasurably when Saudi Arabia moved to execute prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

The Sheikh was a leading voice among Saudi Arabia’s dissident Shiite minority and it was his role in a series of anti-government protests that ultimately sealed his fate. “In any place he rules—Bahrain, here, in Yemen, in Egypt, or in any place—the unjust ruler is hated,” Nimr once said of the Sunni monarchies. “Whoever defends the oppressor is his partner with him in oppression, and whoever is with the oppressed shares with him his reward from God. We don’t accept al-Saud as rulers. We don’t accept them and want to remove them.”

The Saudis branded Nimr a “terrorist” and insist that he was no different from the 43 Sunnis who were executed last Saturday.

The Shiite world isn’t buying it – not for a second.

In fact, it seems likely that Riyadh knew good and well that killing the Sheikh would precipitate a firestorm. Even John Kerry warned the Saudis against executing the popular Shiite figure. In light of that, it seems just as likely as not that Riyadh wanted to create an excuse to sever ties with the Iranians and escalate the regional proxy wars playing out in Yemen, Syria, and Iraq.

In short: Saudi Arabia is losing. The Russian intervention in Syria has turned the tide against the Sunni extremist elements battling the SAA, what was supposed to be a quick victory in Yemen has devolved into a protracted stalemate, and Iraq has become an Iranian colony. The so-called “Shiite crescent” is waxing and the Saudis appeared powerless to stop it.

So they created a crisis. They engineered sectarian strife and then blamed Tehran for good measure.

From the time protesters took to the streets in Bahrain last Saturday we’ve been asking how long it would be before the “diplomatic” spat became part and parcel of the multiple regional proxy wars unfolding across the Mid-East.

On Thursday, we got the answer. Tehran now says Saudi Arabia has bombed the Iranian embassy in Sana’a.


“Tehran holds Saudi Arabia responsible for the damage caused to its embassy in Yemen,” Bloomberg reports, adding that “an unspecified number of embassy guards were wounded.”

Tehran says the missile attack represents a violation of international law.

Iran insists the bombing was “deliberate,” and claims several staff members were wounded. As BBC notes, the Saudi-led coalition contends that “the air strikes had targeted rebel missile launchers, and that the rebels had used abandoned embassies for operations.” Here’s Reuters:

Dozens of air strikes hit the Yemeni capital Sanaa on Thursday, in what residents described as the heaviest aerial attacks there in nine months of war, days after a Saudi-led coalition trying to restore a Saudi-backed government ended a fragile ceasefire.

The strikes pounded the presidential palace and a mountain military base to the south of the city, causing children and teachers in several schools to flee for their lives.

“My classmate and I were at recess when a huge explosion hit the neighborhood. We ran to the side and she fell to the ground in fear,” said Maha, a tenth grader in a Sanaa school. “Everybody was screaming and the administration got us together and called our parents to take us out – all the students were in a panic.” There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Will this be just the excuse Iran needs to take the “proxy” out of Yemen’s proxy war? After all, there have long been reports of IRGC generals fighting alongside the Houthis and it wouldn’t exactly be out of character for the Quds to intervene in an effort to tip the scales. Perhaps more importantly, how long will it be before Iranian assets are damaged by Saudi strikes elsewhere? Like say, near Aleppo. Or in Iraq.

Amb. Jordan: Saudis feel completely abandoned by the U.S.

Saudi-Iranian Spat: Another Skirmish In The Oil War

By Pepe Escobar

January 07, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “RT“- Saudi Arabia is a beheading paradise. But this PR nightmare is the least of all problems in an oil crisis. Once again, the heart of the matter is – what else – black gold.

So far, the House of Saud’s whole energy strategy has boiled down to shaving off its oil production no matter what it takes, even issuing bonds to cover its massive deficits.

Now the strategy has been moved one step ahead via a flagrant provocation: the execution of Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr.

The House of Saud believes that by stoking the flames of a Riyadh-Tehran confrontation it may raise the fear factor in the oil supply sphere, leading to higher oil prices (which it needs), while maintaining the Holy Wahhabi Grail of keeping imminent Iranian oil off the market.

From the beginning, Riyadh bet on the possibility of extra energy-related sanctions on Iran in case Tehran forcefully responded to its beheading provocation. Yet Iranians are too sophisticated to fall for such a crude tap.

Persian Gulf traders have confirmed the 2016 Saudi budget is based on an average crude oil price of only $29 per barrel, as first reported by Jadwa Investment in Riyadh.

From the House of Saud’s budget dilemma perspective, this is absolutely unsustainable. The House of Saud is the biggest OPEC oil exporter. Yet their supreme hubris is to deny Iran any leeway in exports, which will be inevitable especially in the second half of 2016. Moreover, the low oil price strategy doesn’t apply solely to Iran: it’s still part of the oil war against Russia.

Somebody though is not doing the math right in Riyadh. The Saudi low oil price strategy has been punishing Russia – the number two global oil producer – badly. The Saudis cannot possibly expect that their beheading provocation will simultaneously scotch an OPEC-Russia deal on cutting production and also lead to higher oil prices, which would mostly benefit – guess what – Iran and Russia.

A case can be made that the House of Saud’s low oil price strategy has been a slow motion Wahhabi hara-kiri from the start (which, by the way, is hardly a bad thing.)

The House of Saud budget has collapsed. Riyadh is financing an unwinnable, mightily expensive war on Yemen, financing and weaponizing all manner of Salafi-jihadists in Syria, and is spending fortunes to prop up al-Sisi in Egypt against any possible Daesh (Islamic State) and/or Muslim Brotherhood offensive. As if this were not enough, internally the succession is a royal mess, with King Salman’s 30-year-old warrior-in-chief, Mohammad bin Salman, stamping his toxic mix of arrogance and incompetence on a daily basis.

Predictably, Riyadh once again is following Washington’s orders.

The United States government is frantically trying to hold the oil price down to destroy the Russian economy, using their proxy Persian Gulf producers who are pumping all out. That amounts to no less than seven million barrels a day over the OPEC quota, according to Persian Gulf traders. The US government believes it can destroy the Russian economy – again – as if the clock had been turned back to 1985, when the global glut was 20 percent of the oil supply and the Soviet Union was bogged down in Afghanistan and internally bleeding to death.

Oil went down to $7.00 a barrel in 1985, and that low figure is where the US government is now trying to drive the price down. Yet today the global glut is less than three percent of the oil supply, not 20 percent as in 1985.

The surplus today is only 2.2 million barrels a day, according to Petroleum Intelligence Weekly. Iran will bring on initially around 600,000 barrels a day of new oil in 2016. That means later this year we will have a 2.8-million potential surplus.

The problem is, according to Persian Gulf traders, an annual oil depletion of seven million barrels a day, and that cannot be replaced with the collapse in drilling. What this means is that all surplus oil could be wiped out in the first or second quarters of 2016. By mid-2016, oil prices should start surging dramatically, even with additional oil from Iran.

So the US government strategy has now metastasized into trying to destroy the Russian economy before the oil price inevitably recovers. That would give the US government a window of opportunity spanning only the next six months.

How this could have been pulled off so far is a testament, once again, to the irresistible force of Wall Street manipulators using cash settlement; they are able to create a crash where there is hardly any surplus oil at all. Yet even as the Empire of Chaos frantically manipulates the oil price down, it may not go down fast enough to destroy the Russian economy.

Even Reuters was forced to admit briefly the oil surplus was less than two million barrels a day, and may even be alarmingly less than a million barrels a day before returning to the usual oil-at-an-all-time-low story. This information on the real oil surplus so far had been completely censored. It confronts head on the hegemonic US narrative of surpluses lasting forever and the imminent collapse of the Russian economy.

As for Saudi Arabia, it’s just a mere pawn in a much nastier game. Common sense now rules that it’s essentially a matter of Black Daesh (the fake “Caliphate”) and White Daesh (the House of Saud). After all, the ideological matrix is the same, beheadings included. It’s the next stage of the oil war that may well decide which Daesh will be the first to fall.

Pepe Escobar

Protest in Sanaa over Shia Cleric’s execution by Saudi Arabia


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Saudi Execution Sword Takes Swipe at Washington

By Finian Cunningham

January 07, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “SCF“- The Saudi execution of senior Shiite cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr is but the latest in a series of provocations towards regional rival Iran. The furious reaction from Shiite Iran to the beheading of Nimr – a renowned Islamic scholar – and the severance of diplomatic ties between the two countries appears to be a calculated winding up of tensions by the Sunni Saudi rulers. But the real objective for Saudi Arabia is more likely to embroil its political patron in Washington in a sharper regional conflict – a conflict that would also lead to a conflagration with Russia.

The reaction of Washington to the execution of Saudi-born cleric Nimr al-Nimr was one of «surprise», according to the New York Times. That suggests the Saudi rulers went rogue on the move. The Times noted that the Obama administration is worried that the cleric’s death could «jeopardize diplomatic efforts in the region» – which is probably exactly what the Saudi regime wants.

Nimr was executed at the weekend along with four other Shiite activists and over 40 alleged members of the terror group Al-Qaeda. It was the biggest mass execution in the kingdom for over three decades. The state killing of Nimr along with condemned Al-Qaeda terrorists only adds to the insult towards Iranian leaders who referred to the cleric as a «martyr» and a man of peace.

Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei vowed that «God’s vengeance would strike the Saudi rulers»; Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah denounced the sentence as «an assassination»; while Iraqi Shiite leader Ayatollah Ali Sistani said that the killing of 56-year-old Nimr was «an unjust aggression».

Nimr had become a household name among Shiite Muslims across the world because of his courageous defiance of the House of Saud, whom he lambasted as despots and openly called for its overthrow. The cleric upheld the democratic rights of Saudi’s minority Shiite community which has long protested persecution under the radical Sunni rulers. Nimr had peacefully agitated during the 2011 Arab Spring revolt, but was arrested by the Saudi authorities in 2012 and convicted of a range of charges, including terrorism, which carried the death sentence. Supporters and international rights groups accused the Saudi rulers of trumping up the charges and of gross miscarriage of justice.

Iran was particularly vocal in protesting the sentencing of Nimr and when his appeal against execution was rejected in October 2015, Tehran warned the Saudi rulers then that there would be dire consequences if they carried out the capital punishment.

That the Saudis went ahead with the execution – in spite of widespread protests – seems to be a calculated bid to antagonize Iran. The next grim step to watch for is whether the Saudis proceed with the execution of Nimr’s nephew, Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who is also on death row, on charges over his involvement in the 2011 street protests in Saudi’s Shiite populated eastern province. Again, that case has also drawn international condemnation as a travesty of justice, especially because the youth was only aged 17 years when he was first incarcerated. Under the Saudi judicial system, Ali Mohammed could be executed any day, his particular sentence involving gruesome crucifixion. That would be sure to really explode regional tensions among Shiite Muslims as it would be seen as another gratuitous political killing.

What we have to appreciate is the wider context of decades-long political rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, going back to the Islamic Revolution in 1979. The autocratic House of Saud has always viewed the Islamic Republic of Iran as a subversive threat in the region. Much of the Saudi fears are due to a paranoid insecurity about their own precarious political system, relying as it does on a dynastic hold on power by one family – the Al Sauds – and their draconian application of Sharia law under a fundamentalist Wahhabi interpretation of Sunni Islam.

The Arab Spring protests in 2011 amplified Saudi fears of instability. Iran was blamed for instigating subversion in two countries that the Saudi rulers consider to be their backyard: Bahrain and Yemen. Saudi accusations against Iran were overblown in both cases. There is no evidence that Iran was fueling popular protests in either Bahrain or Yemen against incumbent rulers patronized by Riyadh.

In Yemen, when the mainly Shiite Houthi uprising finally succeeded last year in overthrowing the Saudi-backed regime, the Saudi rulers typically made hysterical claims that Iran was fomenting trouble in its Arab Peninsula southern neighbor. On that unsubstantiated basis, the Saudis mobilized a military coalition of other Sunni Arab countries to launch a war on Yemen, beginning on March 26 last year, which continues unabated. Both Washington and London have supported the Saudi-led war on Yemen, with supply of warplanes, munitions and logistics, even though as the New York Times noted: «But Western diplomats say the Saudis vastly overstated the Iranian role, at least at the war’s start. Nonetheless, a Saudi Arabia-led military coalition, backed by the United States, has killed thousands of civilians in airstrikes».

Yemen can be considered as the first major provocation towards Iran over the past year. It is noteworthy that the Saudis launched the war one week before the signing of the interim nuclear deal in Lausanne, Switzerland, between Iran and Washington and other world powers in the so-called P5 + 1 group. That deal and the subsequent finalization of an accord in Vienna in July has vexed the Saudi rulers intensely as they fear that normalization of relations will only bolster Iranian influence in the Middle East. It is reasonable to assume that the Saudi-led conflict in Yemen was aimed at derailing the P5+1 process and its ongoing fragile implementation.

Nine months of non-stop Saudi-led bombardment of Yemen have been interspersed with tendentious allegations by Riyadh that Iran is agitating and arming the Houthi rebels. There is no evidence for such material support, although to be sure as a Shiite-dominated power Tehran has openly voiced diplomatic backing for the Houthis. Iran’s leader Ayatollah Khamenei has frequently excoriated the Saudi action in Yemen as «genocidal crimes».

A second major provocation came in September when more than 450 Iranians were killed in a stampede during the Muslim Hajj pilgrimage near Medina in Saudi Arabia. Although the tragedy appeared to be a monumental accident, Tehran was furious at the way the Saudi authorities reportedly showed disrespect towards the Iranian crush victims by delaying the repatriation of their corpses.

The five-year war in Syria is another source of Saudi-Iranian rivalry. The Saudi regime has backed an array of insurgent networks, which have been linked to terrorist jihadists in the Islamic State group and the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra. Washington and other Western powers, Britain and France, are also implicated in this covert war for regime change against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. Iran has been a staunch ally of Assad’s Syria as being part of the region’s anti-imperialist resistance bloc, which also includes Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

With Russia’s dramatic military intervention since September in support of its long-time strategic ally in Syria, the war dynamic has been transformed in favor of the Assad government and the Syrian Arab Army. The foreign-backed insurgency is decidedly on the retreat in large part because of Russian air power and Iranian and Hezbollah troops fighting alongside the Syrian army.

The losing tide against the foreign-backed insurgency in Syria has evidently shifted Washington’s calculations towards a political process for pursuing its objective of regime change. US Secretary of State John Kerry has noticeably stepped up the diplomatic efforts over the past three months, along with Moscow, to convene peace talks on the Syrian conflict. Those talks are to begin later this month in Geneva. Remarkably, Washington and its British and French allies have dropped their erstwhile demand that Assad must quit power immediately. Thus, the West appears to have moved towards Russia and Iran’s position which is that any peace process in Syria should not be conditioned on the political future of Assad, whose fate, they say, depends on the electoral choice of the Syrian people as a matter of sovereign right.

The Western powers, it can be averred, still want regime change in Syria for their geopolitical ambitions in the region, in particular for extending hegemonic power and isolating both Russia and Iran. Nevertheless, realizing that the covert military option of forcing regime change in Syria is waning due to Russia and Iran’s intervention, Washington, London and Paris appear to be «giving peace a chance» in the altogether cynical calculation that they might achieve at the negotiating table what they failed to achieve on the battle field.

Not so the Saudis. Or, it can be added, the Turkish regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. With their Salafist/Wahhabi Islamist affiliations and deeper investment in the insurgent mercenaries, both Riyadh and Ankara still persist in demanding that the Syrian leader must stand down as a precondition for any political settlement.

From the Saudi viewpoint, Washington appears to be giving too many concessions to Syria and its arch-enemy Iran. For the Saudi rulers, the peace talks due to begin in Geneva are a vexing reminder of the P5+1 nuclear accord that Washington signed up to with Iran.

Neither the P5+1 nuclear deal nor the Geneva peace talks on Syria may actually bear much fruit for Iranian interests and those of its allies. But from the House of Saud’s paranoid perspective – which sees Iran as its nemesis – these developments, however tentative, are absolutely anathema to Riyadh.

This probably explains the provocative execution of the cleric Nimr al-Nimr. It is but the latest in a series of acts by Saudi Arabia aimed at goading Iran and its regional Shiite allies into a more inflammatory conflict. If Iran were to hit back militarily at Saudi Arabia that would inevitably draw in the United States as Riyadh’s primary Western ally. The Saudis have been itching for Washington to launch military strikes on Syria going back to at least the suspicious chemical weapons atrocity near Damascus in August 2013, when President Obama reneged at the last minute – much to Saudi ire back then.

If Saudi Arabia can provoke an Iranian military response – and the provocations have been unrelenting over recent months – then the House of Saud stands to kill several birds with one stone. It gets America to go to war for regime change in Syria and against Iran at the same time.

However, what the reckless Saudi rulers don’t seem fazed by is that such an escalation would inevitably lead to an international conflagration with Russia. © Strategic Culture Foundation


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