Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 14, 2016

Feeling Ignored By Obama Saudi Dynasty Threatens To Hurt Itself

Someone paid Kim Ghattas, a BBC correspondent in Washington, to write an extremely pro-Saudi piece for Foreign Policy.

The money was not well spent. The piece, The Saudi-Iran War Is America’s Fault, is as lousy as its headline.

The central argument goes somewhat like this:

"If the U.S. does not stop the nuclear disarmament of Iran - the Saudis baddest foe -  then the Saudis will have no other choice but to destabilize Saudi Arabia."

No. That does not make sense. But that is the argument the piece makes. It is also something that the Saudis are actually doing.

Some excerpts:

The United States cannot ignore or choose to stay out of the brewing rivalry between Iran and Saudi Arabia. It is not a purely religious feud, and it is not someone else’s civil war — it’s a hornet’s nest in which Washington poked its finger by pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran. ... It is this shifting regional context caused by the JCPOA [nuclear deal] that explains not only Saudi Arabia’s increasingly assertive stance in recent months, but also its decision to execute Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Jan. 2.

Not only is the Obama responsible for Saudi warmongering at Tehran but he also killed the Saudi rabble-rouser Nimr al-Nimr!

How did he do that?

The Saudis knew that going ahead with the death sentence would provoke the Iranians and worry the Americans. So why did they choose this moment to do it? It was time to send a clear message to U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration that Riyadh is sufficiently antagonized by Washington that it no longer feels obligated to go along with American efforts to tiptoe around Iran.

So the Saudis killed Nimr because, like a child that stomps its feet, they needed Obama's attention.

The Saudis also went to war against Yemen because of Obama's lack of attention, says the author. That war goes badly she admits but the Saudis will go on anyway because Obama is dangling after Iran. How the support for the Saudis war on Yemen by U.S. air-tankers, intelligence, targeting advice and expedited ammunition delivery can be seen as a lack of U.S. attention is left unexplained.

The Saudis are also miffed that Obama did not protest when an anti-western terrorist on their payroll was killed:

In December, the head of a powerful Islamist Syrian rebel group, Zahran Alloush, was killed in an airstrike that rebels blamed on Russia. He was no moderate and no friend of the West, but he was a powerful rebel leader and his death was a blow to Syrian peace efforts.
In the eyes of Riyadh, Washington’s muted reaction to Alloush’s killing was worse than the strike itself.

So Obama should have protested the killing of an anti-western Jihadi, who publicly put children and women into cages as human shields, because ...

The nonsense continues like that. Yes, says the author, the Saudis are richer and have more and better weapon than Iran and more international support. But they still fear Iran and that is Obama's fault.

The threat is, the author says, that the Saudis will continue their childish behavior and further hurt themselves. That would, somehow, be bad. Obama must therefore pad them on their head and slap Iran.

The author does well in describing the irrationality of recent Saudi behavior. But she then uses that irrationality as a pro-Saudi argument for more U.S. engagement. It does not strike me as a compelling reasoning. I doubt it will convince anyone else. The Saudi embassy in Washington should ask for its money back.

There is no doubt that the Saudis are not doing well right now. Their war on Yemen is expensive, endless and has zero positive results. Big partners of the new alliances the Saudis announced repudiate to be part of it. The still sinking oil price is creating huge budget troubles.

But the Saudis could still behave worse and if this unconfirmed report is right they will soon start doing so:

Saudi King Salman Al-Saud plans to abdicate his throne and install his son Mohammed as king, multiple highly-placed sources told the Institute for Gulf Affairs.

Mohamed bin Salman is the current deputy crown prince, second in-line to the throne, and defense minister.

King Salman, 80, has been making the rounds visiting his brothers seeking support for the move that will also remove the current crown prince and American favorite, the hardline Mohammed bin Naif from his positions as the crown prince and the minister of interior.
Salman plans to abdicate and install his son as king while he is still alive to guarantee his offspring would not be marginalized and driven out of power like all the sons of former Saudi kings who lost power and influence after the death of their fathers.
The sources did not give a specific time line for the abdication but believed the matter will be concluded within a matter of weeks.

Deputy Clown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, the guy who has Debt To GDP, is responsible for the totally irresponsible war on Yemen and its continuation. His planned economic and social reforms practically guarantee social discontent within Saudi Arabia. His coronation would also lead to deep trouble within the very large al-Saud family. Many older princes would feel snubbed out and pull their strings to regain power.

The precipitant change of guard is probably the worst the Saudis could do to themselves. But, as the first quoted piece above argues, this is the very reason why Washington should pamper the Saudis and attack Iran.

Let us hope that no one else in Washington draws such a lunatic conclusion.

Posted by b on January 14, 2016 at 18:24 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Obama should throw the Saudi's under a bus. Preferably one driven by an Ayatollah..

Posted by: Steve | Jan 14 2016 18:40 utc | 1

The show of mutual respect extended to our USN sailors (read Marines or Seal Team/Teams) after militarily violating Iran's territory smells of being staged occurring as it did in the time frame of POTUS doing his Dorthy Gale take on reality to a national TV crowd numbering possibly in the hundreds. I suspect that the Shah's backers here in the United States of America have their daggers sharpened. A$$hat Carter a hand puppet posing as a diplomat. Who needs TV when reality is so, so, entertaining. Just my opinion.

Posted by: Alberto | Jan 14 2016 18:44 utc | 2

Thanks God they have the HuffPost

Posted by: Mina | Jan 14 2016 18:47 utc | 3

The mainstream media start to refer to what was selectively hidden. That Saudi Arabia is the most brutal regime in the Middle East. Is this a sign that the West is ready to break the alliance with the Saudis?

Posted by: nmb | Jan 14 2016 18:47 utc | 4

That paid shithead does have aligned despicable views - with also the Rethuglicans and Israeli terrorist zionists. Who are both desperate for a war crime regime change in Iran, like right now.

The Democrats are sometimes more thoughtful about their plans for criminal regime change and want to weaken countries before they attack.

They both have the same obvious despicable end goal, and one is just more strategic.
And that shit head above who that wrote that piece, doesn't have the patience for war crimes like the more patient war criminals of the Democrats.

Posted by: tom | Jan 14 2016 19:27 utc | 5

Let us hope that no one else in Washington draws such a lunatic conclusion

Washington? Lunatic? Conclusion?

i suppose that's sarcasm, right?

Posted by: john | Jan 14 2016 19:28 utc | 6

they're working on it
RT: Rights advocate sister of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi arrested, put in same prison.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Posted by: Susan Sunflower | Jan 14 2016 19:30 utc | 7

Saudis will crumble with their own weight. Extravagant life, hubris, cronyism, brutality, wars, killing, falling oil price and arrogance will destroy them soon. BBC and MSM carrying water for burning ship of corrupt kingdom. Blame game started already.

Posted by: ABC | Jan 14 2016 19:53 utc | 8

So, the Saudi beasts are killing thousands of people in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and all other places they have proxy takfiris at work, just because they are throwing a temper tantrum at Washington, DC for having neglected them? Heaven help us, what would happen when they grow up?

Let us hope that no one else in Washington draws such a lunatic conclusion

I wouldn't be so hopeful. Inside the Beltway is a lunatic house, competition to support lunatic causes is fierce, particularly if there is lots of money involved, as with the Saudi beasts.

Thanks b for wading into the Saudi sewage to keep us updated. I certainly hope your wading boots are for a big man and tall.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 14 2016 20:06 utc | 9

Sounds like the logic employed in Blazing Saddles when the sheriff held his gun to his head and demanded others stop or he'll kill himself.

A good question is why would that publication deem such an item worthy of publication, unless it's all just about money.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 14 2016 20:14 utc | 10

Saudi King Salman Al-Saud plans to abdicate his throne
Yeah, I can imagine Muhammad b. Salman spreading that story. He's probably hassling his father into a heart attack, but he needs the allegiance of the clan first. No primogeniture in Islam.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 14 2016 20:33 utc | 11

This interview is of some interest.

Saudi disillusionement started with Bush

Jim Lobe interviews Chas Freeman. Jan 12, 2016.

- note, it is rather favorable to KSA, and I’m not posting it because I agree with the content.

Posted by: Noirette | Jan 14 2016 20:47 utc | 12

Washington will not be pleased if MBN is passed over and Prince Reckless is installed.

Wonder what the Israelis think of all this? I wonder if the Saudis have a neocon advisor.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 14 2016 21:02 utc | 13

"Let us hope that no one else in Washington draws such a lunatic conclusion"

I know a career State Dept employee that keeps me realistic about what Washington thinks regardless of who is in office. He is currently working in the "Yemen embassy" which is temporarily housed in Saudi Arabia while they re-instate the US-recognized government of Yemen. He thinks that Americans don't know anything about Arabs and that the State Dept knows more about these things than the locals themselves... (which, apparently, the State Dept employees never interact with). I don't know how these employees choose these jobs with so little curiosity about what's going on (a job requirement?) but throughout the past 15 years of useless wars, they seem quite stupidly sure of their views - which are lunatic - and proud of it.

Posted by: anon | Jan 14 2016 21:13 utc | 14

I think King Salman's intent to make Mohamed King was clear early on, as seen in Meet the New House of Saud from April 29th:

From the April 28th article (linked above):

Since King Salman ascended to the throne in January, his son Mohammed has risen sharply through the ranks. He was appointed defense minister and head of the royal court, a position that has been compared to a Saudi version of prime minister.

And, King Salman's connection to extremists are well known:

Yet Salman has an ongoing track record of patronizing hateful extremists that is now getting downplayed for political convenience. As former CIA official Bruce Riedel astutely pointed out, Salman was the regime’s lead fundraiser for mujahideen, or Islamic holy warriors, in Afghanistan in the 1980s, as well as for Bosnian Muslims during the Balkan struggles of the 1990s. In essence, he served as Saudi Arabia’s financial point man for bolstering fundamentalist proxies in war zones abroad.

As longtime governor of Riyadh, Salman was often charged with maintaining order and consensus among members of his family. Salman’s half brother King Khalid (who ruled from 1975 to 1982) therefore looked to him early on in the Afghan conflict to use these family contacts for international objectives, appointing Salman to run the fundraising committee that gathered support from the royal family and other Saudis to support the mujahideen against the Soviets.

Why is USA and other 'Western democracies' supporting a guy like this? Because petro-dollar. But also because extremism has been very useful to Western political/security state elites: destabilizing countries we don't like and conditioning/controlling the Western public.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 14 2016 21:27 utc | 15

Senile Salman is silly enough to try and give the king of the flies gig to his son and one part of me hopes he does since the resulting dummy spitting and toy from cot throwing by the kazillion other 'princes' will almost certainly bring the el-Saud regime down.

The only trouble is what comes next since every halfway decent potential leader has had his/her head chopped off long ago.
It is likely that the only halfway organised and competent mob left standing would be the loony tunes louts who fund and organise daesh.
Then the world would get to see exactly how many fighter-bombers, guns, rocket-launchers, helicopters and tanks England had sold KSA over the last coupla decades as all those weapons got deployed everywhere some as yet unknown megalomaniac sheik believed an 'apostate' lurked. That would be the entire planet since most normal humans find the Saudi brand of fanaticism completely over the top. And that would be after every man woman and child in Yemen had been obliterated in a fit of hysterical impotent rage.

On the upside it wouldn't be too much trouble for Iran, Hezbollah & Iraq to turn all that expensive junk into an ugly mash-up of metal and flesh, but the downside is huge - millions of poor fucks caught in the middle of the mess would also be dead.

Even worse is the certainty that given a choice between their puppet masters losing access to Saudi oil or nuking a coupla million unwhites who lack the ability to retaliate, amerikan pols will always pick the nuke option meaning that a)millions of innocents die over an argument in which they had no say, and b) Mid Eastern antipathy to whitefellas would grow exponentially and last for at least another 50 years.

No I'm not arguing some sort of lesser evil line to keep the el-saud mob in power but I do reckon we all need to think very carefully about how that tyranny is brought down.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 14 2016 21:39 utc | 16

@15 jackrabbit
"Why is USA and other 'Western democracies' supporting a guy like this?"

Are we really supporting him? I know the conventional wisdom is America supports Saudis no matter what. But are we really? Seems like a shift is happening. Iran deal, shale oil/gas are first obvious evidences that come to mind but from what I read, they are really, really furious with the US. I was talking to someone online saying that since they are going off the rails, I hope they don't have some secret nukes like the Israelis do. Guy in Yemen answered me and said 'well if they do they'll be aiming them at the US first'.

I knew they were mad. I didn't realize they were that mad.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 14 2016 21:48 utc | 17

There is an old Iranian proverb that goes like this: one who has a dispute with his own (hand wash) launderer and wants to make her trouble, should not shit in his own pants.

Seems like the author of this FP article is suggesting that Saudis are doing the exact opposite to this old Iranian wisdom.

Posted by: Kooshy | Jan 14 2016 21:53 utc | 18

Lately I've been wondering a lot about those "redrawing the Middle East borders" stories that have floated for quite awhile but with increased frequency after the Syrian war started. And all the talk and propositions in "serious" foreign policy circles about partitioning, redrawing borders, etc.

I know what Jeffrey Goldberg is infamous for his map, but didn't the whole thing start decades ago with a military planner or a prof? What was the origin of the redrawing ME borders / fixing Sykes-Picot etc? I'd like to include it in a blog post but want to make sure I have the origins straight.

Anyway, I got off track for a minute there -- regardless of where the 'redrawing ME' originated, what has been on my mind is the redrawn map of Saudi Arabia in these maps. It is sliced up. Why did the grand map redrawers slice it up?

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 14 2016 21:56 utc | 19

"Someone payed Kim Ghattas, a BBC correspondent in Washington, to write an extremely pro-Saudi piece for Foreign Policy ..."

Could that someone have been The Klintonator or a US State Department employee?

From Ghattas' Wikipedia entry:

"Kim Ghattas (born 1977 in Beirut, Lebanon) is a journalist for the BBC and author, currently covering the US State Department.

She attended the American University of Beirut, studying political science. At the same time, she worked as an intern at an English-language newspaper in Beirut. Ghattas then worked for the Financial Times and the BBC from Beirut. After reporting from the Middle East, in early 2008 she moved to Washington, DC, to take up her post covering the US State Department."

Here's Christian Science Monitor's review of Kim Ghattas' book "The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power".

I'll quote a few choice excerpts:

" ... The book proves to be very sympathetic to the US diplomatic process, and in particular to Clinton, who here is portrayed as charming, well-intentioned, and – most important to Ghattas – honest ..."

" ... Ghattas portrays Clinton as genuinely interested in hearing from people, and speaking to them was part of a broader plan to improve opinions of the US abroad. From Ghattas's point of view, she was largely successful, and definitely so on a personal level – Clinton left office with incredibly high approval ratings and remains one of America’s most well-regarded politicians ..."

" ... Occasionally Ghattas seems a little too admiring of Clinton, who comes across as perhaps unrealistically patient and nearly faultless. But Ghattas's inclusion of several tough interviews that she herself had with Clinton indicates that admiration was hard-earned ..."

We may be hearing more of and about Ghattas during the 2016 US Presidential election campaign season.

Now excuse me, I must run to the bathroom, I need to puke.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 14 2016 21:57 utc | 20

@ Jen #20

Now excuse me, I must run to the bathroom, I need to puke.

I'm right behind you.

Remember, you can't spell "ghastly" without G-H-A-T-S.

Posted by: Ort | Jan 14 2016 22:15 utc | 21

must see

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 14 2016 22:22 utc | 22



Are you serious?

Apologies for freedom, I can’t handle this.

When freedom rings, answer the call!

On your feet, stand up tall!

Freedom's on our shoulders, USA!

Enemies of freedom face the music, c'mon boys, take them down

President Donald Trump knows how to make America great

Deal from strength or get crushed every time

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 14 2016 22:24 utc | 23

No, no this lyrics

Cowardice, are you serious?

Apologies for freedom, I can't handle this

When freedom rings, answer the call

On your feet, stand up tall

Freedom's on our shoulders, USA!

Enemies of freedom, face the music

Come on boys, take them down

President Donald Trump knows how to make America great

Deal from strength or get crushed every time

Over here (USA!)

Over there (USA!)

Freedom and liberty everywhere

Oh say can you see, it's not so easy

But we have to stand up tall, and answer freedom's call


We're the land of the free and the home of the brave, USA

The stars and stripes are flying, let's celebrate our freedom

Inspire proudly freedom to the world

Ameritude, American pride

It's attitude, it's who we are, stand up tall

We're the red white and blue

Fiercely free that's who

Our colors don't run, so siree

Over here (USA!)

Over there (USA!)

Freedom and liberty everywhere

Oh say can you see, it's not so easy

But we have to stand up tall and answer freedom's call

This is real America aka USA, no kidding.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 14 2016 22:28 utc | 24

"payed" ?

please fix that spelling error in the opening line;
some people I've forwarded this article to have called back to say they quit reading half way through the 1st sentence;
unfortunate but true

once in a while, running a spellcheck does make a difference

Posted by: roger erickson | Jan 14 2016 22:32 utc | 25

@19 (myself)
Redrawing Middle East map -- these are the three things I've seen most about redrawing ME maps but they are pretty recent (2006-present). I thought there was earlier either military or scholarly work on the subject that many of these things were based on but I haven't found it yet.
1. LtCol Ralph Peters (Army, military intelligence)

2. Goldberg (Atlantic)

3. NYT Robin Wright (U Michigan)

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 14 2016 22:33 utc | 26

Take look at audience.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 14 2016 22:36 utc | 27

There is some feminine whiff in Ghattas writing. True, a youth wrecks havoc all around, but we need to look at the root causes: callous parents who do not stint on allowance, cars etc. but deprive him of what he needs most: attention. Did Obama kiss Prince Mohamed bin Salman? Did he look deep into his eyes (Bush Jr. was good in that department, he even looked deep into Putin's eyes.) No amount of logistics, (overpriced) arm sales, (crappy) intelligence support etc. can make up for that. And by all means, send them something more nerve soothing than Captagon (I am not an expert, perhaps glue?)!

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 14 2016 22:36 utc | 28

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 14, 2016 4:48:48 PM | 17

Are we really supporting him?

Yes, I think we are. I think "we" see no alternative for now. So as a matter of real-politick we are. And Sy Hersh has written about an Alliance between US, Israel, and the Saudis ("The Redirection", 2007) to use extremists as a weapon. Such an alliance seems to explain a lot of what we have seen since it was (allegedly) formed.

Much of what we see is kabuki because each state (Saudi, Israel, USA, Turkey, etc.) doesn't want to be seen working with states that many in their population find distasteful. For that reason, we must pay attention to what they do, not what they say.

In that vein, do neocons really HATE Obama? Despite Obama's saying that he believes in "exceptionalism! with every fiber of my being" and his giving the neocons everything they could reasonably have asked for? Likewise, do the Saudis really HATE Obama? Obama is a supporter of "Assad must go!" and his bombing of ISIS is the butt of jokes.

Given the foregoing (and more), its worthwhile to ask: what it the real intent of the 'deal' with Iran? Is it a real effort at peace? Or does it forestall (proxy) war to a more convenient time? Or both?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 14 2016 23:10 utc | 29

Totally off topic. Checking news from conflict zones I looked at and it is really a slow day in Novorossiya. Apparently Poroshenko forgot a bit of Ukrainian language during a TV interview and asked his aide how is "кошелёк." Sadly, I was stumped what is it about and Ukrainian гаманець did not help. In the context, it was something that Poroshenko does not need. Short investigation revealed that first кошелёк in history was used in Great Novgorod in XI century, and hundred years later became popular all over Europe, it is used to keep money, credit cards etc. (did they have credit cards in Great Novgorod?) and in English it is called "wallet".

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Jan 14 2016 23:12 utc | 30

@25 roger erickson

If the past tense of play = played,
why isn't the past tense of pay = payed?

Because English is stupid in a lot of ways. They should make "payed" the past tense of the word "pay", frankly. Also the people who quit reading your forwarded article are stupid. The meaning of the sentence was quite clear. The substance of the post valuable. But they stopped reading because of a stupid English rule that tripped up a brilliant guy who writes in a language not his native language, and does better than most native speakers.

Just my humble opinion, of course.

Posted by: Joanne Leon | Jan 14 2016 23:14 utc | 31

@ 31
Excellent comment, just what I thought.

Posted by: Lochearn | Jan 14 2016 23:22 utc | 32

Roger Erickson @25,

part of me agrees with you, b makes a lot of typos, so do a lot of the commenters here, but i've also got to agree with Joanne - b isn't a native english speaker and lot's of the commenters here aren't either. the spellcheck argument sounds convincing (what could be easier?) but i'm not sure a german word processing program will spell-check english.

the other thing is time, it takes a long time to put all that together, do all the research, find all the links, make a draft, think about what it all means, find more info, complete the article, etc. hell, half the time i don't even bother with capital letters except for people's names cause of time (i joke that i don't believe in capitalism)

my suggestion would be for you to ask your freinds how good their german is?, explain that spelling errors by foreigners does not equal poor intelligence.

Posted by: sillybill | Jan 14 2016 23:44 utc | 33

Just hilarious. He, he, he....

This is possible only in one country.

And audience...if nothing else this is worth to live for.

Cowardice, are you serious?

Apologies for freedom, I can't handle this

When freedom rings, answer the call

On your feet, stand up tall

Freedom's on our shoulders, USA!

Enemies of freedom, face the music

Come on boys, take them down

President Donald Trump knows how to make America great

Deal from strength or get crushed every time

Over here (USA!)

Over there (USA!)

Freedom and liberty everywhere

Oh say can you see, it's not so easy

But we have to stand up tall, and answer freedom's call


We're the land of the free and the home of the brave, USA

The stars and stripes are flying, let's celebrate our freedom

Inspire proudly freedom to the world

Ameritude, American pride

It's attitude, it's who we are, stand up tall

We're the red white and blue

Fiercely free that's who

Our colors don't run, so siree

Over here (USA!)

Over there (USA!)

Freedom and liberty everywhere

Oh say can you see, it's not so easy

But we have to stand up tall and answer freedom's call

This is real America aka USA, no kidding.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 14 2016 23:52 utc | 34

Because English is stupid in a lot of ways. They should make "payed" the past tense of the word "pay", frankly.
Lots of languages have irregular verbs, or other irregularities. Not lots really; pretty much all. There are said to be one or two completely logical languages, but none of those that I know. They're unlikely to exist really, because the irregularities come from the way people use language, change and mangle words, GW Bush being a good example.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 14 2016 23:52 utc | 35

but i'm not sure a german word processing program will spell-check english.
Of course it will. Perhaps the Germans here can tell me, but I think the best known German word processor is LibreOffice (in spite of the French name). That spell-checks English fine.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 14 2016 23:57 utc | 36

Ho ho ho

"Freedom and liberty everywhere"

"The banner of our struggle was our 11 demands: land, work, food, health, education, dignified housing, independence, democracy, freedom, justice, and peace."
Eduardo Galeano

Q. Which one of these demands "fee, brave and exceptional" have?
A. None

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 14 2016 23:59 utc | 37

Neretva'43 @22: Yes, essential viewing. If/when Trump meets King Salman Jr., I think the meeting goes well. Simple-minded egotists think alike.

On the spell-check issue, the sort of folks who will stop reading b on that basis need to unlearn some privilege bias. Non-native writer, no personal assistant who'll fix those errors, no time cuz b's writing here is very likely a sideline from a full-time 'real' job ... So the offended folks are basically stopping themselves from reading because of an artificial class/money 'problem' that the real left and the less privileged classes (and especially their non-native writers) usually can't win.

Posted by: fairleft | Jan 15 2016 0:29 utc | 38

Kim Ghattas self-summary at her Twitter site:

"BBC. Covering Hillary Clinton campaign. Author NYT best seller: The Secretary ( on Clinton and American power)."

So the author of an extremely fawning Hillary Clinton bio is the perfect BBC choice to cover HC's campaign. But helpfully Ghattas fronts what she really is, a PR hack.

Posted by: fairleft | Jan 15 2016 0:39 utc | 39

Twitter account of Javad Zarif (@JZarif), Iran's foreign minister:

Diplomacy is the domain of the mature; not arrogant nouveau-riche.

This has to be a reference to arrogant fool Mohamed bin Salman, the arrogant nouveau-riche fool most in the news nowadays.

Posted by: fairleft | Jan 15 2016 0:54 utc | 40


I think the reference fits Hillary better. The Clinton's are "nouveau-riche" and she is now getting 'blow-back' due to her "arrogant" use of a private email server.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 15 2016 1:04 utc | 41

And (of course) the emails released from Hillary's private server (esp. wrt Libya) have been damaging to her campaign for President.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 15 2016 1:16 utc | 42

The US will probably pick the most ludicrous position. They usually do.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Jan 15 2016 1:29 utc | 43


The Iranian diplomats certainly showed the Saudis how the mature accept humiliation as they did to get the Nuke deal from the West. This ongoing and rather childish rhetoric aimed at the new Saudi leadership says much about the Old Guard in Tehran and how much they fear the new generation of Saudis.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 15 2016 1:30 utc | 44


If it's good enough for the King James Bible, it's certainly good enough for me:

"I have peace offerings with me; this day have I PAYED my vows." (Proverbs 7:14)

"Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be REPAYED." (Proverbs 13:21)

"And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, PAYED tithes in Abraham." (Hebrews 7:9)

Indeed, this discussion puts me in mind of Laertes's apt commentary, "By Heauen, thy madnesse shall be PAYED by waight" (Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 5).

Posted by: Madeira | Jan 15 2016 1:43 utc | 45

With thousands of US troops in the region the Saudis can afford to talk tough. There's a limit to how far they push it though.

Posted by: dh | Jan 15 2016 1:46 utc | 46

@46 Should be a link with that...

"Saudi Arabia no longer cares if this U.S. silence is the passing weakness of a president whose term ends in two years, or if it’s a conspiracy or a major deal that President Barack Obama is negotiating with the Iranians as they address the latter’s nuclear program."

Posted by: dh | Jan 15 2016 1:52 utc | 47

I know a career State Dept employee that keeps me realistic about what Washington thinks regardless of who is in office.
Posted by: anon | Jan 14, 2016 4:13:53 PM | 14

Interesting contact and perspective.
Isn't the State Dept the place the Leveretts got tired of pretending was useful?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 15 2016 1:59 utc | 48


Where exactly are these thousands of US troops in the region that protect the Saudis? If you mean those in Afghanistan they are quite busy there and not doing too well protecting the government there.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 15 2016 2:06 utc | 49

@49 This is from RT (2012) so it's probably just Russian propaganda....

You could check the Pentagon.

Posted by: dh | Jan 15 2016 2:17 utc | 50

@49 More up to date info...

Can't you do your own googling?

Posted by: dh | Jan 15 2016 2:23 utc | 51

I think the USA has been engineering the trainwreck of KSA since the dawn of the Yemen aggression, at least, maybe forever. When it goes up for grabs the US/EU/IL will be there, happy to do the world yet another favor and supply 'stability' ... as in Ukraine. They have a secret plan to end all war.

On the 'payed' question and all its variants ... it's a vote for surface over substance. If that's a reason for folks not to read b ... well then he has cast his pearls before swine. If you 'aesthetes' must each indulge your inner formula fascist ... try developing an appreciation for blogging vérité as an alternative to criticizing a genre that is neither advertized nor on display. If you insist on the style you habitually soak in .... stick to Kim Ghattas. I'm sure she's mastered it. Witgenstein pointed out that each of us has our own language. Stop complaining and read/listen. b's writing is coherent, connected, concise ... and on top of that, a demonstation of the differences in German and English morphology and syntax ... for free!

Posted by: jfl | Jan 15 2016 2:24 utc | 52

some people I've forwarded this article to have called back to say they quit reading half way through the 1st sentence;
unfortunate but true
Posted by: roger erickson | Jan 14, 2016 5:32:01 PM | 25

When you're not busy, ask them if they'd rip up a cheque with the word Thousends on it?
Btw, my spellchecker was offended by your surname. Does that matter?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 15 2016 2:38 utc | 53

First half of Keiser Report show talks a lot about possible ARAMCO IPO.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 15 2016 2:48 utc | 54

Estimated value of ARAMCO would be $7 TRILLION dollars. Apple Computers, to compare, is worth less than 1/10th of that.

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 15 2016 2:52 utc | 55

Apparently, this would be an awful time to float such an IPO with the markets already being depressed. I wonder how the Saudi people (not to mention the rest of the Royal family) will feel watching the boy king sell off their birthright/lifeboat at a fraction of what it is worth.

Nothing would be better for the world scene than the collapse of Saudi Arabia. Its the keystone of the US empire. A vassal state halfway across the planet which, by some mistake of geography, the USAs global ambitions are bound.

Is that overstating it?

Posted by: guest77 | Jan 15 2016 3:11 utc | 56

I agree with you. The USA is apparently 'supporting' Ksa. In fact it has been covertly undermining it by encouraging it to enter in situations the USA knew would turn into quagmires. Syria,yemen are traps where the arrogant and stupid Saudis fell. Now Ksa is in a mess and it is a matter of time before the whole tent of cards start to crumble. From a senile king to a young Ninja, that degenerated dynastie shows that it is closer to its fall.

Posted by: Virgile | Jan 15 2016 3:30 utc | 57

@16 debs is dead.. i agree with you.. thanks for saying all that..

i see the spelling police came by moa today..

@44 wow.. never fail to make something that exposes sa for the bozos they are - all about iran!!! you crack me up!

@51 dh... don't know that wow has discovered google yet!!

@52 jfl.. you might be right.. looks that way to me as well.

@56 guest77.. i agree with you..

Posted by: james | Jan 15 2016 3:52 utc | 58

neretva'43: Thanks for the Trump anthem, I really needed a good laugh.

No double digit IQ's there.

Posted by: ben | Jan 15 2016 4:09 utc | 59


I don't think the Saudis are dependent on our logistics and training hub in Kuwait for their security.

A little more google showed they have 223,000 active duty soldiers in various branches of their military and a 2015 defense budget of $80 Billion, for comparison Russia's 2015 military spending was $52 Billion.

They may depend on the US for intelligence, advice and weapons but they are becoming independent of the US and projecting their own power in their region. This is a new policy for them and Yemen seems to be a training ground where their inexperienced troops and officers will become battle hardened for the future.

Posted by: Wayoutwest | Jan 15 2016 4:35 utc | 60

yeah, like paid mercenaries from 3rd world countries are making the saudis battle hardened for the any more jokes?

Posted by: james | Jan 15 2016 4:53 utc | 61


Sorry I replied to the troll posing as grammarian. I played into his hands, deflecting substantial comment - comment on topic at least - adding to the clutter of wasted words in the thread. He's hit a good vein, apparently. We're all ready to defend b from such feigned gauche attacks as his own.

So I'll let the next thousand such ploys quietly sink beneath the waves. Will respond again - with more or less the same answer - in 2017, if the same crew of trolls appear and try the same gambit again. This is the second or third such ploy recently - past few months. I should have let it go ... next time I will. Good job, though. Here I am, hitting her/his lure twice.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 15 2016 4:59 utc | 62

the media are at it again Bild which recently interviewed :president Putin decided to try its hand at managing public perception of Madaya and can be a dab hand at Conspiracy Theorising !:

Murad Gazdiev @MuradoRT 8h8 hours ago Syria
I think Roepcke has finally lost his mind... says UN, Red Cross, World Health Org and Assad in on #Madaya conspiracy

Murad Gazdiev @MuradoRT 6h6 hours ago Syria
UN staff contradict Bild "source". Who do you trust more: a respected doctor, or the guy known as "Jihadi Julian"?

Murad Gazdiev @MuradoRT 6h6 hours ago Syria
Hilarious. Bild's Madaya "source" watched my reports & talked about them on the phone (with no power/cell network)

Murad Gazdiev @MuradoRT 6h6 hours ago Syria
Tweet: UN/RC driving into Madaya. Interesting that rebels forgot to mention to them that refugees were "fake".

Murad Gazdiev @MuradoRT 7h7 hours ago Syria
Bild claims Madaya under total blockade. Yet, somehow - they still have diesel for generators and fuel for cars...

Murad Gazdiev @MuradoRT 7h7 hours ago Syria
Bild claims Madaya refugees were at military checkpoint, when they were clearly in the neutral area of town.

Posted by: brian | Jan 15 2016 6:50 utc | 63

And if the US-NATO doesn't 'do something' about the MillerAB juggernaut, we'll all be drinking relabeled San Miguel Red Star malt-liquor swill. They transport that Manila basura around the world in 10,000 DWT ocean tankers. The local canning companies fill up whatever label cans they're told to with the same P-I rot gut sugar cane and insect carcass bagasse, and add a dash of lemony industrial floor cleaner for the '+ Lime' bit.
I remember when a bottle of Liebfraumilch was ambrosia, and Kirschwasser was plum petals in Shangrai lai. Now it all tastes like natto water. I remember spatlese with kartofflen and rotekoll outside Munchen, with a beer and schnapps so good I cried all the way home at Paradise Lost. Now my traveling son made me cry again telling me how great his hotdog pizza was outside Florence, 'with some kind of red wine'. Oh, sweet Jesus!! : )

Posted by: Chipnik | Jan 15 2016 7:09 utc | 64

The presence of trolls over and above the Zionist spreading his usual lame assed beyond credulity fictions shouldn't be regarded with anything other than the certainty that whatever b has posted has hit home somewhere out there in greedsville.
If I payed taxes in amerika I would be somewhat pissed that the best the overpayed halfwits can come up with is a spelling Nazi whose ignorance is revealed by his own poor knowledge of the many different ways the same word can be spelled or as we write where I was born, spelt.
Latin seems the closest to a perfect language but then classical Latin isn't a real language that was used in conversation, the latin which those of us that had to learn the bastard thing, learnt, is a written language which is why it remained so 'pure' - no street poets or minstrels twisted it with puns or double entendres.

The day this blog becomes a strict repository of either the queen's English or American English will be the last day I visit.
As long as we blog here rather than podcast using poetic license as a means of expressing ourselves will remain a vital part of our communications - just because we write rather than speak doesn't mean we should ever fall into the straitjacket of 'correct usage'.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 15 2016 9:51 utc | 65

The only time grammar or usage is important is when it can lead to misunderstanding.

I find it annoying when journalists employ incorrect spelling and usage, but not so much with bloggers.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Jan 15 2016 11:27 utc | 66


I think what everyone is ignoring is that the US has absolutely no right under international law operating armed military gun boats within the territorial waters of Oman, Iran and UAE~! A friend of mine works on those patrol boats, they are not the Viet Nam style, these are big heavy high-speed diesel *dual-drive* dreadnaughts with full spectrum sensors and a Sat-GPS location system accurate to 3 meters. 10 feet! There's NO WAY AT ALL they would be 'drifting accidentally' over the line, all just as POTUS is SOTUing, the Iowa debates are on TV, and as NATO and the NYC Bankster Mob are unfreezing the $10sBs that are OWED to Iran as THEIRS.

Then the only question that remains is, WTF~!? Who controls the US and who are the Vampire with their feeding tubes shoved $1 TRILLION a year up the civilian-military anus of America, a DoD that lost $2,300 BILLION prior to 9/11, and as much as $4,000 BILLION since, yet has never had an audit, ever, other than one they did themselves, and found nothing to report. Think about that. Imagine if Goldman had lost $6,300 BILLION of investors money and when an audit was demanded by Congress, Goldman audited themselves and found 'nothing to report'~!

It's incredible and execrable that the Pentagonal Church of Daeth should destroy the Earth,
and never once be audited, and only three Congresspeople have ever voted against refunding.
There are more Admirals than fighting ships! Imagine, every LST having its own Admiral~!
There are more Generals than fighting platoons! Imagine every assault led by a General~!
The civilian DoD has Defense (sic) contractors to do the actual work, but they don't do it! No, they just report to DoD on the second-tier contractors and vendors that they Cost-Plus!
The world's largest Ponzi! Every year the debt multiplies. Every year the remaining funds for health and human services, which is what we pay taxes for, decrease and decline, until they will have stolen all the monies set-aside in TRUST for Social Security and MediCare.

"And you know what? They'll get it, they'll get ALL of it. Because they don't give a fuck about you. They don't give a fuck about you! They don't give a fuck about you. They own you. You are OWNED." George 'The Man' Carlin

Posted by: NoReply | Jan 15 2016 11:31 utc | 67

@61 Pretty soon the Saudis will have their own aircraft carriers.

Posted by: dh | Jan 15 2016 14:07 utc | 68

Saudi Arabia: A Weak Kingdom On Its Knees?

At this point, the Saudis are likely to continue the proxy war and hope that the Iranians do something foolish to upset the nuclear deal with the West. Until then, Saudi Arabia will make a lot of noise and attempt subversive activities, but nothing more.

Posted by: virgile | Jan 15 2016 14:23 utc | 69


There are more Generals than fighting platoons! Imagine every assault led by a General~!

That would be quite a visual, best way to get rid of so many useless top brass REMFs (Rear Echelon Misfits/MoFos,) as Col. David Hackworth, a soldier's soldier, used to call them. And this was in 1999, it has gotten only worse.

Too many chiefs, not enough indians.

Brass Galore And Fewer Troops Leave U.s. With Thinnest Red Line In History

February 11, 1999|DAVID H. HACKWORTH King Features Syndicate

The year is 2020 and you are a fly on the wall at a Pentagon briefing for the commander in chief.

"Mr. President, the Army chief of staff just confirmed his rifle squad of 11 generals is good to go," says the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. "The chief of Naval Operations is ready to support, skippering our one ship with a hand-picked all-admiral crew. Our Air Force chief of staff is above the area of operations with his all-general crew in our one Stealth-Platinum bomber, ready to provide air support. The Marine commandant stands ready in reserve with a small amphibious fire team of his best generals. And not only are all 700 of our headquarters online, I'm proud to say their Internet reports are timely and flawless."

Sadly, if our military continues to build new major headquarters, promote more generals and expand the officer corps, and the price of hardware keeps skyrocketing, the above scenario may well become the real deal. In 1945, a fighter aircraft cost about 100,000 bucks, about the price of a WW II M-4 tank. Today, the sticker price on an F-22 fighter is around $70 million a copy while M-1-1A3 tanks run $2.5 million a pop. Today, with an active duty force of 1.4 million, there are more senior headquarters than in 1945, when we had 13 million folks wearing boots.

The U.S. Army presently has 30 Generals for each of its fighting divisions. In WW II, it had only 14 Generals per division and the divisions were 20 percent larger. The Navy has almost more Admirals than ships. During WW II, the Navy had 470 admirals and 61,000 warships - one admiral for every 130 ships. In 1999, the Navy's got 222 admirals for 354 ships. Do the math. The Air Force, the most officer heavy of all the services, actually has more Generals than bombers. In WW II, it had one General for every 244 aircraft. In 1999, it's got one General for every 23 airplanes. Even the once-lean Marine Corps has the inflation disease. With only three active infantry divisions, it has 12 more generals than it had during World War II- when it had six fighting divisions. Since 1945, the teeth that bite into the enemy have gotten smaller while the officer corps and the logistical and command tail have grown faster than kudzu weed. If this trend doesn't stop, our forces will have Generals galore - blubberous battalions of staff weenies and supporters - and few warriors. The Pentagon defends the rank inflation and the bloated tail and the lack of combat troop muscle with the argument that it's in the management business - that its logisticians and managers handle a $300 billion budget and keep together the largest infrastructure in the world.

Spare us this drivel! Since the tail replaced the tooth and managers took over from Patton and Halsey-like leaders, we stopped winning wars. Well-led troops are what put holes in enemy soldiers, fix airplanes, run ships and make things happen.

In WW II, there was one officer to 11 riflemen. Today, the ratio is one officer to six grunts. Take our forces in Germany. Our fighting units there have been cut by two thirds since the Berlin Wall fell, but not so the palaces for the top brass. There are three times more Generals than infantry battalion skippers. All stay busy conducting inspections, micromanaging the troops and writing papers which become more hoops for the troops to jump through. And our four NATO combat brigades have four headquarters with fat staffs above them, breathing down their flak jackets, whipping up irrelevant to-do lists.

It's the same in South Korea, where we have two combat brigades supervised by a four-star general and multi-star studded echelons of higher headquarters above them. But staffers and critical rear echelon supporters, however well supervised by a galaxy of stars and bars, don't take objectives. Matter of fact, I've never seen a general and his staff in an attack. During my last 53 years of fighting in or covering the profession of arms, I've learned this truth: only well-trained, well-led and well-armed warriors win battles.

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 15 2016 14:25 utc | 70

@70 LW @67 NR

I don't know when the Carlin quote was sampled but 1999 is going on 20 years ago ... the number of REMFs has increased, the cost of 'weapons systems' has skyrocketed, and the number of actual soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines has plummeted ... now the not-wars are fought by mercenary foreigners against the foreigners resident in the countries being devastated and destroyed. A few US mercenary trainers at the top, maybe. The US military is totally corrupt. All the brass are doing now is buying wildly overpriced weapons systems and watching the clock till it's time to hit the revolving door and collect their piece of the action on the deals done already, then make new deals with their contacts still in the pentagon.

Name a branch of the federal government that is not totally corrupt ... can it be done? They're all working against us. Certainly against the people outside the US. Anti-human, pro-Corporate ... cyborgs, I guess.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 15 2016 14:57 utc | 71

@68 dh

You have to be a nuclear power to 'afford' aircraft carriers. Otherwise the people you attack them with will just sink 'em. If the US sold all 10(?) of theirs to the Saudis to wage war on Iran the Russians could sink 'em all at one go, from the Caspian Sea.

The truly alarming thing to remember is that Tayyeep Bin Ardogan is sitting on 50 ~ 90 B61 nuclear weapons in Turkey. More than any other NATO 'ally'. I guess cause he's such a stable and reliable guy.

Posted by: jfl | Jan 15 2016 15:15 utc | 72

Noirette @ 12

Thanks for the link.... good read.

Definitely doesn't lay out a solution to anything, but draws a good map over recent years how things unraveled so dramatically... and that is ignored and out of sight it seems, now. Especially after watching repub "debate" last night, more a declaration of chest thumping ignorance then anything useful any of them may bring to the world. Their unanimous shared indigence over video of US sailors detained for a mere 16 hours, and offering a simple apology then ending well and Iran sending them on their way...

For this crew, that incident demanded a powerful US response... another "retaliation" so Iran will never "do that again". Incredible.

At least your article *points to* a good part of how thing got so bad but also... if any of those guys gave a rip, what must change in US if near future has any hope of improvement.

Everybody seems to know what the other guy did wrong, and the whole thing continues endlessly in cascading retaliation from each falling domino. But few solutions.

Posted by: jdmckay | Jan 15 2016 15:20 utc | 73

Ms. Ghattas seems rather close with Hillary. (shudder)

Kim Ghattas is a journalist for the BBC and author, currently covering the US State Department. She attended the American University of Beirut, studying political science.
Born: 1977, Beirut, Lebanon
Education: American University of Beirut
Books: The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power

Posted by: Benu | Jan 15 2016 15:54 utc | 74

Seymour Hersh: US Military Recognizes Russia's Success in Syria

According to Seymour Hersh, one of America’s best-known investigative journalists, the US recognizes Russia’s military success in Syria.

Russians have acted in a very professional manner and managed to strengthen the Syrian Army, while US policy in the region has remained inconsistent, Seymour Hersh said.

“Americans have not recognized one thing above all: Syria, like Iraq and Libya, was a secular ally of the West, with moderate Sunnis. And we have intervened into these countries, overthrown their governments, and thus helped those whom we view now as our worst enemies — ISIS or Daesh and all the other extreme Sunnis,” the journalist said in an interview with the German newspaper Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (DWN).

Hersh argued that Americans’ hatred for Syrian President Bashar Assad has no logical reasons. The Syrian leader repeatedly tried to build a good relationship with the US, while Syria’s intelligence services provided Washington with hundreds of documents, warning about Islamist attacks against the West and the US in particular.

“The Syrian intelligence [service] is one of the best in the world. It gave Americans the information on Mohammed Atta and the Hamburg terror cell,” the journalist said, cited by the newspaper. “But in his foreign policy, Obama — from his very first day in office – continued the Bush strategy. He continued with the ‘war on terror’.”

Hersh claimed that after 9/11, the US should have enhanced its cooperation with Moscow because “Russians know exactly what the Islamist threat is”.

However, better late than never: the “US military has now recognized the Russian military’s success in Syria,” Seymour Hersh said. Referring to his sources in the US military and the intelligence services, Hersh said, that Americans have great respect for Russia’s armed forces and especially for Russian General Valeri Gerasimov.

In the journalist’s opinion, Putin pursues a “clever” policy in the Middle East. The Russian leader managed to strengthen the Syrian Army and made it capable of fighting.

Nevertheless, the US has continued to maintain its tough stance against Russia and Hersh doesn’t understand the motives behind this.

“Lavrov is a very straightforward person. He has always said openly what the Russian position is,” the journalist said, adding that the US media tend to pretend that everything Russians say is a lie.

“Why not just listen to them? I cannot understand why Obama has such an anti-Russian stance. The Russian secret services are the best in the world; they know more about the region than we do. They know more about Daesh and al-Baghdadi. And they always have said — as well as the Syrians — that they are open to a better relationship with America. But the President pursues a surprisingly hard line against Russia and I do not know why,” the journalist stated.

Seymour Hersch: US-Militärs haben Respekt vor Leistung der Russen in Syrien

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 15 2016 15:56 utc | 75

My apologies, I see Jen posted about this @ 20.

Posted by: Benu | Jan 15 2016 15:59 utc | 76

If the Prince becomes the King, I smell a huge disaster in the making.

Posted by: Fernando | Jan 15 2016 16:00 utc | 77

70;And well motivated troops.
OT;Over at AW Napitilano says the hell bitch has a 100 FBI agents investigating her E mails and the possible fact that her foundation profited from her SS contacts!
Wishful thinking?

Posted by: dahoit | Jan 15 2016 16:24 utc | 78

IMO, one of the people giving orders at the Pentagon is Lindsey Graham. He must have a lot of boy friends over there.

And as for the Saudi princes, they must have tired of raping American women and now have graduated to playing Risk. Boredom is a terrible thing.

....and I wonder what promises the Israelis made to the Saudis [or vice versa]. Hey, what has Bandar been doing lately?

Posted by: shadyl | Jan 15 2016 16:39 utc | 79


Hersh argued that Americans’ hatred for Syrian President Bashar Assad has no logical reasons.

A bit strange comments by Hersh, there are plenty of logical reasoning behind it. Maybe Hersh simply doesnt accept US logic per se?

* US wants Worldwide domination, and Syria is yet another non-subservient state who had to be either conquered or destroyed.

* It has nothing to do with Assad either, as UK FM frankly said, if someone else in Assad's place would continue same policies, so would the West in its support for terrorists.

* US support its alies, who also want subservient Syria for different reasons.

a) US and EU wants Qatar's pipelines through Syria, to weaken Russia and Iran.
b) Israel wants weak and divided Syria to annex as much of it as it can, as well as severing its ties to Hezbollah and Palestinians.
c) Paranoid Saudis wants to weaken Iran.
d) Turkey has neo-ottoman ambitions.

List goes on and on. West's hate on non-subservient states (again, its not about Assad) is not irrational, its just based on greed and geopolitical ambitions.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 15 2016 18:04 utc | 80

Posted by: Lone Wolf | Jan 15, 2016 10:56:19 AM | 75

Thanks for the Hersh article. Whilst the first bolded par (Iraq, Libya, Syria) is essentially true, I'd like to hear his reason for making this claim, farther down...

Hersh said, that Americans have great respect for Russia’s armed forces and especially for Russian General Valeri Gerasimov.

AmeriKKKans don't have any self-respect so the notion that they're capable of, or willing to, respect someone, or something not AmeriKKKan is pure, unadulterated, drivel. Yankees have always abused the term Respect. It always has and always will be used as a euphemism for Fear. Hersh knows that. Who does he think he's kidding?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 15 2016 18:08 utc | 81

From Global Research ...

About 800 Egyptian soldiers reportedly arrived Yemen to help the Saudi-led coalition’s forces on Jan.12. According to reports, 4 Egyptian units of 150-200 troops with tanks and transport vehicles will likely participate in military operations in the areas of Marib and Taiz.

source -

This was reported yesterday in VT but I find GR a much more reliable and measured information source.

Posted by: Alberto | Jan 15 2016 18:30 utc | 82

Xymphora has posted a link to this item immediately below his exoneration of Hersh for responsibility for the drivel in the article linked by Lone Wolf @75.

It's of interest to me because I thought Chuck Hagel was a straight shooter and a bit of an square peg in a round + neocon Obama Admin hole. I kept tabs on him until he 'resigned' and, to my knowledge, he didn't tell a single Porkie during his time as Def Sec.

Hagel: Assad Was Never Our Enemy.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jan 15 2016 19:33 utc | 83

@ Hoarsewhisperer | 83

Hagel is right on many things, and yet he couldnt pass on propaganda line that Assad is "a brutal dictator." Reality is, Assad is highly educated and intelligent, and more peaceful than Obama or Cameron, what to speak of complete nutcases like Bush or Nutjobyahoo.

Irony is, the issue many Syrians have with Assad is not that he is "brutal", but that he is too benign. They think Assad's father would have defeated terrorists quicker and more decisively, and they may be right.

Posted by: Harry | Jan 15 2016 20:02 utc | 84

@Noirette | Jan 14, 2016 3:47:10 PM | 12

The Freeman interview is excellent. Thanks for the heads-up.

Posted by: MRW | Jan 15 2016 21:05 utc | 85

#17 Will they repeat 9/11 ???

Posted by: sejmon | Jan 15 2016 21:06 utc | 86

@ Harry at 80

I read Lone Wolf's link to the Seymour Hersh article as saying that the US Department of Defense or the US Joint Chiefs of Staff recognises (and probably secretly applauds) the success of the Russian strategy and tactics in Syria.

Unfortunately the Pentagon and the US Joint Chiefs of Staff are probably not consulted for their opinion by the White House on what US policy in the Middle East should be. The US State Department seems to be in charge of that.

In a government with a bureaucracy as large and bloated as the American one is, we must not only expect contradictory and illogical directions being taken, we must also expect that there is a deep state working within with its own self-serving aims.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 15 2016 21:07 utc | 87

"investigative journalists"

this term is another term from the Brain Amputee nation. What is it means, a someone who telling the "truth" as oppose to Mainstream filth?

"They think Assad's father would have defeated terrorists quicker and more decisively, and they may be right."

A situation in every way is different from Father to Son, drastically. And they learned lesson from Hama event. This time they stretch security forces from the Turkish border to the Jordanian one.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 15 2016 21:25 utc | 88

I saw a late-2014 talk yesterday by Col. Lawrence (?) Wilkerson, Colin Powell's chief of staff, at a foundation in Canada.

He said that he never used to believe it and it took him years to accept it (aided and abetted by inside info), but Israel's goal, and only goal, is all the land east to the Euphrates and north to Turkey. Syria's included. He said it is the basis for all our wars for the last 25 years, and he was musing that our country has deteriorated to such an extent that we have made the self-interest of another country superior to our own.

Posted by: MRW | Jan 15 2016 21:30 utc | 89

"investigative journalists"

A journalist and yet investigative? Is this means "fact finding"?

What other kind of journalist are there, anybody knows?

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 15 2016 21:36 utc | 90

@89 mrw... always appreciate your input and stopping by.. wilkerson sure was speaking the truth at the talk yesterday.. thanks..

Posted by: james | Jan 15 2016 21:44 utc | 91

There is no such thing, at this date of the world's history, in America, as an independent press. You know it and I know it.

There is not one of you who dares to write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest opinion out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be so foolish as to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my paper, before twenty-four hours my occupation would be gone.

The business of the journalists is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting an independent press?

We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.

John Swinton

(Source: Labor's Untold Story, by Richard O. Boyer and Herbert M. Morais, published by United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America, NY, 1955/1979.)

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 15 2016 21:52 utc | 92

British and American military officials are in the command and control centre for Saudi airstrikes on Yemen, and have access to lists of targets, although they do not play any role in choosing them, the Saudi Arabian foreign minister has said.
Says the Guardian. Haha!

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 15 2016 22:03 utc | 93

Just as the slavemaster of that day used Tom, the house Negro, to keep the field Negroes in check, the same old slavemaster today has Negroes who are nothing but modern Uncle Toms, 20th century Uncle Toms, to keep you and me in check, keep us under control, keep us passive and peaceful and nonviolent. That’s Tom making you nonviolent. It’s like when you go to the dentist, and the man’s going to take your tooth. You’re going to fight him when he starts pulling. So he squirts some stuff in your jaw called novocaine, to make you think they’re not doing anything to you. So you sit there and ’cause you’ve got all of that novocaine in your jaw, you suffer peacefully. Blood running all down your jaw, and you don’t know what’s happening. ’Cause someone has taught you to suffer —peacefully.

Eh Malcolm it is not only Black that suffer although the white man also suffer. Class War.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 15 2016 22:06 utc | 94

U.S. Military Defeated in Vietnam: Part 10 - We are Still Clueless

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 15 2016 22:07 utc | 95

The link, if you really want it.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 15 2016 22:12 utc | 96

Ho ho ho, can't wait to see that day ho ho ho

"Populist Wilders Says EU Is Finished as He Leads Dutch Polls"

“Europe cannot handle this any more,” Wilders said, citing incidents such as the sexual assaults reported in Germany over the New Year’s celebrations, including in Cologne, close to the Dutch border.

Ho ho ho house is burning.

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 15 2016 22:30 utc | 97

I think EU should declare the State of Emergency.

Was this "investigative"?

Posted by: Neretva'43 | Jan 15 2016 22:38 utc | 98

neretva - you are in a rage today.. i would post l.o.l. but it never goes thru.. thanks for your posts..

Posted by: james | Jan 15 2016 22:40 utc | 99

"Ho ho ho house is burning."

You believe a right-wing nutter?

Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 15 2016 22:43 utc | 100

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