Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 04, 2017

Lebanon - Hariri's Resignation - The Opening Shot Of The Saudi War On Hizbullah

Update (Nov 5, 3 am): After publishing the piece below the Saudi rulers initiated a "house cleaning" in Saudi Arabia. Many princes and businessmen were arrested. The new development wll be covered in another piece later today.

Four days ago we asked: Is The "Moderate Al-Qaeda" Set To Target Hizbullah?. The implied answer in that piece was "Yes, the war is coming to Lebanon."

Today the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Al-Hariri resigned with a statement issues from Saudi Arabia on the Saudi Arabian TV station Al Arabia (video). This is the opening shot of the war.

The Saudi-Israeli-U.S. axis will lose this war while Iran and Russia will win from it.

Earlier this week the extremely sectarian Saudi Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan had threatened Hizbullah in Lebanon and announced surprises:

Firebrand Saudi State Minister for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan on Monday called for “toppling Hizbullah” and promised “astonishing” developments in “the coming days.”
Referring to his Sunday tweet about the Lebanese government, the minister said: “I addressed my tweet to the government because the Party of Satan (Hizbullah) is represented in it and it is a terrorist party. The issue is not about toppling the government but rather that Hizbullah should be toppled.”

“The coming developments will definitely be astonishing,” al-Sabhan added.

While the fighting in Syria and Iraq was ongoing, Lebanon was kept at peace. With the wars ending Lebanon is again the place where proxy fights are carried out. In mid October Joseph Bahout predicted this development:

Regionally, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are now seeking ways to compensate for the loss of Syria as a place where they could defy and bleed Iran. A renewed desire to reverse their regional fortunes could lead them to try regaining a foothold in Lebanon. The Gulf states, Israel, and the United States do not want Iran to reap the benefits of a victory in Syria. If ever they seek to rebalance the regional relationship with Tehran in the Levant, the only place to do so would be Lebanon, despite the many risks that would accompany such an effort.

In such an event, and despite its reticence to jeopardize its Lebanese sanctuary, Hezbollah could have no choice but to accept such a challenge, especially if there is an Israeli component to it.

Lebanese politics are regulated by a complicate agreement. The Sunni camp, financed by the Saudis, holds the position of Prime Minister. The position of the President is held by the Christian former general Michel Aoun. The position of Speaker of the Parliament is held by the leader of the Shia Amal movement Nabih Berri. Two month ago Berri had proposed elections to a new parliament before the end of the year. An election would likely diminish the Sunni position.

Saad Al-Hariri was put into the prime minister position after a long quarrel in Lebanon that had reignited when Saad's father Rafic Hariri, the former PM, was assassinated. Hizbullah was accused of that assassination but an Israeli plot seemed more likely.

The Hariri family made its money as owner of Saudi Oger, a construction company in Saudi Arabia. The Hariris have Saudi passports. Business has gone bad under Hariri junior. In July Saudi Oger closed shop and the former billionaire family is rumored to be bankrupt. The Saudi rulers sponsors them.

Hariri had recently assigned a Lebanese ambassador to Syria. Yesterday Hariri was visited in Beirut by Ali Velayati, a top advisor of the supreme leader Khamenei of Iran. The Saudis did not like either. Thamer's plan was set into motion. They sent a private jet and hauled Hariri to Riyadh. There the Saudi clown prince Mohammad bin Salman gave Hariri his resignation statement (written by Thamer?) to be read by him on Saudi TV.

Irony alert: The Lebanese PM (with a Saudi passport) resigns on order of Saudi Arabia, in Saudi Arabia, on Saudi Arabian TV. In his Saudi written resignation statement (excerpts) he accuses Iran of foreign meddling in Lebanese politics.

(Hariri also suddenly claims that there was an assassination planned against him in Lebanon. This is nonsense. The Lebanese internal security organization says it has no knowledge of such a plot. Hariri needs an excuse to stay away from Lebanon and from the wrath of his followers. Saudi media are trying to create some fantastic story from that assassination claim. But there is nothing evident to back it up.)

The resignation of Hariri is intended to provoke a constitutional crisis in Lebanon and to prevent new parliament elections. The further Saudi plan is likely to evolve around these elements:

  • The Trump administration will announce new sanctions against Hizbullah and against Lebanon in general.
  • The Saudi government will slip some of its al-Qaeda/ISIS proxy fighters from Syria and Iraq into Lebanon (possibly via Turkey by sea). It will finance local Lebanese terror operations.
  • There will be new assassination attempts, terror attacks and general rioting by Sunni extremist elements against Christians and Shia in Lebanon.
  • The U.S. will try to press the Lebanese army into a war against Hizbullah.
  • Israel will try to provoke and divert Hizbullah's attention by new shenanigans at the Lebanese and Syrian border. It will NOT start a war.

The plan is unlikely to succeed:

  • The Lebanese people as a whole have no interest in a new civil war.
  • The Lebanese army will not get involved on any specific side but will try to keep everyone calm.
  • Sanctions against Hizbullah will hit all of Lebanon, including Sunni interests.
  • A new Sunni prime minister will be found and installed, replacing the resigned Saudi puppet.
  • Russian and Iranian economic interests will find a new market in Lebanon. Russian companies will engage in Lebanese gas and oil extraction in the Mediterranean and replace U.S. involvement.

The miscalculated Saudi/U.S./Israeli plan against Hizbullah can be understood as a helpless tantrum after their defeat in Syria and Iraq.

Iraqi troops have, against strong U.S. protest, cleared ISIS from border areas with Syria. Some Iraqi militia have crossed the border and are helping Syrian troops to take the last ISIS controlled settlement of Abu Kamal. This will finally open a direct road from Syria to Iraq and beyond. The U.S. had planned to take Abu Kamal with its Kurdish/Arab proxy forces in the area and to block that line of communication. The Syrian government forces are racing against that. For the fourth day in a row Russian Tu-22M3s long range bombers have supported the fight with large raids flown directly from Russia. Hizbullah re-injected thousands of its fighters. This massive force will overwhelm ISIS defenses. Syria will win the race and the fight.

The Saudi sponsored Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has been suffocated and its existence has ended. Some elements of it will continue as a desert terrorist group - nasty but with little overall effect.

Iraq has regained its national sovereignty. It defeated ISIS, the Kurdish encroachment on Arab territory and all attempts to reignite a civil war. The fighting in Syria against al-Qaeda, as well as Turkish, Israeli and U.S. interference, will continue for another year. But it is very likely that the strong alliance of Syria, Iran, Russia and Hizbullah will win this fight. Syria is damaged but will survive as a whole and independent country.

The now launched war on Hizbullah and thereby Lebanon will likely have a similar outcome.

In their manic attempts to push back against perceived Iranian (and Russian) influence the Saudis and the U.S. have enabled Iran (and Russia) to gain better and more secure standing that they could ever have hoped to achieve otherwise. Why the Saudis think that their new adventure in Lebanon will have a different result is beyond me.

Posted by b on November 4, 2017 at 14:35 UTC | Permalink

next page »

Great piece, thanks.

They're going to hit Lebanon. Feel bad for them.

Posted by: @Madderhatter67 | Nov 4 2017 15:06 utc | 1

@Freespirit - deleted your trollish comment. Get some fresh air and try to gain some congruence into your thought.

@all - I find it interesting that Trump just today told the Saudis to launch the IPO of Aramco at the NY stock exchange.
Trump is already presenting the bill to the Saudis for his help in creating this Lebanon mess.

Posted by: b | Nov 4 2017 15:10 utc | 2

Who will replace Hariri?
The US will exploit the divisions ... unfortunately. (as will Israel, too) Meanwhile I am sure most Lebanese like most Syrians only want peace. So very sad.
BTW wasn't Lebanon on the list of 7 countries to be attacked after 9/11 according to Wesley Clark?

Posted by: Curtis | Nov 4 2017 15:11 utc | 3

Yes, the focus again shifts westward, first from Iraq to Syria and now to poor Lebanon. But that's it for the forces of evil, when they come up against the Med. Meanwhile a new project (and opportunity) for Russia?

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4 2017 15:50 utc | 4

"In their manic attempts to push back against perceived Iranian (and Russian) influence the Saudis and the U.S. have enabled Iran (and Russia) to gain better and more secure standing that they could ever have hoped to achieve otherwise. Why the Saudis think that their new adventure in Lebanon will have a different result is beyond me."

This has been the crux of my thoughts for the last year or so. Its amazing how much the attitude in the west is to 'just do something' even when it's evidently counterproductive to their stated interests.

Hope Lebanon comes out okay in the end. With the racheting up of rhetoric on3 has to wonder (and worry) about how that country will look in 5, 10 years...

Posted by: George Smiley | Nov 4 2017 15:50 utc | 5

US sent troops to Lebanon in 1958 - 59 years ago.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

I wrote about tit-for-tat Cold War symbolism earlier this year.
Trump fired 59 missiles into Syria. Trump's missile volley came 7 months after Russia's first volley of 26 Kalibr cruise missiles (Putin's candles") on Putin's birthday in October 2015. 26 years before (November 1989) was the fall of the Berlin Wall and end of the Cold War. Russians were told that NATO would not advance "one inch" eastward. Also: when US-led Coalition attacked Deir Ezzor in September 2016 the Russians were put on hold for 27 minutes - possibly also referring back to 1989 (an 'answer' to the Russian reference).

In November 1958, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev issued the Western powers an ultimatum to withdraw from Berlin within six months and make it a free, demilitarised city. This ultimately led to the Berlin Crisis of 1961. The term "strategic patience" comes from this period.

If 59 missiles was a reference to 1958, what could be the import?

- foreshadowing an intervention in Lebanon?

- warning Putin not to demand that US leave Syria?

- a signal that US would be resolute? or stand by allies?

- a symbolic request for Russian to practice strategic patience because Trump's missile volley was forced by Saudi Arabia?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 4 2017 16:14 utc | 6

Given the signs of at least a modicum of detente between Saudi and Russia following the King's visit to Moscow last month, the threatening statements by Thamer and the resignation of Hariri are indeed alarming. My understanding is that Russia generally has a 'hands off' stance vis a vis Hezbullah so as not to antagonize Israel, but this also necessitates a delicate balancing act with regard to relations with Syria and Iran. Which raises the question: was the Saudi delegation's visit to Moscow really just a diversion tactic?

Posted by: dapoopa | Nov 4 2017 16:16 utc | 7

There is no mercy in the US/Saudi/Israeli axis, unfortunately. After all Lebanon has been through, the last thing it needs is Wahhabist terrorists invading its territory to cause more misery.

Posted by: WorldBLee | Nov 4 2017 16:17 utc | 8

Isnt this what traitors do? The stupid Hariri clan is quite amazing pack of idiots. He basically calls for war against his own nation, what friggin idiot.

And as always the stupid western media back Saudiarabia and the pro-israel Hariri "fake-news" bogus claims, that along with ISIS, hates shia muslims to death!

Of course this comes now when Syria, HEzbollah, Iran is about to win in Syria.

Posted by: Anon | Nov 4 2017 16:22 utc | 9

b @2

There was talk not long ago of China buying the full 5% of Aramco. Not sure how much was in that, but possibly why US is backing Saudi in their new Lebanon adventure. The US backs Saudi's in Lebanon and Saudi does not sell Aramco to China?

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 16:28 utc | 10

Thanks for the posting b. You really are providing excellent insight not available elsewhere

When does the house of cards fall down?

Or does it?

Maybe more flailing like this in other countries.

At some point the finance swords will come out and we get to see if the rest of the world buys the elite's derivative claim on everything at debt default time.

I hope whatever happens in Lebanon does minimum damage to its inhabitants and surroundings and maximum damage to empire.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Nov 4 2017 16:33 utc | 11

The United States spends $600 billion, not counting veteran's benefits, on war every year. This expense is approved unanimously by the Congress, elected representatives of the people. The "Defense" budget is not even mentioned in the national political debate raging over taxes, health care, etc.

Obviously, this expense is intended to create an American Empire. To put it extremely mildly, it has and will fail. The death throes are going to threaten the existence of mankind. All because some religious, slave-holding lunatics were expelled from England, England forsooth, in the 17th century. OMG.

Posted by: Burt | Nov 4 2017 16:35 utc | 12

"(Hariri also suddenly claims that there was an assassination planned against him in Lebanon. This is nonsense"

It is NOT a nonsense. It makes much sense as the murder of his father was in similar circumstances. Rafik Hariri was openly supportive to Hezbollah and was eliminated and the murder was blamed on Hezbollah and Syria, while it is clear that Israel and the CIA was part of it. It was followed by a popular rejection of the Syrian army who had toacep nthe expusion of the Syrian arlts

Reposted from previous thread:

The Saudis and the Israelis are so furious by the outstanding victories of the Syrian army under Bashar al Assad over their proxies, ISIS, that they are triggering a political crisis in Lebanon to paralyze Hezbollah and hit at Iran.

After his visit to Saudi Arabia, Hariri was made to realize that his life was in danger, either from Hezbollah (according to the Saudis) or from Israel-USA. In reality it is more probable that Israel and the USA wants to murder him, put the blame on Iran and Hezbollah and create a public rejection of Iran in Lebanon. That is part of the present campaign against Iran, Hezbollah and Syria

In either case Hariri panicked and did well to resign. He may have thrown the country in a political crisis but he may have avoided a worst crisis if he had be killed.

Now Lebanon still has to face the Saudi-Israel-USA blackmail:
You get rid of Iran and Hezbollah or you face total destruction.

I expect Lebanon to discreetly turn to Russia for protection.

Posted by: Virgile | Nov 4 2017 16:40 utc | 13

thanks b... i echo others comments - excellent commentary on your part...however, i do agree with @13 virgiles overview on hariri was in a tough position thanks the saudi's... either way the saudis and israel in particular - with the usa in tow i guess) want to cause more mayham and shit in lebannon now... when does it arrive on the saudis and israels doorstep is what i want to know? these countries really need to get a life..

Posted by: james | Nov 4 2017 16:57 utc | 14

It seems most likely that Hariri's life was in danger in Saudi Arabia, and this was explained to him. An offer he couldn't refuse - retirement in Paris or death in the sand.

I don't think the Russians want to be in Lebanon directly. And who would give them the invitation? I would guess the Russian people would be wary of the expanded involvement. Obviously Russia will support the allies in every way lawful and practical.

The internal politics of Lebanon seems called to the plate now. Time for Lebanon to decide its sovereign path.

Whatever comes next, will Hezbollah simply attack Israel and make it feel some pain? This would be easy to do, except civilian Lebanon would suffer the air strikes. Hezbollah would have to execute a masterstroke - something like, speaking of offers you can't refuse, Israel waking up with its favorite horse's severed head in its bed.

Sayed Nasrallah will explain it all soon. Prayers for the innocents.

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 4 2017 17:01 utc | 15


Do these moves in Lebanon stem from US & Israeli demands that Iranian forces leave Syria? Or is that an excuse?

When US & Israel refer to "Iranian forces" is that meant to include Hezbollah?

Should we see these developments in Lebanon as primarily anti-Iranian (degrade Hezbollah forces) or anti-Assad (i.e. a second front)?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 4 2017 17:10 utc | 16

As if the people of Lebanon have not suffered enough.

To hell with the moronic warmongering of the US/Saudi/Israeli Axis.

Posted by: AriusArmenian | Nov 4 2017 17:19 utc | 17

The sale of ARAMCO is a sign of desperation in the Saudi regime, not strength. They know they are running on empty and will have to use whatever resources they have already to stay in power. The forced reduction in oil price was ostensably aimed at Russia, but it has also crippled Saudi too. Qui bono? A forced sale of ARAMCO will lead to them getting below par in a forced sale - to whom? Zionist central bankers?

The Zionists have seen rapprochement between Turkey and Russia, now Saudi and Russia so they will be desperate. What better way to stir things up than linking Saudi in as a primary driver for the Lebanese / Hezbollah position, with the hope of splitting the Russian rapprochment. However, the reality is that Hezbollah/Lebanon is not an existential national security threat to Saudi, but it is to Israel. And that is the elephant in the room again.

Israel was so close to seeing all its regional enemies embroiled in terrorism and social/economic disruption - Iran, Iraq, Syria, Saudi, Turkey, Lebanon - with the prospect of making great gains (for national security purposes natch) in the Golan where Zionist proxy forces have been guarding territory for it. And now it looks to be fading dream. Even Druze living in the Occupied Golan have warned the IDF that they will defend their co-religionists in Syria against ISIS/whatever.

Destruction of Hezbollah/Lebanon only benefits Israel.

Posted by: Anonymous | Nov 4 2017 17:33 utc | 18

Saad Hariri Twitter account here.
All normal until 23 hours ago. Six hours ago a strange tweet that reads backwards with link to a facebook account I cannot access.
Four hours ago, a tweet with a picture of Hariri and, I take it, his resignation speech alongside. The last two tweets of six and four hours ago come across like they have been posted by somebody else.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 17:39 utc | 19

@19 jr questions.. 1st question - yeah, i am sure they rationalize it that way, however i don't see them unhappy with the saudis funding isis, al qaeda and those moderate headchoppers that were also given wide support from the usa...

2nd q... probably... any other power in the middle east outside of those friendly to the usa/israel, will be characterized in some negative light..

3rd q.. both...

Posted by: james | Nov 4 2017 17:43 utc | 20

at least that bozo from saudi arabia wasn't lying when he said something big was coming.. someone ought to frame it all in the context of this guy knowingly meddling in lebanons affairs as opposed to this just coming to light today.. the saudis are really shitty manipulators it seems..

Posted by: james | Nov 4 2017 17:45 utc | 21

Posted by: Anonymous | Nov 4, 2017 1:33:00 PM | 18:

Destruction of Hezbollah/Lebanon only benefits Israel.
Not if this is a second front in the war for Syria.

Getting "Iranian forces" out of Syria means that Nusra/HTS and ISIS can better wage guerrilla war, right?

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 4 2017 17:46 utc | 22

Posted by: Anonymous | Nov 4, 2017 1:33:00 PM | 18:

The Zionists have seen rapprochement between Turkey and Russia, now Saudi and Russia ...
I'm not so sure about this.

Maybe in each case they have agreed to disagree. In the process of talks with Russia they try to ascertain EXACTLY how far they can go in their anti-Assad/anti-Iranian efforts.

And maybe try to calm the Bear with honeyed words and treats like an S-400 purchase.

Also I never forget that Erdogan turned toward Russian because he was forced to do so. I think his heart is still with MB-Wahhabi.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 4 2017 17:59 utc | 23

Thanks, b, for the work you've put into keeping up to date with the forthcoming Lebanon fiasco. If Saudi-Barbarian Thamer al-Sabhan wants to astonish me he'll have to grow up, stop slaughtering and starving civilians and destroying public infrastructure in Yemen, AND resist the urge to repeat those crimes in Lebanon.

I heard a rumor a couple of years ago that Hezbollah has 100,000 missiles aimed at Israel. Imo they should unleash them as soon as the first Lebanese civilian is killed. The Jews will want Lebanon destroyed anyway, so Hez may as well give them a preview. And let's face it, if there wasn't an "Israel" none of this would be happening. And when there isn't an "Israel" any more, it'll stop. So sooner the better. For Humankind.

Btw, LOVED the irony/hypocrisy alert!

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Nov 4 2017 18:09 utc | 24

Syria was wrecked. Now it is the turn of Lebanon. The Yinon Plan marches on.

Posted by: Mark Thomason | Nov 4 2017 18:10 utc | 25

nasrallah is speaking at 6pm on this tonight.. 6pm lebanese time i think...

Posted by: james | Nov 4 2017 18:14 utc | 26

6pm sunday.. left that off, sorry!

Posted by: james | Nov 4 2017 18:19 utc | 27

Yeah, I mainly agree with b. However as I noted in the last thread, I was very struck by how similar Hariri's reasoning was to Netanyahu's threats a day or two ago, about the rise of Iran and Hizbullah. There's collusion there. Israel is involved in this game.

I wonder whether this is not a prelude to another attempt by Israel to do away with Hizbullah's missiles, an invasion justified by "confusion" in Lebanon. That may be only a piece in the jigsaw, but a piece quite likely.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 4 2017 18:31 utc | 28

Un confirmed report of missle flying to Riyadh airport!!!! surprise..

Posted by: Rd | Nov 4 2017 18:35 utc | 29


The resignation of Hariri is intended to provoke a constitutional crisis in Lebanon and to prevent new parliament elections.... The Saudi government will slip some of its al-Qaeda/ISIS proxy fighters from Syria and Iraq into Lebanon (possibly via Turkey by sea). It will finance local Lebanese terror operations. There will be new assassination attempts, terror attacks and general rioting ...

Why the Saudis think that their new adventure in Lebanon will have a different result is beyond me.

It's not so unfathomable b. Seems like a set-up for US Liberal Interventionism. Then nation-building. With no valid government to object, USA could be there for years.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 4 2017 18:40 utc | 30

This article by Alastair Crook is interestiog. A good section on Turkey vs Saudi Arabia/Israel/US.

I think the article throws more light on the Turkish move in Idlib which Russia is still publicaly backing.
Although Erdogans support base is sympathetic to AQ and Erdogan does not/did not believe they should be designated a terrorist organisation, AQ is beginning to be seen as a Saudi Israeli proxy.
Russia may well have forseen the current developments some time ago. With the coming Saudi/Israeli/US play, Turkey will be with Russia and Iran. Turkey is now positioned to hit the Saudi proxies from both the Turkish border and the Efrin canton border. Saudi Arabia's part in the coming war, I would guess, is to consist of finance and activating proxies throughout the region. The main group of Saudi proxies now seem to be concentrated in Idlib, but they are now surrounded, with Turkey covering two sides, and SAA covering the other sides. ??

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 18:40 utc | 31

Best comment above: that the Hegemon is merciless.

It looks like the plan is to draw Hezbollah out of Syria. This will force Iran to commit more to Syria. That, in turn, will justify stronger measures by Israel, Saudi Arabia, the US, etc.. Syria's worst sufferings, as it seems, have yet to begin.

Posted by: paul | Nov 4 2017 18:42 utc | 32

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 4, 2017 1:59:41 PM | 23

His heart is definitively not with NATO as he suspects them of the putsch against him.

Lebanon obviously intends to ally with Iran. From Al Manar:
Velayati Meets Aoun, Hails Lebanese Victories against ISIL

Aoun is the Christian president.

This here is a good AP explainer of the issue.

The issue for Lebanon is not so much Iran which is far away but Assad having won in Syria and the relations of Lebanon with Syria.

Hairi's reminder of his father's assassination can be understood in the context of getting Syria out of Lebanon - that had been the result and maybe the intention of the assassination.

The question that will be resolved soon is if there are Sunni representatives who agree to relations with Syria and the return of refugees.

Western policies surrounding Lebanon are so mind boggling stupid I don't know where to begin. But I doubt Hairiris resignation has anything to do with a Western plot.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 4 2017 18:42 utc | 33

Irony alert: The Lebanese PM (with a Saudi passport) resigns on order of Saudi Arabia, in Saudi Arabia, on Saudi Arabian TV.
The expression "on order of Saudi Arabia" is not necessary. It may not be true. "with the agreement of" is better. Saudi is certainly colluding with this game, but it is not certain that they are directing it.

The striking point is the impression on the Lebanese people of their Prime Minister resigning from Saudi Arabia. He didn't stay and fight for his people. Rather he ran away. People will notice that. He will be discredited, and the people around him. Which gives more credit to Hizbullah.

I would think Nasrullah has put his forces on alert for an Israeli attack.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 4 2017 18:54 utc | 34

More detail from Reuters

Hariri flew to Saudi Arabia on Friday after a meeting in Beirut with Ali Akbar Velayati, the top adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Afterwards, Velayati described Hariri’s coalition as “a victory” and “great success”.

I think he might say exactly why he is stepping down - the situation is similar to that leading up to the assassination of his father.

A prime minister of Lebanon has to work with Syria and Hezbollah - Hariris father did and the son would have to do the same.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 4 2017 19:05 utc | 35

somebody @33:

His heart is definitively not with NATO as he suspects them of the putsch against him.
Yes, that is what we are led to believe.

Cui bono? The supposed plot was fortuitous for Erdogan. Before the plot, Erdogan faced increasing opposition due to the fall out from his Syrian adventurism: Russian trade restrictions and embarrassing disclosures like Erdogan's involvement in the ISIS oil trade. But the supposed coup attempt changed all that. Turned his losing hand into a winner.

Yet, despite Erdogan's supposed hatred of the US and consequent NEED for good Russian relations, he hasn't played ball with R+6 as much as one might expect. IMO, for example, Erdogan's animosity toward the Kurds helped to drive them into the arms of the USA. And Erdogan's actions in Idlib are questionable.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Nov 4 2017 19:08 utc | 36

Surely Israel has just made a stupendously foolish move by bringing the war right to its own border? It has precipitated the Golan campaign, and quickened the focus on an occupation that might have survived for some years, but which will now become part of the play.

Looking at the map, the most pain-inflicting way to fight Israel in this latest gambit is to retake the Golan Heights. Israel's own muddying of the waters will provide a geopolitical clusterfuck, with intrigues, games of chicken, covert atrocities and an aggregate fog of war in which Syria asserts its lawful right and Hezbollah gains further emplacement along Israel's border.

I know there are many Zionist interests that stand in the way of this result, including Genie Energy and the lust for hydrocarbons. But all these interests will lose.

Posted by: Grieved | Nov 4 2017 19:08 utc | 37

The expression "on order of Saudi Arabia" is not necessary. It may not be true. "with the agreement of" is better. Saudi is certainly colluding with this game, but it is not certain that they are directing it.

Of course they are. Hariri's office and people near him were totally surprised. It contradicted all he had done over the last weeks and month. It wasn't his decision.

The striking point is the impression on the Lebanese people of their Prime Minister resigning from Saudi Arabia. He didn't stay and fight for his people. Rather he ran away. People will notice that. He will be discredited, and the people around him. Which gives more credit to Hizbullah.

From an NYT piece that just came out: Saad Hariri Quits as Lebanon Prime Minister, Blaming Iran

Mr. Hariri’s political party, the Future Movement, announced it would hold solidarity demonstrations for him across the country, including in Beirut and in the northern city of Tripoli. But just before 4 p.m., the party announced it was canceling the demonstrations.
The Future party can usually get thousands to demonstrate on command whenever needed. Not now.
People are too pissed to demonstrate "solidarity" with their leader.

Posted by: b | Nov 4 2017 19:13 utc | 38

It will NOT start a war.
I don't know. Getting rid of Hizbullah missiles is a major objective of Israeli policy, and cannot be achieved without war. War under the best conditions must be Netanyahu's idea.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 4 2017 19:18 utc | 39

Congrats, the houthis have shot at riyadh airport, or so says thd bbc

Posted by: Mina | Nov 4 2017 19:19 utc | 40

re b 38

Of course they are. Hariri's office and people near him were totally surprised. It contradicted all he had done over the last weeks and month. It wasn't his decision.
It could equally be a trick with Israel, agreed to by Saudi. Saudi has no interest in taking over Lebanon. It wouldn't work in a million years. Lebanon is too cosmopolitan. The Saudis like their summer holidays in Beirut, where they can drink and find prostitutes. MbS may not have thought of this last problem.

The main desire for change in Lebanon is the Israeli desire to be rid of Hizbullah and its missiles.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 4 2017 19:55 utc | 41

I don't think Israel has ever been known to be a player that waits for others to make the first move. It seems to be a matter of when not if the Zionist state goes to war.

Posted by: aniteleya | Nov 4 2017 20:28 utc | 42

Laguerre @41

"Saudi has no interest in taking over Lebanon"

I normally agree with most all you post, but this statement couldn't be more false. Saudi not only has the desire to take over Lebanon, they've basically already done exactly that, and moreover 20 years ago. Even though it's illegal for Saudis to have two passports, ALL of the Hariri clan have Saudi and Lebanese citizenship. Saudi owns the Hariris, they own the Future Movement, they even literally own downtown Beirut through the Solidere company. Saudi owns innumerable businesses, banks, tv stations, you name it. They even built the nicest highway in the country, a modern four lane affair built from Beirut through the hills of southern Lebanon, built as a peace offering to Israel to entice it to accept the Saudi-led Arab Peace Initiative. Saudi, along with the US and EU, have been the undisputed masters of Lebanon since the 2005 withdrawal of Syrian troops.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Nov 4 2017 20:43 utc | 43

@41 It is undeniable that KSA tries to leverage all it can to influence policy making in Lebanon (possibly at the behest of Isreal) on pretext of supporting Sunnis but with the true aim of effecting paralysis in the country.
This latest development may further the March 8 Alliance ascendency..

Wishful thinking maybe but the final nail in Sykes-Picot would be to see Lebanon re-integrate Greater Syria.

Posted by: Lozion | Nov 4 2017 20:52 utc | 44

re 43. There is that, but not openly.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 4 2017 20:56 utc | 45


I hope you're correct in your assessment that the Saudi-US-Israeli plan will fail. However, to 'win' they would only need to turn Lebanon into a failed state, and as much as I love the country and its people, it has only been a hair's breadth away from being a failed state since the end of the civil war.

In 2008 there was a mini- civil war that luckily only lasted a week. Even though it could have easily descended into the hell that plagued the country from '75 to '90, that didn't stop the March 14 coalition (Hariri and allies) from duking it out with the March 8 folks (Hizbullah and allies). Machine guns and RPGs in the streets, I got shot at with an AK-47 trying to get back home from work one night. Both sides were playing for keeps.

The main question is what damage occurred to Hariri's reputation among his supporters by so obviously bowing to Saudi's orders. While I'm sure many are disgusted, I'm not sure they won't end up shrugging their shoulders and going right back to unconditional support for the Future Movement. Such is the lack of critical thinking when it regards politics among most of the population.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Nov 4 2017 21:00 utc | 46

I don't see the US mentioned as a key player against Hez so here goes.
Hariri visited Trump in July. Trump dumped on Hezbollah but Hariri objected.

President Donald Trump . . .included Hezbollah among a list of terror groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State group that Lebanon is "on the front lines in the fight against," according to the Lebanese prime minister.
"We understand, quite frankly, that Hezbollah is an organization for the U.S. that is not acceptable," Hariri said. "My job as the prime minister of Lebanon is how to best shield Lebanon from problems outside the country." "We already have 1.5 million, so I don't need any more challenges to handle today," Hariri said, referring to the number of foreign refugees displaced mostly from Syria currently in camps inside his country. . .here

In October, the US stepped up actions against Hezbollah.
The Trump administration on Friday plans to roll out a new public campaign aimed at cracking down more forcefully on the armed wing of Hezbollah in Lebanon, part of a broader effort to counter the militant Shiite group’s chief backer, Iran. The new push will include instituting cash rewards for its “most wanted” operatives, stepping up U.S. intelligence and law enforcement efforts, and also aims to enlist allies to do more to undermine the group’s global network, three administration officials told reporters Thursday. . .here

And then raised the Hezbollah threat against the US.
"While I'm not here today to speak publicly about any specific, or credible, or imminent threat to the homeland," National Counterterrorism Center Director Nicholas Rasmussen told reporters, "we in the intelligence community do in fact see continued activity on behalf of Hezbollah here inside the homeland."
"It's our assessment that Hezbollah is determined to give itself a potential homeland option as a critical component of its terrorism playbook," he went on to say, citing recent arrests of alleged Hezbollah operatives in New York and Michigan. "And that is something that those of us in the counter-terrorism community take very, very seriously." . .here

Recently the news came out that Iran President Hassan Rouhani rejected an opportunity to speak with President Trump in New York in September. There hasn't been such a meeting since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The US initially denied that Trump had made such a request but then confirmed it. We (or I) can suppose that Trump would have ordered Rouhani to dump Hezbollah, and then publicize that he had done it. Rouhani may have guessed the reason for the meeting request, or may have had intelligence on it, or perhaps he was just a bit put off that Trump in his UN speech referenced Iran a dozen times, calling its government an “oppressive regime” and a dictatorship. In the same speech, Trump also called the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the six world powers “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 4 2017 21:06 utc | 47

Lots of things happening all over region. SAA and PMU are now attacking al-Bukamal, the SAA having made an end-run through Iraqi territory to join with PMU for the assault. Velayati said in a statement to Reuters that SAA will soon turn North to "liberate" Raqqa. That and more interesting material and interviews available at SouthFront. Igor Bundy has supplied much info about ongoing operations at SyrPers. And Twitter is alive with this news, "King Khaled International Airport in #Riyadh, #SaudiArabia on lockdown as parts of ballistic missile reported to have fallen on the runway," and a whole lot more. And if all that's not enough, a new document proving HRC owned the DNC as early as 9/2015 has surfaced, published and briefly commented upon at The Duran,

So many reversals on so many fronts; so much to write about yet chores currently take precedence!

Posted by: karlof1 | Nov 4 2017 21:21 utc | 48

Trump seems to have a hatred for all countries that have embarrassed the US or killed US troops in the past and never been defeated. North Korea, Cuba, Iran (embassy siege and so forth), Hezbolla (Beirut barracks), and I suspect Saudi Arabia for 9/11. He seems to be making Saudi Arabia pay for the privilage of being sent to their own destruction, at the same time causing as much damage as possible to Iran and Hezbolla.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 21:23 utc | 49

A bit OT but I think also ties in with my comment @47

Trump tweeting I think from Japan..
Donald J. Trump‏Verified account
Thank you to our GREAT Military/Veterans and @PacificCommand.
Remember #PearlHarbor. Remember the @USSArizona!
A day I’ll never forget.

Ivanka Trump tweeting from Japan at the same time...
Ivanka Trump‏Verified account
Touched by the warm hospitality of Prime Minister Abe and the Japanese people. ありがとうございます [Thank you]! Until next time

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 21:45 utc | 50

Remember that just before the 2016 USian election, Israel ran "civil defense"drills along its border with Lebanon. Even though the ISIL plan is failing, I doubt the Zio-nazis/Neo-cons are ready to give up on the Yinon plan overall. And with world opinion shifting against the Israeli government and Global War OF Terror, I fear they are feeling a bit desperate to speed things up.

Are Russia and Iran really forces in opposition to the global fascist world order? Perhaps that question will be answered once and for all very shortly. My heart goes out to all the victims, past, present and future.

Posted by: Daniel | Nov 4 2017 21:45 utc | 51

Is this game on for Israel to bomb Lebanon to rubble like they did in 2006? The last time they got their ass kicked in the ground war and had to retreat. Does the Israeli defense forces believe they have a better game plan against a much more upgraded Hezbollah capability?

What if Hezbollah missiles can hit Israel continuously, despite all their bombing and air superiority? I am curious what the Russians will do here. Will Putin defend Hezbollah like he did Assad in Syria? I doubt.

Posted by: ab initio | Nov 4 2017 21:50 utc | 52

Of course its just a coincidence that boy wonder Jared Kushner had recently snuck over to Saudi Arabia with uber-zionist Jason Greenblatt in tow.

Kushner Took Secret Trip to Saudi Arabia

“…Jared Kushner returned home this weekend from an unannounced trip to Saudi Arabia,…Kushner was accompanied by Deputy National Security Adviser Dina Powell and Jason Greenblatt, special representative for international negotiations…. Kushner traveled commercially last Wednesday …

The White House did not reveal who Kushner met with.”

Nothing to see here…. Carry on.

Posted by: pantaraxia | Nov 4 2017 21:53 utc | 53

Rumors of an attempted coup in Riyad, arrests, etc. All post Hariri statement & Yemen missile strike. Things are heating up..

Posted by: Lozion | Nov 4 2017 22:01 utc | 54

the usual whining about hezbollah/hizbullah has reached a cyclical fever pitch as of late. the usual bitching and whining from the cowards in riyadh and tel aviv but also combined with the outright stupid "bin laden AQ and hezbollah are totes BFFs document" and the neverending cycle of sanctions in DC from the potomac prostitutes. makes me wonder how much of it ties in to the recent "DNC was broke when obama left office" story. maybe the dems are even more desperate than usual to kiss wahhabi and zionist ass to make sure thay have two cents to rub together in 2020.

as for trying to take their pathetic proxy wars to lebanon and any attempt at attacking southern lebanon, i say "good luck, retards". after years of training, fighting and gaining weapons (and probably some explosive PTSD) in syria and on the border the already formidable hezbollah forces (not to mention iranians and the SAR tiger forces) will wipe the floor with any israelis stupid enough to try a ground war (never mind the coked up pedophile apes of AQ and ISIL). as usual the cowards of the IAF and IDF will rely on technology in lieu of any true fighting spirit or spine. that means mass civilian casualties (which the israelis have already threatened in plain terms) and more lost credibility for the parasitic bigots and their benefactors in the west.

Posted by: the pair | Nov 4 2017 22:03 utc | 55

*bin laden, AQ and iran (so by proxy hezbollah). although the document did mention that iran "sent AQ/ISIS types to train in lebanon". hilarious.

Posted by: the pair | Nov 4 2017 22:05 utc | 56

Mossad killed his Hariri's father and blamed it on Assad. This PM is a Saudi puppet. He was hauled by a private saudi jet today after his meeting with an Iranian MP yesterday. The plot for his ouster was pre-planned by Trump, Saudi and Zionist Joos in order to isolate Hizbullah as the next proxy war approaches according to Wesley Clark, after the US/Israeli defeat in Syria and Iraq, paving the way for Iran to extend it's reach from Tehran to the Mediterranean. This is part of the Greater Israel Project. 2006 war on Lebanon, and the defeat of the Zionist klan, will look like a walk in the park compared to what is coming as imminent to Lebanon.

Don't believe the hype or what the Saudi Wahabi Devils preach. Trump signed off and threatened Hariri to resign and blame Iran on any instability. Hizbullah, which was created on the premise of the Zionist invasion of Lebanon in 1980, has a right to defend itself. After all, if they didn't operate in Syria against CIAISIS in Syria, Lebanon would have been destroyed, in shambles and Israel would have re-invaded back in 2013.

Get your popcorn ready. The final stage will be at Iran after the destruction of Lebanon to weaken Hizbullah, which will draw in Russia and China. WWIII is at hand. A hot one too.

Posted by: sir sidne | Nov 4 2017 22:22 utc | 57

Darker days ahead for the region. Except this time, major US allies in the region will be consumed by the fire.

Hezbollah is now part of a huge network of other Hezbollah in Syria and Iraq - they won't stay silent.

I'm not sure if those behind this latest madness know what they're really doing. Interesting times.

Posted by: Zico | Nov 4 2017 22:23 utc | 58

If the Christians are smart they will ally with Hizbollah, they can keep the country sovereign and peaceful. If the Christians allow the saudis in, they are done.

Posted by: Fernando Arauxo | Nov 4 2017 22:23 utc | 59

Video from Riyadh is interesting.
This one apeares to be the launch of four intercept missiles. Launched on a low trajectory and detonating very quickly after launch.

This video- a scene of dust and frightened monkeys running. Was the Yemen missile intercepted or did it hit a target. By the looks of this video, it may have hit somewhere in Riyadh.

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 4 2017 22:25 utc | 60

@54 Lozion

In Shocking Purge, Saudi King Arrests Billionaire Prince Bin Talal, Others In Cabinet Crackdown

In a shocking development, Saudi press Al Mayadeen reported late on Saturday that prominent billionaire, member of the royal Saudi family, and one of the biggest shareholders of Citi, News Corp. and Twitter - not to mention frequent CNBC guest - Al-Waleed bin Talal, has been arrested for corruption and money laundering charges, along with several other top officials. Among those fired and/or arrested are also the head of National Royal Guards, Miteb Bin Abdullah, the Minister of Economy and Planning, Adel Fakeih, and Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan, the Commander of the Saudi Naval Forces


the heads of the main three Saudi owned TV networks were arrested, Alwalid Bin Talal (Rotana), Walid Al Brahim (MBC), Saleh Kamel (ART)


This could be a service to Trump, who hates Al-Walid: the two fought it out on twitter during the campaign although Al-Walid tried to reconcile with Trump after his election but to no avail.


To summarise today's even more bizarre Saudi news day:
-Trump urges Aramco IPO
-Lebanon PM resigns
-Saudis intercept missile
-Major cabinet reshuffle; 3 Saudi princes - who run the anti-graft committee - arrested for money-laundering
-A total of 11 princes, >30 ministers arrested on corruption

Posted by: pantaraxia | Nov 4 2017 22:29 utc | 61

As usual with saudi politics the official "reasons" are surreal:"mers virus" "floods" wtf

Posted by: Mina | Nov 4 2017 22:32 utc | 62

I think the jihadi game has reached its limit. It didn't work in Syria where Sunnis were 70% of the population, so I doubt it would work in Lebanon where they are only 30%. And Christian and Druze minorities will hardly be sympathetic to Salafi/ISIS types.

More likely this is a build up to an eventual Israeli attack. Wahhabi thugs might help, but they would not be the main feature.

Posted by: lysander | Nov 4 2017 22:36 utc | 63

Many thanks to b for the fine analysis and to others for their diverse and interesting comments.

For me, everything looks like just the latest shifting of Vietnam from one climate and geographical terrain to another: from the Mekong Delta to the foothills of the Hindu Kush. Someone once said to my fellow Vietnam veteran, Daniel Ellsberg: "Iraq is not Vietnam." To which Mr Ellsberg replied: "Yeah, like in Iraq it's a dry heat and the language our military and diplomatic personnel don't speak is Arabic instead of Vietnamese." Distinctions without a difference. Different Jungle, Same Bungle (i.e., the Pentagram's death grip on the U. S. budget).

Anyway, six years ago I wrote the following about America's previous special-snowflake Commander-in-Brief (and the hothouse-orchid stud-hamster before him), just to pass the time trying not to go insane from all the raging, rampant stupidity. I wish I could contribute more, but this will have to do for the present.

From The Triumph of Strife - Terza Rima sonnets in homage to Dante Alighieri and Percy Shelley (lines 2688-2701)

Peacock Pugilism

The precious peacock poised upon his perch
Perspires profusely, pondering his plan.
In short: he must decide which way to lurch.

Not if, but when should he attack Iran?
How best prepare the public for this strike?
Which lies to tell, the flames of war to fan?

From where the ruler sits, what’s not to like
About the usefulness of nameless fear
And heads of Muslim preachers on a pike?

Self-satisfied, he grins from ear to ear
Reporting proudly of his latest kill.
No charge, indictment, trial, or verdict clear,

Just fiat disappearance, Newspeak swill:
Iraq and Vietnam -- again and still.

Michael Murry,"The Misfortune Teller," Copyright 2011

Posted by: Michael Murry | Nov 4 2017 23:03 utc | 64

the saudi thing looks big... it seems little prince wants to get rid of extremism and is willing to go about it in an extreme way... will be interesting to see how this unfolds...

thanks for the various posts everyone..

Posted by: james | Nov 4 2017 23:51 utc | 65

Whatever happens, it has to appear that the zionists were the aggressors. Everything is hinged on this. Russia played all the right cards with Syria, even though it appeared they were pulling punches, instead of countering their "imperial" image as per America's distorted perspective on the Ruskies. Every time Uncle Sambo tried to cop a feel on full spectrum dominance of the MENA, Russia interrupted like a concerned parent peeking in on their daughter's room when the boyfriend was over.

May the cockblocking continue.

Posted by: NemesisCalling | Nov 5 2017 0:02 utc | 66

@4 @5, @13 and many others....

It is not like Lebanon has not been a target all along...

Since 2006, when Israel tried to take out Hizbollah, Al Nusra factions have been funded by several actors in Lebanon. In 2008 when the Hariri clan withdrew funding from one faction in the North of Lebanon, there was a revolt and 3 month war inside one of the Palestinian camps that the Nusra faction had taken over.

Also in 2008, in a non-news event the Nusra factions in the south of Lebanon started planting road-side bombs through-out the Shi'ite areas of the south. For two years Hizbollah dutifully tracked the cars and picked up the bombs before they detonated - defusing them and the sectarianism they were designed to fan into flame.

In 2011 during the so-called 'Syrian spring' when protesters/snipers took on Syrian police, there was an outbreak of fighting in the northern city of Tripioli in which Salafist snipers based on the Sunni side of the street attacked the Shia on the other side of the street. This conflict simmered until the entry of Hizbollah into the Syrian war.

At the end of the Syrian battle of Qusayr, Hizbollah brokered a 'humanitarian corridor' for all the Lebanese Sunni fighters (mainly from Tripoli) to return home. While the Syrians protested this action, it seems Sunni-Shia conflict (in Lebanon) dropped markedly as a result. It also made possible the formation of the Hariri-Aoun ruling government.

With the arrival of ISIS, conflict along the Syrian-Lebanese border (mainly directed against Hizbollah) once again re-emerged. Interestingly, Tripoli seems to have continued to honor the previous deal with few of their ranks joining the ISIS directed conflict.

That border presence of ISIS/Nusra was only finally cleared 6 months ago.

So tell me, what is new about outside actors trying to foment war in Lebanon?

Posted by: les7 | Nov 5 2017 1:06 utc | 68

@65 -- yes, the tectonic cracks are developing (and not just in Antarctica ice sheets). It's a palace coup with Arab characteristics. I'd expect the Yemen to cool down now that the red flag distraction program is no longer needed. However, the Yemenis appear to be real fighters and the few videos I've seen remind me of the resilient Viet Cong booting out the USA takeover of the French takeover of the Chinese takeover of the ...

Good luck to them, imo. Fat waddling Saudis on dialysis don't stand a chance in a fair fight.

Now, three-word associations do sometimes make interesting contemplation -- e.g. "Lebanon-Saudi-Drugs" brings up this little gem:

Prosecutors in Lebanon have charged a Saudi prince and nine other people with drug smuggling, a week after a record seizure at Beirut's airport.

The prince was not named, but he and four other Saudis were arrested after two tonnes of Captagon pills were found in cases being loaded on a private jet.

The others charged in the case - three Lebanese and two Saudis - are at large.
Captagon pills, which typically contain amphetamine and caffeine, are consumed widely in the Middle East.

The drug has helped fuel the conflict in Syria, generating millions of dollars in revenue for producers inside the country as well as being used by combatants to help them keep fighting.

Captagon, originally the trade name for the synthetic stimulant fenetylline, was first produced in the 1960s to treat hyperactivity, narcolepsy and depression. But it was banned in most countries by the 1980s because it was too addictive.

In 2013, the UN said 64% of global seizures of amphetamine took place in the Middle East, and that most of the amphetamine was in the form of Captagon pills.

I guess they don't need the Lebanon drug runners now that their head-chopping human organ-eaters in Syria are largely 'liquidated' history.

And as a postnote: whatever happened to our little Wahhabi 'prince' mule? Based on the cosmic rule that some are more equal than others -- even in fundamentalist Islam -- I doubt he even got his finger nails clipped for this. Lucky it was not a plane load of alcohol! (/sarc)

Posted by: x | Nov 5 2017 1:25 utc | 69

@69, ... and of course another 3-word puzzle could be "Saudi-Israel-visit"


Posted by: x | Nov 5 2017 1:38 utc | 70

70 princes secret visit israel
satanist visiting his temple

yes sir
this so called king in waiting bearded boy arab prince is a bad brown hollywood act.
he is pure donmeh jewish performance artist
just another sheet wearing little masonic city of london,cia mossad fully chabad stamped stooge.
cleaning up the past mess not a chance.
doubling down us flying choppers have been ferrying head chopper folks out of syria and iraq for months
myanmar beirut thailand incoming.

these arrests just asset theft a big chunk of change in the 10s of billion range.

like gadaffi and his countries sovreign wealth funds Prince Bin Talal and his goldman sachs investments any gold stored in london or newyork will already have gone just gone.

Posted by: charles drake | Nov 5 2017 2:47 utc | 71

Maybe Trump could go to Tel Aviv and announce hie has received death threats from the DNC and resign.

Posted by: Perimetr | Nov 5 2017 3:36 utc | 72

And as a postnote: whatever happened to our little Wahhabi 'prince' mule? Based on the cosmic rule that some are more equal than others -- even in fundamentalist Islam -- I doubt he even got his finger nails clipped for this. Lucky it was not a plane load of alcohol! (/sarc)
Posted by: x | Nov 4, 2017 9:25:56 PM | 69

This prince was ibn Talal, and his dad was reputed to be the richest of the princes, surely, most ostentatious, and i now arrested. So the son can be arrested too, and at the very least, he is not as comfortable as before.

The Hariri resignation is a bit bizarre, and BBC and NYC attributed it to Saudi pressure. NYC even quoted "normal Sunnis from Beirut" who were very disenchanted. Mind you, the election of Lebanese president was delayed by about two years (requires supermajority in the parliament), and Hariri getting PM position was a part of compromise that let Aoun be elected. By resigning, Hariri makes this compromise worthless. There is a strong smell of pointless flailing in Riyad. At this point, the "special relationship" between USA and KSA is highly personalized as king-Trump friendship, and that automatically makes anti-Trump parties sceptical. Hence the lack of support if not open derision in NYT and BCC.

There was also a talk about new sanctions on Lebanon if the new government (it can take a year, but perhaps less?) will be "dominated by Hezbollah". But the "pro-Western Sunnis" are split, and KSA enmity gives friendship with Turkey and Qatar. And Western Europe does not seem to be eager to follow zigs and zags of Saudi fancies.

Last thing: Russian-Saudi axis. Russia and KSA can beggar each other by flooding the markets with oil, but neither can afford it, so in spite of all differences, they decided to cooperate on oil matters. Oil prices went briskly up and they are larger than in recent few years. In my observations, it really increases the activity of Russia in ME, but lately KSA was "balancing the budget" by simply refusing to pay bills, true Trumpian style, so they have more actual revenue. There was also talk about other projects that can benefit both, but this has much lesser importance.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 5 2017 4:25 utc | 73

I wanted to write that Saudis need more actual revenue, i.e. from selling oil rather that the shares of Aramco.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 5 2017 4:28 utc | 74

"Oft evil will, shall evil mar"

Posted by: jezabeel | Nov 5 2017 5:02 utc | 75

Latest on Saudiarabia:

According to the state owned news agency, the princes and prominent figures were arrested in the latest corruption probe by the Saudi regime.

The following princes and prominent figures were among those arrested:

Prince Waleed bin Talal
Prince Mitaab bin ‘Abdullah
Prince Turki bin ‘Abdullah
Prince Turki bin Nasser
Waleed Ibrahim (owner of MBC Media)
Khaled Al-Tuwairji (former president of royal court)
‘Adel Faqih (former labor minister)
Saleh ‘Abdullah Kamel (owner of DBHC Group)
Mohammad Al-Tobaishi (former head of protocol court)
Ibrahim Al-Assaf (state minister)
Bakr bin Laden (Owner of Bin Laden Group
Sa’ud Al-Dawish (former chief executive of Saudi Telecom)
Khaled Al-Milhem (former director general of Saudi Airlines)
‘Amr Al-Dabbagh (former governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority)
‘Abdullah Al-Sultan (commander of Saudi Navy)


Posted by: arbetet | Nov 5 2017 6:55 utc | 76

Netanyahu has inserted himself into the current problem in Lebanon.

TEL AVIV (Sputnik) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called resignation of his Lebanese counterpart Saad Hariri a sign for the international community about the need to "take action against the Iranian aggression" in the Middle East.

Makes me wonder if the Israelis came up with a plan that the United States told the Saudis to implement. Given all the problems and issues afflicting Saudi Arabia at the moment, I can't see the Saudis being too keen on increasing their problems by either failing to carry out the Israeli plan or being too conscientious in carrying out the plan.

That the plan's execution appeared so inept, was that a feature or a failure? The former if the Saudis wanted to kill off the plan, or the latter if the Saudis wanted it to succeed but are too incompetent to pull it off.

Posted by: Ghostship | Nov 5 2017 8:33 utc | 77

I agree fully with every multi-faceted thrust of this analysis. Well done! Viva Lebanon, and Syria, and Iraq, and Iran...and Palestine!

Posted by: roberthstiver | Nov 5 2017 8:40 utc | 78

Thanks to Les7 for reminding us pre-Arab Spring nusra. To the question "what is new" maybe the answer is.. Trump?

Posted by: Mina | Nov 5 2017 9:22 utc | 79

24 hours ago, Hariri had no clue he would resign

So he's part of the arrests? As'ad Abu Khalil says that Bin Talal's arrest is part of nationalizing TV networks, same for Hariri's empire?

Posted by: Mina | Nov 5 2017 9:32 utc | 80

The so called coup in KSA is directly tied to the Mueller investigation.

Remember that Waleed is a big time supporter of the Clintons, to the tune of 10s of millions of dollars.

KSA is also involved in supplying children for Pizzagate.

For the first 4 of the indictments ......

12 more sealed cases have been placed on the Washington DC Federal Court docket, with more expected to follow.

Would not be surprised to see Brennan rolled up in this investigation.

A plausable timeline on how the Trump WH pulled it all off......

This all would add further urgency to the Jew's efforts to invade Lebanon, as the KSA is now likely to bail on that Jewish enterprise.

Posted by: Whozhear | Nov 5 2017 10:16 utc | 81

The whole British/French military and Rothschild bankers (London & Paris) project of last 100 years and coming 200 years is soon over. The CONQUEST OF EURASIA plan.
More and more, day by day, the Jews/Zionists are figuring out that the WHOLE Nazi extermination camp setup financed and organized by the CIA Bush family was a Rothschild plan to get the GOLD out of the Jews & Gypsies that would never trust their gold into a bank. That was the REAL reason for the whole WW2 NAZI extermination setup. That was the REAL reason for targeting the Jews and Gypsies. REFUSING to put their gold into banks. From banks to Rothschild is easy.

So once the Jews in Israel understand that the Bush CIA family with their Skull & Bones club.
So once the Jews in Israel understand that the Rothschild family just wanted GOLD.

It has become IMPOSSIBLE to use the Jews inside Israel for anything anymore. Those NUKES inside Israel might end up in the streets of London & Paris instead.

Posted by: Thucydides | Nov 5 2017 11:03 utc | 82

81 Manaforts ties to Saudi Arabia sure are interesting. The guy generally is.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 5 2017 11:23 utc | 83

He is the founder, chief executive officer and 95-percent owner[5] of the Kingdom Holding Company, a Forbes Global 2000 company with investments in companies in the financial services, tourism and hospitality, mass media, entertainment, retail, agriculture, petrochemicals, aviation, technology and real-estate sectors.[6] The company had a market capitalization of over $18 billion in 2013.[7] Al-Waleed is Citigroup's largest individual shareholder, the second-largest voting shareholder in 21st Century Fox, and owns Paris' Four Seasons Hotel George V and part of the Plaza Hotel.[8][9] Time has called him the "Arabian Warren Buffett".[10][11][12] In November 2017 Forbes listed Al-Waleed as the 45th richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $18 billion.[2]

18 billion in assets that will keep the money changers happy

6 billion in gold from one man a look a like fredo corleone who was also jewish like barzani and mo green
hardly trump change maybe the donald will bid for the las vegas hotels.

Posted by: charles drake | Nov 5 2017 11:30 utc | 84

Yep, sounds like Saudi Arabia has run out of money, that would explain internal attempts of robbing each other. Like Ukraine, really. It is bound to not end well.

Israel does not seem interested in a war with Hezbollah.

The bigger question is whether his resignation is a sign that the Saudis withdrew their support for him once again. At first blush, that would not seem consistent with King Salman and MBS’s overall desire to confront Iran’s proxies on every front.

But it is plausible that the Saudis are trying to create the context for a different means of contesting Iran in Lebanon: an Israeli-Hezbollah war.
sraeli leaders have been preparing for the next war with Hezbollah since 2006. Iran’s increasing assertiveness across the region makes clear that, even more than the last war, it will be a fight to diminish the Iranian threat on Israel’s borders. Israel and Saudi Arabia are fully aligned in this regional struggle, and the Saudis cannot help but be impressed by Israel’s increasing assertiveness to strike at Iranian threats in Syria.

Israel will have to make its own decision when the time is right for that fight. When the moment of truth arrives, Israel’s allies, with the United States in the lead, should give it full backing. An act of Iranian or Hezbollah aggression may well be the spark, as their malign intentions are perfectly clear.

But Israeli leaders will want to take care not to find themselves backed into a premature confrontation by the maneuvers of their allies who sit in Riyadh.

Posted by: somebody | Nov 5 2017 11:58 utc | 85

Peter AU1 10
I read somewhere recently that various stock exchanges (and govt leaders) were petitioning Aramco to let them list the company.

Posted by: Curtis | Nov 5 2017 13:19 utc | 86

Virgile 13
AbuKhalil of AngryArab Blogspot:
"I disagree with those who said that Hariri's resignation was a Saudi decision implemented by the Lebanese prime minister. IT was more an Israeli decision implemented by the Saudi government."

Posted by: Curtis | Nov 5 2017 13:23 utc | 87

@86 New York will probably get the listing.....with London a close second. Frankfurt and Hong Kong are trying hard too.

Posted by: dh | Nov 5 2017 13:45 utc | 88

I found a funny case of "headline play", this time about Hariri. Google News selects headlines to present on the web search "News" for a topic, and today for topic "Hariri" we get...

Western intelligence warned Hariri of death plot [Cyprus Mail]

and in the linked article:

Western intelligence agencies warned former Lebanese prime minister Saad al-Hariri of an assassination plot against him, the Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat reported on Sunday. It cited unnamed sources close to Hariri.

However, Major General Abbas Ibrahim, head of Lebanon’s General Security, said he had no information about an assassination plot against political figures in Lebanon. The army also said it had not uncovered any such plots.

Asharq al-Awsat reported that the sources “revealed that he had received Western warnings of an assassination attempt that was prepared against him”. It did not give further details of the alleged plot.


100% genuine, triply distilled bullshit. Did they had to install industrial strength fans in the newsroom of Cyprus Mail? Actually, not, this is copied from the wire of Reuters News Service.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 5 2017 14:48 utc | 89

While you give reports on the tactics and the battlefields, you're missing
the real reasons behind the whole Syria mess.
The strategy for the last fifty years that I know about has for Israel to occupy
S.Lebanon and specifically the Litani delta.
Everything ,including the Syria destabilization,has had that objective.
Its not a want for Israel,it an absolute need that was clearly seen as far back as then early 60's,so much so it was taught in an enlightened geography lesson to me in school back then.
A resource war over the most vital resource of all was clearly coming to any
informed observer.The amount of subterfuge its all been wrapped in has been truly stunning,
from proposed indefensible gas pipelines on down.
Just comparing photo's of the river Jordan now,and 100 years ago,tells you everything
you need to know.It was a mighty river,now its a piddling stream.Its an issue of national survival now for Israel.This is just the start of the problems for Lebanon.
All the other players have their wants,but Israel's absolute needs,are the real dynamic to watch.

Posted by: Churchill | Nov 5 2017 14:54 utc | 90

Re: Churchill @90

I think something similar is actually true. Israel has absurd ambition to geometrically expand its Jewish population and keep "converting desert to gardens" with limited water resources. The squeezed way more water from Jordan aquifiers than it is sustainable. They could solve it by a combination of cheap nuclear power (say, Russian reactors are now probably cheapest) and "reverse osmosis" or something like that, but that is a long shot solution at the moment. But while some think tankers in Israel could consider Litani river as a resource, there is no sign that Israel could ever get a green light for something like that, and they did not try when they were actually in control of south Lebanon.

The true time bomb is more subtle. The aquatic status quo relies on denial of water to occupied Palestinians and as a result, keeping them unhappy and subject of continual repressions. This is OK on Westphalian grounds (Israel doing whatever it damn pleases inside "Greater Israel") but for the western idea of "humanitarian intervention". Bad ideas are copied most accurately after all. But who could be the cheeky "humanitarian", given IDF military superiority in the region?

As think tankers pore through history books, they know how the Crusader statelets ended: fragmented Arab states of the Levant were united by Salah ed-Din. Thus Levant should be as fragmented as possible, and, with luck, riven by mutual hatreds. This is actually a consensus conclusion accepted in Washington and other major Western capital. A combination of "Shia axis" and an Egyptian government that has some need to bolster popularity could park impressive number of missiles in bunkers and issue an ultimatum to Israel to behave better after some massacre or a wave of mass detentions.

Mind you, the need to repress Palestinians would not go away even if some technology solves the water problem. But indeed, water is an important aspect here.

Posted by: Piotr Berman | Nov 5 2017 15:27 utc | 91

Posted by: Churchill | Nov 5, 2017 9:54:54 AM | 90

The strategy for the last fifty years that I know about has for Israel to occupy S.Lebanon and specifically the Litani delta.
They tried that but it didn't work. That bit hasn't changed: they can no more occupy S. Lebanon than 25 years ago.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 5 2017 15:30 utc | 92

The pressure on Israel over Lebanon is not water, but the Hizbullah missiles, though obviously water is a major problem. As is well known, they have the capacity to make Israel uninhabitable. But there's also a second factor: the Israeli army is increasingly unwilling to fight it out on the ground against a moderately equal enemy. We saw it, not merely in 2006, but again in 2014, when the IDF was stopped dead by the Gazan militias, and they had to revert to air-bombing the cr*p out of Gaza. This will happen in Lebanon, if there's a new ground war.

People will be looking out their second passports. My guess is that young Israelis think that their predecessors have done the sacrifice, and it's now time for a peaceful life, not fundamentally appreciating that the Israeli doctrine of the 'Iron Wall' implies endless war and sacrifice.

Posted by: Laguerre | Nov 5 2017 15:48 utc | 93

Could Hariri have just taken the Lebanon loot and ran off to Saudi Arabia?
“On 17 October 2017, the Lebanese Parliament began its first debate on the budget since 2005 (12 years ago). Lebanon has not had a budget since the victory of the “Coalition of 14 March”.
Since then, successive governments have pillaged the Public Treasury, without ever producing accounts. Today, Lebanon is the only “State” in the world not to have a budget.
Parliament could suspend article 87 of the Constitution which provides that a budget cannot be adopted unless the previous budget (or budgets) have been closed. By doing so, Parliament would then be able to vote for a budget thereby forgoing clarification of what became of the billions of missing dollars.”

Posted by: Krollchem | Nov 5 2017 19:16 utc | 94

The middle east has been a mess for a very long time. In hindsight George HW Bush should have let Saddam keep Kuwait and then overthrow the al Saud. The Iraqi army could have easily done that. Saddam was a secular dictator, so there would not have been any jihadi menace. He would have crushed the liver eaters.

b, I notice that your posts are pretty much exclusively anti-America all the time, with the Americans as the boogeyman in all matters. No doubt there is a place for that as the American political system has been a bull in a china shop ever since WWII, but there's nary a mention of the role of western Europe in all the global shenanigans. Wasn't the Libya project primarily European? Didn't the French & Brits lead the way there?

b, are you fundamentally biased, as a German, to discount how enmeshed the Brits and Europeans are in all this? Aren't the Europeans selling billions of euros in arms to the Saudis too? How far up Natanyahoo's ass are the Germans & French? Just asking for a friend.

Posted by: ab initio | Nov 5 2017 23:49 utc | 95

The middle east has been a mess for a very long time. In hindsight George HW Bush should have let Saddam keep Kuwait and then overthrow the al Saud. The Iraqi army could have easily done that. Saddam was a secular dictator, so there would not have been any jihadi menace.

That is a winner of a quote right there. 20/20 hindsight, but yes, we would be much better off if Saddam had rolled his republican guard right into Riyadh back in '91.

Too bad the petrodollar and protecting the Saudis takes precedence over everything.

Posted by: Chris | Nov 6 2017 1:20 utc | 96

@95 ab initio ... i am a canuck, and i see it pretty much the same as you describe b as seeing it.. the western euro countries are all poodles, or lapdogs of the usa at best.. none of them seem capable to running counter to the usa's agenda.. of course canada and australia are no different either..all weak kneed poodles.. usa and israel are tied at the hip as i see it.. i wish it was different, but that is mostly how i see it.

Posted by: james | Nov 6 2017 5:11 utc | 97

The degree of real agency any unamerikan western state has is to a certain degree fluid, but only within the slavering lapdog to slightly standoffish spectrum.

The reason is simple none of the governments of those states have sufficient political or military support to fuck off amerika then withstand the combination of economic vandalism and propagandistic lies which amerika organises against any regime which stood up to the amerikan empire. The odds are great that whatever such a government did it would be the last thing it did before being trounced in the next election by a starving population whose heads had been filled with pro-amerikan lies.
Even many of those those citizens who knew they were being fed bullshit would turn against their government because most humans prefer to eat a good steak to the black smelly stuff that slops outta cattle's arse.

Aotearoa paid a huge price for SFA - preventing a few amerikan boats from entering sovereign territory. Not only did they hafta throw away the most well developed welfare state in the english speaking world, they copped a brutal lesson in realpolitik from their so-called '5 eyes 'partners when all intelligence about France's act of terror against Greenpeace was withheld from Aotearoa security services - a short sharp lesson that only cost the life of a dutch 'pinko' but it was a message about what happens in even a formerly peaceful society if they should try to tweak the empire's tale.

That was minor stuff decades before 911 - all it cost was about 80% of the people's assets and the loss of control that causes.

I cannot imagine what would happen nowadays. Something akin to Libya, Venezuela or a mixture of the two, but one thing I do know is that the cost of resistance is high - real baby with the bathwater stuff.

amerikans are forever claiming that only tyrannies oppose them whatever truth there is to that is down to a world where any nation that can freely choose their leaders is ruthlessly exploited by the empire. The government which stands up is hounded out of office, killed and/or imprisoned and the nation they govern is destroyed economically as a punishment/example to others.

That's something which should give all amerikans pause, especially those ninnies who feel some sort of jingoistic thrum in their chests when they consider the reality of empire - the time will come when sufficient of amerika's unwilling lackeys do band together and do cast off the chains - a circumstance which is as inevitable as the eventual collapse of israel is, and when it happens the mugs who have been so acquiescent in their willingness to bend over and take it from amerika, will do as such humans always do; be so determined to demonstrate that their previous act wasn't their 'real intentions' that they lead the charge in demanding that every last amerikan be held accountable for the horrors which have been visited on so many during the time of the amerikan empire.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 6 2017 6:41 utc | 98

empire's tale = empire's tail

Posted by: Debsisdead | Nov 6 2017 6:43 utc | 99

Debsisdead "empire's tale = empire's tail"

What is, is what it is. After running through the news in the mornings, I put up comments here (no spell checker on firefox that I use for MoA) before I have taken in enough caffeine, glance through it, yep all's good, and post it. Most here have seen the results. A bit embarrassing but WTF.
Your spelling ect is generally impeccable which is why I had a bit of a crack about phony blackfella talk not long back

Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Nov 6 2017 7:20 utc | 100

next page »

The comments to this entry are closed.