Archive for the ‘Saudi Arabia’ category

Palestinians: Arab Rulers are Traitors, Cowards

December 14, 2017

Palestinians: Arab Rulers are Traitors, Cowards, Gatestone InstituteKhaled Abu Toameh, December 14, 2017

Almost every Palestinian protester interviewed in the past few days about the Trump announcement spoke also of the “weakness” and “cowardice” of the Arab and Islamic heads of state.

Welcome to the Palestinian mindset, where an Arab leader who talks about peace with Israel is a traitor, while an Arab leader who talks about destroying Israel or launching rockets at it, like Saddam Hussein, is a “hero.”

Meanwhile, it seems that the Palestinians are disgusted not only with the Arab leaders, but also with their own president, Abbas. A Palestinian public opinion poll published this week showed that 70% of the Palestinians want Abbas to resign. Three months ago, 67% of the Palestinians interviewed for another poll said they wanted Abbas to resign. The latest poll found that Palestinians favor more hardline leaders such as Fatah’s imprisoned leader, Marwan Barghouti, and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

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The decision to boycott a visit later this month by US Vice President Mike Pence comes in the context of absorbing the anger of the street. Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have also made it clear that they no longer consider the Trump administration an “honest” and “unbiased” broker in any peace process with Israel. As such, the Palestinian Authority leadership announced that it will reject any peace plan proposed by the Trump administration, even if the plan gains the support of Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

The Palestinian strategy now is to work hard to thwart any peace plan coming from the Trump administration. The Palestinians are convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other Arab leaders are cooking up a new “conspiracy” behind their backs — with the aim of “liquidating” the Palestinian cause by imposing an acceptable solution on them. This, of course, has nothing to do with Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem. This has been the Palestinian position even before Trump made his announcement, and it is unlikely to change after.

The question now is: How will the Arab regimes respond to this latest charge of fratricide leveled against them by their Palestinian brothers?

Once again, the Palestinians are disappointed with their Arab brothers.

A declaration of war on the US, in the Palestinians’ view, would have been the appropriate response to US President Donald Trump’s December 6 announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

For the Palestinians, the anti-US demonstrations that took place in some Arab countries such as Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Iraq and Lebanon were a welcome development.

But the protests have evidently failed to satisfy the appetite of the Palestinians, who were banking on the Arab heads of state and governments to take more drastic measures against the US.

The Palestinians are not expecting the Arab and Islamic armies to march on the White House or bomb New York and Los Angeles.

All they have gotten so far from the Arab and Islamic leaders and governments are demonstrations on the streets and statements of condemnations. Moreover, it does not look as if the Palestinians should be expecting more from their Arab and Muslim brothers.

The sense of let-down on the Palestinians’ part is large: the streets of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are rising with chants labeling the Arab and Muslim leaders and regimes as “traitors” and “puppets” in the hands of Israel and the US.

Almost every Palestinian protester interviewed in the past few days about the Trump announcement spoke also of the “weakness” and “cowardice” of the Arab and Islamic heads of state.

Welcome to the Palestinian mindset, where an Arab leader who talks about peace with Israel is a traitor, while an Arab leader who talks about destroying Israel or launching rockets at it, like Saddam Hussein, is a “hero.”

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is rumored to be working with the Trump administration on a new peace plan to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is being dubbed a “traitor” and “collaborator” by many Palestinians. Likewise, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Sisi is being accused by many Palestinians of being too soft on Israel and the US and in collusion with the Trump administration.

Hassan Nasrallah, on the other hand, the secretary-general of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, who has called for a new intifada against Israel, is being hailed as a “hero.” So are his Iranian masters.

A Bahraini Interfaith group that visited Israel with a message of peace and conciliation was met with Palestinian anger. The Palestinians accused the Bahraini delegation of promoting “normalization with the Zionist entity.”

When Palestinians heard that the members of the Bahraini group might visit the Gaza Strip, they waited for them with eggs and shoes to throw at them at the entrance to the Gaza Strip. The Bahraini delegates later denied that they had planned a visit to the Gaza Strip. However, this did not stop Palestinian protesters from condemning the Bahrainis.

Echoing the embitterment towards the Arab “impotence” and “weak” response to Trump’s announcement, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas said that statements issued by governments and leaders were inadequate in the extreme. In a message to the Arab Parliament, Abbas expressed disappointment that the Arab and Islamic countries did not take tougher measures in response to Trump’s announcement.

For Abbas, the condemnations alone were “meaningless”. At a minimum, he stated, the Palestinians were expecting that Arabs and Muslims would throw the US ambassadors out of their countries, shut down US embassies, cut off their diplomatic relations with the US, or boycott US officials and delegations and goods.

“Rejecting or saying that the [Trump] decision is null and void is insufficient,” Abbas said. “We expect a series of measures and steps that would rise to the level of the event.”

The reaction of the Palestinian street to the Arab and Islamic “apathy” has been even stronger, especially after the meeting of the Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo to discuss the Trump announcement.

“As far as I’m concerned, all the Arabs are not worth two shekels,” commented a Palestinian interviewed in Ramallah.” Another Palestinian remarked: “There are no Arabs or Muslims left.” A third Palestinians said, “I find it strange that there are still some Arabs who expect anything good to come out of the Arab league. When will the Arabs wake up?”

“Anyone who expects the weary Arab regimes to defend Jerusalem is living under an illusion,” said Palestinian political analyst Mohammed Ismail Yassin. “All one should expect from these regimes is more failure. The Arab regimes are busy shedding the blood of their people.”

Meanwhile, it seems that the Palestinians are disgusted not only with the Arab leaders, but also with their own president, Abbas. A Palestinian public opinion poll published this week showed that 70% of the Palestinians want Abbas to resign. Three months ago, 67% of the Palestinians interviewed for another poll said they wanted Abbas to resign. The latest poll found that Palestinians favor more hardline leaders such as Fatah’s imprisoned leader, Marwan Barghouti, and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

The Palestinians are fed up with Abbas because, among other things, they believe he is not being tough enough with Israel. Many would like to see Abbas cancel the Oslo Accords with Israel and openly endorse the “armed struggle.” They also want him to halt security coordination with Israel. In an attempt to appease the Palestinian street, Abbas and his top officials have resorted to inflammatory rhetoric against Israel and the Trump administration.

The decision to boycott a visit this month by US Vice President Mike Pence comes in the context of absorbing the anger of the street. Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have also made it clear that they no longer consider the Trump administration an “honest” and “unbiased” broker in any peace process with Israel. As such, the Palestinian Authority leadership announced that it will reject any peace plan proposed by the Trump administration, even if the plan gains the support of Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority have made it clear that they will reject any peace plan proposed by the Trump administration. Pictured: Abbas speaks during the U.N. General Assembly on September 20, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Hagen/Getty Images)

The Palestinian strategy now is to work hard to thwart any peace plan coming from the Trump administration. The Palestinians are convinced that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other Arab leaders are cooking up a new “conspiracy” behind their backs — with the aim of “liquidating” the Palestinian cause by imposing an acceptable solution on them. This, of course, has nothing to do with Trump’s announcement on Jerusalem. This has been the Palestinian position even before Trump made his announcement, and it is unlikely to change after.

The Palestinians have placed themselves on a collision course not only with the US, but also with the Arab world. The question now is: How will the Arab regimes respond to this latest charge of fratricide leveled against them by their Palestinian brothers?

Khaled Abu Toameh, an award-winning journalist, is based in Jerusalem.

Iran threatens to hit Saudi, Abu Dhabi and Dubai air and sea ports, ships more missiles to Yemeni Houthis

November 8, 2017

Iran threatens to hit Saudi, Abu Dhabi and Dubai air and sea ports, ships more missiles to Yemeni Houthis, DEBKAfile, November 8, 2017

Our sources also report that Iranian experts have managed of late to lengthen the range of the ballistic missiles shipped to Yemen. The Burkan 2H, which Yemeni Houthis aimed at Riyadh airport last Saturday, Nov. 4 – and was intercepted – had a range of 1,000km.  The latest model of this missile has an extended range of between 1,500 and 1,600km. But it remains to be seen if Tehran is also providing the Houthis with the high-precision missiles delivered to the Lebanese Hizballah.

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Military tensions rise in the Gulf region amid Iranian threats and supplies of extended-range missiles to the Yemeni insurgents.

Tehran has warned Riyadh that unless the Saudi blockade of Yemeni ports is lifted, Revolutionary Guards missiles supplied to the Yemeni Houthi insurgents will be loosed against the seaports and airfields of Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The warning was forwarded to their governments through the Omani back channel.

The Iranians informed Riyadh that by cutting off Yemen’s lifeline, the oil kingdom exposed itself and its allies to retaliation in kind.

DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources add that, to give their warning sharp teeth, the Revolutionary Guards have been pumping fresh supplies of new surface missiles to Yemen by sea. Although the United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates maintain fleets in the Gulf of Aden and Red Sea routes of access around Yemen, none ran interference to the missile shipments. Such action would entail halting the Iranian freighters and confronting the missile-armed Iranian warships and submarines escorting them.

Our sources also report that Iranian experts have managed of late to lengthen the range of the ballistic missiles shipped to Yemen. The Burkan 2H, which Yemeni Houthis aimed at Riyadh airport last Saturday, Nov. 4 – and was intercepted – had a range of 1,000km.  The latest model of this missile has an extended range of between 1,500 and 1,600km. But it remains to be seen if Tehran is also providing the Houthis with the high-precision missiles delivered to the Lebanese Hizballah.

In an interview on Sunday, Nov. 6, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir charged that Hizballah officers posted to Yemen had actually fired the Burkan missile at Riyadh airport from northern Yemen. The Saudis have not disclosed details on how and at what point it was intercepted.

Within range of the extended-range missiles are the UAE’s Khalifa Port, Zayed Port and Mirfa Port, the backbone of the emirate’s free trade zone and the main source of its prosperous economy. With the rising military tension in the Gulf region in the last few days, air defense missile batteries have been deployed at those ports and the UAE air force, one of the largest in the Gulf, placed on high alert.

Saudi minister says he has ‘confirmed information’ on plot to kill Hariri

November 5, 2017

Saudi minister says he has ‘confirmed information’ on plot to kill Hariri, Al Arabiya, November 5, 2017

Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan (L) was speaking about Lebanon’s Hariri. (Supplied/Reuters)

Saudi Arabia’s Gulf Affairs Minister Thamer al-Sabhan said the personal security detail of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who resigned on Saturday, had “confirmed information” of a plot to kill him.

Speaking in an interview on Future, an Arabic television channel owned by Hariri, he said Hariri was in Riyadh, adding there were “security threats to the prime minister and the kingdom is keen on his safety.”

He added that Hariri resigned from Riyadh for security reasons.

“Saudi Arabia is different than the terrorist state Iran. We respect Lebanese parties despite their different opinions,” Sabhan added.

Speaking to the Lebanese television channel LBC, Sabhan said Hariri is completely free to return to Lebanon, adding, however: “We do not want explosions and destruction to happen again in the Hariri family.”

Sabhan also said that Saudi Arabia supported all of Hariri’s stances in the past, including the agreement related to choosing a Lebanese president, adding that the Saudi kingdom did not incite Hariri to resign.

“We cannot but be sad over Lebanon’s situation due to Hezbollah. We call for peace but those who try to (harm) the kingdom will find what they do not wish for,” he added.

“Hezbollah is a militia that tried to transfer Syrian battles to Lebanon and to harm Lebanon and Arab countries,” Sabhan also said, asking: “What’s the difference between Hezbollah and ISIS?”

Saudi Arabia intercepts ballistic missile over capital

November 4, 2017

Saudi Arabia intercepts ballistic missile over capital, CNN, November 4, 2017

Yemen’s air force targeted King Khalid International Airport in the Saudi capital of Riyadh on Saturday with a ballistic missile, according to Yemen’s Houthi-controlled Defense Ministry.

But the missile was intercepted over northeast Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense said in a statement carried on Saudi-backed Al-Arabiya television.

Yemen’s Defense Ministry said the missile attack “shook the Saudi capital” and the operation was successful. It also said the attack was conducted using a Yemeni-made, long-range ballistic missile called the Burqan 2H.

Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of states against the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who toppled Yemen’s internationally recognized government in 2015.

The missile attack represents the first time the heart of the Saudi capital has been attacked.

“We previously warned that capitals of countries attacking Yemen will not be safe from our ballistic missiles,” Houthi spokesman Mohammed AbdulSalam said. “Today’s missile attack comes in response to Saudi killing innocent Yemeni civilians.”

The Riyadh airport tweeted that it hadn’t been affected.

“Travelers across King Khalid international airport in Riyadh, we assure you that the movement is going on as normal and usual, and trips going according to time,” the airport said in Twitter.

CNN’s Bijan Hosseini contributed to this report.

Saudi University Dismissing Muslim Brotherhood-Linked Academics

September 29, 2017

Saudi University Dismissing Muslim Brotherhood-Linked Academics, Center for Security PolicyJulia Sora, September 28, 2017

A university in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is dismissing academics who are believed to have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The university reportedly found evidence that a number of Saudi and foreign academics were linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.  The removal of these academics is an attempt to protect The Saudi educational system from Brotherhood influence.

In the past two weeks, Saudi authorities have allegedly arrested over 30 clerics and intellectuals in an attempt to crack down on dissent. The State Security Presidency arrested these clerics and intellectuals after monitoring their activities in the belief that they were acting for the benefit of foreign parties against the kingdom.

Three prominent clerics who were arrested were Salman al-Ouda, Aidh al-Qarni, and Ali al-Omary. Al-Qarni has advocated jihad in the past and has been described as influential among al-Qaeda followers.

Salman al-Ouda was jailed in the 1990s in Saudi Arabia for radicalism and his association with Osama Bin Laden. Al-Ouda has been a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood and also a founding member of the Global Anti-Aggression Campaign which is a coalition of Salafi, Salafi-Jihadi, Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas leaders.

In the 1950s, Saudi Arabia was a shelter for thousands of Brotherhood activists facing repression in Egypt, Syria and other countries. The Brotherhood soon became engrained both in Saudi society and in the Saudi state.

When Brotherhood activists fled to Saudi Arabia, many were given positions in Saudi schools by Saudi leaders who were sympathetic to their cause. The Muslim Brotherhood’s doctrine of education focuses on indoctrinating activists whose manners, way of thinking and sense of duty were aligned with the Brotherhood’s objectives.

In 2015, Saudi schools removed about 80 religious books including books written by Muslim Brotherhood ideologues Hassan Al Banna, Yousuf Al Qaradawi and Sayyed Qutb. Hassan Al Banna was the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt and Sayyed Qutb was a leading member of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the 1950s and 1960s.

Saudi Islamist movements, specifically the Sahwa (Awakening), grew in Saudi Arabia. The relationship between the Sahwa and the regime was harmonious in the beginning until the 1980s when the Sahwa began criticizing the regime’s policies.

In the 1990s the Sahwa movement attempted a political reform campaign which led to a strain on the relationship, with the regime expelling several Brotherhood members. In the early 2000s, the relationship improved, allowing the Sahwa back into religious and social aspects in the country as long as they avoided criticism of the government. The Arab Spring encouraged the Sahwa to attempt political reform again but they were unsuccessful.

In February 2014, a royal decree was created to punish any person who was involved in, supported, or promoted a terrorist group. A month later, Saudi Arabia named the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The Saudi kingdom fears the Brotherhood seeks to topple the Saudi regime and has tried to build support inside the kingdom since the Arab Spring.

In June, Saudi Arabia was one of 5 countries to cut ties with Qatar over alleged efforts to undermine the stability of the Gulf States through Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood and a variety of designated terrorist groups.

Academics have the capacity to exert great influence over students and are also capable of recruiting some students to support the Brotherhood’s efforts across communities throughout the Middle East and Africa. It remains difficult to determine the full extent of the effort by Saudi authorities to expel Brotherhood-linked academics from institutions in Saudi Arabia because it is unclear how many academics were expelled, and how many may remain.

Fusion GPS and How the News Gets Made

July 23, 2017

Fusion GPS and How the News Gets Made, The Point (Front Page Magazine), Daniel Greenfield, July 23, 2017

(Please see also, FBI relies on discredited dossier in Russia investigation. A co-founder of Fusion Fusion GPS, which wrote the “Trump dossier,” has refused to testify before the Congress.– DM)

The Fusion GPS scandal is a shocking example of how the media sausage really gets made

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Lee Smith has an extensive hardhitting piece at the Tablet on Fusion GPS and what the media has become. I’m going to excerpt a few relevant sections. Not necessarily in order.

On Wednesday, three major news organization published variations of the same story—about the line of succession to the Saudi throne. It seems that in June the son of King Salman, Mohammed Bin Salman, muscled his cousin Mohammed Bin Nayef out of the way to become the Crown Prince and next in line.

It’s a juicy narrative with lots of insider-y details about Saudi power politics, drug addiction, and the ambitions of a large and very wealthy family, but the most salient fact is that the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Reuters published what was essentially the same story, with minor variations, on the same day—not a breaking news story, but an investigative feature.

In other words, these media organizations were used as part of an information campaign targeting Riyadh, for as yet unknown reasons. Who’s behind it? Maybe an opposition research shop like Fusion GPS, or a less formal gathering of interests, like Saudi opponents foreign and domestic, as well as American intelligence officials.

The same likely goes for the flurry of media pieces claiming that the crisis with Qatar was caused by UAE hacking. That nonsense piece of Qatari propoaganda is seemingly even being promoted in paid Google ads.

Smith’s larger point is that the news is increasingly a series of hit pieces. While that’s obvious to most conservatives and independents, he discusses how organizations like Fusion GPS create them.

Fusion GPS was founded in 2009—before the social media wave destroyed most of the remaining structures of 20th-century American journalism—by two Wall Street Journal reporters, Glenn Simpson and Peter Fritsch. They picked up former colleagues from the Journal, Tom Catan, and Neil King, Jr., who were also well-respected by their peers. When the social media wave hit two years later, print media’s last hopes for profitability vanished, and Facebook became the actual publisher of most of the news that Americans consumed. Opposition research and comms shops like Fusion GPS became the news-rooms—with investigative teams and foreign bureaus—that newspapers could no longer afford….

Fusion GPS, according to the company’s website, offers “a cross-disciplinary approach with expertise in media, politics, regulation, national security, and global markets.” What does that mean, exactly? “They were hired by a sheikh in the UAE after he was toppled in a coup and waged an information war against his brother,” one well-respected reporter who has had dealings with the company told me. “I believe they seeded the New Yorker story about the Trump Hotel in Azerbaijan with alleged connections to the IRGC. They may have been hired to look into Carlos Slim. It’s amazing how much copy they generate. They’re really effective.”

Yet it is rare to read stories about comms shops like Fusion GPS because traditional news organizations are reluctant to bite the hands that feed them. But they are the news behind the news—well known to every D.C. beat reporter as the sources who set the table and provide the sources for their big “scoops.”

The garbage media story you’re reading wasn’t even created by the reporters whose byline is on it. It was quite possibly created and hand fed by outside experts. Obviously this isn’t a new phenomenon. But the scale and the scope of it is. None other than Ben Rhodes, Obama’s Goebbels, bragged how little reporters [k]now and how easy it’s become to feed them material.

Something like Fusion GPS takes the White House operation that Ben Rhodes ran and makes it acceptable to countries and various interests.

Essentially we have what amounts to PR firms writing major media stories. And driving the narrative.

There is no accurate accounting of how many of the stories you read in the news are the fruit of opposition research, because no journalist wants to admit how many of their top “sources” are just information packagers—which is why the blinding success of Fusion GPS is the least-covered media story in America right now.

This is something to remember as the media throws another fit about how any criticism of it is a threat to the First Amendment. What the media increasingly is, is a space for assorted activists, for profit and non-profit, to run their narratives.

Much of the media’s new blood know nothing except how to tweet sarcastic animated GIFs and to have the right left-wing politics. The media isn’t a free press. It’s a monopoly run for the benefit of special interests.

The Fusion GPS scandal is a shocking example of how the media sausage really gets made.

British Muslims Fund Terror, Says UK Government Report

July 18, 2017

British Muslims Fund Terror, Says UK Government Report, American ThinkerPaul Austin Murphy, July 18, 2017

The British Home Office have just clarified something which many British people have known for well over a decade: that Islamists and terrorists are being funded by ordinary British Muslims to the tune of hundreds of thousands of pounds a year.

That means that this isn’t about the usual extremist British Islamic organisations which have already been well-documented. This is about people who may well pass for “ordinary” or even “moderate” Muslims. 

Many people have also known — for a long time — that Islamic charities are often fundraisers for Islamic terror. Indeed the report includes the information that Islamic organisations pose as charities because charity — though only for fellow Muslims and Islamic causes — is very big in Muslim communities. Thus, it’s all very late in the day for the British Government to decide to work with the Charity Commission on these issues. However, better late than never.

As the Home Office put it, pro-terror money is coming from small, anonymous public donations. According to the British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd:

“In some cases, these organisations receive hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. This is the main source of income.”

Rudd also said that the report (which was commissioned in 2015 by David Cameron)

“gives us the best picture we have ever had of how extremists operating in the UK sustain their activities”.

However, Rudd has decided not to publish the report for reasons of “national security” and also because it contains a lot of “personal information.”

Rather predictably, the Labour Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, chose to make a party-political point about all this; rather than a point about what can be called “the enemy within.” After all, the enemy within has brown skin; whereas the Tory Party is white. Thus, Abbott tells is that there’s a “strong suspicion” that facts are being

“suppressed to protect this Government’s trade and diplomatic priorities, including in relation to Saudi Arabia”.

(The Green Party — which, just like a melon, is green on the outside and red on the inside — has got in on the act. Caroline Lucas also attacked the Tories for withholding information.)

What Dianne Abbott fails to mention is that Rudd also stated that the report contains lots of personal information about British Muslims. That would mean that if that personal information were made public, then lots of British Muslims would be put under the spotlight. Now, I wonder how the anti-white anti-racist Diane Abbott would respond to that? Would she — and other Labourites — talk about “Islamophobia” and the “victimisation of the Muslim community?” After all, Rudd is white and most Muslims are brown.

Saudi Arabia has just been mentioned.

This is the latest British left-wing sport: tying literally all Islamic extremism and terror (including ISIS and the attacks in England) to Saudi Arabia. Now why is this the case and why is it such a recent phenomenon in left-wing circles? Again, for party-political reasons; not for a genuine antipathy towards Islamic terror or Saudi Arabia. More concretely, the Corbynite Left decided to make a big deal about the government’s close relations to Saudi Arabia during Jeremy Corbyn’s election campaign. (These relations are no closer today than they were during any other previous British government.) Thus, to the Left, this isn’t at all about Islam or Saudi Arabia. It’s actually all about the Tories.

Saudi Arabia is indeed important in the terror stakes. Very important. Nonetheless, so too is Iran. Iran has been funding terror and carrying out terror attacks since 1979. Some of those attacks occurred as far away as Argentina (two large-scale attacks), Paris, Brussels, Bahrain, Kuwait, Panama, London (against Salman Rushdie), Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Tanzania, India, Israel, Bulgaria, etc. Iran was also responsible for the attacks in Beirut in the 1980s and other Lebanese bombings which — over all — claimed hundreds of lives.

Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and the Stop the War Coalition (which he led until he became leader of the Labour Party) are big fans of Iran. Iran is at war with Saudi Arabia. (You work it out!) Indeed, some of the StWC’s leaders are also big fans of Bashar Assad’s Socialist Ba’ath Party! Then again, other StWC leaders have said positive things about the Soviet Union, Mao’s China, and, believe it or not, North Korea.