Posted tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

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.

 

Saudi king upends royal succession, names son as 1st heir

June 21, 2017

Saudi king upends royal succession, names son as 1st heir, Fox News, Associated Press, June 21, 2017

(Please see also, IRGC Commanders: Our Main Aim Is Global Islamic Rule. Perhaps the IRGC statement of intentions was among the king’s reasons for making bin Salman the new crown prince. — DM)

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud waits to greet President Trump in Riyadh (REUTERS)

In remarks aired on Saudi TV in May, Mohammed bin Salman framed the tensions with Iran in sectarian terms, saying it is Iran’s goal “to control the Islamic world” and to spread its Shiite doctrine. He also vowed to take “the battle” to Iran.

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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Wednesday appointed his 31-year-old son Mohammed bin Salman as crown prince, placing him first-in-line to the throne and removing the country’s counterterrorism czar and a figure well-known to Washington from the line of succession.

In a series of royal decrees carried on the state-run Saudi Press Agency, the monarch stripped Prince Mohammed bin Nayef from his title as crown prince and from his powerful position as the country’s interior minister overseeing security.

The all-but-certain takeover of the throne by Mohammed bin Salman awards near absolute powers to a prince who has ruled out dialogue with rival Iran, has moved to isolate neighboring Qatar for its support of Islamist groups and who has led a devastating war in Yemen that has killed thousands of civilians.

The prince already oversees a vast portfolio as defense minister. He has become popular among some of Saudi Arabia’s majority young population for pushing reforms that have opened the deeply conservative country to entertainment and greater foreign investment as part of an effort to overhaul the economy.

He had previously been second-in-line to the throne as deputy crown prince, though royal watchers had long suspected his rise to power under his father’s reign might accelerate his ascension.

The young prince was little known to Saudis and outsiders before Salman became king in January 2015. He had previously been in charge of his father’s royal court when Salman was the crown prince.

The Saudi monarch, who holds near absolute powers, quickly awarded his son expansive powers to the surprise of many within the royal family who are more senior and more experienced than Mohammed bin Salman, also known by his initials MBS.

Meanwhile, Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud, 33, was named the new interior minister tasked with counterterrorism efforts and domestic security. His father is the governor of Saudi Arabia’s vast Eastern Province, home to much of the country’s oil wealth and most of its minority Shiites. The prince is also Mohammed bin Nayef’s nephew, and previously served as an adviser to the interior and defense ministries.

The royal decree issued Wednesday stated that “a majority” of senior royal members from the so-called Allegiance Council support the recasting of the line of succession. However, that vote of support appears to have been from a past gathering of the council two years ago when Mohammed bin Salman was named second-in-line to the throne, and Mohammed bin Nayef was named the king’s successor.

The Allegiance Council is a body made up of the sons and prominent grandsons of the founder of the Saudi state, the late King Abdul-Aziz, who vote to pick the king and crown prince from among themselves. The council does not appear to have met again before Wednesday’s sudden change.

Over the weekend, the king had issued a decree restructuring Saudi Arabia’s system for prosecutions that stripped Mohammed bin Nayef of longstanding powers overseeing criminal investigations, and instead ordered that a newly-named Office of Public Prosecution and prosecutor report directly to the monarch.

The prince had appeared to be slipping from public eye and was not believed to have played a significant role in Saudi and Emirati-led efforts to isolate Qatar for its support of Islamist groups and ties with Iran.

Instead, it was his nephew, Mohammed bin Salman, who embarked on major overseas visits, including a trip to the White House to meet President Donald Trump in March. That visit to Washington helped lay the foundation for Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May, which marked the president’s first overseas visit and which was promoted heavily by the kingdom as proof of its weight in the region and wider Muslim world.

Saudi-U.S. relations had cooled under the Obama administration after Washington pursued a nuclear accord with Shiite-majority Iran that the Sunni-ruled kingdom strongly opposed.

The warm ties forged between Riyadh and Washington under the Trump administration may have helped accelerate Mohammed bin Salman’s ascension as crown prince.

Despite his ambitions, which include overhauling the economy to make it less reliant on oil, the prince has faced failures and criticism for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, which he oversees as defense minister.

The war, launched more than two years ago, has failed to dislodge Iranian-allied rebels known as Houthis from the capital, Sanaa, and has had devastating effects on the impoverished country. Rights groups say Saudi forces have killed scores of civilians and have called on the U.S., as well as the U.K. and France, to halt the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that could be used in the Yemen war.

The U.S. already is helping the Saudis with intelligence and logistical support for the bombing campaign in Yemen, and the Trump administration has signaled it could assist with greater intelligence support to counter Iranian influence there.

The newly-minted crown prince also raised eyebrows when he ruled out any chance of dialogue with Iran. In remarks aired on Saudi TV in May, Mohammed bin Salman framed the tensions with Iran in sectarian terms, saying it is Iran’s goal “to control the Islamic world” and to spread its Shiite doctrine. He also vowed to take “the battle” to Iran.

Iran and Saudi Arabia’s rivalry has played out in proxy wars across the region. They back opposite sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen and they support political rivals in Lebanon, Bahrain and Iraq. The conflicts have deepened Sunni-Shiite enmity between hard-liners on both sides.

White House: Middle East Crisis Sparked By Trump’s Demand to End Support for Extremists Groups

June 13, 2017

White House: Middle East Crisis Sparked By Trump’s Demand to End Support for Extremists Groups, Washington Free Beacon, , June 13, 2017

(Please see also, Military crisis in Qatar may spark Gaza outbreak — DM)

US President Donald Trump (R) and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani take part in a bilateral meeting at a hotel in Riyadh on May 21, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

A percolating crisis in the Middle East over a top U.S. military ally’s support for extremist terror groups was ignited by President Donald Trump’s demand that U.S. allies in the Arab world end their support for Islamic extremism, according to senior U.S. officials familiar with the situation.

Trump is seeking a more active role in mediating a growing dispute between leading Arab nations and Qatar, a U.S. counterterrorism ally that has long provided financial support to the very terror groups it has vowed to fight.

Trump’s recent trip to the Middle East—where he publicly and privately urged top Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia to crackdown on Islamic extremism—is said to have sparked a regional dispute with Qatar, thrusting the country’s issues with terrorism financing into the spotlight, sources told the Washington Free Beacon.

U.S. officials, both inside and outside the White House, have long avoided the thorny issue of Qatar’s support for terrorism in an effort to preserve military relations with the country, which hosts a major U.S. air base that is a central front in the war against terror.

Trump’s focus on Qatar is said to be part of a larger regional strategy that focuses on strangling financial support for terror organizations that long benefited from Arab governments turning a blind eye to the issue.

Trump’s push to crackdown on this type of behavior—not just in Qatar—is said to have fueled the diplomatic break with Qatar earlier this month, which saw several leading Arab nations led by Saudi Arabia ceasing all diplomatic ties with the energy-rich nation.

U.S. officials and administration insiders who spoke with the Free Beacon about the situation said that Trump is seeking to play an active role in helping to mediate the crisis and shutdown Qatar’s financing of terror groups such as al Qaeda and ISIS.

“Look, last month President Trump visited Riyadh and gave a historic speech challenging America’s Arab friends and partners to do more to combat the violent radicalization that is growing within Islam,” one senior administration official told the Free Beacon.

“And the fact of the matter is that even though Qatar has been an important partner in some areas, they’ve also been a significant source of terrorist financing,” said the official, who would only speak on background when discussing the sensitive diplomatic issue. “What you’re seeing now is a regional response to the president’s challenge, and Qatar is going to have to respond as well.”

Trump’s stance against Islamic extremism and willingness to call out state backers of the movement has forced U.S. officials, particularly those in the Department of Defense, to address an issue that has been downplayed in pursuit of preserving diplomatic relations with Qatar and other Arab nations, sources said.

The hope is this will result in concrete change, which has been elusive in recent years as nations such as Qatar play both sides of the terror issue.

“American policy in the Gulf has been a bipartisan failure for over a decade. For different reasons, both parties found reasons to ignore terror financing coming out of the Gulf,” said one veteran foreign policy official who has been briefed by White House officials on Trump’s Gulf region strategy.

“Even when Obama officials did talk about terror financing, they used it as an excuse to pressure the Saudis and others to cut off legitimate anti-Assad forces,” the source said. “President Trump has been clear to our allies and adversaries that the incoherence has to end. He called on the Arab world to clean house, and what you’re seeing is the beginning of that.”

Trump discussed the issue in Monday remarks at a White House cabinet meeting, where he emphasized that terror-financing issues have became a central focus for the United States.

“One of the big things we did, and your seeing it now with Qatar and all of the things that are actually going on in a very positive fashion, we are stopping the funding of terrorism,” Trump said. “They’re going to stop the funding of terrorism. And it’s not an easy fight, but it’s a fight we’re going to win. You have to starve the beast, and we’re going to starve the beast.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has walked a more diplomatic line of the issue, in a move sources characterized as a “good-cop-bad-cop” ploy.

State Department officials would not comment on Trump’s latest remarks about Qatar, referring a reporter to Tillerson’s public remarks last week.

“Qatar has a history of supporting groups that have spanned the spectrum of political expression, from activism to violence,” Tillerson said. “The emir of Qatar has made progress in halting financial support and expelling terrorist elements from his country, but he must do more and he must do it more quickly.”

Qatar – the end of the road?

June 9, 2017

Qatar – the end of the road? Israel National News, Dr. Mordechai Kedar, June 9, 2017

(Please see also, Qatar, Trump and Double Games. — DM)

The Emirate of Qatar is a peninsula that juts out from Saudi Arabia into the Persian Gulf. The only overland route out of Qatar is by way of Saudi Arabia and if that route is blocked, the only way to reach Qatar or leave it is by air or sea. However, flights to and from Qatar pass over Saudi air space part of the time and ships from or to Qatar have to pass through Saudi territorial waters. This means that Saudi Arabia can in effect declare a total blockade on Qatar if it so desires. It has never done so before, but it began the process on June 5th.

In addition to a blockade, the Saudis, joined by the United Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Libya, Mauritius, the Philippines and the Maldives, cut off diplomatic and consular relations with Qatar.  Egypt, Libya and the Emirates declared that they would ban Qatari plans and ships from their air space and territorial waters. In 2014, these countries took much milder steps in order to punish Qatar, cancelling them once Qatar agreed to accept the dictates of the Umma and signed the Riyadh agreement along with the rest of the Arab nations.

The reasons provided by the countries involved for the unprecedented severity of the current steps against Qatar included: “Qatar aids the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, ISIS and Jebhat al-Nusrah” and “The Emir of  Qatar has declared that Iran is a good nation” as well as “Qatar destabilizes our regime,” as well  as ” Qatar provides hiding places and shelter to Muslim Brotherhood leaders who fled there from Egypt,” and “Qatar is giving aid to  the Houthi rebels (read Shiites) in Yemen.”

Another and most subtle reason, whose source is a Kuwaiti commentator, appears on al Jazeera‘s site: “Qatar refused to meet Trump’s financial demands.” This odd remark relates to a rumor on Facebook and other social network sites claiming that before Trump agreed to come to the Riyadh Arab League Conference, he demanded the Gulf Emirates purchase US arms in the legendary sum of one and a half trillion dollars, to be divided among Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Emirates. The three agreed, but Qatar pulled out at the last minute, causing the Emirates to follow suit, and leaving the Saudis holding the bill demanded by Trump.   The falling through of this deal, the largest in history, may have been the reason for Trump’s noticeably grim face in Riyadh.

Claiming that Qatar causes the destabilization of regimes is a veiled hint referring to al Jazeera which broadcasts from Qatar. Every since it began broadcasting in 1996 from the capital city of Qatar, Doha, al Jazeera has infuriated Arab rulers because it constantly carries out a media Jihad against them also aimed at others such as  Israel, the US, the West and Western culture. The channel also promotes and supports the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots such as Hamas, al Qaeda and the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel headed by Sheikh Raad Salah. Al Jazeera‘s media strategy is determined by Qatar’s Emir and is carried out down to the last detail by its very professional leading broadcaster and editorial policy setter, Jamal Rian, a Palestinian born in Tul Karem in 1953, who moved to Jordan where he was active in the Muslim Brotherhood until expelled by King Hussein.

Every so often other Arab regimes, chief among them Egypt under Mubarak, attempted to close down al Jazeera‘s offices in their countries after overly harsh criticism was aimed at the ruling government, only to reopen them when al Jazeera simply stepped up its attacks

The general feeling is that any government official – or anyone at all – who opposes a ruling regime (and there is no shortage of these people in any Arab country) leaks embarrassing information to  al Jazeera all the time, so that the channel is always poised to expose the information when the time is ripe and especially if the now-cornered victim has been unfriendly to it and to Islamists. The thought of this happening is enough to paralyze every Arab leader who would like to clamp down on al Jazeera in his country.

Every time a conflict erupts between Israel and Hamas, al Jazeera comes out in favor of the terrorist organization because of Qatar’s support of it. Hamas leader Haled Mashaal, makes his home in Qatar and the Qatari Emir is the only Arab leader so far to visit Hamas-ruled Gaza. The Emir has give billions to Hamas, enabling the organization to develop its  terror infrastructure.

Qatar has budgeted half a billion dollars to “buy” organizations such as UNESCO (whose next head will, unsurprisingly, be from Qatar), as well as media, academic and government figures to advance the goal of removing Jerusalem from Israeli hands. Al Jazeera runs a well publicized and organized campaign in order to ensure this outcome. This is the face of media jihad.

Saudi Arabia has never allowed al Jazeera‘s reporters to work from within the country, but does allow them to cover special events once in a while, mainly the Hajj. The Saudis know exactly what the Emir had up his sleeve when he founded a media network that would rule over Arab monarchs by means of recording their slip-ups, taking advantage of the Arab obsession with avoiding public humiliation by broadcasting from a satellite that can reach every house in the Arab world with no way of blocking it.

The last reports are that the Saudis blocked access to the al Jazeera internet site from their territory.  It is harder to block al Jazeera‘s satellite channel reception legally and it can still be accessed throughout the monarchy. Arab media attribute the blockage to declarations supportive of Hamas and Hezbollah made by the Emir of Qatar after Trump’s speech in Riyadh in which the US president included Hamas and Hezbollah in his list of terror organization, equating them with al Qaeda and ISIS.

Sorry, but I do not buy that story. Declarations about third parties (Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah) are ordinarily not the reason a public dispute erupts between Iranian monarchs. In my opinion, the reason for blocking the al Jazeera site in Saudi Arabia is a photograph posted on the al Jazeera site while Trump was in Riyadh.

This photo shows King Suleiman of Saudi Arabia awarding the Gold Decoration, the highest honor of the Saudi monarchy, to Donald Trump, but that is not the reason it was posted on al Jazeera. The reason has to do with the woman appearing in it and standing between Suleiman and Trump. I do not know what her name is, but she accompanied Trump during his entire stay in Riyadh standing just behind him and carrying a briefcase. Perhaps she is an interpreter. She is carrying a briefcase filled with important documents that have to be with Trump all the time in one picture as he, of course, would not be seen carrying a briefcase and standing be[hind her].

What is interesting about this woman is that she spent the entire time in the royal palace with her hair uncovered, like Melania Trump, the First Lady, did, even though women with uncovered hair are not to be seen in Saudi Arabia. In the palace, women are also not allowed to b e seen in the company of men. Al Jazeera posted this photo intentionally, in order to embarrass the king who granted Trump an award even though he was accompanied by women who, like those in the picture, who do not cover their hair. That photo of the king was the last straw and the Saudis blocked al Jazeera.

Qatar is now under great pressure. The nations that broke off relations with Qatar have stopped recognizing the Qatari Rial as a viable currency and have confiscated all the Qatari Rials in their banks. As a result, Qatar cannot purchase goods with its own currency and must use its foreign currency reserves. The supermarket shelves in Qatar have been emptied by residents hoarding food for fear that the blockade will not allow food to be imported. Long lines of cars can be seen trying to leave for Saudi Arabia to escape being shut up in the besieged, wayward country.

Qatar is trying to get the US to help improve the situation. The largest American air force base in the Gulf is located in  Qatar and it is from there that the attacks on ISIS are generated. Qatar also hosts the US Navy Fifth Fleet as well as the Central Command and Control of US forces in that part of the world. Qatari media stress the US concern about the siege that the Saudis have put on Qatar.

As part of its efforts to enlist US aid, Qatar has begun a counterattack: Qatar media have publicized that the U.A.E. ambassador, Yousef Al Otaiba , said on US election eve: “What star could make Donald Trump the president?” This is intended to cause a rift between the US and the Gulf Emirates, but will certainly not improve Qatar’s own relations with the Emirates.

Meanwhile, the Saudis and the Emirates have ejected Qatar from the coalition fighting the Houthis in Yemen, and there are rumors that they will also remove Qatar from the Council for Cooperation in the Gulf. The Saudis could suspend Qatar’s membership in the Arab League and other organizations if this dispute continues, raising the pressure on the Emir’s al-Thani clan.

The next few days will decide Qatar’s future. There  is a distinct possibility that the foreign ministers of Qatar and the Arab nations taking part in the boycott against it will meet in some neutral spot, perhaps Kuwait, Qatar will give in and new rules will be set by Arab leaders, that is by King Suleiman, to keep Qatar in line. They would include: toning down al Jazeera and perhaps even switching its managerial staff, ending the support for the Muslim Brotherhood and other terror organizations, ending cooperation with Iran and above all, listening to what the Saudi “Big Brother” says about issues, especially those having to do with financial dealings with the US. Once the conditions for Qatari surrender are agreed upon, we can expect the ministers to meet the press, publicize a declaration on the end of the intra-family dispute, shake hands before the cameras and smile – until the next crisis.

There is, however, another scenario: Qatar does not give in, the Saudis and its allies invade, their armies eject the Emir and Mufti of Qatar, and also Jamal Rian, the guiding brain behind Al Jazeera’s  policies. They would then appoint a new Emir from the ruling family, one who knows how to behave, one who listens to the Saudis.  No one except for Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas would oppose this solution, and the soft-spoken condemnations will not succeed in hiding the world’s joy and sighs of relief if the Saudis actually carry out that plan.

UN to jailed Islamic dissidents: “You will love it”

May 12, 2017

UN to jailed Islamic dissidents: “You will love it”  Israel National News, Giulio Meotti, May 12, 2017

Now, the favorite to succeed Irina Bokova is a Qatari politician and a Saudi will be the spokesman for the UN agency conference, while an Iranian will be the head of its executive board. They call it the “Islamic Troika”. That is the purpose of these exclusive nights at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh whose slogan is: “You will love it!”. 

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Why miss a long weekend at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh, where “spacious marble bathrooms boast deep soaking bathtubs” and are waiting for you?

This is what the 2,100 delegates of 400 Western non-governmental organizations thought when attending last weekend’s forum on “Youth and their Social Impact” sponsored by the United Nations. Participants of the gentle sex were asked to wear the abaya, the long caftan-like robe that veils Saudi women. Men were asked not to give their left hand, impolite under Islam. 

The event was organized by a foundation of the Saudi ruling family and was attended by, among others, Unesco’s Secretary General Irina Bokova, the founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, the French intellectual Jacques Attali, and Bloomberg Media Executive, Justin Smith.

Obviously, to save face, all these humanitarian organizations had to ignore the fact that a few miles from their forum Abdullah al Attawi and Mohammed al Oteibi had been persecuted and found “guilty” of having founded a human rights organization.

The two stars of Western journalism present in Riyadh, the Wikipedia chief and Bloomberg executive, had to avoid thinking that a hero of freedom of speech and open sources of information regarding which Wikipedia pretends to be a pioner, languishes in a Saudi prison at this moment. It is Raif Badawi, a liberal blogger lashed by the Saudi rulers.

They had to silence the case of Waleed Abu al Khair, who was condemned to fifteen years in prison for comments he made on human rights. Or the journalist Alaa Brinji, sentenced to five years in prison for criticizing religious authorities and sustaining women’s rights. A year ago, the Saudis arrested all the leadership of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association for supporting pro-democracy reforms.

They did not have to talk about them at this forum.

One of the most courageous NGOs, UN Watch, condemned the event: “Regrettably, Unesco, the U.N. agency for education, science, and culture, mentioned nowhere at its 7th International Forum of NGO, or on the conference website, that Saudi Arabia prohibits independent NGOs and arrests, jails and even sometimes flogs human rights activists”.

The UN forum was sponsored by the wealthy MiSK foundation, a Saudi charity led by Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi defense minister who led the Yemen bombing that killed 10,000 civilians and imposed a naval blockade on medical supplies, resulting in twenty million Yemenites who now need humanitarian assistance and seven million suffering from hunger.

But the Riyadh forum tells more. It tells us about the level of penetration of Islamic regimes in the UN human rights councils and commissions. In fact, in six months, Unesco has approved two resolutions that have cancelled the Jewish roots of Jerusalem, while the Saudis have also been able to get re-elected at the UN Commission on Women’s Rights.

Two years ago, during the same hours that medieval Saudi justice flogged Raif Badawi, a delegation from the United Nations landed at Gedda to promote an international conference on religious freedom. No, it’s not a joke. Joachim Rücker, the president of the UN Human Rights Council, was photographed smiling at the side of the guardians of the Wahhabite regime. The Obama administration also sent two envoys to the Gedda conference: the Ambassador for Religious Freedom, David Saperstein, and Arsalan Suleman, the envoy at the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.

There was also Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations Special Envoy for Religious Freedom, a well-known scholar of Immanuel Kant, who must have seen applications of his philosophical reason in the whip that slashed the blogger.

Now, the favorite to succeed Irina Bokova is a Qatari politician and a Saudi will be the spokesman for the UN agency conference, while an Iranian will be the head of its executive board. They call it the “Islamic Troika”. That is the purpose of these exclusive nights at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh whose slogan is: “You will love it!”.

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Lavish’ Gift to Indonesia: Radical Islam

April 29, 2017

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Lavish’ Gift to Indonesia: Radical Islam, Gatestone InstituteMohshin Habib, April 29, 2014

(A few days after I retired from the practice of law in 1955, my wife and I flew to Bali and stayed there for a couple of weeks. According to the article, that’s where Saudi King Salman spent six days “vacationing.” His total stay in Indonesia was nine days.

According to the 2010 Census, “83.5% of Bali’s population adhered to Balinese Hinduism,[3] followed by 13.4% Muslim, Christianity at 2.5%, and Buddhism 0.5%.[7]“. Most of the Muslims were on the southern coast and I can recall seeing none elsewhere. The Balinese Hindus we met were among the kindest and most welcoming people I have ever met. I wonder what’s happening there now. Please see also, Misogyny Meet Irony: Saudi Arabia Elected To United Nation’s Women’s Rights Commission.– DM)

 

Despite its pluralistic constitution, which says, “The state guarantees each and every citizen the freedom of religion and of worship in accordance with his religion and belief,” Indonesia — which declared independence in 1945 — has grown increasingly intolerant towards Christians, Hindus and Shiite Muslims.

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Prior to Saudi Arabia’s attempts to spread Salafism across the Muslim world, Indonesia did not have terrorist organizations such as Hamas Indonesia, Laskar Jihad, Hizbut Tahrir, Islamic Defenders Front and Jemmah Islamiyah, to name just a few. Today, it is rife with these groups.

A mere three weeks after the Saudi king wrapped up his trip, at least 15,000 hard-line Islamist protesters took to the streets of Jakarta after Friday prayers, calling for the imprisonment of the capital city’s Christian governor, who is on trial for “blaspheming the Quran.”

In a separate crisis, crowds were demanding that Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known familiarly as Ashok) be jailed for telling a group of fishermen that, as they are fed lies about how the Quran forbids Muslims from being governed by a kafir (infidel), he could understand why some of them might not have voted for him. If convicted, Ashok stands to serve up to five years in prison.

Accompanied by a 1,500-strong entourage, Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz arrived in Indonesia on March 1 for a nine-day gala tour. He was welcomed warmly not only as the monarch of one of the world’s richest countries, but as the custodian of Islam’s two holiest cities, Mecca and Medina.

While appearing to be taking a holiday rather than embarking on an official state visit — the 81-year-old sovereign spent six days at a resort in Bali — the king had some serious business to attend to. In what was advertised as an effort to promote “social interaction” between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia — with His Majesty announcing a billion-dollar aid package, unlimited flights between the two countries and the allotment of 50,000 extra spots per year for Indonesian pilgrims to make the hajj to Mecca and Medina – it seems as if the real purpose of the trip was to promote and enhance Salafism, an extremist Sunni strain, in the world’s largest Muslim country, frequently hailed in the West as an example of a moderate Islamic society.

President Joko Widodo of Indonesia (foreground, left) meets with King Salman of Saudi Arabia (foreground, right), at Halim Perdanakusuma Airport in Indonesia. (Image source: Indonesian Presidential Palace)

Jakarta-based journalist Krithika Varagur, writing in The Atlantic on the second day of the king’s visit, describes Saudi efforts in Indonesia:

“Since 1980, Saudi Arabia has devoted millions of dollars to exporting its strict brand of Islam, Salafism, to historically tolerant and diverse Indonesia. It has built more than 150 mosques (albeit in a country that has about 800,000), a huge free university in Jakarta, and several Arabic language institutes; supplied more than 100 boarding schools with books and teachers (albeit in a country estimated to have between 13,000 and 30,000 boarding schools); brought in preachers and teachers; and disbursed thousands of scholarships for graduate study in Saudi Arabia.”

This Saudi influence has taken a serious toll on Indonesia, 90% of whose 250 million people are Sunnis. Despite its pluralistic constitution, which says, “The state guarantees each and every citizen the freedom of religion and of worship in accordance with his religion and belief,” Indonesia — which declared independence in 1945 — has grown increasingly intolerant towards Christians, Hindus and Shiite Muslims.

Prior to Saudi Arabia’s attempts to spread Salafism across the Muslim world, Indonesia did not have terrorist organizations such as Hamas Indonesia, Laskar Jihad, Hizbut Tahrir, Islamic Defenders Front and Jemmah Islamiyah, to name just a few.

Today, it is rife with these groups, which adhere strictly to Islamic sharia law, Saudi Arabia’s binding legal system, and which promote it in educational institutions. Like al-Qaeda and ISIS, they deny women equal rights, believe in death by stoning for adulterers and hand amputation for thieves, and in executing homosexuals and “apostate” Muslims.

The most recent example of the way in which this extremism has swept Indonesia took place a mere three weeks after the Saudi king wrapped up his trip. On March 31, at least 15,000 hard-line Islamist protesters took to the streets of Jakarta after Friday prayers, calling for the imprisonment of the capital city’s Christian governor, who is on trial for “blaspheming the Quran.”

This paled in comparison to the crowds — numbering about 200,000 at each violent rally — which flooded the city last November, December and February. The crowds were demanding that Basuki Tjahaja Purnama (known familiarly as Ashok) be jailed for telling a group of fishermen that, as they are fed lies about how the Quran forbids Muslims from being governed by a kafir, an infidel, he could understand why some of them might not have voted for him. If convicted, Ashok stands to serve up to five years in prison.

Sadly, such a jail term is nothing, when one considers the Islamist prison that the country as a whole has become — courtesy of King Salman and his lavish “gifts.”