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Breaking News => World News - Current Events => Topic started by: space otter on January 03, 2016, 03:09:21 PM

Title: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on January 03, 2016, 03:09:21 PM
has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????

The Nation That Executed 47 People In 1 Day
Sits On The U.N. Human Rights Council
Saudi Arabia enjoys the support of allies like the U.S. and U.K. at the human rights body.
01/02/2016 06:52 pm ET

Charlotte Alfred

Iran's Supreme Leader Predicts 'Divine Vengeance' After Saudis Execute Cleric
Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shi'ite cleric along with dozens of others.
01/03/2016 09:57 am ET
Fiorina And Carson Defend Saudi Government, Which Cites Sharia Law To Execute 47 People
“Saudi Arabia is our ally, despite the fact that they don’t always behave in a way that we condone," Fiorina said.
01/03/2016 12:12 pm ET

Jessica Schulberg

Protests in Saudi Arabia at Shia cleric's execution
2 January 2016 Last updated at 14:53 GMT

Protesters have taken to the streets of Al Awamiya, Saudi Arabia, to voice their opposition to the execution of prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr.

Sheikh Nimr was among 47 people put to death after being convicted of terrorism offences - he was a supporter of the mass anti-government protests which took place in 2011.

Demonstrators marched from Sheikh Nimr's home village of al-Awamiya to the region's main town of Qatif.

They shouted the slogans "The people want the fall of the regime", and "Down with the al-Saud family", reminiscent of the 2011 protests.
Saudi Arabia cuts diplomatic ties with Iran over embassy storming
Published time: 3 Jan, 2016 20:20Edited time: 3 Jan, 2016 21:19
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: Eighthman on January 03, 2016, 04:16:35 PM
Excellent news.  Once upon a time, women in many secular Arab nations freely went to work or market without hijab or headcovering - as shown in photos of Nassar's funeral.  The Saudis have spread extremist Islam throughout the world - and were behind 9/11 as the classified 28 pages of the official report shows.

A civil war, however, could crash the dollar as the petrodollar system and their $600 billion of reserves could be involved.

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: zorgon on January 03, 2016, 06:55:12 PM
Yes the tide has turned...

Published on Sep 25, 2015
A Saudi prince has been arrested on charges of trying to force a worker at a Beverly Hills estate to perform oral sex, Los Angeles police said on Thursday.

This one doesn't have diplomatig immunity

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: zorgon on January 03, 2016, 07:07:40 PM
Saudi prince arrested in Beirut in major drug bust (Lebanon)


Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on January 04, 2016, 09:40:58 PM
The New York Times
2 hrs ago

U.S. Struggles to Explain Alliance With Saudis
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Monday confronted the fundamental contradiction in its increasingly tense relationship with Saudi Arabia. It could not bring itself, at least in public, to condemn the execution of a dissident cleric who challenged the royal family, for fear of undermining the fragile Saudi leadership that it desperately needs in fighting the Islamic State and ending the conflict in Syria.

The United States has usually looked the other way or issued carefully calibrated warnings in human rights reports as the Saudi royal family cracked down on dissent and free speech and allowed its elite to fund Islamic extremists. In return, Saudi Arabia became America’s most dependable filling station, a regular supplier of intelligence, and a valuable counterweight to Iran.

For years it was oil that provided the glue for a relationship between two nations that share few common values.

Today, with American oil production surging and the Saudi leadership fractured, the mutual dependency that goes back to the early 1930s, with the first American investment in the kingdom’s oil fields, no longer binds the nations as it once did.

But the political upheaval in the Middle East, and the American perception that the Saudis are critical to stability in the region, continues to hold together an increasingly fractious marriage. So when Saudi Arabia executed 47 people, including Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, the dissident cleric, on Saturday, beheading many of them in a style that most Americans associate with the Islamic State rather than a close American partner, the administration’s efforts to explain the relationship became more strained than ever.

In fact, the executions were the culmination of a series of events in the past few years that have led to clashes between the two nations.

“We haven’t been on the same page with the Saudis for a long time,” said Martin S. Indyk, the executive vice president of the Brookings Institution and a former top aide to Secretary of State John Kerry. “And it starts with Mubarak.”

In 2011, Saudi leaders berated President Obama and his aides for failing to support President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt during the Arab Spring, fearing Mr. Obama might do the same thing if the uprisings spread to the kingdom.

The nuclear deal with Iran only fueled the Saudi sense that the United States was rethinking the fundamental relationship — and Saudi officials, on visits to Washington, openly questioned whether they could rely on their American ally. It was King Abdullah who was quoted in a 2008 State Department cable, released two years later by WikiLeaks, exhorting the United States to “cut off the head of the snake” — Iran — by launching military strikes. He died before last summer’s deal, but Saudi leaders, who still see Iran’s hand behind every destabilizing act in the Middle East, argued that the administration was naïve to think that Iran would abide by any negotiated accord.

So ever since that accord was reached in July, the Obama administration has been offering reassurance. Mr. Obama invited the Saudis to join a meeting at Camp David to reassure Arab allies that the United States was not abandoning them — and would sell them larger weapons packages than ever before. But the administration has also been sharply critical of the Saudi intervention in Yemen, seeing it as huge distraction from the bigger battle against the Islamic State.

To hear the Americans tell it, the new Saudi leadership struggling for influence under King Salman is headstrong, “more interested in action than deliberation,” in Mr. Indyk’s words.

When Mr. Kerry warned the Saudis against executing Sheikh Nimr, a Saudi-born Shiite cleric who directly challenged the royal family, he was ignored. “This is a concern that we raised with the Saudis in advance,” Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, acknowledged on Monday. He said the execution has “precipitated the kinds of consequences that we were concerned about.”

But that was about as strongly as the administration was willing to criticize the Saudis. Pressed to condemn Sheikh Nimr’s execution, officials urged calm on all sides. The State Department spokesman, John Kirby, urged the entire region to move on to the business of confronting the Islamic State and dealing with the Syria crisis.

“If you are asking whether we are trying to become a mediator in all this, the answer is no,” Mr. Kirby told reporters. “Real, long-term solutions aren’t going to be mandated by Washington, D.C.”

Privately, several American officials expressed anger at the Saudis for picking this moment to conduct the executions.

They noted that Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry have been in regular contact with members of the Saudi leadership. Mr. Obama called to urge the Saudis to join the Syrian peace process talks — across the table from the Iranians. Mr. Kerry traveled to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, and later asked the Saudis to organize the Syrian rebels into a single group to negotiate a cease-fire with President Bashar al-Assad.

But the Saudis were reluctant partners, telling their Western counterparts that they would go along, but predicting that Mr. Kerry’s effort would collapse because Iran would never agree to any process that led to Mr. Assad’s removal. Meanwhile, the Saudis’ early participation in airstrikes against the Islamic State petered out as they moved military assets to their campaign against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Others who deal with the Saudis say there is a degree of stress on the leadership in Riyadh they have rarely seen before.

“The kingdom faces a potentially perfect storm of low oil income, open-ended war in Yemen, terrorist threats from multiple directions and an intensifying regional rivalry with its nemesis, Iran,” Bruce Riedel, a former senior C.I.A. officer with long experience in the region, wrote on Monday.

Patrick Clawson, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, saw a desire to send a pointed message to Washington. The Saudis were saying, Mr. Clawson wrote, that “if the United States will not stand up to Iran, Riyadh will do so on its own.”

The Saudi concern that the Obama administration
is about to embrace Iran is almost certainly overblown. Since the nuclear agreement, the Iranians have tested ballistic missiles twice, and the administration — after some delays — appears to be readying sanctions in return. And last week, Iranian naval ships fired rockets within 1,500 yards of a United States carrier group. The supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has ruled out cooperation with the United States — though the Iranians have shown up at the Syria talks.

On occasion, American officials muse about whether the United States and Iran might, one day, constitute more natural allies than the United States and Saudi Arabia. But that seems far off.

“It’s not as if you have an Iranian alternative,” a senior Gulf Arab official said recently. “And if you have no alternative, your best choice is to stop complaining about the Saudis.”

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on January 09, 2016, 11:18:48 AM
you hafta read more than the headline here

Trita Parsi
Posted:  01/08/2016 1:02 pm EST    Updated:  01/08/2016 1:59 pm EST

The Privilege Saudi Arabia Enjoyed Under U.S.-Led Order in the Mideast Is Over

At his first press conference after getting elected, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani singled out Saudi Arabia as the country his government would try particularly hard to build friendly relations with. He even referred to Saudis as Iran's "brothers."

Things didn't turn out quite as Rouhani had hoped.

 Middle Eastern geopolitics have changed dramatically since the mid-1990s, when Rouhani had helped engineer a Saudi-Iran rapprochement. The Iraq war had caused Saudi to lose both faith in American intentions and competence. The Arab Spring -- and what the Saudis viewed as the betrayal of Egypt's Hosni Mubarak by the U.S. -- convinced Riyadh that Washington would no longer uphold its promise to secure and protect pro-Western Arab dictators.
Moreover, by refraining from using military force against Syrian President Bashar Assad, America had proved that its desire to avoid new wars in the Middle East superseded its hegemonic obligations to uphold security and stability in region. It looks to the Saudis like America has simply abandoned its ally.

“The U.S.-led order for the region established in the 1990s was bound to collapse.

Moreover, Saudi oil has lost its lure. The U.S. has significantly increased its own oil production and reduced its dependence on Saudi oil. And as a result of the Iran nuclear deal -- which Saudi Arabia vehemently opposed -- Iranian oil will soon return to the world markets. Many states are planning to reduce their dependency on Saudi oil by shifting some of their consumption towards Iranian crude.

And then of course, Iran is no longer checked geopolitically by Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Add to that the lifting of sanctions on Iran -- which "may be days away" according to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry -- and it becomes clear why Riyadh fears that its geopolitical decline will be exacerbated by Iran's ascendancy.

Despite this dramatically altered geopolitical map, the Rouhani government did attempt to mend fences with Saudi Arabia. Rouhani appointed Admiral Ali Shamkhani as the secretary of the Supreme National Security Council -- Iran's equivalent of national security advisor. Shamkhani, who is ethnically Arab, received Saudi Arabia's highest medal in 2004, the Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud, for his efforts to improve relations with the Arab states of the Persian Gulf. The thinking appears to have been -- at least in part -- that Shamkhani was the best suited official to orchestrate Iranian outreach to Saudi.

“American order was based on the exclusion of two of the region's most powerful states -- Iran and Iraq -- and could only be sustained as long as the U.S. was willing to pay for it through its own blood and treasure.

Furthermore, Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif declared his willingness to travel to Riyadh but didn't receive an invitation until King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud died in January 2015. Zarif attended the king's funeral but no Saudi official agreed to meet with him during his visit. Months earlier, Zarif did have a brief sit-down with the then-foreign minister in New York, the late Prince Saud al-Faisal, but in retrospect it is clear that very little was achieved.

Part of Iran's problem in dealing with Saudi Arabia is Riyadh's inherent sense of insecurity, rooted in its dependence on the U.S. and the outsourcing of its security to Washington. As Iranian academic Nasser Hadian points out, Saudi Arabia outspends Iran on arms by a factor of six. Its military has the most modern American weaponry. It is the key state in the Gulf Cooperation Council -- a body that was created to balance Iran's power.

Thus, Iran's power or military capabilities cannot explain Saudi Arabia's sense of insecurity. Rather, Hadian argues, Saudi's sense of vulnerability is inherent in the very political nature of the Saudi regime -- the fact that it is renting its security from the U.S. (which, incidentally, is increasingly reluctant to provide that protection). A tenant will never enjoy the same sense of security as a homeowner, so to say. This leaves Iran with limited options, as there is little Tehran can do to alleviate Saudi Arabia from this innate uncertainty, Hadian maintains.
What is the solution to the Saudi-Iranian conflict then?

 There are no obvious short-term solutions available. Rather, the first step must be to contain tensions and ensure that they don't spill over into other areas.

Second, there must be a recognition that the Middle East suffers from a diplomacy deficit. The limited diplomacy that exists must be strengthened. The recent Saudi-Iranian escalation cannot be permitted to collapse the existing diplomatic activity -- particularly not the Syrian negotiations.
While expectations on what the Syria talks can achieve must be tempered, the fact that all key outside players are at the table is an important achievement in and of itself. Neither the execution of a Shia cleric nor the sacking of an embassy -- however unacceptable -- can be permitted to scuttle the fragile Syria talks.

“Part of Iran's problem in dealing with Saudi Arabia is Riyadh's inherent sense of insecurity, rooted in its outsourcing of its security to Washington.

Third, the rhetoric must cool down on both sides and the Rouhani government must ensure that the vigilantes torching the Saudi embassy are brought to trial and punished. Iran has a shameful history of failing to protect foreign embassies, and any failure to bring the perpetrators to justice will be perceived as a lack of sincerity in reducing tensions with Saudi Arabia.

Fourth, the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council must pressure both sides to deescalate and, if possible, explore opportunities to mediate the conflict. Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to visit Iran and Saudi Arabia later this month. Mindful of the strong relations China enjoys with both of these Persian Gulf powerhouses and mindful of China's own interest in stability in the region, Beijing may be able to play a helpful role in defusing tensions.

In the long run, however, sustainable security can only be ensured if a new inclusive security architecture is established for the region. Any power that is excluded will develop an interest in undermining the region's security precisely because its interests are not respected. This is why the U.S.-led order for the region established in the 1990s was bound to collapse. It was based on the exclusion of two of the region's most powerful states -- Iran and Iraq -- and could only be sustained as long as the U.S. was willing to pay for it through its own blood and treasure.

“It looks to the Saudis like America has simply abandoned its ally.

But until now, Saudi Arabia has sought to prevent Iran from being rehabilitated in the region's security structure. It opposed Iran's inclusion in the Syria talks, for instance, and only reluctantly agreed to partake after pressure from President Obama.

 Friends of Saudi Arabia need to intervene once more and convince Riyadh of the inevitable: Iran is part of the region; it is a major power and long-term stability necessitates its inclusion in any security order. The influence and privilege Saudi Arabia enjoyed under American order will no longer be the same -- because that order is no more.

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on January 22, 2016, 09:13:05 AM

   geeeze is there any one who we aren't in debt to...

Andrea Wong and Liz Capo McCormick
16 hrs ago

Saudi Arabia's secret holdings of U.S. debt are suddenly a big deal

It’s a secret of the vast U.S. Treasury market, a holdover from an age of oil shortages and mighty petrodollars: Just how much of America’s debt does Saudi Arabia own?
But now that question -- unanswered since the 1970s, under an unusual blackout by the U.S. Treasury Department -- has come to the fore as Saudi Arabia is pressured by plunging oil prices and costly wars in the Middle East.

In the past year alone, Saudi Arabia burned through about $100 billion of foreign-exchange reserves to plug its biggest budget shortfall in a quarter-century. For the first time, it’s also considering selling a piece of its crown jewel -- state oil company Saudi Aramco. The signs of strain are prompting concern over Saudi Arabia’s outsize position in the world’s largest and most important bond market.

A big risk is that the kingdom is selling some of its Treasury holdings, believed to be among the largest in the world, to raise needed dollars. Or could it be buying, looking for a port in the latest financial storm? As a matter of policy, the Treasury has never disclosed the holdings of Saudi Arabia, long a key ally in the volatile Middle East, and instead groups it with 14 other mostly OPEC nations including Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Nigeria. For more than a hundred other countries, from China to the Vatican, the Treasury provides a detailed breakdown of how much U.S. debt each holds.

“It’s mind-boggling they haven’t undone it,” said Edwin Truman, the former Treasury assistant secretary for international affairs during the late 1990s, and now a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. Because relations were rocky and the U.S. needed their oil, the Treasury “didn’t want to offend OPEC. It’s hard to justify this special treatment for OPEC at this point.”

For its part, the Treasury “aggregates data where more detailed reporting might disclose the positions of individual holders,” spokeswoman Whitney Smith said in an e-mail.

While that position is consistent with the International Investment and Trade in Services Survey Act, which governs disclosures of investments made by foreign persons and governments, and shields individuals in countries where Treasuries are narrowly held, it hasn’t kept the Treasury from disclosing figures for a whole host of other countries -- large and small.

They range from the $3 million stake held by the island nation of the Seychelles, to the $69.7 billion investment from the oil-producing economy of Norway, and those of China and Japan, which are both in excess of $1 trillion.

Representatives for the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, known as SAMA, and the nation’s finance ministry declined to comment.

Apart from the kingdom itself, only a handful of Treasury officials, and those at the Federal Reserve who compile the data on their behalf, have a clear picture of Saudi Arabia’s U.S. debt holdings and whether they’re rising or falling.

For everyone else, it’s a guessing game.

The special arrangement, born out of the 1973 oil shock following the Arab embargo, is just one small concession among many that successive U.S. administrations have made over the years to maintain America’s strategic relationship with the Saudi royal family -- and its access to the kingdom’s deep reserves of oil.

The exception extends to 12 other countries in the Treasury’s oil-exporter group, all from the Middle East or Africa. Based on aggregate data released this week, that group has trimmed its stakes by a few billion dollars since March and held $289 billion as of November.

Because its holdings are believed to be the largest, Saudi Arabia’s moves have drawn scrutiny, particularly as other central banks in emerging markets sell Treasuries to raise cash in defense of their currencies. (The Treasury doesn’t break out private and public holdings, but its disclosures say about two- thirds of foreign holdings are held by official institutions such as central banks.)

Those sales have had a small, but visible impact on America’s funding costs. According to Deutsche Bank AG, selling by foreign central banks since March has added 0.3 percentage point to yields on 10-year Treasuries, which ended Thursday at 2.03 percent.

SAMA’s own figures show reserve assets held in foreign securities have fallen by a record $108 billion in 2015. The Saudi central bank, which doesn’t disclose separate figures for Treasuries, owned $423 billion in overseas securities as of November.

“I come down on the side of thinking there should be more transparency,” said Jeff Caughron, chief operating officer at Baker Group, which advises community banks with more than $45 billion in investments. But at the same time, “the Treasury is constrained by political sensitivities and that comes into conflict with market participants that crave more transparency. It’s an understandable conflict.”

And events in recent months, from President Barack Obama’s landmark nuclear deal with Iran to Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shiite cleric who challenged the royal family, underscore just how sensitive U.S.-Saudi relations have become. The longstanding rationale for the alliance has also been undercut by America’s domestic oil boom, which has made it far less dependent on Saudi exports.

Whatever the political considerations, some analysts speculate Saudi Arabia may actually be trying to hold onto its Treasuries as part of a strategy to bulk up on dollar assets amid the deepening turmoil in global financial markets.

“You need dollars if you’re an oil producer, you want to make sure you have dollars on your balance sheet,” said Sebastien Galy, Deutsche Bank’s director of foreign-exchange strategy, who suggests SAMA could be raising cash by liquidating riskier investments such as stocks, real estate and private equity. Holding dollars also makes sense as a hedge against the plummeting price of oil, which is priced in the U.S. currency.

Figures from SAMA suggest the kingdom might be reallocating some of its reserves into short-term, liquid assets to help the finance ministry meet budget commitments and defend its 30-year- old currency peg of 3.75 riyals to the dollar.

The central bank has increased foreign currencies and deposits held abroad by 7 percent in the first 11 months of 2015, while at the same time reducing foreign securities, consisting of equities and longer-term debt, by 20 percent.

That cash has become key. Oil’s slump to less than $30 a barrel, from more than $100 two years ago, has eroded the petrodollar-fueled wealth that quadrupled per-capita income since the late 1980s and provided Saudi Arabia with the largess to offer free health care, gasoline subsidies and routine pay increases.

“When SAMA is required to raise liquidity for the Ministry of Finance, you’d see deposits and cash go up and they’d liquidate other assets,” said Khalid Alsweilem, SAMA’s former head of investment. “They know when the Ministry of Finance will spend all their riyals. So they prepare certain amount of cash available based on such expectations.”

Alsweilem, who spent 20 years at SAMA and now advocates for fiscal reforms as a fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, says market watchers may overestimate how much money the central bank actually allocates to Treasuries.

SAMA isn’t a typical central bank because it acts as a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, he said. As such, it aims for higher returns as a buffer against falling oil revenue and invests in a wide array of risky assets, which explains why it has only recently started to become more transparent, Alsweilem said.

To hear Peterson Institute’s Truman tell it, more clarity by central banks is long overdue -- particularly when it comes to the U.S. Treasury.

“In the old days at the Treasury and central banks, transparency wasn’t the word of the day” and politics made special treatment a non-issue, he said. Now, “it’s simply a legacy issue. You want to deal with it sooner or later.”

--With assistance from Deema Almashabi, Kasia Klimasinska and Andrew Mayeda.

To contact the reporters on this story: Andrea Wong in New York at; Liz Capo McCormick in New York at To contact the editors responsible for this story: Boris Korby at Michael Tsang, Mark Tannenbaum

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: zorgon on January 22, 2016, 03:48:16 PM
Otter Bait :P

Lets Play Connect the Dots

1. Operation Hornets Nest  Stir up trouble in the Middle East  keep the area in turmoil.

1a. Ed Snowden leaked this operation.]Operation Hornets Nest: Alleged Snowden document says US/UK/Israel are behind ISIS (http://)
1b. Bush mentions it in a video "Bush says Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11


2. Price of OIL dropping like a lead balloon  May hit $10.00 a barrel  GOOD NEWS for us as gas prices drop and so will natural gas and electricity. It is predicted that this will last till 2017  BUT WHY?

2a. Inside Story - What's behind the falling price of oil?


2b.  Where to Buy Gasoline for $0.002 a Gallon, Seriously

2c. In 2014 USA became the BIGGEST OIL PRODUCER
U.S. Seen as Biggest Oil Producer After Overtaking Saudi

2d. For the first time in 40 years...  The U.S. Exported Oil For The First Time In 40 Years And This Is Why You Should Care This is actually a huge deal. It could change the world economy and alter the global balance of power.

So   USA stirs up the middle east... makes policy that pisses us off against Muslims by bring in know 'refugees' that run amuck...  becomes the biggest oil producer (all these years our oil was capped in reserve wells) and now we start exporting and Venezuela's oil is dirt cheap

Perhaps the days of the rich Oil Shieks is coming to an end

Since Arabs don't do the work, but use their oil money to buy everything, what will they do when the oil money is gone?

Kuwait Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawy Why are the Arab countries not progressing like European countries?

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on January 22, 2016, 07:40:35 PM

 this probably isn't what you are looking for but
if this guy (Mohammed bin Salman, 30) gets the top job you are looking at a  real earthquake scenario

right now if you pay attention to the local stuff (news)  there are major pipelines being build to carry our abundance of gas to port for export..while the gas company have bought as much mineral rights as they could..and paid big money there for awhile..there are cracker plants moving into industrial parks and along the rivers where manufacturing has lost it's place
they are slowed down big time right now but the movement has a foothold in this country...
municipal vehicles are being changed from gasoline to  natural gas...the pres  has put the crimps onto coal for electricity because of pollution..several are refitting to natural gas.
this country is standing on the brink of being the next energy ruler...

but first some things need to change and the world powers are busy with that right now

how do I know this...because the gas companies moved into this part of pa. a few years back and I have been paying attention to what they are doing
before saud's flooded the market to keep prices down  mineral rights would get you 18% of gross production of your spot with bonus singing of 3500 per acre

right now is's a down swing but the upswing is gonna knock some folks for a loop....
I am kinda hoping I won't be here for's going to be ugly

check out north Dakota and you'll see what I mean

Hugh Miles      Friday 23 October 2015

Saudi Arabia: Eight of King Salman's 11 surviving brothers want to oust him
A growing number of members of the royal household support a move to oust King Salman and replace him with his younger brother 

in the article

“Either the King will leave Saudi Arabia, like King Saud, and he will be very respected inside and outside the country,” he told The Independent. “Alternatively Prince Ahmed will become Crown Prince, but with control of and responsibility for the whole country – the economy, oil, armed forces, national guard, interior ministry, secret  service, in fact everything from A to Z.”

Unhappiness at King Salman’s own diminishing faculties – he is reported to be suffering from Alzheimer’s disease – has been compounded by his controversial appointments, the continuing and costly war in Yemen and the recent Hajj disaster. Earlier this week the International Monetary Fund warned that Saudi Arabia may run out of financial assets within five years unless the government sharply curbs its spending, because of a combination of low oil prices and the economic impact of regional wars.

The King’s appointment of his favourite son, Mohammed bin Salman, 30, to the novel post of Deputy Crown Prince in April, and the decision to make him Defence Minister – enabling him to launch a proxy war in Yemen against the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels who forced the pro-Saudi former President to flee – have heightened tensions. He is said to have assumed too much power and wealth since being elevated to this position. “Any paper or phone call to his father goes through him,” said the prince. The current Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Nayef, 56, a nephew of King Salman, is also unpopular.

Patrick Cockburn     Saturday 9 January 2016

Prince Mohammed bin Salman: Naive, arrogant Saudi prince is playing with fire
German intelligence memo shows the threat from the kingdom’s headstrong defence minister

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is the powerful 29-year-old favourite son of the ageing King Salman AFP/Getty Images
At the end of last year the BND, the German intelligence agency, published a remarkable one-and-a-half-page memo saying that Saudi Arabia had adopted “an impulsive policy of intervention”. It portrayed Saudi defence minister and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman – the powerful 29-year-old favourite son of the ageing King Salman, who is suffering from dementia – as a political gambler who is destabilising the Arab world through proxy wars in Yemen and Syria.
Spy agencies do not normally hand out such politically explosive documents to the press criticising the leadership of a close and powerful ally such as Saudi Arabia. It is a measure of the concern in the BND that the memo should have been so openly and widely distributed. The agency was swiftly slapped down by the German foreign ministry after official Saudi protests, but the BND’s warning was a sign of growing fears that Saudi Arabia has become an unpredictable wild card. One former minister from the Middle East, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “In the past the Saudis generally tried to keep their options open and were cautions, even when they were trying to get rid of some government they did not like.”

The BND report made surprisingly little impact outside Germany at the time. This may have been because its publication on  2 December came three weeks after the Paris massacre on 13 November, when governments and media across the world were still absorbed by the threat posed by Islamic State (IS) and how it could best be combatted. In Britain there was the debate on the RAF joining the air war against IS in Syria, and soon after in the US there were the killings by a pro-IS couple in San Bernardino, California.

It was the execution of the Shia cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr and 46 others – mostly Sunni jihadis or dissenters – on 2 January that, for almost the first time, alerted governments to the extent to which Saudi Arabia had become a threat to the status quo. It appears to be deliberately provoking Iran in a bid to take leadership of the Sunni and Arab worlds while at the same time Prince Mohammed bin Salman is buttressing his domestic power by appealing to Sunni sectarian nationalism. What is not in doubt is that Saudi policy has been transformed since King Salman came to the throne last January after the death of King Abdullah.

The BND lists the areas in which Saudi Arabia is adopting a more aggressive and warlike policy. In Syria, in early 2015, it supported the creation of The Army of Conquest, primarily made up of the al-Qaeda affiliate the al-Nusra Front and the ideologically similar Ahrar al-Sham, which won a series of victories against the Syrian Army in Idlib province. In Yemen, it began an air war directed against the Houthi movement and the Yemeni army, which shows no sign of ending. Among those who gain are al-Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula, which the US has been fruitlessly trying to weaken for years by drone strikes.

None of these foreign adventures initiated by Prince Mohammed have been successful or are likely to be so, but they have won support for him at home. The BND warned that the concentration of so much power in his hands “harbours a latent risk that in seeking to establish himself in the line of succession in his father’s lifetime, he may overreach”.

The overreaching gets worse by the day. At every stage in the confrontation with Iran over the past week Riyadh has raised the stakes. The attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and its consulate in Mashhad might not have been expected but the Saudis did not have to break off diplomatic relations. Then there was the air strike that the Iranians allege damaged their embassy in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen.

None of this was too surprising: Saudi-Iranian relations have been at a particularly low ebb since 400 Iranian pilgrims died in a mass stampede in Mecca last year.

But even in the past few days, there are signs of the Saudi leadership deliberately increasing the political temperature by putting four Iranians on trial, one for espionage and three for terrorism. The four had been in prison in Saudi Arabia since 2013 or 2014 so there was no reason to try them now, other than as an extra pinprick against Iran.

Saudi Arabia has been engaging in something of a counter attack to reassure the world that it is not going to go to war with Iran. Prince Mohammed said in an interview with The Economist: “A war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is the beginning of a major catastrophe in the region, and it will reflect very strongly on the rest of the world. For sure, we will not allow any such thing.”

The interview was presumably meant to be reassuring to the outside world, but instead it gives an impression of naivety and arrogance. There is also a sense that Prince Mohammed is an inexperienced gambler who is likely to double his stake when his bets fail. This is the very opposite of past Saudi rulers, who had always preferred, so to speak, to bet on all the horses.

A main reason for Saudi Arabia acting unilaterally is its disappointment that the US reached an agreement with Iran over Tehran’s nuclear programme. Again this looks naive: close alliance with the US is the prime reason why the Saudi monarchy has survived nationalist and socialist challengers since the 1930s. Aside from the Saudis’ money and close alliance with the US, leaders in the Middle East have always doubted that the Saudi state has much operational capacity. This is true of all the big oil producers, whatever their ideological make-up. Experience shows that vast oil wealth encourages autocracy, whether it is in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Libya or Kuwait, but it also produces states that are weaker than they look, with incapable administrations and dysfunctional armies.

This is the second area in which Prince Mohammed’s interview suggests nothing but trouble for the Saudi royal family. He suggests austerity and market reforms in the Kingdom, but in the context of Middle East autocracies and particularly oil states this breaches an unspoken social contract with the general population. People may not have political liberty, but they get a share in oil revenues through government jobs and subsidised fuel, food, housing and other benefits. Greater privatisation and supposed reliance on the market, with no accountability or fair legal system, means a licence to plunder by those with political power.

This was one of the reasons for the uprising in 2011 against Bashar  al-Assad in Syria and Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. So-called reforms that erode an unwieldy but effective patronage machine end up by benefiting only the elite.

Oil states are almost impossible to reform and it is usually unwise to try. Such states should also avoid war if they want to stay in business, because people may not rise up against their rulers but they are certainly not prepared to die for them.


Aramco Share Sales Would Help ‘Transparency,’ Saudi Official Says
By LIAM STACK   JAN. 7, 2016

Prince Mohammad bin Salman with Saudi military officials in March 2015. Credit Saudi Press Agency, via European Pressphoto Agency 

Saudi Arabia is reviewing whether to sell public shares in its state-owned oil company, Aramco, with a decision coming in the next few months, the country’s defense minister and deputy crown prince told The Economist in an interview published Thursday.

“Personally I’m enthusiastic about this step,” said Prince Mohammad bin Salman, 30. “I believe it is in the interest of the Saudi market, and it is in the interest of Aramco, and it is for the interest of more transparency, and to counter corruption, if any, that may be circling around Aramco.”

The discussions about selling shares in the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, better known as Saudi Aramco, come as energy prices are dropping and the country seeks to diversify its economy. The prince mentioned mining and revenue from religious tourism.

In the interview, according to a transcript posted online Wednesday, Prince Mohammed also defended his country’s military operations in Yemen and said he did not believe the kingdom’s tensions with Iran would escalate into a war. He said that war with Iran was “something that we do not foresee at all, and whoever is pushing towards that is somebody who is not in their right mind.”

“Because a war between Saudi Arabia and Iran is the beginning of a major catastrophe in the region, and it will reflect very strongly on the rest of the world,” he added. “For sure we will not allow any such thing.”

The prince, one of the most powerful men in Saudi Arabia, spoke to The Economist on Monday, two days day after protesters set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Iran.

The protests that culminated in the attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran followed the execution of an outspoken Shiite cleric, Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, and 46 others in 12 prisons across Saudi Arabia.

Critics saw the mass execution as a warning to Saudi dissidents. Human Rights Watch condemned the executions and said that the charges against Sheikh al-Nimr were vague and “apparently based largely on his peaceful criticism of Saudi officials.”

Sheikh al-Nimr was an outspoken government critic and an advocate for Saudi Shiites, who form a majority in the kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern Province and complain of discrimination and mistreatment.

The prince defended the mass execution, telling The Economist that the men had been “sentenced in a court of law” and describing the judicial proceedings as fair and transparent.

He said the execution of the sheikh, a Saudi citizen, had nothing to do with Iran and said the Iranian response to his death “proves that Iran is keen on extending its influence over the countries of the region.”

Prince Mohammad also defended the kingdom’s role in the conflict in Yemen, where its rivalry with Iran has exacerbated a civil war that began last year.

The Saudi monarchy began a military intervention in Yemen last March to combat Shiite rebels, the Houthis, whom the Saudis sees as a proxy force for Iran.

Prince Mohammad said the kingdom went to war in Yemen because the “Houthis usurped power in the capital.” He described the group as a heavily armed “militia carrying out exercises on my borders.”

“Is there any country in the world who would accept the fact that a militia with this kind of armament should be on their borders?” he said.

The United Nations says that some 2,800 civilians have been killed in the conflict, most by airstrikes launched by the Saudi-led coalition.


Transcript: Interview with Muhammad bin Salman
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on January 29, 2016, 07:41:54 AM

did you ever wonder why certain news places had certain agenda's?

Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Trolls Trump: 'I Bailed You Out Twice'
The prince has offered to bail Trump out a third time, too.

? 01/29/2016 03:59 am ET

Ed Mazza
Overnight Editor, The Huffington Post ?

A Saudi prince may have just beaten Donald Trump at a game of Twitter trolling.

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal said on Twitter that he's bailed the billionaire out twice -- and suggested the GOP presidential frontrunner might need his help a third time.

The exchange was initiated by Trump, who had retweeted a badly Photoshopped image showing the prince with Fox News host Megyn Kelly, calling him a co-owner of the network:

 a bunch of tweets and a photo I can't seem to grab..sigh

The prince's tweet included news stories showing that he bought Trump's yacht in 1991, which had been turned over to creditors when he was $900 million in debt, according to Buzzfeed.

He also included a link to a story showing that he was part of the group that bought New York City's Plaza Hotel from Trump in 1995. As part of the deal, bin Talal paid off Trump's debt on the hotel in what the New York Times said was "a defeat for the real estate developer."

Trump's tweet also claimed bin Talal is "co-owner" of Fox News. While the prince is an investor in News Corp, his stake is worth 1 percent, according to CNN.

Trump and bin Talal also tangled on Twitter last month.

After the candidate's incendiary call to ban Muslims from entering the United States, bin Talal urged him to quit the race:

Note to our readers: Donald Trump is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist, birther and bully who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.


As far as we know, Trump’s finances are much sounder now than they were back then, and he is in no need, as bin Talal’s taunt suggested, of a third infusion of cash. Still, the gibe is a reminder that even though, so far, Trump’s G.O.P. rivals have struggled to make much capital out of his somewhat checkered business history, there are others who are more than willing to bring it up.


Billionaire Saudi prince fires back after Donald Trump promotes fake photo of him and Megyn Kelly

ah-ha and finally got the photshopped photo


I can just see them dancing in glee waiting for him to be pres when they have a hold already
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: zorgon on January 29, 2016, 01:54:00 PM

If these politicians are fighting it out on twitter going for the twitterhead vote, there is no hope for us

Look at this one

Chelsea joins #OscarsSoWhite controversy, but it BACKFIRES big time…


If there’s an opportunity for pandering, you can count on a Clinton to be on it like white on rice. (Racist? I don’t think so.)

And, sure enough, at least one Clinton waded into the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that’s been center stage during the past week. But judging from the backlash Chelsea Clinton’s received on Twitter in response to her remarks, perhaps next time she should just stay mum — and let her mum step in it on her own.

Via Daily Mail:

Chelsea Clinton launched a scathing attack on actress Charlotte Rampling on Friday in anger over her comments about the Oscars race row.

Hillary’s daughter took to Twitter and blasted the veteran actress and Oscar nominee.

Rampling entered the debate early on Friday saying that plans to boycott the Oscars were misguided and calls to get more minority nominees were ‘anti-white racism’.

British star, 69, said such politically correct thinking was a form of racism in itself.

Speaking on Europe 1 radio station in Paris, where she now lives, Ms Rampling said: ‘It’s anti-white racism. Maybe black actors don’t deserve to be on the final stretch?’

Ms Rampling, who first made her name in classic films including Georgy Girl in the 1960s, said she was also opposed to quotas being introduced to promote black actors.

Clinton called her standpoint ‘outrageous, ignorant and offensive’.

Don't know how to make them show up in here so here are the tweet links

But many on Twitter, even self-proclaimed liberals, rallied to the actress’ side:

However, it seems what a majority of respondents on Twitter actually found offensive were Clinton’s own comments:

  Many Twitterers went even further to attack the Democrat party:

  And the Clinton family itself:

Frankly, there are too many worthy responses to Chelsea’s remarks to list here, so I encourage you to check out her Twitter feed yourself if you’re so inclined.

The Daily Mail continues:

Rampling released a statement to CBS Sunday Morning soon after, saying; ‘I regret that my comments could have been misinterpreted this week in my interview with Europe 1 Radio.

‘I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration. I am very honored to be included in this year’s wonderful group of nominated actors and actresses.’

If there are two things the American electorate are sick and tired of, it’s political correctness and pandering. Chelsea Clinton once again showed her family’s tone-deafness — and opportunism — with her comments that in one fell swoop commit both sins.
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: Eighthman on January 29, 2016, 05:13:46 PM
I have never been so profoundly aware of how distorted and corrupt US news reporting is until this year past. In particular, this has been true of reporting about Russia.  Putin is a "thug", a "murderer", Russia is "corrupt", ready to "implode",  their weapons are "poorly made", and so on. 

There is one simple truth here: the US military-industrial complex has very expensive weapons to sell and terrorist threats won't market them.  Only China and Russia as threats can get this high tech stuff sold and so the need is created by headlines that warn of attack. Russia exports food, doesn't need 'living space', doesn't have an aggressive communist ideology,  and even sells gas to its outright enemies.  They knew the US coup would take away their Crimean port and the rest is just trying to keep NATO away from its borders (as with their WW2 experience).

And then we have US news media purchased by Israel, the Saudis and the CIA.  It's just sickening. Call it a feeling of revenge, but I rejoice in seeing Yahoo fall apart - after all the NSA/CIA monitoring of message boards and NeoCon news. 
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: zorgon on January 29, 2016, 05:40:07 PM
THIS is why...

The NDAA Legalizes The Use Of Propaganda On The US Public

The newest version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes an amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on the American public, reports Michael Hastings of BuzzFeed.

The amendment — proposed by Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Adam Smith (D-Wash.) and passed in the House last Friday afternoon — would effectively nullify the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948, which explicitly forbids information and psychological operations aimed at influencing U.S. public opinion.

Thornberry said that the current law “ties the hands of America’s diplomatic officials, military, and others by inhibiting our ability to effectively communicate in a credible way,” according to Buzzfeed.

The vote came two days after a federal judged ruled that an indefinite detention provision in the annual defense bill was unconstitutional.

Lt. Col. Daniel Davis, who released a highly critical report regarding the distortion of truth by senior military officials in Iraq and Afghanistan, dedicated a section of his report to Information Operations (IO) and states that after Desert Storm the military wanted to transform IO "into a core military competency on a par with air, ground, maritime and special operations."

Davis defines IO as "the integrated employment of electronic warfare (EW), computer network operations (CNO), psychological operations (PSYOP), military deception (MILDEC), and operations security (OPSEC), in concert with specified supporting and related capabilities, to influence, disrupt, corrupt or usurp adversarial human and automated decision making while protecting our own."

IO are primarily used to target foreign audiences, but Davis cites numerous senior leaders who want to (in the words of  Colonel Richard B. Leap) "protect a key friendly center of gravity, to wit US national will" by repealing the Smith-Mundt Act to allow the direct deployment of these tactics on the American public.

Davis quotes Brigadier General Ralph O. Baker — the Pentagon officer responsible for the Department of Defense’s Joint Force Development (i.e. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines) — who defines IO as activities undertaken to "shape the essential narrative of a conflict or situation and thus affect the attitudes and behaviors of the targeted audience" and equates descriptions of combat operations with standard marketing strategies:

For years, commercial advertisers have based their advertisement strategies on the premise that there is a positive correlation between the number of times a consumer is exposed to product advertisement and that consumer’s inclination to sample the new product. The very same principle applies to how we influence our target audiences when we conduct COIN.

Davis subsequently explains the "cumulative failure of our nation’s major media in every category" as they continually interviewed only those senior U.S. officials who had top-level access, even as the officials given that clearance were required to stick to "talking points" given to them by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

If the NDAA goes into effect in its current form, the State Department and Pentagon can go beyond manipulating mainstream media outlets and directly disseminate campaigns of misinformation to the U.S. public.
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on January 31, 2016, 02:23:45 PM

bold print is mine

By Andrew Torchia and Katie Paul
6 days ago

Saudi Arabia presents plan to move beyond oil

Saudi Arabia outlined ambitious plans on Monday to move into industries ranging from information technology to health care and tourism, as it sought to convince international investors it can cope with an era of cheap oil.

A meeting and presentation at a luxury Riyadh hotel was held against a backdrop of low oil prices pressuring the kingdom's currency and saddling it with an annual state budget deficit of almost $100 billion - the biggest economic challenge for Riyadh in well over a decade.

Top Saudi officials said they would reduce the kingdom's dependence on oil and public sector employment. Growth and job creation would shift to the private sector, with state spending helping to jump-start industries in the initial stage.

"It's going to switch from simple quantitative growth based on commodity exports to qualitative growth that is evenly distributed" across the economy, said Khalid al-Falih, chairman of national oil giant Saudi Aramco.

Over 2,400 people, including local and foreign officials, business, consultants and academics, registered for the event, staged by the government's investment promotion agency.

Commerce and industry minister Tawfiq al-Rabiah said Saudi Arabia had been a victim of the "Dutch disease" - a condition in which the oil sector had crowded out other parts of the economy - but was now working to correct that.

Under the reforms, parts of the national health care system would be converted into independent commercial companies, officials said.

Participants in the conference, including the chief executives of U.S. aerospace firm Lockheed Martin and Pepsico, discussed subjects ranging from how to foster entrepreneurs to ways of developing dynamic cities and increasing the role of Saudi women in the business world.


The heavy presence of foreign business representatives suggested many saw opportunities in the Saudi strategy. Although Riyadh is burning through its foreign assets to cover the budget gap, it still had $628 billion in November, enough to finance years of new projects.

Some participants expressed doubt about the scale of the planned change in a country where about two-thirds of local workers are in the public sector, preferring it to more rigorous private employment.

There is little tradition of entrepreneurship in the world's biggest oil exporter, and financial and legal systems have not been set up to encourage it.

"The transition away from being a rentier state is not a comfortable one,” said David Chaudron, managing partner of the California-based Organized Change Consultancy, which works with Saudi companies.

"They’re trying. But the fundamental question is: will their trying bear enough fruit before the downside of the current system hits? Or is it a day late and a dollar short? Will the forces of change ultimately be enough to overcome the inertia of the current system? I don’t know.”

The U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Joseph Westphal, pointed to risks in administering the plans.

"Saudi Arabia has to have a government system that is adaptable," he said, adding that top officials would need to delegate decisions and authorities would have to be willing to take risks in the recognition that there would be some failures.

Nevertheless, many participants at the conference recognized that strong political momentum had now built up behind the reform plans, many of which had previously been discussed for years without result.

The momentum has increased since King Salman took the throne in January last year and created a powerful Council of Economic and Development Affairs chaired by his son, Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The government is believed to have hired hundreds of Western consultants to work on the plans.

Falih said that in addition to using its spending to start industries such as shipbuilding, Saudi Aramco would use its extensive educational and vocational training program to help create the human capital needed for the transformation.

"Saudi Aramco will be a bridge for a transition away from itself," he said.

(Editing by Ralph Boulton)


Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: zorgon on January 31, 2016, 03:31:58 PM
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on April 17, 2016, 06:48:25 AM

OUCH   !!!

By MARK MAZZETTI              APRIL 15, 2016

Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill

WASHINGTON — Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.

Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.

Several outside economists are skeptical that the Saudis will follow through, saying that such a sell-off would be difficult to execute and would end up crippling the kingdom’s economy. But the threat is another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The administration, which argues that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas, has been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated. In their view, the Obama administration has consistently sided with the kingdom and has thwarted their efforts to learn what they believe to be the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.

“It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,” said Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and who is part of a group of victims’ family members pushing for the legislation.

President Obama will arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday for meetings with King Salman and other Saudi officials. It is unclear whether the dispute over the Sept. 11 legislation will be on the agenda for the talks.

Continue reading the main story
A spokesman for the Saudi Embassy did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Saudi officials have long denied that the kingdom had any role in the Sept. 11 plot, and the 9/11 Commission found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization.” But critics have noted that the commission’s narrow wording left open the possibility that less senior officials or parts of the Saudi government could have played a role. Suspicions have lingered, partly because of the conclusions of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the attacks that cited some evidence that Saudi officials living in the United States at the time had a hand in the plot.

Those conclusions, contained in 28 pages of the report, still have not been released publicly.

The dispute comes as bipartisan criticism is growing in Congress about Washington’s alliance with Saudi Arabia, for decades a crucial American ally in the Middle East and half of a partnership that once received little scrutiny from lawmakers. Last week, two senators introduced a resolution that would put restrictions on American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which have expanded during the Obama administration.

Families of the Sept. 11 victims have used the courts to try to hold members of the Saudi royal family, Saudi banks and charities liable because of what the plaintiffs charged was Saudi financial support for terrorism. These efforts have largely been stymied, in part because of a 1976 law that gives foreign nations some immunity from lawsuits in American courts.

The Senate bill is intended to make clear that the immunity given to foreign nations under the law should not apply in cases where nations are found culpable for terrorist attacks that kill Americans on United States soil. If the bill were to pass both houses of Congress and be signed by the president, it could clear a path for the role of the Saudi government to be examined in the Sept. 11 lawsuits.

Obama administration officials counter that weakening the sovereign immunity provisions would put the American government, along with its citizens and corporations, in legal risk abroad because other nations might retaliate with their own legislation. Secretary of State John Kerry told a Senate panel in February that the bill, in its current form, would “expose the United States of America to lawsuits and take away our sovereign immunity and create a terrible precedent.”

The bill’s sponsors have said that the legislation is purposely drawn very narrowly — involving only attacks on American soil — to reduce the prospect that other nations might try to fight back.

In a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill on March 4, Anne W. Patterson, an assistant secretary of state, and Andrew Exum, a top Pentagon official on Middle East policy, told staff members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that American troops and civilians could be in legal jeopardy if other nations decide to retaliate and strip Americans of immunity abroad. They also discussed the Saudi threats specifically, laying out the impacts if Saudi Arabia made good on its economic threats.

John Kirby, a State Department spokesman, said in a statement that the administration stands by the victims of terrorism, “especially those who suffered and sacrificed so much on 9/11.”

Edwin M. Truman, a fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said he thought the Saudis were most likely making an “empty threat.” Selling hundreds of billions of dollars in American assets would not only be technically difficult to pull off, he said, but would also very likely cause global market turmoil for which the Saudis would be blamed.

Moreover, he said, it could destabilize the American dollar — the currency to which the Saudi riyal is pegged.

“The only way they could punish us is by punishing themselves,” Mr. Truman said.

The bill is an anomaly in a Congress fractured by bitter partisanship, especially during an election year. It is sponsored by Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, and Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York. It has the support of an unlikely coalition of liberal and conservative senators, including Al Franken, Democrat of Minnesota, and Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas. It passed through the Judiciary Committee in January without dissent.

“As our nation confronts new and expanding terror networks that are targeting our citizens, stopping the funding source for terrorists becomes even more important,” Mr. Cornyn said last month.

The alliance with Saudi Arabia has frayed in recent years as the White House has tried to thaw ties with Iran — Saudi Arabia’s bitter enemy— in the midst of recriminations between American and Saudi officials about the role that both countries should play in the stability of the Middle East.

But the administration has supported Saudi Arabia on other fronts, including providing the country with targeting intelligence and logistical support for its war in Yemen. The Saudi military is flying jets and dropping bombs it bought from the United States — part of the billions of dollars in arms deals that have been negotiated with Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf nations during the Obama administration.

The war has been a humanitarian disaster and fueled a resurgence of Al Qaeda in Yemen, leading to the resolution in Congress to put new restrictions on arms deals to the kingdom. Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, one of the resolution’s sponsors and a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that Congress has been “feckless” in conducting oversight of arms sales, especially those destined for Saudi Arabia.

“My first desire is for our relationship with Saudi Arabia to come with a greater degree of conditionality than it currently does,” he said.

Jennifer Steinhauer contributed reporting.

Follow The New York Times’s politics and Washington coverage on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the First Draft politics newsletter.

A version of this article appears in print on April 16, 2016, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Saudis Tell U.S. to Back Off Bill on 9/11 Lawsuits. Order Reprints| Today's Paper|Subscribe

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: Eighthman on April 17, 2016, 07:22:56 AM
Yes, thank you!

The collapse of the Saud regime could help world peace enormously.  No more funding of extremist Islam across the globe.
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on June 21, 2017, 03:35:40 PM

Saudi Arabia Rewrites Succession as King Replaces Heir With Son, 31

King Salman’s decrees on Wednesday removed Mohammed bin Nayef from both the line of succession and his post as interior minister, to which he named Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef, 33, another young prince with little experience relevant to the ministry’s extensive security, law enforcement and intelligence duties.

Another of the king’s sons, Prince Khalid bin Salman, was recently named ambassador to the United States. He is believed to be in his late 20s.

“A lot of people are happy that a younger generation is coming to power, but those who are upset are the older generation, no doubt about it, who are not to used to this kind of dramatic change,” said Joseph A. Kechichian, a senior fellow at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, who has extensive contacts inside the family. “Even if people are uncomfortable, at the end of the day this is a monarchical decision, and people will either have to accept the new arrangement or they will essentially have to keep their mouths shut.”

The young prince, known as M.B.S., emerged from obscurity after his 81-year-old father ascended to the throne in January 2015. He has since accumulated vast powers, serving as defense minister, overseeing the state oil monopoly, working to overhaul the Saudi economy and building ties with foreign leaders, including President Trump..


Rise of Saudi Prince Shatters Decades of Royal Tradition OCT. 15, 2016

Surprising Saudi Rises as a Prince Among Princes JUNE 6, 2015

Saudi Royal Family Is Still Spending in an Age of Austerity DEC. 27, 2016

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: Eighthman on June 21, 2017, 05:07:04 PM
I get the impression that much of the reviews of what the Saudis are doing are strongly influenced by their money, hence favorable.

Whoever is in charge is infected with massive arrogance - they started a war with Yemen and exposed how wildly ineffective their military is.  Then, they made Qatar into an enemy and then gave Turkey (their former owners as Ottomans) an excuse to put military forces on their borders.  They pretty much betrayed the Palestinians but no one cares.

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on November 04, 2017, 09:30:20 PM
  yep this is the guy to watch, imo

Saudi princes among dozens detained in anti-corruption purge
3 hours ago
 From the section Middle East

The anti-corruption committee was formed by royal decree and is headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

A new Saudi anti-corruption body has detained 11 princes, four sitting ministers and dozens of former ministers, media reports say.
The detentions came hours after the new committee, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was formed by royal decree.
Those detained were not named.

BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner says Prince Mohammed is moving to consolidate his growing power while spearheading a reform programme.

It is not clear what those detained are suspected of. However, Saudi broadcaster Al-Arabiya said fresh investigations had been launched into the 2009 Jeddah floods and the outbreak of the Mers virus which emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012.


Who is Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?

02:28, UK,
Sunday 05 November 2017

Ballistic missile from Yemen intercepted near Riyadh - Saudi state media
Sky's Dominic Waghorn says that, if Houthi rebels in Yemen have fired an Iranian missile at Riyadh airport, it is a game changer.


US approves sale of $15bn missile defence system to Saudi Arabia
Pentagon says possible deal improves security in the Gulf ‘in the face of Iranian and other regional threats’

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on November 07, 2017, 02:54:30 PM

just thought you'ld like to see what kind of PRISON these guys are in.. ;D

WORLD NEWS 11/07/2017 01:01 pm ET Updated 2 hours ago
Inside The Lavish Makeshift Prison Where Arrested Saudi Royals Are Being Held
The Ritz-Carlton is “among the most majestic five-star hotels in Saudi Arabia.”

By Jesselyn Cook


With more than 50 acres of “lavishly landscaped” gardens, nearly 500 “spacious and sumptuous” rooms, a “world-class” spa and a “stunning” indoor pool, the Ritz-Carlton in the Saudi capital of Riyadh is among the country’s “most majestic five-star hotels,” according to its website.

Booking a one-bedroom accommodation there in January 2018 would set you back around 1,165 to 3,899 Saudi riyal ― about $311 to $1,039 ― per night, before taxes.

Unless, of course, you are among the group of more than 30 arrested Saudi royals and elites detained in this “elegant oasis,” which now doubles as the world’s most extravagant prison.


Beginning on Saturday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman carried out a massive, multiday crackdown, ostensibly to target corruption, under decree from his father, King Salman. The crown prince arrested dozens of rich, powerful and prominent men, including several Saudi princes and ministers, without formal charges. As The New York Times notes, the purge has been viewed by some as an attempt on Prince Salman’s part to consolidate power.

Holding such high-ranking figures in an actual jail cell while they are investigated would have been viewed as deeply insulting ― so other arrangements were made.

“He couldn’t have put them in the jail,” a senior official said, per The Guardian. “And he would have known that. So this was the most dignified solution he could find.”

Paying guests were expelled Saturday night and sent to other hotels to make room for the reluctant new occupants, The Guardian reports. The detainees are prohibited from leaving the country. It’s not clear how long they will be held at the lavish hotel, or what exactly will happen if they are found guilty.

According to its website, Riyadh’s Ritz-Carlton boasts “a tempting array of amenities,” including:

.492 guest rooms and suites, including two-bedroom Royal suites and one-bedroom Executive suites
.62,000 square feet of event space, including state-of-the-art conference rooms and two grand ballrooms
.Gentlemen’s-only spa offering signature rituals and treatments catering to business travelers
.Majestic indoor heated pool offering garden views from its floor-to-ceiling windows
.Collection of dining experiences highlighting international and local cuisine
.Each room features a television, DVD player and refreshment bar, among other amenities.

A message posted on the site reads: “Due to unforeseen circumstances, the hotel’s internet and telephone lines are currently disconnected until further notice.”

The hotel’s past guests have included U.S. President Donald Trump ― who expressed support for Saudi Arabia’s recent purge ― as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama and a number of Saudi billionaires.

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: ArMaP on November 07, 2017, 04:22:28 PM
Don't tell me you were expecting them to be arrested in a common prison?
What do you think they are, savages?  :P
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on November 07, 2017, 07:16:41 PM

nope!  not me..
but i am really curious what happens when they get out of there
unless of course bin salman  has a way of erasing their wealth.. after all they are all related..aren't they?
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: ArMaP on November 08, 2017, 06:58:19 AM
I suppose they are all related, but is that a good or a bad thing?
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: Somamech on November 08, 2017, 09:50:03 AM
I suppose they are all related, but is that a good or a bad thing?

I don't know mate!

I banished half of my family many a year ago to wondrous effect as I don't have to listen to their BS.  I still get a card in the mail etc from my mother which I ignore and life is good... My mother is like Clinton and Trump rolled into one. 


Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: The Seeker on November 09, 2017, 07:10:52 AM
I suppose they are all related, but is that a good or a bad thing?
Probably both  8)
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: zorgon on November 13, 2017, 10:00:39 PM
after all they are all related..aren't they?

Well funny you should ask.......   :P

Since we are talking about the Saudi's  Let me fill in some blanks and toss in some teasers...

#1  Saudi Arabia is the home of Mecca...  which means the Saudi's are at the heart of Islam

#2 The Suadi's are Wahhabis... Wahhabism is an Islamic doctrine and religious movement founded by Muhammad ibn Abd ..... However, many call Wahhabism a more strict, Saudi form of Salafi. Wahhabism is the Saudi version of Salafism, ... Saudi Arabians believe that their form of Islam ... is the real true form of Islam, ... In July 2013, Wahhabism was identified by the European Parliament in Strasbourg as the main source of global terrorism. Wahhabism has become increasingly influential, partly because of Saudi money and partly because of Saudi Arabia's central influence as protector of Mecca.

#3 The President Bows to the Saudi King....  Now in Royal Ettiquette, it is considered okay for one leader to make a light bow of the head while maintaining eye contact as respect for an equal. A US president as one of the main powers on the planet should NEVER bow to anyone...  PERIOD...

Well here is George Bush...  Getting his "Good Little Sheep Award"   


Here is Obama, bowing so low one could consider it grovelling before his King...


and yes to be fair even The Donald bowed to get his "Good Little Sheep Award"


Are they all related? I will get to that...

Who financed Hillary's bid for president? Many say it was Soros... Guess again....


#4...  The 9/11 "Sue the Saudi's Bill"

Obama had VETOED the bill, but in an historic move Congress voted to OVERTURN his Veto... It was unanimous save ONE, and that one was the crook Harry Ried  (DON'T get me started on THAT Schmuck :P )


Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: zorgon on November 14, 2017, 03:12:25 AM
#5 Family Connections...

Now let's get down to serious business...

A)  A 12 year old girl did a genealogy study as a school project and discovered that all but ONE US president is related by blood (and yes Obama is in the family)

Obama is 11th cousin to George Bush...

B)  The Bush-Saudi Connection

Way back when 9/11 happened... everyone blamed Osama Bin Ladin  even though he was NEVER wanted by the FBI IN CONNECTION WITH THAT

Now when all the planes were grounded after the strike, there was ONE PLANE that left Las Vegas.  It carried the Bin Ladin family that resided here to Washington and then on a plane back to Saudi Arabia...

The Bin ladin family owns 85% of all the oil wells in Saudi Arabia and has been in business with the Bush Family for a very long time,

Osama is/was?  the black sheep of the family... but he is in the Royal family...  I say was  because we have killed him 3 times so far :P and I know he had at least 5 clones/doubles trained during his hay day.. so we may have to kill him again..

To see the real connection with the Bush and Omama entanglement  you can get the gory little know details here

The Bush-Saudi Connection

You will also find MANY photos of GW kissing  yes KISSING the Saudi King... just google it this is no photoshop job




Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: zorgon on November 14, 2017, 01:40:57 PM
Has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?

I would say YES....

#1  The old King passed away and the new prince is not very experienced... 

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz dies
January 23, 2015, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

'Abdullah, who had ruled since 2005 and was said to be aged about 90, had been suffering from a lung infection.

His 79-year-old half-brother, Salman, has been confirmed as the new king.

Within hours of his accession to the throne of the oil-rich kingdom, King Salman vowed to maintain the same policies as his predecessors.

"We will continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment," he said in a speech broadcast on state television."

#2  I hear that they are demanding the Clinton Foundation return that money they put into the illegal campaign fund through the fraudulent Canadian 'charity"



meanwhile Donald Trump does the traditional Saudi Sword Dance


So if you had ANY DOUBT who is running the world.... they wear Pizza table cloths on their head  :P

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: zorgon on November 14, 2017, 01:47:38 PM
Has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?

#3  The Bin Ladin Oil Cartel

Seems they are having serious problems....

Saudi Binladin Group Lays Off 50,000 as Low Oil Prices Bite - WSJ

DUBAI—Saudi Binladin Group laid off 50,000 people, according to a person briefed on the plans, as the construction giant attempts to turn around a business hammered by low oil prices.

Low Oil Prices Create Chaos For Bin Laden Family Construction Company

A construction conglomerate owned by the family of former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden had equipment and buses set on fire by laid off employees.

The massive fire came shortly after Saudi Binladin Group (SBG), a massive construction company in Saudi Arabia, laid off more than 50,000 foreign workers in a last ditch effort to turn around a company recently slammed by historically low oil prices.

Fire fighters extinguished the flames without any injuries being reported, according to Makkah officials.

Scores of company employees have staged protests and mini riots in Makkah and Jeddah, where the company holds its offices. Some of the employees claim they have not been paid for several months.

“The people laid off are not thrown in the street without pay,” a person close to the matter told The Wall Street Journal Monday. “The Saudi Binladin group is extremely careful in honoring its commitments.”

The employees were fired and issued exit visas,

Oil fallout: Laid off Saudi workers torch buses

 The Saudi Binladin Group, a massive construction company founded by the father of the late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, has laid off at least 50,000 workers, according to local press reports.

The job cuts come as the Saudi government has delayed payment to construction firms and cut spending to grapple with the plunging price of oil, which makes up three-quarters of the government's revenue.

Without that OIL Money... the Saudis are NOTHING

So yeah I see a big turn of the tide... its going out fast, like before a Tsunami hits
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: biggles on November 15, 2017, 04:33:42 PM
There's a few people from different countries, probably a lot that should be incarcerated for murdering innocent people; that's ironic US passing a bill about 9/11 when they played a part as well
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on November 29, 2017, 07:39:26 PM

need cash..arrest your richer relatives and let them buy a get out of jail card..

Saudi anti-corruption drive: Prince Miteb freed 'after $1bn deal'
29 November 2017

Prince Miteb, once seen as a contender to the throne, was freed after agreeing an "acceptable settlement" with authorities of more than $1bn (£750m).
He was one of more than 200 princes, ministers and businessmen detained in an anti-corruption drive on 4 November.
At least three others have also agreed settlements, the officials said.
"Yes, Prince Miteb was released this morning [Tuesday]," a source close to the government told the Agence France-Presse news agency.
The prince has so far not commented, and it was not clear whether he was now able to move freely or whether he was under some form of house arrest.

The 65-year-old son of the late King Abdullah was the most politically influential royal detained under the orders of a newly formed anti-corruption committee headed by his 32-year-old cousin, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
Prince Miteb was minister of the National Guard, an elite security force with 100,000 personnel that is tasked with protecting royal leaders, but was sacked hours before his detention.
An official involved in the investigation told Reuters news agency the settlement agreed by the prince "included admitting corruption involving known cases".

The authorities have not publicly named any of the 208 people who Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb said had been "called in for questioning".
They have also not released any details of the charges they faced, and are not believed to have given them access to their lawyers.
Prince Miteb was reportedly held at the five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh along with his brother Prince Turki bin Abdullah, a former governor of Riyadh province; the billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal; Alwalid al-Ibrahim, owner of the TV network MBC; Amr al-Dabbagh, former head of the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority; and Khalid al-Tuwaijri, former chief of the Royal Court.

In an interview with the New York Times published on Thursday, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman said 95% of those so far detained in the anti-corruption drive had agreed to hand over cash or shares to the Saudi state once "we show them all the files that we have".

"About one per cent are able to prove they are clean and their case is dropped right there," he added. "About four per cent say they are not corrupt and with their lawyers want to go to court.
Prince Mohammed also said it was "ludicrous" that analysts had suggested the campaign was a power grab. He noted that many of those detained had publicly pledged allegiance to him when his 81-year-old father, King Salman, named him first-in-line to the throne in June.
The prince hopes to recover much of the $100bn that the attorney general said was "misused through systematic corruption and embezzlement over several decades".
Many ordinary Saudis have welcomed the move to tackle corruption with the hope that some of their nation's oil wealth will be redistributed to the general population.

you can go to articles listed here at this articles  link
Saudi detentions: Living inside 'five-star prison'

Anti-corruption probe 'finds $100bn was embezzled'

Mohammed bin Salman: power behind the throne

Saudi Crown Prince: Five things to know

Saudi Arabia detentions: Living inside 'five-star prison'
26 November 2017

Young Saudis weigh up crown prince's crackdown
9 November 2017

Power behind the Saudi throne
6 November 2017

Video Five things about Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
8 November 2017

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on December 10, 2017, 09:02:42 AM

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Is Pushing His Country To The Brink. Will It Hold Together?
The nightmare scenario is the loud, messy collapse of a society full of weapons, money, frustrated young people and extremist tendencies.
By Akbar Shahid Ahmed
12/09/2017 08:59 am ET

WASHINGTON ― Saudi Arabia in free fall would make the other crises in the Middle East look puny.

The hugely wealthy kingdom is key to U.S. efforts to combat America’s most urgent threats. It has stockpiled thousands of ready-to-launch missiles, tens of thousands of bombs, uncounted reserves of small arms, hundreds of tanks and fighter jets and some of the most aggressive spyware available in the world.

Through Saudi Arabia’s supply lines to Asia and its sway over the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, it wields vast power over the oil production that fuels global trade.

And its population of nearly 30 million is largely young and often vulnerable to terrorist recruitment, as striking levels of volunteering and fundraising for the self-described Islamic State and al Qaeda have shown. 

Despite the risks, Mohammed bin Salman, the 32-year-old Saudi king-to-be, has spent close to three years pushing the kingdom to change in unprecedented ways — to forcefully intervene abroad, as it has to brutal effect in neighboring Yemen, to open up its state-dominated economy to entrepreneurs and foreign capital, and above all, to embrace rule by one near-omnipotent leader.

The crown prince is likely to see at least some success. But officials and experts monitoring the kingdom are increasingly worried about his methods. If Mohammed bin Salman pushes too hard, he could shatter his society ― and unleash a nightmare.

Since Nov. 4, the prince has accelerated his campaign. His new anti-corruption agency has arrested hundreds of prominent Saudis ― including royal family members like recently released Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, the son of the previous king and former head of the powerful National Guard, and noted billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal ― as well as dozens of military officers and private businessmen like construction magnate Bakr Binladin.

At least 17 detainees have needed medical attention because of abuse, according to The New York Times, and Saudi authorities say they seek to confiscate much of the wealth these figures accumulated — securing hundreds of billions of dollars to fund Mohammed bin Salman’s agenda.

The prince is aware of international anxiety about Saudi stability. In interviews with important Westerners like Thomas Friedman of The New York Times, he suggests that he shares that concern. Mohammed bin Salman’s argument is that collapse would be likely ― even inevitable ― without his plans. He cites goals reformist Saudis and outsiders have long said Riyadh must adopt: ending endemic corruption, encouraging Saudis to be less dependent on the state with his Vision 2030 economic strategy, and discouraging ultra-conservative interpretations of Islam.

“Changing Saudi Arabia for the better means helping the region and changing the world. So this is what we are trying to do here. And we hope we get support from everyone,” the prince told The Guardian in October.

But he’s also fundamentally changing the methods his country has relied on to avert catastrophe. 

[Mohammed bin Salman] has consolidated power in a way unknown to the kingdom since the age of his grandfather in the 1930s and ’40s.
“The [Saudi] system itself is in many ways built around trying to ensure stability,” Derek Chollet, who has served in top positions at the White House, Pentagon and State Department since the 1990s, told HuffPost.

Consider the last time Saudi Arabia had a hostile army on its borders. It didn’t announce a response for six days.

“You had King Fahd, but you had Crown Prince Abdullah, the head of the National Guard; Prince Sultan, the head of the defense ministry; Prince Nayef, head of the interior ministry; and Prince Saud Al-Faisal at the foreign ministry,” said F. Gregory Gause, an expert on the Persian Gulf at Texas A&M University. 

“These were all senior members of the family. They all had a voice in what went on,” Gause continued, adding, “the king had to, if not get a consensus, at least consult around with various people. So if we look at 1990, which is relatively well-documented from the American side, we know that the Saudis for days didn’t acknowledge that the Iraqis had invaded Kuwait because they hadn’t come to a decision on how to handle it.”

That consensus-based system — which King Salman, the crown prince’s father, once described to American interviewer Karen Elliott House as Saudi Arabia’s answer to democracy — dominated the kingdom’s politics for decades.

Saudi Arabians do not choose representatives who can truly influence the policies of their king. Saudi courts have little judicial independence. And the regime’s domestic critics have never wielded real power. Sons of the founder of the modern Saudi state, including King Salman, have ruled in succession since 1953, and various brothers, sons and cousins have developed independent power centers by running various aspects of the sprawling government. The chief checks and balances on any rulers of the kingdom were traditionally within the top tier of the thousands-strong royal family.

With last month’s arrests, Mohammed bin Salman signaled that the old system is dead. The prince had already slashed the power of the kingdom’s religious establishment, the one institution in the country that can claim as central a role in Saudi history as the royal family, and jailed more than 30 clerics, intellectuals and activists. Now high-ranking sources in the kingdom say they are afraid of growing surveillance.

The prince has consolidated power in a way unknown to the kingdom since the the age of his grandfather in the 1930s and ’40s. Experts say his goal is to show the only way to thrive in Saudi Arabia is to be loyal to his agenda and to him personally. But it’s unclear what comes next, and why there should be any confidence that it will work.

“If you think you can change Saudi society without the religious types enthusiastically behind you, without the rich people supporting you and by marginalizing this huge network of regime support that the ruling family represented, that’s a risky path,” Gause, the Texas A&M professor, told HuffPost.

The Saudi government’s response to those doubts is firm: We know what we’re doing.

“The pace of change has changed due to the young and dynamic leadership in addition to the young and educated population,” Fatimah Baeshen, the spokeswoman for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, told HuffPost in a recent email.

“Vision 2030 set long-term aims and also creates a platform for everyone to contribute, both of which ensure the country’s sustainability,” she added. “There is a symbiotic relationship between public sentiment and ongoing public discourse which informs policy development. This helps set the pace and ensures stability.”

Mohammed bin Salman can rely on significant support.

His anti-corruption rhetoric resonates with millions of Saudis who feel that the elite have fleeced state oil revenues, as well as with businesspeople around the world who are frustrated with unaccountable Saudi partners. “It would be a mistake to dismiss all authoritarian efforts to clean up government as little more than ‘political theater,’” analysts Andrew Leber and Christopher Carothers wrote of the crackdown in Saudi Arabia, suggesting it might lead to long-lasting and positive reforms.

The prince’s decision to allow Saudi women to drive and to defang the kingdom’s long-feared religious police will likely also pay dividends. “He gets lots of people because of these cards, [like the] social liberalism card,” said Hala Aldosari, a Saudi rights activist and current fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. “For Saudis, this is a gain, even if it means this is a gain being made for political reasons, to present himself as the visionary leader more appropriate for relations with the West.”

Mohammed bin Salman’s approach of strategically reducing global oil supplies (and even Saudi market share) to keep prices high recently helped boost Saudi foreign reserves for the first time in months, and there are high expectations for the anticipated payouts to the treasury, courtesy of his anti-corruption drive and the income Riyadh can gain from publicly listing part of its state-owned oil company. The same month as the crackdown, Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector grew at its quickest pace in two years, a recent economic survey showed.

But blunders are inevitable. The question is how big they’ll be.

One possibility is that the prince won’t be able to pull off most of the change he’s gunning for, will decide that it’s impossible, and will fall into old, self-destructive Saudi habits. There are already signs he will have to slow-roll attempted cuts to public benefits.

To Aldosari, a former government consultant, Mohammed bin Salman’s challenges to the old system don’t even seem as sweeping as many have suggested. “It’s not a change of structure, it’s a change of approach: how to distribute power,” she told HuffPost.

She envisages the prince setting up his own new (if smaller) club of inevitably corrupt elites to replace the old guard, and believes he’ll ultimately be seen as more personally linked to Saudi government policy than previous kings ― and therefore, more likely to be blamed when things go wrong.

Saudis have blasted Mohamad bin Salman’s response to recent floods in Jeddah, the kingdom’s second-largest city, noting that he’d promised accountability measures that would force corrupt officials to actually spend government money on infrastructure to prevent such flooding.

His anti-corruption credentials have also suffered because of The Wall Street Journal’s revelation that he spent close to half a billion dollars on a Leonardo da Vinci painting in October. It remains unclear how much money he and his branch of the royal family have made over the years.

If Mohammed bin Salman chooses to mostly follow the path of previous kings, simply modifying it to accommodate his desire to have more personal control, the system could become even more repressive, Aldosari said, with the human rights community losing one potential check on the king’s prerogative. In the past, she explained, royals with influence sometimes intervened on activists’ behalf, as Prince Alwaleed did when he urged lighter prison sentences for women arrested for challenging the driving restrictions.

Wealthy Saudis have long been willing to fund men with guns ― including extremists. It’s not hard to imagine some turning to that tactic again.
An even darker future may come to pass if Mohammed bin Salman’s plans backfire dramatically. The lack of due process in the targeting of notable Saudis has already spooked the international investors he’s hoping to court and the powerful figures at home who are now exploring ways to protect their assets because they think they might be next. There’s a chance the decisive boom in non-oil Saudi business he’s waiting for just won’t come ― and the country will be left with shrunken government reserves from his surrendering of Saudi market share in the oil trade, as well as a population angry about failed promises and slashed benefits.

Unlike previous Saudi monarchs, Mohammed bin Salman also won’t be able to rely on a system historically proven to manage dissent when he is king. He’s scared off potential challengers for now, but experts believe anger might linger, particularly in agencies like the interior ministry that have long been controlled by branches of the royal family that he has sidelined. That resentment could fuel private scheming to thwart the king-to-be, perhaps after he loses his father’s protection and lays his own claim to the throne. It could even inspire direct assaults, like the assassination attempt that claimed King Faisal’s life in 1975, or the violent takeover of the holy complex in Mecca in 1979 by ultraconservative militants.

Wealthy Saudis have long been willing to fund men with guns ― including extremists, as in the cases of al Qaeda and ISIS, which have both pledged to overthrow the Saudi regime. It’s not hard to imagine some turning to that tactic again, perhaps even boosting internal pockets of resistance like the persecuted Shiite community in the oil-rich Eastern Province.

A Saudi civil war would be a brutal affair ― one directly implicating and endangering the West, given how much American and European weaponry is in the kingdom and how Middle East security vacuums have proven to shelter militants planning attacks thousands of miles away.

Internal fissures could also lead Mohammed bin Salman to wreak havoc beyond the kingdom’s borders. His efforts against regional rival Iran have already brought millions to the brink of famine in Yemen and proven “haphazard, unsettling and counterproductive,” according to International Institute for Strategic Studies analyst Emile Hokayem. The bitterness he’s inspired among traditionally Saudi-friendly Sunni Muslims in Lebanon by forcing the televised humiliation of their leader ― in Saudi Arabia, no less ― is a potent example.

But using foreign interventions to stoke Saudi nationalism is one of the prince’s favored tactics to shore up support, Aldosari told HuffPost. The kingdom may embark on more messy, internationally condemned adventures abroad ― and it’s unclear how they will end. Well-connected former CIA official Bruce Riedel recently told a Washington audience that the prince’s foreign policy has failed to account for any way out of the crises he has created so far.

The widely held view among observers of the region, including some fierce critics of the kingdom and the prince, is that it would be best for the kingdom and the world if Mohammed bin Salman’s big gamble were to work out.

The expectation of relative stability has been part of the foundation of U.S.-Saudi relations, analysts Michael Stephens and Thomas Juneau wrote in 2016. Chollet, the former U.S. official now at the German Marshall Fund think tank, told HuffPost he recalled anxiety among Obama aides in 2011 and 2012 when then-King Abdullah’s health began to falter and it appeared that the Saudi succession might become problematic. He counts himself as one of many in Washington rooting for Mohammed bin Salman to succeed, but unsure if he can.

When Riyadh errs, Chollet said, Washington has some leverage to spur better judgment, but sometimes not enough. And under President Donald Trump, who has loudly praised Mohammed bin Salman’s purges and whose son-in-law Jared Kushner is enamored with the prince, even limited cautioning seems unlikely. A U.S. official working on the region recently described the White House as unwilling to hear criticism of Mohammed bin Salman’s choices, and said the only prospect of a change is if the famously fickle U.S. president one day simply changes his mind on his own.

“In many ways, [Trump and the Saudi royals] feel very familiar to one another,” Chollet said, joking, “They have the same interior decorator.”

Some seasoned Saudi watchers say the young king-in-waiting is adjusting course. Official Washington was very pleased with a report last month from Washington Post grandee David Ignatius that suggested Mohammed bin Salman seeks calm resolutions to his November surprises ― the corruption arrests and the Lebanese prime minister’s since-reversed resignation announcement ― by settling with detainees out of court and reiterating Saudi support for the U.S.-backed national army of Lebanon.

But there’s still anxiety in the air.

“Regime stability is an enduring concern,” Chollet said. “Instability in Saudi Arabia does not stay in Saudi Arabia.”

Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on December 18, 2017, 09:05:38 PM

could this be a bolt hole or just a vacation place?

Saudi Prince bin Salman 'was mystery buyer' of $320m house
18 December 2017


Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman was the mystery buyer of a luxury French house, according to reporting by the New York Times.

The newspaper says a paper trail from a 2015 purchase leads back to him through several shell companies.

The house, near Versailles, has a wine cellar, a cinema and a moat with koi, sturgeon and an underwater chamber.

It cost €275m ($320m, £240m) and Fortune magazine called it the world's most expensive house.

The buyer was unknown at the time.

But the New York Times reports that documents showed the house was owned by an investment company managed by Prince Mohammed's personal foundation.

The Saudi government has declined to comment on the report.

A spokeswoman for the Saudi embassy in Washington accused New York Times journalists of "subjective reporting" and serving a "personal agenda".

In recent months, Prince Mohammed has been leading an unprecedented drive against corruption and abuse of power and privilege in Saudi Arabia.

He has had dozens of prominent Saudi figures, including princes, ministers and billionaires, locked up in Riyadh's five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel.

Life inside Saudi Arabia's 'five-star prison'
From the exterior, the Chateau Louis XIV appears to be a 17th-Century chateau, constructed in a similar style to the nearby palace at Versailles.

On closer inspection, however, this is not the case: it was built after developer Emad Khashoggi demolished a 19th-Century building that had previously stood on the 57-acre (23-hectare) site and is modern inside. According to reports, its fountains and air conditioning, as well as lights and music, can be controlled by smartphone.

A local official told the New York Times: "The idea is tacky, and then once you visit it isn't."

In 2015, Prince Mohammed reportedly bought himself a yacht from a Russian businessman for $590m.

The New York Times has also reported that he was the true buyer of the Leonardo da Vinci painting Salvator Mundi, which was sold earlier this year for a record $450m (£341m). It will be displayed at the new Louvre Abu Dhabi and although its buyer was anonymous at first and was then thought to be a different Saudi prince, the paper says it was actually bought by Prince Mohammed.
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on January 08, 2018, 02:26:40 PM

i know this isn't funny hah hah.. but WTF

the wrold is really un side down anymore

11 Saudi Princes Arrested After Protesting Over Their Utility Bills

CAMILA DOMONOSKE  January 8, 20189:22 AM ET

Eleven royal princes in Saudi Arabia have been arrested, according to Saudi authorities, allegedly after they protested over a decree that stops the government from covering the cost of their electric and water bills.

The princes also demanded "compensation for a death sentence implemented in 2016 against one of their cousins," Reuters reports.

This is the second time in two months that nearly a dozen princes have been arrested by authorities. In November, 11 princes were among the 200-odd people arrested in an anti-corruption sweep as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman consolidated power.

NPR's Jackie Northam reports that the new arrests were sparked by austerity measures put in place by the crown prince:

"Saudi Arabia's attorney general, Saud al-Mojeb, says the 11 princes were arrested after refusing to leave a palace in Riyadh over a decree that ordered the state to stop paying their utility bill. The princes were taken to a maximum security prison and face a number of charges. In a statement, Mojeb said no one is above the law.

"The arrests are reflective of the hard-line stand by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to push through austerity measures. ... But perhaps as a sign that the cuts are too deep, last week King Salman announced that state employees would receive a monthly bonus for the next year."

Saudi Arabia has been pursuing austerity measures — including imposing a new tax and cutting some subsidies and payments to royal family members — after years of low oil prices.

But some members of the royal family, including the crown prince, don't seem to be feeling the pinch. In November, according to U.S. intelligence officials, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman paid a record-breaking $450 million for a Leonardo da Vinci painting.
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: Eighthman on January 08, 2018, 07:53:39 PM
The world's gonna get real exciting soon.  If it doesn't terrify you,  it's gonna be fascinating
Title: Re: has the tide turned on the House of Saud ?????
Post by: space otter on January 27, 2018, 09:04:12 AM

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed released as corruption probe winds down
 Reuters Reuters
By Sarah Dadouch and Katie Paul
3 hrs ago

in the article:
Earlier this week the attorney general said 90 detainees had been released after having their charges dropped, while others had traded cash, real estate and other assets for their freedom. Authorities were still holding 95 people, he said. Some are expected to be put on trial.


Directly or indirectly through Kingdom Holding, he holds stakes in firms such as Twitter Inc and Citigroup Inc, and has invested in top hotels including the George V in Paris and the Plaza in New York.

He described his confinement as a misunderstanding