Caucasus Jihadis in Syria/Iraq: The royal flush

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Abu Ibrahim Shishani
Died 05/02/2015
01-10_of_spades-Salahuddin_Shishani-Ruslan Machalikashvili
Georgiy Kushtanashvili
a.k.a. Salahuddin Sishani
02-ace_of_spades-Tarkan_Baturashvilii
Tarkhan Tayumurazovich Batirashvili
a.k.a. Abu Omar Shishani
Died 03/14/2016
04-King_of_spades-Murad_Margoshvili
Murad Margoshvili
a.k.a. Muslim abu Walid Shishani
03-Abu_Jihad-Islam_Seit-Umarovich_Atabiyev-Queen_of_Spades
Islam Seit-Umarovich Atabiyev
a.k.a. Abu Jihad
05-Abu_Bakr_Shishani-Jack-of-Spades
Abu Bakr Shishani

High value Chechen targets in Iraq/Syria: The Pankisi connection

[Updated 03/17/2016]


The lawless Pankisi Gorge
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Turkish  television announcing the “murder” of  terrorist Dokka Umarov , shown in front of the Imarat Kavkaz banner.
isis-omar-photoBatirashvili (2nd from left) with McClatchy reporter Mitchell Prothero during the 2008 Georgian invasion of South Ossetia, remniscing about their days with the US Army 82nd Airborne.
Batirashvili-Menagh_presserBatirashvili with his multinational gang after his victory at Menagh airbase
Menagh_Aug_2013_VBIEDsBatirashvili’s VBIEDs exploding at Menagh airbase in August, 2013, each one the equivalent of the bomb-load of an F-16.
Al_Absi-ISIS_flag-Bab_al_Hawa-2012July 19, 2012: The Al Absi gang  flying the ISIS black flag seize control of the Bab al Hawa border crossing and start receiving European jihadis sent by Sharia4Belgium
Abu-Omar-al-Shishani-Abu_Jihad-ODAmr al Absi (left), who persuaded Batirashvili to join ISIS. The old guy on the right is Batirashvili’s contact with Daghestan, Abu Jihad, who founded ISIS’s Vilayat Kavkaz.

ISIS’s famous red-bearded commander Abu Omar Shishani was again wounded recently in a US airstrike, finally giving up the ghost on March 14, and bringing his bio once again into the media spotlight. Like the other HVTs (High-Value Targets) in the SYRAQ (Syria/Iraq) theater, Abu Omar is a Kist Chechen hailing from the notoriously lawless Pankisi Gorge of NATO-allied Georgia, a staging area and support base for Chechen terrorist operations in the Russian Federation.

Pankisi is home to the Al Qaeda-affiliated Imarat Kavkaz (Caucasus Emirate) founded by the now-defunct Dokka Umarov, whose Syrian branch is Georgiy Kushtanashvili’s (a.k.a. Salahuddin Sishani a.k.a. Feyzullah Margoshvili) Jaish al-Usra. ISIS’s Caucasian operation Vilayat Kavkaz is of more recent date and is based in Daghestan. It is these Caucasian extensions of the Chechen terrorist gangs in the SYRAQ theater that constitute their main avenue of exporting terrorism into the industrialized world. The Chechen terrorists operating in the Caucasus are far more lethal than any other terrorist formations in the world, owing to their Russian and Georgian military training, foreign (mainly US) assistance, and the natural selection operated on them by the even more lethal Russian counterterrorist forces.

Chechen terrorism issued forth from the CIA’s Afghanistan Jihad, whose veterans were repurposed by US, UK, Saudi, and Turkish intelligence, to inflict further damage on the USSR and later the Russian Federation, this time on its own soil. Doku Umarov thus fought in the 1st and 2nd Chechen wars and Murad Margoshvili a.k.a. Muslim abu Walid Shishani fought by his side. Abu Bakr Shishani, who is Margoshvili’s military commander in Syria, likely participated in those conflicts as well, and probably has more military experience than Margoshvili. Judging by his military knowledge, Abu Ibrahim Shishani of ISIS, the commander of its Baiji operations in Iraq was also a seasoned veteran, having built an artillery rocket factory and taken over the training of ISIS recruits in Baiji.It is their unparalleled experience, gained by facing the full force of a superpower’s military and intelligence apparatus, and sometimes their military training in the Russian/Soviet spetsnaz, into which Chechens were often selected, that makes them the highest-value targets in the SYRAQ theater. Of course in Batirashvili’s case, it was the U.S. spetsnaz, or special forces, that turned him into a killing machine.

Chechens proved their game-changing HVT credentials in August 2013, when Tarkan Batirashvili a.k.a. Abu Omar Shishani, trained by US special forces in Georgia, who fought in the US Army 82nd Airborne in Iraq as well as in the Georgian army during its 2008 South Ossetia invasion, reversed the fortunes of the FSA-led sickly siege of Menagh airbase near the Turkish border by taking over the command of operations and promptly capturing the base with suicide bombers and VBIEDs, which have since become the hallmark of the foreign terrorists in Syria. Similarly, freelancer Murad Margoshvili a.k.a. Muslim Abu Walid Shishani, who rents out his Junud al Sham gang to Al Qaeda’s Northern Syria paymaster Sheikh Mohammed al Muhaysini, made his mark in several successful Al Qaeda offensives in Northern Latakia and Idlib.

ISIS’s first Chechens

Batirashvili entered Syria in the the spring of 2013 with a gang of freelancers just like Margoshvili’s, called Kataib al Muhajireen, the Immigrants Battalions, made up, he claimed, of Georgian Chechen survivors of battles with Russia in the Caucasus, as well as jihadis of other nationalities, gathered together by Saudi handlers such as a certain Abdul Aziz in Istanbul. He had arrived in Turkey in the spring of 2012 after his release from prison in Georgia, where his military career had reached a dead end. By March 2013, his Kataib (battalions) had expanded into a Jaish (army) with the addition of other two other Saudi-formed gangs, and possibly also Amr al Absi’s “Belgian Brigade,” providing him with an ample supply of suicide bombers, which he used as smart weapons to capture Handarat and Menagh airbases in Northern Aleppo.

Flush with success, Batirashvili decided to join ISIS. He had come into contact with the Al Absi gang of Azaz, which flew the first ISIS flag in Aleppo over the Bab al Hawa border gate, where it famously clashed with the FSA’s Farouq Brigade over the kidnap of journalists John Cantlie and Jeroen Oerlemans. Amr al Absi, who took over the gang after his brother was killed by the FSA, had been with the Islamic State of Iraq since its earliest days, long before the 2011 Syrian uprising. The Al Absi “Belgian Brigade” was the Syrian end of the Sharia4Belgium jihadi pipeline that spewed out French, Belgian and UK jihadis eager for martyrdom.

UK and French intelligence services, following the US-Saudi playbook of using Sunni radicals to roll back Iran’s influence, had outsourced their Syria jihad to Belgium, much like global corporations did their head offices, to benefit from that disarrayed country’s lax laws and even laxer law enforcement. Sharia4Belgium thus funneled thousands of battle-winning human smart weapons to ISIS and Al Nusra that the FSA could not offer. Chechens, on the other hand, were not only few in number but weren’t that crazy about martyrdom. There were loud grumblings about the number of Chechens and Crimean Tatars that Batirashvili had sacrificed to take Menagh, including a Pankisi boy called Khamzat whose newly-wedded beautiful celebrity widow he took for his own wife. These facts and the excellent introduction that Amr al Absi provided to the ISIS leadership prompted Batirashvili to join them.

The mysterious Abu Ibrahim Shishani

Batirashvili_Bros
Abu Ibrahim: The elusive older brother Tamaz Batirashvli?

We know far less about another experienced veteran Chechen whose nom de guerre was Abu Ibrahim Shishani, killed by the Iraqi Hashd al Shaabi militia at Baiji refinery, where he was both a field commander and a trainer. A redhead like Tarkan Batirashvili, there is a slight chance that this experienced war veteran might be his older brother Tamaz because he is the only known Russian-speaking older redhead Chechen with battle experience in ISIS – not that redhead Chechens are a rarity. He doesn’t fit the portrait drawn by his father for The Daily Beast too well: “The two brothers have similar features, the same nose, same red beards, yet we are told that Tamaz doesn’t typically wear military fatigues. He dresses simply, in a gown with a scarf on his head.” Moreover, Tamaz is supposed to be a supreme warrior, yet Abu Ibrahim was the first HVT killed so far, admittedly in a difficult battle against vastly superior forces. Still, even if he is no relation at all to Batirashvili, he was the commander of all ISIS operations in the key Tikrit-Baiji sector, so he was an important HVT.

Al Nusra’s Chechens

Unfortunately in those early months of 2013 when Batirashvili’s star was rising, ISIS’s Syrian expeditionary force, called Al Nusra, had been co-opted by Qatar and split from its Saudi-backed Iraqi parent organization. The Qataris got Pakistan’s “guest” Ayman al Zawahiri to back Al Nusra and “excommunicate” ISIS. Many of Batirashvili’s Chechens, his right-hand-man Georgiy Kushtanashvili a.k.a. Salahuddin Shishani most of all, had been sent there by Dokka Umarov, who was dependent on Al Qaeda, i.e. Saudi support, as evidenced by Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan’s threat to use Chechen terrorists “controlled by us” to attack the Sochi winter games. Consequently Kustanashvili and many others, including Batirashvili’s protégé Seyfullah, refused to follow Batirashvili. Kushtanashvili took over the command of Jaish al Muhajireen wal Ansar (JMA) when Batirashvili joined ISIS.

The Chechens’ “Displaced Conflict” in Syria

say-with-umar-and-sonBatirashvili with his son and aide Sayfullah Shishani in front of his purloined BMW with Imarat Kavkaz plates. According to Joanna Paraszczuk, it was ironically Batirashvili who started the Imarat Kavkaz tagging fad in Syria, even though he claimed that he had never pledged allegiance to its emir.
Abu_Jihad-russian_SOF_GorkaIslam Seit-Umarovich Atabiyev
a.k.a. Abu Jihad in a Karachay-language propaganda video accompanied by an Ingush terrorist preacher. Wearing a status-symbol spetsnaz Gorka uniform, Abu Jihad appealed to his ethnic kinsmen to join ISIS’s jihad.

The split between the Chechens wasn’t just because of the importance of Saudi support, though this was certainly the main factor. There was also what Joanna Paraszczuk calls the “phenomenon of the displaced conflict,” i.e. the displaced revenge of the Chechens against Moscow’s ally Syria, after they dragged themselves bloody and beaten from the Caucasus. They were, in a sense, re-fighting in Syria the Caucasus battles that they had lost against Russia. Certainly, this displaced revenge motivation was visible in the large Imarat Kavkaz logos displayed on their walls, clothes, and vehicles, despite the fact that they officially called themselves Jaish al Muhajireen. Batirashvili was able to think strategically and see how he could have a better shot at the Russians by allying himself with ISIS but most of the other Chechens clung to their past.

Batirashvili’s Caucasus Gambit

I’m not done with ISIS’s Chechens yet because a crucial aspect of the Imarat Kavkaz story is how Batirashvili is using ISIS to wrest control over Caucasus terrorists from IK. The gray-beard often described nowadays as Batirasvili’s “right-hand man” is not his lieutenant in the Syria/Iraq Jihad but the ethnic Karachay-Balkar veteran jihadi Islam Seit-Umarovich Atabiyev a.k.a. Abu Jihad who is setting up Batirashvili’s “Vilayat Kavkaz.” This is the guy Putin should be most worried about because he has already obtained the bay’ah of most Caucasus terrorist imams and appointed his own Vilayat Kavkaz emir,  Rustam Asilderov alias Abu Muhammad Kadarsky. Atabiyev is quite a talented propagandist, not at all the rigid salafist mullah type you would expect him to be. Despite ISIS’s strict salafist rules against music, he made use of a german rapper Deso Dogg, from among ISIS’s many German recruits, to produce a music video featuring all the Caucasus preachers who had given bay’ah to ISIS.

The Rise and Fall of Giorgi Kustanashvili a.k.a. Salahuddin Shishani

Salahuddin_Shishani-Imarat_Kavkaz
Georgiy Kushtanashvili a.k.a. Salahuddin Shishani saw himself as the future emir of Imarat Kavkaz

When Batirashvili’s Katibat al Muhajiroun arrived in Syria, Kustanashvili, with whom he had presumably fought in the Caucasus under Ruslan Gelayev, was his field commander. He immediately launched into several high-profile operations from the KM/JMA base in the luxury villa in Hraytan seized by Batirashvili. He captured Kafr Hamra and attacked Layramoun, reaching the outer ring road of Aleppo, and pushing east to organize several SVBIED attacks against the Canadian i.e. Al Kindi Hospital,  making a name for himself.

Kustanashvili was eventually pushed out of Al Nusra-allied JMA by Saudi sheikhs, led by Sheikh Mohammed Muhaysini, the Saudi envoy who would gradually wrest back control of Al Nusra from Qatar. Kustanashvili and his Crimean Tatar lieutenant Abdul Karim Krymsky then formed Imarat Kavkaz fi Shame, the Caucasus Emirate in the Levant. However he was pressured out of this command as well, this time by the new emir of Imarat Kavkaz Abu Usman Gimrinsky, who probably wasn’t too happy about Kustanashvili setting up his own parallel emirate in Syria. Kustanashvili then left his command to a younger Chechen fighter, Khayrullah Shishani, and formed Jaish al Usra, again allied with Jabhat Al Nusra. These successive ousters prevented Kustanashvili from expanding his operation to the measure of his ambitions. We never again heard of such thunderous exploits from him as during his whirlwind entry into the Syrian jihad in the spring and summer of 2013. He partnered with Murad Margoshvili in Latakia and they were reportedly on good terms but he got no coverage at all in the victory videos.  His Jaish al-Usra is reduced, at this writing, to bombarding Kurdish civilians in the Sheikh Maqsoud quarter of Aleppo in revenge for the  vast territory captured from Al Qaeda and its Turkish allies by the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces of Afrin.

The Hired Gun

Shamir_Basayev-Murad_MargoshviliA young and beardless Murad Margoshvili with the Beslan butcher Shamir Basayev in the heyday of Chechen terrorism.
Margoshvili-Sheikh_MuhayssinyMurad Margoshvili with Al Qaeda paymaster Sheikh Mohammed Muhaysini

Unlike Kustanashvili, Murad Margoshvili a.k.a. Muslim Abu Walid Shishani never gave bay’ah to anyone and never had to put up with any political backstabbing. He probably owes his relatively comfortable status to his drug lord uncle the late Vephiya Margoshvili, head of the Margoshvili clan that owns the Pankisi Gorge and hosts the Imarat Kavkaz gangs that hide out there, who double as their personal army.

Margoshvili got his military training with the Red Army in Mongolia but when he returned home to the Pankisi, he set out into the terrorism sector rather than the family drug business. He fought with both Shamir Basayev and Ruslan Galeyev, both of them former spetsnaz, on many fronts. His last Russian caper was in 2002, an unspecified operation led by Aslan Maskhadov. He was captured in 2003 but only stayed in prison for 2 years, though it took him until 2008 to recover from whatever they did to him there.

Shanghaied to Syria

What happened after that is, curiously enough, in the public record: According to the Public Defender of Georgia Ucha Nanuashvili, a group of Kist Chechens, from among the 120 trained by the Georgian Interior Ministry in military bases for subversive operations, decided to enter the Tsuntin district of Russian Daghestan through the Lopota Gorge in August 2012. These men were from Murad Margoshvili’s jemaat in Tsuntin. Georgian special forces intervened and denied them passage, telling them to leave their weapons and go back to their military base. No reason that we know of was given. The men refused, a firefight ensued, and 8 of them, plus 3 Georgian handlers died. One of the dead was a relative of Murad Margoshvili called Aslan Margoshvili. The survivors were not returned to their bases but sent to Syria, at which point the incident starts to make sense: They were ordered to go to Syria but didn’t want to and tried to get to Daghestan. They were then forcibly prevented from escaping and packed off to Syria. Georgia being heavily under U.S. and Turkish influence, it may have been persuaded to relinquish the Pankisi Chechens it had intended to use against Russia for the Syrian jihad.

Batirashvili_villa_HraytanWhere it all began: The summer of 2013 in Batirashvili’s stolen luxury villa in Hraytan. Poor Pankisi boys and even less-poor Pankisi gangsters had the time of their lives.
Murad_Margoshvili-Abu_Tarib_Shishani(2n-in-C)
Margoshvili and his aide Abu Tarib Shishani celebrating their brief victory at Tower 45 in Northern Latakia.

So that’s how Margoshvili ended up in Syria in 2012, where he was shortly joined by Batirashvili, who was apparently framed and jailed for 16 months just motivate him to go to Syria. In the warm months of 2013, they were one big happy terrorist gang living it up at the poolside of Batirashvili’s Hraytan villa, seized from an Aleppo businessman. Then Batirashvili joined ISIS and Margoshvili took more than 100 Chechens with him to Latakia for a whirlwind offensive in the summer of 2013 that would take him all the way to Durin, and which earned him the nickname Sopa Durin: Durin Hilltop. Unfortunately for him, Batirashvili got an even bigger billing at Menagh airbase.

Margoshvili did increase his fame during the March 2014 Kessab offensive, when Al Qaeda terrorists poured out of Turkey into that Armenian village founded by 1915 genocide survivors, thoroughly ethnically cleansing it. He helped briefly capture Tower 45, a dominating strategic location, and had the moment recorded for posterity on video. The next year, Al Qaeda poured out of Turkey again, this time into Idlib, sweeping away the Syrian army, and Batirashvili was there posing for the cameras again. However at the end of 2016, he was no longer celebrating but desperately calling for help in his videos as the Syrian army overran his training camps at Ateera on the Turkish border, forcing him to flee.

The Young Lions

The Jack of our HVT royal flush isn’t a leader like the others but a very competent and experienced tactician nonetheless. Abu Bakr Shishani, whose real name is unknown, was Margoshvili’s field commander but transferred to the younger and more daring Abdul Hakim Shishani’s Khalifat Jamaat after the 2015 Idlib offensive. Abdul Hakim is thought to be Rustam Azhiyev, a young veteran Chechen terrorist (2000-2009) who fought under Shamir Basayev’s son Rustam and later had his own command in the central Nokhchiycho sector of Chechnya.

Abdul-hakim-Shishani-Muhaisany-Idlib
Young Chechnya veteran Abdul Hakim Shishani with a happy Sheikh Muhaysini after Al Qaeda captured Idlib in 2015.
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Well-equipped and professional young Chechen terrorists of Ajnad al Kavkaz in Idlib.
Abu_Bakr_Shishani-Abu_Hamza
Khamza Shishani, now dead, and Abu Bakr Shishani under an Imarat Kavkaz banner. Abu Bakr displays his status not only with with his Gorka special forces uniform but with an Israeli KPOS Glock pistol submachine gun converter. He is saying “I don’t need an assault rifle, I’m an officer.”
Ka-25_being_assembled_at_Hmeymim
Kamov Alligator attack helicopter being assembled at Hmeymim on March 17, 2016.
Mi-28N_Night_Hunter-Hmeymim-March16,2016
Mi-28N Night Hunter attack helicopter overflying Hmeymim airbase on March 16, 2016.

If Abdul Hakim ever gets to be Batirashvili’s age, he will no doubt be the ace in the pack. Even now, he is a very dangerous. He and his young pack of Chechen wolves tore up Idlib , Ariha, and Jisr ash-Shughour, chasing the Syrian army all the way out of the Ghab valley, while capturing scores of armored vehicles and other heavy weapons in the process. They worked in perfect synchronization with CIA-backed FSA TOW missile teams, who destroyed the Syrian armor in their way as they progressed down the Ghab valley.

The man who has the experience to keep the young hothead Abdul Hakim out of fatal trouble is Abu Bakr Shishani. Abdul Hakim came to Syria in the company of Abdulvakhid Edelgireyev a.k.a. Khamza Shishani, a Chechen veteran like him who became his lieutenant. The youngsters were both heavily wounded in Chechnya and bonded in a Turkish hospital in 2009, Abdul Hakim emerging with a damaged left hand and eye and Hamza with his left leg 10 cm shorter. They displayed a gung-ho style throughout the Idlib offensive, with Abdul Hakim often leading the column. That style will no longer fly against the now better-trained and -equipped Syrian army and air force, even without Russian marines backing them up. Worse still, their anti-tank cover provider the FSA has laid down its weapons with the ceasefire in Syria.

Edelgireyev became the victim of his devil-may-care attitude when a Russian hit team gunned him down in Istanbul in January. According to his family, he utterly disregarded his personal security. Edelgireyev’s activites since he left Syria, however, showed clearly why he needed to be taken out. He had gone to Ukraine to fight with the Nazis against Donbass, then returned to Istanbul to recruit & seek funds for Abdul Hakim’s old Chechnya command the Nokhchiycho district. Now Abu Bakr is Abdul Hakim’s military commander, a more experienced and wiser one than Edelgireyev, which makes him a higher-value target to be eliminated ASAP.

Russians pulling out, HVTs still breathing: Mission not accomplished?

It would be foolhardy to second-guess what Russia intends to do about the Caucasian HVTs remaining in Syria but what we do know is that neutralizing them was one of the reasons that pushed it to intervene in Syria. Does the fact that it is pulling out all its SU-34  and SU-25 attack aircraft and some of its SU-24s, as well as 3,000 marines, mean that it has given up on that goal?

First of all, taking out HVTs is not a function of the number of mission flown or the tonnage of bombs dropped, but primarily of intelligence. Are Russia’s electronic surveillance assets still in place? Judging by the swarms of Russian drones monitoring the ceasefire since February 27, that’s a definite yes. Are GRU Osnaz ELINT units still there? They have been there since 1957 so it’s safe to assume they’ll be sticking around. Moreover, Russia has moved in assets more tailored to targeted killings than iron-bomb-dropping jets, namely Mi-28N Night Hunter and Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters, both top-of-the line aircraft bristling with sensors and stand-off weapons. When ground assets spot an HVT, these quasi-invisible sniper aircraft can be deployed at night to take it out. The withdrawal of most of its tactical aircraft has no obvious implications for Russia’s determination to go after Chechen HVTs in Syria and it has everything it needs there for the job.

As you may have noticed from the links, I am heavily indebted for this page to Joanna Parazcszuk @joaska_ for her excellent investigative reporting on Caucasus terrorists in Syria. I have merely tried to give a narrative flow to her reports.
Thanks also to Misha @filokalia for pointing me to the Guardian story on the assassination of Khamza Shishani.

Bye Bye Saudi?

Saudi Arabia Foreign Reserves
The recent death-dive of Saudi foreign exchange reserves
Saudi+per+Capital+GDP+1980-2014
Saudi GDP per capita was the highest in the world in 1980 (IMF). The US only caught up when oil prices collapsed.
COprice-KSA_debt-economist_08-15
Before he US invasion of Iraq sent oil prices into outer space, Saudi had no cash reserves, tons of debt (the bars), and low oil income, yet survived.
Abdulaziz_USS_Quincy.jpg
One-eyed Abdulaziz trying to convince the USA not to swat him like a fly while learning to sit in a chair at the same time. He brought eight sheep with him on the warship. Churchill, who met him the next day, didn’t even know who he was.
Oil_crude_production_Feb_2016
The crash of oil prices was caused by the 2 million barrels a day of extra crude that the US dumped on the market since 2011, which the global economy could not absorb, as it was struggling to recover from the 2008 financial crash, also made in the USA.

[Updated 03-06-2016]

As oil prices and Saudi’s war expenses go in opposite directions, there are about as many pundits predicting Saudi’s near demise as there are scoffing at the very thought. Still, the chart looks pretty scary, as does the number 2.4%, which is the amount of Saudi’s forex reserves it took to get the country through January. The IMF gave the tribal state 5 years until it goes bust but at this rate, their remaining $594 billion will be gone by August 2020.

However Saudi has had a lot less cash for a very long time and managed to score as high a GDP per capita as the post-Iraq oil bubble blesses it with today. It has also been deep in debt, as opposed to cash-rich, after the oil price crash of 1980, yet muddled through. So why should it worry now just because its pile of cash got sightly less enormous? It’ll just get a loan until oil prices recover, right? I mean who wouldn’t lend money to the goose with the golden eggs?

Somehow, investors don’t see it that way. There’s a thing called a Credit Default Swap (CDS) which is basically an insurance policy against a debt default. It’s a far more reliable gauge of investment value than agency credit ratings, since rating agencies collect their fees from the actual people they are rating: Not a great system, as recent experience with AAA-rated subprime mortgages proved.

Saudi just got downgraded by Standard & Poors two whole levels from A+ (Japan) to A- (Malaysia), just four months after downgrading it from AA- to A+. That’s still 3 grades above junk, so not bad, right? Except when you look at where Saudi’s CDS rates are, should it choose to borrow on the international market, you see that the guys who can actually lend it money, instead of just take its money  to give it a grade, think its investment value is the same as Portugal’s, i.e. junk. If agency ratings were any good, Saudi would be rated BB, 3 steps below where it is now.

Saudi Debt Risk on Par With Junk-Rated Portugal as Oil Slides - Bloomberg Business

It’s not just the economy, it’s the stupid

What makes Saudi’s position hopeless – and I weight my words – is the perfect storm that its primitive rulers have brought upon themselves with their conceited and short-sighted belief that they could throw money around from their recently-amassed mountain of cash and defeat all their enemies in one fell swoop. Before going into the different weather systems that combine to create the perfect Saud-killing storm, we should keep in mind the single cause that has created all this extreme weather:  The bottomless stupidity, ignorance, bigotry, and arrogance of these bedouin tribal chiefs who sit atop the world’s most valuable oil reserves for no other reason than that the British Empire put them there and the US empire saw it convenient that they should remain. If you think that’s hyperbole then read about how the measly sheepherd Abdulaziz had no illusions whatsoever who the real “sultan” of Arabia was:

The sultan of Najd, Abdelaziz al-Saud bowed his head before the British High Commissioner in Percy Cox’s Iraq. His voice quavered, and then he started begging with humiliation: “Your grace are my father and you are my mother. I can never forget the debt I owe you. You made me and you held my hand, you elevated me and lifted me. I am prepared, at your beckoning, to give up for you now half of my kingdom…no, by Allah, I will give up all of my kingdom, if your grace commands me!”
Servant of the British Empire: On the founding of Ibn Saud’s kingdom

Oil crash meets the Sudairi Stupids

The oil price spike that started with the US’s invasion of Iraq – an invasion that the oil company executives in the White House had promised would bring oil back to $10 – introduced a decade of artificially high oil prices disconnected from supply and demand. An oil price bubble was created by banks, hedge funds, and oil companies although there was no scarcity of oil, in fact quite the opposite. Not only did investors make huge profits on oil futures contracts but US oil multinationals thoroughly gouged China, whose manufacturing-based economy was the world’s most energy-hungry. Meanwhile, high oil prices made the exploitation of US shale oil and deep sea oil reserves economically feasible, since both involved enormous investment and operating expenses. Banks actually hoarded oil in warehouses and tankers to take it off the market. Oil giants reduced refining and transport capacity to create artificial shortages.

Saudi looked on in puzzlement as prices broke through $150 despite slow sales. It reaped the windfall profits and amassed the huge war chest that Salman and his idiot son Mohammed are eating through these days, half suspecting what the bubble would lead to, i.e. US overproduction coupled with sluggish demand due to the burden of the high cost of energy on the global economy. Just as in 1980, high oil prices – imposed this time by Western financial speculators, not OPEC production cuts – helped slow down global economic growth to nearly a stop and almost on the day that the first tanker of export crude left the US, the price of crude plummeted to $30.

Abdullah&gang
Abdullah (1) tried to be a reformer, though all he managed to do, in his last days, was to give women the right to vote in municipal elections (2) but at least got rid of the ogrish and very dangerous Nayef (3) though he failed to replace Salman (4) with Muqrin (5)

The oil price crash occurred at a time when Saudi transited out of the relatively prudent leadership of Abdullah bin Abulaziz, son of one-eyed Abdulaziz’s wife Fahda from the  great Shammar tribe that is spread between Riyadh and Syria, passing through Iraq. During his reign, he held back the Sudairi Seven, the seven brothers issued from Abdulaziz’s bigot wife Hassa from the Najd, the dark southern birthplace of Wahhabism from where Mohammed prophesied the “horn of satan” would enter the world.

Abdullah led Saudi for 20 relatively stable years, the first five as a regent for the infirm Fahd, who was also a Sudairi and during whose lucid years Wahhabi mischief proliferated, from the Afghanistan jihad to the 1982 Hama jihad to backing Saddam against Iran to Chechnya. Abdullah tried to remove as many of the Sudairi Seven as he could, killing the worst one, interior minister Nayef, but failing, from his sickbed, to remove Salman from his position as crown prince before Salman could have him killed. So just as oil prices peaked, another deranged Sudairi became head of the Saudi tribe.


The new Saudi tribal chief Salman thought the best use for his new cash stash was to invade poor Yemen next door. The ignorance and incompetence that pervades his country turned the US Apache helicopters and Abrams tanks that he paid a fortune for into Yemeni target practice.

Admittedly, Abdullah engaged in some mischief of his own in Syria, not out of zealotry but because of the strategic threat posed by the US handover of Iraq to Iranian-backed Shiites, creating an unbroken Iranian-controlled “Shiite crescent” through four countries, as well as a possible pipeline route to the Mediterranean for Iran. The reason I’m harping on the difference between Abdullah and the Sudairis isn’t that Abdullah was a great guy but that the Sudairis are immeasurably worse, particularly in the idiot department.

The 1980 oil crash – that was the Sudairi Fahd and his cretin of an oil minister Yamani, descended from a line of Qadis and Muftis. Abdullah managed to hold Saudi’s head above the water during the lean years that followed, when GDP fell 20%. No such level-headed management is available today. Instead, the current batch of Sudairi morons are busy hiring armies from the far corners of Africa and Asia to fight a losing war in Yemen, having already spent billions trying vainly to topple Syria’s Assad. The only dubious distinction they have gained to date is to make Saudi Arabia the world’s top arms importer, up from No 6 in 2004-8 and No 4 in 2009-13.

To be fair, Saudi won that top prize during Abdullah’s watch. He is the one who signed all those “deal of the century” arms contracts, only he didn’t do it to get quagmired in Yemen but to get unquagmired from Syria: He bought piles of French, British, and US military junk not to start a new war but to buy the support of those countries to get him out of the one he’d gotten tar-babied to. It’s how France went from being the world’s 5th arms exporter to its 2nd and from a hijab-banning, Turkey-hating Islamophobic country to a jihadi, Turkey-backing Islamophobic country (see my Allons enfants du djihad post). It’s how London became Londonistan. It’s not, however, how Turkey’s Erdogan went from pro-democracy minority-friendly Islamist good cop to totalitarian, sectarian, and jihadist Islamist bad cop. As I explained in the second part of my Long War post, the deal Tayyip made with Saudi was for massive property purchases in Turkey. All of these generous distributions of bakhsheesh were Abdullah paying the very high price of buying allies for his obnoxious and parasitical regime when he realized he couldn’t topple Assad and that Assad would soon be coming after him.

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When Abdullah was forced evict the US from Prince Sultan Airbase in 2005, Saudi was left pretty much naked and defenseless. The $60 billion arms deal in 2010 was his attempt to ensure his own defense rather than rely on the US.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that Saudi has never been a part of any international security alliance. None of its “friends” in the West are fool enough to sign up to defending a bunch of pre-medieval barbaric hopped-up Wahhabis in their tribal and sectarian wars. Despite this lack of formal allies, in 2003, Abdullah was left with no choice but to shoot himself in the foot by asking the US to pull out the 363d Air Expeditionary Wing from Prince Sultan Air Base, an event that was publicized in 2005 as “US forces leaving Saudi Arabia” although they still remained at over a half-dozen other bases in the country. Not only did Saudi thereby lose a powerful deterrent but allowed its detested rival sheikhdom Qatar to score a huge win by hosting the biggest US overseas base, Al Udeid, where the US aircraft leaving Prince Sultan went to perch.

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After 9/11, the Sudairis and their Wahhabi clergy allies targeted the most galling of Abdullah’s reforms, the Western-ish girls’ schools. The first one they burned in 2002 was in Mecca (the one in the photo is in Jeddah), making it clear that they were striking a blow for their insane idea of Allah.
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At least as mind-boggling as the Kunduz “Airlift of Evil” was the entry of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards unit called the Badr Brigade, made up of Iraqi Shiite traitors, into Northern Iraq in March 2003, to assist the US occupation of Iraq.
AFP PHOTO/Behrouz MEHRI
Bush and the Sudairis ambush Abdullah

Abdullah had to make this self-destructive move because after 9/11, the Sudairis capitalized on the local hero status of the 15 Saudi jihadis who had kamikazed into New York and Washington to accuse Abdullah of letting the US kuffars occupy the holy lands, echoing Bin Laden’s gripe against the regime during the Gulf War. Osama had driven his point home by blowing up US pilots from the King Abdulaziz airbase, the US’s first airbase in Saudi, in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing, for which both Saudi and the US found it convenient to frame Iran and Shiites. Interior minister and big-time Al Qaeda backer Nayef ostensibly put down street demos against Abdullah but actually provoked them, notably by burning down a girls’ school (one of Abdullah’s reforms) and having his religion police force the girls fleeing the fire back into the flames because they hadn’t put on their abayas. This shocked even Saudis who, geniuses that they are, went out to protest Abdullah for it.

The upshot is, Abdullah could never know what these Wahhabi perverts would come up with next to topple him, so he sought to appease them by shutting down the largest US base. This lost deterrent seemed relatively unimportant when the US invaded Iraq, thus getting rid of the immediate danger of Saddam coming to Jeddah for his revenge. However when the US proved incapable of putting down the Baathist/Sunni insurgency in Iraq and let the Badr Brigade take over the job, alarm bells went off in Jeddah. The Badr Brigade was a unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps made up of Iraqi Shiite traitors. The US had allowed the Iranian-allied force to enter Iraq, ostensibly so that it could police the southern Shiite provinces of Basra, Maysan, Karbala, etc., which the US didn’t have the manpower to do. For the Saudis, however, this was the US selling them down the river and plopping the Iranian army down squarely on their border.

It got worse: The US threw down the towel and instead of occupying Iraq or installing a more docile version of Saddam, it handed the keys of Baghdad to the Shiites and said it was leaving. Abdullah then told Cheney that if the US attempted to cut and run, he would support Sunni insurgents in Iraq and didn’t care how many US soldiers they killed. He did one better by creating Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’s precursor. After that, Sunnis and Shiites started butchering each other with gusto and still haven’t stopped.

Amiri and Soleimani
When not just Badr Brigade commander Hadi al Ameri (left) but his Iranian boss Qassem Soleimani (right) showed up in Iraq, Abdullah decided that the time for defense was over and started a proxy jihad against Iran’s ally Syria
SYRIA-CONFLICT

By 2007, sophisticated Iranian-made IEDs had showed up in Iraq and in March 2009, a video appeared on the web showing Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s famous Quds Force commander, in the mountains of Iraq near the Iranian border. Abdullah knew that however many tanks and jets he had, as long as it was his fat, indolent, and spoiled countrymen who were manning them, they were no match for Soleimani’s forces, and neither were the Americans able to cope with Soleimani’s advanced IEDs.

He needed to do something fast to throw Iran off balance, so he started a jihad in Syria. Pretty soon, both Soleimani and the Badr Brigade got caught up in saving Assad, then in saving Iraq from ISIS. They no longer had any time to destabilize Saudi. Abdullah’s ploy worked, moving from defensive to offensive. Syria would keep his enemy Iran busy for at least a decade.

Bottom line: However loathsome the means, Abdullah nevertheless steered the Saudi ship through some pretty stormy waters and brought it to port brimming with petrodollars and as prepared as it ever would be to defend itself against its enemies. He paid down the huge debt chalked up by his Sudairi predecessor, stashed away hundreds of billions for a rainy day, and used some of them for a price war that drove the US’s shale oil production out of business and shut down 2/3 of US oil rigs, a decisive Saudi victory that contrasted sharply with his predecessor Fahd’s disastrous oil policies of the 70’s.

So what did the Sudairis, who were finally rid of Abdullah, do with that legacy?

Salmangeddon

The Sudairis began their demolition of whatever reforms Abdullah was able to make the instant they took power. Salman named reactionary Wahhabi cleric Saad al-Shethri, a notorious enemy of Abdullah’s mixed-gender university and girls’ schools, as his personal advisor as soon as he stepped in, possibly a more destructive move than Nayef burning down girls’ schools.

He then removed the Muslim Brotherhood from the list of the kingdom’s many enemies – Abdullah had bankrolled General Sisi, who toppled Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Morsi -and ended Saudi’s feud with Qatar, the major backer of the Ikhwan (Ikhwan al Muslimin=Muslim Brotherhood) and Al Qaeda in Syria (aka Al Nusra). Instead he put the least reactionary and most pro-Western of the Saudi entourage on his shit list: the Emirates. It was the friends of Al Qaeda reuniting at long last. Overnight, Saudi became a second ISIS, sending the armies of its entourage into Yemen and bombing the country back to the stone age.

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Yemen’s descent into hell: 1-The usual Arab Spring song and dance 2-Saudi- and US-backed tribal chief Hamid al Ahmar starts an armed uprising 3-They topple former US-backed strongman Saleh, seen here with burn gloves after al Ahmar and his Al Qaeda pals put a bomb in his mosque and almost killed him 4-Al Qaeda takes over most of the country.
To be continued…

Salman’s excuse for laying waste to Yemen was that the Houthis, whom Saudi alleges are Iranian-backed Shiites, deposed a Saudi stooge who had recently been installed after Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh was toppled by the Ikhwan. That’s the short version. The long version is, Saleh was a longtime US ally who managed to keep the fractious country in one piece while assisting the US in its fight against Saudi-backed Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The names Anwar al Awlaki, Omar Faruk Abdul muttalab, and Nidal Hasan may ring a bell (more on those later). So basically, the old devil Saleh was playing along with Obama’s ghost chase in Yemen and using the US military aid that came with the “Long War” to suppress the various rebellions that were chronic to that dirt-poor but fascinating country.

Then in 2009 the powerful pro-Ikhwan tribal leader Hamid al Ahmar stepped into the US embassy and told the Yanks that he was organizing a rebellion to topple Saleh. This fit in perfectly with the US’s harebrained plan to win over the Arab street by backing the Muslim Brotherhood (scroll down to the old guy in the fedora). One month later, Saleh took away Ahmar’s oil export monopoly that was the source of his family’s wealth and the basis of Saleh’s alliance with his deceased father, an alliance that the young upstart chose to discard in the hope of moving on to bigger and better things. Two years later, the requisite angry crowds congregated in front of the cameras in synch with those in Egypt, Libya, and Syria. Meanwhile, Hamid’s heavily armed tribesmen, accompanied by groups of Al Qaeda terrorists, occupied several key Saleh towns like Zinjibar near Aden, where clashes were continuing. Finally, Hamid got Al Qaeda to put a bomb in Saleh’s mosque and Saleh was down – but not out.

The old devil came back from the dead, got himself patched up ASAP and sprung back into action, sealing a pact with the Houthi tribes against the jihadists who no doubt intended to massacre them as Shiite heretics, as they did elsewhere. Meanwhile, Hamid realized he had just been screwed by the Saudis, since he was shut out of the puppet government, upon which he withdrew his tribesmen from the fight. The Houthis went on the counteroffensive, took over the capital Sanaa, and rolled into Aden. That’s the point where Saudi and its Western clients choose to say that things went wrong in Yemen. In other words, it wouldn’t have been so bad if Al Qaeda had taken over and turned the place into another Libya.

Things then turned doubly bad because just as the Houthis took over Sanaa, Abdullah died.


As Houthis were celebrating their victory in Sanaa, Saudis were mourning Abdullah at his unmarked grave, a simple pile of pebbles as dictated by the Wahhabi code of barbarism.

Up until that point, Saudi’s meddling in Yemen had been low-key, allowing the US to set deeper root there by pretending that the various tribes allied with Saudi were Al Qaeda whereas a lot of the Hashid tribes were in fact just as Zaidi (i.e. Shiite) as the Houthis. The US government scared Americans with an underwear bomber who supposedly was sent to America from Yemen whereas he was a Nigerian rich kid radicalized in Londonistan by Mi5’s very own salafist imams. Americans were told that an American called Anwar al Awlaki was running Al Qaeda there, which not only was patently false but Awlaki had been wined and dined at the Pentagon in appreciation of his good services to Muslim deradicalisation. Both the US and Saudi were turning dirty tricks in Yemen and whatever Abdullah had been doing in Yemen up till then had been low-cost, low-key, and with the US’s blessing. There is no better proof of that than the fact that the US didn’t evacuate its embassy even when Al Qaeda blew up a US warship right in front of it, yet it evacuated as soon as the Houthis arrived.

YEMEN-CONFLICTVietnam-era US-made cluster bomb dropped on Sanaa by Saudi jets.

BUSTED:

Saudi’s free ride with human rights NGOs is over.
States must stop selling weapons to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen conflict-Amnesty International

Amnesty International has investigated over 30 air strikes in Sana’a, Hodeidah, Hajjah and Sa’da, their circumstances and impact. Amnesty International found that the Saudi Arabia-led coalition continued to commit violations of international humanitarian law, including by the apparently deliberate targeting of civilian objects such as hospitals, schools and factories.

Yemen: The UN Human Rights Council must address violations and abuses against civilians in Yemen conflict-Amnesty International

The industrial-scale carnage that Salman’s idiot son Mohammed has got going there since March 2015 is a completely different matter. He has been caught several times by human rights NGOs using cluster bombs on civilians and bombing schools and hospitals. The Saudis have no concept of human rights, war crimes, or accountability. They can’t fathom the notion that they with all their money should ever suffer consequences for these crimes. It’s particularly difficult for those of the Sudairi branch of the family, brought up on pure, unedulterated Wahhabism. They are the ones who rape, torture, and murder their maids and servants in their Western mansions or luxury hotel suites, and bite the police who come to arrest them. The Saudis have been having the run of the killing fields of Yemen for over a year and don’t know how to stop. The moment is fast approaching, with the European Parliament waking out of its slumber and calling for an arms embargo (braving Saudi threats of retaliation, even), that others will do the stopping for them.

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A cel phone video captured by the YPG on Saudi-backed Jaish al Islam terrorists trying to sneak into Iraq shows them in gas masks launching the types of rockets that landed in Zamalka, Eastern Ghouta.The terrorist shooting the video says that they are in Qaboun and shooting at Jobar, right across the road from Zamalka.

Abdullah was smarter about his war crimes in Syria; he committed them deniably and with Western accomplices. Little chance that anyone will ever haul Saudi over the coals for those. Who can prove the Saudi finger behind Zahran Alloush’s Jaysh al Islam roasting people in ovens in Adra or sending off chemical rockets from Qaboun in the early hours of 21 August 2013? Whereas in Yemen, the unexploded Saudi cluster bombs are all over the place, no plausible denial or guilt-sharing is possible there. Human Rights Watch, loath as it is to point out any crime in the Western camp, was forced to acknowledge at least that much with 2 reports out already. Maybe the US State Department had it file those reports as a sort of shot across the bows to the Saudis.

Saudi’s rap sheet in Yemen doesn’t end with cluster bombs and targeting civilians. It has also been busted as an ally of Al Qaeda, as reported by the BBC:


The BBC having acknowledged the obvious, Al Qaeda is now officially a member of Saudi’s “coalition.”

During a visit to the frontline outside Taiz late last year, documentary maker Safa AlAhmad spoke to pro-government militiamen attacking Houthi fighters on a key hilltop with the support of troops from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who were providing tactical advice.

While there, Ms AlAhmad was warned by one group participating in the battle not to film them.

She was told they were members of Ansar al-Sharia, an affiliate of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and that they were angered by the presence of a woman.
Yemen conflict: Al-Qaeda joins coalition battle for Taiz – BBC, 22 February 2016

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The Yemeni major-general appointed by Saudi as governor of Aden was blown up by Saudi’s terrorist “allies,” along with many other Saudi-appointed officials

While Emirati forces may be sharing trenches with Al Qaeda in the north, they are locked in combat in the south, along the Gulf coast where Al Qaeda and Islah (the Ikhwan-linked clans loyal to the al Ahmar oil export mafia family) have taken control of all the ports except Aden, which they have turned into a chaotic battleground. Saudi-appointed officials are shot and blown up daily and Emirates troops fight an indistinct mixture of foreign Al Qaeda, ISIS, Yemeni Muslim Brotherhood (Islah)-linked clans, and southern secessionists, all of whom threaten to cut off their sea link to their home base. The chaos in Aden, largely ignored by the world, finally hit the headlines when Islamist terrorists raided Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, a home for the elderly, and murdered 17 people, including four nuns.

 


Emirati forces pull out of Yemen in early November, 2015. They staged a “victory parade” at Zayed military city.

A convoy of war-damaged Emirati Oshkosh armored vehicles returning home for repairs. The total losses were left in Yemen.

The Emirates, an unwilling member of the Saudi coalition from the start that has strong objections to serving Saudi expansionism and Al Qaeda, pulled out a large part of its troops in November, both as a result of the chaos spread by Saudi’s local “allies” and of devastating Houthi missile attacks that cost the lives of several high-ranking UAE and Saudi officers.

The occupied south-southeast of the country is a total chaos, with  Al Qaeda, ISIS, Islah, and southern secessionists running amok among UAE troops and assorted mercenaries hired from as far away as Senegal and Colombia. The 450 Mexican and Colombian Blackwater mercenaries deployed by the UAE to Yemen suffered casualties from “foreign forces,” which indicates “green on blue” attacks within their own camp since Sanaa had no “foreign forces,” and the Blackwater guys were abruptly pulled out.

Saudi’s dysfunctional “coalition” lacks any sort of chain of command, with Senegalese and Sudanese mercenaries drifting around aimlessly, while Saudi  and Emirates forces barely speak to each other, and the various militias and terrorists do their own thing. On top of the “green on blue” attacks from Al Qaeda, Emirates forces have now suffered a “south on blue” attack at Aden airport from the southern secessionists and have withdrawn from there too.


Houthi forces in Saudi Arabia’s Jizan province destroy a Saudi armored column.
Houthis-Jizaan-02

And that’s still the least of Saudi’s war worries. Abdullah’s proxy war against Syria had little chance of spilling over into Saudi territory but Salman’s war on Yemen already has, in a big way. Houthi forces and the Yemeni military loyal to Sanaa are already in three Saudi provinces. The westernmost one, Jizan, a major port and Aramco oil industry center, is now a war zone. Saudi & Emirates armor has suffered such huge losses in Yemen, and Saudi’s fleet of Apache attack helicopters as well,that the Saudi military now retreats in disarray whenever Yemeni forces show up. They don’t stick around to put up even token resistance unless they are surrounded.

Saudi has not only lost the Yemen war but is now facing a Yemeni invasion. Salman’s imbecile son got into a war relying on the UAE, with which he and his dad had crossed swords on day 1 of their rule. As far as the Sudairis are concerned , the UAE’s rulers are frenemies. They are to the Sudiaris what Qatar was to Abdullah.

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Dumb and Dumber: In order to set him up as his heir, Salman gave his son Mohammed (left) total control over the army and the economy rather that to his deceased brother Nayef’s son (right), also called Mohammed, whom the US backs. The Yanks prefer Mohammed bin Nayef because they can horse-trade with him whereas Salman’s kid is an arrogant little prick. They may be giving Mohammed bin Salman all this rope so he can hang himself and clear the way for the other guy.

Mohammed has been facing heavy flak from rival Saudi families for the Yemen war since the start, when he ignominiously lost Aden to the Houthis because he was too dumb to keep the Hashid tribes on his side. He now has no clue whatsoever what to do and just keeps digging himself deeper, like the US did in Vietnam, by ordering more and more bombing of Yemeni cities. The moron doesn’t understand the notion that constantly committing war crimes is politically unsustainable. He has the example of Israel standing right there in front of him, which is powerless to stop the growing international backlash against its war crimes despite all its foreign political lobbies, once thought all-powerful. Yet Mohammed bin Salman still thinks he can make everything OK by spreading some more bakhsheeskh – which he no longer has.


The Jabal Omar company that has taken out a $2 billion loan to build the Mordoresque Jabal Omar complex on top of the Qaaba in Mecca has defaulted on the paltry $173 million first payment.

The economic debacle is even worse than the military one. The government has stopped contractor payments since April 2015, construction companies are going bust (except the Bin Ladens, who managed to receive an exceptional payment), banks are out of cash and interbank lending rates have shot up, and Saudi is seeking a foreign loan for the first time since the 80’s-for a measly $10 billion. The “julous” (investiture bakhsheesh) that Salman distributed to the people one year ago alone was $ 30 billion.

To further underline the totally unplanned, haphazard way the Sudairi Stupids spend & cut, the “economy czar” Mohammed bin Salman signed off on a 12.4% increase in construction contracts, of a total of 140 billion riyals, in the first half of 2015, even as he was kicking off a war on Yemen!

The populace has also gotten the ax: Contractors can’t pay salaries and it’s not known if the government can, while fuel prices have increased 50% and an income tax is on the way. There’s pressure on payrolls across the board and government hiring has slowed to a trickle.

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Trudeau was willing to dent his nice guy image for the $15 billion Saudi is paying him for his LACVs

New arms purchases, on top of the war expenses, seem to have the priority above all else. Salman is trying to buy littoral combat ships from the US and a new batch of Canadian light armored combat vehicles is awaiting delivery, as if not enough Saudi troops had been incinerated in cheap tin cans already.

The drastic cuts that Saudi is making while purportedly still sitting pretty on a very impressive mountain of cash makes you wonder how much of those foreign reserves are actually available. For one thing, Saudi needs to keep that pile from getting too small in order to prevent a run on the Riyal, which is pegged to the dollar. So there’s no question of spending ever last penny, far from it.

The Sudiairi regime thus appears ready to sacrifice everything on the altar of war. Important infrastructure projects have gotten the ax, like the $30 billion port and and shipyard developement that would not only ease the pressure on existing ports and reduce import costs by unloading cargos quickly instead of making them wait at anchor for days, but it would generate income by turning Saudi’s Red Sea coast into a mineral export hub for Africa. New shipyards are vital for offshore oil exploration, which Saudi desperately needs to top up its reserves, which have been grossly overstated. All of that and much more has got the ax so that Saudi can fight a losing war for a few more months.

You might think that a country in this much trouble would start negotiating with its adversaries. The US started negotiating with North Vietnam right after the Tet offensive. With Saudi, intransigeance is the order of the day. When even the US has accepted that Assad won’t and shouldn’t be removed from power, Saudi sabotaged the latest Geneva round to avoid signing a deal to that effect, just as it sabotaged the deal between the Future block and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The man behind all this folly, Mohammed bin Salman, appears to be frozen in an attitude of aggression and defiance. Or he’s frozen in fear and is trying to look mean and tough. He knows too well that concessions or backing down would confirm what everyone has been saying about him, i.e. that he’s young, inexperienced,  arrogant, and not half as smart as he thinks he is. Bye bye regency, bye bye throne. Saudi’s doomed fuite en avant (escape forward) is the work of inadequate Sudairis in way over their heads, and one of them in particular, Mohammed bin Salman.

The Jihad Industry: Where East and West DO Meet – 3

Part 3: Londonistan

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January 2003: London Bobbies making sure that Abu Hamza al Masri can continue to recruit terrorists on the street after he was kicked out of Finsbury Park mosque because of his extremism and illicit activities

White Brits imagine that “Londonistan” designates the racial and ethnic diversity of multicultural Britain that they hate. In fact the term was coined by French intelligence as a derogatory reference to the sanctuary offered by Britain to jihadist terrorists from all over the world.

The free hand given to jihadists by the “New Labour” governments of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is well known, “Captain Hook” in the photo being one of the more outrageous specimens of New Labour’s Londonistan. So has anything changed under the Tories? Is Britain Londonistan no more?

Londonistan is alive and well

Not for a minute. Remember John Cantlie? He’s one of those ambiguous chaps cruising the vast grey war zones of the world where spooks and journos mingle. He and Dutch photographer Jeroen Oerlemans entered Syria through the Bab al Hawa border post with Turkey on the exact day that Tawhid Wal Jihad founder Abu Musab Al Zarqawi’s former accomplice and Afghan Jihad buddy Firas Al Absi’s gang of foreign jihadis seized it from the Syrian regime and hoisted the first-ever ISIS flag in Syria there.

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First ISIS flag in Syria: Bab al Hawa, July 19,2012: The same time and place where John Cantlie and Jeroen Oerlemans were captured

The terrorists then captured the two “reporters” and held them prisoner, something the latter apparently didn’t anticipate. The two subsequently got shot trying to escape, were rescued a week later by the Western-backed Farouq Brigades (the infamous cannibal jihadis), who then killed Firas Al Absi. In the meantime, though, the hostages noticed that the men who kidnapped and shot them were mostly British, speaking with South London accents. The medic of the group who first clubbed Cantlie with the butt of his AK-47 and then treated his wound turned out to be an NHS doctor, who was later identified as Shajul Islam and brought to court but walked because, so we’re told, Cantlie refused to testify. He was returning to Syria and didn’t want to make any more enemies there by helping jail the terrorists who nearly killed him.

In retrospect, that may have been a wise decision in view of his subsequent capture by ISIS and the fate of his fellow inmate and colleague James Foley at the hands of East Londoner Mohammed Emwazi aka Jihadi John.

Choudari and Sibai pick up where the Afghan Jihad generation left off

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Choudari (right) preaching hate with his master Omar Bakri podcasting from Beirut.

So where did this new generation of British jihadis come from? Abu Hamza and his Muhajiroun mates, who had been serving the crown ever since the Afghan jihad (where “Captain Hook” lost his hands and an eye learning to make nitroglycerine at Al Qaeda’s Darunta training camp in Jalalabad) were now either in jail or in exile. Who took their place? The obvious answer is Anjem Choudari, who is Muhajiroun veteran Omar Bakri’s disciple. In fact Cantlie’s first set of terrorist captors were sent there jointly by Choudari in the UK and Bakri from his Lebanese exile. Fouad Belkacem in Belgium, whose outfit Sharia4Belgium Choudari backed financially, was the European end of the operation, Belgian counterterrorism being much more underfunded and disorganised than it British counterpart and therefore allowing greater freedom of action to the terrorists.

Emwazi-redacted

Heavily redacted “secret evidence” against one of Emwazi’s “London Boys” mates

Jihadi John, however, was a different creature altogether. He came from a hitherto unpublicised group who called themselves North London Boys, with links to Al Shabab in Somalia, and whose imam’s name was censored in the court documents. The “Boys” appear to have been thoroughly infiltrated as Emwazi had Mi5 breathing down his neck at every move and both he & other members were targeted by drone strikes in the end. So the whole thing looks like a “set em up ‘n knock ’em down” bowling-alley operation with an unnamed provocateur doing the setting up and Predator drones the knocking down.

Hani_Al-Sibal

The UK’s gift to ISIS, former Egyptian Islamic Jihad shura member Hani al Sibai

Except-and this is where the plot thickens-the London Boys’ imam is anything but unnamed. He is Hani al Sibai, the guy behind the Tunisian jihadist who gunned down 30 Brits on a Sousse beach. The reason his name was blacked out is because the UK government has bent over backwards to protect him for years, even going so far as to campaign unsuccessfully to remove him from the UN Al Qaeda sanctions list. Sibai is, with Choudari, currently Londonistan’s most active terrorist ringleader.

All of the terrorist chiefs mentioned here have been appoached by the intelligence services and most likely recruited. Abu Qatada, Al Qaeda’s top banana in Europe, was famously put up in an Mi5 safehouse not far from Scotland Yard when the Metropolitan Police were looking to arrest him. Omar Bakri readily recounted the details of the deal he had made with Mi5 and Abu Hamza often indicated resentfuly that he was abiding by the deal he’d made but that the authorities weren’t. Yet, all these Mi5 assets continued to kill people in the Western countries they were supposedly recruited to protect.

British authorities argued for decades that they couldn’t prosecute these terrorists because their hands were tied by the realm’s purportedly exemplary libertarian laws, even as they were locking up people with secret evidence and carting them off to secret torture prisons, pretexting the very terror wrought by their Mi5 jihadis to tear down whatever civil  liberties still existed. Not a single country outside the UK has ever believed this mendacious argument, particularly as two of Mi5’s informants in possession of particularly damaging information about the terrorists cultivated by HM’s secret services were locked up in Guantanamo Bay. One of them, Reda Hassaine, was the Mi5 asset who set up the London safehouse for Al Qaeda kingpin Abu Qatada.

Londonistan

Britain’s web of international jihadist terrorists

Harrods

Just one of the London landmarks owned by Qatar

So why does the UK, supposedly an advanced Western democracy, still cultivate these jihadist terrorists much in the same way as Pakistan or Turkey? The most obvious explanation is its foreign policy, which has always sided with the fundamentalist Gulf oil sheikdoms against secular Arab states, as these tend to oppose British multinationals’ attempts to plunder their resources and markets. However when, in these final stages of Britain’s postimperial decline, British royals humiliate themselves in front of primitive Bedouin oil sheikhs to convince them to invest in the UK and London’s most famous landmarks are owned by Qatar, Britain’s jihadism appears much less an instrument of Perfidious Albion’s traditional divide-and-conquer than an aspect of its servitude to its rich Salafist patrons of the Gulf. So when Britons are mown down by Salafist gunmen on holiday beaches or blown to bits while commuting to work, they can take comfort in the fact that the deaths of kuffars like themselves serve to keep rich oil sheiks’ money coming into the country.

Prince Charles doing sword dance in Saudi Arabia

The humiliation of British royals is only part of the price that the UK must pay to keep the Gulf money coming in.


 

Part 5: The end of the American jihad – sort of
Part 4: The Long War
Part 2: Allons enfants du djihad
Part 1: “From there will appear the horn of Satan”

 

 

 

 

Global recession back on track

US stocks have lost $1.6 trillion in value just in January. The market value of corporations worldwide continues to melt away.

MSCI-nearing_bear_market

The MSCI world equity index shows the post-2008 recovery stopping in mid-2014, failing in 2015 with the oil glut and mounting corporate debt, then turning to a rout in 2016 with the Fed’s rate hike and China’s slowdown.

Corporations aren’t just squeezed by the decline of their market value but also the debt they accumulated during the post-2008 easy money bonanza, which they aren’t earning enough to service any more because profits are down globally.

Credit-rating downgrades account for the biggest chunk of ratings actions since 2009; corporate leverage is at a 12-year high; and perhaps most worrisome, growing numbers of companies — one third globally — are failing to generate high enough returns on investments to cover their cost of funding.

We’ve never been in a cycle quite like this,” said Bonnie Baha, a money manager at DoubleLine Capital in Los Angeles, which oversees more than $80 billion.

Companies’ debt costs are reaching new heights. As of the second quarter, high-grade companies tracked by JPMorgan Chase & Co. incurred $119 billion in interest expenses over the last year, the most for data going back to 2000, according to the bank’s analysts.

The cost of raising and servicing capital is outweighing the returns companies get from it, a problem that Citigroup’s Financial Strategy and Solutions Group said has affected one third of all companies — the majority of which posted shortfalls in each of the past three years.

Bloomberg, January 28, 2016 

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Corporations are more indebted now than they were immediately after the 2008 crash

CAPEX2014

Fully 30.5% of US capital expenditures in 2014 were in the energy sector, accounting for a major activity in the financial sector, all of which now threatens to trigger a new subprime chain-reaction of defaults with the collapse of the oil business.

A lot of that debt is the oil sector, which is being driven out of business by falling revenues after years of unprecedented debt-financed spending on expensive shale oil and deep-sea projects.  In 2014 the energy sector accounted for the highest capital expenditures in the US. It’s the new subprime credit boom, as many small companies bought fracking gear on credit with only their now-worthless patches of oil shale as collateral. Only 2% of bank loans went to frackers but subprime mortgages were also a similarly small quantity. It was the CDOs into which they were packaged and the CDSs bought to insure them against default that amplified the problem into a global meltdown. Nothing has changed since then, the banks are still setting up the same Ponzi schemes.

“The energy space was the fastest growing part of the U.S. economy post-financial crisis and now it reverses. Businesses are shuttered and people are laid off,” said Nick Sargen, who helps manage $46.2 billion as chief economist and senior investment adviser for Fort Washington Investment Advisors Inc. “There are some people beginning to worry that this thing could spread like the subprime crisis. People had said then that it was too small to matter, and then you find out there are linkages you didn’t know about.”-Bloomberg, February 1, 2016

 

The Jihad Industry: Where East and West DO Meet – 2

Part 2: Allons enfants du djihad

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When a change of government in France interrupted the payment of 410 million euros in bribes to Saudi Defense Minister Sultan bin Abdulaziz, he got even by ordering Pakistan’s ISI to blow up the French team that had just finished assembling a sub in Karachi.

Our friend Jean-Charles Brisard isn’t done yet: In 2011, he testified to French cops about wiretaps made by Chirac’s guys of his rival Balladur’s minister of defense concerning the highly corrupt sale of warships and submarines to two jihadist powers, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Part of the bribes financed Balladur’s campaign but Chirac beat him anyway and opened an investigation into the shady arms deals, upon which bodies started piling up, notably when Chirac’s refusal to pay the agreed bakhsheesh got a French defense ministry team blown up by a VBIED in Karachi.

The affaire Karachi revealed the desperate lengths to which France would go to sell its expensive arms to those who could afford them, Saudi and India topping the list. Yet the enormous bribes paid – Sultan bin Abdulaziz and navy chief Fahd bin Abdullah al Saud got 10% – meant that those sales were made at a loss.

Jihad to the rescue

Sarkozy, who set up the bribes in the Karachi affair, fixed all that by hitching France to the post-9/11 neocon war wagon and taking full advantage of Obama’s “Arab Spring” that should more honestly have been called the Jihad Spring, when a handful of Arab internet kids in hoodies coached by Western government-hired nerds posed for the cameras while masses of Muslim Brotherhood zebiba-heads chanted for Sharia rule outside the frame. When the jihadis of Derna and Benghazi received arms from Egypt’s Morsi and got the signal from France, Britain, Qatar, and Saudi to start a jihad at home instead of blowing themselves up in Iraq as they had been doing in droves, Sarkozy jumped in with both feet.

Before I get to how France’s arms export problem got “fixed,” let’s look at what France did instead of paying huge bribes. What French and British special operations teams had to work with on the ground in Libya were a bunch of doped-up jihadis who had spent the past 5-6 years dreaming of blowing themselves up in Iraq to kill Shiites and crusaders, i.e. kuffar just like the NATO troops in Libya. Luckily for them, it was Qatar that did the heavy lifting:

“The principle source of support for the rebels came from ‘Q-SOC,’” the Qatari special forces, says this source, who would only be identified as a former U.S. intelligence contractor with direct knowledge of operations in Libya.

“They went west into the Nafusa mountains and provided minimal basic shooting and tactics training to individual rebel brigades. That’s why those rebels are generally in three-color desert uniforms,” the source tells Danger Room. “They also selected 100-plus western-region Libyans for small-unit leadership training, and flew them to Qatar and then back to Nafusa for the big push.”

That was just one aspect of the Qatari aid to the rebels. The Qataris, however improbably, were the first foreign military on the ground providing military training. “They have been more effective than any other nation,” a rebel military representative told the Washington Post in May. “They just haven’t boasted about it.”

Qatar provided air support, too. And while the Qataris couldn’t match the contributions of major NATO air forces, they made a massive commitment, relatively speaking.

Wired, 08.25.11

In other words, France not only helped the oil majors to regain control of Libya’s oil (or so they thought, before the country disintegrated) and the US to get rid of its biggest African headache, namely Gaddafi, who was blocking AFRICOM from getting a foothold on the continent, but it helped tiny, jihadist Qatar set sail in the big boy world of power-projection and regime-change.

Turkey-aided-Islamist-fighters-in-attack-on-Kessab-Telegraph

Turkey’s dispatching of hundreds of Al Qaeda terrorists and Islamofascist Turkmen fighters into a Syrian Armenian town full of descendants of 1915 was ignored by Paris.

The Syrian jihad started 3 months later, in May 2011, with Turkey sending teams of terrorists into Idlib to massacre Syrian security personnel and to herd civilians over the border into “refugee camps” prepared in advance for them. France’s relations with Turkey at this time were almost non-existent. Sarkozy had declared Turkey unfit to join the EU and in December, the French parliament outlawed any discussion of the Armenian genocide, causing Turkey to break off relations.

However after bearing the brunt of Turkey’s ire, to the tune of billions in economic losses and the disruption of French military flights to Afghanistan, not a peep came from Paris when Turkish dictator Tayyip unleashed an army of Christian- and Armenian-hating terrorists into the Syrian Armenian village of Kessab in 2013, completely ethnically cleansing the place. The next year, while the Turkish-backed terrorists were still in Kessab, François Hollande paid Turkey the first French state visit in 22 years. In 2015, as Turkey turned into an openly Islamofascist dictatorship in league with ISIS and at war with its Kurdish population, France dropped all its objections to Turkey’s EU membership, allowing Turkey’s EU accession to be greatly accelerated with the opening of many new chapters. Needless to say, the method to this apparent madness from the Cartesian French is simply that Turkey is Qatar and Saudi’s main partner in the Syrian jihad.

2010-2015_FR_arms_exports

French arms sales surpassed the wildest expectations in 2015, zooming past the projected 15 billion mark.

So what did all this servile French pandering to barbaric Gulf oil sheikhs with delusions of royalty amount to? Roughly 50 billion euros in arms sales alone, not counting oil deals and other civilian contracts, between 2010-2015. France went from losing its position as the world’s 4th arms exporter to Germany to becoming number 2 in 2015! With that came the punch-above-your-weight power multiplier of becoming a full-fledged accomplice of the US and its client Gulf sheikhs: Quite an accomplishment for Sarkozy and Hollande, who didn’t let their supposed political differences interfere with, to paraphrase Marx, the icy waters of corporate calculation. Political fortunes apparently shifted dramatically from right to left (and now soon to the extreme right) but the corporate fortunes of Thales, Safran, DCNS, Dassault, and Total continued to go from strength to strength. The unsaleable Rafale fighter that languished in hangars for over a decade suddenly became the hottest item on the market.

#Je suis chickens coming home to roost

comptoir_voltaire_660x281On Friday the 13th last, Gay Paree became Sad Paree with the shock of seeing the La haine generation of France’s marginalized car-torching Muslim suburb kids going from shooting the odd Jew or obscure satire rag cartoonist to mass-murdering anybody having a good time. The spin doctors tried to turn it into a version of the usual lone nut story: Crazy death cult sprung out of nowhere and not connected to anything we’ve done hates us ’cause we’re free. Hollande’s guys gave it another spin, saying the death cult was Assad’s fault. 90% of white Christian French people agreed with Le Pen that Islam was the death cult.

Charles_de_Gaulle

French arms sales platform

Me, I call it the cost of doing business. If you get blown up or beheaded in France, just write it up to corporate expenses. You know why arms sales in 2015 jumped way beyond the projections? The Bataclan, that’s why. When Hollande, in retaliation for the Paris massacre, loaded up the Charles de Gaulle with Rafales and went to war against ISIS, all the ditherers intimidated by the hefty price tag of the plane were suddenly sold.

Hollande knew that his jihad wouldn’t have come back to bite him like this if he had been able to convince Obama to use those Rafales against Assad in 2013, when his Saudi friends went to all that trouble to stage a false-flag sarin attack to give Obama his “red line” excuse to bomb Assad into oblivion.

Liwa_al_Islam_Sarin_rockets

What happens when a smoking-gun video turns up showing a Saudi-backed terrorist gang in gas masks shooting rockets the night of the Ghouta Sarin attack? No sweat, you just get the “expert” Edward Higgins to snort disdainfully and say “it’s obviously staged.”

Obama’s commitment issues kept him from embracing that particular tar baby, which then left Hollande no option but to tell his security services to turn a blind eye as dozens of jihadist imams recruited hundreds of Muslim banlieue kids for the Syria jihad. It’s the only way he could keep his Gulf sheikhs in a spending mood. Inevitably, a few of those home-grown throat-slitters would take a swing at the kuffars back home.

Mohamed_Merah

The serial scooter shooter Mohamed Merah

If all that sounds too far-fetched for you, let’s get down to brass tacks. Exhibit 1: Mohamed Merah, the Toulouse-Montauban serial shooter who killed 7 people including 3 Jewish schoolkids over 11 days in 2012. Sarkozy’s government said Merah was a lone wolf, not connected to any jihadist network, and that he was self-radicalized, never went to a mosque or talked to an imam, so he remained off the radar – all barefaced lies. He had been under surveillance since 2009 after he went to Taliban camps in Afghanistan and Waziristan. His older brother Abdelkader was caught recruiting jihadis for Iraq in 2007.

Sabri_Essid&son

Sabri Essid the notorious jihadist of Toulouse also managed to give the flics the slip and went to chop heads in Syria.

They traveled together to Egypt in 2010 to brush up on their salafism, their excursion being booked by their brother-in-law Sabri Essid, who lives in the notorious salafist village Artigat near Toulouse and was sentenced to 5 years in 2007 for sending jihadis to Iraq, which didn’t prevent him and his son from popping up in an ISIS execution video in Syria 8 years later. The source of the above info isn’t some blog or webzine but the Figaro, the right-wing French newspaper close to Sarkozy and even closer to French intelligence.

It gets better. 3 weeks before his shooting spree, Merah and the convicted terrorist Essid who obviously managed to beat the rap, went to Brussels to visit Abdelkader Farssaoui of the notorious jihadist network Sharia4Belgium.

Abdelkader_Farsaoui-sharia-belgium

Abdelkader Farssaoui, if that’s his real name, in front of ISIS-style posters of “heretical” Muslim statesmen who must be killed.

Farssaoui a.k.a. Abu Jaber is none other than the famous police informant “Cartagena” of the 2004 Madrid train bombings who told the cops everything but somehow the bombs went off anyway, just like the 1993 WTC bomb did despite all the snitches among the bombers. During a Syria jihad recruitment trial in Brussels in December, it emerged that Farssaoui was still officially a police snitch, though he was also the one sending 15-16-year-old kids to join ISIS, an aberration that even the judge found difficult to understand. However the prosecutor objected vehemently to bringing him to court so much as to testify, so someone else was framed and jailed in his place. It was this international snitch to whom Merah and his terrorist brother-in-law confided their plans to off the kuffar but the French flics were apparently none the wiser.

The Merah affair is a microcosm of French jihadism: All the jihadis and the cops know each other, the jihadis travel extensively to the GCC’s foreign jihads, and periodically kill people at home without any real attempt on the part of the police to stop them. Domestic terrorism is just as big business as foreign arms sales, so rest assured it isn’t going away anytime soon. It has the added advantage in these economically troubled and uncertain times when unemployment and poverty breed unrest and rebellion, to provide the excuse for governments everywhere to set up police states in order to nip dissent in the bud.


Part 5: The end of the American jihad-sort of
Part 4: The Long War
Part 3: Londonistan
Part 1: “From there will appear the horn of Satan”

The Jihad Industry: Where East and West DO Meet – 1

Part 1: “From there will appear the horn of Satan”

So you thought the global Jihad was run by whom exactly? Cave-dwelling mullahs in the Stans? Death-cult guys in Iraq and Syria dressed like ninjas? Saudi oil sheikhs who want all men to grow beards, wear tablecloths on their heads, and stone women? Pakistanis with a grudge against the whole world and nukes that make them feel invincible? The Turkish dictator who wants to wipe out the Kurds? Sure, all of the above, but that’s not even half the picture.
global_jihad-01.jpg

Most of those guys up there are what you might call field operators, except for the dumb shmuck butchering Mumbai commuters, who is just a footsoldier, and Baghdadi, who got promoted to middle management since his Baathist bosses stopped working for Saudi and took full ownership of ISIS.

So if the visible face of the global jihad is just the small and medium fry, who are the big cheeses? State sponsors? Evil corporations? Secret cabals?

Saudi Arabia

A sentence repeated to death in the US but that remains anathema in the corridors of actual power is “15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis.” From the FBI investigations of the USS Cole bombing in Aden harbor to 9/11 and to the Sinjar documents detailing the vast flood of Saudi fighters and cash flowing to ISIS’s precursor, the Islamic State of Iraq, Saudi Arabia is both the perennial elephant in the room and the third rail, even more lethal than the Israel lobby.

A random example: Last September, the 13-year-old case of the families of 9/11 victims against Saudi Arabia was once again thrown out by a US judge, who preferred to give those known terrorist financiers the benefit of “sovereign immunity” that was denied to Afghanistan, which unlike Saudi had nothing to do with 9/11.

It was maybe for the best that the attorney who launched the litigation, the famous “tobacco lawyer” Ronald L. Motley, drank himself to a slightly early grave before he could see the wreck into which Saudis, with the help of US and British courts, turned his lawsuit. His chief investigator Jean-Charles Brisard, Europe’s top authority on Saudi terrorist financing, was the author of the report on Al Qaeda financing presented by French president Jacques Chirac to George Bush when he visited New York and Washington one week after 9/11. Two years later, Brisard used the report that painted a very ugly picture of Bush’s Saudi friends as the basis for 50 pages of Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth that he co-authored with Journalist Guillaume Dasquié.

Forbidden_Truth

80% of the suppressed book was about Saudi terrorism but the US pretended it was about the Taliban and oil.

In Brisard’s book there is also a voice from beyond the grave, like Caesar’s ghost: That of former FBI counter-terrorism chief John O’Neill who pursued the Saudi-Al Qaeda nexus relentlessly but vainly until he was forced out of the FBI and suckered into what he thought would be an easy gig: head of security of the WTC. He died there on his second day on the job. Years of frustration from Saudi stonewalling and the US government tying his hands led him to tell Brisard this: “All the answers, everything needed to dismantle Osama bin Laden’s organization can be found in Saudi Arabia.”

What happened next to Brisard and his book is what happens to anyone who steps on the toes of powerful criminals these days: a British libel court. The UK’s intentionally archaic libel laws protect everyone from islamofascist mass murderers to gangsters from public scrutiny. They also ended up protecting Al Qaeda’s Saudi financiers, when Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz, whose dad founded the notorious money-laundering and terror-financing BCCI bank in which he had a 20% share, took Brisard and co-author Dasquié to court.

The neat thing about corrupt totalitarian cesspits like Saudi Arabia is that the powerful can make inconvenient evidence and people disappear without a trace, since there are no independent institutions to keep reliable records. Mahfouz did just that, disappearing among other things his sister’s marriage to Osama bin Laden, his homie from Yemen. So Brisard and Dasquié were made into liars and were forced to publicly retract the entire chapter on Mahfouz entitled “A Fortune in the Service of Terrorism,” which of course killed the book and almost killed their careers as well. With Brisard’s credibility shot and the chief attorney dead, the 9/11 families’ lawsuit was doomed.

Saudis are so good at this impunity game that they have been able to bomb Yemen to rubble and kill tens of thousands of civilians there using all sorts of strictly banned weaponry for over a year without any reputable media organ or institution daring to utter a peep. In fact the unimaginable horror of what they are doing in Yemen makes all their previous capers, whether it’s blowing up the WTC or drowning Syria in blood, look like child’s play.

Houthis-Saudi

Saudi military bases in their Nazran and Jizan provinces are falling one after the other to the Houthis

The prophet of Islam once famously said that the horn of Satan would appear in the Najd, from where the Saud tribe did indeed emerge 1100 years later leaving a bloody trail of massacres behind it until it finally captured the holy cities. So is Saudi the ultimate evil, the source of all Islamist terrorism? The answer is unequivocally no. Saudis are too lazy, backward, ignorant, barbaric, and incompetent to have become such a huge menace on their own, for one thing. The people whom we see today abandoning their tanks and fortresses to flee from half-starved barefoot Houthis are barely capable of fighting their way out of a paper bag, much less mount a global jihad. They certainly are evil enough to do what they do but simply lack the mental and physical capacity to carry through with their evil intent.

So who helps them and why? That’s when we see how East meets West.


Part 5: The end of the American jihad-sort of
Part 4: The Long War
Part 3: Londonistan
Part 2: Allons enfants du djihad