Friday, March 28, 2014

Obama in Riyadh. $1.5 billion dollar Saudi “gift” to Pakistan?

What to make of all this? Obama mending fences in Riyadh?
The Saudi-American bilateral relationship has been seriously strained in the past three years by tensions underlying the Arab Awakening, (what happened to the spring?)  and President Barack Obama has serious fence-mending ahead of him when he meets with King Abdullah in Riyadh in March. The relationship is not broken and both sides still need each other.
Did the spring lead to a long hot summer of discontent?
Arab Spring and the Winter in Bilateral Relations
But the Arab spring severely damaged America’s ties to the royal family, which was shocked to its core when Obama urged President Hosni Mubarak to leave office. For the House of Saud this was a betrayal of a key ally. Thus, the Saudis were very quick to welcome the military coup in Egypt this past summer which they saw as restoring order in Cairo and strengthening their own position at home by removing a dangerous example of revolutionary change in the Arab world. The return to autocratic rule in Cairo reduced the danger of upheaval in other Arab states. Abdullah recognised the coup leaders, especially General Sisi, hours after they took power and Riyadh rapidly put together a multibillion aid programme for Egypt and enlisted Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates to help fund it. The aid comes with no rider that Egypt restore democratic rule; to the contrary, it is intended to undermine American efforts to use US aid to help foster reform and democracy.
When the Arab spring spread to Bahrain, and America urged reform there as well, the Saudis sent troops across the King Fahd Causeway to back the minority Sunni ruling family. Almost three years later, Saudi troops continue to back up the Sunni minority regime in Manama and King Abdullah has spoken openly about a closer union between the Kingdom and Bahrain. The Saudis have become increasingly irritated by American criticism of the Bahraini government’s poor human rights record.
More Anger with Washington
Riyadh is especially disappointed in American policy toward Syria where they want Washington to take robust steps to oust the Assad regime and replace it with a pro-Saudi Sunni government. The Saudis are arming the opposition much more aggressively than Washington and want Obama to be more vigorous in fighting Assad.
At the same time, Riyadh is anxious that Washington is prepared to appease Assad’s backer Iran and conclude a deal with Tehran on its nuclear programme. Senior Saudi officials like intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan have been increasingly outspoken in criticising American policy, and the Saudis refused to take up a seat on the United Nations Security Council this January because they argued the US was not doing enough on Syria or the Palestinian issue. Saudi officials made it clear that this unusual decision was intended to signal anger with Washington.
Despite these public tensions, in private robust cooperation continues on counter terrorism and other issues. The Americans and Saudis cooperate closely against (?) al-Qaeda, especially in Yemen. CIA Director John Brennan enjoys very close and productive relations with the Saudi counter terrorist chief and Interior Minister, Prince Muhammad bin Nayif. Saudi intelligence was critical in foiling the last two plots by al-Qaeda to smuggle explosives onto aircraft flying in the United States. This year, the Kingdom has also tried to take steps to prevent Saudi citizens from travelling to Syria to join al-Qaeda jihadists there.
The burden of bucking up weak autocratic regimes and other allies is becoming more costly for Riyadh. Saudi officials say the Kingdom spent more than $25 billion subsidising its allies in Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen, Pakistan (we will get to Pakistan) and elsewhere (elsewhere?) in 2012, and expect that burden to rise to over $30 billion in 2014 with the addition of the Egyptian account. Almost all of this aid is budgetary support so there is virtually no economic development return. The cost of supporting the counter revolution in the Arab and Islamic worlds adds greatly to the challenges facing the House of Saud in the years ahead.
30 Billion dollars and no economic return. None?!

A Disharmonious Alliance, But No Divorce
The Arab Awakening has demonstrated clearly that Washington and Riyadh do not share common values, but they do still share some common interests. Neither has a viable alternative partner to secure those interests like fighting al-Qaeda and containing Iran. It is likely to be an increasingly disharmonious alliance, but not a divorce.

Obama’s Challenges
The President must assure the Saudis that he will not make a bad deal and the deal he wants to reach will ensure Iran is not just a short step away from the bomb. Obama must also assure the King that the United States has no intention of ignoring Iranian behaviour in supporting Assad in Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and dangerous Iranian subversion in Bahrain and Yemen. Since the US is committed to thwarting Iranian aggression, the two should be able to agree on a shared strategic consensus on this issue.
On the peace process with Israel and the Palestinians, Obama’s goal is to convince Abdullah that he and Secretary of State John Kerry are really serious about achieving a breakthrough this year. The Saudis in general and the King in particular want Washington to press Israel to accept a two state solution based on the 1967 lines with a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem. Their concern on this issue is not that Obama and Kerry are not trying enough now but whether they will be willing to put pressure on Israel to accept a deal when the talks get to decision time. The Saudis were deeply disappointed in the first Obama term when he spoke tough about an Israeli settlements freeze as a condition for negotiations, but backed away when Israel balked.
Abdullah is the principal author of the Arab League’s peace initiative that promised Arab recognition of Israel within secure borders in return for a just and fair peace with the Palestinians. The King is passionate about the Palestinian cause and deeply disappointed that America has done too little to press Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. (No mention of Gaza?)
Stability in South Asia 
A third issue will probably get attention mostly behind the scenes. The two leaders will need to address how to help ensure stability in South Asia when American and other NATO forces leave Afghanistan at the end of this year. Riyadh has enormous influence in Pakistan and hosted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his years in exile. Washington has little influence in Islamabad and needs Saudi help.
Read the rest at the above link, BUT, take this into consideration?
Saudi Arabia just ‘gifted’ Pakistan 1.5 billion no strings attached dollarsNo strings attached?
I don’t believe that for a minute. If you read here, you don’t either
So.... what would 1.5 billion buy? The claim is weapons for Syrian rebels? Maybe?
Though that seems a bit exorbitant.
Let’s entertain this thought?- From the Brookings link

Obama will try to persuade Abdullah to support two of his key initiatives – the nuclear talks with Iran and the peace negotiations with Israel, and the Palestinians. The Saudis are very worried that the P5+1 talks with Tehran will produce a weak deal that allows Iran to be on the verge of nuclear weapons status while lifting most of the sanctions. Riyadh has made it clear that it will seek its own nuclear deterrent if Iran gets the bomb, almost certainly from Pakistan.
Of course...The Pakistan government declined to specify what kind of weapons the Kingdom was looking for and denied that any arms purchased by Saudi Arabia will be sent to Syria
So? 1.5 billion dollars. Arming Syrian rebels? Or a Saudi attempt to gain nuclear weapons?
If this is some sort of nuclear arms deal? What about Israel?

Wondering if this Saudi/Pakistan gift has anything to do with the Turks leaked audio " There are some serious shifts in global and regional geopolitics. It now can spread to other places"


  1. Is Obama's visit to KSA ment "to mend the fences" or to further conspire for military action in Syria?
    Putin called Obama in Ryadh and ostensibly talked about Ukraine. Could have possibly Putin let Obama know that the Russian "listen" to their game and give a subtle warning?
    Just speculations.

    1. wizoz

      In my opinion Obama went to conspire against Syria
      plain and simple, the author of the brookings piece after going through this and that says there is no divorce- that tells me that US and Saudis are still on the same page

      And the 30 billion SA puts out with no economic return?
      This is the money they put out to prop up despots and train their terrorists they funnel the world over

      I saw Putin had phoned Obama- but- did not realize it was in Riyadh
      However, that does seem very much like a game of cat and mouse
      Wherever you go.... I see you

    2. It was in Ryadh, just after the protocolar after dinner burps requiered by arab etiquette. A dinner with the walking corpse. Naturally the report of the conversation as reported by the American and Russian media differ widely. But that something very serious was said you deduce from the following reports (from NYT and USA today respectively):

      "MOSCOW — A day after the Russian leader Vladimir V. Putin proposed to President Obama that they boost attempts to resolve their standoff over Ukraine peacefully, Secretary of State John Kerry scrambled his travel plans to meet with his Russian counterpart in Paris on Sunday, according to a State Department official and Russian news reports."

      "En route home from Saudi Arabia, Kerry ordered his plane to do an about-face after a refueling stop in Shannon, Ireland, so that he could meet with Lavrov in Paris. State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told the Associated Press that the meeting would take place Sunday, probably in the evening".

      You will probably hear that somehow the Russians have been deterred to "invade" thanks to the sanctions and the usual crap.


    3. I will be reading the news with a sharp eye on details tomorrow
      quite interesting!

  2. now ashton is for impartial investigations for saskos billy death! not long ago mot so keen on such for the snipings
    'At the same time she welcomed the “impartial and credible investigation into the circumstances of the death of Aleksandr Muzychko,” whose death in a police shootout led to the latest showdown outside the parliament in Kiev.'

    Yet another protest leader kidnapped, held political prisoner by Western-backed Putsch regime occupying Kiev ‪#‎Ukraine‬

    1. making the coup government palatable?
      AND inflaming the fascists- ensuring compliance from the coup government
      playing every side- as usual

    2. I told you, I told you, I told you, I told you......


  3. C-Span, US media, calls this an 'apology for tyranny': for americans there is only 1 free and democratic state...their own
    '“Why are we pretending otherwise? Why are we speaking about naked aggression, why are we speaking about stealing Crimea, why are we speaking about bullying, or the new Soviet Union, or thuggery, or audacious power grabbing, or bully bear Putin, or Cold War two?” Grayson went on.
    “This is not some new Cold War that’s occurring,” he said. “In fact it’s quite the contrary. We should be pleased to see, pleased to see, when a virtually bloodless transfer of power establishes self determination for two million people somewhere in the world, anywhere in world. And in fact what we’re seeing here instead, is the vilification of Putin, the vilification of Yanukovych, the vilification of anybody that we try to identify as our enemy.”

  4. billmon ‏@billmon1 6h
    EU: "Remember those fascist groups in Ukraine that we told you weren't a problem? Well, they're a problem now."

    billmon @billmon1 6h
    Some guy named Turchynov claims fascists are trying to destabilize Ukraine. Obviously must be one of Putin's stooges.

  5. so where was israel?

  6. billmon ‏@billmon1 7h
    Face it neoliberalcons (cc: @20committee) if Right Sector's been converted into a Russian front org, Putin has you totally outclassed (4)

    billmon ‏@billmon1 7h
    AND somehow stage managed Ukranian cops killing Right Sector leader in W. Ukraine - right wing nationalist stronghold. (3)

    billmon ‏@billmon1 7h
    ...Which means in just 4 weeks, FSB completely infiltrated the movement, seized control, and turned it against the new govt in Kyiv (2)

    billmon ‏@billmon1 7h
    Funny thing about neoliberalcon theory that Right Sector is on Russian payroll: Exact same guys who a month ago overthrew Putin’s pet. (1)

  7. billmon ‏@billmon1 8h
    @iwelsh The great thing about Twitter is that it encourages economy of form in ridiculing establishment jackasses like @strobetalbott.

    Strobe Talbott ‏@strobetalbott 16h
    Those "extremists" in Ukraine Putin denounces? Kremlin funds them to destabilize the country & provide a pretense for Russian "protection."

    @strobetalbott Suggestion: Fly to Kyiv & tell Right Sector guys (the ones with the clubs & axes) they're ALL Putin's stooges. To their faces

    billmon ‏@billmon1 12h
    @strobetalbott But make sure there's a video camera present -- I want to watch what happens next.

    1. That strongly suggests that the process of removal of the Right Sector has began. Perfect cover: they are Russian stooges! I would be curious to see how they would get rid of Svoboda. Holocaust denial, perhaps? EU would make a condition for their precious "help" to renounce "antisemitism"? That would be a great help for the chocolate coated Mafyia.