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March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

Obama Invited Hamas-Backed Qatar and PA to ‘Counter Violent Extremism’

Friday, February 20th, 2015

Among the 80 groups and countries invited to this week’s White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism were Qatar, which finances Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority, which includes Hamas.

Also invited were Hamas, another enthusiast of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood; and Lebanon, which is dominated by Hezbollah; and the Arab League, a collection of Middle East countries from Saudi Arabia to Afghanistan that live and breathe by the sword.

As previously reported here by The Jewish Press, President Barack Obama said the United States is not at war against Islam. The enemy is not “radical Islam” because if Muslims are violent and extremists, they aren’t true Muslims.

Just imagine how people would behave according to that philosophy. If you are violent in the name of homosexuality, you are not a true homosexual because same-sex relations are all about peace and love.

And if you are violent for the sake of liberalism, or right-wing causes, you can’t possibly be a true left-winger or right-winger because they stand for peace.

It is not far from Catholicism, by which one can sin 24/6, confess on Sunday and go back for another round.

It is a philosophy of “Judge me by whom I am and by what I do.”

That is why not much is expected from Obama’s White House summit, especially when Muslim leaders in the United States and all over the world are not standing on the soap box to denounce their own radical Muslim preachers who espouse violence, all in the name of peace.

Even worse, they insist that Muslims are radicalized because of their economic and social situation, an attitude being accepted by the Obama, as reported here by The Jewish Press.

Marwan Muasher, a Jordanian politician who oversees research on the Middle East at the US-based Carnegie Endowment, told the London Guardian:

This is not the administration’s war, any administration’s war. It is not equipped to do it; it cannot do it.

The Arab world needs to take the lead on this. The Americans can lead on the military front; they cannot lead on the ideological front. They are not capable of doing so and the region does not want them to do so. The question is, is the region capable of taking the lead ideologically.

The answer so far is “no” for exactly the reason he stated – Middle East Muslim countries do not want the American government making the world safe from radical Islam.

As for his question whether the Muslim world can take “the lead ideologically,” the answer until today has been a resounding “no.”

The Muslim world is in the midst of a war between Sunnis and Shi’ites. The war is being fought on the battlefield and not just by the Islamic State but in virtually every country. It is a war that left Egypt on the brink of anarchy, a situation that continues in Lebanon.

It is a war of who controls oil fields, but above all, it is a war of whose Islam rules, and in order to win, ideology is not a convincing weapon. Their weapon is violence.

The Obama administration’s insistence on not mentioning “radical Islam” in its war on terror makes it impossible to root out violent extremism.

Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the House Armed Services Committee in remarks concerning the war against the Islamic State:

We are at war with violent and extreme Islamists (both Sunni and Shiite) and we must accept and face this reality. We must engage the violent Islamists wherever they are, drive them from their safe havens and kill them.”

President Obama has put his administration in a Catch-22 situation.

He cannot Lt. Gen. Flynn’s thinking because it is politically incorrect.

Otherwise, Muslim countries would not have attended the summit, but because he won’t mention “radical Islam,” nothing will happen.

 

Exclusive: Syrian Activist Blasts Foreign Deal to Train, Arm & Equip Syrian ‘Moderate’ Forces

Friday, February 20th, 2015

A new U.S. agreement with Turkey to train and equip five thousand moderate Syrian opposition forces “is not a serious effort at all to win a war,” a displaced Syrian activist refugee says. Aboud Dandachi, who now lives in Istanbul, Turkey says a plan to train and arm 5,000 moderate Syrian opposition forces is “not serious at all.”

The plan signed by the United States at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara is intended to train, equip and arm 5,000 troops. Congress has already allocated half a billion dollars for the project, but according to a Pentagon spokesperson, only 1,200 “moderates” have been “identified” for the program slated to begin in mid-March. How long will it take U.S. military specialists to train, equip and arm 5,000 Syrian rebels? How effective will this program be? Will it help change the picture with Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria terrorist group? Will anything be resolved in Syria by this?

Dandachi has had first-hand experience observing the factors that led to the nightmare that once was his homeland. A business person, he became a refugee within his own country after being forced to leave his home in Homs when the Syrian Army launched an artillery and tank assault on his neighborhood. After moving from one place to the next and following the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons against two Damascus neighborhoods, Dandachi made the painful decision to leave his homeland and traveled to Istanbul, arriving in September 2013.  He has a rather sardonic view of President Barack Obama’s new plan to help Syrian rebel forces. As to the American president’s international credibility …. well …

“Where do I begin with the problem with this approach,” Dandachi replied in an exclusive interview conducted via the Internet with JewishPress.com on Thursday. “If an Israeli wants a career in the IDF, he or she knows where to sign up. If any Jew anywhere in the world wants to dedicate a few years of their lives to serving Israel, they know the address.

“You can’t build a military by “scouting” soldiers; you need people to know where to come forward,” Dandachi said. “As a Syrian I can’t very well sit around and hope to be ‘discovered’ by Obama,” he continued. “And then if I were, it will be a cold day in hell before I trust him to sell me a used car, much less supply me with weapons.

“War is a potentially long term affair; will Obama keep this force supplied for the years it may take to have any effect? The Americans have proven notoriously fickle in the past,” he observed. (Ed. – More than one news commentator has made similar remarks, referencing America’s behavior in Iraq and Afghanistan, for starters.)

Somewhat taken aback by his candor, this writer asked a second time about the advisability of revealing his identity – but was told “by all means” to go ahead.

“I was never a fighter and I will never be one, I’ve never held a gun in my life, but I’m sure that’s what many potential fighters could be thinking right now,” Dandachi wrote. “When the U.S. went to war in WWII and Vietnam, it didn’t want to “vet” its potential pool of recruits – it drafted anyone above a certain age. When you wage all-out war you can’t hand-pick your fighters; you need to make sure of the widest possible amount of potential manpower available.

“Training” several thousand soldiers is not a serious effort at all to win a war,” he contended.

By the way — Dandachi’s point has some merit: how effective can 5,000 U.S.-trained troops be against the combined forces of Syrian military forces, backed and equipped by Russia and Iran, fighting side by side with the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guards force and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah guerrilla fighters?

Syrian “moderate” forces will also be facing the “other” Syrian rebel faction — that of the radical Islamist rebels linked to Al Qaeda (Jabhat al Nusra, for instance) and now also Daesh, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). That force alone numbers in the tens of thousands: the most recent estimates place the total number of “moderate” Syrian rebel fighters at best at 20,000.

Can this cause be saved?

Saudi King Hands Out $32.2 BILLION in Bonuses to Government Workers

Friday, February 13th, 2015

Saudi Arabia’s new King Salam has handed out $32.2 billion in gifts to government employees despite the drastic dip in the price of oil the past six months.

Saudi kings have a tradition of marking their arrival to the throne by dipping into the kingdom’s vault and handing out a few shekels.

“The bonuses are the usual practice when there’s a succession,” Steffen Hertog, associate professor at the London School of Economics, told the Financial Times.

Saudi Arabia’s reserves stand at approximately $730 billion, give or take a penny, King Salam’s gifts reduce the reserves to a paltry $698 billion, which perhaps explains why there is not enough money to subsidize driving lessons for women.

 

Al Qaeda Terrorist Accuses Saudi Prince of Funding 9/11

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

Zacarias Moussaoui, serving a life sentence in the United States for involvement in the 9/11, now claims that members of the Saudi royal family helped fund the aerial terrorism that killed nearly 3,000 Americans 14 years ago.

He  made the spectacular claim against Saudi princes this week in a court that is considering a bid by Saudi Arabia to reject a lawsuit against it by 9/11 victims.

Moussaoui was branded as a “deranged criminal” by Saudi Arabia.

Moussaoui previously has testified in court that he was not involved in 9/11 but was planning other terrorist attacks, such as downing Air Force One.

The connection between Saudi Arabia and 9/11 never has died down since the day of the attacks. It

was reported at the time that a private Saudi plane was allowed to leave the United States at the time that federal officials grounded all flights before being able to ascertain that there were no more terrorists preparing to overtake airplanes and crash them into government and private buildings.

Moussaoui’s unstable behavior in court proceedings before his sentencing in 9/11 places serious questions around the validity of his claims against the Royal Family.

However, there is no question that Saudi Arabia officials, including newly-crowned King Salman Bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, pumped millions of dollars into the pockets of jihadists, some of whom established Al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda targeted the oil-rich kingdom in the years before 9/11, but Saudi Arabia did not understand the depth of the threat until 2003, when the terrorist organization launched attacks within the country.

Moussaoui claimed that Saudi princes who funded Al Qaeda in the 1990s, when the terrorist organization already was trying to destroy the kingdom, were the head of intelligence, Prince Turki al-Faisal, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Riyadh’s ambassador to Washington.

Even more spectacular in Moussaoui’s claim is his fingering the gadfly Saudi prince and billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal.

“I doubt he would be a natural supporter of Al Qaeda,” F. Gregory Gause III, a professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A & M University, told The New York Times Thursday.

Moussaoui  claimed in letters he wrote to the judge in the suit against Saudi Arabia that Prince Turki told Saudi officials to help the terrorists who eventually hijacked the planes in the 9/11 attacks.

He also charged that Prince Bandar’s wife sent money to the hijackers.

Moussaoui was charged in 2002 with conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism, aircraft piracy, destroy aircraft, use weapons of mass destruction, murder United States employees and destroy property.

He admitted his guilt to a certain extent but said he was not involved in the 9/11 attacks although he was a member of Al Qaeda.

In 2001, he said in court, “In the name of Allah, I do not have anything to plea, and I enter no plea.”

On July 18, 2002, he pleaded guilty to four of six counts of conspiracy and stated, “I have knowledge and I participated in Al-Qaeda. I am a member of Al-Qaeda.” He denied charges of conspiracy to murder United States employees and destroy property.

In his plea, Moussaoui stated, “I made it clear to the Court that I did not have knowledge of and was not a member of the plot to hijack and crash planes into buildings in September 11, 2001 but that I was part of another Al-Qaeda plot which was to occur after September 11, 2001…..

“Because I now see that it is possible that I can receive a fair trial even with Americans as jurors and that I can have the opportunity to prove that I did not have any knowledge of and was not a member of the plot to hijack planes and crash them into buildings on September 11, 2001, I wish to withdraw my guilty plea and ask the Court for a new trial to prove my innocence of the September 11 plot.”

More Western Defense Workers Targeted in Saudi Arabia

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

Two American defense contractors were targeted by gunfire last Friday in Saudi Arabia, according to their employer, Vinnell Arabia, a firm which provides training for the Saudi National Guard.

It’s the second time in recent months the contractor’s workers have been targeted, according to the AFP news agency.

Saudi Arabia is in transition at the present time, with a new monarch, King Salman, having taken over for his late half-brother, King Abdullah, who died a week ago. Salman is also not likely to rule for very long, inasmuch as he is already ill himself; he has already named his youngest half-brother Muqrin as Crown Prince to follow him, as advised by the late monarch.

Abdullah had been seriously ill for months prior to his death, and the kingdom was facing some instability as its iron fisted ruler grew weaker.

“We can confirm… they were shot by assailants in the al-Ahsa province of Saudi Arabia,” the company said Monday in a statement via its public relations firm. “Both employees were injured but are in stable condition at a local hospital.”

Saudi police reportedly claimed that only one employee was wounded in the shooting, which took place just wast of a National Guard base near Hofuf city, in the east, near Saudi Arabia’s oil fields.

Several rounds were fired at the Vinnell vehicle from a white car, a source close to the incident told AFP. The employee driving the vehicle was hit several times. His passenger took over driving and raced to the hospital.

An American defense subcontractor for the Israel-based Elbit Systems firm died under mysterious circumstances in the kingdom on January 15 of this year as well. Saudi authorities are still trying to untangle the cause of death in that case, and have not yet released the body to the family of the victim.

Not counting that death in January, this is the fourth attack on Westerners in the kingdom since October 2014, when the U.S. began its coalition air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

One Vinnell employee was shot dead and a second was wounded at a gas station in Riyadh in October, allegedly by a U.S.-born Saudi who was fired from the company.

Interior Ministry spokesperson Gen. Mansour al-Turki said, “It was not a terrorist-related incident,” although the Saudi National Guard is intended to, among other things, combat “terrorism.”

A Danish citizen was attacked in a drive-by shooting in November as he was driving away from his workplace. Last month three Saudis were arrested by their own government in connection with that attack, allegedly for acting “in support of” ISIS.

One week after that attack, a Canadian citizen was stabbed at a mall on the Saudi Gulf coast, which the interior ministry again said was “not terrorist related.”

But the government did not hesitate to blame ISIS for the November killing of seven Shi’ite Saudis in the eastern province of the country.

Nearly 1,000 U.S. soldiers are soon to be sent to Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar as consultants to train “moderate” Syrian rebel forces in the effort to fight ISIS. It is still not clear how many troops which go to each country.

Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

Saudi Arabia has yet to release the body of a U.S. defense subcontractor who was working for Israel’s Elbit Systems when he died under mysterious circumstances after being sent to the country to help complete a weapons deal.

Christopher Cramer was working for Kollsman Inc., a firm that subcontracted for the Israeli defense electronics company, when he was found dead last month on the ground outside his third-floor hotel room in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.

“We received a message from Kollsman Inc., Elbit Systems’ subcontractor in America, saying its employee Chris Cramer passed away during a work trip,” said a spokesperson for Elbit Systems.

“The circumstances of his death are being investigated by the American State Department. We have no further details at this stage and we are waiting for the State Department to update our American subcontractor. Cramer worked for the company for 12 years. We cannot provide details on the project he was working on, but this is a Kollsman product, an American product with no Israeli technologies involved in its production.”

Cramer, 50, provided technical assistance for a demonstration and sale of a TOW anti-armor missile system as an employee of Kollsman Inc., Fox News reported over the weekend. Authorities in Saudi Arabia claim that Cramer committed suicide by jumping to his death from the third floor of a hotel – but the facts just don’t add up. His family does not believe he committed suicide; they say he was murdered because he appeared to be a threat to the lucrative arms deal that was in process.

Noah Mandell, the family attorney and a longtime friend of Cramer’s, told Fox News the problem was with the customer. “The missile system was already sold to the Saudi company and they were complaining that it wasn’t working,” Mandell said.

“He was basically sent to see if he could prove that they were firing it incorrectly.” Mandell added that he believes the company that purchased the equipment wanted the missiles to malfunction. “The point of sabotaging equipment is you get a customer who has to buy a new set, and you’ve still got the old equipment,” Mandell said.

A spokesperson for Kollsman Inc. said Cramer had even posted a video of one of the missile firings, showing that everything was operating and fully functional. Mandell received messages from Cramer on the night that he died, saying his life was in danger and asking his friend to contact the State Department.

“I’m at the Marakim Tabuk Hotel in Saudi,” he texted his roommate back in New Hampshire when he could not reach Mandell. “I think something bad is going to happen to me tonight. Please contact State Dept. ASAP. Bad things were said.”

Mandell missed three calls within eight minutes on his voice mail that night. Cramer may not have trusted his own employers as well; the company rushed to inform his family that his death was a suicide. Now Kollsman says it will wait for the outcome of the Saudi probe.

“The question is… Why was Chris calling his dog sitter and his lawyer in America instead of his own company? They sent him into hell and had no plan to get him back,” Mandell charged. More to the point, the delivery of Cramer’s body to the United States has been delayed and has still not arrived on U.S. soil. His family is waiting to be able to send it for an autopsy.

Under American law, it is up to the FBI to investigate the circumstances when an U.S. citizen dies overseas – but the FBI gets involved only “if they are invited to do so by the local authorities,” according to the State Department. “They don’t have the jurisdiction to go into a country and start an investigation. They have to be invited in,” an FBI official told The Daily Beast. “Our standard practice is to neither confirm nor deny FBI investigations.”

Can Saudi King Salman Remember Where the Throne Is Sitting?

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Saudi Arabia’s new king Salam has fits of dementia, which means that although he is very popular and known for doing wonders for Riyadh, he might not be sitting on the throne for very long.

“He can perform quite well for a few minutes, but then he gets muddled and goes off message,” according to Simon Henderson, an authority on Saudi Arabia at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, quoted by The Washington Post

King Salam is a half-brother to King Abdullah, who died late Thursday night. Salam ruled Riyadh for 48 years and is credited for making peace in the royal family and for turning the capital into a modern metropolis.

There are more secrets locked up in the royal palace than there is factual information, but all sources agree that King Salam suffers from dementia.

Considering that Saudi Arabia is the heavyweight in the Sunni Muslim world and in oil markets, that could be a big problem when it comes to determining the price of oil and the strategies to defeat the Islamic State and block Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon on its way to turning the entire Middle East into a fanatic Shia Islamic Caliphate.

If he can’t remember what the price of oil was yesterday, or which victim the ISIS beheaded today, there is bound to be a frenzy of back-palace politicking over who will take charge.

If the new king can remember that he has dementia, he might remove himself and clear the way for a new king from a younger generation of princes.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/can-saudi-king-salman-remember-where-the-throne-is-sitting/2015/01/23/

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