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posted by martyb on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:01PM   Printer-friendly
from the artful-dealing dept.

Ahead of the US president's visit to Saudi Arabia, a series of multi-billion-dollar arms deals have been outlined. The previous US administration suspended some supplies because of human rights concerns.

Deutsche Welle

When President Trump arrives in Riyadh this week, he will lay out his vision for a new regional security architecture White House officials call an “Arab NATO,” to guide the fight against terrorism and push back against Iran. As a cornerstone of the plan, Trump will also announce one of the largest arms-sales deals in history.

Behind the scenes, the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have been conducting extensive negotiations, led by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The discussions began shortly after the presidential election, when Mohammed, known in Washington as “MBS,” sent a delegation to meet with Kushner and other Trump officials at Trump Tower.

After years of disillusionment with the Obama administration, the Saudi leadership was eager to do business. “They were willing to make a bet on Trump and on America,” a senior White House official said.

[...] The most concrete part of the idea is a mammoth U.S. arms package for Saudi Arabia that Trump will also announce in Riyadh. Final details are still being worked out, but officials said the package will include between $98 billion and $128 billion in arms sales. Over 10 years, total sales could reach $350 billion.

The sales include huge upgrades for the Saudi army and navy to include Littoral Combat Ships, THAAD missile defense systems, armored personnel carriers, missiles, bombs and munitions, officials said. Some of the production and assembly could be located in Saudi Arabia, boosting MBS’s project to build a Saudi domestic defense industrial capability. But most of the items would be built by American defense contractors.

The Washington Post

Additional coverage:

Related Stories

Follow the Money: From Paris to ISIS to Paris 54 comments

How does the Islamic State, a ragtag band of jihadis who are supposedly at war with the combined military might of the US, Turkey, the Saudis, the Russians, the Iraqis, the Iranians and many others (including, of course, the Syrians) manage to fund and coordinate spectacular international terror attacks, including not only the Paris attack, but also (apparently) bombings in Turkey and Lebanon, and the take down of Russian airliners? How is it that governments can flag and track the "suspicious" financial transactions of anyone withdrawing or transferring over $10,000 from their own bank account, but can't seem to find a way to restrict cash flows, arms and munitions to a geographically isolated enemy who are dependent on oil sales for their financial survival?

Good question. Just don't ask the US State Department spokesman those questions, because he doesn't have the answers. When asked earlier this week by RT's Gayane Chichakyan "whether the US has sanctioned any banks suspected of carrying out transactions for ISIL," department spokesman Mark Toner responded with a resounding: "I'd have to look into that. I don't have the answer in front of me."

Apparently the question of how ISIS is financing its operations is of so little interest to the State Department that they haven't bothered to look into it. So in the interest of helping them out with their homework, let's connect a few dots, shall we?

[More after the break.]

Saudi - Iranian Tension Escalates 46 comments

Protest in Tehran after Saudis execute Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr

CNN:

Saudi Arabia said Saturday it had executed 47 people in a single day, including a dissident Shiite cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, who had repeatedly spoken out against the government and the Saudi royal family.

Nimr had been convicted of inciting sectarian strife, sedition and other charges following his 2012 arrest.

Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival, summoned the Saudi ambassador in Tehran to condemn the execution, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. The Shiite-majority nation issued a statement deploring the execution and warning that Saudi Arabia would pay a heavy price for its policies.

Iranian Protesters Ransack Saudi Embassy After Execution of Shiite Cleric

NYT:

Iranian protesters ransacked and set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran on Saturday after Saudi Arabia executed an outspoken Shiite cleric who had criticized the kingdom's treatment of its Shiite minority.

The executions coincided with increased attacks in Saudi Arabia by the jihadists of the Islamic State and an escalating rivalry between the Sunni monarchy and Shiite Iran that is playing out in conflicts in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. Sheikh Nimr was an outspoken critic of the Saudi monarchy and was adopted as a symbolic leader by Shiite protesters in several Persian Gulf countries during the Arab Spring uprisings.

[More after the break.]

Saudi Arabia Threatens to Sell $750 Billion in US Assets If 9/11 Bill Passes 83 comments

The New York Times reports (and Yahoo! News repeats without any paywall) that the government of Saudi Arabia is threatening to sell $750 billion in treasury securities and other unidentified assets if Congress passes the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act. The bill would allow foreign governments to be sued by 9/11 victims and their families. The threat was issued by Saudi Arabian foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir to unnamed US lawmakers while he was visiting Washington sometime last month, on the grounds that these assets could be in danger of being frozen by US courts.


Original Submission

9/11 Commission Member: Saudi Officials Supported Hijackers 78 comments

A member of the 9/11 commission has broken his silence about some of the unreleased findings:

A former Republican member of the 9/11 commission, breaking dramatically with the commission's leaders, said Wednesday he believes there was clear evidence that Saudi government employees were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers and that the Obama administration should move quickly to declassify a long-secret congressional report on Saudi ties to the 2001 terrorist attack.

The comments by John F Lehman, an investment banker in New York who was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, signal the first serious public split among the 10 commissioners since they issued a 2004 final report that was largely read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.


Original Submission

The UK Government Has Finally Admitted We're at War in Yemen 42 comments

After repeated claims that Britain's reloading of the Saudi Arabian Royal Air Force's bomb bays does not mean Britain is at war with Yemen – where its ordnance are dropped – the government finally conceded that it is.

In a tense exchange with parliamentarians in a debate on the British sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, Alan Duncan, the government's Special Envoy to Yemen, said: "We are in conflict for a reason".

Duncan's admission officially confirms of what every sensible person has known since March 2015, when Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen's civil war with an air campaign made possible by British planes and British bombs, and for which UK arms companies made £2.8bn in revenues in the first year alone.

To use the words of the UN envoy to Yemen, the "humanitarian catastrophe" precipitated by the Arab world's richest country bombing its poorest has been almost total.

[...] while NGOs and MPs in several parliamentary committees have been sharp in their criticism of the government for continuing to fuel this war, the government does nothing, meekly claiming over and over again there is no evidence of Saudi war crimes in Yemen and that Britain regularly "seeks assurances" from Saudi Arabia that it is not committing those crimes.

In March, the UK director of Human Rights Watch told the arms export control committee that he has personally handed evidence to the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, complete with GPS coordinates, of Saudi air strikes on civilian targets. This month Amnesty International sent photographs of British-made BL-755 cluster bombs partially exploded in recent months discovered in farmland near the village of al-Khadhra in northern Yemen.

[...] The government is wriggling because, under Britain's own arms export laws, it is illegal for it to sell arms to a state that is at a "clear risk" of committing international humanitarian crimes. Acknowledging the chorus of evidence of Saudi war crimes in Yemen would be tantamount to admitting Britain's complicity in them.

The truth is that the arms trade of a handful of private arms companies with Saudi Arabia is simply off limits to our country's democratic apparatus as well as its civil society.

Source: The Independent


Original Submission

Secret 9/11 Commission Report Pages Released 24 comments

The long-secret 28-29 pages of the 9/11 Commission's report have been released by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee, albeit in a redacted form:

"According to various FBI documents and CIA memorandum, some of the September 11 hijackers, while in the United States, apparently had contacts with individuals who may be connected to the Saudi Government," the report said, giving a catalog of alleged links.

They included reported contacts between Saudis in California and a statement that a man who was reportedly a Saudi Interior Ministry official stayed at the same Virginia hotel as one hijacker in September 2001.

Another section said that Omar al-Bayoumi, said to be a Saudi intelligence officer, met with two hijackers at a public place after they arrived in San Diego. It said, citing FBI files, that his salary rose to $3,700 a month from $465 two months after two of the hijackers arrived in California.

One page described how two of the hijackers asked flight attendants technical questions during a trip in 1999 from Phoenix to Washington to attend a party at the Saudi embassy. One tried twice to enter the cockpit. The plane made an emergency landing and the FBI investigated, but did not prosecute.

Here are the documents, available at Cryptome or House.gov. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence says that the release of the documents is not an indication that the intelligence community agrees with their accuracy. Apparently, many of the leads mentioned have been investigated by the FBI and found to have no basis in fact.

So, SoylentNews readers, did the Saudis do 9/11?


Original Submission

President Obama to Veto Bill Allowing September 11 Victims to Sue Saudi Arabia 45 comments

President Obama plans to veto a bipartisan bill that would create an exception to the sovereign immunity doctrine, allowing victims of state-sponsored terrorism to sue foreign governments:

President Barack Obama will veto a bill that would allow terror victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001, to sue Saudi Arabia, the White House said Monday. "That's still the plan," White House press secretary Josh Earnest said when asked if the President planned to veto the bill. The White House had previously suggested Obama would not sign the bill when it first passed the Senate in May saying it would complicate diplomatic relations. [...] Lawmakers are expected to attempt to override the veto, and if successful, would mark the first time in Obama's presidency.

The bill passed in the House and Senate unanimously.

Also at The New York Times , Reuters.

S.2040 - Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act

Previously: Saudi Arabia Threatens to Sell $750 Billion in US Assets If 9/11 Bill Passes


Original Submission

U.S. Senate and House Override President Obama's 9/11 Bill Veto 114 comments

For the first time since President Obama took office in 2009, Congress has overridden his veto.

The U.S. Senate voted 97-1 to override President Obama's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which would allow victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia. The lone dissenting vote was Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), who has "always had the president's back":

In a letter Monday to House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Tex.) and ranking member Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter warned that allowing the bill to become law risked "damaging our close and effective cooperation with other countries" and "could ultimately have a chilling effect on our own counter-terrorism efforts." Thornberry and Smith both circulated letters among members in the last few days, urging them to vote against overriding the veto. CIA Director John O. Brennan also warned of the 9/11 bill's "grave implications for the national security of the United States" in a statement Wednesday.

The House of Representatives voted 348-to-77:

Congress on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to override a veto by President Obama for the first time, passing into law a bill that would allow the families of those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to sue Saudi Arabia for any role in the plot.

Democrats in large numbers joined with Republicans to deliver a remarkable rebuke to the president. The 97-to-1 vote in the Senate and the 348-to-77 vote in the House displayed the enduring power of the Sept. 11 families in Washington and the diminishing influence here of the Saudi government.

See also: The Risks of Suing the Saudis for 9/11 by the New York Times Editorial Board and this article in the Saudi Gazette.

Previously: President Obama to Veto Bill Allowing September 11 Victims to Sue Saudi Arabia


Original Submission

Missle Attack from Yemen Targets US Navy Destroyer, Saudi Air Base 57 comments

Submitted via IRC for TheMightyBuzzard

Saudi military base also targeted by missile fired deep inside the kingdom near holy city of Mecca.

Source: http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/navy-ship-targeted-missile-attack-yemen-161010034052132.html

A US Navy destroyer has been targeted in a failed missile attack from territory in Yemen controlled by Houthi rebels, a US military spokesman says.

In another attack, a ballistic missile launched from Yemen targeted a Saudi airbase near the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi and rebel media reported Monday, the deepest strike yet into the kingdom by the rebels and their allies.

Two missiles failed to hit the US Navy ship after being launched on Sunday, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told Reuters news agency.

"USS Mason detected two inbound missiles over a 60-minute period while in the Red Sea off the coast of Yemen. Both missiles impacted the water before reaching the ship," he said. "There were no injuries to our sailors and no damage to the ship."

Lieutenant Ian McConnaughey, a Navy spokesman, said on Monday that it was unclear if the Mason was specifically targeted, though the missiles were fired in its direction.

The destroyer at the time of the missile fire was north of the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, which serves as a gateway for oil tankers headed to Europe through the Suez Canal, a defence official said.

[...] On Monday, Saudi state television broadcast a brief clip of what appeared to be a projectile landing in Taif and the flash of an explosion, followed by images of emergency vehicles.

Taif is home to Saudi Arabia's King Fahad Air Base, which hosts US military personnel training the kingdom's armed forces.

The Saudi military said the missile fired late on Saturday caused no damage. The US military's Central Command, which oversees troops in the Middle East, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Al-Masirah, a satellite news channel run by the Houthis, identified the missile as a local variant of a Soviet-era Scud missile. It said the Volcano-1 missile targeted the airbase.


Original Submission

US Bans Tablets and Laptops on Flights From Eight Muslim-Majority Countries 44 comments

Vague and secretive order bans devices larger than a phone on certain flights to US

It looks like the TSA has finally got round to reading XKCD 651. They have quietly banned electronic devices "larger than a phone" from the cabins of all airlines from a list of 13 countries. It isn't clear whether the ban affects electronic devices used by the aircraft's crew, for example the "electronic flight bag" used by the flight crew, which typically include a tablet.

The affected airlines have just 96 hours to comply.

Politics: Commerce Secretary Praises Lack of Protesters During Trump's Saudi Visit 24 comments

Common Dreams reports

Speaking to CNBC on Monday [May 22], [Commerce Secretary Wilbur] Ross, who accompanied Trump on the weekend trip to Riyadh, said he found it "fascinating" that he did not see "a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard".

[...] Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in the Center for Middle East Policy, told CNBC afterwards that Saudi Arabia is among the "most repressive" of free speech in the Middle East, adding: "Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy which forbids any political protest or any manifestation of dissent. It is also a police state that beheads opponents."

In Why Were the Saudi Streets So Quiet?, also via Common Dreams, Medea Benjamin adds:

Protest is illegal in the kingdom. It's also against the law to "distort the reputation of the kingdom" or "break allegiance with the ruler". A 2014 anti-terrorism law treats virtually all free expression as acts of terrorism, including "calling for atheist thought"; "contacting groups or individuals opposed to the Kingdom"; and "seeking to disrupt national unity" by calling for protests. People who dare dissent are publicly flogged, tortured in prison, and sometimes publicly beheaded.

Previous:
U.S. President to Visit Saudi Arabia; Arms Sales Expected


Original Submission

General Electric-Saudi Arabia Deals Announced 11 comments

U.S. technology and engineering conglomerate GE said on Saturday it had signed $15 billion of business deals with Saudi Arabia as part of the kingdom's drive to diversify its economy beyond oil.

It came as dozens of senior U.S. business executives met Saudi counterparts at a conference coinciding with the visit of President Donald Trump to Riyadh.

[...] Among the projects, GE will help make Saudi power generation more efficient and provide digital technology to the operations of oil firm Saudi Aramco, aiming to create $4 billion of annual productivity improvements at Aramco. It will cooperate in medical research and training.

Source: Reuters

Additional coverage:

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Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Touché) by Gaaark on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:07PM (5 children)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:07PM (#511885) Homepage Journal

    Let's sell weapons, and then when those weapons are used to kill Americans we'll get all "Hey, they're killing Americans!! Let's kill them!!".

    Yuuup... That's why we're so smart, cause..........

    .........yeah......

    --
    --- That's not flying: that's... falling... with more luck than I have. ---
    • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Friday May 19 2017, @02:27AM

      by fustakrakich (6150) on Friday May 19 2017, @02:27AM (#511950) Journal

      Hey... 350 billion dollars.... Let's not sweat the small shit...

    • (Score: 4, Funny) by mhajicek on Friday May 19 2017, @04:17AM

      by mhajicek (51) on Friday May 19 2017, @04:17AM (#512010)

      And tiny hands.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @05:15AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @05:15AM (#512033)

      Don't be ridiculous. The Saudi will give the weapons to some fringe group who in turn will do the American killing. Who do you think is bankrolling ISIS?

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @06:20AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @06:20AM (#512050)

      We like countries addicted to our weapons. We especially like them addicted to our spare parts. Iran had the F-14, which would be a nice plane when not grounded due to lack of spare parts. We also like to keep our defense contractors viable.

      The alternative is that Russia and China and others gain these advantages. They thus gain influence. They might not cut off the supply of parts when hostility rises. Because the buyers know this, they might be more prone to being hostile. Arms manufacturers outside the USA gain mass production advantages, reducing costs, while costs for the USA go up.

      So yeah... sucks, but the alternative may be worse.

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Friday May 19 2017, @05:57PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Friday May 19 2017, @05:57PM (#512279) Journal

      Remember when selling weapons to the Saudis was bad?

      Oh wait, it was only selling weapons to the Saudis while democrat that was bad. My mistake.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:14PM (32 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:14PM (#511887)

    Saudi Arabia and Mossad did 9/11, the Saudis are the worlds main exporter of terrorism having exported Wahhabism around the world. The world is weaning itself of petrochemical dependence so the petrodollar is over. If it were not for the ongoing Yemeni genocide, nobody would object to Western nations selling arms to SA. As things stand, we really should just nuke this disgusting shithole of a country and throw members of the Saudi royal family in prison.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:40PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:40PM (#511897)

      And take their oil.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:52PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:52PM (#511906)

        We don't even need their fucking oil. None of the arab states would even be able to feed their own people if Western companies hadn't gone in and drilled for oil for them. The 21st century and beyond can have no use for the retarded, incomprehensible ramblings of a 7th century psychopath being perpetuated world wide. As for watching the fat, ugly and hypocritical rulers of a theocratic nation that sees females treated as second class citizens and forced to cosplay as ninjas cavort with bikini clad young women on yachts. End that oligarchy, nuke Mecca!

    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:50PM (6 children)

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:50PM (#511904) Homepage Journal

      Nobody cares about the goat-fuckers. If they want to commit genocide out in the sandbox, then it's scum killing scum.

      If anybody really gave a shit about it, then it wouldn't happen. But it is happening. And that's because Whites and Chinks, Bozgors and Hohols and Slav scum, all know that the lives of sandpeople are worthless.

      If anybody on this planet really gives a shit, then it's only because US weapons, rather than their own, are being used.

      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:59PM (5 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:59PM (#511908)

        Nobody cares about the goat-fuckers.

        Are you talking about the Talmudists or Muhammadans here?

        Kick them all out and nuke the lot. Why does anybody in the West tolerate these backwards supremacist and disgusting ideologies?

        • (Score: 1) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday May 19 2017, @12:05AM (4 children)

          by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 19 2017, @12:05AM (#511910) Homepage Journal

          They're all backwards. The life of any Middle-Easterner (including Israelis) is worth no more than a bucket of piss.

          We learned the harsh lessons of the goat-fuckers. [wikipedia.org]

          Now, they are nothing but a buyer of crippled US arms. They've done us a lot of good over the years, though, best let them down slowly and let their regime dissolve gracefully rather than typical violent disorderly Islamic fashion.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @12:31AM (3 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @12:31AM (#511915)

            They've done us a lot of good over the years, though, best let them down slowly and let their regime dissolve gracefully rather than typical violent disorderly Islamic fashion.

            Your "typically violent disorderly Islamic fashion" is being exported around the world by Zionists. What exactly do you propose to do about that?

            • (Score: 1, Flamebait) by Ethanol-fueled on Friday May 19 2017, @12:43AM (2 children)

              by Ethanol-fueled (2792) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 19 2017, @12:43AM (#511920) Homepage Journal

              Well, as a mere man there is nothing I can do except for advocating the nuking of the Middle-East, including Israel.

              As long as the Middle-East exists, we have too many men, too many people, making too many problems -- and there's not much love to go around. Can't you see, this is the land of confusion!

              • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday May 19 2017, @10:26AM

                by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 19 2017, @10:26AM (#512107)

                Yeah, right.
                This is the world we live in and these are the hands we're given, no need to increase the (con)fusion and neither the (con)fission, better make it a place worth living in.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @04:00PM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @04:00PM (#512230)

                But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud
                For man's been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud
                And we know for certain that some lovely day
                Someone will set the spark off
                And we will all be blown away!!

                They're rioting in Africa
                There's strife in Iran
                What nature doesn't so to us
                Will be done by our fellow man

                -Kingston Genisis

    • (Score: 2) by Arik on Friday May 19 2017, @02:26AM (21 children)

      by Arik (4543) on Friday May 19 2017, @02:26AM (#511948)
      There's no need to nuke Mecca, I know you're trying to be provocative but that's sick.

      All we need to do is stop propping up the Wahibs and let nature take it's course. Of course, after propping them up for a century and feeding them plenty of advanced weaponry, it's going to be bloody, but continuing the current strategy only insures it will be even bloodier.
      --
      "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
      • (Score: 1) by fustakrakich on Friday May 19 2017, @02:30AM (9 children)

        by fustakrakich (6150) on Friday May 19 2017, @02:30AM (#511952) Journal

        All we need to do is stop propping up the Wahibs and let nature take it's course.

        That market is too big to leave to Chinese and Russian competition. You know the routine, nature abhors a vacuum.

        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Arik on Friday May 19 2017, @02:52AM (8 children)

          by Arik (4543) on Friday May 19 2017, @02:52AM (#511969)
          'Let nature take it's course' most likely means a situation where none of the three major powers really wants to risk another quagmire AND piss off the other two and push them together by doing that. The US has had Vietnam, and Iraq, and still hasn't found a way out of Afghanistan. The USSR has had Afghanistan, and Chechnya, and they show no interest. The Chinese have avoided that sort of mistake so far, and appear to have learned from others mistakes, but you know what, maybe they would be dumb enough to go for it.

          Let em.
          --
          "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
          • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday May 19 2017, @04:29PM (7 children)

            by bob_super (1357) on Friday May 19 2017, @04:29PM (#512241)

            You're forgetting a big problem: If the Chinese get in there (because they need the oil, badly), they could simplify their oil business a lot...
            ... by asking barrels to be sold in Renminbi.

            That would kneecap the US and its giant debt and trade deficit.
            The US has gone to war for less than that.

            The US needs the dollar to be the Oil Trade currency. Middle-East oil US imports have been somewhat displaced by fracking (plus Venezuela), but if the middle-East doesn't trade in dollars anymore, 1973 and even 2008 are going to look like minor details compared to the next US crash.

            • (Score: 2) by Arik on Friday May 19 2017, @09:49PM (5 children)

              by Arik (4543) on Friday May 19 2017, @09:49PM (#512398)
              Oil is extremely fungible, and there are large amounts of it outside the middle east. It might have been true some decades back that controlling from Suez to the Persian Gulf would have amounted to a chokehold on the worlds energy but that's far from true today. Even a full and completely unrealistic embargo that prevented a single drop of middle eastern oil to reach the US would have minimal, if any, effect on our supply. This is because there is plenty of oil produced in multiple areas. If one supplier cuts you off, they now have an unsold surplus equal to what you were going to buy. They now need to sell it to someone else, who was going to purchase oil from another area instead, and they'll probably have to offer a discount to get the buyer to switch. Once that's happened, there is another seller, in a different area, who now has a surplus, which we can buy, and again might even get a discount on.

              "the US and its giant debt and trade deficit."

              The real problem all the jihadis and russian bugbears are supposed to keep us distracted from.
              --
              "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
              • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday May 19 2017, @09:55PM (4 children)

                by bob_super (1357) on Friday May 19 2017, @09:55PM (#512400)

                I wasn't referring to the ability to get oil. I was pointing out how the dollar being the money in which oil is traded worldwide is quite critical to the US economy.

                • (Score: 2) by Arik on Friday May 19 2017, @10:18PM (3 children)

                  by Arik (4543) on Friday May 19 2017, @10:18PM (#512413)
                  It's quite critical to the profits of a few well-connected American stockholders, but past that? Why don't you explain just how you think it's actually critical to the economy as a whole?
                  --
                  "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
                  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday May 19 2017, @11:03PM (2 children)

                    by bob_super (1357) on Friday May 19 2017, @11:03PM (#512431)

                    Because the transactions are in dollars, the massive amounts involved, often too high for direct use by various producers, tend to be reinvested in dollar-labelled assets, boosting the US economy...
                    It also cements the Reserve Currency status, and provides a significant soft power tool for the US against various actors involved in global markets (thou shalt not buy oil from Iran, for the Oil you buy elsewhere uses our dollar...)

                    Short version:
                    http://www.investopedia.com/articles/forex/072915/how-petrodollars-affect-us-dollar.asp [investopedia.com]

                    The long versions are available at the local library.

                    • (Score: 2) by Arik on Saturday May 20 2017, @03:30AM (1 child)

                      by Arik (4543) on Saturday May 20 2017, @03:30AM (#512513)
                      And none of that links any of this to the general economy.
                      --
                      "Unix? These savages aren't even circumcised!"
            • (Score: 2) by butthurt on Saturday May 20 2017, @08:47AM

              by butthurt (6141) on Saturday May 20 2017, @08:47AM (#512553) Journal

              In October 2000, Iraq

              [...] insisted on and received UN approval to sell oil through the oil-for-food program for euros only after 6 November. Iraq had threatened to suspend all oil exports -- about 5 percent of the world's total -- if the body turned down the request.

              -- https://www.rferl.org/a/1095057.html [rferl.org]

              Contrary to the predictions in the above U.S. government-funded story, the change was profitable for Iraq.

              https://www.theguardian.com/business/2003/feb/16/iraq.theeuro [theguardian.com]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @03:01AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @03:01AM (#511979)

        > but continuing the current strategy only insures it will be even bloodier.

        If you can involve the insurance companies and get insurance to keep the current strategy going that will certanly ensure things get even bloodier.

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @04:00AM (8 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @04:00AM (#512005)

        10 Reasons to Make the Break with Saudi Arabia

        That place is right out of the 7th Century. [commondreams.org]

        1. Saudi Arabia is governed as an absolutist monarchy

        2. Criticizing the monarchy or defending human rights can bring down severe and cruel punishments

        3. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest execution rates in the world
        [The executions are usually carried out by public beheading.]

        4. Saudi women are second-class citizens. [...] gender segregation [...] a strict dress code. Women need the approval of a male guardian to marry, travel, enroll in a university, or obtain a passport and they're prohibited from driving. According to interpretations of Sharia law, daughters generally receive half the inheritance awarded to their brothers, and the testimony of one man is equal to that of two women.

        5. no freedom of [religion] [...] all Saudis are required by law to be Muslims.

        6. The Saudis export an extremist interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism

        7. The country is built and runs thanks to foreigner laborers, but the more than six million foreign workers have virtually no legal protections. Coming from poor countries, many are lured to the kingdom under false pretenses and forced to endure dangerous working and living conditions. Female migrants employed in Saudi homes as domestic workers report regular physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.

        8. The Saudis are funding terrorism worldwide.

        9. The Saudis have used their massive military apparatus to invade neighboring countries and quash democratic uprisings

        10. The Saudis backed a coup in Egypt that killed over 1,000 people and saw over 40,000 political dissidents thrown into squalid prisons

        http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47070.htm# [informationclearinghouse.info]
        11. Saudi Arabia helps maintain the world’s destructive dependence on oil.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Friday May 19 2017, @08:34AM (2 children)

          by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Friday May 19 2017, @08:34AM (#512083) Journal

          10 Reasons ...

          1.

          ...

          11.

          Speaking of intolerant religious authoritarians, I think I hear the Spanish Inquisition coming.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @07:20PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @07:20PM (#512311)

            Each link goes to a different page.
            Both are by Medea Benjamin.
            Each contains 10 items but they differ slightly in content.

            intolerant religious authoritarians

            I am certain that if you are spending time on your knees and/or casting your eyes skyward as if a magical man is up there, that is a waste of time.

            Those attempts to communicate with mythical beings is only demonstrating how foolish you are to accept children's fables as a basis for your life but, as long as you aren't using your nonsensical belief system to hurt others, then no harm, no foul.

            The story of the Nazararean doesn't include any examples of that character saying "Build gaudy giant monuments to me" yet "his followers" do that quite often.
            Now, there -are- passages in that scripture that have him quoted as instructing his followers to see to the earthly needs of other humans, yet a vast majority of those folks who profess to be his people don't do that.

            ...then there's the "Prosperity Gospel" types who completely distort the content of the scripture that they claim to be their founding principles.

            ...and many of the ragheads' practices aren't called out in their holy book; those are tribal paternalistic/misogynistic patterns established even before their prophet delivered his nonsense.
            Again, some folks have allowed themselves to get stuck in the 7th Century.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday May 19 2017, @10:30AM (2 children)

          by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 19 2017, @10:30AM (#512110)

          11. Saudi Arabia helps maintain the world’s destructive dependence on oil.

          Uhh? And how are they doing that?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @07:46PM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @07:46PM (#512329)

            Dumping. [google.com]
            They are keeping the price low by accelerating the rate of extraction and getting rid of a commodity that is rapidly losing its luster as renewables become ever more economical solutions to old problems.

            Venezuela's tanked economy is a result of this as well (in addition to that country's unwillingness to develop their agricultural and manufacturing base via worker-owned cooperatives).

            Maybe Medea's answer would be different from mine.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

            • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Friday May 19 2017, @08:17PM

              by c0lo (156) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 19 2017, @08:17PM (#512358)

              The single instance of dumping I remember is the 2015-2016 episode**. Are there others?

              ** (and for this one we may not have seen yet the end of it. It can still backfire big time - the Saudis didn't just dump but have also bought lotsa shale oil fields in US; these may transform into serious liabilities as the world is slowly weaning from oil).

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @03:35PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @03:35PM (#512226)

          To get your "10 reasons" list down to 10 entries, just drop item #4 since that is just sensible policy.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @06:41PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @06:41PM (#512296)

            One assumes that this is your admission of having a small penis.
            Real men don't need to suppress someone else's human rights in order to seem superior.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @06:30AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @06:30AM (#512054)

        It is said that the final battle, in which Islam wins, will occur in al-A’maq or in Dabiq.

        OK then. Let's just evaporate those towns, 20 megaton minimum. Oh hey, your prophet was wrong and your whole religion is a farce.

        Not that we couldn't spare a couple more nukes for Mecca and Medina of course. That only makes 4 of them.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 20 2017, @12:29AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 20 2017, @12:29AM (#512455)

      Would that destroy or release that demon they worship in that black rock of theirs?

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by PartTimeZombie on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:37PM (5 children)

    by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:37PM (#511893)

    After years of disillusionment with the Obama administration, the Saudi leadership was eager to do business. “They were willing to make a bet on Trump and on America,” a senior White House official said.

    Why would the Saudis be unhappy with the Obama regime? Every US Government has been quite willing to sell arms to the Saudis.

    That line just looks like Trump White House spin to me, you know, "the last guy was terrible, look how great we are".

    This link took about 2 seconds to find. [soylentnews.org]

    I'm guessing Mr. Trump is going to take the credit for a bunch of deals Mr. Obama had already signed.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:40PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 18 2017, @11:40PM (#511896)

    The previous US administration suspended some supplies because of human rights concerns.

    The only "human rights" Trump is concerned about is people hurting his feelings when they call him out on what he says or does (or doesn't do).

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MostCynical on Friday May 19 2017, @12:30AM

    by MostCynical (2589) on Friday May 19 2017, @12:30AM (#511914)
    --
    (Score: tau, Irrational)
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by its_gonna_be_yuge! on Friday May 19 2017, @12:40AM

    by its_gonna_be_yuge! (6454) on Friday May 19 2017, @12:40AM (#511918)

    Trump is interested in importing Saudi culture as well.

    Saudi women aren't allowed to drive. Trump wants to import that idea to the US, so that women can't drive away when he tries to grab their pussies.

  • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Friday May 19 2017, @02:46AM

    by Snotnose (1623) on Friday May 19 2017, @02:46AM (#511963)

    Then quit buying their oil. Done right we can drain them dry, and let their barbaric society figure out they can't afford gas, let alone maintenance on all that cool shit we sold them. Then tell them we'll only teach women who are allowed to drive how to maintain all that cool shit, sit back, and enjoy the popcorn.

  • (Score: 2) by Lagg on Friday May 19 2017, @05:05AM

    by Lagg (105) Subscriber Badge on Friday May 19 2017, @05:05AM (#512029) Homepage Journal

    Trump finally failed at the last remaining "good" thing I figured could come out of his presidency. That he'd not lube the ol' war machine with Saudi Arabia.

    Granted, I made the same mistake as his supporters: I assumed he'd hate/fear ebil brown people too much and use it for a rally instead.

    --
    http://lagg.me [lagg.me] 🗿
    8DF5 7CC6 9572 2282 4BD7 CC2C 1316 E8D2 AB04 0CBD
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @12:08PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 19 2017, @12:08PM (#512128)

    The Saudis aren't afraid to wield one. US is two rooks short in the chess game against the House of Saudi.

    Fifteen of the 9/11 attackers were from Saudi Arabia, two from the United Arab Emirates, one from Egypt, and one from Lebanon, zero from Iraq and zero from Afghanistan.

    Interestingly enough Iraq and Afghanistan got war, Saudi got presidential visit and business opportunity... think about that when you next time buy oil (derivatives).

    “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

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