SAUDI ARABIA | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

SAUDI ARABIA

Jul 22 07:40

Saudi Aramco Targeted In $50M Crypto Extortion Scheme After Major Data Breach

Saudi Aramco is pointing the finger at a third-party contractor for a breached data incident which has resulted in demands for $50 million in ransom from an unknown mysterious entity in what's looking like a Colonial Pipeline style cyber drama. The Saudi oil giant acknowledged to The Associated Press that it "recently became aware of the indirect release of a limited amount of company data which was held by third-party contractors."

"We confirm that the release of data was not due to a breach of our systems, has no impact on our operations and the company continues to maintain a robust cybersecurity posture," Aramco said, without specifying the contractor through which the breach happened. The language of "indirect release" reveals it was likely a leak and not the result of an external hacking operation.

Jul 22 06:46

If Biden can’t stand up to Saudi Arabia, then Congress should, and now

In sharp contrast to Donald Trump’s uncritical embrace of the Saudi regime and its brutal war in Yemen, President Biden took the opportunity of his first foreign policy speech in February of this year, to pledge an end of U.S. support for “offensive operations” in Yemen along with “relevant arms sales.”

Biden also appointed a special envoy, veteran diplomat Tim Lenderking, to support United Nations efforts to craft a peace agreement to end the Yemen war. It was a promising start towards ending the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe – a war in which nearly a quarter of a million people have died.

Unfortunately, the Biden administration has been slow to fulfil its promise to help bring peace to Yemen, dragging its feet on key initiatives and falling short on others.

Jul 14 08:09

YEMEN: BIDEN SHRUGS OFF CAMPAIGN PROMISE AS US BACKS NEW SAUDI OFFENSIVE AND AQAP SUPPORT

President Joe Biden gave a lot of people a sense of cautious optimism when he took to the campaign trail and promised to bring a swift end to the Saudi-led war on Yemen. The oil-rich monarchy, supported heavily by the United States, has been waging arguably the deadliest military campaign of the past decade on the forgotten country for over six years, exacting a brutal humanitarian toll on its civilian population.

To his credit, Biden sent Tim Lenderking to lead a team of negotiators in an attempt to broker reconciliation between the conflict’s many belligerents. But without the political will to stand up to the Saudi monarchy and the varied American interests that profit handsomely from its wars, Lenderking had little chance of success. Now it seems the Kingdom — once again emboldened, armed, and covered by the United States — has all but abandoned any pretense of reconciliation and doubled down on its brutal war.

Jul 14 07:53

Treat Saudi Arabia Like a Normal Country: No More Special Favors for a Murderous, Aggressive Regime

One of the Saudi royals slunk into town last week. There was little press coverage. Indeed, Deputy Defense Minister Khalid bin Salman, son of the king, might as well have been a covert agent for all the publicity that he generated.

President Joe Biden apparently wanted to downplay his continued reliance on America’s dubious ally in the Middle East, after promising to treat Riyadh as a "pariah." It now looks like business-as-usual for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as administration officials speak of a "recalibration" of the alliance.

This Saudi royal, like his brother, the crown prince, was involved in the gruesome murder of journalist and U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi. Khalid bin Salman then was his country’s ambassador and apparently baited the trap by telling Khashoggi to go to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Istanbul consulate. The ambassador later lied to the US about Riyadh’s involvement.

Jul 12 12:36

US alarmed as Saudi lawsuits threaten to expose secrets

Two lawsuits pitting Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler against a former intelligence czar threaten to expose highly sensitive US government secrets, prompting Washington to consider a rare judicial intervention, documents show.

The cases in US and Canadian courts centre on corruption allegations levelled by state-owned Saudi companies against Saad Aljabri, a former spymaster who long worked closely with American officials on covert counterterrorism operations.

That marks the latest twist in a long-running feud between Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) and Aljabri.

Aljabri's patron, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef (MBN), is currently in Saudi detention after being deposed as heir to the throne in a 2017 palace coup.

The legal drama sheds light on Shakespearean rivalries in the top echelons of the Saudi royal family, but Washington fears that a bitter courtroom showdown risks exposing sensitive information related to its covert operations.

Jul 01 09:16

Saudi intel chief who saved U.S. lives was detained, allegedly mistreated by Saudi government

The Biden administration is under increasing pressure to help a former Saudi intelligence chief credited with saving American lives who was initially detained by the Saudi government during the Trump administration. Two sources familiar with the matter allege he was physically abused to the point he is unable to walk unassisted.

Mohammed bin Nayef, 61, was Saudi Arabia's interior minister and a close partner of American intelligence agencies in the fight against al Qaeda after 9/11. Having survived four assassination attempts by terrorists, he was arrested in March 2020 by Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman as the de facto Saudi leader, also known as MBS, moved to consolidate power and sideline rivals.

Former U.S. intelligence officials who worked with bin Nayef are furious that the Trump administration did not appear to come to his aid, and they say President Joe Biden should be doing more.

Jun 29 10:29

Sources: Saudi Crown Prince Asks Israeli PM to Stand against Iran

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a letter to new Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has felicitated him on winning the election, and called for Tel Aviv’s serious confrontation against Iran, sources said.

Informed sources told the Arabic-language Saudi Wikileaks website that Bin Salman has congratulated Bennett on the new post, stressing Riyadh’s commitment to all previous agreements with Tel Aviv.

In his letter, he has expressed the hope that the new Israeli prime minister and his cabinet would seriously pursue Iran’s case and stand against what he claimed as Iran’s danger in the region, they added.

According to the sources, the letter was written after the US declaration of intention to withdraw its military equipment from West Asian region, including Saudi Arabia.

Jun 29 10:28

Iran slams UN for failing to include Israel, Saudi Arabia in child killers blacklist

Iran has criticized the United Nations for failing to include Israel and Saudi Arabia in its blacklist of parties violating minors’ rights during conflicts, calling on the world body to adopt a non-discriminatory approach in naming and shaming child-killer regimes.

Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi made the remarks in an address to the Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict on Monday, after UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres presented his annual report.

The report covers countries and organizations under the UN’s Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism, which are listed as grave violators in the report’s annexes.

Recruitment of child soldiers, attacks on schools and hospitals, killing and maiming, sexual assault and abduction of children could trigger inclusion in the annex, which could result in Security Council sanctions.

Jun 25 09:22

Saudi Coalition Fighter Jets Heavily Bombard Yemen's Marib

Yemen's Al-Masirah network reported on Thursday night that Saudi fighter jets had carried out large-scale attacks in the central Yemeni province of Marib.

Al-Masirah reported that the Saudi coalition fighter jets had bombed the Sirwah at least 12 times and the Raghwan region in Marib province six times.

No casualties or damage have been reported so far.

The Saudi aggression coalition is targeting the Yemeni province of Marib more than ever these days, following the field defeat of its forces in the Yemeni province of Marib.

Jun 25 04:17

Saudi Arabia one of the world’s worst abusers of human rights, according to index

Saudi Arabia is one the most disempowering and unsafe countries from state abuse, according to new data published by a human rights metrics organisation.

The Human Rights Measurement Initiative (HRMI), which is run by activists, researchers and academics, released its annual tracker on Thursday, breaking down scores across a range of rights covering safety from the state, empowerment and quality of life.

Saudi Arabia scored 2.4 out of 10 on overall safety from the state: the second worst state (behind Mexico) of 36 countries for which there was full data.

Jun 25 04:14

Saudi bodyguards have been training in the U.S. since Obama. Why?

Four of the 15 Saudis involved in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi received training in the United States, according to the New York Times. The story highlights the depth of the U.S.-Saudi relationship, the critique of which has simmered following Khashoggi’s grisly murder and dismemberment in October 2018.

Tier 1 Group, the security company that conducted the training of the four Saudi men, has stressed that the instruction they received had no relation to the acts of brutal violence they carried out against Khashoggi. Instead, the training was defensive in nature, intended to “counter an attack” ostensibly against a high profile individual. This reiterates the link to Mohamed bin Salman, as members of MBS’ personal protection squad carried out the killing, although the Saudis continue to deny the Crown Prince’s responsibility in ordering the murder.

Jun 24 08:09

‘They Want Help’: Saudi Arabia Afraid of Iran, Houthis if US Pulls Troops Out, US General Claims

When the Houthis claimed responsibility for suicide drone attacks on two Saudi Aramco oil facilities in September 2019 that paralyzed the country’s economy for several days, the US quickly rushed to blame Iran, while they have also accused Tehran of exacerbating the war in Yemen by supporting the Houthis’ fight against Riyadh.

The head of US Central Command (CENTCOM) told reporters on Sunday that Riyadh is still asking for US military assistance in deterring Iran. Washington backed out of supporting the Saudi-led war in Yemen earlier this year, but the Biden administration has committed to providing for Saudi Arabia's defense, including increasing the efficiency of its air defenses in shooting down Houthi missiles.

Jun 22 06:11

Dawn calls on Congress to interrogate Egypt intelligence chief over Khashoggi murders

Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) is calling on members of Congress to interrogate Egypt's intelligence chief about reports that Cairo was involved in the death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Last week, Yahoo News reported that the airplane carrying Saudi assassins who killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate in Istanbul in October 2018 stopped off in Cairo to pick up deadly narcotics.

These narcotics were injected into Khashoggi's left arm by a Saudi Interior Minister doctor, killing him within a matter of minutes, reported Yahoo, disclosing a previously unknown link between Egypt and the journalist's death.

There is also evidence that Egypt provided training for the hit squad as it has in the past. Cairo allegedly assisted in the 2015 Saudi abduction from Italy of Saudi Prince Saud Bin Saif Al-Nasr, who was an outspoken critic of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS).

Jun 20 06:16

Saudi officials plan to execute over 40 teenagers over participation in Qatif protests, say activists

Human rights activists have warned that Saudi authorities plan to execute dozens of teenagers from the kingdom’s Shia-?populated Qatif region in Eastern Province over their participation in peaceful anti-regime protests.

Even though Saudi officials claimed last year to have halted the practice of executing people for crimes committed as a minor, the activists said, more than 40 teenagers face death penalty only because they took part in pro-democracy rallies in 2011, the Arabic-language Saudi Leaks news website reported.

The report comes less than a week after Saudi Arabia executed young Shia Muslim man Mustafa bin Hashim bin Issa Al Darwish, 26, who was convicted on charges stemming from his participation in an anti-regime protest as a minor.

Jun 15 07:29

US, Saudi forces hold anti-drone drill amid fear of resistance power

The US Central Command (?CENTCOM) says it has held a joint exercise with Saudi forces on countering small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

In a post on its Twitter account, CENTCOM said Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) and Marine Air Defense Integrated System (MADIS) conducted the drill in Saudi Arabia last week in order to achieve specific objectives during crises.

Jun 14 08:59

Ousted Israel PM plotted with Saudi's MBS to undermine Jordan king

New details have emerged about the alleged plot to overthrow Jordan's King Abdullah, indicating that former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu played a starring role along with senior officials within the Trump administration, prominent Jordanians, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Details of the role played by Netanyahu, who was ousted yesterday after the Israeli parliament voted in a new coalition government led by the far-right nationalist Naftali Bennett, was reported in a Washington Post article by David Ignatius titled "Inside the palace intrigue in Jordan and a thwarted 'deal of the century'".

Ignatius shed light on one of the biggest stories of April when Jordan's former crown prince Hamzah Bin Hussein was accused of plotting to oust King Abdullah II. The alleged plot is said to have been backed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, also known as MBS.

Jun 08 11:09

Yemen deputy minister says illegal Saudi-imposed blockade major obstacle to peace

A Yemeni deputy minister has strongly lambasted the years-long Saudi inclusive siege imposed on Yemen, saying the crippling and inhumane blockade is a major obstacle to any possible move made to forge peace among the warring parties.

Hossein al-Ezi, deputy foreign minister of the Yemeni Salvation Government, made the remarks on Saturday, saying the Saudi-led coalition is using the tight blockade against tens of millions of Yemenis as a “weapon to extract political and military gains.”

He condemned such an illegal act by the invading enemy and denounced it as a “major obstacle to peace”, Yemen's al-Masirah television network reported.

“Every talk about peace will remain dull. All doubts about our intentions toward negotiations will remain unfair and incomprehensible as long as the siege continues,” the Yemeni deputy minister wrote in a post on his official Twitter account.

Jun 07 02:23

The DARPA-Taped Letters

Via Harvard2TheBigHouse Subsatck,

Why have several researchers with close ties to the CCP been undermining the dissemination of peer reviewed research which looks at a lab origin of the COVID-19 Pandemic and gain-of-function research?

And in case any of this sounds a bit outlandish, turns out there’s been a high-level defector from China in America for several months, working alongside the DIA exclusively since “DIA leadership believes there are Chinese spies or sources inside the FBI, CIA, and several other federal agencies."

The idea that there’s even a discussion as to whether or not SARS-CoV-2 was engineered is entirely absurd, the only people acting like this is in doubt at all are looking to cover as many asses as they possibly can while directly aiding and abetting a disinformation campaign being run by the Chinese Military, and simultaneously keep the door open to violate as many Natural Laws as they possibly can.

Jun 05 04:58

US Blames Houthis for Yemen’s Woes

State Dept falsely claims Houthis are refusing ceasefire.

ack from a visit to the Gulf area, State Department special envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking returned to the US to push the narrative that the Shi’ite Houthi movement is mostly to blame for the ongoing problems in Yemen.

Yemen’s problems include large civilian casualties from the Saudi-led war and the borderline famine conditions as Saudi-enforced naval blockade has kept food imports far below pre-war levels. That lack of food and medicine, also because of the blockade, is an ongoing crisis.

It’s hard not to notice that the common denominator in all of these major humanitarian problems for Yemen is Saudi Arabia. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reiterated earlier this week that the US remains committed to Saudi Arabia when it comes to regional security, and that clearly is the intent as Lenderking pointed the finger at the Houthis.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

More absolute total bovine excrement regarding this crisis, courtesy of Team Biden; lying with impunity, coupled with not being able to see a situation to its logical conclusion, seems to be the prerequiste for government work these days.

May 28 05:39

Saudi media outlets acting as Israeli propaganda platforms

Last year, during the holy month of Ramadan, in an unprecedented, move Saudi Arabia aired a TV series called "Um Haroun", starring Jewish characters. Fans praised the show, for highlighting the history of Jewish communities in the Persian Gulf, but critics blasted it as a barefaced attempt to reshape Arab views of Israel to pave the way for formal relations, or what many in the Arab world call “normalization.”

This year, during the month of Ramadan, something more serious happened to reinforce the pro-Israeli tendency of leading Arab media outlets in Saudi Arabia, above all others, the Al Arabia Media Company.

May 24 06:32

As Rapprochement Between Saudi Arabia and Iran Continues, Will a Deal Happen?

The two countries still have many disagreements when it comes to regional issues like Syria and Yemen, and a Saudi political analyst says his country would need firm guarantees before it proceeds with further talks with the Islamic Republic.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Wednesday his country was ready for closer ties with Saudi Arabia, one of its main regional rivals.

Speaking in Damascus after his meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the top diplomat also said that he hoped the recent round of talks, hosted by Iraq, would lead to greater stability in the region.

May 24 06:15

Three Saudi soldiers convicted of high treason

Saudi Arabia, one of the major belligerents in the all-our war against Yemen, armed to the teeth with state-of-the-art weapons; the Saudi top-brass was under the impression that they would win the war easily.

Their miscalculation, however, has resulted in a war of attrition, which has caused a loss of morale within the army.

The Saudis are now faced with the double whammy of the Yemeni Ansarullah Movement gaining ground steadily since the breakout of the war AND the increasing number of low-spirited forces who are sick and tired of a meaningless war.

May 21 06:00

Mohammed Bin Salman to Plant 10 Billion Trees in the Desert

The proportion of Saudi Arabia’s land area covered by forest has remained unchanged since 1990 at about 0.5%. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who aims to transform the petrostate’s economy and society, announced in late March a plan to plant 10 billion trees over the coming decades to increase by twelvefold the area covered by existing trees.

“The kingdom is determined to make a lasting global impact,” he declared.

However, large-scale projects modifying the natural environment should be done carefully, as human actions can ripple through the entire fragile desert ecosystem of Saudi Arabia. For example, change in local precipitations and soils can affect indigenous species of plants and animals.

China’s greening of a third of its Kubuqi Desert, which Saudi Arabia has studied, provides a model for restoring recently degraded land. Prince Mohammed’s plan appears to aim at restoring degraded lands but also to plant in areas previously not covered by trees.

May 10 07:47

Two Longtime Enemy Mideast Countries Have Entered Unlikely Peace Talks

Two longtime bitter enemies who have for much of the past couple decades battled for influence in the Middle East while clashing through proxies have entered unlikely secret talks. On Friday a Saudi foreign ministry official confirmed previously widespread rumors of the past weeks that the kingdom is in communications with Iran in order to reduce regional tensions. Earlier reports suggested the talks secretly took place in Baghdad.

"We hope they prove successful, but it is too early, and premature, to reach any definitive conclusions," Saudi ministry Ambassador Rayed Krimly told Reuters. He said that Riyadh needs to see "verifiable deeds" before evaluating the talks, with Bloomberg noting that Iraqi officials are mediating, with a focus on de-escalating the situation in Yemen - where Riyadh and Tehran are supporting rival sides of the civil war.

May 07 05:47

Saudi Arabia-Iran rapprochement: What is driving push for diplomacy?

We know we are a main target for the Iranian regime... We will not wait until the battle is in Saudi Arabia. We will work so that the battle is at theirs in Iran."

- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 2017

"Iran is a neighbouring country. We want good and special relations with Iran. We don't want Iran's situation to be difficult. On the contrary, we want Iran to be prosperous."

- Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 2021

Even by the standards of the ever-shifting geopolitics of the Middle East, bin Salman's turn from talks of war to wanting neighbourly relations with Iran is a sharp one.

May 05 05:37

Saudi Arabia Poised To Mend Relations With Assad In Major First Since War Began

Multiple international reports on Tuesday revealed that Saudi Arabia's powerful intelligence chief traveled to Damascus Monday to meet with his Syrian counterpart in what's being seen as a major step toward detente. The two broke off relations since near the start of the war in 2011, especially as it became clear the Saudis were a key part of the Western allied push for regime change, through covert support to anti-Assad insurgents and jihadists which included regular weapons shipments.

Gen Khalid Humaidan, the head of Saudi Arabia's General Intelligence Directorate, led a delegation where they were received by Syrian government officials in Damascus. According to The Guardian, Riyadh is currently preparing for a "normalization of relations" - expected to come immediately after the Muslim holiday of Ramadan next week.

May 04 06:11

America Is Still Servicing Saudi Aircraft Bombing Yemen

The Biden administration has finally clarified the extent to which it is still supporting Saudi Arabia’s military in Yemen.

In comments to Vox, Pentagon officials admitted that the US is still maintaining Saudi Arabia’s warplanes by using contractors. The US could cancel the contracts at any time, which would effectively ground the Saudi Air Force, ending the vicious bombing campaign that has been raging since March 2015.

“The United States continues to provide maintenance support to Saudi Arabia’s Air Force given the critical role it plays in Saudi air defense and our longstanding security partnership,” a Pentagon spokesperson told Vox over the weekend.

The maintenance is done through the Pentagon’s Foreign Military Sales program, which means Saudi Arabia pays the US to provide contractors that can maintain the warplanes.

Apr 30 09:14

DESPAIR GRIPS THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman voiced rare praise of Ansar Allah joined by ample promises, in hope of a ceasefire.

In his recent interview, the Crown Prince said that the Houthis (as Ansar Allah are known) have strong relations with Iran, but that they are still Arabs and Yemenis more than anything. He went on to promise financial rewards, peace, prosperity and normality.

All the Houthis need to do is agree to a ceasefire and to sit at the negotiating table.

This could potentially mean that the Kingdom is close to realizing that massive resources spent over the course of more than 6 years on weapons and mercenaries have achieved little.

This is likely the result of two developments.

Firstly, the United States has ceased its support for the Saudi-led forces in the war on Yemen and suspended some arms sales to the Kingdom earlier this year.

Apr 30 07:58

Iran And Saudi Arabia Are Finally Talking

Washington’s fixation on Israel has undermined U.S. policy in the Middle East and helped make Americans global targets of terrorism. Perhaps even worse has been Washington’s devotion to Saudi Arabia, essentially turning American troops into royal bodyguards and treating Iran as an enemy. Taking sides in the Sunni-Shiite struggle, a miniature cold war that sometimes runs hot, has needlessly entangled the U.S. in multiple violent conflicts.

However, recent discussions between Iranian and Saudi delegations at the encouragement of Iraq have generated hope for change. Although the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia denied that any talks had occurred, Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s foreign ministry, suggested otherwise while refusing to comment directly.

Apr 27 09:49

As Yemen War Intensifies Biden Set To Resume Weapons Sales

By Robert Inlakesh

US President Joe Biden declared in February that the United States was seeking to end the Saudi-led coalition’s war on Yemen, which was promised to come with stopping offensive weapons sales to the Saudi Kingdom. Yet now it seems that this was all a facade...

Apr 21 05:53

Bin Salman backed Israeli plot to overthrow Jordan king: Report

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has reportedly backed an Israeli “scheme” to overthrow Jordanian King Abdullah II in exchange for the guardianship of al-Aqsa Mosque in the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds.

Lebanon's Al Akhbar newspaper, quoting a Jordanian security official, said in a report on Tuesday that the coup attempt against King Abdullah II was a "scheme" involving Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and the United States.

The Beirut-based daily said the Saudi crown prince had agreed to support the Israeli plot in return for the transfer of the guardianship over the holy sites in the occupied Jerusalem al-Quds from Jordan to Saudi Arabia.

According to the unnamed official, Israel planned the coup against the Jordanian king over Amman’s opposition to the so-called US deal of the century, which allows the Tel Aviv regime to annex settlements in the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley.

Apr 21 05:52

Yemen army hits ‘military site’ inside SW Saudi airport in new retaliation

The Yemeni army has carried out a successful drone attack against a “military site” within the Abha International Airport in southwestern Saudi Arabia, keeping up the impoverished country’s retaliation against a Riyadh-led war.

The reprisal against the terminal that lies in the kingdom’s Asir region took place on Tuesday, using one of the Yemeni armed forces’ indigenously-manufactured Qasef-2K UAVs, army spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Saree said in a brief statement.

“The hit was accurate,” Saree noted in the statement that was reported by Yemen’s al-Masirah television network. “This targeting comes in response to the escalation of aggression and the ongoing siege on our dear country.”

The Saudi kingdom and its allies have been waging the war for more than seven years in a futile attempt to restore Yemen’s former Riyadh-allied officials.

Apr 17 06:57

UN complicit in US-Saudi act of piracy against fuel tankers: Yemen

The Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC) has lashed out at US-backed invading Saudi coalition for impounding Yemeni fuel tankers, calling the United Nations "a partner in the maritime piracy."

“The US-Saudi coalition keeps confiscating ships carrying Yemeni fuel under the auspices of the United Nations,” YPC Executive Director Ammar al-Adhrai said.

Al-Adhrai made the remarks on Friday during a protest held outside the UN office in the Yemeni capital Sana'a under the slogan "Denying the siege is an additional crime."

"Since the beginning of 2021, only one ship carrying diesel has been able to enter Hudaydah,” he added, referring to the strategic port that is a lifeline for millions of Yemenis.

Adhrai warned that the lives of 26 million Yemenis will be at risk if the act of preventing Yemeni fuel vessels from entering Hudaydah continues.

Apr 17 06:05

US lawmakers introduce bill to stop Saudi Arabia from obtaining nuclear weapons

A group of US lawmakers have introduced legislation that seeks to stop the possibility of Saudi Arabia obtaining a nuclear weapon, after reports surfaced last year that China had secretly assisted Riyadh to expand its nuclear programme.

The bill, titled, The Saudi WMD Act, aims to "take steps to impede access to sensitive technologies that could pave the way to Saudi Arabia acquiring a nuclear weapon", according to a press release announcing the legislation on Thursday.

It was introduced in the Senate by senators Ed Markey and Jeff Merkley, and introduced in the House of Representatives by congressmen Ted Lieu and Joaquin Castro.

"Nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists and rogue regimes is one of the gravest threats to the security of the American people and to our partners around the world," Merkley said in a statement.

Apr 12 06:08

Yemeni drones, missiles hit Aramco refineries, military sites in Saudi Arabia

Yemeni armed forces and allied Popular Committees fighters have launched fresh attacks on targets deep in Saudi Arabia in retaliation for the kingdom’s ongoing aggression on their country.

Spokesman for the Yemeni Armed Forces Brigadier General Yahya Saree said that 17 drones and ballistic missiles were used in a operation against Saudi Arabia on Monday.

Aramco refineries in Jubail and Jeddah were hit with 10 drones of Samad-3 type as part of the operation, he said.

According to the spokesman, “sensitive military targets” in the Saudi cities of Khamis Mushait and Jizan were hit with five Qasef-2K UAVs as well as two ballistic missiles of Badr 1 type.

The operation, which took place on Sunday evening and continued until dawn, hit its targets “successfully”, he added.

Saree stressed that the retaliatory attacks will continue as long as the Saudi aggression and blockade persist.

Apr 05 06:26

EXCLUSIVE: Inside the Dubai balcony 'publicity stunt' for an 'Israeli porn site' that saw more than a dozen naked women arrested for breaking decency laws

New pictures show up to 19 models preparing for the nude photoshoot
Group of naked women were filmed posing on the balcony of a building in Dubai
Dubai Police confirmed group had been arrested on public debauchery charges
Violations of public decency law can result in six months in prison or hefty fines

Mar 30 05:38

Mohammed bin Salman has lost the war in Yemen. It's time to end the humanitarian disaster

This week, Saudi Arabia announced an initiative to end the Yemen war and implement a nationwide ceasefire. The move was met with rejection by the Ansar Allah group, known as the Houthis, the main protagonists on the other side of this six-year-old conflict.

The proposal, according to the Houthis, didn’t promise the total lifting of the blockade imposed by the Saudis on Sanaa international airport and Hodeidah port, which, with Saleef port, handle about 80 percent of Yemen’s imports including staples and fuel.

The Houthis are now on the offensive and are unlikely to retreat or surrender. It is most likely that they will continue their offensive in Marib and sweep the shrinking territories and fragile authority of the Riyadh-based exiled President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

On Wednesday, Jawad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said Iran backed a peace plan that would end the blockade and violence.

Mar 26 05:31

Attack on Saudi oil terminal leaves fuel tank on fire after wave of Houthi drones targets nearby cities

An attack on an oil terminal on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coast set one fuel tank ablaze, the country’s petroleum ministry said, after several Houthi drones reportedly targeted two cities not far from the border with Yemen.

A projectile struck an oil terminal in Jizan, a port on the Red Sea north of the Saudi-Yemen border, on Friday, igniting a fire but resulting in no casualties, according to a statement from the Saudi Oil Ministry.

“The kingdom condemns this cowardly attack directed against vital installations, which does not target the kingdom only, but also targets the security of petroleum exports, the stability of energy supplies to the world, and the freedom of global trade,” the ministry said.

Unverified video footage has circulated online purporting to show the blaze in progress.

Mar 23 06:57

Saudi Arabia Bombs Grain Port in Yemen

The US-backed Saudi-led coalition continues to launch airstrikes across Yemen. Over the past few days, Saudi bombs have hit the capital Sanaa, Maarib province, and the Red Sea port of Salif.

On Monday, the UN said the airstrikes in Salif targeted a grain port and hit a warehouse and the living quarters of a food production company. “Local authorities and company management stated that six injured workers were transferred to local medical facilities for treatment,” the UN mission in Hodeidah, Yemen, said in a statement.

According to the Houthis Al-Masirah, the bombing in Salif killed at least one of the grain company’s workers and injured six more. Salif lies to the northwest of Hodeidah and is inside the UN-brokered neutral zone as per a deal signed in Stockholm in 2018. But bombings around Hodeidah and violations of the Stockholm agreement are a regular occurrence.

Mar 23 05:57

The Six-Year Epic Failure: Riyadh’s Crusade On Yemen

Six years of the Saudi-led war have passed in Yemen, and it keeps going with no sign of a peaceful solution on the horizon. The “occasion” was “commemorated” with a briefing by Ansar Allah, or as they are popularly known – the Houthis. Some impressive numbers were shared.

Houthi spokesperson Yahya Sari said that the Saudi-led coalition carried out more than 266,150 airstrikes throughout these 6 years. The predominant number of those strikes targeted Yemeni citizens, homes, cities and other infrastructure.

On the side of the Houthis, at least 1,348 separate missile operations were launched, with nearly 500 being behind enemy lines on key military facilities of the Kingdom and the UAE. In total, the Houthi Air Force carried out 12,623 raids with drones. In 2021 alone, Ansar Allah has carried out 1,464 operations, including 124 attack operations, and the rest reconnaissance.

Mar 21 07:42

Rights group slams exclusion of Israel, Saudi-led coalition from UN’s children-in-conflict blacklist

A group of child rights experts has strongly criticized the UN secretary-general for excluding eight parties, including the Israeli regime and the Saudi-led coalition, from a global blacklist of parties accountable for harming children during conflicts.

In a report, experts from Watchlist on Children, an international child rights group, said at least eight parties to conflicts were found responsible for killing and maiming more than 100 children in a single year but were excluded from the blacklist.

There were “numerous discrepancies and omissions in listing decisions, as well as unwarranted delisting decisions,” the report said, noting that the UN Security Council’s 2001 resolution establishing the list to protect children from the horrors of war “is being seriously undermined” and could result in “putting children at even greater risk.”

Mar 19 08:28

Biden Must Pressure Saudi Arabia To End The War On Yemen

Give President Joe Biden some credit. He pulled the U.S. back from supporting Saudi Arabia’s six-plus year campaign of murder and mayhem against Yemen, one of the world’s poorest nations. The Obama and Trump administrations made Americans accomplices to Saudi aggression and war crimes. The Biden administration should end all military assistance in any form for Riyadh as long as the latter is involved in the conflict.

Modern Yemen has been convulsed by unrest and war for most of its six decades of existence. (Two states emerged in the 1960s and merged in 1990.) In the 2000s Ansar Allah, widely known as the Houthis, battled the government led by President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was backed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In 2012 he was overthrown during the Arab Spring and replaced by his vice president, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi. Two years later Saleh and the Houthis joined to defenestrate Hadi, which prompted Saudi and Emirati military intervention.

Mar 18 18:22

After Bashing 'Killer' Putin, Biden Defends Killer Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

Joe Biden bashed Vladimir Putin as a "killer" who "doesn't have a soul" in an interview with ABC News released Wednesday only to turn around in the same interview and defend Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman -- who ordered the savage murder of Jamal Khashoggi -- by insisting he not face any sanctions.

Mar 02 22:51

Report: Mohammed bin Salman Tried to Buy Parler, Demanded Ability to Monitor 'Extremist' Accounts

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attempted to buy Parler in June 2019 and flew ex-CEO John Matze to Riyadh for negotiations, according to Palestinian activist Iyad el-Baghdadi.

Mar 01 06:51

Biden Admits He Won't Sanction MbS Simply Because Saudis Remain "Our Allies"

The White House has issued a belated response - or ultimately a weak attempt at damage control - amid growing bipartisan outrage that despite his prior "tough" talk on the campaign trail to "hold the Saudis to account", crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is getting off scot-free.

"The Biden administration defended its decision not to sanction Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally for his role in the death of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, as the White House confirmed no more actions against the kingdom are imminent," Stars & Stripes reports Sunday. This means that not so much as suspension of weapons sales are on the table, apparently.

Feb 26 08:06

Yemenis stage nationwide protests against Saudi blockade

Tens of thousands of people have staged rallies across Yemen in protest at the all-out Saudi blockade and closure of Sana’a International Airport, which have made it impossible for food and medical supplies to reach the poor in the war-torn country.

Protesters took to the streets in the Damt district of the southern Yemeni province of Dhale on Friday morning in a rally entitled “The Siege of the Coalition of Aggression is Killing Yemeni People.”

They chanted slogans against the United States and the Israeli regime for supporting the Saudi blockade of war-wracked Yemen.

Elsewhere in the southeastern province of Dhamar, Yemeni demonstrators marched on the United Nations office, urging the world body to intervene and lift the brutal siege.

People in Sha’ara area of the mountainous northwestern province of Sa’ada also censured the suffering of the Yemeni people as a result of the tight Saudi-led aerial and naval blockade.

Feb 26 07:51

Tensions Between US and Saudi Arabia on the Rise

oe Biden’s ideological commitment to Western liberal values promised to recover old US alliances, which were threatened by Trump’s nationalism – as in the European case. However, the rigid defense of these same values can apparently also hinder important points of American foreign policy, destroying other historic alliances, mainly in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia, a historical representative of Western interests in the Middle East, remains uncertain about the future of its relations with the US, considering the rise of Biden. So far, Saudi officials have received no contact from the new American president. Not only that: Washington has already stated that it will not make a call to Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and that any matter needing dialogue will be dealt directly with King Salman.

Feb 26 07:32

President Biden Speaks With Saudi Arabia’s King Salman

President Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Thursday ahead of the release of a US intelligence report on the 2018 killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi that is expected to pin the killing on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known as MBS.

US officials have told media outlets that the report is a declassified version of an intelligence assessment that says MBS ordered Khashoggi’s murder that took place in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul. Saudi Arabia denies that MBS directed the hit.

The Biden administration has said it will reevaluate the US-Saudi relationship. So far, the only real policy change has been an announcement that the US is ending all support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive” operations in Yemen. But President Biden made it clear that military support will continue if it can be framed as defensive.

Feb 26 07:32

MBS: Why the world may be stuck with the ‘CEO of Saudi Inc’

As the United States prepares to release a declassified version of its intelligence report on the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a Saudi hit squad, the world’s focus is on the role the kingdom’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, allegedly played in the assassination.

MBS, as he is known, has become increasingly powerful amid his father’s continuing health battles and the political shakeups he has presided over within his own family. In 2020, Wall Street Journal reporters Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck published Blood and Oil: Mohammed Bin Salman’s Ruthless Quest for Global Power in an effort to pull back the curtain on a man who is likely to shape Saudi and regional politics for decades to come.

Feb 25 07:50

Ma’rib battle: Yemeni army close to retaking city from Saudi-led forces

Victory appears to be on the horizon in the heated battle for Yemen’s strategic central province of Ma’rib as army troops, backed by allied fighters from Popular Committees, have reportedly taken control of most areas there and dislodged Saudi-led coalition forces and Riyadh-backed militants from those regions.

A Yemeni military source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Arabic service of Russia’s Sputnik news agency that Yemeni soldiers and their allies had encircled Ma’rib city, following weeks of fierce clashes with Saudi-led coalition forces and their mercenaries.

The source added that Yemeni forces had cut off the main supply route into the eastern flank of Ma’rib, which leads to the Arab country’s largest province of Hadhramaut.

Feb 25 07:31

Secret documents reveal Saudi Khashoggi killers used private jet Crown Prince had seized - as U.S. prepares to condemn royal for personally approving the murder

Top secret documents have revealed that the assassins who killed journalist Jamal Khashoggi used two private jets from a firm that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince had seized as a declassified version of a US intelligence report on Thursday will find that Mohammed bin Salman approved the 2018 killing.

The documents, which were filed as part of a lawsuit in Canada and obtained by CNN, describes how ownership of Sky Prime Aviation was transferred into the country's $400billion sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund, in 2017.

Just a year later, in October 2018, the company's Gulfstreams were used to carry out Khashoggi's murder.

Feb 24 09:56

Saudi Arabia Sued By Families Of Pensacola Terror Attack Victims

Saudi Arabia is once again facing a major lawsuit in the US filed by the families of victims killed in a terror attack perpetrated by a Saudi citizen.

The attack in question occurred at Pensacola Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla. on Dec. 6, 2019. On that morning, a 21-year-old member of the Saudi military opened fire on Americans staying at the Naval base, carrying out a shooting rampage that led to the deaths of 3 Americans with 13 others wounded. The perpetrator, Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani, is believed to have posted his justification to social media before the attack. He was a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force staying in the US as part of a program whereby the US military offers training to military pilots from certain geopolitical 'partners'.

Feb 21 07:34

US Reaffirms Commitment to ‘Defend’ Saudi Arabia

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin spoke with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday and reaffirmed the US military’s commitment to the “defense” of Saudi Arabia.

The conversation comes after President Biden announced he was ending US support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive” operations in Yemen, leaving room to support Riyadh militarily if it can be framed as defensive.

Austin condemned attacks inside Saudi Arabia that are launched by Yemen’s Houthis. “The Secretary condemned the recent Houthi cross-border attacks on Saudi Arabia and expressed his commitment to assisting Saudi Arabia in the defense of its borders,” The Pentagon said in a statement on the call.

Feb 21 07:33

Loujain al-Hathloul: The rest of Saudi Arabia must follow her lead

Famous and courageous Saudi activist Loujain al-Hathloul is neither free nor compensated after 1,001 days behind bars, during which she was allegedly subjected to torture by the infamous Saud al-Qahtani, who together with others was a key suspect in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.

While Hathloul is finally out of prison, she faces three years of probation and a five-year travel ban, effectively keeping her in limbo. She cannot express opinions or resume her activism. In the words of her sisters, Alia and Lina, during an online media conference on Thursday, Saudi state institutions have disintegrated over the last three years, which made them seek international solidarity after giving up on securing the release of their innocent sister.

Feb 21 07:29

US seeks ‘fallback’ Saudi bases in case of Iranian escalation

US Army Central Command chief says military looking to operate from other bases during ‘a period of heightened risk’; no plan to shut down existing ones

The US military is looking for fallback bases in Saudi Arabia to prevent its troops deployed there from becoming obvious targets in the event of tensions with Iran, a senior US military official said Thursday.

“We are not looking for new bases. I want to be clear on that,” said General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the US Army Central Command (CENTCOM), during a tour of the Middle East.

“What we would like to do, without shutting down these [current] bases …. is to have the ability to go to other bases to operate in a period of heightened risk,” he explained.

Feb 19 11:42

Biden is excellent news for Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia: Oil prices soar as US stops own production

The Biden presidency is already turning into very good news for Iran, Russia, Norway and Saudi Arabia, as oil prices soar and create massive wealth for these nations.

Biden’s choice to end shale, review oil permits, halting the Keystone XL Oil Pipeline and thereby end US oil independence, is a dream come true to many. Russia and Saudi must be overjoyed.

The order to stop new oil and natural gas leases on public lands, reviewing existing permits, aims at strengthening Green energy, writes historian and author, Hanne Nabintu Herland. Link to WND article here.

Which is great! We all wish there was more green sustainable energy in the world. The problem is, we are not there yet. The question then becomes: Who will profit from the upcoming energy shortage?

Feb 18 09:26

it’s snowing now in Saudi Arabia...

Feb 17 07:22

Joe Biden will refuse to speak to de facto Saudi ruler Mohammed bin Salman and speak only to his father King Salman as part of 'recalibrating' relationship with kingdom, White House says

President Joe Biden will recalibrate American relations with Saudi Arabia and will communicate through Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz rather than Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the White House said Tuesday.

'We've made clear from the beginning that we're going to recalibrate our relationship with Saudi Arabia,' White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at her briefing on Tuesday.

She said part of that recalibration would include Biden speaking to the Saudi king, instead of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - a marked change in policy from the Trump administration.

Feb 14 07:32

Report exposes Saudi crown prince’s debauchery in Maldives resort

A report reveals that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) has spent a whopping $ 1.18 billion on lavish celebrations, cruise ships and female supermodels since taking power in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

The revelation by the Africa Report website sheds light on the Saudi crown prince's penchant for extravagance and an array of prestige purchases he made between 2015 and 2017.

Bin Salman opted to go on vacation in July 2015 but intended to spend the leisure time far from the "prying eyes" of the public and instead of choosing the Saudi royal family’s typical holiday haunts in France and Spain, he chose the highly exclusive, sumptuous Velaa Resort in the Maldives.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

It's good to be the prince!

Feb 11 09:50

Rights Groups Outraged After Twitter Purges Accounts Of Saudi Political Prisoners

Feb 11 09:28

Loujain al-Hathloul was released, but other Saudi women activists remain behind bars

After more than 1,000 days in detention, Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul was released on probation on Wednesday, according to her sister.

Hathloul was arrested in May 2018 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and sent to Saudi Arabia, where she faced trial on a loosely worded terror law often used to prosecute activists.

A prominent women’s rights defender who campaigned for women freedom to drive, Hathloul quickly became an international icon symbolising the crackdown on freedoms in Saudi Arabia, with human rights organisations launching campaigns calling for her release.

News of Hathloul’s release on probation has been widely celebrated online, However, many women who campaigned for women’s rights in the kingdom still languish behind bars.

Feb 11 09:27

Saudi Arabia 'suspended ministry website following criticism of hateful speech'

Saudi Arabia has shut down its defence ministry’s website and removed online hate content following reports by a Washington-based think tank citing xenophobic and antisemitic quotes by pro-government clerics and platforms.

In a February briefing seen by Middle East Eye, the Institute for Gulf Affairs (IGA) said its investigations into inciteful sermons and textbooks have prompted the Saudi government to take steps to delete the content from the internet.

The IGA think tank has argued in its previous reports that terror attacks committed by Saudi nationals are rooted in “institutionalised incitement and indoctrination” by the ministries of education, justice and defence, posing an extremist threat to Western and US interests.

Feb 11 06:50

Loujain al-Hathloul: Saudi activist released from prison

Saudi women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul has returned home after spending 1,001 days in prison.

Nouf Abdulaziz, a blogger, was also released from prison, according to the Women's Human Rights Defenders in MENA group.

The releases were celebrated online, with Loujain's sister Lina al-Hathloul, taking to Twitter to share the news:

Feb 09 07:24

US Warns Yemen’s Houthis Against Attacks Inside Saudi Arabia

The US State Department released a statement on Sunday warning Yemen’s Houthis against attacks inside Saudi Arabia and further offensives against the Saudi-backed government inside Yemen.

“As the President is taking steps to end the war in Yemen and Saudi Arabia has endorsed a negotiated settlement, the United States is deeply troubled by continued Houthi attacks,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

The statement comes a few days after President Biden announced he is cutting off support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive” operations in Yemen. “We call on the Houthis to immediately cease attacks impacting civilian areas inside Saudi Arabia and to halt any new military offensives inside Yemen, which only bring more suffering to the Yemeni people,” Price said.

Feb 09 07:24

UK Refuses to Follow US in Suspending Saudi Arms Sales Over Yemen War

The UK is not following the US in suspending arms sales to Saudi Arabia for offensive use in the war in Yemen, where the US and UK-backed Saudi-led coalition regularly bombs civilian targets.

“The decisions the US takes on matters of arms sales are decisions for the US,” said James Cleverly, a British minister for the Middle East and North Africa. “The UK takes its own arms export responsibilities very seriously, and we continue to assess all arms export licenses in accordance with strict licensing criteria.”

The UK resumed arms sales to Saudi Arabia that could be used in Yemen in July 2020, after over a year pause due to a court ruling that found Saudi arms sales unlawful. The court said UK ministers had not properly assessed the risk of civilian casualties.

Feb 05 07:52

Biden Says He Will End ‘Offensive Support’ For Saudi War in Yemen

President Biden delivered a foreign policy speech on Thursday and vowed to end US support for Saudi Arabia’s “offensive” operations in Yemen.

“We are ending all American support for offensive operations in the war in Yemen, including relevant arms sales,” Biden said. Last week, the administration paused planned arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, although US officials framed the pause as a standard procedure for a new administration.

While Biden vowed to end “offensive” support, he promised to keep supporting the Saudis militarily in other ways. “At the same time, Saudi Arabia faces missile attacks, UAV strikes, and other threats from Iranian-supplied forces in multiple countries. We’re going to continue to support and help Saudi Arabia defend its sovereignty.”

Feb 05 07:51

Biden Says He’s Ending the Yemen War—But It's Too Soon to Celebrate

The February 4 announcement by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that President Biden would end U.S. support for ?“offensive operations” in Yemen was understandably met with celebration by those opposed to the war. Almost six years of the U.S.-Saudi?U.A.E. onslaught on Yemen have left the country devastated by humanitarian disaster and famine. Anti-war activists have spent these years?—?first during the Obama-Biden administration, then the Trump-Pence administration, and now the Biden-Harris administration?—?agitating to end U.S. participation in the onslaught. It has been an organizing effort that often seemed like shouting into the wind, as the bombings of hospitals, factories and weddings piled up. The countless people who have been toiling in obscurity to end this war, and the people in Yemen who have joined in this effort even while surrounded by hardship and death, certainly deserve praise and gratitude.

Feb 03 07:03

Saudi forces attack protest against economic woes, make arrests: Reports

Reports coming out of Saudi Arabia say Riyadh’s forces have attacked a group of protesters who were out on the streets of the city of Buraidah in Qassim Region to denounce the regime’s economic policies.

Clashes erupted on Monday night as Saudi troops attempted to disperse the demonstrators, who were angry at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's economic policies that they say have worsened unemployment and poverty across the kingdom.

“The city of Buraidah in the al-Qassim region witnessed demonstrations where hundreds of young people gathered, and [the demonstrations] led to clashes with Saudi security forces,” media personality Hosein Mortada tweeted on Monday night.

Feb 03 06:52

Saudis, allies dropped over 3,000 cluster bombs on Yemen since 2015: Official

The director-general of the Yemen Executive Mine Action Center (YEMAC) has said the Saudi-led coalition has dropped 3,179 cluster bombs on Yemen since the beginning of its aggression against the defenseless Yemeni people in 2015.

Ali Sofra said the civilian casualties of the bombardments, mostly women and children, have exceeded 1,000, and most of them were in agricultural and grazing areas, Iraq’s al-Maloumeh news website reported on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia, accompanied by its allies including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been leading a war against Yemen since March 2015 with the aim of bringing the former pro-Riyadh government back to power.

Feb 02 09:18

Blinken says partnership with Riyadh must be 'consistent' with US values

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken decried the "abhorrent" murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and suggested Washington was reassessing its relationship with Riyadh to ensure it aligned with America's interests and "values".

In an interview with NBC, taped on Sunday and partly aired on Monday afternoon, Blinken acknowledged that Riyadh is an "important" US ally, but suggested that a review of bilateral US-Saudi ties is already underway.

"The murder of Mr Khashoggi was an outrageous act against a journalist, against someone [who was] a resident of the United States. It was abhorrent, and I think it shocked the conscience of the world," the newly confirmed US chief diplomat said.

Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who resided in Virginia, was killed and dismembered by Saudi government agents at the kingdom's consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

Feb 02 07:43

Loujain al-Hathloul Is Not a Terrorist

On Monday, December 28, 2020, our sister, Loujain al-Hathloul, was sentenced to five years and eight months in prison. Loujain’s sentence came after spending nearly three years in pre-trial detention, during which she was brutally tortured, placed in solitary confinement, went on two hunger strikes, and was denied contact with our parents (her legal representatives) numerous times.

Many people have asked us how Loujain is after all this time, and how we feel about her sentencing. In order for us to fully answer this question we want to tell you about our sister and why her activism defines who she is.

Loujain is one of the middle sisters in our family of six siblings. From an early age, people knew what Loujain was thinking because she would always tell you. She would ask questions all the time—this should have been a sign of what was to come for her as a leader and advocate for women’s rights.

Jan 29 09:08

Saudi Arabia hires over dozen lobbying firms in US to launder its reputation

Saudi authorities have reportedly hired more than a dozen lobbying firms to help boost relations with the United States and improve the Riyadh regime’s image as new US President Joe Biden assumes office.

According to foreign agent registration filings with the US Justice Department, Riyadh has used at least 16 firms “to largely restore its influence machine in the capital [Washington] and in other parts of the country, and help boost US-Saudi trade relations.”

The lobbying effort will be even more crucial during the term of new US President Joe Biden, whose administration decided on Wednesday to freeze arms sales to Riyadh pending a review, said a Foreign Policy report.

Saudi authorities are already in hot water over issues including Riyadh’s devastating war on Yemen, its treatment of women and the murder of exiled dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

Jan 26 08:15

US Expanding Military Presence in Saudi Arabia With Eye on Iran

The US military is expanding its operations in Saudi Arabia and looking to establish bases in the western part of the country. The initiative began about a year ago and was just revealed to reporters by Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command.

According to McKenzie, the US has been using various air bases and seaports in western Saudi Arabia and is working to build its own bases in the region. As part of the plan, the US and Saudi Arabia are negotiating infrastructure projects that would make two ports on the Red Sea and two airbases in the west more suitable for the use of the US military.

The idea is that US bases in Qatar, the UAE, and Bahrain are in the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles, and bases further west would be beneficial in a conflict with Tehran, something McKenzie explained to reporters.

Jan 26 08:14

Wall Street executives to return to 'Davos in the desert' as outrage over Khashoggi fades

Some of the biggest names on Wall Street are expected to appear at Saudi Arabia's Future Investment Initiative (FII) this week, more than two years after many boycotted the conference over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

This year, the economic conference lists executives and leaders from the Carlyle Group, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, among 140 international speakers who will attend either in person or virtually, according to the New York Times.

Tom Barrack, executive chairman of Colony Capital and an ally of former US President Donald Trump, is also going to be in attendance, the Times reported. Barrack was forced to apologise in 2019 after suggesting it was a "mistake" to criticise Riyadh over Khashoggi's killing.

Jan 26 07:04

Reports Claim Explosion Heard in Riyadh as Saudi Arabia Allegedly Intercepts Ballistic Missile

The Saudi authorities have not yet confirmed reports about either intercepting a missile in the skies above the capital or about an explosion purportedly heard by its residents.

Reports of an explosion being heard in the Saudi capital have started circulating on social media. Al Arabiya Editor-in-Chief Mohammed Khalid Alyahya reported that country's air defences have intercepted a missile over Riyadh.

The journalist cited an account of a witness living in the capital's Diplomatic Quarter, who said his house "shook" as a result of a blast.

Jan 25 09:06

Mysterious Group Claims Responsibility For Recent Attack On Saudi Capital

An armed group calling itself the Righteous Promise Brigades [Alwiyat Al Wa’ad Al Haq] has claimed responsibility for the recent attack on the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

In a statement released late on January 23, the group said it had attacked Riyadh with a number of kamikaze drones.

According to the group, the attack targeted several positions in the Saudi capital including the Al Yamamah Palace, the official residence and office of the King of Saudi Arabia and the seat of the royal court.

Jan 25 06:44

Director says film about Khashoggi shunned by all major global distributors

Award-winning director Bryan Fogel told Hill.TV that his documentary about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was shunned by all major global distributors.

“The Dissident” focuses on the 2018 killing of Khashoggi, a Saudi journalist and critic of the royal family who wrote for The Washington Post.

Fogel said he believes the film was too critical for bigger companies that have financial ties to Saudi Arabia.

“[This challenge] speaks to the environment of fear among these big companies,” he told Hill.TV. “There was such a hostile environment coming from the Trump administration for any company that might not align with those administration’s policies.”

Jan 22 08:26

Saudi Envoy Says Relations With US Under Biden Will Be ‘Excellent’

While President Biden is expected to reevaluate the US-Saudi relationship, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister said Riyadh is optimistic about the new administration.

“We are optimistic of having excellent ties with the US under a Biden administration,” Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said in an interview with Al-Arabiya on Thursday.

Biden has said he will end US support for the Saudis war in Yemen, something Antony Blinken, the secretary of state nominee, reiterated during Tuesday’s Senate confirmation hearings. But Prince Faisal seems to think Biden will continue support for the brutal war.

“The Biden administration will see that we have common goals with regards to the situation in Yemen,” he said, adding that the Trump administration’s decision to designate Yemen’s Houthis as a terror organization was justified.

Jan 22 08:26

Saudis Reject Claims of Summer Civilian Casualties in Yemen Attacks

Early in the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen, it was decided, mostly by the Saudis, that reports of civilian casualties could be internally investigated, again mostly by the Saudis. That’s what they’ve done since.

Typical of the program, officials reported on their inquiry into incidents this summer in which Saudi warplanes killed a number of Yemeni children in Jawf Province, and also attacked a water truck.

Declaring all the matters “refuted,” the reports seemed to rest on the strategy of just reiterating official reports of what happened, declaring now that this is what happened so alternate reports with casualties must be wrong.

Jan 22 08:18

Israel and Saudi Arabia set to push Biden away from the Iran nuclear deal

The U.S. Department of Defense announced on January 15 that it was changing its command structure to move Israel from the European Command, or EUCOM, to Central Command, or CENTCOM, which covers the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of South Asia. The reticence of many Arab and Central Asian countries to work with Israel necessitated the awkward assignment of Israel outside its geographic location, but the rapprochement between Israel and several Arab and Muslim states changed that calculus.

The change is significant, as is the timing, coming just days before the end of the Trump administration. President Biden is not going to reverse this change, but it will present him some significant complications.

Jan 22 08:08

How the U.S. Covered Up the Murder of Journalist Jamal Khashoggi

In October 2018, the world learned of the brutal murder and dismemberment of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Khashoggi had been a government insider in his home country of Saudi Arabia, but his relationship with the ruling family—and particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—soured as Khashoggi became an influential advocate for free speech and human rights within the kingdom. In September 2017, fearing retaliation, he fled to the United States.

In 2018, Khashoggi walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, to obtain marriage papers and was ambushed by a team of operatives allegedly deployed by Prince Mohammed. As Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, waited outside for him to return, the Saudi team went to work.

"The global response, the U.S. response, the U.N. response, is basically 'bad boy, we're gonna let you get away with this one,'" says Bryan Fogel, the Oscar-winning filmmaker behind the 2017 Netflix documentary Icarus.

Jan 22 07:40

An alleged Saudi troll campaign is targeting a movie about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi

Bryan Fogel made the investigative documentary "The Dissident" to bring to light alleged free-speech suppression efforts by the Saudi government.

Now his film could be a target of the very forces he seeks to expose.

"The Dissident" saw as many as 500 low audience scores out of 2,300 flood the popular film-rating site Rotten Tomatoes on Jan. 12, filmmakers said, an act they believe came from trolls operating on behalf of the Saudi government who wish to create a false sense of dissatisfaction. The movie's approval rating soon plummeted from above 95% to 68%.

A similar dynamic has also appeared to unfold on the movie site IMDb, which has seen 1,175 one-star reviews flood the site since Saturday. In the previous month, the movie rarely collected more than a few dozen such scores in a given day; many more users gave it the highest rating.

Jan 19 08:23

Saudis vowed to stop executing minors; some death sentences remain, rights groups say

Five people who committed crimes in Saudi Arabia as minors have yet to have their death sentences revoked, according to two rights groups, nine months after the kingdom’s Human Rights Commission (HRC) announced an end to capital punishment for juvenile offenders.

The state-backed HRC in April cited a March royal decree by King Salman stipulating that individuals sentenced to death for crimes committed while minors will no longer face execution and would instead serve prison terms of up to 10 years in juvenile detention centers.

The statement did not specify a timeline, but in October, in response to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), it said the decree had come into force immediately upon announcement.

Jan 13 07:05

A new movie about Jamal Khashoggi reveals a protégé who is alive and under assault

Omar Abdulaziz remembers the phone call he received a few months ago. It was from an officer of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and it came with a message of stern warning for the Saudi dissident.

“They said, don’t ever post on social media where you’ll be,” he recalled. “We may not be able to protect you.”

Jan 05 11:13

“An Israeli Blitzkrieg” Signs Point to Imminent Israeli Military Action in Yemen

Saudi Arabia has rung in the new year in a familiar way, with an airstrike targeting a large gathering of civilians at a wedding ceremony in Yemen. On new year’s night, at least five civilians were killed when Saudi-backed militants launched artillery rounds at a wedding ceremony in the populated al-Hawk area in the strategic port city of Hodeida.

Developments taking place across the Middle East are driving the reality home in Yemen that 2021 is unlikely to bring about an end to Saudi Arabia’s nearly six-year-long war on their country. Signs of escalation are beginning to surface gradually in the Yemeni interior and along the Red Sea in the wake of the wave of normalization between the Gulf states and Tel Aviv.

Dec 29 07:36

Experts Blast Trump Plan To Sell Millions in Bombs to Criminal Saudi Regime

Experts on the adverse effects of the military-industrial complex on Wednesday blasted a plan by the Trump administration to sell nearly half a billion dollars worth of advanced U.S. bombs to Saudi Arabia, which for over five years has been leading an airstrike campaign and starvation blockade that have added tens of thousands of civilian deaths to the already staggering toll in Yemen’s ongoing civil war.

Bloomberg reports the US State Department has notified Congress of its intention to license the sale of some 7,500 Raytheon Paveway precision-guided, air-to-ground munitions valued at $478 million to the kingdom, despite its status as one of the world’s worst human rights violators and prolific perpetrator of U.S.-backed war crimes in Yemen.

If the license is approved, Raytheon will have a green light to sell the arms directly to the Saudi regime.

Dec 29 07:26

Factbox-Who is Saudi human rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul?

Prominent Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, 31, was convicted by a Saudi court on Monday on charges which include seeking to change the Saudi political system and harming national security. Here are some details about al-Hathloul, who has been detained since 2018.

* Hathloul rose to prominence in 2013 when she began publicly campaigning for women’s right to drive in Saudi Arabia.

She was arrested for the first time in 2014 while attempting to drive across the border from the United Arab Emirates - where she had a valid driver’s licence - to Saudi Arabia. She spent 73 days in a women’s detention facility, an experience she later said helped shape her campaigning against the kingdom’s male guardianship system.

Dec 29 07:26

Loujain al-Hathloul: Saudi court hands prison sentence to women's rights activist

A Saudi terrorism court on Monday sentenced prominent women's rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul to five years and eight months in prison, in a case that has drawn international criticism from rights groups and governments.

The Specialised Criminal Court suspended two years and 10 months of her sentence "if she does not commit any crime" within the next three years, local media reported.

The Riyadh court convicted the 31-year-old under acts that fall under a Saudi law on combating and financing terrorism.

Dec 23 07:19

Saudi Arabia shuts down international air, see & land travel over new fast-spreading Covid-19 strain

Riyadh has sealed its borders for all passenger travel for at least a week, suspending international flights as well as entry to sea and land ports over a mutant Covid-19 variant that was first discovered in the UK.

With a growing number of European countries locking out travel from the UK, Saudi Arabia has pulled all the stops in its effort to curb the spread of the new strain of the coronavirus, imposing a sweeping ban on all commercial travel, Saudi Press Agency reported on Sunday, citing an ”official source” with the country’s Interior Ministry.

Dec 22 07:34

Trump administration weighing legal immunity for Saudi crown prince in alleged assassination plot

The U.S. government is weighing a request to declare Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman immune from a federal lawsuit accusing him of targeting for assassination a former top intelligence officer who could disclose damaging secrets about the prince’s ascent to power, according to legal documents related to the case.

The Saudi government has asked to shield the prince from liability in response to a complaint brought by Saad Aljabri, a former Saudi counterterrorism leader and longtime U.S. intelligence ally now living in exile in Canada.

Dec 22 07:18

Khashoggi's Fiancée Demands Biden Release CIA Report On Brutal Saudi Murder As First Act

Hatice Cengiz, the fiancée of Washington Post columnist and Saudi national Jamal Khashoggi, is urging US President-elect Joe Biden to fulfill his campaign promise for accountability by releasing the CIA's classified intelligence assessment on the journalist's 2018 assassination inside Saudi Arabia's consulate in Istanbul.

"I am calling on the president-elect to release the CIA's assessment and evidence. It will greatly assist in uncovering the truth about who is responsible for Jamal's murder," Cengiz told The Guardian in a report published Friday. She had waited outside while Khashoggi went into the consulate for paperwork for their planned marriage.

Dec 18 08:07

Saudi prosecutor seeks maximum jail sentence for women's rights activist

The state prosecutor’s office in Saudi Arabia is seeking the maximum possible jail sentence for the women’s rights activist Loujain al-Hathloul, raising the possibility that the campaigner could face 20 years behind bars after a verdict in her case is announced next week.

In a hearing on Wednesday at Saudi Arabia’s notorious terrorism court, the judge said he would deliver a verdict and possible sentencing in the case on Monday, said Hathloul’s sister Lina, who also shared a copy of the prosecution’s indictment with the Guardian.

Later on Wednesday night, however, Loujain’s parents, who act as her legal team, received a text message summoning them to Riyadh’s criminal court on Thursday morning. It is not yet clear what this development means for Hathloul’s case, which was transferred from the criminal court to the terrorism court last month.

Dec 17 13:13

Saudi Arabia: Starving workers go on strike after no wages for ten months

Workers from Saudi Arabia's largest marine construction company have gone on strike after not receiving their salaries for the last ten months, forcing some to go hungry and beg for food.

The Huta Marine group employs at least 6,000 people who work in Saudi Arabia from around the world, according to the company's website.

Footage posted online showed dozens of mostly foreign workers from South Asia and East Africa protesting outside Huta's head office in the coastal city of Jeddah.

Dec 16 06:36

Saudi Arabia hires new crop of lobbyists with Joe Biden poised to roll back Trump-era relationship

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is on a hiring spree for lobbyists as President-elect Joe Biden, who has signaled that he will take a tougher stance with the nation, prepares to take office.

With the potential for a more turbulent relationship with the U.S., Saudi Arabia has been hiring some lobbyists with ties to Republican congressional leaders.

These lobbyists will potentially have more success engaging with GOP lawmakers in the new Congress instead of Democrats or Biden’s administration. Republicans made gains in the House of Representatives during the 2020 election and could have a slight edge in the Senate if they win one of the seats up for grabs in two Georgia runoffs set for early next month.

Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations last year during the Democratic primary that he would scale back U.S. support for Saudi Arabia on key issues.

Dec 15 11:08

International law vs eternal recurrence: The US and Israel

Lawrence Davidson: "If Biden wants to promote a safer, more humane world under the rule of law, he should turn his attention to the assassin and not the assassinated; to the saboteur and not those sabotaged; to Israel, and… his own nation’s Middle East foreign policy…">>

Dec 15 10:51

CURSE OF SAUDIS: TANKER EXPLOSIONS AND OTHER UNFORTUNATE EVENTS

A series of unfortunate events linked to the Saudi invasion in Yemen continues to pursue the Kingdom.

On December 14, an explosion hit the Singapore-flagged BW Rhine, a chemical tanker hauling gasoline, off the Saudi port city of Jeddah, which is also known as the distribution center for oil giant SaudiAramco. The BW Group said that the explosion erupted after the Singapore-flagged BW Rhine was hit by “an external source”, but all 22 sailors on board received no injures. Later, Saudi media claimed that the explosion was caused by an attack with a water-born improvised explosive device. At the time of the attack, the ship was carrying more than 60,000 metric tons of gasoline from the Aramco refinery at Yanbu.

Dec 15 06:44

One sheriff in town: Saudi Arabia launches 'mini Ritz' crackdown, sparks terror

Saudi Arabia has launched a new purported anti-corruption crackdown resembling the 2017 campaign, sparking further terror in the kingdom.

Reports say the new crackdown, which has targeted top-ranking military officials as well as low-key municipal, health and environment officials, aims to tighten Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS)’s grip on power.

The drive emphasizes that "there is only one sheriff in town", French news agency AFP quoted an observer in Saudi Arabia as saying.

The crackdown is widely dubbed as a "mini Ritz" operation, a reference to the November 2017 clampdown that saw princes and tycoons rounded up and detained at the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh over similar corruption charges.

The detentions had been ordered by Saudi Arabia’s so-called Anti-Corruption Committee headed by bin Salman in a crackdown widely believed to be aimed at consolidating his power.

Dec 15 06:43

The Tiger Squad; a Saudi hit team

Before the horrific murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul very few people had ever heard of the Firqat el-Nemir, which translates into English as The Tiger Squad.

The squad is said to comprise 50 operatives, the best recruits from different branches of the kingdom's security services who have one thing in common: blind loyalty to their leader, the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman.

The Tiger Squad has one major mission: Eliminating Saudi dissidents, at home and abroad, in such a way that it would go unnoticed by the media and the international community.

However, the Khashoggi case was a disaster for the group.

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