Saudi Arabia attack – Who do you trust?

“Half of Saudi oil production wiped out” was the headliner.   I predicted that Saudi Arabia had shut down a lot of their processing and storage facilities simply as a precaution while inspections were underway.  Saudi Arabia yesterday announced that 70% of their production was restored.  They are able to maintained contracted tanker liftings using their reserve oil.  WTI oil prices are around $58/bbl, about what they were before the attack.

The question still remains, as to whether the Houthis or the Iranians were behind the attack.   I don’t know.   Our President is a non-stop liar.    According to politifact.com,  69% of the 720 statements he has made were in the category of Mostly false, false or pants on fire.   Only 4% of his statements were true.

If you work with Donald Trump,  then you have to toe the line, and you better find a way to support him, or you will be out the door in a second.   So, I guess the question keeps coming around, who do you believe?

Not Trump nor Prince Mohammed Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.  And that doesn’t leave me believing the Iranians either.   I believe more in that the drones or any missiles were not sent from Iran, because it is not in Iran’s national interest to provoke a war with the Saudi’s.     But, there are a number of UN inspectors, which I feel will be far more impartial.

It definitely was the crisis that wasn’t.  The petroleum industry including  oil rigs, processing and export facilities, refineries and petrochemical plants are all vulnerable to drone attacks.  They were before the attack, but the public awareness wasn’t there.

It is easy to accuse Iran, but as I said, it just doesn’t make any sense they would provoke a war with the Saudis.  Of course, the Houthis are completely different.   They are already at war with Saudi Arabia.

 

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Links:

https://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/

 

 

 

 

Saudi Arabia Issues List of Demands on Qatar

Saudi Arabia has given Qatar 10 days to comply with 13 demands as given below:

Demands from Saudi Arabia

“This list of demands confirms what Qatar has said from the beginning – the illegal blockade has nothing to do with combating terrorism, it is about limiting Qatar’s sovereignty, and outsourcing our foreign policy,” said Sheikh Saif bin Ahmed Al Thani, director of the Qatari government’s communications office, in a statement on Friday.

This action by Saudi Arabia means the blockade will not be resolved easily as it is becoming a test of wills and might.

Al Jazeera Report

Perhaps, the worse Trump tweet, yet in 2017, has been the June 6, tweet.  Fortunately this does not represent the State Department’s viewpoint.

trumps tweet on qatar

Now Saudi Arabia is ordering Qatar to shut down the independent news network, Al Jazeera.

Hopefully, the US will side with Qatar in the inevitable rejection of these demands.  If not, then we believe in the freedom of the press for only ourselves and not others.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

Qatar crisis worsening

In the four prior blogs, I tried to explain some of the key element of the crisis. It was not comprehensive.  I will list a few recent events not included in the last blog.  These events are  all within the last 5 days, although they are not really in proper time sequence.

Massive deportations and family separations will result:

Al Jazeera headline:  Saudi-led blockade on Qatar ‘breaking up families’ Amid GCC diplomatic crisis, hundreds of mixed-citizenship couples are facing separation.  It should have mentioned that Qatar retaliated, expelling Saudi, UAE and Bahraini citizens.   In their article,  it is stated:

Shortly following the severing of diplomatic ties and border closure between Qatar and the three Arab Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, Qatari nationals were ordered to leave within 14 days. Saudi, UAE and Bahraini citizens were also given the same timeframe to leave Qatar.

As a result, hundreds of mixed-citizenship Qatari couples are facing the grim prospect of being split from their families. The children inherit the nationality of their father in mixed citizenship couples, so in many cases, the children are really unfamiliar with the countries to which they are being deported.  It is a humanitarian disaster.  Each day, reconciliation seems more unlikely as each side is trying to inflect as much damages on the other as possible.

Read more

UAE  15 year sentence for “sympathy  crimes”:    “Strict and firm action will be taken against anyone who shows sympathy or any form of bias towards Qatar, or against anyone who objects to the position of the United Arab Emirates, whether it be through the means of social media, or any type of written, visual or verbal form,” Gulf News quoted UAE Attorney-General Hamad Saif al-Shamsi as saying. Offenders could be punished with a jail term of up to 15 years and a fine of at least 500,000 dirhams ($136,000), Gulf News reported.

Russian Hacking:   Washington (CNN)US investigators believe Russian hackers breached Qatar’s state news agency and planted a fake news report that contributed to a crisis among the US’ closest Gulf allies, according to US officials briefed on the investigation. The FBI recently sent a team of investigators to Doha to help the Qatari government investigate the alleged hacking incident, Qatari and US government officials say.

June 5 activities were aimed at sanctioning Qatar, and isolating its ability to trade and obtained supplies.  Saudi Arabia’s central bank asks local banks to sell Qatari riyals and not to buy any more, local media and Reuters report.  Egypt airspace to close on Tuesday.. Egypt’s ministry of civil aviation has announced that the country’s airspace will be closed to Qatari flights starting Tuesday 04:00 GMT.   Lieberman, Israel’s defence minister, has praised the measures against Qatar, saying: “There is no doubt that this opens very many possibilities of cooperation in the struggle against terror.”  Saudi Arabia has shut down Al Jazeera Media Network’s local office, according to Saudi state media. The Saudi Ports Authority has notified shipping agents not to receive vessels carrying Qatari flags or ships owned by Qatari companies or individuals. Egypt suspends air and sea links.   Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement the country was suspending air and sea links to Qatar, citing national security.

Yemen cuts ties, despite Qatar’s assistance fighting the Houtis:  Yemen’s internationally recognised government has cut relations with Qatar and says it supports the decision by the Saudi-led coalition to end Qatar’s participation in the war on the Houthis in Yemen. Qatar has been part of the coalition since March 2015.  The government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi says it severed ties with Qatar in part over its support of extremist groups in Yemen “in contradiction with the goals announced by the countries supporting the legitimate government”.

Just half the news!  June 10, A separate report from Saudi’s state-run news agency SPA acknowledged Tillerson’s call for Qatar to curtail support for “terrorism”, but did not mention his remarks that the crisis was hurting ordinary Qataris, impairing business activities and harming the fight against ISIL.

I guess that’s enough for now.   See link for the latest updates.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

Al Jazeera:  Saudi led blockade is breaking up families (So is Qatar’s deportation)

Al Jazeera: Qatar Diplomatic Crisis: Latest Updates

Iran again

Ok.  It’s almost like the Geico commercials.  Perhaps 99% of everyone has heard about enough.

But, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khameni  made a speech yesterday,  about Israel not being around in another 25 years.    Lousy timing. “With Allah’s help, there will be no such thing as as a Zionist regime in 25 years,”  is what Khamenei said.   And the US is still the “Great Satan.”

The guy is 76 years old.   For sure, he’s not going to be around in another 25 years.   His hard line rhetoric  is contrasted with the President Rouhani and very importantly Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.  His title as “Supreme Leader” is a farce.  He  is all bark and no bite.  He is the spiritual leader of the past, not the real leader.

Next point- a lot of false statements were made by Republicans  about how Iran sponsored terrorism around the world.   But many of the speeches by House Republicans were ridiculous, because radical Islamic groups have thrived while the assets of Iran have been frozen and their economy is in dire straits.  This is a fact.

Where does most of the money for terrorism come from?   Experts will point first to Saudi Arabia, particularly in their aid to Hamas.  The worse group of terrorists in the world,   ISIL,  has many sources of income, ranging from the sale of artifacts and oil,  goods they acquire from looting of shops,  to selling of kidnapped foreigners, and private contributions.   Iran has supported the government of Syria and Hezbollah,  which are fighting both  ISIL and Al-Nusra (El Qaeda affiliated organization).

Bottom, bottom line- the sanctions were put in place because Iran was not complying with the nuclear non-proliferation agreement.   Lifting the Iranian sanctions  will  not help  ISIL  because Iran’s money is  going to organizations which are fighting  against ISIL.     The US is likely to put more troops in Iraq but has only limited options in Syria, if we don’t want to make things worse.

We can not economically wrestle countries to the floor and make them do what we want.  Sorry Dick Cheney, it doesn’t work.

Yes, the Iran deal will go through.  It is likely to strengthen the  moderates, who now run the country.   Forget the barking dog, please.  Time to move on.

Stay tuned,

David Lord