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Two alien regimes, in occupation of holy lands, are forced by circumstances to declare their unholy alliance.  Two regimes in the world claim legitimacy on the basis of religion: Bani Saud (aka Saudi Arabia) and Bani Israel (otherwise known as Israel). That neither claim is valid is amply demonstrated by their anti-human practices. Bani Saud follow a rigid literalist interpretation of Islam (for the cameras) that the vast majority of Muslims in the world categorically reject. The Zionist State of Israel claims to be “Jewish” but even most Jewish people do not accept this ludicrous claim.

There are other similarities between them leading some to speculate that Bani Saud are in fact descendants of the Jews. In the absence of clear proof we will refrain from indulging in such talk. Bani Saud have illegally occupied the holy land of the Arabian Peninsula including the Hijaz while the Zionists occupy the holy land of Palestine. They are both alien invaders in the lands they occupy. Bani Saud are Bedouins from Najd whose trademark is mass slaughter and the destruction of holy sites in Makkah and Madinah. Bani Israel have no roots in Palestine. The vast majority came as colonizing occupiers from Europe — East and West — and North America and pushed the indigenous population from their lands at gunpoint.

The other common factor between them is their total dependence on the US. True, there are major differences as well. The Americans treat Bani Saud as a cash cow while the wily Zionists pilfer money from the US. They would not survive without such US handouts. No American president can say no to them because the Zionists have a stranglehold on the US political, economic, and mass communications systems.

While Bani Saud and Bani Israel do not have formal diplomatic relations, this has not prevented them from hugging and kissing each other, even in public. Both are mortal enemies of Islam and fear the Islamic movement because they are aware that only committed Muslims are capable of consigning them to the dustbin of history where they rightly belong.

Two developments among others have brought them into an even tighter embrace and forced them to discard their coyness about each other. One is the success of the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979 that led to the establishment of the first Islamic state in contemporary history. The other is the impact of this revolution on regional developments whether relating to the emergence of Hizbullah in Lebanon, Tehran’s principled support for the Palestinian struggle, or adherence to its agreement with the Syrian government to prevent its collapse through an international conspiracy.

While these developments have caused panic among the imperialists, they have also exposed the true nature of Bani Saud and their kissing cousins, the Zionists. Bani Saud stand exposed as the enemies of Allah (swt), His Prophet (pbuh), and the committed Muslims while Bani Israel emerge as habitual troublemakers in the world.

They deserve each other but their criminal conspiracies against committed Muslims not only expose them, they also bring the day closer when they will both disappear from the face of this earth. Injustice and oppression cannot last forever. They will both discover this sooner rather than later, insha’allah.

Have you ever stepped back and looked at the crumbling regimes in the Arab East? If you did, have you realized they are republics and not monarchies; not that there is much of a difference between the two but the hype in the corporate media is about freedom, rights, dignity, democracy, and the rest of this political litany that is well-known. And if we were to stick to this line, then surely the people most deprived of these freedoms, rights, etc. are the people who live under such despotic rulers as the Saudi royals where criticizing the king is tantamount to kufr!

It is against the law to hold a demonstration in American-managed Saudi Arabia. It is against the law for a woman to drive a car in American-supervised Saudi Arabia. It is against the law to allow Muslims to meet in Makkah and Madinah so they can express their ideological mind and Islamic conscience about such uniting issues as the liberation of Palestine and other American occupied territories. And it is an unwritten law that forbids the establishmentarian journalists and the salaried academics from highlighting the anti-democratic and pro-chauvinist nature of the kings and princes of Arabia. It is called “self-censorship.”

And if the woes of the Peninsula were limited to Arabia then it could be argued that it is up to the Arabians of Arabia to fix their own house. One Saudi lady, complaining out loud a few weeks ago after noticing other men in other countries standing up and sacrificing life and limb for their principles, is quite right when she said that Saudi men have lost their testosterone. To which we add: they have misplaced it; they let go of it in brothels instead of building it up in boot camps. But, alas, the evils of that kingdom are directed into other Islamic regions, particularly into the lands that are fired up by the “Arab Spring.”

With American and Israeli guardianship, the Arabian mushrik monarchs were thrown the Libyan bone. They sensed victory was in the air. And, thus, they turned their fury against Syria. Syria has become the political Maginot Line for Riyadh and its Gulf Cooperation Council offshoots (Bahrain, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, and ‘Oman). Syria in and of itself would be of no concern to these moneyed mushriks. [Mushriks, we say, because they have correlated Allah’s (swt) power and authority with that of the imperialists and Zionists]. But Syria is the untested link between a future groundswell of popular determination to liberate Palestine that is centered on Islamic Iran and extends all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. The Americans and Israelis played their hand against Islamic Iran in Iraq, first via Saddam’s regime and lost, and then via the current regime in Baghdad and lost again. The Israelis and Americans tried their hand against Hizbullah and Hamas and lost yet again. The only thing left now is to sabotage the Syrian connection by breaking Syria up.

And to do this the Israelis and the Americans will need their trump card: the Saudi brand of Islam. The Saudi brand of Islam, which considers [Zionist] Jews and [imperialist] Christians to be “Ahl al-Kitab” and considers ‘Alawi Muslims and Shi‘i Muslims to be kafirs, heretics, and unbelievers, is a godsend to the American and Israeli policy-makers at this critical moment in the world-shaking developments in the Muslim realm. The political slaves of Arabia who were never liberated by the Qur’an and the Sunnah are taking orders from America and not from the Almighty. We can without much imagination see how desperate and hopeless the master in Washington is when he speaks to his slaves in Riyadh, and how inferior the slave who obeys a toothless master must be. Uncle slave-master Sam nervously watches the 19 Americans to be tried in Egypt by, of all people, the Egyptians who were also the political slaves of the US just last year. Three US senators have gone to Cairo to “extradite” these 19 Americans from the US embassy where they have been fugitives from the law for the past couple of weeks. John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman are probably expressing dire threats in diplomatic language to diffuse this new low in American prestige overseas. And the Egyptian officials (if we read them correctly) will either release the 19 without due process to gain brownie points with their yesteryear masters, or will promise the senators their eventual release after a theater of due process so as to avoid the wrath of Egyptian public opinion.

The price of oil is climbing because Israel wants its Euro-American allies to put the pressure of sanctions squarely on the people in Iran. Prices have already hit $120 a barrel after the Islamic Republic cut off oil sales to the Israeli political subsidiaries of France and Britain. The more the Israelis and Americans become nervous the more their Saudi subordinates feel the pressure to “do something about it”.

Enter al-Qaeda. How about that? Al-Qaeda has found common purpose with its arch-enemy, the US, in targeting the heretic ‘Alawis in Syria! How about that for a Saudi feat? An al-Qaeda leader somewhere to the east or south of Tora Bora is rediscovered by the media and his video-taped message to all al-Qaeda units in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey becomes a news sensation. Don’t be fooled by this yet again al-Qaeda-fits-all-occasions scenario. It is not al-Qaeda that is on its way to kill, blowup, assassinate, or commit acts of violence and terror is Syria. It is the Special Forces of the US, Britain, and Zionist Israel who are about to enter the fray in Syria. You can be sure that when the specter of al-Qaeda is flashed to the general public, it means that Navy Seals, Army Rangers, intelligence agents under deep cover, and black-ops personnel are being positioned to execute their orders which will prove the Saudi propaganda correct: kill the Syrian heathens (minority Muslims) and thank Ahl al-Kitab Sam and Ahl al-Kitab Moshe for being on the orthodox side in this intra-Islamic strife in war-torn Syria!

The Syrian-Saudi sectarian strife is only one chapter, as important and dangerous as it is, in the ongoing three decade confrontation between the US and Israel on one side and the Islamic Republic of Iran on the other.

All these details aside, the maturing political Muslim must understand that the corporate and capitalist war against Iran with all its ruling classes around the world is what defines the reactions of such regimes as the Saudi and other Arabian ones. The Syrian people are oppressed like other peoples in that castaway part of the world. The Syrian people deserve a representative government like all other peoples in that region and in the world. That, though, does not mean that the Israeli-American-Saudi troika should be given the opportunity to play off their antagonism toward Islamic Iran riding on the waves and lives of the Syrian people. How hypocritical and misleading can an American regime be when it is shedding crocodile tears on those killed in Homs while the same American regime committed atrocities in Fallujah across the border in Iraq — that in comparison would make the Syrian regime look quite civilized? When were the American and Israeli officials so concerned with Syrian lives? When were the Saudi royals themselves concerned with Syrian lives?

The Saudi brainsick rulers will not listen to advice. They have attached themselves to the US and thus to Israel beyond any quote from the Qur’an and citation of the Sunnah. They can’t see that Israel is positioning the Iron Dome defense batteries around Tel Aviv in preparation for war. This fortification of Israeli urban centers will continue in the coming weeks. Israeli schools are holding what they call earthquake exercises. Israeli police are running drills in what they tell us are scenarios of Palestinian mass riots and attempts to storm across the borders from all directions. This may be in reference to this year’s mass mobilization of a peoples movement to cross into occupied Palestine from Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria.

The noose is tightening around the war criminals in their racist enclave. The wars that have been imposed on the Muslims all over the world amount to an unintended military basic training exercise. The US and Israel along with their Saudi sidekick have militarized the Islamic world. And if they want to light the match they should know very well that their corporate and transnational interests will go up in flames. People will fight on their own turf for however long it takes to free themselves of invasions and occupations.

There has never been an invading force that has indefinitely conquered another people against their own faith and will. Will the Muslims identify who the other Muslim is before it is too late? Will the Muslims distinguish between Ahl al-Kitab and the Zionists and imperialists before it is too late? “O our Sustainer! Bestow on us Your eminent grace, and endow us, whatever our [outward] condition, with consciousness of what is right” (10:18)


The Khashoggi affair could result in a dramatic rift between America and Saudi Arabia. But it would not isolate the kingdom as Russia and China wait to pick up the pieces. The US’ partnership with Saudi Arabia is old and close, based on an understanding that Riyadh supplies oil and Washington provides security in return.  The two countries teamed up to fight communism during the Cold War and jointly oppose the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. America fought the 1991 Gulf War in part to protect the kingdom from Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Cooperation continued into the 2000s, with Riyadh backing the US’ “war on terror” and receiving vast supplies of arms. 

True, there have been tensions, such as the 1973 oil embargo, led by Riyadh to protest Western backing for Israel, and the 9/11 attacks, in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals. But relations survived intact.  Until now, that is. The disappearance and alleged murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a renowned journalist and Washington Post contributor, at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul could place unprecedented strain on a relationship already showing signs of weakness. 

Khashoggi, a Saudi national, had entered the consulate on October 2 to obtain paperwork for his wedding, but he never came out. According to media reports, Khashoggi was tortured and killed in the consulate by a hit squad of 15 Saudis acting on the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Sultan, known as “MBS.” Turkish authorities reportedly possess audio and video recordings of the incident. Riyadh has denied the allegations.

The apparent murder of a US resident and writer for one of America’s most prestigious newspapers sent shockwaves through Washington. President Trump, who has developed a close relationship with Saudi Arabia, responded cautiously at first. But leading senators have been more outspoken.  Bob Corker, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, reviewed intelligence on the case and said there was “no question” the Saudis killed Khashoggi. Lindsey Graham, another high-profile Republican senator, warnedthere would be “hell to pay” if Riyadh was found culpable. 

Democrat Chris Murphy tweeted that, if Khashoggi was murdered, it should “represent a fundamental break” in US-Saudi ties.

Congress has already taken action. Last week, all but one member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee signed a letter triggering, for the first time ever, a provision of the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act requiring the administration to investigate allegations of human rights violations against Khashoggi and consider imposing sanctions, specifically mentioning “the highest ranking officials in the Government of Saudi Arabia.”

Even if the US government declines to apply sanctions, Congress might act independently. Last year it passed a law sanctioning Russia, for instance, despite opposition from Trump. There is already serious talk of suspending arms sales to Riyadh.  In recent years, Congress has become increasingly hostile to the kingdom. As Bob Corker said, support in the Senate is “the lowest ever” and the Khashoggi affair threatens to throw it “off a cliff.” 
Part of this animosity stems from allegations that Saudi Arabia promotes extremism, and that some minor Saudi officials might have facilitated the 9/11 attacks. In 2016 Congress passed a law permitting claims against Saudi Arabia to be heard in US court, thus allowing a lawsuit brought by relatives of 9/11 victims to proceed. Riyadh reacted furiously to the bill, and President Obama vetoed it. But, for the first and only time during Obama’s presidency, Congress overrode his veto.

There has also been growing congressional opposition to the Saudi military intervention in Yemen, which the US supports. More than 6,500 civilians have been killed in the war, according to the UN, and most of those as a result of Saudi-led actions. Congress almost blocked US arms sales to Riyadh in 2017, and deliveries have been delayed since then. The Senate almost voted in March to end US involvement in the conflict. Such efforts may now succeed. Moreover, the Saudi-led blockade of Gulf rival Qatar in 2017 for its alleged support of terrorism has backfired, with the US government eventually siding with Doha and even strengthening their security cooperation.

This is fast becoming the deepest ever crisis in US-Saudi relations; 9/11 might have involved Saudi citizens, but it was not planned by the government, unlike Khashoggi’s alleged murder, and Congress did not consider imposing sanctions.  The consequences of this episode have already been far-reaching. An array of top media outlets, including CNN, Bloomberg, and the New York Times, and some businessmen have withdrawn from a major investment conference in Riyadh, part of the Saudi government’s Vision 2030 project to lure foreign investment. The Saudi stock exchange has nosedived. Trump is now threatening Riyadh with “severe punishment.” The Saudis hit back, vowing to retaliate with even tougher measures.

As US-Saudi ties have weakened in recent years, the kingdom has started looking elsewhere for support. With Congress jeopardising arms sales, the Saudis have found an unlikely new partner in Russia, its former Cold War adversary. King Salman visited Moscow in 2017, the first ever trip there by a reigning Saudi monarch, in which $3 billion worth of arms deals were signed. Saudi and Russia also agreed, in 2016, to limit oil production and boost prices. There has been Russian interest in bidding for the planned but delayed public offering of Saudi Aramco, and signs of nuclear cooperation. Riyadh also has decent relations with China, the main customer for its oil and, increasingly, a supplier of weapons. US influence in the region is waning, while Russia’s and China’s has grown. A number of countries are therefore cultivating ties with Moscow and Beijing to recalibrate their foreign relations away from Washington. Turkey and Pakistan, long-standing US allies, have both strengthened their links with Russia. 

Like Saudi Arabia, they have had US arms sales restricted by Congress. The Khashoggi affair may therefore deepen existing rifts between Saudi Arabia and the West, accelerating a split that was already underway. The journalist’s murder, if it is proven, could cause permanent damage to the US-Saudi relationship and dramatically reshape the geopolitical landscape.












The US president, Donald Trump, removed the last fig leaf from the Saudi government as a whole, not just Mohammad Bin Salman, when, in his most recent speech, he said, “If you look at Israel, Israel would be in big trouble without Saudi Arabia. We have a very strong ally in Saudi Arabia. The fact is that Saudi Arabia is tremendously helpful in the Middle East, if we didn’t have Saudi Arabia we wouldn’t have a big base.”

Saudi Arabia was doing everything in the Israeli enemy’s army, providing it with services from under the tale and out of sight. It uses a false religious cover and claims it is the defender of Sunni Muslims and custodians for the House of God. However, Trump’s remarks removed its fig leaves and completely exposed it to the entire Muslim nation. While some of us were aware of the role the Al-Saud family is playing to protect the existence of Israel, many Muslims were in a daze. They are supposed to be the Custodians of the Two Holy Mosques, but the two mosques have renounced them. Just as they protect and maintain the Israeli presence in Palestine, we find that they are also the keenest to keep Al-Aqsa Mosque in the hands of the Israeli invaders.

Even if writers continue to write about the Al-Saud government’s collusion for decades, they still wouldn’t have been able to achieve what Trump did in minutes. Moreover, no one would have believed them, and the Muslim world might have thrown shoes at them!

READ: Saudis sought to buy Israeli hacking system

The Saudi government was established 100 years ago on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire after they conspired against the Islamic state in the so-called Great Arab Revolt, which was plotted and executed in the British Embassy. They were led by the English agent, Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, after the First World War and the victory of the Allies. The Allies then split the spoils of the war amongst themselves and divided the Muslim state into east, west, north, and south. In addition to this, the Balfour Declaration and another secret agreement was issued, which no one wanted to expose. The Saudi state was born in 1923 to protect the state that would later be created, the state of Israel, and Trump announced this secret agreement that occurred behind the scenes. He revealed all that was hidden and removed the cover used by the traitorous state!

The State of Israel was planted within the Arab region while Saudi Arabia was planted at the heart of the Arab nation to be a thorn in the side of the Arabs and Muslims and to protect their enemies!   

If there is a silver lining in the martyrdom of the writer Jamal Khashoggi, it is the exposure of the dirty role played by Saudi Arabia against the nation. His pure blood will remove the corrupt, treacherous ruling family and will liberate Al-Haram Mosque and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi from the grips of this family. The liberation of these two mosques will also liberate Al-Aqsa Mosque from the desecration of the Israelis. This will all occur sooner or later, as the surrounding circumstances and international shifts and developments suggest this. All indicators suggest that their thrones are sitting on quicksand.

Trump, who valiantly defends the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman, and who wants to save him from his inevitable fall, after his brutal crime against Jamal Khashoggi, has made severe remarks. We do not know if these remarks were made deliberately or if they were spontaneous. Regardless of what his intentions were, his remarks have hastened MBS’s fall.

If all the revolutionary forces, parties and movements in the Arab and Muslim world united, they would not have been able to serve the Palestinian cause and the other popular issues as much as Trump and the Al-Saud boys have. Trump unveiled the real enemies, i.e. the Arab Zionists.  Jamal Khashoggi’s pure and honourable blood has become the fire that burns the enemies of the nation.


Senior diplomatic sources in Egypt have revealed that delegations from Arab countries, the United States and Israel are holding intensive meetings in the Egyptian capital Cairo to prepare a summit between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, known to many in the West as MbS.

The sources revealed to the Khalij Online that at least three meetings had been held over the last 25 days in Cairo between Egyptian, Saudi, US and Israeli officials to work out the details of a meeting between Netanyahu and MbS.

The sources said that the initiative for holding a meeting between MbS and Netanyahu was encouraged by Saudi Arabia’s massive enthusiasm for such a diplomatic encounter.

There is an official inclination from Saudi officials to open the door for political and public relations with the occupying regime to the highest level that one can possibly imagine,” said the sources in a statement to the online newspaper.

They added that Riyadh was trying to set a precedent for Arab-Israeli relations so that other Arab countries could follow the suit and establish ties with the Tel Aviv regime.

PressTV-‘MbS plans Camp David-style handshake with Netanyahu’

Saudi crown prince is reportedly seeking a “game-changing” summit meeting with Israeli prime minister, hosted by the US president.

The sources said there was a mutual consensus among Saudis, the Egyptians and the Americans that there should be a major diplomatic breakthrough in 2019 regarding the state of Israeli-Arab relations, adding that the summit between Netanyahu and MbS could also include US President Donald Trump. Is it understood that a key theme of the recent meetings in Cairo was to outline plans for selling the Netanyahu-MbS summit to the public in the Arab world, especially in Saudi Arabia. If the summit between Netnayahu and bin Salman takes places, it would be the first of its kind in the history of Arab-Israeli relations. Most of the Arab countries have isolated Israel since the Six-Day War in 1967 in which the regime occupied more Palestinian and Arab territories.

However, a raft of diplomatic efforts over the past years led by the United States and meant to unite Arab countries and Israel against what Washington calls Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East has helped the Israelis to better reach out to the Arabs. Netanyahu was in Oman in November to meet the top man in the Sultanate while senior Israeli ministers visited the United Arab Emirates in the same month.


Why does every ruler in the Muslim world feel the urge to present himself/herself ‘strong’? The answer lies in the fact that most lack legitimacy and therefore must project the image of power to appear strong.

The strongman syndrome seems to plague the Muslim world much more than any other region. Every tin pot dictator and clown — that is what every ruler in the Muslim world is (note, we did not use the word leader!) — wants to show that he (and in rare cases, she) is strong, capable, and indispensable. Without him/her at the helm, the sky would fall. As the evil genius Henry Kissinger once quipped, “the graveyard is full of indispensable people.”

Let us take a closer look at the problem. There are 57 Muslim nation-states in the world today. Kings, amirs, presidents, prime ministers and military strongmen rule these nation-states. With the sole exception of Islamic Iran, not one Muslim nation-state has a legitimate ruler or system. Here is why.

The nation-state structure is completely alien to the political culture and universalist values of Islam. The colonial powers imposed this and its related concept, nationalism, on the Muslim world. Barely a century ago, Muslims used to travel freely without passports or visas. They needed no permission from anyone to traverse vast territories. The physical boundaries that divide the Muslim world were drawn arbitrarily by the colonial powers to serve their interests.

Allah (swt) refers to the Muslims as one Ummah in the Qur’an. Islam recognizes the reality of people of different backgrounds, languages, color etc, but the noble Book says these are meant to sensitize us to Allah’s (swt) diverse creations and to recognize each other (49:13). In Islam, taqwa (consciousness of Allah’s power presence), not social, political or economic status, is what determines an individual’s position before Allah (swt).

All rulers in the Muslim world, barring Islamic Iran’s, are subservient to imperialist and Zionist powers. This is a negation of Islam since there is only one power and authority —Allah (swt). He has no partners or equals. Those Muslims who bow before other powers or authority are guilty of shirk, the gravest sin in Islam.

How did Muslims end up in this sorry state? Throughout his life, the noble Messenger (pbuh) struggled against the ‘asabiyah (clan solidarity) prevalent in Arabia. His message was clear and uncompromising: there is only One God — Allah (swt) — and all men and women are equal. No one has the right to oppress others. True, there will always be some who are stronger or richer than others but these differences cannot be used to exploit others. Islam recognizes power differentiation but it regulates the use of it and forbids abuse.

After the noble Messenger (pbuh) left this earthly abode, his successors, called khulafah (or imams), continued to implement the system and values that he had established. Muslims would do well to recognize that even though many people had entered the fold of Islam at the time of the Prophet (pbuh), not everyone was sincere. That is why the Qur’an draws our attention to the munafiqs who existed even at the time of the Prophet (pbuh). Pretending to be Muslims, they planned for an opportune moment to strike and grab power.

This is precisely what happened when the khilafah was subverted into mulukiyah(hereditary kingship). While the overwhelming majority of Muslims opposed this dangerous development and some even openly challenged it, paying with their lives, a body of opinion emerged to swallow this bitter pill hoping for better times. This was a serious mistake. ‘Asabiyah took over and the concept of strongmen emerged — shawkah (glory) and quwwah (power) became acceptable in Islamic terminology. The sword wielders held sway and opponents were ruthlessly suppressed.

If the Muslim world is plagued by “strongmen” today, this has historical precedence. The major difference between then and now is that past rulers, despite being illegitimate, were not subservient to the power of kufr. Today’s rulers are anything but independent or free. Every king and amir has been planted by the colonialists — British and French — and is maintained in power today through imperialist and Zionist support. Given that the systems in place in the Muslim world are also imposed by colonial powers, no ruler can claim legitimacy. From the Islamic point of view, legitimacy comes from Allah (swt) by following His commands and precepts. This is not conditional on acceptance by the majority. Many Prophets (a) delivered their message but few people followed them and thus their programs could not be implemented in society. It is at the implementation stage that people’s acceptance comes into play.

So why do Muslim rulers need to appear “strong”? Subservience to taghut has to be camouflaged. By making an appearance of being strong, even if it means killing a large number of their people, is a time-tested formula. Is it surprising that Muslim rulers have murdered more of their own people than those of the enemy? Iraq, “Saudi” Arabia, Egypt and a host of others offer ready examples.

1979 not only transformed the region but led to global repercussions still being felt 40 years later. In February 1979 the Shah of Iran’s regime fell as Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile in Iran. The 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution serves a reminder of how much the region was transformed around this upheaval.

The revolution set off a chain of events that shifted the primary zone of armed confrontation in the Middle East from Arab-Israeli conflict to the Gulf. It also coincided with a series of events within the same year that had little to do with revolution, such as the invasion of Afghanistan, but nonetheless impacted the region to the present.  Indeed 1979 is the year that made the current Middle East in terms of the three Iraq wars that would begin with the 1980 invasion of Iran and the conditions that gave birth to Al Qaeda.

Key events of 1979

Laid out in chronological order after February, the major milestones are:  

26 March - signing of the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty
30 March - elections in Iran for an Islamic Republic
4 April - General Zia ul Haq takes power in Pakistan
16 July - Saddam Hussein becomes president of Iraq
4 November - Seizure of the US embassy in Tehran
20 November - Seizure of the Grand Mosque in Mecca
25 December - the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

Not all of the events are not directly related, nor have a causal relationship, but set in motion trajectories that would result in three Iraq wars and the emergence of Al Qaeda and its eventual splinter group, Daesh (ISIS).

Iraq as a theatre of conflict 
At the time, Egypt was the regional hegemon and paramount front-line state against Israel until it signed a peace treaty in 1979. Even though the two countries do not share a border, Saddam Hussein sought to replace Egypt as the new pan-Arab hegemon to balance Israel, in addition to Iran, whose revolutionary government threatened the Arab world’s status quo.  Saddam Hussein, then vice president, pressured his elder cousin General Hasan al Bakr to resign and became president in July. Saddam viewed Khomeini’s leadership of an Islamic Republic as a threat, as the Ayatollah urged the Shia of Iraq to overthrow his government and the monopoly on power held by the Arab Sunni-minority and secular Iraqi Baath Party.

By November Iranian students seized the US embassy inaugurating the enmity between the Islamic Republic and the US that endures to this day. With this rupture of the American-Iranian alliance that began with the Shah, Iran was internationally isolated, presenting an opportunity for the Iraqi president.

Saddam Hussein invaded Iran in September 1980, assuming its military was eviscerated after the revolution. His assault sought to trigger a collapse of the Islamic Republic, allowing himself to project Iraq as the new pan-Arab hegemon. Saddam assumed the war would be a few months, but instead he ushered in an eight-year war, one of the longest conventional wars of the twentieth century. 

The debt Saddam incurred from Kuwait to finance this war led to the invasion of Kuwait itself in 1990 to erase that debt. America’s failure to remove Saddam in the 1991 Gulf War left unresolved issues which led to the 2003 Iraq War, which created the instability in the country that would lead to the emergence of Daesh. The declaration of the Islamic State in 2014 represents the culminating point in the second series of interlinked events that also began in 1979.  

The rise of Al Qaeda 
The creation of the Islamic Republic of Iran in March by Shia revolutionaries inspired Sunni Arabs throughout the Arab world, ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to more extreme and violent groups that would eventually form Al Qaeda. The revolution provided a model of overthrowing a strong government, despite being supported by the US.  In November, armed followers of Juhayman al Utaybi seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, challenged the royal family’s religious credentials to rule over the two holy sites of Mecca and Medina. It was the first revolt from within Saudi Arabia by Saudis against the House of Saud since the failed Ikhwan rebellion in the twenties. 

The group that seized the mosque served an ideological precursor in the eighties for the Al Qaeda that would later emerge in the nineties. Osama bin Laden was a young man in 1979, alarmed by the Saudi military desecrating the holy site with tanks and artillery to flush out the rebels. The royal family had to call in foreigners, French special forces to defeat the rebels, foreshadowing when the House of Saud would call in American forces to defend the Kingdom in 1990 when Iraqi forces had invaded Kuwait.   The latter event is often attributed as the motivating factor as to why bin Laden revolted against the Saudi royal family.

While Pakistan is not considered part of the Middle East, events there and in neighbouring Afghanistan would eventually impact the region. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, prime minister of Pakistan, was executed in April after a military coup led by General Zia ul Haq.  Zia would go on to help spread a foreign, and more extreme, interpretation of Islam in Pakistani society during his rule in the eighties. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in December, Zia supported the 
mujahideen resistance wholeheartedly. It was Pakistan and US support that allowed Bin Laden to set up shop in Peshawar, a Pakistani city near the border with Afghanistan, where he used his connections to set up financial and moral support for the mujahideen.  While Bin Laden’s network of foreign fighters played a marginal role in defeating the USSR, which withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, the defeat of the Cold War superpower led to his belief that his network could bring down the remaining superpower, the US.

The Islamic Republic served as a model of power that threatened the legitimacy of Saudi Arabia’s monarchy, leading it to export a more militant form of Wahhabism afterwards. Such ideology took root in madrassas and the clergy across Pakistan and Afghanistan, leading to the birth of the Taliban and its seizure of Afghanistan by the mid-nineties, providing a safe haven for Al Qaeda to plan the 9/11 attacks.

In a non-sequitur the Bush administration’s responded to the 9/11 attacks by including Iraq in its “War on Terror,” and America’s ensuing invasion allowed Al Qaeda in Iraq to form in the chaos, eventually breaking away to become Daesh in 2014, a group that took more than four years to defeat, but still poses a threat.

The year 1979, like the Arab spring year of 2011, serves as a hallmark for the region. The year not only transformed the regional power structure but resulted in reverberations globally that still manifest 40 years later.   

The compensation paid to Jamal Khashoggi's family won't quell global outrage against the Saudi Kingdom. As the Washington Post recently reported, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has provided Jamal Khashoggi’s four children with million-dollar houses in Jeddah and “five-figure” payments as compensation for their father’s killing.

The slain journalist’s sons and daughters will possibly receive tens of millions of dollars as what is often referred to in the West as “blood money”. The payout is sanctioned by Islamic law under the 'Qisas' provision which is based on the principle of equality and can be translated as 'retaliation in kind' or 'eye for an eye'. In lieu of death for a murder committed, the guilty party can compensate the aggrieved party. The historical basis of the law was to ensure that the blood of the poor, rich, slaves, free men, and women is considered equal. King Salman approved this compensation last year as part of an effort to acknowledge that  “a big injustice has been done” and to try “to make a wrong right.” Although such a practice is customary in Saudi Arabia and addressed under Islamic law, these previously undisclosed payments were ultimately aimed at incentivising Khashoggi’s children to continue refraining from criticising Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), whom the CIA concluded was behind the journalist’s killing. It would be a mistake to presume that the Khashoggi family has much choice in accepting the compensation.

At a time when politicians, media outlets, and human rights organisations in many countries continue pressing on the Khashoggi file, the entire saga has severely damaged MBS' reputation in the West. For the leadership in Riyadh, it is important to prevent Khashoggi’s children from making statements that would add momentum to arguments in favor of Western governments revisiting their alliances with the kingdom.  
The chances are good that the Al Saud rulers will successfully leverage their financial resources, as well as coercive rule, to obtain the continued loyalty of Khashoggi’s children who have, at least thus far, never publicly challenged the Saudi government’s official narrative(s) about their father’s killing.

Although dismissed by most outsider observers as sham trials, there are a few underway with prosecutors seeking the death penalty for five of the operatives involved in Khashoggi’s murder. Yet even if these trials close the case in Saudi Arabia, the resolution of this file under Saudi law will not resolve this saga internationally with UN and US-led investigations continuing.
More than six months after Khashoggi’s killing, the journalist’s body has not yet been found. In Washington and other Western capitals there remains much focus on, and outrage over, this episode, as well as a shared perception that Saudi Arabia’s trials for the accused fall far short of international standards for trials given the lack of transparency.

Moreover, this affair has become a bubbling domestic issue in the US with scores of lawmakers on both sides of the partisan divide harshly criticising Trump’s response to Khashoggi’s murder in which he said, “Maybe [MBS] did, maybe he didn’t” order Khashoggi’s killing notwithstanding the CIA’s findings.  The view that Trump’s failure to hold the Saudi government responsible has weakened America’s moral standing internationally, in addition to the US government’s credibility, has led to sustained calls on the White House to hold those with Khashoggi’s blood on their hands to account albeit to no avail. Ultimately, it appears that the political fallout of Khashoggi’s murder will not remove MBS from power much to the dismay of American lawmakers who have called for this outcome. In Saudi Arabia, an absolute monarchy, the king has shown no signs of reconsidering the succession lineup because of the Khashoggi affair or any other issue.

The Saudi crown prince simply cannot visit Washington given the angry response any trip to the US would trigger, most likely with large demonstrations and strong rebukes from high-ranking US officials in the Beltway. Moreover, with virtually all Democratic presidential hopefuls expressing outrage over Khashoggi’s killing and issuing strong rhetoric against MBS, as well as the cover that Trump has provided him since October, the possibility of Trump losing his re-election bid next year must truly unsettle the millennial prince. 
Looking ahead, the Saudi leadership would like nothing more than to bury the Khashoggi saga and move forward in working closely with the US when it comes to the kingdom’s economic transformation as well as Riyadh's and Washington’s shared objectives in the region, particularly with respect to countering Iranian influence.   
Although the compensation to Khashoggi’s children and the ongoing trials may close the slain journalist’s case as far as the Saudi government is concerned, officials in Riyadh must contend with the high possibility of the Khashoggi case plaguing the kingdom’s alliances with the US and other Western states for many years to come. What remains to be seen is which strategies MBS will pursue to recover the goodwill he lost in Washington after the world learned of Khashoggi’s fate. Unquestionably, healing the damage inflicted on MBS’ reputation in the Beltway and Europe will prove no easy task for the kingdom’s crown prince in the post-Khashoggi period.


Israel worked to overthrow Egypt’s first democratically elected President, Mohamed Morsi, and to orchestrate a coup against him in 2013, Israeli army Brigadier General, Aryeh Eldad, wrote in a local paper.

The writer said in an article in Maariv newspaper that “the outbreak of the January revolution coincided with the Israeli security assessment that President-elect Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood man, intended to cancel the peace agreement with Israel and send more Egyptian military forces to the Sinai Peninsula.”

“At that stage, Israel was quick and willing to activate its diplomatic tools, and perhaps even greater means, to bring Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to power in Egypt, and convince the then US administration under President Barack Obama not to oppose this move.”

Eldad stressed that “contrary to all Israeli expectations, the Camp David agreement, which was made 40 years ago, has lasted for many decades despite the lack of real peace between us and the Egyptians, and despite the failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, because this conflict is not just geopolitical. We are rather having a religious war with the Palestinians and Arabs.”

He stated that “the stir caused by Israel’s sale of German submarines to Egypt in conjunction with the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Camp David agreement is a new indication that we adhere to having Egypt on our side. And today, 40 years after the Camp David agreement, we reached the conclusion that Israel is fighting shoulder to shoulder.”

Eldad pointed out that “it is too early to talk about the usefulness of the peace agreement with Egypt, 40 years after the signing of the Camp David agreement in 1979, and contrary to the expectations that were issued when it was made, the agreement was able to withstand and continue, but opponents of the withdrawal from Sinai were not wrong then, because we did not have a real peace with Egypt.”

He added that “the Camp David agreement is the first of its kind between Israel and a hostile Arab state, which was then the largest and most dangerous Arab country. It resulted in the withdrawal until the last millimetre according to the international border between Egypt and Israel, knowing that I did not expect that Sadat would fulfil his commitment to the peace agreement with Israel, but I was wrong, too.”
The Brotherhood vows to continue to work in line with its 'moderate and peaceful thinking' regardless of US moves.

The Trump administration is working to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign "terrorist" organisation, the White House said on Tuesday, which would bring sanctions against Egypt's oldest Islamist movement. "The president has consulted with his national security team and leaders in the region who share his concern, and this designation is working its way through the internal process," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in an email.  Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi had urged US President Donald Trump to take the step during an April 9 visit to the White House, the New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing officials familiar with the matter.
After the meeting, Trump praised Sisi as a "great president," as a bipartisan group of US politicians raised concerns about Sisi's record on human rights.

The Muslim Brotherhood and Trump's terror list
In a statement on its website, the Muslim Brotherhood, or Ikhwan al-Muslimeen, dismissed the planned move, saying: "The Muslim Brotherhood will remain stronger - through God's grace and power - than any decision."  It added: "We will remain ... steadfast in our work in accordance with our moderate and peaceful thinking and what we believe to be right, for honest and constructive cooperation to serve the communities in which we live, and humanity as a whole."

'Far-flung political ties'
Founded in Egypt in 1928, the Brotherhood is one of the oldest and most influential Islamic movements in the world. It came to power in Egypt's first modern free election in 2012, a year after long-serving President Hosni Mubarak resigned amid a popular uprising.  It was declared a "terror group" by Egypt in 2013 after el-Sisi led a military coup against Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood member and the country's first democratically-elected president.  The coup set in motion a violent crackdown against the organisation, with thousands of the group's members arrested, and hundreds sentenced to death in what human rights groups have described as sham trials.  Two of Egypt's closest allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, also blacklisted the group but several western powers, including the United States, did not, for both legal and policy reasons. However since Trump's election, the Sisi government has repeatedly urged the US to designate the group, and in March 2017, Cairo sent dozens of parliamentarians, former diplomats and international law experts to Washington to convince the US of a ban.

Saudi and the Brotherhood: From friends to foes
The New York Times said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton supported the idea.  However, the Pentagon, career national security staff, government lawyers and diplomatic officials have voiced legal and policy objections, and have been scrambling to find a more limited step that would satisfy the White House.  The US State Department had previously advised against banning the movement because of its "loose-knit structure and far-flung political ties across the Middle East".

'Malprcatice and ultimately dangerous'
Several political parties in Turkey, Tunisia and Jordan consider themselves as part of the Muslim Brotherhood or have ties to it.  Asked by reporters at the White House whether there were any concerns that designating the Muslim Brotherhood could create diplomatic complications for the administration because the group is so widespread, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway replied: "No."  Daniel Benjamin, former counterterrorism coordinator at the State Department, said the department looked into designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization in 2017 and 2018 and concluded that there was no legal basis for a designation.  "That continues to be true," tweeted Benjamin, who is now at Dartmouth College. He accused the Trump administration of "warping" the designation process for political reasons.  "It's malpractice and ultimately dangerous," Benjamin said in his tweet. The Times said it was also unclear what the consequences would be for Americans and American humanitarian organisations linked to the Brotherhood.


According to a 2004 article by The Washington Post, supporters of the Brotherhood "make up the US Islamic community's most organised force" by running hundreds of mosques and business ventures, promoting civic activities, and setting up American Islamic organisations to defend and promote Islam.  
Human rights groups have also voiced concerns that el-Sisi might use it to justify an even harsher crackdown against his opponents. 




The Turkish president said Morsi was "killed" and wants the Egyptian government face an international court.]

Turkish President
Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that the Egyptian government should be tried in international courts for the death of former President Mohamed Morsi. Morsi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood group which is now banned in Egypt, died on Monday after collapsing in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges. Egypt's first freely elected president was deposed in a 2013 coup orchestrated by the current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and placed under house arrest before being moved to prison.


The death of former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi is not normal, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday. 'There are concerns whether it [Mursi's death] was normal or whether there is another situation at hand. I do not believe that this was a normal death,' Erdogan said following the funeral prayer held in abstentia in Istanbul.

Egypt's first freely elected president had suffered from neglect during years of imprisonment after his 2013 overthrow.


Egyptian government failed to allow Morsi 'adequate medical care' leading to his 'entirely predictable' death, HRW says.


The Muslim Brotherhood leader was the country's first democratically elected president but was removed in a 2013 coup

Those who crucified Christ and drove Prophet Muhammad from Mecca also martyred Mursi. Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed! Did you put the Kaaba and the prophet up for sale too? You launched a war against Turkey and targeted President Erdogan. There are miscreants waiting in ambush to apply a Mursi scenario in Turkey too!


We have lost another martyr in the struggle put up since the time of Adam. Those following in the path of Ibrahim, Ismail, Musa, Isa and Muhammad, those fighting for justice, and those standing in the ranks of the divine, have given another sacrifice to the world’s miscreants and evils. Mohammed Mursi, who was a believer, a patriot, a good man, a man who turned his back on all the world’s ugliness, a man who shouldered the grief of thousands of martyrs who bore the Rabia symbol on their backs, a man who shed light on Egypt’s thousands of years of dark, cruel history, a man who held onto God’s messengers and their messages against the Pharaoh who was at war with God, --- this man has been martyred.

Those who crucified Christ and drove Prophet Muhammad from Mecca also martyred Mursi.
He could no longer resist against the systematic torture and prolonged murders ongoing for the past six years. He took his last breath and perished from this world. He fought for his cause, paid the price and left. Those who crucified Christ, drove prophet Muhammad from Mecca, those who made the messengers of God suffer, their companions are the ones who drove Mohammad Mursi from this world.  He was abandoned to the mercy of the U.S. and Israel in Egypt’s dungeons, he was interrogated and subjected to torture by them, and martyred in accordance with their assassination plans. The Egyptian junta, Saudi Arabia and the UAE: They desecrated humanity’s homeland.

The Egyptian junta, upon the instructions of the Saudi administration, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the U.S. and Israel, destroyed the people’s freedom resistance and slaughtered them in the squares. A front of “enormity”, a Crusader front was established against justice, freedom, against humanity’s honor, against the emotions of a nation, and against their beliefs.

They defiled these lands, this region, these archaic cities, the motherland of humanity; they waged war against God’s justice and attacked everything sacred. They chose slavery over freedom, they chose seeking a master over dignity, and challenged Allah’s will.  Instead of Allah and His messengers, they chose the tradition of the Pharaoh. They sold their honor, Islam’s holy sites, and their countries. They sold that which they were meant to safe-keep by Allah on the holy lands. They utilized their power, wealth and weapons against the innocent. They turned their weapons toward the pure. Upon their masters’ orders, they rushed to enslave the innocent as they themselves have been enslaved. While doing this they sold their honor, Islam’s holy sites, their countries, wealth and dignity. They sold Allah’s gifts on those lands, and defiled all that is sacred to use as fodder in a dirty negotiation.

Saudi Arabia’s administrators! Why are your fingerprints all over every evil?!

I ask Saudi Arabia’s administrators, why is it that from Sudan to Syria, from Yemen to Libya your fingerprints are all over the blood spilled?   When are you going to give up your efforts of defiling these lands with the instructions of Israel and the U.S., when are you going to stop your atrocities against the region’s peoples and using them in your negotiations, when are you going to stop striving to ignite civil wars and give up on the Muslim civil war project? When are you going to abandon your efforts to add Islamic nations to your monopoly, to release Islam’s holy sites, to relinquish them as your hostages and to stop using them as your own personal bargaining chip? When are you going to stop striving to please your American, British and Israeli bosses?

Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed!
Are you using the Kaaba and the prophet as a bargaining chip too?

Mohammed bin Salman and Mohammed bin Zayed, you are the ones who murdered Mohamed Mursi. You are the ones who turned Egypt into a bloodbath. You are the ones who have divided Libya. You too are the ones who have blockaded Qatar. You are the ones who devastated Yemen. And now you are the ones plummeting Sudan into a civil war and preparing it for a western invasion! You sold out Jerusalem, serving the Palestinians up on a silver platter. Were you the ones taking the most tangible steps on the path to declare Jerusalem as the Israeli capital? Are you using Mecca and the Kaaba as a bargaining chip too?   Is prophet Muhammad even up for negotiation? Did you promise the West that you would deliver them from the “Islam threat”?

You launched a war against Turkey and targeted President Erdogan. You have the blood of the July 15 martyrs on your hands too!

You funded their terror organizations all across the region. You attacked Muslim countries and communities on behalf of the U.S., Britain and Israel. Your betrayal will not be forgotten for generations. You openly declared war against Turkey. You funded coups in this country. You conducted assassinations, and smuggled terror gangs into our cities. You schemes and plotted to eliminate the president of the Turkish Republic. You planned and partnered up. You are the invaders of this region, it’s enemy and the zone of evil. You tried to do in Turkey what you did in Egypt. You stood side by side with your bosses, with the Fetullah Terror Organization (FETÖ) during July 15. Just as the blood of the Rabia martyrs is on your hands, so is the blood of the martyrs of Turkey’s July 15 coup attempt.

You martyred Mohamed Mursi and are also behind the assassination attempt on president Erdogan in Marmaris on July 15. Now you have once again set your sights on Turkey. You are planning new scenarios with Erdogan’s enemies in Turkey and with terror groups in Syria. We know that there are miscreants waiting in ambush to apply Mursi scenario in Turkey! We know that there are miscreants waiting in ambush to apply Mursi scenario in Turkey. They tried once, and we know that they want to give it a second go. Just like those two crown princes, they too are the internal invaders of this country, we know. We know that they too are cooperating with the U.S., the U.K. and Israel. We know of this country’s Mohammed bin Salmans and the Mohammed bin Zayeds, and we are watching them. Slavery and dishonor is plaguing the region, infiltrating countries. In this country too, there are who are hiding behind Allah’s Quranic verses but take action according to their masters’ instructions, waging wars against Allah’s justice.  Mandate, tutelage and the spirit of slavery have been ongoing for centuries, and today it is taking place in the front being established against our nation, against our country’s struggle.

Arab nations and Arab intellectuals, can’t you see that those two crown princes will destroy you again? Arab nations and Arab intellectuals! Since 1991, all wars have taken place on Arab territory. The destroyed, burned and ruined towns all belong to Arabs. Have you never thought why this is the case? Are you not aware that your governors and those in power are all putting you, your country, your values, your lands, your holy sites up for sale? Can’t you see that other countries will be carved up, that the Arab peoples will once again pay a heavy price, that their homelands will turn into ruins through them too? The evils committed by those two crown princes today in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Turkey will actually come back to bite you, will come back to bite Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries; can’t you see that the great trap has been set up through them? If you don’t stop them, the 21st century will conclude with the enslavement of the Arab world, can’t you see this?

We face a joint threat, so a joint fight is essential. The matter transcends Mohamed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood. It is so much more than that. The freedom of the region, the independence of states and the honor of nations are at stake. This fight isn’t limited to specific countries alone. If hostility knows no borders, then neither will this struggle. We face a common threat. We need a joint struggle. Now there are two fronts, two axes: the Western invasion along with their partners in the country and the resistance of the region and its countries. Mursi is not the first martyr, nor will he be the last. But this tide will turn, and when that happens, the oppressors of today will collapse on their masters. However, we will never again allow them another chance to implement this scenario in Turkey. Those who have their hopes tied on applying a Mursi scenario in Turkey, the multinational forces behind them, hitmen like those two crown princes-- it will be sufficient for all of them to just take a look at the history of the past millennium.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman should be investigated over killing of journalist Khashoggi, UN expert concludes



Saudi Arabia's state oil company Saudi Aramco has officially begun trading on its domestic stock market. In its IPO last week, Aramco raised over $25 billion dollars, giving it a valuation
of $1.7 trillion. That comfortably makes it the most valuable publicly listed company in the world. However, that's not enough for the Kingdom which remains determined to have a $2 trillion valuation. 



Syria: The Roots Of Tyranny tells the story of Abdul Hamid al-Sarraj, a military intelligence chief who used fear and torture to turn 1950s Syria into a police state, a decade or so before the al-Assad regime rose to power. When Syria gained independence from France in 1946, the country's institutions were based on those of its former protectorate. It had an elected parliament, multi-party politics, freedom of the press and the right to protest, according to Radwan Ziadeh, executive director of the Syrian Centre for Political and Strategic Studies. "The 1950 constitution was one of the most advanced in the Arab world." There were three coups in 1949 but "the state's infrastructure, its democratic, pluralist and civil institutions didn't change," explains Ziadeh. Al-Sarraj rose to prominence in the military in the mid-1950s, and was put in charge of a section of Syrian military intelligence, le Deuxieme Bureau, meaning the Second Office. "The first challenge al-Sarraj faced … was when Adnan al-Maliki was assassinated [in 1955]," explains journalist Kamal al-Taweel, who interviewed al-Sarraj later in life. When Colonel Adnan al-Maliki, the deputy chief of staff of the Syrian army, was killed by a member of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), al-Sarraj swiftly rounded up SSNP members. "The assassination of al-Maliki fuelled hatred and resentment between the Syrian nationalists and Baathists. This unleashed al-Sarraj on Syrian intelligence," says former Lebanese Interior Minister Sami el-Khatib. The crackdown after al-Maliki's assassination consolidated al-Sarraj's relationship with the nationalist, populist and socialist Baath Party. As its influence increased, so did the power of al-Sarraj and the Deuxieme Bureau. It closely monitored al-Sarraj's fellow army officers and put them under surveillance. "Syria wasn't a bloody country, despite all the coups, there was no torture, killing or revenge," says Walid Elsaka, a former Syrian army officer. "[Sarraj] used torture, police rule, killing and nail extraction to oppress the Syrian people and officers. 

Syria became a terror school." Sarraj did not join any political party, but made sure he cooperated with whoever was in power. An ardent Arab nationalist, he actively supported Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser's stand against Western colonialism and Israel, including the Suez War in 1956. The United Arab Republic When the formation of the United Arab Republic (UAR) between Egypt and Syria was declared in 1958, al-Sarraj was appointed interior minister of its northern province. Egypt was the republic's southern province. But the new republic did not bode well for the future of democracy, civil liberties or freedom of expression in Syria. Nasser dissolved all political parties and the multi-party system, and limited press outlets. "We entered a kind of a junta rule with a single party in charge," says Ziadeh. Al-Sarraj became Nasser's main man in the Syrian province. "In al-Sarraj, Nasser found a courageous personality, smart in strategic thinking. He gave him information about Syria and Syrian people," explains Elsaka. "More importantly, he gave him information about Syrian army officers." However, his ruthless policing made him deeply unpopular.







Yusuf Dhia-Allah

Saudi crown prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) is desperate to become king even before the old man kicks the bucket. While he is the de facto ruler, that is not good enough for him. To become king, he needs approval of the Ba‘ya (Allegiance) Council that is not assured since Prince Ahmed bin Abd al Aziz, MbS’ uncle, is also a member of the Council and he has made no secret of his opposition to the crown prince. In an unprecedented move, MbS arrested Prince Ahmed together with a number of other ‘royals’ that were seen as not sufficiently loyal to him or potential rivals. MbS has made too many enemies and is likely to become victim of his own plots. He has pushed the kingdom to the edge of a precipice. 

Saudi crown prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS) is like the monkey with a loaded gun: it will either blow its own brains out or those of others. His erratic policies and decisions are shaking the medieval kingdom to its core. Other members of the clan are worried that the ignorant brash prince will blow up everything bringing the kingdom built on sand upon them all.

With all the powers in his hands and being the sole decision-maker in the kingdom, it is surprising that MbS is still terrified of potential rivals. If stupidity had a name, it would be called Muhammad bin Salman (MbS). He is arrogant, impulsiveness and lacks any understanding of issues.

How does one explain the manner in which the crown prince arrested dozens of senior ‘royals’ last month? This was followed two weeks later by the arrest of nearly 300 security personnel. The detained princes—all much older than him—were accused of attempting to carry out a coup with the help of foreign powers. What ‘foreign powers’ was MbS referring to? Reports in the Saudi media left little doubt that the accusing finger was being pointed at the US, or more precisely the CIA.

The reason for MbS’ fear is that CIA had close links with Mohammad bin Nayef (MbN), the former crown prince, who was among those detained. The agency would have preferred him as the future king. MbN had for decades served under his father (Prince Nayef bin Abd al-Aziz) when he was the interior minister. The son cultivated close links with American and British intelligence agencies during that time. He was their man in the kingdom and carried out the West’s agenda with ruthless efficiency.

In the medieval kingdom, important portfolios are allocated among the sons of Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, the kingdom’s founder: foreign ministry was the personal domain of the Bin Faisals, National Guard of Bin Abdullahs, defence portfolio of the Bin Sultans etc. All other ‘bins’ have since been knocked off their perches and the Bin Salmans have grabbed those positions or given to more trusted men, since Salman became the king in January 2015.

The Bin Salmans and MbS in particular, have also grabbed all other levers of powers. He was appointed defence minister in January 2015 and soon thereafter launched the disastrous war on Yemen. Two years later, he became the crown prince, knocking off MbN, his more experienced cousin and many years his senior. MbS also serves as head of economic policy as well as manages Aramco, the huge Saudi oil company. The kingdom’s internal security is also under his control. There is hardly any facet of life that he does not control.

MbS is in charge of the royal court and acts as his father’s personal secretary. Further, he makes all decisions in the name of the king who is believed to be suffering from dementia and perhaps may even be in a coma. He has not only sidelined other princes but also arrested and brutalized them. Take the latest wave of arrests based on allegations that they were plotting a coup. MbN was already under house arrest since November 2017. With all security personnel reporting directly to MbS, how could he organize a coup? Besides, all of MbN’s communications were and are closely monitored.

Thus, we must seek the reasons for MbS’ nervousness elsewhere. As long as Donald Trump is in the White House, he need not worry. But MbS’ dilemma is that he is not sure whether Trump will be in the Oval Office after the November presidential elections. The US economic meltdown following the coronavirus pandemic has further eroded Trump’s support. Whosoever wins the Democratic nomination—Joe Biden or Bernie Sanders, the latter’s chances fast receding—will have a good shot at the presidency. If the Democrats win, the Saudis will be in for some rough times.

The arrests, especially of his uncle Prince Ahmed bin Abd al-Aziz (78) and cousin Muhammad bin Nayef (58), have much to do with MbS’ nervousness. Unless he becomes king before the King dies, his chances of ascending the throne would be in jeopardy. Prince Ahmed, full-brother of the king and last of the Sudairi-7 (they are from the same mother, Hassa bint Sudairi), has made no secret of his dislike of MbS. He refused to pledge allegiance when MbS was appointed crown prince. As member of the [i]Bay‘a[/i] (Allegiance) Council, Prince Ahmed had actually opposed MbS becoming crown prince in June 2017 as well as spoken out against the disastrous war on Yemen.

Further, Prince Ahmed insists he is the rightful claimant to the throne after King Salman. He cites the [url=]Saudi ‘Constitution’ whose Chapter 2, Article 5, section b
states: “Rule passes to the sons of Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud, and to their children’s children. The most upright among them is to receive allegiance with the principles of the Holy Qur’an and the Tradition of the Venerable Prophet.”

So long as the sons of Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud are alive, MbS has no right to the throne. There are four sons of the kingdom’s founder still alive. Besides King Salman, there is the king’s full-brother Prince Ahmed, and half-brothers Prince Muqrin and Prince Talal (born to other wives of Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud who had 23 wives and sired 45 sons and 15 daughters). Abd al-Aziz went to the grave leaving behind a royal mess in the form of an army of children. The few remaining children are in their late seventies or eighties but they have not lost their appetite for intrigue even if they all have one leg in the grave.

At 78, Prince Ahmed is still quite robust, hence his desire to become king. He makes a strong case based on the Saudi constitution, whatever it’s worth, to be more deserving of becoming the king when Salman dies which could be quite soon given his age and health condition. Besides, MbS is far from being upright although among the Bani Saud there is hardly anyone—young or old—that would qualify on this score.

Then there is MbN, who managed the interior ministry under his father’s long spell, and the person MbS replaced as crown prince in June 2017. He is still seen as a potential rival. While under house arrest since he was stripped of all powers and his stipend withdrawn, MbN appears to enjoy continued support in the interior ministry and with the security establishment. MbS has appointed his own men in top slots but he is not sure of the support and loyalty of other ranks.

MbN’s close links with American and British intelligence agencies when he was running the interior ministry clearly worries MbS. He fears that the rug could be pulled from under his feet given the way he has messed up things. Both Prince Ahmed and MbN can also act as rallying points for other dissatisfied royals that view MbS’ erratic policies with alarm. They see the impulsive crown prince jeopardizing not only his own rule but that of the entire Bani Saud clan and the very survival of the kingdom.

Even more than the brutal murder of Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018, at the express orders of MbS, the disastrous war on Yemen is undermining his authority. He has tried to divert attention from it by organizing concerts and free mixing of men and women that would be unthinkable even a few years ago, but none of these gimmicks has helped.

There are rumors that MbS wants to become the king before the G20 summit in Riyadh in November 2020, regardless of whether his father is dead or alive. For all practical purposes the king is not in the picture. But once the king is actually dead, the other senior princes would not be as deferential. This adds to MbS’ nervousness.

Even if he declares himself king, there is no guarantee MbS would be able to control the situation, hence his desperate moves to eliminate all rivals, real or imagined, before the hour of reckoning. A bloodbath cannot be ruled out in the kingdom as other royals sharpen their daggers and swords. Once it ends, the Bani Saud may have decimated each other and the reins of power would be transferred to some other hands, equally subservient to imperialism and Zionism.


No official comment by Saudi Arabia as reports say authorities broaden crackdown after detention of two senior royals.

A roundup of royals and aides has widened in Saudi Arabia, according to several reports, in what is believed to be the latest crackdown by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the kingdom's de facto ruler, against potential challengers to his power.

On Saturday, a day after it was reported that two senior members of the royal family were detained over an alleged coup plot, US media outlets said Prince Nayef bin Ahmed, a former army head of intelligence, was also among those being held. Separately, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday that the sweep broadened to include dozens of interior ministry officials, senior army officers and others suspected of supporting a coup attempt. It came a day after the Journal cited sources familiar with the matter as saying that masked guards with the royal court on Friday arrested Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, a younger brother of King Salman, and Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, the king's nephew and a former crown prince. The guards also detained a brother of Mohammed bin Nayef.

There has been no official comment from Saudi authorities on the arrests. "There are some kinds of rumours and innuendos that there's turmoil within the family in the form of criticism, but that doesn't justify being arrested as criminals, with masked security forces coming to their rooms and yanking them out of their private residences," Khalil Jahshan, executive director of the Arab Center in Washington, DC, told Al Jazeera. The detentions raised speculation about the health of 84-year-old King Salman and whether MBS's succession to the throne was imminent, but on Sunday the official Saudi Press Agency released images of King Salman presiding over the swearing-in ceremony of newly appointed Saudi ambassadors to Ukraine and Uruguay.

Consolidating reign
A son of King Salman, MBS has moved to consolidate power since replacing his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, as heir to the throne in 2017. Later that year, dozens of senior members of the royal family and billionaire businessmen were rounded up and detained at a luxury hotel in the capital, Riyadh, in what the Saudi government described as being part of an anti-corruption drive. Separately, rights groups have denounced the detention of hundreds of activists, including women's rights campaigners, amid growing criticism over the kingdom's human rights record, including the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by a team of Saudi agents and the devastating war in Yemen.  "He's not worried about people trying to make a coup," Rami Khouri, a journalism professor at the American University of Beirut, told of MBS. "He doesn't want any independent voices that don't agree with him," added Khouri, pointing to the reports saying that Prince Ahmed was one of only three people on the Allegiance Council, made up of the ruling Al Saud family's senior members, who opposed MBS becoming crown prince in 2017.

In late 2018, a video emerged of Prince Ahmed facing protesters outside his London residence and in which he seemed to criticise King Salman and MBS for the war in Yemen, described by the United Nations as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. "Don't blame the entire family. Those responsible are the king and his crown prince," he said at the time. "In Yemen and elsewhere, our hope is that the war ends today before tomorrow."

Though Prince Ahmed quickly retracted his comments, insisting that his words were taken out of context, messages of support and pledges of allegiance began pouring in. The 78-year-old also issued a statement to deny speculation that he was interested in the role of the monarch and has largely kept a low profile since returning to Riyadh in October 2018 after two and a half months abroad.

'Not in a vacuum'
Both Prince Ahmed and Mohammed bin Nayef were seen as possible rivals for the throne when King Salman dies, with reports suggesting they now face long-term imprisonment or even death. Simon Mabon, a senior lecturer in international studies at Lancaster University, said even though the reasons behind the arrests were not clear, they did not happen "in a vacuum". "There have been a range of other things going on inside the kingdom, predominantly the long-standing efforts of the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to seize power and to ensure that he has no form of internal or external dissent ," he told Al Jazeera. "What we saw with the killing of Jamal Khashoggi and this latest round of purges against his rule and against the legacy that he is trying to create for himself for the next 50 years or so as he becomes king."

Khouri said the idea of a coup being fomented was unlikely in light of the "immense, direct and brutal control" that MBS has over all of the kingdom's security agencies.  "It is a sign of the nervousness of the crown prince and the people around him who rule Saudi Arabia because they probably expect that the king will either abdicate or pass away soon," he added. "They expect there might be some kind of challenge to the succession."


Saudi Arabia
has detained two senior members of the royal family - Prince Ahmed bin Abdulaziz, the younger brother of King Salman, and Mohammed bin Nayef, the king's nephew - according to reports citing sources with knowledge of the matter.

The Wall Street Journal reported the detentions of the two royals on Friday and said they related to an alleged coup attempt. The publication has since reported that the sweep widened to include dozens of interior ministry officials, senior army officers and others suspected of supporting a coup attempt. Bloomberg also reported the detention of the two high-profile royals on Friday, quoting a source as saying that the pair were accused of "treason". Mohammed bin Nayef's younger brother, Prince Nawaf bin Nayef, had also been detained, according to the New York Times. There was no immediate comment by Saudi authorities.

The detentions mark the latest crackdown by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a son of 84-year-old King Salman and the de facto ruler of the kingdom. Prince Mohammed, also known as MBS, has moved to consolidate power since replacing his cousin, Mohammed bin Nayef, as heir to the throne in 2017. Later that year, he arrested dozens of royals and business people, in what was billed as a move against corruption that was draining state coffers. But the crown prince has fuelled resentment among some prominent branches of the ruling family by tightening his grip on power and some question his ability to lead following the 2018 murder of prominent journalist Jamal Khashoggi 
by Saudi agents, and a major attack on the kingdom's oil infrastructure last year, sources have told Reuters news agency. The sources said royals seeking to change the line of succession view Prince Ahmed, King Salman's only surviving full brother, as a possible choice who would have the support of family members, the security apparatus and some Western powers.

In late 2018, a video emerged of Prince Ahmed facing protesters outside his London residence and in which he seemed to criticise King Salman and his crown prince for the war in Yemen. "Don't blame the entire family ... Those responsible are the king and his crown prince" he said at the time. "In Yemen and elsewhere, our hope is that the war ends today before tomorrow." Though Prince Ahmed quickly retracted his comments, insisting that his words were taken out of context, messages of support and pledges of allegiance began pouring in.  The 78-year-old also issued a statement to deny speculation that he was interested in the role of monarch and has largely kept a low profile since returning to Riyadh in October 2018 after two and a half months abroad.  

He was one of only three people on the Allegiance Council, made up of the ruling Al Saud family's senior members, who opposed MBS becoming crown prince in June 2017, sources earlier said. Following his removal from office, meanwhile, Mohammed bin Nayef's movements have reportedly been restricted and monitored since then. Saudi insiders and Western diplomats say the family is unlikely to oppose MBS while the king remains alive, recognising that he is unlikely to turn against his favourite son. The monarch has delegated most responsibilities of rule to his son but still presides over weekly cabinet meetings and receives foreign dignitaries. Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, commenting from Doha, said the detentions were of "huge" significance. "We are talking about two of the most senior members of the Saudi royal family," he said. "What's prompted it is very difficult to ascertain, needless to say, because Saudis have a closed culture in terms of transparency and no media freedom.  "But these are two figures who have been under house arrest. They haven't been able to move freely for a very long time. The idea that they were trying to hatch some sort of coup is very far-fetched and difficult to see when considering the restraints they were under."

'Sign of nervousness'
The latest detentions come at a time of heightened tension with regional rival Iran and as MBS implements ambitious social and economic reforms, including an initial public offering by oil giant Saudi Aramco on the domestic bourse last December.  Saudi Arabia is also the current chair for the Group of 20 (G20) major economies. MBS has been lauded at home for easing social restrictions in the kingdom and opening up the economy. But he has come under international criticism over a devastating war in Yemen, the murder of Khashoggi in the kingdom's Istanbul consulate and the detention of women's rights activists seen as part of a crackdown on dissent.  "Prince Mohammed is emboldened - he has already ousted any threats to his rise, and jailed or murdered critics of his regime without any repercussion," Becca Wasser, a policy analyst at the US-based RAND Corporation, said of the latest crackdown. "This is a further step to shore up his power and a message to anyone - including royals - not to cross him." Rami Khouri, a journalism professor at the American University of Beirut, echoed Wasser's sentiment, saying the idea of a coup being fomented was unlikely in light of the "immense, direct and brutal control" that the crown prince has over all of the kingdom's security agencies.  "It is a sign of the nervousness of the crown prince and the people around him who rule Saudi Arabia because they probably expect that the king will either abdicate or pass away soon. They expect there might be some kind of challenge to the succession," Khouri said. "The critical thing about this, I think, is that it is the final affirmative confirmation, the seal on Mohammed bin Salman taking over the mantle of the Arab autocrats that used to be held by people like Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and Hafez al-Assad."

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