If you've been following the news lately, you're probably thinking that the world just cannot get any crazier, but each passing week the news seems to indicate something big is afoot, and one of the "big things afoot", as I've been arguing lately, is that a paradigm shift of major proportions appears to be underway with respect to the West's, and the USA's, "special relationship" with the (out)house of Saud. I've been arguing, if effect, that there are indicators of deep shifts in the "deep state" of views about that odious regime, and that all the public indicators are pointing in that direction. And perhaps a review of those indicators is in order before we get to the subject articles of today's blog.
First, there are the indicators from within the regime itself: you'll recall that Riyadh has been sponsoring various military interventions in the region, and has also been accused of being a major sponsor of ISIS. But additionally, Riyadh has made three crucial decisions and announcements in recent months: (1) it would issue sovereign bonds for the very first time in a long time to make up for a budget shortfall brought about by soft oil prices, (2) it would open up Saudi Aramco, the oil giant, to public shares, and finally (3) it announced it had purchased a few atomic bombs for good measure, which most people believe were bought from Pakistan.
Secondly, there are the indicators of a policy shift within the West and USA itself. The most stunning of these was President Obama's recent interview with The Atlantic Monthly, in which he made two astonishing statements: (1) that the Saudi's would have to learn to "share the region", an obvious reference to the Saudi repression of Shia Muslims within the country, who populate(you guessed it) the oil rich regions of the country, and of course, with Iran, a Shia country. But much more importantly, Mr. Obama also stated that the USA should revaluate its long time relationship with Saudi Arabia. None of this, I argued when the story appeared, would have been done without prior approval and a "green light" from the Powers that Be. Shortly afterward, the New York Times ran an op-ed piece questioning the Saudi relationship.
Now, in that context, consider these three articles shared by different readers of this site. We'll take each of them in turn:
Former Senator Bob Graham(D-Florida), has long sought with former committee member Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) to declassify those sections of the 9/11 commission's investigations that allegedly covered extensive Saudi roles in the preparation and execution of the 9/11 attacks. Now, in this article, it is being reported that the Mr. Obama's White House may be behind a move to declassify precisely those sections of the report that the Bush Administration had placed under that embargo, doubtless in an effort to divert unwelcome questions about that family's own deep business relationships:
Senator Bob Graham told the Tampa Bay Times on Tuesday that he received a call from the White House informing him that the declassification review of the documents withheld from a report issued by a Joint Congressional Commission in 2003 will soon be completed.
Graham, who has been calling for the declassification of the secret pages since 2011, says that the release may occur within “one or two months.”
The Senator believes recent news reports on the secrecy surrounding the 28 pages, including a report Sunday on 60 Minutes, prompted the White House to react, reports the Tampa Bay Times.
“The decisionmakers at the White House have realized the public cares about it and there is an urgency to come to a decision,’’ Graham said.
The pages, made classified under the Bush administration, document indications of foreign government support of the 9/11 hijackers.
Specifically, it points out that Saudi Arabian officials provided financial aid and other help to the 19 hijackers who flew airplanes into the World Trade Center buildings.
If these documents are declassified and if they contain what many suspect they contain, then it would be a geopolitical earthquake, for it would reflect the fact that the USA's post-9/11 "war on terror" was neglecting to lance the one pustule at the center of it all. The delcassification itself would indicate that this paradigm shift is underway and proceeding quickly. Why the quickness? I suspect the Riyadh announcement of a nascent nuclear capability has a lot to do with it.
Mentioned in the article is the recent CBS 60 Minutes report, which brings us to the second article:
Here the information becomes more specific:
A CBS News “60 Minutes” report quoted officials familiar with the 2003 report as saying 28 pages of redacted information raises questions over whether Saudi officials were involved in assisting Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar upon their arrival in Los Angeles in Jan. 2000.
Former Democratic congressman and U.S. ambassador to India Tim Roemer told “60 Minutes” the two Saudi nationals found a way to gain access to housing and flight lessons upon their arrival despite “extremely limited language skills and no experience with Western culture.”
And rounding out the picture, the "Icing on the cake" or perhaps better put, the ISISing on the cake is the recent announcement from Spain:
This one bears reading closely again:
Spanish police have uncovered an alleged Islamic State supply network after seizing 20,000 new military uniforms destined for jihadist fighters in Syria.
Five tonnes of perfectly packed khaki uniforms were hidden under secondhand clothes in two supply containers at the port in Valencia, eastern Spain.
According to transit documents, the uniforms had been sent from Saudia Arabia to Spain, but their appearance suggested they had originated in a Nato country. A quantity of fertiliser, which can be used to make explosives, was also found at another location and seven men were arrested. (Emphasis added)
Now, while I have no difficulty believing that the Saudis would be behind this, another possible scenario presents itself, namely, that the real ultimate origin of the recovered uniforms lie in some unspecified NATO country, the real question being, Which one? Turkey certainly springs to mind, given its own dubious Ottomanic role in the whole Syria-ISIS episode. It's when one moves to a consideration of other possible origins that the plot thickens: if it was the USA or any of its great power allies, that raises questions of its own: why would such a "stunt" be pulled? One reason would be precisely to implicate the Saudis even more deeply in the growing insanity of the Middle East, and to make ease the transition from "special relationship" to "menu item."
So what's the key here? I suggest that at the center of this transition are those still-classified documents themselves. If released, and if they contain what everyone suspects they contain, then it seems reasonable to assume that Riyadh will be on the menu. Recent announcements that the USA will be energy independent in five years, much of which coming from renewable energy sources, raise questions of their own, but if true, it's a geopolitical game-changer, for in effect, the West will no longer be reliant upon any Middle East oil, and those countries without an immediate shot at this transition - Russia and CHina for example - will be left tied to a Middle East whose oil it still needs in the interim. Even the Saudis have sensed this coming, and have announced their own long term plan to transition the country from an oil to a renewable energy economy, which they hope to position it as one of the world's leading suppliers.
So this is definitely one to watch... and closely...
See you on the flip side...