XI TO SALMAN: CHINA READY TO STRENGTHEN TIES WITH SAUDI ARABIANovember 25, 2017
Chinese premier Xi Jinping has upped the geopolitical ante in the Middle East by pledging to strengthen ties between China and Saudi Arabia, according to this article in Zero Hedge shared by Mr. H.B.:
What is extremely interesting about this story is that Mr. Xi made this announcement in the wake of the ongoing coup in Saudi Arabia that has seen heir-designate Prince Mohammed bin Salman placing several powerful Saudis under house arrest, including Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, a multi-billionaire with numerous corporate connections to Citigroup, various western media outlets, and the embattled Clinton networks, and a member of the powerful Bin Laden family. Rumors are now circulating on the internet about the arrested parties being tortured in the Ritz Carlton in Riyadh, a story which appears to have started with the U.K.'s Daily Mail tabloid newspaper.
The timing of the event, along with the timing of so many other apparently disconnected events, appears to corroborate the idea that so many are now entertaining, namely, that "something major" is happening behind the scenes. For example: there are now clear indicators that the shootings in Las Vegas are somehow tied to the events in Saudi Arabia, since al-Waleed bin Talal was a major owner, along with Bill Gates, of an exclusive hotel in the top floors of the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Additionally, there are stories that the heir-designate was in Las Vegas at another major hotel - the Tropicana - and had to be taken out of the hotel under escort. The pattern of deaths of witnesses - many of whom insist that there had to have been more than one shooter - has an unhappy parallel to the deaths of JFK assassination witnesses. While all this is going on, the news has also been abuzz with mounting sex allegations against major American politicians in both political parties, including recent new allegations against former president Bill Clinton. Amid all this, a plane and helicopter crashed in midair over a Rothschild estate in Britain, leading some to speculate that this was not merely an accident, but a message. And finally, for the connoisseur of conspiracy, the internet has been abuzz lately with the astonishing allegations of "Q", an alleged insider who has been posting some pretty pointed questions and connecting dots in some very direct ways (See The Book of Q). While I as yet do not know what to make of the latter link's contents, my general impression is that it does appear to be the work of either an individual or team with some access to "inside information", but whether or not the overall picture that it paints is true or not, I do not know. As of this moment, I have my doubts and suspect that some of it, as "Q" alleges, is deliberate disinformation, but I include the link simply for the purpose of letting people see what sorts of speculations are taking place.
So why bother with all of this? What has it to do with Mr. Xi's stated willingness to strengthen ties to Saudi Arabia? Zero Hedge offers its own opinion and evaluation:
King Salman told Xi that Saudi Arabia was willing to become China’s “important partner” in the Gulf. The kingdom also intended to play a role in China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” and cooperate with Beijing in the energy and financial sectors, he said
Though Chinese media reports didn’t delve into too much detail about the recent purge orchestrated by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the call between the two leaders obviously follows an event two weeks for KSA, where its leaders reportedly pressured Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign. Hariri had to go, allegedly, because he was deemed too soft on Hezbollah, the shiite militant group that’s affiliated with Iran and is also an important powerbroker in Lebanon.
Two weeks ago, dozens of Saudi princes and officials were detained on corruption charges, a move that is believed to have helped Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to consolidate his power. And yesterday the Financial Times exposed the “corruption crackdown” for what is truly is: A naked cash grab meant to refill KSA’s foreign currency reserves while allowing it the financial flexibility to help ensure the Aramco IPO is executed at the best possible price.
Thus Zero Hedge's analysis: the Saudi coup is nothing more than a power-and-money grab, and China is seizing the crisis of opportunity to hopefully cash in on any potential public offering of Saudi Aramco.
But the Saudi King's willingness to "play a role in China's 'Belt and Road' initiative" really signals that the Saudi coup - and China's response - are about much more than that. A Saudi role in the Chinese initiative is a major geopolitical realignment in the region, and that brings up the historical Saudi tensions with Iran. The end of the Zero Hedge article suggests that the tension might be impossible for anyone to overcome, including China:
Despite Xi’s promise, China also maintains warm relations with Iran, meaning the likelihood that China would become involved in a military struggle against either Iran or Saudi is probably low.
According to the SCMP, China has bolstered its presence in the region by forging closer ties with both countries. Of course, Saudi has plenty to gain from closer relations with China, including expanding its foothold in the world’s largest import market for crude.
During King Salman’s first official trip to China in March, the two countries signed deals, including some in the oil sector, worth a combined US$65 billion, the SCMP noted.
However, if the feud between Saudi Arabia and Iran intensifies - and that looks likely - the threat of a geopolitical conflict will become impossible to ignore.
Indeed, this reading while conventional does capture the problem. Which brings us to my high octane speculation of the day and to a possibility that is so remote I hesitate to mention it, but it is suggested by all the dot-connecting and speculation by which I began this blog. And the speculation is suggested by something else, not mentioned in the Zero Hedge article: Prince Mohammed bin Salman's apparent willingness to pursue a less radicalized and fundamentalist form of Islam than Wahhabism. Of course, time will tell whether any good intentions can improve a situation of barbarism and brutality in the (out)house of Saud. But then again, reflect back just a few years, when such ideas would not even have been voiced at all, much less from a prince in the royal house, much less, still, by the heir-designate. Merely mentioning such ideas would seem to be a radical step in and of itself. And for Saudi Arabia, with a large Shia population precisely in its oil-producing regions, such a signal might be interpreted as a long-term plan to change their status and improve relations, and that might ultimately mean improved relations with Iran. If any of this very high octane speculation has a scintilla of truth, then the Saudi coup would have to be viewed not as a "chance occurrence" or even a "crisis of opportunity", but, like all coups, a long and carefully planned event that in its turn is part of a larger picture and much more long-range scheme. Indeed, Saudi Arabia has undertaken to broaden its basis of great power support, with the king meeting with Presidents Trump and Putin, and now signaling his willingness to work with Xi.
The bottom line? It appears, at least to me, that something major is happening, that it has international roots, and that it is mightily upsetting Mr. Globaloney. It is perhaps significant that Mr. Trump, during his visit to Saudi Arabia, took part in the traditional Saudi Sword Dance, or Al Ardha. He wasn't the first American president to do so (Bush II did it). It is nonetheless intriguing that the dance, traditionally, was held before going to war. In Bush's case, we know what the war was...
It's a case, really, of you tell me.
See you on the flip side...