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Is Saudi money becoming radioactive? (techcrunch.com)
178 points by propman 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 123 comments

Saudi Arabia's missing princes:


Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions:


Saudi Arabia arrests economist after he criticises Crown Prince's plans:


Look at the list of prominent SV VCs and execs who were recently 'named to a Saudi advisory board': Sam Altman, Marc Andreessen, Travis Kalanick etc.


Surprised Sam Altman would sign on. Doesn't Saudi Arabia execute non-heterosexual people?

Surprised that a rich person contradicted his stated "beliefs" when time came to make himself a stack? Don't be.

Sam makes himself available to discuss issues publicly, and seems to have a functioning sense of morality.

Do you have any knowledge to contradict this picture? Surely billionaires are as individual as anyone else.

I agree this sounds like a contradiction, and I'm curious to hear Sam's reply. Let's not pre-judge him.

You mean like the knowledge that he works with Saudis?

I will await for that explanation. I believe however you are very naive.

I agree. I'm inclined to think there's very little excuse to 'get in bed' with the Saudis in the first place, but at the very least we should wait for a statement.

KSA is not exactly under the rule of law.

I believe it technically is, in a sense that Sharia (which is the supreme law) is supposed to be applicable even to the royal family. But I doubt that's how it works in practice.

That is almost exactly what it means to not be under the rule of law, when laws can be applied selectively you technically aren't under the rule of it, if there is a group above it they also can get away of going against it.

What I mean is that formally, those laws (Sharia) are not applied selectively. The practice is different, but that's not quite the same thing. Historically, when the concept of rule of law was first introduced, it was to counter the then-prevailing idea that laws officially don't apply to kings, who are above the law. In places like Russia, this was even manifested as part of the title - "autokrator" grew to specifically mean that the ruler is not subject to anyone else's will (including any laws).

You can still sue any specific person, just not the office they represent. E.g. if the Senate passes a law, all senators are still subject to that law as individuals.

The other side to rule of law is that the government can't punish you arbitrarily - they need to have an applicable law, and they can only apply it to you as written (including penalties etc). In a system without rule of law, a subject can be charged with wrongdoing on the whim of the ruler. That part is also missing in KSA.

Not surprising, just another rich asshole.

Isn't being jewish (like most of YC) an even bigger issue to the saudis?

No. Neither is being Israeli. The two find lots of mutual ground in their opposition to Iranian and Muslim Brotherhood (Turkey, Qatar) strength/control.

Maybe 30+ years ago. Not these days.

According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%E2%80%93Saudi_Arabia_re..., Saudia Arabia forbids aircraft traveling to Israel from overflying Saudi airspace. Doesn't seem very friendly to me.

> Saudia Arabia forbids aircraft traveling to Israel from overflying Saudi airspace

Anti-Israel, not (as) anti-Judaism. Saudi Arabia and Israel have a rough history. I know plenty of Jews who safely do business in the KSA. That said, they tend to stay within the larger cities of Riyadh and the more-liberal Jeddah.

That's interesting, thanks for sharing. I guess pragmatic commerce finds a way. I thought it was more black and white.

A friend from Bahrain put Middle East politics this way: 'Look at the Palestinians. Every country's government decries how poorly they've been treated, but none of them lift a finger to do anything about it.'

In other words, money and business >> beliefs.

> Anti-Israel, not (as) anti-Judaism

I think you are kidding yourself if you think religion doesn't play a major part in Israel's relations with the rest of the Mideast, on both sides.

And elsewhere it's a complicated issue: Anti-Semites use that claim (anti-Israel, not anti-Jewish) as cover for and a dog-whistle for acting and talking against Jewish people; on the other hand. people criticizing Israel's behavior have been unfairly accused of being anti-Semitic. It's often very hard to separate the two motives based on objective fact. (And to make it more complex, anti-Semitic race nationalists, including at least some Nazis, have supported Israel because it fits their concept of national racial purity - 'Israel for Jews, the country I live in for <their racial self-identification>'.)

A commercial El-Al flight landed in Saudi a few years ago for emergency repairs.

Israel and KSA both benefit from people thinking they hate one another. But they don't.

Exactly. It's pretty much an open secret Israel and SA even cooperate in an intelligence capacity. They do have a common enemy after all (Iran).

The world is just full of contradictions with regards to what is common public knowledge and actual reality.

Doesn't apply to military aircraft. Both countries have some sort of military co-operation related to Iranian threat. Enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Read the lede.

I would agree they're not "friendly", but I didn't use that word.

From my understanding, Jamal Khashoggi, a regime insider journalist was disappeared and allegedly dismembered by a hit squad of 15 assassins in the Saudi Ankara embassy, according to Ankara/Turkish police, because he violated an unwritten rule: once an insider, one must never be critical of or disobey the royals. His "self-imposed" exile didn't diminish his insider status in the minds of the regime. His gruesome murder (and possibly torture) was intended to send a message.

SV founders get into bed with questionable characters, one-party governments, and evil empires all the time. If the past and present is any guide, the people named in this article will say some nice-sounding things or stay quiet and wait for the news cycle to move on to the next scandal.



I'm surprised it took 17 years after Saudi money paid for 9/11[1] for this to become the case.


USA has a lot of problems, but the fact that free press exists is a miracle.

Calling people out by name that they are hypocrites by taking Saudi money and basically funding murder would get you killed in most countries.

Which is why the ongoing attacks against the press are so serious. No joke: a free press is almost as fundamental to a democracy as a good electoral process, or good courts.

But is a free press that has no checks and balances actually useful to democracy? I was going to make a complaint yesterday about a Fox News article that had some serious factual errors, but I see there is no agency in the USA to make such a complaint to. So basically you have all sorts of fake news being peddled and there's absolutely nothing that can be done about it.

> there is no agency in the USA to make such a complaint to

If you have a government agency policing what the press can and cannot say, you don't have a free press.

Your point is well taken, but I think what the previous poster was suggesting is some kind of ombudsman. I don't know that the idea is without merit, though as you point out it could be difficult to do in a way that preserved the freedom and independence of media.

Yes, the press complaints commission seemed to work well in the UK, and didn't infringe any freedom of the media. We're not talking about deciding what can and can't be said, just dealing with patently false statements.

I think where US struggles is general education of population and engagement with political process.

Press is subjective and you need engaged critically thinking electorate to see when BS is being presented to them.

Basically fake news is on us, not on them.

Each press organization has their reputation and readers/viewers/listeners that should act as a lever. Its up to individual citizens to be critical readers.

As we have seen, that doesn't work very well.

  a Fox News article that had some serious factual errors
How about posting a link for broader critique?


The statement is "killed US soldier" (not proven, and evidence seems to suggest the contrary).

I'd argue it's the most important factor to a functioning democracy.

Blanket attacks on the broad press by politicians and the government are not good for a functioning democracy. Calling out specific news organizations for specific failures is.

> there’s growing outrage over the week-long disappearance of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who Turkish officials say was murdered last week in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on orders from the Saudi Royal family, then cut into pieces with a bone saw and removed from the building.

Wow, that's crazy.

>Silicon Valley big wheels as Marc Andreessen, Sam Altman and Travis Kalanick are advisors to a $500 billion megacity project being built by the country, which has pitched it as a model of what future cities will look like.

Has Sam Altman commented on this project at all, or is it not associated with YC?

> >there’s growing outrage over the week-long disappearance of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who Turkish officials say was murdered last week in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul on orders from the Saudi Royal family, then cut into pieces with a bone saw and removed from the building.

It's litearally medieval, which is par on course for what this odious country (regime, to be more clear). It's pretty much what Saudi Arabia is: a medieval regime in 2018.

Of course, they just had to have trillions of dollars of oil under their feet, hence we are accustomed to seeing our elected representatives, our leaders, bowing and kissing the hands of that scum. Repugnant.

Right. Forget about global warming.. there should be bipartisan support for clean energy because we can stop dealing with countries like this.

Energy has little to do with it. US support for Saudi Arabia is based on an irrational opposition to Iran.

It's hardly irrational. You can argue the merits of their reasoning, but not that they have reasons. Don't dismiss viewpoints you don't agree with as irrational - that shuts down any attempt at a real dialogue or understanding.

I'm failing to find out why the US would find Iran to be a threat -- to the point where they would support extremist Islamists in Syria and smile when mentioning Saudi Arabia. This is excluding the sanctions that have crippled the country for years, backtracking on the nuclear deal and various other pointless actions.

It is most definitely irrational, because there is no rational reason why the US has that position.

I think your criticism of the USA's trenchant hostility towards Iran is well made. I would posit that the reason for the hostility is that the USA (in its imperialist form) wants to have influence and control across the globe. Iran is a naturally stable power in that part of the world that has existed in some form or other for thousands of years but one over which the USA has currently no influence or control. The USA hates such a situation and will be hostile to any political entity that shows such independence.

The rational reason is due to an irrational relationship with Israel.

I think Iran's posture toward Israel has much to do with the antagonistic relationship between Iran and the U.S. The U.S. allied with Egypt and Saudi Arabia long before those countries recognized Israel's so-called right to exist, and even during times when those countries actively supported militant groups hostile to Israel.

Egypt's and Saudi Arabia's stance toward Israel has softened partly because of their relationship to the U.S., and partly because of the bifurcation of regional interests--the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Turkey, notably, has recently vacillated between strong support of Israel (including bilateral--U.S. not involved--strategic security cooperation) to being passive-aggressive (i.e. ignoring arms shipments). Not coincidentally, Turkey has had a similar relationship with Iran. And through all of this Turkey has remained a NATO member.

So... it's complex. The U.S. is perfectly capable of normalizing relationships with a country hostile to Israel, as long as that hostility isn't openly flouted. The degree to which Iran openly flouts its hostility to Israel, and to which the U.S. stylizes itself as Israel's protector, is context dependent and self-serving and really not about Israel, per se.

All of which is to say, the U.S. is antagonistic to Iran not because of Israel, but because of the U.S. And vice-versa. And it all quite clearly started with the Iranian Revolution.

Not to mention that Israel secretly supported Iran during the Iran-Iraq war [1]. It's only since the 1990s that Iran has been actively hostile towards Israel.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%27s_role_in_the_Iran%E2...

> I'm failing to find out why the US would find Iran to be a threat

I can see Iran being a regional threat, and whoever has power in that region controls a major portion of the world's energy supply. However, I don't see why an Iranian-dominated region is worse than a Saudi-dominated region. Iran seems more democratic and stable than Saudi Arabia, at a first approximation, but both are brutal, anti-democratic, oppressive regimes. And IIRC the Saudis have been the primary supporters of extremist Sunnis worldwide.

How is Saudi Arabia better for the U.S. than Iran?

Maintaining hegemony over the middle East has been a cornerstone of American foreign policy since the end of World War 2. It used to be about oil, and still very much about the pertrodollar, but is also based largely on the belief that should America lose control of the Middle East, the balance of world power will shift to Russia and China, and America's global economoic supremacy will be lost. Iran has long been a thorn in America's side, but Israel and Saudi Arabia are key allies in keeping the Middle east too fucked up to make their own decisions, because if they could they would align with their traditional economic partners in the east.

Well, for one, Iran is the only major ME country that is pushing for the complete destruction of Israel.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, on the other hand, all work closely with Israel.

> I'm failing to find out why the US would find Iran to be a threat

They have money and influence. They have a stated and record of trying to harm the USA and the US allies. It's a threat and wouldn't take long to become a nuclear power (see pakistan).

What's hard to understand about the last 75 years? The speed of technology transfer is less than a change in Iranian regime.

Not implying Pakistan is a threat, SMH

A century ago the Middle East was sliced and diced with various powers getting part of the pie. Iran (Persia) was supposed to have been 'shared' between Britain and Russia, but the Russians had their own difficulties so the Tsar wasn't around to take on 'his share' of Iran. Nonetheless 'British Petroleum' got in there for a while.

It was Roosevelt that did the deal with the Saudis. The deal was as follows: sell us your oil in perpetuity and we will make sure that nothing threatens the 'royal' family.

Note the naming of the Saudi Aramco state oil business. 'Aramco' has the letters 'am' in it and that is because it is the 'Arab American Company'.

You are correct that the U.S. has 'irrational' opposition to Iran. This is because the U.S. has irrational opposition to any country that does not care about the dollar. The only truly sovereign nations are the ones that the U.S. has 'irrational' opposition to, everything else is a vassal state.

Believe it or not, US support has made KSA extremely weak, especially militarily. So its more like keep your enemies close, or in this case, oil targets. US could topple KSA in a matter of months.

SA is one of the largest arms purchasers in the world. They spend 10% of the gdp on their military. If the US spent that much, we would be spending 3x what we are currently -- or almost $2T/year.

They are about as strong as they can possibly be.

But at the end of the day, they're 32m people. 1/10th the US population or about the same as Texas or New York.

The US didn't "make ksa extremely weak"... they're weak because they're small.

Especially since we've sold them their entire military, and it's likely we know where (at least some of) the cyber-security holes are in that.

Our policymakers have a rationale for that opposition though.

Now that rationale is probably foolish in the extreme.

But they do have a rationale.

Opposition to the Iranian regime is pretty straight forward. Which is a shame, because had history played out slightly differently, the huge, progressive middle class of Iran could have been in power and a natural ally of the US instead of the religious zealots.

And ummm, money...

AIPAC money.

>In 1997, Fortune magazine named AIPAC the second-most powerful influence group in Washington, D. C.[46] According to journalist Connie Bruck, AIPAC has been able to "deliver the support of Congress"


Around the time that more Russia election meddling stories were breaking, a friend (probably now identified as a Russian bot for his views) sent me a link to a video put out by AIPAC on the importance of bipartisanship for ensuring that the US maintains a favourable stance. [0]

Of course, this is a fully legal way to influence the US political system. Sure, it costs a fair bit, but it doesn't matter who's in power. I was impressed by how unobfuscated the video's message was.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tvFYn9RbYlc

Oil is traded in USD. This props the value of US companies. It is why the US is friends with SA. https://internationalman.com/articles/the-secret-reason-trum...

MBS may be more liberal than his precursors (mostly because a majority of people in the country want that, and because it's the only way for KSA to lessen its dependency on oil), but he is in now way less of a monarch and if anything he clamps down on journalism and critics harder than ever, especially since he's one of few who ruled the kingdom holding power over all intelligence services and police/military/secret police forces (previously they were more "distributed" in terms of power).

To expand on "literally medieval", it's not just about their legal system and lack of proper rule of law or due process, or about being an absolute monarchy. It's also because the country is literally owned by the royal family, in the same sense as royals in Europe used to own their respective kingdoms, with everyone else getting any property grants from them. Europe still has many vestiges of that in form of "crown lands" etc - but in practice it's the government that is the actual owner there, and monarch doesn't have direct control over it. In Saudi Arabia, he does! So you could also say that, in a sense, all Saudi laws (other than Sharia) are really just rules that the owning family chooses to set for people who live on their property.

The alternative to the monarchy in Saudi Arabia is not a liberal democracy, but rule by the clerics, who are even worse and, from my understanding, have the support of the populace.

> The alternative to the monarchy in Saudi Arabia is not a liberal democracy, but rule by the clerics, who are even worse and, from my understanding, have the support of the populace

That excuse has long been used to justify support of brutal, oppressive regimes. It often leads to 'blowback', resulting in brutal, oppressive, anti-Western successors, such as in Iran.

Also, nobody can say how things would turn out, and whether the result is better or worse is a judgment for the Saudi people to make. If given the power in a democracy, they can always elect someone else.

Maybe that's their choice to make?

My response is to someone saying we should stop supporting the regime because of how awful it is. I’m just pointing out that the alternative is probably worse.

Or how about clarification on the past relationship between YC and DST Global which has ties to the Russian government?

If you don't think anything that billionaires (and their ilk) do is suspicious, then people are not looking hard enough. Just because they made their billions via tech doesn't make them any more benevolent.

Likewise, YC's move into China was brought up by people on HN concerned about the censorship practices of the Chinese government.

Censorship is one thing, but luring a person to be whacked like the mafia is entirely another. As a-moral as the US' foreign policy can be, we don't do outright assassinations anymore (Bin-Laden notwithstanding). What Saudi Arabia did here is just abhorrent, and akin to something out of the Sopranos or Goodfellas.

>we don't do outright assassinations anymore

Are you familiar with drones?

>What Saudi Arabia did here is just abhorrent, and akin to something out of the Sopranos or Goodfellas.

Funny that you mention this. Surely this violent act is shocking and catches the eye. But, the thing is that it can be argued that things like their financing of terrorism, or to be more direct their ongoing bombing of Yemen and funding of civil war is much more harmful than this one assassination -- much like Tony Soprano's asbestos dumping and HUD scams probably ended up causing more harm than the handful of people he "whacked"...

Less overtly brutal, not necessarily less harmful.

>Are you familiar with drones?

when was the last time an opposition journalist was targeted for a drone strike by the us?

I'm going to just bring up Anwar Al Awlaki. A prominent contributor to Al Qaeda's "Inspire" magazine, and a preacher of that radical sect.

I personally do believe the official US story that he was actively recruiting and actively participating in Al Qaeda. but a lot of people have debated with me otherwise.

Clearly, he was "in" the Al Qaeda culture, but publicly at least... some believed him to only be a preacher.

War is messy, to say the least. I'm not sure if the truth will ever come out. Nevertheless, I'm personally in the belief that Anwar Al Awlaki was too personally connected to a number of attackers, so he almost certainly was an operative.

Nevertheless, I bring up this example to demonstrate that the line between "operative", "journalist", and "preacher" can very well be blurred during wartime. Regardless, the US certainly ordered an assassination through our Drone technology.

Much of the evidence to his Al Qaeda "operative" connections is classified unfortunately. So the US Documents at least, won't be released for many years to come. In any case, even with only the public information, its clear that there's a "Lot of Smoke" as they say, and where there is smoke, there's probably a fire. But nothing really proves him to be an operative publicly (just a lot of corroborating evidence and close personal-connections to attackers).

There's a lot to be discussed about Al Awlaki, including his teenage son also killed in the strike, but he was a general in a war, on a battlefield.

Drones target fighters, and they sometimes kill civilians. They don't target civilians. If you don't think there is a difference there fine, but many lose sight of it.

> he was a general in a war, on a battlefield.

While I personally agree with you, I know people who will vehemently disagree with you on this factoid.

I wouldn't necessarily call him a "general", but perhaps an "operative". He had way too many connections with prominent attackers, so surely he was related to them. But once again, US-evidence of his operations remain classified and thus force me to only speculate on the matter.

At bare minimum, Anwar Al Awlaki was a publisher and prominent writer to the Al Qaeda magazines. So yes, he was an "enemy journalist" in some regards. The US alleges he did more than just write however, and that's why President Obama ordered the drone strike.


My ultimate point is that the line between "journalism" and "operative" is incredibly blurry, even to US Officials.

This year, according to this article by the Washington Post...


Right, they just bomb foreigners, not nationals.

Sure we do. We just do it away from the American Embassy & with more collateral damage. Those Predator and Reaper drones in Afghanistan (Syria?, Iraq?) aren't just for surveillance. We track target cellphones and then drop a Hellfire on their car often enough that it doesn't even make the news.

> we don't do outright assassinations anymore

Well, your country (probably) doesn't chop up people in your embassies, but your country most certainly does assassinations and abductions in foreign countries world wide. It's proven fact.

Censorship would potentially block one from knowing a person was lured and whacked. Not sure how you can say assassinations don't happen anymore with any certainty. Russia does it via open poisoning. There are other ways to kill people subtly though without raising much or as much attention - or even making it look accidental. The countries where it's blatant are just because they have nothing to lose because they're safe in the areas they're in, however if targeting people outside that area - unless they're trying to make a point - they can be discreet, it's an illusion of safety otherwise.

How about concentration camps for Muslims in China? Not enough attention being brought to that.

I'm surprised this isn't being talked about more, given hostility to China from the current US administration.

My best guess is that the administration doesn't care because the people being "disappeared" are Muslim.

Ok look, Yes. There are camps in China.

Yes, there are genocidal Rwandan warlords stealing resources in the Congo.

Yes, Aung San Suu Kyi and her boys are doing a pretty brutal number on the Rohingya right now.

Yes, there are murderous cartels operating in Mexico.

Yes, the United States is holding children in camps in deserts.

Etc etc etc.

What I'm trying to say is, YES, there is a lot of misery in the world. But right now we're talking about the fact that you've taken a chainsaw to a reporter for saying that he thinks you might be too brutal. Can we stop with the what aboutism for a moment and just kind of let that sink in for a second?

"Misery" is not the word you're looking for.

>As a-moral as the US' foreign policy can be, we don't do outright assassinations anymore

That's incredibly untrue. The drone assassination program was making ~2 strikes a week under Obama in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, and other places. After Trump took over that pace has accelerated and safety controls have been removed.

What would you call these if not assassinations? I mean, nothing as barbaric as sawing a guy's body - but we're blowing up someone who we hope is our target and everyone near by. I'm not sure that's better.

One difference is that the US isn't killing Western Journalists. The US does kill people, and coincidentally their children, for saying things they don't like though. Anwar al-Awlaki was an Islamic preacher, and US citizen, who preached in favor of jihad against the US. He was killed by drone strikes. Later, his teenage son, also an American citizen, was killed when the US "accidentally" blew up a restaurant where he was eating with friends. Still later, in another bit of bad luck, his eight year old daughter was killed by US forces in a commando raid.

The US absolutely commits assassinations.

>As a-moral as the US' foreign policy can be, we don't do outright assassinations anymore

Your government kills people with drones, often with many innocent people as casualties along with it, without any form of process and even US citizens.

To be fair, China disappears dissidents too.

And movie stars and international police chiefs, apparently.

Hollywood, YC, Google and anyone else whom collaborates with and enables the Chinese regime has such a level of moral turpitude that they're either fools or sociopaths.

That's not a resignation. He "suspended his involvement until the facts are known", which means he can & will "unsuspend it" later. If he had resigned he would use the word "resigned" instead of "suspend involvement".

Sounds like he is “suspending his involvement ... until the facts are known”, which is a bit different. But appropriate enough.

> ...Diplomatic murder, women's rights arrests, Yemen war, Canada row, royal imprisonmemt...

There is also the failed blockade of Qatar. Seems like this has been a pretty disastrous few years for MBS and he isn't even king. Im surprised he hasn't been replaced. These are pretty massive blunders.

>Im surprised he hasn't been replaced...

Uh, he just took a chainsaw to a guy who said he didn't like the color of his robe. Would you suggest replacing a guy who does that if you were inside elite circles in The Kingdom?

If history is any guide, regime change doesn't need to come from within. Many parallels have been drawn to Saddam.

The article is right on the point out the hypocrisy in condemning slight missteps on the front of gender and diversity in one hand, and taking money from those that order unlawful murders in another.

This would imply that the SoftBank Vision fund is also radioactive...

Something seems odd about this story. I can see him dying in a botched interrogation or extraordinary rendition and it being covered up, or it was a successful extraordinary rendition and he's back in a cell in Saudi Arabia, but if they just wanted him dead why would it take 15 people and why would they do it in their consulate? It seems like there are easier and more plausibly deniable methods employed to do that like a "botched robbery", fire, heart attack or car crash.

You seem to think thinking about this way too much, IMO.

What's easier / cheaper? Paying a group of guys to just "go to X, kill him in the streets" or the whole "make it look like a car accident" route from movies? The former is easier, cheaper and quicker. I mean these people bankrolled the largest terror attack on US soil and we still do business with them, why would anyone care about a single journalist?

It still seems odd, "go to X, kill him in the streets" takes one or maybe two assassin types not 15 agents and why would you do it in your consulate? There are lots of examples of suspicious deaths that look like possible assassinations. They don't usually look like this.

> It still seems odd, "go to X, kill him in the streets" takes one or maybe two assassin types not 15 agents

Maybe in the movies. The more people the less likely one of you takes much if any damage / death so it's safer that way. They may have wanted to cover most of the exits, too.

> why would you do it in your consulate

Because that's where he was? I won't pretend to know what their plan was but it probably wasn't anything too complicated. Just go, kill x, cut up, leave.

>why would you do it in your consulate?

A country not does have jurisdiction over embassies on its soil. Maybe the same thing applies to consulates. I.e., maybe killing people in a Saudi consulate is not technically a crime where the same actions on the streets of Turkey would be a crime under Turkish law.

This country should be on the terrorist watch list. 19 of the 9/11 terrorists came from that country.

This same country is armed by the Brits.


What reasons are there for being more suspect of money from Palestinians than other middle eastern partners:

> “typically, entrepreneurs don’t like to focus on politics and historically have not cared very much where the money came from,” except if it’s “from the PLO or Iran.”

Quote from "Longtime VC Jeff Bussgang of Flybridge Capital Partners in Boston"

Any country that have an official religion, any country that is not a democracy with simple and well known rules for voting like Swiss is not a free country but a strong or light dictatorship and people inside it should know that and decide what to do for themself and their future generation.

Not to mention all the people they've killed in Yemen and elsewhere...

The US (and now also Israel) siding with Saudi Arabia and condemning Iran has always been madness in my opinion.

See also:



Well, money talks, and weak people like money. The saudis are scum, I would never have anything to do with them. I mean the just now apparently "let" women drive! Are you kidding me, they still think of women as property and as lesser beings than dogs. Or try being gay over there.

Obligatory reference to Betteridge's Law of Headlines... But seriously, the idea that you vote with your dollars becomes even more compelling when you have billions to throw around. Unfortunately when you cast your vote and what you end up voting for don't always happen in the expected order.

This is Trump's boy. He helped him get in power. In some ways Trump might have done a good things, because the Saudi needed a bit more crazy guy on the top for the west to finally wake up about what a terrible place Saudi Arabia is.

The whole west, and in particular the US has made a faustian bargain with Saudi Arabia. Sooner or later someone has to answer for that.

Our number one terrorists problem comes from Wahabism, the toxic strain of Islam, coming straight out of Saudi Arabia funded by petro dollars.

It was weak and embarrassing that we could not back up Canada when they stood up to these bullies.

Armchair speculation here...

Is Canada only able to stand up like this due to the decreased competition improving the quantity of profitable petroleum reserves? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_reserves_in_Canada

Moreover, I think this points to a need for greater energy independence. Be that capturing solar energy more effectively or actually modern nuclear plants that burn up the fuel instead of producing lots of waste.

Canada has oil, uranium, water ... the resource list is endless.

Well, he's not really Trump's boy as much as the other way around. Trump is basically insolvent, and Saudis own him vis a vis cash, much like it's alleged he got under the influence of Russian oligarchs.

Look at the show he put on trying to make this go away: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18196783 (and my best effort transcription)

MBS came to power as a prince during Obama administration. To his credit Obama was lukewarm to Saudis in his second term. There is an intersection of interests. The tight but informal alliance between KSA and Israel against Iran cannot be understated. The top priority of Arab-alliance and Israel right now is to contain Iran, and if possible Turkey. So, they informally co-operate and given all of these countries side with USA and Trump being hawkish put his entire support behind this alliance.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson lost his job partially due to his opposition to KSA and UAE attacking Qatar (which did not happen because of lack of US support).

For now USA-KSA-Israel have a common purpose vis-a-vis Iran, and I do not think that is going to chance in the near term, but mid-term on since USA has ample energy reserves and in its pivot to greener energey sources KSA is of limited help, its very likely the KSA story will unravel. But the Chinese and Indians need that Arab-petroleum they may have to step-in if US steps-out.

Frankly, I find Iran to be less threatening than Saudi Arabia. Of course, I don't actually live in the Middle East (and I'm sure our Israeli allies disagree with my opinion).

But the Saudi / Iran relationship has always struck me as odd. The main issue is that the US truly messed up our relationship with Iran in the 1970s and 1980s (and they reciprocated: Iran-Contra affair and all that).

But as bad as the hostages / attacks / etc. etc. got between the US and Iran during the Cold War... Al Qaeda literally launched the 9/11 attacks from Saudi Arabia, and the infamous hijackers were primarily from Saudi Arabia. The militant form of Wahhabism was Osama Bin Laden's religion and is strongly based in that area.

I mean, we somehow kept a good relationship with the Princes of Saudi Arabia, and I understand that the leadership of that country does cooperate with us. But for all the bluster about "Islamic Extremist Terror", Mr. Trump bowed down and participated in swords dances last time he went into Saudi Arabia... never once bringing up the issue publicly the last time he had a chance.


All in all, I'm happy that the general US Population is waking up to the fact that our "ally" in the middle east deserves far more scrutiny than we've been giving them so far.

I don't necessarily want our relationship to go sour. But we need a serious and stern talking to Saudi Arabia in general, that we the USA do not approve of a lot of the things that country does. Frankly, those princes have far too cozy a relationship with Wahhabism for me to be comfortable with, and their human rights record is pretty bad as well (see the primary story about Jamal Khashoggi)

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