Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions:
Saudi Arabia arrests economist after he criticises Crown Prince's plans:
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.
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.
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.
In other words, money and business >> beliefs.
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>'.)
Israel and KSA both benefit from people thinking they hate one another. But they don't.
The world is just full of contradictions with regards to what is common public knowledge and actual reality.
I would agree they're not "friendly", but I didn't use that word.
Calling people out by name that they are hypocrites by taking Saudi money and basically funding murder would get you killed in most countries.
If you have a government agency policing what the press can and cannot say, you don't have a free press.
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.
a Fox News article that had some serious factual errors
The statement is "killed US soldier" (not proven, and evidence seems to suggest the contrary).
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?
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.
It is most definitely irrational, because there is no rational reason why the US has that position.
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.
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?
Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, on the other hand, all work closely with Israel.
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
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.
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.
Now that rationale is probably foolish in the extreme.
But they do have a rationale.
>In 1997, Fortune magazine named AIPAC the second-most powerful influence group in Washington, D. C. According to journalist Connie Bruck, AIPAC has been able to "deliver the support of Congress"
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.
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.
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.
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.
when was the last time an opposition journalist was targeted for a drone strike by the us?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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 same country is armed by the Brits.
> “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"
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.
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.
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)
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.
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)