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So I wasn't paying attention to happenings in my home town:

Iranian oppostion leader Ahmad Mola Nissi assassinated in The Hague

Some call him a freedom fighter, the Iranian government calls him a terrorist ...

Ahvaz Arab separatist movement

by Oui on Wed Nov 8th, 2017 at 10:07:26 PM EST
I appreciate you stepping into this story. I tried to catch up with the 'purge' but made the mistake of picking a low-hanging fruit.

The inside story of the Saudi night of long knives is like an encrypted digest of five missing seasons of a daily telenovela. All I got out of this internecine feud was a cue to revise my OPEC pricing to the $60-$70 band until further notice. Relief for some members, but clearly not Lebanon or Syria or the EU, paradoxically.

I did not anticipate spill-over (blow-back?) from KSA "family" dependents.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 07:11:37 PM EST
I'm going to check out Angry Arab next. He's as cynical as they come.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 07:14:19 PM EST
m'k. I reminded myself why I refrain from re-posting Angry Arab News Service entries. < wipes tears > He's been on about Anglo-merican coverage of Sa'ad Hariri's recall to the KSA, droll and biting, since 8 AM this morning. The Express is the Washington Post's free daily stacke on stands at metro station escalators.

(caption The DC Express: Apparently Lebanon declared war on Saudi Arabia but Lebanon never heard of it)

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 08:17:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For an English translation of Al-Akhbar reporting on the Hariri matter, read Robert Fisk here He does not add any original story or angle. It is all derived from Al-Akhbar coverage.


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Thu Nov 9th, 2017 at 08:34:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Trump erroneously says Lebanon is 'on the front lines' fighting Hezbollah | WaPo - July 25, 2017 |

President Trump lumped the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah among militants and terrorists he praised the government of Lebanon for fighting, saying during Rose Garden remarks Tuesday that the tiny Mideast nation was "on the front lines" of a shared battle against extremism.

The only problem? Hezbollah is a political partner of the man standing next to Trump, visiting Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

"The prime minister and I have just concluded an extensive conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing Lebanon and its neighbors," Trump said at a news conference following his Oval Office meeting with Hariri.

    "Lebanon is on the front lines in the fight against ISIS, al-Qaeda and Hezbollah.  The Lebanese people, of all faiths, are working together to keep -- and you know this, and we've been discussing this at great length -- their country safe and prosperous."

Hezbollah is fighting the Islamic State in Syria on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, but Lebanon is not fighting Hezbollah. It was not clear whether Trump was confused about that, or simply misspoke.

...
Hariri, a Saudi-backed Sunni, has a delicate power-sharing relationship with Shiite Hezbollah, which with its allies effectively controls Lebanon's powerful parliament. The country's president, former general Michel Aoun, is backed by Hezbollah.

The United States and Lebanon essentially agree to disagree about the value of political partnership with Hezbollah, which Washington considers a terrorist group. Hezbollah brought down a previous Lebanese government headed by Hariri, son of assassinated Lebanese political lion Rafik Hariri, and he governs with the knowledge that the group might be able to do it again.

Speaking to reporters later, Hariri said that Trump had been well-informed about Hezbollah during their meeting. He stepped carefully around the question of whether Trump did not understand the group's political role and power.

"In Lebanon we are fighting ISIS and al-Qaeda. Hezbollah we have, you know, in the government. And we have an understanding with Hezbollah," Hariri said. "It is important to have this consensus. We have good dialogue with Hezbollah. They are in the parliament."

Lebanon: the Republic of Resignations

by Oui on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 02:07:05 AM EST
One interesting aspect (from The American Conservative)
Muhammad bin Salman's dismissal of Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah from his position could prove to be a serious miscalculation. MbS is already unpopular with large parts of the Royal Saudi Land Forces (RSLF) for his disastrous and impetuous war in Yemen. The Saudi led war in Yemen has proceeded from failure to failure and has put tremendous pressure on the inadequately trained and led RSLF. The National Guard has largely been spared deployment to Saudi Arabia's dangerous and porous border with Yemen. This is largely due to Prince Mutaib bin Abdullah's efforts to thwart MbS' war in Yemen, which is regarded by many within the House of Saud as reckless, dangerous, and deeply immoral.

Dissatisfaction with what many of the old guard regard as an upstart prince could easily manifest itself among the tribal leaders that make up the corps of the National Guard where there is considerable loyalty to the Shammar branch of the al-Saud family. The National Guard is a potent force within Saudi Arabia and is but one of many potential pools of discontent. Muhammad bin Salman's betrayal of decades of rule by consensus and consultation in favor of determined autocracy has undoubtedly made enemies of hundreds, if not thousands, of wealthy and influential princes and businessmen. These princes and businessmen are unlikely to wait for their invitation to the Ritz Carlton.

By the way, the Riyad Ritz Carlton is taking reservations starting Feb 1. Make of that what you will.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Fri Nov 10th, 2017 at 09:08:43 PM EST
I get the impression that MbS has rounded up the cousins who has had control over different armed branches of government, and placed them under his control. So the people best placed to do a palace coup are now arrested. In the short run MbS appears to have control. In the longer run, he is feeding opposition to his rule.

On second thought, the layer beneath the princes - say a group of ambitious colonels - could coup, but unless they install a prince they will have a legitimacy problem.

by fjallstrom on Mon Nov 13th, 2017 at 05:33:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems hard to believe that you'd ever run out of Saudi princes. Especially of the 30th in line kind you can find at expensive foreign University.
by generic on Tue Nov 14th, 2017 at 01:47:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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