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Imploring Israelis, Fallout of Yemen War

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Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR, Washington DC

Nov. 14, 2016

Imploring Israelis, Fallout of Yemen War, Wahhabism, Congress Rebellions

CDHR’s Analysis and Commentaries

Saudis implore Israelis for help

CDHR Analysis: The Saudi royals are petitioning the Israelis to save them. As the president of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, Salman al-Ansari, says in this Hill blog post, the Saudis are imploring Israel to resuscitate their collapsing economy and defend them against their Iranian Muslim brethren.

This should not have come as a surprise, given the Saudi ruling family’s obsession with its security and mistrust of Arab and Muslim regimes, especially the Persians, with whom they share strategic borders and reciprocal religious hatred.

Having risen to and maintained their power by ruthless force, the Saudi rulers have mastered the art of ensuring their survival by all the means they possess, can invent or can buy.

For instance, after concluding that there would be long-term adverse reactions, especially by Americans and their Western allies, to the terrorist attack on the U.S. by mostly Saudi nationals on Sept. 11, 2001, the Saudi rulers resorted to what they know well: creating a diversionary stratagem.

After the 9/11 attack, global media embarked upon an unprecedented exposure of the Saudis’ repressive policies, toxic doctrine and support for Muslim extremists and terrorists worldwide. To counter this, the Saudi rulers tried to refocus global attention on the Arab-Israeli conflict.

They proposed an Arab Peace Initiative, with the intention of achieving two major objectives: to deflect attention from their role in the 9/11 attacks and to pave the way for a future defense alliance with the Israelis, with whom they have shared similar security anxieties about Iran since the fall of the shah and the establishment of the theocratic Islamic Republic in 1979.

However, due to the unrealistic concessions the Israelis were asked to make, they considered the peace plan an unacceptable Arab gambit.

The Israelis saw the peace plan not only as a threat to their country’s identity but to their country’s survival. Given this reality, the plan was shelved until the Obama administration reconstructed U.S. policies toward the Middle East, particularly toward Iran, with which the U.S. and the other members of the United Nations Security Council consummated a nuclear deal vehemently opposed by the Saudis and Israelis, albeit for different reasons.

The Saudi rulers are terrified of being dwarfed by Iran’s burgeoning regional and global influence, and the Israelis are fighting for their survival.

After failing to convince the Obama administration of the flaws of the nuclear deal with Iran, the Israeli and Saudi governments were simpatico in their opposition to the agreement and in their mistrust of the Iranians’ commitment to give up pursuit of nuclear weapons. Consequently, they found themselves more open to each other’s overtures.

The Saudis have intensified their public efforts to lure the Israelis into a defense collaboration. But despite their unease over Iranian threats, the Israelis don’t seem to be in a hurry to enter into an alliance with a shifty authoritarian regime — at least without a tangible public commitment by the Saudis not only to recognize Israel as a sovereign Jewish state but to end its vitriolic demonization of Israelis and Jews at home and abroad.

The Saudis are not in a position to reject Israeli demands, given global awareness of the Saudis’ duplicitous behavior and current conditions in the Middle East.

The question is whether it’s worth it for the Israelis to risk saving and prolonging a crumbling and increasingly isolated system that could turn against them if a better deal with any Israeli enemy is deemed more beneficial by the Saudis.

Given the tumultuous current and foreseeable conditions in the Middle East, Israelis might be better served to stay out of deadly intra-Arab and -Muslim conflicts, despite the Israelis’ desire for normalization of relations with their neighbors.

With or without Arabs’ and Muslims’ recognition of its legitimacy, Israel is in a better position to continue its unparalleled development instead of collaborating with the world’s last absolute, unpopular and unstable monarchy, whose fate is uncertain at best.

Prince Mohammed: Lavishing $500 Million on a Yacht While Squeezing Citizens

CDHR Commentary: According to this effusive account, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi “economic reformer,” spotted a Russian vodka maker’s luxurious yacht while vacationing in southern France and immediately purchased it for $500 million. The neophyte prince, who just happens to be the “favorite” son of Saudi King Salman, has been charged with saving the Saudi kingdom’s faltering economy. At the tender age of 28, he was designated Defense Minister, Deputy Crown Prince, overseer of the Saudis’ collapsing economy and the Chief of the Royal Court. Other than being educated in outmoded Saudi schools and being the son of the most conservative (Islamist) member of the ruling family, Mohammed bin Salman had no previous official title or experience in any of the powerful positions with which he is entrusted.

To assist Prince Mohammed, the Saudi government hired a major Western consulting firm (McKinsey & Co.) to draft an elaborate economic reform plan (dubbed Vision 2030), in hopes of weaning the Saudis from reliance on oil revenues for most of their income. Included in the numerous proposed items in Vision 2030 that the Saudis must undertake to reform their ailing economy are: termination of or drastic reduction in social programs, imposition of new taxes, end subsidized public services and hire millions of unemployed Saudis, among other items.

While the proposed transformative plan sounds plausible on the surface, many analysts, pragmatic observers and skeptical Saudis (who have heard similar proposals before) have their doubts, not only about the project’s success, but some feel it could potentially boomerang. Their pessimism is based on a multitude of domestic factors, specifically, the lack of a knowledge-based workforce, citizens’ historical reliance on government handouts, absence of tested work ethics, rampant corruption, lack of accountability and transparency. Furthermore, no one believes that the thousands of Saudi royals can give up their insatiable lust for extravagant lifestyles, as exemplified by Prince Mohammed’s purchase of a luxurious yacht for $500 million while he is squeezing the Saudi people to shoulder the burden of his project’s austerity.

Yemen: From the Shadows of Obscurity to Potential Regional and Global Quagmire

CDHR Commentary: The ongoing bloody war in Yemen is dangerously spreading and is increasingly becoming more than a civil war in that impoverished country. The Saudi-led coalition’s invasion and indiscriminate bombardments of Yemeni cities, grocery stores, humanitarian hospitals and funeral homes are pushing the Zaidi Yemenis (Houthis) and their supporters into unleashing missile attacks not only against Saudi bordering regions, but deep into Muslims’ holiest city, Mecca. It’s likely that other Gulf states will be targeted because of their participation in the Saudi-led coalition.

More baldly and dangerously, the Yemeni Houthis are reported to have targeted US ships, whose presence in the Red Sea (near Yemen) is intended to enforce a blockade, ostensibly to prevent arms shipments from Iran to Yemen, as well as to safeguard the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf to international markets. It’s worth noting that the Houthis did not have or use missiles prior to the Saudi-led coalition’s invasion in March 2015.

The US and its western allies ought to reconsider their support for the invasion of Yemen and its looming consequences, including lengthy interruption of oil shipments.

Having failed to achieve a quick military victory (if that was their real intention), to draw Iran into the war directly or to beat the Yemenis into submission, the Saudis are beginning to look for an exit strategy. It has been reported that members of the Saudi-led fracturing coalition have realized that the chances of a military victory and re-instatement of the deposed Yemeni President Hadi {now living comfortably in Saudi Arabia, like former Tunisian President Bin Ali and before that, Uganda butcher, Idi Amin} to power are but nix.

Instead of leaving the dangerous raging war in Yemen for the next administration, President Obama and his western counterparts can facilitate a political solution before he leaves office.

The US Congress is Breaking the Deafening Silence

CDHR Commentary: Never in the 8 decade history of US-Saudi relations have the Saudi rulers been more challenged by the US Congress than they have been between May and September 2016. Both Houses of Congress (100 senators and 435 representatives) unanimously passed a bill to allow American families of the victims of the infamous 9/11 terrorist attacks by mostly Saudi nationals to sue the Saudi regime for its implicit support for some of the attackers. Not only did Congress pass the sweeping legislation but overrode President Obama’s veto of the bill.

Additionally, an increasing number of Democrat and Republican members of the US Congress are not only repudiating the Saudi regime for its indiscriminate bombardment and starvation of Yemenis, but “questioning” the wisdom of President Obama’s support for the war and its damaging impact on US global image, interests and democratic values.

The unprecedented Congressional passage of the bill not only affirmed the rights of the relatives of 9/11 victims to seek justice, but to demonstrate that no government, friend or enemy, can be above the rule of law upon which the American nation was founded. Whether one agrees with the unprecedented indictment of the Saudi regime and its extremists and agents or not, members of the US Congress are elected democratically, thus accountable to the American people who elected them and pay their salaries.

Nothing can be more irresponsible, if not a blatant violation of the American people's right to seek justice, than accusing the Americans’ freely elected men and women of being reckless.

Given the current Saudi rulers’ aggressive militaristic policies and defiance of international laws, as well as regional and global political, strategic, social and economic developments, it’s unlikely that the steady deterioration in US-Saudi relations will be stabilized, let alone reversed.

The US Congress’ bold action is a wake-up call for the Saudi absolute rulers, who have long relied on US politicians, businesses and armed forces for their economic stability, their survival and for the defense of their vast desert kingdom.

‘Wahhabism’ “has become a Boogeyman”-- Only in the West?

CDHR Commentary: Mr. Mohammed Alyahya, a Saudi advocate, is only half correct by stating that, “The word ‘Wahhabism’ has become a boogeyman in the West, deemed responsible for the radicalization of Muslims around the world. And since Wahhabism is a strain of Islam that has its origins {established} in the Arabian Peninsula and is the dominant {state imposed} religious doctrine of Saudi Arabia, that country is often viewed as the prime culprit in the propagation of violent extremism."

Well stated, Mr. Alyahya, except for the assertions added by me. Most Muslim scholars (not by Saudi definition), prominent politicians like former president of Indonesia Abdulrahman Wahid and Al-Azhar Mosque’s historians and students of Muslim movements described Wahhabism as the foremost threat to Muslims and non-Muslims, أكد علماء الأزهر والخبراء المتخصصون في دراسة الحركات الإسلامية أن الوهابية فكراً وحركة تمثل العدو الأخطر على المسلمين والعالم،. They called on Muslims and non-Muslims to unite and defeat Wahhabism by all means possible.

The Washington-based Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia agrees with Mr. Alyahya that some of the terrorists’ recruits are not driven solely by religious convictions. However, most if not all Sunni Muslim terrorist groups are inspired by the Saudi/Wahhabi doctrine, indoctrination and text books. As amply documented, these groups including Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Boko Haram, Jamaa Islamiyah, Al-Shabab, Al-Nusra, Abu Sayyaf and ISIS, among others, are financed by Saudi Arabia and its GCC allies. Given the wide distribution and indiscriminate terrorist actions by these groups, Mr. Alyahya’s deflective argument is part of intense Saudis’ efforts to whitewash their role in exporting and financing extremism and terrorism worldwide.

Western Experts Overlook the Reasons for Iran’s Growing Influence

CDHR Commentary: Western experts tend to overlook the root causes of Iran’s increasing influence in Arab countries, especially since the establishment of the theocratic Islamic Republic in 1979.  The Iranian theocracy capitalizes on the plight of Arab Shi’a minorities who have been oppressed and marginalized for centuries by their ruling Sunni regimes and fellow citizen. As abundantly documented, Shi’a Muslims are considered blasphemous by their Sunni rulers and compatriots; consequently, they are considered unworthy of dignity, equality, trust and access to opportunities. Based on this deeply entrenched religious intolerance and hatred, the Arab Shia (whether minorities as in most Arab countries or majorities as in Bahrain and Iraq), are politically, religiously and economically discriminated against to the point of being untouchables and strangers in their own homelands.

Due to their maltreatment by their Sunni regimes and societies, Arab Shi’a turn to Iranian theocrats for help. Iran’s support for the oppressed Arab Shi’a minorities is paying off, as demonstrated by the rise of powerful proxies like Hezbollah (Party of God) in Lebanon, the current Iraqi government and the Zaidis (Houthis) in Yemen, as well as the strengthening and sustaining of the Allawite regime in Syria. Iranian support for these groups and others is changing the political and strategic landscape regionally and globally.

This trend is more likely to continue due to two factors: one, the Shi’a minorities’ conditions are not likely to improve given the widening Sunni/Shi’a conflicts, which reflect the Saudi and the Iranian autocratic and theocratic regimes’ mutual detestation and competition for dominance in the region. Two, the Iranians are in a stronger economic and political position to embolden their proxies as a result of the recent US-led nuclear superpowers’ deal with Iran. Both factors will continue to increase instability in the Middle East and potentiate global confrontation, given looming threats to flow of oil from the region.

Resolving consuming intra-Muslim conflicts and averting potential global crises stemming from them will require change in super powers’ antediluvian policies and discontinuing their support for the theocratic and autocratic Saudi and Iranian martinets

Your contributions to CDHR’s efforts to address tough issues, invoke thought-provoking discourse and suggest peaceful solutions are crucial. We need to continue our educational outreach worldwide. CDHR is a 501 (c) 3 tax exempt educational organization.

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Objectives and Impact of the Failing War in Yemen,

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Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR, Washington DC

September 15, 2016

Objectives and Impact of the Failing War in Yemen, Blaming America and Honor Killings

CDHR’s Analysis and Commentaries

At What Price Supporting Saudis’ Invasion and Destruction of Yemen?

CDHR Commentary: Motivated to restore US relations with Iran for many reasons, including taking charge of executing American polices in the Arab World directly instead of going through the Saudis, the Obama Administration negotiated a controversial nuclear deal with Iran as a pre-requisite to normalization of US/Iranian relations. Having been accused throughout his Administrations of lacking understanding of and clear direction in the Middle East, President Obama wanted to prove to his domestic critics and staunch opponents of the nuclear deal with Iran that his Administration can initiate and implement pragmatic foreign policies, even when he understands that the outcome is not risk free, but is more desirable than the alternative: war with Iran.

Furthermore, the regional tumult and Iran’s rising influence in the Middle East, prompted the US, its allies and other major powers to reach out to the Iranian theocracy, hypothetically mitigating many of the dangerous threats facing the region and the international community. This shift of global attitude toward Iran shook the foundation of the Saudi autocracy.

Through sheer force and application of a ruthless religious doctrine, the Saudi monarchs created and ruled a compliant society for decades, thus presenting themselves and their high-handedly ruled desert kingdom as a bastion of stability, guardians of Western interests and most fit to mediate conflicts (many of which they create) in the Middle East. For many decades, the Saudi rulers, with unwavering support and protection from Western powers, made sure that their regional competitors were crushed, neutralized or rendered incapable of providing the services the Saudis could deliver. Given this history, the Saudi rulers dreaded losing their regional and global favored position to Iran, reacting with anger and defiance to the proposed nuclear deal. Accordingly, they tried to sabotage the US/Iran nuclear agreement in order to prevent any US/Iran rapprochement.

Saudi opposition to the Iran nuclear deal put President Obama’s Administration in a vulnerable position: either to have the Saudis side with his adamant domestic opponents to the nuclear deal or to yield to the Saudis’ extorting demands to support their catastrophic invasion of Yemen in return for approving the US/Iran agreement. Tragically, the Administration’s determination to conclude an agreement with Iran caused it to overlook the risks and consequences of its endorsement of and provision of material and intelligence support for the Saudis’ invasion of Yemen.

Yemen, with a population of 26 million unruly poverty-stricken tribesmen, occupies a vital trade and strategic security location. It shares rugged long borders with southern Saudi Arabia and Oman, both of which have close ties to the US and its western allies. Yemen sits between Saudi Arabia, the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Most importantly, Yemen is located along the narrowest stretch of the Red Sea, known as the Strait of Bab Al-Mandeb, through which most of the oil from the Gulf Arab states and Iran is exported to international markets. Yemen is only a short boat ride from Somalia, home to one of the deadliest Wahhabi-inspired terrorist groups, Al-Shabab, which controls most of Somalia and is notoriously known for attacking neighboring African countries and for hijacking ships for ransom. Yemen is also the ancestral homeland of Osama Bin Laden, the founder and financier of Al-Qaeda, which is the most evident beneficiary of the Saudi invasion of Yemen. Prior to the Saudi invasion in March 2015, Yemen was isolated and uninvolved in any of the Shi’a/Sunni conflicts raging in the Arab World.

The Saudi invasion and US support for it will have far-reaching and enduring costly consequences for Yemen, its neighbors and the international community, specifically the US. The costly and unnecessary Saudi invasion of Yemen includes: the pulverization of Yemen’s meager infrastructure and underdeveloped economy; thousands of its citizens, mostly civilians, have been killed, maimed, starved and/or displaced; Yemenis have been turned against each other as they never were before--Sunnis v. Zaidis/Houthis, North v. South and tribe v. tribe. Given the catastrophic destruction of their ancient country, most Yemenis feel they have nothing to lose. Their unbearable domestic conditions created by the war will likely lead millions of Yemenis to intensify violence against each other, to seek revenge against neighboring countries and to join Al-Qaeda and ISIS, which are already gaining swaths of territory and increased membership in Yemen as a result of the Saudi invasion.

Potential regional and global consequences of the Saudi invasion of Yemen include attacks on Saudis’ oil installations and disruptions of shipments through Bab Al-Mandab, which could create economic havoc worldwide.

Finally, despite US, European and Saudi officials’ rhetoric of weakening ISIS and other terrorist groups, one of the major consequences of the Saudi invasion and destruction of Yemen will likely result not in weakening terrorist groups, but in increasing their memberships and expanding their violent activities.  It begs the question as to why the Obama Administration endorsed a war whose predictable consequences include amplified terror attacks on the voiceless Saudi people, the US and on other democratic societies.

Saudi Oligarchy: Endangering a Strategic Region and Sacrificing its Large Minority Population

CDHR Commentary: Nestled in the shadows of the mountain chain that demarcates the more than one thousand mile Saudi/Yemeni border, the isolated approximately 6oo thousand Ismailis living in the ancient (3,000 years of thriving Jewish/Christian civilizations before Islam) and agriculturally rich Najran region have become victims of their government’s injudicious invasion of Yemen 18 months ago.  Due to Najran’s border-sharing with north Yemen (the Houthi’s region), the Yemenis are intimately familiar with mountain crossings into and from southern Saudi Arabia. This geographic reality and the formidable terrain render the area nearly impossible to defend. Most of the frequent attacks on the Najran region are carried out by individuals and small groups using mostly rocket propelled grenades and other light arms.

While the Yemenis’ intended targets are the Saudi military installations in and around Najran, many of their deadly projectiles miss their targets and inflict death and destruction on civilians. The Saudi war planners must have known and expected that the Yemenis would respond to the destruction of their impoverished country with a vengeance wherever and whenever they could. The planners knew that Najran would be a main target.

Given this reality, it’s safe to assume that the planners of the invasion of Yemen factored heavy shelling of Najran into their strategic calculation, in the hope of achieving two objectives:

To prove to the maltreated Ismailis of Najran that their government will defend them, thus winning the Ismailis’ goodwill and support for a war for which they are paying a heavy price.

To turn the Ismailis against the Yemenis, especially the Houthis with whom they share cultural and tribal ties and the Shi’a offshoot religious orientation.

By creating an environment of enduring hostility between the oppressed people of Najran (due to their religious orientation) and the minority Houthis of Yemen, the Saudi rulers hope to engender a lasting enmity toward Iran, which is supporting the Houthis and whom the Saudis and other Gulf rulers blame for inciting their Shi’a citizens to revolt.

Although strategically useful for the Saudi government’s purposes, the heavy toll the people of Najran pay for their government’s ongoing war in Yemen seldom makes it to national or foreign media. This is partially due to the Saudi government’s censorship of the news and partially due to the Najran region’s geographic and religious isolation. Additionally, most Saudis and other Sunni Muslims consider the Ismailis heretics, who are enemies of the state’s official Wahhabi-based religion, thus not only unworthy of equality or protection, but physically dispensable. This tragic and dangerous attitude is publicly reiterated and reinforced by the Saudi government’s powerbase, the religious establishment.

While the recipients of the Saudi-led and -purchased coalition’s onslaught are the poverty stricken Yemenis, Saudi citizens, specifically the Ismailis of Najran, are paying a heavy price in human and material terms. The Saudis’ objective in amassing the deadly Arab military coalition is not only to dissuade the Yemenis from allying themselves with Iran, as they claim, but to create lasting instability in Yemen, which the Saudis could use to justify their intended occupation of the oil rich and strategic regions of southern Yemen, e.g., Marib and the Bab Al-Mandab waterway.

This strategy is a trademark of external and internal Saudi/Wahhabi survival skills. Description of the Saudis as “Both the Arsonists and the Firefighters” is quite apt. They create hostile and destabilizing situations that they can use to keep their potential enemies or presumed friends mired in internal conflicts, as exemplified by the current struggles in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Pakistan. Subsequently, they maneuver to make themselves indispensable to solving the crisis they created. Domestically, the Saudi rulers use the same tactics to suppress their citizens in the name of stability and security. This is a tactic that pays dividends internally, as many Saudis credit their ruthless regime for preventing domestic turmoil like that occurring in many parts of the Arab World.

Similar tactics, using the threat of extremism and terrorism, are being directed at the West. The question is, how long can the Saudi regime continue to use these deadly, destabilising and blackmailing tactics before they are dealt a crippling blow in response to their lethal doctrine and military adventures?

Don’t Blame America for Muslim’s Indoctrination

CDHR Commentary: The only people that poisoned Muslim minds and turned them against each other and against non-Muslims are the theocratic and autocratic Muslim governments, their severely censored mainstream media, their zealot clerics and their pre-modern institutions. Muslims, from cradle to grave,  are trained into rejecting  and spitting on the American democratic values, lifestyle, dress code, foods and into trampling on women's, religious minorities' and non-Muslims' rights.

It does not make any difference what America does, most Muslims will continue to accuse it of every social, political and economic ills that have plagued their societies long before America existed.

The story teller of this exaggerated piece ought to be promoting American empowering democratic values when she visits and dines with absolute Muslim dictators so that the 1.5 billion disenfranchised Muslims can decide for themselves and be the authors of their destiny.

Honor Killings: Murdering Muslim Women Continues

CDHR Commentary: Murdering women for sex before and/or out of marriage continues in all Muslim and Arab lands. In this case, this aspiring 28 year old British citizen was lured to visit her family in Pakistan, then was tortured, raped and suffocated by her family for leaving one brand of Islam (Sunni) and embracing another (Shi'a.)

Christians, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus do not get their heads detached from their bodies for condemning and leaving their beliefs or indulging in human and social activities they desire.

Murdering and marginalizing Muslim women for choosing the lifestyle that suits their social, economic, religious, political and natural needs and desires is an issue that women, regardless of race, status, religion or ethnicity ought to highlight, condemn and pressure their governments and businesses to impose sanctions against and declare countries that continue to employee this savage practice (honor killings) global pariahs.

Women continue to suffer (some more than others) from lack of job opportunities and economic disparity. Improving women’s conditions in any part of the world benefits all women worldwide.

Your contributions to CDHR’s efforts to address tough issues, invoke thought-provoking discourse and suggest peaceful solutions are crucial. We need to continue our educational outreach worldwide. CDHR is a 501 (c) 3 tax exempt educational organization.

Please go to our website www.cdhr.info and click on donate.

Or send checks to this address:

Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR

1050 17 St. NW, Suite 1000

Washington, DC 20036

 

 

 

 

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