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Whither Saudi Arabia?

Hillmanhunter1

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The stability that Saudi Arabia desperately wants and needs to project has suffered many (some self-inflicted) wounds.

Trump publicly emasculated the King a few days, saying (rightly) that the Saudis wouldn't last two weeks without US support:
Trump says Saudi Arabia's King Salman 'would not last two weeks' without US support | The Independent

The Crown Prince seems petulant, vindictive and unpredictable. He has made a lot of enemies among the royal family and the religious. The floatation of part of Aramco, upon which his whimsical dreams of diversification depend, seems to be further away than ever.

The blockade of Qatar is increasingly ineffective, and evidences little more that a bullying approach (or had they hoped to steal Qatar's gas and wealth?).

The war in Yemen is a disaster - mainly because the Saudi (and Emirati) armies are disorganized and ill-disciplined - everything an army should not be. To misquote Lord Haw-Haw, the Saudi Army couldn't beat the tinkers out of Galway. If it were not for their air supremacy the Saudis would have been humiliated by now.

Meanwhile the Saudis fly a plane-load of goons to Turkey to kill dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi:
Saudi journalist 'killed inside consulate' – Turkish sources | World news | The Guardian

All of this against a backdrop that suggests that Saudi Arabia is the wellspring of much of the virulence that affects some parts of Islam, specifically Salafist-jihadism, and the terrorism that expresses this. Let us not forget that the role of Saudi Arabia in relation to the 9/11 attacks has never been published:
The 28 Pages - Wikipedia

We have all grown up assuming that Saudi Arabia is a monolithic unitary state, but it is no such thing, it is just the sum total of the lands that Ibn Saud managed to conquer. The kingdoms of Hejaz and Nedj could easily resurface, though perhaps more likely as Marxist republics, and the Shia-dominated Eastern provinces (where much of the oil is to be found) have never been subdued.
 
Last edited:


firefly123

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The sooner we find alternatives to their oil the sooner they can go back to being a flatter more sand Afghanistan.
 

Hillmanhunter1

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The sooner we find alternatives to their oil the sooner they can go back to being a flatter more sand Afghanistan.
Agreed, and that day is not as far away as we might think. The car companies are rushing headlong towards electric cars (and half of every barrel of oil is used in transportation) while in the medium term natural gas will increasingly supplant oil in electricity generation until greener options are more viable (which is why Saudi has been casting a beady eye over Qatar).
 

onetimeonly

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Agreed, and that day is not as far away as we might think. The car companies are rushing headlong towards electric cars (and half of every barrel of oil is used in transportation) while in the medium term natural gas will increasingly supplant oil in electricity generation until greener options are more viable (which is why Saudi has been casting a beady eye over Qatar).
I'm thinking that day is still far away. Renewable energy sources are great but they aren't going to replace fossil fuels use entirely. I suspect that they won't reduce it by much at all. Flattening the growth in use and maybe a small dip is about as much as we can hope, with the growth in energy use coming from alternative sources instead. Which would lead to slightly less influence that oil nations/companies can bring to bear but it'll still be a lot.
 

reg11

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I'm thinking that day is still far away. Renewable energy sources are great but they aren't going to replace fossil fuels use entirely. I suspect that they won't reduce it by much at all. Flattening the growth in use and maybe a small dip is about as much as we can hope, with the growth in energy use coming from alternative sources instead. Which would lead to slightly less influence that oil nations/companies can bring to bear but it'll still be a lot.
Indeed. As more alternatives come onstream, overall global demand keeps going up.

It's true what Trump says regarding Saudi ceasing without US support. Maybe it's all part of Trump's Make America Great Again plan. It has more than enough of its own energy. Cut Saudi loose, much of the rest of the world faces catastrophe due to at least an immediate tripling of oil prices. It would chime with Trump's persona to follow through with it and make his detractors grovel at his feet. The ultimate ego boost for the ultimate egomaniac.
 

middleground

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BBC has gone so far as to use the word murder:

Jamal Khashoggi: Turkey says journalist was murdered in Saudi consulate

It doesn't really matter though as long as you have friends in high places then you can do no wrong. This principle is being shoved in our faces more and more as even Nauru has told MSF to pack up and leave (MSF were working with abused Australian asylum seekers).
 

mr_anderson

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If all this is true, imagine how desperate the Crown Prince must be to do something like this.
It could be a pointer that the fall may not be too far away.

Beware what comes after though.
 

Hillmanhunter1

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"Turkish investigators say that a team of 15 Saudi agents killed him inside the consulate, several officials told The New York Times and other news organizations. “He was killed and his body was dismembered,” Turan Kislakci, the head of Turkish Arab Media Association, said officials had told him."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/world/middleeast/turkey-jamal-khashoggi-saudi-arabia.html

In terms of abusing diplomatic privileges this has to be at least on a par with the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher.
 

middleground

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"Turkish investigators say that a team of 15 Saudi agents killed him inside the consulate, several officials told The New York Times and other news organizations. “He was killed and his body was dismembered,” Turan Kislakci, the head of Turkish Arab Media Association, said officials had told him."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/world/middleeast/turkey-jamal-khashoggi-saudi-arabia.html

In terms of abusing diplomatic privileges this has to be at least on a par with the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher.
Trump may be right about the UN being useless if this murder is not discussed at the Security Council.
 

yosef shompeter

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"Turkish investigators say that a team of 15 Saudi agents killed him inside the consulate, several officials told The New York Times and other news organizations. “He was killed and his body was dismembered,” Turan Kislakci, the head of Turkish Arab Media Association, said officials had told him."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/world/middleeast/turkey-jamal-khashoggi-saudi-arabia.html

In terms of abusing diplomatic privileges this has to be at least on a par with the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher.
Jeee-hosephet! Macabre.
But howdjathink their supposed to get the body out undetected? Dem Arabs got Style! Each carries his own little suitcase.
I wonder did they bring it all through customs?
It could have been registered as diplomatic baggage.:unsure:
 

Erudite Caveman

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I'm thinking that day is still far away. Renewable energy sources are great but they aren't going to replace fossil fuels use entirely. I suspect that they won't reduce it by much at all. Flattening the growth in use and maybe a small dip is about as much as we can hope, with the growth in energy use coming from alternative sources instead. Which would lead to slightly less influence that oil nations/companies can bring to bear but it'll still be a lot.
Agreed. The demand for hydrocarbons as fuel may lessen, but it will always be useful. They just won't have us over the proverbial barrel.
 

Hillmanhunter1

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View attachment 636

The Turks had the Saudi embassy under surveillance.

Jamal Khashoggi walked in to the Embassy, but he never walked out!
 

Hillmanhunter1

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Sabah, a Turkish daily newspaper seen as being close to Erdogan, has published the names and pictures of the 15 Saudis who arrived in Istanbul just before Khashoggi went into the Consulate, and left Turkey again hours later:

İşte 15 kişilik suikast timi - Son Dakika Haberler

If you paste the URL into Google Translate it will do a reasonable job in translating it.
 

yosef shompeter

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The stability that Saudi Arabia desperately wants and needs to project has suffered many (some self-inflicted) wounds.

Trump publicly emasculated the King a few days, saying (rightly) that the Saudis wouldn't last two weeks without US support:
Trump says Saudi Arabia's King Salman 'would not last two weeks' without US support | The Independent

The Crown Prince seems petulant, vindictive and unpredictable. He has made a lot of enemies among the royal family and the religious. The floatation of part of Aramco, upon which his whimsical dreams of diversification depend, seems to be further away than ever.

The blockade of Qatar is increasingly ineffective, and evidences little more that a bullying approach (or had they hoped to steal Qatar's gas and wealth?).

The war in Yemen is a disaster - mainly because the Saudi (and Emirati) armies are disorganized and ill-disciplined - everything an army should not be. To misquote Lord Haw-Haw, the Saudi Army couldn't beat the tinkers out of Galway. If it were not for their air supremacy the Saudis would have been humiliated by now.

Meanwhile the Saudis fly a plane-load of goons to Turkey to kill dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi:
Saudi journalist 'killed inside consulate' – Turkish sources | World news | The Guardian

All of this against a backdrop that suggests that Saudi Arabia is the wellspring of much of the virulence that affects some parts of Islam, specifically Salafist-jihadism, and the terrorism that expresses this. Let us not forget that the role of Saudi Arabia in relation to the 9/11 attacks has never been published:
The 28 Pages - Wikipedia

We have all grown up assuming that Saudi Arabia is a monolithic unitary state, but it is no such thing, it is just the sum total of the lands that Ibn Saud managed to conquer. The kingdoms of Hejaz and Nedj could easily resurface, though perhaps more likely as Marxist republics, and the Shia-dominated Eastern provinces (where much of the oil is to be found) have never been subdued.


A very well-put-together (and worrying) post.
But in this day and age we have the luxury of a large selection of things to worry about. Take your pick!
Hard Brexit,
Tax Harmonization,
Trump Trade War,
a new Global Recession,
Global Warming and the belt tightening involved with the preparations
The Saudi one could be just as bad as any of these. It could be what precipitates some of them.
Just think about it! If Saudi Arabia goes pop, Trump can sit back on his behind and do nothing. The Yanks are self-sufficient in oil.
They might like to sell their weaponry, but boots on the ground? Trump could turn to the Europeans and say : "We'll cheer for your side, good luck!" As a matter of fact they could sell their arms to both sides -- to Saudi Arabia and to whoever is fighting them... Iranians, Yemenis etc.
Seems a bit far-fetched until you see the gaffs that Mohammad bin Sultana has done in his short time in power up till this.
 

yosef shompeter

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Originally Posted by onetimeonly View Post
I'm thinking that day is still far away. Renewable energy sources are great but they aren't going to replace fossil fuels use entirely. I suspect that they won't reduce it by much at all. Flattening the growth in use and maybe a small dip is about as much as we can hope, with the growth in energy use coming from alternative sources instead. Which would lead to slightly less influence that oil nations/companies can bring to bear but it'll still be a lot.
Agreed. The demand for hydrocarbons as fuel may lessen, but it will always be useful. They just won't have us over the proverbial barrel.
A little bit of perspective here. The world is not short of hydrocarbons at all. There's loadsa the stuff: Coal, Oil, Natural gas, Forestry. but once you bring in the costs of extracting the stuff then the picture changes.
I don't know the costs at the moment. They might even be commercially sensitive,
But at one time I recall reading that the Saudis were able to extract their oil at a cost of 5$ a barrel. This was about twenty years back, in the meantime the easy stuff might be exhausted.
North see oil around that time cost $40 or $50 a barrel to extract
But hey! if oil on the open market cost $ 75 a barrel, the Brits, Dutch and Norwegians were happy and the Saudis were very happy.

If the situation arises where oil prices go through the roof where Saudi Arabia goes pop, the market will simply fall back on the next best alternatives: Natural gas, coal, wood, solar wind wood pellets etc. Also the oil wells that are more difficult and expensive to extract will come on-stream. Ireland has one or two of these fields off the south coast, and then there's the shale finds.

The interesting thing is as global-warming becomes clearer and clearer with each passing year, how is the world going to tell those oil companies with large reserves -- and oil-rich/coal-rich countries: "Hey yous! Leave that oil alone --- It's bad for the planet.
The reply will be either: "Feck off"!
or
"Give us compensation for not extracting the stuff. Wer'e not going back to living on camel-meat!"
 

Hillmanhunter1

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But at one time I recall reading that the Saudis were able to extract their oil at a cost of 5$ a barrel. This was about twenty years back, in the meantime the easy stuff might be exhausted.
North see oil around that time cost $40 or $50 a barrel to extract
But hey! if oil on the open market cost $ 75 a barrel, the Brits, Dutch and Norwegians were happy and the Saudis were very happy.
I don't have extraction costs to hand, but according to today's FT "Fitch calculates, for example, that the “break-even” oil price at which Gulf states are able to balance their budgets in 2018 varies from an average for the year of $98 a barrel in Bahrain to $53 in Kuwait. Also struggling with a high break-even is Oman, at $85, while Saudi Arabia ($78), Abu Dhabi ($62) and Qatar ($64) have break-evens below the current price of Brent crude at about $85."
Subscribe to read | Financial Times

From the same article "Capital Economics forecasts the price to fall to $60 a barrel by the end of 2019 and $55 by the end of 2020."

That is a grim outlook from a Saudi perspective.
 

middleground

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Nov 30, 2014
Messages
836
Aljazeera is reporting that US and Turkish intelligence have recordings from inside the Saudi embassy in Istanbul:


US and Turkish officials told The Washington Post there are audio and video recordings proving Khashoggi was tortured and murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Video recordings show a Saudi assassination team seizing the journalist after he walked in on October 2. He was then killed and his body dismembered, the officials told the Post - the newspaper that Khashoggi wrote for as a columnist.
The audio was particularly gruesome, the sources said.

"The voice recording from inside the embassy lays out what happened to Jamal after he entered," said one official speaking anonymously because the intelligence is classified.

You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured, and then murdered."

Another unnamed official confirmed men could be heard beating Khashoggi on the recording.

It was unclear how the Turkish and American officials obtained the recordings.
 

owedtojoy

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The US has a massive arms deal with the Saudis in play, and next week was to be a "Davos in the Desert" event in RSA.

The attitude of the Trump Administration is vital as regards the future of these.

Saudi ‘Davos in the Desert’ Attendees Are Dropping Out


Trump and his son-in-law are big fans of the arms deal and the Saudis, so the next week will be interesting.
 

Clanrickard

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Apr 25, 2008
Messages
32,798
Aljazeera is reporting that US and Turkish intelligence have recordings from inside the Saudi embassy in Istanbul:


US and Turkish officials told The Washington Post there are audio and video recordings proving Khashoggi was tortured and murdered inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

Video recordings show a Saudi assassination team seizing the journalist after he walked in on October 2. He was then killed and his body dismembered, the officials told the Post - the newspaper that Khashoggi wrote for as a columnist.
The audio was particularly gruesome, the sources said.

"The voice recording from inside the embassy lays out what happened to Jamal after he entered," said one official speaking anonymously because the intelligence is classified.

You can hear how he was interrogated, tortured, and then murdered."

Another unnamed official confirmed men could be heard beating Khashoggi on the recording.

It was unclear how the Turkish and American officials obtained the recordings.
I await the protests outside the Saudi Embassy in Dublin.
 

publicrealm

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Aug 11, 2007
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5,902
"Turkish investigators say that a team of 15 Saudi agents killed him inside the consulate, several officials told The New York Times and other news organizations. “He was killed and his body was dismembered,” Turan Kislakci, the head of Turkish Arab Media Association, said officials had told him."

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/07/world/middleeast/turkey-jamal-khashoggi-saudi-arabia.html

In terms of abusing diplomatic privileges this has to be at least on a par with the murder of PC Yvonne Fletcher.
It was the Khashoggi incident that opened my eyes - an utter betrayal of accepted International norms - quite shocking impunity. Several levels beyond the 'renditions' controversy.

Somehow it is more shocking than poor PC Fletcher - not sure exactly why - perhaps the sheer premeditated awfulness of it.

The Saudis should be pariahs until this is paid for, imo.
And yet, I suppose money will win out in the end.
 


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