Friday, August 10, 2007

Dear National Review: I'm mad as HELL!

Subject: SAUDIS: How wrong you are

"But their government too is a target of Islamic extremists, and we do not have the luxury of pushing away any allies in the struggle against Iran."

You do realize that the Iranians didn't attack us on September 11th, the day the world changed? So then you do understand that ours is not a struggle against Iran, but a 'War on Terror' of which Iran represent one-half and Saudi Arabia the other. Just imagine, if shortly after December 7th, we allied ourselves with the Japanese in our "struggle" against the Nazis. Think the world would be a better place? Hell no! In this war we need to walk and chew gum at the same time. That means confronting Iran over nuclear weapons and ending the Saudi instigation and support of a world-wide Wahhabi jihad, because half-a-victory is no victory at all.

In fact it is policy-media outlets like yours -- the so-called "hawks" -- that are making it possible to lose the Iraq campaign by ignoring a significant part of the problem: Saudi involvement. By being so damned timid you provide political cover for the Saudis and their half-assed response to terrorist attacks on Iraqi civilians and our troops. Your well-meaning "concern" for our national security would have us arm the very people we must eventually confront militarily should the expansion of Wahhabism continue (there is no reason to believe it is slowing down). To be blunt, I'd rather face Saudi extremists equipped with French or Chinese arms then to have our forces killed with our own weapons.

You should know that I am well and truly angered by your short-sightedness and the arrogant assumption that a Saudi alliance is the only logical, practical solution.

R. Hampton

STRATFOR - A note to the readers

The media contact at Stratfor asked that links to their articles be changed to their signup page (which I will do this weekend) because you need a login/password to view the articles and their main page is undergoing heavy construction. I'm told that their signup page "is a good representation of Stratfor material, as it posts the free weeklies in their entirety and refreshes them every week."

Phillipines VP moves to save Bulakeña 'sex slave' in Saudi

by Fidel Jimenez from GMANews.TV

Vice President Noli de Castro has instructed the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to exert efforts to save a Filipino purportedly used as a sex slave by her Arab employer. Leila Cabinon, who recently came home from the Middle East, was shown a video of an actual rape scene by an Arab on a woman who looked like Melissa. Cabinon said Melissa has been abused by her employer and his son. When their friends visit them at home, the father and son also allow them to have sex with Melissa ... Migrante International received a report on a similar incident in March. Jennylyn, the victim in the first case, was also repeatedly raped by her employer and his son, while the wife was the one who took a video of the sexual act.

Bush: No Tax Cut for Corporations

by Dan Froomkin from The Washington Post

Bush had an unusual take on the 19 al-Qaeda members in their 20s and 30s, most from Saudi Arabia, who carried out the 9/11 terror attacks. In the midst of a long explanation of why winning in Iraq is so important, he said: "It matters to the security of people here at home if we don't work to change the conditions that cause 19 kids to be lured onto airplanes to come and murder our citizens." Kids? Lured? And how is the war in Iraq changing conditions in Saudi Arabia?

Geopolitical Diary: A Safe Sign of Saudi Displeasure

from Stratfor

Despite Riyadh's regional status as the pre-eminent Sunni Arab power, in the Saudi mind, sharing influence over Iraq's Sunnis with Damascus amounts to rubbing salt on an open Saudi wound. Riyadh already is scared to death about the threat from an emergent Iran and Tehran's Arab Shiite allies, especially because the Saudis have little to no faith in the U.S. ability to provide for their national security ... The Saudis, who have some pull with certain Sunni tribes and political groups, find themselves unable to play the kind of role in the making of a post-Baathist Iraqi republic that would allow them to contain the Iranians and Tehran's Shiite allies. Sure, Riyadh could continue to unleash jihadists, but this is not an altogether safe option. In addition to potentially causing problems when those jihadists come home, Riyadh knows full well that this tactic will earn it no points with the Americans (or anyone else). It would bring the Saudis attention, but it would not help them gain anything concrete. For now, this tool bears a cost they are not willing to incur.

Subprime crisis weighs on oil, fuel stocks support

from the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC)

Support from firm oil products prices helped oil to pare losses after touching one-month lows earlier in the day. Production of gasoline and other refined products fell last week as refinery capacity utilization declined amid fresh operational problems. Tight refined product supplies have helped crack spreads - the premium on refined products prices over crude oil - recover from recent lows. "The crack spreads continue to firm, mostly off of yesterday's drop in refinery utilization and strength in the crack spreads tends to be supportive of the entire oil complex," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in Galena, Illinois ...Further support for oil came from fresh signs that OPEC will not increase production at its September meeting despite calls from importers for more oil to avoid draining inventories in consuming nations. Output restraint at OPEC's largest producer, Saudi Arabia, appears unchanged. Saudi Arabia told customers in Japan and Europe today that it would keep oil supply levels unchanged in September.

Al-Qaeda dilemmas

by Dyab Abu Jahjah from Al-Ahram Weekly

While the Lebanese government accused Syria of standing behind Fatah Al-Islam, using it as cover to launch destabilising attacks on Lebanon, these allegations were gradually toned down, as no real evidence was forthcoming to sustain them. In the meantime, cells of Islamist fighters were dismantled in the northern and eastern regions of Lebanon, cells linked to FAI. This along with arrests and the captured bodies of dead FAI fighters all revealed a strong presence of Saudi and other Arab Gulf nationalities in FAI, alongside a very strong Lebanese presence. It appeared beyond doubt that FAI is a typical Salafi jihadi group attracting Arab fighters from Morocco to the Gulf, and also tapping into the reserve of Lebanese Salafism strongly represented in the north ... FAI might have served as a logistical facilitator for the Iraqi jihad by providing training camps , safe haven, and passage routes for Arab mujahideen heading towards Iraq or coming from it. Such a role is also beneficial for Al-Qaeda, as it is for all the other Salafi jhadi groups in the Iraqi resistance, but when FAI abandoned this role and went into full confrontation with the Lebanese state it is no more an asset to Al-Qaeda.

Saudi media empire tries to counter opposition

by Andrew Hammond from Reuters

Using its oil wealth, Saudi Arabia has built up a vast media empire since the early 1990s that filters out criticism of Saudi domestic and foreign policy and floods Arab audiences with music videos, Hollywood films and soft-focus apolitical Islam. The Dubai-based MBC Group, set up in 1991, has six entertainment television channels, two radio channels, and in 2003 added news channel al-Arabiya. Saudi royals and business allies also own entertainment networks ART and Orbit, Lebanon's LBC International, the Rotana group and pan-Arab newspapers al-Hayat and Asharq al-Awsat. In addition, state media in most Arab countries including Egypt avoid news that could offend the Saudi rulers. Arab media have largely gone along with a Saudi media campaign against Iran over its growing influence in the Arab world, though many Arabs consider Israel more of a threat.