By Wayne Madsen | Strategic Culture
The recent leak of a classified Israeli Foreign Ministry cable sent to all Israeli diplomatic facilities worldwide points to the subterfuge being engaged in by Israel and Saudi Arabia to effectuate political discord in Lebanon and a Saudi military confrontation with Iran.
The recent leak of a classified Israeli Foreign Ministry cable sent to all Israeli diplomatic facilities worldwide points to the subterfuge being engaged in by Israel and Saudi Arabia to effectuate political discord in Lebanon and a Saudi military confrontation with Iran. The cable instructs Israeli diplomats to ratchet up diplomatic pressure against Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran. The Israeli plan saw an opportunity in the fact that the new regime in Saudi Arabia headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) was able to force Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, a longtime puppet of the Saudis, to resign his post from Saudi soil.
The Israeli cable also urged its missions abroad to pressure foreign governments to support Saudi Arabia’s war against the Houthis in Yemen. Iran is a major backer of the Houthis, who adhere to the Zaidi sect of Islam, which has strong religious ties to the Shi’as who govern Iran and lead Hezbollah, as well as to the Alawite sect of Islam that dominates the government of Syria.
The Israeli cable, in its English translation from Hebrew, states to Israeli diplomats, “You need to stress that the Hariri resignation shows how dangerous Iran and Hezbollah are for Lebanon’s security.” Although many Middle East political observers believe an alleged Houthi intermediate-range missile attack on King Khalid International Airport was more fiction than fact, the Israelis, no strangers to “false flag” military and intelligence operations, ordered its diplomats to demonstrate to their host government that, “The missile launch by the Houthis towards Riyadh calls for applying more pressure on Iran and Hezbollah.”
The leak of the Israeli cable followed two events in Saudi Arabia. The first was the de facto internal coup d’état launched by MbS against perceived enemies of his father, King Salman. The coup followed by a few days the second major event: a secretive trip made by President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner to Riyadh. Kushner and MbS remained awake for many evenings until 0400 the next morning, jointly “planning strategy.” Kushner was accompanied to Riyadh by the Cairo-born US deputy national security adviser Dina Powell, a supporter of the government of the pro-Saudi Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and White House Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt, a strong supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and a close friend of the Kushner family.
As seen from the leaked Israeli cable, Kushner, Greenblatt, Powell, and MbS were strategizing a series of events that would push the Middle East toward a major Sunni/Wahhabist war, with the backing of Israel, against Iran, Lebanon, and the Houthi government in Yemen. MbS’s coup against senior princes of the House of Saud effectively changed the regime from “Saudi” to “Salmani.” MbS was a prime motivator behind the creation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or “Da’esh,” in Iraq and Syria; the chief architect of the genocidal Saudi-led war in Yemen; and the driving force behind the Gulf Cooperation Council’s economic and travel sanctions imposed on Qatar. MbS, working with Kushner and the Israelis, also want to lure the United States into a major military conflict with Iran.
Rather than being a reformer or “moderate,” MbS hearkens back to an age when rival sheikhs and tribal leaders vied for control over wide patches of desert lands in Arabia. MBS’s ongoing coup d’état against rival princes of the House of Saud points to his determination to become an autocratic ruler over Saudi Arabia once his father, King Salman, leaves the scene. Although MbS has curbed the power of Saudi Arabia’s dreaded religious police and allowed women the right to drive to gain popular support for his own “Salmani” movement in Saudi Arabia, his Salmani regime has shown an inclination to brook no political dissent, as seen with MbS’s arrests of powerful Saudi princes, businessmen, and moderate Wahhabist clerics.
Some Middle East experts see MbS’s rapid rise to power as eventually achieving the same autocratic rule over Saudi Arabia as that commanded by the founder of the modern Saudi state, Abdulaziz bin Saud, in the 1930s. And like Abdulaziz bin Saud, MbS has no problem cooperating with Zionists to achieve his goals. Historical documents and biographies show that the Abdulaziz, or Ibn Saud as he is commonly known, had no problem in expressing support in 1953 to Dr. Chaim Weizmann, the president of the World Zionist Organization and, later, the first president of the State of Israel, for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine. In a memo written for President Franklin Roosevelt, Lt. Col. Harold B. Hoskins, the president’s Middle East envoy, reported that Ibn Saud accepted the Zionist plan for a Jewish state in return for a £20,000,000 bribe paid to Ibn Saud by Weizmann. The recent “deal” between the Saudis and Israelis would appear to involve a bribe of a US war with Iran, backed by Riyadh and Jerusalem, that would mutually satisfy Trump and Kushner, in addition to Netanyahu and MbS.
MBS’s rise to a prominent role within the House of Saud began in earnest in October 2011 when Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz died. The present King, Salman, who had been Governor of Riyadh province, became second deputy prime minister and defense minister in November 2011. Salman made MbS his personal adviser and armed with that wide portfolio, the young prince helped initiate the jihadist rebellion in Syria against President Bashar al Assad and the uprising against Muammar Qaddafi in Libya. MbS also aided his father in helping to brutally crush a pro-democracy uprising in Bahrain.
In November 2012, Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Salman’s brother, died. Salman was named Crown Prince and First Deputy Prime Minister. Salman basically ran Saudi Arabia’s domestic affairs while his half-brother, King Abdullah, was out of the country, which was often. Crown Prince Salman’s penchant for charitable contributions to poor majority Muslim countries, which was shared by MbS, saw Saudi funds flow into the coffers of Wahhabist radical groups in Somalia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Sudan.
In January 2015, King Abdullah died at the age of 90 and Salman succeeded to the Saudi throne. The former chief of the Saudi Intelligence Agency, Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, was named Crown Prince by Salman. Muqrin’s reign did not last long. In April 2015, Salman replaced Muqrin with his nephew, the Interior Minister, Prince Muhammad bin Nayef al-Saud. MbS was named defense minister. On June 21, 2017, in what can be described as the beginning of a “creeping coup,” Crown Prince Nayef was deposed by Royal Decree. In what would portend future events a mere four months later, Nayef was reportedly held under house arrest at his palace and pressured to renounce his claim to the throne. King Salman moved quickly to name MBS the new Crown Prince.
In September 2017, MBS detained some of the top clerics in Saudi Arabia, including Salman al-Ouda, who, as being independent from the Saudi state Wahhabist infrastructure, was known to favor reconciliation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Al-Ouda’s two compatriots, Awad al-Qarni and Ali al-Omary, were also arrested.
Former Crown Prince Nayef is said to have remained under house arrest until MBS made his sudden move against other members of the House of Saud on November 4, 2017. Declaring the foundation of a new Saudi anti-corruption committee, MbS placed under house arrest at least 12 Saudi princes, including multi-billionaire international investor and Kingdom Holding Company Chairman Prince Alaweed bin Talal al-Saud, MbS also fired and arrested the commander of the Saudi National Guard, the son of the late King Abdullah, Prince Miteb bin Abdullah and replaced him with MBS loyalist Prince Khalid Bin Ayyaf Al-Muqrin.
Many senior officials of the late King Abdullah’s government are being systematically purged by MbS and his loyalists. They include Prince Turki bin Abdullah, a former governor of Riyadh province, and Khaled al-Tuwaijri, the chief of the Royal Court under Abdullah. At the same time MbS was rounding up princes and ministers in Riyadh, a helicopter carrying Prince Mansour bin Muqrin, the deputy governor of Asir province and seven other senior Saudi officials, crashed near Abha in Asir Province, near the border with Houthi-controlled north Yemen. Prince Mansour was the son of former Crown Prince Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz, who was ousted in 2015 in favor of Salman. On November 6, the Saudi Royal Palace expressed its condolences on the death of 44-year old Prince Abdul Aziz. Reports out of Saudi Arabia stated that the prince died as the result of gunshot wounds after his security guards exchanged fire with police loyal to MbS, who were sent to arrest him.
Trump, on a trip to Asia, tweeted his total support for the MbS coup. With the subterfuge of MbS, Kushner, and the Israelis, Trump is waltzing the United States into a potentially disastrous confrontation with Iran and a total breakdown of the tenuous political status quo in the Middle East.