US Arms Sale Sends Wrong Signal to Bahrain, Groups Say

The administration of U.S. President Barack Obama is sending the wrong signal to the government of Bahrain in proceeding with a partial sale of new arms to Manama, according to human rights activists and some lawmakers. Their reaction followed Friday’s announcement by the State Department that it had cleared a number of items for transfer … Continue reading “US Arms Sale Sends Wrong Signal to Bahrain, Groups Say”

Operation Lip Service

The popular uprising in Bahrain shows no signs of going away. The royal family tried crushing the revolt, importing shock troops from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. It tried jailing important figures in the opposition, such as human rights activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, who as of early May had been on hunger strike for 90 days. The … Continue reading “Operation Lip Service”

Saudi Warning Could Escalate Nuclear Arms Race

The world’s nuclear powers – both declared and undeclared – have come primarily from Asia: China, India, Pakistan and possibly North Korea. The Middle East was dominated by a single nuclear power – Israel, which has refused to publicly declare its status.  But that domination has been threatened by Iran, which the Western powers say … Continue reading “Saudi Warning Could Escalate Nuclear Arms Race”

Iran Plot: A Pretext for War

For many Iran observers, Washington’s latest accusations against Iran — implicating members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard in an alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States — come off as surreal, if not wholly bizarre. At this juncture, it may be too early to pass a credible judgment on the substance and … Continue reading “Iran Plot: A Pretext for War”

How to Kill an Ambassador

An increasing number of former intel officers that I network with are convinced that the alleged plot to kill the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington is not only completely implausible as described by the Justice Department and White House but also possibly the contrivance of an intelligence or security service other than that of Iran. … Continue reading “How to Kill an Ambassador”

Germany to Deliver Weapons to Saudi Arabia

BERLIN — The decision by the German government to deliver 200 state-of-the-art armored tanks to Saudi Arabia, despite the Wahhabi monarchy’s human rights record and its recent violent intervention in Bahrain to repress the popular rebellion against the local ruling family there, illustrates the rhetorical nature of Western support to the so-called Arab democratic spring. … Continue reading “Germany to Deliver Weapons to Saudi Arabia”

Sunni Monarchies Close Ranks

Reports that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is considering some form of membership for two non-Gulf states—Jordan and Morocco—confirm that the conservative Sunni monarchies of the Middle East are closing ranks against Iran, Shi’ite-led Iraq, and the democratic wave sweeping the region. GCC Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani made the announcement Tuesday after a summit of … Continue reading “Sunni Monarchies Close Ranks”

Saudi Intervention Likely to Bring Regional Blowback

Saudi Arabia’s incursion into neighboring Bahrain is a risky move that could further inflame domestic unrest in both countries and give a propaganda boost to Tehran’s campaign to cultivate the Arab street. Saudi authorities and officials from the United Arab Emirates—which sent 500 police to augment 1,000 Saudi troops—said they had entered the island kingdom … Continue reading “Saudi Intervention Likely to Bring Regional Blowback”

Bahrain and the Freedom Contagion

“Saudi Arabia did not build a causeway to Bahrain just so that Saudis could party on weekends. It was designed for moments like this, for keeping Bahrain under control.” —Dr. Toby Jones, expert on Saudi Arabia at Rutgers University If Saudi Arabia was rattled by the fall of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, they will … Continue reading “Bahrain and the Freedom Contagion”

Multi-Billion-Dollar Arms Deals Could Haunt US

UNITED NATIONS – When the shah of Iran, a strongly pro-U.S. ally, was ousted from power after the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the stridently anti-U.S. regime of Ayatollah Khomeini that captured power also inherited a military bonanza: billions of dollars worth of state-of-the-art weapons provided by the United States. The U.S. equipment in the Iranian … Continue reading “Multi-Billion-Dollar Arms Deals Could Haunt US”