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    Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

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    George1
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    Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:49 am

    Iran and Saudi Arabia's cold war is making the Middle East even more dangerous

    http://www.vox.com/2015/3/30/8314513/saudi-arabia-iran


    Saudi Arabia, Iran and the 'Great Game' in Yemen

    http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2014/09/saudi-arabia-iran-great-game-ye-201492984846324440.html


    Sunni-Shiite Conflict Reflects Modern Power Struggle, Not Theological Schism

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/sunni-shiite-conflict-reflects-modern-power-struggle-not-theological-schism-1431611004

    Saudi Arabia Forms Islamic Anti-Terror Coalition of 34 Countries - Reports

    Saudi Arabia reportedly has set up an Islamic military alliance to fight terrorism.

    MOSCOW/CAIRO (Sputnik) — Saudi Arabia has set up an Islamic military alliance to fight terrorism, local media reported Tuesday, citing a governmental statement.

    According to Arabiya TV, the coalition consists of 34 countries.

    The joint operations command center will be based in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, the TV channel said.

    The coalition, according to the text of the statement is created "to counteract terrorism, which became a threat to the interests of the Islamic nation" and "on the basis of the right of peoples for self-defense."

    Besides Saudi Arabia, the alliance includes Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Turkey, Chad, Togo, Tunisia, Djibouti, Senegal, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Gabon, Somalia, Guinea, the Palestinian National Authority, the Union of the Comoros, Cote d 'Ivoire, Kuwait, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Maldives, Morocco, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria and Yemen.

    Moreover, 10 other Islamic countries, in particular Indonesia, expressed their support to the newly created coalition, the statement concluded.
    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20151215/1031748253/saudis-form-counterterror-coalition.html#ixzz3ueVNXraG


    Turkey Has Plans to Station 1000s of Troops at New Military Base in Qatar

    As Turkey faces international backlash over provocative actions, Ankara plans to expand its military footprint abroad.

    As part of a "multi-purpose" mission to confront "common enemies," Turkey will establish its first overseas military installation in Qatar.

    "Turkey and Qatar face common problems and we are both very concerned about developments in the region and uncertain policies of other countries…We confront common enemies," Ahmet Demirok, Turkey’s ambassador to Qatar, said on Wednesday, according to Reuters. "At this critical time for the Middle East cooperation between us is vital."

    The base will be used to station approximately 3,000 troops, as well as air and naval units, special operations forces, and military trainers. While Demirok did not elaborate on who, exactly, "common enemies" refers to, he did indicate that the base will be used primarily for joint training exercises.

    The agreement also paves the way for Qatar to open its own military base in Turkey.

    "Today we are not building a new alliance but rather rediscovering historic and brotherly ties," Demirok added.

    Nearly 100 troops are already in the Gulf nation training Qatari forces.

    When completed, the new base will be the Turkish military’s second-largest overseas deployment, after the Cyprus Turkish Peace Force Commands, and the motivations for the expansion remain unclear.

    "Qatar, as a member of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council], is historically in the Saudi sphere of influence," Jason Ditz writes for AntiWar.com, "but they and Turkey are noteworthy in being among few nations backing the Muslim Brotherhood, a fact which has at times caused a split within the GCC."

    Turkey came under fire last month for downing a Russian bomber in Syrian airspace. That incident left two Russian soldiers dead, and created a substantial rift in relations between Ankara and Moscow.

    "It is hard or almost impossible for us to agree with the current Turkish government, as experience has shown," Russian President Vladimir Putin said during his annual press conference on Thursday. "And even when and where we say yes to them, we are stabbed in the side or in the back, for unknown reasons to us."

    Ankara is also being criticized over its decision to hundreds of troops into northern Iraq. While claiming the deployment was necessary to protect military trainers already in the region, the Iraqi government views the incursion as a breach of national sovereignty.

    "The government is committed to maintain good neighborly relations, but at the same time reiterates its right to take measures to protect national sovereignty," the Iraqi government said in a statement.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi gave Ankara 48 hours to remove its troops, but Turkey has failed to comply. The United Nations Security Council is currently reviewing a formal complaint lodged by Baghdad.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20151217/1031927332/turkey-qatar-military-base.html#ixzz3ueVg2Dqz


    Once Upon a Pipeline

    As oil-price.net reported back in 2012, Qatar needed to get its Qatar-Turkey" pipeline through Syria, and Europe looked forward to linking up with the world's largest gas producer because it was over-dependent on Russian supplies. Russia's unstable president Vladimir Putin had previously cut off gas supplies to Europe in the dead of winter 2009 after a dispute with Ukraine over gas royalties. The Russian military has since invaded Ukraine and given Putin's aggressive stance, Europe now urgently needs to find an alternate gas supply not controlled by Russia. This makes a middle-eastern pipeline coming through Syria a very attractive proposition.

    The Assads soon realized that they were in a position of power. They decided to up the ante by creating an alternative source of fuel for a trans-Syrian pipeline. Most of the countries in the Middle East, including Syria are majority Sunni Muslim. The post-Hussein regime in Iraq was dominated by Shia Muslims, The Assads are Alawite Muslims - a Shia creed that the Sunnis from Qatar and Saudi Arabia would like to see wiped off the earth. So instead of the Qatar-Turkey pipeline, Assad stitched together a deal with the Shia administration in Iraq, together with Iraq's other neighbor, Iran - the largest Shia nation in the world. The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline project was born.
    Map of Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline and Qatar-Turkey pipeline

    Syria's economy was underdeveloped and the Assads needed oil money to keep their people placated. Their alternative pipeline plan would carry Iran and Iraq's gas to Europe, instead of gas from Qatar, and that option pleased Russia's Putin, because he already had long standing agreements in place with Iran, who were more amenable to gas price coordination with Russia. Moreover, as a long-term supporter of Syria, Russia had built up influence within the administration and the armed forces. Also Russia's only military base in the Mediterranean is located on the coast of Syria which would strategically allow Putin to control a second gas pipeline to Europe. Naturally this Iranian pipeline to Syria quickly became a top priority for Moscow. Assad and the Russians worked their contacts to dissuade the Qatar deal and promote the Iranian plan. Bashar and Asma thought they had forced Europe and the Gulf States to up their offer. Instead, they had made some very dangerous enemies.

    Saudis need Assad overthrown


    Saudi diplomatic efforts and generous contracts to US and UK arms manufacturers gave the Kingdom an unwritten call on the military of Western powers to fight its war for it. And so the Saudi king merely needed to lift a finger for President Obama and Britain's Prime Minister Cameron to schedule air strikes against Syria in an effort to overthrow Assad. At the end of August 2013, however, the British parliament voted against the action. That put pressure on the US president who calculated that Congress would follow suit and block any attack on Syria as well. Russia raised the stakes by moving warships into the Mediterranean, ready to defend Syria. Saudi Arabia's friends backed down, and the Saudi king resolved to solve the problem of Syria himself.

    As Iran is liberated from US-imposed embargo, two power blocks have emerged in the Middle East - Iran, Iraq and Syria, which are all Shia-led, and the rest of the Arab world, which is Sunni and stands against the Shia. While America holds the alliance of the Sunni world, Russia is siding with the Shia-controlled nations.

    Saudi Arabia and Qatar's first move was to fund the Muslim Brotherhood, which intended to impose Sunni control on all Middle Eastern countries. The Saudis persuaded the United States to endorse this policy and western media put a marketing spin on the rebellions of these Muslim fundamentalists, by dubbing their power grab "the Arab Spring". Once the Brotherhood's intolerance started to emerge in power, the US backed out and the Saudis tried a different tack.

    The Saudis had another trick up their sleeve. Not only did the US refuse to overthrow Assad, but they then opened negotiations to loosen the oil embargo on Iran. The prospects of Iran coming back to the international oil market would heighten the growing over-supply of crude oil. Usually in these situations, OPEC was expected to cut its production to reduce oversupply in the oil market and make oil production profitable for all the other countries in the world. Saudi production quotas so exceed those of all the other OPEC nations that no production cut would be meaningful if the Saudis refused to cooperate.

    The Saudis came up with a new strategy that would punish Russia for their intervention in Syria, stall Iran from retooling its oil industry and cripple America's fracking production. They increased oil production and aggressively offered low oil prices to grab market share. The oil price fall conveniently stymied all the parties involved in keeping Assad in power.
    Proxy War in Syria

    Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been heavily involved with fostering and funding Sunni Muslim insurgent groups in Iraq and Syria, including the much-publicized ISIS. Disaffected and experienced Sunni administrators and soldiers in Iraq poured into ISIS, who offered them wages and self-respect.

    ISIS are funded by Saudi Arabia and Qatar donors, but not controlled by them. Their leaders found it easy to quickly grab the Sunni dominated areas of Iraq and Syria, aided by the downtrodden locals. However, they have shown an ambivalent attitude in their administration. The leaders of national branches of ISIS seek income opportunities to enable them to advance ahead of rival branch leaders and gain policy independence from Saudi Arabia. In northern Iraq, they run the oil refineries they take over to make a profit. In Libya, they destroy them as offenses to God. The Libyan branch of ISIS prefers the easy money of people smuggling. Established smuggling routes also serve the long-term strategic ambition to project fighters worldwide.

    ISIS-lead upheavals in Syria create a crisis that refugees are fleeing from, the ISIS-lead smuggling operations in Libya offer those refugees a route into Europe.






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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:56 am

    So we have as main rivals

    Shiite "coalition": Iran, Iraq, Syria under Assad, and Hezbollah in Lebanon

    Sunni "coalition": S.Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Jordan, Bahrain, UAE


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:56 pm

    Iran-Oman Joint Naval Drills Underway in Persian Gulf

    A two-day maritime joint exercise of the Iranian and Omani naval forces started on Wednesday in the eastern part of the Strait of Hormuz and will continue in the Persian Gulf, Iranian media reported.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — According to Farsnews agency, the two countries develop strong military cooperation and have already conducted several joint naval exercises.

    "It is the fifth joint wargames by Iran and Oman of this type and level, with a set of specified goals," Commander of the Iranian Navy's First Zone Rear Adm. Hossein Azad told journalists as quoted by Farsnews.

    According to Azad, the purpose of the drill is to train Navy's ability to provide vessels, cargo ships and oil tankers, constantly passing through the region, with necessary security level.

    The decision to hold joint naval drills was made on December 19 at the opening of the Omani-Iranian Joint Military Friendship Committee's 12th meeting in Tehran.

    Iran and Oman singed a memorandum of understanding for military cooperation in 2013. The memorandum includes cooperation in fighting against drug and human trafficking, strengthening of educational and cultural ties between the two countries` armed forces.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20151223/1032223984/drills-gulf-report-cooperation.html#ixzz3vBgPOYN5


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Wed Dec 23, 2015 11:56 pm

    it seems that Oman even though a monarchy, is leaning towards Iran?


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  Walther von Oldenburg on Thu Dec 24, 2015 11:42 am

    George1 wrote:it seems that Oman even though a monarchy, is leaning towards Iran?
    Yes. That's because Omani people are followers of Ibadism, the third and smallest sect of Islam (after Sunnism and Shiism) and in the MENA area there is a general trend that minorities side with Iran.

    Oman is also more tolerant. There are even Christian preachers there, something that is unimaginable in neighbooring countries.

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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Sat Jan 02, 2016 2:26 pm

    Iran says Saudi Arabia to pay 'high price' for executing cleric


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:00 pm

    Saudi Arabia Breaks Off Diplomatic Relations With Iran

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160103/1032642827/saudi-arabia-iran-break-up.html#ixzz3wDWz87i7


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  JohninMK on Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:31 pm

    An interesting background piece from ZH. I don't know how to bring the map across properly, so someone else do it please?

    In order to understand the upcoming sectarian strife and in order to fully grasp who belongs to Iran’s sphere of influence and who is loyal to the Saudis, one needs to have a working knowledge of what the Sunni-Shiite split looks like across the region. Because this is set to become the key geopolitical issue in the weeks and months ahead, we thought it an opportune time to present the following map from Goldman which does a nice job of delineating the sectarian split. Note the asterisks which indicate the affiliation of a country’s leadership.

    From Goldman


    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user92183/imageroot/2016/01/SunniShiiteMap.png

    Where are the main sectarian and ethnic divides in the Middle East today? Saudi Arabia and Iran, with their large respective Sunni and Shiite majorities, are generally viewed as two major opposing forces in the Middle East. They lie on opposite sides of an abstract and somewhat contentious demarcation known as the Shiite crescent, an area of Shiite influence stretching from Iran through southern Iraq and into parts of Syria and Lebanon.

    The region’s geopolitical, religious, and sectarian relationships are in reality more dynamic and complex. The conflict in Syria continues to pit anti-government insurgents, including Sunni Islamists, against the Alawite (Shiite) government’s forces and Shiite militias supported by Iran. In Iraq, some Sunnis have felt increasingly disenfranchised under the Shiite-majority government in Baghdad (a relatively new development given Iraq’s long history of Sunni rule). The Islamic State (IS) militant group has exploited this sentiment, particularly in the Sunni-majority areas of northern Iraq.

    How are the different branches of Islam represented in politics? In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the rulers adhere to the same branch of Islam as the majority of their citizens. However, this is not always the case. Despite being predominantly Shiite, Iraqis lived under Sunni rulers for much of history, including under the Ottoman Empire and the Ba’thist regime of Saddam Hussein. (Ba’thists are members of the Arab Socialist Ba’th Party, a political party founded in Syria in the 1940s on platforms of Arab nationalism and anti- colonialism. In Iraq, the Ba’thists governed from 1958 until the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.) The Iraqi Ba’thist regime was secular in name but reserved political influence for the Sunni elite. In a break from its long history of Sunni political dominance, Iraq is currently ruled by a Shiite-majority government centered in Baghdad. Conversely, in Sunni-majority Syria, members of the Shiite Alawite sect have controlled the government since 1970.

    What is the composition of Sunnis and Shiites in the Muslim world today? Sunnis make up the majority of Muslims worldwide – an estimated 85-90%. Sunnis comprise 85% or more of the Muslim populations in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates, and 70-85% in Kuwait, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Shiites comprise the majority in Bahrain, Iraq, and Azerbaijan (all 60-65% Shiite), as well as in Iran (90-95%), home of the largest Shiite population. Although the Middle East and North Africa region is overwhelmingly Muslim (93%), it is home to only around 20% of Muslims worldwide. The majority – over 60% – lives in the Asia-Pacific region.


    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-04/just-became-most-important-map-geopolitics

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    Shia - Shunni cold war

    Post  Zivo on Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:18 pm

    JohninMK wrote:An interesting background piece from ZH. I don't know how to bring the map across properly, so someone else do it please?

    In order to understand the upcoming sectarian strife and in order to fully grasp who belongs to Iran’s sphere of influence and who is loyal to the Saudis, one needs to have a working knowledge of what the Sunni-Shiite split looks like across the region. Because this is set to become the key geopolitical issue in the weeks and months ahead, we thought it an opportune time to present the following map from Goldman which does a nice job of delineating the sectarian split. Note the asterisks which indicate the affiliation of a country’s leadership.

    From Goldman


    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user92183/imageroot/2016/01/SunniShiiteMap.png

    Where are the main sectarian and ethnic divides in the Middle East today? Saudi Arabia and Iran, with their large respective Sunni and Shiite majorities, are generally viewed as two major opposing forces in the Middle East. They lie on opposite sides of an abstract and somewhat contentious demarcation known as the Shiite crescent, an area of Shiite influence stretching from Iran through southern Iraq and into parts of Syria and Lebanon.

    The region’s geopolitical, religious, and sectarian relationships are in reality more dynamic and complex. The conflict in Syria continues to pit anti-government insurgents, including Sunni Islamists, against the Alawite (Shiite) government’s forces and Shiite militias supported by Iran. In Iraq, some Sunnis have felt increasingly disenfranchised under the Shiite-majority government in Baghdad (a relatively new development given Iraq’s long history of Sunni rule). The Islamic State (IS) militant group has exploited this sentiment, particularly in the Sunni-majority areas of northern Iraq.

    How are the different branches of Islam represented in politics? In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the rulers adhere to the same branch of Islam as the majority of their citizens. However, this is not always the case. Despite being predominantly Shiite, Iraqis lived under Sunni rulers for much of history, including under the Ottoman Empire and the Ba’thist regime of Saddam Hussein. (Ba’thists are members of the Arab Socialist Ba’th Party, a political party founded in Syria in the 1940s on platforms of Arab nationalism and anti- colonialism. In Iraq, the Ba’thists governed from 1958 until the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003.) The Iraqi Ba’thist regime was secular in name but reserved political influence for the Sunni elite. In a break from its long history of Sunni political dominance, Iraq is currently ruled by a Shiite-majority government centered in Baghdad. Conversely, in Sunni-majority Syria, members of the Shiite Alawite sect have controlled the government since 1970.

    What is the composition of Sunnis and Shiites in the Muslim world today? Sunnis make up the majority of Muslims worldwide – an estimated 85-90%. Sunnis comprise 85% or more of the Muslim populations in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates, and 70-85% in Kuwait, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. Shiites comprise the majority in Bahrain, Iraq, and Azerbaijan (all 60-65% Shiite), as well as in Iran (90-95%), home of the largest Shiite population. Although the Middle East and North Africa region is overwhelmingly Muslim (93%), it is home to only around 20% of Muslims worldwide. The majority – over 60% – lives in the Asia-Pacific region.


    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-01-04/just-became-most-important-map-geopolitics


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:53 am

    Sudan expels Iran ambassador, UAE downgrades links with Islamic Republic

    Saudi Arabia was the first to sever diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday

    ABU-DHABI/KUWAIT CITY, January 4. /TASS/. Sudan on Monday announced plans to sever diplomatic relations with Iran and expel the Iranian ambassador while the United Arab Emirates decided to downgrade the level of its diplomatic representation in the Islamic Republic.
    The office of Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir said all Iranian diplomats had to leave the country and accused Iran of "inciting religious hatred." Sudan also will recall its ambassador from Tehran, the presidential office said. Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates "has decided to downgrade the level of its diplomatic representation in the Islamic Republic of Iran to that of a charge d' affaires and to require a reduction in the number of Iranian diplomats stationed in the UAE," WAM news agency reported on Monday.
    Saudi Arabia was the first to sever diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday after a mob of protesters angry with the kingdom's execution of prominent Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr attacked its embassy in Tehran. Riyadh told its diplomats to leave the Islamic Republic within 48 hours. Bahrain followed Saudi Arabia in cutting ties with Iran.

    More:
    http://tass.ru/en/world/848277


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:53 am

    So Bashir took S.Arabia's side. I am anxious to see Egypt's stance


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  magnumcromagnon on Wed Jan 06, 2016 1:44 am

    Oman Opposes Saudi Sectarian Stupidity

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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  Khepesh on Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:26 pm

    Iran has said that Saudi warplanes have hit their embassy in Yemen. https://www.rt.com/news/328156-iran-saudis-embassy-airstrike/

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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  KoTeMoRe on Thu Jan 07, 2016 12:36 pm

    Saudis being scum again.

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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:40 pm

    I have read in pages that Kuwait's relations with Iran are excellent and with S.Arabia strained. Is that true? And if it is so, how it is explained? I know that Kuwait Muslim majority is sunni and not shia


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  kvs on Sun Jan 10, 2016 11:14 pm

    George1 wrote:I have read in pages that Kuwait's relations with Iran are excellent and with S.Arabia strained. Is that true? And if it is so, how it is explained? I know that Kuwait Muslim majority is sunni and not shia

    It is probably related to Kuwait's and Iran's mutual hate for Saddam Hussein. Iran must have supported Kuwait in 1990.

    Perhaps the Kuwait government is has not been purchased by Saudi money.

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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Tue Jan 12, 2016 12:46 pm

    Saudi Oil Price Strategy Aims to Block Iran’s Return as Energy Power

    Former European Union and US Agency for International Development consultant Paolo von Schirach claims that the latest moves by Saudi Arabia to slash oil prices are an attempt to cripple Iran and prevent it from re-emerging as a major oil exporting rival.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The latest moves by Saudi Arabia to slash oil prices are an attempt to cripple Iran and prevent it from re-emerging as a major oil exporting rival, former European Union and US Agency for International Development consultant Paolo von Schirach told Sputnik.

    "The Saudis are clearly trying to drive down global oil prices to rock bottom levels through over production in order to hurt Iran. It should be seen as part of a coordinated anti-Shia strategy," Schirach, publisher and editor of The Schirach Report, said.

    Saudi policy was being driven by passion to grab as large a market share as possible, even at the risk of dangerously depressing global oil prices, he warned.

    "Saudi strategy can be best described as keep oil prices low, steal Iranian customers. The Saudis are openly trying to steal business from Iran," Schirach explained.

    Riyadh wanted to lure Spain, Italy and other major European nations into major oil deals before Iran had the chance to so, he maintained.

    The Saudis "have just announced extra discounts to European oil consumers. Obviously they want to sway them, so that they will not resume business with Iran, their old supplier, once the sanctions are lifted. Spain and Italy are on top of the list of old pre-sanctions buyers of Iranian oil," he said.

    However, this aggressive marketing strategy threatened to backfire disastrously on the Saudis, Schirach predicted.

    "Can this strategy work? I have my doubts. The Saudis may end up isolating themselves. By forcing the entire OPEC cartel to tighten its belt (member countries produce about 30 percent of the entire world oil supply) Saudi Arabia is not winning any new friends," he added.

    In 2015, the Saudis ran a huge budget deficit of $98 billion, Schirach pointed out.

    "In order to finance it, the Saudi rulers had to dip into their vast cash reserves, while issuing bonds at the same time. This game cannot go on forever," he cautioned.

    The Saudi Royal family continues to need enormous oil revenues to keep its government in power but if oil exports fall in volume in the long term, the government in Saudi Arabia will not remain in power long, Schirach noted.
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    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/business/20160112/1032977505/saudi-aims-to-block-iran.html#ixzz3x1uRnHBn


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  Cowboy's daughter on Wed Jan 13, 2016 12:15 am

    George1 wrote:Saudi Oil Price Strategy Aims to Block Iran’s Return as Energy Power

    Former European Union and US Agency for International Development consultant Paolo von Schirach claims that the latest moves by Saudi Arabia to slash oil prices are an attempt to cripple Iran and prevent it from re-emerging as a major oil exporting rival.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The latest moves by Saudi Arabia to slash oil prices are an attempt to cripple Iran and prevent it from re-emerging as a major oil exporting rival, former European Union and US Agency for International Development consultant Paolo von Schirach told Sputnik.

    "The Saudis are clearly trying to drive down global oil prices to rock bottom levels through over production in order to hurt Iran. It should be seen as part of a coordinated anti-Shia strategy," Schirach, publisher and editor of The Schirach Report, said.

    Saudi policy was being driven by passion to grab as large a market share as possible, even at the risk of dangerously depressing global oil prices, he warned.

    "Saudi strategy can be best described as keep oil prices low, steal Iranian customers. The Saudis are openly trying to steal business from Iran," Schirach explained.

    Riyadh wanted to lure Spain, Italy and other major European nations into major oil deals before Iran had the chance to so, he maintained.

    The Saudis "have just announced extra discounts to European oil consumers. Obviously they want to sway them, so that they will not resume business with Iran, their old supplier, once the sanctions are lifted. Spain and Italy are on top of the list of old pre-sanctions buyers of Iranian oil," he said.

    However, this aggressive marketing strategy threatened to backfire disastrously on the Saudis, Schirach predicted.

    "Can this strategy work? I have my doubts. The Saudis may end up isolating themselves. By forcing the entire OPEC cartel to tighten its belt (member countries produce about 30 percent of the entire world oil supply) Saudi Arabia is not winning any new friends," he added.

    In 2015, the Saudis ran a huge budget deficit of $98 billion, Schirach pointed out.

    "In order to finance it, the Saudi rulers had to dip into their vast cash reserves, while issuing bonds at the same time. This game cannot go on forever," he cautioned.

    The Saudi Royal family continues to need enormous oil revenues to keep its government in power but if oil exports fall in volume in the long term, the government in Saudi Arabia will not remain in power long, Schirach noted.
    Share on Google+

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/business/20160112/1032977505/saudi-aims-to-block-iran.html#ixzz3x1uRnHBn

    That's pretty interesting. I remember when West Texas Crude was $18. a barrel, and gasoline was 99 cents a gallon in Texas. Then the USA went to Iraq.

    It's what? about $32. a barrel for Saudi now, & oil business in Texas is shutting down for now.

    http://eaglefordshale.com/drilling-rig-count/

    I read some economists think the price of oil will go much lower, maybe back to $18. a barrel? unless Saudi Arabia blinks & raises the price, or somebody goes to war...

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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:48 pm

    Somalia Cuts Diplomatic Relations With Iran

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/africa/20160107/1032807772/somalia-embassy-ties-break.html#ixzz3x80Y6e5s


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    Bahrain police fire tear gas, bird shot at protesters

    Post  HUNTER VZLA on Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:53 am

    2016











    Shocked

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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Mon Jan 25, 2016 4:28 pm

    Putin's Latest Moves: The Military Alliance Among Iran, Hezbollah And Russia In Syria Could Spread To Yemen

    SOUTH LEBANON -- Russia and Iran, long allied in their support of Syrian President Bashar Assad, appear to be extending their partnership into Yemen. Moscow is now supporting the Tehran-backed Houthi rebels who are fighting forces loyal to the U.S.-supported exiled president, a senior Hezbollah official told International Business Times.

    The Houthi rebels have been fighting a 10-country Saudi-Arabia-led coalition since March. Iran has been the rebels’ main supporter for several months, but Tehran’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah and Russia are increasing support for the Houthis -- forming an alliance very similar to the one largely responsible for keeping Assad in power.

    When asked whether Russia is helping Hezbollah in Yemen as it is in Syria, the official said: “Of course they are.”

    Russia is providing weapons to the Houthi rebels, and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah is on the ground in Yemen on a “leadership level,” the senior Hezbollah official told IBT.

    Hezbollah has been fighting in Syria with Assad’s army for years, alongside commanders from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to increase his influence in Syria and has begun building at least two military bases and sent in tanks, air-defense systems and armored-personnel carriers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    The Russia-Iran alliance is working to bolster the Syrian regime by targeting Assad’s enemies, which include both U.S. allies and enemies. An increase of Russian military activity in Syria threatens the American strategy in Syria to train and support opposition groups fighting both Assad’s forces and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State group, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL. But this week Russia’s warplanes also bombed ISIS positions in Syria, tacitly aligning Russia's goals with those of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition.

    Russia claims its military actions in Syria are in response to the threat of ISIS, but Moscow had been providing weapons to the Syrian army even before the current conflict. Russia also has a history of economic and military deals in Yemen: The then-Soviet Union was a major weapons provider to South Yemen before its unification with the North in 1990, giving Putin a vested interest in seeing the Houthis succeed against the Saudi-led coalition.

    A month before President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the coalition began airstrikes in Yemen, a source connected to the Houthis in Sanaa told IBT via Skype that government representatives from Russia met with Houthi leaders to discuss future financial alliances.

    Despite being the poorest country in the region, Yemen produces about 130,000 barrels of crude oil a day and accounts for roughly 57 percent of the country’s exports. A large percentage Yemen’s oil exports go to China, where Russia has recently been trying to corner the oil import market to alleviate pressure from U.S. and European Union economic sanctions. China’s recent financial crisis stalled Russia’s plan to build an oil pipeline from Siberia to China, but Russia could find an alternative source of income from selling weapons to the Houthis.

    However, experts are not convinced that the Houthis are buying any more weapons, and though Russia “would be more than happy to provide weapons to Yemen, even with a discount,” it is likely to wait until the Houthis are recognized as Yemen’s legitimate government, said Yury Barmin, an analyst focusing on Russia’s strategy in the Middle East, and a consultant for several oil and gas industry firms in the region.

    Last week, the Hezbollah official claimed Russia had provided the missile the Houthis launched into a coalition base earlier this month, killing at least 45 Emirati troops, five Bahrainis and 10 Saudis. This was the deadliest operation against coalition forces and, in the days following the attack, nine of the 10 coalition countries were expected to have troops on the ground fighting the Houthis.

    The Houthis have access to roughly 40 additional Tochka missiles, courtesy of Moscow, that have been smuggled into the country in one by one, the Hezbollah official said.

    Photos and videos of the destroyed explosive show that it was in fact a Tochka missile. It was not immediately clear if the missile was left over from former Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh’s overflowing cache of weapons (which included the OTR-21 Tochka, a Soviet-era ballistic missile that also goes by the NATO reporting name SS-21 Scarab) or if it was a recent acquisition.

    “It’s unlikely that they had any missiles left from that time,” Barmin said. “Regarding Tochka missiles specifically, they were probably delivered there from Syria through Iran.”

    On their own, the Houthis’ operational capabilities with regard to the Tochka missiles are limited and “heavily dependent on foreign advisers, almost exclusively Belarusians and Russians,” according to Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans from Oryx Blog, which monitors military activity in the Middle East.

    “If the Houthis would have acquired ballistic missile systems, these would be Tochkas. But why buy more Tochkas when you can't even properly maintain and operate the examples you already have?”

    But the Houthis may have solved that logistical problem. As the Saudi-led coalition continued to bombard Yemen, Iran began to publicly acknowledge its ties to the Houthis and advisers from both the IRGC and Hezbollah were to train and assist the Houthis. Both these groups have dealt with Russian-made weapons in Syria, where the army has access several types of ballistic missiles, including SS21 Scarab. In 2013, Assad was accused of repeatedly using the missile in civilian saturated areas.

    “I don’t think Russia smuggling weapons into Yemen could go unnoticed. Just look at how noisy recent deliveries to Syria turned out to be,” analyst Barmin said.

    Smuggling weapons into Yemen now would be no easy feat in a country where even humanitarian groups have had trouble bringing in aid since the Saudi-led coalition began its bombing campaign. Although the Houthis are in control of the al-Hudaydah port, the Saudi-led coalition has imposed a naval blockade preventing even the most basic necessities from entering Houthi-controlled territory.

    Whether Russia directly provided the missiles, the allegiances forming in Yemen are beginning to look akin to those in the first years of the Syrian conflict.

    “We are everywhere now -- in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen,” the Hezbollah official said.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/putins-latest-moves-military-alliance-among-iran-hezbollah-russia-syria-could-spread-2113386


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  par far on Mon Jan 25, 2016 9:55 pm

    George1 wrote:
    Putin's Latest Moves: The Military Alliance Among Iran, Hezbollah And Russia In Syria Could Spread To Yemen

    SOUTH LEBANON -- Russia and Iran, long allied in their support of Syrian President Bashar Assad, appear to be extending their partnership into Yemen. Moscow is now supporting the Tehran-backed Houthi rebels who are fighting forces loyal to the U.S.-supported exiled president, a senior Hezbollah official told International Business Times.

    The Houthi rebels have been fighting a 10-country Saudi-Arabia-led coalition since March. Iran has been the rebels’ main supporter for several months, but Tehran’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah and Russia are increasing support for the Houthis -- forming an alliance very similar to the one largely responsible for keeping Assad in power.

    When asked whether Russia is helping Hezbollah in Yemen as it is in Syria, the official said: “Of course they are.”

    Russia is providing weapons to the Houthi rebels, and Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah is on the ground in Yemen on a “leadership level,” the senior Hezbollah official told IBT.

    Hezbollah has been fighting in Syria with Assad’s army for years, alongside commanders from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to increase his influence in Syria and has begun building at least two military bases and sent in tanks, air-defense systems and armored-personnel carriers, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    The Russia-Iran alliance is working to bolster the Syrian regime by  targeting Assad’s enemies, which include both U.S. allies and enemies. An increase of Russian military activity in Syria threatens the American strategy in Syria to train and support opposition groups fighting both Assad’s forces and terrorist organizations like the Islamic State group, which is also known as ISIS or ISIL. But this week Russia’s warplanes also bombed ISIS positions in Syria, tacitly aligning Russia's goals with those of the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition.

    Russia claims its military actions in Syria are in response to the threat of ISIS, but Moscow had been providing weapons to the Syrian army even before the current conflict. Russia also has a history of economic and military deals in Yemen: The then-Soviet Union was a major weapons provider to South Yemen before its unification with the North in 1990, giving Putin a vested interest in seeing the Houthis succeed against the Saudi-led coalition.

    A month before President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the coalition began airstrikes in Yemen, a source connected to the Houthis in Sanaa told IBT via Skype that government representatives from Russia met with Houthi leaders to discuss future financial alliances.

    Despite being the poorest country in the region, Yemen produces about 130,000 barrels of crude oil a day and accounts for roughly 57 percent of the country’s exports. A large percentage Yemen’s oil exports go to China, where Russia has recently been trying to corner the oil import market to alleviate pressure from U.S. and European Union economic sanctions. China’s recent financial crisis stalled Russia’s plan to build an oil pipeline from Siberia to China, but Russia could find an alternative source of income from selling weapons to the Houthis.

    However, experts are not convinced that the Houthis are buying any more weapons, and though Russia “would be more than happy to provide weapons to Yemen, even with a discount,” it is likely to wait until the Houthis are recognized as Yemen’s legitimate government, said Yury Barmin, an analyst focusing on Russia’s strategy in the Middle East, and a consultant for several oil and gas industry firms in the region.

    Last week, the Hezbollah official claimed Russia had provided the missile the Houthis launched into a coalition base earlier this month, killing at least 45 Emirati troops, five Bahrainis and 10 Saudis. This was the deadliest operation against coalition forces and, in the days following the attack, nine of the 10 coalition countries were expected to have troops on the ground fighting the Houthis.

    The Houthis have access to roughly 40 additional Tochka missiles, courtesy of Moscow, that have been smuggled into the country in one by one, the Hezbollah official said.

    Photos and videos of the destroyed explosive show that it was in fact a Tochka missile. It was not immediately clear if the missile was left over from former Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh’s overflowing cache of weapons (which included the OTR-21 Tochka, a Soviet-era ballistic missile that also goes by the NATO reporting name SS-21 Scarab) or if it was a recent acquisition.

    “It’s unlikely that they had any missiles left from that time,” Barmin said. “Regarding Tochka missiles specifically, they were probably delivered there from Syria through Iran.”

    On their own, the Houthis’ operational capabilities with regard to the Tochka missiles are limited and “heavily dependent on foreign advisers, almost exclusively Belarusians and Russians,” according to Stijn Mitzer and Joost Oliemans from Oryx Blog, which monitors military activity in the Middle East.

    “If the Houthis would have acquired ballistic missile systems, these would be Tochkas. But why buy more Tochkas when you can't even properly maintain and operate the examples you already have?”

    But the Houthis may have solved that logistical problem. As the Saudi-led coalition continued to bombard Yemen, Iran began to publicly acknowledge its ties to the Houthis and advisers from both the IRGC and Hezbollah were to train and assist the Houthis. Both these groups have dealt with Russian-made weapons in Syria, where the army has access several types of ballistic missiles, including SS21 Scarab. In 2013, Assad was accused of repeatedly using the missile in civilian saturated areas.

    “I don’t think Russia smuggling weapons into Yemen could go unnoticed. Just look at how noisy recent deliveries to Syria turned out to be,” analyst Barmin said.

    Smuggling weapons into Yemen now would be no easy feat in a country where even humanitarian groups have had trouble bringing in aid since the Saudi-led coalition began its bombing campaign. Although the Houthis are in control of the al-Hudaydah port, the Saudi-led coalition has imposed a naval blockade preventing even the most basic necessities from entering Houthi-controlled territory.

    Whether Russia directly provided the missiles, the allegiances forming in Yemen are beginning to look akin to those in the first years of the Syrian conflict.

    “We are everywhere now -- in Syria, Iraq, Palestine and Yemen,” the Hezbollah official said.

    http://www.ibtimes.com/putins-latest-moves-military-alliance-among-iran-hezbollah-russia-syria-could-spread-2113386


    More than likely, this is pure bullshit.

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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:14 pm

    In Saudi Arabia’s Footsteps: UAE Poised to Send Ground Troops to Syria

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160207/1034369078/uae-syria-troops.html#ixzz3zWU7Tunu


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:04 am

    Powder Keg: Turkey Plans Joint War Games With Saudi Arabia

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160212/1034613276/saudi-turkey-military-drills.html#ixzz3zw1kDige


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    Re: Shiite-Sunni conflict. Middle East's cold war

    Post  George1 on Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:50 am

    Arab States Interior Ministers Declare Hezbollah Terrorist Organization

    The interior ministers of the Arab countries, except for Iraq, upheld the decision by the Gulf Cooperation Council (CCASG or GCC) to designate the Lebanon-based Shiite Hezbollah militant group a terrorist organization, according to a joint statement published Wednesday.

    DUBAI (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, the six-member CCASG, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman labeled Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

    "We fully condemn Hezbollah terrorist group for its role in the destabilization of the Arab region," the statement reads.

    Hezbollah, established in the 1980s, is a paramilitary and political organization originating in Lebanon's Shiite population. The group's primary goal was military opposition to Israel's occupation of the country.

    Aside from the GCC, Hezbollah Shia Muslim movement is, partially or entirely, considered a terrorist organization by a number of countries including the United States, Israel and the European Union.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/middleeast/20160303/1035689377/arab-states-hezbollah-terrorist-organization.html#ixzz41nh73Tfl


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