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Saudis Bankrolling Israel’s Mossad: More confirmation?

11:24 am in Uncategorized by Barry Lando

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia (then Crown Prince) with George W. Bush (then President), 2002

In October 12, 2012, I speculated there was a strong likelihood that Saudi Arabia was bankrolling Israel’s Mossad. Those funds paid for, among other things, the assassinations of several of Iran’s top nuclear experts over the past couple of years. That cooperation was, I wrote, the latest bizarre development in a clandestine alliance between the Zionist State of Israel and Saudi Arabia, guardian of Islam’s most holy site.

The Huffington Post refused to run that blog because I only had one source, which I was not allowed to name. Instead, I posted it on my own and other sites.

That blog went viral, particularly in Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia, where it was picked up by several news agencies. Now that claim has received new backing from a reputable Israeli source. But before getting to that, here is my original blog.

A friend, with good sources in the Israeli government, claims that the head of Israel’s Mossad has made several trips to deal with his counterparts in Saudi Arabia—one of the results: an agreement that the Saudis would bankroll the series of assassinations of several of Iran’s top nuclear experts that have occurred over the past couple of years. The amount involved, my friend claims, was $1 billion dollars. A sum, he says, the Saudis considered cheap for the damage done to Iran’s nuclear program.

At first blush, the tale sounds preposterous. On the other hand. it makes eminent sense. The murky swamp of Middle East politics has nothing to do with the easy slogans and 30 second sound bites of presidential debates.

After all, nowhere more than in the Middle East does the maxim hold true: the enemy of my enemy is my friend. And both Israel and the Saudis have always detested Iran’s Shiite fundamentalist leaders. The feeling is mutual. Tehran has long been accused of stirring up trouble among Saudi’s restless Shiites.

Israeli and Saudi leaders particularly fear Iran’s attempts to develop nuclear weapons. Thus, it would only be natural that (along with the U.S.) they would back a coordinated program to at least slow up, if not permanently cripple, Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

It also makes perfect sense, that, in retaliation for the cyber attacks on their centrifuges, the Iranians reportedly launched their own cyber attack on a Saudi state-owned target: Saudi Aramco, the world’s most valuable company. Last August 15th, someone with privileged access to Aramco’s computers was able to unleash a virus that wreaked havoc with the company’s systems. U.S. intelligence experts point their finger at Tehran.

Indeed, a report earlier this year by Tel Aviv University cites Saudi Arabia as the last hope and defense line for Israel. With most of Israel’s traditional allies in the region sent packing or undermined by the Arab Spring, the Saudis are the Jewish State’s last chance to protect its political interests in the Arab world.

Now comes further confirmation of that strange alliance, from Richard Silverstein’s excellent blog Tikun Olam. Silverstein gets many of his scoops from Israeli reporters, often confiding information they’re not allowed to report in Israel. Silverstein also closely monitors the Israeli media.

He has been following the close cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia in targeting Syria and Iran. In his latest log he reports,

Shalom Yerushalmi, writing in Maariv, dropped an even more amazing bombshell.

Saudi Arabia isn’t just coordinating its own intelligence efforts with Israel. It’s actually financing a good deal of Israel’s very expensive campaign against Iran. As you know, this has involved massive sabotage against IRG missile bases, the assassination of five nuclear scientists, the creation of a series of computer cyber weapons like Stuxnet and Flame. It may also conceivably involve an entire class of electronic and conventional weapons that could be used in a full-scale attack on Iran. Who knows, this might even include the sorts of bunker buster bombs only the U.S. currently has access to, which could penetrate the Fordo facility. It might include scores more super-tankers which could provide the fuel necessary for Israeli planes to make it to Iran and return. All of this is expensive. Very expensive.

As background to his story, Yerushalmi, cited a recent speech by Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Nethanyahu, referring to the possibility that Arab states, which privately maintain better relations with Israel today than does the European Union, would do so publicly if peace were to break out.

“Nethanyahu,” wrote the Israeli reporter, “referred almost certainly to Saudi Arabia which finances the expenses of the enormous campaign which we are conducting against Iran.”

“The question” Silverstein writes in his blog, “is how far is Saudi Arabia willing to go. If Bibi ever decided to launch an attack, would the Sunni nation fund that as well? The answer seems clearly to be yes.

The next question is, given there is airtight military censorship in Israel, why did the censor allow Maariv to publish this? Either someone was asleep at the switch or the IDF and Israel’s political and intelligence officials want the world to know of the Saudi-Israeli effort. Who specifically do they want to know? Obama, of course. In the event the nuclear talks go south, Bibi wants Obama to know there’s a new Sugar Daddy in town. No longer will Israel have only the U.S. to rely on if it decides to go to war. Saudi Arabia will be standing right behind….

I don’t think this news substantially alters the military calculus. Israel, even with unlimited funding, still can’t muster the weapons and armaments it would need to do the job properly. That will take time. But Israel isn’t going to war tomorrow. This news reported in Maariv is presumably Bibi playing one card from his hand. It’s an attempt to warn the president that the U.S. is no longer the only game in town. Personally, it’s the sort of huffing and puffing that I can’t imagine plays well in Washington. But it’s the way Bibi plays the game.

Barry Lando has just written a mystery, The Watchman’s File, about an American reporter attempting to unravel Israel’s most closely guarded secret. (It’s not the bomb). Available on Amazon in soft-cover and Kindle format. Read the rest of this entry →

U.S. Aid to Egypt: Let them eat F-16′s

9:40 am in Uncategorized by Barry Lando

There is something almost obscene about the announcement out of Washington that the U.S. is going ahead with plans to deliver more sophisticated military equipment to Egypt, despite the military coup that overthrew President Mohammed Morsi.

F-16

F-16

With Egypt in meltdown, its economy in tatters, food prices soaring,  land and water resources disappearing, unemployment rampant, the  government a shambles, what is the United States offering in the way of aid to this basket-case nation?

Four F-16 fighter jets.

This despite that fact that, by law, the Obama administration is supposed to cut off aid to regimes that seize power via military coups. But not this coup.

In the wake of the bloody shootings in Cairo last week, and even as the military continues to arrest hundreds of Moslem Brotherhood members, the Obama administration, in a hair-splitting fashion befitting a president who once headed the Harvard Law Review, has used every semantic trick in the book to avoid calling the coup that took place in Egypt–a coup.

The shipment of those F-16’s is also justified as the continuation of an on-going program of 20 planes—eight of which were sent to Egypt in January. The final eight will be shipped later this year.

Who will benefit by that American “aid”?

Mostly, America’s own Lockheed Martin, which sells those jets at  $15 million a copy. Add a few million more for spare parts, training, and ammunition, and you’ve got a half billion dollar deal.

Who will those jets be used to defend Egypt against? Years ago, the Egyptians might have said Israel. But you can be sure that there is no way the U.S. would give F-16’s to an Arab country unless Israel had already signed off on the deal—usually in return for assurances that U.S. equipment furnished to Israel would be far superior.

In fact, those planes are part of a $1.5 billion annual package of aid that the U.S. began giving Egypt after President Sadat signed the Camp David Peace accords with Israel in 1974. By far the largest part of that aid—$1.3 billion a year—has been going to the Egyptian military, in effect an on-going bribe to convince the generals not to ruffle waters with Israel.

What purpose that sophisticated American equipment serves Egypt—other than burnishing egos of the Egyptian military—is anyone’s guess. Similarly, since the only ones with oversight over Egypt’s military budget are Egypt’s military, no one can really be sure exactly how and where all those billions have been spent.

But again, who really cares–as long as they don’t rock the boat with Israel….

On the other hand, it’s only natural that America’s largesse should take the form of military aid. So much of America’s foreign policy over the past two decades —from Iraq to the Gulf to Afghanistan–has been defined in trillions of dollars in military equipment, sprawling bases and futile campaigns.

The other recent announcement of aid to Egypt, which dwarfs Americas, is also laced with hypocrisy. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have pledged a massive package totaling 12 billion dollars.

That sum, of course, is vastly greater than any financial aid those Arab states actually delivered to the Palestinians over the past many decades, despite all their rhetoric about supporting the Palestinian cause.

Which makes sense: As the Arab leaders of those three Gulf states see it the Muslim Brotherhood and the Arab Spring are a much greater existential threat to their corrupt regimes, than Israel ever was.

Indeed, they have long detested and feared the Muslim Brotherhood. Not so much the Brotherhood’s religious fervor, as their calls for reform –for an end to the corrupt ruling cliques which have treated the vast natural resources of their states as their personal property.

Their current hope of the leaders of those three Gulf states is that,  backed by their $12 billion dollars, Egypt’s generals will somehow be able to squelch the Muslim Brotherhood in what is by far the most important of Arab countries–and turn back the threat of the Arab Spring.

Finally, an intriguing question:  Was that huge Arab aid package quickly cobbled together after the coup? Or Isn’t it highly likely that, in the frantic maneuvering that preceded the military’s move, the Gulf rulers were already dangling those billions as a carrot before Egypt’s generals–to encourage them to overthrow Mohammed Morsi?

Probably with the knowledge—and approval?–of the United States.

For further on this, please follow me at http://barrymlando.com
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