Tillerson Present For Major Exxon Deal With Saudi Arabia

From desmogblog.com

By Steve Horn for Desmog – During his recent trip to Saudi Arabia, President Donald Trump announced an array of economic agreements between the U.S.and the Middle Eastern kingdom, saying it would usher in “jobs, jobs, jobs” for both oil-producing powerhouses. While the $350 billion, 10-year arms deal garnered most headlines, a lesser-noticed agreement was also signed between ExxonMobil and the state-owned Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) to study a proposed co-owned natural gas refinery in the Gulf of Mexico. Under the deal, signed at the Saudi-U.S. CEO Forum, the two companies would “conduct a detailed study of the proposed Gulf Coast Growth Ventures project in Texas and begin planning for front-end engineering and design work” for the 1,300-acre, $10 billion plant set to be located near Corpus Christi, Texas, according to an ExxonMobil press release. In addition, ExxonMobil’s press release for the agreement mentions that Darren Woods, the company’s CEO, was in the room for the signing of the pact alongside ExxonMobil Saudi Arabia CEO Philippe Ducom and SABIC executives. Missing from that release: After the forum ended, Woods went to the Al-Yamamah Palace for an agreement-signing ceremony attended by both President Trump and recently retired ExxonMobil CEO and current U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.

Islamic State: The Genesis Of A Sectarian Frankenstein

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By Nauman Sadiq. Looking at the Islamic State’s astounding gains in Syria and Iraq in 2014, a question arises that where does its recruits get all the training and state-of-the-art weapons that are imperative not only for hit-and-run guerrilla warfare but also for capturing and holding large swathes of territory? The Syria experts of foreign policy think tanks also seem to be quite “worried” these days that where do the Islamic State’s jihadists get all the sophisticated weapons and especially those fancy Toyota pick-up trucks mounted with machine guns at the back, colloquially known as “the Technicals” amongst jihadists? According to a revelatory December 2013 news report [2] from a newspaper affiliated with the UAE government which supports the Syrian opposition: it is clearly mentioned that along with AK-47s, RPGs and other military gear, the Saudi regime also provides machine gun-mounted Toyota pick-up trucks to every batch of five jihadists who have completed their training in the training camps located at the border regions of Jordan.

Why Were the Saudi Streets So Quiet?

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By Medea Benjamin. With the world’s media focused on President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, it’s curious that the streets of Riyadh were so empty. Unlike most of Trump’s public appearances, there was not a protester in sight. While Mexicans pour out on the streets to protest Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, bashing Trump piñatas and burning U.S. flags, there was nary a Saudi protester chanting “Trump: Go home.” In this very religious country, no one seemed interested in demonstrating opposition to Trump’s derogatory comments about Islam nor his attempts to impose a Muslim ban back home. Saudi women could have used the occasion to push for their rights. They could have put out a national call saying that as soon as Trump began to speak, women should walk out of their homes with their heads uncovered and dressed as they pleased, just like Melania and Ivanka Trump.

There’s Less Than Meets The Eye In Trump’s Saudi Arms Deal

Trump flanked by the Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, a Momentive investor and Trump’s ‘jobs czar’, and the General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By William D. Hartung for Defense One – Donald J. Trump may be unpredictable, but there is one common theme that runs throughout his presidency: a penchant for exaggerating his achievements. From his insistence that the crowd at his inauguration numbered over one million people to his claim to have rebuilt the military before his first budget was even announced, the president is perfectly comfortable claiming credit for things that have not, in fact, occurred. So it may be with the new arms deal with Saudi Arabia, pegged by the Trump administration as worth up to $110 billion. Many of the items mentioned as part of the package had already been offered to Riyadh during the Obama administration, including a Patriot missile defense system, Multi-mission Surface Combatants, attack and transport helicopters, and artillery systems. The value of these offers runs into the tens of billions of dollars. One item in the Trump package that is clearly new is the offer of a Lockheed Martin Theater High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile system, a deal that could run into the billions depending on how many missiles are included and what kind of support systems are involved. But that leaves the administration a far distance from its $110 billion in claimed sales.

Trump And Cabinet Members 'Bust A Move' In Saudi Arabia

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By Press TV. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – US President Donald Trump joins a sword dance held in his honor in Saudi Arabia after signing Washington’s largest-ever single arms deal with Riyadh. He was accompanied at the Saturday jubilation by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. Trump arrived in the Saudi capital earlier in the day on the first leg of a nine-day overseas tour. Upon arrival and official reception, he proceeded to sign the $110-billion deal and other agreements amounting to $250 billion before joining the party. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir put the volume of the collective bilateral deals higher, saying they were worth more than $380 billion. White House spokesman Sean Spicer said on Twitter that the “defense agreement” was the “largest single arms deal in US history.”

Extremist Saudi Arabia In Partnership With Donald Trump

Trump flanked by the Blackstone CEO, Stephen Schwarzman, a Momentive investor and Trump’s ‘jobs czar’, and the General Motors CEO, Mary Barra. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

By Max Blumenthal for AlterNet – President Donald Trump’s nine-day-long “tolerance tour” will continue this Friday with a visit to Saudi Arabia. The junket offers Trump a brief respite from the suffocating atmosphere in Washington, where he faces a mounting campaign fueled by anonymous leaks from intelligence officials that is aimed at nothing less than his impeachment and replacement by a more supplicant Republican. Trump’s ties to Saudi Arabia run deep. During the campaign, even as Trump blamed the Saudi royal family for the 9/11 attacks, he registered eight companies connected to hotel interests in the kingdom. Once Trump was inaugurated, the Saudis returned the favor, paying for rooms at his Washington, D.C., hotel through Qorvis MSLGroup, a Beltway lobbying firm. The rooms were reserved for a group of veterans flown into town by Qorvis to lobby against the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA) congressional legislation that would allow the bereaved family members of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudi government for its alleged role in the attacks. Many of the veterans had no idea they were acting on behalf of Saudi Arabia, and some, like Tim Cord, staged an open revolt when they realized they had been deceived.

10 Reasons Trump Should Not Strengthen U.S.-Saudi Ties

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By Medea Benjamin for “Information Clearing House” – Donald Trump has selected Saudi Arabia as the destination for his first trip abroad, strengthening U.S. ties to a regime that is fueling the very extremism, intolerance and violence that the US government purports to eradicate. Here’s 10 reasons why the United States should not be closely allied with the Saudi kingdom. The Saudis export an extremist interpretation of Islam, Wahhabism, around the globe. Over the past three decades, Saudi Arabia has spent about $4 billion per year on mosques, madrassas, preachers, students, and textbooks to spread Wahhabism and anti-Western sentiment. Let’s not forget that 15 of the 19 fanatical hijackers who carried out the 9/11 attacks were Saudis, as was Osama bin Laden himself. The Saudis fund terrorism worldwide. A Wikileaks-revealed 2009 cable quotes then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying, “Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide … More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar e-Tayyiba and other terrorist groups.” In Syria the Saudis are supporting the most extreme sectarian forces. And while the Saudi government condemns ISIS, many experts, including 9/11 Commission Report lead author Senator Bob Graham, believe that ISIS is a product of Saudi ideals, Saudi money and Saudi organizational support.

Women Beware: Saudi Arabia To Shape Global Standards For Women

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By Medea Benjamin. It’s hard to sink to a greater depth of hypocrisy than voting Saudi Arabia onto a UN Commission charged with promoting women’s equality and empowerment. And yet, on April 23rd, that is precisely what the UN Economic and Social Council did. Of the 54 countries on the Council, 47 of them agreed to add Saudi Arabia to a four-year term on the UN Commission on the Status of Women. How did the US Ambassador to the UN and the democratic champions of Europe vote? The ballot was secret, and is it any wonder that the UN representatives refuse to reveal their votes? What is undeniable, however, is that the Saudis could not have received 47 votes without support from the Western democracies. The Saudi regime is notorious for its abysmal treatment of women.

Syria Gas Attack Is Almost Certainly a ‘False Flag’

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By Gerry Condon for Popular Resistance. The chances that the Syrian military actually carried out the gas attack in northern Syria are pretty much ZERO. The Syrian government has absolutely nothing to gain from such an attack, and a lot to lose. They are steadily gaining more ground, and the terrorist groups are on the run. The Trump administration announced this week that it will not seek Assad’s ouster. Peace talks to end the war are about to resume. So who benefits from this horrific attack? The sources for the gas attack reports are the rebel forces, their own media, and the “White Helmets,” who are notorious for creating “regime change” propaganda against the Assad government. Famed investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has documented that the last large sarin attack blamed on the Syrian government was actually carried out by terrorist groups with the support of Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Death in Yemen; Made In USA! Stop the Saudi-U.S. Assault On Yemen!

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By Staff for Voices for Creative Nonviolence and CODE PINK. Media reports indicate that President Donald Trump is planning a US military escalation in Yemen. The time for people in the United States to act to end the war in Yemen is now. KZ Peacemakers are fasting for a week at the Isaiah Wall at the United Nations in New York to raise a cry against the bombing and starving of the children of Yemen. Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence says: “As we fast from all solid foods, we urge others to join us in calling for a humane response to the deadly tragedy facing Yemeni civilians whose country, ravaged by civil war and regularly targeted with Saudi and U.S. airstrikes, is now on the brink of famine.”

800 Families Just Filed A Lawsuit Against Saudi Arabia Over 9/11

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By Carey Wedler for Activist Post – Eight-hundred families of 9/11 victims and 1,500 first responders, along with others who suffered as a result of the attacks, have filed a lawsuit against Saudi Arabia over its alleged complicity in the 2001 terror attacks, according to an exclusive report by local New York outlet Pix 11. The legal document, filed in a federal court in Manhattan, describes the Saudi role in the attacks. Pix 11 reports: The document details how officials from Saudi embassies supported hijackers Salem al-Hazmi and Khalid Al-Mihdhar 18 months before 9/11. The officials allegedly helped them find apartments, learn English and obtain credit cards and cash. The documents state that the officials helped them learn how to blend into the American landscape.

Impact Of US-Saudi War On Yemen: 7 Million Close To Famine

A malnourished baby receives treatment at al-Sabaeen hospital in Sana’a. A total of 6.8 million people are in a state of emergency in Yemen, where a food crisis is causing widespread malnutrition. Photograph: Mohammed Hamoud/Getty Images

By Les Roopanarine, Patrick Wintour, Saeed Kamali Dehghan and Ahmad Algohbary in Ibb for The Guardian – Governments warned they face enduring shame should famine take hold in Yemen, where two-thirds of the population face severe food shortages, nation is near ‘point of no return’ Aid agencies have warned that Yemen is “at the point of no return” after new figures released by the UN indicated 17 million people are facing severe food insecurity and will fall prey to famine without urgent humanitarian assistance. A total of 6.8 million people are deemed to be in a state of emergency – one step from famine on the five-point integrated food security phase classification (IPC), the standard international measure – with a further 10.2 million in crisis.

Kingdom Of The Unjust

Saudi Arabian military from MirrorSpectrum

By Eleanor Goldfield for Act Out! Kingdom of the Unjust; a sit down with activist & author Medea Benjamin about her latest book and how US/Saudi ties perpetuate human rights violations. Saudi Arabia was left off Trump’s Muslim Ban despite the fact that they regularly invest in terrorist organizations, despite being home to 15 of the 9/11 hijackers and indeed despite being the founders of Wahabbism, the perversion of Islam that both ISIS and Al Qaeda follow. So, what gives? In her book and our conversation, Medea Benjamin discusses the inner workings of the Kingdom – from the grotesque treatment of women and immigrant workers to the extremist brand of Islam that perpetuates hate and war in the region. She also outlines our ties to the country, going back to an agreement made over black gold and military protection in the 1940s. In the present day, our ties continue to hold, despite the fact that we only receive 13% of our oil from Saudi Arabia. In lieu of that, we get monstrous military contracts that bolster our war machine, our 1% and their human rights violating wars like the current one in Yemen.

In Trump’s World Where Money Talks, Saudi Arabia Gets A Free Pass

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By Medea Benjamin for Code Pink – President Trump’s Muslim ban is not only mean-spirited and, hopefully, unconstitutional, but it is irrational because it doesn’t even include the country most responsible for spreading terrorism around the world: Saudi Arabia. The travel restrictions on seven Muslim-majority countries was rationalized as a way to thwart potential terrorists from entering the United States, with Trump citing the tragedies of 9/11 and the San Bernardino shooting as motivations behind the executive order. But no citizens of the seven banned countries were responsible for the deaths of any Americans on US soil. It is indeed a glaring omission that Saudi Arabia, the country that furnished 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11, was absent from the list.

Newsletter: Time To Stop The Next War Now

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. There is another drumbeat growing for the United States to go to war. The media is walking in lockstep with bi-partisans in Washington, DC and with the war profiteers to this end. The likely next president, Hillary Clinton, is calling for escalation in Syria with a no fly zone that risks conflict with Russia, a nation she has been demonizing.Gulf of Tonkin How often has the United States been misled into war? How often have the people of the United States been lied to about the need for war, e.g. using a “humanitarian crisis” to justify mass slaughter and the creation of a failed state as in Libya; Weapons of Mass Destruction that did not exist in Iraq leading to a war that created much of the chaos that exists in the region today; and the 9/11 attack that has led to the longest war in US history when it should have led to the arrest of the prime suspect, Osama bin Laden, and his trial in the Hague.