Blood and iron (and oil)

A disturbing clue to why American policy in the Middle East is becoming unhinged is revealed in an article in the August 21, 2013, issue of As-Safir (an Arabic language Lebanese daily), which was recently translated by Al-Monitor. The article discloses what Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan told Vladimir Putin in their meeting in July. Bandar’s comments show that the Saud family has a dangerously activist agenda based on a delusional world view.

It has been obvious that since the Reagan Administration that the U.S. began seeing the Middle East from the Saudi viewpoint. (Two key members of that Administration, Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger  were directors and senior officers of the Bechtel Group, an engineering firm with substantial projects in the Kingdom.) American military actions against Iraq, the distrust of the Muslim Brotherhood, the incessant sword-rattling with Iran and the newly minted antagonism to Syria’s dictatorship are all hallmarks of Saudi’s interests in the region. This is not to discount Israel’s substantial influence on our policy in the Middle East. In many important respects Israel and Saudi Arabia seek similar responses from the United States. The current obsession with Syria, however, seems the particular hobbyhorse of Saudi Arabia. (Saudi Arabia has come to terms with certain strains of Muslim extremism, some of which exist in the Syrian opposition; Israel has not.)

Whether the President now realizes that he has put himself out on a limb (both at home and abroad) with his militarism on Syria, it seems more than likely that he got there by gradually adopting the position of the Saudi-influenced parts of our own Deep Government, including the ill-conceived and now infamous “red line” remark. Saudi-thinking in this Administration was also evident by the Administration’s instinctive support of Mubarak during the revolution and its current blind-eye to the action of the military in Egypt.

Given this background, the Bandar-Putin meeting is an eye-opener.

The report says that the meeting, which took place in Moscow, was proposed by the United States and “some European partners.” Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz proposed the meeting to Putin on July 30 and the secret meeting was quickly arranged. After first meeting with his Russian counterpart, Bandar met in a close-door session with Putin in his country house for four hours. Bandar reportedly implied that he had plenipotentiary powers to negotiate, not only on behalf of the monarchy but on behalf of the United States as well:

“[A]ny understanding we reach in this meeting will not only be a Saudi-Russian understanding, but will also be an American-Russian understanding. I have spoken with the Americans before the visit, and they pledged to commit to any understandings that we may reach, especially if we agree on the approach to the Syrian issue.”

The Prince expressed the Kingdom’s distaste for the Arab Spring, and suggested that “terrorist experiences” took place when the regimes fell in Egypt and Libya. (The Saud family’s deathly fear of being toppled shows through even when it is arguing for the overthrow of another government.)

Bandar then made the extraordinary claim that Saudi Arabia “controlled” the Chechan rebels and that if Russia came to an agreement, he could guarantee the security of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Bandar then began strutting like a minor Bismarck, explaining how Saudi Arabia had warned Qatar and Turkey that they had overstepped their bounds by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. He advised Putin:

“We do not favor extremist religious regimes, and we wish to establish moderate regimes in the region. It is worthwhile to pay attention to and to follow up on Egypt’s experience. We will continue to support the [Egyptian] army, and we will support Defense Minister Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi because he is keen on having good relations with us and with you. And we suggest to you to be in contact with him, to support him and to give all the conditions for the success of this experiment. We are ready to hold arms deals with you in exchange for supporting these regimes, especially Egypt.”

Unlike Prussia, however, Saudi Arabia has no iron and never risks its own blood in attempting to achieve hegemony. So, of course, oil came up. This is what Bandar as Bismarck substitutes for Blood and Iron. (And it’s how Saudi Arabia gets its proxies and sponsors to donate their blood and iron.) He suggested that Saudi Arabia need not compete with Russia’s oil and gas development and proposed joint refining and production deals.

But before any benefits, the condition. (The House of Saud is insulated in its petroleum bubble much like American politicians are insulated in their Washington-power bubble.) The Prince said that Russian cooperation in the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad was the sine qua non:

“The Syrian regime is finished as far as we and the majority of the Syrian people are concerned. [The Syrian people] will not allow President Bashar al-Assad to remain at the helm. The key to the relations between our two countries starts by understanding our approach to the Syrian issue. So you have to stop giving [the Syrian regime] political support, especially at the UN Security Council, as well as military and economic support. And we guarantee you that Russia’s interests in Syria and on the Mediterranean coast will not be affected one bit. In the future, Syria will be ruled by a moderate and democratic regime that will be directly sponsored by us and that will have an interest in understanding Russia’s interests and role in the region.”

When Putin demurred, Bandar threw down the glove in a particularly Prussian way:

“The head of the Saudi intelligence services said that the dispute over the approach to the Syrian issue leads to the conclusion that ‘there is no escape from the military option, because it is the only currently available choice given that the political settlement ended in stalemate. We believe that the Geneva II Conference will be very difficult in light of this raging situation.’”

The report does not state which side leaked the substance of the meeting. Even if it were the Russians, however, it’s unlikely that the report of Bandar’s comments  differed much from what was said, given that the Russians are interested in further economic relations.

What this shows is that Saudi Arabia views itself as the foremost power in the region, is uncomfortable with the overthrow of dictators like Mubarak and Gaddafi and believes that it can manage not only extremists but the aspirations of the peoples of other nations.

That the United States has bought into this world-view can be explained only by considering the unreflecting group-think (based on beloved realpolitik) that has resulted in so much of our blundering in the area. But to throw our lot in with the Saudis is clearly folly. The Saudi approach to managing extremists is to export them to elsewhere than the Kingdom. Its interest is not in suppressing fundamentalism, but rather to preserve autocracy, which it believes is the only safe form of government. But whether the House of Saud wants to believe it or not, a medieval monarchy that oppresses its subjects with beliefs and by means long rejected by the developed world cannot long endure. By hitching our foreign policy wagon on a strutting, delusional world view of an outdated and out-of-touch family, we will continue to be led down the rat hole of disastrous military adventures.

  1. What a provacative story that is absent from mainstream media. I did a quick check and could only find this story:

    Interestingly enough, it appears in the finance section. How in the hell is this not being picked up by the NYT and WP? Our media is quickly dropping the pretense of any anti-government coverage.

    Great post. I appreciate the information.

    • enric13
    • December 7th, 2013


    1) ” One of the most important British assets in this global genocide scheme is Prince Bandar. Trained in Britain, Bandar was not only the Saudi interlocutor with the British Crown and BAE in forging the original Al Yamamah deal. As Saudi Ambassador in Washington (and as practically an adopted son of George H.W. Bush), Bandar presided over the Saudi intelligence officers who shepherded the 9/11 hijackers for a year, leading up to the September 2001 attacks. His wife, Princess Haifa, provided cover for Bandar’s direct financing of at least one team of the hijackers.”
    ” The BAE-Saudi deal is essentially an oil-for-weapons swap involving the largest British weapons manufacturer, and a nation that is essentially a creature of the London-centered international oil cartel, in which Royal Dutch Shell and BP are major factors. Associated with this BAE-Shell-BP nexus are a number of important investment and commercial banks, other weapons manufacturers, and raw materials companies.”
    ” Shell is also one of the world’s most valuable companies.[3] As of January, 2013 the largest shareholder is Capital Research Global Investors with 9.85% ahead of BlackRock in second with 6.89%.[4]”
    ” At the time of the Deepwater Horizon blowout, Blackrock was the single largest shareholder of BP.”
    ” Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation, The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc. and Barclays PLC own economic interests in BlackRock approximating 34.1%, 24.6% and 19.9%, respectively, with the remainder owned by institutional and individual investors, as well as BlackRock employees.”
    Bank of America is connected with the person of Warren Buffet a notorious friend of Lord JACOB ROTHSCHILD.
    Lord JACOB ROTHSCHILD “Hosted the European Economic Round Table conference in 2002 at Waddesdon Manor, attended by such figures as James Wolfensohn, Nicky Oppenheimer, Warren Buffet, and Arnold Schwarzenegger ”
    Bank Of America and Merrill Lynch are also related with the Edmond De Rothschild, owned by BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD AND ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD, through the persons of Gerald Levy, Matthieu Walterspiler, Barbara Colombo, Beate Bakker, etc…
    Warren Buffet is also a friend of EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD.
    Barclays is a bank related with the British Royal Family and therefore connected with Lord JACOB ROTHSCHILD and EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD.
    ” Lord JACOB ROTHSCHILD, the behind-the-scenes controller of the Inter-Alpha Group, was a partner at Rothschild at the time he set up the Inter-Alpha Group in 1971, using its resources and then leaving in 1980 to continue his special mission, which includes advising the genocidal British Crown and managing the funds of Prince Charles’ Duchy of Cornwall, to finance his kooky, “green” schemes.”
    ” Prince Charles already played polo with EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD in his student years and later set up the Interfaith consultations with him. ”
    EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD ” In 1989, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II,[2] for whom he serves as a financial adviser. ”
    Barclays Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland are also linked with the Edmond De Rothschild and therefore with BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD AND ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD.
    ” Al-Massari is allied with the well-known Saudi expatriate Osama bin Laden, who, to this day, maintains a residence in the wealthy London suburb of Wembly. And London is the headquarters of bin Laden’s Advise and Reform Commission, run by the London-based Khalid al-Fawwaz.
    Bin Laden has been given regular access to BBC and a variety of major British newspapers, to spread his calls for jihad against the United States. Thus, in July 1996, bin Laden told the London Independent, “What happened in Khobar [the U.S. Army barracks that was bombed on June 25] is a clear proof of the enormous rage of the Saudi population against them. Resistance against America will spread in many places through Muslim lands.”

    ” former President George H. W. Bush, then a senior adviser to Carlyle ”
    ” The Bush family has had a long and mutually profitable connection with the corrupt Saudi oil dictatorship. Prince Bandar, Saudi ambassador to the United States, has been an honored guest both at the Bush I summer home in Kennebunkport, Maine, and at Bush 11’s getaway in Crawford, Texas (hence his nickname, “Bandar Bush”). Bandar expressed his gratitude to Bush I by donating $1 million to the Bush Presidential Library in Texas. And Bandar’s prodding prompted Saudi King Fahd to send another $1 million to Barbara Bush’s campaign against illiteracy.
    Saudi Prince al-Walid contributed half a million petrodollars to help launch the George Herbert Walker Bush Scholarship Fund at Phillips Academy, the alma mater of both Bush presidents. The depth of these connections was highlighted when the former president visited the Saudis to “discuss U.S.-Saudi business relations” with Crown Prince Abdullah during his son’s 2000 presidential campaign.
    And then there is the bin Laden problem. The bin Laden family, a key Carlyle investor, stood to make millions of dollars from the war on terror-a war that has as its chief villain a member of their own family. The bin Ladens withdrew from the Carlyle Group in late October 2001, but it’s not just the bin Laden family proper that was problematic for the Bushes. It turns out that Prince Bandar’s wife, Princess Haifa, had made charitable contributions that may have helped finance two of the 9/11 hijackers. ”
    ” Carlyle emerged from the shadows in spite of itself on September 11, 2001. That day, the group had organized a meeting at Washington’s Ritz Carlton Hotel with five hundred of its largest investors. Frank Carlucci and James Baker III played masters of ceremony. George Bush senior made a lightning appearance at the beginning of the day. The presentation was quickly interrupted, but one detail escaped no one. One of the guests wore the name bin Laden on his badge. It was Shafiq bin Laden, one of Osama’s many brothers. The American media discovered Carlyle. One journalist, Dan Briody, wrote a book about the group’s hidden side, “The Iron Triangle”, and takes an interest in the close relations between the Bush clan and the Saudi leadership.”
    ” The collection of influential characters who now work, have worked, or have invested in the [ Carlyle ] group would make the most convinced conspiracy theorists incredulous. They include among others, John Major, former British Prime Minister; Fidel Ramos, former Philippines President; Park Tae Joon, former South Korean Prime Minister; Saudi Prince Al-Walid; Colin Powell, the present Secretary of State; James Baker III, former Secretary of State; Caspar Weinberger, former Defense Secretary; Richard Darman, former White House Budget Director; the billionaire George Soros, and even some bin Laden family members. You can add Alice Albright, daughter of Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State; Arthur Lewitt, former SEC head; William Kennard, former head of the FCC, to this list. Finally, add in the Europeans: Karl Otto Poehl, former Bundesbank president; the now-deceased Henri Martre, who was president of Aerospatiale; and Etienne Davignon, former president of the Belgian Generale Holding Company ”
    ” Carlyle is the 11th largest defense contractor in the US. It is 20%-owned by Mellon Bank ( and is controlled by the powerful Blackstone Group (seeOverthrow of the American Republic), which dined cheaply on the carcasses of looted S&L’s at auctions held by Bush Sr.’s Resolution Trust Corporation. ”
    ” Henry Kissinger’s good friend Lord JACOB ROTHSCHILD sat on Bioport owner Blackstone’s International Advisory Board. (See Corexit Linked to the Blackstone Group and Lord Jacob Rothschild) ”
    ” Blackstone was founded in 1985 as a mergers and acquisitions boutique by Peter G. Peterson and Stephen A. Schwarzman, who had previously worked together at Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb Inc. ”
    Peter G. Peterson ” is founding Chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics ”
    Lynn Forester de Rothschild, the wife of Sir EVELYN DE ROTHSCHILD, is a director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
    Blackstone is also related with the LCF EDMOND DE ROTHSCHILD owned by BENJAMIN DE ROTHSCHILD and by his wife ARIANE DE ROTHSCHILD, for example through the person of Daniel Costa Lindo that is a M&A Analyst at Blackstone and was Private Equity Analyst at LCF Edmond de Rothschild.
    ” Benjamin de Rothschild, only son of the late Edmond de Rothschild, was a classic case of great expectations gone astray. Despite being groomed for greatness from a young age, as a teenager he skipped university and instead headed for Los Angeles with dreams of being a film producer. In LA he started taking drugs, and ended up on heroin. Meanwhile, he failed to make it into Hollywood’s charmed circle and bombed as a film-maker. ”

    • Aside from being a recognized dog whistle for a certain kind of conspiracy-minded worldview (I note the LaRouche PAC citation), I’m not sure what brining the Rothchilds into the matter adds to anything. Of course all bankers have something of the same interests and herd mentality and, most important, the ability to persuade the powerful to act in what they perceive is their interests. Money and power have a greater affinity than ethnicity or religion.

      Nevertheless, my rule-of-thumb is to allow all comments that are relevant (broadly speaking) and not primarily commercial.

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