SAUDIS KHASHOGGI’D!

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The profound significance of Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder as directed by the Crown Prince of Saudia Arabia, Mohammed bin Salam can only be brought into clear view by understanding the underpinnings and/or beginnings of the modern state of Saudia Arabia.  We digress a bit to go back in history and give a brief historical background sketch of events that led up to the creation and the “environment” of  current-day Saudia Arabia. 
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This story goes all the way back to 1744, when the ambitious but unremarkable clan of al-Saud – (the current ruling family of Saudia Arabia), one of many clans that divided up the vast Arabian desert, allied with a puritanical fundamentalist named Muhammed ibn al-Wahhab.

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The al-Saud clan allied with Wahhab and his followers, known as Wahhabis, who in their fervor could fight as well as preach.  The deal was simple: the Wahhabis would help the al-Sauds expand through conquest from a tiny sliver in the Arabian peninsula’s central desert to a vast empire, and in return the al-Sauds would adopt Wahhabism as official policy. It worked.
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The Saudi empire collapsed in 1818, defeated by the much stronger Ottoman Empire, which seized much of the Arabian peninsula for itself.  But Wahhabist Islam had taken root, and the Wahhabis and the al-Sauds maintained their strategic alliance from 1744 through today.
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Because Saudi rulers need the Wahhabis’ support to stay in power.  They need their loyalty, they need the civil society that the Wahhabi clerical establishment creates, and they also need the ideological justification for the vast, young, and in many ways artificial Saudi empire.
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When Abdulaziz al-Saud – (the founder of SAUDIA ARABIA) – was born, in 1876, the area we today know as Saudi Arabia was a patchwork of tribal leaders, many of them loyal to the Ottoman Empire or, later, the British Empire.  Abdulaziz wanted to restore his family’s former empire.  He knew that, like his forefathers, he would need the help of the Wahhabis and the zeal they brought to the battlefield.  So he formed a band of quasi-renegade fundamentalist militias known as the Ikhwan, or brothers.  As before, the deal was simple: the Ikhwan would fight on behalf of al-Saud, and in exchange could impose their ultra-conservative Islam on whomever they conquered.
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By the late 1920s, al-Saud and the Ikhwan had conquered most of today’s Saudi Arabia.  Al-Saud, a pious Muslim but also a forward-thinking pragmatist, began to modernize his new empire. This infuriated the Ikhwan, who saw it as a betrayal.  Then the Ikhwan began to attack neighboring British-held territory, which they hoped to “liberate.”  Al-Saud had forbidden this, wishing to remain friendly with the powerful British Empire.  The al-Saud clan and Ikhwan fell into open warfare, which ended when al-Saud used modern machine guns to defeat the camel-riding Ikhwan at the 1929 Battle of Sabilla.
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After the 1929 battle, al-Saud tried to head off future uprisings, but retain the loyalty of the Wahhabis whose support he needed in order to ideologically justify his new nation, by cynically co-opting their religious fundamentalism as his own.  He created the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, better known as the religious police, a fanatical and semi-autonomous band of ideological enforcers who are still an official body of the Saudi state today.
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FAST FORWARD
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In 1948, a pot of gold was discovered.  Aramco discovered the Ghawar oil field, the mother lode of the world’s fields.  Ghawar, which went onstream in 1951, is 170 miles long and 20 miles wide.  At one point it held 170 billion barrels of proven reserves of oil.  They’ve been pumping from that field half or more of their production for fifty years.  Most of Saudi exports come from this field—about 5 million barrels a day.  Ghawar today still has 70 bb compared to the total current U.S. proven reserves of 20 bb.  That means it still holds more than three times as much as all the oil reserves in the U.S.
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In 1950, to try and solve the problem of how to get the Saudi oil to American and Western markets, the U.S. company Bechtel, based in California, built a 1,000-mile pipeline directly from the Saudi oil fields across Jordan and the Golan Heights to Sidon in Lebanon in order to take the oil directly to the Mediterranean by pipeline.  That went onstream the following year and continued to function up until the early 1970s.  The last year of U.S. self-sufficiency in oil production was 1970—Saudi oil didn’t become important to the U.S. until the 1980s.
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In 1973, Saudi government led the Arab boycott of oil supplies to the U.S. (Netherlands was also singled out).  This led to a quadrupling of the oil price, from about $3 to $12 per barrel. Saudi Arabia was suddenly very much on Washington’s radar screen, and very rich.  Saudi oil earnings went from $8.5 billion in 1973 to $35 billion in 1974.  With that money, they began building and buying from the U.S. tanks, airplanes, and infrastructure.  The U.S.-Saudi military relationship took off. American companies basically built the whole military infrastructure of Saudi Arabia as it is today.  Over the next twenty years, the Saudis spent some $85-86 billion on American arms.  When you buy an airplane, you have to have a structure to maintain them and to train people.  It’s a huge undertaking. We were their key ally.
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In 1973, however, because of the war between Israel and the Arab states, the Saudis began to take over Aramco.  They insisted on taking a 25 percent interest in it, paid for in oil—they didn’t try to nationalize without compensation.  By 1980 they owned 100 percent of Aramco.
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So what you have with Saudia Arabia – as it is constituted today – is 2 spiders locked inside of a closed jar! – the ruling al Saud Family that is aligned with or allied to the religious fundamentalists – the Wahhabis.  It is all or nothing – both parties must exist alongside one another or Saudia Arabia – as we know it – ceases to exist.
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Jamal Kashoggi was an INFIDEL – to the Royal Crown Prince MBS – Mohammed bin Salman.  Kashoggi wanted a free press, free assembly and openess and transparency.  He wanted freedom of thought and discussion!  Not the sort of thing that would maintain the Saudia Arabia – built on the partnership of the Saudi royal family & wahhabism – that we see today.  This town ain’t big enough for the both of us – it’s either US or YOU, KHASHOGGI, and guess what, it ain’t YOU!
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