Tag Archives: israel

Assassination of an important Saudi Prince! By Syria. Or Iran. Or both. Or it might be a fake story.

Summary:  This news story might be important. Or fake. Either way, it illustrates hidden dynamics in the Middle East and provides a useful lesson — how the Internet can help us sift through the morass of information to find the useful gems of information.

“When I was sixteen, I went to work for a newspaper in Hong Kong. It was a rag, but the editor taught me one important lesson. The key to a great story is not who, or what, or when, but why.”
— Elliot Carver, in Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)


See the updates to this mystery in the comments!

  1. Setting the stage
  2. The timeline of stories
  3. Tentative conclusions
  4. Updates to the story (also posted in comments)
  5. Tips for reading the news for information
  6. For more information

(1)  Setting the stage

(a)  Useful backgrounder on Prince Bandar: “The Prince and the Revolution“, Simon Henderson (Washington Institute for Near East Policy), Foreign Policy, 24 July 2012 — “Saudi Arabia is bringing back its most talented operator to manage the Arab Spring. But can Bandar stem the rot in Riyadh?” Note Bandar’s biographer is William Simpson, not “Sampson”.

(b)  What might have been a key overlooked note: “Saudi Prince Bandar: a flamboyant, hawkish spy chief“, Reuters, 20 July 2012:

“He’s just the right person for the right time in Saudi. They have a more hawkish foreign policy and he’s the leading hawk of the House of Saud,” said David Ottaway, Bandar’s biographer and a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. The United States’ closest Arab ally is a firm supporter of the Syrian rebels now battling in Damascus to oust President Bashar al-Assad and is mending fences with Washington after a disagreement over last year’s Arab uprisings.

“Bandar is quite aggressive, not at all like a typical cautious Saudi diplomat. If the aim is to bring Bashar down quick and fast, he will have a free hand to do what he thinks necessary. He likes to receive an order and implement it as he sees fit,” said Jamal Khashoggi, an influential Saudi commentator.

(c)  Blast rocks Saudi Arabia intelligence headquarters“, Kurdpress News, 22 July 2012 — Iranian news media also reported this (Press TV, Fars News).

“Riyadh- Reports from Saudi Arabia said that a Sunday explosion rattled the country’s intelligence headquarters in Riyadh.Reporting from Saudi Arabia, the Yemeni al-Fajr news website said the deputy head of the Saudi’s intelligence service has been killed in the blast.The website side Mashaal al-Qarni, deputy of Bandar bin Sultan, the head of the secret service, has been killed in the blast.

(2)  The timeline of stories

None of these are reliable sources, except the Times of Israel (their story is straight reporting).  But they tell interesting stories, and sometimes they’re right.

(a) Syria reportedly eliminated Bandar bin Sultan in retaliation for Damascus bombing“, Voltaire Network, 29 July 2012 —

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The hidden objective of our alliance against Iran

Summary:  This is post #80 about our long conflict with Iran, continuing the FM website’s long-held forecast that there will be no attack on Iran.  At last we discuss the mystery of this conflict:  why so many years of bold threats by US and Israel against Iran, saber-rattling never followed by military action? Usually this weakens the aggressors, making them look like paper tigers — diminishing their reputations and credibility.  What do we seek to accomplish? The answer is obvious (like the Emperor’s new clothes), although almost never stated in our news media or by our geopolitical experts (who prefer pretty lies).  Sanctions, not war, are the tool shaping the Middle East into a form better suiting the US-Israel-Saudi alliance.

Why do they hate us?

Also see the follow-up to this post: Threats to attack Iran are smoke. Sanctions on Iran are our tool. Weakening Iran is our goal.


We are now in the fifth year of the most recent phase of a long-term campaign against Iran, extending back to the Iranian Revolution in 1979. This phase began in December 2007 with release of the National Intelligence Estimate Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities, stating that in 2003 Iran stopped its explicit program to develop atomic weapons. This changed the dynamics of the struggle from explicit war-mongering of the previous phase (“Anyone can go to Bagdad. Real men go to Tehran”), which assumed that Iran — like Iraq — was developing WMDs and hence a legitimate target of western force (ie, the debate was about when and how).

Dire forecasts that Iran will have nukes soon go back to 1984 (see Iran will have the bomb in 5 years (again)).  So many years of empty threats and repeated false forecasts are expensive, resulting in diminished reputation and credibility.  Especially in the past year, contradicted by so many statements by US officials and retired Israeli officials.

Are our actions rational? What are our goals in this conflict?   To see our goals, see what we’ve accomplished:  an ever-tightening network of sanctions on Iran, strangling its finances, trade, and infrastrcuture development.  After the destruction of the Baathist State in Iraq, the Shiite regime in Iran was the only potential regional hegemon.  The only State capable of and willing to oppose US suzerainty in the Middle East, Israel’s expansion into the Palestinian territories, and the Sunni domination of Islam.  Both Iran and Iraq have vast oil reserves, and crippling them not only pushed up oil prices but also removed them as potential leaders of OPEC — making weakening Iran a hat trick for the Saudi Princes.

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We should begin preparing now for the Evacuation of Israel

Summary:  This article by guest author Franz Gayl (Major, USMC, retired) looks ahead, beyond Israel’s current moment in the sun.  They face a divided Arab people and even more fragmented Islamic societies, which they overawe by their massive military strength — exercised in the shadow of the world’s hyperpower.  But these are ephemeral advantages; meanwhile the tides run against Israel.  Invisibly, quietly, decisively.  Deteriorating demographics, increasingly powerful enemies, and ever-growing hatred.  or an analysis of Israel’s grand strategy, showing why it might lose, see The Fate of Israel.


  1. Introduction
  2. The Physical Dilemma
  3. Hasty Implementation of a Thoughtful Vision
  4. Debating U.S. Responsibility
  5. Potential Israeli Objections
  6. Thoughts on Peaceful Alternatives
  7. Preparing a U.S. Home
  8. About the author
  9. For More Information

We should begin preparing now for the Evacuation of Israel

By Franz Gayl (Major, USMC, retired)

(1) Introduction (revised July 2014)

The conflict in Gaza is an increasingly lethal indicator that the U.S. must begin to plan for the evacuation of Israel. Our collective inability to prevent barbarism by military and diplomatic means has become obvious. ISIS gains are just a regional prelude. WMD proliferation also continues, and a broadly nuclear-armed Mideast is not unthinkable in coming years. Concurrently, unconstrained non-state enemies of Israel are becoming destructively super-empowered. The exponential progress of multi-purpose advanced technologies is relentless.

As we approach the middle of the 21st Century the most dangerous weapons will find their way into the hands of the least rational enemies of Israel. Some have called this assessment pessimistic, even naïve. But it it is realistic, based on real trends — historical, current, and forward-projected. The writing is on the wall, and we must plan and prepare a U.S. backdoor for the Israeli people to avoid a second Holocaust.

(2)  The Physical Dilemma

Including the West Bank, Israel comprises only 8,522 square miles, a strip of land area smaller than New Jersey. The preponderance her nearly 8 million citizens are concentrated in the northern half of Israel aggravating vulnerability through urbanization and high population density. Finally, she is surrounded by unfriendly neighbors, and antagonisms are growing. In a conflict she is constrained to internal lines, and her only relief is seaward. Israel has survived past conventional military conflicts benefiting from internal lines and maneuver finesse. Unfortunately, against surface, air, or high altitude electromagnetic pulse nuclear weapons attacks her conventional finesse is meaningless. Given Iran’s nuclear bomb progress and growing Palestinian discontent, an existential threat to Israel has arrived, and it is time to plan for contingencies.

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A look at the world as it is, not as we’re told it is

Summary:  The news media usually report accurately, more or less.  Often they prefer to act as stenographers for governments and corporations.  Sometimes the logical thread linking events — the narrative — is obscure, hidden in the noise.  Today we look at three examples of hidden history.

The world is not always as we’re told it is.  Here are three of today’s major stories, where the true narrative remains hidden — and we attempt to guess at the truth.

  1. The recovery in America
  2. The war against Iran
  3. Germany fighting to preserve the eurozone

(1)  The recovery in America

  • Public debt outstanding as of 31 December 2010:  $ 9,390,476,088,043
  • Public debt outstanding as of 31 December 2012:  $10,447,662,851,807
  • Cost of the recovery:  $1,057 billion.
  • The increase in GDP bought by that fiscal stimulus:  $561.2 billion

That does not mean the stimulus was wasted.  Imagine the recession that a balanced budget would have produced.  It does mean that cheering about a recovery is delusional; describing this as a “sustainable recovery” is doubly so.

Note: the public debt does not include treasury bonds bought by the social security trust funds, which are loans from the US government to the US government.

For more about this see About the January jobs report – mildly good news, but bought at great cost.

(2) The war against Iran

We can only guess at the plans of government leaders.  That’s understandable operational secrecy, not a conspiracy.  So what plan drives the intense propaganda drive demonizing Iran?  If Israel plans to attack, they’ve forfeited any hope of surprise. Logic and history are our only guides.

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Is Killing Iranian Nuclear Scientists Terrorism?

Summary:  Since our side has initiated assassination of Iranian scientists, we have a guest article by Kevin Jon Heller discussing the status of these actions under international law.  That is, under the global regime instituted by the US after WWII, one of the nation’s greatest contributions to the world.  Not that we care if such actions are legal, whether done by directly by the US or by Israel with our knowledge and assistance (however indirect). We’re too locked into a comprehensive framework of lies to see, let alone understand, what we’re doing.  A legal perspective helps to show us how far we have traveled since WWII on our journey into darkness, away from the goals and dreams of the Founders.   This is chapter 14 in a series about our conflict with Iran; at the end are links to other chapters (and additional information).


  1. Is Killing Iranian Nuclear Scientists Terrorism?
  2. About the author
  3. For more information about assassination
  4. Other posts in this series about our conflict with Iran

(1)  Is Killing Iranian Nuclear Scientists Terrorism?

This is guest post by Kevin Jon Heller, Senior Lecturer at Melbourne Law School.  Originally published at Opinio Juris (discussing international law and international relations), and republished here with his generous permission.

There has been much debate the past couple of days about whether the bomb attacks that have killed at least three Iranian nuclear scientists since 2010 qualify as terrorism.  Glenn Greenwald and Kevin Drum on the left and Andrew Sullivan on the right say “yes”; many of their readers (see Greenwald here) and the editor of Technology Review say “no.”  Those in the “no” camp insist that the attacks were legitimate targeted killings and thus cannot qualify as terrorism.

I have no definitive position on who is responsible for the killings, although the available evidence seems to point to Israel and not, as widely suspected, to the United States.  This Der Spiegel article, for example, says that Israeli intelligence sources have confirmed that the Mossad were responsible for the killing of Darioush Rezaei.  Moreover, Mark Perry published a blockbuster article in Foreign Policy yesterday that claims, based on a series of classified CIA memos, that Mossad agents posed as CIA officers in order to recruit members of the Iranian terrorist group Jundallah, whom Israel believed would be useful in its covert war against the Iranian government.

Let’s assume for sake of argument — and only for the sake of argument — that the killings were carried out solely by the Mossad.  Do those killings qualify as terrorism?

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Has Iran won a round vs. US-Israel?

Summary:  The long game continues between Israel-US and Iran, which began in 1979.  Iran may won this inning.  That would astonish most American geopolitical experts, who describe Iran’s resistance as either foolish or insane.  How can Iran even imagine defeating US-Israel, with our coalition of western and Sunni Arab allies? But that’s the history of the world since WWII, of little people defeating the great western powers. Not every time, but sometimes– from Algeria to Afghanistan — however wrong or even evil their cultures are in our eyes.  This is chapter 12 in a series about our conflict with Iran; at the end are links to other chapters.


  1. “Israel and US postpone massive defense drill in fear of escalation with Iran”
  2. Will Europe put more sanctions on Iran?
  3. Rumors (strong rumors) of Mossad supporting terrorism against Iran, done under the US flag
  4. Other posts in this series
  5. For more information

Note:  Several readers have asked why does it take such a long series to explain our conflict with Iran?  Because years of propaganda have imprisoned us in an interlocking network of lies.  We have been led into a long tunnel.  It’s a long trek back into the sunlight.  Even if we choose to stay on this course, this situation reveals much about America — and the nature of State-to-State conflict in the 21st century.

(1)  “Israel and US postpone massive defense drill in fear of escalation with Iran”

Israel and U.S. postpone massive defense drill in fear of escalation with Iran“, Haaretz, 15 January 2012 — “Israeli defense officials tell Channel 2 that Washington wants to avoid causing further tensions in region after various foreign reports of U.S. and Israeli preparations for strike on Iran.” Excerpt:

Israel and the United States have postponed a massive joint defense exercise, which was expected to be carried out in the coming weeks, in order to avoid an escalation with Iran, Channel 2 reported on Sunday. According to an Israeli defense official, Washington wants to avoid causing further tensions in the region, especially in light of the sensitive situation that has been generated after various reports in the international media that the U.S. and Israel are preparing to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities.

The drill, codenamed Austere Challenge 12, was supposed to simulate the missiles fired by Iran or other antagonistic states toward Israel. Defense officials told Channel 2 on Sunday that the drill is now scheduled to take place in the summer. Both Israeli and U.S. officials said the exercise would be the largest-ever joint drill by the two countries, involving thousands of U.S. soldiers.

(2)  Will Europe put more sanctions on Iran?

Throughout history the key to victory has often been constructing alliances.  Pooling resources, cutting off supplies and trade from the enemy and gaining them for our side, and positioning armies to encircle the enemy.  The EU plays several of these roles in in our conflict with Iran, and so is a key player.  Europe is the #2 importer of Iranian oil, after China.  If they don’t ban imports, China almost certainly will not.

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What the conflict with Iran teaches us about modern State-to-State war

Summary:  The frequency of 4GW in the post-WWII war — insurgent and highly armed criminal syndicates — can obscure the importance of traditional State-to-State conflict.  The conflict of US-Israel with Iran (see links to other chapters at the end) illustrates the dynamics we’ll probably see during the next few decades.  That’s the great theme of this series about the conflict with Iran — what it shows about our world, and especially about America.  Here we draw some conclusions.

Both the US-Israel and Iran seek to obtain the active support of other nations, boost the enthusiasm of their people, disrupt the opponent’s coalition, and weak the morale of their opponents.  It’s a pure demonstration of grand strategy.

A grand strategy focuses a nation’s actions (political, economic, and military) so as to:

  • Increase our solidarity, our internal cohesion.
  • Weaken our opponents’ resolve and internal cohesion.
  • Strengthen our allies’ relationships to us.
  • Attract uncommitted states to our cause.End conflicts on favorable terms, without sowing the seeds for future conflicts.

— From Patterns of Conflict, slide 139 by the late John Boyd (Colonel, USAF)


  1. US as global hegemon
  2. The US public remains gullible
  3. About the moral high ground, the key to victory in modern war
  4. For more information

(1)  US as global hegemon

“What good are maneuvers and shows of force, if you never use it?”
— Anonymous US government official talking about the invasion of Grenada, New York Times, 30 October 1983

The US has evolved from isolation after WWI, to leader of a global alliance during WWII, to the world’s dominant power (“the decider”, to use Bush’s expression) after the fall of the Soviet Union — now taking the final step.

We have hundreds of bases encircling the world, with soldiers fighting in a dozen nations (including special operations fighting low-intensity wars against insurgents in foreign lands).  We have score of expeditionary strike forces sailing the world’s oceans, able to project air or land power across much of the Earth’s surface.  Our dominant role in the world’s institutional infrastructure allows us to throttle opponents with economic sanctions.

Gradually we become a global hegemon, using armed force to crush our rivals.  Regional rivals, like Iran.  Or global rivals, like China (seen in our increasingly antagonistic and militaristic policy towards Asia).

(2)  The US public remains gullible

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