Thursday, August 15, 2013

Putin Unimpressed by Top Saudi Spook Bandar’s Monkey Tricks

Putin Unimpressed by Top Saudi Spook Bandar's Monkey Tricks

A long and bloody upsurge is on all over former Ottoman Arab Provinces and Anatolia
The revolts and rebellions across the Arabic* speaking Muslim world from Morocco to the Gulf is only the beginning of a long and a bloody churning of feudal -medieval polities ,mostly frozen ,many still in seventh century beliefs and practices, have only begun to unfold only recently .This vast region was first conquered , Islamized , Arabized ,colonized, exploited and ruled basically by nomads and other neighboring tribes and their descendents from the barren deserts of Arabia from 8 century onwards .Later the region was taken over slowly by the new all powerful Turkish Sultans ,the descendents of tribal chief Ertugrul's son Osman ( hence Osmanli and Ottomans ) and his hordes based in Istanbul. The Sultans' most feared troops , Janissaries ,were formed out of Christian levies/slaves initially from Anatolia and then  the Balkans and east Europe under the Devshirme system , who were converted to Islam and Turkified , with absolute total loyalty guaranteed to the Sultan and the empire .Most top functionaries like grand viziers , governors and military commanders emerged from this system. Even when the line of brilliant Ottoman dynasty commanders and rulers faded, bureaucrat's i.e. grand viziers and other leaders, loyal to the state kept the ship of the empire afloat with good governance. The empire from which over twenty five states (and more) have emerged lasted for five centuries.
The decline of the Ottoman empire began in end 16 century , when its troops were defeated and rolled back from the Gates of Vienna .While there are many other reasons for the decline and fall of the empire , increase of obscurantist Islamic ideology after the conquest of Egypt which controlled Mecca and Medina and taking over of the Caliphate by the Ottomans led to influx of Mullahs i.e. men of religion could be one of them .The nomads from central Asia were catholic and cosmopolitan in outlook and allowed educational, cultural and religious freedoms to 'millets' of other religions in the empire ( There seems to be some parallel with the current situation in Turkey , where with financial aid  and support from Saudi Arabia in billions of dollars the AKP leader PM Erdogan has become very authoritarian and Islamist every day ( President Abdullah Gul worked in Saudi Islamic bank in Jeddah for 8 years ) Erdogan led AKP won almost 2/3 seats in the Parliament elections in end 2002 with only 34% of votes cast .Since then like 'tyrannies' in Greek histories transition from kingdoms to democracy , it has won all election since then but its Islamist , exclusivist and divisive policies have alienated secular and other people and led to protests in nearly all its provinces , sparked by spontaneous protests in Geze park and Taksim square in Istanbul and its brutal suppression.
Following further defeats by European powers, Ottomans lost territories in Europe and across north Africa which were taken over , colonised and exploited , by colonial powers like France, Britain and Italy . Thus evolution and modernization of the polities did not take place as in the republic of Turkey  . The current upsurge and the churning of frozen polity is and will bring upheavals all along north Africa and West Asia including Turkey, the last because of its ambitious and adventurous policies of AKP led PM Erdogan..
In India ,after the first few decades since independence ,a degenerating Indian political ruling system and machine is decaying very fast .The loyalty is to the caste ,ethnic , religious, linguistic and other divisive leaders and families , partly a result of a flawed electoral system, by which 31% of votes cast gets the throne in UP and 20% of Jats always rule Haryana and so on, elsewhere too .India has now reverted back to end Mogul era ie a  feudal system with medieval outlook receding back into tribalism i.e. leaders based on caste , religious, ethnic, linguistic and sub-regional loyalties .Thus India is not even a representative ( of people) democracy . Local satraps rule as in end Moghul era.
Reverting back to greater Middle East ,incidentally the total percentage of migrants from central Asian Turkestan into Turkey from 11 century onwards is less than 15% and so would be the percentage of Arab blood across north Africa , perhaps even less, in the total populations of its own indigenous tribes like Tuaregs, Kabilias , Nubians and dozens others .Most in the region before the arrival of Arab Islam were ruled by Romans and Byzantines from Rome and later Constantinople (now Istanbul since 1453) and in eastern West Asia and Caucasus and the Gulf by the Persians .
Wars between Romans/Byzantines and Persians over many centuries had exhausted both the empires and horse riding bedouins from the barren sands of Arabia with other even non Arab tribes joining in the battles, many for the spoils of the wars ,conquered the territories of former Byzantine and Persian empires from south of Spain across Morocco and up to the borders of China in Eurasia  .
In most places the kingdoms and communities had long traditions of established religions , beliefs , philosophy ,languages and very diverse and sophisticated cultures .Many acquiesced and accepted Islam most reluctantly , evident in the formation of tapestries of various forms of Islam like Sunnis of various hues, Shias ( Twelvers , Alevis , Alwaites , Ismailis , Druzes and Ghulat Islamic variations ( I visited some villages down south of Mardin along the Turkish /Syrian border and Tur Abdin in SE Turkey where people believed in worshipping even a  reformed Devil .When I inquired from one person where the religion had come, he said India ( possibly from north hilly Iraq in my view ).In Turkey , the bird turkey is called Hindi –anything exotic comes from India ! .
The greater Middle East including Turkey and the whole region is already immersed in bloody battles .No one knows what will be the outcome . To strengthen Israel and occupy Iraq's oil fields and to control the region , criminals led by George Bush and Blair illegally invaded Iraq .While million and half Iraqis have been killed and Iraq lies divided , devastated and destroyed and depleted Uranium infested , Iran has been strengthened. The sacrifice of Iraqis has broken the US military as admitted by late decorated Congress position holder Marine Col John Murtha .US dare not put it troops in Middle East or elsewhere .The Iraqi sacrifice is equivalent to the Union Soviet sacrifice in WWII , which destroyed 80% of Nazi war machine .the Yankees only mopped up the remnants and claimed victory and burnished it  through Holly wood films like 'Longest day ' Gen Patton 'etc .US and British leaders should be tried like Nazi war criminals .Many distinguished War crimes tribunals in Malaysia and elsewhere have after due trial , with testimonies from Abu ghraib and other victims have been pronounced guilty of war and other crimes .
Like men in heat of extra testosterone would rape any one even children, leaders of countries like US, UK and other European states with excessive testosterone of military hardware have been raping many countries around the world .
* In 1964 end when I was posted to Algiers from Cairo , where I had learnt Arabic (but could not fully understand Al Ahram) very few in Algerian Foreign office and elsewhere spoke Arabic except one who was a teacher of Arabic language .Most spoke French or other native languages like Kabili .I was called Muallim/Muddaris ! Many hundreds of Arabic teachers were invited from Syria and Lebanon to impart Arabic to Algerians .President Ben Bella would deliver extempore speeches at most international summits in fluent French but at Arabic meets speak out from a written speech in Arabic.) Col Huari Boumiddienne , who over threw Ben Bella , lived in the Peoples Presidential Palace , just across the road from my flat on Rue Franklin Roosevelt .Boumiddienne ,had studied at Al-azhar in Cairo. Even after half century of independence , the ruling elite is French speaking , much resented by speakers of native languages and even Arabic.
Barring the last hundred years , and even during this period strategic changes have  been brought about by wars in greater Middle East . the region now awaits epochal upheavals and changes.
Below is my article on decisive wars in the region in ancient times written on the eve of US led illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003.
At the end is the article on the recent not too hush hush visit of Saudi Intelligence Czar Prince Bandar bin Sultan to Moscow for  a meeting with Vladimir Putin by inimitable no holds barred journalist Pepe Escobar and  the rebuff to the Saudi visitor .Saudis think they can bribe every one. They have certainly the US, UK and Pakistani leaders among others .
Amb(Retd) K.Gajendra Singh 13 August, 2013. Mayur Vihar, Delhi -91
West vs East, at daggers drawn    3 April, 2003
By K Gajendra Singh

Veni, vidi, vici
("I came, I saw, I conquered") spoke Julius Caesar in 78 BC at a town called Zile, 300 kilometers northeast of Ankara, after victory in a battle lasting barely four hours over Pharnaces II, son of Mithradates VI of Pontus. Mithradates the Great (meaning "gift of the Aryan god Mithra"), a common name among Anatolian rulers, had contested Imperial Rome's hegemony in Asia Minor.
Of course, the self-styled successors of Imperial Rome, the hawks in the US administration, had hoped to emulate Caesar after a few days of Operation Iraqi Freedom in the cities of Basra, Baghdad and Kirkuk. But the reality has been quite disillusioning - even to the point of bringing some "Shock and Awe" home to the States.

Up to the Ides of March, 2003, the US and Turkey had been very close allies for half a century, with the government of the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) even putting up for a vote (in spite of a large majority of Turks opposing a war on Iraq) a proposal to allow the US use of Turkish bases for stationing troops and opening a second front from northern Iraq.

But things have gone awry, with the Turks declaring that they would send more troops into northern Iraq when they deem it necessary, and the US making threatening noises against any such action. Verily, the erstwhile allies are at daggers drawn.

For Turkey, questions of security and vital strategic concerns are involved. In such a situation, Turkey is known to follow its national interest as it did in 1974, when it invaded the island of Cyprus to guard its interests. Turkish troops still remain there.

Echoes of Mithradates
A US victory over Saddam Hussein does not appear to be as quick in coming as Western leaders and the US media had made it out to be. Certainly it is going to be quite messy. The coalition of the willing has already lost more soldiers in combat than in the 1991 Gulf War. But let us get back to Mithradates. In a long career of conquest he had saved Crimea (Ukraine) from the Scythians and the Greeks from Rome. He was defeated many times by the Roman generals, but his greatest victories over Rome and its client states in Anatolia came in 88 BC, when he had conquered most of the Roman province of Asia.

Most of the Greek cities in Western Asia Minor had allied themselves with Mithradates, although a few held out against him. Then he organized a general massacre of the Roman and Italian residents in Asia in which nearly 80,000 were said to have been killed. When the course of the war turned against him, he became severe against the Greeks; every kind of intimidation was used - deportations, murders, freeing of slaves. In 85 BC, when the war was clearly lost, he made peace with the Roman general Sulla in the Treaty of Dardanus, giving up his conquests, surrendering his fleet and paying a large fine. Then in the second Mithradatic war, the Roman general Lucius Murena attacked Mithradates without provocation but was defeated in 82 BC. After many ups and downs, Pompey completely defeated both Mithradates and his son-in-law Tigranes, the ruler of Armenia. Mithradates escaped to Crimea When he wanted to attack Rome via the Danube, there was a general revolt against him, including by his son. A powerful man, Mithradates would not die by poisoning himself, so he had to order a slave to kill him.

Yes, the victory of US war machine against Iraqis may be like that of Caesar, but with one crucial difference: the damage was not that widespread then. It did not turn the world upside down, as the US attack on Iraq is likely to do.

Lessons from the Trojan War
Writing in the International Herald Tribune just before the US-led war, Nicholas D Kristof recalled the Trojan War perhaps the very first world war between Europe and Asia, marked not just by heroism but also by catastrophic mistakes, poor leadership and what the Greeks called ate: the intoxicating pride and overweening arrogance that sometimes clouds the minds of the strong.

Troy, Kristof said, offered three lessons: First, even when one has a legitimate grievance, war is not always the best solution. The Greeks were initially divided on attacking Troy. Even heroes like Agamemnon and Odysseus were reluctant. Yet the hawks won the day, in part by offering an early version of the Bush doctrine: if we let the Trojans get away with kidnapping Helen, then they'll steal women again; if we don't fight them now, we'll have to later, when they're stronger.

It turns out the doves were right. So many lives were lost "in this insane voyage", as Achilles put it, "fighting other soldiers to win their wives as prizes", that even for the victorious Greeks the struggle was simply not worth it. "Why must we battle Trojans?" Achilles asks, in what could have been an early advocacy of the alternate strategy of containment.

A second immortal truth of war is the crucial importance of maintaining allies. The Greeks outnumbered the Trojans by more than 10 to 1, but they were almost defeated because of feuding within the Greek "coalition of the willing". Agamemnon was the Donald Rumsfeld of his day, needlessly angering his key allies - and outraging Achilles by swiping his concubine Briseis. Agamemnon later tried to mollify Achilles, but the latter still withdrew from battle, threatened to go home and said things like "ca ne marche pas" (that won't work).

The third lesson has to do with the fall of Troy itself. Some experts have offered a hawkish lesson - the vulnerability of even the most refined city to military weakness. After all, an armed attack destroyed Troy in an instant: yet the story makes it clear that Troy's fundamental failing was not a military one. Better intelligence might have helped, but above all Troy was destroyed by its refusal to listen to warnings about the wooden horse.

So, by Zeus, that third lesson from Troy is the paramount need to listen to skeptical voices. Virgil suggests that the Trojans rashly brought the wooden horse inside their city despite the alarm of two early pundits - Cassandra and Laocoon, who warned against Greeks bearing gifts. If the Trojans had just thought it over for a week, by the Greeks inside would have died of thirst. But the Trojans dismissed the warnings as "windy nonsense" and sealed their fate.

"We Americans are the Greeks of our day, and as we now go to war, we should appreciate not only the beauty of the tale, but also the warnings within it," concludes Kristof.

Iliad and Odyssey
The Iliad was probably finalized around 750 BC, and the Odyssey around 650 BC (Greek writing started around 650 BC). It is felt that the Odyssey, so different from the Iliad, was not composed by Homer, the blind bard of Asia Minor, but probably by a young lady (a Jane Austen) somewhere on the Sicilian coast with time to spare. But let that pass. But there certainly is an historical basis for the story of the abduction of the Spartan King Menelaus' wife Helen by the Trojan Prince Paris. Menelaus' brother, King Agamemnon of Achaeans, then decided on a voyage of punishment and retrieval.

For Western culture and civilization, the Iliad and Odyssey are almost like the Mahabharata and Ramayana are for Indians, making their (presumed) composer Homer one of the most influential authors in the widest sense. The two epics provided the basis for Greek education and culture throughout the classical age and formed the backbone of humane education down to the time of the Roman Empire and the spread of Christianity. The Homeric epics had a profound impact on the Renaissance culture of Italy. Since then the proliferation of translations has helped to make them the most important poems of the classical European tradition.

Troy 6, the site of Homer's Iliad, has been dated to about 1260 BC. At the time of the Trojan War, there was the majestic and magnificent Asian Hittite Empire (1800 BC to 1200 BC) in central Turkey, the citadel of whose capital, Bogazkoy, has a circumference of five kilometers. The Troy fortress measures 200 yards by 150 yards. Excavations show that Troy perhaps fell as a result of weakening by an earthquake .It was assaulted and set on fire, women and children taken as slaves. The Hittite empire meanwhile extended from north of Turkey to Syria and up to Babylon (Iraq). Hittites were contenders for the control of Syria with the Egyptian Pharaohs and the local Aryan kingdom of Mitannis in the southeast of Turkey.

Evidence from Hittite archives indicates that Troy was a small state in alliance or subordinate to the empire. It was attacked when the Hittite empire was in decline and fighting its new enemy, the Assyrians (from Iraq) in the East. So this 10-year great Trojan war drama was but a storm in a teacup compared to the great sweep of Hittite history.

Mesopotamia, mother of civilization
Western and European civilization are founded on Greek civilization, which itself comes from Cretian civilization, which in turn is based on Egyptian and Phoenician civilizations. Both are indebted to Mesopotamia, verily the mother of all civilizations, which evolved mostly between the Tigris and Euphrates in Iraq and southeast Turkey. The evolution in human progress took off six millennia ago.

But the fourth millennia BC was remarkable not only here but in the Nile Valley and the Indus Valley. From family units the polity developed into villages and cities, kingdoms and empires. The cities were ruled by the God and in his name by the king. To begin with, the first deity was Earth, the mother goddess. Civilizations in Mesopotamia were created by Sumerians, Babylonians, Akkadians, Assyrians and others. Nile adopted cylindrical seals from Mesopotamia and the beginnings of writing. The Nile civilizations are magnificent, well preserved but unidirectional, as they flourished mostly in isolation.

This brief background is necessary as Westerners talk of the superiority of their culture over the East, including even some prime ministers, eg Silvio Berlusconi.

Wars in southeastern Turkey and Iraq
Barely 80 kilometers east from Adana lies Issus, just north of the Turkish port of Iskendrun (where US armored units had been awaiting permission from the Turks to be taken into the country).This is where the the emperor Darius fled when attacked by Alexander of Macedonia, even leaving behind his family. The final defeat was inflicted at Gaugamela between Nineveh and Mosul (in Iraq). Nearby Kirkuk is now the bone of contention among Arabs, Kurds, Turkomens and Turks. Diyarbakir, which the US had wanted as a base for its troops, is ancient Amida, now the largest Kurdish city. Nearly 250 kilometers northeast lies Manzikert, near Lake Van, where the Byzantine emperor Romanus IV Diogenes was defeated and captured in 1071 by the Seljuk Turk Sultan Alparslan.

Romanus had come with 150,000 soldiers to teach Alparslan (with 14,000 horsemen) a lesson. Divisions in the Roman ranks led to their defeat. Romanus's Turkomen troops had gone over to Alparslan, and one of his generals, Andronicus Ducas, fled with his men. Even the Seljuk chief Alparslan was saved only by the loyalty of his Turkish mamelukes (slaves). This opened Anatolia for Turkish conquest, first by the Seljuks and then by the Ottomans, whose janissaries knocked at the gates of Vienna twice in the 16th century, a memory which even now sends shivers down European spines.

Around 200 kilometers south of Malatya (another base the US had wanted) lies another Kurdish city, Haraan, near the border with Syria. Here the Parthians had defeated the Roman emperor Crassus Marcus Licinius in 53 BC, capturing the legion standards and taking the loot to Ctesiphon (near Baghdad), then the winter capital of the Parthians and later of Sasanians. Crassus, who was governor of Syria, had attacked the Parthians with a large force to gain military glory and be at par with the other triumvirs, Julius Caesar and Pompey. After he lost the war at Carrhae near Harran, he was killed.

If one zigzags a few hundred kilometers south from Diyarbakir along the Tigris (Dicle in Turkish), one will pass the city of Batman, then Hassan Kief, the Kurdish Ayubid stronghold now submerged under a dam, and then Cizre, the hot border post between Turkey and Kurdish Iraq. (Many believe that it was on the nearby Judi mountains that Noah's ark rested, and not on Mount Ararat as is generally believed). Another 50 kilometers south along the Tigris into Iraqi Kurdish territory, one will reach Gaugamela, the battlefield of final victory by Alexander over Darius and the termination of the Achaemenean empire, then at its peak.

When you drive south from Diyarbakir, after 100 kilometers you will reach Mardin, an old Arab city. Perched at 1100 meters above sea level, it gives a panoramic view for hundreds of kilometers of flat upper Mesopotamian plains below toward Baghdad, Basra and the Gulf. A 20-kilometer descent south takes you to a modern West-East highway coming from Turkish ports of Iskendrun and Mersin along the border with Syria. Before the 1990 sanctions against Iraq, hundreds of trucks used to ferry goods from Turkey and Europe to Iraq. To reach the northern Iraqi Kurdish highlands, you have to drive 150 kilometers east to Turkey's frontier towns of Cizre and Silopi.

The Kurdish areas of Turkey and Iraq are difficult mountainous terrain. They constitute upper Mesopotamia, the center of many civilizations and also of many historic battles and wars. Unable to produce enough to establish or sustain a large kingdom or empire, the divided Kurdish highlands have always remained a place of dispute between empires based in Iran, Iraq and Turkey, and even as far as Russia.

Numerous battles have decided the fates of empires and kingdoms in the region. This area will soon see new battles between Arabs, Kurds,Turkomens and Turks -- and perhaps even Iranians.

Current war on Iraq
There has been wide public opposition to the British prime minister supporting President Bush in his war for Iraqi regime change. Speaking in the House of Commons against the war on Iraq without a UN resolution, former British Defense Minister Peter Kilfoyle warned, "We are having a 19th century gunboat war in the Gulf, when the real dangers of terrorism should be isolated and dealt with as the first priority. [I] believe that this act would be illegal, it would be immoral and it would be illogical." Of Blair's propensity for comparing opposition to war to Munich appeasement, Kilfoyle said that "in 1938 I do not recall the League of Nations having inspectors in Germany dismantling the Panzers, as we have inspectors dismantling the weapons in Iraq today. He (Blair) made much about the terrorist dangers and quite rightly so. But does that not point out the idiocy of fighting the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time, against the wrong enemy."

Referring to the name of the allied operation - Shock and Awe - Kilfoyle said: "Think of what that name implies. The US is aiming to put 10 times as many missiles and precision bombs in the first 48 hours as was committed in the whole of the last Gulf War. This is against a country that has been decimated. I would say earnestly and honestly to the government that its impatience will reap a whirlwind, a whirlwind which will affect us and our generations to come."

Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, accused the government of acting inconsistently over Iraq and criticized the Conservative party for its support for Tony Blair. "When we come to consistency, can we remind ourselves where the Conservative party is concerned? Take the issue of weapons of mass destruction. After Saddam Hussein used them in 1988, they [the Conservative government] continued to sell arms to Iraq. They provided them with anthrax and other chemical weapons and they approved the construction of dual-use factories in Iraq." His conclusion: Compared to Iraq's US$1.5 billion defence budget, the US's, at nearly $450 billion, is 300 times as large. Iraq has been starved of food and medicines for 12 years, it got only $20 billion of $60 billion promised from the oil-for-food program (where is the rest?!). The world is certainly awed by the fact that the US spends as much to defend itself as the rest of the world put together, helped by the printing and export of greenbacks. Its deficit is as much as its defense spending. In spite of all that expenditure, current and former US administrations were not able to anticipate or avoid September 11, 2001.

Unable to get hold of Osama bin Laden and others dead or alive, the US is behaving like a castrated and raging bull. It is a successful example of self-hypnosis by the US media machine - with much help from the political leadership, beginning with Bush. It has even convinced the American public that many, if not most, of the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks were Iraqis, when most of them were from Saudi Arabia and others from Egypt. None was in fact from Iraq. No linkage between Iraq and al-Qaeda has been proved, in spite of the forging of documents by the US and the UK.

Without any casus belli, the US and its allies have now attacked Iraq with all their weapons of terrible destruction. Listening to some US defense experts, one can sense their glee in how the new war weapons and machines being used for the first time have such improved performance. As in the bombing of Serbia, new and better arms are being tested and used.

Look at the way the US treats prisoners of war from Afghanistan in Guantamano Bay. Its media was first to show Iraqi prisoners of wars, but when US POWs were shown on Iraqi TV or the Arab satellite news channel al-Jazeera, US leaders started talking about the Geneva Convention and human rights. The US has not even joined the International Criminal Court.

This war on Iraq without support from the United Nations Security Council is illegal. In the words of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the war is against the UN charter. Yes, the US and the UK do want the United Nations involved in the reconstruction of Iraq, as if the body is a mere non-governmental organization (NGO), one of many. His Holiness Pope John Paul and most religious leaders around the world are opposed to this unjust war. This writer had a ringside view of the 1991 Gulf War in Amman. A clear case of Iraqi aggression against the independent state of Kuwait had been established.

It was opposed by all Arab and Muslim countries. Their governments were able to contain the anger and frustrations of the masses. Since then, they and the world have watched the butchery being enacted daily by the state of Israel. There are daily demonstrations in Arab cities, as well as cities around the world, against the war and the killing of civilians in Basra, Baghdad and elsewhere. With Ariel Sharon in power, a mention of the road map for a solution of the Israeli-Palestinian problem made by George Bush before the war - apparently more as an afterthought than anything else - has not fooled anyone. There could soon be total chaos verging on civil war in northern Iraq, with such little US presence in that turbulent area and no agreement with Turkey.

It was rumored in Amman during the 1991 Gulf War that Saddam Hussein had been warned that Baghdad would be nuked if he used his weapons of mass destruction. This time he, his family and supporters have only one choice - to fight to the finish. He will use whatever means are left in his hands. Iraq is now very much weaker than it was in 1991, but Saddam Hussein and his reliable Republican Guards, fedayeen and other forces will defend Baghdad and other cities and towns to the last. It is strange that the cold warriors in Washington have forgotten that Iraq's Republican Guard troops are battle tested, many with experience of hand-to-hand land battles against fanatic Iranian revolutionaries. It is bringing death and devastation onto the poor hapless long-suffering Iraqi population, and the consequences will be unpredictable. It will fully ignite the Crusade vs Jihad conflict.

Let there be no doubt about it. This war only exposes the bankruptcy of Anglo-Saxon policy, when 19th century methods of "bomb the natives, frighten and numb them by force", are being used to handle complicated 21st century problems of Islamic fundamentalism. In the words of Mary Robinson, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Bush is leading the world into unchartered waters, and bin Laden must be chuckling, wherever he might be.

What is being achieved is beyond bin Laden's wildest dreams.

(©2003 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact for information on our sales and syndication policies.)
Bandar Bush, 'liberator' of Syria
By Pepe Escobar  Asia Times , 13 August , 2013

Talk about The Comeback Spy. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush (for Dubya he was like family), spectacularly resurfaced after one year in speculation-drenched limbo (was he or was he not dead, following an assassination attempt in July 2012). And he was back in the limelight no less than in a face-to-face with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

Saudi King Abdullah, to quote Bob Dylan, "is not busy being born, he's busy dying". At least he was able to pick up a pen and recently appoint Bandar as head of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate; thus in charge of the joint US-Saudi master plan for Syria. 

The four-hour meeting between Bandar Bush and Vlad the Hammer by now has acquired mythic status. Essentially, according to diplomatic leaks, Bandar asked Vlad to drop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and forget about blocking a possible UN Security Council resolution on a no-fly zone (as if Moscow would ever allow a replay of UN resolution 1973 against Libya). In return the House of Saud would buy loads of Russian weapons. 

Vlad, predictably, was not impressed. Not even when Bandar brazenly insisted that whatever form a post-Assad situation would take, the Saudis will be "completely" in control. Vlad - and Russian intelligence - already knew it. But then Bandar went over the top, promising that Saudi Arabia would not allow any Gulf Cooperation Council member country - as in Qatar - to invest in Pipelineistan across Syria to sell natural gas to Europe and thus damage Russian - as in Gazprom's - interests.