Tag Archives: kuwait

The Latest from the Middle East: Terrorists, Rebels and the Geopolitical Clusterf***

I’ll try to make this as quick as I can.

Yesterday, we reported on how the new emergent terrorist group ISIS captured Iraq’s second largest city on Tuesday and stole nearly half a billion dollars from the central bank there. All this week the group has been advancing towards Baghdad, taking a number of towns along the way.

ISIS's advance towards Baghdad. Click to enlarge (Courtesy of The New York Times)
ISIS’s advance towards Baghdad. Click to enlarge (Courtesy of The New York Times)

Then early this morning, reports came out that the Syrian government, which the United States is trying to overthrow by backing largely Jihadist rebels (the Syrian government calls them terrorists), is coordinating with the Iraqi government (which was put in by, and is still heavily backed by the U.S. government) to fight against Jihadist rebels/terrorists in Iraq.

Are you still following? Feel free to read that last part again- I had to read it at least five times myself. Ok, ready? Let’s continue.

Amidst all of this ridiculousness, Iran (one of the U.S.’s biggest political foes) has offered to help it’s former sworn enemy, Iraq, and its biggest political foe (the U.S.), to fight against the Jihadist rebels/terrorists of ISIS as well.

It’s interesting how quickly all of these countries were able to put their political differences aside as soon as there was a common enemy.

On top of this already massive mound of geopolitical shit, the Daily Beast just reported that ISIS has been funded for years by wealthy donors in Kuwait, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia: three of the U.S.’s closest allies in the middle east.

Welcome to the geopolitical clusterf***. My brain hurts.

Saudis Offer Secret Oil Deal to Russia in Exchange for Dropping Syria

Recently, Russian president Vladimir Putin had a closed-door meeting with Prince Bandar, the head of Saudi intelligence. Leaked transcript’s reveal that Bandar offered Putin a Russia-OPEC alliance if Putin drops his backing of Syria.

OPEC (Organization of the Oil Exporting Countries) is an economic alliance between a number of the biggest oil producing countries in the Middle East, Africa and South America.

Saudi Arabia is by far the biggest player in OPEC, producing 8.8 million barrels per day, more than any other country in the world.

OPEC Members (from wikipedia). Click to enlarge.
OPEC Members (from wikipedia). Click to enlarge.

If the oil deal between Russia and OPEC were to succeed, the two entities would control 45% of global oil production. Prince Bandar also told Putin that Saudi Arabia would ensure the safety of Russia’s Syrian ports after the fall of Assad.

But maybe the most interesting part of this story is that Bandar claimed the Chechen terrorist groups responsible for two recent suicide attacks in Volgograd are under Saudi control:

I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”

Putin turned the offer down, however, saying,

Our stance on Assad will never change. We believe that the Syrian regime is the best speaker on behalf of the Syrian people, and not those liver eaters,”

referring to a video showing a Jihadist rebel eating the heart and liver of a fallen Syrian soldier. In response, Prince Bandar warned Putin that there would be, “no escape from the military option” if the alliance was refused.

Read the full story here.