Thought for the day

"We hang petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office." -- Aesop, Greek slave & fable author

Alwaleed bin Talal, a billionaire Saudi prince, invested more than $500m in Russian firms during the same month Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine. 

Stock exchange filings seen by Bloomberg News showed Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding Co in February acquired shares in Gazprom, Lukoil and Rosneft. 

The signing last week of a multi-pronged memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Saudi Arabian Oil Company – formerly the Arabian American Oil Company - (Aramco) and the China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) is a critical step in China’s ongoing strategy to secure Saudi Arabia as a client state. As the president of Sinopec, Yu Baocai, himself put it:

Here’s Just a little more evidence that Americans should never use Twitter.

On Tuesday, a Twitter official was convicted after being caught spying on Americans and funneling money from the Saudi Arabian government.

Saudi Arabia has already slaughtered 120 prisoners in the first six blood-soaked months of 2022.

In the first half of the year, the Gulf country's execution rate spiked - returning the amount of people put to the sword to pre-Covid levels.

Saudi Arabia has raised concerns about Israel's refusal to join a United Nations nuclear non-proliferation treaty, saying it was an obstacle to achieving peace in the region.

The warning was a rare moment of Saudi criticism of Israel, with Riyadh and other Gulf countries recently working together, along with Israel, to combat Iran's nuclear programme.

Nicolas Pelham has written a very good and thorough article on Mohammed bin Salman’s rise to power and the many excesses, abuses, and crimes he has committed in just a few years. Here he reports on the arbitrary and unexplained detentions of thousands of people:

An adage favored by Claud Cockburn as well as Otto von Bismarck advises "Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied."

Indeed, it should be a clear tenant of political analysis that stated goals are frequently not actual goals. US war planners used rhetorical concerns over non-existent Iraq WMDs as a pretext for invasion. Alleged human rights preoccuations were falsely heralded as the rationale for NATO bombings in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Libya.

Ever since United States President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, he’s been trying to bring Saudi Arabia back to the political West’s flock. The attempts to do so have escalated significantly after Russia launched its counteroffensive against NATO’s crawling encroachment. Biden made numerous futile attempts to contact Saudi leadership, culminating with a failed visit on July 15.