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Wednesday, April 6

Further to Al Saud and Turkey in Lebanon, and a few words about nutty Israelis

I've updated the April 4 post Are Turkey and Al Saud trying to further destabilize Lebanon? as follows:
According to this March 3 report from Sputnik, Greece's Coast Guard intercepted the ship that Col. Neriah is referring to (see below) and that it had six containers, two of which were loaded "with weapons and ammunition." Two, not six as Neriah claimed.

In addition, while he termed the intercept a coincidence, he also spoke of 'intelligence' bringing the ship to the attention of Greek naval authorities. So it's not clear to me whether this was a complete accident, as I wrote originally, or "coincidence" as Neriah termed it -- in particular because the Sputnik report specifically named the Coast Guard intercepting the ship.

He also mentioned the weapons shipment is "one of the things that Turkey has been doing over the past four years." So within the grand scheme of Turkey's weapons shipments -- at least to Syria -- two versus six containers isn't a big mistake. And it's possible that Sputnik got the number of weapons/ammo containers wrong.

I don't think any of this overturns Neriah's reasonable concern that Turkey is now trying to destabilize Lebanon. But I did want to mention the discrepancy about the containers.
I'm annoyed with myself because I had the Sputnik article in a pile of reports I hadn't yet read but I didn't bother to double-check Neriah's statement; I figured surely he had the number of containers right. [sighing]

No break for those who've gone cross-eyed reading war reports because the toast always falls buttered-side down for the weary. 

All right; here's a report from Reuters, datelined yesterday:

Saudi Arabia's bitter Lebanese divorce

The waspish cartoon in a Saudi-owned newspaper summed up the anger behind Riyadh's decision to cancel billions of dollars in military aid and suspend decades of engagement in Lebanon's fraught politics. "The State of Lebanon: April Fool", it read.
Published on the same day that a Saudi-owned television news channel shut down its Lebanese operations, Friday's cartoon was the latest sign of a falling out which began in January and has become increasingly embittered.
The cartoon's stinging message, that the Lebanese government is a fictitious joke, reflects Saudi Arabia's conviction that the Shi'ite group Hezbollah, backed by Riyadh's regional rival Iran, now pulls the strings in Beirut.

But the Saudi response, cutting $3 billion in military aid and another $1 billion to the security services, appeared self-defeating to many Lebanese - by weakening the army, a counter-balance to Hezbollah, it leaves the Shi'ite group even stronger.
"By default we're abandoning Lebanon to Iran," said a senior European diplomat. "It's a big blow to Lebanon".
It would leave Hezbollah, and by extension the group's backers in Tehran, more dominant than they have ever been in volatile Lebanon, a Middle East banking and trade center that is also home to more than a million Syrian refugees.
The abrupt Saudi action in February was triggered by Lebanon's failure to join other Arab governments in condemning attacks three months ago on the Saudi embassy in Tehran.
That's just the start of the report.  [sighing]  Pundita stop sighing; it's also annoying me. Is there a point -- I mean to the report? The point, which the reporters don't mention, is that the Lebanese are well-rid of the Saudis. whose lavish gifts of money call up the warning about Greeks bearing gifts.  It's been one Trojan Horse after another with the Saudis, and not only with Lebanon. It's everywhere they go; trouble soon follows.

But try to telling this to Israel's government. Jews got the warning in Germany, as Uri Avnery pointed out April 4 in Too Embarrassing: Arab Countries Are Having an Affair with Israel, But Don't Want to Be Seen Together in Public.

As to the excuse from Muslim Arab governments that they have to hide their relationship with Jerusalem because of the unsettled 'Palestinian' question: there can be no two-state solution when the majority of Palestinians want a one-state solution, with Israel wiped off the map. Same as Al Saud wants, only right now the Saudis and other Gulfies need Israel to help them stand up to Iran. What should a sane person say in answer to this?

Actually the 'natural' alliance should be Israel and Iran and I think the road map to peace between the two countries runs through Syria. But then I also think Al Saud has long known this.    


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