Saudi Arabia: Mother of All Scandals
- The Mother of All Scandals
by Eric Margolis
Anyone who wants to understand what really goes on in the Mideast
should have a look at the scandal that erupted earlier this month over
the outsized character of Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia.
Bandar has long been a renowned mover, shaker, and charmer. As Saudi
ambassador to the US, the influential Bandar schmoozed official
Washington for two decades. He became an intimate of the Bush family.
He invested a least $60 million in Saudi funds in the Carlyle Corp.,
in which the Bush family has important interests. Equally significant,
Prince Bandar was a particular favorite at the CIA, where he was long
considered one of its prime Mideast "assets."
Bandar flew in his own personal Airbus A-340 painted in the colors of
his favorite US football team, and threw lavish parties in his $135
million Aspen house and in Washington. He was Mr. SaudiAmerica.
Congress, the media, and the rest of official Washington hailed Bandar
as the kind of "good Arab" with whom the US was happy to do business.
After leaving Washington, Bandar returned home to become the highly
influential head of national security and chief foreign policy advisor
to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah. Bandar's father, Crown Prince Sultan,
is the nation's powerful defense minister and next in line to the
throne. Many Saudi observers believed Bandar was being positioned to
sit one day on the throne of Saudi Arabia.
On top of all this, Bandar is also a marketing genius.
The UK Guardian newspaper and BBC recently revealed that Bandar
personally received over US $2 billion in "marketing fees" from the
British defense firm BAE as part of the huge, 1985 al-Yamamah arms
deal. Al-Yamamah means dove in Arabic. Charges of massive corruption
over the Al-Yamamah deal have swirled for years. But even for the rich
Saudis, $2 billion is a lot of money. That's twice what Washington's
most important Arab ally, Egypt, was given.
For the Saudi royals, Britain's outgoing PM Tony Blair, and
Washington, the "dove" and Bandar's $2 billion worth of payola have
become one big albatross.
During the 1980's, Saudi Arabia sought to buy modern US warplanes. But
the US pro-Israel lobby blocked the sale, costing the loss of billions
in sales by US industry and 100,000 American jobs. The Reagan
Administration advised the Saudis to go buy their warplanes from Britain.
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was only too happy have the British
defense firm, known today as BAE, sell the Saudis 120 Tornado strike
aircraft, Hawk trainers, military equipment, and lucrative training
and maintenance programs worth some $90100 billion and the 100,000
jobs America lost. Over their operational lives of 20 or so years,
warplanes consume six times their original cost in spare parts. These
supply contract also went to BAE and other British industrial firms.
The Saudis could barely operate the modern military equipment they
bought from the US, Britain, and France. Their military forces were a
big zero. Most of it stayed in storage, or was operated by foreign
mercenaries. The Saudi arms deals were really about buying military
protection from the western powers.
All arms sales to the west's Mideast clients routinely include 1015%
"commissions" to heads of state, generals, and their cronies. These
funds are traditionally channeled through middlemen, the flamboyant
Adnan Kashoggi being the most notorious.
Kickbacks, rechristened "marketing fees," were of course expected in
the Al-Yamamah deal. But Bandar's $2 billion set a record for size and
venality. Thatcher ordered Bandar's payments carefully hidden from
public gaze. They remained so until recent years when British and
American government investigators began questioning secret,
multi-million dollar payments to Prince Bandar routed from the UK to
the shady Riggs Bank in Washington. Before it was shut down after a
series of scandals, Riggs had become one of the favorite handlers of
"black" money for pro-US autocratic regimes.
When Britain's Serious Fraud Office began probing BAE's secret payoffs
to Bandar, Tony Blair sanctimoniously ordered the investigation shut
down for "national security" reasons. The Saudis threatened to cancel
their arms deals with Britain if payoff charges were made public by
HM's government. Blair was trying to sell the Saudis BAE's new,
high-tech Eurofighter. He blocked similar investigations by OECD, the
international anti-bribery watchdog agency which was also closing in
on the Saudi money trail.
Bandar denies any wrongdoing, claiming the "marketing" funds all went
into a legitimate Defense Ministry account and were properly accounted
for and audited.
Few believe him. The only "marketing" effort in the arms deal was
payola to high Saudi officials. If the funds were legit, why all the
secrecy and money laundering? Were the payments simply western
"baksheesh" for Bandar and his clan? Were they to help him against his
main power rival, Prince Turki Faisal, who is not seen as amenable to
US and British interests as Bandar?
Could the billions have been used for covert operations, possibly with
US participation? One recalls the Reagan years when money from
Israel's secret sales of US arms to Iran were used to finance the
The most significant effect of this revolting scandal is being felt in
the Muslim world. One of the major reasons for the fast-spreading
influence of militant Islamic groups like Hezbullah, Hamas, and
Taliban has been their success in uprooting the Muslim world's endemic
corruption and nepotism. We are so used to Islamists being demonized
as "terrorists" that their highly effective and popular social
accomplishments are rarely noted. In fact, their appeal and popularity
is based primarily on their welfare and incorruptibility.
Islamic militants insist the west exploits their nations by keeping
deeply corrupt regimes in power. In exchange for protection from their
own people and neighbors, and fabulous wealth, these authoritarian
Arab regimes always termed "moderates" by western media sell oil
on the cheap to the west and do its bidding. US-installed governments
in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, Somalia, and Afghanistan are all noted
for egregious corruption, including secret payoffs from Washington to
No wonder Prince Bandar was always so amiable and accommodating. Or
that he managed to fly out a planeload of Saudis the day after 9/11
when all US flights were grounded. Or that the Bush administration was
trying to position the always amenable prince as the next Saudi monarch.
The Bandar scandal is hugely embarrassing for Blair and Bush, who
claim to be leading a crusade to bring democracy and good government
to the benighted Muslim world. It starkly confirms Islamists'
accusations that the west promotes corruption. And it dramatically
exposes the dirty underbelly of the west's much-vaunted "special
relationship" with the Saudi royal family.
Top level Israeli/Saudi/French meet with US puppets to plan
assassination of Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah
I guess that we can see what the coming of a Zionist Israel-loving
president in France actually means.
Forgive the amateur translation of this article, but I didn't know if
everybody could speak French. So anyway here is my translation as well
as the original French article and others.. also pointing at the plot
to assassinate Sayyed Hassan.
It is not new that the Israelis want to assassinate him. God knows
that they have said it several times. What is new however is that the
Saudis, the Israelis and that sissy Saad el Hariri (representing the
US puppet regime in Lebanon) meet together to plot the assassination.
Lebanon and Saudi Arabia don't even have official ties with Israel. It
seems that the Americans are not the only people being sold out by
PS. One more point before you read: the militias (Fatah al Islam) that
are fighting the Lebanese army from what used to be a Palestinian
refugee camp in Lebanon (Nahr el Bared) are financed by the Hariri
family, Saudi Arabia (which created the Hariri family out of nothing)
and the US.
Is France Conspiring to Assassinate Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah?
30 August 2007
Informal negotiations on the future of Lebanon have taken place on the
French Riviera during the second week of August 2007. Parallel to
those negotiations, a secret meeting was organized in the residence of
prince Bandar bin Sultan at Juan-les-Pins. The Saudi national security
counselor received Saad el Hariri the leader of the 14th of March
coalition and a mysterious guest who was no less than Israeli Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert. The Saudi ambassador in Beirut Abdel Aziz Khoja
represented King Abdallah.
Even though Quai d'Orsay refuses to confirm or to invalidate, the
presence of French officials representing president Sarkozy, their
presence has already been attested to by our sources. It is very
improbable that the Elysee was not invited and represented in the
meetings considering that it organized the discrete movement of PM
Olmert on the Riviera.
It is on the other hand more difficult to know with certitude the
exact content of the meetings. However, diplomatic sources assure us
that Saad el Hariri asked Ehud Olmert to get rid of Hezbollah and the
Israeli Prime Minister responded by saying that Tsahal could not do
this job alone.
After this initial agreement, the conspirators agreed that it was up
to Saad el Hariri to have Hassan Nasrallah assassinated; Once
Hezbollah has been decapitated, Tsahah would crush the Lebanese
Ambassador Abdel Aziz Khoja warned the other participants that any
developments of such a scenario would lead to an implosion of the
country of cedars. Upon his return to Beirut, the ambassador declared
that he felt threatened by a terrorist attack and suddenly left Lebanon.
Among the ruling elite in Lebanon, one is wondering about Nicola
Sarkozy's new policy as well as the duplicity of the French
authorities who just the other day invited all protagonists to debate
the situation in Celle Saint-Cloud, then a few weeks later,
participate in the planning of the assassination of the leader of the
Another plot to kill Nasrallah
Sun, 26 Aug 2007
Informed sources have revealed a plot by Tel Aviv, Riyadh, Amman and
the Lebanese March 14 bloc to assassinate the Hezbollah leader.
According to the report, the Deputy of Israeli military intelligence,
an advisor to the Israeli Premier, the Saudi ambassador to Lebanon,
Deputy of the Saudi National Security Council and head of the
Jordanian General Intelligence Department held a meeting in the house
of Saad Hariri, the leader of the March 14 faction, on August 4 to
discuss the assassination of Seyyed Hassan Nasrollah.
The participants in the meeting believed that the move could deal a
blow to supporters of Nasrallah in Lebanon. They also underlined the
need for another Israeli war against Hezbollah.
The reports added that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert- in an
earlier secret meeting with Jordan's King, Abdullah II- had rejected
launching a war to kill the Hezbollah chief, saying that the Israeli
army could not enter another war with the movement.
Hezbollah, which has become aware of the plot, has beefed up security
measures in order to protect Nasrallah and his family.
The Daily Star
Saturday, September 01, 2007
In an interview with the "Kalam An-Nas" talk show broadcast live on
LBCI television Thursday night, former Interior Minister Suleiman
Franjieh said both Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh and
Prime Minister Fouad Siniora of plotting to assassinate Hezbollah's
Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah
In an interview with the "Kalam An-Nas" talk show broadcast live on
LBCI television Thursday night, Franjieh said both Hamadeh and Premier
Fouad Siniora were planning to assassinate Nasrallah.
"Why then raise such a controversial issue as Hizbullah's private
communication networks at such critical times?" Franjieh asked. "They
either want to isolate Sayyed Nasrallah or they want to determine his
location so as to kill him."
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