One Day After Historic Saudi-Russian Summit, US Suspends Military Exercises With "Arab Allies"

Russia no longer even has to lift a finger (or buy a few thousands dollars worth of Facebook ads) to steal influence from the US in key geopolitical hotspots: the US can do so on its own.

According to the WSJ, the Pentagon halted military exercises with Gulf allies in a symbolic rebuke to countries caught in the ongoing diplomatic spat with Qatar that has eroded counterterrorism cooperation in the region, soured relations between historical allies, and allowed outside powers to establish substantial footholds in the region

Having failed at direct diplomacy, the US has decided to take a "passive aggressive" approach, and U.S. Central Command said that some exercises would be suspended in an effort to send a signal that the U.S. military seeks to work together with other nations in the region and encourage them to do so as well.

“We are opting out of some military exercises out of respect for the concept of inclusiveness and shared regional interests,” said Col. John Thomas, a Centcom spokesman.

What is even more ironic, is that having initially sent a signal of support for the Gulf nations, and isolated Qatar as an "evil sponsor of terrorism", the Pentagon has now flipflopped, and its latest move to curb military drills in the region represents a shift for the U.S., which initially threw its qualified support behind the Gulf nations in an attempt to put pressure on Qatar. As reported here previously, that attempt failed.

Top U.S. officials have tried to coax Arab allies to end a blockade of Qatar, which began in June and has been led by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. The blockade has closed off the energy-rich country’s land borders and its air and sea routes, squeezing its economy.

 

Yet the four countries at the heart of the dispute each host some of the Pentagon’s largest military bases outside the U.S. The Pentagon relies on cooperation between its Gulf allies for its global counterterrorism efforts and to check Iran’s influence in the region.

Needless to say, the suspension of military exercises is the latest blow to the Gulf countries who have traditionally relied on the US for any and every form of military support. Several are family monarchies that have touted close partnerships with the U.S. as way to buttress security despite weak militaries. The Pentagon’s reproach may in particular sting Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s minister of defense who is seen as one of the architects of the Qatar blockade, according to Andreas Krieg, assistant professor at King’s College in London for defense studies and a former adviser to Qatar’s military.

The timing of the suspension may not be a coincidence: it comes just one day after Saudi King Salman met with Vladimir Putin, the first ever visit to Moscow by a sitting Saudi ruler. Saudi Arabia and Russia signed billions worth of energy and military deals and MOUs.

The US was not amused.

“Joint military exercises are essential for the Gulf militaries to build capability. All Gulf states want to appeal to the U.S. as viable partners in achieving joint strategic interests, so this announcement is really a slap in the face,” he said.

How aggressive the "soft" US isolation of its traditional allies will be, remains to be seen. Aside from military exercises and counterterrorism cooperation, the U.S. has also forged close ties with its Mideast allies by selling them sophisticated military hardware. In the latest announcement, the Pentagon avoided any mention of future military sales, but analysts say a freeze of weapon sales is one of the greatest sources of leverage the U.S. could use in trying to resolve the diplomatic crisis. Of course, it is also a source of trillions of dollars to the US military industrial complex which over the decades has traditionally relied on the middle east as its biggest customer.

“Bottom line: the pressure from the U.S. is mounting but can be sustained [by the U.A.E.],” says Krieg. “It could induce both Qatar and Saudi to start low level rapprochement.”

Perhaps, in the meantime what Bloomberg wrote earlier this week is becoming increase obvious to everyone: "Vladimir Putin is the new master of the Middle East."

Comments

Theosebes Goodfellow giovanni_f Fri, 10/06/2017 - 15:51 Permalink

~""We are opting out of some military exercises out of respect for the concept of inclusiveness and shared regional interests"..."~Maybe Mr. Trump needs to go and read up on the Qur'an. Muslims do not make friends with Jews or family members of Jews. All you will ever get is a "truce of convenience" which serves as a convenience for Muslims. 1000 Sword Dances and you will never be their pals, as they do not make friends with non-Muslims. I only wish Trump was swift enough to sort this out. 

In reply to by giovanni_f

mkkby giovanni_f Fri, 10/06/2017 - 16:58 Permalink

Opting out is a clear warning, and the saudis know it.

Those kings/princes only exist because 30k US troops are keeping them in power. If we stand down, their own muzzie population beheads them in no time. We rarely hear the news, but there are terrorist events and small uprisings there all the time.

Fuck those evil dictators. Let the troops come home and let chaos rein in saudi arabia. Or let the russians have the burden of keeping their sorry asses in power.

They are deadly afaid of iran and the russians are allied with iran in syria. For them, playing with the russians is like playing russian roulette.

In reply to by giovanni_f

sarz mkkby Sat, 10/07/2017 - 04:33 Permalink

"They are deadly afraid of Iran" would be better put as, The monarchists are deadly afraid of their people, given the Irani precedent. Khomeini did not lead a Shia revolution. He called it an Islamic revolution, and went out of his way to affirm that no Shia should hesitate to pray behind a Sunni imam. 

In reply to by mkkby

Lost My Shorts giovanni_f Fri, 10/06/2017 - 19:47 Permalink

Yes, it sounds like a note from my son's kindergarten when they cancel recess.At this stage, it's impossible to figure out if the Donald is playing 4D chess or just stuffing pieces up his nose for laughs.  (Spanking the Saudis and renouncing the Iran deal within a seven day period -- WTF?)  But it hardly matters.  If he can give the Saudis and their greed and evil ideologies and useless wars to uncle Putin, great.  Good riddance, enjoy them.  Let them corrupt the Russian elites for a while.  Let the Russians waste their lives and money on that SNAFU part of the world for a while.  That will be the first true favor the swamp has done for the American people in decades.

In reply to by giovanni_f

Jim in MN GlassHouse101 Fri, 10/06/2017 - 15:08 Permalink

I think the US has gotten itself into such a godawful tangle in the Mideast that it's like a centipede that forgets how to walk.  For example, if our current desire to meddle about in Syraq and ultimately Iran is conflicting with a desire to appear 'surgical' or 'delicate' it's possible that the Gulf blockade etc. against Qatar is making it too hard for US and sponsored assets to 'do it correctly'.At the same time, the 'wrong guy' is in charge of Saudi Arabia anyway.  The Deep State really wants their old guy back.  See Pepe Escobar for details:https://www.opednews.com/articles/Wheels-and-deals-trouble-by-Pepe-Esco… Saudis are playing a very dangerous game.  No one actually needs them any more.  Well to be precise the US doesn't need them any more and Russia would welcome higher oil prices should something 'unfortunate' happen to the KSA. Who is really left out in the cold is Israel.  There's now virtually no hope of stopping their much-feared Shia crescent linking Beirut to Tehran.  This also cuts off the Saudis from NATO, to a large degree. I still think the 'big thing' is world peace breaking out.  Watch for the ISIS mop-up to be completed, Trump and Putin to take credit for that, and for the Saudi butchery in Yemen to end out of general shame, as it will be about the only mass civilian casualty war left on Earth by Christmas.What Will The Pope Say About World Peace This Christmas????  What If It's Here?????Think outside the bun, people.  Soon there won't be any large scale hot wars besides Afghanistan. 

In reply to by GlassHouse101

Broken_Trades Jim in MN Fri, 10/06/2017 - 16:12 Permalink

Theres a chance for real peace here.For once I am seeing that these MENA countries can get along.  Everyone is falling into MOscows influence. Putin is playing a game where the rewards for everyone are PROFIT for everyone.  Everyone wins.  These coutries are getting tired of playing the Israeli/US game of destabilization and destruction. What do they get out of that?You should have seen Igor Sechin on the news hee in Kurdistan.  He was discussing the new pipeine deal that Rosneft made to build a line through Kurdistan into Turkey to Europe.  The kurdish reporter asks him "Are you worried about Erdogan stopping the oil?"  He turned around, and laughed as he walked away with total confidence. Erdogan wont do anything.Imagine this:Russia makes a deal to allow a kurdish state, buys off the opposition from Iran and Turkey by giving them weapons and economic incentives - Iran links to the same pipeline, Turkey gets the construction contracts and bigger %, Russia ensures security Kurdistan gets its freedom. Iran Turkey and Russia all feel secure knowing that there wont be missile bases and advanced weapons from hostile NATO countries in their backyard removing their first strike and defence capabilities. Turkey gets a promise from Barzanni not to support the PKK and work towards peace. Syria offers up federalisation to the Rojavan Kurds. All these countries are now linked at the hip in a MUTUALLY BENIFICIAL relationship. One that forces them to get along because of their shared interest and economies.Saudi sees this happening, fully supports it because a Kurdish state stops the Iranian Shia Cresecent forever. Saudi makes a deal, and now Saudi will build a pipeline north through Iraq as well. If you have time google the recent visit of Barzanni to Bin Salmans house.  He loves Barzanni. Saudi hasn't come out and said anything too harsh against kurdish independence. They are on board.Peace in our time from Evil Putin.  Trump has a hissy fit and stops his exercises because he's but hurt.  The US has nothing to offer anyone. None of these countries need protection if they are all linked together in  a MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL relationship guarantted by Uncle Putin.Uncle Jalal just passed away. Uncle Putin taking over. Trump being pushed out on the sidelines.  Just wait until China announces the new projects in Syria.BT

In reply to by Jim in MN

Broken_Trades Broken_Trades Fri, 10/06/2017 - 16:15 Permalink

and almost forgot: http://www.gazprom-neft.com/press-center/news/1168011/

GAZPROM NEFT SIGNS MEMORANDUM OF COOPERATION WITH SAUDI ARAMCO5 OCTOBER 2017, PRESS RELEASE Gazprom Neft has signed a Memorandum of Cooperation with Saudi Aramco, the national oil company of Saudi Arabia, to extend their partnership in oil and gas industry. Signatories to the document were Alexander Dyukov, CEO of Gazprom Neft, and Amin H. Nasser, President and CEO, Saudi Aramco.

In reply to by Broken_Trades

Jim in MN Broken_Trades Fri, 10/06/2017 - 19:48 Permalink

The role of the Kurds in all this is a big question.  I find it hard to envision them having the ability to block an effective Shia 'corridor' which would just bypass them to the south.  Mosul is the real lynchpin.  Who controls Mosul controls a lot of that dynamic.Of course the US probably has some (very bad) options drawn up to disrupt Shia/Alawite link-ups across 'Syraq'.  Perhaps that is what President Trump is winking about.On the other hand if the Vegas shooter really is ISIS, and the Syrians, Iranians and Putin just killed ISIS, well.  What to do, what to do.

In reply to by Broken_Trades

Broken_Trades Jim in MN Fri, 10/06/2017 - 20:01 Permalink

The role of the Kurds...  Have you ever looked at a google map of Iraq?  There are no roads or highways traversing east to west that are not in Kurdish occupied territory. Its a matter of logistics. Iraq has shitty roads, everyone knows that.  They have all the money and weapons and support but they can't even build good roads.  At least the Kurds were smart enough to get the Turks in to build some for them. They are currently 4 laning the road from IBK through to Dohuk. No way in hell Erdogan closes the border.BT

In reply to by Jim in MN

Mazzy Broken_Trades Fri, 10/06/2017 - 20:26 Permalink

Not true.  Have you ever been to Iraq?  They have decent highways which are ridiculously easy to maintain with the aird and semi arid climates.  They don't have to deal with freeze/thaw cycles by and large.Does every backwater village have a good road leading to it?  No.  But you can traverse the country on roads not too much worse than US interstates, albiet most are not wider than one lane either direction.

In reply to by Broken_Trades

Broken_Trades Mazzy Fri, 10/06/2017 - 21:52 Permalink

Yes. And I agree with everything you said except for the freeze thaw. Mountain roads here are fooked.In the context of the conversation: " King Salmon likes Barzanni because Barzanni blocks The Shia Cresecent - connection from Iran to Syria"  My original comment was King Bin Salmons comment about barzanni, and upon reviewing it "stops the cresecent forever" may be bit too much. I am relaying his opinion of Barzanni and why he indicated he likes Barzanni.  This is not my opinion, but I can't help but notice that all of the major east/west roads are in Kurdish held territory. You pretty much have to cross the border at Baghdad then drive north to mosul to bypass kurdish territory.RgsBT  

In reply to by Mazzy

Which way to t… Broken_Trades Sat, 10/07/2017 - 02:07 Permalink

"Theres a chance for real peace here"The only chance for peace in the ME is for the Zionists and their enablers butt out of the ME. The threat of the Kurds establishing a state is one thing that has states that openly hated each other talking together on how to nip this in the bud. As the VP of Iraq told the US Ambassador, No second Israel will be allowed in Iraq. Turkey has been turned to working with Russia at least in part on the fear of weapons that the US have supplied to the Kurds will be used on them. Don't forget the billions in arms spent on old soviet gear that has or will be heading their way. In another twist, the US just stopped paying the Peshmerga salaries. The US hand will be forced to tone down the Kurds desire for Independance. The Zionist state in the meantime is going bat shit crazy because peace is about to break out. Can't make any money from that can they. Need to look for new horizons.  Look out Iran. The hot potato may be heading in your direction. If not, then Myramar and the Philippines will do.A good source for info on Kurds in Partisangirl. None of that polished PR image they have in the MSN. https://www.infowars.com/report-antifa-receiving-military-training-in-s… http://www.voltairenet.org/article197144.htmlhttps://twitter.com/Partis…

In reply to by Broken_Trades

Conscious Reviver Broken_Trades Sat, 10/07/2017 - 04:47 Permalink

Broken Trades, I can agree with most of what you are saying, but why the hardon for the Kurds? The Kurds have at various times fought with every other force in Syriaq. They have switched sides often. Launched unprovoked attacks. Been accused of ethnic cleansing. Recently, they've even been fighting with the Yadzi who don't want to fight anybody. So in short, they have pissed off almost everyone and no way they get any state. The only government that is publicly in favor of an independent Kurdish state is Israel. But when Syria, Iraq, Iran and Turkey say no, Israel is powerless to make it happen. As somebody aptly said the other day, Kurds are the new South Vietnamese.One other point, the Baghdad-Damascus Highway goes nowhere near Kurdish territory. Get out a map and take a look.

In reply to by Broken_Trades

TheReplacement Jim in MN Sun, 10/08/2017 - 09:39 Permalink

I think you are wrong.  Someone is going to have to stop the genocide of Kurdistan when they are attacked and you better believe it will be western troops doing a lot of the fighting.  That referendum didn't happen just as the CIA/Mossad/Sunni ISIS plot was winding down by coincidence.  Another cause to replace the old cause.  Long live the cause.

In reply to by Jim in MN

hedgeless_horseman nope-1004 Fri, 10/06/2017 - 14:55 Permalink

 

Something big already happened, just that we the peons haven't been told.

These are my sentiments, exactly.However, it is so hard to hear anything with all the noise down here in steerage, and, on top of this, the band plays on.Just be patient, as I am sure they will sound the alarm soon enough, and we will all be safely loaded on the life boats.

In reply to by nope-1004

pynky01 38BWD22 Fri, 10/06/2017 - 21:52 Permalink

We agreed to protect the Saudi King if they agreed to the dollar... so now what.... the new king said....  Yall made deal with old king...I am new King we make new deal... with Russia... so WHAT HAPPENS WHEN US DOLLAR IS NOT THE CURRENCY OF CHOICE...    INFLATION IS WHAT THEY BEEN TALKING ABOUT... ARE WE AT THE END OF OUR FIAT MONEY... AS LONG AS IT WILL BUY FOOD WE WILL BE OK...I guess... BE PREPARED FOR WHAT...COUNTRIES NEED TO BE CAREFUL WHEN THE USA'S ECONOMY IS BAD...THINGS START TO BURN... ALL WE HAVE TO FEAR IS FEAR ITSELF... 

In reply to by 38BWD22

Omen IV 07564111 Fri, 10/06/2017 - 16:21 Permalink

If you want to move the price of oil by $10 increments - Russia is the natural ally - and proven to be a master of strategy/ equipment / technology/ tactics / commitment you can count on / and especially Diplomacy

Each $10 PER Bbl- is $33 Billion per annum to SA
Not pocket change - when the largest "future" world supplier is ....Russia and can make it stick

They also have Iran / Iraq / Turkey / Syria / Hezbollah as partners plus tangentially the Taliban / Pakistan

And a 10 million man military when the game goes full tilt and they want it -- China!

The Washington Cabal has no credibility with its "word" internationally nor with its Citizens - who hate them - republicans & Democrats alike

No one but fools see otherwise

LV was inept- no videos of the garage / elevators / hallway / lobby of the PERP!!!!!
This event is representative of their credibility worldwide

We are witnessing the CLOWN car go to a Clown bus and now to a Clwon Train

Trump is a minor figure in this 70 year process which never changed

Good luck to all American Citizens - you didn't deserve what's to happen

In reply to by 07564111

peopledontwanttruth major major ma… Fri, 10/06/2017 - 16:05 Permalink

Daniel 11:40-45
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

40 “At the time of the end, the king of the South will engage him in battle, but the king of the North will storm against him with chariots, horsemen, and many ships. He will invade countries and sweep through them like a flood. 41 He will also invade the beautiful land, and many will fall. But these will escape from his power: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of the Ammonites. 42 He will extend his power against the countries, and not even the land of Egypt will escape. 43 He will get control over the hidden treasures of gold and silver and over all the riches of Egypt. The Libyans and Cushites will also be in submission. 44 But reports from the east and the north will terrify him, and he will go out with great fury to annihilate and completely destroy many. 45 He will pitch his royal tents between the sea and[c] the beautiful holy mountain, but he will meet his end with no one to help him.

In reply to by major major ma…