Saturday, February 23, 2019

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Asia

Relations between sanctimonious Western nations and Saudi Arabia are on the rocks. The death of Jamal Khashoggi offered just the excuse needed to undermine the alliance with Saudi Arabia. The American Congress has been up in arms over the murder and has issued numerous highly principled and sanctimonious threats against the kingdom. The weak sisters of Western Europe have thrown their lot in with Iran, have worked to prop up the mullahs and have turned away from the burgeoning alliance between Arab countries and Israel… alliance designed to combat Iranian influence in the region.

Anyway, not one of these weak sisters has stood firmly against the horrors the Iranians commit against their people on a daily basis. But, Jamal Khashoggi… that was one too many.

Anyway, the net effect of all this hollering is that Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman has been reaching out to Asia, and finding a warm, welcoming greeting. Apparently, the young prince is not entirely unschooled in the workings of Realpolitik.

So, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday of the prince’s incursion into Asia:

The crown prince arrived in Beijing after state visits to Pakistan and India. Prince Mohammed has appeared determined to reset the public narrative about his rule after months of diplomatic turmoil. The Khashoggi murder has dominated headlines and triggered a backlash from Congress, where lawmakers have called for cutting U.S. support for the war in Yemen, which has killed more than 10,000 people and pushed millions of Yemenis to the brink of famine.

As expected, the American Congress and its holier-than-thou chorus has not a peep to offer about how the Iranians instigated said conflict.

As for the business at hand, here are some of the results of the Saudi trip to China:

Saudi Arabia on Friday signed a wide-ranging set of agreements on energy and trade with China, as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman accelerated efforts to court an economic power that offers a potential counterweight to the U.S.

Among the deals, Prince Mohammed’s delegation committed to a pact to build a roughly $10 billion petrochemical refinery in northeast China, a joint-venture project first announced in 2017 that would be co-owned by Saudi state-oil company Aramco and two Chinese state-owned enterprises, including China North Industries Corp., according to Aramco.

“I think this major investment is just starting,” Saudi energy minister Khalid bin Abdulaziz Al-Falih told China’s official Xinhua News Agency. “Saudi Arabia has a lot of capital that needs to find profitable places to be deployed. China is a great place to invest with a huge market and an improving environment.”

During Prince Mohammed’s stay in China, members of his delegation also signed agreements on energy, investment and counterterrorism. At least 25 Saudi companies participated in an “Invest in Saudi Arabia” business forum in Beijing.

Now, you will be thinking, what about the Uighurs? American foreign policy elites are up in arms about the Chinese government’s persecution of its Muslim minority. Apparently, said minority carried out a couple of successful terrorist attacks and the Chinese government cracked down, rather hard on them. It sent them to detention camps and has forced Muslims to eat bacon and wine. 

So, what did the keeper of the most sacred sites in Islam have to say about the Chinese practice. The Wall Street Journal has the story:

President Xi Jinping told Prince Mohammed that Beijing opposes any effort to interfere in Saudi Arabia’s internal affairs, while the crown prince said his government supports Beijing’s efforts to fight extremism—an apparent reference to China’s crackdown on Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in its Xinjiang region.


And, in Pakistan and India, the prince offered to release a certain number of their countrymen from prisons:

In Pakistan, the crown prince promised up to $20 billion in investments, funds that could help Pakistan avoid an economic crisis. He also agreed to release more than 2,000 Pakistanis from Saudi jails in a nod to the millions of South Asians living and working in Saudi Arabia.


In India, Prince Mohammed was welcomed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who broke protocol to greet the prince at the airport, where the two men hugged. Prince Mohammed reciprocated the warm reception in New Delhi by saying he would release 850 Indian prisoners from Saudi jails and touting the possibility of billions of dollars in new investments.

Let’s see. Prime Minister Modi also welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu warmly to Indian Independence Day celebrations. The “woke” prime minister of Canada, Justin Bieber was greeted at the airport by the junior sub-assistant of the agricultural ministry.

These examples show us, in real time, the difference between diplomacy run according to ideology and diplomacy run according to the principles of balance of powers.


trigger warning said...

$10B refinery??? More WSJ lies. Why, even the NYT lies, claiming that China's coal plants haven't cut methane and are responsible for 40% of global coal capacity (1/29/19), and that they are even building fossil fuel pipelines and power plants in other countries (11/2018)! Lies. Lies!


Donald Trump probably paid for those despicable, demented, deplorable lies with air-freighted pallets of dark money cash extorted from Oppressed People of Colour by the Dixieland 2nd Amendment MAGAman neo-Nazi Party.

Where are the SPLC and Snopes when you need them?

UbuMaccabee said...

I had a discussion about 10 years ago with an old friend who pointed out that China was leading the way on renewable energy--per their and the NYT propaganda machines. I told him that if he thought China would compromise its economic engine, and thereby its entire export economy, as Germany was doing, by committing to unworkable and infeasible solar and wind power, then he was a credulous fool.

China can and will do the math. The way you reduce missions is to switch to natural gas--as the US did over the past decade. Nuclear and hydroelectric are also on the table. Wind and solar are a suckers game, as Germany discovered too late.

I told him China will do what was in the interests of China, and if that means deceiving a naive western media, then so be it. That's called, an "elegant negotiable." Lying to the NYT while aligning on their environmental shibboleths is like shooting fish in a barrel.

Frankly, I am beginning to warm up the the new regime in Saudi Arabia. They appear pragmatic and realistic.

I would have deep-sixed Khashoggi as well. He was a Muslim Brotherhood stooge, a hostile spy for the SA government in exile, and was clearly using his perch at the WaPo to advance the cause of radical political Islam (and, I believe, satisfying the interests of the WaPo). If you aren't willing to dump bodies into the river (or stuff them into a suitcase), then you wont last long in that part of the world, or, I would argue, any part of the world, at any point in history. I simply wish the SA hit team had a bit more finesse on the matter. People fall down the stairs all the time, or commit suicide, or are shot twice in the back in after leaving a bar in Washington DC. We're better than this, people, much better.

Sam L. said...

tw: "Where are the SPLC and Snopes when you need them?" They've gone to the mattresses, and blindfolded themselves to insure they don't see what they don't want to see.