After Obama Fails To Stand Up To Russia, A SHOCKING New Development In Syria

Saudi Arabia has always been a country that shunned direct involvement in the Mideast wars. The Kingdom used Western armies (the First Gulf War, for example) and proxies to fight them and financed parties in conflicts to influence the outcome of wars, especially those involving Israel and countries where Sunni Muslims are threatened.

But since King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Defense Minister Muhammad bin Salman took over at the beginning of 2015, things have started to change.

Saudi Arabia directly intervened in Yemen, where the Iranian-backed Shiite Houthi militia threatened to overrun the country and was in the process of establishing an Iranian satellite state on its doorstep. The Saudi intervention didn’t bring the desired results, and as the war in Yemen drags on, it is becoming increasingly clear that Saudi Arabia has lost its face in the battle against the Houthis.

But that didn’t stop Salman, Bin Nayef and Bin Salman from confronting Iran in other arenas.

The regime in Riyadh recently confronted Iran directly when it executed the popular Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr and decided to cut ties with the mullahs in Tehran after the ransacking of the Saudi diplomatic missions in Iran. Salman successfully pressured the other Gulf States to cut ties with Iran as well, but stopped short of declaring war on Iran.

At the end of 2015, Saudi Arabia formed an Islamic coalition that would combat ‘terror’ and especially Islamic State; but in reality, this coalition seemed to exist on paper only.

Now, however, the Saudis seem to have taken their involvement in the conflicts in the Middle East to a different level.

Last week, media reported that Saudi Arabia was contemplating sending ground troops to Syria, officially to help in the fight against Islamic State — but that was not the real reason for the intended intervention in Syria.

A couple of days later, a long convoy of more than 100 Humvees was spotted near the Al-Haditha border crossing with Jordan. The Oshkosh M-ATV Humvees reportedly crossed into Jordan and were heading for Syria, local citizen journalists reported.

On Sunday, media reported that Saudi Arabia has stationed a squadron of F-15 fighter planes at the Incirlik air force base in Turkey in preparation for a possible Turkish-Saudi intervention in Syria. The deployment of the Saudi warplanes at Incirlik was first denied by Turkey, but Brig. Gen. Ahmed Al-Assiri, spokesman of the Saudi Defense Ministry, confirmed Saturday the deployment of Saudi fighter jets to the Turkish base.

The Daily Caller even reported Saudi Arabia was amassing troops in Turkey, but that was denied by both Turkish and Saudi leaders and could not be independently confirmed by Western Journalism.

Officially, Turkey and Saudi Arabia say they will join the battle against ISIS; but Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that if the political process fails (read: the stalled talks in Geneva), Bashar al-Assad will be removed by force. Al-Jubeir emphasized that deployment of Saudi ground forces in Syria will be done in coordination with the U.S., but the facts on the ground contradict his statements.

Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Davutoglu confirmed the Saudi-Turkish preparations for a possible ground operation in Syria, but said that until now, only Saudi planes have been stationed in Turkey. He also said that Saudi military officials had made ‘exploratory visits’ to Turkey recently.

The news about the emerging grand Sunni coalition in the Syrian war comes after the United States accepted for the first time that Assad will stay in power by agreeing to a cessation of hostilities in Syria, instead of confronting Russia about its direct help to the Syrian dictator.

The Turks and the Saudis saw that the Russians and the Iranians are dictating events in Syria and are exerting their power and influence in the region while the United States is in retreat. Both Turkey and Saudi Arabia feel betrayed by the Obama administration and noticed the West’s response to Russian and Iranian imperialism in the Middle East is only more blabbering about ceasefires and empty talk about the need for regime change in Syria.

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are large Sunni states and don’t want the minority Shiites or Alawites to rule over Syria again. They saw how Hezbollah and the regime forces laid siege to Sunni towns and villages and began to starve the Sunni residents, and know that Sunnis will be slaughtered by the droves if Assad, Hezbollah, and the Iranians win the war.

So, they decided to act the moment it became clear that the Obama administration refused to stand up against the Russians.

Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist and former advisor to then-ambassador Prince Turki al-Faisal, told Lebanese media that the Saudis don’t bluff. “It is serious, it is the beginning of Saudi intervention in Syria to change the balance, to bring balance back,” Khashoggi said.

He added the Saudi intervention in Syria could be averted “if the Americans can get the Russians to stop bombing and go back to Geneva.”

But events in Syria are already spinning out of control.

Turkey is now operating in Syria and has succeeded in expelling Kurdish YPG forces from the border town of Azaz. A hospital in the town was hit by missiles that Turkey says were fired by Russian warplanes. Fourteen civilians died in the attack.

Elsewhere in Syria, warplanes destroyed a hospital of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). Turkey claimed the Russians did it, but Russia denied the allegations. The Russians accused Ankara of bringing in fresh Jihadi groups that entered Syria illegally ‘to help Islamic State.’ In reality, however, Turkey brought in 350 Islamist rebels to stop the Syrian army from advancing in the direction of the strategic border town of Tal Rifat.

HNG, the Sunni umbrella organization of the Syrian opposition, endorsed the Turkish-Saudi intervention in Syria Monday.

“The Turkish intervention and the ground operation announced by Saudi Arabia are parts of the international coalition’s operation to fight terrorism and is not related to the opposition plan to oust (President Bashar) Assad. We do not wish to see foreign troops on our land,” a spokesman for the Sunni opposition told the Russian news outlet Sputnik

Sign Posted Outside This Starbucks Has People Worldwide Calling For Boycott: ‘Unreal’

Saudi Arabia, an ally of the U.S., is staunchly guided by Islamic Sharia law.

Last week, President Barack Obama, while speaking at a mosque, praised Islam, encouraged Hollywood to use Muslim actors and lauded the supposed contributions of Islam to this country’s history. But in Saudi Arabia, women know all too well how Islam makes their lives rather difficult (to put it mildly), even when simply getting a cup of Starbucks coffee.

In one Starbucks coffee shop in Saudi Arabia, women are no longer allowed to enter. That’s because the partition separating women from men fell down. According to one source, all the Starbucks outlets in Saudi Arabia must create separate entrances and sitting areas by gender.

The Saudi Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice banned women from entering a Starbucks location in Riyadh. A note was reportedly placed on the entrance for females; it reads, “Please no entry for Ladies. Only send your driver to order. Thank you.”

The note incensed some Saudi women, with many taking their complaints to social media. One Twitter user tweeted, “#Starbucks store in Riyadh refused 2 serve me just because I’m a WOMAN & asked me 2 send a man instead@Starbucks.”

A man named Mohammed tweeted, “Unreal. Starbucks in Saudi Arabia refused to serve women. Note on their door…”

Another user tweeted calling for a boycott of Starbucks: “If Starbucks bend over the non-respect of women’s rights, I will not be a customer! #BoycottStarbucks.”

Saudi Arabia is notorious for controlling and dominating women. They cannot go anywhere by themselves. They cannot drive. They cannot try on clothes while shopping. They cannot open their own bank account. They’re not allowed to go for a swim. They’re not allowed to have a male doctor without another male guardian present.

Human Rights Watch has documented Saudi Arabia’s violations against free speech, rights of women, and rights of protest.

Saudi Arabia At War With Iran In Yemen

Ever since Saudi Arabia executed the Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr a week and a half ago, the crisis between the Shiite regime in Iran and the Sunni monarchy continues to escalate.

The longstanding conflict between the two countries reached a boiling point when Iran didn’t prevent the ransacking of Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic missions in Iran.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir has even accused the Iranian regime of encouraging arson in the diplomatic missions of his country.

Saudi Arabia reacted to the Iranian aggression by expelling all Iranian diplomats and severed not only all diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic–the Saudi regime also called for a ban on imports of Iranian goods after Iran announced a ban on imports from Saudi Arabia.

In addition, the Saudi authorities halted all air traffic from Iran and called upon Saudi companies to sever trade with the Islamic Republic.

This weekend, the Arab League, citing “Iranian provocations,” decided to side with Saudi Arabia. Nabil al-Arabi, the Egyptian Secretary-General of the Arab League, demanded that the Arab League “adopt a strong and clear common position calling on Iran to stop all forms of interference in the affairs of Arab nations.”

The Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Javad Zarif, meanwhile, had noticed that the Obama administration refrained from criticizing Iran after the regime in Tehran allowed angry mobs to set Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic missions on fire. Zarif used the New York Times as a forum to rally public opinion in the US behind the Islamic Republic.

The Iranian FM lashed out at Riyadh for “standing in the way of constructive engagement” in the Middle East and “brainwashing those who carried out terrorist attacks against the United States,” The Times of Israel reported.

Zarif claimed that Iran contributes to peace and stability in the region, whereas Saudi Arabia continues “to impede normalization” and is “determined to drag the entire region into confrontation.” He charged that al-Nimr’s execution was an “act of barbarism” and claimed that Saudi Arabia supports Islamic State.

The media, meanwhile, speculate on whether the current crisis could end in a war between the two rivals.

The truth is that the two enemies have been at war with each other for quite some time now.

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia use proxies to wage this war. In Syria, Iraq and Yemen the two countries support groups and regimes on opposing sides in the conflict. Iran supports the Assad regime and Hezbollah in Syria, whereas Saudi Arabia is known for its support of Jabhat al-Nusra (the local Al Qaeda branch) and the Jaish al-Fatah rebel coalition.

In Yemen, Iran supports the Shiite al-Houthi rebels, while Saudi Arabia in April 2015 cobbled together a Sunni coalition that last week ended a fragile cease-fire that had been in place since the 15th of December last year.

The breach of the cease-fire in Yemen by Saudi Arabia shortly after the attacks on its diplomatic missions in Iran was the clearest sign yet that the regime in Saudi Arabia considered the Iranian actions a declaration of war.

Last Friday, Saudi planes bombed buildings in the vicinity of the Iranian embassy in Sanaa, the capital of Yemen. The strike on the Yemeni capital was one of the heaviest Saudi aerial attacks on Houthi targets in Yemen to date. Scores of Houthi rebels have died since Saudi Arabia resumed air attacks on Sanaa, while local sources in Yemen accuse the Houthis of firing indiscriminately on neighborhoods in Sanaa and of blocking aid supplies to civilians in the capital.

The escalation in Yemen could spill over to Saudi Arabia, which shares a long border with the war-torn Gulf country.

Iran doesn’t recognize the custody of the Saudi monarchy over Mecca and Medina, the Muslim holy cities in Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, during the rule of former President Ahmadinejad, the regime in Tehran produced a movie about the return of the Mahdi, the Shiite Messiah, in which the Mullahs predicted that Yemen would be used as a beachhead by Shiite forces for a future attack on Saudi Arabia. The Iranian actions in Yemen have a lot to do with this Shiite prophecy.

Saudi Arabia is well aware of the Iranian aspirations in the Arabian Peninsula and has treated the Houthi takeover of Yemen as an Iranian incursion aimed at Mecca and Medina from the beginning.

Since the new Saudi king Salman took over last year, the regime in Riyadh has taken a much more aggressive stance toward Iran. The new king has apparently come to the conclusion that Saudi Arabia cannot rely any longer on its long-time ally the United States and on proxy armies to defend itself from Iran’s ambitions.

Tensions Between Iran And Saudi Arabia Boil Over After Execution Of Shiite Cleric And Attack On Saudi Embassy In Tehran

Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran have been high ever since a stampede in Mecca during the annual Hajj pilgrimage in early September killed 2,389 people, among them at least 468 Iranians. Immediately after the stampede, Iran claimed that 2,000 people died and that hundreds of its citizens were still missing while Saudi Arabia insisted that the death toll was only 769.

Iranian media and government officials later reported that Saudi Arabia abducted several diplomats and members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps during the stampede. Some Iranian and Egyptian news outlets even went as far blaming the Israeli secret service Mossad for the abductions. The Mossad had pre-planned the stampede with the Saudi authorities to abduct the members of the IRGC, and the Iranian diplomats reported the Egyptian News Agency al-Nahrein (Nile Net) at the end of September.

Saudi Embassy Tehran on fire

The body of one missing prominent Iranian diplomat was found only at the end of November and was subsequently handed over to the authorities in Tehran. The missing diplomat was Ghazanfar Roknabadi, the former Iranian ambassador to Lebanon and a key player in Iran’s involvement in Lebanon and the war in Syria. Saudi Arabia held him accountable for the organization of Iranian (terrorist) activities in Sunni countries.

This weekend, tensions between the archenemies started to boil over after news broke that Saudi Arabia had executed 47 Shiites and Sunnis for involvement in terrorist activities. Many of those executed were affiliated with Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia said.

Among the Shiites that were executed was the Saudi Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr “who spent more than a decade studying theology in Iran and had been a driving force behind Shiite-led anti-government protests in Saudi Arabia since 2011,” The Times of Israel reported

Iranian officials reacted furiously to the news of al-Nimr’s execution and claimed that “the Saudi government supports terrorist movements and extremists, but confronts domestic critics with oppression and execution.” Hossein Jaber Ansari, the spokesman of the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, threatened that Saudi Arabia will “pay a high price” for its policies.

Shortly after Ansari issued his statement, an angry mob stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran and set the building on fire. The protesters took down the Saudi flag, hurled Molotov cocktails and succeeded to ignite fires inside the building before Iranian police intervened and firefighters arrived at the scene. The building was heavily damaged. The Saudi consulate in the Iranian city of Mashhad underwent a similar fate and was destroyed by a large crowd of protesters.

Saudi Arabia reacted with furor to the assault on its embassy and consulate, and accused Iran of “terrorism and undermining regional stability”. The Iranian ambassador was summoned by the Saudi authorities and was told that Iran has no right to accuse Saudi Arabia of terrorism because it sponsors terrorism and abuses human rights.

“Iran’s regime has no shame as it rants on human rights matters, even after it executed hundreds of Iranians last year without a clear legal basis,” a statement by the Saudi Foreign Ministry said.

“By defending the acts of terrorist, the Iranian regime is considered a partner in their crimes and is held completely responsible for its policies of incitement and escalation.”

The statement by the Saudi Foreign Ministry claimed that Iran has provided members of the Al-Qaeda leadership safe haven since the attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

Saudi Arabia also leveled harsh criticism on Iran’s “flagrant interferences in regional countries, including Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon, as well as Syria where it has directly intervened through its Revolutionary Guard and Shiite militia.” An act that has caused the deaths of thousands of Syrian civilians the Saudi Foreign Ministry claimed.

The mutual accusations of involvement in terrorism and abuses of human rights by Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran seem like a clear example of the pot calling the kettle black.

Both Iran and Saudi Arabia support terrorist movements and were directly involved in terrorist acts against Western and Jewish/Israeli targets. For example, Iran was behind the 1994 bombing of the AMIA/DAIA building of the Jewish community in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Saudi Arabia was directly involved in the 9/11 Al-Qaeda attacks on the United States

Furthermore, both countries are among the worst human rights abusers in the world as was again proven by the Lebanese news site YaLibnan this weekend.

YaLibnan published two shocking reports about executions in Iran and Saudi Arabia in 2015.”

“Iran wins the world record for most executions per capita,” YaLibnan reported. “Tehran hanged at least 694 people between Jan. 1 and Sept. 15, the highest rate of executions in the Islamic Republic in some 25 years,” the Lebanese news outlet wrote citing a new UN report. The article gave numerous examples of the abysmal state of affairs when it comes to human rights in Iran, a country where people can receive the death penalty for posting criticism of the government on social media.

The other YaLibanan report dealt with the number of executions and beheadings in Saudi Arabia last year.

“Saudi Arabia carried out at least 157 executions in 2015, with beheadings reaching their highest level in the kingdom in two decades, according to several advocacy groups that monitor the death penalty worldwide,” YaLibanan reported.

Many of those executed by Saudi authorities were convicted for drugs-related crimes. Saudi Arabia rejects comparisons with the Islamic State about the beheadings and claims that its “judiciary process requires at least 13 judges at three levels of court to rule in favor of a death sentence before it is carried out.”

Yalibnan quoted Delphine Lourtau, research director at Cornell Law School’s Death Penalty Worldwide, who refuted the Saudi defense of its death penalty procedure. Lourtau gave some examples of the flaws in the procedures and said that “defendants on Saudi Arabia are not provided defense lawyers and in numerous cases of South Asians arrested for drug trafficking, they are not provided translators in court hearings. She said there were also questions over the degree of influence the executive has on trial outcomes when it comes to cases where Shiite activists are sentenced to death.”

Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader poured oil on the flames when he posted a couple of tweets on Sunday morning that said Saudi Arabia will face Divine revenge and in which he claimed Saudi Arabia is like ISIS.

He also posted a poster of Al-Nimr on his Twitter account that stated “awakening is not suppressible” and included pictures of Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin and the Lebanese arch-terrorist Samir Kuntar, who murdered an Israeli father and his three year-old-daughter in 1979 and was liquidated by the IAF two weeks ago.

The crisis between the Sunni monarchy and the Islamic Republic which portrays itself as the defender of Shiite Muslims was exacerbated later on Sunday when Saudi Arabia decided to severe all ties with Iran. The Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs announced that all Iranian diplomats had to leave the kingdom within 48 hours.

BREAKING: Panic Spreading Across Financial World After People Wake Up To Nasty Surprise

Fears over China’s economy sent stock markets tumbling worldwide on Monday, the first trading day of the year.

The selloff was sparked by a new report showing China’s manufacturing sector contracted during the end of 2015, according to CNN Money. The Shanghai Composite index plummeted nearly 7 percent for the day before trading was halted, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq fell over two percent on Monday morning.

“Even though the manufacturing report was disappointing, it’s just the latest sign of a slowdown in China. Analysts said selling in Chinese markets was also driven by other factors, including the scheduled lifting of bans on IPOs (public offerings) and sales by larger investors,” CNN reported.

“With headwinds both domestic and external, investors feared a hard landing may be inevitable and rushed to the exits,” Emma Dinsmore, CEO of R-Squared Macro Management, wrote in a client note.

“More fluctuations in global markets are expected now that the U.S. Federal Reserve has started raising interest rates. The government needs to pay more attention to external risk factors in the short term and fine-tune macroeconomic policies accordingly so the economy does not fall off a cliff,” Caixin chief economists He Fan said, according to Business Insider

Another source for concern with investors is the volatility in the oil markets caused by rising tensions in the Middle East. Oil prices spiked 3.5 percent after news that Saudi Arabia (the world’s second largest oil producer) was severing diplomatic ties with Iran.