Tuesday, 21 November 2017

URGENT, BREAKING: Lebanese Army at "full readiness" on southern border

Lebanese Army ordered at ‘full readiness’ at southern border to face Israeli threat
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Lebanese Army ordered at ‘full readiness’ at southern border to face Israeli threat

RT,
21 November, 2017

The head of the Lebanese Army has asked the military to be at “full readiness” to face “the Israeli enemy” at the southern border, according to the army’s Twitter account.

قائد الجيش للعسكريين: أدعوكم إلى الجهوزية التامة على الحدود الجنوبية لمواجهة تهديدات العدو الإسرائيلي وخروقاته، وما يبيّته من نيّات عدوانية ضد لبنان وشعبه وجيشه، كما إلى السهر الدائم على حسن تنفيذ القرار 1701 بالتنسيق والتعاون مع قوات الأمم المتحدة في لبنان، حفاظاً على الاستقرار.


DETAILS TO FOLLOW

Merkel's government collapses

"Worst Case Scenario" Looms As Merkel's "Jamaica Coalition" Collapses


20 November, 2017


We warned on Friday that German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced a 'night of the long knives' in her efforts to bring together the co-called 'Jamaica' coalition of four parties and after a desperate weekend of talks, Bloomberg reports Merkel's efforts at forming a coalition have failed meaning a second election looms and sending the euro sliding.

As Bloomberg reports, talks on forming German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s next government collapsed, throwing the future of Europe’s longest-serving leader into doubt and potentially pointing the world’s fourth-biggest economy toward new elections.

After a 12-hour negotiating session that ended shortly before midnight Sunday, the Free Democratic Party walked out of the exploratory talks, saying the differences with the Green party were too great to bridge.

Merkel has sought for four weeks to enlist the two smaller parties for her fourth-term coalition.




It’s better not to govern than to govern badly,” FDP head Christian Lindner told reporters in Berlin.

No further coalition talks were scheduled, he said. There was no immediate comment from Merkel.
EURUSD is down aroound 80 pips on the news...


As MINT Partners' Bill Blain noted previously, Germans are not used to multiple elections – and a second vote early next year would be massive negative for Merkel herself – she may even have to stand down if coalition looks like falling. That could be massive shock.

As a result, the prospects for more volatile European peripheral markets, particularly Greece and Italy, are likely to be exacerbated, and we might well see some of the currency and European stock market froth blow away in coming days as the scale of the “German Problem” becomes clearer.
  • My worst case Germany scenario is a second election early next year, political uncertainty as Mutti Merkel finds herself squeezed out, and a scramble to build a new coalition government in her aftermath.

  • The best case scenario isn’t much better: that Merkel manages to forge a new coalition, but it will be a long drawn out affair and the resulting administration will be vulnerable, weak and fraxious.
These sound like German problems, but they mean the “leader of Europe” is likely to be entirely inward focused in coming months/years.. at a time when the European union will be facing a host of new issues regarding closer union, banking union and reform of the ESM, bailout and QE policies. There will also be new potential crisis points – Italian elections next year, Greece bailout, renewed immigration crisis or a blow-up with Trump. And these are just the known unknowns.

This has profound implications for the so-called French/German axis as it slides towards Paris. We are not going to see a new German government “waste time” on issues like closer EU union, European Banking Union, or critical finance issues like reforming ESM or new approaches on QE and Bailout funds. Forget Wiedemann for ECB president, it’s more likely to another Frenchman (Trichet II) – I’m sure its already underway. In short.. Germany negotiations could get very fraxious while Europe is dragged down in its wake. I doubt the markets have discounted it yet.




Threats of explostion at Hanford

EXPERTS WARN OF IMPENDING EXPLOSION AT HANFORD NUCLEAR WASTE STORAGE FACILITY




Erdogan threatens to take Turkey our of NATO

I suspect that, unlike others,he may mean it.

BREAKING: Erdogan’s top Presidential aid says Turkey should consider withdrawing from NATO

Turkey’s relations with the rest of NATO have deteriorated rapidly over the past year.


By Adam Garrie


20 November, 2017


Chief Adviser to the President of Turkey, Yalchin Topchu has told local media that Turkey should reconsider its NATO membership. Recently, Turkey’s President Erdogan withdrew troops from a would-be pan-NATO military exercise in Norway after Erdogan’s name along with that of Turkish Republic founder Ataturk, appeared on a poster of “enemies”.

Topchu told journalists in Ankara,
It is time to reconsider our membership in NATO. We do not need an organisation that displays in every possible way its hostile attitude towards its member. The issue of our presence in that organisation should be urgently considered in the Turkish parliament”.

He continued,
A traitorously hostile tone sounds in regard to our country and the elected president, it is about the meanness and disgrace shown during the NATO exercises, where the photo of Ataturk and Erdogan’s name were paired with hostile intentions… It’s time to reconsider our membership in NATO. An organisation that shows its hostile attitude to its member in every way”.

Turkey has multiple disagreements with the US led alliance. In many ways, staunch US support of pro-PKK Kurdish militants in Syria has been the biggest of many points of contention between Ankara and Washington.

Yesterday, President Erdogan threatened to remove US radar systems from Turkish soil if the US follows through with its threats not to deliver F-35 fighter jets which Turkey has purchased. Washington has threatened to withdraw delivery because Turkey has purchased Russia’s powerful S-400 missile defence systems.

Turkey’s alienation from the western alliance of which it used to be an enthusiastic member has coincided with the development of increasingly strong relations with Eurasian powers including neighbouring Iran and the Russian Federation.




Nesr record high temperatures despite La-Nina in Pacific

The Equatorial Pacific is Going Through its Variable Cool Phase, But 2017 is 94 Percent Likely to be the Second Hottest Year Ever Recorded


20 November, 2017

During late 2016, the Pacific Ocean started to cool off along its Equatorial region after experiencing one of the strongest warming events for that zone ever recorded. But despite this late cooling phase, the year ended up being the hottest ever recorded in the 137 year climate record — topping out at around 1.22 degrees Celsius above preindustrial temperatures. A longer term warming trend that has been directly driven by human burning of fossil fuels and related greenhouse gas emissions.


This year, the periodic Equatorial cooling known as La Nina is again taking place in the Pacific during fall following a very mild warming during winter and spring. But despite the appearance of a second such periodic cooling event, according to NASA 2017 is 94 percent likely to be the second warmest year ever recorded (see above).
October readings have come in and at 0.9 C above NASA  baseline (1.12 C above 1880s averages), temperatures are disturbingly high. The month is now the second hottest ever seen by modern humans. With only October of 2015 coming in warmer at 1.08 C above the 20th Century baseline (1.3 above 1880s).

(Heat transfer into the polar zones is increased during La Nina periods. This effect is enhanced by polar amplification related to human caused climate change. This week, very high relative temperature departures are expected for the Arctic. Image source: Climate Reanalyzer.)


Over the past two years, La Ninas (cooling Pacific) appear to have been at least partly off-set by very strong warming in the Arctic and Antarctic. Atmospheric circulation tends to transport more heat into the polar zones as the Pacific cool. 

This is due to the fact that temperature differential between Equator and poles during La Nina is less and the lower temperature differential causes the upper level winds to slow and meander. Coupled with polar amplification due to human-caused climate change, the result can be some pretty extreme temperature departures. This week is no exception as Arctic temperatures by Thursday through Saturday are expected to be between 4 and 5 degrees Celsius above average for the entire region above the 66 North parallel.


Such record warm temperatures do not occur in isolation. They help to drive extreme weather events such as severe droughts, rainfall, and powerful hurricanes. They are also accelerating sea level rise by melting glaciers even as both warming temperatures and related increasing ocean acidification contribute to dead zones, coral reef deaths and declining ocean health. Global temperature rise coupled with rising CO2 is therefore producing a major systemic crisis the world over.
RESOURCES:



Have the marines landed in Langley, VA?

More on unconfirmed rumours that marines have taken over CIA HQ.


The Marines Have Landed At Langley




Google to actively censor RT articles

Google will ‘de-rank’ RT articles to make them harder to find – Eric Schmidt


RT,
20 November, 2017

Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, says the company will “engineer” specific algorithms for RT and Sputnik to make their articles less prominent on the search engine’s news delivery services.
We are working on detecting and de-ranking those kinds of sites – it’s basically RT and Sputnik,” Schmidt said during a Q & A session at the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada on Saturday, when asked about whether Google facilitates “Russian propaganda.”


Schmidt appearance begins at 1:07:00 mark, relevant question at 1:33:00

We are well of aware of it, and we are trying to engineer the systems to prevent that [the content being delivered to wide audiences]. But we don’t want to ban the sites – that’s not how we operate.”

The discussion focused on the company’s popular Google News service, which clusters the news by stories, then ranks the various media outlets depending on their reach, article length and veracity, and Google Alerts, which proactively informs subscribers of new publications.

RT has criticized the proposed move – whose timescale has not been publicized – as arbitrary and a form of censorship.

Good to have Google on record as defying all logic and reason: facts aren’t allowed if they come from RT, ‘because Russia’ – even if we have Google on Congressional record saying they've found no manipulation of their platform or policy violations by RT,” Sputnik and RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said in a statement.

During the discussion, Schmidt claimed that he was “very strongly not in favor of censorship,” but said that he has faith in “ranking” without acknowledging if the system might serve the same function. Schmidt, who joined Google in 2001, said that the company’s algorithm was capable of detecting “repetitive, exploitative, false, and weaponized” info, but did not elaborate on how these qualities were determined.

The Alphabet chief, who has been referred to by Hillary Clinton as a “longtime friend,” added that the experience of “the last year” showed that audiences could not be trusted to distinguish fake and real news for themselves.

We started with the default American view that ‘bad’ speech would be replaced with ‘good’ speech, but the problem found in the last year is that this may not be true in certain situations, especially when you have a well-funded opponent who is trying to actively spread this information,” he told the audience.

Schmidt advised Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign on digital operations, and offered the same services to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2015, according to several emails from campaign chairman John Podesta’s private account, published by WikiLeaks last October.

On election night 2016, Schmidt was spotted at the Clinton campaign headquarters with a “staff” badge, according to a photo submitted to Politico.

RT America registered under FARA earlier this month, after being threatened by the US Department of Justice with arrests and confiscations of property if it failed to comply. The broadcaster is fighting the order in court.

Google’s initiative will have a direct impact on “freedom of speech and thought” in the US, believes Prof. Dan Kovalik, from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law.

It is a form of censorship, and the idea is to lead readers away from RT content. And it will have an impact on the discourse in this country,” Kovalik told RT. “When [you start] censoring anyone, they are going to censor everyone, and I think everyone in the US should be appalled by this and very concerned.”

Google is dancing to the tune of the US government as part of the broader campaign to demonize Russia, political commentator and TV host Steve Malzberg told RT.


This is all about the fact that Russia is right now the enemy. Russia has been made the enemy by the left, the Democrats and, by definition, the media. The media has been nonstop for a year now about ‘evil Russia.’ Anything associated with the ‘evil Russia’ will incur the wrath of the government,” Malzberg said. “It is because they have been called in before Congress and because of this witch hunt that is going on... They don’t want to risk the wrath of Congress, and that is the problem.”



CrossTalk BULLHORNS: 


FAKE DIPLOMACY



RT America was required to register as a foreign agent. Why have prominent media outlets and civil liberties groups been largely silent? Also, making sense of Saudi and Lebanese politics. And that American footprint in Syria.


CrossTalking with Mark Sleboda, Victor Olevich, and Sameera Khan.

Sexual assault complaints agaisnt Bill Clinton

The bulk of the media will talk about everything but the Clintons and their crimes.


EXCLUSIVE: Bill Clinton is facing NEW accusations of sexual assault by four women while the former president was working with a billionaire playboy and flying on his private jet nicknamed Air F**k One, claims Clinton author

  • Bill Clinton is facing accusations of sexual assault from four  women, highly placed Democratic Party sources have told author Ed Klein
  • The women allege the former president assaulted them in the early 2000s, when Clinton was working with playboy billionaire investor Ron Burkle
  • The unidentified women were employed in low-level positions at the Burkle organization and in their late teens at the time of the alleged assaults
  • Clinton helped Burkle generate business and flew around the world on Burkle's private jet, which was nicknamed 'Air F**k One' 
  • The 71-year-old politician has been haunted throughout his years in public office by allegations of sexual misconduct 
  • Hillary Clinton allegedly offered to hire private detectives to find dirt on the new accusers, but Clinton's legal team advised against it, sources said 
The 71-year-old politician has been followed throughout his years in public office with allegations of sexual misconduct, reaching its peak with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Pictured: Clinton with White House intern Lewinsky in 1998 

20 November, 2017

Edward Klein is the former editor in chief of the New York Times Magazine and the author of numerous bestsellers including his fourth book on the Clintons, Guilty as Sin, in 2016. His latest book is All Out War: The Plot to Destroy Trump was released on October 30, 2017. 

Bill Clinton is facing explosive new charges of sexual assault from four women, according to highly placed Democratic Party sources and an official who served in both the Clinton and Obama administrations.

The current accusations against the 71-year-old former president — whose past is littered with charges of sexual misconduct — stem from the period after he left the White House in 2001, say the sources.
Attorneys representing the women, who are coordinating their efforts, have notified Clinton they are preparing to file four separate lawsuits against him. 
As part of the ongoing negotiations, the attorneys for the women are asking for substantial payouts in return for their clients' silence. 
A member of Clinton's legal team has confirmed the existence of the new allegations. 
President Clinton, here with residents at the William Rivera Betancourt Vocational School which was turned into an emergency shelter in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, is facing accusations of sexual assault from four unidentified women, highly placed Democratic Party sources told author Ed Klein
President Clinton, here with residents at the William Rivera Betancourt Vocational School which was turned into an emergency shelter in Canovanas, Puerto Rico, is facing accusations of sexual assault from four unidentified women, highly placed Democratic Party sources told author Ed Klein

Back in the late 1990s, Clinton paid $850,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state employee whose case led to Clinton's impeachment in the House of Representatives and his subsequent acquittal by the Senate in 1999.
The negotiations in the new lawsuits are said to have reached a critical stage. 
If they fail, according to sources in Clinton's inner circle, the four women are said to be ready to air their accusations of sexual assault at a press conference, making Clinton the latest — and most famous — figure in a long list of men from Harvey Weinstein to Kevin Spacey who have recently been accused of sexual assault.
The new allegations refer to incidents that  took place more than 10 years ago, in the early 2000s, when Clinton was hired by Ron Burkle, the playboy billionaire investor, to work at his Yucaipa companies. 
Clinton helped Burkle generate business and flew around the world with a flock of beautiful young women on Burkle's private jet, which was nicknamed 'Air F**k One.'
The four women, who have not yet revealed their identities, were employed in low-level positions at the Burkle organization when they were in their late teens and claim they were sexually assaulted by the former president. 
There is no evidence that Burkle knew anything about these alleged assaults by Clinton.
Contacted for a comment on the women's allegations, a member of Clinton's legal team said: 'Obviously, I'm aware of [the allegations] but can't talk about them.'
The new charges are likely to revive the debate over why Democrats defended Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal and why liberals and feminists ignored credible charges of sexual assault against the 42nd president, not only from Paula Jones, but also from Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, and others.
'Bill is distraught at the thought of having to testify and defend himself against sex charges again,' said a Democratic Party official who is familiar with the case. 
'He hopes his legal team can somehow stop the women from filing charges and drag him through the mud.'
The source added that Hillary Clinton is furious with her husband for getting entangled in yet another sexual scandal.  
She reportedly offered to hire private detectives to dig up dirt on the women, but Bill Clinton's attorneys persuaded her to not interfere. 
'In the past Hillary had a team of detectives that managed to silence a number of women in Little Rock who had complaints about Bill's unwanted sexual advances,' said the source. 
'But now Hillary admits there's a different atmosphere in our culture about sexual harassment and it's not possible to intimidate women into silence about charges once they make up their mind to speak up.
'Hillary wants to remain in the public eye as a leader of the resistance to Donald Trump and play a major role in politics for years to come, including maybe even running for president again in 2020,' the source continued. 
'She's afraid this latest scandal could destroy the Clinton legacy and torpedo her plans.
'The relationship between Bill and Hillary has been more of a business relationship for a number of years, except when it comes to their daughter and grandchildren. 
'They haven't lived as man and wife for a number of years, mostly due to Bill's running around with other women.
'It became obvious years ago that even age wasn't going to make Bill settle down and stop chasing women. Hillary has simply ignored it and lived her separate life.
'Bill spends a great deal of his time in his penthouse apartment above the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock. 

'Hillary occasionally goes to Little Rock, but she refuses to stay in the apartment because she knows that's his love nest.' 

George Monbiot on the sell-out of Brtiain

George Monbiot: This government hates you and your country


The Guardian whitewashes Prince Mohammed bin Salman


"Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a regime, it has “leadership.” Unlike adversary governments, often seen in need of “regime change,” the Saudi government merely requires “reform”—and a bold new “reformer,” of the sort championed by the likes of the Guardian and New York Times."

Corporate Media Paints Power-Grabbing Saudi Dictator as Visionary ‘Reformer’




20 November, 2017



(FAIR) — Two weeks ago, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman carried out a brutal crackdown on his political opponents, arresting dozens of high-ranking relatives, kidnapping the prime minister of Lebanon, and seeing eight of his political rivals die in a convenient helicopter crash. The “consolidation of power” by the de facto Saudi ruler comes as his government ramps up its siege of Yemen and gets even closer to its US sponsor, thanks to a Trump’s dopey love affair with—and direct assistance of—the regime.

The cynical plan has been met, in some media quarters, with condemnation, but for many in the Western press, Mohammed’s self-serving power grab is the action of a bold “reformer,” a roguish bad boy doing the messy but essential work of “reforming” the kingdom—the “anti-corruption” pretext of the purge largely repeated without qualification. The most prominent sources for this spin were two major newspapers, the New York Times and Guardian:

  • Guardian (11/5/17): “Royal Purge Sends Shockwaves Through Saudi Arabia’s Elites: Move Consolidates Power of Prince Mohammed Bin Salman as He Attempts to Reform Kingdom’s Economy and Society”
  • Guardian (11/5/17: “Saudi Arrests Show Crown Prince Is a Risk-Taker With a Zeal for Reform: Mohammed Bin Salman Is Confronting Some of the Kingdom’s Richest and Most Powerful Men in His Anti-Corruption Drive—but Is He Taking on Too Much Too Fast?”
  • Guardian (11/6/17): “Oil Price Rises to Two-Year High After Saudi Arabia Purge: Markets Push Price Up to $62 a Barrel After Anti-Corruption Purge by Billionaire Crown Prince Who Backs Prolonging Oil Production Curbs”
  • Guardian  (11/7/17): “‘This Is a Revolution’: Saudis Absorb Crown Prince’s Rush to Reform: Consolidation of Power in Mohammed Bin Salman’s Hands Has Upended All Aspects of Society, Including Previously Untouchable Ultra-Elite”
  • New York Times (11/5/17): “Saudi Crown Prince’s Mass Purge Upends a Longstanding System”
  • New York Times (11/14/17): “The Upstart Saudi Prince Who’s Throwing Caution to the Wind”
While the text of the Times articles was far more skeptical about Mohammed’s motives, the Guardian’s (11/5/17) initial coverage of the bloody purge—not just the headlines—was written in breathless press release tones:
Saudi Arabia’s leadership has pulled off its boldest move yet to consolidate power around its young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, arresting 11 senior princes, one of the country’s richest men and scores of former ministers in what it billed as a corruption purge.
The move sidelined at least 20 senior figures, among them outspoken billionaire, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, sending shockwaves through the ranks of the kingdom’s elites, who had long viewed senior royals as immune.”

Lot of glowing prose to unpack here. Longtime Mideast correspondent Martin Chulov began by referring to “Saudi Arabia’s leadership,” which is a nice, sterile way of referencing the country’s unelected hereditary king and crown prince. Then he pivoted into marketing pablum about “bold moves” and “consolidating power,” before unironically framing the purge as an “anti-corruption” gesture designed to stick it to the “kingdom’s elites.” One could come away from reading this lead with the impression that the billionaire aristocrat was a populist folk hero in the vein of Robin Hood or John Dillinger. The thrilling profile continued:
Prince Mohammed will oversee the corruption commission, adding to his already formidable list of responsibilities, including his role as Defense minister and champion of the economic transformation, dubbed Vision 2030, that aims to revolutionize most aspects of Saudi life within 12 years.
Prince Mohammed told the Guardian last month that the kingdom had been “not normal” for the past 30 years and pledged to return Saudi Arabia to moderate Islam.”


While the author had a “to be sure” paragraph, citing “others” calling it a “naked attempt to weed out dissent,” the overall thrust of the article was that a roguish billionaire Boy King was earnestly seeking “reform” and opposing “elites.”


A follow-up piece (11/7/17) took flattering coverage to new extremes. The dispatch, again by Chulov, cited nothing but anonymous Saudi court hanger-ons and a Gulf-funded talking head from the NATO-aligned Atlantic Council think tank. 

The article, “‘This Is a Revolution’: Saudis Absorb Crown Prince’s Rush to Reform,” was populated with blind quotes from such adversarial voices as a “senior minister,” “a senior Saudi official,” a “senior figure,” a “senior Saudi businessman” and “veteran business leaders.” (Evidently no junior officials or rookie business leaders were available for comment.)


The article painted the “consolidation of power” by Mohammed as an inevitability with broad support—using the dubious “reform” narrative without irony. With Guardian editors again painting Mohammed as a populist hero by insisting he “upended” “previously untouchable ultra-elite,” one is left to wonder why they don’t consider the absolute-monarch-in-waiting—who just bought a $590 million yacht—part of the “ultra elite.” It’s a curious framing that reeks more of PR than journalism.


This was a trope one could see emerging over the past few months. Similar “bold reformer” frames were used in New York Times editorials (“The Young and Brash Saudi Crown Prince,” 6/23/17) and straight reporting (“Saudi Arabia’s Grand Plan to Move Beyond Oil: Big Goals, Bigger Hurdles,” 10/24/17). Everything’s new and exciting. The brutal, routine functions of the Saudi state are seen as laws of nature—and those in charge of it are the reformers of the very oppression they initially authored.

Guardian editorial on November 7 was critical of the government, calling it “regressive” and Mohammed “belligerent,” but ultimately rested on “both sides” framing of recent events. The only meaningfully critical coverage of Saudi Arabia coming from the Guardian since the purge has been in two articles (11/12/1711/16/17), both in the context of Saudi Arabia’s war on Yemen. Neither mentioned bin Salman, and both stressed how the Saudis are responding in earnest to international pleas to stop their mass-murdering blockade of the Arab world’s poorest country.


Per usual, the Guardian reserves the label “regime” for Official Enemies like Syria and North Korea; Saudi Arabia doesn’t have a regime, it has “leadership.” Unlike adversary governments, often seen in need of “regime change,” the Saudi government merely requires “reform”—and a bold new “reformer,” of the sort championed by the likes of the Guardian and New York Times.

IN YEMEN’S “60 MINUTES” MOMENT, NO MENTION THAT THE U.S. IS FUELING THE CONFLICT



SAUDI ARABIA’S YEARS-LONG blockade and bombing campaign in Yemen has gotten very little coverage in the United States, even as the extreme food and fuel shortages have developed into one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises.

Now, as the Saudi noose on Yemen tightens — leaving 7 million people facing starvation and another 1 million infected with cholera — the war is having its moment in the media spotlight.

On Sunday, “60 Minutes” aired a 13-minute segment on the war’s devastating humanitarian toll. The program featured imagery of starving children and interviews with displaced people, all obtained after Saudi Arabia blocked “60 Minutes” from entering the country.

You keep going like you’re going, there’s not going to be anybody left,” David Beasley, executive director of the World Food Program, told CBS’s Scott Pelley. “All the children are going to be dead.”

Coverage on such a high-profile program is frequently enough to get politicians to pay attention to an issue, and the “60 Minutes” feature comes amid a growing debate about the U.S. role in the war. Just last week, the House of Representatives voted to say that Congress has not authorized American military support for the Saudi-led coalition.

Still, the program did not once mention that Saudi Arabia is a U.S. ally, and that U.S. support is essential for the Saudi campaign to continue.