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 Headlines 20/09/2019


• Billions Spent on US Weapons Did Not Protect Saudi Arabia’s Critical Infrastructure

• Pakistan PM Imran Khan to meet Trump Twice during US Visit

• China Paid Facebook and Twitter to Help Spread anti-Muslim Propaganda


Billions Spent on US Weapons Did Not Protect Saudi Arabia’s Critical Infrastructure

For years, Saudi Arabia has been a major buyer of U.S.-made weapons. That relationship intensified after President Trump took office, with the American leader pushing oil-rich Riyadh to buy more weapons and Saudi Arabia pledging a purchase of $110 billion in U.S. arms just months after his inauguration. After this weekend, when a devastating attack on Saudi oil facilities blindsided the kingdom, some observers were left wondering what protection Riyadh’s outreach to the United States has bought it. Notwithstanding the expensive military hardware purchased by Saudi Arabia, experts say, the Saturday attack represented an unusually well-planned operation that would have been difficult for even the most well-equipped and experienced countries to detect and neutralize. “This was a really flawless attack,” said Michael Knights, a scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy who has followed Saudi air defense for decades, adding that evidence suggests that only one of 20 missiles may have missed its target. “That’s astounding.” The attack has been claimed by Houthi insurgents in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition has been staging a troubled intervention since 2015. U.S. officials have suggested that at least part of the attack was launched from Iran, Saudi Arabia’s rival across the Persian Gulf. The operation appeared to circumvent the defenses of Saudi Arabia’s military, including the six battalions of Patriot missile defense systems produced by U.S. defense contractor Raytheon — each of which can cost in the region of $1 billion.

Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to Saturday’s attack with mockery. At an event Monday in Turkey, Putin suggested that Saudi Arabia buy the Russian-made S-300 or S-400 missile defense system, as Iran and Turkey had done. “They will reliably protect all infrastructure objects of Saudi Arabia,” Putin said. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, also in attendance at the event, was seen grinning at the remarks. The S-400 system is untested in real-life situations, but it costs less than the Patriot system and has technical features that are, on paper at least, an improvement on the U.S. system, including a longer range and the ability to operate in any direction. Although Saudi Arabia once flirted with the idea of buying the S-400 system, it was probably aware that doing so would have a disastrous effect on its relationship with the Trump administration. Becca Wasser, a senior policy analyst at Rand Corp., said responsibility for protecting Saudi Arabia’s critical infrastructure was split between the Interior Ministry and the domestically focused Saudi Arabian National Guard, rather than the military. “These overlapping structures, rules and responsibilities are really a vestige of coup-proofing practices,” Wasser said, designed to prevent any one wing of power from posing a threat to the ruling family. Saudi Arabia is planning military reforms to address such problems, she added, part of society-wide changes being pushed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The kingdom, aware of the technical threat posed by Iran to key facilities, may also seek to purchase new weapons that could combat the threat better. [Source: Washington Post]

It is hard to believe that Saudi’s missile defenses failed to detect the drones. Unless Saudi Arabia and the US staged a false flag operation to help Netanyahu win the Jewish elections and assemble a world coalition to change Iran’s behaviour. And may be in return both Saudi Arabia and the Jewish state would lead the way to recognize Trump’s Palestine plan.

Pakistan PM Imran Khan to meet Trump Twice during US Visit

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan will meet US President Donald Trump twice during his visit to Washington later this month where he will also address the UN General Assembly (UNGA), a media report said on Friday, September 13. This would be Khan's second visit to the US. In July, he held a one-on-one meeting with Trump, reports The News International. According to his schedule, Khan will arrive in New York on September 21 to attend the 74th session of the UNGA and he will address the world community on September 27. As per details, the Prime Minister will have his first meeting with the US President at a luncheon and another during a high tea. He is also scheduled to hold talks with world leaders and apprise them about the Kashmir issue. Ahead of his US visit, Khan is expected to travel to Saudi Arabia where he is scheduled to meet the Kingdom's top leadership, according to informed sources. During his last visit to Saudi Arabia, the prime minister represented Pakistan at the 14th Summit of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the Holy City of Makkah. [Source: Khaleej Times]

Beseeching Trump will not result in the liberation of Kashmir. After all, it is because of America’s strong support of Modi’s regime that encouraged Modi to seize Kashmir in the first place. America is the problem not the solution, and Khan refuses to acknowledge this fact.

China Paid Facebook and Twitter to Help Spread anti-Muslim Propaganda

In China’s internment camps, Muslims are reportedly subjected to forced indoctrination, torture, and even death. Yet some paid ads on Facebook and Twitter would have you believe they’re wonderful places. The US-based social media giants have been enabling Chinese state-owned media to spread misinformation about the camps, investigations by the Intercept and BuzzFeed News revealed this week. The paid ads aim to convince Westerners that the camps in China’s northwestern Xinjiang region are not sites of human rights abuses, contrary to the findings of several governments, China experts, and international bodies like the UN. An estimated 1 million Uighurs, the country’s predominantly Muslim minority, have been detained in the camps since 2017. On Facebook, the state-controlled tabloid Global Times posted a sponsored video on Monday titled, “Xinjiang center trainees graduate with hope for future.”

It purports to show former detainees baking bread, as an example of the “vocational skills” Uighurs supposedly learn in the camps. “Establishing vocational education and training centers helps Xinjiang maintain enduring social stability and fight religious extremism,” the video’s slides say in English. “If the centers were set up earlier, fewer violent attacks would happen.” On Twitter, the Global Times promoted a tweet featuring a video of its editor-in-chief, who criticized politicians and journalists who’ve condemned the camps, saying, “Their hands are in a way soiled with the blood of the Chinese people who died in violent attacks” perpetrated by Uighurs. (In 2009, ethnic riots resulted in hundreds of deaths, and some radical Uighurs have carried out terrorist attacks in recent years.) He added, “A vast number of developing countries, including Muslim countries, understand and support governance in Xinjiang.

It used to be a place suffering from terrorist violence. The region has regained peace and development.” Another promoted video purports to show Uighurs happily milling about and dancing in the streets of Xinjiang, while upbeat music plays in the background. When a media outlet like the Global Times pays Facebook and Twitter — both of which are blocked in China — to promote videos like these, millions of viewers may be exposed to them whether they follow the outlet or not. These videos, some of which have been circulating as early as June, were targeted at users in the US and other Western countries. China has also been using Facebook and Twitter to spread disinformation about the huge protests underway in Hong Kong. Outside observers alerted the social media platforms to the problem. [Source: Vox]

Western technology companies are widely responsible for promoting versions of Islam according to the wishes of governments and groups. China’s use of Facebook and Twitter is the latest example of institutional bias propagated against Muslims worldwide.


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