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© Unknown
On July 31, 2013 President Vladimir Putin, a strong supporter of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, met Saudi Arabia's crowned Prince of evil and intelligence chief Prince Bandar, after which both Moscow and Riyadh kept a lid on the substance of the talks. For a time.
Only hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin's annual address before the Russian Assembly last week, a group of armed men dressed as police killed three police officers and took control of two buildings in Grozny, the capital of Russian Federation's Chechnya. Ostensibly Chechen militants, who planned to carry out a larger attack, were killed in a stand-off with Grozny's security forces, who were already aware of the group as they made their way into the area. When it was over, 10 militants and 10 police were killed. After the confrontation Ramzan Kadyrov, Head of the Chechen Republic, stated that he did not rule out the possibility of these militants coming from a different region altogether. (However, there's a report that at least 4 or those killed were ethnic Chechens.) See Harrison Koehli's SOTT EXCLUSIVE for further coverage of the attack.

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The Press House in flames in Grozny, Chechnya
Another case of Chechen 'militants' fighting for independence from Russia - years after Russia brought peace and stability to the area after the war in Chechnya? Maybe. Or perhaps it was a message, like so many messages sent to Russia by Saudi Arabia and its allies in the West via proxy terrorists. And if so, what was that message? Not too hard to guess actually: "We don't like what you're doing because we're the boss!"

The conversation

In what is probably the most overt use of threatening language recently addressed to any world leader (and most often made to Vladimir Putin these days), it is now public knowledge that Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia aka "Bandar Bush" - because of his close ties to the Bush family - read Putin the riot act in July of 2013 in a meeting they had regarding the fate of Syria.

As Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported:
Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia's naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia's Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord.

''I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the Games are controlled by us,'' he allegedly said.

Prince Bandar went on to say that Chechens operating in Syria were a pressure tool that could be switched on and off.

''We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role in Syria's political future.''
Bandar also magnanimously offered to make a lucrative deal with Putin, if only he would get out of the way of letting Saudi Arabia topple Assad:
"Every two years, Bandar bin Sultan meets his Russian counterparts, but this time, he wanted to meet the head of state," said a European diplomat who shuttles between Beirut and Damascus. "During the meeting at the Kremlin, the Saudi official explained to his interlocutor that Riyadh is ready to help Moscow play a bigger role in the Middle East at a time when the United States is disengaging from the region."

Bandar proposed that Saudi Arabia buy $15 billion of weapons from Russia and invest "considerably in the country," the source said.

The Saudi prince also reassured Putin that "whatever regime comes after" Assad, it will be "completely" in the Saudis' hands and will not sign any agreement allowing any Gulf country to transport its gas across Syria to Europe and compete with Russian gas exports, the diplomat said.
So Bandar held out the stick and the carrot to Putin, but Putin politely responded 'nyet'. Putin's refusal to be cowed by threats or enticed by bribes - both in the same conversation - may have something to do with the fact that he not only knows how the game is being played, but has enough integrity and character to resist playing it. The Russian President is also well aware of the fact that Bandar is a snake and a psychopath of the first order. It is well known in intelligence circles that Bandar is not only behind the "Assad is using chemical weapons on his own people" story, but was key in manufacturing the event and guilty of killing hundreds of innocent Syrians to do it:
Adam Entous of the Wall Street Journal says that Prince Bandar and his Saudi Intelligence Agency manufactured "evidence" that the Syrian government had used sarin gas prior to the al-Ghouta attack.

Entous stated during a Democracy Now interview: "Bandar's intelligence agency concluded that chemical weapons were being used on a small scale by the regime. Followed by that, the Brits and the French were convinced of the same conclusion. It took US intelligence agencies really until June to reach that conclusion."

In other words, Bandar used his money, clout, and connections to make sure that "the intelligence would be fixed around the policy" - just like Bush did with the alleged Iraqi WMDs in 2003.

How did Bandar convince Western intelligence agencies to accept his extremely dubious claims that Assad was using sarin gas? Bandar found a Syrian who had been exposed to sarin and flew him to Britain to be tested. When the Syrian victim tested positive for sarin, Bandar pushed his Western intelligence colleagues to accept the far-from-obvious conclusion that Assad must have been responsible.

According to Entous: "What the British found when they did the testing was that this Syrian was exposed to sarin gas, which the US and British and French intelligence believe is only in the possession of the Syrian regime."

But do the US and British and French intelligence really believe that Bandar - who commands hundreds of billions of dollars and a sophisticated network of covert operators and killers - could not have poisoned the Syrian victim himself? Obviously, they are not that naïve. Western intelligence is complicit in Bandar's attempt to frame Assad for the use of sarin. They were looking for an excuse to attack Syria, and Bandar gave it to them.

Then when the huge sarin attack struck al-Ghouta on August 21st, knowledgeable observers immediately suspected a false-flag attack by Bandar's forces. According to Associated Press Mideast correspondent Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh: "... from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture (from the Western mainstream media narrative) emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the deadly gas attack."

More evidence that the terrorist prince orchestrated the attack on al-Ghouta emerged when it was revealed that the photos of dead children were not what they appeared. According to VoltaireNet.org:
"Following the broadcasting of the images of the massacre in Ghouta, distributed by the Free Syrian Army and relayed by US and French services, Alawite families from Latakia have filed a complaint for murder."

"Some of these videos were filmed and posted on Youtube before the events they picture."

"They show children suffocating from a chemical intoxication that can't possibly be sarin gas (the latter provokes yellow drool, not white drool)."

"The children do not correspond to a sample of the population: they are all almost of the same age and have light hair. They are not accompanied by their grieving families."

"They are in fact children who were abducted by jihadists (i.e. mercenaries of Prince Bandar) two weeks before in Alawite villages in the surroundings of Latakia, 200km away from Ghouta."

"Contrary to the claims of the Free Syrian Army and the Western services, the only identified victims of the Ghouta massacre are those belonging to families that support the Syrian government. In the videos, the individuals that show outrage against the 'crimes of Bashar el-Assad' are in reality their killers."
Is terrorist prince Bandar really shameless enough to kidnap children, murder them, and then present the dead children as alleged victims of his enemies? In a word: Yes.
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A photo taken by Marco di Lauro/AP in Iraq in 2003 was presented by US State Secretary Kerry on August 30, 2013 as evidence of the ‘Assad’s chemical attack’.
Bandar's oily ways

Bandar, like his counterparts in the West, is nothing if not committed to the destruction of not only Syria's sovereignty, but of Russia's too. After Putin's refusal to accept the Prince's offer back in July of 2013, Russia initiated and helped broker a deal that prevented an imminent attack on Syria by the US military. Syria agreed to hand over all its chemical weapons to UN representatives, and the critical situation, for the time being, was diffused. If this wasn't enough, Russia came in with its own 'red line' in the form of two naval vessels stationed off the coast of Syria. By September of 2013 it had to have become very clear to Bandar that when Putin had said no to the offer two months earlier, he meant it - and was willing to do whatever it took to protect Russia and Syria's interests.

But Bandar and his US cohorts had another trick up their grimy sleeves, this time in the form of deliberately lowering the price of oil to hurt Russia's economy and generate internal political pressure against Putin. In, of all places, the New York Times, we read this:
Is it just my imagination or is there a global oil war underway pitting the United States and Saudi Arabia on one side against Russia and Iran on the other? One can't say for sure whether the American-Saudi oil alliance is deliberate or a coincidence of interests, but, if it is explicit, then clearly we're trying to do to President Vladimir Putin of Russia and Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, exactly what the Americans and Saudis did to the last leaders of the Soviet Union: pump them to death - bankrupt them by bringing down the price of oil to levels below what both Moscow and Tehran need to finance their budgets.

Think about this: four oil producers - Libya, Iraq, Nigeria and Syria - are in turmoil today, and Iran is hobbled by sanctions. Ten years ago, such news would have sent oil prices soaring. But today, the opposite is happening. Global crude oil prices have been falling for weeks, now resting around $88 - after a long stretch at $105 to $110 a barrel.

The price drop is the result of economic slowdowns in Europe and China, combined with the United States becoming one of the world's biggest oil producers - thanks to new technologies enabling the extraction of large amounts of "tight oil" from shale - combined with America starting to make exceptions and allowing some of its newfound oil products to be exported, combined with Saudi Arabia refusing to cut back its production to keep prices higher, but choosing instead to maintain its market share against other OPEC producers. The net result has been to make life difficult for Russia and Iran, at a time when Saudi Arabia and America are confronting both of them in a proxy war in Syria. This is business, but it also has the feel of war by other means: oil.

The Russians have noticed. How could they not? They've seen this play before. The Russian newspaper Pravda published an article on April 3 with the headline, "Obama Wants Saudi Arabia to Destroy Russian Economy." It said:
"There is a precedent [for] such joint action that caused the collapse of the U.S.S.R. In 1985, the Kingdom dramatically increased oil production from 2 million to 10 million barrels per day, dropping the price from $32 to $10 per barrel.[The] U.S.S.R. began selling some batches at an even lower price, about $6 per barrel. Saudi Arabia [did not lose] anything, because when prices fell by 3.5 times [Saudi] production increased fivefold. The planned economy of the Soviet Union was not able to cope with falling export revenues, and this was one of the reasons for the collapse of the U.S.S.R."
Indeed, the late Yegor Gaidar, who between 1991 and 1994 was Russia's acting prime minister, observed in a Nov. 13, 2006, speech that:
"The timeline of the collapse of the Soviet Union can be traced to Sept. 13, 1985. On this date, Sheikh Ahmed Zaki Yamani, the minister of oil of Saudi Arabia, declared that the monarchy had decided to alter its oil policy radically. The Saudis stopped protecting oil prices. ... During the next six months, oil production in Saudi Arabia increased fourfold, while oil prices collapsed. ... The Soviet Union lost approximately $20 billion per year, money without which the country simply could not survive."
Neither Moscow nor Tehran will collapse tomorrow. And if oil prices fall below $70 you will see a drop in U.S. production, as some exploration won't be cost effective, and prices could firm up. But have no doubt, this price falloff serves U.S. and Saudi strategic interests and it harms Russia and Iran. Oil export revenues account for about 60 percent of Iran's government revenues and more than half of Russia's.
Short of an all-out declaration of 'hot war' (and this may be coming soon), Saudi Arabia and the US are pulling out all the stops in trying to destabilize Russia and Syria, economically and security-wise.

What next?

So far, Saudi Arabia and the US's threats of toppling Assad, employing "Syrian rebels," Chechen terrorism, imposing economic sanctions, and now economic warfare (to say nothing of the bluster we now see regarding Ukraine and the acceptance of Crimea into the Russian Federation), have not slowed Putin down. It seems like not a week has gone by in recent months when we haven't seen Putin and his cabinet pull some new diplomatic rabbit out of their hat, or secure a new economic relationship that puts the Russian President in even better standing with countries and leaders of good will around the world.

In the meantime though, Putin still has to contend with events like the recent attack in Grozny. His patience - and Putin seems to be a very patient man - may soon be wearing thin. Last week's events in Grozny act like reverberations for other egregious attacks that beg for some kind of response, such as the terror inflicted upon Volgograd almost a year ago:
Russian intelligence has now reportedly obtained solid proof that Saudi Arabia was directly involved in the twin terror attacks on the city of Volgograd.

The attacks killed more than 32 people and injured over 100 others. Most of the victims were civilians.

According to an informed Russian official source, reported by the Fars News Agency, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has informed President Vladimir Putin of the Saudi link to the Volgograd massacre.

This will come as no surprise to Putin. The Russian leader was warned by the Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar Bin Sultan during a heated four-hour private meeting back in July that Wahhabi-sponsored terrorists based in the North Caucasus region of Russia would be targeting the Sochi Winter Olympics.

The Sochi Games are due to open on February 7. Volgograd is a key transport hub linking Moscow with the southern Russian territory and the Black Sea resort city of Sochi in particular, where the Winter Olympics are to be held.

The double bombings on Volgograd's transport system on 29-30 December were therefore unmistakably an assault on Russia's hosting of the Olympics. The atrocity caused the deaths of several women and children, and in the aftermath President Putin was livid in his disgust at the attacks. He said there was no justification, whatsoever, for the killing of innocent civilians and he vowed to "destroy the terrorists" behind the bombings.

This raises the onerous question: What will Putin do next if he has, in fact, been told that the authors of the Volgograd crime against humanity are connected to the Saudi rulers? This could be construed as an act of war.
There are unconfirmed reports that Putin and his senior intelligence officers have already drawn up plans to "destroy Saudi Arabia" over its systematic sponsoring of terrorism on Russian territory.
The Volgograd atrocity is just the latest in a long series of terrorist acts connected to Saudi-sponsored radicals in the North Caucasus. Back in October, another suicide bomb on a packed bus in Volgograd left six dead.
One thing's for sure, if these attacks continue, Putin will likely respond in a way that will make Bandar's head spin. (ISIS take note!) And possibly right off. But aside from the moral and ethical dimensions to this no-longer-covert conflict, why anyone would test Putin's resolve in this way is beyond comprehension. You'd have to be plumb crazy. Or a psychopath. Or both.