Grayzone Project articles and reports on Saudi Arabia, the House of Saud, Mohammed bin Salman, the war on Yemen, proxy war against Iran, and more

Imperial-Hipster Bible VICE Did Paid Propaganda for Saudi Arabia

Hipster media giant VICE worked with Saudi Arabia’s regime mouthpiece SRMG to create a video promoting tourism and a camel festival.

By Ben Norton

The hipster corporate media giant VICE did paid propaganda for Saudi Arabia, according to a British report on Saudi astroturf efforts.

Jim Waterson, the media editor for The Guardian, reported that VICE has worked with a soft-power arm of the Saudi royal family to generate public relations material for Saudi Arabia.

According to internal VICE sources contacted by The Guardian, the Brooklyn-based media company assembled a team to make pro-Saudi content in collaboration with the Saudi Research and Marketing Group (SRMG), a regime mouthpiece that is closely linked to the royal family.

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Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

How Saudi Arabia Tried to Blame Doctors Without Borders After Bombing Its Cholera Treatment Center in Yemen

Saudi Arabia tried to blame Doctors Without Borders after the US-backed Saudi coalition bombed the medical group’s cholera treatment center in Yemen. MSF says this is ridiculous and false.

By Ben Norton

The Saudi embassy in the United States pointed the finger at Doctors Without Borders after the US-backed Saudi coalition bombed the medical humanitarian group’s newly constructed cholera treatment center in Yemen.

The Saudi government circulated a misleading fax from a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) employee, to try to absolve itself of responsibility for the airstrike. I contacted MSF for clarification, and the organization said the fax is being misrepresented, and strongly condemned the “unacceptable attack on a medical facility.”

On June 11, the US-backed Saudi coalition waging war on Yemen bombed a cholera treatment center in the northwestern town of Abs. This medical facility, which had just been built, was operated by MSF, and was clearly marked on the roof with the logos of MSF and the Red Crescent.

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Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.

Why I Confronted Gerald Feierstein, a Key American Advocate for Saudi Arabia’s War on Yemen

Former US Ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein, of the Saudi/UAE-funded Middle East Institute, denied that he lied about foreign government funding, and called a Yemeni journalist a “terrorist.”

By Gunar Olsen / AlterNet

At a public event in New York last week, Gerald Feierstein, director of the Middle East Institute’s Center for Gulf Affairs and former U.S. ambassador to Yemen, denied claims that he lied on a congressional disclosure form about foreign government funding. He also called Abdulelah Haider Shaye, an independent Yemeni journalist whose reporting on the U.S. covert war in Yemen landed him in a jail cell at the request of the U.S. government during Feierstein’s tenure as ambassador, a “terrorist.”

The event where Feierstein appeared was organized by Fordham Law School’s Center on National Security, which recently hired former CIA director John Brennan as a “distinguished fellow for global security.” Feierstein used his time to condemn what he saw as the destabilizing influence of Iran in the Middle East, hyping the threat of Iranian support for the Houthis in Yemen, who have been the target of a brutal 32-month bombing campaign led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates with significant support from the United States.

The war on Yemen has created the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe, causing 130 children to die everyday from extreme hunger and disease, forcing 20 million Yemeni civilians (almost three-fourths of the population) into need of immediate aid and unleashing the worst cholera outbreak in history.

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Gunar Olsen is a New York-based journalist. You can follow him on Twitter at @GunarOlsen.

How Trump’s CIA Used Bin Laden Files and a Neocon Think Tank to Escalate Tensions With Iran

An ex-CIA analyst has raised suspicions about the Trump CIA’s release of bin Laden documents and apparent collaboration with the hard-right Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) to demonize Iran.

By Ben Norton / AlterNet

The Central Intelligence Agency appears to have collaborated with the neoconservative think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies to try to link Iran to the Salafi-jihadist group al-Qaeda.

Ned Price, a former CIA analyst and spokesman, has suggested that the move may be part of a wider campaign by the Trump administration’s new CIA director to establish “a rationale for regime change” in Tehran.

In the lead-up to the illegal 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, the effort to link Baghdad to al-Qaeda was “a key element of the march to war,” Price explained, implying that the Trump administration might be doing something similar with Iran.

President Donald Trump has, since the beginning of his term, made aggressive opposition to Iran a key feature of his foreign policy. He has surrounded himself with anti-Iran hawks in the White House, and pledged to unilaterally “tear up” the nuclear deal agreed to by major world powers.

Saudi Arabia, a key U.S. proxy in the Middle East, has in recent weeks escalated its campaign against Iran. The Saudi monarchy pressured Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri to resign, and has been accused of holding him hostage. The kingdom then effectively declared war on Lebanon, in the name of countering Iran and its ally Hezbollah.

President Trump has praised Saudi Arabia’s belligerent intervention and foreign meddling, even while accusing Tehran of doing exactly what Riyadh is doing. The U.S. government is working very closely with the Saudi monarchy and Israel to, in Trump’s words, “counter the regime’s destabilizing activity.”

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Ben Norton is a journalist and writer. He is a producer and reporter for The Real News, and a contributor to the Grayzone Project and FAIR. Ben co-hosts the Moderate Rebels podcast with Max Blumenthal. His website is BenNorton.com, and he tweets at @BenjaminNorton.