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Thread: After Executing Regime Critic, Saudi Arabia Fires Up American PR Machine

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    After Executing Regime Critic, Saudi Arabia Fires Up American PR Machine

    Saudi Arabia’s well-funded public relations apparatus moved quickly after Saturday’s explosive execution of Shiite political dissident Nimr al-Nimr to shape how the news is covered in the United States.

    The execution led protestors in Shiite-run Iran to set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, precipitating a major diplomatic crisis between the two major powers already fighting proxy wars across the Middle East.

    The Saudi side of the story is getting a particularly effective boost in the American media through pundits who are quoted justifying the execution
    , in many cases without mention of their funding or close affiliation with the Saudi Arabian government.

    Meanwhile, social media accounts affiliated with Saudi Arabia’s American lobbyists have pushed English-language infographics, tweets, and online videos to promote a narrative that reflects the interests of the Saudi regime.

    A Politico article about the rising tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran by Nahal Toosi, for instance, quoted only three sources: the State Department, which provided a muted response to the executions; the Saudi government; and Fahad Nazer, identified as a “political analyst with JTG Inc.” Nazer defended the executions, saying that they served as a “message … aimed at Saudi Arabia’s own militants regardless of their sect.”

    What Politico did not reveal was that Nazer is himself a former political analyst at the Saudi Embassy in Washington. He is currently a non-resident fellow at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington, a think tank formed last year that discloses that it is fully funded by the Saudi Embassy and the United Arab Emirates.

    The Washington Post quoted consultant Theodore Karasik of Gulf State Analytics as saying that the executions were a “powerful message that Saudi Arabia is intent on standing up to its regional rival.” Karasik is a columnist at Al Arabiya, an English-language news organization based in the UAE and owned by Middle East Broadcasting Center, a private news conglomerate that has long been financially backed by members of the Saudi royal family. Its current chairman is Sheikh Waleed bin Ibrahim, a billionaire Saudi businessman whose brother-in-law was the late King Fahd. (Al Arabiya’s coverage of the crisis is almost comically pro-Saudi, featuring headlines like “Storming embassies.. Iranian speciality.”)

    An editorial published by the Wall Street Journal approvingly quoted Joseph Braude of the Foreign Policy Research Institute claiming that Nimr was a violent extremist who advocated a “military option” against Saudi Arabia. But as journalists and editors from the Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, the BBC, and other prominent outlets have reported, Nimr advocated nonviolence and encouraged his followers to protest peacefully. Braude did not provide any evidence for his claims beyond anonymous “Saudi sources.”

    Braude is a contributor to several Saudi-owned media outlets, including Al Arabiya and Al Majalla, a magazine owned by a member of the Saudi royal family. Neither of these affiliations were disclosed in the Wall Street Journal editorial. (Braude was also convicted in 2004 of attempting to smuggle 4,000-year-old artifacts looted from the Iraqi National Museum after the fall of Baghdad into the United States.)
    Read the rest here:

    https://theintercept.com/2016/01/04/saudi-pr-machine/
    A sense of danger gives birth to fear. And fear is the time-honored cross for the crucifixion of liberty.



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    Saudi warplanes attack Iranian embassy in Yemen

    Iran has accused Saudi warplanes of attacking the Iranian embassy in the Yemeni capital Sana'a. Some guards were reportedly wounded in the attack, according to state news channel IRIB.

    The Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen says it will investigate the accusation, according to coalition spokesman Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, as cited by Reuters.

    Asseri acknowledged that coalition jets carried out heavy airstrikes in Sana'a on Wednesday night, targeting missile launchers used by the Houthi militia. He added that the group has used civilian facilities, including abandoned embassies.

    He said the coalition had requested that all countries supply the coordinates of their diplomatic missions, adding that accusations made on the basis of information provided by the Houthis "have no credibility."

    It comes as Iran bans the import of all products made in Saudi Arabia. The Thursday decision was made in a cabinet meeting chaired by President Hassan Rouhani, according to Iranian student news agency ISNA.
    "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it; no constitution, no law, no court can even do much to help it."
    James Madison

    "It does not take a majority to prevail ... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men." - Samuel Adams



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  4. #3
    Saudi Arabia Fires Up American PR Machine



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