Vince Dhimos answered a question at Quora. My last paragraph below is the most important part of this answer.
Why is Saudi Arabia lowering the price of crude oil?
Vince Dhimos, Editor-in-Chief at New Silk Strategies (2016-present)
Most Western msm analysts will provide only one simplistic answer to this question and that is, that Saudi wants to bring down US shale oil because it is tired of cutting production just to please its overseas partner and because it also wants to retaliate against Russia for backing out of the production cuts agreed with OPEC.
But this answer does not cover the most important part of the question, namely, why after years of cooperating with the US and cutting production to keep oil prices stable and artificially low would Saudi suddenly turn against this ally in such a hostile manner?
MBS recently had three of his family members arrested for allegedly plotting a palace coup against him. One of those detained was former crown prince Mohammed bin Nayef, a favourite of US officials.
MBS let it be known that he suspected the alleged plot was supported by foreign nations including the US. Right after the arrests, I found on the web a report that MBS suspected the US of collusion but today this report seems to have been scrubbed from the English-language web, although I was able to find it at a Chinese-language site: 至少有20位王子被沙特王储大规模清除_湃客_澎湃新闻-The Paper. The following excerpt is my translation:
“According to a regional source quoted by Reuters, Salman ‘accused them (the princes) of engaging with foreign forces, including the United States and other countries, to launch a coup.’”
Why was this report of MBS’s suspicion no longer readily available in English, even though it had been disclosed by Reuters? Perhaps because the US authorities did not want the Western public and especially the Middle Eastern public, to think the US would interfere in the politics of a Middle Eastern country – something it has been doing for decades but under the radar.
Western support for a Saudi palace coup is nothing new. King Faisal was installed with the help of British intervention in 1964. (Faisal is the king who co-signed with President Nixon in 1974 the petrodollar agreement that is still in effect today).
The fact that the US prefers the original crown prince Prince Mohammed bin Nayef over MBS provides a plausible motive for the US to intervene. Addiction and intrigue: Inside the Saudi palace coup
According to To The Hill Multiple Saudi royal family members detained, accused of plotting coup
“MBN has been viewed by U.S. intelligence agencies as a trusted source of information for years, helping prevent terrorist attacks on the State Department and the CIA while he was head of the kingdom's counterterrorism program.”
Of course, US intel agencies have been busy for decades with attempts at regime change, as summed up here: American Covert Regime Change Operations: From the Cold War to the War on Terror
Another motive the US might have would be the fact that MBN was originally in line to succeed the current king, who, for some reason, named MBS as his successor, who was seen in the US as less stable and often impulsive.But the main US motive for replacing MBS would have been the murder of Jamal Kashoggi, a well known WaPo columnist, in a Saudi embassy in Turkey.
Despite Trump’s solid loyalty to MBS, US lawmakers issued a resolution blaming MBS for this killing. US senators introduce resolution blaming MBS for Khashoggi murder
That was a turning point in US relations with MBS.
This hostility of powerful US officials to MBS would be reason alone to help plot his ouster. After all, the US public has always been sceptical of the US’s exaggerated friendliness with the Saudi dictatorship and US msm have generally tried to highlight the positives of that country while papering over the obvious negatives. But with this murder, MBS clearly crossed the line.
A further, minor, motive might have been the fact that Putin was the only national leader who showed moral support for MBS amidst the furor over the Kashoggi murder. Putin made his warm feelings for MBS obvious at the G20 summit when he high-fived MBS as he entered the meeting room. Putin and Saudi crown prince high-five at G20 summit
Thus, Saudi had a motive in turn to hit back hard at the US. I suspect that, to some extent, Putin and MBS may have been in collusion over the oil war, at least tacitly. Russia may have ostensibly started the conflict by refusing to continue its production cuts initially agreed with OPEC, and then MBS — desiring to hide his true motives — pretended to be lashing out at Putin by charging even less than the Russians for Saudi oil, when in reality both countries were aiming to sabotage US shale oil. Putin’s motive is widely believed to have been the US sanctions that halted the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, costing Russia billions of dollars in lost revenues.
The upshot of all this could possibly be an eventual rapprochement between Saudi and Iran. The US has worked very hard to keep this from happening. This would certainly do wonders to ease tensions in the Middle East and would make it more difficult for the US and Israel to keep up hostilities against Iran and the Shiite world in general, notably in Iraq and Syria.
While the US Establishment press ignores the efforts by the State Department to maintain tensions between Iran and Saudi, we do know that Iraqi Premier Mahdi claims General Soleimani was planning on sending a message of conciliation to Saudi before he was brutally murdered, and a few rare reports on US interference in the Saudi-Iran rapprochement have come out in the Arabic-language press. Example from Al Jazeera: Iran wants to mend ties with Saudi, UAE 'quickly': Top diplomat
The following excerpt is my translation:
“Iranian media warned that America adopts a policy of fear mongering about Tehran, as an approach to blackmailing some Gulf countries, explaining that the goal of the surprise visit of the US Secretary of Defense to Riyadh and Israel's participation in the Bahrain conference is to eliminate any possible Iran-Gulf rapprochement.”
Indeed, it is not implausible to conjecture that MBS is sick and tired of being told by the US not to negotiate with Iran, especially after the devastating missile attack on Saudi Aramco and the US non-response to it. This would have been another motive for his oil price war. Assuming he is still talking to Putin, the latter would definitely advised him to reconcile with Iran.
Solid evidence of Saudi’s willingness to talk to Iran and its allies is the report at the end of our “War News” section, indicating that Saudi will sit down with Iran-backed Houthis. This is a first. The US would not like this!
If MBS decides to break with the US over the possibility of reconciliation with the Shiite world, peace may break out in the Middle East, to the horror of the US Establishment.
Chinese-made high-end missile sees first export despite pandemic
By News Desk
© AFP 2020 / ANDY WONG
A leading Chinese arms firm has delivered a batch of advanced portable HJ-12E anti-tank missiles to an undisclosed foreign buyer amid the pandemic of novel coronavirus pneumonia (COVID-19) in the first export case of this type of high-end weaponry, prompting Chinese analysts to note on Sunday that this showcased the company’s reliability and its potential share of the market.
Despite the COVID-19 outbreak that had brought difficulties in personnel exchanges since the Spring Festival holidays in late January and early February, state-owned China North Industries Group Corporation (Norinco) was able to deliver containers carrying the missiles to foreign clients as of Wednesday, before the scheduled shipment date, according to a statement the company released Wednesday on its WeChat account.
It was the first time a third-generation anti-tank weapon system developed by the Chinese company has been exported, according to the statement.
As the client was in urgent need of the missiles, the successful delivery had significant meaning for establishing Norinco’s market position and further opening up the market, the company said.
Norinco did not disclose more details on the deal in the statement, including the name of the buyer, the quantity purchased and the value of the deal.
The delivery demonstrated the Chinese arms firm’s reliability and proved it can fulfill a contract even under seeming force majeure, overcoming difficulties and prioritizing the client’s interest, a military expert who asked not to be named told the Global Times on Sunday.
This would win trust not only from the buyer for this deal, but also other potential clients, the expert said, noting the product would also get a chance to shine on the international market.
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Often compared with the FGM-148 Javelin missile used by the US military, the HJ-12, or Red Arrow 12, is a portable, fire-and-forget anti-tank missile domestically developed by China, Weihutang, a column on military affairs affiliated with China Central Television, reported on Thursday.
It can hit targets including tanks, bunkers, ships and helicopters from above, where armor is likely the thinnest, with a penetration capability of 1,100 millimeters, Weihutang reported.
The HJ-12 enables soldiers to lock on target, fire and then move on without maintaining position to guide the missile to its target, providing many tactical advantages, the expert said.
The missile is capable of destroying even the most advanced tanks in the world, he noted.
It is expected to be a high-end weapon that not every military can afford in mass quantities, but it should be more cost-efficient than its competitors like the Javelin, the expert said.
China does not attach political premise to arms sales, he noted. China provides not only affordable and easy-to-use weapons, but also advanced and sophisticated ones.
Ansarallah forces confront enemy warplane with new air defense missile
By News Desk -2020-04-030
Footage of an earlier missile launch by Yemen's Ansarullah movement, August 2017
BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:30 P.M.) – The Ansarallah-affiliated Yemeni Armed Forces announced this evening that they had confronted a warplane in the sky of Al-Hazm Directorate in the Al-Jawf Governorate.
The spokesperson for the Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier Yahya Sare’a, reported that the air defenses intercepted the aircraft using the newly-made Fater-1 defense system, and forced it to leave the airspace.
This latest confrontation comes a few days after the Saudi-led Coalition carried out a large-scale attack across northern Yemen in response to the Ansarallah strikes on several sites inside Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Muhammad Al Jaber, said earlier this week, “the kingdom is holding daily talks with the Houthis (var. Ansarallah), and it has invited the representatives of the Houthis and the internationally recognized Yemeni government to peace talks in Riyadh.”
The Wall Street Journal quoted the Saudi ambassador as saying that “the proposal to hold talks to end the five-year war is still on the table despite the escalation of violence a few days ago,” saying that “the Houthis have not yet responded to the offer.”
Jaber said, “Saudi officials spoke with their Houthi counterparts yesterday to confirm that the airstrikes on Sanaa were in response to the ballistic missile attacks that took place last Saturday, and not aimed at escalating the conflict.”
He added: “We are committed to reducing the escalation, and are ready for a ceasefire in all Yemeni lands if they accept that.”
[This supports my theory that Saudi is pivoting away from US policy, which insists on no de-escalation between Saudi and Iran, and that the oil price war is intended as part of its declaration of independance of the US. Could peace really be on the way?]