Moderate Rebels episode 5

Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton discuss how Saudi Arabia is at the heart of Donald Trump’s Middle East policy. We are joined by activist Mohammed al-Nimr, the son of the executed dissident Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, to discuss the Saudi regime’s attack on the Shia community of Awamiya.

Blumenthal and Norton also introduce the semi-regular segment Thought Loser, starring Brookings Institution senior fellow Shadi Hamid, a staunch supporter of NATO and its catastrophic 2011 regime change war in Libya.

0:00 to 2:40 – Intro
2:41 to 20:16 – Thought Loser: Shadi Hamid, NATO, and Libya
20:17 to 40:57 – Saudi Arabia and Trump
40:48 to 1:01:56 – Mohammed al-Nimr interview and Awamiya

Show Notes

Saudi Arabia and Donald Trump

Max Blumenthal, “In the Saudis’ Den of Extremism, Trump Trades Advanced Weapons for a $200 Billion Investment in Rust Belt Swing States“, AlterNet Grayzone Project, 18 May 2017

Kate Bennett, “Saudis, UAE pledge $100 million to Ivanka Trump-proposed fund“, CNN, 21 May 2017

Donald Trump, “Statement by the President on the Terrorist Attacks in Iran“, The White House, 7 June 2017

UAE and Yousef al-Otaiba

Ryan Grim, “Diplomatic Underground: The Sordid Double Life of Washington’s Most Powerful Ambassador“, The Intercept, 30 August 2017

Ben Norton, “Emails Expose How Saudi Arabia and UAE Work the U.S. Media to Push for War“, AlterNet Grayzone Project, 9 June 2017

Mohammed al-Nimr

Ben Norton, “‘Tyranny will fall’: Son of executed Saudi dissident al-Nimr shares his incredible story“, Salon, 15 March 2016

Ben Norton, “Inside the first-ever summit calling for an end to the “suicidal death pact between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia“, Salon, 10 March 2016

Shadi Hamid

Shadi Hamid, “Everyone says the Libya intervention was a failure. They’re wrong.“, Vox, 5 April 2016


Ben Norton, “U.K. Parliament report details how NATO’s 2011 war in Libya was based on lies“, Salon, 16 September 2016

Julian Borger, Terry Macalister, “The race is on for Libya’s oil, with Britain and France both staking a claim“, The Guardian, 1 September 2011

Sudarsan Raghavan, “A reporter’s journey through Tripoli: Long lines, kidnappings and murder“, The Washington Post, 1 August 2017

Under Gaddafi, the oil-producing country was once one of the world’s wealthiest nations. Even as the economy struggled in his last years, Libyans enjoyed free health care, education and other benefits under the eccentric strongman’s brand of socialism.

The insecurity that followed Gaddafi’s death has ripped apart the North African country. Rival governments and an array of armed groups compete for influence and territory. The economy is on the verge of collapse. Criminal gangs prey on the vulnerable.

In Tripoli, parliament and other buildings are concrete carcasses, shattered by heavy artillery fire, rocket-propelled grenades and tank shells. Clashes often erupt suddenly, trapping residents in their homes and creating new no-go zones.


Steven Chase, Robert Fife, “Ottawa calls for probe into apparent Saudi use of Canadian-made armoured vehicles against citizens,” The Globe and Mail, 28 July 2017

Katie Paul, “Saudi security forces flatten old quarter of Shi’ite town“, Reuters, 9 August 2016

Sami Aboudi, “Saudi man killed trying help citizens flee Awamiya: sources“, Reuters, 3 August 2017

Alex MacDonald, “Three-year-old boy dies amid siege of Saudi Shia town“, Middle East Eye, 9 August 2017

Alex MacDonald, “Saudi bulldozers flatten Shia town as residents flee carnage“, Middle East Eye, 3 August 2017

Listen to Moderate Rebels episode 5