Interview 1322 - Sharmine Narwani on the Changing Face of the Middle East

11/11/201732 Comments

Today James talks to political analyst and commentator Sharmine Narwani on the explosive events in the Gulf this week and what they tell us about the changing power relations in the Middle East. From the wind down of the Syrian terrorist insurgency to the shock resignation of the Lebanese PM and the Game of Thrones in the House of Saud, a new regional picture is emerging, one in which two power blocs are competing for the upper hand in the new Middle East. Narwani breaks down this new dynamic and paints the picture of where things are heading in this dynamic region.

Sharmine Narwani's website (

Sharmine Narwani's twitter

The Geopolitics of the Syrian War – Sharmine Narwani on GRTV

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  1. Corbett says:

    Sorry for the incorrect Syrian flag and Hamas flag at 6:55. Too late to pull the video down and correct it now, so I’ll just point it out here.

  2. Pablo de Boer says:

    Hola aloha señor James,

    On this link I don’t see the video, only on your frontpage I see the video of this interview.

    Saludos y abrazos,

    Pablo de Boer

    • HomeRemedySupply says:

      Pablito, Thanks for the article.

      What is interesting to note is that Saudi Arabia has often “played musical chairs” with power positions and some Royals getting the boot or worse. The history of this is astounding, as is the corruption by the Royalty.

      Number of Descendants
      There are thousands of descendants in the Royal Family. Estimates range widely, from 10,000 to perhaps 20,000 or 30,000 to Robert Baer’s statement of possibly 60,000. The official Saudi website states: “The entire House of Saud is comprised of around 15,000 members, with around 2,000 in the inner circle.” Wikipedia places the number of Princes at 7,000, but the top 200 wield the most power.
      Monthly Stipends
      Monthly stipends are given to those in the Royal Family.
      Examples – “…the royal stipends in the mid-1990s ran from about $800 a month for “the lowliest member of the most remote branch of the family” to $200,000-$270,000 a month for one of the surviving sons of Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia…”
      “…Grandchildren received around $27,000 a month… …Great-grandchildren received about $13,000 and great-great- grandchildren $8,000 a month….”

      And of note “…Then there was the apparently common practice for royals to borrow money from commercial banks and simply not repay their loans….”

      Saudi Arabia has a population of about 20 million, with an additional large migrant workforce of around 9 million.

      Saudi nationals are employed by the state at above-market “reservation” wages. Roughly 3.4 million Saudis currently work in public administration and the security forces, at wages 2-4 times those in the private sector. The private sector is reluctant to hire nationals.

      • HomeRemedySupply says:

        I should note that the monthly stipends and other practices might have changed within the past few years during the rise of power by MbS.

        • Pablo de Boer says:

          Hola aloha amigo HRS,

          Muchas gracias for the information you shared. Most of your comments are for me very mind expanding amigo HRS.

          Just like all other royals the members of the Saudi royal family are parasites. And the large immigrant workforce you mentioned, most of them live / survive under horrible conditions in Saudi Arabia. As you know I lived in the Netherlands and the Dutch Royals are one of the most horrible inbred parasites of the world. Since a month I live with my new Caribbean princess in Paris and even though France is a Republic, the French politicians are also parasites just like all royals and all other politicians.

          Last week the French commemorated Remembrance Day (11 November) and these memorials are dedicated to those fallen during the war. And of course the French Fascist Socialist Macron played a hypocritical role during the memorial… Because while Macron was commemorating the fallen ones, the French army helps NATO to kill fellow humans in other countries…

          Mi nueva novia/ my new fiancée informed me also about French Foreign Legion and since 1991 in these countries this French Fascist Legion terrorized the locals..

          1991: Evacuation of French citizens and foreigners in Rwanda, Gabon and Zaire.
          1992: Cambodia and Somalia
          1993: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
          1995: Rwanda
          1996: Central African Republic
          1997: Congo-Brazzaville
          Since 1999: KFOR in Kosovo and Macedonia
          Global War on Terror 2001–present[edit]
          2001–present: Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan
          2002–2003: Operation Licorne in Ivory Coast
          2008–2008: EUFOR Tchad/RCA in Chad
          2013–2014: Operation Serval in the Northern Mali conflict

          My new fiancée is not French, because she is from the Caribbean. And in the near future she and I will move to her home island Cuba.. Yes Pablo is going to live in Cuba, but I will not start a revolution, because I’m against all forms of violence.. And you are always bienvenido / welcome to visit me in Cuba amigo HRS. Or if if you want to come to Paris you are also welcome..

          Saludos y abrazos,


          • HomeRemedySupply says:

            After you learn to roll tobacco leaf, smuggle some of those Cuban cigars up towards Texas for me.
            Cuba sounds so inviting, and so “un-infected” by Western corporatism.
            And the women are hot!
            Pablo, you sure like spicy things… topics, conversations, foods, women, ….

        • HomeRemedySupply says:

          I am amazed… great-great- grandchildren get $8,000 a month….”
          How come my great, great, grandpappy didn’t set me up with Oklahoma and Texas oil checks at 8k a month?

  3. weilunion says:

    All the shifts that are going on are taking place within global plutocratic, neoliberal capitalism.

    This is not mentioned in the report.

    • herrqlys says:

      Yes, the “global plutocratic, neoliberal capitalism” agenda is *the* big picture, and significant moves in aid of that agenda will most probably nullify those brighter prospects that Sharmine so clearly described. But let’s continue to watch more closely.

      I really enjoyed the scope of this interview, and the clear, analytical talking points that Sharmine raises. She is a tremendously knowledgeable source, and is also articulate and eloquent. Bravo.

      My biggest take-away? The Qatari/Iranian/Turkish responses to the Gulf Cooperation Council demands/blockade on Qatar are a very interesting study. As Sharmine points out, if indeed it was a fact, a reduction or halt to Qatari/Turkish aid to their proxies in western Syria would have frustrated US/Israeli/Saudi tactical plans.

      The Syrian Arab Army and allies did seem to gain the upper hand shortly after the GCC schism. This in itself would have also aided Iraq’s push towards Kirkuk’s oilfields. To hold a decisive edge in any one place, the theatre planners would’ve had to decide where to prioritize near-term operations: anti-Assad forces at Deir ez-Zor or Kurdish/Daesh forces in the oilfields surrounding Kirkuk. As it turns out they didn’t mount a truly effective resistance on either front.

      Another valuable insight was the powerful effect that common goals could bring to the resistance bloc, and the corresponding strategic weakness in the lack of any truly binding commonality with the proxy forces and amongst their sponsors.

      [extends bowl] Please, sir, I want some more.

  4. manbearpig says:


    Ending on a rosy note…

    for Mr. Corbett


    I’m not so sure…

    This West to East power shift is happening all too predictably for the moment…

    And the coming Eastern hegemony

    promises to be as predictably


    The Saudis are visibly bailing out of a ship that is slated to be sunk… (the USS Mayflower)

    Turkey’s got Turkstream…

    The Yankees are using Kurds as strategic real estate…slated for planned obsolescence…

    for the eugenicists, the Yemenis have not passed the gene pool test either, which will ultimately benefit both the Saudis

    and the founders of Israel who will continue to profit

    even if Israel goes under… or appears to go under…

    India’s in for another major famine or epidemic… before being reincarnated into a cash cow

    and I learned from Eva Bartlett that North Korea’s got an enviable health system, so…

    a little positive PR, pardons and strategic partnerships and they’ve suddenly become sustainable…

    like the Giving Tree of Africa…

    Oh brave new world…

    do androids wear rose-tinted glasses?

    • herrqlys says:

      Androids will probably sport red-dot laser sights with targeting glasses.

      Also expect the American military camel-come-elephant to stick its nose under another tent somewhere soon. Probably a greater role for AFRICOM, and where the F-35 could be blooded without encountering stiff anti-air defences. That would spoil any remaining export market prospects.

      A quick (and perceptably) victorious campaign is needed to manufacture a new generation of “heroes” with medals. Casualties, unless medal-worthy, are glossed over. This tried and true formula helps to plump the recruiting drive.

      And justification for the military/security portion of the nation’s budget expense being so enormous must be maintained. A tinge of realism about foreign policy would see the name ‘Department of Defense’ reverted back to it’s ‘War Department’ roots, along with the acknowledgement that military and security expense is ‘fixed’ and not ‘discretionary’.

  5. HomeRemedySupply says:

    The last part of this interview with Sharmine Narwani was profoundly insightful and hopeful. She mentions the common purpose which unites the Russia, China, Iran, etc. alliance. Bingo!

    The U.S., Saudi, Israel, etc. alliance doesn’t share a true common purpose…and they are all bullies on the world stage.

    I am beginning to think that perhaps we currently are in World War 3, but it is being played on a different level than a conventional war.
    Continuously, I am reminded of Corbett’s talk Episode 320 – Echoes of WWI: China, the US, and the Next “Great” War

  6. VoiceOfArabi says:

    Well done Sharmine… This is one of the clearest analysis i have heard in a long time.

    As someone who is in the epicenter of all this. I can assure you all the analysis are correct. it is missing some high level reasons and (who benefits), but otherwise it is all there..

    Outcome… very sadly it is a win/lose situation. Either Saudi (USA and rest) win or Saudi (USA and rest) lose, in which case, USA and rest will continue on living, but Saudi will be in completely different shape (we may even lose the term “kingdom of Saudi Arabia” all together.)

    let us not forget that around 80% of Saudi population are “pre-ISIS”… by that, i mean they are loaded with all the “ISIS software” and waiting to be enabled/activated. Out of that 80%… 70% are below the age of 30 years. This will effect everyone in the world……

    • HomeRemedySupply says:

      Let us not forget that around 80% of Saudi population are “pre-ISIS”… by that, I mean they are loaded with all the “ISIS software” and waiting to be enabled/activated. Out of that 80%… 70% are below the age of 30 years. This will effect everyone in the world……

      I forgot about that. The majority of the population is under age 35, and have grown up with the religious doctrine/ mindset of the country.

      • herrqlys says:

        The younger generations grew up with oil wealth overflowing all over the place. When the world price dropped precipitously they started to see the reductions in government programs for them, while the obscene wealth of the royal family still existed relatively unscathed.

        If you were a young, adult Saudi you might be discomfitted by the huge arms deals with the US and UK as well. Money for military hardware and related ordenance, and not for the people. But that’s a sticking point in every US/Israeli/NATO client state.

        The recent internal developments in Saudi Arabia make some economic sense in being justification for confiscations in aid of the royal treasury. But there is probably a desire to also settle some scores about who supported Qatar, or who might harbour some ideas for pan-Arab power sharing, or who might have Iranian sympathies, and other like issues. Moderates are as guilty as the nearly traitorous.

    • bas says:

      Agreed. Good to see you are still out there Voice of Arabi, I lost track of you for a moment since you logged of from Newsbud 🙂

  7. nigel.m says:

    Hello James.
    Nice interview with Sharmine.
    On a slightly different note, would you consider doing a podcast/interview on how the Kurdish people fit into this paradigm?
    There are about 20 million Kurds in the region and they were left without their own country as the Sykes-Picot agreement was signed after World war 1 ended.

  8. bas says:

    That moment in the end of the video when Sharmine talks about the positive long-term developments in the whole of Asia with the “other” globalism that is gradually taking out the “Western” new world order, you could see/imagine heavy 3D politics thoughts swirling around in James’ mind 😉

  9. Nevertheless says:

    Stop saying US governemnt, it is Israel’s government in Washington.

    Kushner, as well as Trump are Zionists.

    I am always amazed how low key Israel is presented here, even though they run US foreign policy, Congress and the white house.

  10. badgerdad says:

    You are both blowing my mind and scaring the crap out of me at the same time. I have only really been opening y eyes to these things in the last couple of weeks. I feel ashamed and like I have been doing my family and my fellow humans a disservice all these years. I have always felt like things aren’t right but I just carried on about my business a slave to the almighty dollar! No more!

    • HomeRemedySupply says:

      We all have been there.
      I am so glad you are here, part of the Corbetteer community which also focuses on solutions (such as spreading this information to others).

      • badgerdad says:

        Thanks. I am glad to be here! Always trying to have these discussions as much as possible now! I have lived some of the effects of corruption in regards to my health. I have since taken my health back myself and I am now a certified health coach helping others do the same!

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