PROOF OF CONSPIRACY | SETH ABRAMSON | St. Martin's Publishing Group






ON SALE 9/3/19


As fears about the continued viability of oil as a nation’s chief export grow, the two most influential nations in the Persian Gulf, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, increasingly lust not just for the expansion of their present dominant role on the global oil market but for nuclear power, possibly even nuclear weapons. More broadly, the internationalization of national interests—the way the future of a nation probably hinges more now on the relations between two or more other nations than was the case decades ago—is leading many Arab rulers to believe that only a historic détente between the United States and Russia can lead to economic prosperity and peace for many Middle Eastern countries. On the near side of that vision, however, looms a terrifying prospect: an all-out war between the United States, Israel, certain Sunni Arab nations, and Iran—a conflict that, especially if it draws into its maw such interested parties as Turkey and Russia or even China, could engulf the Earth in a third world war. Far preferable, the conspirators of the Red Sea Conspiracy concluded in 2015, would be a pre-election rapprochement between the GOP presidential candidate in 2016 and a Russian president whose divisive global agenda could be made to further the ambitions of several Arab states.

It is with all these stakes in mind that international onlookers watched the rise of Donald Trump in 2015. Trump was, as clearly to those abroad as to those in the United States, a man without set principles or dogma; he therefore was quickly adjudged to be a man whose sympathies, loyalties, and political agenda could be bought by any one or several of the nations that had already helped make him rich over the years. There has already been much discussion of how the Kremlin spotted early on the opportunities a Trump candidacy promised; simultaneously, however, the Saudis and Emiratis marked not just these myriad possibilities but the additional slate of possibilities opened up by the Kremlin’s burgeoning interest in a political neophyte with malleable ethics. The same Arab nations that feared that President Obama’s peaceful entreaties to Iran could be a preview of what a Hillary Clinton administration would bring therefore steeled their resolve to avoid that eventuality by whatever means possible.

The resulting plot to ensure—with the help of Donald Trump’s vanity and boundless acquisitiveness—that a venal New York City businessman would be the next occupant of the Oval Office is the complex, globespanning subject matter of this book. The Red Sea Conspiracy, variously referred to by its participants and in media as the “grand bargain” or the “Middle East Marshall Plan,” is in its basic contours relatively simple: the Saudis, Emiratis, Israelis, Bahrainis, and Egyptians, in conjunction with the Russians, aid Trump’s election as the next U.S. president while encouraging him to drop all sanctions on the Russian Federation if and when he secures election. In compensation for this dramatic reversal of U.S. policy toward Russia—an about-face worth hundreds of billions of dollars to the Kremlin in recaptured post-sanctions revenue—the Russians will withdraw their support for Iran in Syria and elsewhere, thereby enabling the Red Sea conspirators to conclusively conquer their Iranian foes. The conspirators’ post-bargain expectations are likewise easy to summarize: (1) the isolation of U.S. allies Turkey and Qatar, whose government-affiliated media organs have been unkind to the Saudis and their allies, and whose warm and comparatively uncomplicated relationships with America the Saudis and Emiratis particularly covet; (2) the receipt of American assistance in pushing back against Iranian aggression in the region, both indirectly (against alleged Iranian proxies in Syria and Yemen) and directly (in the form of aiding the Saudis and Emiratis in becoming nuclear powers capable of threatening Iran directly); (3) the receipt of a massive influx of out-of-region infrastructure and other investment from both the Americans and the Russians, with the aim of sidelining the Israeli-Palestinian debate in favor of a new focus on economic development across the Gulf region; (4) the establishment of a new pro-Israel and pro-American military alliance of Sunni Arab nations that will constitute one of the world’s largest and most commanding fighting forces, to be overseen—in both its legal and illicit operations—by MBS and MBZ; (5) and the standing down of pro-democracy forces within and outside the U.S. government in the face of encroaching autocracy in Israel and certain of America’s Arab allies— chiefly Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt.

This grand bargain was to be overseen by MBZ, MBS, and Egypt’s el-Sisi in coordination with both the Kremlin and Donald Trump. It is as audacious a plot as the world has seen in half a century, requiring years of continent-crossing communications, negotiations, and accommodations that must go unseen by major media until they are complete. It is a complex story drawing into its matrix of persons, places, and events nationals from at least a dozen countries, and it begins many years ago with the slowly converging exploits of three men: a pedophile, a mercenary, and a political flack.

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