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Sunday, 29 November 2015 10:30

Hitting Saudi Arabia where it hurts

Hitting Saudi Arabia where it hurts

Though faced with a global terrorism crisis, Official Washington can’t get beyond its neocon-led “tough-guy-gal” rhetoric. But another option – financial sanctions on Saudi Arabia – might help finally shut down the covert supply of money and arms to Al Qaeda and the ISIS.

An investigative reporter and writher of the book “America’s Stolen Narrative”, Robert Parry, said this, writing more on the issue of terrorism in the region and main culprits behind it, in an article published by "Consortium News".

As the ISIS and Al Qaeda enter a grim competition to see who can kill more civilians around the world, the fate of Western Civilization as we’ve known it arguably hangs in the balance. It will not take much more terror for the European Union to begin cracking up and for the United States to transform itself into a full-scale surveillance state.

Yet, in the face of this crisis, many of the same people who set people on this road to destruction continue to dominate – and indeed frame – the public debate. For instance, Official Washington’s neocons still insist on their recipe for “regime change” in countries that they targeted 20 years ago. They also demand a new Cold War with Russia in defense of a regime in Ukraine, further destabilizing Europe and disrupting U.S.-Russian cooperation in Syria.
Given the stakes, you might think that someone in a position of power – or one of the many candidates for U.S. president – would offer some pragmatic and realistic ideas for addressing this extraordinary threat. But most Republicans – from Marco Rubio to Carly Fiorina to Ted Cruz – only offer more of “more of the same,” i.e. neocon belligerence on steroids. Arguably, Donald Trump and Rand Paul are exceptions to this particular hysteria, but neither has offered a coherent and comprehensive counter-analysis. On the Democratic side, frontrunner Hillary Clinton wins praise from the neocon editors of The Washington Post for breaking with President Barack Obama’s hesitancy to fully invade Syria. Former Secretary of State Clinton wants an invasion to occupy parts of Syria as a “safe area” and to destroy Syrian and presumably Russian planes if they violate her so-called “no-fly zone.”

Much like the disastrous U.S. invasions of Iraq and Libya, neocons are pitching the invasion of Syria as a humanitarian venture to destroy terrorists; however, this is Syria’s military, backed by Iranian advisors and Russian planes that has targeted Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and Ahrar al-Sham. The latter receives U.S. weapons as it fights side-by-side with Nusra in the Army of Conquest.

In fact, they opted instead for a clever but vacuous talking point, arguing that the Saudis and other rich oil sheiks of the Persian Gulf should use their wealth and militaries to bring order to the region, to “get their hands dirty.” The problem is that the Saudis, the Qataris and the Kuwaitis – along with the Turks – are a big part of the problem. They have used their considerable wealth to finance and arm Al Qaeda and its various allies and spinoffs, including the ISIS. Their hands are already very dirty.

What we have seen in the Middle East since the 1980s is Saudi Arabia and other accomplice states creating “hard power” for their regional ambitions by assembling paramilitary forces that are willing and even eager to lash out at their fabricated “enemies.”

While the wealthy Saudis, Qataris and other pampered princes don’t want to become soldiers themselves, they’re more than happy to exploit disaffected guys, turn them into so-called ‘jihadists’, better to say ‘terrorists’, and unleash them. Al Qaeda and the ISIS are Saudi Arabia’s foot soldiers.

This reality is similar to how the Reagan administration supported right-wing paramilitary forces in Central America during the 1980s, including “death squads” in El Salvador and Guatemala and the drug-tainted “Contras” in Nicaragua. These extremists were willing to do the “dirty work” that Reagan’s CIA considered necessary to reverse the tide of any revolutions in the region, but with “deniability” built in so Official Washington couldn’t be directly blamed for the slaughters.

Also, in the 1980s, the Reagan administration’s hardliners, including CIA Director William J. Casey, saw the value of using extremism to undermine the Soviet Union, with its official position of atheism. The CIA and the Saudis worked hand in hand in building the fundamentalist movement.
The strategy also gave rise to the Taliban, and Al Qaeda, which evolved from the Saudi and other foreign militants including Saudi Osama bin Laden who had flocked to the Afghan mishap.

In effect, the Afghan experience created the modern terrorist movement – and the Saudis, in particular, understood the value of this paramilitary force to ‘punish’ governments and political groups that the Saudis and their oil-rich friends considered threats. Officially, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and cohorts in the regional oil states could claim that they weren’t behind the terrorists while letting money and arms slip through.

At times, the terrorists dubbed at times as the so-called ‘jihadists’ also proved useful for the United States and Israel, striking at anti-terrorist movement Hezbollah in Lebanon, fighting for “regime change” in Syria, and even joining forces with the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government to kill ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine.

Plus, high-profile terrorism, including the highly suspicious 9/11 attacks, enabled the tough-talking neocons to consolidate their control over U.S. foreign policy, diverting American fury over Al Qaeda’s killing nearly 3,000 people in New York and Washington to implement the neocons’ “regime change” agenda.

As the Military-Industrial Complex made out like bandits with billions upon billions of dollars thrown at the “War on Terror,” grateful military contractors kicked back some profits to major think tanks where neocon thinkers were employed to develop more militaristic plans.

But the downside of this coziness has been that Al Qaeda and its spinoff, the ISIS, perceive the West as their ultimate enemy, drawing, on the surface, from both historic and current injustices inflicted on the Islamic world by Europe and the United States. The terrorist leaders cite this mistreatment to recruit young people from impoverished areas of the Middle East and the urban slums of Europe – and get them to strap on suicide-belts and so on.

Thus, Al Qaeda and now the ISIS not only advance the neocon/Israeli/Saudi agenda by launching terror attacks in Syria against Assad’s government and in Lebanon against Hezbollah, but they strike out on their own against U.S. and European targets, even in Africa.

The consequence of these murderous rampages has been to threaten the political and economic cohesion of Europe and to increase pressures for a strengthened surveillance state inside the United States. Yet, rather than explain the real reasons for this crisis – and what the possible solutions might be – no one in the U.S. mainstream political world or the major media seems able or willing to talk straight to the American people about how we got here.

Arguably, some proposed that there should be imposition of tough financial sanctions against Saudi Arabia as punishment for its continued support for Al Qaeda and the ISIS. Freezing or confiscating Saudi bank accounts around the world might finally impress on the princes of the Persian Gulf oil states that there is a real price to pay for dabbling in terrorism. Such an action against Saudi Arabia also would send a message to smaller sheikdoms that they could be next. Other pressures, including possible expulsion from NATO, could be brought to bear on Turkey.

If the West finally got serious about stopping this financial and military support for Al Qaeda, the ISIS and their terrorist allies in Syria, the violence will finally abate.
Right now, the biggest obstacle to a political agreement appears to be the U.S. insistence that President Assad be barred from elections once Syria achieves some stability.
Yet, if US President Barack Obama is so certain that the Syrian people hate Assad, it seems crazy to let Assad’s presumed defeat at the polls obstruct such a crucial deal.

The only explanation for this U.S. stubbornness is that the neocons and the liberal hawks have made “regime change” in Syria such a key part of their agenda that they would lose face if Assad’s departure was not mandated.


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