Monday, June 05, 2023
Apr 1

Written by: Diana West
Monday, April 01, 2013 2:57 PM 

"World Must Unite Against US-Saudi-Israeli Proxy War in Syria" is the headline over a piece at Infowars by Tony Cartalucci, a reporter whose work on Uncle Sam's entanglement in jihad I've read with interest before. The piece makes a moral argument against the war on Assad that I find rather less transfixing than the ghastly spectacle of what he further describes as the US-UK-Saudi-Qatari alliance fighting this war. Call me ethno-centric, but I keep going back to the basic question: What is Uncle Sam doing running around with sharia allies remaking the Middle East into sharia-terror states?

Cartalucci connects some important dots -- literally -- by lining up data amassed in 2007 to indicate the Syrian centers from which Al Qaeda fighters entered Iraq with today's "rebel" centers, where the CIA is providing weapons and other assistance. His caption beneath a graphic illustration sums up:

West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s 2007 report, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq” indicated which areas in Syria Al Qaeda fighters filtering into Iraq came from. The overwhelming majority of them came from Dayr Al-Zawr in Syria’s southeast, Idlib in the north near the Turkish-Syrian border, and Dar’a in the south near the Jordanian-Syrian border. (Right) A map indicating the epicenters of violence in Syria indicate that the exact same hotbeds for Al Qaeda in 2007, now serve as the epicenters of so-called “pro-democracy fighters” and also happen to be areas the US CIA is admittedly distributing weapons and other aid in.

The morality of taking Assad down aside, what is Uncle Sam doing supporting jihad again? We watched this treacherous pattern take shape in Libya where, to my mind, the moral argument against the West's war on Qaddafi is stronger given that the West betrayed Qaddafi. The West brought down an enemy-turned-ally by switching sides to provide crucial support to the jihad forces that would triumph. And while we're on the subject of morality, it seems amiss to omit the colossal moral argument to be made against the world war waged by innumerable proxies to destroy Israel. Speaking of Israel, its headliner role in the Syria perfidy doesn't quite materialize in Cartalucci's piece, which may be due to the case I've picked up along the way that the Israelis would prefer, as a military matter, to see Assad remain in power rather than a Muslim-Brotherhood-Al-Qaeda-jihad revolution. But at this point of world craziness who knows?

Cartalucci's main point of interest, however, is that the current US policy to arm al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood jihadists to overthrow Assad goes back to 2007. We must go back to the Bush administration to pick up the policy trail.

He writes:

While the West has attempted to reclaim Syria as part of its sphere of influence for decades, concrete plans for the latest proxy war were laid at least as early as 2007. It was admitted in 2007 that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel conspired together to fund, arm, and direct sectarian extremists including militants “sympathetic” to Al Qaeda, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, against the governments of Iran and Syria. In Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Seymour Hersh’s 2007 New Yorker article,  “The Redirection: Is the Administration’s new policy benefiting our enemies in the war on terrorism?” the conspiracy was described as follows:

To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.

Hersh also cited US, Saudi, and Lebanese officials who indicated that, “in the past year, the Saudis, the Israelis, and the Bush Administration have developed a series of informal understandings about their new strategic direction,” and that, “the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria. The report would also state:

Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.

Mention of the Muslim Brotherhood already receiving aid even in 2007 was also made:

The Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, a branch of a radical Sunni movement founded in Egypt in 1928, engaged in more than a decade of violent opposition to the regime of Hafez Assad, Bashir’s father. In 1982, the Brotherhood took control of the city of Hama; Assad bombarded the city for a week, killing between six thousand and twenty thousand people. Membership in the Brotherhood is punishable by death in Syria. The Brotherhood is also an avowed enemy of the U.S. and of Israel. Nevertheless, Jumblatt said, “We told Cheney that the basic link between Iran and Lebanon is Syria—and to weaken Iran you need to open the door to effective Syrian opposition.”

There is evidence that the Administration’s redirection strategy has already benefitted the Brotherhood. The Syrian National Salvation Front is a coalition of opposition groups whose principal members are a faction led by Abdul Halim Khaddam, a former Syrian Vice-President who defected in 2005, and the Brotherhood. A former high-ranking C.I.A. officer told me, “The Americans have provided both political and financial support. The Saudis are taking the lead with financial support, but there is American involvement.” He said that Khaddam, who now lives in Paris, was getting money from Saudi Arabia, with the knowledge of the White House. (In 2005, a delegation of the Front’s members met with officials from the National Security Council, according to press reports.) A former White House official told me that the Saudis had provided members of the Front with travel documents.

Cartalucci sums up:

The Wall Street Journal in 2007 would also implicate the Muslim Brotherhood and more specifically, the so-called “National Salvation Front,” in its article, “To Check Syria, U.S. Explores Bond With Muslim Brothers.”

It is clear that the US, Saudi Arabia, and Israel planned to use sectarian extremists against the nation of Syria starting at least as early as 2007, and it is clear that now these sectarian extremists are carrying out the destruction of Syria with a massive torrent of weapons and cash provided by the US and its regional allies, just as was described by Hersh’s report.

Recalling long ago Bush administration burblings about a "Sunni crescent" in the Middle East, I retrieved the following article from the London Telegraph dated December 14, 2006. This, more or less, may mark the debut, or, at least, a debut of the pro-Sunni policy that continues to undergird Middle East policy -- disastrous for the US, but, whaddya know, a boon for Saudi Arabia. (Links from the original.)

The Telegraph reported:

Saudi Arabia would respond to an American withdrawal from Iraq by funding and arming Sunni insurgents to prevent them being massacred by Shia militias, the kingdom has told the White House.

The blunt warning, which diplomatic sources said was delivered by King Abdullah to Vice President Dick Cheney in Riyadh just over a fortnight ago, raises the spectre of an Iraqi civil war triggering a conflict between Sunni and Shia states across the Middle East.

Funny how King Abdullah was always delivering blunt warnings to the Bush administration -- and funny how they were always taken to heart.

Actually, not funny at all.

Saudi Arabia fears that the United States might take the side of the Shia majority in Iraq or abandon the country altogether, leaving Sunnis at the mercy of Shias intent on vengeance for decades of Sunni domination and oppression.

Is this anything like a Tito type delivering a blunt warning to an American vice president that something had to be done (such as a major infusion of US blood and treasure) to stop Chicoms and Soviets from fighting each other? Not exactly precisely -- particularly given the Saudis' unprecedented role as owner of large swaths of US policy and policy-makers -- but there is a  large kernel of similarity in that Sunni-Shiite strife, like Chicom-Soviet strife, harms Sunnis and Shiites (or Chicoms and Soviets), not the West. Meanwhile, all the more incentive to drill, baby, drill, which somehow, American presidents since the 1973 Oil Embargo have managed to resist.

Back to the Telegraph.

Chas Freeman, a former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said that King Abdullah was also concerned that the US invasion of Iraq had "consolidated an Iranian hegemony in the northern tier of the Arab world".

And so it did. And US intervention (the "surge") wouldn't change that.

The Saudi warning greatly complicates President George W Bush's plan for a fresh Iraq strategy. The White House this week announced that Mr Bush would not be addressing Americans about a changed Iraq policy until the New Year after previously indicating he would give a speech before Christmas.

Not-so-veiled implication that the Saudis had thrown a monkey wrench into Bush administration policy-making.

Any Saudi intervention in Iraq would be fraught with difficulty because foreign al-Qa'eda fighters loyal to the Saudi-born Osama bin Laden are dedicated to bringing down the House of Saud.

The Saudis needed help with their "problem": How could they fight "al Qaeda" when so many of them support "al Qaeda" -- oops, strike that. Just call in Uncle Sam.

The abrupt resignation this week of Prince Turki al-Faisal, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, after just 15 months in the post is believed to be connected to his opposition to the suggestion that the kingdom might intervene in Iraq.

Who knows.

The kingdom's hardening position is a reaction to what some Bush administration officials refer to as the "80 per cent solution" in Iraq — a US state department proposal to abandon moves to woo Iraq's Sunnis, who make up 20 per cent of Iraq's population of 26 million.

Mr Bush was at the Pentagon yesterday to discuss Iraq with senior generals, many of whom favour a "surge" in troop numbers in Iraq, particularly in Baghdad.

The president responded coolly to proposals by the independent Iraq Study Group last week to begin a gradual "draw-down" of US forces. Philip Zelikow, a senior aide to Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, is said to be the author of the "80 per cent" proposal, which argues that US attempts at reconciliation between Sunnis, who dominated Iraq under Saddam Hussein, and Shia are too ambitious.

But Miss Rice is understood to oppose the plan and it has met stiff opposition from Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador to Baghdad, and military commanders in Iraq.

Miss Rice instead favours the creating of a "Sunni crescent" in the Middle East based on Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf states while building links between moderate Sunni tribal and provincial leaders in Iraq and Nouri al-Maliki's Shia-led government.

This would isolate Shia-dominated Iran and Sunni-dominated Syria.

Saudi Arabia is particularly concerned about the growth of Iran and its client Hizbollah, which is also supported by Syria, in Lebanon.

End of story, end of trail, broken threads, sinking feeling, open question: How much of US policy is driven by Saudi, not American, concerns? Have we been duped into backing Saudi Sunnism versus Iran Shi'ism -- as if Saudi's Sunnis are natural allies of the West simply and solely because they are in friction with Shiite Iran? If so, this is a terrible repetition of our tragic experience in World War II in which the Western democracies backed and built and apologized for Soviet Communism as an ally against German Nazism. We got rid of German Nazism all right -- but we created a greater totalitarianism in its stead: the Communist world empire.

This is the story of American Betrayal -- and we are living it again.

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