Is it finally dawning who hides behind the ‘Islamic State’?

The attacks in Paris have not only created a shock in public opinion. In the mainstream media too, cracks and rifts have upset the consensus. That ‘we’ would have even the slightest responsibility for the unrest in the world, let alone for something as horrible as the terror attacks on civilians, has long been denied. 
In a remarkable turnabout the New York Times now has reprinted an article from an Algerian newspaper, the Quotidien d’Oran. In that piece Kamel Daoudnov writes that we should not be so preoccupied with ISIS that we no longer see that there already exists an ISIS where everything that ISIS in Iraq and Syria is doing, is the rule of law—Saudi Arabia. 

Chopping off heads, outlawing art and uncovered skin, everything forbidden by Islamic law of the strictest kind, in Saudi Arabia not only is officially sanctioned but is being applied with the same frequency.
Whoever wants to know what would happen if ISIS would really establish a durable state authority only needs to make a one-way trip to Riyadh.

Because the al-Saud dynasty itself is under threat from the fundamentalists, it encourages them to pursue their missionary activities elsewhere. Hundreds of religious TV channels, thousands of Islamist newspapers and preachers are sowing hatred against the West in North and Northwest Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere, against the infidels which have humiliated the Arab world and Islam, repress the Palestinians, have invaded Iraq, and so on and so forth.

That view of the world, writes Daoudnov, with its many points of reference in reality (the humiliation, repression, the invasion) is being financed by the near-infinite means at the disposal of Saudi Arabia thanks to its oil wealth. ISIS has a mother, he writes, and that is the invasion of Iraq. But it also has a father, Saudi Arabia and that country’s religious-industrial complex.

That this is being printed in the New York Times is of utmost importance, also for those for whom there is little real news in the article itself. Because in the US the role of Saudi Arabia in 9/11 is still taboo. And yet all ‘conspiracy theories’ (that is, theories explaining the event differently from the conspiracy theory figuring Osama Bin Laden) can be easily explained from this connection.
So if Bush, Cheney, and their friends kept the Saudi’s protected and ignored warnings of their own FBI, this is because they had the most intimate ties with the Saudi’s and to say the least, did not want to hear evil about them.

This goes back to the Reagan era when the US Congress refused permission to the CIA to arm the Contras in Nicaragua and wage a secret war there. Bush senior in his days as head of the CIA (he had been appointed by Gerald Ford under pressure from Cheney and Rumsfeld) had transformed, jointly with the Saudi intelligence chief, Adham, a Pakistani bank (BCCI) into a transfer window for illegal operations. When Bush was put in charge of these operations as vice-president under Reagan, BCCI became the channel through which Saudi and other foreign money was transferred to the Contras, bypassing Congress. Ever since, close relations have remained between the Bush dynasty and Saudi Arabia and they were enlarged by huge weapons contracts, sometimes so big that the Israel lobby in the US successfully resisted them. In one case an integral armaments project, al-Yamama, was taken over by Great Britain, then under Margaret Thatcher.

Saudi Arabia has a defence budget of 81 billion dollar a year, a fraction less than the big bogeyman, Russia (84). In addition the Saudi’s have no moral restrictions placed on them, so if they want to crush the democracy movement in Bahrain, no problem. Do they want to wage a cruel war in Yemen? Go ahead.

Yet nothing that the Saudi’s do can take place without American consent, because all the ultra-modern weapons systems they can deploy are dependent on the technicians that come with the package. But even more fundamentally, American policy in the Middle East rests on two pillars: Israel and Saudi Arabia. And neither of these is a tactical alliance only. We are talking about extensive military, industrial and financial cooperation that has grown to its present proportions over decades and from which no return is possible, certainly not at a time of severe crisis of the capitalist system.

In short, Obama, speaking in Southeast Asia at the ASEAN summit, can deploy all his rhetorical flourish about criminals blowing up restaurants, the heart of the matter is that he is tied hands and feet to what Daoudnov calls, ‘the ISIS that made it’, viz., Saudi Arabia.

Kees van der Pijl

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