According to the director Anzour “The film research the roots of the concept of terrorism that has spread throughout the world, and the Wahhabi ideology that has facilitated the spread of the groups of extremism and violence and their expansion around the world.”
King of The Sand Conference London Part 01, 02, 03
According to a report on “Risk Map for the year 2014″ and prepared by the Foundation “Control Risks” world, according to the newspaper “Business Insider” American. Lebanon was not alone among the Arab countries covered by the report, as the solution to Iraq in tenth place, and was followed by Syria ranked in the top 11 , and knocked off the top 13-14-15, Yemen, and Libya. Egypt. scored report of the Asia-Pacific countries are among the most countries that got the cases of kidnapping-for-ransom was paid during the year 2013, and escalated risk in Africa as well as claimed the continent, especially Nigeria the highest in the kidnapping, where the most cases in place of fuel production in the Niger Delta. According to the report, Cases numerous recorded in the Middle East, I got because of the tenuous security environment generated by the war in Syria, pointing out that kidnapping for ransom is one of the common problems between Syria and Lebanon. Below is the list, which includes more than 20 countries where the kidnapping happened during the year 2013:
1 – Mexico.
2 – India.
3 – Nigeria.
4 – Pakistan.
5 – Venezuela.
6 – Lebanon.
7 – Philippines.
8 – Afghanistan.
9 – Columbia.
10 – Iraq.
11 – Syria.
12 – Gwatemala.
13 – Yemen.
14 – Libya.
15 – Egypt.
16 – Brazil.
17 – Kenya.
18 – Nepal.
19 – Malaysia.
20 – South Africa
The case of the invasion of NATO to Libya has been much talk, especially to generate a matrix that is now trying to be repeated in Syria, although in the latter things are not going so simple for the high command interventionist. In Libya, a nation where people enjoyed one of the highest income levels in the region, in which numerous tribes that lived up in a fairly acceptable level, imperialism conceived a strategy that brought mercenaries (most they benefited succulent amounts of money for Qatar), which were generating a protracted destabilization and harassment the central government of Gaddafi.
Making base in Benghazi, and from there definitely launch terrorist attacks against the Libyan population addicted, it was preparing the ground, despite stubborn resistance from forces loyal to Gaddafi, to advance the open intervention of the aircraft NATO finally managed to wipe out government strongholds. What came after is more or less known: the assassination of Libyan leader implantation of terror and destruction in the country, massacres offend humanity, looting and military and economic occupation in favor of the pro imperialist countries.
A week ago I had the opportunity to meet its own voice of one of the most important leaders of the Libyan government and the Libyan faithful collaborator of Gaddafi, his version of the events in that African country. Arguably, our interview, with which we could contact in Madrid, is a true survivor of the campaign of mass murder that occurred at the triumph of the military forces of NATO. He stayed until the last moment with President Gaddafi, was at once in direct communication with his son Saif al Islam (now detained in the hands of one of the tribes) and ran all kinds of risks to save his life, leave the country and power, currently charting with others of his comrades, the future map of the country’s recovery to those who were followers of the green leader. “Once our leader killed, leaving the country was an adventure and I can say that I am really alive by chance,” he tells us in a small apartment in the Spanish capital where we received the report and gave very clear conditions: Named not to appear of course, because of their presence in Spain is absolutely not illegal and is framed in the activities of the resistance, and therefore, total absence of pictures that may help you discover someone who is well-known in Libya and has not changed much his face or his appearance.
Therefore, this is an interview where the most important is the content of what is expressed by this man, who calls himself Abdel, and is not based on any of the resources of journalistic sensationalism (“exclusive” or “find a …” ) that our country does not practice by definition. What we can say is that seeing him, we recognized our interviewed one of those players that throughout the period that lasted the imperialist offensive against the people and the Libyan government played a more visible role by the government staff. On the mouth, along the few hours of the meeting we went finding many aspects of the last tragic days of the previous government, some details of the murder of Gaddafi and what is currently living in a country devastated by where you look.
I can not help but asking how it is that you still managed to survive while you are so well known.
- As I said, it is by chance, once our leader decided to resist and not leave the territory three convoys were assembled and integrated by a group of loyal and willing to fight militants, and went on to take three different contacts with those along the country still struggling for directions. So it was that while the convoy in which was our leader was detected, ours managed to travel hundreds of miles, where we ran into our people, share with them the latest news from each of the fronts and we gave instructions to continue resisting. Upon learning of the horrific death of our leader at the hands of the imperialist criminals, we decided to approach the border with Algeria, and when we saw possibilities of resuming contacts with other loyal chiefs, we went outside, we reunified with other survivors and Arms the current strategy of restarting the recovery of our country fighting the invaders.
- Before we talk about Libya, I am interested that you give us an approximation of the moments that is lived in the region?
- The situation in Libya is very hard, because it has developed through blood and fire international imperialist project. It just so happens that the United States and the rest of their Western allies decided to constitute a species of reactionary religious movement and, through this “unholy” alliance-marriage between international imperialism and the reactionary religious movement can serve their interests crushing on the left and revolutionary politics in the region.
- This strategy would explain what is happening in other countries in the region where the U.S. wants to not lose her domain?
- Exactly. While facing the destruction of our country, the region remains in the dark ages, subjecting it to the influence of such a move. Therefore, especially the United States, but also the West in general, have as close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which is the main movement in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and other countries. They agreed to maintain unchanged the interests of the imperial West and give them what they want: oil security and maintain divided area. In return, these religious movements have power, they can do what they want with their society, which obviously includes reactionary laws, oppression of women, the fight against art, culture and politics of the left. It is noteworthy that this strategy works for both parties. They just realized that they could walk together in recent years and the reason is Turkey. The Turkish Islamic movement matured and led the state in a way that convinced the West that a particular type of Islam can go together to imperialism and that this may serve both parties. It’s an amazing encounter between two distant theories or ideologies Western imperialism and the reactionary Islamism,and the victims are the nations, the people of the Middle East.
- Anyway, it’s amazing you have found it so easy to move in a direction that deepened domination and devastation of some people, as the Libyans had managed to build a fairly adverse to the interests of the Empire governance.
‘Unfortunately, the progressive movements in the Middle East were weak and not very well-organized. Revolutionary governments have been in power for decades were very vital in the past, but revolutions are like human beings, eventually become old, tired, sick, with its social and economic problems and lose their vitality. This is what happened to the revolutionary governments of Libya and Syria. So when it happened a genuine revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia – because I think those were real revolutions-the left and the revolutionary section of society could not advance and submit a national project of change. The Islamists were better organized because they went to the heart and the spirituality of the people, as they have a long history in the religious history of the Middle East. Fortunately for us all that is changing now.The MB and the Islamist agenda is being defeated everywhere, and what’s amazing is not for us, the revolutionaries, but by the simple understanding of ordinary people on the street. Because after a year in power, the MB has proved oppressive, allied to Western imperialism, who would not mind the development of the society or make any positive change in the lives of the people. So people took to the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities. But also, and not much talk of this, there were demonstrations in Libya, Tunisia, millions of people were against this alliance.
- ‘Now, tell me about your country that bleeds Libya at the hands of the invaders, but from what I know is brewing resistance actions.
- The situation in Libya is a bit more complicated. The media do not tell, do not talk about. If not for NATO, we could easily liberate Libya. We have the power, have the tribes on our side, we have the majority of the population on our side but the Americans, the French, the English especially, supported in part by Italian, German, Spanish and a little support, have their armies, fleets in the Mediterranean Sea, have their satellites on Libya and its intelligence services have warned us, in secret and in public, that any movement of the Green Resistance in Libya will be crushed.They permit NATO to interveneLibya is still active and refused to remove it.
- Were you surprised by the role played by Russia in not preventing the Western intervention?
Russians tried to curb the invasion but eventually allowed it, because the Russians are playing their game, by delivering Libya to win Syria. But referring to the conditions in the country in terms of population and real people power, that is for us, we are strengthened. Many of my colleagues are now back in Libya. I can not return to Libya, my face is known and highlights wherever you go, but most of my friends, many of our revolutionary leaders have returned to Libya, are in very safe places. Southern Libya, Sahara, is completely green. The center of Libya is also green, most of the west, around Tripoli in Tripoli are green, but the people can not express it because most of the most sophisticated weapons in the hands of militias, supported by bands NATO. So far we believe, that our sources report that there are between 1,000 and 3,000 NATO military agents in the country. What are they doing? They are training the militia, giving weapons have sophisticated intelligence equipment to see what is happening in the country, communicate via satellite. The strongest military power is in the sea, just off Tripoli and Benghazi. Of course no one talks about it, no discussion in the media want to keep it covered.
- In addition, reports of alternative agencies speak of a permanent crime wave.
- The political situation is terribly bad, if we see the news in recent days were over fifty murders. Fortunately these crimes occur within the enemy ranks. Basically the enemy is divided into three fractions: the Islamists, called “liberals” and the tribes. The Islamists are divided, although a false division between the MB, which is supposedly more peaceful political and Al Qaeda. But in fact they are one, but want to pretend to be two. The MB comes out in the media, speak kindly, has a political speech, but the real power is held by Al Qaeda.
- From the outside, these militias remain? Funded by Qatar and Saudi Arabia
- No, Saudi Arabia hates MB and Al Qaeda, but sometimes worked together because they obey orders from their masters, the Americans. But Saudi Arabia is as much as possible away from the BM and Al Qaeda, because they are Salafis.
Qatar, of course, along with Turkey, are puppets of U.S. imperialism in the area. Qatar supports huge amounts of weapons and money and training. The followers of Al Qaeda are the most organized and that have the most firepower.Then there are the liberals, who are small in number. Our estimate is that all pro NATO militiamen around the country does not exceed 3,000, including those from Benghazi and Tripoli,which is a very small number. I know for sure that we have only our fighters in southern exceed 90,000. Liberals are not a movement like the Islamists, are individuals, personalities shaped by reactionary hands in Western capitals. Liberals lived most of their life outside Libya, in London, in Paris, in New York. They have no popular support, but are presented in the West as good people, Democrats, able to reconstruct the future of Libya. But the West knows that they have no support. The only one who lived in Libya and meet people is Mahmoud Jibril,a liberal personality who betrayed us. Was with us, he was a minister in the government, but he belongs to one of the most important tribes of the country, Warfallah, located in Bani Walid.
- What do you know about what is going on in Misurata?
- In Misurata they are the enemy. Misurata is very close to Bani Walid, but even within Misurata we have many greens. But NATO has the power to impose. If you have 1,000 militiamen with weapons and support, they can control the city. Liberals are very weak, are not at all dangerous to us, have no popular support and are not organized, but they have the support of the West. They have the support of Qatar, Qatar actually hates the MB too, but they are backed by France, England and the United States, because they want to keep them as an option. The third fractions are tribal militias, formed by some large families or a large clan or tribe who for some reason or another joined NATO.Not many but their alliance is based on the tribes they are not interested politics, no ideology. For example, if we can convince the leader of the tribe to join us, come together, not against a Green Libya or for anything. All you care about is finding a position of power to his tribe. They want power, they want money for their tribe and this is very sad, but Libya is a tribal society and tribes are important. That was one of our faults, that in forty years of revolution were not able to eliminate tribes, weaken but still exist. Tribal militias are powerful, they are strong, they have guns and people.For example, while the Islamists have 3,000 militiamen, armed tribal groups comprise many more, can reach 20 thousand or 30 thousand, do not know exactly, but they are numerous.
- As you say, there is the paradox that the Green Libya has not been reduced in people but can not be imposed because of the might of NATO.
‘This I’ve given is the map of the enemy. The enemy does not have popular support. For reports from our sources inside the country, we believe, deep in our heart, that if I had any kind of democratic process now, we would win by a large majority. In fact we have more support now than we had two years ago. This is for a reason: no matter how well you govern, if you are in government for forty years people will want a change, just to see what is possible, even if it was a beautiful, fantastic country. In fact Libya was a safe, rich country, we had the best universities and roads, we were doing really well.
- Tell me how it is the day-to-day in your occupied country.
- First of all it is important that the people know what is tried in Libya without the Green Revolution and its a disaster. This is not seen in the media and this is our problem,but in Libya every day there are murders, imprisonment, bank robberies, the country’s oil wealth is free to the West. Coming ships they take the oil and leave. No more security, the people who previously had a position of power has completely lost it now. Earlier in the Green Libyan people felt empowered because ministers and leaders of all organizations were Libya, even small cities were involved in government. Now the people see that we are completely dominated by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, France.The people feel that they lost their dignity. Villagers can not walk the streets with their heads held high and proud as they used to,now it’s scary: do not talk to this man because he is Islamic or do not piss off this guy because he in a tribal militia, or do not insult Qatar because they will come and kill you. Now there are many things to be afraid of, before Libya was free.
- In this context, what influence does the Libyan population in the popular uprisings occurring in neighboring countries?
- What happened in Egypt, the revolution against the Islamists, is having an effect on Libya. In recent days, the Libyans have come to protest for the first time. They are protesting against the Islamists, which is very good for us, they are repudiating tribal militias, they say they should all be abolished and join the Army. They are also protesting against Qatar, Saudi Arabia, France and NATO, for the first time in two years.In Libya many asked if we can raise the green flag and said no, because we know it would be a slaughter, they will take it as an excuse to kill them alland to be honest, we lost much in the war, many of our men killed. Now I do not want to lose more people, try to keep them alive, that best serve the cause alive than dead, unless you are Che Guevara and then you become an international symbol. But overall better serve the cause if you’re alive. Besides we do not want to weaken the spirit of the people. If there were 300 or 400 people in a couple of days or a week, the people would be weakened, because death is terrible, people lost brothers and sisters. We think that death is not good as the Libyans have suffered a lot. I lost most of my family in the war, it is not good, so we said no to hoisting the flag, only to protest against the enemy to weaken.
- How do you play on the current situation that people like you can make it at the level internationally?
- Our problem in this analysis is not the internal situation in Libya, because the internal situation is very easy for us, the problem is with the outside, with NATO. Until we talk to Europe, they know everything, they have the same vision, they know that Libya is wrong, they know about the Islamists, Al Qaeda, about the militias, they know everything. But the situation suits them because they are getting free oil from Libya, have intelligence services working for free, maintain their influence over the Arab world, North Africa and black Africa. In addition they got rid of the Green Revolution in Libya, which was a major enemy of the West. I’ll tell you a little secret: I spoke with an American ambassador in Africa, a woman, very close friend of Obama, read about it on the Internet, grew up with Obama. It is an important ambassador in Africa. I met her a few months ago and talked with her, and she told me, and this is incredible, “Do you think we do not know this?”.Because I was trying to explain the terrible situation, appealing to American democracy: they can not do this, they are human beings, they must have a sense of dignity. She said:“We know all this, but we can not let them return to Libya because they are enemies of American democracy.” In Libya we are the enemies of American democracy! What is making American democracy in Libya? I said, “How can I, in Libya, in my home country, in the desert in North Africa, be an enemy of American democracy? What is making American democracy in the Mediterranean? “. This is imperialism, not democracy. So they know what happens, but still insist on supporting the enemy.
- Do you not see, despite everything, a gap to shake off the invaders? Do they not work about its contradictions?
‘It’s difficult, in our circumstances, to confront NATO in Libya. The Egyptians did a good job, I have to respect them and admire them, because even though Obama openly supported Morse and spoke in his favor and Paterson ambassador met with Morse and the general of the Navy and warned them they could not go against Morse, Like the Egyptians took to the streets and protested. Were millions, and I think not only I, but many journalists who were there, it was the largest human protest of all human history. The numbers are between 30 and 40 million people in the streets, it’s amazing. The power of protest in the streets forced the Americans to crouch their head and accept its results. This can not happen in Libya for many reasons. The main reason we do not have the institution of the Army, as it was destroyed by NATO. In Egypt they have security, as an Egyptian citizen when you go out you have a comfort in your heart for the army is there to protect you.In Libya do not have any that, if you hit the streets you kill the militia, because the army was destroyed by NATO. The second difference between Libya and Egypt is that Egypt was never, perhaps in the time of Nasser, long ago, but in the last 40 years were not enemies of the West. Then West has no fear that Egypt will turn against them, but just two years ago Libya was a great enemy of the West, then the West is more scared that Libya returns to be an enemy, with its oil power, etc..
- Currently all “green” political parties are outlawed?
- We are not allowed to work in politics, but we have a movement called Popular Libyan National Movement. They talk of democracyand this is a peaceful political movement and they do not permit us to talk or open offices or meeting with the government, or discuss our problems in Libya. The West does not care, because they already decided that Libya has to be what it is now. Look at Iraq. When was Iraq invaded? In 2003, it’s been 10 years and in Iraq there is death, destruction, division of the country, Al Qaeda is everywhere, oil is lost. Did you hear the UN report last year? The amount of money lost in Iraq is $ 600 billion, no one knows where they are. Who cares about Iraq? Everyone knows why they invaded Iraq were false, and who cares? Nobody knows how many people died in Iraq over the past 10 years, perhaps a million, million and a half, no one knows.
I insist on a topic: Why do you think Russia and China played the role of drop out to defend Libya and now no NATO intervention in Syria?
-Part of that is our fault. In Libya, in the last 10 years before the war, we weaken our relations with Russia and China, we approached a few steps toward the West to see if we could have missed some dialogue and strategic alliances. In terms of military alliances, especially with Russia, political alliances, cultural, while so far Syria has strong alliances with Russia in the military and intelligence. Moreover it is very sad that Russia and China have played their role to unite with our executioners, although very powerful, I do not think we can consider them superpowers. We live in a world where there is only one superpower that is America. The difference is huge resources, the U.S. is up there and have to go down a lot to get to Russia, England and France, there is no comparison. Russia can not keep the fight everywhere. I give you an example: they know that at the protest last Friday in Egypt, the Egyptian people lifted photos of Putin and other with Obama with an X. The Egyptians never spoke well of Russia in the past 40 years. The last good thing that happened between Egypt and Russia was with Nasser. Then the Egyptians will take photos of Putin protests is very significant. If the Russians were powerful enough and have sufficient resources, they should enter into Egypt immediately and replace the United States. But they can not, they lack the resources. Americans give the Egyptians three billion dollars a year on food aid, and give the Egyptian military $ 1.5 billion in military aid, whether in training, courses, weapons, everything. Then there is 4.5 billion dollars in aid, not counting indirect aid. For the Russians can do anything they have to have money, but can not, they lack the resources. It’s sad that now that Egyptian politicians have asked the Russian intervention. They said, “Come, we will receive, the embrace, please come and replace America.” But the Russians can not, simply can not. So it is very sad that we live in a world where you have to fight against imperialism, but sometimes you talk with imperialism. It’s pathetic, because that huge beast is on you, eating you and you have to fight it, but at the same time talk. Because there is no solution, there is no other way, that’s the situation for us, it’s very sad.
- Tell us about how Gaddafi died, why the capture of Gaddafi actually occurs.
- The Leader wanted to fight to the end. I stayed with the leader until three days before he died and then I went to another town Bani Walid. People cried, begged him hundreds of men come out, they tried to force him out of the country, he spoke, he was put in a car a couple of times. He completely refused to leave and said, “I will fight and I will die.“ At one moment, because I witnessed what I saw with my own eyes,the leader had a gun in one hand and a grenade in the other and said, “If you try to get me out I will activate it.”Leader completely refused to leave. We said: “If you quit and is safe, no matter what happens, even if we lose this battle we lose the war, after two or three years we can go back, but we need you to be saved.” I still remember and it’s very difficult for me. I think he was angry that the revolution came to this, I was really sad and very bitter, full of bitterness that after four decades of revolution had to admit that we failed. We had hit after hit, we change the country but something went wrong in the last ten years and we lost, we lost the battle because this should not have happened. You know we had the problem of Lockerbie in the 90s, and it was a huge crisis larger, than the problem we had in February 2011. The West was against us, wanted to invade Libya, was dramatic but nevertheless marvelous we stood facing the West, because the country was one heart. The revolution was strong, our ideology was strong, never failed and for nine years surrounded the country for nine years was not allowed to fly in or out, could not import any weapons or anything except oil trade. We had hard times but not yet defeated us, we were victorious. But in 2011 with only a few protests, a few weapons here and there, we collapsed. This says something very bad happened from the time that the issue of Lockerbie, which was in 2000, and the beginning of the NATO war ends in 2011. In those ten years something really serious happened in the country. We know what happened, but it is not the time to discuss it now. So the Leader was very bitter that it come to this and wanted to fight to the end. He did not want a political settlement in which he would live, where they go and become a president who resigned and then maybe go back. He thought that was a bourgeois solution, wanted the glory of the fight and did what he wanted to do. I left three days before he died, I went to the city of Bani Walid and three days later I heard of his death. That was what he wanted.
- What is the current status of the son of Gaddafi, Saif al Islam?
Saif al-Islam is in prison in a tribe, not the government, a Zintan tribe, where they are treating well-Saif. The International Court asked to be given to them, but this tells you that Libya is no longer a country, a state. The tribe refused to surrender to the government of Tripoli and much less to the so-called international community. So still a prisoner of war, there is no evidence against him, there is no evidence.
-What can you tell me about the arguments made by the invaders as an excuse, such as governmental bombings of civilian areas.
-Always remember this: Libya was invaded by NATO for three reasons mentioned in the resolution of the Security Council. None of these three reasons were never endorsed so far. For two years now they have the country, the scenes of the crime, so they can test what they want. They said we bombed civilian areas from the air. Anyone would know if you bombard civilian areas you can not hide it, you can not go and reconstruct a civilian area. That would be the evidence that Gaddafi bombarded Tripoli, but never found anything, there was no bombing. They say that we massacred thousands of peaceful protesters, but Libya is a small country of six million people, full of tribes. If one person dies, he has ten brothers and ten sisters, uncles and twenty hundred fifty aunts and cousins. I have twenty brothers and sisters, I have hundreds of cousins. If you die in Libya everybody knows, you can not do as in the West, where one dies and nobody knows. They say thousands died, but where are they? Where are their graves? Where are their families? Mothers, sisters, wives, where are they? They failed to find them. They say that we violated hundreds of women, but were unable to find any. In the end ten women denounce only and you will know that in any act of war, in the chaos of war, of course there will be some murder or rape. I told you once: If you have a music festival violations. In England, because I lived in England for a long time, every year, when there were music festivals, had been violations, because they had a hundred thousand people drunk or drugged, someone is going to attack a woman, and much more in an act of war. Sure there were violations but were not systematic, not performed by the Army, were not made by us, they were just individual acts. After two years of saying that there were two thousand rapes got only a ten situations. The reasons they gave to invade us are proven they were false. Is anyone talking about this?No.
I was talking to a BBC reporter, a friend of mine, his a good guy but he works for the BBC demonic. Was in Libya almost all the time and I asked him: ”Do you remember when in Tripoli I said to you that it would not take them a year or two, it would take them forever try out any of the reasons given by the Security Council to invade Libya? ”. He laughed and said he did not remember. Then I asked: How long ago is Libya in the hands of the West? And he responded two years. I said, I said, “The crimes that mentions the Security Council are so great that they could not be concealed.” And he said that this was correct. I asked again: “Did you find them? “And he said no. “What do you mean?”, I asked. The same happened with Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction.
- What does the future for Libya envisions her resistance? How do you think it may be tipping the scales in favor of what you call the green majority?
‘We will recover Libya, have no doubt. I’m so confident in my heart that Libya will be green again, despite NATO, Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood. That’ll take some time and organization, but we’re working on it and in contact with most of the tribes in Libya, with most politicians and Libyan leaders. We know we have many options. The simplest is through normal democratic political processes because we know that the majority is with us and know that one day, even if we do nothing, through democratic means returning to the country. We have other options too: revolution from within as the Egyptian revolution.Personally I do not prefer a military solution, which would be possible for us because we have a lot of human power, but the violent military solution is a shortcut that causes death, destruction, might invite NATO to target over again in the country, so we have to be careful on this.I assure you that some day we will meet in Tripoli with green flags waving in the air, victorious.
The unprecedented Saudi refusal to take up its Security Council seat is not just about Syria but a response to the Iranian threat
By Robert Fisk
October 24, 2013 “The Independent” – - The Muslim world’s historic – and deeply tragic – chasm between Sunni and Shia Islam is having worldwide repercussions. Syria’s civil war, America’s craven alliance with the Sunni Gulf autocracies, and Sunni (as well as Israeli) suspicions of Shia Iran are affecting even the work of the United Nations.
Saudi Arabia’s petulant refusal last week to take its place among non-voting members of the Security Council, an unprecedented step by any UN member, was intended to express the dictatorial monarchy’s displeasure with Washington’s refusal to bomb Syria after the use of chemical weapons in Damascus – but it also represented Saudi fears that Barack Obama might respond to Iranian overtures for better relations with the West.
The Saudi head of intelligence, Prince Bandar bin Sultan – a true buddy of President George W Bush during his 22 years as ambassador in Washington – has now rattled his tin drum to warn the Americans that Saudi Arabia will make a “major shift” in its relations with the US, not just because of its failure to attack Syria but for its inability to produce a fair Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement.
What this “major shift” might be – save for the usual Saudi hot air about its independence from US foreign policy – was a secret that the prince kept to himself.
Israel, of course, never loses an opportunity to publicise – quite accurately – how closely many of its Middle East policies now coincide with those of the wealthy potentates of the Arab Gulf.
Hatred of the Shia/Alawite Syrian regime, an unquenchable suspicion of Shia Iran’s nuclear plans and a general fear of Shia expansion is turning the unelected Sunni Arab monarchies into proxy allies of the Israeli state they have often sworn to destroy. Hardly, one imagines, the kind of notion that Prince Bandar wishes to publicise.
Furthermore, America’s latest contribution to Middle East “peace” could be the sale of $10.8bn worth of missiles and arms to Sunni Saudi Arabia and the equally Sunni United Arab Emirates, including GBU-39 bombs – the weapons cutely called “bunker-busters” – which they could use against Shia Iran.Israel, of course, possesses the very same armaments.
Whether the hapless Mr Kerry – whose risible promise of an “unbelievably small” attack on Syria made him the laughing stock of the Middle East – understands the degree to which he is committing his country to the Sunni side in Islam’s oldest conflict is the subject of much debate in the Arab world. His response to the Saudi refusal to take its place in the UN Security Council has been almost as weird.
After lunch on Monday at the Paris home of the Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud al-Faisal, Kerry – via his usual anonymous officials – said that he valued the autocracy’s leadership in the region, shared Riyadh’s desire to de-nuclearise Iran and to bring an end to the Syrian war. But Kerry’s insistence that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his regime must abandon power means that a Sunni government would take over Syria; and his wish to disarm Shia Iran – however notional its nuclear threat may be – would ensure that Sunni military power would dominate the Middle East from the Afghan border to the Mediterranean.
Few realise that Yemen constitutes another of the Saudi-Iranian battlegrounds in the region.
Saudi enthusiasm for Salafist groups in Yemen – including the Islah party, which is allegedly funded by Qatar, though it denies receiving any external support – is one reason why the post-Saleh regime in Sanaa has been supporting the Zaidi Shia Houthi “rebels” whose home provinces of Sa’adah, al Jawf and Hajja border Saudi Arabia. The Houthis are – according to the Sunni Saudis – supported by Iran.
The minority Sunni monarchy in Bahrain – supported by the Saudis and of course by the compliant governments of the US, Britain, et al – is likewise accusing Shia Iran of colluding with the island’s majority Shias. Oddly, Prince Bandar, in his comments, claimed that Barack Obama had failed to support Saudi policy in Bahrain – which involved sending its own troops into the island to help repress Shia demonstrators in 2011– when in fact America’s silence over the regime’s paramilitary violence was the nearest Washington could go in offering its backing to the Sunni minorityand his Royal Highness the King of Bahrain.
All in all, then, a mighty Western love affair with Sunni Islam – a love that very definitely cannot speak its name in an Arab Gulf world in which “democracy”, “moderation”, “partnership” and outright dictatorship are interchangeable – which neither Washington nor London nor Paris (nor indeed Moscow or Beijing) will acknowledge.But, needless to say, there are a few irritating – and incongruous – ripples in this mutual passion.
The Saudis, for example, blame Obama for allowing Egypt’s decadent Hosni Mubarak to be overthrown.They blame the Americans for supporting the elected Muslim Brother Mohamed Morsi as president– elections not being terribly popular in the Gulf – and the Saudis are now throwing cash at Egypt’s new military regime.Assad in Damascus also offered his congratulations to the Egyptian military. Was the Egyptian army not, after all – like Assad himself – trying to prevent religious extremists from taking power?
Fair enough – providing we remember that the Saudis are really supporting the Egyptian Salafistswho cynically gave their loyalty to the Egyptian military, and that Saudi-financed Salafists are among the fiercest opponents of Assad.
Thankfully for Kerry and his European mates, the absence of any institutional memory in the State Department, Foreign Office or Quai d’Orsay means that no one need remember that 15 of the 19 mass-killers of 9/11 were also Salafists and – let us above all, please God, forget this – were all Sunni citizens of Saudi Arabia.