For weeks I have been thinking about writing an article about the devastating role Saudi Arabia is playing in the Middle East and in the whole muslim world. This morning I stumbled upon an angry article in the liberal online magazine „NewAgeIslam“ (published in India) naming the problem:
„The proliferation of the heretical cult known as Wahhabism is the root cause of much of the terrorism and evil in the world. It is the tumor in the Middle East.“
Wahhabism is the state ideology of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the most important ally of the West in the Middle East. Since years the US and its allies have been fighting the „Global War on Terror“ (GWOT) closing their eyes about the truth:
„The kernel of evil in the Middle East“ is Saudi Arabia.
I guess it was Laurent Murawiec, a french Middle-East analyst of the conservative US-American think tank Rand Corporation, who dared to explicitly name the ugly truth in the USÂ first, back in 2002. In a power point presentation during a meeting of defense strategists of the Defense Policy Board in Washington he stated:
„The Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot-soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader.“
„Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies. It is the kernel of evil, the prime mover, the most dangerous opponent in the Middle East.“
Of course the insiders of the many american intelligence services knew Murawiec was right. It was them who had helped the Saudis and the Pakistany Secret Service ISI to create the Taliban in the nineteen seventies to fight the soviets in Afghanistan and of course they knew that 15 of the 19 hijackers of 9/11 were Saudi citizens. But media publicity forced Murawiec to retire from the job at the US-American think tank.
Only one year later, in a hearing of the US Senate, more details of the Saudi-role as the main promoter of the islamist terror were reveiled. But the USA and its allies continued to turn a blind eye to the reality and got lost in secondary battlefields like Afghanistan or Iraq, while the „The war on terror morphed into a legitimation for state terrorism“ as Henry Giroux put it on Truthout, jeopardizing the credibility of democracy and (western) civil rights worldwide.
Nowadays the responsibilty of Saudi Arabia for the criminalites in the name of Islam is common knowledge. There is a straight line from the Taliban in Afghanistan to Al-Quaida, to 9/11 and the Boston bombers, from Paris/Charlie Hebdo to Boko Haram and ISIS and … tracing back to Saudi Arabia
It seems, the famous remark of Richard Holbrook, the US special envoy for Afghanistan aiming at Pakistan: „We may be fighting the wrong enemy in the wrong country“ is also valid for the Middle East. It seems, Laurent Murawiec was not really wrong, when – at the end of his analysis of the situation in 2002 – he gave the advise, that, if the US really wanted to win the war on terror, they would have to attack Saudi Arabia not Iraq or Afghanistan:
„Saudi Arabia: The mother of all Evils“.
However, it is not only persian propaganda or the asian muslims blaming the Saudis as the main culprit of the mess in the Middle East. Most scholars and western „experts“ do so as well:
Yousaf Butt says in the Huffington Post:
„One thing is clear: the fountainhead of Islamic extremism that promotes and legitimizes such violence lies with the fanatical „Wahhabi“ strain of Islam centered in Saudi Arabia. And if the world wants to tamp down and eliminate such violent extremism, it must confront this primary host and facilitator.“
Citizens United writes:
„The Saudi government funds a global network of extremist madrasses (schools) that export Wahhabism, the Saudi Stateâ€™s official sect and radical ideology of al Qaeda. Â This global network provides an endless supply of recruits for terrorist operations all around the world including Chechnya, where the Boston Marathon bombers received training, the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and jihadists in North Africa, Syria, Iraq and Somalia.„
Ambassador Curtin Windsor, US Special Emissair of the Bush government Â was very clear in his judgmentÂ already back in 2007:
„The United States has largely eliminated the infrastructure and operational leadership of Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda terrorist network over the past five years. However, its ideological offspring (today ISIS, Boko Haram, al Shabaab, etc.; AM) continue to proliferate across the globe. American efforts to combat this contagion are hamstrung by the fact that its ideological and financial epicenter is Saudi Arabia, where an ostensibly pro-Western royal family governs through a centuries-old alliance with the fanatical Wahhabi Islamic sect. In addition to indoctrinating its own citizens with this extremist creed, the Saudi government has lavishly financed the propagation of Wahhabism throughout the world, sweeping away moderate interpretations of Islam even within the borders of the United States itself.“
Saudi Arabia’s role as the driving force of islamic extremism is obvious for everybody today, but the West still seems to belief, that Realpolitik asks for continued complicity with the „Kernel of Evil“. And the „new generation“ of the Saudi Kingdom is in perfect line with the crimes of their predecessors, as Carol E. B. Choksy writes in her excellent piece in World Affairs „Saudi Connection: Wahhabism and Global Jihad“:
„Instead of looking for the first shoots of a Saudi spring, the new regime seems to favor more of the same. Policies and resources have remained geared toward ensuring that absolute control remains with the descendants of Ibn Saud. So, for instance, US-educated Nayef focuses on suppressing internal terrorism while turning a blind eye to its export abroad. Likewise, King Salman’s Operation Decisive Storm, ostensibly a 10-country Sunni offensive against Shiite Houthi rebels in Yemen, on the kingdom’s southern border, reinforces Sunni autocrats and widens the intra-Muslim rift rather than quashing Sunni extremists like the Islamic State and al-Qaeda. It all fits squarely with current Saudi policy of ensuring the monarchy leads the world’s Muslims irrespective of negative consequences.“
The West is not only continuing to turn a blind eye to the Saudi’s promotion of islamic extremism, but it seems to allow its major ally in the Middle East to set fire to the whole region by staging a sectarian war, kind of an endgame between the islamic sects of the sunnis and shias to prohibit the rise of Iran as a new major player in the region.
The conflict which some claim exists today between Sunni and Shia Muslims is a product of very recent global events; blowback from the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the petro-dollar fuelled global rise of Wahhabi reactionaries. It is decidedly not the continuation of any „1,400 year war“ between Sunnis and Shias but is driven instead by the very modern phenomena of identity politics. Factions on both sides have created false histories for their own political benefit and have manufactured symbols and rituals which draw upon ancient history but are in fact entirely modern creations. Furthermore, Western military powers have sought to amplify these divisions to generate internecine conflicts within Muslim societies and engineer a bloodbath which will be to their own benefit. (citation Al-Jazeera, from one of the other main funders of the sunni ideology: Qatar).
Some western commentators are making other false analogies to european history comparing the current development in the Middle East with the Thirty Years‘ War in Germany.
However, the current situation in the Middle East is set for a longlasting mess, which the author of the initial piece of this blog in NewAgeIslam calls:
„A genocide of Muslims against Muslims.“ Collatoral damage for the West included.
For people interested in the subject and using Flipboard: I am running a Flipboard Magazine „Saudiarabia Material“ in which I have collected a number of articles concerning the role of Saudi Arabia in the Middle East mess and I will continue collecting articles, which I consider interesting.