Archive | June 9th, 2017

Dumb Donald Thinks He’s Pulled the Plug on ISIS and Al-Qaida (and the CIA?)

“Without the jihadists, the U.S. would have to resort to massive deployment of its own troops to the region — a mission that the American people will not accept.”

The international Islamic jihadist network, created nearly four decades ago in Afghanistan by the United States, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, is unraveling in full view of a planetary audience. Donald Trump thinks it’s all his doing — but he’s wrong, of course.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has rallied most of the Gulf Cooperative Council to isolate — and possibly overthrow — the emir of neighboring Qatar, the world’s third largest natural gas producer. The dispute between Qatar and the House of Saud — the two main funders of al Qaida and its spawn, the Islamic State — is rooted in rivalries beyond the mental grasp of the idiot in the White House, but Trump nevertheless takes full credit.

“During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology,” Trump tweeted. “Leaders pointed to Qatar — look!”

Trump appears to actually believe that the Saudis — the godfathers, along with U.S., of international jihadism –- have renounced their bankrolling of Islamist holy wars.

“So good to see the Saudi Arabia visit with the King and 50 countries already paying off,” tweeted Trump. “They said they would take a hard line on funding. Perhaps this will be the beginning of the end to the horror of terrorism!”

Screenshot from Donald Trump’s Twitter Account

“The dispute between Qatar and the House of Saud is rooted in rivalries beyond the mental grasp of the idiot in the White House.”

The Saudis are blaming their fellow Wahhabist, the Emir of Qatar, for “adopting various terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at destabilizing the region including the Muslim Brotherhood Group, Daesh (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, promoting the ethics and plans of these groups through its media…supporting the activities of Iranian-backed terrorist groups in the governorate of Qatif of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain, financing, adopting and sheltering extremists who seek to undermine the stability and unity of the homeland at home and abroad, and using the media that seek to fuel the strife internally….”

In addition to shutting off trade, travel and diplomatic relations with Qatar, a tiny peninsula jutting out from the Persian Gulf side of Saudi Arabia, the House of Saud has excommunicated Qatar’s emir from the Wahhabist fold — a heavy sanction among hereditary rulers whose legitimacy is bound up in their relationship to The Faith. However, the key point of the Saudi indictment involves Qatar’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Saudi royal family opposes all forms of political Islam as a threat to its own legitimacy as Protector of the Two Holy Cities, Mecca and Medina. Since its final conquest of most of the Arabian peninsula in the early 20th century, and in subsequent alliance with British imperialism, the House of Saud has ruled with the assent of the Wahhabi clerical class. It is a delicate arrangement, in which the hereditary royals are allowed control of the state and national resources in return for the Saudi state’s support of the clerics’ ultra-fundamentalist Wahhabi ideology, which sanctions the killing of Muslims deemed heretics and “idolators,” mainly Shia. The House of Saud views the Muslim Brotherhood, the godfather of modern political Islam, as a challenge to the legitimacy absolute royal rule. The Brotherhood has influenced the widest range of Islamist political tendencies, from bourgeois electoral party politics to advocacy of a unified, Muslim-wide caliphate. But Saudi Arabia does not tolerate political pluralism, and royal rule is ultimately antithetical to a caliphate. And therein lies the political-theological contradiction.

“The hereditary royals are allowed control of the state and national resources in return for the Saudi state’s support of the clerics’ ultra-fundamentalist Wahhabi ideology.”

The House of Saud has trod a perilous path to maintain its family’s monopoly on the riches beneath its soil. (Actually, most of the oil lies in land populated by the Kingdom’s Shia minority.) The deal requires the Saudi state to provide massive support for the export of the clerical class’s Wahhabist ideology to the far reaches of the Muslim world, yet it holds temporal power firmly in the hands of the princes, not the clerics.

The other pillar of royal rule is western imperialism. The Brits, and then the Americans, partnered with the House of Saud as a bulwark against secular nationalism in the Arab and Muslim world. It was only logical that the Saudis would ally with the American CIA to create the world’s first international jihadist network to overthrow a secular leftist government in Afghanistan in the late 1970s, thus bringing forth al Qaida and its many offspring.

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (Source: Wikipedia)

Incumbent Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi (Source: Wikipedia)

The royal family of Qatar, with a citizen population of only 200,000 (the rest of the 2 million inhabitants are non-citizens, mostly low-wage workers, a plurality from India), is also nominally Wahhabist. But they chose a different path to political legitimacy — while also becoming exporters of jihadist terror. The tiny state’s emirs tried to establish a pan-Arab and pan-Muslim political presence commensurate with their wealth — the highest per capita in the world — through an aggressive strategy including generous support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar gave billions to the short-lived government of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, before he was overthrown by the military in 2013. (The Saudis then funneled billions to his jailer, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi who, predictably, has joined in the isolation of Qatar.)

“They wishfully believe that by exporting terror, they insulate themselves from jihadist wrath.”

The emirs garnered considerable global prestige through their news and analysis outlet, but Al-Jazeera was often a source of irritation to the Saudi, Kuwaiti and Emirati royals, as well as western imperialists. Al-Jazeera was accused of blatantly favoring the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, and kicked out of the country. The next year, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states severed relations with Qatar for eight months, as punishment.

Despite their differences, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are all partners with the U.S. in the proxy, terror war against Syria. It’s a matter of self-preservation. As hereditary regimes, they reject democracy of any flavor. As clients of western imperialism, they oppose Arab nationalism and are ultimately subservient to Washington. They are allied with the most reactionary elements of the clergy, who demand support for Islamist war. And, they wishfully believe that by exporting terror, they insulate themselves from jihadist wrath. But, the weight of contradictions spell doom for all of these autocrats — and looming defeat for the United States.

Donald Trump seems honestly giddy, apparently believing he has forced the Saudis to reject jihadist terror and to punish Qatar for its support of ISIS and al-Qaida. Perhaps he truly does not know that the main actor in the proxy war is not Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, or Qatar –- it is the CIA, the other, and most important, godfather of Islamist jihad. (The CIA is not a friend of Trump, so maybe they are not talking to each other.) The United States has become dependent on al-Qaida and its cousins as foot soldiers of imperialism in southwest Asia. If the fighters are decommissioned, through the denial of arms, money and protection, then the war against Syria is lost, and the U.S. military offensive begun by President Obama in 2011, with the unprovoked attack on Libya, will have ended in defeat. Without the jihadists, the U.S. would have to resort to massive deployment of its own troops to the region — a mission that the American people will not accept.

“The main actor in the proxy war is not Saudi Arabia, the Emirates, Kuwait, or Qatar –- it is the CIA, the other, and most important, godfather of Islamist jihad.”

The Saudi regime, in particular, may not survive an end to the Syria war. During the course of the conflict, the Islamic State faction of al-Qaida crossed a political Rubicon, declaring war on Saudi Arabia in 2014 and proclaiming itself a caliphate. The only ideological difference between the Islamic State and al-Qaida in Syria is that al-Qaida is willing to postpone the establishment of a caliphate, while ISIS is not. Otherwise, the two factions are identical in their political theology. If the jihadists are defeated in Syria — and, especially, if they feel they have been betrayed — they will vent their most intense fury on their co-religionists and former sugar daddies in the Gulf. Al-Qaida will become an ISIS, with no mercy on its former patrons.

So, don’t believe for a second that the Saudis are abandoning ISIS and al-Qaida, or are attempting to force Qatar to do the same. Neither is the CIA, which simply rebrands its jihadists when their names become too notorious.

Does Donald Trump know that the Saudis are blowing smoke in his face? Does he realize that his own CIA and military have no intention of giving up their jihadists, whom they cannot do without? Who knows? Does it really matter? The criminal U.S. war against Syria will unravel from the weight of its own contradictions. In the end, Washington’s Gulf “partners” necks will be on the chopping block.

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In the War on Media Disinformation, the Truth is our Most Valuable Weapon

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Understanding the Geopolitics of Terrorism

The latest in a long series of bloody terrorist attacks attributed to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) unfolded in Iran early Wednesday with coordinated armed assaults on the Iranian Parliament (Majlis) and the mausoleum of the late supreme leader of the Islamic Republic, Imam Khomeini. At least 12 people were killed and 43 wounded.

The reactions of the US government and the Western media to the attacks in Tehran stand in stark contrast to their response to the May 22 bombing that killed 22 people at the Manchester Arena and the London Bridge attacks that claimed nine lives last Saturday.

The Trump White House released a vicious statement that effectively justified the killings in Iran, declaring,

“We underscore that states that sponsor terrorism risk falling victim to the evil they promote,” an attitude that found its reflection in the relative indifference of the media to the loss of Iranian lives.

It is clearly understood that terrorism against Iran serves definite political aims that are in sync with those of US imperialism and its regional allies.

Members of Iranian forces take position during an attack on the Iranian parliament in central Tehran, Iran, June 7, 2017. Omid Vahabzadeh/TIMA.

For its part, Tehran’s reaction to the attacks was unambiguous. It laid the responsibility at the door of the US and its principal regional ally, Saudi Arabia.

“This terrorist attack happened only a week after the meeting between the US president (Donald Trump) and the (Saudi) backward leaders who support terrorists,”  Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said in a statement, published by Iranian media.

The attack was understood in Tehran as a political act carried out in conjunction with identifiable state actors and aimed at furthering definite geostrategic objectives.

The same can be said of the earlier acts of terrorism carried out in Manchester and London, as well as those in Paris, Brussels and elsewhere before them.

The Western media routinely treats each of these atrocities as isolated manifestations of “evil” or religious hatred, irrational acts carried out by madmen. In reality, they are part of an internationally coordinated campaign in pursuit of definite political objectives.

Underlying the violence on the streets of Europe is the far greater violence inflicted upon the Middle East by US, British and French imperialism, working in conjunction with right-wing bourgeois regimes and the Islamist forces they promote, finance and arm.

ISIS is itself the direct product of a series of imperialist wars, emerging as a split-off from Al Qaeda, which got its start in the CIA-orchestrated war by Islamist fundamentalists against the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan. It was forged in the US war of aggression against Iraq that killed close to a million Iraqis, and then utilized in the 2011 war to topple Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi. Fighters and arms were then funneled with the aid of the CIA into the war for regime change in Syria.

The latest round of terror has its source in growing dissatisfaction among Washington’s Middle Eastern allies and its Islamist proxy forces over the slow pace of the US intervention in Syria and Washington’s failure to bring the six-year war for regime change to a victorious conclusion.

The people giving the orders for these attacks live in upper-class neighborhoods in London, Paris and elsewhere, enjoying close connections with intelligence agencies and government officials. Far from being unknown, they will be found among the top ministers and government officials in Damascus if the US-backed war in Syria achieves its objectives.

Those who carry out the terrorist atrocities are expendable assets, foot soldiers who are easily replaced from among the broad layers enraged by the slaughter carried out by imperialism in the Middle East.

The mass media always presents the failure to prevent these attacks as a matter of the security forces failing to “connect the dots,” a phrase that should by now be permanently banned. In virtually every case, those involved are well known to the authorities.

Manchester bombing (Source: TruePublica)

In the latest attacks in the UK, the connections are astonishing, even given the similar facts that have emerged in previous terrorist actions. One of the attackers in the London Bridge killings, Yousseff Zaghba, was stopped at an Italian airport while attempting to travel to Syria, freely admitting that he “wanted to be a terrorist” and carrying ISIS literature. Another was featured in a British television documentary that chronicled his confrontation with and detention by police after he unfurled an ISIS flag in Regent’s Park.

The Manchester suicide bomber, Salman Abedi, was likewise well known to British authorities. His parents were members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), who were allowed to return to Libya in 2011 to participate in the US-NATO regime-change operation against Muammar Gaddafi. He himself met with Libyan Islamic State operatives in Libya, veterans of the Syrian civil war, and maintained close connections with them while in Manchester.

What has become clear after 16 years of the so-called “war on terrorism”—going all the way back to the hijackers of 9/11—is that these elements move in and out of the Middle East, Europe and the US itself not only without hindrance, but under what amounts to state protection.

When they arrive at passport control, their names come up with definite instructions that they are not to be stopped. “Welcome home, sir, enjoy your vacation in Libya?” “Bit of tourism in Syria?”

Why have they enjoyed this carte blanche? Because they are auxiliaries of US and European intelligence, necessary proxies in wars for regime change from Libya to Syria and beyond that are being waged to further imperialist interests.

If from time to time these elements turn against their sponsors, with innocent civilians paying with their lives, that is part of the price of doing business.

In the aftermath of terrorist actions, governments respond with stepped-up measures of repression and surveillance. Troops are deployed in the streets, democratic rights are suspended, and, as in France, a state of emergency is made the overriding law of the land. All of these measures are useless in terms of preventing future attacks, but serve very well to control the domestic population and suppress social unrest.

If the mass media refuses to state what has become obvious after more than a decade and a half of these incidents, it is a measure of how fully the linkage between terrorism, the Western intelligence agencies and the unending wars in the Middle East has become institutionalized.

Innocent men, women and children, whether in London, Manchester, Paris, Tehran, Baghdad or Kabul, are paying the terrible price for these imperialist operations, which leave a trail of blood and destruction everywhere.

Putting a stop to terrorist attacks begins with a fight to put an end to the so-called “war on terrorism,” the fraudulent pretext for predatory wars in which Al Qaeda and its offshoots are employed as proxy ground forces, operating in intimate collaboration with imperialist intelligence services and military commands.

Featured image: credits to the owner

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Dreams of Detention

NOVANEWS
 

Detention comes in various forms, and all have a basic premise: the removal of liberty of the subject, the presence of permanent control and surveillance, the utter reduction of rights to life to obligations to the state.

The suggestion of internment of terror suspects by One Nation leader Pauline Hanson hints at a historical awareness of one thing: that rounding up citizens and keeping them under lock and key, assisted by firearms, is one way of dealing with a threat. That such an idea is dangerously flawed is not something that enters the One Nation party room.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson (Source: ABC News via Spook Magazine)

On the Sunrise program, Hanson insisted that Yacqub Khayre’s attack in Brighton had been motivated by religion. Then came her suggestion.

“It is an ideology and with these people, you know what? Intern them. I don’t want to see one more Australian killed or one more person in far of their life or their kids lives.”[1]

In the United States, this form of internment was on practised on a massive scale during the Second World War. Citizens were held up; rights were trammelled and even muted. In Korematsu v United States, such internment was subjected to Supreme Court scrutiny.[2] Given the times, the verdict was not favourable for US citizens of Japanese ethnicity and ancestry.

While it is commonly mistaken to be a case decided solely on whether internment was legal (it had, in fact, to do with a bureaucratic matter of excluding persons from various zones on West Coast of the US), the result was not pretty.

Even by the admission of the court, exclusion and detention were knotted to begin with, and only superficially distinct. As David Cole explained, the majority in Korematsu, in upholding the legality of mass exclusion based on racial and ethnic identity, would “as a logical matter, extend to detention.”[3]

Hanson has not had a good time with the law of late, and the belligerent language in her open letter to the prime minister shows a distinct disdain for meddlesome members of the legal profession. They, she suggests, ought to be frozen out, paving the way for more robust executive action.

“It is imperative that the final decision in these cases should sit with the Minister and not with unelected lawyers and bureaucrats as is presently the case.”

Leave it to the executive – they know best.

Despite the relative insignificance of Australia in the global terror stakes (the latest attack in Melbourne hardly elevates it), Australian politicians wish to muscle in and make themselves count in the security debate. Far better to be entirely forceful, because there is always strength in unquestioning unity rather than questioning thought.

This ignores dangerous trends in law and practice that have effectively permitted the indefinite detention or monitoring of Australian and non-Australian citizens. An actuarial, risk assessment model has already been dominating penal and detention practice for some years, be it in terms of assessing paedophiles’ propensity to reoffend or the use of control orders on those who have already served their sentence. Rather than expanding such powers, these should be reined in.

It is also worth noting that Hanson is by no means the only one suggesting a vigorous pruning of civil liberties. Her extreme stances merely reflect a broader tendency in Australia’s political classes.

Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews (Source: ABC News)

The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, is suggesting what amounts to a surrender of judicial worth and wisdom: the Australian Federal Police, ASIO and the security community should be part of the decision making process on “persons of interest”. The inexorable shift to the unaccountable executive is fluttering in the wings.

This reactive jolt provides a snifter of totalitarian creep: the more cooks in the establishment attempting to make sure that a person remains in a state of permanent incarceration. The Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull does little to disabuse us of this.

“What I want to make sure is that people with these characteristics – with a history of violence and a connection with extremism – that that is taken into account and they should not be let out on parole unless the decision is taken at a higher level.” [4]

Coming from an accomplished lawyer long engaged in arguing before gowns, grey wigs and bound volumes of legal precedent, such argument is disheartening. Sniffing the glue of populism and fear has left its mark. The only ones to profit will be deskbound bureaucrats with greater powers.

Notes

[1] http://www.news.com.au/national/politics/pauline-hanson-stands-firm-on-call-to-intern-terror-suspects-who-cant-be-deported/news-story/9aaddc154d6239a2bd31a41b80a3ae0d
[2] https://www.law.cornell.edu/supremecourt/text/323/214
[3] http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/06/22/how-internment-became-legal/
[4] https://www.businessinsider.com.au/pauline-hanson-wants-internment-for-australians-with-terror-links-to-neutralise-their-possible-harm-to-this-country-2017-6

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General Election Early Statistics – Britain in Chaos – Divided and Polarised

(Updates below) Some early thoughts and statistics …

04.15

Hung parliament predicted. Theresa May takes Tories back to their 2010 win, which ended with a coalition Jeremy Corbyn takes more seats than Ed Miliband and Gordon Brown.

Theresa May’s hard Brexit campaign is rejected. Her personal request for a mandate is also roundly rejected.

The Conservative party manifesto has been largely rejected as the expected huge predicted majority has simply not materialised.

If this was an election of personality and charisma Theresa May has been emphatically defeated.

Theresa May’s decision was a catastrophic decision, just as David Cameron’s was to call the referendum. The Tory party have massively miscalculated the mood of the nation and created instability and chaos both domestically and internationally by playing tactical politics.

Perhaps politician’s should learn that calling referendums and elections for personal gain – is clearly the wrong strategy

Ben Gummer, the up and coming rising star of the Tory party, the writer of the Tory Brexit strategy – lost his seat.

Ended as fully divided and polarised nation with this fundamentally young against old, left and right, Brexit or not.

Electors rejected austerity politics – with soft Brexit required.

If Theresa May resigns or is ousted, Britain could end up with Boris Johnson, David Davis or even Michael Fallon – both would be an even bigger disaster. There could be weeks of internal elections within the Tory party. Would it be a caretaker government.

Theresa May’s constituency speech: Entered the room refusing to speak to journalists and left out the back door still refusing to speak to anyone. By contrast – Jeremy Corbyn’s speech was very confident and went straight into a crowd full of admirers and journalists.

Pollsters emphatically wrong yet again.

Both Tory and Labour picked up biggest vote of share since the 1980’s.

Brexit negotiations start in 11 days with no clear mandate.

Home secretary Amber Rudd constituency requires two recounts – playing down to just 300 votes and just gets over the line at 04.55 hours.

Canterbury has been a Tory seat since 1841 underwent a recount.

Labour on course for best vote share in Wales since 1995.

Conservative gains in Scotland is confirmation that a second referendum is highly questionable.

Fourth most searched Google result – “who is Prime Minister”.

Everyone has lost – the Tories, Lib-Dems, UKIP, SNP and Labour not in power.

Nick Clegg loses seat to Labour.

UKIP share of vote collapses.

Boris Johnson won conformably but interestingly said nothing at all about Theresa May.

Terrorism did not succeed – voter turnout increased on the 2015 election turnout.

Voter turnout on local elections was only 30% which proves that high voter turnout is crucial.

Katie Hopkins promised to leave the UK if Labour win – fingers crossed then!

600 seats declared at 05.00 hours

Conservatives at 290, down 14

Labour 249 up 29

SNP 33 down 20

Lib-Dens up 6

UKIP nil

05.15 Hours

Most Conservative MP’s have given what can only be describes as ‘holding statements’ when it comes to Theresa May’s future.

Latest projection, still hung parliament – Conservatives 318 seats  and require DUP’s 10 seats.

Rumours of uncertainty inside Tory party as to Theresa May’s future.

Image result for updated partial results of UK election

Source: AFP via Hindustan Times

05.30

More rumours that government already considering delaying Brexit negotiations.

Conservatives on 300 seats, Labour 256

05.45

Conservatives get the biggest proportion of votes across the country for a Tory leader since 1983 and yet has no majority.

Conservatives have more seats in Scotland than since 1983 and it appears that Scotland have saved the Conservatives.

More rumours that Theresa May may have to quit are swirling around political circles.

Hung parliament still projected.

Diane Abbott’s majority 35,139 – Home secretary Amber Rudd 346

633 seats declared – no longer possible to win a majority

Jeremy Corbyn has now got more actual votes than Tony Blair did when he won in 2001 and 2005 by increasing the share of vote across the country.

UKIP lose 80% of the votes they had.

Signing off now as the result is now known.

Finally, read  this article: UK Election: The Unknown Factor in That YouGov Poll – it quotes:

 “On May 13th – Professor Michael Thrasher, Sky Election Analyst predicted how Theresa May could deliver a landslide win and score a majority of as much as 212 seats in Parliament.”

Read the rest of the article as we backed the new model being used by YouGov that predicted a shock result. We also predicted that tactical voting was going to be key in this election and that the predicted overall majority was going to be nowhere near what the mainstream press have had everyone believe. Indeed, if anything, this disgraceful campaign of negativeness by the right-wing press has galvanised an electorate – and here we are.

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How Britain Helped Create ISIS

Britain is gripped by fear, panic and anger, after being struck by three terror attacks in the space of three months. Innocent men, women and children have been killed in the terror rampage, filling many homes with tragedy and despair. Martial law has practically been declared in many regions of the country, with troops now being a common site on the streets of Royal Britannia. Many are looking for someone or something to blame, as rage is increasingly triumphing over reason. 

Lost in all this hysteria however, there sits a glaring connection that needs to be illuminated: the connection between these terror attacks and British foreign policy in Syria. Although Jeremy Corbyn has correctly highlighted the link between British wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and the growth of terrorism at home, there is a still a conflict – arguably the most important in the rise of terrorism – that no one dares speak about; namely, the war in Syria.

Sadly, most people in Britain are still completely ignorant of the real truth of the Syrian war, and the role that the British establishment has played in supporting an array of terrorist groups, including ISIS. Even if we accept for a moment that all the official stories of the last three terror attacks are 100% true (something I don’t believe, see here for instance), a significant portion of the blame should still be directed towards the British establishment for the policies it has pursued overseas.

Source: RT via The 4th Media

The Syrian proxy war has provided fertile ground for the rise of ISIS and other extremist groups, with ISIS claiming responsibility for the last three terror attacks in Britain; namely, the London Bridge attack, the Manchester Arena attack and the Westminster attack. Britain has been part of a nefarious troika that have supported an array of terrorist groups in Syria for years now, a fact that legendary journalist and documentary filmmaker, John Pilger, highlighted in an interview at the end of 2015. In response Afshin Rattansi – the host of the RT show, Going Underground – asking “how are ISIS the progeny of Washington, London and Paris?”, Pilger said:

“They are not only the progeny, they are the fully grown-up, manic, adolescent creature belonging to Paris, London and the United States. Without the support of these three countries, without the arms that have been given to ISIS – either they have been given directly to Jabhat al-Nusra and have gone to ISIS; or they have gone the other way; or they have gone to the Wahhabists in Saudi Arabia or in Qatar- but the French, the British, the Americans and the Turks have all supplied those that have kept ISIS going. You know, if David Cameron had won his Commons vote a couple of years ago, ISIS would now be in charge in Syria… The Middle East’s most multi-ethnic, multi-cultural state, would be finished, and these fanatics would be in charge, and that would-be thanks entirely to Western actions.” 

For years, the UK has been pouring millions into the Syrian opposition. In 2012, the British Foreign Secretary at the time, William Hague, admitted that Britain had been helping the Syrian rebels in a “practical and non-lethal way,” and vowed to increase British assistance. As the Independent noted, this non-lethal aid consisted of Britain sending the Syrian opposition £8m-worth of body armour, vehicles with ballistic protection, trucks, forklift trucks, communications equipment, laptops, water purification kits and other equipment needed to fight a war. In 2013, a report claimed that Britain was involved in an operation with other European states and the US to send the Syrian rebels 3,000 tons of weapons, sent in 75 planeloads, from Zagreb to the rebels.

ISIS Has Always Been a Major Part of the Syrian Opposition

But who exactly are these Syrian rebels? According to a declassified US military intelligence report – by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) – from August 2012, the opposition largely consisted of terrorists and extremists, including ISIS (emphasis added):

“The Salafists, the Muslim Brotherhood and AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq], are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.” The report added that “AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media,” and that “events are taking a clear sectarian direction.” 

Al-Qaeda in Iraq was the main precursor to ISIS, as a summary from Stanford University explains (emphasis added): 

“The Islamic State (IS), also known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), is a Salafi-Jihadist militant organization in Syria and Iraq… The group has its origins in the early 2000s, when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi began training extremist militants. The group was a major participant in the Iraqi insurgency during the American occupation, first under the name Jama’at al-Tawhid wa’al-Jihad and then, after swearing fealty to Al Qaeda, as Al Qaeda in Iraq. 

Facing backlash from the community and increased pressure from U.S. and Iraqi forces, the group declined until 2011, when it began to grow through its involvement in the Syrian Civil War. In 2013, it changed its name to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Over the course of 2013 and 2014, ISIS quickly took over territory in Syria and Iraq… On the ground, ISIS fought the Assad Regime and allied Shiite forces, Syrian opposition groups, the Iraqi military and militias, and the Kurdish peshmerga.” 

So, according to US military intelligence in August 2012, AQI – later to be known as ISIS – was a major part of the Syrian opposition, and Britain was officially supporting the Syrian opposition by means of non-lethal aid. According to some reports, Britain was also directly arming the opposition, but we know for sure that Britain’s partners in crime – France and the US – were certainly arming the opposition directly, not to mention British allies in the Middle East. Britain was also involved in training the Syrian rebels in Jordan, with British intelligence teams on the ground, according to the Guardian. If this is just what is admitted, imagine how many clandestine operations Britain has been involved in but never have been officially recognised. 

It isn’t just US military intelligence that has acknowledged that a large percentage of the Syrian rebels are terrorists. Even the former Prime Minister of Britain, David Cameron, who was always a strong proponent of forcing regime change in Syria, admitted in early 2016 that many of the ‘moderate’ rebels actually belonged to “relatively hardline Islamist groups” (i.e. terrorist groups): 

“But if you’re arguing: are all these people impeccable democrats, who would share the view of democracy that you and I have: [then] no. Some of them do belong to Islamist groups, and some of them belong to relatively hardline Islamist groups.” 

Britain’s collusion with terrorist forces in Syria was further highlighted during a court case at the Old Bailey in 2015. Bherlin Gildo, a Swedish national, was accused of fighting for Syrian militant groups – including Jabhat al-Nusra (or al-Qaeda in Syria), who have now changed their name multiple times – but the case was quickly dropped after his lawyer’s argued that British intelligence was involved in arming and providing non-lethal aid to the very same terrorist groups he was allegedly fighting for.

Britain’s Long-held Desire to Force Regime Change in Syria

Britain has a long history of wanting to force regime change in Syria, and install a regime that would be subservient to the Anglo-American (and by extension, Israeli) establishment. In 1957, the British Prime Minister at the time, Harold MacMillan (no relation by the way), approved a joint CIA-MI6 plan to stage fake border incidents in order to provide a justification for an invasion of Syria, and the assassination of prominent Syrian political figures. Although this plan was never acted upon – mainly due to resistance from Syria’s Arab neighbours – it illustrates how long Britain has had Syria in its sights.

In more modern times, there is strong evidence to support the notion that Britain was one of the main architects of the engineered Syrian ‘civil war’ that began in 2011. In an 2013 interview, the former French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roland Dumas, stated that he was approached in the UK “two years before the violence” erupted in Syria, to see if he would like to participate in organizing “an invasion of rebels” into the country (emphasis added):

‘’I’m going to tell you something. I was in England two years before the violence in Syria on other business. I met with top British officials, who confessed to me that they were preparing something in Syria. This was in Britain not in America. Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria. They even asked me, although I was no longer minister for foreign affairs, if I would like to participate. Naturally, I refused, I said I’m French, that doesn’t interest me… 

This operation goes way back. It was prepared, preconceived and planned… In the region, it is important to know that this Syrian regime has a very anti-Israeli stance. Consequently, everything that moves in the region – and I have this from the formerIsraeli prime minister who told me: ‘we’ll try to get on with our neighbours, but those who don’t agree with us, will be destroyed.’” 

Interestingly, even the BBC admitted that there was a plan circulating around the British establishment in 2012 to “train and equip a 100,000-strong Syrian rebel army” to fight against Bashar al-Assad. The BBC tried to spin the story by saying the plan was deemed too risky by the Prime Minister and ultimately rejected, but considering that is exactly what happened (was happening, and is happening), albeit in conjunction with the US, France and Britain’s Middle Eastern allies, it hardly seems the plan was rejected.    

May Pushes for Internet Regulation

Internet censorship (credits to the owner of the photo)

In the wake of the most recent (at the time of writing anyway) terrorist attack at London Bridge – which, as always, was carried out by extremists who were known to the authorities – the British Prime Minister has advocated internet regulation. May said that the internet provides a “safe space” for terrorist ideology to spread, and called for governments to “reach international agreements” to regulate the internet:

“We cannot allow this ideology the safe space it needs to breed; yet that is precisely what the internet, and the big companies that provide internet-based services, provide. We need to work with allied democratic governments to reach international agreements that regulate cyberspace, to prevent the spread of extremist and terrorism planning.” 

The truth may never come to light regarding these three terror attacks, but we know for sure that the establishment will exploit these atrocities in order to further their agendas. May’s call for internet regulation has been an objective of the British establishment for years, with May’s proposal further proving that the elite never let a crisis go to waste.

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Hung UK Parliament: Tories Forming a New Government

NOVANEWS
 

Prime Minister Theresa May laid an egg. Calling for a snap election proved a huge mistake, perhaps her political undoing.

She believed Tories could gain additional majority control of parliament, making it easier to pursue her agenda.

Results proved otherwise as follows:

Needing 326 for majority rule, Tories won 315, Labour 261, the Scottish National Party 35, Lib Dems 12, Democratic Unionist Party 10 and others 13, four seats to be determined from final vote tallies.

Commenting on the outcome, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said

“(p)olitics has changed. (It’s not) going back into the box where it was before. What’s happened is people have said they’ve had quite enough of austerity politics.”

May “wanted a mandate. Well, the mandate she’s got is lost Conservative seats, lost votes, lost support and lost confidence. I would have thought that is enough for her to go.”

“Whatever the final result, we have already changed the face of British politics.”

For now, May’s given the chance to form a government – either a formal coalition with one or more partners, or an informal “confidence and supply” arrangement – under which smaller parties agree to support her main agenda.

Clearly her future is uncertain. Tories may ask her to resign. One already did, MP Anna Soubry said she should “consider her position.”

“It is bad. She is in a very difficult place…It was a dreadful night…a very bad moment for the Conservative party and we need to take stock and our leader needs to take stock.”

Senior Tories are angry and uneasy, an unnamed one saying

“(t)here are a lot of very very pissed off people in the cabinet…”

Former chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne called Thursday’s result “catastrophic.”

It’s up to Tories to decide if May stays or goes. Clearly she’s damaged goods – weakened, not strengthened as she hoped.

A Final Comment

Reports by UK media indicate Tories and the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) agreed to form a new government following late night talks.

An unnamed DUP source said

“(w)e want there to be a government. We have worked well with May. The alternative is intolerable. For as long as Corbyn leads Labour, we will ensure there’s a Tory PM.”

It’s unclear if what was agreed on is coalition governance or a “confidence and supply” arrangement explained above.

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Fifty Years Later: Myths and Facts About the Six Day War

This article is based on a talk by Richard Becker at a PSL forum in San Francisco on June 3, 2017

June 5 marks the 50th anniversary of Israel’s Six-Day War of conquest. Any objective examination of that war, and the events leading to and following it, make clear that the dominant narrative in the United States is reality turned upside down. It is “fake news” that is perpetrated on the public by the corporate media continually, right up to the present day.

The Six Day War began on June 5, 1967. Israel launched the war against Egypt, Syria and Jordan with what could correctly called a “sneak attack,” although it is never referred to that way here. In the vocabulary of imperialism, there was one “sneak attack” in history, that was, of course, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941.

U.S. corporate media sometime refers to the Israel lightning assault on Egypt, Syria and Jordan as a “pre-emptive” strike, implying that Israel was about to be attacked, and only headed it off by attacking first, and was thus acting in self-defense.

Israel, as this one goes, was surrounded and about to be attacked by a “sea of Arabs” – another favored and demonizing expression common in the corporate media. So, as this false narrative goes, Israel had no choice but to launch massive air, land and sea assaults on neighboring countries, conquering the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Syria’s Golan Heights. Israel has held on to all those areas except Sinai for the past half-century.

In the opening hours of its attack, Israel destroyed the Egyptian and Syrian air forces, basically determining the outcome.

A war of conquest – testified to by Israeli leaders after the fact

Most of the mainstream media, along with Israel’s apologists in the United States, propagated the notion that the war was a rerun of the biblical “David versus Goliath” battle. Israel was pictured as the heroic underdog, with God once more on its side.

Palestinian refugees flee across Jordan River, 1967

The misnamed, U.S.-based “Anti-Defamation League,” which has long served as propagandist for the Israeli regime, said that “Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt,” suggesting that it only did so to avert annihilation.

None other than the extreme right-wing Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin later exposed the utter falsity of such claims. Fifteen years after the war, in an Aug. 2, 1982, speech to the Israeli National Defense College, Begin said:

“We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him [Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser].”

It was not just Begin who exposed the myth. Ten years earlier, Gen. Mattiyahu Peled, one of the Israeli commanders in the 1967 Six-Day War, told the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz:

“The thesis that the danger of genocide was hanging over us in June 1967 and that Israel was fighting for its physical existence is only a bluff, which was born and developed after the war.”

In 1997, Israel’s minister of defense at the time of the Six-Day War, Moshe Dayan, talked to the New York Times about the events leading up to the war on the Syria-Israel front. He stated that the Israeli kibbutz (cooperative farm) residents in the area wanted to take over the rich farmland of Syria’s Golan Heights:

“They didn’t even try to hide their greed for that land.”

Describing Israel’s tactics on its border with Syria, Dayan told the Times:

“We would send a tractor to plow some area where it wasn’t possible to do anything, in the demilitarized area, and knew in advance that the Syrians would start to shoot. If they didn’t shoot, we would tell the tractor to advance further, until in the end the Syrians would get annoyed and shoot. And then we would use artillery and later the air force also, and that’s how it was. … The Syrians, on the fourth day of the war [June 9, 1967], were not a threat to us.”

By the 1967 war, Israel succeeded in achieving its long-held objective of expansion. The remaining 22 percent of historic Palestine—the West Bank and Gaza—was conquered by Israel’s surprise attack, along with Syria’s Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

More than 35,000 Arabs were killed, many of them burned to death by Pentagon-supplied napalm bombs. Thousands more were wounded. Most of the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian air and armor forces were destroyed in the opening days of the surprise attack. The Israeli army drove more than 90,000 Syrians and Palestinians out of the Golan Heights, an agriculturally rich region north of the Sea of Galilee.

Many of the Syrian villages and Golan’s main city, Quneitra, were bulldozed by the Israeli military. Israeli settlers began arriving in Golan in July 1967. In 1981, the Israeli Knesset (parliament) passed a law annexing the Golan Heights. The continuing occupation of Golan, as well as the West Bank and Gaza, defies scores of United Nations resolutions.

Israel’s long-sought  “second round”

Israeli leaders had been seeking a “second round,” that is another war to expand their territory, since the formation of their state in 1948.

Moshe Dayan, a young military officer and protégé of David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, was quoted by a Tel Aviv-based U.S. diplomat in 1949 as saying:

“Boundaries-Frontier of Israel should be on Jordan [River]. … Present boundaries ridiculous from all points of view.” To achieve that aim meant taking over the West Bank.

In the first years after their expulsion, Palestinians frequently crossed the illegal and artificial border separating the territory under Israeli control from the West Bank, usually to return to their stolen lands and homes. Most often this happened during the planting and harvest season. Smaller numbers returned as groups of fighters, or fedayeen, seeking to continue the struggle. Israeli army orders were to kill any “infiltrators,” including those who were unarmed.

In response to fedayeen operations, the Israeli army would often carry out large-scale “retaliation.” The aim was not only to punish – “retaliation” actually meant provocation. The intent was to get Jordan, then administering the West Bank, to react militarily, which could then be used by Israel as a pretext for a new war of conquest.

In October 1953, a unit of the Israeli military under the command of war criminal and future prime minister Ariel Sharon carried out one such assault on the small border village of Qibya, wiping out the entire population of 69 people, mostly women, children and elderly men, many of whom were burned alive inside their homes. The Israeli forces suffered no casualties.

The Qibya massacre elicited world condemnation, but not the new war with Jordan that Israeli leaders were seeking as a pretext to seize the West Bank.

Israel’s next major attempt at territorial expansion came in 1956, when the Israeli, British and French governments met in secret to plan a new war on Egypt. The three each had their own objectives.

When the progressive government of Gamal Abdel Naaser announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal in July 1956, the British ruling class’s reaction was rabid fury. The canal was a central symbol of British imperial power. It was also the key economic route to the British colonies and neo-colonies in Asia and East Africa.

The French government believed that overthrowing the Egyptian government would strike a lethal blow to the Algerian Revolution.

Israel’s aim was to vastly expand its territory.

The 1956 War and Ben-Gurion’s ‘fantastic proposal’

From Oct. 22 to 24, 1956, a secret conference was held in Sevres, near Paris, to put the final touches on the war plans. Ben-Gurion surprised the other leaders present by presenting what he called a “fantastic proposal” for the complete reorganization of the Middle East. Jordan, he suggested, was not a viable state and should become part of Iraq—which was still under British domination—with one condition: The new Iraq would have to agree to resettle all the Palestinian refugees from 1948 on the East Bank of the Jordan River. The West Bank, minus the Palestinians living there, would become part of Israel. (Avi Shlaim, The Iron Wall, New York, 2001, p. 172)

Next, Ben-Gurion proposed, Israel would take over southern Lebanon up to the Litani River. The rest of Lebanon would become a “Christian state” with the restoration of French domination. Lebanon had been a French colony until 1943.

The Nasser government would be overthrown, the Suez Canal would be “internationalized,” and British influence would be restored in Egypt. This would mean, in effect, British control of the canal. Israel would take over the Sinai Peninsula, the Straits of Tiran, and the Gulf of Aqaba leading to the Red Sea.

The downfall of Nasser, according to the Israeli plan, would undermine both the Pan-Arab movement and the Algerian Revolution, to the benefit of all three conspiring states.

Palestinians at Israeli checkpoint in West Bank, 2016

Israel’s territory would be tripled in size by this plan. And while Ben-Gurion himself called the plan “fantastic,” he was dead serious about it.

Ben-Gurion’s proposal was too overreaching for the imperialist leaders of Britain and France. The plan they agreed on, however, was only slightly less ambitious.

On October 29, 1956, the tri-partite alliance attacked without warning. Israeli forces quickly swept across the Sinai, and British troops re-occupied the Suez Canal Zone. Ben-Gurion euphorically proclaimed that Sinai and Gaza would become “part of the third kingdom of Israel.”

But it was not to be.  The 1956 Suez War was seen widely as a blatant attempt to resurrect colonialism—especially in the Middle East, but also across the world. Israel was widely condemned as a pawn of imperialism.

Both the United States and Soviet Union responded swiftly and strongly to the Tripartite Invasion—but for very different reasons. The Eisenhower administration reacted furiously for not having been informed in advance by either its imperialist allies or Israel.

More fundamental than any emotion was the U.S. ruling class’s opposition to the restoration of British and French imperial power in the strategically key and oil-rich Middle East. From World War II to the present day, every administration—including Eisenhower’s—has held U.S. domination of the region as a central objective.

Nor would Washington tolerate Israel serving as proxy for other imperialist powers. The message was sent to the Israeli government that if it did not withdraw from Egypt, all aid from official sources as well as private fundraising efforts in the United States would be cut off. Further, the United States would allow Israel to be expelled from the United Nations.

Soviet premier Nikolai Bulganin warned the British, French and Israeli governments that his country would unleash rocket attacks on their cities if they did not immediately withdraw. These warnings had to be taken very seriously, particularly because Eisenhower had ordered the withdrawal of the U.S. protective nuclear shield over the three countries.

Facing such irresistible pressures, the invading powers were forced out. As they withdrew, the Israelis waged a scorched-earth campaign, destroying every road, railroad and structure of any value in Egypt’s Sinai.

For the Israelis, while their “third kingdom” would have to be put on hold, significant gains were made from the episode. Israel acquired both vital military aid and the beginning of a nuclear weapons program.

The 1956 Suez War led within a very short time to Israel being brought fully into the U.S. camp. By its next war against the Arab world in 1967, Israel was closely aligned with and supplied by the U.S. military, and gained territory it had long been seeking.

Aftermath of 1967 – Rise of the Palestinian Resistance

With the conquest of the remaining 22 percent of Palestine in 1967, it appeared that the fate of the Palestinian people had been sealed. But in a seeming paradox, the Six Day War led to the rise of the Palestinian resistance movement and new wave of popular radicalization across the region.

Until the 1967 war, organizations such as Fatah- Palestine National Liberation Movement, and the Arab National Movement led by George Habash, had placed their main hope for the liberation of Palestine with the Arab armies. The outcome of the war brought that period to a close. In 1968, Fatah and two organizations which emerged from the ANM, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for Liberation of Palestine, took control of the Palestine Liberation Organization and launched mass resistance against the occupiers.

Since then, the struggle has continued in many forms and the vicious Israeli repression funded by the U.S., has taken an enormous toll. The dispossession of the Palestinian, the killings, systematic torture, the illegal settlements, the house demolitions, the destruction of olive and fruit groves, the theft of water, the lethal blockade and isolation of Gaza, the apartheid practice of the right of return, the apartheid roads, the apartheid everything – continue day after day.

Since the 1967 war, according the Addameer prisoner rights organization, 800,000 Palestinian men, more than 40% of the adult male population, have been imprisoned. Today, there are more than 6,300 Palestinians in Israeli prisons – every one of them held in violation of international law. And there are 0 Israelis held in Palestinian prisons. If that were the one and only fact one knew about the conflict there, one would know who is the colonizer and who is the colonized, who is the oppressor and who are the oppressed.

The Palestinian liberation struggle continues under the most difficult conditions. Many times since 1948, the Palestinians have been counted out, but they have never surrendered.

(Historical material in this article is taken from Palestine, Israel and the U.S. Empire. PSL Publications, 2009)

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ISIS recruiter who radicalised London Bridge attackers was protected by MI5

NOVANEWS

From collusion to blowback

by Nafeez Ahmed

Britain’s top ISIS recruiter, Anjem Choudary, protesting with al-Muhajiroun supporters outside the Syrian embassy in London. Source: Asian World

The terrorists who rampaged across London on the night of 3 June were part of a wider extremist network closely monitored by MI5 for decades. The same network was heavily involved in recruiting Britons to fight with jihadist groups in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

Police have confirmed that Khuram Shazad Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba were the three terrorists shot dead after participating in a brutal van and knife attack in the London Bridge area.

According to press reports, both Butt and Redouane were longstanding members of the proscribed extremist network formerly known as al-Muhajiroun. After 9/11, the group operated under different names such as Shariah4UK, Muslims4Crusades and Islam4UK. Originally founded by Lebanese firebrand, Omar Bakri Mohammed, who was banned from returning to the UK after the 7/7 attacks, the network was later run by Bakri’s deputy, Anjem Choudary.

Red flags, missed

Choudary was convicted in 2016 for supporting and encouraging support for ISIS.

Yet the press has largely ignored the extent to which Choudary’s uncanny freedom to operate in Britain, and to send British Muslims to fight in foreign theatres, was linked to his opaque relationship to Britain’s security services.

Khuram Butt was known to counter-terrorism police and MI5, who investigated him in 2015. The official line is that he was deprioritised as no evidence of attack planning was found.

Anonymous British counter-terrorism sources, however, told CNN that Butt was the subject of a “full package” of investigatory measures, as he was believed to be “one of the most dangerous extremists in the UK”. After September 2014, when ISIS began calling for attacks on the West, British security services grew “increasingly concerned that al-Muhajiroun members who had remained in the UK would carry out terrorist attacks.” The sources said that “One of those they were most concerned about was Butt.”

According to the Telegraph, Redouane fought with the Libyan Islamist militia unit Liwa al-Ummah to topple Muammar Qaddafi. Libyan security and diplomatic sources told the paper this militia sent foreign fighters to Syria after the NATO-backed revolution, many of whom “went on to fight alongside Al-Qaeda extremists in Syria”.

As British foreign policy analyst Mark Curtis reports: “The Liwa al-Ummah was formed by a deputy of Abdul Hakim Belhaj, the former emir of the al Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.”  Belhaj went on to become a military commander for the NATO-backed National Transition Council in Tripoli to bring down Qadafi in 2011. And in 2012, Liwa al-Ummah fighters in Syria merged with the main rebel force, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) — which received direct military and logistical support from the US and UK militaries, as well as the Gulf states and Turkey.

Metropolitan Police denied that the third attacker, Zaghba, was known to the authorities, describing him as “not a police or MI5 subject of interest.”

An Italian national of Moroccan descent, Zaghba had also come on the radar of Italian intelligence in March 2016. Authorities stopped him at Bologna airport while trying to take a flight to Turkey to reach Syria, and had passed information on his movements to Moroccan authorities, as well as MI5 and MI6 — noting that he had told authorities in Bologna that he wanted to become a terrorist.

Despite being placed on an EU-wide watchlist, he managed to enter Britain without problems.

ISIS recruiters

Several sources who spoke to me on condition of anonymity said they had known of both Butt and Redouane, describing them as notorious “trouble-makers” who were shunned by wider Muslim communities.

“Yeah, I knew these guys, they used to hang out down the road from me in Barking,” said one Muslim resident of east London. “They were known as open ISIS supporters. They used to recruit people to go Syria and fight. It was hardly a secret.”

The source was familiar with Khuram Butt but did not know the other London attackers. “He was part of the al-Muhajiroun network. They were Anjem Choudary’s boys. When the Syrian war first broke out, these guys were organising a lot of people to go there and fight. They did it under humanitarian cover, pretending they were going to give aid and stuff.”

Another source based in north London knew both Butt and Redouane as followers of Anjem Choudary. He said that they had joined al Muhajiroun after 9/11, and whenever he would bump into them they would talk “all about fighting infidel shia, they worse than Jews, etc.”

He said that they openly campaigned in support of ISIS: “Man, these guys were loud and clear. They thought of Iraq and Syria as land of the caliphate. As before they loved Taliban but criticised them for not making it caliphate. They always invited people to join jihad and Syria. Nothing new there.”

MI5’s open door

According to an investigation by Middle East Eye, from 2011 to around early-2013, MI5 operated an ‘open door’ policy for Britons to travel and fight in Libya and Syria. Foreign fighters told MEE that their travels had been facilitated by Britain’s security services.

After travelling back to Libya in May 2011, one British fighter “was approached by two counter-terrorism police officers in the departure lounge who told him that if he was going to fight he would be committing a crime.”

The fighter provided them the name and phone number of an MI5 officer. Following a quick phone call to him, he was waved through.

“As he waited to board the plane, he said the same MI5 officer called him to tell him that he had ‘sorted it out’…

Another British citizen with experience of fighting in both Libya and in Syria with rebel groups also told MEE that he had been able to travel to and from the UK without disruption.

‘No questions were asked,’ he said.”

The ‘open door’ policy was designed to augment US and British support to opposition forces seeking to overthrow Gaddafi and Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Funnelled through our allies, the Gulf states and Turkey, the bulk of this support went not to secular rebels but to hardline Islamist groups, including both al-Qaeda and ISIS.

Under this ‘open door’, as Curtis observes, “at least one London attacker and the Manchester bomber were able to travel to Libya to fight in Britain’s war.”

Since 2011, the primary figure responsible for recruiting Britons to fight in the Middle East and North Africa was Anjem Choudary.

Of the 850 Britons who went to join various insurgent groups in Syria, Iraq and Libya, most of them — fully 500 — had been recruited by Choudary to fight with ISIS. Choudary had also been linked to as many as 15 terror plots since 2001. These astonishing figures were revealed by the police after Choudary was convicted last year.

Sensitive ISIS documents corroborate the former al-Muhajiroun network’s crucial role in this British-ISIS terror funnel. The documents, leaked in early 2016, identified Choudary’s mentor — Omar Bakri Mohammed — as a sponsor of Britons trying to be inducted into ISIS.

Choudary’s role as a key instigator in the recruitment of British Muslims to join the ISIS jihad in Syria, occurred at precisely the same time that Britain’s security services were operating an ‘open door’ policy to augment the anti-Gaddafi and anti-Assad rebellions.

These activities were well-known to British police and intelligence. Earlier this year, a group of extremists connected to Choudary were jailed for supporting ISIS and urging people to fight in Syria, after a 20 month-long undercover police operation.

This raises the question as to whether the reason nothing was done to shut down Choudary’s activities was his utility to MI5’s ‘open door’ to Libya and Syria.

MI5 and ISIS recruiters, sitting in a tree

The official explanation of the failure to prosecute Bakri and Choudary for so long despite this track record is that the two were notoriously clever at appearing to staying on the right side of law. Supposedly, this meant that counter-terrorism officials found it difficult to build a case against them.

This narrative is problematic. Security sources speaking outside of official press statements have pointed to a somewhat different reality: that both Bakri and Choudary had ties to MI5.

In his book The Way of the World, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Ron Suskind recounts how he was told by a senior MI5 officer that Bakri had long been an informant for the security service, who “had helped MI5 on several of its investigations.”

Bakri confirmed the same in an interview with Suskind. “Bakri enjoyed his notoriety and was willing to pay for it with information he passed to the police,” wrote Suskind.

“It’s a fabric of subtle interlocking needs: the [British authorities] need be in a backchannel conversation with someone working the steam valve of Muslim anger; Bakri needs health insurance.”

Bakri’s ties with British intelligence to support foreign operations, moreover, go back decades.

As I wrote in the Independent on Sunday:

“According to a former US Army intelligence officer, John Loftus, three senior al-Muhajiroun figures — Mr Bakri Mohammed, Abu Hamza and Haroon Rashid Aswat — were recruited by MI6 in 1996 to influence Islamist activities in the Balkans.”

But the connection did not stop there.

In 2000, Bakri admitted training British Muslims to fight as jihadists abroad, boasting: “The British government knows who we are. MI5 has interrogated us many times. I think now we have something called public immunity.”

A year later, the private security firm set up by Bakri in cohorts with Abu Hamza — Sakina Security Services — was raided by police and eventually shut down. Speaking in Parliament at the time, Andrew Dismore MP claimed the firm sent Britons “overseas for jihad training with live arms and ammunition”. Bakri was not arrested, let alone charged or prosecuted.

In short, Omar Bakri’s utility to British state operations in foreign theatres, such as the Balkans, appeared to grant him immunity in extremist recruitment at home.

To this day, it is not widely known that Bakri and his al-Muhajiroun network played a key role in facilitating the recruitment, radicalisation and logistics behind the 7/7 London bombings. The ultimate suppression of crucial evidence of this from government narratives, despite being mandatory reading for all legal counsel during the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest, has granted the group virtual free reign.

Thus, Omar Bakri’s acolyte and deputy, Anjem Choudary, led a similarly charmed life.

Days after Choudary’s terrorism conviction, a former Scotland Yard counter-terrorism officer who had investigated Choudary revealed that prior to the proceedings, Choudary too had been protected by MI5.

The Telegraph reported that despite being at “the forefront of radical Islam in Britain” for 20 years:

“The security services repeatedly prevented Scotland Yard from pursuing criminal investigations against hate preacher Anjem Choudary… Met counter-terror officers often felt they had enough evidence to build a case against the radicalising cleric, only to be told to hang fire by MI5, because he was crucial to one of their on-going investigations.”

It was only in August 2015, after Choudary posted YouTube videos online which openly documented his support for ISIS, that he was eventually prosecuted. Prior to that, the police believed they had a watertight case, but the decision not to prosecute had come from MI5.

The police source himself told the newspaper:

“I am gobsmacked that we allowed him to carry on as long as long as he did. He was up to his neck in it but the police can’t do full investigations on people if the security service say they are working on a really big job, because they have the priority. That is what they did constantly. While the police might have had lots of evidence they were pulled back by the security service because he [Choudary] was one of the people they were monitoring. It was very frustrating and did cause some tension but we were told we had to consider the bigger picture.”

The bigger picture: war

According to Charles Shoebridge, though — a former British Army and Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism intelligence officer — “nothing was done by UK authorities” to stop UK citizens “joining jihadist groups in Libya and Syria.”

This was despite the fact that these Britons “made no secret on social media of the fact, even sometimes posting evidence of their participation in acts of terrorism and war crimes.” There was an “obvious risk of terrorism blowback were such trained and experienced extremists to return to Britain.”

Shoebridge had pointed out at the time that “this ‘turning a blind eye’ was actually consistent with the UK govt position of intensive overt and covert support of rebel groups in Libya and Syria in attempting to topple Gaddafi and Assad.”  Turning a blind eye, he added, was also consistent with “a long record of the UK government allowing, using and facilitating Islamist extremists to destabilise ‘enemy’ states, from Soviet occupied Afghanistan in the 80s, through Bosnia and Chechnya, to Libya and Syria today…

“It was only in 2013 when groups such as ISIS started to harm US and UK interests in Syria and Iraq, and kill US and UK citizens, that any action at all was taken to stop British jihadists from travelling, or arresting and charging those who returned. At this time it’s likely a tipping point was reached in the inherent conflict between MI6 priorities in furthering UK govt policy to overthrow Gaddafi and Assad, and MI5’s stated priority of keeping the UK safe from terrorism — indeed, it’s likely a tipping point was also reached internally within MI5 itself. In any event, from 2013 action started to be taken, which suggests government policy changed.”

The official defence for all this is that before 2013, the legislation necessary to tackle travelling jihadists did not exist. Shoebridge dismisses this as nonsense: “First, it’s been illegal to take part in terrorist related activities abroad since 2006 and, second, the new legislation introduced since 2013 has itself barely been used.”

In fact, it was only around 2014 that British counter-terrorism officials moved more aggressively to take down al-Muhajiroun.

I asked the Home Office to confirm whether Choudary was indeed an MI5 informant, and whether British authorities were aware of his recruitment of Britons to Syria — including the role of any of the London attackers as ‘foreign fighters’.

A spokesperson said: “We are not commenting on the individuals named while that investigation continues or responding to speculation.”

But if Geddes and Shoebridge are correct, then when Anjem Choudary — Britain’s top ISIS terror recruiter — was dispatching Britons to Syria, he was, in Geddes words, “allowed… to carry on” by Britain’s security services.

The decision not to prosecute Choudary was to have fatal consequences. In February, about half of the British fighters who had travelled to Iraq, Syria and Libya returned.

In November 2014, as Home Secretary, Theresa May said that JTAC, the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, had raised the threat level for international terrorism from ‘substantial’ to ‘severe’, indicating that an attack on the UK was believed to be “highly likely.” May’s announcement clarified that the threat level was lifted primarily due to the threat from 500 British nationals who had largely fought with ISIS:

“The decision to change the threat level was based primarily on developments in Syria and Iraq, where the terrorist group ISIL controls swathes of territory. We believe more than 500 British nationals have travelled to Syria and Iraq, many of them to fight… ISIL and its western fighters now represent one of the most serious terrorist threats we face.”

Collusion

It was Theresa May’s own ‘open door’ policy toward Britons fighting in foreign theatres which directly facilitated the expansion of this threat.

Under that policy, the chief coordinator of the British-ISIS corridor, Choudary, had active ties to MI5 which prevented counter-terrorism police officers from prosecuting him.

This draws a direct connection between Choudary’s impunity in Britain until 2015, and Britain’s short-sighted foreign policy goals in Syria.

“When the US and British militaries were working with the Turks to train various Syrian rebel groups, many military officers knew that among those we were training was the next round of jihadists,” said Alastair Crooke, a former 30 year senior MI6 officer who dealt with Islamist groups across the Muslim world. “But the CIA was fixated on regime change. We knew that even if at any moment ISIS was eventually defeated, these Islamist groups would move against secular and moderate forces.”

This collusion between Western security services and Islamist extremism, Crooke told me, has very long roots in an intelligence culture that went back as far as the 1920s, “when in the attempt to gather control of the Arabian peninsula, King Abdulaziz told us that the key is Wahabism.”

This alliance culminated in the war in Afghanistan in the 1980s, which was “the first clear use of fired-up Islamist radicals to provoke Russia into an invasion. This set the scene ever since. From then, our intelligence services have had a deeply entwined history with Islamist groups based on the belief that Saudi Arabia had the power to turn them on and off at will.”

Islamist groups have been used by British and American intelligence services, said Crooke, essentially “to control and contain the Middle East” against different forces, Nasserism, nationalists, and more recently Baathists.

Perhaps Crooke’s most damning insight was how these operations led to British intelligence becoming heavily dependent on Gulf state intelligence services to conduct regional operations.

“In the 1980s, Saudi began paying for operations with large sums of money — which was considered acceptable in the interests of landing a blow on the USSR’s influence in the region. As a result, though, our intelligence services became increasingly dependent on Saudi funding. If they wanted to avoid Congressional or parliamentary oversight, and to continue expanding difficult and sensitive off-the-books operations, they would go instead to their Gulf partners.”

The impact of this on the integrity of the US and British intelligence community has been devastating:

“The assumption is that this doesn’t affect the integrity of intelligence, but clearly it does. The Gulf states have become paymasters for increasing expenditures on intelligence operations that the security services would prefer not be disclosed.”

This “incipient influence directly into the intelligence services”, said Crooke, is “supplemented by huge subsidies to think-tanks in Washington and London which create a specific cultural atmosphere. It has led many in the US and Europe to uncritically absorb the Gulf kingdoms’ narrative of the region — one in which it is seen as absolutely fine to use fired-up Sunni Islamism to overturn governments like that of Gaddafi or Assad, without any sort of reflection.”

For Crooke, this mindset is responsible for the persistence of such failed policies, and explains why in the early days of the ‘Arab Spring’, Western policymakers believed they could “use Islamists of all sorts as useful tools to bring about change, and that our Gulf allies could control all this.”

I asked Crooke what should be done — especially now, in the unprecedented wake of three terrorist attacks in Britain over three months:

“We should start by surfacing these matters into consciousness. Only then can we begin the conversations needed to resolve them. We need to understand that the tension between fighting a ‘war on terror’ while at the same time in some ways being in bed with terrorists, has produced a disaster.”

For Shoebridge, the biggest elephant in the room is intelligence reform: “Repeatedly, MI5 has made decisions not to deploy its substantial physical and electronic surveillance resources against extremists who were well known to it, and who then went on to commit or attempt terrorist attacks — Manchester being a prime example.”

One explanation of this, he said, could be that the decision making processes by which MI5 prioritises the deployment of its resources are “defective.” Another could be that some extremists “were actually working as informants for MI5, regarded as under control or trustworthy, and therefore not needing to be watched.”

How can we really ever know?

“Only a fully empowered and totally independent inquiry could establish the truth of the matter however — and there’s no sign that this is likely to happen anytime soon.”

This is how to end Islamic State terror – and stop British foreign policy blowback
Theresa May is right. Enough is enough. A difficult and embarrassing conversation needs to be had about the fact that…www.middleeasteye.net

Posted in UKComments Off on ISIS recruiter who radicalised London Bridge attackers was protected by MI5

The Machiavellian Plot to Provoke Saudi Arabia and Qatar into a “Blood Border” War

Experts all across the world are trying to figure out what’s really fueling the Qatari-Saudi Cold War, but the answer is simple – the US. As it’s always prone to do, Washington is masterfully playing a game of divide and conquer in the Mideast, doing the same thing to its Gulf allies as it did to its North African ones during the theater-wide “Arab Spring” Color Revolutions, except this time pitting them against one another on a state-to-state level as opposed to an intra-state one between the government and some of its citizenry.

The long-term purpose behind all of this is to usher in Ralph Peters’ 2006 “Blood Borders” blueprint for the “New Middle East”, wherein the Gulf eventually undergoes a geopolitical reengineering just like “Syraq”, Turkey, and the Balkans are slated to do as well. All in all, the fracturing of the region into a myriad of internationally recognized and de-facto statelets is expected to facilitate the prolongation of American hegemony in the broad interconnected space that the late Brzezinski described as the “Eurasian Balkans,” while simultaneously creating major complications for its Russian and especially Chinese rivals’ access to this geostrategic pivot space at the heart of Afro-Eurasia.

That’s a lot to digest all at once, so let’s break everything down piece by piece so that it’s easier to understand.

Saudi map

Source: 21st Century Wire

“Little Machiavelli”

First off, the Qatar-Saudi Cold War was sparked by the mischievous workings of what the US military once called “Little Sparta”, the UAE (United Arab Emirates), which can nowadays be described as a “Little Machiavelli”. The Hotmail account of the Emirates’ Ambassador to the US was recently compromised and it reveals that Mr. Yousef al-Otaiba has been working overtime to destroy Qatar’s reputation in the eyes of influential American decision makers.

Abu Dhabi has been in a fierce rivalry with Doha since the turn of the century as the two ultra-rich Gulf States compete with one another to court the largest amount of foreign investment and become the ultimate “to-go” destinations in the Mideast. Moreover, the two countries are also engaged in a proxy war in Libya, where the UAE backs General Haftar’s Tobruk government whereas Qatar is behind Muslim Brotherhood factions in Tripoli.

Doha’s sponsorship of the Muslim Brotherhood – which is designated as a terrorist organization by GCC members the UAE and Saudi Arabia, Gulf-ally Egypt, and also Syria and Russia incidentally – has long been the bane of regional distrust within the Riyadh-led “Council of Kings”, and intra-organizational tensions reached a boiling point all throughout 2014 but were finally resolved by the end of the year. During that time, Doha promised to radically downscale its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, but it apparently never fulfilled its promise. Even so, none of the GCC members seemed to care too much until just a few weeks ago, which means that something else must have triggered this major Gulf Crisis.

Accepting that the UAE leaks are true and that its Ambassador to the US is indeed doing all that he can to besmirch Qatar, then it’s very likely that Abu Dhabi hatched a plan to “kill many birds with one stone” earlier last month. The Emirate brokered a de-facto peace deal between the two main sides in Libya’s Civil War at the beginning of May which essentially quashed Qatar’s chances of taking over the country by proxy.

This fragile agreement was nearly sabotaged shortly thereafter by “rogue” troops from the UN-backed government who opened fire on Haftar’s forces at an airbase in southern Libya and killed 141 of them. Nearly a week later, Libyan-based terrorists slaughtered 29 Coptic Christians in Egypt and prompted Cairo to take decisive action by ordering airstrikes against their camps across the border. Taken together, and considering that Qatar is clearly on the losing side of the Libyan Civil War nowadays, the UAE may have found it convenient to pin the blame for both the Libyan and Egyptian terrorist attacks on Qatar, and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

Trump Riyadh

Trump in Riyadh (Source: 21st Century Wire)

The Trump Factor

US President Trump visited Riyadh in the time between both attacks and urged the 50+ Muslim leader attendees to “drive out” the terrorists among their ranks. Apparently, Qatari Emir al-Thani had earlier given an unpublicized speech at the event where he spoke out against the “Arab NATO’s” increasingly obvious anti-Iranian agenda, but this allegedly was supposed to have been kept under wraps in order to avoid debunking the myth of Gulf unity.

Nevertheless, the very fact that the Qatari leader would dare speak in such a non-aggressive way about Iran in front of the infamously Iranophobic American President while being hosted in Saudi Arabia of all places made him the man that the “Arab NATO” decided to pin the blame on for Wahhabi terrorism all across the Mideast. Saudi Arabia would have probably invented a ‘pretext’ had one not fortuitously come up due to none other than Qatar itself just a week later when one of its public broadcasters reported on Emir Thani’s words in what must have been interpreted by the Saudis as one of the greatest humiliations against them in recent history.

Although Qatar quickly retracted the reporting and claimed to have been the victim of “hacking”, Saudi Arabia and its allies obviously didn’t believe it because they heard the country’s leader utter those very same statements about Iran and the “Arab NATO” that Qatar now claimed were fabricated.

This gave Riyadh the public cover for moving forward with its prearranged plans to make Doha the ‘fall guy’ for all of the Mideast’s problems, likely due to the advice being whispered in King Salman and his deputy crown prince Defense Minister Mohammed Bin Salman’s ear by the UAE, obsessed as they are to undermine their Qatari rival every step of the way.

The UAE already had an axe to grind with Qatar because of Libya, Egypt as is known totally despites the peninsular country for supporting former Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi, and the Saudis will never forgive Emir Thani for speaking the way that he did about Iran while being hosted by the Kingdom.

From the UAE’s perspective, all the right pieces were in play for getting Saudi Arabia to marshal the GCC and its wider allies against Qatar, but Abu Dhabi – the “Little Machiavelli” that it is – ensured that Riyadh would do its bidding by making a personal appeal to the young Saudi Defense Minister.

Mohammed Bin Salman is widely regarded as the “mastermind” behind the disastrous War on Yemen which sapped so much of his Kingdom’s finances and prestige, and he’s clearly desperate for a “quick victory” which can help reclaim the carefully crafted perception among the Sunni community of Saudi hegemony in the Mideast. It wouldn’t be surprising to find out that UAE Ambassador to the US or one of his fellow Emirati “deep state” allies convinced the Defense Minister that a “quick campaign” against Qatar could not only achieve just that, but it would also help reshape the historical narrative about the Mideast by blaming all of its Saudi-inflicted woes on Qatar instead.

Additionally, the timing of events is such that ego-centric Trump could also take a piece of credit for this too, as he was more than eager to do on Twitter earlier this week.

Target: Iran

All told, the “Little Machiavelli” hatched the type of plan that would have made its medieval namesake proud. The UAE was able to get regional and confessional heavyweight Saudi Arabia to take the lead (and therefore, the blame if anything goes wrong) in marshaling some of the “Arab NATO’s” countries against Qatar in order to pin the blame for years of Wahhabi terrorism in the Mideast right on its leadership’s doorstep, obviously intending to initiate a game for keeps whereby the Kingdom either turns Thani into a puppet or outright deposes of him by prompting either a Color Revolution, Hybrid War, and/or royal coup against him.

The days of an LNG-rich Qatar thumbing its nose at the rest of the GCC and subsequently pioneering a somewhat independent foreign policy by patronizing the hated Muslim Brotherhood and pragmatically interacting with Saudi archenemy Iran could become history, and the fact that this “quick victory” could also distract from the disastrous War on Yemen was too tempting of an opportunity for King Salman and his gray-cardinal-Defense-Minister-son to turn down.

That being said, there are certainly risks inherent with enacting a de-facto embargo against Qatar and isolating it on the partial grounds that it’s becoming too close to Iran, and the most obvious of them is that this will become a self-fulfilling prophecy by driving Doha into Tehran’s arms.

The Islamic Republic already offered humanitarian aid to the peninsular emirate in the form of food supplies and said that it could make use of its airspace to get around the GCC’s embargo, which was clearly unacceptable for Saudi Arabia.

Just a few days later, Daesh carried out an unprecedented series of terrorist attacks against the Iranian parliament and Ayatollah Khomeini’s mausoleum, which the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps blamed on its Saudi rival who promised last month to take the regional proxy battle between the two to Iran’s home turf.

Evidently, Riyadh wanted to prevent a Qatari-Iranian Strategic Partnership from forming and potentially coalescing around a “gas OPEC”, but the Kingdom might have unintentionally made this an accelerated fait accompli so long as Emir Thani can hold onto power and doesn’t back down.

Doha

Doha, Qatar (Source: 21st Century Wire)

The Russian Red Herring

This entire episode was interestingly interrupted by the US’ ridiculous claims that Russian hacking was behind the revived Qatari-Saudi Cold War. It’s laughable that the American “deep state” establishment (the permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies) feels the need to obsessively try to link everything that “goes wrong” in the world with Russia, but there might actually be a little something more to it this time around.

The author explained in his latest research article about “Russia’s Energy Diplomacy In The Mideast: Boom Or Bust?” that Russia has recently – and to the surprise of all but the most astute observers – cultivated very positive relations with its former Saudi and Qatari rivals, both of whom it ordinarily competes with in their respective oil and gas energy markets, but also in Syria as well. That state of affairs might be changing, however, since the author forecasted that Russia would be able to mediate between Saudi Arabia & Qatar and Iran & Saudi Arabia so long as it continues to maintain great relations with all of them.

In fact, about the first pair of rivals, President Putin even called Emir Thani earlier this week and the Russian leader himself was besought by Turkish President Erdogan a day before that over this very same topic too. Clearly, Russia was – and still is – on track to position itself as the ultimate neutral arbitrator in this spat, seeing as how it’s not a Muslim-majority country like potential mediators Turkey or Kuwait are, nor does it have any self-interest in taking sides among either of the two Wahhabi-exporting countries.

Additionally, given that the Saudis likely didn’t plot their terrorist attack in Tehran overnight and probably put some prior planning into it which involved some degree of American complicity or another, the US might rightly have predicted that Russia could be the only country which would have any feasible chance at preventing the forthcoming spike in sectarian tensions between the two antagonistic countries from boiling over into a hot war.

Accordingly, this prompted the US to try and attribute responsibility for the Qatari-Saudi Cold War – and by extent, the preemptive Saudi-supported terrorist attack in Iran – to Russia by cleverly giving Qatar a “face-saving” way out of this mess if only Emir Thani would bite the bait and blame the whole “misunderstanding” on Russian hackers.

The Gulf leader, however, seems to be much wiser than the Americans give him credit for, knowing that he’s indeed playing a game of keeps with Saudi Arabia and that he will either be deposed or make his country strategically powerless if he backs down and capitulates in the face of the Kingdom’s unyielding pressure.

As for Saudi Arabia, it also doesn’t seem to be too eager to advance the sloppy conspiracy theory of Russian culpability, especially since Qatar didn’t take the first step in this direction. Either actor might change their positions on this matter as time goes on, or this desperate American move might soon fizzle out and be forgotten about if neither of them gives it much attention.

Provided that the current trajectory on this sub-tangent continues, then Russia could eventually play a very important role in avoiding a larger conflict, much as it did nearly 4 years ago when it came to the US’ false flag chemical weapons attack in Ghouta and consequent run-up to war.

Saudi Arabia As The “Next Syria”

Saudi King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Source: FarsNews)

Russia is keenly aware of the US’ plans to “balkanize” the “Eurasian Balkans”, and it knows that this would be disastrous for the emerging Multipolar World Order. On the one hand, Moscow is both unable to completely stop some of the centrifugal forces that Washington already initiated and balks at the military commitment needed to delay them, which explains for example why it’s promoting Kurdish “decentralization” in the Russian-writtendraft constitution” for Syria as a compromise to this pro-American group’s unilateral “federalization” attempt.

On the other hand, though, this obviously doesn’t mean that Russia is indifferent to the fragmentation process at large. How this relates to the ongoing Qatari-Saudi Cold War and the Wahhabi Kingdom’s utilization of Daesh proxy terrorists against the Islamic Republic is that Moscow believes that this is the American-provoked external catalyst needed to initiate the irreversible but potentially long-term processes of state dissolution in this part of the Mideast just like what happened in North Africa and “Syraq” over the past six years. Bearing in mind that the Mideast’s two most religiously influential states are directly involved this time around, the geopolitical consequences could shatter the balance of power in Eurasia.

The author explained Iran’s structural Hybrid War vulnerabilities in his summer 2016 article about “The US-Saudi Plan To Prompt An Iranian Pullback From Syria”, which focused on how Daesh, the Baloch, Kurds, Arabs, and Azeris could all be leveraged within Iran’s borders as tools to undermine the state and induce desired concessions from its leadership, so the reader should review that analysis if they’re unfamiliar with these concepts.

As for Saudi Arabia, its sectarian leadership provoked serious Shiite unrest in the oil-rich Eastern Province after carrying out state-sponsored oppression against its confessional minorities. A similar scenario is slowly unfolding but isn’t yet imminent in the southwestern part of the Kingdom along the Yemeni border in Shiite-majority areas which used to be part of its neighbor prior to the 1934 Treaty of Taif that ended the Saudi-Yemeni War. It’s therefore not without cause that the majority-Shiite Houthi national liberation group regularly targets Saudi military positions in this part of the country. Finally, the last main structural vulnerability in Saudi Arabia is the royalist divisions over crown prince and grey cardinal Mohammed Bin Salman.

The Defense Minister and aspiring king is doubly hated by some in the monarchy for the self-inflicted financial and reputational wounds to his country brought about by his decision to launch the War on Yemen, and also for his internal “reform” (in a relative sense) agenda of Vision 2030 which aspires to modernize the economy into a real-sector one and away from its oil-exporting dependency.

If his signature domestic project is carried out to its full extent, then it could initiate piecemeal socio-cultural changes which provocatively go against the hardline Wahhabi teachings of the Kingdom’s influential clerical class. Many observers were too busy (rightly) talking about Saudi Arabia’s many foreign policy follies to notice the one thing which it “did right”, and that’s strengthen its relations with China to the level of a de-facto strategic partnership during King Salman’s visit to the People’s Republic earlier this spring.

The author wrote about the significance behind this event and the reason why China signed over $65 billion dollars of deals with the Wahhabi Kingdom in his piece for The Duran titled “Why is China choosing to partner with Israel and Saudi Arabia?”, but the pertinent point comes down to the fact that “China Chases Markets In The Mideast”.

What’s meant by the author’s cited article from last fall is that China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) global vision of New Silk Road connectivity envisions the GCC playing a pivotal role in the larger paradigm as Beijing builds factories and railroads in the region in exchange for the Kingdoms investing some of their copious cash in the People’s Republic for the ultimate win-win outcome. In fact, the successful pairing of Mohammed Bin Salman’s Vision 2030 with China’s OBOR could lead to the moderation of Saudi Arabia’s sectarian-centric regional foreign policy if the influence of the clerics is diluted as a result, and this in turn could seriously increase the prospects for a multipolar Mideast.

The author wrote about this and even mapped out the many interlinked New Silk Road corridors which could realistically sprout from this new regional dynamic in his piece titled “Eurasianism: How A Better Mideast Would Look” from last fall, and the reader should certainly skim through it to get a clear picture of why Russia is so strongly opposing the US’ “Blood Borders” blueprint in the “Greater Mideast” and believes that even the troublesome Gulf is worth saving in terms of how it relates to the “bigger picture” of promoting multipolarity all throughout the supercontinent.

All of this, however, could be jeopardized if Qatar & Saudi Arabia and Iran & Saudi Arabia enter into an existential proxy struggle within their rival’s borders and turn the Wahhabi Kingdom – among other countries – into the “next Syria”.

Concluding Thoughts

The US is intent on destabilizing Afro-Eurasia in order to more easily control the Eastern Hemisphere by proxy, hence why it’s recently resorted to the combined approach of employing Hybrid War alongside its “Lead From Behind” regional strategy of local lackeys in order to bring this about.

Although all of the involved parties in the current Gulf Crisis stand to experience multilaterally beneficial gains if they can peacefully contain themselves long enough to reap tangible dividends from China’s OBOR projects, the unfortunately reality is that regional dynamics and the history of distrust between several sides means that the US can more easily manipulate them all into a Hobbesian asymmetrical conflict against one another.

The UAE, also known as “Little Machiavelli”, is playing a key role fanning the flames of conflict via its masterful intrigue because it envisions itself receiving the US’ blessing in becoming the post-fragmentation consolidating force in this part of the “Eurasian Balkans” due to its unique nature in being a collection of separate emirates. From the American perspective, the UAE could become a pivotal center of gravity after the Mideast is redrawn with “Blood Borders” (likely adjusted from the frontiers that Ralph Peters originally had in mind 11 years ago due to changed circumstances in some areas) because it could exert centripetal influence in amalgamating some of the post-Saudi emirates left over in the wake of the Kingdom’s collapse. With this in mind, the UAE’s plans look especially cynical because it’s basically setting up the Saudis to fail in order to replace their regional role when the dust settles.

Russia and China are well aware of what’s going on, however, since they wised up a few years ago during the US’ coordinated proxy assaults against each of them in Ukraine and the South China Sea in realizing that their chief geopolitical rival will wield the weapon of Hybrid War in trying to sabotage their 21st-century competitive connectivity projects in a desperate attempt to indefinitely prolong the fading “unipolar moment”.

For this reason, both Eurasian Great Powers are especially concerned about the US’ latest efforts to manipulate the Gulf States and Iran into a self-perpetuating cycle of destabilizations against one another as it attempts to trick them in turning the “Blood Borders” blueprint into a reality. Regrettably, Saudi Arabia is much too gullible and easily guided in the direction of the US’ grand strategic interests, so it’s uncertain at this time whether the warned-about scenario can still be avoided.

Nevertheless, the US certainly thinks that Russia stands the best chance of anyone at stopping its plans, which is why it tried to destroy its recent reputational gains in the Gulf by accusing it of “hacking” Qatar and therefore instigating the whole crisis. The fact that neither Doha nor Riyadh have bit the bait, or at least not yet, leaves hope that Moscow might be able to use its positive relations with both countries and neutral status between them to mediate a peaceful solution to the first stage of this spat, and then possibly expand upon its gains to ease the aggravated tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

It’s admittedly an ambitious task, and one which definitely doesn’t have any guaranteed chance of achieving even the most modest symbolic success, but it’s still Russia’s – and to an extent, also China’s – geopolitical responsibility as one of the dual engines of Eurasian integration and the emerging Multipolar World Order to at least exert its best behind-the-scenes efforts in trying before it’s too late.

Posted in Qatar, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on The Machiavellian Plot to Provoke Saudi Arabia and Qatar into a “Blood Border” War

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