Tuesday, June 13, 2017

3 views of radical mideast terror; Soros

Crude as it was, however, Wahhabism endured because of its ties with the Saud clan, which only strengthened over time through mutual support and intermarriage.  In 1932, when the clan was established as the royal family of Saudi Arabia, the narrow, intolerant Wahhabi strain of Islam effectively became the established religion of the kingdom.  And soon, with the Saudis' growing oil wealth, the Wahhabi religious establishment became one of the most richly funded and aggressive pros-elytizing bodies in the world, spreading an intolerant version of the faith that began to compete with other more tolerant and locally inflected varieties of Islam.
But if Islamism and Wahhabism emerged in the Arab core of the Muslim world, one of the ironic turns of recent history is that political Islam fared better beyond the Arab core than in it.  An Islamic republic, albeit Shiite rather than Sunni, arose in Iran in 1979, and in both Turkey and Algeria, Islamist parties became important political players (at least until the one in Algeria proved too successful and was suppressed by the military).  In nations of the Arab core, by contrast, Islamists have been tolerated—and often modestly encouraged—to the extent that they posed no direct threat to the political regimes. Those individuals who take Islamist notions too seriously, including bin Laden (whose unhappiness about the Saudi kingdom's close ties with the infidel Americans is now well known), have faced exile or worse.  But, as the world has learned, those outcast Islamists have learned to operate quite effectively in strange lands, whether in Afghanistan or Europe or even the United States.
Is Islamism, then, a clear and present danger—to the United States and to the world in general, including its 1.2 billion Muslims?  The answer might seem obvious in light of the havoc wreaked by a band of Islamist zealots on September 11.  To the extent that it nourishes and encourages fanatical hatred, it clearly is a danger.  And as Johns Hopkins University international security specialist Michael Vlahos argues in his cogent study "Terror's Mask: Insurgency Within Islam," Americans must be forthright in naming their foe.  It is not some nameless "terrorism," Vlahos writes, but a dangerous movement within Islam.

-Jeffrey Steinberg
Jan/February 2015
interview published in Europe NewsOpen Democracy, LaRouchepub.com and in Pravda ~ In order to fully communicate the history of the Islamic State and its relationship with the House of Saud and Turkey, we consulted Jeffrey Steinberg, Senior Editor and Counterintelligence Director of the Executive Intelligence Review with 40 years of experience working with the LarouchePAC.  He is also member of and active contributor to the Schiller Institute based in Wiesbaden, Germany. 
Q: Can you give us a history of the Islamic State? How did they rise to power after the [2003] US-NATO invasion of Iraq?
A: You have to go to 1979 when Brzezinski was the National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter, [when he] convinced the president to sign a secret authorization to begin covert operations in Afghanistan, six months before the Soviets arrived around Christmastime of 1979.  Known as the Bernard-Lewis Plan, it involved promoting Islamic Fundamentalism all across the Southern tier of the Soviet Union. When the Soviets finally moved in, things became concentrated in building up a radical Islamic terrorist apparatus, sponsored by the US, British, Saudis, French, and Israelis.
The whole idea was to play Islamic Fundamentalism against the “godless Soviet Union”, but the problem this created was the emergence of groups such as al-Qaeda. Osama bin Laden himself went to Peshawar in Northwest Pakistan, near the Afghanistan border, as part of this Anglo-American/ Saudi project to create a terrorist organization against the Soviet presence in Afghanistan. That effort succeeded somewhat, but the consequences of that was the birth of an international Jihadi terrorist apparatus that is haunting the world today.
You had the establishment of al-Qaeda [MSC] following the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Some of those networks in Pakistan and Afghanistan spread to other areas, including Somalia-Chechen rebels in the Caucuses, which then moved to Pakistan and Afghanistan and became some of the leading commanders of al-Qaeda. This in turn created spin-offs such as al-Qaeda in Iraq, in the Arabian Peninsula, and the Islamic Maghreb, many splits and permutations such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and the British and French backed those networks to overthrow Gaddafi, and now we have a mess in North Africa as a result.
I was frequently on Capital Hill in the mid-1980s, and you would see well-known neoconservatives touring with these so-called freedom fighters who later became leading figures in al-Qaeda.  This is a long collusion between Western intelligence agencies and radical Sunni-Jihadist networks.
Q: The Islamic State wants to expand its territory. How legitimate are their aims and what exactly are they trying to accomplish?  Are they just controlled by the West or is this something more sinister?
A:  Saudi Arabia is a kingdom that shares power between the House of Saud and Wahhabi clergy, who are among the most radical fundamentalists of all the Sunni branches. In the 1960s, during the crackdown from Egyptian President Nasser against the Muslim Brotherhood, many of them fled to Saudi Arabia, joined the Wahhabis and began spreading a form of pan-Arabism around the world, with enormous financing from Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. They began opening up madrasas-special Islamist schools--in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and parts of Africa as early as 1963.
You had the founding of the Muslim Worldly [League], the origins of neo-Salafism--a form of fundamentalist Islam with a messianic caliphate ideology, whom received support from Arab Gulf powers, as well as British and US intelligence services, to be used against the Soviets and China. Al-Bagdhadi, the nominal head of IS, is committed to the establishment of a universal caliphate under [IS] direction. For that reason, there’s concern between the Saudis and the IS network, whom could potentially overrun Saudi Arabia and incorporate it into their version of a caliphate.
You had a merger in Saudi Arabia of the Muslim Brotherhood and Wahhabism, but later, when the MB became had democratic electoral politics in Egypt, the Saudis no longer liked that, and this created splits between different factions of Jihadism.  IS inside Iraq contains members that have fought for over a decade--Chechens, Uyghyrs, Afghans, Saudis, Libyans, and Iraqis--who have traveled around the world in this continuous battle, honing skills in asymmetrical warfare.  You also have in Iraq remnants of the old Hussein military that are deeply resentful that they were removed from any power sharing in their country, and who have opportunistically joined the neo-Salafists.
Q: [Turkey] wants to expand into the European Union, NATO and has one foot into the Arab world.  What exactly are the aims of [Tayyip Erdogan] related to these three fronts?
A: The Turks have been instrumental in the rise of ISIS [over the last two years]. There were several critical border crossings turned over to ISIS. They had training facilities inside Turkish territory, and integrated with smuggling networks that operate into Northern Syria and Iraq, and [they] are integrated into the ruling AKP party and Turkish MIT, the equivalent to the CIA, headed by [Hakan] Fidan, one of the most trusted right-hand men of Erdogan. If you look at the AKP, it’s an informal kind of Muslim Brotherhood with many parallels. There are more radical elements than Erdogan, and former presidents like [Abdullah] Gülthat was a genuine moderate than him and [Ahmet] Davutoğlu. They’re playing a dangerous game; they’ve crossed swords with the US, and Washington and the Pentagon are pissed off at Erdogan.
There was a meeting between military commanders of the anti-ISIS coalition.  Not only did Turkey send a deputy to the meeting, but carried out a bombing campaign against the PKK along the borders of Syria and Iraq the day before. Washington and some European leaders quietly made sure that Turkey didn’t get a seat on the UN Security Council. Frictions are becoming severe, and some American military personnel asked, “Why is Turkey in NATO if they’re on the other side”? I think that the neo-Ottoman aspirations of Turkey in MENA trump its desire to integrate into the EU and are openly promoted by Davutoğlu.
They’re not completely out of control. The Saudis are strong backers of IS and I am not convinced that they are an existential threat to the House of Saud. In the 1990s, bin Laden was protesting against the residual US military forces in Saudi Arabia after the first Iraq War, and then Head of Saudi Intelligence Turki bin Faisal sent a liaison to Afghanistan and funds once again flowed freely to al-Qaeda, granted they would attack America, but not the House of Saud. They’re perfectly capable of negotiating with IS.  Things can change, but I’m not persuaded that we’re at that point yet.
You have a lot of contending forces-Gulf states-that are working with the Muslim Brotherhood, whom are training forces against Assad. What they’re attempting to do is to use militias with strong ties to Turkey and lead by the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.  The “elected” government in Libya has allied with Egypt against the Libyan [Walter] Dorn Movement, which is backed by Turkey and Qatar. So, within the Sunni world, you have these fault lines that are becoming militarized, especially between Sunni and Shiite, which could easily turn into a regional war or even something bigger..
Q: How will this affect BRICS and Western players in the long run?

A: Several prominent Russians have made statements, one from [ex-Ambassador Veniamin] Popov that said, “if the US is serious about waging war with IS, then it has to be a coalition of countries with shared interests”.  This emphatically includes BRICS; particularly Russia and China, for reasons such as the targeting of the Caucuses and Xinjiang provinces of Western China, where the Uighurs are a part of this “Jihadists without Borders” apparatus. There are at least 1,000 Chechens that are fighting with ISIS in Syria and Iraq, who represents some of the most seasoned IS commanders. They’ve been in combat continuously for over a decade since the Chechen wars.
Popov continued: “A serious alignment would involve the US, Russia, China, other BRICS countries, Iran and Syria”.  You can’t trust Saudi Arabia or other GCC countries to genuinely try to defeat IS. If you had an alliance amongst those countries, you would have the resources to absolutely crush IS in Iraq and Syria. The Russians have a close relationship with the Syrians and Iranians, which could have genuine, direct coordination rather than the sneaky ones we have now. Egypt is a channel for feeding intelligence to the Syrian military, and the Iranians benefit from coordinated efforts between Iraq and the US, and Shiite militias, whom are some of the most effective fighters there.
Ultimately, [IS] has approximately 30-50,000 fighters in the region, and they’re relying on former Ba’athist military personnel in Iraq and Sunni tribes in Anwar who will go where they think the winner is. They’re not ideologically committed to the Islamic State and don’t believe in a caliphate; they’re just pissed off because they’ve been cut out from the power share in their own country and are demonstrating that they have more military ability with IS than with the Iraqi government. The minute those tribes see a fairer power share and are convinced Islamists will suffer defeat… they’ll switch sides.  You’ll have a replay of the Anbar Awakening from the mid 2000s, so there’s a limit to how far IS can go before overstretching themselves.
They don’t pose a threat to overthrow Putin in Russia, or Xi Jinping in China, but can make a mess of things. The problem you’re dealing with is that the British, factions in the US, and the Saudis still continue to see this as an Islamic card they can play against the Russians and Chinese.  If they are freaked out by what BRICS represents since the July meeting in Brazil, that’s where you can see these asymmetric operations-the air-sea battle against China and supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine targeting Russia-you do see a situation where a general war does become a World War.
On 5 July 1988 the Defence Secretary, Mr George Younger, and Prince Sultan bin Abd al-Aziz signed a formal understanding which came to be known as Al Yamamah II ("The Dove" II).

The 1986 deal had been the biggest in the history of the UK arms trade, yet it needs to be kept in perspective. The orders added up to roughly $8bn, with deliveries expected to be spread over some six years. But in the decade 1978-87 Saudi Arabia concluded arms agreements with the US worth $31bn, and in the same period France, which had failed with fighter aircraft but had done well with warships, missiles and artillery, had sold Saudi Arabia some $10bn worth of arms (Flight, 22.10.88). The second phase of Al Yamamah, however, was described as the arms sale of the centurythe biggest [UK] sale ever of anything, to anyonestaggering both by its sheer size and complexity (Financial Times, 9.7.88). It was valued at not less than £10bn, or approximately $16bn. These figures referred to the initial list of orders; but much higher sums, ranging up to £50bn, were predicted for the longer term....

Saudi spending in the 1992 budget was a record SR181bn (£20bn) – 27 per cent higher than the last budget of 1990 (the 1991 budget was not published due to the Gulf war). King Fahd said that the war debt would be balanced by borrowing SR30bn from foreign and domestic sources (Financial Times, 31.1.92). Saudi Arabia, which ten years earlier had balances of $100bn, had only $5-10bn left in financial reserves as a result of 10 years of deficit financing and Gulf War costs....

In spite of the Middle East Arms Control Initiative, Saudi Arabia obtained Tornados and, eventually, additional F-15s. In 1998 the Royal Saudi Air Force possessed 110 Tornados and 167 F-15s, 72 of which were the latest variant and were in the process of delivery. In addition there were 80 of the smaller and older F-5s as well as US Early Warning planes, transports, tanker aircraft and helicopters. It is highly unlikely that Saudi Arabia has sufficient capacity to fly so many machines in combat....

Indeed, the aspiration of the ruling group to make this small country a military power is fundamentally misconceived. No amount of sophisticated arms purchases could make it an effective rival of Iran, Iraq or Israel. Saudi Arabia simply does not have a large enough population, even if all were willing to serve and had sufficient technical education, to rival the manpower reserves of these larger states. Although Saudi Arabia has embarked on a drive to recruit and train more Saudis for its armed forces, much of Saudi Arabia's advanced equipment, purchased at such expense, can only be operated by foreign nationals....

he bulk of the UK arms trade to Saudi Arabia, Al Yamamah, came about because of US congressional reluctance to supply the kingdom. The UK had no qualms and eagerly stepped into the gap....Ethical and security considerations should have prevented the UK government from taking such a step. By supplying Saudi Arabia the UK is endorsing its brutal regime and diminishing the importance of human rights and political freedom. There is also a great deal of evidence to suggest that Saudi Arabia is far from a reliable end-user of UK weapons.  Saudi Arabia has secretly funded resistance movements around the world, often at the behest of certain elements in the US Administration in return for arms packages, and strong evidence suggests that Saudi Arabia diverted arms to Iraq via Jordan and funded the Iraqi nuclear programme in order to acquire its own nuclear capability, despite signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1988.

7-4-08       Soros wrote that, “The war on drugs was doing more harm than the drugs themselves. . . . Drugs kill a few people, incapacitate many more, and give parents sleepless nights. . . .”3 But, as he summed up, that is nothing compared to the harm of nations intervening on the free market.
Through his Open Society Foundation, Soros consistently funneled money into his Drug Policy Foundation (DPF) and Lindesmith Center to aggressively pursue drug legalization in the United States. Soros claimed, “When I decided to extend the operations of my Open Society Foundation to the United States, I chose drug policy as one of the first fields of engagement. I felt that drug policy was the area in which the United States was in the greatest danger of violating the principles of open society.”4 
Soros used the DPF to fund the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), an organization committed to reviving the Woodstock pot-smoking days of 1968. The MPP has given support to states across the nation in the fight to legalize marijuana and threw its support behind Rep. Barney Frank, who lost no time in bending over back- wards and lighting up for the drug lobby by introducing HR 2618, a bill for the “medical use” of marijuana. 
 In 1996, Soros reached deeper into the Queen’s underpants and funded ballot initiatives to legalize “medical marijuana” in California and Arizona through propositions 215 and 200, respectively.  These propositions made it legal even for children to whip out the bong and receive doses of class-one drugs. In 2000, Soros took the legalization efforts even further and funded a bill to set up the legal retail distribution of marijuana in Nevada, thereby taking the first step towards more serious drug legalization. ...
Using two groups in which he was a leading financier, the Andean Council of Coca Leaf Producers and the Andean Commission of Jurists, Soros then established an international project called “Coca 95,” to support the dope trade in Bolivia and Peru. At a conference on March 13-14, 1996, the Andean Commission of Jurists sponsored the “International Meeting on Current Scientific Studies on the Effects of Coca Consumption on Humans,” in which speakers attacked the anti-drug efforts of governments as a threat to the environment!  

3. George Soros, The Bubble of American Supremacy: The Costs of Bush’s War in Iraq, Public Affairs Books, New York, N.Y. 2004, p. 27.
4. Ibid. 

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