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Forget theories. We already know who has conspired to create the Islamic State. The culprits have confessed:
In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities. Then, as now, many of the operatives who were paid with Saudi money were Salafis. Among them, of course, were Osama bin Laden and his associates, who founded Al Qaeda, in 1988.
This time, the U.S. government consultant told me, Bandar and other Saudis have assured the White House that “they will keep a very close eye on the religious fundamentalists. Their message to us was ‘We’ve created this movement, and we can control it.’ It’s not that we don’t want the Salafis to throw bombs; it’s who they throw them at—Hezbollah, Moqtada al-Sadr, Iran, and at the Syrians, if they continue to work with Hezbollah and Iran.”
Published in 2007, an article entitled The Redirection spelled out President Bush’s strategy shift with regard to Syria. Spelled out. In detail. And before anyone scolds me for spreading crazy “conspiracy theories,” please note this was not written by David Icke, nor was it published on Prison Planet.
The article was written by none other than Seymour Hersh, and published in The New Yorker.
Hersh gained worldwide recognition way back in 1960 for exposing the My Lai Massacre during the Vietnam war and subsequent cover-up. In 1970, he won the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, and in 2004, he once again put himself in the spotlight when he broke the story of the US military’s torture and abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. Hersh is a heavy hitter, writing for The New Yorker, a well-established magazine in circulation since 1925.
The Syrian Revolution did not begin until spring of 2011. The uprising devolved into the Syrian Civil war and set the stage for the meteoric rise of the Islamic State. Hersh’s article was published four years earlier when, after a series of unsuccessful attempts to subdue Syria, the Bush administration had announced a major policy shift:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
As I surmised previously, the Saudis are playing a dangerous double game. Just from the opening paragraph of Hersh’s article, we see that the US and Saudi Arabia were colluding, four years ahead of the Syrian uprising, to bolster Sunni extremists in an effort to undermine Muslim-majority states that don’t fall in line with imperial ambitions, with a particular focus on Iran:
One contradictory aspect of the new strategy is that, in Iraq, most of the insurgent violence directed at the American military has come from Sunni forces, and not from Shiites. But, from the Administration’s perspective, the most profound—and unintended—strategic consequence of the Iraq war is the empowerment of Iran.
Oops. Now that the US had strengthened Iran as a regional player in the so-called Shia Crescent, it was time to change course:
The new American policy, in its broad outlines, has been discussed publicly. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that there is “a new strategic alignment in the Middle East,” separating “reformers” and “extremists”; she pointed to the Sunni states as centers of moderation, and said that Iran, Syria, and Hezbollah were “on the other side of that divide.”
It’s important to understand what “reformer” means in this context. Saudi Arabia is a “reformer” in the sense the regime colludes with the Western imperial powers. If the Western imperial powers really cared a whit about human rights and democracy, they would oppose the Saudi regime. Despite the high-sounding rhetoric around “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” the real problem with Saddam was that he was no longer useful. “Extremists,” like Saddam Hussein, are the uppity rulers who defy imperial dictates, often resulting in what amounts to national suicide:
Iran and Syria, [Rice] said, “have made their choice and their choice is to destabilize.”
What she really means is that Iran and Syria didn’t buckle under the pressure of sanctions and threats. The Redirection was about teaching recalcitrant Muslims a fresh lesson by turning the Syrian uprising and subsequent civil war into a proxy war against Iran:
Some of the core tactics of the redirection are not public, however. The clandestine operations have been kept secret, in some cases, by leaving the execution or the funding to the Saudis, or by finding other ways to work around the normal congressional appropriations process, current and former officials close to the Administration said.
The key players behind the redirection are Vice-President Dick Cheney, the deputy national-security adviser [neocon] Elliott Abrams, the departing Ambassador to Iraq (and nominee for United Nations Ambassador), [neocon] Zalmay Khalilzad, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national-security adviser. While Rice has been deeply involved in shaping the public policy, former and current officials said that the clandestine side has been guided by Cheney.
Whatever skullduggery was going on behind the scenes, led by Dick Cheney, it’s clear the Saudi regime was (and no doubt still is) also colluding with the widely despised Zionist-Crusader fortress in Palestine:
The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat. They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations.
The Sunni states “were petrified of a Shiite resurgence, and there was growing resentment with our gambling on the moderate Shiites in Iraq,” he said. “We cannot reverse the Shiite gain in Iraq, but we can contain it.”
“It seems there has been a debate inside the government over what’s the biggest danger—Iran or Sunni radicals,” Vali Nasr, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, who has written widely on Shiites, Iran, and Iraq, told me. “The Saudis and some in the Administration have been arguing that the biggest threat is Iran and the Sunni radicals are the lesser enemies. This is a victory for the Saudi line.”
Did you catch that? “Sunni radicals” are being promoted as a “lesser evil” in the great game against Iran. Sectarian divisions are a highly desirable outcome for the neocons, who are fond of pitting Muslims against other Muslims to advance their agenda:
The Administration’s new policy for containing Iran seems to complicate its strategy for winning the war in Iraq. Patrick Clawson, an expert on Iran and the deputy director for research at the [neocons think tank, the] Washington Institute for Near East Policy, argued, however, that closer ties between the United States and moderate or even radical Sunnis could put “fear” into the government of Prime Minister Maliki and “make him worry that the Sunnis could actually win” the civil war there. Clawson said that this might give Maliki an incentive to cooperate with the United States in suppressing radical Shiite militias, such as Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.
The Administration tried to portray any failings in post-war Iraq as the result of Iran’s interference:
The U.S. military also has arrested and interrogated hundreds of Iranians in Iraq. “The word went out last August for the military to snatch as many Iranians in Iraq as they can,” a former senior intelligence official said. “They had five hundred locked up at one time. We’re working these guys and getting information from them. The White House goal is to build a case that the Iranians have been fomenting the insurgency and they’ve been doing it all along—that Iran is, in fact, supporting the killing of Americans.”
Part of the strategy also includes cloak and dagger operations in Lebanon:
According to current and former American intelligence and military officials, secret operations in Lebanon have been accompanied by clandestine operations targeting Iran. American military and special-operations teams have escalated their activities in Iran to gather intelligence and, according to a Pentagon consultant on terrorism and the former senior intelligence official, have also crossed the border in pursuit of Iranian operatives from Iraq.
The US campaign against Iran, a country Dick Cheney described as, “astride the world’s supply of oil, able to affect adversely the global economy,” depended in part on intelligence from (hardly impartial) Israeli spies:
The Administration is now examining a wave of new intelligence on Iran’s weapons programs. Current and former American officials told me that the intelligence, which came from Israeli agents operating in Iran, includes a claim that Iran has developed a three-stage solid-fueled intercontinental missile capable of delivering several small warheads—each with limited accuracy—inside Europe. The validity of this human intelligence is still being debated.
The Saudi regime not only approves of Israeli involvement, but would like to see the Israelis take the lead:
The Saudi said that, in his country’s view, it was taking a political risk by joining the U.S. in challenging Iran: Bandar is already seen in the Arab world as being too close to the Bush Administration. “We have two nightmares,” the former diplomat told me. “For Iran to acquire the bomb and for the United States to attack Iran. I’d rather the Israelis bomb the Iranians, so we can blame them. If America does it, we will be blamed.”
Bandar wants to see the Zionist regime bomb Muslims in Iran? This fragmentation fits well with a “conspiracy theory” advanced by Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, which included a prediction regarding Saudi Arabia’s ultimate fate:
Nasrallah accused the Bush Administration of working with Israel to deliberately instigate fitna, an Arabic word that is used to mean “insurrection and fragmentation within Islam.” “In my opinion, there is a huge campaign through the media throughout the world to put each side up against the other,” he said. “I believe that all this is being run by American and Israeli intelligence.”…
…Nasrallah said he believed that President Bush’s goal was “the drawing of a new map for the region. They want the partition of Iraq. Iraq is not on the edge of a civil war—there is a civil war…”
He went on, “I can say that President Bush is lying when he says he does not want Iraq to be partitioned. All the facts occurring now on the ground make you swear he is dragging Iraq to partition. And a day will come when he will say, ‘I cannot do anything, since the Iraqis want the partition of their country and I honor the wishes of the people of Iraq.”
….Partition would leave Israel surrounded by “small tranquil states,” he said. “I can assure you that the Saudi kingdom will also be divided, and the issue will reach to North African states. There will be small ethnic and confessional states,” he said. “In other words, Israel will be the most important and the strongest state in a region that has been partitioned into ethnic and confessional states that are in agreement with each other. This is the new Middle East.”
Nasrallah’s two-year prediction was premature, but it’s worth noting there is increasing talk of partition along sectarian lines. Neocons and Zionists have long sought to partition the region into “small tranquil” statelets, none of them powerful enough to challenge Israeli hegemony. This is the plan that was envisioned decades ago:
As Syria continues its descent into an anarchic civil war and Iraq is increasingly ravaged by sectarian infighting, a terrifying vision of the future of the Middle East is increasingly coming into view. In his 2008 book “Israel and the Clash of Civilizations”, the veteran British journalist, Jonathan Cook, cites a 1982 policy paper by former Israeli foreign ministry official Oded Yinon which seems to presciently forecast the monumental events gripping the region today:
“The total disintegration of Lebanon into five regional localized governments is the precedent for the entire Arab world… Iraq can be divided on regional and sectarian lines just like Syria in the Ottoman era. There will be three states in the three major cities.” ~ Iraq, Syria and the death of the modern Middle East
Inflame sectarian tensions and Let Hezbollah and Islamic State destroy one another. If that’s the plan, then it should come as no surprise Western-backed Sunni extremists focus their energies on killing Shia “apostates” rather than attacking Western interests.
Isn’t it convenient how the Muslims always seem to step up and make neocon dreams come true? The neocons needed a “New Pearl Harbor” to embark on the “War on Terror,” and Al-Qaeda kindly delivered 9/11. The neocons needed a Sunni extremist reign of terror to assist in Condolezza Rice’s promised destabilization of Syria and Iran, and lo and behold, the Islamic State emerged from the sands.
Pure coincidence? Not likely.
In 2012, the New York Times reported that the CIA was steering arms to Syrian rebels from Turkey. In April of 2013, Free Syrian Army commander Gen. Salim Idris, who defected from the Syrian army, claimed Israel had obtained evidence of chemical weapons use because the Mossad was operating in Syria, and in December of 2014, the UN reported Israeli support for rebels Syria’s Golan Heights. Last month, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported Syrian rebels are urging Israel to launch airstrikes at Hezbollah militants backing the Assad regime.
In October of 2014, Joe Biden got scolded for saying the Turks, Saudis, and UAE funded and armed Al Nusra and Al Qaeda. He later retracted the comments, apparently after facing pressure from the White House.
Consider that in September of 2014, the New York Times reported the US Goal was to “make Syrian rebels viable” by arming and training 5,000 “moderate rebels.” By November, the “moderate” rebels trained by the US were defecting to the Islamic State, when the policy supposedly backfired. The Washington Post lamented this turn of events, decrying the US tendency to keep making the same “mistakes.”
Turkey and the US just signed a deal to train 1200 more “moderate” rebels, supposedly to fight the Islamic State.
Are American policies really “backfiring” because our leaders keep “making mistakes”? If you believe what’s happening in Syria and Iran is anything less than cynical political calculus and engineered chaos, I’d suggest you read Hersh’s article in full, and pay close attention to what is openly confessed.