The Saudi-Iran spat: What comes next?

Supporters of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr burn posters of King Salman of Saudi Arabia against the execution of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, during a demonstration in Kerbala January 4, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed al-Husseini.

Supporters of Shi’ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr burn posters of King Salman of Saudi Arabia against the execution of Shi’ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr in Saudi Arabia, during a demonstration in Kerbala January 4, 2016. REUTERS/Ahmed al-Husseini.

American Enterprise Institute, by Michael Rubin, Jan. 4, 2016:

Make no mistake: Saudi Arabia should be condemned without reservation for the execution of Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, perhaps the country’s most prominent Shi‘ite cleric.

The murder is, alas, the sign of more trouble to come as Muhammad Bin Nayyef — Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and interior minister — consolidates control against the backdrop of King Salman’s growing dementia. Nayyef is a sectarian warrior who seldom finds a fire upon which he cannot pour gasoline. There was also cynicism involved in the timing, coming so soon after Saudi Arabia implemented new austerity measures. That so many diplomats in Europe, Washington, and the United Nations also blessed Saudi ambitions to a leadership post on the United Nations Human Rights Council simply convinced Riyadh that they could get away with murder.

That does not mean the Islamic Republic of Iran is blameless. While they have now named the street on which the Saudi Embassy in Tehran sits for Nimr, they did nothing for Nimr during his imprisonment. Nor does Iran have the moral high ground on either religious freedom or executions. Indeed, Iran’s rate of executions in 2015 was an order of magnitude above Saudi Arabia’s. Even as Saudi Arabia is wrong for arresting and executing Nimr, there can be zero tolerance for the sacking and burning of embassies, a practice that has become all too common inside Iran. Iran’s refusal to protect diplomats on its territory risks far more than Saudi-Iranian peace, but rather threatens the mechanism of modern diplomacy.

So what comes next? Nothing good, especially at a time when American diplomatic influence is at its nadir. It’s not simply that neither side trusts the United States. Rather, both Riyadh and Tehran believe that the United States is actively supporting the other side. So here’s a quick look at the crystal ball:

  • That Syria peace process in which Secretary of State John Kerry is engaged? Fahgettaboudit. At the very least Iran and Saudi Arabia are going to take their proxy war in Syria to a new level. That’s the best scenario. The worst is that Iran moves to undercut security in Bahrain and takes its proxy conflict to Iraq, which has quietly been making amends with Riyadh.
  • Nuclear proliferation? Expect Saudi Arabia to pursue that off-the-shelf bomb from Pakistan. And if Riyadh gets a nuclear capability, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — which continues to oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — is simply going to push forward with Iran’s nuclear capability, an easy move since Kerry designed his deal to leave Iran with an industrial program and a $100 billion cash infusion to boot.

So what should the United States do? Unfortunately, there’s no magic solution at this point, but here’s a few places to start:

  • President Obama argued that the United States could have more influence by working with the UN Human Rights Council than by ignoring it. All evidence is to the contrary, however. The Council is a parody of human rights advocacy and gives moral inversion UN imprimatur. It’s time to cut off all funding and support for the Council until human rights abusers like Saudi Arabia are purged from them.
  • Condemn, in unequivocal terms, the murder of Sheikh Nimr and the persecution of anyone on the basis of their religion. Demand that Iran release Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor imprisoned simply because he is a Christian. Free the Bahai men, women, and children from Iranian prisons. Demand Tehran account for the missing Iranian Jews.
  • Crack down on Iran’s ballistic missile program. Desperation is seldom a successful negotiation tactic, as Obama and Kerry might realize if they had any experience in the private sector. By allowing Iran to cheat on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and the UN Security Council Resolution which encoded it, Obama and Kerry are only convincing regional states that they must take matters into their own hands.

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Dr. Sebastian Gorka discusses the risk of war between Iran and Saudi Arabia with Stuart Varney:

Keane: Saudis Don’t Believe Obama Admin Would Defend Them in Conflict with Iran

Washington Free Beacon, by Aaron Kliegman, Jan. 5, 2015:

Gen. Jack Keane said on Tuesday that Saudi officials have told him they believe the United States under the Obama administration would not defend Saudi Arabia if it came into conflict with Iran and are waiting for a new American president to take office.

Keane, who is a former Vice Chief of Staff for the U.S. Army, told Fox News host Bill Hemmer that the Iran nuclear deal and American disengagement from the Middle East, among other factors, have all contributed to the perception in Riyadh that Washington is trying to create a new strategic partnership with Iran at the expense of Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies in the region.

“I can tell you for a fact because I’ve spoken to Saudi officials, they believe that the United States during this [Obama] administration … would not defend them if they got into a conflict,” Keane said. “And that’s a fact. They are waiting for this administration to go.”

Keane made this statement while analyzing the ongoing Saudi-Iranian feud that has reached new heights after Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic ties with Iran on Sunday, which was extended the next day to include all flights and trade.

These moves were triggered when Iranian protestors attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran on Saturday, which was in response to the Saudi government executing a prominent Shiite cleric who had been calling for a new regime in Riyadh. Events of the past few days escalated the ongoing competition between the two Middle Eastern powers for geopolitical influence, a rivalry fueled in part by strong ethnic and religious differences.

sunni-shiaIran is a mostly Persian, Shiite country while Saudi Arabia is Arab and sees itself as the vanguard of Sunni Islam.

But the dispute goes beyond these factors, according to Keane. He argued on Fox News that seeing the Saudi-Iranian spat as simply a Sunni versus Shia conflict is a “superficial understanding of what’s taking place.”

“This is Iran seeking regional domination,” Keane continued. “They have control and influence over four countries already – that’s Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. And they are seeking to undermine the Sunni Arab countries in the region.”

Keane believes the “accelerant” for this increasingly tense strategic environment has been the nuclear deal struck this summer between the United States, along with five other world powers, and Iran.

“That has been done at the expense of our Arab allies in the region.”

Keane added that the Obama administration’s “overall policy of disengagement from the region” has led to the Saudis’ alienation with the United States, “which began politically with Iraq in 2009, militarily in 2011, and one thing after another. Not dealing with the Syrian issue early on in 2012, when his national security team had recommended arming and training the Syrian rebels, not responding to the chemical [red] line that was crossed over by [Syrian president] Assad’s regime.”

Analysts have also cited the lack of U.S. action in supporting former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak when he was ousted from power in 2011 as an important turning point in the downturn in relations between Riyadh and Washington. Mubarak was close to the Saudi government, and Saudi leaders were furious with the Obama administration over its handling of the Arab Spring in Egypt. Mubarak was also a strategic ally of the United States.

Beyond American policy, Keane told Hemmer that the other important cause of growing Saudi aggression to counter Iranian expansion is the new leadership in Riyadh.

The general described how Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who came to power in January of 2015, and his son and deputy crown prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, who is also Minister of Defense and rose to prominence after his father took the throne, have both taken a more aggressive posture toward Iran.

“That is why military action has taken place in Yemen against the Iranians. They were willing to push back very aggressively to do that.”

Keane added that Saudi Arabia’s recent decision to form a 34-nation coalition to fight terrorism is also the result of the Saudi leaders’ outlook on the region.

The Execution of Nimr al-Nimr and Obama’s Failed Policy in the Middle East

saudi protestorsNational Review, by Tom Rogan, Jan.4, 2016:

Without a doubt, the unlawfully shed blood of this innocent martyr will have a rapid effect and the divine vengeance will befall Saudi politicians.”

That was how Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, responded to Saudi Arabia’s execution Saturday of a Shiite cleric, Nimr al-Nimr. Since then, Iranian protesters have — with their government’s permission — attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran, and Saudi Arabia has cut diplomatic relations. Further escalation is likely.

wasn’t just any Saudi cleric. As I explained last year, he was a transnational representative of Shiite populism against Saudi oppression. But where the cleric was a powerful political activist in life, his execution makes him a martyr: a divine embodiment of Shiite theology and politics. To Shiite observers, Nimr al-Nimr’s execution echoes that of the ultimate Shiite martyr, Husayn ibn-Ali, at the seventh-century Battle of Karbala.

But Iran isn’t alone in threatening retaliation. Former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki — who is engaged in a never-ending power struggle in Baghdad — warned that the execution would bring down the Saudi royal family. This political reaction reflects the deep scale of Shiite populist anger and illuminates the risk of unrestrained escalation. Other actors, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah, are reacting with fury as well.

Yet we must remember that this execution wasn’t ordered just because the Saudis hated a cleric. Instead, the execution was motivated by Saudi Arabia’s regional political agenda. More specifically, as I explained last month, recent Saudi actions prove the government’s exceptional concern about two active developments: Iranian expansionism and America’s relative retreat from the Middle East.

In recent months, the Saudis have witnessed both President Obama’s acquiescence to Iran’s nuclear-deal non-compliance and his decision to yield to Russia and allow Assad to remain in power. This perceived betrayal of U.S. commitments to Saudi Arabia has meant the collapse of U.S. influence with reliable partners such as the Saudi foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir.

In short, by subordinating Saudi Arabia’s concerns to his legacy project with Iran, President Obama has eviscerated America’s tempering influence against Saudi sectarian paranoia. And by executing Nimr al-Nimr, Saudi Arabia has deliberately attacked the Iranian revolutionaries in a highly emotive way. The Saudis know the Iranians will retaliate, but they’re so concerned about showing resolve to Iran that such concerns have been overwhelmed.

Khamenei’s threat to Saudi politicians deserves special scrutiny, because we cannot assume the danger is limited to Saudi Arabia. After all, in 2011, Iranian leadership ordered the assassination of Adel al-Jubeir, who was then the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., The person they hired to carry out the murder — actually a U.S. informant — warned that the attack would kill other innocent diners. Their operations officer responded: “f*** ’em.” That Iran faced no meaningful consequences for the 2011 bomb plot — an act of war on America — also fuels the threat.

The U.S. must take a number of urgent steps. First, it should warn Iran in multiple forums that any attack — whether direct or indirect — on U.S. interests will meet U.S. reprisals. Considering that Khamenei is desperate to retain the economic rewards of his nuclear-deal Ponzi scheme, there is an opportunity for deterrence to influence his behavior, at least in the short term. Second, as I asserted recently, the U.S. must pressure the Saudi government not to execute Nimr al-Nimr’s young nephew, who is also in Saudi prison awaiting execution. If the younger al-Nimr is executed, the escalatory dynamic may become uncontrollable as Iranian hard-liner passions boil over. Don’t believe me? Recall how the hard-liners’ theological zeal manifested itself during the Iran–Iraq War: in the use of children as mine-clearance devices.

Of course, some will welcome escalation here, assuming it means Iranian and Saudi extremists will kill each other off. But that’s a very dangerous delusion. Aside from the moral consequences of a regional war between Iran and Saudi Arabia (think Syria’s immense suffering plus refugees, multiplied by at least five), the first casualty of escalation would be political moderation. The rot in political Islam would catalyze, terrorists would find ever-multiplying recruiting swamps, and America would face ever-increasing danger. Regional anarchy would not be containable in our globalized world.

Obama-administration officials must urgently reassess their Middle East policy. Absent credible U.S. influence, a great crisis is brewing.

— Tom Rogan is a writer for National Review Online and Opportunity Lives, a panelist on The McLaughlin Group, and a senior fellow at the Steamboat Institute. He tweets @TomRtweets. His homepage is tomroganthinks.com.

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Iran / Saudi Feud Begins to Boil

iran 1Iran Truth, Jan. 4, 2015:

Saudi Arabia cut off diplomatic ties to Iran, saying Iran must act like “a normal country” instead of “a revolution.”  The remarks came after an Iranian mob, allegedly made up of protesters, attacked the Saudi embassy.  The attack was in reprisal forSaudi Arabia’s execution of a Shi’ite clericSheikh Nimr al-Nimr, as part of a wave of executions allegedly aimed at crippling terror organizations within the Kingdom.  The Sheikh had accused the Saudi government of mistreating Shi’ites, and called for the secession of the eastern part of the country.  Others among the 47 executed included alleged al Qaeda leaders.  Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, Saudi Arabia’s top religious leader, said that the executions were “a mercy to the prisoners” because it would keep them from further damaging their souls via evil acts.

Although Iran says that a top police official went to the mob attacking the Saudi embassy to disperse it, the suspicion that the mob was a proxy by Iran’s government is highly credible.  Iran still celebrates as a national holiday the Iranian Revolution’s mob overrunning of the American Embassy in 1979, when the hostages seized and held for more than a year were used by the new Islamic Republic of Iran in an attempt to extort the United States.  In that environment, even without official organization the citizens of Iran know that mob attacks on the diplomatic enemies of their government will be welcomed and praised as authentic examples of the spirit of the revolution.  Saudi Arabia’s comments about Iran needing to act like a normal nation instead of a revolution are meant in that context.

The feud between the two nations has both ancient roots and contemporary flash points.  Saudi Arabia sees itself as the leader of the Islamic world as a whole, because it contains the holy city of Mecca and most of the important scenes of the life of Muhammad, the founder of the Islamic religion.  However, it sides with the Sunni view of the proper leadership of Islam, a civil war between factions of the Islamic world that began hundreds of years ago shortly after Mohammed’s death.  Sunnis followed a claim that the leadership of the Islamic world should fall to those with the greatest degree of education and investment in the religious ideology.  Shi’a Islam believed that only blood descendants of Muhammad ought to lead Islam.  This led to a series of murders and bloodshed among the generation immediately after Muhammad, capped by the Battle of Karbala in the 61st year of the Islamic calendar, or A.D. 680.  The Shi’ite faction lost and their leader, Hassan ibn Ali, was killed.  The Shi’ite holy festivals of Ashura and Arba’een commemorate this defeat, and are still today marked by huge pilgrimages with self-flagellation and self-cutting by the pilgrims.

In terms of the current flash points, Iran and Saudi Arabia are backing opposite sides in a regional conflict dominated by the wars in Syria and Yemen.  Iran has beendeveloping a series of Shi’a militias ideologically loyal to its particular vision of that faith as a means of exerting its influence to dominate a crescent of the Middle east from Yemen and Afghanistan to the Levant.  The Saudi government officially bans support to terrorist groups, but has been allowing its citizens to route money through Kuwait to radical Sunni groups including al Nura Front and the Islamic State (ISIS).  Saudi Arabia is also leading a coalition of regional nations against Iran’s proxies in Yemen, the Houthis, a band of Shi’ite tribes bent on replacing the admittedly corrupt and inefficient government there.

Saudi Arabia has diplomatic allies who are backing its play.  Bahrain, which happens also to be the headquarters of the United States Fifth Fleet, has joined Saudi Arabia in suspending diplomatic relations with Iran.  The UAE has downgraded its relationship.  Sudan has also cut off Iran.

Although Iran is framing its immediate conflict with Saudi Arabia as over what it describes as politically-motivated executions, Iran has executed three times as many persons as Saudi Arabia in recent years.  Many of these, possibly thousands of them, are of political dissidents opposed to the existing regime.  By contrast, Saudi Arabia executed fewer than fifty in the end-of-year purge.

Outside of the realms of diplomacy and war, the conflict also has ramifications for the global price of oil.  However, rising oil prices may be offset by the entry of Iran’s oil reserves into the global markets pending the full implementation of the Iran nuclear deal.

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The Salafis’ Daddy Warbucks: Saudi Arabia

ksFrontpage, by Rachel Ehrenfeld, December 17, 2015:

The first-ever global meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) network of some 200 jurisdictions over the weekend in Paris “to discuss actions…to combat the financing of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) …and to combat the financing of terrorism ” will probably make the participants feel good, but will do little to cut-off state sponsorship of the fast growing radical Islamist movement.

The development of new technologies and encryption of online communications, financial transactions and other non-traditional methods to transfer money present serious obstacles to monitoring funding of large number of terrorists and their supporters.  But the most important obstacle is the West’s decades-long willful blindness to name and shame Saudi Arabia as the biggest terror financier, as well as the Saudis’ role in the development and spread of opaque Sharia finance institutions and Islamic charities.

Thus, Germany’s Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel‘s recent condemnation of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing funding of the spread of radical Islam in the West was surprising. “Wahhabi mosques all over the world are financed by Saudi Arabia. Many Islamists who are a threat to public safety come from these communities,” he told Bild am Sonntag, the largest-selling German Sunday paper. Even more unexpected was his statement: “We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over.”

The Saudi role in fostering Islamic terrorism is no secret. Before it came under some criticism after the al Qaeda’s 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the Saudi Kingdom used to openly brag about its large donations to build, maintain and supply mosques, Islamic centers and madrassas, stocking them with Wahhabi Imams and ulemas (religious teachers) and covering expenses such as salaries, pensions, and “terrorcare” that included hospitals and other public services.

Directed by Muslim Brotherhood advisors who championed the oxymoron ‘Political Islam’ to deceive the infidels, the Kingdom funded Western tax exempt Islamic organizations engaged in dawah (proselytization for Islam). Among them were networks of charitable organizations that provide financial aid to prisoners (including non-Muslims to lure them to Islam) in Western jails, lavishly funded academic chairs in Middle East Studies in universities around the world, student-exchange programs and spending many millions of dollars to increase Saudi political influence in the West — even contributing $100 million to coordinate and assist the United Nations international counterterrorism efforts.

Saudi efforts to bring Wahhabi Islam to global dominance began in earnest in 1962, with the establishment of the first international Saudi charity, the Muslim World League (MWL). Influenced by exiled Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood members, then-Crown Prince Faisal bin Abdul Aziz used growing oil revenues to fund MWL, which in turn established many other Islamic charities and nonprofits that helped directly and indirectly create the global jihadist movement. Successive Saudi kings have created additional “charitable” organizations to fund the worldwide spread of Wahhabism and have on occasion organized several national campaigns encouraging their subjects to support Sunni terror organizations outside the country, including the PLO, Hamas and al Qaeda. Thus it would be wrong to distinguish between contributions to radical Sunni organizations by the Saudi theocratic monarchy, its government and its wealthy subjects.

But Saudi support for terrorism extends much beyond direct deposits to openly radical elements. Direct financing of terrorist activities is but one of several means to further their agenda.

Indeed, little has changed since then-Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Stuart Levey’s testimony before the Senate Finance Committee in 2008 that Saudi Arabia is “serious about fighting Al Qaeda in the kingdom[but] the seriousness of purpose with respect to the money going out of the kingdom is not as high” (emphasis added).

The spread of Salafist radical groups, such as the global Hizb utTahrir, Tablighi Jamaat, and ISIS proves the effectiveness of the decades-long, $2 trillion’s worth of Saudi funding to indoctrinate Muslims everywhere, creating a large base of followers ready for further radicalization of what the West has erroneously labeled “self-radicalization.”

Saudi Arabia’s role in initiating and fomenting worldwide Muslim riots to curtail Western free speech has been mostly ignored. However, Muslims riots following the October 2005 publication of the Muhammad cartoons in Denmark’s largest daily, Jyllands-Posten, began only after Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador to Denmark; after Sheikh Osama Khayyat, imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, praised on national Saudi television the Saudi government for its action; and after Sheikh Ali Al-Hudaify, imam of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, called “upon governments, organizations and scholars in the Islamic world to extend support for campaigns protesting the sacrilegious attacks on the Prophet.” The Saudi-controlled Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) initiated and coordinated Muslim rioting worldwide after the Danish Muhammad cartoon publications.

Moreover, to wield more control over Muslim communities worldwide, better orchestrate “spontaneous demonstrations,” and better allocate funds for them, the Saudi-backed OIC established the clerical International Commission for Zakat (ICZ) on 30 April 2007. Previously, there were more than 20,000 organizations that collected zakat. Now, however, the Islamic clerics’ centralized “expert committee” based in Malaysia also supervises and distributes zakat funds globally. Yet, President Obama and his former Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, describe Malaysia as a “moderate Muslim country” and Saudi Arabia as an ally.

The public outrage and rejection of Saudi King Salman’s offer to fund 200 new mosques for more than 800,000 new Muslim refugees in Germany, and the Vice Chancellor’s statement: “We have to make clear to the Saudis that the time of looking away is over” point in the right direction. But don’t hold your breath. Germany, the United States and the rest of the West have been turning a blind eye to Saudi funding of thousands of mosques, madrassas and Islamic centers that have propagated radical Islamic ideology for decades and are unlikely to face reality anytime soon.

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Saudi Arabia braces for ISIS

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba and pray at the Grand mosque during the annual haj pilgrimage in the holy city of MeccaIntersec, Nov. 23, 2015:

Jeff Moore investigates the growing influence of ISIS in Saudi Arabia, the rise of incidents, the different cells and what the future holds for the Kingdom

While Saudi Arabian forces battle it out with Houthi rebels in Yemen in their most intense conventional fighting since Operation Desert Storm, a domestic irregular threat looms over the kingdom: ISIS. ISIS has launched several small but effective attacks against Saudi Arabia in the past, and authorities have shut down several cells. None of this is surprising since the head of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, called on Muslims in November 2014 to attack the Saudi government and kill Shia Muslims. These threat variables spell trouble for both Saudi Arabia and the entire Peninsula.

In March and April this year, Saudi authorities arrested 93 members of an ISIS cell that aimed to attack the US embassy in Riyadh with a car bomb. This cell also plotted to attack Saudi security forces, residential compounds and prisons, presumably to free their jailed cohorts. Authorities said that the group further meant to enflame Sunni-Shia relations.

On 22 May, during Friday prayers, a suicide bomber attacked the Shia Ali b. Abi Talib Mosque in Al Qudaih, near Qatif, Najd Province. The explosion killed 21 and wounded 102. The Najd Province of ISIS (central Saudi Arabia) claimed responsibility, and it was apparently ISIS’ first attack in thecountry, though officials believe it might have staged an attack in Eastern Saudi in 2014.

The next week on 29 May – again during Friday prayers – a suicide bomber dressed in women’s clothing attacked the Shia Imam Hussein mosque in Dammam. As the bomber was parking his car, a security team hailed him and he detonated his device, killing four. The Najd Province of ISIS claimed responsibility.

On 3 July, a group of Saudi security officials were in Taidf serving an arrest warrant on an ISIS suspect, Yousif Abdulatif Shabab al-Ghamdi, when they came under fire. One official was killed, and al-Ghamdi got away. Three suspects were arrested and had in their possession laptops, ISIS flags, and silencers.

The Ministry of Interior (MoI) said on 18 July that it had arrested 431 people belonging to four ISIS cells over the past few weeks, many of which were linked to the Shia mosque attacks. These cells were planning attacks on a variety of targets and were also making suicide bombs.

On 6 August, an ISIS suicide bomber detonated his explosives in the mosque of an elite Saudi security force based in Abha, Asir province. The blast, which occurred during noon prayers, killed 15 and wounded 22.

ISIS’ target was the Special Emergency Force (SEF), a counter terrorism unit under the Public Security Directorate, which falls under the MoI. SEF has 13 base camps throughout Saudi Arabia to react to various terrorist scenarios.

ISIS said its operative from Hijaz province of ISIS carried out the SEF bombing against a monument of the apostate. Hijaz refers to the South-Western area of Saudi Arabia, which is close to Yemen, and this appears to be the first time this particular branch of ISIS has been mentioned in open sources.

Later that month, on 23 August, gunmen – possibly belonging to ISIS, say investigators – shot at a police patrol in Jeddah in a drive-by shooting that wounded one.

On 16 September, police conducted raids against ISIS safe houses in Riyadh and Dammam. They arrested three and killed two. The militants had in their possession firearms, scores of ready-made IEDs, and cellphones.

On 30 September, police arrested a Syrian man and Philippine woman in Al-Fayah district, Riyadh, for running a makeshift suicide bomb factory. Aside from defusing two bombs on site, they also found bomb-making equipment, two suicide vests, a machine gun and ammunition.

On 1 October, masked gunmen killed four in two attacks in Al-Shamli, Hail province. The first attack was on a police post where a policeman and two civilians were shot. The second was on a policeman at a traffic station. One of the attackers shouted ISIS slogans during the attack.

On 3 October, police raided two terror hideouts in Dhahran, arresting seven after an exchange of gunfire.

A analysis of these incidents reveals six takeaways. First, those carried out by the Najd group indicate that ISIS is expanding operations in the Arabian Peninsula, and that it’s specifically targeting Saudi Arabia. Since the spring, Saudi authorities have arrested or detained 540 people associated with ISIS cells on Saudi soil. Statistically speaking, since and including March, that’s approximately 77 people arrested each month up to early October. This demonstrates a significant ISIS presence in the Kingdom.

Second, the weapons and target sets demonstrated in these incidents are telling. In each case, light infantry weapons and IEDs were the norm. They are all sustainable for terror and insurgency operations (bombings, raids, ambushes, assassinations, etc.)

ISIS targeting so far has been aimed at the Saudi police/MoI (patrols, stations, and mosques), Shia mosques, a prison, the US embassy, and residential compounds, presumably foreign. These are typical for a movement that’s aiming to destabilise society, embarrass a government, drive out foreigners and inspire silent supporters as demonstrated in scores of other insurgency zones such as Iraq, Southern Thailand, Colombia and Northern Ireland.

The targeting of Shia mosques is designed to enflame existing Sunni-Shia tensions and drive a wedge between the two groups, triggering chaos and bloodshed. ISIS is trying to win Sunni hearts and minds by destroying Shias. It’s an effective destabilisation method that has shown results in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, and Yemen.

Third, these attacks demonstrate good terrorist and insurgent skillsets. The SEF bombing in particular proves that ISIS has the prowess to target, infiltrate, and successfully strike one of Saudi Arabia’s most elite counter terror units, so these operatives are to be taken seriously.

Fourth, calling the Saudi government “apostates” reveals that ISIS is directly challenging it as the traditional purveyor of Islam. The term “apostate” or munafik, is one of the worst insults in Islam. In layman’s terms, it means, “you are not a ‘real Muslim,’ and you should be eliminated for this terrible sin.” This ‘takfir ideology’ is common to al Qaeda (AQ), ISIS and political Islamist groups. To purely spiritual conservative and moderate Muslims, it’s a haram (forbidden) concept.

The reference to the Hijaz province of ISIS is significant, too. Hijaz is home to Mecca and Medina, the geographic center of gravity of Islam. With this phrase, not only is ISIS making a direct administrative challenge to Saudi’s governorship over these essential sites, it also indicates that ISIS has some kind of operational entity there.

Combined, the Hijaz and apostate factors tell Saudi Arabia, “We, ISIS, are imbedded in your heartland, you are false Muslims, and we are the solution.” This is a powerful challenge because ISIS’ political warfare resonates with millions, especially the more politically inclined Islamists.

Fifth, based on the geographic spread of ISIS-related attacks and arrests, it’s apparent that it has a demonstrated presence throughout Saudi Arabia. ISIS is in the Kingdom’s East, West-Southwest, North central and the capital – and these are just the known points of ISIS activity.

Sixth, the fact that ISIS has given geographic names to its groups suggests that it has an organised structure inside Saudi – cells, at the very least – that focuses on carrying out attacks in specific regions. If the cells are mature and networked, a worst case scenario would be a Peninsula or Saudi-wide insurgency with roots deep inside Islamist sects of Sunni Islam prolific to the area.

Simply put, a terror campaign or insurgent movement is obviously afoot in Saudi. Such a scenario isn’t so far fetched. It has happened before.

Saudi Arabia fought a war against AQ from 2003-07 where the latter’s operatives had infiltrated the military and police, making it easier to attack scores of Saudi citizens, foreigners, and government personnel with bombings, assassinations, and ambushes.

Next door in UAE, a group called al-Islah with alleged links to the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood sought to overthrow that government by trying to launch attacks against it in 2012. Authorities stopped these from happening and arrested 94 suspects. They convicted 68 for sedition in July 2013. A number of these had also set up a shadow government parallel to UAE’s real government from the local level all the way up to the national level. This is a classic insurgent political maneuver.

More recently, on 2 August, the UAE announced that it had arrested 41 people trying to overthrow the government and establish a caliphate. Whether it was ISIS or not remains an open question, but it sounds like it. What other group in the Middle East is currently establishing a caliphate? Not AQ, not its franchises, and not the Brotherhood.

What happens next? Additional attacks, most likely. ISIS said so in a statement released shortly after the SEF bombing. Furthermore, AQ carried out more than 40 attacks during its 2003-07 campaign in Saudi Arabia, and ISIS has proven more aggressive and bloodier than its rival. To suppose it won’t increase its operational tempo in Saudi Arabia and/or the rest of the region ignores recent history and mounting indicators and warnings.

This is not to say, however, that Saudi Arabia and its neighbors are weak and ripe for the picking. They have, in recent years, increased their counter terror and counter insurgency prowess, and they’ve decisively stopped past terrorist campaigns and shut down insurgent movements. But there’s no guarantee of success.

ISIS has made solid progress in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Tunisia, and other parts of the Middle East and North Africa. It knows it needs to continue this momentum to keep attracting recruits. A dramatic and/or a high casualty attack operation in the Arabian Peninsula would do just that.

For these reasons, a strike on a major population centre, a critical military installation, key infrastructure, or even an assault matching the Grand Mosque seisure in 1979 cannot be ruled out. The latter would be in line with ISIS’ accusatory “apostate” rhetoric.

Regardless of the target, however, dangerous times are returning to the Kingdom and the Peninsula, and they’re here to stay until Riyadh demonstrably ramps up its counter politico-religious warfare activities. ISIS excels in political warfare, propaganda, and recruiting. Its brand of Islamist jihad and call to revolution is dramatically appealing, particularly in the Middle East. For Saudi Arabia to be effective, it has to directly confront the Islamist jihadi ideology and correct it, in part by rallying the global ummah, the world population of Muslims. So far, Saudi Arabia has done none of this.

Jeff Moore, Ph.D., is the chief executive officer of Muir Analytics, which assesses threats from insurgent and terror groups against corporations. He is a renowned terrorism and insurgency subject matter expert, and he is also the purveyor of SecureHotel.US, which analyses terror risks against hotels, worldwide.

The New Cold War: The Russia-Shia Alliance VS the Islamic State

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (2nd R) meets with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (2nd L) on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 28, 2015. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (2nd R) meets with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani (2nd L) on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, September 28, 2015. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev.

By Brian Fairchild, October 31, 2015

The New Cold War:

In late-September 2015 Russia and Iran launched a clandestine strategic military campaign to support Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.  Russia’s bold move took the West by surprise and changed the balance of power in the Middle East in Russia’s favor.  It will go down in history as the milestone depicting Russia’s first aggressive military action outside of its own sphere of influence since the fall of the Soviet Union, and, when viewed from a global strategic perspective, will be remembered as the first clear sign that a New Cold War had erupted between the US and Russia.

Russia’s Middle Eastern campaign is formed around the new “quadrilateral alliance”, which has divided the region into two sectarian blocs:  the Russian-led Shia Muslim alliance, which forms a powerful “Shia Crescent” stretching from Iraq, through Iran and Syria, to Lebanon, and the Sunni Arab bloc led by Saudi Arabia with minimal backing by the United States.

Thus far, Russia’s campaign has been executed seamlessly. Upon entering Syria clandestinely, Russian forces immediately deployed sophisticated surface to air missile defense batteries as well as top-of the-line jet fighters to protect Russian and Syrian forces from the US coalition.  Once air defenses were in place, Moscow began a barrage of airstrikes targeting anti-Assad rebels in order to re-establish and consolidate Assad’s power.  The airstrikes were subsequently integrated with ground operations carried-out by Syrian military units, Iranian Quds forces, Shia militia from Syria and Iraq, and Hezbollah fighters.  There are also credible news reports that Cuban Special Forces have joined the fray for the first time since Cuba’s proxy wars in Angola and central Africa in the 1970’s on behalf of the Soviet Union.

The Russia-Shia Alliance and its Effect on Iraq, Jordan, and the Kurds:

Iraq:

In tandem with its military campaign, Russia launched a diplomatic campaign that has been just as effective.  Iraq is the geographical base for US coalition operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, but American influence in Iraq has steadily diminished over the past year.

In early October 2015, Iraq secretly established a new Russia-Iran-Syria-Iraq intelligence center in the middle of Baghdad that surprised and angered American military commanders.  Worse, after Russia’s increasingly effective Syrian air campaign, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi called for Russia to begin unilateral airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq.  The Pentagon became so alarmed by the possibility that Russia might get a strategic foothold in Iraq that on October 21, 2015, it dispatched Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford to Baghdad to deliver an ultimatum to the Iraqi leadership.  Dunford told the Iraqi Prime Minister and Defense Minister that Iraq had to choose between cooperating with Russia or the US.  Upon his departure from Baghdad, General Dunford told the media that he received assurances that Iraq would not seek Russian assistance, but just three days later, Iraq officially authorized Russian airstrikes in-country.

Jordan:

On that same day, another of America’s most dependable allies, the Kingdom of Jordan, announced its agreement to create a new Russian-Jordanian military coordination center to target the Islamic State and that this center would go well beyond just a formal information exchange.  According to Jordan’s Ambassador to Russia:

  • “This time, we are talking about a specific form of cooperation — a center for military coordination between two countries. Now we will cooperate on a higher level. It will not be just in a format of information exchange: we see a necessity ‘to be on the ground’ as Jordan has a border with Syria”

The Kurds:

Moscow is attempting to undermine US relations with the Kurds.  Since the rise of the Islamic State, the US has sought to provide anti-Islamic State military support to the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq via the Iraqi central government, but the Iraqi government has no desire to see the KRG gain additional power in the north so this mission has been largely ineffective.  The US has had a measure of success providing limited support to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), but has balked at providing full support because any support whatsoever angers Turkey due to contacts between the YPG and the Kurdish Worker’s Party (PKK), a separatist organization, that seeks to overthrow the Turkish government.  On October 29, 2015, Turkish president Erdogan demonstrated this anger when he vehemently criticized US support for the YPG and stated that Turkey would attack the YPG on the Iraqi side of the border if it attempts to create a separatist Kurdish administrative zone.  Because Turkey is a NATO ally, Turkish threats cause the US significant political and diplomatic problems, but they will not deter Putin from moving to organize and utilize Kurdish forces in pursuit of his goals; in early October, he went out of his way to show disdain for Turkey and NATO by allowing his Syrian-based jets to illegally invade Turkish airspace.

No Kurdish group is happy with the current situation of getting limited support from the United States to fight the Islamic State, but all of them have expressed interest in cooperating with Russia.  Significantly, Sergey Ivanov, the head of the Kremlin administration, specifically urged cooperation between the Syrian Kurdish militia and the US-backed YPG.

The Russia-Shia Alliance and the Islamic State:

The Shia composition of the quadrilateral alliance is extremely significant because it plays directly into the Islamic State narrative.  The Islamic State and the majority of the world’s Muslims are Sunni, but in the heart of the Middle East, the Shia governments of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, with Russian support, dominate, and these countries surround the Islamic State’s new “caliphate” on three sides.  Understanding this strategic disadvantage, the Islamic State knows that it must muster as much international Sunni support as possible to survive, so it carries-out a relentless policy to polarize the international Sunni population against the Shia.

The chance to remove Bashar al-Assad, who represents the Shia Alawite sect, was the primary reason the Islamic State moved to Syria from Iraq, and removing al-Assad from power served as its initial rallying cry to the global Sunni community.  It was this rallying cry that created the dangerous “foreign fighter” phenomenon that subsequently brought more than 30,000 radical Sunni Muslims from around the world to the new caliphate.

The Islamic State repeatedly emphasizes in its official publications and statements its contention that Shia Muslims are not true Muslims and must be eradicated, and, in these communications, it refers to Shia Muslims as “Rafidah” (rejecters).  But of all the Shias in the world, the Islamic State has a particular hatred for the Shia Iranians, who are Persian rather than Arab, and who ruled Islam during the ancient Safavid (Persian) empire, which the Islamic State regards as religiously illegitimate.  It therefore refers to Iranians as the “Safavid Rafidah”.

Moreover, the Islamic State accuses the US and Russia of being modern day “crusaders” who have joined forces with the Iranians to destroy Sunni Islam, a contention made clear on March 12, 2015, when its spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani stated:

  • The Safavid Rāfidah (Shia Iranians) today have entered a new stage in their war against the Sunnis. They have begun to believe that it is within their power to take areas of the Sunnis and control them completely. They no longer want a single Muslim from the Sunnis living in the empire they desire…O Sunnis…if the Islamic State is broken…then there will be no Mecca for you thereafter nor Medina…Sunnis! The Crusader-Safavid (Christian-Iranian) alliance is clear today.  Here is Iran with its Great Satan America dividing the regions and roles amongst each other in the war against Islam and the Sunnis…We warned you before and continue to warn you that the war is a Crusader-Safavid was against Islam, and war against the Sunnis…”

The Shia Alliance and the Saudis:

Saudi Arabia considers itself to be the leader of the world’s Sunni population and the custodian of Islam’s two most holy places:  the mosques of Mecca and Medina where the prophet Muhammad received Allah’s revelations.  Because Iran is the Kingdom’s religious and regional nemesis the Islamic State’s anti-Shia narrative resonates greatly among many Saudis who are increasingly alarmed at Iran’s growing military influence and power.  In a letter signed by 53 Saudi Islamic scholars in early October 2015, the clerics lashed out at Iran, Syria and Russia and echoed the main points made by the Islamic State:

  • “The holy warriors of Syria are defending the whole Islamic nation. Trust them and support them … because if they are defeated, God forbid, it will be the turn of one Sunni country after another”

Saudi King Salman was willing to allow this unofficial letter to be published because it permitted the Saudi government an indirect manner to issue a warning to Iran, but as the Russian-Iran alliance continued to make military gains throughout October, the Kingdom’s anxiety was such that it decided to allow its Foreign Minister to issue the following direct warning to Iran:

  • “We wish that Iran would change its policies and stop meddling in the affairs of other countries in the region, in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen…We will make sure that we confront Iran’s actions and shall use all our political, economic and military powers to defend our territory and people…”

Conclusion:

The New Cold War:

Just one month ago, the US was the only major military player in the Middle East, but that has all changed.  Russia’s aggressive and well-planned military campaign in Syria has tilted the balance of power in the region away from the US and toward Russia and its new Shia-dominated quadrilateral alliance.  As a result, the US plan to effect regime change in Syria is now impossible, but more importantly, US influence in Iraq is steadily diminishing, and thus, the number of options available to American military commanders to degrade the Islamic State are also diminishing.

Five days after Iraq rejected General Dunford’s ultimatum and authorized Russian airstrikes in Iraq, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter ignored this fact in his testimony before the Senate’s Armed Forces Committee when he stated that the United States plans to increase the number of airstrikes in Iraq as well as direct action raids by US special operations forces in Iraq.

Unfortunately, such an increase in US military actions require Iraqi permission, and for the second time in a week, Iraq rejected the United States.  On October 28, 2015, Prime Minister al-Abadi’s spokesman told the media that Iraq has no intention of allowing increased American participation because:

  • “This is an Iraqi affair and the government did not ask the U.S. Department of Defense to be involved in direct operations…”

If Iraq enforces this restriction, and limits the US to only training and arming Iraqi forces while allowing Russia to conduct aggressive operations in-country, the situation could become untenable for the United States, further reducing America’s ability to degrade the Islamic State.

The Islamic State:

Once Russia consolidates Assad rule in Syria, Putin will undoubtedly use the new Russia-Shia alliance to move against the Islamic State.  Because the alliance dominates the geographical terrain on three sides of the “caliphate” and has demonstrated a willingness to engage in unified military air and ground operations, it is likely that Russian airpower and Shia ground forces will succeed in dismantling many Islamic State elements in Syria and Iraq.

Such success by the Russia-Shia alliance, especially if it forces the evacuation of the capital of the Islamic State’s “caliphate” in Raqqa, Syria, will further polarize and enrage radical Sunnis and likely increase the number of foreign fighters from Europe and the Middle East.  It will also likely result in more domestic lone jihad attacks in the US and Russia, a call the Islamic State has already made in its October 13, 2015 statement:

  • “…the Islamic State is stronger today than yesterday, while at the same time America is getting weaker and weaker…America today is not just weakened, it has become powerless, forced to ally with Russia and Iran…Islamic youth everywhere, ignite jihad against the Russians and the Americans in their crusaders’ war against Muslims.”

If the Islamic State experiences set-backs and defeats in Syria and Iraq such defeats would likely motivate it to launch mass casualty attacks in the United States and Europe in order to prove to its followers that it remains relevant. Mass casualty attacks in tandem with increased lone jihad attacks would make an already bad domestic security situation, grave.

On October 23, 2015, FBI Director Comey revealed that the FBI is pursuing approximately 900 active cases against Islamic State extremists in the United States and that this number continues to expand.  Comey added that should the number of cases continue to increase, it won’t be long before the FBI lacks the adequate resources to “keep up”.   Europe, too, faces grave security challenges.  A few days after Comey’s revelations, the head of MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence service, stated that the terror threat in the United Kingdom from the Islamic State and al Qaeda is the highest he has “ever seen”.

Brian Fairchild was a career officer in CIA’s Clandestine Service.  He has served in Asia, Southeast Asia, Europe, the Arabian Peninsula, and Afghanistan.  Mr. Fairchild writes periodic intelligence analyses on topics of strategic importance.

’28 Pages:’ A ‘Full Measure’ special report about the 9/11 attacks

28 pages

Fox 29, Sep. 10, 2015:

Fourteen years after 9/11, one of the last, great mysteries surrounding the terrorist attacks on America has yet to be unmasked: parts of the Congressional probe that have been kept secret from the public under two U.S. administrations.

We’re bringing you a special report you’ll see only on Sinclair stations as part of the launch our new weekly investigative program: Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson.

By SHARYL ATTKISSON
Sinclair Broadcast Group

WASHINGTON — For the few who have seen them, they are known as the ‘28 Pages.’ They constitute a small portion of the much larger report that was classified under the George W. Bush Administration and are still hidden from public view today under Barack Obama.

There are bipartisan calls to make them public. And accusations that those who want to keep them classified aren’t protecting national security interests but something or somebody else.

It was the morning of September 11, 2001. As the eyes of the world were fixed on the terrorist attacks, a special election was being held in Massachusetts where Stephen Lynch quietly won a vacant Congressional seat.

So it may be fitting that today, Congressman Lynch is devoting a great deal of effort to revealing long held secrets from Congress’ 9/11 investigation.

“There’s 28 pages that look like just redactions?” we asked.

“Yeah,” replied Lynch. He added, “And when I read it, I thought this information is something that the public should have.”

No ordinary American can view them. And members of Congress, sworn to secrecy, are only permitted to read the 28 pages under strict conditions.

“You had to make an appointment with the Intelligence Committee and also go to a secure location,” explained Lynch. “They, they take your pen, paper, electronics. You sit in a room, and they watch as you read it.”

In October of 2013, Lynch went to the secret room in the basement of the Capitol and began reading. The censored material begins on page 395 under the heading, “Certain Sensitive National Security Matters.”

As you’re reading the pages what kind of realization was coming to your mind?” we asked.

“It gave names of individuals and entities that I believe were complicit in the attacks on September 11th. They were facilitators of those attacks. They are clearly identified,” said Lynch. “How people were financed, where they were housed, where the money was coming from, the conduits that were used, and the connections between some of these individuals.”

Individuals, he says, who were never brought to justice. But who are they? And why would the U.S. government want to keep the information secret?

Former Senator Bob  thinks he knows. He coauthored the Congressional report, including the 28 pages.

“Here are some facts. The Saudis know what they did. Second, the Saudis know that we know what they did,” said Graham.

Graham has become a relentless advocate for releasing the records. He goes so far as to say the 9/11 Islamic extremist hijackers were only successful due to direct support from prominent Saudis named in the 28 pages. The Saudis deny that.

Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were Saudi. Their leader, al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden was part of a powerful Saudi family with close ties to the royal family.

“The position of the United States government has been to protect Saudi Arabia at virtually every step of the judicial process,” Graham reports.

And that may be the problem. Could the 28 pages unravel the alliance between the U.S. and a close Arab ally in the Mideast?

Terry Strada of New Jersey thinks that relationship is secondary to her right to know what’s in the withheld pages. She lost her husband Tom, a bond broker, in the World Trade Center on 9/11. The couple’s third child was just four days old. She’s leading a fight to expose the names of those in the 28 pages who allegedly provided the means for the terrorists.

“Without money, terrorist organizations cannot exist. It is the lifeblood of terrorism,” explained Strada, who is with the group 9/11 Families United for Justice Against Terrorism. “As long as there are well-funded terrorist organizations out there vowing to kill and destroy us, here on our homeland and abroad, we will never be safe.”

Strada’s coalition has made repeated pleas in letters to President Obama.

“We have not heard back from the administration at all,” said Strada.

“Has someone put an official reason out there for why this is still classified?” we asked.

“Having read the 28 pages, I think it’s to, to allow those individuals to escape accountability,” Lynch said.

Plenty of Democrats and Republicans have supported the need for secrecy over the years on national security or other grounds. We contacted more than a dozen key members of Congress, but none of them would discuss their position on camera.

Former Congressman Pete Hoekstra read the 28 pages a decade ago when he headed the House Intelligence Committee.

“I think in terms of diplomatic relationships, it may be very, very sensitive,” said Hoekstra.

Today, Hoekstra is a business consultant, and he agreed to explain the rationale of those protecting the secrecy of the 28 pages because of what they imply about Saudi Arabia or other U.S. allies.

“I think they’re concerned it may be embarrassing to the countries or the individuals that are talked about in that section,” explained Hoekstra. “And it’s a complication that they’d rather not deal with. They’re just saying ‘We’ve got enough problems. We’ve gotta deal with ISIS. We’ve gotta deal with Iran. We gotta deal with al Qaeda.”

Reports of a Saudi connection to 9/11 were furthered by none other than 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui. Last year, the al Qaeda member gave rare prison testimony for victims’ families suing Saudi Arabia for allegedly supporting terrorism.

Moussaoui testified it was his job in the late 90’s “to create a database” of al Qaeda donors. On that list, he claimed, were important Saudi royal family members and officials.

“The money that was coming from the Saudi donors, how important was it to bin Laden’s ability to maintain the organization?” attorneys for the victims asked Moussaoui.

“It was crucial,” replied Moussaoui. “Without the money of the Saudi[s], you will have nothing. It was absolutely fundamental.”

Lawyers for Saudi Arabia deny any link to terrorism. They say there’s “no evidence the Saudis supported or caused the attacks,” calling Moussaoui’s comments colorful but immaterial hearsay from a convicted terrorist diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.

The Saudi embassy declined our interview request and referred us to a 2003 statement that said any idea they “funded, organized or even knew about September 11th is malicious and blatantly false…We can deal with questions in public, but we cannot respond to blank pages.”

Today, there’s bipartisan support in Congress for a bill urging President Obama to release the 28 pages. And Hoekstra says today, 14 years after 9/11, he’d have to come down on the side of disclosure.

“I mean, I really can’t come up with a good reason at this point in time any more to keep the pages classified,” said Hoekstra.

For now, when it comes to fully understanding the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil, what some view as a central chapter is written but remains untold.

“What do you think Tom would think, and what would he say about this particular issue?” we asked Strada.

“He would be laughing and saying ‘You go get ‘em Terry. You go get ‘em. Don’t let them get away with this. Don’t let them hide the truth. And don’t let the people that were behind it not pay. Not be held accountable,’” Strada replied.

“Information such as this on such a profound scale should definitely be in the custody of the American public,” argues Lynch. “We should know about this. This will inform us, this will help us. And there’s no reason why this information should not be made public.”

We contacted the White House to ask about the status of the 28 Pages and the prospect of their release to the public. What they offered was a release from a year ago. They “Requested that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence review the 28 pages from the joint inquiry for declassification. ODNI is currently coordinating the required interagency review and it is ongoing.”

“Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson” debuts on Oct. 4, 2015, across Sinclair Broadcast Group’s television stations.

Also see:

Saudi Arabia Offers to Build 200 Mosques for Syrians in Germany

saudiwhitehousegovphotoFrontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, Sep. 10, 2015:

Saudi Arabia, which doesn’t permit the construction of churches but finances a mosque construction spree in the land of the infidel, will not be taking in Syrian refugees. Even though they are fellow Muslims. It will however offer to build 200 mosques in Germany for their use.

It’s a kind offer. The only proper way for Europe to reciprocate would be to send a million soccer hooligans to Saudi Arabia and then offer to build facilities to teach them of the importance of trashing the country and abusing any native they come across.

Of course the Saudis aren’t stupid enough to fall for that one. Not even if the soccer hooligans bring along the occasional woman and child to use as emotional human shields while battering their way into a country they hate in every possible way aside from its social services.

Only Westerners are stupid enough to fall for that one.

Saudi mosques have played a key role in the rise of Islamic terrorism in the West. Just think of the explosive wonders that something short of a million migrants and all the mosques they can Allah Akbar in will accomplish in Germany.

Maybe the next Caliph of the Islamic State will even shout Allah Akbar while beheading some local infidel with a German accent. Maybe that Islamic State will even be in Hamburg.

Why is it that so few people ask themselves why the Saudis are willing to build 200 mosques for these “poor, desperate refugees”, yet won’t take a single one in?

It’s the same answer to the question of why so many Muslims claim to care about “Palestinians” to the point of genocide, yet won’t take them in and give them citizenship.

These aren’t refugees. They’re armies.

Don’t take it from me. Take it from Turkey’s Erdogan, the man more popular among German Muslims than he is among his own oppressed people. Here’s the poem that the formerly secular Turkish state sent him to jail for, before it became an Islamist hellhole of minarets, Erdogan palaces and crumbling shopping malls.

“The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”

Saudi Arabia just offered to build 200 barracks for the 800,000 soldiers invading Germany.

Saudi Arabia: The World’s Greatest Hypocrite

yh (2)Frontpage, by Raymond Ibrahim, August 19, 2015:

Saudi Arabia recently preached to the international community about the need to confront “intolerance, extremism and human rights violations.”

If this sounds surreal, consider the following excerpts from a July 26 report in the Saudi Gazette (emphasis added):

Saudi Arabia has reiterated its call on the international community to criminalize any act vilifying religious beliefs and symbols of faith as well as all kinds of discrimination based on religion.

Saudi Arabia wants Western cartoonists, comedians, and others—people who represent only their individual selves—to stop mocking the religious beliefs and symbols of Islam, even as the Arabian kingdom’s own institutionalized policy is to vilify and discriminate against the religious beliefs and symbols of all other faiths.

Not a single non-Muslim worship building is allowed there; the highest Islamic authority decreed that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.”  Whenever Christians are suspected of meeting in a house for worship—or as one Saudi official once complained, “plotting to celebrate Christmas”—they are arrested and punished.

Any cross or other non-Muslim symbol found is confiscated and destroyed. Anyone caught trying to smuggle Bibles or any other “publications that have prejudice to any other religious belief other than Islam” can be executed.

In 2011, a Colombian soccer-player “was arrested by the Saudi moral police after customers in a Riyadh shopping mall expressed outrage over the sports player’s religious tattoos, which included the face of Jesus of Nazareth on his arm.”  In 2010 a Romanian player kissed the tattoo of a cross he had on his arm after scoring a goal, causing public outrage.

And yet, Saudi Arabia has the unmitigated gall to ask the West—where Islam is freely practiced, where mosques and Korans proliferate, and where Muslims are granted full equality—to cease “discrimination based on religion.”

Continues the Saudi Gazette:

Addressing an international symposium on media coverage of religious symbols based on international law, which started in this French city on Saturday, a senior Saudi official said the Kingdom emphasized years ago that the international community must act urgently to confront ethnic, religious and cultural intolerance, which has become widespread in all communities and peoples of the world.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, few countries exhibit as much “ethnic, religious and cultural intolerance” as does the Arabian kingdom.  Along with the aforementioned discrimination and intolerance against all other religions, Saudi Arabia is notoriously clannish and racist.

Ten percent of the population is denied equal rights because of their race; back men are barred from holding many government positions; black women are often put on trial for “witchcraft”; castrated African slaves are sold on Facebook in the birthplace of Islam and its princes are known to beat their black slaves to death. Human Rights Watch has described conditions for foreign workers in Saudi Arabia as resembling slavery.

Worse of all is if you’re black and Christian.  After 35 Christian Ethiopians were arrested and abused in prison for almost a year, simply for holding a private house prayer, one of them said after being released: “They [Saudis] are full of hatred towards non-Muslims.”

This is unsurprising considering that the Saudi education system makes it a point to indoctrinate Muslim children with hatred, teaching that “the Apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews; and the Swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus, the Christians.”

According to Saudi novelist Hani Naqshabandi, “Our religious institutions do not give us room to exercise free thought….  They [Saudi institutions] said that the Christian is an infidel, a denizen of hell, an enemy to Allah and Islam.  So we said, ‘Allah’s curse on them.’”

Again, bear in mind that all this is official Saudi policy—not the “free expressions” of individuals, which the Saudis are condemning as creating “ethnic, religious and cultural intolerance” around the world.

The Saudi Gazette goes on to quote one Abdulmajeed Al-Omari, “a senior Saudi official.” Speaking at a recent international symposium in France which hosted representatives from 16 European nations, he said that Western “freedom of expression without limits or restrictions” areabuses [that] bred intolerance, extremism and human rights violations…”

Again, it bears reemphasizing that in the West individuals are free to express themselves.  And it’s just that—expression, not action (as in murder, terrorism, rape, enslavement, church bombings, or the slaughter of “apostates”).

As for Western governments, thanks to political correctness, not only do they discourage freedom of expression but honest, objective talk concerning Islam is suppressed (hence every Western leader maintains that ISIS “has nothing to do with Islam,” AKA, “the religion of peace”).

Meanwhile, it is precisely Islamic teachings that breed “intolerance, extremism and human rights violations,” and not just in Saudi Arabia but all throughout the Muslim world.  And it is precisely these teachings that prompt Western peoples to criticize Islam, including through cartoons.

None of this is enough to embarrass the Saudis from their farce:

Al-Omari said the Saudi participation in the symposium falls in line with its efforts to support the principles of justice, humanity, promotion of values and the principles of tolerance in the world as well as to emphasize the importance of respecting religions and religious symbols.

Actually, because of Saudi Arabia’s absolute lack of “justice, humanity, promotion of values and the principles of tolerance,” even the U.S. State Department lists the home of Islam and Muhammad as one of eight “Countries of Particular Concern.”

Thus in ultra-hypocritical manner, Saudi Arabia asks the international community to stop exercising freedom of expression—even as it openly and unapologetically persecutes, discriminates, and violates the most basic human rights of non-Muslims and non-Saudis on a daily basis.

It still remains to determine which is more surreal, more unbelievable: that Saudi Arabia, which tops the charts of state-enforced religious intolerance and ethnic discrimination, is calling on the West “to confront ethnic, religious and cultural intolerance,” or that the West deigns to participate in such disgracefully hypocritical forums.

Iran Courting Native Americans in Canada: Leaked Document

Terrance Nelson, former chief of Manitoba's Roseau River

Terrance Nelson, former chief of Manitoba’s Roseau River

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, June 24, 2015:

Saudi Arabia is greatly concerned about how the Iranian regime is establishing relationships with Native American tribes in Canada, according to a newly-leaked Saudi intelligence document.

The Islamist government of Turkey is likewise reaching out to Native American tribes inside the United States.

The secret document from Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Agency, dated May 25, 2012, was sent to the Saudi Prime Minister and approved by the Saudi Crown Prince and Foreign Minister. Saudi intelligence appears to confirm that Iran is becoming friendly with Native Americans in Canada and has even mobilized them for pro-Iran, anti-American political activism.

The memo states that Saudi intelligence is monitoring “the attempts by the Iranian government to take advantage of the situation of the Indians of Canada, in order to build connections with them, to gain from their reservations and lands, to carry out various activities and investments.”

Saudi intelligence reports that Native American leaders recently protested against American and Canadian foreign policy in front of the Iranian embassy in Ottawa. It states that the Indians expressed pro-Iran sentiments at the rally.

It also reports that two tribal leaders from Manitoba Province met with Iranian embassy officials and said they’d take a trip to Tehran. The Indian leaders said they want Iranian investment in their reservations and would like to send 200 children to Iran to study administration and development.

The intelligence memo notes that the Canadian media has reported on the matter and pointed out Iran’s hypocrisy in embracing the Native American minority while oppressing its own minorities.

Read more

Saudi Arabia Buying Regional News Influence: Cables

King Salman of Saudi Arabia (Photo: © Reuters)

King Salman of Saudi Arabia (Photo: © Reuters)

Clarion Project, by Ryan Mauro, June 23, 2015:

Leaked cables from Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry reveal that the Wahhabist government is spending millions of dollars to influence regional media coverage. One cable shows that the Saudis granted $5 million to a popular Lebanese television channel named Murr TV, known locally as MTV (no relation to the MTV network based in the U.S.).

The secret document reveals that a directive was given on May 8, 2012 to form a committee to exploit Murr TV’s financial troubles by offering a bribe in return for pro-Saudi coverage. The committee had representatives from the Saudi Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Finance, Culture, Media and General Intelligence Agency.

Murr TV’s board chairman requested $20 million from the Saudis. The committee met on May 15, 2012 and decided that only $5 million would be offered.

The network’s website boasts of its “independence,” saying it started in 1991 and began covering news in 1995. The Lebanese government was unhappy with its coverage and shut it down in 2002. It then re-launched in 2009.

“MTV displayed a fervent commitment to acting as the fourth power, disclosing the untold about abuses of power and corruption, and speaking the mind of a suffocated public opinion, being consistently and unswervingly objective and responsible, and defending the public interest,” the website says.

It is owned by Gabiel Murr, a Christian involved with the oppositionchallenging the Lebanese political forces favorable to Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and Hezbollah. MTV aired stories about human rights abuses and interviewed opposition leaders.

A 2014 study found that MTV is the top source for television entertainment in Lebanon. It is the third most popular news channel.

The leaked cable indicates that this is only one front in the Saudi campaign to influence regional news media.

“Emphasizing that in principle the support to any foreign media should serve the policy of the Kingdom and its interests. The committee doesn’t see anything to prevent the support of MTV within this policy,” the committee is reported as stating.

Other leaked cables show that the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Media sponsored two dozen media outlets in countries like Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Guinea, and Mauritania. Wikileaks says these payments ranged from $33,000 to as little as $500.

It’s possible that the Saudis were satisfied with Lebanese MTV simply continuing coverage that undermines the Syrian and Iranian regimes and Hezbollah, but the wording of the document suggests an actual promotion of the Saudi point-of-view. At the very least, the Saudis would demand favorable coverage that looks past its support for Islamist extremism and human rights abuses.

Saudi funding for media outlets is dangerous for Western security because a favorable treatment of Saudi Arabia means a favorable treatment of the radical ideology its governance is based on, often referred to as “Wahhabism.” If the Saudi point-of-view is promoted, that means promoting Wahhabism, hostility to the West and Islamist terrorism.

Yet, media outlets and political forces in the region, including Christians, are so desperate for funding that they are willing to get into bed with the Saudis.

Another cable reveals that Samir Gagea, the leader of a Christian political party opposed to the Syrian regime, asked for Saudi financial aid. He’s quoted as saying, “I’m broke. I’m ready to do what the Kingdom demands.”

The Saudis weren’t the first choice of the Christians. After all, the Saudis persecute Christians and ban the construction of churches. There is a power vacuum being filled by the Saudis that could instead by filled by the West. There is a middle-ground between Shiite extremism and Sunni extremism but those in-between these two sides are currently compelled to choose one or the other.

If we are to ever defeat Islamist radicalism and achieve peace in the Middle East, Saudi influence over the region’s media and politics will have to be countered.

ISIS, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the West

The famous photograph of Abdulaziz ibn Saud meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt in February 1945 aboard the U.S.S. Quincy symbolizes the incongruity of the Saudi-American "special relationship." (Image source: U.S. Navy)

The famous photograph of Abdulaziz ibn Saud meeting with President Franklin Roosevelt in February 1945 aboard the U.S.S. Quincy symbolizes the incongruity of the Saudi-American “special relationship.” (Image source: U.S. Navy)

Gatestone Institute, by Salim Mansur, June 14, 2015:

  • What principally mattered in accepting Christian support was whether such support served the followers of Islam in spreading the faith. The same thing could also apply to an alliance with the Jews and Israel in defending Saudi interests.
  • In the age of totalitarianism — which in the last century flourished under the various headings of Marxism-Leninism, Stalinism, Hitler’s National Socialism and Maoism — Hasan al-Banna and Sayyid Qutb added Islamism. Shariah, as God’s law, in covering and monitoring every detail of human conduct, as Qutb insisted, is total; its enforcement through jihad made for an ideology — Islamism — consistent with the temperament of the totalitarian era.
  • American support in the reconstruction of Germany and Japan after 1945 was crucial. The transformation of imperial and militaristic Japan into a peaceful democracy was testimony to how American support can make for a better world. In the Korean Peninsula, American troops have held the line between the North and South since the end of the Korean War in 1953; this has made the vital difference in turning South Korea into a democracy and an advanced industrial society.

In a hard-hitting essay on ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) for The Daily Mail, the 2001 Nobel Prize winning author, V.S. Naipaul, wrote: “ISIS could very credibly abandon the label of Caliphate and call itself the Fourth Reich.” Among the writings on Islam and Muslims in recent years, Naipaul’s, as in the books Among the Believers and Beyond Belief, have been perhaps the most incisive and penetrating in exploring the extremist politics of the global Islamist movement from inside of the Muslim world. And that ISIS on a rampage, as Naipaul observed, revived “religious dogmas and deadly rivalries between Sunnis and Shi’as, Sunnis and Jews and Christians is a giant step into darkness.”

Ever since the relatively obscure Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi stepped forth on the pulpit of the Great Mosque in Mosul, Iraq, on June 28, 2014 to announce the rebirth of the Caliphate (abolished in 1924 by the Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk), with al-Baghdadi himself assuming the title of Caliph Ibrahim, the ruling head of the ummah, or worldwide community of Muslims, many might agree with Naipaul, despite the hyperbole — he has left out a potentially nuclear Iran — that “ISIS has to be seen as the most potent threat to the world since the Third Reich.”

It is baffling to read about or watch the sweep of terror spawned by ISIS in the name of Islam — a world religion with a following approaching two billion Muslims. It is insufficient merely to point out that the barbarism of ISIS reflects its origins in the fetid swamps of the Sunni Muslim insurgency of post-Saddam Iraq. But ISIS is neither a new presence in the Arab-Muslim history, nor is the response to it by Western powers, primarily Britain and the United States, given their relationship with the Middle East over the past century.

We have seen ISISes before, and not as al-Qaeda’s second coming.

The first successful appearance of an ISIS in modern times was the whirlwind with which the Bedouin warriors of Abdulaziz ibn Saud (1876-1953) emerged from the interior of the Arabian Desert in 1902 to take hold of the main fortress in Riyadh, the local capital of the surrounding region known as Najd. Some twenty-four years later, this desert warrior-chief and his armies of Bedouin raiders defeated the ruling Sharifian house in the coastal province of Hejaz, where lie Islam’s two holy cities, Mecca and Medina.

Husayn bin Ali (1854-1931), Sharif of Mecca and Emir of Hejaz, had joined his fate with the British against the Ottoman Empire during World War I. One of his sons, Prince Feisal, led the “Arab Revolt” for independence from Ottoman rule made famous by T.E. Lawrence (1888-1935). But in the aftermath of the Great War, which brought the Ottoman Empire to its ruin, Bedouin tribes in the interior of the Arabian Desert were jostling for power, and the House of Sharif Husayn proved inept at maintaining its own against threats posed to its rule over Hejaz, and as the khadim [steward] of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Another Englishman, a counterpart to T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”), was Harry St. John Philby (1885-1960), sent as a British agent during the Great War into the interior of the Arabian Desert. Philby would get to know Abdulaziz ibn Saud; eventually he worked for Ibn Saud as the warrior-chief rose in power and prominence. Philby chronicled the emergence of Abdulaziz ibn Saud as “the greatest of all the kings of Arabia,” and wrote the history of Ibn Saud’s tribe and people under the title Arabia of the Wahhabis. In the West, ironically, Philby is better known as the father of Kim Philby, the Soviet double agent, instead of the confidant of the founder of modern Saudi Arabia. Philby apparently became Muslim, took the name of Abdullah, and lived among the Arabs.

The defeat of the Sharifian forces in Hejaz in 1925 cleared the path for Abdulaziz ibn Saud’s eventual triumph in creating the eponymous Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The fall of Mecca to the Bedouin warriors known as the Ikhwan, or the Brethren (to be distinguished from the movement known as Ikhwan al-Muslimin [Muslim Brotherhood] founded by the Egyptian Hasan al-Banna in 1928), ended the ambition of Sharif Husayn and his sons to rule Arabia with the support of the British. The Sharifian defeat also meant that Britain would not have to referee the conflict between two of its allies — Sharif Husayn and his sons on one side, and Abdulaziz ibn Saud and his Ikhwan warriors on the other — competing for mastery over Arabia.

Philby’s loyalty to Abdulaziz ibn Saud restrained him from mentioning the terror and havocIkhwan warriors perpetrated in the occupation of Hejaz and the capture of Mecca and Medina.[1]But he was effusive in describing what he viewed as the renewal of Islam’s original revolution in the desert soil of its birth. He became the premier salesman of Abdulaziz ibn Saud and his family to the outside world, as T.E. Lawrence was of Prince Feisal and the Sharifian claims to rule the Arabs.[2] Philby wrote,

“Ibn Sa’ud made it clear from the beginning that he would tolerate no criticism of or interference with God’s law on earth… On Friday, January 8th, 1926, in the Great Mosque of Mecca after the congregational prayers, Ibn Sa’ud was proclaimed King of the Hijaz with all the traditional ceremony prescribed by Islamic precedent. It was at once an act of faith and a challenge to the world: to be made good in due course, without deviation from the principle on which it was based, to the glory of God, of whose sustaining hand he was ever conscious amid all the vicissitudes of good and evil fortune, which in the long years to come were to lead his people, under his guidance, out of the wilderness into a promised land flowing with milk and honey. The great fight, of four and twenty years almost to the day, was over; and a greater span, by nearly four years, yet lay before him to develop the fruits of victory for the benefit of generations yet unborn: generations which ‘knew not Joseph’, nor ever heard the war-cry of the Ikhwan.”[3]

ii.

The objective of the ISIS is apparently to remake the map of the Middle East, which was drawn by Britain and France as victorious powers in World War I, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1918. The goal is to unite the Fertile Crescent — the region between the eastern Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf — under the newly resurrected Caliphate’s rule, where “God’s law” will rule without anyone’s interference — much Saudi Arabia’s founder, Abdulaziz ibn Saud, announced in 1926 on entering Mecca.

ISIS’s self-proclaimed leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in announcing the re-establishment of the Caliphate, have set for ISIS a hugely ambitious program, even if it seems anachronistic for Muslims in the twenty-first century.

But ISIS’s gamble to engineer the creation of the Caliphate and obliterate the post-WWI settlement is not entirely far-fetched when considered in the context of the making of Saudi Arabia.

There is also the shared doctrine of the Wahhabi-Salafi interpretation of Islam, which Abdulaziz ibn Saud insisted, and ISIS insists, is the only true Islam; all other versions and sects of Islam among Muslims are denounced as heresy or, worse, as apostasy, to be violently punished.

The collapse of the Ottoman Empire let loose forces in the Middle East, some of which were contained by Britain and France, as victorious powers, in accordance with their Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.

In the Arabian Peninsula, Britain kept in check the forces let loose, preventing their spillover into the Fertile Crescent, until one coalition of Bedouin warriors led by Abdulaziz ibn Saud emerged as clear winner over the territories previously held by Turkey in the Fertile Crescent.

The deep forbidding interior of the Arabian Peninsula consists of the highlands and desert of Najd, far removed from what were once the major centers of the Islamic civilization at its peak. Inhabited by Bedouin tribes, deeply conservative in their customs and manner of living, and disapproving of the ways of the outside world, Najd was a primitive backwater of the Middle East and was left on its own.

The emergence of Abdulaziz ibn Saud as the ruler of Najd and Hejaz in the 1920s, and then as the monarch of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under the watchful eyes of Britain as the hegemonic power in the Middle East after the World War I, was not merely the result of one coalition of Bedouin tribes trouncing its opponents for the spoils of war. It was also the victory of a doctrine — of Wahhabism,[4] to which Abdulaziz ibn Saud was wedded as a legacy of his family and tribal history, and which provided the religious and ideological legitimacy for the so-called “conservative revolution” or the Wahhabi version of Islamic “reform” he heralded in establishing his kingdom.

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How Obama Made Peace Between Israel and the Saudis

Black__White_Handshake_-_Still_from_the_film_Colour_Blind_2009-425x350Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, June 9, 2015:

In Washington D.C., the new director-general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry and a former Saudi Major General, both of whom run think tanks with close ties to their respective governments, shook hands.

It wasn’t their first time.

Obama wasn’t there when it happened, but in a way he was responsible for it.

Both men are foreign policy experts who help shape the foreign policies of their countries and had conducted five previous meetings. The topic of the meetings was Iran.

Obama wouldn’t have been pleased by their meeting or by what it represented, but he had brought them together. While Dore Gold, the Israeli, insisted that they had common ground because “We’re both allies of the United States”, it was Obama’s betrayal of both countries that had led them here.

While Obama likes to talk about making peace in the region, his only successful peace effort was this accidental byproduct of his disastrous policies. He had unintentionally managed to bring the Israelis and the Saudis together by alienating both countries with his permission slip for a nuclear Iran.

It was not a peace that he was likely to claim credit for.

Saudi Arabia was Israel’s oldest and most venomous enemy. Ibn Saud had called the Jews, “a race accursed by Allah according to his Koran, and destined to final destruction.” He had vowed to be content eating nothing but “camel’s meat” rather than give up hating the Jews.

“The word of Allah teaches us, and we implicitly believe this O Dickson, that for a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew ensures him an immediate entry into Paradise and into the august presence of Allah. What more then can a Muslim want in this hard world,” he had added.

And he meant it.

The origins of most of the anti-Israel activities in the Muslim world and the West can be found in Saudi Arabia. The poisoning of academia was funded by Saudi Arabia. The diplomatic and military leaders of the United States and the United Kingdom were turned against Israel by the Saudis. Anti-Israel narratives wound their way into the press and the public forums courtesy of their hired gun PR agencies.

Even BDS has its heavily disguised origins in the boycott of Israel promoted and enforced by the Saudis.

The Saudis haven’t stopped any of this. They are still waging Ibn Saud’s Koranic war against the Jews using academics, retired politicians, diplomats and generals, along with think tanks and PR agencies as their fronts, but they have found something that they hate and fear even more than the Jews.

The Sunni hatred of Shiites is nearly as old as the Islamic hatred of Jews and the Wahhabi forces of the Saudis had conducted massacres of Shiites that closely resemble ISIS actions today.

But this is more than hatred.  The Saudis are afraid.

Obama’s appeasement of Iran has already led to the fall of Yemen and Iranian naval attacks in international waters in the Persian Gulf. And everyone knows that worse is yet to come.

While the Saudis rush to frantically go nuclear before Iran does, their military, despite its billions in American equipment is unreliable. Obama has aligned with the Iran-Syria-Russia axis despite its members being even more hostile to the United States than the Saudis.

The Saudis have far more influence in Washington than the Israelis ever did, though their influence is subtle and understated, without the gaucherie of an AIPAC dinner. But Obama won’t be moved by the slow infusion of subtle narratives from think tanks, retired diplomats and assorted insiders that the Saudis have ably used to turn American politicians around on issues like the War on Terror or Israel.

Obama has decided what he wants to do and the Saudi-orchestrated drumbeat of criticism, like Netanyahu’s speeches, is an irritant that won’t change his worldview.

The Saudis have tried to play a variety of cards. They tried and failed to cut a deal with Putin. They likely played a significant role in removing Morsi from power in Egypt after his flirtation with Iran. That gave them access to a more reliable military than their own force of princes, but the best proven air force in the region still belongs to Israel.

If there is to be any non-American action against Iran’s nuclear program, it will come from Israel.

The United States has spent generations trying to push for peace between Sunni Muslim states and Israel. Perversely, Obama has come closest to achieving that peace by abandoning both sides while backing Jihadist groups and states hostile to both Israel and Sunni Muslim governments.

Obama’s backing for the Muslim Brotherhood ended up bringing Egypt and Israel closer together. Now his backing for Iran is bringing Israel and the Saudis together.

These relationships are not the final and ultimate peace solutions rhapsodized over by naïve crowds and politicians. Those will never come as long as tribalism and theocracy rule the day. They are pragmatic and temporary interactions made necessary by Obama’s transformation of American foreign policy.

The wave of instability created by Obama’s backing for Muslim Brotherhood regime change and then Iranian expansionism has made even formerly stable countries feel insecure. Israel’s best asset in this crisis is its invulnerability to the sectarian waves of Shiite and Sunni conflicts and the rising tide of the Muslim Brotherhood’s brand of political Islamism. While there are a few Muslim Brotherhood members in Israel’s Knesset under the United Arab List banner, there is no risk of them taking over the country.

Even Netanyahu’s reelection has improved Israel’s standing in the Middle East by demonstrating that it has a reliable and steady government that is publicly at odds with Barack Obama.

For the Saudis, the Israeli option is the final option. And it’s not clear that they are doing anything more than exploring it to send a very particular message to Obama and Iran. But in a region swiftly being divided between Iran and various Muslim Brotherhood splinter groups, including Al Qaeda and ISIS, the Jewish State may have become the most reliable counterweight to Iran and Obama.

The old American strategy had sought to create peace between Jew and Muslim under the security umbrella of the Pax Americana. Instead it’s the collapse of the umbrella that has come closest to bringing peace through war against common enemies. By destabilizing the Middle East and turning on the Saudis and Egyptians, Obama accidentally made Israel seem like a more credible partner.

Making the Middle East worse succeeded where trying to make it better had failed.

The post-American world that Obama has been building is a very different place. It is a world in which aggressors like Russia and China are reshaping regions to their liking through conquest and intimidation, but it is also a world in which former allies of the United States are trying to build dams against the tide.

If Hillary succeeds Obama, the resulting post-American world will be a very dangerous place, but like the countryside after the flood waters have washed much of it away, it may also be an interesting place.

Obama has destroyed the international accomplishments of Wilson, FDR, Eisenhower and Reagan while claiming to be their rightful successor. The world is returning to where it was a century ago. And on this new map of the world, an alliance between Israel and the Saudis is only one more strange new territory.

Saudis Plan Tourist Venue Where Foundation of Radical Ideology Was Formed

Al-Diriyah-on-the-northwestern-outskirts-of-Riyadh.-APHassan-Ammar-640x480Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, June 1, 2015:

Saudi Arabia plans to turn the birthplace of Wahhabism–just outside the capital city of Riyadh–into a tourist destination filled with entertainment, historic exhibits, parks, and restaurants.

Wahhabism, the radical Islamic ideology that is promulgated worldwide through Saudi influence and the dominant philosophy of Saudi Arabia, was founded over 250 years ago in the village of Diriyah, thanks to an alliance between the Saudi royal family and a radical cleric, according to the New York Times.

In Diriyah, the House of Saud inked an alliance with Sheikh Muhammad ibn Abdul-Wahhab, who would be allowed to preach his radical jihadist ideology in exchange for a guarantee that the Saudi royal family would be allowed to stay in power. Tow-hundred-and-fifty years later, the treaty between the radical Islamists and the Saudi royalty remains in place.

Al-Wahhab’s Wahhabism preaches a puritanical version of Islam. Supporters describe the ideology as “pure Islam” that is perfectly compliant with Sharia law.

Critics of Wahhabism have noted that the group’s adherents tend to support worldwide terrorist movements across the globe. Some allege that Wahabi officials and clerics are responsible for fostering ideological support for jihadist groups and bankrolling outfits such as ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Former CIA Director James Woolsey has said of Wahhabism:

Those who direct Saudi Arabia’s state religion, the Wahhabi sect of Islam, loathe Christians, Jews, other Muslims, modernity, decency toward women, and freedom itself. The Saudi establishment has accepted a Faustian bargain, buying protection for itself by financing the spread of Wahhabi hatred around the world.

Nonetheless, the Saudis are following through with the tourist venue, which will be “filled with parks restaurants, and coffee shops,” the Times reports. “Nearby stands a sleek structure that will house a foundation dedicated to the sheikh [Al-Wahhab] and his mission,” the report adds.

The man in charge of the project, Abdullah Arrakban of the High Commission for the Development of Riyadh, said in support of the Wahhabi tourist venue, “It is important for Saudis who are living now, in this century, to know that the state came from a specific place that has been preserved and that it was built on an idea, a true, correct and tolerant ideology that respected others.”

More whitewashing: